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  • 40plus's Avatar
    Today, 11:19 PM
    Thank you, likewise, and God bless America!
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • Wolverine's Avatar
    Today, 10:05 PM
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • Kickabuck's Avatar
    Today, 09:49 PM
    Your 100% record is still intact, you're wrong again...Forum Jester. You only read and post what backs up your beliefs. You HATE Donald Trump so much you've become obsessed, where the hell were your flaming opinions from prior administrations? Squirm baby squirm.
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • Wolverine's Avatar
    Today, 09:32 PM
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • Wolverine's Avatar
    Today, 08:06 PM
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_MARCH_4_TRUMP_KAINES_SON?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-05-26-22-49-10# Kaine's son, 7 others, charged in protest of pro-Trump event ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine's youngest son was among eight people charged for allegedly disrupting a March rally in support of President Donald Trump. Linwood "Woody" Kaine, of Minneapolis, was charged Friday with one gross misdemeanor count of obstructing the legal process and misdemeanor counts of fleeing on foot and concealing his identity in public. Seven other people were also charged, including two with felonies. A criminal complaint says Kaine and others changed into black clothing during the rally and entered the Capitol. One group member threw a smoke bomb inside. The complaint says the 24-year-old Kaine was among those who ran away, and he initially resisted arrest. Kaine doesn't have a listed number and it's not immediately clear if he has an attorney. Tim Kaine was Hillary Clinton's running mate.
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • Wolverine's Avatar
    Today, 08:05 PM
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_MARCH_4_TRUMP_KAINES_SON?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-05-26-22-49-10# Kaine's son, 7 others, charged in protest of pro-Trump event ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine's youngest son was among eight people charged for allegedly disrupting a March rally in support of President Donald Trump. Linwood "Woody" Kaine, of Minneapolis, was charged Friday with one gross misdemeanor count of obstructing the legal process and misdemeanor counts of fleeing on foot and concealing his identity in public. Seven other people were also charged, including two with felonies. A criminal complaint says Kaine and others changed into black clothing during the rally and entered the Capitol. One group member threw a smoke bomb inside. The complaint says the 24-year-old Kaine was among those who ran away, and he initially resisted arrest. Kaine doesn't have a listed number and it's not immediately clear if he has an attorney. Tim Kaine was Hillary Clinton's running mate.
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    Today, 07:30 PM
    Continuation: CNN's Russia coverage (click on "read more" link to read the juiciest coverage...) CNN has delivered reporting and analysis on some of the key moments throughout the Trump-Russia saga. Here is a look back at some of the developments to date. January 10, 2017: Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him -- Classified documents presented to President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings told CNN. Read more. February 10, 2017: US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier -- US investigators said they corroborated some of the communications with foreign nationals detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, multiple current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials told CNN. As CNN first reported, then-President-elect Trump and Obama were briefed on the existence of the dossier before Trump's inauguration. Full story here. February 14, 2017: Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign -- High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials told CNN. Read more. February 24, 2017: FBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump-Russia stories -- The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter told CNN. Read more. March 23, 2017: Info suggests Trump associates may have coordinated with Russians, US officials say -- The FBI has information that indicates Trump associates communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign, US officials told CNN. Full story here. April 18, 2017: FBI used dossier allegations to bolster Trump-Russia investigation -- The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Trump's campaign as part of the justification to win approval to secretly monitor a Trump associate, according to US officials briefed on the investigation. Full story. April 21, 2017: Sources: Russia tried to use Trump advisers to infiltrate campaign -- The FBI gathered intelligence last summer that suggests Russian operatives tried to use Trump advisers, including Carter Page, to infiltrate Trump's campaign, according to US officials. These officials made clear they don't know whether Page was aware the Russians may have been using him. Full story. May 10, 2017: Grand jury subpoenas issued in FBI's Russia investigation -- Federal prosecutors issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former national security adviser Michael Flynn seeking business records as part of the probe of Russian meddling in last year's election, according to people familiar with the matter. CNN learned of the subpoenas hours before Trump fired then-FBI director Comey. Read more. May 19, 2017: Sources: White House lawyers research impeachment -- White House lawyers have begun researching impeachment procedures in an effort to prepare for what officials still believe is a distant possibility that Trump could have to fend off attempts to remove him from office, two people briefed on the discussions told CNN. Full story here. May 19, 2017: Russian officials bragged they could use Flynn -- Russian officials bragged in conversations during the presidential campaign that they had cultivated a strong relationship with former Trump adviser Flynn and believed they could use him to influence Trump and his team, sources told CNN. Read more. May 19, 2017: Comey believes Trump was trying to influence him -- The former FBI director now believes that Trump was trying to influence his judgment about the Russia probe, a person familiar with his thinking said, but whether that influence amounts to obstruction of justice remains an open question. Full story: May 24, 2017: AG Sessions did not disclose Russia meetings in security clearance form, DOJ says -- Attorney General Sessions did not disclose meetings he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance, the Justice Department told CNN. Read the latest development. CNN's Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    Today, 07:29 PM
    (click on "blue bold letters" link to read the juiciest coverage...) The Russia Investigation; How we got from there to this: (CNN) After months of dramatic congressional testimony, bombshell news reports and partisan jousting, the ever-evolving saga about alleged Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election and investigation into possible collusion by members of Donald Trump's campaign continues to pick up momentum as new revelations seem to surface on a daily basis. Currently, the Justice Department and both chambers of Congress are investigating whether there were improper contacts between those in the Trump orbit and Russia during the 2016 election. Here is a summary of known connections between Trump associates and Russia The latest development comes as sources tell CNN that then-FBI Director James Comey knew that a critical piece of information relating to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email was fake -- created by Russian intelligence -- but he feared that if it became public it would undermine the probe and the Justice Department itself. As a result, Comey acted unilaterally last summer to publicly declare the investigation over -- without consulting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch -- while at the same time stating that Clinton had been "extremely careless" in her handling of classified information. His press conference caused a firestorm of