Author warns that Trump ‘will not exit quietly,’ even if defeated or impeached

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWS)

 

‘Anonymous’ author warns that Trump ‘will not exit quietly,’ even if defeated or impeached

USA TODAY

The anonymous official who has written a scathing account of the presidency of Donald Trump suggests the president might refuse to leave office even if convicted in impeachment hearings or defeated narrowly in the 2020 election – and says Trump is preparing his followers to see either outcome as a “coup” that could warrant resistance.

“He will not exit quietly – or easily,” the author, self-described as a senior administration official, writes in A Warning, a book that builds on an explosive op-ed by the same unnamed author last year. USA TODAY obtained an early copy of the book.

“It is why at many turns he suggests ‘coups’ are afoot and a ‘civil war’ is in the offing. He is already seeding the narrative for his followers – a narrative that could end tragically.”

From ‘Anonymous’:Read key excerpts from inside Trump White House on Putin, Pence, Hillary

As the House of Representatives prepares to open public impeachment hearings Wednesday, the book also says that Trump ordered aides more than a year ago to pursue a “deliberate and coordinated campaign” to obstruct an impeachment inquiry and other congressional investigations. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has said he is considering obstruction of Congress as a possible Article of Impeachment.

The book’s author is identified only as “a senior official in the Trump administration,” and its forthcoming publication has created a firestorm over both its depiction of a dysfunctional president and the decision by the writer to remain anonymous.

Cover of "A Warning" by an anonymous senior Trump administration official.

“The coward who wrote this book didn’t put their name on it because it is nothing but lies,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

Many of the disclosures echo news stories that have portrayed the president as impulsive, sometimes uninformed and regularly willing to defy established norms. There is already no shortage of books by Trump critics, including former FBI director James Comey and others who have served in his administration, that raise questions about the president’s fitness for office.

But The New York Times op-ed in 2018 and the new book, being published next Tuesday by Twelve, have commanded enormous attention because the author had an inside view, often participating in small White House meetings where crucial decisions were made.

The author portrays himself or herself as sharing some policy views with Trump and initially having a positive if wary view of the possibilities of his presidency.

The author says the intended audience for A Warning isn’t those who closely follow politics but rather those who don’t, particularly voters from across the country who were drawn in 2016 to Trump’s promise to shake up the establishment.

Dropping Pence from the ticket?

The book says that Trump “on more than one occasion” discussed with staffers the possibility of dropping Vice President Mike Pence before the 2020 election.

“Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley was under active consideration to step in as vice president, which she did not discourage at first,” the author writes, saying some advisers argued that putting Haley on the ticket would help the president bolster his support among female voters.

In an interview Friday with USA TODAY, Nikki Haley dismissed out of hand the suggestion that she might replace Pence. In her new book, With All Due Respect, Haley offers a generally positive portrait of Trump, and the president rewarded her with a friendly tweet urging his millions of followers to buy a copy.

Pathway of impeachment:How it works, where we are

“Anonymous” depicts Trump as impatient, immoral, cruel, even dangerous as he rejects the limits placed on presidents by Congress and the courts.

As the 2018 midterm elections approached, the book says, the White House counsel’s office began to develop a “contingency plan” to shield the administration if Democrats gained control of Congress, and with that the ability to launch investigations and issue subpoenas. New lawyers were hired and internal procedures revamped, the author writes.

“The goal wasn’t just to prepare for a barrage of legislative requests,” the book says. “It was a concerted attempt to fend off congressional oversight. When Democrats finally took the House, the unspoken administration policy toward Capitol Hill became: Give as little as possible, wait as long as possible. Even routine inquiries are now routed to the lawyers, who have found unique ways to say “We can’t right now,” “Give us a few months,” “We’re going to need to put you on hold,” “Probably not,” “No,” and “Not a chance in hell.”

Trump impeachment inquiry:Early findings and how Republicans are opposing them

The author says the administration’s refusal to comply with congressional requests and even subpoenas “go beyond standard practice and have turned into a full block-and-tackle exercise against congressional investigators across an array of Trump administration controversies.”

On the president’s actions with Ukraine, now the heart of the impeachment inquiry, the author writes that the idea Trump was trying to battle corruption abroad – rather than gain some partisan political advantage at home – was “barely believable to anyone around him.”

But the book provides no significant new information or insights into that episode.

‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards

The author’s agent, Matt Latimer, said the author didn’t take an advance payment for the book and plans to donate a substantial amount of the royalties to nonprofit organizations that encourage government accountability and an independent press.

