Archive for October 17, 2017

FULL MEASURE: October 15, 2017 – Double Disaster

October 17, 2017

FULL MEASURE: October 15, 2017 – Double Disaster via YouTube, October 17, 2017

(Well, OK.  But the hurricane and its results are all Trump’s fault. You betcha. — DM)

Judge in Hawaii blocks latest version of Trump’s travel ban

October 17, 2017

Judge in Hawaii blocks latest version of Trump’s travel ban, Fox News, AP, October 17, 2017

(Here we go again. — DM)

A federal judge in Hawaii blocked the Trump administration Tuesday from enforcing its latest travel ban, just hours before it was set to take effect.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson granted Hawaii’s request to temporarily block the policy that was to be implemented starting early Wednesday. He found Trump’s executive order “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor.”

The judge, appointed by former President Barack Obama, said the new restrictions ignore a federal appeals court ruling that found President Donald Trump’s previous ban exceeds the scope of his authority. The latest version “plainly discriminates based on nationality in the manner that the 9th Circuit has found antithetical to … the founding principles of this nation,” Watson wrote.

The government has said the new policy was based on an objective assessment of each country’s security situation and willingness to share information with the U.S.

Hawaii argued in court documents that the updated ban is a continuation of Trump’s “promise to exclude Muslims from the United States” despite the addition of two non-majority Muslim countries.

Other courts are weighing challenges to the latest travel restrictions.

In Maryland, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are seeking to block the visa and entry restrictions in the president’s latest proclamation.

Washington state, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, New York and Maryland have challenged the policy before U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, who struck down Trump’s initial ban in January.

That policy led to chaos and confusion at airports nationwide and triggered several lawsuits, including one from Hawaii.

When Trump revised the ban, state Attorney General Doug Chin changed the lawsuit to challenge that version. In March, Watson agreed with Hawaii that it amounted to discrimination based on nationality and religion.

A subsequent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed the administration to partially reinstate that 90-day ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day ban on all refugees.

But it said the policy didn’t apply to refugees and travelers with a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the U.S.

Hawaii then successfully challenged the federal government’s definition of which family members would be allowed into the country. Watson ordered the government not to enforce the ban on close relatives such as grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts.

The judge’s order Tuesday prevents acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from implementing the latest travel ban.

Watson said he would set an expedited hearing to determine whether the temporary restraining order should be extended.

An Austrian thumb in the eye of the elites

October 17, 2017

An Austrian thumb in the eye of the elites, Washington Times

(Please see also, Why Europe’s New Nationalists Love Israel. — DM)

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The elites everywhere are having a hard time. When the peasants no longer salute, tug a forelock and obey with a whimper, even if with a snarl and a whine, you know you’ve lost your mojo.

The elites in America continue a deep snit, and Donald Trump can’t give up his game of provoking them just to watch. It’s a sorry way to run the world, a railroad or a country, but the world, like America, has to get used to the Donald, because it’s clear by now that the Donald is not capable of getting used to the long-established way of doing things.

And now a 31-year-old whiz kid who doesn’t know his place has terrorized the stuffy European elites by becoming the boy chancellor of Austria, placing a strong first in the Austrian elections.

“Many people have placed great hopes in our movement,” Sebastian Kurz told his giddy followers on election night in Vienna, where he waltzed to a stunning triumph. “It’s time to establish a new political style. I accept this result with great humility.”

If that were not enough to make the European elites wet their pants, more bad news is on the way. Another faux Trump, a billionaire industrialist named Andrej Babis, 63, is expected to lead his ANO party to victory late this week in the Czech Republic. He is sometimes called “the Czech Trump” or “the new Berlusconi.” The traditional Czech parties are braced to take the thrashing that is becoming a ritual in the West.

Right-wing parties in Europe are not the same, nor even close kin, to the Republican Party in America, though the liberal establishment media always says they are, and even a moderately right-wing party in Germany or Austria rings a fire bell in the night, particularly for those with long memories. Herr Shicklgruber was born in Austria, after all, and flowered in Germany.

