New U.S. sanctions proposed against Moscow

New U.S. sanctions proposed against Moscow.

On Friday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry had signaled that the U.S. would need to downsize its staff to 455, to exactly match the number of Russian diplomatic and technical staff in the U.S. Now, Putin has announced the exact number of staff he’s ordered the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to cut. In an interview Sunday on Russian TV, Putin said he is opposed to any additional retaliatory actions against the U.S., at least “as of today,” Reuters reports. The new U.S. sanctions against Russia were overwhelmingly approved by Congress earlier this week, with a veto-proof majority. President Trump was initially opposed to the sanctions, but the White House says he is preparing to sign them into law. “The legislation slaps Moscow with new financial restrictions on doing business with American entities while also restricting Trump’s ability to waive those penalties. Often, a president has a freer hand in dealing with foreign governments, but the bill deliberately takes away that discretion. “To waive sanctions on Russia, Trump would have to send Congress a report explaining and justifying his decision, and lawmakers would then get 30 days to decide whether to allow it. “The vote puts Trump in an awkward position. He raised eyebrows from his first days on the campaign trail by expressing a desire to improve the U.S.- Russia relationship. He and his staff have specifically expressed an openness to easing sanctions. ” ‘I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia from a position of strength only, is possible, absolutely possible,’ Trump said last year at a campaign speech in Washington.” Speaking in Estonia on Sunday, Vice President Pence criticized Russia’s “destabilizing activities.” But, he said, “if Russia will change its behavior, our relationship will change for the good.”

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When we had a Real President

Yes, we once had a president we could be proud of.
He wasn’t a serial liar, he never bragged about his money.
He volunteered to fight for his country and personally rescued his soldiers.
He loved his fellow Americans, rich and  poor, black  and white.
He had grace and compassion, he was murdered by America’s enemies.
Zamir Etzioni

Sadly, we are now cursed with a “so-called President” that intelligent Americans are ashamed of.
Most Americans voted against him.JFK surely would have been offended—if not terrified—at Trump’s blatant disinterest in and disregard for history, serious reading and scholarship. That he would heap contempt on Trump—who says he’s too busy for books yet always has time for “Page Six,” the New York Post’s celebrity page, cannot be doubted. Trump, perhaps the most narcissistic American public figure since Gen. Douglas MacArthur—who Truman fired—would also be lambasted for his selfish “me first” persona.
JFK’s inaugural address, delivered 56 years ago, is still remembered for its inspirational rhetoric. “Ask not what your country can do for you,” he said, “but what you can do for your country.” By contrast, Trump’s inaugural address was only four months ago—can you remember even one line from it? His “American carnage” theme—laced with anger and resentment—was instantly forgotten, a wasted opportunity. Leadership is persuasion, the art of getting others to follow, and in a time of division and economic uncertainty, it is a skill whose importance cannot be overestimated. Kennedy worked at this to the very end. A speech, undelivered on the day of his assassination, spoke critically of those “finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility.” Kennedy also believed that presidents are judged on four things: character, courage, integrity, and judgment. Donald Trump, you’re no Jack Kennedy.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-trump-stacks-up-to-reagan-jfk-and-other-presidential-greats-2017-05-30

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Trump Proves He Can Read the Teleprompter

trump teleprompter

Donald Trump reads from a teleprompter, ordered to stick to the text

Although trump’s delivery of Bannon’s speech was wooden and read without emphasis, he proved he can read.

Obviously, the point of the speech was to impress his Saudi bosses that not only is he not as stupid as most Americans think he is, but that he is not the raving lunatic most consider him to be. He read the speech as it was written for him and didn’t stumble over the “big words”. A Saudi journalist said “Too bad he can’t speak like that normally.”  Insiders in the scandal-ridden White House say that the next time he reads a speech they will insert directions, such as, “Look away from the teleprompter. Act like you are interested. Try to look like you understand what you are saying.”

It’s ironic that this buffoon is rapidly becoming the most controlled mannequin ever to sit in the oval office. But as he has said, “It’s hard to be President. It’s even harder than living off your Daddy’s money.”

Trump Passes Classified Information to Russians

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.

[Political chaos in Washington is a return on investment in Moscow]

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”
The revelation comes as the president faces rising legal and political pressure on multiple Russia-related fronts. Last week, he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump’s subsequent admission that his decision was driven by “this Russia thing” was seen by critics as attempted obstruction of justice.

One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — a key figure in earlier Russia controversies — into the Oval Office. It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.
For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.

