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Trump raises stakes on government shutdown, demands border wall funds in spending bill

The White House said Thursday that it wants to see money for President Trump’s border wall included in the spending bill Congress must pass next week — a demand Democrats said sours negotiations and makes a government shutdown more likely.

The demands mark a reversal for the administration, which had been saying it found enough money to build prototypes this year and wouldn’t need a major infusion of cash until next year.

But White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that the wall and the money for more immigration agents are priorities.

“We know there are a lot of people on the Hill, especially in the Democratic Party, who don’t like the wall, but they lost the election. And the president should, I think, at least have the opportunity to fund one of his highest priorities in the first funding bill under his administration,” Mr. Mulvaney said.

The White House issued its demand just days after Democrats insisted that the spending bill include billions of dollars to prop up Obamacare. Democratic aides signaled that they wouldn’t accept a bill without the cost-sharing payments intended to keep insurers invested in the health care law.

With Mr. Mulvaney’s demand, both sides now appear to be entrenching.

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Govt And Media (Jews and White Freemasons) Doing Exact Same Thing It Did To Start Iraq War, And Americans (White Idiots) Are Buying It

http://www.renegadetribune.com/govt-media-exact-thing-start-iraq-war-americans-buying/

 

By Justin Gardner

In May 2004, one year after the U.S. commenced a full-scale invasion of Iraq, the New York Timesissued a half-baked apology for its abysmal coverage of the “intelligence” used to convince America that Iraq was a threat.

“Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged — or failed to emerge,” wrote the NYT editors. They also lamented their dependence on Iraqi defectors who made spurious claims to further the goal of regime change.

It was a grudging admission that the famous newspaper played a critical role in pushing lies and propaganda, to lead the U.S. into a ‘pre-emptive’ war of choice. Other corporate media outlets, including those in the neoconservative (i.e. The Weekly Standard) and liberal interventionist camps, apparently felt no remorse at betraying the public.

To be fair, it wasn’t all the fault of ‘patriotic’ American media. In Sept. 2002, the Bush-Cheney cabal installed a special Pentagon intelligence unit to create the web of lies and spin needed to bring forth the Iraq war drums.

The Office of Special Plans (OSP), led by Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, used their imagination and hard-line neocon belief in “regime change” to create Iraqi WMD and ties to terror out of thin air. With the “war on terror” as an excuse and Dick Cheney as their cover, OSP bypassed normal intelligence routes and brought what they wanted straight to President Bush.

In January 2004, Mother Jones exposed the workings of this “secret Pentagon intelligence unit and of the Defense Department’s war-planning task force,” made up of “a close-knit team of ideologues who spent a decade or more hammering out plans for an attack on Iraq and who used the events of September 11, 2001, to set it into motion.”

An essential part of this operation was input from the infamous defector, Ahmed Chalabi, and the Iraqi National Congress.

Mother Jones reported:

According to multiple sources, Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress sent a steady stream of misleading and often faked intelligence reports into U.S. intelligence channels. That information would flow sometimes into NESA/OSP directly, sometimes through Defense Intelligence Agency debriefings of Iraqi defectors via the Defense Human Intelligence Service, and sometimes through the INC’s own U.S.-funded Intelligence Collection Program, which was overseen by the Pentagon. The INC’s intelligence “isn’t reliable at all,” according to Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA chief of counterterrorism. “Much of it is propaganda. Much of it is telling the Defense Department what they want to hear, using alleged informants and defectors who say what Chalabi wants them to say, [creating] cooked information that goes right into presidential and vice presidential speeches.

Fast-forward to 2017, and the U.S. is backing other “rebel” groups in other Middle Eastern countries long targeted for regime change – and using bogus intel.

The 2013 sarin gas attack that killed at least 281 Syrian civilians was immediately blamed on Assad, trumpeted by Establishment media as a “red line” meaning Assad should be forcefully removed. But it turns out the chemicals most likely came from Turkish intelligence and were fired from rebel-controlled territory.

Soon after President Trump made the comment that regime change in Syria was no longer the goal, the April 4, 2017 sarin gas attack took place in Khan Sheikhoun, killing at least 74 Syrian people. Yet again, American corporate media parroted the government line. No skepticism, no questioning.

With the Tomahawk missile response, Trump had finally come around to the neocon/liberal interventionist agenda – and the MSM were positively thrilled.

