Closing Thought–02May19

I am not a big fan of the use of mercenaries to do our bidding in the implementation of our foreign policy…..that said the biggest merc has been Erik Prince and his Blackwater (among others) and now he has a new patron…..China……

Blackwater founder Erik Prince’s new company is reportedly operating in Iraq, a country from which his former company was banned for killing civilians.

A subsidiary of Frontier Services Group (FSG), a security and logistics company Prince founded in Hong Kong, has set up shop in Basra, Iraq, BuzzFeed News reported Saturday, citing official documents. The subsidiary, the Dubai-based Frontier Logistics Consultancy DMCC, has officially registered as a foreign company with Iraq’s Ministry of Trade, an official document from last year shows.

In March, Prince told Al Jazeera that he hoped to see FSG supporting oil operations in countries like Iraq. Their subsidiary is operating out of Basra, which is located in the oil-rich southern region.

https://www.businessinsider.com/blackwater-founder-erik-princes-new-company-operating-in-iraq-report-2019-4

Now here is where my problem arises……if China is fronting him the cash and he has access to sensitive info….will he share it with his masters? Does that not mean he needs to register as a foreign agent? Has he done so?

News has come out that Prince is offering a merc army to fight against Maudro……

Erik Prince – the founder of the controversial private security firm Blackwater and a prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump – has been pushing a plan to deploy a private army to help topple Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicholas Maduro, four sources with knowledge of the effort told Reuters.

Over the last several months, the sources said, Prince has sought investment and political support for such an operation from influential Trump supporters and wealthy Venezuelan exiles. In private meetings in the United States and Europe, Prince sketched out a plan to field up to 5,000 soldiers-for-hire on behalf of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, according to two sources with direct knowledge of Prince’s pitch.

One source said Prince has conducted meetings about the issue as recently as mid-April.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-erikprince-exclusi-idUSKCN1S608F

Keep in mind that Prince has offered up a merc army to takeover in Afghanistan…..

This is a despicable person in my opinion……plus I would not trust this toad as far as I can spit him.

I think Prince is a crimminal….and I apparently am not the only one who thinks this……

The chairman of the House intelligence committee is making a criminal referral to the Justice Department for the founder of the security firm Blackwater, with Adam Schiff alleging Erik Prince lied to his committee in 2017. Prince testified to the panel that a meeting in the Seychelles islands with a Russian with ties to Vladimir Putin was a chance encounter. He said, “I didn’t fly there to meet any Russian guy.” That’s directly contradicted by the special counsel’s report on the Russia investigation, which says the meeting was set up ahead of time and that there were communications about it with Trump campaign adviser Steve Bannon. Questions have long surrounded the mysterious meeting, reports the AP, which has more:

Prince met with Kirill Dmitriev, who headed a Russian sovereign wealth fund, as Trump was preparing to take office and the Russian government was seeking contacts with the incoming administration. Dmitriev reported directly to Putin, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Prince told Mueller’s investigators that he had briefed Bannon on the meeting, but Bannon told them they never discussed it. The report says investigators couldn’t iron out the “conflicting accounts” by reviewing communications, in part because text messages between them were missing. Phone provider records showed that Bannon and Prince had exchanged dozens of messages, including two that Prince sent within hours of the meetings with Dmitriev, but the investigators could not find the messages on their phones. Prince denied deleting messages and Bannon said he did not know why the messages were missing. Schiff said Tuesday there is strong evidence that Prince, a prominent supporter of President Trump, “willingly misled” the intelligence committee as it probed connections between Trump’s campaign and Russia. “The evidence is so weighty that the Justice Department needs to consider this,” Schiff said.

One potential wrinkle, from the Washington Post: Schiff and his committee do not yet know what Prince’s arrangement with Mueller was. If the men arranged a deal that saw Prince give information “under the condition it not be used against him, then being able to prove” Prince lied in his congressional testimony “might be problematic,” says Schiff. The Justice Department didn’t have immediate comment on the referral. Prince is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

To use a meme of our Dear Beloved Supreme Leader…..

Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up!

Any thoughts?

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Sideshow Of The Day

I have been watching and writing about politics and such for more years than I care to remember and I can say without flinching that yesterday was the biggest clusterf*ck I have ever witnessed.

Yes Irene I watched the congressional hearings with the AG yesterday….and I went through a wide array of emotional reactions from pity to disgust to amazement…..To me Barr looked and sounded like a defense attorney and that is NOT his job…..but others saw different things during the course of the day…….

These are the early reports……

  • “I’m not really sure of his reasoning,” Barr said of Mueller’s obstruction analysis, which neither accused the president of a crime nor exonerated him. “I think that if he felt that he shouldn’t go down the path of making a traditional prosecutive decision then he shouldn’t have investigated. That was the time to pull up.”
  • The Guardian reports Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Barr about the exchange detailed in the Mueller report where Trump instructed White House counsel Don McGahn to have Mueller pulled from his post and then deny it. Barr said this doesn’t add up to obstruction because he wasn’t solely saying to have Mueller fired, but to have him fired due to conflicts of interest (in which case a new special counsel would be named).
  • Barr said that after receiving a letter from Mueller that criticized Barr’s four-page letter about the report as “not fully captur[ing] the context, nature, and substance” of the special counsel’s “work and conclusions,” Barr called him. He says Mueller told him “he was not suggesting that we had misrepresented his report.”
  • The Washington Post reports Barr was asked by Sen. John Cornyn about whether the Steele dossier could be an element in a Russian disinformation campaign, and he allowed that it’s possible. “That is one of the areas that I’m reviewing and I’m concerned about it, and I don’t think it’s entirely speculative,” Barr said.
  • Barr repeated that he would have “no objection” to Mueller testifying, but that it would be the president’s “call” as to whether McGahn should testify due to his knowledge of “privileged matters.”
  • Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono launched an aggressive line of questioning against the attorney general, asserting he hadn’t been honest with Congress and calling on him to resign. Hirono also asked Barr if it was OK for a president to ask one of his aides to lie, referencing the report’s examination of whether Trump obstructed justice. When Barr equivocated, Hirono grew angry, saying, “Mr. attorney general, please give us some credit for knowing what the hell is going on right now.” Graham shot back: “You have slandered this man from top to bottom.” Barr himself chimed in, asking “How did we get to this point?”
  • Barr said he didn’t exonerate the president because that’s not the job of the Justice Department. “I didn’t exonerate. I said that we didn’t believe that there was sufficient evidence to establish an obstruction offense. … The job of the Justice Department is now over. That determines whether or not there is a crime. The report is now in the hands of the American people. Everyone can decide for themselves: There’s an election in 18 months.”
  • The Post reports that what might be Barr’s “most robust defense of Trump of the day” came during questioning by Sen. Marsha Blackburn. He said he thinks the evidence demonstrates Trump was “falsely accused of colluding with the Russians and accused of being treasonous and accused of being a Russian agent” but that “to listen to some of the rhetoric, you would think the Mueller report found the opposite.”
  • During her questioning of Barr, Sen. Kamala Harris accused him of failing to review the evidence before deciding not to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. After the hearing, she told reporters “yes” when asked whether she thought Barr should resign, CNN reports. “No prosecutor worth her salt would make a decision on whether (the president) was involved in obstruction of justice without reviewing the evidence,” she said. “This Attorney General lacks all credibility and I think has compromised the public’s ability to believe he is a purveyor of justice.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also called on Barr to resign, per the Washington Post.
  • CNN also notes that during his questioning by Sen. Cory Booker, Barr appeared to be unaware that Trump’s campaign chairman sent internal polls to a Russian oligarch.
  • As Graham wrapped up the hearing, he said he would invite Mueller to speak to the committee, if needed, to clarify any of Barr’s testimony.
  • The Post has four early takeaways here.
  • More from the AP: The airing of disagreements over the handling of the report was notable given the highly secretive nature of the special counsel’s investigation and the public appearance for at least most of the probe that the Justice Department and Mueller’s team were unified in approach. But Barr sought to minimize the rift by suggesting the special counsel’s concerns were largely about process, not substance.

