E-mail Edition for Sat, 17 Dec 2016




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Saturday, 17 December 2016

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--- Best of the Web

Flashback: Miserable failure: Western media are lying about Syria

Stephen Kinzer
Boston Globe
2016-02-23 21:00:00


Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.

For three years, violent militants have run Aleppo. Their rule began with a wave of repression. They posted notices warning residents: « Don’t send your children to school. If you do, we will get the backpack and you will get the coffin. » Then they destroyed factories, hoping that unemployed workers would have no recourse other than to become fighters. They trucked looted machinery to Turkey and sold it.

This month, people in Aleppo have finally seen glimmers of hope. The Syrian army and its allies have been pushing militants out of the city. Last week they reclaimed the main power plant. Regular electricity may soon be restored. The militants’ hold on the city could be ending.



Report: Fourteen US Coalition military officers captured by Syrian Special Forces in Aleppo!

Patrick Henningsen and Vanessa Beeley
21st Century Wire
2016-12-16 22:49:00


According to two reports coming out of Aleppo today, at least 14 US Coalition military officers were captured this morning in an East Aleppo bunker by Syrian Special Forces.

This story was quietly leaked by, who announced, « The Security Council is sitting in private on Friday, December 16, 2016, at 17:00 GMT, while NATO officers were arrested this morning by the Syrian Special Forces in a bunker in East Aleppo. »

Fares Shehabi MP, a prominent Syrian Parliamentarian and head of Aleppo’s Chamber of Commerce published the names of the Coalition officers on his Facebook page on the 15th December (emphasis added):

  • Mutaz Kanoğlu – Turkey
  • David Scott Winer – USA
  • David Shlomo Aram – Israel
  • Muhamad Tamimi – Qatar
  • Muhamad Ahmad Assabian – Saudi
  • Abd-el-Menham Fahd al Harij – Saudi
  • Islam Salam Ezzahran Al Hajlan – Saudi
  • Ahmed Ben Naoufel Al Darij – Saudi
  • Muhamad Hassan Al Sabihi – Saudi
  • Hamad Fahad Al Dousri – Saudi
  • Amjad Qassem Al Tiraoui – Jordan
  • Qassem Saad Al Shamry – Saudi
  • Ayman Qassem Al Thahalbi – Saudi
  • Mohamed Ech-Chafihi El Idrissi – Moroccan

Listen to Fares Shehabi’s interview on the Sunday Wire radio show: ‘Liberation Aleppo



Puppet Masters

Why Bashar al-Assad remains popular among the Syrian people

Adam Gerrie
The Duran
2016-12-17 21:42:00


Until the current crisis, Syria was a largely stable and peaceful nation since 1970 – the year Assad senior came to power. Syria’s turbulent history prior to 1970, however, gives one an insight into why contemporary Syrians want unity and associate peace with the Assad name.



Reality Check: Ted Cruz says Middle East was better off before War On Terror

Ben Swann
Truth in Media
2016-12-15 18:55:00


« The Middle East was better off with Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi in power. »

Those words are from Republican presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

But is he right? What do the numbers show in the years since the Iraq war?



Bitter in Aleppo defeat, US and EU seek to further demonize Russia

Finian Cunningham
Strategic Culture Foundation
2016-12-17 21:07:00

As Russian forces help liberate the Syrian city of Aleppo this week from a four-year terrorist siege, Washington and Europe step up threats of cyber war and economic aggression with sanctions. That’s no coincidence. It is the response of accomplices bitter in defeat.


Perverse isn’t it? Instead of celebrating with the people of Syria over the liberation of Aleppo from terrorists; instead of sending massive humanitarian aid to the tens of thousands of civilians freed after being held under siege for four years by terrorist gangs; instead of commending Russia for its decisive role in restoring peace to Syria’s second biggest city, the US and European Union turn reality on its head and further demonize Moscow.

The perverse behavior by Washington and its European satraps is simply a case of sour grapes. Very sour grapes.

