Sunday, January 29, 2017

Another Arab Spring?

Here is a warning of the possibility of a second wave of Anti- Government protests in the Arab World.  President Trump's travel ban will surely add "fire" to the feelings of entrapment and hopelessness among young Muslims. 

pc: wikipedia

A new report released this week by the United Nations warns of the possibility of a second “Arab Spring” that may well have implications for Israeli safety and security. 

Called the Arab Development Report, the paper focuses on the future of young Arabs aged 19 to 26, who are battling poverty, joblessness, “marginalization” — and desperately seeking a voice for their concerns. 

It warns that the failure of Arab nations to help young men and women succeed academically, vocationally, and economically could lead to another wave of deadly protests across the region, similar to the popular uprising six years ago that became known as the Arab Spring. 

Few jobs, lack of upward mobility and widespread disillusionment 

Joblessness is a major problem all across the Middle East—much higher than the world average. Youth unemployment, at 30 percent throughout the region, is more than twice the world’s 14-percent average. What’s more, almost half of young Arab women looking for jobs can’t find work. 

The paper noted that young Arabs 15 to 29 now make up nearly a third of the region’s population. Another third are under 15. If they don’t attain what the report characterizes as “full social and economic inclusion,” they’ll be increasingly inclined to turn to violence. And that violence could be directed at Israel. 

The eight-chapter report calls on Arab states to invest in their youth and equip them to share in economic growth. 

Soft-peddling the root causes of Arab rage 

In an opinion piece carried by the Jerusalem Post, Benjamin Weinthal, a Fellow at the Foundation for Defensive Democracies, criticizes the report for “tiptoeing” around the root causes of trouble in the region—genocide, the oppression of women, political corruption, and the rise of radical Islam—by not naming the oppressive leaders who cause these evils, such as Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. 

He said corrupt Arab leaders should be called out, but instead are given a pass through the report’s frequent use of evasive “boilerplate United Nations diplomatic” language. 

Weinthal quotes a former veteran Israeli diplomat as saying, “There is almost no free market, no hi-tech (though many study it), and most important, corruption rages. These are the ingredients which will continue fueling the situation for the foreseeable future.” 

The diplomat warned of a “total implosion.” 

The real troublemakers 

Even as the report blames social disparity, corruption, and lack of opportunity as the drivers of young Arab angst, it cites Israel 29 times and claims: “The cause of the Palestinians remains the largest and most serious” threat to the region. 

Incredibly, the study makes just one mention of radical Islamic organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, that continue to cause violence, instability, and incalculable damage all across the Middle East. There are no dire warnings of the grave threat the Brotherhood, ISIS, and other Jihad-driven movements present to not only Israel, but other nations in the region and worldwide. 

You and I know this is delusion. 

Arab Spring, Part 2? 

On December 17, many peace-seeking Arabs will observe the 6th anniversary of the self-immolation—suicide in the name of a deeply held belief—of Mohamed Bouazizi. He was the Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire in protest of government corruption. Bouazizi is widely recognized as the catalyst for the wider Arab Spring. 

But if this report is any indication, influential organizations like the UN still do not understand the real problem. By ignoring the need for worldwide repudiation and action to neutralize Jihad-driven governments that are the direct cause of Arab disillusionment, we only prolong the violence and magnify the eventual, terrible consequences. 

You can be sure that Bouazizi will not be the last young Arab to take extreme action in protest of the incompetence, oppression, and corruption that characterize the Arab world under radical Muslim control. We will see more violent revolution. Unfortunately, the entire region—and likely Israel—will suffer as a result. 

How should we respond? 

As always, I ask for your prayers. Chaos and upheaval are opportunities for God to bring peace. I believe these developments are clear indications God is at work in the Middle East. That’s our prompt to pray earnestly for His protection on the Jewish people during these Last Days. 

Yes, pray for peace. But pray also for redemption—not only for the Jewish people we love so much, but also for young Arabs who find only disillusionment and hopelessness in the Islamic faith. It’s true: our primarily mission is salvation for the Jewish people. But the entire Kingdom of God will be blessed by the millions of Muslims I am convinced will come to faith in Yeshua (Jesus) during this era of growing darkness. 

It’s a blessed irony: Muslims finding true salvation in the Jewish Messiah! 

source:   © Jewish Voice Ministries International.
P.O. Box 81439 - Phoenix, AZ 85069-1439 
Ph# 1-800-299-9374 
December 2016

Friday, January 27, 2017

President Hillary of California

Flickr: Vivianna_love 

Some interesting post-election statistics and their relevance. 

