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The eye of Trump’s storm

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The breaking story overnight has been about Natalia Veselnitskaya, the shadowy Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner on June 9, 2016. They thought she was a Russian government official there to deliver dirt on Hillary Clinton. In reality, she was more closely linked with the firm delivering dirt on Trump to his opponents.

At the heart of all this is the opposition research company Fusion GPS, which was formed by former Wall Street Journal employees. It’s interesting that Josh Rogan, of the Washington Post, was one of the first reporters to break this story last night. He apparently spoke directly to them. The media is a small club.

Fusion GPS told me its work on the Prevezon case had nothing to do with the 2016 presidential election and they were not involved in the outreach to the Trump campaign.

Even more in the epicenter: Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, whose Prezevon Holdings was fighting a government money laundering case, hired Fusion GPS, and was also linked to Veselnitskaya. Prezevon’s business interests were hurt by sanctions imposed by Congress’ 2012 Magnitsky Act, which was named for a Russian Journalist who died in prison.

The Daily Mail focuses on Katsyv and Prezevon in their report.

Whether the lobbying campaign was directly coordinated with the Kremlin is up for debate. Katsyv had personal financial interests. But his motivations were also in line with the Kremlin, which has also fought to unravel the Magnitsky Act.

Fusion GPS was working for “unnamed Republican clients”  when they hired Christopher Steele, the former British MI6 agent, who gathered the infamous “dossier” filled with uncorroborated and wild claims of Russian government blackmail (“kompromat”) of Trump.

Erick Erickson notes more “nuggets” suggesting there’s more to the story here.

Natalia Veselnitskaya had been denied a visa into the United States. She had been given temporary parole, allowing her to enter the country with an expired visa, but it has been revoked by 2016. Still, Veselnitskaya was able to enter the US anyway to meet with Trump, Jr. in the middle of 2016. It is my understanding this could have only happened in one of two ways. First, she could have argued she was the sole lawyer of representation for her client, but Baker Hostetler also represented Prevezon. She could also have been allowed into the country if she had a collaborative relationship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. You know, the organization that was considering paying Christopher Steele for his Trump dossier work prepared for Fusion GPS.

Plus, as Hidden America blog exposed, Veselnitskaya was fairly active on social media, posting pictures of anti-Trump protesters. (Although they published a debunked photo of Sen. John McCain she claimed to have taken, also tweeted by Internet troll Jack Posobiec.)

What is apparent from all this is Veselnitskaya was not there to help Donald Trump, or provide dirt on Hillary Clinton. She was working for her own paid business interests, her clients, to oppose the Magnitsky Act. She was connected with the firm hired to collect Russian dirt on Trump. She was herself more aligned with Democrats.

But Trump, Jr. took the meeting. As David French wrote, no, you don’t “take the meeting.” Whether it was a setup (very possible) or not, Trump’s son made himself the mark.

This story will need time to unravel in order to shed light on the darkest corner of foreign influence, money, and power emanating from Moscow into the heart of Washington.

Now the investigation moves into a new phase, one where Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has some influence.

Grassley has scheduled an as yet unannounced hearing July 19 entitled, “Oversight of the Justice Department’s (Non) enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” which will include testimony from William Browder, the chief of Hermitage Capital, who filed the complaint against Fusion GPS and several other entities he alleges were working on behalf of the Russians.

The sooner the better we can get to the bottom of this stinking, fetid hole.

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Latest wave of terrorism can be contained, defense officials say

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Latest wave of terrorism can be contained defense officials say

Spate of drive-by shootings sparks concerns of copycat attacks, but defense officials believe phenomenon will not spread outside Samaria • As hunt for Givat Asaf killers continues, IDF official says it is “only a matter of time” before they are caught.

 Defense officials said over the weekend that the ‎latest wave of terrorist attacks can probably be ‎contained, and that while ‎copycat drive-by shooting attacks are a matter of ‎concern, it is unlikely they will spread outside ‎Samaria. ‎

Meanwhile, the hunt ‎for the terrorists who carried out ‎the shooting attack that killed two Israeli soldiers in Givat Asaf on Thursday continued ‎on Sunday.

”It’s only a matter of time before we get our hands ‎on the cell’s members,” one IDF officer said.‎

A source familiar with the operation told Israel ‎Hayom that military activity was focusing ‎on thwarting future terrorist attacks, protecting ‎Jewish settlements and roads in the region, and ‎conducting raids and arrests.‎

The recent spate of terrorist attacks has prompted ‎the IDF to increase deployment across Judea and ‎Samaria, setting up 120 roadblocks in the area. Dozens of Hamas members suspected of terrorist ‎activity were arrested across the West Bank over the ‎weekend, the IDF said. ‎

The Diplomatic-Security Cabinet was expected to ‎devote most of its meeting Sunday to the uptick in ‎Palestinian violence. ‎

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also currently the ‎acting defense minister, has ordered the IDF to ‎expedite the demolition of the homes of the ‎terrorists involved in last week’s ‎attacks, as well as step up military ‎counterterrorism activities across Judea and ‎Samaria.‎

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud ‎Abbas is slated to visit Jordan on Monday, where he ‎will discuss “recent developments in the Palestinian ‎arena” with King Abdullah. ‎

An Israeli defense official told Israel Hayom that ‎Abbas has instructed Palestinian security forces to ‎crack down on the armed factions in the West Bank to avoid further escalations. ‎

As part of these measures, Abbas’ security forces ‎barred Hamas operatives in the West Bank from ‎marking the terrorist group’s 31st anniversary over ‎the weekend. ‎

In the Gaza Strip, which Hamas ‎rules, the event was marked with mass rallies.

