Liz Peek: Panicky Democrats beg Michelle Obama to run -- But would she win?   

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Washington insiders report that Democratic Party officials are also urging former First Lady Michelle Obama to enter the 2020 presidential race.
          

Ron Johnson gushes Conspiracy Theories, doesn't Trust FBI and CIA, before and now after.    

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Ron Johnson became Wisconsin's Senator because he didn't understand the Affordable Care Act, and hated a program offering more people access to affordable health insurance. He even said...


And it only got worse from there. In Washington, Johnson's blathering idiocy became the talk of the town:

And then he got reelected...true!

Johnson plays Trump as Victim, says he's "...never seen a president, administration, be sabotaged from the day after the election: Amazing. Let's remind our clueless Dumb Ron Johnson why that's not true either:
1. Here’s John Boehner offering his plans for Obama’s agenda: “We're going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

2. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell summed up his plan to National Journal: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

3. Mike Pence, underscored the point with a clip from Patton, showing the general rallying his troops for war against their Nazi enemy: “We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time! We’re going to go through him like crap through a goose!”

4. Even though the economy was in free fall, not one House Republican had voted for the effort to revive it, prompting a wave of punditry about a failed party refusing to help clean up its own mess and dooming itself to irrelevance.

5. Have we forgotten that right when President Obama took office in 2009, the Republican leadership in Congress planned a no-honeymoon strategy of all-out resistance to Obama, even though the country was in an economic meltdown? Then-Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) said that “if [Obama] was for it, we had to be against it.”
So it's mind-bending to hear Dumb Ron Johnson whine about the supposed "attacks" on the grifting Trump family presidency:
Johnson: "I have never in my lifetime seen a president after being elected, not having some measure of well wishes from his opponents; I've never seen a president, administration, be sabotaged from the day after the election; I've never seen no measure of a honeymoon what-so-ever." 
Johnson, chairman of the Senate's Homeland Security committee, rambled from one conspiracy theory to another (just like every Trump cultist), and admitted he doesn't trust the CIA or the FBI.
Johnson: "No, I don't — absolutely not. No, and I didn't trust them back then."


So, Nothing like this ever happened under Obama? Trump Investigations plays into GOP Victim-Hood: Here's just a quick reminder below. Note: Remember Trump's own attempts to seek out Obama's birth certificate to prove he was not a U.S. citizen and a secret Muslin:
MSNBC: Republicans made aggressive use of their investigative powers ... matters involving Hillary Clinton, her use of email as secretary of state, her conduct of foreign policy and the Clinton Foundation ... House Republicans unleashed a barrage of subpoenas ... a half dozen GOP-led House committees conducted protracted investigations of the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya ... investigations of the 2009-2011 Operation Fast and Furious episode – a botched initiative against drug cartels that ended up putting guns in the hands of murderers ... investigations into the IRS's treatment of conservatives, and his administration’s loan guarantee to the failed solar-panel startup, Solyndra. And much more.
Who can forget Johnson's imagined "secret society?" 


Or this Johnson gem:


Ron Johnson now has his eye on the governorship in Wisconsin. Just a little advice to anyone thinking about moving to a state who's economy is held hostage by the gerrymandered Republican Party determined to not change a thing because after 8 years of control, everything is perfect now; DON'T. 



          

Donald Trump hails victory for American farmers as US and Japan sign limited trade deal   

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The United States and Japan signed a limited trade agreement Monday, a deal that would win back benefits American farmers lost when US President Donald Trump pulled out of a broader Asia-Pacific pact his first week in office.US farmers have been operating at a disadvantage in Japan since Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which had been negotiated by the Obama administration.The other 11 Pacific Rim countries, including big farm producers such as New Zealand and Canada…
          

Obama Defines Obama   

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“Ich bein ein New Democrat.”  “I am a New Democrat.”  That’s what President Black Obama said at a meeting of New Democrats.  Of course, unlike John Kennedy in Berlin, he didn’t say it in German, though, had he been at a gathering of chicken dippers, he probably would have amended his declaration to profess his […]
          

Politics: Barack Obama 政治:巴拉克•奥巴马   

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A Historic Election 历史性选举 After a hard-fought campaign, Democratic Senator Barack Obama has won the US presidential election, and will become the 44th President of the United States the first African-American in the countrys history to do so. P
          

Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from Syria   

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Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from SyriaMitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham lead condemnation of foreign policy move that could prove ‘disaster in the making’Donald Trump with Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, in the Cabinet Room on Monday. Lindsey Graham said abandoning the Kurds would be ‘a stain on America’s honour’. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/APDonald Trump was dangerously isolated on Monday as, in a rare rebuke, some of his most loyal allies revolted against his decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria.Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell led a chorus of Republicans who, having defended the president on almost every other issue – including over impeachment – decided to draw a line in the sand.“A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said. “And it would increase the risk that Isis and other terrorist groups regroup.”He added: “As we learned the hard way during the Obama administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal.”The criticism was significant because McConnell is usually at pains not to cross Trump even at his most capricious. Last week the Kentucky senator released a Facebook video promising to stop Democratic-led impeachment in its tracks.Article 1 of the United States constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to initiate impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of the president. A president can be impeached if they are judged to have committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" – although the constitution does not specify what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are.The process starts with the House of Representatives passing articles of impeachment. A simple majority of members need to vote in favour of impeachment for it to pass to the next stage. Democrats currently control the house, with 235 representatives.The chief justice of the US supreme court then presides over the proceedings in the Senate, where the president is tried, with senators acting as the jury. For the president to be found guilty two-thirds of senators must vote to convict. Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 of the 100 senators.Two presidents have previously been impeached, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868, though neither was removed from office as a result. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before there was a formal vote to impeach him.Martin BelamThe unusual fracture emerged on Sunday night when, shortly after a phone conversation between Trump and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House announced removal of US troops from the Syria-Turkey border area. “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” it added.Critics of all political stripes have long feared that the move could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area. Kurdish groups have fought alongside a small US presence in Syria to drive Islamic State militants from the region.The Republican backlash was rapid and potentially unnerving for a president whose fate is tethered to the party and the assumption that it will acquit him in the Senate if, as widely expected, the Democratic-led House of Representatives votes for impeachment.Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, who has become an outspoken defender (and frequent golf partner) of Trump, did not acquiesce this time. Abandonment of the Kurds would be “a disaster in the making”, he said, and “a stain on America’s honour”.Graham told Fox News: “I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is. I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”Graham wrote on Twitter that if the plan goes ahead, he will introduce a Senate resolution opposing it and seeking reversal of the decision. He added: “We will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria and will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate.”Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, whose attempts to defend Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president have provoked mockery, said: “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”Michael McCaul of Texas, the lead Republican on the House foreign affairs committee, also urged the president to reconsider. “The United States should not step aside and allow a Turkish military operation in north-east Syria,” he said. “This move will undermine our ongoing campaign to prevent an Isis resurgence and will ultimately threaten our homeland.“Additionally, the United States needs to stay engaged to prevent further destructive involvement in the region from our adversaries like the Assad regime, Putin and Iran.”Notably, senator Marco Rubio of Florida, reluctant to criticise Trump even when the president suggested that China investigate former vice president and 2020 election rival Joe Biden, was clear , describing the retreat as “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria”And Nikki Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador, admonished Trump without mentioning his name. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she tweeted. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. TurkeyIsNotOurFriend”Ominously for Trump, even conservative Fox News aired dissent. Host Brian Kilmeade described the pullout as “a disaster”, telling viewers of Fox & Friends: “Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?”Republicans who have contradicted Trump before did so forcefully again. Utah senator Mitt Romney described Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal”, adding: “It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”Romney and Democratic senator Chris Murphy issued a joint statement insisting Trump’s administration “explain to the American people how betraying an ally and ceding influence to terrorists and adversaries is not disastrous for our national security interests”.Democrats also piled in but there was a lone voice of support for the president on Capitol Hill. Republican senator Rand Paul, long a critic of foreign intervention, said: “So many neocons want us to stay in wars all over the Middle East forever. [Trump] is absolutely right to end those wars and bring the troops home.”Trump himself was undeterred by the blowback. Speaking at the White House on Monday, he said he has “great respect” for the prominent Republican critics. And added: “People are extremely thrilled because they say it’s time to bring our people back home. We’re not a police force. They’re policing the area. We’re not a police force. The UK was very thrilled at this decision … many people agree with it very strongly.”



          

Mitch McConnell urges Trump to reconsider Syria pullback   

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Mitch McConnell urges Trump to reconsider Syria pullbackIt's not every day that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are on the same page, but today is that day.McConnell released a statement Monday afternoon breaking with President Trump on his recent decision to pull back troops from northern Syria as Turkey prepares a military incursion."A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime," McConnell says. "And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup. I urge the president to exercise American leadership to keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS and prevent significant conflict between our NATO ally Turkey and our local Syrian counterterrorism partners."> McConnell wants Trump to change his mind on Syria, says a precipitous withdrawal benefits Russia, Iran, Assad and warns about ISIS pic.twitter.com/7NmHN98qWD> > -- Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) October 7, 2019He concludes by suggesting the Trump administration is at risk of succumbing to what he sees as the foreign policy failings of the Obama administration, writing that "American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal."This came as Trump was facing a flood of criticism from the right including from one of his biggest allies in the Senate, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who wrote that the decision will have "disastrous consequences for our national security."Almost immediately after McConnell's statement, Pelosi released a statement of her own urging Trump to reconsider as well, though with far harsher language. Pelosi calls Trump's move a "reckless, misguided decision" that "betrays our Kurdish allies" in "a foolish attempt to appease an authoritarian strongman." Amid this bipartisan criticism, Trump defended the move in a tweet in which he touted his own "great and unmatched wisdom."



