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Senator Lindsey Graham Doesn’t Recall People in 2008 Criticizing Biden When He Attacked McCain

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Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke with Brian Kilmeade about the impact on his friendship with former Vice President Joe Biden by requesting documents related to contacts between Vice President Biden, his son Hunter Biden & Ukrainian President Poroshenko. Senator Graham believes Biden is a decent fellow but believes we cannot have a country where only republicans are investigated. Graham explained, "My friendship with Joe Biden, if it can't withstand me doing my job, it's not the friendship I thought we had." Graham added, "I don't remember Joe Biden being asked, 'Well, you such good friends with John McCain. Why are you saying all these things about McCain's candidacy for president?' Nobody in their right mind would suggest that Joe Biden, because of his friendship with John McCain, could not make a case against John McCain being president and for Barack Obama. He did. He did it effectively. They tore the bark off John McCain." Graham also responded to Senator Chris Coons saying he is abandoning his friendship with Biden by doing 'Trump's dirty work'. Graham said, "Chris Coons is a friend. I'm disappointed in him. He wants to play the game where I work with him to make sure Trump gets investigated, but all of a sudden, when I ask questions ...I mean, every American wants to know the answer to, all of a sudden I'm the bad guy? That's not going to work with me." Watch here for the full interview: Watch here: Full transcript Joe Biden: We're asking, Lindsey Graham. They have him under they're thumb right now. They know he knows if he comes out against Trump, he's got a real tough road for reelection. Number one, I am disappointed. And quite frankly, I'm angered by the fact he knows me. He knows my son. He knows there's nothing to this. Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he's going to regret his whole life. Male Speaker: What do you say to him? Joe Biden: I say -- Lindsey, I just -- I'm just embarrassed by what you're doing. Are you? I mean, my Lord? Brian Kilmeade: My Lord. That's how he ended it. And from the minute I saw that on another network, I wanted to find out what Senator Graham thought about that, who said in the past, "I like Joe Biden," and more. But he's going to investigate Hunter Biden, and he wants to investigate what was going on in the Ukraine in 2014 and 2016. Senator Graham, well, welcome back. What's your response to that? Lindsey Graham: Well, number one, I do like Joe Biden. He's -- I've traveled the world with him. I like him, I think he's a very decent fellow. He's had a lot of tragedy in his life. But I'm not going to create a country where only Republicans get investigated. There's a lot of corruption in the Ukraine. They're an important ally. I thought Mueller would end this, but Adam Schiff is created a process in the house that's un-American, dangerous to the Presidency. And we're going to ask questions of Hunter Biden's role and getting the prosecutor fired. He served on a company, Burisma, as a board member. He received $50,000 a month. For what? I don't know. After the investigation of the company was opened by the prosecutor general's office in the Ukraine. Hunter Biden called his friends in the State Department, Joe Biden called the president, the Ukraine, Persico , three times in10 days. Went to the Ukraine in March. The investigation began February the 4th. The prosecutor was fired. I want to know the transcripts of the phone call between the Vice President and the President of the Ukraine. I want to know what Hunter Biden was doing talking to the State Department. His business partners and blue strategies also contacted at the State Department. The question is, did Hunter Biden use his political influence to stop the investigation of a gas company he was sitting on a as a board member? The president of Burisma was Zlochevsky, the former environmental minister in the Yanukovich administration, who was identified by the U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine in 2015 as being one of the most corrupt people in the Ukraine. The question is, did one of the most corrupt people in the Ukraine hired Joe -- Hunter Biden to be a board member on a gas company and Hunter Biden knows nothing about the gas business, as an insurance policy to protect his company in situations like this. I don't know what happened. I do know this. We're not going to allow the House to investigate Trump endlessly and not ask questions about all corruption in the Ukraine. Was there a corrupt motive behind Hunter Biden's interference contacting of the State Department after the gas company was being investigated? Nothing to do with friendship. When Joe Biden was the vice presidential nominee in 2008, he tore the bark off John McCain and Sarah Palin, nobody asked him, hey, will that hurt your friendship. It hurt my relationship because that's the job he was assigned. My job is to make sure that people I represent in South Carolina, that their voice is heard. Nobody in the media really gives a damn that Hunter Biden was sitting on this board receiving $50,000 a month. Nobody in the media really gives a damn that Hunter Biden weighed in with the State Department after the company came under investigation. They tell me political fat looked at this. What a joke. There has been no investigation regarding the role of the Vice President, Hunter Biden and getting the Ukrainian prosecutor fired after the investigation of Permisa -- Burisma, whatever the name of the company is. I'm going to make sure that those questions are asked. And finally, why am I doing this? When House Republicans tried to ask these questions about the role of Hunter Biden in the investigation of the gas company, they were shut down. So, I'm going to ask. If it were up me, we would have ended this a long time ago on both sides. Brian Kilmeade: Senator, well said. You have some legitimate questions and you put your job over your friendship. So, he says that you're being held hostage basically by Donald Trump, that if you go against Trump, you're not going to get reelected. What's your response to that? Lindsey Graham: It's not going to work. It's not going to work with me. I supported legislation which Chris Coons to make sure that Mueller could not be fired without cause. I didn't think the President was going to fire Mueller, but he said some things that bothered me. I didn't know what the Trump campaign did regarding Russia. I supported the idea that Mueller would be a fair guy to look. I trusted Mueller. He spent two years and $25 million. He found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. And he made no recommendations for prosecution based on obstruction of justice allegations. I thought that would end it. What Schiff is doing is dangerous to the Presidency. He's not allowing Republicans to call witnesses. The President's counsel can't participate in the Intel Committee hearings. You can't ask any questions about whether or not Hunter Biden interfered in an investigation at the gas company where he received $50,000 a month as a board member. I want to know what Joe Biden asked of the Ukrainian government after the raid on Burisma. I hope there's nothing there. Reveal the transcripts. Trump released the transcripts. All I'm asking is that somebody look at this line of inquiry. It does look very suspicious to me. The conflict of interest is obvious with Hunter Biden being on that board. So Checci was named the most corrupt person in the Ukraine by the U.S. ambassador in 2015. They hired Hunter Biden by 2014. Burmese -- Burisma did. Was that an insurance policy to protect them against investigations? I don't know. Blue Strategies weighed in with the State Department after the raid on the gas company. Who did they talk to and what did they ask? Hunter Biden's business partner met directly with John Kerry. What was that all about? I don't believe political factors is the end of the inquiry. Somebody needs to look at this. The House is not allowing these questions to be asked. I will make sure they're asking the Senate. Brian Kilmeade: Well, we know this. He knows nothing about what he was doing over there, but he was golfing with Archer, his partner over there in the Hamptons. Lindsey Graham: When did he know it? What did he do? And he's a friend. I mean, you know, it's up to him if he wants the friendship to continue. I hope it will continue. But don't expect me -- you know, Chris Coons, I work with a lot. You know, I work with you to protect Mueller. You're going to rally around Joe Biden's campaign. I understand that politically. But I can promise you that when Joe Biden was doing his job as the Democratic nominee for vice president, going after McCain and Palin. Nobody ask him about is the friendship in question. So it is obvious to me that Hunter Biden did some things that need to be looked at to stop the investigation of a company. He was receiving $50,000 a month from in the Ukraine. And the president that company was one of the most corrupt people in the entire country, according to the U.S. government. Brian Kilmeade: So Joe Biden called out Lindsey Graham said basically he feels bad for many, is angered by his action. Lindsey Graham said -- Lindsey Graham: Don't feel bad about me. Don't worry about me. I am fine, Joe. You're a good man. You lived a very consequential life. You're running for president. You're sitting on the sidelines as the Democratic Party takes a sledgehammer to Trump and his family and his life in 2014. George can't contact the Biden team to raise the conflict of interest his son had being on the board with a Burisma and they said nothing. They basically -- Joe was grieving and I understand that. But the conflict -- Brian Kilmeade: Senator, we actually pulled -- I got his chair -- two things, Chris Coons said this about you, I guess this is what you're referring to. Delaware senator took Joe Biden's spot when he went to become vice president. Senator Coons, Lindsey Graham is abandoning his friendship with Biden by doing Trump's dirty work. Do you want to respond to that specifically? Lindsey Graham: Yeah. Chris, you're a good man. I like working with you, but we're not going to have it. We're not going to play the game like you want to play. You asked me to join with you to protect Mueller from an investigation that I thought needed to be had. Now you're shutting down legitimate questions about the role of Hunter Biden regarding a prosecution of a company he served on. You're asking us to ignore an obvious conflict of interest. It's not going to work that way. My friendship with these people are not going to keep me from asking questions that somebody needs to ask. I represent the people of South Carolina. Every time I go out in the community, people wanting to know when we're going to look at what happened with the. Here's what the allegation basically is against the Bidens. Hunter Biden served on a board owned by the most corrupt person in the Ukraine receiving $50,000 a month. And he knows nothing about the gas business. And when the company was being investigated in the president's house was being graded, Hunter Biden started calling the State Department. Joe Biden made three phone calls in 10 days to the president of the Ukraine, went over in March to meet with the president of Ukraine and they fired the guy investigating Hunter Biden's company. We're not going to give them a pass on this. They opened up this can of worms about corruption in the Ukraine. They're alleging the president denied aid to the Ukraine cause he wanted the Bidens investigated a political opponent. There was a quid pro quo for it. I don't see that. I don't see that being proven. Brian Kilmeade: I want you to hear Lindsey Graham talk in July 2015 with The Huffington Post about Joe Biden. Lindsey Graham: I think in it, Meyer Joe Biden as a person. There's probably you've got a problem that you need to do some self-evaluation. Because what's not to like? I called them after Beau died and he basically said, well, Beau was my soul for a long time. He came to my ceremony. He said some of the most incredibly heartfelt things that anybody could ever say to me, and he is the nicest person that I've ever met in politics. Male Speaker: Is that right: Lindsey Graham: He is as good a man as God ever created. And we don't agree on much. Brian Kilmeade: So that that's what he was contrasting risk. Lindsey Graham: Yeah. So everything I said was about Joe Biden the first -- I've traveled the world with him. He lost his son, Beau, who I knew. I don't think I've ever talked to Hunger Biden. If I have I don't remember it. The bottom line here is I'm the senator from South Carolina. I don't remember Joe Biden being asked, why if you're such good friends with John McCain, why are you saying all these things about McCain candidacy for president? Nobody in their right mind would suggest that Joe Biden, because of his friendship with John McCain, could not make a case against John McCain being president and for Barack Obama. He did. He did it effectively. They tore the bark off John McCain. Now, here's where I find myself. Your son is serving on a gas company in the Ukraine, making $50,000 a month. An obvious conflict of interest. That gas company gets investigated for corruption. Did your son weigh in and use his political influence to stop that investigation? President Trump wants to find out about corruption in the Ukraine. And if there's nothing there. Fine. I hope there's not. I want the transcripts of the phone calls between Biden and the president of the Ukraine. I want somebody other than political fact, look at whether or not Hunter Biden used his influence to stop the investigation of a company he receiving $50,000 a month compensation in the Ukraine based on the gas business, which you knew nothing about. Brian Kilmeade: Senator, are you acting as the chairman of Judiciary or are you doing President Trump's dirty work or does the president intimidate you into doing what he wants you to do? Lindsey Graham: I'm doing this because somebody needs to do it. When I supported legislation to make sure Mueller could be fired, the Trump world didn't like that much. I was okay with what I did because I thought somebody outside of politics needs to look at the Trump campaign's interaction with Russia, if any. There was one person that could clear Trump or find him guilty of wrongdoing. To me, that was Mueller. I supported that investigation and I was the hero of the town. Standing up for the rule of law. Good old, Lindsey. Now they're playing on a friendship. They're trying to intimidate me from asking questions that somebody should ask. Ukraine is a corrupt country. I get that. Why Hunger Biden was on his board. I don't know. If Joe Biden didn't know, I find it hard to believe. What did he know and when did you know it? Did his son, Hunter Biden use his influence with the State Department in the Obama administration to call off the dogs investigating a company that he was serving on in the Ukraine? The president this company was known to be one of the most corrupt people in the country. Why were you on his board to begin if Joe Biden's job was to clean up corrupt. Brian Kilmeade: There's legitimate questions that nobody's asking. They always press. They preface every question with there's no corruption there. And then they go on and move on. So you're asking those questions because you're doing your job. Lindsey Graham: My friendship with Joe Biden, if they can't withstand me doing my job is not the friendship I thought we had. Everything I said about him in 2015 is true. I admire him as a person. I think he's always trying to do right by the country. I think that -- I think he's made a lot of bad policy choices. But as a person, I like him. He spoke at Senator Thurmond's funeral. I have. I have stood up for him against allegations he was a racist. That's absurd. But we're not going to allow a system in America where only one side gets looked at. These are legitimate questions. What did Hunter Biden do in February the 4th? Brian, this is important. The prosecutor general announces an investigation of Burisma, the gas company. And that's when Hunter Biden started contacting the State Department. And after that contact, Joe Biden made three phone calls in 10 days about the prosecutor. Now, I want to know what they were talking about. Brian Kilmeade: That's it. Senator, you had to sit there for two days and take personal attacks from Joe Biden and all his supporters and you just sounded off. And I think you -- Lindsey Graham: I'm disappointed in him. He wants to play the game where I work with him to make sure Trump gets investigated, but all of a sudden, when I ask questions that are just -- a lot of Republicans want to know the answer to, I think every American will know the answer to, all that and the bad guy. That's not going to work with me. Brian Kilmeade: Senator Graham, I get it. I agree. Thanks so much for using this vehicle to get your side of the story out. Back in a moment.
          

News Weakly - 11/30/19

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Don't Bother Me With Facts
Last week Attorney Manfred Nowak's U.N. report titled "Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty" hit the airwaves and the world, us included, went crazy. According to Nowak, the U.S. currently has more than 100,000 children in migration-related detention. That's evil. Trump is evil. Except, of course, it's not true. That was the number held under Obama throughout 2015. Oops! Well, it doesn't matter. Trump wanted to, we're pretty sure. At least some of the outlets that ran the story retracted it, but you can be pretty sure that folks will be quoting the horrors of Obama's Trump's administration for some time to come, because once it's out there, it's out there, and too many cannot be bothered with facts.

Christmas Decoration Control
An 88-year-old veteran responded to a neighbor's plea for help. Her younger sister was being attacked by a dog. He rushed out the door and snatched up the first weapon he could find -- a plastic nutcracker, part of his neighbor's Christmas display. He mercilessly beat the pitbull until it released the 10-year-old girl. Neighbors are calling for his arrest for animal cruelty and the township is looking into extending Christmas decoration control to cut down on anti-dog violence. Okay, no. The man bravely defended the girl against a vicious animal and, somehow, today's twisted mentality (like "Save the dogs but kill the unborn babies") didn't mess that up.

More Fake News
There was a story out that mothers were binge drinking more than before. Turns out it's fake news. Turns out that between 2006 and 2018 mothers are binging on alcohol the same amount as women without children. Oh, sure, that number has been on the rise, but that it's just mothers is fake news. What disturbed me most about the story was that the medical world defines binge drinking as four or more drinks at once for women and five or more for men. That seems like a sexist standard suggesting that genders are not equal and there is actually a biological difference between men and women. I thought we'd banished that idea.

When Equal Treatment is Hate
An organization known as "Created Equal" did all the required steps and paperwork to get permission to put up a display at Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and Kennesaw State universities as well as the University of Georgia. Their aim? Their message is that "to treat the preborn in a way we’d never treat a born person is a grievous violation of human equality. College students deserve to see the victims of this injustice and to know the science and reasoning behind defending the preborn." They plan to show images of fetuses to show that they're preborn children. Georgia State warned students that it was coming and labeled such speech as "hateful or mean-spirited." The group calls the murder of preborn children "ageism" and opposes unequal treatment. Pro-choicers apparently consider "ageism" hate and equal treatment "mean-spirited." Otherwise they wouldn't care if someone showed pictures of a non-human, right?

Speaking of Abortion
So here's the story. According to "all statistics measuring abortion in the U.S.", abortions reached an "historic low" in 2016. Yippee! That's good. Like saying, "Fewer children were murdered in 2016 than in the previous years of murdering children took place." Being one who values human life, it's good that the number is down. Being one who values truth, it's misleading to fall into the trap. You understand that abortions were not tracked prior to 1969, that immorality in 1969 was on the rise (meaning that abortions before that were likely less), and that no one really knows how many abortions took place in prior years. (The CDC started tracking them in 1969, but since it was illegal, they had no reliable means of actually knowing how many there were.) (It should also be noted that Wikipedia reports that, according to the CDC, there were 193,491 abortions reported to the CDC with an induced abortion rate of 52 per live birth. Significantly less than 2016. Making the story itself a lie.) You understand that it is considered "good news" that "only" 623,471 babies were murdered by abortion in 2016, down from 638,169 in 2015. I'm glad the number is down. I'm sad that "only over a half million killed" is considered good news. That's more than the total number of Americans killed in World War II. That's more than the total number of Americans killed in the Civil War where every death was an American. Don't let them tell you it's "safe, legal, and rare," because it's legal, but it's still not safe and it's certainly not rare.

Going About It The Wrong Way
Wayne Grudem is a biblical scholar, conservative, complementarian, generally good things. Recently, it seems, he has been listening to sad stories of marital abuse and has decided to change his view on divorce. Originally he recognized only adultery or desertion. Now he has added ... well ... just about anything. (He lists verbal and physical abuse, drug or alcohol addiction, gambling addiction, and pornography addiction for examples.) Ostensibly, on the basis of the phrase "In such cases" found in 1 Cor 7:15, he has concluded that anything that destroys a marriage is included, and "destroys a marriage" is not defined. I say "ostensibly" because clearly he came to this conclusion not on the basis of Scripture, but on the basis of horrible stories of spouses staying in abusive marriages because they were told they had to just sit and take it. This is the same basis that others have used to change their view that homosexual behavior is sin. Because of Scripture? No. Someone in their family or someone close to them has come out as "gay" and circumstances -- their feelings about these people -- have dictated their position, not Scripture. We don't get to offer a "new and promising kind of argument" for God's Word. Not even Mr. Grudem. Sorry, Wayne.
          

Author Lee Smith: Barack Obama Interfered with the Peaceful Transfer of Power to President Trump

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WATCH: Rick Perry Told Trump He Is the 'Chosen One' Like King David

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Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he told U.S. President Donald Trump that he is "the chosen one," like kings David, Saul and Solomon.

In August, while discussing a trade war with China, Trump said, "Somebody had to do it. I am the chosen one." His comments received significant backlash at the time from both believers and nonbelievers. Following this controversy, Perry told Fox & Friends he affirmed to Trump that he is "the chosen one."

"God's used imperfect people all throughout history," Perry says. "King David wasn't perfect. Saul wasn't perfect. Solomon wasn't perfect. I actually gave the president a little one-pager on those Old Testament kings about a month ago, and I shared it with him. I said, 'Mr. President, I know there are people that say you said you were the chosen one,' and I said, 'You were.' If you're a believing Christian, you understand God's plan for the people who rule and judge over us on this planet in our government."

The video later clarifies that Perry also believes Barack Obama was sent by God as well.

Following the clip, Fox and Friends Host Pete Hegseth added, "God has used imperfect people forever, because we're all imperfect, but what he has withstood is unlike what really any other mortal could understand."


          

Matthew T. Mangino: Where have all the heroes gone?

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William D. Ruckelshaus died this week. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented Ruckelshaus with the nation’s highest civilian honor - the Medal of Freedom.
          

Matthew T. Mangino: Where have all the heroes gone?

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William D. Ruckelshaus died this week. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented Ruckelshaus with the nation’s highest civilian honor - the Medal of Freedom.
          

The Patriots: On Reading Becoming in Tehran, by Shohreh Laici

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Cultural Cross Sections
Shohreh Laici
A photograph of the Tehran city skyline with the logo of Michelle Obama's book Becoming hovering just above the buildings
Photo of Tehran by Xiquinho Silva / Flickr

A writer in Tehran incapable of entering the US under the Muslim travel ban encounters Michelle Obama’s Becoming in a beauty salon. Reading the Farsi translation, she finds encouragement in its pages.

Every Fourth of July, I question my American friends’ patriotism. I email them Independence Day congratulations, attached with pictures of the American flag. Many of my American friends don’t show much interest in my Fourth of July congratulations. Like my friend Sam. He thinks differently about the idea of the flag, national anthem, and patriotism. Sam believes that the flag is not sacred; it’s just a symbol. He says he doesn’t need to wrap himself in the US flag to demonstrate that he is a patriot. To him, patriotism is more than just following a flag and cheering for the politicians who wave it. Although Sam was born and raised in a military family with right-wing political views, he is very leftist.

Since November 2016, Sam has lived in a number of European countries and recently settled down in northeastern Africa to serve as a health consultant. He doesn’t like living in the States anymore and thinks of himself as a citizen of the world. Once I asked Sam how he feels when some people of other countries—including Iran—burn the US flag. He smiled and said, “I understand that it’s a statement. We—the Americans—burn our flag to make a statement, too. For some Americans the flag is sacred, that’s true, but for the ones like me who understand the freedom of speech, it’s different. I’m the son of a Vietnam War veteran, and I lost my father for this country. Who can be more patriotic than me? But this country is a mess right now, and as an American, I’m not proud of the US, where good people like you are not welcome.”

As an Iranian woman who was born to Muslim parents, I’m not welcome in the United States under the Trump Muslim ban.

As an Iranian woman who was born to Muslim parents, I’m not welcome in the United States under the Trump Muslim ban. Although the US has broken my heart, many times in different ways, I’ve never stopped loving it, and I never will. Maybe that’s the reason I’ve been devoting my life in Tehran to keeping the literary conversation between our countries alive and urgent, through reading and writing about the US. Over the past two years, I’ve been writing nonfiction essays about my relationship with American literature and its art, and most of these essays were written in my room in Tehran—my little America.

I never thought that one day I would be able to write about the most famous woman in the United States—the former FLOTUS. I never expected that a beauty salon in northern Tehran would be the place where we could meet. Well, of course, we never met in person. But in a beauty salon in northern Tehran, I found her portrait staring at me from the cover of Becoming.

Among Iranian women, Michelle Obama is considered by far to be the most charismatic FLOTUS.

First ladies of the United States have always been headline news among Iranian women. From Jackie Kennedy’s sunglasses and scarves, to Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits and hairstyle, to Melania Trump’s heels and flats. But things are very different for Michelle Obama. She’s highly regarded among us as an intelligent and courageous woman. Among Iranian women, she is considered by far to be the most charismatic FLOTUS.

I was a little surprised to see her book because I had no idea it had been translated into Farsi and published in Iran. To be honest, the Farsi translation of Becoming wasn’t what I expected, and I wish I could first read it in English. But the translated version had received very serious attention among Iranian readers, especially young women, and it quickly rose to the top of the best-seller list. Reading Becoming in my tiny room in Tehran was like having a journey in my life. The book, especially the first section— “Becoming Me”—took me to my childhood and my first encounter with the anti-Americanism in postwar Tehran.

Where to start? My first vivid memory of the US goes back to the days I entered primary school at age seven. It was where I first faced my country’s anti-American policies. Every Fourth of November—the anniversary of the hostage crisis—the school principal made us sing the anti-American anthem and then cry out that famous slogan: “Death to America!” It was cold and early in the morning, and the school principal made us shout it so loud that even the White House would hear us. I had no idea where the US was located on the world map or what kind of people live there. I thought the White House was a person.

I asked my mother, “Mom, where is America? Who are the Americans? The principal says the bad people live there. What kind of people live there? Are they Muslims like you?”

My mother laughed. “It’s overseas, far away. When we are ending our day, the Americans are starting their day; when we are eating dinner, at the same time, they are eating their breakfast. People who live there are like us, little girls like you play hopscotch, and little boys like your brother play soccer.” She paused to run a brush through my hair. “Americans might look different from us, but we all have one god. So we are all brothers and sisters. I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard that it’s a lovely country. They call it the dreamland.”

“Who is the White House?” I said.

“Not who! What is the White House? It’s a . . .”

My father interrupted: “It’s a house that is ruled by white Americans, the white Christians.”

My mom looked at my dad questioningly. “Okay, Shohreh. Enough for tonight. Time for bed.”

“Why does the principal burn their flag if they are our brothers and sisters?” I said. “Do the Americans burn our flag, too?”

She responded helplessly. “The principal should have never done that. Burning the flag is an ugly thing to do. But promise you will never talk about these things at school. Do you hear me?”

That night was the beginning of a double life for me in Tehran. The US became a mysterious thing to talk about, a taboo. What my dad said about the White House stuck in my mind for years. And it mostly came true in 2001, and then 2003, when the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.

Yet the 2008 presidential election in the US proved that my mother was also right about the dreamland. For the first time in history, an African American woman became the FLOTUS. On January 20, 2009, I was twenty-two and was about to start studying English and American literature at the university where Azar Nafisi—the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran—once taught English and American literature.

Reading Becoming in Tehran, especially the second section—“Becoming Us”took me back to the good old days of the university where I created my path and started my own journey. I found the second section of the book deeply personal, emotional, and also extremely feminine. I found Michelle Obama to be a highly intelligent, complicated woman but at the same time very stubborn and simple. A courageous figure who broke the taboos of the political world. What I loved most about her is that she considers herself “not a political person.” Maybe that’s why she will never run for the presidency—despite what Michael Moore wants. I prefer to see Michelle Obama not only as the FLOTUS and Barack Obama’s wife but as an intellectual figure, a progressive leader, a courageous role model, a fashion icon, and an educator for women all around the world.

What I loved most about her is that she considers herself “not a political person.”

As a Middle Eastern woman, I don’t look at the US as Sam and my other American friends do. I see it from my Middle Eastern point of view. I think both my father and mother could be right. My father—as a secular—was right to see the rise of white Christianity as a significant danger for the world. And my mother—as a Muslim—was right to view the issues with hope and faith.

As an Iranian woman, I’m concerned about the rise of fascism, especially religious fascism, around the world. I’m concerned about the rise of evangelicals in the US, just as I’m concerned about the rise of religious fanatics in the Middle East. Now I know that the White House is not a person—but as a Middle Easterner I’m concerned about the person who occupies it, regardless of whether they are a Democrat or a Republican. As an Iranian woman, I’m concerned about the winds of change, fanned not by the hands of politicians but by people, and especially women, who believe in themselves, in their dreams, and work hard to fulfill them. Reading Becoming in Tehran encouraged me to fulfill my dreams, to create a new path, to strive and to fail in pursuit of the life I truly deserve. I’m glad that Michelle Obama is not a political person but a patriotic American. I don’t like politicians, but I like patriots.

Tehran


          

Democratic senators push EPA to abandon methane rollback

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Four Democratic senators are pushing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to abandon a regulatory rollback they say benefits the oil and gas industry.The agency has twice issued proposals to roll back a 2016 Obama administration rule on methane...
          

Reformers Still Trying to Lower Inmate Phone Costs

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Two companies control most of the $1.2 billion prison phone industry. New York City and San Francisco have made inmate calls free, but the Federal Communications Commission is not defending caps on call prices instituted during the Obama administration.
          

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Trump, not Obama, gave real aid

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Democrats keep focusing on the negative effects of the Trump delay in providing aid to Ukraine, but they forgot that first, when Russia invaded the Crimea region, then President Obama did not offer any real assistance to Ukraine.

In 1994 the United States, U.K., Russia and Ukraine signed the Budapest ...

          

Comment on Blog housekeeping — please check your recent comments by Man of Thessaly

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<blockquote>If sea level rise is legitimate, one has to ask why would ex-president Barack Obama spent US$14 million on a beach front property in Martha’s Vineyard?</blockquote> Probably because it's nice to live by the sea, and he can afford it. A very small amount of googling reveals that <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathleenhowley/2019/09/01/obamas-buying-marthas-vineyard-estate-from-boston-celtics-owner/#7a3762305300" rel="nofollow">his new house</a> is <a href="https://viewer.nationalmap.gov/advanced-viewer/viewer/index.html?extent=-7854641.4762%2C5065165.5214%2C-7851787.0309%2C5066367.016%2C102100" rel="nofollow">just under 10 feet (3 metres) above sea level</a>, and not exposed to open-coast erosion, so I doubt he'll be claiming insurance or government compensation. More serious questions are: - why is development continuing in <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/miami-floods-sea-level-rise-solutions-2018-4/?r=AU&IR=T" rel="nofollow">Miami Beach</a>, which is regularly under water? - should properties still be bought and sold in South Dunedin and South New Brighton, where <a href="https://www.pce.parliament.nz/publications/preparing-new-zealand-for-rising-seas-certainty-and-uncertainty" rel="nofollow">thousands of people are living within 50 cm of high tide</a> (<a href="https://www.deepsouthchallenge.co.nz/sites/default/files/2019-08/2019119WN_DEPSI18301_Coast_Flood_Exp_under_Fut_Sealevel_rise_FINAL%20%281%29_0.pdf" rel="nofollow">and thousands more with even small amounts of sea level rise</a>)? - what should NZ do about the people who already live or own property in those places, if they become unviable or <a href="https://www.deepsouthchallenge.co.nz/projects/sea-level-rise-housing-and-insurance-liability-and-compensation" rel="nofollow">uninsurable</a>?
          

Comment on Blog housekeeping — please check your recent comments by Brian Wilson

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If sea level rise is legitimate, one has to ask why would ex-president Barack Obama spent US$14 million on a beach front property in Martha's Vineyard?
          

FDA одобрило cenobamate для лечения парциальных припадков

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Управление по санитарному надзору за качеством пищевых продуктов и медикаментов США (FDA) одобрило препарат XCOPRI (cenobamate tablets) для лечения парциальных припадков у взрослых.
          

Matthew T. Mangino: Where have all the heroes gone?

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William D. Ruckelshaus died this week. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented Ruckelshaus with the nation’s highest civilian honor - the Medal of Freedom.
          

WHCA Barack speech (spoiler)

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Warning: This is for science perspective of humor. I am interested in the analytics (frequency, type).  Do not arouse any purist emotions about humor.  I get it, She is love.List of jokes in Barack Obama's speech. Approx 20 mins. 1. Between to two ferns.  2. self-deprecation. self-burn 3. sheesh. self-burn 4. 47% call Romney. self-burn 5. Could have gone better. self-burn 6. New Slogan Control alt delete. self-burn 7. Healthcare.Gov Movie = Froze [...]
          

La famille Obama fête Thanksgiving, Christophe Beaugrand papa ... le diapo des people en famille

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Quoi de neuf sur la planète people ? Naissances, grossesses, vie de famille… Zoom sur les stars qui ont fait l'actu cette semaine.


          

Do We Really Think So Little of the Value of Voting That We’re Willing to Let Children Do It?

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Demonstrators gathered outside Fargo City Hall on Friday, Sept. 20, as part of the global climate strike. Kim Hyatt / The Forum

Not so long ago, we had a rollicking national debate about a new health care policy – the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as most call it. Among its most controversial provisions was a mandate that insurance companies continue coverage for the “children” of their insured up to the age of 26 years. I put...

The post Do We Really Think So Little of the Value of Voting That We’re Willing to Let Children Do It? appeared first on Say Anything.


          

Barack Obama sai nimeään kantavan kadun Los Angelesiin – halkoo historiallisen asuinalueen

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Kolme mailia pitkä katu on nimetty uudelleen Yhdysvaltojen entisen presidentti


          

Emergenza clima: dall’ONU l’ultimo avvertimento prima dell’Apocalisse

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https://www.aneddoticamagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/Francis_Danby_-_The_Deluge_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Gli impegni di Parigi sulle emissioni di CO2 non bastano più, entro il 2050, 300 milioni di persone saranno sommerse dal mare


L’ONU ha calcolato che senza nuove restrizioni sulle emissioni, le temperature globali aumenterebbero mediamente di 3,2 gradi Celsius rispetto ai livelli preindustriali


Nel 2016, al termine dei lavori della COP21 a Parigi, tra una cena di gala, un evento folkloristico e una foto di gruppo, i leader mondiali promisero che avrebbero fatto di tutto per non far aumentare le temperature medie globali oltre 1,5 gradi Celsius. Non da subito, però, ma dopo molti anni: il tempo di permettere ai paesi meno sviluppati di colmare il gap che li separava dai paesi sviluppati (quelli che hanno fatto danni forse irreparabili al pianeta) in termini di industrializzazione. E di inquinare il pianeta in modo spaventoso.


Sin da subito a molti (e noi tra loro…) questo obiettivo apparve limitato, anzi quasi inutile. E certamente insufficiente per risolvere i problemi di cui si era parlato durante gli incontri a Parigi.


Poco dopo fu il turno di Trump che, in un colpo solo, cancellò le promesse di Obama e fece un gran regalo alle multinazionali rinnegando il rapporto di causa ed effetto (confermato da centinaia di scienziati in tutto il mondo) tra aumento delle emissioni di CO2 e effetti antropici.


Tra COP invero blande in termini di impegni e risultati, governi che rinunciano ad ospitare la COP del 2019 e “seconde scelte” impossibilitate a causa della crisi in Cile (paese “supplente” per realizzare la COP nel 2019), si è arrivati alla fine del 2019 senza sapere quali saranno concretamente gli impegni dei paesi più potenti per salvare il pianeta. Si perché è questo il problema. Come ricorda l’UNEP, il 78% di tutte le emissioni, è causato dai paesi che fanno parte del G20. Eppure, finora, solo cinque di questi ha adottato norme che potrebbero permettere di raggiungere l’obiettivo “zero emissioni” entro il 2050.



Ma il tempo per salvare il pianeta è sempre di meno. Anzi, pare che la situazione stia peggiorando molto più velocemente del previsto. A lanciare l’allarme è un rapporto delle Nazioni Unite appena pubblicato. Anche se i paesi dovessero rispettare gli impegni assunti a Parigi e ridurre le emissioni di CO2, le temperature globali aumenterebbero mediamente di 3,2 gradi Celsius rispetto ai livelli preindustriali. Più del doppio dell’aumento di 1,5 gradi promesso a Parigi (e mai mantenuto). Le conseguenze potrebbero essere devastanti. Secondo gli esperti che hanno scritto il rapporto, per ottenere qualche risultato le emissioni dovrebbero diminuire del 7,6 per cento ogni anno per i prossimi dieci anni.


Purtroppo pare che si stia andando in direzione opposta: secondo l’Organizzazione Meteorologica Mondiale, nel 2018, le emissioni di CO2 hanno raggiunto un nuovo record con 407,8 ppm (il cosiddetto “punto di non ritorno” era 400 ppm). E il tasso di crescita tra il 2017 e il 2018 è stato più alto della media degli ultimi dieci anni.



“La nostra incapacità collettiva di agire tempestivamente e duramente sui cambiamenti climatici significa che ora dobbiamo apportare profondi tagli alle emissioni”, ha detto Inger Andersen, direttore esecutivo dell’UNEP, che poi ha aggiunto:


“Abbiamo bisogno di risultati rapidi per ridurre il più possibile le emissioni nel 2020, quindi di contributi determinati a livello nazionale più forti per avviare le principali trasformazioni delle economie e delle società. Dobbiamo stare al passo con la tabella di marcia che ci eravamo dati”, ha aggiunto. “Se non lo facciamo, l’obiettivo di 1,5° C sarà fuori portata prima del 2030. Per contenere l’aumento della temperatura globale entro i 2 gradi, gli stati devono triplicare i livelli degli obiettivi climatici previsti. Se invece si punta a +1,5 gradi, gli sforzi devono essere quintuplicati”.


Anche in Italia il clima è già cambiato. A dimostrarlo non sono solo le inondazioni dei giorni scorsi a Venezia, Matera e Pisa, ma una lista lunghissima di eventi meteorologici estremi che colpiscono la penisola con sempre maggiore frequenza. Piogge, trombe d’aria e ondate di calore si verificano con frequenza e intensità sempre crescenti e destinate ad aumentare. E ogni volta i danni sono sempre maggiori. Dal 2010 ad oggi, sulla mappa del rischio climatico, sono stati registrati 563 eventi di questo tipo, che hanno avuto effetti rilevanti in 350 comuni. Solo nel 2018, in Italia sono stati registrati 148 eventi estremi, che hanno causato danni alle persone (oltre 4.500 sfollati) e danni incalcolabili. Tra il 2014 e il 2018, in Italia, sono morte 68 persone solo a causa di inondazioni. E, come confermano i dati dell’Osservatorio meteorologico Milano Duomo, le temperature presentano già oggi un aumento di 1,5 gradi Celsius (a Milano) e una media nazionale delle aree urbane di +0,8 gradi tra il 2001 e il 2018 rispetto alla media del periodo 1971-2000. Non nel 2050: oggi (anzi ieri).


A fronte di un aumento repentino delle temperature medie, si registra un altro fenomeno rilevante: la carenza di acqua potabile: è vero che piove sempre più forte, ma nei bacini c’è sempre meno acqua e l’accesso all’acqua rischia di diventare sempre più difficile da gestire. Al Sud, come situazione generale, ma anche nei quattro principali bacini idrografici italiani (Po, Adige, Arno e Tevere) dove le portate medie annue hanno registrato una riduzione media complessiva del 39,6% rispetto alla media del trentennio 1981-2010.


Per contro, in molte città italiane, preoccupa non poco l’innalzamento del livello dei mari. Non solo a Venezia: secondo le elaborazioni dell’Enea, sarebbero 40 le aree a maggior rischio in Italia. Oltre a Venezia anche città come Trieste, Ravenna, la foce del Pescara, il golfo di Taranto, La Spezia, Cagliari, Oristano, Trapani, Marsala, Gioia Tauro….


I ricercatori di Climate Central pubblicata (i risultati della loro ricerca sono stati pubblicati sulla rivista Nature), hanno detto che se i ghiacciai continueranno a sciogliersi al ritmo attuale, entro il 2050, 300 milioni di persone che vivono in aree costiere saranno sommerse dal mare almeno una volta l’anno. E le barriere fisiche costruite saranno inutili (anche se dovessero essere potenziate). E pensare che per costruire il MOSE che dovrebbe proteggere solo Venezia (e le altre città?) sono già stati spesi oltre 5 miliardi di Euro….


Dopo aver scorso questi dati che molti definirebbero apocalittici, la cosa più preoccupante è che molti paesi continuano a non volersi dotare di leggi e misure per fronteggiare questa situazione. In Italia, nel 2014, venne approvata la Strategia nazionale di adattamento ai cambiamenti climatici. Ma non si può fare molto dato che manca ancora il Piano nazionale di adattamento ai cambiamenti climatici, lo strumento che consentirebbe di passare dal campo degli studi a uno strumento reale, di passare dalle parole ai fatti (il Rapporto Ecosistema Rischio di Legambiente conferma, ad esempio, che in molti comuni si continuano a realizzare “tombamenti” di corsi d’acqua e a dare il via libera a edificazioni in aree a rischio. E secondo i dati ISPRA, in Italia, dal 1998 al 2018, sarebbero stati spesi circa 5,6 miliardi di euro per opere di prevenzione del rischio idrogeologico, a fronte di circa 20 miliardi di euro spesi per “riparare” i danni del dissesto secondo dati del CNR e della Protezione civile).


Nonostante le promesse, le conferenzele marce, gli scioperi (29 novembre è previsto il quarto Sciopero globale per il clim), le starlette di turno (sempre più giovani e sempre più accalorate nei loro discorsi) e gli appelli della comunità scientifica, la strada intrapresa sembra diretta verso un netto peggioramento. Anche la Cina, che in un primo momento sembrava voler prendere il posto degli USA come paladino delle politiche per il cambiamento climatico, in realtà adotta politiche che vanno nella direzione opposta. Secondo uno studio di Global Energy Monitor, tra l’inizio del 2018 e il mese di giugno del 2019, la capacità delle centrali nel paese sarebbe incrementata di 43 GW. Un dato che dovrebbe far riflettere se si pensa che nello stesso periodo, nel resto del pianeta, il cambiamento è stato di “soli” 8,1 GW. Ma non basta: una parte consistente di questa energia sarà realizzata dalle centrali a carbone la cui costruzione è iniziata nell’ultimo lustro (e che certo non verranno chiuse a breve).


I cambiamenti climatici hanno ormai raggiunto dimensioni che vanno oltre quanto si dice nei normali media che spesso sono “influenzati” dai giusti influencer a colpi di miliardi: a denunciarlo è stata  InfluenceMap che ha esaminato 15 organizzazioni collegate al settore petrolifero e del gas statunitense e ha scoperto che queste società avrebbero speso ben 17 milioni di dollari da maggio 2018 ad oggi per fornire informazioni poco attedibili sui cambiamenti climatici e sugli impatti che hanno i combustibili fossili sulla crisi climatica.


Cambiamenti climatici che ormai sono entrate a pieno titolo nella vita di tutti: al punto che il dizionario inglese Oxford ha attribuito a “emergenza climatica” il titolo di parola dell’anno 2019. La sua definizione sarebbe è “una situazione dove è necessaria un’azione urgente per ridurre i cambiamenti climatici ed evitare conseguenti danni ambientali potenzialmente irreversibili”. 


E mentre i leader mondiali stanno ancora pensando a cosa mangiare durante la COP del 2020 che si terrà a Glasgow in Scozia, gli effetti geopolitici dei cambiamenti climatici in atto sono già sotto gli occhi di tutti (anche di quelli che fingono di non vederli): piogge violente, alluvioni, siccità e desertificazione degradano il suolo e strappano fette sempre più ampie di terreno nelle regioni più povere dell’Africa, del Medio Oriente, dell’Asia e dell’America latina. La conseguenza è l’aumento delle migrazioni, sia all’interno che oltre le frontiere dei singoli stati. Ormai non si parla più di rifugiati e nemmeno di migranti economici. Presto non sarà più possibile fingere di non sapere che i migranti sono sempre più migranti climatici. Ma di questo, la COP del 2019 forse non parlerà….


Articolo pubblicato su


Aneddotica Magazine - Collaborative Blog since 2012 https://www.aneddoticamagazine.com/it/emergenza-clima-dallonu-lultimo-avvertimento-prima-dellapocalisse/
          

U.C. SoundByte - Trumpcare

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Today, the repeal and replace proposal for Obamacare was relegated to a no-vote. The Republicans in Congress were not able to get enough support to push the the proposal to a vote, marking a pretty significant defeat for President Trump, Speak Paul Ryan and the other Senate and House Republicans.a


          

Episode 20 - Obama's Farewell

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We are back in Episode 20 with a full breakdown of President Obama's final address to the nation! We also discuss the new intelligence report about President-Elect Trump, and the Congressional Black Caucus and its fight to keep a controversial painting in the halls of Congress. Finally, we celebrate pop culture with a discussion about some of the African Americans that won big at the 2017 Golden Globes. We hope you join us!

