Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The New York Times is an Irresponsible Warmonger

Lying us into wars since at least 1898 if not before.

"These have been disastrous weeks for American foreign policy, a popular presenter on Russia’s state television told viewers on Sunday night. The United States essentially turned its back on Ukraine amid the impeachment inquiry, TV host Dmitry Kiselyov said in his weekly show. Then, Washington abandoned the Syrian Kurds. “The Kurds themselves again picked the wrong patron,” Kiselyov said. “The United States, of course, is an unreliable partner.” As the Middle East reels from President Trump’s erratic foreign policy, Russia is savoring a fresh chance to build its status as a resurgent world power and cast itself as a force for stability. The withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria, coupled with Turkey’s incursion, is allowing Russia to play the part of responsible peacemaker.

Yeah, and we can't have that, can we, New York Times? 

That's the last thing the lead war-promoter and liar wants! I guess they would rather have an irresponsible warmonger.

I suppose as long as the peacemaker isn't China, huh?

It’s too soon to tell whether Russia will be able to manage the new volatility in Syria, just as it’s not clear if the impeachment furor over Ukraine will help the Kremlin’s interests in Eastern Europe, but as Russian President Vladimir Putin landed in Saudi Arabia Monday for a state visit to one of America’s most important allies, it appeared clear that Trump’s moves in recent months were helping him make the case that Moscow, not Washington, was the more dependable actor on the world stage. Putin appears to be betting that he can boost Russia’s global standing by playing to other countries’ individual interests in a world in which the Trump administration’s moves have left many traditional US allies in dismay. “Russia will never be friends with one country against another,” Putin said in an interview with two Arab news networks and the Kremlin-controlled channel RT Arabic that aired Sunday. “We build bilateral relations that rely on positive trends generated by our contacts; we do not build alliances against anyone.” (New York Times)

I suppose there will be no Peace Prizes for Putin -- not that that the self-aggrandizing, self-adulating pos means anything after being prematurely awarded to Obummer, who proceeded to then initiate regime change in Libya over false pretenses; attempt regime change but fail in Syria; assist the Saudis in their war crimes in Yemen; and successfully overthrow and change the duly elected government of the Ukraine (that gets lost amidst the Deep State smoke and mirrors pre$$ coverage of current events and what is at the root of everything. Thus it must be obfuscated).

Somehow, the discredited organ of propaganda is still blaring its spew from the front page:

"Assad’s Syrian forces move into area hit by Turkey" by Ben Hubbard and Eric Schmitt New York Times, October 14, 2019

DOHUK, Iraq — Syrian government forces streamed into the country’s northeast Monday, seizing towns where they had not stepped foot in years and filling a vacuum opened up by President Trump’s decision to abandon the United States’ Syrian Kurdish allies.

That ominous phrasing has me wondering and worrying about what horrific false flag is being planned or activated in response.

Less than a week after Turkey launched an incursion into northern Syria with Trump’s assent, President Bashar Assad of Syria, considered a war criminal by the United States, has benefited handsomely, striking a deal with the Kurds to take the northern border and rapidly gaining territory without a fight.

In addition to Assad, Trump’s decision to pull US forces out of the way could also help Russia and Iran, as well as the Islamic State group, as the US retreat reconfigures battlelines and alliances in the eight-year war.

Faced with a fast-unraveling situation, Trump’s policy toward the region continued to fishtail. Having essentially greenlighted the Turkish incursion a week ago, then threatening ruin to Turkey’s economy, on Monday Trump announced sanctions on Ankara, raising tariffs on steel and suspending negotiations on a $100 billion trade deal.

There is a question as to whether that narrative provided by the New York Times is correct. It makes Trump look bad, and it is like Chomsky saying Israel is a tool of the U.S. when the opposite is the case. Israel does what it wants, and we really can't do anything about it. In this case, Erdogan probably told Trump on the phone that he's doing this, period. Trump had no choice but to move our guys out of the way, and it is more evidence proving that the world is beginning to run end-runs around the U.S. after offering the required lip service. The Empire is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Trump’s decision has turned a relatively stable corner of Syria into its most dynamic battleground. As Turkey and Syrian fighters it supports push in from the north to root out the Kurdish-led militia that was allied with the United States, Assad’s forces have moved in from the south, gobbling up territory.

Oh, Assad has "gobbled up" territory like a guy from 80-something years ago. 

In a sign of the concern over the safety of the remaining US troops in Syria, General Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke Monday with his Russian counterpart about the deteriorating security in the country’s northeast.

On Monday, without a fight, government forces seized a number of towns that had been held by the United States’ allies, including Tel Tamer, home to an Assyrian Christian community; Tabqa, which has a large hydroelectric dam on the Euphrates River; and Ein Issa, where the United States kept a contingent of forces, until recently.

Fighting continued in towns near the Turkish border to the north, pitting a number of forces against each other and terrifying civilians.

Kurdish militiamen battled Turkish troops around Ras al Ain and Tal Abyad, Syrian border towns the Turks claim to have taken, and both Turkey and the Syrian government were sending troops toward Manbij, raising the specter of new fighting there.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has said that the incursion is necessary for his country’s security and that Turkey seeks to establish a 20-mile-deep “safe zone” for hundreds of miles next to Syria’s border.

There you go. Finally some truth. No annihilation planned despite the wailing all week. What the Turks have done is nothing more than what Israel has done in regards to Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon.

The invasion has provoked widespread international condemnation and on Monday, the foreign ministers of all 28 European Union member states agreed to stop selling arms to Turkey, an unprecedented step toward a fellow NATO member, but Erdogan appeared unfazed, vowing that Turkey would press on in a speech in Azerbaijan. “We are determined to take our operation to the end,” he said. “We will finish what we started. A hoisted flag does not come down.”

Aren't they right next to Armenia?

Much of the territory contested in the current fighting was wrested from the jihadis of the Islamic State by an international coalition led by the United States in partnership with a Kurdish-led militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF. As the jihadis were rolled back, the SDF seized its territory, which it sought to govern under protection from the United States, but that partnership angered Turkey, which considers the Kurdish fighters terrorists for their links to a Kurdish guerrilla organization that has been fighting the Turkish state for decades.

Call it selective amnesia, but the New York Times is acting as if Syria, Russia, and Iran had no hand at all in beating U.S-created and supported ISIS™ while thwarting part of the Yinon/PNAC plan for carving up the region.

No longer protected by the United States, the Kurds struck a deal with the Syrian government, a US enemy, to bring its forces north to protect the area.

A Kurdish official, Aldar Xelil, said in a statement Monday that the agreement would put Syrian government forces on two strips along the border, but not in a section where Kurdish fighters are currently battling the Turks. The government forces would defend the border against the Turks, he said, while the Kurdish-led administration would continue to oversee governance and internal security in the region, but much about the agreement remained unclear, and the Syrian state news media made no mention of it in its coverage of Syrian troops seizing towns and being welcomed by locals chanting in support of Assad.

Making one wonder if there was a deal or not, or whether it is more face-saving disinformation from the war-promoting pre$$?

About 1,000 US troops serve on a number of bases throughout northeastern Syria, but Trump’s orders will remove the troops over the next few weeks, sending them, at least initially, to Iraq. From there, they could be repositioned to other neighboring countries such as Jordan or Lebanon, or head back to the United States, military officials said.

So he is really doing it, huh?

For now, the Pentagon plans to leave 150 Special Operations forces at a base called al-Tanf, in southern Syria.

Oh, not completely. 

That means the illegal presence of U.S. troops on Syrian soil shall continue.

Trump administration officials had long argued that the troops were needed to check the influence of Iran, Russia, and Assad; prevent the resurgence of the Islamic State; and give the United States leverage in eventual peace talks aimed at ending Syria’s war.

The administration has not explained how it plans to pursue these goals without troops or local allies in Syria.

Hassan Hassan, a Syria analyst at the Center for Global Policy, said it had become clear that Turkey and Assad had the most to gain from the US withdrawal and the reshuffling of Syria’s northeast.

I have no idea who they are; however, it looks like it is funded by Sunni Arab money (Saudi Arabia and the UAE being the prime suspects).

Despite the international condemnation, Turkey had managed to quash the dream of Kurdish-led self-rule that had been growing for years.

“This is the end or the beginning of the end of the Kurdish project in Syria,” Hassan said.

That is why there is daily front-page coverage this past week. A major portion of the agenda-pushing project has been thwarted and the separatist Kurdish leaders may get lengthy prison terms for sedition (I guess there are good separatists and bad separatists, huh?).

Thus, Kosovo and Sudan get a voice and vote while Palestine and Kashmir do not.

Assad and his Russiaand Iranian backers had also won big because the United States had expended tremendous resources to defeat the Islamic State, and now Assad is poised to regain the territory.

