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Trump Campaign Blocked Safety Measures At Tulsa Rally To Make Crowd Look Bigger

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The Trump campaign deliberately arranged for Trump's recent rally in Tulsa Oklahoma to be as dangerous a venue for the spread of Covid-19 as possible, even as they required those who did attend the now-infamous event to sign away their right to sue if they became infected.

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Watch Washington Post Video Timeline Of Police Assault On Lafayette Park Protesters

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The Washington Post has published this short film based on video footage, audio of police communications and other records in what is undoubtedly "the most complete account to date of the June 1 crackdown on protesters in Washington D.C."

Watch the meticulously compiled 12-minute video below to see what transpired in the hours before the Trump walk of shame to St. Johns Episcopal Church on June 1.



Contrary to claims by Barr and others in the administration, physical assault, tear gas, exploding pepper balls, and grenades containing rubber pellets were used on what clearly look like peaceful protesters, most of them young, a mix of whites and blacks and every shade in between, protesting and making noise. There is no evidence of violence by protesters. There is no evidence of bricks or corrosive liquids thrown by protesters, except for a few water bottles, candy bars, and eggs flung at Robocop-like personnel ready to do battle.

Late in the day on June 1, demonstrators gathered near the White House, on the edge of Lafayette Square, to protest police abuse following the death in custody of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. Similar protests had erupted across the country. Many were peaceful, but some included property destruction and clashes with police.
At about 6:30 p.m., just north of the White House, federal police in riot gear fired gas canisters and used grenades containing rubber pellets to scatter the largely peaceful demonstrators. Their actions cleared the way for the president, surrounded by the nation's top law enforcement and military leaders, to walk to the historic St. John's Church for a three-minute photo op.
Drawing on footage captured from dozens of cameras, as well as police radio communications and other records, The Washington Post reconstructed the events of this latest remarkable hour of Trump's presidency, including of the roles of the agencies involved and the tactics and weaponry they used.

Hopefully this video will go viral. People need to see how callous and mendacious this administration is.

A New Message For Mitch: No More Red-State Bailouts

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

As of 48 hours ago, few people knew that Kentucky was the nation's leading recipient of federal largess, and certainly had no clue just how much the state received compared to the rest of the country. Then, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky, started whining about "Blue state bailouts," and the shit has hit the fan.

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Schiff Says CIA, NSA Withhold Relevant Documents From Congress

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

On ABC’s This Week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff confirmed a grim report that surface last week: The nation’s top intelligence officials are pushing Congress to cancel their usual annual testimony to Congress on the nation’s top national security threats because they don’t want to publicly contradict Donald Trump’s false intelligence claims.

“Unfortunately, I think those reports are all too accurate. The intelligence community is reluctant to have an open hearing, something that we had done every year prior to the Trump administration, because they’re worried about angering the president,” Schiff responded.

It isn’t an idle concern, from intelligence officials. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was forced out of his position shortly after confirming to Congress that despite Trump’s claims to the contrary, the U.S. had no evidence Iran had an active nuclear weapons program. Trump had a public meltdown, which is a now-daily occurrence, and Coats was given the boot; in the latest degradation of this nation into a kleptocratic and autocratic state, government officials are now reluctant to testify in public about the true dangers facing the nation because if their pronouncements do not match Dear Leader’s political claims, Dear Leader will mark them as personal enemies.

Schiff’s follow-up, if possible, sounded worse: He also asserted that this nation’s intelligence agencies are now also withholding documents pertaining to the impeachment charges now filed against Trump.

“And I’ll say something even more concerning to me, and that is the intelligence community is beginning to withhold documents from Congress on the issue of Ukraine. The NSA, in particular, is withholding what are potentially relevant documents to our oversight responsibilities on Ukraine, but also withholding documents potentially relevant that the senators might want to see during the trial. There are signs that the CIA may be on the same tragic course.”

While Rep. Schiff was intentionally opaque on what Ukraine-related documents were being withheld from lawmakers, there does seem to be a new effort to withhold documents that the agencies had originally been expected to produce. Politico reports an unnamed Intelligence Committee “official” as saying: “Both the NSA and CIA initially pledged cooperation, and it appears now that the White House has interceded before production of documents could begin.”

We have long been told that Congress had, in cases of impeachment, necessarily sweeping oversight powers. Again we are learning that these powers can simply be taken away, so long as sufficient numbers in the president’s own party are willing to sign their own names to that act.

