Experts: ‘Sure Bet’ Kurds Are Talking to Assad Following U.S. ‘Uncertainty’ in Support

WASHINGTON, DC — The American military’s refusal to support the Kurds in their fight against Turkey in northern Syria’s Afrin region is likely to push them to join the Iranian- and Russian-backed Bashar al-Assad coalition, according to an analyst who recently traveled to the Middle East as part of a United States military delegation and a former U.S. ambassador.

During a panel discussion sponsored by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank, moderator Josh Rogin from the Washington Post questioned the two experts — Melissa Dalton from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and former Ambassador Ryan Crocker — noting that news reports suggest the Assad regime was coming to the aid of the Kurdish forces in Afrin when the U.S. government was not willing to do so.

Rogin went on to ask, “Is that true? How scared should we be about the Kurds striking a deal with the regime and cutting us out?”

Dalton, a former Pentagon official who recently traveled to Syria with Gen. Joseph Votel, the top American commander in the Middle East, responded: “I could see future instances of pragmatic interests driving certain parties that perhaps haven’t been aligned in the past together in order to address what they view as a more viable way forward to address their interests.”

Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to the Middle East and the Afghanistan region, added:

The Kurds as a non-Arab minority did not threaten the Assad regime so the [Syrian regime] pretty well left them alone … They do have that kind of unique relationship [with Assad], and up until fairly recently, there were representatives from Damascus in Qamishili [Kurdish-controlled territory that borders Turkey in northern Syria].

So, it’s a sure bet that given the uncertainty of what we may do next, that the Syrian Kurds are definitely talking to the regime.

Experts at the FDD sponsored event, which also included the think tank’s Dr. David Adesnik and the political director for United For a Free Syria Mouaz Moustafa, noted that assistance from Russia- and Iran-allied Shiite militias, including the narco-terrorist group Hezbollah, have allowed Assad to remain in power.

This month, Breitbart News, citing the Kurdish officials, reported that “hundreds” of Iranian-allied Shiite troops loyal to Assad had joined the YPG in Afrin to defend the territorial unity of Syria and its borders.

Dalton said the U.S. military’s current approach in Syria is “largely to muddle through” with the available partners on the ground as it continues to fight against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), explaining:

The primary purpose of the U.S. forces that are still in Syria is of course to conclude that counter ISIS campaign … there are still some hardened cells of ISIS … that we’re working very closely with our SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] partners to roll up.

U.S.-allied SDF fighters refer to a predominantly Kurdish force led by the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The YPG is the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that controls most of northern Syria, including the Afrin region near the Turkish border.

Although NATO member Turkey has long expressed concerns about the YPG’s alleged ties to the terrorist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), the United States has continued to support the Syrian Kurdish fighters.

However, the situation has changed in Afrin, where Gen. Votel recently told lawmakers the United States has no “direct relationship” with YPG members under attack from Turkey.

The top U.S. general did acknowledge:

Many fighters in the SDF have familial ties to the Kurds in Afrin…Our alliance with Turkey is paramount, and we will continue to assist the Turkish military in countering the PKK and other VEOs [ violent extremist organizations] that threaten their border, but we must continue to urge restraint as their actions have clearly increased risk to our campaign to defeat ISIS.

The United States has praised the Kurdish fighters in Syria as vital allies throughout the fight against ISIS that started in 2014.

Referring to Afrin, Dalton noted:

When it comes to the counter-ISIS mission, the partnership between the United States and the [Kurdish-led] SDF has been quite clear.

As that is starting to wind down, and we are shifting into more questions of stabilization, post-conflict reconstruction, and how we begin to put Humpty Dumpty back together again in Syria — it’s raising these questions of how viable partnerships and alliances are going to be in this new environment and putting pressure on some of the existing partnerships.

On January 20, Turkey launched began its air and ground campaign into the Kurdish-held Afrin region.

via Breitbart News

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EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s Facebook Engagement Declined By 45 Percent Following Algorithm Change

EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s Facebook Engagement Declined By 45 Percent Following Algorithm Change

Engagement on Donald Trump’s Facebook posts have dropped by approximately 45 percent since the platform introduced a new algorithm change, following a year of pressure from left-wing employees and the mainstream media for “allowing” the President to win the 2016 general election.

