YouGov conducted a poll to find out which countries Americans perceive as their nation’s biggest enemies. North Korea has continued to make headlines even after that missile launch with news emerging earlier this week that Kim-Jong-un’s half brother was allegedly poisoned in an airport in Malaysia. Both incidents have illustrated the unpredictability of the nuclear-armed regime in Pyongyang and it comes as little surprise that 57 percent of Americans consider North Korea their enemy.
Recall that George W. Bush named Iraq, North Korea and Iran as the Axis of Evil. In spite of the big headlines that feature Russia as the biggest Bad Guy, the Russians come in sixth on chart–which, of course, does not mean that they aren’t a bigger threat than is perceived by the polled. (Aside: while reading all the reportage about Russia today, I briefly felt 25 years-old again, but my hair color is telling a different story.)
Iran came in second. Syria and Iraq came in third and fourth, respectively–ISIS; and Afghanistan is fifth.
Does the American public have a better handle on who America’s enemies are than their leaders do, both of the recent past and the present? Time will tell. But I think that these polls may show one thing: that Mainstream Media propaganda isn’t as effective as it may seem to those of us who lament its existence. That’s cause for hope.
Today’s report is, as noted, remarkably brief. The longest portion of the report, at seven pages, is Annex 1, titled “Russia — Kremlin’s TV Seeks To Influence Politics, Fuel Discontent in US.” Annex 1 is devoted entirely to RT America TV, which the agencies deem a propaganda outlet of the Russian government. Given that this annex comprises the largest portion of the report, it is stunning to see this footnote:
This annex was originally published on 11 December 2012 by the Open Source Center, now the Open Source Enterprise.
So the CIA, FBI and NSA are so lacking in relevant, probative intelligence that the largest portion of today’s report is a recycling of four-year-old, public domain information on Russia Today.
In short, it is possible that the Russian government gained access to the DNC’s and Podesta’s email accounts by spearfishing, downloaded emails from those accounts, and provided them to Wikileaks. But we have to take the bureaucrats’ word for it.
I have no problem believing that the Russians did in fact get Podesta’s emails, and the DNC ones, and probably whatever was on Hillary Clinton’s server. The security of all of them seems to have been sufficiently lax that I expect multiple groups got in.
That laxness should itself be a major news story because it’s been apparent to anyone who actually pays attention to these things that state (sponsored) actors have been looking for vulnerable systems for the whole of the Obama administration, if not before.
But more interesting is that the report actually supported what we’ve said for decades, that if you cut open groups like Occupy wall street
Now let’s get specific. Occupy Wall Street was, evidently, a Russian front operation:
Russia has supported environmental groups to try to suppress fracking, which strikes at the heart of Russian economic strength:
RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health. This is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.
It’s quite apparent that the tactic here was not so much to produce evidence of Russia hacking the election, but to help maintain the “Trump is illegitimate” meme that the MSM keeps running with by the very existence of a “report” regardless of what’s actually in it.
Consider, four years ago on an open mic Barack Obama told the Russians he’d have more “flexibility” after his re-election
And the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev replied at the time:
“I understand your message,” Medvedev told Obama in Seoul. “I will transmit this information to” — no question of who was in control — “Vladimir.”
That “flexibility” cost not only cost tens of thousands of lives in Syria and Ukraine but made Russia the alpha dog internationally for the last few years
But Democrats in general and Obama in particular are now so neutered in power that they’re reduced to objecting to electoral college counts while the speaker laughs at them:
In short their flexibility is gone so in their last two weeks of power they are reduced to exposing both their allies of the occupy movement and the greens as Russian dupes in the vain hope that throwing them under the wheels of the Trump train will slow it down.
I suspect it will not.
Closing thought : This also answers the question that White House Spokesman Josh Earnest could not. Namely why the 2015 hack of 21 million confidential records of US government employees, a hack that actually mattered…
…didn’t produce the pubic retaliation that Russian access to John Podesta’s emails did
You see the 2015 Chinese hack merely hurt the United States, it’s people and the security of the nation, the exposure of Podesta’s and the DNC emails were a direct threat to the power and influence of the Democrat party. There’s the rub.
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Today, a truce has been brokered in Syria that will hopefully turn the corner on the worst humanitarian crisis in modern history. With the country torn to pieces, refugees have been flooding into Europe and some parts of the Middle East, creating a dangerous situation for the entire region. America, under the leadership of President Obama, was not a part of the talks.
