Trusting The Government: U.S., Russia, China, North Korea, All The Same?

Trusting The Government: U.S., Russia, China, North Korea, All The Same?

 

I was born in the mid 1950’s and grew up watching Walter Cronkite deliver the evening news. Mr. Cronkite was by most considered to be the “most trusted man in America.” Whom is it that you totally trust the most in American news media or within the political realm today? With all the news outlets of today all trying to get you to watch or listen to them I find it difficult to put much trust in any of them. There are two main reasons for that, one is that each of these outlets are companies, they are ‘for profit’. Two is the consideration of where are they getting their information?

 

I am in my early 60’s now so during the past 50 years or so we here in the U.S. have been constantly told that we are the good guys and governments who are Communist are the bad guys. From all of the reading and studying that I have done over the years I really don’t doubt that these Communists governments are far less than friendly toward their own population nor to others. Communists seem to think military first and usually military only and it is a proven fact that very few people who are military oriented are very good public leaders. Military frame of mind and civilian frame of mind seldom seem to end up within the same person. Then again within the non-communists countries the people have to put up with politicians who seem to change their mind like farts in a breeze. Here in the U.S. we the people have learned a lot since the NSA murdered John and Bobby Kennedy back in the 60’s. When Nixon was President he illegally expanded the war in Vietnam into Laos and Cambodia. We had military personal who died there or were captured there that our government turned their back on as well as their families basically saying they must have deserted. When the U.S. officially left Vietnam Nixon got on TV and said there were no more POWs in southeast Asia, knowing very well that he was lying to the people. Reality comes down to the fact of truth or not the truth, trust or not being able to trust.

 

Now I am going to talk about current events here in the U.S. and this reality of trust or no trust. On a personal level can you trust a person on really serious matters when you absolutely know as a fact that they have lied to you many many occasions?  In the last 24-36 hours we have been hearing on the news that Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. spy drone. The early news strongly hinted that the drone was over Iranian land which by all forms of international law would have been a violation committed by the Americans and Iran would have had every right to shoot it down. By international law every country which borders a body of water has 12 miles sovereignty except for China’s Communists government who seems to want to claim at least a few thousand miles sovereignty but that is another story for other articles. Now the U.S. government is saying that the drone was 21 miles off of Iran’s coast and if this is true then basically Iran committed and act of war against the U.S. and the U.S. government would have the right to retaliate against Iran. The issue is, how can we trust our own government when they and especially our President is a habitual liar? President George W. Bush’s lies paved the way for us to start a war with Iraq. Personally I believe that he was just trying to show his Daddy that he could ‘one-up’ him and take out Saddam. Think of the cost of those lies in terms of thousands of people dead and about a trillion dollars of taxpayer money thrown into that bloodbath. Today’s news headline said that some of the Republicans in the Senate were upset that President Trump called off a bombing raid in Iran that would have started an all out war with them and their allies. Going to war with anyone should not be a partisan matter and going to war should not be in the hands of one person. If we are going to enter a war this war should be voted on and passed by at least 2/3 of the Congress and the Senate. This is not a computer game, many thousands of people will die. So, what is the truth on this matter, can you or I honestly trust anything that Mr. Trump says? Personally I don’t. Credibility is something that our leaders no longer have, their word is not good enough any more. If we go to war with Iran they have many allies including many sleeper cells within our own borders, many Americans on American land will die, life as we have always know it here in the States will be over. But, how the hell can we the people ever know if what we are being told is the truth, or just another lie.

 

Russia: Faced with protests, Putin blinks — but don’t expect a Moscow Spring

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Faced with protests, Putin blinks — but don’t expect a Moscow Spring

Russia police drop charges against reporter after backlash
Russia police drop charges against reporter after backlash 03:11

Moscow (CNN)Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in power for nearly two decades, but he still has the capacity to surprise: This week, he unexpectedly showed that the Kremlin — on rare occasions — has a reverse gear.