Instagram: @uCollege, @DocCrm, @iOpine11
Twitter: @UnivCollegeBTC, @DocCrm, @iOpine11


          

This is why the progressive Left looks so stupid.....

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A perfect example......

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/fake-university-michigan-ice-obama


          

Matthew T. Mangino: Where have all the heroes gone?

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William D. Ruckelshaus died this week. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented Ruckelshaus with the nation’s highest civilian honor - the Medal of Freedom.
          

Obama May Intervene In Democratic Race

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Former President Obama has been largely quiet about the race for the Democratic nomination, but that may not last.
          

Comment on President Obama Signs Native American Apology Resolution by Obama Will Sign U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples | Native American Netroots

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[…] president also used his summit speech to clarify his support for the Native American Apology Resolution, which he signed last year, after which he did not make an out-loud apology to Native Americans for […]
          

Comment on President Obama Signs Native American Apology Resolution by Obama Will Sign Rights Declaration | Native American Netroots

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[…] president also used his summit speech to clarify his support for the Native American Apology Resolution, which he signed last year, after which he did not make an out-loud apology to Native Americans for […]
          

Joe Biden mocked for 'no malarkey' campaign pledge

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Joe Biden mocked for 'no malarkey' campaign pledgeJoe Biden was mocked this weekend after launching a campaign slogan - "no malarkey" - that did little to dispel fears the front-runner in the Democrat presidential nomination is behind the times.  The phrase, emblazoned on the bus he is using to travel around the key state of Iowa, dates back to the 1920s. Mr Biden, who would be the oldest first-term president to be sworn in at 78, said the term was intended to highlight his truthfulness when compared to Donald Trump. "What we're referring here [is] my Irish ancestry, when my grandfather would really think something is full of you know what, he'd say, 'that's a lot of malarkey,'" he explained to supporters on Sunday. "So we're on a No Malarkey tour, meaning we're telling the truth." Mr Biden often harks back to his role as vice-president to Barack Obama and he notably used the phrase to dismiss Paul Ryan in a 2012 Vice Presidential debate, emphasising his reputation as straight-talking 'Uncle Joe'.  Political analyst Nate Silver suggested that the slogan was Mr Biden being self-deprecating - which would appeal to his loyal supporters. However, the campaign slogan has left some people baffled while others suggested it showed that Mr Biden was out of touch with younger voters. One Twitter user wrote: "I’m voting for Biden so he can finally fix the four big problems facing society: jibber-jabber, hogwash, tommyrot, and flapdoodle." A second suggested that the arcane language showed Mr Biden was "tired and old." "It's sort of poking fun at himself," he said.  Mr Biden's age has emerged as an issue on the campaign trail especially after some faltering performances in a series of televised debates. If you're going to sound out of date anyway, why not go for the elegance of NoRodomontade? https://t.co/g2yAHAH9JP— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) November 30, 2019 He has also had to fend off questions about his son, Hunter, who took a seat on the board of the Ukrainian oil company Burisma, despite having no experience in the energy sector. Despite leading in the national polls for the Democrat nomination, Mr Biden has fallen behind in the first two states to vote, Iowa and New Hampshire. South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg has built up a seven-point lead in Iowa, where Mr Biden now languishes in fourth place. In New Hampshire, Mr Biden is also in fourth place where the race is being led by Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, who is four points ahead of Mr Buttigieg. That was the in slang back in 1960 Leave it to Beaver time. He’s lost it. In Iowa his was wife was talking and he sticks his face to her right hand bites her finger. Who does that? Creepy Uncle Joe. I heard Dr Neurology say they way Biden acts and says weird stuff is medical— Eric Moorman (@blueknight193) December 1, 2019 A poor performance in both states could suck out any momentum that Mr Biden was hoping to generate in the early stages of the race, leaving him facing an uphill battle to win the nomination. Mr Biden enlarged on his "no malarkey" theme when asked to explain how his experience made him more qualified for the Oval Office than younger rivals like Mr Buttigieg and New Jersey Senator, Cory Booker, a former mayor of Newark, New Jersey. "I've dealt with every one of the major world leaders that are out there right now and they know me, I know them. And as time goes a pun here, no malarkey, I know them and they  know I know them." Mr Biden gave a further demonstration of his occasionally eccentric campaigning style when he playfully bit his wife Jill's finger as she waved her arm in front of him during her introductory remarks.



          

Michelin gives sushi star the chop

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A famed Tokyo sushi restaurant where Barack Obama is said to have enjoyed the best sushi of his life has been dropped from the latest Michelin gourmet guide after it stopped accepting reservations from
          

Former Treasury Secretary Creates Payday Lending Company On Steroids

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Former Obama era Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has found a new job in ripping off poor people for a profit. Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss this. Transcript: *This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos. Mike Papantonio:             Former Obama era, treasury secretary, Tim Geithner has found […]

The post Former Treasury Secretary Creates Payday Lending Company On Steroids appeared first on The Ring of Fire Network.


          

Obama Is Trying To Take Down Bernie Sanders, Report Claims

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According to a new explosive report by Politico, Barack Obama had said in private months ago that he wasn’t going to intervene in the 2020 primaries…Unless it looked like Bernie Sanders was going to grab the nomination. And sure enough, as soon as Bernie’s numbers started to overtake the others, Obama started speaking out. Never […]

The post Obama Is Trying To Take Down Bernie Sanders, Report Claims appeared first on The Ring of Fire Network.


          

Defeating Terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi More Significant than Osama Bin Laden

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Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani told Americans on Thursday that President Donald Trump defeating the Islamic State Founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was more significant than President Barack Obama killing Osama bin-Laden. Ghani spoke to the troops with President Trump at Bagram, Afghanistan,...
          

The rise and fall of Lula and Brazil

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'He is the man,' US President Barack Obama had said at a G-20 gathering, enhancing Lula's stature.Six years later, has Brazil's impressive economic gr...
          

Lugares que no son los que parecen

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Como Obama en Japón, los destinos clave de la Guerra Fría, los guardianes del mar en Bretaña o un refugio alpino... en Sierra Nevada
          

Gerard’s cumulative pay at API tops all trade group CEOs

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New tax documents show Jack Gerard took home $10.3 million in 2018, bringing total pay to $61 million over nearly 10 years

GerardGerard

Nov. 22, 2019
By Walt Williams

Jack Gerard, former CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, earned $10.3 million during his final year leading the influential trade group, according to financial disclosures filed in November.

Gerard retired from the $234 million-revenue API in 2018, ending a nearly 10-year run as head of one of the most powerful business advocacy groups in Washington, D.C. He had previously led the American Chemistry Council and the National Mining Association.

Gerard’s final months at API marked the second time his annual salary crossed into eight-figure territory. Only two other trade group CEOs have earned $10 million or more in a single year—Billy Tauzin in 2010 ($11.5 million), the year he left Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and possibly Jack Valenti in 2004, the last year of his 38-year tenure at the Motion Picture Association. (IRS-required reporting on take-home pay before 2008 was less explicit, so it's unclear if Valenti received all $11 million in that year.)

Other 501(c)(6) CEOs have earned more in a single year, but those organizations were sports-related groups such as the National Football League (which dropped its tax-exempt status in 2015) and PGA Tour.

The biggest chunk of Gerard’s 2018 take-home pay—$7.6 million—came from a supplemental executive retirement plan payout, most likely a 457(f) plan, that had accumulated since the former CEO’s last big payout in 2013, when he took home pay of $13.3 million.

Gerard also has earned more over a 10-year timespan than any other trade group CEO. From November 2008 through July 2018, he earned $61 million. Even Tom Donohue, longtime CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, can’t match that record. Donohue took home $59.8 million over 11 full years, including his 2018 compensation of $6.9 million.

Tax-exempt groups are still filing their latest reports to the IRS, but it’s highly unlikely any other trade group CEO will come near Gerard’s 10-year earnings.
 
Well-oiled lobbying machine

Gerard began his political career in 1981 as a staffer for former Rep. George Hansen and later former Sen. James McClure, both Republicans from his home state of Idaho. He partnered with McClure in 1990 to launch a government relations consulting firm.

Gerard joined API at the very end of President George W. Bush’s administration. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were both oil men, and their approach to regulatory policy reflected that fact. However, the election of President Barack Obama in 2008 resulted in an administration more open to the concerns of environmentalists and other critics of the oil industry.

API would spend much of the Obama administration fighting efforts to tighten regulations against greenhouse gases, restrict oil and gas drilling on federal lands, and block construction of energy infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline. The group is also a major critic of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires ethanol to be blended with motor fuels.

One advantage API has long had in its advocacy efforts is the oil industry’s deep pockets. Under Gerard’s watch the group spent more than $400 million on public relations efforts, according to tax returns reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity. Most of the money went to PR giant Edelman, although the firm cut ties with API in 2015, reportedly because it no longer wanted to be associated with organizations that funded climate change denial. (API said at the time it was not a climate change denier.)

Still, the oil industry’s fortunes rise and wane with oil prices, and in 2015 API absorbed America's Natural Gas Alliance, a trade group that shared many members with API.

Since then the industry’s advocacy outlook has improved. President Donald Trump has rolled back several environmental regulations opposed by API and granted oil refineries a large number of exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Gerard’s successor at  API is Mike Sommers, who was chief of staff to former House Speaker John Boehner before becoming CEO of the American Investment Council.  Gerard has since become a General Authority Seventy of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of the highest positions within the church.

API’S $61 MILLION MAN

Jack Gerard earned $61 million during his nearly 10 years as CEO of the American Petroleum Institute. The chart shows how much Gerard took home each year in base pay, bonus pay, and “other” pay—usually money that had been deferred from earlier years.

Gerard pay chart

*Partial year payments. Gerard was CEO from November 2008 through July 2018.
Source: Data from IRS form 990 compiled by Association Intelligence and analyzed by CEO Update


          

You might have only a couple of friends you actually feel

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fifty shades darker something darker glass butt plug

g spot vibrator 4. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. g spot vibrator

Adult Toys Past Russian naval activity in the Baltic Sea has also appeared intended to deliver a political message, as in the spring of 2015, when a spate of exercises disrupted the laying ofa high voltage undersea power line connecting Lithuania and Sweden. The link was intended to make Lithuania less dependent on Russia and Belarus for electricity. It was eventually completed.. Adult Toys

It a little more complicated than this. Some adults are also extremely vulnerable for one reason or another. Severely disabled adults are already protected under the law, but some are not actually disabled but merely in a position where a powerful and secure adult can easily manipulate and exploit them (for example, due to poverty, lack of relationship experience, and a history of mental illness and abuse).

What I will say to you is this: By all means hate society at large, it is worthy of your hate, same for human beings in general but you shouldn project this onto every single person you meet. If you don want to be alone forever you need to at least give people a chance to prove they are not assholes before you write them off and this is mostly done by being at the very least civil to them. I noticed you are pretty quick to jump on people on here and I get that part of that is probably just because alot of us come here to vent, I do the same sometimes (both the venting and the jumping), but bare in mind everyone says dumb shit sometimes and everyone will have some opinion or another you disagree with.

In the last few years I predicted Corbyn (before he even got on the ballot for Labour leader), Trump, Brexit, and the result of last year general election. I won thousands betting on these. Admittedly I was wrong about Sanders losing the democratic primary in 2016.

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The speech Trump gave was not the off the cuff, sometimes rambling speeches we'd been hearing from the campaign trail. It was concise less than 20 minutes long and obviously read from a teleprompter. But in many ways it still broke from tradition of what we're used to in inauguration speeches.

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In 'Children Of Virtue And Vengeance,' Magic Has Returned. Now What?

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detail from the cover of Children of Virtue and Vengeance
Henry Holt and Co.

Children of Blood and Bone was an instant success last year.

The young adult fantasy novel by then-24-year-old author Tomi Adeyemi has so far spent 89 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. It made countless best books lists, and it was optioned for a movie by Disney. It spoke to people.

"I always pitched it as Black Panther with magic," Adeyemi says. "It's this epic young adult fantasy about a girl fighting to bring magic back to her people."

And now there's a sequel: Children of Virtue and Vengeance. The heroine, Zélie, has succeeded in her quest to bring magic back to her people, the maji, and the land of Orïsha. But the nobility and the military now have powerful magic, too. And civil war looms.

For Zélie and her ally Amari — a runaway princess who has joined the rebellion, so to speak — the question becomes: Now what? And how will their personal traumas play out?

"I'm really mean to my characters," Adeyemi says. "And so they have a lot to both deal with personally, and in terms of like: OK, well, who am I? What am I wrestling with? What do I want? Is what I want actually what you want? Are we actually still on the same team in this? It's about kind of how complicated things is — especially with people that you love."


Interview Highlights

On the Nigerian and Yoruban roots of her fictional universe

So the Orisha [deity] that was the inspiration for this world — I didn't know at the time that that was a part of my Nigerian heritage. ... It's a religion. It's a mythology. It started in West Africa and then it was disseminated through the world through the slave trade. And so it sort of looks a little bit different everywhere you see it. So like, for example, you have Santería in Cuba, Candomblé in Brazil. And so it's this rich pot in history, and it resonated with me so strongly. So then to find out that, like, wait, this is a part of me? It was this gift and this ability to build a world based off something that I loved and something that was close to my heart.

On how the blackness of her characters has changed over time

My stories, I call them fantasy memoir fan fiction, in the sense that the common thread has always been like — the first story I ever wrote, I wanted a twin and a horse, and my parents wouldn't give me a twin and a horse, so I'm like: I will give myself a twin and a horse. And I wrote this 30-page story. I was around the age of 6, and the twins were named Tomi and Tomi. And, you know, I was like: OK, cool, now I have everything I wanted.

It kind of kept going with that — just that what I wanted became more magical.But subconsciously, what I wanted also became: Oh, in this, my fantasy, I can be white. Like, oh, I can have magic and I can be white; or I can, you know, shoot lightning out of my hands and I can be biracial. And it was like: It took a lot for me to become the type of person who could even write a story like Children of Blood and Bone.

On the two works of art that inspired Children of Blood and Bone

And really, Children of Blood and Bone too also came from seeing two pieces of of art with black people in [them] — and some of the first two of my life, if not the first ever. And so I'm like: If two photos, two fantastical illustrations of black people, created that 600-page world? ... I always try and quantify representation because it's really hard to explain to someone what not seeing yourself does because it's so internal and it's so deep inside. But it's like: If two pictures equals this book, what do you think this book can mean for people? What do you think this cover can mean for people? I was like: Just a little bit of representation can be monumental. ...

One picture was: I was in a gift shop in Brazil; I was only there because it was raining and I didn't want my hair to get wet. And I see this postcard with the Orisha on it. I didn't know what it was at that time, but I just saw this beautiful, black goddess commanding the sea and this beautiful dark-skinned man breathing fire. And I had never, ever seen, like: Wow, that's myself; like, this is me. This person is even darker than me, and she's doing this beautiful magic. And so that was kind of instantaneous. Like, I saw that, and the world of Orïsha came to me very quickly.

And then about eight months later, I saw this picture on Pinterest. It was a digital illustration of this black girl with luminescent green hair. And I'm like: OK, what if she lived in, like, a space colony? What if she was like a fisherman or a fisherman's daughter of some sort? What if she had to go to the market one day? Oh, what if she's in the market and this girl runs up to ... what if you took this thing and put it in that world you have? Do they fit? Oh, my gosh. They fit so well. And it was two photos of people who look like me when I was, what, 23, I think? Imagine if I had had that when I was 6.

On how the oppressors get magical powers at the same time as the oppressed

The older I get, the more I realized the power of institutions. And institutions are old. They're powerful for a reason. They have been set up a long time ago by very rich and powerful people to disenfranchise you systematically.

And so I think sometimes it's like we focus on — we can look at our political history. We focused on [electing] Obama because that's a goal — that's a battle we can try and fight, like let's try and get this person in the White House. Oh, my gosh, he's in the White House. Magic is back. It's great.

But suddenly police brutality is — I won't, I don't know if it's necessarily on the rise, and this is NPR, so I really don't want to say anything or something that might not be a true fact — but at least it became popularized, in the sense that we realized that was going on. It started with Trayvon Martin and it kind of just snowballed. That was during the Obama presidency. ...

It's like: Yes, you can focus on getting magic, but then you'll see that magic wasn't completely the problem. The entire system is against you. So what are you going to do?

Samantha Balaban and Barrie Hardymon produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Patrick Jarenwattananon adapted it for the Web.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Story does not include AP content Books Arts Normal
          

From My Old Blog: Some Change Barack

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Here's another piece from my old blog. After taking on George W. Bush in my last post this one takes on Barack Obama and his lack of change (on areas that really matter at least). This article was eventually expanding into a larger one for SwiftEconomics.com (which I republished here) as well.Not that I expected that much from him, but Barack Obama's cabinet selections have been a disappointment to say the least. Today he officially nominated Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. A bi [...]
          

Secret Service blamed Palin for spike in death threats

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There was a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling “terrorist” and “kill him.”… Read the rest


          

Comment on Foxconn as Case Study of Targeted Development Subsidy by Barkley Rosser

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2slug. Will keep this short, maybe three points. Yes, Hayek did allow for the effects you mention, but I think he still viewed the interest rate stuff as more important. You seem to make it look like the Austrians are more into endogenous business cycles than Keynesians. I think it is the other way around. Again, lots of Austrians really do focus on the naughty central banks, in this way agreeing with Milton Friedman and old-school Chicago monetarists, despite their other disagreements. But Keynes himself and much more directly his important follower, Hyman Minsky, argued that animal spirits were more often than not endogenous to recent patterns in markets and the business cycle, with Minsky laying out a whole theory/model of this. Regarding Hayek, poorly informed libertarians and conservatives who have not read much Hayek really do not understand how complicated he was. He was no fan of Ayn Rand, and she was not a fan of his. Probably the most blatant example of this was back when Obama was trying to get the ACA passed, and various opponents, partly triggered by idiot shows on Fox News were waving copied of Hayek's Road to Serfdom, even on the floors of Congress, in opposition to the ACA. The ironic joke is that in RtS itself Hayek himself came out for full-blown universal national health insurance, making him much more of a socialist than that nasty Obama, with his ACA that was derived from a proposal that originated in the free-market Heritage Foundation. But, well...
          

#MigrantCrisis & #Crime (Dec 1, 2019 EDN): UN Study Finds World’s Highest Rate Of Child Detention… Under Obama – Meanwhile in Sweden…

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UN Study Finds World's Highest Rate Of Child Detention… Under Obama https://t.co/NbOJPEmkVW — zerohedge (@zerohedge) December 1, 2019 Meanwhile in Sweden… Teachers are offered higher salaries to teach in schools located in #Swedish #NoGoZones as the students there are more…demanding This video is going viral today. Students try to set their teacher on fire Posted ... Read more
          

Regulatory Action Center Submits Comments on Methane Regs

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FreedomWorks Foundation's Regulatory Action Center (RAC) drove over 1,000 activist comments to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposal regarding methane. The proposed reform would modernize outdated Obama-era regulations that cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.

RAC also submitted formal comments on behalf of FreedomWorks Foundation which can be found excerpted below and in the attached file:

Under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to set NSPS for industrial facilities that the EPA believes contribute significantly to air pollution. Industry groups that emit at least one of the listed toxins are known as source categories and are generally regulated en masse. First published in 1979, the EPA’s list of source categories has grown significantly over the years. The original source category listing for the oil and gas industry only included facilities involved in production and processing. In two separate rulemakings in 2012 and 2016, the EPA expanded their statutory authority to regulate the transmission and storage of oil and gas with NSPS.

Because of the current regulatory scheme, segments of the industry involved in transmission and storage of oil and natural gas face what Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) once referred to as an “existential threat.” These burdensome and unnecessary regulations require these segments of the industry to submit to costly emission reduction programs that are entirely unnecessary. Rather than let science lead regulation, in this instance, the EPA decided to regulate the transmission and storage of oil and natural gas before it was determined whether or not such regulations where necessary for public health or even the appropriate avenue to pursue such ends. By forcing unjustified limitations on emissions of VOCs and methane, the EPA hamstrung the American oil and gas industry. As such, it is imperative that the Agency take the steps outlined in the proposal to rescind these unjustified regulatory burdens.

The proposed changes come in two phases. First, the regulatory action would remove all transmission and storage sources of the industry from regulation under the NSPS. This would include source in transmission and storage of both ozone-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and greenhouse gasses (GHGs). Second, the EPA would rescind the methane requirements of any NSPS applicable to sources involved in either production or processing. These methane requirements, the Agency has concluded, would be entirely redundant following the finalization of the first part of the rule.

As EPA notes in the proposal, the original decision to expand NSPS to cover transmission and storage of oil and natural gas went well beyond the authority granted to them by the Clean Air Act. Production and processing is functionally separate from transmission and storage. In order to properly extend NSPS to transmission and storage, the Agency itself agrees that it would require a separate study to confirm that transmission and storage “contribute significantly to air pollution” and are a “danger to the public health.” Since no such objective study has been done, the current interpretation allowing regulation of the transmission and storage of oil and natural gas under NSPS is arbitrary and capricious.


          

Coltivare il futuro, Future Food Institute e CampuStore insieme per nuovo progetto di educazione alimentare nelle scuole. Ospite d’eccezione Stephen Ritz, direttore del National Health, Wellness and Biodiversity Center di New York

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Coltivare il futuro, Future Food Institute e CampuStore insieme per nuovo progetto di educazione alimentare nelle scuole

 

Presentazione giovedì 28 novembre, ore 17, Scuderia Living Lab di Bologna

 

Ospite d'eccezione Stephen Ritz, direttore del National Health, Wellness and Biodiversity Center di New York

 

 

Future Food Institute e CampuStore insieme per "Coltivare il Futuro". L'Istituto che studia il futuro dell'alimentazione e dei sistemi agroalimentari e l'azienda leader nell'innovazione nel settore education danno vita ad un'offerta formativa dedicata nata per educare gli alunni delle scuole sui temi dell'Agenda 2030 per lo sviluppo sostenibile e dell'educazione alla sostenibilità, partendo dal cibo.

 

Si tratta di laboratori tra scienza, nuove tecnologie, e vita per crescere comunità sane, inclusive e resilienti dove agricoltura urbana, scienza in cucina, modelli di economia circolare, orti edibili, scarti, strumenti di fabbricazione digitale e food diplomacy diventano gli ingredienti per 'coltivare il futuro'.

 

Il progetto formativo del Future Food Institute e CampuStore verrà presentato nel pomeriggio di giovedì 28 novembre negli spazi della Scuderia Living Lab di Bologna alla presenza di un ospite d'eccezione: Stephen Ritz, direttore del National Health, Wellness and Biodiversity Center di New York, docente acclamato e premiato a livello internazionale, ospite più volte della Casa Bianca nell'era Obama. 

 

Stephen Ritz è ideatore della Green Bronx Machine, un modello scolastico innovativo che punta sull'agricoltura urbana quale strumento formativo delle giovani generazioni, trasformando le comunità, anche le più frammentate ed emarginate, in quartieri inclusivi e fiorenti.

 

Con la Green Bronx Machine, Ritz ha contribuito a migliorare la qualità della vita del Bronx, uno dei quartieri d'America con il più alto tasso di criminalità e povertà e tra le comunità più afflitte da obesità infantile, diabete, malattie cardiache e insicurezza alimentare dello Stato di New York.

 

Grazie al suo modello, la frequenza scolastica è aumentata notevolmente, passando dal 40% al 93%, e ha contribuito a creare 2.200 nuovi posti di lavoro per i giovani. 

 

Con i suoi studenti ha fondato la "Green Factory Box", una startup che trasforma spazi abbandonati in spazi verdi e fattorie verticali, fornendo cibo biologico e valore per l'intera comunità. 

 

 

PROGRAMMA 

 

16.30 - Registrazione e visita dei laboratori

 

La relazione tra uomo, ambiente, tecnologia e cibo come motore di cambiamento e strumento chiave per creare un mondo più sano e sostenibile.

Visita del Future Food Living Lab un viaggio dell'uomo (produttore e consumatore) attraverso la natura, la cultura, le scienze e la tecnologia. 

 

17.30 - Benvenuto a cura di Sara Roversi, fondatrice del Future Food Institute

 

17.40 – Intervento di Stephen Ritz

 

18.00 - Panel: "Coltivare il Futuro" 

 

Modera: 

Sara Roversi, Future Food Institute

Con: 

Roberto Bondi, coordinatore Servizio Marconi TSI Uff. III - USR Emilia-Romagna

Lisa Lanzarini, CampuStore

Angela Sofia Lombardo, Malpighi Lab

 

18.45 - Conclusioni 

 

19.00 - Climate Smart Aperitivo

 

Aperitivo a impatto zero a cura del Future Food Alchemist Team

 

———-

 

Future Food Institute

 

Fondato nel 2014 a Bologna è oggi un intero ecosistema che fa della food innovation uno strumento chiave per affrontare le grandi sfide del futuro, parlando al mondo, ma valorizzando il territorio partendo dall'Italia. 

 

Un ecosistema composto da un'anima education, che grazie alle preziose partnership globali, ha dato vita al master internazionale Food Innovation Program giunto alla sua terza edizione, la Food Innovation Global Mission, Summer School, una Young Talent Academy, laboratori per scuole primarie e percorsi per Executive. 

 

Una vera e propria piattaforma di positiva contaminazione e costante ispirazione che ha dato vita a futurefood.network, nato per affiancare le imprese del settore agroalimentare e le istituzioni in percorsi di open innovation e alimentare la community dei giovani imprenditori o scienziati con idee "disruptive". 

 

Un gruppo di imprese e luoghi dell'innovazione che oggi comprende:

 

Future Farm(Ravenna), una vera e propria azienda agricola di 60 ettari che diventa un playground per startup AgTech;

 

Future Food Living Lab(Bologna), spazio di nutrimento per il corpo e per la mente, nato per accogliere tutti i giorni centinaia di studenti e progettato con gli studenti, laboratorio permanente e operativo sulla FOOD INNOVATION nel cuore della città Bologna, capace di offrire un cibo della tradizione, cibo sano, e un servizio alla comunità, stimolando il pensiero critico e la partecipazione di tutti;

 

Future Food USA(San Francisco e New York) con un Future Food Living Lab in apertura il 13 luglio 2019 a Brooklyn;

 

Future Food Giappone(Tokyo), sede giapponese del gruppo presso Edgeof;

 

Future Food Cina(Shanghai), sede cinese del gruppo presso il Center of Excellence, Unido ITPO Shanghai. 

 



--
www.CorrieredelWeb.it

          

Finding What I Lost: A Weekend Of Resilience + Renewal At The Ranch 4.0

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Transformation is rarely easy. Like romantic love, self-love can be wild and intense. It can whisk you away from your comfort zone and show you resilience you never knew you had. This kind of wellness can push you to your limits, make you let go of control, and crack your heart wide open, creating space for dormant joy to bubble over. Where does such a breed of wellness exist? We found it at a legendary, luxury boot camp in Malibu -- The Ranch 4.0.

The Ranch 4.0 is a hardcore yet luxurious fitness and wellness retreat designed to help guests detox, shed weight, and reset on every level. A shortened version of The Ranch Malibu’s acclaimed week-long program, this four-day boot camp is dramatically renewing and equally intense. Each day starts at 5:30 am, includes eight-hours of fitness (four of which are hiking) and a strict meal plan made with lots of plants and absolutely no meat, dairy, gluten or... caffeine.

The program is rigorous but rewarding, and the results -- both mental and physical -- are instantly noticeable, making it a favorite amongst high-octane executives and Hollywood A-listers; Michelle Obama, Alison Brie, Rebel Wilson, Mandy Moore, Minka Kelly, Lea Michele, Julianne Hough, and Selma Blair have all been spotted at The Ranch in the last few months.

What's the catch? A weekend at The Ranch 4.0 requires some deep pockets, but for those who have the means to spare, there's truly nothing like it. We recently had the chance to try the program for ourselves and couldn't believe the depth of our transformation after just one weekend. We found ourselves challenged on every level, and we left feeling a sense of mind-body elation that lingered for weeks after...

What to know: The Ranch 4.0 runs Thursday through Monday and is based at the beautiful Four Seasons Westlake Village. A cornerstone of the program is a chance to connect with nature and its healing benefits, which is why most of the day is spent outdoors. Each day of the program follows the same schedule, and guests are expected to attend every activity. For high-strung A-types (aka the majority of guests at The ranch 4.0), not having to make any decisions about what to do or when to do it is the only real way to unwind in such a short period of time - it's the dreamiest kind of luxury.

What You'll eat: Plants. So may plants. While at the ranch you’ll follow a 1,400 calorie-per-day diet that is completely organic and plant-based with most ingredients sourced from their biodynamic garden. The meals change every day, and each one is delicious, creative and completely crave-able. Breakfast might be a bowl of steel-cut oats with fresh berries and homemade almond milk or a chickpea ‘frittata’ with tomatillo salsa; lunch could be a hearty quinoa and veggie salad or a lentil veggie burger with guacamole and a side of kale chips; and dinner is vegetable bolognese over spaghetti squash or a  mini cauliflower crust personal pizza piled high with veggies and homemade almond ricotta.

Guests are given a few small snacks throughout the day. On the hike, you'll have a precious piece of fruit or a few almonds (literally, six). If you attend the afternoon fitness classes you'll be rewarded with a bag of nutritional yeast seasoned popcorn or date and cacao energy bites. The restriction of food is one of the most challenging aspects of the program (by day three, a group of us snuck into the spa to steal some extra apples) but it's also surprisingly refreshing. You'll quickly realize how little your body actually needs to absorb energy from food.

What You'll Do: You'll sweat, you'll whine, you'll think your legs are breaking and your body is giving up -- and you will discover an awe-inspiring ability to push through.

The morning starts at 6am with a group stretch class. Following 45-minutes of slow, luxurious movement, breakfast is served in the grounds' linen and light-drenched greenhouse. After filling up camelbacks and wrapping ourselves in KT tape, we hopped into a van and drove to our morning hike somewhere in the Santa Monica mountains. We hiked for four-hours -- the goal being time not distance -- sweating our faces off, chatting to our fellow Ranchers and finding ways to stay present and not think about how many hours are left until lunch. We barely touched our phones while we walked and felt like a renegade and also a goddess.
After enjoying another beautifully balanced plant-based meal, we were given free time to nap, hit the sauna, melt away by the pool, or just sit in a bathrobe in your room doing nothing (bliss). Every afternoon, guests are treated to an in-room athletic massage to help unravel exhausted muscles. The evening program includes two 45-minute strength training classes and an hour of restorative yoga. After showering, we all gathered back in the greenhouse for another amazing meal and great conversation.

Other perks of the program include a plant-based cooking class, body fat and muscle mass analysis to assess the impact of the weekend, and VO2 testing to help map out a personalized plan to sustain results after the weekend.

How You'll Feel: In a word: euphoric. The Ranch 4.0 will break you down in the most luxurious way and build you back up through the bliss of embodied movement. You'll feel refreshed and reconnected to your humanness after being surrounded by nature and pushed beyond your perceived limits. You'll experience connection and solitude, a balanced opportunity to dive deep into yourself and remember who you are outside of your schedule and work-life. The Ranch gives you a rare chance to be released from responsibility, to transcend the mundane and embody your true potential. 

Over the course of the program you will feel tired, and sore, and a little loopy from the low-calorie diet -- but it all brings you back to a place of appreciation and gratitude. You will be bored by your 30th hour of hiking, but that boredom creates space to slow down, look around and let joy rise. When you stop counting minutes, qualifying accomplishments and identifying by your daily routine, you realize there’s nowhere to rush to. Life is happening now. The Ranch will remind you to make time for the things that make you feel alive and how good it feels to linger there.

The Ranch 4.0 is an incredible experience with transformative potential that can actually lead to sustainable changes. At the end of the program, you'll be sent off with a packet of recipes (get one of our favorite breakfasts below!), a new sense of strength and all the inspiration you need to maintain your bliss. Learn more about the program and how to sign up here.

The post Finding What I Lost: A Weekend Of Resilience + Renewal At The Ranch 4.0 appeared first on The Chalkboard.


          

A Thanksgiving Lesson

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As we gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let’s not only remember the lessons of Plymouth — let’s commit to proclaiming the virtues of self-reliance, property rights and free markets more boldly than ever.  Otherwise we’ll have even less to be thankful about next year.

By Howard Rich — The Separatist Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in November 1620 began their new settlement utilizing overtly communist economic principles.  In addition to common ownership of the land, the Pilgrims farmed corn on a communal plot and divided their harvest evenly amongst themselves.

This is the theoretical Marxist utopia — minus indoor plumbing, NPR, MSNBC and portable electronic devices powered by Solyndra solar panels, naturally.  But did this early communist experiment work?  Did it succeed at putting food on the table?

Not according to William Bradford, an early Pilgrim governor of the colony best known today as the “Father of Thanksgiving.”

The communal arrangement initially employed by the Pilgrims was “found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort,” Bradford wrote in his journal, which was later compiled into Of Plymouth Plantation.

Why did this arrangement fail?  Because as has been the case from time immemorial, the equitable division of inequitably produced assets did not sit well with those whose labors yielded the harvest.
“For the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense,” Bradford wrote.

But enmity amongst settlers wasn’t the real problem encountered at Plymouth — it was a shortage of food.  In his book Mayflower: A Story of Courage Community and War historian Nathaniel Philbrick discusses how communal farming and common ownership produced a “disastrous harvest.”

Faced with the prospect of starvation, Bradford “decided that each household should be assigned its own plot to cultivate, with the understanding that each family kept whatever it grew,” according to Philbrick.  Not surprisingly this approach replaced infighting and starvation with harmony and industry — not to mention an abundance of food.

“This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content,” Bradford wrote.

In other words where top-down planning based on communist ideology failed — the enforcement of private property rights based on free market ideology succeeded.

“The change in attitude was stunning,” Philbrick writes. “Families were now willing to work much harder than they had ever worked before.”

“The Pilgrims had stumbled on the power of capitalism,” Philbrick added, noting that “although the fortunes of the colony still teetered precariously in the years ahead, the inhabitants never again starved.”

As the United States moves further away from its free market foundation this Thanksgiving, the example of Plymouth is worth considering.  It is a cautionary tale — a grim reminder of where the federal government’s present trajectory is going to take our nation.

Already the “fair share” policies of Barack Obama — who is making good on his stated desire to “spread the wealth” around — have failed to produce the promised economic recovery.  In fact America’s central bank is now printing money indefinitely as government’s debt and unfunded liabilities race past the threshold of sustainability.

The result of this “stimulus?”  Income levels are shrinking, joblessness remains chronically high and economic growth is anemic.  And lurking around the corner are massive tax hikes and the full implementation of Obama’s socialized medicine law — both of which will result in additional large-scale shifts from the “makers” to the “takers” in our society.

Incentivizing dependency has clearly failed to stimulate our economy.  From 2000-10, government’s cash assistance to the poor increased by 68 percent — after adjusting for inflation.  Health care assistance increased by 87 percent, housing assistance by 108 percent and food assistance by 139 percent — again, all after adjusting for inflation.  Still, poverty in America climbed from 11.3 to 15.1 percent during that time period.

Government efforts to combat poverty have produced more poverty, in other words — and based on the ongoing entitlement expansion, the worst is likely yet to come.

As we gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let’s not only remember the lessons of Plymouth — let’s commit to proclaiming the virtues of self-reliance, property rights and free markets more boldly than ever.  Otherwise we’ll have even less to be thankful about next year.

The mention of Barack Obama and the data brackets somewhat date this article, but the lesson is as true as ever.  The author is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.

          

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It Is An Issue Of What YOU Are Doing In Podcasting - The Podcast Report Episode #52

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http://ThePodcastReport.com/52  

Paul Colligan has been doing The Podcast Report for a year now and has a few thoughts on this week’s Podcasting News that have very little to do with this week’s Podcasting News.  

Big Idea - It's no longer an issue of what's possible in Podcasting - it's an issue of what YOU'RE doing with Podcasting. (Tweet This)

Links:

How To Podcast 2015

The Patreon Experiment

iPhone 8 Years Old

WTFpod 613


          

Police discussed stopping Keystone XL protesters ‘by any means’

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Story 353063086

This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

U.S. law enforcement officials preparing for fresh Keystone XL pipeline protests have privately discussed tactics to stop activists “by any means” and have labeled demonstrators potential “domestic terrorism” threats, records reveal.

Internal government documents seen by the Guardian show that police and local authorities in Montana and the surrounding region have been preparing a coordinated response in the event of a new wave of protests opposing the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Canada to Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

Civil rights organizations say the documents raise concerns that law enforcement is preparing to launch an even more brutal and aggressive response than the police tactics utilized during the 2016 Standing Rock movement, which drew thousands of indigenous and environmental activists opposed to the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) to North Dakota.

At Standing Rock, law enforcement organized repeated rounds of mass arrests and filed a wide array of serious charges in local and federal courts against activists. Police also deployed water cannons, teargas grenades, bean bag rounds, and other weapons, causing serious injuries to protesters.

The documents are mostly emails from 2017 and 2018 between local and federal authorities discussing possible Keystone protests. They show that police officials are anticipating construction will spark a sustained resistance campaign akin to the one at Standing Rock and that police are considering closing public lands near the pipeline project.

The new records have come to light as the Keystone pipeline project has overcome numerous legal hurdles with help from the Trump administration, and as the project’s owner, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada), is moving forward with initial construction efforts.

Among the major revelations in the documents:

  • Officials at a 2017 law enforcement briefing on potential Keystone XL protests said one key tactic would be to “initially deny access to the property by protestors and keep them as far away [from] the contested locations as possible by any means,” according to an email summary from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers security manager in Nebraska in July 2017.
  • Officials with the Bureau of Land Management said in 2017 that the bureau had 10 armed officers in Montana and was prepared to “work with local [law enforcement] to deny access to federal property.” In 2018, Army Corps officials were also in discussions with the Montana disaster and emergency services department to discuss ways to “close access” to lands near the pipeline route, including areas typically open for hunting and other activities.
  • A “joint terrorism task force” involving the U.S. Attorney’s office and other agencies, along with federal “counterterrorism” officials, said it was prepared to assist in the response to protests and a “critical incident response team” would be available for “domestic terrorism or threats to critical infrastructure.” Authorities have also preemptively discussed specific potential felony charges that protesters could face, noting that a “civil disorder” statute was used to prosecute activists at Standing Rock.

“There is a lot of muscle behind this effort to make sure that Keystone is constructed,” said Alex Rate, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana, which obtained the documents through records act requests and shared them with the Guardian. “There are historically marginalized communities, primarily indigenous folks, who have grave concerns about the impact of this pipeline on their sovereignty, their resources, their religion, and culture. They have a first amendment right to assemble and make their viewpoints heard.”

Remi Bald Eagle, intergovernmental affairs coordinator of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, which is located along the pipeline route, said the police buildup was part of a long history of armed subjugation of native people in the region.“This is an experience of the tide of Manifest Destiny still coming at us,” Bald Eagle said, referring to the 19th-century belief that U.S. settlers had the right to expand across the continent.

The files follow repeated revelations that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have investigated environmental groups and leftwing activists as possible “terrorists.”

Keystone XL was rejected by the Obama administration and then revived by Donald Trump shortly after his inauguration in 2017. The $8 billion project has been subject to multiple legal challenges, including over the environmental review process, but pre-construction efforts are now under way.

Opponents of Keystone XL have warned about the environmental and cultural impact of the project for a decade — concerns that came into sharper focus last month after the existing Keystone pipeline, which follows a similar route, leaked 383,000 gallons of tar sands into a swath of North Dakota wetlands.

The new Keystone records, which come from a number of government agencies and were released after a protracted legal battle, also show that officials have specifically met with police involved in the Standing Rock response to discuss “lessons learned.” North Dakota police officials told law enforcement prepping for Keystone that one of their biggest mistakes was their failure to keep activists far away and shut down access to nearby lands.

In one 2018 BLM document, labeled “KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUES,” officials discussed the “available resources” to respond to protests in Montana.

“The FBI will have primary investigative authority for all national security investigations, including but not limited to international terrorism, domestic terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction,” BLM wrote.

U.S. Border Patrol would also be available to assist law enforcement around the border and has access to “drone assets,” the document continued. Border Patrol also provided a surveillance drone that police used to track Standing Rock protesters.

BLM also discussed purchasing “riot batons,” helmets, and gas masks in advance of possible protests.

Mike Glasch, an Army Corps spokesperson, said that the “by any means” comment came from the agency’s security chief, who was “relaying talking points” from police officials in Mandan and Morton County in North Dakota, adding: “Any method that we would employ to protect the safety of our employees and the public, as well as property and equipment, would be within the limits of the law and be the least invasive possible, while still protecting the public’s first amendment rights.”

A spokesperson for the Morton county sheriff, Kyle Kirchmeier, said he advises law enforcement that “may be involved with potential pipeline protests to make it their goal to keep protesters off of private property and any areas that may be considered a public hazard, such as ditches or highways,” adding that he “is supportive of people’s right to protest, but they need to do so in a lawful manner.” Kirchmeier said he did not recall the 2017 briefing.

A Mandan police spokesperson declined to comment.

Glasch said the Army Corps had not closed access to its land around the project, but added: “Since a construction site comes with inherent hazards, options are being analyzed for methods to keep any non-essential personnel away from potential construction sites, while at the same time considering constitutional rights.” He said it was too early to speculate about specific potential closure plans.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office did not respond to questions about the “terrorism” references but said the office’s “goal is to provide coordinated assistance to local, tribal, and state law enforcement to protect public safety and civil rights, and to protect federal lands, while enforcing federal law.”

The FBI declined to comment.

A Border Patrol spokesperson said the agency would “assist, upon request, with any law enforcement activities within the border area near the pipeline.”

Spokespeople for BLM and TC Energy did not respond to questions.

“Law enforcement are getting ready. They’ve been having meetings behind closed doors,” said Angeline Cheek, an indigenous organizer from the Fort Peck reservation. “We know that they’re preparing … We’ve been preparing for the last three years.”

Rate, from the ACLU, said there was no legal justification for the government to preemptively shut down lands in an effort to stop protests. He said it was also troubling for law enforcement to prepare a “militarized” response and suggest that activists could pose terrorist or criminal threats before any actions had even begun.

