Thursday, July 13, 2017

$ympathy For the Devil

And that is all they are getting:

"Trump says son is ‘innocent’ amid reports of Russia meeting" by Chad Day and Eric Tucker Associated Press   July 13, 2017 

That was above the fold in my printed copy, before the web Globe did a switcheroo.

WASHINGTON — In an interview taped Wednesday, President Trump told Christian broadcast station CBN that he believes he and Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘‘get along very, very well,’’ but he says Putin will always want ‘‘what’s good for Russia, and I want what’s good for the United States.’’

The president fired off posts on Twitter insisting that his son was “innocent” of wrongdoing and embracing the theory that he may even have been “the victim” in the case. He assailed the use of anonymous sources in the reports, although in this instance the story was confirmed by e-mails released by Donald Trump Jr.

He may well have been set up, and would you meet with the NYT source?

“My son Donald did a good job last night,” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to his son’s appearance Tuesday on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News. “He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!” 

Like him or not, he is correct regardless of what the FBI or anyone else says. The pre$$ wasn't even this tough on Nixon, and they are failing to investigate that avenue of this whole mess -- the Obama administration surveillance of the campaign and then unmasking of transition team nominees. 

That's the real crime here, not the phony-bulloney Russia hacked our elections meme (meaning every single elected official is illegitimate, right?)

In another message, Trump added, “Remember, when you hear the words “sources say” from the Fake Media, often times those sources are made up and do not exist.” And he retweeted a Fox News Twitter message quoting one of the network’s commentators saying, “I believe Don Jr. is the victim here.”

The Russian government weighed in Wednesday as well, essentially mirroring the president’s argument that the US news media was fueling a fake scandal.

“You know, it was with amazement that I learned that a Russian lawyer is being accused of communicating with Trump within Trump’s jurisdiction,” Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister, told reporters in Brussels at a news conference with his Belgian counterpart. “Basically, to me it looks like barbarism, because when someone is talking to a lawyer — what kind of a problem, what threat could this constitute for anyone?”

Lavrov added: “It’s amazing how serious people are making a mountain out of a molehill, even though there may be no molehill in the first place.”

I can't imagine who Lavrov is referring, can you?


"Trump’s tax plan would help the rich a lot, study says" by Sahil Kapur Bloomberg News  July 12, 2017

They are certainly no fan of Trump, and that is who I'm getting from the BG: Bloomberg, WaPo, NYT!

President Trump’s proposed tax cuts would lower federal revenue by $7.8 trillion over a decade and mostly benefit the highest earners, according to a new study released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

When accounting for suggested revenue-raisers like ending most itemized deductions and personal exemptions, the 10-year revenue loss under the Trump tax plan would be $3.5 trillion, the study found. And the top 1 percent’s gains would be 11.5 percent, while middle-income gains would be 1.3 percent, the report said.

How did Obama do there, guys?

The study, which evaluated the one-page outline released by the White House on April 26, provides a glimpse into the political hurdles facing Trump’s dream of enacting the largest tax cut in US history. It shows that even if it achieves all the revenue-raisers it calls for, it would add trillions to the deficit — and face criticism as a boon to upper earners.

(Who does a credible study of anything off one page or piece of evidence?)

Trump’s outline would create a 15 percent tax rate for businesses of all stripes — down from current rates that can top 35 percent. It would also consolidate the existing seven individual tax rates to just three — cutting the top rate to 35 percent from the current 39.6 percent. The plan would also eliminate a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for high earners that was enacted as part of Obamacare.

The White House plan lacked sufficient detail for full-out revenue scoring; for example, the three individual tax rates weren’t attached to specific income brackets. So the TPC analysis filled in some blanks using proposals from Trump’s presidential campaign.

Meaning this is total crap, literally akin to putting words in Trump's mouth.

When TPC applied a “dynamic” scoring method, which accounts for economic growth, the revenue cost of Trump’s tax cuts decreased slightly to $7.7 trillion; when factoring in the revenue-raisers on a dynamic basis it’s $3.4 trillion.