 California stats are:
Hispanic............ 14,990,000 
Asian.................. 5,736.098 
................ 2,552,858
American Indian
Note, Hispanics outnumber Caucasians. 

But, another interesting statistic is this:
34% of the nation’s 67,980,000 million people who receive welfare live in California, and California has only 12% of the entire U.S. population
[Fed stats].

his means:
 23,113,200 welfare recipients live in California. 39,487,345 people live in California.
[more welfare recipients than workers, i.e. more people in the wagon than pulling the wagon]

According to stats, Clinton beat Trump in CA by 2,708,893
We hear bleating from the media and the Democrats that since Hillary won the popular vote she should be president. 65,124,828 to 62,652,263 or 48.2% to 46.3% with the remaining 5.5% going to the other candidates.

But consider the facts:
Trump led in the total popular vote for all states…….except California.
Hillary won California 5,860,714 to Trump’s 3,151,821. 61.6% to 33.1% exclusive of the other candidates. [a margin of 2,708,893]
Thus, California gave Hillary the popular vote for all states as claimed by the Democrats.
But, deduct her California vote from her national vote, leaving her with 59,264,114, and deduct Trump’s California vote from his national total, leaving him with 59,500,442.

So, in effect, Hillary was elected president of California and Trump was elected president of the rest of the country.

 This exemplifies the wisdom of the ELECTORAL COLLEGE, to prevent the vote of any one well populated state from overriding the vote of the others.

 One other tidbit: California is one of 11 “welfare states” where there are more people living off the government dole than there are working for a living. A perfect example of those who vote for a living.

(And consider this: Most of the Hispanics in California are illegals. With many of them voting, we could have a country controlled by illegals. At least controlled by people living on welfare - paid by hard working tax payers, in the other states).  -- RC, via fb

Is it any wonder then,  that --- >>  CALEXIT: 1/3 OF Californians Want to Secede

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Scoffers, Scorners, and Snark

Scoffers, Scorners, and Snark

Tim Keller

The New Yorker film critic  David Denby recently wrote a book called Snark. He observed that a tone of snide, mocking, ‘nasty and knowing,’ speaking was coming to dominate our public discourse. ‘Snark’ aims not just at refuting someone’s position, but also at destroying their ‘cool,’ erasing their effectiveness, trying to get control of and sully the person’s image with the public. Opposing views are not treated with respect but instead with snarling disdain and ad hominem mockery. Even many regular editorial writers in major newspaper do little more than ridicule. Denby pointed out that politics has been a major source of snark, since insinuating, insulting, and demonizing the opposition (rather than re-spectful arguments) often wins elections. But the Internet has put ‘snark’ on steroids.

Recently I have been reading through Proverbs and was struck by a particular character that shows up about 17 times. In the NIV translation he’s called the ‘mocker,’ in the King James Version the ‘scorner’ and in many others ‘the scoffer.’ The scoffers’ behavior has two characteristics. First, he or she is marked by dogmatism, a closed mind. The scoffer never says, ‘Well, I might be wrong here’ or ‘I was wrong here.’ The scoffer is always right (13:1). There is never a hum-ble openness to change. In a striking phrase 20:1 tells us that the scoffer is no more open to reason than a hopelessly drunk person.

Second, scoffers show no respect for opponents or opposing points of view. They do not simply refute them; they belittle, insult, and mock them (9:7-8.) There is always a tone of contempt and disdain. Together dogmatism and contemptuous derision comprise the spiritual condition of ‘scoffer.’

According to Proverbs, these two characteristics do not stem from a lack of intelligence. Proverbs speaks of the ‘simple’ or the gullible person, those who ‘lack sense’ because of their lazy thoughtlessness. But scoffers are not intellectually lazy (14:6), indeed they are often sharp witted, and may have been seduced into this mode by their very mental acuity. Their condition is not due to their mental capacity, but to their mental attitude, especially their attitude toward themselves and therefore toward God.

First, this attitude is marked by pride (21:24.) The Hebrew word for pride used of the scoffer is a word that means ‘people who must have things their own way, who have a need to control and correct everyone.’ Second, scoffers are, under their veneer of confidence, filled with anger (9:8,15:25.) They never act like they take their opponents seriously, but underneath there is great insecurity. In some cases there may be a root of bitterness. They may have been wronged in some significant way, and, rather than letting God be judge (Romans 12:17-21) they have taken matters into their own hands. But in many other cases, the scoffers are simply lacking the combination of humility and inner peace that a firm grasp of the gospel brings.

