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Amid sanctions threat from Obama…China’s President Xi Jinping may cancel his upcoming U.S. visit

Sanctions punishing China for hacking U.S. companies could drive Beijing to cancel President Xi Jinping’s upcoming U.S. visit, according to experts and former administration officials.

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Post originally appeared on Zerohedge.

A little over a week ago, FT suggested that the US was set to slap China with sanctions in retaliation for what the US claims are a series of cyber attacks. The news came a month after the NSA leaked a “secret” map to the press which purported to show the locations of hundreds of cyber intrusions which NBC said were used “to steal corporate and military secrets and data about America’s critical infrastructure, particularly the electrical power and telecommunications and internet backbone.”

Furthermore, the report continued, “the prizes that China pilfered during its ‘intrusions’ included everything from specifications for hybrid cars to formulas for pharmaceutical products to details about U.S. military and civilian air traffic control systems.” NBC cited “intelligence officials.”

The release of the map and subsequent indication that the Obama administration felt it needed to send a message in the wake of the OPM hack described as “the largest theft of US government data ever,” marked the culmination of a long cyber propaganda campaign which began with accusations that North Korea had attempted to sabotage the release of a Seth Rogen film and reached peak absurdity when Bloomberg reported that Chinese hacker spies had taken control of the Penn State engineering department. 

Ultimately, all of this prompted the administration to “prepare a raft of sanctions to respond to [the] mounting commercial espionage,” FT reported. The problem with applying the sanctions now however, is that Xi Jinping is preparing to visit Washington and as anyone who knows anything about Xi is fully aware, he is not a man who enjoys being embarrassed, a fact that’s led some officials to voice concerns about the wisdom of leveling the sanctions now as opposed to after Xi and Obama have met and the Chinese President is back home in Beijing. The thinking is essentially this: “why risk making things awkward when the US could just wait and apply the sanctions later, allowing Xi to save face?”

Well sure enough, it now looks like the very idea that Washington is set to move ahead with the sanctions may be enough to prompt Xi to cancel the trip altogether. The Hill has more:

Sanctions punishing China for hacking U.S. companies could drive Beijing to cancel President Xi Jinping’s upcoming U.S. visit, according to experts and former administration officials.

The Asian power is increasingly anxious about the potential of economic penalties ahead of what’s seen as an important summit for the future of the U.S.-China relationship.

“The Chinese right now are getting very concerned because they understand this will create embarrassing optics around the visit for them,” said Samm Sacks, China analyst at the Eurasia Group, a political risk consulting firm, who has advised government agencies on Chinese tech policy.

While some experts and former White House cybersecurity officials are wary the administration will aggravate Beijing just days before Xi lands in Washington, current officials have privately indicated sanctions may be imminent.

Then again, The White House is also concerned that its reputation (or whatever is left of it as it relates to relations with China) will be damaged if the US allows a diplomatic visit to dictate America’s response to what’s been billed as aggressive cyber warfare:

“If they don’t announce the sanctions soon,” Sacks said, “it makes the Obama administration look weak.”

But when those penalties hit is a major question.

Many see little upside to timing the sanctions this close to the meetings. After months of anticipation, such a move would eliminate any chance of a worthwhile dialogue on cybersecurity at the summit and compound the inevitable blowback, policy specialists agreed.

“You’re not going to get any better chance to talk to them than right now,” said Jason Healey, a former director of cyber infrastructure protection at the White House. “If I were Obama, I would want some running room.”

Healey and others believe the rumors are meant simply as a message to the Chinese delegation as it prepares to make the trip stateside.

“My sense was that the leaks were happening to try and create some kind of pressure on the Chinese as they come into the summit, to get some type of traction with them,” said Chinese cyber policy expert Adam Segal, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Others have heard the leaks were not intentional, and came from hard-liners within the administration who want to press forward with sanctions.

Either way, the U.S. is in a rare position to apply cybersecurity pressure on China. Many believe the White House has less to lose than its counterpart during the upcoming summit.

Within the Obama administration, “there’s a tolerance of having a bad visit,” Sacks said.

Beijing officials are more concerned about the international community’s perception of the meetings, foreign policy experts agreed.

“They want to send the signal about [Xi’s] arrival on the international stage,” Segal explained.

In the end, this is just further evidence of worsening relations between the US and China. If the situation is so tenuous that sanctions related to hacking have the potential to derail a meeting between the leaders of the two countries which now preside over a world that’s returned to bipolarity for the first time since the fall of the USSR, then constructive dialogue around issues like China’s military buildup in the Spratlys or, more recently, the presence of the Chinese navy off the coast of Alaska may be all but impossible going forward and as Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov reminded the US last week, when dialogue isn’t possible, “unintended incidents” are more likely to occur.

