Why America is in love with Donald Trump

As of today Donald Trump is still surging in the polls. This is aggravating to many people.

  • The Mainstream Media
  • The Democratic Party
  • The Republican Pary
  • The Obama Administration

I was never a Donald Trump fan. Yes I watched “The Apprentice” for entertainment, but that was it.

Then he gave his speech in 2015 on illegal immigration. I live in Arizona so I hear first hand of the criminals crossing the border smuggling drugs, guns and people. I have seen home invasions by illegals and reports of how the drug runners have penetrated 100’s of miles north to establish smuggling routes going so far as to place sentries on mountain peaks to track police and sheriff patrols.

Daily there are reports of crimes committed by illegals and of 100’s in not 1000’s crossing the border illegally daily. I have driven through the Yuma sector of the border that is an armed camp with Border Patrol agents, lights and sensors trying to cover every inch of the border fence. I have seen our schools struggling to keep up with the non english speaking children dumped into public schools slowing down the learning progress of the children of legal citizens.

So I went to his rally and you know what? I was impressed.

First I stood in line with 1000’s of normal Americans. Not radicals, not maniacs, not crazies. Normal Americans from every walk of life, of every color. We all wanted to hear what Donald would say. He did not disappoint.

He started out talking about illegal immigration and the cost to the nation. He spoke of American exceptional-ism, the greatness we were known for.

He actually pointed his finger at the media covering the event and told them to their face “You lie to the American public”
You will take my words and twist them and take me out of context.

Then he said he would rebuild the American military back to being the strongest fighting force in the world. So strong, nobody would risk crossing us.

What he said was many things many of us knew were true. But he did not have a filter of political correctness.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump finishes up speaking before a crowd of 3,500 Saturday, July 11, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump finishes up speaking before a crowd of 3,500 Saturday, July 11, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Donald Trump has a way of cutting through the political BS and we liked what we heard.

This nation is under assault. We are being destroyed right before our eyes.
America is exceptional, we are the leader of the free world, even after President Obama’s attempts to back all our enemies.
We are being crushed by political correctness and the needs of the minority instead of the majority.

America is ready for a leader not a politician. A man or woman who can cut through the B.S., tell the truth and put us back on the right path.

It is to be seen if he can survive, but looking at Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jessie Ventura, Al Franken and my hero Ronald Reagan, I would not be surprised to see the Donald take it all the way in a landslide. It could happen!

If so I will express joy in seeing the Republican establishment squirm and be torn apart.

Maybe then we can restore a Government of the People, by the People and for the People that shall not perish from this earth that Abraham Lincoln spoke of.

The Pirate

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Can Donald Trump burn down the GOP?

Last week I received an invitation to listen to Donald Trump discuss immigration at my favorite hotel the Arizona Biltmore. It was to be an intimate gathering of 500.
It “sold out” immediately. Then I was notified that it may be moved due to great demand for tickets.

It became a hot topic that “The Donald” was coming to Phoenix.
Little did I know that the “intimate gathering” would turn out to be a huge rally involving over 10,000 Americans, half of the Phoenix Police department and 50 to 100 illegals protesting the “The Donald” was Satan incarnate.

First a little background. A few weeks ago Donald announced that he was running for President again. At the time I thought it was just another ploy to promote the next season of “The Apprentice”. His NBC reality TV show.
During his announcement he made some comments that the Mexican government was not sending their “best” citizens to cross the border. He made a true statement that murderers, rapists, drug runners and other criminals were coming across the border in record numbers. All of this is true. However the liberal media took him out of context and quoted him as saying “all Mexicans were murders, rapists and criminals.  This created a huge firestorm not only from the liberal press but also the establishment GOP who are terrified of not being politically correct and not wanting to offend the Hispanic voters.

But something unexpected happened. Donald hit the nail on the head and articulated what millions of Americans are thinking and feeling. Millions of Americans of all walks of life are sick of the illegal border crossings and the millions coming across the border illegally to take advantage of the American taxpayer. This is made even worse by President Obama telling Dept of Homeland Security not to enforce our immigration laws. Our open border policy and sanctuary cities are providing a have for all the criminals coming in and committing crimes. At the same time there have been several high profile murders of Americans by illegal aliens who have been protected by liberal cities, courts and communities. Repeat offenders all who were not deported even after committing crimes in the US.

It seems that in a perfect storm Donald Trump was there to fill the void. In a few short weeks he has become a top contender in almost all the polls and winning the latest poll in North Carolina over Jeb Bush.

Now I do not know about you, but I am disgusted with the political process in Washington. The Constitution has been ripped to shreds by the current administration and the courts. Republican who hold majority on the House and Senate are not keeping their promises. To get elected they talked all tough about change and holding Obama and the democrats accountable for the lies and crimes they committed. But now that they have been elected they are acting weak and spineless not wanting to offend anyone. I for one am sick of it. In my opinion the Republican party as we know it needs to be burned down. No way in hell should we have another Bush Clinton race. No longer can we allow Boehner and the Republican “establishment” to decide who the Republican candidate will be. In my opinion most of America what I call the “silent majority” wants and needs change. But how is this done?