To recap: On Tuesday, Russian authorities dropped a criminal case against a top investigative reporter known for exposing local corruption. The journalist, Ivan Golunov, had been arrested on an attempted drug-distribution charge that he and his colleagues insisted evidence had been planted by police.
As it turns out, the charges indeed had been fabricated. The police officers who arrested Golunov were suspended from active duty, and on Thursday Putin sacked two top interior ministry officials — the chief of internal affairs at the western district of Russia, Andrei Puchkov, and head of the Moscow directorate for drug control at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Yuri Devyatkin — in connection with the case.
It was an unexpected reversal after an outpouring of solidarity from Russian civil society. Journalists rallied to Golunov’s side, staging rotating, one-person vigils outside of the main building of the Moscow branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs at 38 Petrovka Street. Three leading newspapers on Monday published identical front pages with the slogan, “I/we are Ivan Golunov.” And campaigners organized a march in his support on Wednesday.

In this photo, Russia's three major newspapers use the same headline that reads: "I/we are Ivan Golunov"

But Putin’s grip on power was never seriously in peril.
For starters, there was the response to Wednesday’s march. Organizers had hoped to build on the momentum of previous days, as thousands expressed interest in turning out for the demonstration. But the unexpected decision to release Golunov from house arrest clearly diminished interest. Golunov himself did not take part, and discussion about whether to proceed with protests sparked internal squabbling among Russia’s already fractured opposition.
And the authorities moved quickly and forcefully to shut down the unsanctioned demonstration that went ahead on Wednesday. When marchers turned out at the Chistye Prudy metro station in downtown Moscow, they were ordered to disperse by police. As they moved in the direction of 38 Petrovka Street, they were met by a cordon of police who effectively dispersed the march, with small squads of riot police collaring individual demonstrators and locking them inside police buses.
Demonstrators chanted, “Shame! Shame!” but it was all over within a few hours.
But while the protest in Moscow was far, far smaller than the wave of demonstrations seen in Hong Kong, the events of the week were still an unusual display of discontent with Putin. And the official climbdown in the face of street demonstrations was the most stunning: Russian authorities, for instance, have continued to hold US investor Michael Calvey, despite both domestic lobbying and diplomatic pressure from the US.

"Vladimir Putin's grip on power was never seriously in peril."

Voices from Moscow

What appeared to have mobilized some to take part in the protests was not necessarily Putin Fatigue, but resentment of local police, whom Russians distrust for corruption and arbitrary arrests.
“What is happening in this country is totally wrong, when drugs are being planted on a person who does not use them,” a young man from a city on the Volga River visiting Moscow told CNN. “The cops usually act like that.”
But his criticism did not extend to Putin.
“As for Putin, I can’t state that he is a bad ‘ruler’ or something like that. As far as we know, he is quite a good man. I think he should deal with this situation and find out why the law-enforcement bodies have got to the point of planting drugs on people who do not use them, while they fail to catch those who sell tons of them.”
Another woman, a Muscovite, said she didn’t watch the march in support of Golunov. But when told of the circumstances of his case, she said, “I stand for him.”
Asked if Putin’s reputation had taken a hit over the whole affair, she said, “I think yes, and we will do nothing about it.”
Such candor has its limits: Both individuals when approached by CNN asked that their names not be used.
Still, many outspoken Russians have taken to social media to opine on the meaning of the week’s events. And the Golunov case started a wider discussion about revising Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the portion of the criminal code that covers drug crimes.
Writing on Twitter, Yevgeny Roizman, the opposition former mayor of the city of Yekaterinburg, took it further, saying “the entire Criminal Code of the Russian Federation must be revised, since it is an instrument for political persecution.”
That’s a larger discussion that the Kremlin, most likely, is not ready to entertain.

The Murderous Dictators Of: China And Kyrgyz Pledge To Promote Bilateral Ties

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA COMMUNISTS PARTY NEWSPAPER ‘SHINE’)

 

Chinese, Kyrgyz presidents pledge to promote bilateral ties

Xinhua
Chinese, Kyrgyz presidents pledge to promote bilateral ties

Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping is received by his Kyrgyz counterpart Sooronbay Jeenbekov upon his arrival in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, June 12, 2019. Xi arrived here Wednesday for a state visit to Kyrgyzstan and the 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Kyrgyz counterpart, Sooronbay Jeenbekov, met Wednesday evening, pledging joint efforts to promote bilateral ties.

