Monday, July 23, 2018

Turning to Page

Still reads the same:

"The bill “will become an instrument of censorship” unless social media companies develop algorithms to distinguish real news from fake news, removing the human element and potential bias, the head of an association of social media users warned in a recent meeting with lawmakers. Human rights advocates say the bill holds clear echoes of the term frequently used by President Trump. Trump’s “use of ‘fake news’ as a catchall term for media outlets he does not like” has inspired crackdowns on press freedom in the world. Still, “the proliferation of deliberately falsified information online is a widely recognized problem,” even as critics worry that out of an abundance of caution, moderators are likely to interpret truthfulness to the authorities’ advantage....."

OMG, look who is talking!

Time to turn in:

"Carter Page denies being Russian agent" by Elise Viebeck and David Fahrenthold Washington Post  July 22, 2018

WASHINGTON —Republican Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina urged Trump to take a harder line against Russian President Vladimir Putin, a few days after Trump seemed deferential to Putin after a summit meeting in Helsinki.

On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Graham — a sometime Trump ally — seemed to be speaking directly to Trump, telling him to impose ‘‘new sanctions, heavy-handed sanctions’’ on Russia before Putin visits Washington.

They have forgotten the 2016 primaries (or is that all posturing) and what the relationship tells you is when Trump toes the line Graham is an ally. I mean, this is the guy who was joined at the hip with Joe Lieberman and John McCain not so long ago.

Graham noted that Trump had changed his position about whether Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election: ‘‘He’s changed his mind four times this week. The president gets this confused. If you suggest that Russians meddled in 2016, he goes to the idea that, ‘Well, I didn’t collude with them,’ ’’ Graham said.

Speaking directly to Trump again, he urged the president not to treat questions about Russian interference only as an attack on his own legitimacy. ‘‘Mr. President, they meddled in the election,’’ Graham said. ‘‘It could be us next. It could be some other power,’’ meaning that Republicans might be hurt, instead of helped.

Rubio, the author of a bill that would impose severe sanctions on Russia if it were determined to have interfered in a US election, said Trump should approach meetings with Putin without illusions about the Russian leader’s endgame.

Look at these buzzwords. The "endgame." 

And what do they mean if it is determined Russia interfered? It's been 18 months of non-stop certainty even without evidence. WTF? If!!!

Six days after Trump’s meeting with Putin, both Graham and Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said they still do not know what Trump and Putin said when they met privately in Helsinki last week.

‘‘We have no idea what this president, our president, agreed to,’’ Schiff said on ABC’s ‘‘This Week.’’ ‘‘Ostensibly there may have been agreements on Ukraine, on Syria, and who knows what else?’’

Well, if they didn't sign anything..... ???

Also Sunday, the release of secret documents about the wiretaps on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page seemed to be at the top of Trump’s mind.

From his golf club in New Jersey, Trump issued a Twitter message saying the FBI wiretap on Page was part of politically motivated spying on Trump’s presidential campaign. The documents, which were heavily redacted, showed that federal investigators were looking into Page’s possible connections with Russia as early as 2013.

Forget about what this has to do with actual interference in 2016 campaign. What the release confirms is what we have known for a long time now: the Obama administration used the national security apparatus of this country to spy on an opposing party's presidential campaign. It's Nixon to the nth degree.

Btw, whatever happened to Awan and what is with the sweetheart deal (see who is at the bottom of it)?

In Twitter messages, Trump repeated an attack used by some of his allies in the House: that, in seeking the wiretaps, the FBI had relied too much upon a ‘‘dossier’’ compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele — and paid for by Trump’s Democratic opponents. 

It was actually commissioned by Jeb Bush's people in the primary (the infamous unnamed Republican) before they passed it on to the Clinton campaign. The Bushes must have seen it and said, "We can't use this." The Clintons then forwarded it to the Obama administration, which sent it through DoJ channels so it could obtain the FISA warrants on Page.

Steele also shared his findings with the FBI because he was concerned that Trump may have been compromised by Russia.

Confirming that the Obama administration misled the courts to illegally spy on the opposing party's presidential candidate. At least the FBI didn't pay him.

What is interesting here is that another source for the dossier was former CIA director John Brennan, who has been conspicuously absent from my pre$$ since his treasonous treason comments.

In his appearance on CBS, Graham was asked if the surveillance of Page was justified. ‘‘No, not at all, in my view. If the dossier’s the reason you issued the warrant, it was a bunch of garbage,’’ Graham said.

