Chinese FM urges US not to ‘play with fire’ on Taiwan-related issues

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

 

Chinese FM urges US not to ‘play with fire’ on Taiwan-related issues

Xinhua
Chinese FM urges US not to 'play with fire' on Taiwan-related issues

AFP

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a joint press conference with Hungarian Trade and Foreign Minister on July 12, 2019 in Budapest.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday urged the United States to correctly handle Taiwan-related issues, and not “play with fire.”

Wang made the remarks here when meeting the press with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

The US government, ignoring China’s solemn position and firm opposition, recently approved arms sales to Taiwan, he said, noting that China has lodged solemn representations with the US side.

China is seriously concerned about Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen’s “transit” in the United States, and firmly opposes any official contact between the United States and Taiwan in any form, added the Chinese top diplomat.

Wang noted that “Taiwan independence” separatist activity is against the trend of history and interests of the people across the Taiwan Strait.

It has neither a future nor a way out, and is doomed to fail, he added.

The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affairs and allows no outside interference, Wang said, adding that no one or any force can stop the historical process of reunification between the two sides across the Taiwan Strait, nor should they underestimate the firm will of the Chinese government and people in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

China urges the US side to fully recognize the seriousness of Taiwan-related issues, honor its commitment to the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques with action, and correctly handle Taiwan-related issues in accordance with the important consensus, reached by heads of state of the two countries, on advancing bilateral ties based on coordination, stability, and cooperation, he said.

China urges the United States not to send wrong signals to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces or make any more wrong moves, and not even to “play with fire” on Taiwan-related issues, said the Chinese foreign minister.

Washington would “lift a rock only to drop it on its own feet” if it attempts to make new difficulties and troubles for the China-US relations, he said.

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.

 

The Way of Truth is the Only Path to Life!

The Way of Truth is the Only Path to Life!

Inbox
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Changshi Yang <[email protected]>

Attachments1:01 PM (3 hours ago)

to JohnChuckacharya_sanonymouschristianapfnbibletruthsbonniebrianbrianBTPorderscheryl.jones.jcommentcommentsconniecontactcontactcontactcontactcontactcontactcopyrightdaviddmartinbtdrdavedrjohnsondroberts47dylan.elevene.wooneddie2769editorEmailenewsgospelhelloHelphenryicelebratetruthinfoinfoinfoinfoinfoinfoinfoinquireJAHjames.arendtjeff.aufderheidejwlpeacekenLepantoInstitutemailmarkmclarkenashidynathanmepostprayerQ&Aremnantrodbradfordrussell.hallocksearchforthetruth2016spreadingtruthministrysubmissionssubmissionssupportThe_ONE_ChurchTheEconomicCollapseBlogtipstruthtruthtruthandtidings.newsTruthBeToldHUTruthFromGod.comtruth-in-loveTruthlovertruthseekersTruthstreamnewstruthtellerstodaytruthwatchers1tsweexalttheewebmasterwespenre
Hi John, Bro Chuck &Truthers,
How come there are so many false prophets throughout America to fool gullible Americans with so much false prophecies to delude them? Quote: “It’s simply foolishness to post, tweet, or speak that God’s will was in Trump’s win.” So please help Ascertain the Truth of: –
1.    6 Interesting Facts About Donald Trump’s Christian Faith, https://www.christianpost.com/news/6-interesting-facts-about-donald-trumps-christian-faith-140522/;
2.    A Christian Case Against Donald Trump, http://www.beliefnet.com/news/articles/a-christian-case-against-donald-trump.aspx;
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!  ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Brazil: It Appears Your Government Is As Crooked And Inept As The U.S. Government

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL 247 NEWS)

 

Americans Own Nothing We Are Only Serf’s And Sharecroppers At Best

Americans Own Nothing We  Are Only Serf’s And Sharecroppers At Best

I can see a lot of folks reading this title and thinking that this dude is smoking something. I can especially see the indignation on the faces of a lot of the folks who have worked their hearts out to be able to have titles to land, houses, stocks and bonds, lot of toys and a lot of cash. I can understand why some folks would get upset  with me for making such a statement, and they have a right to be upset. But, don’t be upset with me for speaking the truth. I do agree with these folks, if I am speaking the truth then they and indeed all of the people, even us poor folks should be angry. In this article I will explain my position as to why I believe the way I do about this issue. If you are mad at what I am going to say, you need to direct that anger at the people who make this title and honest and correct statement, not me, I didn’t write any of these laws.

Now I am going to open up my side of this thought for you. I want you to think about this question please, but before you come to an unmovable state of mind please concentrate on what is being said first please. Now, if your possessions can be legally taken away from you, are your possessions ever really ours? I am going to use the house we call home and our cars we drive to push across a plain picture of how we are all being cheated and stolen from. Friends, we are only leasing “our” possessions, in this (our) country, we can never completely totally own them.

I’m pretty sure that you are not surprised that I am going through the tax venue to show you why it is that the governments (city-county-state-federal) that owns absolutely everything. From being a long haul truck driver for about 30 years and logging a little over 3.75 million miles about 3.5 of that in the States the rest in Canada you get to see and hear a lot of changes occurring all around our country. All these things that I would not ever have seen or noticed or known about if I had remained in a factory or law enforcement type of careers. One of the things that you notice is just how much land the Federal Government owns especially in the West. You can drive for many, many miles at a stretch and all the land you see on both sides of the road is Government land. I am going to start east and then go west because a good example to start off with would be the city of Detroit Michigan which is on the border with the beautiful country of Canada and with the city of New Orleans Louisiana which sits as a southern border at the Gulf of Mexico.