By finding an “outsider” who can capture the imagination of the people. Someone who is not afraid of upsetting the apple cart. Someone not afraid to take a risk and tell the truth. Someone with name recognition who is seen as a leader and who is fearless.

Enter Donald Trump.

So today I found myself in downtown Phoenix, enduring 100 degree plus temperatures to see and hear the Donald expound on his views and why he wants to be the President of the United States of America. I was not disappointed. While standing in line I met several Americans who spoke of change. Who told me that they had never been much involved in politics, but were so worried about the future of America they felt compelled to come out and listen to this different kind of candidate.
These were normal people from all walks of life. All that I met were very friendly, very polite. All with one thing in common. An understanding that America is in trouble. That we are in danger of losing this great country.
There was a general understanding that we are the sleeping giant that has now been awoken.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump finishes up speaking before a crowd of 3,500 Saturday, July 11, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Trump came out and spoke of immigration problems, of his views and in a direct attack, how the media lies. He actually pointed to them directly and said “you lie” and “you manipulate the truth to make conservatives look bad and to fool the people”. He went on to say that he is PRO immigration, but for LEGAL immigration. How he loved the Mexican people and vowed that he would win the hispanic vote.

He spoke of leadership, economics, and American exceptionalism. He spoke of the innocent Americans killed by illegals.  Liberals who sheltered them. Political correctness run a muck. He explained that he was his own man. That yes he donated to Democrats, he also donated to Republicans.

He only acknowledged 2 opponents. Jeb and Hillary. Stating his opposition to common core, weak immigration policies and how Hillary Clinton was the worst secretary of state EVER!

But what struck me was that Trump was just saying what was on his mind. He did not use a teleprompter, it was not carefully scripted. He spoke like a leader. He spoke of how he wants to fix an America that is broken. How we still are a great nation but that we are at risk.

He did not convince me that he was 100% the man for the job, but he made a good case for himself. But I felt something. The people were excited. people were smiling, people had hope. The people are ready for a change. And guess what, we do not want just another establishment lackey. We are tired of the lies and manipulations by our politicians. It is time to blow up the establishment and send them a signal.

We are tired of political correctness. We are tired of worrying about who we might offend. We are tired of America losing its standing as the leader of the free world. We are tired of the government not upholding the constitution. We want change.

America is ripe for real change, for a leader who has no fear. A leader who does not need to answer to the establishment.
One who will take risks to right this sinking ship.

From what I saw today. Donald Trump might just catch the imagination of America. He might attract the low information voter who will vote for him just because he is famous. If he does he can go all the way. There is a great need for a real leader right now who can fix the economy, fix immigration, put the media in its place and downsize Washington.

Donald Trump might be that person.

I will not mind seeing the modern GOP destroyed and reformatted.
This Pirate thinks it is time.

Previously Secret report shows Obama and Clinton aided in forming ISIS

The truth is coming out why we were in Benghazi. The question is WHO in the media will report the truth?

Secret Pentagon Report Reveals US “Created” ISIS As A “Tool” To Overthrow Syria’s President Assad

Tyler Durden's picture

From the first sudden, and quite dramatic, appearance of the fanatical Islamic group known as ISIS which was largely unheard of until a year ago, on the world’s stage and which promptly replaced the worn out and tired al Qaeda as the world’s terrorist bogeyman, we suggested that the “straight to beheading YouTube clip” purpose behind the Saudi Arabia-funded Islamic State was a simple one: use the Jihadists as the vehicle of choice to achieve a political goal: depose of Syria’s president Assad, who for years has stood in the way of a critical Qatari natural gas pipeline, one which could dethrone Russia as Europe’s dominant – and belligerent – source of energy, reaching an interim climax with the unsuccessful Mediterranean Sea military build up of 2013, which nearly resulted in quasi-world war.

The narrative and the plotline were so transparent, even Russia saw right through them. Recall from September of last year:

If the West bombs Islamic State militants in Syria without consulting Damascus, LiveLeak reports that the anti-ISIS alliance may use the occasion to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad’s forces, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Clearly comprehending that Obama’s new strategy against ISIS in Syria is all about pushing the Qatar pipeline through (as was the impetus behind the 2013 intervention push), Russia is pushing back noting that the it is using ISIS as a pretext for bombing Syrian government forces and warning that “such a development would lead to a huge escalation of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.”

But it’s one thing to speculate; it’s something entirely different to have hard proof.

And while speculation was rife that just like the CIA-funded al Qaeda had been used as a facade by the US to achieve its own geopolitical and national interests over the past two decades, so ISIS was nothing more than al Qaeda 2.0, there was no actual evidence of just this.

That may all have changed now when a declassified secret US government document obtained by the public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, shows that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad.

According to investigative reporter Nafeez Ahmed in Medium, the “leaked document reveals that in coordination with the Gulf states and Turkey, the West intentionally sponsored violent Islamist groups to destabilize Assad, despite anticipating that doing so could lead to the emergence of an ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

According to the newly declassified US document, the Pentagon foresaw the likely rise of the ‘Islamic State’ as a direct consequence of the strategy, but described this outcome as a strategic opportunity to “isolate the Syrian regime.” 