The released documents don’t show the full set of evidence and sources the FBI relied upon in seeking a judge’s permission to wiretap Page. Whole sections in the application — detailing the FBI’s justification for believing Page was a Russian agent — are blacked out, but the documents make clear that Steele was one source for the FBI.


The wiretapping documents were released after a week of head-scratching developments related to Trump’s posture toward Russia.....

All began with Rosenstein handing down those indictments on the eve of the Helsinki meeting before he flew out to Aspen! 


Yeah, the whole operation has a hint of Butina:

"Russian billionaire reportedly backed alleged agent" by Rosalind S. Helderman Washington Post  July 22, 2018

WASHINGTON — Maria Butina, the Russian woman charged in federal court last week with acting as an unregistered agent of her government, received financial support from Konstantin Nikolaev, a Russian billionaire, according to a person familiar with testimony she gave Senate investigators.

Butina told the Senate Intelligence Committee in April that Nikolaev provided funding for a gun rights group she represented, according to the person. Nikolaev has investments in US energy and technology companies. Butina is accused of attempts to infiltrate conservative groups in the United States, including the National Rifle Association.

A spokesman for Nikolaev confirmed that he was in contact with her as she was launching the gun rights group in Russia between 2012 and 2014. He declined to confirm whether Nikolaev gave her financial support.

Nikolaev’s fortune has been built largely through port and railroad investments in Russia. He also sits on the board of American Ethane, a Houston ethane company that was showcased by President Trump at an event in China last year, and is an investor in a Silicon Valley start-up.

Nikolaev has never met Trump, according to his spokesman.

However, Nikolaev’s son Andrey, who is studying in the United States, volunteered in the 2016 campaign in support of Trump’s candidacy, according a person familiar with his activities. Konstantin Nikolaev was spotted at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, during Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, according to two people familiar with his presence.

In a court filing last week, prosecutors said Butina’s e-mails and chat logs are full of references to a billionaire as the ‘‘funder’’ of her activities. They wrote that the billionaire is a ‘‘known Russian businessman with deep ties to the Russian Presidential Administration.’’

Prosecutors did not identify Butina’s funder by name but said he travels often to the United States and was listed by Forbes this year as having a net worth of $1.2 billion — which is the same as Nikolaev’s current listing.

Butina was ordered held without bond this week after she was charged with conspiring to work as a Russian agent. Prosecutors allege that she sought to meet GOP politicians and infiltrate the conservative organizations at the direction of a Russian government official, in an attempt to advance the Kremlin’s interests.

Who dreamed up this case anyway?

According to prosecutors, for two years, she traveled back and forth to the United States, often accompanying Russian central banker Alexander Torshin to NRA events and other political meetings. Prosecutors have said that her activities were directed by a high-level Russian government official who matches the description of Torshin.

In August 2016, she came to Washington to study full time as a graduate student at American University.

Butina’s lawyer, Robert Driscoll, has said she is not a Russian agent but rather a student interested in learning about the American political system. The Russian government has proclaimed Butina’s innocence.

Why couldn't she have studied art instead?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pressed Butina’s case with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call Saturday, according to a statement by the Russian government.

Driscoll declined to comment on Nikolaev but said that the Russian businessman cited by prosecutors was a financial supporter of the gun-rights group Butina founded in Russia, the Right to Bear Arms. She met him in person only twice, he said.

Prosecutors cited Butina’s interactions with the Russian billionaire to argue she should not be allowed out of jail while awaiting trial. They argued that she has ‘‘ties to the Russian oligarchy’’ and knows wealthy men who could be in a position to offer her ‘‘safe harbor’’ if she decided to flee.

My printed paper blacked out the rest, metaphorically speaking, and not one mention of her offering sex to anyone today.

Nikolaev last had contact with the Russian activist in 2014, according to his spokesman, who said that at the time, Butina had a ‘‘public profile in Russia as a blogger on key domestic issues that were of interest.’’

Nikolaev’s connections to the Russian government ‘‘cannot be characterized as deep,’’ his spokesman said. ‘‘Mr. Nikolaev has no connections to the Russian government other than those that are strictly required professionally,’’ said the spokesman, who requested anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

He declined to offer details about the political volunteer work by Nikolaev’s son, Andrey.


She was trying to obtain the patina of scholarship and it's caused such a storm!