“They are thinking of them as potential ‘domestic terrorists.’ There is simply no support for adopting that paradigm,” said Rate. “The public justifiably thinks of BLM as a land management agency and not necessarily in the business of arming themselves and going out and squelching protesters.”

Candi Brings Plenty, an Oglala Lakota Sioux activist working with the ACLU of Montana, said they were not surprised to learn that law enforcement was talking about stopping indigenous activists “by any means.”

“That is the type of language that has been spoken to us our whole lives,” they said, adding: “We live these injustices on a daily basis. This is finally being unveiled for what it is.”

Brings Plenty, who led a two-spirit camp at Standing Rock, said they would not be intimidated by law enforcement and hoped people would still support the fight against Keystone — instead of just accepting the pipeline.

“It’s almost become the norm for folks to look the other way, feeling like there isn’t something they can do, that it’s beyond their grasp,” they said. “I want folks to see these pipelines the way they do the glaciers in the Arctic. This is happening right here in their own front yard.”

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Police discussed stopping Keystone XL protesters ‘by any means’ on Nov 30, 2019.


          

Exxon knew — and so did coal

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Story 352923584

This story was originally published by HuffPost and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

“Exxon knew.” Thanks to the work of activists and journalists, those two words have rocked the politics of climate change in recent years, as investigations revealed the extent to which giants like ExxonMobil and Shell were aware of the danger of rising greenhouse gas emissions even as they undermined the work of scientists.

But the coal industry knew, too — as early as 1966, a newly unearthed journal shows.

In August, Chris Cherry, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, salvaged a large volume from a stack of vintage journals that a fellow faculty member was about to toss out. He was drawn to a 1966 copy of the industry publication Mining Congress Journal; his father-in-law had been in the industry and he thought it might be an interesting memento.

Cherry flipped it open to a passage from James R. Garvey, who was the president of Bituminous Coal Research Inc., a now-defunct coal mining and processing research organization.

“There is evidence that the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere is increasing rapidly as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels,” wrote Garvey. “If the future rate of increase continues as it is at the present, it has been predicted that, because the CO2 envelope reduces radiation, the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere will increase and that vast changes in the climates of the earth will result.”

“Such changes in temperature will cause melting of the polar icecaps, which, in turn, would result in the inundation of many coastal cities, including New York and London,” he continued.

Cherry was floored.

“It pretty well described a version of what we know today as climate change,” said Cherry. “Increases in average air temperatures, melting of polar ice caps, rising of sea levels. It’s all in there.”

In a discussion piece immediately following Garvey’s article, Peabody Coal combustion engineer James R. Jones noted that the coal industry was merely “buying time” before more air pollution regulations came into effect. “We are in favor of cleaning up our air,” he wrote. “Everyone can point to examples in his own community where something should be done. Our aim is to have control that does not precede the technical knowledge for compliance.”

Climate change is not Cherry’s area of study, but he was struck by how the tone of the articles differed from the way many fossil fuel companies talk about climate change today. Rather than engage in denial, the articles offered a fairly straightforward acknowledgment of the emerging science. (This reporter is also a writer for UT’s Tickle College of Engineering, where Cherry teaches.)

As Cherry did some of his own digging, he soon realized his discovery could be the first evidence that the coal industry was aware of the impending climate crisis more than half a century ago — a finding that could open mining companies to the type of litigation that the oil industry is now facing.

Decades of denial

While Peabody Energy, the largest private-sector coal company in the world and the largest producer of coal in the U.S., now acknowledges climate change on its website, it has been directly and indirectly involved in obfuscating climate science for decades. It funded dozens of trade, lobbying, and front groups that peddled climate misinformation, as The Guardian reported in 2016.

As recently as 2015, Peabody Energy argued that carbon dioxide was a “benign gas essential for all life.”

“While the benefits of carbon dioxide are proven, the alleged risks of climate change are contrary to observed data, are based on admitted speculation, and lack adequate scientific basis,” the company wrote in a letter that year to the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

At the heart of big coal’s denial campaign was Fred Palmer, who served as Peabody’s senior vice president of government relations from 2001 to 2015. In 1997, Palmer founded the Greening Earth Society, a now-defunct industry front group that argued that burning fossil fuels was good for the planet. The group was based in the same office as the Western Fuels Association, a consortium of coal suppliers and coal-fired utilities that Palmer also ran.

“Every time you turn your car on and you burn fossil fuels and you put CO2 into the air, you’re doing the work of the Lord,” Palmer told a Danish documentary team in 1997. “That’s the ecological system we live in.”

Asked for comment, a Peabody spokesperson told HuffPost:“Peabody recognizes that climate change is occurring and that human activity, including the use of fossil fuels, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. We also recognize that coal is essential to affordable, reliable energy and will continue to play a significant role in the global energy mix for the foreseeable future. Peabody views technology as vital to advancing global climate change solutions, and the company supports advanced coal technologies to drive continuous improvement toward the ultimate goal of near-zero emissions from coal.”

Palmer, who did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment, continues to carry the torch. He now works as an energy policy adviser to The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based think tank whose climate denial is so severe that even ExxonMobil abandoned funding it and its climate denial efforts a decade ago. In 2011, leaked memos showed that the institute paid contrarian scientists like Craig Idso, founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, $11,600 a month to promote carbon dioxide as beneficial to the environment.

The group sits at the heart of a broader right-wing misinformation network funded in large part by hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, both Republican mega-donors who backed President Donald Trump and financed projects such as Breitbart News and Cambridge Analytica, the data firm considered key to Trump’s 2016 win. Palmer’s daughter, Downey Magallanes, was a top policy adviser at Trump’s Interior Department before joining oil giant BP in September 2018.

All of this was taking place well after climate change had become a commonly understood idea in the scientific community. A 1965 report from President Lyndon Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee was the first from the White House to address climate change (and is likely what precipitated the Mining Congress Journal article). “The climate changes that may be produced by the increased CO2 content could be deleterious from the point of view of human beings,” it warned. In 1988, NASA scientist James Hansen testified to Congress about what was then known as the “greenhouse effect.” And in 1992, the United Nations established the Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international treaty to begin addressing the problem.

But as this consensus emerged, so too did a wave of industry-funded climate denial via vast, shadowy networks of front groups, public relations campaigns, and scientists for hire.

Pulling back the curtain

In 2015, journalists at InsideClimate News, the Los Angeles Times, and Columbia University exposed internal ExxonMobil documents showing that the company’s scientists had a deep understanding of climate change even as Exxon worked publicly to downplay that science.

Twenty state attorneys general launched an “Exxon Knew” campaign, which eventually led to communities across the country filing at least 14 legal challenges against Exxon and other fossil fuel companies. One lawsuit, from the New York state attorney general’s office, went to trial on October 22 and focuses on how the company accounted for the costs of potential future regulations on climate change. The Massachusetts attorney general filed another suit on October 24, this time claiming the company had engaged in deceptive advertising and misled investors about the systemic financial risks to its business posed by fossil fuel-driven climate change. Earlier this month, two of Hawaii’s biggest municipalities sued Exxon and other big oil companies to recoup the costs of adapting to rising seas and more violent storms.

Evidence of what fossil fuel companies knew about climate change and when is critical to the legal strategy of those seeking damages for carbon dioxide emissions. If fossil fuel companies were aware of their products’ harmful effects on the planet, they could be held liable for damages.

Legal liability boils down to four factors, said David Bookbinder, chief counsel for the Niskanen Center, which is representing counties in Colorado that have filed suits: one, whether the defendants knew that their products would cause climate change; two, what they told or did not tell the public about the consequences of using their products; three, the extent of injuries caused by climate change; and four, whether the defendants’ actions have led to a portion of those injuries. What the plaintiffs in these suits can prove remains to be seen.

What we do know is that coal, when burned, has by far the biggest climate footprint of any fossil fuel, producing more carbon dioxide per unit than oil or gas. In the U.S. alone, coal produced 65 percent of the power sector’s planet-warming emissions. The 1966 article in the Mining Congress Journal certainly raises questions about what the coal industry knew at the time.

Robert Brulle, a professor emeritus of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University, authored a recent paper that suggests the coal industry must have known quite a bit, given how prominently it positioned itself in the climate denial movement.

Brulle researched 12 major groups and coalitions that argued against mandatory regulation of carbon dioxide from 1989 to 2015 — which he calls the “climate change countermovement.” That countermovement included 2,000 different businesses, political or social groups, as well as other organizations, but Brulle found that 179 core organizations belonged to multiple coalitions. Coal companies and predominantly coal-burning utilities were the most prevalent. He describes oil and gas companies as “more of a marginal player” by comparison.

“The coal mining industry — the utilities that were burning it for electricity, along with the railroads who were hauling it — and manufacturing industries like steel were the first corporate forces to become climate deniers and try to block action on climate policy,” said Kert Davies, founder and director of the Climate Investigations Center. “They fought the hardest because they had the biggest existential threat.”

Where do we go from here?

In the aftermath of the 1973 oil embargo, Exxon and other oil giants leased large parcels of land for coal mining with the goal of manufacturing synthetic fuels and lowering U.S. dependence on the Middle East.

Some previously released documents show that Exxon’s scientists began advising that the world phase out coal as a fuel as early as 1979. In one scenario, the Exxon scientists concluded that non-fossil fuels would need to be substituted for coal beginning in the 1990s to keep carbon dioxide levels below atmospheric concentrations of 440 parts per million. In 1999, Exxon merged with Mobil, and by 2002, ExxonMobil had dumped its coal assets.

Meanwhile, the coal industry tried to reinvent itself with the concept of “clean coal.” This as-yet-undelivered promise that carbon capture and other technological advances could lower coal’s environmental impact has been around for decades but resurged in the early 2000s as regulations seemed imminent.

The biggest proponent of this idea was the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a coal front group that spent $35 million on public relations campaigns in 2008 alone, seeking to influence the election. A year later, ACCCE was caught sending Congress fraudulent letters opposing federal climate legislation and pretending to be from veterans, women’s, and civil rights groups. The incident led many members to leave the organization, but Peabody remains a member to this day.

“Its whole mission was to stop climate regulations but pretend that they were in favor of clean coal, which, of course, doesn’t exist,” said Davies.

Peabody Energy filed for bankruptcy protection in 2016, the same year carbon dioxide levels hit 400 parts per million. Eight other coal companies have filed for bankruptcy this year. Even as the Trump administration has promised a coal resurgence and rolled back Obama-era regulations, the industry’s profitability continues to experience a downward slide. If the slogan “Coal Knew” ever does take off, it’s unclear who’ll be left to sue.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Exxon knew — and so did coal on Nov 29, 2019.


          

If Michelle Obama wins a Grammy, she'll be in good White House company

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Michelle Obama's nomination for the audio version of "Becoming" could make her a Grammy winner alongside husband Barack and Bill and Hillary Clinton.


          

Infographic Of The Day: How Much It Costs To Run For President?

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Michael Bloomberg just announced he's running for President by spending over $31M in TV ads in a single week. That tops the previous record set by President Obama in 2012.

Read more ...


          

Matthew T. Mangino: Where have all the heroes gone?

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William D. Ruckelshaus died this week. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented Ruckelshaus with the nation’s highest civilian honor - the Medal of Freedom.
          

Michael Bloomberg: The Next Roosevelt?

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Written by Frank Li

America is deeply in trouble. 'We the People' simply do not know what to do, other than periodically casting our vote of 'no confidence' to elect someone very different to be the President - first Barack Obama, then Donald Trump. Unfortunately, neither has worked out. So, let's keep looking - Who should be the next President and what should we look for?

How about Michael Bloomberg as the next Roosevelt?

Read more ...


          

Complicity of the press, the role of the Obama administration in perpetuating the Russia hoax, and the revelation of the coup

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In PowerLine, Scott Johnson writes about
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, TAKE 2.

...Lee Smith is the author of The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in US History.

...Lee Smith is a great journalist. This bears on one of the book’s principal themes: the complicity of the press in peddling the hoax alleging the collusion of the Trump campaign with organs of the Russian government. In peddling the hoax, the most prominent organs of the mainstream media were the accomplices of the perpetrators. The book cites the relevant stories and relentlessly names names demonstrating the “collusion” of the press with the Clinton campaign and the government — the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Justice — in peddling the Russian hoax as news.

Within the profession, there has been no reckoning for the misconduct that the book makes out. On the contrary, at the profession’s upper reaches, we have seen only the renewed commitment to carry on the campaign to remove Trump from office. This book may be the closest we ever get to the day of reckoning that is due the press.

...A second theme of the book is the role of the Obama administration in perpetrating the Russia hoax. Following the 2016 election, the Russia hoax involved the orchestrated disempowerment of the incoming administration and the removal of Trump from office. While the press held itself out as pursuing Trump in a scandal with echoes of Watergate, the scandal represented the handiwork of the Obama administration and the press served as its handmaiden. Referring to the method of operation pioneered by Obama to support the Iran deal, Smith puts it this way: “[I]t was Obama who was most like Nixon, because Trump’s predecessor used the resources of the federal government, sensitive surveillance program and staff, to spy on his opponents.”

Smith writes: “The coup started almost immediately after the polls closed.” The ground had been well laid by then.

A third theme of the book is the revelation of the coup. This gives the book its subtitle: “The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in US History.” The book reminds us that much of what we know about the Russia hoax is attributable to the work of Devin Nunes, and it reports how Nunes has paid the price. I have embedded a copy of the Nunes memo released on February 2018 at the bottom of this post. For much of what we have learned to date we owe Rep. Nunes a debt of gratitude.

The book implicitly raises the question who wrote the Steele Dossier. Smith seems to doubt that it was Christopher Steele. He notes that in an October 2016 meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec — reported here by John Solomon — Steele forgot his lines. Whodunnit may be less important in this case than that it was done by those working on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party. For our knowledge of that critical fact we have Devin Nunes to thank.

In calling out his professional colleagues for the wrongs they have done and for giving credit where credit is due to Devin Nunes and his staff, this book administers justice to the extent that it is possible for a reporter and analyst to do so. We can only hope that it is a preface to the administration of justice the old-fashioned way.
Read more here.
          

Enemy in the White House - WND

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wnd.com - Obama's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday continues to send shockwaves through this country. Obama's statement has quickly become notorious: "Unless we get on our high horse and think …


Tweeted by @lisamichelle124 https://twitter.com/lisamichelle124/status/1200969446342438913
          

Latest Qanon-Related News 12-2-19 : What's The Rush Adam? - Stroppy Me

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?....v=54j0Swm4Dvwhttps:/
https://www.zerohedge.com/econ....omics/gloves-come-ch
https://nypost.com/2019/12/01/....prince-andrew-in-con
https://www.breitbart.com/poli....tics/2019/12/01/adam
https://www.thegatewaypundit.c....om/2019/12/joe-biden
https://theconservativetreehou....se.com/2019/11/30/th
https://www.zerohedge.com/poli....tical/adam-schiff-cr
          

SCHIFF WITNESS FIONA HILL SLIPS, ADMITS BUMMER WITHHELD MILITARY AID FROM UKRAINE FOR POLITICS

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LIONS REPUBLIC TIP JAR: https://www.paypal.me/bradbishop1.

JOIN LIONS REPUBLIC BLOG HERE: https://lionsrepublicentertain....ment.blogspot.com/?m

JOIN LIONS REPUBLIC ON BITCHUTE HERE: https://www.bitchute.com/channel/9oUqRxDDFM53/

JOIN BACK UP CHANNEL “THE LIONS DEN NEWS” HERE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6u1YxJ9rlxV35QO-

LINK: https://www.puppetstringnews.c....om/blog/schiff-witne
          

Obama Rejected Race-Based Politics. The Woke Left Demands It.

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On 11.26.19 03:37 PM posted by Craig Trainor In November 2008, the American people elected the country’sfirst black president. I remember the night clearly—or as clearly as one cangiven the copious consumption of cabernet sauvignon that night. As I watched the returns at my small Manhattan apartment, Fox News’ Brit Hume called the presidential election for Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. As a supporter of Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee, I was deeply disappointed. But my angst began to fade when the historical significance ofwhat had transpired took hold: America was made whole. Despite that election, woke practitioners of identity politicshave steadily threatened the massive gains in fundamental justice we haveachieved.
          

Did Obama Fire All Bush-Appointed Ambassadors?

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Q: Did President Barack Obama immediately fire all Bush-appointed ambassadors “the day he was elected office”?
A: No. As is the custom, Obama immediately replaced most — not all — of Bush’s politically appointed ambassadors. Obama did not remove any of the career appointees to ambassadorships.


FULL QUESTION
Subject: Ambassadors

Did President Barack Obama fire all the ambassadors who had been appointed by George W. Bush?
FULL ANSWER
The issue of ambassadors “fired”

The post Did Obama Fire All Bush-Appointed Ambassadors? appeared first on FactCheck.org.


          

DACA's Future Appears in Doubt at Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court heard arguments today in a case involving the Trump administration's efforts to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA protects 700,000 young, undocumented immigrants living and working in the US from deportation. But that could change if the Court sides with the administration's arguments.
          

Matthew T. Mangino: Where have all the heroes gone?

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William D. Ruckelshaus died this week. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented Ruckelshaus with the nation’s highest civilian honor - the Medal of Freedom.
          

Xi Jinping bất lực _ Đành phủ phục trước quái kiệt Donald Trump

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BM
Biết trước tiền vận không mấy sáng sủa nếu tỷ phú Donald Trump hạ gục chính trị gà nòi Hillary Clinton. Obama và Tập Cận Bình đã liên thủ công phá Donald Trump theo cách "giữ gà từ xa".

Trong chuyến công du tới Bắc Kinh lần cuối trên cương vị tổng thống, Obama và Tập Cận Bình đã diễn tuồng rất sâu để Nước Mỹ và thế giới nhìn vào họ tưởng rằng giữa Obama và Tập Cận Bình là hai thái cực. Tuồng diễn để chứng minh mình ngoại phạm đó chính là việc Tập Cận Bình cho Obama đi cửa hậu máy bay.

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Đồng thời, Obama đã cho thân tín theo dõi, nghe lén Tháp Trump để tìm chứng cứ lật đổ ứng viên tổng thống Trump rồi sau đó lại dựng chuyện cho rằng Donald Trump thông đồng với Nga để thắng Hillary Clinton rồi sau đó tiến hành cuộc săn phù thủy hòng phế truất tổng thống Trump. Nay thì lại diễn trò hề cáo buộc tổng thống Trump đã mặc cả với Ukraine để điều tra Joe Biden rồi lấy đó làm lý cớ điều tra luận tội ông Trump.

Riêng về phía Tập Cận Bình, do được thừa hưởng thuyết giáo Khổng Khâu và binh pháp Tôn Tử nên những đòn tấn công mà họ Tập tung về phía ông Trump sẽ là những đòn vô chiêu và hữu chiêu phối hợp. 

Vô chiêu mà Tập Cận Bình tung về phía ông Trump đó là cách xúi Đông, khích Tây để dụ Donald Trump sa lầy mà không còn tay chân, tâm trí đâu tập trung vào Tàu cộng. Cụ thể:

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1. Xúi Kim Jong Un thi gan và độ ngông với Donald Trump bằng cách Bắc Hàn liên tục thử vũ khí hạch tâm, hỏa tiễn tầm xa khi ông Trump chưa ngồi ấm chỗ ở Bạch Cung. Nếu Donald Trump bộp chộp như Bush, Obama thì thế giới đã chứng kiến một đại huyết chiến vào cuối năm 2017 khi cả hai là Donald Trump và Kim Jong Un đều đe dọa xóa sổ nhau.

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2. Xúi tổng thống Poroshenko của Ukraine gia tăng xung đột với Nga ở eo biển Kerch vào tháng 11/2018 với sự vụ Nga nổ súng bắt giữ 3 tàu của Ukraine. Nếu Donald Trump bộp chộp như Obama thì sự vụ ở eo biển Kerch sẽ thổi bùng ngọn lửa chiến tranh giữa Mỹ với Nga, hai hổ đánh nhau ắt sẽ lưỡng bại câu thương;

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3. Xúi Pakistan gia tăng xung đột với Ấn Độ tại Kashmir, Pakistan là đồng minh cũ của Mỹ, Ấn Độ là đồng minh mới của Mỹ trong chiến lược Ấn Độ Dương - Thái Bình Dương. Nếu ông Trump bộp chộp, thích lấy tiếng như Obama thì Mỹ hoặc sẽ binh vực Pakistan hoặc binh vực Ấn Độ, đàng nào cũng bất lợi cho Mỹ và một cuộc chiến tranh giữa Ấn Độ và Pakistan sẽ nổ ra mà Mỹ không thể đứng ngoài, lúc này Tàu cộng lại chiễm chệ tọa sơn quan hổ đấu.

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4. Xúi Iran gia tăng xung đột ở eo biển Hormuz bằng việc tấn công UAV của Mỹ để tạo cớ chiến lược và sau đó lại cùng khủng bố Houthi tấn công cơ sở lọc dầu của Arab Saudi cũng chỉ để dụ Mỹ lao vào cuộc chiến tranh với Iran hòng tiêu hao sinh lực Nước Mỹ và rối rắm tay chân của ông Trump.

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Nhưng trước những trò xúi Đông, khích Tây của Tàu cộng hòa điệu với sự dè bỉu của đảng Dân chủ và Fake News hùng hậu rằng Donald Trump không biết làm chính trị, Donald Trump hèn nhát, Donald Trump hoang tưởng,... thì Donald Trump vẫn kệ mẹ tụi nó, mặc bay nói ngả nói nghiêng, lòng tao vẫn vững như kiền bốn chân. Cái ông Trump cần làm là đánh cho kinh tế Tàu cộng què quặt, la lếch rồi chết queo chớ không phải đi làm ba cái chuyện bao đồng, vặt vãnh kia. 

Vậy là Donald Trump đã biến Kim Jong Un từ kẻ thù thành bạn, nhân loại đã không bị mất đi 100 triệu người vì chiến tranh Mỹ - Hàn cộng. Donald Trump cũng stop lệnh tấn công Iran vào phút 89 mặc cho Iran, Fake News, never Trump dè bỉu, lêu lêu. Cái ông Trump cần để trị Iran là kinh tế, đánh cho mày bò lếch, hết tiền thì dân của mày đại loạn, rõ chưa.

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Thêm một chữ NHẪN siêu đẳng nữa của ông Trump thể hiện ở Venezuela, mặc dù ông cố vấn an ninh quốc gia John Bolton nhất mực phải xua quân lật đổ độc tài bịnh hoạn Maduro nhưng ông Trump trước say no, sau vẫn say no. Bởi vì nếu xua quân lật đổ Maduro thì sẽ vấp phải sự chống lưng của Nga, Tàu cộng và dù cho chắc chắn là Maduro sẽ bị tiêu diệt nếu Mỹ can thiệp quân sự nhưng với sự thiếu chín chắn của tổng thống lâm thời Guaido thì hậu độc tài Maduro, Venezuela chắc chắn sẽ cũng Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Venezuela sẽ chìm đắm trong phân qua, các cứ, nội chiến. Điều này thật tồi tệ cho nhân dân Venezuela và Nước Mỹ vì Nước Mỹ sẽ không tránh khỏi trách nhiệm liên đới.

Hữu chiêu mà Tập Cận Bình tung về phía ông Trump đó là cách mua chuộc ông Trump bằng việc tiếp đón và thết đãi đặc biệt trong chuyến công du tới Bắc Kinh lần đầu tiên của ông Trump vào tháng 11/2017 sau đó lừa ông Trump rằng sẽ san bằng thâm hụt thương mại qua việc ký kết các hợp đồng nguyên tắc có giá trị hơn 250 tỷ Mỹ kim. 

Nhưng Donald Trump là Donald Trump chớ không phải là Obama, vì vậy Tàu cộng không thể tiếp tục "ký thì ký mà mua hàng Mỹ thì không".

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Khi lòng kiên nhẫn của Donald Trump bị thách thức, hàng loạt gói thuế quan tàn khốc đã được Donald Trump nện lên đầu Tàu cộng. Vậy nhưng "đánh chết cái nết không chừa". Tàu cộng lại liên tục tung ra những đòn thâm hiểm hơn về phía Donald Trump. Cụ thể những đòn thâm hiểm của Tàu cộng như thế nào xin phép được viết tiếp ở hồi sau.


MUỐN XÓA SỔ CNXH QUÁI THAI, MỸ VÀ ĐỒNG MINH SẼ PHẢI ĐỐI ĐẦU QUÂN SỰ VỚI TÀU CỘNG Ở BIỂN ĐÔNG

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Sẽ không còn nghi ngờ gì nữa trước những tiên đoán vững chắc của ông Peter Navarrro tại quyển sách "Death by China - Chết bởi Trung cộng" và nhận định của ông Cựu Chủ tịch hạ viện Mỹ Newt Gingriich về việc "Tàu cộng muốn thay thế Mỹ trở thành siêu cường toàn cầu - Đây là những gì chúng ta phải học" cùng nhiều học giả khác. Tất cả các tác giả này đều có chung một nhận định là "Tàu cộng sẽ không từ bỏ khát vọng bá chủ thế giới". 

Vì vậy, nếu ông Donald Trump vẫn theo lối mòn của ông Ronald Reagan là chỉ cần đánh sập nền kinh tế của Tàu cộng như Liên Sô đã bị dính đòn thì sẽ hoàn thành tâm nguyện "xổ số CNXH quái thai" là điều không thể nếu như nước Mỹ không đối đầu quân sự trực tiếp với Tàu cộng. Bởi vì giữa Liên Sô và Tàu cộng tuy giống nhau về ý thức hệ cộng sản nhưng lại khác nhau về văn hóa, đặc trưng sắc tộc.

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Liên Sô là một liên bang hình thành từ 15 nước cộng hòa Sô viết là Nga, Ukraine, Gruzia, Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Litva, và Estonia. Trong 15 nước hợp thành Liên bang Sô viết thì có 70% là người Đông Slav, 12% là người Turk, 18% là người dân tộc khác. Nhìn chung, tuy người dân Liên Sô sống trong chế độ cộng sản cai trị nhưng văn hóa phương Tây vẫn là văn hóa chủ đạo, vì vậy việc đánh sập chế độ cộng sản ở Liên Sô thời ông Ronald Reagan sẽ không khó khăn, phức tạp như việc đánh sập chế độ cộng sản ở Tàu cộng thời ông Donald Trump.

Bởi vì, với dân số trên trên 1,405 tỉ người, trong đó người Hán chiếm tới 91,51%, tức hết 1,286 tỉ người Hán, còn lại có 8,49% là dân tộc khác, tức khoảng 119 triệu người. Nhưng trong 119 triệu người này lại do 55 dân tộc thiểu số hợp thành. Điều này hoàn toàn khác biệt với cơ cấu tỉ trọng giữa dân số và sắc tộc của Liên Sô trước đây.

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Mặt khác, thuyết giáo Khổng Tử vốn đã được Hán tộc xem là hồn cốt, máu thịt. Người Hán luôn tôn sùng thuyết giáo về “Lễ Nhạc” của  Khổng Tử, ra sức bảo vệ, phát huy “Thuyết Thiên mệnh, Thuyết Huyết thống, Thuyết Tôn pháp, Thuyết Nhân trị, Thuyết  Cực quyền, Thuyết  Chuyên chế” mà Khổng Tử triệt để bảo vệ. Tức người Hán vẫn bảo vệ cái tư tưởng “Quan bản vị” của chế độ phong kiến. Người Hán hiện nay vẫn tôn thờ "truyền thống văn hóa”, “truyền thống chính trị”, “truyền thống kinh tế” của Khổng Tử. Họ vẫn sống trong toàn bộ “truyền thống” lịch sử đó vì vậy người Hán hiện nay vẫn bộc lộ bốn điều nổi bật là:

·        Về văn hóa là: Nói dối;
·        Về ngoại trị là: Bá quyền - thâu tóm - tiệt diệt ngoại bang;
·        Về nội trị là: Cấm tiệt quyền dân chủ, bình đẳng;
·        Về kinh tế là: Bóc lột - ăn cắp và lừa bịp;

Thử hỏi với một đặc thù như trên, với một tư tưởng cổ hủ "quân xử thần tử, phụ xử tử vong" của Khổng Tử thì làm sao có được cái gọi là "dân chủ - tự do - nhân văn,..." ở đất nước độc đảng gần 1,5 tỉ người này? Thời phong kiến thì người Hán nhất nhất "quân xử thần tử", thời nay thì răm rắp nghe theo đảng cộng sản bởi đảng cộng sản là ông vua tập thể, đảng nói chết là dân phải chết, dân không chết là bất trung. Vì vậy nếu ông Trump có đánh cho nền kinh tế của Tàu cộng sụp đổ, gây ra nạn đói kém, nạn thất nghiệp tràn lan nhưng vẫn chưa thắng lợi trong việc "mưu phạt tâm công", tức vẫn chưa làm sụp đổ "hình tượng Mao Trạch Đông - Tập Cận Bình - hào quang giả tạo của đảng cộng sản" thì xem ra vẫn chưa hề hấn gì.

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Cuộc chiến đánh sập nền kinh tế của Tàu cộng là một cuộc chiến trường kỳ, hơn nữa nếu trong hai nhiệm kỳ tổng thống của ông Trump đã làm sụp đổ nền kinh tế của Tàu cộng nhưng chưa chắc đã làm cho đảng cộng sản của nó sụp đổ ngay sau đó như Liên Sô. Điều này chắc chắn bản thân ông Trump và các cộng sự của ông đều rõ. Vì vậy, theo suy nghĩ của cá nhân, trong nhiệm kỳ tổng thống đầu tiên của mình, ông Donald Trump sẽ dốc sức đánh cho nền kinh tế của Tàu cộng nhũn ra như bột gặp nước. Sau đó ông sẽ kích hoạt cho Tàu cộng bộc lộ rõ bản chất tiểu nhân, lưu manh, côn đồ để có cớ cho Mỹ và Đồng Minh hô quân tấn công quân sự. Trước khi hô quân tấn công quân sự trực diện vào Tàu cộng, ông Trump phải khoanh vùng, cô lập Tàu cộng, ngăn không cho nó liên quân, liên thủ với đám côn đồ khác như Nga nô, Bắc Hàn,... Đồng thời ông Trump phải hoàn tất sớm việc "đóng chặt" các van tiếp máu cho Tàu cộng như Venezuela, Iran, các nước Châu Phi, Trung Cận Đông khác,... 

Theo Tiến sĩ David Lai, hiện là giáo sư nghiên cứu về An ninh Châu Á tại Viện Nghiên cứu Chiến lược của Đại học Chiến tranh Quân đội Mỹ thì "cách tiếp cận chiến lược của Tàu cộng được phản ánh trong môn cờ vây. Cách tiếp cận của người Mỹ đối với tư duy chiến lược được phản ánh trong môn cờ vua". 

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Cờ vây - Wei qi là một trò chơi gồm 2 người chơi, một người có 180 quân cờ màu trắng và một người có 181 quận cờ màu đen, bàn cờ là tấm ván có 19 hàng ngang và 19 hàng dọc. Người chơi lần lượt đặt những quân cờ của họ lên bảng một lần trên các giao điểm của các vạch kẻ. Mục tiêu của trò chơi là chiếm được nhiều lãnh thổ nhất bằng cách bao vây các khoảng trống hoặc các quân cờ của đối thủ trên bàn cờ. Người chơi có nhiều lãnh thổ nhất sau khi tất cả các quân cờ đã được chơi, hoặc sau khi cả hai người chơi vượt qua lượt của mình, đều thắng.

Wei qi nghĩa là Vi kỳ, tiếng Việt là cờ vây, tiếng Nhật igo là một trò chơi dài đòi hỏi người chơi phải tận dụng những chiến thắng ngắn hạn - nhưng không bao giờ đánh mất chiến lược dài hạn. Ngược lại, trong môn cờ vua, những quân cờ mạnh hơn những quân cờ khác được triển khai với mục tiêu bắt vua của đối thủ. Mọi động thái đều hướng đến việc bảo vệ vị vua của riêng bạn và chiếm lấy đối thủ của bạn. Theo cách này, cờ vua được tập trung hẹp.

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Vì vậy, nếu ông Trump vẫn tiếp tục dùng chiến lược của môn cờ vua để đối kháng với sách lược theo môn "cờ vây" của Tàu cộng sẽ là "rất nguy hiểm" vì sẽ rơi vào tình huống "không hiểu và không nhìn thấy toàn bộ và bề rộng chiến lược của Tàu cộng". Theo tiến sĩ David Lai thì hiện nay Tàu cộng đã đặt nhiều quân cờ Wei qi lên bàn như "thiết bị Huawei 5G giá thấp giả tạo - các khoản vay của chánh phủ cho các quốc gia trong bẫy nợ Vành đai và Con đường - GIA TĂNG ĐỘC CHIẾM & XÂY DỰNG TRÁI PHÉP CÁC ĐẢO NHÂN TẠO Ở BIỂN ĐÔNG -  chuyển giao công nghệ,...". Những quân cờ Wei qi này phối hợp với nhau để theo đuổi các hoạt động mua lại lãnh thổ khác nhau, sẽ hợp tác với các loại cờ Wei qi khác mang lại sự thống trị 5G, KIỂM SOÁT BIỂN ĐÔNG và ưu thế về kinh tế.

Còn theo ông Cựu chủ tịch Hạ viện Newt Gingriich thì nỗ lực cơ sở hạ tầng trong dự án Vành đai Con đường - BRI chỉ là một phần trong "kế hoạch của Tàu cộng nhằm thay thế Mỹ trở thành siêu cường toàn cầu thống trị trong vòng ba thập kỷ tới." Ngoài BRI, Tàu cộng còn sử dụng các chiến thuật mạnh mẽ được sử dụng trong cuộc đua tới 5G, QUÂN SỰ HÓA BIỂN ĐÔNG, trộm cắp tài sản trí tuệ và các hoạt động kinh doanh phân biệt đối xử để cùng nhau phát triển ảnh hưởng kinh tế, quân sự và chính trị.

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Nhưng sẽ đen đủi cho Tàu cộng và khối CNXH quái thai bởi sách lược chơi cờ vây của Tàu cộng đã bị các chuyên gia chiến lược của Mỹ đoán định, bắt bài, tay ngang như tôi cũng biết thì không lẽ những chú diều hâu sát thủ như John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Peter Navarro, Patrick Shanahan,... Phó tổng thống Mike Pence và đại bàng chúa Donald Trump không biết. Biết hết và vì đã biết hết nên ông Trump sẽ dồn ép Tàu cộng về Biển Đông để châm ngòi cuộc chiến tranh quân sự để chia năm xẻ bảy Tàu cộng ra, xóa sạch CNXH quái thai trên bản đồ thế giới. Bởi chỉ có chiến tranh quân sự mới phá được thế cờ Wei qi trường kỳ của Tàu cộng trong khi nhiệm kỳ của tổng thống Mỹ chỉ vỏn vẹn có bốn năm thôi.



Tran Hung

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Chương trình y tế của bà Elizabeth Warren

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Cuộc chạy đua vào Tòa Bạch Ốc bên phiá đảng Dân Chủ đang rõ nét dần tuy chưa đến màn cuối. Dù còn tới hơn hai tháng nữa mới có cuộc bầu sơ bộ đầu tiên tại tiểu bang Iowa, người ta cũng thấy dường như sẽ là một cuộc chay đua hai người, giữa cụ ông ngái ngủ Joe Biden và cụ bà xã nghĩa Elizabeth Warren.

Phải nói ngay, con đường đến Tòa Bạch Ốc của bà Warren còn xa, rất xa. Phải hạ được lão đồng chí Sanders trước rồi đánh bại cụ Biden, hay bất cứ ứng cử viên nào khác có hy vọng trúng số, rồi phải thắng được cả TT Trump luôn. Không dễ dàng chút nào cho dù cả hai ông Biden và Trump đều đang bị đính líu vào nhiều rắc rối chính trị khổng lồ trong khi cụ Sanders còn đang uống thuốc trợ tim sau khi bị đứng tim cách đây vài tuần.

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Như nhiều người đã biết, cụ bà Warren sanh năm 1949, năm nay đã đúng 70 cái xuân nâu. Để tránh thiên hạ thắc mắc về cái nợ năm tháng chồng chất này, mỗi lần xuất hiện trước công chúng là bà Warren luôn luôn tìm cách ‘chạy’ ra, vung tay vẫy lia lịa, thỉnh thoảng lắc lư theo kiểu nhẩy tuýt mấy cái. Tất cả để chứng tỏ mình… chưa già.

Bỏ qua những chi tiết vớ vẩn này, ta thử nhìn vào chương trình kinh bang tế thế của bà Warren nếu bà may mắn đắc cử thật (may mắn cho bà nhưng không may mắn cho chúng ta!).

Phải nói ngay, bà Warren có quan điểm chính trị thiên tả cực đoan nhất, còn hơn cả cụ xã nghĩa Bernie Sanders nữa. Bà Warren chỉ cần nhích thêm một bước nhỏ nữa là sẽ đi đến… thiên đàng xã nghĩa mà Lê-nin mơ mộng, theo chế độ ‘kinh tế thị trường với định hướng xã hội chủ nghĩa’.

Dĩ nhiên là bà sẽ không trở thành một tay độc tài sắt máu như Lê-nin, càng không giết vài chục triệu dân như Mao hay Pol Pot. Cũng không núp dưới lá cờ đỏ để thành đại gia như Nguyễn Tấn Dũng. Như vài cụ sống trong xã hội chủ nghĩa Tây Âu đã bào chữa, xã hội chủ nghĩa không phải là cộng sản chủ nghĩa, với bà TT Warren, sẽ không có ai bị đấu tố trước lưỡi cầy, cũng không ai bị đi tù cải tạo mút mùa. Hiến Pháp Mỹ cũng như dân Mỹ nói chung sẽ không cho phép bà đi quá xa như vậy.

Nhưng bà tổng thống cấp tiến cực đoan Warren sẽ vươn cánh tay tới từng nhà, từng túi quần của mỗi người dân, sẽ khuếch trương vai trò công chức kế hoạch hóa mọi chuyện, rồi kiểm soát tất cả qua một Nhà Nước Vú Em thư lại cực kỳ hùng hậu và quyền thế, tìm mọi cách tái phối trí tài sản và lợi tức của người dân nhân danh ‘công bằng và nhân bản’, bằng đủ loại thuế và luật lệ. Để rồi cuối cùng, toàn dân sẽ được công bằng trước chén bo bo.

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Hậu quả trước mắt của một chế độ vú em kiểu đó, là giới nhà nghèo cùng đinh vẫn cùng đinh, không khá hơn, khối trung lưu đang ngắc ngư sẽ ngắc ngư mạnh hơn, và khối gọi là nhà giàu sẽ chết tiêu. Chỉ có một khối ‘ăn nên làm ra’ là khối công chức cạo giấy càng ngày càng đông đảo, đặc biệt là những người ở những địa vị có thể ‘làm ăn ngoài lề’. Cái ngành học có tương lai nhất là quốc gia hành chánh, theo gương Phú Lăng Sa với trường Ecole Nationale d’Administration -ENA- là trường chuyên đào tạo đại quan, bộ trưởng và tổng thống Pháp.

Một cách tổng quát bà Warren được coi như là một trí thức thiên tả lớn trong số các ứng cử viên lăng nhăng của đảng DC, một người với một chương trình vĩ đại nhưng cụ thể, mạch lạc, rõ ràng là hùng hục đi về phiá tả, sặc mùi đấu tranh giai cấp chống cường hào ác bá. Vấn đề của bà cũng là vấn đề của những bậc đại trí thức, giáo sư đại học, tiến sĩ, bác sĩ, bàn sĩ,… tức là toàn những ý kiến cao siêu, nặng lý thuyết trên mây, nặn ra trong bốn bức tường không có cửa sổ nhìn ra thực tế đời sống của thiên hạ gì hết. Nói lý thuyết ít ai bằng, nhưng chỉ có các vị trí thức với nhau hiểu nhau và vái lạy nhau thôi.

Chương trình của bà rất nhiều, tuy nhiên trong khuôn khổ bài bình luận này, ta sẽ chỉ nhìn vào chương trình y tế của bà. Những chương trình khác thật sự chỉ là những quà cáp mỵ dân linh tinh tặng cho đủ tầng lớp cử tri để lấy phiếu, toàn là chuyện bá láp không đáng để tâm quá nhiều vì sẽ chẳng thực hiện được bao nhiêu.

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Thực tế mà nói, hệ thống y tế của Mỹ từ nhiều thế hệ qua, đã gặp nhiều vấn đề gai góc mà chưa có một tổng thống nào giải quyết được, bất kể DC hay CH. Điểm đặc biệt của y tế Mỹ là cái gì cũng quá đắt, nếu không có bảo hiểm là sẽ mệt, phá sản như chơi, trong khi bảo hiểm lại quá đắt, nhiều người không mua nổi hay không muốn mua.

Giải pháp của TT Clinton do bà Hillary sáng chế ra chết từ trong trứng nước năm 1993 khi không tìm được hậu thuẫn ngay trong nội bộ đảng DC. Giải pháp Obamacare, được thông qua bằng cửa sau, qua một kẽ hở của thủ tục biểu quyết trong Thượng Viện, thì đang trên đường phá sản khi cả triệu người bỏ mua bảo hiểm khiến hàng ngàn công ty bảo hiểm nhỏ khai phá sản vì không thu đủ tiền bảo phí để bù đắp chi phí.

Bà Warren đã có một cố gắng phi thường để đưa ra một giải pháp, một việc đáng khen. Vấn đề là thiện chí chữa bệnh có thể có, nhưng toa thuốc thì vẫn sai bét. Cái giải pháp của bà không có gì mới lạ, không biết bao nhiêu người đã ‘nghĩ’ tới, nhưng chưa ai đưa ra được một đề nghị cụ thể và thực tiễn khả thi nào. Chỉ vì cái giải pháp đó thật ra là hoàn toàn không tưởng, hoang đường vì tốn kém đến mức vô lý mà tất cả những người biết làm tính 1+1=2 đều thấy không có cách nào thực hiện được.

Nhiều người tung hô cái gương của Na Uy mà quên mất cả nước Na Uy chỉ có 5 triệu dân trong khi Mỹ có tới 330 triệu. Miễn phí cho 5 triệu người dễ hơn nhiều.

