Thursday, May 25, 2017

Jared Kushner now a focus in Russia investigation


Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation. For full story go to the Washington Post:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/jared-kushner-now-a-focus-in-russia-investigation/2017/05/25/f078db74-40c7-11e7-8c25-44d09ff5a4a8_story.html?utm_term=.f2b23418db3a


Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation.
Kushner, who held meetings in December with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow, is being investigated because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians, the people said.
The Washington Post reported last week that a senior White House official close to the president was a significant focus of the high-stakes investigation, though it did not name Kushner.
FBI agents also remain keenly interested in former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but Kushner is the only current White House official known to be considered a key person in the probe.
The Post has not been told that Kushner is a target — or the central focus — of the investigation, and he has not been accused of any wrongdoing. “Target” is a word that generally refers to someone who is the main suspect of investigators’ attention, though prosecutors can and do bring charges against people who are not marked with that distinction.

RELATED CHARACTERS

KUSHNER
+
KISLYAK + GORKOV
 Kushner's circle of friends and business ties includes prominent Russians.


TIMELINE:
2015 | Kushner, his brother and a friend start Cadre, a real estate company. Among its investors is Russian tech investor Yuri Milner. Read more
      

December 2016 | Kushner, Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak meet at Trump Tower for 20 minutes just as the Obama administration was preparing to sanction Russia, according to the New York Times. Kushner sent a deputy to another meeting that month. Later, at Kislyak's request, Kushner met for about half an hour with Sergey N. Gorkov, chief of Vnesheconombank, which is on the U.S. sanctions list. Read more
      

Jan. 20, 2017 | Dasha Zhukova, wife of oligarch and Putin friend Roman Abramovich, attends the inauguration as a guest of Ivanka Trump.

March 27, 2017 | White House and Senate officials say Kushner will be available to interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee. Read more 
      

May 25, 2017 | The Post reports Kushner's meetings in December with Kislyak and Gorkov are now under scrutiny as part of an escalating probe into Trump's campaign ties to the Kremlin. Kushner has not been accused of any wrongdoing, and the scrutiny does not mean that he will face any charges.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

FBI Director James Comey thought Trump's firing him was a prank

May 10th 2017 10:34 AM
FBI Director James Comey learned a little too late that his firing was no joke.

Comey reportedly saw the news break on TV that he'd been fired by President Trump after speaking with FBI agents at a field office in LA.

According to The New York Times, he laughed and said he found it to be a fairly funny prank.

Comey was still with the group and shaking hands of the FBI employees with who he had been talking.

When His staff then ushered him into a side office and found out that it was not, in fact, a prank.

However, Comey had not received word from the White House about his firing at that point.

Though he was in Los Angeles, White House aide Keith Schiller was sent to FBI headquarters in Washington, DC to hand-deliver the letter from President Trump dismissing him.
Not long after, Comey boarded a flight back to Washington.


Witchy sez : 
Comey found out to late that dog won''t hunt ..... HeHe

Anonymous warns of 'devastating' World War III in new video

May 10th 2017 6:08AM
The Internet group known as Anonymous is continuing to warn the public of an impending World War III.

The hackers posted a new video to YouTube on Saturday titled, "They are preparing for what comes next...(WW3 2017-2018)."

In it, a single figure in a Guy Fawkes mask appears to be reading from a paper as he says in a digitized voice, "All the signs of a looming war on the Korean peninsula are surfacing. Watching as each country moves strategic pieces into place."

The person then notes, "But unlike past world wars, although there will be ground troops, the battle is likely to be fierce, brutal and quick. It will also be globally devastating, both on the environmental and economical levels."

The figure adds, "This is a real war with real global consequences."

According to the video, the conflict will erupt due to unresolvable tension between North Korea and those working towards a peaceful resolution, including the U.S., South Korea, Japan, China, and the Philippines.

As evidence, the group cited the U.S. testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Japanese government's warning to its citizens to be prepared, and the Trump administration's recent interactions with Australia and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Anonymous had warned of the potential for World War III in another YouTube video posted in October of last year.


In that video, the group talks about frayed relations between the U.S. and China over the South China Sea but also focuses on friction with Russia, particularly over Syria.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Obama warned Trump about Michael Flynn during transition



