Lebanon president issues warning to Israel in spat over Hezbollah

Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Saturday warned that his country would meet any perceived threats by Israel with an “appropriate response,” after the Israeli ambassador to the UN complained about his statements regarding the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

“Any attempt to hurt Lebanese sovereignty or expose the Lebanese to danger will find the appropriate response,” Aoun said in an official statement, according to Reuters.

Aoun was referring to a letter sent earlier this week to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres by Ambassador Danny Danon about the president’s remarks. Aoun said Sunday that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah plays “a complementary role to the Lebanese army” in countering Israel.

“As long as the Lebanese army is not strong enough to battle Israel … we feel the need for its existence,” Aoun told the Egyptian TV network CBC on Sunday.

On Saturday, Aoun called Danon’s letter a “masked attempt to threaten security and stability” in southern Lebanon — where Israel had maintained a security zone from 1982 until its sudden withdrawal in 2000, and which was the focus of fighting during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Young men hold Lebanese national flags and yellow flags of the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah as they watch its leader Hassan Nasrallah deliver a speech on a screen in the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil on August 13, 2016 during a commemoration marking the tenth anniversary of the end of the Second Lebanon War. (AFP Photo/Mahmoud Zayyat)

Young men hold Lebanese national flags and yellow flags of the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah as they watch its leader Hassan Nasrallah deliver a speech on a screen in the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil on August 13, 2016 during a commemoration marking the tenth anniversary of the end of the Second Lebanon War. (AFP Photo/Mahmoud Zayyat)

Hezbollah, which was founded in the early 1980s to fight against Israel’s military presence in Lebanon, has long justified its large arsenal of weapons as needed to fight against alleged Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty, despite Israel withdrawing all its forces from southern Lebanon in 2000.

The UN said Monday in response to Aoun’s remarks on Egyptian TV that Resolution 1701, reached as part of a ceasefire agreement to end the 2006 war, prohibits the country from being allowed to field militias such as Hezbollah.

UN resolution 1701 is vital for Lebanon’s stability and security, UN Coordinator Sigrid Kaag said in a tweet, adding that the resolution calls for the disarmament of all armed groups, with no weapons that are outside the control of the state.

Recalling SCR 1701 vital 4 Lebanon’s stability-security. Resolution calls 4 disarmament all armed groups. No arms outside control of state

On Sunday, The Times of Israel reported that Israeli officials believe Hezbollah and Lebanese troops are cooperating near the border with Israel, in contravention of UNSCR 1701.

According to the Lebanese online news agency Naharnet, Aoun followed up his comments by saying Tuesday that any decisions about arms would comply with Lebanon’s National Defense Strategy.

“The matter is subject to the National Defense Strategy which we have been trying to set when the incidents got ahead of us,” Aoun told Egypt’s Nile News TV.

“Lebanon, relative to its surroundings in terms of both human and economic power, is incapable of building a military force capable of confronting the enemy. Therefore it has to use special ways for fighting, involving regular (army) and popular forces. This is the idea that can be translated into a realistic plan,” he added.

Indian UN peacekeepers with their armored personnel carrier, right, stand guard next to a giant poster that shows Hezbollah fighters and the Al Aqsa Mosque with Arabic and Hebrew words reading: "We are coming," near the barbed wire that separates Lebanon from the Shebaa Farms. April 16, 2014. AP/Hussein Malla)

Indian UN peacekeepers with their armored personnel carrier, right, stand guard next to a giant poster that shows Hezbollah fighters and the Al-Aqsa Mosque with Arabic and Hebrew words reading: ‘We are coming,’ near the barbed wire that separates Lebanon from the Shebaa Farms, on April 16, 2014. (AP/Hussein Malla)

The Lebanese president also accused Israel in his statement Saturday of occupying the Shebaa Farms — known in Hebrew as Mount Dov — a small patch of land captured by Israel from Syria in 1967, according to the Hebrew-language Ynet News site.