          

America’s illustrator: Norman Rockwell exhibit – with paintings, posters and magazine covers – opens at the MAC   

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“I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.” – Norman Rockwell

Mention the name “Norman Rockwell,” and different thoughts bubble up for different people.

The gawky New England artist charmed millions of Americans for nearly 50 years as the Saturday Evening Post’s most beloved cover illustrator and chronicler of small-town life. At the same time, many critics snubbed Rockwell as too cliché, sentimental or homogenous to be taken seriously.

“Norman Rockwell is arguably America’s most famous artist ever,” said Wes Jessup, executive director of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, where a new exhibition, “Norman Rockwell’s America,” opened this weekend. “Who was more famous? Warhol? No. Warhol was actually a big collector of Rockwell.”

Rockwell was born in New York City in 1894 and died in 1978 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, at age 84. He lived and worked during some of the most impactful movements in modern art history such as impressionism, cubism, surrealism and abstract expressionism.

But he forged his own way as an illustrator. He once said, “Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I’ve always called myself an illustrator.”

“I’m 50, and when I was in college, Rockwell was considered retrograde. He was overlooked,” Jessup said. “So I think there is a rediscovery coming from my generation and younger people.”

Last month, singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey released her new album, provocatively titled “Norman (expletive) Rockwell.” The moniker suggests that maybe everything in America is not quite so perfect after all.

There is even a term bolstering Rockwell’s lasting impact on popular culture: “Rockwellian.” It can refer to anything quaint, idealistic or sentimental such as a “Rockwellian childhood” or a “Rockwellian holiday celebration.”

‘Vivid and affectionate portraits’

No matter where one places Rockwell in the canon, his depictions of everyday life made him the most widely circulated and universally beloved American artist of the 20th century. Rockwell’s “vivid and affectionate portraits of our country” garnered him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

The MAC exhibition will use Rockwell’s singular art and enduring vision of a hopeful America to chronicle the nation’s history and examine what constitutes the American spirit. “Norman Rockwell America” is a show of 22 oil paintings, seven charcoal or graphite studies, original posters and all 323 Post magazine covers spanning six decades. It’s the first solo exhibition of Rockwell’s paintings and covers to visit the Inland Northwest.

The exhibition is arranged in chronological order, making the stages of his career recognizable and his images more poignant. The original works give viewers the chance to observe Rockwell’s superb craftsmanship and attention to detail, characteristics sometimes overlooked in the more widely seen reproductions.

In a masterful style almost photograph-like, and in hyper-real detail, Rockwell painted everyday people in ordinary situations. His goal was to tell a story, in a single picture, armed only with a paintbrush.

He lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression, Korean War and Vietnam. But the stories he told most often were relentlessly optimistic, depicting a simpler world, one worth fighting for.

In Rockwell’s paintings, the nation’s rich tapestry is united by holiday rituals, faith and family life. Rockwell’s America is a place where honest, hard-working people endeavor to live rather than a world in which they really live. As Peter Schjedahl wrote in the New Yorker, “He didn’t illustrate Middle America. He invented Middle America.”

For example, readers of the Post delighted in Rockwell’s paintings of humorous childhood escapades. The iconic images include the illustration of the little boys running while yanking on their clothes after sneaking a dip in the local waterhole, the little girl with a black eye sitting outside the principal’s office with a huge grin spread on her face, and the young runaway chatting with a cop at the soda fountain counter with his bundle of clothes tied to a stick in full view under his barstool.

There are lots of intergenerational interactions, too: a grandfather picking up a bat to hit a few balls with the little ones, the daughter watching mom put on makeup at her vanity table and the parents putting their kids to bed. In 1955, Post readers voted the 1951 Thanksgiving issue their all-time favorite cover. The illustration depicts a woman and a young boy saying grace in a crowded restaurant as they are observed by other people at their table.

‘Extraordinary in the ordinary’

“He found the extraordinary in the ordinary moments because when you get to the truth of life, I think what we really remember is how beautiful it was to have a cup of tea with that person,” said Rockwell’s granddaughter Abigail Rockwell, who conducted a phone interview from her home back East.

“Yes, you will remember the Taj Mahal after you visit, but don’t we really go back to the small moments and think, ‘Oh God, I miss having tea with that person?’”

One of the paintings hanging in the MAC exhibit is titled “The Party After the Party.” Rockwell lovingly created an intimate scene in which a granddaughter kneels on the parlor floor in front of her grandmother’s chair. The pair holds hands as the young woman, still clad in her finery, tells Grandma all that happened at the party.

“Yes, I just got chills!” said Abigail Rockwell, now the de facto historian of the family. “That is a really sweet and memorable moment. That is part of the Edison Mazda series (of advertisements Rockwell illustrated) in the 1920s. I’ve always thought it’s some of his best work.”

Abigail Rockwell, who also is a successful jazz singer, will travel to Spokane to give a talk at the MAC on Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. and lead a private tour. Tickets are $25. She also will sign copies of the recently re-released autobiography by her grandfather, “My Adventures as an Illustrator: The Definitive Edition.” Abigail Rockwell has spent much of the last several years researching and updating the book. Her goal was to bust false myths and preserve her grandfather’s legacy.

One of the biggest misconceptions she said that she finds is that her “Pop,” as she calls him, painted only white America. However, a look at some of Rockwell’s most iconic works belies that notion.

In 1961, the artist painted “The Golden Rule,” showing people of different religious faiths and ethnic backgrounds worshipping together. However, Rockwell himself once recalled being directed to paint out a black person from a group picture in the Post. The policy at the time only allowed the portrayal of African Americans in service jobs next to white people.

After leaving the Post in 1963, Rockwell appeared eager to refocus his efforts on supporting the Civil Rights movement. In 1964, he produced his iconic painting “The Problem We All Live With.” It depicts Ruby Bridges, a 6-year-old African American girl, on her way to an all-white public school during the New Orleans desegregation crisis. Due to threatened violence, she is being escorted by federal marshals. On the wall behind her are scrawled a racial slur and the letters “KKK.”

‘Ruining his legacy’

“Pop had the bravery to put those words on the wall,” Abigail said. “People don’t realize how controversial it was for him to do that. I saw the angry letters castigating him for ‘ruining his legacy.’ ”

One of Rockwell’s proudest moments, according to his granddaughter, was when he received a lifetime membership card to the NAACP. More than 30 years later, his portrait of Bridges was installed in the hall outside the Oval Office at the White House for several months during the Obama administration. Reproductions of this and more of Rockwell’s Civil Rights era paintings will be on display at the MAC as part of the current exhibition.

Another project Rockwell undertook after leaving the Post was a commission to paint a portrait of Abraham Lincoln for Spokane’s Lincoln First Federal Savings and Loan. The bank’s CEO, the late Spokane resident Donald P. Lindsay, had the idea to hire America’s most famous artist.

“My dad thought it was no big deal to write Norman Rockwell and just ask him to do it,” recalled Lindsay’s eldest daughter, Karen Warrick. “And it worked.”

For $4,000, Rockwell agreed to produce the 7-foot piece, taller even than Lincoln himself. Finished in 1965, the portrait depicts the 16th president as a young man on the farm dressed in work clothes holding an ax in one hand and a book in the other. “Lincoln the Railsplitter” was used to market the Spokane bank and all the branches throughout the state. Jar openers, golf balls, calendars and stationery all bore Rockwell’s Lincoln image.

The original painting hung for two decades in the Lincoln First Federal Bank lobby located in what is now the Lincoln building at Riverside and Lincoln. After the bank changed hands, the piece later made its way to the private collection of former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot. It was eventually sold at auction to the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2006 for $1.6 million.

The MAC has gathered letters, photos, bank memorabilia and a reproduction of “Lincoln the Railsplitter” to include in the exhibition. “It’s exciting that one of the most famous paintings of Abraham Lincoln that was ever done was done by one of America’s most famous artists and that it originated right here in Spokane,” Jessup said.

Warrick said that she hopes the Rockwell exhibit accomplishes what the artist himself wanted: to rekindle the American spirit. “I just hope that a lot of people are reassured that we care for one another in this country, that we are all the things that Rockwell brings out in his paintings,” Warrick said. “You wrap that around the integrity of a Lincoln and maybe young people will be inspired and think: ‘Is that what we used to look like in this country?’ ”


          

U.S. House passes marijuana banking bill, with support of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers   

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Congress took its first step Wednesday toward allowing state-sanctioned marijuana businesses to access banking products without fear of a federal government crackdown.