Detroit and New Orleans got to where they are from different paths, but still, they are where they are, which is sad and horrible for so many people. Detroit got into the financial possession they are in because of hundreds of thousands of jobs that disappeared during the latest depression. New Orleans got into their current possession because of Hurricane Katrina. In both cities there are massive amounts vacant homes. In Detroit the homes are still there, quickly becoming slums, in New Orleans a lot of the houses were destroyed by wind and water and if they are still physically on the land they are long since condemned. One of the things they do have in common, the people do not own those properties, nor anything that was left in them anymore. This is true even if your property was 100% owned by the tenant. What I am saying is the truth if the owner didn’t keep the property in good condition and of course, if they did not keep up with all of the property taxes. If you didn’t do these things a government agency now own’s (your) paid off property.

Florida would be good place to look at housing issue also but in a lot of cases for different reasons, sort of. As most Americans probably know that Florida is a place were a lot of retired folks from the northern states move to once they have retired. A whole lot of these people who came down there from places like Illinois and Ohio sold their homes and bought a home there. I lived there from  July 1, 1997 till December 15, 2000 and I still have several good friends living there. I put that last sentence in so you would know that I have some knowledge on this issue there. I heard several local area people as well as others on the radio talking about the hard spot they were now in and were going to have to move out of Florida. The reason people kept using was that they no longer had the income to overcome the State’s constantly raising the taxes. I really felt bad for these older people as many didn’t have anywhere they could go to. Some will say well, they can always move in with their kids. There are many who had no one they could move in with. They couldn’t go back to their other house up north because they sold it so that they could buy the home in Florida. If these people were not able to sell their Florida home it will come a time in their near future that one government taxing agencies or another will scoop that property up. There is also the problem down there where the parents have died and the kids who are still up north have a property they cannot afford so they dump it on the market. The problem is when the taxes on that property come due and the kids can’t or won’t pay it the government whom the taxes were owed to now own the property. There is another taxing issue also, it is called the inheritance tax the people who simply don’t have the money to pay the tax or they are not willing to pay it, the Government will take it off your hands for you.

I have now given you three of the four scenarios I am going to give on how and why. You know that once in our recent past when people talked about small town America they had a smile in their eyes because many were born there and raised there but had left. Many small country towns around America are just a ghost of what they were back before, let’s say 1980. A lot of people, especially the younger, and especially the higher educated moved out of small town America and swore that they would never live in that environment again. Many kids cant wait to get to 18 yrs old so that they can go to bigger cities where there is nightlife and better jobs than back in the country. In a lot of cases the industries in these small towns dried up because they couldn’t compete with their bigger better financed competitors who are on the good trade routes into the bigger cities. As I have driven around  our country I have seen so often, especially out west, homes that are being overcome by  grass and weeds. A lot of these homes I have seen look like they are or were nice looking homes, quite often brick homes. There is always a reason for each situation, but for now I would like you to think of a situation as if it were you in the picture. You bought a home for you and your bride out in the country away from the cities and the masses of people, you have kids and raise them and they move away. You and your wife grow old and die. If you are one of the kids the property is given to you, but you don’t want it, you have a job and a life in a city far away. Well for one, you could now have to pay an inheritance tax on the property. You decide you will just sell it before it is taken away from you and hopefully you can make a nice piece of change from the sale. Eventually you start lowering the price of it until you realise that you are not the only one who doesn’t want to live out in the sticks, you can’t sell the house, so the government takes it for taxes due.

I know that there are folks who still think such things could not be possible in our Country, all I can say to that is, O’ really. Do you remember back about 25 yrs ago a Country Singer that most Americans know named Willie Nelson got into hot water with the IRS? Well it seems that the IRS wasn’t very happy with him to put it kindly. Evidentially the IRS said that Willie owed them a lot of money. To make a long story short, Willie had a lot of land and many other possessions, the IRS took just about everything the man owned. Now there is one other case involving a Country Singer named Dottie West, she was nowhere near as well-known or nearly as wealthy as Willie so the government boys really messed with her life. Well, it seems that Ms Dottie got herself in a whole lot of trouble with the IRS also. Ms Dottie did not have the wealth and the possessions that Willie had so the IRS boys showed up at her house one morning with a moving van, they cleaned her out of everything. Now to give the Tax boys some credit, they as far as I know always give you a few notice letters before they come after you. You know, the kind of letters aimed at scaring your shadow right off of your body. When they got to her house, excuse me, to their house and they took absolutely everything, and I do really mean everything, inside and out on the property. Seriously now they not only took the clothes in her closets they took every piece of furniture. They took all of her jewelry even taking the rings and necklace she had on. There is one other thing, before they took her telephones she had to call her neighbor to get a dress to put on because they even took the dress she had on. They left this woman with just the panties and bra that she was wearing. I know several are chuckling at what I just wrote thinking there is no way that she was treated that way. Friends  I would not have ever believed it if I hadn’t heard her on one of those Country talk shows telling this story out on the air waves. If it wasn’t true she was sure taking a big chance that there were no IRS or other government people listening to her on the program. I don’t remember how much time she was given to vacate her/their house, I am pretty sure she said but I just don’t remember what she said.

Back in the mid 1970’s I was only making about seven or eight thousand dollars a year and I started getting very unfriendly letters from the IRS. Back then I just used the W-2 forms to file taxes at the end of the year and when you only worked at one job it should have been pretty much nothing to worry about, I was wrong. Six years after that tax year is when I started getting notices that I missed claiming $400.00 that one year and now, after penalties and interest I owed them $2,200.00. I knew it wasn’t possible being I had only had that one job. The real kick in the butt was that when I called them at the number given I got to speak with a man who was having a really bad day I guess. I asked the man to tell me about this four hundred dollars I had earned and not claimed. You know, on that four hundred dollars, what would the tax have been, maybe $75.00, and now I was supposed to pay them twenty-two hundred. The part that I will always remember to the day I die is the answer he gave me it was “we don’t have to tell you anything, just pay the money you owe”. I have to admit that when people who have the power to rub your butt in the dirt and they have no Spiritual conscience they can really put a hurt on us, the little people.