Xi and Jeenbekov had a meeting at the presidential residence in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek right after the Chinese president arrived in the Central Asian country for a state visit and the 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.

Reflecting on the traditional friendship between the countries, the two heads of state discussed the future of bilateral relations with an in-depth exchange of views on issues of common concern.

Noting that it is his second visit to Kyrgyzstan in six years, Xi expressed the delight of visiting an old friend.

Substantial advances in bilateral ties have been made over the past 27 years since the establishment of the China-Kyrgyzstan diplomatic relationship, Xi said, highlighting the two sides’ strong political mutual trust, mutually beneficial economic cooperation, mutual reliance in security and close coordination in international affairs.

Xi expressed appreciation for Jeenbekov’s public remarks on safeguarding the China-Kyrgyzstan friendship on many occasions.

The Chinese side applauds Kyrgyzstan’s achievements in reform and development, and expects more progress of the country in safeguarding national stability and promoting economic development, Xi said.

China is ready to share experience in state governance with Kyrgyzstan to achieve common development and prosperity, Xi said, hailing the solid outcomes in the joint construction of the Belt and Road.

Xi called for concerted efforts to strive for more fruits in the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership to benefit the people of both countries.

The two sides, he said, should step up coordination within multilateral frameworks including the SCO and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, stick to multilateralism, and oppose protectionism and unilateralism, so as to contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

Jeenbekov said he appreciates the great importance Xi attaches to bilateral relations. He expressed warm congratulations on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and wished China greater achievements.

Recalling his attendance last week at a release ceremony for the Kyrgyz edition of the first volume of “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China,” Jeenbekov said the book is of great significance for Kyrgyzstan to learn from China’s experience and promote its own reform and development.

Jeenbekov stressed that Kyrgyzstan firmly supports the measures taken by the Chinese government in safeguarding peace and stability in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and cracking down on extremism. He also thanked China for its strong support and assistance to Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan, he said, values China’s influence in international affairs and is willing to deepen cooperation with China in various sectors within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, get on board the express train of China’s economic development, and push for leapfrog development of bilateral relations.

Trump And Xi Jinping: The Two Most Dangerous People In The World?

TRUMP AND XI JINPING: THE TWO MOST DANGEROUS PEOPLE IN THE WORLD?

 

Going back to the U.S. Elections of November 2016 I felt that we the people of this country only had two real choices to be our President. I also looked at our choices and felt that the people, no matter what, we were going to have a very evil person sitting in the Oval Office. I felt then as I do now, we could have a very smart crooked person (Hillary) or we could have a total dumbass crooked person for our President. The people by several million votes voted for the dangerous smart person but the Electoral College gave the victory to the crooked dumbass/ignorant ass, Mr. Trump.

 

As you have probably noticed I did not mention Russia or Mr. Putin in my comments above, there is a reason. Mr. Putin is a whole nother story. Mr. Putin is smarter than the average IQ I believe but he is definitely not a genius but neither is Mr. Trump. Mr. Putin is not stupid but he is still very dangerous because he has a dark heart/Soul. He is a bully and quite the smartass, but he is not at all stupid, unlike Mr. Trump.

 

Mr. Trump has proven to the whole world that he is a total buffoon, as well as an ignorant ass and a stupid ass fraud. There is one group of people though that still backs him no matter how ignorant and moral-less he acts each day, uneducated southern white males. I know that it sounds bad, the reality that I am a southern white male, I am a college graduate but I do not consider myself to be smarter than most folks. When I was in college I worked my behind off but could only manage about a 2.7 GPA. I do believe that Mr. Trump and almost all of his West Wing family are literally nothing more than a Mafia family, just like his Daddy was. Mr. Trump, through his massive ignorance of the whole world situation/realities is very dangerous. Through his massive ignorance, stupidity, arrogance and ego is still very likely to get our Nation into more military conflicts.