“It is not just that you left, but that you did all this fighting on his behalf for the last five years,” Hassan said.

The biggest losers were the Kurds, who lost their foreign backers and saw their political dreams collapse, and the region’s civilians, who were now subject to yet another era of violence and uncertainty.

Talk about a vacuum. Raqqa and Mosul are still in ruins and stink do to decaying corpses with the box being opened on the era of violence with the initial U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- the same invasion the New York Times helped promote by blaring lies from its front pages!

--more--"

"News analysis: Trump followed his gut on Syria. Calamity came fast" by David E. Sanger New York Times, October 14, 2019

Oh, my, NYT "news analysis" by another leader of the war-promoting cabal.

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s acquiescence to Turkey’s move to send troops deep inside Syrian territory has in only one week’s time turned into a bloody carnage, forced the abandonment of a successful five-year-long American project to keep the peace on a volatile border, and given an unanticipated victory to four US adversaries: Russia, Iran, the Syrian government, and the Islamic State group.

One week and it is already bloody carnage!! 

One wonders, then, what the toll has been in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen all these years.

Rarely has a presidential decision resulted so immediately in what his own party leaders have described as disastrous consequences for US allies and interests. How this decision happened — springing from an “off-script moment” with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, in the words of a senior US diplomat — is likely to be debated for years by historians, Middle East specialists, and conspiracy theorists, but this much already is clear: Trump ignored months of warnings from his advisers about what calamities likely would ensue if he followed his instincts to pull back from Syria and abandon America’s longtime allies, the Kurds. He had no Plan B, other than to leave. The only surprise is how swiftly it all collapsed around the president and his depleted, inexperienced foreign policy team. 

Yeah, "conspiracy theorists" and historians are going to debate this for years (as if it matters), but the New York Times is going to make things perfectly clear. The final sentence more or less confirms that Bolton has been leaking like a sieve to the NYT and is behind this impeachment push. What is also left unsaid is that the entire portfolio has been left in the hands of Jared Kushner, who has also been invisible regarding the Ukraine mess.

Btw, I was surprised at how swiftly those WTC towers collapsed on 9/11.

Day after day, they have been caught off-guard, offering up differing explanations of what Trump said to Erdogan, how the United States and its allies might respond, and even whether Turkey remains a US ally. For a while, Trump said he acted because the Islamic State group was already defeated and because he was committed to terminating “endless wars” by pulling US troops out of the Middle East. By the end of the week he added 2,000 — to Saudi Arabia.

RelatedUS to send additional troops to Saudi Arabia to boost defenses against Iran

Yeah, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, speaking Friday at the Pentagon, said that ‘‘Iran’s attempts to use terror, intimidation, and military force to advance its interests are inconsistent with international norms,’’ and only we are allowed to do that.

Also see:

"Explosions rocked an Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea early Friday in what the state news media described as a missile attack, raising fears about increasing tensions in an already volatile and economically crucial region. The circumstances of the attack remained murky, with conflicting reports in the state news media about whether the ship was on fire, whether an oil spill had been stopped and even whether the tanker had been hit by missiles in the first place....."

Yeah, the Iranians faked it all. 

Another classic case of propaganda projection from my pre$$, and certainly an incident that didn't garner the print of the attack on Saudi oil facilities.

Well, at least the Globe is saying the US shouldn’t take military action against Iran, but not that it is complicit in the Saudi war on Yemen

The focus is now on Turkey and the firestorm over limited nature of the troop relocation, not withdrawal, as Trump turns a blind eye to a slaughter of Kurds, who stand to be destroyed if Turkey follows through with its planned invasion, a situation that could quickly escalate according to Jonathan Schanzer, a Syria scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of DemocraciesPat Robertson says Trump is at risk of losing his ‘mandate from heaven’ -- not that that is a crime or anything -- while the Globe scolds us for having blood on our hands and Israel feels betrayed (say goodbye to the Peace Prize)!

Thus the Kurds are pummeled with the fear that the Turkish invasion will lead to genocide. Never mind the fact that it is carving out a sliver of a corridor as a buffer zone and resettlement area, and speaking of genocide.... I'm told that the endless wars must continue, but only from Over-the-Horizon, a strategy that has proved successful, though it has not received the recognition it deserves. Since 2001, using just such a strategy, the United States toppled the Taliban and kicked Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan; weakened and fragmented Al Qaeda in Pakistan; reduced Al Shabab’s territorial control in Somalia; and eliminated the Islamic State’s operational sanctuaries in Iraq and Syria from 2014 to 2018 (if so, why do we need to stay?). Of course, the likelihood of an ISIS resurgence remains hard to gauge, since the Syrian Kurdish leadership may have exaggerated some incidents to catch the West’s attention, and Kurdish militias are now allying with the Syrian government and its Russian allies in the absence of support from their former US allies. Nevertheless, it is a “stain on the American conscience.”

As usual, the Democrats are silent (they must be deaf or dead) on the matter -- other than Sanders, who said that  “some way or another, we are going to have to include serious discussion of foreign policy,” a polite way of saying we must confront our militarism and empire if we are to advance in any way, while the Republicans are even worse. They claim to be  reviving the American Dream (you better get this down) and bringing about the New American Dream in wake of the failure of the American Dream.

At least you know whom to blame.

One day he was inviting Erdogan to visit the White House; the next he was threatening to “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if it crossed a line that he never defined.

Erdogan just kept going.

Trump’s error, some aides concede in off-the-record conversations, was entering the Oct. 6 call underprepared and then failing to spell out for Erdogan the potential consequences — from economic sanctions to a dimunition of Turkey’s alliance with the United States and its standing in NATO. He has since threatened both, retroactively, but it is not clear Erdogan believes either is a real risk.

More off-the-record conversations leaked by turncoats, traitors, and Deep State operatives showing up in the pre$$ regarding his telephone calls. Better release the transcript.

The drama is nowhere near over. Out of necessity, the Kurds switched sides Sunday, turning their backs on Washington and signing up with President Bashar Assad of Syria, a man the United States has called a war criminal for gassing his own people. At the Pentagon, officials struggled with the right response if Turkish forces — NATO allies — opened fire on any of the 1,000 or so Americans now preparing to retreat from their positions inside Syria. Those troops are trapped for now, since Turkey has cut off the roads; removing them may require an airlift, and over the weekend, State and Energy department officials were quietly reviewing plans for evacuating roughly 50 tactical nuclear weapons that the United States had long stored, under US control, at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, according to two US officials.

Oh, it's a DRAMA, is it?

Yup, our nuclear weapons could be captured and used as hostages! 

Who knows? 

Erdogan might even give on to ISIS so they can mushroom-cloud Chicago!

Those weapons, one senior official said, were now essentially Erdogan’s hostages. To fly them out of Incirlik would be to mark the de facto end of the Turkish-American alliance. To keep them there, though, is to perpetuate a nuclear vulnerability that should have been eliminated years ago.

In other words, Obama was negligent -- especially after the 2016 coup attempt that failed.

“I think this is a first — a country with US nuclear weapons stationed in it literally firing artillery at US forces,” Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies wrote last week.

For his part, Erdogan claims nuclear ambitions of his own: Only a month ago, speaking to supporters, he said he “cannot accept” rules that keep Turkey from possessing nuclear weapons of its own.

“There is no developed nation in the world that doesn’t have them,” he said. (In fact, most do not.)

OMG!

“This president keeps blindsiding our military and diplomatic leaders and partners with impulsive moves like this that benefit Russia and authoritarian regimes,” said Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island and longtime member of the Armed Services Committee.

“If this president were serious about ending wars and winning peace, he’d actually articulate a strategy that would protect against a re-emergence of ISIS and provide for the safety of our Syrian partners,” Reed added. “But he has repeatedly failed to do that. Instead, this is another example of Donald Trump creating chaos, undermining US interests and benefiting Russia and the Assad regime.”

The other major beneficiary is Iran, perhaps Trump’s most talked-about geo-political foe, which has long supported the Syrian regime and sought freer rein across the country, but none of that appeared to have been anticipated by Trump, who has no fondness for briefing books and meetings in the Situation Room intended to game out events two or three moves ahead. Instead, he often talks about trusting his instincts.

“My gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me,” he said late last year. He was discussing the Federal Reserve, but could just as easily been talking foreign policy; in 2017 he told a reporter, right after his first meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, that it was his “gut feel” for how to deal with foreign leaders, honed over years in the real estate world, that guided him. “Foreign policy is what I’ll be remembered for,” he said, but in this case the failure to look around corners has blown up on him at a speed that is rare in foreign policy and national security.

Did he look into Putin's soul like Bush, who also operated on gut instinct?