We all know that when we purchase any item we have to pay the taxes on that item at the store register. About eighteen months ago my wife and I bought a 2005 Chevy so we could have a “back up car”  paying cash at that time. Now we have this piece of paper in our safe that says we own it. Now by law no one can take this car from us legally correct? The problem here is that this answer is wrong. The Courts can take it from you, the Police can physically remove it from you and of course there is a plethora of taxing agencies that can take it for all different kinds of different taxes within the  different Government Agencies. If it can be legally taken from you, is it really yours? Courts even have the authority to freeze all of your banking accounts and disallow you from selling any of your properties.

We all have the Federal income taxes we have to pay on all of our earnings. The last I heard there are six states that do not have a State income tax so that leaves forty-four that still have to pay that also. Then of course we all have taxes on every item that can be construed as income, even gifts. The Federal folks get you, then we have the State taxes on everything we buy and of course we can’t forget the County and City taxes. I guess the biggest gripe I have with our Governments taxing arrangements is the personal property taxes we have to pay. You know, we already bought and paid the taxes at the store, then each year we have to pay the taxes on our possessions year after year. The other big problem the tax system should have to stop doing is their so-called “Death Tax”. Why does any one government or person have any right to tax a person or family after their loved ones just died? Now you have to pay this huge tax bill to the Federal Government, that is just plain wrong. Many people are put into a position of having to sell what you just inherited or the Federal Boys will simply take it from you. When we moved to the state of Tennessee about ten years ago I learned of a tax they have here that I had never heard of before. This is a $25.00 Wheel Tax, it is a tax that you have to pay every year on every vehicle that uses a license plate. There are many other taxes and fee’s, heck, you can’t even go fishing without buying a permit first. We could probably between us name off at least a half a page more, we all know that this system is way broke, but how do we the people change anything when the “Public Servants” control almost everything we own, use or see? These bloated Government Agencies would probably tax our used toilet paper if they could find a way to do it. Heck why not, they tax the not yet used product at the stores.

I think I have made my point about why I used the title I did, that we don’t really own anything, we are just renting it paying on the same things every year. Remember some of the people will stoop so low that they will even take the wedding rings off you and your wife’s hand. You know something, now I love the people of this country, it is the people that make what a country is, not the Governments. When a Government stoops so low as to put a Death Tax on their own people they are sinking so low they are raking hot coals out of Hell. We are all in the end game of our lives, but all our hard work, if we were lucky we rented a piece of land. To the money people at the top of the human chain of life all of us little people are no better than Serf’s and Sharecroppers at best. When we die, none of us can take anything with us, all of our possessions are now gone onto someone else who has to keep on paying and paying and paying. If anyone quits paying for any reason they will lose what they thought they had. I believe that is why every person needs to get in touch with your inner self and attach ourselves toward our Creator. There is a calmness then within you that is not like our hard-earned and worked for possessions, this is a calmness that no one can take from you. You can give it away but not any Government or even the Gates of Hell can take this away from you.

America The Lost

America The Lost

When I write something via free thought I am a person who for the most part needs a title first so that I can write to it. I settled on this title because it is unfortunately true in so many ways. By no means am I anti-American, I am not anti any country. As most people in our country probably know, our country is very sick and I do believe it is now to the point where it is terminal. I completely believe that the only chance our country has of survival is if the vast majority of our population (and our leaders) turns back to God our creator with all our hearts, minds, and souls. To be totally honest with you I just don’t see that happening. I believe that the three biggest pieces of cancer in our country are where the three main media centers are located, Hollywood, NYC, and DC. The pretty Lady with the Torch and all of Her land to Her west is crumbling all around Her and us. Also, these so-called Political Parties who always sell themselves to the highest bidders is destroying all of the fiber which our Country was created on and either it stops very soon or our country will not be in existence for our kids and grand-kids.

There are people in our country who want to get rid of the second amendment (the people’s right to have the means to protect ourselves and our families) all together. I believe that most of the people who wish this to happen are filled with good intentions, it is my contention that these folks are a good bit unrealistic in their thoughts though. Even to this date with all of the revelations shown to us by Mr. Snowden along with the IRS flaws and the so-called Patriot Act which burnt the Constitution, some people still think that our government is only filled with good intentions. Many people do not realize that our Country’s founding Fathers had seen first hand how a country where it’s people could not defend themselves were treated by the government. The Founding Fathers very much intended for it to be where We The People could defend ourselves from a government that oppresses its own people. They plainly wanted the people to be able to revolt if necessary. Do you remember your history classes about how the governments of Europe made it illegal for the people to possess arms and then how the Governments oppressed it’s people, where the people with no means to defend themselves simply became servants to the ruling class? How many lessons did you learn from what happened at Ruby Ridge where the government agents orders were “if it breathes, kill it”. Or do you remember the mass murdering of almost all of the men women and children at Waco? Do you honestly think that your best interest is what our government has on its daily agenda?

Now before you get to thinking that I am some right-wing gun-toting Militia member grand-pappy whose agenda is chaos you could not be further from the truth. I am not an anti gun person at all, and I do own a couple myself. I do believe that everyone has the God-given right to be able to protect themselves and their family. Just like I am not a hunter yet I believe people have the right to hunt if they want to. I am not a vegetarian, I do buy and eat meat from the grocery store, one can not say they are anti hunting if they are not a vegetarian, they would be what is  called a hypocrite. O by the way in case you wanted to pigeon-hole my political association  as being a Republican or as a Democrat, I am neither, I am a long time registered Independent.