Pundits were quick to cement the narrative that ‘Assad did it’ before people could think too much, despite quickly mounting evidence that the official narrative was suspect. Former CIA agents were questioning the rationale, and then video proof emerged of evidence tampering at the chemical attack site.

In fact, an MIT weapons expert and former DoD science advisor released his analysis, saying the evidence for the April sarin gas attack was tampered with or staged. Theodore Postol stated that the White House’s supposed proof “does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun.”

The parallels are easy to draw between Syrian war propaganda and Iraq war propaganda, and no less troubling in their potential to draw the U.S. into launching another “regime change” invasion. Countless lives lost and unimaginable destruction.

Neocons and liberal interventionists are gnashing their teeth at the prospect of bringing Syria into the Western fold through military might.

The Wolfowitz of today appears to be National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster – a darling of the neocon cabal and “golden child” of disgraced General David Petraeus. It was recently revealed that McMaster is “manipulating intelligence reports given to President Donald Trump” and “seeking to involve the U.S. in a full scale war in Syria” with 150,000 American ground troops.

McMaster may not have the Office of Special Plans (or he may have something else entirely), but the threat of bogus intelligence to justify full-scale war is just as real.

If the mainstream media have an ounce of credibility, they will begin questioning the government narrative instead of immediately reporting it as fact. We cannot be led into another war based on government propaganda and the abandonment of skepticism.


This article originally appeared on Activist Post.

The Jews In Donald Trump’s Government

Here are the Jews of the Trump cabal, in order of appearance. Some are very familiar, like his daughter and son-in-law. Others are billionaires who supported Trump’s campaign, and others yet are not so famous:

Michael Abboud (Sephardic Jew) – Communications Coordinator, Donald J. Trump for President
Paul Achleitner (Ashkenazic Jew) – Chairman, Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank (Donald Trump’s largest lender)
Sheldon Adelson (Ashkenazic Jew) – Endorser, Donald J. Trump for President
Elliott Broidy (Ashkenazic Jew) – Vice Chairman, Trump Victory Committee
Michael Cohen (Ashkenazic Jew) – Executive Vice President and Special Counsel, The Trump Organization
Gil Dezer (Ashkenazic Jew) – President, Trump Dezer Development
Michael Dezer (Ashkenazic Jew) – Founder, Trump Dezer Development
Lewis Eisenberg (Ashkenazic Jew) – Chairman, Trump Victory Committee
Boris Epshteyn (Ashkenazic Jew) – Senior Adviser, Donald J. Trump for President
Stephen Feinberg (Ashkenazic Jew) – Member, Trump Economic Advisory Council; Donor, Trump Victory Fund
Alan Fishman (Ashkenazic Jew) – Chairman, Ladder Capital (Donald Trump’s second largest lender)
David Friedman (Ashkenazic Jew) – Co-Chairman, Israel Advisory Committee for Donald Trump
Samuel Fox (Ashkenazic Jew) – Vice Chairman, Trump Victory Committee
Alan Garten (Ashkenazic Jew) – Executive Vice President and General Counsel, The Trump Organization
Bruce Gelb (Ashkenazic Jew) – Endorser, Donald J. Trump for President
Michael Glassner (Ashkenazic Jew) – Deputy Campaign Manager and Former National Political Director, Donald J. Trump for President
Lawrence Glick (Ashkenazic Jew) – Executive Vice President of Strategic Development, The Trump Organization
Jason Greenblatt (Ashkenazic Jew) – Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, The Trump Organization; Co-Chairman, Israel Advisory Committee for Donald Trump
Vincent Harris (Ashkenazic Jew) – Former Digital Strategy Manager, Donald J. Trump for President
Carl Icahn (Ashkenazic Jew) – Endorser, Donald J. Trump for President
Peter Kalikow (Ashkenazic Jew) – Donor, Trump Victory Fund
Daniel Kowalski (Ashkenazic Jew) – Deputy Policy Director, Donald J. Trump for President
Charles Kushner (Ashkenazic Jew) – Endorser, Donald J. Trump for President
Jared Kushner (Ashkenazic Jew) – Endorser, Donald J. Trump for President
Yael Kushner [née Ivanka Trump] (Orthodox Jewish convert) – Executive Vice President, The Trump Organization
Bennett LeBow (Ashkenazic Jew) – Donor, Trump Victory Fund
Richard LeFrak (Ashkenazic Jew) – Donor, Trump Victory Fund
Corey Lewandowski (Ashkenazic Jew/East European) – Former Campaign Manager, Donald J. Trump for President
Ronald Lieberman (Ashkenazic Jew) – Executive Vice President of Management & Development, The Trump Organization
Howard Lorber (Ashkenazic Jew) – Member, Trump Economic Advisory Council; Donor, Trump Victory Fund
David Malpass (Ashkenazic Jew) – Member, Trump Economic Advisory Council
Douglas Manchester (Ashkenazic Jew) – Donor, Make America Great Again PAC
Bernard Marcus (Ashkenazic Jew) – Endorser, Donald J. Trump for President
Rebekah Mercer (Ashkenazic Jew) – Donor, Make America Number One PAC
Robert Mercer (Ashkenazic Jew) – Donor, Make America Number One PAC
Amanda Miller (Ashkenazic Jew) – Vice President of Marketing, The Trump Organization
Eli Miller (Ashkenazic Jew) – Chief Operating Officer, Donald J. Trump for President
Jason Miller (Ashkenazic Jew) – Senior Communications Adviser, Donald J. Trump for President
Stephen Miller (Ashkenazic Jew) – National Policy Director, Donald J. Trump for President
Steven Mnuchin (Ashkenazic Jew) – National Finance Chairman, Donald J. Trump for President
Samuel Nunberg (Ashkenazic Jew) – Former Policy Adviser, Donald J. Trump for President
David Orowitz (Ashkenazic Jew) – Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Development, The Trump Organization
Geoffrey Palmer [né Weissinger] (Ashkenazic Jew) – Donor, Rebuilding America Now PAC
John Paulson (Ashkenazic Jew) – Member, Trump Economic Advisory Council
Stewart Rahr (Ashkenazic Jew) – Endorser, Donald J. Trump for President
Richard Roberts (Ashkenazic Jew) – Vice Chairman, Israel Advisory Committee for Donald Trump
George Ross (Ashkenazic Jew) – Executive Vice President and Senior Counsel, The Trump Organization
Wilbur Ross (Ashkenazic Jew) – Endorser, Donald J. Trump for President
Steven Roth (Ashkenazic Jew) – Member, Trump Economic Advisory Council; Donor, Trump Victory Fund
Felix Sater (Ashkenazic Jew) – Former Senior Adviser, The Trump Organization
Keith Schiller (Ashkenazic Jew) – Director of Security, The Trump Organization
Melvin Sembler (Ashkenazic Jew) – Vice Chairman, Trump Victory Committee
Lara Trump [née Yunaska] (Ashkenazic Jew) – Endorser, Donald J. Trump for President
Vanessa Trump [née Haydon] (Ashkenazic Jew/North European) – Endorser, Donald J. Trump for President
Ronald Weiser (Ashkenazic Jew) – Vice Chairman, Trump Victory Committee
Andrew Weiss (Ashkenazic Jew) – Executive Vice President, The Trump Organization
Allen Weisselberg (Ashkenazic Jew) – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, The Trump Organization
Lawrence Weitzner (Ashkenazic Jew) – Adviser, Donald J. Trump for President
Steven Witkoff (Ashkenazic Jew) – Donor, Trump Victory Fund
Stephen Wynn [né Weinberg] (Ashkenazic Jew) – Endorser, Donald J. Trump for President

As US Bombs Syria, Americans Forgot Govt Used Chemical Weapons to Kill Children in Texas

Americans are up in arms over the alleged gas attack in Syria. Although there was no investigation, and many high-profile individuals have called it a sham, the US has pinned the blame on Syrian president Bashar Al Assad. So, we thought it would be a good idea to remind our fellow Americans of an occasion where the federal government got away with gassing its own people, an action which, consequently, led to the deaths of 86 men, women, and children.
Our source material comes from the FBI’s own vault, which contains two files on the case against Vernon Howell, also known as David Koresh. Koresh was the leader of the “Branch Davidians Seventh Day Adventists.” According to the FBI case file, Koresh was believed to have been holding people against their will at his compound in Waco, Texas, potentially guilty of “involuntary servitude and slavery” charges.

In 1992, Child Protective Services (CPS) was called in to investigate the accusations. After a thorough investigation, CPS concluded no one was being held at the compound against their will, nor any child abuse, and the federal prosecutor, who reviewed the report, saw no reason to prosecute Koresh. On October 16th, 1992, the FBI closed the case against Koresh and the allegations he was abusing children and holding his followers against their will.

