Manafort Jury Seems To Have Reached Decisions On 17 Of 18 Charges

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Judge tells Manafort jury to keep deliberating after it asks about impact of not reaching verdict on one count

Alexandria, Virginia (CNN)The judge in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort urged the jury Tuesday to keep deliberating after it asked what happens if it can’t reach consensus on one of 18 counts.

“It is your duty to agree upon a verdict if you can do so,” Judge T.S. Ellis said. He encouraged each juror to make their own decisions on each count, but if some were in the minority on a decision, they could think about what the other jurors believe.
Give “deference” to each other and “listen to each others’ arguments.”
“You’re the exclusive judges,” he added. “Take all the time which you feel is necessary.”
The jurors asked about the impact of not agreeing on all counts.
“If we cannot come to a consensus for a single count, how can we fill in the verdict sheet?” the jury wrote in a note to Ellis.
Without jurors present, Ellis also told judge told the courtroom that he will not ask the jury for a partial verdict at this time.
Manafort is charged with 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and hiding foreign bank accounts in the first case brought to trial by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The trial carries major implications for the future of Mueller’s investigation. Trump has repeatedly called the probe a “witch hunt” that hasn’t found evidence of Russian collusion with his campaign, and his allies in and out of the White House say the special counsel should wrap things up.
Prosecutors say Manafort collected $65 million in foreign bank accounts from 2010 to 2014 and spent more than $15 million on luxury purchases in the same period, including high-end clothing, real estate, landscaping and other big-ticket items.
They also allege that Manafort lied to banks in order to take out more than $20 million in loans after his Ukrainian political work dried up in 2015, and they accused him of hiding the foreign bank accounts from federal authorities. Manafort received loans from the Federal Savings Bank after one of its executives sought a position in the Trump campaign and administration, according to prosecutors.
Manafort faces up to 305 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
This story is breaking and will be updated.

Putin’s Kremlin subverting Israeli democracy?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

(FOLKS, THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT ARTICLE, PLEASE TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO READ THIS)

Is Putin’s Kremlin subverting Israeli democracy? A Russia expert thinks so

A devastating, complacency-shattering interview with Ilya Zaslavskiy, one of the world’s leading experts on Moscow’s overt and covert designs on the West

Main image by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

WASHINGTON, United States — Despite the global headlines about Russian meddling in foreign elections, Israeli experts have thus far expressed little concern that it could happen here.

At Tel Aviv University’s CyberWeek cybersecurity conference in June, for instance, Israeli officials made light of the impact of fake news and foreign influence campaigns on Israeli society. Fake news is a “nuisance,” Eviatar Matania, head of the National Cyber Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office, told a panel at the conference, not a major threat. Other speakers said they had seen no signs of Russian influence campaigns targeting Israel.

But the recent release by researchers at Clemenson University of three million Russian troll tweets created by Russia’s Internet Research Agency between 2012 and 2018 paints a different picture.

Reporters from Israel’s Channel 10 News found that tens of thousands of the tweets dealt with Israel and the region and some were written in Hebrew, indicating they were indeed targeting Israelis and people who care about Israel.

Ilya Zaslavskiy, a Washington, DC-based expert on Russia and head of research at the Free Russia Foundation — a nonprofit led by Russians abroad that says it “seeks to be a voice for those who can’t speak under the repression of the current Russian leadership” — told The Times of Israel that he would be extremely surprised if Russia weren’t carrying out covert influence campaigns in Israel.

“We now know for a fact that Russia has been interfering on a massive scale in US, German and UK elections and referendums,” said Zaslavskiy, who is also a member of the advisory board at the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative and an academy associate at Britain’s Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) think tank.

Ilya Zaslavskiy (Courtesy)

“We know that they intervened in the Catalonia referendum as well as a referendum on Ukraine in Holland. They continue to interfere in the US midterms and they have been meddling in all sorts of local elections in Eastern Europe. and the post-Soviet space,” he said. “So why wouldn’t they interfere in Israeli elections when Israel is so important to their strategic interests?”

Asked why Israel is of interest to Russia, Zaslavskiy, who is Jewish and immigrated to the United States from Russia as a young adult, said that “Israel is of strategic importance to the Kremlin  — because Israel is actually one of the forces that could contain Russia, could prevent some of the abuses that Russians are carrying out.”

He cited, for instance, developments in Syria. “Israel is not a great friend of Assad, but now the Israeli government has sort of accepted that Russians uphold him and have got a foothold in Syria,” he said. Asked how things could have been different, Zaslavskiy replied “Israel could have been more vocal and critical about Russia’s role in Syria.”

This December 11, 2017 photo shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Syrian President Bashar Assad watching troops march at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

More generally, “you could have expelled some of the Russian oligarchs, you could have prevented some of the money laundering,” he said. “You could actually impose some sanctions on Russia and limit their influence in your country.”

Why hadn’t that happened? During a deeply disconcerting interview in the US capital Zaslavskiy offered some insights. And as the conversation developed, he moved rapidly beyond election meddling to a wider, nightmare vision of an ascendant Russia, with Western democracies weakened and outflanked. Regarding Israel specifically, he described covert, Russian-led processes already unfolding that he believes are undermining the rule of law and democracy itself, and set out specific measures that he believes must urgently be taken if the decline is to be halted and contained.

An existential danger

Zaslavskiy believes that both Israel and the West face an existential danger from Russia unless the problem of covert and overt Russian influence is fully acknowledged and decisive measures are taken to combat it. He says most of the West fails to grasp the gravity of the threat, which includes not just efforts to meddle in elections but the exporting of corruption and criminality from post-Soviet countries to the West, thereby undermining democracy itself.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 11, 2018. (AFP/ Pool/Yuri Kadobnov)

In a recent report for the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative entitled “How Non-State Actors Export Kleptocratic Norms to the West,” Zaslavskiy argues that the West did not in fact win the Cold War and that its norms and values, like democracy and the rule of law, are very much in peril.

“When the Soviet empire collapsed in 1991, it was widely believed that Western-style democracy and liberal capitalism based on free elections, separation of powers and the rule of law would eventually take root in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other regions emerging from the Cold War,” he writes. “Even when ex-Communist Party leaders and representatives of Soviet security services returned to power throughout the former Soviet Union (FSU) in the late 1990s to mid-2000s, mainstream political thought never once doubted the inevitability of democracy’s march across the globe. Experts debated speed and direction, but rarely questioned the ultimate destination.”

The West has largely failed to export its democratic norms and is instead witnessing an increasingly coordinated assault on its own value system

In reality, Zaslavskiy goes on, “the West has largely failed to export its democratic norms and is instead witnessing an increasingly coordinated assault on its own value system. This destructive import of corrupt practices and norms comes not only from post-Soviet kleptocratic regimes like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia, but also from China and other countries around the world whose ruling elites now possess far-reaching financial and political interests in the West.”

The new norms being exported to the West, which he dubs neo-Gulag norms, include the idea that those in power are the only real and rightful decision-makers and that the rest are ultimately “prison dust.”

Another such norm, he writes, is that “everything and everyone is for sale, or at least susceptible to manipulation or some form of control.” And finally, the Russian ruling elite believes that “individual human life does not matter anywhere, unless it is someone from their inner circle or equally as powerful as they are.”