FILE PHOTO - White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn walks down the White House colonnade on the way to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump's joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Barack Obama warned then-President-elect Donald Trump not to give the post of national security adviser in his administration to Michael Flynn who was eventually fired in a controversy about ties to Russia, a former Obama aide said.
Obama gave the warning in an Oval Office meeting with Trump just days after the Republican's surprise election win last Nov. 8. The warning, first reported by NBC News, came up during a discussion of White House personnel.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer, responding to the reports, told a news briefing: "It's true that the president, President Obama, made it known that he wasn't exactly a fan of General Flynn's" during a one-hour meeting on Nov. 10 with Trump.
An Obama spokesman initially declined to comment.
Flynn has emerged as a central figure in probes into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow.
He had been pushed out by Obama in 2014 from his job as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, during the Democratic president's term in office.
A former U.S. deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, is expected to tell a Senate Judiciary subcommittee later Monday that she had warned the White House counsel after Trump took office that Flynn had not told the truth about conversations he had held with Russia's ambassador to Washington.
Trump fired Flynn, a retired general, in February for failing to disclose talks with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak about U.S. sanctions on Moscow and then misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.
Congressional committees began investigating after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered hacking of Democratic political groups to try to sway the election toward Trump. Moscow has denied any such meddling.
Trump has also dismissed the allegations, suggesting instead that Obama might have wiretapped Trump Tower in New York or that China may have been behind the cyber attacks. He has provided no evidence and neither scenario has been supported by intelligence agencies.
Hours before Monday's Senate hearing, Trump insinuated that Yates, an Obama administration appointment, had leaked information on Flynn to the media.
"Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Council," Trump wrote on Twitter, apparently mis-spelling the word counsel.
In another Twitter post, Trump noted that Flynn had been granted top security clearance while working in the Obama administration.
Flynn was fired from the DIA in 2014 for what officials familiar with the issue said was a disruptive management style that included instructing analysts to find intelligence substantiating improbable theories that some subordinates came to call "Flynn facts." He also advocated an overhaul of the DIA that ignited resistance from veteran intelligence officials, the officials said.
James Clapper, Obama's former Director of National Intelligence, will also testify to the Senate panel on Monday.
The Senate Judiciary subcommittee probe is one of three main congressional investigations of Russia and the 2016 U.S. election. The FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies are conducting separate probes.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Biracial UT pageant winner slammed as 'not black enough' on Twitter


By Carolyn Salazar  Published May 04, 2017  Fox News
The winner of the Miss Black University of Texas is taking the high road after critics on social media claimed she's “not black enough.”

Congratulations to our 2017 Miss Black University of Texas! We thank our lovely contestants, as well as everyone else who came to support them .

Rachael Malonson, 22, who is biracial, was crowned on Sunday. The event was hosted by Kappa Alpha Psi, a predominantly black fraternity.

“It was definitely a huge honor to win. As a biracial woman, I didn’t even think I was able to place,” she told Fox News.

In a Facebook post after her win, Malonson said she was at first reluctant to take part in the pageant because of her mixed race.

Malonson, whose father is black and whose mother is white, said she was taken off guard by the criticism, particularly since part of her pageant platform was trying to break down stereotypes and educating people about racial identity.

“I didn’t realize that even after I received the title I would still have to explain myself, that there was still ignorant people out there who are asking me to prove myself,” she said. “Just because I have straight hair and olive skin tone doesn’t mean I’m not black…I don’t have to look a certain way to be black.”

Malonson, who is a senior and a broadcasting and journalism student at the University of Texas, seems to have taken the criticism in stride. In a Twitter post and to Fox News, she thanked everyone who came out and supported her, particularly those in the African American community.

“The beautiful thing about this is all the people her [at UT] who have come out and defended me,” she said. “It shows I have a beautiful support system here.”

She said she will take this experience and turn it into an opportunity. She will dedicate the next year to educating people about racial identity and breaking down stereotypes by posting videos from different people talking about their cultural and racial roots.

“And I will continue to support black women empowerment,” she said.

In a story in the Daily Texan, a student newspaper, Malonson said she has long struggled with her mixed heritage because no one could figure out where she was from. So many people thought she was Hispanic, she said, that she started to believe it herself – even though she was not.


“I remember I felt so insecure because people didn’t understand who I was by my look,” Malonson said. “I’m confident in it now and see it as a unique trait where I’m able to teach people that not every black person (and) not every mixed person looks the same way.”

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

White House: Trump, Putin discuss Syria, North Korea, Middle East in phone call

THOMSON REUTERS        May 2nd 2017 
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed working together to end the violence in Syria on Tuesday in their first phone call since U.S. air strikes in Syria strained U.S.-Russian relations.

The White House said the two leaders agreed that "all parties must do all they can to end the violence" in Syria and that Trump and Putin also discussed working together against Islamic militants throughout the Middle East.

"The conversation was a very good one, and included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons," a White House statement said.
Kremlin readout of Trump/Putin phone call includes a little something the White House left out…

Trump's decision to launch 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield on April 4 in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack angered the Russians and led to some bitter exchanges between the two governments.

The White House statement said Washington will send a representative to Syrian cease-fire talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday and Thursday.

"They also discussed at length working together to eradicate terrorism throughout the Middle East. Finally, they spoke about how best to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea," the statement said.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trumpty Dumpty



ALTERNATE VERSE

Trumpty got miffed and waved his little hands.
He yelled, "you're forgetting I'm king of this land.
I destroyed Obama Care and NAFTA too.
Not one of my promises will ever come true.
 I say screw climate change, that's my call.
If you don't like it I'll deport you all.
 I'm on a quest to crash and burn.
And you'll never see my tax returns."

The genie

Thursday, April 27, 2017

MIRACLE' STAR MICHAEL MANTENUTO COMMITS SUICIDE AT 35

Michael Mantenuto -- who played Jack O'Callahan in Disney's "Miracle" -- killed himself Monday in Washington State.

