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 on: June 23, 2017, 03:28:09 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG

I can't tell if this is a soap opera or a tragedy they are covering.  It sounds like a parody of an American administration. 

They still don't have one voting machine hacked or one vote changed.  The most they have is the wikileaks dump that wikileaks says was not from the Russians and that contains documents that were under subpoena that we should have seen anyway.  The leakers we know of so far were hired by Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the DNC.  And also the FBI, the CIA, the NYT and the Washington Post.  The CIA has the ability to put Russian or any other fingerprints on cyber breaches.  The CIA under Brennan a partisan hack was too responsible and professional to do that?  ANd again, so what if it came from Russia.  (Prosecute them.)  It was information the voters deserved to know anyway.

The story that Putin feared and hated Clinton more than Trump is not credible to me.  One personal story about how she pissed him off versus all the past and future appeasement. Trump is the unknown, a greater rick to both ally and enemy IMO.  Putin is not capable of putting out disinformation like that he preferred HRC?  DNC was hacked.  Whose fault?  Sec State was hacked?  WHOSE FAULT?  RNC security held up to attacks, to whose credit?  Head of the RNC is now White House Chief of Staff.  All of this is to his credit, while they try to put a cloud on it.

Flynn could have been blackmailed (NYT story).  What about Hillary?  They had 22,000 emails about her that were not wedding planning or funeral.  They had her campaign chairman's account, with all the political cheating.  They would not want to blackmail Hillary as President?  Just give it up when she was winning anyway?  For what end?  I don't buy it.  Having these released during the campaign would have been liberating to her Presidency.  As the Clintons always say after months, yearts of stonewalling, "that old story?"

I hate to put the analysis of a radio show above that of professional journalists, but Rush L. correctly points out that the blame-Russia narrative was hatched by the Hillary campaign 24 hours after the election.  Notice that before the election we had all this running around and calling meetings to no end.

Nothing ties Trump to any of this - after a year of investigating.  Just a great big story about how scary and stressful it was to be in an administration trying to decide what kind of nothing response they should have about nothing.  MHO.   )

 on: June 23, 2017, 12:50:27 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: June 23, 2017, 12:49:38 PM 
Started by DougMacG - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: June 23, 2017, 10:46:03 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
 Saudi Arabia's 'Mr. Everything' Is Now Crown Prince, Too

After months of speculation and palace intrigue, Saudi King Salman shook up the kingdom's line of succession on June 21 by naming his powerful son, Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince and removing all titles from Mohammed bin Nayef, the former crown prince. This is the second time Salman has overhauled the line of succession and the Saudi government since taking the throne in January 2015. The move is a controversial one, considering it cuts large and powerful segments of the royal family out of the succession plan. And should the young bin Salman ascend the throne, it could mean Saudi Arabia will be ruled for six decades by father and son.

Today's announcement has several important implications. But none is as important as the amount of trust being placed in bin Salman, who has already amassed enough power to be dubbed "Mr. Everything" by some Western governments. As bin Salman has concentrated his power, bin Nayef has been increasingly sidelined. Today's reshuffle will only remove him from power even further, ousting him from his position at the head of the Interior Ministry and from all other leadership roles.
The Next King

If bin Salman becomes king, he will be the youngest Saudi ruler in modern history, able to potentially preside over decades of policy and reform in the kingdom. The crown prince is known for spearheading the country's economic reform, an agenda he will likely continue to push, and he may well turn his attention to effecting social change as well.

Perhaps more important, bin Salman has a vested interest in trying to solve Saudi Arabia's long-term economic and social challenges, including its overreliance on the oil sector and growing calls for more social liberties. Unlike Saudi leaders who have come before him attempting reform, he doesn't have the luxury of kicking the can down the road; any procrastination would create problems that are his to fix later on.
The Price of Reform

Still, change will come at a price. Any effort to push the boundaries of social reform in the kingdom risks ruffling the feathers of the conservative clerical establishment, which many in the royal family view as the foundation of the House of Saud's legitimacy and support. Many Saudis are firm believers in the conservative social fabric of the country and could resent swift adjustments to social strictures. As a result, any reform must be undertaken carefully while gauging pushback from the public.