New Poll Shows Most Americans Disapprove Trump’s Iran Actions

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Following on the heels of a USAToday/Ipsos poll that came out January 9th, ABC News/Ipsos has another, newer poll up regarding Americans attitudes towards Donald Trump’s recent military actions against Iran that, viewed in a historical context, is rather extraordinary.

American forces acting at the direction of Donald Trump assassinated Iranian General Qasem Soleimani on January 3.   As many Americans will forever recall, as they sat aghast in front of their television sets, Iran “retaliated” on January 8 by launching ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq. It was not until the next day that reporting suggested that Iran deliberately “missed” US troops with a view towards avoiding a wider war; this has been confirmed now by the Iraqis who revealed they were informed in advance of the attacks and immediately advised the U.S. As a result, U.S. troops were moved to secure bunkers at the bases hours before the Iranian missiles were actually launched.

The initial January 9 poll was unique because it revealed that, even in the face of a hostile nation launching missiles at us (the sample taken for that poll included some respondents who would have witnessed Iran’s “retaliation,” but not the news that they Iran deliberately acted to avoid inflicting casualties on the U.S.),  a bare plurality of Americans approved of Trump’s military action. Again, as noted here, this poll was taken after the Administration had trotted out Mike Pompeo to assure Americans that Qasem Soleimani was one of the most evil human beings ever to walk the earth, and that he had planned innumerable “imminent” terror attacks that this air strike had heroically foiled in the nick of time.

What that poll showed was that Americans, by and large didn’t buy it. By a 2-1 margin they felt that Trump had made us less safe. And a clear majority also believed he was “wagging the dog,” i.e., that he launched the strikes to distract from his impeachment.

In historical terms, that is extraordinary. In my lifetime there has never been a military action launched by the U.S. that did not immediately garner clear approval by the general population, even across both parties.  In this instance, however, a bare plurality of Americans initially approved this president’s action in killing Soleimani, with a relatively huge number undecided.

Now that the dust has settled,  here are the numbers from the new poll:

A majority of respondents in a new poll say they disapprove of the way President Trump is handling Iran amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Fifty-six percent said they disapprove of Trump’s actions toward Iran, compared to 43 percent who approve, according to the ABC News/Ipsos poll released early Sunday.

***

Fifty-two percent of respondents also said the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq earlier this month has made the U.S. less safe. One-quarter said the U.S. is more safe and 22 percent said the drone strike hasn’t had much effect one way or the other.

This poll shows approval of Trump’s action towards Iran divided squarely by party lines, with almost equivalent percentages from the GOP and the Democratic party registering their approval, and disapproval, respectively.  That in itself is not surprising since reflects the polarization in the country (with which everyone is quite familiar). What appears to be unique are the overall approval/disapproval numbers for military action by this president.

For comparison, from Gallup, here are historical numbers reflecting Americans’ approval/disapproval of military interventions, taken by prior administrations:

Syria2017 Apr 7-85041
Iraq and Syria2014 Sep 20-216031
Libya2011 Mar 214737
Iraq2003 Mar 207620
Afghanistan2001 Oct 7905
Kosovo/The Balkans1999 Apr 30-May 25145
Afghanistan and Sudan1998 Aug 206619
Haiti1994 Sep 23-255445
Somalia1993 Jun 18-216523
Iraq1993 Jan 13839
Libya1986 Apr 17-187121
Grenada1983 Oct 26-275334

All of the above reflect clear majority approval by the American public of an administration’s actions.

Again, the disapproval/approval ratio applicable to Trump’s handling of Iran reveals a 13 point margin of disapproval.  Here are ABC News/IPSOS’ conclusions as to what that means.

Washington, DC, January 12th, 2020 – New public opinion data from ABC News and Ipsos shows that the American public continues to disapprove of President Trump’s handing of the situation with Iran and feel it has made the country less safe, even after both sides appear to have stepped back from the conflict.

***

This suggests that despite Iran appearing to deescalate after a rocket strike on U.S. bases in Iraq caused no fatalities, this has not been a “win” for the President, nor has the American public’s view on the crisis softened.

Again, this poll comes after vice-president Pence lied hysterically about Iran’s non-existent connection to 9/11, and after Pompeo upped the lying ante to suggest that four embassies were under imminent threat from Iran.  None of their lies seem to have made much of an impression on the American public.

With all the demonization of Iran that the Republican Party has tried to churn up over the past decade, even with a drone strike killing an alleged “imminent threat” to our safety, Americans by a very large margin are not buying Trump’s story on Iran.  They do not believe Trump’s action made them any safer—in fact, quite the reverse, by a 2-1 margin Americans believe Trump has made them less safe. This continues to be true even though the attack on Soleimani has had (thus far) no serious repercussions on U.S. troops.