That step included support from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, an Eastern Washington Republican who has spoken against the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana and received criticism from cannabis reformers hoping to fully legalize the drug.

“I heard from a lot of banks and credit unions about the increased amount of cash that is on our streets, and the danger that it poses for our community,” McMorris Rodgers said in an interview following her vote.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Oregon, prohibits federal regulators from penalizing or limiting financial services offered by lending institutions working with marijuana businesses that followed state laws. The bill passed 321-103with 91 Republicans voting in favor, many of them saying they supported the bill’s narrow scope that is intended to keep such businesses from relying solely on cash. That can make them targets for crime, bill supporters argued.

Many banks and credit unions have avoided working with cannabis businesses, as the drug remains illegal under federal law. Locally, Numerica Credit Union offers a limited set of financial services to growers, processors and retailers.

The U.S. Treasury Department keeps track of banks and credit unions nationwide reporting activity with marijuana businesses as part of its suspicious activity reports program. The department reported in June that there were 715 lending institutions nationwide that were conducting business with marijuana firms.

Advocates pushing for further reform of federal marijuana laws, including the potential declassification of the drug as a controlled substance, heralded Wednesday’s vote. It is the first time Congressional lawmakers have approved any legislation dealing only with marijuana, as more and more states legalize its sale to both medical patients and as a recreational drug.

“For the first time ever, a supermajority of the House voted affirmatively to recognize that the legalization and regulation of marijuana is a superior public policy to prohibition and criminalization,” Justin Strekal, political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said in a statement.

The bill doesn’t change marijuana’s classification as illegal under federal law. It also doesn’t address the Justice Department’s apparent attempts to keep bankruptcy cases from people declaring marijuana income out of the courts.

McMorris Rodgers said her support for the legislation was due to its narrow scope. But the congresswoman noted that she’s also co-sponsored another marijuana bill introduced by Oregon Democratic Rep. Ed Blumenauer which would enable the sale of marijuana seeds and plant starts to researchers licensed by the federal government for medical study.

“I continue to have concerns about legalization of recreational marijuana, in particular,” McMorris Rodgers said. “I’m concerned about the safety around it, especially for our kids.”

The House’s approval of the bill sends the legislation to the Republican-controlled Senate, where another Western GOP lawmaker has already convened an informational hearing about a companion bill.

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, chairman of the Senate’s Banking Committee, held a hearing in late July on similar bipartisan legislation, but no votes were taken. At the time, Crapo said he was interested in learning more about the legislation, but also concerned about a 2013 Justice Department initiative under President Barack Obama that targeted firearm sellers, payday lenders and other businesses believed to be at risk of committing financial crimes.

“Having a conversation about whether banks should be able to provide banking services to entities engaged in federally illegal behavior brings up the issue and concern that there has been a push to choke off legal industries from the banking sector,” Crapo said at the July hearing.

Strekal and representatives of other marijuana reform organizations urged the Senate to take up the legislation in statements Wednesday. President Donald Trump has not given clear indication whether he would sign marijuana banking legislation if it were to pass both chambers of Congress, but he expressed some support for another bipartisan bill introduced in Congress that, among other changes, would give state-sanctioned marijuana businesses access to banking.

Crapo told reporters for the publication Congressional Quarterly on Wednesday that he wanted to consider a banking bill, which could be separate from the House bill, in the Senate soon.


          

Poblacion Finds: Obama Noodles, Pho and Morning Glory at VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque   

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Never too timid or shy with flavor, Chef Mikel Zaguirre shares his own take on Vietnamese-inspired street food in Poblacion...


The play on intense and bold flavors is a signature trademark of Mikel Zaguirre, one of the metro's creative chefs. This unabashed and seemingly unapologetic culinary style is highlighted once more in his newest dining concept showcasing the fresh flavors of Vietnamese cuisine at VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque in Makati's Poblacion. Obama Noodles, Pho, Morning Glory and so much more, read on for a tasty peek at Chef Mikel Zaguirre's VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque...


Makati's Poblacion is known for its diverse and eclectic offerings with its cool and laid-back vibe. And VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque fits right in with the Bohemian neighborhood with its fresh-grilled barbecue and other traditional Vietnamese dishes. Southeast Asian dishes, and Vietnamese cuisine in particular, plays with all five fundamental flavors with the use of fish sauce, shrimp paste, chili, soy sauce and the freshest herbs like coriander and vegetables to complete a typical meal. A typical barbeque and hot pot just pops with fresh flavors when combined with a variety of condiments, herbs and spices. Fresh and bold flavors, that's right up Chef Kel's alley too. 

I was always impressed with Chef Kel's culinary style from the days of Locavore, how can one forget the Sizzling Sinigang and Fried Oyster Sisig (more on Locavore on my posts, A Weekend Brunch at Locavore and Let's Do Lunch...Locavore Style.). Chef Kel brings that same approach with the fresh notes of Vietnamese cuisine...


Accompanying every traditional Vietnamese meal is an array of tasty condiments led by Nuoc Cham, a sweet, salty and mildly sour dipping sauce made with fish sauce, lime juice, chili and cilantro. Other tasty condiments include Muoi Ot Xanh made with cilantro, green chili, lime and condensed milk; Pickled Garlic with garlic cloves confit cooked in oil for at least an hour in low heat and soaked in a sweet pickling solution, the fiery Chili Paste with a blend of red chili and garlic, Chili Oil with with red chili steeped in oil for 2-3 hours for that soothing heat and Salt, Pepper & Lime with salt and pepper squeezed with lemon for barbecued meats. It's these traditional dips that add that perfect tartness and heat to any Vietnamese dish. Now that you have the condiments laid out for you, find a table and settle down for a Vietnamese feast.

At VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque, each table has its own set of condiments so you can customize your own dip. Cool down with VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque's refreshing beverages like Fresh Sugar Cane Juice (P 125), Banana Milk (P 125) and Guyabano Lychee (P 125).


Any meal at VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque begins with the traditional Shrimp Crackers (P 120) served with house made Nuoc Cham...


...and if you just can't get enough of the crunch, the Fried Oyster Mushrooms (P 250) should do the trick, a tasty appetizer with deep-fried oyster mushrooms served with house made peanut sauce and Nuoc Cham. Perfectly crisp, each bite delivers the bold earthy notes of mushrooms.


Start your feast with the soothing Fresh Spring Rolls (P 180), cold rolls stuffed with rice noodles, pork belly, succulent shrimps, herbs and carrots served with a thick peanut dip...


...or opt for the Fried Spring Roll (P 200), savory deep-fried ground pork spring rolls paired with spicy Nuoc Cham.


The fresh and fried spring rolls have their own distinct flavors, from the light and clean notes of the fresh spring rolls to the deep savory flavors of the fried version. The peanut dip adds an intense sweetness to the fresh spring rolls while the Nuoc Cham tempers the savory richness of the fried spring rolls.   


The tart Papaya Salad (P 220) with unripe papaya and sour green mangoes topped with housemade beef liver jerky, peanuts, shallots and herbs drizzled with a sweet chili sauce and puffed rice offers all five flavors from sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy all in one dish. The freshness of each ingredient adds that crunch and snap.


The Stir-Fried Pork (P 240) with savory ground pork, Hoisin, red chili and ginger topped with pickled grilled bell peppers and a side of crisp rice puffs delivers delicate savory notes with sweet undertones. The yolk adds a layer of richness to the dish balanced by the subtle heat from the red chili. Like most Vietnamese dishes, the play on varied and contrasting notes of this dish bring a flavorful punch with every bite.


Bun Thit Nuong (P 290) or the popular "Obama Noodles" featured in Anthony Bourdain's memorable CNN series, Parts Unknown, is recreated by Chef Mikel Zaguirre at VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque with skewers of juicy grilled pork over cold rice noodles, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs and peanuts drizzled with Nuoc Cham and served with fried spring rolls and homemade pork sausage. The smoky notes of the skewered pork pair well with the sharp Nuoc Cham drenched cold noodles for contrasting yet balanced flavors.


Once you mix all the ingredients in the bowl, the multiple layers of flavors and textures combine for earthy and vibrant notes. The pork barbecue, pork sausage and fried spring rolls adds robust flavors punctuated by the bright hints of freshness from the herbs, pickled vegetables and the Nuoc Cham. A complete meal in itself, I'll come back again and again for this dish.


The Stir-Fried Morning Glory (P 180) is a comfortingly sweet, sour and spicy vegetable dish with kang kong sprinkled with crisp fried shallots. The all too familiar water spinach or swamp cabbage is given a splash of intense flavors making it new and refreshingly different. The crunch from the fried shallots and the natural crispness of the kang kong provide the textural finish to the dish. It's a great side to your barbecue dishes at VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque.


The sweet and spicy Suon Khia is another tasty dish with tender and juicy glazed pork ribs topped with green peppers and cilantro. The sweet glaze just works well with the delicate notes of the pork ribs, and the green peppers with fresh cilantro delivers that flavorful layer of minty and smoky sweetness to complete the dish.


But it's the Vietnamese style barbecue that's the highlight of any meal at VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque...

