14 thoughts on “News/Politics 12-12-16

  1. Because nothing says everything is on the table with China like “Hello, Tiawan, this is the US president-elect….”

    WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald J. Trump, defending his recent phone call with Taiwan’s president, asserted in an interview broadcast on Sunday that the United States was not bound by the One China policy, the 44-year diplomatic understanding that underpins America’s relationship with its biggest rival.

    Mr. Trump, speaking on Fox News, said he understood the principle of a single China that includes Taiwan, but declared, “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.”

    “I mean, look,” he continued, “we’re being hurt very badly by China with devaluation; with taxing us heavy at the borders when we don’t tax them; with building a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea, which they shouldn’t be doing; and, frankly, with not helping us at all with North Korea.”

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  2. So is Russia really behind the hacks, or is this another of Obama’s “false flag” operations designed to effect the election?


    “Ambassador John Bolton claimed Sunday that hacks during the election season could have been “a false flag” operation — possibly committed by the Obama administration itself.

    In an interview with Fox News’ Eric Shawn, Bolton questioned why FBI Director James Comey said during the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private server, there was no direct evidence found of foreign intelligence service penetration, but cyber fingerprints were found in regards to the presidential election.

    “It is not at all clear to me just viewing this from the outside, that this hacking into the DNC and the RNC computers was not a false flag,” Bolton said. “So the question has to be asked, why did the Russians run their smart intelligence service against Hillary’s server, but their dumb intelligence service against the election?”

    Shawn then asked Bolton — who has been mentioned as a possible Trump appointment — if he was accusing someone in “the administration or in the intelligence community of” the alleged false flag.

    “We just don’t know,” Bolton said. “But I believe that the intelligence community has been politicized in the Obama administration to a very significant degree.””


    “According to the story, the CIA thinks the FBI just isn’t ballsy enough:

    The divergent messages from the CIA and the FBI put a spotlight on the difficulty faced by intelligence and law enforcement officials as they try to draw conclusions about the Kremlin’s motives for hacking Democratic Party emails during the 2016 race. Officials are frequently looking at information that is fragmentary. They also face issues assessing the intentions of a country expert at conducting sophisticated “influence” operations that made it hard — if not impossible — to conclusively detect the Kremlin’s elusive fingerprints.

    The competing messages, according to officials in attendance, also reflect cultural differences between the FBI and the CIA. The bureau, true to its law enforcement roots, wants facts and tangible evidence to prove something beyond all reasonable doubt. The CIA is more comfortable drawing inferences from behavior.

    “The FBI briefers think in terms of criminal standards — can we prove this in court,” one of the officials said. “The CIA briefers weigh the preponderance of intelligence and then make judgment calls to help policymakers make informed decisions. High confidence for them means ‘we’re pretty damn sure.’ It doesn’t mean they can prove it in court.”
    Let’s unpack this for a just a second. According to everyone involved there is no actual evidence of direct Kremlin involvement in the hacks or that the hacks had the specific goal of helping Trump. This is not disputing that it COULD be true, only to note that both sides say that there is no evidence. The FBI limits its comments to what it knows. The CIA, however, goes into a flight of fancy that seems to have exactly one objective: discrediting the results of the 2016 election and creating a myth that Trump as elected by Russian influence.”

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  3. And not everyone at the CIA is on board with their mostly likely politicized view.


    “CIA veterans—none of them fans of Donald Trump–are urging caution about leaked allegations that Russia waged a secret campaign to put the New York Republican into the White House.

    “I am not saying that I don’t think Russia did this,” Nada Bakos, a top former CIA counterterrorism officer tells Newsweek, in a typical comment. “My main concern is that we will rush to judgment. The analysis needs to be cohesive and done the right way.”

    Reports on the alleged Russian effort have been anything but cohesive, or complete. During a closed-door briefing to the House Intelligence Committee last week, a senior FBI counterintelligence official reportedly scoffed at the CIA’s conclusion that Russia had plotted to put Trump in office, calling the evidence “fuzzy” and “ambiguous.” Details of the meeting were leaked to The Washington Post.

    Another former senior official, who said he was reluctant to go on the record on “something that has obviously been politicized,” tells Newsweek that he, too, is wary of reports that CIA knows for certain that the Kremlin designed a hacking campaign with the specific goal of electing Trump, as opposed to just damaging Hillary Clinton, a hawk on Russia. In order to know Moscow’s intentions, he said, U.S. intelligence would have to have more than cyber-tracks showing Russia’s spy services transferred emails it stole from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks, the whistleblower group led by Julian Assange.