In fact, bin Salman already has had to retract some of his suggestions for remedying Saudi Arabia's economic ills: In April, the king reinstated public sector bonuses, seven months after they were eliminated to improve the budget deficit. Popular resistance also prompted Salman to replace the water and electricity minister in April of last year when Saudis protested higher utility prices on Twitter.

Just because bin Salman is now closer to the throne doesn't mean he will have an easier time pushing through his reforms. If the reshuffle has upset other members of the House of Saud particularly third-generation descendants of King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud who have been completely shut out of the line of succession they will find ways to hamper the crown prince.

Nevertheless, bin Salman has made a name for himself at home and abroad. Not only has he been instrumental in leading the economic reform called for under the Vision 2030 platform, but he also has made his mark on Saudi Arabia's foreign policy and regional defense strategy in his position as the country's defense minister. He has been particularly instrumental to the kingdom's intervention in Yemen and to its increasingly aggressive stance toward Iran. (Last month he promised to move the fight against Tehran inside Iranian borders.)

Bin Salman has also worked hard to build a close relationship with the United States. But bin Nayef's unseating removes a known partner to U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Bin Salman has skillfully portrayed himself as someone who is fully aligned with the United States in fighting terrorism, but he lacks the decade of experience that bin Nayef accumulated in his campaign against al Qaeda. Moreover, Saudi Arabia's intervention in Yemen, which was one of the first moves bin Salman made as defense minister, has proved costly and has become less and less popular. Bin Salman still faces the risk of blowback on that front.

With a long-term vision for reform, bin Salman has quickly risen within the halls of power. In doing so, he joins the ranks of other Gulf Cooperation Council leaders such as his new counterpart, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. But Saudi Arabia's economic and social issues are far more difficult than those facing the United Arab Emirates, where Al Nahyan's role is secure and well established. So although bin Salman is currently next in line for the throne, whether or not he actually becomes king will depend on how well he navigates the challenges of being crown prince and how well he addresses the kingdom's problems with concrete action.



It can be difficult to separate the important from unimportant on any given day. Reflections mean to do exactly that by thinking about what happened today, we can consider what might happen tomorrow.

In the absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the king is the ultimate decider. On June 21, King Salman implemented a significant decision by shaking up the line of succession to the kingdom's throne with the announcement that his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef, would be removed from his role of crown prince in favor of his own son, Mohammed bin Salman. The elevation of his scion capped a two-year period during which Salman handed him successively greater power and more leadership responsibilities. While the shift marks a major change for the succession path, it follows a road the king has long traveled.

Several previous personnel and ministry makeovers since Salman took the throne in January 2015 have emphasized that economic reform is the kingdom's top priority. Amid the first major rounds of government streamlining, the king named bin Salman the head of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, adding to his other official titles such as minister of defense. In April 2016, the massive Vision 2030 economic reform plan was announced, and Mohammed bin Salman has been a public face for reform ever since.

Before he announced the reshuffle at the top, King Salman had already begun gutting the formal and official powers that Mohammed bin Nayef held. Over the previous weekend, the name of the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution was changed to simply the Bureau of Public Prosecution, and it was removed from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior, which had been led by bin Nayef before Salman stripped him of all titles. The bureau was instead put under the control of a prosecutor who reports directly to the king. That move was likely driven by two motives. It could be seen as a streamlining driven by economic reform goals, especially since the bureau investigates mainly domestic economic fraud cases (in addition to doing some terrorism investigations). The new crown prince, hoping to guide Saudi Arabia smoothly through economic transformations and being aware of the growing demand among Saudis for transparency, has prioritized anti-corruption policies. But the changes to the Bureau of Public Prosecution clearly played into palace politics as well; any shifting of power, even slight, away from bin Nayef benefitted bin Salman. Other overhauls of Saudi agencies within the past year, including changes implemented in November 2016 and April 2017, reinforced bin Salman's authority within the government, especially on economic and defense matters.

Perhaps the most critical component of the economic reform program that bin Salman is spearheading is the move to put 5 percent of the state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Saudi Aramco, up for an initial public offering. The sale, expected to bring in between $25 billion and $100 billion, will be the financial engine that helps power the country's economic reform. The money it generates will go into the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which will be used to pay for the country's strategic investments domestically and abroad, underpinning its economic reform, diversification and transformation initiatives.

