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1
Geopolitics / Re: USS Fitzgerald Thread
« Last post by Eddie on Today at 01:12:41 PM »
Very interesting. Maybe some sophisticated hacks?

Was there a moon that night?  As you know, it can get very dark out there, and human eyes are limited. Ten men on radar, and none of them sees a big container ship bearing down? I'm not a big believer in the abilities of night vision devices at sea. It's radar that keeps ships from hitting each other.

The path of the container ship looks very odd, doesn't it?
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I don't listen to streaming audio. I don't even own a smartphone, and I no longer have satellite radio. I like to listen to silence when I drive in the morning. I never even listened to radio on my morning commute, for the last 30 years.

I don't have a working radio in my truck anymore, and the Benz is parked pending a $3600 new gas tank and associated paraphernalia. Wife has been driving the Volt while her car is in the body shop. (It's out finally, thankfully).
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The problem with communicating via audio, for me, is that I live in a house with other people who find it disruptive. I already have to use headphones to listen to certain podcasts I find useful (info from from my pot stock expert), and listening takes a lot more time than reading. I still haven't listened to what you dropped off, Dr. Whom. I'm too busy.

Bullshit.  You drive to and from work every morning and evening, and you commute out to the Toothstead to feed the piggies.  You have tons of alone time to listen to anything over streaming audio.

RE
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The problem with communicating via audio, for me, is that I live in a house with other people who find it disruptive. I already have to use headphones to listen to certain podcasts I find useful (info from from my pot stock expert), and listening takes a lot more time than reading. I still haven't listened to what you dropped off, Dr. Whom. I'm too busy.

Cannabis is a mild, friendly drug that has a high benefit for very little risk. That's good, because it's about to be legal everywhere (within 10 years max) and a lot more people will be using it. Less smoking and more vapor and oils and edibles. They are building giant oil extraction machines in Canada as fast as they can build them. They're working around the clock. Giant greenhouses, and indoor grow centers under lights. It's going to be huge. (The best thing is that all these facilities could easily be converted to growing food if JIT delivery breaks down.)  It makes me happy to see Canada making better decisions than we are. But it's to be expected. They have fewer people and a government that isn't controlled so completely by vested interests, as is the US.

If the US stock market crashes again, dragging all equity (stock) prices way down, anyone with any money left would do well to buy some of the best companies in the Potfolio. Pot stocks are a bargain now, and in a big crash, it'd be like getting them almost free. But human nature makes people afraid to commit money when markets crash. I mention this because the central bank support for the stock market seems to be waning, and such a crash is highly likely sometime in the next year or two. A huge opportunity might be coming.

If there is a BAU at all in ten years, cannabis will be at least as popular as beer, in most places. The US people will eventually reject the stupidity of morons like Jeff Sessions and join the party. But it's going to be  worldwide. Germany, Australia, everywhere.
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Geopolitics / UK fire safety crisis expands; Hundreds evacuated in London
« Last post by RE on Today at 11:03:43 AM »
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/uk-fire-safety-crisis-expands-hundreds-evacuated-in-london/2017/06/24/6fc74b1e-58ff-11e7-840b-512026319da7_story.html?utm_term=.3edef3eb0bef


Business
UK fire safety crisis expands; Hundreds evacuated in London
By Sylvia Hui and Danica Kirka | AP June 24 at 1:06 PM


A fire engine is parked outside Burnham block, part of the Chalcots Estate in the borough of Camden, north London, Saturday June 24, 2017, after the local council evacuated some 650 homes overnight. The apartments were evacuated overnight after fire inspectors concluded that the buildings, in north London’s Camden area, were unsafe because of problematic fire doors, gas pipe insulation, and external cladding similar to that blamed for the rapid spread of a fire that engulfed Grenfell Tower on June 14. (Alastair Grant/Associated Press)

LONDON — Britain’s fire-safety crisis expanded substantially Saturday as authorities revealed that 27 high-rise apartment blocks across the country have cladding that failed fire safety tests. London officials scrambled to evacuate four public housing towers after experts found them “not safe for people to sleep in overnight.”

Hundreds of residents hastily packed their bags and sought emergency shelter, with many angry and confused about the chaotic situation. Some refused to leave their high-rise apartments. Scores of evacuees slept on inflatable beds in a nearby gym while officials sought better accommodations for them.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said it decided to evacuate four blocks in north London’s Chalcots Estate late Friday after fire inspectors uncovered problems with “gas insulation and door stops,” which, combined with the presence of flammable cladding encasing the buildings, meant residents had to leave immediately.

