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TBR News May 26, 2018

May 26 2018

The Voice of the White House  

Washington, D.C. May 26, 2018: “Here is an illuminating and entertaining email we received from a reader.”

‘ I just read in the NY Times that someone stole a collection of tattooed lampshades and two cases of soap from the Holocaust Museum in Brighton Beach last month!

They also got some bottles of human ash (with teeth, etc, inside) from the same place. Cops said the thieves rented a place next door, tunneled down and then cut through the floor.

What a caper!

Of course the kicker here is that all the pieces are stone fakes.

Jimmy Treudeau made the lampshades out of pig skin and the soap came from a dealer in Florida. The bars were marked ‘RJF’ which is supposed to be ‘Pure Jew Fat’ in German. Problem is that ‘RJF’ stands for ‘Roberta Jczek Foundation.’ This was a group dedicated to helping one-legged reggae dancers perform better and when it folded last year, the soap was sold to some dealer down in Georgia.

And the so-called ‘human ashes’ were nothing but ‘Sack-Krete’ cement with a few teeth from a dentist’s office in Dallas.

The Holocaust Museum bought these from Jimmy, as fakes, and have been selling them to other Holocaust Museums (there are three hundred of these by last count) as genuine holy relics.

What a joke!

All that work for fake crap!

Well, we haven’t heard the end of this.

Mark has been selling all those pictures supposed to be SS men killing Jews in Poland. Problem is, Mark got an SS Panzer reenactor group to pose in his field and the Jews were actually Mexican fruit-pickers working down the block!

Mark has made a mint, especially when he came out with his Special Sets showing ‘babies’ being thrown up into the air and caught on 98k bayonets held by the reenactors!

He filled some rubber baby dolls with raspberry jello and the pictures are pretty graphic. They dumped the ripped-up dolls into the local river and some old geezer saw them and called the cops…and had a fatal heart attack later while he was driving a school bus!

What a mess, dudes!

That river was full of floating tiny tots, some real and some rubber.’

The Table of Contents

  • The Saudi Lobby’s Scheme to Destroy the Iran Deal
  • Donald Trump Has Liberated Koreans From the Illusion That America Is Helping Them
  • Macron’s St. Petersburg mission: Keep Russia in the European family
  • S. judge declines to dismiss ex-Trump aide’s false statement charges
  • Michael Cohen: inside the strange world of Trump’s fixer
  • Venezuela is about to explode
  • The Destruction of the World Trade Center
  • The Government-Approved Rip-Off
  • Irish abortion referendum: Ireland overturns abortion ban

 The Saudi Lobby’s Scheme to Destroy the Iran Deal

They gave Obama their tepid approval, then poured millions into a three-year campaign to kill it—and won.

May 23, 2018

by William D. Hartung and Ben Freeman

The American Conservative

Benjamin Netanyahu’s April 30 presentation accusing Iran of lying about its nuclear program was clearly aimed at a Western audience, and at one man in particular—Donald Trump. Trump was already inclined to violate and exit the multi-party deal to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon, but Netanyahu’s presentation offered a timely addition to the administration’s rhetorical arsenal. His PowerPoint performance, filled with misleading assertions and stale information dressed up as new revelations, was referenced by Trump as part of the justification for abandoning the nuclear deal.

While this garnered headlines, another U.S. ally—Saudi Arabia—had been orchestrating a quieter but equally effective lobbying and public relations push to dismantle the deal. The Saudis’ arguments were used just as much, if not more, by Trump in justifying his decision for the U.S. to walk away from a carefully crafted agreement that even some of his own military leaders had acknowledged was working.

The Saudi lobby’s push began long before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was formally announced on July 14, 2015. In fact, Saudi lobbyists had been working behind the scenes in the U.S. for years to ensure that the Kingdom’s concerns were incorporated into any deal Washington would agree to with Iran—if there was to be a deal at all.

In total, the Christian Science Monitor found that Saudi Arabia spent $11 million dollars on Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)-registered firms in 2015, and “much of this spending relates to Iran.” They were also assembling former policymakers like Senator Norm Coleman, whose FARA disclosure mentions his work on “limiting Iranian nuclear capability.” More recently, Coleman penned an op-ed in The Hill applauding Trump for leaving the deal without disclosing that he was being paid by the Saudi government.

Despite their strong opposition to any deal with Iran, however, many of the Saudis’ concerns were ultimately addressed by the JCPOA, specifically their demands that “snapback” provisions be incorporated to quickly reinstitute sanctions if Iran violated the agreement and that inspectors have access to military and other suspect sites. Above all, the Saudis wanted an assurance that the deal would prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. The agreement provided this and President Obama guaranteed it. This led to what many had thought impossible—Saudi Arabia supporting the Iran deal. Obama sealed the grudging support of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States in a May 2015 meeting at Camp David where he offered “reassurances” that the deal would not jeopardize their security, underscored by a promise to sell them even more weaponry.

But Saudi support for the deal was tepid and ephemeral at best. While publicly supporting it, the Saudis and their lobbyists in D.C. were quietly working to undermine it. Their arguments largely centered on two points: that the funds freed up by the deal would underwrite Iran’s continued support for terrorist groups, and that the deal would do nothing to halt Iran’s ballistic missile program.

While more than two dozen D.C. lobbying and public relations firms working for Saudi interests have registered under FARA since the U.S. agreed to the Iran deal, none has been more aggressively pushing these anti-Iran talking points than the MSLGroup (which acquired long-serving Saudi client Qorvis Communications in 2014). The MSLGroup, which has been paid more than $6 million dollars by the Saudis just since the U.S. agreed to the Iran deal, has distributed a variety of “informational materials” (formerly called propaganda) on each of these topics, including a five-page fact sheet on “Iranian Aggression in Yemen,” and a press release on Iran being the “biggest state sponsor of terrorism,” among many others. And of course, the MSLGroup wasn’t alone in spreading anti-Iran propaganda on behalf of the Saudi regime. For example, as recently as March 2018, the Glover Park Group distributed information on Iran’s “region,” and Hogan Lovells distributed “facts about the Houthis and Iran,” with a section on Iran’s ballistic missiles.

With these talking points in hand, the Saudis saw an opportunity in the election of the neophyte Donald Trump to up the ante on Iran, and they invested heavily in courting him. Their efforts paid off handsomely as Trump made his first overseas visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, initially supported them in their spat with Qatar (until he learned the U.S. has a rather large military base in Qatar), kept U.S. military support and bombs flowing for a Saudi-led campaign in Yemen that has cost more than 10,000 civilians their lives, and agreed to sell them billions of dollars in additional U.S. weaponry of all sorts, from more munitions to a costly missile defense system. But Saudi Arabia still wanted more—they wanted the U.S. out of the Iran deal.

