26 thoughts on “News/Politics 3-13-18

  1. It is a good idea for a country that cares about being a secure nation to put limits on big business mergers and acquisitions.

    US President Donald Trump has blocked a planned takeover of chipmaker Qualcomm by Singapore-based rival Broadcom on grounds of national security.

    His order cited “credible evidence” that the proposed $140bn (£100bn) deal “threatens to impair the national security of the US”.

    There were concerns the takeover could have led to China pulling ahead in the development of 5G wireless technology.

    The deal would have been the biggest technology sector takeover on record.
    A takeover of Qualcomm by Broadcom would have created the world’s third-largest maker of microchips, behind Intel and Samsung.

    The chipmaking sector is in a race to develop chips for the latest 5G wireless technology and Qualcomm is considered to be a leader in this field, followed by Broadcom and China’s telecoms giant Huawei.

    Analysts say Qualcomm is highly regarded for its commitment to research and development (R&D), particularly in the field of 5G technology. Huawei is equally committed to R&D in the area.

    However, Broadcom is better known for selling assets and growing through acquisitions, and deemed to be weaker on R&D.



  2. Apparently Amazon is becoming more and more powerful politically.

    Antitrust critics fear that a winner-take-all contract for the Defense Department’s cloud computing needs could help tech giant Amazon corner the government contract market even further.

    The winner of the contract, which the DOD updated its position on last week, in its current form would give its winner control over serving the Pentagon’s cloud computing system as it switches over from an older IT system. The agency predicts that the contract will be worth billions.

    Amazon competitors like IBM and Microsoft have been pushing for a multi-party contract that would split cloud-computing services between several companies. They argue that leaving the contract in the hands of a single provider unnecessarily increases cybersecurity risks.
    “It’s certainly an indication that Amazon has enormous political power,” said Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a research group that advocates for local businesses and tracks Amazon’s movements in government. “They have translated their corporate power and wealth into political power.”

    “The fact that the process was accelerated and opaque and that other bidders didn’t have the opportunity to get involved and bid on it — it seems to be an indication that Amazon has an inside track to a competitive bidding process,” she argued.

    Matt Stoller, an economist at the Open Markets Institute who has become a vocal critic of Amazon’s market power, said that Amazon landing the sole-source contract could have wide-ranging negative effects.

    “This is a monopoly story but this is a really serious national security story,” Stoller said.
    “A single-source provider for Pentagon cloud services is obviously reckless. The Pentagon should clearly have multiple cloud providers so that if something happens to one of them there is resiliency and redundancy.”



  3. This is a good article. Sounds like it’s time China came of the list of most favored trade partners….

    …. Xi got China’s parliament to pass sweeping changes to the constitution Sunday, repealing presidential term limits so he can rule indefinitely. He’s also taking other measures to dramatically expand the Communist Party’s role in daily life.

    Since taking power five years ago, Xi has reasserted the party’s supremacy, with himself as its “core” leader. That has meant greater control over personnel and strategy at state-owned enterprises, which control about 40 percent of the nation’s industrial production, as well as schools and universities.

    Speaking at a party meeting in October, Xi revived a phrase from Mao Zedong and declared, “east, west, south, north and center — the party leads everything.”

    Xi’s chief policy-making instrument has been an increasing array of party “leading small groups,” which set and coordinate policy. He’s overhauled the bureaucracy to make the party more dominant, while also giving it a far more prominent role in business.

    In practice, this has seen the government promote a presence for party committees in companies. Some state-owned enterprises such as FAW Car Co. and Sinoma Science & Technology Co. changed their company bylaws to provide a greater role for party committees.

    The changes are impacting foreign companies and their joint ventures, too. The vice minister of the party’s organization department, Qi Yu, boasted in October that some 70 percent of the 106,000 foreign firms operating in China already had party committees.

    “Companies are concerned establishment of a party unit in the company means the party would play a role in companies’ operational decision making — leading to decisions made for political rather than business reasons,” said Jacob Parker, vice president of China operations at the U.S.-China Business Council. “We are concerned about that. Introducing political objectives and management roles into foreign invested enterprises is not a positive step for businesses.”



  4. CONTENT WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    A few weeks back I read this story. Due to it’s nature, I didn’t share it. It’s heartbreaking and sad. But recent events have put it back in the news, so now I am. Political correctness and an unwillingness to offend the invading hordes of barbarians responsible can and did hurt investigations like these.

    First the older one…..


    “The National Crime Agency (NCA) has identified even more victims in the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal that rocked the United Kingdom back in 2014.

    The number is now at 1,510.