They have been proven spectacularly wrong about Syria. The liberation of Aleppo this week exposes the Western governments and media in their unrelenting falsehoods and systematic complicity in the Syrian war. This was never a pro-democracy uprising. It was a Western-backed criminal regime-change operation that was unleashed in March 2011, and which is now staring at ignominious defeat.

The blood of up to half a million people and many more maimed is on the hands of American and European governments.



Ron Paul: CIA meddled hundreds of elections, fake news, Russia blaming, Middle East

2016-12-17 04:58:00


US government « propagandists » push for a foreign policy of « intervening around the world, » former presidential candidate and founder of the Institute for Peace and Prosperity, Dr. Ron Paul, told RT in a wide-ranging interview that also touched on Syria.

Following reports that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for personally directing a cyberattack that cost her the 2016 presidential election, Dr. Paul shrugged off the allegations as a « fiasco » in an interview with RT’s Neil Harvey. « I think they’re just agitating, because they lost the election. They’re throwing out accusations and they have no proof, » the former Republican congressman for Texas said.

« The same people who are making all these charges, they didn’t seem to be worried a bit by the secretary of state having a private server, » Paul said, « which made it much easier for Russia or anybody else to know what was going on. »

Paul, a libertarian advocate of a foreign policy of non-intervention, went on to explain that ideally, the US should not have to worry about any other country having an incentive to interfere in US elections. The root of the problem, Paul believes, is in the US government doing the exact thing it now accuses Russia of doing.

« The American people should be worried about the influence of our CIA in other people’s elections, I mean probably hundreds. It’s constant, » he said, even going as far as to allude to « domestic assassinations » the CIA has allegedly taken part in.

Comment: Paul, having been in the American political arena, experiencing front and center the surface and covert workings of the US government, has put words to what many suspect the great American democracy has become – a bottleneck where a shadow government pull the strings and the masses are manipulated as the means to its end.


George Soros is funding Facebook’s ‘third-party fact checking’ organization targeting ‘fake news’

Tyler Durden
Zero Hedge
2016-12-17 20:57:00


Behind almost every liberal crusade of the past several decades, from the blocking of voter ID laws to the Syrian refugee crisis, there has been one man quietly pulling the puppet strings from the background: George Soros. So imagine our complete shock when we discovered Soros to be the financing source behind Facebook’s « third-party fact checking » organization retained to flag, and thus eliminate, « fake news. »

Just yesterday, Facebook posted the following press release to their website detailing their plans to use a « third-party fact checking organization, » known as The Poynter Institute, to flag « fake news. » The role of the « fact checkers » will be to review news stories and flag anything they deem to be « fake » so that it can be deprioritized on Facebook’s news feed.



‘Reagan would roll over in his grave’ at GOP support of Putin, says Obama

2016-12-16 22:49:00


In his final 2016 news conference, President Barack Obama said a recent poll showing more than one-third of Republicans holding a « favorable » view of Russian President Vladimir Putin would make ex-president Ronald Reagan « roll over in his grave. »

Friday’s press conference, one of the last of the Obama administration, was dominated by the allegations that Russia interfered in the US election, but Putin in particular was the focus of much of Obama’s remarks and reporters’ questions.



Why did Palmyra Fall? Military insider tells all, calls on anti-ISIS coalition to learn ‘bitter lesson’

Fort Russ – RusVesna
2016-12-16 20:25:00

Translated by J. Arnoldski

A military source has told Russian Spring of some of the details of the battle for Palmyra in an exclusive interview.

Did intelligence know of the concentration of militants near Palmyra? Did they warn the Syrian command beforehand?

The information which the Ministry of Defense of Russia reliably possessed was that ISIS militants were coming from Iraq to Syria having left coalition-taken Mosul. Corresponding concerns were repeatedly expressed to the media during briefings by representatives of the Russian General Staff and foreign ministry.