Bin Salman's economic plans are ambitious already, the Public Investment Fund has invested in Uber and put $45 billion into the SoftBank-led tech investment fund worth roughly $100 billion that was launched last month. And the key to success is maximizing Saudi Aramco's valuation so the kingdom can reap as much reward as possible from the IPO. State-owned oil companies often fare worse than their private brethren in financial markets because they present political risks, especially given the large contributions they make to the broader national economy. With this in mind, and under bin Salman's leadership, Riyadh has sought to maximize Saudi Aramco's value while reducing its tax burden.

To that end, Riyadh cut the oil company's tax obligation in March from roughly 85 percent to 50 percent. That move increases the company's revenue earnings by 333 percent, which, in theory, should triple the valuation of Saudi Aramco and its stock offering. Outside estimates suggest that this could have pushed the company's valuation to between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion, giving the IPO a value of between $50 billion and $75 billion. However, bin Salman thinks that the worth of the country's crown jewel should top $2 trillion. So Riyadh is planning even more ways to increase it, including tax breaks for the company's heavily subsidized domestic fuel sales.

Though bin Salman has been actively lobbying for the IPO, he has faced internal challenges from allies and members of the royal family who are sensitive to any decisions, such as making a portion of Saudi Aramco public, that could cut their influence or could trim their share of the proceeds. In their eyes, the state-owned company's wealth belongs to the royal family. And beyond tension within the royal family, the crown prince has been butting heads with the Saudi Aramco leadership. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Aramco's executives had briefed the Saudi Cabinet on the potential location of the IPO: The company's leadership wants to go public on the London Stock Exchange, because they see it as the least risky decision. Bin Salman, however, prefers to list the IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

A New York-based IPO listing is indeed a much riskier move and could open up Saudi Aramco's shares to class-action lawsuits and potentially even damages under Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act court cases. Moreover, Saudi Aramco would need to comply with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's rules for oil companies, which require countries to report booked reserves. For the good of the IPO, Saudi Arabia has already allowed third-party reviews of its reserves (which is not an SEC requirement), but the country has long regarded the size, status and cost of its oil reserves as a state secret. The SEC also typically requires oil companies to move reserves into production within five years or remove them. For Riyadh, which intends to take a long-term view on oil production, that would not sit well.

But there are grander plans in the works when it comes to bin Salman's preference for a U.S.-based IPO. In addition to being in charge of economic reforms, bin Salman also holds Saudi Arabia's defense portfolios, and in both areas, his worldview is clearly aligned with Washington's. On the security front, Saudi Arabia has been leaning heavily on U.S. backing for counterterrorism and other initiatives to curtail Iran's influence in the region. This dynamic is playing out in the current Qatar-Gulf Cooperation Council crisis. Meanwhile, on bin Salman's 2016 trip to the United States, he made a raft of deals with U.S. tech companies (including Uber) while visiting Silicon Valley, signaling that he's interested in aligning with the United States economically as well.

To bin Salman, the Saudi Aramco IPO is not only a way to finance Vision 2030, but it is also a way to get closer to the United States, which is why he's pushing for a New York listing. That's a much weightier role for Saudi Aramco than its corporate leadership has seen for it thus far, and it comes with risks the company may not be eager to take. But ever since taking charge of Saudi Arabia's economic agenda, bin Salman has been on an almost uninterrupted ascent. And with his most recent promotion within the Saudi government, there is little to suggest that he will have trouble getting his way with Aramco.

 on: June 23, 2017, 10:28:23 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M

If there is a aloha snackbar nexus, this story will disappear.

 on: June 23, 2017, 09:32:46 AM 
Started by G M - Last post by ccp
I cannot copy or link.  Site will note let me .

Basically it is story of Iraqi doctor who was trying to save life of a Muslim women who was in accident .  Her lung collapsed and she needed a chest tube to re expand it.  When he tried to do this her brother refused to let him because it would involve removing clothing and exposing her breasts.