A charcoal grill is set up on your table, along with a selection of seafood, pork, chicken and beef. There's a wide array pf tasty options to choose from, including Gindara (P 290),  Salmon Fin & Belly (P 320)... 



...the Beef Oyster Blade (P 250) and fresh Octopus (P 230)...

...to Chicken Breast (P 160) and Angus Ribeye (P 490). VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque also offers Pork Belly, Pork Ears, Chicken Tail, Chicken Feet, Chicken Intestines, Angus Beef Belly, Shrimps, Baby Squid, Oysters, Mussels, Smoked Milkfish Belly, Blue Marlin, the VBQ Special and Pork Skewers...


...but whatever you order, you need to include the fresh Scallops (P 290). All the barbecue items are marinated with different Vietnamese sauces and fresh herbs, all you have to do is place them on the grill...


...and let it sizzle for a few minutes.

There's just nothing like grilling your own food right on your table to complete your dining experience. The fragrant aroma just triggers your appetite, and in just a few minutes, you can grab your piece straight out of the grill. From the freshly grilled Scallops (R)...
 




...to the Gindara (L) and Salmon Fin and Belly (R)...


...the Beef Oyster Blade (L) and tender Angus Ribeye (R), your Vietnamese-style fresh-off-the-grill barbecue becomes a sumptuous feast at VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque.

A bowl of garden-fresh leafy herbs complete your Vietnamese feast at VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque. Simply grab some fresh greens and herbs, add some barbecue, roll it and have one big bite. The combination of savory flavors with that layer of smokiness is perfectly balanced by the fresh, crisp and clean notes of the herbs and lettuce. That's Vietnamese style barbecue.


But Chef Mikel Zaguirre isn't done yet. The fresh ingredients for VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque's Beef Pho Pot (P 500) are then prepped with fresh tofu, okra, herbs, slices of beef belly and rice noodles... 


...and added one at a time in a richly flavored beef stock gently simmering over charcoal. The rich and deep-flavored stock is prepared in advance requiring long hours in low heat. The hot pot, with its enriched soup stock, is then ready for the different ingredients.


First, add the beef belly followed by the tofu, vegetables and rice noodles. 



Then, cover the pot with the lid and just let the hot charcoal do its magic. 


After just a few more minutes, your Beef Pho Pot is ready. Grab a bowl and load it up topped with more fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon. The rich broth, the tender beef, silky smooth tofu, the vegetables and the herbs just comes together in a seamless and flavorful blend, warming both the palate and body with its comforting richness. Good food and reasonable price points, VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque is a welcome addition to Poblacion's culinary scene. Satisfied with a hearty meal, why not head on up the second floor...


...for a round of handcrafted cocktails at Bang Bang? The mood and vibe shifts the minute you enter Bang Bang, one of Poblacion's many hidden bars. The classic Old-Fashioned sets the tone for an evening of infinite possibilities at Bang Bang.


There's always something new at Poblacion, it's what keeps the neighborhood high on the list for dining and a few drinks to complete your immersion in this vibrant community. Add VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque and Bang Bang to your list on your next Poblacion crawl...

VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque is located at 4969 Guerrero Street, Poblacion, Makati City. Bang Bang is located at the Second Floor, directly above VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque.

Dude for Food is now on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, check out these social media accounts for regular updates on good eats. Better yet, click "Like" and "Follow" and enjoy the ride...just look for the FB and IG widgets on the right sidebar.

          

Obama Urges Americans To Reject Language That 'Feeds A Climate Of Fear'   

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Former President Barack Obama weighed in on the mass shootings this past weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, saying on Monday that Americans "should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments." In a statement released on Twitter , Obama did not mention President Trump by name, but his reference seemed clear. Obama denounced language from "leaders who demonize those who don't look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people." Such language, Obama said, "has no place in our politics and our public life." He added that "it's time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much — clearly and unequivocally." Obama's statement Monday was a rare occasion when the former
          

U.S. signs limited deal with Japan on ag, digital trade   

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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign a limited trade agreement Monday with Japan, a deal that would win back benefits American farmers lost when Trump pulled out of a broader Asia-Pacific pact his first week in office.

U.S. farmers have been operating at a disadvantage in Japan since Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which had been negotiated by the Obama administration. The other 11 Pacific Rim countries, including big farm producers such as New Zealand and Canada, went ahead without the United States and were enjoying preferential treatment in Japan.

The Washington wheat industry welcomed the agreement when it was first announced last month. Japan traditionally has been among the biggest importers of the region’s wheat.

“The main thing is it gets us to an equal footing with our competitors as far as a price standpoint. This is just great news,” Michelle Hennings, executive director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, said at the time.

Trump earlier had put Washington wheat markets in jeopardy when he decided in 2017 to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which put U.S. wheat farmers at a graduating trade disadvantage to both Canada and Australia.

While rewarding American farmers, the new U.S.-Japan mini-deal does not resolve differences over trade in autos. Trump has said the two countries continue to work on a more comprehensive agreement.

Trump has threatened to impose import taxes on foreign autos, claiming they pose a threat to U.S. national security. At the U.N. general assembly, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that Trump had assured him that a previous agreement to spare Japan from new auto tariffs still stood.

But Japanese automakers were disappointed that the United States kept existing auto tariffs at 2.5%.

The limited trade pact also includes market-opening commitments on $40 billion worth of digital trade between the two countries.

Trump has long complained by America’s large trade deficit with Japan, which came to $58 billion last year. Japan is the world’s third-biggest economy behind the United States and China.

The president was set to sign the deal at the White House Monday afternoon.

The news might sound familiar. The deal was first announced at the August Group of 7 summit in Biarritz, France. At the UN gathering last month, the two countries signed an agreement-in-principle. On Monday, Trump was scheduled to sign the final text.


          

Profit, not politics: Trump allies sought Ukraine gas deal   

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KYIV, Ukraine – As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials last spring to investigate one of Donald Trump’s main political rivals, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer were also active in the former Soviet republic.

Their aims were profit, not politics. This circle of businessmen and Republican donors touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s massive state gas company. Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their plans.

Their plan hit a snag after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lost his reelection bid to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose conversation with Trump about former Vice President Joe Biden is now at the center of the House impeachment inquiry of Trump.

But the effort to install a friendlier management team at the helm of the gas company, Naftogaz, would soon be taken up with Ukraine’s new president by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose slate of candidates included a fellow Texan who is one of Perry’s past political donors.

It’s unclear if Perry’s attempts to replace board members at Naftogaz were coordinated with the Giuliani allies pushing for a similar outcome, and no one has alleged that there is criminal activity in any of these efforts. And it’s unclear what role, if any, Giuliani had in helping his clients push to get gas sales agreements with the state-owned company.

But the affair shows how those with ties to Trump and his administration were pursuing business deals in Ukraine that went far beyond advancing the president’s personal political interests. It also raises questions about whether Trump allies were mixing business and politics just as Republicans were calling for a probe of Biden and his son Hunter, who served five years on the board of another Ukrainian energy company, Burisma.

On Friday, according to the news site Axios, Trump told a group of Republican lawmakers that it had been Perry who had prompted the phone call in which Trump asked Zelenskiy for a “favor” regarding Biden. Axios cited a source saying Trump said Perry had asked Trump to make the call to discuss “something about an LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant.”

While it’s unclear whether Trump’s remark Friday referred specifically to the behind-the-scenes maneuvers this spring involving the multibillion-dollar state gas company, The Associated Press has interviewed four people with direct knowledge of the attempts to influence Naftogaz, and their accounts show Perry playing a key role in the effort. Three of the four spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. The fourth is an American businessman with close ties to the Ukrainian energy sector.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Energy Department said Perry, a former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate, was not advancing anyone’s personal interests. She said his conversations with Ukrainian officials about Naftogaz were part of his efforts to reform the country’s energy sector and create an environment in which Western companies can do business.

Perry was asked about the AP’s reporting on Monday while in Lithuania, where he was meeting with officials from Ukraine and other eastern European countries to discuss energy security and cooperation. He said any suggestion that he tried to force a management change at Naftogaz was a “totally dreamed up story.”

“We get asked for our recommendations about people who are experts in areas, various areas,” Perry said. “Folks who have expertise in particular areas. Obviously having been the governor of the state of Texas, I know a lot of people in the energy industry.”

The Trump and Giuliani allies driving the attempt to change the senior management at Naftogaz, however, appear to have had inside knowledge of the U.S. government’s plans in Ukraine. For example, they told people that Trump would replace the U.S. ambassador there months before she was actually recalled to Washington, according to three of the individuals interviewed by the AP. One of the individuals said he was so concerned by the whole affair that he reported it to a U.S. Embassy official in Ukraine months ago.

THE BUSINESSMEN

Ukraine, a resource-rich nation that sits on the geographic and symbolic border between Russia and the West, has long been plagued by corruption and government dysfunction, making it a magnet for foreign profiteers.

At the center of the Naftogaz plan, according to three individuals familiar with the details, were three such businessmen: two Soviet-born Florida real estate entrepreneurs, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and an oil magnate from Boca Raton, Florida, named Harry Sargeant III.

