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Gender: Male
Hometown: Arizona
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Member since: Wed Jul 16, 2008, 08:35 PM
Number of posts: 25,322

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Russian Embassy: Trump Initiated Putin Call, And It Was 90 Minutes, Not 60

The Russian embassy in Washington said that it was President Donald Trump who initiated the call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and that the conversation lasted 90 minutes.

Trump said Friday that the controversial call was “probably more than an hour,” and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters it was “slightly more than an hour.”

Putin urged Trump to “ease the sanction pressure” on North Korea as it makes a “good-faith fulfillment of its commitment,” apparently to denuclearize, the embassy noted on Facebook. The phone conversation occurred the day before Pyonyang fired a barrage of unidentified projectiles into the Sea of Japan. A North Korean statement Saturday said the test of “large-caliber long-range” rocket launchers and “tactical guided weapons” was intended to “increase the combat ability” of the country.



I think Assassin's Creed Odyssey might be the best game ever

Especial when you factor in the downloadable content. My first play through I did the main story as well as the side quests in the region's I visited and barely touched the DLC. I started over because I didn't finish killing all the cultists. My second play through I finished the main quests and searching for the Atlantis artifacts I have 2 out of 4. I still have 7 islands left to clear and to my surprise there are A LOT of side quests. Also looking for more cultists. I have just over 100 hours in this play through and havent got to the DLC which they added The Fate of Atlantis recently. This is on top of the DLC content they already added. This game has a ton of content.

For those that don't know it takes place in Greece during 450 BC and the game has the whole country in it. It also takes place during a civil war between Athens & Sparta and you can pick either side for region conquest battles.

I'd recommend to get a game guide to follow the main mission especially to know when to branch out for the Atlantis main quests.

Who's in the Democratic Debates, Who's in Danger of Missing Them

As you may have heard, the first Democratic presidential debate will be split across two nights, June 26 and 27, because there are so many candidates: 20 and counting.

What you may not have heard is that the debate qualifications are turning out to be relatively easy to meet — to the point that they may cause embarrassment for some Democrats.

First, let’s lay out the qualifications: A candidate either has to receive donations from 65,000 people (including 200 donors apiece in 20 states) or has to register 1 percent support in three polls. Only polls from a preset list of organizations are accepted, and candidates cannot count two polls from the same pollster in the same place.


55% flatly rule out voting for Trump, health care is top issue

The key issue of the 2018 midterms may stick around to trouble President Donald Trump in 2020: Americans, by a 17-point margin, say his handling of health care makes them more likely to oppose than support him for a second term.

That result, from the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, marks one of many challenges Trump is expected to face as he seeks re-election.

The Mueller report and his immigration policies are substantial negatives as well. As reported Friday, Trump’s overall popularity is low: just 39 % of people approve of his work in office, and 55% flatly rule out voting for him next year.

Beyond that, a remarkable 75% of Americans, and 85% of registered voters, say they’re certain to vote in the 2020 election -- intended turnout levels typically only seen in the closing days of a presidential contest. If that intensity is maintained, it may boost Democratic candidates, many of whose core support groups are less reliable voters.


See PDF for full results, charts and tables.


Blackwater Founder Erik Prince's New Company Is Operating In Iraq

Frontier Services Group has not publicly stated it is working in Iraq, but documents obtained by BuzzFeed News show it was registered there last year.

By Rosalind Adams

HONG KONG — A Hong Kong–based security and logistics company founded by Erik Prince is working in the south of Iraq, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Prince, a former Navy SEAL and the brother of US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is best known for founding Blackwater, a private mercenary company that was banned from Iraq after contractors opened fire on and killed unarmed civilians in Baghdad.

Backed by Chinese money, Prince started the Hong Kong–listed Frontier Services Group (FSG) as a logistics company in 2014. Since then it’s expanded from operating Africa-based projects to offering logistics and security services for China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, a global infrastructure strategy adopted by the Chinese government. FSG has additional offices in mainland China; Southeast Asia; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

A subsidiary of the company based in Dubai — Frontier Logistics Consultancy DMCC — registered as a foreign company with Iraq’s Ministry of Trade, a document from February 2018 shows. The office is based in Basra, an oil-rich region in the south of the country, a source said.


We found 85,000 cops who've been investigated for misconduct. Now you can read their records

USA TODAY is leading a national effort to obtain and publish disciplinary and misconduct records for thousands of police officers.
John Kelly and Mark Nichols, USA TODAY
Updated 52 minutes ago

At least 85,000 law enforcement officers across the USA have been investigated or disciplined for misconduct over the past decade, an investigation by USA TODAY Network found.

Officers have beaten members of the public, planted evidence and used their badges to harass women. They have lied, stolen, dealt drugs, driven drunk and abused their spouses.


Among the findings:

Most misconduct involves routine infractions, but the records reveal tens of thousands of cases of serious misconduct and abuse. They include 22,924 investigations of officers using excessive force, 3,145 allegations of rape, child molestation and other sexual misconduct and 2,307 cases of domestic violence by officers.

Dishonesty is a frequent problem. The records document at least 2,227 instances of perjury, tampering with evidence or witnesses or falsifying reports. There were 418 reports of officers obstructing investigations, most often when they or someone they knew were targets.


There is a searchable database at link.



Though marijuana has been legalized — at least for medical use — in more than half the country, it remains outlawed by the federal government, which still considers cannabis on a par with heroin. First-term Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota said Saturday morning that she believes it is time for the U.S. to not only legalize pot on a countrywide basis, but to retroactively clear the criminal records of those previously jailed on marijuana charges.