As for the preparation of a large-scale offensive on Palmyra in those precise days, of course, the ministry of defense, despite having limited intelligence capabilities in the remote theater of combat operations, possessed information on an impending attack. Naturally, this was passed on to Syrian colleagues. The question was the exact date when the militants would be ready to attack Palmyra, the scope, and their chosen method of offensive operations. And here the Syrians’ tactical intelligence was supposed to work, but didn’t…

It must be understood that the capabilities of Russian intelligence in Syria are limited. Our advantage over the militants in aerospace reconnaissance is undeniable. But when it comes to work « on the ground », due to objective reasons Russian specialists don’t have sufficient capabilities and, as a rule, tend to rely on information extracted by Syrian intelligence.

Comment: « The main circumstance that allowed the terrorists to take Palmyra was their almost unhindered exit from Iraqi Mosul ». Remember this?:

And this movement from ISIS comes as Aleppo was finally being liberated. You would almost think that someone is coordinating the efforts of the different factions of headchoppers!



Enjoy it while you can: Neocons in panic and agony over Trump, Aleppo

The Saker
The Unz Review
2016-12-17 20:47:00


There are clear signs that the Neocons running the AngloZionist Empire and its « deep state » are in a state of near panic and their actions are indicating that they are truly terrified.

The home front

On the home front, the Neocons have resorted to every possible dirty trick on the book to try to prevent Donald Trump from ever getting into the White House: they have

  • organized riots and demonstrations (some paid by Soros money)
  • encouraged the supporters of Hillary to reject the outcome of the elections (« not my President »)
  • tried to threaten the Electors and make them either cast a vote for Hillary or not vote at all
  • tried to convince Congress to refuse the decision of the Electoral College and
  • they are now trying to get the elections annulled on the suspicion that the (apparently almighty) Russian hackers have compromised the election outcome (apparently even in states where paper ballots were used) and stolen it in favor of Trump.

That is truly an amazing development, especially considering how Hillary attacked Trump for not promising to recognize the outcome of the elections. She specifically said that Trump’s lack of guarantees to recognize the outcome would threaten the very basis of the stability of the US political system and now she, and her supporters, are doing everything in their power to do just that, to throw the entire electoral process into a major crisis with no clear path towards resolution. Some say that the Democrats are risking a civil war. Considering that several key Republican Congressmen have said they do support the notion of an investigation into the « Russian hackers » fairytale, I submit that the Republicans are doing exactly the same thing, that this is not a Democrat vs Republican issue, but a « deep state vs The People of the USA » issue.



FBI confirms met with Poroshenko accuser Onyshchenko: No further talks planned

Christopher Miller
2016-12-17 20:41:00


The U.S. Justice Department has cut ties with a fugitive Ukrainian member of parliament who said he had turned over damning evidence proving the corruption of Ukraine’s president, a spokesman told RFE/RL on December 16.

The disclosure confirms for the first time that the department had held talks with the lawmaker.

Oleksandr Onyshchenko, the runaway lawmaker, said on December 1 that he had handed FBI agents audio recordings he made of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and members of his inner circle discussing schemes to steal money from state and private companies and buy votes in parliament — charges the president’s administration vehemently denies.



Too nice? Assad’s deals to evacuate and pardon terrorists are uncommonly humane, but will they harm Syria in the long run?

Adam Garrie
The Druan
2016-12-17 20:32:00


Contrary to Western fake news, Assad’s approach towards terrorists is deeply humane, some would say overly humane. Here is what we know and what must be answered.

Images of green bus convoys leaving Aleppo have provoked mixed reactions across the world. The coaches are filled with the surrendered terrorists who had occupied parts of East Aleppo prior to its liberation by the Syrian Arab Army.

Far from the fake massacres reported in the Western mainstream media, President Assad and his Russian partners are handling the situation in an utterly humane fashion, perhaps too humane. Assad’s rationale is that in order for Syria to once again be a peaceful and united country, as it was prior to 2011 when Western provocations triggered the current crisis, there needn’t be any Nuremberg style trials for the terrorists who continue to plague the country.