Parnas and Fruman have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations to Republicans, including $325,000 to a Trump-allied political action committee in 2018. This helped the relatively unknown entrepreneurs gain access to top levels of the Republican Party – including meetings with Trump at the White House and Mar-a-Lago.

The two have also faced lawsuits from disgruntled investors over unpaid debts. During the same period they were pursuing the Naftogaz deal, the two were coordinating with Giuliani to set up meetings with Ukrainian government officials and push for an investigation of the Bidens.

Sargeant, his wife and corporate entities tied to the family have donated at least $1.2 million to Republican campaigns and PACs over the last 20 years, including $100,000 in June to the Trump Victory Fund, according to federal and state campaign finance records. He has also served as finance chair of the Florida state GOP, and gave nearly $14,000 to Giuliani’s failed 2008 presidential campaign.

In early March, Fruman, Parnas and Sargeant were touting a plan to replace Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev with another senior executive at the company, Andrew Favorov, according to two individuals who spoke to the AP as well as a memorandum about the meeting that was later submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, formerly known as Kiev.

Going back to the Obama administration, the U.S. Energy Department and the State Department have long supported efforts to import American natural gas into Ukraine to reduce the country’s dependence on Russia.

The three approached Favorov with the idea while the Ukrainian executive was attending an energy industry conference in Texas. Parnas and Fruman told him they had flown in from Florida on a private jet to recruit him to be their partner in a new venture to export up to 100 tanker shipments a year of U.S. liquefied gas into Ukraine, where Naftogaz is the largest distributor, according to two people briefed on the details.

Sargeant told Favorov that he regularly meets with Trump at Mar-a-Lago and that the gas-sales plan had the president’s full support, according to the two people who said Favorov recounted the discussion to them.

These conversations were recounted to AP by Dale W. Perry, an American who is a former business partner of Favorov. He told AP in an interview that Favorov described the meeting to him soon after it happened and that Favorov perceived it to be a shakedown. Perry, who is no relation to the energy secretary, is the managing partner of Energy Resources of Ukraine, which currently has business agreements to import natural gas and electricity to Ukraine.

A second person who spoke on condition of anonymity also confirmed to the AP that Favorov had recounted details of the Houston meeting to him.

According to Dale Perry and the other person, Favorov said Parnas told him Trump planned to remove U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and replace her with someone more open to aiding their business interests.

Dale Perry told the AP he was so concerned about the efforts to change the management at Naftogaz and to get rid of Yovanovitch that he reported what he had heard to Suriya Jayanti, a State Department foreign service officer stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv who focuses on the energy industry.

He also wrote a detailed memo about Favorov’s account, dated April 12, which was shared with another current State Department official. Perry recently provided a copy of the April memo to AP.

Jayanti declined to provide comment. Favorov also declined to comment.

On March 24, Giuliani and Parnas gathered at the Trump International Hotel in Washington with Healy E. Baumgardner, a former Trump campaign adviser who once served as deputy communications director for Giuliani’s presidential campaign and as a communications official during the George W. Bush administration.

She is now listed as the CEO of 45 Energy Group, a Houston-based energy company whose website describes it as a “government relations, public affairs and business development practice group.” The company’s name is an apparent nod to Trump, the 45th president.

This was a couple of weeks after the Houston meeting with Favorov, the Naftogaz executive. Giuliani, Parnas and Baumgardner were there to make a business pitch involving gas deals in the former Soviet bloc to a potential investor.

This time, according to Giuliani, the deals that were discussed involved Uzbekistan, not Ukraine.

“I have not pursued a deal in the Ukraine. I don’t know about a deal in the Ukraine. I would not do a deal in the Ukraine now, obviously,” said Giuliani, reached while attending a playoff baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. “There is absolutely no proof that I did it, because I didn’t do it.”

During this meeting, Parnas again repeated that Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv, would soon be replaced, according to a person with direct knowledge of the gathering. She was removed two months later.

Giuliani, who serves as Trump’s personal lawyer and has no official role in government, acknowledged Friday that he was among those pushing the president to replace the ambassador, a career diplomat with a history of fighting corruption.

“The ambassador to Ukraine was replaced,” he said. “I did play a role in that.”

But Giuliani refused to discuss the details of his business dealings, or whether he helped his associates in their push to forge gas sales contracts with the Ukrainian company. He did describe Sergeant as a friend and referred to Parnas and Fruman as his clients in a tweet in May.

As part of their impeachment inquiry, House Democrats have subpoenaed Giuliani for documents and communications related to dozens of people, including Favorov, Parnas, Fruman and Baumgardner’s 45 Energy Group.

Baumgardner issued a written statement, saying: “While I won’t comment on business discussions, I will say this: this political assault on private business by the Democrats in Congress is complete harassment and an invasion of privacy that should scare the hell out of every American business owner.”

Baumgardner later denied that she had any business dealings in Ukraine but refused to say whether the replacement of Ambassador Yovanovitch was discussed.

Sargeant did not respond to a voice message left at a number listed for him at an address in Boca Raton.

John Dowd, a former Trump attorney who now represents Parnas and Fruman, said it was actually the Naftogaz executives who approached his clients about making a deal. Dowd says the group then approached Rick Perry to get the Energy Department on board.

“The people from the company solicited my clients because Igor is in the gas business, and they asked them, and they flew to Washington and they solicited,” Dowd said. “They sat down and talked about it. And then it was presented to Secretary Perry to see if they could get it together.

“It wasn’t a shakedown; it was an attempt to do legitimate business that didn’t work out.”

THE ENERGY SECRETARY

In May, Rick Perry traveled to Kyiv to serve as the senior U.S. government representative at the inauguration of the county’s new president.

In a private meeting with Zelenskiy, Perry pressed the Ukrainian president to fire members of the Naftogaz advisory board. Attendees left the meeting with the impression that Perry wanted to replace the American representative, Amos Hochstein, a former diplomat and energy representative who served in the Obama administration, with someone “reputable in Republican circles,” according to someone who was in the room.

Perry’s push for Ukraine’s state-owned natural gas company Naftogaz to change its supervisory board was first reported by Politico.

A second meeting during the trip, at a Kyiv hotel, included Ukrainian officials and energy sector people. There, Perry made clear that the Trump administration wanted to see the entire Naftogaz supervisory board replaced, according to a person who attended both meetings. Perry again referenced the list of advisers that he had given Zelenskiy, and it was widely interpreted that he wanted Michael Bleyzer, a Ukrainian-American businessman from Texas, to join the newly formed board, the person said. Also on the list was Robert Bensh, another Texan who frequently works in Ukraine, the Energy Department confirmed.

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department’s special envoy to Ukraine, were also in the room, according to photographs reviewed by AP. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation, said he was floored by the American requests because the person had always viewed the U.S. government “as having a higher ethical standard.”

The Naftogaz supervisory board is supposed to be selected by the Ukrainian president’s Cabinet in consultation with international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the United States and the European Union. It must be approved by the Ukrainian Cabinet. Ukrainian officials perceived Perry’s push to swap out the board as circumventing that established process, according to the person in the room.

U.S. Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said Perry had consistently called for the modernization of Ukraine’s business and energy sector in an effort to create an environment that will incentivize Western companies to do business there. She said Perry delivered that same message in the May meeting with Zelenskiy.

“What he did not do is advocate for the business interests of any one individual or company,” Hynes said Saturday. “That is fiction being pushed by those who are disingenuously seeking to advance a nefarious narrative that does not exist.”

Hynes said the Ukrainian government had requested U.S. recommendations to advise the country on energy matters, and Perry provided those recommendations. She confirmed Bleyzer was on the list.

Bleyzer, whose company is based in Houston, did not respond on Saturday to a voicemail seeking comment. Bensh also did not respond to a phone message.

Perry has close ties to the Texas oil and gas industry. He appointed Bleyzer to a two-year term on a state technologies fund board in 2009. The following year, records show Bleyzer donated $20,000 to Perry’s reelection campaign.

Zelenskiy’s office declined to comment on Saturday.

In an interview Friday with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Perry said that “as God as my witness” he never discussed Biden or his son in meetings with Ukrainian or U.S. officials, including Trump or Giuliani. He did confirm he had had a conversation with Giuliani by phone, but a spokeswoman for the energy secretary declined to say when that call was or whether the two had discussed Naftogaz.

In Lithuania on Monday, Perry said he could not recall whether Bleyzer’s name was on the list provided to Zelenskiy. But Perry confirmed he had known Bleyzer for years and called him “a really brilliant, capable businessman.”

“I would recommend him for a host of different things in Kyiv because he knows the country,” Perry said of Bleyzer. “He’s from there. So, why not? I mean I would be stunned if someone said that would you eliminate Michael Bleyzer from a recommendation of people you ought to talk to about how to do business in the country, whether they’re knowledgeable. It’d be remarkable if I didn’t say, `Talk to Michael.“’


          

As impeachment looms, GOP revolts against Trump on Syria   

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WASHINGTON – They may have his back on impeachment, but some of President Donald Trump’s most loyal allies are suddenly revolting against his decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria.

