Agreement includes strict measures to prevent pests and plant diseases being brought into China.
Content originally published at iBankCoin.com
If God is truly great, Trump will fire Mueller, seize his documents, and have him arrested for colluding with the media and plotting a coup against the President. If chaos is truly set to rain down upon us, like the ash at Pompeii, we will need Trump to start taking militant action against his enemies.
This is the end game now — just 6 months into his Presidency.
You know it’s war, especially since he stopped the CIA project to arm and support ISIS in Syria. I know you cucks will say “they were moderate rebels.” Bullshit. They were ISIS. Now be quiet about it.
Reports are swirling tonight, after another leak out of Mueller’s stupid investigative committee suggesting they were widening their probe into Trump’s business, the President’s lawyers are now looking to stop him.
With the Russia investigation continuing to widen, Trump’s lawyers are working to corral the probe and question the propriety of the special counsel’s work. They are actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work, according to several of Trump’s legal advisers.
A conflict of interest is one of the possible grounds that can be cited by an attorney general to remove a special counsel from office under Justice Department regulations that set rules for the job.
The president is also irritated by the notion that Mueller’s probe could reach into his and his family’s finances, advisers said.
Trump has been fuming about the probe in recent weeks as he has been informed about the legal questions that he and his family could face. His primary frustration centers on why allegations that his campaign coordinated with Russia should spread into scrutinizing many years of Trump dealmaking. He has told aides he was especially disturbed after learning Mueller would be able to access several years of his tax returns.
When comparing it to the impeachment investigation into President Clinton, one source for McClatchy said it paled in comparison.
“This is Ken Starr times 1,000,” said one lawyer involved in the case, referring to the independent counsel who oversaw an investigation that eventually led to House impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton. “Of course, it’s going to go into his finances.”
The article then veered off the reservation and into lunaticville, discussing scenarios where the President would simply pardon himself. This is pure theoretical nonsense and McClatchy knows it.
Currently, the discussions of pardoning authority by Trump’s legal team is purely theoretical, according to two people familiar with the ongoing conversations. But if Trump pardoned himself in the face of the ongoing Mueller investigation, it would set off a legal and political firestorm, first around the question of whether a president can use the constitutional pardon power in that way.
“This is a fiercely debated but unresolved legal question,” said Brian Kalt, a constitutional law expert at Michigan State University who has written extensively on the question.
The power to pardon is granted to the president in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, which gives the commander in chief the power to “grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” That means pardon authority extends to federal criminal prosecution but not to state level or impeachment inquiries.
No president has sought to pardon himself, so no courts have reviewed it. Although Kalt says the weight of the law argues against a president pardoning himself, he says the question is open and predicts such an action would move through the courts all the way to the Supreme Court.
“There is no predicting what would happen,” said Kalt, author of the book, “Constitutional Cliffhangers: A Legal Guide for Presidents and Their Enemies.” It includes chapters on the ongoing debate over whether presidents can be prosecuted while in office and on whether a president can issue a pardon to himself.
Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the left’s new hero because he was fired by Trump — is talking greasy on Twitter. You could see why he got fired. He’s an idiot.
If Mueller is fired, how much obscene & horseshit character assassination will Trump & allies level against this honored military vet? 3/X https://t.co/1WKSffFGic
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) July 21, 2017
Trump supporters are fairly uniform in their disdain for Mueller. They’d rather see him executed than continue to investigate ‘russian ties.’ The left and the deep staters, are adamant about it — because they know the fix is in. Mueller is staffed with Clinton lawyers, whose sole focus is to destroy Trump and reimplement their neocon schemes of war by any means necessary.
Tucker Carlson discussed this issue with Krauthammer, who warned that this investigation is heading towards a ‘fishing expedition.’
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has almost doubled the amount of cocaine seized this fiscal year compared to the year before.
You will find more statistics at Statista
As our infographic shows, this year the greater share was seized by the biggest CBP branch, the Office of Field Operations. This arm of CBP mans all 328 ports of entry (seaports, airports, border crossings etc.) while Border Patrol officer operate out in the open between those ports.
Karl Marx famously said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. The only difference between the Afghan jihad back in the ‘80s that spawned Islamic jihadists like the Taliban and al Qaeda for the first time in history and the Libyan and Syrian civil wars, 2011-onward, is that the Afghan jihad was an overt jihad: back then, the Western political establishments and their mouthpiece, the mainstream media, used to openly brag that the CIA provides all those AK-47s, RPGs and stingers to the Afghan so-called “freedom fighters” to combat the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
A page of British The Independent newspaper, issued Dec 6, 1993
After the 9/11 tragedy, however, the Western political establishments and corporate media have become a lot more circumspect, therefore this time around, they have waged covert jihads against the Arab-nationalist Gaddafi regime in Libya and Assad regime in Syria, in which Islamic jihadists (aka terrorists) have been sold as “moderate rebels” with secular and nationalist ambitions to the Western audience.
