News & Analysis, Dec. 12, 2019

Jesus’ Birthplace of Bethlehem: Surrounded by Israeli Occupation (Ex-Mayor of Bethlehem)

We speak to the former Mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun for our Christmas special episode of Going Underground. She discusses the building of the wall around Bethlehem by Israel, the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian land by Israel, how Israel’s policies have caused an exodus of Christians from Bethlehem, the need for a return to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and more.

I’ve communicated extensively with members of CAIR (Council on American–Islamic Relations) who profess to be extremely liberal and progressive. Some of them are in rather high positions within CAIR.

Our Saudi Arabia Problem (Part 1)

A deeper in-depth look into the history of the Saudi family and their exportation of Wahhabism around the world and into the US.

Guillaume Long is a very knowledgeable fellow.

Latin America says ‘No to neoliberalism!’: Ecuador’s ex-foreign minister talks uprisings and Assange

The Grayzone premieres its new show Red Lines with Anya Parampil with an interview with the former foreign minister of Ecuador, Guillaume Long. We discuss the coup in Bolivia, the anti-neoliberal uprisings sweeping Latin America, US Monroeism and the OAS, CIA spying on the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and President Lenin Moreno’s betrayal of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

We are seeing “a big geopolitical return of a very hawkish and aggressive United States, trying to force Monroeism on the region, the old Monroe Doctrine – ‘It’s our backyard,'” Long says.

China Was Biggest Jailer of Journalists in 2019, Group Says

Trump’s order is completely unconstitutional. I’m glad he signed it because it will hasten the day when the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism will be declared unconstitutional as a basis for law in the US by the US Supreme Court.

Under the order, the Department of Education will consider the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism — which can include criticism of Israel — when evaluating discrimination complaints under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The department could withhold funding from schools that it finds in violation of Title VI.

The executive order states that federal agencies in following the directive shall not infringe upon the First Amendment and its protection of free speech.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it would be monitoring the administration’s action to ensure that’s the case. “If the administration attempts to undermine that freedom using this order, we will see it in court,” said David Cole, the ACLU’s national legal director.

Trump signs order targeting college anti-Semitism

Carbon taxes should go directly to green tax-credits.

Conservative youth leaders in the United States launched a nationwide campaign on Wednesday to promote a carbon tax to combat global warming ….

“The key here is the dividend – back to the people,” former Sen. Trent Lott, a retired Republican from Mississippi who supports the young group ….

Young U.S. Republicans defy party to fight climate change

Jared Kushner claims that Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Well, when Zionism means ethnocracy over democracy, Jared fits his foot in his mouth.

At the Sur plant, “almost no chemicals” are used during the pre-treatment phase, as the water is naturally filtered through the cracks of karst rocks, said Mahendran Senapathy, operations manager at French company Veolia which runs the plant along with an Omani firm.

There are other ways to safeguard freshwater supplies, from encouraging savings and efficiently to recycling wastewater.

Antoine Frerot, chief executive of Veolia, said wastewater recycling will help resolve the problem of water scarcity.

He also pointed out that “reused water is less costly,” nearly one third less than that won through desalination.

Water-scarce Gulf states bank on desalination, at a cost

Ukraine Official Denies He Ever Discussed Ukraine Military Aid with Gordon Sondland in Warsaw Meeting

News & Analysis, Dec. 11, 2019

Horowitz may be right that Lisa Page wasn’t a controlling factor in the FBI’s unmerited full-blown investigation of Trump; but, in my view, she has a lot of unrepentant nerve coming off as a victim.

Former FBI Lawyer Lisa Page Celebrates On Twitter After She’s Cleared In Report

As I’ve written more times than I can remember and before I read it or heard it anywhere else, Trump acted completely within the authority of his office as President in asking Ukraine to investigate whether there is any further wrong-doing beyond Joe Biden’s breaking the rule against taking any action that presents the appearance of a possible conflict of interest. Trump was also within his authority to withhold funding to Ukraine pending Ukraine’s decision as to whether or not it would investigate.

The White House acted properly when it did not simply give the House anything the House asked for in the House’s investigation into something that clearly should never have been investigated.

In my view, the House’s actions so far have been 100% political, not ethical but irresponsible.

There were zero grounds to investigate high crimes and misdemeanors.

