This Week in the World Affairs Brief:

JULY 4: CELEBRATE, LAMENT, OR FEAR AN ATTACK?

This weekend most Americans will be celebrating a blind form of patriotism with flag-filled parades, gaudy firework displays, BBQs and raucous water sports as only Americans do—all based on the mostly false notion that we are still a free country. Yes, we may still be the “freest country on earth,” but that isn’t saying much given the diminishing state of liberty everywhere. Christians thank the Lord for “this free country in which we live” even as individual religious freedom is tromped on by anti-discrimination laws and Supreme Court edicts. Homosexuals will certainly be celebrating their new found “right” to force government to recognize same sex marriage, but others are mourning the loss of the true right to reject association or dealings with those of whose conduct they disapprove. This week I will also analyze the disinformation generated by the FBI over a terror threat on the 4th. If it does come, you can be sure it will be a government planned false flag event to keep the phony war on ISIS alive. You can request a one-time free sample of the briefs by sending an email to editor@worldaffairsbrief.com.

Also:

  • Bogus FBI Call to Militias to “Help Protect Against ISIS”
  • Greek Debt Crisis Comes to a Head
  • Iran Nuke Deadline Pushed Back
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Daily News

US Court Rules NSA Can Temporarily Resume Bulk Phone Data Collection

posted by askousen - Thursday, July 2 2015
A new law, called the Freedom Act, which substantially reformed and narrowed the bulk phone data programme, was signed by US President Barack Obama a day after the existing programme lapsed on June 1. The Freedom Act also allowed the existing surveillance programme to continue for a six-month transition period, but it remained in legal limbo pending Monday's ruling by a judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. "In passing the USA Freedom Act, Congress clearly intended to end bulk data collection ... But what it took away with one hand, it gave back - for a limited time - with another," wrote Michael Mosman, a judge on the surveillance court. [Don't count on it stopping even if the "limited time" expiration happens.] — NDTV

Jeb Bush’s Wealth Soared When He Left Governor's Office, Tax Returns Show

posted by askousen - Thursday, July 2 2015
After he left office as governor of Florida, Jeb Bush's net worth grew to at least $19 million from $1.3 million, a significant leap in wealth that reflects the power of his connections and the breadth of his entrepreneurial pursuits. [It represents his connections to the powers that be that operate behind the scenes and promote/take care of politicians who are useful to their purposes.] — NY Times

Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage

posted by askousen - Thursday, July 2 2015
...The redefinition of marriage should not entail the erosion of religious liberty. In the coming years, evangelical institutions could be pressed to sacrifice their sacred beliefs about marriage and sexuality in order to accommodate whatever demands the culture and law require. We do not have the option to meet those demands without violating our consciences and surrendering the gospel. We will not allow the government to coerce or infringe upon the rights of institutions to live by the sacred belief that only men and women can enter into marriage. — Christianity Today

Obama signs trade bills into law, says tough battle still ahead

posted by askousen - Thursday, July 2 2015
U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday signed into law legislation that gives him "fast-track" power to push ahead on a Pacific Rim trade deal that has been the subject of intense debate in Congress and across the nation....The package also included aid for workers who lose their jobs as a result of trade, and an Africa trade preferences bill. — Reuters

FBI investigating new fiber cable attack in California

posted by askousen - Thursday, July 2 2015
Three major cables delivering Internet service to the Sacramento area were severed on Tuesday in what appears to be a coordinated attack, a service provider said. The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was investigating the incident, which appeared to be the latest in a string of fiber cable cuts in the San Francisco Bay area over the last year, according to special agent Greg Wuthrich of the Bureau's San Francisco division. — Reuters

Voting-Rights Advocates Get Win at Supreme Court [Proof of Citizenship Shot Down]