Since the regime change objective in those hapless countries went against the mainstream narrative of ostensibly fighting a war against terrorism, therefore the Western political establishments and the corporate media are now trying to muddle the reality by offering color-coded schemes to identify myriads of militant and terrorist outfits that are operating in Syria: such as the red militants of the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front, which the Western powers want to eliminate; the yellow Islamic jihadists, like Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, with whom the Western powers can collaborate under desperate circumstances; and the green militants of the Free Syria Army (FSA) and a few other inconsequential outfits, which together comprise the so-called “moderate” Syrian opposition.
If we were to draw parallels between the Soviet-Afghan jihad of the ‘80s and the Syrian civil war of today, the Western powers used the training camps located in the Af-Pak border regions to train and arm Afghan “Mujahideen” against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
Similarly, the training camps located in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan are being used to provide training and weapons to Sunni Arab militants to battle the Shi’a-dominated Syrian regime with the collaboration of Turkish, Jordanian and Saudi intelligence agencies.
During the Afghan jihad, it is a known historical fact that the bulk of so-called “freedom fighters” was comprised of Pashtun Islamic jihadists, such as the factions of Jalaluddin Haqqani, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf and scores of others, some of which later coalesced together to form the Taliban Movement.
Similarly, in Syria, the majority of so-called “moderate rebels” is comprised of Sunni Arab jihadists, such as Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham, al-Nusra Front, the Islamic State and myriads of other militant groups, including a small portion of defected Syrian soldiers who go by the name of Free Syria Army (FSA).
Moreover, apart from Pashtun Islamic jihadists, various factions of the Northern Alliance of Tajiks and Uzbeks constituted the relatively “moderate” segment of the Afghan rebellion, though those “moderate” warlords, like Ahmad Shah Massoud and Abul Rashid Dostum, were more ethnic and tribal in character than secular or nationalist, as such.
Similarly, the Kurds of the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces” can be compared with the Northern Alliance of Afghanistan. The socialist PYD/YPG Kurds of Syria, however, were allied with the Baathist regime against the Sunni Arab jihadists for the first three years of the Syrian civil war, i.e. from August 2011 to August 2014.
At the behest of American stooge in Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, the Syrian Kurds have switched sides in the last couple of years after the United States policy reversal and declaration of war against one faction of the Syrian opposition, the Islamic State, when the latter overstepped its mandate in Syria and overran Mosul and Anbar in Iraq in June 2014, from where, the US troops had withdrawn only a couple of years ago in December 2011.
Regarding the Western powers’ modus operandi of waging proxy wars in the Middle East, since the times of the Soviet-Afghan jihad during the eighties, it has been the fail-safe game plan of the master strategists at NATO to raise money from the oil-rich emirates of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait; then buy billions of dollars’ worth of weapons from the arms’ markets of the Eastern Europe; and then provide those weapons and guerilla warfare training to the disaffected population of the victim country by using the intelligence agencies of the latter’s regional adversaries. Whether it’s Afghanistan, Chechnya, Libya or Syria, the same playbook has been executed to the letter.
More to the point, raising funds for proxy wars from the Gulf Arab States allows the Western executives the freedom to evade congressional scrutiny; and the benefit of buying weapons from the unregulated arms’ markets of the Eastern Europe is that such weapons cannot be traced back to the Western capitals; and using jihadist proxies to achieve strategic objectives has the advantage of taking the plea of “plausible deniability” if the strategy backfires, which it often does. Remember that al-Qaeda and Taliban were the by-products of the Soviet-Afghan jihad, and the Islamic State and its global network of terrorists are the blowback of the proxy war in Syria.
On the subject of the supposed “powerlessness” of the US in the global affairs, the Western think tanks and the corporate media’s spin-doctors generally claim that Pakistan deceived the US in Afghanistan by not “doing more” to rein in the Taliban; Turkey hoodwinked the US in Syria by using the war against Islamic State as a pretext for cracking down on Kurds; Saudi Arabia and UAE betrayed the US in Yemen by mounting airstrikes against the Houthis and Saleh’s loyalists; and once again Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt went against the ostensible policy of the US in Libya by destabilizing the Tripoli-based government, even though the renegade general in eastern Libya, Khalifa Haftar, is an American stooge who had lived for two decades in the US right next to the CIA’s headquarter in Langley, Virginia.