Assad has offered amnesty to any Syrians participating in terrorist activities in return for their pledge to lay down arms and permanently return to civilian life or join the fight against terrorism. He is also happy for the larger bulk of foreign fighters to peacefully leave the country, with many suggesting that Turkey, knowing that her plans for regime change in Damascus have failed, will cooperate in this.

Comment: Assad’s policy is remarkable, and much more humane than any American policy, ironically. But in Western eyes, he’s still an evil dictator. His approach echoes that of Julius Caesar, who considered clemency a new method of ruling and conquering. Like Assad, Caesar was a populist, supported and loved by the vast number of Romans. But a clique of psychopathic oligarchs assassinated him. Both Assad’s and Caesar’s clemency is understandable, and commendable, given the common practices back then and today. But good men are not often rewarded in this world.


A more rigorous way to look at the Syrian conflict

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
2016-12-15 00:01:00


Juxtaposition. The way to analyze the situation is to look at the factions comparatively. You do not compare Assad’s regime to the Danish or Norwegian governments, but to the alternative. The question becomes if there is anything in the left column that is worse than the right column?



Electors in anti-Trump movement denied court orders

Zoe Tillman
BuzzFeed News
2016-12-16 07:16:00


Two federal courts and a state supreme court on Friday handed losses to members of the electoral college who are seeking the right to vote for a presidential candidate of their choice, as opposed to the candidate who won the popular vote in their state.

The cases involve states that Hillary Clinton won in November — California, Colorado, and Washington — but they’re part of a broader effort to embolden electors elsewhere who may want to vote against Donald Trump in states that he won. A favorable ruling for challengers in one court could provide a template for electors who want to challenge similar laws in their state.

With electors nationwide set to meet on Monday in their states to vote for the president and vice president, a federal district judge in San Jose, California, and a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Friday denied requests to block enforcement of laws in California and Washington that require electors to vote for the winner of the popular election in those states. The Colorado Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a case brought by electors in that state, leaving in place a lower court judge’s ruling against the electors. A case in federal court is pending.

Donald Trump won 306 electoral votes, compared with Hillary Clinton’s 232 votes. Anti-Trump electors and activists want to convince other electors not to vote for Trump in order to bring his total down below the threshold of 270 electoral votes that he needs to win. A tie would send the election to the US House of Representatives.

Comment: A tale told by electors full of sound and fury…so far signifying nothing.


« So sad »: Trump proposes « safe zones » for Syria

Mark Landler
New York Times
2016-12-15 20:19:00


President-elect Donald J. Trump said on Thursday that the United States would create « safe zones » in Syria, his first reference to such an American role in the war there since he was elected, and one that comes as the Syrian government has all but recaptured the rebel stronghold of Aleppo.

« When I look at what’s going on in Syria, it’s so sad, » he told a crowd here. « It’s so sad, and we’re going to help people. » Mr. Trump said he would ask the Persian Gulf nations to put up money for the project, adding, « We’ll build and help build safe zones in Syria, so people will have a chance. »

Mr. Trump talked during the campaign about building safe zones, presenting them as a way to stem the tide of refugees into Europe. But this was the first time he had repeated the proposal since he began receiving intelligence briefings. Some analysts and military commanders have warned that it would be a significant and potentially dangerous undertaking on a complex battlefield over which Russian planes have been flying raids.

Comment: Trump doesn’t necessarily mean « no-fly zones ». Scott Adams comments:

And guess what? Trump has been telling you his persuasion play against ISIS for over a year. You didn’t recognize it because it is disguised as something else.