Among other allegations, the book says:

  • Several top advisers and Cabinet-level officials last year discussed a mass resignation, “a midnight self-massacre,” intended to call attention to what they saw as Trump’s questionable and even corrupt behavior. “The idea was abandoned out of fear that it would make a bad situation worse.”
  • If a majority of the Cabinet called for Trump’s removal under the rules of the 25th Amendment, Pence would have been willing to go along with them. But the author provides no evidence to back up that assertion, and Pence in recent days has strongly denied it.
  • Trump told officials that, if they took illegal actions on his behalf, he would give them presidential pardons. “To Donald Trump, these are unlimited ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards on a Monopoly board.”
  • Trump was “particularly frustrated that the Justice Department hasn’t done more to harass the Clintons.” The president suggested to his first Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, that he might “un-recuse” himself from the Mueller inquiry into Russian election interference, presumably so he would feel free to order a more aggressive inquiry into Trump’s 2016 opponent. “You’d be a hero,” the president told him.

Trump can’t sue New York state in DC federal court to stop release of tax returns

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Trump can’t sue New York state in DC federal court to stop release of tax returns, judge says

(CNN)A Trump-appointed federal judge decided Monday that President Donald Trump can’t sue New York state officials in a Washington, DC, court at this time to stop the release of his tax returns to Congress.

The case is one of many where the President or his administration have asked federal judges to intervene before House Democrats obtain Trump’s financial records.
Effectively, the ruling is a loss for Trump but a less significant one then the blows other courts have dealt him in cases involving Democrats’ pursuits of his financial records. Courts have sided with the House multiple times in cases where its committees have subpoenaed Trump’s financial records. Trump is still appealing those rulings, keeping the House subpoenas on hold.
If Trump wants to continue to challenge a New York state law that says Congress can request his state tax returns, he’ll either need to wait for Congress to make the request or start over with a new lawsuit in a New York court, the judge, Carl Nichols of the federal district court in DC, said Monday.
“Mr. Trump may press his claims against the New York Defendants in this Court should future events support the exercise of personal jurisdiction over them, or he may opt to pursue those claims in an appropriate forum,” Nichols wrote in his opinion, which dismissed Trump’s lawsuit against the New York state officials. The judge is still considering whether Trump can sue the House Ways and Means Committee to stop it from requesting his returns under the state law.
In this case, Trump had sued New York state and the House to preempt a new New York state law, called the TRUST Act. Congress hadn’t yet requested his state tax returns under the law.
The New York State Attorney General’s Office had argued that the case “plainly belongs in a New York court.”
Trump had argued that the DC federal court was the right place to sue because New York state would send the tax returns to Washington if Congress requested them.
But Nichols, a Trump appointee to the federal bench in Washington, sided with New York on Monday.
It’s possible Trump could file a similar lawsuit with another court, such as in New York state, or later in an attempt to prevent the request from Congress, Nichols wrote.
“The Commissioner [of tax and revenue in New York] has not taken any such actions—at least not yet. But more importantly, the acts of corresponding with the Committee and transmitting Mr. Trump’s state tax returns would not constitute transacting business” in Washington, DC, the judge wrote on Monday.
Trump also claimed he could be hurt, for the purposes of a lawsuit, in Washington. “Such acts, if taken, could be enough to satisfy” part of the DC code, the judge wrote. “But speculation that they might occur is insufficient to exercise jurisdiction over the Commissioner now.”

Bible: Book Of Revelation Chapter #10

Book Of Revelation Chapter #10

 

The theme of chapter 10 is the events between the 6th and the 7th Trumpets, the Mighty Angel and the “Little Book.”