Lebanon maintains that the strip of land is a part of Lebanon, despite it having been under Syrian control from the 1950s until it was captured and later annexed as part of the Golan Heights by Israel in 1981.

Neither Israel, Syria or the United Nations recognize Mount Dov as Lebanese territory.

On Thursday, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said that the terror group is in possession of rockets capable of striking Israel’s nuclear reactor in the southern city of Dimona and threatened that it would turn Israel’s reported nuclear arsenal against it.


Hezbollah said to have obtained ‘game-changing’ anti-ship missiles

The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah is said to have obtained advanced Russian-made anti-ship missiles, potentially threatening Israeli gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea and the Israeli Navy’s ability to operate in the area, according to a report published Sunday.

Hezbollah’s possession of the Yakhont missiles was revealed by unnamed Western intelligence officials over the weekend at the Munich Security Conference, where world leaders and defense ministers are meeting to discuss major security issues, according to a report in the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth. The reports did not reveal in what forum the revelations were made.

If true, Hezbollah’s possession of the missiles would represent a serious threat to Israeli interests in the Mediterranean; endangering both Israeli commercial vessels sailing in shipping lanes off the Lebanese coast and the ability of Israeli Navy ships to operate in and around Lebanese waters.

Most significantly, the missiles would give Hezbollah the ability to strike Israel’s gas production platforms in the Mediterranean, a threat Israel reportedly intends to counter by installing maritime versions of the Iron Dome missile defense system on naval vessels as part of the Israeli Navy’s efforts to secure the country’s natural gas fields.

An aerial view of the Israeli 'Tamar' gas processing rig 24 km off the Israeli southern coast of Ashkelon. Noble Energy and Delek are the main partners in the oil field, October 11, 2013. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

An aerial view of the Israeli ‘Tamar’ gas processing rig 24 km off the Israeli southern coast of Ashkelon. Noble Energy and Delek are the main partners in the oil field, October 11, 2013. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Israeli security officials have previously said that advanced missiles such as the Yakhont falling into the hands of Hezbollah would constitute the crossing of a red line, and Israel is said to have targeted at least two shipments of Yakhont systems in 2013 from Syria to Hezbollah. Syria, one of Russia’s closest allies has a large arsenal of the advanced anti-ship missiles.

Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, a number of airstrikes have been attributed to Israel, reportedly targeting convoys of advanced weapons to Hezbollah, as part of Israel’s policy to prevent the group from acquiring “game-changing” arms, in particular anti-aircraft systems, chemical weapons and other advanced weaponry such as the Yakhont.

In 2014, then defense-minister Moshe Ya’alon dismissed a report published in The Wall Street Journal alleging Hezbollah was in possession of at least 12 Yakhont systems, saying that Israel believes the Shiite terror group “does not have the missiles.”

During the 2006 Lebanon War, Hezbollah successfully struck an Israeli naval warship off the coast of Lebanon using a Chinese-made C-802 anti-ship missile, killing four sailors.

The attack on the naval vessel surprised Israeli security officials, with an IDF officer telling the Haaretz daily at the time that “we were under the impression that we were operating beyond the range of missiles.”

On Thursday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah boasted that Israel was surprised then and would be surprised again in any future conflict. “In 2006 you had intelligence of our ammunition but you were astonished with what you saw after figuring out that you didn’t have enough information. You will be surprised with what we are (now) hiding which could change the course of any war,” he said

The Yakhont, which was a reported range of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles), would give Hezbollah a significant upgrade over the C-802, which can reach up to a distance of 110 kilometers (68 miles).

The evidence for vaccine safety is abundant. That will be $100,000, please.

At what point does a body of evidence become massive enough to count as proof? When has a question been answered enough times that it can be put to rest?

When it comes to the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, it sometimes seems as though public health advocates must constantly roll the burden of proof toward a mountaintop that never comes into view.

