TRUMPAGEDDON IS COMING: Snowflake Preppers Panic, Stock Up On Guns, Food

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The survivalist movement is picking up paranoid progressive converts as Trump’s provocative posturing and unpredictability sparks a fresh wave of panic on the left. 

Shane Dixon Kavanaugh reports: Colin Waugh bought a shotgun four weeks before November’s election.

An unapologetic liberal, he was no fan of firearms. He had never owned one before. But Waugh, a 31-year-old from Independence, Missouri, couldn’t shake his fears of a Donald Trump presidency — and all of the chaos it could bring. He imagined hate crimes and violence waged by extremists emboldened by the Republican nominee’s brash, divisive rhetoric. He pictured state-sanctioned roundups of Muslims, gays, and outspoken critics.

“We’re tired of being perceived as wusses who won’t survive when shit hits the fan. I, for one, don’t like to be thought of as some precious snowflake.”

— Stacy, a Texas Democrat who recently caught the prepper bug

“I kept asking myself, ‘Do I want to live under tyranny?’” said Waugh, who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and later backed Hillary Clinton. “The answer was absolutely not.”

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“With the new administration I worry about Nazi-style camps that would include my wife, our twins and myself.”

—  Melissa Letos, who lives with her family on a five-acre spread near Portland, Oregon

With Trump now days away from assuming the White House, Waugh’s preparing for the worst. He’s made “bug-out bags” stuffed with ammo, energy bars, and assorted survival gear for his wife and their three cats. He’s begun stowing water and browsing real estate listings in Gunnison County, Colorado, which he’s determined to be a “liberal safe-haven.” Last month, Waugh added a 9mm handgun to his arsenal.

His advice to others on the left fearful of the next four years? “Get ready. Pay attention. Keep your wits about you.”

Waugh’s not alone. He is among a new cadre embracing extreme self-reliance in the wake of Trump’s surprising victory. Long a calling among conservatives spooked by big government boogymen and calamitous natural disasters, the so-called prepper movement is gaining a decisively liberal following.

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“Occasionally, posts on the Liberal Prepper seem to veer close to parody. One debate thread last week centered around the merits of stocking up on recycled toilet paper rolls versus buying Angel Soft, a brand produced by Koch industries, a notorious climate change foe.”

“We’re tired of being perceived as wusses who won’t survive when shit hits the fan,” said Stacy, a Texas Democrat who recently caught the prepper bug. She spoke with Vocativ on the condition we not publish her last name. “I, for one, don’t like to be thought of as some precious snowflake.”

“And in another discussion, vegetarian and vegan members talked about the best meat- and dairy-free food supplies to have during a sustained crisis.

After years cast as a fringe survival group, preppers entered a kind of golden age during the Obama presidency. A horrific housing crash and the spectacle of Hurricane Sandy helped give rise to reality television shows like Doomsday Preppers and Doomsday Bunker, and fueled a multi-billion dollar survival industry. Branded by some as a foreign-born, gun-grabbing socialist, Obama aroused deep suspicion among the patriot groups, right-wing conservatives, and apocalyptic Christians at the center of the growing movement.

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“It’s the nature of the political beast. Obama had many on the right really wound up. Now it’s the left’s turn.”

— Kevin O’Brien, a conservative prepper and realtor who specializes in off-the-grid properties in eastern Tennessee

Trump’s provocative posturing and unpredictability is now inspiring a fresh wave of panic on the left. Those who spoke with Vocativ have envisioned scenarios that could lead to military coups led by loyalists of the president-elect and internment camps packed with political opponents, bloody social unrest and an all-out civil or nuclear war. Sound bonkers? Perhaps. But, for many, so was the prospect of a President Trump.

“It’s the nature of the political beast,” said Kevin O’Brien, a conservative prepper and realtor who specializes in off-the-grid properties in eastern Tennessee. “Obama had many on the right really wound up. Now it’s the left’s turn.”

a large tin can of crackers was found in a 1960's era bomb shelter found in the back yard of Craig Denham's back yard in West Lake Hills, Texas. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Rodolfo Gonzalez)

The signs of change are surely in the air. Groups that cater to gun-toting bleeding hearts — such as the aptly named Liberal Gun Club — say they’ve seen a surge in paid membership since the election. Candid talk of disaster preparedness among progressives is showing up on social media. Even companies that outfit luxury “safe rooms” — which protect their wealthy owners from bombs, bullets, and chemical attacks — attribute recent boosts in business to the incoming administration. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Cavuto to CNN: How Does it Feel?