“And I (John) saw another Mighty Angel come down from Heaven clothed with a cloud: And a rainbow was upon His head, and His face was like unto the sun, and His feet were as pillars of fire.” “And He had in His hand a ‘Little Book’ that was open, and He sat His right foot upon the Sea and His left foot upon the Earth.” “And He cried with a loud voice, as when a Lion roars, and when He had spoken, Seven Thunders uttered their voices.” “After the Seven Thunders had uttered Their voices, I was about to write when I heard a Voice from Heaven saying to me, seal up those things which the 7 Thunders spoke and do not write them.” “And the Angel I saw standing upon the Earth and the Sea lifted up His hand to Heaven.” “And swore by Him that lives forever and ever who created Heaven and the things that are therein. And the Sea and the things that are therein, that they should be no longer.” “But in the days of the Voice of the 7th Angel, when He shall begin to speak, the mystery of God shall be shown, as He has declaired to His Servants the Prophets.” “And the Voice that I had heard from Heaven spoke to me again, and said, go and take the Little Book which is open in the hand of the Angel which stands upon the Sea and upon the Earth.” “And I went up to the Angel and said unto Him, give me the Little Book. And He said unto me, take it and eat it; and it shall make your belly bitter, but in your mouth it shall be as sweet as honey.” “And I took the Little Book out of the Angels hand and ate it. And in my mouth it was as sweet as honey. But as soon as I had eaten it, it was bitter in my belly.” “And the Angel said unto me, you must Prophesy (preach) again before many people and Nations and Languages and Kings.”

 

Here in Chapter #10 in the space between the 6th and the 7th Trumpet 3 Personalities are introduce to us. Here in Chapter #10 the first of the 3, which is the mighty Angel with the Little Book is introduced to us. Then in the first 14 verses of Chapter #11 the other two will be introduced to us. This ‘Little Book’ is the Book of the 7 Seals. This Book is the Title, the Deed Book, to the Earth. By chance did you notice that this ‘Little Book’ was transferred from the Hands of God The Father to God The Son who then opened it by the breaking of its 7 Seals? Then, the Book was given to the Mighty Angel who had one foot in the Sea and one foot upon the Earth who then claimed all things for God their Creator! Friends, no matter who we are, no matter how powerful or important we think we are, we as Humans, we own nothing in this life! If any of us are doubting these things which are being written by the Hand of God’s Holy Spirit through His Apostle John please pay attention now. Please lend an ear, and open your eyes and heart so that you/we may obtain a better understanding of what the Truth is.

 

If a person truly owns something, for example, land, a house, a car, bank account of jewelry, then no one can legally take it from us, correct? When we purchase something we paid for it, we paid our taxes on it and we received a Title or a Deed from the purchase, it’s ours, correct? No friends, that is not correct. If a person legally owns something then it can not be legally taken away from them at least that is the assumption that we are taught to be the truth, at least it is here in the States. At the very least we the people are being deceived by government propaganda. For the purpose of examples let us use our car and our home that we spent years laboring to pay for. We have the titles, we have the Deed, it is ours, our name is upon them as ‘the owner’ and they are tucked away in our safety deposit box at the place that we bank, so they are secure, they are ours, right? Unfortunately, no.

 

Here is the example I will use for you. Each year the City, County, State and Federal Governments continue to demand more and more tax revenue from the people who live under their authority. Be it a personal property tax, an income tax, or even ‘owed’ Social Security taxes or any other various levels of tax that is laid upon the people by the various ‘Taxing Authorities’, we never ever quit owing these government entities. Here in the U.S. our Country’s Founding Fathers wrote a Constitution making such taxes illegal. But, these career politicians of these past two hundred years have circumvented Our Constitution making it almost completely of no effect. They have done this so that they are the ones with all of the power and money and not the people. Friends, things are only going to get much worse as the Clock of Time continues to wind down. Now, back to the Ownership subject matter. If we as a people decide not to pay Personal Property taxes because we feel that we paid the taxes on ‘our property’ when we bought it, what will happen to us? The only debate will be which government agency will take ‘our property’ and whom will put us in prison first. Folks, it is a reality that the Government owns absolutely everything right down to the clothes on our back and the gold or silver in our mouth. Reality is, the politicians have made it totally ‘legal’ for them to do these things to us, we the people. Folks, we are only renting our possessions from the governments. It is the governments of the world that own every material thing. For it is they who can take our life and everything that we ‘own’. The only thing that they can not take from a person is their Soul. But, if a person desires the material things above all else to where we make ‘things’ our God, then they can win our Soul also.

 

In the Book of Leviticus 25: 23 Moses wrote the following instructions to the people of Israel concerning the land at God’s instruction. “The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for you are strangers and sojourners in it with Me.” If you will remember, after our Lord Jesus was baptized and received again His Holy Spirit our Lord went into the wilderness. For 40 days He was tempted by the Devil Himself. Among the temptations the Devil tempted our Lord Jesus (Yeshua) with you can find in the Gospel of Mark 4: 5-8, please consider what is written here. “And the Devil, taking Him (Jesus) up into a high mountain, showed Him all the Kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.” “And the Devil said to Him (Jesus), all this power will I give you, and the glory of them. For they are delivered unto me and to whosoever I will give it.” “If you will therefore bow down and worship me, all shall be yours.” “And Jesus answered and said unto him, get Thee behind me Satan, for it is written, thou shall worship the Lord thy God and Him alone shall you serve.” Please now consider this reality, the Kingdoms (Governments) of the world belong/ed to Satan and He gave the Power and the glory (riches) of them to whomsoever He (Satan) pleased/chose to. Also please consider that if He did not rule/own them, how could He (Satan) give them to Jesus or to anyone else? 