    A previous report said that 1,400 suffered abuse between 1997 and 2013. Officials have identified 110 suspects:

    80% are of Pakistani heritage
    38 arrested
    18 charged
    2 cautioned
    4 convicted
    The scandal launched Operation Stovewood, which currently has 34 investigations ongoing and six trials set to go this year.

    Unfortunately, more information like this may come out in the future. Senior Investigating Officer Paul Williamson said that the inquiry’s “momentum and pace” will continue to increase and “will continue to increase.” In one case, just one victim “led police to identify 17 other victims, 30 suspects and 27 possible crime scenes.”

    Officers are speaking to 260 victims, but they claim that they want to speak to all of the victims. The majority of the victims are white girls between the ages of 11 and 18. ”

    Now the update…..


    “The Sunday Mirror blew open ANOTHER child sex abuse ring in Britain. This 18-month investigation found up to 1,000 girls, as young as 11, raped, sold for sex, and even killed for over 40 years in Telford, located 146 miles southeast of London.

    The Mirror reported:

    Social workers knew of abuse in the 1990s but police took a decade to launch a probe
    Council staff viewed abused and trafficked children as “prostitutes” instead of victims, according to previously unseen files

    Authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of “racism”
    Police failed to investigate one recent case five times until an MP intervened
    One victim said cops tried to stop her finding out why her abusers had not been prosecuted because they feared she would talk to us

    Police conducted an inquiry into child prostitution called Operation Chalice, which led to imprisonment of seven men in 2013. A report from the local Telford and Wreckin Council that same year said that “[F]rom the late 1990s professionals had concerns about the nature of some of the child sexual abuse cases presented to them.” Nothing happened, though, due to “existing procedures” and “understanding and learning at that time.”

    But people told the authorities about the abuse decades before Chalice. The Mirror found out that two pedophiles started “targeting girls at a local children’s home in 1981.” One of those “abusers earned thousands a night for years trafficking girls around the country for sex with hundreds of men, according to one victim.”

    The publication spoke to 12 victims who “accused more than 70 abusers and claimed that violent rapes were still taking place just months ago.” ”

    Are there no real men left in the UK willing to stand up and stop these atrocities?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. AJ, I don’t know if the incidence of human trafficking and sex slavery is increasing or if it’s being more reported. But these things are happening in the US as well. I have read of rings being broken up here in Tennessee and in Connecticut in the past few years. Often the victims are illegal residents, but not always. It’s very disturbing.


  6. Texan Rex Tillerson has been kicked out of the nut house.

    The story is that he never wanted to take the job, but did so after his wife told him it was his patriotic duty. Which reminds me of an important rule for male Texans:

    You defer to your wife about interior decorating matters, the color of her car and how long your mother-in-law will visit. You do not defer to her about whether you will go to work for a dishonest Yankee imbecile. If you do, you will wind up calling him a “moron” in public and things will be rather tense thereafter.


  7. Jennifer Rubin on Nunes:

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Re Tillerson: The timing is bad, but you don’t call your boss a moron (even if he is), if you want to keep your job. Trump is not circumspect, and apparently the professionals surrounding him in DC are not able to contain themselves and be any better. :–/


  9. This one will be quite a show. A real doozy.


    “While I don’t expect smooth sledding for Pompeo, we can expect Haspel’s nomination hearing to be particularly rough. Because of one word: waterboarding.

    Ordinarily, nominating a career intelligence officer (she joined the Agency in 1985), particularly one from the operations side of the house (she ran the Operations Directorate/National Clandestine Service and served undercover overseas) rather than a pencil-neck analyst, and a woman, would be considered an inspired choice in an administration where staffing seems to be constantly in flux. But Haspel’s nomination was controversial in a lot of quarters when she was promoted to the non-Senate-confirmed deputy director position:

    New York Times: New C.I.A. Deputy Director, Gina Haspel, Had Leading Role in Torture

    The Guardian: CIA deputy director linked to torture at Thailand black site

    The Intercept: The CIA’s New Deputy Director Ran a Black Site for Torture

    Sarah Lee

    The New Yorker: The New C.I.A. Deputy Chief’s Black-Site Past

    Did I mention waterboarding?

    The big dings on Haspel are that she was involved in the extraordinary rendition program which is where terrorists captured by the United States were handed over to other countries for interrogation. She ran a “black site” prison in Thailand where she was pretty meany-pants to Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Abu Zubaydah:”


  10. The wrath of the deranged infant has not subsided.

    Did Goldstein also call him a “moron”?


  11. Meanwhile, in actual news….


    “A senior Barack Obama State Department official gave the green light to an FBI agent in 2016 to meet with dossier writer Christopher Steele, a meeting that touched off a relationship that would fuel the ongoing investigation into possible Donald Trump-Russia election collusion.