Dynamic scoring can vary depending on which model is applied, making it somewhat controversial among economists.....

OMFG, this whole article is a steaming swirler!!


Have you no decency, sir, no shame?

Let's just merge the mind games together:

"Technology companies led stocks higher Wednesday in a broad rally that helped nudge the Dow Jones industrial average to a new high. In remarks before Congress, Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen raised the possibility that the central bank would consider slowing the pace of its interest rate increases if inflation remained persistently below its target level. The move assuaged concerns among some traders worried that the Fed has been moving too quickly to raise interest rates despite a slowdown in inflation and the US economy’s sluggish growth of just 1.4 percent in the first quarter. Yellen’s remarks put investors in a buying mood and sent bond yields lower, stoking demand for real estate companies, utilities, and other high-dividend-paying stocks. Materials companies also posted hefty gains. ‘‘Investors would prefer lower interest rates, particularly if the economy isn’t gaining the kind of traction that would warrant a faster rate-hike path,’’ said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. ‘‘This is positive for the markets.’’ 

That's what you watch, not all the political print and bluster. What does the money think?

"President Trump’s nominee to be chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has withdrawn his name from consideration, citing family obligations, a person familiar with his decision said Wednesday. James Clinger, the former chief counsel of the House Financial Services Committee, was chosen last month to replace Martin Gruenberg as head of the agency. Clinger’s withdrawal marks a setback for the Trump administration, which on Monday made its last pick for a top bank regulation post when Randal Quarles was named as the choice to be the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman for supervision."

"If the Trump administration gets its way, all US citizens flying abroad will have to submit to face scans at airport security. Privacy advocates call the plan an ill-advised step toward a surveillance state. Nonimmigrant foreigners entering the US currently must submit to fingerprint and photo collection. Congress long ago agreed to extending that to face scans on departure — mostly to keep better track of visa overstays. Now, the Department of Homeland Security says US citizens must also be scanned for the program to work. Pilots are underway at six US airports. DHS aims to have high-volume US international airports engaged beginning next year." 

Remember when Trump was supposed to put an end to tyranny?

Trump arrives in Paris ahead of Bastille Day

Trump’s Paris motorcade hits some bumps, loses the press

I hope he doesn't need a medivac.

Green Line service resumes after small fire forces evacuations

A French company runs it.

US rethinks northeast rail corridor expansion

"The federal government is rethinking a plan to build new high-speed railroad tracks through parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island after complaints that the project would devastate neighborhoods, marshlands, and tourist attractions....."

Downeaster train says ridership is growing

Big Apple to Berkshires by rail? Lawmakers call for a study

How did pink get in that photo?

"A Marine Corps transport plane that crashed in Mississippi, killing 16 service members, experienced an emergency at high altitude and left two debris fields a mile apart, a Marine general said on Wednesday, bolstering witness accounts that the plane broke up or exploded while in the air. The KC-130T was ferrying members of the elite Marine Raiders special operations force and their equipment....."

“Indications are something went wrong.” 

United 93, we have a hole in the ground, over.

Governors to discuss national health care

To be addressed by the soon-to-be President Pence, God willing! 

Remember when Democrats wanted to run against Reagan

I was always told be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.


"France’s Macron prepares to welcome Trump, an unlikely partner" by Adam Nossiter New York Times  July 12, 2017

PARIS — President Trump will be in Europe on Thursday for the second time in less than a week, having accepted a rare outstretched hand from a leader on the Continent, where he is deeply unpopular.

His isolation has ended.

The invitation by France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, might not only give Trump a brief respite from his domestic political woes, but also establish Macron’s standing as Trump’s primary point of contact in Western Europe.

It is a position Macron appears to have fallen into almost by default, as the British focus on their exit from the European Union; Germany’s chancellor expresses open disdain for Trump; and the southern Europeans remain in perennial fiscal difficulty. But it is also a role that Macron has assumed with relish: The whiz kid of French politics has a seemingly limitless confidence in his capacity for seduction.