White House officials involved in the meeting said Trump discussed only shared concerns about terrorism.

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,” said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

McMaster reiterated his statement in a subsequent appearance at the White House on Monday and described the Washington Post story as “false,” but did not take any questions.

In their statements, White House officials emphasized that Trump had not discussed specific intelligence sources and methods, rather than addressing whether he had disclosed information drawn from sensitive sources.

But officials expressed concern about Trump’s handling of sensitive information as well as his grasp of the potential consequences. Exposure of an intelligence stream that has provided critical insight into the Islamic State, they said, could hinder the United States’ and its allies’ ability to detect future threats.

[On Russia, Trump and his top national security aides seem to be at odds]

“It is all kind of shocking,” said a former senior U.S. official who is close to current administration officials. “Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it’s all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.”

In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.

The Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.

“Everyone knows this stream is very sensitive, and the idea of sharing it at this level of granularity with the Russians is troubling,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who also worked closely with members of the Trump national security team. He and others spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.

The identification of the location was seen as particularly problematic, officials said, because Russia could use that detail to help identify the U.S. ally or intelligence capability involved. Officials said the capability could be useful for other purposes, possibly providing intelligence on Russia’s presence in Syria. Moscow would be keenly interested in identifying that source and perhaps disrupting it.

[Trump’s new Russia expert wrote a psychological profile of Valdimir Putin – and it should scare Trump]

Russia and the United States both regard the Islamic State as an enemy and share limited information about terrorist threats. But the two nations have competing agendas in Syria, where Moscow has deployed military assets and personnel to support President Bashar al-Assad.

“Russia could identify our sources or techniques,” the senior U.S. official said.

A former intelligence official who handled high-level intelligence on Russia said that given the clues Trump provided, “I don’t think that it would be that hard [for Russian spy services] to figure this out.”
At a more fundamental level, the information wasn’t the United States’ to provide to others. Under the rules of espionage, governments — and even individual agencies — are given significant control over whether and how the information they gather is disseminated, even after it has been shared. Violating that practice undercuts trust considered essential to sharing secrets.

The officials declined to identify the ally but said it has previously voiced frustration with Washington’s inability to safeguard sensitive information related to Iraq and Syria.

“If that partner learned we’d given this to Russia without their knowledge or asking first, that is a blow to that relationship,” the U.S. official said.

Trump also described measures the United States has taken or is contemplating to counter the threat, including military operations in Iraq and Syria, as well as other steps to tighten security, officials said.

The officials would not discuss details of those measures, but the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed that it is considering banning laptops and other large electronic devices from carry-on bags on flights between Europe and the United States. The United States and Britain imposed a similar ban in March affecting travelers passing through airports in 10 Muslim-majority countries.

Trump cast the countermeasures in wistful terms. “Can you believe the world we live in today?” he said, according to one official. “Isn’t it crazy?”

Lavrov and Kislyak were also accompanied by aides.

A Russian photographer took photos of part of the session that were released by the Russian state-owned Tass news agency. No U.S. news organization was allowed to attend any part of the meeting.

[Presence of Russian photographer in Oval Office raises alarms]

Senior White House officials appeared to recognize quickly that Trump had overstepped and moved to contain the potential fallout. Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, placed calls to the directors of the CIA and the NSA, the services most directly involved in the intelligence-sharing arrangement with the partner.
One of Bossert’s subordinates also called for the problematic portion of Trump’s discussion to be stricken from internal memos and for the full transcript to be limited to a small circle of recipients, efforts to prevent sensitive details from being disseminated further or leaked.

White House officials defended Trump. “This story is false,” said Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser for strategy. “The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.”

But officials could not explain why staff members nevertheless felt it necessary to alert the CIA and the NSA.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he would rather comment on the revelations in the Post story after “I know a little bit more about it,” but added: “Obviously, they are in a downward spiral right now and have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happening. And the shame of it is, there’s a really good national security team in place.”

Corker also said, “The chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think makes — it creates a worrisome environment.”

Trump has repeatedly gone off-script in his dealings with high-ranking foreign officials, most notably in his contentious introductory conversation with the Australian prime minister earlier this year. He has also faced criticism for seemingly lax attention to security at his Florida retreat, Mar-a-Lago, where he appeared to field preliminary reports of a North Korea missile launch in full view of casual diners.

U.S. officials said that the National Security Council continues to prepare multi-page briefings for Trump to guide him through conversations with foreign leaders, but that he has insisted that the guidance be distilled to a single page of bullet points — and often ignores those.