    And, the sensational Steele allegation that led to an FBI wiretap on Trump volunteer Carter Page came from “pillow talk” with the lover of a Kremlin official, a new book says.

    The disclosure that Victoria Nuland started the process is contained in “Russian Roulette,” a new book out on Tuesday by Yahoo News report Michael Isikoff and Mother Jones magazine’s David Corn.

    Two committees, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Judiciary Committee, are investigating how Obama officials promoted Mr. Steele’s 35-page dossier. It makes a series of criminal charges against President Trump and his associates, contending there was an “extensive conspiracy” between them and the Kremlin. This supposed collusion has not been substantiated publicly. House Intelligence committee republicans on Monday said their 14-month investigation found no collusion.

    “Russian Roulette” shows Obama people played a deeper role in promoting the dossier to get it into the hands of law enforcement.”


  12. Or Goldstein told the truth about the President (the US is his employer). In the Trump Administration, speaking the truth is a fireable offense.


  13. Technology is where the US needs to be protectionists, not steel. And to avoid monopolies they might want to start an anti-trust investigation on Amazon. And for good measure, send in the IRS to see why this trillion dollar company doesnt pay taxes.

    Right wing tabloids have focused on the racial heritage of the human traffickers for the tepid response of the English police. However, the socio-economic status of the victims may be an other reason — most of these girls were from council estate housing — “white trash”. And hence the police viewed the girls as willing participants or as girls nobody cared about it. Now if they were white girls from nice middle class homes I’m sure the police would be all over the Pakistani men….class prejudice is alive and well.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Another firing.

    Or not.


    “President Donald Trump’s longtime personal assistant John McEntee has left the White House and will join the president’s 2020 re-election campaign.

    The Wall Street Journal reported the White House fired him over security issues. Other reports indicate the firing happened because he is under investigation for serious financial crimes.

    Officials escorted McEntee out of the White House on Tuesday and did not allow him to collect his belongings. WSJ wrote that the aide “indicated to colleagues that it was an issue in his background.”

    White House Chief of Staff John Kelly implemented “a stricter security-clearance policy” when he took over the role. Kelly said last summer that “he realized a large number of staffers still held interim clearances after more than seven months in the administration.”

    He discovered “at least 35 officials” who “inappropriately” received top secret clearance.

    Other reports indicate an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security “for serious financial crimes” that “are not related to the President” led to McEntee’s firing.”


  15. Not that it will matter to some people…..


    “I feel for Tillerson, as he’s a serious man with an impressive career who left a powerful job and a luxe life, however briefly, to serve his country. He deserved better than the ignominious way in which he was fired too. But there’s no disputing that he was a bad fit for this job and for this president, having gutted the Department and ceded diplomatic influence to lesser figures like Nikki Haley and, gulp, Jared Kushner. He wasn’t even consulted before Trump accepted the offer to meet with Kim Jong Un. Imagine how low morale must be at State for careerists there to see their boss treated the way he was today by Trump, a figure many of them no doubt disdain, and feel obliged to quietly applaud the move anyway.”

    “But what Pompeo gives them, potentially, is influence. He has a rapport with the president, according to the media. He’s respected by other cabinet members like Haley. Trump may not take his advice but there’s every reason to believe he’ll take it seriously. That’s a position State hasn’t been in since late January 2017. And so, as much as some may cringe at the thought of cheering a major Trump decision affecting their department, they’re cheering:

    “There is strong sense of relief at State. The last year has been traumatic to put it mildly. It was as though ‘T-Rex’ stomped through Foggy Bottom devouring staff and structures,” said Brett Bruen, a former State Department official…

    “People see this as a chance for a clean sweep,” said one staffer, who like most others spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid losing his job. “This team has proven itself incapable of managing the State Department.”…

    “While Pompeo’s views seem to have expressed a preference for force over diplomacy, my guess is he knows his success is dependent upon the information that comes to him through the building,” one State official said. “I think he’ll rely more heavily on depth of experience across the department than Tillerson ever cared to.”

    That’s the other way in which State’s influence grew today. It’s not just a matter of Trump being more amenable to persuasion by Pompeo, it’s a matter of Pompeo potentially being more amenable to persuasion by career diplomats at the Department. Tillerson was notorious for surrounding himself with a handpicked team of close aides and giving short shrift to State’s collective institutional knowledge (in some respects mirroring his now former boss). Pompeo, however, has shown that he’s willing and able to channel his agency’s institutional opinion even when it conflicts with Trump’s. He’s been consistent for the past year, dating back to his confirmation hearings for CIA chief, in saying that he agrees with CIA’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the campaign hackings in 2016. State staffers may be looking at that and thinking if he’s willing to stand up to Trump for the intel community, he’ll be willing to stand up to him for the diplomatic community.