It was at that point that the print copy ended. The web version added this:

The closest analogue may date back to 1950, during Harry Truman’s administration, when Secretary of State Dean Acheson described America’s new “defense perimeter” in a speech, saying it ran from southern Japan through the Philippines. That left out the Korean Peninsula, and two weeks later, Josef Stalin, the Soviet leader, appeared to have given Kim Il Sung, grandfather of the current North Korean leader, permission to launch his invasion of the South. The bloody stalemate that followed lives with the United States today.

At the time, the United States kept a token force in South Korea, akin to the one parked along the Turkish-Syrian border, and it is impossible to know whether the North Korean attack would have been launched even without Acheson’s failure to warn about US action if a vulnerable ally was attacked — just as it is impossible to know if Erdogan would have sent his troops over the border if that phone call, and Trump’s failure to object, had never happened.

It was Trump himself who, during a presidential debate with Hillary Clinton in 2016, blamed President Obama for a similar error. “President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq,” he said, referring to the 2011 withdrawal. “They shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.”

Even his allies see the parallel. “If I didn’t see Donald Trump’s name on the tweet I thought it would be Obama’s rationale for getting out of Iraq,” Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s most vociferous defenders in recent years, but among his harshest Republican critics for the Syria decision, said last week.

He's an AIPAC attack dog.

As James F. Jeffrey, who worked for Obama as ambassador to Turkey, then to Iraq, and now serves as Trump’s special envoy for Syria, noted several years ago, it’s debatable whether events would have played out differently if the United States had stayed in Iraq.

“Could a residual force have prevented ISIS’ victories?” he asked in a Wall Street Journal essay five years ago. “With troops we would have had better intelligence on Al Qaeda in Iraq and later ISIS, a more attentive Washington, and no doubt a better-trained Iraqi army, but the common argument that U.S. troops could have produced different Iraqi political outcomes is hogwash. The Iraqi sectarian divides, which ISIS exploited, run deep and were not susceptible to permanent remedy by our troops at their height, let alone by 5,000 trainers under Iraqi restraints.”

Trump may now be left to make the same argument about Syria: That nothing could have stopped Erdogan, that the Russians would benefit in any case, that there are other ways to push back at Iran. Perhaps history will side with him.

For now, however, he has given up most of what little leverage he had.

He's just bumbling around, isn't he?

--more--"

Of course, who could ever question the veracity of the AmeriKan pre$$?

"NBC News hits back against Ronan Farrow’s ‘Catch and Kill’ book" by Tiffany Hsu New York Times, October 14, 2019

NBC News pushed back against investigative journalist Ronan Farrow on Monday, denying his allegations that the network tried to conceal complaints about former “Today” host Matt Lauer and obstruct Farrow’s reporting into film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“We have no secrets and nothing to hide,” NBC News president Noah Oppenheim wrote in an extensive memo, which was sent to employees of NBC News and MSNBC in response to reporting in Farrow’s new book, “Catch and Kill.”

Oppenheim, who is portrayed in the book as failing to understand the newsworthiness of Farrow’s investigation into sexual misconduct allegations involving Weinstein, described the reporting in it as a “smear” and a “conspiracy theory.”

OMG! 

They are throwing that term around so often now it has lost its meaning as well as having the opposite effect of that they intend. Must be something to the charge then.

Farrow has also blamed the NBC News chairman Andrew Lack for impeding his reporting on Weinstein. Farrow left the network in 2017 and later won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the story, which was published in The New Yorker.

And yet somehow, the New York Times gets credit for breaking the story even after they sat on it for thirteen years. Not only that, they minimized Epstein at the time and suppressed Bush spying until after the 2004 election. They have also brought you the Gulf of Tonkin lie, the babies thrown out of Kuwait incubators lie, and the Iraq has WMD lie, and now seem more intent on promoting books by their reporters and calling it news.

Farrow’s book, which is expected to be released Tuesday, contains new details about the circumstances of Lauer’s firing in November 2017, which followed a complaint of sexual misconduct against him. Farrow spoke to a woman, Brooke Nevils, who said that Lauer anally raped her in 2014, which Lauer has denied and characterized as a consensual encounter.

You gotta believe the woman. 

When is his trial?

Appearing on “CBS This Morning” Monday, Farrow said his book “is an extraordinarily, meticulously fact-checked work of investigative journalism” and that he is “very confident” in his reporting.

Unlike what you will find in any newspaper.

--more--"

Related
:

"A counterterrorism analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency has been charged with leaking top-secret details about foreign countries’ weapons systems to two journalists, including a reporter with whom he was apparently romantically involved, federal authorities said Wednesday. Henry Frese, 30, of Alexandria, Va., ‘‘was caught red-handed disclosing sensitive national security information,’’ the Justice Department said. His motive apparently was to advance the career of the female reporter with whom he had a relationship, the FBI said. Frese allegedly passed additional top secret information to one of the woman’s colleagues at ‘‘an affiliated but different news outlet.’’ Frese, who had a high-level security clearance, was arrested Wednesday morning."

It wasn't Ali Watkins, was it?

The latest leaker is obviously Bolton. I mean, right after he gets fired the leaks begin and impeachment heats up. Real subtle. Trump should have adopted LBJ's philosophy regarding Hoover. Better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.


"President Trump says he’ll ‘‘be looking into’’ the case of a US financial adviser charged with killing a hotel worker while on a family vacation in Anguilla after the man’s wife appeared on the ‘‘Fox & Friends’’ morning show and urged Trump to intervene. Trump tweeted shortly after the segment that, ‘‘Something looks and sounds very wrong.’’ He says: ‘‘I know Anguilla will want to see this case be properly and justly resolved!’’ Scott Hapgood and his family were on vacation when they say a hotel worker showed up at their room unannounced and demanded money before attacking them on April 13. An autopsy report shows the victim, 27-year-old Kenny Mitchel of Dominica, died of positional asphyxia and received blunt force injuries to his torso and other areas."

He just can't help interfering, can he?

White House says Trump ‘strongly condemns’ violent video attacking media

The video was played at a conference for Trump’s supporters at Trump National Doral Miami last week, and somehow the New York Times on Sunday obtained footage of the video.

Made me wonder what Kathy Griffin is up to these days, but there are cases where shouting you down and threatening you is approved!

Trump should just resign already (that would be above the fold front page news).

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sunday Globe Special: Day of Rest

"WeWork rose fast on short-term leases. But can it stick around long-term?" by Tim Logan Globe Staff, August 10, 2019

These are boom times for WeWork.

The co-working giant has been scooping up Boston office space at a torrid clip, some 1.5 million square feet in 16 buildings, from downtown towers to Fort Point warehouses, but its meteoric rise in the notoriously cyclical commercial real estate industry also raises a troubling question, with broader implications beyond the fate of one company: What happens when a recession hits, or if WeWork falls?

The dynamic tech and creative companies that have flocked to WeWork for its flexible terms have helped power Boston’s explosive growth, and serve as a bellwether for the broader economy. Likewise, any decline in their fortunes may show up in empty desks at WeWork long before it hits the city’s towers of more traditional office space, making the co-working operator a newfangled canary in the economic coal mine.

WeWork’s fortunes are being closely watched by real estate executives and Wall Street types alike as the company readies for a public stock offering, likely this fall, while gobbling up ever-larger chunks of buildings in cities worldwide.

There are reasons to fret. Just nine years old, WeWork has known only boom times. It’s never reckoned with a recession. The company’s bread-and-butter clients are startups and other companies too small or too fast-growing to commit to traditional long-term real estate, and they are susceptible to vanishing just as quickly as they come.

Oh, and there’s this: WeWork lost nearly $2 billion last year.

“I’m highly skeptical,” said Mark Hickey, director of market analytics at real estate data firm CoStar. “They really could get hit on all fronts. The whole well could dry up.”

WeWork’s basic business model is relatively simple.

It rents floors of office buildings on 10- or 15-year deals, just like any other corporate tenant, decorates them in hip high style, and then re-rents spaces for a premium, but they’re far shorter than a traditional office lease.

“Essentially, they lease space at wholesale, and find companies to rent it from them at retail,” said Aaron Jodka, managing director of client services in the Boston office of real estate firm Colliers.

In other words, they are nothing more than a glorified landlord.

That works great when the economy is strong, as it has been for years now in Boston. Rents on high-end office space downtown have jumped nearly 14 percent in the last year, according to real estate firm Newmark Knight Frank, and vacancy rates remain low, but at some point, the economy will turn, and indeed there are enough suggestions of looming trouble that in late July the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time in a decade.

In a downturn, it wouldn’t take much for WeWork to get hit. Freelancers and solo entrepreneurs might decide to save on their $500 a month WeWork membership by working from a coffee shop instead. The venture capital firms that float midsize startups could get cold feet and pull their funding, forcing the companies to lay off employees or close outright. Corporate tenants to whom WeWork increasingly leases satellite office space may find they have room to spare again at headquarters, and because WeWork’s business model isn’t based on the traditional 10-year office lease, with many tenants renting month-to-month, those bustling, hip work spaces could empty out fast.

