This Week in the World Affairs Brief:

THE “ANTI-TRUMP” MOVEMENT FALTERS

After Donald Trump’s resounding win in the five Northeastern state primaries, winning about 60% of the Republican vote, the anti-Trump forces surrounding Ted Cruz and John Kasich are resorting to desperate measures that have sown confusion in their ranks instead of unity. The “Never Trump” movement was initially confident of stopping him from reaching a first round victory of 1237 delegates, but that prospect is dimming with each Trump victory. Trump is even leading in the polls in Indiana, which Cruz desperately needs to win if he is going to deny Trump the nomination and set a precedent for the remaining primaries. With yesterday’s violent riot against Trump at a rally in So. California, instigated and organized by radical Latinos, it appears the establishment is prepared to foment social unrest in order to sow fear in the minds of Americans about a Trump presidency. You can request a one-time free sample of the briefs by sending an email to editor@worldaffairsbrief.com.

Also:

  • Clinton is Immune from Prosecution
  • War Back in Full Swing in Syria
  • Challenge to US Military Superiority by the East
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Daily News

Please, FBI - you're our last hope: The Democratic Party's future rests upon your probe of Hillary C

posted by askousen - Monday, May 2 2016
... This should tell you something about the state of our Republic. This should also tell you something about the rule of law in our country. If anyone else in the U.S. government owned a private server storing Top Secret intelligence, for the sake of "convenience," they'd be in jail. Lt. General Michael Flynn made that case on CNNw ith Jake Tapper. The mere notion that Hillary Clinton could face criminal indictments is simply unrealistic to many voters, and I explain here what the Clinton campaign and supporters think of you and your organization. There used to be a time in U.S. history when FBI investigations were bad for campaigns; now it's not even a speed bump for the former Secretary of State. — Open Letter/Salon.com

California Signs Law Allowing Illegals To Vote

posted by askousen - Monday, May 2 2016
A California state bill was just signed in to law by Gov. Jerry Brown, that will register and allow illegal aliens to vote in US Elections. The New Motor Voter Act (A.B.1461) that is now law in California, automatically registers residents of California to vote at the DMV. According to the law and a report by the Washington Times, "The New Motor Voter Act automatically registers to vote all eligible voters when they obtain or renew their drivers licenses at the Department of Motor Vehicles instead of requiring them to fill out a form." "The goal is to ease barriers to voting, but election-integrity advocates warn that the measure could inadvertently add millions of illegal voters to the rolls given that California allows undocumented aliens to obtain drivers licenses." — Raw Conservative

Technology SITREP: the Iskander-M Operational-Tactical Missile System

posted by askousen - Monday, May 2 2016
[This pro-Russian site lists the idealized capabilities of the Intermediate ballistic missile, Iskandar M]..."Operational-Tactical" refers to the missions and capabilities of what is a family of missiles which can be fired from the Iskander Transporter erector launcher (TEL) which includes ballistic as well as cruise missile and short range as well as intermediate range missiles. The actual numbers are, of course, kept secret, but it appears that the range of these missiles can, depending on the model and configuration, be anywhere between 250km to 500km and with some variant capable of reaching 2000km. According to Wikipedia, the missile is a "stealthy" one, meaning it has a very small radar cross section, it can execute evasive maneuvers with 30G turns, it flies at hypersonic speeds (max 6-7) and it can be remotely controlled from ground operators, UAV and even AWACS aircraft. The missile also uses satellite guidance and optical terminal guidance. Best of all, it’s accuracy is officially an excellent a 5-7 meters, which means that in reality the Russian (non-export) variant probably has a 2-3 meter CEP. The missile’s conventional warhead types include including a cluster munition warhead, a fuel-air explosive enhanced-blast warhead, a tactical earth penetrator for bunker busting and an electro-magnetic pulse device (EMP) for anti-radar missions (source). The missile can also carry a 5-50 kiloton nuclear warhead. — The Saker

Global Drone Arms Race Spreading Quickly

posted by askousen - Monday, May 2 2016
...China in particular has embraced their use. A report from 2011 indicated that there were at least 280 active drones, and that China was also experimenting with autonomous drone swarms (you can read that story in a previous update posted below). Now Chinese media is announcing the first successful test of a combat-ready stealth drone called "Sharp Sword." The new stealth drone goes beyond surveillance capabilities and marks China’s first known weaponized UAV. It has been noted that it could be used in conjunction with China's first aircraft carrier that went operational in 2012. While not specifically mentioned, this development could mirror the United States' first successful test of an autonomous drone landing at sea aboard its own aircraft carrier. — Activist Post