Who are the ‘scoffers’ and ‘mockers’ of our day? On the one hand, there are those who consciously or unconsciously have adopted Nietzsche’s exhortation to ‘do philosophy with a hammer.’ They consider all truth-claims to actually be efforts to gain power. They feel the need to de-bunk and tear down almost anyone who has a serious proposal for how people should live. They laugh and mock anyone who has the podium.

Secondly, there are ideologues. Ideologues are not such not because of the policies or positions they espouse, but because of the way they demonize and ridicule all opponents to their position, and because they never admit any downsides or dangers to their policies. In this they are the classic ‘scorners’ the Bible warns about. Ideologues, then, are not necessarily extremists at all. They can exist anywhere along the spectrum of opinion, even at the center.

Among orthodox Christians there are many people and churches that issue warnings against unbelief and error. Indeed this often needs to be done, and Proverbs 26:28 says that a ‘flattering tongue,’ unwilling to criticize those in power, is destructive to the church. But many believers, even when they flag teaching and practices that should be identified, do it with the attitude of the scoffer in the book of Proverbs. In response to this charge, some of them point out that some Biblical speakers and writers used sarcasm. That is true—you can see it in Elijah’s debate with the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18, or especially in Paul’s critique of his critics in 2 Corinthians 10-13. Sarcasm and irony can be effective ways to drive a point home, but derision and contempt cannot be the settled, main way that sinners talk to other sinners.

Paul described his communication approach among the Corinthians. He says, ‘I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom…I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.’ (1 Corinthians 2:1,3.) These two phrases ‘eloquence’ and ‘superior wisdom’ referred to practices that often marked public orators in Greco-Roman culture. Anthony Thiselton, in his commentary on 1 Corinthians, defines them. First, there was ‘verbal bullying’, using force of personality, witty and cutting disdain, and super-confident demagoguery to beat the listeners into wanting to be on the speaker’s side. Second, there was applause-generating, consumer-oriented rhetoric, playing to a crowd’s prejudices, pride, and fears. Though they were effective in his culture (and ours!) for garnering popular support, Paul refused these rhetorical strategies, both of which were practices of the scoffer or mocker.

According to Proverbs, what happens to the scoffer, the man or woman who always has to be right, who derides rather than engages opposing views? Proverbs says that the first result is loneliness (9:12). Scoffers impress the impressionable if they are allowed to hold forth (19:25; 21:11) but as time goes on, the scoffer not only destroys relationships but is listened to less and less by the public (24:9.) Often the scorner has valid points, but because of his or her dogmatic and proud attitude, no peace is possible inside a community. This is because scoffers don’t know how to affirm and live in harmony with people who don’t agree with them on everything. The problem is, as Kidner says, ‘the mischief he does is not the random mischief of the ordinary fool, but the deeper damage of the ‘debunker’…’ (Kidner, p.42) Therefore, mockers may be actually driven out of some communities. (22:10.)

But by far the most terrible and just result of scoffing is a divine taste of their own medicine. He [the Lord] scorneth the scornful; but he gives grace to the lowly.” (Prov 3:34, KJV)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Why Getting Out of the TPP is a Good Decision

 TPP  Problems Explained

For Future Reference: Transcript of President Trump's Inaugural Address 2017

The Address that had the Left and Establishment losing their minds… did you LOVE it?
Trump was gracious to the PEOPLE who came before him, but he was ruthless toward the POLICIES they peddled.
When he spoke, MSNBC heard ‘Hitlerian’… because they were EXPECTING to hear hate...


Here is his ‘divisive’ address.  Notice the recurring theme of unity… We… All… American…
(and the jarring absence of Obama’s over-use of the word ‘I’).  Notice how he brings together White, Brown and Black by going past the superficial skin and tying them all together with the same Patriot’s blood.
Notice how he bridges city and rural by pointing to the ‘same night sky’ and ‘same dreams’. ‘Their success is our success.’
Is that bashing the Obamas?
Sure! They ARE establishment! They surround themselves with wealthy and powerful. They are in lockstep support of unions, and their priorities. They habitually pit one group against another. He launched his presidential bid in the home of a seemingly unrepentant domestic terrorist, and never missed a chance pick sides in a dispute, instinctively siding against traditional American values (criticizing Christianity at the prayer breakfast) or letting race inform his decisions about guilt and innocence.
Aww, Barack…
Here’s the full transcript:
Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power.
And we are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you.
Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.
For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have bore the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.
That all changes starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.
This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.
January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.
At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.
These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists.
Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.
An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.
And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation, and their pain is our pain.
Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.
We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own. And we’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.
Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example.
We will shine for everyone to follow.
We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.
We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms and we all salute the same great American flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator.
So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together we will make America strong again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America proud again, we will make America safe again.
And, yes, together we will make America great again.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America. —DailyMail

Left or right, we can all agree on one thing. Whatever course America charts in the days ahead, it will NOT be ‘more of the same’.

