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Peter van Buren

Clinton, Wasserman Schultz and the Wheezing Corpse of the Democratic Process Revealed

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Wikileaks over the last few days dumped tens of thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server.

The disclosures of dirty tricks directed against Bernie Sanders contained in those emails are startling, and only add to the whirlpool of corruption and sleaze surrounding Hillary Clinton and the wheezing corpse of the democratic process.

There's a lot to unpack here:

-- The same people on the Clinton team who made enormous efforts to claim her private email server, which operated unencrypted over the Internet for three months including during trips to China and Russia and which contained Top Secret national security data, was not hacked by the Russians now are certain that the DNC server was hacked by the Russians.

-- Many in Camp Clinton and the media labeled Bernie Sanders' supporters are paranoid when they made claims during the primaries that the DNC was working against them. The hacked emails confirm the DNC was working against them, including suggestions that the DNC find ways to suggest Sanders was an atheist to discredit him in religious areas.
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Defeating Islamic Terrorism. Here’s How…

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As terrorism struck again in Nice and Germany and… Donald Trump outlined his policy against Islamic State: as president, he will seek a full declaration of war from Congress, the first such formal invocation since Pearl Harbor.

Trump was short on specifics but very clear he would take the strategies of the post-9/11 era into a presidency. Clinton, for her part, intends on “intensifying the current air campaign [and] stepping up support for local forces on the ground.” Their French counterpart, President Francois Hollande, declared “We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil.”

The problem is that none of that will work. While perhaps necessary at times, military force is far from sufficient in defeating Islamic terrorism.

Post-Germany, Post-Nice, post-Brussels, post-Turkey, post-Paris… it is clear the last 15 years of the war on terror in general, and the last two against Islamic State in particular, have not worked. No society can defend itself fully when any truck can be turned into a weapon. No amount of curating social media will prevent disenfranchised people from becoming radicalized. Ramadi fell, Fallujah fell, Mosul will likely fall, and Nice still happened.

“The effect that’s going to happen now is like stepping on a ball of mercury,” stated one American intelligence analyst. “You step on a ball of mercury, all the pieces break up and spread around the world.”
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Cleveland Police to RNC Protesters: Don’t Hide Your Faces (Facial Recognition)

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Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams issued a warning to an undisclosed number of masked protesters outside the Republican National Convention: “If you are a member of a group that causes you to have to hide your face, then you probably need a different cause.”

Police claim they have received at least a dozen calls related to concerns about the small groups of black-clad “anarchists” with masks.

So why is Chief Williams so concerned about the face masks? Too early for Halloween?

Nope, facial recognition.

Law enforcement aggressively employs facial recognition technology at events such as the Republican National Convention to identify “persons of interest” and to catalog new persons of interest. Masked faces don’t play as well with the technology (though newer tech can get around some limitations, and iris scan tech needs only to see your, well, eyes. More below.)

With facial recognition, a computer digitizes an image of someone’s face in a way that makes fooling the system difficult, stuff like measuring the distance between eyes, the angle of one’s nose, ear lobe shape and other tough to alter things.
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The Baghdad Bombings, Islamic State, and What America Still Hasn’t Learned

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The suicide bombings in Baghdad by Islamic State, timed for maximum violence, are only the latest reminders that the United States should not downplay the group.

Since the wave of Islamic State suicide bombings in May – killing 522 people inside Baghdad, and 148 people inside Syria – American officials have downplayed the suicide bombing strategy as defensive. Brett McGurk, the Special Presidential Envoy in the fight against Islamic State, saidthe group “returned to suicide bombing” as the area under its control shrinks. The American strategy of focusing primarily on the “big picture” recapture of territory seems to push the suicide bombings to the side. “It’s their last card,” stated a compliant Iraqi spokesperson in response to the attacks.

The reality is just the opposite. Just a day after the June 26 liberation of Fallujah, car bombs exploded in eastern and southern Baghdad. Two other suicide bombers were killed outside the city. An improvised explosive device exploded in southwest Baghdad a day earlier. And now the latest, with a death toll approaching 200.

Washington should know better than to underestimate the power of small weapons to shape large events. After Donald Rumsfeld labeled Iraqi insurgents as “dead enders” in 2003, they began taking a deadly toll of American forces via suicide bombs. It was the 2006 bombing of the Shi’ite al-Askari Golden Mosque in Samarra that kicked the Iraqi civil war into high gear. It was improvised explosive devices and car bombs that kept American forces on the defensive through 2011.
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Stop Giving Chickens Away, Bill Gates

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Bill Gates’ philanthropic efforts are usually greeted with near-universal praise from people who believe he is a great humanitarian, but Bill Gates knows very little about sustainable, intelligent development.