The Times of Israel sat down with Zaslavskiy at a cafe in Washington, DC, to discuss the connections between Putin, Israel, organized crime, election meddling and the decline of democracy in the West.

The Times of Israel: There has been a lot of talk about Russian influence campaigns and Russian interference in elections. What aspect of this threat do you think people in the West are failing to grasp?

Ilya Zaslavskiy: They are failing to grasp two main things. First they think that the corruption, criminality and anti-democratic developments that happen in a place like Russia have very little to do with their own life or their own country. That’s the first delusion.

Today, everything is so much more integrated. When criminal groups supported by security services are allowed to do things in their own country, they immediately export their practices and values to the West, to safe havens where they can actually not only keep their money but can continue their activities.

There are many oligarchs of Jewish background from the post-Soviet space, from Russia, Kazakhstan and the Caucasus, who earned their money in a very dirty way in the 1990s and 2000s, and now they’ve moved to Israel

The second thing people fail to realize is that, unlike during the Cold War, there are open channels of business that these kleptocrats can exploit to export their norms and practices legally.

You see a lot of money from kleptocratic countries pouring into the West and paying for lawyers, lobbyists, PR people, even journalists, as well as former security people and security companies. In Soviet times this was not possible. Today, a Russian kleptocrat can continue his criminal activities in the West in broad daylight, without being prosecuted and hardly being covered by the press.

How might this be happening in Israel, and how might Israelis not be aware of it?

There are many oligarchs of Jewish background from the post-Soviet space, from Russia, Kazakhstan and the Caucasus, who earned their money in a very dirty way in the 1990s and 2000s, and now they’ve moved to Israel.

Some have Israeli citizenship and operate abroad and some operate in Israel. It’s not only that they have a luxurious lifestyle, throw fancy parties and buy amazing real estate. That’s another delusion in the West. Many Westerners believe that oligarchs bring their dirty money to their new country but merely as consumers.

In fact, they start to invest in assets — in strategic assets, in politics and in newspapers.

The vast majority of oligarchs can be hired on an ad-hoc basis by the Russian state or Kazakh state, and can be exploited for political purposes by this kleptocratic state.

I recently co-authored a report — “How to Select Russian Oligarchs for New Sanctions?” — that explains why and under what criteria the US government should add oligarchs like the Alfa Group oligarchs to sanctions.

There are very powerful figures with lots of money, lobbyists and PR support in Israel. [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu shows up at events with some of them.

Let’s say you have an oligarch who is close to Putin. What would they be doing in Israel? Why should Israelis care?

They can do multiple things. First, they can normalize Kremlin narratives about Israeli interests.

For example, the way they present Russia’s place in the Syrian conflict, in relations with enemies of Israel like Iran, or concerning the Soviet diaspora in Israel.

I’m sure they help promote Kremlin propaganda about the Second World War and Russia’s [ostensibly] almost exclusive role defeating the Nazis. And they peddle the Jewish veterans’ theme with the orange and black St. George ribbon. It’s a ribbon that commemorates the Soviet victory over Nazism that has come to be associated with Russian propaganda against Ukraine and against the West — how the West never really stood up to the Nazis, for example. These are not just historical narratives; they are very useful for today’s politics.

Above and photo at top: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, on May 9, 2018. Both men are wearing the orange and black St. George ribbon (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

But the other thing oligarchs can do in Israel is to co-opt the elite, under the guise of cultural and charity events. They can throw fancy parties with caviar and beautiful women and invite politicians. They have held these receptions around Western capitals. I have followed some of these in London, as well as here in Washington.

Why would a Russian oligarch own a newspaper or TV station?

They may have financial interests and hope to make money but for many of them it is not done for commercial purposes. The reason is to support politicians through the media, and that allows you to get a foothold in the government. You do nice things for the government and then they do nice things for you in return. You establish a relationship and it’s a long-term thing.

It’s all very interconnected. The payback is not immediate but it’s a very solid investment.

Let’s say a Russian oligarch moves to Israel and starts investing in all kinds of businesses and giving money to charity. Why not just assume he’s retired?

No one from that world of state security or organized crime is off the hook because the Russian state has too much compromising material on them, as well as incentives. Also, if you don’t comply you can be eliminated. There is now a book on how Putin most likely ordered killings of dozens of people inside Russia and outside Russia who did not comply with his interests, including from his own security services or organized crime.

A file photo taken on September 14, 2004, shows Alexander Litvinenko (L), a former Russian intelligence agent, speaking at a press conference in London. (AFP PHOTO / MARTIN HAYHOW)

For example, he first used polonium not on Alexander Litvinenko but most likely on Roman Tsepov, who was part of the organized crime group in St. Petersburg in the 1990s that allegedly worked closely with Putin during his rise to power. It’s easier for anyone to comply. There are many oligarchs abroad that he uses on an ad-hoc basis. It’s switch on, switch off. It’s not too demanding or too crazy, and it’s actually acceptable to most of these people.

What’s the connection between the Russian state and organized crime?

In Soviet times there were three worlds that were distinct — with separate, even contradictory, goals. There was the Communist Party, the security services and organized crime. Organized crime was more or less antagonistic to the Soviet regime.

Organized crime and its networks have become part of the Kremlin’s political instruments abroad, including in Israel

Under Putin these three worlds collided and fused and learned from each other. Security services now oversee the businesses of organized criminal groups. Organized criminal groups carry out the political building and conduct operations for the Kremlin. The ideology of the Communist Party was thrown down the drain but the cynical and pragmatic practices, like co-opting the far right, co-opting the far left, co-opting Christianity or Judaism, remained.

You co-opt whoever is important to you in any given country. You can even contradict yourself in different countries but just divide and rule through all these channels — through ideology, through organized criminal groups, through corruption. Organized crime and its networks have become part of the Kremlin’s political instruments abroad, including in Israel.

If there were a Georgian or Russian oligarch who wanted to open hundreds of call centers throughout Israel and scam people abroad out of money, is that something that co-opting the elite would allow them to do?

Yes. But compared to corruption in Russia which involves billions for a single road or pipeline, binary options and forex are a relatively small-scale fraud. Russia as a state is also involved in hacking and dodgy cryptocurrencies; we now know that for a fact from Robert Mueller’s investigation. Russia as a state, especially its security services and associated oligarchs, are involved in all sorts of dodgy things, including in the digital realm.

Someone like Putin would not follow specific criminal activities like binary options, but he sits at the top of a pyramid and there might be levies that make their way from an Israel-based criminal enterprise all the way to the top.

Why would a Georgian or Russian criminal decide to put call centers in Israel of all places?

For a variety of reasons. Corrupt Russian money penetrates any vulnerable spot in the world. The criminality has not just penetrated Israel. It’s in Europe, in Asia, the Middle East and the US.

Why do there seem to be many Jewish oligarchs?

It’s a very useful topic to anti-Semitic circles and it’s not true. Maybe in the late 80s and 90s indeed there were a lot, perhaps too many, visible Jewish oligarchs because of the legacy of the Soviet era and tsarism. Jews had been marginalized and pushed into the black market. They traditionally had math skills, due to the way they were raised, and they helped each other, as does any minority network; ethnic minorities tend to help each other.

Under Putin, I think it’s a specific propaganda tool to expose Jewish oligarchs much more than the rest of the oligarchs. “Oligarch” is actually no longer a useful term in my view, because it suggests that they still have some power. They lost all their power to Putin. Their only currency today is loyalty, it’s not dollars.