In January, Facebook introduced a major change to its algorithm. In a post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that the change aimed to give greater emphasis to posts from “friends, family and groups” and less to “businesses, brands and media.” The change was followed by a promise to promote what Facebook calls “broadly trusted” news sources on the platform.

In the month following the algorithm change, engagement on Donald Trump’s Facebook posts dropped sharply. Total engagement dropped by approximately 45 percent, according to data from leading social media analytics firm NewsWhip. In an email to Breitbart News, a representative of Newswhip confirmed that Breitbart’s reading of the data was accurate.

Average engagement on Trump’s Facebook posts following the algorithm change also dropped significantly, by approximately 38 percent.

The decline in engagement on Trump’s Facebook cannot be attributed to a drop in posting frequency on the part of Trump. In the 13 days prior to Facebook’s algorithm change (28 Dec – 10 Jan), Trump made 67 posts, with no significant drop in engagement. After the change, Trump posted at roughly the same rate – between 59 and 67 posts in each 13-day period, but was still met with the dramatic decline in engagement seen above.

When compared to high-profile Democratic political figures, Trump’s engagement appears to have been hit particularly badly. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders do not appear to have suffered a comparable decline in Facebook engagement.

Even if they did face a similar decline, it would not be comparable in terms of impact. As the graph above shows, they are far less successful on Facebook than President Trump, which means they have far less to lose. Currently, any change that reduces the reach or engagement of public figures on Facebook will disproportionately affect Trump.

In a comment to Breitbart News, Facebook appeared to acknowledge that their algorithm change might have caused Trump’s engagement numbers to fall. A Facebook representative highlighted the following section of their post announcing the algorithm change:

Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it.

Facebook’s algorithm change came after a year of pressure from the mediapoliticians, and employees inside Facebook following the election of Donald Trump. Facebook was accused of helping Trump win the election, spreading Russian propaganda and fake news, and creating partisan echo chambers.

In a piece entitled “Inside Facebook’s Two Years of Hell,” Wired highlighted the threat from legislators with a threatening quote from Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. “You’ve created these platforms, and now they’re being misused, and you have to be the ones to do something about it … or we will.”

Mark Zuckerberg drew curiosity from the media when he said recent changes to the platform would cause users to spend less time on Facebook — and that this was intentional. Why would any social media company want users to spend less time on their platform? At the time, Slate suggested that the company had been so battered by a year of public scrutiny over its political influence that it was now choosing to abdicate that influence by making the platform less lucrative for political figures.

There’s only one snag – punishing public figures across their platform will disproportionately affect those who rely on it the most. In an environment where the mainstream media is stacked against their movements, that is usually going to be populist candidates like Donald Trump.

Facebook can expect scrutiny given Donald Trump’s appointment of Brad Parscale as his 2020 election campaign chief. Parscale was the Trump campaign’s digital guru in 2016, and credited Facebook as the crucial factor in Trump’s victory. If Trump’s reach and engagement are being disproportionately cut back on the world’s biggest social network, it’s unlikely to escape his notice.

You can follow Allum Bokhari on and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to

via Breitbart News

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Parkland Educator to CNN: Armed Teachers Will Shoot Students of Color ‘At a Higher Rate’

A Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teacher told CNN that students of color could be shot at by teachers at a higher rate than whites if educators across the country are allowed to get armed.

During a Friday evening appearance on CNN, Diane Wolk-Rogers said President Donald Trump’s suggestion that teachers should be armed “horrifies” her.  She then wanted to address “the white elephant in the room”—racial injustice.

“If what you’re telling me is that we have trained professionals who weren’t able to follow protocol, then I can’t imagine my teachers—overworked, underpaid, exhausted— carrying a sidearm, and then being able to perform that protocol,” she said. “And I also, I want to talk about the white elephant in the room. Because what we know is that students of color get suspended and get expelled at a higher rate than white kids. So, now, what are we going to say, Mr. Trump? We’re going to say that now students of color are going to be shot at by teachers at a higher rate? It’s absolutely ludicrous. It horrifies me.”