controversy and drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Comey's actions based on what he knew was Russian disinformation offer a stark example of the way Russian interference impacted the decisions of the highest-level US officials during the 2016 campaign. CNN has also learned that the FBI's criminal probe is increasingly touching on the multiple roles of senior White House adviser Jared Kushner on both the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. Points of focus that pertain to Kushner include: the Trump campaign's 2016 data analytics operation; his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn; and Kushner's own contacts with Russians, according to US officials briefed on the probe. That news came on the heels ofCNN's reporting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose meetings he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance, according to the Justice Department. Sessions, who met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least two times last year, didn't note those interactions on the form, which requires him to list "any contact" he or his family had with a foreign government or its representatives over the past seven years, officials said. To obtain a security clearance, a federal official is not required to list the meetings if they were part of a foreign conference he or she attended while conducting government business. Sessions' meetings, however, do not appear to be tied to foreign conferences. Sessions is just the latest in a growing list of current and former Trump associates who have come under fire for being less than forthcoming about their past links to Russia. Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn continues to make headlines despite saying he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights rather than comply with a subpoena and disclose records about his meetings with Russian officials. The leaders of the Senate's Russia investigation said they will continue to pursue critical documents from Flynn, issuing two additional subpoenas to a pair of businesses Flynn ran. Previously, lawmakers have said the panel was reviewing a range of options to compel Flynn hand over the documents, including holding him in contempt. Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr said the panel "could" call for Flynn to assert his right against self-incrimination in a public session. Secret document: The Washington Post published a story May 24 claiming that a secret document that officials said played a key role in then-FBI director Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation "has long been viewed within the FBI as unreliable and possibly a fake." The Post's story sites anonymous sources "familiar with its contents." Explosive testimony: Former CIA Director John Brennan and Trump's Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats also made headlines as Brennan told lawmakers there was clear contact between Trump campaign aides and Russian operatives. At almost the same time, Coats said he would be willing to discuss later whether Trump leaned on him to push back against Russia reports. Here is more on what we learned from their congressional testimony May 23. Mueller and the secret Comey memos: CNN broke the story May 22 that Robert Mueller -- the former FBI director now overseeing the Department of Justice's investigation into Russia's election-year meddling and contact with the Trump campaign -- has been briefed on the contents of some of the memos that former FBI Director James Comey kept to document his conversations with President Donald Trump, according to a person familiar with the matter. Team Trump's "war room": Axios recently reported that the White House is preparing to establish an internal, war-room-like operation aimed at developing a rapid-response and communications strategy in an attempt to keep up with the special counsel's Russia investigation. Manafort turns over documents: Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, turned over more than 300 pages of documents to the Senate intelligence committee related to its investigation of Russian election meddling, according to a source familiar with the Senate probe. Read CNN's story here. Trump asked intelligence officials to deny evidence: The President asked two of the government's top intelligence chiefs to publicly deny evidence of cooperation between his campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, multiple current and former US officials confirmed to CNN on May 23. Read the full story.
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    Today, 04:07 PM
    Former CIA Director: 'Now we know' why Trump officials talking to the Russians may have been 'unmasked' Michael Hayden, the former director of the NSA and the CIA, told CNN on Saturday that the reported content of Jared Kushner's conversations with Russia's ambassador in December may have motivated former national security adviser Susan Rice to request his name to be unmasked in intelligence reports. Most of the controversy surrounding Rice's reported attempts to "unmask" Trump officials has centered on former national security adviser Michael Flynn's communications with Russian officials. But Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a top White House adviser, floated the possibility of setting up a secure line of communication between the Trump transition team and Russia when he met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak late last year, The Washington Post reported Friday. Those talks would take place in Russian diplomatic facilities in the US, the Post said, creating a secure line that would essentially conceal the administration's interactions with Russian officials from US government scrutiny. Kislyak reportedly passed along that request to Moscow, in a phone call that was promptly intercepted by US intelligence agencies during their routine eavesdropping of foreign agents on US soil. Kislyak's call, which apparently described an attempt to bypass the US' national security and intelligence apparatus, would have gone into an intelligence report and been distributed among top government officials like Rice. It also would have raised a big red flag, experts say. And it could have led Rice — who obtained reports containing summaries of monitored communications between foreign officials discussing the Trump transition, according to Bloomberg — to try to identify who on Trump's transition team was trying to set up this kind of backchannel. The names of the US persons mentioned in the conversations would have been redacted in those reports. But high-level government officials like Rice can request from the appropriate agency — in this case, the National Security Agency — that the US person's identity be revealed. Hayden told CNN that it makes sense that Rice would have tried to determine who Kislyak and his superiors in Moscow were talking about when they said someone on the Trump transition team wanted to set up a secret backchannel line of communication. "This is off the map," Hayden said. "I know of no other experience like this in our history, and certainly not within my life experience." Hayden told Business Insider in March that the NSA "is notoriously conservative in revealing US identities in its reporting." "Obviously, a request from the national security adviser to unmask an identity would be given great weight," Hayden said. "That said, it is not automatic and goes through a carefully documented process at the NSA before an identity is unmasked." There is another reason why Rice may have wanted to unmask Kushner, said Paul Pillar, a 28-year veteran of the CIA and former executive assistant to the CIA's deputy director for intelligence. "If Ms. Rice was communicating with members of Trump's team regarding transition matters and she learns from intelligence that some such members also are communicating with the Russians, she would want to know exactly who is doing that so she can be extra careful in her own talks, lest something she says gets relayed to Moscow," Pillar told Business Insider in March. At least one other member of Trump's transition team had his conversations picked up incidentally during routine surveillance of Kislyak last year: Flynn. He was forced to resign in February after reports surfaced that said he spoke with Kislyak about US sanctions on Russia, despite telling Vice President Mike Pence that he hadn't.