    But even if he doesn’t, morale — and management — can only improve with Pompeo in charge:

    “On Tillerson: hallelujah!” one State Department official said…”


  16. As noted before, Trey Gowdy is an honest Southern gentleman as opposed to Nunes and the other Trump cultists on the House Intelligence Committee.


  17. This is remarkable. Tillerson called Trump a “moron” and survived. Tillerson called Putin a murderer and was instantly fired.

    Putin may or may not have the “pee tape”. However, it is clear he is holding something over the head of our imbecile.


  18. 🙄

    TDS is not pretty.

    Fortunately they make medications that may help Ricky. Maybe it’s time you look into that.


  19. At least she’s taking the VP’s advice.


    “”The View” co-host Joy Behar publicly apologized Tuesday for her remarks that Vice President Mike Pence had a “mental illness” because of his Christian faith, saying she fell short of respecting all religions.

    Behar made the remarks in February after former White House aide Omarosa Marigault Newman disparaged Pence during a reality show appearance, mocking him for thinking Jesus spoke to him.

    “Like I said before, it’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you,” Behar said. “That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.”

    She later said she was joking, but Pence said the remarks were “wrong” and it was later revealed by Disney CEO Bob Iger that she telephoned Pence to express contrition for her comments.

    Pence praised her for reaching out, but he told Fox News host Sean Hannity Monday he hoped she would make a public statement to the “tens of millions of Americans” who were offended by her comments.”


  20. This is why Sam Nunberg was so upset last week. Nunberg’s mentor Roger Stone (Trump’s longtime friend and advisor) knew well in advance that Wikileaks (via Russia) had the hacked emails from the Democrats. If Stone knew, you can bet that Trump knew. Last week Nunberg had to spill the beans to Mueller.



  21. Interesting…..

    All the players in the soft coup.


    “A new book claims former President Barack Obama hired Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Romney.
    Obama used law firm Perkins Coie to hide payment to Fusion GPS
    The Clinton campaign would later do the same thing to investigate Trump

    The Barack Obama presidential campaign hired Fusion GPS in 2012 to dig up dirt on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to a book released on Tuesday.

    The Obama campaign hid its payments to Fusion GPS through its law firm, Perkins Coie. The arrangement is similar to the one that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee used to pay Fusion for its investigation of then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016.”


    “FEC records as well as federal court records show that Marc Elias, the Perkins Coie lawyer whom the Washington Post reported was responsible for the payments to Fusion GPS on behalf of Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, also previously served as a counsel for OFA. In Shamblin v. Obama for America, a 2013 case in federal court in Florida, federal court records list Elias as simultaneously serving as lead attorney for both OFA and the DNC.

    OFA, which managed Obama’s successful re-election campaign in 2012, retooled after that campaign to focus on enacting the president’s agenda during his final term in office. The group reorganized again after the 2016 election and planned to use its staff and resources to oppose President Donald Trump. During the entire 2016 campaign cycle, the group spent only $4.5 million, according to FEC records.

    Federal records show that Hillary Clinton’s official campaign organization, Hillary For America, paid just under $5.1 million to Perkins Coie in 2016. The DNC paid nearly $5.4 million to the law firm in 2016.

    The timing and nature of the payments to Perkins Coie by Obama’s official campaign arm raise significant questions about whether OFA was funding Fusion GPS, how much Obama and his team knew about the contents and provenance of the dossier long before its contents were made public, and whether the president or his government lieutenants knowingly used a partisan political document to justify official government actions targeting the president’s political opponents named in the dossier. According to the Washington Post, Fusion GPS was first retained by Perkins Coie on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in April of 2016.

    At the same time that Hillary’s campaign, Obama’s campaign organization, and the DNC were simultaneously paying Perkins Coie, the spouse of one of Fusion GPS’s key employees was working directly for Obama in the West Wing. Shailagh Murray, a former Washington Post reporter-turned-political operative, was serving as a top communications adviser to Obama while the Obama administration was reportedly using information from the dossier to justify secret surveillance of Trump campaign staff. Murray is married to Neil King, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was hired by Fusion GPS in December of 2016. While at the Wall Street Journal, King worked alongside Fusion GPS’s core team, even sharing bylines with Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS executive who personally hired Steele to probe Trump’s alleged Russia connections.”


  22. The wars of the 21st century may well be economic wars. The country which trades more with more countries and invests more in other countries will eventually prevail. China’s leaders understand this. Past US leaders understood this. Stormy Daniels’ boyfriend? Not so much.


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