The latest salvo against vaccinations came courtesy of Robert Kennedy Jr. and Robert De Niro. At a joint appearance this week, Kennedy offered $100,000 to anyone who could turn up a study showing that it is safe to administer vaccines to children and pregnant women, with a specific call out to concerns about mercury. De Niro was there to lend his endorsement and a patina of Oscar-winning gravitas.

Both men have an unreliable history when it comes to their views about vaccinations. Kennedy’s reference to mercury alludes to thimerosal, a preservative once used in vaccines, which he has long maintained can lead to autism. (It doesn’t.) A meeting earlier this year between then President-elect Donald Trump (who has hair-raising views of his own about vaccines) and Kennedy caused grave concern within the medical community, myself included. Kennedy claimed Trump asked him to helm a commission on vaccine safety (even though the United States already has a vaccine safety commission), but it has yet to materialize.

De Niro came under fire for endorsing a film that purports a link between vaccinations and autism, though instead of mercury, it blames the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine. The Tribeca Film Festival, which De Niro co-founded, included the anti-vaccine documentary in its 2016 lineup. After complaints, it was pulled from the schedule, but the actor subsequently touted its message and urged people to see it. Unfortunately, it’s clear he hasn’t changed his mind since then.

Like most people, I can think of many handy uses for a spare hundred grand, and would gladly sit down and share my experience as a pediatrician with De Niro and Kennedy at great length. It’s nearing two decades since I graduated from medical school, and in that span of time I’ve immunized thousands of patients. Not once have I encountered a case where those immunizations could be plausibly linked with autism.

In the off chance that my word alone isn’t sufficient to collect the $100,000, I’m happy to proffer lots of studies that support the safety of vaccines. Studies never seem to settle the question for anti-vaccine activists, but they are the best evidence we could ever have, based on millions of people and using many different types of comparisons, that vaccination is safe for kids.

It’s actually not that much money when you split it between 7 billion people who don’t have polio https://twitter.com/DeathAndTaxes/status/832037822823616512 

The explanation for the bogus vaccine-autism link is a constantly shifting target. As noted, both the MMR vaccine and thimerosal have been blamed, and the anti-vaccine movement happily gloms onto both explanations despite the fact that they are completely unrelated. That the various theories never really cohere doesn’t seem to give the movement pause. Blurring dark but vague threats, anti-vaccine activists blend them into a miasma through which no given study can hope to penetrate. Uncertainty is good for stoking fear.

When studies show that the MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism, and when the original study suggesting a link is exposed as a fraud? It must be thimerosal! Other studies show no association between thimerosal and autism, and thimerosal isn’t even used anymore? The combination of all the vaccines at once is the problem! Produce evidence to support the safety of the current vaccination schedule, and the boogeyman simply adopts another form.

Everything you need to know about the vaccine debate

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Here are some of the most common arguments for and against vaccination. (The Washington Post)

Because much of the evidence in support of vaccines comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, detractors seize on corruption as an explanation for studies with findings contrary to their beliefs. The anti-vaccine movement affords the CDC roughly as much respect as you’d typically give cardsharps and second-rate grifters, and anything the CDC produces is dismissed out of hand. But even if the CDC were a hotbed of malign pharmaceutical industry influence, that doesn’t explain why large studies demonstrating the safety of vaccines come from places like Denmark or the United Kingdom, where the CDC doesn’t have a lot of pull.

All of this information is readily available to anyone who chooses to look for it — 350 health organizations recently reaffirmed the safety of vaccines and highlighted more than 40 of the most respected studies in an open letter to President Trump — and yet still Kennedy and De Niro are happy to pretend none of it exists.

Conversely, a growing body of evidence suggests brain differences associated with autism may be found early in infancy — well before children receive most vaccines. Changes in the volume of certain brain areas found by MRI may help predict autism in infants with an older sibling who has the diagnosis, according to a recent study in the journal Nature. Other studies have found that alterations in brain cell development related to autism may occur before birth. These findings are clearly inconsistent with vaccines as a cause of autism.