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    Today, 04:02 PM
    European allies see the two sides of Trump TAORMINA, Italy (Reuters) - In Sicily, Donald Trump listened attentively during complex G7 debates over trade and climate change, smiled for the cameras, and for the most part refrained from provocative tweets. In Brussels, he bashed NATO partners for not spending more on defense, shoved the prime minister of Montenegro and renewed his attacks on Germany's trade surplus with the United States. America's allies witnessed the two sides of Trump on his first foreign trip as U.S. president, a nine-day tour that began with sword dancing in Saudi Arabia and vague pledges in Israel to deliver Middle East peace. As Trump headed home, European officials were left with mixed feelings: relief that he had been patient enough to listen to their arguments and unsettled by a Jekyll-and-Hyde figure who is still finding his way on the big policy issues. "It all fits with his strategic ambiguity approach to life," said Julianne Smith of the Centre for a New American Security. "It may do wonders when dealing with adversaries. But it doesn't work when dealing with allies," she said. Other leaders of the Group of Seven nations had viewed with trepidation their summit, held at a cliff-top hotel overlooking the Mediterranean, after four preparatory meetings failed to clear up differences with the Trump administration on trade, how to deal with Russia and climate change. But in the end, officials said, the result was better than they had feared. The final communique acknowledged a split between the United States and its six partners over honoring the 2015 Paris accord on climate change. That followed a debate with Trump that German Chancellor Angela Merkel described as "very dissatisfying". However on trade, Trump bowed to pressure from allies to retain a pledge to fight protectionism. And on Russia, he did not insist on removing - as some allies had feared - the threat of additional sanctions for Moscow's intervention in Ukraine. NATO "DISASTER" Still, there was irritation at Trump's refusal to show his hand on the Paris agreement to curb carbon emissions. Near the end of the summit, he tweeted teasingly that he would make a decision on Paris next week, leaving delegations to scratch their heads about why he could not commit in Taormina. The most critical words were reserved for Trump's appearance at NATO headquarters in Brussels, which was described as a "disaster" by more than one European official. With the leaders of America's NATO partners standing like school children behind him, Trump upbraided them for not spending more on defense and repeated the charge that some members owed "massive amounts of money" from past years - even though allied contributions are voluntary. Most disturbingly for allies, Trump did not personally affirm his commitment to Article 5, NATO's mutual defense doctrine, after pre-trip signals from the White House that he would do just that. Trump also failed to mention Russia, which remains NATO's raison d'etre in the eyes of most Europeans. It was a speech that reminded some of Trump's doom-laden inauguration address in January, one that seemed written for the hardest of his hard-core domestic audience. "Proud of @realDonaldTrump for telling NATO deadbeats to pay up or shut up," former Republican governor Mike Huckabee tweeted in response. Trump's appearance in Brussels was particularly galling to the Germans, who after months of painstaking relationship building with Trump - including Merkel's invitation to his daughter Ivanka for a G20 women's summit in Berlin - found themselves under attack from him on two fronts. Before heading to NATO, Trump criticized Germany's trade surplus in a private meeting with senior European Union officials. "If Trump really wants to go down a path of isolation, it will only speed up China's rise to the top," one senior German official grumbled. ZERO-SUM Beyond the rhetoric, Trump's body language also confounded his hosts. He muscled aside Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic as NATO leaders walked into the alliance's new headquarters for a photo session. And he engaged in two alpha-male handshakes with France's new 39-year-old President Emmanuel Macron, who seemed to get the better of Trump on both occasions. The macho posturing in Europe contrasted to the images, a few days earlier, of Trump and his team swaying, swords in hand, with the absolute rulers of Saudi Arabia at a lavish welcome ceremony given by King Salman. Summing up the tour on Saturday, Trump's advisers seemed most enthused about the Saudi leg, where he clinched a $110 billion arms deal and forged what one aide described as a "personal bond" with the king. "The president was able to make some of the most amazing deals that have really been made by any administration ever," enthused his economic adviser Gary Cohn. Daniela Schwarzer, research director at the German Council of Foreign Relations in Berlin, said the trip had confirmed Trump's "zero-sum game" view of the world in which you are either a winner or a loser and relationships are transactional. "His rhetoric and actions suggest he does not consider it a priority to build good and engaging relations with allies the U.S. so far considered its most important ones," she said. (Writing by Noah Barkin; Additional reporting by Crispian Balmer; editing by David Stamp)
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    Today, 03:52 PM
    Yeap...after all, Russia finance their Golf Clubs Golf writer: Eric Trump said father's golf courses were funded by Russians President Trump’s son Eric once said that his father got funding for his golf courses from the Russians, according to a report. Golf writer James Dodson said he hit the links with Eric and Donald at the Trump National Golf Club in Charlotte, N.C., in 2014 when he raised the question of how they found the money to keep developing golf courses when financing was tight during the Recession. Trump “sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million,” Dodson told WBUR-FM, a Boston public radio station, in an interview that aired Friday. Later, Dodson, who wrote a biography of Ben Hogan, among other golf books, said he asked Eric the same question as they rode in a golf cart. Dodson said Eric Trump replied: “ ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’” Eric continued: “’Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.’” Well....according to your statement, you said Clinton gave Uranium to Putin....for $500,000 speaking fees But Trump gave this country and offered to Putin.....for his business deals totaling $100 million Which one is more valuable?
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • pirata's Avatar
    Today, 02:22 PM
    I just received my stock portfolio and Almost no update on the stocks gain from last year and this one.Also,North soft drinks has 0 on my portfolio!! not what I was Hoping!!
    18 replies | 2041 view(s)
  • dagod1's Avatar
    Today, 02:03 PM
    So can anyone tell me what is going on with my Warka bank account and stock account. I haven't been able to contact anyone at Warka. Thanks
    18 replies | 2041 view(s)
  • dagod1's Avatar
    Today, 02:00 PM
    I have been trying for a long while now to get in touch with someone from Warka Bank about my account. Did they go bankrupt or get bombed or what. Could someone fill me in!! Thanks a bunch.
    0 replies | 49 view(s)
  • Wolverine's Avatar
    Today, 01:51 PM
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    Today, 04:22 AM
    'Putin will be thrilled': Former NATO ambassadors say Trump just dealt 'a major blow' to the alliance President Donald Trump drew backlash Thursday after he did not explicitly endorse Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's founding document during his summit with NATO allies in Brussels. The article, known as the collective-defense clause, stipulates that an attack on any member is an attack on all. It was invoked for the first time in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — a point raised by Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in their respective remarks on Thursday. Trump said in his speech that the US would "never forsake the friends that stood by our side" in the aftermath of 9/11. But he did not explicitly endorse Article 5, as every US president since Harry S. Truman has when speaking outside NATO headquarters. Instead, Trump used the speech largely to lecture representatives from nearly two dozen member countries for not meeting their "financial obligations" to increase defense spending to 2% of their gross domestic product. "If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, then NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism," Trump said. Nicholas Burns, who was the US's ambassador to NATO under President George W. Bush, said it was "a major mistake" for Trump to not "reaffirm publicly and explicitly" the US's Article 5 commitment to NATO. "I was the US ambassador to NATO on 9/11 and remain grateful for the unstinting support given to America by our European allies and Canada," Burns said on Thursday. "Trump is not acting like the leader of the West that all US presidents before him have been dating back to Truman." Trump's speech at the NATO summit came on the heels of his trip to the Middle East, where he told Arab leaders he was "not here to lecture" them about human rights. Richard Haass, a former US diplomat who has been the president of the Council on Foreign Relations since 2003, said on Twitter that Trump's "overly solicitous treatment" of Saudi Arabia stood in contrast to his "public lecturing of NATO allies," which Haass called "unseemly and counterproductive." Ivo Daalder, the US's ambassador to NATO from May 2009 to July 2013, said Trump's reluctance to commit to the guiding principle was "a major blow to the alliance." "After calling NATO 'obsolete,' Trump needed to say what every predecessor since Truman has said: The US is committed to Article 5," Daalder said on Twitter. "At the core of NATO is the unconditional commitment to collective defense." 'Putin will be thrilled' NATO officials had hoped Trump would acknowledge that the organization's biggest challenge now was not fighting terrorism, but countering Russian aggression in eastern Europe, according to Politico. NATO was founded in 1949 as Europe's answer to the Soviet Union, and the 28-member alliance continues to serve largely as a counterweight to Russia's ambitions in eastern Europe. Several post-Soviet states, including Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, are now NATO members. Montenegro will become a member in June. "Putin will be thrilled at Trump's refusal to endorse Article 5," said Tom Wright, the director of the Center on the United States and Europe and a fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution. "Unimaginable under any other president." After Trump called NATO "obsolete" in a January interview, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said Moscow "shares Trump's opinion that NATO is a remnant of the past." (Trump said later that he called NATO obsolete "without knowing much about NATO.") Still, some officials worried that Trump could one day strike a bilateral deal with Moscow that would affect NATO's interests, Politico reported. Putin has repeatedly characterized the US-led organization as an "aggressive" force whose aim is to isolate Russia from Europe — rhetoric that became more heated earlier this year amid NATO's military exercises in the Baltic Sea. Russia responded to those drills by transferring nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad, which borders Poland and Lithuania. Like I said....for Donaldof is all about making his boss Vladimir Putin happy....if he keeps his boss happy, then Putin will reward Donaldof with some lucrative deals and that will make Donaldof very happy....