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 30 2015
..."Arizona citizens can continue to participate in voter registration drives without worrying about not having proof of citizenship documents," Shirley Sandelands, of the League of Women Voters of Arizona, said in a statement Monday. The case, Kobach, et al. v. Election Assistance Commission, et al., was about whether Arizona and Kansas could require voters to prove their citizenship when registering to vote with the so-called "federal form." Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach led the suit against the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, which was an appeal of a lower court decision. — Roll Call Blog

China cracks down on environmental protection, arrests thousands suspected of environmental crimes

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 30 2015
China is getting serious about protecting the environment and expects its citizens to follow suit - or pay the price. China's Environment Minister Chen Jining told parliament on Monday that Chinese police arrested thousands of people suspected of committing environmental crimes in the last year. Jining reported that, in total, 2,080 criminal cases were handed over to the police by environmental protection departments in 2014. Moreover, an estimated 3,400 companies and 3,700 construction sites were found to have violated environmental laws last year, and more than 3,100 workshops had to be shut down because of violations. — The Week

Same-sex marriage ruling faces religious rights battle in Texas

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 30 2015
Following Friday's Supreme Court decision, two of Texas' top officials, Gov. Greg Abbott and state Attorney General Ken Paxton, issued opinions directing state agencies to "respect and preserve Texans' religious liberties," in essence encouraging county clerks to refuse to issue licenses to gay couples if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. — USA Today

Greece Will Close Banks to Stem Flood of Withdrawals

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 30 2015
Greece will keep its banks closed on Monday and place restrictions on the withdrawal and transfer of money, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a televised address on Sunday night, as Athens tries to avert a financial collapse. The government's decision to close banks temporarily and impose other so-called capital controls - and to keep the stock market closed on Monday - came hours after the European Central Bank said it would not expand an emergency loan program that has been propping up Greek banks in recent weeks while the government was trying to reach a new debt deal with international creditors. The debt negotiations broke down over the weekend after Mr. Tsipras said he would let the Greek people decide whether to accept the creditors' latest offer. That referendum vote is to be held next Sunday, after the current bailout program will have expired. — NY Times

Diversity of New York City languages makes staying involved in kids' education difficult for immigra

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 30 2015
New Yorkers, who come from every corner of the world, speak 180 languages. Not surprisingly, nearly half of public school students speak a language other than English at home. This makes life difficult for the city's Department of Education, which, according to federal law and its own regulations, must provide translation and interpretation services to the thousands of parents of those children whose first language is not English. It is not an easy task. — NY Daily News

Justices' pointed dissents to gay marriage ruling show unusual discord

posted by askousen - Friday, June 26 2015
...Justice Samuel Alito "Most Americans - understandably - will cheer or lament today's decision because of their views on the issue of same-sex marriage. But all Americans, whatever their thinking on that issue, should worry about what the majority's claim of power portends." — USA Today

California's vaccine bill: Assembly passes SB 277 outlawing personal belief and religious exemptions

posted by askousen - Friday, June 26 2015
After months of rancorous debate and emotional pleas from parents, a bill that would force Californians to vaccinate their children cleared its last major legislative hurdle on Thursday. So now the only question is: Will California's famously unpredictable governor give the measure his blessing? — Oroville MR

California Set to Mandate Childhood Vaccines Amid Intense Fight

posted by askousen - Friday, June 26 2015
Schoolchildren in California would be required to be vaccinated unless there is a medical reason not to do so under a sweeping bill approved by the State Assembly on Thursday. The measure would end exemptions for personal or religious reasons, routinely requested by parents opposed to vaccines. — NY Times

Tunisia, Kuwait and France: Are attacks connected?

posted by askousen - Friday, June 26 2015
...So the fact that the suspect in Friday's attack had been investigated over possible ties to radical Islam before 2008 but that those investigations had then been stopped will raise fresh worries over the challenge of picking up on real threats from among the thousands of people that the security services say they need to monitor. — BBC

