The Obama administration has quietly funneled millions (and potentially billions) of dollars to leftist organizations and politicians that promote liberal policies and win political elections at the every level of government, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The funneling mechanism for these funds is the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group (RMBS), a collaborative effort by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice (including many United States Attorneys Offices), the New York State Attorney General’s Office, and many others.
The RMBS was created in 2012 following the mortgage-backed securities scandal that ultimately led to the Great Recession. The group is focused on finding “evidence of false or misleading statements, deception, or other misconduct by market participants (such as loan originators, sponsors, underwriters, trustees, and others) in the creation, packaging, and sale of mortgage-backed securities.”
Over the past four years, The RMBS, along with the Department of Justice, has reached “multibillion-dollar settlements with essentially every major bank in America,” the Journal reports......
All in all, these banks (and many others) were required to pay some $11 billion in consumer relief–a program that requires banks to pay back funds to consumers who lost assets due to mismanagement. ...
Bank of America was able to reduce the penalty imposed by the government by simply “giving millions of dollars to liberal groups approved by the Obama administration,” according to the Washington Examiner. Allegedly, the Justice Department created a provision wherein every dollar a bank gives to nonprofits, it can claim at least two dollars off its settlement.
Investigators first alerted the IRS to the problem five years ago, but it’s still not fixed, the inspector general said, and a pilot program meant to test a solution was canceled — and fell woefully short anyway. As a result, most taxpayers don’t learn that their identities have been stolen and their Social Security files may be screwed up.
That's like the FBI Failing to Inform Americans on ISIS 'Kill List
A large number of Americans on the Islamic State's latest kill list have not been informed by the FBI of their inclusion on the list, nor have local law enforcement been notified about the potential dangers facing them, a website probe has discovered.
The names and addresses of more than 15,000 U.S citizens were found by security officials on encrypted Islamic State websites, but many of the potential targets for lone-wolf Islamists and/or jihadi sleeper cells only found out about the threat when contacted by investigative journalists at the website Circa.
Rare Pierre de Coubertin medal awarded only 17 times is given to the NZ and US runners who fell and helped each other to carry on, American Abbey D'Agnostino and Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand were both awarded the extremely rare medal after displaying the 'Olympic spirit and fair play' after helping each other finish the 5,000m. They were 3,000m into the race when the American appeared to clip Hamblin's heel, sending both tumbling to the ground but instead of appearing frustrated that their dreams of glory were apparently over, they helped one another to carry on.
Due to its nutrtiional value and mind-altering effects, alcohol provided "incentives for hunter-gatherers to settle down and domesticate grain". So to drink that beer, they set up villages and new societies. They would also use alcohol in religious ceremonies and as medicine. As such, according to the scientist, "The beginnings of civilization were spurred on by fermented beverages."...paradoxically beer is healthier (of course, if used in moderation). It kills bacteria and could have been a safer drinking choice than "raw water".
Jeni Stepien’s father was murdered in 2006. His heart was later given to Arthur Thomas, who waited 16 years to have a heart transplant. On Friday, the day before her wedding, Stepien met Thomas for the first time. She was able to feel her father’s heart beat for the first time in 10 years. “What greater honor could a person have than walking the daughter of the man who’s given his heart to him,” Thomas told reporters. “I can’t imagine a greater honor.”
It's called biofilm which only needs nutrients and a surface to grow. The National Parks Service has hired scientists from all over the world to find a solution. Black slime goes global from Italy to Cambodia
In 1944, the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) produced a document called the Simple Sabotage Field Manual. It was designed to be used by agents in the field to hinder our WWII adversaries. The CIA recently highlighted five tips from the manual as timelessly relevant......
After the New York premiere of Hyde Park on Hudson, Murray and the film-makers took questions from the audience. The film stars Murray as the crippled US president Franklin D Roosevelt, and one scene shows FDR swimming, his horribly wizened legs dangling under the water. According to US GQ, one audience member wondered how the special effects department had managed to make the limbs look so hideous. As the giggling from the stage quickly made apparent, no special effects were involved. Murray let the laughter die down. “That,” he said after a long pause, “is acting.”
Photographer Hal Kawaguchi smothers couples in lube before vacuum-packing them in plastic bags and keeps a paramedic on hand to make sure the partners aren't suffocated during the session.