While Saudi Arabia’s most unlikely ally in this cause, Israel, took a very outspoken approach to move the president, which culminated in Netanyahu’s misleading presentation, the Saudis used their well-financed lobbying machine to disseminate their message into the D.C. bloodstream. Their primary talking points found their way to the president’s ears and became routine features of his justification for abandoning the deal. The White House statement justifying leaving the Iran deal is littered with Saudi lobby talking points, including that “The JCPOA failed to deal with the threat of Iran’s missile program,” and Iran “continues to fund terrorist proxies… In Yemen, the regime has escalated the conflict and used the Houthis as a proxy to attack other nations.” The president’s remarks on the day he announced that the U.S. was abandoning the deal are also rife with language that could easily have been lifted from a Saudi-financed “fact sheet.” In fact, Trump’s second sentence, “the Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terrorism,” is nearly verbatim off of an anti-Iran talking point distributed by the MSLGroup.

Why did the Saudis want the U.S. to abandon the Iran deal? A New York Times analysis identified what is probably the primary reason—a fear that the deal would be the first step towards a U.S. rapprochement with Iran that would undermine the Saudi regime’s power in the region in general and its campaign against Iran in particular. “Exiting the deal, with or without a plan, is fine with the Saudis,” the Times wrote. “They see the accord as a dangerous distraction from the real problem of confronting Iran around the region—a problem that Saudi Arabia believes will be solved only by leadership change in Iran.”

Former State Department official Jeremy Shapiro underscored this point when he noted that the Saudis and their Gulf allies “believe they are in this existential conflict with the Iranian regime, and nuclear weapons are a small part of that conflict…. If the deal opened an avenue for better relations between the United States and Iran, that would be a disaster for the Saudis,” he said. “They need to ensure a motivation for American pressure against Iran that will last even after this administration.”

One disquieting outcome of the trashing of the Iran nuclear deal is that Saudi Arabia has threatened to acquire a nuclear weapon of its own if the end of the agreement leads Iran to revive its program. This is not the first time Saudi leaders have made such threats. Just after Trump announced the U.S. would be leaving the deal, the Saudi foreign minister said that if Iran now builds a nuclear weapon his country “will do everything we can” to follow suit. So on top of its implications for increased conventional conflict in the region, the end of U.S. participation in the Iran deal could spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East—an outcome that would have been far less likely if U.S. participation in the Iran deal had been maintained.

The potential for a Mideast nuclear arms race is yet another example of the disastrous consequences of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reckless foreign policy, which includes everything from his regime’s brutal, counterproductive intervention in Yemen, to the Saudi-led effort to impose a blockade on Qatar, to its promotion of regime change in Iran—preferably carried out by the United States.

In the wake of the U.S. pullout from the Iran deal, we can expect the Saudi lobby, working in concert with administration allies ranging from Jared Kushner to newly appointed national security advisor John Bolton, to double down in its efforts to promote these ill-advised, dangerous directions for U.S. foreign policy in the region. Countering Riyadh’s blatant influence peddling should be part of an expanded effort to distance the United States from its increasingly risky, counterproductive relationship with Saudi Arabia. If Mohammed bin Salman’s aggressive policies—and Saudi advocacy for them in Washington—continue, Riyadh is one “friend” the United States should consider doing without.

 

Donald Trump Has Liberated Koreans From the Illusion That America Is Helping Them

May 25, 2018

by Peter Maass

The Intercept

It’s strange to say, but there is an upside to the goat rodeo way in which President Donald Trump has cancelled, for the moment, his North Korea summit. No president has done a better job of making clear that the United States is an impediment to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Is this a disaster? It could be, because anything Trump touches can turn to nuclear ash. But the summit cancellation — or postponement or revival or who knows what to call it, given Trump’s garbled moods — has the prospect of being useful if South Korea and North Korea seize the moment to take matters into their own hands, improving their ties despite the toxic clown show in the Oval Office.

“Ultimately, this cannot just go back to how it was before the Winter Olympics,” tweeted Abraham Denmark, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia. “North Korea is in a stronger position, Kim has far more legitimacy, China is more engaged, South Korea has invested a lot into diplomacy, and the U.S. role is more circumscribed.”

While officials in North Korea and South Korea were apparently unaware of the cancellation until Trump announced it, South Korean President Moon Jae-in indicated that his reconciliation efforts would move ahead (and who knows, maybe the summit will move ahead, too). “The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and ensuring a permanent peace are historic tasks that cannot be delayed or forsaken,” Moon said after an emergency session of his national security council.

This is an emperor-has-no-clothes moment, but not only in the sense of Trump and coherent thinking. For more than a century, the Korean Peninsula has been the unlucky target of more foreign intervention than arguably any other spot on the planet (which, I know, is saying a lot). Trump has shown just how capricious and prejudicial the actions of outsiders can be, doing little to serve the interests of the 75 million people who live there.

From 1910 to 1945, Korea was a Japanese colony. Koreans were forced to adopt Japanese names, forced to work in Japanese mines, and women were forced into prostitution for Japanese soldiers. After the Japanese empire collapsed at the end of World War II, the Korean Peninsula was divided into American and Russian zones along the 38th parallel — Koreans had no choice or role in that. In the Korean War that broke out in 1950, more than 5 million soldiers and civilians were killed – a calamity of historic proportions. Most of the slaughter occurred in North Korea, where the U.S. dropped more bombs than during its entire Pacific campaign against Japan.

While North Korea has been understandably condemned for its nuclear weapons program, guess who started the nuclear race? It was the U.S. that brought nuclear weapons to South Korea in 1958 and kept them there for more than three decades (the last ones were removed in 1991). “The presence of those American weapons probably motivated the North Koreans to accelerate development of their own nuclear weapons,” noted Walter Pincus. “The Seoul government still remains under the American nuclear umbrella — and the impetus for Kim Jong Un to have his own remains.”

Emphasizing this malignancy-from-without is not to ignore the unhelpful ways that Korea’s own leaders have contributed to the troubles. There was Kim Il Sung, who built the north into an achingly brutal dictatorship that was continued by his son, Kim Jong Il, and his son, Kim Jong Un (the current supreme leader). In the south, there was the U.S.-backed Syngman Rhee and the military leaders who succeeded him. While turning the south into an economic powerhouse, the virulently anti-communist generals (Park Chung Hee, Chun Doo Hwan, and Roh Tae Woo) suppressed democracy at gunpoint. But what the leaders of the north and south have done – what they were able to do – was a direct consequence of the policies and interests of Beijing, Moscow, and Washington, D.C.