America, under the leadership of President Obama, didn’t deserve to be part of the talks.
Let’s take a quick look at recent history in Syria. It was a chain reaction of horrible mistakes. First, Obama drew his “red line” of chemical and biological weapons, claiming that if Bashar al Assad used them it would change the calculus for the United States to take action. Assad crossed the red line. Obama didn’t take action, letting the window of opportunity close before Russia stepped in.
Then, Obama went with the plan of arming and training Syrian rebels to take on Assad’s army. As many will recall, much of the support that Obama gave to enemies of Assad ended up being transferred to the Islamic State and other radical Islamic militants. They were supposed to be the force that drove back the Islamic State and got rid of Assad. Instead, they were neutered from the start by the poor plan before being obliterated by Russia, Iran, and Syria.
Finally, Obama attempted to negotiate peace while bickering with Russia over who would be involved. He tried to work through Turkey to get one done. His “smart power” policy would share the credit for cleaning up the mess he created. Instead, Turkey found a better partner in Russia and they got it done without him.
With 22 days before Obama is out of office, it’s fitting that he’s been excluded from cleaning up the mess that he created. As a parent, I’ve used with incredible efficiency the non-involvement tactic when the kids leave a mess behind. I draw their attention to the mess they made, then I proceed to clean it. When they offer to help, I tell them that I’ll take care of it because if they were concerned about the mess, they would have cleaned it up before. The guilt they feel as they watch their mess being cleaned has more of a lasting impact than making them clean it up themselves. Today, they clean up their messes before I see them.
Obama is being treated like a child by the international community because he’s acted like a foreign policy neophyte for eight years. He cannot take credit for fixing Syria and will get most of the blame for allowing the situation to explode. America is meant to be strong, to lead. Obama wanted to lead from behind. Instead, he’s being left behind. The result is a world that is much worse off today than when he became President.
On Twitter, many people call on others to “do something” about the destruction and mass killing of civilians in Aleppo, Syria. By “doing something,” they mean something other than posting about it on Social Media. Likely, these are the same people that bashed our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, short of taking up arms and hightailing over there to fight on one side or the other—an action which was which was criticized both in the current US administration and the one preceding—what exactly should be done?
One wonders whether the do-something people were the same ones who were eulogizing mass murderer Fidel Castro as a freedom fighter a few weeks back.
Aleppo is how most of the real world operates. A New York Times headline calls it an example of “humanity melting down”—as if no group of humans has ever murdered another group of humans until this week. (Maybe they still believe OG Fake Newser Walter Duranty’s report on Ukraine from the 1930s.)
What it is: an example of true, unconstrained human nature. That nature is thusly described: fallen. When individuals allow their nature to be unconstrained, we see murder, etc. When nations allow their policies to be unconstrained, we see genocides.
And on a biblical note, with Russia and Iran being the main actors in this violent play, I can’t help but think of the Isaiah and Ezekiel prophesies about war in Syria—and the roles that Russia and Iran play in that war and in other wars destined to occur in the Last Days.
Could we be observing a prequel—a staging of sorts? Probably.
Side note: on my old blog, I had a commenter who criticized me for “fear-mongering” when I talked about Bible prophecy. My response was that if she didn’t believe the Bible, then I could not monger fear in her; and if she did believe the Bible, then she should know that there is no reason to be afraid.
Side note #2: Read about the Great Revolt—the fall and sacking of Jerusalem by the Roman Empire, 66-70 A.D. People who don’t read much history and who live in the USA, Canada, etc. are always shocked at how Hobbesian the rest of the world is and always has been.
Saturday night news broke–that has not yet been confirmed–that President-elect Donald Trump has chosen ExxonMobil chairman Rex Tillerson to be his secretary of state.
Predictably, the mainstream media is pouncing on this selection, zeroing in on his ties to Russia that go back to the Boris Yeltsin era. Russia of course is a major energy producer, it’s quite understandable that ExxonMobil would have a stake there. In 2013 Vladimir Putin honored Tillerson with its Order of Friendship.
This criticism folds neatly into the controversial CIA report that Russia tried to influence the presidential election, presumably to boost Trump. Of course the increasingly marginalized media is still trying to make sense of Hillary Clinton’s loss, even though the evidence is abundant and easy to understand.