Herr Kurz’s People’s Party (formally the OeVP) ran first with 31.5 percent of the vote, close enough but not enough to win the biggest cigar, and now to form a government he must choose whether to give up a coalition with the respectable establishment Social Democrats or forge an alliance with the far-right, not so respectable Freedom Party.

Herr Kurz is called “the Austrian Trump,” and not, to celebrate his youth, “the Austrian JFK,” which illustrates just how far time has marched on. Two generations have been birthed in Europe that can barely recognize the late president by his mere initials.

But the new Austrian chancellor, youthful as he is, represents just the kind of new blood that Kennedy brought to the fore in the new world. He has achieved something close to rock-star status. He took over a fading political party whose party colors were black and black, replaced them with turquoise, rebranded the party as “a movement,” promised to get tough on runaway immigration, go easy on new taxes but to stay in Europe and “put Austria first.”

Sometimes campaigning with his longtime girlfriend Susanne, Herr Kurz is mobbed by young people (and old ones, too) in turquoise T-shirts. Women ask, politely, whether they can hug him. (They can.) He dresses in well-tailored dark suits and crisp white shirts with no tie, unusual among the European elites (and more’s the pity), and submits to selfie sessions with friendly mobs that typically run over an hour.

He was the only child of a teacher and a secretary, and joined the party’s youth wing when he was 17 and made his first political campaign as a candidate for a town council, featuring the slogan “Schwarz macht geil,” or “Black makes you hot,” reflecting the party’s grim colors. He rode through villages and towns atop a black Hummer called the Hotmobile, surrounded by young women in bikinis, and tossed black condoms to the crowd.

But he matured quickly, rose through the party ranks like a shot, and became foreign minister at 27. Last year Politico, the Washington political daily, called him “one of the most influential Europeans.” Now, at 31, he replaces Emmanuel Macron of France, 39, as the youngest world leader. (The Rocket Man, 33, doesn’t count.) Herr Kurz and the party he rebuilt promises, like Donald Trump in America, to enforce his country’s borders. Open borders have fallen out of favor all across Europe, and with polls showing that 7 of 10 of the earth’s billions want to emigrate north, there’s no time to waste in getting seriously to work on regularizing immigration. No more Mr. Stupid Guy.

This should be a wake-up call to the elites in America, lying still agog in Donald Trump’s wake. Polls show his policies to be more popular than he is, and that’s bad news for elites everywhere.

• Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.

Why Europe’s New Nationalists Love Israel

October 17, 2017

Why Europe’s New Nationalists Love Israel, PJ MediaDavid P. Goldman, October 17, 2017

(Post-nationalist, antisemitic, anti-Zionist Europe is dying. If, as I consider unlikely, Europe’s new nationalists in Austria emulate them then Austria will probably suffer the same fate. — DM) 

“It’s now or never” (Matthias R’der/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

Post-nationalist Europe bears an irrational hatred of Israel, I wrote in this space in 2014.

The flowering of Jewish national life in Israel makes the Europeans crazy. It is not simply envy: it is a terrible reminder of the vanity of European national aspirations over the centuries, of the continent’s ultimate failure as a civilization. Just as the Europeans (most emphatically the Scandinavians) would prefer to dissolve into the post-national stew of European identity, they demand that Israel do the same. Never mind that Israel lacks the option to do so, and would be destroyed were it to try, for reasons that should be obvious to any casual consumer of news media.

It is too early to judge the direction of the new European nationalism, which has some elements that make me cringe, and some that make me release the safety-catch on my Browning. But it also has men and women who do not want to disappear into the dustbin of history and look to Israel for inspiration.