And there’s a critical element missing from much of the U.S. discourse on North Korea: the 25 million North Koreans. I lived in South Korea for three years and visited North Korea on one bizarre occasion long ago, so I find it hard to forget that actual people are affected by what the U.S. does. We obsess about Kim Jong Un and his nuclear weapons. While that is understandable – nukes are not to be taken lightly, of course — there is little discussion of an issue right-wingers profess to be deeply concerned about: the well-being of the ordinary people who are brutally oppressed by the Kim regime. What is best for them? The hawks do not really care. “Stick to the status quo,” Bret Stephens memorably wrote in the New York Times. “It’s served us well enough for 65 years.”

It’s unsustainable to argue any longer that further isolating and punishing North Korea is the best way forward. That policy has been tried for most of the last few decades and guess what — the Kim regime now has a functional nuclear deterrent and shows no signs of collapsing under economic or political strains. What the hawks of the U.S. establishment wish for — more sanctions, more isolation, more threats — is the classic definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Moon, of South Korea, clearly realizes that forging a better relationship with his detestable counterparts in the north is preferable to trying to isolate them out of existence (which has not worked) or going to war against them (which would be another calamity). The clarifying advantage of Trump’s tween antics is that Moon and Kim and the rest of the world now have ample evidence the White House is not a helpful partner, or even sane. This is not the breakthrough we wished for, but to borrow an idea from Donald Rumsfeld, this is the breakthrough we have.

 

Macron’s St. Petersburg mission: Keep Russia in the European family

May 25, 2018

by Bryan MacDonald

RT

The question of whether Russia is a European or Asian country, or both, has perplexed its leaders and citizens for centuries. However, French President Emmanuel Macron believes he knows the answer.

SAINT PETERSBURG – The top table at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) hosted leaders responsible for around 30 percent of global GDP. And quite a line-up it was: Macron and Vladimir Putin, alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and IMF supremo Christine Lagarde.

Indeed, there was so much collective power gathered at Friday event that Bloomberg’s John Micklethwait, who was serving as moderator, quipped how it was the result of Donald Trump’s unique ability to bring people together. However, while humorous, this was an America-centric take that missed the bigger picture.

What was really happening in St. Petersburg was a sort of tug of war, where Russians flirted with East and West as they continue to ponder on which side their bread will be buttered in the future. While Washington and its sidekicks in London don’t seem overly perturbed by Russia’s drift to Asia, France and Germany are alarmed, and representatives from both countries continuously referenced the issue at the SPIEF.

And then Macron made it clear where he stood. “Russia is an inalienable part of Europe… mistakes have been made in the past… we must work to remove our divisions on many issues,” he said.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had earlier warmed up to the same theme: highlighting how an energy partnership with Russia was in Europe’s vital interest. He also mocked US attempts to kibosh the proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, saying he wouldn’t currently look to Washington for “examples of high governance.”

Russian analysts present this week echoed Schroeder’s assertion that the Americans are wielding sanctions for business advantage. And Putin himself warned how protectionist measures could eventually lead to a devastating global crisis.

“The system of multilateral cooperation, which took years to build, is no longer allowed to evolve. It is being broken in a very crude way. Breaking the rules is becoming the new rule,” the Russian president remarked.

Also fascinating was how discourse at the SPIEF differed from the isolationist rhetoric prevalent in London and Washington these days. Putin expressed support for free trade and investment, as well as openness to Chinese companies operating in Russia and their people moving here in tandem. Indeed, one Italian delegate remarked how the world had been turned on its head: “Thatcher and Reagan used to be the ones pushing these agendas, who would have imagined 30 years ago, Moscow and Beijing standing up for capitalist globalization?”

While Wang and Abe spoke of mutually respectful relations honed over many years, Macron was in a thoroughly different position. But the young French leader was keen to play the humble guest: beginning his speech with tributes to those in St. Petersburg who had died in the Second World War, before making a lengthy reference to Leo Tolstoy’s War & Peace.

Nevertheless, politics caught up to Macron when he praised French business for staying in Russia despite “tough times.” Because Russians present were quick to note how Paris was one of the primary drivers behind the Western sanctions that have hurt the Russian economy.

On the ground, the atmosphere was friendly. And the French descended in numbers, with leading companies from Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy to oil major Total investing in lavish stands.

“You look at Russian culture and it’s all European: from Pushkin to Tolstoy and Rachmaninoff to Tchaikovsky. Despite the geography, this is not an Asian country, in any way,” an exhibitor from Lyon noted.

Yet the Russians are keeping their options open. Putin pointed out that, beyond the bluster, French engagement in Russia isn’t as substantial as many might believe.

“Finland’s Fortum invested €6 billion in Russia, while the whole of France invested €15 billion,” he pointedly told Macron, who had earlier said that France desired to become the largest direct investor in Russia.

Putin outlined why this target was ambitious: “trade with Europe was worth $450 billion once, now it has fallen by half. With China, trade is going to reach $100 billion soon.” That said, despite these occasional reality checks, “Vladimir” and “Emmanuel” seemed to be hitting it off.

Russian business delegates wanted their officials to play all sides.

“Russia should be friends with everyone. Why should we choose?” Alina Ustinova from Rostov Oblast noted. “We are mostly European, but a bit Asian too and we must trade with all comers. Even the Americans are welcome, when they finally see sense.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with dancing with the French on Friday night and the Chinese on Saturday; perhaps we could even manage a Wednesday for Trump,” she teased.

 

 

U.S. judge declines to dismiss ex-Trump aide’s false statement charges

May 25, 2018

by Sarah N. Lynch

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, lost a bid on Friday to have certain criminal charges filed against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over Manafort’s case in Washington, said in a ruling that she will not dismiss one of the charges against Manafort related to false statements concerning whether he was required to register as a foreign agent for Ukraine’s then pro-Russia government.

However, she said the arguments his attorneys made regarding dismissing one of the charges can be re-examined after his criminal trial later this year.

A spokesman for Manafort declined to comment on the ruling.

Jackson’s ruling marks yet another setback for Manafort.

Earlier this month, the same judge refused to dismiss the entire indictment after Manafort’s lawyers argued unsuccessfully that Mueller had overstepped his prosecutorial powers.

Manafort is facing two indictments, this one in Washington and another in Virginia, which both arose from Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

Manafort is the most senior member of Trump’s campaign to be indicted, though the charges do not relate to campaign activities.

In both cases, Manafort’s lawyers claimed that the indictments should be dismissed on the grounds that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein violated Justice Department rules when he tapped Mueller in May 2017 and gave him too much power.