That’s what happened to Regus, a co-working pioneer that prospered during the tech bubble of the late 1990s but filed for bankruptcy protection in 2003 after the bubble popped and many of its tenants folded.

Regus has long since recovered, and today its parent company, IWG, runs more than 3,000 co-working locations worldwide, but WeWork’s footprint in Boston, New York, London, and other big markets is far larger than that of Regus, and the ripples from any recession could be felt more deeply.

“It’s really hard to say what happens to them in a downturn,” said Danny Ismail, an office market analyst at research firm Green Street Advisors. “Regus in the 2000s didn’t work out very well.”

Executives at WeWork declined to comment for this story, citing their upcoming initial public offering, but they have previously expressed confidence that WeWork can weather whatever tough times may come.

Indeed, they argue that their flexible-lease model would prove even more attractive to tenants who don’t want to be locked in to a long-term lease on space they can’t fill.

For some big landlords, WeWork’s particular business model is a little too chancy, and they have opted to keep their offerings to just traditional tenants. Others have limited how much space they devote to co-working leases. Some of the bigger property owners, such as Boston Properties and Tishman Speyer, are even experimenting with renting their own flexible office spaces.

No matter what happens, a slowdown in WeWork’s growth spurt is likely inevitable, real estate analysts say.

At some point, Jodka said, the company will have to turn around its huge losses.

“They haven’t been focusing on profits, they’ve been focusing on growth,” he said. “Time will tell if they can make money at this.”

Time to clock out.

Still, WeWork has ridden a wave of young, fast-moving companies of the sort pouring into downtown Boston. Many don’t know how big they’ll be in five years, said Wil Catlin, managing principal at Boston Realty Advisors, and don’t want to tie themselves down for 10 years in space they may outgrow — or never need. Nor do they want the hassle of building and managing their own offices.

“It’s not overly complicated,” Catlin said of WeWork’s appeal. “That flexibility is what people are buying. They’re not going there for the free beer.”

Already, the company counts one-third of the global Fortune 500 among its clients. Amazon, Liberty Mutual, and General Electric have based some of their Boston employees in WeWork spaces.....

Time to pull out if you are GE, even with the rebound, as they claim to “operate with absolute integrity and stand behind their financial reporting’’ while they clean it up like they did under Welch.

--more--"

So did you learn anything about WeWork from the Globe?

"WeWork IPO is withdrawn as investors grow wary" by Peter Eavis and Michael J. de la Merced New York Times, September 30, 2019

WeWork shelved its plans for an initial public offering Monday, a startling retreat for a company that expanded rapidly in recent years as it sought to transform commercial real estate in the world’s biggest cities.

The move is the clearest sign yet that investors are increasingly wary of ambitious young companies that have run up huge losses and might not become profitable for years.

WeWork’s parent, the We Co., aimed to sell enough shares to raise as much as $4 billion, and had lined up $6 billion in a bank loan that was contingent on the IPO. Without a large infusion of capital, the company is expected to slam the brakes on its breakneck expansion. Analysts estimate that at its recent growth rate, We could run out of cash by the middle of next year.

Last week, Adam Neumann, We’s cofounder, resigned as chief executive after the company and its investment bankers struggled to convince money managers on Wall Street to buy its shares. Investors were put off by the company’s losses and questions about its corporate governance.

Turns out he looted it, something the Times is obfuscating.

WeWork in recent days has been renegotiating a new loan with banks led by JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs to replace the loan it was expected to get after its public offering, according to people briefed on the matter. The banks are now offering less than the $6 billion previously on the table, one of these people said.

The lenders want WeWork to raise fresh capital before they issue new loans. The company is looking to sell certain operations, and it is hoping to sell stock to private investors, including SoftBank, its largest outside shareholder, these people said.

WeWork has expanded so fast that it is now the largest private tenant in Manhattan and a major player in London, San Francisco, and other major cities. It leases office space from landlords, refurbishes it, and then rents it to individuals, small firms, and large corporations like Amazon and UBS. WeWork’s customers can leave after short periods, giving them greater flexibility than they might get with a traditional lease.

Meaning if it collapses it is going to have major repercussions across urban real estate markets all over the world. 

--more--"

Related:

"Startup workers often worry that going public means the fun is about to end — quarterly financial reports, disciplined spending, cheaper coffee. At WeWork, not going public may have brought a worse fate. Just three days after withdrawing its registration for an initial public offering, WeWork informed staff of far-reaching job cuts to come by the end of the month, said people who attended the meeting. Three top executives delivered the news from a room at WeWork’s New York headquarters Thursday afternoon. Although the executives didn’t specify how many jobs were on the line, people familiar with the discussions have pegged the amount at about 2,000, representing some 16 percent of the global workforce. Deliberations are ongoing, and the number could change. Signs that the party is ending came in both subtle and more direct ways. Many staff meetings at WeWork, even somber ones, have an alcoholic beverage on hand. This one did not. An employee asked in the meeting whether the WeWork Global Summit, a celebrity-adorned event in Los Angeles that employees look forward to every year, would still take place in January. Executives said it would not. The cost-cutting at WeWork’s parent company, We Co., resembles what’s happening now at Uber. The ride-hailing company said it was cutting more than 800 employees this summer. It also eliminated celebratory balloons for staff anniversaries. Each company counts SoftBank Group as its largest shareholder, and each is deeply unprofitable. The difference is that Uber actually made it to the stock market."

Meaning some suckers put down actual money on that piece of $hit pump-and-dump IPO, and the WeWorks employees weren't there for the free beer anyway!

Monday, September 30, 2019

A Step Back From Impeachment

It's not above the fold and there is no special section today.

As promised help for DCF lags, top lawmaker launches unusual oversight

Five months later and nothing has changed:

For the Children

Well, some, anyway.

Deja Vu at the DCF

It's like that every day when you read a Globe, and the answers are obviously more school funding and family leaves (maybe the kids could stay at the Peabody). Legi$looture to the re$cue, yaaaaay!

Boston’s zoning board is rife with conflicts

Conflicts is a polite word for corruption, as the Globe says their review of cases illustrates the incestuous mechanics of a permitting system that is now enmeshed in an influence-peddling scandal (time to take a backseat and rezone).

Elizabeth Warren loves selfies

It's the ‘heart of democracy, right?’

Well, not if it is in Austria.

[flip to below fold]

"Intelligence panel has deal to hear whistle-blower’s testimony" by Felicia Sonmez and Mike DeBonis Washington Post, September 29, 2019

WASHINGTON — House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday that his panel has reached an agreement to secure testimony from the anonymous whistle-blower whose detailed complaint launched an impeachment investigation into President Trump.

The announcement from Schiff came on the same day that Tom Bossert, a former Trump homeland security adviser, delivered a rebuke of the president, saying in an interview on ABC’s ‘‘This Week’’ that he was ‘‘deeply disturbed’’ by the implications of Trump’s recently reported actions.

Oh, another one with the knife out.

Those comments come as members of Congress return to their districts for a two-week recess, during which they will either make the case for Trump’s impeachment or defend him to voters amid mounting questions about his conduct. 

When you think about it, impeachment takes all the attention away from all the other issues. I hope they get an earful regarding their hypocrisy.

In appearances over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, offered a preview of the Democratic message, casting the impeachment inquiry as a somber task that she chose to endorse only as a last resort.

That's BS, and some are saying they did it to draw attention away from the U.N. Others are saying, and more rightly so, that the sudden announcement is about protecting the Clintons even if you have to sacrifice Biden because Liz is Hillary 2.0. That's why the Globe has latched on to her, and they kill two birds with one stone by using the progressive-left narrative to once again push Bernie aside and dupe their base.

Most Republican lawmakers and White House aides, meanwhile, continued to voice support for the president, even as they faced grilling by hosts on Sunday morning news shows over their efforts to discredit the unidentified whistle-blower and keep the focus on former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

The Trump-hating pre$$ smells blood in the water.

Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, pointed to an initial finding by the intelligence community inspector general stating that while the complaint was credible, the whistle-blower had an ‘‘arguable political bias.’’

“He had no firsthand knowledge. . . . And, second, he has a political bias,” Jordan said on CNN’s ‘‘State of the Union.’’ ‘‘That should tell us something about this guy who came forward with this claim.’’

Tells us all we need to know, really. It's a CIA asset that came out and the story was only revealed after Trump started asking about the Clinton servers that were in the hands of Crowdstrike.

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller went even further in an at-times heated interview on ‘‘Fox News Sunday.’’ Miller dodged several questions from Chris Wallace about allegations surrounding the president’s actions, such as Trump’s decision to use not the federal government but rather his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to obtain information on the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine.