Wolk-Rogers made her comments after some left-wing pundits and Never Trumpers immediately brought up race when discussing Trump’s proposal to arm teachers. An editor at the “Above the Law” blog, in a widely-shared article on the left, argued last week that America is too racist to arm teachers, and instructors should not be armed because cops “murder civilians all the time,” and many of the “innocent” victims have been people of color.

“America is entirely too racist to arm teachers. Our legal system is INCAPABLE of holding public employees to account for murdering minorities,” the article argued. “Black and brown students should not have to die because disgruntled white boys are shooting up their schools.”

Never Trumper David Frum has said that arming teachers “would constitute a huge public-sector affirmative action program for white men.”

Trump said on Monday that he wanted teachers to “start with training” and “have additional training every year” that would lead to teachers getting bonuses.

“I want highly trained people that have a natural talent, like hitting a baseball, or hitting a golf ball, or putting,” Trump said. “How come some people always make the four-footer, and some people, under pressure, can’t even take their club back? Right? Some people can’t take their club back.”

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students are scheduled to return to school on Wednesday. One student activist, David Hogg, though, has proclaimed that he will not go back to school until more gun control legislation is passed.

via Breitbart News

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San Francisco TV Station Omits Captured Illegal Immigrant’s Four Previous Deportations

On Sunday, CBS’s San Francisco affiliate appears to have originally thought it had a sympathetic story about an illegal immigrant “taken away” in front of his wife and daughter. But two-thirds of the way into its report, KPIX finally told viewers and readers that the man “does have a dangerous past” — but never mentioned four previous deportations.

Readers will see Armando Nuñez-Salgado’s dangerous past first before watching how KPIX handled its story.

ICE emailed the details to Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw (also seen at TV station KRON4, whose report first allowed the ACLU to rant about “blatant racism” and “abusive tactics”):

On Sunday, Feb. 25, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) San Francisco Fugitive Operations Team arrested ICE fugitive Armando Nuñez-Salgado, 38, a citizen of Mexico and documented Sureño gang member, who has been previously removed by ICE on four prior occasions. Over the past 18 years he has accumulated criminal convictions in California that have resulted in more than 15 years of prison sentencings. His criminal convictions include assault with a deadly weapon (statutorily enhanced because of his gang member status), burglary, hit-and-run causing injury and evading a peace officer.

The actual title of the KPIX article is “Family Heartbroken After Napa Man Arrested By ICE Agents.”

If KPIX had opened its report (YouTube; text article) with his record, viewers would have had difficulty working up sympathy for Nuñez-Salgado and his family. Instead, as seen in the video which follows, the station waited until 1:15 into the 1:53 report to describe his criminal record, and never mentioned his multiple deportations:

Partial Transcript:


KPIX ANCHOR: … Tonight we talked to a teen who watched in tears as the feds hauled away her father.


KPIX REPORTER JOE VAZQUEZ: … According to family members, he was in the backyard when agents walked right in through the side gate. His 14-year-old daughter Isabel Salgado dissolved into tears.


Armando is a construction worker who has been in America more than 30 years. His wife says his parents brought him here when he was very young.

WIFE ELENA PONCE: He was like four.


PONCE: He wasn’t a danger to the community in any way.

VASQUEZ: But it turns out, Armando does have a dangerous past. After our interview, his family members told KPIX 5 he was involved in gangs and drugs for a long time.

In fact, at one point, he was on ICE’s most wanted list for charges of felony force and assault with a deadly weapon.

His family would not elaborate on his past crimes, but they insist that in recent years he went through a rehabilitation program and that he is no longer involved in gangs and drugs. And they said he has been deeply involved in the community.

Here is ICE’s related web page:


Revealing Nuñez-Salgado’s multiple deportations would have made Ponce’s and the family’s statements about his “more than 30 years” in the country “since he like four” appear deceptive, which — deliberately or not, depending what the man told them about his past — they were.