Still, however, the FBI proceeded with investigating other allegations the Branch Davidians had converted semi-automatic AR-15 (assault) rifles into fully automatic ones, a violation of federal law. Also alleged was that the group was planning a mass suicide. The FBI concluded, “no information has been developed to verify the accuracy of the allegations.” Still, the FBI put local law enforcement on notice.
Despite having no concrete evidence Koresh, who some have said was delusional, had violated anyone’s civil rights, or abused any children, the investigation into the weapons violations continued. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives pursued the allegations the group was stockpiling weapons and explosives. According to the ATF, the bureau found:
Wishing to further investigate the compound’s armory, the ATF secured a search warrant and attempted to raid the compound on February 28th, 1993. The Davidians, possibly feeling they must protect their home, property, and persons from the intruders, opened fire on the federal agents, an action which led to the deaths of several ATF agents and compound members.

 

1999 US President Bill Clinton is cited for contempt of court for giving “intentionally false statements” in a sexual harassment civil lawsuit. The Euro Disney Resort officially opens with its theme park Euro Disneyland. The resort and its park’s name are subsequently changed to Disneyland Paris.

The raid initiated a 51-day standoff with the ATF as well as the FBI. Koresh released 24 members from the compound, who were mostly children, and continued the stand-off with authorities which was broadcast daily across the country until day 51 arrived. On that day, the government brought in heavy equipment and penetrated the compound with a tank-like machine which pumped the compound full of CS Gas. What happened next, in the minds of many who saw it, can only be likened to a horror film.
The compound became ablaze with a roaring fire. The all-consuming inferno killed 76 people who were huddled inside. Later, it was determined many of those who’d perished were also shot by firearms. Researchers, who later investigated the incident, concluded federal agents were observed shooting from the compound’s grounds into the building already set ablaze by fire. While the official government narrative is those individuals committed suicide, the researchers were able to demonstrate they were likely killed by automatic weapons fired by federal agents, possibly killed as they were attempting to flee their burning compound.

To this day, the ATF maintains the fire was, “set by cult members, as law enforcement attempted to force them out by introducing tear gas into the building.” And for years, following the fiery destruction of the compound, the FBI maintained the same story line. That was until 1999, when then-Attorney General Janet Reno made the following admission, “I am very, very troubled by the information I received this week suggesting that pyrotechnic devices may have been used in the early morning hours on April the 19th, 1993, at Waco. At this time, all available indications are that the devices were not directed at the main wooden compound, were discharged several hours before the fire started, and were not the cause of the fire. Nonetheless, it is absolutely critical that we do everything humanly possible to learn all the facts as accurately as possible and make them available to the public and Congress.”

Those facts, according to some of the survivors of the fire, who were inside at the time the fire broke out, are undeniable. They are convinced the government used incendiary devices to set ablaze the tear gas which had been pumped into the building. And they’re not alone. According to CBS News, “Independent filmmaker Michael McNulty came upon some evidence that appeared damaging to the government. He found a shell casing from a certain type of tear gas round that could start a fire – a device the Justice Department had denied using for more than six years – publicly and to Congress.” That shell casing led to Reno’s acknowledgment, but the government still has not taken full responsibility, as Reno denied the devices were used to penetrate the building. Questions still remain as to why they would be used at all.
Even though it was later determined Koresh had, indeed, molested children, and was by all intents and purposes a pedophile of the worst kind, the fact remains. The government used gas on its own people which either directly or indirectly led to the deaths of 76 people. There was no international outcry. Foreign governments did not threaten to retaliate against the ATF and the FBI. Russia did not feel compelled to launch guided missiles into the Waco, TX airport. And neither should the United States.

Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/federal-government-gasses-nearly-80-americans-impunity/#0XeQioGqJh4pulDU.99

Trump Son-in-Law Jared Kushner (Kike) to Oversee Government Overhaul

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-son-law-jared-kushner-oversee-government-overhaul-n738801

 

President Donald Trump will name his son-in-law, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, to lead a new office responsible for streamlining and overhauling the federal government on Monday, the White House told NBC News on Sunday night.

Image: Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, will lead a new office seeking to streamline the federal government, the White House confirmed. Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images / Getty Images

“All Americans, regardless of their political views, can recognize that government stagnation has hindered our ability to properly function, often creating widespread congestion and leading to cost overruns and delays,” according to a statement issued Sunday in Trump’s name.