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“If ponies rode men and grass ate cows,” goes the text of “The World Turned Upside Down,” the tune piped by the Continental Army band at Cornwallis’ surrender of Yorktown. Europeans might consider adopting it as their anthem to replace the present European Community hymn, the overused Ode to Joy. The resurgent nationalists who made the Alternative fuer Deutschland into Germany’s third-largest party and the Austrian Freedom Party into that country’s second-largest (and a likely member of a new governing coalition) have an extreme-right reputation, but they are now the most pro-Israel parties in Europe. The world has indeed turned upside-down, and we might as well sing about it.

Most remarkable is the success of the Austrian Freedom Party (German initials FPŐ) in last Sunday’s Austrian elections. It came in second with 26% of the vote, ahead of the governing Social Democrats. Its chairman, Heinz-Christian Strache, rubbed shoulders with neo-Nazis during his early political career, and four years ago posted an anti-Semitic cartoon on his Facebook page, “showing a banker with a large hooked nose and Star of David cuff links profiting from Europe’s financial crisis,” as the Times of Israel reported. Since then Strache has undergone a Damascus road conversion from Saul to Paul (or perhaps the other way round). He has visited Israel several times, defended Israeli settlers in Judea and Samaria, and demanded that Austria move its embassy to Jerusalem.

Strache brings to mind the canonical definition of a philo-Semite, that is, an anti-Semite who likes Jews. It is widely alleged that he is looking for respectability after emerging from the extreme right swamp into the mainstream of Austrian politics, and hoping to burnish his credentials through gestures of reconciliation with the Jewish State. It is also widely believed that the FPŐ as well as the AfD support Israel as the enemy of their enemy, that is, the flood of Muslim migrants that provoked the surge in their support among voters.

I do not know Herr Strache and have no knowledge of his true motives. But I have had the opportunity to speak at length with a leader of  the Alternative for Germany. Both motives–the desire to shed the stigma of neo-Nazi associations and common cause with Israel against radical Islam–are relevant, but something far more interesting is at work.

There are neo-Nazis and other swamp creatures lurking in the new nationalist right. Earlier this year I stated that, deplorably, I would vote for Angela Merkel rather than the AfD in the German elections, in part because the AfD’s Vice-Chairman Alexander Gauland defended a regional AfD leader who proposed to dismantle Holocaust monuments, in part because Gauland is insultingly anti-American, and in part because Gauland is too friendly with the mystical nationalists around Vladimir Putin. But that is not the whole of the AfD, and it is possible that the AfD will go in quite a different direction.

There are European nationalists who support Israel out of conviction rather than expediency. They admire the accomplishments of the Jewish State, moral as well as military or commercial. They observe that Israeli women bear on average 3 children compared to just 1.3 in Germany. They wish that Europeans could show the same love of country and culture that the Jews evince in Israel, and the same willingness to defend themselves.

That really is the world turned upside-down. European nationalism from its inception drew inspiration from biblical Israel. Greece was not a nation but a collection of small, quarreling city-states. Rome was not a nation but an empire–as were the Egyptians, Hittites, Sumerians, and so forth. Israel is the only exemplar of a nation in the ancient world, and the Davidic kingdom the only instance of a national monarchy. As I explained in my 2011 book How Civilizations Die, the first national monarchies in Europe–the 7th-century Merovingian kingdom in France and the Visigoth kingdom in Spain–emulated the Davidic model under the tutelage, respectively, of St. Gregory of Tours and St. Isidore of Seville.

Isidore and Gregory, I remarked elsewhere, were the Bialystock and Bloom of the Low Middle Ages: They sold 100% of the deal to every investor. That is, they persuaded each national monarch that his line was the new Davidic dynasty and his people the New Israel. This form of supercessionism gave rise to anti-Semitism (how could the Merovingians or Visigoths be the new Israel if the old Israel was still wandering about asserting its claim to divine election?). It also gave rise to perpetual warfare among Europe’s national dynasties for the claim to chosenness. The Thirty Years’ War of 1618-1648, Europe’s most devastating conflict, was fought by fanatics in France and Spain respectively who believed in the divine election of their respective lands. National exclusivity and hatred had the same roots as anti-Semitism.

