US House passes funding deal, setting up Trump to declare fake border “emergency”

Source: The Hill

“The House voted Thursday night to approve a border security deal that prevents a new government shutdown in a 300-128 vote. The vote sets up President Trump to sign the legislation — and to declare a national emergency as a way of getting more federal funds for his wall on the Mexican border. The House-passed legislation falls far short of Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a wall on the Mexican border, and Trump is likely to sign the legislation somewhat reluctantly. … The Senate passed the legislation in an 83-16 vote Thursday afternoon, shortly after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced he had spoken to the president who was willing to support the measure. He also announced his support for Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency in order to build a border barrier.” (02/14/19)

Trump didn’t get his border wall. But he’s winning the immigration debate.

The Daily Beast

Source: The Daily Beast
by Ali Noorani

“The conventional wisdom is wrong: the Trump administration did not lose anything over the deal recently struck to keep the government open. In fact, when it comes to the tone, tenor and substance of America’s immigration debate, President Trump is winning. For the GOP, the past month should have been politically fatal. They’d just endured a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government over demands for border wall funding that ended in diminished poll numbers and no border wall. Democrats had the upper hand in the ensuing three-week budget negotiation …. Eager to avoid another shutdown and advance their own, more restrictive immigration agenda, Trump and a handful of Congressional Republicans indicated an openness to trading protections for those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Instead of maintaining the upper hand and continuing to focus the debate on the value of immigration, much less people, Democrats ceded their ground.” [editor’s note: In other words, the Democrats, given a chance to get libertarian on the issue, passed on the opportunity. File under dog bites man – TLK] (02/14/19)

McCabe says DoJ officials discussed recruiting cabinet members for coup attempt

Source: New York Times

“Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director, said in an interview aired on Thursday that top Justice Department officials were so alarmed by President Trump’s decision in May 2017 to fire James B. Comey, the bureau’s director, that they discussed whether to recruit cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office. The concerns about the president’s actions also prompted Mr. McCabe to order the bureau’s team investigating Russia’s election interference to expand their scope to also investigate whether Mr. Trump had obstructed justice by firing Mr. Comey. They also were to examine if he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.” (02/14/19)

How the word liberalism came to mean its opposite

Source: Heartland Institute
by Richard M Ebeling

“Since at least the 1930s, during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, liberalism in America has carried the meaning and content of public policy perspectives that insist that government should and must take on a wide and extensive paternalist role in society. Such political paternalism is presumed to encompass the need for government regulation of business in a wide variety of forms. Indeed, it’s reached the point where there is little that goes on in the production, the buying and selling, and the consumption of virtually any good or service offered on the market that does not entail oversight, approval, dictate, prohibition, or control by some branch and level of government in modern society. … Through most of the 19th century, liberalism was strongly identified with the belief in and the defense of individual liberty in various spheres of life. Generally, a liberal was one who was open-minded, tolerant, and respectful of different ideas, faiths, and values that may be held by others in society.” (02/14/19)

Putin: Erdogan needs Assad’s consent before setting up safe zone

Source: Al Jazeera [Qatar state media]

“Russia has told Turkey it has no right to create a ‘safe zone’ inside Syria unless it sought and received the consent of President Bashar al-Assad, signalling tensions as a three-way summit on the Syrian conflict began. President Vladimir Putin, one of Assad’s closest allies, was hosting the summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Thursday to discuss the future of Syria with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. … The Kremlin on Thursday also made clear that its patience with Turkey over a joint deal to enforce a demilitarised zone in the northwestern Idlib region was running short. Moscow and Ankara brokered the deal in September, saying they wanted the region free of heavy weapons and fighters. The agreement helped avert a government assault on the region, the last major bastion of Assad’s opponents. But Moscow has since complained that the armed groups that used to belong to the al-Nusra Front are now in control there and wants military action to drive them out.” (02/14/19)

The four stages of a Trump-manufactured crisis

Source: The Atlantic
by Peter Beinart

“Since entering the presidential race, Trump has relentlessly described unauthorized immigration — which has been going down — as a national emergency. … He’s employed similar hyperbole on trade. … Trump also invented a crisis with North Korea. … Having described an imaginary crisis, Trump — in all three cases — created a real one. To combat the supposed emergency at the border, he demanded billions for a wall and thus provoked the longest government shutdown in American history. To remedy the supposed catastrophe of NAFTA, he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico (amongst other countries), which prompted Ottawa and Mexico City to retaliate with tariffs of their own, thus plunging America’s relations with its neighbors down to their lowest level in decades. And to protect the United States from the supposedly imminent threat of a North Korean missile strike, Trump repeatedly threatened war — and, according to Bob Woodward’s book, Fear, came close to actually starting one.” (02/14/19)

UK: May suffers fresh Commons defeat on Brexit

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered another Commons defeat after MPs voted down her approach to Brexit talks. MPs voted by 303 to 258 — a majority of 45 — against a motion endorsing the government’s negotiating strategy. The defeat has no legal force and Downing Street said it would not change the PM’s approach to talks with the EU. But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged Mrs May to ‘admit her Brexit strategy has failed’ and to come forward with a plan Parliament would support.” (02/14/19)

We’ve been reduced to enemy combatants in our own country

Source: CounterPunch
by John W Whitehead

“Life in America has become a gut-wrenching, soul-sucking, misery-drenched, demoralizing existence. … We’ve been rendered enemy combatants in our own country, denied basic due process rights, held against our will without access to an attorney or being charged with a crime, and left to molder in jail until such a time as the government is willing to let us go or allow us to defend ourselves. We’ve had the very military weapons we funded with our hard-earned tax dollars used against us, from unpiloted, weaponized drones tracking our movements on the nation’s highways and byways and armored vehicles, assault rifles, sound cannons and grenade launchers in towns with little to no crime to an arsenal of military-grade weapons and equipment given free of charge to schools and universities. We’ve been silenced, censored and forced to conform, shut up in free speech zones, gagged by hate crime laws, stifled by political correctness, muzzled by misguided anti-bullying statutes, and pepper sprayed for taking part in peaceful protests.” (02/14/19)

Amazon opts out of building New York City headquarters

Source: NBC News

“Amazon announced Thursday that it is backing out of plans to open a new headquarters in New York City, blaming local politicians who ‘had opposed our presence and will not work with us.’ … The company put the blame for its decision squarely on the shoulders of local politicians who have objected to the development and been critical of city and state leaders who offered Amazon huge tax subsidies. Many local activists have said the project will worsen congestion in the area and lead to gentrification and higher housing prices.” (02/14/19)

The untold story of the greatest crypto project ever, part 5

Source: Freeman’s Perspective
by Paul Rosenberg

“As Dodge was winding down, a new community forum appeared. This one featured PGP-encrypted messaging, much better security, and a professional design. And it was designed to be distributed. It was called Distributed City (or DC for short) …. you can still find the code on Sourceforge. Distributed City was a gas, and it operated for quite some time thereafter. Again we had the most interesting and active people, and accordingly, the best ideas. Lots of good things sprang from it. And then … In December of 2001, DMT, the Digital Monetary Trust, arrived. This was the product.” (02/14/19)