Sep 282019
 
 September 28, 2019  Posted by at 9:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  13 Responses »


Paul Gauguin Harbour scene, Dieppe 1883

 

New Docs Contradict Biden Claim That Fired Ukrainian Prosecutor Was Corrupt (ZH)
Adam Schiff Epitomizes the Total Collapse of Democratic Party Integrity (PCR)
10 Reasons Democrats’ Impeachment Argument Is Falling Apart (Grabien)
Intel Community Secretly Nixed Whistleblower Demand of First-Hand Info (Fed.)
Pompeo Subpoenaed By House Democrats In Trump Impeachment Inquiry (BBC)
Everything the Press Gets Wrong about the Ukraine Call (Scott Adams)
A Dumpster Fire on a Garbage Barge (Kunstler)
Joseph Wilson, US Envoy Who Defied Bush Over Iraq, Dies Aged 69 (BBC)
White House Deliberates Block On All US Investments In China (CNBC)
Western Dominance Is On The Wane – Lavrov at UNGA (RT)
Establishment & Media Sympathize With Greta. So How Is That A Protest? (RT)
Assange Behind Bars (Felicity Ruby)

 

 

As I wrote yesterday: “John Solomon’s account is really important in the impeachment hearings.. And everything he says is documented.”

Solomon is the key figure here.

New Docs Contradict Biden Claim That Fired Ukrainian Prosecutor Was Corrupt (ZH)

Appearing on “Hannity” Thursday night, Solomon explained “These documents show, as I report tonight for the first time, that the very day that Joe Biden managed to get that Ukraine prosecutor fired, that very day his son’s company’s lawyers, the American company lawyers helping Burisma trying to fight this investigation were trying to urgently reach the new prosecutor, the replacement prosecutor.” “In that meeting, according to the official record from the prosecutor, the lawyers for Hunter Biden’s company stated to the replacement prosecutor, we know that the information calling Mr. Shokin was corrupt and was ‘False information distributed by U.S. Government officials and other figures. We would like to make this up to you by bringing you to Washington, you are not corrupt and you instigated numerous reforms.’ That is the official record of the meeting. Ukrainian prosecutors kept.” (via the Daily Caller). According to Solomon, the memos raise troubling questions (via The Hill):


1) If the Ukraine prosecutor’s firing involved only his alleged corruption and ineptitude, why did Burisma’s American legal team refer to those allegations as “false information?” 2) If the firing had nothing to do with the Burisma case, as Biden has adamantly claimed, why would Burisma’s American lawyers contact the replacement prosecutor within hours of the termination and urgently seek a meeting in Ukraine to discuss the case? What’s more, Ukrainian prosecutors attempted to get this information to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) since last summer – first unsuccessfully engaging a US attorney in New York who they say showed no interest, and then reaching out to Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s attorney.

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Schiff was a disgrace in the House- again.

Adam Schiff Epitomizes the Total Collapse of Democratic Party Integrity (PCR)

US Rep. Adam Schiff, Democrat from California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had no qualms about lying through his teeth in his opening statement prior to the testimony of Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. Everyone present had read the transcript of the telephone conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, and everyone knew that what Schiff, who said he was reading from the transcript of the telephone call, was saying was not in the transcript. How can it be that the chairman of a House committee in a room full of newspersons and TV cameras has no qualms about intentionally misrepresenting the written record in order to make it conform to the lies the Democrats and their stable of corrupt presstitutes have spread about a telephone call revealed by an alleged whistleblower, a likely Democrat operative, who claimed to have heard it second hand.

When I was a member of the Congressional staff, any Representative who so dishonored a committee of the House and the House itself as Schiff has done would have been reprimanded, brought before the Ethics Committee, and forced to resign. But the Democrats have ground integrity under their heel in their fanatical determination to prevent Trump’s reelection. In his opening statement Adam Schiff further showed his total lack of integrity in his assault on the integrity and character of Joseph Maguire and made wild and irresponsible charges probably never witnessed previously in the halls of Congress.

The transcript of the telephone call shows that what the alleged whistleblower said is false. Yet in the face of the evidence Adam Schiff speaks as if the evidence does not exist and that the alleged whistleblower’s second hand statement is true. Once again we hear the Democratic Party say, “Evidence? We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence.” They don’t need evidence because the presstitutes support their lies and control the explanations given to Americans. The Democrats are betting their future on their lies being shielded by their media whores and that the insouciant American people will hear nothing but false allegations against Trump repeated endlessly, as was the case with Russiagate. If the people realize that the “impeachment investigation” is another hoax like Russiagate, Schiff will have destroyed the Democrats’ chances in the next election.

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Key feature: “..the Ukrainian delegation hadn’t even been made aware aid was held up until a month after the Trump call…”

10 Reasons Democrats’ Impeachment Argument Is Falling Apart (Grabien)

1. No quid pro quo. Despite Democrats’ initial claim, there was no quid pro quo. The call transcript shows the topic of aid only came up in reference to how well the U.S. treats Ukraine, particularly as compared to Euro nations, most specifically Germany. At no point does Trump threaten to withhold anything, as even some of Trump’s media critics conceded.