“Take it from me, taking truth to power can be powerfully unsettling if that power sets its sights on you and attacks you and dismisses you and ignores you. It didn’t matter so much when it wasn’t about you before, CNN. Very different now that it’s you being singled out, CNN. Doesn’t seem very fair now, does it? …

Isn’t it obnoxious and unfair how some celebrate your plight? Kind of feels like the way you celebrated ours, doesn’t it? They say payback’s a bitch. If only you would take a moment to rewind the tape and see the shoe is on the other foot. Or am I confusing it with the one now kicking you in the ass?

You see, it’s hard to tell from where I sit. Back then, your silence was deafening. Very different now, isn’t it? And I suspect — just suspect — not much fun.”


Some of this is at least a little unfair. When Obama and Anita Dunn first uncorked the War On Fox in October 2009, they tried to freeze Fox out of the White House pool. That prompted the White House Correspondents Association to protest, and within a few weeks, that freeze ended — even if the combative nature of Obama et al on Fox did not. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama May Be Blackballed by Golf Club Over Anti-Israel Policies

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Obama, who is hoping to join Rockville’s Woodmont Country Club, drew ire from many of its Jewish members after failing last month to block a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements, the New York obama-golf-sqPost reported late Tuesday.

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

Days after the White House decision to abstain from the U.N. Security Council vote, Secretary of State John Kerry reprimanded Israel for threatening a two-state solution with Palestinians.

“In light of the votes at the U.N. and the Kerry speech and everything else, there’s this major uproar with having him part of the club, and a significant portion of the club has opposed offering him membership,” an unnamed source told the Post.

The country club had planned to provide the outgoing president with a complimentary membership, which costs regular members an $80,000 initiation fee and another $9,673 in annual dues. A source said this was now unlikely following the administration’s handling of the U.N. Security Council vote. Read the rest of this entry »


Pentagon to Sideline Social Experiments in Favor of Core Mission Under Mattis

Under President Obama, the military sought to integrate transgender persons into the ranks, allow women into special operations forces and purge the nomenclature of gender-specific words, adopting what some critics say was a “politically correct” liberal agenda. That’s a contrast to the traditional U.S. military approach.

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

“It has struck this building in a big way and we need to get away from that. Our focus is defending this country, and we should not spend so much time on social engineering.”

In addition, some Navy ships have been named for civil rights activists.  And while the Obama administration has taken an inclusive approach on some issues, it has also worked to minimize expressions of Christianity in the ranks. For example, several officers have been disciplined for displaying Bibles or gospel verses in their quarters.

Veterans and military experts told FoxNews.com that, while some of Obama’s civil rights advancements may be locked in, neither Trump nor his choice for secretary of defense, Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis, are likely to make social experimentation a priority.

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“You need to be known as a good soldier or Marine and not by your sexuality, your gender or your particular faith. We need everyone to pull in the same direction and not espouse a particular personal agenda that doesn’t fit into the nation’s best long-term interest.”

“Here in [the Pentagon], we don’t say merry Christmas, and I think we have been misguided when it comes to our history and who we are as a nation, and political correctness is indicative of that,” Department of Defense contractor and retired Army Col. Robert Maginnis told FoxNews.com.

“It has struck this building in a big way and we need to get away from that. Our focus is defending this country, and we should not spend so much time on social engineering.”

Mattis, who on Thursday goes before the Senate Armed Services Committee as part of his confirmation process, will likely “bring the warrior ethos back to the Pentagon,” Maginnis said.

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That mentality was “drained by the Obama administration,” he said. “You need to be known as a good soldier or Marine and not by your sexuality, your gender or your particular faith. We need everyone to pull in the same direction and not espouse a particular personal agenda that doesn’t fit into the nation’s best long-term interest.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REWIND: Cory ‘Arc Bender’ Booker in 2016: ‘Blessed, Honored’ to Work With Senator Jeff Sessions on Civil Rights

“I am humbled to be able to to participate here in paying tribute to some of the extraordinary Americans, whose footsteps paved the way for me and my generation. I feel blessed and honored to have partnered with Sen. Sessions in being the Senate sponsors of this important award.”