There may be multiple explanations for these results, and the polling questions from prior historical military actions may have been slightly different, but in this case the most likely reason for the disparity is probably the most obvious one—even on the most hair-trigger, hot button issue where Americans have historically leaped to support their president—here, military conflict with a proven enemy–Americans do not trust what comes out of Trump’s mouth, or what his administration says.

Pardoned War Criminals Appear At Secret Trump Fundraiser

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Donald Trump was in particularly odious form over the weekend. His primary non-appearance appearance was on Saturday night, when he spoke at a secret no-phones, no-reporters fundraising event for the Florida Republican Party. But he didn’t just speak: The Miami Herald reports that Trump also took the opportunity to fete two of the military war criminals he recently pardoned, bringing the two out onstage with him.

There is no report of how the audience of Republican Party bigwigs, which included Jared Kushner, Reps. Jim Jordan and Mike Waltz and many of the state’s top Republican officeholders, responded to Trump’s presentation of two pardoned war criminals. We can only assume the Republicans present cheered and applauded the men, since there have been zero condemnations of Trump offering the two up for Republican celebration. (The sight of Jim Jordan or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis giving military war criminals an ovation is, one presumes, why absolutely no recording device were permitted.)

From that well-received and, according to the Herald‘s queried attendees, “hilarious” hour-long private speech involving both war criminals and “impressions” of other political figures, No-Thumbs Hitler moved to a more public setting, giving an address to the Israeli American Council.

That appearance gave a more robust view of what top Republican officials claimed to find “hilarious”, in Trump’s prior appearance. Noting that he knew some of the attendees at the Sheldon Adelson-sponsored event from his real estate dealings, Trump declared them “not nice people at all, but you have to vote for me. You have no choice. You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that. [Laughter] You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax!”

“Yeah, let’s take 100 percent of your wealth away! No, no. Even if you don’t like me, some of you don’t, some of you I don’t like at all actually. [Laughter] And you’re going to be my biggest supporters because you’ll be out of business in about 15 minutes if they get in.”

Whether Trump’s declaration that his audience of hard-right Jewish Americans love money too much to vote for his opponent strikes you as anti-Semitic is up to you; his continued obsession with referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren with a racial slur is even blunter. Trump also invoked the “dual loyalty” tropes directed at Jewish Americans, and in fact not just invoked them but presumed and demanded them. “You have people that are Jewish people, that are great people, they don’t love Israel enough. You know that.”

After shaky weeks, Trump appears to be in a better mood than he has been in some time. The White House and Senate Republicans appear to have settled on a strategy for pushing an impeachment trial through the Senate as quickly and insincerely as possible, as “lawyer” Rudy Giuliani begins production of an anti-Biden “documentary” relying on the same corrupt forced-from-power pro-Russian Ukrainian grifters and thugs that successfully removed an anti-corruption U.S. ambassador in a previous smear campaign. He appears to believe he is on the cusp of not just getting away with his extortion scheme, but that with the Republican Senate’s help he will soon be able to advance it to its planned next stages.

Deutsche Bank Exec Who Oversaw Trump Loans Commits Suicide

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The boss of Donald Trump’s personal banker at Deutsche Bank died by suicide last week on Tuesday.


Our servers are having a hard time. Here’s a backup.

1/ Thomas Bowers, a former Deutsche Bank who was the head of the American wealth-management division, killed himself in Malibu, California on Tuesday, November 19th according to the coronor’s initial report.

2/ First reports of his death were filed by the New York Times‘ David Enrich.

3/ Bowers was the boss of Trump’s personal banker Rosemary Vrablic, according to a New York Times article in early 2019. Vrablic reportedly attended the Trump inauguration in the VIP section and expects to get called before congress regarding Trump’s relationship with the bank.

4/ The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner/Coroner reported that Bowers died by suicide by hanging at his residence on the 19th.

5/ One source who has direct knowledge of the FBI’s investigation into Deutsche Bank said that federal investigators haved asked about Bowers and what documents he might have.

6/end/ Another source who has knowledge of Deutsche Bank’s internal structure said that Bowers would have been the gatekeeper for financial documents for the bank’s wealthiest customers.

Forensic News has ordered the full coroner report.