2. Ukrainians weren’t pressured. Democrats and the media have repeatedly insisted President Trump “acted like a mob boss” in applying pressure on President Volodymyr Zelensky. He, however, defended Trump, saying he felt no pressure. “ I think you read everything,” he told reporters in New York this week. “So I think you read text. I’m … I am sorry but I don’t want to be involved to democratic open, uh, hum… [..] .. elections of U.S.A. You’ve heard we had, um, I think good phone call. It was normal. We spoke about many things and I thought so. And I think and you read it that nobody push it, pushed me.”

3. Timeline. Politico’s Ken Vogel reported that the Ukrainian delegation hadn’t even been made aware aid was held up until a month after the Trump call. It’s hard to see they could feel they’re being “extorted,” as Democrats keep saying, if they weren’t even aware of the pressure supposedly being applied.

4. No Illicit Favors. When the White House released the call transcript, readers noticed that after some initial mutual flattery, Zeleznsky brings up buying more Javelin missiles; President Trump then asks for a favor and requests additional information into 2016 election meddling. Rep. Adam Schiff suggested Trump’s request for a “favor” actually referenced wanting dirt on Joe Biden, but Biden only comes up later in the conversation, and in a separate context. Nonetheless, the major media almost uniformly reported the “favor” line from Trump’s call in the same inaccurate fashion.

5. Whistleblower Complaint Lacks Credibility. This complaint, which Democrats for some reason insisted was more important than the call transcript itself, was basically a version of that original call that had been run through a game of telephone. The report had the basic story reasonably accurate, but then supplemented that synopsis with additional accumulated gossip. At least three key details in the complaint have since been shown to be false. As the document is itself a product of hearsay — the self-described whistleblower admits at the beginning of his report that he never witnessed anything — and the fact it contains demonstrable inaccuracies, its importance should certainly be subjugated to the call transcript itself. [..]

9. Rudy. It’s widely reported Rudy Giuliani was Trump’s go-to guy for actually carrying out this conspiracy. On his call, Trump told the Ukraine president to speak with Rudy (as well as AG Barr), about the investigation into an oil company on whose board sat Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son. But Giuliani first communicated with his Ukrainian counterparts more than a year before Biden entered the race. Yes, it’s possible they anticipated Biden eventually entering the race; but it’s also possible Trump actually thought there might be legitimate corruption worthy of investigating. Giuliani tries to prove this point by noting the State Dept. was helping coordinate his communications.

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This is too much.

Intel Community Secretly Nixed Whistleblower Demand of First-Hand Info (Fed.)

Between May 2018 and August 2019, the intelligence community secretly eliminated a requirement that whistleblowers provide direct, first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoings. This raises questions about the intelligence community’s behavior regarding the August submission of a whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump. The new complaint document no longer requires potential whistleblowers who wish to have their concerns expedited to Congress to have direct, first-hand knowledge of the alleged wrongdoing that they are reporting.

The brand new version of the whistleblower complaint form, which was not made public until after the transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the complaint addressed to Congress were made public, eliminates the first-hand knowledge requirement and allows employees to file whistleblower complaints even if they have zero direct knowledge of underlying evidence and only “heard about [wrongdoing] from others.” The internal properties of the newly revised “Disclosure of Urgent Concern” form, which the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) requires to be submitted under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA), show that the document was uploaded on September 24, 2019, at 4:25 p.m., just days before the anti-Trump complaint was declassified and released to the public.

The markings on the document state that it was revised in August 2019, but no specific date of revision is disclosed. The complaint alleges that President Donald Trump broke the law during a phone call with the Ukrainian president. In his complaint, which was dated August 12, 2019, the complainant acknowledged he was “not a direct witness” to the wrongdoing he claims Trump committed. A previous version of the whistleblower complaint document, which the ICIG and DNI until recently provided to potential whistleblowers, declared that any complaint must contain only first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoing and that complaints that provide only hearsay, rumor, or gossip would be rejected.

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You start to feel pity for them.

Pompeo Subpoenaed By House Democrats In Trump Impeachment Inquiry (BBC)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been ordered by Democrats to turn over documents relating to the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine. In a letter, the heads of three House committees subpoenaed Mr Pompeo to produce the documents within a week. It is the latest move in rapidly escalating impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. He is being scrutinised for allegedly pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden. In a separate development on Friday, the US special envoy for Ukraine negotiations, Kurt Volker, resigned, US media reported.


Mr Trump has denied putting any pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call in July, when Mr Biden was leading polls to win the Democratic nomination for the White House race in 2020. Mr Trump has alleged that Mr Biden pressed for the sacking of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in 2016 to protect a business that employed his son, Hunter Biden. Mr Biden did call for the sacking of Mr Shokin, even threatening to withhold $1bn (£813m) in aid to Ukraine.