Manafort’s lawyers also filed more targeted requests to dismiss certain charges in the Washington case on more technical legal grounds.

They argued that Jackson should dismiss one of two charges against him related to false statements because they target the same underlying offense and are therefore “multiplicitous” and violate the Double Jeopardy clause of the U.S. Constitution.

That clause prohibits charging a person twice for the same offense.

One of the charges in the indictment relates to making false statements, and the other alleges he violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act when he filed false documents with the Justice Department.

Jackson said that in prior cases it was found that it is possible to violate one of these laws without violating the other and they are not necessarily redundant charges.

She added that, in light of these circumstances, it would be better to “defer this determination until after the trial.”

She has yet to rule on a third request by Manafort to dismiss a money laundering charge.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Grant McCool and Jonathan Oatis

 

Michael Cohen: inside the strange world of Trump’s fixer

The lawyer who rose from the taxi business to fixing the future president’s messiest problems now faces severe legal jeopardy after an FBI raid

May 26, 2018

by Tom McCarthy in New York

The Guardian

Just before he got his dream job as Donald Trump’s right-hand man, Michael Cohen was quoted in a 2007 tabloid news story hyping a Trump condo development in New Jersey.

“Trump properties are solid investments,” said Cohen, who by then had bought at least three.

Trump’s decision to hire Cohen has served the president well over the years, particularly for tasks requiring a mix of bluster and discretion – skills Cohen might have picked up in his days as a personal injury lawyer or in the taxi cab business.

But with prosecutors closing in on Cohen, his lifelong investment in Trump is beginning to look shaky. The question now is: will one of the president’s most devoted lieutenants decide, at some point, to cut his losses and cooperate with prosecutors investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia?

On 9 April, FBI agents raided Cohen’s residence, hotel room, office, safety deposit box and electronic devices, seizing evidence of potential crimes described by the government as relating to Cohen’s “business dealings”. An indictment of Cohen is “likely”, a federal judge wrote in a separate case.

The raids were conducted after the special counsel heading up the Russia investigation, Robert Mueller, referred information to an independent team of federal prosecutors in the southern district of New York, effectively carving out the Cohen case and protecting it from any potential move by the president against Mueller.

If Cohen, 51, is charged with a crime, he may suddenly have the opportunity to prove his oft-avowed loyalty to Trump in a dramatic way – by going to prison, instead of agreeing to side with Mueller, as three other former Trump aides already have.

Former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg, who has worked closely with Cohen and calls him a “teddy bear”, told the Guardian that he had urged Cohen not to take his loyalty to Trump too far.

“If Michael did something outside the scope of any of his duties for Donald Trump, then that’s Michael’s problem,” Nunberg said. “But he should not go to jail for anything that he did for Trump. And if he does, then he deserves all the terrible things that will happen to him in jail.”

Cohen did not respond to a request for comment and has previously denied all wrongdoing through his lawyer, who did not respond to a request for comment. Trump has claimed that the investigation of Cohen “doesn’t have to do with me”.

But as a Trump employee who for 12 years enjoyed unusually close access to the boss and was entrusted with the most sensitive errands, Cohen is inextricably caught up in Trump’s world and could be poised to hasten its unraveling.

Cohen’s official title in the Trump Organization, which he left after the election to continue to advise Trump on a personal basis, was executive vice-president and special counsel to Trump. In practice, Cohen’s duties were both idiosyncratic and expansive, ranging from putting together foreign real estate deals to telling off reporters to buying the silence of women linked romantically to Trump.

“If somebody does something Mr Trump doesn’t like, I do everything in my power to resolve it to Mr Trump’s benefit,” Cohen told ABC News in 2011. “If you do something wrong, I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck, and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished.”

It was in this bulldog capacity that Cohen set in motion the chain of events that has drawn him, and by extension the president, into legally vulnerable territory. In October 2016, Cohen set up a shell company to pay off the pornographic film actor Stormy Daniels, who has said she had an affair with Trump beginning in 2006, which Trump has denied.

But after the election, Cohen began to use the company, Essential Consultants LLC, in a new way, to collect millions of dollars for himself from clients eager for the new president’s ear. Those clients allegedly included foreign entities.

A bank flagged the transactions and prosecutors appear to be weighing charges against Cohen that could include bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations.

The pressure from that investigation and Cohen’s loyalty to Trump are pulling him in opposite directions. But if he is now the man in the middle, Cohen was once very much on the fringes, as a hustling lawyer working out of a taxi stand in Queens, with his eyes on the Manhattan skyline.

Five Towns

Cohen was raised in the village of Lawrence, in the Five Towns section of Long Island, in the shadow of John F Kennedy airport. The son of a nurse, Sondra, and an ear, nose and throat surgeon, Maurice, a Holocaust survivor from Poland, Cohen attended a Jewish day school and later the Lawrence Woodmere Academy. He has said he grew up admiring Trump, and read the Art of the Deal, Trump’s magnum opus, twice.

In college at American University in Washington DC, Cohen drove a Porsche and had a business importing luxury cars, the New York Times reported. One of his college roommates, the New York artist Laurance Rassin, would go on to play a strange role in the Trump campaign, giving interviews as a random Trump supporter at a 2016 taping in which TV host Dr Oz reviewed Trump’s medical records.

“He’s been healthy – he says he’s been healthy. I believe him,” Rassin said.

In 1992, Cohen graduated from Thomas M Cooley law school in Lansing, Michigan, which has been featured on more than one list of the worst law schools in the country.

Upon returning to New York, Cohen set up a personal injury law practice, bringing charges of negligence on behalf of auto accident victims in many cases, according to a deposition obtained by Rolling Stone. At least one of his clients was indicted on insurance fraud charges, the magazine reported.

At his office near the foot of the 59th Street bridge in Queens, Cohen shared space with a taxi cab management company, a business he entered through his marriage in 1994 to Laura Shusterman, the daughter of a Ukrainian immigrant and taxi operator.

The couple eventually built taxi companies that owned dozens of medallions in New York and Chicago, worth millions at the peak of the market. At one time, Cohen has said, he carried a pistol in an ankle holster.

On Tuesday, a longtime partner of Cohen’s in the taxi business, Evgeny Freidman, a Russian immigrant, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors to avoid prison time on charges that he had failed to pay more than $5m in taxes.

Known as the “taxi king” of New York City for the volume of his business, Freidman could shed light on Cohen’s private cashflow, which in recent years has included a $26m loan Cohen made with his father-in-law to a second taxi magnate, also a Ukrainian immigrant, who is shifting into the legalized marijuana industry, the Associated Press revealed.