On the campaign trail Trump promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington. And one way to do so is to bring in some outsiders, people like himself, to find a better way to run America.
On Fox News Sunday, in an interview where Trump told host Chris Wallace that he had yet to choose his secretary of state, the president-elect said of Tillerson, who has never worked in the public-sector, “In this case he’s much more than a businessman. He’s a world-class player.” Tillerson can point to decades of experience of negotiating deals with foreign governments, which is something his two predecessors did not have, unless you include Hillary Clinton’s shady doings at the Clinton Foundation.
I’m “reading” Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Jerusalem—actually listening to the audiobook version from the Los Angeles Public Library. It’s a lot easier to get other things done this way, though it is sometimes necessary to scroll back when my attention wavers. With these big, sprawling histories, it’s easy to lose track of who the author is talking about.
Previously, I had checked out Montefiore’s The Romanovs: 1613-1918, but I didn’t finish reading it in the allotted 21 days and I couldn’t renew it because, apparently, it’s in high demand. When you want to renew a copy of an e-book or audiobook that other people are waiting for, you must return in and the library will remove availability to the book files. Then if you want to check it out again, you must put it on hold and go to the back of the line.
That’s how my unfinished “reading” of The Romanovs turned into my present “reading.”
And I said all that to point out something about these histories and about histories in general: I am grateful to God for being born at the time and in the place that I was.
From what I can tell about most of human history, sudden death, wasting disease, torture, dismemberment, and enslavement have been right around the corner for everyone: kings, priests, pashas, sheiks, emperors, scribes, nobles, serfs, slaves, and warriors. Up until very, very recently, all man- and womankind have had sudden destruction haunting them from infancy and if they made it out of infancy, the lifespan was usually no longer than 50 years. And let’s not even discuss the bathing and toilet accommodations!
And if you were a woman or a child, your body did not belong to you. Period.
Really, I am so tired of the whining that goes on about life in America. It isn’t perfect; no existence anywhere has been since Adam and Eve so severely miscalculated. As a matter of fact, life has been nasty, brutish, and—following the Great Flood—short. And poopy.
Now, too much time is spent coveting your neighbor’s private space to eat, sleep, copulate, and clean himself instead of appreciating your own private but smaller space to eat, sleep, copulate, and clean yourself.
That’s what I’m getting from Montefiore’s work—a sense of how good we all have it. Enjoy it while it lasts.
So yes, Podesta’s emails were hacked. By whom? The Clinton campaign is blaming the Russian government, offering little in proof, although this morning on Fox News Sunday, Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence says “the evidence continues to point in that direction.” The Clinton campaign, outside of Podesta, refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of these emails, claiming that the Russians are trying to sway the results of this autumn’s election, while deflecting findings from those emails, which include Bill Clinton receiving a $1 million birthday check for the Clinton Foundation–the charity is really a slush fund, by the way–from the government of Qatar, which we learn from another email, is funding ISIS, or at least Hillary Clinton believes so.
What Donald Trump said about women is indefensible. What Hillary Clinton has done is even more indefensible.
Take her time, for example, as secretary of state. Clinton had one major accomplishment during her tenure: she traveled a lot.
As Foreign Affairs put it when Clinton stepped down in 2013, “She leaves office without a signature doctrine, strategy or diplomatic triumph.”
That’s a kind assessment. In fact, she left a lot of wreckage during her four years in office.
One of the more troubling is U.S. relations with Russia.
Most Americans would blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for our poor relations, but he only maneuvered as a result of the weakness of U.S. policy.
Syria has been part of the Russia sphere of influence, starting during the 1960s. If the United States wasn’t going to intervene, it needed to quickly discuss the situation with Putin. Clinton didn’t seek out the Russians, leaving her successor, John Kerry, to mess up the situation even more.
Whatever happened to the Russian reset Clinton and Obama talked so much about?
The Russian leader, like his predecessors, seized on weaknesses. The absence of clear American failure in the Middle East sent Putin a message that he could do whatever he wanted to do in Ukraine.
Now he has reportedly started to move nuclear weapons to Kaliningrad, a Russian outpost sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania. The reason? To establish Russian hegemony over the Baltic Sea.