And guess what else? I have been describing that same persuasion play against ISIS to you for over two years. […] I called my idea for a persuasion play against ISIS a « filter fence. » Trump calls his persuasion play « safe zones. » Same thing.
Safe zones would be a big deal to the psychology of the region. It would give hope to the innocent. It would give ISIS a new thing to worry about. It would be large and physical and influence lots of things around it. But most of all – and this is the important part – it creates a mental categorization that has in one bucket the people who are in the safe zone and in the other bucket the people who are not. And the people inside will probably mostly be women and children – also known as the future of ISIS.

The long term persuasion play is to slowly drain ISIS of any illusion that someday they will be happily making love to their multiple wives while their many children are studying the holy scriptures. You ruin that illusion by putting the women and children from ISIS territory in the safe zone, unavailable to the adult men of ISIS now or later. Once ISIS has been reduced to nothing but horny, angry men with no biological future, they will turn on each other because all of that energy has to go somewhere. Here I’m assuming the border countries have their own walls to keep ISIS in. That’s happening as we speak.

Humans are biological entities before they are mental entities. Our biology influences our minds. And our most important biological imperative is to reproduce. When ISIS sees their biological future escaping to safe zones it will leave them with nothing. Their caliphate will become a jail.

Once you have the safe zones up and running then you also have to do something about the drug that ISIS gives their fighters. It’s called Captagon, or in some cases it might be meth by another name. Apparently that’s the secret ingredient to their violent ways. The persuasion play in this case is to create mountains of counterfeit Captagon pills with either too-weak, too-strong, or different chemistry. You want ISIS to no longer trust their drug sources. That will get in their heads too.

And that’s how you beat ISIS with persuasion.



Why liberals can’t handle the truth about « Russian hacking » and Trump

Caleb Stephen
2016-12-15 20:10:00


Donald J. Trump won the U.S. election by a landslide but butthurt, sore liberal losers are not having any of it.

Instead, as we’ve seen, they’ve turned to malevolent tactics in an effort to express their disapproval of the democratically elected billionaire real estate tycoon.

First they tried rioting and that didn’t work. Then they tried sending death threats to electoral college members and that failed. The ‘fake news’ narrative also failed. Jill Stein’s recount was an epic fail, but not after she had carted away $6.3 million dollars from the gullible voters she scammed as part of her election recount campaign

Now since all of the above failed, they’ve turned to another tactic – which, I might add, is probably not the last one in their arsenal.

Spoiler alert: It failed overnight.

This time it’s The Washington Post attempting to insult our intelligence by pushing the notion that Russia helped Trump win the White House by leaking hacked information to Wikileaks.



Huffpo exposes itself as a MSM fake news rag by calling on electors to make Killary president

Alex Mohajer
Huffington Post
2016-12-17 18:59:00


The time is now for the Electoral College to fulfill their constitutional duty and obligation to defend America against a demagogue.

Our nation is at a crossroads. In November, Americans cast their vote for president, and despite winning the majority of the popular vote by a substantial margin, Hillary Clinton will lose the presidency under the Electoral College system.

In any other election the conversation might end right here. But from the outset, this has not been an ordinary election year, and these are not ordinary circumstances. Donald Trump is the president-elect, he does not have a popular vote mandate, and his rival, Hillary Clinton, is on course to earn the most votes for a presidential candidate in history, second only to President Obama.

So what happened? Friends, we have been engaged in the politics of blame, and spent too long pointing fingers at one another. The blame game needs to end, and it needs to end NOW. Wallowing in our defeat is a mistake. Blaming our superb, historic candidate is a mistake. Infighting about who is to blame shifts the narrative away from what we should ALL be talking about:

Comment: Barf. The author’s spurious arguments are beyond wrong. The only global and sociopolitical crisis that the author laments is one that Killary would have fomented if she’d taken office and one that will continue if the mainstream media continues to drown the public in lies.



Society’s Child

Power of alt media made obvious by backfire of corporate media’s ‘fake news’ war

Claire Bernish
Free Thought Project
2016-12-17 00:00:00


As you’ve likely heard by now, Facebook has taken its war against ‘fake news’ to a whole other level — employing third party media and fact-checking organizations to judge whether news items are legitimate — to the consternation of countless users who see the platform overstepping red lines.