"Americans give Trump negative marks for Helsinki performance" Washington Post  July 23, 2018

WASHINGTON — By wide margins, Americans give President Trump negative marks for his conduct during a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and for his casting doubt on findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found.


Look who did the poll!

But public reaction nationally appears more muted than in Washington, where Trump faced withering bipartisan criticism for appearing to side with Putin over US intelligence agencies at a Monday news conference held in Helsinki.


Most Americans do not feel Trump went ‘‘too far’’ in supporting Putin, and while more Americans say US leadership has gotten weaker than stronger under Trump, his ratings on this question are slightly improved from last fall. 


We are told in the headline he is getting negative marks, and yet his numbers are rising!! Some might even call that praise!!!

Yeah, the skewed slop they call a poll confirms Americans are not as dumb as they think.

The findings indicate that while Trump was judged critically for his summit performance, the event has not yet proved to be a significant turning point in his presidency.

Yup, can't get him out by hollering racist, rapist, or child-ripper, so its back to Russia again.

The poll results suggest that overall attitudes have hardened on both sides and that major events like Helsinki produce only modest changes in Trump’s overall standing, if any.



The Post-ABC poll, conducted Wednesday through Friday, finds that overall, 33 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of his meeting with Putin, while 50 percent disapprove. A sizable 18 percent have no opinion. 

A SIZABLE 18 percent, huh?!

Those must be the people that hang up the phone when the Washington Post identifies itself.

Fifty-six percent disapprove of Trump expressing doubts about US intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election. On both questions, those who say they ‘‘strongly disapprove’’ of Trump’s performance outnumber those who say they ‘‘strongly approve,’’ by better than 2 to 1. 

Yeah, right, we are all still believing in those lying, deep-state intelligence agencies.

Related: "As defenders of the Constitution, we request that, together, in their experienced judgment, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama say that Trump’s limitations and the ways that he continues to demean and undermine our intelligence agencies make him unfit to hold this office."

Nothing like lining up with a bunch of blood-soaked, war-criminal liars (Carter excepted; he didn't even invade Iran when they held hostages).

A Washington Post-Schar School poll earlier this month found 43 percent approved of Trump’s job performance, while 55 percent disapproved, with strong disapproval outpacing strong approval by roughly 2 to 1.

Probably the highest of his presidency!

The new Post-ABC poll finds 40 percent saying Trump went ‘‘too far’’ in supporting Putin; however, almost as many, 35 percent, say Trump handled Putin ‘‘about right’’; 15 percent say he did not go far enough to support Putin. The rest have no opinion.

And I'm not going to waste the time offering mine on this slop.


Hope you Democrats are happy with a blue ripple this fall.

If anything, it will be a RED GLARE:

"For US cybersecurity, it’s Code Red" by Hiawatha Bray Globe Staff  July 20, 2018

With his soft voice and calm Midwestern demeanor, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats doesn’t seem like a scary guy, but lately, Coats has been saying some pretty scary things. Coats is warning that weaknesses in US cybersecurity could be setting us up for a high-tech replay of the devastating terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Coats says Russia is the worst offender, but it has plenty of company, including the US economic archrival China, and rogue states like Iran and North Korea. In addition, the terrorist Islamic State movement has become a sophisticated and dangerous online foe. On top of all that, there’s the threat of powerful criminal gangs that are using ransomware to extort millions of dollars by crippling computers in businesses, hospitals, and even law enforcement agencies.

That last one would be the Jewi$h mafia, and I wonder who is helping ISIS.

Any one of these entities would pose a formidable menace. The United States must somehow prepare to cope with all of them as they target government agencies, businesses, and consumers.

So the narrative will be the ENEMY CRASHED the $Y$TEM and stole your money, not the looting bankers and their political slaves. 

You ready to go to WAR?!!

“It’s very scary out there,” said Joel Brenner, a senior research fellow in international studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former inspector general of the US National Security Agency. “People have little idea how relentlessly our critical infrastructure as well as our government agencies are being attacked, around the clock.”

In recent years, the federal government has suffered a series of devastating digital security lapses. In 2015, the federal Office of Personnel Management revealed that hackers, probably sponsored by China, had stolen the personnel records of 22 million current and former government employees — a treasure trove of data for foreign spies.


Was under Obama so what does it matter, right?

And in 2016, a mysterious group called the Shadow Brokers published an array of hacking tools stolen from the National Security Agency, making these sophisticated tools available to spies and criminals worldwide.

What BS!

