CNN Fires Kathy Griffin but Congressional Dems Lieu and Franken Stick with Sick Comedian | May 31, 2017

Ted Lieu Won’t Condemn Kathy Griffin for ‘Beheading’ Donald Trump Photo

|| Breitbart

“Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) is one of the biggest political fans of comedian Kathy Griffin, who stirred controversy and outrage on Tuesday after posing for a photograph with a (fake) severed, bloody head of President Donald Trump.

Yet Lieu has refused to condemn Griffin’s conduct thus far.

Griffin has appeared with Lieu at a number of his recent town hall events in California’s 33rd congressional district, which includes large portions of West Los Angeles County, including the wealthy coastal communities of Malibu and Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and the “Beach Cities.”

At a town hall in Santa Monica in April, Lieu allowed Griffin to address his constituents on the topic of President Trump.

“You know he pissed on those prostitutes!” she declared.”

….Continue reading @ Breitbart

 

Franken: I’ll Still Appear With Griffin

|| Breitbart

“On Wednesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “New Day,” Senator Al Franken (D-MN) stated that he would still appear with comedian Kathy Griffin, and denounced the picture depicting her holding up President Trump’s severed head as something that “had no business” being in the public discourse and a “horrible mistake.”

Franken said that Griffin deserved to be denounced for the picture, and that he thought she went too far. He added, “Kathy is a friend, and she’s a terrific comedian, but what — this had no business being in our public discourse. And I talked to her. She apologized, a real fulsome apology. She’s actually begged for forgiveness, and I believe in forgiveness.”

Franken further stated, “I think she did the right thing. I think asking for forgiveness and acknowledging that this — this was a horrible mistake.”

Interviewer Alisyn Camerota then asked Franken, “And you’re still going to appear with her?” He responded, “Yes.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart

One of the Most Corrupt in Congress | Rep. Maxine Waters | May 31, 2017

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA) NAMED ONE OF THE MOST CORRUPT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

|| citizensforethics.org

“In the midst of a national financial catastrophe, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) used her position as a senior member of Congress and member of the House Financial Services Committee to prevail upon Treasury officials to meet with OneUnited Bank.  She never disclosed that her husband held stock in the bank.  This outrageous conduct has led Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) to include the congresswoman as one of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress.  Click here to read the full report on Rep. Waters.

“By contacting then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to request a meeting, allegedly for a group of minority-owned banks, but then arranging for only one bank – OneUnited, in which she had a financial interest – to attend, Rep. Waters violated House conflict of interest rules,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.

Around the same time Rep. Waters asked the Treasury Department to hold the initial meeting, Rep. Waters spoke to Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) about OneUnited, telling him that her husband previously had served on the board.  Rep. Frank advised her to stay out of matters related to the bank. Nevertheless, Rep. Waters’ chief of staff and grandson, Mikael Moore, continued to actively assist OneUnited representatives in their quest to receive bailout funds, and worked to craft legislation authorizing Treasury to grant OneUnited’s request.

Rep. Waters was scheduled for an ethics trial on November 29, 2010, but the House Ethics Committee postponed the hearing.  Inconsistent reports have emerged suggesting both potential new evidence and serious misconduct by two of the committee’s attorneys and improper conduct by committee members. In July 2011, the committee hired respected D.C attorney Billy Martin as outside counsel to investigate both the case against Rep. Waters and the committee itself.”

….Continue reading @ CitizensForEthics.org

 

House panel set to clear Rep. Maxine Waters of ethics charges

|| The Hill | 2012

“The House Ethics Committee has completed a report clearing Rep. Maxine Waters of all ethics charges after nearly three years of investigating the California Democrat.

At a rare public hearing for Waters on Friday, members of the secretive Ethics panel said they were prepared to issue a report finding the lawmaker innocent of allegations that she tried to secure federal money during the financial crisis for a bank in which her husband owned stock.

Waters cannot be formally cleared until the panel votes on its report. The committee has until the House adjourns on Friday evening to send its report to the clerk or it must wait until next Tuesday, when the chamber reconvenes in a pro forma session.