“I promised the American people I would produce results, and apply my ‘ahead of schedule, under budget’ mentality to the government,” the statement said.

Plans for the new structure, to be called the White House Office of American Innovation, were first reported Sunday by The Washington Post. The Post reported that Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, a highly controversial figure, would have no formal role in the operation.

“We should have excellence in government,” Kushner told The Post in an interview Sunday. “The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.”

Kushner, 36, is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka. He was an influential figure in the presidential campaign and was appointed as a senior adviser to the new president in January.

Before his White House appointment in January, Kushner was a successful real estate developer in New York City and owner of The New York Observer, a weekly newspaper.

Kushner divested himself of many of his businesses and worked closely with the Office of Government Ethics to ensure that he wouldn’t run afoul of federal ethics regulations, according to emails obtained last month by MSNBC.

The Associated Press reported that National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, Dina Powell, senior counselor to the president for economic initiatives and deputy national security adviser, Chris Liddell, assistant to the president for strategic initiatives, and Reed Cordish, assistant to the president for intragovernmental and technology initiatives would also be involved in the effort.

Federal anti-nepotism laws prevent relatives from being appointed to government positions. But the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel recently said the president’s “special hiring authority” allowed him to appoint Kushner to the West Wing staff.

DUTCH ANTISEMITISM WATCHDOG ASKS GOVERNMENT TO BAN ‘HAMAS FRONT’ CONFERENCE

 

AMSTERDAM — A watchdog on anti-Semitism in the Netherlands petitioned the government to ban an upcoming Rotterdam conference that it said was organized by Hamas-affiliated groups.

The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, on Friday asked Justice Minister Stef Blok and Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk to stop the conference, titled “Palestinians in Europe,” which is slated for April 15. CIDI said it has made repeated appeals to Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb to prevent the forum.

 

“The organizers of this conference are affiliated with the terrorist group Hamas,” CIDI wrote in a statement, noting that Hamas is classified by the European Union and the Dutch government as a terrorist entity, and espouses an anti-Semitic policy.

CIDI also wrote that the German security service, BfV, has called the PRC group that organizes Palestinians in Europe conferences “a front for Hamas.”

The watchdog said in the statement that Aboutaleb, a Labor politician who was born in Morocco to a Muslim family and has spoken harshly against anti-Semitism, told CIDI that he had consulted with the Dutch National Coordination for Counterterrorism and Security, a homeland security organ of the government, and it said there was no grounds to ban the event.

But CIDI said in its statement that the security agency said it had not given such an advisory opinion to the City of Rotterdam.

“The basis for the mayor’s decision is unclear to us and we find this highly disconcerting,” CIDI wrote.

Bernie Sanders at J Street: One can be pro-Israel and rap its government

Bernie Sanders J Street

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, speaking with affection of his life in Israel decades ago, told a rapturous J Street conference that one could sharply criticize the Israeli government’s policies and be pro-Israel.

Sanders, I-Vt., speaking Monday in his first Middle East policy speech since ending his bid last June for the Democratic presidential nomination, also blasted President Donald Trump for retreating from a commitment to a two-state solution and not speaking out forcefully against anti-Semitism and bigotry.

Sanders’ recollection of his time in Israel was rare – he barely addressed it during his presidential run, and indeed has not been as expansive about his life on kibbutz since he first ran for Congress in 1990.

He laced his call to urge Israel to adopt more progressive policies with appeals to progressives to embrace Israel as a Jewish homeland.

“Now, as many of you know, I have a connection to the State of Israel going back many years,” Sanders said, addressing the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group’s annual conference.

“In 1963, I lived on a kibbutz near Haifa,” he said. “It was there that I saw and experienced for myself many of the progressive values upon which the State of Israel was founded. I think it is very important for everyone, but particularly for progressives, to acknowledge the enormous achievement of establishing a democratic homeland for the Jewish people after centuries of displacement and persecution, and particularly after the horror of the Holocaust.”

Sanders said that recognizing the ensuing Palestinian suffering should not diminish support for Israel.

“But as you all know, there was another side to the story of Israel’s creation, a more painful side,” he said. “Like our own country, the founding of Israel involved the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people already living there, the Palestinian people. Over 700,000 people were made refugees. To acknowledge this painful historical fact does not ‘delegitimize’ Israel, any more than acknowledging the Trail of Tears delegitimizes the United States of America.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made combating “delegitimization” of Israel a central plank of Israeli diplomacy, and Sanders said opposing Netanyahu did not amount to being anti-Israel.