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    Today, 04:14 AM
    Trump Is Playing the International Strategy Game Like a Novice Among Experts There is a paradox that turns any normal idea about strategy on its head. In a business context, I call it the paradox of profit. Simply put, the surest path to losing money is for a company to be preoccupied with profits. The surest path to profit is to be preoccupied with benefiting society. By appealing to society’s environmental concerns, Tesla now has the highest market value of any American automaker. By attempting to sidestep those concerns, Volkswagen lost $26 billion in market value in two days. A similar paradox applies to national interests. As President Donald Trump continues his international tour, he would be wise to focus on shared interests with other nations in order to truly put “America first.” Engaging those with no natural interest in your success but with great ability to shape your opportunities or risks (those who I define as shapeholders) begins with authentically aligning a purpose that benefits both you and them. Otherwise, there is little reason for others to give your concerns a second thought. Since the end of World War II, America’s purpose has been underwriting global security, promoting open markets, and investing in development. As conflicts subsided, as trade expanded, and as newly prosperous nations became customers, both America and other nations benefited. Abandoning America’s purpose and reverting to narrowly defined national interests might appeal to many. Yet a nationalistic dalliance, even if only an interlude, could harm America’s ability to advance its interests by undermining the trust and deference of other nations. In geopolitics, Russia is playing chess. China is playing Go, a game that focuses not on a decisive clash of forces like in chess does, but on strategic encirclement through subtlety, indirection, and the patient accumulation of relative advantage. The United States must strengthen its alliances to avoid a Russian checkmate and keep China from encircling a dominant sphere of influence. In the context of a global chess match, America’s queen has always been NATO. Our rook or castle in the West has long been the United Kingdom, and in the East, Japan. Canada and Mexico are America’s bishops, nestling us in a safe neighborhood. Australia, India, South Korea, and Turkey have historically, like knights in chess, extended America’s reach. Putin’s chess moves seek to retain popular support by convincing his own people that the West is out to get them, as he and his friends line their pockets with Russia’s wealth. Putin’s queen is Iran. For both Russia and Iran, Bashar al-Assad’s Syria has been a pawn. Russia has skillfully maneuvered its engagement in Syria to keep upward pressure on oil prices and destabilize Europe with refugees. By supporting nationalist candidates, Putin seeks to undermine unity within Europe. Russia’s occupation of Crimea and meddling in Ukraine has raised doubts about whether NATO will honor its security guarantees. China is more complicated. While the West tends to wait for a Clausewitz-style battle to the finish, China follows Sun Tzu’s precept that “the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting.” China has a 5,000-year history of worrying about China. In the world of modern commerce, that includes China’s supply chains. China seeks to reestablish its dominance along the historic Silk Road and assert itself in the Western Pacific. Its desired sphere includes the largest and fastest growing half of the globe. Given the global contests for the affections of other nations, even the perception that the United States is preoccupied with only its own interests undermines its ability to attract nations to align with its priorities. Candidate Trump placing conditions on NATO support and referring to it as obsolete fanned the flames of doubt that Putin lit. At the NATO summit this week, Trump did little to assuage those doubts. As for Britain, America’s Western rook, the allure of significant commercial opportunities has drawn the U.K.’s interest in China’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure effort. Trump’s recent disclosure to Russia of intelligence obtained from allied sources has called the continuance of the “special relationship” into question. As for Japan, America’s Eastern rook, the United States canceling the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe exhibited great political courage to join has strained the relationship. Not only does pulling out of the TPP undercut America’s Pacific alliances, but it paves the way for China to assemble an Asian trade alliance with America on the outside looking in, instead of a Pacific trade alliance with America at its center. America’s global power rests on it remaining unchallenged in North America, giving it the freedom to pursue foreign challenges without worrying about its position at home. There are few things that would more undermine American foreign policy than genuine friction with either of its bishops: Canada or Mexico. Trump’s criticisms of the North American Free Trade Agreement and derogatory comments about Mexico seem oblivious to this reality. As for those, who like knights in chess, could extend America’s reach, China’s economic gravitational pull, accentuated by its commercial might and massive infrastructure investments, is capturing the attention of South Korea, Turkey, and even Australia, although India remains skeptical. An “America first” policy risks leaving America alone, as important allies question America’s commitment and carefully weigh the attractiveness of switching or splitting their allegiances. The United States would be far better off if it followed the path of Tesla by focusing on enhancing mutual interests with others as the best path to truly keep America first.
