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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Amherst. MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 19,384

Journal Archives

A strong Putin has meant a weak Russia. Trump’s America would be no different.

By Scott Gilmore SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

Donald Trump is a self-professed admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership. He and his more incredulous supporters will likely see this week’s Russian election as further proof that Putin is a “strong” leader. But a strong Putin has meant a weak Russia, and its worth considering what this means for a Trump presidency.

The vote in Russia went badly, as they do. Putin parliamentary allies won easily, as was expected. And, as was expected, evidence of widespread voter fraud emerged immediately. There was footage from surveillance cameras showing election workers literally stuffing ballot boxes. Western journalists observed specific polling stations and reported official vote counts far higher than the actual number of voters who showed up.

According to the Moscow Times, statistical analysis of results show that up to half of the votes for United Russia, Putin’s ruling party, may be fraudulent. And the Russian physicist Sergey Shpilkin compared the distribution of votes cast to a normal bell curve and concluded that the real voter turnout was probably just 37 percent, implying more than a quarter of all votes counted were never actually cast.

Russia has never been considered a bastion of law and order, but in the past decade under Putin, corruption has flourished. But don’t take my word for it, ask the Russians. Transparency International surveys show that 79 percent of Russians believe it is a serious problem. A startling 85 percent of Russians believe that “government is run by a few big entities acting in their own interest.” The percent who believe the court system is corrupt? 84 percent. The police? 89 percent. Politicians and public officials? 92 percent.

In January of this year, senior US Treasury officials went on the record stating that Putin himself was corrupt and that the US government had known that for years. Adam Szubin, the Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, stated: “We’ve seen him enriching his friends, his close allies, and marginalizing those who he doesn’t view as friends using state assets.” (One is reminded of the fact Trump used 9/11 recovery funds for his own benefit.)



Former Trump executive had a penchant for theft


In March 2000, shortly after announcing he would not run for president that year, Donald Trump dispatched one of his top real estate executives to South Korea on an important business errand.

The executive, Abraham Wallach, was used to this sort of thing. It was Wallach and Trump who flew to Hong Kong in 1994 for a crucial dinner with billionaire Vincent Lo to secure financing for a project that Trump, in a published report, called “the biggest deal in the history of New York real estate.” And it was Wallach whom Trump sent to Japan in 1994 to gather intelligence and help Trump battle for control of the Empire State Building.

In Seoul, Wallach said, he was going to meet with Daewoo, the Korean conglomerate that was funding construction of the New York skyscraper known as Trump World Tower. Just days before that flight, though, Wallach went off on an errand of his own, walking out of a Nordstrom store in White Plains, N.Y., with two crystal vases purchased with a credit card bearing the name “Anthony Greto.”

And two months after the scheduled trip to Seoul, Wallach returned to the same Nordstrom with a different stolen credit card. He picked out a $600 Salvatore Ferragamo handbag and — this time with a store security officer watching — signed the name “Meg Osman.”



A Week of Trump’s Lies

September 24, 2016By Taegan Goddard

Washington Post: “An examination by the Washington Post of one week of Trump’s speeches, tweets and interviews show a candidate who not only continues to rely heavily on thinly sourced or entirely unsubstantiated claims but also uses them to paint a strikingly bleak portrait of an impoverished America, overrun by illegal immigrants, criminals and terrorists — all designed to set up his theme that he is specially suited to ‘make America great again.'”

New York Times: “The New York Times closely tracked Mr. Trump’s public statements from Sept. 15-21, and assembled a list of his 31 biggest whoppers, many of them uttered repeatedly. This total excludes dozens more: Untruths that appeared to be mere hyperbole or humor, or delivered purely for effect, or what could generously be called rounding errors.”



Trump camp backs away from adviser suspected of Kremlin ties

Donald Trump’s campaign is denying any connection to a man that it previously named as a foreign policy adviser, who is reportedly being investigated for alleged ties to the Kremlin.