The panel is also considering the fate of Waters’s chief of staff and grandson, Mikael Moore. The committee is threatening to sanction the staff member with a letter of reproval for using his position to assist One United Bank, where Waters’s husband owned $350,000 in stock. The letter would reprove Moore for allegedly using his office for personal gain, dispensing favors and bringing discredit against the House.

After nearly three hours of questioning Moore, the committee moved into a private executive session to discuss his testimony and possibly vote on whether to issue him a letter of reproval.

Waters, who sat immediately behind Moore for the entire hearing, told reporters as she left the hearing room that she was waiting to comment on the morning’s events until after the committee had voted.

The committee’s report determined that Waters had taken significant steps to remove herself from negotiations involving One United Bank’s bailout, including alerting Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the then-chairman of the House Financial Services Committee about the possible conflict of interest.

Frank advised Waters to refrain from involving herself in talks between One United Bank and the Treasury Department, and on Friday the veteran Massachusetts Democrat lauded the Ethics panel’s findings.”

….Continue reading more @ The Hill

 

Sharyl Attkisson’s ‘Price of Power’ Details Corruption in Congress for Top Committee Seats | May 30, 2017

‘Full Measure’ with Sharyl Attkisson

|| Youtube

“…..doesn’t that pervert the system by which the members of these committees become beholden to the very people they are supposed to regulate or oversee?”

 

Sharyl Attkisson Reports on Congressional Fundraising: Both Sides Buy Top Spots on Powerful Committees

|| Breitbart

“On Sunday’s broadcast of “Full Measure,” host Sharyl Attkisson reported on how congressional fundraising is tied to committee assignments and who ultimately gets to chair those committees.

On Sunday’s broadcast of “Full Measure,” host Sharyl Attkisson reported on how congressional fundraising is tied to committee assignments and who ultimately gets to chair those committees.

Transcript as follows:

ATTKISSON: Today an exclusive first look at a new report that says you can put a price on success when it comes to Congress. The report by Issue One exposes the secretive money system in which members of Congress buy top spots on the most powerful committees. To raise the money, they often collect from the very interests their committees are supposed to oversee. Our cover story is “The Price of Power.”

PENNIMAN: It’s not only a powerful position, it’s a perverse system. In fact, it’s the inverse of what we all as citizens should want.

ATTKISSON: Nick Penniman leads the group – Issue One. Its new report The Price of Power exposes how members of Congress serve as cash cows for their party’s political machinery. The best fundraisers are rewarded with powerful positions that decide the laws affecting all of us. Insiders report both parties have similar systems of “dues” that members have to pay every two years by raising money directly for the party. That’s called “dialing for dollars;” and by giving some of their campaign funds to the party and to colleagues facing tough races. How much they raise determines who gets ahead.

PENNIMAN: What we should want is that people rise in stature because of merit, not because of money. And right now, it’s money over merit.

ATTKISSON: As an example, ordinary Republicans have six-figure party “dues.” But it takes more to make the ranks of leadership.

ATTKISSON: How much does a committee chairmanship cost?

PENNIMAN: So, if you want to be the chairman of a major committee in Congress, and you’re Republican, you’ve got to deliver $1.2 million to the Republican National Congressional Committee. Democrats, it’s about the same thing.

ATTKISSON:: It’s almost like paying for the privilege of obtaining a certain position.

PENNIMAN: It is borderline extortion.

ATTKISSON:: It’s a far cry from bygone days. In the 1960s a mere $100 donation could get you not only dinner with congressional candidate Shirley Temple, but also host Bing Crosby. Today, besides the $1.2 million required of “A” committee chairmen, Republicans who chair secondary “B” committees are expected to raise $875,000 in dues. The top Republican in the House, as Speaker, has to raise $20 million dollars. The number two, Majority Leader $10 million. Such details, held tightly to the vest for years, come from some of the 180 former public officials who belong to “Issue One’s” bipartisan “ReFormers Caucus” and say they’re sick of money’s influence in politics.

ATTKISSON:: Former Congresswoman Connie Morella.

MORELLA: I think we have reached crisis proportions when it comes to money. A member of Congress devotes almost one-third of every day to raising money.

ATTKISSON: Former Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle.