Cross-posted at

via NewsBusters – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

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Bernie Sanders Colluded With A Foreign Government During Presidential Campiagn

After a year and a half of hearing about how Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the presidential election away from Hillary Clinton without a shred of proof, there is finally some concrete evidence that a presidential candidate did collude with a foreign government. Unfortunately for the hysterical left, it’s not Trump but rather Bernie Sanders. Yup the socialist kook who has accused President Trump of collusion was actually just fined by the FEC for illegally receive aid from a foreign government.

In a recently filled Federal Election Commission report, we learn that in 2015 Sanders’ campaign was approached by the Australian Labor Party about sending some volunteers to help Bernie’s bid for president. Of course Bernie said yes, because he’s a socialist and who is more socialist than people from anything called the labor party?

Where Sanders ran onto trouble is that the Aussie LP paid for the volunteers to fly to America and gave them a stipend to live on. I know that socialists like Sanders don’t understand how money works, but it’s actually against the law for a presidential candidate to accept cash from a foreign government. With the Australian volunteers being financed by the Australian Labor Party, it’s the same thing as Bernie taking in big sacks of money from faction of the Australian government.

All told the FEC says Sanders’ campaign received $25,000 from the Australians. Sanders and his campaign were aware that the Australian LPers were being paid by the government, but didn’t think it was a big deal, because as I already said, socialists don’t understand jack-squat about money.

The FEC fined Sanders $14,500 in civil penalties for violating campaign law, which seems like nothing. It should at least be the amount he received in aid, plus some punitive fines to make sure people don’t do this kind of thing again.

You may have noticed by the complete lack of coverage by the liberal media that this doesn’t appear to be that big of a story. Try replacing “Australia” with “Russia” and “Bernie Sanders” with “Donald Trump” and suddenly you’d have the biggest story of the Trump presidency. It’s amazing how things are only outrageous when they are done by non-liberals, isn’t it?

This comes on the heels of another big Sanders-related story that the liberal media ignored. When special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians for meddling in the 2016 presidential election one of the hardly reported details was that Sanders’ campaign benefitted from the Russian attempts to influence the election. Again, very weird how the media treats Trump like a criminal but doesn’t bat an eye at Bernie.

If you are keeping score at home: Bernie Sanders is a socialist who also happens to be wealthy and owns three mansions. He has made his political career all about attacking the big banks for doing illegal and unethical things and yet is under investigation for bank fraud. He has accused President Trump of colluding with a foreign government in the 2016 election with no proof, but actually did collude with a foreign government himself. That’s a hypocrisy hat-trick. Whoever bet that Bernie trifecta just got a huge payday.

Good job FEC. Now do Hillary.

Follow Brian Anderson on Twitter


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Trump blasts senators for being ‘petrified of the NRA,’ endorses civil asset forfeiture for guns

Continuing his aggressive push for gun control in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, President Donald Trump seemed to propose a measure that would allow local law enforcement to confiscate guns from citizens in the absence of a criminal conviction, flatly ruled out any legislation that included nationwide concealed carry, and blasted senators who opposed his proposals for being “petrified of the NRA.”

What happened?

In a stunning meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, Trump declared that he had told key NRA members (including Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox) during a Sunday lunch that “we’ve got to stop this nonsense.”

Trump openly confronted the NRA and Republican politicians throughout the meeting, including during a discussion of his proposal to increase the minimum legal age to purchase certain rifles like the AR-15.

Trump acknowledged that the NRA was opposed to the proposal, then turned to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), who has co-sponsored gun legislation that is pending before the Senate, and asked Toomey whether his bill addressed the age limit. When Toomey responded, “We didn’t address it, Mr. President,” Trump responded, “You know why, because you’re afraid of the NRA, right?”

On another occasion, responding to skepticism from Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) about whether any gun control legislation could make it through the Senate due to the influence of the NRA, Trump said, “They [the NRA] do have great power, I agree with that. They have great power over you people. They have less power over me. I don’t need it. What do I need? … Some of you people are petrified of the NRA. You can’t be petrified.”