Trump in March included Carter Page — an investment banker who had worked in the Moscow branch of Merrill Lynch for several years — on a list of foreign policy advisers.

But Friday, after Yahoo News reported that Page was being investigated for allegedly meeting with Kremlin officials over the summer, a Trump campaign spokesman denied that Page had ever been part of the campaign.

“Mr. Page is not an advisor and has made no contribution to the campaign,” the campaign’s communications director Jason Miller said in an email to The Hill. “I've never spoken to him, and wouldn't recognize him if he were sitting next to me.”



Ted Cruz Calls His Decision To Back Trump 'Agonizing'

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Ted Cruz appears uncomfortable defending the man he says he'll vote for in November, Donald Trump.

Addressing a policy forum organized by The Texas Tribune, the Texas senator said Saturday it was "agonizing" making the decision to back Trump, whom he once called a "pathological liar" and "serial philanderer." He denied he caved in to pressure from top Republicans nationally and in his home state, saying he would have faced an outcry no matter what. "Any path we took, if I supported Donald, if I didn't support Donald, the criticism was going to be there," Cruz told a packed auditorium.

Cruz offered little defense of Trump's past comments on Muslim-Americans. He also said his two young daughters, while campaigning with him in the primaries, had felt the sting of Trump's comments about women. Asked whether he thought Russian President Vladimir Putin was a better leader than President Barack Obama, as Trump suggested, Cruz said, "I have no intention of defending everything Donald Trump says or does."

Cruz rocked the Republican National Convention in Cleveland by avoiding an endorsement of the nominee and instead urging delegates to "vote your conscience." He held out for several months afterward, even as some polls suggested his popularity was slipping nationally and in Texas, where he could face a Republican primary challenge for re-election to the Senate in 2018.



Growing numbers of 'unreligious' may threaten GOP, but for now don't vote

Paul Singer, USA TODAY 2:26 p.m. EDT September 24, 2016

Young people are increasingly abandoning their families' religious affiliations, creating a potentially powerful and mostly liberal voting block that could bolster Democrats in future elections, according to a new study. But so far, this group has shown weak turnout on election days.

The study released last week by PRRI, a polling group that specializes in studies of faith and values, adds to a research trend showing a dramatic increase in the number of Americans who declare themselves unaffiliated with any religion. In 1991, only 6% of survey respondents declared themselves "unaffiliated." In the new study, that number has risen to 25%, making the unaffiliated "the single largest 'religious group' in America," the study found. The impact is most dramatic among young people. In 1996, 20% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 declared no religious affiliation. In 2016, that number has risen to 39%.

"This is a new generational dynamic," PRRI CEO Robert Jones, and not just a function of young people rejecting their parents' faith and then trending back to religion when they get older. "We have pretty good data that suggests that's highly unlikely," Jones said. The survey data indicates that people who were raised unaffiliated are half as likely to join a faith community in adulthood as their parents' generation was. That means that people now under 30 will be for decades to come "the most religiously unaffiliated generation we have seen since we have been tracking modern statistics."

Jones said most people are leaving their religious community in their youth, even before college, and mostly because "they have just stopped believing the things that churches, in particular, are selling." In particular, "conflicts around science, the environment, gay and lesbian issues — I think these are things that, particularly for conservative churches, have had a real culture clash with the younger generation." The study found 30% of people who left their church cited negative teachings about gays and lesbians as a key reason, Jones said.



Charlotte police will release video of fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott

Source: The Washington Post

By Renae Merle, Wesley Lowery and Peter Holley September 24 at 4:50 PM

CHARLOTTE — Police will release video footage showing officers fatally shooting Keith Lamont Scott, the black man whose violent death has sparked heated protests throughout the city, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said in a news conference Saturday.

The release of dashboard and body camera footage follows days of pressure from community activists and protesters hoping to shed light on what occurred in the moments leading up to the shooting, which has been the subject of disagreement between Smith’s family members and police since his death on Tuesday.

Police had previously refused to make the footage public, saying it would compromise their investigation.