 Bolivia to Bill Gates: Go to Hell and Take Your Chickens with You

The billionaire recently sought to donate 100,000 chickensto impoverished countries. The leftist government of Bolivia, one of the nations to receive the poultry, refused the donation, describing Gates’ gift as “offensive.”

“He does not know Bolivia’s reality to think we are living 500 years ago, in the middle of the jungle not knowing how to produce,” said Bolivia’s minister of land and rural development. “Respectfully, he should stop talking about Bolivia, and once he knows more, apologize to us.”

Coop Dreams

Gates announced the chicken initiative — dubbed [Honestly, I am not making this up] “Coop Dreams” — earlier this month.
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Google, YouTube, Facebook, Others, Now Using Automated Blocking of ‘Extremist’ Content

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The web’s biggest content providers have started using automation to remove “extremist propaganda” videos from their sites.

Censoring Content

YouTube (owned by Google) and Facebook are among the sites deploying systems to block or rapidly take down Islamic State videos and other similar material, sources said, though no company would confirm the action.

The technology employed was originally developed to remove copyright-protected content on video sites. It looks for “hashes,” unique digital fingerprints that Internet companies automatically assign to specific videos, allowing all content with matching fingerprints to be removed rapidly. Someone finds an offensive video, tags it, and then searches find other copies across the Internet.
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Teen Sues US Over Cavity Drug Search for Which She was Billed $575

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Ashley Cervantes, a then 18-year-old American citizen, was stopped at the Mexico border and, for some unspecified reason, perhaps related to her being young and of Hispanic ethnicity, accused by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of smuggling drugs.

What Drugs?

A search of her person and belongings proved fruitless, which often is a strong indicator that there are no drugs. The process involved being locked into a detention room for several hours, handcuffed to a chair, while several dogs were brought in to sniff at her. A request to call her mother was denied.

But bullying is the best law enforcement tactic, so they gave her a body cavity search, which means a CBP agent put on some rubber gloves and shoved a finger up her vagina and butt. She was also made to squat pantless so female investigators could visually inspect her privates. Still no drugs.
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Clinton Discussed Top Secret CIA Drone Info, Approved Drone Strikes, Via Her Blackberry

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A new report in the Wall Street Journal reveals emails in which then-Secretary of State Clinton approved CIA drone assassinations in Pakistan from her unsecured Blackberry. 

Top Secret/SAP Messages

The timing and location of these strikes are considered Top Secret/SAP [special access program], in that revealing such data could allow the targeted humans to escape, and embarrass U.S. ally Pakistan, whom many believe is tacitly allowing the United States to conduct such military operations inside its sovereign territory.

At specific issue are 22 emails that were on Clinton’s private server. These messages were not publicly released, withheld entirely. However, the broad contents were leaked to the Journal by anonymous congressional and law-enforcement officials briefed on the FBI’s investigation.
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State Department Emails Reveal How Unqualified Clinton Donor Was Named to Intelligence Board

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Emails recently released by the State Department give more information on how a securities trader and big-money Clinton donor was appointed by her office to the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB), a group that advises the Secretary of State on nuclear weapons and other security issues.


According to the State Department’s own website, members are “national security experts with scientific, military, diplomatic, and political backgrounds.” The current members show a lot of generals, ambassadors and academics.

So it seemed odd to ABC News that Clinton felt that Rajiv K. Fernando, above, qualified for the group, since his background is in high-frequency stock trading and Internet “ventures.” He has donated heavily both to the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton’s two presidential campaigns, and the Obama campaigns.


The newly released emails show he was added to the panel by then Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills. “Raj was not on the list sent to [the Secretary of State]; he was added at their insistence” reads one 2011 email from Wade Boese, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, to a press aide.
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State Department Tries to Send Embarrassing Press Video Down the Memory Hole

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Last week the State Department revealed that an unknown official within its public affairs office ordered the scrubbing of roughly eight minutes from a video of a State press briefing, which included a discussion about negotiations related to the Iran nuclear deal.

In the deleted portion, then-spokesperson Jen Psaki (above) was asked whether her predecessor lied when she said secret bilateral talks with Iran had not yet begun, when later U.S. officials said they were already ongoing at that point.

A few days later, after the news broke of the deletion, Secretary of State John Kerry said that whoever called for deleting the several minutes of video was being “stupid, clumsy and inappropriate.” Kerry emphasized that he intends to find out who was responsible, adding that he didn’t want someone like that working for him.
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