If the House wanted to press the obstruction of Congress allegation, they should have taken it to the court, where it would have ended up in the Supreme Court. The fact that they didn’t but rather went ahead with the Articles of Impeachment without having exhausted that legal avenue more than suggests to me that they knew the trial would have been in the Supreme Court over reasonable suspicion, probable cause, and due process, as Trump wasn’t able to be faced by his accusers, etc., and that the Court would have found for Trump, and rightly so.

Trump will not be found guilty. He will not be removed from office.

House Democrats say Trump abused the American presidency for personal political gain by asking Ukraine for help investigating political rivals, including Joe Biden, the former vice president and current Democratic White House contender. And they charge he obstructed Congress by blocking access to documents and testimony ….

AP Analysis: Trump faces narrow but consequential charges

She’s totally right. I support her statement 100%.

“The indigenous peoples are literally being murdered for trying to protect the forest from illegal deforestation. Over and over again. It is shameful that the world remains silent about this,” Thunberg wrote in a tweet on Monday that angered Bolsonaro.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro calls activist Thunberg a ‘brat’

The lead Democrats in the impeachment process all said that there was absolutely nothing wrong with anything the FBI did in the FBI’s investigation and submissions to the FISA Court concerning Trump-Putin-collusion-conspiracy allegations passed off as indisputable (all false propaganda) pushed by those Democrats to undermine and finally oust Trump. Those same Democrats are now using the Horowitz report as cover and claiming it proves those Democrats were right. Weak as it is, it does no such thing but just the opposite.

The [Horowitz] report found that the FBI was justified in opening its investigation in the summer of 2016 into whether the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to tip the election in the president’s favor. But it also identified “serious performance failures” up the bureau’s chain of command, including 17 “significant inaccuracies or omissions” in applications for a warrant from the surveillance court to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and subsequent warrant renewals.

Trump sharply criticizes FBI head after Russia probe report

Europe Readies World’s Cleanest Revamp of Economy in Green Deal

US, Saudi rank bottom of climate class: report

Erdogan thinks he’s Xi and that the Mediterranean is the South China Sea.

Greece says Libya-Turkish deal invalid, in bad faith

Oceans and the many threats they now face ― warming, acidification, overfishing and pollution, to name a few ― have been front and center at the two-week summit, which runs through Dec. 13.

The Ocean Is Finally Getting The Attention It Deserves

“The attorney general’s primary responsibility is to protect against the abuse of the law enforcement and intelligence apparatus, and make sure it doesn’t play an improper role in our political life. That’s my responsibility, and I’m going to carry it out.”

Barr, echoing Trump’s comments from earlier this month, suggested that Americans should wait for the findings of John Durham, the prosecutor Barr selected to investigate how intelligence was gathered in the Russia probe. Both Barr and Durham have rejected the inspector general’s conclusion that there was sufficient evidence to open the FBI investigation

Durham, in a brief statement Monday, suggested his own investigation would back up his disagreement.

“I think he will have a broader appreciation of all the facts and a determination can be made,” Barr said of Durham. “I don’t know what the motivations were and I’m not saying there was an improper motivation, but I think it is premature to rule definitively there wasn’t.”

The report also details that the FBI used an informant to set up and record a September 2016 meeting with a high-level Trump campaign official. The official wasn’t identified by name, but was not a subject of the Russia investigation, the report said. While the information collected wasn’t used during the Russia probe, it does lend support to the assertions by Trump and Barr that the Trump campaign was spied upon.

Barr: FBI’s Russia investigation based on ‘bogus narrative’

Some new labor and environmental protections, which should be stronger and should have been in NAFTA in the first place, as I said at the time:

FACTBOX-Labor, environment, drugs top changes to North American trade deal

Of course:

“It was clearly spied upon. I mean, that’s what electronic surveillance is,” he said in reference to a FISA warrant obtained by FBI agents to monitor former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

“From a civil liberties standpoint, the greatest danger to our free system is that the incumbent government use the apparatus of the state … both to spy on political opponents but also to use them in a way that could affect the outcome of an election,” Barr said.

“There was and never has been any evidence of collusion, and yet this campaign and the president’s administration has been dominated by this investigation into what turns out to be completely baseless,” he told NBC News.