If the US policymakers are so naïve then how come they still control the global political and economic order? This perennially whining attitude of the Western corporate media that such and such regional actors had betrayed them otherwise they were on the top of their game is actually a clever stratagem that has been deliberately designed by the spin-doctors of the Western mainstream media and foreign policy think tanks to cast the Western powers in a positive light and to vilify adversaries, even if the latter are their tactical allies in some of the regional conflicts.
Fighting wars through proxies allows the international power brokers the luxury of taking the plea of “plausible deniability” in their defense and at the same time they can shift all the blame for wrongdoing on the minor regional players. The Western powers’ culpability lies in the fact that because of them a system of international justice based on sound principles of morality and justice cannot be constructed in which the violators can be punished for their wrongdoing and the victims of injustice, tyranny and violence can be protected.
Leaving the funding, training and arming aspects of insurgencies aside, but especially pertaining to conferring international legitimacy to an armed insurgency, like the Afghan so-called “freedom struggle” of the Cold War, or the supposedly “moderate and democratic” Libyan and Syrian insurgencies of today, it is simply beyond the power of minor regional players and their nascent media, which has a geographically and linguistically limited audience, to cast such heavily armed and brutal insurrections in a positive light in order to internationally legitimize them; only the Western mainstream media that has a global audience and which serves as the mouthpiece of the Western political establishments has perfected this game of legitimizing the absurd and selling Satans as saviors.
Amazon is having a rough week.
The e-commerce powerhouse has celebrated a string of victories this year. Its stock price broke above $1,000 for the first time; it is presiding over an unprecedented retrenchment within the retail space as more than 8,000 brick-and-mortar stores are expected to close in the US this year, and the company announced plans to acquire yuppie favorite Whole Foods Market, promising to transform the company’s stores into laboratories for automation and AI where advanced sensors will perform tasks previously reserved for human cashiers. It also revealed that its “Prime Day” sale was the "Biggest Global Shopping Event in Amazon History", surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
But the string of good news came to an abrupt halt last week when Reuters reported that the top Democrat on the House antitrust subcommittee, David Civilline, has voiced concerns about Amazon's $13.7 billion plan to buy Whole Foods Market and requested in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee a hearing to examine the deal's potential impact on consumers – the first stirrings of what could metastasize into an anti-trust probe.
Adding to the antitrust concerns, Reuters reported Thursday that the FTC is investigating the company for allegedly misleading customers about its pricing discounts, citing a source close to the probe. The news sent Amazon shares lower in afternoon trade:
Amid the negative news, the company’s investors enjoyed a brief moment of levity when career website Ladders reported on a patent that was awarded to the company earlier in the week. The patent, first filed in 2015, revealed the company’s plans to build a robot that, using the company’s massive data-mining apparatus, would be able to track down desperate mobile-device users in crowed public spaces like an airport or concert venue and present them with the greatest gift of all: an opportunity to charge their phones.
Here’s a quick rundown of how it’ll work, courtesy of Ladders:
“You will make a wireless request (perhaps with your last precious few moments of juice).
The robot will find you in a crowd using sensor data. Through a cloud-based application, the robot can even find you automatically when your power hits below 10%. Nothing, of course is free, so the robot will ask you to watch an ad, complete a survey, or pay some money.
The robot would be designed for public use in airports, hotels, and shopping malls—all locations where losing battery power can be particularly inconvenient. Of course, a device like this would be perfect for business travelers, who have become accustomed to carrying heavy external batteries or even bulky power strips.
Then: the robot provides sweet, precious electricity to your phone or iPad or laptop.”
As Ladders pointed out, the patent description explains why these robots could be useful, especially for professionals who are increasingly dependent on mobile devices.
“It can be quite inconvenient to a user when one of these devices runs out of battery power. This is especially true if the user does not have an available charging adapter for the device,” the patent reads. “Users may find themselves asking friends, or even strangers, to borrow a charging adapter.”
Indeed, as Ladders notes, “there is clearly an unmet market that an army of mobile-charging robots for your personal use can fill.”
Whether Amazon intends to move forward with production of the robot remains to be seen. The company has yet to comment publicly about the patent. But as it continues to test and refine its army of package-delivering drones, it’s unsurprising that Amazon is finding other uses for robotics.
But that’s Amazon: Working tirelessly to build a future where your phone battery never creeps below 10%.
Read the patent below:
Lately it has been popular in some circles to talk about the US being a 'late stage democracy' that has 'never been more ripe for tyranny.'
Sometimes they like to drag in Plato to give their thought pieces a gleam of higher learning and a supposed grounding in history.
But their pieces fall into that trap, that very sort of temporal vanity and self-centered preoccupation to despair that Newman notes so well in saying that "every century is like every other, and to those who live in it seems worse than all times before it."