I can see why the NYT loves this guy.

How the relationship will work with Trump remains to be seen. The invitation by Macron, at 39 France’s youngest president in modern times, to Trump, 71, the oldest person ever elected to the White House, is consistent with Macron’s developing hard-nosed pragmatism in global affairs.

It is, however, an unlikely partnership, given Trump’s professed admiration for Marine Le Pen, the far-right populist Macron defeated in the May 7 election, and the gulf between Macron’s technocratic, pro-European and youth-oriented approach and Trump’s nationalistic, America-first message.

On Syria, Macron has renounced the demise of President Bashar Assad as a precondition of peace talks. He invited Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, to a meeting in France, where he challenged Putin with tough words on Syria and on gay rights. On Africa, he gave a sober — if impolitic — warning about high birthrates.

Yup, the New World Order globalists shoved him down the throat of the French people, and they are now prostrate.

Macron’s aides believe that working with America is inevitable and indispensable, and that for better or worse, it must be done through the current president.

Maybe if you wait a while..... who knows? Could be a meeting of the minds.

The French president has already taken a softer line toward Trump than some of his European counterparts, notably Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.

His early hopes that Trump might adopt Europe’s position on climate change were dashed when Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate accord, which the French consider a preeminent diplomatic achievement.

Macron responded with a semimocking speech in English promising to “Make Our Planet Great Again,” and reiterated an ironic invitation to US scientists “fighting obscurantism,” as he put it during his campaign, to come to France.

Yet not long after, Macron’s spokesman, Christophe Castaner, emphasized the importance of not isolating Trump, of “bringing the president of the United States back into the circle.”

Was he ever really out? 

The web version must speak French:

Already that attitude has some French commentators accepting the idea that Macron “has become the privileged interlocutor” of Trump in Europe, said Nicolas Tenzer, who teaches at Sciences Po, a leading university for political science, and who heads a think tank here.

And this, in spite of the vast ideological and political gulf between the two. “In the Trump-Macron relationship, opposites attract,” said Denis Lacorne, a leading French specialist on America. “Macron has positions much closer to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He’s a pluralist. He’s got a world vision that’s exactly the opposite of Trump’s.”

The America that fascinates Macron — Silicon Valley and the culture of startups — is not Trump’s America, but Macron, a former investment banker, is a pragmatist, not an ideologue. “The English are bogged down in Brexit, and” Trump’s “relations with Merkel are a disaster,” Tenzer explained. Has Macron gained that position in regard to the US leader “by his own will, or is it simply by default?” asked Lacorne. 

That's a way of saying he has no principles and will stand for nothing except the globalist agenda.

“I think with Macron there is a capacity to decide and react very quickly,” said Lacorne. He noted that the French president had moved fast to fill the perceived Anglo-German void, even if it was too soon to declare a renaissance in the relationship between France and America, one of the world’s oldest geopolitical alliances. 

Let's hope he doesn't get you bogged down in any more wars.

Delphine Allès, who teaches international relations at the Université Paris-Est Créteil, called the prospect of a Trump-Macron partnership “very paradoxical, in that their visions of the world are completely opposite.”

She added, however, that “beyond their fundamental disagreements there may be a convergence in their will to present themselves as pragmatists, as deal-makers.”

Macron’s first encounter with Trump, at a summit meeting in Brussels in May days after Macron took office, was notable for a handshake so lengthy and awkward that the two men appeared to be clenching their teeth. Social media lit up with speculation that Macron had snubbed Trump by passing him to embrace Merkel. 

That was his first trip.

But the tension, if there was any, appeared to have chilled just a few weeks later, during a phone call about Syria, in which Macron extended an invitation to celebrate Bastille Day, and Trump accepted.

There was Macron grinning next to Trump in photographs at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany, last week, and physically reaching out to him in a way that few other European leaders would seem comfortable doing. 

Made sure he pushed his way to the end to be by him!