Cohen distanced himself from Freidman, denying they were partners.

In those years before the Trump Organization, meanwhile, Cohen scrambled for other investments that included a failed partnership with two other Ukrainian immigrants on a casino cruise business run out of Miami Beach, Florida.

He also helped set up two medical practices, an acupuncture clinic, and two medical billing companies, with a doctor at one of the offices later pleading guilty to a fraud scheme, the New York Times reported. Cohen’s role, if any, in operating the businesses remains unclear.

The through line in Cohen’s ventures from the era were his partnerships with immigrants from Ukraine or Russia.

In one purported real estate deal, Cohen was accused of civil fraud over a $350,000 check he had received from a Russian hockey player. Cohen testified that he did not recall where the money went and he was not charged with a crime.

Until the presidential election, Cohen held a minority stake in a Brooklyn club owned by his uncle, Morton Levine – “Uncle Morty”, in the family – whom the FBI accused in 1983 of providing medical services to the Lucchese crime syndicate, according to the Times report.

Levine was never charged with wrongdoing. But the club, El Caribe, was used as an office by the Russian mob boss Evsei Agron, who was assassinated in 1985, and by his successor, Marat Balagula, who was later convicted of credit card fraud and gasoline bootlegging.

Seemingly far from such intrigue, Cohen and his wife started a family, having two children, a son who plays baseball and a daughter who just graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. And they began buying Trump real estate.

Trump time

Cohen first came to Trump’s attention, the way he has told it, by helping to resolve a board dispute in one of Trump’s buildings. When the Trump Organization job offer came up, Cohen has said, he quit his law partnership on the spot.

Early in his Trump tenure, Cohen scouted a dead-end golf course project in Fresno, California, and stood as the chief operations officer of Affliction Entertainment, a mixed martial arts company Trump was promoting.

“He told me that he studied martial arts,” former Affliction vice-president Tom Atencio told the Daily Beast. “He was a really nice guy.”

Later Cohen spearheaded Trump real estate projects or attempted projects in the former Soviet states of Russia, Georgia and Kazakhstan, including with partners that have been subject to US sanctions or suspected of money laundering, the New Yorker reported.

Along the way, Cohen showed a willingness to defend Trump against all comers, even if – or especially if – it meant getting nasty.

“I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting,” Cohen told a journalist reporting in 2015 on a sexual assault claim against Trump by ex-wife Ivana Trump. “You understand me?”

But Cohen did not get rough only with reporters. A lawsuit brought against Trump this spring by Stormy Daniels, born Stephanie Clifford, accuses Cohen of “attempts to intimidate Ms Clifford into silence and ‘shut her up’ in order to ‘protect Mr Trump’”.

Cohen has asserted fifth amendment protections against self-incrimination to avoid testifying in the case.

Underlying his occasional pugnacity, Cohen appears to harbor a vulnerable side that includes a deep-seated fear of disappointing Trump.

“Not you or anyone you know will embarrass me in front of Mr. T when he asks me what is happening,” Cohen texted an associate, Felix Sater, when their efforts to broker a deal for a Trump tower in Moscow had foundered, according to messages obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Cohen added: “After almost two months of waiting you send me some bullshit letter from a third-tier bank and you think I’m going to walk into the boss’s office and tell him I’m going there for this?”

By all accounts, Cohen was wounded when Trump did not offer him a White House job, in a decision that has been linked to machinations by Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner.

“Boss, I miss you so much,” the Wall Street Journal quoted Cohen as telling Trump in a long-distance phone call in the spring of 2017. “I wish I was down there with you. It’s really hard for me to be here.”

It was not the first time that Cohen had reason to feel betrayed by Trump, who reportedly embarrassed Cohen at his son’s bar mitzvah – showing up late and then giving a speech describing how Cohen had begged him to come – and sidelined Cohen at the presidential inauguration.

Nunberg, who was fired from the Trump campaign in 2015 over racially charged Facebook posts, said he tried to warn Cohen that his loyalty to Trump would not be reciprocated.

“He called me to meet a week after I was fired,” Nunberg said. “I said to Michael, I told him, ‘get your head out of your ass, for once, with him [Trump]. He has no loyalty to anyone. He plays favorites. He doesn’t appreciate you.”

Essential Consultants

When he set up Essential Consultants LLC in October 2016, Cohen filed paperwork with First Republic bank designating the company as a vehicle for modest commercial and residential real estate deals, the New Yorker reported.

Then the money started to flow. Between November 2016 and January 2018 it came in: $600,000 from AT&T, the telecom giant; $1.2m from Novartis, the Swiss drug maker; $580,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment firm linked to a Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, who had met Cohen at Trump Tower during the presidential transition; $150,000 from a Korean defense contractor; and reportedly millions more in additional deposits from sources that have not yet been publicly identified.

The money flowed out, too: more than $1m to personal accounts belonging to Cohen; separate checks written to Cohen for more than $100,000; additional funds to cover credit card bills, car payments, social club dues, the New Yorker reported.

Trump has denied knowledge of the payments. Apart from a $130,000 payment to Daniels, it’s not clear what disbursements from the account were directly related to Trump.

What is clear is that Cohen was impressed with the potential of his latest enterprise. “I’m crushing it,” he told an associate at the time, according to the Washington Post.

In the salad days after the inauguration, Cohen hoovered up money from elsewhere. The Washington-based law firm and lobbying powerhouse Squire Patton Boggs agreed to pay Cohen $500,000 for a year’s work. Ukrainian sources paid Cohen $400,000 to set up a White House meeting between Trump and the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

But not everyone Cohen approached wanted in on the deal. Uber reportedly rejected Cohen’s advances, as did Ahmed al-Rumaihi, the head of Qatar Investments, who said Cohen hit him up for $1m at a restaurant in New York’s Peninsula hotel.

“He just threw it out there” as a cost of “doing business”, Rumaihi told the Washington Post.

Not all of Cohen’s new clients were pleased with his work. Novartis held only one meeting with him, and the lawyer who arranged it later quit the company. AT&T’s CEO called the decision to hire Cohen “a big mistake”, and the company’s top lobbyist was forced to retire.

There was one other notable payment that came Cohen’s way in 2017. A financial disclosure form filed last week by Trump revealed that the president had “reimbursed” Cohen for unspecified expenses in the $100,001 – $250,000 range.

‘An attack on our country’

Not only did Cohen have a ringside seat during the election to continuous contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, he would have firsthand knowledge of Russian investments in Trump properties in the United States and abroad.

Working alongside Cohen on those deals were Trump’s children, potentially making any cooperation between Cohen and prosecutors viscerally threatening to Trump.