Of course something tells us Xi wasn’t really looking forward to the trip in the first place so we doubt he’ll be losing sleep…

References:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-13/angry-china-may-cancel-xi-trip-washington-over-us-cyber-sanctions

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A dispassionate case for the American border wall

All the arguing on both sides is a rhetorical war that prevents action from happening. Here are simple reasons the border wall should go up.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the hottest news stories in the American press has been that over the border wall, proposed by President Trump during his campaign, and now resting at the center of a debate that has about one-quarter of the US governmental services in a state of shutdown. We have observed fiery, passionate, and even disgusting levels of rancor and bitterness in the political rhetoric concerning the wall. This debate goes on in the news media, and many of the Americans who watch and listen to this take on the fire of these arguments to even more passionate levels.

However, the passion has largely obscured the actual issue of border security, perhaps by design. As long as people keep fighting over it, it still is not getting done. And while thankfully the American government is designed to work very slowly in determining important matters, here, that trait is being exploited, mostly by Democrats, but also by Republicans and even possibly, President Trump himself.

The motives each side has vary.

President Trump wants Congress to pass wall funding because then it is a legislative act that the Legislative and Executive branches of government agree on. It is unlikely that the Supreme Court will be called upon to test such a resolution for its legality. This is one very significant reason why the President is trying every way possible to get this through Congress.

If he goes the route of declaring a “National Emergency” then, according to a number of sources, the first thing that is likely to happen after the build order is a lawsuit that stops the process in its tracks – probably a land-use lawsuit regarding eminent domain and damage to the properties of private citizens, who for various reasons do not want a barrier built through their lands. This is a problem that the American government has sadly created for itself with a very poor reputation of proper reparations for the invocation of Eminent Domain land claims.

This is the simplest way to explain the raison d’être behind the President’s hesitation to invoke executive emergency powers.

For the Democrats, the motive is interesting. The rhetoric from conservatives, including the President, is that the Dems do not want the wall simply because the “imposter” President wants one. 

For anyone who thinks that this is an utterly insane, and indeed, childish, argument, well, you would be exactly right. It is.

It also appears to be true. Evidence for this is shown by the fact that almost every critic quoted by the mainstream press is a Democrat. How is it possible that Democrats have a unique hold on facts that other people just don’t? Even when a Republican expresses a concern about the wall, there is still actual logistical information backing the claim:

Republican and Democratic lawmakers raised immediate concerns over shifting funds that have already been approved by Congress for projects in states across the nation.

Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, a top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said he has been hearing from lawmakers in recent days concerned that Army Corps projects in their states could be canceled or postponed.

(This is a concrete situation that is based on normal concerns about money and not about ideological political views.)

“If they drag the money out of here,” Simpson said in an interview late Thursday, “a lot of members will have problem with it.”

(But now in come the Democrats, and observe as logic leaves and is replaced by fiery language.)

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the incoming chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in an interview that rebuilding the disaster areas is “a way higher priority benefiting the American people than a wasteful wall.”

He said the Army Corps works on dams, levees and other projects across the nation and has an enormous backlog of unfunded needs. “It would be an incredible disservice to the American people and the economy” to divert the money to the border wall, he said.

And Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., said in a statement that it would be “beyond appalling for the president to take money from places like Puerto Rico that have suffered enormous catastrophes, costing thousands of American citizens’ lives, in order to pay for Donald Trump’s foolish, offensive and hateful wall.

“Siphoning funding from real disasters to pay for a crisis manufactured by the president is wholly unacceptable and the American people won’t fall for it,” she said.

The Republican here spoke without passion, simply saying there is concern about shifting funds for the wall. But the Democrats used incendiary language like “wasteful” and “foolish, offensive and hateful” as adjectives to describe the border wall. Very passionate expressions, which are being repeated ad nauseam by the mainstream press and all of the Democrat party.

The bias most notably and publicly showed in the accusatory language of the Democrat kingpins themselves, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

There is little true “debate” about the border wall. Most discussion on the news media or social media is verbal rock-throwing rather than respectful, honest and fair discussion. As noted before, this may be part of the design to prevent action on the wall.

However there are dispassionate and reasonable arguments that support the construction of this project. Here are some of those reasons:

  •  A 30-35 foot tall wall running the entire length of the border is probably the cheapest and most cost effective single deterrent to illegal border crossings. Whoever wants to cross the border has to make some provision for dealing with the wall. If that provision is rather difficult, it will dissuade most people from trying it.
  • A wall reduces the need for manpower along the border. While it is absurd to assume that the wall alone would keep every illegal immigrant out, it also facilitates efficient deployment of manpower and other means for active border control.
  • Even if the wall is not continuous along the entire length of the border (which is likely to wind up as the case), where it isn’t is easier to monitor. This is another aspect of the manpower issue. There are likely to be gaps and open spaces for a variety of reasons. But right now, there are about over 1,200 miles of the 1,954 mile long border that have no barrier present. That is a lot of space to monitor actively.