And not just that: as we reported last week, now that ISIS is running around the middle east, cutting people’s heads of in 1080p quality and Hollywood-quality (perhaps literally) video, the US has a credible justification to sell billions worth of modern, sophisticated weapons in the region in order to “modernize” and “replenish” the weapons of such US allies as Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iraq.

But that the US military-industrial complex is a winner every time war breaks out anywhere in the world (usually with the assistance of the CIA) is clear to everyone by now. What wasn’t clear is just how the US predetermined the current course of events in the middle east.

Now, thanks to the following declassified report, we have a far better understanding of not only how current events in the middle east came to be, but what America’s puppermaster role leading up to it all, was. 

From Nafeez Ahmed: Secret Pentagon report reveals West saw ISIS as strategic asset Anti-ISIS coalition knowingly sponsored violent extremists to ‘isolate’ Assad, rollback ‘Shia expansion’, originally posted in Medium.

Hypocrisy

 

The revelations contradict the official line of Western government on their policies in Syria, and raise disturbing questions about secret Western support for violent extremists abroad, while using the burgeoning threat of terror to justify excessive mass surveillance and crackdowns on civil liberties at home.

Among the batch of documents obtained by Judicial Watch through a federal lawsuit, released earlier this week, is a US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document then classified as “secret,” dated 12th August 2012.

The DIA provides military intelligence in support of planners, policymakers and operations for the US Department of Defense and intelligence community.

So far, media reporting has focused on the evidence that the Obama administration knew of arms supplies from a Libyan terrorist stronghold to rebels in Syria.

Some outlets have reported the US intelligence community’s internal prediction of the rise of ISIS. Yet none have accurately acknowledged the disturbing details exposing how the West knowingly fostered a sectarian, al-Qaeda-driven rebellion in Syria.

Charles Shoebridge, a former British Army and Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism intelligence officer, said:

“Given the political leanings of the organisation that obtained these documents, it’s unsurprising that the main emphasis given to them thus far has been an attempt to embarrass Hilary Clinton regarding what was known about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in 2012. However, the documents also contain far less publicized revelations that raise vitally important questions of the West’s governments and media in their support of Syria’s rebellion.”

The West’s Islamists

The newly declassified DIA document from 2012 confirms that the main component of the anti-Assad rebel forces by this time comprised Islamist insurgents affiliated to groups that would lead to the emergence of ISIS. Despite this, these groups were to continue receiving support from Western militaries and their regional allies.

Noting that “the Salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” the document states that “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition,” while Russia, China and Iran “support the [Assad] regime.”

The 7-page DIA document states that al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the precursor to the ‘Islamic State in Iraq,’ (ISI) which became the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,’ “supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media.”

The formerly secret Pentagon report notes that the “rise of the insurgency in Syria” has increasingly taken a “sectarian direction,” attracting diverse support from Sunni “religious and tribal powers” across the region.

In a section titled ‘The Future Assumptions of the Crisis,’ the DIA report predicts that while Assad’s regime will survive, retaining control over Syrian territory, the crisis will continue to escalate “into proxy war.”

The document also recommends the creation of “safe havens under international sheltering, similar to what transpired in Libya when Benghazi was chosen as the command centre for the temporary government.”

In Libya, anti-Gaddafi rebels, most of whom were al-Qaeda affiliated militias, were protected by NATO ‘safe havens’ (aka ‘no fly zones’).

‘Supporting powers want’ ISIS entity

In a strikingly prescient prediction, the Pentagon document explicitly forecasts the probable declaration of “an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.”

Nevertheless, “Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these efforts” by Syrian “opposition forces” fighting to “control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to Western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar)”:

“… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

The secret Pentagon document thus provides extraordinary confirmation that the US-led coalition currently fighting ISIS, had three years ago welcomed the emergence of an extremist “Salafist Principality” in the region as a way to undermine Assad, and block off the strategic expansion of Iran. Crucially, Iraq is labeled as an integral part of this “Shia expansion.”

The establishment of such a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria, the DIA document asserts, is “exactly” what the “supporting powers to the [Syrian] opposition want.” Earlier on, the document repeatedly describes those “supporting powers” as “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey.”

Further on, the document reveals that Pentagon analysts were acutely aware of the dire risks of this strategy, yet ploughed ahead anyway.

The establishment of such a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria, it says, would create “the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi.” Last summer, ISIS conquered Mosul in Iraq, and just this month has also taken control of Ramadi.

Such a quasi-state entity will provide:

“… a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy. ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of territory.”

The 2012 DIA document is an Intelligence Information Report (IIR), not a “finally evaluated intelligence” assessment, but its contents are vetted before distribution. The report was circulated throughout the US intelligence community, including to the State Department, Central Command, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, FBI, among other agencies.