The actor, a former University of Maine hockey player, was found dead in his car by police in Des Moines. WA. The coroner tells TMZ ... Michael committed suicide by shooting himself. 

As a budding actor with hockey skills, Michael landed the role in the Disney flick about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. He only acted in 2 other movies, and went on to enlist in the army ... and joined the Special Forces.

Col. Guillaume Beaurpere, commander of Mantenuto's army unit, announced his death.
He was 35.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Missing Tennessee teen allegedly abducted by former teacher found in California


AOL.COM EDITORS          April  20th 2017 
Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins has been caught by law enforcement after a weeks-long manhunt across multiple states after he allegedly kidnapped 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reports that Cummins, 50, was apprehended in California with Thomas, the teen who vanished with him more than one month ago. Authorities reported that she was found safe as well.

The end to the month-long nationwide manhunt came after officials found Cummins' Nissan Rogue on Wednesday night. The duo had last been spotted in Oklahoma City on surveillance footage at a Wal-Mart on March 30.

Cummins, who is married, and Thomas became the subject of a nationwide search after the teacher apparently lured Thomas into his car outside of a Shoney's restaurant in Columbia, Tennessee, about 45 miles south of Nashville.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation put him on its top 10 "most wanted" list shortly afterwards.

Cummins was suspended from his position in February after he ignored an order that barred Thomas from entering his classroom. The month before a student had reported seeing the 50-year-old and teenager kissing.
The two had disappeared on March 13.

Cummins will face charges of sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway 2016 US election: documents

Thomson Reuters
NED PARKER, JONATHAN LANDAY AND JOHN WALCOTT         April 19th 2017 
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters' faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters.

They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies [https://en.riss.ru/], after the election.

The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence officials appointed by Putin's office.

The first Russian institute document was a strategy paper written last June that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government but was not addressed to any specific individuals.

It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama, the seven officials said.

A second institute document, drafted in October and distributed in the same way, warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election. For that reason, it argued, it was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system's legitimacy and damage Clinton's reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency, the seven officials said.

The current and former U.S. officials spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the Russian documents' classified status. They declined to discuss how the United States obtained them. U.S. intelligence agencies also declined to comment on them.

Putin has denied interfering in the U.S. election. Putin's spokesman and the Russian institute did not respond to requests for comment.

The documents were central to the Obama administration's conclusion that Russia mounted a "fake news" campaign and launched cyber attacks against Democratic Party groups and Clinton's campaign, the current and former officials said.
"Putin had the objective in mind all along, and he asked the institute to draw him a road map," said one of the sources, a former senior U.S. intelligence official.

Trump has said Russia's activities had no impact on the outcome of the race. Ongoing congressional and FBI investigations into Russian interference have so far produced no public evidence that Trump associates colluded with the Russian effort to change the outcome of the election.

Four of the officials said the approach outlined in the June strategy paper was a broadening of an effort the Putin administration launched in March 2016. That month the Kremlin instructed state-backed media outlets, including international platforms Russia Today and Sputnik news agency, to start producing positive reports on Trump's quest for the U.S. presidency, the officials said.

Russia Today did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Sputnik dismissed the assertions by the U.S. officials that it participated in a Kremlin campaign as an "absolute pack of lies." "And by the way, it's not the first pack of lies we're hearing from 'sources in U.S. official circles'," the spokesperson said in an email.

PRO-KREMLIN BLOGGERS

Russia Today and Sputnik published anti-Clinton stories while pro-Kremlin bloggers prepared a Twitter campaign calling into question the fairness of an anticipated Clinton victory, according to a report by U.S. intelligence agencies on Russian interference in the election made public in January. [http://bit.ly/2kMiKSA]

Russia Today's most popular Clinton video - "How 100% of the 2015 Clintons' 'charity' went to ... themselves" - accumulated 9 millions views on social media, according to the January report. [http://bit.ly/2os8wIt]

CYBER ATTACKS

Neither of the Russian institute documents mentioned the release of hacked Democratic Party emails to interfere with the U.S. election, according to four of the officials. The officials said the hacking was a covert intelligence operation run separately out of the Kremlin.

The overt propaganda and covert hacking efforts reinforced each other, according to the officials. Both Russia Today and Sputnik heavily promoted the release of the hacked Democratic Party emails, which often contained embarrassing details.

SEE ALSO: Russia vetoes UN resolution on Syria attack, China abstains

Five of the U.S. officials described the institute as the Kremlin's in-house foreign policy think tank.

The institute's director when the documents were written, Leonid Reshetnikov, rose to the rank of lieutenant general during a 33-year-career in Russia's foreign intelligence service, according to the institute's website [http://bit.ly/2oVhiCF]. After Reshetnikov retired from the institute in January, Putin named as his replacement Mikhail Fradkov. The institute says he served as the director of Russia's foreign intelligence service from 2007 to 2016. [http://bit.ly/2os4tvz]

Reuters was unable to determine if either man was directly involved in the drafting of the documents. Reshetnikov's office referred questions to the Russian institute.