On Monday, one chief Trump loyalist in Congress called the move “unnerving to the core.” An influential figure in conservative media condemned it as “a disaster.” And Trump’s former top NATO envoy said it was “a big mistake” that would threaten the lives of Kurdish fighters who had fought alongside American troops for years.

Trump’s surprise move, which came with no advance warning late Sunday and stunned many in his own government, threatened to undermine what has been near lockstep support among Republicans. It also came against the backdrop of a congressional impeachment inquiry in which the backing of Republicans in the Senate is the president’s bulwark against being removed from office.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has been among Trump’s most vocal defenders, called the Syria decision “a disaster in the making” that would throw the region into chaos and embolden the Islamic State group.

“I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is,” Graham told Fox News. “I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has shrugged off the key allegation in the impeachment inquiry – that Trump pressured foreign powers to investigate a top Democratic rival – tweeted that Trump’s shift on Syria is “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.”

And Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who has been more willing than many Republicans to condemn Trump’s calls for foreign intervention in the 2020 election, called the Syria move “a terribly unwise decision” that would “abandon our Kurdish allies, who have been our major partner in the fight against the Islamic State.”

A more frequent Republican Trump critic, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, cast Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal.”

“It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster,” Romney tweeted.

Nikki Haley, who was Trump’s hand-picked ambassador to the United Nations, also cast the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Iraq as a betrayal of a key ally.

“The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake,” she wrote on Twitter.

Former Rubio aide Alex Conant highlighted the risks ahead for a president whose political future depends on Republican support.

“For Trump to make a very controversial move on Syria at the exact moment when he needs Senate Republicans more than ever is risky politics,” Conant said, noting the significance for many Senate Republicans of the United States’ policy in northern Syria, where Kurds would be particularly vulnerable to a Turkish invasion.

“They’re not just going to send out a couple of tweets and move on,” Conant said. “At the same time, the White House is going to need these guys to carry a lot of water for them.”

While a number of Republicans criticized Trump’s decision, one of their most important leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was sanguine, offering little concern about Syria or impeachment during an appearance at the University of Kentucky.

“There are a few distractions, as you may have noticed,” McConnell said. “But if you sort of keep your head on straight and remember why you were sent there, there are opportunities to do important things for the country and for the states that we represent.”

After the appearance, McConnell issued a statement warning that Trump’s proposed withdrawal “would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”

“As we learned the hard way during the Obama Administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal,” McConnell said.

Outside government, leaders of conservative groups backed Trump.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., a prominent evangelical leader, said Trump was simply “keeping his promise to keep America out of endless wars.”

He suggested Trump could easily reengage in the region if the decision backfires.

“The president has got to do what’s best for the country, whether it helps him with this phony impeachment inquiry or not,” Falwell said in an interview.

Former Trump campaign aide Barry Bennett noted that the president has been talking about reducing troop levels in the Middle East since before the 2016 election.

“I understand that they don’t like the policy, but none of them should be shocked by the policy,” Bennett said. “He’s only been talking about this for four or five years now. I think he’s with the vast majority of the public.”

Still, the backlash from other Trump loyalists was intense.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., a member of the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees, called it a “misguided and catastrophic blow to our national security interests.”

And on Fox News, a network where many rank-and-file Trump supporters get their news, host Brian Kilmeade said it was “a disaster.”

“Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?” Kilmeade said on “Fox & Friends.”

Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the controversy reminds him of former Defense Secretary James Mattis’ decision to resign late last year after Trump announced plans to withdraw troops from Syria.

“Ultimately, Trump reversed himself,” Aliriza said. “The question is whether he will actually reverse himself again in view of the opposition from Capitol Hill led by several of his closest allies.”


          

Whistleblower’s attorney says team now representing ‘multiple’ officials   

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WASHINGTON – An attorney for the whistleblower who sounded the alarm about President Donald Trump’s pressure on Ukraine said Sunday that “multiple” whistleblowers have come forward, deepening a political quagmire that has engulfed the president as well as several of his Cabinet members.

The news comes as House Democrats are accelerating their impeachment inquiry and subpoenaing documents related to Trump’s efforts to push foreign countries to investigate one of his political opponents, former vice president Joe Biden.

“I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General,” the whistleblower’s attorney, Andrew Bakaj, said in a tweet. “No further comment at this time.”

Mark Zaid, who also is a member of the original whistleblower’s legal team, confirmed to the Washington Post that the team is now representing a second whistleblower, someone who works in the intelligence community. The second individual has spoken to the inspector general of the intelligence community and has not filed a complaint.

“Doesn’t need to,” Zaid said in a text message, adding that the person has “first hand knowledge that supported the first whistleblower.”

News that the original whistleblower’s team is representing a second person was first reported Sunday by ABC News.

Trump seized on the latest development in a Sunday night tweet.

“Democrat lawyer is same for both Whistleblowers? All support Obama and Crooked Hillary. Witch Hunt!” he said.

The crisis, which began last month with media reports revealing the original whistleblower’s complaint, has quickly metastasized across the Trump administration, ensnaring senior officials such as Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who came under further scrutiny over the weekend.

Trump largely stayed out of public view, spending Saturday at his golf club in Sterling, Virginia, and Sunday at the White House. In tweets, he attacked Democrats and some Republican detractors, including Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, whose ouster he demanded Saturday after Romney criticized him.

He also appeared to directly link the 2020 presidential race to his efforts to push Ukraine to investigate Biden, contrary to a tweet on Friday declaring that “this has NOTHING to do with politics or a political campaign against the Bidens.”

“And by the way, I would LOVE running against 1% Joe Biden – I just don’t think it’s going to happen,” Trump tweeted Sunday, arguing that Biden and his family were “PAID OFF, pure and simple!”

“Sleepy Joe won’t get to the starting gate, & based on all of the money he & his family probably ‘extorted,’ Joe should hang it up,” Trump added. “I wouldn’t want him dealing with China & [Ukraine]!”

Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates responded by calling it “puzzling” that Trump would claim to love the prospect of a matchup against Biden, “seeing as how he just sent his administration into a tailspin by trying to bully a foreign country into spreading a comprehensively debunked conspiracy theory about the vice president.”

Biden’s son Hunter served for nearly five years on the board of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest private gas company, whose owner came under scrutiny by Ukrainian prosecutors for possible abuse of power and unlawful enrichment. Hunter Biden was not accused of any wrongdoing in the investigation.

As vice president, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire the top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, whom Biden and other Western officials, including Republicans, accused of not sufficiently pursuing corruption cases. At the time, the investigation into Burisma was dormant, according to former Ukrainian and U.S. officials.

On Saturday, Perry’s discussions with Ukrainian officials came to attention amid reports that Trump told Republicans on Friday that he made the July 25 call with the Ukrainian president at the request of Perry.

Asked about Trump’s comments, which were first reported by Axios, Energy Department spokeswoman Shylyn Hynes said in an email that Perry encouraged Trump to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky to discuss energy security.

Pompeo, who was scheduled to return to Washington on Sunday, is facing growing pressure from Democrats seeking Ukraine-related documents.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Pompeo, who had spent much of the past week in Europe, missed a Friday deadline to comply with a subpoena for information about the State Department’s dealings with Ukraine. Pompeo asserts that a letter sent to the committee constitutes the department’s initial response.

The whistleblower complaint accused Trump of asking the Ukrainian government to help him with his reelection bid by launching an investigation into Biden. Democrats are also probing whether Trump’s decision to withhold nearly $400 million in military assistance from Ukraine was linked to his push for the government there to pursue political investigations that could bolster the president’s reelection bid.

Text messages between State Department officials, revealed by House Democrats last week, show that there was at least some concern that Trump was pursuing an improper quid pro quo.

“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” diplomat William Taylor wrote on Sept. 9 to Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

Sondland, who has denied that Trump sought a quid pro quo, has agreed to meet privately on Tuesday with the three House panels – Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight – spearheading the probe, according to a committee aide.

On Friday, those three committees subpoenaed the White House for documents and wrote a letter to Vice President Mike Pence demanding that he turn over documents related to his talks with Zelensky.

Speaking at a Republican event in Louisiana on Saturday, Pence criticized Democrats but gave no indication about whether he would comply with their document request.

“Do-Nothing Democrats launched a partisan impeachment inquiry in a blatant attempt to overturn the will of the American people in the last election,” he said.

On Sunday, Trump’s campaign announced that the president would be traveling to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to hold a rally on Friday. The president will also have a rally on Wednesday in Minneapolis.

No White House officials made appearances on the Sunday morning news shows, leaving it up to congressional Republicans and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to defend the president in heated interviews during which they offered at-times-contradictory explanations for the president’s actions.

In a combative exchange on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd urged Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., to explain why he told the Wall Street Journal about his concern in the summer that Trump had sought to link Ukrainian military aid to an investigation of the Bidens.

Johnson repeatedly declined to answer, instead raising a conspiracy theory and criticizing the media before finally stating that Trump had “adamantly denied” any quid pro quo.

Johnson also at one point said he does not trust U.S. intelligence agencies. “Something pretty fishy happened during the 2016 campaign and in the transition, the early part of the Trump presidency, and we still don’t know,” he said.