In response to my questions about the strategy, the British government simply denied the Pentagon report’s startling revelations of deliberate Western sponsorship of violent extremists in Syria. A British Foreign Office spokesperson said:

“AQ and ISIL are proscribed terrorist organisations. The UK opposes all forms of terrorism. AQ, ISIL, and their affiliates pose a direct threat to the UK’s national security. We are part of a military and political coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria, and are working with international partners to counter the threat from AQ and other terrorist groups in that region. In Syria we have always supported those moderate opposition groups who oppose the tyranny of Assad and the brutality of the extremists.”

The DIA did not respond to request for comment.

Strategic asset for regime-change

Security analyst Shoebridge, however, who has tracked Western support for Islamist terrorists in Syria since the beginning of the war, pointed out that the secret Pentagon intelligence report exposes fatal contradictions at the heart of official pronunciations:

“Throughout the early years of the Syria crisis, the US and UK governments, and almost universally the West’s mainstream media, promoted Syria’s rebels as moderate, liberal, secular, democratic, and therefore deserving of the West’s support. Given that these documents wholly undermine this assessment, it’s significant that the West’s media has now, despite their immense significance, almost entirely ignored them.”

According to Brad Hoff, a former US Marine who served during the early years of the Iraq War and as a 9/11 first responder at the Marine Corps Headquarters in Battalion Quantico from 2000 to 2004, the just released Pentagon report for the first time provides stunning affirmation that:

“US intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a US strategic asset.”

Hoff, who is managing editor of Levant Report — ?an online publication run by Texas-based educators who have direct experience of the Middle East?—?points out that the DIA document “matter-of-factly” states that the rise of such an extremist Salafist political entity in the region offers a “tool for regime change in Syria.”

The DIA intelligence report shows, he said, that the rise of ISIS only became possible in the context of the Syrian insurgency?—?“there is no mention of US troop withdrawal from Iraq as a catalyst for Islamic State’s rise, which is the contention of innumerable politicians and pundits.” The report demonstrates that:

“The establishment of a ‘Salafist Principality’ in Eastern Syria is ‘exactly’ what the external powers supporting the opposition want (identified as ‘the West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey’) in order to weaken the Assad government.”

The rise of a Salafist quasi-state entity that might expand into Iraq, and fracture that country, was therefore clearly foreseen by US intelligence as likely?—?but nevertheless strategically useful?—?blowback from the West’s commitment to “isolating Syria.”

Complicity

Critics of the US-led strategy in the region have repeatedly raised questions about the role of coalition allies in intentionally providing extensive support to Islamist terrorist groups in the drive to destabilize the Assad regime in Syria.

The conventional wisdom is that the US government did not retain sufficient oversight on the funding to anti-Assad rebel groups, which was supposed to be monitored and vetted to ensure that only ‘moderate’ groups were supported.

However, the newly declassified Pentagon report proves unambiguously that years before ISIS launched its concerted offensive against Iraq, the US intelligence community was fully aware that Islamist militants constituted the core of Syria’s sectarian insurgency.

Despite that, the Pentagon continued to support the Islamist insurgency, even while anticipating the probability that doing so would establish an extremist Salafi stronghold in Syria and Iraq.

As Shoebridge told me, “The documents show that not only did the US government at the latest by August 2012 know the true extremist nature and likely outcome of Syria’s rebellion”?—?namely, the emergence of ISIS?—?“but that this was considered an advantage for US foreign policy. This also suggests a decision to spend years in an effort to deliberately mislead the West’s public, via a compliant media, into believing that Syria’s rebellion was overwhelmingly ‘moderate.’”

Annie Machon, a former MI5 intelligence officer who blew the whistle in the 1990s on MI6 funding of al-Qaeda to assassinate Libya’s former leader Colonel Gaddafi, similarly said of the revelations:

“This is no surprise to me. Within individual countries there are always multiple intelligence agencies with competing agendas.”

She explained that MI6’s Libya operation in 1996, which resulted in the deaths of innocent people, “happened at precisely the time when MI5 was setting up a new section to investigate al-Qaeda.”

This strategy was repeated on a grand scale in the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, said Machon, where the CIA and MI6 were:

“… supporting the very same Libyan groups, resulting in a failed state, mass murder, displacement and anarchy. So the idea that elements of the American military-security complex have enabled the development of ISIS after their failed attempt to get NATO to once again ‘intervene’ is part of an established pattern. And they remain indifferent to the sheer scale of human suffering that is unleashed as a result of such game-playing.”

Divide and rule

Several US government officials have conceded that their closest allies in the anti-ISIS coalition were funding violent extremist Islamist groups that became integral to ISIS.

US Vice President Joe Biden, for instance, admitted last year that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Turkey had funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Islamist rebels in Syria that metamorphosed into ISIS.

But he did not admit what this internal Pentagon document demonstrates?—?that the entire covert strategy was sanctioned and supervised by the US, Britain, France, Israel and other Western powers.

The strategy appears to fit a policy scenario identified by a recent US Army-commissioned RAND Corp report.

The report, published four years before the DIA document, called for the US “to capitalise on the Shia-Sunni conflict by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes in a decisive fashion and working with them against all Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world.”