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    Today, 04:09 AM
    Jared Kushner’s Growing Stench of Treason Nobody knows yet whether the president's son-in-law broke any laws. But "traitor" is more than just a legal term. It’s time to talk about treason. We now know, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports cited by the Washington Post, that in early December 2016 Jared Kushner and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak “discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities, in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring.” At any time in the Cold War, what Kushner did would certainly have attracted the stigma of treachery. Should the same standard apply today? Let’s consider Kushner’s best defense. Backchannels are an accepted part of diplomatic relations. A relationship may be too controversial for public consumption, and it is useful to have fora where diplomats and those entrusted with the leadership of states can speak frankly, without the glare of the media. But this appears to have been no ordinary proposal for a backchannel. First and foremost, the intent was to avoid monitoring by the United States’ own intelligence agencies. And second, Trump’s team weren’t in government yet (unless the intent was for the backchannel to continue, or to start, after the inauguration, and thus provide a means to avoid U.S. intelligence monitoring while in office, which would be even more dubious). The charitable interpretation here is that the Trump transition team did not want the Obama administration to know what they were discussing with Moscow. But this is unpersuasive as a defense, because if those conversations were within the realm of legality, what difference would it have made if the Obama administration knew about them? One might retort that it was important that the outreach to the Russians be kept out of the public domain, and that the Obama administration could have frustrated that by leaking to the press. But this argument is inane, given how publicly Trump advertised his desire for rapprochement with Russia during the campaign. A final argument might be that Trump’s team was aware that it is illegal for private citizens to conduct diplomacy with a foreign government, so they needed a secret backchannel. Of course, being illegal, the Trump team would never make that argument. They might say, perhaps not unreasonably, that they were not conducting diplomacy, but merely talking to the Russians as an opposition party might do (call it the Marine le Pen argument). But you can’t have it both ways: either the enterprise was legal, in which case there would have been no need to hide it from U.S. intelligence, or it was not. Let’s be clear. There would be nothing inherently illegitimate with the Trump transition team pursuing better relations between the United States and Russia. Indeed, it was a major part of the campaign platform Trump used to win the election. Foreign policy debate between Russia doves and hawks has been going back and forth since the deterioration of post-Cold War relations following the West’s intervention in Kosovo 1999, and those who want the West to have warmer relations with Russia have many reasonable arguments. But it’s the very legitimacy of wanting better relations with Russia, given Trump’s democratic mandate to pursue such a course, that makes Kushner’s desire to hide the Trump transition team’s connections with the Kremlin from U.S. intelligence so dubious, especially if he did intend for the backchannel to continue, or to start, after the inauguration. That is the kernel of the illegitimacy here: not the effort to improve relations through a backchannel, but the extraordinary measures to keep it secret from one’s own side. In the Cold War, Kushner’s actions would have attracted the stigma of treachery because Russia was an enemy of the United States. But his actions would not have gotten him indicted because there was no ongoing open war in accordance with the legal definition of treason (18 U.S. code § 2381): “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason”. Similarly today, what we are talking about is not the legal offense of treason but the stigma of treachery — the broader social meaning of treason. To understand this broader social meaning it helps to think about the history of the concept. In the Roman Republic, there were two treasonable offenses. One was called perduellio, which basically aligns with our current definition of treason of aiding an enemy in war. The other was called the crimen maiestas populi Romani immunutae, known commonly as maiestas, which was the offense of diminishing the majesty of the Roman people. It was only later, after the Republic collapsed and the emperors took over, that maiestas became the offense against the person of the emperor, given how in this kind of monarchy, there was little difference between the sovereign identity of the state and its ruler. (This is the origin of the offense of “lèse majesté” against monarchs still on the statute books in some states today.) If Kushner’s actions should come to attract the stigma of treachery, it would be in the old Roman Republican sense of maiestas, when public values and their expression in state institutions still meant something. Thus, in the Roman Republic, maiestas was about punishing individuals for hijacking their state positions for their personal gain. It could be used, for example, to prosecute official maladministration, like corruption by provincial officials or military officers. An apt modern equivalent would be soliciting personal investments by selling political access or expedited visas to rich Chinese people, which Kushner’s family business has already independently been accused of. We’ll have to wait for the facts to see what Kushner may have been trying to hide from U.S. intelligence. But my hunch is that far from the “Manchurian Candidate” theories, this will turn out to be a sorry case of operating in the grey areas of the law to enrich oneself whilst in office. Not as bad as aiding the enemy, but still rancid. It is exactly what treachery as maiestas meant in Republican Rome: An offense against the dignity of the state understood as a community bound by its public values. In Rome, the punishment for maiestas was normally exile. Kushner’s fate is still to be determined. But the public response to it will tell us much about whether the American people, under their new monarch, still have the dignity to protect their ancient majesty.
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  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    Today, 03:49 AM
    So folks, this is my theory....Donaldof knew that by himself, he stood no chance at all at winning the POTUS. He knew that he needed resources, he needed people and minions who could do dirty laundry in the shadows without directly implicating as the perpetrator. He had those resources because of the vast dealings he and his family have with the Russians. He have the money and he have the influence and he also have the ear of his boss, Vladimir Putin. Then, he sent his peons to pass the word to the shadow minions. The shadow minions will get paid handsomely for his work. That then bring back the issue with the tax returns. Donaldof did not wanted to publicly release the returns because he also knew that the audit will shred every single cent to be accountable for. And he knew that he would have a lot to explain. He didn't want for his obscure dealings and treason to be discovered. So moving forward, he had his Minion Master here, which is his son in law who would do his dirty laundry. Then, once he secured the POTUS by any means available, he would start securing his financial gains and deals with Russia. He don't care who eats and who doesn't here in America as long as he eats his daily steak with ketchup, as he demands and to his taste. Ahhh....but, being the narcissist man he is, he thought he was smart enough to get away with the treason. He didn't account or factor in the brave, astute and brilliant mind of the true patriots and real american people. Remember when he invited Russia to look and find Clinton emails?.....that right there tells you that he already had a contract for the work to be done. On top that, he made a public enemy out of the media. I don't remember any individual in recent or past memory who tried to or actually made a an enemy out of the news folks. To my knowledge, you got to thread the waters carefully when dealing with the media. But Donaldof, thinking he is "The Man" (acutally The Puppet)....he thought he could say whatever, and do whatever, or better yet, "kill someone in the middle of the street in New Yoork and get away with it"....at least that is what he thought. Because he thought he could get away with it. Then he made another enemy out of the Intelligence Community. Folks....you never ever want to make an enemy out of the Intelligence Community. That is the worse mistake you could ever make in your damn life. But Donaldof did ...and he made it far worse when he fired James Comey, a man who the Intelligence Community respects and who is viewed with the highest of regards to everyone...but Donaldof. But he did it fired him indiscriminately... Because he thought he could get away with it. Now you have two powerful entities, the Media and the Intelligence Community...and you wonder....why there is so much dirt comming out of the White House every single damn day, non-stop !!!! Well.....Donaldof thought he could get away with his treason. His narcissist persona and his mercurial temper is doing a great of favors to his enemies. and it is going to get far worse. I said many times in the past that this con-man wasn't the right candidate for the GOP and at that time, I said things are going to get really bad and it will go from really bad to really worse to really F#$#ed up. My predictions has proven right. The thing is that is going to get F#$#ed up for the everyone at the White House and to for the GOP. But it will be good in the sense that I assure you that there will NEVER be another Trumpler in Oval Office. I don't think the GOP will ever take another senseless risk like that. Now, the point is that Donaldof felt he could get away with the New York murder thing. All of you supporters of this Con-Man thought he could get away with it. He felt that once he slam his fist in the desk, the Russia meddling will go away. Because he thought he could get away with it. It hasn't happened yet. And it will not happen anytime soon because he made an enemy of two most powerful entities in the United States....and when media and intel get together....very interesting things comes to light....somehow, someways, news keep popping up about Donaldof....maybe Comey is helping along the way?...who knows....what I know is that the Russia meddling will not go away and now, it has become Donaldof worst nightmares..... But worry not my friends...For I will make sure you are all kept updated with the latest, juiciest, tastiest news regarding Puppet Donaldof Trumpler and his legion of Minions.....