He didn't know the potential eye-watering value of $100 million and kept it as a 'good luck charm' in his rundown wooden home. But a fire at the property earlier this year forced him to have a clear out and move house. The fisherman handed it in to the stunned local tourism officer in remote Puerto Princesca who verified that it had been found in a giant clam.
Circle of Hotness This is hysterical. Jen explains why 86 degrees isn't so hot on the Circle of Hotness. YouTube video at the link.
YouTube video at the link.
Social network reveals the astonishing amount of data it holds on people who uses its services....Now Mark Zuckerberg’s firm has revealed the 98 “data points” it holds on all users, which can be found in a new website revealing how it targets users with advertising....Here are the facts and secrets Facebook has found out about you or is trying to discover, according to the Washington Post.
1. Your location
6. Education level
7. Field of study
9. Ethnic background
10. Income and net worth
11. Home ownership and type of home
12. Value of home
13. Size of your property
14. Square footage of home
15. The year your home was built
16. Who lives in your house
17. Whether you have an anniversary approaching in the next month
18. If you’re living away from family or hometown
19. Whether you’re friends with someone who has an anniversary, is newly married or engaged, recently moved, or has an upcoming birthday
20. If you’re in a long-distance relationship
21. If you’re in a new relationship
22. If you have have a new job
23. If you’re recently engaged
24. If you’ve just got married
25. If you’ve moved house recently
26. When your birthday is coming up
28. Expectant parents
29. Mothers, divided by ‘type’ (which includes ‘soccer mums’ or other maternal tribes)
30. If you are likely to engage in politics
31. Whether you are conservative or liberal
32. Relationship status
35. Job title
36. Office type
38. Whether you own a motorcycle
39. If you’re planning to buy a car
40. If you have purchased auto parts or accessories recently
41. If you are likely to buy auto parts or services
42. The style and brand of your car
43. The year your car was bought
44. Age of car
45. How much money you’re likely to spend on next car
46. Where you are likely to buy next car from
47. How many employees your company has
48. If you own small businesses
49. If you work in management or are executives
50. If you have donated to charity (divided by type)
51. Operating system
52. If you play browser games
53. If you own a gaming console
54. If you have created a Facebook event
55. If you have used Facebook Payments
56. If you have spent more than average on Facebook Payments
57. If you administer a Facebook page
58. If you have recently uploaded photos to Facebook
59. Internet browser
60. Email service
61. Early/late adopters of technology
62. If you are an expat and what country you left
63. If you belong to a credit union, national bank or regional bank
64. If you are an investor
65. Number of credit lines
66. If you are an active credit card users
67. Credit card type
68. If you own a debit card
69. If you carry a balance on your credit card
70. If you listen to the radio
71. What TV shows you like
72. If you use a mobile device and what brand it is
73. Internet connection type
74. If you have recently bought a smartphone or tablet
75. Whether you access the Internet through a smartphone or tablet
76. If you use coupons
77. The type of clothing your household buys
78. Which time of year you do the most shopping
79. Whether you are a ‘heavy’ buyer of beer, wine or spirits
80. What groceries you buy
81. Whether you buy beauty products
82. Whether you buy medications
83. Whether you buy/spend money on household products
84. Whether you buy/spend money on products for kids or pets, and what kinds of pets
85. If your household makes more purchases than is average
86. If you tend to shop online or offline
87. The types of restaurants user you eat at
88. The kinds of stores you shop at
89. If you’re interest in adverts offering auto insurance, mortgages or satellite telly
90. Length of time user you have lived your house
91. If you are likely to move soon
92. If you are are interested in the Olympics, football or cricket
93. If you travel frequently
94. Whether you commute to work
95. The type of holiday you enjoy
96. If you have recently returned from a holiday
97. If you have used a travel app
98. Whether you are involved in a timeshare
Reviews of the more than 2,500 documents hacked from the servers of George Soros’s Open Society Foundations highlight the undue influence the billionaire financier exerts domestically, from attempting to remake the American electorate to successfully lobbying for changes in U.S. immigration policy to funding initiatives targeting local police forces.
While many of the documents spotlight Soros’s global network, focus on the hacked materials from his Foundations’ U.S. contingent begins to expose the many tentacles of the Democratic Party mega-donor’s operation and its deep impact over the policy objectives of the Obama administration, often utilizing a slew of U.S.-based progressive groups and activist organizations. The revelations in the hacked documents also raise questions about Soros’s future influence over presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, especially since the billionaire is one of Clinton’s top donors.