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Everyone understands why the US president needs the room to move, and they’ll grant it to every single one. Except for Trump.

Everything the Press Gets Wrong about the Ukraine Call (Scott Adams)

We give our presidents a lot of flexibility in dealing with foreign affairs because it works better to have one “boss” in these situations. Had Trump permanently withheld funds approved by Congress, that would be a system problem on our end. But temporarily putting a hold on those funds before speaking leader-to-leader is just smart presidenting. It creates the impression that the president is the only American the foreign leader needs to deal with. That’s “setting the table.” Does it matter exactly what Trump was going to discuss, negotiate, or request? Nope. If the only thing Trump did on the phone call was congratulate President Zelensky on his election victory, it would still be smart to hold the funds until then.

We want our president to go into every conversation with foreign leaders fully armed, persuasion-wise. When Trump brings the full weight of the office with him, it sets the table for the current conversations, and every one after that. When Trump withholds funds, pulls out of a deal, or otherwise transfers power from Congress to himself, it makes him a more effective negotiator. It puts him in charge. It is a strong psychological advantage. Compare that approach to sending a president out weak, dependent on Congress to wipe his nose. Those are not similar table settings. Trump knows the difference. So does everyone who read his book, The Art of the The Deal.

We’ve heard Trump say he was concerned about corruption in Ukraine, and that was why he put a hold on the funds. I’m sure that was at least a part of his concern. Probably every American has that same concern about foreign aid in general. But as I said, it doesn’t matter what reason he gives the American public. Regardless of corruption in Ukraine, it was still smart to withhold funds until after the leaders spoke, because it made Trump the only person Zelensky needs to satisfy. That’s what we want from our presidents. We want them going in strong, with the full weight of their office and influence, to every interaction with foreign leaders, every time.

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“Their ongoing campaign to undo the 2016 election is igniting a civil war.”

A Dumpster Fire on a Garbage Barge (Kunstler)

Others have pointed out that the whistleblower’s complaint was composed as a legal brief, leading to the inference that it was constructed by lawyers and perhaps a team of lawyers. The whistleblower’s lawyer is Andrew Bakaj, a former CIA employee who got his start interning for Senator Chuck Schumer and then Hillary Clinton. The Washingtonian said Bakaj “actually wrote the CIA’s internal rules on whistleblowing.” Is that so? Did he write Form 401 then? His client’s complaint states: “I was not a direct witness to most of the events described. However, I found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another.” In other words, second-hand information. Dismissed.

Everyone and his uncle remembers the infamous threat issued to Mr. Trump by Senator Schumer during the transition period in January, 2017: “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Perhaps Senator Schumer should have kept his pie-hole shut on that. He made it official that the Intel Community would act as an adversary and antagonist to the President, and that appears to be exactly what has happened. One suspects that this rogue agency has captured The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, and several TV cable news networks as well. And now they are metamorphosing into an enemy of the people.

The moment approaches when Mr. Trump will have to carry out a severe housecleaning of the CIA and perhaps many other agencies under the executive branch of the government. Their ongoing campaign to undo the 2016 election is igniting a civil war. Clearly a part of the whistleblower gambit was an attempt to discredit Attorney General William Barr and set up a device that would force him to recuse himself from any further inquiry into shenanigans carried out in and around Ukraine since 2014, when the CIA and the Obama State Department overthrew the government of Viktor Yanukovych. Mr. Barr is a sturdy fellow. He may have seven ways from Sunday for countering their seditious monkeyshines. Wait for it.

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Literally lives destroyed by the Deep State.

Joseph Wilson, US Envoy Who Defied Bush Over Iraq, Dies Aged 69 (BBC)

The US diplomat Joseph Wilson, who defied President George W Bush over the decision to go to war with Iraq, has died aged 69. In 2003, Mr Wilson disproved allegations used by the Bush administration as grounds for invasion that then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had bought uranium in Niger. Days later, his then-wife Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA agent, in what some saw as an act of political revenge. He and Ms Plame divorced in 2017. Ms Plame told the Washington Post that er ex-husband had died of organ failure in a hospice in New Mexico, where they both lived. In a career spanning three decades, Mr Wilson held numerous postings, mainly in Africa. As acting ambassador to Iraq in the run-up to the First Gulf War in 1991, he was the last US diplomat to meet Saddam Hussein.


In 2002, by then a private citizen, Mr Wilson was sent by the CIA on a fact-finding mission to Niger to investigate reports that Iraq had bought a nuclear material – uranium yellowcake. Mr Wilson concluded that the reports were false, but 11 months later they reappeared in Mr Bush’s State of the Union address. They were used as evidence that Iraq was obtaining weapons of mass destruction, and justification for the 2003 war. In July of that year, the former diplomat wrote in the New York Times: “I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons programme was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.”

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May not be all that practical. How about existing investments?