On its website, the Russian institute describes itself as providing "expert appraisals," "recommendations," and "analytical materials" to the Russian president's office, cabinet, National Security Council, ministries and parliament. [http://bit.ly/2pCBGpR]

On Jan. 31, the websites of Putin's office [http://bit.ly/2os9wMr] and the institute [http://bit.ly/2oLn9Kd] posted a picture and transcript of Reshetnikov and his successor Fradkov meeting with Putin in the Kremlin. Putin thanked Reshetnikov for his service and told Fradkov he wanted the institute to provide objective information and analysis.

"We did our best for nearly eight years to implement your foreign policy concept," Reshetnikov told Putin. "The policy of Russia and the policy of the President of Russia have been the cornerstone of our operation."

(Reporting by Ned Parker and Jonathan Landay, additional reporting by Warren Strobel and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by David Rohde and Ross Colvin)

Mark Zuckerberg Disgusted With Social Media; Set To Leave Facebook Later This Year

(ET, Wednesday, April 19, 2017) - Mark Zuckerberg helped to create a whole new world when he unveiled Facebook in 2004. Barely 20 years old, the fresh faced college student knew he had something special with his technological find. But even this genius had no way to predict how Facebook would change the world.

Now, just 17 years later, this 32-year-old billionaire is ready to give it all up? Why? According to those closest to the developer, Zuckerberg is disgusted with the way the public has used and abused the platform. “He wanted to create a way for people to connect; not tear them apart,” explained one colleague.

Since its inception, Facebook has enjoyed a wild ride of success. With more than 1.2 billion people logging on every single day, one would think that Zuckerberg fulfilled his dream of global connection. But, according to friends and coworkers, that wasn’t at all what Zuckerberg had in mind when he and a group of friends built the concept (and the reality) of the famous site back in their Harvard dormitory.

“What Mark wanted most was to bring the world together. It’s not good enough if it brings along some people and leaves others behind.” And when it comes to using the platform he created to bully or disparage others, Zuckerberg is completely disgusted. “He hates the way some users utilize the platform to bring others down or even to circulate false accounts of events or history.”

While Facebook itself begins a new chapter in harnessing its platform for the betterment of society, focusing on remaking the site in order to offer global connectedness while fighting isolationism and social ills. Although a manifesto recently released by Zuckerberg himself outlines a long-term plan by his company to revamp the site and “focus on social infrastructure for the community for supporting us, for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all,” many behind the scenes say that the Facebook founder has no intention of being a part of the changes and will announce his exit from Facebook in the coming months.


Since marrying wife Priscilla Chan M.D., in 2012, Zuckerberg has discovered a new passion: for eradicating disease and living a healthier lifestyle. A pediatrician who specializes in childhood disease, Chan convinced her husband last year to fund the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative, whose main focus is health and education. The initiative has also cited a long-term goal of working towards eradicating all disease by the end of the 21st century.

Monday, April 17, 2017

PRINCE'S DEATH : SEARCH WARRANTS REVEAL PILLS HIDDEN EVERYWHERE

Prince's death scene was riddled with pills strewn around his home ... this according to search warrants just released by Minnesota authorities.
According to new docs, law enforcement found Ziploc bags with pills as well as envelopes containing pills.
The docs bear out what TMZ has reported ... Prince's bodyguard was the person who went to a Walgreens pharmacy the day preceding the singer's death to fill prescriptions, including Percocet.
And, Prince used an alias -- Peter Bravestrong -- and cops found a suitcase with that name that contained pill bottles along with the lyrics for the song, "U Got the Look."
The main doctor who was treating Prince -- Dr. Michael Schulenberg -- admitted to a detective he had prescribed Prince Oxycodone the same day Prince OD'd on a jet -- 6 days before he died. The doctor put the Rx in Prince's bodyguard's name.
Prince would regularly get B12 injections before his concerts to feel better and they were set up through his managers.
And this is interesting ... Prince didn't use a cellphone ... apparently because he was once hacked and didn't trust it. His communications were through emails and landlines.
As we reported ... Prince died of an overdose of the powerful painkiller Fentanyl.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

US drops 'mother of all bombs' in Afghanistan: Pentagon

Thomson Reuters         IDREES ALI         April  13th 2017 
WASHINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) - The United States dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear bomb it has ever used in combat, in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday against a series of caves used by Islamic State militants, the military said.

It was the first time the United States has used this size of bomb in a conflict. It was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said.

Also known as the "mother of all bombs," the GBU-43 is a 21,600 pound (9,797 kg) GPS-guided munition and was first tested in March 2003, just days before the start of the Iraq war.

The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious, with a number of militant groups trying to claim territory more than 15 years after the U.S. invasion which toppled the Taliban government.

General John Nicholson, the head of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, said thebomb was used against caves and bunkers housing fighters of the Islamic State in Afghanistan, also known as ISIS-K.

It was not immediately clear how much damage the device did.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer opened his daily news briefing speaking about the use of the bomb and said, "We targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely, making it easier for them to target U.S. military advisers and Afghan forces in the area."

Last week, a U.S. soldier was killed in the same district as the bomb was dropped while conducting operations against Islamic State.