Scandal: Leaked documents released a few days ago provide juicy insider details of how a fabulously rich businessman has been using his money to influence elections in Europe, underwrite an extremist group, target U.S. citizens who disagreed with him, dictate foreign policy, and try to sway a Supreme Court ruling, among other things. Pretty compelling stuff, right? Not if it involves leftist billionaire George Soros. In this case, the mainstream press couldn't care less.
On Saturday, a group called DC Leaks posted more than 2,500 documents going back to 2008 that it pilfered from Soros' Open Society Foundations' servers. Since then, the mainstream media have shown zero interest in this gold mine of information. We couldn't find a single story on the New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, CBS News or other major news sites that even noted the existence of these leaked documents, let alone reported on what's in them. Indeed, the only news organization that appears to be diligently sifting through all the documents is the conservative Daily Caller, which as a result has filed a series of eye-opening reports.
• Soros' far-flung international organizations attempted to manipulate Europe's 2014 elections. The "List of European Elections 2014 Projects" details over 90 Soros efforts he had under way that year...
• nearly $4 million into anti-Israel groups, with a goal of "challenging Israel's racist and anti-democratic policies."
• $650,000 to "invest in technical assistance and support for the groups at the core of the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement."
• "extensive networks" to pressure the Obama administration into increasing the number of refugees it would take to 100,000, despite concerns that Islamic terrorists could use the refugee program to infiltrate the U.S.
• $7 million to the Clinton-supporting Priorities USA super-PAC, and a total of $25 million to support Democrats and their causes.
• A separate memo details how Soros tried to use his clout to sway Supreme Court justices into approving President Obama's unilateral effort to rewrite immigration law.
Leaked emails through WikiLeaks reveal that billionaire globalist George Soros - one of Hilary Clinton's top donors - paid $650,000 to influence Pope Francis’ September 2015 visit to the USA with a view to "shift[ing] national paradigms and priorities in the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign." The funds were allocated in April 2015 and the report on their effectiveness suggests that successful achievements included....
Grantees were PICO, a faith-based community organizing group, and Faith in Public Life (FPL), a progressive group working in media to promote left-leaning ‘social justice’ causes. Soros has funded left-wing causes the world over and was just found to have been funding an effort to eliminate pro-life laws around the globe....The grant specifically targeted the ‘pro-family’ agenda.
Caroline Glick in Our World: Soros’s campaign of global chaos
The first thing that we see is the megalomaniacal nature of Soros’s philanthropic project. No corner of the globe is unaffected by his efforts. No policy area is left untouched. On the surface, the vast number of groups and people he supports seem unrelated. After all, what does climate change have to do with illegal African immigration to Israel? What does Occupy Wall Street have to do with Greek immigration policies? But the fact is that Soros-backed projects share basic common attributes.
1. They all work to weaken the ability of national and local authorities in Western democracies to uphold the laws and values of their nations and communities.
2. They all work to hinder free markets, whether those markets are financial, ideological, political or scientific. They do so in the name of democracy, human rights, economic, racial and sexual justice and other lofty terms. In other words, their goal is to subvert Western democracies and make it impossible for governments to maintain order or for societies to retain their unique identities and values.
Black Lives Matter, which has received $650,000 from Soros-controlled groups over the past year, is a classic example of these efforts. Until recently, the police were universally admired in the US as the domestic equivalent of the military. BLM emerged as a social force bent on politicizing support for police. Its central contention is that in the US, police are not a force for good, enabling society to function by maintaining law and order. Rather, police are a tool of white repression of blacks. Law enforcement in predominantly African American communities is under assault as inherently racist....
3. Soros’s groups are on the ground enabling illegal immigrants to enter the US and Europe. They have sought to influence US Supreme Court rulings on illegal immigration from Mexico. They have worked with Muslim and other groups to demonize Americans and Europeans who oppose open borders.
The DCLeaks exposed the immensity of the Soros-funded Left’s campaign against the foundations of liberal democracies. The “direct democracy” movements that Soros support are nothing less than calls for mob rule.
The peoples of the West need to recognize the common foundations of all Soros’s actions. They need to realize as well that the only response to these premeditated campaigns of subversion is for the people of the West to stand up for their national rights and their individual right to security. They must stand with the national institutions that guarantee that security, in accordance with the rule of the law, and uphold and defend their national values and traditions.
