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Wed, 23 May 2018
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Russian firm indicted by Mueller investigation comes out swinging

Attorney Eric Dubelier

Attorney Eric Dubelier is not taking any crap from Mueller "investigation"
The authority of special counsel Robert Mueller to bring charges over Russian interference in the 2016 election will face stiff opposition from one of the indicted entities, its attorney pledged Wednesday.

Reed Smith attorney Eric Dubelier represents Concord Management and Consulting LLC, which Mueller has charged with funding the Russian troll farms that worked to support Donald Trump's candidacy in the presidential election.

At a 20-minute status conference in the case today, Dubelier said the count against Concord - conspiracy to defraud the United States - is unconstitutional as applied. Concord will file a motion challenging Mueller's authority, in addition to asserting failure to state a claim and violations of its due-process rights, Dubelier said.

The tactic is similar to the one being used by former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort in his criminal case, which Mueller is also prosecuting.

Comment: As the inquiries continue, and the facts come out, it becomes ever more obvious that the Mueller investigations don't have a single leg to stand on - and further goes to show how spurious the whole Russian collusion narrative was/is to start with:


Senator Rand Paul: 'We're not going to leave our kids defenseless'

© Unknown
Senator Rand Paul
During a May 18 Fox News appearance Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said it is time for Americans to take a stand and say, "We're not going to leave our kids defenseless." His comments came in the wake of the shooting that killed at least 8 at Santa Fe High School.

Paul said, "Why don't we say it as a country - we're not going to leave our kids defenseless. We're going to defend them."

He also spoke to Hollywood celebrities who react to a high profile firearm-based crime with calls for more gun control, saying, "Every Hollywood actor that hates guns has armed bodyguards defending them. So they hate guns unless the guns are defending them."

Paul's call to protect our children is reminiscent of President Trump's response to the February 14 Parkland school shooting. CNN reported that Trump responded to Parkland by saying that a "gun-free zone to a maniac - because they're all cowards - a gun-free zone is 'let's go in and let's attack because bullets aren't coming back at us.'" Trump said adopting a policy where "20 percent" of teachers are armed would reduce or eliminate the perception of weakness, making schools a riskier target to strike.

Comment: There is logic in the argument that a gun-free zone is an invite. Guns onsite may give a novice shooter pause, but will they also deter the game-changer false flags?

From Conservative Fighters:
Rand said, "I think the first thing we should do is, there needs to be an announcement by every school district that we're going to defend our children, and that we're not going to have a sign outside that [says], 'We're defenseless.' And I think that's the problem, is that we do have these homicidal or crazy or mentally disturbed kids, but they still aren't so disturbed that they're going to shoot up the sheriff's office. They're showing up where there is no self-defense."

Rand also argued that we need to try to stop people who have psychiatric disorders that cause them to act violently and prevent people who are crazy from getting firearms. He further said there isn't enough work being done to keep people who are mentally unstable or breaking the law from having guns.
See also:

Star of David

Within the US evangelical capital rises mixed views on Israel

Bruce McCluggage
© Josiah Hesse
Bruce McCluggage at the Wild Goose, in Colorado Springs.
This week, the Trump administration completed its move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At the opening ceremony, two of the American speakers were evangelical superstars: Pastor Robert Jeffress, the author of several doomsday books about Israel, and John Hagee, who interpreted recent lunar eclipses as evidence that the end times were nigh. The Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro, meanwhile, declared that Trump had "fulfilled biblical prophecy". The ceremony coincided with massive protests, in which 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces.

Thousands of miles away, in her home outside Colorado Springs, Kimberly Troup sat in a cluttered basement office. She is an evangelical Christian who takes to heart the Bible verse in which God speaks of the Jewish nation: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse."

Accordingly, she has devoted 22 years to Israel. She is now the US director of Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, an advocacy group with a Zionist ideology. Two other CFIC employees work with her. This week, they have been very busy.

Ever since she was a child, in Kentucky, Troup has been immersed in Israel. Her father saw the creation of the state in 1948 and the six-day war of 1967as evidence of biblical prophecy surrounding the end of the world. Troup believes in such prophecies, though she does not pretend to know when they will occur. She sees it as her Christian duty to care for Israel, to defend it against "Arabs" who are "not interested in peace".

Comment: See also:


Saudi Arabia intercepted Yemeni missiles; Houthis targeted military airports

Saudi missile intercept
© english.alarabiya.net
Saudi missile intercept
Saudi air-defense systems have reportedly managed to intercept a ballistic missile launched from Yemen after Houthi rebels said they had targeted a "military airport" in the city of Jizan.

The alleged Scud-type missile was destroyed before the projectile hit the intended target in the port city, which lies in the southwest corner of Saudi Arabia and directly north of the border with Yemen, local media reported. Earlier, Saudi air defenses reportedly intercepted another ballistic missile, which targeted a military airport near the southern border.

The launches on Monday morning were the latest in a series of missile attacks on Saudi positions which have intensified over the weekend.

Riyadh has repeatedly accused Iran of being responsible for ballistic missile launches from Yemen, warning that such acts could be considered an "act of war," while the Islamic Republic firmly denied such accusations.