He really doesn't have anyone to trust (except Javanka, right?). Relying on that corrupt clown and saboteur Giuliani was a mistake.

He also declined to answer when asked by Wallace to outline how, in his view, the Bidens broke any laws, and he disputed the use of the word ‘‘whistle-blower’’ to describe the person who sounded the alarm about Trump’s actions, arguing that the complaint was a ‘‘partisan hit job’’ by a ‘‘deep-state operative“; Maguire said in congressional testimony last week that he thinks the whistle-blower ‘‘is operating in good faith and has followed the law.’’ 

I suspect the Deep $tate pre$$ will start screaming conspiracy theory now.

As both sides sparred, Trump largely stayed out of public view. The president spent the weekend playing golf at his club in Sterling, Va. On Sunday morning, he sent more than 20 tweets and retweets slamming Fox News Channel host Ed Henry’s performance during a segment with conservative commentator Mark Levin.

If Fox has turned on him, he's finished.

Later Sunday, Trump tweeted that he wants Schiff ‘‘questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason’’ for his remarks at last week’s hearing in which Maguire testified, and Trump demanded to meet the whistle-blower as well as the person’s sources.

‘‘In addition, I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION, but also the person who illegally gave this information, which was largely incorrect, to the ‘Whistleblower,’ ‘‘ Trump tweeted. ‘‘Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!’’

On Sunday night, ‘‘60 Minutes’’ tweeted: “ ‘60 Minutes’ has obtained a letter that indicates the government whistleblower who set off the impeachment inquiry of President Trump is under federal protection because they fear for their safety.’’

‘‘60 Minutes’’ will also appear down below, and it is the Clintons (and Bushes) with the body bags. Were it Trump's shtick, the pre$$ would have found them by now. This is nothing more than the protection of a deep state asset and an attempt to draw sympathy.

House Democrats last week began an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s actions after the release of the whistle-blower complaint as well as a rough transcript of a July phone call in which Trump repeatedly urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden.

Hunter Biden served for nearly five years on the board of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest private gas company, whose owner came under scrutiny by Ukrainian prosecutors for possible abuse of power and unlawful enrichment. The former vice president’s son was not accused of wrongdoing in the investigation.

As vice president, Biden pressured Ukraine to fire the top prosecutor, who Biden and other Western officials said was not sufficiently pursuing corruption cases. At the time, the investigation into Burisma was dormant, according to former Ukrainian and US officials.

I suppose I'm surprised they even mentioned that much, as twisted and distorted as it is.

Trump’s handling of the matter appears to have alarmed voters. An ABC News-Ipsos poll released Sunday showed that 63 percent of adults say it is a serious problem that Trump pushed Zelensky to look at Hunter Biden.

I'm tired of their push polls that told us he would never be president. The alarm is the blatant double standards and distortions issuing forth from the pre$$ and the Democrats.

Among those expressing concern Sunday was Bossert, a rare official with ties to Trump who has taken on the president.

Bossert said he was ‘‘deeply disturbed’’ by the implications of Trump’s call to Zelensky and strongly criticized the president for seemingly furthering an unfounded theory that cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike played a role in shielding e-mails sent by Trump’s 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, and circulating allegations of Russian hacking.

First of all, it was a leak, not a hack, and the likely suspect was shot on the street without being robbed (and that is why Assange and Manning rot in prison because there are good whistleblowers and bad whistleblowers).

The US intelligence community has concluded that the Russians did hack Democratic sources in an effort to swing the election to Trump.

This the same US intelligence community that claimed Iraq had WMDs? 

The truth is it was about three agencies with around 20 people making that call, and yet the narrative is the entire collective agrees.

‘‘That conspiracy theory has got to go,’’ Bossert said on ABC News’s ‘‘This Week,’’ explaining that Trump was motivated to spread the ‘‘completely debunked’’ theory because he had ‘‘not gotten his pound of flesh yet’’ over accusations that he had Russian help in winning the 2016 election. ‘‘They have to stop with that. It cannot continue to be repeated in our discourse. . . . If he continues to focus on that white whale, it’s going to bring him down.’’

Oh, someone hit a nerve and what does race have to do with any of this?

--more--"

I'm told the ‘‘polls have changed drastically about this,’’ and one of the whistle-blower’s attorneys said that bipartisan negotiations in both chambers are ongoing ‘‘and we understand all agree that protecting the whistle-blowers’ identity is paramount.’’ 

Yeah, Deep State moles must be protected at all costs, and before you holler conspiracy theorist at me:

New York Times Admits Deep State Exists

New York Times Gets Letter From the Deep State

They never found out who wrote it (if anyone), and are now coming out of the woodwork:

"Federal election commissioner posts foreign interference memo on Twitter" by Neil Vigdor New York Times, September 29, 2019

The Federal Election Commission chairwoman, Ellen L. Weintraub, has taken the dramatic step of using Twitter to release the entire draft of a memo addressing foreign election interference.

Weintraub, a Democrat appointed by President George W. Bush, said she had tried to publish the memo in the commission’s weekly digest, but a Republican commission member, Caroline Hunter, had thwarted it.

Weintraub said Sunday that the six-page memo, which can also be found on the agency’s website, was drafted by the commission’s staff and was meant to provide guidance on rules about prohibited activities involving foreign nationals in elections.

If it can be found on the website what is the big deal? 

This article looks like nothing more than the endless insinuation of wrongdoing in some way as well as supporting the false narrative of Russian interference as AIPAC roams free.

She said it was unusual for another commissioner to object to publishing it in the digest, a weekly account of fines meted out by the agency for campaign finance law violations and other matters.

“I don’t need her permission to put out a statement,” Weintraub said in an interview. “I’m entitled to put something out there.”

It's no surprise that the Jewish whistleblower would feel that way.

Hunter, who served as chairwoman last year and is a former deputy counsel of the Republican National Committee, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. She was also appointed to the commission by Bush.

“Funny story,” Weintraub said in the opening line of her Twitter thread Friday.

Do I look like I'm laughing?

“I always thought these anti-regulatory people liked the First Amendment well enough,” she wrote. “I guess they think it’s just for corporations. I’m not fond of anyone trying to suppress my speech.”

Then she should have common cause with conservatives.

RelatedAhead of 2020 elections, Facebook falls short on anti-disinformation effort

That's strange because just the other day they had all the information regarding Trump's ad blitz.

Related: 


Thankfully, according to the New York Times, the United States and Israel are not one of them. 

You know where the Globe belongs, right?

The act of defiance by Weintraub came amid a deepening impeachment inquiry by Democrats on Capitol Hill and the release of a whistleblower’s complaint that said President Trump pressured Ukraine’s president to look into allegations of corruption against former vice president Joe Biden and his younger son.

What it looks like is part of a concerted and orchestrated effort.

It also amplified the investigation findings of Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election, including the arrest of 26 Russian nationals as part of a 22-month probe by Robert Mueller, the former special counsel.

“Obviously, it deals with a topic that’s been in the news a lot,” Weintraub said of the memo. “I thought it was worth putting it out there so people could see a summary of the law.”

Have you read the transcript of Trump's call? There is no quid pro quo or pressure there, and why shouldn't Biden and Burisma be investigated?

Weintraub said Hunter, who is the only Republican commission member, did not explain her objections to including the memo in the digest. She said digest items are typically reviewed by the commission’s communications committee, which is made up of Weintraub and Hunter.

The commission has been beleaguered by dysfunction; its vice chairman, Matthew S. Petersen, resigned in August, leaving what is supposed to be a six-member body with three commissioners, one short of the quorum required for it to take actions. As a result, Weintraub said, there are not enough members to vote on the rules interpretation memo.

This was not the first time that Weintraub has confronted Republicans. In an open letter to Trump that she shared on Twitter in August, Weintraub challenged the president to provide proof of his claim during a campaign rally that there had been voter fraud in New Hampshire during the 2016 presidential election.

Look who is talking!

“To put it in terms a former casino operator should understand: There comes a time when you need to lay your cards on the table or fold,” Weintraub wrote.

Weintraub said Sunday that the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School had debunked much of the misinformation that had spread about the scope of voter fraud in the United States.

That just confirms it as true, and it is all hands on deck to protect!

--more--"

They are forming a human shield to protect Hillary and the Clinton crime cabal:

"State Dept. investigating e-mail practices of Hillary Clinton’s former staff" by Edward Wong and Maggie Haberman New York Times, September 29, 2019

(Blog editor simply shakes head)

The State Department is continuing an investigation of e-mail use among employees who worked for Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state, asking scores of current and former officials to submit to questioning by the bureau overseeing diplomatic security, former officials said Sunday.