There is another path, taken by the United States, which allows that every nation can be “almost chosen,” in Lincoln’s memorable phrase. It can emulate Israel without seeking to supercede it. What distinguishes American culture is the radical Protestant belief that the City of God cannot be realized in the City of Man, that life is a pilgrimage whose goal is ever beyond the horizon. This concept defines and shapes American literary as well as popular culture, as I tried to show in this essay.

The existence and success of the State of Israel changes everything. It is not merely a promise, spiritualized by Christianity into a vision of another life beyond this one, but a living, breathing people that punches above its weight in every field of human endeavor. Perhaps the people of Israel will help fulfill their mission to be a light unto the nations by example. Europe’s new nationalists may attempt to emulate Israel not but superceding it or by asserting their claims for election against each other, but by seeking to identify its virtues.

Post-nationalist Europe bears an irrational hatred of Israel, I wrote in this space in 2014.

The flowering of Jewish national life in Israel makes the Europeans crazy. It is not simply envy: it is a terrible reminder of the vanity of European national aspirations over the centuries, of the continent’s ultimate failure as a civilization. Just as the Europeans (most emphatically the Scandinavians) would prefer to dissolve into the post-national stew of European identity, they demand that Israel do the same. Never mind that Israel lacks the option to do so, and would be destroyed were it to try, for reasons that should be obvious to any casual consumer of news media.

It is too early to judge the direction of the new European nationalism, which has some elements that make me cringe, and some that make me release the safety-catch on my Browning. But it also has men and women who do not want to disappear into the dustbin of history and look to Israel for inspiration.

The Old Arab Fear Tactic That Came to Washington

October 17, 2017

The Old Arab Fear Tactic That Came to Washington, Gatestone InstituteNonie Darwish, October 17, 2017

After a year of being ruled by Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi, the majority of Egyptians turned against the Muslim Brotherhood — a decision that understandably does not sit well with pro-sharia media. These, such as Al Jazeera, are dedicated to trying to save the reputation of the Muslim Brotherhood, sharia and Islam itself, at any cost. Their number-one enemy has become critics of jihad and sharia, especially those who live in Western freedom. The Arab media’s “solution” to a mass defection from extremism is to accuse moderates and critics of sharia not only of being “collaborators” with infidels but also that they “collude” with terrorists.

The current goal of the Arab media, especially Al Jazeera, is to portray critics of jihad and sharia, as well as apostates, as being just as bad as Islamists, if not worse.

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The true threat to the US, the West, and even stable Arab governments, as Egypt is realizing, is political Islam as furthered by groups such the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, al-Qaeda and their offshoots.

This real threat has become a terrible burden to every Muslim head of state and is behind all the political chaos, coups and revolutions currently raging throughout the Islamic world.

In a chaotic, propaganda-prone area of the world, Qatar’s Al Jazeera has always reported sympathetically about Islamist groups and promoters of sharia, and against moderate Arab leaders. No moderate leader could survive under such conditions.

It is unfortunate that the tactics of the Arab media — to accuse people of collusion in order to silence any opposition — have now moved into US mainstream media regarding Trump and Russia, which the US media would apparently like to regard as their new “enemies.” This the same media that defends sharia law and inaccurately insists that Muslim terrorists who shout “Allahu Akbar” have “nothing to do with Islam.”

Now that the note supposedly showing “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia has been outed by Foreign Policy as mainly an attempted Russian hit-job on William Browder, what is the true threat to the United States?

For months, the lawless FBI has snubbing subpoenas (is complying with subpoenas optional?), and avoiding transparency under Special Counsel Robert Mueller[1] and his equally lawless, crime-“challenged” “investigation.” The true threat to the United states — if not Mueller and the FBI itself — is not the president, his campaign or even the Russians. Moreover, it is not exactly a news-flash that many countries have been spying on one another for ages.