 

Mr. Xi Jinping I consider to be the world’s most dangerous human being. The man is very smart, he plays the ‘long game’ and he is a devout Chairman Mao believer. China is the most dangerous Nation in the world and Mr. Xi Jinping knows how to ‘play’ everyone, every leader every nation, he knows their weak points and he does attack them, just like the Devil attacks each humans weak points. Did I just call Mr. Xi Jinping the Devil, no I didn’t. But just as with every person, our bodies, are like a house, either we live there alone or with another entity. I have no doubt at all that at best Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are empty houses. The only ones who can ‘move into’ anyone’s house is a Spirit, either good or bad. None of these folks I have mentioned have the Holy Spirit within them. To say that any of them do is akin to calling Hitler a devout Catholic, just because his Mom was a Catholic. Anyone can say they are a Christian but if we don’t have a strong faith backed up with good works, then we/they are just lying to their own selves. I used the word ‘works’ for a reason, no one is saved by their works, nor is anyone saved by just faith, they go hand in hand one with the other. If a person’s actions show them to be evil then they are not possessed by G-d’s Spirit. Not everyone who does evil is possessed by an evil Spirit though but in can happen. One thing that cannot happen is that an evil Spirit cannot move into a body that the Spirit of G-d resides in.

Putin And Limbaugh: Founding Brothers Of Far Right Hate?

Putin And Limbaugh: Founding Brothers Of Far Right Hate?

 

When anyone writes an article or a letter all they are really doing is giving their opinion on the subject matter they are writing about.  I believe that this is so, unless the writer is purposely lying in trying to get you to believe what is not the truth, as they believe it to be. Truth, what if the writer is simply telling the Truth you may say? Whose version of the truth though? To me, there is only one version of ‘The Truth’ and that is when it is by the lips of G-d Himself. You see, that is 100% Truth. Human versions of truth are flawed when we lack 100% knowledge of the issue, or when a person tries to ‘slant the truth’ to fit their own agendas. A good example would be a politician who says they are telling the truth when in deed only 1% is truth and 99% is BS. They can then say that they told the truth, the exception to this rule would have to be someone like our President who doesn’t have a clue about reality at all. When you have an habitual liar as your country’s Leader, you have a dictator for a president. Here in the U.S. we have a ‘wanna-be’ Dictator right now, unlike Russia, they have the real thing.

 

Here in the U.S. we have a lot of the responsibility of having helped bring Mr. Putin to power in Russia! Think about it, Hollywood, Nation Media and many of our Politicians started in on Russia bashing almost as soon as the Wall fell in late 1989. We portrayed Russia and her people as ignorant, inept and lazy. We (Hollywood, Media, Politicians) stepped all over the personal and National Pride of this Nation and Her people. Folks it is we who helped bring this mass murdering Dictator onto the Russian National scene. He did what a Dictator does if they want to stay in power, they get the military and the security agencies on their side, then they take control of all the Media outlets and then they use them against their own people. Now the people of Russia are the only ones who should remove their Monster. Ultra Nationalists are by my belief ‘far-right.’ Far-Right just like far-Left refuse to compromise and if you are a Dictator you don’t have to compromise. Also, I believe that ‘extremists’ are by their nature, hate filled. Hate filled people tend to refuse any compromise on anything. Personally I do believe that Mr. Putin is one of these type of persons. Yet I ask you a question, which is better, a rather intelligent Dictator or a wanna-be Dictator who is a total imbecile?