David French relates two heart-breaking stories in The Tragic Transgender Contagion
Let’s be clear: The vast majority of kids who experience a period of discomfort with their biological sexual identity eventually desist. Indeed, the number may well be over 90 percent. In other words, kids who are growing and learning about life and themselves sometimes endure a period of confusion. This should shock exactly no one. What is shocking, however, is the insistence that this period of confusion should be treated as a period of confirmation — and that medical intervention is the logical and tolerant next course. Indeed, transgender diagnoses have become so fashionable that doctors are sometimes stampeding to prescribe life-altering drugs even to kids — and then later, when the kids grow up, recommending mutilating surgery. In other words, doctors aren’t necessarily waiting for evidence of “consistence, insistence, and persistence.”
Watch this searing YouTube from a young woman who “de-transitioned” in her early twenties and describes herself as “a real, live, 22-year-old woman with a scarred chest and a broken voice and a five-o-clock shadow because I couldn’t face the idea of growing up to be a woman.”
Or watch this video from a young woman who speaks of “trauma that led to me disassociating from my female body,” She says, “The longer I chased that disassociation — the more I asked people to call me special pronouns, the more I tried to change my body, the more I ensconced myself in a community that would affirm a trans identity — the worse I felt.”
[videos at link]...
Here in the United States, the evidence is more anecdotal, but the anecdotes are disturbing. Rod Dreher’s blog at The American Conservative has become something of a clearinghouse for concerns from anguished parents, many of whom note that entire peer groups seem determined to transition together. This letter was particularly poignant: As a parent living the nightmare of having a teen who suddenly announces she’s transgender, I can tell you there are NO doctors who will do anything but agree. There is NO science behind this. There is NO way to medically “diagnose” her. Her therapist knows that she is not transgender but fears there’s no way we can stop her. Three of her closest friends have already had full transition, paid for by their parents, so it is difficult for her to understand why we won’t do the same. It is no different than having your child captured by a cult, only this time the cult is a societal bandwagon which wants to do permanent physical harm to her perfectly healthy female body, all in the name of “love”.
Parents have no idea how to respond, especially when doctors permit no dissent. ...
We’re not far from the day when a child will be taken from a loving home simply because the parents refuse to believe that their little girl is actually a little boy. We’re already living in the days when telling your girl child that she shouldn’t undergo treatments that will render her infertile and painfully mutilated is deemed to be intolerant.
Rod Dreher writes in The Cult of Transgender
Earlier this year, I contacted a scientist about a strictly scientific question related to biology and homosexuality, but he refused to comment. I found that strange, because my question wasn’t ideologically loaded at all. It was just scientific, and his answer presumably would have been too. He said that in academia, there is among professors now such fear of the mob that many of them figure it’s safer to keep one’s mouth shut rather than say something that one of these young Jacobins will take as offensive, no matter how absurd that reading is, and then set about ginning up the mob to destroy the scholar’s professional life.
If this isn’t McCarthyism, what is? It doesn’t become any less McCarthyist because it’s done by the cultural left.
God help the poor parents living this nightmare with their children, because the kind of professionals — doctors and others — who ought to be there reining in this insanity appear to have been totally compromised.
Twenty-one-year-old digital colorizer Marina Amaral can show you Abraham Lincoln as if his photo were taken yesterday. Based in Brazil, the artist said “I try to search and find the largest possible amount of details, the predominant colors in clothes of that era, the colors of medals, ribbons, military uniforms, buildings, signs that might be visible, pictures on the walls, and even small objects like the tie used by Churchill in one of the photos. All this is important stuff and is what adds the realism to the images.”
Two unlikely friends share Apple Jacks and Oreos.
Corporal Patrick Ray, 30, saved Bexley when she was choking on a coin..."Her lips were completely blue," her mother, Tammy Norvell, 41, told CNN. She called 911, and Ray was there within minutes. "I could not believe how fast he got here," Norvell said. He was able to pry Bexley's mouth open to perform a "finger sweep." His body camera captured the moment she started breathing again.
"It was the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard in my entire life," said Corporal Ray.