Enough now about weapons and people’s concerns of them. I would now like to turn my attention on the economics problems as they are many. If my education was in economics I and many of you could probably write a book on our countries economic issues. I am just an old guy who is speaking from the school of lessons learned from a lifetime of paying attention. O in case you wondered about it, my degrees are in Sociology and in Anthropology but I did study some economics classes while in school. A few months ago I wrote an article in this blog called “It’s Called Trickle Up Economics”, if you would, please spend a few moments reading it. In it I discussed my irritation on how the so-called Stimulus Package money was used. What I wrote (in my opinion) in that blog post spells out my anger without me basically rewriting it here today.

Folks, I love this Country and I love the people who make up the fiber of this Country, for a country is it’s people, not their government. I don’t like the governments of several countries on this Globe but disliking a country’s government doesn’t mean I dislike the people. It is like in our country, I do not like the direction our Country is being led into but I would still give my life to protect our people. It really bothers me when I see how crooked and inept our Government has become and it is only we the people who can change it before we all are led straight into the belly of Hell by this inept evil leadership. I am not mad at how things are, I am just very sad at how blind our country has become and how evil our leaders are.

U.S. Government Commits Treason Against Its Kurdish Allies; Again

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Michael Weiss is a national security analyst for CNN and author of “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.”

(CNN)Two weeks ago, one of Iraq’s top security officials asked a trusted Kurdish intermediary to deliver a message to Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, the semiautonomous fief in northern Iraq which has been something of an American protectorate since 1991.

“Tell Massoud that war is coming if he doesn’t back off,” Hadi al-Ameri said, according to someone privy to the conversation. “Do not provoke us by counting on the Americans.”
Ameri was referring to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, has controlled militarily for three years and politically for even longer.   Iraqi forces had left the city in 2014 as their war with ISIS raged, but now that the terrorist group was on the run, Iraq had every intention of recapturing it.

Michael Weiss

On October 16 some 9,000 Iraqi government forces, including Shia militias under the command of Ameri, invaded and took Kirkuk in a matter of hours. With rare exception, Kurdish peshmerga, a professionalized guerrilla army, whose name translates as “those who face death,” retreated northward in a snaking, convoy of Humvees, tanks and armored vehicles. Tens of thousands of Kurdish civilians also fled to Erbil, the capital of the KRG, where officials were plunged into a state of late-night chaos and confusion.
Long considered the Kurds’ Jerusalem, Kirkuk had fallen without much of a fight. And what violence did occur was between two US allies, with American taxpayer-financed weaponry. American-made Abrams tanks operated by Iraqi forces fired on American-armed Kurdish peshmerga, who returned fire, destroying at least five American-made Humvees.
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This is because in spite of its meek professions of neutrality, Washington did take a side in this conflict: that of Iraq’s central government. But it did more than that by attempting to minimize the role its regional adversary, Iran, apparently played in the reconquest of Kirkuk. The commander of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, was reportedly instrumental in the Kirkuk operation.
Nothing better illustrates the incoherence of America’s stance in the Middle East than the fact that it turned out to be on the same side as Major General Qasem Soleimani, who occupies a status within US intelligence circles somewhere between Professor Moriarty and Darth Vader. He and his proxies are believed by US officials to have caused hundreds of American fatalities and injuries on the battlefields of Iraq.
Yet it’s hard to overstate what the Iranian operative has just pulled off. Not only did Soleimani out-marshal and humiliate Washington by brokering a cleverer and more cynical deal, which undercut its own vain attempts at conflict resolution, but he was then rewarded with US legitimization of his scheme. (Iran officially denied any involvement in the recapture of Kirkuk.)
All this occurred less than 72 hours after President Trump heralded a get-tough-on-Iran policy, which included the designation of Soleimani’s parent body, the Revolutionary Guards Corps, as a terrorist organization. In his strategy statement, Trump said: “The Revolutionary Guard is the Iranian Supreme Leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia,” and he promised, “We will work with our allies to counter the regime’s destabilizing activity and support for terrorist proxies in the region.”
Except the US just did the opposite in Kirkuk and alienated its longest and most stalwart counter-terrorism ally in Iraq, who, as the Kurds like to remind us, have never burned American flags much less attacked American soldiers.

Kirkuk on edge after Peshmerga pushed out

Kirkuk on edge after Peshmerga pushed out 02:31
“We had so much trust in America,” a top Kurdish officer told me last week. “We never thought America would accept Iranian proxies using American weapons against their allies.”  One of his colleagues put it even more plangently than that: “It might be better if we just join Iran’s axis.”
Such are the paradoxes and unintended consequences of how America wages its never-ending war on terror — by alienating its friends and empowering its enemies — in the name of national security.

America’s singular focus on ISIS

In the three years since ISIS stormed the Iraqi city of Mosul in June 2014, the United States has had monomaniacal tactical focus on smashing Sunni extremist head-loppers at the expense of underwriting its long-term strategic interests.
In a rush to dismantle the so-called caliphate, Washington has assembled and empowered a host of sectarian actors with antagonistic agendas who have been forced into a tenuous polygamous marriage of convenience. But now that ISIS is on its back foot — it just lost its de facto capital of Raqqa in the same week as the Kirkuk drama, in large part because of the spadework of another Kurdish-led proxy army — that marriage is disintegrating.
“For America, it’s all about counterterrorism and ISIS,” said Emma Sky, the British former governorate coordinator of Kirkuk during the US-led occupation of Iraq. “Across the region, ISIS isn’t people’s number-one enemy. They’re more at odds with each other. The US still doesn’t understand this.”
For the Kurds, the power struggles are as much internal as they are external.  The Kirkuk crisis would almost certainly not have happened without two precipitating events which fell within quick succession of each other.
The first was a referendum for independence held on September 25. A symbolic, non-binding plebiscite, and the second since the US toppled Saddam in 2003, it nonetheless drew opposition from every regional and Western government (save Israel’s), which argued that the referendum violated the sovereignty and geographical integrity of Iraq — concepts that hold mythical sway in foreign ministries more than they reflect brute reality in a deeply balkanized Iraq.
Conceived by Massoud Barzani and sold as a prelude to the world’s largest stateless people, long reliant on the caprices and mercies of the great powers, attaining their century-long dream of establishing a homeland, the referendum was a domestic political victory in its breadth even if an international defeat. Ninety-three percent of Kurds voted in favor of independence, in defiance of just about everybody, not least of all Baghdad and Washington.
The second precipitating event was the death of Jalal Talabani, the first non-Arab president of Iraq and the eminence grise of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, one of two shot-calling parties in Iraqi Kurdistan. Headquartered in the governorate of Sulaimaniya, the PUK had also commanded the peshmerga in Kirkuk and so the near-bloodless loss of the city on Monday can only have happened because of a prearranged agreement between that party and Baghdad.
Absent from the backroom dealmaking was the other, stronger shot-caller, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, or KDP, based in Erbil. This party is headed by Barzani and his family, who control the KRG’s foreign policy and their own peshmerga paramilitary.