Top Gun 2016: Russia's Super-Advanced Fighter Jet Enters Service This Year

posted by askousen - Monday, May 2 2016
The fifth generation T-50 fighter jet, also known as the PAK FA, is set to enter service with the Russian Armed Forces later this year. The plane is expected to be equipped with highly advanced X-74M2 cruise missiles, according to the Russian military news network Zvezda. The X-74M2 is a supersonic missile which has a speed of more than Mach 4, which means that the missile is capable of reaching targets in just few seconds, preempting the possibility of its detection by enemy aircraft radar systems, according to Zvezda. — Sputnik News

India tests 1st nuclear-propelled ballistic missile submarine

posted by askousen - Monday, May 2 2016
India's first submarine capable of firing nuclear ballistic missiles, the INS Arihant, is undergoing sea acceptance trials and will be commissioned after their completion, the Navy has announced. "INS Arihant is now undergoing sea acceptance trails as it had already passed several deep sea diving drills. The submarine will be commissioned after completing all the sea trials," said H.C.S. Bisht, Vice Admiral of the Indian Navy. [India has developed closer ties with Russia during their rearmament] — Russia Today

Pentagon Details Chain of Errors in Strike on Afghan Hospital

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 30 2016
Dispatched to eliminate a compound swarming with Taliban fighters, the AC-130 gunship circled above the Afghan city, its crew struggling to figure out where exactly to direct the aircraft's frightening array of weaponry. Missile fire had forced it off course, and now the gunship's targeting systems were pointing it to an empty field, not an enemy base. About 1,000 feet to the southwest, however, the crew spotted a collection of buildings that roughly matched the description of the Taliban compound provided by American and Afghan forces on the ground. Nine men could be spotted walking between the buildings. [The US has been accused a few times lately for attacking hospitals. Some wonder if they aren't trying to discourage groups like Doctors Without Borders from helping their opponents.] — NY Times

U.S. Military Investigates And Finds Itself Not Guilty Of War Crimes In Afghan Hospital Bombing

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 30 2016
The Pentagon said on Friday that its attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, last October was not a war crime because the attack was not intentional. The military released a redacted 3,000-page internal investigation into the deadly bombing, which destroyed the only free trauma center of its kind in the country’s northern region and killed 42 patients, staffers and caretakers. "The label 'war crimes' is typically reserved for intentional acts," Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, said on Friday. "The investigation found that the tragic incident resulted from a combination of unintentional human errors and equipment failures, and that none of the personnel knew that they were striking a medical facility." — Huffington Post

House Committee Votes to Require Women to Register for Draft

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 30 2016
By a close 32-30 vote, the House Armed Services Committee approved a bill on April 27 that would require women to register for the draft. Amazingly, the bill’s sponsor, Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) voted against the measure, which he introduced only to prompt a discussion about the Pentagon’s decision in December to eliminate restrictions against women serving in combat roles in the military. Hunter probably never thought that a majority of members of the committee would actually vote to approve the bill, H.R. 4478. The California congressman, a former Marine who served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, even gave his bill an ominous name that should have discouraged its passage: the "Draft America's Daughters Act of 2016." The House Armed Services Committee has 36 Republican members and 27 Democrats so the measure passed with Republican support. A roll call is not available as we write. — The New American

Russia defends intercept of U.S. reconnaissance plane over Baltic

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 30 2016
Russia said on Saturday it had sent a fighter plane on Friday to intercept a U.S. aircraft approaching its border over the Baltic Sea because the American plane had turned off its transponder, which is needed for identification. The Pentagon said the U.S. Air Force RC-135 plane had been flying a routine route in international airspace and that the Russian SU-27 fighter had intercepted it in an "unsafe and unprofessional" way. CNN reported that the Russian jet had come within about 100 feet (30 meters) of the U.S. plane and had performed a barrel roll. [Do the Russian planes probing US and EU air defenses keep their transponders on?] — Reuters

Demonstrators, police face off at tense protest outside Trump event in California

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 30 2016
Protesters opposed to Donald Trump clashed with police outside a hotel here in the San Francisco Bay area Friday ahead of a speech by the Republican front-runner, escalating tensions as eggs were thrown at authorities and one group burned the billionaire in effigy. [The WP doesn't mention that most of the protestors were latinos, whose animosity against Trump is very high due to his campaigning on building a wall. Trump had to take a separate path into the event and said "It felt like crossing the border"] — Washington Post

