Sunday, January 31, 2016

Deep State: Inside Washington's Shadowy Power Elite

Deep State: Inside Washington's Shadowy Power Elite

This “state within a state” hides “mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day,”says Lofgren, and yet the “Deep State does not consist of the entire government.”

Our plutocracy, whether the hedge fund managers in Greenwich, Connecticut, or the Internet moguls in Palo Alto, now lives like the British did in colonial India: ruling the place but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; to the person fortunate enough to own a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension, and viable public transportation doesn’t even compute. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?”

? Mike Lofgren, The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government

"Our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise.

But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened."

As we previously concludedfor all intents and purposes, the nation is one national “emergency” away from having a full-fledged, unelected, authoritarian state emerge from the shadows. All it will take is the right event—another terrorist attack, perhaps, or a natural disaster—for such a regime to emerge from the shadows.
As unnerving as that prospect may be, however, it is the second shadow government, what former congressional staffer Mike Lofgren refers to as “the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power,” that poses the greater threat right now.
Consider this: how is it that partisan gridlock has seemingly jammed up the gears (and funding sources) in Washington, yet the government has been unhindered in its ability to wage endless wars abroad, in the process turning America into a battlefield and its citizens into enemy combatants?
The credit for such relentless, entrenched, profit-driven governance, according to Lofgren, goes to “another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose.”
This “state within a state” hides “mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day,”says Lofgren, and yet the “Deep State does not consist of the entire government.”

Rather, Lofgren continues:

It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street.

All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted.

The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of the congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally so fractious and partisan, is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State’s emissaries.

In an expose titled “Top Secret America,” The Washington Post revealed the private side of this shadow government, made up of 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances, “a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government.”

These contractors now set the political and social tone of Washington, just as they are increasingly setting the direction of the country, but they are doing it quietly, their doings unrecorded in the Congressional Record or the Federal Register, and are rarely subject to congressional hearings…
The Deep State not only holds the nation’s capital in thrall, but it also controls Wall Street (“which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater”) and Silicon Valley.

As Lofgren concludes:

[T]he Deep State is so heavily entrenched, so well protected by surveillance, firepower, money and its ability to co-opt resistance that it is almost impervious to change… If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow and the confidence that things will go on as they have in the past. It is even willing to tolerate a degree of gridlock: Partisan mud wrestling over cultural issues may be a useful distraction from its agenda.

Remember this the next time you find yourselves mesmerized by the antics of the 2016 presidential candidates or drawn into a politicized debate over the machinations of Congress, the president or the judiciary: it’s all intended to distract you from the fact that you have no authority and no rights in the face of the shadow governments.

Sweden's Nightmare As Migrant Crime Soars, NIH: Zika Virus Is A 'Pandemic',

Sweden is one of the most welcoming countries in Europe, taking in more refugees per capita than anyone else. 
But residents of at least one small town outside Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city, are beginning to regret that open arms policy.
Mölndal is a quiet suburb of 63,000.  But in the last year, more than 4,000 refugees – most of them unaccompanied minors from the Middle East and Africa – have set off a crime wave that culminated in the murder of a social worker in a refugee center that has shocked Europe.
The murder of social worker Alexandra Mezher at a home for unaccompanied refugees this week has shone the spotlight on the country’s controversial open-door immigration policy.
The 22-year-old’s mother Chimene, who arrived in Sweden as a refugee, claims the country is no longer safe.
Heartbroken Mrs Mezher said: ‘We left Lebanon to escape the civil war, the violence and the danger. We came to Sweden where it was safe, to start a family. But it is not safe anymore.’
Her husband Bourous, 45, moved to Sweden from Beirut in 1989 and built up a pizza business. Mrs Mezher, who has three sons, said: 'She was not just my daughter, she was my angel. She was a just and fair human being. There were so many who loved her. She was my daughter, my friend.'
She blamed Swedish politicians for a dramatic rise in immigration in Molndal – particularly of unaccompanied children.
Officers in Mölndal say they have had to ignore lesser offences such as drug-dealing because they are so overrun by migrant crime, with gang fights and violent assaults.
And in capital Stockholm police this week warned that the capital's main train station was 'overrun' by gangs of Moroccan street children 'stealing and groping girls'.
Swedish police revealed they have sent plain-clothes officers to monitor swimming baths in Stockholm after increased reports of sexual harassment of girls and women.
It was also claimed this week police had been forced to flee after being attacked by a mob of asylum seekers as they tried to relocate a ten-year-old boy amid allegations he had been 'raped repeatedly' at a refugee centre.
And staff at a migrant centre in Sweden had to flee where 19 asylum seekers ran riot with weapons. 
Crime statistics in Mölndal also contradict Abdasis’s assessment of ‘peace, happiness, life’ in the town.
Police say they have responded to four or five emergency calls from refugee centres in the Gothenburg area – which includes Mölndal – every day since late October.
The city’s most up-to-date crime figures reveal there were 372 incidents reported which led to 222 criminal complaints linked to migrant centres – between 20 October 2015 and 8 January this year.
Mölndal’s politicians have refused to explain their open-door immigration policy.