The evacuation comes amid widening worries about the safety of high-rise apartment blocks across the country following the inferno that engulfed Grenfell Tower in west London on June 14, killing at least 79 people. Attention has focused on the 24-story tower’s new external cladding material, which has been blamed for the rapid spread of that blaze, but multiple other fire risks have now been identified in some housing blocks.

The government said Saturday that the cladding samples that failed fire safety tests came from 27 apartment towers in cities including London, Manchester, Plymouth and Portsmouth.
A fire engine is parked outside Burnham block, part of the Chalcots Estate in the borough of Camden, north London, Saturday June 24, 2017, after the local council evacuated some 650 homes overnight. The apartments were evacuated overnight after fire inspectors concluded that the buildings, in north London’s Camden area, were unsafe because of problematic fire doors, gas pipe insulation, and external cladding similar to that blamed for the rapid spread of a fire that engulfed Grenfell Tower on June 14. (Alastair Grant/Associated Press)

So far, Camden Council has been the only local authority to have asked residents to leave as a precaution. It said about 650 apartments were evacuated, though initial reports put the figure at 800 apartments.

The council said residents would be out of their homes for three to four weeks while it completes fire-safety upgrades.

“I know some residents are angry and upset, but I want to be very clear that Camden Council acted to protect them,” Gould said in a statement. “Grenfell changed everything, and when told our blocks were unsafe to remain in, we acted.”

Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, who has been criticized for her slow response to the Grenfell tragedy, said Saturday that the government was supporting Camden officials to ensure residents have somewhere to stay while building work is done.

In response, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said May needed to “get a grip” and lead a stronger response to what is now a “national threat.”

Residents — including families with babies and elderly relatives — trooped out of the buildings late Friday night with suitcases and plastic bags stuffed with clothes. Council workers guided dozens to a nearby gym, where they spent the night on blue inflatable mattresses. Others were being put up in hotels or other housing projects.

Many residents complained about a lack of information and confusion. Officials first announced the evacuation of one building, then expanded it to five, then reduced it to four. Some residents said they learned about the evacuation from the television news hours before officials came knocking on doors.

Renee Williams, 90, who has lived in Taplow Tower since 1968, told Britain’s Press Association: “No official came and told us what’s going on. I saw it on the TV, so I packed an overnight bag.

“It’s unbelievable. I understand that it’s for our safety but they can’t just ask us to evacuate with such short notice. There’s no organization and it’s chaos,” she said.

Carl McDowell, 31, said he took one look at the inflatable beds at the gym and went back to his Taplow apartment to sleep there overnight. Other residents were distraught that they were ordered to evacuate but were told to leave their pets behind in buildings that could be dangerous.

Fire-safety experts say the Grenfell Tower blaze, which police said was touched off by a fire at a refrigerator, was probably due to a string of failures, not just the cladding, which is widely used to provide insulation and enhance the appearance of buildings.

Police said Friday they are considering filing manslaughter charges in the Grenfell disaster and they were conducting a wide-ranging investigation that will look at everything that contributed to it. The Metropolitan Police said cladding attached to Grenfell during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators.

“We are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards,” Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack told reporters. “We are looking at all health and safety and fire safety offenses, and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.”

The government has ordered an immediate examination of the refrigerator model that started the blaze. McCormack said the Hotpoint model FF175BP refrigerator-freezer had not been subject to any product recalls. Hotpoint said it was working with authorities to examine the appliance, adding “words cannot express our sorrow at this terrible tragedy.”

The government also urged building owners, public and private, to submit samples of their cladding material for testing, since fears about cladding are not limited to apartment buildings. One hotel chain, Premier Inn, is calling in experts to make certain its properties meet safety regulations.

Police say 79 people are either confirmed or presumed dead in the Grenfell blaze, although that number may change, and it will take weeks to find and identify remains. To encourage cooperation with authorities and get a true number of the victims, May said the government won’t penalize any Grenfell fire survivors who were in the country illegally.

___

Sheila Norman-Culp, Gregory Katz and Alastair J. Grant contributed to this report.
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In the end, in the Matrix, it always comes down to money.  What you think about that doesn't matter.  It's true.  Even our resident Buddhist monk has money troubles.

