While Donald Trump is tweeting his new year's greetings to his friends, and especially enemies, China is thinking three weeks ahead to the day the president-elect is officially inaugurated, and is worried what that could mean for a suddenly empowered Taiwan, whose outreach to Trump now means that the long-standing "One China" policy is now a topic of negotiation. As a result, Reuters reports that China's military, alarmed by Trump's support of Taiwan, is considering strong measures to prevent the island from moving toward independence.
With China's only aircraft carrier demonstratively passing in close proximity to Taiwan last week, and currently in the contested area inside the South China Sea, it is not surprising that according to Reuters' sources, one measure being contemplated is conducting war games near the self-ruled island. More troubling is that as Reuters' sources add, another measure "was a series of economic measures to cripple Taiwan."
And since Taiwan is among the main sources of global high-tech, semiconductor fabrication and production, an economically "crippled" Taiwan suddenly becomes a potential gray swan for a world reliant on instant access to technological components to grow.
Adding to concerns of a potential "hot" conflict between China and Taiwan, while Reuters sources admitted that it was not clear if any decisions had yet been taken, the Taiwan issue had become a hot topic within the upper echelons of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) in recent weeks.
While the defense ministry declined to comment, Reuters said that an official at the ministry's news department said China's position was clearly laid out in the 2005 Anti-Secession Law, which authorizes the use of force against Taiwan in the event China judges it to have seceded.
Asked about any possible aggressive moves from China, Taiwan defense ministry spokesman Chen Chung-shi said: "We are fully prepared, and plan for the worst while preparing for the best."
Meanwhile, Taiwan president Tsai, who took power this year, says she wants to maintain peace with China, but China is unconvinced. Tsai said on Saturday that Taiwan will be "calm" when facing issues to do with China, but uncertainties next year will test the self-ruled island and its national security team.
The silver lining is that Chinese officials have blamed Taiwan for creating the recent diplomatic trouble rather than accuse Trump, and many believe he will be more accommodating to China once in office. That remains to be seen. "We're ready. If Taiwan wants to make trouble so can we. Let's hit them hard," said an official in Beijing who meets regularly with China's most senior military officers, including those who work directly with President Xi Jinping.
"We can hold exercises close to Taiwan, and show them the damage we could cause. Taiwan will have to give in then," the official added, citing a recent conversation with one of the military officers. Unless, of course, Taiwan doesn't "give in", and instead pushes for further diplomatic ties with the US.
François Hollande denounced populism and nationalism ahead of upcoming French presidential elections, but Marine Le Pen hit back saying after Trump and Brexit, the French share the worldwide “aspiration for independence” in the fight against globalism.
In his New Year’s Eve address, President Hollande, who earlier in December said that he will not be seeking reelection in 2017, alluded to Front National candidate Le Pen when he warned against what he called “rising extremism,” citing Brexit in the U.K. and the election of Donald J. Trump in the U.S.
“In five months you will make a choice … France is open to the world, it is European, it is fraternal. How can we imagine our country huddled behind walls, reduced to its only domestic market, returning to its national currency and in addition, discriminating against its children according to their origins?”
Le Pen, who is predicted to make it to the second round of elections, blasted Hollande, saying, “Like many other political figures, [Hollande] completely renounces the restoration of democracy and independence which is so ardently the wish of the French people.”
“These last words of the year offer at least a relief,” she said. “We know that next year we will not have to undergo such a slew of platitudes and statements in total mismatch with the reality of the country and the sufferings of the French.”
My review of these domain names confirmed that none of these domain names have any relationship to Russian government hackers. Here are the results for four of the domain names provided by the DHS and the FBI as evidence of Russian hacking:
Former NSA leader turned whistleblower William Binney recently stated that if the Russians really did hack the Democratic Party servers, the NSA would certainly have real evidence (not the nonsense put out in the DHS-FBI CSV file). Here is his quote from a December 29 2016 article by Glenn Greenwald: “The bottom line is that the NSA would know where and how any “hacked” emails from the DNC, HRC or any other servers were routed through the network. This process can sometimes require a closer look into the routing to sort out intermediate clients, but in the end sender and recipient can be traced across the network.”