The US would need to contain “Iranian power and influence” in the Gulf by “shoring up the traditional Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan.” Simultaneously, the US must maintain “a strong strategic relationship with the Iraqi Shiite government” despite its Iran alliance.

The RAND report confirmed that the “divide and rule” strategy was already being deployed “to create divisions in the jihadist camp. Today in Iraq such a strategy is being used at the tactical level.”

The report observed that the US was forming “temporary alliances” with al-Qaeda affiliated “nationalist insurgent groups” that have fought the US for four years in the form of “weapons and cash.” Although these nationalists “have cooperated with al-Qaeda against US forces,” they are now being supported to exploit “the common threat that al-Qaeda now poses to both parties.”

The 2012 DIA document, however, further shows that while sponsoring purportedly former al-Qaeda insurgents in Iraq to counter al-Qaeda, Western governments were simultaneously arming al-Qaeda insurgents in Syria.

The revelation from an internal US intelligence document that the very US-led coalition supposedly fighting ‘Islamic State’ today, knowingly created ISIS in the first place, raises troubling questions about recent government efforts to justify the expansion of state anti-terror powers.

In the wake of the rise of ISIS, intrusive new measures to combat extremism including mass surveillance, the Orwellian ‘prevent duty’ and even plans to enable government censorship of broadcasters, are being pursued on both sides of the Atlantic, much of which disproportionately targets activists, journalists and ethnic minorities, especially Muslims.

Yet the new Pentagon report reveals that, contrary to Western government claims, the primary cause of the threat comes from their own deeply misguided policies of secretly sponsoring Islamist terrorism for dubious geopolitical purposes.


Dr Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. A former Guardian writer, he writes the ‘System Shift’ column for VICE’s Motherboard, and is also a columnist for Middle East Eye. He is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award, known as the ‘Alternative Pulitzer Prize’, for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian work, and was selected in the Evening Standard’s ‘Power 1,000’ most globally influential Londoners.

Nafeez has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist, Counterpunch, Truthout, among others. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (2010), and the scifi thriller novel ZERO POINT, among other books. His work on the root causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest.

Why are Republicans pushing secret OBAMA plan without disclosing what is in it?

Obama makes last-ditch plea to Dems ahead of showdown vote on trade

Now PlayingWhite House scrambles to save trade deal

President Obama went to Capitol Hill Friday morning to make a final plea to congressional Democrats for his trade agenda, ahead of a showdown vote in the House.

The president met with House Democratic leaders ahead of a caucus meeting. While it is extremely rare for a president to make a visit like this before a big vote, the last-minute lobbying comes after the president also made a surprise appearance at the annual congressional baseball game between Democrats and Republicans the night before. His personal involvement underscores how fragile the effort is — Fox News is told the effort is still short on the votes — and how important he sees it to his second-term legacy.

The night before, a bizarre scene unfolded as the crowd crammed inside Nationals Park lurched into a chant about the legislation.

“TPA! TPA! TPA!” chanted Republican congressional aides seated near the first base dugout when Obama stepped onto the field at the top of the fourth inning.

This wasn’t quite the drunken, Bronx throng at Yankee Stadium cantillating “Reg-GIE! Reg-GIE! Reg-GIE!” after Reggie Jackson swatted three consecutive home runs in Game Six of the 1977 World Series. This was gamesmanship, Washington-style. A game in which most congressional Republicans find themselves backing the Democratic president’s efforts to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a framework for a big trade deal the administration hopes to advance later this year.

TPA, which would give the president the ability to “fast-track” future trade deals, is one of two bills due up in the House on Friday. And it’s anybody’s guess if the bills will pass. Members of Congress may have been mixing it up on the diamond. But there is just as much gamesmanship underway on Capitol Hill as lawmakers try to leverage passage or defeat of the trade legislation.

More on this…

  • Stage set for vote to give Obama fast-track trade authority

First, the basics.

Most House Republicans want to approve TPA. But they don’t quite have the votes to do it on their own. They need Democratic support. Yet the irony is that even though Obama is pushing the deal, only about 20-plus House Democrats support their own chief executive on this issue.

So various political gambits kick in.

Republicans find it absurd that Obama can’t persuade more than two-dozen Democratic members to support the trade plan. Conversely, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is stunned that House Republicans, boasting a 246-188 majority, can’t excavate at least 200 GOPers to approve the package.

So Pelosi and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, cut a deal. Neither side promised a certain number of votes to the other. But both House leaders forged a plan which could conceivably reward both sides with a political victory and concurrently test their respective abilities to gin up votes.

Pelosi and Boehner engineered a deal to advance the trade framework to the floor – so long as Democrats scored a vote on something called Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).

TAA is a program near and dear to the hearts of many Democrats. It’s a method to cushion the blow for various workers and industries damaged by business reallocations in trade agreements. So House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., teed up  two votes for Friday: One for TAA and one on TPA. But a TPA vote was contingent on the House first adopting TAA. The procedural maneuver would require Republicans to carry most of the freight to adopt TPA. But to get there, Democrats would be expected to provide the lion’s share of votes for TAA. If the House doesn’t approve TAA, everything comes to a screeching halt and there’s no vote on TPA.