The federal government will spend about $15 billion on cybersecurity-related activities this year, a 4 percent increase from the previous fiscal year, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group, but updating federal cybersecurity is a massive undertaking.

“We’re still about nine and a half years behind where we ought to be,” said Gregory Touhill, a retired US Air Force general and president of Cyxtera Federal Group, which works with government agencies on data security issues. Touhill said many agencies use cybersecurity tools so obsolete, “we can take ’em out for a beer because they’re 22 years old.”

Where has all the money gone all these years? Whose pockets were lined?

Millions of American businesses are just as vulnerable, including companies that operate the nation’s critical infrastructure — electric power, water, and aviation, for example. In March, the Department of Homeland Security said Russian hackers had worked their way inside the computer networks of a number of US companies that deliver these critical services. The attackers stole information, but they could have done something far more dangerous — like shutting down electrical power plants, as Russian attackers did in Ukraine in 2015 and 2016.

Actually, they didn't, but why let that spoil the endless lies coming from my deep state pre$$?

Scott Aaronson, vice president of security and preparedness for the Edison Electric Institute, a power utility trade group, said a nation like Russia wouldn’t mount a similar attack against the United States because it would lead to war. A terrorist organization like the Islamic State would do it, but lacks the know-how. “But that’s true until it isn’t,” Aaronson said.

So electric utilities are spending large sums to harden their infrastructure, just in case. One key tactic is the reintroduction of manual controls for managing the power grid, to be used as backups in case hackers take over a utility’s computer systems. Also, since 2013, electrical utility executives have met regularly with each other and with federal officials to plan their responses to cyberattacks.

Like Stuxnet?

Other critical sectors of the economy have made similar arrangements. For instance, the United States and the UK run regular “war games” to test the capacity of major banks to resist massive online attacks aimed at stealing billions of dollars, or worse — crashing the entire global economy.

That is what they are planning when the bubble pops again.

But even the millions of smart devices in our homes could be used as staging areas for a cyber-Pearl Harbor.

No more scooting around then!

And cui bono? 

Who escapes with all the loot?

In 2016, attackers seized control of thousands of Internet-connected consumer devices like digital video cameras and baby monitors. They then used this “botnet” of subverted devices to launch an assault against Dyn, a New Hampshire company that routes huge amounts of Internet traffic. The attack temporarily shuttered or crippled several of the world’s most popular Internet sites, including Twitter, CNN, Fox News, and Netflix.

It's a hobby for some people, and don't worry, you didn't miss much.

That’s just a taste of what criminals or hostile governments could do as billions of digital consumer devices with weak security features are plugged into the burgeoning Internet of Things.

Just a taste, huh?

“When computers are embedded in everything, everything is vulnerable,” said Bruce Schneier, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and author of a forthcoming book on network security, “Click Here To Kill Everybody.” 

Don't bring the drone operation stations into it!

Schneier believes it’s only a matter of time before hackers cause fatal accidents by seizing control of Internet-connected cars, or kill people directly by causing malfunctions in Internet-connected medical devices like pacemakers. An enemy state or terrorist organization might manage to hack thousands of such devices, with catastrophic results.

Yeah, just sit back in that driverless car and enjoy the ride. 

It will be like that Stephen King movie.

There’s only one hope of preventing such a disaster, Schneier said — government-mandated standards for all Internet-connected devices, to ensure that they meet basic safety standards and can be easily upgraded to compensate for newly discovered security flaws.

“One hundred percent law and regulation,” Schneier said. “Nothing else will work.”

Yup, that is our ONLY HOPE, Bo$ton Globewan Kenobi! 



Here is $omething to worry about:

"10 years after crisis, derivatives market still a murky world" by Emily Flitter New York Times   July 22, 2018

NEW YORK — In the maze of subsidiaries that make up Goldman Sachs Group, two in London have nearly identical names: Goldman Sachs International and Goldman Sachs International Bank.

Both trade financial instruments known as derivatives with hedge funds, insurers, governments, and other clients.

US regulators, however, get detailed information only about the derivatives traded by Goldman Sachs International. Thanks to a loophole in laws enacted in response to the financial crisis, trades by Goldman Sachs International Bank don’t have to be reported.

A decade after a financial crisis fueled in part by a tangled web of derivatives, regulators still have an incomplete picture of who holds what in this $600 trillion market. 

Yeah, that is with a T!