Half of the major Jewish events that I see here in Washington, the fancy ones where you can co-opt elites, are co-sponsored by Russian oligarchs

Whatever dollars they have in their accounts can be taken away from them at a snap. Yes, they can store their money offshore but they can’t stop working for the Kremlin. Most of them still own too much in Russia and there are too many hooks and levers on them.

There is no distinction between public and private property in Russia. Everything is owned in one way or another by the Kremlin. So the money that they give as donations, very often they are asked to give the donation. And they have no choice but to give it.

Actually, the Russian state tries to present some of these oligarchs as if they are no longer with the regime, as if they are now in the West. It’s all very misleading. I could count actual Russian oligarchs who are completely removed from the Russian state with one hand.

What about Leonid Nevzlin?

Well, Nevzlin is one of the exceptions. He was ousted from Russia. Mikhail Khodorkovsky too.

I don’t like the term oligarch. I prefer the term handlers, operatives, maybe agents, rich agents. Many of them are actually front men for the money that they ostensibly have. It’s not actually considered fully their money. I’m sure they’re representing some of the Kremlin money, just under the guise of it being their money.

Just to return to your question about the Jewish oligarchs. Currently there are many rich and powerful security people around Putin. They are mostly Russian or a variety of nationalities, but they are secretive and very well protected. Some of the federal ministers as well. Most of the Russian Duma and government are millionaires. They’re just officials but they have the lifestyle of a mini-oligarch.

Should we feel sorry for the oligarchs? It sounds like they can’t escape their gilded cages.

Well some of them managed to escape and these are very exceptional, but obviously at a very high cost to themselves.

There are actually many whistleblowers and refugees from the Russian regime, some of them reformed, some of them not. London has a lot of people like that. Some of them managed to take out some money while others didn’t. They lost a lot, some involuntarily because they fell out of the system. Only few deserve any kind of empathy. Otherwise it’s a very complicated and dark world.

Why do oligarchs give so much money to Jewish and Israeli charities, especially religious ones?

It’s co-option and soft power, and they may be even be using these charities to give political donations.

For themselves, it’s reputation-laundering and legitimacy. It also allows them to advance narratives that are useful to the Kremlin — like about World War II.

If you look at the list of art galleries, museums, and all sorts of Jewish organizations, in New York, Europe and Israel that are associated with Putin’s oligarchs, you will be absolutely amazed

For instance, this whole debate about Ukraine. Russia tries to say the current government is a Nazi government, and how all of western Ukraine and their parties are anti-Semitic, how the West opened a second front in World War II at too late a stage and did not help Russia. The Kremlin can co-opt Jews to promote these narratives.

And then there are the May 9th celebrations [V-Day, commemorating the surrender of the Nazis in 1945] by Russia around the world, including in Israel on a large scale now.

Funding Jewish charities also gives them access to people. If you have a high-level event at the Metropolitan Museum or the Museum of Jewish History, you get access to politicians so you can co-opt them. If you look at the list of art galleries, museums, and all sorts of Jewish organizations, in New York, Europe and Israel that are associated with Putin’s oligarchs, you will be absolutely amazed and stunned. MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum, operas, Carnegie Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Gallery. The list is endless.

Half of the major Jewish events that I see here in Washington, the fancy ones where you can co-opt elites, are co-sponsored by Russian oligarchs.

I’m sure that Russian oligarchs have managed to co-opt many politicians in Israel.

Look at [the rise in Russia of] Chabad. People in Chabad say, “We are just promoting the Jewish legacy. At least there is no anti-Semitism under Putin.” They find all sorts of excuses [to be supportive of Putin]. Before Putin, Chabad was a marginal group, at least in the former Soviet Union.

Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman seen with Russian-Israeli World War II veterans, as they take part in the Veterans Day parade in honor of the Allies’ victory over Nazi Germany, at the Knesset. May 8, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash 90)

What is the Russian ruling class’s goal in Israel?

To create an environment — a political environment and economic environment — where it’s too difficult for Israel to resist some of the strategic interests of the Kremlin in the region. Not to oppose Russia’s interests.

But they’re also interested in subverting democracy. A strategic goal for the next few years is to subvert democracy in the West. In some ways they have already succeeded, and the appetite comes with food, as they say. So once they subvert democracy, the goal is to advance more corruption, more vested interests and then just turn the whole West into a corrupt world.

Why do they want to turn the West into a corrupt world?

Because then you can engage in what Russians love, which is realpolitik. Whoever is strong gets his own zone of influence and no one else can interfere. Russia would like to divide the world into zones of interest.

Look at what they did with influencing the American elections and possibly Brexit.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L) and US President Donald Trump talk as they attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017. (AFP/Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev)

By the time of the 2016 elections in the United States, Russians already had all sorts of Putin understanders and supporters in the press, in the lobbying groups, in business circles, in chambers of commerce, among politicians, even in Congress. They have all these people who are associated with Russia through attending events at the Russian Embassy, going to conferences in Russia and Europe, sitting on boards of Russian companies or galleries associated with Russian money. It’s all done through open channels.

There are several think tanks in Washington which are completely subverted by Russians and that put forward narratives useful to the Kremlin about everything — from Ukraine, to Israel, to corruption. That acts as a force against an independent press, independent thinking, because you can pollute the whole policymaking and debating environment

They also influence think tanks and their debates and narratives about Russia. There are several think tanks in Washington, for example, which are completely subverted by Russians and that put forward narratives useful to the Kremlin about everything — from Ukraine, to Israel, to corruption — and that acts as a force against an independent press, independent thinking, because you can pollute the whole policymaking and debating environment.

Why does Putin want to destroy democracy? Because it competes with his patronage system?

Yes. If I had to judge, I think it’s just his enormous lust for power and he’s a control freak. He just can’t get enough. But maybe, some people suggest that his circle pressures him. I would imagine they pressure each other and it’s a constant game of power, so he has to stay afloat and show benefits.

You’ve said you think journalists are not writing enough about Putin and his oligarchs?

I see it as a huge problem that the Western press is just incapable of covering many of these topics. The press has been marginalized by the internet, so it’s a global trend. Newspapers have lower budgets, they struggle more for advertising, there is much more private and partisan ownership of media outlets. These are all global trends but they influence coverage on Russia also.

Even high-level, big outlets like The New York Times and Guardian face extremely aggressive, litigious teams of lawyers and lobbyists of these oligarchs who have infinite pockets and can afford long legal fights.

Many newspapers don’t have proper foreign country correspondents. If they do, they have to write quick articles, like one per week without delving into difficult topics. Then there is a vicious cycle where complicated cases about Russia are not covered in the West and so there is no interest about them. And since there is no interest there is no coverage.

The first stage is that you lose transparency, democracy and good governance. Israel is already losing that

Very often I found that I wasn’t able to put important topics out there just because it was too complicated for the journalist to write. Not even because of libel issues or because of time constraints. He or she would say, “My editor will not take it through because it’s too complicated. It delves too much into Russian detail.”

Most amazingly, most major media outlets do not have a full-time Russian translator and researcher who can fully devote his or her time to the most basic background research for the few investigative journalists that these outlets struggle to support.

What will happen to Israel if it does nothing about the corrupt kleptocratic influence you describe?