Macron’s entire career has been a leapfrog from one powerful older figure to the next — from his apprenticeship under one of the country’s leading philosophers, Paul Ricœur, to his service as a very young assistant on economics to Jacques Attali, a leading government figure of the last quarter-century, to his stewardship of economic policy for the president he helped dislodge, François Hollande. 

How does a guy who led them into the economic ditch win in a landslide?

Macron’s outreach to Trump — he wants to “make sure the president of the United States is not isolated,” Castaner said — echoes that self-advancing path.

“One has the impression that Trump has been a little bit seduced by Macron,” Tenzer said.

This is starting to get gross.

Trump is to be welcomed in a ceremony at Les Invalides on Thursday afternoon, followed by a meeting at the Élysée Palace. Macron and his wife, Brigitte, will then dine with Trump and his wife, Melania, in a restaurant at the Eiffel Tower — a symbolically significant place that, as Macron aides suggested on Wednesday, was a way of asserting that Paris was back after the shock of terrorist attacks, Trump’s assertions to the contrary notwithstanding.

See: Men who stopped train attack to star in Clint Eastwood film

They were also actors at the time, and I heard Spielberg might direct.

The domestic political risks are low for Macron, despite Trump’s unpopularity in France. The reaction to his invitation has been muted, with only the far left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon audibly complaining. “Mr. Trump is somebody violent. He’s got no business being here,” Mélenchon said.

Only the far left with a shred of dignity and morality, 'eh?

But no major demonstrations are planned; their distaste for him aside, the French appear to be shrugging their collective shoulders over Trump as one more unfathomable American leader, just as they did with George W. Bush, whose 2003 decision to invade Iraq chilled relations with France and Germany.

From the official French point of view, the Trump visit is all about honoring America’s decisive entry into World War I a hundred years ago, an intervention that saved France from defeat.

The two leaders will review a military parade on the Champs-Élysées on Friday, Bastille Day. French officials have been at pains to note that it was “normal” to invite the leader of a power whose troops are taking part in a major official ceremony.

Aides to Macron also noted that military cooperation and coordinated antiterrorism efforts between the two countries, in the Middle East and Africa, are as close as they have ever been. Trump and Macron will have a chance to discuss these common interests during the US president’s two-day visit, they said.

Macron is “above all a realist,” Tenzer said. Of Trump, he said, “you’ve got to continue to try to seduce him.” The attitude is: “We’ve got him as president, and we will just have to make do.”

That's my attitude to, but I'm not looking to attract him to a belief or into a course of action that is inadvisable or foolhardy. 

What kind of "friend" is that?

And speaking of turning belief into a course of action that is inadvisable or foolhardy.....


Yeah, it's a lying war pre$$.

"German police arrest 4 in brazen gold coin heist in Berlin" Associated Press  July 12, 2017

BERLIN — Hundreds of German special police raided several buildings in Berlin early Wednesday, arresting four suspects in connection with the brazen heist of a 221-pound Canadian gold coin stolen from one of the city’s museums earlier this year.

Heavily armed, masked police arrested the suspects, one wearing a hood over his head, in Berlin’s Neukoelln neighborhood. Another nine people are being questioned in the case. All suspects are related to one another and aged between 18 and 20, police said.

The raids of 13 buildings lasted several hours, but the gold coin was not recovered.

‘‘We assume that the coin was partially or completely sold,’’ Carsten Pfohl of the Berlin state criminal office told reporters at a press conference. He added that police also confiscated clothes and cars to comb for traces of gold.

The Canadian ‘‘Big Maple Leaf’’ coin, worth several million dollars, was stolen from the Bode museum in March.

Police say the 1.2-inch thick gold coin, with a diameter of 20.9 inches has a face value of $750,000.


No offense, but is that vital, you-need-to-know news, or is it just filler?

"RBS to pay $5.5 billion to settle toxic mortgage claims in US" by Chad Bray New York Times  July 12, 2017

LONDON — The Royal Bank of Scotland said Wednesday that it had agreed to pay $5.5 billion to US authorities to resolve claims related to its underwriting and sale of toxic mortgage securities.

The settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency — regulator of the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — partially removes a longtime cloud from over RBS, which has tried to resolve ongoing litigation as part of its efforts to engineer a turnaround.

The lender, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, is restructuring as it sells businesses and dismantles its global investment bank to focus on retail and corporate banking in Britain and Ireland. But it is still 72 percent owned by the British government after a bailout during the financial crisis.

RBS said it continued to cooperate with investigations by the US Justice Department and other US regulators into the sale of mortgage-backed securities, which could lead to further settlements or penalties. Ewen Stevenson, the bank’s chief financial officer, said on a conference call Wednesday that he could not provide an update on talks with the Justice Department, but that he remained hopeful that the inquiry could be resolved this year.

The latest settlement relates to $32 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities.

Anyone go to jail for such massive fraud and looting of taxpayer dollars?

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward in resolving one of the most significant legacy matters facing RBS and is further evidence of the determination of the bank’s leadership to put our remaining issues behind us,” Ross McEwan, RBS chief executive, said in a news release. “This settlement is a stark reminder of what happened to this bank before the financial crisis, and the heavy price paid for its pursuit of global ambitions.”

Don't you feel sympathetic towards the cheats?

In the fourth quarter, RBS set aside an additional $3.8 billion for investigations and litigation related to the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities as its rivals reached settlements with US authorities.

Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse reached multibillion-dollar settlements with US authorities in December over sales of the same type of securities. The Justice Department also separately sued the British bank Barclays over the sale of toxic mortgage securities.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency sued RBS and 17 other financial institutions in 2011, accusing them of violating federal and state securities laws in the sale and underwriting of residential mortgage-backed securities that were purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from 2005 to 2007.

Under the terms of the agreement announced Wednesday, RBS would pay $4.52 billion to Freddie Mac and about $975 million to Fannie Mae, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a news release.

RBS said it would be reimbursed $754 million of the settlement amount under indemnification agreements with third parties. The housing agency would then drop its litigation against the bank, the lender said. The bank said the settlement was largely covered by its existing litigation provisions, but that it would take an additional charge of $196 million in the second quarter.

RBS said it still had unresolved residential mortgage-backed securities litigation matters related to issuance of less than $1 billion of the securities from 2005 to 2007.

That amount does not include a separate case by the Federal Housing Finance Agency involving securities issued by Nomura, for which RBS said it intended to pursue indemnification.


May God help them.

Media crackdown silencing criticism of Turkish government 

I've defended the $tink pre$$ and their right to print pure propaganda, but the whining has to stop.


"Anti-Qatar bloc meets US envoy, but no breakthrough in sight" by Adam Schreck Associated Press  July 13, 2017

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip from Kuwait to the western Saudi city of Jiddah followed discussions the previous day with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain have given no indication it would be willing to back off from its hard-nosed stance. Just hours before Tillerson’s arrival in Jiddah, the four Arab states said the counterterrorism deal that Qatar signed with him on Tuesday was ‘‘not enough’’ to ease their concerns.

Tillerson’s visit to Saudi Arabia included talks with King Salman and his powerful son Mohammed bin Salman, who was recently elevated to the role of crown prince, placing him next in line to the throne. He also met with the foreign ministers of the four countries in the anti-Qatar bloc.

The head of Qatar’s government communication office, Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, has accused the quartet of organizing ‘‘a smear campaign in the international media to damage Qatar’s reputation’’ and said they are ‘‘not interested in engaging in honest negotiations to resolve our differences.’’ 

That's what you get for standing by Palestinians. That's why Egypt is in this thing. The Muslim Brotherhood is funded mostly by Qatar.

The anti-Qatar bloc took partial credit for the US counterterrorism deal Qatar signed Tuesday, saying it was the result of ‘‘repeated pressures and demands’’ by the four countries and others, but that it failed to go far enough.

While welcoming US-led efforts to dry up terrorist funding, the four maintained a hard line that Qatar must meet their list of what they said were ‘‘fair and legitimate demands.’’