But none of this emerging research seems to have dampened the fires burning within the anti-vaccine movement. I could resurrect Edward Jenner and Jonas Salk for joint TED talks about the benefits of vaccination, and somehow I doubt it would make any difference at this point. Despite Kennedy’s disingenuous plea for evidence of safety, it’s not evidence he really cares about. If it were, he could find more than enough for free.

However, if either De Niro or Kennedy read this article and change their mind, I’m happy to take the $100,000 anyhow.

Daniel Summers is a pediatrician in New England.

Wyoming Man Receives ‘Miracle’ Face Transplant 10 Years After Suicide Attempt

Wyoming Man Receives ‘Miracle’ Face Transplant 10 Years After Suicide Attempt

Ten years ago, Andy Sandness tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the face. After miraculously surviving the horrific incident, the 31-year-old has received one the rarest surgeries in the world — a face transplant.

On June 16, 2016, 60 surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and others came together for the gruelling 56-hour surgery — a first for the Mayo Clinic. The face transplant included the nose, cheeks, mouth, lips, jaw, chin and teeth and came from a donor who was his age and also tried to kill himself, according to The Associated Press.

In June 2016, Calen “Rudy” Ross fatally shot himself in the head. His widow, Lilly, was eight months pregnant at the time. She carried out her husband’s wishes to be an organ donor.

Lilly met with a coordinator at LifeSource, a nonprofit that works with families in the upper Midwest to facilitate organ and tissue donation. Although Lilly was “skeptical at first,” she told the AP, because she “didn’t want to walk around and all of a sudden see Calen,” she was reassured the donor had his own eyes and forehead and would not be recognizable as her husband.

The Accident

Two days before Christmas in 2006, Sandness was “super, super depressed,” he tells the AP, and grabbed a rifle from a closet. He put the barrel beneath his chin, pulled the trigger and knew right away that he had made the biggest mistake of his life.

When police arrived he said, “Please, please don’t let me die! I don’t want to die!”

Rushed from his home in Newcastle, Wyoming, he was treated at two hospitals before arriving at the Mayo Clinic.

It was there that Dr. Samir Mardini, a plastic surgeon whose specialty is facial reconstruction, told Sandness that he’d fix his face as best he could.

“I just need you to be strong and patient,” he told him.

Sandness had no nose, jaw and only two teeth. He wasn’t able to look at himself in the mirror and needed breathing and feeding tubes at first. But after eight surgeries (not including the face transplant) over four-and-a-half months, he returned home and began work at a lodge in the oil fields and as an electrician’s apprentice.

He says he was nothing like his old self. He avoided eye contact with young children at the grocery store so he wouldn’t scare them, had no social life and would sometimes lie and say he was in a hunting accident if people asked him what had happened.

“Those were real tough times for him,’ his father, Reed, told the AP. “He was insecure. Who wouldn’t be?”

The Call

In the Spring of 2012, Sandness received a call from Dr. Mardini who said the Mayo Clinic was going to launch a face transplant program and that he might be perfect for it.

Although Sandness knew their were major risks involved, he asked him, “How long until I can do this?”

Sandness underwent a rigorous psychiatric and social work evaluation to determine if he was a good candidate. After factoring in his resilience and motivation, along with his endless support from his family and friends, he was added to the waiting list of the United Network for Organ Sharing in January 2016.

“He wasn’t rushing us, and we weren’t rushing him,” Dr. Hatem Amer, Mayo’s medical director of reconstructive transplantation, told the AP. “He really understood what he was embarking upon.”

Dr. Mardini thought it would take five years to find a match, but just five months later he got the call about Ross.

The extremely complicated surgery was a “miracle,” according to Dr. Mardini.