 

Did you notice what the Devils price tag was for Him to give up His power over the Nations? God the Son bowing down and worshiping the Devil! You see that is something that the Devil has always wanted, to be worshiped as God, in other words, Total Submission to Him! Friends, this battle is still true unto this very day and it will be until Armageddon. Just as we humans through our lack of knowledge and ego’s think we own material possessions, but we do not, at best, we are renting them within the Devils system of things. So, the Devil claims all the world’s riches and their governments to be His, and they are, but it is only a temporary thing and He knows it and He is furious about it. The real fact is that all things were created by God, for God and all things belong to God. You nor I nor Kings or Presidents or the Devil Himself truly hold the deed to the Earth, God does. The Devil knows this and it is something we humans need to fully understand, we own nothing, simply put the Devil and His governments claim it. But they are only temporary folks, they shall pass away into the Pit of Hell along with all the people who worship the material things of this life. Friends this world will follow the Demons into the Pit of the Earth and I just pray that none of us ever see the place.

 

Do not be dismayed at these words nor be distraught by them. The Light that is God is only a prayer away. We either serve God or we serve money, no one can really serve both. The Kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdoms or our Lord Jesus Christ (Yeshua) through His judgement as the Creator and the Redeemer of this world. The whole Earth belongs to Him, we are told by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Romans 9: 28 “For He (Jesus) will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the Earth.” The Prophet Daniel labeled this the Tribulation period as 7 years.

 

In the Lord’s Olivet Discourse in the Gospel of Matthew 24: 22 it is written “And except those days should be shortened no flesh would be saved: but for the Elects sake those days shall be shortened.” The Angel is telling the Elect, the believers and follower’s of God “don’t worry, he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved.” Friends, I close this letter to you this evening with the following thoughts. The Apostle John believed that all the Nations, Peoples, Languages and Colors needed to hear and to understand the Word Of God. All people, then and now need to be warned that Judgement is coming to/for all of us. There will be millions of people who will go into the Tribulation Period and it will seem like a thousand years long to them, this period will be literally like a Hell on Earth. We only think that the evil we see now is horrible but as the old saying goes, we ain’t seen nothing yet. The Book of Revelation is 22 chapters long so we are almost half way through this Book of Prophesy. Prophesy about and against the people and the Nations of this System of things is necessary, for reality is that there is a Judgement to come for all of us. Folks, if we will study this Book of Prophesy it will have a definite effect upon our life! Either it will help bring us closer to our Creator, or it will drive us further from Him.

Trump is about to give Putin another gift

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(“Sometimes the only way to explain/predict Trump’s foreign policy is to think ‘what would Putin want the US to do?'”)

Trump is about to give Putin another gift

David A. Andelman, Executive Director of The RedLines Project, is a contributor to CNN, where his columns won the Deadline Club Award for Best Opinion Writing. Author of “A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today,” he was formerly a foreign correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News. Follow him on Twitter @DavidAndelman. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion articles on CNN

(CNN)Another critical legacy of the post-Cold War era may be on the verge of biting the dust now that President Donald Trump’s administration is planning to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows member states to conduct unarmed surveillance over one another’s territories and helps verify arms control agreements. Watching Trump drive a stake through the heart of this treaty should be quite a pleasant prospect for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