‘‘The quartet affirms that the measures they have taken were motivated by the continuous and diversified activities of the Qatari authorities in supporting, funding, and harboring terrorism and terrorists, as well as promoting hateful and extremist rhetoric and interfering in the internal affairs of states,’’ they said in a joint statement. 

Of course, when they are doing the same thing, it is different.

The deal struck between Washington and Doha falls far short of the sweeping demands made by the Arab quartet for Qatar to change its policy of supporting opposition Islamists in the region.

The group has mixed its accusations that Qatar supports extremists with demands that it end support for political dissidents that they have branded as terrorists. That broad definition of terrorism is seen as an overreach by many Western allies, which do not view groups like the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organizations.

Saudi commentators were quick to criticize the result of Tillerson’s visit to Qatar.

‘‘What makes Wednesday’s meeting in Jiddah difficult is that Tillerson has, since the beginning of the crisis, appeared to be taking the Qatari side,’’ Abdulrahman al-Rashed, the general manager of the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya satellite news channel, wrote in a column published in the pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. 

By saying they were being reasonable to the unreasonable quartet.

‘‘He has to realize that he will be further complicating an already complex matter and prolonging the crisis,’’ he added, emphasizing that the goal of the four Arab countries is to change Qatar’s ‘‘agenda.’’ 

Sort of like a REGIME CHANGE, huh?

Faisal Abbas, editor-in-chief of the Saudi daily Arab News, framed the security agreement signed between the United States and Qatar as a win for the quartet, but added that ‘‘it is not time to party just yet.’’

Can they do that in Saudi Arabia?

The squabble among five of its Mideast allies has put the United States in an uncomfortable position and risks complicating the Pentagon’s operations in the region.

Then why did Trump step in that pile of camel sh**?

Qatar hosts al-Udeid Air Base, the largest US military installation in the Middle East and hub for US-led operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, while American surveillance planes and other aircraft fly from the UAE.....

Bahrain is bobbing up and down, as is the UAE.


Once again, Yemen goes unmentioned.


"A consortium of Mexican and foreign private companies says a well drilled in shallow water has found between 1.4 and 2 billion barrels of crude oil equivalent in the Gulf of Mexico. Houston-based Talos Energy LLC says it has a 35 percent interest, along with Sierra Oil and Gas and Premier Oil PLC. Talos said in a statement Wednesday the well started at a depth of 545 feet below the Gulf surface and reached a depth of 11,100 feet underground. It’s one of the largest discoveries made in shallow water by a private firm in Mexico, where private drilling under a concessionary scheme was approved as part of the country’s 2013 oil reforms. Previously, the state-run oil company had found many shallow-water fields in the Gulf."

Also seeUN food agency gains greater access near Syria’s Raqqa

They serve the best lobster rolls, as long as you don't mind leukemia.


"19 killed in Boko Haram attacks in northern Nigeria city"  Associated Press  July 12, 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Four Boko Haram suicide bombers killed 19 people in a series of attacks that targeted a civilian self-defense force and the people who gathered to mourn their deaths, police in Nigeria said Wednesday. It was the deadliest attack in months in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram’s eight-year insurgency.

Yeah, that will win the people over to your side, bombing a funeral. That's how the colonists won independence!

Borno state police commissioner Damian Chukwu said 23 others were wounded in Tuesday night’s attacks.

The police commissioner said 12 of the dead were members of a civilian self-defense force and the other seven people had been mourning them.

At least one of the suicide bombers was female, said a spokesman for the self-defense force, Danbatta Bello.

Boko Haram has increasingly used girls and young women to carry out attacks on marketplaces, checkpoints, and other targets.

They think of it as liberation?

Some young women who escaped the extremist group have said girls are drugged and forced to carry out suicide missions.

And yet they are surprisingly efficient and effective.


Is Nigeria one of the countries that was on the famine list?