Link  to  ClashDaily article

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Study: Right-wing People are Better-looking

"I just hate looking at Nancy Pelosi, Janet Reno, Michelle Obama, Barbara Mikulski. Look at the other side- Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Kelly Ayotte, Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush. They are classy, elegant women." -- WP, fb

Research has found that being attractive influences many things in a person's life -- their salary, their popularity and grades in school, even the prison sentences they receive. So why not their politics?
A recently published study in the Journal of Public Economics concludes that the attractiveness of a candidate does correlate with their politics. They find that politicians on the right are more good looking in Europe, the United States and Australia.
The study shows correlation, not causation, but the researchers float a simple economic explanation for why this might happen. Numerous studies have shown that good-looking people are likely to earn more, and that people who earn more are typically more opposed to redistributive policies, like the progressive taxes and welfare programs favored by the left.
The researchers also offer a more general psychological explanation for the trend: That good-looking people are often treated better than others, and thus see the world as a more just place. Past studies have found that the more attractive people believe themselves to be, the lower their preference for egalitarianism, a value typically associated with the political left.
In their first experiment, the researchers showed respondents photographs of political candidates in Finnish municipal and parliamentary elections, members of the European Parliament, U.S. candidates for Senate and governor, and candidates for Australia's House of Representatives. They asked participants to rate the photographs on a five-point scale. The results suggested that politicians on the right are more beautiful on all three continents.
In a separate experiment, the researchers analysed elections in Finland. They say these elections are easier to study because most races feature multiple candidates competing for office -- in contrast to races in the United States, which typically have just two major candidates.
The researchers found that Republican voters care more about appearance than Democratic voters do, but only if the voters don't have much information about the candidates and have to rely largely on appearance -- in city-level elections, for example.
But in elections that give voters a lot of information -- like parliamentary elections when candidates are well covered by TV news and in the newspaper -- politicians' appearance matters equally to voters regardless of party or ideology.
In low-information city elections, a beauty increase of one standard deviation attracts about 20 percent more votes for the average candidate on the right and about 8 percent more votes for the average candidate on the left, the study finds. In high-information parliamentary elections, the figure is roughly 14 percent for candidates on both the left and right.
The researchers also suggest that voters correctly see candidates who are more good looking as more likely to be conservative. When voters don't know much about candidates, they tend to use beauty as a cue for ideology.
Washington Post 
Link to article:  Better-looking People

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Demand for Russian "Hacking" Proof

MEMORANDUM FOR: President Barack Obama
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: A Key Issue That Still Needs to be Resolved

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take the oath of office Friday, a pall hangs over his upcoming presidency amid an unprecedentedly concerted campaign to de-legitimize it. Unconfirmed accusations continue to swirl alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized “Russian hacking” that helped put Mr. Trump in the White House. As President for a few more days, you have the power to demand concrete evidence of a link between the Russians and WikiLeaks, which published the bulk of the information in question. Lacking that evidence, the American people should be told that there is no fire under the smoke and mirrors of recent weeks. We urge you to authorize public release of any tangible evidence that takes us beyond the unsubstantiated, “we-assess” judgments by the intelligence agencies. 

Otherwise, we – as well as other skeptical Americans – will be left with the corrosive suspicion that the intense campaign of accusations is part of a wider attempt to discredit the Russians and those – like Mr. Trump – who wish to deal constructively with them.

Remember the Maine? 

Alleged Russian interference has been labeled “an act of war” and Mr. Trump a “traitor.” But the “intelligence” served up to support those charges does not pass the smell test. Your press conference on Wednesday will give you a chance to respond more persuasively to NBC’s Peter Alexander’s challenge at the last one (on Dec. 16) “to show the proof [and], as they say, put your money where your mouth is and declassify some of the intelligence. ...” You told Alexander you were reluctant to “compromise sources and methods.” We can understand that concern better than most Americans. We would remind you,  though, that at critical junctures in the past, your predecessors made judicious decisions to give higher priority to buttressing the credibility of U.S.intelligence-based policy than to protecting sources and methods. With the Kremlin widely accused by politicians and pundits of “an act of war,” this is the kind of textbook case in which you might seriously consider taking special pains to substantiate serious allegations with hard intelligence – if there is any.