 

Now, I would like to bring up the second subject in this letter to you tonight, Rush Limbaugh. I first started hearing of Mr. Limbaugh back when Bush Senior was our President so that would have been 1989-93. In my opinion he was so far to ‘the-right’ that he was almost comical but when he picked up a following of far-right ‘Haters’ he was no longer humorous. Mr. Limbaugh is a very smart person, he found a niche then he worked it to his financial independence. Trouble is (in my opinion) the agenda he often spouts should be considered as hate speech. In a Democracy there must be compromise for without that, you have a Dictatorship. Mr. Limbaugh has for decades preached from his Bully Pulpit against ever compromise. Back when Senator John McCain was the Republican Candidate for President Mr. Limbaugh railed against him because he was a moderate, meaning that Mr. McCain would compromise with the Democrats in order to pass legislation. Do you remember during the 2016 Republican Presidential Debates that Texas Senator Ted Cruz looked straight into the camera and strongly insisted that if he were to be elected President that he would not ‘negotiate with the Democrats.’ Folks in my opinion, this builds the foundation of Dictatorships. Folks, hate is hate and Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Putin have been preaching hate for decades now. These two just like with many others are simply Brothers (of hate) born of different Mothers but their Daddy (the Father of Hate and Lies) is pure evil.

 

 

Chinese, Russian Presidents Hold Talks

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWSPAPER)

 

Chinese, Russian presidents hold talks

Xinhua

The Belt and Road Initiative

AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a ceremony at Tsinghua University in Beijing on April 26, 2019.

Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday held talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.

Xi said the relationship between China and Russia has become a major-country relationship featuring the highest degree of mutual trust, the highest level of coordination and the highest strategic value since the two countries established diplomatic ties 70 years ago.

“We should always regard each other as important development opportunities, support each other and draw on each other’s strength to achieve revitalization together,” he said.

Stressing that Russia is an important partner in the joint development of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi said the alignment of the BRI with the Eurasian Economic Union is a model of regional economic cooperation.

The two sides should continue to promote cooperation in economy and trade, energy, science and technology, aerospace, connectivity, as well as cooperation at sub-national level and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, Xi said, adding that China will send a pair of giant pandas to Russia for joint research.

Xi also noted that China and Russia should enhance coordination in international affairs, jointly defend the authority of the United Nations and the UN Security Council, uphold the international law and universally recognized norms governing international relations, firmly promote multi-polarity and democracy of international relations, and uphold multilateralism.

The BRI, proposed by President Xi, has provided an important platform and set a successful example for expanding international cooperation, and won increasing support from the international community, Putin said, adding that the presence of so many state leaders and representatives at this forum is a proof.

On the occasion of celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations, Russia is willing to enhance high-level contacts with China, and deepen bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields, such as doing well in exemplary major projects in energy and connectivity sectors, he said.

The two leaders also exchanged views on issues including the situation on the Korean Peninsula and Venezuela, and agreed to communicate and coordinate closely in international and regional affairs and multilateral institutions.

Also on Friday, President Xi attended a ceremony at which Tsinghua University awarded Putin an honorary doctorate.

Tsinghua University is a world-renowned university and the alma mater of President Xi, Putin said. “In the presence of my good friend President Xi Jinping, Tsinghua University conferred an honorary doctorate on me and held a grand ceremony. I feel honored and deeply touched.”

“President Putin is a good friend and old friend of the Chinese people, and has made historic contributions to deepening political mutual trust between China and Russia and promoting bilateral cooperation in various fields,” Xi said, extending congratulations to Putin.

Xi said he hopes young Chinese and Russian students will contribute to China-Russia friendship for generations to come.

The Belt and Road Initiative

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Arrives In Russia For Meeting With Putin

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Arrives in Russia for Meeting With Putin

Video

0:37 Kim Jong-un Gives Interview to Russian Reporter

Up Next Chinese Cameras Come With Chinese Tactics

Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, is in Russia and is expected to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin. “I hope this visit will be successful and fruitful,” Mr. Kim said. Credit Credit Igor Novikov/Press Office of the Primorye Territory Administration, via Associated Press

SEOUL — Wearing a black fedora and black overcoat, a smiling Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, stepped off an armored train that had taken him on a daylong journey from Pyongyang to the Russian port city of Vladivostok on Wednesday.