Bà Warren, đồng chí già và đồng chí nhí…

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Bà Warren đưa ra một chương trình y tế có tính thật sự ‘cách mạng’ – hay chính xác hơn, có tính ‘cắt mạng’ không hơn không kém. Theo bà đề nghị, trong vòng 5 năm tới, cả nước Mỹ sẽ từng bước, đi vào cái bà gọi là chương trình Medicare For All, tức là chế độ bảo hiểm y tế Medicare hiện nay của các vị cao niên từ 65 tuổi trở lên, sẽ được dần dần áp dụng cho tất cả dân Mỹ, để rồi tất cả mọi người sống trên đất Mỹ, kể cả di dân lậu, đều sẽ được Nhà Nước chăm lo sức khỏe đầy đủ như bên Âu Châu hết, và tất cả đều… miễn phí hết. Ngay cả chế độ bảo hiểm y tế Medicaid -hay MediCal tại Cali- cho dân lợi tức thấp cũng bị hủy bỏ để sát nhập vào Medicare For All luôn. Dĩ nhiên, chương trình sẽ đi từng bước. Đại khái Medicare for All sẽ áp dụng ngay lập tức cho tất cả những trẻ em dưới 18 tuổi và những người được định nghĩa là ‘nghèo’. Sau đó, mỗi năm sẽ có thêm một khối dân gia nhập tuy chưa có chi tiết chính xác. Cuối cùng thì hệ thống bảo hiểm và dịch vụ y tế tư nhân sẽ hoàn toàn không tồn tại nữa.

Theo sự tính toán và thú nhận của chính bà Warren, chương trình Medicare For All của bà sẽ ngốn 52.000 tỷ trong vòng 10 năm, hay 5.200 tỷ một năm. Đây là con số chính thức bà Warren đưa ra, có nghĩa là con số thực sự chắc chắn sẽ cao hơn rất nhiều. Cứ cho là con số này đúng đi, thì vẫn là con số kinh hoàng cho tất cả những ai biết được thực tế ngoài mấy trang giấy trắng vẽ hiêu vẽ vượn. Mà đó là chưa kể cả chục món quà khác mà bà Warren đã hứa như cả trăm tỷ để xóa tất cả các nợ của sinh viên, để trợ cấp tiền thuê nhà của dân nghèo, để trợ cấp tiền giữ trẻ cho bố mẹ đi làm, rồi đến các quà cáp lặt vặt vài trăm triệu như tiền giải phẩu cho tất cả lính Mỹ muốn chuyển giới,…

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Muốn có một khái niệm về con số 5.200 tỷ lớn nhỏ ra sao thì ta chỉ cần nhìn qua ngân sách hiện tại của cả nước Mỹ, là cường quốc giàu và lớn nhất thế giới. Ngân sách cả nước hiện nay đã đạt mức kỷ lục, khoảng 4.000 tỷ (trong khi ngân sách của Anh Quốc chỉ có dưới 800 tỷ), trong đó có tất cả các chi tiêu như quốc phòng, y tế, giáo dục, môi sinh, an ninh trật tự, canh nông, giao thông vận chuyển, trợ cấp đủ loại, và cả tiền lãi trả trên công nợ luôn. Chỉ chi tiêu có 4.000 tỷ thôi, mà nước Mỹ đã bị thâm thủng ngân sách cả ngàn tỷ mỗi năm trong khi đã phải đi vay mượn tứ tung tới gần 23.000 tỷ.

Vậy mà bây giờ bà Warren đưa ra một chương trình y tế, vâng chỉ một chương trình y tế không, đã là hơn 5.000 tỷ rồi. Cả thế giới không ai hiểu bà Warren làm sao kiếm ra được số tiền này. Nếu kể các chi phí khác đang có, nước Mỹ của TT Warren sẽ cần chi tiêu gần một chục ngàn tỷ một năm. Công nợ sẽ vọt ngay lên khoảng 50-60.000 tỷ, gấp ba lần tổng sản lượng của cả nước hiện là 19.000 tỷ.

Không hiểu những vị đang ngoác miệng ra chửi công nợ của Trump nghĩ sao về kế hoạch của bà Warren. Nếu phải bầu giữa ông Trump với 23.000 tỷ nợ và bà Warren với 60.000 tỷ nợ, họ sẽ lựa ai nhỉ? Có cụ nào dám trả lời không?

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Cho đến nay, bà Warren luôn luôn tảng lờ không trả lời rõ câu hỏi đầu tiên là tiền đâu? Trước áp lực quá lớn, mới đây bà Warren đã đưa ra một kế hoạch tương đối chi tiết nhất theo đó, bà khẳng định đám dân nghèo không phải đóng thuế gì từ trước đến nay vẫn tiếp tục không đóng một xu thuế nào, đám dân trung lưu đóng ít thuế cũng vẫn đóng thuế ít, chỉ có các đại gia, đại công ty mới phải đóng thuế nặng, đặc biệt qua một loại thuế mới, đánh trên tài sản của các đại gia, từ 1% đến 3%. Cụ thể, một tỷ phú như Bill Gates sẽ phải đóng khoảng 3 tỷ tiền thuế trên tải sản mỗi năm, chưa kể mức thuế đánh trên lợi tức hàng năm.

Bill Gates sẽ có bao nhiêu năm để tuột xuống mức ‘trung lưu’ với mức thuế này? Nếu cỡ như Bill Gates mà còn trở thành trung lưu trong có vài năm thì khi đó bà Warren sẽ kiếm tỷ phú ở đâu ra để nộp thuế cho bà chi xài? Nên ghi nhớ kế hoạch y tế của bà là 52.000 tỷ trong 10 năm đầu, sau đó sẽ là bao nhiêu trăm ngàn tỷ nữa trong khi nước Mỹ khi đó sẽ không còn tỷ phú nào nữa?

Nhiều chuyên gia phân tích kế hoạch của bà Warren, cho rằng kế hoạch hoàn toàn không tưởng, không thực tế, sẽ không thực hiện được. Thậm chí có chuyên gia đã đi xa hơn, và lấy giả thuyết cứ cho là bà Warren sẽ tận thu được tất cả loại thuế mà bà đề nghị, thì bà cũng vẫn chỉ thu được một phần nhỏ số tiền bà cần. Chẳng hạn kế hoạch đánh thuế trên tài sản các tỷ phú của bà sẽ giúp bà thu được gần 3.000 tỷ trong 10 năm nếu tận thu (nghĩa là nước Mỹ có tới 100 ông Bill Gates!), khoảng hơn 5% nhu cầu 52.000 tỷ.

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Một nghiên cứu ‘không đảng phái’ của Ủy Ban Cho Một Ngân Sách Liên Bang Có Trách nhiệm (Committee for Responsible Federal Budget) cho chúng ta một khái niệm cụ thể và thực tế về sự tốn kém của chương trình Medicare for All của bà Warren, không kể bất cứ chương trình nào khác. Muốn thực hiện chương trình y tế này, Nhà Nước sẽ phải:

·        Tăng thuế toàn diện cho tất cả tầng lớp dân, bất kể giàu nghèo;
·        Tính trung bình, tỷ lệ thuế suất sẽ tăng 25 điểm, chẳng hạn như ai đang đóng 15% thuế lợi tức sẽ phải đóng 40%, hay những người đang đóng mức tối đa 37% sẽ phải đóng tới 62%;
·        Thuế đóng cho quỹ tiền già –payroll tax- sẽ phải tăng hơn gấp đôi từ mức 7% hiện nay lên tới 16%, tổng cộng là 32% nếu kể luôn phần đóng góp tương đương của công ty.

Một cách cụ thể, giả dụ như một độc giả thuộc thành phần trung lưu thấp, hiện nay đang phải đóng 15% thuế lợi tức + 7% quỹ tiền già = tổng cộng 22% thuế. Với bà TT Warren, vị đó sẽ phải đóng 40% thuế lợi tức + 16% thuế tiền già = 56% thuế. Cụ thể, nếu vị đó lãnh lương cho là 36.000 đô một năm, hiện nay phải đóng khoảng 8.000 đô tiền thuế, mỗi tháng còn mang về nhà được 2.300 đô; với bà TT Warren, vị đó sẽ phải đóng tới 20.000 đô tiền thuế, mỗi tháng mang về nhà được 1.300 đô, không kể các khấu trừ gì khác. Khác biệt đóng thêm 1.000 đô một tháng chính là chi phí vị đó bị bắt buộc phải trả cho Medicare For All của bà Warren mà bà gọi là miễn phí. Không phải miễn phí đâu các cụ ơi. Và đó là cái mà bà Warren đã loay hoay giấu diếm không dám nói thật cho mọi người.

Đây là những mức thuế còn cao hơn mức của các nước Tây Âu như Anh, Pháp, Đức, hay cả Canada, ngang ngửa với mức thuế Bắc Âu của Na Uy, Thụy Điển,…

Câu hỏi dĩ nhiên là dân Mỹ có sẵn sàng chấp nhận đóng thuế tới mức đó không?

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Chưa kể một câu hỏi khổng lồ khác mà chưa ai có câu trả lời cụ thể, bằng những con số. Đó là câu hỏi tăng thuế tới những mức ghê gớm đó sẽ có tác dụng như thế nào trên năng xuất của người dân, trên tình trạng kinh doanh, trên sự tăng trưởng của kinh tế, trên lạm phát hay giảm phát? Bao nhiêu đại gia và đại công ty sẽ chân chỉ hạt bột đóng đầy đủ thuế không thiếu một xu? Bao nhiêu đại gia và đại công ty sẽ tẩu tán tài sản và lợi tức ra ngoài nước, cho gia đình, bạn bè, công ty ma,…? Bao nhiêu công ty sẽ duy trì cơ xưởng ở Mỹ để đóng đủ thuế cho bà TT Warren, bao nhiêu sẽ đóng cửa đi mở hẵng xưởng mới tại Nam Mỹ, Phi Châu hay Á Châu? Bao nhiêu dân lao động Mỹ sẽ mất job giống như dưới thời Obama?

Theo chính như bà Warren thú nhận, ít nhất sẽ có 2 triệu người bị thất nghiệp. Một lần nữa, nếu bà Warren nói hai triệu thì con số thực sự sẽ cao hơn rất nhiều, ai biết được bao nhiêu, có thể 5 hay 7 triệu không?

Bà Warren có giải pháp cho nạn thất nghiệp này không? Dĩ nhiên là có. Bà tuyên bố “chẳng có gì quan trọng, đó là cái giá phải trả để tất cả mọi người được hưởng Medicare miễn phí”, những người bị mất job phải đi tìm việc làm khác như “bán bảo hiểm, bảo hiểm nhân thọ, bảo hiểm xe hơi,…” (nguyên văn ý kiến của bà Warren). Bà Warren quên mất cả triệu người mất job thì còn bao nhiêu người có tiền mua xe và mua bảo hiểm xe, hay mua bảo hiểm nhân thọ, là một thứ xa xỉ phẩm mà dân lao động và trung lưu ít khi mua. Thế thì làm sao bán bảo hiểm mà sống được?

Chương trình khủng long của bà Warren mang nhiều hậu quả vĩ đại trên phương diện tiền bạc,  công ăn việc làm cho dân, và kinh tế nói chung. Vĩ đại đến mức nào? Chẳng ai biết rõ.

Một khiá cạnh khác của vấn đề đã được một giáo sư của Đại Học Harvard giải thích một cách ngắn gọn: “Sự lựa chọn hậu thuẫn cho cạnh tranh, cạnh tranh tiếp sức cho sáng tạo, sáng tạo là cách duy nhất khiến mọi thứ tốt hơn và rẻ hơn”.

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Đây hiển nhiên là nền tảng của kinh tế cạnh tranh thị trường. Khi Nhà Nước không cho dân lựa chọn, hủy cạnh tranh trong ngành y tế thì sẽ tạo ngay phản ứng ngược là mọi thứ sẽ xấu hơn và đắt hơn. Bằng chứng cụ thể nhất là sự thất bại của các xứ cộng sản là những xứ đã tập trung tất cả vào tay một nhúm công chức sáng xách ô đi, chiều vác cặp về, tự cho là mình tài giỏi hơn cả nước, có thể làm kế hoạch cho cả nước. Chẳng những vậy, đây cũng là một đám tham nhũng, rất dễ bị mua chuộc bởi các đại tập đoàn chuyên mua bán ảnh hưởng gọi là lobbyist groups.

Nước Mỹ đi tiên phong trên cả thế giới, kể cả Tây Âu, trong lãnh vực nghiên cứu –research- đưa đến những phát minh tiến bộ nhất về mọi ngành, kể cả trong việc chế thuốc, tìm phương cách chữa bệnh và phát minh máy mọc và dụng cụ y khoa. Nhà Nước tập trung hết, trả lương công chức chết đói cho tất cả thì ai rảnh hơi lo nghiên cứu sáng tạo nữa? Cứ nhìn vào những phát minh mới thì thấy ngay hầu hết đều phát xuất từ Mỹ chứ không phải từ Tây Âu. Cứ đếm giải Nobel khoa học xem bao nhiêu được tặng cho Mỹ. Nhìn vào lịch sử nhân loại, có công chức nào lãnh giải thưởng nào về sáng tạo chưa?

Kết luận là gì? Cho đến nay, chưa có đến một người nào cho rằng kế hoạch của bà Warren sẽ có thể áp dụng được, nhất là khi bà cũng long trọng hứa khối dân trung lưu sẽ không phải đóng thêm một xu thuế nào để có Medicare For All.
Những đồng chí DC của bà Warren nghĩ sao?

Cụ Biden nhún vai cho rằng đây là chuyện không thể thực hiện được –impossible-. Dân biểu DC John Delaney đang tranh cử tổng thống cho đây là chuyện khùng điên –insane. Bà Hillary tuyên bố thẳng thừng bà không hiểu cái kế hoạch Warren đó làm sao thực hiện được.

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Bà Warren ra tranh cử với một chương trình thiên tả cực đoan còn hơn cả cụ xã nghĩa Sanders. Vấn đề các chuyên gia đang gãi đầu gãi tai tìm câu trả lời là tại sao các chế độ thiên tả từ cực đoan cộng sản đến xã nghĩa màu hồng của Tây Âu đã đi từ thất bại toàn diện như khối CS Liên Xô đến khó khăn triền miên trong các xứ Tây Âu, vậy mà tại sao lại đưa đến sự nổi bật của các ứng cử viên thiên tả xã nghĩa Sanders và Warren tại Mỹ?

Câu trả lời không khó lắm có thể tìm thấy tại ba nơi:

·        Thứ nhất, giới trẻ Mỹ sanh sau đẻ muộn sau khi chế độ CS đã bị vứt vào thùng rác lịch sử, nhưng bị đầu độc bởi một hệ thống giáo dục thiên tả, cấp tiến từ khi mới bắt đầu tập đọc ABC trong các lớp mẫu giáo, cho đến khi tốt nghiệp các trường đại học cực tả như Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, Stanford,… Tất cả đều bị các giáo sư cho thấy thế giới qua lăng kính thiên tả, chống cái gọi là đế quốc, tư bản, tài phiệt, chuyên bóc lột thiên hạ đến tận xương tủy. Cái đám trẻ đó cũng hoàn toàn chỉ thấy thế giới qua sách vở một chiều mà không một chút ý thức được sự thật ngoài đời như thế nào.

·        Thứ nhì, thiên hạ cũng có vẻ chán ngán cái giới cầm quyền quá phe đảng, quá tham nhũng, bị chi phối quá nhiều bởi đồng tiền từ các tố chức mua bán ảnh hưởng chính trị. Cụ Biden cũng đã từng công kích những tổ chức PAC, nhưng mới đây đã thành lập một PAC cho chính mình vì cần tiền.

·        Thứ ba, thiên hạ cũng thấy nước Mỹ có quá nhiều vấn đề lớn mà các chính khách từ thiên hữu đến ôn hòa đã không có thuốc chữa. Quan trọng nhất là vấn đề y tế, dù sao vẫn là cái nhức răng lớn khi y tế Mỹ vẫn đắt tiền nhất thế giới trong khi Obamacare đã chẳng giải quyết được gì. Có lẽ nước Mỹ cần một giải pháp cực đoan, quyết liệt nhất, là chuyện các cụ Sanders và Warren đang đề xuất.

Câu hỏi cuối cùng, nếu bà Warren chiến thắng trong khối DC, ra đấu tay đôi với TT Trump thì sao? Hầu hết các chuyên gia của đảng DC đều xanh mặt nhớ lại thượng nghị sĩ George McGovern ra tranh cử chống TT Nixon. Khi đó ông McGovern chiến thắng, hạ đo ván TT Nixon tại đúng… một tiểu bang.

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Trở lại giả thuyết trong đoạn mở đầu của bài này, cuộc đua bên DC dường như là giữa hai người, cụ ông Biden, và cụ bà Warren. Đối với cử tri DC Mỹ, đây là một lựa chọn có vẻ dễ, giữa cấp tiến vừa vừa hay cấp tiến nặng.

Nhưng đối với khối cử tri tỵ nạn Việt ủng hộ đảng DC, đây sẽ là một… nhức răng vĩ đại trong mùa bầu sơ bộ. Một bên là cụ xã nghĩa của phe thiên tả đã từng suốt ngày xuống đường hoan hô đám ‘người hùng dép râu VC’, và một bên là cụ Biden là người đã nhất quyết không nhận dân tỵ nạn Việt khi họ đang kiếm chỗ trốn chạy xe tăng VC. Lựa bên nào đây? Thôi thì nằm nhà chùm mền ngủ vậy!



Vũ Linh

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Ký hay không ký đạo luật bảo vệ Hong Kong _ Xi Jinping sẽ sa lầy vào tử lộ

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Như đã nhiều lần nhận định, việc ông Trump theo đuổi "đàm phán thương mại áp đặt" với Tập Cận Bình là ép Tập Cận Bình sa vào tử lộ. Nói cách khác, ông Trump đang dùng đòn đánh tuyệt kỷ như binh pháp của cụ Nguyễn Trãi là "mưu phạt TÂM CÔNG".

Phần đông giới chính trị gia của Mỹ đều bị nhiễm căn bịnh SỢ HÃI do Tàu cộng gieo rắc đó là họ sợ kinh tế Tàu cộng suy yếu sẽ tác động lớn đến nền kinh tế Mỹ bởi hậu quả Nước Mỹ đã dễ dãi, bỏ lơ cho Tàu cộng "xâm lược mềm" bằng cách cướp đi công ăn việc làm của Mỹ, ăn cắp công nghệ Mỹ và chiếm lãnh thị trường cung ứng hàng hóa tiêu dùng ngay tại Mỹ. Ngược lại với sự SỢ HÃI này thì giới chính trị gia Mỹ lại coi thường, khinh suất sức mạnh quân sự của Tàu cộng, họ coi Tàu cộng chỉ là con vịt què nên không hề bận tâm đối phó, ngăn chặn Tàu cộng phát triển quân sự nhưng lại quá tập trung vào Nga cho nên Tàu cộng đã âm thầm phát triển quân sự tới mức "lưỡng bại câu thương" với Mỹ nếu Tàu cộng dám liều như Hitler.

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Muốn phát triển quân sự thì phải có tiền, làm cho Tàu cộng sạch tiền thì chắc chắn cái câu "thực túc - binh cường" sẽ bị phá sản. Muốn xóa sổ cnxh quái thai thì ông Trump phải đánh dập cái đầu con rắn độc Tàu cộng, muốn đánh dập lửa con rắn độc Tàu cộng thì phải làm cho nó yếu đi, lờ đờ đi thì búa một búa nó không đủ nhanh nhạy để tránh né mà phải chấp nhận kết cục nát đầu.

Vì vậy, ngay từ đầu ông Trump đã làm cho con rắn độc Tàu cộng mất máu bằng cách bao vây, cô lập Venezuela, Iran,... Ngược lại, khi Tàu cộng nhận ra ý đồ của ông Trump là ông ta đang tìm cách làm mất máu nó thì Tàu cộng đã ứng phó bằng cách ép Mỹ phải dính đòn sa luân chiến với đám âm binh của Tàu cộng là xúi giục Bắc Hàn, Iran,... khiêu khích Donald Trump để dụ Donald Trump đánh trả bằng xung đột vũ lực mà tiêu hao sinh lực Nước Mỹ để rồi Nước Mỹ lại phụ thuộc vào Tàu cộng như hồi Bush con phụ thuộc Tàu cộng hậu khủng bố ngày 11/9 và thời Obama mềm nhũn trước Tàu cộng hậu khủng hoảng tài chính năm 2008.

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Nhưng mọi toan tính của Tàu cộng đã bị Donald Trump làm cho phá sản, Nước Mỹ thời ông Trump đã tránh được những xung đột võ trang không đáng có mà Nước Mỹ thời Ông Trump tích tụ năng lượng tài chính với tốc độ tăng trưởng kinh tế ngoạn mục, tỷ lệ thất nghiệp giảm ở mức kỉ lục và ngân sách Mỹ thu về cả trăm tỷ Mỹ kim thuế quan áp lên hàng hóa của Tàu cộng. Tích tụ năng lượng tài chính để bổ sung vào ngân sách quốc phòng ở mức kỉ lục hơn 700 tỷ Mỹ kim mỗi năm tài khóa. Ngược lại, nền kinh tế Tàu cộng tụt dốc không thắng, một viễn cảnh sụp đổ nền kinh tế ập xuống Tàu cộng là hiển nhiên, vấn đề là nó diễn ra nhanh hay chậm tùy thuộc vào cách lựa chọn của Tập Cận Bình chớ không thể không sụp đổ.

Ép Tập Cận Bình đứng trước hai sự lựa chọn trên võ đài thương mại là "trả đũa tới chết hay ký vào thỏa thuận thương mại để la lếch trước khi chết" đó là mục tiêu tối thượng của tỷ phú - tổng thống Donald Trump. Không khó nhận ra Tập Cận Bình đã bị mất phương hướng khi phải cùng lúc diễn nhiều trò để tìm sự đồng thuận từ các nguyên lão, từ bộ chính trị và toàn thể đảng viên cộng sản. Lúc thì Tập nhún nhường trước Ông Trump, lúc thì Tập lên gân hù dọa sẽ chiến đấu tới cùng. Những sắc thái thay đổi liên tục của Tập Cận Bình đã cho thấy họ Tập đã loạn chiêu, mất phương hướng.

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Cũng đúng thôi, bởi vì con đường quan lộ của Tập Cận Bình hay bất kỳ tên chóp bu nào của thể chế độc tài, độc đảng đều xây dựng dựa trên sức mạnh của bè cánh, kẻ mạnh sẽ thắng để làm vua, kẻ yếu sẽ bị thua và bị trả thù, bị bức hại. Nói cách khác trong thể chế cộng sản luôn tiềm ẩn căn bịnh giòi đục trong xương, khi anh mạnh thì anh lướt qua được bịnh, khi anh yếu thì bịnh phát tác. Tập Cận Bình cũng vậy và đảng cộng sản của Tàu cộng cũng vậy. 

Nếu Tập Cận Bình ký vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt của tổng thống Trump mà không có những giải thích hợp lý để thuyết phục đám nguyên lão, đám chóp bu trong bộ chính trị mang bản chất hiếu thắng, cao ngạo thì khi kinh tế Tàu cộng vẫn tụt dốc dù đã ký thỏa thuận thương mại với Mỹ thì Tập Cận Bình khó mà yên vị. Nếu Tập Cận Bình từ chối ký vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại với Mỹ thì chắc chắn Tập sẽ được lòng đám bảo thủ, hiếu thắng nhưng lại mất lòng phe cấp tiến, ôn hòa và mất hết uy tín trước 1,4 tỷ dân do cơn đói, nạn thất nghiệp, phá sản hoành tráng.

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Đứng trước hai sự lựa chọn duy nhất một là "ký hay không ký vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt" với Mỹ. Chắc chắn Tập Cận Bình sẽ đủ khôn để tìm lý do biện hộ cho quyết định KHÔNG KÝ. Bởi vì Tập quyết định KHÔNG KÝ thì số phận của Tập được kéo dài thêm dù kinh tế của Tàu cộng sụp đổ trong ngắn hạn vì lúc này Tập được lòng đám hiếu thắng, cao ngạo mà đám này mới chính là lực lượng quyết định cái ghế tổng - tịch của họ Tập chớ không phải đám cấp tiến ôn hòa. 

Để KHÔNG KÝ vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt của ông Trump thì họ Tập phải có lý do chính đáng, mà lý do chính đáng, thuyết phục nhất không đâu khác là đổ thừa cho Mỹ, do Mỹ không tôn trọng Tàu cộng mà thuyết phục nhất là chửi Mỹ cái tội can thiệp, xía vào chuyện nội bộ của Tàu cộng. Còn gì tốt hơn khi Tập Cận Bình xúi Carrie Lam đàn áp Hong Kong để bẫy Mỹ nhúng tay vào can thiệp, bảo vệ cho Hong Kong để sanh ra cớ cho Tập Cận Bình từ chối, KHÔNG KÝ vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt của ông Trump. 

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Lấy lý do Mỹ can thiệp vào chuyện nội bộ của Tàu cộng là Quốc Hội Mỹ đã thông qua Dự luật bảo vệ Hong Kong, Tập Cận Bình sẽ KHÔNG KÝ vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt của ông Trump. Điều này đã mang lại cho họ Tập một thắng lợi tinh thần to lớn vì trong mắt dân Tàu cộng và các nước chư hầu, Tập Cận Bình là một người dũng cảm, đầy bản lãnh, không khuất phục. Ngược lại, nếu ông Trump ký ban hành Đạo luật bảo vệ Hong Kong thì ông Trump chỉ được cái danh hão là người của nhân quyền, tự do nhưng ông lại mất rất nhiều, mất tất cả tâm nguyện xóa sổ cnxh quái thai mà ông đã từng đứng trước Đại Hội đồng Liên Hợp quốc kêu gọi cộng đồng quốc tế chung tay.

Phải cố sức bơi theo dòng nước để cứu một con Cừu bị trôi mà bỏ mặc cả đàn Cừu trước họng bầy Sói dữ là một việc làm ngu ngốc của người chăn Cừu. Nhưng nếu đứng nhìn con Cừu bị nước cuốn trôi mà không cứu nó thì cũng không được. Vì vậy nên anh chăn Cừu vừa la làng, khua chiêng để cho bầy Sói quay đầu và đồng thời anh ta lao nhanh xuống sông để vớt con Cừu. Ký hay không ký ban hành Đạo luật bảo vệ Hong Kong là cách cứu con Cừu và giữ an toàn cho cả bầy Cừu mà ông Trump sẽ làm.

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Vì vậy, sau khi Quốc Hội Mỹ thông qua Dự luật bảo vệ Hong Kong, ông Trump liền nói "nếu ông không lên tiếng thì Hong Kong sẽ bị xóa sổ trong vòng 14 phút vì có hơn 1 triệu binh sỹ của Tàu cộng sẵn sàng nghiền nát Hong Kong. Tuy nhiên vì ông Trump có tình bạn tốt với Tập Cận Bình nên điều đó đã và sẽ không thể xảy ra khi ông Trump vẫn còn là tổng thống Mỹ". 

Trước kiểu la làng, khua chiêng để cứu con Cừu mà ông Trump vận dụng, Tập Cận Bình đã bị ép vào tử lộ, bởi vì Tập Cận Bình không thể vin vào lý do nhánh LẬP PHÁP là Quốc Hội Mỹ đã can thiệp vào Hong Kong qua Đạo Luật bảo vệ Hong Kong để từ chối, KHÔNG KÝ vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt do người đứng đầu cơ quan HÀNH PHÁP là tổng thống Trump khởi xướng. Không có cớ để từ chối ký vào thỏa thuận thương mại mà Tập Cận Bình vẫn không ký thì ông Trump sẽ có cớ nói với Nước Mỹ, nói với cộng đồng quốc tế là do Tập Cận Bình bướng bỉnh nên ông phải đánh thuế mạnh thêm cho Tàu cộng sụm bà chè mà nếu Nước Mỹ và các nước khác có bị tổn thương do chiến tranh thương mại Mỹ - Tàu thì lỗi đó là do Tàu cộng, do Quốc Hội Mỹ chớ không phải do chính phủ Mỹ và cá nhân tổng thống Donald Trump.

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Những tưởng Tàu cộng và đảng Dân chủ Mỹ đã được khui mao đài, sâm banh ăn mừng vì đã gài bẫy ông Trump thành công qua Đạo Luật bảo vệ Hong Kong, nào dè đã bị phá sản ngay khi vừa tới nơi đặt bẫy. Đau khổ nhất cho Tập Cận Bình là quyết định KÝ hay KHÔNG KÝ vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt của ông Trump khi Đạo Luật bảo vệ Hong Kong có hiệu lực để thực thi. Nếu họ Tập lấy lý do KHÔNG KÝ vì Đạo Luật bảo vệ Hong Kong thì thuế quan sẽ đổ ập xuống Tàu cộng cùng hàng loạt lịnh trừng phạt theo Đạo Luật bảo vệ Hong Kong. Nếu họ Tập nuốt nhục KÝ vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt thì Tàu cộng sẽ bị giòi đục mạnh mẽ từ trong xương do đám hiếu thắng, cao ngạo coi thường, bất mãn và phản bội lại họ Tập.

KHÔNG KÝ, KHÔNG PHỦ QUYẾT ĐẠO LUẬT BẢO VỆ HONG KONG, DONALD TRUMP ÉP TẬP CẬN BÌNH SA VÀO TỬ LỘ.

Ngược lại, KÝ hoặc KHÔNG KÝ vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt của Donald Trump, Tập Cận Bình CHÍNH THỨC SA VÀO TỬ LỘ.



Tran Hung

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Sở dĩ nhiều người Mỹ bỏ phiếu cho ông Trump và tự nguyện trở thành "kẻ cuồng Trump" như giọng điệu của lực lượng anti Trump là vì họ có niềm tin tuyệt đối vào quyết tâm xóa sổ CNXH quái thai của ông Trump.

Bởi vì kể từ sau khi cộng sản Liên Sô bị xóa sổ tới hết nhiệm kỳ của tổng thống Obama, họ chưa chứng kiến và tin tưởng vào một ứng viên tổng thống nào có quyết tâm trừng trị Tàu cộng trong chiến dịch tranh cử như ông tỷ phú Donald Trump mặc dù Tàu cộng là một trong những nơi còn sót lại thứ chủ nghĩa quái thai với những tội ác tày trời như thảm sát Thiên An Môn, đàn áp các sắc tộc, tôn giáo ở Tân Cương, Tây Tạng,... xâm lược lãnh thổ của các nước lân bang và ăn cướp công ăn việc làm của Nước Mỹ,...

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Sở dĩ họ tin tưởng tuyệt đối vào quyết tâm của tổng thống Donald Trump hòng hủy diệt nền kinh tế Tàu cộng để đi đến cái đích cuối cùng là xóa sổ CNXH quái thai là vì ông Trump có đủ phẩm chất để gánh vác trọng trách này do ông Trump là một doanh nhân tài ba, đầy kinh nghiệm trên thương trường, thừa bản lãnh để hủy diệt nền kinh tế của Tàu cộng.

Tàu cộng lớn mạnh như hôm nay ngoài việc biết giấu mình chờ thời, biết giương Đông kích Tây, biết thao túng chính trị toàn cầu,... thì có một yếu tố quan trọng giúp Tàu cộng có được ngày hôm nay đó là sự dung túng, dễ dãi của các tiền nhiệm tổng thống Mỹ. Nhờ vào sự dễ dãi, dung túng của giới chức Mỹ mà con rắn Tàu cộng đã lớn mạnh thành còn rồng quái vật nguy hiểm tới mức Obama phải thốt lên "nếu Tàu cộng suy yếu sẽ là mối họa không riêng gì của toàn cầu mà còn là đại họa cho Nước Mỹ". Theo quan điểm của Obama thì Tàu cộng đã trở thành khối u ác tính trong cơ thể của Nước Mỹ buộc Nước Mỹ phải cộng sinh với Tàu cộng chớ nếu phẫu thuật cắt bỏ nó đi thì Nước Mỹ cũng sẽ giãy chết.

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Trước khi tỷ phú Donald Trump xuất hiện trên chính trường Nước Mỹ thì Obama với lực lượng truyền thông Fake News hùng hậu và những lời có cánh của đảng Dân chủ đã thổi phồng anh ta lên ngôi vị tinh hoa số 1 của Nước Mỹ. Tuy nhiên, kể từ khi tỷ phú Donald Trump gác lại chuyện làm giàu cho gia đình để lao vào con đường chính trị thì hình tượng của Obama trở nên lố bịch, thậm chí còn có dấu hiệu phản bội lại Nước Mỹ vĩ đại.

Donald Trump không khó nhận ra sở trường cũng như sở đoản của Tàu cộng. Sở trường của Tàu cộng là thói bắt nạt và khả năng "nín thở qua sông" và đây cũng là sở đoản của Tàu cộng nếu biết áp dụng nguyên lý "nhu thắng cương, nhược thắng cường, cương cường cương tất thắng". Ngay từ khi ông Trump vừa nhậm chức tổng thống Mỹ, Tàu cộng đã giậtt dây cho đảng Dân chủ tìm cách phế truất ông ta qua trò săn phù thủy của Robert Muller, trước đó là việc Tàu cộng ép Kim Jong Un ra mặt thách thức, thử gan Donald Trump bằng hành động phóng hỏa tiễn liên tục khiến Nam Hàn, Nhật Bản và Nước Mỹ luôn thấp thỏm, âu lo.

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Trước trò thử gan của Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump đã phủ đầu bằng việc dọa chú Ủn là "tao có chìa khóa hạch tâm to và hiện đại hơn mày gấp ngàn lần, mày lộn xộn tao nhấn nút là cả Bắc Hàn sẽ thành tro bụi", đồng thời Donald Trump đã ép Nga, Tàu cộng phải đồng thuận ký vào lệnh trừng phạt Bắc Hàn do Liên Hợp quốc đưa ra. Căn cứ vào lệnh trừng phạt của Liên Hợp quốc, Donald Trump quay qua đập thẳng mặt Tàu cộng thông qua lệnh trừng phạt ZTE, Huawei.

Phải nói Tàu cộng quá gian manh trong nghệ thuật mua chuộc lòng người, mặc dù Donald Trump tung ra những tuyên bố đanh đá nhắm vào Tàu cộng nhưng Tập Cận Bình vẫn tìm cách mò qua nhà riêng của Donald Trump và đã chiêu đãi yến tiệc theo nghi thức thượng khách để lấy lại lòng của Donald Trump cũng như cam kết sẽ mua hàng hóa của Mỹ với các hợp đồng trị giá 250 tỷ Mỹ kim. Tuy nhiên sau đó bị Donald Trump bắt bài, làm tới nên Tập Cận Bình tỏ ra cứng rắn để lên dây cót tinh thần cho đồng đội với tuyên bố "nếu người Phương Tây bị tát vào má trái họ sẽ đưa má phải còn lại ra cho đối phương tát tiếp còn người Tàu cộng sẽ đánh trả lại kẻ đã đánh mình".

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Trong suốt quá trình thương chiến, Tàu cộng luôn khẳng định sẽ không chấp nhận kiểu đàm phán "dí súng vào đầu" của Donald Trump. Tàu cộng khè Mỹ rằng sẽ nếm mùi cay đắng bởi những đòn trả đũa tàn khốc của Tàu cộng. Tuy nhiên Tàu cộng đã gặp phải cao thủ Donald Trump, một người biết "mềm sẽ nắn, rắn sẽ đập cho nát luôn". Một mặt ông Trump tha thiết với Tàu cộng hãy ký vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại do ông Trump đưa ra, một mặt ông dọa sẽ nghiền nát nền kinh tế Tàu cộng như nghiền quả trứng. Hàng loạt giải pháp nghiền nát nền kinh tế Tàu cộng được ông Trump tuyên bố như sẽ kích hoạt các Đạo luật lúc khẩn cấp để biến Tàu cộng trở thành kẻ thù của Nước Mỹ. Sẽ giúp các trái chủ Mỹ đòi món nợ ngàn tỷ Mỹ kim từ thời nhà Thanh,... Nguy cơ nhứt vẫn là giải pháp đánh sập chuỗi cung ứng của Tàu cộng thông qua các Hiệp định thương mại như USMCA, Hiệp định thương mại song phương với Nhật Bổn, Ấn Độ,...

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Cũng như hai kiếm sĩ luận kiếm phân cao thấp, không cần chờ tới lúc đối thủ xuất chiêu mà chỉ cần hiểu nhau qua "kiếm ý" thì đủ biết thắng bại. Tập Cận Bình đã thi triển hết khả năng để Donald Trump từ bỏ quyết tâm ép Tàu cộng nuốt nhục quy hàng, chấp nhận cái chết từ từ là ký vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại do Donald Trump soạn thảo với tất cả những điều khoản áp đặt theo hướng có lợi cho nước Mỹ nhưng mọi nỗ lực của Tập Cận Bình đều tỏ ra vô vọng. Xúi Iran gây hấn với Mỹ không xong, xúi Putin làm căng với Ukraine để Mỹ nhảy vào giúp Ukraine cũng thất bại, xúi Kim Jong Un chọc tức Donald Trump thì nhận lại kết cục là Donald Trump xô ghế đứng dậy rời khỏi Hà Nội nhưng sau đó lại tay bắt mặt mừng với Kim Jong Un ở Bàn Môn Điếm.

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Chiêu bài cuối cùng của Tàu cộng là ép đảng Dân chủ phải luận tội tổng thống Trump bởi trò mèo của Nancy Pelosi và Adam Schiff và thổi phồng việc ông Trump quyết định rút quân đội khỏi Syria nhưng cũng thất bại thảm hại khi Donald Trump kết liễu trùm khủng bố ISIS là Baghdadi, và việc Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ cùng người Kurd, Nga, Assad đã thống nhất giải pháp hòa bình cho người Kurd ở miền Bắc Syria.

Bị Donald Trump đọc vị, bắt bài, Tập Cận Bình đành chọn kế 36 là "tẩu vi thượng sách". Trời đã hại Tàu cộng nhưng trời cũng giúp Tập Cận Bình thoát hiểm ngoạn mục khi có cớ để nuốt nhục quy hàng Donald Trump. Nạn dịch heo bùng phát cộng với việc Tàu cộng ngưng nhập cảng nông sản Mỹ trước đó đã đẩy Tàu cộng rơi vào khủng hoảng thịt heo. Cuộc khủng hoảng thịt heo là phép thử khả năng chịu đựng của dân Tàu cộng, qua phép thử của cuộc khủng hoảng thịt heo, Tập Cận Bình chỉ tay vào cảnh dân Tàu cộng giành giựt thịt heo như đồ chết đói lâu năm mà phán rằng "chỉ vì miếng thịt heo mà dân mình đã đối xử với nhau bất nhẫn như vậy thì làm sao ta có thể tiến hành một cuộc Vạn Lý Trường Chinh đây hả các đồng chí ?". Vậy là Tập Cận Bình có lý do chính đáng để bay qua Iowa ký thỏa thuận thương mại với lão Trump càng sớm càng tốt vì nếu chậm là tết nay hổng có tàu hũ, thịt heo để dân ăn tết và trên hết là để dân có đủ năng lượng chống lại cái rét buốt của mùa Đông.

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Biết rõ Tàu cộng đã ngấm đòn khi hầu hết các địa phương của Tàu cộng đều không hoàn thành chỉ tiêu phát triển khi năm kế hoạch sắp kết thúc vào cuối tháng 11 này. Biết rõ Tàu cộng đang thiếu thịt heo, thiếu tàu hũ khi Đông sang, Xuân tới. Một lần nữa Donald Trump lại chơi xấc Tập Cận Bình khi yêu cầu Tập phải bay qua Iowa ký kết thỏa thuận thương mại. Iowa là bang chiến trường của đảng Dân chủ vì đã hai lần ủng hộ Obama vào năm 2008 và 2012 nhưng đã bị Donald Trump lật đổ Hillary Clinton vào năm 2016 khi Iowa đã tặng cho Donald Trump tới 6 phiếu Đại cử tri. Tiểu bang Iowa là thủ phủ của ngành nông nghiệp Nước Mỹ, nơi mà thời còn trai tráng Tập Cận Bình đã qua ăn nhờ ở đậu để học hỏi kinh nghiệm sản xuất nông nghiệp và cũng là nơi bị thiệt hại nặng nề do Tập Cận Bình trả đũa thuế quan. Lôi Tập Cận Bình qua Iowa ký thỏa thuận thương mại để mua tới 50 tỷ Mỹ kim nông sản Mỹ, một con số lớn gấp hai năm thời Obama làm tổng thống Mỹ thì đâu phải là trò đùa. Đây là nghệ thuật "công tâm" tuyệt đỉnh công phu của quái kiệt Donald Trump.

Việc triệu hồi Tập Cận Bình qua Iowa để ký thỏa thuận thương mại với Mỹ là một thắng lợi to lớn về vật chất lẫn tinh thần cho cá nhân tổng thống Donald Trump và cho Nước Mỹ. Nhưng nó cũng là một thất bại cay đắng cho Tàu cộng, bởi vì Tàu cộng luôn thị uy các tiểu quốc lân bang, các chính khách gan thỏ bằng lối ứng xử kẻ cả, chúa tôi. Bằng chứng là Tập Cận Bình đã cho Obama đi cửa hậu máy bay và giở trò cho sĩ quan giựt vali hạch tâm trong chuyến công du của tổng thống Donald Trump tới Bắc Kinh vào tháng 11/2017 nhưng đã bị đặc vụ của Mật vụ Mỹ (U.S. Secret Service) quật ngã sấp mặt. Nhưng khi Tập Cận Bình phải nhượng bộ Donald Trump khi phải bay qua Iowa ký thỏa thuận thương mại thì cái uy dũng giả tạo của Tàu cộng bấy lâu nay đã trở thành lố bịch, hèn kém.

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Có thể cộng sản Ba Đình cho là bình thường nhưng với dạng khí khái như Nga, Iran, Bắc Hàn thì hành động Tập Cận Bình qua Iowa ký thỏa thuận thương mại là một nổi nhục nhã ê chề và sự phản bội khủng khiếp đối với họ. Hành động lần này của Tập Cận Bình đã lột tả hết bản chất "miệng hùm gan sứa" của Tàu cộng. Nếu trước đây đám cuồng cộng sỉ vả, chửi rủa ông Gorbachev khi cho rằng chính thái độ mềm yếu của ông Gorbachev với quyết định rút quân đội khỏi Afghanistan và tuyên bố không can thiệp quân sự vào Đông Đức, Đông Âu, các nước trong Liên bang Sô viết khi phong trào ly khai trỗi dậy thì nay thái độ của Tập Cận Bình phủ phục trước uy vũ của Donald Trump còn tệ hại hơn tỷ lần ông Gorbachev.