Would you be surprised to hear that less than one hundred years ago there was an actual plot, bankrolled by some of the most powerful and famous figures of the American one percent, to use military force to depose a sitting American President and instead install a fascist in the White House who would be more compliant with their greed and lust for power?
The model for this takeover would have been similar to Benito Mussolini's infamous 'march on Rome.'
Would you be further surprised to know that some of these unrepentant financial figures then went on to help bankroll Hitler, and continued doing business with his atrocious regime even as their most vile business partners actively fought the US, their own country, in the war?
How well does this fit the efficient markets and rational actor models that so much of economic theory, and certain factions in modern political ideology, seems to rely? If only we can get rid of government, and then people will be free to spread their natural goodness and take wing like angels. Let us free the pathological and sociopaths from external constraints, and their better natures will surely rise to the occasion. And if not, we can surely explain it to them with our economic learning.
It never ceases to amaze how many economic and social models of human behavior are based, not in history, but rather on simplistically convenient constructs and myths that serve the status quo and the power of Big Money.
A better model perhaps is to think that freedom and truth are always under threat by those who value neither more than their own obsessive lust for power and money, beyond all reason. That last is important to remember because the current liberal impulse is to simply blame bad information for some of the most outrageous abuses of power and privilege. If only we could explain the economic benefits of general prosperity rather than relying on such weak tea as 'moral arguments.'
Alas, it seems to be the duty of each generation to defend what has been given to them by their forebears against the continuing threats of the perversion of knowledge and reason that is tyranny. And what is odd about it is that it seems to catch each subsequent generation by surprise.
I am not sure that I understand why FDR and his administration did not take more dramatic action in pursuing such perfidy as the plot to overthrow the republic by the fortunate few. It certainly was not for personal gain and power, as it seems to be the case of our more recent betrayers of justice in not pursuing the indictment and public prosecution of financial crimes.
We may have arrived at that time, that rendezvous with destiny, in which we either stand for truth and justice, or fall one by one in a contemptible struggle against the forces of injustice and duplicity. But we are certainly not the first, and not even the most distantly distinctive in this challenge, as compared to our parents, and grandparents, and great-grandparents.
Freedom is not a prize to be won and held forever. Rather, it is a continuing commitment and state of mind to view certain principles above others. And one of them is certainly not personal greed.
We spend a lot of time talking about the public pension crisis because, well, it’s a massive $5 – $8 trillion dollar overhang on the economy and one which will undoubtedly result in some heartache for investors at some point in the future. Unfortunately, there are some problems that are too large for even U.S. taxpayers to fix and, with an underfunding of $52,000 (mid-point) per household, somehow we suspect this is one of them.
Of course, our nation’s various governmental institutions aren’t the only ones to have unwittingly created massive ponzi schemes from which there is no escape. In fact, as Bloomberg points out today, as of the end of 2016 over 90% of the top 200 corporate pensions in the S&P were unfunded to the tune of $382 billion.
Here’s a look at the funded status of the top 20:
Meanwhile, just the top 20 corporate pension funds are underfunded by over $100 billion.
So what happens when these massive corporate obligations become so underfunded that they can’t possibly ever be fixed? As the 400,000 pensioners in the Central States Pension Plans are all too familiar, the obligations get handed over the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), an entity which is nearly bankrupt itself, at which point payouts are slashed leaving retirees with about half of the monthly income they expected in retirement. Per CBS:
February was a bad month for Larry Burruel and thousands of other retired Ohio iron workers. His monthly take-home pension was cut by more than half from $3,700 to $1,600.
Things have been rough in the Rust Belt, but this was a particularly powerful punch in the pocketbook for Burruel, who started in the trade at 19 and worked 36 years before opting for early retirement to make way for younger workers. Unfortunately, this sagging industry doesn’t have enough younger workers to pay for retirees like Burruel, whose pension plan is in what the U.S. Treasury Department calls “critical and declining status.”
Burruel and the 400,000 members of his Central States Pension Fund are the canaries in the coal mine as far as pension cutbacks go. At least 50 Midwestern pension plans — mostly the kind jointly administered by trustees for a labor union and a group of employers — are in this decrepit condition. Several plan sponsors have already applied to the Treasury Department to cut back retirees’ allotments.
This cross-section of America includes more than a million former truck drivers, office and factory employees, bricklayers and construction workers who are threatened with cutbacks that could last the rest of their lives.
Who could have guessed that the efforts of our government and largest corporations to backstop the investing risk of millions of households across the country would end so poorly?
The government should agree a Brexit transitional deal as soon as possible, Goldman Sachs International boss Richard Gnodde tells the BBC’s Simon Jack.
The firm has been focusing its efforts on its fast growing cloud computing business.