Trump, who called the Cohen raid “an attack on our country in a true sense”, has repeatedly erupted about the case, accusing the New York Times of “going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me” after the paper published this quote about Cohen from the former Trump adviser Roger Stone Jr: “Donald goes out of his way to treat him like garbage.”

“Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories,” Trump tweeted. “Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!”

But there are signs the strain is getting to the president’s famously loyal lawyer. Vanity Fair quoted him as telling a friend last week: “I just can’t take this anymore.”

 

Venezuela is about to explode

Under increasing pressure from the US and its allies, Venezuela might be on the verge of a bloody coup.

May 25, 2018

by Matias Vernengo

Al Jazeera

A leftist candidate won a close election in a South American country, threatening US interests in the region. The US president asked the CIA to “make the economy scream” to undermine governance and bring regime change, even if by violent means.

I am referring, of course, to Salvador Allende’s election in Chile, and Richard Nixon’s reaction, which eventually led to Augusto Pinochet’s coup, one of the most bloody in the troubled history of the region.

The reelection of Nicolas Maduro last Sunday has led to the denunciation of the election in the US, with Vice President Mike Pence calling the elections “a sham”, and suggesting the imposition of more economic sanctions.

The opposition’s repeated defeat at the ballot box, the persistent economic crisis, and the increasing pressure by the US and its allies, that led to the recalling of 14 ambassadors from Caracas in protest, and the counter expulsion of US diplomats, may create the conditions for a new tragedy in the region.

Controversial elections

It is true that, as the opposition leaders have insisted, the majority of Venezuelans did not vote for Maduro last Sunday, in part a result of a boycott called by the main opposition coalition. Turnout was very low, around 46 percent, which is the lowest in recent history. The boycott resulted from the notion that the elections are always rigged and that an opposition candidate would have no chance of winning.

Francisco Rodriguez, the economic adviser to Henri Falcon, an ex-governor and ex-Chavista turned opposition candidate that ended second in the ballot, suggested before the election that if Maduro won, it that would imply the elections were rigged. In other words, even those in the opposition that were willing to participate in the electoral process argued beforehand that the only acceptable outcome was Maduro’s defeat. Anything less would be proof of cheating.

Note, however, that Maduro obtained almost 68 percent of the votes, according to the official bulletin from the National Electoral Council, which corresponds to about 31 percent of the voters. By comparison, Donald Trump’s 46 percent of the popular vote, with a turnout of 58 percent, corresponds to about 27 percent of the voters.

The election result is not very different from what Rodriguez suggested a few months ago was the likely extent of Maduro’s support among Venezuelans (he suggested it was around 25 percent), and that means that the result was within the range of what an informed observer would have expected.

The main complaint by Falcon seems to be the alleged use of the so-called Red Points, stalls where the Homeland Cards were scanned to supposedly identify the beneficiaries of the government’s social programmes, as an instrument to pressure the poor to vote for Maduro. It is unclear to what extent that was an effective strategy. The qualifications for social programmes are not related to voting, and there is no way of identifying whom anyone voted for since the ballot is secret.  Given the opposition boycott and the low turnout, he would have won anyway, just on the basis of his popularity (as low as it might be).

It seems that the reelection of Maduro is less the result of electoral fraud by the government, than a consequence of the inability of the opposition to unite and produce a clear alternative that can win an election.

So far, they have been unable to expand their support from the many impoverished Venezuelans that are suffering under the economic crisis, and that, at least so far, prefer to stick with Maduro for fear of the alternative.

Oil and the Venezuelan collapsing economy

The question then is what to expect from the very vulnerable situation of the Maduro government, under siege by an increasingly hostile external situation, with further economic sanctions, a brutal depression with a collapse of GDP by about 50 percent since 2013 according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and hyperinflation.

The problems point to the inability of the Chavista economic model to break with the dependency from oil exports, and the dire consequences of that pattern of specialisation when oil prices collapse – a problem that has plagued Venezuela for decades.

The more recent partial recovery of oil prices is unlikely to lead to a significant recovery of the economy, in part because the increase in oil prices is due to the collapse in the Venezuelan oil production. The collapse in production is not completely disconnected from the US restrictions, even though the US has fallen short of imposing a ban on oil imports.

The sanctions imposed by the Trump administration are directed mostly at the ability of US companies to buy Venezuelan debt and restrictions on the ability of Venezuela to sell its assets, making it harder for the country to finance its external obligations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Venezuela already defaulted on $3bn worth of bonds, and must still pay another $6bn later this year. To make matters worse, US oil company  ConocoPhillips  has taken over Caribbean assets of the state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

The sanctions and the collapse of the oil production make a default very likely, and in contrast with other countries in the region, like Argentina, that have received support from the US, there will be no IMF money for Venezuela.

There is no end in sight for the economic crisis, and there could be none unless the US government decides to intervene, providing aid, since Venezuela’s external obligations are denominated in dollars.

An imminent catastrophe

On top of this, there is a humanitarian crisis unfolding, with a large number of refugees moving to neighbouring countries. The US embargo has exacerbated the shortages, including of essential medical supplies, creating a situation in which leaving the country is the only alternative.

Given the current circumstances, it is clear that Venezuela is ready to explode. The economy and the Venezuelan people are screaming. The notion that this crisis is solely the fault of the Chavista government is misconceived. Mainstream media’s claims that Maduro is a dictator, the opposition are victims and the US government is a benevolent, and reluctant participant, in all this is a caricature of reality.

The US government has promoted regime change in several countries in the region to undermine leftist governments that challenged its neoliberal policies.

The sanctions, very much like Nixon’s instructions to the CIA in the 1970s, are designed to inflict pain to the general population, to intensify the demands for regime change within the country and to make it more likely.

The unwillingness of the opposition to participate in the elections suggests that they expect and support, not the ballot, but another kind of solution, which may require bullets. Not only the possibility of a default seems more likely, but that of a coup, with all the violence that it would entail, looks increasingly a likely outcome.

The Destruction of the World Trade Center

The Plasmoid Cloud  & Seismic Spikes

May 26, 2018

by Christian Jürs

Investigative reporter Christopher Bollyn produced an article in August of 2002 in which he stated that an unnamed German scientist claimed a “secret plasmoid cloud” brought down the twin towers. Six months later, however, we learn from the same source that the buildings actually were blown up by charges placed in the basement. Next, one will no doubt learn that Chinese Communist-trained pigeons equipped with mini-A-weapons were the actual culprits. The Chinese PRC, as is well known in certain circles, maintains a large military force on the border between Mexico and the United States and it was from their secret base in the Mexican desert that the deadly pigeons were launched on their fateful mission.