The first stage is that you lose transparency, democracy and good governance. Israel is already losing that. There is no longer separation of powers. There is prevalence of the executive. There is organized crime and no one takes action against it. The police do nothing. This is the first step.

Israel may give up many of its positions in Syria very soon. I can’t exclude that.

What definitely will happen if we continue on the current trajectory is that the entire West will turn into some kind of Hong Kong. where superficially it is democracy. It has some kind of elections, it looks capitalist and there is modern technology, but in reality a corrupt, non-democratic government actually runs it.

For the average person what does that mean? That you’re either a criminal or you’re poor?

Exactly, if you don’t become part of the corrupt network, you’re much worse off. You’ll be on the sidelines, as happens now in post-Soviet states. There will be growing income inequality, shady deals, no social mobility and all these problems that are associated with semi-corrupt authoritarian states.

There may still be some semblance of democracy. The press will do fewer and fewer investigations and more entertainment and brainwashing. It will be much more partisan — so the only differences of opinion you can get is from vested interests, not from independent and objective civil society.

What can be done?

It’s a very harsh, difficult choice. The first step is acknowledgement of what is going on, followed by investigations and revelations of all these things.

I am not even sure what can trigger such acknowledgement and exposure. Even the meddling in US elections has not triggered the United States enough, although at least something is happening.

After this acknowledgement happens, you need a very robust policy of containment. There is no other choice.

People walking near Red Square in Moscow, Russia. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Some money flows have to be stopped; some people have to be kicked out of your country, or even stripped of their Western citizenship. There must be much stricter anti-money laundering and due diligence of companies, and auditors should hire Russian or Georgian or Chinese translators to look into the background of people trying to buy assets in the West.

Security services have to have a major say in any strategic purchase related to security, defense or the national interest.

And then obviously there should be more funds for independent investigative reporters. I am friends with an organization called the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). They tell me that to train one proper investigative journalist and to keep him safe and to keep him protected from libel suits, you have to have a budget of about $300,000 a year, maybe $400,000.

If your readers care about Israel, about keeping it democratic, there should definitely be some civil society efforts

When societies start investing in investigative journalism like that, that’s when the job will be done. And it can’t be one investigative journalist. You have to have dozens.

If your readers care about Israel, about keeping it democratic, there should definitely be some civil society efforts, some donations, some Kickstarters. Ultimately people should understand that this will hit them back in terms of their own welfare and their access to democratic institutions, but ultimately even economically.

It could happen in very unexpected ways. Your child could end up in a war with Syria, or some conflict instigated by Russia somewhere in the world. In a way this is a repetition of the 1930s. No one thought that events in Nazi Germany would have any repercussions for the United States. But then the country ended up fighting the Germans when it was too late.

Could this covert Russian influence constitute a factor in a future Israeli war?

The West is like a small clean lake, or relatively clean lake, in the middle of a swamp. And the floodgates have been opened

What people in general in the West should understand is that the West and NATO are now becoming a minority force in the world; the power of the United States is declining. These large authoritarian states are taking over if not the world then at least Eurasia, countries like China and Malaysia that are not going to become democratic any time soon. The richer they get, the more authoritarian and the more aggressive and expansionist they become.

Democratic countries are becoming like an oasis in the desert. A better metaphor is that the West is like a small clean lake, or relatively clean lake, in the middle of a swamp. And the floodgates have been opened. It’s not like the small lake will clean up the swamp. It’s the other way around. So unless you close the doors and put some filters in place, you will be taken over as a swamp as well.

It won’t be easy. Consumption in the West will have to be scaled back from those money flows from Eurasia. Some industries will have to suffer, especially those that benefit from gas and oil contracts, as well as lobbyists, PR people, lawyers, all offshore accountants and real estate people. They will have to suffer; they will not make as much money.

But the society as a whole will benefit and be able to hold on to its values, like due diligence and good governance.

In terms of Israel specifically, if this does not happen, then I think the NATO alliance will be marginalized and might have to be involved in conflicts it doesn’t want. And then Israel will be much more on its own against its foes, and might not receive as much American help as it might hope to in such circumstances.

So all this has direct security implications for Israel as a society, and Israel as a state, unfortunately.