Tóm lại, KÝ THỎA THUẬN THƯƠNG MẠI VỚI MỸ, MỘT QUYẾT ĐỊNH ĐAU ĐỚN CỦA TÀU CỘNG LÀM RÚNG ĐỘNG KHỐI CNXH QUÁI THAI tuy nhiên Tập Cận Bình không còn sự lựa chọn nào khác hơn khi nền kinh tế của Tàu cộng đang ngập ngụa trong gam màu tối. 

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Ký thỏa thuận thương mại với Mỹ là chỉ dấu rõ ràng của sự suy vong nơi Tàu cộng. Lẽ dĩ nhiên với những kẻ thức thời như Putin, Kim Jong Un, Assad, tổng thống Iran,... sẽ quyết định rất nhanh trong mối quan hệ với Tàu cộng và Mỹ theo lý trí "phò thịnh không phò suy". Chỉ có những con chó trung thành với Tàu cộng như đám cộng sản Ba Đình, chột mắt Hun Sen, thần kinh Duterte mới trung thành phò suy ôm mông Tàu cộng để chết nhục với nỗi nhục ngàn năm.



Tran Hung

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Chúc mừng Hong Kong thành công _ Donald Trump đại thắng

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Phát động chiến tranh thương mại với Tàu cộng, Donald Trump chỉ có một mục đích duy nhất là "đánh sập nền kinh tế" của Tàu cộng. Dân Hong Kong biểu tình cũng chỉ có một mục đích duy nhất là "các thế hệ con cháu mai sau không bị nhiễm bã độc của cncs Tam Vô" do Tàu cộng xâm thực, áp đặt.

Donald Trump và Hong Kong là hai thực thể riêng biệt nhưng lại có một mẫu số chung là nói không với CNXH quái thai, cho nên Donald Trump và Hong Kong đã "đồng thanh tương ứng, đồng khí tương cầu". Tuy nhiên, Donald Trump là nguồn cơn gây ra căn bệnh "loạn trí Trump" của đảng Dân chủ Mỹ, một chính đảng lớn luôn xem Tàu cộng là đối tác thân thiện mà theo Bill Clinton, Obama thì "sự lớn mạnh của Tàu cộng sẽ tác động hỗ tương cho Mỹ. Sẽ nguy hiểm cho toàn cầu và Nước Mỹ nếu để Tàu cộng suy yếu". Ngược lại, ngay từ khi ra tranh cử tổng thống, tỷ phú Donald Trump không ngừng lên án Tàu cộng, tuyên bố sẽ buộc Tàu cộng phải thay đổi để vận hành theo sự tiến bộ của nhơn loại với giá trị cốt lõi là "Tự Do - Công bằng - Dân chủ".

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Muốn là một chuyện, làm là chuyện khác. Vì Donald Trump đã gây ra căn bệnh "loạn trí Trump" trong đảng Dân chủ Mỹ nên Donald Trump phải nhận lãnh hậu quả là một vị tổng thống bị đảng Dân chủ tấn công mạnh mẽ nhất trong lịch sử Nước Mỹ. Gần như mọi quyết sách của tổng thống Trump đều bị đảng Dân chủ đánh phá từ lãnh vực đối nội, đối ngoại lẫn an ninh quốc phòng.

Nước Mỹ là hình mẫu của thể chế Tam quyền phân lập, không như những thể chế tập quyền, tổng thống đứng đầu cơ quan hành pháp Liên bang nhưng luôn chịu sự giám sát của cơ quan lập pháp là Lưỡng viện. Vì vậy, khi Hạ viện không đồng thuận với tổng thống, luôn tìm cách lật đổ tổng thống thì tổng thống sẽ không làm được gì ra trò nếu không biết vận dụng kế sách "gậy ông đập lưng ông" mà vấn đề Hong Kong và đàm phán thương mại Mỹ - Tàu cộng là điển hình để lột tả tài trí của quái kiệt Donald Trump.

Với quan điểm "Tàu cộng suy yếu sẽ là đại họa cho Nước Mỹ" và đi kèm với lối "ngoại giao khẩn khoản" của Obama đã vô tình làm cho đảng Dân chủ Mỹ nói riêng và phần lớn nhân loại toàn cầu nói chung đã nhiễm phải căn bệnh "tư duy nô lệ". Ngày nay, tư duy nô lệ mà nhân loại đang nhiễm nặng có xuất xứ từ thuyết giáo Khổng Khâu được các viện Khổng Khâu của Tàu cộng rải khắp Nước Mỹ, rải khắp năm châu. Hình tượng của tư duy nô lệ có thể nhận thấy thông qua hình tượng của con cu cườm bị nhốt trong lồng. 

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Những người bẫy cu cườm họ ra đồng, vào rừng giăng lưới, đặt bẫy để bẫy cu rừng, sau đó họ chọn những con cu rừng bẫy được mà theo họ sẽ là cu chiến để thuần hóa nó bằng cái lồng với đầy đủ thức ăn, nước uống. Qua thời gian con cu này sẽ trở thành công cụ để dụ dỗ những con cu tự do sa vào lồng, lưới. Nếu thời gian giam giữ trong lồng đủ lâu thì dù cho con cu trong lồng có được thả tự do, nó vẫn rụt rè, e sợ không dám bước ra khỏi lòng và khi đã bước ra khỏi lồng thì nó không dám bay xa ngay lập tức mà vẫn quanh đi quẩn lại quanh cái lồng mất một thời gian.

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Hình tượng tư duy nô lệ của con cu cườm cũng chính là hiện tượng tư duy nô lệ của đảng Dân chủ Mỹ và người dân tại các quốc gia bị độc tài, cộng sản cai trị. Mặc dù họ biết rằng cnxh quái thai là loài ký sinh trùng nhưng vì họ mang nặng cái tư duy nô lệ cho nên dù là một tổng thống siêu cường nhưng Obama lại thốt lên những câu nói hèn nhát trước Tàu cộng, cúi đầu đi cửa sau máy bay khi đến Bắc Kinh,... thì không trách được tại sao có nhiều kẻ thân là người Việt tị nạn cộng sản, bị Việt cộng bỏ tù vì tội âm mưu lật đổ cộng sản,... nhưng khi ra xứ sở tự do, đã và đang ở xứ sở tự do vẫn thể hiện cái tư duy nô lệ là "tui không lật đổ, tiêu diệt cộng sản mà tui chỉ mong cho cộng sản thay đổi, cộng sản ưu việt lắm sao phải chống nó,...". 

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Vì nhiễm nặng cái tư duy nô lệ nên khi thấy ông Trump tuyên chiến với Tàu cộng, tuyên bố sẽ xóa sổ CNXH quái thai thì lực lượng bệnh nhân của căn bệnh tư duy nô lệ đã lao vào cấu xé, đánh đập, chửi tui ông Trump và chửi luôn những ai ủng hộ ông Trump bằng những nhóm chữ xấc xược như "đồ cuồng Trump, đồ nhầy nhụa,...". Do đó, mọi quyết sách của ông Trump với mục tiêu đánh sập Tàu cộng, xóa sổ cnxh quái thai đều vấp phải sự kháng cự quyết liệt của những con bệnh tư duy nô lệ. Điển hình là chiến tranh thương mại với Tàu cộng và vấn đề nhân quyền - dân chủ cho Hong Kong dưới giác độ của thằng tui dưới đây.

Khi ông Trump phát động thương chiến với Tàu cộng, đám con bệnh tư duy nô lệ tru tréo "Donald Trump làm hại dân Mỹ, làm hại Nước Mỹ vì thuế quan gây ra và những đòn phản công tàn khốc của Tàu cộng". Trước lối "giả lộng thành chân" của lực lượng bệnh nhân tư duy nô lệ hùng hậu, nhiều người không am tường, thiếu lập trường tỏ ra lo lắng,  bi quan, không tin tưởng vào tài trí của Donald Trump rồi sau đó tỏ ra vô vọng, tắt ngấm khát vọng Tự Do, phó mặc cho con tạo vần xoay.

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Khi Hong Kong biểu tình quyết liệt và vấp phải đàn áp khốc liệt của chính quyền thân cộng Carrie Lam, với nghĩa cử hiển nhiên trong tình đồng loại và cũng là đền đáp nghĩa tình vì Hong Kong đã từng cưu mang cho hàng vạn người Việt Nam vượt biên tị nạn cộng sản. Bên cạnh rất đông người Việt Nam đã chia sớt nổi đau cùng Hong Kong bằng những hành động có thể trong khả năng thì cũng có không ít kẻ tiểu nhân bỉ ổi đã lợi dụng thảm trạng Hong Kong để trục lợi, để phát tán căn bệnh tư duy nô lệ. Chúng chỉ vào Hong Kong rồi lu loa, phỉ báng những người biểu tình là lực lượng phá nát hào hoa của Hong Kong.

Đặc biệt, trong khi các cường quốc đang gấp gáp tìm ra giải pháp bão vệ Hong Kong, Hạ viện Mỹ trình đang dự luật Nhân quyền và Tự do Hong Kong lên Thượng viện Mỹ, thì chúng lấy nổi đau thương, mất mát của Hong Kong để làm vũ khí tấn công lại Nước Mỹ, tấn công vào cá nhân tổng thống Donald Trump với giọng điệu "Nước Mỹ và Donald Trump đã bỏ rơi Hong Kong như đã từng bỏ rơi Việt Nam Cộng Hòa và vừa rồi là người Kurd ở Syria. Donald Trump chỉ vì Nước Mỹ là trên hết,...".

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Chuyện Mỹ can thiệp vào Hong Kong đâu phải chuyện làng, chuyện xã, đâu giống như chuyện thằng súc vật Đàm Vĩnh Hưng đăng lên FB treo thưởng ai xử lý Đoàn Văn Tí ở Tiền Giang, kẻ say rượu đánh đập con thơ. Khi Donald Trump tấn công tới tấp Tàu cộng trên chiến trường thương mại thì Hong Kong cũng là một khiêng chắn mà Tàu cộng dụng tới để tự vệ, chia lửa cho Tàu cộng. Đàn áp Hong Kong để Mỹ can thiệp vào Hong Kong là một trong những kế "mưu sinh thoát hiểm" của Tàu cộng và đồng thời cũng là cách làm mất uy tín Donald Trump trong mùa bầu cử tổng thống năm 2020. Bởi vì như chúng ta biết, phát động thương chiến với Tàu cộng, ông Trump buộc Tàu cộng phải lựa chọn:

1. Hoặc Tàu cộng phải ký vào bãn thỏa thuận thương mại với Mỹ để thay đổi cấu trúc kinh tế. Khi thay đổi cấu trúc kinh tế thì Tàu cộng phải cải cách thể chế, khi Tàu cộng cải cách thể chế thì hàng loạt mâu thuẫn nội tại nảy sinh do xung đột giữa hai luồng tư tưởng là tư duy nô lệ và tư duy cấp tiến. Kết quả tất yếu là Tàu cộng sẽ đổ sập như Liên Sô trước đây.

2. Hoặc Tàu cộng sẽ đấu với Mỹ tới cùng theo phương pháp "vừa đánh vừa đàm" và "vừa đấu vừa chờ hậu bầu cử tổng thống Mỹ năm 2020".

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Ở giải pháp thứ nhất, Tàu cộng sẽ rất đau đớn khi phải đặt bút ký vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại do ông Trump áp đặt mặc dù đây là giải pháp chết từ từ mà Tàu cộng phải nhận lãnh. Bởi vì khi Tàu cộng ký vào bãn thỏa thuận thương mại với Mỹ thì nền kinh tế của Tàu cộng sẽ không sụp đổ ngay mà sẽ rệu rã từ từ trước khi chính thức sụp đổ nhưng uy vũ của Tàu cộng sẽ mất sạch trong mắt chư hầu và khủng khiếp hơn cho Tàu cộng là những kẻ mang căn bệnh tư duy nô lệ sẽ mau chóng khỏi bệnh vì con virus lây lan căn bệnh này đã bị mất khả năng lây bệnh tư duy nô lệ.

Ở giải pháp thứ hai, Tàu cộng sẽ chết ngay tức khắc nếu quyết đấu tới cùng với Donald Trump trên võ đài thương mại mà bằng chứng là cơn khủng hoảng thịt heo ở Tàu cộng hiện nay là chỉ dấu cho thấy Tàu cộng sẽ bể như trứng như tuyên bố của tổng thống Trump.

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Quyết định của Tàu cộng là đánh tiếp hay đầu hàng Mỹ trên võ đài thương mại đều ảnh hưởng tới chiếc ghế quyền lực của Tập Cận Bình. Tập Cận Bình chọn cách đánh tiếp với Donald Trump thì Tàu cộng lấy gì để đánh ? Tập Cận Bình đánh tiếp với Donald Trump thì vấp phải sự phản đối, chỉ trích của phe cấp tiến. Nếu Tập Cận Bình chọn cách đầu hàng là ký vào bãn thỏa thuận thương mại do ông Trump áp đặt thì uy tín của Tập Cận Bình mất sạch trong mắt chư hầu, nguy hiểm hơn là đám bão thủ sẽ phản đối, tìm cách hạ bệ Tập Cận Bình.

Vì vậy, dù cho đánh tiếp hay hàng thì Tập Cận Bình cũng phải có được một lý do chính đáng để làm "chỗ chỉ" khi hậu quả xảy ra mà Hong Kong là một "chỗ chỉ" hợp lý nhất vì đặc thù chính trị của Hong Kong. Tập Cận Bình chỉ đạo Carrie Lam đàn áp Hong Kong để tạo cớ cho Mỹ can thiệp vào Hong Kong theo kịch bản đã soạn sẵn có sự tham dự của đảng Dân chủ Mỹ thông qua Dự luật nhân quyền và Tự do Hong Kong. Khi chính quyền Donald Trump can thiệp vào Hong Kong theo Đạo luật này thì Tập Cận Bình có lý do thoái thác việc ký vào bãn thỏa thuận thương mại mà ông Trump đang kỳ vọng với lý do "Mỹ không chơn thành, Mỹ can thiệp thô bạo vào Hong Kong,...". 

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Một người biểu tình dùng cung tên bắn về phía cảnh sát sáng 17/11

Nếu chính quyền ông Trump vì muốn có được thỏa thuận thương mại với Tàu cộng thì sẽ không can thiệp vào Hong Kong, điều này sẽ làm cho hình ảnh Donald Trump xấu đi trong lòng cử tri Mỹ vì phe Dân chủ và lực lượng Fake News sẽ trích dẫn câu nói của cây Mác là "chỉ có loài súc vật mới quay lưng lại nỗi đau của đồng loại để chăm chút cho bộ da của mình". 

Nhưng nếu chính quyền của ông Trump thực thi Đạo luật nhân quyền và dân chủ Hong Kong thì kỳ vọng có được một thỏa thuận thương mại với Tàu cộng sẽ tan thành mây khói và lúc đó đảng Dân chủ và lực lượng Fake News hùng hậu lại thổi phồng lên rằng "dân Mỹ bị tổn thương nghiêm trọng bởi thương chiến Mỹ - Tàu cộng do Ông Trump phát động", chúng sẽ làm suy yếu, phá sản lời hứa của ông Trump trước cử tri Mỹ là sẽ san bằng thâm hụt thương mại với Tàu cộng nhưng không làm tổn thương Nước Mỹ.

Chà, coi bộ cái Đạo luật bảo vệ nhân quyền và Dân chủ Hong Kong đang làm khó cho ông Trump ghê gớm. Tuy nhiên thấy vậy chớ không phải vậy. Trước bẫy chông của Tập Cận Bình và đảng Dân chủ Mỹ đặt trong Đạo luật bão vệ Hong Kong, Donald Trump cười thầm trong bụng "tụi mày ngu lắm, bị sập bẫy do tụi mày giăng ra mà không hay biết". Bởi vì như nhiều lần ông Trump khoe, Nước Mỹ sẽ thu về cả trăm tỷ Mỹ kim nhờ đánh thuế lên hàng hóa của Tàu cộng. 

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Đánh thuế lên hàng hóa Tàu cộng chỉ là "SON", đánh thuế lên hàng hóa Tàu cộng để Tập Cận Bình ký vào bãn thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt là "SON THẾP VÀNG". Vì vậy, khi Mỹ thực thi Đạo luật bão vệ Hong Kong thì Tập Cận Bình có lý do để từ chối ký vào bãn thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt đã vô tình trao "SON" cho ông Trump vì ông Trump có lý do nện thêm thuế quan lên hàng hóa Tàu cộng, đem về cho ngân sách Mỹ cả trăm tỷ Mỹ kim nữa nhưng đảng Dân chủ sẽ "có họng ăn mà không có họng nói" vì nói ra sẽ bị ông Trump chỉ vô cái Đạo luật bão vệ Hong Kong mà phán: Tại nó mà ra, tại nó mà Tập Cận Bình không ký thỏa thuận thương mại nên phải đánh thêm thuế cho nó biết mặt.

Sau khi can thiệp vào Hong Kong theo Đạo luật bảo vệ Hong Kong, sau khi đánh mạnh thuế lên hàng hóa Tàu cộng do Tập Cận Bình không ký kết thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt với lý do Mỹ can thiệp vào Hong Kong và quan trọng hơn cả la sau khi trò vu cáo luận tội phá sản, Hiệp định thương mại USMCA buộc Hạ viện phải thông qua thì chắc chắn Tập Cận Bình sẽ phải quay lại ký vào bãn thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt để vớt vát chút đỉnh cho nền kinh tế của Tàu cộng. Lúc này thì Tập Cận Bình dù đã thoát vạ nhưng má đã sưng ú ù, chính quyền Carrie Lam thì tan nát vì Đạo luật bão vệ Hong Kong. Riêng Donald thì có cả "SON THẾP VÀNG".

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Tóm lại, đảng Dân chủ và Tàu cộng muốn Tập Cận Bình không ký vào thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt của Donald Trump hòng lấy đó làm vũ khí tấn công ông Trump trong mùa bầu cử tổng thống năm 2020 nên đã gài ông Trump bằng cái Đạo luật bão vệ Hong Kong. 

Tóm lại, đảng Dân chủ và Tàu cộng muốn Tập Cận Bình không ký vào thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt của Donald Trump hòng lấy đó làm vũ khí tấn công ông Trump trong mùa bầu cử tổng thống năm 2020 nên đã gài ông Trump bằng cái Đạo luật bảo vệ Hong Kong. Nhưng ông Trump lại dụng chiêu "gậy ông đập lưng ông" khi ông lấy lý do Tập Cận Bình không chịu ký vào bản thỏa thuận thương mại áp đặt do Mỹ can thiệp vào Hong Kong bằng Đạo luật bảo vệ Hong Kong nên ông Trump ra lệnh đánh thuế lút khung lên hàng hóa của Tàu cộng và hủy diệt chuỗi cung ứng của Tàu cộng, nền kinh tế của Tàu cộng bể như trứng mà những tổn thương nếu có cho Nước Mỹ là do đảng Dân chủ gây ra bởi cái tội trì hoãn Hiệp định USMCA và sốt sắng thông qua Đạo luật bảo vệ Hong Kong.

Cuộc "chiến tranh chính trị" đang diễn ra ở Hong Kong ở nửa hiệp 1 nhưng HONG KONG ĐÃ THÀNH CÔNG, DONALD TRUMP SẼ ĐẠI THẮNG. Chúc mừng và chia buồn.



Tran Hung

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Kyle Wingfield column: High-speed rail won't be derailed

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“The nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth,” Ronald Reagan famously quipped, is a government bureau – or, we might add, government program. Should you doubt that maxim, I’m here to report your government is still studying high-speed rail between Atlanta and Charlotte.You may recall this discussion from the early days of the Obama administration, which imagined a national system of such trains. But the proposal for a Southeast [...]
          

Letter to the editor: A thought experiment for Sen. Mitch McConnell

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Dear Mitch,It has been only a few years since the bad-old days of President Barack Obama. I wonder if you would consider this thought experiment. Let’s return to 2016.We have just learned President Obama has been holding hostage $400 million of essential military aid to a threatened ally in order to undermine your party’s candidate.And for the past four years, he has lied to us on a daily basis about pretty much everything.And that he [...]
          

Former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese: Spying On The Trump Campaign Is Obama’s Watergate

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Do you agree?
          

Así luce Sasha en plenos 18: La hija de Michelle y Barack Obama creció muy rápido

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La familia del expresidente compartió una foto familiar donde ella se llevó todas las miradas.
          

Mazalica, Mazalica, prezime ti baš stoji!

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Preuzeto s portala "Nezavisnih novina"

Politika je kurva, tako kažu, pa je valjda normalno da su to i političari. Rijetki su oni koji su u te vode uplovili s poštenim namjerama. Teško je poštenom čovjeku boriti se protiv gamadi koja se nakotila na sve strane, a posebno u Bosni, gdje oni najgori čvrsto drže konce u svojim rukama već godinama.

Svaki dan skoknem na portal „Nezavisnih novina“ da saznam šta se u mom (bivšem) gradu događa, više iz navike nego što mi je to bitno. Prošlo je već previše vremena otkako su ga krajem osamdesetih zauzeli grmalji i ništa se tu više na bolje ne može promijeniti. Grmalji vode glavnu riječ, njihove se izjave objavljuju, a po reakcijama obične raje jasno je da njihova taktika još uvijek pali. A kada se još ubaci pokoji članak o drugom svjetskom ratu i stradanju srpskog življa od ustaša i balija, komentari pljušte. Kao da se to radi programirano, prema doktorskom receptu,  kako narod ne bi ozdravio.

Ne bih se po ovim pitanjima javljao da me ne pogode izjave pojedinaca koje poznajem. Jedan od tih je i Srđan Mazalica, sin nekadašnjeg mi radnog kolege Milana. To je taj Mazalica koji se jednom davno javio na blog da zaštiti svoga oca od „napada“, tj od istine o transformaciji njegovog oca, od komuniste, do nacionaliste, „prvoborca“ ovog zadnjeg rata. Branio je mladi Mazalica oca od „napada“ od kojih se ne može odbraniti. Za njega je sve što se u našem gradu dogodilo normalno, pa je tako normalno da se useli u stan prognanog kolege, kao da se to samo po sebi razumije. Valjda mladom Mazalici nije jasni šta to znači sačuvati čist obraz. Ako je suditi po njegovim istupima, on obraza nema, jer da ga ima, ne bi se oglašavao tako ružno povodom 25. novembra, Dana ZAVNOBIH-a.

Mladi Mazalica kaže: „U srpskoj se nikada neće slaviti 25. novembar“. Kao da je to nešto ružno, nešto čega se treba stiditi, nešto što narodu na onim prostorima treba ogaditi, iako u jednom trenutku kaže kako mu je rođak bio delegat na istom. Pljuje tako mladi Mazalica na svog rođaka, a pljuje i na svog oca koji je godinama bio u prvim redovima države nastale na tekovinama tog istog ZAVNOBIH-a. Svima nam je poznato da je stari Mazalica bio veliki partijaš, da je bio  najpoznatiji  po tekici koju je nosio ispod pazuha idući s jednog partijskog sastanka na drugi. Neće to mladi Mazalica nigdje spomenuti jer bi mu to oborilo rejting kod glasača kod kojih se najviše glasova prikuplja ako govoriš protiv nekadašnje države u kojoj su i on i njegov otac uživali privilegije dostupne porodicama partijaša.

Posmatrajući ponašanje pojedinaca iz daljine, neopterećen svakodnevnim problemima koje narode, posebno mlade, u onim našim krajevima muče, osjećam sažaljenje prema spodobama kao što je Srđan. Prodati svoju dušu, svoj obraz, za vlast (i, naravno, pare) je jadno. Srđan nije glup, zna on šta radi, kao što je znao i njegov otac kada se šepurio s tekicom ispod pazuha u ona naša vremena.

Ne pada iver daleko od panja, kaže narodna poslovica. Srđan Mazalica je još jedan dokaz da su stari bili u pravu.  


          

Comment on No Difference Between China And The USA by Ole Phat Stu

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Well, it was the USA's NSA (under Obama) who bugged Merkel's phone. And it was the USA (under Clinton) who tried to peddle the need for a back door into Crypto-chips. China hasn't done either (yet). Neither can be trusted, like the man said.
          

William Barr’s Upside-Down Constitution

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Attorney General William Barr’s November 15 speech before the Federalist Society, delivered at its annualNational Lawyers Convention,received considerable attention.Barr attackedwhat he views as progressives’ unscrupulous and relentless attacks on President Trump and Senate Democrats’ “abuse of the advice-and-consent process.” Ironies notwithstanding, the core analysis of his speech is a full-throated defense of the Unitary theory of executive power, which purports to be an Originalist view of the Founders’ intent. 

 

This defense, however, reveals the two fundamental flaws of the Unitary view: first, that it is built on a fictional reading of constitutional design; and second, that its precepts attack the fundamental tenets of the checks and balances system that the Founders did create. 

 

Barr’s speech begins with his complaint that presidential power has been weakened in recent decades by the “steady encroachment” of executive powers by the other branches. Even allowing for congressional resurgence in the post-Watergate era of the 1970s, no sane analysis of the Reagan era forward could buttress Barr’s ahistorical claim. Ironically, the presidents in this time period who suffered political reversals—Bill Clinton’s impeachment and the thwarting of Barack Obama’s agenda by congressional Republicans in his final six years of office—nevertheless emerged from their terms with the office intact in powers and prestige. 

 

Attorney General Barr’s reading of colonial history claims that the Founders’ chief antagonist during the Revolutionary period was not the British monarchy (which, he claims, had been “neutered” by this time) but an overbearing Parliament. Had Barr bothered to consult the penultimate statement of American grievances, the Declaration of Independence, Barr would have found the document to direct virtually all of its ire against “the present King of Great Britain.” The lengthy list of grievances detailed in the document charge “He,” George III, with despotism and tyranny, not Parliament (where some of whose members expressed sympathy for the American cause). Barr’s message? Legislatures bad, executives not so much. 

 

Barr insists that by the time of the Constitutional Convention there was “general agreement” on the nature of executive power and that those powers conformed to the Unitary vision—complete and exclusive control over the Executive branch, foreign policy preeminence, and no sharing of powers among the branches. Barr dismisses the idea of inter-branch power-sharing as “mushy thinking.” Yet the essence of checks and balances is power-sharing. As the political scientist Richard Neustadt once noted, the Founders did not create separate institutions with separate powers, but “separate institutions sharing powers.” 

 

And as if to reassure himself and other adherents, Barr insists that the Unitary view is neither “new”—even though it was cooked up in the 1980s by the Meese Justice Department and the Federalist Society—nor a “theory.” Barr says, “It is a description of what the Framers unquestionably did in Article II of the Constitution.” Yet aside from the veto power, he fails to discuss any actual Article II powers. And in the case of the veto, he fails to note that this power is found in Article I, and is generally understood as a legislative power exercised by the executive. Shouldn’t an Originalist take a passing interest in original text? Nor does he explain why Article II is brief and vague, compared to Congress’s lengthy and detailed Article I powers. What we know about that brevity and vagueness is that it reflected two facts: the Founders’ difficulty and disagreement in defining presidential powers, and the wish of a few Founders who favored a strong executive to leave that door open, hoping that future presidents might help solidify the office. That wish, of course, came true. 

 

Most of the latter part of Barr’s speech is devoted to a condemnation of the judiciary, where it has not only set itself up at the “ultimate arbiter” of interbranch disputes, but worse has “usurped Presidential authority” by the very act of hearing cases and ruling against asserted presidential powers. Underlying these complaints are the Unitary tenet that the courts have no rightto rule in any area of claimed executive power. Barr vents his frustration at the extent to which Trump administration decisions and actions have found themselves tied up in court. Experts continue to debate what issues and controversies are or are not justiciable. But to assert by Unitary theory fiat that the courts cannot rule is to make an assertion found nowhere in the Constitution. And Barr also misses the fact that court rulings historically have most often favored executive powers. 

 

The Trump administration’s many questionable actions have raised both new and old concerns about the extent and reach of executive power. There is plenty of blame for abuses of power to spread around, most certainly including to Congress. But the Unitary theory offers no remedy to the power problems of the present era. And the idea that it somehow is an Originalist reading of constitutional powers would be laughable if it didn’t have so many adherents in the seats of power.  


          

Hundreds of bags of latex and paint

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monthly obscure media discussion request thread dec 01

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The doll can fit various onahole toys and a immaculate one

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winnie and nelson mandela's marriage survived three decades of prison

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Za efikasnu prevenciju HIV-a neophodno obezbijediti kvalitet i uključiti zajednice

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Ove godine, Svjetski dan borbe protiv side u svijetu se obilježava pod sloganom &ldquo;Zajednice čine razliku&rdquo; stavljajući time u fokus važnost pružanja podr&scaron;ke osobama koje su pogođene HIV-om ili su ranjive u odnosu na HIV. Iz nevladinih organizacija CAZAS, Juventas, Crnogorska HIV fondacija, Kvir Montenegro i Za&scaron;tita saop&scaron;teno je da stigma i dalje ostaje najvećautf8
          

Stents

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I just had stents done in my right leg and luckily saved my foot. Its minimally invasive and will make a world of difference. I have been putting off doing my left leg but I can tell as I walk how quickly the left leg tires vs the right. Go ahead and do it, dont worry about it. Its so "minor" now the insurance company calls it "out patient in a bed" Its their way to reclassify the procedure into a different greater deductible schedule. Normally any hospital stay would fall into a $1500 deduct but since its "out patient" it falls into the $4500 category. Thanks Obama. Higher premiums and more patient pay outs. Hopefully your military based insurance isnt that screwed up. Good luck!
          

Así ha cambiado la hija pequeña de Barack y Michelle Obama

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Sasha, la hija pequeña de Barack y Michelle Obama ha captado toda la atención en la última imagen familiar que ha compartido la ex primera dama de Estados Unidos..., ¡y es que la joven está irreconocible!
          

The Obamas' Thanksgiving Family Photo Is A Rare Look At Sasha & Malia

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Wow everyone, time really does fly. On Thursday, Nov. 28, families across the United States got together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Usually, the holiday consists of plates of food, good conversation, and of course, tons of family photos. Well, it…
          

A Little Help – A.F. Branco Cartoon

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By A.F. Branco -

Dems and the media complain Trump didn’t do enough for Ukraine though he sent Weapons but said nothing when Obama sent only blankets. Political cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2019. See more Branco toons HERE

A Little Help – A.F. Branco Cartoon is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.


          

Obama's candidate for 2020: None of the above

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Obama's candidate for 2020: None of the aboveWhat Obama seems to be looking for, and failing to find, is someone like him: new but comforting; more consensus-minded than combative; inspirational but not ideological.



          

Finally! Senate Demands Records Of DNC’s “Sabotage” Of Trump’s Campaign In 2016

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The Obama administration, according to previous reports, actually gave the Ukraine a list of people not to investigate during the 2016 presidential race. The American people also know that Obama’s Ukrainian ambassador monitored all journalists in the country… and there’s all that stuff with the Biden’s and Burisma. But, one aspect of the democrat election... View Article
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The post Finally! Senate Demands Records Of DNC’s “Sabotage” Of Trump’s Campaign In 2016 appeared first on Conservative Daily Post.


          

Report: More Than 100,000 DACA Recipients Have Been Arrested For Violent Crimes

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Advocates for granting permanent amnesty to the illegal aliens given temporary amnesty by Obama’s executive order, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, claim that these ‘immigrants’ are productive members of society who are gladly using welfare resources, schooling, and other programs to ‘enrich’ the nation. However, they seem to forget that some of these illegals have... View Article
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The post Report: More Than 100,000 DACA Recipients Have Been Arrested For Violent Crimes appeared first on Conservative Daily Post.


          

Basics

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Some basic facts to mull over:

A new study from Brown University’s Costs of War project puts that terror into stark relief. It estimates that 800,000 people have been killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen in the wars we’ve launched since 9/11, with local civilians representing the largest share of that total.
But that’s a conservative estimate. When you add those who died from preventable causes thanks to decimated health care, food, and sanitation systems in our many war zones, American University’s David Vine writes, the figure climbs to 3.1 million. The vast majority are civilians.
That’s over 1,000 times the number of innocents who died on 9/11—an almost incomprehensible toll.


Americans have also paid dearly for these wars: $6.4 trillion, plus significant losses of life and limb. Some 7,000 U.S. troops have died in these conflicts. 


Maybe toss out that when you're passing the turkey around the table.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Tuesday, November 26, 2019.  More problems for Joe Biden and the protests continue in Iraq as another protesters is shot dead.


Starting in the US where the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues.  What also continues?  War Hawk Joe Biden's struggling campaign.  As Kat noted, Joe's lost a key staffer.  Vanessa Cardenas.  Marc Caputo (POLITICO) reports:


A senior Joe Biden campaign staffer in charge of outreach to Latino, African-American and women’s groups has quit her post, telling two allies she was frustrated over her lack of input and with the presidential candidate’s immigration rhetoric.

Vanessa Cárdenas, the most senior Latina Biden staffer, had been serving as national coalitions director since the campaign formally announced its existence April 25. She resigned last week and has since changed her bio on Twitter to say she was “formerly with @joebiden.”
Cárdenas did not return a call or text message, but two friends familiar with her thinking told POLITICO that she felt the campaign wasn’t heeding her advice on immigration as she tried to reach out to Latino groups that have had longstanding concerns with the former vice president’s rhetoric and record stemming from the Obama administration.  



Adrian Carrasquillo adds a few thoughts.

Important scoop by . Here’s some additional context I just found out. 1/x






  • According to someone with knowledge of Vanessa Cardenas frustration from her time within Biden camp, there was concern the campaign is not welcoming on any suggestions on tone, immigration messaging, and they’re defensive on Obama deportations.





  • Again, there was mention of how frustrated they were with Jorge Ramos pummeling from September debate. The thing is Latino staff/activists know Ramos would ask Qs like this since he did of Obama.





  • A feeling from people who have spoken with Vanessa Cardenas was also the belief that Biden camp is taking Latinos for granted.


    Biden telling a Latino immigration activist “You should vote for Trump” came after Vanessa Cardenas decided to leave but like Caputo said it underscored the reasons for leaving.


    As it was said to me, you don’t have to hit Obama to say to activists “you’re right, DHS and ICE have been weaponized against Latinos, I will clean house and will review orders of deportation,” even if you won’t say you will end them all.
              

    O «impeachment» de um regime

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    O «impeachment» de um regime

    Mais interessado do que em escolher o seu próprio candidato, o aparelho do partido Democrático está preocupado em afastar Trump da corrida – dando assim como adquirido que, com ele, as eleições estariam perdidas.

    por José Goulão
    AbrilAbril - 28 de novembro, 2019
    https://www.abrilabril.pt/internacional/o-impeachment-de-um-regime

    Donald Trump - Créditos: Olivier Douliery / POOL/EPA / Agência Lusa
    O mundo está suspenso do impeachment.
    Parece não se passar nada mais relevante à face da Terra do que saber se o fascista Trump, presidente dos Estados Unidos da América, será substituído pelo fascista Pence até ao começo de 2021, altura em que entrará em funções a nova escolha do establishment que gere o regime norte-americano – sem qualquer dúvida alguém do partido único com duas faces. Para tudo continuar na mesma.
    Sucedem-se os depoimentos das testemunhas, multiplicam-se os comentários de analistas sobre os depoimentos das testemunhas, a rede mediática global transborda de factos e pareceres próprios comentando os comentários dos analistas sobre os depoimentos das testemunhas. O mundo sofre uma indigestão de informação para, afinal, não ter informação alguma credível sobre a essência do que está em causa.
    Porque estará, afinal, Donald Trump a ser alvo de um impeachment?
    Por ser fascista? Não parece. Em Washington isso não conta como pecado tendo em conta a quantidade de golpes fascistas que ali foram e continuam a ser preparados para que os interesses dos sustentáculos do regime sejam devidamente alimentados, interna e externamente.
    A causa do impeachment será o facto de Donald Trump roubar petróleo à Síria? Ou por apoiar a Arábia Saudita e os Emirados Árabes Unidos na chacina que praticam no Iémen vai para seis anos?
    Será porque a administração Trump tem deixado os iranianos e os venezuelanos a morrer à fome? Por ter largado os cães fascistas à solta na Bolívia? Por querer obrigar os europeus a consumir gás natural muito acima do preço? Por viciar a livre concorrência internacional através das suas guerras comerciais?
    Será o impeachment porque Trump continua a financiar grupos terroristas na Síria, contemporiza com limpezas étnicas, trata os imigrantes como gado separando crianças das suas famílias, erguendo muros e barreiras para que seres humanos morram à fome ou tenham vidas sem destino?
    Será por continuar a permitir – na esteira dos antecessores – que o Afeganistão sob o domínio da NATO funcione como o paraíso do narcotráfico e inunde o mundo de heroína?
    Será por negar aos palestinianos e aos saarauís o direito a terem as suas pátrias; por ter assumido que as opções terroristas do regime sionista de Israel valem mais que o direito internacional e as deliberações das Nações Unidas? Por estar de acordo em que os dois milhões de habitantes de Gaza vivam em regime de campo de concentração onde pouco mais lhes resta do que esperar pela morte?
    Escrutinando a confusão deliberada em que se transformou o processo de impeachment contra o presidente dos Estados Unidos parece que nenhum destes crimes contra os direitos humanos, contra a condição humana, ou outros do mesmo género estão na origem dos procedimentos.
    O telefonema maldito
    Parece que, afinal, a causa de tão extrema pretensão é um telefonema. Não um telefonema qualquer, é bom de ver, mas ainda assim um telefonema.
    Na sua qualidade de presidente dos Estados Unidos, Donald Trump telefonou ao presidente da Ucrânia, Volodymyr Zelensky, pedindo-lhe informações sobre o comportamento do ex-vice-presidente norte-americano, Joseph (Joe) Biden a propósito de acontecimentos pouco claros na maior empresa ucraniana de gás natural.
    Tudo leva a crer, sem necessitar de entrar pelo campo da especulação, que o presidente norte-americano de turno não estará propriamente incomodado com o comportamento ético do vice de Obama. Não é uma inquietação própria de alguém que rouba petróleo a uma nação soberana ou decide mudar arbitrariamente os presidentes de países terceiros.
    Pelo que o objectivo que guiou a diligência de Trump foi o de encontrar armas para utilizar na batalha eleitoral já em andamento contra aquele que se perfila como o maior adversário à sua reeleição, Joseph Biden.
    Golpe baixo, dir-se-á, como se a refrega pela eleição do presidente dos Estados Unidos se guiasse por princípios éticos e de respeito mútuo. Acresce que o presidente em exercício não fez um simples pedido ao presidente ucraniano. Numa relação de imperador para suserano fez saber que a próxima remessa de auxílio militar ao aparelho fascista que sustenta o regime de Kiev fica congelada até que Zelensky responda convenientemente. Se o congelamento está em vigor ou não é assunto que faz agora parte da guerra de prós e contras que caracteriza o processo de impeachment.
    Se Biden será ou não o grande rival de Trump nas eleições presidenciais do próximo ano é assunto que está em aberto e caberá ao Partido Democrático resolver.
    Porém, mais interessado do que em escolher o seu próprio candidato, o aparelho do partido está preocupado em afastar Trump da corrida – dando assim como adquirido que, com ele, as eleições estariam perdidas. Essa é a principal motivação do impeachment; os democráticos sofrem de pouca fé certamente porque, melhor do que ninguém, sabem que têm boas razões para isso: o seu passado recente em nada os distingue do presente da administração Trump.
    Serve a Ucrânia onde falhou a Rússia
    impeachment é, portanto, uma fabricação do Partido Democrático e suas muitas correias de transmissão no establishment. É uma iniciativa que esteve sempre na mente das eminências do partido desde as eleições de 2016 – e que, portanto, não se inspira na revolta contra a forma de governar de Trump.
    Ao princípio foi a suposta interferência da Rússia nas anteriores eleições presidenciais, o chamado «Russiagate». Isto é, o Kremlin tinha conspirado com Trump em prejuízo da senhora Clinton, uma impoluta democrata sem nada que se lhe aponte. Arrasar a Líbia e organizar internacionalmente os grupos terroristas para fazerem o mesmo na Síria são actos que, naturalmente, apenas lhe enriquecem o currículo.
    O «Russiagate» estendeu-se por mais de dois anos, até que as investigações culminaram no chamado «Relatório Muller», que retirou qualquer fundamento ao assunto.
    O telefonema de Trump a Zelensky, desvendado através de convenientes «fugas de informação» organizadas pela constelação de serviços secretos, surgiu então como a oportunidade para os democráticos alcançarem com a Ucrânia o que não conseguiram com a Rússia. Com a vantagem de o regime de Kiev poder proporcionar novas variantes capazes de ressuscitar a suposta «cumplicidade» entre Trump e Putin, que o aparelho democrático teima em não abandonar. Uma promissora situação de dois em um.
    A Ucrânia é, na realidade, um terreno que os democráticos norte-americanos conhecem bem: foram eles que o criaram não se importando – tal como a União Europeia, não o esqueçamos – de recorrer ao banditismo fascista.
    Joseph Biden foi, como vice-presidente de Obama, um dos principais envolvidos na organização do golpe da Praça Maidan, em 2014, que supostamente restaurou «a democracia» em Kiev através da entronização de personalidades e grupos saudosos dos tempos do colaboracionismo com Hitler. Joseph Biden não perdeu tempo e, uma vez consumada a mudança de regime, entrou no lucrativo negócio do gás natural ucraniano introduzindo um filho como membro da administração da maior empresa do ramo. E quando uma investigação judiciária de Kiev quis saber como tal foi possível, Biden não hesitou: ou o inquérito parava ou congelaria o auxílio militar norte-americano a Kiev. Trump, afinal, não introduziu ideias novas na engrenagem.
    impeachment nos carris
    Foi então que, munido da carta ucraniana, o Partido Democrático fez entrar finalmente o impeachment nos carris, valendo-lhe também a presença poderosa que tem no aparelho do establishment e numa área mediática bem-falante e supostamente «de referência» – mas sempre bem sintonizada com o essencial da política imperial de Washington.
    Por isso a carta ucraniana é glosada de todas as maneiras e feitios, sugada sem descanso para abastecer a realidade paralela em que decorre todo o processo.
    E não poderia ser de outra maneira.
    Em relação ao fascismo de Trump não podem esquecer-se as equivalências de Biden, Obama, Clinton como autores da legitimação democrática dos nazis ucranianos no poder.
    Se o tema for o roubo de petróleo, os democráticos não estarão isentos da mesma acusação pelos seus comportamentos na Líbia, no Iraque, na própria Síria; a carnificina no Iémen foi lançada com uma administração democrática em Washington.
    As sanções contra o Irão e contra a Venezuela, acrescidas, neste caso, com as tentativas de mudança de regime, também foram armas usadas por Obama e Clinton.
    Que dizer da agonia de Gaza, do desrespeito pelos direitos dos palestinianos e dos saarauis, da cumplicidade com o terrorismo israelita, do lançamento das guerras contra a Líbia e a Síria, dos golpes no Brasil, no Paraguai e nas Honduras, do narcotráfico afegão, da organização e financiamento do terrorismo internacional, incluindo a própria entrada em cena do Isis ou Estado Islâmico – tudo em tempos de administração democrática?
    É certo que não foi Obama quem construiu o muro contra os imigrantes; mas as suas guerras provocaram milhões de refugiados; e a sua gestão foi responsável pelo maior número de sempre de execuções extrajudiciais além-fronteiras.
    impeachment é uma farsa em ambiente de podridão de uma política que nos é apresentada como exemplo a seguir.
    O processo em curso deveria ser o do impeachment do próprio regime; mas é apenas muito barulho, uma enorme encenação para nada: independentemente do resultado deste caso específico tudo continuará na mesma em Washington – com democráticos ou republicanos ou vice-versa.
    José Goulão (26 de Junho de 1950) é um jornalista português. Iniciou a actividade em A Capital, em 1974, e trabalhou em O Diário, no Semanário Económico e na revista Vida Mundial, de cuja última série foi director. Foi também director de comunicação do Sporting Clube de Portugal. Fez carreira na àrea de Política internacional , especialmente nas questões do Médio Oriente , sendo os seus comentários nesta matéria frequentemente requisitados por diversos órgãos de comunicação social , como a TSF e o Canal 2: da RTP.
    https://www.abrilabril.pt/internacional/o-impeachment-de-um-regime

    https://plutocracia.com/artigos/impeachment_Goulao_28nov2019.html

              

    Único crime do Irã é que decidimos não desistir'

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    'Único crime do Irã é que decidimos não desistir'

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    Pepe Escobar relata um relato abrasador do ministro das Relações Exteriores do Irã sobre as relações de seu país com os EUA
    Por Pepe Escobar
    em ur-Sultan, CazaquistãoThe Asia Times 
    A tempo de esclarecer o que está por trás  das últimas sanções de Washington , o ministro das Relações Exteriores do Irã, Mohammad Javad Zarif, em um discurso na reunião anual do  Astana Club em Nur-Sultan, Cazaquistão, fez um relato abrasador das relações Irã-EUA a um público selecionado de diplomatas de alto escalão, ex-presidentes e analistas.
    Zarif foi o orador principal de um painel intitulado "O Novo Conceito de Desarmamento Nuclear". Mantendo um cronograma frenético, ele entrou e saiu da mesa redonda para espremer uma conversa privada com o Primeiro Presidente do Cazaquistão Nursultan Nazarbayev.
    Durante o painel, o moderador Jonathan Granoff, presidente do Instituto de Segurança Global, conseguiu impedir que Zafir, um analista do Pentágono, se transformasse em uma disputa de gritos.
    Anteriormente, eu havia discutido extensivamente com Syed Rasoul Mousavi, ministro da Ásia Ocidental no Ministério das Relações Exteriores do Irã, uma infinidade de detalhes sobre a posição do Irã em todos os lugares, do Golfo Pérsico ao Afeganistão. Eu estava na mesa redonda de James Bond do Astana Club, enquanto moderava dois outros painéis, um na Eurásia multipolar e o ambiente pós-INF e outro na Ásia Central (assunto de outras colunas).
    A intervenção de Zarif foi extremamente forte. Ele ressaltou como o Irã “cumpriu todos os acordos e não obteve nada”; como “nosso povo acredita que não ganhamos por fazer parte do Plano de Ação Conjunto Conjunto; como a inflação está fora de controle; como o valor do rial caiu 70% “por causa de 'medidas coercitivas' - não por sanções porque são ilegais”.
    Ele falou sem anotações, exibindo absoluto domínio do pântano inextricável que são as relações EUA-Irã. No final, acabou sendo uma bomba. Aqui estão os destaques.