— Booker at the Capitol Visitor Center last year

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) thanked his colleague Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) last year at the Capitol for his help celebrating the 1965 “Foot Soldiers,” those who marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to promote civil rights for African Americans.

The NTK Network found the video from February, which shows Booker striking a much different tone toward Sessions than his current position on the Alabama senator, whose confirmation hearing to be Donald Trump’s attorney general began on Tuesday.

Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. Marines Send F-35 Stealth Fighter Squadron to Japan 

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It marks the first time for that stealth aircraft to be stationed overseas.

The US Marine Corps said it has sent a squadron of F-35B fighter jets to Japan, marking the first operational overseas deployment for the controversial aircraft that is under scrutiny from president-elect Donald Trump.

The deployment of the 10 planes to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on Honshu Island marks a major milestone for the F-35, which has been bedeviled by technical glitches and soaring cost overruns.

With a current development and acquisition price tag already at $379 billion for a total of 2,443 F-35 aircraft, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 is the most expensive plane in history, and costs are set to go higher still.

The Marines’s version of the plane, known as the F-35B, is capable of conducting short takeoffs and vertical landings.

Trump last month sent shockwaves through the aerospace industry when he tweeted that he wanted rival Boeing to price out a possible alternative.

“Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!” Trump tweeted December 22.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet does not have stealth capabilities and has been in use since the late 1990s.

Once servicing, maintenance and other costs for the F-35 are factored in over the aircraft’s lifespan through 2070, overall program costs have been projected to rise to as much as $1.5 trillion.

Proponents of the F-35 tout its speed, close air-support capabilities, airborne agility and a massive array of sensors giving pilots unparalleled access to information. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES HE DID: Obama Refers To Himself 75 Times In Farewell Address

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All about him.

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Obama heavily promoted the speech, penning a blog post about it and appearing in a promotional video in the days leading up to the address.

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Obama said “I” 33 times during the speech, “my” 20 times, “me” 10 times, and “I’m” or “I’ve” 12 times….(read more)

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Source: The Daily Caller


Intelligence Leaders Confirm Russian Influence Op to Undermine Election

 writes: Russian intelligence agencies sought to influence the 2016 presidential election through coordinated cyber and propaganda activities, three U.S. intelligence leaders told a Senate hearing Thursday.

“This was a multifaceted campaign, so the hacking was only one part of it. It also entailed classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news.”

—  James Clapper, to the Senate Armed Services Committee

Additionally, Senate testimony revealed that the National Security Agency, the government’s key cyber intelligence and technical spying service, confirmed the Russian intelligence service’s covert cyber and propaganda effort to influence the election campaign.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper previewed a forthcoming government report, to be released as early as Monday, on the Russian intelligence operations that included intrusions into Democratic National Committee computers and the email account of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta.

The Russians then orchestrated the release of hacked internal information through three propaganda conduits in a coordinated campaign.

“Our assessment now is even more resolute than it was with that statement on the 7th of October. I don’t think we’ve ever encountered a more aggressive or direct effort to interfere in our election.”

“This was a multifaceted campaign, so the hacking was only one part of it,” Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It also entailed classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news.”

The forthcoming report will describe the full range of Russian intelligence activities during the campaign, Clapper said.

Clapper confirmed the details of the Oct. 7 statement issued jointly by his office and the Department of Homeland Security accusing Russia of interfering with the 2016 election. That statement identified three entities, the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, another site called DCLeaks.com, and a hacker code-named Guccifer 2.0, as the outlets for the hacked information.

General Keith Alexander (L), director of the National Security Agency (NSA) testifies at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2013. Top U.S. intelligence officials appeared at a congressional hearing on Tuesday amid a public uproar that has expanded from anger over the National Security Agency collecting the phone and email records of Americans to spying on European allies. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper watches on at right. REUTERS/Jason Reed

“There’s actually more than one motive, so that’ll be described in the report.”

“Our assessment now is even more resolute than it was with that statement on the 7th of October,” Clapper said. “I don’t think we’ve ever encountered a more aggressive or direct effort to interfere in our election.”