The Greater Manchester Police Trafford South (UK) reports that yesterday, a man attacked an 86-year old woman in a grocery store and demanded her money. She refused and instead pulled a package of bacon out of her shopping cart, then beat him over the head with it. The police state on Facebook that: The offender then retreated and made off from the supermarket. #BeatOffWithBacon
Understandably his sexier accomplishments, like painting the Mona Lisa and inventing the deep-sea diving suit, overshadowed his time as a wedding planner. But wedding plan he did—from approximately between 1489 to 1493—and like everything else da Vinci put his mind to, it was with gusto and moxie. Being a wedding planner is not a total surprise considering Leonardo’s background in the food industry. His step-father, a pastry chef, got him hooked on sugar, introducing him to marzipan. His nickname at age 17 was, “Fat Boy.”
Leonardo Da Vinci's design for a scuba suit which you can see at the link
The most complete plans show a leather suit and facemask, with goggles and an inflatable wineskin to enable sinking and floating. Two hollow breathing tubes, made of cane and reinforced with steel rings, lead from the diver's mouth up to the surface of the water—some incarnations show them attached to a floating disc, while others have them leading to a pocket of air trapped by a diving bell. There is even a special pee pouch for the diver, ensuring he can stay down there regardless of whether nature calls.
Some historians think this suit was part of an elaborate plan to attack the Ottoman ships from below, in order to sink them or release prisoners. Others, including McCurdy, say it more likely dates back further, to da Vinci's time in Milan, in which case he may have intended it to attack Venice instead. (It was a time of tumultuous alliances.)
Leonardo da Vinci: The Restoration of the Century Superb documentary
The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne is one of the most beautiful paintings in the world. It is also one of the most mysterious. Disfigured and even jeopardised by "repairs" and by the successive layers of varnish applied to it over the centuries, it was also in very bad condition. To save the painting, it had to be restored.
The spectacular operation, the likes of which occurs only once a century, took over three years to complete. The complex and outstanding restoration process provided a unique opportunity to get as close as possible to the painting, to how it was originally painted, and to better understand the complex relationship Leonardo da Vinci had with one of his finest masterpieces.
Brother Clement of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit assisted in the running an orphanage and was responsible for overseeing the 50 acres of the orphanage's nursery. Among the thorns, he found an uncultivated tree with fruit of delicious flavor and almost no pips. The clementines we enjoy every winter are descendants from his original transplants from grafts.
An active compound in marijuana called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been found to promote the removal of toxic clumps of amyloid beta protein in the brain, which are thought to kickstart the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The finding supports the results of previous studies that found evidence of the protective effects of cannabinoids, including THC, on patients with neurodegenerative disease.
David Schubert from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California and his colleagues tested the effects of THC on human neurons grown in the lab that mimic the effects of Alzheimer's disease. He said, "Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuro-protective against the symptoms of Alzheimer's, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells."
A landmark study has identified the first physiological sign of late-onset Alzheimer's. Contrary to previous understanding, brain scans show a decrease in blood flow through the brain is the earliest indicator that a patient has the disease. An increase in amyloid protein was thought to be the number one sign. But while amyloid plays a role, experts at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital have determined that blood flow decreases first in the most thorough study ever published on Alzheimer's. They also found that changes in cognition begin earlier than previously thought.
The new research was a collaboration between the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the UCLA Easton Laboratories for Neurodegenerative Disease Research. A study of 10 patients found they all showed memory improvements; all have since been able to return to their jobs or continue working.
Study leader Dr Dale Bredesen hopes it could pave the way for the first effective treatment for the disease since it was first described more than 100 years ago. He said his approach is personalized, tailored to each individual patient - and is based on extensive testing to help determine the best therapies for each patient's brain.
'Imagine having a roof with 36 holes in it, and your drug patched one hole very well,' he said. 'The drug may have worked, and a single hole may have been fixed, but you still have 35 other leaks, and so the underlying process may not be affected much.' He went on: 'All of these patients had either well-defined mild cognitive impairment (MCI), subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) or had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's before beginning the regimen. 'But follow up testing showed some of the patients going from abnormal to normal.'
A vaccine which protects against dementia could be available within five years. Scientists believe they have made a breakthrough development which could stop Alzheimer’s disease in its tracks when given to people diagnosed in the early stages. They hope it will allow patients to carry on their lives much as normal while the progression of the condition is delayed by years – and perhaps for good.