“Collusion with Russia” was just the newest dirty word in American politics created by anti-Trump political operatives and the media. It seems intended to confuse the public in order to tarnish Trump’s reputation and bring down his administration. It is an extremely old ruse.

Collusion,” or the “appearance of collusion,” has been a common fear tactic used by Arab media for centuries. Fear tactics are the only solution in cultures that refuse to deal with the truth in the open.

The major red line that no citizen of a totalitarian system can ever cross is engaging in behavior that might bring about an accusation of “collusion” — collaboration with enemies or perceived enemies. Arab citizens have learned to avoid any contacts, friendships, communication, shaking hands or even being in the same room with “undesirable” enemies of the state. Try asking any Arab diplomat on how he or she acts and feels in the presence of an Israeli official. For decades, when Israeli officials gave speeches in the United Nations, Arabs left the room.

In much of the Middle East, Christians, if they refrain from praising Islam and Muslims or blame them for their oppression, get the same treatment as Jews.

In Egypt, in the days of anti-Semitic tyranny when the mere appearance of any kind of friendship, or just being in the same room with a Jew, could mean death, Christians always had to keep their distance from the Jews: the price to pay was simply too high.

After a visit to the United Kingdom in my youth, after innocently telling a journalist college friend that I had met Jews in the UK and could not believe how nice they were, her response was: “You know what happens to those who collude with Jews? They come back to Egypt in a box.” Shortly after, when a few of us teenagers, speaking English combined with some French and Arabic — not uncommon among some Cairo residents — were stopped in a village on the way from Cairo to Alexandria, the villagers called us Jews and the police were called. It took a while to get out of that mess.

Reality, finally, has hit Egypt. Its enemies’ list had to change in the face of the constant challenge to the stability of moderate governments. The true threat to stable Arab governments, as Egypt is realizing, is not Israel; it is political Islam from groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, and so on. This real threat has become a terrible burden to every Muslim head of state and is behind all the political chaos, coups and revolutions currently raging throughout the Islamic world.

After Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Arab nations developed the courage to demand shutting down Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar. In a chaotic, propaganda-prone area of the world, Qatar’s Al Jazeera has always reported sympathetically about Islamist groups and promoters of sharia, and against moderate Arab leaders. In an atmosphere such as that, no moderate Muslim leader is able to bring his nation out from under the coercion of jihadist terror and sharia tyranny.

Every Arab leader knows that to bring modernity and serious reformation would be considered a violation of sharia. Islamists are not only feared because of their promotion of terror, but they are also considered the guardians of sharia. Islamic law dictates that every Muslim head of state must rule by sharia, wage jihad against non-Muslim nations and never allow himself or his citizens to collude with, or seek peace with, Islam’s enemies. No moderate leader could survive under such conditions.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia is to be commended for finally issuing a decree that allows half the population of his country, women, to obtain the paperwork to drive — but they usually still need permission from a male guardian to leave the home alone.

As the last thing the Muslim public is ready for is the truth, convoluted games and accusations are the only way that many Arab leaders think they can preserve their legitimacy. The war between moderates, who want less sharia, and Islamists, who want full sharia, consists — regardless of “truth” — of winning over the average Arab citizen and leading him to believe that they represent the “real Islam”.

All sides thereby play the game of “collusion”. When Islamists accuse moderate leaders of collusion with the West, moderates respond by accusing Islamists of being the creation of the West. On many Arab media outlets, ISIS is the creation of the West (as was Al-Qaeda before it).