Further complicating matters, Pelosi has spoken openly against the trade accord but has yet to definitively say how she’ll vote.

Capitol Hill is weird. Weird enough to have Republicans serving as Obama’s TPA cheerleaders – both at the ballpark and in the House chamber. It’s even weirder to have House Democrats working against Obama on this. And then there’s Pelosi – stuck in the middle.

On trade, Pelosi is a switch-pitcher. She’s trying to keep the Democratic caucus from embarrassing Obama with a paltry vote total for TPA. Yet she’s working to make sure most of her caucus gets what it wants: a defeat of TPA. At the same time, Pelosi secured a deal for the TAA vote – which could help pass TPA … or blow it up.

Major League Baseball has a rule for ambidextrous pitchers, few as there may be. Such cross-hurlers must first declare whether they intend to pitch left-handed or right-handed to each batter. There’s no such rule on Capitol Hill. That’s why when it comes to trade, Pelosi is chucking political curveballs from both sides of the mound.

But Democrats are working against Pelosi. A senior House GOP leadership source says Republicans can only provide 50 to 70 votes for TAA. Democrats must make up the difference. However, many Democrats now see a means to an end. Some intend to vote no on TAA simply to detonate the entire process and never get the TPA bill to the floor — which they so despise.

The House nearly voted to truncate the entire process before the first pitch, coming close to voting down a procedural vote just to get the measures to the floor.

Some observers interpreted the uneven procedural vote as a harbinger of things to come Friday on the trade bills. Some lawmakers wondered if Obama – fresh off his dugout diplomatic mission — might ring up lawmakers and implore them to vote aye.

One longtime Democratic member doubted that would happen, noting that Obama had already done all of the calling he could do.

There are games here, too. The same lawmaker signaled that some colleagues might not even take the call if the president phones. In fact, they might even keep their phones switched off.

Jason Amerine Why is this war hero being investigated?

Why is this war hero being investigated?

Lt. Col. Jason Amerine, pictured in 2001, played a key role in overthrowing the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Story highlights

  • Lt. Col. Jason Amerine, who helped liberate Afghanistan, faces probe in hostage disclosure
  • Peter Bergen: It appears to be a case of a war hero being investigated for doing the right thing

Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst, a vice president at New America and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. He is the author of “Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden — From 9/11 to Abbottabad.”

(CNN)Lt. Col. Jason Amerine, a Special Forces war hero who played an instrumental role in the overthrow of the Taliban in the months after 9/11, is under investigation over a purported unauthorized disclosure relating to a U.S. hostage held overseas that was made to U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter’s office.

Hunter, a California Republican, has been a vocal advocate in Congress for pushing efforts to help free American hostages held by al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Peter Bergen

A plan was developed in the Pentagon by Amerine, most recently a planner on the U.S. Army staff, to secure the release of those American hostages, according to a staff member on Hunter’s committee.

The plan was to release Haji Bashir Noorzai, a prominent member of the Taliban who is in prison in the States on drug trafficking charges, in exchange for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Berghdal, who was held by the Taliban until last year as well as other Taliban hostages. They were: Caitlin Coleman, a U.S. citizen, and her husband, Canadian citizen Joshua Boyle, and Warren Weinstein, an American aid worker held by al Qaeda who was inadvertently killed in a CIA drone strike in January.

It’s not clear how far, if anywhere, this plan of action went.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Army Criminal Investigation Command is probing what Amerine may have disclosed to members of Congress months ago. Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Criminal Investigation Command told the Post that, “As a matter of policy, we do not confirm the names of individuals who may or may not be under investigation to protect the integrity of a possible ongoing investigation, as well as the privacy rights of all involved.” He also said, “We reject any notion that Army CID initiates felony criminal investigations for any other purpose than to fairly and impartially investigate credible criminal allegations that have been discovered or brought forward.”

CNN first reported the investigation of Amerine in April.

In a Facebook post this month, Amerine made his first public comments about the investigation, writing: “I have been under criminal investigation for the last four months for whistleblowing to Congress over our completely dysfunctional system for recovering hostages. The FBI formally complained to the Army about me reporting to Congress about their failed efforts to recover Warren Weinstein, Caitlin Coleman and the child she bore in captivity…If I learned nothing in my 22 years of service I learned that we never leave people behind.”

What makes the investigation of Amerine so strange is that he is a bona fide war hero. According to research that I conducted for “The Longest War,” a history of the war on terror, in the months after the 9/11 attacks, then-Capt. Jason Amerine was the leader of the U.S. Special Forces team embedded with Hamid Karzai, the future leader of Afghanistan, in Tarin Kowt, the provincial capital of the Afghan province of Uruzgan.

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On November 16, 2001, the people of Tarin Kowt rose up against the Taliban and chased them out. A day later Karzai headed into the town in a 20-vehicle convoy and set up shop in the governor’s mansion. Arriving around midnight, Karzai met with local Pashtun tribal leaders, who welcomed him and told him with some trepidation that there was a column of some 100 vehicles approaching from Kandahar and containing up to 500 Taliban who would reach the town by the next day intent on taking it back.