Asked if the earlier assessments about Moscow’s disinformation program had changed, Clapper stated: “No. In fact, if anything, what we’ve since learned just reinforces that statement the 7th of October.”

NSA Director Mike Rogers told the hearing that the report was “done essentially” by the CIA, FBI, and NSA.

The inclusion of NSA in the report is the first time NSA’s role in assessing the Russian cyber attacks was mentioned.

NSA’s capability to monitor foreign cyber intelligence operations is highly advanced. Documents disclosed by renegade NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the agency in the past has broken into foreign intelligence service networks and stolen information those services were gathering from spies—without being detected. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: At Least 5 Dead, 8 Hospitalized After Shooting at Ft. Lauderdale Airport 

Reports of shots fired at Fort Lauderdale airport

Five people are dead and a shooting suspect is in custody Friday after a lone gunman opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida without saying a word, witnesses and authorities say.

At 2:30 p.m. local time, the TSA said there was another active shooter at the airport and that all terminals were closed. Law enforcement officials would not confirm it.

The suspect in custody was identified as Esteban Santiago, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told reporters. He said Santiago was carrying a military ID, but did not elaborate.

“The shooter was a passenger on a Canadian flight with a checked gun,”  Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca wrote on Facebook. “He claimed his bag and took the gun from baggage and went into the bathroom to load it. Came out shooting people in baggage claim.”

Santiago was taken into custody without incident and was unharmed, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.

“This scene is considered fluid and active,” Israel added.

Eight people were rushed to hospitals.

“It was very surreal,” John Schlicher, a witness, told Fox News. “He did not say a word.” He described the shooter as a slender man with dark hair, likely in his 30s, wearing a Star Wars T-shirt.

While speaking to Shepard Smith live on Fox News, Schlicher said he heard crews ordering passengers to take cover. He spoke over the phone while ducked down on the floor.

“He was shooting people that were down on the ground, too,” Schlicher said.

The gunman apparently got down on the ground and waited for police to arrive after he ran out of bullets, a witness told CBS News. Read the rest of this entry »


Bitcoin Value Crashes by Nearly 20%

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Lucas Nolan reports: Bitcoin value took a dramatic dive Thursday with the cryptocurrency’s value falling by as much as 18% to $820 per coin, according to Business Insider.

Bitcoin made headlines earlier this week when the cryptocurrency value surpassed $1000, its highest valuation since 2013, but Bitcoin traders didn’t enjoy the sudden increase for too long as the price began to fall rapidly. By 8AM EST on Thursday a single coin was valued at $892. Read the rest of this entry »


Helen Raleigh: 2017 May Be The Year China’s Chickens Come Home To Roost 

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While Americans embrace their reinstated confidence in both economics and international affairs, China seems to be going the opposite direction.

Deng probably hoped future Chinese leaders would be humble and restrained, keep a low profile, and instead of broadcasting China’s ambitions or showing off China’s economic or military muscles, quietly focus on overcoming China’s weaknesses, such as economic development. In international affairs, Deng probably would have liked to see China avoid acting like an aggressor. Instead, he would have preferred China conshun either causing any international conflict or serving as a leader of any faction within an international conflict.

[Check out Helen Raleigh’s book “Confucius Never Said” at Amazon.com]

When Deng passed away in 1997, China was still in its first decade of economic reform and its per-capita gross domestic product was less than $800, so the kind of restrained policy approach he advocated made perfect sense. No one knows how long Deng intended for this policy guidance to last. But Deng’s successors, from Hu Yaobang to Hu Jingtao (they aren’t related), pretty much followed Deng’s policy guidelines until President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2012.

No More Humility and Restraint

It seems President Xi has abandoned Deng’s strategic policy guidelines. On the domestic front, he focused on ensuring his power by purging many political rivals through the anti-graft movement. In October, he was declared the “core” leader of the Chinese Communist Party, a title last used by Chairman Mao.

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[Read the full story here, at The Federalist]

He coined the term “China dream” to counter “American dream.” While “American dream” is about any hard-working individual living to his or her full capacity in a free society, “China dream” means Chinese people can only live a better life by subjecting themselves to the Communist Party’s absolute rule. Under President Xi, the 51hkz5w3lkl-_sl250_Chinese government has ruthlessly cracked down on dissidents, including Chinese nationals and foreigners, and China has become a much less friendly place to foreign investors and companies.

