Astana Talks on Wednesday to Focus on Separation of Terrorists, Syria Opposition

The main topic of the second day of the Astana talks on Syria will become the separation of positions of terrorists and moderate opposition in the country, head of Damascus delegation to the talks Bashar Jaafari told Sputnik.

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Why Government always gets cybersecurity wrong

Otto Von Bismarck is thought to have said that if you want to respect law and sausage you should watch neither being made. Charlie Mitchell supports this view in his recent book Hacked: The Inside Story of America’s Struggle to Secure Cyberspace by providing an in-depth, comprehensive history of cybersecurity policy during the Obama administration. The chronological account explores interactions between the White House, bureaucracy, special interests, and Congress. Mitchell considers several points of view and gives the reader a thorough understanding of competing perspectives on issues such as privacy and regulation.

This is a historical work, not a theoretical one (Public Choice Theory is never mentioned), but it is of great value to Public Choice scholars because it explores issues at the heart of the discipline, such as how legislators, bureaucrats, and special interests respond to the incentives they face and how policy gets made (or not made) in light of these competing incentives.

John McCain asked for a cyber committee to be created, until he took control of a committee that dealt with it.

The Politics of Cybersecurity Legislation

The articulation of a cybersecurity policy began in earnest towards the end of the Bush administration, with the Obama White House picking up where they left off. However, after congress failed to pass legislation dealing with the issue during his first term, President Obama issued an Executive Order in February 2013 calling for (among other things) a non-regulatory approach to cybersecurity based on collaboration between the government and technology industry.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was tasked with developing a framework of “voluntary standards” for cybersecurity in collaboration with the tech industry.  This was done through a series of conferences where representatives from the two sides met at various college campuses across the country to hash out what such a framework might look like. During and after this process, other government agencies pursued cybersecurity within their various spheres of influence, some successfully (Federal Communications Commission), some unsuccessfully (Department of Homeland Security).

A constant theme throughout the book is Congress’s struggle to pass significant cybersecurity legislation. The issue seems to constantly be before congress during Obama’s second term, but it is frequently kicked to the curb by partisan fighting, elections, government shutdowns, congressional recesses, and other legislative concerns. Cybersecurity legislation is finally passed in the house in April 2015, and in the Senate in October of the same year.

Tech industry representatives distrust government agencies and are afraid that the “voluntary” framework process will quickly devolve into harsh regulation.

As mentioned earlier, the story of cybersecurity policy during the Obama administration is ripe for Public Choice analysis because it is a story of incentives and self-interest on the part of the legislature, special interests, and bureaucracy.

Congress has very few incentives to deal efficiently with the cybersecurity problem. Doing so would most likely require the creation of a cybersecurity committee. This, however, is highly unlikely because, as retired Rep. Jane Harman says, “people in [Congress] earned their power through committee positions.” Cybersecurity is currently under the jurisdiction of several different committees, none of which will be willing to give up power or influence over such an important issue.

Mitchell shows this by mentioning that John McCain asked for a cyber committee to be created, until he took control of a committee that dealt with it. Additionally, Hacked shows how the perverse incentives of party politics and re-election push legislators to shortsighted policies. Cybersecurity legislation is repeatedly passed over because of looming elections, government shutdowns, squabbles between Republicans and Democrats, the budget, immigration, and the Iran nuclear deal. This essential element to national security that should be rather straightforward is constantly left in the hopper with little hope of floor time because politicians are busy with more “pressing” matters.

The Role of Special Interests

Special interests loom large in the discussion of any significant piece of legislation and cybersecurity is no exception. Tech industry representatives distrust government agencies and are afraid that the “voluntary” framework process will quickly devolve into harsh regulation. They and other interest groups make their voices heard throughout the legislative process. The two competing special interests seen in the book are those arguing for privacy protection such as the ACLU and the Center for Democracy and Technology and those representing the cyber industry such as the US Chamber of Commerce.

Indeed, DHS only took on cybersecurity because it “saw cyber as a potential ‘win’ area.”

To protest the Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA) privacy advocates sent faxes to senators urging them to vote against the bill (they claimed to be using 1984 technology to protest a bill reminiscent of “Big Brother” in the George Orwell classic). On the other side of the issue, industry representatives began a “myth-versus-fact” campaign to show that CISA wasn’t a surveillance bill. Both sides end up fighting not for the best policy but for the one that benefits them the most.

The Expanding Footprint of DHS

The federal bureaucracy is an excellent example of the Public Choice principle that public actors respond to incentives the same way private ones do, namely that they are concerned with their own self-interest. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seen as unwilling to cooperate with industry (it has no incentives to do so), and did little to change this reputation. DHS, which has more cybersecurity responsibilities than any other federal agency has many other concerns besides cyber, and because of this, is not incentivized to give the issue the attention it deserves.

Indeed, DHS only took on cybersecurity because it “saw cyber as a potential ‘win’ area.” The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides an example of a bureaucratic agency trying to enlarge its footprint. The FTC sees itself as protecting consumers from “unfair and deceptive [business] practices.” It sought to extend this power into the cyber realm and had its authority to regulate and punish companies affirmed by two 2015 court cases. Security companies took advantage of this and in a “bootleggers and Baptists” scenario created NIST framework-based products asserting that because of the FTC’s newfound powers, cybersecurity was mandatory.