That's only because he doesn't use CFS and apply for his Social Security Bennies.  ::)

Quote
I suppose I just helped the NSA and big brother with my profile at bit more with this post.  Although with the amount of writing I've done at Epiphany now and the Diner I'm not sure there's much more I can write to help them profile me better.   ::)  Whatever, I enjoy writing...always have.

If they have you profiled, what do you think they have in my dossier?  ???

Don't sweat that shit.  I enjoy the though of some NSA drone stuck reading all the shit that comes off my keyboard.  The wor assignment from hell. lol.

RE

I don't sweat it RE.  Nothing I can do about the snoops and their snooping.  I'm damn sure not going to stop writing just because Big Brother is watching.  Let him read, and watch, and listen if he'd like.  I won't be believing his bullshit stories though. 

He can force me to participate by demanding money of me, but he can't force me to believe his lies and bullshit.  Well...I suppose he could incarcerate me and take me to room 101 and force the issue...but until such a time I will continue with my own mind on the path of truth.  At least I have that.  Regardless of all else I know the truth about this world.  I know the truth about the Oligarchical Corporatocracy and the damage that it does. 
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In the end, in the Matrix, it always comes down to money.  What you think about that doesn't matter.  It's true.  Even our resident Buddhist monk has money troubles.

That's only because he doesn't use CFS and apply for his Social Security Bennies.  ::)

Quote
I suppose I just helped the NSA and big brother with my profile at bit more with this post.  Although with the amount of writing I've done at Epiphany now and the Diner I'm not sure there's much more I can write to help them profile me better.   ::)  Whatever, I enjoy writing...always have.

If they have you profiled, what do you think they have in my dossier?  ???

Don't sweat that shit.  I enjoy the thought of some NSA drone stuck reading all the shit that comes off my keyboard.  The work assignment from hell. lol.

RE
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I listened to your entire voice recording. 

I can relate to your BPD.  I'm not sure if you've been lurking on the Diner long, or how much you have read and what all you know about the various Diners.  I have Aspergers which is very much like having the emotional machinery broken.  I experience anger, anxiety, depression and occasionally happiness.  Most times I'm just existing with no emotion.  My steady state is a sort of annoyance at the stupidity of my species. 

I have two young children and a wife, so I'm constantly dealing with the challenges that young children and a wife bring into my life.  Children have minds of their own, and they are constantly pushing at the behavioral walls that us parents have built for them.  My wife has desires and hopes that she wants fulfilled.  My children mostly want sweets as much as possible, and they also enjoy opening and closing the door to outside as frequently as they can get away with.  I digress. 

It sounds to me like you have swerved into Buddhist territory with your talk about subjectivity and the mind perceiving itself.  I'm not sure I'm hiding behind my soul.  I believe in consciousness beyond our physical bodies.  I believe reincarnation is true.  Existence has always existed and will continue doing so.  There are layers of existence and we mostly only experience a couple of those layers.  Waking and dreaming.  There are more dimensions to existence then we experience while attached to this meat body.  This life is a program where you learn and are challenged.  Why should that be?  I think that's a question with no answer.  It just is, just like your mind just is, and your body just is.  Isness is the point to it all, and how many ways we can experience this isness. 

Going on philosophically fills in some time.  It kills time.  It detaches us from the constant static that the ego is generating for us.  The constant problems that we must solve and deal with.  Money, food, insects, other people's wants and needs, stupidity, pain...our ego's selfish desire to go on. 

I used to smoke cannabis.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  I agree that we should all be under the influence of cannabis all of the time.  The world would be a much better place.  It seemed like a much better place when I was stoned.  I felt like my mind was right under the influence of cannabis.  I miss it terribly.  I tend to drink too much alcohol in it's absence.  I guess I'm trying to fill a void while suffering through a mid life crisis. 

Getting old and jaded sucks.  I've got children to stay useful for.  They need me to provide for them both physically and emotionally.  I've never been good at taking money seriously, or taking others emotions seriously.  My own anger is just about the only emotion I take seriously because it has the potential to destroy, and it must be contained and tamed. 

In the end, in the Matrix, it always comes down to money.  What you think about that doesn't matter.  It's true.  Even our resident Buddhist monk has money troubles.  I guess the only escape from acquisition is death, and even that may not be true.  You may have to pay to reincarnate.  I wonder if there are jobs in purgatory?  Maybe that's where bullshit is generated, from the souls trapped in purgatory trying to reincarnate?  Now I'm just rambling...100% stone cold sober as well.  Although that won't last too much longer.  I've got 6 ciders in the fridge waiting on me to drink them. 