Directed-Energy Weapons

“A former East German physicist who studied Soviet infrared technology and plasmoids during the 60s and 70s, and who was directly involved in a demonstration of a Soviet laser beam weapon in 1991 for the U.S. Air Force in Weimar (DDR), told AFP that there is evidence that a directed-energy weapon using “deep infrared” radiation was used to bring down the WTC. Although infrared weapon technology is not widely discussed in the West, the Soviet infrared beam weapon is nothing new and was already used during a Soviet dispute with China in 1969 to destroy “a wall” at the Ussuri River, which separates Manchuria from Russia’s Far East, according to the physicist.

The physicist told AFP, “From my experience as a physicist and research scientist with the GRU (Russia’s Central Intelligence Agency)* I have enough experience to judge that the WTC towers have been burning too quickly, too hot, and too completely to have been caused by the kerosene [jet fuel] fires that resulted from the crashes. Furthermore, the demolished buildings nearby [the 47-story Salomon Bros. Bldg.] are an indication that there was a plasmoid cloud involved, which probably affected the buildings nearby.”

A plasmoid cloud is a heated and ionized gas that can be created and projected using far infrared thermal waves. Plasma occurs when a gas is heated so that some electrons have been separated from their atoms or molecules. Ball lightning is considered by experts to be a plasmoid phenomenon.

The physicist told AFP that he believes that a plasmoid may have been projected onto the towers before the planes struck. “The planes may have had a plasmoid in front of them. Just two or three seconds before the planes hit the towers, a plasmoid on the towers would have caused the Faraday cabin effect, like a car being hit by lightning.”

* The GRU was actually Soviet Military Intelligence, dealing with military matters.

Unfortunately, the reader of this stunning piece is not informed of the name of the “former East German physicist,” so that he might learn more about credentials of the man who has revealed the backgound of the astounding ‘plasmoid cloud’ that brought down the WTC towers.

The collapse of the Twin Towers generated seismic disturbances that were recorded by a half-dozen seismic recording stations within a 20-mile radius of Manhattan. Numerous websites have repeated an erroneous interpretation of the seismic recordings as evidence that bombs in the basements of the towers severed the core columns at the onsets of the collapses. One source of this error is an article by American Free Press reporter Christopher Bollyn, reprinted in Serendipity.

To the contrary, there was nothing strange about the seismic spikes recorded by the Palisades station. As the video and photographic evidence shows, the towers exploded into expanding clouds of rubble that were about 400 feet from top to bottom by the time they reached the ground. Those rubble clouds contained virtually all of the mass of towers — thousands of tons of rubble falling from as high as 1000 feet. That could certainly be expected to produce pronounced seismic waves.

In fact the seismic evidence from the Palisades station comports well with the sequence of destruction evident in photographs and videos: each tower was consumed by a wave of destruction that started near the crash zone and moved downward as it generated an expanding cloud of rubble. It took about ten seconds for the bottom of this cloud to reach the ground and another eight seconds for its top to reach the ground. Likewise the seismic records show small disturbances lasting for about ten seconds, followed by large spikes lasting for about eight seconds.

There appears to be no basis for the claim that the large spikes preceded the collapses, nor that the energy indicated by those spikes was more than could be accounted for by the approximately 110 megawatt-hours of gravitational energy stored in the elevated mass of each tower. And there is strong evidence contradicting the idea that the seismic spikes indicated underground explosions including:

  • There is no support in the large body of photographic and video collapse evidence for the idea of powerful explosions in the towers’ basements at the onset of the collapses. Instead they show waves of destruction proceeding methodically downward from the crash zones to the ground.
  • Underground explosions would have produced strong P waves, but the seismic stations registered only strong S waves. P waves oscillate horizontally — parallel to the direction of travel; whereas S waves oscillate vertically — perpendicular to the direction of travel.

An analysis of the timeline of the North Tower collapse on the 9-11 Research site corroborates the idea that the large seismic spikes were produced by rubble reaching the ground.

If a group of people placed explosive charges in the basements of the twin towers, why did the buildings begin to collapse downward from the points of impact?

Fables about great conspiracies make amusing reading but in reality, such massive plots, involving as they would, hundreds of people, would be exposed almost immediately by dissatisfied or horror-stricken participants.

 

The Government-Approved Rip-Off

This is rapidly becoming a decade of official deceit and public disillusion.

The issue under discussion here is MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System).

MERS, set up by the government in 1995, now claims to be a privately-held company and their official function is stated to be ‘keeping track of a confidential electronic registry of mortgages and the modifications to servicing rights and ownership of the loans.’

MERS is actually a U.S. government initiated organization like Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and its current shareholders include AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, WaMu, CitiMortgage, Countrywide, GMAC, Guaranty Bank, and Merrill Lynch.

All of these entities have been intimately, and disastrously, involved with the so-called “housing bubble,” and were subsequently quickly bailed out by the then-supportive Bush administration

In addition to its publicly stated purpose of simplifying mortgage registration MERS was also set up to assist in the creation of so-called ‘Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs)’ and ‘’Structured investment Vehicles (SIV).’

The CDOs is a type of structured asset-backed security (ABS) whose value and payments are derived from a portfolio of fixed-income underlying assets. CDOs securities are split into different risk classes, or tranches, which permits these entities to be minced into tiny tranches and sold off by the big investment banks to pensions, foreign investors and retail investors who in turn have discounted and resold them over and over.

It is well-known inside the American banking institutions that these highly questionable, potentially unsafe investment packages were deliberately marketed to countries, such as China and Saudi Arabia, that are not in favor with elements of the American government and banking industry and were, and are, marketed with full knowledge of their fragility.

A number of countries, including Germany, through the American-controlled Deutsche Bank, are involved.

MERS, set up by the U.S. government in 1995, now claims to be a privately-held company and their official function is stated to be ‘keeping track of a confidential electronic registry of mortgages and the modifications to servicing rights and ownership of the loans.’

MERS is actually a U.S. government initiated organization like Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and its current shareholders include AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, WaMu, CitiMortgage, Countrywide, GMAC, Guaranty Bank, and Merrill Lynch. All of these entities have been intimately, and disastrously, involved with the so-called “housing bubble,” and were subsequently quickly bailed out by the supportive Bush administration

In addition to its publicly stated purpose of simplifying mortgage registration MERS was also set up to assist in the creation of so-called ‘ Collateralized’ debt obligations (CDOs) and Structured investment Vehicles (SIV). The CDOs is a type of structured asset-backed security (ABS) whose value and payments are derived from a portfolio of fixed-income underlying assets. CDOs securities are split into different risk classes, or tranches, which permits these entities to be minced into tiny tranches and sold off by the big investment banks to pensions, foreign investors and retail investors, who in turn have discounted and resold them over and over.