Masha Gessen, who wrote a biography of Putin, dispels a number of myths in a recent column:
–Putin has not thrown his support behind Trump. The Russian leader has only mentioned the GOP nominee in passing. It is true Putin does not like Hillary because he blames her for inciting demonstrations against him in 2011-2014.
–Putin has not made Russia great again. The oil glut has taxed people’s income, and crime has become rampant in major cities.
–Russians do not overwhelmingly support Putin. His approval ratings are high, but the rest of the government, which rubber stamps his policies, get low marks.
–Russian society is not conservative. People have quite liberal views on abortion and sex.
–Russia’s policies are not simply a reaction to U.S. policies. Russia acts in its own self-interest as it it in Crimea.
The next president needs a serious reset with Putin. He’s tough and smart. He’s hardly the caricature the media use to portray him. He’s a leader of one of the most important countries in the world, and the United States needs to figure out a way to discuss the relationship between the two countries. Clinton has certainly failed to do that.
If Clinton is elected president, she will start with two major enemies: China and Russia. If Trump is elected, at least he would start out with only one, China, and the possibility of restoring some sense of order with Russia.
Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.
This morning Hillary Clinton suffered what is being called a medical episode in lower Manhattan where she may have fainted, but she certainly had to be helped into a van by campaign aides as her knees wobbled, as you’ll see in a video. She’s was in New York to attend a Ground Zero 9/11 memorial service.
The Clinton campaign claims that the Democratic nominee was “overheated,” but so far there are no reports of anyone else among the thousands in attendance at the somber event being overcome by heat. Temperatures were in the late 70s in New York this morning. Today’s incident comes just six days after a four-minute long coughing spell during a Labor Day speech in Cleveland by Clinton, followed by a shorter one on her campaign jet, which the campaign blithely brushed off as related to allergies. Even hardened liberal Chris Cilizza of the Washington Post says that questions about Hillary’s health are legitimate ones, not just fodder for conservative conspiracy theorists.
It’s been said that Clinton is the most dishonest person to be a major party nominee since Richard M. Nixon. It’s now fair to say that she’s the unhealthiest one to run as a major party choice since another New York state Democrat, Franklin D. Roosevelt, won his his unprecedented fourth-straight presidential election in 1944.
Party bosses knew that FDR was sick in ’44, and fears that Russia-loving leftist Henry A. Wallace, his vice president, could succeed FDR as president was the primary reason Democratic leaders convinced him to dump Wallace as his running mate for Harry S. Truman. The press was rabidly pro-Democrat–sound familiar?–and it had for years covered up that Roosevelt was unable to walk, so it of course assisted in obscuring the president’s newer health concerns. But the what we now call the media didn’t convince everyone. So FDR was compelled to strenuously campaign in the autumn of that year–while of course America was at war–which likely further weakened him.
Much has been written about Roosevelt’s physical state at the conference. Those who worked closely with him, like George Elsey, had noticed a profound deterioration of the president’s health over the previous months, and Churchill had remarked on how sick Roosevelt looked at the Quebec meeting in September. At Yalta, Lord Moran, Churchill’s doctor, recorded: “Everyone seemed to agree that the president had gone to bits physically…I doubt, from what I have seen, whether he is fit for his job here.”
Roosevelt was clearly duped by Joseph Stalin at Yalta, where he handed eastern Europe to the communists, including Poland, for whom Great Britain and France went to war after the weaker nation was invaded by the Nazis, which of course is how World War II began.
Do we want another ill–or yes, I’m going to say it–dying president to be swindled by another Russian leader? Or by Iran? (Of course, that is what happened with a presumably much healthier Barack Obama.) Or by anyone?
Roosevelt, as we all know, died three months after being sworn-in as president for the fourth time.
This is not only a lie but it’s a brazen lie, told officially for the sake of a fiction. It’s the worst type of lie now officially endorsed by Russia and it’s courts. That it invokes the Nuremberg trials in an attempt to cover up a historical crime makes is particularly obscene as its entire purpose is contrary to Nuremberg’s goal, to keep the truth from being written out of history for a political agenda.
Just the thought of it, using the power of the state to punish an individual for speaking the truth aloud.
Well thank goodness you wouldn’t see something like this in the US. After all if we embrace the culture of the lie we would see people being punished for calling men men and women women, persecuted for giving opinions on issues, pushed out of business or losing their ability to get a job for expressing eternal truths or even banned from public forums for calling out those who would do such things.