Kurds’ ‘Game of Thrones’

Iraq's President's Jalal Talabani attends the 11th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit in Istanbul on December 23, 2010.

For decades, the PUK and KDP — which is to say the House of Talabani and the House of Barzani — have vied for dominance in northern Iraq, often aligning with their mortal enemy Saddam Hussein to get the better of the other in internecine disputes which have devolved into civil war. In recent years, the PUK has developed a close working relationship with Qasem Soleimani.
The plan was apparently set in motion around the time of Talabani’s memorial ceremony in Baghdad on October 8. The dead leader’s eldest son Bafel met with Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, according to a senior KDP official I spoke to, who speculated that Bafel “saw the obvious, an opening in the Kurdish political parties to exploit in his family’s interests.” Days later, Soleimani paid a call on Bafel to reaffirm Abadi’s seriousness, according to Reuters, citing a PUK official.
Bafel was almost certainly acting under the instructions of Jalal’s widow, Hero Talabani, who along with her sister Shahnaz, represent what remains of the Talabani brain trust.
“Jalal was the tactician, the strategist, everything,” Nibras Kazimi, an Iraqi scholar and former advisor to the US Department of Defense, told me. “Hero and her sister were the enforcers. They handled money, they handled keeping people in line.” But now their patriarch is dead, and their futures uncertain.
Challengers exist within the PUK to assume Jalal’s throne, chief among them KRG’s Vice President Kostrat Rasoul Ali and, the governor of Kirkuk, up until Monday, Najmaldin Karim, who are seen as Hero’s top rivals within the party.  Perhaps not coincidentally, both not only opposed Baghdad’s reclamation of Kirkuk but were also driven from the city the instant it happened — in Ali’s case, after peshmerga fighters loyal to him put up some resistance to Iraqi forces.
“If I go back, my life is in danger,” Karim told Bloomberg. “Even the night when all this happened, I had to maneuver carefully to go to safety.”

Iraq seizes disputed city from Kurdish control

Iraq seizes disputed city from Kurdish control 01:45
In this telling, Hero has cast herself as a kind of Cersei Lannister of Kurdistan after her husband’s demise, seeking to secure her political relevance and enormous fortune — the Talabanis are thought to be worth millions — by cutting a deal with Iran’s master operative to undermine Barzani and scatter her enemies within the PUK. Not bad for someone unused to strategizing.
Bafel Talabani rejects the claim that the PUK and Iran orchestrated their own deal. “Unfortunately we reacted too slowly,” he told Reuters. “And we find ourselves where we are today.” (Attempts to reach Saddi Pira, the head of the PUK’s foreign relations, for comment on this story were unsuccessful.)
One US national security official believes that machinations by Hero Talabani are the real story of the Kirkuk debacle. “Look at the crowd Barzani managed to draw in Sulaimaniya on the eve of the referendum,” that official told me. “It was something like 25,000 people. Hero could never draw such numbers on her own. You think that didn’t factor into calculations about what to do about Kirkuk?” Rather than submit to Barzani’s dominance in the absence of her force-of-nature husband, she’s underwritten her longevity by siding with Abadi and Soleimani.
Working in her favor is the fact that Iraq’s prime minister is up for re-election in 2018.  A Shia ally of Washington and Tehran, Abadi is looking to capitalize on his government’s military victory against ISIS and brand himself the standard-bearer of Iraqi nationalism. The prime minister is facing fierce competition next year.  Among his likely opponents are former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, another Shia from Abadi’s own political party, whose sectarian thuggishness against Sunni Iraqis helped invite ISIS back into the country; and Hadi al-Ameri, the Iraqi security chief who delivered the message to Barzani and is not just considered as close to Iran by US intelligence, but an active agent of Iran. (Ameri fought on Iran’s side in the Iran-Iraq War under the aegis of the IRGC.)
To stand a chance at being given another term next year, Abadi had to regain Kirkuk — no premier can allow it to fall outside the hands of the central government. And he needed Tehran’s help, from which he only stands to benefit in a forthcoming context with Iranian surrogate contenders for the leadership.  “Iran wanted to expand its influence and remove the last obstacle to control all of Iraq,” a KDP official told me. “The whole operation was planned and executed by Qassem Soleimani.”

A busy Sunday

KDP officials blame the Talabanis for reneging on a late-hour agreement, brokered on the eve of the Kirkuk recapture, about how to proceed with negotiations over the fate of the city with Baghdad. At a meeting held in Dukan, Sulaimaniya, on October 15, Massoud Barzani, his son and intelligence chief Masrour, his nephew and KRG prime minister Nechirvan sat down with their PUK counterparts, including Hero and Bafel.
According to one of the attendees of the meeting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Bafel told the KDP that he had consulted Abadi as well as Americans and British diplomats about reintroducing Iraqi forces into Kirkuk. However, Bafel apparently denied reaching any formal agreement with Abadi; he was merely tabling a proposal for further dialogue with the central government and both powerhouse Kurdish parties.
Kirkuk fell within 24 hours.

