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  • Paul Sperry claims that the Obama administration tried to hack the election:

    Under congressional questioning Tuesday, Obama’s CIA chief John Brennan said the dossier did not “in any way” factor into the agency’s assessment that Russia interfered in the election. Why not? Because as Obama intel czar James Clapper earlier testified, “We could not corroborate the sourcing.”

    But that didn’t stop Brennan in January from attaching its contents to the official report for the president. He also included the unverified allegations in the briefing he gave Hill Democrats.

    In so doing, Brennan virtually guaranteed that it would be leaked, which it promptly was.

    In short, Brennan politicized raw intelligence. In fact, he politicized the entire CIA.

  • Trump’s State Department quietly lifted the limit on the number of refugees entering the U.S. By next month, more than 1,500 refugees may be entering the U.S. every week. So much for that campaign promise.

  • Allahpundit tries to reason why Jared Kushner wanted to construct a back channel to the Russian government using Russian secure communications equipment, thereby bypassing interception by American intelligence:

    That’s question one, the big one — why did Kushner want to use Russian diplomats’ secure line to Moscow instead of some official means of communication monitored by the U.S. government? And why did he reportedly conceal the extent of his contact with Russian officials? If all of this is no big deal, it’s odd that Jared seems to have been highly allergic to the public finding out about any of it. Imagine the havoc it would have wreaked if he were spotted walking into a Russian diplomatic building during the transition to use their red line to Putin. The whole reason Flynn was dumped, per Sally Yates, was that the Russians could have blackmailed him by using their own recording of him talking sanctions with Kislyak against him. Now here’s Jared wanting to use the Russians’ own line to discuss sensitive matters. What could go wrong?

    Later:

    In the end, though, everything comes back to question one. Why did Kushner try to hide his “back channel” to Moscow from U.S. intelligence? There are two theories kicking around, one suggesting corruption and the other pointing to dunderheadedness. The corruption theory holds that Kushner didn’t really want to discuss Syria with Russia, that that’s just a cover story fed to the Times last night to make this seem less suspicious. What he wanted to talk about was money.

    Later:

    The dunderheadedness theory is more straightforward. Kushner, like his father-in-law, is a total newbie to government and not nearly as bright as he thinks he is. The administration wanted a splashy diplomatic reset with Russia replete with concessions from Moscow on Syria as soon as Trump took office, so they started working on it during the transition. And because they were suspicious of being monitored by Obama’s intelligence team and subjected to damaging leaks — with good reason! — they tried to do things “off the books” as much as possible, even if that meant, um, asking Russian diplomats if they could use their own secure line to Moscow to negotiate. They’re not on the take. They’re just morons who were scrambling blindly for an early foreign policy win.

  • ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Coptic Christians in southern Egypt that killed 29 people.

  • The Iraqi army began a push retake the last districts of Mosul held by ISIS.

  • Ramadan started, so it’s high time for terrorist bombings. The Taliban claimed responsibility for a car bomb in Khost, Afghanistan that killed 14 people. Fighting between Afghan security forces and an assortment of militant groups killed 36 people.

  • Turkey issued an arrest warrant for Enes Kanter, who plays center for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team. Kanter is a Turkish citizen who holds an American green card, and he openly aligns himself with Fethullah Gulen.

  • The Royal Air Force dispatched two Typhoon fighters to intercept unspecified Russian planes entering British airspace.

Links for 5-20-2017

  • Donald Trump signed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth $110 billion.

  • An as-yet undiscovered security compromise enabled China to kill or imprison 18 to 20 of the CIA’s operatives between 2010 and 2012.

  • Hassan Rouhani was re-elected president of Iran by a wide margin.

  • Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) voted to replace one of its leaders who has been in jail since November on terrorism charges and whose parliamentary status was stripped three months ago — Serpil Kemalbay was elected to replace Figen Yuksekdag. Another HDP co-leader, Selahattin Demirtas, is also in jail but he remains a member of parliament.

  • The Taliban staged an assault on Ghazni, a city on the highway connecting Kabul and Kandahar; there are conflicting reports of how successful they were. Gunmen assaulted a bank in Gardez, killing three people before they themselves were killed.

  • Two people authored a nonsense academic paper entitled “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” and got it published in the peer-reviewed journal Cogent Social Sciences:

    Assuming the pen names “Jamie Lindsay” and “Peter Boyle,” and writing for the fictitious “Southeast Independent Social Research Group,” we wrote an absurd paper loosely composed in the style of post-structuralist discursive gender theory. The paper was ridiculous by intention, essentially arguing that penises shouldn’t be thought of as male genital organs but as damaging social constructions. We made no attempt to find out what “post-structuralist discursive gender theory” actually means. We assumed that if we were merely clear in our moral implications that maleness is intrinsically bad and that the penis is somehow at the root of it, we could get the paper published in a respectable journal.

    This already damning characterization of our hoax understates our paper’s lack of fitness for academic publication by orders of magnitude. We didn’t try to make the paper coherent; instead, we stuffed it full of jargon (like “discursive” and “isomorphism”), nonsense (like arguing that hypermasculine men are both inside and outside of certain discourses at the same time), red-flag phrases (like “pre-post-patriarchal society”), lewd references to slang terms for the penis, insulting phrasing regarding men (including referring to some men who choose not to have children as being “unable to coerce a mate”), and allusions to rape (we stated that “manspreading,” a complaint levied against men for sitting with their legs spread wide, is “akin to raping the empty space around him”). After completing the paper, we read it carefully to ensure it didn’t say anything meaningful, and as neither one of us could determine what it is actually about, we deemed it a success. 

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