"Cannabis criminalization disproportionately impacts communities of color," wrote Omar on Twitter Saturday morning. "We must finally legalize cannabis nationwide and expunge records for those incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses."


According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Omar's statement about marijuana arrests disproportionately affecting people of color was accurate. ACLU research found that, between 2001 and 2010, black people were four times more likely to be arrested on marijuana-related charges than whites, despite the fact that cannabis was used by the same percentage of people in either racial demographic.


Bernie's biggest fans: The global left

Bernie’s biggest fans: The global left
Sanders is viewed abroad as a potential figurehead for a worldwide movement against right-wing populism.

By HOLLY OTTERBEIN 04/04/2019 05:02 AM EDT

Bernie Sanders has a base that no other 2020 candidate can claim: left-wing politicians around the globe.

From South America to Europe to the Middle East, leftist leaders are celebrating his candidacy, viewing him as an iconic democratic socialist with the potential to lead a worldwide progressive movement at a time when right-wing populism is on the rise across the map.


Not all of Sanders’ foreign fans are so controversial. Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom’s Labour Party have argued that Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn would have a “special relationship” if the two men both rose to the top of their countries.


"Bernie Sanders’ last campaign was part of the inspiration for the way in which Labour approached the 2017 general election,” he said, “where we went to a very low position in the polls to being the biggest swing to the Labour Party in a general election since 1945.”

“I was not alone among Corbyn’s supporters in reflecting on what Labour could learn from the Sanders campaign,” he wrote in 2018. “Not only was there considerable common ground on policy, they were both ‘anti-establishment’ politicians who had the authenticity and credibility, on the one hand, to counter the right-wing populism of Donald Trump and [Brexit leader] Nigel Farage and, on the other, to inspire and mobilise young people on a scale not seen for a generation.”


Why the U.S. and Saudi Arabia Are Destined to Diverge

From Stratfor
President Donald Trump’s current enthusiasm for Saudi Arabia notwithstanding, the relationship between the United States and perhaps its most important ally in the Middle East is undergoing a significant transformation. U.S. political pressure on Saudi Arabia is rising, led by a growing congressional discomfort over the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen and the circumstances surrounding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Beneath the surface of the politics of the day, a pair of more significant geopolitical shifts is helping pull the longtime allies apart: the evolution of the global system away from U.S. dominance toward an intensifying, near-peer competition with China, as well as the fundamental reshaping of the global oil and gas markets upon which Saudi Arabia has built its wealth and power. As both countries adjust to these changing dynamics, their shared strategic relationship will evolve away from the foundation of oil, counterterrorism and the mutual desire to contain Iran. It’s likely that, as those changes play out, the countries’ future priorities will not align as they have in past decades.

A Relationship Built on Pragmatism
Despite their obvious differences, Saudi Arabia and the United States have maintained a nearly eight-decade friendship. From the beginning, the U.S.-Saudi relationship has rested on mutual needs, not necessarily shared values. A meeting in the waning weeks of World War II aboard the USS Quincy between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz (better known in the West as Ibn Saud) set the stage for their countries’ close ties. The stark contrast between the lands that they governed could not have been more apparent. Roosevelt, arguably the leader of the world’s most powerful and industrially advanced country, had just attended the Yalta Conference, where he helped decide the postwar future of the globe. King Abdulaziz, on the other hand, came from one of the least developed countries in the Middle East, its oil industry still in its infancy.


The fall of the shah of Iran in 1979 pushed their relationship in a different direction. This time, the United States and Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia found themselves on the same side of the issue — with the Shiite-led Islamic Republic of Iran on the other. The Americans and the Saudis still were fighting communists, as their cooperation against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan evidenced, although once the Soviet Union collapsed, so did the battle against communism as a unifying priority. Just a few years after the Cold War ended, however, another common foe emerged: Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. The Gulf War and subsequent U.S. dual containment policy targeting both Iraq and Iran in the 1990s brought the United States and Saudi Arabia closer together. But other events over the years have also pushed them apart. The Iran-Contra affair complicated the relationship in the 1980s, while the rise of the global jihadist movement emanating from the Wahhabism sect, which is closely identified with Saudi Arabia, added another wrinkle, particularly after 9/11.


Russian Oligarch Sues the U.S. Over Sanctions

Source: New York Times

By Kenneth P. Vogel and Alan Rappeport
March 15, 2019

WASHINGTON — Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin, sued the United States government on Friday, demanding it lift sanctions that he claimed have cost him billions of dollars, made him “radioactive” in international business circles and exposed him to criminal investigation and asset confiscation in Russia.

In a lawsuit filed in United States District Court in Washington, Mr. Deripaska said that the sanctions, leveled in April by the Treasury Department, should be struck down because they deprived him of due process and relied on unproven smears that fell outside the sanctions program.

The lawsuit called Mr. Deripaska “the latest victim of this country’s political infighting and ongoing reaction to Russia’s purported interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections,” and asserted that “the general hysteria surrounding Deripaska prevents him from having a meaningful opportunity to challenge” the sanctions “through the normal channels for doing so.”

The sanctions were imposed in retaliation for “a range of malign activity around the globe” by Russia, including its election interference and its incursions into neighboring Ukraine, Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said at the time.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/15/us/politics/oleg-deripaska-russia-sanctions.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur
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