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3.    A Dire Warning to Christians About Donald Trump, http://www.jesusisprecious.org/wolves/donald_trump.htm;
4.    American Evangelicals Have Been Hoodwinked Into a Big Lie About Israel and the Rapture, https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/american-evangelicals-have-been-hoodwinked-big-lie-about-israel-and-rapture/ri24342;
5.    CAN TRUMP TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRUTH AND HIS LIES? https://www.newsweek.com/trump-difference-truth-lies-552292;
6.    Donald Trump would be the worst president in American history, http://theweek.com/articles/630092/donald-trump-worst-president-american-history;
7.    Donald Trump, False Prophets, and Why You’re Struggling to See God, http://www.thepalmerperspective.com/2017/01/12/donald-trump-false-prophets-and-why-youre-struggling-to-see-god/;
8.    Here’s A Running List Of President Trump’s Lies And Other Bullshit, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/maryanngeorgantopoulos/president-trump-lie-list;
9.    Investigative journalist tells MSNBC how ‘Trump Tower became a cathedral of money laundering’, https://www.rawstory.com/2018/08/investigative-journalist-tells-msnbc-trump-tower-became-cathedral-money-laundering/;
10.    Many false prophets are throughout America, https://z3news.com/w/false-prophets-america/;
11.    Please Stop With The Donald Trump Prophecies! https://endtimeheadlines.org/2016/08/please-stop-with-the-donald-trump-prophecies/;
12.    Prophecy as propaganda: the Trump prophecies as political persuasion, http://www.mentoringprophets.com/2016/12/prophecy-as-propaganda-trump-prophecies.html;
13.    Renowned Economist Rips Trump As A Gibbering, ‘Delusional’ Threat, https://www.gardenweb.com/discussions/5332761/renowned-economist-rips-trump-as-a-gibbering-delusional-threat;
14.    The Mark Taylor – Trump Prophecy is a Delusion, http://watchmanscry.com/?p=6326;
15.    The myth and the reality of Donald Trump’s business empire, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/29/the-myth-and-the-reality-of-donald-trumps-business-empire/;
16.    The terrible truth about Trump’s latest assault on immigrants, http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/terrible-truth-trump-latest-assault-immigrants-article-1.4017625;
17.    The True Face Of The Dalai Lama, http://www.ascertainthetruth.com/att/index.php/comparative-religion/where-religions-differ/717-the-true-face-of-the-dalai-lama;
18.    THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP’S EXTREME ANTI-IMMIGRANT CAMPAIGN, https://www.splcenter.org/news/2018/06/22/ugly-truth-about-president-trumps-extreme-anti-immigrant-campaign;
19.    The uncomfortable truth about Christian support for Trump, https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/the-uncomfortable-truth-about-christian-support-for-trump;
20.    The World Can’t Afford Donald Trump: Narcissist-in-Chief, https://www.politicususa.com/2015/12/02/world-donald-trump-narcissist-in-chief.html;
21.    Trump an Asset of the Russian Government? http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50064.htm;
22.    Trump Supporters Aren’t Stupid. They’re Foolish, http://thefederalist.com/2016/05/18/trump-supporters-arent-stupid-theyre-foolish/;
23.    Trump’s Lies vs. Your Brain, https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/donald-trump-lies-liar-effect-brain-214658;
24.    What’s Wrong With The News These Days? https://www.opednews.com/articles/What-s-Wrong-With-The-News-by-Samuel-Vargo-Fake-Media_Media_Media-And-Democracy_President-180817-426.html;
25.    Why are Trump’s lies not ruinous to him? http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-met-grossman-trump-lies-supporters-20180621-story.html;
26.    Why Do Trump Voters Believe His Lies? https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-do-trump-voters-believe-his-lies-heres-a-hint_us_58d9389ae4b0f633072b3a1b.
Sadly such a deluded, demented and deranged fool has his followers which lead to this question, “Who’s the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?” as he is leading that deluded, demented and deranged part of the world, America(ns) and westernized oriental Chinese, Hong Kong Chinese, Japanese, Singapore Chinese and Taiwanese Chinese fools to wage wicked wars against the other part of the world from Turkey, Russia, Iran to China. So gullible are those Americans which should serve as a warning to wise Americans NOT to follow every and any false prophets and their false prophecies! Pity the fools, and pray to our Father God of truth to lead and guide us by His Spirit of truth and word of truth to the way of truth, the only path to life!
Thanks, most gratefully & sincerely yours,
_________________________________
The Way of Truth is the Only Path to Life!
———————————————————————–
On Sun, 8/19/18, John Robles <[email protected]> wrote:
Subject: Don’t let them erase us from history
To: “John Robles” <[email protected]>
Date: Sunday, August 19, 2018, 10:49 PM
Dear Friends,
The Globalist criminals are getting bolder and bolder in Moscow but although they believe they are pounding nails into our coffin they opposite is true. Yesterday for no reason at all we were blocked on VK, right after I reached 4,000 followers/friends. Coincidence? No… Then today I found out that all of the audio for my years of interviews at the Voice of Russia have been deleted as have all the audio files of the thousand so of radio shows and journalistic work that was done by the Voice of Russia World Service. I have curated all of my work and have reserves and will now be uploading all of the interviews onto our server. This is a huge load on the server and is temporary. We need to buy a second server for these files and as a reserve because if anything happens to ours we are done. Some of you on this list have interviews I am hosting and this should worry you as well.In short they are trying to re-write history and cover-up 911 and Israeli Saudi crimes. I have found some never before published interviews such as this one with Dr Scott Bennet… It was my last interview with the VOR and if you listen as I just did you will understand why. We exposed their entire house of cards and Dr Bennet did it as only he could. You can listen and download and spread for free here http://www.jar2.com/Interviews/Scott_Bennett.html and stay tuned for new downloadable files and interviews here: http://www.jar2.com/Interviews/All_Interviews.html I encourage all of you to spread and share and download these interviews as they will simply disappear forever if anything happens to my server or me. Rebroadcast, publish, quote, use anyway you want just include a link and a request to support our fight. These are my 100% legal intellectual property and you have my permission to use and spread…If you do broadcast or republish please send me a link and I will place it on the appropriate page. To describe what it is like to watch as you are erased from history is something that I can not describe but which I ask you to help prevent.Sincerely your friend in truth,
John Robles
Found this too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_granted_asylum
__________________________________________
On Sat, 8/18/18, John Robles <[email protected]> wrote:
Subject: Please read and help the fight for truth
To: “John Robles” <[email protected]>
Date: Saturday, August 18, 2018, 1:52 PM
Dear All,Best of the day to all of you. I am writing to you all to ask those of you in the USA to please remember that we are human beings over here and that the Internet as a means of communication belongs to the entire world. I also ask you to remember that even though me and my family have asylum in Russia we are still human beings and we were forced to leave and continue to be targeted for attempting to expose the crimes of an illegal, unconstitutional government in the US that is not of the people. These global attempts by the US and the Shadow Government of the Corporation to hide their crimes by dumbing down the populace and silencing anyone who threatens to expose them is a clear and unarguable indication that you are, and we are living in a world that has been taken over by lunatics whose only agenda is securing global domination for themselves.We have human rights and basic rights as human beings and those rights for me and my family continue to be violated even though we have asylum in Russia. This has being brought home for us again with a block from VK which is now owned by someone who fled Russia and is now a UK citizen and is helping in the insane campaign of the elites to demonize and destroy Russia.  As a human being I have a right to make a living and I count on 6the Internet to do so, it is also my only voice therefore it is also a violation of my human right to have a voice. As a journalist this censorship is a violation of my right to perform my responsibility to inform. The criminals have divided the people and politicized the demonization of anyone who threatens to expose them. Something I have been doing for years but that is my responsibility as a journalist and my right to perform that function outweighs their right to hide their crimes. I have defended Alex Jones, even though he even put out weird KGB theories, but that is his right as a journalist and that is his human right to express his opinion. Alex was one of the few who took the pizzagate evidence and put the pieces together and tried to inform the people. He lost his children, then he became the subject of a witch hunt and was forced to politicize himself either by supporting Trump or Clinton when all he was doing was trying to shed light into dark corners.Documents showing plans by a US installed nazi junta for a nuclear False Flag that will poison the water supplies for millions of innocent people is NEWS! You must be informed and you would not know about this if it wasn’t for me and JAR2. We have a right to exist and the truth has a right to exist even when it is an inconvenient one for globalist criminals who have made their prosperity dependent on cannibalizing the people and countries of the world. You may not agree with the “politically inconvenience” of some of the truth we publish but you must agree with the inalienable basic human right and journalistic right to publish that truth. I beg you all to please support the site and spread awareness that we exist.Thank you!
——————————————————————————————
On Fri, 8/17/18, Changshi Yang <[email protected]> wrote:
Subject: Know & love the way of truth against powerful delusion!
Date: Friday, August 17, 2018, 9:30 AM
Hi John, Hopefully Truthers are of help to expose the truth of the lie! Hi Bro Chuck & Truthers, Satanists take pleasure in printing and marketing their subverted satanic scripture perversions which then cause powerful delusion that let them carry out disinformation warfare with false flags and fake news as they, the real enemies, use deflection to divert attention to their enemies as the enemies with seemingly innocuous insidious insinuations that let them have the whole nation’s focus on the supposed enemies as in this created Russophobia and Sinophobia while they, the real enemies get away with war crimes committed ostensibly in the name of Russia and China which then get the blame for those wicked white vatican satanists racists plotters murderers globalists wicked wars waged against humanity! Know and love the way of truth against powerful delusion to believe the lie! Here are what the fake armageddon plan and project weapon is all about:
1. Iran faces devastating US secret ‘SHOCK and AWE’ war plan that can be deployed in HOURS,
http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=174729;
2. Project Armageddon Weapon, http://xmenrebirth.wikia.com/wiki/Project_Armageddon;
3. The Armageddon Plan, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2004/03/the-armageddon-plan/302902/;
4. The Cosmic False Flag, http://www.reportingthetruth.com/the-cosmic-false-flag-ufo-experts-claim-shadow-government-will-fake-alien-invasion-to-gain-total-control-over-humanity/;
5. The Neocon Zionist Plan for an Apocalyptic War in the Mideast, http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=97577;
6. WW3 ALERT: Israel’s Death Wish and Fake Armageddon, http://themillenniumreport.com/2018/05/apartheid-state-of-israel-determined-or-destined-to-trigger-armageddon/http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=99151. How then can U.S. be blessed when it help God’s enemies, Israel claiming that those who bless it will be blessed. Now after 70 years blessing Israel, ask: is America blessed or cursed in the state it is in now!
Thanks, most gratefully & sincerely yours,
___________________________________________
Know & love the way of truth against powerful delusion!  ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Donald Trump Pulling Security Clearance Is Dangerous Act Of “Foreign Tyrants And Despots” – Update

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD)

 

Ex-CIA Chief: Donald Trump Pulling Security Clearance Is Dangerous Act Of “Foreign Tyrants And Despots” – Update

John Brennan

UPDATED with John Brennan’s MSNBC interview: “I’ve seen this type of behavior and actions on the part of foreign tyrants and despots and autocrats for many, many years during my CIA and national security career,” former CIA director John Brennan told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace on Wednesday after President Donald Trump pulled his security clearance.  The move came the day after Brennan chastised Trump on Twitter for having called his former White House liaison office communications director a “dog.”