“We can oppose the policies of President Trump without being anti-American,” he said. “We can oppose the policies of Netanyahu without being anti-Israel. We can oppose the policies of Islamic extremism without being anti-Muslim.”

Explicitly citing a need to oppose Islamic extremism also sets Sanders apart from some other progressives, who fear singling out Muslim extremism fuels anti-Muslim bigotry.

Sanders began his speech by slamming Trump for what he said was his failure to address the spike in anti-Semitic and other bias incidents since his election.

“When we see violent and verbal racist attacks against minorities – whether they are African-Americans, Jews, Muslims in this country, immigrants in this country, or the LGBT community, these attacks must be condemned at the highest levels of our government,” he said.

“It was rather extraordinary that in the White House’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, the murder of 6 million Jews was not mentioned by the Trump administration,” Sanders said, referring to a controversy still brewing. “I hope very much that President Trump and his political adviser Mr. [Stephen] Bannon understand that the world is watching. It is imperative that their voices be loud and clear in condemning anti-Semitism, violent attacks against immigrants in this country, including the murder of two young men from India, and all forms of bigotry here and around the world.”

He also faulted Trump for retreating earlier this month in a meeting with Netanyahu from the U.S. commitment since 2002 to a two-state solution.

Your Taxes Are Funding a Secret, Multibillion-Dollar Government Enterprise That Tortures and Kills Tens of Millions of Animals Every Year

Last week—following criticism from bipartisan Congress members, citizens, press, and advocacy groups like the White Coat Waste Project, a nonprofit that seeks to eliminate cruel, wasteful and unnecessary taxpayer-funded animal testing—the U.S. Department of Agriculture began to reverse course on its unjustifiable animal welfare database blackout. It started by restoring documents about government and other animal laboratories. This is a crucial resource, but we’re still fighting systemic government transparency failures about $15 billion in wasteful taxpayer-funded experimentation on dogs and other animals.

Months before the recent USDA purge—a scandal first exposed by WCW—we released “Spending to Death,” a report documenting cruel and unnecessary government dog experiments, and a troubling abundance of secrecy about the practice and what it costs.

As reported in the Washington Post, we used the now-notorious USDA animal welfare database to reveal that agencies—including Veterans Affairs, the National Institutes of Health and others—subjected more than 1,100 dogs to experiments in 2015. The USDA data indicated that this number had increased from the year before, and that one quarter of these dogs were subjected to experiments involving pain and distress. These basic figures are not available elsewhere, so it’s encouraging that USDA is in the process of restoring access to these documents. For non-federal animal laboratories, the database also includes evidence of any abuses documented by government inspectors, which can be grounds for losing taxpayer funding.

However, beyond the animal use numbers on the USDA site (which notably exclude mice and rats, who comprise 95 percent of animals used in laboratories), other publicly-available details about how dogs and other animals are used are scarce. It is estimated that across the nation, federal agencies are funding the abuse and death of tens of millions of animals in laboratories every year.

We did triangulate some information to determine that government agencies are purchasing months-old beagle, hound and mutt puppies and subjecting them to abuses including forced heart attacks and tick infestations. But overall, with very few exceptions, the agencies using tax money for painful and deadly dog experiments fail to disclose what they are doing, how much they are spending, the purpose or the outcome. In many cases, it appears agencies intentionally omit or obscure information to prevent scrutiny.

Our top recommendation in the report: “Provide Transparency.”

A beagle confined in standard caging in a U.S. laboratory awaits his eventual torture and death. Federal agencies subjected more than 1,100 dogs to experiments in 2015 alone. An estimated 100 million animals are tortured and killed by agencies across the nation each year. (image: White Coat Waste Project)

Thankfully, we attracted the attention of Congress. Citing our work, a bipartisan group led by Reps. Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Dina Titus (D-NV) asked the Government Accountability Office to conduct an audit of systems for public disclosure about federally-funded animal experiments. In their December GAO request, they wrote: “Such transparency and accounting deficiencies prevent assessments by Congress and the public of the cost-efficiency and effectiveness of what we estimate to be a multi-billion-dollar government enterprise.”