“We do know the answer,” an exasperated Todd responded, adding: “You’re making a choice not to believe the investigations that have taken place.”

Giuliani issued a defiant defense of Trump in an interview on Fox News Channel’s “MediaBuzz” in which he argued that the president “has every right to ask countries to help us in a criminal investigation that should be undertaken.”

Giuliani was named in the whistleblower’s complaint and in a rough transcript of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky as being a key intermediary in back-channel efforts to pursue the allegations against Biden.

But other Republicans sought to play down Trump’s comments, including his exchange with reporters outside the White House on Thursday in which he urged China to investigate Biden.

In an interview on ABC News’s “This Week,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, echoed a suggestion on Friday by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that Trump’s China statement was not “a real request.”

“George, you really think he was serious about thinking that China’s going to investigate the Biden family? … I think he’s getting the press all spun up about this,” Jordan told host George Stephanopoulos.

During the interview, Stephanopoulos repeatedly sought an answer from Jordan on whether he thinks it is appropriate for Trump to ask China and Ukraine to investigate Biden. Jordan dodged the question more than a dozen times.

Democrats on Sunday defended their party’s efforts to pursue an impeachment inquiry.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a member of the Intelligence Committee, supported Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s view that no vote by the full House is necessary for an impeachment inquiry to move forward.

She added that she thinks the House “will have to take a serious look at articles of impeachment” based on the evidence that has emerged.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, N.Y., a key member of House Democratic leadership, said on “This Week” that “the evidence of wrongdoing by Donald Trump is hiding in plain sight.”

“The administration, without justification, withheld $391 million in military aid from a vulnerable Ukraine,” he said. “The president then pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 elections and target an American citizen for political gain. That is textbook abuse of power.”


          

Medal of Honor Museum to Open in Texas   

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(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Barack Obama, William "Kyle" Carpenter
Arlington, Texas, has been selected to become the new home of the $150 million National Medal of Honor Museum.
          

Maryland Nursing Home Arbitration Contracts May Be Impacted by FAIR Act   

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Arbitration has been a hot-button issue during the current administration. When President Trump took office back in 2017, there were strict rules set in place by President Obama that prevented nursing homes who used pre-admission arbitration contracts from receiving federal funds. The effect of this rule was to all but eliminate pre-admission arbitration contracts in Maryland nursing homes, as many received these types of funds. Earlier this year, however, the administration was successful in amending the old rules to allow for nursing homes to include binding arbitration clauses in their pre-admission paperwork. Under the new regulations, nursing homes could use arbitration clauses as long as 1.) it is clear that the resident knew what they were signing, 2.) the document does not discourage residents from reporting non-compliance, and 3.) the arbitrator named in the agreement is neutral and mutually convenient. Nursing homes also had to allow residents a 30-day rescission…
          

Miss Fury   

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I was going to write about music but an e-mail from Rassa was about Miss Fury and I had no idea who Miss Fury was.

MISS FURY was a comic book about the superhero Miss Fury.  June Tarpe Mills created the character and the comic book.   Who?  From TARPEMILLS.COM:


June Tarpe Mills, known professionally as Tarpe Mills, rose from obscurity to become the creator of the world's first female comic heroine with the publication of Miss Fury six months before the creation of Wonder Woman. Tarpe Mills’ tremendous artistic talent poured onto the print page with action, glamour and fashion, and sexiness that was unheard of until Miss Fury. Tarpe Mills and her work has been memorialized by her July 19, 2019, induction into the Eisner Comic Hall of Fame at ComicCon SanDiego.


From AMAZON, a look at Miss Fury:




From the visuals alone, you have to wonder why, in the '00s, someone didn't cast Annette Benning or Catharine Zeta Jones or Halle Berry or Michelle Pfeiffer as Miss Fury in a film of the same name?  Today, you could add Keira Knightly, Kerry Washington, Natalie Portman, Isabela Moner and Anne Hathaway to the list.  Some might argue that you'd have to set the film in the forties.  You wouldn't 'have to,' but even if you did, are you forgetting that both the Captain America film (2011) and the Wonder Woman film (2017) were set in that period and both were huge hits?


This is from WIKIPEDIA:


Miss Fury[edit]

The Bell Syndicate first published the Miss Fury comic strip (then titled The Black Fury) on April 6, 1941, predating the first appearance of Wonder Woman by six months.[9] The strip "ran in full color in the Sunday comics pages for 351 consecutive weeks from 1942 through 1949, and was also collected in comic book form by Timely Comics."[10] Circulation included over 100 newspapers at its most popular stage.[11] As the Miss Fury strip became more popular, it eventually became public knowledge its creator was a woman.[12]
Miss Fury, the alter ego of socialite Marla Drake, was a character based loosely on Mills' own appearance.[12]
During World War II, "Miss Fury" was painted on the nose of three American warplanes in Europe and the South Pacific. Two of the recurring villains were the Nazi agents Erica Von Kampf and General Bruno. Mills' own white Persian cat Perri-Purr was introduced in the strip, and during World War II Perri-Purr became an unofficial mascot of the American troops.[6][13]

Fashion[edit]

The artwork was created in a glamorous style with considerable attention placed on the heroine's outfits.[1][14] These outfits varied from lacy evening gowns and lingerie to bathing suits and athletic costumes.[15] Mills' attention to fashion in Miss Fury was mirrored in the work of her contemporary Dalia Messick's "Brenda Starr," and in this sense the women were ahead of their male counterparts who typically "dressed [their] heroines in plain red dresses."[16]
Cut-out paper fashion dolls were included for the first time in the comic-book reprints of Miss Fury, leading Trina Robbins to guess that these books were intended for a female audience.[15] Mills sent paper dolls to young women who had written fan mail requesting art.[9]

Censorship[edit]

Miss Fury was notoriously full of "kinkiness," including “whips, spike heels, female-on-female violence, and lingerie scenes.”[2] One character's costume in a 1947 publication "was so daring that 37 newspapers cancelled the strip” that day.[15] A bathing scene from the tenth Miss Fury Sunday page on June 8, 1941 ran in newspapers at the time but was later excluded from the 1942 Timely Comics reprint.[17]
Trina Robbins said on Miss Fury:
“The only outrage I have seen were those newspapers that censored Mills’s strip in which she dressed her nightclub entertainer character, Era, in an outfit that would not bother us in the least today. But it obviously shocked the pants – yes, verbal joke intended – off some people."[9]

Style[edit]

Mills' art in Miss Fury was modeled on the work of Milton Caniff.[18] Her portrayal of action across multiple panels, as well as the natural poses and facial expressions of her characters, has been described as "cinematic,"[19] echoing the film-noire style.[18][20] Mills' characters also possessed a "pinup quality."[19]
Dean Mullaney, editor and publisher behind Eclipse Enterprises, wrote that “[Mills’] art is drawn very traditionally—no surprises, no ah-ha moments.”[21]
Evie Nagy for The Los Angeles Review of Books remarked that “the flow of Mills’s sequential art feels completely organic."[19]

Legacy[edit]

June Mills' legacy as the first woman to create a female action hero in comics was contextualized by Victoria Ingalls for the American Psychological Association. Out of a list of hundreds of female “superheroes” surveyed in her abstract, Ingalls identified only eleven as being created by a woman not working in a team with a male writer. Mills' Marla Drake is the chronological first of these eleven heroes.
According to Mike Madrid in his book The Supergirls, Marla Drake belongs to the “Debutante” caste of early comics female heroines, who include Sandra Knight (Phantom Lady), Dianne Grayton(Spider Widow), Diana Adams (Miss Masque), and Brenda Banks (Lady Luck). These characters form a ‘sorority’ of heiresses and socialites who had been forced into lives of propriety, submission, and “tedious leisure.” “Putting on a cape and mask liberated these women” to embrace their own identities, fight crime, and trade their “entitled boredom” for thrills.[22]
Madrid wrote, “Mills’ approach to a secret identity seemed more realistic, injected with a feminine practicality.”[22]

This is from an article at Australia's ABC:

Comics then and now tend to feature weak-kneed female characters who seem to exist for the sole purpose of being saved by a male hero — or, worse still, are "fridged", a contemporary comic book colloquialism that refers to the gruesome slaying of an undeveloped female character to deepen the hero's motivation and propel him on his journey.
But Mills believed there was room in comics for a different kind of female character, one who was able, level-headed and capable, mingling tough-minded complexity with Mills' own taste for risqué behaviour and haute couture gowns.
Where Wonder Woman's powers are "marvellous" — that is, not real or attainable — Miss Fury and her alter ego Marla Drake use their collective brains, resourcefulness and the odd stiletto heel in the face to bring the villains to justice.
And for a time they were wildly successful.
Miss Fury ran a full decade from April 1941 to December 1951, was syndicated in 100 different newspapers at the height of her wartime fame, and sold a million copies an issue in reprints released by Timely (now Marvel) comics.
Fighter pilots painted Miss Fury on the fuselage of bomber planes. Young girls played with paper doll cut outs featuring her extensive high fashion wardrobe.