Of course they're keeping their mouths shut.  The blowback has just begun.  Turning once idyllic towns into crime-ridden centers of fear and disgust is what happens when young men used to violence in their home countries become refugees taken in by tolerant and open-hearted Europeans.  It's like the lions lying down with the lambs – except the lambs prove to be too much of a temptation for the lions.

The police in many Swedish cities and towns are absolutely overwhelmed:

I have worked in Gothenburg for over 30 years and I have never known anything like it,’ the officer told MailOnline.
‘I will not let my children go into the city after 2pm and especially not at night.
‘There are violent gangs roaming around the streets and the use of knives and other weapons have become normal, rather than a rarity as it used to be,’
‘There are 20 robberies in Gothenburg every day – usually with violence or the threat of violence.
Most European countries are trying to retroactively restrict immigration, but the flow of refugees is unabated, and it appears that more and more cities will suffer the fate of Gothenburg.

More than 2,100 pregnant women in Colombia are infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, the country's national health institute said on Saturday, according to Reuters.
The disease has been linked to a serious birth defect called microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with small heads and underdeveloped brains. Overall, more than 20,000 people in Colombia have developed Zika.
The virus was initially detected last year in Brazil. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of World Health Organization, warned Thursday that Zika is "spreading explosively," and has quickly gone from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions.
The WHO said the virus could infect 4 million people by the end of the year.
Health officials in Brazil reported earlier this week that about 4,000 infants have been born with microcephaly, compared to fewer than 150 in 2014.
Dozens of Zika cases have been reported in the U.S., all in people who traveled outside the country. 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that pregnant women, or those who may become pregnant, should try to avoid travel to at least 24 countries and territories, mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean, where Zika virus has been spreading.
The CDC has said that Zika is not expected to pose as much of a threat to the U.S. as it has to Brazil and other countries in the region. But officials said they do expect to see some locally-transmitted cases occur in the United States.

The mosquito-borne Zika virus -- already linked to birth defects and brain damage in newborns -- may also be connected to some rare but serious cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause paralysis, the CDC said today.
Health officials said Guillain-Barré syndrome has been reported in a number of patients with probable Zika virus infections in French Polynesia and Brazil. The CDC said more research is needed to understand the connection.
"Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which the body usually is responding to another infection. It has an immune response that destroys the covering of nerves and interferes with the ability of nerves to function and survive," said Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an infectious diseases specialist at North Shore University Hospital, in Manhasset, New York.
Hirsch told CBS News that Guillain-Barré causes an "ascending motor paralysis" that starts at the feet and moves up towards the head.
"When it involves the muscles of respiration, people who have Guillain-Barré require a breathing machine in order to survive and get through experience," said Hirsch.
It can lead to death, but many survive, he said. The syndrome is "very, very variable" from person to person -- some may just experience numbness in the feet while others may suffer complete paralysis.
"There is recovery. Usually recovery is generally complete. Sometimes mild weakness can occur," said Hirsch.
He said the association of Guillain-Barré with Zika virus right now is just that. "It is just a possible connection, an association. We have yet to see this association be proved. But this report is very important and has implications for any person involved in the areas in which Zika virus is going on," he said.

"It's still a little bit early to know absolutely with scientific proof if it's cause and effect. We've seen Guillain-Barré forever and it can come from many different viral illnesses, or a vaccine," Norman told CBS News. 