The 100-vehicle convoy sent to retake Tarin Kowt for the Taliban was Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar‘s last shot at hanging on to power.

Amerine started to plan how to repel the much larger Taliban force, while his combat controller sent out an urgent warning to U.S. Navy and Air Force aircraft in the area that they would be needed shortly.

Remembering the hostages killed in the U.S. drone strike

Remembering the hostages killed in the U.S. drone strike 02:25
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Amerine gathered as many of Karzai’s guerrillas as he could. His plan was to stake out some higher ground with those guerillas outside Tarin Kowt and call in airstrikes from there onto the fast-approaching Taliban convoy.

Around two hours after Amerine was first alerted to the approaching Taliban column, Navy F/A-18 fighters spotted a group of about 10 four-wheel drives and started bombing them. Three hours later, at 5 a.m., the larger convoy of dozens of Taliban vehicles came into view.

Heavily outnumbered, Karzai’s group of Afghan guerrillas took flight and sped back to Tarin Kowt, followed by Amerine and his Special Forces team. Back in Tarin Kowt, Amerine told Karzai, “The Taliban are coming, there are a lot of them. These (Afghan) fighters we are with don’t understand our capabilities; they kind of ran. I need to take these vehicles and get out there and keep doing what I’m doing.”

Amerine drove back outside the town at around 7 a.m. to direct deadly accurate bombing runs on the approaching Taliban convoy. Three hours later the battle was over, and what remained of the convoy was in full retreat.

Bergen: Could Warren Weinstein have been saved?

Hank Crumpton, who was running the CIA’s operation in Afghanistan, recalls that the battle was decisive because Karzai was the only man who could unify the country’s fractious ethnic factions: “Karzai was the lynchpin between north and south. The Uzbeks, the Tajiks, the Hazara, they all respected Karzai. They knew that he understood the concept of a nation-state.”

But the importance of the Tarin Kowt battle was not well understood at the time because the vast majority of the international media covering the war were concentrated in the north of the country and focusing on the fall of Kabul five days earlier.

Following the news of the debacle at Tarin Kowt, Mullah Omar finally abandoned Kandahar, the city he had controlled absolutely for seven years.

Karzai arrived just outside Kandahar on December 5 to begin the discussions of the terms of the Taliban surrender agreement. The following day, around 9 a.m., the Afghan leader was talking with a local tribal chief when suddenly there was an enormous bang and the doors and windows of the building he was in blew out.

A U.S. investigation later determined that the cause of the explosion was a 2,000-pound American bomb that had fallen 2 kilometers short of its intended target, instead landing on Karzai and his security detail. Three American Special Forces soldiers were killed.

Amerine, who had grown close to Karzai in the weeks he had protected him, was wounded in the leg and evacuated.

Karzai would go on, of course, to become the first democratically elected Afghan President.

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of U.S. government policies as they relate to hostages. The recent history of American hostage recoveries has mostly been one of failure. Journalists James Foley, Steve Sotloff and aid workers Kayla Mueller, Peter Kassig and Weinstein have all been killed.

Does the White House need a ‘hostage czar’?

Families of hostages have also complained about a lack of communication with them, a lack of coordination between the agencies responsible for securing the release of their family members, and even threats of prosecution if they entered into negotiations with the terrorists holding their loved ones.

The hostage review process, the final findings of which are likely to be made in coming weeks, will surely help to solve some of these problems.

Hunter released a statement in April, saying, “The only government organization seriously developing options to recover Weinstein and others in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region was within the Pentagon — led by war hero Jason Amerine.”

Since the Army is saying little, it is not exactly clear what the grounds are for its investigation of Amerine. That said, it’s strange that this officer appears to be being penalized for simply doing the right thing: coming up with novel ideas about how to return American hostages home and communicating with members of Congress who have taken an interest in the issue.

Resistance is futile and the Rise of the Killer Robots

Killer robots will leave humans ‘utterly defenceless’ warns professor

Robots, called LAWS – lethal autonomous weapons systems – will be able to kill without human intervention

Killer robots in development could leave humans ‘uttlery defenceless’ a leading academic has warned Photo: Warner Br/Everett/REX

Killer robots which are being developed by the US military ‘will leave humans utterly defenceless‘, an academic has warned.

Two programmes commissioned by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are seeking to create drones which can track and kill targets even when out of contact with their handlers.

Writing in the journal Nature, Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkley, said the research could breach the Geneva Convention and leave humanity in the hands of amoral machines.

“Autonomous weapons systems select and engage targets without human intervention; they become lethal when those targets include humans,” he said.

“Existing AI and robotics components can provide physical platforms, perception, motor control, navigation, mapping, tactical decision-making and long-term planning. They just need to be combined.

“In my view, the overriding concern should be the probable endpoint of this technological trajectory.

“Despite the limits imposed by physics, one can expect platforms deployed in the millions, the agility and lethality of which will leave humans utterly defenceless. This is not a desirable future.”