Not an experiment: Google's Selfish Ledger ideas can be found in its patent applications

© Christoph Hardt / Global Look Press
I trust by now we've all seen and been at least a little disturbed by The Selfish Ledger, the nearly 9-minute-long concept video from inside Google's "moonshot factory" X labs. In the wake of it becoming public this week, Google quickly disavowed the video, claiming it was just a thought experiment "not related to any current or future products." And yet, the company's patent applications exhibit a mode of thinking that runs at least in parallel, if not on the exact same tracks, as The Selfish Ledger's total data collection proposal.

A reader pointed me in the direction of a Google patent application from 2015, made public last year, titled "Detecting and correcting potential errors in user behavior." A core part of the Selfish Ledger concept can be defined in very similar terms: its premise, on the individual level, is to help users with self-improvement and behavior modification.

In all honesty, the idea described in this patent document sounds all kinds of helpful. It proposes a system wherein your device would use information Google already collects - such as travel itineraries from your email inbox - and act on that knowledge if it detects you're going astray. So if, like me on at least one occasion, you start heading to the wrong airport, your phone would be smart enough to notify you that you're going the wrong way.

Comment: See also:


A deeper look at a Wikipedia editor's long-running campaign to discredit anti-war campaigners and journalists

Wikipedia on computer screen
© Yves Herman / Reuters
A Wikipedia editor called Philip Cross (Andrew Philip Cross and later "Julian" on Twitter) has a long record of editing the entries of many anti-war figures on the site to include mostly critical commentary while removing positive information contributed by others. At time of writing he is number 308 in the list of Wikipedians by number of edits.

Wikipedia entries very often appear first in search results, and so for many will be the first and only port of call when researching something. People unaware of the political nature of the editing that goes on on the site, in this case supposedly by a single, dedicated editor, are being seriously misled.

As an active editor for almost 15 years, Cross is very familiar with some of the more arcane Wikipedia rules and guidelines (along with their obscure acronyms) and uses them to justify removing information he dislikes in favour of his own inclusions. Often in a very subtle manner and over a long period of time. Anyone familiar with the work of the people he targets will recognise how one-sided and distorted those entries become.

Cross is, however, much nicer to the entries of people he likes. Former hedge-fund manager and Iraq war supporter Oliver Kamm, and right-wing author Melanie Phillips, both columnists for The Times, are two examples.

Evil Rays

Propaganda alert! The Obamas team up with Netflix to pump out content

© Mike Blake / Reuters
Barack and Michelle Obama have joined forces with Netflix, entering into a multi-year contract to produce films and series with one of the world's biggest entertainment-on-demand services.

The Obamas will use their own company, Higher Ground Productions, to produce "scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features" on issues that the former president pushed during his eight years in office, according to a Netflix press release.

The deal will give the Obamas a platform to reach the 125 million households with Netflix in 190 million countries worldwide.


New batch of migrants headed to Croatia

Migrants move toward Bosnia
© Getty Images
A means of defense is being sought, Croatian daily Jutarnji List writes.

Namely, Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) is merely on the path of migrants, who, fleeing from their mostly war-affected countries, want to reach the EU. One of their routes goes through BiH, via which they enter Croatia and then Slovenia.

Due to the new influx of migrants seven police administrations along the border with BiH have been put on alert, the newspaper said. An order has been given to implement much stronger surveillance of the border, the article said, noting that additional equipment would be sent to these units.

Comment: See also: Wave of refugees break police lines, push through Croatia's border


New study shows 40% of US citizens above poverty line struggle to make ends meet

© Global Look Press
A new study reveals that more than 40 percent of American citizens who live above the official poverty line are still unable to afford middle-class basics including cell phones and transport.

The study, conducted by United Way ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Project and exclusively obtained by Axios, found that an overwhelmingly large group of US households were virtually struggling to make ends meet.

According to the study, two-thirds of US citizens were earning less than $20 an hour in 2016. As a result, a large band of US households sit uncomfortably just above the poverty line - but still struggle to pay for everyday expenses. The list of the basics found to be out of reach included rent, transportation, childcare and cellphones.

Comment: See also: US poverty Levels: 49.7 million are poor, and 80% of the total population is near poverty

Alarm Clock

'Ramadan puts us all at risk': Danish minister calls for fasting Muslims to take time off work during holy month

Danish Immigration and Integration Minister Inger Stojberg
© Francois Lenoir / Reuters
Danish Immigration and Integration Minister Inger Stojberg. January 6, 2016.
A minister from Denmark's center-right Liberal Party has called for Muslims to take time off during the holy month of Ramadan as their fasting could put wider society at risk.

Immigration and Integration Minister Inger Stojberg made the remarks in an op-ed for Danish newspaper BT Sunday, saying that Muslims who fast for up to 18 hours a day are placing themselves and others at risk, particularly bus drivers, machine workers, and hospital staff.

Stolberg argued that there are greater demands "in a modern, efficient society like Denmark's than there were in Medina during the time of Muhammad."

Comment: See also: Nazis: Germany starts confiscating refugee valuables to pay for their stay; Denmark moving on bill to do same