Reports of the planned release come one day after video shot by Scott’s wife, Rakeyia Scott, showing her pleading with officers not to shoot her 43-year-old husband, was made public.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/09/24/five-days-of-protests-its-as-if-charlotte-isnt-charlotte/?utm_term=.83d1a93d6a4e&wpisrc=al_alert-national

The Many Times Donald Trump Has Lied About His Mob Connections

He apparently lied under oath to deny he associated with organized crime figures.

DAVID CORN SEP. 23, 2016 6:00 AM

Last week, media coverage of Donald Trump may have hit an inflection point, when major news outlets, while covering Trump's latest birther shenanigans, characterized the GOP presidential nominee's remarks as a lie. Though Trump has scored more pants-on-fire false statements than any other candidate in this campaign, mainstream news outlets have struggled over whether and how to use the L-word when reporting on him. With this birther-driven breakthrough in coverage, there now remain plenty of brazenly untrue assertions—deliberate lies or not—uttered by Trump that warrant close examination. One topic ripe for such scrutiny is Trump's associations with organized crime. For years during his business career, Trump worked or associated with proven or alleged mobsters. (Trump's longtime lawyer, the thuggish and deceased Roy Cohn, repped numerous Mafia bosses, some of whom were connected to Trump projects.) Yet when asked about his links to the mob, Trump has repeatedly made false comments and has contradicted himself—to such a degree it seems he has flat-out lied about these relationships, even when he was under oath.

If elected president, Trump would be in charge of federal law enforcement. So his attitude toward the mob could well be deemed a highly significant campaign issue—as could his long record of not telling the truth about his ties to organized crime. Here are some of the strongest examples of when Trump has spoken falsely on this matter.

The time Trump falsely denied in a deposition that he associated with any mob associates: In 2005, journalist Timothy O'Brien published a book on Trump, TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald, in which he referenced an already established fact: that in the early 1980s Trump began his casino empire in Atlantic City, New Jersey, by leasing property owned by Kenneth Shapiro and Daniel Sullivan. Shapiro, O'Brien wrote, was a "street-level gangster with close ties to the Philadelphia mob," and Sullivan was a "Mafia associate, FBI informant and labor negotiator." (Trump also had obtained Sullivan's assistance when he had trouble with undocumented Polish workers who were demolishing the Bonwit Teller building in Manhattan to make way for Trump Tower.)

After the book came out, Trump sued O'Brien for libel and requested $5 billion in damages—not for O'Brien's reporting on Trump's connection to these mob-linked guys, but for the reporter's assertion that the self-proclaimed billionaire was actually only worth between $150 million and $250 million. In 2007—two years before a New Jersey judge tossed out the case—Trump was questioned during a deposition. Over the course of the two-day-long interrogation, Trump was forced repeatedly to acknowledge having made false statements. And at one point, a lawyer for O'Brien and his publisher asked Trump a straightforward question: "Have you ever before associated with individuals you knew were associated with organized crime?"

Trump, who was testifying under oath, answered, "Not that I know of." That was a clear and unequivocal response. But it was not true. Two years earlier, O'Brien had interviewed Trump and specifically asked him about Sullivan and Shapiro. O'Brien, now an editor and writer at Bloomberg, has provided Mother Jones with a transcript of the interview, and it conclusively shows that Trump believed that these two men were associated with organized crime:



My Eighteenth Presidential Election, and the Most Important

I am late weighing in on this election—late in more ways than one. Monday brought my ninety-sixth birthday, and, come November, I will be casting my nineteenth ballot in a Presidential election. My first came in 1944, when I voted for a fourth term for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, my Commander-in-Chief, with a mail-in ballot from the Central Pacific, where I was a sergeant in the Army Air Force. It was a thrilling moment for me, but not as significant as my vote on November 8th this year, the most important one of my lifetime. My country faces a danger unmatched in our history since the Cuban missile crisis, in 1962, or perhaps since 1943, when the Axis powers held most of Continental Europe, and Imperial Japan controlled the Pacific rim, from the Aleutians to the Solomon Islands, with the outcome of that war still unknown.