Servile corporate media immediately parroted the wealth of benefits Facebook’s plan will ostensibly provide, from an alert and gateway system forced onto articles deemed « disputed, » to the organizations making the ‘kiss of death’ judgment call: Snopes,, Politifact, and ABC News.

Anyone with passing knowledge of bias in media is probably spitting out their coffee — all four organizations are notoriously left-leaning and liberal, and the list includes no outlets with any other of myriad ideological tilts.

Indeed, right-leaning outlets from Breitbart to the Drudge Report, as well as the sizable alternative media community — who, collectively, held to higher journalistic standards throughout the election cycle than « old media » titans like the New York Times and Washington Post — quickly condemned the unabashed bias imbued in Facebook’s plan.

Mark Zuckerberg, a large consensus concluded, just declared war on dissent — if not information, itself.



Revealed! Putin personally hacked DNC from surveillance aircraft with bear on board

Danielle Ryan
2016-12-17 21:42:00


Shocking revelations earlier this week as US intelligence officials confirmed with « high confidence » that Russian President Vladimir Putin was « personally involved » in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

According to the anonymous sources inside the anonymous US intelligence agency, Putin’s objectives were multifaceted, but the whole thing began as a « vendetta » against Hillary Clinton because she said some mean things about him a few times. Putin is also an « immature 12 year-old child, » a former US official with links to the defense industry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed (with high confidence).

The high level, anonymous and completely trustworthy sources also told a major US news agency that Putin himself had piloted a specially-designed Russian spy plane across the Atlantic to personally direct the still-ongoing hacking operations from the air.



Argentina: Victims of Vatican priests’ sexual violence demand justice

2016-12-17 21:31:00

At least 22 children with hearing disabilities were sexually abused by Catholic priests at a school for deaf-mute minors in Argentina. Sputnik Italy spoke with Marco Lodi Rizzini, the press secretary for the local branch of a Catholic school for deaf children.


Police arrested 82-year old priest Nicola Corradi and four other suspects who are facing charges of sexual and physical child abuse at the Antonio Provolo Institute in northwestern Mendoza province.

If found guilty the accused could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison. « Before he was arrested in Argentina, Don Corradi committed similar crimes at a school for the deaf in Verona, Italy, where he served before he was ordained priest. He later moved to Argentina » Marco Rizzini said in an interview with Sputnik Italy.

Hundreds of children were reportedly sexually assaulted over the years by priests and religious brothers at the school in Verona.

« None of them was brought to justice or even defrocked. Some of them are already dead and six are still serving now. They are old now, live in Verona and keep working with children! » Marco Rizzini fumed.

Comment: Psychopaths choose activities that will put them in contact with the most vulnerable and will give them the best chances to get away with their crimes. They also protect each other to the point that their misdeeds are institutionalized, apparently.


Americans under surveillance: NSA to disclose how many are under their watchful eye

Dustin Volz
2016-12-17 02:49:00


The U.S. intelligence community will soon disclose an estimate of the number of Americans whose electronic communications have been caught in the crosshairs of online surveillance programs intended for foreigners, U.S. lawmakers said in a letter seen by Reuters on Friday.

The estimate, requested by members of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, is expected to be made public as early as next month, the letter said.

Its disclosure would come as Congress is expected to begin debate in the coming months over whether to reauthorize or reform the so-called surveillance authority, known as Section 702, a provision that was added to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008.

« The timely production of this information is incredibly important to informed debate on Section 702 in the next Congress— and, without it, even those of us inclined to support reauthorization would have reason for concern, » said the letter signed by 11 lawmakers, all members of the House Judiciary Committee.