White House Deliberates Block On All US Investments In China (CNBC)

The White House is weighing some curbs on U.S. investments in China, a source familiar with the matter told CNBC. This discussion includes possibly blocking all U.S. financial investments in Chinese companies, the source said. It’s in the preliminary stages and nothing has been decided, the source said. There’s also no time frame for their implementation, the source added. Restricting financial investments in Chinese entities would be meant to protect U.S. investors from excessive risk due to lack of regulatory supervision, the source said. The deliberations come as the U.S. looks for additional levers of influence in trade talks, which resume on Oct. 10 in Washington.


Both countries slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other’s goods. The discussions also come as the Chinese government is taking steps to increase foreign access to its markets. Bloomberg News first reported earlier on Friday that Trump administration officials are considering ways to limit U.S. investors’ portfolio flows into China, including delisting Chinese companies from American stock exchanges and preventing U.S. government pension funds from investing in the Chinese market. Shares of Alibaba, Baidu and other Chinese companies plunged following the news. China’s yuan weakened to 7.15 against the dollar on the report.

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‘We’re liberals hence anything is permitted to us’”

Western Dominance Is On The Wane – Lavrov at UNGA (RT)

The West ignores reality by trying to prevent the formation of a multi-polar world by imposing its narrow “liberal” rules on others, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has told the UN General Assembly. Lavrov’s speech on Friday at the UN headquarters in New York focused on global challenges but, unlike some of the speakers, he didn’t mince words, proceeding into a full-on rebuke of the Western ideal of world order. New centers of economic growth and political influence are emerging internationally, he said, but the US and its allies are trying to impede the rise of the multi-polar world. In order to achieve this, they “impose the standards of conduct based on narrow Western interpretation of liberalism on others. In short, ‘We’re liberals hence anything is permitted to us’” was how he characterized this attitude.

“It’s hard for the West to accept that its centuries-long domination is diminishing.” “The West has been increasingly forgetting about international law and more often dwell on rules-based order.”

As opposed to this counterproductive approach, lasting solutions to global challenges should be founded “on the basis of the UN Charter, through the balance of interests of all states,” the Russian FM recommended. The top Russian diplomat also expressed hope that Moscow and Washington would agree on an extension of the New Strategic Arms Treaty (New START), which is set to expire in February 2021. All the suggestions that Russia has made to establish additional communication channels to work on the issue are still “on the table,” Lavrov said, as is Moscow’s most recent proposal for NATO to impose a mutual moratorium on the deployment of short- and mid-range missiles in Europe.

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Oh, jeez…: “The Guardian comparing her speech on Monday to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address for its historical significance, and New York Magazine calling her “the Joan of Arc of climate change.”

Establishment & Media Sympathize With Greta. So How Is That A Protest? (RT)

As hundreds of thousands of people – many of them schoolchildren – take to the streets in another demonstration over climate change, one must wonder: at what point does protest become the status quo? Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s solo school walkout last August was little more than a sideshow to newspaper editors and TV crews. But the teenage crusader’s ‘school strike’ snowballed, and the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement grew. Now, after an emotional speech by Thunberg at the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday, hundreds of thousands of climate strikers worldwide are packing the streets on Friday, demanding their governments declare a state of emergency, slash carbon emissions, penalize meat-eating and kill the car, to pick but a few of their proposals.

But these radicals – as they would have been called not so long ago – aren’t being met by the batons, tear gas and rubber bullets the state usually deploys to quash dissent (not that any peaceful demonstrations should be). Media outlets aren’t smearing those within their ranks as racists and downplaying attendance numbers, and the crowds occupying city streets aren’t risking injury and mutilation to do so. The very idea of ‘protest’ implies some resistance, some injustice of state to be overcome. Climate protesters would argue that not enough is being done to heal our heating earth – and that’s a debate beyond the scope of this article – but government, media, and the world’s power brokers have aided Thunberg and co’s protest movement at every step of the way.

France’s ‘Yellow Vests’ protests began in opposition to a fossil fuel tax hike, and were met with all of the violence described above on a weekly basis. Thunberg, in contrast, was invited to address the French parliament in July. Likewise with her appearances at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, her speeches before British parliament and the US Congress, and her most recent UN appearance. On every occasion, the world’s political leaders rolled out the red carpet and held the door open for her to lecture them. Media coverage of Thunberg and the climate protests has been overwhelmingly favorable – with The Guardian comparing her speech on Monday to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address for its historical significance, and New York Magazine calling her “the Joan of Arc of climate change.” The Yellow Vests, to continue the comparison, were described as a rabble of anti-semites and “notorious Holocaust deniers,” based on the actions of a tiny minority of protesters.

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A visit to Belmarsh maximum-security prison. Hard to get through.

Assange Behind Bars (Felicity Ruby)

I have only ever known Julian Assange in detention. For nine years now, I have visited him in England bearing Australian news and solidarity. To Ellingham Hall I brought music and chocolate, to the Ecuadorian embassy I brought flannel shirts, Rake, Wizz Fizz and eucalyptus leaves, but to Belmarsh prison you can bring nothing—not a gift, not a book, not a piece of paper. Then I returned to Australia, a country so far away that has abandoned him in almost every respect.