The first debate impends, and the odds that Donald Trump may be elected President appear to be narrowing. I will cast my own vote for Hillary Clinton with alacrity and confidence. From the beginning, her life has been devoted to public service and to improving the lives of children and the disadvantaged. She is intelligent, strong, profoundly informed, and extraordinarily experienced in the challenges and risks of our lurching, restlessly altering world and wholly committed to the global commonality. Her well-established connections to minorities may bring some better understanding of our urban and suburban police crisis. I have wished at times that she would be less impatient or distant when questions arrive about her past actions and mistakes, but I see no evidence to support the deep-rooted suspicions that often surround her. I don’t much like the high-level moneyed introductions and contacts surrounding the Clinton Foundation, but cannot find the slightest evidence that any of this has led to something much worse—that she or anyone has illegally profited or that any legislation tilted because of it. Nothing connects or makes sense; it beats me. Ms. Clinton will make a strong and resolute President—at last, a female leader of our own—and, in the end, perhaps a unifying one.

The Trump campaign has been like no other—a tumultuous and near-irresistible reality TV, in which Mr. Trump plays the pouty, despicable, but riveting central character. “I can’t stand him,” people are saying, “but you know, wow, he never stops.”

We know Mr. Trump’s early transgressions by heart: the female reporter who had “blood coming out of her whatever”; the mocking of a physically impaired reporter; the maligning of a judge because of his Mexican parents; the insulting dismissal of the grieving, Gold Star-parent Khans; the promised mass deportation of eleven million—or two million—undocumented immigrants, and more. Each of these remains a disqualifier for a candidate who will represent every one of us, should he win, but we now are almost willing to turn them into colorful little impairments. “Oh, that’s ol’ Donald—that’s the way he is.” But I stick at a different moment—the lighthearted comment he made when, in early August, an admiring veteran presented him with a replica of his Purple Heart and Mr. Trump said, “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” What? Mr. Trump is saying he wishes that he had joined the armed forces somehow (he had a chance but skimmed out, like so many others of his time) and then had died or been scarred or maimed in combat? This is the dream of a nine-year-old boy, and it impugns the five hundred thousand young Americans who have died in combat in my lifetime, and the many hundreds of thousands more whose lives were altered or shattered by their wounds of war.

I take this personally, representing as I do the last sliver of the sixteen million Americans who served in the military in my war. I had an easy time of it, and was never in combat, but, even so, as I have written, I experienced the loss of more than twenty close friends, classmates, and companions of my youth, who remain young and fresh in memory. I have named them in previous pieces, along with some wounded survivors, like my friend Gardner, an infantry captain who landed at Normandy Beach and fought at Hürtgen Forest and Aachen and the Battle of the Bulge, was twice wounded, had five Campaign stars, and received numerous decorations, including the French Croix de Guerre, but who for the rest of his life would fall into wary silence whenever a thunderstorm announced itself. Also my late brother-in-law Neil, who lay wounded on the field for two days during the battle of Belfort Gap, and who hobbled with a cane all his life, and with two canes near the end. Every American of my generation can supply stories like these, and once learned and tried to forget that, worldwide, seventy million people died in our war.



FBI: 'No Indication' That Washington State Mall Shooting Was 'Terrorist Act'

Source: Talking Points Memo

The FBI said Saturday morning that there is "no evidence" that a mass shooting that killed five at a mall north of Seattle on Friday has any connection to terrorism.

"We have no indication this was a terrorism act," an assistant special agent in the FBI's Seattle office said at a Saturday press conference, as reported by ABC News. "There is no evidence to support that."

Authorities are still looking for the gunman who killed five in a mass shooting at a mall north of Seattle. Police described the shooter as a Hispanic man wearing black and armed with a rifle, according to the Associated Press.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/fbi-washington-state-mall-shooting-not-terrorism
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