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    Today, 03:48 AM
    Exclusive: NSA Chief Admits Donald Trump Colluded With Russia Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey continues to reverberate in the KremlinGate scandal, which threatens to consume the Trump administration. By abruptly removing Comey, then mangling his excuses for why he did so, Trump created a needless crisis for the White House which shows no signs of abating. The impartial observer might think that Trump fired Comey because he feared what the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the president’s contacts with Russia might reveal—as the commander (puppet) in chief has essentially admitted. Moreover, Trump’s inappropriate efforts to secure Comey’s personal “loyalty” had fallen flat—the FBI director rightly assured the president of his honesty but abjured any fealty to Trump personally—after which the president is reported to have developed a palpable fear of the incorruptible Bureau boss. To protect Team Trump, Comey had to go. But cashiering Comey was insufficient. True to form, Trump seemingly took the offensive against the FBI. According to multiplereports, the president approached top intelligence bosses to coax them into joining Trump’s personal war with Comey. In particular, Trump is reported to have asked Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence (DNI), and Admiral Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, to go public in denying that Team Trump had any ties to Russia during the 2016 election campaign. The president’s take on the FBI investigation is well known, thanks to his frequent tweets castigating it as “fake news,” a “hoax” and even a “witch hunt.” However, asking top intelligence officials to publicly attack the FBI and its director isn’t just unusual—it’s unprecedented. Even President Nixon, in the depths of the Watergate scandal, which ultimately unraveled his administration, never went quite so far as to drag NSA into his public mess. Admiral Rogers anecdotally flatly denied Trump’s request, which—if true—was inappropriate, unethical and dubiously legal, while Coats, a Trump appointee who’s only been in the DNI job since mid-March, likewise refused to back the president against the FBI. This was a stunning setback for Trump, who seems to view our nation’s top security officials as his personal employees who ought to follow his presidential whim rather than the law and the Constitution, which all of them take an oath to defend. Last week, when he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Coats declined to answer questions about the White House’s effort to undermine the FBI investigation of Team Trump, stating, “I don’t feel it’s appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president” in open session. Presumably DNI Coats would be more forthcoming in a closed Congressional session, where classified information can be revealed. Director Rogers, in contrast, has made no public statements about the president’s effort to enlist him in his anti-Comey campaign. This is typical of his famously tight-lipped agency—for decades, NSA was humorously said to stand for Never Say Anything—and why Trump approached Rogers is no mystery. As the nation’s signals intelligence force, NSA isn’t just the biggest source of intelligence on earth—it’s also the agency possessing the bulk of the classified information which establishes collusion between Trump and the Russians. Although whispers of such SIGINT have reached the media, the lion’s share remains hidden from public view, though it’s all known to the FBI. If Trump could co-opt NSA in his fight with the Bureau, that would be a big win, protecting the White House from dangerous information, so it’s safe to assume that Rogers’ refusal burned Trump personally. Perhaps that’s why, early this week, Admiral Rogers took the unusual step of addressing the entire NSA workforce to tell them what transpired with the president. This week’s town hall event, which was broadcast to agency facilities worldwide, was therefore met with surprise and anticipation by the NSA workforce, and Rogers did not disappoint. I have spoken with several NSA officials who witnessed the director’s talk and I’m reporting their firsthand accounts, which corroborate each other, on condition of anonymity. In his town hall talk, Rogers reportedly admitted that President Trump asked him to discredit the FBI and James Comey, which the admiral flatly refused to do. As Rogers explained, he informed the commander in chief, “I know you won’t like it, but I have to tell what I have seen”—a probable reference to specific intelligence establishing collusion between the Kremlin and Team Trump. Rogers then added that such SIGINT exists, and it is damning. He stated, “There is no question that we have evidence of election involvement and questionable contacts with the Russians.” Although Rogers did not cite the specific intelligence he was referring to, agency officials with direct knowledge have informed me that DIRNSA was obviously referring to a series of SIGINT reports from 2016 based on intercepts of communications between known Russian intelligence officials and key members of Trump’s campaign, in which they discussed methods of damaging Hillary Clinton. NSA employees walked out of the town hall impressed by the director’s forthright discussion of his interactions with the Trump administration, particularly with how Rogers insisted that he had no desire to “politicize” the situation beyond what the president has already done. America’s spies are unaccustomed to playing partisan politics as Trump has apparently asked them to do, and it appears that the White House’s ham-fisted effort to get NSA to attack the FBI and its credibility was a serious mistake. It’s therefore high time for the House and Senate intelligence committees to invite Admiral Rogers to talk to them about what transpired with the White House. It’s evident that DIRNSA has something important to say. Since Mike Rogers is said to have kept notes of the president’s effort to enlist him in Trump’s personal war with the FBI, as any seasoned Beltway bureaucrat would do, his account ought to be impressively detailed.