Over the years I have learned to not ask, ‘How are you?’, because it’s bloody obvious how he is: detained, smeared, maligned, unfree, stuck—in ever-narrower, colder, darker and damper tunnels—pursued and punished for publishing. Over the years I’ve learned to not complain of the rain or remark on what a beautiful day it is, because he’s been inside for so long that a blizzard would be a blessing. I’ve also learned that it is not comforting but cruel to speak of sunsets, kookaburras, road trips; it’s not helpful to assure him that, like me and my dog, he will find animal tracks in the bush when he comes home, even though I think it almost every day.

It is the prolonged and intensifying nature of his confinement that hits me as I wait in the first line outside the front door of the brown-brick jail. At the visitor centre opposite I’ve been fingerprinted after showing two forms of proof of address and my passport. Sure to remove absolutely everything from my pockets, I’ve locked my bags, keeping only £20 to spend on chocolate and sandwiches. Despite the security theatre that follows, the money gets nicked at some point through no fewer than four passageways that are sealed from behind before the next door opens, a metal detector, being patted down and having my mouth and ears inspected. After putting our shoes back on, we visitors cross an outdoor area and are faced with the reality of the cage: grey steel-mesh fencing with razor wire that is about 4 metres high all around. I hurry into the next building before going into a room where thirty small tables are fixed to the floor, with one blue plastic chair facing three green plastic chairs at each.

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Sep 252019
 


Salvador Dali Pianc 1919

 

Tulsi Gabbard Qualifies For Fourth Presidential Debate (Hill)
Tulsi Gabbard Refuses To Join Fellow Democrats’ Calls For Impeachment (ZH)
Why The House Democratic Caucus Moved So Rapidly Toward Impeachment (Grim)
Senate GOP Vows To Quash Impeachment Articles (Hill)
Trump Team Brushes Off Impeachment Inquiry, Raises Cash (R.)
As Democrats Begin Trump Impeachment, Michael Flynn Case May Be Imploding (RT)
UK Supreme Court Rules Prorogation “Unlawful, Void And Of No Effect” (G.)
Boeing To Pay Bereaved 737 Families $144,500 Each (BBC)
French Investigators Search Jeffrey Epstein’s Luxury Paris Apartment (AFP)
Bitcoin Plummets, Down 35% Since Early August (R.)
German Lawmakers Warn Greta Thunberg’s Activism Threatens Rational Debate (RT)
‘Radical’ Greta Thunberg ‘Antagonizes Our Societies’, Macron Says (RT)

 

 

How about if they don’t give her any speaking time?

Tulsi Gabbard Qualifies For Fourth Presidential Debate (Hill)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) became the 12th Democratic presidential candidate to qualify for the party’s October primary debate on Tuesday after a new poll showed her with 2 percent support in New Hampshire. To qualify for the October debate, candidates have to collect contributions from 130,000 unique donors and register at least 2 percent in four Democratic National Committee-approval polls. Gabbard met the donor benchmark weeks ago but has struggled to notch enough support in a fourth poll to put her over the polling threshold.


That changed on Tuesday after a Monmouth University poll showed the Hawaii congresswoman with 2 percent support among registered New Hampshire Democrats and unaffiliated voters who are likely to vote in the crucial first-in-the-nation primary on Feb. 11. Gabbard is the 12th presidential candidate to make the cut for the fourth primary debate, which is slated to be held in Westerville, Ohio, on Oct. 15. Other candidates have until Oct. 1 to qualify for the event. Only one other candidate, best-selling author Marianne Williamson, is relatively close to qualifying for the fourth debate. She has already surpassed the 130,000-donor threshold but needs to register at 2 percent or higher in at least three more qualifying polls.

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One sane voice: ” terribly divisive for the country “.

Tulsi Gabbard Refuses To Join Fellow Democrats’ Calls For Impeachment (ZH)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is certainly the most interesting and ‘outside-the-establishment-box’ candidate on the Democrat side running for president — a “Ron Paul of the Left” of sorts given her outspoken criticism of US regime change wars and standing against foreign policy adventurism as her central message. She even once met in 2016 with then President-elect Trump to discuss Syria policy and non-interventionism at a private meeting at Trump Tower just ahead of his being sworn into office, after which she said both agreed to resist “the drumbeats of war [on Syria] that neocons have been beating to drag us into an escalation…”.

And now she’s resisting calls for Trump to be impeached, saying it would be “terribly divisive”. She told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that she’ll remain consistent to her message that the road to 2020 can only be found in a clear victory and mandate, saying it’s for “the American people… making that decision” of who is in the White House, not impeachment. “I believe that impeachment at this juncture would be terribly divisive for the country at a time when we are already extremely divided. The hyperpartisanship is one of the main things driving our country apart,” Gabbard told host Brian Kilmeade.