Sanders has less to say about Clinton, more to say about contested convention

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 30 2016
...Yet as he'd done since Tuesday, Sanders trimmed some of his criticism of Hillary Clinton. The crowd still cheered when Sanders said he'd challenged "the entire Democratic establishment and the most powerful political organization in this country." But Sanders did not give them as many cues to jeer Clinton as he'd given audiences in New York and Pennsylvania. He shot most of his ammo at Republicans, and a "fringe" agenda to let more money into politics and lower taxes for the rich. — Washington Post

The US Is Dropping Bombs Quicker Than It Can Make Them

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
...The Pentagon has had months to deal with it. "We're expending munitions faster than we can replenish them," USA Today quoted Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh as saying in December. Since then Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has asked Congress to include funding for 45,000 smart bombs in the Defense Department's 2017 budget. But it could take a while to rebuild the stockpile. — Public Radio International

NASA - Doubling Sea Level Rise By Data Tampering

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
NASA has doubled 1880 to 1980 sea level rise since Hansen 1983. In 1983, NASA showed very little sea level rise after 1950. Now they show rapid sea level rise from 1950 to 1980. — Real Climate Science.com

China's chilling plan to use social credit ratings to keep score on its citizens

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
...At the core of China's Internet agenda lies the so-called "social credit system". This system, which is currently in the planning phase, seeks to leverage the explosion in personal data generated through smartphones, apps and online transactions in order to improve citizens' behaviour. According to a planning document published by the State Council last year, its objective is to improve "sincerity" in government affairs, commerce and social interactions. The principle is simple: Individuals and businesses will be scored on various aspects of their conduct -- where you go, what you buy and who you know -- and these scores will be integrated within a comprehensive database that not only links into government information, but also to data collected by private businesses. — CNN

How Bernie Sanders' Strategy Will Evolve Going Forward

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
... A major part of Sanders' strategy now seems to be appealing to those superdelegates as well, who do not technically vote until the convention and will likely be the ones to officially put either candidate over the edge. There has been little evidence so far that many party elites are considering switching their allegiances at this late stage. Still, the senator made his pitch today, citing the excitement around his campaign, the large crowds he draws, and how well he does with independents as reasons he is better positioned to represent the Democratic Party. Sanders added that even if he did not win, his team would fight through the end and try to win to as many delegates as possible in order to put pressure on the party and Clinton. — ABC News

House unanimously passes email privacy bill

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
...The bill closes off a loophole in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act to ensure that law enforcement gets a warrant before forcing technology companies to hand over customers' emails or other electronic communications, no matter how old they are. Though the outdated provision is no longer used by most agencies, the law technically allows law enforcement to use a subpoena - rather than a warrant - to get emails if they are more than 180 days old. When the law was enacted, there were large technical limits to storing data online. [This won't change anything. Requests are rarely turned down by the courts.] — The Hill

Fed signals no rush to hike rates as economy hits soft patch

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, but kept the door open to a hike in June while showing little sign it was in a hurry to tighten monetary policy amid an apparent slowdown in the U.S. economy. In a statement that largely mirrored the one issued after its last policy meeting in March, the U.S. central bank's rate-setting committee described an improving labor market but acknowledged that economic growth seemed to have slowed. [A higher interest rate could cause a bigger retraction in the economy and favor a party change this November.] — Reuters

Senate passes ban on already illegal sale of fetal tissue

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
The sale of fetal tissue is already illegal in Michigan, but the state Senate voted to take that prohibition a step further by passing a bill that would make it a felony to provide any compensation for the distribution or transportation of any portion of an embryo including delivering the tissue to medical research facilities. — Detroit Free Press

Trump warns against 'false song of globalism'

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump warned against "the false song of globalism" in a major foreign policy address on Wednesday in an escalation of his rhetoric rejecting the current framework of international coalitions. "We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism," Trump promised during a speech in Washington. "I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down," he claimed. "And under my administration, we will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs." — The Hill

Trump passes Romney's popular vote total, likely to break GOP record

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
...More significantly, Trump is positioned to easily pass the modern record-holder, George W. Bush, who collected 10.8 million votes in 2000. That presents an uncomfortable reality for anti-Trump forces: they're attempting to thwart the candidate who is likely to win more Republican primary votes than any GOP contender in at least the last 36 years, and maybe ever. — Politico