DASCHLE: People leave on Thursday. They come back on Tuesday and try to govern on Wednesday these days and you can’t run a country this complicated with the challenges we face and spend so little time doing so.

ATTKISSON: Former Labor Secretary Bill Brock.

BROCK: If you tell me the problem of money in politics, the distortions that it creates is just gonna keep getting worse, shoot me. Shoot me.

WAMP: It’s a flawed system and it’s like a nuclear arms race. The Democrats do more of it because the Republicans do more of it.

ATTKISSON: Tennessee Republican Zach Wamp co-chairs the ReFormer’s Caucus. He was in Congress from 1995 to 2011.

ATTKISSON: How are the members told how much money that they ought to raise?

WAMP: So, the committees, usually in the spring, and they just did this a month ago. They come out with a quota and it basically says that if you’re a chairman of a regular committee, it’s X dollars, and if you’re a chairman of an A committee, an exclusive committee, it’s even higher. If there’s enough money in your campaign account, you can just cut a check, or, if you don’t have enough money, you have to go over in what’s called ‘dialing for dollars’. You sit in a little booth, they give you a list, you call people that you don’t know who don’t want you to call them, by the way, and you ask them for money, you tell them we have this spring event coming up, and maybe President Trump is going to be there, and will you please dedicate 10 or 25 thousand dollars or 50,000 dollars to this dinner and they keep a total of it, and you see people advance to committee chairmanships and into leadership, based on how much time they spend during the work day, taxpayer expense, making calls, shaking down the special interests.

ATTKISSON: With all that pressure to raise money, sometimes these committee members are raising it from the interest they’re supposed to regulate, true?

WAMP: Well, not only do they, they actually intentionally give you those lists of people that have something to do with your committees, because they know that they’re the ones that are most likely to say yes.

ATTKISSON: Doesn’t that pervert the system by which the members of these committees become beholden to the very people that they’re supposed to regulate or oversee?

WAMP: Of course, yes.

ATTKISSON: For example, the House Financial Services Committee oversees matters involving everything from Wall Street and insurance to the stock exchanges.

PENNIMAN: The big joke in Washington is that the financial services committee is called the cash committee. Not because it deals with finances, but because just being on it allows you to raise so much money from bank lobbyists and bankers that it’s like an ATM machine. The cash just pours in.

ATTKISSON: On the heels of the mortgage crisis, as the financial services committee considered new regulations on banking and real estate, money poured in from those industries. From 2009 to 2016, the Republican chairman of the committee, Jeb Hensarling, raised $10.1 million, half of it from finance, insurance and real estate interests. He transferred $8.6 million of it to the National Republican Campaign Committee and other House Republicans. The committee’s lead Democrat, Maxine Waters, raised $3.7 million, one-quarter of it from finance, insurance and real estate donors. She transferred about $798,000 of that to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other House Democrats. Hensarling and Waters didn’t respond to our requests for comment.

ATTKISSON: If there are members on the Financial Services Committee and they’re having to raise that much money, and they’re taking it from the banks they regulate, who’s going to have the leg up when it comes to the kinds of laws that they support?

PENNIMAN: The kind of sad joke in Washington is you “lean towards the green”. And when you’re on the Financial Services Committee, let’s say, and most of your money or a big chunk of your money’s coming from bank lobbyists that you’re supposed to be regulating, unfortunately you’re probably going to lean more towards what they want.

ATTKISSON:: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and National Republican Campaign Committee didn’t respond to our repeated requests for interviews and comment.

WAMP: The system is so bad that the members hate it. Members of Congress hate to do it. The people they’re calling hate to be called.

ATTKISSON:: What happens if they buck it? If someone says, I’m not going to raise this money?

WAMP: You won’t advance and they’ll put their thumb down on you, they even ridicule you publicly at the meetings; this person is not making the calls. They’re not raising the money.

ATTKISSON:: So, while they might rather be taking care of the people’s business, many spend countless hours catering to the interests that will help them pay their party dues.

WAMP: And I hate to use this word, but it makes prostitutes out of our elected officials. When the leadership says, if you want to advance, you have to demean yourself and go over there at taxpayer time and make phone calls to people that don’t even want to talk to you, asking them for money for your party so that you can somehow advance the cause of good government.