The investigation is examining whether employees used secure channels and the proper classification designations for what appeared to be routine e-mails at the time, former officials said. The e-mails were on subjects that were not considered classified at the time, but that have been or are being retroactively marked as classified.

Like they are out to get her like the pre$$ is Trump, huh?

What is a routine email for a Secretary of State who is selling influence?

The e-mails were sent to Clinton while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, in former president Barack Obama’s administration. They appear to have come to the attention of the diplomatic security bureau during earlier inquiries conducted by the State Department, Congress, and the FBI into Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server.

What inquiries? They handled it like a hot potato.

Although the FBI director at the time, James Comey, said the bureau had found that Clinton did not engage in wrongdoing, those earlier investigations threw a long shadow over the 2016 presidential campaign and are considered by Clinton and many analysts to be a factor in President Trump’s victory. The renewed focus on the e-mails was reported Saturday by The Washington Post.

She has blamed everything but climate change for her defeat, and it looks like the Post scooped ya', NYT!

Sometime soon after Trump took office and appointed Rex Tillerson as his first secretary of state, the department’s diplomatic security bureau carried out the first stages of an investigation into e-mail use by employees under Clinton, former officials said.

Most of the people being investigated were political appointees who were leaving or had already left the department. The inquiry focused on the years when Clinton was leading the State Department, even though many of the employees continued to work under her successor, John Kerry, former officials said.

A lot of them got rich in Ukraine, and the implication is that once you leave government the corruption should be forgotten!

The investigators appeared to want to finish the inquiry quickly and move on, former officials said. At some point during Tillerson’s tenure, people who had heard of the investigation thought it had ended because the diplomatic security bureau no longer appeared to be actively pursuing the question, officials said.

Mike Pompeo took over as secretary of state in April 2018, and in recent months the diplomatic security bureau has been interviewing current and former employees again about their e-mail use under Clinton, former officials said.

Before joining the Trump administration, Pompeo was a Republican member of the House, and served on the committee investigating the deadly raid on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Pompeo was among those who aggressively questioned Clinton.

The Justice Department inquiry into her use of a private e-mail server had its roots in that congressional investigation, which brought to light Clinton’s e-mail practices.

Former officials who described the current inquiry Sunday did so on the condition of anonymity, given the sensitivity of the matter. The State Department did not reply to a request for comment on the current investigation.

Look at the brave whistleblowers!

Looking to future prospects of the inquiry, the diplomatic security bureau could decide to make a formal note in a person’s file saying he or she had mishandled classified information, according to former officials. That could lead to that person being unable to get proper security clearances in the future, or the applicant might have to wait a long time for those clearances to be approved.

Clinton still has them?

Former officials said scrutinizing employees over their handling of information that was not classified at the time, and only retroactively classified, was unusual.

So is impeachment.

Also, many of those e-mails summarize conversations with foreign officials who themselves have no security clearance in the US government, yet are engaged in discussions about topics of interest to US counterparts. In many cases, e-mails that went to Clinton were part of a long e-mail chain created by officials forwarding e-mails to one another.

Yeah, no big deal, she just like you and me, and did the Times ever sanitized them for you! Nothing about private servers in her basement being destroyed or missing, nothing about destroyed documents and mobile devices, nothing about the cc file Huma sent, had the stuff running through a private email server, or the Clinton shakedown racket (that was Obama's price to pay for her agreeing to stand down)! #BillClintonMeToo

--more--"

That will be a one-day wonder, and Trump better be careful or he may end up dead (by Gal Tziperman Lotan of the Globe Staff with the witness David Cohen of Brooklyn, N.Y., who was staying at the bed-and-breakfast with his family. No one else was injured, and authorities are not releasing any details).

Related:

"Joe Biden’s presidential campaign contacted top television anchors and networks Sunday to “demand” that Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, be kept off the air because of what they called his misleading comments about the Biden family and Ukraine. “We are writing today with grave concern that you continue to book Rudy Giuliani on your air to spread false, debunked conspiracy theories on behalf of Donald Trump,” wrote a pair of top Biden campaign advisers, Anita Dunn and Kate Bedingfield, in the letter. “Giving Rudy Giuliani valuable time on your air to push these lies in the first place is a disservice to your audience and a disservice to journalism,” the advisers wrote. A copy of the letter was obtained by The New York Times. The note was sent to executives and top political anchors at ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC, including interviewers like Jake Tapper, Chuck Todd, and Chris Wallace. Giuliani could not immediately be reached Sunday for comment. Giuliani has been a ubiquitous presence on television news in recent days, including several appearances on Sunday. Advocating on Trump’s behalf, Giuliani has repeatedly alleged that Biden, while serving as vice president, intervened in Ukraine to assist his son Hunter’s business interests. No evidence has surfaced that Biden intentionally tried to help his son in Ukraine (New York Times)."

Working on his behalf is apparently not enough, as just asks the pre$$ to censor free speech.

His campaign must be in real trouble, so much so that he is not worried about the hypocritical contradictions.

"Under fire for peddling a debunked conspiracy theory, Giuliani said Sunday he would cooperate with the House’s impeachment inquiry only if Trump gave him permission. ‘‘If he decides that he wants me to testify, of course I’ll testify,’’ Giuliani said during a series of television appearances where impeachment dominated the discussions, but it’s not clear whether Representative Adam Schiff, whose House Intelligence Committee is taking the lead on the impeachment investigation, wants to hear sworn testimony from Giuliani. For now, Schiff, a California Democrat, is working to strike a deal with the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint forms the heart of the proceedings against the 45th president (Associated Press)." 

Hitting a nerve of truth then.

"The vast majority of Americans are not surprised that President Trump encouraged the Ukrainian president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden’s son, and fewer than half see it as a ‘‘very serious’’ problem, an ABC News-Ipsos poll released Sunday indicates. Just about half of Americans said they are ‘‘not surprised at all’’ to hear of Trump’s actions. An additional 32 percent said they are ‘‘not surprised.’’ The national poll, conducted Friday and Saturday, also finds that 63 percent of adults say it is a serious problem that Trump pushed the president of Ukraine to investigate the son of his potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden in a July call that has sparked an extraordinary whistleblower complaint and led Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry. Less than half of the public, 43 percent, said Trump’s action was ‘‘very serious.’’ The survey did not ask whether Trump should be impeached or about accusations that White House officials tried to keep the July phone call secret, a claim laid out by an unidentified whistleblower in a seven-page complaint released Thursday. Several reaction polls released in the past week found an increase in the percentage of Americans in favor of impeachment. An NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist survey found 49 percent approval for impeachment and 46 percent against. After the release of former special counsel Robert Mueller III’s report on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and throughout the summer, most polls showed majorities opposing impeachment. House Democrats are gambling that more of the public will support their decision to move ahead with a formal impeachment inquiry as the investigation progresses. Until this week, about half of Democratic caucus members wanted to launch impeachment proceedings. By Friday, all but 11 were on board. Despite the Ukraine story’s domination of headlines, just about one-quarter of adults say they have followed the news ‘‘very closely.’’ More than 6 in 10 say they are following the issue at least ‘‘somewhat closely.’’ The survey was conducted Sept. 27-28 using Ipsos’ Knowledge Panel, an ongoing survey panel recruited through random sampling of US households. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.8 percentage points (Washington Post)."

Well, they have completely lost me, and that comes from a person whose sole qualification for president was will he/she stand up to Israel.

In no way does that mean I want Obama 2.0:

"Cory Booker said he could end his presidential campaign by Tuesday unless he is able to reach his goal of $1.7 million in donations within the next 36 hours. Speaking on CNN’s ‘‘State of the Union’’ on Sunday, the New Jersey senator said that despite an ‘‘avalanche of support,’’ his campaign needed ‘‘some more help’’ from contributors. His campaign website shows he’s about $150,000 short of the amount he targeted on Sept. 21 to have a viable path to victory. Although he has languished at 2% or 3% in most polls and is struggling in fund-raising, Booker has qualified for the October debate of Democratic presidential candidates. In the CNN interview, Booker said he has also met the threshold of 165,000 unique donors required to participate in the November debate. Booker also rose to the defense of fellow candidate Joe Biden, saying the accusations from President Trump that the former vice president acted improperly to benefit his son Hunter’s business interests in Ukraine are unfounded. ‘‘I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I should be president, not him,’’ Booker said of Biden, with whom he has clashed on the campaign trail and at debates. Yet the allegations from Trump ‘‘should in no way affect the vice president in his pursuit of the nomination,’’ he said. ‘‘This can in no way besmirch his character, his honor, and his incredible service to this country over decades.’’ Instead, Booker said the focus should be on the actions of Trump and his family, and said he would tighten the rules if elected president. ‘‘I’m watching what’s going on with the Trump family right now and Trump properties, and I just find that deeply offensive to just any kind of independent sense of what’s honorable, ethical, not to mention consistent with the emoluments clause,’’ he said, referring to a clause in the Constitution that forbids accepting payments from foreign governments. ‘‘I just don’t think children of president and vice presidents during an administration should be out there doing that.’’ (Bloomberg News)." 