    It would need, he said, a mole in the bowels of the Russian spy services or ruling circles. “Let’s assume the agency was able to pinpoint Russian hackers as those responsible for stealing the emails, and also let’s assume those Russian hackers were working for Russian intelligence,” said the former CIA official, a top intelligence analyst. “OK, then let’s assume there is solid proof that Russian intelligence directed hackers passed the information to WikiLeaks/Assange. Even if all that is true, how would the CIA determine the Russian motivation for passing the information? That would presumably require a human agent behind the curtain with certain knowledge of Putin’s thinking and intentions.” “

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  4. Good advice all the way around. And I love how this piece ends:

    “This Christmas we need the gift of humility; Pollsters, dieticians and all the ‘experts’ should re-evaluate their certainties”

    ….So this is a plea for humility by the experts and a heathy dose of skepticism from the public. Economists say they can predict what job growth and employment will be next year and five years from now. Budget experts predict what the budget deficit will be in five years. Guess what. They have no idea.
    The climate change fanatics say that there is no doubt about global warming and its coming catastrophic effects. They say that the science is “settled.” Of course it is not. How is shutting off debate good for scientific inquiry? How about admitting that you may be wrong?
    Young people today treat experts as if they are godly. Instead of questioning authority — which is a healthy thing, they swallow the swill unthinkingly. On campuses I always have to tell students: don’t believe everything the teachers tell you. A lot of it is false. As Napoleon Bonaparte once asked: What is history but a fable agreed upon?
    I spent the early years of my career working for the great myth buster Julian Simon. Julian challenged almost all of the conventional wisdoms of the 1970s: that the earth was overpopulated, that we were running out of energy, that food shortages would lead to mass starvation, and air pollution would get worse. He was mostly right, the scientific consensus was often wrong. Yet many of those who have gotten the story consistently wrong (Mr. Krugman, the pollsters, the Sierra Club, the dieticians) still make predictions with absolute certainty.
    Wisdom is knowing what you don’t know, which for all of us, especially the so-called experts, is a lot. This Christmas is a good time to remember that the only person who was ever flawless was hung from a cross.


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  5. The four stages of competence[
    Unconscious incompetence
    The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage.[2] The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.[3]
    Conscious incompetence
    Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.[4]
    Conscious competence
    The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.[3]
    Unconscious competence
    The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

    It is very important to recognize what you don’t know. Many people confuse Scientific Theory with Scientific Law.

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  6. Oh YES PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!


    “Twenty years ago, Newt Gingrich and allies pushing the self-styled Contract with America created an obscure but potent legislative weapon to help Republicans combat what they deemed to be out-of-control regulatory overreach in Washington.

    But like some kind of mystical, regulation-slaying sword, this tool comes to life only when the political stars align in just the right way, with single-party control on Capitol Hill and the White House, at just the right time.

    Donald Trump, when he rolls down Pennsylvania Avenue at his inauguration, will usher in that time.

    Republicans are readying an onslaught under what’s known as the Congressional Review Act to cast aside a raft of Obama administration edicts, including rules designed to make it harder for US corporations to avoid taxes; environmental rules aimed at curbing earth-warming emissions; and sweeping changes to overtime regulations that were set to guarantee extra pay for an estimated 4 million Americans.

    Congress put Gingrich’s creation to work just once before, in 2001, to dispatch a workplace safety rule governing ergonomics, issued in the waning months of the Clinton administration.
    This time Republicans are thinking much, much bigger.

    “We plan to robustly use the Congressional Review Act to reverse the midnight regulations of Barack Obama,” said Wyoming Republican John Barrasso, who is a leader of the Senate effort. “His legacy lost. The American people said ‘No, we don’t want that. We want to change direction.’ ”


  7. One of the most heartening changes to come under a Trump administration, in my view, is a more rational approach to climate change (formerly known as global warming).

    An issue that at least should be rooted in open-minded scientific inquiry, it has been politically hijacked by a group that is far from open minded that has turned it into something akin to a religious test. By its very nature, science is never “settled,” it is always on the move and opening up new understandings that replace or modify the old.

    The emotion-based hysteria on the left that has developed over this topic has been annoying and even sometimes alarming.

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  8. Recently saw on Facebook a rant lambasting Paul Ryan for referring to Social Security as an entitlement. It went on to say that workers paid into SS, & they are owed it (of course, I agree with that part).

    Am I missing something? Has the connotation of the word “entitlement” been changed? It is supposed to mean something that a person has a legitimate claim to. Are people now using it in the sense of something people think they are entitled to, but don’t really have a claim to? Or is it just the writer of that meme who is confused?

    It seems to me that I have seen the word used as something that some people think they are entitled to, but are really not. Am I the one confused?


  9. A guy on Fox News was talking about Rrussian interference in our elections. He never said what they did. Asked what to do about it, he mentiioned three things that boil down to one sentence. “Tell the Russians not to do that anymore.”
    I still don’t know what they did.

    Also, they are talking about cost overruns on the new AF-1 and the F-35.]
    Reminds me of a study we had in the Naval War College. It was called “Good Enough”.
    The study was about the debate in the late thirties, early forties. I think it was Churchill that settled it, for “good enough”. The British Air force wanted to continue development, but Churchill cancelled that and started production of the Spitfire. He said it was “good enough, make it.”