It really needs to change and it’s going to take the country, because I can tell you, they’re not going to change it because they’re stuck in the system and they’re proliferating against each other, the two parties.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

Maxine Waters Doesn’t Even Live in Her Own ‘Poverty’ Congressional District | May 30, 2017

Maxine Waters “Poverty Pimp” Posters Rile Some

 || LA Weekly

Street art posters describing L.A. area U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters as a “poverty pimp” have raised the ire of some in the African American community.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, says his organization received several complaints about the posters starting Friday. Over the weekend his group pulled some of the posters down. Waters herself told us, “They’ve been down. They were down the same night” they went up.

But Hutchinson says there were so many put up around her district that some of the posters remain. He says he has lodged a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission and planned to alert the Federal Election Commission, too.

A state FPPC spokesman told us this would be a matter for the FEC because the seat up for election is congressional.

Campaign advertising generally must contain disclosures about who’s behind the literature, an FEC representative told us. The poverty pimp posters contain no such information. But it’s not clear if they would be considered campaign advertising or not.

Waters is up for reelection tomorrow. Her district includes parts of South L.A., Inglewood, Lennox, Hawthorne and other South Bay communities. Her challenger is conservative John Wood.

He doesn’t appear to be a serious contender. Waters has raised more than $1.1 million for her reelection, and she has a track record of winning by wide margins. Wood’s campaign has taken in just $10,223.

The posters also contain the phrase “n——s better have my money” and the acronym T.O.S., apparently a reference to her own self-description: “this old socialist.”

The art is clearly modeled after that of L.A.’s own Robbie Conal, a onetime “hippie” known for his biting depictions of Ronald Reagan and other Republican leaders. Hutchinson said Conal has denounced the Waters posters. We tried to contact the artist but were unable to get through.

Hutchinson said he doesn’t think opponent Wood is behind the artwork. But he suspects whoever did it was well-organized.

The posters were placed outside Waters’ home, adjacent to the iconic Randy’s Donuts near LAX, at 405 and 110 freeway entrances or exits, and outside the Forum in Inglewood, Hutchinson said.

Conservative media had background on the posters almost as soon as they went up. This site, without citing any sources, says the artwork was posted “early Thursday morning” by “an independent anonymous art collective.”

The website Tea Party News on Saturday said that Waters lives in a $4 million-plus home and explained the rationale behind the poverty pimp allegation:

The pejorative “Poverty Pimp” is used to identify those that personally benefit from acting as an advocate for the poor, downtrodden, or otherwise disadvantaged. California’s 43rd District, located in South Central Los Angeles, is certainly one where many live who fit those descriptions.

Maxine Waters, who is neither poor, downtrodden, or disadvantaged in any way, lives in Hancock Park, which is also most definitely not anything at all like South Central.

Hutchinson said Waters has been a longtime target of the far right, often because of the color of her skin.

“This is a vile, personal and racial attack,” he told us. “I would hope no reputable conservative group would stoop to this. For decades she’s been an intimate part of the African American community. Her civil rights credentials are impeccable.”

Leaders who represent minority districts are expected to be successful but often have the challenge, at least locally, of sometimes having to live in impoverished neighborhoods. Congressional representatives do not, however, have to live in the districts they represent.

Waters did not want to address the posters directly, telling us this:

I am trying to do public policy. That’s a waste of my time. Don’t waste your time on that.

…Continue reading more @ LA Weekly by Dennis Romero | 2014

 

Even Maxine won’t live in Maxine’s district

|| PatriotRetort.com

“Say, did you know that Maxine Waters doesn’t even live in her district?

Maxine represents District 43 which includes the high crime/high gang area of South Central LA – a region of Los Angeles so bad even Maxine won’t live there.

Instead, she resides in the tony neighborhood of Hancock Park – not far from Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

I did a quick lookie-loo at Wikipedia and learned that Hancock Park is 70.7% white and only 3.8% black. Though I was surprised to discover it has a large number of Koreans.

Which got me thinking. Since we all know Putin invaded Korea, does Maxine worry that he might invade Hancock Park?