The letter was sent on Friday to National Intelligence Director James Clapper. It said his office and National Security Agency (NSA) officials had already briefed congressional staff about how the intelligence community intends to comply with the disclosure request.



London Muslim woman ‘could hardly breathe’ after being dragged on ground by hijab in sickening attack

2016-12-17 16:44:00


A Muslim woman in east London had her headscarf pulled off and was dragged along the ground in a « sickening » attack in east London.

The 27-year-old woman had been visiting a friend at a hair salon when two white youths approached her from behind and tried to rip off her hijab before pushing her onto the ground and dragging her a few meters along the pavement. Witnesses say she was left highly distraught and lay on the ground for around twenty minutes before being helped into a nearby Turkish restaurant, where the young woman called emergency services.

« The poor girl was shaking like a leaf, we had to sit her down and give her water before she could speak, » a waiter at the Fes restaurant told the Evening Standard.

« She told us two white guys shoved her then dragged her along the floor by her headscarf and left her on the pavement. She was having a panic attack when we saw her, and could barely breathe.

« It’s sickening that people can do this, » the waiter said.



Reds under the beds: Bloomberg hypes the ‘Russian’ climate threat

Eric Worrall
Watts Up With That?
2016-12-15 20:27:00


Bloomberg has joined a chorus of voices hyping up the alleged Russian threat. But the real threat is to President-elect Trump.

Russia Wins in a Retreat on Climate Change

By Noah Smith

President-elect Donald Trump has signaled ambivalence about many policies, such as Obamacare and infrastructure spending. But on at least one issue, his attitude is crystal-clear: climate change. Trump has vowed to withdraw from the Paris agreement designed to limit fossil-fuel use, and presented himself as a champion of the coal industry. His transition team even demanded that the Energy Department make a list of names of employees who worked on climate change. U.S. national policy seems set for an epic shift away from alternative energy and carbon reduction.

Who would win from a retreat in the war on climate change? Oil, coal and gas industries around the world, obviously, as well as coal-burning power companies. But the biggest winner probably would be another country: Russia.

Without oil and gas, Russia’s economy would be a shambles, and sharp declines in energy prices in the 1990s and again in the past three years sent its economy into deep recessions.



2 killed in 40-vehicle pileup after tractor-trailer plunges off highway, icy weather conditions (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

2016-12-17 16:55:00


Two people have been killed and at least 11 injured in a major traffic incident on a highway in South Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday morning.

« We have approximately about a 40-car pileup on the northbound side of I-95 near the Washington Boulevard exit, » Baltimore City Fire Chief Roman Clark told reporters, adding « there was a tractor-trailer that actually went over the embankment. »



Justice maybe? Ex-NYPD chief to stand trial in Occupy Wall Street police brutality case

2016-12-17 04:29:00


Former New York Police Department Chief and current commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management Joseph Esposito will stand trial for police brutality and malicious prosecution related to the arrest of an Occupy Wall Street protester.

John Scott Dekuyper, 58, was arrested at an Occupy Wall Street protest in Times Square in October 2011. While he was only one of 92 people arrested in Times Square, video footage taken at the scene depicted an officer repeatedly punching Dekuyper in the head. Now over five years later, a judge has granted Dekuyper permission to file a civil rights suit against Esposito and two officers involved, Shreeganes Meade and Patrick Mullane.

According to Dekuyper’s attorney, the conflict began when he joined an Occupy Wall Street march from Manhattan’s Lower East Side up to Times Square. Once the participants reached the tourist hub, a messy melee broke out between protesters and law enforcement. Esposito, who was acting NYPD chief, responded and attempted to corral the crowds by blocking the protesters off with barriers and ordering police horses to go into the crowds.



Syrian activist believes Aleppo Twitter girl Bana is the ‘ultimate propaganda stunt’

2016-12-17 19:46:00


A Syrian activist Maytham Al Ashkar contacted the 7-year-old Twitter star, Bana Alabed, on November 27, offering to evacuate her family from eastern Aleppo. After a month, someone who identified herself as Bana’s mother responded. « What happened after, convinced me that Bana’s account is the ultimate propaganda stunt, » Maytham told Sputnik.