“I never ever thought I would see it here in the United States.”

Trump is sending a message to others who currently hold security clearances within the government, that they had better not say anything critical of POTUS or with which he disagrees, Brennan said in the phone interview.

All Americans need to take stock of “what is happening right now in our government and how abnormal and irresponsible and dangerous these actions are,” he said.

Before talking to MSNBC, Brennan tweeted his response to Trump’s announcement he was pulling his security clearance, and mulling doing same to many more Trump critics.

“This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics,” Brennan charged in his chilling tweet.

“It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances,” he added.

Trump’s stunning announcement, in which he also threatened to pull security clearances of other critics, comes the day after Brennan blasted Trump’s tweet calling former White House liaison director Omarosa Manigault Newman a “dog.”

“It’s astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity,” Brennan said yesterday in a tweet.

“Seems like you will never understand what it means to be president, nor what it takes to be a good, decent, & honest person. So disheartening, so dangerous for our Nation.”

Appearing last night on MSNBC, Brennan elaborated, saying Trump has “badly sullied the reputation of the office of the presidency with his invective.” Calling Trump the most divisive president in history, Brennan added, “he is feeding and fueling hatred and animosity and misunderstandings among Americans.”

Brennan’s afternoon tweet in response to having his security clearance pulled by POTUS:

John O. Brennan

@JohnBrennan

This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.

NBC News

@NBCNews

BREAKING: President Trump is revoking former CIA Director and high-profile Trump critic John Brennan’s security clearance, White House says. https://nbcnews.to/2w9hobN 

Omarosa Secret Tapes Of Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman secretly recorded some conversations with President Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly before her departure. 

Columnist August 13 at 4:52 PM 

It’s hard to take Omarosa Manigault Newman’s word for anything. But Lordy, she has tapes, and they offer vivid proof that Donald Trump’s White House is part clown show, part nest of vipers.
Omarosa achieved single-name fame as a contestant on Trump’s show “The Apprentice,” where she performed with Shakespearean villainy — lying, cheating, backstabbing, viciously advancing her own interests and sabotaging her rivals. Trump evidently found all of this admirable, because he insisted on bringing her into his administration as a top-level adviser despite her utter lack of experience and qualifications. They deserve each other.
It is no surprise that she wrote a tell-all book after being fired. It’s shocking, however, that she managed to secretly record her dismissal by White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly — an encounter that took place in the Situation Room, meant to be a super-secure bunker where the nation’s most closely guarded secrets can safely be discussed.
Omarosa’s recording of part of that meeting was aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” In it, Kelly is heard making what sounds very much like a threat:
“I think it’s important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure, we can all be, you know, we can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation. And then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.”
If that wasn’t clear enough, Omarosa subsequently received a generous offer. She could receive $15,000 a month to perform vaguely defined duties for Trump’s reelection campaign. But she would have to sign a nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreement pledging not to say detrimental things about President Trump, Vice President Pence or their family members.


Omarosa Manigault Newman. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

She declined the offer but kept the documents she was asked to sign — and showed them to The Post last week.
On Monday, appearing on the “Today” show, she revealed a recording of a phone call she said she received from Trump the day after she was fired. “Omarosa, what’s going on?” Trump is heard to ask. “I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving. What happened?”
When she tells him she was axed, Trump claims ignorance. “Nobody even told me about it,” he says. “You know they run a big operation, but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know that. Goddammit. I don’t love you leaving at all.”
Shortly after that tape was aired, Trump lashed out on Twitter:
“Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard really bad things. Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work. When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me — until she got fired!”
Trump went on to complain that “the Fake News Media will be working overtime” to make Omarosa seem credible now that she is one of his critics. But that’s certainly not my intent. She strikes me as a rank opportunist whose only allegiance is to herself.
She claims to have realized only recently that Trump is a “racist, misogynist and bigot.” Yet she heard his bigoted attacks against Latino immigrants and still went to work for his campaign. She heard his misogynistic rant about how he sexually assaulted women and still took a job in his administration. She heard his many appeals to white racial grievance and still vigorously defended him, even after Charlottesville.
So no, I’m not inclined to believe anything she claims without documentary evidence to back it up. But the tapes and the documents have not been disputed. Omarosa may not have obtained them honorably, but the old saying is true: There is no honor among thieves.
We don’t know what else might be in the conversations with Trump that lawyer Michael Cohen taped. We don’t know how many other recordings Omarosa might have made. We don’t know who else in the White House might have been keeping their own unauthorized records of conversations and events.
What we do know is why people in Trump’s orbit feel they need such insurance: Dishonor and disloyalty start at the top.
Read more from Eugene Robinson’s archivefollow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook. You can also join him Tuesdays at 1 p.m. for a live Q&A.

Trump’s Russia Admission Is No Mere Scandal. It’s a Betrayal.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BLOOMBERG NEWS AGENCY)

 

Trump’s Russia Admission Is No Mere Scandal. It’s a Betrayal.

Accepting help “to get information on an opponent” was an ugly and unpatriotic act.

So much for national loyalty.

Photographer: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

During a presidential campaign, accepting help from Russia “to get information on an opponent” is an ugly and unpatriotic act. It casts contempt on the countless people who have put their lives on the line for our republic and the principles for which it stands.

In 2007 and 2008, I was honored to work with the campaign of Senator Barack Obama as an occasional, informal adviser. I received plenty of ideas from friends, acquaintances and strangers about how to win the presidency.

No offers of help came from anyone associated with a foreign government. But if they had, my only question would have been this: Do I go directly to the FBI, or do I go to people in a higher position in the campaign, and ask them to go directly to the FBI?

Like many millions of Americans (Republicans and Democrats alike), I had long been hoping that the 2016 meeting at the Trump Tower, including Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer connected with the Kremlin, involved issues of adoption policy (as the White House previously told us).

Last weekend, President Donald Trump disclosed, “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent.”

Americans should never forget that the Soviet Union played a heroic and indispensable role in winning World War II. And Trump is right to insist that the United States has a keen interest in maintaining a peaceful, cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Russia.

But it should go without saying that the highest loyalty of any candidate, and any president, is to his nation, not to electoral victory. The Russian government has been working to weaken, undermine and destabilize our country.

No candidate for high office, and no presidential campaign, should even think about accepting Russia’s help “to get information on an opponent.”

This conclusion is not merely a matter of common sense. It is linked with the deepest fears of those who founded our nation. Many people are puzzled by the constitutional provision limiting eligibility for the presidency to “natural born” citizens. But it attests to the founders’ desire to ensure something they prized perhaps above all: loyalty.