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The robots, called LAWS – lethal autonomous weapons systems – are likely to be armed quadcopters of mini-tanks that can decided without human intervention who should live or die.

DARPA is currently working on two projects which could lead to killer bots. One is Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) which is designing a tiny rotorcraft to manoeuvre unaided at high speed in urban areas and inside buildings. The other and Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE), is aiming to develop teams of autonomous aerial vehicles carrying out “all steps of a strike mission — find, fix, track, target, engage, assess” in situations in which enemy signal-jamming makes communication with a human commander impossible.

Last year Angela Kane, the UN’s high representative for disarmament, said killer robots were just a ‘small step’ away and called for a worldwide ban. But the Foreign Office has said while the technology had potentially “terrifying” implications, Britain “reserves the right” to develop it to protect troops.

Professor Russell said: “LAWS could violate fundamental principles of human dignity by allowing machines to choose whom to kill — for example, they might be tasked to eliminate anyone exhibiting ‘threatening behaviour’

“Debates should be organized at scientific meetings; arguments studied by ethics committees. Doing nothing is a vote in favour of continued development and deployment.”

However Dr Sabine Hauert, a lecturer in robotics at the University of Bristol said that the public did not need to fear the developments in aritifical intelligence.

“My colleagues and I spend dinner parties explaining that we are not evil but instead have been working for years to develop systems that could help the elderly, improve health care, make jobs safer and more efficient, and allow us to explore space or beneath the ocean,” she said.

Counter-electronics High-powered microwave Advanced Missile Project.

Counter-electronics High-powered microwave Advanced Missile Project.

The silent missile that can destroy enemy electronics with microwave PULSES: Air Force confirms terrifying new weapon

  • Named counter-electronics high-powered microwave advanced missile
  • Weapon destroys electronic systems without hurting people or buildings
  • Champ is now an ‘operational system already in [the] tactical air force’ 
  • Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range has been chosen as the delivery vehicle

From Ocean’s Eleven to Star Trek, weapons that wipe out enemy electronics are a staple of science fiction films.

For years, scientists have been attempting to create such a weapon as part of Champ, or the Counter-electronics High-powered microwave Advanced Missile Project.

Now, the US Air Force claims it has advanced the technology, and says it can deploy it using the stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM).

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For years, scientists have been attempting to turn fantasy into reality by working on a system known as Champ, or Counter-electronics High-powered microwave Advanced Missile Project

For years, scientists have been attempting to turn fantasy into reality by working on a system known as Champ, or Counter-electronics High-powered microwave Advanced Missile Project

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The missile is equipped with an electromagnetic pulse cannon.

This uses a super-powerful microwave oven to generate a concentrated beam of energy.

The energy causes voltage surges in electronic equipment, rendering them useless before surge protectors have the chance to react.

The aim is to destroy an enemy’s command, control, communication and computing, surveillance and intelligence capabilities without hurting people or infrastructure.

According to Foxtrot Alpha, once integrated into JASSM, Champ will be a ‘first day of war’ standoff weapon.

Because it can be launched by both bombers and fighters, Lockheed’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, or JASSM, is an ideal platform for Champ.

‘The capability is real … and the technology can be available today,’ said Major General Thomas Masiello, the Air Force Research Laboratory.

‘That’s an operational system already in our tactical air force’

In 2012, aircraft manufacturer Boeing successfully tested the weapon on a one-hour flight during which it knocked out the computers of an entire military compound.

During Boeing’s experiment, the missile flew low over the Utah Test and Training Range, discharging electromagnetic pulses on to seven targets, permanently shutting down their electronics.

Boeing said that the test was so successful even the camera recording it was disabled.

Although the project is shrouded in secrecy, experts believe the missile is equipped with an electromagnetic pulse cannon.

This uses a super-powerful microwave oven to generate a concentrated beam of energy which causes voltage surges in electronic equipment, rendering them useless before surge protectors have the chance to react.

The missile is equipped with an electromagnetic pulse cannon. This uses a super-powerful microwave oven to generate a concentrated beam of energy. The energy causes voltage surges in electronic equipment, rendering them useless before surge protectors have the chance to react

The missile is equipped with an electromagnetic pulse cannon. This uses a super-powerful microwave oven to generate a concentrated beam of energy. The energy causes voltage surges in electronic equipment, rendering them useless before surge protectors have the chance to react

Keith Coleman, Champ programme manager for Boeing’s prototype arm Phantom Works, claims the technology marked ‘a new era in modern warfare’.

‘In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive,’ he said during the initial test.

However, experts fear that the project could create an arms race, with countries scrambling to build their own electromagnetic pulse weapons.

Professor Trevor Taylor, Professorial Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, has previously said the Western world would be more vulnerable attack because of its increased reliance on electronics.

‘Should the US be known to have developed such a technology to the production stage, it would drive others to try to act similarly,’ he said.

The US Air Force claims Champ has found an ideal delivery vehicle; the stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (pictured)

The US Air Force claims Champ has found an ideal delivery vehicle; the stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-

Oak Ridge National Laboratory maps the areas likely to be blacked out in the event of a high-altitude nuclear EMP attack on the US