In response to a question from Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), who was injured in a shooting at a practice for the congressional baseball game last year, Trump stated that, although he might like to see nationwide concealed carry legislation passed, he opposed its inclusion in any current gun control bill, because “if you add conceal carry to this, you’ll never get it passed.” He later added that “Amy and Dianne”  — presumably, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) — would be opposed to such a measure.

Perhaps most alarming to gun rights advocates, Trump appeared to endorse a program similar to civil asset forfeiture, wherein law enforcement would be able to confiscate guns from citizens on something like a “reasonable basis” standard, and then force citizens to go to court to prove that they should be legally entitled to get their guns back.

Vice President Mike Pence was discussing giving local law enforcement additional tools to confiscate guns from threats like alleged Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz. Pence emphasized that such a program should “allow due process, so no one’s rights are trampled, but the ability to go to court, obtain an order, and then collect not only firearms but any weapons in the possession of that individual.”

At this point, Trump interrupted and said, “Or Mike, take the firearms first and then go to court, because that’s another system. Because a lot of times by the time you go to court to get the due process procedures… I like taking the guns early. Like in this crazy man’s case that just took place down in Florida…. to go to court would have taken a long time. So you could do exactly what you’re saying, but take the guns first, go through due process second.”

He also promised during the meeting that he would outlaw bump stocks “quickly,” although there are open questions about whether he has the authority to do so via executive order.

It is not immediately clear when or if the Toomey bill, which is cosponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), will reach the Senate floor for debate.

via – Stories

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Devin Nunes on Press Reaction to Dems’ Memo: ‘The Media Is Dead’

On Sunday’s Fox & Friends, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes assessed that committee’s Democratic minority memo issued Saturday in response to the Republican memo published in early February as “scary.” He also had harsh words for the establishment press, which has dishonestly pretended that the Dems’ memo refutes the GOP’s effort: “The media in this country is dead.”

In the full interview, Nunes described the Democrats’ response as “scary” because:

… you have a political party in this country actually saying, “Don’t worry, American public, it’s okay. We do this all the time. We’re going to go dig up dirt on our opponent, get it from Russians, get it from the Brits and we’re going to take to it the FBI and open up an investigation into another campaign.”

Per Nunes, Democrats led by Congressman Adam Schiff want America to believe that this is how business is normally conducted in Washington. Maybe they’re right, if they’re referring to standard operating procedures during the Obama administration.

Fox’s Ed Henry asked Nunes about the press’s reaction to the Democrats’ memo. The congressman, after describing additional phases he expects in the investigation, answered with a harsh critique:


ED HENRY, FOX NEWS: Mr. Chairman, you faced an unrelenting assault ever since you went down this road. Look at the headlines just overnight: New York Magazine, “The Nunes Memo Is Fake and the Russia Scandal Is Very Real”; Vox: “The Democrats rebuttal to the Nunes FISA memo Is Utterly Devastating”; Daily News here in New York, “Democrats Blast holes in Nunes Memo With Volley of Facts, Logic.” I want to give you a chance to respond to that.

The New York Times, according to an Investor’s Business Daily editorial, characterized the Democrats’ memo as a “forceful rebuttal.” The full IBD editorial concisely rebuts that fantasy, accurately contending that it “ends up confirming the most damaging claims made by critics.”

Here is Nunes’ media-related answer:

DEVIN NUNES: … The one thing that’s clear in this whole Russia fiasco is that the media is dead. There is no — and I apologize to you guys that are in the media.

PETE HEGSETH: I separate myself.

NUNES: But the media in this country, the fair and balanced media is for the most part — I mean 90% of them are hard left. They rely on clicks to make a living. So when they attack people like me, it actually means that I’m over the target, and I’m getting to them because they have to attack me in order, number one, to please their masters, their billionaire masters, and number two, they also have to do it because they’re in on this. Don’t forget, many of the people that criticize me were shown the … dossier. They were shown the Christopher Steele dossier in, you know, back — during the 2016 election.

Cross-posted at

via NewsBusters – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

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