The doctor said she would die without procedure but brother threatened him not to do and find another way to save.  There were no female doctors working that shift though it is not clear if brother would have allowed them to do procedure.

Legally the doctor could not forcefully do the procedure due to rights to refuse treatment as the brother was adhering to his beliefs to follow Sharia law.

Woman died as expected and bother threatened to kill doctor to save his honor.  He had to be forcefully removed by security at the hospital and again when he waited outside the hospital to attack the doctor.

The doctor who wrote the article has Muslim name.

 on: June 23, 2017, 01:36:22 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: June 23, 2017, 01:00:46 AM 
Started by G M - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Apparently subscription is necessary.  Is this something you can share here?

 on: June 23, 2017, 12:58:42 AM 
Started by DougMacG - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Or the enabling of foreign donations via credit card online in 2008 , , ,

Mark Levin riffed this afternoon on Debbie Wasserman Schultz in effect calling Jeh Johnson a liar.  Though she herself is one, as we noted here, apparently the FBI only "notified" the DNC of the Russki hack with a phone message on a line that would only go to some lower level flunky and other than that left them hacked for quite some time (one year?)

 on: June 22, 2017, 07:33:25 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG
Taking money from the Turks unannounced while advising President Elect Trump on the Turks is a serious breach of integrity IMHO.

Agree with you on that (after reading up).  But Flynn is gone.  This attack is on Trump.  

PolitiFact has a Flynn timeline:

It is very hard to find real coverage on the Flynn story.  A lot was based on a Politico story, but like the rest of this shameful period in 'professional journalism', much is based on unnamed sources, biased sources and innuendo.  Much of the other unnamed source material has proven to be wrong, see Tom Cotton's quote of Comey's testimony on the NYT.

Flynn changed his story after finding out the Obama administration was 'wiretapping' and eavesdropping on the Trump transition team.  There was a slight delay as facts came to light and then he (was forced to) resign.

Discussing sanctions is what a transition team or administration does with Russian ambassadors when sanctions are the policy and the issue between the countries.  Why he denied it, I do not know.  Media appearances I might guess, making Trump look soft on Russia, after Obama was soft on Putin for 8 years - and gave away part of Europe to him.  

The Politico story the rest of the media focused on goes past Flynn to say his Turkish contacts had prior ties to Russia.  So does everyone in that realm.

Obama warned Trump about Flynn.  And Obama warned America about Trump.  Obama made the Iran deal, Paris accord, Iraq surrender, lied about Benghazi etc.  Obama is not a trusted source on (anything) foreign policy.  Yates and Brennan are partisan hacks.  Sorry to say that about folks formerly in high places but it's a pretty obvious fact.  Even the intel sources saying they know what was discussed aren't to be trusted given the politization and weaponization of our intel agencies.  If a truth came through them, HOW WOULD WE KNOW?  

It is when Flynn changed his story that things changed with Pres. Trump.  He erred in trusting a person he trusted.  Upon discovery, Trump took swift and decisive action, in my judgement.

Tom Cotton is saying the delay of including Flynn where he perhaps shouldn't have was two days.  Flynn got briefed on national security matters in that time.  BFD.  HRC who took more money than that and kept her security clearance for an extra 4 years?? Two standards, always.  If Flynn sells that info now while under investigation he will go to prison.

Miami Herald story on this and others keep asking the Treason question.  They conclude, probably not.  

I don't know what to think about Turkey, today, under the elected Islamic dictator(?) but they are a NATO ally.  Treason law has to do with siding with our enemies.

The situation in Syria is complicated.  I wish I could find an article (I think it was VDH) where the irony of who is our ally on one front and allied with our enemy on another front goes on and on in the Middle East.  But the idea that we might want to take into account what Erdogan in Turkey thinks before we side with his enemy isn't far out of line.  I would take the Turkish Kurds over the government of Turkey anyday, but I don't have to deal with the aftermath as they do.  In the end, Trump took the Kurds over the NATO ally too.  Not exactly evidence he is in bed with Putin, Turkey or anyone else for the wrong reasons, as they keep trying to infer.

The media (IMHO) is AGAIN off chasing shiny objects and trying to delegitimize an administration that meets all the highest standards of its predecessor.  

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