David Andelman

Though President Dwight Eisenhower first proposed such a treaty in 1955, it did not become a reality until 2002. Since then, the Open Skies Treaty has allowed reconnaissance flights over each of the 34 nations that have signed it — largely NATO nations and others across eastern Europe. This arrangement has allowed American surveillance aircraft to keep track of just what the Russian military is up to in areas like eastern Ukraine, or in Georgia, where Russian troops once tried in vain to seize large swaths of territory.
An American withdrawal from the Open Skies treaty would give Putin more leeway to make forays into areas like eastern Ukraine, where he’d love to keep his actions concealed from western scrutiny. As Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, wrote in a letter to National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, “Withdrawal risks dividing the transatlantic alliance and would further undermine America’s reliability as a stable and predictable partner when it comes to European security.”
By withdrawing from the Open Skies treaty, the United States would fulfill Putin’s goals by effectively “driving another wedge into the NATO alliance,” Reif says. President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes may have put it best in a recent tweet: “Sometimes the only way to explain/predict Trump’s foreign policy is to think ‘what would Putin want the US to do?'”
Each time Donald Trump has withdrawn from an international treaty, I’ve declared it his single most cataclysmic move. And each time, he has surprised me by topping his previous actions. He certainly surprised me with the audacity of his decision in 2017 to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, and with his utter failure to understand what the consequences would be. Trump followed this move in 2018 by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear accord, to similarly disastrous consequences. Then there was Trump’s withdrawal from the INF (intermediate nuclear forces) agreement this August, touching off what will inevitably be a new arms race, and certainly freeing up Russia’s ability to test and deploy new generations of advanced missiles threatening America’s allies in western Europe.
Now, the administration is threatening to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies.
“The view within DOD and the State Department is that there continues to be significant value here to the United States and to our allies and partners” in maintaining the treaty, Kingston Reif, director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy at the Arms Control Association, tells me in an interview.
With this treaty in force, Reif says, “The United States has been able to fly over Ukraine and western Russia. These flights have yielded valuable data with respect to the Russian military.” Moreover, since Ukraine is also a signatory to the pact, its military has benefited from intelligence gleaned from these overflights, Reif tells me.
The Open Skies treaty allowed one particularly important flight over eastern Ukraine on December 6, 2018, after Russians attacked Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea. The flight, which included American, Canadian, French, German, Romanian, British and Ukrainian observers on board the OC-135 surveillance plane, “reaffirm(ed) (the) United States’ commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations,” a Defense Department statement said. While the United States does have other sources of satellite surveillance, this particular flight was crucial: It produced images that could be broadly released because they were obtained from this less-classified source. Our ability to make and disseminate these images demonstrated to Russia that the world was watching.
The treaty has also allowed surveillance flights over the heavily armed Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, where the Kremlin has been upgrading its nuclear weapons storage and deployment. These flights have been particularly useful to the Baltic members of NATO, including neighboring Lithuania, where advanced Russian systems pose an immediate and ever-present threat.
To get a sense of the shock and horror Trump’s withdrawal has elicited from America’s strategic establishment, look no further than the United States Strategic Command’s (Stratcom) Twitter account. It quietly asserted its support for the Open Skies Treaty by retweeting Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, who wrote that the agreement “helps build confidence & increase transparency.”
It remains unclear why the Trump administration is looking to pull out of the treaty after 17 years. The administration has declined to comment to CNN, or to me, on the cause or the timing of the withdrawal.
Regardless, the treaty offers several critical functions. It supports our NATO allies while providing a security blanket over non-NATO members who are also interested in containing Russian expansion. It also offers us a window into Russia’s military operations, especially those along its borders.
Above all, Trump should start to consider the consequences of his impulsive actions — demonstrated recently and vividly in his ill-conceived decision to withdraw US forces from northeastern Syria, thereby giving Turkey and Russia an open avenue to occupy swaths of territory that they’d long been denied.
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While the consequences of a pullout from Open Skies may be less visible in the short term than those of the US withdrawal from Syria, on the long term, they could prove equally catastrophic.

NYC To Close Notorious Rikers Island Jail

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

New York City Council votes to close notorious Rikers Island jail

New York (CNN)The New York City Council voted overwhelmingly to close Rikers Island jail Thursday and open four new borough-based facilities instead.

“Today is a day that the history books will look back on as a good day for New York City,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson said. “This is a step forward, this is progress, this is the right thing to do.”
The jail, which is on an island in the East River, has become a symbol of the ills of pretrial detention, most famously in the case of Kalief Browder. Browder took his own life after spending three years incarcerated at Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime.
The jail is also notorious for its violence and poor conditions. The US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York reached a settlement with the city in 2015 after a multi-year investigation found adolescent inmates were not protected from “the rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force by New York City Department of Correction staff and violence inflicted by other inmates.”
The balcony in the city council chamber was cleared prior to the vote after protesters chanted, “No new jails.”
The majority leader claimed that something had been thrown from the balcony, noting “throwing things from the balcony compromises the safety of every member of this body.”
A protester responded “your safety is not in jeopardy, the safety of young black and brown people is in jeopardy.”
“The era of mass incarceration is over. It’s over,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference after the vote.
“This is about valuing our people, no longer condemning people and sending them on a pathway that only made their lives worse and worse.”
According to de Blasio, New York’s jail population has declined by nearly half in the last six years. The jail population has declined from 11,000 in 2014 to about 7,000 today, and is projected to be approximately 3,300 by 2026, de Blasio added in a press release.