“Bowers was the boss of Trump’s personal banker Rosemary Vrablic, according to a New York Times article in early 2019. Vrablic reportedly attended the Trump inauguration in the VIP section and expects to get called before congress regarding Trump’s relationship with the bank. ”

Rosemary Vrablic has been Trump’s personal banker.[6] Trump began working with Deutsche Bank in 1998, securing a loan for renovations at 40 Wall Street and a $300 million loan for Trump World Tower.[7] Trump borrowed $640 million from the bank for Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, offering a $40 million personal guarantee.[7] After the 2008 financial crisis Trump was unable to make loan payments, so he sued the lender for $3 billion in damages, alleging “Deutsche Bank is one of the banks primarily responsible for the economic dysfunction we are currently facing”.[7] Deutsche Bank responded by suing Trump to collect on the loan.[7]

Vrablic’s wealth management unit at Deutsche Bank then loaned Trump the money he needed to pay the bank’s real estate division.[7] She then gave him another loan on the Chicago project.[7]

Vrablic was relatively unknown on Wall Street outside of the private banking sector until Trump mentioned her in early 2016,[8] when he inaccurately described her as “the head of Deutsche Bank” and “the boss”.[9][10] Vrablic sat in the VIP section at Trump’s swearing-in ceremony.[11] After Trump’s election, Deutsche Bank attempted to restructure about $300 million in loan debt originated primarily by Vrablic, in an attempt to avoid potential conflicts of interest.[12]

In addition to Trump, Vrablic’s other clients include Stephen M. Ross and Jared Kushner.[7][5] In 2017 Kushner and his mother had a personal unsecured line of credit from the bank for $5 to $25 million.[7] In 2016, the bank loaned Kushner Companies $285 million to buy several floors of The Times Square Building from Africa Israel Investments.[7] Kushner also issued a mortgage-backed security for the Puck Building through Deutsche Bank.[7]

In 2013, Vrablic was managing assets valued at $5.5 billion on behalf of about 50 clients, 40% of whom had made their money in real estate.[2] Her clients include Herbert Simon, the billionaire owner of the Indiana Pacers.[2]

en.wikipedia.org/…

(March) Trump’s History With Deutsche Bank

The relationship had paid off. Mr. Trump used loans from Deutsche Bank to finance skyscrapers and other high-end properties, and repeatedly cited his relationship with the bank to deflect political attacks on his business acumen. Deutsche Bank used Mr. Trump’s projects to build its investment-banking business, reaped fees from the assets he put in its custody and leveraged his celebrity to lure clients.

Then Mr. Trump won the 2016 election, and the German bank shifted into damage-control mode, bracing for an onslaught of public scrutiny, according to several people involved in the internal response.

In the weeks before Ms. Vrablic attended his swearing-in, the bank commissioned reports to figure out how it had gotten in so deep with Mr. Trump. It issued an unusual edict to its Wall Street employees: Do not publicly utter the word “Trump.”

More than two years later, Mr. Trump’s financial ties with Deutsche Bank are the subject of investigations by two congressional committees and the New York attorney general. Investigators hope to use Deutsche Bank as a window into Mr. Trump’s personal and business finances. www.nytimes.com/…


US Agrees Turkish ‘Cease Fire’ To Cleanse Kurds From Syria Region

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

During a live press conference in Turkey on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced a “deal” with Turkish President Recep Erdogan to give Turkey … everything it wanted.

With great pride and voluminous sucking-up, Pence announced a 120-hour “cease-fire” agreement with Turkey, during which time the United States will “assist” Turkey’s Kurdish targets in fleeing the region Turkey is attacking. In other words, Kurdish forces, their families, and others have five days to withdraw from their own homes, after which Turkey will control the region. It is unclear where those forces are expected to retreat to. Pence’s announcement amounts to an agreement for Turkey to ethnically cleanse a Turkish-demanded “safe zone” with the United States’ approval, and possibly its assistance.

In “exchange” for a cease-fire agreement—an ultimatum to Turkey’s Kurdish targets to withdraw, or else—Pence announced that the United States “will not impose further sanctions” on Turkey for its assault.

In other words, it’s a complete capitulation. Donald Trump’s team agreed to “assist” Turkey in removing Kurdish forces and civilians from the “safe zone” in northern Syria that Turkey is now claiming, and simultaneously promises no further repercussions for Turkey.

Pence went out of his way to praise Donald Trump many, many times for his leadership as he proudly announced the administration’s complete buckling to Syrian demands. He also confirmed that United States forces would indeed be withdrawing, leaving the remainder of the Syrian conflict to be resolved by Turkish forces in the north and the Russian-assisted forces of Assad in the south.