“It’s a global market, so you really have to have a global set of data,” said Werner Bijkerk, former head of research at the International Organization of Securities Commissions, an umbrella group for regulators overseeing derivatives markets. “You can start running ‘stress tests’ and see where the weaknesses are. With this kind of patchwork, you will never be able to see that.”

Derivatives are instruments whose values are derived from the prices of other things, like a stock or a barrel of oil or a bundle of mortgages. Originally designed to protect their holders against future risks, they evolved into vehicles that traders used for financial speculation. Unlike stocks, they often aren’t traded on public exchanges, which means the market — and who is exposed to what — is opaque.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank law was supposed to improve regulators’ ability to monitor derivatives. US banks had to start reporting specifics about their trades, including whom they traded with, to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The goal was to prevent a recurrence of the financial crisis, when fatal problems at Lehman Brothers caused a tidal wave of troubles at other banks that were connected through derivatives. In part because nobody could map those connections, nobody knew where problems lurked, and fearful banks stopped lending to one another, but Dodd-Frank had a big gap: Banks don’t have to disclose to US regulators their holdings of derivatives housed in certain offshore entities. The critical variable is whether the US parent company is legally on the hook to bail out its foreign subsidiary if it gets into trouble. As long as the answer is no, the foreign entity isn’t subject to Dodd-Frank.

The size and severity of this blind spot are hard to measure. One consequence is that US regulators are unable to grasp the full exposure of US banks to their foreign rivals. Germany’s troubled Deutsche Bank, for example, is one of the largest players in the derivatives market, and much of its derivatives trading occurs in foreign markets outside the purview of US regulators. That means they have limited visibility into US banks’ connections to Deutsche Bank.

In a recent paper, a University of Maryland law professor, Michael Greenberger, wrote that the largest banks “have engineered a way to evade Dodd-Frank’s regulations at will.” He warned that in a period of financial stress, derivatives cause cascading losses. Because the ownership and connections of those derivatives remain murky, he wrote, “the economic chaos and harm of the 2008 financial meltdown may very well be repeated.”

I thought Dodd-Frank was the antibiotic to that (they never even finished writing them before repeal).

Thomas Hoenig, former vice chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., recalled that earlier efforts to bring transparency to the derivatives markets were derailed by the Clinton administration.....

Courtesy of LARRY SUMMERS!


Well, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America say aren’t trying to hide anything, but even so:

"Trade tensions threaten global growth as the engines of leading economies fall out of sync, the world’s top finance chiefs warned Sunday. Global growth remains robust but risks have increased, finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 nations said Sunday in a statement at the end of their two-day summit in Buenos Aires. The main risks are “rising financial vulnerabilities, heightened trade and geopolitical tensions, global imbalances, inequality and structurally weak growth,” the statement read. Emerging markets also face threats including market volatility and capital outflows. Trade dominated the discussions; President Trump threatened on Friday to levy tariffs on more imports from China worth billions. While Australia and Canada said the United States remains committed to free trade, Europeans had tougher language. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire urged the United States to return to reason and said the European Union won’t negotiate trade issues “with a gun to the head.”

"New England’s lobster industry is concerned about new tariffs applied by China to US seafood; that country is a major lobster buyer. Canada also recently brokered a deal with the European Union to remove tariffs on Canadian lobster exports to Europe; the United States has no such agreement. But the tariffs do not appear to be hurting the US business right now, in part because summer is more about domestic consumption, said Kristan Porter, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. One reason tariffs aren’t affecting US lobster prices is that lobstermen catch a lot of soft-shell lobsters in summer, Porter said. Hard-shell lobsters are preferable for shipping, yet some are concerned....."

I'd say order a pizza and have it delivered, but they would have to cross the bridge to get it to you.

Another bomb drop:

"Accused of rape and torture, exiled Afghan vice president returns" by Rod Nordland New York Times  July 22, 2018

KABUL — After more than a year in exile, General Abdul Rashid Dostum returned to his native Afghanistan on Sunday facing criminal charges of rape and kidnapping, as well as accusations of brutality, human rights abuses, and killing his first wife.

Dostum also remains the country’s first vice president.

Waiting to greet him Sunday at Kabul’s international airport was a government delegation and, apparently, a suicide bomber.

An array of top officials met his plane and, despite the criminal charges against him, they gave him safe passage — not to jail, but to his office and home, in a deal that Afghan officials have said was negotiated by President Ashraf Ghani in the wake of widespread protests and unrest among his fellow Uzbeks.