During the Cuban missile crisis, for instance, President Kennedy ordered us to show highly classified photos of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba and on ships en-route, even though this blew sensitive detail regarding the imagery intelligence capabilities of the cameras on our U-2 aircraft.  President Ronald Reagan’s reaction to the Libyan terrorist bombing of La Belle Disco in Berlin on April 5, 1986, that killed two and injured 79 other U.S. servicemen is another case in point. We had intercepted a Libyan message that morning: “At 1:30 in the morning one of the acts was carried out with success, without leaving a trace behind.” (We should add here that NSA’s dragnet SIGINT capability 30 years later renders it virtually impossible to avoid “leaving a trace behind” once a message is put on the network.)

President Reagan ordered the U.S. Air Force to bomb Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s palace compound to smithereens, killing several civilians. Amid widespread international consternation and demands for proof that Libya was responsible for the Berlin attack, President Reagan ordered us to make public the encrypted Libyan message, thereby sacrificing a collection/decryption capability unknown to the Libyans – until then. 

As senior CIA veteran Milton Bearden has put it, there are occasions when more damage is done by “protecting” sources and methods than by revealing them. 

Where’s the Beef? 
We find the New York Times- and Washington Post-led media Blitz against Trump and Putin truly extraordinary, despite our long experience with intelligence/media related issues. On Jan. 6, the day after your top intelligence officials published what we found to be an mbarrassingly shoddy report purporting to prove Russian hacking in support of Trump’s candidacy, the Times banner headline across all six columns on page 1 read: “PUTIN LED SCHEME TO AID TRUMP, REPORT SAYS .”The lead article began: “President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia directed a vast cyberattack aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and installing Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office, the nation’s top intelligence agencies said in an extraordinary report they delivered on Friday to Mr. Trump.” Eschewing all subtlety, the Times added that the revelations in “this damning report ... undermined the legitimacy” of the President-elect, and “made the case that Mr. Trump was the favored candidate of Mr. Putin.”

On page A10, however, Times investigative reporter Scott Shane pointed out: “What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a significant omission.”Shane continued, “Instead, the message from the agencies essentially amounts to ‘trust us.’ There is no discussion of the forensics used to recognize the handiwork of known hacking groups, no mention of intercepted communications between the Kremlin and the hackers, no hint of spies reporting from inside Moscow’s propaganda machinery.”

Shane added that the intelligence report “offers an obvious reason for leaving out the details, declaring that including ‘the precise bases for its assessments’ would ‘reveal sensitive sources and methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future.’” Shane added a quote from former National Security Agency lawyer Susan Hennessey: “The unclassified report is underwhelming at best. There is essentially no new information for those who have been paying attention.” Ms. Hennessey served as an attorney in NSA’s Office of General Counsel and is now a Brookings Fellow in National Security Law.

Everyone Hacks

There is a lot of ambiguity – whether calculated or not – about “Russian hacking.” “Everyone knows that everyone hacks,” says everyone: Russia hacks; China hacks; every nation that can hacks. So do individuals of various nationalities. This is not the question. You said at your press conference on Dec. 16 “the intelligence that I have seen gives me great confidence in their [U.S. intelligence agencies’] assessment that the Russians carried out this hack.” “Which hack?” you were asked. “The hack of the DNC and the hack of John Podesta,” you answered. Earlier during the press conference you alluded to the fact that “the information was in the hands of WikiLeaks.” The key question is how the material from “Russian hacking” got to WikiLeaks, because it was WikiLeaks that published the DNC and Podesta emails.

Our VIPS colleague William Binney, who was Technical Director of NSA and created many of the collection systems still in use, assures us that NSA’s “cast-iron” coverage – particularly surrounding Julian Assange and other people associated with WikiLeaks – would almost certainly have yielded a record of any electronic transfer from Russia to WikiLeaks. Binney has used some of the highly classified slides released by Edward Snowden to demonstrate precisely how NSA accomplishes this using trace mechanisms embedded throughout the network. [See: “U.S. Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims, ”Dec. 12, 2016.]