From Australia's ABC -- emphasize.  Point being, Miss Fury was not known just in the US.  She had wide appeal.  So why isn't Miss Fury on the big screen?


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, October 4, 2019.  Protests continue in Iraq while, in the US, Joe Biden continues to tarnish the legacy of Barack Obama.


Last week, Sarah Chayes, "Hunter Biden’s Perfectly Legal, Socially Acceptable Corruption" was published by THE ATLANTIC.  Yesterday on MORNING EDITION (NPR), Sarah spoke with David Green:

DAVID GREENE, HOST:
The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is drawing attention to the questionable activities of more than one major political family. Former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter are under scrutiny for Hunter's work in the Ukrainian energy industry.
The writer Sarah Chayes is the author of the book "Thieves Of The State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security" (ph). And she argues this scrutiny is a good thing.

SARAH CHAYES: You know, when the son of a vice president gets a job in a field he knows nothing about while his father is vice president in a country that just had a revolution that, you know, typically, in that part of the world, post-revolution, all the oligarchs steal all the crown jewels, and the industry is one of the crown jewels - that is to say, gas - since when is that doing nothing wrong?

GREENE: Now, wrong does not necessarily mean illegal, Sarah Chayes told me. But she said too often these days, people with political ties or prominent political names are getting involved where they shouldn't be.

CHAYES: Almost any senior name that I start researching, I run into practices like this. It is extraordinarily widespread. And that's my question. How did we all convince ourselves that this isn't corrupt? And it seems to me that we're not going to recover, you know, even an approximation of the ideals on which we were founded as a nation unless each of us, as citizens, begins to make it less comfortable for our political and economic leaders to behave this way.

GREENE: Well, let me ask you this, then. If it is not unusual, why focus on this case of Hunter Biden and Joe Biden specifically?


CHAYES: Because it's in the news and because of the word that I kept seeing apply in this context, which is, no wrongdoing, or, they didn't do anything wrong. And I'm looking at that, saying, what? And if we can say that now, in this context, then there's something awry.


From her article at THE ATLANTIC:

When allegations of ethical lapses or wrongdoing surface against people on one side of the aisle, they can always claim that someone on the other side has done far worse. But taken together, all of these examples have contributed to a toxic norm. Joe Biden is the man who, as a senator, walked out of a dinner with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Biden was one of the most vocal champions of anticorruption efforts in the Obama administration. So when this same Biden takes his son with him to China aboard Air Force Two, and within days Hunter joins the board of an investment advisory firm with stakes in China, it does not matter what father and son discussed. Joe Biden has enabled this brand of practice, made it bipartisan orthodoxy. And the ethical standard in these cases—people’s basic understanding of right and wrong—becomes whatever federal law allows. Which is a lot.


To quote THELMA & LOUISE, "You get what you settle for."  Is that what we're willing to settle for as a society?  Corruption and lack of ethics?  Or do we have standards that we apply across the board?  Basic expectations from our public servants?

Situational ethics will never root out corruption.


Replying to 
Or is it this maybe?? Because let’s face it: Joe Biden’s son Hunter failed rehab 5 times, got kicked out of the Navy, dated his sister in law, and left a crack pipe in a rental car. The idea Hunter got a job getting paid $50,000 a month should strike everyone as suspicious.
 
 



The crack pipe?

That gets back to the Biden pass.  His niece Caroline physically attacks a police officer and is arrested.  She gets a pass, no time.  A few years later, the niece steals over $100,000 and, again, no time sentenced, no time served.  Hunter and his crack pipe?


Yea, because smoking crack isint a crime. "Prescott Police Department officials were unable to reach Hunter Biden and, after an investigation, declined to prosecute"
 
 



And, again, campaign staff insists Hunter is the father of the child that he's denying is hit, the one the mother is suing him for.  These are the values of the Biden family.  These are the values we want in the White House?

Two kinds of justice -- the ones for everyone else and the ones for the Bidens?

America deserves much better than that.

Much.


And what the media and the Joe-bots don't get, the American people do.  MEDIAITE notes:

Joe Biden’s third quarter fundraising numbers are out. And they are an ominous sign for the former vice president’s 2020 candidacy.
According to Bloomberg, Biden told donors at a fundraiser in Palo Alto, CA that his campaign raised $15 million in the period from July-September. That number is down markedly from the $21.5 million he brought in during the second quarter.
Biden’s third quarter haul also, notably, lags behind that of two of his rivals. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) brought in $25 million over the past three months, while South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised $19.1 million. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has emerged as the main threat to Biden’s long-held frontrunner status, has not yet reported her third quarter numbers.
The vice president also came in way behind President Donald Trump — whose coffers grew by a whopping $125 million in the third quarter.


It's time for Joe to go.

It's no longer just about him.

Corrupt Joe makes it that much harder to call Donald Trump out for any corruption.

Corrupt Joe is tainting Barack Obama's legacy with every day.

What Joe allowed his family to get away with while he was Vice President?

That reflects poorly on Joe.  It also reflects on Barack.  And there's a lot more to come on that issue.  Joe is harming Barack's legacy.

It's time for Joe to go.

He offers nothing that is needed and seems to believe it's 1996.  He's out of touch, he's out of date and he's corrupt.  He needs to go.


Turning to Iraq . . .


REUTERS notes:

The death toll from days of violent demonstrations across Iraq has risen to 44 as unrest rapidly spread across the country despite a plea for calm from the prime minister.
In an overnight TV address, Adel Abdul-Mahdi said he understood the frustration of the public but there was no “magic solution” to Iraq’s problems. He pledged to make reforms, but this drew a scornful response from demonstrators.



REUTERS plays 'even handed' and head up the ass.  Why?  Maybe so they can continue to cover Iraq.  It's not like the western press isn't intimidated and bullied by the Iraqi government.

That's been going on openly since 2006.

UN urges Iraq to probe protest deaths ‘transparently’ National News
 
 




Mahdi is so inept as a prime minister that the president of Iraq has dominated the news for over six months.  The presidency is a symbolic office in Iraq.  It has no real power, pure ceremony.  But that's how weak Mahdi is and how desperate the western press has been to ignore reality in Iraq.

A non-functioning prime minister?  Well, hey, just report on the doings of the president and pretend like he's the leader of the country.


Journalist Mustafa Habib reports the following:


          

Judicial Watch Sues for Records on Obama Administration/Environmentalists Shut Down of Dakota Access Pipeline   

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Contact: Jill Farrell, Judicial Watch, 202-646-5172 WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2017 /Standard Newswire/ -- Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense for all records from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding environmentalist groups' attempts to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch vs. U.S. Department of Defense Source: Judicial Watch
          

Judicial Watch Sues EPA Over Obama Clean Power Claims   

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Contact: Jill Farrell, Judicial Watch, 202-646-5172 WASHINGTON, June 27, 2017 /Standard Newswire/ -- Judicial Watch today announced it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for records concerning the agency's claim that the Clean Power Plan would prevent thousands of premature deaths by 2030 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (No. 1:17-cv-01217)). The June 21, 2017, suit was filed in the U.S. Distr Source: Judicial Watch
          

Climategate Update: Judicial Watch Sues for Records between Key Obama Administration Scientists Involved in Global Warming Controversies   

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Contact: Jill Farrell, Judicial Watch, 202-646-5172 WASHINGTON, March 27, 2017 /Standard Newswire/ -- Judicial Watch today announced it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia asking the court to compel the U.S. Department of Commerce to turn over all records of communications between a pair of federal scientists who heavily influenced the Obama administration's climate change policy and its backing of the Paris Agre Source: Judicial Watch
          

Governor Pence Rejects Overreaching EPA Regulations   

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Sends letter to President Obama announcing opposition to Clean Power PlanContact: Matt Lloyd, 317-864-0884, mlloyd@gov.in.gov INDIANAPOLIS, June 24, 2015 /Standard Newswire/ -- Governor Pence sent a letter today to President Obama informing him that unless the federal Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan is demonstrably and significantly improved before being finalized Indiana will not comply. The Governor's letter in full can be found here."As I wrote to Administrator Source: Mike Pence for Indiana
          

Governor Pence Urges Congress to Block Proposed EPA Regulations   

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Contact: Kara Brooks, 317-232-1622, kbrooks@gov.in.gov  INDIANAPOLIS, July 10, 2014 /Standard Newswire/ -- Today Governor Mike Pence called on Members of the Indiana Congressional Delegation to support legislative efforts that would block or prevent implementation of the EPA's proposed regulations on carbon dioxide emission from existing and new power plants.   "The Obama Administration has already put in place regulations on power plants that will increase the cost of Source: Mike Pence for Indiana
          

Young Americans Say China and National Debt Are Top Foreign Policy Issues   

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Young Americans Say President Obama Should Lower Taxes and Regulations on Business to Keep Jobs In America Contact: Matthew Faraci, 202-997-1636; David Pasch, 202-230-7947; both with Generation Opportunity  WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2012 /Standard Newswire/ -- Generation Opportunity, the largest non-profit, non-partisan organization in the United States engaging and mobilizing young Americans (ages 18-29) on important economic issues facing the nation, released new polling data Source: Generation Opportunity
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