Once again showing herself outside of the establishment and its blindly loyal partisan narrative, and perhaps more in-tune with the American public, she’s further setting herself apart from her main Democratic rivals and the presidential nominee front-runners on this one. “I think it’s important to beat Donald Trump, that’s why I’m running for president,” she said. “But I think it’s the American people who need to make their voices heard making that decision.” Top contender Elizabeth Warren, for example, tweeted early Tuesday, “The House must impeach. It must start today.”

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“The seats of upward of 200 Democrats were being put at risk to protect a handful of loud frontliners..”

Why The House Democratic Caucus Moved So Rapidly Toward Impeachment (Grim)

The members without official primary challenges were by no means safe, either, as they might soon draw a challenge unless the trajectory of the politics changed. Freshman Lori Trahan from Massachusetts, for instance, came out for impeachment after Dan Koh, whom she beat in a primary by 147 votes in 2018, called on her to do so, with the clear threat that he may run again. The seats of upward of 200 Democrats were being put at risk to protect a handful of loud frontliners, Raskin argued, and it wasn’t obvious that the strategy was actually protecting them from anything. Grassroots activists were demobilizing, Democrats across the board were facing primary challenges, and somehow, someway, Democrats seemed to be losing, again, to Trump. Something had to give.

[..] The news had landed like a bomb in a Democratic caucus that was already ready to explode. Calls to impeach Trump rained down from the party’s left flank and its presidential candidates. On Friday evening, Democrats were bracing for a backlash back home. “It’s going to be a brutal weekend for a lot of people, especially those who haven’t spoken for impeachment,” one Democrat predicted. Indeed it was. Democrats, including frontliners, spent the weekend furiously texting and calling each other as they worked through how to respond to Trump’s latest lawlessness. “People are pissed,” said another Democrat over the weekend. “Frontliners are pissed! And not even the ‘progressive’ frontliners either.”

Pelosi didn’t seem to understand the shift that was taking place under her feet. Reporter John Harwood asked an aide to Pelosi over the weekend if the news changed her calculus on impeachment and got back the reply: “no. see any GOP votes for it?” Jon Favreau, a speechwriter for President Barack Obama who now serves, from his perch at Pod Save America, as something of a tribune for the volunteer-resistance army that phone banked and door-knocked Democrats into the majority, was apoplectic. “This is insane,” he said. “This is pathetic. This is not what we worked so hard for in 2018.” By Tuesday afternoon, Pelosi was calling for impeachment proceedings to begin.

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“..59 percent of adults nationwide opposed the start of impeachment proceedings..”

Senate GOP Vows To Quash Impeachment Articles (Hill)

Senate Republicans are vowing to quickly quash any articles of impeachment that pass the House and warn that Democrats will feel a political backlash if they go forward and impeach President Trump. Republican senators say there are no grounds to impeach Trump and are daring Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to embark on what they dismiss as a fool’s errand that will turn off swing voters. “My response to them is go hard or go home,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over impeachment. “If you want to impeach him, stop talking. Do it. Do it. Go to Amazon, buy a spine and do it. And let’s get after it.”

“I think the public will feel like it’s more harassment,” he predicted. Republicans say that impeachment will boomerang on Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who have tried to resist pressure from the left to impeach Trump for more than a year. Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) warned that Democrats are embarking on a politically perilous journey. “It’s a risky strategy on their part. I know they’re under a lot of pressure to do it, but if you’re the leadership over there, you got to think long and hard about what the implications are if it looks like you’re overreaching,” he said.

[..] Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said articles of impeachment based on the report by former special counsel Robert Mueller would be disposed of quickly in the Senate, reiterating comments he made in May, a month after the report’s release. “Yeah, if it’s based on the Mueller inquiry,” Graham said when asked if he still believes the Senate will quickly quash articles of impeachment. Graham said it’s harder to say how the Senate would handle articles of impeachment based on a whistleblower complaint because little is known about its contents. “Who knows what’s in it,” he said of the Ukraine-related complaint. “I haven’t heard anything. I’m not going to speculate on stuff like that.”

Polls conducted since the start of 2017, when Trump took office, have shown voters consistently oppose impeachment. An NBC News–Wall Street Journal poll conducted in July showed that 50 percent of registered voters nationwide oppose the launch of impeachment hearings, while only 21 percent said they supported the start of hearings. In March, the percentage of voters who opposed impeachment hearings stood at 47 percent, according NBC News–Wall Street Journal polling. An ABC News–Washington Post poll conducted at the end of June and beginning of July found that 59 percent of adults nationwide opposed the start of impeachment proceedings. That number was up from 54 percent in March.

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They saw it coming.

Trump Team Brushes Off Impeachment Inquiry, Raises Cash (R.)

Trump’s re-election campaign raised a quarter of a million dollars in just 15 minutes on Tuesday in the immediate aftermath of House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement about the probe. The president, tweeting from Trump Tower in New York where he launched his 2016 campaign for the White House, blasted out a video shortly after she finished that highlighted how Democrats had talked about pushing him out for 2-1/2 years. Far from exuding an aura of concern that might accompany the disclosure that a president faced formal efforts to remove him from power, Trump’s advisers appeared full of bravado and almost pleased by the news. “We had a lot of things prepared just in case the Democrats were, in fact, that stupid.