Moments after he left the airport, however, the bomber detonated explosives at the traffic circle at the exit, killing 20 people, including nine members of a security detail assigned to Dostum, and wounding 90 others, according to police and health officials.

“Just as we passed the roundabout, we heard a boom. I said, ‘Oh God,’ ” Dostum told a crowd of thousands of supporters gathered outside his office in downtown Kabul to cheer his return. “I pray that all the wounded survive.”

His supporters dismissed the many charges against him. “He is a leader who has millions of supporters,” Mullah Mohammad Qasim said. “All of those allegations against him are baseless lies.”

The government insisted that the criminal charges remained active, even though they date from November 2016 and have resulted in no arrests. Dostum and nine of his bodyguards are accused of abducting a political opponent, Ahmad Ishchi, and of beating and raping him repeatedly.

“His case will be there — that is a personal issue; I don’t know what will happen,” said Shah Hussain Murtazawi, the deputy spokesman for Ghani.

Dostum’s return from exile is the latest episode in the tumultuous career of the Uzbek leader, an illiterate former communist enforcer turned warlord who at one time or another was allied with every side in Afghanistan’s long war — including the Taliban — and turned on most of them.

He is accused of war crimes, including allowing his men to suffocate thousands of Taliban prisoners in locked truck containers.

I remember seeing the film on "Democracy Now" over 12 years ago.

Long a protégé of the Central Intelligence Agency, which mentored and armed him, Dostum has proved a powerful political player in Afghan elections in recent years, able to deliver his small but united Uzbek minority as a 4-million-strong bloc, giving him outsize influence.

Ghani took him on as his running mate in 2014, despite previously calling him a “known killer.”

The new political respectability of First Vice President Dostum — the country has three vice presidents — did little to curb his behavior, however.

After the election, he would still at times be seen leading his private militia into battle, riding in his personal Humvee with two dwarf bodyguards on the hood, and engaging in drinking bouts in a country where alcohol is outlawed. And he is widely accused of continuing to use rape to subjugate his enemies, and occasionally his allies.

His exile to Turkey was negotiated with the help of diplomats to avoid the unrest that would most likely have erupted if he were to face trial on rape charges, but unrest in northern Afghanistan, where Dostum has many supporters and allies, is happening anyway: Many Uzbeks have been angered by the government’s arrest of a powerful northern warlord and Dostum ally, Nizamuddin Qaisari, and his bodyguards.

Video of government forces violently abusing his bodyguards became public, fueling protests and more outrage. The deal allowing him to return is seen as a bid by Ghani’s government to seek his cooperation in parliamentary elections this year, as well as in next year’s presidential race. Many other northern political factions are aligning against Ghani’s largely Pashtun ethnic base, and Dostum could broaden that support to Uzbeks.

Government officials insist that Qaisari will remain in custody, but Dostum’s return is expected to calm his supporters. Several people have come forward to give accounts of Dostum’s violence and sexual abuse, and diplomats and US Embassy cables released by WikiLeaks have detailed even more.

Where is Assange, btw?


After the airstrike on Saturday, it's been quiet ever since.

Suspected US airstrike kills 4 Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen

The battle for the port of Hodeida must be going badly because the Globe has been silent on it for over a month

"The United States and other Western governments have funded their work, and a Netflix film, “The White Helmets,” won an Academy Award last year for best short documentary. A second film about the group, “Last Men in Aleppo,” was nominated for an Oscar this year."

The sad things is their gas attack videos are also staged and scripted fictions; however, a GoFundMe campaign is underway for the CIA production crew so they can keep making movies and keep Israel happy. Maybe you believe in the fakery; I no longer do.

Elsewhere, Mugabe is still a player in Zimbabwe, and I'm aborting the Spanish and Irish coverage.


A biennial tradition: Beacon Hill lawmakers’ mad scramble

They did nothing but smoke pot (he pledged a fast rollout, huh?) after first giving themselves a pay raise because they needed to get that out of the way before tending to a full agenda.

You know, “waiting until the last minute can lead to unintended consequences with far-reaching implications for the public,” but I gue$$ that's the “the nature of the institution now.” 

What an embarrassment.

"At one level, there are obvious differences: On policy, however, the disagreements can be harder to parse. After the event, Katz said she was impressed but still undecided. To crystallize the point: “The overarching message is the difference between a reliable vote and a champion.”

I wouldn't trade places with them.

So what the kids are up to these days other than making a lot of noise

I hope they are behaving themselves and not running when the police show up. Gives you bad karma.