As a moderate Arab leader, it is therefore not easy to survive without the constant threat of an Islamist uprising. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and King Abdullah of Jordan are considered moderate leaders, and many want them to stay that way, but the pressure from Islamists is immense. Recently Sisi said that he wants to promote a new form of fear, a “phobia against bringing down the State.” One can sympathize with his attempt to put into words the obstacles to governing in a majority Muslim nation. Sisi seems to want to encourage Egyptians to develop a fear of succumbing to radical propaganda that aims to bring down moderate governments. What he seems to be telling Egyptians is that revolutions, coups d’état and assassinations are not the solution to every problem but rather, it is — or should be — the ballot box.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seems to want to encourage Egyptians to develop a fear of succumbing to radical propaganda that aims to bring down moderate governments. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

After a year of being ruled by Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi, the majority of Egyptians turned against the Muslim Brotherhood — a decision that understandably does not sit well with pro-sharia media. These, such as Al Jazeera, are dedicated to trying to save the reputation of the Muslim Brotherhood, sharia and Islam itself, at any cost. Their number-one enemy has become critics of jihad and sharia, especially those who live in Western freedom. The Arab media’s “solution” to a mass defection from extremism is to accuse moderates and critics of sharia not only of being “collaborators” with infidels but also that they “collude” with terrorists.

The current goal of the Arab media, especially Al Jazeera, is to portray critics of jihad and sharia, as well as apostates, as being just as bad as Islamists, if not worse.

Because the views of the critics of sharia and jihad resonate with average Arabs, radical Arab media outlets have no choice but to counter the enthusiasm for modernity and freedom of the public with false accusations: that critics of jihad and sharia are in fact colluding with terrorist groups. The Arab media evidently see such wildly false accusations against critics of jihad as the only way, in their minds, to save radical Islam.

Today, a segment of Egyptian society, especially the vulnerable and uneducated, have been lulled into believing the propaganda that moderates and critics of jihad and sharia are colluding not only with infidel enemies of Islam, but also with radical Muslim groups such as the unpopular Muslim Brotherhood.

A prominent Egyptian magazine, Rose El Youssef, in 2007, falsely portrayed Dr. Wafa Sultan and this author in their front-page as “alt-jihadists” — collaborators with the Taliban and the Muslim Brotherhood. Yesterday, a close friend in Egypt sent a warning of rumors in the Egyptian media, after the assassination of a journalist by the Muslim Brotherhood, that the Muslim Brotherhood has apostate “collaborators” in the West such as me. This shameless and reckless propaganda is intended to confuse the Egyptian public about who their true enemies and friends really are.

It is unfortunate that the tactics of the Arab media — to accuse people of “collusion” in order to silence any opposition — are now moving into US mainstream media regarding Trump and Russia, which the US media regard as their new “enemies” — the same media that defends sharia law, Islam and Islamic terrorism in the West.

Nonie Darwish, born and raised in Egypt, is the author of “Wholly Different; Why I chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values”

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[1] Like the false investigation that wrongly accused Scooter Libby of a leaking the name of then CIA agent Valerie Plame, that they knew all the while had been leaked by Richard Armitage.

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow

October 17, 2017

Source: FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow | TheHill

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

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Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

When this sale was used by Trump on the campaign trail last year, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman said she was not involved in the committee review and noted the State Department official who handled it said she “never intervened … on any [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] matter.”

In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.

The Obama administration’s decision to approve Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One has been a source of political controversy since 2015.

That’s when conservative author Peter Schweitzer and The New York Times documented how Bill Clinton collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees and his charitable foundation collected millions in donations from parties interested in the deal while Hillary Clinton presided on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their actions at the time, insisting there was no evidence that any Russians or donors engaged in wrongdoing and there was no national security reason for any member of the committee to oppose the Uranium One deal.

But FBI, Energy Department and court documents reviewed by The Hill show the FBI in fact had gathered substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.

Then-Attorney General Eric Holder was among the Obama administration officials joining Hillary Clinton on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States at the time the Uranium One deal was approved. Multiple current and former government officials told The Hill they did not know whether the FBI or DOJ ever alerted committee members to the criminal activity they uncovered.

Spokesmen for Holder and Clinton did not return calls seeking comment. The Justice Department also didn’t comment.