An important research principle is to follow the money. People around the world need to ask themselves who has the money and technical ability to be running hundreds and perhaps thousands of real servers and real IP addresses from fake corporations using fake websites in fake locations in more than 40 nations around the world? What agency has already been proven to be running mass surveillance on billions of people in more than 40 nations all around the world? Whose military cyber budget is more than 10 times larger than the cyber warfare budget of the rest of the world combined? There is certainly an elephant in the room – but it is not a Russian elephant.
At a televised press conference on April 2016, former NSA agent, Edward Snowden asked the Russian leader Vladimir Putin if the Russian government engaged in mass surveillance of millions of people in a manner similar to the NSA. Putin replied that Russian law prohibited the Russian government from engaging in mass surveillance. Putin then pointed out that the Russian military budget was less than 10% of the US military budget. So even if they wanted to engage in mass surveillance, they simply did not have the money. https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/apr/17/snowden-putin-russia-surveillance-phone-in-video
People also need to ask themselves why the FBI DHS chose to place their evidence in a CSV file and XML file rather than a normal document or spreadsheet. If this were real evidence, it would have been placed directly in the PDF report for everyone to read – not hidden away in a file the general public has little ability to read.
Finally, for the FBI or the DHS to claim that the XML-CSV file contains evidence or even indicators of Russian hacking is simply a false statement. It is a perfect example of fake news. Any news agency promoting this claim without doing even the most basic of research that would easily confirm it is false, should be listed as a fake news agency.
The real question that we should all be asking is why the DHS and FBI would destroy their reputation by posting such a fake report?
Several years ago, our CIA claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. We now know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction – meaning that we went to war and spent over a trillion dollars on a fake report. Is this new fake report a pretext for launching a cyber war against Russia? Is it intended to justify increasing US military spending?
It is hard to say what the real purpose of this fake DHS-FBI report is. But the fact that this silly list of IP addresses was the best evidence they could provide should be a strong indication that there really is no evidence of Russian hacking. Instead, it is more likely that Wikileaks is telling the truth in stating that they got the emails from a disgruntled Democratic Party insider.
The chief Sephardic rabbi in Israel says the U.S. abandonment of Israel at the United Nations is a reminder the Jewish state can only count on God.
“Sometimes, we need to be reminded from above that we can count on no one but our Father who art in heaven,” Yitzhak Yosef told followers at the Western Wall. “Even America … forsook us last week at the U.N.”
He added: “We mustn’t forget that the hearts of kings and captains are in the hands of the Lord, and we can count on no one but (the Lord).”
The comments came amid warnings by Israeli officials says the Israeli government expects more U.S.-led maneuvers at the U.N. and elsewhere in the closing days of Barack Obama’s administration that are critical of the Jewish state.
Soros hasn’t had a great track record at buying presidential elections. The official $25 million he poured into this one bought him his worst defeat since 2004. But his money did transform the Democrat Party.
And killed it.
Next year the Democracy Alliance was born. A muddy river of cash from Soros and his pals flowed into the organizations of the left. Soros had helped turn Howard Dean, a Vermont politician once as obscure as this cycle’s radical Vermont Socialist, into a contender and a national figure. Dean didn’t get the nomination, but he did get to remake the DNC. Podesta’s Center for American Progress swung the Democrats even further to the left. And it would be Podesta who helped bring Hillary down.
The Democrats became a radical left-wing organization and unviable as a national political party. The Party of Jefferson had become the Party of Soros. And only one of those was up on Mount Rushmore.
Obama’s wins concealed the scale and scope of the disaster. Then the party woke up after Obama to realize that it had lost its old bases in the South and the Rust Belt. The left had hollowed it out and transformed it into a party of coastal urban elites, angry college crybullies and minority coalitions.