As a preventative measure, the drug could even be given like a flu jab to over-50s or at risk groups. Experts believe delaying the development of Alzheimer’s by just five years could halve the number of people dying with the condition. The vaccine formula, worked on by researchers in the US and Australia, is the first to target both the protein believed to trigger Alzheimer’s and one which causes it to worsen. These proteins tend to become misshapen and group together to form ‘clumps’ in the brain.
The vaccine is designed to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies which dissolve the clumps, latch on to the proteins and take them out of the brain and into the blood stream, where they can be broken down. Researchers said the formula is boosted by a ‘turbo charger’ which makes it between 100 and 1,000 times more effective than previously tested vaccines. Their work showed the vaccine was successful on mice. It will now be tested in humans in the US and, if trials go well, it could be available in five to six years.
Philippe de Villiers: “I Believe That France Will Become an Islamic Republic”
A French historian, author, and former MEP, he is among a small minority of French intellectuals in being a conservative Catholic. Below I have excerpted some of interview Philippe de Villiers gave last fall. In it you’ll hear him discuss the Islamization of France and the coming destruction of Europe. It is his conclusion that France has already surrendered to Islamization.
....Chirac, Giscard (d’Estaing), Sarkozy, Hollande, to take four. History — they don’t give a damn; history of France and world history because these are marketing people, people of the moment. They don’t care about the French, yes I am adamant. They hate her. I’ll tell you, what they hate in her. They hate Christianity, Christian roots. Yes. That’s really it. You see? Christian France is so present and so ancient, and so it’s in its institutions, that it’s everywhere... You would have to eradicate all French literature and all the monuments, for the stones to stop talking.
....The three reasons why I believe that France will become an Islamic republic: The first reason is that it is the project of Islam; That is to say that Islam is a peaceful religion AFTER the conquest, always!… not BEFORE!
So the second reason is, that there is the fertility differential...“Childbirth is the jihad of women”.
thirdly the spirit of dhimmitude...the dhimmis are semi-citizens. There are Jews and Christians who are in the land of Islam and who do not have civil rights and they pay a tax and are humiliated; and they live like that. Yes. In order to survive...
This Islamization of the country...It is wanted. It is intended by the French elites. The French political class was bought by Saudi Arabia and Qatar...on the internet you have everything on Bilderberg, the Trilateral; therefore, I say, they’re not conspiring: they have the power! Voilà! And so you have the national political class. And above it, the invisible super-class, whom the national political class obeys....the alliance of liberal and libertarian, meaning, the idea that the big companies need new markets, new appetites, new clients; so we need to transform the world into a planetary mass market and transform the citizens into compulsive consumers
And this is where the conversation, which marked me so much, takes place. With Alexander Solzhenitsyn, we’re in Tambov, we’re walking. Suddenly he stops and says: “We, we will recover, [Eastern Europe and Russia] but you [the West], you’ll slip into a deep abyss, because you have the disease of emptiness. You will experience an eclipse of intelligence. You are at the last stage, the final stage of spiritual exhaustion. And one day, fireflies will come out of that great catacomb, carried by dissidents.” — The dissidents? I answered.
Well, I’m telling you, today dissidents are in the East, they will move to the West.“ ....Two things: the dissidents, they will emerge, out of the water, because they have two unique qualities: the first is courage, and the second is lucidity. The courage: they’ll dare to cross the hygienic perimeter: forbidden words.
Voilà. And as you could see, I hope. There is no malice in what I said about politicians; Rather, I have compassion for them. First, because most of them are illiterate; illiterate concerning France, even if they are highly educated, and secondly, because it’s the system that had placed in their chest a stone instead of a heart.
Paul Weston concludes France Has Two Options -- Civil War or Submission
Does French Culture Have a Future? by Pierre Manent
The French are exhausted, but they are first of all perplexed, lost. Things were not supposed to happen this way. … We had supposedly entered into the final stage of democracy where human rights would reign, ever more rights ever more rigorously observed. We had left behind the age of nations as well as that of religions, and we would henceforth be free individuals moving frictionless over the surface of the planet. … And now we see that religious affiliations and other collective attachments not only survive but return with a particular intensity. Everyone can see and feel this, but how can it be expressed when the only authorized language is that of individual rights? We have become supremely incapable of seeing what is right before our eyes....