Those are fighting words (where are those emails anyway?), and need I remind you that this is a guy who defended Bain and Romney?

Beyond that, one wonders what the real reason is for ending his campaign. What was reported above doesn't pass the smell test. He's dropping out because he's a lousy $150k short after an avalanche of support?

Also see:

"A man accused of driving an SUV through a suburban Chicago shopping mall was charged Sunday with terrorism and ordered held without bond. Police in Schaumburg said the Cook County state’s attorney had authorized the charge against Javier Garcia, 22, of Palatine, Ill. Garcia also was charged with felony criminal damage to property. Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Annalee McGlone said during the bond hearing that on Sept. 20, Garcia drove his SUV through a Sears entrance into the common area of Woodfield Mall, weaving in and out of kiosks as shoppers ran for cover. No one was struck by the vehicle. ‘‘Chaos ensued among the patrons of the mall,’’ McGlone said. Under Illinois law, the Class X felony of terrorism can apply if the suspect is believed to have caused more than $100,000 in damage to any building containing five or more businesses, according to a statement issued by Schaumburg Police Sergeant Karen McCarthy. Investigators said in a statement that they believed Garcia acted alone, and that no motive has been determined. He was released to police custody on Friday from the AMITA Health Behavioral Institute.  Defense attorney Amil Alkass said Garcia has no criminal history. He also noted his client takes psychiatric medications and is being treated for bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia....."

‘‘He’s definitely not a terrorist’’ because ‘‘nobody targeted.’’ 

Gotta take away their licenses or ban cars, right?

"Police reports describe concerns eight years ago that the gunman who killed seven and wounded 25 last month in West Texas might have been planning an attack. Officers in Amarillo, Texas, went to the home of Seth Ator’s mother in February 2011 after she told them he had refused to take his mental-health medication and had threatened to end his own life in a shootout with police, CNN reported . They found a machete hidden in her son’s bed and an underground shelter he had dug in the backyard. In a recording the mother shared with police, her son declared, ‘‘911 will bow down before me.’’ Police interpreted what they found as preparations for an attack and were so troubled that they recorded floor plans of the property and shared the information with the city’s SWAT team, according to incident reports. Officers believed Ator was volatile and might hurt somebody someday. The police incident reports raise new questions about whether more could have been done to prevent Ator’s shooting spree in the cities of Midland and Odessa, Texas. It’s unclear how Ator, who once failed a background check for an attempted firearm purchase, acquired the AR-15-style rifle he used in the attack. Officers killed Ator outside a busy Odessa movie theater after the shooting rampage that lasted more than an hour. ‘‘There seemed to be some indication of some planned standoff with police,’’ one of the responding officers wrote in a report following the 2011 encounter. After inspecting the home, officers transported Ator to a hospital and he was medicated and admitted to a mental health treatment facility, according to the report. Police reports note that while in that facility Ator told security: ‘‘The police can’t be everywhere.’’ An officer stated: ‘‘I took this as a threat against the public.’’ 

All I can advise is avoid the movie theater lest something abominable happen.

Funeral, Sikh ceremony scheduled for slain Texas deputy

New York City police officer shot, killed

So that is the beat the New York Times now has Ali Watkins walking (now you know who leaked and how she got her scoops). #BlueLivesMatterMost

40 inches of snow in Montana 

‘It’s a February storm in September,’ and never mind that it has only just turned to fall because the timing couldn't have been worse after last week at the U.N.! Sorry, Greta!

I guess there is nothing going on in the world today so..... oh, wait:

Tropical storm drenches Mexican Pacific resorts

Btw, climate change also causes cancer so hop on your bike and start peddling (what's the carbon footprint on getting that lobster to China anyway?).

Have fun at the fair!

Major clashes erupt in Hong Kong before China’s national day

I stopped reading as soon as I say the New York Times byline, sorry.

About 20,000 rally in Moscow to demand protesters’ release

The Associated Press tells me that "amid the wave of opposition and public outrage, the authorities dropped charges against some of the protesters, but several people have been sentenced to prison terms of up to four years and a few others are in still custody."

As opposed to the controlled opposition protests here at home as the peace activists are slowly dying off and the movement, as such, is on fumes.

"A prominent bodyguard to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman was shot and killed in what authorities described as a personal dispute, state TV reported Sunday, offering few details on an incident that shocked the kingdom. Tributes poured in across social media for Major General Abdulaziz al-Fagham, with many including images of the bodyguard at work. One included him bending down to apparently help tie the shoes of King Salman, the 83-year-old ruler of the oil-rich kingdom. Others show al-Fagham in the background of events with both King Salman and his predecessor, the late King Abdullah. Details remained vague. While officials posted condolences for al-Fagham, the first official word of his death came in a single tweet by Saudi state television....." 

That is called a failed assassination attempt, people.

Saudi crown prince denies ordering Jamal Khashoggi’s murder  

Prince Mohammed also addressed the Sept. 14 missile and drone attack on Saudi oil facilities, and while Yemen’s Iranian-allied Houthi rebels claimed the assault, Saudi Arabia has said it was ‘‘unquestionably sponsored by Iran.’’ 

Related: 

"The average price of regular-grade gasoline has spiked 10 cents per gallon over the past two weeks. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that the jump results mostly from a drone attack this month on Saudi Arabia’s key oil facility, which briefly slashed the nation’s crude production in half. Still, the price at the pump is 18 cents lower than it was a year ago....." 

Yeah, CUI BONO? 

One also wonders why the price has gone up over the incident. Because of fracking, the U.S. is now the largest oil producer and exporter in the world. Gas should be cheap, if not free (just don't drink the water in Newark, Flint, the schools, or anywhere else), as the wealth inequality yawns 

Did ‘‘60 Minutes’’ ask the butcher of Yemen about the war next door, or did the AP just not bother reporting it? I wouldn't know because I don't watch that agenda-pushing crap anymore.

"Yemeni rebels on Sunday said they carried out a major assault on forces of a Saudi Arabian-led coalition near the two nations’ border, releasing footage they say shows hundreds of captured troops, including Saudi officers, and destroyed Saudi military vehicles. The rebels also said they killed or wounded 500 coalition soldiers. The Saudi-led coalition has yet to respond to the rebels’ claims. If confirmed, the assault would represent one of the most significant victories for the Iranian-aligned rebels, known as Houthis, in the nearly five-year civil war gripping the Middle East’s poorest nation. The Houthi-owned Al-Masirah television network on Sunday broadcast footage showing a long, snaking line of what the rebels said were captured troops walking in rugged terrain. Many of the men, who apparently surrendered to the rebels, were dressed in flip flops and the traditional sarong-like clothing worn in Yemen and parts of Saudi Arabia. A handful wore tan camouflage uniforms. At least two of the men said on camera that they were citizens of Saudi Arabia. Other images showed burning armored vehicles with Saudi markings and weapons that the Houthis said they seized. Houthi fighters are also shown apparently launching attacks on coalition troops, clashes that left what appears to be corpses in Saudi military uniforms. If claims about the attack are found to be credible, it is certain to fuel more concerns in Washington and Riyadh that Iran is behind the rebels’ growing military capabilities, which in recent months have included numerous drone and cruise missile attacks on Saudi soil (Washington Post)."

What does US intelligence (ha-ha-ha-ha) have too say?

Yeah, the Saudis are really ready for a war with Iran!

Maybe we can start getting our oil from Equatorial Guinea:

"A fleet of supercars said to have been seized by Swiss authorities in a money laundering investigation involving the son of the leader of Equatorial Guinea was auctioned Sunday in Switzerland. The State of Geneva offered the collection for sale. The proceeds were expected to be donated to a charity in Equatorial Guinea, an oil-rich but impoverished West African country....."

I'm so happy the $wi$$ are looking out for their best interests, although I do wonder about the carbon footprint of the cars.

"US businesswoman admitted affair with Boris Johnson, UK report says" by Benjamin Mueller New York Times, September 29, 2019

LONDON — The new revelations were published as Boris Johnson arrived with his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, in Manchester this weekend for the opening of the Conservative Party conference. The conference has been overshadowed by a Supreme Court ruling Tuesday that Johnson’s suspension of Parliament at the height of the Brexit crisis was “unlawful.” 

They obviously don't care and are not sensitive to her feelings.

The Sunday Times of London article this weekend fills in some details of an episode that has hounded Johnson during what has been a wobbly start to his leadership. The newspaper quotes as one of its sources David Enrich, who was an employee of The Wall Street Journal in 2013 when, he said, he interviewed US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, now 34, for an article about her business partner. He said he had been told by her friends about the alleged relationship between her and Johnson. Enrich is now a business editor at The New York Times.