And in fact, they were,” said Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director, reacting to the impeachment process and disclosing the campaign’s early cash haul. “So we’re probably going to have a tremendous fundraising surge. We think that this gets the president just that much closer to a landslide victory.” The campaign prepared the video Trump tweeted some six weeks ago, he said, long before the latest controversy over his call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in July. [..] Trump, who in a tweet after Pelosi’s announcement, labeled the probe “Witch Hunt garbage,” also appeared to embrace the argument that the impeachment effort could help his 2020 prospects. “They all say that’s a positive for me, for the election,” Trump told reporters in New York. “But the good news is, the voters get it. This is why they say it’s good for the election. But you know what? It’s bad for the country.”

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“Powell also called Schiff’s demand “theatrical” and accused the Russiagate-promoting congressman of “disregard for propriety, professionalism, prior practices and ethics.”

As Democrats Begin Trump Impeachment, Michael Flynn Case May Be Imploding (RT)

Flynn’s case is still pending, but the prosecutors just suffered a major setback. On Tuesday, Judge Anthony Trenga in the Eastern District of Virginia threw out the jury conviction of his business partner Bijan Rafiekian, saying that the government “failed to offer substantial evidence” he acted as a foreign agent of Turkey. “The evidence was insufficient as a matter of law for the jury to convict Rafiekian,” Trenga wrote in his ruling, granting Rafiekian’s motion for acquittal. If the prosecutors successfully appeal the decision, he would have to be tried all over again.

While Flynn was not charged as a co-conspirator in Rafiekian’s case, prosecutors tried to add the claim that he deliberately lied to the government about his company’s violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) to Flynn’s admission of allegedly lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US. It was the investigation of Flynn that triggered the special counsel probe, after sacked FBI director James Comey claimed Trump had asked him to “let it go,” thus obstructing justice. nFlynn’s sentencing is still pending, but the Rafiekian decision increases the odds that his own case might be thrown out. The judge in the case is already on record disliking the practice of prosecutors withholding exculpatory evidence – also known as Brady materials – from the defense.

Earlier this month, Flynn’s lawyers demanded this evidence, and argued that the entire case should be thrown out because of prosecutorial misconduct. Meanwhile, Flynn has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights to decline testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. Flynn will “not appear before your committee on September 25, 2019 to be paraded, harassed or disparaged for doing so,” his attorney Sidney Powell said in a letter to chairman Adam Schiff (D-California) on Monday. Powell also called Schiff’s demand “theatrical” and accused the Russiagate-promoting congressman of “disregard for propriety, professionalism, prior practices and ethics.”

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If he doesn’t resign, why?

UK Supreme Court Rules Prorogation “Unlawful, Void And Of No Effect” (G.)

A humiliated Boris Johnson has been forced to cut short a set-piece visit to New York and fly back to face furious MPs, after his decision to shut down parliament was dramatically quashed by the supreme court. After Lady Hale delivered a crushing unanimous verdict in which she said Johnson’s advice to the Queen to suspend parliament was, “unlawful, void and of no effect”, the prime minister struck a defiant tone. “Let’s be absolutely clear that we respect the judiciary in our country and we respect the court. I disagree profoundly with what they had to say,” he said, before pressing ahead with a planned speech on the business links between the UK and the US. But a No 10 source criticised the 11 supreme court judges, saying they had made “a serious mistake in extending its reach to these political matters.”


The leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who travelled to Balmoral to formalise the decision to suspend parliament with the Queen, reportedly told colleagues on a cabinet conference call that the supreme court judgment was a “constitutional coup”. Opposition MPs are determined to force Johnson to face questions in parliament, after the Speaker, John Bercow, announced from College Green in Westminster that the House of Commons would reconvene on Wednesday morning. Jeremy Corbyn was consulting with fellow opposition leaders on Tuesday evening about how to exert maximum pressure on the prime minister and ensure he cannot escape the legal obligation set out in the Benn bill to delay Brexit if he hasn’t passed a deal by 19 October.

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The gall.

Boeing To Pay Bereaved 737 Families $144,500 Each (BBC)

Families who lost relatives in fatal Boeing 737 Max air crashes are set to receive about $144,500 (£116,200) each from the company. The money comes from a $50m financial assistance fund, which Boeing announced in July. The fund has started accepting claims, which must be submitted before 2020. Lawyers for the victims’ families, many of whom are pursuing the company in court, have dismissed the fund as a publicity stunt. “$144,000 doesn’t come close to compensating any of our families or any of the families,” said Nomaan Husain, a Texas-based attorney who is representing 15 families. “This is not something that is going to satisfy the families. The families really want answers.”


The 737 Max has been grounded since March, as investigators evaluate the airplane’s safety following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, which claimed the lives of more than 340 people. Boeing in July pledged $100m to families and communities affected by the crashes. The company later said half would be reserved for direct payments to families, with the other half set aside for education and development programmes in affected communities. Robert A Clifford, lead counsel for the Ethiopian Airlines 302 litigation, said the lack of detail at the time of the initial announcement suggested Boeing saw it primarily as a way to divert attention from the safety questions.