In 2014 an anonymous art collective blanketed South Central with the now infamous Poverty Pimp poster of Maxine Waters.

But since Maxine doesn’t live anywhere near her district, they also sent the message to the Poverty Pimp herself.

Yup. One was placed directly across the street from Maxine’s four million dollar mansion in Hancock Park.

Knowing that Mean Maxine fled her own district for a predominantly white, affluent section of LA does kind of call into question her commitment to District 43. Don’t you think.

But like pretty much everything else about Maxine, her loyalty to her constituents is phony as a three dollar bill.

In her column out today, Michelle Malkin takes down Maxine Waters as only Malkin can.

I covered Waters in the early 1990s as an editorial writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Her federally funded Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center was a gang-infested boondoggle.
 
She embraced Damian Williams, the infamous thug who hurled a chunk of concrete at white truck driver Reginald Denny and performed a victory dance over the bloodied innocent bystander.
 
And she and her family personally profited from her rise to racially demagogic power.

She owns a tony mansion in predominantly white Hancock Park, several miles outside her congressional district.
 
She secured an ambassadorship to the Bahamas for her husband, a former pro football player and car salesman whose main qualification was having traveled to the island for a vacation.

Sounds like a real champion of the people, doesn’t she?

But wait! There’s more!

Lest we forget, the Free Beacon reported on Sunday that Poverty Pimp Maxine loves to spread the wealth around.

And by “spread the wealth,” I don’t mean through District 43. Maxine loves to spread the wealth among her own family.

Maxine’s daughter Karen has gotten a nice chunk of change courtesy of Mummy’s campaign funds. Since 2006, Karen Waters has received around $750,000 running the mailers for Citizens for Waters.

Let’s be honest. Lifting her district out of poverty has never been this Poverty Pimp’s goal.

Whereas lifting herself out of poverty-stricken District 43 is all Maxine cares about.

Like many Democrats, Maxine Waters sees “public service” as the gateway to personal wealth. She’s nothing more than another Liberal leech getting wealthy off the backs of taxpayers.

Why would she want to lower herself to live in the district she claims to represent when for her, the purpose of public office is self-enrichment?

You know, it used to be that choosing to run for office was sacrificing your own ambitions to seek the public good.

That’s why it was called public service.

But not anymore.

Whether we’re talking about Poverty Pimp Maxine, Crooked Hillary or multi-millionaire Barack Obama – now public service is nothing more than a get-rich-quick scheme perpetrated by con artists and crooks.”

….Continue reading more @ PatriotRetort.com

 

 

These California lawmakers don’t live in the districts they represent

|| LA Times

“It was the spring of 1998. Then-Assemblywoman Grace F. Napolitano was in the middle of a heated battle with fellow Democrat Jamie Casso.

With the primary to fill the House seat opened up by the retirement of Casso’s father-in-law, Democratic Rep. Esteban Torres, approaching, Napolitano and her advisors zeroed in on what usually amounts to a throwaway issue. Casso, a longtime Torres aide, did not live within the boundaries of the congressional district he sought to represent.

“It is the height of arrogance for Casso to choose to live outside the district and thumb his nose at the good people who do live there, in effect, telling them that their communities aren’t good enough for him,” Napolitano’s campaign manager Chuck Fuentes said in a press release at the time. The campaign used the same line of attack against Casso in mailers to voters.

Napolitano won that primary by 618 votes.

Seventeen years later, Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) stood in the wet grass of a San Gabriel Valley park and dusted off the same residency ploy as he declared his bid to attempt to unseat Napolitano. This time around it is Napolitano who is being labeled the foreigner. She lives in Norwalk, about 9 miles outside the 32nd Congressional District she currently represents.

“It is ironic,” Fuentes said.

How did the tables get turned on Napolitano? Redistricting in 2011. She found herself sharing a congressional district with Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier). Rather than run against a colleague, she became a candidate in the next district over, which was vacant. It includes El Monte, Baldwin Park and West Covina. Just over 46% of its voters are registered as Democrats, 25% are Republican and 24% have no party preference.

Napolitano is not alone. Of her 52 House colleagues, at least five do not actually live in the district they represent.