Mikerin was a director of Rosatom’s Tenex in Moscow since the early 2000s, where he oversaw Rosatom’s nuclear collaboration with the United States under the Megatons to Megwatts program and its commercial uranium sales to other countries. In 2010, Mikerin was dispatched to the U.S. on a work visa approved by the Obama administration to open Rosatom’s new American arm called Tenam.

Between 2009 and January 2012, Mikerin “did knowingly and willfully combine, conspire confederate and agree with other persons … to obstruct, delay and affect commerce and the movement of an article and commodity (enriched uranium) in commerce by extortion,” a November 2014 indictment stated.

His illegal conduct was captured with the help of a confidential witness, an American businessman, who began making kickback payments at Mikerin’s direction and with the permission of the FBI. The first kickback payment recorded by the FBI through its informant was dated Nov. 27, 2009, the records show.

In evidentiary affidavits signed in 2014 and 2015, an Energy Department agent assigned to assist the FBI in the case testified that Mikerin supervised a “racketeering scheme” that involved extortion, bribery, money laundering and kickbacks that were both directed by and provided benefit to more senior officials back in Russia.

“As part of the scheme, Mikerin, with the consent of higher level officials at TENEX and Rosatom (both Russian state-owned entities) would offer no-bid contracts to US businesses in exchange for kickbacks in the form of money payments made to some offshore banks accounts,” Agent David Gadren testified.

“Mikerin apparently then shared the proceeds with other co-conspirators associated with TENEX in Russia and elsewhere,” the agent added.

The investigation was ultimately supervised by then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, an Obama appointee who now serves as President Trump’s deputy attorney general, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, now the deputy FBI director under Trump, Justice Department documents show.

Both men now play a key role in the current investigation into possible, but still unproven, collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election cycle. McCabe is under congressional and Justice Department inspector general investigation in connection with money his wife’s Virginia state Senate campaign accepted in 2015 from now-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe at a time when McAuliffe was reportedly under investigation by the FBI.

The connections to the current Russia case are many. The Mikerin probe began in 2009 when Robert Mueller, now the special counsel in charge of the Trump case, was still FBI director. And it ended in late 2015 under the direction of then-FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired earlier this year.

Its many twist and turns aside, the FBI nuclear industry case proved a gold mine, in part because it uncovered a new Russian money laundering apparatus that routed bribe and kickback payments through financial instruments in Cyprus, Latvia and Seychelles. A Russian financier in New Jersey was among those arrested for the money laundering, court records show.

The case also exposed a serious national security breach: Mikerin had given a contract to an American trucking firm called Transport Logistics International that held the sensitive job of transporting Russia’s uranium around the United States in return for more than $2 million in kickbacks from some of its executives, court records show.

One of Mikerin’s former employees told the FBI that Tenex officials in Russia specifically directed the scheme to “allow for padded pricing to include kickbacks,” agents testified in one court filing.

Bringing down a major Russian nuclear corruption scheme that had both compromised a sensitive uranium transportation asset inside the U.S. and facilitated international money laundering would seem a major feather in any law enforcement agency’s cap.

But the Justice Department and FBI took little credit in 2014 when Mikerin, the Russian financier and the trucking firm executives were arrested and charged.

The only public statement occurred a year later when the Justice Department put out a little-noticed press release in August 2015, just days before Labor Day. The release noted that the various defendants had reached plea deals.

By that time, the criminal cases against Mikerin had been narrowed to a single charge of money laundering for a scheme that officials admitted stretched from 2004 to 2014. And though agents had evidence of criminal wrongdoing they collected since at least 2009, federal prosecutors only cited in the plea agreement a handful of transactions that occurred in 2011 and 2012, well after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’s approval.

The final court case also made no mention of any connection to the influence peddling conversations the FBI undercover informant witnessed about the Russian nuclear officials trying to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons even though agents had gathered documents showing the transmission of millions of dollars from Russia’s nuclear industry to an American entity that had provided assistance to Bill Clinton’s foundation, sources confirmed to The Hill.