Barr contradicts his own inspector general: Trump campaign ‘was clearly spied upon’

BTW, Barr didn’t appoint Horowitz.

I wrote elsewhere over a decade ago that if we don’t curb the rabid greed in time, the scientists’ models will be shown to have vastly underestimated global warming. I stand by my position.

Scientists didn’t expect to see Greenland melt at this rate for another 50 years: By the last week of July, the melting had reached levels that scientists with the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had projected for the year 2070, in the most pessimistic scenario.

Greenland’s ice is melting 7 times faster than it did in the early 90s — suggesting scientists’ worst-case predictions may come true

Wall Street Pete:

Buttigieg discloses ex-clients as fundraising swing begins

People who pick on the poor and people in positions of power who neglect the poor are doing evil.

The authors of the report recommend cities end such policies and use funds to provide supportive housing and housing subsidies. In the meantime, they suggest building tiny homes and meeting homeless people basic needs, such as by setting up showers and toilets.

“While cities have a legitimate interest in preventing the accumulation of urine and feces in public space, such interests cannot be met by criminalizing unavoidable bodily functions,” the report reads. “If people do not have regular access to toilets, they will expel their human waste in areas other than toilets – they have no choice.”

Cities are criminalizing homelessness by banning people from camping in public. That’s the wrong approach, report says

This article explains why I am always nonplused by polling that shows the US military is the most trusted institution in the US. Why are the People so duped?

More US contractors have died in Afghanistan than US troops — but the Pentagon doesn’t keep track

Has to be:

Earlier this year, Barr tapped Durham, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, to look into the origins of the investigation into Trump’s campaign.

Durham’s probe is broader than Horowitz’s mandate because it involves talking to multiple U.S. intelligence agencies, such as the CIA, and foreign powers.

Durham, unlike Horowitz, also has the power to subpoena non-government witnesses and talk to people who are not Justice Department employees.

Barr told NBC that while he is not sure when Durham will complete his investigation, he expects it to reach an important “watershed” in the late spring or early summer.

U.S. Attorney General Barr says FBI may have acted in ‘bad faith’ on Russia probe

“The root causes of the pressures being put on our border and the humanitarian crisis that we have seen in the last couple months is violence, lack of economic opportunity, and extreme poverty in the Northern Triangle,” Hurd said. “We have to address those problems there, and it takes a fraction — it’s a fraction of the cost to solve the problem there before it actually gets to our border.”

House Republican Calls for ‘Marshall Plan’ to Reduce Illegal Immigration from Central America

… there clearly has been a drop in employment among prime age men, but this is not a new story, nor is it a simple story of changing skills demand in the labor market.

Declining Male Workforce Participation: The Story is Not Simple

The Mail on Sunday turned our independent report for the Labour party into “bombshell plans being drawn up by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn”, then told an outright lie about what it contained.

We proposed, it said, “to scrap the capital gains tax exemption on main homes”. At the moment, if you sell the house or flat in which you live, you don’t pay capital gains tax on the profit you might make. We examined the case for changing this, explained the arguments for and against, then clearly and specifically rejected the idea. But who cares, if you can terrify the living daylights out of your readership, convincing them that Corbyn is the spawn of Satan?

As if to suggest that such lies are organised with the Conservative party, the article quoted Boris Johnson, who claimed “this mad ‘tax on all your houses’ would cripple every Brit who owns or wants to own their own home”. The lie was picked up on social media by other senior Conservatives, and has been used repeatedly in the party’s campaign materials, websites and Facebook pages. It was reproduced by most of the other billionaire papers, and continues to be circulated. Just last week, an article by Tom Newton Dunn in the Sun claimed that Labour was considering a “movers tax”, “scrapping the capital gains exemption on main homes”. The false claim has now been deeply implanted in people’s minds: Labour is coming for your home.

Why do I have to break an embargo in order to expose press lies about Labour?

Snatch ransomware reboots PCs in Windows Safe Mode to bypass antivirus apps

Not enforced well enough:

… mandatory rest periods.

Firefighter Overtime Surges 65% in California, Report Shows

Saagar Enjeti: Investigate Obama, Bush for Afghan lies

Saagar Enjeti calls out the political establishment for overlooking the Washington Post’s revelations on the origins of the Afghanistan War.

Ukrainian Military After 5 Years Of Warfare