Kirkuk governor: Time is right for Kurds' vote

Kirkuk governor: Time is right for Kurds’ vote 05:25
According to the The New Yorker, Soleimani met that same day with PUK officials in Sulaimaniya, not long after the bipartisan confab in Dukan had wrapped up. “It’s not clear what was included in the deal,” journalist Dexter Filkins wrote, “but the speculation is that [Soleimani] offered a mix of threats and inducements, including money and access to oil-smuggling routes.”
Whether or not the US actively tried to forestall such side action is beside the point because the Kurds now view it as an accomplice to the seizure of its Jerusalem, a psychic scar already being likened to Saddam’s “Arabization” policies of the mid-1970s when forced population transfers changed the demography of Kirkuk from a city with a Kurdish majority into one with a plurality of Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen.

America’s misfire

Reproach is the soap of the soul in the Middle East, where American allies have a habit of speaking melodramatically when slighted or jilted, only to then return to the fold when they once again realize that aligning with even an unreliable superpower is better than not doing so. (The Kurds are first among equals in this regard.) But American credibility has taken a lashing in the last week. And even an overly emotional KDP can point, convincingly, to a trifecta of falsehoods coming from Washington.
First, the Pentagon denied any untoward military buildup south of Kirkuk by Iraqi government forces in preparation for the city’s takeover. On October 12, Major General Robert White, the commanding general of US ground troops in Iraq, told reporters that Iraqi forces, including Shia militias, were in positions to the south of Kirkuk but only in order to protect the city of Hawija, which had just been freed of ISIS, from a jihadist resurgence. “And they haven’t moved since they occupied,” White said.
Nonsense, said a senior Kurdish intelligence officer. “We were feeding solid intelligence to coalition members, including the US, about Iraqi deployments. Detailed information on locations, numbers, groups and types of weapons in the field — including American weapons — days in advance of the operation.”
I asked the US Army Public Affairs office if General White still stood by his assessment that Iraqi deployments were only in Hawija on an anti-ISIS mission. A spokesperson for the office didn’t respond in time for publication.
I was shown an email sent by a Kurdish intelligence officer to various US lawmakers on October 12. “We are facing an unprecedented military threat by Iraq and its Shiite militias,” the email read, “[a]nd possibly an imminent attack. “Thousands have been deployed near Kurdish front lines. These areas have zero ISIS presence. They are armed with heavy weapons, some American in fact, including tanks, armored vehicles, mortars and artillery.”
The office of one US senator who received the email confirmed its authenticity but stressed that information delivered by foreign intelligence service takes time to vet and corroborate.
Next, Central Command called the exchange of artillery and gunfire between some PUK commanders who resisted orders to evacuate and Iraqi forces a “misunderstanding” and professed not to take a “side” between Baghdad and Erbil, a position President Trump, who once famously mistook the Quds Force as a Kurdish entity, reiterated on Tuesday on the White House lawn.
Finally, the Pentagon denied that any Shia militias were in Kirkuk. This, in spite of the demonstrable fact that Hadi al-Ameri and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, whom the US Treasury Department sanctioned in 2009 and described as an “advisor” to Soleimani, were present for the lowering of the Kurdistan flag at the city’s provincial council building, and the raising of the Iraqi one. (Al-Muhandes was convicted in absentia in Kuwait and sentenced to death for planning lethal terrorist attacks against the US and French embassies there in 1983.)
The head of one notorious Shia militia, the League of the Righteous, which in 2007 killed five US servicemen in the Iraqi city of Karbala, even publicly thanked the PUK for its cooperation in the Kirkuk handover. “We salute and appreciate the courageous position of the peshmerga fighters who refused to fight their brothers in the Iraqi forces,” he tweeted.
The US has also, bizarrely, downplayed Soleimani’s role in the Kirkuk affair. One State Department official told reporters last Thursday, “I’m not aware of any Iranian involvement in that, per se” —   an assessment the Kurds find risible at best and iniquitous at worst.
The US dismissal of Iranian aggression against Iraqi Kurds also carries troubling implications in Syria.
A race-to-Berlin scenario is unfolding between US backed Kurdish-led paramilitaries and Bashar al-Assad’s army in the campaign against ISIS in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, the former military attache at the US embassy in Damascus and a CNN contributor, Washington’s wishy-washiness on the Kirkuk question has sent a stark message to its other Kurdish allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces, as the US-backed forces are called: “We may not be there to protect you, either.”
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“Once ISIS has lost all or most of its territory in Syria as it has in Iraq, the Syrian regime will attempt to reassert its control over the areas now held by the SDF,” Francona  told me. “The Iraqis have set a precedent for that.”
And if Assad and his Soleimani-built militias try to reclaim territory gained by the Syrian Kurds, will the U.S. defend or abandon its friends in that fight?
“There is no doubt that Barzani overreached with his ill-timed referendum and his belief in America’s unqualified support for him,” said Sir John Jenkins, the former British ambassador to Iraq. “But it should never have got to this point. It may not be about Iran for Abadi. But sure as hell it’s about Iran for Iran. They must be loving it.”

