On the eve of Memorial Day, the world stands at the precipice of war.
As the psychopathic and likely psychotic regime of Kim Jong-un continues its saber-rattling, President Trump is standing firm by sending a third aircraft carrier group to the western Pacific.
Kenji Minemura reports for Japan’s Asahi Shimbun that on May 26, 2017, “sources close the U.S. military” said the U.S. Navy has decided to deploy a third carrier-led strike force — the USS Nimitz, one of the world’s largest warships — to the western Pacific to increase pressure on North Korea to rein in its nuclear and missile tests amid mounting concern that it will soon acquire the capability to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
Vincent Stewart, director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, has said that Pyongyang will ultimately succeed in acquiring the technology to equip its ICBMs with nuclear warheads and threaten the U.S. mainland.
It is rare for the U.S. Navy to deploy three aircraft carriers to the same region at the same time. The deployment of Nimitz to join the USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan means that three of the U.S. Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers will be deployed in the western Pacific.
The Carl Vinson strike group, which is also part of the Third Fleet, has been deployed to the Sea of Japan since late April. The Ronald Reagan strike group, which belongs to the Seventh Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan, and is in charge of the western Pacific, left its homeport on April 16. It is scheduled to carry out a joint drill with the Carl Vinson strike group, which may be joined by the Nimitz.
The Nimitz strike group, which is part of the U.S. Third Fleet, was originally scheduled to be deployed to the Middle East region, departing from its homeport, Naval Base Kitsap in Washington State, on June 1. Instead, the U.S. Navy decided to deploy the nuclear-powered Nimitz to the western Pacific for six months to deal with this latest crisis involving North Korea.
The deployment of the Nimitz also sends a signal to China to continue cooperating with the United States on this issue. President Donald Trump has said that the U.S. will independently take action against North Korea if China does not cooperate.
Meanwhile, a member of Russia’s parliament told an international gathering of government security officials today that Russia would be forced to use nuclear weapons if U.S. or NATO forces entered eastern Ukraine, i.e., Crimea.
Patrick Tucker reports for Defense One, May 28, 2017, that Russian parliamentarian Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov told attendees at the GLOBSEC 2017 forum in Bratislava, Slovakia: “On the issue of NATO expansion on our borders, at some point I heard from the Russian military — and I think they are right — if U.S. forces, NATO forces, are, were, in the Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, Russia is undefendable militarily in case of conflict without using nuclear weapons in the early stage of the conflict.”
While the Soviet Union maintained a policy against the first use of nukes, Putin’s government turned away from that strict prohibition in 2000 with the signing of a new military doctrine that allows for the limited use of nuclear weapons “in response to large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.”
But Amy Wolf, a nuclear weapons specialist with the Congressional Research Service, points out that “This is not new, and has been a part of Russian military doctrine for years,” and that although Russia could resort to the use of nuclear weapons first, “There is little indication that Russia plans to use nuclear weapons at the outset of a conflict, before it has engaged with conventional weapons”.
So why is the Russian government telegraphing its willingness to go nuclear in Ukraine/Crimea? In a word, NATO.
Russia has watched with concern as NATO has added a dozen eastern members that used to be under Moscow’s sway. Nikonov said, “For us, [NATO] is a military alliance spanning three-quarters of the global defense money, now planning to expand that figure.”
In the two years since Russia annexed Crimea, NATO’s Baltic members have doubled their defense budgets. In 2018, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are projected to spend nearly $670 million, up from $210 million in 2014. Craig Caffrey, principal analyst at IHS Jane’s, remarked last October: “This growth is faster than any other region globally. In 2005, the region’s total defense budget was $930 million. By 2020, the region’s defense budget will be $2.1 billion.”
NATO has been expanding its troop presence in Eastern Europe as well. In April 2016, during the Warsaw summit, NATO agreed to increase the size of the NATO force deployed to Baltics to enhance its forward presence. In January 2017, the U.S. deployed some 4,000 troops to Poland. The following month, Germany, announced that it will send some 1,000 troops to Lithuania.
Independent journalist George Webb says that after President Trump fired FBI director James Comey, longtime Democrat operative and Clinton loyalist John Podesta is in a frenzy to unload $40 billion from the Clinton Foundation — by buying up art, gold and diamonds, and spreading them out all over the world — before those assets are seized by a new FBI director.
Beginning at the 0:30 mark in the video above, Webb says:
“Right now . . . John Podesta is buying up artwork between every Jewish art dealer.”
Webb is asked: “How do you know that?”
“I have a contact within the French intelligence that’s told me that. So they’re buying up artwork right now in every, they know every art dealer that he’s buying art from . . . . What you’re dealing with is Trump could go get that 40 billion dollars right now and seize those assets. So before a new FBI director is named — [Acting FBI Director Andrew] McCabe knows all about the $40 billion — you start moving this stuff to gold, diamonds, artwork and so forth, and you put it in your network . . . out into as many different countries as possible, so it’ll be so difficult to actually go seize. You have a contractual issue or an international issue every time you try to get some of this stuff that’s been moved. The money right now is being moved by John Podesta to artwork, diamonds and gold.“
As explained by Forbidden Knowledge TV‘s Alexandra Bruce:
“Webb sees the Seth Rich murder as just a small part of a much bigger picture of high-level racketeering by Hillary Clinton, her minions and whoever she’s fronting. It’s an outrageous amount of money that’s been amassed over some twenty years.”