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Six weeks after his death, what do you think will still be there?

French Investigators Search Jeffrey Epstein’s Luxury Paris Apartment (AFP)

French investigators searched disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein’s luxury Paris apartment on Tuesday, deepening a probe into allegations that the sex offender procured young women to abuse in France. Epstein, who was arrested in New York in July on charges of trafficking underage girls for sex, was found hanged in his New York jail cell on August 10 while awaiting trial over abuses involving girls at his Palm Beach home and on his private island in the Caribbean. But his ownership of an apartment in the heart of upmarket Paris and allegations from women who say they were abused in France prompted French prosecutors to open their own criminal probe last month.


Epstein’s flat on Avenue Foch near the Champs-Elysees — one of the world’s most exclusive addresses — was scoured for evidence from Monday afternoon to the early morning hours of Tuesday, a source close to the probe told AFP. A week earlier, investigators searched the nearby headquarters of Karin Models, an agency founded in 1978 by Epstein associate Jean-Luc Brunel, himself accused in American court documents of rape and of procuring young girls for his friend. [..] Last month, the investigation officially spilled over from the US to France when the Paris prosecutor’s office opened its own inquiry into claims of rape and sex abuse, including of minors. The investigation focuses on potential crimes committed against French victims in France as well as abroad, and on suspects who are French citizens, the Paris prosecutor said.

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But the New York Stock Exchange wants a piece of the action.

Bitcoin Plummets, Down 35% Since Early August (R.)

Bitcoin dropped around 15% against the U.S. dollar in late trading on Tuesday, hitting a 3-1/2-month low, with some analysts ascribing the weakness to investors’ lukewarm reception to the launch of Bakkt’s bitcoin futures on Monday. Bakkt, a cryptocurrency platform affiliated with the Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE.N), listed the new Bakkt Bitcoin futures contracts on Monday. But volume was underwhelming, analysts said. ICE is owned by the New York Stock Exchange. The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was last down 12.86% at $8,436. Earlier, it hit $7,998, the lowest since mid-June. Bitcoin has been on a downtrend in recent weeks. Since early August, it has plunged about 35%.

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What you get by pushing a vulnerable child forward all the time.

German Lawmakers Warn Greta Thunberg’s Activism Threatens Rational Debate (RT)

Greta Thunberg’s highly emotional approach to climate change activism threatens level-headed debate on the subject, German lawmakers have cautioned. In a provocative speech at the UNGA Climate Action Summit on Monday, 16-year-old Thunberg accused world leaders of stealing her “dreams” and her “childhood” by not doing enough to combat climate change. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” she sermonized. The headline-grabbing Swedish activist also filed a formal complaint at the UN against Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina, and Turkey for failing to do enough to safeguard the environment for future generations.


While her performance at the UN received accolades from Germany’s left-wing parties, conservative lawmakers raised alarm over Thunberg’s incendiary approach. MP Roderich Kiesewetter, a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said that Thunberg was attempting to bully those who seek respectful, fact-based dialogue about environmental issues. “Anyone who wants to argue rationally is already discredited from the outset,” he wrote, adding that objectivity was being thrown out the window. Another CDU deputy, Jana Schimke, accused Thunberg of spreading “incipient mass hysteria.” Gerd Müller, the minister of economic cooperation and development, noted in response to the activist’s fighting words that “climate protection does not start with Greta Thunberg.”

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They’re playing off her, that’s what you get. It’s not about the topic, it’s about her.

‘Radical’ Greta Thunberg ‘Antagonizes Our Societies’, Macron Says (RT)

French President Emmanuel Macron did not hide his frustration with Greta Thunberg’s furious attack on world leaders – himself included – at the UN, displaying a change of heart since hosting her last year. The environmental activist had a productive day at the UN on Monday, berating the delegates for “betraying young people” through their inaction in tackling the climate crisis. She also added a legal complaint to her itinerary, pressuring five countries, including France, to get back on track with the emissions goals they decided on in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Speaking with Europe 1 radio, Macron denounced the 16-year-old’s “radical” stance which, he says, erodes common ground in the battle against climate change.


The French president, who hosted Thunberg at the Elysée Palace less than a year ago, said it would be more productive to aim the gun of her rhetoric at nations who stand aside while the world tries to solve the climate problem. He was referring to Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Estonia, which prevented the EU from adopting a pledge to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. Their rendezvous in February lasted for nearly two hours and was documented in photos with Macron hugging the activist paternally. The French president recalled the meeting in May, praising the girl’s energy and efforts in a tweet. [..] The teenage campaigner is also known for her position against air travel, spearheading the ‘flight shame movement.’ She made it to New York after a 15-day voyage in a sailboat across the Atlantic.

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She’s right, she should be in school, not paraded around the world. This picture is just scary.