John Roberts Saves Obamacare, Again

posted by askousen - Friday, June 26 2015
Obamacare dodged yet another existential threat Thursday at the Supreme Court, making the law's survival more assured than ever before. In a 6-3 ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court upheld Obamacare's insurance subsidies nationwide, rejecting a lawsuit that had aimed to ax those payments to people in 34 states. [Maybe they should call it Robertscare. National Journal continues by trying to make the case that it's better this way, but that ignores the huge boondoggle this is growing into and we haven't even seen the tip of the iceberg yet. Where will the money come from?] — National Journal

Supreme Court upholds broad discrimination claims under housing law

posted by askousen - Friday, June 26 2015
...Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who often casts the deciding vote in close cases, joined the court's four liberals in the majority. The court was considering whether the 1968 law allows for so-called disparate impact claims in which plaintiffs only need to show the discriminatory effect of a particular practice and not evidence of discriminatory intent. There is no dispute over the law's prohibition on openly discriminatory acts in the sale and rental of housing. The case was closely watched by lenders and insurance companies, which say they are unfairly targeted. Industry groups say that companies use neutral criteria when assessing risk. The existing law allows challenges to legitimate business practices, they argue. [and it surely does. No one wants to invest on projects that might somehow be viewed as slightly prejudiced in some tiny way, so this favors reverse-discrimination which is never challenged by civil rights organizations.] — Reuters

Majority Ruling on Health Insurance Subsidies: Key Excerpts

posted by askousen - Friday, June 26 2015
...The law's challengers said the plain language of the Affordable Care Act provides for subsidies in states that created their own exchanges but not in the approximately three dozen states that use the federal government's marketplace, HealthCare.gov. The text of the Affordable Care Act, the court concluded, is ambiguous on this point. In an opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the majority held that Congress intended to "improve health insurance markets, not destroy them." [But that's still unconstitutional and that should be the only criteria SCOTUS should consider.] — WSJ

Powerful Russian army is 'guarantor of sovereignty': Putin

posted by askousen - Friday, June 26 2015
Russia needs a mighty military to fend off threats near its borders, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday, a stance that reflects soaring tensions with the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The Russian leader, whose approval ratings reached an all-time high this month despite a bruising recession, said a "powerful army equipped with modern weapons is the guarantor of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia." — CTV News

Hillary Clinton: Confederate Flag 'Shouldn't Fly Anywhere'

posted by askousen - Friday, June 26 2015
In her second set of remarks on race since nine African-Americans were murdered in a church in Charleston, S.C., Mrs. Clinton also commended Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other merchants for announcing they would stop selling Confederate flag merchandise. — WSJ

Ted Cruz: Obamatrade Enmeshed in Corrupt, Backroom Dealings

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 23 2015
As a general matter, I agree (as did Ronald Reagan) that free trade is good for America; when we open up foreign markets, it helps American farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers. But TPA in this Congress has become enmeshed in corrupt Washington backroom deal-making, along with serious concerns that it would open up the potential for sweeping changes in our laws that trade agreements typically do not include. Since the Senate first voted on TPA, there have been two material changes. [Yes, Cruz gets another chance to vote against this duplicitous legislation.] — Breitbart

Vast Ramifications in Senate Obamatrade Vote Tuesday

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 23 2015
...As has been the case with past trade agreements, if Congress or even state lawmakers sought to make changes in laws, for example establishing or adjusting licensing, skill, or educational requirements that effectively closed off opportunities for say, Malaysian machinists, Honduran welders, or Mauritanian dentists, that could instigate a trade dispute that would have to be decided by an international tribunal established by the treaty. Historically, the United States has not come out on top in these disputes and can be sanctioned if the laws are not dropped. — Center for Immigration Studies

TTIP is a corporatist scam and not a real free trade deal, says Ukip's Douglas Carswell

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 23 2015
Douglas Carswell said that TTIP, which stands for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, was not what its proponents made it out to be. "Ukip [is] making clear we are the most staunchly free trade party in the UK," he tweeted. "TTIP is not free trade. It's a corporatist scam." — UK Independent