Il Foglio: Has French culture a future? Has Christianity, caught between Islam and a militant secularism, a future in France? Will Western civilization continue to sustain Europe, or are we witnessing a slow abandonment of Western ideals?
We do not know when the trumpet will sound. I cannot answer you in the name of some “expertise”; I can only answer “by hope.” Christian hope is based on faith. I believe that, amid the crumbling of Western civilization, which has begun, the supernatural character of the Church will become, paradoxically, more and more visible. The hatred of the world will turn against it more and more clearly. More clearly than ever the fate of all will depend on the “little flock” of Christians.
Muslim Cultural Centre in Warsaw offers the Arabic language classes and to learning about the Koran. You can also pray in the huge, new mosque. It is not all! Arab sheikhs announce the construction of Islamic neighborhoods
Media is silent while authorities don’t ask the public for an opinion!...The whole thing is being financed with money from the sponsors from the Persian Gulf. Who exactly are these people? No answer. In the Fall they’re coming to Warsaw.
The new Arab neighborhood is to be built next to the National Stadium. All buildings will be designed exclusively for Muslims. There is one essential question: whether anyone asked the Poles about their opinion on the matter? Concerning the construction of the mosque, Polish people also found out after the fact.
Suppression of data about migrant rapes is "Germany-wide phenomenon." ...Only one in 10 rapes in Germany is reported and just 8% of rape trials result in convictions, according to Minister of Justice Heiko Maas.....a high-ranking police official in Frankfurt said: "There are strict instructions from the top not to report offenses committed by refugees. Only direct requests from media representatives regarding specific crimes should be answered. ... It is extraordinary that certain offenders are deliberately NOT being reported about and the information is being classified as confidential."
Facebook took down Tam Khan’s profile after the boxing trainer wrote: “I think it’s time the British or west deport not only those who speak bad or against the country but the entire family also. You come to a country to milk the benefit system, free education & health yet complain. Try that in Pakistan or the Gulf. See what will happen.”
“Muslims we need to start cleaning up our communities ASAP. We are just as much to blame for letting these idiots do these things as they are for sitting quiet. If we don’t it won’t stop only get worse.” Mr. Khan said he had never experienced Islamophobia, noting that he had always felt able to practice his religion in the UK.
James Bessen, from Boston University Law School, has an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review about the source of corporate profits in the 21st century. Unfortunately, he finds that cronyist policies account for a depressingly large share of corporate profits:
"I find that investments in conventional capital assets like machinery and spending on R&D together account for a substantial part of the rise in valuations and profits, especially during the 1990s. However, since 2000, political activity and regulation account for a surprisingly large share of the increase."
Here’s a very grim chart from his article. At the very least, I’ll call this the most depressing image of 2016.
Ugh, what a dismal observation on the state of our economy. Companies are almost making as much money from manipulating Washington as they earn from serving consumers.
Bessen adds some analysis, including the very important insight that regulation and intervention tends to help big companies relative to small companies and new competitors:
"Much of this result is driven by the role of regulation… Lobbying and political campaign spending can result in favorable regulatory changes, and several studies find the returns to these investments can be quite large. For example, one study finds that for each dollar spent lobbying for a tax break, firms received returns in excess of $220. …regulations that impose costs might raise profits indirectly, since costs to incumbents are also entry barriers for prospective entrants. For example, one study found that pollution regulations served to reduce entry of new firms into some manufacturing industries."
It’s also worth noting that he finds that this bad news really started back in 2000, which makes sense given that both Bush and Obama have pushed policies that have expanded the clumsy footprint of government.
What an awful cycle. Government gets bigger and more powerful, which lures companies into viewing Washington as a profit center, which then leads to more policies that expand the size and power of the federal government, which leads to further opportunities for rent-seeking behavior. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Oh, and don’t forget this is one of the reasons why there’s a revolving door of insiders who shift back and forth between the private sector and government, but their real job is always to be working the system to obtain undeserved wealth.
William Briggs writes perhaps the best piece on political correctness I've read in some time. “All Religions Want Peace”: The Pope, Propaganda & The Expected Lie
There is a kind of propaganda that everybody knows is propaganda, but which involves statements which everybody expects a personage to make. Call it Expected Lies....