“He seems to get in the room or on the phone and just goes with it, and that has big downsides,” the second former official said. “Does he understand what’s classified and what’s not? That’s what worries me.”

Lavrov’s reaction to the Trump disclosures was muted, officials said, calling for the United States to work more closely with Moscow on fighting terrorism.

Kislyak has figured prominently in damaging stories about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign just 24 days into the job over his contacts with Kislyak and his misleading statements about them. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from matters related to the FBI’s Russia investigation after it was revealed that he had met and spoke with Kislyak, despite denying any contact with Russian officials during his confirmation hearing.

“I’m sure Kislyak was able to fire off a good cable back to the Kremlin with all the details” he gleaned from Trump, said the former U.S. official who handled intelligence on Russia.

The White House readout of the meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak made no mention of the discussion of a terrorist threat.

“Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria,” the summary said. The president also “raised Ukraine” and “emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russia.”

Julie Tate and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report
By Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe May 15 at 7:45 PM

10 Things Trump Supporters Are Too Stupid To Realize

Donald Trump is the worst kind of idiot there is: a dangerous one. He’s a short-fingered trust-fund baby with a comically absurd hairdo, hell-bent on becoming the president for personal gain, and he’s willing to say whatever stupid people want to hear in order to achieve that goal.

trump-the-fool

Trump Supporters Aren’t The Sharpest Tools In The Shed

But They Sure Are Tools…

Enough is enough, Trump supporters. We’re done! America has had enough of you. As Hillary Clinton said, “¡Basta!” You refuse to listen to reason, you refuse to absorb any actual facts, and the low-information voter routine got old well before it even began. So I’m going to try and get through to you using the last method we have left: facts, delivered with enough insults, aimed directly toward your willfully ignorant faces, to hopefully get your blood flowing enough to make your brains work properly. And if this doesn’t work, well, at least the rest of us will get to laugh for a little while… you know, before the Fourth Reich begins.

Donald Trump is amassing an army of Neanderthals who only pay enough attention to politics and current events to bitch about how much they hate Obama. If you’re a Trump supporter, then yes, I’m talking about you. You’re an idiot. In fact, it’s worse than that… you’re an idiot by choice.

All of the information known to the human race is available at your fingertips, in the phone in your pocket or on whatever device you’re reading this article, but you choose, free will and all, to ignore anything that doesn’t jive with your preconceived notions. Oh, right, you’re a stupid person… “preconceived notions” are things you think you know before learning something new. Go ahead and pop an aspirin. Feeling better? Good. Let’s continue.

I’m going to lay this out plain as day for you, dummies. Here are ten things that are absolutely, undeniably true. They’re facts. These aren’t my opinions, they aren’t open to interpretation, they aren’t things I’m making up… these are actual, God-honest facts. Take a few minutes with each one. Take an hour if you need it. If we can raise your IQ by a single digit, this will have been a decent success.

Ten Things Trump Supporters Are Too Stupid To Realize

1. Trump Recently Wanted Socialist Universal Health Care. I’m not talking about something that happened ten or twenty years ago, either. Donald Trump’s original health care plan as of September of 2015 — about half a year ago — involved universal health care for every American citizen. For real. I’m not making that up. Here’s an article from Breitbart (a super conservative website you probably trust more than you trust us) that proves it. It wasn’t the first time he pushed for universal health care, either. Here’s what he wrote in 2000:
“I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on health. It is an unacceptable but accurate fact that the number of uninsured Americans has risen to 42 million. Working out detailed plans will take time. But the goal should be clear: Our people are our greatest asset. We must take care of our own. We must have universal healthcare.” –

2.Donald Trump Used To Support Gun Control. He was big on banning assault weapons, as well as background checks and waiting periods, when he wrote his book back in 2000. Nowadays, he’s more conservative. But you know how people love to rail on Hillary Clinton because she’s a flip-flopper? Donald Trump is a flip-flopper, too.

3. Trump Supported Hillary Clinton! Speaking of Hillary Clinton, guess who was a big supporter of hers until recently? Donald Trump, that’s who. He financially backed her Senate campaigns repeatedly, and made a yuuuge donation to the Clinton Foundation of more than $100,000 as well. Hillary Clinton sat front-row at Trump’s most recent wedding in 2005, too (Bill was at the reception). He’s been in cahoots with the Clintons in the past. I guess you have a new catchphrase now? Trump “Pals Around With Clintons?” Let’s see if that one catches on.