Some state and local lawmakers have been prosecuted for not living in the districts they ran to represent — a requirement under California law. When it comes to Congress, federal law only requires members live in the same state as the district.”

…Continue reading more @ LA Times

Is ‘Academic Freedom’ a Lost Concept at UCLA? | May 29, 2017

Free Speech Under Siege at UCLA as Conservative Professor Tries to Save Job

|| Breitbart

“Across U.S. college campuses, “diversity” is a sacred creed, to the point of absurdity, even. But of all things that “diversity” covers – gender, race, religion, or even what bathrooms should be made available – diversity of thought isn’t one of them.

If you dare question the (il)liberal orthodoxy, you’re a pariah. And an adjunct professor at UCLA is in danger of becoming another victim.

Keith Fink has taught classes on free speech, contemporary issues, and entertainment law at UCLA for a decade. A lawyer by trade, Fink went on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show earlier in May to discuss the school’s attempt to fire him in a “star chamber” review meeting that excluded him and his representatives.

“The administration doesn’t like what I have to say,” Fink told the Los Angeles Daily News. “I also support students’ basic rights to due process and the school doesn’t like that. … I show the students how their rights are violated. … I don’t believe in trigger warnings. I don’t walk on eggshells. I don’t believe in safe spaces. I run against that current.”

The “current” at UCLA, as well as at most American colleges, is to stifle free speech – or anything that runs contrary to the politically correct dogma now practiced on many campuses. Last June an appearance by former Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos at the school was canceled after protesters blocked the entrance at the beginning, followed by a bomb threat. Another Milo event at UCLA earlier this year was also scuttled after the school claimed that it could not provide adequate security.

Fink is now undergoing a review process that he said probably will lead to his dismissal, since he’s not a tenured professor at UCLA. His plight has drawn the attention of his students, who held a rally on campus Friday with signs saying “free speech is under attack” and “keep your agenda out of our classroom” to support him.

UCLA officials issued a statement Friday with regard to Fink’s employment, claiming that “(t)he content of his courses has never been curtailed. … UCLA’s process for reviewing instructors is comprehensive and fair, … and he has been afforded the full due process considerations mandated by the collective bargaining agreement.”

Fink teaches in the Communications Studies Department, which happens to be the same one that your humble correspondent taught nearly 20 years ago as a teaching assistant while a graduate student at UCLA. I taught several communications classes on journalism, and one time was asked to give a lecture for an adjunct professor who needed the day off.

Before delivering my presentation in front of about 300 students, I carefully reviewed the course material and couldn’t help but laugh at the boilerplate liberal talking points about the state of journalism. The most galling item was the claim that the media establishment had an overwhelmingly conservative bias — keep in mind that this was at a time when Fox News was in its infancy and the Internet was still being invented by Al Gore.

I ripped apart that lecture and instead gave a talk on the media’s liberal bias, backed by my own experience as an actual practicing journalist (as opposed to most professors who teach in communications, including the one I was subbing for). Near the end, I held a no-holds-barred Q&A session and gladly answered each and every question. My presentation was received very well, with a number of students commending me for a “refreshing” and “eye-opening” discourse afterward.

Needless to say, I was not asked back for more.

That might be the fate awaiting Fink at UCLA as well since he clearly holds a view on free speech that’s no longer acceptable in academia.

That would be a shame, said Mick Mathis, a senior at UCLA who attended Friday’s rally.

“This is supposed to be a marketplace of ideas,” Mathis told the Daily News. “And it’s not a marketplace of ideas if they’re trying to get rid of somebody with a contradictory viewpoint.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

 

Why did Kushner try to hide his “back channel” to Moscow from U.S. intelligence? | May 27, 2017

“This is way beyond a private server”: Four questions on Kushner’s “back channel” to Russia

|| HotAir

“Intel pros tell Business Insider they can’t believe it. Not the fact that Kushner and Team Trump would want a “back channel” to Moscow; that happens all the time when governments (in this case a government-in-waiting) want to speak frankly about potential policy shifts without public pressure. What they can’t believe is that Kushner allegedly wanted to do it using the Russians’ own secure communication apparatus. The only reason to do that would be to hide the conversation from U.S. intelligence, which is listening in on all of Russia’s less secure lines.