John Boehner Is Not a Man to Be Crossed

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 23 2015
...Boehner warned the malefactors that he doesn't "reward bad behavior," but Blum's exclusion from the Patriot program startles some lawmakers nevertheless. "There's lots of ways you can punish a guy, but to flush him down the toilet?" says one incredulous House Republican who voted for Boehner. "They're making an example of him." Blum's absence from the NRCC program seems especially glaring given what lawmakers know of the criteria that usually determine who qualifies for the funding [GOP reelection funds]. — National Review

GOP civil war: Intense crackdown on conservatives

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 23 2015
...The behind-the-scenes battle broke into open view on Friday when Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., was stripped of his chairmanship of a subcommittee for doing just that: voting against a House rule, in an unsuccessful attempt to slow down the rush to give President Obama virtually unchecked power to negotiate massive trade deals. Radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham didn't mince words in blasting the tactics of House Republican leaders: "This is what the mafia does. I'm sorry, but this is a political mafia on Capitol Hill." — WND

Popular Security Software Came Under Relentless NSA and GCHQ Attacks

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 23 2015
The National Security Agency and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, have worked to subvert anti-virus and other security software in order to track users and infiltrate networks, according to documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The spy agencies have reverse engineered software products, sometimes under questionable legal authority, and monitored web and email traffic in order to discreetly thwart anti-virus software and obtain intelligence from companies about security software and users of such software. One security software maker repeatedly singled out in the documents is Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, which has a holding registered in the U.K., claims more than 270,000 corporate clients, and says it protects more than 400 million people with its products. — The Intercept

U.S. to pre-position tanks, artillery in Baltics, eastern Europe

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 23 2015
...A fact sheet provided by the U.S. military said the United States' pre-positioning would include about 250 tanks, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzers. The amount of equipment that would be temporarily stored in each country would be enough to supply either a company, so enough for about 150 soldiers, or a battalion, or about 750 soldiers. Much of it is already in Europe, officials say. [More token support] — Reuters

Obama's trade agenda faces new showdown vote in Senate

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 23 2015
President Obama's trade agenda faces a key procedural vote in the Senate Tuesday as Democrats weigh whether to back legislation that would give the president the authority to submit free trade agreements to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendments. The vote, teed up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is the highest hurdle facing the standalone so-called Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill. It requires 60 votes to pass. — Fox News

North Korea Jails Seoul 'Spies' After UN Opens Human Rights Office

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 23 2015
...Analysts saw the sentences as retaliation against South Korea for the opening Tuesday of a U.N. office in Seoul tasked with monitoring human rights in North Korea. The North has repeatedly called the office a grave provocation. South Korea's Unification Ministry expressed regret over the verdicts and urged North Korea to immediately release the men. South Korean officials have denied that the two men were involved in espionage. — Huffington Post

Arizona sheriff sending armed posse into black churches

posted by askousen - Tuesday, June 23 2015
...Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who already is under federal supervision because of a ruling two years ago that his office racially profiled Hispanics in its traffic and immigration patrols, is scheduled to go to trial in August in a separate lawsuit alleging additional discrimination against Latinos. [Establishment media can't report anything about Arpaio without some negative comment--even if it is just his battle to enforce immigration laws.] He said the Rev. Jarrett Maupin, who describes himself as a Progressive Baptist preacher and civil-rights campaigner on his Facebook page, asked him to provide the protection because he was worried about problems with white supremacists in the area. "I am the elected sheriff of this county. He asked me to help, and I'm going to help," Arpaio said Friday. — USA Today

Washington Gun Show Defies State Law, Will Not Require Background Checks

posted by askousen - Monday, June 22 2015
The Arms Expo 2015 will be held June 20-21 in Yakima and its organizers have presented it as a "liberty market and gun show" and a "patriot campout for the whole family" that will not comply with Initiative 594, a controversial new law expanding background checks in the state of Washington. — Truth in Media