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China is farming cockroaches by the billions

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China is farming cockroaches by the billions

It is a bit staggering to look at the history of China and see how many people have died as a result of disasters, famine, genocide, and war over the past two millennia. To be fair, death and suffering are common elements in every nation’s history. But, China’s perpetually massive population ensures that the scale of its tragedies dwarfs that of any other nation.

There are several tragic events throughout China’s history that have a death toll which exceeds the present-day population of most countries. Famine, in particular, has claimed the lives of countless people in China, and until fairly recently, were a regular occurrence there. Nearly two centuries of back-to-back famines in China ended in 1961 with the Great Chinese Famine, which caused more people to die of starvation than are currently alive in Canada.

Much of the blame for this tragedy can be placed on the astounding level of incompetence displayed by Mao Zedong’s Communist Party. However, in the decades since then the Party has put a lot of work into ensuring famines, especially of that magnitude, never happen again. The Party has actually been incredibly successful in that regard. For people living in China’s ever-growing urban areas even small-scale malnutrition is more or less unheard of, let alone famine.

To get an idea of how much the food security in China has improved, one need only look at how much food waste is currently being generated by Chinese urban areas. The amount of waste is so extreme that there aren’t enough landfills in the entire country to dump it all in. It was only a few decades ago that these urban areas were struggling to dispose of the corpses of the millions who had starved to death, yet now they struggle to dispose of the food waste created by millions of well-fed people who have more food than they can eat. The latter is definitely the better problem to have but a problem nonetheless, and it’s only going to get worse as the average income of Chinese citizens continues to grow.

The nauseating amount of food waste in the United States shows how wasteful a society can become when it’s so wealthy that food security is something most people don’t even think about. Fortunately, wherever there’s a problem there are entrepreneurs with clever (and profitable) solutions, and this is no exception.

Li Bingcai is one such entrepreneur, and he was so confident in his clever solution that he quit his job as a mobile phone vendor and invested equivalent to nearly $150,000 into what he believes will eventually become a large profitable enterprise. His belief is well-founded too, as his solution has proven to be incredibly successful.  According to Reuters, Li plans to increase the size of his operation tenfold in the near future.

So, what exactly is this seemingly incredible solution to China’s food waste problem? Has Li developed a method of turning food waste into an efficient biofuel? Has he found a way to recycle food waste into new food products, or created a system for distributing discarded food to under served communities? Not quite.

As with most entrepreneurial success stories, Li’s solution is simple – and just strange enough that most people wouldn’t have thought of it. The solution? Farm cockroaches, millions of them, and then feed them the waste. That’s it.

Li currently operates two farms in the province of Sichuan (the namesake of the heavily meme’d McDonald’s Mulan Szechuan Sauce) in southwest China where he raises 3.4 million cockroaches. But, he plans to eventually have twenty farms. He feeds his cockroaches the food waste generated by nearby cities. Once they’ve reached the end of their life, he then sells them as feed to fisheries and pig farms. He also sells them to pharmaceutical companies where they’re used as an ingredient in medicine, both real and fake.

I am sure many of us are unfortunately very familiar with how much cockroaches love to eat our leftover food – and how much of a nuisance they can be when they invade your home. However, it’s that voraciousness that makes these pests such an effective and efficient way to dispose of food waste, and Li isn’t the only person to discover this. In fact, his operation is minuscule compared to the likes of Gooddoctor, another Sichuan-based operation, which currently raises more than 6 billion cockroaches. Meanwhile, in the Shandong province on China’s east coast, Shandong Qiaobin Agricultural Technology Co. uses cockroaches to dispose of 50 tons of kitchen waste every day. The company is planning to open three more cockroach-powered, AI-assisted food waste processing plants next year with the intention of processing a third of the kitchen waste produced by the 7 million people living in Shandong’s capital, Jinan. Just like Li, both Gooddoctor and Shandong Qiaobin sell their cockroaches as feed and medical ingredients, but even more uses for cockroaches are currently being researched.

In other countries that generate a lot of food waste, such as the United States, solutions are more focused on reducing how much food is wasted rather than finding more efficient ways to dispose of it. The problem of food waste in these countries is less of a logistical problem caused by the amount of waste, like in China, and more of a moral problem caused by wasting so much food while nearly a billion people all over the world struggle to feed themselves. The United States alone throws out 133 BILLION pounds of food each year, worth about $161 billion according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.

The Trump administration is making an effort with its “Winning on Reducing Food Waste”, but there’s more that can be done. That being said, the moral situation is even worse in China, unsurprisingly.

Food waste is different in the United States and other developed nations where the vast majority of people living there are well-fed. The moral question for these nations is, “We have more food than we could ever eat, so why aren’t we sharing it with less prosperous nations?” In China, however, this isn’t the case. While the quality of life for people living in China’s cities has improved immensely, especially when it comes to food security, the prosperity of Communist China hasn’t exactly been spread equally, and its rural population has been left behind. The numbers vary from province to province, but there are currently tens of millions of people in China who are struggling to feed their families, and malnutrition is fairly common in these areas.

So shouldn’t the moral question for China be, “Our fellow countrymen are starving, so why are we feeding our excess food to cockroaches?”

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Guardian headline omitting ‘terrorists’ sparks outrage in Israel

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Guardian headline omitting terrorists sparks outrage in Israel

Website of Britain’s left-wing Guardian paper says “Israelis and Palestinians killed in West Bank violence” without stating that the Palestinians were terrorist gunmen who deliberately targeted Israelis • Israel is fighting back against biased coverage.

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