Bana’s account, designated by Twitter as « verified », was set up three months ago, and has since gathered over 310,000 followers. The tweets, written by both Bana and her mother, Fatemah, who says she taught her daughter to speak English, depict life under siege in east Aleppo.



End of faithless electors? Judge orders electors in Colorado to vote for Hillary in accordance with state law – same in Alaska

2016-12-15 13:56:00


A federal judge has ordered presidential electors in Colorado to vote for Hillary Clinton, after they filed a lawsuit seeking the right to vote for someone else, in an attempt to block the election of Donald Trump.

Colorado electors Polly Baca, a former state Senator, and Robert Nemanich, have campaigned for the right to vote against the will of the people, seeking to choose a candidate they think would be a better president. The duo filed a lawsuit arguing that presidential electors have a constitutional right to cast their vote for any qualified candidate, regardless of the November 8 election outcome.

Laws regarding electors vary from state to state, but in Colorado they dictate that an elector must vote for the presidential ticket that receives the most votes during the election. The penalty for breaking this law can include a $1,000 fine or up to one year in prison.

Though Baca and Nemanich are both Democrats, they were willing to vote for a Republican candidate other than the President-elect, if electors bound to him also switch, in an attempt to deny Trump the 270 electoral votes required to win. Only one Republican, Texas elector Chris Suprun, has agreed to go along with their plan.

Comment: (Link to the text of the lawsuit here.)

A federal judge in Seattle, Washington, and another in San Jose, California, also rejected attempts by electors to avoid being fined for disregarding the state’s presidential popular vote. Thankfully the judiciary system is not bending to the attempts of so-called Hamilton electors to go against federal law because they are precious snowflakes who aren’t able to handle losing. Also, it is part of Congress’ duty to ensure a peaceful transition of executive power after an election:

Sec. 2. The Congress declares it to be the purpose of the Act to promote the orderly transfer of the executive power in connection with the expiration of the term of office of a President and the inauguration of a new President. The national interest requires that such transitions in the office of President be accomplished so as to assure continuity in the faithful execution of the laws and in the conduct of the affairs of the Federal Government, both domestic and foreign.

Any disruption occasioned by the transfer of the executive power could produce results detrimental to the safety and well-being of the United States and its people. Accordingly, it is the intent of the Congress that appropriate actions be authorized and taken to avoid or minimize any disruption. In addition to the specific provisions contained in this Act directed toward that purpose, it is the intent of the Congress that all officers of the Government so conduct the affairs of the Government for which the exercise responsibility and authority as (1) to be mindful of problems occasioned by transitions in the office of President, (2) to take appropriate lawful steps to avoid or minimize disruptions that might be occasioned by the transfer of the executive power, and (3) otherwise to promote orderly transitions in the office of President.

Update (December 16): The Colorado challengers appealed on Friday.

The Tenth Circuit on Friday evening denied the Colorado electors’ request for an injunction. A three-judge panel found that the electors failed to point to specific provisions of the US Constitution that supported their argument, and didn’t show how they would suffer irreparable harm if the court denied their request for an emergency injunction.

A similar lawsuit in Alaska, brought by a Clinton supporter, has been righteously squashed:

A federal judge in Alaska has thrown out a lawsuit brought by a Hillary Clinton supporter seeking to prevent the state’s three electoral college voters from casting votes for President-elect Donald Trump.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess said the electoral college is spelled out in the U.S. Constitution. He said in a written order that Janice Park’s remedy rested not with the courts but with the constitutional amendment process.

Park, of Anchorage, claimed that electors casting votes for Trump would violate her Fifth Amendment right of equal protection and deny her the principle of one person, one vote. She based her claim on the fact that Clinton is winning the popular vote but will lose the electoral college.



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