Khamenei Demands that IRGC Develop More Advanced, Modern Weapons

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Khamenei Demands that IRGC Develop More Advanced, Modern Weapons

Sunday, 13 October, 2019 – 11:15
FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gives a speech to a group of scholars and seminary students of religious sciences in Tehran, Iran September 17, 2019. Official Khamenei website/Handout via REUTERS
Asharq Al-Awsat
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards on Sunday to develop more advanced and modern weapons, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

“The Guards should have advanced and modern weapons … Your weapons should be modern and updated. It should be developed at home. You need to develop and produce your weapons,” Khamenei said.

The Iranian leader’s statement come after months of tension between Washington and Tehran in the wake of sanctions against Iranian oil exports, after US President Donald Trump pulled out in May 2018, from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.

On Thursday, Chief Commander of the IRGC General Hossein Salami also said his naval forces were fully prepared to defend Iran in case an armed conflict with “enemies” breaks out.

Speaking at conference on “speedboats” in the northern port of Anzali, he further questioned the enemies’ ability to confront Iran’s naval unit if armed maritime conflict erupts.

According to Reuters, in response to Washington’s “maximum pressure” policy, Iran has gradually reduced its commitments under the nuclear pact and plans further breaches if European parties fail to keep their promises to shield Iran’s economy from US penalties.

China suspends ties with Rockets after GM shows support for Hong Kong protests

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Chinese businesses suspend ties with Rockets after GM shows support for Hong Kong protests

CGTN

The general manager of the NBA Houston Rockets team, Daryl Morey has embroiled himself into trouble due to his tweet on last Friday supporting Hong Kong’s protests. Some Chinese companies stated their actions even before officials.

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Credit Card Center was the first to speak out, saying on Sunday that it “opposes and protests against” Morey’s “erroneous” remarks and has suspended all marketing and publicity activities related to the Rockets.

Following the bank, sports brand Li Ning denounced the post and said it had stopped all forms of cooperation with the Rockets. Meanwhile, Shanghai Jiayin Finance Technology notified the Rockets that all partnerships between the two sides have been halted.

Tencent Sports, which signed a five-year, 1.5-billion-U.S.-dollar deal with the NBA in July, announced that all live streaming and news reporting of the Rockets will be suspended. It also gave customers, who bought a subscription to watch the Rockets games online, a chance to opt for another team.

Starbuck’s China rival Luckin Coffee and smartphone maker Vivo also announced they would suspend cooperation with the NBA on Tuesday.

A small tweet can bring big trouble

Morey’s tweet, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” was quickly deleted last Friday, but not before it generated huge controversy in China. China’s consulate general in Houston urged the team to “clarify and immediately correct the mistakes” in a statement last Sunday. Beijing repeatedly said that some protesters in Hong Kong were mobs and rioters, instead of the so-called “peaceful pro-democracy protesters” described by the Western media.

But, the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement Tuesday on how NBA will not “put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues,” concerning Morey’s improper remarks.

On the same day, the China Central Television (CCTV) Sports channel of China Media Group (CMG) announced that it will suspend the NBA broadcasting because Silver supported improper remarks. Before that, the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) had already announced the termination of cooperation with Houston Rockets.

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in China. Here are some facts and figures showing how vital China and its 500-million-fan base is to the NBA:

The NBA has had a presence in China for almost three decades. It now has relationships with a number of television and digital media outlets throughout China, including a long-standing partnership with CCTV.

The Houston Rockets is widely followed especially in China. That’s because the franchise drafted Chinese player Yao Ming in 2002. The eight-time NBA All-Star was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

NBA China was launched in 2008. Seventeen NBA teams have played 26 games in Beijing, Guangzhou, Macao, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei in the past five years. NBA China alone is now worth over 4 billion U.S. dollars, according to Forbes.