A companion letter to the GAO from Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) stated:

Transparency about federal spending on animal research is especially critical given some evidence suggesting that such research is often wasteful and inefficient. … Government transparency and accountability are cornerstones of our democracy. The public has a right to know how federal agencies spend their tax dollars and whether this spending improves American lives. Congress must also have access to this information in order to assess the effectiveness of government programs and prevent waste, fraud and abuse.

For instance, since 2000 there has been an interagency government program charged with facilitating the reduction and replacement of expensive and inaccurate animal testing for chemical toxicity with more efficient alternatives like cell-based tests and computer models. However, the 15 federal agencies that participate in the program do not report how many animals are used in tests they conduct or require, so there is no way to measure the progress of this important effort. Even the head of the program recently stated, “We need a way to measure success quantitatively.”

To address this problem, earlier this month bipartisan Congress members introduced the Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing (FACT) Act. With over 30 Republican and Democratic cosponsors, the common-sense bill improves existing biennial reporting requirements so that agencies must include the number of animals they use, their species, and for what tests.

A WCW review conducted in support of the FACT Act uncovered unnecessary, multi-million-dollar government tests that involve poisoning animals with massive force-fed doses of herbal supplements sold for sexual dysfunction, cosmetics ingredients and even components from green tea and french fries.

As members of Congress expressed in their requests to GAO, transparency about taxpayer-funded animal experiments is critical to identifying waste and abuse.

The NIH laments that 90 percent of drugs that work in animal tests fail in humans because they are dangerous or ineffective. In the agency’s current Strategic Plan, it writes, “animal models often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans, resulting in much wasted time and money while patients wait for therapies.” Still, 47 percent of the agency’s $32 billion budget is spent on animal experiments.

At an NIH lecture last year titled, “Inefficiency and Waste in Biomedical Research,” the former President of the American College of Epidemiology reported that as much as 87.5 percent of biomedical research—especially animal experimentation—is flawed, redundant or completely unnecessary.

This is clearly cause for a serious reappraisal of research funding decisions. Yet, when we asked via a Freedom of Information Act request, NIH could not even determine what other federal agencies it funds animal experimentation at.

Americans may disagree on many things, but this isn’t one of them. A recent Lincoln Park Strategies poll of 1,100 voters found that a supermajority—73 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Democrats—want more transparency about taxpayer-funded animal experiments.

USDA restoring its animal welfare database is a start, but major reforms are still needed to ensure transparency and accountability about billions in wasteful government spending for outdated and unnecessary experiments on dogs and other animals.

Visit FACTact.org to urge Congress to support the bipartisan Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing (FACT) Act (HR 816) to increase transparency about government animal testing.

Justin Goodman is the vice-president of advocacy at White Coat Waste Project, a non-profit dedicated to ending taxpayer-funded animal experiments. Read more at blog.whitecoatwaste.org.

Government Is Still Recording Your Every Move Under Trump

http://www.renegadetribune.com/government-still-recording-every-move-trump/

 

By Steven Maxwell of Activist Post

As soon as Trump became the President-elect, sales of George Orwell’s book 1984 surged to the top of Amazon Best Sellers where it has remained for the last couple months. It seems that learning about Statism is all the rage by those who opposed Trump. And no one defined it more succinctly than Orwell: “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” However, if they read carefully enough, they’ll realize that temporary leaders of “Big Brother” merely continue the machinery of the State.

Your computer, smartphone, car, smart TV and appliances, and credit cards didn’t just start spying on you when Donald Trump became president. They were put in place by Big Brother over decades, and they will continue to expand under Trump because he’s continuing the manufactured war on terror. Moreover, a new approach to immigration signals that even more doors could be opened up for invading the privacy of travelers and residents alike.

As we learned in 1984, all of the tyrannical measures of control are justified by convincing the people that they’re perpetually fighting a dangerous enemy: “Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.”

Trump uses more colorful language when describing the bogeyman than previous administrations, but make no mistake, it’s the exact same tactic. Yet Trump’s style has the added benefit of getting everyone to argue about the insensitive rhetoric instead of the concrete actions. I say this because I see some former liberty/privacy advocates going quiet, or misdirected, under Trump much like the anti-war crowd went quiet under Obama.

The lack of any significant improvement to civil liberties was evident as soon as Trump announced his pick for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions, just weeks after being elected.