Nothing more than this explains the endless stream of nothing-to-see-heres we get from European leaders after the latest killing by Muslims in the name of Islam. We are told the Expected Lie in many forms: “This is not true Islam (even though the Muslim attackers swear that it is)”, “All Muslims are not terrorists (a truth but non sequitur)”, “We don’t know the reason for the murders (despite the sworn testimony of cowardly killers)”, “The slaughter was sparked by racism (false, and even if true no excuse for wanton murder)”, “The rapes of children and their cover-up were not unusual (a hell-condemning perposterosity)”, “Immigration is good and will continue (even though all of history shows forced mixing of cultures leads to violence)”, and so on.
Nobody believes any of these Expected Lies, nor are we meant to. Yet there is something in all of us that screams, “Why can’t these bloody liars tell the truth!” They cannot because, as with the serially offending President, admitting the truth must needs lead to action. And the action called for cannot be countenanced by these leaders.
En route to Krakow, Pope says world is at war, but it's not a war of religions
“When I speak of war, I talk about it seriously, but it’s not a war of religion. It’s a war for money, for resources, for nature, for dominion. This is the war. Could one think of a religious war? No. All religions want peace. Others want war,” he said. “Is that clear?”
ISIS disagrees. 'We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers, said Dabiq, the ISIS propaganda magazine with its leading story entitled Break the Cross .
The jihadi author reasons that the masses are too scared to call the group Islamic because its 'politically incorrect'. He notes there are 'exceptions among the disbelievers... who will unabashedly declare that jihad and the laws of the Shari’ah – as well as everything else deemed taboo by the Islam-is-a-peaceful-religion crowd – are in fact completely Islamic'. The article says these people tend to have far less credibility and 'are painted as a social fringe, so their voices are dismissed and a large segment of the ignorant masses continues believing the false narrative'. 'As such, it becomes important for us to clarify to the West in unequivocal terms – yet again – why we hate you and why we fight you.'
The magazine features a whole editorial titled Why We Hate You and Why We Fight You. The list-style article explains 'we hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers; you reject the oneness of Allah – whether you realize it or not'. The other six reasons ISIS hates everyone who isn't a member of its terror group is because they are reportedly 'liberal', 'atheist', commit 'crimes against Islam' and 'crimes against the Muslims' and invade 'our lands'.
'As long as there is an inch of territory left for us to reclaim, jihad will continue to be a personal obligation on every single Muslim,' the propaganda piece states.
More than 113 million medical records were hacked in 2015 alone, according to data compiled by the Health and Human Services. A newly released report from the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, a cybersecurity think tank, found that some 47% of Americans have had their medical record hacked in the past 12 months. As cardiologist and author Eric Topol points out, the majority of patients haven't ever accessed their medical record before that happens.
On the dark web, medical records draw a far higher price than credit cards. Hackers are well aware that it's simple enough to cancel a credit card, but to change a social security number is no easy feat. Banks have taken some major steps to crack down on identity theft. But hospitals, which have only transitioned en masse from paper-based to digital systems in the past decade, have far fewer security protections in place.
On the dark web, complete medical records typically contain an individual's name, birthdate, social security number, and medical information. These records can sell for as much as (the bitcoin equivalent) of $60 apiece, whereas social security numbers are a mere $15. Stolen credit cards sell for just $1 to $3. During the tour, we spotted one hacker who claimed to have a treasure trove of just shy of 1 million full health records up for grabs.
Is Europe Helpless? asks Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal A civilization that believes in nothing will ultimately submit to anything.
Can the decline be stopped? Yes, but that would require a great unlearning of the political mythologies on which modern Europe was built.
Among those mythologies: that the European Union is the result of a postwar moral commitment to peace; that Christianity is of merely historical importance to European identity; that there’s no such thing as a military solution; that one’s country isn’t worth fighting for; that honor is atavistic and tolerance is the supreme value. People who believe in nothing, including themselves, will ultimately submit to anything.
More important, Europeans will have to learn that powerlessness can be as corrupting as power—and much more dangerous. The storm of terror that is descending on Europe will not end in some new politics of inclusion, community outreach, more foreign aid or one of Mrs. Merkel’s diplomatic Rube Goldbergs. It will end in rivers of blood. Theirs or yours?
Europeans will no doubt look to Israel for tactical tips in the battle against terrorism—crowd management techniques and so on—but what they really need to learn from the Jewish state is the moral lesson. Namely, that identity can be a great preserver of liberty, and that free societies cannot survive through progressive accommodations to barbarians.