  10. Debra, you say of Tychichus’s video: “That is a hard way to live; a hard life. I wonder if the neighborhood Churches are making inroads there.”

    That was “home” to me for seven or eight years. I lived on the West Side for that long, in an area where gunfire was common. I knew of murders in every direction from my home while I lived there, of multiple ones on the street directly behind me (since we were a maze of one-way streets, as long I was coming home before dark, I drove up that street to get to mine–maybe I drove that street after dark, too, don’t rightly remember, but I would never ever have walked on it after dark). One day there was a blood trail down the sidewalk when I left for work, and I found out later that a man had been shot at one end of my block, and had crawled down the block to a house at the other end of it. He survived.

    The man whose house he crawled to? One of my pastors.

    That was the closest to a murder ON my block in the years I lived there (as far as I know), but that’s only a technicality, since there were several murders within a city block of me, as the crow flies. One that stands out in my mind was an older teen boy killed in broad daylight one street over (the street the other direction from the one with multiple murders). A man was shot at a carwash (a carwash I’d been warned about) and he jumped in his car to drive away (or someone else grabbed him to take him to the hospital, maybe that’s what happened), and they followed him and gunned him down. His body ended up on the sidewalk, and I saw the police tape when I went home from work. The boy had played on my church’s basketball team years before (I never met him), and one of our little boys in our church, a tough boy, went to look at the body (which lay on the sidewalk uncovered). That hit close to home. The murder was maybe a block from my church, and I was a block from my church a different direction (at right angles).

    Quite a few of us from my church, white folks mainly, moved closer to our church, into the hood. Some families adopted black children; some merely moved into black neighborhoods. It was something you did with caution, though–not because of the danger, but because you knew that renting a house with such cheap rent meant taking the rental away from someone who could only afford that much. So you had to be enough of a blessing to the neighborhood to make up for that, and is that not arrogant to claim? My housemate and I allowed children to come into our house, to hang out, with certain stipulations (at least two at a time, they had to leave by dark, their parents had to know where they were). We read with them (literacy was horrible), spent time with them, offered them a safe and warm place for a few hours, talked about God. Other families brought neighborhood kids to church in their cars. Two of our pastors (but not our senior pastor) lived in houses within a block from church–one was right next door to church–and neighborhood kids would come by to see them. I housed female interns my church would have for a year or two, working with the youth, and the kids would come by our house too. It was mostly church teens and the children who came to our house, but unchurched kids would go to the pastors’ houses (there were men at those houses, not at ours). For a few years a pastor (of a different church) lived right next door to me, and when teen boys would fight, he would go out and physically pull them apart.

    In the summers, my church started offering programs for kids, about 30 hours a week (that was one thing they used the interns for). Parents would pay a small fee and their children could be enrolled in this safe place. They taught some social skills, fed the children lunch, taught some academics, I don’t really know what all. But because the parents were paying, the church then hired some teenagers to be helpers. That gave the teens some money and some work experience, and also some adult mentors. And then the church would also take in some college students as interns, and they wouldn’t pay the interns but the interns would raise some financial support and get some inner-city experience for a year or two.

    People from the community respected our church. By the time I left, the church was 60% black and had had a black senior pastor for several years. We had multiple mixed-race families (mixed couples, families that adopted cross-racially). We were more than half black, a quarter or a third white, and a handful of Hispanics and Asians. A few of our members were from Africa (Liberia and Nigeria). Nearly half our our members lived within a mile, many more within two. Sunday attendance was 200-250, if I recall. We had two sister churches within the community, one that was nearly all black and one (in Oak Park, a wealthier suburb) that was nearly all white. We’d meet together for an annual evening service and an annual picnic.

    How much difference did we do in Chicago in terms of people finding Christ and/or people finding hope? I have no idea. One thing that bothered me a little bit–though I understood it–was that black people worked to “get out.” Middle-class white people like me sometimes moved into the hood to offer love and help, but middle-class black people did not. If they didn’t have to be there, they weren’t. But it seemed to me that the neighborhoods needed healthy families, including healthy black families. (My two pastors who lived in the hood were both white, though one had a wife who was mixed race.)

    When my husband and I were courting, I pushed to have him attend church with me there once and meet some of the people afterward. That life experience was huge to me, and an important part of who I am, and also an important part of how I see the church–the beauty of a church of all races, all classes, and all ages has never left me.

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  11. Cheryl, I thought I remembered you had lived in Chicago. I am so thankful for you and people like you, who have sacrificed and done the real work of missions, especially here in the US. Not because you had to, but because you chose to serve. I can well understand that most would want run as fast and as far away as possible. The urge for self-preservation is a powerful force.

    I know a number of people who have served in the mission field overseas (some family members) and I know it is very challenging. But more and more, I have come to see the US as a real mission field too–especially our cities. And stories like yours, which show the Church in action, are very encouraging. It’s a worthy labor that deserves our prayer, attention, and support no matter where we live.

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