"The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously and in order to defeat the group, we must deny them operational space, which we did," Spicer said.

He said the bomb was used at around 7 p.m. local time and described the device as "a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon." The United States took "all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage," he said.

U.S. officials say intelligence suggests Islamic State is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar province.

Estimates of its strength in Afghanistan vary. U.S. officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500.

Islamic State's offshoot in Afghanistan is suspected of carrying out several attacks on minority Shi'ite Muslim targets.


The Afghan Taliban, which is trying to overthrow the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, are fiercely opposed to Islamic State and the two group have clashed as they seek to expand territory and influence. (Reporting by Idrees Ali and Will Dunham; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tensions mount as Tillerson meets with Putin in Moscow

Thomson Reuters
YEGANEH TORBATI AND VLADIMIR SOLDATKIN         
April  12th  2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting in the Kremlin with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Moscow said on Wednesday, citing Kremlin officials.

The Kremlin had previously declined to confirm that such a meeting would take place during Tillerson's visit, reflecting tensions over a U.S. missile strike on Syria, a staunch Russian ally, last week.

Putin said on Wednesday trust had eroded between the United States and Russia under President Donald Trump, as Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria.

Any hope in Russia that the Trump administration would herald less confrontational relations has been dashed in the past week after the new U.S. leader fired missiles at Syria to punish Moscow's ally for its suspected use of poison gas.

Tillerson started a meeting with Putin in the Kremlin after talking to his Russian opposite number Sergei Lavrov for around three hours. The Kremlin had previously declined to confirm Putin would meet Tillerson, reflecting tensions over the U.S. strike on Syria.

Just as Tillerson sat down for talks with Lavrov earlier on Wednesday, a senior Russian official assailed the "primitiveness and loutishness" of U.S. rhetoric, part of a volley of statements that appeared timed to maximize the awkwardness during the first visit by a member of Trump's cabinet.

"One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved but has rather deteriorated," Putin said in an interview broadcast on Russian television.

In his interview, Putin doubled down on Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, repeating denials that Assad's government was to blame for the gas attack last week and adding a new theory that the attack may have been faked by Assad's enemies.

Tillerson's official itinerary in Moscow started with the meeting with Lavrov, in an ornate hall in a foreign ministry-owned residence. In opening remarks in front of reporters, Lavrov greeted Tillerson with unusually icy remarks, denouncing the missile strike on Syria as illegal and accusing Washington of behaving unpredictably.

"I won't hide the fact that we have a lot of questions, taking into account the extremely ambiguous and sometimes contradictory ideas which have been expressed in Washington across the whole spectrum of bilateral and multilateral affairs," Lavrov said.

"And of course, that's not to mention that apart from the statements, we observed very recently the extremely worrying actions, when an illegal attack against Syria was undertaken."

Lavrov also noted that many key State Department posts remain vacant since the new administration took office -- a point of sensitivity in Washington.

One of Lavrov's deputies was even more undiplomatic.

"In general, primitiveness and loutishness are very characteristic of the current rhetoric coming out of Washington. We'll hope that this doesn't become the substance of American policy," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russia's state-owned RIA news agency.

"As a whole, the administration's stance with regards to Syria remains a mystery. Inconsistency is what comes to mind first of all."

Tillerson kept to more calibrated remarks, saying his aim was "to further clarify areas of sharp difference so that we can better understand why these differences exist and what the prospects for narrowing those differences may be."

"I look forward to a very open, candid, frank exchange so that we can better define the U.S.-Russian relationship from this point forward," he told Lavrov.

After journalists were ushered out of the room, Lavrov's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, wrote on her Facebook page that U.S. journalists traveling with Tillerson had behaved as if they were in a "bazaar" by shouting questions to Lavrov.

Moscow's hostility to Trump administration figures is a sharp change from last year, when Putin hailed Trump as a strong figure and Russian state television was consistently full of effusive praise for him.

COVER-UP

The White House has accused Moscow of trying to cover up Assad's use of chemical weapons after the attack on a town killed 87 people last week.

Trump responded to the gas attack by firing 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base on Friday. Washington warned Moscow, and Russian troops at the base were not hit.

Moscow has stood by Assad, saying the poison gas belonged to rebels, an explanation Washington dismisses as beyond credible. Putin said that either gas belonging to the rebels was released when it was hit by a Syrian strike on a rebel arms dump, or the rebels faked the incident to discredit Assad.

Trump came to the presidency promising to seek closer ties with Russia and greater cooperation fighting against their common enemy in Syria, Islamic State. Tillerson is a former oil executive who was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship by Putin.

Last week's poison gas attack and the U.S. retaliation upended what many in Moscow hoped would be a transformation in relations between the two countries, which reached a post-Cold War low under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.

The United States and its European allies imposed financial sanctions on Russia in 2014 after Putin seized territory from neighboring Ukraine.

Washington is leading a campaign of air strikes in Syria against Islamic State fighters and has backed rebels fighting against Assad during a six-year civil war, but until last week the United States had avoided directly targeting the Syrian government.