However, Hacked does provide one example of public and private incentives aligning, namely, the NIST framework creation process. NIST has several institutional advantages; it is small, but well respected and “it doesn’t provoke jealousy or underhanded attacks from other government agencies because it’s not a regulator and has no interest in bureaucratic turf wars.” It was likely unable (and had few incentives) to push the private sector around.

This, as well as the fact that the framework it created was to be voluntary and the result of a collaborative process helped to create a system where the government and the private sector worked together. The non-regulatory nature of the program also meant that the threat of government regulation could incentivize companies to use the framework.

Mitchell closes the book with musings on the future of cybersecurity in the United States. Restructuring the bureaucracy or congress would better equip the government to deal with the problem and questions still remain about how to encourage companies to invest in cybersecurity and whether the government or the private sector will drive innovation. He states that policy cannot be reactionary, it must be adaptable to changing circumstances and it must be made with the goal of threat reduction because this problem is not going to disappear. His closing comments provide needed insight into a complicated field, and his book helps scholars see Public Choice Theory in action.


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Michael Moore launches resistance website promoting daily anti-Trump actions

 An anti-Trump “coalition” actually exists

(INTELLIHUB) — In an effort to create more political friction for the White House than there already is, liberal, filmmaker and activist, Michael Moore launched The Resistance Calender, a website aimed at empowering liberals by pairing them with daily anti-Trump actions in which they can attend.

To the untrained eye, Moore’s website,, looks decent. It boasts an early-90’s color scheme and is rather simple to navigate. It’s basically, an online bulletin board which caters to leftists looking to take action by mobilizing against Trump.

michael moore
Brave News Films/Flickr

The website allows users to “submit” or “add” an event by simply filling out an online form which asks users for their name, their email, the link they wish to promote and a description of the event. Under the “Monthly” tab I counted 55 different events taking place on Today alone with Saturday the 25th looking busy also.

While searching for events on the site, under the “Monthly” tab, I counted 55 different events taking place on Today alone with Saturday the 25th looking busy also.

Early Wednesday morning, Moore took to Twitter to point out the “incredible turnouts at Congressional Town Hall meetings across the country” which he feels his new site is contributing to.

Michael Moore, Organizing for Action, and Indivisible — all Soros-backed?

What Moore didn’t point out is the fact that the left-leaning Obama-tied group Organizing for Action (OFA) is also promoting the Town Hall Project

Both agendas, the one promoted on Moore’s new website and OFA’s are nearly interchangeable and both Moore and OFA are making a major push until Feb. 26 to thwart GOP legislators.

Currently, OFA empowers over 30,000 activists and has over 400 rallies scheduled for 2017.

OFA works with Indivisible, which according to Breitbart “is a part of a coalition.” According to the Capitol Research CenterIndivisible has “loose ties” to the billionaire Hillary Clinton and sanctuary city backer and George Soros.

OFA has literally issued a practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda.

Shepard Ambellas is an opinion journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief of Intellihub News & Politics ( Shepard is also known for producing Shade: The Motion Picture (2013) and appearing on Travel Channel’s America Declassified (2013). Shepard is a regular contributor to Infowars. Read more from Shep’s World. Get the Podcast. Follow Shep on Facebook and Twitter.
©2017. INTELLIHUB.COM. All Rights Reserved.

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Bombs rock Damascus as war enters seventh year

Two suicide bombings hit Damascus Wednesday including an attack at a central courthouse that killed at least 32 people, as Syria’s war entered its seventh year with the government now claiming the upper hand.

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The deep state institutions that couldn’t care less who you vote for

The American people are again fully enthralled in the puppet show of national elections, and while arguments grow ever-more heated and partisan, the fact remains that no matter which way we vote there will remain a deeper state which represents the real and unchanging forces driving the destiny of this country and of the world.

Even veteran politician’s such as the constitutionally-minded Ron Paul have publicly stated that your vote doesn’t matter as long as the ‘Deep State’ continues to exist, living off of funds syphoned from tax payers and scuttled into covert, black-ops and secret budgets.

The elections don’t matter. This is a ritual that we go through… My belief is that the control is the Deep State, and people have to realize that.” ~ Ron Paul

Former Republican U.S. Congressional aide Mike Lofgren who retired in 2011 after 28 years as a Congressional staffer defines the Deep State as follows:

“It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street.” ~ Mike Lofgren

These are the institutions, agencies and ongoing programs that are above the law, beyond scrutiny and operating in near total secrecy. They truly couldn’t care less who the American people vote for come this election day as their powers are now so fully entrenched that in spite of whichever political puppet sits in the White House they will still be able to muster the funds and authority to continue on with their subversive, anti-democratic agendas.

Topping the list are the following major players:

1. Intelligence AgenciesBusiness Insider reports that US intelligence community is comprised of 17 discreet agencies that operate with enormous budgets and incredible secrecy, bringing total surveillance and total information awareness to bear on the people of earth.

