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Hometown: Michigan
Current location: Lower mid-Michigan
Member since: Tue May 13, 2014, 05:11 PM
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Journal Archives

China's Xi Jinping To Make State Visit To Russia This Year - Foreign Minister

Published time: 8 Mar, 2019 02:52
Edited time: 8 Mar, 2019 03:05

FILE PHOTO © Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin

Chinese leader Xi Jinping will visit Russia later this year to meet his counterpart Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters, describing the strategic ties between Moscow and Beijing as exemplary.

Relations between Russia and China have already become a model of cooperation between major world powers, Yi noted, expressing hope that the bilateral ties will enter a “new stage.”


Merkel Refuses To Send Navy Ships To Russia's Shores, Rebuffs US Pressure - Report

Published time: 7 Mar, 2019 20:09
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has allegedly stood up to pressure from Washington as she declined a proposal by Vice President Mike Pence to send German Navy ships towards Russia’s Crimea, Bloomberg reports, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. Pence allegedly wanted German ships to sail through the Kerch Strait separating Crimea from mainland Russia. France, which was reportedly also encouraged to take part in a military maneuver off the Russian shores, refused to do it as well, calling the potential drills an “unnecessary provocation.”

'Today We Have Justice' Florida Police Officer Convicted In 2015 Shooting

March 7, 20196:06 PM ET

A jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., has convicted a former police officer in the shooting death of a black motorist. It's the first time in 30 years that an on-duty police officer in Florida has been convicted in a shooting.

Corey Jones, a housing inspector and part-time musician, was on his way home from a nightclub in October 2015 when his van broke down on Interstate 95 in Palm Beach Gardens. He was on the side of the road in his SUV when he called for roadside assistance.

Jones was on the phone with a tow truck dispatcher when Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja, dressed in plainclothes, wheeled his unmarked van the wrong way down an exit ramp, stopping just feet from Jones' van. Raja was part of a team investigating auto theft and was wearing jeans, a T-shirt and a baseball cap.

On a recording of the phone call with the dispatcher, introduced as evidence at the trial, Raja is never heard identifying himself as a police officer. In the recording, the door to Jones' SUV is heard being opened, and he tells Raja, "I'm good." Using an expletive, Raja tells him to get his hands up and begins shooting two seconds later. Prosecutors say Jones left his vehicle and began running. On the recording, 10 seconds go by, and Raja is heard firing three more shots at Jones, killing him.


US Households See Biggest Decline In Net Worth Since The 2008 Financial Crisis

•Household net worth fell at the highest level since the financial crisis, according to Fed data.

•Net worth at the end of 2018 was at $104.3 trillion, a drop of $3.73 trillion from the third quarter.

Jeff Cox | @JeffCoxCNBCcom
Published 9 Hours Ago Updated 3 Hours Ago

Americans' net worth fell at the highest level since the financial crisis in the fourth quarter of 2018 as sliding stock market prices ate into the household balance sheet.

Net worth dropped to $104.3 trillion as the year came to an end, a decrease of $3.73 trillion from the third quarter, according to figures released Thursday by the Federal Reserve. The fall amounted to a drop of 3.4 percent.

Much of the slide came due to Wall Street's woes, as the stock market suffered a precipitous decline that started in October and briefly reached bear market status. Equities skidded as investors began to fear that the Fed would keep raising interest rates even as economic conditions began to deteriorate.

By the time the market drop ended in late December, households saw $4.6 trillion worth of equity value deteriorate. The decline was offset somewhat by a $300 billion increase in real estate value. The overall move was the second-highest quarterly dollar drop since the Fed began tracking the statistic.


Dems Pass Watered-Down Anti-Hate Bill, Upsetting Those Thirsty For 'Anti-Semitic' Omars Blood

Published time: 8 Mar, 2019 00:51

The House of Representatives adopted a resolution condemning all forms of bigotry (including anti-Semitism) after a long day of linguistic gymnastics that saw it morph from censuring Rep. Ilhan Omar to frowning on… intolerance.

The thrice-rewritten bill was barely recognizable as a rebuke of the alleged anti-Semitism of the Minnesota Democrat, instead bristling with denunciation of bigotry against every imaginable minority group in the US – a process that began when Omar's supporters requested the language be modified to include Muslims.

The final resolution veered close to self-parody after Democrats insisted Latinos, Asians, Pacific-Islanders, and LGBTQ people be added to the “traditionally persecuted peoples” list, pushing the vote back an hour on Thursday afternoon.

Internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, and even the Dreyfus affair – which took place in 1800s France! – were name-dropped in the final version of the bill.

The final vote was 407 in favor, with 23 Republicans opposed.


Manafort Gets 4 Years In Prison For Financial Crimes Unrelated To Russia

Published time: 7 Mar, 2019 23:59
Edited time: 8 Mar, 2019 01:06

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison for fraud and other financial crimes entirely unrelated to Russia, in the only trial so far to emerge from Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ probe.

Manafort found himself in special counsel’s crosshairs as the manager of President Donald Trump’s campaign between March and August 2016, but the bank fraud, tax fraud and failure to declare a foreign bank account – the eight charges on which he was found guilty last August in a federal court in Virginia – have nothing to do with the 2016 presidential election, and everything to do with Manafort’s lobbying activities in Ukraine.

"He is not before the court for anything having to do with colluding with the Russian government,” Judge T.S. Ellis III told the courtroom on Thursday.

After lengthy consultations with both prosecutors and defense, Ellis said that Manafort “lived an otherwise blameless life,” so the sentence requested by prosecutors was “excessive.” His final verdict, which came around 7 pm local time, was 47 months – just short of four years – and a $50,000 fine. Manafort was also told to pay $24.8 million in restitution.