In the decisive debates over the impeachment clause, James Madison pointed to the risk that a president “might betray his trust to foreign powers.” Focusing on the electoral process itself, George Mason asked, “Shall the man who has practised corruption & by that means procured his appointment in the first instance, be suffered to escape punishment?”

As far as I am aware, there is as yet no evidence that the meeting at Trump Tower had any effect on the 2016 election, or that the president knew about the meeting at the time. But here is a general principle: Successfully enlisting Russia’s help to procure the presidency would count as a high crime or misdemeanor within the meaning of the impeachment clause – whether or not it’s technically a crime within federal law.

But is it a federal crime? Federal law makes it unlawful “to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation . . . from a foreign national.” A contribution includes “any gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office.” Lawyers are now discussing, and disputing, whether “information on an opponent” counts as “anything of value.”

Let’s put the legal niceties to one side. In my view, it was reasonable for President Trump to say that as a matter of principle, professional athletes ought to show respect for the American flag and the national anthem. “E pluribus unum” is the motto on the nation’s seal. It dates from the period of the Revolutionary War.

Seeking Russia’s help, to get “information on an opponent,” is worse than a scandal. It is a betrayal.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Cass Sunstein at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Katy Roberts at [email protected]

If Our President Is Found Guilty Of Treason: Then What? Part 1 of 2

 

For those of you who follow this blog I know that you are aware that I am not a fan of Donald Trump or of Mike Pence. You would also know that I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton, the Republican Party or of the Democratic Party. I believe that all of the fore mentioned are selfish, self-centered, crooked, ego maniacs who care nothing about America or of the people of this Country. I believe that by definition, they are all guilty of Treason toward the American people and of the Constitution they swore on a Bible to uphold.

 

I looked up the word Treason online to see what Google had to say about the definition of the word and it gave me a couple of responses of which I am going to share with you now.

  1. A violation of allegiance to one’s Sovereign or to one’s State. 2. The betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith, treachery.

In yesterday’s edition of the Washington Post under a column they call their “Truth Checker” it said that since Donald Trump became our President he has averaged telling 7.6 untruths per day. You know something, I really do wish that the American Media Outlets would quit saying “untruths” and simply call them what they are, they are called lies folks. Think about it folks, our own President has averaged lying to you and to me 8 times every day since he took Office. Mr. Trump is averaging lying to us more than 50 per week, every week. How would you feel if your spouse lied to you more than 50 times every week? How about your supervisor at your job? How could you or I be expected to believe a single thing that ever comes out of their mouth? I’m sorry but there is no way I could! I love my wife but if I realized that she was constantly lying to me about basically everything, I would insist she find another place to live, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you feel that you had been betrayed? How in the heck is it any difference with our President, shouldn’t ‘we the people’ insist that Mr. Trump find another place to live, like in the basement in Leavenworth Federal Prison?

 

I have heard several people say that “they just can’t believe that someone has not shot him (Mr. Trump) yet.” I have told them that I believe a much better response by the American people and legal system would be if that whole Trump crew were impeached, imprisoned for life and to have all of their earthly possessions stripper from them, sold to the highest bidder with all of the money being used to pay down the National Debt. I believe that would hurt them much more than lets say, a firing squad. Obviously I believe that President Trump is guilty of several impeachable crimes, including treason against America and our people. Honestly I believe that a Country, any Country, is their people, not their government. I believe that every single day since Mr. Trump became a viable/possible Presidential contender during his Campaign up until this moment that he and several members of his direct family and staff have been committing treason against us, the American people.

 

Folks, now comes the basic question of this letter to you. If the Republican Party, and my glorious Senator Mitch McConnell (Senate majority leader) grows a set, what is next? I know quite a few folks from Indiana including family members who have lived there for decades who have told me over and over again that they believe that Vice President Mike Pence is even more dangerous to the American people than Donald Trump is.  Until Mr. Pence became a VP Candidate I honestly didn’t know a lot about him but what I have seen of him since then has given me no confidence at all in him as a Leader. By the American legal code set up in the U.S. Constitution if Mr. Trump is impeached then Mr. Pence becomes our President. Will that mean that with him America will get “back on track?” Honestly I don’t believe that Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party will do anything toward impeaching Mr. Trump until after the elections this November. I believe that the Republican Party has decided to ‘throw their hat’ in with the President for the Elections this fall. I believe that they will live or die with him until then. Personally I believe that in November the Republicans will lose the House by a large margin, the Senate is the main question. The biggest question will be if the Democrats can pick up two Senate Seats to take over the Leadership of the Senate. If this were to happen I believe that Mr. Trump will be impeached by the Senate. This November only 5 Republican ‘at risk’ Senate Seats are on the Ballot, in the 2020 Presidential Elections more than 20 of these Republican Seats ‘will be at risk.’ If the Republicans lose both Houses this November they will not want to go into that election in 2020 with Mr. Trump in the White House. This is what I believe it will take for the Republicans to vote for impeachment. I also believe that if Mr. Trump is impeached that Mr. Pence, as our new President, will pull a ‘Gerald Ford’ and Pardon him as his first official act as President to ‘help America start to heal.” Question is, can we the American people ever really heal with either the Republicans or the Democrats at the Helm of Our Ship?

NBA players defend LeBron James after President (THE DUMB ASS) Trump tweet

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(DONALD ‘THE DUMB ASS’ TRUMP SHOWS ONCE AGAIN THAT HE IS THE MOST IGNORANT MAN IN AMERICA!)

 

NBA players defend LeBron James after President Trump tweet

LeBron James hasn’t responded to a shot about his intelligence from President Donald Trump, but Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and other fellow NBA players took to Twitter to defend him.

Trump took aim at James in a tweet on Friday night, days after an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon aired in which the Los Angeles Lakers star said he felt that Trump was “using sports to kinda divide us.”

“Sports has never been something that divides people,” James told Lemon. “It’s always been something that brings someone together.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

Trump also appeared to take sides in the LeBron vs. Jordan debate, saying, “I like Mike!”

Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets, issued a statement Saturday backing James.

“I support LJ,” Jordan said in the statement. “He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who was at the league’s NBA Africa Game on Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa, commended James for his work on and off the court.

“LeBron James is one of the all-time greatest NBA players and one of the most accomplished athletes,” Silver told USA Today. “He runs a very successful media company. He’s sent hundreds of students to college and just opened a school in Akron where at-risk students will receive free tuition, meals and transportation.

“I greatly admire his intelligence and business acumen and have enormous respect and appreciation for what he does in his community.”

Other players from around the league, including Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, came to James’ defense on social media after Trump’s tweet.

Karl-Anthony Towns

@KarlTowns

So let me get this straight: Flint, MI has dirty water still, but you worried about an interview about a man doing good for education and generations of kids in his hometown? Shut your damn mouth! Stop using them twitter fingers and get stuff done for our country with that pen.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

Donovan Mitchell

@spidadmitchell

A sign of an insecure human being is one who attacks others to make themselves feel better… im just sad that young kids have to see stupid tweets like these and grow up thinking it’s okay… forget everything else Donald your setting a bad example for kids😑 our future 🤡

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

Stephen Curry

@StephenCurry30

Keep doing you @KingJames! 💪🏽

CNN

@CNN

LeBron James says he thinks the President is using athletics, and athletes, to divide the country — and that’s something he “can’t relate to” https://cnn.it/2M2wutB 

View image on Twitter

Jared Dudley

@JaredDudley619

He’s gotta go!