I suppose I just helped the NSA and big brother with my profile at bit more with this post.  Although with the amount of writing I've done at Epiphany now and the Diner I'm not sure there's much more I can write to help them profile me better.   ::)  Whatever, I enjoy writing...always have. 
9
Knarfs Knewz / Why 'Hydro-politics' will shape the 21st Century
« Last post by knarf on Today at 07:09:59 AM »
The 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace pits 007 against an evil criminal syndicate bent on global domination. Sounds par for the course… but this particular network of baddies isn’t using lasers or missiles to cause havoc.

No, the Quantum organisation has a uniquely dastardly plan: seizing control of Bolivia’s water supply.

While the evil syndicate’s role in the film might not be entirely realistic, this piece of fiction does raise a scenario that is worth considering seriously: what would happen if a country’s water supply was cut off? What would be the global fallout?

Think about it: sure, we need water to survive. But it also fuels a country’s commerce, trade, innovation and economic success. This has been the case for time immemorial, from the Nile in Ancient Egypt to the Amazon in the Brazilian rainforest.

While bodies of water typically help form natural borders of countries, several nations tend to share access to rivers or lakes – the Nile runs through nearly a dozen countries alone, for example. Given how conflict-prone humankind is, it’s surprising there haven't been more dust-ups of a “hydro-political” nature.

Experts agree: if there was no access to water, there would be no world peace. That’s why one of the grand challenges of the next few decades could be maintaining this ultra-sensitive stasis of water management. In the 21st Century, freshwater supplies are drying up, climate change is raising sea levels and altering borders, explosive population growth is straining world resources, and global hyper-nationalism is testing diplomatic relations. Meanwhile, water demand is expected to go up 55% between 2000 and 2050. In the coming century, in terms of its value as a global resource, it’s been described as “the next oil."

So what can we do to guarantee global access to water – and thus global peace?

World peace hinges on hydro-politics

Water’s role in shaping politics goes back centuries. “In the ancient world, large bodies of water formed natural boundaries for people and nations,” says Zenia Tata, executive director of global development and international expansion at XPrize, an organisation that’s holding a worldwide competition for innovative water management solutions. “But today’s geopolitical landscape looks very different,” and access to water remains paramount.

    Experts agree: if there was no access to water, there would be no world peace

In many areas of the world, bodies of water run through several countries or brush up against many countries’ borders. That’s where something called "riparian water rights" come into play.

In the case of a river, upstream countries – where the river originates – enjoy inherent power and leverage over the downstream countries. These kinds of riparian hotspots abound. And they’re often in places that are already fraught.

In the Middle East, the Jordan River basin is the primary water source for many regions, including Jordan, Palestine, and Israel, regions of long-standing political tensions. In Syria, meanwhile, the worst drought in close to a millennium has been partly blamed for the country’s generation-defining civil war and radicalisation that led to the formation of so-called Islamic State.

Egypt and Ethiopia have sparred over development of water from the River Nile for centuries: the iconic river originates in Ethiopia but ends in Egypt, which sets up an inherently combative relationship. In 2015, Egypt and Ethiopia put enough differences aside to construct the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the river, which is Africa’s largest dam and is due to open in July. The countries also signed a deal that strives to ensure fair river access.

Tata points to many developed or emerging markets that have had similar challenges: “Take the example of Malaysia’s 99-year deal with Singapore, giving them paid access to fresh water from the Johor River,” Tata says. “Singapore is arguably one of the most progressive nations on our planet, but without sufficient fresh water resources within its boundaries, all industry, trade, commerce and culture would all stand still."

    The answer might lie in how countries with more food and water export those supplies to other countries

According to the Pacific Institute, a California-based water resource information nonprofit, there have been dozens of water-related conflicts worldwide from 2000BC to present day.

So how do we make sure everyone gets enough water – and thus keep relative world peace in the 21st Century? The real answer won’t lie in countries controlling others’ water supply in what’s been dubbed so-called "water wars" – rather, the answer might lie in how countries with more food and water export those supplies to other countries.

Divvying up water supplies

While there have been many “water-related” conflicts over the millennia, there have actually been very few in terms of sending water over national boundaries.

There are three main issues when it comes to water in the 21st Century, says Aaron Wolf. He’s a professor of geography at Oregon State University who specialises in water resource management and environmental policy.

The first issue is the most obvious: water scarcity. A lack of safe, reliable water kills as many people worldwide as malaria and HIV/Aids, he says.