John Bolton Is Exploiting Donald Trump's Weakness

Donald Trump is losing the battle against his own executive branch. Chaos is the result.

By Jonathan Bernstein
March 6, 2019, 6:34 AM EST

Just how weak a president has Donald Trump become? For an illustration, see a terrific Washington Post article on the foreign-policy decision-making process since John Bolton became Trump’s national security adviser. Or, rather, the absence of anything resembling a process.

As Heather Hurlburt pointed out when Bolton took the job, he's ill-suited for it. Bolton is a policy advocate, not the honest broker that the position calls for. That's a particular problem for Trump. Because the president is inexperienced in national-security matters, he doesn’t know whether Bolton is speaking for the experts on a policy question or just advocating for his own preferences. Because Trump knows little about the executive branch, Bolton can use his bureaucratic skills to advance his own agenda — including impeding Trump's plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

This isn’t to say that Bolton’s policies are necessarily wrong; that's for others to judge. But it creates a real problem for the presidency when top advisers are looking out for their own interests and not the president’s.

On this point, Ronald Reagan’s administration is instructive. By all accounts, Reagan was more informed about policy than Trump is. He was also a pragmatic politician, capable of compromising or even backing down entirely when it was in his interests. Reagan’s weakness, however, was that he could be curiously passive at times, and (like many presidents) too easily swayed by anecdotes. That meant he needed high-level staffers who could serve as honest brokers. His first-term chief of staff, James Baker, allowed him to make good decisions. Baker’s replacement, Donald Regan, failed to do so. Partly as a result, Reagan’s presidency had almost completely collapsed by the time Regan was fired amid the Iran-Contra scandal.

When a weak president — or, as with Reagan, a president with significant flaws — doesn’t have a James Baker around, the administration can turn into a free-for-all, with White House staffers and executive-branch personnel pursuing their own preferences, protecting their turf, and generally disrupting the policy process. That seems to be what happened to George W. Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War; whatever his own views, he was ill-served by everyone, from Vice President Dick Cheney on down, who failed to present him with honest options and instead used bureaucratic skills to lock in the choices they wanted. Similarly, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both suffered from foreign-policy inexperience, especially early in their presidencies, and made mistakes as a result.


US Senators Lash out At Gangster Saudi Crown Prince, But The Deals Go on And On

Published time: 6 Mar, 2019 23:00
Edited time: 7 Mar, 2019 06:28

US Senators accused the Saudi crown prince of going “full gangster” at a confirmation hearing for Donald Trump’s nominee to be US ambassador to Saudi Arabia – but when it comes to Riyadh, strong words are rarely matched by action.

Retired Army General John Abizaid, Trump’s pick for the job, stressed the importance of the US relationship with Saudi Arabia at the hearing on Wednesday, saying Washington needed a “strong and mature partnership” with the kingdom. While Abizaid was praised by senators for his military past, he also faced tough questions from lawmakers purportedly worried about Riyadh’s human rights abuses.

CIA says MBS ordered Khashoggi hit, but don’t expect Saudi-US relations to change – John Kiriakou

A rare occurrence on Capitol Hill, both Republicans and Democrats could agree when it came to Saudi Arabia’s laundry list of misdeeds. Condemnation came from all angles, with both parties accusing Riyadh of rights violations, slamming its conduct in the war in Yemen, its torture of women’s rights activists and demanding accountability for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

During Abizaid’s hearing, Florida Senator Marco Rubio said Mohammed bin Salman had gone “full gangster” and was “increasingly willing to test the limits of what he can get away with.” Republican Senator Jim Risch said Riyadh and the crown prince would need to “address” the issues which were complicating the relationship.


Israeli Navy Ready to Block Iranian Oil Exports in Transit - Netanyahu

Published time: 7 Mar, 2019 04:20
Edited time: 7 Mar, 2019 06:28
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is prepared to throw the power of its naval force – and urges the world to join in – to block the Iranian oil shipments circumventing unilaterally imposed US sanctions against Tehran.

“Iran is trying to bypass the sanctions on it through the covert smuggling of petroleum via the sea. As these attempts expand, the navy will have a more important role in efforts to block these Iranian actions,” Netanyahu said at a navy cadets’ graduation ceremony in Haifa on Wednesday.

Failing to explain how exactly Israel’s relatively small naval force would impose the suggested blockade against Iranian oil tankers, Netanyahu only emphasized that Israeli sailors are well-trained and adept at carrying out sea missions against adversaries.

To tackle what it called Iran’s “illicit” economic activity at sea, Israel would need to expand its operating theater. Currently, the country is primarily active in the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea areas. Whether or not such potential Israeli missions would yield success is questionable, as Iran has far more superior capabilities at sea.


Both Bibi and 2scoops so need a war to distract from their inadequacies at home. Wait for it...something is coming soon.

R. Kelly Blames Parents For Selling Daughters To Him

R. Kelly exploded with rage as he vehemently denied sexually abusing underage girls in a new interview aired Wednesday — and blamed the parents of the alleged victims for “selling” their daughters to him.

But Kelly insisted he was in a relationship with the women, Jocelyn Savage and Azriel Clary.

“What kind of love is it that keeps these young women away from their families?” asked King.

“What kind of father, what kind of mother would sell their daughter to a man?” he countered.

“So you’re saying the parents handed their daughters, Azriel and Jocelyn, to you?” King asked. “Is that what you’re saying?”

He replied, “Absolutely".


Just as with the parents of the Michael Jackson "kids" disgusting as it is, he is spot on.

Those parents were more interested in $$$ than what was happening to their children.
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