Why would Kushner be worried about the feds knowing what he was saying to the Kremlin?

Another former CIA analyst made the same point: If he’d tried to do an end-around federal surveillance in talking to Russia, he’d have been booked for espionage. “This is way beyond a private server,” said a former FBI counterintelligence specialist to BI. “This is doing US government diplomatic business over a foreign government’s communication system. It’s not an off-the-record conversation. It’s a conversation recorded by the opposing party.”

That’s question one, the big one — why did Kushner want to use Russian diplomats’ secure line to Moscow instead of some official means of communication monitored by the U.S. government? And why did he reportedly conceal the extent of his contact with Russian officials? If all of this is no big deal, it’s odd that Jared seems to have been highly allergic to the public finding out about any of it. Imagine the havoc it would have wreaked if he were spotted walking into a Russian diplomatic building during the transition to use their red line to Putin. The whole reason Flynn was dumped, per Sally Yates, was that the Russians could have blackmailed him by using their own recording of him talking sanctions with Kislyak against him. Now here’s Jared wanting to use the Russians’ own line to discuss sensitive matters. What could go wrong?

In the end, though, everything comes back to question one. Why did Kushner try to hide his “back channel” to Moscow from U.S. intelligence? There are two theories kicking around, one suggesting corruption and the other pointing to dunderheadedness. The corruption theory holds that Kushner didn’t really want to discuss Syria with Russia, that that’s just a cover story fed to the Times last night to make this seem less suspicious. What he wanted to talk about was money.

..

One last note: Even Reuters’s sources, amid hint-hinting at a corruption possibility for Kushner’s actions, admit that “so far they have not seen evidence of any wrongdoing or collusion between the Trump camp and the Kremlin.” As shady as Kushner’s behavior looks, there’s still nothing like a smoking gun pointing to malfeasance rather than incompetence. Exit question: Is there really such a thing as a “secure line” in Russia’s diplomatic facilities that Kushner could have used to talk privately with Moscow, without U.S. intelligence knowing? Given the NSA’s powers, it’s hard to believe they haven’t cracked that nut yet. Which means Kushner’s lucky that the “secret channel” never came to be. American spies probably would have heard every “secret” word that he or Flynn said to the Kremlin.”

….Continue reading more @ HotAir/

German Finance Minister Says “Christians Can Learn from Muslim Migrants” | May 27, 2017

Germany’s ‘bad trade surplus’

|| Deutsche Welle | German Television

“Why did the new US president think that the Germans are bad on trade? Just because Germans export a lot more than they import, and have done so for decades?”

…Continue seeing more @ DW

German Finance Minister Responds to Manchester Attack: Christians Can Learn from Muslim Migrants

|| Breitbart

“The growing number of Muslims in Germany represents not a threat but a learning opportunity, said Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, discussing Islam in the wake of the Manchester attack.

“It is fanaticism, not only in Islam, that leads to terrible crimes,” he said, speaking on German public radio station Deutschlandfunk Wednesday evening, when asked about the Islamist attack in which 22 mostly young people, including an eight-year-old girl, lost their lives.

“It is certainly a misunderstanding of religion when belief slips into fanaticism or, at worst, violence.

“The world’s great religions all preach the message that one must look upon others as their sisters and brothers, and that one must live with the other because man cannot live alone,” Schäuble told presenter Christiane Florin.

“‘Islam is part of Germany’ is a sober, factual statement,” the minister remarked, commenting on sentiments voiced by Chancellor Angela Merkel on more than one occasion – which are not shared by the majority of Germans.

“Anyone who denies this denies reality and is therefore not suited to being a politician, because politics begins with the confrontation of reality,” he added.

The country’s rapidly growing Muslim demographic presents an “opportunity” for “Christians, and all who live in Germany”, Schäuble stated, adding: “We can learn from them.

“Many human values are very strongly realised in Islam. Think of hospitality, and other things like, what is there… And also tolerance, I believe, for example.”

Discussing his recently published book, Protestantism and Politics, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) minister said the church has no monopoly on truth and criticised voices within who “argue too much in secular matters from a point of religious conviction.”

…Continue reading more @ Breitbart