[Check out Helen Raleigh’s other book “The Broken Welcome Mat: America’s un-American immigration policy, and how we should fix it” at Amazon.com]

On the foreign policy front, China doesn’t lay low any longer. President Xi has been very vocal about China’s ambitions. He seems to believe that China’s rise to replace the United States as the next superpower is unstoppable and the time is now.

He sees at least two trends in his favor. First, there’s a consensus within the Chinese leadership and public opinion that the 2008 economic crisis has produced long-lasting devastating effects to the West: most countries in Europe are still struggling economically while the United States has experienced a very timid recovery. Since China emerged from the 2008 economic crisis relatively unscathed, many people, including Xi, believed that free market economics have reached their end and it’s time to adopt the Chinese-style authoritarian mercantile economic model. Thus, China should replace the United States to set a new economic order.

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Second, based on a misguided belief that the world is a better place when the United States gives up its power and authority in a global system established since World War II, President Obama has been ready and willing to acquiesce America’s leadership in international affairs in the last eight years. President Xi quickly sized up president Obama as a weak leader, and sought to expand China’s influence and challenge America wherever opportunities rise. Read the rest of this entry »


Washington Post Is Richly Rewarded for False News About Russia Threat While Public Is Deceived

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In the current D.C. climate on Russia, all relevant journalistic incentives encourage and reward false news.


Counterfeit Electronic Products Worth HK$1.3 Million Seized in Hong Kong

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clifford-lo-250Clifford Lo reports: About 200 parcels mailed from the mainland to the United States carrying counterfeit electronic products were intercepted in a three-day joint operation mounted by Hong Kong Customs and United States authorities.

In Hong Kong, about 1,300 fakes including mobile phones, tablet computers and chargers were confiscated in 54 parcels totalling an estimated street value of HK$1.3 million, the Customs and Excise Department said.

The US authorities intercepted 140 shipments and confiscated fake electronic products that could be sold for US$1.1 million there during the operation conducted between November 15 and 17 last year.

It is understood some of the parcels intercepted in the United States were confiscated based on intelligence from Hong Kong customs officials.

Initial investigation showed the fake products were mailed from the mainland and destined for the US via Hong Kong, a source said. Read the rest of this entry »


WikiLeaks Exposed Journalists Fired Demoted Now Covering Trump White House

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Peter Hasson reports: WikiLeaks’ publication of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta revealed the close ties between prominent journalists and the Clinton campaign. Many of those same journalists will now be covering the Trump White House.

CNBC chief political correspondent and New York Times political writer John Harwood demonstrated clear partisanship in his many email exchanges with Podesta.

Harwood told Podesta to “watch out” for Dr. Ben Carson during the Republican primary. “Ben Carson could give you real trouble in a general,” Harwood warned, including video clips of Carson’s political positions.

Screenshot/WikiLeaks

Screenshot/WikiLeaks

Screenshot/WikiLeaks

In a December 2015 email to Podesta, Harwood claimed the Republican Party was “veering off the rails” and bragged about provoking Trump during a Republican presidential debate, where he asked Trump if he was running “a comic book version of a presidential campaign.”

Screenshot/WikiLeaks

Screenshot/WikiLeaks

“I imagine…” Harwood titled the email, continuing in the body: “…that Obama feels some (sad) vindication at this demonstration of his years-long point about the opposition party veering off the rails.”

“I certainly am feeling that way with respect to how I questioned Trump at our debate.”

As CNBC’s chief political correspondent, Harwood will play a central role in the network’s coverage of the Trump administration. Harwood has yet to respond to repeated requests from TheDC regarding his email exchanges with the Clinton campaign. Read the rest of this entry »


Edward Jay Epstein: The Fable of Edward Snowden

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As he seeks a pardon, the NSA thief has told multiple lies about what he stole and his dealings with Russian intelligence.

Edward Jay Epstein writes: Of all the lies that Edward Snowden has told since his massive theft of secrets from the National Security Agency and his journey to Russia via Hong Kong in 2013, none is more provocative than the claim that he never intended to engage in espionage, and was only a “whistleblower” seeking to expose the overreach of NSA’s Mini-Snowden-Meinformation gathering. With the clock ticking on Mr. Snowden’s chance of a pardon, now is a good time to review what we have learned about his real mission.