The second issue is the political implications of that scarcity. For example, in Syria, that history-making drought drove more people to cities, saw rising food prices, and exacerbated tensions in the country that already existed. They ended up with “climate refugees”, who travel to other countries to seek places that have better water availability, which may in turn stoke the flames of political tension.

The third main issue – and perhaps the most underreported, experts say – is that trans-boundary flow of water. In other words: water moving between countries. And that’s where those riparian rights come into play.

But here’s the twist – that third part of the puzzle, the hydro-politics, is actually the part to be most optimistic about, says Wolf, since there have been so few violent skirmishes over transboundary water flows.

The grand challenge: building hydro-diplomacy

Despite alarmist headlines about “water wars”, the 21st Century is still offering up no shortage of new and unique threats that complicate hydro-diplomacy more than ever before.

Population explosions, especially in Asia and Africa, strain resources. Increasing global temperatures have led to some bodies of water drying up. And rising nationalism worldwide may stymie diplomatic efforts across the board.

    While water presents obvious potential conflict, it could also accelerate global cooperation

So that’s why at Oregon State University, Wolf helps organise the Program in Water Conflict Management – where they try to identify where hydro-diplomatic tensions are going to rise in the next three to five years. For example, Afghanistan is an upstream country to many nations in the region, and is trying to use that advantage to develop its economy. For a country that’s been subjected to decade upon decade of war and upheaval, the political power of water sources like the Kabul River could be a boon.

That’s why there’s growing academic desire for an increased awareness of not just hydro-politics, but hydro-diplomacy – that while water presents obvious potential conflict, it could also accelerate global cooperation.

“We’re building the next generation of hydro-diplomats,” says Wolf.

A solution? Pay farmers more

But amid all these changes in the aqua political landscape, experts urge us to remember that not all water exists in rivers and lakes and even oceans.

There’s water in the soil – the soil that farmers use to grow vegetables, crops and feed for livestock. And the water from that soil is transferred into these products – whether it is wheat or beef – ­before they get shipped from water-surplus nations to deficient ones. This is known as “virtual water”,­ a phrase coined by John Anthony Allan at King’s College London, whose specialities include water issues, policy and agriculture. "Virtual water" is going to play a huge role in the 21st Century.

If you include virtual water in the picture, farmers are managing much of the water in the supply chain. And in countries that are water deficient, that imported embedded water is integral. In Europe alone, 40% of this "virtual water" comes from outside the continent.

Here’s the problem: farmers are underpaid for the critical role in that transaction. And by the time the food reaches the destination country, its politicians use subsidies to keep food prices low. The reason? Politicians want to maintain peace among their people – they want their citizens to live under the assumption that they’ll be able go to the store and expect food on the shelves.

    160 countries depend on imported food – and the water needed to make it

“Governments go to great lengths to make sure there is enough affordable food on the market,” Allan says. “There are forces in places that will bring the prices down – there’s pressure to keep food cheap."

For water-surplus countries like the United States or Canada, they sell these products to more water-deficient countries at a low price. Over 60% of the around 220 countries in the world are major food importers. In other words, 160 countries depend on imported food – and the water needed to make it.

“The world is at peace because we have virtual water trade,” says Allan. “It’s solved silently. Revealing virtual water trade as a solution is something that politicians don’t want to do because they want to appear as they’re managing their country well.”

But in reality, the water that goes into the country's food is being brought in from elsewhere. That’s why hydro-diplomacy is one of the great unsung heroes in maintaining global stability that you never hear about.

It’s also why water’s next big challenge isn’t just making sure it’s judiciously and peaceably managed between nations to accommodate the world’s ever-burgeoning population. It’s about helping farmers who live in nations that have lots of water do their jobs successfully, and manage that water and how it’s distributed to drier places.

Of course countries need low-priced food, especially in places with lower income citizens. But the public needs to know that imports, exports, and hydro-diplomacy are what really keep countries with imbalanced water sources in balance. In our globalised, 21st Century world, it's not just about where countries fall along the flow of a river. It's about working together to share Earth's most vital resource.

So while a James Bond-scale water hostage situation isn’t exactly realistic – there’s nothing unrealistic about needing to maintain worldwide access to water. Even as we use it to slake our thirst and grow our crops, the political power of water shouldn’t be forgotten. It's been around for millennia, and it's not going anywhere.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170615-why-hydro-politics-will-shape-the-21st-century
10
Geopolitics / The Kremlin's Investment in Trump Is Paying Off
« Last post by RE on Today at 02:39:28 AM »
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/trump-putin-russia/531420/

The Kremlin's Investment in Trump Is Paying Off

The president’s policies in office have aligned almost perfectly with Vladimir Putin’s goals.


Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Vladimir Putin in late January from the Oval Office. Andrew Harnik / AP

    Neera Tanden 4:50 AM ET Politics


Fifty-four years ago this month, former President John F. Kennedy delivered the “Strategy of Peace,” a powerful address that captured America’s indispensable leadership at the height of the Cold War. Kennedy knew that our country could not guard against the Soviet Union alone, for he believed that “genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts.”

Incredibly, the man who now leads the United States seems to find himself locked in an alarming and perilous embrace with the Russian government. These ties threaten to weaken a system of alliances that have held Russia—and countless other threats to the international community—at bay since the conclusion of the Second World War.
Related Story

Watergate Lawyer: I Witnessed Nixon's Downfall—and I've Got a Warning for Trump

In his Senate testimony two weeks ago, former FBI Director James Comey affirmed a disturbing suspicion: that Donald Trump first undermined Comey, by leaning on him to drop his investigation of former National Security-Adviser Michael Flynn, and then removed him from his post. Since then, events have escalated at a dizzying pace: Trump accused Comey of lying under oath about their interactions earlier this year, even as he cheered Comey’s public assertion that the president wasn’t under FBI investigation. Soon, reports emerged that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating obstruction-of-justice allegations against the president—revelations Trump was none too happy about. And all the while, rumors have continued to swirl that Trump may fire both Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who’s overseeing the special counsel inquiry.

But Trump’s reckless handling of these events should not distract from a startling reality: As the president faces accusations of colluding with the Russians during last year’s campaign, his policies in office have aligned almost perfectly with the Kremlin’s goals. If Moscow wanted its interference in America’s election to yield dividends, it could hardly have hoped for more.

Just as importantly, while Trump has expressed concern over the “cloud” the Russia investigation generated, he has seemed indifferent overall to Russia’s direct attempts to interfere with the American democratic process. According to Comey’s testimony, Trump never asked him about the meddling, or how to prevent similar interference in the future. Not once.

Trump himself has seemingly courted the favor of Russian President Vladimir Putin since the 2016 presidential campaign. He’s repeatedly praised Putin’s leadership, refused to condemn Russian efforts to disrupt the U.S. system of free elections, and openly encouraged Russian hacking of the Hillary Clinton campaign. Friday’s explosive report from The Washington Post confirmed that Putin was deeply and directly involved in an operation to hurt Clinton’s candidacy and help elect Trump.
The American system of checks and balances is only as strong as the leaders who have the character and courage to enforce them.

What’s more, in every way he can, Trump has deferred to Russia on matters of foreign policy. After Russian forces deployed their hacking tools during the recent French presidential election, Trump invited Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the White House and failed to repudiate the attack against a vital American ally. Instead, during his meeting with Lavrov, Trump divulged highly sensitive classified information provided by Israel, another crucial U.S. partner. (That May 10 meeting also came a day after Trump removed Comey, who was leading the inquiries into collusion; Trump told the Russians that the director’s dismissal had alleviated “great pressure” on him.) Even more recently, the Trump administration has reportedly taken steps to return two diplomatic compounds that former President Barack Obama stripped from Russia following its actions during last year’s election.

To make matters worse, Trump has done far more than just extend open arms toward the Russian government. He wavered on the United States’ commitment to defend its fellow members of NATO; his aides have reportedly tried to undermine the European Union; and he himself has alienated key partners by lashing out at individual leaders and pulling out of the Paris Agreement.

When Americans step back and consider this stunning series of actions, they should be left with unsettling questions: What are Donald Trump’s reasons for doing this? What exactly does he have to hide?

In the “Strategy of Peace,” Kennedy described his belief that peace “must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. … We must all, in our daily lives, live up to the age-old faith that peace and freedom walk together.”

Today, it is the responsibility of this generation of Americans to help preserve international peace, to honor the allies who have stood by their side for decades, and to maintain the United States’ place as the leader of the free world.

The American system of checks and balances is only as strong as the leaders who have the character and courage to enforce them. Unless they denounce and punish any attempt to interfere with the special counsel’s investigation, demand accountability from the administration, and put their duty to their country over their duty to any political party, those checks and balances won’t protect America’s democracy.
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