“I said, ‘Andy, I’ve never lied to you. I’m telling you you’re going to be happy with what you see,’ ” he recalls. “He was quizzing me and the nurses all the time.”

Sandness says he realized the transplant was a success three months after the surgery when a little boy looked at him and didn’t appear scared. He now plans to work as an electrician and hopefully marry and have a family one day. He and Lilly, Ross’ widow, would also like to meet.

“Once you lose something that you’ve had forever, you know what it’s like not to have it,” he told the news outlet. “And once you get a second chance to have it back, you never forget it.”

Lithuanian nationalists celebrate Holocaust-era quisling, Pepe the Frog near execution site

(JTA) — Lithuanian ultranationalists marched near execution sites of Jews with banners celebrating a pro-Nazi collaborationist who called for ethnic cleansing and a symbol popular with members of the U.S. “alt-right” movement.

Approximately 170 people attended Thursday’s annual march in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city that is also known as Kovno, the website Defending History reported.

The main banner featured a picture of the collaborationist Kazys Skirpa modified to resemble Pepe the Frog, a cartoon figure that was used by hate groups in the United States during the 2016 presidential elections, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The banner also included a quote attributed to the Pepe-like portrait of Skirpa, an envoy of the pro-Nazi movement in Lithuania to Berlin, that read “Lithuania will contribute to new and better European order.”

Skirpa, who has a street named for him in Kaunas, “elevated anti-Semitism to a political level” that “could have encouraged a portion of Lithuania’s residents to get involved in the Holocaust,” the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania asserted in 2015. But Skirpa “proposed to solve ‘the Jewish problem’ not by genocide but by the method of expulsion from Lithuania,” the center said.

The procession passed near the Lietovus Garage, where in 1941 locals butchered dozens of Jews. Thousands more were killed in an around Kaunas by local collaborators of the Nazis and by German soldiers in the following months.

“Kaunas is ground zero of the Lithuanian Holocaust,” Dovid Katz, a U.S.-born scholar and the founder of Defending History, told JTA on Friday. He condemned local authorities for allowing the march by “folks who glorify the very Holocaust-collaborators, theoreticians and perpetrators who unleashed the genocide locally.” Katz was one of five people who attended the march to protest and document it.

Lithuania is the only country that officially defines its domination by the former Soviet Union as a form of genocide. The name of the state-funded entity that wrote about Skirpa in 2005 refers both to the Holocaust and the so-called Soviet occupation.

The Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius, which until 2011 did not mention the more than 200,000 Lithuanian Jews who died in the Nazi Holocaust, was established in 1992 to memorialize Lithuanians killed by the Nazi, but mostly Soviet, states.

Another placard seen at the march on Feb. 16, one of Lithuania’s two independence days, featured a list of 33 names, supposedly of Jews who allegedly were involved in Soviet repression. “Information on Jews and Vanagaite,” the poster also read. In previous years, marchers also displayed Nazi swastikas.

Vanagaite referred to Ruta Vanagaite, a Lithuanian writer who last year co-authored an influential book about the Holocaust in Lithuania with Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The book triggered an acrimonious public debate about the longtime taboo issue of local complicity in the Holocaust.

Tensions over Trump deepen fractures among American Jews

NEW YORK (AP) — The early weeks of the Trump administration have widened divides between liberal and conservative Jews, setting off quarrels over anti-Semitism, Israel and the Holocaust.

Well before the 2016 election, discussion over Israel had become so barbed among Jews that Jewish groups began organizing civility training so relationships and holidays wouldn’t be ruined. But those disputes have erupted with a new intensity since Donald Trump won the presidency.

They were on display most prominently this week, during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first visit to the Trump White House and a pair of news conferences during which the president would not directly address questions about anti-Semitism. On Thursday, in one of the most remarkable moments of a riotous back-and-forth with reporters, Trump shut down a Hasidic reporter from an Orthodox magazine who had taken pains to preface his question by saying he knew Trump wasn’t anti-Jewish.

Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish civil rights group that has been highly critical of Trump, called the president’s response “mind-boggling.”

US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC on February 15, 2017, where both leaders refused to commit to the two-state model as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC on February 15, 2017, where both leaders refused to commit to the two-state model as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

But Mort Klein, president of the hawkish Zionist Organization of America, who has championed Trump as a great ally of Israel, said Trump must have been frustrated by the “relentless and outrageous allegations” of anti-Semitism against him and his White House strategist Steve Bannon. “If there was a hint of anti-Semitism, I would be at their throat,” Klein said.

American Jews have been especially on edge because of a surge of anti-Semitic harassment over the course of the presidential campaign and continuing this year. Last month, Jewish community centers and other institutions in 27 states and Canada received what is being investigated as a coordinated series of telephone bomb threats over a period of days, according to the Secure Community Network, formed by Jewish organizations to protect their institutions.

Many Jewish groups and others had seen animus in the White House statement last month on International Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention Jews. The president’s aides defended the statement as “inclusive” of all who were killed by the Nazis.

At a news conference with Netanyahu last Wednesday, Trump opened by calling Israel a symbol of “survival in the face of genocide.” But when an Israeli reporter asked Trump about the rise in anti-Semitic harassment during the campaign and since his election, he responded by touting his Electoral College total and promising “peace in this country.” Netanyahu then took up the question, saying he had known the president, his family and some of his aides for many years and “there is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump. I think we should put that to rest.”

The response rankled some American Jews. Alana Newhouse, editor-in-chief of Tablet, the online Jewish magazine, addressed the prime minister: “I won’t tell you what to be afraid of in your country, and you don’t tell me what I should fear in mine.”

The next day, a confirmation hearing was held for David Friedman, the combative attorney Trump chose as US envoy to Israel. Friedman, who has deep ties to the Israeli settler movement, had said the Anti-Defamation League sounded like “morons” for accusing Trump of anti-Semitism, and he had called supporters of the dovish pro-Israel lobby J Street “worse than kapos,” a reference to Jews who helped the Nazis imprison fellow Jews during the Holocaust.

At the hearing, Friedman apologized for using inflammatory language in the past, and said he regretted not expressing his views of J Street in a more respectful manner. Greenblatt said he had spoken with Friedman about his remarks regarding the ADL and had accepted his apology.

David Friedman testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination to be the US ambassador to Israel, Feb. 16, 2017. (Win McNamee/Getty Images via JTA)

David Friedman testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination to be the US ambassador to Israel, Feb. 16, 2017. (Win McNamee/Getty Images via JTA)

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the liberal Union for Reform Judaism, the largest American Jewish movement, said he met for 90 minutes with Friedman at the nominee’s request, “He simply wanted to have a conversation directly,” Jacobs said in a phone interview. “He knows how offensive it was.”

Union for Reform Judaism president Rabbi Rick Jacobs, center, participating in a prayer service at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, July 4, 2016. (Courtesy of the URJ)

Union for Reform Judaism president Rabbi Rick Jacobs, center, participating in a prayer service at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, July 4, 2016. (Courtesy of the URJ)

On Friday, Reform Jewish leaders announced they opposed Friedman’s nomination, the first time the movement had ever opposed a president’s choice for the position. The ZOA’s Klein, meanwhile, said Friedman has “the potential to be the greatest US ambassador to Israel ever.”

Jewish issues came to the fore again in a remarkable way during Trump’s question-and-answer session on Thursday.

The reporter from the Brooklyn-based Orthodox Ami Magazine, Jake Turx, sporting curly sidelocks and a skullcap embroidered with his Twitter handle, rose to ask his question. While Hillary Clinton won 71 percent of the Jewish vote, Orthodox Jews who backed Trump have taken comfort in his support for Israel, his many Jewish friends and advisers, and especially his Orthodox Jewish daughter, Ivanka, who converted, and her husband and close presidential aide Jared Kushner. Turx opened his question to Trump by noting the president was a “zayde” — which is Yiddish for grandfather — then started to ask about the increased reports of anti-Jewish harassment and hate crimes.