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Today, 12:58 AM
    GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers. Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country, including the battle to liberate Mosul. Please click here to download the latest report free of charge. For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Today, 12:58 AM
    Advertising FeatureRabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 25th May 2017). Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes. The RSISX index ended the week at IQD868 (+2.0%) / $895 (+2.0%) (weekly change) (-9.5% and -5.5% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 22.3bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD9.5bn ($7.5mn). ISX Company Announcements CBI announced giving out payments to contractors through local bonds by announcing 16 not-listed companies to receive their payments through this way. (CBI) Mosul Bank for Development and Investment (BMFI) will hold AGM* on Jun. 6, 2017 to discuss and approve 2015 annual financial results and discuss relocating company HQ from Erbil to Baghdad. ISX will suspend trading of BMFI starting on Jun. 1, 2017. Al-Wiaam for Financial Investment (VWIF) will hold AGM* on Jun. 15, 2017 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results. ISX will suspend trading of VWIF starting on Jun. 12, 2017. Al-Nibal Al-Arabya for Money Transfer (MTNI) will hold AGM* on Jun. 1, 2017 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results. ISX will suspend trading of MTNI starting on May 29, 2017. International Development Bank for Investment (BIDB), which has IQD250bn paid-in capital, has completed depositing its shares in the IDC and started trading in non-regular market on May 23, 2017. The opening price will be free for the first three trading sessions, and after this period, price will be able to change with +/-20% limit per day. A cross transaction occurred on 15.7bn shares of Babylon Bank (BBAY) on May 22, 2017, which represents 6.3% of BBAY capital. A cross transaction occurred on 600mn shares of Mosul Bank for Development and Investment (BMFI) on May 22, 2017, which represents 0.2% of BMFI capital. Iraqi Carton Manufactories (IICM) resumed trading on May 22, 2017 after discussing and approving 2015 annual financial results. Trans Iraq Bank for Investment (BTRI) held AGM* on May 25, 2017 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results and writing off the IQD492mn of the doubtful loans from the doubtful loans provision for not being able to obtain it. ISX suspended trading of BTRI starting on May 22, 2017. United Bank (BUND) replied ISX recommendations that the bank owns a diverse fund that is disclosed. The administration constantly works to fix all problems regarding any blocked amounts of money. The bank will organize a seminar during its next AGM to discuss the matters of its shareholders and the disclosure of its financial information. The bank takes great care of its publicity and advertises its services constantly through seminars, summits and workshops. Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Today, 12:58 AM
    UNIDO and Japan support two projects for economic recovery and social stabilization in IraqThe United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Government of Japan have agreed to launch two projects in Iraq to lift the burden on the local communities affected by the influx of people who have had to flee their homes because of continuing violence and insecurity. The projects respond to the United Nations Secretary-General’s appeal for more help to the people who have “suffered enormously and go on suffering”. Japan’s financial contribution will enable integrated stabilization, economic recovery and reconstruction support for internally displaced persons (IDPs), *returnees and Syrian refugees in Iraq through vocational and agricultural skills training and concrete measures to develop small and medium enterprises. The projects will assist the Government of Iraq in addressing the humanitarian and development challenges in the context of the military operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Mosul City. They will bring relief to the internally displaced people from Mosul City and their host communities in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. According to the Iraqi authorities, around 669,000 people remain displaced from Mosul, some 460,000*of whom are from western Mosul. The United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) confirms that the damage suffered by public and private infrastructure in western Mosul is two and a half times greater than in the eastern districts. The first project has two components. One aims to promote resilience and economic stability by supporting micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in newly liberated areas and the corridor of the Ninewa (and/or in the Erbil, Kirkuk and Saladin Governorates), and strengthening the capacity of government institutions to facilitate vocational training programmes for IDPs, refugees and returnees. The project is in line with the priorities and targets of the cluster for emergency livelihoods and social cohesion, and complies with the Humanitarian Response Plan for Iraq. The second project will develop agro-based *industries in the Erbil Governorate, Kurdistan Region. It will promote and strengthen food and agro-processing enterprises starting at the farm- and household-level by engaging Syrian refugees, IDPs, host communities and the private sector. The Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, as well as the Ministry of Industry of the Kurdistan region, are the government partners in this endeavour. The project will operate in Baharka, Shaqlawa and the Syrian refugee IDPs camps in the Erbil Governorate. (Source: UN) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:24 PM
    Donald Trump and the Agony of H.R. McMaster: Will the President Dump His Second National Security Adviser? Is H.R. McMaster, the White House national security adviser, on the way out? By some signs, he is: President Donald Trump not only excluded him from a key meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his national security adviser Monday night in Jerusalem, he was kept “outside the King David room during the course of the entire meeting,” according to an eye-catching Israeli account. Taken alone, the perceived shaming wouldn’t amount to much: Trump has a habit of slighting his aides in public. But the incident came only days after a report in The New York Times that McMaster had fallen out of favor with the president. Trump had “complained that General McMaster talks too much in meetings,” and “the president has referred to him as ‘a pain,’” The Times said in a report that was not challenged by the White House. By the time Trump left Israel for his meeting in Rome with the Pope, right-wing news sites closely allied with the so-called “nationalist” wing of the White House were serving up full throated criticism of McMaster, a distinguished Army general. Breitbart News Network, formerly edited by Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, went further, inviting “anti-Muslim gadfly” Frank Gaffney onto its Sirius XM radio show to blast McMaster as “one of the leading voices in the Trump administration seeking to divorce Islam from terrorism.” Likewise, Mike Cernovich, a blogger with a large far-right following, has been running a campaign against the general, accusing him of “manipulating intelligence reports” and “plotting how to sell a massive ground war in Syria to President Trump with the help of disgraced former CIA director and convicted criminal David Petraeus, who mishandled classified information by sharing documents with his mistress.” Even before McMaster left on Trump’s foreign trip, writers from the Washington establishment were urging him to resign before he lost the last shreds of his dignity under the erratic president. “Twenty years ago, H.R. McMaster authored a cautionary tale,” Washington Post columnist Carlos Lozada wrote, referencing the general’s acclaimed book on how U.S. military leaders enabled bad decision-making by President Lyndon Johnson during the Vietnam War. “Now he risks becoming one.” If so, it would be quite a reversal of fortune for the much maligned retired general. Many of McMaster’s friends and admirers were dismayed when Trump sent him out to explain away reports of his boss sharing above-top secret intelligence about an allied source of information—said to be Israel—on the Islamic State militant group with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador to Washington. Some saw it as a deliberate act of humiliation. John Nagl, who had worked with McMaster on U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, told NPR he was in “an absolutely impossible situation. And many of us, his friends, were concerned that something like this was going to happen when he took this job working for this administration. “The president” Nagl said, “expects him to defend the indefensible.” While McMaster sat outside the Jerusalem meeting with Netanyahu and his aides, the president included two officials with zero diplomatic experience in the Middle East, his son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner and a longtime Trump Organization employee, Jason Greenblatt. A year ago, Greenblatt was “the chief attorney overseeing large transactions for the Trump Organization, including any involving Trump family members,” Politico reported. “Now he’s in the White House as the president’s lead envoy in the Middle East…” David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer and the president’s newly appointed ambassador to Israel (who has long helped fund illegal Israeli settlements), rounded out the Trump entourage at the Netanyahu meeting. “There has been a lot in the press about Trump’s growing antipathy to McMaster, though it’s hard to know how much of it is true and how much of it is the result of intramural smear jobs from the warring White House factions,” says Daniel Benjamin, who was ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department in the Barack Obama administration. “Whatever the story may be there, if Trump doesn’t take his national security advisor into a meeting with another head of government, he’s again being reckless and foolish beyond belief,” added Benjamin, now director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College. “It’s not good—and rare—for a national security adviser to be left out of a meeting like this,” Loch Johnson, the eminent intelligence historian at the University of Georgia, tells Newsweek. “The position depends on good chemistry between the president and the national security adviser and this event would suggest that the key elements of this relationship are already evaporating in the Petri dish.” The absence of McMaster was not so important “as long as the ambassador is there,” says Evelyn Farkas, a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration. But she wondered whether an experienced diplomatic note-taker was there, “because...the rest of the interagency needs to be told what happened.” Not just that, says Benjamin. “The national security advisor, or some other senior professional staffer, as opposed to an amateur like Kushner, is there to keep the president from straying into areas that he doesn’t know and preventing commitments that he doesn’t understand.” According to the Israeli insider blog Kafe Knesset, “at some point, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was invited to join the expanded meeting.” But even then, McMaster was left out. All this is “just the latest example of a dysfunctional White House with a broken staff system,” says Chris Whipple, author of The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency. “An empowered White House chief would... make sure McMaster is in the room for important meetings with heads of state. But Reince Priebus is not and has never been empowered. And Trump has no idea why that is essential to his success.” “Of course, if this is a sign that McMaster is out of favor, well, God help us,” says Daniel Benjamin, who in the 1990s served on President Bill Clinton’s national security council. “McMaster doesn’t have a lot of expertise in Europe, Asia, diplomacy or economics, but he seems to have his head screwed on right, which can’t be said of many of the other members of the White House inner circle.”