Mr. Kim’s arrival came a day before he is scheduled to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin as part of the North Korean leader’s efforts to fend off American pressure to give up his nuclear weapons arsenal.

Accompanied by senior Russian officials, Mr. Kim listened to a military band before stopping for a rare, short interview with the Russian television network Rossiya 1.

“I hope this visit will be successful and fruitful,” Mr. Kim said. “I hope that during talks with esteemed President Putin I will have a detailed discussion of the settlement process on the Korean Peninsula and the development of our relations.”

Mr. Kim is the first North Korean leader to travel to Russia since his father, Kim Jong-il, visited there in 2011, signaling that Mr. Kim is trying to foster ties with his country’s old Soviet allies while his diplomacy with President Trump remains deadlocked.

Mr. Kim’s meeting with Mr. Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, in late February ended abruptly when the North Korean leader rejected Mr. Trump’s proposal for a “big deal” in which the United States would lift sanctions in return for a quick dismantlement of the North’s entire nuclear weapons program. Mr. Kim offered only a partial dismantlement in exchange for lifting the most harmful economic sanctions.

North Korea has since grown increasingly frustrated with Washington, conducting a weapons test and accusing Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of sabotaging the negotiations. Mr. Kim said he was willing to meet Mr. Trump again, but only if the United States made a new proposal that the North could accept by the end of the year.

A recent report by the United Nations sanctions committee has accused Russia of helping North Korea circumvent international sanctions through illegal ship-to-ship transfers of oil and coal. But there is doubt over Russia’s ability to ease the pain of sanctions for North Korea.

So The Putin Mafia Controls Mafia Don: I don’t care about Treason He Is A Republican

So The Putin Mafia Controls MAFIA Don: I don’t care about Treason He Is A Republican
 THIS ARTICLE IS MEANT ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRYING TO GET FOLKS TO THINK ABOUT THE SITUATION OF HAVING OUR NATIONS POLITICIANS CONSTANTLY BETRAYING THE CONSTITUTION AND THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD. THE REASON FOR THIS IS SIMPLE, PEOPLE LIKE SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL AND THE OTHER REPUBLICANS IN THE CONGRESS AND THE SENATE DO NOT CARE WHAT MAFIA DON DOES BECAUSE ALL THEY CARE ABOUT IS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, NOT THE CONSTITUTION NOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION.

 

DO NOT GET ME WRONG, I HAVE NO USE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY EITHER. IF HILLARY CLINTON HAD WON (AND SHE DID WIN THE POPULAR VOTE BY SEVERAL MILLION VOTERS.) (THERE SHOULD BE NO SUCH THING AS THE ‘ELECTORAL COLLEGE’.) IT IS MY TOTAL BELIEF THAT THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP WOULD BE BACKING HER JUST AS THE REPUBLICANS ARE BACKING MAFIA DON AND FAMILY. IT IS MY PERSONAL BELIEF THAT MR. TRUMP IS GUILTY AS CAN POSSIBLY BE OF TREASON, FRAUD, TAX FRAUD AND EVASION AND THEFT.

 

I wrote the above message in all caps and in red hoping that it would get a few more people’s attention. I have no intention or wish to ‘yell’ at folks. In the 2016 Presidential Election ‘we the people’ really only had two choices of who would become our next President, Hillary Clinton or Vladimir Putin.  Whichever one won, we the people lost. In my opinion as a fellow Kentuckian the second biggest traitor (outside of the Trump household) to the people and our Nation is the Republican head of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell.

DOJ Policy To Not Indict A Sitting President: That Is Up To The Congress To Do

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLITICO NEWS)

 

MUELLER INVESTIGATION

Clinton says Trump escaped indictment only because of DOJ policy

Updated 

Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that President Donald Trump escaped obstruction of justice charges only because of a Justice Department rule barring the indictment of a sitting president.

“I think there’s enough there that any other person who had engaged in those acts would certainly have been indicted,” Clinton said at a TIME magazine event in New York. “But because of the rule in the Justice Department that you can’t indict a sitting president, the whole matter of obstruction was very directly sent to the Congress.”