Republicans control twice as many state legislative chambers as the Democrats. They boast 25 trifectas , controlling both legislative chambers and the governor’s mansion. Trifectas had gone from being something that wasn’t seen much outside of a few hard red states like Texas to covering much of the South, the Midwest and the West.
The Democrats have a solid lock on the West Coast and a narrow corridor of the Northeast, and little else. The vast majority of the country’s legislatures are in Republican hands. The Democrat Governor’s Association has a membership in the teens. In former strongholds like Arkansas, Dems are going extinct. The party has gone from holding national legislative majorities to becoming a marginal movement.
And the Democrats don’t intend to change course. The way is being cleared for Keith Ellison, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus with an ugly racist past, to head the DNC. Pelosi will oversee the disaster in the House. And Obama will remain the party’s highest profile national figure.
There could hardly be a clearer signal that the left intends to retain its donkey herding rights. Soros and his ilk have paid for the reins. That is why Pelosi, with her access to donors, will retain her position.
The left had recreated the Democrat Party and marginalized it. Much of this disaster had been funded with Soros money. Like many a theatrical villain, the old monster had been undone by his own hubris. Had Soros aided the Democrats without trying to control them, he would have gained a seat at the table in a national party. Instead he spent a fortune destroying the very thing he was trying to control.
George Soros saw America in terms of its centers of economic and political power. He didn’t care about the vast stretches of small towns and villages, of the more modest cities that he might fly over in his jet but never visit, and the people who lived in them. Like so many globalists who believe that borders shouldn’t exist because the luxury hotels and airports they pass through are interchangeable, the parts of America that mattered to him were in the glittering left-wing bubble inhabited by his fellow elitists.
Trump’s victory, like Brexit, came because the left had left the white working class behind. Its vision of the future as glamorous multicultural city states was overturned in a single night. The idea that Soros had committed so much power and wealth to was of a struggle between populist nationalists and responsible internationalists. But, in a great irony, Bush was hardly the nationalist that Soros believed. Instead Soros spent a great deal of time and wealth to unintentionally elect a populist nationalist.
Leftists used Soros money to focus on their own identity politics obsessions leaving the Dems with little ability to interact with white working class voters. The Ivy and urban leftists who made up the core of the left had come to exist in a narrow world with little room for anything and anyone else.
Soros turned over the Democrats to political fanatics least likely to be able to recognize their own errors. His protégés repeated the great self-destruction of the Soviet Union on a more limited scale
Soros fed a political polarization while assuming, wrongly, that the centers of power mattered, and their outskirts did not. He was proven wrong in both the United States of America and in the United Kingdom. He had made many gambles that paid off. But his biggest gamble took everything with it.
"I don’t believe in standing in the way of an avalanche," Soros complained of the Republican wave in 2010.
But he has been trying to do just that. And failing.
"There should be consequences for the outrageous statements and proposals that we've regularly heard from candidates Trump and Cruz," Soros threatened this time around. He predicted a Hillary landslide.
He was wrong.
As Soros plowed more money into the left, its escalating radicalism alienated more of the country. Each “avalanche” was a reaction to the abuses of his radicals. It wasn't Trump or Cruz who suffered the consequences. It wasn't even his own leftists. Rather it was the conservative and eventually the moderate wings of the Democrat party who were swept away by his left-wing avalanches.
The left did not mourn the mass destruction of the moderates. Instead it celebrated the growing purity of the Democrats as a movement of the hard left. It did not notice or care that it was no longer a political force outside a limited number of cities. It anticipated that voters would have no choice but to choose it over the "extremist" Republicans.
It proved to be very, very wrong.
George Soros spent a fortune to turn a national party favorable to the left into an organization that has difficulty appealing to anyone not on the left. He wanted to control a country he did not understand. And, as the left so often does, he achieved his goals and in doing so destroyed them.