Webb calls the Clintons’ racketeering, including drug running, the Clinton rat line.
“Webb then proceeds to . . . illustrate how the drug-running between Afghanistan and Punjab, to Pakistan, to Turkey’s Incirlik airbase to NATO, in Mons, Belgium.
Webb says, large military transport planes, like C-130s are used to transfer raw opium from Afghanistan to Pakistan, where they are refined into opioid medications, which are then contracted-out by mobbed-up doctors, to places like the VA (US Department of Veterans Affairs), where these generic drugs (usually watered-down to half- or quarter-strength) are distributed from Belgium.
He says information about all of the above can be found in the Congressional Blackberry phone network.
He describes these activities as, ‘Just Mena [Arkansas] Airport, on a global scale, just longer distances…It’s very simple: drugs go one way, arms go the other way….’ Half of the cargo gets left in Belgium and the rest comes to the US. In the past, he’s mentioned Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska, as well as an airport in Rockford, Illinois, where drugs were smuggled in shipments of mangoes and Basmati rice. Except that instead of the $1 million per day worth of cocaine being brought in at Mena, Webb claims, in an another one of his blizzard of micro-posts, that Offut AFB receives $1 billion per day (!) in opioids.”
H/t Will Shanley
From Fox News: A controversial North Carolina billboard has drawn criticism for referring to the 9/11 terror attack in promoting President Trump’s travel ban.
The billboard on I-40 in Catawba County says “why support President Trump’s immigration ban? 19 Muslim immigrants killed 2977 Americans. September 11, 2001.”
Some find the billboard hateful, WSOC-TV reported on Friday. “I believe in the Christian way and that’s to embrace everybody,” a man named Oliver Reitzell told the station. “Kind of the hate message behind it. I’m not for that.”
An associate pastor Paul Cummings said the billboard contradicts teachings from the Bible.
“My opinion is that I think these people need the saving gospel of Jesus more than I need to be protected,” Cummings told the station. “I’m perfectly willing for people who are hostile to us, to be in our country, because that’s what loving your enemy is all about.”
A group called the North Carolina Pastors Network paid for the billboard and has refused to remove it. “This has nothing whatsoever to do with hatred or hostility toward anyone that comes from a background,” Dave Kistler, the group’s president, told WCNC-TV. “I have dear friends that are Muslim.”
The station points out that 19 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon. Those countries are not part of the Trump’s travel ban.
The U.S. appeals court in Virginia ruled Thursday that the Trump revised ban violated constitutional rights.
On Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Civic Center Park of Berkeley, California, a Patriots Rally by Trump supporters, including members of Oathkeepers, turned violent when radical leftists in black masks and black clothing, who call themselves Antifa (anti-fascists), launched a counter-rally and clashed with the patriots.
In a memo to Berkeley mayor and the City Council on the April 15 demonstration, Berkeley police chief Andrew Greenwood identified the Antifa as the instigators of violence. Greenwood wrote:
“On April 15, groups initially remained separated in the park. At one point, about three dozen ‘antifa’ entered the park over fencing, ultimately confronting demonstrators, and escalating violence, with fights and assaults breaking out.”
The day ended with eleven people being injured and the arrest of 20 people “for their roles in the violence at Civic Center Park”. The charges included assault with a deadly weapon, battery, and committing a criminal offense while wearing a mask. Authorities said at the time that they will pursue additional arrests as they “review social media and video footage”. (Source: Berkeleyside)
Meanwhile, citizen journalists and sleuths went to work, combing through videos and photos of the violent clash to unmask the Antifa thugs.
On April 19, five days after the clash, online sleuths of 4chan‘s /pol/ News Network and Rebel Media correspondent Jack Posobiec identified one of the masked Antifa rioters who had assaulted people with a bike-lock as a California college professor named Eric Clanton.
Among the people Clanton had assaulted with a bikelock on April 15 was this man in a red t-shirt (see below).
Here’s a video explaining how 4chan sleuths identified Eric Clanton as the bikelock thug:
Clanton claims to have an M.A. in Philosophy from San Francisco State University, and a B.A. in Philosophy from California State University, Bakersfield.
Clanton had taught philosophy at San Francisco State University. At the time of the April 15 riot, he was teaching at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA. Ironically, one of his teaching and research subjects is ethics.
His faculty profile at Diablo Valley College, now taken down, said:
Faculty – Philosophy, Pleasant Hill Campus
Eric has been teaching at DVC since 2015. He teaches introduction to philosophy with a background in teaching ethics, critical thinking, and comparative philosophy East/West. His primary research interests are ethics and politics. His work in political philosophy also centers on mass incarceration and the prison system. He is currently exploring restorative justice from an anti-authoritarian perspective.