4. “Trump” isn’t really Donald Trump’s Last Name. His actual last name is “Drumpf.” Not kidding. His family changed it right before they came to America. That’s right, the immigrant hater not only employed illegal immigrants, he’s descended of immigrants, too. Of course, you probably are too – and that hasn’t stopped you.

5. Donald Trump Speaks Like A Third-Grader. Do you know why he’s appealing to stupid people? Because he speaks their language. When a bunch of researchers analyzed Trump’s speeches, they found that he uses small words and short sentences, and has the general vocabulary of a CHILD in the third-grade. Maybe the fact that he “talks plain” appeals to you, but shouldn’t a president be smarter than you? Don’t you want a leader who actually thinks? You know… a leader with a brain? A functional brain?

6. You Look Like Nazis. There’s no pleasant way of telling you this, but when you have a booger hanging out of your nose, it’s polite for someone to tell you before you end up getting embarrassed. Donald Trump’s supporters look like Nazis at his rallies. Sticking your right hands up in the air and chanting your allegiance to Donald Trump while all of the people who disagree with him are beaten up and dragged away, all while your charismatic leader rambles about how much he hates people of certain ethnicities… you don’t need to be a genius to see the similarities here, people.

7. Trump Hates Poor People… Including You. Most of Donald Trump’s supporters are poor. You might hope to be wealthy like The Donald someday, but chances are, you won’t be. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, I’m just being honest with you. And because you’re poor, Donald Trump thinks you’re a stupid person who doesn’t deserve to vote. Those are his words, not mine. Do you think poverty equals stupidity? Are you a dumb person just because you don’t have as much money as he does? Well… you’re supporting Trump, so you’re definitely a stupid person, but it’s not because you’re poor (for most of you, it’s because your mom drank during her pregnancy… just keepin’ it 100, folks). But I’m not sure why I’m even going on about this. It’s not as if you can read anyway.

8. Trump Isn’t Actually Explaining His Positions. He talks about how awesome America will be under his reign during his presidency, but he doesn’t really tell us how he’ll do any of this stuff. The only people who hate Donald Trump more than Democrats are Republicans, so he isn’t going to be able to broker these “fantastic deals” he keeps telling us about. And no, Mexico won’t pay for his wall, either. Why would they? Can you actually answer that question using factual information? No, you can’t, because that factual information doesn’t exist. Don’t buy the magic beans, dummies. They don’t do what you think they do.

9. No, Trump Won’t “Keep Us Safe.” I keep hearing Trump supporters claim Trump will “keep us safe.” How exactly will he do that? I mean, he doesn’t detail his plans in any way (which we just covered a moment ago in #8… I know how prone you are to forgetting stuff). He just talks tough and acts tough, but what evidence is there of him being capable of thinking strategically and intellectually? What evidence is there that he can keep us out of wars, or prevent terror attacks from striking American soil? I mean, I play lots of video games… that probably makes me 3000% more qualified to “keep us safe” than Donald Trump is. Me… the guy who writes dick jokes (thanks, by the, to one Donald Trump’s high minded debate style) and other snark on the Internet for a living. I’m definitely not qualified to be president, either, before you ask. Do you people actually ask questions, or do you just take him at his word for no apparent reason whatsoever?

10. Trump Lies To You Constantly. The worst part is, he doesn’t appear to realize he’s doing it. Remember when Donald Trump told you that unemployment was higher than the government claims? Yeah… he was making that up. The real unemployment number is 4.9% (as of this article being written). That’s using the same metric we’ve measured every American President by since the 1940’s. The other, higher number? Yeah… that’s made up. Trump wants you to believe that as much as 50% of the country is unemployed, but there’s literally no proof of that whatsoever. He just pulled that number out of his orange ass, and you’re stupid, so you believed it.

Donald Trump Is Dangerous

I don’t know what else you need to hear, or what other factual information you need to swallow. Any one of these ten things should at least make you second-guess whether you’re backing the right loud, abrasive, douchey orange horse or not. The question is, who among you is smart enough to breath with your mouth closed, let alone use Google and try to ascertain some facts about this ignoramus you want to elect as president?

Donald Trump is the worst kind of idiot there is: a dangerous one. He’s a short-fingered trust-fund baby with a comically absurd hairdo, hell-bent on becoming the president for personal gain, and he’s willing to say whatever stupid people want to hear in order to achieve that goal.

Being stupid is a lifestyle choice, folks. You can be a smart person if you really want to be. All it takes is a small amount of effort… a lot less effort than it takes to join Trump’s Nazi-like “movement,” for sure. All it really takes is one book. No, not that one. A different one.