    O ministro do Exterior do Irã, Mohammad Javad Zarif, na reunião anual do Astana Club em Nur-Sultan, Cazaquistão, no início deste mês. Asia Times / Pepe Escobar)
    A história de Zarif começou nas negociações de 1968 do Tratado de Não-Proliferação Nuclear, com a posição do “Movimento Não-Alinhado de aceitar suas disposições somente se em uma data posterior” - que aconteceu em 2020 - “haveria desarmamento nuclear. "Dos 180 países não alinhados," 90 países co-patrocinaram a extensão indefinida do TNP ".
    Passando para o estado atual, ele mencionou como os Estados Unidos e a França estão "confiando em armas nucleares como um meio de dissuasão, o que é desastroso para o mundo inteiro". Por outro lado, o Irã é um país que acredita em armas nucleares. nunca deve pertencer a nenhum país ", devido a" cálculos estratégicos baseados em nossas crenças religiosas ".
    Zarif destacou como “de 2003 a 2012 o Irã estava sob as mais severas sanções da ONU que já foram impostas a qualquer país que não possuía armas nucleares. As sanções impostas ao Irã de 2009 a 2012 foram maiores do que as impostas à Coréia do Norte, que possuíam armas nucleares. ”
    Discutindo as negociações para o JCPOA que começaram em 2012, Zarif observou que o Irã partiu da premissa de que "deveríamos ser capazes de desenvolver a energia nuclear que quiséssemos", enquanto os EUA começaram com a premissa de que o Irã nunca deveria ter centrífugas ”. Essa era a opção“ enriquecimento zero ”.
    Zarif, em público, sempre volta ao ponto em que “em todo jogo de soma zero todos perdem”. Ele admite que o JCPOA é “um acordo difícil. Não é um acordo perfeito. Tem elementos que eu não gosto e elementos que os Estados Unidos não gostam. ”No final,“ chegamos à aparência de um equilíbrio ”.
    Zarif ofereceu um paralelo bastante esclarecedor entre o TNP e o JCPOA: “O TNP foi baseado em três pilares: não proliferação, desarmamento e acesso à tecnologia nuclear para fins pacíficos. Basicamente, a parte de desarmamento do TNP está quase morta, a não proliferação mal sobrevive e o uso pacífico da energia nuclear está sob séria ameaça ”, observou ele.
    Enquanto isso, "o JCPOA foi baseado em dois pilares: a normalização econômica do Irã, refletida na resolução 2231 do Conselho de Segurança, e - ao mesmo tempo - o Irã observando certos limites ao desenvolvimento nuclear".
    Fundamentalmente, Zarif enfatizou que não há nada de "pôr do sol" nesses limites, como Washington argumenta: "Vamos nos comprometer a não produzir armas nucleares para sempre".
    Tudo sobre desconfiança
    Então veio a fatídica decisão de Trump em maio de 2018: "Quando o presidente Trump decidiu se retirar do JCPOA, acionamos o mecanismo de resolução de disputas." Referindo-se a uma narrativa comum que descreve ele e o ex-secretário de Estado dos EUA John Kerry obcecados em sacrificar tudo para obter Zarif disse: “Negociamos esse acordo com base na desconfiança. É por isso que você tem um mecanismo para disputas. ”
    O secretário de Estado dos EUA, John Kerry, fala com Hossein Fereydoun, irmão do presidente iraniano Hassan Rouhani e ministro das Relações Exteriores iraniano Mohammad Javad Zarif, 14 de julho de 2015 . (Departamento de Estado)
    Ainda assim, “os compromissos da UE e os dos Estados Unidos são independentes. Infelizmente, a UE acreditava que eles poderiam procrastinar. Agora estamos em uma situação em que o Irã não está recebendo nenhum benefício, ninguém está implementando sua parte da barganha, apenas Rússia e China estão cumprindo parcialmente seus compromissos, porque os Estados Unidos até os impedem de cumprir plenamente seus compromissos. A França propôs no ano passado fornecer US $ 15 bilhões ao Irã para o petróleo que poderíamos vender de agosto a dezembro. Os Estados Unidos impediram a União Européia de abordar isso. ”
    O ponto principal, então, é que “outros membros do JCPOA, de fato, não estão implementando seus compromissos.” A solução “é muito fácil. Volte para a soma diferente de zero. Volte a implementar seus compromissos. O Irã concordou que negociaria desde o primeiro dia.
    Zarif fez a previsão de que “se os europeus ainda acreditam que podem nos levar ao Conselho de Segurança e reverter as resoluções, estão completamente errados. Porque isso é um remédio se houver uma violação do JCPOA. Não houve violação do JCPOA. Realizamos essas ações em resposta à não conformidade européia e americana. Essa é uma das poucas conquistas diplomáticas das últimas décadas. Simplesmente precisamos garantir que os dois pilares existam: que haja uma aparência de equilíbrio. ”
    Isso o levou a um possível raio de luz entre tanta desgraça e tristeza: “Se o que foi prometido ao Irã em termos de normalização econômica for cumprido, mesmo parcialmente, estamos preparados para mostrar boa fé e voltar à implementação do JCPOA . Caso contrário, infelizmente continuaremos esse caminho, que é de soma zero, um caminho que leva a uma perda para todos, mas um caminho que não temos outra escolha a não ser seguir. ”
    Hora da ESPERANÇA
    Zarif identifica três grandes problemas em nossa loucura geopolítica atual: uma “mentalidade de soma zero nas relações internacionais que não funciona mais;” vencendo excluindo outras (“Precisamos estabelecer um diálogo, precisamos estabelecer uma cooperação”); e "a crença de que quanto mais armas compramos, mais segurança podemos oferecer ao nosso povo".
    Ele afirmou que existe a possibilidade de implementar "um novo paradigma de cooperação em nossa região", referindo-se aos esforços de Nazarbayev: um verdadeiro modelo eurasiático de segurança. Mas isso, explicou Zarif, “requer uma política de vizinhança. Precisamos ver nossos vizinhos como nossos amigos, como nossos parceiros, como pessoas sem as quais não podemos ter segurança. Não podemos ter segurança no Irã se o Afeganistão estiver em turbulência. Não podemos ter segurança no Irã se o Iraque estiver tumultuado. Não podemos ter segurança no Irã se a Síria estiver turbulenta. Você não pode ter segurança no Cazaquistão se a região do Golfo Pérsico estiver em turbulência. ”
    Ele observou que, com base nesse raciocínio, “o Presidente Rouhani, este ano, na Assembléia Geral da ONU, ofereceu uma nova abordagem à segurança na região do Golfo Pérsico, chamada HOPE, que é o acrônimo de Hormuz Peace Initiative - ou Hormuz Peace Endeavor para que possamos ter a abreviação HOPE. "
    A ESPERANÇA, explicou Zarif, “é baseada no direito internacional, no respeito à integridade territorial; com base na aceitação de uma série de princípios e de uma série de medidas de fortalecimento da confiança; e podemos construir sobre ele à medida que você [abordando Nazarbayev] construiu sobre ele na Eurásia e na Ásia Central. Temos orgulho de fazer parte da União Econômica da Eurásia, somos vizinhos no Cáspio, concluímos no ano passado, com sua liderança, a convenção legal do Mar Cáspio, esses são importantes desenvolvimentos que ocorreram na parte norte do Irã . Precisamos repeti-los na parte sul do Irã, com a mesma mentalidade de que não podemos excluir nossos vizinhos. Estamos condenados ou privilegiados a viver juntos pelo resto de nossas vidas. Estamos limitados pela geografia. Estamos vinculados à tradição, cultura, religião e história. ”Para ter sucesso,“ precisamos mudar nossa mentalidade ”.
    Idade da Hegemonia 
    Comício do Tea Party contra o Acordo Nuclear do Irã com Donald Trump como orador principal, 9 de setembro de 2015. (YouTube)
    Tudo se resume à principal razão pela qual a política externa dos EUA simplesmente não se cansa da demonização do Irã. Zarif não tem dúvidas: “Ainda existe um embargo de armas contra o Irã a caminho. Mas somos capazes de abater um drone americano espionando nosso território. Estamos tentando simplesmente ser independentes. Nunca dissemos que aniquilaríamos Israel. Alguém disse que Israel será aniquilado. Nós nunca dissemos que faríamos isso. ”
    Zarif disse que o primeiro-ministro israelense Benjamin Netanyahu foi quem assumiu a ameaça, dizendo:
    “Eu era o único contra o JCPOA.” Netanyahu “conseguiu destruir o JCPOA. Qual é o problema? O problema é que decidimos não desistir. Esse é o nosso único crime. Tivemos uma revolução contra um governo que foi apoiado pelos Estados Unidos, imposto ao nosso país pelos Estados Unidos, que torturou nosso povo com a ajuda dos Estados Unidos e nunca recebeu uma condenação única dos direitos humanos, e agora as pessoas estão preocupados por que dizem "Morte à América?" Dizemos morte para essas políticas, porque elas trouxeram nada além dessa farsa. O que eles trouxeram para nós? Se alguém viesse aos Estados Unidos, removesse seu presidente, impusesse um ditador que matou seu povo, você não diria a morte daquele país?
    Zarif inevitavelmente teve que evocar Mike Pompeo: “Hoje o secretário de Estado dos Estados Unidos diz publicamente: 'Se o Irã quer comer, deve obedecer aos Estados Unidos'. Isto é um crime de guerra. A fome é um crime contra a humanidade. É uma manchete de jornal. Se o Irã quer que seu povo coma, deve seguir o que ele disse. Ele diz: 'Morte a todo o povo iraniano'. ”
    A essa altura, a atmosfera do outro lado da enorme mesa redonda era eletrizante. Podia-se ouvir um alfinete cair - ou melhor, as explosões mini-sonoras vindas do alto da  cúpula rasa  por meio do sistema criado pelo arquiteto estrela Norman Foster, aquecendo o vidro de alto desempenho para derreter a neve.
    Zarif foi all-in: “O que fizemos nos Estados Unidos? O que fizemos para Israel? Nós fizemos o seu povo morrer de fome? Quem está fazendo nosso povo morrer de fome? Apenas me diga. Quem está violando o acordo nuclear? Porque eles não gostaram de Obama? Essa é uma razão para destruir o mundo, só porque você não gosta de um presidente? ”
    O único crime do Irã, disse ele, “é que decidimos ser nosso próprio chefe. E esse crime - estamos orgulhosos disso. E continuaremos a ser. Porque nós temos sete milênios de civilização. Tínhamos um império que governava o mundo, e a vida desse império provavelmente era sete vezes a vida inteira dos Estados Unidos. Então - com todo o respeito ao império dos Estados Unidos; Devo minha educação aos Estados Unidos - não acreditamos que os Estados Unidos sejam um império que dure. A era dos impérios se foi há muito tempo. A era da hegemonia se foi há muito tempo. Agora temos que viver em um mundo sem hegemonia - hegemonia regional ou hegemonia global. ”
    Pepe Escobar, um jornalista brasileiro veterano, é o correspondente geral do Asia Times de Hong Kong   Seu último livro é  2030 ".  Siga-o no  Facebook .
    Este artigo é do The Asia Times .

    The sole millennial candidate in the race, then, is a hit with boomers, while the oldest candidate in the race, Senator Bernie Sanders, who is more than twice Buttigieg's age, is the preferred candidate for under-30 voters. This fact, that a 78-year old who recently suffered a health scare is far more popular with millennials than the 37-year-old candidate with boyish looks, tells us a lot about the generational divide that has consumed the Democratic Party in recent years.

    On a superficial level it seems somewhat counterintuitive for younger voters to swarm to an elderly white man, but from an ideological perspective it makes perfect sense. Sanders has been the millennial favorite since 2016, and the Vermont senator's calls for Medicare-for-all, free college, and aggressive taxation, among other plans, are far more in tune with the younger generation's political attitudes and beliefs than any other candidate in the race. And his record of consistency over the past 50 years only reinforces his appeal. A recent Economist/YouGov poll found that 57 percent of under-30 primary voters are considering voting for Sanders, while 34 percent say he is their first choice (the highest of any of the Democratic candidates). On the other hand, just 21 percent of voters over 65 are considering a vote for Sanders, and a mere 3 percent of these voters support him as their first choice.

    Buttigieg, by contrast, is far closer in his political orientation to the older liberals who have spent most of their adult life in the neoliberal era. For all of Mayor Pete's talk about how we can't return to the "old normal," he hasn't articulated how he would be any different from previous Democratic administrations, and has flatly rejected some of the more bold and progressive plans currently gaining traction in the Democratic Party (and supported by candidates like Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren). Instead, he has increasingly presented himself as the centrist alternative to Joe Biden, effectively promoting the same message as the former vice president, but with a fresh new face. This has made him appealing to older voters, but not with millennials or Gen-Z voters. The same poll found that just 22 percent of 18-29 year old voters are considering voting for Buttigieg, while nearly 50 percent of voters over 65 are considering the mayor (additionally, 12 percent of over-65 voters have Buttigieg as their first choice, compared to 7 percent of 18-29 year olds).

    It is a truism that voters generally become more conservative and antipathetic to change as they age, and for many older liberals the past few years of chaos in Washington have made them long for the relative stability of the Clinton and Obama eras. However, for younger voters who never experienced the benefits of the previous status quo, coming of age during the Great Recession, Trump's election seems to have had the opposite effect, making them more radical and hungry for systemic change.

    Buttigieg's "youth and optimism," ABC News recently reported, "is winning over older Iowans," but what really seems to attract older voters is the fact that Buttigieg emits a youthful energy while putting forth a very conservative message. Joe Biden's age, by comparison, seems to match his conservative politics, which come across as stale and outdated (questions about his cognitive health certainly don't help). Symbolically, then, Mayor Pete provides a youthful veneer to an ideology and a form of politics that is long past its expiration date — which many millennials seem to see right through.

    For many of Buttigieg's older supporters, he seems to induce a vague kind of nostalgia, with persistent comparisons to John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama. Buttigieg, they say, will unify the country and bring back a bipartisan spirit that has been lost. And like Kennedy and Obama, President Buttigieg would represent another symbolic first as the first gay president. As HuffPost put it earlier this month, he is trying to "cultivate the kinds of voters who remain enamored of the former president's eloquence and sunny disposition."

    Young people, however, enthusiastically supported Obama a decade ago not because of his sunny disposition, but because he ran on transforming Washington, and appeared to represent a new kind of politics. Buttigieg isn't running as Obama did in 2008; rather, he is running as Obama governed — and as the Obama who recently cautioned Democrats not to listen to the "left-leaning" activist wing in the party and to be "rooted in reality." "The average American doesn't think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it," said the former president, echoing the narratives of Buttigieg and Biden.

    If anyone needed proof that the "Ok Boomer" meme isn't so much about age but mentality, then the divide between Sanders and Buttigieg shows it. The millennial mayor from Indiana is far more of a "boomer" in spirit than the septuagenarian senator from Vermont, who has been consistently radical throughout his career (long before it was politically expedient). Meanwhile, millennials and Gen-Zers seem to have lost patience for the symbolic politics of hope.

    When recently confronted about taking money from billionaires and Wall Street, Buttigieg defended himself by stating that the same criticisms had previously been leveled against Obama, "If you think about with respect to Wall Street, [Obama] delivered the strongest regulations and accountability that there had been there in a generation."

    For young voters who desire radical change, this tells them all they need to know about Mayor Pete.

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    America's troubled alliance with Ukraine

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    How did the U.S. become so involved with this former Soviet republic? Here's everything you need to know:

    How did modern Ukraine emerge?
    Ukraine's history is intertwined with Russia's. Both cultures descend from the medieval Slavic empire Kievan Rus, founded by Vikings in the 9th century with a capital where Kyiv stands today. After the empire was overrun by Mongol invaders in the 13th century, the Rus leadership moved northeastward, to a small trading outpost called Moscow. The lands around Kyiv were carved up by competing powers, who prized the fertile plains and rich, dark soil that later earned Ukraine the nickname "the breadbasket of Europe." Poland and Lithuania dominated the country for hundreds of years, but by the end of the 18th century, the Russian Empire had taken the eastern lands, while the western were controlled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire — a division that resonates to this day. Both empires collapsed at the end of World War I, and in 1917 a Ukrainian state was declared, but it was quickly swallowed by the communist Soviet Union. It was only in 1991, after the Soviet Union dissolved, that the modern borders of Ukraine were established. Russia has never really accepted Ukraine's independence, and Ukraine has been careening between pro-Western and pro-Russian leaders ever since.

    Why do Russians still see it as theirs?
    The cultural and Orthodox religious ties between the two peoples go back centuries. But perhaps more importantly, Russia has no natural mountain or river borders to protect its western front, and it has long seen Ukraine as a vital strategic buffer. "Russia without Ukraine is a country," explains Daniel Drezner, an international politics professor at Tufts University. "Russia with Ukraine is an empire." Russian President Vladimir Putin wants at all costs to keep Ukraine out of the European Union and NATO, and he has used Ukraine's dependence on Russian natural gas as a weapon — cutting off supplies in 2006 as Ukrainians froze in the winter cold. Ukraine is bitterly divided between Ukrainian speakers in the west, who mostly want to align their country with the West, and Russian speakers in the east.

    Why did the U.S. get involved?
    Since 1991, the U.S. has sought to guarantee Ukraine's independence and security, seeing it as a key bridge between East and West. When the USSR dissolved, Ukraine inherited the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world, with some 1,900 strategic nuclear weapons pointed at the United States. Keen to avoid a proliferation of nuclear powers, the U.S., U.K., and Russia in 1994 signed the Budapest Memorandum, which transferred the weapons to Russia in exchange for a commitment by Washington, Moscow, and London to "respect the independence and sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine" and to "refrain from the threat or use of force" against it. Russia continued meddling in Ukrainian politics, though, and overtly broke the treaty in 2014.

    What did Russia do?
    Ukraine's 2004 election was a showdown between pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko and pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych. During the campaign, Yushchenko was disfigured by dioxin poisoning widely attributed to Russia, and after the vote was rigged for Yanukovych, Ukrainians rose up in the Orange Revolution, which culminated in a revote and a victory for Yushchenko. In the 2010 election, though, Yanukovych came roaring back to win the presidency with the help of both Russia and American political consultant Paul Manafort. In 2013, Moscow forced Yanukovych to cancel the country's bid to move closer to the EU, leading to an uprising that forced Yanukovych out. In the tumult that ensued, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea and later sent troops into Ukraine's eastern regions to start a separatist war. The Obama administration punished Russia with sanctions, but chose not to send weapons to Ukraine out of fear of triggering a larger war.

    How is the war going?
    Armed by Russia and supported by Russian paramilitaries, two ­Russian-­speaking Ukrain­ian regions collectively called the Donbass declared independence in 2014 and have been fighting with Ukraine ever since. An estimated 13,000 people have been killed and some 1.5 million displaced. In 2018, then–­national security adviser H.R. McMaster and other aides persuaded a reluctant Pres­i­dent Trump to send $400 million in military aid to Kyiv, including counter-artillery radar systems and Javelin anti-tank missiles. Without that aid, Mariya Omelicheva of the Pen­ta­gon's Nation­al De­fense Uni­ver­si­ty told The Atlan­tic, the 300-mile-long front line in the eastern Don­bass region "would have been moved further west into Ukraine, and ­Russia-backed rebels would have controlled more Ukrain­ian territory." That's why the possibility of U.S. aid being held up — the subject of the impeachment ­inquiry — is so important to Ukraine. Ukraine's new president, Volody­myr Zelen­sky, finds himself caught in a struggle between Democrats and Trump — who has reportedly been echoing Vladimir Putin's claim that Ukraine is corrupt and "not a real country."

    Americans cash in
    As Ukraine emerged from communism and struggled to build a rule-of-law economy, politically connected Amer­i­cans saw ways to make money. Paul Mana­fort, President Trump's former campaign manager, earned at least $13 million — and possibly much more — ­working for pro-­Russian Ukrainian oligarchs. His consultancy for a pro-Russian party that tried to undermine the U.S. alliance with Ukraine was crucial to the triumph of Yanu­ko­vych in the 2010 election. Mana­fort is now serving 7½ years in prison for tax fraud over those earnings. Joe Biden's son Hunter joined the board of Buris­ma, a Ukrain­ian gas company, in 2014 at a reported salary of tens of thousands of dollars a month, although there is no indication that either Biden broke any laws. Rudy Giu­li­ani, meanwhile, the president's personal lawyer, had a 2017 ­security-­consulting contract with the Ukrain­ian city of Kharkiv, and in 2018 he began working with two Soviet-born Amer­i­can executives, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Repub­li­can donors who wanted to sell gas to Ukraine. Federal prosecutors have indicted Par­nas and Fru­man for illegal campaign contributions and are now reportedly investigating whether Giu­li­ani "stood to profit personally from a Ukrain­ian natural-gas business" pushed by those two men.


              

    God's gift to America?

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    On Sunday, outgoing Secretary of Energy Rick Perry told Fox News viewers about a recent conversation he'd had with Donald Trump in which he told the president he was "the chosen one" placed by God in the White House. Perry made sure to add that he had given Trump a "one pager" on the imperfect Old Testament kings who God had appointed to carry out his plans. "Don't get confused here, sir," Perry claims he said to the president. "This is not a reflection that you're perfect, but that God's using you."

    As liberals predictably freaked out over Perry's words, other Trump backers quickly confirmed that, yes, Trump has been selected by God for the presidency, and Fox put replays of the discussion in heavy rotation. In an interview for the Christian Broadcasting Network, Nikki Haley also weighed in. "I think God sometimes places people for lessons and sometimes places people for change," she told CBN's David Brody.

    On the one hand, the comments from Perry and others aren't that surprising. Invoking God's ordination has become boilerplate language for how many white evangelicals talk about the presidency. As the religious right activist Gary Bauer explained back during George W. Bush's administration, "Evangelicals believe that no leader rises without God allowing that leader to rise." In his Fox News interview, Perry contended that God's divine appointments to the White House are bipartisan. "You know, Barack Obama doesn't get to be the president of the United States without being ordained by God," he said.

    On the other hand, what's happening now is far more than a generic theological statement about God's sovereignty over American politics. As with everything related to Trump, the religious rationalization of his presidency is hyperbolic and overblown. And it's operating on overdrive, repeated constantly since Trump's 2016 victory.

    While many Americans rightly chalked up Trump's unlikely election to the technicalities of the Electoral College, Trump's religious backers saw the hand of Providence at work. By imagining Trump's win as miraculous, white evangelicals could self-justify their controversial support for the thrice-married casino magnate who openly bragged about sexual assault and once declared he'd never needed to ask for God's forgiveness. God picks imperfect people, after all — even those who don't realize their own imperfection.

    That self-rationalization for voting for Trump, however, has given way to a sort of self-absolution for continuing to support him in light of his myriad imperfections in office, not least his debased character and rampant illegalities. That's why we're likely to hear a whole lot more of the "chosen by God" talk as the 2020 election nears. If God chose Trump, who are we to turn from him now?

    Beyond the election, the divine defense of Trump shapes GOP politics more broadly, characterizing Trump not as a moral actor, but instead as a divinely-sanctioned despot who can do whatever he wants. Republicans' stunning abnegation of the law and the Constitution during the Trump presidency makes sense if that's the understanding of how he got into office and what he can do while there. Promoting Trump as God's choice to lead America helps normalize the outrageous insistence that Trump is above the law.

    No question, Republican leaders will say anything to get Trump re-elected. And Trump's white evangelical base has shown they'll bend reality however they must to stay loyal to the cause. But it's also worth considering how the "chosen by God" message affects Trump's sense of himself and his actions as president.

    In the right mind — and heart — the idea that one had been chosen by God for something like the presidency would prompt a state of sober self-reflection and a sense of humble obligation. But Trump is not in his right mind. And his heart is a twisted thicket of perceived slights, raging bigotries, and unquenchable narcissism. For a man as delusional and depraved as Trump, the idea that he has been chosen by God, at best, fuels his already strong impulse to think he can get away with anything. At worst, it could have potentially catastrophic, even apocalyptic, ends.

    During the previous administration, conservatives loved to scoff that Democrats had a messiah complex when it came to Barack Obama. The Trump years, though, have demonstrated time and again that much of the conservative charges against liberals were really projections of their own inclinations. Last spring, for example, Trump's 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale rapturously tweeted about the president, "Only God could deliver such a savior to our nation."

    If that's the kind of thing being said in public, one can only imagine the sort of nonsense Trump hears from the sycophants he's encircled around him in the White House. Many Americans may think this is all just crazy talk. But heaven help the nation whose madman president thinks he's God's gift to us all.

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    Democrats are running into Trump's economic buzzsaw

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    Call it the Back-up Plan.

    For the past couple of years, the potential for an economic downturn has kept jittery Democrats from getting too nervous about the 2020 presidential election. Even if Robert Mueller and his Russia investigation didn't get President Trump — and now the Ukraine impeachment investigation — then the American economy surely would. There was no way four years of Trump's trade wars and general incompetence wouldn't result in a nasty recession and a one-term Trump presidency, right?

    Now it's looking more and more like the back-up plan might need a back-up plan. Wall Street economists and forecasting models don't see more than a one-in-three chance of an economic downturn next year. There's even a reasonable scenario of an economic upturn. In its outlook for next year, Goldman Sachs predicts economic growth accelerating from its current 2 percent pace to 2.5 percent, thanks to a quieting of the trade war and the lagging impact of Federal Reserve rate cuts. Recession odds: Just 20 percent, which is pretty standard in any given year.

    But this is the part of the forecast that should really worry Democratic campaign strategists: "Solid growth should mean another year of above-trend job gains. We expect the unemployment rate to fall to levels last seen during the Korean War, bringing a further pickup in wage growth to 3.5 percent." So not only rising take-home pay with low inflation, but a jobless rate so historically low that even the oldest boomers have little memory of such a time. Look, if you're a president who promised to make America great again, and the unemployment rate falls to its lowest level since the early 1950s, it arguably looks like you're making American great again.

    Of course, this is just one forecast. But even if next year is just pretty much like this year, not much better or worse, it would still mean an economy experiencing a record-long expansion that would be well into its 11th year by Election Day 2020. Not that 2020 Democratic nominees will lack a counter-argument. They will likely argue that most Americans aren't benefiting from the expansion. As South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said at the last Democratic debate, "In an economy where even when the Dow Jones is looking good, far too many Americans have to fight like hell just to hold on to what they've got."

    The problem with such an approach is that even though Democrats are loathe to admit it, this is an expansion that's finally helping a broad swath of Americans. Wages are actually growing fastest at the bottom right now, not at the top, and that reality is playing a big role in keeping the expansion on track. Nor should Democrats dismiss the low jobless rate. It's not some phony number. For instance: Employment for prime-age workers has now completely recovered from the 2008 financial crisis even though many economists fretted it never would. To many Americans, the Trump economy is going to seem a lot better than the Obama economy.

    Another option is to focus on specific issues that voters care about and where Democrats might have an edge, most notably health care. It sure seemed to work in the 2018 congressional midterms. But Democrats are blowing it this time around. Rather than push for an expansion of ObamaCare — which Americans favor 52 percent to 41 percent — leading candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have pushed "Medicare-for-all." But the more people hear about the idea — the fiscal cost, the elimination of private health insurance, the lost health-care jobs — the less they seem to like it. A new Quinnipiac poll finds "Medicare-for-all has grown increasingly unpopular among all American voters, as 36 percent say it is a good idea and 52 percent say it is a bad idea." And while frontrunner Joe Biden supports adding a public option to ObamaCare, Trump can easily argue that the real Democratic goal is eventually getting to Medicare-for-all.

    Maybe the best tact is to simply argue that Trump shouldn't get much credit for the boomlet. After all, the decent economic news looks like a steady continuation of trends begun during the Obama presidency. And any good the Trump tax cuts might have done may have been offset by the Trump trade war. So what did Trumponomics do, exactly? Yet voters still have a tendency to credit presidents for the good that happens on their watch, although not as much as they used to. Hoping voters simply ignore their pocketbooks and 401ks isn't much of a Plan C.

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    Henderson and Hooper on Why Some Drug Prices Are Too Low, by David Henderson

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    Sometimes Drug Prices Are Too Low

    Washington’s efforts to keep medications affordable have had unintended consequences.

    PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

    When Americans talk about drug prices, the conversation is dominated by the eye-popping sticker prices of certain new drugs. We’re all aware of how sky-high prices can make it hard for some patients to afford the drugs they need. Yet few appreciate how patients also lose access to treatments when prices are too low.

    The federal government’s attempts to keep prices low have created a chain of unintended consequences. Start with the “best price” law of 1990, which mandated that manufacturers offer drugs to state Medicaid programs at the lowest price available to any other buyer.

    The unintended—but predictable—consequence was to hurt many small clinics and hospitals. Drug companies often gave discounts to clinics and hospitals that treated a large number of low-income and uninsured patients, but the best-price law put them in a dilemma. They couldn’t keep offering those low prices unless they did so for all of Medicaid. So manufacturers stopped the discounts, causing prices to increase by more than 30% at some hospitals and clinics.

    Congress tried to compensate in 1992 with the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which mandates that manufacturers offer discounts to certain hospitals, but provides for Medicare to reimburse these hospitals for the full list price of the drugs. The hospitals love this profitable arrangement, and though Congress intended it to apply only to hospitals with a high percentage of low-income and underinsured patients, hospitals can apply for the discounts at their own discretion. This causes manufacturers to sell countless drugs well below their list price.

    Hospitals and clinics have gained from these discounts, to the tune of $6 billion in 2015. Taxpayers gain nothing, because Medicare still pays the full price. And according to the New England Journal of Medicine, the discounts haven’t expanded care or reduced mortality of low-income patients. Because both the 340B program and the Medicaid best price law keep prices low, drug companies underinvest in the next generation of hospital outpatient drugs.

    Another set of regulations further discourages hospitals from offering some drugs. For drugs administered in a hospital setting, Medicare Part B mandates that the facility can charge an administrative fee plus 4.3% on top of the drug’s “average selling price” across all manufacturers. That means that when a particular drug company raises its price, hospitals’ retail price remains pegged to the industrywide average, potentially forcing them to sell the drug at a loss.

    If a hospital has a drug that costs $100 and gets a few patients a day, it stocks and replenishes the drug daily, earning $4.30 plus an administration fee on each patient. That makes mild financial sense. But what if the drug costs $10,000, demand is sporadic, and the shelf life is limited? The hospital might not even stock the drug.

    The fixed 4.3% margin results from the government’s using its monopsony power to decide how much it will pay providers. In the drug arena, government is an 800-pound gorilla. Health-care providers and pharmaceutical companies are paying attention. The drug they don’t develop and the drug you aren’t administered might have been the one that got you out of the hospital a day earlier or even saved your life.

    Washington also discourages drug development through its self-contradicting regulation of generics. The 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act fast-tracked the approval process for generics, yet the same law forbids manufacturers from telling doctors or customers if their generic drug is better than their competitors’. Why invest in a superior drug if you have to keep it secret?

    Consider Merck’s Mevacor, now sold generically as lovastatin. As long as manufacturers produce a product that meets the minimum standard to be classified lovastatin, they can market it as identical to every competitor’s version. Hatch-Waxman effectively eliminates any incentive to make lovastatin better, to guarantee safety or reliability of supply, to discover new uses, or even to do something as simple as develop new tablet sizes.

    Once a number of generics enter the market, profit margins decrease. Then sometimes it takes only a production problem or other small cost increase for a manufacturer to cease production. As the number of manufacturers declines, supply can slip below demand. Currently, as many as 260 drugs are unavailable or in short supply in the U.S.

    The supply problem isn’t new. In 2011 President Obama directed the Food and Drug Administration to resolve and prevent critical shortages of vital medicines. One administration official stated, “We can’t wait anymore.” Unfortunately, yes, we can.

    And patients are dying. A shortage of norepinephrine in 2011 hampered hospitals’ ability to treat septic shock. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded: “Patients admitted to these hospitals during times of shortage had higher in-hospital mortality.”

    Citing such shortages, the Federal Aviation Administration has exempted airlines from having to stock their airplanes with five key drugs. Those drugs form the core of an emergency medical kit during flights. Dr. Sherif Badawy, an expert on in-flight medical emergencies, told the New York Times “To think you could fly without epinephrine is crazy.”

    This is a race to the bottom. Companies that can’t effectively price and promote the advantages of their products sometimes decide not to make them in the first place. Americans are being denied needed drugs because some prices are too low.

    Mr. Henderson is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution. Mr. Hooper is president of Objective Insights Inc., which consults for life-science companies. This article is based on a report for the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research.

    (1 COMMENTS)
              

    There is no Deep State, by Scott Sumner

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    I’ll eventually get around to discussing the Trump administration. Because this issue is so emotionally charged, however, it might be helpful to start with a less controversial analogy.

    At the end of 2018, the Fed announced that it was likely to boost interest rates several times during 2019. In fact, they cut rates on three occasions. Were their intentions thwarted by a “deep state”?

    The answer is clearly no. Rather, the Fed is under enormous pressure to “follow the market”, to set policy rates at a level close to the underlying equilibrium interest rate, which changes over time. On any given day, they have discretion as to whether they follow the market.  But over long periods of time, a decision to ignore the market will produce severe economic problems and ultimately lead to a loss of Fed independence.

    I suppose you could call the market a sort of “deep state”, but it’s clearly not a Deep State in the sense of a secretive conspiracy to control the course of events. Each trader is just trying to make some money.

    The political equivalent of the market is the zeitgeist, the general sense of what sort of policies are sensible. Over at TheMoneyIllusion, I recently did a post pointing out that presidents were far less powerful than most people assume. I used the example of President Trump’s recent decision to bring troops back to Syria.

    One commenter pointed out that Trump gave the order to bring the troops back to Syria:

    I agree with your larger point that Presidents powers are overrated, but I don’t see how this article is an example of that. In the fifth paragraph of the article, it specifically says:

    “Separately, several hundred other troops, some with armored Bradley fighting vehicles, arrived in Syria from Iraq and Kuwait under a subsequent order from Mr. Trump”

    The President made both orders, the order to withdraw and the order to put troops back in. It’s an example of Trump using his powers erratically, not that he doesn’t have power.

    In my view, this is analogous to claiming that because the Fed determines the fed funds rate on any given day, we can think of the Fed as determining the path of interest rates over time.

    I certainly agree that presidents (like the Fed) have some power, some policy discretion.  But I also believe that people underrate the extent to which their actions are circumscribed by the zeitgeist.  So why can’t we call this mysterious “zeitgeist” a sort of Deep State?

    Words matter.  The term “deep state” has clear implications that go well beyond the prevailing views of various people, or the hassles of dealing with a bureaucracy.  As we saw in the Syrian case, Trump did issue the specific order, it wasn’t that the bureaucracy refused to carry out his order to withdraw from Syria.

    In addition, many of the Deep State theories revolve around people that Trump himself appointed, such as the heads of organizations like the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.  The leaders of these organizations occasionally directly contradict Trump on questions such as whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election.  If that’s the Deep State, then Trump appointed its leaders.

    But there are much bigger problems with the Deep State theory.  The zeitgeist is much more than government bureaucrats.  Trump also needs the support of Republicans in the Senate, which will soon act as jury in an impeachment trial.  It’s not surprising that Trump cares about their opinions on foreign policy.  Many were opposed to his decision to withdraw from Syria.  On other occasions, Trump has been impacted by complaints from media outlets such as Fox News, and has subsequently adjusted his policies.  And yet I rarely hear Deep State theorists complain that Fox News is part of the conspiracy.  It seems that the Deep State metaphor only applies when the president’s views are altered in a direction that his supporters don’t happen to like.

    Many people believe that the world is like a Hollywood movie, where evil masterminds concoct grand conspiracies.  The actual world is much messier.  There is no organized conspiracy to undercut Trump, rather there are a myriad of individual interest groups, some pressuring Trump to be even more Trumpian, and some pressuring Trump to be more of an establishment Republican.

    All presidents face similar pressures.  If Trump is being undercut by a Deep State, then all previous presidents have also been thwarted by a Deep State.  But that drains the metaphor of all significance.  It’s like when people say, “everything is political”.  OK, then what should I infer from the statement that event X is political?

    There’s another irony here.  When Trump ran for president, one of his strongest arguments was that only he could tame the government.  He claimed that other Republicans such as Jeb Bush were “weak”, and that America needed a strong leader that would force Congress to do his bidding.  In fact, even with the GOP controlling both houses of Congress, Trump was completely unable to get Obamacare repealed.  You could argue that this is because health care is a tricky issue.  But he couldn’t even get the GOP controlled Congress to fund a wall on the Mexican border, even though that was a signature issue in the election.

    We now know that this was all just empty rhetoric.  Trump does have a more forceful personality than Jeb Bush, but Bush would have gotten a tax cut through the GOP Congress and would have appointed two conservatives to the Supreme Court.  And Bush would have failed in many other policy initiatives, just as Trump has failed.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    (18 COMMENTS)
              

    Data Wonk: Can Government Break Its Promises?

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    Obamacare law’s promises to insurers later broken by Republicans. Courts will decide if that’s legal
              

    Matthew T. Mangino: Where have all the heroes gone?

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    William D. Ruckelshaus died this week. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented Ruckelshaus with the nation’s highest civilian honor - the Medal of Freedom.
              

    Business Development Exec

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    Business Development Exec

    Joshua, the Director of Business Development for the National Press Club, oversees the club's banquets and events. With guest speakers ranging from George Clooney to President Obama, Joshua shares how to be prepare for an incredibly demanding position.