Vladimir Putin Doesn’t Understand the Limits of Donald Trump’s Power

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM NEWS)

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Finland
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a joint press conference with Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto in Savonlinna, Finland, on July 27, 2017. Mikhail Svetlov—Getty Images

Vladimir Putin Doesn’t Understand the Limits of Donald Trump’s Power

7:07 AM ET

There are still many in Russia who take pleasure in watching the White House consumed by infighting and stumbling from one setback to another, most recently the failure to push through health care reform and the rapid hiring and firing of foul-mouthed communications director Anthony Scaramucci. But the more common feeling around the Kremlin these days might seem familiar to many Republicans. After observing Trump in office for more than six months, there is a mix of disappointment and foreboding.

President Vladimir Putin seems particularly out of sorts. By now he has realized that betting on Trump represents a mistake he has made before with Western leaders, and his decision on Sunday to expel hundreds of diplomats and other personnel from the U.S. embassy in Moscow shows that he’s ready to cut his losses. “There was nothing more to wait for,” his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said in explaining the decision on Monday. “It was all pretty obvious.”

And Putin should have known better. His closest alliances with the West have all gone the same way. Whether it was Jacques Chirac in France, Silvio Berlusconi in Italy or Gerhard Schroeder in Germany, each was built on a personal rapport with an incoming head of state, always another man, usually also a blowhard. Each collapsed when that leader was confronted by the limitations of democracy: term limits, a free press, an independent legislature, an unhappy electorate, or any of the other checks and balances built into their constitutions. But with each new attempt at a friendship with the West, Putin seemed to hope that his counterparts could override these curbs on their authority the same way Putin has done in Russia.

They have always let him down, though none quite as spectacularly as President Trump. The U.S. Congress sent Trump a veto-proof bill on July 27 imposing new sanctions on Russia for its alleged interference in the U.S. presidential elections last year, not even a month after the two Presidents met for the first time during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. To many in Moscow, the legislation proved Trump to be a feckless leader, unable to make good on his earnest promises to “get along” with Russia. “Since Trump cannot handle his own lawmakers, it means he is weak,” the Russian political analyst Alexei Makarkin wrote in an analysisof the sanctions bill.

But the point Makarkin missed was the one that Putin also seems incapable of getting his head around: that members of the U.S. Congress, including the Republicans, are not Trump’s “own lawmakers.” They represent a co-equal branch of government, much like the judiciary that has repeatedly blocked Trump’s agenda on immigration.

That confusion over the limits on executive authority goes back to the early years of Putin’s presidency, when he established control over the Russian media and began to assume that his Western counterparts could do the same in their countries. During a summit in 2005 with then-President George W. Bush, Putin refused to believe that the U.S. commander-in-chief does not have the power to muzzle American journalists. “Don’t lecture me about the free press,” Putin said, according to Bush’s memoir. “Not after you fired that reporter.”

It took a moment for Bush to realize what Putin was talking about. “Vladimir,” he said, “Are you talking about Dan Rather?” The veteran broadcaster had been forced to apologize and resign from CBS News a few months earlier, not due to any White House fiat but because of a flawed report on Bush’s service in the National Guard. In Putin’s eyes, the incident showed that the American posturing about freedom of the press was a charade. Bush tried to set him straight. “I strongly suggest you not say that in public,” he recalls telling the Russian President. “The American people will think you don’t understand our system.”

But that’s just it – he doesn’t. A few years into my stint as a reporter in Moscow, I lost track of the number of officials who tried to explain to me that there is no such thing as an independent journalist. One official even started our interview by exclaiming that American reporters are all just secret agents in disguise. This is how Pavel Astakhov, then the Kremlin ombudsmen for children’s rights, greeted me one afternoon in 2013: “The CIA is here!” he shouted, laughing, to his assistant. “Send him in!”

He wasn’t entirely kidding. In Russian officialdom (and among the public generally) people often assume that the West functions a lot like Russia, with a tame judiciary, a subservient media and a ruling clique that pulls all the strings. This view of the world makes it easier to brush away foreign criticism: if everyone is corrupt, no one has the right to judge. But a lot of very senior officials in Moscow also happen to believe this.

They tended to believe, for instance, that Trump would be able to override the other branches of government in pursuing his agenda, especially when it comes to easing U.S. sanctions against Russia. On a deeper level, they believe that power in the U.S., like in Russia, is concentrated in the hands of the executive, while the rest is mostly democratic window dressing.

And that conviction is not likely to budge amid the latest lesson in American civics. On Russian state television channels, Trump’s failure to silence the media and force his agenda through Congress and the courts has simply been cast as further proof that the U.S. is run by some all-powerful cabal – only this time the cabal has turned on the U.S. President.

It is a new twist on a familiar narrative, and it suggests that the Kremlin still holds out hope for Trump getting a grip on the American system and steering it toward an alliance with Moscow. “We have fed the hope that the situation will change,” Putin lamented on Sunday in a televised interview. “But it seems that if this change does come, it won’t be soon.”

This Is The Week President Trump Meets President Putin Face To Face In Germany At G-20 Summit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin will demand the return of two diplomatic compounds seized by the United States when he meets in Germany this week with President Trump for the first time, the Kremlin said, as a senior Russian official warned that Moscow’s patience on the issue was running out.

Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov said his government showed “unusual flexibility” by not retaliating in December when then-President Obama confiscated the two compounds, in New York state and Maryland, and expelled 35 Russian diplomats as punishment for Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Ushakov urged Washington to “free Russia from the need to take retaliatory moves,” according to The Associated Press.

The White House has reportedly been mulling returning the compounds in an effort to improve relations with Moscow, and in recent days Russian officials have warned that retaliatory measures have been drawn up if the compounds are not returned. They were nominally used by the Russian Embassy as recreational facilities, but U.S. intelligence has long argued they were bases for espionage.

In a separate statement released today, the Kremlin said Putin would raise the issue with Trump when the two meet in Hamburg, Germany, where the G-20 summit is being held Saturday. The statement said that the Kremlin expected Putin would convey the need to find the “most rapid resolution” on the issue, which it described as an “irritant” in Russian-U.S. relations.