Of the 17 agencies, some of the most prominent and most active include the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), none of which will be adversely affected by either candidate’s policies.

“Oversight of these agencies generally falls to the Department of Defense or Congress, leaving the average citizen with precious little knowledge of how they operate.

Funded by largely classified budgets, it’s difficult to assess how much the U.S. annually spends on these clandestine operations, but one 2012 estimate pegs the cost at about $75 billion.” [Source]

2. DARPAThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is the scientific vanguard of the Deep State, and the world’s pioneer of advanced technology, bringing science fiction to life. With an on-the-record annual budget of close to the $3 billion, their role in our world seems to be to absorb any and all human innovation and re-direct it toward the art of killing and controlling people. A simple Google search of ‘DARPA’ reveals an endless array of incredibly cool science projects, and public science competitions designed to discover and recruit the greatest upcoming scientific minds the human race produces.

Their influence in our world cannot be understated, both for their positive contributions to society, such as development of the internet, and for their nefarious re-works of every great scientific idea. Their work will continue unabated no matter who is president.

3. Wall Street and Silicon Valley – Wall Street is the organization of criminal bankers and law firms who’ve managed to re-configure government and global finance to work in their favor, allowing them to privatize profit and socialize losses, guaranteeing the infinite enrichment of the 1%. Their power, originally garnered with the creation of central banking and banking corporations like The Federal Reserve, is now maintained and concentrated by their technological sophistication through their coordination with Silicon Valley.

Scientist, author and celebrated technological philosopher Jaron Lanier writes of the banking elite’s ability to outpace even any regulatory agency’s ability to understand and control the technology now involved in exacting trades, due to the simple fact that private companies with endless resources can afford to buy the best minds on earth.

As Lanier puts it, “there was a high-tech network scheme at play that seemed to concentrate wealth while at the same time causing volatility and trauma for ordinary people, particularly taxpayers who often ended up paying for a bailout.” No individual investor can compete with these Siren Servers, no matter how smart or lucky. [Source]

Combined, the powers of Wall Street and Silicon Valley effectively own the U.S. government and rest assured, whichever candidate makes it to inauguration day, they will be well-funded by, and well-respecting of the powers-that-be on Wall Street.

4. The Military Industrial Complex’s Defense ContractorsThe Orwellian permanent war is not a necessity in our modern world, but rather a natural by-product of exorbitant, unfettered investment in the arms race. The list of defense contractors that comprise the military industrial complex and manufacture and produce the equipment and war material that makes endless war a permanent feature of the modern world is, again, noted by Business Insider. At the top of their list of nine companies is Lockheed Martin, followed by Boeing, Ratheon, General Dynamics and Northrup Grumman, all receiving tens of billions of dollars annually from the federal government.

Their power is derived from the good-old-boy and revolving door network of government insiders and private sector free-agents who compete for taxpayer money and contracts. Both Trump and Hillary are supportive of this network, so take your pick.

5. The Secret Black Budget and Space Programs – These are the programs that are spoken of mostly in rumors. The best guess is that they are funded by money stolen from the American people and operate in locations such as the fabled Deep Underground Bases (DUMB’s) under the protection of the military. We know they exist because of occasional media leaks about their technological achievements and secretly funded programs, yet information is often sketchy. None-the-less, their works will continue to influence the direction of global conflict while pushing the world toward a space-based economy no matter which candidate you choose.

The Missing Trillions of Taxpayer Money

Former Wall Street investment bank director, and former assistant secretary United States Department of Housing and Urban Development during the first Bush Administration, Catherine Austin Fitts estimates that some $40 trillion dollars in taxpayer money has disappeared in recent decades from the budgets of the Pentagon and other agencies and has been covertly directed toward the operations of these Deep State institutions.

In 2015 the gross domestic product of the U.S. economy was close to $18 trillion, meaning that, at least, over 2 years full years of American productivity has been vaporized by the secretive government, and most recently some $6.5 trillion was reported missing from the Pentagon. This is how the Deep State is funded and why the elections play such an important role in distracting the American public.

Final Thoughts

In light of revelations about the existence and operations of these agencies, as well as their speculated funding by missing public money, voting for a president is rightfully acknowledged as futile. For those of us truly seeking positive change in a world where government is completely unaccountable to the people who fund it, there’s simply no way to ignore the relevance of exposing the Deep State.

“As all governments—sometimes for good reasons—engage in concealment of their more questionable activities, or even resort to out and out deception, one must ask how the deep state differs. While an elected government might sometimes engage in activity that is legally questionable, there is normally some plausible pretext employed to cover up or explain the act.

But for players in the deep state, there is no accountability and no legal limit. Everything is based on self-interest, justified through an assertion of patriotism and the national interest.” ~ Philip Giraldi

Via Waking Times

Dylan Charles is a student and teacher of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, a practitioner of Yoga and Taoist arts, and an activist and idealist passionately engaged in the struggle for a more sustainable and just world for future generations. He is the editor of, the proprietor of, a grateful father and a man who seeks to enlighten others with the power of inspiring information and action. He may be contacted at
This article (The Deep State Institutions that Couldn’t Care Less Who You Vote For) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dylan Charles and It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

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