Reaction to William Barr’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee is no calmer than anything else these days. “He must resign as attorney general,” states NBC News analyst Mimi Rocah. “William Barr torched his reputation,” cries the Washington Post. On the other side: “No, Bill Barr Didn’t Lie or Mislead,” per the National Review. Much of the discussion revolves around a letter from Robert Mueller criticizing Barr’s four-page summary of the special counsel’s report, revealed Tuesday night. What does Barr have to say about that? Did he lie in testimony last month when he said, “I don’t know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion”? The real head-turner was likely Barr’s characterization of Mueller’s letter as “snitty.” Let’s start with that:

  • “Barr seemed to be admitting, finally, that the letter was what it was: a diplomatically worded but pretty direct rebuke of him and his actions,” writes Aaron Blake in the Washington Post. “…If only Barr had provided that fuller picture from the beginning.”
  • “It’s true that Barr could have revealed the Mueller letter in this exchange, but he also might have considered their back-and-forth private (although the letter was clearly written to leak),” writes Rich Lowry at the National Review.
  • Barr “was clearly peeved, even defiant, at the criticism that his actions had played a distorting role in molding the narrative of the Mueller report in a way that benefited his boss,” per the New York Times.
  • “William Barr can no longer effectively serve as the attorney general of the United States,” writes Rocah at NBC News. “…We should expect and demand objectively, neutrality, honesty and integrity from our top law enforcement official.”
  • Barr said President Trump told White House counsel Don McGahn to remove Mueller over alleged conflict of interest, which differs from a “firing”: “That’s slicing the onion very, very thinly,” writes Chris Cillizza at CNN.
  • “There’s no great mystery about what Attorney General William Barr did Wednesday,” writes Andrew Cohen at Rolling Stone. “…[He] spent hours spinning like a defense attorney with his client’s liberty on the line.”
  • Barr “spent five hours Wednesday attempting to lay waste to the central findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation, taking cutting—sometimes personal—swipes at the man he once described as a friend, and cementing his alliance with President Donald Trump,” per Politico.
  • On Barr’s apparent surprise that Mueller punted on obstruction charges: “I was not surprised” by Barr’s surprise, Ken Starr tells Fox News, per Yahoo. “That was Bob Mueller’s job. And why Bob Mueller did not bite the bullet and come to that decision remains a bit of a mystery.”

The only thing today’s hearing did was illustrate just how badly broken the system is and how badly it needs a major upgrade so that the nation can get back to a nation of laws and sanity…those two characteristics are sadly missing in today’s government.

I originally gave Barr a chance to redeem himself and act like the AG of the nation but instead he sound like a 5th grader trying not to answer a question without answering a question……I said he was a crony or lackey of the prez and that he had done his part to help Trump and that it was time for him to resign…I stand by that thought.

May I add…it was a bloody mess and a bloody comedy in progress.  To watch the top attorney of the nation to sit and look like a deer in the headlights when asked a question was just too perfect to be believed…..

Turn The Page!

North Korea On The Mind

The recent news is that Kim is making nice with Putin….probably looking for some help relieving some of the crippling sanctions that the US keeps imposing on top of sanctions.

But there is more….the Hanoi “Summit” ended in a embarrassing walkout by our Dear Beloved Supreme Leader….and North Korea has re- started some of the programs that have been idle since the Singapore “Summit”…….and now Kim is back to doing what he does best…issuing ultimatums….

Elaborating on previous calls from Kim Jong Un to show more flexibility, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said the US was risking “unintended consequences” if they don’t change their position on denuclearization to one more palatable to both sides.