    Added by: CandidCareerTeam
    Tags: Business, Development, Hospitality, Press, Communication, Media, Journalism
    Date: 2012-01-24




              

    Why Obama Is Just Plain Wrong About Democrats Moving 'Too Far Left'

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    David A. Love
    Despite running for president and energizing the nation just a decade ago as a center-left candidate with a message of hope and change, Obama seems to think America does not need systemic change, and Democrats should not rock the boat or make any sudden moves. (Photo by Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images)
    Despite running for president and energizing the nation just a decade ago as a center-left candidate with a message of hope and change, Obama seems to think America does not need systemic change, and Democrats should not rock the boat or make any sudden moves. (Photo by Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images)

              

    Obama Is Wrong to Push Democratic Party Centrism

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    Leland Nally
    It holds that Obama promised "Hope and Change" but instead delivered boilerplate centrism that produced a disillusioned working-class, paving the way for a right-wing populist resurgence. (Photo: Kent Kanouse/flickr/cc)
    It holds that Obama promised “Hope and Change” but instead delivered boilerplate centrism that produced a disillusioned working-class, paving the way for a right-wing populist resurgence. (Photo: Kent Kanouse/flickr/cc)

              

    Why Emmanuel Macron's attempt to reset relations with Russia will alienate his allies and come unstuck over Nato

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    Why Emmanuel Macron's attempt to reset relations with Russia will alienate his allies and come unstuck over NatoEmmanuel Macron's bold - some might say hubristic - attempt to redefine the nature of Nato will go down like a lead balloon with most member states.  At a mundane level, it is perfectly true to say that Russia is not Nato's enemy. No Nato country wants to go to war with Russia, and Russia certainly does not want a war with Nato.  And there certainly are good reasons for all Nato members to to worry about other threats like terrorism and the deteriorating situation in the Sahel. But for Central European members who neighbour Russia,  Nato's old raison d'etre is as important now as ever before because - put bluntly - Russia is and remains their main security threat.  For them, being in an alliance that Russia does not want to risk a war with is the whole point.  Those members will be very guarded about any proposals from the French that look like an attempt to water that down. Besides coming across as an arrogant dismissal of the security concerns of several member states, there is something else bothersome  - if not frankly wearisome - about Mr Macron's recent pronouncements.  Royal Marines preparing for a Nato exercise in Denmark Credit: Paul Hall There is a well established tradition of bright young Western politicians thinking they can clear up "misunderstandings" with Russia with a "reset" of the mess made by their predecessors - only to get upset when Vladimir Putin continues to pursue his vision of Russian interests anyway.  Barack Obama tried it. So did David Cameron. Both found that Vladimir Putin simply has a different vision of how the world should be - and what is in his country's interests.  What Mr Macron is about to discover - if his foreign policy advisors have not already explained it to him - is that Russia views Nato as a fundamentally hostile alliance that poses a threat to its own national security and foreign policy interests.  The long term strategic vision in Moscow is for either a new European security space - in other words disbandment of Nato and its replacement with OSCE or something similar as the main forum for settling security questions on the continent - or, failing that, establishment of deterrence and respect for its "sphere of interests" - for example in Ukraine - with whatever means are effective.  So if  Mr Macron wants to clear up "misunderstandings" with Russia, he can either disband Nato entirely or sacrifice what many of its members believe to be their central security and foreign policy interests.  Good luck getting that past your allies.



              

    The U.S. Army’s Worst Tradition: Never Ready for the Next War

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    The U.S. Army’s Worst Tradition: Never Ready for the Next WarGettySince the end of the Cold War, the U.S. Army has been consistently ranked as the most capable land force on the globe by defense analysts of all stripes. So why are so many people in the American military community today worried about the Army’s ability to deter conflicts with likely adversaries or prevail against those adversaries in future wars?The short answer is that warfare, always a mysterious amalgam of art, science, and guts, has become an increasingly complicated and unpredictable enterprise. America’s leading potential adversaries, China and Russia, have shown no small measure of imagination and dexterity in identifying the U.S. armed forces’ vulnerabilities, and exploiting them through the development of subtle yet aggressive geopolitical strategies, and increasingly lethal armed forces.Both “near peer competitors” may well be ahead of the U.S. military in applying newly emerging technologies—artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous systems, hypersonic weapons, and nanotechnology—to the ancient military problems of constricting an adversary’s maneuver, neutralizing its offensive weapons, and disrupting its command and control.These cutting-edge technologies, writes Christian Brose, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “will enable new battle networks of sensors and shooters to rapidly accelerate the process of detecting, targeting, and striking threats, what the military calls the ‘kill chain.’”Mattis: ‘No Enemy’ Has Done More Harm to Military Readiness Than CongressHow is it that “the most lethal land force in world history” finds itself in this unenviable position? While the Army exhausted itself fighting two frustrating and inconclusive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last 19 years, both Russia and China embarked on grand strategies of regional hegemony designed to undermine the rules-based international order that emerged after World War II under American leadership. Both of these rising powers have developed myriad ways to sew discord and dissent in America’s network of alliances and to expand their spheres of influence.Beijing presents its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as the best path for underdeveloped countries in Asia and Africa to gain access to modern infrastructure, capital, and prosperity. In practice, it’s plain that under the guise of building ports, roads, and communications infrastructure around the globe, China is engaged in predatory lending practices meant to gain political leverage and privileged access to foreign assets.In the South China Sea, Beijing has militarized seven hotly disputed islets, and is attempting to pinch the U.S. forces out of this strategically sensitive area entirely, even though international courts have declared China’s claims to these waters to be without foundation.Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has run rings around the Obama and Trump administrations in the chess game of international politics. He successfully annexed the Crimea in 2014 from Ukraine, and interfered in the presidential election of 2016 via “active measures,” i.e., information warfare aimed at creating confusion and conflict in the American body politic. Moscow also successfully intervened on behalf of the brutal Assad regime in Syria, and Russia is now a major player in the Middle East.As demonstrated in the Ukraine, the Russians are the master practitioners of “hybrid warfare,” in which conventional military operations—and the threat of such operations—are closely integrated with propaganda, proxy campaigns, cyber warfare, coercive diplomacy, and economic threats.Both Russia and China have revitalized creaky and obsolete military establishments into first-class warfighting organizations. The consensus among Western military analysts is that in their respective spheres of influence, both countries have sufficiently sophisticated “anti-access area denial” (A2AD) capabilities to inflict severe punishment on American forces attempting to penetrate those spheres in order to challenge aggression or come to the aid of an ally. According to Army General Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both Russia and China are “deploying capabilities to fight the United States through multiple levels of standoff in all domains—space, cyber, air, sea, and land. The military problem we face is defeating multiple levels of standoff… in order to maintain the coherence of our operations.”Gen. Milley and the rest of the Army’s top brass are well aware that their service is currently a rusty instrument for carrying out high intensity operations warfare against either potential adversary. The Army Strategy, an 11-page, single-spaced document published in October 2018, provides a rough blueprint for the service’s plan to transform itself from a counterinsurgency-oriented organization into the leading practitioner of high intensity war by 2028.It won’t be easy. The Army Strategy calls for truly sweeping, even revolutionary, changes in doctrine, training, and organization of forces.For the first time since the Cold War, the Army has to reconfigure itself to be able to fight and win in a contested environment, where it will not have undisputed control over the air and sea. At the same time, it must prepare to engage potential adversaries more or less continuously in “gray zone conflict.” General Joseph Votel, the recently retired head of Special Operations Command, succinctly defines this concept as “conflicts characterized by intense political, economic, informational, and military competition more fervent in nature than normal diplomacy, yet short of conventional war.”The Army Strategy describes four lines of effort to reach the service’s chief objective by 2028, in this order of priority: Readiness, modernization, department reform, and building alliances and partnerships. The last two lines are more or less pro forma in every American military strategy document I’ve read over the last 30 years: reduce waste and inefficiency, and work with allies to insure military interoperability. The first two lines are worth a close look, for they illuminate the broad contours of the service’s quest to regain its pre-eminence in great power conflict. The quest to enhance readiness begins with plans to increase the size of the regular army to over half a million men from its current level of 476,000. In a departure from recent practice, all units earmarked for contingency operations and overseas deployments will be fully manned and given state of the art equipment before deploying. In order to increase the size of the service, the quality and quantity of recruiters and instructors will be increased.The focus of Army unit training will shift from counterinsurgency operations to high intensity fighting, where the adversary is assumed to have cutting edge A2AD, offensive weapons, and cyber systems.Deployments of Army units around the world will be less predictable and more rapid that they’ve been to date, as the Army and the other armed services begin to put the “Dynamic Force Deployment” concept to work. This concept is closely associated with former Secretary of Defense James Mattis. It’s also classified, and few details have been released for public consumption. But the core idea, as Mattis explained in 2018, is for the U.S. military to “stop telegraphing its punches.” Combat forces and their support units will be moving in and out of potential flashpoint areas more frequently and at unpredictable intervals in order to proactively shape the strategic environment.Improving readiness also involves important upgrades in the Army’s defensive missile systems to counter China and Russia’s formidable A2AD systems. A new lower-tier air and missile defense sensor project will enhance the ability of Patriot missiles to identify and track targets at long range by 2022. Beginning in 2021, Stryker light armored vehicles will be equipped with a new air defense system to protect mechanized battalions and brigades as they maneuver in harm’s way.Missile system upgrades, coupled with an entirely new generation of combat vehicles, both manned and unmanned, will allow the Army of the future to penetrate adversary defenses with an acceptable degree of loss.Ensuring readiness to fight is the top priority of the Army until 2022. After that date, the service plans to turn close attention to implementing entirely new operational concepts and “technologically mature” systems that are currently in the research and development phase.The overarching goal is to be able to conduct sustained “multi-domain operations” against either potential adversary, and win, by 2028. In the modernization phase, the Army plans to introduce a host of new long-range precision weapons, including hypersonic missiles that travel at more than five times the speed of sound. An entirely new generation of combat vehicles and vertical lift aircraft, i.e., new helicopters and aircraft with capabilities similar to those of the V-22 Osprey, both manned and unmanned, are currently in the works.The new Army Network will be an integrated system of hardware, software, and infrastructure capable of withstanding formidable cyber assaults.The leading war-fighting concept at the foundation of the Army’s modernization effort, though, is clearly “multi-domain operations (MDO).” The first thing to be said about the concept is that it’s very much inchoate. Discussions with several active-duty Army officers suggest even those “in the know” about this classified concept have only a hazy idea of how such operations will work in the field, for the simple reason that many of the systems such operations hope to integrate are still in the early stages of development.The Army has only one experimental MDO unit on active duty. It is deployed in the Indo-Pacific Command and built around a conventional rocket and missile brigade. The brigade contains a unique battalion devoted to intelligence, information, cyber, electronic warfare and space operations (I2CEWS). According to Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., an editor at Breaking Defense, the I2CEWS battalion “appears to not only pull together data from outside sources—satellites, drones, spy planes—to inform friendly forces of threats and targets, it also wages war in cyberspace and across the electronic spectrum, hacking and jamming the sensors and networks that tell the enemy where to shoot.”The commander of Army forces in the Indo-Pacific, Gen. Robert Brown, recently told reporters that his experimental brigade has performed brilliantly “in at least ten war games” against what are presumably Chinese and Russian forces. Before the advent of the new unit, American forces repeatedly failed to penetrate either rivals’ anti-access area denial systems with acceptable casualties in war games. Another experimental brigade is expected to enter service in Europe soon.The U.S. Army has a long and unenviable history of being ill-prepared to fight the next war. The French and British had to train U.S. Army units before they were deployed in World War I. The Army entered World War II as the 17th largest army in the world, with underpowered tanks, airplanes, and ancient rifles. The Army that went to Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan had trained long and hard to engage in conventional operations against nation states, but was ill-prepared, psychologically or organizationally, for counter-insurgency war. The Army’s ability to adapt to new developments has long been hampered by infighting and excessive conservatism in the upper reaches of the service’s hierarchy.To remedy this problem, in July 2018 the Army created the Futures Command (AFC). Its purpose is to unify the service-wide modernization effort under a single command, and oversee the development of new doctrine, equipment, organization, and training. According to Gen. John Murray, its head, the AFC “will conduct war-fighting and technology experimentation together, producing innovative, field-informed war-fighting concepts and working prototypes of systems that have a low risk of… being rejected by future war fighters. There are no game-changing technologies. There are only game-changing combinations of war-fighting concepts, technologies and organizations.”To say that General Murray has his work cut out for him is a massive understatement. He surely has one of the most difficult and important assignments in modern military history. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



              

    REPORT: Iran On The Brink

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    During the Obama years, Iran was rewarded time and time again for bad behavior up to and including pallets of cash flown in under cover of darkness so that the Obama administration could bypass sanctions passed by Congress. The result? Iran continued to be the #1 sponsor of global terror, continued to scream “Death to […]

    The post REPORT: Iran On The Brink appeared first on DCWhispers.com.


              

    Matthew T. Mangino: Where have all the heroes gone?

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    William D. Ruckelshaus died this week. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented Ruckelshaus with the nation’s highest civilian honor - the Medal of Freedom.
              

    Reviews from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): Michael Novakhov from Michael_Novakhov (17 sites): Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠: US, Russia Cooperating In Syria Despite Disagreements - OpEd

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    Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Eurasia Review.

    By Yasar Yakis*

    Russia’s involvement in the Syrian crisis may have changed several paradigms for the US but, after a while, Washington acquiesced to Moscow becoming a party to the conflict, if not a partner.

    There has been one major difference between Moscow and Washington in their handling of the Syrian crisis: US policy was to overthrow the Assad regime while Russia was trying to save it and thwart the American efforts.

    The fight against Daesh ushered in a new situation. Protracted deliberations took place within the Obama administration on whether the priority should be given to fighting Daesh or Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra-linked groups. From autumn 2014, the Pentagon gave first priority to destroying Daesh. The US would continue fighting Daesh while Russia could fight in areas out of the reach of US forces, such as Palmyra and Deir Ezzor. The US could thus keep the Russian forces away from what was called the “useful Syria” — the west of the country. The moderate armed opposition factions were strong in these areas and, therefore, the US could support their fight against the regime.

    At that time, a Russian proposal to set up a joint operation center in Jordan was rejected by the US. In retrospect, this rejection may have helped the US to further harass the Syrian regime and weaken it, while on the other it prolonged the elimination of the armed opposition and caused additional civilian casualties.

    Today, there is cooperation between the US and Russia, especially in northeast Syria. The ambiguity in the US attitude renders this cooperation difficult. This ambiguity is due to the lack of full agreement between the major powerhouses in Washington, especially the White House and the Pentagon.

    As Turkey in October launched the military operation dubbed “Peace Spring,” the US withdrew its soldiers from the region. One of its abandoned bases was the Metras military airfield, 30 kilometers south of Ain Al-Arab.

    On Nov. 1, US troops returned to the base, with American leaders saying they would use the airfield for the delivery of supplies needed to establish new military bases in the region. They left again before the Russian military police arrived at the airport on Nov. 15.

    There may be a tacit or even an explicit agreement between the US and Russia. Two major actors in a crisis area will have converging and diverging interests and it is only natural they do their best to avoid unnecessary confrontations.

    There are two other areas in the Syrian crisis on which the US and Russia disagree. One is how to end the conflict. The US prefers a solution that refuses any role to Bashar Assad in Syria’s future, while Russia supports Assad’s regime.

    The other disagreement is about the future status of the Kurds in Syria. On this issue, their respective policies are close but not identical. They both want to hold the Kurdish card because it provides important leverage in a tumultuous region fraught with risks. The US is eager to promote the Kurdish identity and use it to put pressure on the Syrian government for a solution that it prefers. It prefers to let the Kurds maintain their existing self-declared cantons — Jazira, Kobani and Afrin — and let the Kurdish cause evolve in the direction of regional autonomy, like the one in the north of Iraq. In a longer-term perspective, the US is eager to see an independent Kurdistan that may contribute to the security of Israel.

    Russia is in favor of the recognition of Kurdish identity within the territorial integrity of Syria. This may be in the form of devolution of power to the municipalities inhabited predominantly by the Kurdish population. Russia does not have a strong position on the long-term future on this subject and seems to want to leave it to evolve under its own dynamics.

    On the Kurdish issue, Turkey is also a player. Its various military operations in Syria were aimed at interrupting the emergence of a Kurdish belt on its southern frontier. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that, if the area is not entirely cleared of the Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), Ankara may launch yet another military operation. This defiant statement was later negated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said: “Ankara assured Moscow that Turkey was not seeking a new military operation in Syria.” So Ankara denied its own minister’s statement.

    Turkey’s Syria policy differs to a great extent from that of the US and Russia. In light of these divergent positions, it is difficult to expect an early solution to the Syrian crisis. Unfortunately, the Syrian people may suffer as long as the foreign actors do not agree on a workable common position.

    • Yasar Yakis is a former foreign minister of Turkey and founding member of the ruling AK Party. Twitter: @yakis_yasar

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    Reviews from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): Michael Novakhov from Michael_Novakhov (17 sites): Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠: Is Barr's Justice Department allowing probes that threaten Trump?

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    Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Political stories from Newsday.

    The unusual suspects

    In William Barr, Donald Trump seemed to have gotten the protector he wanted in an attorney general.

    Barr argues sweeping claims of executive privilege against congressional subpoenas for White House witnesses and the president's tax returns. He put a Trump-favoring prerelease spin on the Mueller report. He obliges Trump's demand to investigate the Russia investigators.

    But the lengths to which Barr will go to defend and appease Trump may face an even tougher test. According to Politico, legal experts see signs that the Justice Department is laying the groundwork for a potential criminal probe into whether the president and his top advisers broke federal laws in the Ukraine scandal.

    The FBI has already contacted an attorney for the whistleblower who first revealed the effort to leverage military aid and a White House audience for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in exchange for investigations Trump wanted of political rivals. In New York, federal prosecutors are expanding a probe into Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and have indicted two of Giuliani's associates who were deeply involved in Ukraine schemes.

    When the whistleblower complaint surfaced in September, a Justice spokeswoman said Trump had been cleared of any campaign finance violations from his July 25 call with Zelensky. But a senior DOJ official said that didn't mean Justice wouldn't examine other issues. Legal experts and several Democratic lawmakers say those other issues could include a conspiracy to commit bribery and extortion by conditioning an official government act.

    According to The Washington Post, when Trump wanted Barr to hold a news conference declaring that the commander in chief had broken no laws, the attorney general wouldn't do it. However, Barr has embraced the long-standing Justice opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted while in office.

    Despite the moves on several fronts by Justice prosecutors and FBI agents, Democrats say they have little confidence the department under Barr will follow the law no matter where it leads. "It’s Bill Barr protecting the president,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. “The way to handle it would have been to appoint a special counsel to investigate all these matters.”

    GOP: All's unfair

    With impeachment proceedings moving to a new phase, Republicans signaled on the Sunday talk show circuit that their strategy will remain the same — attacking the process as unfair, even as they and Trump have been invited to mount a defense.

    Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), a Judiciary Committee member, said he thought it “would be to the president’s advantage” to have counsel participate in the panel's hearings, which open Wednesday. “But I can also understand how he is upset at the illegitimate process that we saw unfold in the Intelligence Committee,” he added.

    The White House hasn't said whether it will send anyone.

    Rep. Douglas A. Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on Judiciary, said the Democratic Intelligence Committee chairman, Adam Schiff, should be called to testify. "If he chooses not to, then I really question his veracity in what he’s putting in his report,” Collins said.

    Janison: Serving up fantasy

    Trump won't let go of the groundless and convoluted story about a Democratic National Committee computer server from 2016 that contains undefined secrets getting hidden away in Ukraine by a "Ukrainian company" called CrowdStrike, writes Newsday's Dan Janison.

    As he rambled on about it during a live call-in to "Fox & Friends" last week, even host Steve Doocy sounded a note of skepticism. "Are you sure they did that? Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?” he asked. “Well, that’s what the word is,” the president replied. 

    There is no missing server. CrowdStrike, a California company that has worked for both parties, gleaned images from the hard drives and gave the information from the cloud-based backup to the FBI for the investigation of Russian hacking of the DNC. Former Trump homeland security adviser Tom Bossert has blamed Rudy Giuliani for stoking Trump's belief in the "completely debunked" story.

    But current administration officials have tiptoed around his claims and indulged his demands for investigation.

    Sex, lies and impeachment

    Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) the only House Democrat to have worked on both the Nixon and Clinton impeachment proceedings, said Trump's alleged misconduct is worse than either of those predecessors.

    "Lying about sex does not disrupt the constitutional order. It does not threaten the national security," she said on CNN of the failed Republican-led impeachment against Bill Clinton. "We're not pursuing President Trump's lying about sex. His former lawyer [Michael Cohen] is in prison because he lied about the president's affairs."

    In Richard Nixon's case, while he tried to "use the leverage" of the government to cover up the Watergate burglary, he did not involve other foreign nations, Lofgren said.

    “If you take a look at what the Founding Fathers were concerned about, it was the interference by foreign governments in our political system that was one of their gravest concerns," she said. "Nixon's behavior didn't fall into that range. So, in that way, this conduct is more serious.”

    Majority rues

    Both Mitch McConnell's Senate Republicans and Nancy Pelosi's House Democrats face challenges in defending their majorities in the 2020 elections, according to analyses by Roll Call.

    While Democrat Doug Jones of Alabama is rated the most vulnerable senator up for reelection, seven of the 10 senators on Roll Call's list are Republican. Jones won a special election in the deep red state in 2017 after his hard-right GOP opponent Roy Moore imploded over allegations of sexual misconduct with underage girls.

    On the House side, eight of the 10 most vulnerable members are Democrats, including freshman Max Rose of Staten Island.

    Donny, I hardly know ye

    Trump is openly a fan of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has sent word to his admirer as U.K. elections approach: Don't help me.

    Current plans call for them to avoid a one-on-one meeting at this week's NATO summit in London. Polls favor Johnson, and he doesn't want Trump's unpopularity in Britain to ruin it.

    What else is happening:

    • Trump's intervention on behalf of a Navy SEAL tried for war crimes has left him more removed than ever from a disenchanted military command, The New York Times reports. A Pentagon hierarchy wedded to long-standing rules of combat and discipline faced a commander in chief with no military experience but a sense of grievance against authority
    • Joe Biden told an Iowa crowd that his mother would’ve said that Trump’s mouth should be washed out with soap. Biden has had his own suds-worthy moments at a hot mic.
    • Andrew Yang raised $750,000 on Nov. 30, his single best fundraising day to date of the Democratic hopeful's campaign, Politico reported.
    • Cory Booker, struggling to qualify for the next debate, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that his campaign messaging is "working." He then conceded that "it's not translating to people choosing me in the polls." 
    • If you didn't know former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak was running for the Democratic nomination, no worries. He dropped out Sunday.
    • Trump has spoken favorably of a bipartisan Senate bill to lower prescription drug prices. But a GOP sponsor, Sen. Chuck Grassley, said the president hasn't leaned hard enough on McConnell to let it advance, according to Politico.


    Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠

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    Pompeo States a Home Truth, and the Media Mostly Mocks

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    by Hugh FitzgeraldWhen Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on November 18 that the Administration did not regard Israeli settlements in the West Bank as violating international law, there was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth among the Great and Good in our media. The New York Times characteristically did not bother to address the truth or falsehood of Pompeo s statement. It merely damned the remark for constituting a reversal of decades of American policy that may doom any peace efforts. Readers were made to understand that this claim as to the legality of Israeli settlements must be wrong and all those previous administrations, headed by the likes of the antisemitic Jimmy Carter, and the anti Israel George H. W. Bush and anti Israel Barack Obama, that declared them illegal, must surely have been right.What s more, the Times article on Pompeo grimly predicted that this reversal of American policy may doom any peace efforts. One might have thought that peace effor...
              

    mikenov on Twitter: Obama filled US government with communists thebl.com/us-news/obama-…

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    Obama filled US government with communists thebl.com/us-news/obama-…




    mikenov on Twitter
              

    Comment on Another win by morganB

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    That's great, but using Trump as a savior is ignoring his moral and patriotism disaster over the past three years. We are lifetime Republicans who have been abandoned by our church and our party. To be duplicitous at a time of darkness and mayhem is contrary to anything I know about Catholicism. Just a few serious falsehoods of Trump... Spent 6 years trying to prove thet President Obama was not an American citizen. at a ralley he finally admitted Obama was a citizen and without an apology. Caters to and supports tyrants Putin, Kim and Xhi not knowing he is commits treason because we are at war with China and Russia. Defies his intelligence pros by insisting that Ukraine,. not Russia hacked our election for president. Trump lies so much that he has our allies and more importantly, our adversaries confused. He married his third wife Millennia who was pregnant with Barron while he was philandering with a whore. He targets Joe Biden as his political opponent and seeks to disparage him continually when Biden is not uet his nominated adversary. Like trying to shoot a running dear with a water pistol!! And on... and on.
              

    In Which The Men Going Their Own Way Go Their Own Way On Thanksgiving

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    Hello from beautiful Warwick, Rhode Island (say nothing, anyone who has ever actually been to Warwick, Rhode Island)! I am here, in town, hanging with my family this year, and I consider myself super lucky to be doing so. Because sure, I love them a whole lot, but also because it means that in addition to Thanksgiving dinner I can also eat a shit ton of clam cakes and hot wieners and maybe a coffee cabinet and other things that probably sound completely insane to anyone not from here, but which I assure you are very delicious.

    Of course, I am not a man going his own way — the misogynists who, according to themselves, are the luckiest fellas in all the land because instead of dating or marrying or even just hanging out with women like normal, they get to be free to complain about us on the internet all day, every day, including on Thanksgiving. Thrilling!

    r/mgtow


    It's been a while since we've been down this road, so in case you need a refresher, MGTOWs — Men Going Their Own Way — are the most hilarious subsection of the manosphere. Basically they are dudes who have decided that all women are evil and out to "divorce rape" them (by which they mean, marry them in order to divorce them and take all of their moneys) and/or use them to get a free drink at the bar and then not even sex them up afterwards, and that they are better off alone. It's like a Lysistrata thing, except no one cares. Though they do like to imagine that women all over are shaking their fists at the sky because all of these quality men have decided they want nothing to do with us.

    While you may think that all MGTOWs spend their holidays alone, some of them do actually spend time with their families, whereupon they are forced to interact with women. This does not appear to go well!

    Now, I have empathy for anyone who is single and has to deal with the "When are you going to find a husband/wife!" type talk at family dinners. I am, in fact, also single, but no one bothers me about it, on account of how they are not assholes. However, this guy just seems like a jerk on all fronts:

    Man I just have to vent, my brothers wife is here and HOLY SHIT she is annoying ugly entitled and rude and 100% makes me so glad I'm single not married not dating.

    She asks me what I want for Xmas and I just told her gift cards because I like them! She said no what do you NEED and I told her (not bragging tone or anything) that I don't need anything because when I need something I just go out and buy it lol.

    So she says 'we need to get you out into the world,'. Seeing as how I just got back from Japan a couple of weeks ago (fun trip with mah dudebros) I was confused and asked for clarification. 'Dating world,' was the response.

    This pissed me off (I hate being shamed especially in my own house) told her that I've dated plenty and am sick of the poor options I seen before me and that I'm happy with the way things are. This shut her up but I'm sure it's not the last I'll hear from her.

    Another MGTOW responded to him by telling him his technique of saying that he, uh, only dates 19-year-olds.

    This almost exact thing has been happening to me. My brother is dating a girl with three kids and she says he has a friend for me. I said, "how old is she?" She said "31." I said I like 19 year olds just to get a rise out of her. I ain't mad at her. She's just a woman. My brother is a douche though. Happy thanksgiving, brothers. Find peace. If you don't find it alone, you'll never find it with the headache of a modern woman. I have a 9 year old daughter and I'm not sexist. It's the environment that has been constructed that I refuse to participate in. Been through the courts, had many psycho abusive women in my life. The only way for a man to protect himself is to be a lone wolf this day and age.

    "I'm not sexist, I just only like women from a time before I was born and also my own daughter who is still a child." Naturally.

    What is even better than all of this though is that some other MGTOW is like "Oh boy, if you are a lone wolf you will really like this song," which I am going to assume he wrote himself because I listened to it and it is just not a song anyone would recommend to anyone else if they did not personally write it. Because it is bad.

    LONE WOLF (The Song) Official Music Video youtu.be

    Personally, I do not like the MGTOWs co-opting this "lone wolf" thing as it is throwing a wrench in my plans to someday get a copy of this jacket.


    I don't know what this guy actually did for Thanksgiving, but he is very thankful for all of the manosphere and to not be enslaved by women... like a cat? Lot of mixed metaphors here!

    Women are Women Feminism is the laser pointer You're the cat. The quicker you figure out its a game you can never win, That you'll never figure out 'the rules' because there's only one that's intellectually consistent: Enslave men, The faster you can go your own way, Be free, And be happy.

    God bless you everyone! from the MGTOW's to the PUA's, even the the Incels, the Supreme Gentlemen of the Internet, To the redpilled warriors for truth, From the old codgers to the young bucks To the MRA's to the ghosts and monks To every netizen of the manosphere:

    This Thanksgiving I'm grateful for all you beautiful bastards each andevery one. To the red pilled black sheep everywhere, from the bottom of my heart; Thank You. Thank you for giving me back my freedom. Thank you for giving me back my sense of dignity. Thank you for safeguarding and defending masculinity itself and personally for getting my back in my struggles against the evils that have plagued my family.

    To another year fighting the good fight side by side with my brothers.

    One MGTOW, for whatever reason, decided to "prove" that women who cook Thanksgiving dinner and act like it's a big deal are lying liars and claims that he did a whole turkey plus many sides... for himself. I'm not going to post the whole thing, because it is boring, but here is his conclusion:

    Let's see. I slept in, or alternately got up early and did all the basic chores and baby spider management. Went to market, bought stuff, downloaded movies, prepped an entire 7 item meal, managed to multitask chores, cleaning the kitchen, taking care of a furry baby, did laundry, put the kitchen back together, and was done 3 hours and 15 minutes later with a nice champagne buzz and I barely did an hour of actual work making the meal for tomorrow and several days of leftovers.

    Now I just have movies to watch, have sex with myself as a SAHM to keep my man happy.

    In several hours I'll spend 30 minutes stuffing a turkey then pressing some buttons on an oven. Tomorrow more of the same.

    Apparently house wives do have it hard. I realize I can't emulate a crying baby, but then women also don't use duct tape.

    Bunch of whiners. How hard this is, I really should go back to doing a "career" since I hate having total control of my life and home. Let my furry baby be raised by other people that maybe passed a background check, spend no time bonding with it, and I cannot possibly be fulfilled doing this with my child like mind.

    I demand hourly compensation for being a slave to my self-partner. He's so cruel and evil. I bet he''ll get drunk tonight and do nasty things and hurt my feelings when I look in the mirror.

    That's... normal. I guess what he's getting at here is that being a stay at home mom is easy and therefore it is mean of none of the women to want to be his stay at home wife? I guess?

    This MGTOW appears to have spent his holiday driving around in his car recording a YouTube video about how he hates his family and also his friends who are only there for "social reasons" and to "get a fix" from you every time you talk to them. What a charmer!

    MGTOW Thanksgiving (Thank You Red Pill) youtu.be


    Of course, while this post is about the MGTOWs, no weird Right-Wing Thanksgiving post would be complete in this day and age without some choice quotes from QAnoners banned from family events, on account of how they are terrible.


    "We're winning this"


    Transcript:

    I have virtually no friends left and am shunned by majority of my brainwashed family - its a very lonely unhappy place
    I deperately need to see the likes of Hillary ,Obama ,Podestas etc tried and dealt with for their crimes against children etc as that is the only thing that will make it all worthwhile
    and maybe make these friends and family see that I was only trying to show them the truth of it all

    This guy is gonna be waiting a long, long time.

    Anyway, I hope you guys all had a lovely and misogyny/conspiracy theory-free Thanksgiving! This is now your open thread for the day! Enjoy!

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    Baltimore Kids Boo-Urns Melania Trump, Nation So Sad About It

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    It looks like children don't like Melanie Trump any more than I do, and children eat their own boogers. The first lady showed her sorry ass at the B'More Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness yesterday, and a roomful of students greeted her with boos. If you think that's shockingly rude, keep in mind she was in Baltimore, Maryland, a city Donald Trump -- the man she married on a dare -- called a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" where "no human being would want to live." The president gave his scathing TripAdviser review in July. They're probably still real mad.

    Melania told the middle and high school students in attendance that "I'm in this fight for you, and I'm fighting for you." Some of the younger kids might still believe in Santa Claus, but none of them were dumb enough to believe this. She proceeded to share some warmed-over stale "just say no" pablum. The best thing I can say about her speech is that her coat was fierce.

    The holiday season is starting, so we all need to spend quality time with our families watching kids boo Melania Trump. Enjoy!

    Melania Trump Loudly Booed At Opioid Summit In Baltimore | Craig Melvin | MSNBC youtu.be


    Antia McBride, the chief of staff to former first lady Laura Bush, praised Melania for bravely venturing into what she made sound like a third-world nation instead of an American city with amazing fish sandwiches.

    MCBRIDE: Good for her for going there, it's a city that needs help and support. When you're a public figure, there's always a risk of this happening. But your visibility is needed on the issue. At the end of the day, that's the most important thing.

    No, the most important thing is the actual "help and support." Melania is not invisible, I'll give her that, but her mere existence on the physical plane isn't going to solve anything.

    This morning, on "Fox & Friends," Tomi Lahren decried the vulgar children who booed the queen consort. She wondered where these kids learned to "disrespect" others. I think they might've picked it up from the president who pissed on their hometown. Sensible people understand that true respect is mutual, but conservatives like Lahren don't want respect. They demand submission from those they consider inferior to them.

    LAHREN: They learn that because they don't believe they have to respect Melania or anyone with the last name of Trump, because the media and congressional leaders and Democrats have told them that they don't have to. That it's their moral right to do those things.

    Sure, lady, Baltimore schoolchildren follow the lead of House Democrats. "What would Schiffy do?" is something you frequently hear on the basketball courts. However, it is both our moral and constitutional right to express our displeasure with elected figures and their trophy wives. Republicans should take notes from their "small-R" republican friends across the pond and accept that this isn't a monarchy.

    LAHREN: This is an epidemic in this country. Not just of people like anyone with the last name of Trump, but just with young people being completely disrespectful.

    That is such absurd melodrama they should play "The Young & the Restless" theme in the background. I don't think people have a problem with everyone who's named Trump. They take issue with specific and uniquely terrible people who share that name. Lahren is a professional troll, so she's the last person who can complain about an "epidemic" of disrespect.

    Lahren also played the tiresome "imagine if she were Michelle Obama" game. Barack Obama didn't insult the entire city of Baltimore. This is apples and oranges that commit impeachable offenses. If she wants a world where everyone's treated equally regardless of their actual actions, she can become the strawman socialist everyone on Fox News mocks. There are no participation trophies for politicians, either. It's not a liberal media conspiracy if more people like the Obamas than the Trumps. Maybe the Trumps just aren't working hard enough like the poor people Fox pundits believe don't deserve a living wage or decent health care.

    Before we go, here's a clip of Melania Trump "respectfully" spreading birther bullshit about Obama in 2011.

    Feel free to boo the first lady on your way out.

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    Trump's New Personal Vietnam Is His Made-Up War On Thanksgiving

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    Donald Trump congratulated himself last night for his daring rescue of Thanksgiving. I know the holiday came a little later this year, but I didn't think it was in any serious peril. The president kicked off his Florida rally with the bizarre claim that liberals hate Thanksgiving so much they don't even want to call it "Thanksgiving."

    TRUMP: As we gather together for Thanksgiving, you know, some people want to change the name Thanksgiving. They don't want to use the term Thanksgiving. And that was true also with Christmas. But now everybody's using Christmas again. Remember this?

    I recall the entirely made-up "War on Christmas," but it's hard to notice the ending of something that never existed in the first place. Trump is probably one of those people who freak out over the concept of "Friendsgiving," which is a separate event all together.


    Fox News had a meltdown recently over a Huffington Post article by Alexandra Emanuelli about the "environmental impact of your Thanksgiving dinner." No one at the network bothered to read beyond the headline and just assumed Emanuelli demanded we abolish Thanksgiving so baby seals could live. This nonsense somehow found its way into Trump's head because Fox is the president's primary source of information about the world. But no one said anything about changing the name of Thanksgiving to "Day Before Black Friday."

    TRUMP: Now we're going to have to do a little work on Thanksgiving. People have different ideas. Why it shouldn't be called Thanksgiving. But everybody in this room, I know, loves the name Thanksgiving. And we're not changing.

    Even the president's loyal acolytes on "Fox & Friends" had trouble this morning wrapping their heads about his gibberish.

    BRIAN KILMEADE: I don't think there's a huge push to change the name of Thanksgiving, is there?

    STEVE DOOCY: Well, you know, I think it was in 2015, there was a rumor that Barack Obama wanted to change the name of Thanksgiving, but that was debunked.

    Conservative blogs "reported" in 2015 that Obama planned to issue an executive order changing Thanksgiving to "Celebrate Immigrants Day." It's amazing to see someone on Fox News actually acknowledge that this was just a right-wing myth. It's a Transgender Tofurky Day miracle! Doocy gamely tried to connect Trump's mental collapse to the HuffPost article. The Fake Ainsley Earhardt said it was important to maintain the "tradition" of traveling great distances to see family members you barely tolerate, just like the pilgrims. She went on to suggest that the "issue people have with potentially changing that name" (NO ONE'S TALKING ABOUT CHANGING THE NAME) is that through the name "Thanksgiving," Americans express gratitude for what we have. Unfortunately, Trump believes Thanksgiving is a time when we should feel grateful he's president. During an interview with Bill O'Reilly this week, the president brought a wilted word salad to the table.

    TRUMP: This is a great country and I hear all sorts of things that people want to get away, change the name of Thanksgiving. … you hear things that are just so incredible. Thanksgiving is a very special time and it's really giving thanks, to me.

    Tomorrow, while you're appreciating all Trump has done for us, don't forget to also set aside time for petty grievances. Trump couldn't even pardon a turkey like a normal president without roasting Adam Schiff and whining about his many legal problems. Bill Clinton managed to behave like a mammal during Thanksgiving of 1998, and his life was a steaming pile. Republicans were actively impeaching him. His marriage wasn't in great shape, either. He probably just had a cold turkey sandwich and a beer alone in the White House basement. No matter how annoying your conservative relatives are, try to follow 1998 Bubba's example. And when carving the turkey, don't forget to flip Trump the bird.

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    PLAY FREEBIRD! Wonkagenda For Wed., Nov. 27, 2019

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    Morning Wonketariat! Most of us are preparing for the War on Thanksgiving, so things will be fairly quiet today, but here's some of the things we may be talking about!


    The New York Times reports Trump was briefed about the Ukrainium One whistleblower complaint BEFORE he decided to unfreeze military aid to Ukraine. In theory, this negates the main GOP talking point that Trump unfroze the aid ("so what?") as it suggests Trump only released the aid AFTER he realized he was caught with his hand in the golden cookie jar.

    Mark Sandy, the White House Office of Management and Budget official who came forward to spill his guts to the House impeachment inquiry, testified that two OMB officials quit their jobs in response to Trump's Ukrainium One scheme. A transcript from Sandy's Nov 16. testimony shows one official in OMB's legal division was concerned the White House was attempting to use a legally dubious back door to cancel congressionally approved military aide to Ukraine, violating the 1974 Impoundment Control Act, by simply blocking disbursement of the aid until Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. Roll Call notes livid Democrats on the House Budget and Appropriations committees are unlikely to hold more hearings in the last few legislative days of 2019 but are fuming at all the evidence OMB refused to cough up, pissed about the administration's numerous attempts to screw with foreign aid, and also threatening to put a leash on OMB's purse. An OMB spox said it was the "same old spin." [Transcript]

    The House Judiciary Committee intends to push ahead with the impeachment inquiry, scheduling hearings for Dec. 4 of next week. AP reports the hearings will feature legal eagles squawking about constitutional powers, and that Trump and his TV lawyers have been invited to question witnesses. Democrats are still aiming to wrap impeachment proceedings up by the end of the year.

    New polls show Rep. Adam Schiff's Impeach-a-Palooza helped swing some more people. A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows support for impeachment sitting at 47-40, while a CNN/SSRS poll shows support at 50-43 percent.

    The House Oversight Committee is suing Attorney General Bill Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, trying to force them to comply with a subpoena as part of an investigation into the administration's attempt to add a citizenship question on the 2020 census. The administration has claimed it has super double-secret executive privilege and doesn't need to listen to Congress's request for documents; the suit argues, "Executive Privilege cannot shield documents and communications that reveal how and why the Commerce Department made numerous false and misleading statements to the public, Congress, and the courts about the genesis of the citizenship question."

    Prosecutors and Mike Flynn's TV lawyer want to delay Flynn's sentencing until after Attorney General Bill Barr's stooge releases his investigation into the investigation of Trump-Russia fuckery in 2016. Last weekend multiple outlets reported that Barr's investigation into the investigation is expected to be a fool's errand that turned up doodly squat.

    Fighting between top health officials in the Trump administration has led to a delay of a long proposed TrumpCare stuff. Politico reports infighting between Alex Azar and Seema Verma has created a Game of Thrones-like scenario with the two competing to undercut one another.

    The New York Times has a heart breaking investigation into how FEMA aid to Puerto Rico has stalled when compared to our mainland states.

    Texas Democrats got their hands on Republicans' 2020 strategy reports the Dallas Morning News. The document details how the GOP intends deal with the "polarizing nature" of Donald Trump, and try to flip 12 districts by spending a few hundred bucks to camp on various web domains. After the March 3 primary, Republicans would launch "microsites" overflowing with hatchet jobs against Democratic candidates.

    Do you guys remember that time Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat Michael Bloomberg tried to play both sides by donating to Republicans so that Sen. Mitch McConnell could keep screwing with poor people? The FEC remembers! Bloomberg's campaign says that he only gave money to Republicans to "get things done," and he "doesn't share their values." Bonus: Politico has an accidentally funny story about how Bloomberg (and his lackeys) think the campaign can overcome the perfect storm they're sailing into.

    Today is the deadline for candidates to appear on the California primary ballot, and I swear to Crom, I will make sure anyone who fucks up today's news cycle by announcing they're a Democratic candidate will spend the next six months washing turds off their tour bus.

    Obama went to California and hurt the feefees of some super rich donors by saying they need cough up more cash. People paid between $10,000 to $355,000, and then in strolls B. Barry Bamz to say, "If you've got a lot of money, give some more money. You can afford it. I know, because I can afford it. And, I see you all at the restaurants and these places. You know, I've been in some of your houses. I see what's happening with your accountants. You can do more. So, if you can do more, do more."

    New documents show the NRA was showering its suits with cash and perks while it simultaneously slashed spending for education and training, hunter services, volunteer services, and promotional events at gun shows. The NRA tells the Washington Post it "eliminated costly advertising," and its top priority is "investing in the projects and services that best serve our members and protect their Second Amendment freedoms."