As recently pointed out by Derrick Broze, Sessions’ voting record indicates support for the drug war and bulk data collection:

Media reports have so far focused on the possibility that Sessions anti-cannabis and pro-Drug War voting record would lead to a massive growth of arrests for victimless crimes like drug use. Sessions has also been attacked as a possible racist, or at the least, unfriendly towards equality laws. Finally, Senator Jeff Sessions’ past comments regarding immigration have some activists worried about how he will enforce immigration policy as Attorney General.

Each of these issues deserves your time and research so you may develop a more informed opinion regarding Jeff Sessions’ stances. However, I wish to take a moment to focus on Sessions’ views on surveillance and how that view will play into the issues mentioned above. In a new report, the Center for Democracy & Technology focuses on the senator’s voting record and comments on the government’s use of surveillance. His actions and comments should have all lovers of liberty concerned.

What’s more, Sessions has vowed to mandate encryption backdoors for “national security.” During his confirmation hearing he said this about encryption:

Encryption serves many valuable and important purposes. It is also critical, however, that national security and criminal investigators be able to overcome encryption, under lawful authority, when necessary to the furtherance of national-security and criminal investigations.

This issue was discussed further by Broze and James Corbett in the video below:

 

The government’s commitment to “overcome encryption” due to national security would seem to dovetail nicely with Trump’s Executive Order of January 27th, which went far beyond the controversy of “bans” placed on certain countries. In fact, it is something that will affect all travelers into the U.S. and easily could trickle down into the everyday lives of Americans. According to Section 7 of that order, Homeland Security is directed to implement biometric registration and databasing of all who enter.

While that might seem unrelated to encryption, there is an “interview” stipulation as well that easily could expand what type of data is deemed open for examination. This appears already to be happening, as even U.S.-born Americans have been caught up in the early dragnet. Perhaps the most striking case is that of Sidd Bikkannavar, a NASA scientist who was born in the United States, but was stopped at the border with a demand to unlock his smartphone and give up his social media passwords. There are also various reports coming in from around the country of people being stopped on the street and asked for documentation. All of this is to illustrate that the current administration is clearly interested in further tracking citizens and non-citizens alike – at the borders, as well as internally – and employing the latest technology to do it.

These are fundamental issues for privacy and liberty, and, yet, we are clearly on a path where the government sees privacy and liberty as liabilities rather than guarantees. It’s a good reminder for you to do what you can to limit the government’s ability to spy on you, as well as limit tracking by any other source. Use encrypted chat apps and email services. Get a good VPN or use Tor when appropriate. Buy things with cash and bitcoin. Don’t make it easy for them.

As the fresh new enemies are established, national security will remain the excuse for the Surveillance State to expand under Trump. The government will continue recording your every move and sound through your Internet-connected smart devices, and databasing your information wherever you leave a digital trail.

In 1984, the telescreens that filmed and recorded Winston seemed nearly impossible to believe. Now we carry them around in our pockets everywhere we go, and Trump’s government has access to the data.


This article originally appeared on Activist Post.

Syria rebels, regime invited to talks next week in Kazakhstan

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry announced Saturday that Syrian government officials and armed rebels are being invited to peace talks to be held next week in its capital Astana.

“It is planned to hold the latest high-level meeting within the Astana process on resolving the situation in Syria on February 15 and 16,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added that those invited include “the Syrian government” and “representatives of the Syrian armed opposition,” as well as UN envoy Staffan de Mistura and US observers.

The talks are being brokered by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s allies Russia and Iran and rebel backer Turkey, which are all key players in the conflict.

From left: Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal, Russia's special envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura and Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaber Ansari pose after the announcement of a final statement following Syria peace talks in Astana on January 24, 2017. (AFP Photo/Kirill Kudryavtsev)

From left: Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal, Russia’s special envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaber Ansari pose after the announcement of a final statement following Syria peace talks in Astana on January 24, 2017. (AFP Photo/Kirill Kudryavtsev)

They follow a meeting in Astana last month that ended without a breakthrough in the nearly six-year conflict, in which more than 310,000 people have died.

Those talks were expected to see the first face-to-face negotiations between the regime and the armed opposition since the conflict erupted in 2011.

The rebels refused to meet directly. However, Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed that the rebels should take part in UN-led peace talks opening in Geneva on February 20.

The next round of Astana talks will discuss observance of the ceasefire and stabilization measures for specific areas and other “practical steps” ahead of the talks in Geneva, Kazakhstan said.

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