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

Anthony Tolliver

@ATolliver44

I’ve been silent about ALL of the DUMB stuff this man has tweeted but THIS is attacking the NBA brotherhood and I’m not rollin’! What an embarrassment…

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

Bradley Beal

@RealDealBeal23

Tired of you!

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said the franchise “could not be more proud to have LeBron James as part of our Lakers family.”

“He is an incredibly thoughtful and intelligent leader and clearly appreciates the power that sports has to unite communities and inspire the world to be a better place,” Buss said in a separate statement Saturday. “Those efforts should be celebrated by all.”

Lemon, who conducted the interview with James, also weighed in.

Don Lemon

@donlemon

Who’s the real dummy? A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts kids in cages? https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2018/08/02/lebron-james-i-promise-school-akron-ohio-don-lemon-cnn-tonight.cnn 

LeBron James launches new ‘I Promise’ School – CNN Video

The LeBron James Family Foundation, in collaboration with the Akron Public Schools system, has launched a new school for at-risk 3rd and 4th grader

cnn.com

The LeBron James Family Foundation and the Akron (Ohio) Public Schools on Monday opened a new elementary school for at-risk children in his hometown.

The I Promise School is the culmination of nearly a decade of work by James’ foundation, with its focus on educating children from challenging situations or backgrounds. The school will begin with two grades, third and fourth, with plans to expand in the coming years.

For those who complete the program, which has been operating for years, James has arranged for free tuition to the University of Akron starting in 2021. He also created a program for parents of the at-risk children to return to complete their high school educations, and he has planned an institute to help prepare high-school-age students for college.

In all, James and his foundation leaders hope that more than 1,200 children will pass through the program and into college by 2029.

First lady Melania Trump, in a statement issued Saturday by her spokesperson, would be open to visiting the I Promise School.

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation,” the statement issued by Stephanie Grisham said, “and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”

President Trump traveled to Ohio on Saturday for a campaign rally.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

UN: North Korea Still Building Nuclear Missiles

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

A confidential UN report throws cold water on North Korea’s claim that it is committed to denuclearization

The launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile
The launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile
Uncredited/AP
  • North Korean officials insist that the country is committed to the Singapore agreement, which expressed a need for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
  • A confidential United Nations report argues that North Korea “has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs” and continues to engage in illicit activities in violation of UN sanctions resolutions.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remains optimistic but notes that North Korea’s behavior is “inconsistent” with the pledge North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made to US President Donald Trump at their summit in Singapore.

North Korean officials insist the country is committed to upholding the provisions of the Singapore agreement signed by US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June, but a confidential United Nations report reveals that North Korea “has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs.”

“The [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] stands firm in its determination and commitment for implementing the DPRK-US Joint Statement in a responsible and good-faith manner,” North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said Saturday, arguing that North Korea has demonstrated its goodwill through the moratorium on weapons testing and the dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

North Korea has also released American hostages and began dismantling parts of the Sohae Satellite Launch Station, a facility believed to have played a prominent role in the engine development for one of the new intercontinental ballistic missiles tested for the first time last year. But while Pyongyang has taken certain presumably positive steps, it remains a good distance from reaching the Trump administration’s desired outcome — denuclearization and disarmament. In fact, evidence suggests that North Korea may be moving in the other direction.

A 149-page report analyzing the implementation of United Nations sanctions over a six-month period was submitted to the United Nations Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee late Friday. North Korea “has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and continues to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018,” the document put together by a team of independent experts stated, according to Reuters.

In recent weeks, North Korea has been spotted engaging in activities that cast doubt on its commitment to denuclearize. They include producing possible liquid-fueled ICBMs at a location in Sanum-dong,increasing nuclear fuel production at secret enrichment sites like Kangson, making key infrastructure improvements at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, and expanding an important facility in Hamhung dedicated to the development of solid-fueled ballistic missiles.

It is not just the weapons programs that are troubling, though. The United Nations report notes that not only has North Korea been collaborating with Syria’s military and attempting to sell weapons to the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, but illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum have “increased in scope, scale and sophistication.”

North Korean vessels were involved in at least 89 illegal ship-to-ship transfers between January 1 and May 30, which resulted in the country importing as much as three times the amount permitted by the United Nations, NK News reported , citing US data.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Friday that North Korea’s behavior is inconsistent with Kim Jong Un’s promise to the president.

“Chairman Kim made a commitment to denuclearize,” Pompeo said , “The world demanded that they do so in the UN Security Council resolutions. To the extent they are behaving in a manner inconsistent with that, they are a) in violation of one or both the United Nations Security Council resolutions, and

b) we can see we still have a ways to go to achieve the ultimate outcome we’re looking for.”

Speaking at the Asian Regional Forum Retreat Session in Singapore Saturday, Pompeo urged Southeast Asian nations to maintain the pressure on North Korea by fully implementing sanctions. At the same event, the North Korean foreign minister said Pyongyang is alarmed by US attitudes.

North Korea has not stopped nuclear, missile program: confidential U.N. report

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

 

North Korea has not stopped nuclear, missile program: confidential U.N. report

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – North Korea has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs in violation of United Nations sanctions, according to a confidential U.N. report seen by Reuters on Friday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Pyongyang Trolley Bus Factory and the Bus Repair Factory in Pyongyang, North Korea in this photo released August 4, 2018 by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency. KCNA/ via REUTERS

The six-month report by independent experts monitoring the implementation of U.N. sanctions was submitted to the Security Council North Korea sanctions committee late on Friday.

“(North Korea) has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and continued to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018,” the experts wrote in the 149-page report.

The North Korean mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment on the report.

The U.N report said North Korea is cooperating militarily with Syria and has been trying to sell weapons to Yemen’s Houthis.

Pyongyang also violated a textile ban by exporting more than $100 million in goods between October 2017 and March 2018 to China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey and Uruguay, the report said.

The report comes as Russia and China suggest the Security Council discuss easing sanctions after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met for the first time in June and Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization.

The United States and other council members have said there must be strict enforcement of sanctions until Pyongyang acts.

The U.N. experts said illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products in international waters had “increased in scope, scale and sophistication.” They said a key North Korean technique was to turn off a ship’s tracking system, but that they were also physically disguising ships and using smaller vessels.

The Security Council has unanimously sanctioned North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

The experts said “prohibited military cooperation with the Syrian Arab Republic has continued unabated.” They said North Korean technicians engaged in ballistic missile and other banned activities have visited Syria in 2011, 2016 and 2017.

The report said that experts were investigating efforts by the North Korean Ministry of Military Equipment and Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID) to supply conventional arms and ballistic missiles to Yemen’s Houthi group.

A country, which was not identified, showed the experts a July 13, 2016 letter from a Houthi leader inviting the North Koreans to meet in Damascus “to discuss the issue of the transfer of technology and other matters of mutual interest,” according to the report.

The experts said that the effectiveness of financial sanctions was being systematically undermined by “deceptive practices” of North Korea.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Chris Sanders and Toni Reinhold

Ashley's Blog

Hi, my name is Ashley Ferguson. I feel like my very own blog is a great way to express my thoughts, opinions and experiences in life.

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