But Trump quickly interrupted, saying “not a fair question,” and when Turx tried to continue, said “quiet, quiet, quiet … I find it repulsive. I hate even the question.”

The internal Jewish debate will likely rage on in the coming weeks as Trump’s policies on Israel, refugees and immigration take shape.

At Friedman’s hearing, three young Jews who belong to the activist group IfNotNow, which opposes Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, stood up to interrupt the proceedings. They shook groggers, or noisemakers, used on the holiday of Purim to drown out the names of enemies of the Jewish people.

American Free Press: Fired Professor James Tracy Fights for Free Speech



The case of Dr. James F. Tracy is arguably the most important free speech case that is going on today. As it moves through the courts with barely a notice, AFP spoke with Dr. Tracy’s attorney, Louis F. Leo IV, to update us on the current situation of the professor, who was disciplined and then fired last year for blogging on his own time. Read the whole post

“They Are Taking Out Trump’s Lieutenants”: Deep State Intelligence Ops Sabotaging the White House?




Illustration by Richard Davie, Flickr CC4.0

Do you see the writing on the wall? Do you see what is happening here?

If there was any doubt that the Trump era will eventually unfold into either a) revolution and total chaos, b) a police state under martial law or c) a coup or assassination against the leader of the free world, then it should be clear from this.

Behind the scenes, the intelligence community are at war with President Donald Trump.

He has refused to attend CIA briefings; they have sabotaged his National Security Advisor by leaking classified communications with the explicit purpose of undermining the new administration and stoking tensions with Russia.

If Gen. Mike Flynn can be removed, it not only challenges the power of the Trump White House but builds upon the false narrative that Russia has been involved in hacking, cyber attacks and undermining legitimate U.S. power.

Greg Hunter of USA Watchdog spoke with the very insightful Catherine Austin Fitts about the palace intrigue and cloak-and-dagger inner-workings of the new administration, and the creatures of the establishment who resent their rival claim to power over U.S. policy. This is truly historical stuff going on:

Catherine Austin Fitts-Trump Taking On Corruption & Lawlessness

How many other Trump administration officials will be mired in scandal, or ousted by bad optics? When they go down, will we know whether it was for good reason or not? There are many unaddressed issues with Mike Flynn, but the implications are disturbing. The news media is blatantly distorted, and no mainstream accounts can be trusted anymore.

But there is no real way for the average citizen to know what is going on behind closed doors in Washington, etc. without solid, accountable, transparent and accurate reporting – and virtually nothing of the sort exists in Washington or elsewhere.

The CIA and national security deep state would love for the American people to believe the notion that Putin represents a hostile and immediate threat, and that the entire Trump presidency has been a Trojan horse scheme to advance Russian interest. But, if nobody buys it, they at least want the American people to know who holds the ultimate power.

Hypocrisy and true intent mean nothing to these people. They must have it their way, and they will stop at nothing to get their agenda settled. They are at war with Trump, and he will either bend or break, as far as they’re concerned.

If that is the case, then there is no “democracy” or “constitutional republic.” The American Dream and the republic for which it stands are null and void, because the shadow government stole unchecked power from the gods like Prometheus, and have kept it to themselves rather than distributing the power.

The 1947 National Security Act set the CIA on a long-leash, that thereafter either came loose around its neck, or snapped under pressure.

And here’s what former Rep. Dennis Kucinich told Fox Business, warning America that the intelligence community was actively trying to undermine the Trump Administration, and are targeting his top cabinet officials. The resignation of Gen. Mike Flynn may be just the beginning:

Intel community trying to undermine Trump’s presidency?

These will be some trying times for America.