President Trump Betrays The Kurdish People: Again

President Trump Betrays The Kurdish People: Again

(OPED: by OLDPOET56)

 

I know that there are a lot of people who don’t even know who the Kurdish people are and that is a shame because they have been a Ally to the U.S. military for decades now. They have fought along side our troops in Syria for years now helping us to defang ISIS and other terrorists in that region. The Kurdish people are the largest ethnic group of people in the whole world that does not have a country of their own. The eastern population of Turkey has a huge percent of Kurdish people within their borders as well as in N.W. Syria, Northern Iraq and N.W. Iran. We have armed and trained the Kurd people for many years now but now that ISIS is supposedly defunct in Syria President Trump has turned his/our back on these people again but even worse this time.

 

Turkey’s President Erdogan has been trying to commit genocide of the Kurdish people every since he took office. Now, with the help of Iran and Trumps good friend President Putin of Russia President Erdogan has his military set up 20 miles deep into Syria (against the Syrian governments wishes) for the purpose of killing the Kurd’s. This Turk military action is also against the wishes of President Trump’s other good friend the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia MBS. The only reason that I can think of why President Trump would commit treason against the Kurdish people is because of his butt buddy Putin asking him too. For President Trump to agree with this Genocide of the Kurdish people is beneath the dignity of a snakes belly but then again this plays all to true for this President.

Iraq protests: Death toll rises to 20 as unrest spreads

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AL JAZEERA NEWS)

 

Iraq protests: Death toll rises to 20 as unrest spreads

Authorities impose curfew and cut internet access in many cities as death toll from three days of mass protests hits 20.

Iraq protests: Death toll rises to 20 as unrest spreads
Demonstrators burn tyres during a curfew in Baghdad [Wissm al-Okili/Reuters]

The death toll from three days of mass anti-government protests in Iraq has risen to 20, with hundreds more wounded as authorities imposed curfew in several cities and cut internet access across much of the country to quell unrest.

The protests, which began in the capital, Baghdad, on Tuesday, are mostly spontaneous and without political leadership, staged by disenchanted youth demanding jobs, improved services, such as electricity and water, and an end to Iraq’s endemic corruption.

The demonstrations have since spread to cities across the mainly Shia south, making it the most serious challenge to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s year-old government.

In Baghdad, authorities imposed a round-the-clock curfew early on Thursday, saying the measure was meant to “protect general peace” and protesters from “infiltrators” who committed attacks against security forces and public property.

But dozens of protesters defied the order early on Thursday and attempted to gather at the Tahrir Square, prompting security forces to use live rounds and tear gas to disperse the crowds.

“We slept here so the police don’t take the place,” one demonstrator told AFP news agency before riot police fired into the air.

Youths carry away a protester injured during clashes with riot police amidst demonstrations against state corruption, failing public services, and unemployment, in the Iraqi capital Baghdad's central
A protester injured during clashes with riot police during demonstrations in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square is carried away [Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP]

Early on Thursday, some cars and civilians were seen in the capital’s streets. Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from the capital, said there was an “eerie quiet over Baghdad” but “sporadic gunfire towards Tahrir Square” could be heard.

“The curfew does seem to be working,” he said. “The protesters have been trying to gather in different areas of Baghdad throughout the day, but every time they reach crowds of 50 to 60 people, the security forces disperse them. The government hasn’t indicated when the curfew will be lifted.”

Authorities said travellers to and from Baghdad airport, ambulances, government employees in hospitals, electricity and water departments, and pilgrims were exempt from the restrictions.

Curfew was also imposed in the holy city of Najaf and the southern city of Nasiriya, the site of the deadliest protests so far with a total of 10 people, including one police officer, killed. In the city of Amarah, medics and security forces have confirmed the killing of four protesters on Thursday, bringing the death toll over the past three days to 20.

More than 1,000 others have been wounded in the nationwide protests, while 62 people have been arrested, according to figures from Iraq’s Human Rights Commission.

Meanwhile, approximately 75 percent of Iraq is “offline” after major network operators “intentionally restricted” access, according to cybersecurity monitor NetBlocks.

Residents are wary that more protests could erupt after powerful Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr called for “a general strike”. His political bloc, Sairoon, which came first in last May’s parliamentary elections, is part of the ruling coalition.

Demonstrations over similar issues engulfed the southern city of Basra last summer and effectively ended previous Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s chances of a second term.

Demonstrators gesture at a protest over unemployment, corruption and poor public services, in Baghdad
Demonstrators at a protest rally over unemployment, corruption and poor public services in Baghdad [Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters]

Anger over high rates of youth unemployment – which is approximately 25 percent, or double the adult rate, according to the World Bank – appears to have set off the latest round of demonstrations.