Zika virus could be bigger global health threat than Ebola, say health experts

The Zika virus outbreak in Latin America could be a bigger threat to global health than the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people in Africa.
That is the stark claim of several senior health experts ahead of an emergency meeting of the World Health Organisation on Monday which will decide whether the Zika threat – which is linked to an alarming rise in cases of foetal deformation called microcephaly – should be rated a global health crisis.
“In many ways the Zika outbreak is worse than the Ebola epidemic of 2014-15,” said Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust. “Most virus carriers are symptomless. It is a silent infection in a group of highly vulnerable individuals – pregnant women – that is associated with a horrible outcome for their babies.”
There is no prospect of a vaccine for Zika at present, in contrast to Ebola, for which several are now under trial. “The real problem is that trying to develop a vaccine that would have to be tested on pregnant women is a practical and ethical nightmare,” added Mike Turner, head of infection and immuno-biology at the Wellcome Trust.

With at least 80% of those infected showing no symptoms, tracking the disease is extremely difficult. The mosquito species that spreads Zika, Aedes aegypti, has been expanding its range over the past few decades. “It loves urban life and has spread across the entire tropical belt of the planet, and of course that belt is expanding as global warming takes effect,” added Farrar.
Only extreme measures are likely to contain the Zika threat, said Turner. These could include the use of DDT to eradicate Aedes aegypti as quickly as possible. “We have to balance the risk posed to the environment by DDT with the terrible impact this virus is having on the unborn.”
Britain is unlikely to be affected because Aedes aegypti cannot survive the cold of UK winters. However, couples returning from south or central America have been warned not to try for a baby for at least a month in case they have become infected.

The National Institutes of Health confirmed that the Zika virus outbreak has reached pandemic levels in Latin America.

“You have multiple countries in South America and in the Caribbean, so by anybody’s definition that would be considered a pandemic,” explained Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the infectious diseases branch at the institute.
His comments come after experts and the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the disease had “explosive pandemic potential.” Marcos Espinal, head of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis for the WHO’s regional satellite, the Pan American Health Organization, predicted the world could see “3 to 4 million cases of Zika virus disease.”
Doctors in the U.S. have confirmed at least 31 Zika cases.
“If you have this much Zika in South America and the Caribbean, sooner or later we’re going to see a local transmission,” continued Fauci. “Most of the United States goes through a real winter and that’s very, very important in containing mosquito-borne viruses.”

[This is a very interesting commentary - below are just the concluding remarks]

"Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" -Isaiah 5:20-21 (KJV)

How backwards and upside down American society has become. How utterly reprobate and rebellious. How unrepentant. How sorry the ones who practice evil will soon be. If the stench of this country's sins and arrogance disgusts the righteous, it must be blistering the nostrils of our Holy God! Surely His cup of indignation is just about to overflow.

These false shepherds and prophets don't breathe a word of warning about sin, repentance or the cross of Jesus. 

The lost as well as lukewarm Christians are toddling through their lives, day after day, making grand plans for their future, never realizing they're walking on the edge of eternity. They endure an hour or two of church every week, throw a couple of bucks in the offering and think they're OK with God. They most assuredly are not.

The overwhelming majority put their hope and trust in some new presidential candidate rather than Almighty God. It doesn't even cross their mind that America is on the brink of total destruction. They don't understand that the sweet, meek Jesus of mercy in the New Testament, is the SAME thundering, tough love dispensing, Holy God of justice in the Old Testament. At this point, nothing short of sincere, national repentance, la Nineveh, will stay our sentence of death, and I think we all know that ain't gonna happen.

Please listen to me…THIS is the day of salvation. Tomorrow is promised to no one. THIS is the time to get right with God and to put Him on the throne of your heart. The storm clouds are gathering over America, and the atmosphere gets darker and darker every day. THIS is the lull before the storm. What kind of storm?

It could be economic collapse, with the usual accompanying riots and violence. It might be some major, natural disaster that kills millions. It may involve simultaneous terror attacks across the nation, or it might even involve invasion by foreign nations. Who knows? Like dominoes falling, it could include ALL of these horrors.

Let go of worldly things and habitual sin. You can't take it with you anyway, so put it ALL on the altar of your heart and give it to the Lord. Straighten up. Get under, and STAY under His wings of protection. Or, keep on living like you are right now and take your chances. 
It's your choice. Time is running out. Don't be stupid and complacent. Choose wisely.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

France: We Will recognize Palestinian State If Deadlock Persists, Israel: We Reject France's Statehood Ultimatum

France: We will recognize Palestinian state if talks deadlock persists

France warned Friday that it will recognize a Palestinian state if its imminent efforts to end the deadlock in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians end without result.