NSA Must Come Clean 

We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks. If NSA can produce such evidence, you may wish to order whatever declassification may be needed and then release the evidence. This would go a long way toward allaying suspicions that no evidence exists. If NSA cannot give you that information – and quickly – this would probably mean it does not have any.

In all candor, the checkered record of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for trustworthiness makes us much less confident that anyone should take it on faith that he is more “trustworthy than the Russians,” as you suggested on Dec. 16. You will probably recall that Clapper lied under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 12, 2013, about NSA dragnet activities; later apologizing for testimony he admitted had been “clearly erroneous.” 

In our Memorandum for you on Dec. 11, 2013, we cited chapter and verse as to why Clapper should have been fired for saying things he knew to be “clearly erroneous.”  In that Memorandum, we endorsed the demand by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner that Clapper be removed. “Lying to Congress is a federal offense, and Clapper ought to be fired and prosecuted for it,” said Sensenbrenner in an interview with The Hill. “The only way laws are effective is if they’re enforced.”  Actually, we have had trouble understanding why, almost four years after he deliberately misled the Senate, Clapper remains Director of National Intelligence – overseeing the entire intelligence community.

Hacks or Leaks?

 Not mentioned until now is our conclusion that leaks are the source of the WikiLeaks disclosures in question – not hacking. Leaks normally leave no electronic trace. William Binney has been emphasizing this for several months and suggesting strongly that the disclosures were from a leaker with physical access to the information – not a hacker with only remote access. This, of course, makes it even harder to pin the blame on President Putin, or anyone else. And we suspect that this explains why NSA demurred when asked to join the CIA and FBI in expressing “high confidence” in this key judgment of the report put out under Clapper’s auspices on Jan. 6, yielding this curious formulation:  “We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.” (Emphasis, and lack of emphasis, in original).

 In addition, former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray has said publicly he has first- hand information on the provenance of the leaks, and has expressed surprise that no one from the New York Times or the Washington Post has tried to get in touch with him. We would be interested in knowing whether anyone from your administration, including the intelligence community, has made any effort to contact Ambassador Murray.

What to Do

 President-elect Trump said a few days ago that his team will have a “full report on hacking within 90 days.” Whatever the findings of the Trump team turn out to be, they will no doubt be greeted with due skepticism, since Mr. Trump is in no way a disinterested party.

You, on the other hand, enjoy far more credibility – AND power – for the next few days. And we assume you would not wish to hobble your successor with charges that cannot withstand close scrutiny. We suggest you order the chiefs of the NSA, FBI and CIA to the White House and ask them to lay all their cards on the table. They need to show you why you should continue to place credence in what, a month ago, you described as “uniform intelligence assessments” about Russian hacking. At that point, if the intelligence heads have credible evidence, you have the option of ordering it released – even at the risk of damage to sources and methods. For what it may be worth, we will not be shocked if it turns out that they can do no better than the evidence-deprived assessments they have served up in recent weeks. In that case, we would urge you, in all fairness, to let the American people in on the dearth of convincing evidence before you leave office. As you will have gathered by now, we strongly suspect that the evidence your intelligence chiefs have of a joint Russian-hacking-WikiLeaks-publishing operation is no better than the “intelligence” evidence in 2002-2003 – expressed then with comparable flat-fact “certitude” – of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Obama’s Legacy
Mr. President, there is much talk in your final days in office about your legacy. Will part of that legacy be that you stood by while flames of illegitimacy rose willy-nilly around your successor? Or will you use your power to reveal the information – or the fact that there are merely unsupported allegations – that would enable us to deal with them responsibly?
In the immediate wake of the holiday on which we mark the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it seems appropriate to make reference to his legacy, calling to mind the graphic words in his “Letter From the Birmingham City Jail,” with which he reminds us of our common duty to expose lies and injustice: “Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up, but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must likewise be exposed, with all of the tension its exposing creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.) Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret) and former Office Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA Bogdan Dzakovic, Former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS) Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan
(associate VIPS) Larry Johnson, former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official, ret. Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (Ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC) Brady Kiesling, former U.S. Foreign Service Officer, ret. (Associate VIPS), John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003 Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.) Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.) Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.) Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA (ret.)
Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq
Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.) Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS) Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA (ret.)
Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)
Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat.

More than 20 U.S. intelligence, military and diplomatic veterans are calling on President Obama to release the evidence backing up allegations that Russia aided the Trump campaign – or admit that the proof is lacking.

re-posted from FB via L.G.