Internal turmoil, war within and war without. Stay on watch.






A shocking audio tape released by two Russian pranksters posing as the Prime Minister of Ukraine caught John McCain talking about Russian sanctions, foreign policy and criticizing Trump behind closed doors.

In the tapes, McCain is also heard telling the “Prime Minister” that he’s sending Trump a letter urging him to send “lethal” weapons to Ukraine.

These same pranksters successfully tricked Maxine Waters in a tape released earlier this week and say they also have tapes of Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell.

From Sputnik News:

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The news comes as the pranksters called US Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the one who earlier claimed that “Putin is continuing to advance into Korea,” to say that Russia has invaded Limpopo, an African river that the politician believed to be a country in Africa.

Having introduced themselves as Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, Kuznetsov and Stolyarov also discussed the sanctions against Russia with Waters.

Following the incident, Peskov said Kremlin was not linked to the prank phone calls and appreciated the fact that nobody had the idea to accuse Moscow of the tricks.

The sanctions issue was also discussed with US republicans, according to the hoaxers.

“We have pranked McCain, Lindsey Graham and the Republican Majority leader in Congress McConnell in the Congress Mitch McConnell on the issue of anti-Russian sanctions, however, we can not tell the details yet,” Kuznetsov said.

Why is John McCain undermining our President and talking sanctions and foreign policy with Russian pranksters posing as the Prime Minister of Ukraine?

This is completely insane.

Seems awfully hypocritical considering what just happened with Michael Flynn. It’ll be interesting to hear the calls with Graham and McConnell.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple


m4 assault rifle

For decades America’s most liberal cities have thumbed their noses at the federal government, by becoming sanctuary cities and refusing to capture and prosecute illegal immigrants. The issue has gained renewed interest since the election of Donald Trump, who has threatened to revoke funding for these cities unless they begin to comply with federal immigration laws.

States like California have responded by trying to push through legislation that would make the entire state a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, and by even threatening to withhold taxes from the federal government. As much as it might pain conservatives, it appears that sanctuary cities are going to continue to thumb their noses at the feds and the Trump administration for the foreseeable future.

However, as upsetting as it is that entire cities are ignoring laws that protect our sovereignty, the idea of a sanctuary city isn’t as bad as you might think. I don’t see anything wrong with the basic premise of a community or a city ignoring laws that they think are harmful to them. I only disagree with it in regards to illegal immigration. Cities should be allowed to do this, provided they’re willing to face the consequences, such as defunding by the feds.

The only real problem with the idea of sanctuary cities is that conservatives and libertarians haven’t utilized the concept in their own communities. They haven’t worked up the nerve to ignore the onerous rules of a government they have long complained about. For instance, why haven’t they decided to create sanctuaries for gun rights? Places where cities and towns can ignore state and federal gun laws that they don’t like?

Well we may be about to see that very situation unfold in Oregon for the first time.

LAKEVIEW, Ore. – A measure challenging gun regulations is popping up around the state. Since 2015, four counties have passed a measure known as the Second Amendment Preservation ordinance, and commissioners in Malheur, Union and Lake counties have heard the same measure in the past few weeks.

The ordinance is a reaction to the Oregon Firearms Safety Act, passed by the state Legislature in 2015, which requires background checks for transfers of firearms between private parties. These county ordinances allow sheriffs to ignore this law – which gun advocates see as unconstitutional…

…Rob Taylor of Coos County is one of the chief petitioners for the Second Amendment Preservation ordinance. He said he wants Oregon to have what he called “sanctuary counties” for the Second Amendment.

“The same way Oregon has become a sanctuary state for immigration,” he said.

So far the legality of the measure is still being debated in Oregon, but hopefully it’ll succeed. At the very least it will give libertarians and conservatives a few ideas, and show them that yes, sanctuary cities and states aren’t just for the left. If the left decides to ignore federal laws that they don’t like, then two can play at that game.

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