The two leaders’ first meeting is highly anticipated, coming as investigations continue into possible collusion between members of Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials and as relations between Moscow and Washington are being described as at their worst since the Cold War.

There has been intense speculation for months over when the two presidents might come face to face. Since confirming the meeting

last week, the White House has been light on details about what they will discuss.

“There’s no specific agenda. It’s really going to be whatever the president wants to talk about,” Trump’s national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster told reporters last week.

McMaster said administration officials had been tasked with drawing up options to confront Russia over “destabilizing behavior,” including cyber threats and political subversion, as well as looking for ways to cooperate on issues such as Syria and North Korea.

Today the Kremlin was more specific, issuing a broad list of areas where it said it believed it could cooperate with the United States. The top issues listed for discussion were Russia’s dissatisfaction with U.S. sanctions, its desire to cooperate on international terrorism, the Syria crisis and improving efforts around nuclear arms control.

Most of the issues resembled those the Kremlin frequently raised with the Obama administration, and the statement emphasized Moscow’s desire for a return to normal relations.

There is “significant potential for coordinating efforts,” the Kremlin statement said. “Our countries can do much together in resolving regional crises,” including Ukraine, Libya and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The statement also said Russia was eager to restore business links with the United States.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday told the news agency Interfax he hoped the meeting would lend clarity to the relationship and warned that not seeking to normalize relations would be a “huge mistake.”

In reality, however, it’s unclear that, beyond the return of the diplomatic compounds, there is much Putin and Trump will be able to ask of each other. In many areas, U.S. and Russian interests have little overlap, and that has not appeared to change under Trump.

On Syria the two have clashed, and last month a U.S. fighter shot down a war plane belonging to Russia’s ally President Bashar al-Assad. The White House has said sanctions will not be lifted on Russia until it withdraws from Crimea, and in the Senate both parties are drawing up more sanctions to punish Russia for its alleged election meddling.

“I don’t think we should expect any kind of breakthrough,” said Maria Lipman, a veteran political analyst in Moscow. “I don’t think we should expect any significant results from this meeting. Not even the beginning of solutions to the major issues.”

During the presidential campaign and after the election, some Russian officials and state media expressed optimism that Trump would mean better relations with the United States. But such hopes have so far largely not materialized.

Lipman said she believes there is a growing realization in the Kremlin of Trump’s severely restricted ability to alter U.S. policy toward Moscow, given the intensity of the scandal around the Russia investigations.

Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins: NOAA And FEMA Have No Leaders/Directors

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Hurricane season began on June 1, and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the season will be a busy one, with an above-average range of 5-9 hurricanes likely in the Atlantic.

The United States could be especially vulnerable to hurricane landfalls this year, observers say, but not because of the enhanced activity that is expected.

NOAA is forecasting an above-average hurricane season in 2017.

The two agencies that protect the country’s coast lines and its residents, NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are still without leaders — positions that must be appointed by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate.
“That should scare the hell out of everybody,” retired US Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré told CNN. “These positions help save lives.”
Honoré knows all too well the value that leadership plays during a crisis, as he commanded Joint Task Force Katrina. He coordinated military relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré talks to his soldiers at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, on September 8, 2005.

Despite concerns, FEMA and NOAA say they are prepared for the hurricane season and the aftermath of any storms that make landfall and cause damage.
NOAA runs the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the agency that tracks and forecasts tropical storms and hurricanes, providing five-day forecasts to allow government officials plenty of time to make preparations and organize evacuations.
Not only is NOAA lacking a leader, but the NHC is also without a director after Rick Knabb stepped down earlier this year after leading the center for five years. The director briefs government leaders as well as the American public directly on the forecast for impending storms.
Also under NOAA is the National Weather Service, which is tasked with issuing life-saving warnings for impeding threats from land-falling storms such as strong winds, flooding rainfall and damaging storm surge.
While also key in the preparations, FEMA’s role really kicks in once the storm hits and a disaster has been declared, as FEMA coordinates the government-wide relief efforts.
According to FEMA’s website, “it is designed to bring an orderly and systemic means of federal natural disaster assistance for state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to aid citizens.”
But according to Honoré, things could be anything but orderly. “These operations will not function as they should with temporary people doing the jobs.”
“Just look back to Hurricane Katrina to see how important leadership was. If someone is slow in making decisions it can be costly — imagine having no one at all,” Honoré said, referring to the criticism and eventual resignation of then-FEMA director Mike Brown over the bungled response after Katrina hit.
Trump did appoint former Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long in late April to lead FEMA, but as of this week, the selection has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.
Despite the vacancy, FEMA director of public affairs William Booher believes the agency will be able to serve its mission.
“Throughout the transition to the new administration, FEMA has ensured that career civilian staff are in place in key positions throughout the agency, allowing them to continue, uninterrupted, to perform their core mission responsibilities — preparing for, responding to, recovering from, and mitigating all hazards, Booher told CNN.
Booher stated that the agency is “looking forward to working with the Senate on the confirmation process and a successful vote” for Brock Long.
A NOAA spokesman told CNN the National Hurricane Center’s acting director, Ed Rappaport, is an experienced leader with 30 years at the center.
“NOAA is fully prepared for the hurricane season and is even launching new and improved products and services this year,” said Chris Vaccaro. “Under our acting administrator, NOAA will continue to provide the American public with science and services important for public safety, the nation’s natural resources, and the economy.”
Trump has yet to appoint someone to the NOAA position.
While the heads of NOAA and FEMA are not the only vacant positions in the US government waiting on appointments, the prospect of a busy hurricane season make them two of the most important.
“We’ve already lost six months of preparation,” Honoré pleaded. “The government has been preaching to people to prepare themselves for hurricanes, but they haven’t done their part to prepare by picking someone to lead.”