These three reasons are really so close as to be almost the same exact reason. But the arguments for and against the border wall are being conducted in an apparent context that in order to secure a border, this is all anyone needs to do. This is an absurd idea and is being used to try to deflect action.

  • The best border security systems in the world are systems of walls, fences and monitoring facilities. Even the Great Wall of China did not stop all invaders. It deterred a lot of probable attempts though. The wall was also manned so that active attempts to get through it could be stopped in active manners.
  • The North – South Korean DMZ and the Berlin Wall are also particularly effective as parts of an overall border crossing deterrent system. The fences, trenches and watchtowers along the length of these two borders create an extremely effective measure to deter illegal crossings. For example, the Berlin Wall stood from 1961 to 1989, a total of 28 years. During that period, only five thousand people crossed that border. The US Border Patrol conducted over 300,000 apprehensions of illegal immigrants crossing the border in 2018 alone.

The imagery of walls like North Korea’s and East Berlin’s are part of the reason why the border wall comes across as an unsavory idea. There is probably no American that does not know this image, and no one in the country like the idea of such a barrier being associated with the United States.

However, that is simply not the issue. The US is not a police state trying to keep people inside. It is dealing with a decades-long stretch of bad policy regarding immigration which will not be stopped except by radical means.

Many families made a very long journey this year in the migrant caravans to try to game the American system. It is understandable that many of these people are trying to get away from bad conditions in the countries they left. But taking advantage of the United States is wrong, and the wrong is shared equally by the actions of the illegals and by the weak posture of the United States herself.

The simplest fact is that only strength assures freedom. A strong border reinforces safe immigration. A strong and effective immigration policy relies on having a tightly controlled border AND an asylum and entry facilitation process that is thorough, lawful and dispassionate. The USA has had this in place in other points of entry, such as Ellis Island. Leaving the Mexican frontier open now is just stupid policy. An integrated, careful process to process would be immigrants as quickly and carefully as possible needs to become part of the new American way of doing things. There is no swifter way to guarantee overall immigration policy change than the construction of the physical barrier along the US-Mexican border.

It does not matter how anyone feels or thinks. Walls work when used rightly. President Trump’s plan satisfies all the required needs for a good US immigration policy as regards the Mexican border.

 

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US Women’s March implodes upon itself [Video]

This year’s Women’s March collapses due to not being politically woke enough, in a truly astounding fashion.

Seraphim Hanisch

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If this doesn’t make your head spin, perhaps you are either dead, or sufficiently “woke.” The Humboldt County Annual Women’s March, set for January 19th of this year got canceled because it was “too white.”

Yes. Too white. This is a county in Northern California, 270 miles north of San Francisco. According to the Wikipedia entry, on this locale, the 2016 census gave this demographic result.

In other words, the county’s own demographics are very white.

So, does this make sense? No? Well, maybe the interview will clear it up.

Still no?

It seems that Jesse Watters was just as stunned as anyone else. The expression on his face is priceless. Should I laugh now, or later? How does this woman actually believe her own rhetoric?

But the woman, Kelsey Reedy, seems to have the logic worked out in her mind.

Maybe that is because she is a woman. A liberal woman. Fantasy turned inside out. But wait! She also even included expletive language on a televised interview, which is indecent in of itself.

It would appear that being “woke” can truly turn in on itself.

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“The Criminals Who Run The Deep State Will Be Exposed”: Kim Dotcom Teases “Next Round Of Leaks”

Kim Dotcom: “Get ready for the next round of leaks.”

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Via Zerohedge


Hacker and serial entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is out with a new prediction for 2019:

“Get ready for the next round of leaks.”

Dotcom then tweeted “This year the criminals who run the Deep State will be exposed,” adding “The shareholders profiting from war and chaos. The billionaires who turn democracy into an illusion. They own politicians, judges and all your data. They are the biggest pirates in history. Want to know who they are?”

For those paying attention, Dotcom dropped massive breadcrumbs going all the way back to 2015 regarding the WikiLeaks release of Hillary Clinton’s emails during the 2016 US election.

And while he’s has made headlines for years, in February Dotcom boldly stated that the DNC “hack” which kicked off the Russian election interference narrative was bogus, tweeting: “Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn’t even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why.”

Dotcom says he offered to produce evidence to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, twice, and they never even replied to him.

Apparently Mueller is only interested in the chosen narrative, regardless of whether or not the glove fits.

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