“We want jobs and better public services. We’ve been demanding them for years and the government has never responded,” said Abdallah Walid, a 27-year-old protester.

The protesters are mostly “angry young people who are not aligned to any political or religious party”, said Al Jazeera’s Khan. “They are simply very frustrated at the fact that they don’t have jobs.”

After a small protest was quickly dispersed by security forces on Tuesday, a social media call went out which resulted in thousands of people taking to the streets, he added. Since then, the protests have spread to other cities in the country’s south.

Meanwhile, two border crossings into Iraq – including one widely used by Iranian pilgrims – have been closed because of unrest in Iraq, Iranian border guards said.

Demonstrators block a road during a curfew, two days after the nationwide anti-government protests turned violent, in Baghdad, Iraq October 3, 2019. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili
Demonstrators block a road in Baghdad during curfew, two days after nationwide anti-government protests turned violent [Wissm al-Okili/Reuters]

According to Iran’s semi-official news agency Mehr, Iranian border guards commander General Qasem Rezaei said the Khosravi and Chazabeh crossings had been closed since late Wednesday but other crossings were open in the run-up to an annual Shia Muslim pilgrimage in Iraq.

The tension has been exacerbated by a near-total internet shutdown, the closure of government offices and at least one overnight explosion that hit the Green Zone, where some ministries and embassies are located.

A security source in the area told AFP there were two blasts, likely caused by indirect fire a little over a week after two rockets hit near the US embassy there.

Demonstrators run as they take part in a protest over unemployment, corruption and poor public services, in Basra, Iraq October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani
Demonstrators run as they take part in a protest rally over unemployment, corruption and poor public services, in Basra [Essam al-Sudani/Reuters]

The apparent attack came hours after security forces sealed off the Green Zone “until further notice”, fearing angry protesters would swarm state buildings or foreign missions.

The Green Zone had been inaccessible for most Iraqis since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq but had reopened to the public in June.

It has often been the focal point for public anger, including in 2016 when al-Sadr’s supporters stormed it and paralysed state institutions.

Why are Iraqis protesting against the government?

INSIDE STORY

Why are Iraqis protesting against the government?

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Senator Chuck Grassley’s defense of whistle blower is better late than never

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER)

 

Chuck Grassley’s defense of whistleblower is better late than never

Chuck Grassley deserves credit for stepping up to the plate.

Grassley, the veteran Republican from Iowa, has for decades been the Senate’s foremost advocate for and defender of government whistleblowers. For nearly a week, though, some of us have wondered why Grassley remained silent as President Trump and his supporters repeatedly and harshly castigated the whistleblower who catalyzed the current Ukraine-related controversy. The silence continued even as the president urged that the whistleblower lose the identity-protection ordinarily due someone in his position.

Grassley made up for his silence today. He criticized Trump for the attacks, and said the whistleblower “appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected.”

At somewhat greater length, Grassley continued:

“No one should be making judgments or pronouncements without hearing from the whistleblower first and carefully following up on the facts. Uninformed speculation wielded by politicians or media commentators as a partisan weapon is counterproductive and doesn’t serve the country. When it comes to whether someone qualifies as a whistleblower, the distinctions being drawn between first- and second-hand knowledge aren’t legal ones. It’s just not part of whistleblower protection law or any agency policy. Complaints based on second-hand information should not be rejected out of hand, but they do require additional leg work to get at the facts and evaluate the claim’s credibility.”

Grassley is entirely right, on all counts. The protocols call for the inspector general of the agency in question to determine the validity of the whistleblower’s status and the credibility of the information offered. In this case, the inspector general for the intelligence community, a Trump appointee, determined that the whistleblower status was indeed merited. We since have seen that most of the key information he offered was indeed accurate.

We also have seen Trump suggest that the whistleblower is a “spy” who should suffer “big consequences.” This is chilling. For anyone in a senior position in government to threaten retaliation against a whistleblower is almost always a significant violation of the law. For the president to do so, with the vast powers of his office, is more than a little sinister.

That’s why it is so important for someone with Grassley’s Senate seniority, credibility, and reputation for probity to speak up. The whistleblower’s information will stand or fall on its own merits, without any need to know who the whistleblower himself is, much less threaten him. The entire point of whistleblower statutes is to protect those who want to report malfeasance without reprisal, especially reprisal from the most powerful man on the planet.