China Successfully Tests Hypersonic Missile

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
...China also is taking steps to strengthen its underground missile silos and facilities to withstand precision strikes by hypersonic missiles, such as those planned under the Pentagon's Prompt Global Strike program. The latest Chinese hypersonic glide vehicle test was conducted three days after Russia carried out a flight test of its experimental hypersonic glide vehicle. That glider test involved the launch of an SS-19 ballistic missile fired from a missile base in eastern Russia. The two tests highlight what many analysts have called a new hypersonic arms race among China, Russia, and the United States. India also is working on hypersonic arms. — Washington Free Beacon

Republican Cruz names Fiorina as running mate

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, in a last-ditch bid to slow front-runner Donald Trump's momentum, on Wednesday named former business executive Carly Fiorina to be his vice presidential running mate if he wins the nomination. After suffering a series of crushing losses to Trump in nominating contests on Tuesday, Cruz praised Fiorina as a principled fighter for conservative values who knew how to create jobs and would be a valuable ally on the campaign trail. — Reuters

Ex-House Speaker Hastert gets 15 months, admits sex abuse

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
...The judge said that even though Hastert could not be charged with sex abuse because the statute of limitations had run out, he could take the conduct into consideration at sentencing. "Some conduct is unforgivable no matter how old it is. The abuse was 40 years ago but the damage lasts today," Durkin said. [Politicians with these kinds of misdeeds can be controlled through blackmail.] — Reuters

30 Years After Chernobyl Disaster, an Arch Rises to Seal Melted Reactor

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
...The project, known as the New Safe Confinement, is a feat of engineering. It will take two or three days to slide the 36,000-ton structure into place. The arch, which looks something like a dirigible hangar, is large enough to cover a dozen football fields. "You could put Wembley Stadium underneath here, with all the car parks," said David Driscoll, the chief safety officer for the French consortium running the construction site. [This mammoth undertaking is being paid for by the "European Community and G7" through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. That's a hefty price tag for the rest of Europe to pay for Russia's poorly built reactor.] — WSJ

Obama ramps up Special Forces mission in Syria against IS

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
President Barack Obama announced on Monday the biggest expansion of U.S. ground troops in Syria since its civil war began, but the move was unlikely to mollify Arab allies angry over Washington's cautious approach to the conflict. The deployment of 250 Special Forces soldiers increases U.S. forces in Syria roughly six-fold and is aimed at helping local militia fighters build on victories in which territory has been clawed back from Islamic State. — Reuters

Ammon Bundy to challenge authority of feds to prosecute Oregon standoff defendants

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
... In 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the laws of the United States alone control the disposition of title to its lands. The states are powerless to place "any limitation or restriction on that control.'' The decision rested on whether the waters of the Malheur refuge were "navigable" at the time Oregon became a state. That's because, under the acts of Congress that admitted new states to the union, ownership of navigable waterways was automatically conveyed to the state. [...and what a stretch of the Constitution that was. Clearly taking over massive stretches of territories in exchange for becoming a state was not what the founder's intent was when they wrote the Federal Gov't should oversee disputes arising from "navigable waters."] — The Oregonian

The Bernie Sanders voters who would choose Trump over Clinton

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
...This week the Guardian sought out Sanders fans who are contemplating switching their allegiance to Trump if Hillary Clinton secures the Democratic nomination. Almost 700 people replied to the call-out, and some 500 of them said they were thinking the unthinkable: a Sanders-Trump switch. [This doesn't bear out in more widespread polls, but that could change if Bernie continues to get treated poorly by the Democratic establishment.] — The Guardian

Juncker Admits EU Interferes Too Much, Provides No Plan For Change

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
...Jean-Claude Juncker's statement that the EU has meddled too much has reverberated around the world. It's received a lot of coverage in Britain, where the Brexit debate – over whether Britain leaves the EU or stays – is ongoing. Juncker's statement came at a Council of Europe meeting in Strasbourg. He made it in response to a question from Tory MP Nigel Evans who asked whether top EU officials understood that the Brexit was just part of a much larger wave of anti-EU sentiment. — The Daily Bell

The Treasury has it entirely wrong: The British economy would gain from Brexit

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 27 2016
The Treasury has produced its 200-page report about the effects of Brexit on the economy. Predictably, it is highly negative. It is sad that the Treasury, for which I once worked for a few years, has become so politicised that it is reduced to rationalising the views of George Osborne. The modelling methods it has used to do Osborne's bidding are the ones anyone would employ to rubbish Brexit. They involve estimating relationships over the past between such things as trade with the EU or Foreign Direct Investment, or tariffs and GDP. Unfortunately, as I pointed out in my book on the UK and the EU, these estimated relationships are highly unreliable when it comes to considering a whole new world of trading rules, which is what Britain would face after leaving the EU. — UK City AM