Russia, meanwhile, intervened in the civil war on Assad's side in 2015 and has troops on the ground, which it says are advising government forces. Both Washington and Moscow say their main enemy is Islamic State, although they back opposing sides in the wider civil war which has killed more than 400,000 people and spawned the world's worst refugee crisis.

In an interview with the Fox Business Network, Trump said he was not planning to order U.S. forces into Syria, but that he had to respond to the images of dead children poisoned in the gas attack.

"We're not going into Syria," he said in excerpts of the interview on the station's website. "But when I see people using horrible, horrible chemical weapons ... and see these beautiful kids that are dead in their father's arms, or you see kids gasping for life ... when you see that, I immediately called (Defense Secretary) General Mattis."

Tillerson traveled to Moscow with a joint message from Western powers that Russia should withdraw its support for Assad after a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized economies also attended by Middle  East allies .

Some of Washington's allies had been wary of Trump, who spoke during his election campaign of seeking closer ties with Moscow and questioned the value of U.S. support for its traditional friends. Tillerson's mission sees the Trump administration taking on the traditional U.S. role as spokesman for a unified Western position.

Trump's relations with Russia are also a domestic issue, as U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Moscow of using computer hacking to intervene in the election to help Trump win. The FBI is investigating whether any Trump campaign figures colluded with Moscow, which the White House denies.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pressured by Trump, it looks like China is going to do something about North Korea's nukes

 Business Insider            ALEX LOCKIE            April  11th 2017
After a Chinese envoy arrived in South Korea, the two sides have reportedly reached an agreement to take "strong action" against North Korea if nuclear and ballistic missile testing continues, according to VOA News.

Joel Witt, co-founder of 38 North, a website that brings together experts on North Korea, told Business Insider that the country's nuclear and ballistic missile progress has appeared to rapidly increase over the past year as the program reaches the point where it needs to be tested.

But with each test, North Korea gets closer to its goal of creating an intercontinental ballistic missile that can threaten the US mainland. US President Donald Trump's administration has been clear that they would take military action if need be to prevent this.

Trump, in an interview with the Financial Times before his meeting last week with Chinese President Xi Jinping said "if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will."

It remains to be seen if South Korea and China's vision of unacceptable behavior matches the US', as the US has signaled growing impatience with the Kim regime's nuclear posturing.
Now, with the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and strike group redirected to the Korean peninsula, South Korea and Chinese diplomats seem to have struck an agreement on handling the North Korean missile threat that does not involve a US strike.

North Korea reacted to the Vinson's deployment by calling it an "outrageous act" and saying it is "ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US."

While the US certainly sent a message with a recent salvo of 59 cruise missiles rocking a Syrian airbase, it faces far more limited options in striking North Korea, due to myriad nuclear and conventional missile launchers and a massive array of artillery that could effectively level Seoul, South Korea's capital of 10 million people.

Experts have told Business Insider that while China disapproves of North Korea's nuclear threats, it has a much deeper interest in preserving a North Korean state as a buffer against Western influences, and also fears a strong, united Korea complete with democracy and US military installations.
Furthermore, the Chinese appear to have been spooked by a recent deployment of advanced missile defenses to South Korea, which the US put in place after a particularly provocative missile test from the North.

Trump reportedly discussed the north Korean issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, with the two reaffirming their commitment to denuclearizing the peninsula and adhering to all UN sanctions against the Hermit Kingdom.

United Airlines just lost $800 million in value

Mashable          JASON ABBRUZZESE             April  11th 2017 
Please buckle up, there's some turbulence ahead.
United Continental has lost about $800 million in total value on Tuesday, the day after a video of a man being dragged off a flight became a major news story.


Shares in the company had declined about 3.8 percent in mid-morning trading, a steep drop for a major company like United.

The controversy began on Monday morning when video emerged of a man being violently dragged off a United Airlines flight. The man, who had been seated on the plane, was then asked to leave because the flight had been overbooked. When he refused, a Chicago police officer grabbed him.

Full price informationSince then, United has been dealing with severe backlash.

By comparison, Pepsi, another company caught in a public fiasco (its tone-deaf commercial featuring protests and Kendall Jenner), hasn't seen much change at all.

The chart below shows United's market capitalization over the last five days. Market cap is a generally accepted way to value companies based on stock price.

The decline highlights just how serious a situation United faces. Airplane travel rarely tops the list of quality consumer experiences, but Monday's video appears to have set off a serious discussion around United, the airline industry, and police procedure.
Tuesday's stock decline is surprising in part because it did not seem like investors were particularly worried on Monday as the controversy started.

Continental is still worth around $21.8 billion dollars, so the company isn't exactly in dire straits. There's also broader concern that while United might have a mess on its hands, years of mergers in the airlines industry have given consumers little choice when traveling.

Monday, April 10, 2017

US missile strike against Syria being questioned by some Iraq war veterans

April  10th  2017 
President Trump's decision to bomb a Syrian airfield with 59 missiles Thursday night is being questioned by some U.S. veterans who had previously been deployed to the Middle East.