The lack of fanfare left many key players in Washington with no inkling that a major Russian nuclear corruption scheme with serious national security implications had been uncovered.

On Dec. 15, 2015, the Justice Department put out a release stating that Mikerin, “a former Russian official residing in Maryland was sentenced today to 48 months in prison” and ordered to forfeit more than $2.1 million.

Ronald Hosko, who served as the assistant FBI director in charge of criminal cases when the investigation was underway, told The Hill he did not recall ever being briefed about Mikerin’s case by the counterintelligence side of the bureau despite the criminal charges that were being lodged.

“I had no idea this case was being conducted,” a surprised Hosko said in an interview.

Likewise, major congressional figures were also kept in the dark.

Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who chaired the House Intelligence Committee during the time the FBI probe was being conducted, told The Hill that he had never been told anything about the Russian nuclear corruption case even though many fellow lawmakers had serious concerns about the Obama administration’s approval of the Uranium One deal.

“Not providing information on a corruption scheme before the Russian uranium deal was approved by U.S. regulators and engage appropriate congressional committees has served to undermine U.S. national security interests by the very people charged with protecting them,” he said. “The Russian efforts to manipulate our American political enterprise is breathtaking.”

Not Satire | Revenge for Global Warming Causes Fish to Attack People

October 17, 2017

Revenge for Global Warming Causes Fish to Attack People, The Point (Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, October 17, 2017

(What nonsense. The fish aren’t seeking revenge for global warming. They are outraged that we failed to elect Hillary Clinton, the fishiest presidential candidate evah. — DM)

 

I have a standing link ban on the Times of Israel for its lefty anti-Israel garbage, but I’m making an exception because this is just too stupid.

Up and down the Israeli coast and even in the Sea of Galilee, swimmers are reporting being nibbled on, often painfully.

The main culprits in the Mediterranean, the experts say, are Diplodus sargus fish, also known as sargo or white seabream, usually about 10 to 15 centimeters (four to six inches) long, which are native to the Sea. (The species can reach up to 40 centimeters long, but the larger fish tend to stay in deeper waters and avoid humans.) The fish biting in the Sea of Galilee, meanwhile, are cichlids, also called St. Peter’s fish, and other tilapias.

Fish bites man means it’s… Global Warming. Of course if fish didn’t bite people, it would also be blamed on Global Warming. And if paint dries, it’s due to Global Warming.

Stressing that no thorough research has been carried out to check if there is an actual rise, Yair said any verifiable increase in biting could be tied to several factors, including but not limited to climate change.

He posited that increases in average temperature and the warming of the sea may be to blame, as well as changes in the habitats of the fish, which disturb them and possibly make them more aggressive.

Posited. No research has been carried out. But, hey it’s good enough for the media. Because this is #science. Also the fish are probably driven by revenge.

Not entirely joking, Yair said cockroaches, fishes, beetles, and even germs are seeking “revenge” on humans for wreaking havoc on the environment.

“But seriously,” he warned, “if we want to maintain tolerable environmental conditions, we need to stop altering the planet.”

That’s right. If we don’t all move to caves and out of our houses, the fish will come for us.

But has there been an actual increase in biting fish?

The incidence of biting seems to be escalating, with news reports and social media posts on the rise in the past year. TripAdvisor has had posts documenting tourists being bitten in 2015 and 2016.

That’s some solid research right there. And now for a note of sanity.

This is not a new story,” said Dr. Menachem Goren, a professor and principal research associate in the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University, who noted that the sargo fish are ancient inhabitants of the Mediterranean. “[The fish] are seeking food. When they see our feet, they bite. They consider it plankton,” said Goren. “People shouldn’t take it too seriously.”

So has FishApocalypse 2017 been postponed? Will the fish, seeking revenge for coal mining, learn to fly and start attacking us on land? Al Gore’s new movie may answer the question.