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • millionairetobe71's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:21 PM
    AP source: Kushner back channel with Russia involved Syria WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's son-in-law and now top White House adviser Jared Kushner proposed a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team during a December meeting with a leading Russian diplomat. Kushner spoke with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about creating that line of communication to facilitate sensitive discussions aimed at exploring the incoming administration's options with Russia as it was developing its Syria policy, according to a person familiar with the discussions who spoke with The Associated Press. The intent was to connect Trump's chief national security adviser at the time, Michael Flynn, with Russian military leaders, said this person, who wasn't authorized to publicly discuss private policy deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity. Russia, a pivotal player in Syria, has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad, often at the expense of civilians during a long civil war. The White House did not acknowledge the meeting or Kushner's attendance until March. At the time, a White House official dismissed it as a brief courtesy meeting. Kushner's involvement in the proposed back channel was first reported by The Washington Post, which said he proposed using Russian diplomatic facilities for the discussions, apparently to make them more difficult to monitor. The newspaper cited anonymous U.S. officials who were briefed on intelligence reports on intercepted Russian communications. The Post wrote that Kislyak was reportedly taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate — a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team. According to the person familiar with the Kushner meeting, the Trump team eventually felt there was no need for a back channel once Rex Tillerson was confirmed as secretary of state, and decided to communicate with Moscow through more official channels. Tillerson was sworn in on Feb. 1. Flynn served briefly as Trump's national security adviser before being fired in February after officials said he misled Vice President Mike Pence about whether he and the ambassador had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia in a phone call. Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general, told Congress this month that that deception left Flynn vulnerable to being blackmailed by the Russians. Flynn remains under federal investigation in Virginia over his foreign business ties and was interviewed by the FBI in January about his contacts with Kislyak. The disclosure of the back channel put White House advisers on the defensive Saturday, as Trump wrapped up his first foreign trip as president, and led lawyers for Kushner to say he is willing to talk with federal and congressional investigators about his foreign contacts and his work on the Trump campaign. Meeting with reporters in Sicily, two Trump advisers refused to address the contents of Kushner's December meeting with the Russian diplomat. But they did not dismiss the idea that the administration would go outside normal U.S. government and diplomatic channels for communications with other countries. Speaking generally, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said "we have back channel communications with a number of countries." He added: "It allows you to communicate in a discreet manner." In response to repeated questions from reporters, Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn said, "We're not going to comment on Jared. We're just not going to comment." Kushner was a trusted Trump adviser last year, overseeing the campaign's digital strategy, and remains an influential confidant within the White House as does his wife, Ivanka Trump. Federal investigators and several congressional committees are looking into any connections between Russia and the Trump campaign, including allegations that there may have been collaboration to help Trump and harm his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. On Saturday, the AP confirmed that the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has requested information and documents from Trump's campaign. The request from the committee arrived last week at campaign headquarters in New York, according to person familiar with the request who wasn't authorized to discuss the developments publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. It was said to be the first time any investigators have made inquiries with Trump's campaign officials. The Post first reported the request, which covers materials such as emails, phone records and documents dating to Trump's first days as a candidate in July 2015. Those inquiries now include scrutiny of Kushner, according to the newspaper. Obama administration officials have previously told the AP that the frequency of Flynn's discussions with Kislyak raised enough red flags that aides discussed the possibility Trump was trying to establish a one-to-one line of communication — a back channel — with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In addition, Reuters reported that Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak last year, including two phone calls between April and November. Kushner's attorney, Jamie Gorelick, told Reuters that Kushner "has no recollection of the calls as described." Defense attorneys and former FBI agents say that one likely area of interest for investigators would be Kushner's own meetings with Russians, given that such encounters with a variety of Trump associates are at the root of the sprawling probe, now overseen by former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Regarding Kushner, former FBI agent Jim Treacy said Friday: "If there is an investigation on anybody, would other folks around that person be of interest to the FBI as far as being interviewed? The answer to that is a big yes." If the FBI wants to speak with someone, it's not necessarily an indication of involvement or complicity, said Treacy, who did two tours in Moscow as the FBI's legal attache. "Really, being spoken to, does not confer a target status on the individual," he said. Investigators are also interested in a meeting Kushner had with the Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov, according to reports from The Post and NBC News. "Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings," Gorelick said in a statement Thursday. "He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry."
    6042 replies | 252487 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:32 PM
    Supply chain nightmare to continue between Iraq and US In a new report on the last Thursday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that the Pentagon could not prove $2 billion of Iraq Train-and-Equip Fund (ITEF) materials were delivered. Source: IraqDirectory.com Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 48 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:32 PM
    Kurdish export not part of OPEC oil cut extension, confirms Iraq’s Oil Minister Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi stated that oil exports from Kurdistan region of Iraq will not be included under OPEC’s production cut extension plan. Source: IraqDirectory.com Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 43 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:32 PM
    Saudi-Russia deal extension supported by Iraq Alexander Novak, the Russian oil minister, along with Saudi counterpart Khalid-al-Falih, has signaled an agreement last week between the two biggest oil producers in the world to extend the current the supply deal, which is aimed at removing 1.8 million barrels worth of supplies, Iraq has joined the initiative before the much anticipated OPEC ministers’ meeting in Vienna headquarter on 25th of May. Source: IraqDirectory.com Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 51 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:32 PM
    Inflation rate goes higher by 0.6% in April 2017 Inflation indices of Iraq have raised by 0.6% during the month of April compared to the preceding month, as revealed by Iraqi government. Source: IraqDirectory.com Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 41 view(s)
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