Clinton’s 2016 electoral defeat was once again thrust in the spotlight on Thursday after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report, which detailed the 22-month probe into Russian interference in the presidential election.

The report said the special counsel found evidence of Russian meddling in the election but said there was insufficient evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Mueller also did not take a stance on whether the president obstructed justice, citing a Watergate-era policy in the Justice Department not to indict a sitting president. Such action would leave the president with no legal recourse to clear his name or protections normally afforded to criminal defendants, according to the report.

“Fairness concerns counseled against potentially reaching that judgment when no charges can be brought,” the report says.

In his report, however, Mueller detailed 10 episodes where Trump tried to interfere with the Russia investigation. He also wrote that Congress has authority to conduct its own investigation of the president’s behavior.

Clinton on Tuesday called for the release of an unredacted version of Mueller’s report to allow lawmakers the information necessary to move forward with a thorough investigation.

In the days since the publication of the report, the question of whether to initiate impeachment proceedings has hung over Democrats. Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday rejected calls to immediately take the politically risky move of launching efforts to oust Trump.

Pelosi’s strategy earned the approval of Clinton, who said impeachment — a drastic move that Democratic leaders worry could cost their party the House in 2020 — should not be fueled by “partisan political purposes.”

“I think her argument was we want to show the American people we take our constitutional responsibilities seriously,” Clinton said.

Like Pelosi, she advocated for a “careful” approach, describing impeachment as something that should be undertaken “in a really serious, diligent way, based on evidence.”

That means giving Congress access to key information. Clinton said she thinks it’s “fully appropriate” for Congress to call upon former White House counsel Don McGahn, who emerged as a central figure in investigations after telling special counsel investigators Trump ordered him to fire Mueller. The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to McGahn on Monday demanding that he testify in public on May 21.

Clinton compared buzz about impeaching Trump to the two most recent congressional pushes to eject sitting U.S. presidents. Clinton had an inside look at both proceedings as the wife of Bill Clinton and as a young staff attorney on Richard Nixon’s impeachment proceedings in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

The failed efforts to oust her husband, initiated in 1998, were nothing but a partisan ploy, Clinton said — a stark contrast with the lengthy and in-depth investigation she described that led to Nixon’s resignation.

The comments from the TIME event marked Clinton’s first public remarks on the Mueller report since its release. The former candidate and secretary of state said she thinks Russian interference “certainly had an impact” on the 2016 election results, but said her priority now is to make sure similar foreign interference does not affect future elections.

A Comedian Just Became UKraine’s Next President

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF VOX NEWS)

 

A comedian just became Ukraine’s next president

Volodymyr Zelensky rode a populist, anti-corruption message straight to the presidency.

Volodymyr Zelensky was just voted in as Ukraine’s next president. Here he talks to journalists after taking a drug and alcohol test at the Eurolab diagnostic center on April 5, 2019.
 Pyotr Sivkov\TASS via Getty Images

Ukrainians on Sunday overwhelmingly voted to make a comedian their next president — ushering in a new era of politics in the struggling country.

Volodymyr Zelensky, a famous comedian who portrayed Ukraine’s head of state for years on a popular comedy show, defeated the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, who had been in power since 2014.

According to exit polls, Zelensky won a staggering 73 percent of the vote. Poroshenko conceded the race not long after polls closed.

It’s all quite the rise for an ordinary guy who, well, played an ordinary guy-turned-president on television.

Zelensky — or “Ze,” as he’s more popularly known — has no prior political experience and hasn’t offered a detailed blueprint for how he would govern. But he struck a populist, anti-corruption message during the campaign that clearly resonated with millions of Ukrainians suffering from poverty and government graft. That, plus his previous celebrity, made him a formidable force during the Eastern European country’s election.

The big question now is if he can follow through on his promises to stamp out undue oligarch influence in Kyiv and turn Ukraine’s economic fortunes around. After all, the comedian has no prior political experience and didn’t offer a detailed governing blueprint during the campaign.