“France will engage in the coming weeks in the preparation of an international conference bringing together the parties and their main partners, American, European, Arab, notably to preserve and make happen the solution of two states,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.
France, Fabius said, has a responsibility as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to sustain efforts to reach a two-state solution.

Should efforts to breathe life into the moribund peace process fail, France would move to unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state, Fabius made clear. “And what will happen if this last-ditch attempt at reaching a negotiated solution hits a stumbling block?” he said. “In that case, we will have to live up to our responsibilities and recognize a Palestinian state.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday welcomed a French plan to recognize the state of Palestine should a fresh push for peace talks fail, and warned that his people would no longer accept Israel’s occupation or settlements.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced Friday that Paris would shortly try to convene an international conference, with the hope of enabling new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but that if this effort reached a dead end, Paris would recognize a Palestinian state. Israel immediately rejected the proposal.

Speaking at a summit of African nations in Addis Ababa, Abbas blasted the occupation, settlements, and what he said was Israel’s seizure of Palestinian natural resources. He also accused the Israeli government of stalling peace efforts by the international community.

“We cannot accept the current situation, including the occupation and settlements,” he said, the Maariv website reported.
“We have to establish a sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he said, according to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa. “We won’t accept interim or temporary solutions.”
“We won’t return to negotiations just for the sake of negotiating and won’t continue to unilaterally implement previous agreements,” Abbas told the summit. Nor will the Palestinians “accept the theft of our natural resources, and the non-utilization of our lands or investment in them,” he said.

Jerusalem on Saturday downplayed its initial rejection of a new French initiative to kick-start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, saying the disapproval stemmed from France’s ultimatum that it would recognize a Palestinian state if fresh negotiation efforts fail to yield results.

Israel had moved quickly Friday to reject the French ultimatum.
“This is not how one conducts negotiations and not how one makes peace,” the prime minister’s spokesman was quoted by the Hebrew daily Haaretz as saying.
Another Israeli source said the French threat to recognize Palestine if negotiations failed was “an incentive” for the Palestinians to be obdurate.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said earlier Saturday that Israel rejected the French ultimatum. “Israel will not negotiate under ultimatums and threats,” he said.

“France will engage in the coming weeks in the preparation of an international conference bringing together the parties and their main partners, American, European, Arab, notably to preserve and make happen the solution of two states,” Fabius said. Paris is hoping to hold the conference in the summer.

There are two ways to look at the French threat to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state if the stalemate in the peace process persists.

We’ll get to the “it’s a serious challenge for Israel” folks lower down. But those who aren’t overly perturbed by the Paris ultimatum say: So what? Paris is free to convene an international conference to try to break the deadlock and get the two sides to make the concessions necessary for a peace deal. Since this outcome seems unlikely — or more accurately, utterly unrealistic — France can go ahead and recognize a “State of Palestine.” Such a move will be condemned in Jerusalem as unhelpful on the path to peace and celebrated in Ramallah as a great victory against the occupation. But declarations and recognitions change nothing on the ground.

A sovereign Palestinian state was not born in 1988, when Yasser Arafat proclaimed independence, or in 2012, when 139 states voted to grant “Palestine” nonmember observer state status at the United Nations, or in 2015, when the Palestinian flag was raised at UN headquarters in New York.

So French recognition of Palestinian statehood would be merely that: words on a piece of paper, and perhaps a solemn declaration by President Francois Hollande and another stately but ultimately meaningless photo op for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

France would not even be the first Western European state to recognize Palestine. Parliaments in Britain, Spain, Belgium, Greece and elsewhere have already called on their respective governments to recognize Palestine. Sweden did just that in 2014, and the world did not tilt off its axis.

Much more significant than a French recognition of Palestine would be a Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. While that would still not immediately change anything on the ground, it would create a new legal framework for future negotiations, and probably not in Jerusalem’s favor.

It is currently hard to assess whether the US administration would support or oppose a Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations. That might depend on the resolution’s wording, on timing, and on a whole host of other factors, but it has always been the US position that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs to be resolved by the two sides, rather than unilaterally via the UN.