Mr. Snowden’s theft of America’s most closely guarded communication secrets occurred in May 2013, according to the criminal complaint filed against him by federal prosecutors the following month. At the time Mr. Snowden was a 29-year-old technologist working as an analyst-in-training for the consulting firm of Booz AllenHamilton at the regional base of the National Security Agency (NSA) in Oahu, Hawaii. On May 20, only some six weeks after his job there began, he failed to show up for work, emailing his supervisor that he was at the hospital being tested for epilepsy.

This excuse was untrue. Mr. Snowden was not even in Hawaii. He was in Hong Kong. He had flown there with a cache of secret data that he had stolen from the NSA.

This was not the only lie Mr. Snowden told. As became clear during my investigation over the past three years, nearly every element of the narrative Mr. Snowden has provided, which reached its final iteration in Oliver Stone’s 2016 movie, “Snowden,” is demonstrably false.

This narrative began soon after Mr. Snowden arrived in Hong Kong, where he arranged to meet with Laura Poitras, a Berlin-based documentary filmmaker, and Glenn Greenwald, a Brazil-based blogger for the Guardian. Both journalists unknownwere longtime critics of NSA surveillance with whom Mr. Snowden (under the alias Citizen Four) had been in contact for four months.

[Order Edward Jay Epstein’s book “How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft” from Amazon.com]

To provide them with scoops discrediting NSA operations, Mr. Snowden culled several thousand documents out of his huge cache of stolen material, including two explosive documents he asked them to use in their initial stories. One was the now-famous secret order from America’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court requiring Verizon to turn over to the NSA its billing records for its phone users in the U.S. The other was an NSA slide presentation detailing its ability to intercept communications of non-American users of the internet via a joint program with the FBI code-named Prism.

These documents were published in 2013 on June 5 and 6, followed by a video in which he identified himself as the leaker and a whistleblower.

At the heart of Mr. Snowden’s narrative was his claim that while he may have incidentally “touched” other data in his search of NSA files, he took only documents that exposed the malfeasance of the NSA and gave all of them to journalists.

Yet even as Mr. Snowden’s narrative was taking hold in the public realm, a secret damage assessment done by the NSA and Pentagon told a very different story. According to a unanimous report declassified on Dec. 22 by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the investigation showed that Mr. Snowden had “removed” (not merely touched) 1.5 million documents. That huge number was based on, among other evidence, electronic logs that recorded the selection, copying and moving of documents.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

The number of purloined documents is more than what NSA officials were willing to say in 2013 about the removal of data, possibly because the House committee had the benefit of the Pentagon’s more-extensive investigation. But even just taking into account the material that Mr. Snowden handed over to journalists, the December House report concluded that he compromised “secrets that protect American troops overseas and secrets that provide vital defenses against terrorists and nation-states.” These were, the report said, “merely the tip of the iceberg.”

The Pentagon’s investigation during 2013 and 2014 employed hundreds of military-intelligence officers, working around the clock, to review all 1.5 million documents. Most had nothing to do with domestic surveillance or whistle blowing. They were mainly military secrets, as Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the House Armed Services Committee on March 6, 2014. Read the rest of this entry »


Xi’s Power Play Foreshadows Historic Transformation of How China Is Ruled

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Party insiders say president wants to remain in office after his second term, breaking succession conventions.

BEIJING— Jeremy Page and Lingling Wei report: China’s Communist Party elite was craving a firm hand on the tiller when it chose Xi Jinping for the nation’s top job in 2012. Over the previous decade, President Hu Jintao’s power-sharing approach had led to policy drift, factional strife and corruption.

The party’s power brokers got what they wanted—and then some.

Four years on, Mr. Xi has taken personal charge of the economy, the armed forces and most other levers of power, overturning a collective-leadership system introduced to protect against one-man rule after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976.

Shattering old taboos, Mr. Xi has targeted party elders and their kin in an antigraft crusade, demanded fealty from all 89 million party members, and honed a paternalistic public image as Xi Dada, or Big Papa Xi.