Clearly, though, Ukrainians believe Zelensky embodies the change they hope he can bring to a struggling nation.

“There’s been a desire for a new face for a long time,” Melinda Haring, a Ukraine expert at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, told me before the election. “It was clear the people wanted someone without the same baggage and connections to political dinosaurs.”

Ukraine’s struggles led to Zelensky’s rise

Experts say Zelensky’s remarkable story stems from Ukrainians’ dissatisfaction with decades of failed political leadership.

“After almost 30 years of electing to the presidency either relatively pro-Russian or officially pro-Western candidates from the economic and political elite, Ukraine remains one of the poorest nations in Europe,” Andreas Umland, an expert at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation in Kyiv, wrote for the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank on April 16.

World Bank chart below showing Ukraine’s massive dip in gross domestic product per capita starting around 2013 illustrates this point. And while the country has been experiencing a bit of growth lately, Ukraine is still among Europe’s poorest — if not the poorest — countries.

Chart of Ukraine’s GDP per capita, 2000 to 2017.
Chart of Ukraine’s GDP per capita, 2000 to 2017.
 World Bank

The country’s troubles have led millions of Ukrainians to flee in search of a better life.

“Ukrainians just want a normal standard of living,” Haring told me, but “Ukraine has gotten poorer as Poroshenko has gotten richer.”

Since Poroshenko, who once led the very successful company Roshen, took power in 2014 corruption only worsened as the government’s ties to oligarchs have strengthened. That made it harder for Ukraine to attract foreign investment and help the country’s economy rebound.

In February, Ukraine’s finance minister said that if the country grows at the same economic rate for 50 years — a big if — Ukraine will have the same economic strength as Poland. That, to put it mildly, isn’t an optimistic outlook it may take a half-century to become a European economic success story.

So while Poroshenko got high marks from many for pushing back against Russia’s invasion of parts of Ukraine’s east and south, a record he touted throughout the election, experts said that counted for very little.

“Poroshenko either misread the voters or thought his campaign themes — army, language, and faith — would carry the day,” Steven Pifer, the US ambassador to Ukraine from 1998 to 2000, told me on Thursday. “It looks like he greatly misjudged the electorate.”

Voters clearly wanted to hear new ideas for a new Ukraine, and that meant stemming the country’s rampant corruption and kick-starting the nation’s sputtering economy.

Poroshenko was such a symbol for Ukraine’s old ways that it was almost funny. Enter a comedian.

Zelensky represents what Ukraine wants to be

Zelensky, 41, made his name on Servant of the People, a comedy program that you can watch on Netflix in the US. It follows the life of Vasyl Petrovych Holoborodko, an everyman schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes president and takes on the nation’s oligarchs.

The actor wants to do the same thing — but now in real life.

It’s probably not surprising that such an unconventional candidate ran an unconventional campaign. He held few big rallies and rarely spoke to the press. Instead, he mainly toured the country with comedy troupes to perform in skits and make audiences laugh, experts told me. But he leveraged social media to directly connect with voters and make his pitch.

Not much is known about his foreign policy except that he is mainly pro-Western, wants Ukraine to enter the European Union, and would seek NATO membership for his country — all positions that didn’t separate him much from Poroshenko.

There are two big worries Ukrainians still have about Zelensky, however. The first, of course, is his inexperience. But Ukrainians have shrugged that off in the past, though, like when voters in Kyiv voted in 2014 to make former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko their mayor.

The second, and more important, is just how close he is to a Ukrainian oligarch: Igor Kolomoisky.

Zelensky’s show appeared on Kolomoisky’s TV channel, and the billionaire has long been a Poroshenko rival. Some worry that the comedian may simply be a tool of another Ukrainian fat cat trying to wield power, a charge Zelensky denies.

But those concerns didn’t dissuade Ukrainians from choosing Zelensky on Sunday. And so now a Ukrainian comedian who entered an election to take on the entrenched corruption in his country will be the next president. It sounds like a joke, but it’s reality.