    Trump held a rally in Florida where he yelled the impeachment inquiry into his Ukrainium One scheme was "bullshit," and claimed Democrats are trying to kill Thanksgiving. #WarOnThanksgiving

    Melania Trump was greeted by long, sustained boos and hissing in Baltimore upon taking the stage at the B'More Youth Summit for Opioid Awareness. The crowd of mostly high school and middle school students talked throughout her speech, and told reporters from the Washington Post that they felt Donald Trump was racist, and complained Melon had plagiarized former First Lady Michelle Obama's convention speech. #BeBest

    And here's your morning Nice Time: KITTIES!

    Cats vs Water www.youtube.com


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    Trump's Greatest Achievement: The Year 2020 Will Occur On His Watch

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    August 2020 will mark a century since women won the right to vote -- in the US -- as if they were humans and everything. Unfortunately, no matter how hard Nancy Pelosi tries, Donald Trump will most likely be president during this momentous occasion. Monday Trump signed the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, and the super genius wondered why we waited until now to celebrate a centennial.

    President Trump Participates in a Signing Ceremony for the Woman's Suffrage Centennial Coin Act youtu.be

    THE ACTUAL FUCKING PRESIDENT: I'm curious why wasn't it done a long time ago.

    Because it's a centennial coin. You need 100 years to make a century. These aren't my rules. Talk to the ancient Babylonians. This was the sort of TV sitcom "idiot boss" moment that makes you almost forget the current president is an accused sexual predator who extorts desperate foreign nations. Trump said himself that the Centennial Coin Act "directs the Treasury Department to issue 400,000 $1 silver coins in a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of women securing the right to vote." The coins will honor women who would've declined to stay in the same room with Trump, such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Ida B. Wells.


    jerry seinfeld - you're not very bright, are you? www.youtube.com

    We agree that commemorative coins to celebrate 50 years or even 25 years of suffrage would've been nice. People still used coins then. But a century is what we have now, and the president needs to stop asking stupid questions. Unfortunately, Trump has a bad habit of providing his own equally stupid answers.

    TRUMP: Well, I guess the answer to that is because now I'm president, and we get things done. We get a lot of things done that nobody else got done.

    It's true. We had our doubts that we'd actually make it to the year 2020 with Trump as president. Let's not count our chickens just yet -- a lot can happen in a month, but it looks like he showed us! Barack Obama was president for eight whole years, and 2020 never even happened once. He must've been on "colored president's time." (I'm black. Don't try this in the comments or at home.) Trump however finally got us back on track. He might even let it be 2020 for the whole year!

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    Tucker Carlson Just 'Joking' When He Said He's Serious About Rooting For Russia Like A Common Asset

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    Tucker Carlson has been called a "cheerleader" for Russia, and last night on his Fox News program, he busted out the pom-poms. During a discussion about impeachment with former Clinton adviser Richard Goodstein, Carlson fixated instead on the menace of Hunter Biden.


    CARLSON: Here you have Joe Biden's ne'er-do-well son using his father's position to make a million dollars a year in a business he knows nothing about.

    Yes, that is shocking. This is my shocked face, which you can't see because of how print works. Lindsey Graham claimed that Hunter Biden's employment with the Ukrainian gas company Burisma doesn't pass the "smell test." It's almost 2020, and conservatives have just awakened to the fact that the loser children of successful people often wind up with jobs for which they are in no way qualified. This is not just the daily reality of corporate America. It's also the ongoing reality of the Trump family. Jared Kushner might not receive a physical paycheck, but the American people pay a hefty price for his presence in the White House.

    Carlson defended Donald Trump as someone who, for "all his sins," has never "taken close to a million dollars a year from a Ukrainian energy company to do nothing because his dad is the vice president." Yes, the president never literally did what Carlson described. Instead, he attempted to extort a "favor" from Ukraine. Goodstein reminded Carlson that Trump never used the word "corruption" during his shakedown call. He wanted an "announcement" of a sham investigation into his political rival. That would easily serve as an in-kind donation to his re-election campaign well in excess of the million dollars Hunter Biden earned to sharpen pencils.


    CARLSON: Now, I know Hunter Biden, I actually like Hunter Biden, but that's totally corrupt and you know it. Why is it worse to ask about it than do it?

    This, by the way, is a sneak preview of Republican rhetoric during a Biden presidency. They will drag Uncle Joe as much as they did Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton but they'll preface everything with how much they like Biden personally. Graham said he "loves" Joe Biden as person. He once wept over the loss of Biden's son, Beau, but he'll paint a target on the back of his remaining one because he's a common gangster. It's not personal. It's strictly business.

    The president holding up military aid to an ally for his own personal benefit is the definition of an impeachable offense. It's not a senior shoplifting incident, where grandpa just forgot he had the funding in his bag and walked out of the store. This was a deliberate and malicious act. Goldstein tried to explain the real, human impact to his sociopathic host.

    GOODSTEIN: [P]eople are dying on the front lines. You think it's a joke --

    CARLSON: Why do I care? Why do I care what's going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?

    GOODSTEIN: Because, I'll tell you why -

    CARLSON: And I'm serious. Like, why do I care? And why shouldn't I root for Russia? Which I am.

    Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014. It's the aggressor. Even from the most self-centered "America first" perspective, only Vladimir Putin benefits if Russia parties like it's 1939. The US agreed to send $400 million in support to fight off Russia. It doesn't matter if Ukraine eventually received the funding (after Trump got caught). Using it as leverage over an already desperate nation is horrific. It's certainly not the big joke Carlson suggested it was at the end of his show.

    CARLSON: Earlier in the show, I noted that I was rooting for Russia in the contest between Russia and the Ukraine. Of course, I'm joking. I'm only rooting for America.

    The ghoul claimed he didn't care how badly Russia screwed Ukraine barely a half hour earlier. He even said, "I'm serious." Perhaps I'm too literal but that implies that someone is serious. This is is like when magicians say there's nothing up their sleeve, but there totally is something up their sleeve. Why do they even mention their sleeves if they're going to lie about them? Carlson wants to pretend when it's convenient that his nightly, white nationalist cabaret act is all a big joke, but this isn't "The Colbert Report," which had the benefit of airing on a network called Comedy Central. Carlson is paid $6 million a year to dismiss the deaths of 13,000 people with glib callousness. That's more corrupt than anything Hunter Biden's ever done.

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    The Next Evolutionary Step For Cloud Computing

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    Cloud Computing – What do The Flintstones, Barack Obama and cloud computing all have in common? They were all born in the swinging ’60s! You may think cloud computing is a relatively new concept, but its origins lie with ARPANET, the foundation for the modern network. Cloud computing has evolved over time, and today, the…
    Read more
              

    Juan Pablo Vielma — Mixed Integer Programming Methods for Machine Learning and Statistics, Dec 2

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    Abstract: More than 50 years of development have made mixed integer programming (MIP) an extremely successful tool. MIP’s modeling flexibility allows it describe a wide range of business, engineering and scientific problems, and, while MIP is NP-hard, many of these problems are routinely solved in practice thanks to state-of-the-art solvers that nearly double their machine-independent speeds every year. In this talk we show how a careful application of MIP modeling techniques can lead to extremely effective MIP-based methods for three problems in machine learning and statistics.

    The first problem concerns causal inference of treatment effects in observational studies [1]. For this problem we introduce a MIP-based matching method that directly balances covariates for multi-variate treatments and produces samples that are representative of a target population. We show how using the right MIP formulation for the problem is critical for large data sets, and illustrate the effectiveness of the resulting approach by estimating the effect that the different intensities of the 2010 Chilean earthquake had on educational outcomes. The second problem concerns the design of adaptive questionnaires for consumer preference elicitation [2]. For this problem we introduce an approximate Bayesian method for the design of the questionnaires, which can significantly reduce the variance of the estimates obtained for certain consumer preference parameters. We show how carefully modeling the associated question selection using MIP is crucial to achieving the required near-realtime selection of the next question asked to the consumer. The third problem concerns certifying that a trained neural network is robust to adversarial attacks [3]. For this problem we introduce strong MIP formulations that can significantly reduce the computational time needed to achieve the certification.

    [1] Building Representative Matched Samples with Multi-valued Treatments in Large Observational Studies. M. Bennett, J. P. Vielma and J. R. Zubizarreta. Submitted for publication, 2019. arXiv:1810.06707

    [2] Ellipsoidal methods for adaptive choice-based conjoint analysis. D. Saure and J. P. Vielma. Operations Research 67, 2019. pp. 295-597.

    [3] Strong mixed-integer programming formulations for trained neural networks. R. Anderson, J. Huchette, C. Tjandraatmadja and J. P. Vielma. In A. Lodi and V. Nagarajan, editors, Proceedings of the 20th Conference on Integer Programming and Combinatorial Optimization (IPCO 2019), Lecture Notes in Computer Science 11480, 2019. pp. 27-42.

    Bio: Juan Pablo Vielma is the Richard S. Leghorn (1939) Career Development Associate Professor at MIT Sloan School of Management and is affiliated to MIT’s Operations Research Center. Dr. Vielma has a B.S. in Mathematical Engineering from University of Chile and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His current research interests include the theory and practice of mixed-integer mathematical optimization and applications in energy, natural resource management, marketing and statistics. In January of 2017 he was named by President Obama as one of the recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Some of his other recognitions include the NSF CAREER Award and the INFORMS Computing Society Prize. He is currently an associate editor for Operations Research and Operations Research Letters, a member of the board of directors of the INFORMS Computing Society, and a member of the NumFocus steering committee for JuMP.
              

    Um grande debate sobre a humanidade

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    O biólogo americano Jared Diamond e o historiador israelense Yuval Harari no evento Cidadão Global (Foto: Leo Orestes)

     

    Juntos, eles já venderam mais de 50 milhões de livros em todo o planeta. Mas jamais haviam se reunido no mesmo evento. Até que o banco Santander, em parceria com o jornal Valor Econômico, alcançou esse feito inédito: o historiador israelense Yuval Noah Harari e o biólogo americano Jared Diamond foram as principais estrelas da segunda edição do evento Cidadão Global, o mesmo que, em 2017, havia trazido o ex­presidente americano Barack Obama.

    “Este evento nos desafia a pensar, a questionar certezas. É uma atitude fundamental, porque o que existia há dez anos não necessariamente funciona mais. Mais do que nunca, as pessoas precisam encontrar suas redes, suas conexões, para definitivamente criar valor”, afirmou, na sequência, Sérgio Rial, desde 2016 presidente do Santander Brasil. “Vivemos um processo de transformação brutal; vários agentes que estavam calados agora são ouvidos. Nunca houve tanta democracia. O resto está nas nossas mãos”, completou.

    Mudança global

    O primeiro a se apresentar, Harari comentou que seu colega foi uma grande inspiração: “Jared, minha maior inspiração foi você. Eu li seu livro e pensei: ‘nossa, as pessoas podem escrever obras assim!’”. A conexão entre os dois ficaria mais clara no encadeamento de informações e análises.

    Harari abordou o nacionalismo, suas origens e os mitos que o cercam. Explicou que a conexão entre cidadãos de um mesmo país, por si só, é bastante positiva. “Vamos derrubar alguns mitos sobre nacionalismo”, anunciou, para encadear o seguinte raciocínio: há 2 milhões de anos, os humanos viviam em agrupamentos muito pequenos. Posteriormente, passaram a se reunir em tribos, em que todos ainda se conheciam.

    Já as nações são muito mais recentes. Surgiram há 5 mil anos como agrupamentos organizados, em que as pessoas não necessariamente se conhecem, mas aceitam um mesmo governo, vivem sob as mesmas regras e se diferenciam, em termos conceituais.

    "Muitos líderes que se dizem nacionalistas, como o presidente americano, não o são", disse Yuval Harari (Foto: Leo Orestes)

     

     

    O autor, conhecido pelos best­sellers “Sapiens: Uma breve história da humanidade”, “Homo Deus: Uma breve história do amanhã” e “21 lições para o século 21”, explicou que o nacionalismo se baseia no respeito e na admiração pelos cocidadãos, e no ódio pelos estrangeiros. “Muitos líderes que se dizem nacionalistas, como o presidente americano [Donald Trump], não o são”, explicou.

    “Para ser nacionalista de fato não é necessário construir muros, muito pelo contrário”, prosseguiu o autor, para quem o foco de uma nação está em defender seus interesses, mas respeitando as regras gerais que regem o jogo diplomático. É como uma Copa do Mundo de futebol, ele comparou. “Em muitos outros momentos da história, seria impensável enviar as seleções da França e do Brasil para disputar um torneio esportivo na Rússia”, comentou. “Mas só dá certo porque todos seguem as regras previamente combinadas.” E assim as nações podem agir em conjunto, respeitando suas especificidades, como uma orquestra.

    As regras que regem a relação entre nações, diz ele, vão se mostrar fundamentais para garantir que a humanidade supere três desafios que nenhum país, sozinho, seria capaz de encarar: a aniquilação nuclear, o aquecimento global e o desenvolvimento de tecnologias inovadoras. Esse terceiro fenômeno, afirma o historiador, está prestes a gerar, pela primeira vez na história do planeta, uma raça de seres artificiais e inteligentes. “Estamos criando seres muito diferentes de nós, humanos, mais do que nós somos diferentes dos macacos”, alertou. “Todos esses desafios só podem ser administrados e superados pelas nações em parceria.”

    Países em crise

    Na sequência, Jared Diamond focou no tema de seu mais novo livro, publicado em 2019: “Reviravolta: Como indivíduos e nações bem­sucedidas se recuperam de crises”. O autor de “Colapso: Como as sociedades escolhem o fracasso ou o sucesso” e ganhador do Prêmio Pulitzer pelo livro “Armas, germes e aço” comparou o Japão aos Estados Unidos.

    "As forças destrutivas estão crescendo em todo o mundo", alertou Jared Diamond (Foto: Leo Orestes)

     

    Quando foi atacado pelos americanos em 1853, o Japão se viu forçado a se abrir para o ocidente. Foi uma crise que o país solucionou mudando algumas estruturas sociais e modernizando suas indústrias. Em 1910, já era uma nação completamente diferente. Foi um caso muito bem­sucedido de nação que soube lidar com um período de grave questionamento sobre si mesma e sobre suas motivações.

    Já os Estados Unidos contemporâneos, diz ele, se comportam exatamente como uma pessoa em negação. “Os americanos não admitem que exista uma crise. Diante de qualquer problema, colocam a culpa nos outros, sejam os canadenses ou os chineses. Mas não são nem os canadenses nem os chineses que estão colocando em risco a democracia do país. Essa atitude não é saudável.” Diamond concorda que, à parte as crises específicas de cada nação, o mundo está diante de desafios que colocam a humanidade em risco. “As forças destrutivas estão crescendo em todo o mundo. Mas o reconhecimento dos problemas também está crescendo”, comentou.

    Ao final do evento, Jared Diamond e Yuval Harari conversaram com o advogado, professor e pesquisador brasileiro Ronaldo Lemos, diretor do Instituto de Tecnologia e Sociedade do Rio de Janeiro. Harari comentou por que não usa smartphones: “preciso de tempo sem essa sobrecarga de informações”. Diamond, por sua vez, mostrou seu celular, amarrado com elásticos, e contou que só o utiliza para fazer ligações e ver e­mails. “Minha esposa me fez comprar esse aparelho, mas ele fica desligado quase todo o tempo.”


              

    Red China's Big Problems

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    Some of you will recall George Friedman from his days at Stratfor.  He left that firm in 2015 and founded Geopolitical Futures.  He writes a bit about Red China.

    The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has begun minor operations to try to quell the unrest in Hong Kong. This is a step that the Chinese hoped to avoid. For one thing, they wanted to portray the unrest as minor, not requiring their intervention. For another, they did not want issues raised about Chinese human rights violations, which inevitably emerge in such interventions. At a time when China is trying to portray itself as the global alternative to the United States, it doesn’t want other countries, particularly those in Europe, noticing human rights abuses.

    This strategy took another huge blow with the leak over the weekend of government documents describing in detail a broad Chinese assault that has been underway for several years on the ethnic minority Uighur community in the western province of Xinjiang. The documents gave detailed accounts of massive detention camps for “retraining” purposes and the separation of families on a scale that is startling even for China. Beijing clearly wants to break the back of Islam in the province....
    The documents to which he refers are flat-out damning of the Red Chinese government.  This comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with Totalitarianism, of course.

    Anyhow, the repression of the Uighur Muslims is nasty business, and releasing documents about that business is serious.  So who released them?

    Friedman suspects that it was a dissident faction within the Central Committee, which is Xi's boss.

    ...The Central Committee is the ultimate arbiter of what China does, particularly if the president weakens and loses his way. ... The Central Committee is usually opaque, as it is now, but if there is opposition developing to Xi, and it is hard to imagine there is not, then release of these documents merely turns a known event into a global event, further showing Xi’s incompetence....
    Xi was supposed to 'handle' US Presidents.  That was easy with someone who could be purchased (Clinton), who was a bit......ahhh........stupid (Bush), or who was stupid AND gutless (Obama.)  But Trump is none of the above, and Trump knows what those bastards in Red China have done to the USA--and he wants it fixed.   Now.

    Xi is not up to the task of "handling" Trump.  As a result, the country is bleeding money, losing sales, and its banks have become models of instability.  There is insurrection in Hong Kong, the Dalai Lama is not going to shut up.......and now, China is forced to purchase US pork and TEA!!

    The AOSHQ's question is simple:  what if Trump IS as smart as he thinks he is??


              

    Small Ironies

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    Fred Thompson was a Republican, and served as a US Senator for a time.

    He was also an actor and played the role of the District Attorney in Manhattan on "Law and Order."

    In the episode titled "City Hall" first aired on 2/11/04, Thompson's character was adamantly in favor of the FISA court system; his two associate DA's and a defense lawyer were extreme skeptics about the power the FISA court had--and the potential for abuse.

    Well, here we sit, 15 years later, knowing that the FISA court's power was seriously abused by Obama, Comey, Brennan, and the other crooked perjurer Clapper--plus a cast of dozens in Federal agencies and the White House.

    Fred's probably rolling over in his grave.
              

    Ukraine Wanted Hillary in 2016

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    .........and a US citizen Ukrainian "consultant", Alexandra Chalupa, did her very best to help Hillary get elected.

    All that was published in a Politico article in January 2017--after Trump was elected.

    Apparently this woman wanted (and still wants) US foreign policy to tilt heavily in favor of the Ukraine and against Russia, which raises the question:  who the Hell is THIS dame to push the US around?

    But even more curious is this:  the Obama/Biden administration refused to send weapons to Ukraine; instead, they sent blankets and pillows and took a helluvalotta money for the Biden family and big-time Democrat donors/lawyers posing as "anti-corruption" hall monitors.

    So this woman's "activism" to "save the Ukraine" was all about sending more blankets?

    I don't think so.  

    This babe is just another Democrat hack who refuses to accept the fact that Hillary and the Democrat platform lost the election.  She used her Ukrainian-origin story to suck a bunch of money from the Democrats and from the Ukraine.

    In one word:  Grifter.



              

    Recapturing the "Reagan Democrats"

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    While Donald Trump has done a yeoman's job in moving the Overton Window towards normalcy--against all odds and against most of the Government--he needs help in making that shift permanent.

    Along comes Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO).

    ...As he explained in his Nov. 20 address, it’s a self-serving myth to think that anyone strives alone, outside of social grounding. So it was with regret that he added, “As it took hold in twentieth-century America, the Promethean ideal taught that the individual self exists apart from all social ties and relations.”

    This Promethean vision, Hawley continued, held that family, religion, neighborhood — that is to say, the context of one’s life — means little, because the Promethean “exists separate from all of them.”..
    Nope.  That's not Obama-Clintonism--because Hawley gets the "family-first" part that those socialist rabble-rousers prefer to forget.

    ...Hawley’s argument owes much to the conservative tradition; indeed, it is the conservative tradition of Aristotle, Edmund Burke, and Russell Kirk, emphasizing proper order and received wisdom as the glue of civilization....
    The upshot??

    ...Yet all Republicans should recognize that Hawley’s vision also offers the prospect of gaining Democratic family guys and gals — those plain folks on the other side of the divide who also believe in community, continuity, and safety. In such a come-together reckoning, fidelity to ideological exotica is less important than a simple commitment to protecting basic human needs and verities. Protecting people, that is, against the outsourcing of their jobs and the insourcing of trans bathrooms....

    In Wisconsin, the voters get that, as the Marquette Poll indicates.


              

    Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 11/26

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    Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news.

    Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also a place to discuss elections, not policy.

    Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday.

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 4:02:40 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    AK-Sen: Former Democratic Sen. Mark Begich is hosting a fundraiser next month for orthopedic surgeon Al Gross, an independent who is seeking the Democratic nomination. Gross already had the support of the state Democratic Party in his bid to take on Sen. Dan Sullivan, the Republican who narrowly ousted Begich in 2014, and he currently faces no serious primary opposition.

    Alaska backed Donald Trump 51-37, and neither party is acting like they expect this to be a major Senate battleground next year. Gross, though, may have the resources to make things interesting. The challenger, who entered the race in early July, raised $800,000 from donors and self-funded an additional $210,000 during the third quarter, and he ended September with $682,000 in the bank. Sullivan hauled in a smaller $667,000 during this time, but he finished the quarter with a $3.34 million war chest.  

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 4:28:35 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    AL-Sen: The anti-tax Club for Growth has long detested the establishment-aligned Rep. Bradley Byrne, and they’re out with a TV spot hitting him well ahead of the March GOP Senate primary. The commercial takes aim at Byrne for supporting the Export-Import Bank, which is another favorite Club target.

    The narrator accuses Byrne of voting “to fund a government giveaway program that hands out billions of dollars to help big companies make more profits overseas.” The narrator continues by saying that this group, which goes unnamed in the spot, sends “U.S. tax dollars to countries like China, Russia, and even Sudan, a state sponsor of terrorism.”

    There is no word on the size of the buy, but Politico says it will run in the Mobile market, which includes all of Byrne’s 1st Congressional District, on Saturday during the Iron Bowl between in-state football rivals Auburn University and the University of Alabama. Politico also says that the commercial will run later on Fox News.

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 4:57:57 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    WV-Gov: GOP Gov. Jim Justice is going up with his first TV spot on Tuesday, a move that comes about five months after his main primary rival, former state Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher, first began airing ads. Advertising Analytics reports that Justice’s inaugural ad campaign will run for $56,000 through Dec. 8, which is a fraction of the $879,000 that they say Thrasher has already spent on advertising.

    Justice’s commercial opens with two well-known former West Virginia college football coaches, West Virginia University’s Don Nehlen and Marshall University’s Bob Pruett, declaring that most politicians are “full of empty promises,” but that Justice is different. The ad then shows people praising Justice for building roads, fighting for programs to combat opioid addiction, and being “a lot like Trump.” The spot concludes with Justice’s wife, state First Lady Cathy Justice, telling the audience that the governor “serves for all the right reasons. He loves West Virginia.”

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 5:26:01 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    AL-01: The anti-tax Club for Growth is out with another poll from WPA Intelligence that finds their endorsed candidate, former state Sen. Bill Hightower, taking first place in the March GOP primary for this open seat with 35% of the vote.

    That’s still well short of the majority Hightower would need to win outright, though, and the survey finds state Rep. Chris Pringle edging Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl 16-13 for the second spot in a hypothetical runoff. Two other candidates, businessman Wes Lambert and Army veteran John Castorani, take just 2% and 1%, respectively.

    All of these numbers are all almost identical to WPA’s late July poll, which showed Hightower at 34% as Pringle led Carl 16-12. Lambert also took 2% then, while Castorani had not yet joined the race and so wasn’t tested.

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 7:24:48 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    MO-Gov: The Democratic Governors Association is out with a survey from Public Policy Polling that gives GOP Gov. Mike Parson a 45-36 lead over Democratic state Auditor Nichole Galloway. The DGA argues in their memo that, while Parson holds a clear lead right now, the fight over the eight-week abortion ban that he signed into law over the summer could “drastically alter” the contest. A federal judge halted the law in August one day before it was to go into effect, and the state is currently appealing the ruling.

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 7:28:21 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    NC-05: GOP Rep. Virginia Foxx announced earlier this month that she would seek re-election even though it’s not yet clear what map she’ll be running under. The GOP legislature recently passed a congressional map, but plaintiffs are challenging it in state court.

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 7:42:03 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    NY-01: Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming announced Tuesday that she would seek the Democratic nomination to take on GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin. Fleming was elected to represent the Southampton are on the county legislature in 2015, three years after she unsuccessfully ran for the state Senate, and she won her third term earlier this month by a 60-40 margin.

    Fleming joins 2018 nominee Perry Gershon and Stony Brook University professor Nancy Goroff in the primary in what is already shaping up to be an expensive contest for this eastern Long Island seat. Goroff entered the contest in July and raised a hefty $518,000 during her opening fundraising quarter, and she ended September with $418,000 in the bank.

    Gershon, who lost to Zeldin 51-47 last year, hauled in just shy of $200,000 during the third quarter of 2019, and he had $475,000 to spend. Zeldin has always been a strong fundraiser, and he took in $601,000 and had $1.17 million in the bank.

    This seat swung from 50-49 Obama to 55-42 Trump, but it shifted back to the left last year. However, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo still only carried the district by just a 49.1 to 48.6 spread while he was winning a 23-point blowout statewide, so this is still challenging turf for Team Blue even in a good year.

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 7:58:03 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    NY-17: This week, two new candidates joined the crowded Democratic primary for this open and reliably blue seat. One of the new arrivals is Army veteran and combat veteran Asha Castleberry-Hernandez, who served as engagement officer in Iraq and Kuwait in 2014 and 2015 and later worked on the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign as a Middle East foreign policy advisor.

    Castleberry-Hernandez, who is the first black woman in the race, stressed her support for gun safety by saying, “I was almost a victim of gun violence in White Plains when I was almost shot at walking through a line of fire with my sister … where a young man has a small arm shooting at one of his opponents.”

    The other new Democratic candidate is former federal prosecutor Adam Schleifer. Schleifer was involved in the Operation Varsity Blues investigations of several wealthy parents in the college admissions scandal, and he represented the government when actress Felicity Huffman appeared in court in March after being charged with bribery.

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 8:19:04 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    TX-13: Asusena Reséndiz, who finished a stint last year as head of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, announced Tuesday that she would seek the GOP nod for this seat in the Texas Panhandle. Reséndiz also was appointed in 2017 to serve on the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs by GOP Gov. Greg Abbott.

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 9:08:03 PM +00:00 · David Nir

    GA-Sen-B: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has the ordinarily enviable opportunity to make someone's political career by appointing them to the Senate when Sen. Johnny Isakson resigns at the end of the year, but like so much else in Republican politics, Donald Trump has managed to make the once-pleasurable suddenly miserable.

    Kemp recently squired his preferred pick, wealthy financial services executive Kelly Loeffler, to a secret White House meeting last weekend to secure Trump's blessing, but by all accounts, it went very poorly. According to the Wall Street Journal, the gathering "turned tense and ended quickly" because Trump strongly prefers Rep. Doug Collins, a loudmouth who has aggressively defended Trump throughout the impeachment process and will soon have an even more visible perch to do so as the top-ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.

    Trump reportedly even asked Kemp what the purpose of their meeting was if the governor had already made up his mind, though it's not clear that he has. Choosing Loeffler would make a certain amount of sense, though: As a first-time candidate, she doesn't have the same sort of baggage the arch-conservative Collins would bring in next year's special election, and she hails from the fast-growing Atlanta area while Collins represents a rural district in the state's northeast corner.

    Loeffler is also fantastically rich: She's a part-owner of the Atlanta Dream, a WNBA team, and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, purchased the New York Stock Exchange (yes, he bought the stock exchange itself) for $8.2 billion in 2012. With the Peach State playing host to two competitive Senate elections in 2020, a self-funder could take some pressure off Republican Sen. David Purdue. Given Georgia's left-ward political trends, all of this suggests Loeffler would make for a more appealing nominee than Collins (though the fact that she's a woman likely won't help the GOP as much as Republicans would like to believe).

    But these considerations, of course, mean little to Trump—though what Trump cares about means a lot to Kemp. Trump's unexpected intervention in last year's GOP primary for governor was a major factor in Kemp's dominant come-from-behind win in the runoff over the establishment favorite, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who’d led the voting in the first round. Trump also campaigned for Kemp in central Georgia just before Election Day; whether or not that rally was actually a boon is an open question, but Kemp's indebtedness to Trump is not.

    That debt might explain the statement a Kemp spokesperson provided after the WSJ published its article, saying the governor "plans to appoint a strong supporter of the President who will end the impeachment circus and advance conservative policies that Keep America Great." But while that might sound like a nod toward Collins, Loeffler similarly pledged to "stand with President Trump … to Keep America Great" in her application for the soon-to-be-vacant Senate post.

    As for when all this drama might finally conclude, no one's sure. Isakson has said he'll step down on Dec. 31, though there's nothing stopping Kemp from acting before then. The WSJ says that Kemp's team "has discussed announcing the decision after Thanksgiving," but the upshot of that discussion we aren't privy to.

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 9:39:48 PM +00:00 · David Nir

    Programming note: In celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no Live Digest for the rest of the week. The Morning Digest will resume publication on Tuesday. Happy Turkey Day!

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 9:58:51 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    MO-02: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that both parties expect Democratic state Sen. Jill Schupp to challenge GOP Rep. Ann Wagner next year in this suburban St. Louis seat, though Schupp has not yet said anything publicly. Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District backed Donald Trump 53-42, but Wagner only won re-election last year 51-47.

    Schupp flipped an open GOP-held seat during the 2014 red wave by defeating Republican Jay Ashcroft 50-47 in a district that had backed Barack Obama by the same spread two years before. Senate District 24 went on to support Hillary Clinton 53-42 in 2016 (Ashcroft was elected secretary of state that same year), and Schupp won re-election in 2018 61-37 after raising what the paper describes as a “menacing $1 million.”

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 10:00:43 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    TX-17: Republican Renee Swann, who runs an eye surgery practice in Waco, announced Tuesday that she was joining the March primary for this open seat.

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 10:19:36 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    FL-15 : The Justice Department is currently investigating whether freshman Rep. Ross Spano violated campaign finance laws during his 2018 GOP primary, and he could face a rematch with the person he beat in that contest. The Ledger recently asked former state Rep. Neil Combee, who lost 44-34 last year, if he was considering running in next year’s GOP primary, and while he responded, “I have not,” Combee didn’t stop there.

    After speaking at length about Spano's predicament, Combee concluded, "I would not do anything until this is settled." That could just be some free consulting advice to anyone who might be listening, or could mean that Combee is waiting to see how everything wraps up before deciding whether to run for this seat a second time.

    Combee did say that he’d heard that other Republicans are considering challenging Spano, but he refused to name anyone. However, Sean Harper, who took third place in the primary with 10%, told the paper he didn’t plan to run, though there’s no quote from him in the story. 

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 10:36:53 PM +00:00 · David Nir

    PA-16: Republican Rep. Mike Kelly was busted hard by a local news station earlier this year for selling used cars that were subject to safety recalls, including some with deadly airbags, so what has he done since then? Continued to sell used cars that are still subject to safety recalls—including some with deadly airbags.

    Kelly, who represents the 16th Congressional District in Pennsylvania’s northwest corner, had refused to comment when dogged WTAE report Paul Van Osdol first broke this story in May, but Van Osdol was finally able to track down Kelly in person. Kelly was non-responsive, though, when Van Osdol directly asked him, "Why were you selling vehicles with open safety recalls?" But when asked if he was still selling such cars, Kelly made an offer that he now wishes he could take back: "Why don't you come up and check it like you did last time?" the congressman proposed. "You can do that, come up and check them and maybe we'll have someone show you through our lot. You can take a look and see."

    Of course, Van Osdol did just that. He found 15 vehicles still under active recalls at just one Kelly dealership, with one sedan still carrying a type of airbag, made by a company called Takata, that's been responsible for at least 24 deaths. Those killed include 26-year-old Jewel Brangman, who died in 2014 when a Takata airbag went off after a minor crash, firing a burst of metal fragments into her neck that severed her carotid artery.

    Van Osdol also discovered that Kelly's website was advertising five affected cars as "GM-certified," even though General Motors only allows vehicles to be designated as such if all outstanding recalls have been addressed. A GM spokesperson insisted that the vehicles had been removed from the "certified" list but couldn't explain why the dealership was still describing them that way. Meanwhile, Kelly's son Brendan, who runs the lot in question, declined to speak with Van Osdol.

    You may be wondering at this point how it's even possible Kelly could sell such cars in the first place. It turns out that in his home state, it's perfectly legal: After an organized push by used car dealers in at least 11 states, both Pennsylvania and Tennessee changed their laws to allow dealers to sell vehicles that have been recalled—as long as they note the recall "somewhere in a stack of sales documents," as one in-depth investigative report put it.

    As Van Osdol noted in his original exposé, when a similar bill came before Congress in 2015, one key supporter insisted, "There is not a single person in our business that would ever put one of our owners in a defective car or a car with a recall." That congressman's name? Mike Kelly.

    Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 · 11:06:33 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    NJ-02: Freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew infuriated progressives across the country after he was one of just two Democrats to vote against formalizing the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, but he may have more immediate problems with Democratic power brokers at home in this competitive South Jersey seat.

    Six unnamed Democratic leaders tell the New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein that Van Drew “could lose contests for organization lines at county conventions early next year,” which would be a very big setback for him in the June primary. In New Jersey primaries, a candidate endorsed by the local party appears in a separate column on the ballot along with other party endorsees, a designation known colloquially as the “organization line.” Party machines are still quite powerful in the Garden State, so Van Drew could struggle if a rival can win over enough organization lines next year.

    Van Drew doesn’t currently face a serious intra-party foe, but Montclair University political science professor Brigid Callahan Harrison says she’s considering taking him on. Harrison declared that the congressman's opposition to impeachment has “made himself persona non grata within his party and the House leadership, which impacts every resident of New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District.”

    Harrison also argued that Van Drew’s stance has already hurt his party at home. Harrison pointed to the results of the Nov. 5 legislative election in Van Drew’s old 1st Legislative District where a trio of Democratic incumbents, who ran as the “Van Drew team,” all lost. Harrison said that the result in LD-01, where the GOP scored their only pickup of the night, demonstrated that local Democratic voters “rejected the Van Drew team because of his impeachment vote and crossed party lines” to support the Republicans.

    Harrison has only run for office once. Back in 1993, she ran what Wildstein describes as a “strong race for Atlantic County Freeholder” where she narrowly lost to a GOP incumbent.

    Other Democrats may also be interested in challenging Van Drew. One local leader mentions Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and Adam Taliaferro as possibilities, though Mazzeo quickly said it was unlikely he’d take on the incumbent.

    If Van Drew does win renomination, he’ll need to quickly prepare for an expensive general election in a seat that Trump carried 51-46. Wealthy businessman David Richter, who is the only notable Republican in the race right now, only raised $113,000 from donors during his opening quarter, but he self-funded another $300,000 and had $390,000 to spend at the end of September. Van Drew took in $529,000 during this time and had $932,000 in the bank.


              

    Steve Gruber, Obama not supporting any of the Democratic Candidates as of yet

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    Host Steve Gruber discusses news and headlines.

     

    Obama not supporting any of the Democratic Candidates as of yet


              

    Steve Gruber, In the end— how much will impeachment impact the 2020 race

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    Its almost Thanksgiving—first of all what are you thankful for—Give it some thought—I am Steve Gruber—God Bless America—This is the Steve Gruber Show!

     

    And here are 3 Big Things you need to know right now!

     

    Number 3— Barack Obama—the former President is about to weigh in on the race for the Democratic nomination—and it seems he doesn’t like Bernie Sanders and he won’t endorse Joe Biden—does that leave his wife?

     

    Number 2— New Studies show that if Elizabeth Warren had her way with Medicare for all—it would bankrupt the United States in short order—don’t forget we are already up to our eyeballs in debt—and that one would put us over the edge—

     

    Number 1— In the end— how much will impeachment impact the 2020 race—well a lot possibly BUT not in the way the Democrats has envisioned it—Jerry Nadler is set to hold new hearings on Wednesday December 4th—but Americans of all stripes are giving it a thumbs down


              

    Big Potato Blockbuster

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    Big Potato Blockbuster

    Big Potato Blockbuster


              

    Big Potato Colour Brain Disney Edition

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    Big Potato Colour Brain Disney Edition

    Big Potato Colour Brain Disney Edition


              

    Big Potato Obama Llama 2

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    Big Potato Obama Llama 2

    Big Potato Obama Llama 2


              

    Bloomberg, el nuevo rival demócrata de Trump, pone de su bolsillo el dinero que EEUU retiró para la Cumbre del Clima

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    Trump ha sacado oficialmente a EEUU del consenso climático. En términos de apoyo económico, esto se traduce en que a fecha del 30 de septiembre de 2019, el Gobierno de Washington no había pagado un solo dólar de la contribución de 5 millones que tiene asignada para el presupuesto de este año de la Convención Marco de Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático (Unfccc), organizadora de la cumbre anual del clima, que este año se celebrará en Madrid desde este lunes al 13 de diciembre.

    Extraoficialmente, Michael Bloomberg, el multimillonario que espera convertirse en el próximo presidente de EEUU tras las elecciones de 2020, ha llenado ese vacío. En 2019, su fundación, Bloomberg Philanthropies, ha donado a la principal organización de la ONU por el clima 5,5 millones de dólares. Más de lo que tenía asignado el Gobierno de EEUU.

    Igual que ha ocurrido con la financiación, será el Partido Demócrata el que represente extraoficialmente a EEUU en la cumbre de Madrid, ya que nadie espera a Donald Trump y el Departamento de Estado ha confirmado que la delegación oficial estará compuesta por representantes de segunda fila, igual que ocurrió en 2018.

    Por eso, el Partido Demócrata ha preparado una delegación de 16 congresistas presidida por Nancy Pelosi, presidenta de la Cámara de Representantes. El año pasado, EEUU mandó una delegación de 44 personas a la COP24, cuatro menos que en 2017 y menos de la mitad de los que fueron a París en 2015, según informa CarbonBrief

    "EEUU hizo la promesa de cumplir los acuerdos adoptados en el Acuerdo de París y si el Gobierno federal no cumple con nuestra parte del trato, entonces el pueblo estadounidense debe hacerlo", señaló Bloomberg al anunciar su donación en abril de 2019. "Mientras alcaldes, gobernadores, empresarios y ciudadanos individuales trabajan para asegurar el cumplimiento de nuestros objetivos climáticos, nuestra fundación volverá a cubrir la diferencia de financiación federal a la ONU. Juntos, enviamos un mensaje alto y claro al resto del mundo: a pesar de lo que esté pasando en Washington, estamos con vosotros en esta lucha", añadió.

    El Departamento de Estado de EEUU afirmó en su comunicado tras la cumbre del clima del año pasado, celebrada en Polonia, que "EEUU no va a asumir ninguna carga ni compromiso financiero en apoyo del Acuerdo de París y no permitirá que se utilicen los acuerdos climáticos como un vehículo para redistribuir la riqueza".

    El multimillonario y exalcalde de Nueva York ejercía desde 2018 como enviado especial del secretario general de la ONU para la Acción por el Clima, pero dimitió el 11 de noviembre, unos días antes de hacer oficial su candidatura a la presidencia.

    En 2018, EEUU también tenía asignados 5 millones de los cuales solo pagó 2,1. Entonces Bloomberg donó 4,5 millones para llegar a la cifra prevista. Según la fundación del multimillonario, la Administración Obama se comprometió a dar 15 millones para el ciclo 2018-2019 y Trump no lo ha cumplido.

    Según informa la Unfccc en sus presupuestos, a fecha de 30 de septiembre, quedaban pendientes de pago 9,1 millones, de los cuales más de la mitad (55%) corresponden al impago estadounidense. En Europa, sin embargo, cinco de los seis principales países europeos (Alemania, Francia, Italia, España y Holanda) están entre los muchos países que han dado más dinero al presupuesto general del que inicialmente les fue asignado. Además los países también pueden financiar otros fondos de la organización como el de actividades suplementarias y el de participación (destinado a financiar los viajes a las cumbres climáticas a las delegaciones de países más pequeños). EEUU no aparece en ninguno de estos dos fondos en 2019.

    Bloomberg ha donado los cinco millones al fondo de contribuciones suplementarias, que en 2019 ha recibido en total 15,6 millones de euros. En este fondo también están presentes otros actores no estatales, como el Banco Mundial (225.000 dólares), Iberdrola (56.883), BNP Paribas (45.584), Google (30.000) y Facebook (23.685).

    La Unfcc, adoptada en 1992 y en vigor desde 1994, es el principal instrumento jurídico de respuesta internacional ante el reto del cambio climático y todos los Estados miembros de la ONU han firmado la convención. La Conferencia de las Partes (COP) es el principal órgano de la convención y es una asociación de todos los países que son partes de la misma. La COP se reúne anualmente y la de este año (COP25) comienza este lunes en Madrid.

    Uno de los principales logros de la Unfccc ha sido la firma del Acuerdo de París en la COP de 2015. Sin embargo, EEUU anunció el 4 de noviembre su retirada oficial del acuerdo por "la injusta carga económica impuesta sobre los trabajadores, empresarios y contribuyentes de EEUU por las promesas realizadas bajo dicho acuerdo", tal y como afirmó el secretario de Estado Mike Pompeo.

    EEUU se convertirá en el único país del mundo fuera del Acuerdo de París, pero todos los candidatos demócratas han prometido que si llegan a la presidencia volverán a adherirse al mismo.


              

    "Papa" John Schnatter Eats 40 Pizzas in 30 Days and Vows "a Day of Reckoning." (He's Not Doing Well!)

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    by Wm. Steven Humphrey
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    WDRB News

    Just in case you were wondering if Papa John Schnatter—the former CEO of Papa John's Pizza—has accomplished any significant self-reflection regarding his racist behavior that got him kicked out of his own company... HE HAS NOT. In fact, if his interview with WDRB TV is any indication, Papa John is just as unrepentant as before—and eating "40 pizzas in 30 days" probably isn't helping?

    TO RECAP: John Schnatter is not a good person. In 2012, he threatened to raise prices on his pizzas and cut his employees' hours if Obamacare passed. Note: At the time he was worth $240 million, and according to this One Day at a Time entry, "owned a 40,000-square-foot mansion, which is built to look like a medieval castle and boasts an underground 22-car garage, a car wash, a motorized car turntable, an artificial lake, and 16 acr