Choe mentioned Mike Pompeo’s threat to “change paths” if North Korea doesn’t give the US everything they want, saying that changing paths isn’t an option that only the United States has, and that North Korea could also make that decision.

She further said that the North Koreans remain determined to get rid of their nuclear arsenal, but US comments and positions are forcing them to hesitate. After the Hanoi Summit, the US indicated that denuclearization meant to them that North Korea would give the US its nuclear arms.

North Korea is keen for a deal where dismantling the arms and the infrastructure is enough, and in return the US both allows a peace treaty with South Korea and starts letting UN sanctions get lifted. US officials are ruling out either until North Korea gives them everything they want, which officials say could take several years.

(antiwar.com)

Will this news start the Twitter war from the past?

Or will there be nothing to Tweet about because he, Trump, has the AG and Biden to occupy his mind and time?

All I can think is….Here we go again!

At what point does this become just silliness on the world stage?

Venezuela–The Lies That Kill

The tensions around the situation in Venezuela is a hit item in the media (once again)…..that will not last long for there will be more important trash for the MSM fixate on…..

We hear daily that the president of Venezuela is a sham that he is not the legally elected leader…..but is that true or just more DC two step to control events in a country?

The Venezuelan people reelected Nicolás Maduro for a second presidential term on May 20, bucking a U.S.-backed political tide of reaction that had swept away previously left-leaning Latin American governments – often by extra-parliamentary means – in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Honduras, and even Ecuador.

The United States and the right-wing opposition in Venezuela had demanded an election boycott and Maduro’s resignation. Instead, a majority of Venezuelans defiantly voted for Maduro, affirming the legacy of Hugo Chávez.

Chávez was first elected in 1998 and died in office on March 5, 2013. He had spearheaded a movement that turned Venezuela from an epigone of Washington into an independent force opposing U.S. hegemony. The Bolivarian Revolution reclaimed Venezuela’s history and forged a new national identity that no longer looked to Miami for affirmation. Even some of the most anti-chavismo now take pride in being Venezuelan. Such has been the depth of the sea change in national consciousness.

Venezuelan society became more inclusive for the poor, especially women, people of color, and youth. Of the 300-odd mayoralties in Venezuela, over 100 mayors are under 30 years old. As historian Greg Grandin observed, this inclusiveness has awakened “a deep fear of the primal hatred, racism, and fury of the opposition, which for now is directed at the agents of Maduro’s state but really springs from Chávez’s expansion of the public sphere to include Venezuela’s poor.”

 
After I started writing this draft I listen to an on the street interview by NBC News…..the woman told the press that there was no medicine not even aspirin…..and that patients in a hospital were suffering….
 
Sad news but some of this is from the extreme sanctions that the US has levied against the Maduro government…..so the US causes a problem then blames the government to incite a false narrative and the media plays along…..the media helps spread outright lies……

A FAIR survey of US opinion journalism on Venezuela found no voices in elite corporate media that opposed regime change in that country. Over a three-month period (1/15/19–4/15/19), zero opinion pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post took an anti-regime change or pro-Maduro/Chavista position. Not a single commentator on the big three Sunday morning talkshows or PBS NewsHour came out against President Nicolás Maduro stepping down from the Venezuelan government.

Of the 76 total articles, opinion videos or TV commentator segments that centered on or gave more than passing attention to Venezuela, 54 (72 percent) expressed explicit support for the Maduro administration’s ouster. Eleven (14 percent) were ambiguous, but were only classified as such for lack of explicit language. Reading between the lines, most of these were clearly also pro-regime change. Another 11 (14 percent) took no position, but many similarly offered ideological ammo for those in support.

How pathetic is that?
 
So far as I can tell Maduro was re-elected in an election…not this Guido dude….so as far as legit goes Maduro is it and anything else is just the US attempting yet another regime change in the name of democracy (which has nothing to do with the result just sounds good in the media)
 
Period!