"Jailed Nobel laureate’s condition called life threatening; Family declines feeding tube" Associated Press  July 13, 2017

BEIJING — Imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo’s declining health has become the subject of international attention, with supporters and foreign governments calling for him to be freed on humanitarian grounds.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said through a spokesman that China should allow Liu to leave the country for medical treatment.

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan tweeted a similar appeal on Wednesday, joining a chorus of pleas already made by the United States, Britain, France, and several other governments.

Beijing has rebuffed those calls, saying Liu is too sick to travel and is already receiving the best care possible.

‘‘We hope relevant countries can respect China’s judicial sovereignty and not use this individual case to interfere in China’s domestic affairs,’’ foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters at a briefing Wednesday......


At least Korea has quoted down.


"Brazil’s former president guilty in corruption case; Charismatic leader sentenced to 10 years in prison" by Ernesto Londoño New York Times   July 13, 2017

RIO DE JANEIRO — The former president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was found guilty of corruption and money laundering Wednesday and sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison, a stunning setback for a politician who has wielded enormous influence across Latin America for decades.

The case against Silva, who raised Brazil’s profile on the world stage as president from 2003 to 2010, stemmed from charges that he and his wife illegally received about $1.1 million in improvements and expenses from a construction company for a beachfront apartment.

In exchange, prosecutors said, the company was able to obtain lucrative contracts from Petrobras, the state-controlled oil giant.

Everybody was doing it, thus providing the basis for their own criminality.

Silva’s leftist Workers’ Party lost the presidency last year when the Senate impeached his hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, in a power struggle that consumed the nation.

No one came through it clean.

Silva, 71, can appeal the conviction, but the ruling could deliver a crippling blow to his plans for making a political comeback. He has called the allegations against him a farce and has announced his intention to run for president in next year’s election. He had been widely considered a leading contender, but Judge Sergio Moro, who issued Wednesday’s verdict, said that under Brazilian law, Silva would be ineligible to run for office for twice as long as his sentence, or 19 years. Unless Silva prevails on appeal, that finding leaves the Workers’ Party without an obvious candidate in next year’s election.

The conviction is the latest salvo by Brazil’s judicial branch, which has declared war on the country’s entrenched culture of corruption. Brazil’s current president, Michel Temer, was charged last month with corruption, part of a near constant stream of allegations and charges that have ripped through the nation’s political establishment in recent years.

They are kind of all the $ame no matter what country; it's only a question of degree.

Moro, who oversees cases stemming from a broad graft scandal surrounding the state-controlled oil company, said Silva’s actions were part of a scheme of systemic corruption in Petrobras.

“The president of the republic has enormous responsibilities,” Moro wrote. “As such, his culpability is also” enormous when he commits crimes, he added.

Hear that, DJT?

Silva presided over a period of robust economic growth in Brazil and remains a widely popular figure, credited with leading a social transformation that lifted millions from poverty in a nation with one of the world’s biggest disparities between rich and poor.

Not allowed.

Despite the corruption allegations against him and his party, Silva has been leading in recent public opinion polls on the election.

Moro, the judge who convicted him, is often cited as Silva’s closest rival in hypothetical matchups in the presidential race, though Moro has ruled out running for office. 


In the verdict, Moro said that the former president had sought to intimidate the court, which the judge argued could be grounds for ordering his immediate arrest.

Yet, Moro wrote, he deemed it prudent to allow Silva to remain free pending an appeal.

Sending a former president to jail would be a traumatic event, he wrote.

While Silva’s conviction involves relatively modest sums, especially compared with the staggering scale of some corruption cases in Brazil, prosecutors have described him as the mastermind of an enormous kickback scheme that enabled his party to buy support in Congress.

We call it lobbying up here. 


The case against him began with a probe into money laundering at a gas station. But as prosecutors continued digging, they said they discovered billions of dollars worth of bribes involving Petrobras and powerful contractors like Odebrecht, a large construction company with deep ties across the hemisphere.

The case — which became known as the Lava Jato, or Car Wash, scandal — has ensnared other powerful politicians and put dozens of lawmakers under a cloud of suspicion.


So who will be Brazil's next president?