April 6, 2017

‘Nothing to Do With Russia’ Element of Rice Unmasking Being Ignored

The move-the-goalposts crowd now defending the Obama administration’s pre- and post-election surveillance of Donald Trump and his associates continues to cling to the notion that it was all done in connection with possible Russian influence during the presidential election campaign and that nation’s alleged subsequent attempts to influence the new administration during its transition. If that’s the case, then why has Fox News reported at least twice in the past week that reports resulting from this surveillance often had “nothing to do with national security or an investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election” (Friday, via the network’s Adam Housley and Malia Zimmerman) and were “not related to Moscow” (Wednesday, via Catherine Herridge and Pamela K. Browne)?

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Initial Unemployment Claims Remain Very Low

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:10 am

Past ten weeks — Week ending, and seasonally adjusted claims (from reviewing press releases found here):

April 1 — 234K (subject to revision)
March 25 — 259K
March 18 — 261K
March 11 — 246K
March 4 — 243K
Feb. 25 — 223K
Feb. 18 — 242K
Feb. 11 — 238K
Feb. 4 — 234K
Jan. 28 — 246K

The current four-week average is 250,000. The Trump-era average is 242,600. Alarm bells will be distant unless the number consistently moves above 325,000. One might expect the number to move up a bit in the coming weeks if employers use a rush of new entrants into the labor force, which was visible in January and February but whose continuance remains unknown, as a reason to let marginal people go.

The Scope of the Alleged Obama Admin Intelligence Agency Surveillance Net Has Widened

From Charles C. Johnson, whose track record for accuracy outperforms the establishment press (bolds are mine):

BarackObama’s CIA Director John Brennan and His Allies Are Targeting Trump Supporters For Surveillance

Barack Obama‘s CIA Director John O. Brennan targeted Trump supporters for enhanced surveillance, intelligence sources confirm to GotNews’ Charles C. Johnson.

The surveillance took place between Trump’s election on November 8 and the inauguration in January, according to White House and House intelligence sources.

The focus was on General Mike Flynn, billionaire Erik Prince, and Fox News host Sean Hannity — all of whom had close ties to Trump before and after the November election and had helped the future president with managing his new diplomatic responsibilities.

Hannity was targeted because of his perceived ties to Julian Assange, say our intelligence sources. Hannity was reportedly unmasked by Susan Rice at Brennan’s behest thanks to his close relationship with Trump and Julian Assange.

Blackwater founder Erik Prince, a former CIA covert asset, has long criticized the CIA’s bloat and incompetence, including the Brennan-run CIA drone program’s failure to properly target terrorists rather than Afghan civilians. Prince has repeatedly called for restructuring the CIA and argued against Brennan’s tenure.

Billionaire monopolist Jeff Bezos’ CIA-affiliated blog The Washington Post alleged a meeting between Erik Prince, the crown price of the United Arab Emirates and an unnamed Russian “close to Putin” nine days before Trump’s inauguration. The meeting was supposedly to establish a back channel of communication.

Left unanswered in the Post’s story was the following: wasn’t Trump supposed to be colluding with the Russians prior to his election? Why would Trump need a back channel nine days before he’s inaugurated?

Andy McCarthy argued at National Review online on Tuesday that Susan’s Rice’s now-admitted unmasking of private citizens is “A Watergate-style Scandal,” but on Wednesday contended that her actions are abuses of power, but not yet demonstrable crimes.

Does McCarthy’s belief still apply to other Obama administration surveillance actions, especially if one of the targets is a former CIA guy who is now a private citizen and … broadcaster Sean Hannity? If the surveillance actions don’t, does the obviously orchestrated facilitation of post-election and post-inauguration leaking — aside from the leaks themselves, which definitely are crimes — cross that line?

Positivity: This Chilean home offers hope for children with HIV

Filed under: Health Care,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Santiago, Chile:

Apr 3, 2017 / 02:02 am

Fighting the scourge of discrimination that often accompanies HIV, the Santa Clara Foundation in Santiago de Chile has worked since 1994 to ensure that children with the virus experience God’s love and have a better quality of life.

“When you see a child it’s very easy to see the face of Christ in him,” said Sister Nora Valencia of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Jesus, director of the home since 2008. “The child just by himself inspires a lot of tenderness, inspires you to protect him, to love him.”

It is a face “with hope, because we’re…working so that the children live, and live well,” she told CNA.

The children at the home suffer from HIV – or human immunodeficiency virus. Despite common misconceptions, not all people with HIV will go on to develop AIDS – or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, Sister Nora stressed.

Therefore, she clarified, it is incorrect to say that the children at their home have AIDS. “We are always making every effort so they don’t develop AIDS” and if they ever do develop it, that it remains under control.

While there is no cure for HIV, there are treatments that can help “make the lives of these children normal” and slow the progression of the disease, greatly increasing life expectancies, she explained.

The Santa Clara Home is currently caring for 60 families and has three levels of care. The internal system offers care for up to 17 children living at the facility. The intermediate system offers follow up care, as well as psychological and sociological evaluations, for children living at home. The external system offers workshops and food baskets for families who need them.

Thanks to a system of sponsors and volunteers, five legal adoptions of children with HIV have taken place since 2008.

Sister Nora said that working with these children, “your maternal instinct develops 200 percent” and “if the Lord sent him here, it’s so we first instill love and then all the rest.”

She hopes that the children “will be happy” and “tomorrow when they reach adulthood they won’t have to lie about their illness.” She further has hope that society may “accept them the way they are and give them the opportunity that at times wasn’t given to their parents. That no one be discriminated against because of ignorance.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (040617)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 5:55 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.