One criticism revolves around a seeming lack of a clear end goal; for example, Evan McAllister, a Marine scout and sniper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, told the website LifeZette, "The foreign policy I was ultimately hoping for is one that abides by the belief that nation building, mission creep, and counterinsurgency without a clear end-state are horrible courses of action...our military simply doesn't exist for that purpose."

Meanwhile, Democratic Representative Seth Moulton, also an Iraq War veteran, said on CNN Friday, "We don't really know what we're fighting for in Syria. And, fundamentally, that's just not fair to our troops."
He echoed this thought in a joint statement made with fellow veteran, Republican Representative Steve Russell, which read, in part, "We cannot stand by in silence as dictators murder children with chemical weapons. But military action without clear goals and objectives gets us nowhere."

Another Iraq War veteran, Michael Patterson of Alaska, is, in fact, planning to protest over Trump's action, telling KTVA, "The United States government escalating the conflict in Syria is not helping the Syrian people. I mean this is the same administration that I believe twice now has tried to ban Syrian refugees from coming into the United States."

However, other veterans like Senator John McCain have voiced their support for Trump's action in Syria, notes TIME.

The bombing was in response to a chemical attack on Tuesday which is said to have killed dozens of people including more than 20 children.

President Trump has since applauded the U.S. service people involved in the mission, tweeting Saturday, "Congratulations to our great military men and women for representing the United States, and the world, so well in the Syria attack."
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HERE'S  2 COMMENT'S I  FOUND  ON THIS ARTICLE  AND THEY MAKE  GOOD SENSE .
kilgore  2h
I am glad to see some veterans speaking the truth and asking tough questions about the US involvement in Syria. Trump needs to declare victory throughout the Middle East and bring the troops home. The countries in the Middle East need to solve their own problems. The longer the US stays, the further it gets bogged down in the quagmire.
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Sula471
They all make sense. The attack against Syria has nothing to do with smart strategy or long term plan. It was a ploy to turn attention away from Donald's other problems. We all know that leaders bomb something or someone when they need to boost their falling poll numbers at home. Assad has been killing his people for long time. He has been blowing them to pieces by barrel bombs.  All of a sudden Donald feels sorry for them now? His low approval rates needed a boost that is ALL he cares about.
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I think that about sums it up !!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Happy Birthday Jenny

Teenage can be the
 best or worst phase of your life 
depending on what you make of it 
we believe you'll be a winner for life 
Beautiful Diva
Wearing makeup and pearls 
put your party dress on 
and show off your twirls
You are 13 today
So you are in for more whirls 
But you'll surely have FUN
When you are wearing your  curls.
Have an outstanding 13th birthday 
Daddy , Mama , Poppa
Jonny , Sha , Man Carano

Friday, April 7, 2017

US fires missiles at Assad airbase; Russia denounces 'aggression'

 Thomson Reuters
STEVE HOLLAND, ANDREW OSBORN AND TOM PERRY       April  7th 2017 
PALM BEACH, Fla./MOSCOW/BEIRUT, April 7 (Reuters) - The United States fired cruise missiles on Friday at a Syrian airbase from which it said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched this week, the first direct U.S. assault on the government of Bashar al-Assad in six years of civil war.

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the step his predecessor Barack Obama never took: directly targetting Assad's military with air strikes in punishment for the chemical weapons attack, which killed at least 70 people, many of them children.

That catapulted the United States into a confrontation with Russia, which has military advisers on the ground assisting its close ally Assad.

"Years of previous attempts at changing Assad's behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically," Trump said as he announced the attack from his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, where he was meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack," he said of Tuesday's chemical weapons strike, which Western countries blame on Assad's forces. "No child of God should ever suffer such horror."

The swift action is likely to be interpreted as a signal to Russia, and also to other countries such as North Korea, China and Iran where Trump has faced foreign policy tests early in his presidency.

The Syrian army said the U.S. attack killed six people at its air base near the city of Homs. It called the attack "blatant aggression" and said it made the United States a "partner" of "terrorist groups" including Islamic State. Homs Governor Talal Barazi told Reuters the death toll was seven.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the strike had seriously damaged ties between Washington and Moscow. Putin, a staunch ally of Assad, regarded the U.S. action as "aggression against a sovereign nation" on a "made-up pretext," spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Russian television showed craters and rubble at the site of the airbase and said nine aircraft had been destroyed.

ATTACK SAID TO BE "ONE-OFF"

U.S. officials said they had taken pains to ensure Russian troops were not killed, warning Russian forces in advance and avoiding striking parts of the base where Russians were present.

Western allies of the United States spoke out in support of the decision to launch the strikes. Several countries said they were notified in advance, but none had been asked to take part.

U.S. officials and allies described the attack as a one-off that would not lead to further escalation. It signaled Trump's determination to take "decisive action," U.S. officials said.

For years, Washington has backed rebel groups fighting against Assad in a complex multi-sided civil war under way since 2011 that has killed more than 400,000 people. The war has driven half of Syrians from their homes, creating the world's worst refugee crisis.

The United States has been conducting air strikes against Islamic State militants who control territory in eastern and northern Syria, and a small number of U.S. troops are on the ground assisting anti-Islamic State militias. But until now, Washington has avoided direct confrontation with Assad.