It is well-known inside the American banking institutions that these highly questionable, potentially unsafe investment packages were deliberately marketed to countries, such as China, Germany and Saudi Arabia, that are not in favor with elements of the American government and banking industry and were, and are, marketed with full knowledge of their fragility.

The basic problem with this MERS system that while it does organize the mortgage market, it also knowingly permits fiscal sausage-making whereby a huge number of American domestic and business mortgages, (75 million by conservative estimate) are sliced up, put into the aforesaid “investment packages” and sold to customers both domestic and foreign.

This results in the frightening fact that the holders of mortgages, so chopped and packed, are not possible to identify by MERS or anyone else, at any time and by any agency. This means that any property holder, be they a domestic home owner or a business owner, is paying their monthly fees for property they can never own. Because of the diversity of the packaging, it is totally and completely impossible to ascertain what person or organization owns a specific mortgage and as a result, a clear title to MERS-controlled property is impossible to get at any time, even if a mortgage is fully paid. No person or entity, has been, or never can be, identified who can come forward and legally release the lien on the property once the loan is paid.

In short, MERS conceals this fact from the public with the not-unreasonable assumption that by the time the owner of the home or business discovers that they have only been paying rent on property they can never get clear title to, all the primary parties;  the banks, the government agencies, the mortgage companies, or the title companies, will be dead and gone. MERS is set up to guarantee this fact but, gradually, little by little, mostly by word of mouth, the public is beginning to realize that their American dream of owning a house is nothing but a sham and a delusion.

The basic problem with this MERS system that while it does organize the mortgage market, it also knowingly permits fiscal sausage-making whereby a huge number of American domestic and business mortgages, (59 million by conservative estimate) are sliced up, put into the aforesaid “investment packages” and sold to customers both domestic and foreign.

This results in the frightening fact that the holders of mortgages, so chopped and packed, are not possible to identify by MERS or anyone else, at any time and by any agency. This means that any property holder, be they a domestic home owner or a business owner, is paying their monthly fees for property they can never own. Because of the diversity of the packaging, it is totally and completely impossible to ascertain what person or organization owns a specific mortgage and as a result, a clear title to MERS-controlled property is impossible to get at any time, even if a mortgage is fully paid. No person or entity, has been, or never can be, identified who can come forward and legally release the lien on the property once the loan is paid.

In short, MERS conceals this fact from the public with the not-unreasonable assumption that by the time the owner of the home or business discovers that they have only been paying rent on property they can never get clear title to, all the primary parties; the banks, the government agencies, the mortgage companies, or the title companies, will be dead and gone. MERS is set up to guarantee this fact but, gradually, little by little, mostly by word of mouth, the public is beginning to realize that their American dream of owning a house is nothing but a sham and a delusion.

The solution to this is quite simple. If a home or business American mortgage payer, goes to the property offices in their county and looks at their registered property, they can clearly see if MERS is the purported holder of the mortgage. This is fraudulent – MERS has never advanced any funds in the transaction and owns nothing. It is merely a registry. If MERS is the listed holder, the mortgage payers will never, ever, get clear title to their property.

In this case, the property occupier has two choices: They can either turn the matter over to a real estate attorney or simply continue pouring good money after bad.

And is there relief?

Indeed there is. In case after case (95% by record) if the matter is brought to the attention of a court of law, Federal or state, the courts rule that if the actual owner of the mortgage cannot be located after a reasonable period of time, the owner receives a clear title from the court and does not need to make any further payments to an unidentified creditor!

It will stop any MERS based foreclosure mid process and further, any person who was fraudulently foreclosed by MERS, which never held their mortgage, and forced from their home can sue MERS and, through the courts, regain their lost homes.

Irish abortion referendum: Ireland overturns abortion ban

May 26, 2018

BBC News

The Republic of Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4% to 33.6%.

A referendum held on Friday resulted in a landslide win for the repeal side.

Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman’s life is at risk, but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality.

The Eighth Amendment, which grants an equal right to life to the mother and unborn, will be replaced.

The declaration was made at at Dublin Castle at 18:13 local time.

The only constituency to vote against repealing the Eight amendment was Donegal, with 51.9% voting against the change.

A vote in favour of repeal paves the way for the Dáil (Irish Parliament) to legislate for change which would see the introduction of a much more liberal regime.

In 2015 the country voted overwhelmingly to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum.

Reacting to early indications of the result, the taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar, who campaigned in favour of liberalisation, said: “What we’ve seen is the culmination of a quiet revolution that’s been taking place in Ireland over the past 20 years.”

He added that Irish voters “trust and respect women to make the right choices and decisions about their own healthcare”.

Mr Varadkar said he hoped to have a new abortion law enacted by the end of this year.

‘Continue to protest’

Counting began at 09:00.

After the polls were published, one of the main anti-abortion campaigns conceded it had lost the vote.

The Save The 8th campaign described the result as a “tragedy of historic proportions”.

“The unborn child no longer has a right to life recognised by the Irish state,” said its spokesman John McGuirk.

However, he vowed that No campaigners would continue to protest, “if and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland”.

The leader of the main Irish opposition party, Micheál Martin of Fianna Fáil, said the vote was the “dawn of a new era”.

He said he had wrestled with the issue, but added the people had made the right decision and it would mean better care for women in Irish hospitals.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald, whose party campaigned in favour of a Yes vote, said: “We have without doubt done right by Irish women for this generation and many to come.”

Amnesty International hailed the result as a “momentous win for women’s rights” that “marks the beginning of a new Ireland”.

Northern Ireland’s abortion laws

The vote will have repercussions for women north of the border, as Northern Ireland has the strictest abortion laws in the UK.

Cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality are not considered grounds for a legal termination.

The UK’s Women and Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt said the predicted landslide vote gave “hope” to Northern Ireland.

“It’s hypocritical, degrading and insulting to Northern Irish women that we are forced to travel for vital healthcare services but cannot access them at home,” she said.

“We cannot be left behind in a corner of the UK and on the island of Ireland as second-class citizens.”

Former Northern Ireland health minister Jim Wells said the expected result was a “grave threat” to the unborn child in Northern Ireland.

Mr Wells, a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) politician, claimed it was “inevitable” that abortion clinics would be set up in border towns to “promote their services to Northern Ireland women”.

“It will be much easier to terminate a child’s life if this can be done at a clinic in Dundalk or Letterkenny rather than flying to London or Manchester,” he added.

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