The Media Has Long Covered Up for Assad

So when Bashar Assad undemocratically took power, North Korean-style, after his father died, I was forced by my editor (against my protests, because I saw no evidence of this) to give the impression that Assad would likely be a reformer. Assad was described in the Telegraph as “mild-mannered,” a “modernizer” and so on.

I was also sometimes asked to describe the equally murderous Yasser Arafat as “moderate.” On one occasion, when I questioned my editor about inaccuracies that had been introduced by him into one of my published articles, he told me that “The Guardian, Independent and Times [of London] were saying Arafat wasn’t responsible.” In fact, the evidence showed both at the time and by the admission of Arafat’s own wife Suha later, that these other papers had got it wrong.

via The Media Has Long Covered Up for Assad | The Weekly Standard

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Trumps Eight Power Centers

Sessions obviously runs a major department in the government. But Bannon and Miller have another power center: the mouth of the president. Policy and speechwriting were separate departments in the Obama White House. Miller is the lead policy adviser to Trump but also oversees the speechwriting process. Bannon, as the White House political strategist, is also heavily involved in the president’s speeches and his broader message effort.

Why is this wing not all powerful? Because many of its views are actively opposed or not supported by the other seven wings of Trumpworld or on Capitol Hill, which can either oppose or not fund Trump’s ideas.

via The Eight Power Centers Of The Trump Administration | FiveThirtyEight

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Why our modern culture leads us to excuse terrorism

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN Terrorism in its current form, primarily carried out by right wing Islamist extremists, is a form of mass murder and serial killing and religious-supremacism combined. It’…

Source: Why our modern culture leads us to excuse terrorism

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Lobbyists Concealed Their Saudi Paymasters From Veterans Pressed to Lobby Against 9/11 Bill

Tim Cord was enraged and still is. “I joined the Marine Corps after 9/11 to basically directly combat the Saudi fu*king terrorists that did 9/11. I joined as a result of Saudi terrorism activity, and to find out I’m on their fu*king payroll and I’m on a ledger somewhere, I’m sitting in the Trump hotel having the time of my life, and I get to the realization that, go*damn, I owe them now, and that is not a cool feeling to have. Not the Saudis, dude. I mean, to be in the Saudis’ fu*king pocketbook, that made me have a really uncomfortable feeling,” he says.

Dan Cord has similar feelings. “It seems disgustingly ironic that the entire reason I joined the military was due to the 9/11 attacks, which were largely funded and manned by the Saudis. And so now I found myself under the guise of doing some good for the veterans, which is of course a huge aspect of my life, only to find out it has nothing to do with the veterans and nothing to do with the 9/11 families,” he says.

But it’s not just about 9/11 for Dan Cord. “Anyone’s that been deployed to a combat zone knows very well—outside of the public knowledge, but in-country knowledge—that Saudis still fund fighters over there. They fund them with weapons, they fund them with people, they fund them with intel,” he says.

Tim Cord says that, since 9/11 families represent such a sympathetic side of the JASTA debate, the Saudis and their lobbyists decided they needed to counter with a sympathetic face for those who want to amend it.

His brother agrees. “This is just a guise, and we make a good face, because who is going to openly tell a group of vets…that this bill is wrong and they’re not going to support it,” Dan Cord says.

“I sat there knowing the evidence was overwhelming that we were being used as pawns,” says Casler. “Knowing veterans were being used and flat out lied to. You can’t really mitigate this issue or explain it away. You don’t want to piss off a Marine, and they pissed off a group of Marines. We don’t care about politics or money. We have a dog in this fight for the truth, or we betray everything that we should stand for.”

via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Lobbyists Concealed Their Saudi Paymasters From Veterans Pressed to Lobby Against 9/11 Bill

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Stephen Miller, Trump’s policy advisor

“I think [Miller] is an American nationalist, but that doesn’t mean he is a racial nationalist… I do not think he is a white nationalist,” Spencer said. “Stephen Miller would never be alt-right at the time, or probably now too.”
However, Spencer, who was a history graduate student while Miller was an undergraduate, said that the two of them had worked to bring white-nationalist writer Peter Brimelow to campus together, something first reported by Mother Jones.
The two lost touch around five years ago, Spencer now says. And Miller disavowed Spencer last year, telling The Daily Beast about Spencer’s claim of mentorship that “his comment is totally false and obviously ludicrous… I strongly condemn his views.”

via The Troublemaker Behind Donald Trump’s Words – The Daily Beast

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What I saw at the Women’s March

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The Women’s March on Washington was the yuge-est, most bigly protest I’ve ever seen.

The atmosphere at the march reminded me of the blackout in NYC, 2003 – lots of people crowded in the streets after some inexplicable disaster, trying to figure out what to do next. Since the government and the politicians had proven to be useless,  we collectively decided to take care of ourselves.

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Hopefully, Americans can keep this collective-yet-independent spirit going.

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Other observations:

  • There were very few signs for Hillary or Bernie.
  • Participants were definitely opposed to Trump, but they also seemed to be disappointed by politicians in general. The most popular chant was “This is how democracy works.”(as in, rule by the people, not politicians)

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It was a very polite crowd. People were respectful to the cops. I didn’t hear one mention of ‘safe spaces’

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  • One enterprising capitalist was selling leftover Trump flags, saying “you can burn them.”

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  • I didn’t hear any of the speakers, but saw their videos later on.  I liked Scarlett Johansson’s speech best, Ashley Judd’s rant was whacked – wish I’d heard Alicia Keys’ music.

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  • The Washington DC and Baltimore area tried to prepare for the crowd, but there were many, many more people than they expected. Trains were packed, and they had to add more trains to the usual Saturday route.

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My predictions:

1. A Left-leaning group will form, something equivalent to the Tea Party in that it represents one party’s beliefs without supporting that party’s old guard political power.

2. The opposing side will cherry-pick the worst examples of this movement to try to portray them as extremists, but the movement will still gain strength.

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Unfortunately, the Tea Party led to Trump. It would be good for the Left to to figure out why that happened, and to avoid creating yet another demagogue-wannabe. Right now, we already have more of those than we can handle.

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Trump’s Targeted Campaign

On the day of the third presidential debate between Trump and Clinton, Trump’s team blasted out 175,000 distinct variations on his arguments, mostly via Facebook. The messages varied mostly in their microscopic details, in order to communicate optimally with their recipients: different titles, colors, subtitles, with different images or videos. The granularity of this message tailoring digs all the way down to tiny target groups, Nix explained to Das Magazin. “We can target specific towns or apartment buildings. Even individual people.”

via Trump Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself | aNtiDoTe Zine

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