Russia, meanwhile, joined the war on Assad's behalf in 2015, action that decisively turned the momentum of the conflict in the Syrian government's favor.

His decision to strike Syrian government forces is a particularly notable shift for Trump, who in the past had repeatedly said he wanted better relations with Moscow, including to cooperate with Russia to fight Islamic State.

However, Trump had also criticized Obama for setting a "red line" threatening force against Assad if he used chemical weapons, only to pull back from ordering air strikes in 2013 when Assad agreed to give up his chemical arsenal.

Trump said this week's chemical attack "crosses many, many lines," an allusion to Obama's threat that was not carried out.
Russian media long portrayed Trump as a figure who would promote closer relations with Moscow. At home, Trump's opponents have accused him of being too supportive of Putin.

U.S. spy agencies say Moscow intervened with computer hacking to help Trump beat Hillary Clinton in last year's election, and the FBI is investigating whether Trump campaign figures colluded with Moscow, which the White House denies.

TRUMP BLAMED ASSAD

Trump ordered the strikes a day after he blamed Assad for this week's chemical attack in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun.

The Syrian government and Moscow have denied that Syrian forces were behind the attack, but Western countries have dismissed their explanation - that chemicals were released in an air strike on a rebel weapons depot, as beyond credibility.

Video of the aftermath of Tuesday's chemical attack was shown around the world this week, depicting the limp bodies of small children choking while rescue workers hosed them down to try to wash off the poison gas. In Russia, state television blamed rebels and did not show footage of victims.

Tomahawk missiles were launched from the USS Porter and USS Ross around 0040 GMT on Friday, striking multiple targets - including the airstrip, aircraft and fuel stations - on the Shayrat Air Base, which the Pentagon says was used to store chemical weapons.

The attack was a "one-off," a U.S. defense official told Reuters, meaning it was expected to be a single strike with no current plans for escalation.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the strike did not mean the wider U.S. policy on Syria had changed.

"This clearly indicates the president is willing to take decisive action when called for," he told reporters. "I would not in any way attempt to extrapolate that to a change in our policy or our posture relative to our military activities in Syria today. There has been no change in that status."

IRAN DENOUNCES STRIKE

Iran, which backs Assad, denounced the U.S. strike, saying it was "dangerous, destructive and violation of international laws" to use chemical weapons as an excuse for unilateral action.

Israel, where right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a supporter of Trump, welcomed it: "In both word and action, President Trump sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated," Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

Over the previous few months, many Western countries had been quietly backing away from long-standing demands that Assad leave power, accepting that rebels no longer had the power to remove him by force. But after the chemical weapons attack on Tuesday, several European countries said Assad must go.

"President Assad alone is responsible for this development," the German government said in a statement after the French and German leaders spoke by phone on Friday morning.

The attacks spurred a flight to safety in global financial markets, sending yields on safe-haven U.S. Treasury securities to their lowest since November. Stocks weakened in Asia and U.S. equity index futures slid, indicating Wall Street would open lower on Friday. Prices for oil and gold both rose, and the dollar slipped against the Japanese yen.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

ISIS spokesman says the US is 'being run by an idiot' in first statement on Trump

Business Insider             PAMELA ENGEL            April  4th 2017 
A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The terrorist group ISIS has finally spoken out about US President Donald Trump.

ISIS spokesman Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer said in an audio recording released Tuesday on the encrypted messaging app Telegram that the US is "bankrupt" and "being run by an idiot," according to Reuters.

Muhajer also told Americans: "The signs of your demise are evident to every eye."

"There is no more evidence than [that] you being run by an idiot who does not know what Syria or Iraq or Islam is," Muhajer said in the statement.

ISIS leadership has not previously addressed Trump.

But its supporters seemed to cheer a Trump presidency — last year Foreign Affairs magazine analyzed ISIS' online channels and interviewed a dozen supporters and defectors who said Trump would "lead the United States on a path to self-destruction."

Then earlier this year, ISIS members reportedly branded Trump's executive order on immigration "the Blessed Ban" as it seemingly proved that the West is at war with Islam.

Malcolm Nance, a terrorism expert and veteran military-intelligence officer, told Business Insider last year that Trump was "ISIS' preferred candidate" because he's "unstable."

It's not uncommon for ISIS to target the president of the United States in its propaganda messaging.

ISIS experts pointed out before the election that the terrorist group actually talked about President Barack Obama more than Trump.

In its statement, ISIS also sought to assert its strength and encourage followers to keep fighting.

"This is about convincing would-be terrorists of the group's strength, durability and thus worthiness of support," Michael S. Smith II, a terrorism analyst who studies ISIS propaganda, told Business Insider. "For those willing to drink that toxic cocktail, this all translates to an incredibly effective framework for inciting violence that entails the use of an authoritative figure — a caliph — and his proxies like al-Muhajir to command violence globally."
Witchy wants to know  how terrorist groups know more about tRUMP than his trolls ....HeHe

How can ISIS have such a clear and accurate assessment of trump and yet millions of US trumpansies do not?  Are trump supporters actually dumber than ISIS?  OMG...