Now, as he nears the end of his first five-year term, many party insiders say Mr. Xi is trying to block promotion of a potential successor next year, suggesting he wants to remain in office after his second term expires in 2022, when he would be 69 years old.

Mr. Xi, who is president, party chief and military commander, “wants to keep going” after 2022 and to explore a leadership structure “just like the Putin model,” says one party official who meets regularly with top leaders. Several others with access to party leaders and their relatives say similar things. The government’s main press office declined to comment for this article, and Mr. Xi couldn’t be reached for comment.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Mr. Xi’s efforts to secure greater authority may help ensure political stability in the short run, as an era-defining economic boom starts to falter. But they risk upending conventions developed since Mao’s death to allow flexibility in government and ensure a regular and orderly transition of power.

Concern is rising among China’s elite that the nation is shifting toward a rigid form of autocracy ill-suited to managing a complex economy. China’s array of challenges includes weaning the economy off debt-fueled stimulus spending, breaking up state monopolies and cleaning up the environment.

“His dilemma is that he can’t get things done without power,” says Huang Jing, an expert on Chinese politics at the National University of Singapore. “He feels the need to centralize, but then he risks undermining these institutions designed to prevent a very powerful leader becoming a dictator.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Premier Li Keqiang arrived for the opening session of the National People's Congress in March.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Premier Li Keqiang arrived for the opening session of the National People’s Congress in March. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Image

Mr. Xi’s supporters say he still faces resistance within the party, and needs to modernize leadership structures to confront the slowing economy and a hostile West.

At a meeting of 348 party leaders in October that granted Mr. Xi another title—“core” leader—he railed against indiscipline and warned of senior officials who “lusted for power, feigned compliance and formed factions and gangs.”

Since then, many party members have signed written pledges of “absolute loyalty.” In a speech in October, the party chief of Henan province, Xie Fuzhan, hailed Mr. Xi as a “great leader”—words usually reserved for Mao.

[Read the more here, at WSJ]

Hours before Donald Trump’s election victory, China officially launched its own convoluted process for selecting a new national leadership team, to be unveiled at a twice-a-decade party congress next fall. Up to five of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top leadership body, are due to retire.

Only Mr. Xi and Premier Li Keqiang would remain if the party observes the precedent, established in 2002, that leaders over age 67 step down. Read the rest of this entry »


Senate Republican to Offer Resolution Rebuking UN’s Israel Vote

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Moran’s rebuke, which was first reported by Politico, might not be the only formal action taken by Republican leaders. Several Senate Republicans called for cuts to UN funding over the vote.

Kyle Feldscher reports: Senate Republicans could rebuke the United Nations’ for condemning Israeli settlement construction as early as next week.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., plans to introduce a “sense of the Senate” resolution issuing the rebuke next week. The formal condemnation resolution would be the first official action against the U.N. by the Senate GOP in response to the Security Council resolution, which passed because President Obama refused to veto it.

“I am committed to working with both Republicans and Democrats to make sure we stand with Israel and that the United Nations cannot be used as a forum to create policies that hurt our nation and its allies,” Moran said Friday.

The Security Council resolution was long feared by Israel and their congressional allies, as rumors percolated throughout the fall that the Obama administration would countenance a condemnation of Israeli settlement construction in disputed Palestinian territory. Read the rest of this entry »


Vladimir Putin Mocks Outgoing U.S. President, Calls Obama a ‘Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins’

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Vladimir Putin said he would work with Donald Trump not Barack Obama on Friday as he mocked the expulsion of his own alleged spies and Kremlin underlings launched abuse at the president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his rival Barack Obama up to ridicule on Friday by declining to engage in tit-for-tat expulsions – and instead inviting U.S. diplomats’ children to the Kremlin to party.

The Russian strongman’s actions were accompanied by a fusillade of abuse aimed at Obama from Moscow underlings, who called him a ‘political corpse’ and said his administration was made up of  ‘angry and shallow-brained losers’.

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Putin had been expected to mirror Obama’s decision to expel 35 intelligence agents with Cold War style revenge expulsions.

His foreign minister had called for the measure, but instead Putin – who met the makers of a Russian TV drama about Vikings and posed with a large sword – said he was waiting to deal with Donald Trump. Read the rest of this entry »