After he was outed online, Clanton panicked. He scrubbed his social media, went underground and, pretending to ask for a friend, sought legal advice on Reddit (source: Dark Triad Man):
“My really good friend is being accused on social media of attacking someone at a protest and now his name is being smeared on social media. Does he have any recourse and can he be in any legal (civil or criminal) trouble because of these rumors?”
Yesterday, May 24, 2017, Berkeley police finally arrested Eric Clanton.
“Eric Clanton, a former teacher at Diablo Valley College, was arrested by Berkeley police . . . on suspicion of three counts of assault with a deadly weapon identified as a U-lock bike lock, and one of those assaults is alleged to have caused a significant injury. […]
Until Wednesday night, Berkeley investigators had declined to say whether they were looking into Clanton, despite the outcry online calling for his arrest. Wednesday, officers arrested him in Oakland at 12:15 p.m. He is being held at Berkeley Jail with a bail of $200,000, according to Alameda County sheriff’s office records online. Clanton, whose listed occupation is college professor, is scheduled for arraignment Friday. Police said they have identified three victims in the case. All three were struck in the head or neck with a bike lock, police said.”
Yesterday, May 26, Eric Clanton appeared in Alameda County Superior Court and was formally charged with four counts of assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, with the special allegation of causing great bodily injury to Sean Stiles. The charges include the misdemeanor offense of wearing a mask to evade identification. If convicted, Clanton could be sent to prison. (Read the full complaint here.)
Court papers reveal that Clanton struck at least seven people in the head. One person received a head laceration that required five staples to fix. Another was uninjured but had a piece of his helmet broken off. A third was struck across the neck and back, police said.
Clanton pleaded not guilty to all charges. Judge Thomas Nixon set bail at $100,000.
Clanton is represented by longtime “social justice” activist Dan Siegel whom Clanton had retained prior to his arrest. In a statement to the judge, Siegel justified Clanton’s violence by blaming so-called racists: “This case arises in the context of a demonstration by a group of loosely described out-of-town, right wingers… who uttered racist and homophobic comments and engaged in pushing and shoving” with counter-demonstrators. (Source: Berkeleyside, which closed this report to comments, contrary to the newsletter’s standard policy)
This comes as no surprise to us, but it’s still good to have confirming statistics.
A new report from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy found that U.S. and European news coverage of President Trump’s first 100 days in office was overwhelmingly negative.
The report is based on an analysis of news reports in the print editions of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, the main newscasts of CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC, and three European news outlets (The UK’s Financial Times and BBC, and Germany’s ARD).
The report defines “negative” tone of coverage as stories/reports in which:
Here are the report’s findings:
(1) The media are obsessed with President Trump: Trump was the topic of 41% of all news stories—three times the amount of coverage received by previous presidents.
(2) On almost every major Trump topic, the media’s coverage was overwhelmingly more negative than positive.
(3) The media set a new standard for unfavorable coverage (80%) in their coverage of President Trump. In contrast, only 41% of the media’s coverage of Obama was negative.
(4) The liberal MSM were overwhelmingly negative, with CNN and NBC leading the way with a stunning 93% of their coverage of Trump being negative. Even the Wall Street Journal was more negative (70%) than positive. Although Fox was the only news outlet in the study that came close to giving Trump positive coverage overall, a majority (52%) of the network’s reporting on Trump still was negative.
(5) European reporters were even more negative than U.S. reporters.
(6) With the exception of Fox, the majority of media all question Trump’s fitness for office:
(7) The only thing that Trump did which garnered glowing positive coverage from the media was his missile attack on Syria, showing that the corporate media are all blood-thirsty warmongers.
The Harvard report concludes:
Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days was negative even by the standards of today’s hyper-critical press. Studies of earlier presidents found nothing comparable to the level of unfavorable coverage afforded Trump. […]
Have the mainstream media covered Trump in a fair and balanced way? […] The early days of his presidency have been marked by far more missteps and miss-hits, often self-inflicted, than any presidency in memory, perhaps ever. […]
Nevertheless, the sheer level of negative coverage gives weight to Trump’s contention, one shared by his core constituency, that the media are hell bent on destroying his presidency. […]
At the same time, the news media need to give Trump credit when his actions warrant it. The public’s low level of confidence in the press is the result of several factors, one of which is a belief that journalists are biased. That perception weakens the press’s watchdog role. One of the more remarkable features of news coverage of Trump’s first 100 days is that it has changed few minds about the president, for better or worse. The nation’s watchdog has lost much of its bite and won’t regain it until the public perceives it as an impartial broker, applying the same reporting standards to both parties. […]
Journalists would also do well to spend less time in Washington and more time in places where policy intersects with people’s lives. If they had done so during the presidential campaign, they would not have missed the story that keyed Trump’s victory—the fading of the American Dream for millions of ordinary people. […]
Never have journalists fixated on a single newsmaker for as long as they have on Trump. If he sees journalists as his main opponents, one reason is that between Trump and themselves there’s not much air time for everyone else. Journalists need to resist even the smallest temptation to see themselves as opponents of government. It’s the competition between the party in power and the opposing party, and not between government and the press, that’s at the core of the democratic process.
Will journalists heed the report’s counsel?
I doubt it.