Are you flipping kidding me?

How about asking Mark Thompson about Jimmy Saville!  

The New York Times has become nothing but smut that protects pedophiles and rapists like Epstein and Clinton by whitewashing it all.

The Globe's web version couldn't resist the titillation:

Earlier, The Sunday Times reported that Johnson often paid afternoon visits to the apartment where Arcuri lived in East London while on breaks from his duties as mayor. The article was illustrated with a photograph of Arcuri using a dancing pole fitted in her home.

What was Prince Andrew doing on Epstein's plane?

Johnson gave Arcuri’s first venture a major lift by appearing at four networking events for entrepreneurs and policymakers that her company had organized, the newspaper said. She received 11,500 pounds (around $14,000) in sponsorship money from an organization that was overseen by Johnson as mayor, and she was given coveted spots on trade missions with the mayor to Malaysia, New York, Singapore, and Tel Aviv. In some instances, Johnson’s office intervened to add her to the roster even though she did not meet the criteria for trade delegates, the report said.

That's not much money, and I see they made it to Israel.

Another business later set up by Arcuri, Hacker House, was awarded a central government grant of 100,000 pounds (about $120,000) in February, before Johnson became prime minister. An unnamed Conservative Party activist told the newspaper that Arcuri had acknowledged the affair and that, even when other people were around, played along with jokes about their status. After initially declining to discuss the accusations, Johnson told a reporter from the broadcaster ITV, “Absolutely everything was done with full propriety and in accordance with proper procedures.”

As long as he didn't abuse any kids.

Johnson was also accused this weekend of squeezing the thighs of two women seated on either side of him at a private lunch in 1999 at the headquarters of The Spectator, a right-wing magazine where he was editor at the time.

He's getting the Kavanaugh treatment!

Charlotte Edwardes, a columnist for The Sunday Times, said that Johnson had grabbed high on her thigh, touching “enough inner flesh beneath his fingers” to make her “sit suddenly upright.” She said the woman sitting on the other side of Johnson later told her that he did the same to her. The prime minister’s office denied the allegation, saying it was “untrue.”

Johnson’s serial philandering has frequently made headlines in Britain. Earlier in his career, he was fired from the Conservative Party’s leadership team after falsely denying reports of an extramarital affair, but the new accusations have put Johnson under a level of scrutiny that he has rarely received during his turbulent career.....

Wow, are they ever desperate to dredge this up!

--more--"

Don't worry. Soon he and Trump will be deposited in the dustbin of history.

Speaking of which, here's the graveyard of them all:

"Dismal turnout in Afghan election could leave government in even weaker position" by Susannah George and Pamela Constable Washington Post, September 29, 2019

Then we just have to stay to prop it up, right? 

Mission accomplished!

KABUL — The extent of the low turnout in Afghanistan’s fourth presidential election was becoming clear Sunday as officials began to tally the votes.

With just over half of all votes counted, Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission said Sunday that only 2.2 million out of 9 million registered voters are estimated to have cast ballots. Those numbers put turnout at less than half of what it was in 2014, the last presidential election.

That is not only low, it's pitiful (only the Bo$ton City Council sees lower turnout).

The diminished showing at the polls could put Afghanistan’s government in an even weaker position no matter who is declared winner.

‘‘The turnout was the lowest than any other election in the past 18 years,’’ said Sughra Saadat, program manager of Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan, an independent watchdog group. ‘‘The turnout was low even in secure areas where more people voted in the past.’’

A combination of security concerns, fear of fraud, and voting irregularities kept many people away, according to officials monitoring the electoral process. The two front-runners in the race are President Ashraf Ghani, who is a seeking a second term, and Abdullah Abdullah, the country’s chief executive.

‘‘The low turnout underscores two of Afghanistan’s greatest challenges, which have haunted Afghanistan for years: the relentless threat of violence and popular mistrust of political leaders,’’ said Michael Kugelman, a researcher with the Wilson Center.

It's pandemic, people!

What exactly is the Wilson Center anyway?

Low levels of voter participation were especially glaring among women. Saadat said the low female turnout can be partly attributed to the new requirement that all voters be photographed at the polling sites, including women. Female voters in some conservative rural areas, as well as their male relatives, objected to this provision, which was added recently as a way to prevent identity fraud.

AAAAAHH! 

Yeah, blame the women. 

Isn't it amazing how AmeriKa brings one type of "democracy" to those it subjugates while you need not even show ID here (have to for just about everything else, that's how sacred is the vote). I suppose that would hinder Democratic fraud, so.....

Tribal and religious customs in such areas, especially among ethnic Pashtuns, forbid exposing women to unrelated men or to the public, and they may leave home only if covered in full-face burqas.

How insane is that? 

It's the Taliban that is standing up to the global police state.

Scott Worden, a visiting specialist from the US Institute for Peace, said the low turnout showed that ‘‘while the day was not as violent as people feared and there were few casualties, the Taliban were successful in suppressing the vote through threats and restricting access to the polls.’’

They must be Republicans, right?

Btw, the US Institute for Peace is a government creation that overlaps with the Wilson Center -- as if the US government was interested in peace!

Five people were killed on election day on Saturday and 76 wounded in attacks across the country, according to the Defense Ministry.

Worden described the low turnout as a ‘‘mixed blessing.’’ On one hand, it means that ‘‘only a small number of Afghans will have a say in who the next president is,’’ but on the other, ‘‘there was not the massive chance for fraud’’ that has ruined previous elections here. ‘‘There was a smaller total but a potentially more legitimate result,’’ he said.

It's like looking for a kernel of corn in a turd, and would be laughable were not such death and misery being doled out over the lies.

The top priority for whoever is pronounced the winner will be to secure a peace deal with the Taliban, but the low turnout could undercut the next president’s claim to a seat at the table. As Ghani pushed elections forward, he argued that the vote was necessary to give the government a mandate to negotiate directly with the Taliban, which has long dismissed officials in Kabul as American puppets.

When the war-promoting pre$$ starts talking peace I reach for the slat shaker, sorry.

The web version kept counting the votes:

Instead, the Taliban has insisted on negotiating with the United States, and the latest round of talks appeared to be inching toward a peace deal before collapsing suddenly earlier this month.

‘‘Assuming there are no credible complaints about fraud and a clear winner comes through either on the first or the second round, it would be good if the new president understood that his mandate is partial,’’ said Kate Clark, a researcher with the Afghan Analysts Network, noting that a large number of Afghans did not vote either because they live in Taliban-controlled areas or because they were apathetic about the candidates running.

I imagine the Afghans feel the same way Americans do regarding the gaseous spew that comes from the politicians as living conditions deteriorate.

The head of the Afghan Independent Election Commission, Hawa Alam Nuristani, said Saturday night that this had been ‘‘the healthiest and fairest election in comparison to the previous elections.’’ Afghanistan has held four presidential elections and two for parliament since civilian rule was restored in 2001.

Yeah, that's great news!

With the voting complete, many in Afghanistan fear a drawn-out political wrangling. After the 2014 presidential election, in which Ghani and Abdullah were the front-runners, the country was thrown into a months-long political crisis amid allegations of fraud. A European Union report later raised fraud concerns related to about a quarter of all votes cast in that election.

When do their impeach hearing begin?

In an interview with The Washington Post, Abdullah said that his supporters would not be willing to ‘‘sacrifice’’ victory this time and that a fraud-marred result ‘‘will be contested.’’

According to the Afghan constitution, a presidential candidate needs more than 50 percent of the vote to be declared the winner. If no candidate meets that threshold, the constitution mandates that a second round of voting be held within two weeks of the release of the official results.....

Another vote?

They will start to resemble Israel!

--more--"

Related:

"In 2001, under threat of US military strikes, Afghanistan’s hard-line Taliban rulers said explicitly for the first time that Osama bin Laden was still in the country and that they knew his hideout."

They said they would turn him over if presented with evidence and Bush gave em the finger because he didn't have any.

"In 2014, US and Afghan officials signed a long-delayed security pact to keep nearly 10,000 American forces in Afghanistan beyond the planned final withdrawal of US and international combat forces at the end of the year."

Five fucking years later and still no end in sight!

Yeah, nothing going on in the world other than the same old agenda-pushing propaganda from the Globe.

UPDATERebel group attacks US military base in Somalia

It's al-CIA-Bob (pronounced al-Sha-Bob) as the wars and occupations begin to ferment.

"In 1938, after co-signing the Munich Agreement allowing Nazi annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said, "I believe it is peace for our time."

For some reason the web version edited that out because it was in print, and there would have been had it not been for Churchill and FDR (I'll let you piece it together for yourself).