Tag Archives: #USA

Russia accuses U.S. of pretending to fight Islamic State in Syria, Iraq

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of pretending to fight Islamic State and of deliberately reducing its air strikes in Iraq to allow the group’s militants to stream into Syria to slow the Russian-backed advance of the Syrian army.

In the latest sign of rising tensions between Moscow and Washington, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the U.S.-led coalition had sharply reduced its air strikes in Iraq in September when Syrian forces, backed by Russian air power, had started to retake Deir al-Zor Province.

“Everyone sees that the U.S.-led coalition is pretending to fight Islamic State, above all in Iraq, but continuing to allegedly fight Islamic State in Syria actively for some reason,” said Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for Russia’s defense ministry.

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https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-russia-usa/russia-accuses-u-s-of-pretending-to-fight-islamic-state-in-syria-iraq-idUSKBN1CF0KN

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Syrian rebel defector says his US-trained unit sold arms to ISIS — RT News

Not only were the US-backed ‘moderate’ militants in southern Syria never meant to fight ISIS, but their commanders actually traded US-made weapons and ammunition to terrorists, a rebel defector claimed in an interview with Rossiya-24.
FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.rt.com/news/401672-syria-rebel-isis-us-weapons/

BLS: Americans Spend More on Taxes Than Food and Clothing Combined

(CNSNews.com) – Americans on average spent more on taxes in 2016 than they did on food and clothing combined, according to data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The same data also shows that in three years—from 2013 to 2016—the average tax bill for Americans increased 41.13 percent.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/bls-average-family-tax-bill-increased-411-4-years

How do you say ‘whoops’ in Russian? Podesta Group retroactively files more DOJ disclosures for pro-Putin work

The Podesta Group belatedly filed several new disclosures with the Justice Department on Aug. 17 related to work the firm completed between 2012 and 2014 on behalf of a pro-Russia Ukrainian think tank.

Back in April, the powerful Washington lobbying firm run by Clinton ally Tony Podesta filed a document admitting its work for the pro-Russia European Centre for a Modern Ukraine may have principally benefited a foreign government. New disclosures revealed dozens of previously unreported interactions the firm made with influential government offices, including Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the office of former Vice President Joe Biden, while lobbying on behalf of the center. Embattled ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort failed to disclose his extensive lobbying efforts on behalf of the center at the time as well.

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Anyone lobbying or doing public relations on behalf of foreign governments is required to register as a foreign agent in compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The Aug. 17 filings include short-form registration statements for six Podesta Group employees and an amendment to the firm’s registration statement that includes a list of political contributions made by relevant employees throughout 2013.

A review of those donations shows both parties received cash from Podesta Group lobbyists.

The individual employee filings appear to be uniform and lawyerly, each describing what their services were supposed to entail as, “Research and analyze issues related to principal’s organizational mission of improving ties between Ukraine and the West counsel on activities in Congress and executive branch and developments that relate to the principal’s organizational mission; and maintain contact, as needed, with legislative and executive branch officials, members of the media, and NGOs.” One of the filings is for Tony Podesta himself, who was a bundler for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Tony and his brother John–Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman–co-founded the lobbying firm in 1988.

Last August, the AP reported that Manafort oversaw the lobbying efforts on behalf of the center carried out by the Podesta Group and Mercury, another high-powered firm. As the Washington Examiner notedin May, the Podesta Group was paid more by the think tank than Mercury — the firms earned $1 million and $720,000 between 2012 and 2014, respectively.

At the time of the firm’s retroactive filing in April, Politico reported CEO Kimberly Fritts “said in a statement that the firm relied on assurances from the think tank, the European Centre for Modern Ukraine, that it was not controlled or financed by a foreign government or political party. Based on that information, the firm disclosed its work to Congress rather than to the Justice Department.”

Even after filing with the DOJ in April, it appears the Podesta Group is still cleaning up its own mess.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/how-do-you-say-whoops-in-russian-podesta-group-retroactively-files-more-doj-disclosures-for-pro-putin-work/article/2632538

US, Japanese troops begin joint military exercise amid North Korea threat | Fox News

The exercise, known as Northern Viper 17, will take place on Hokkaido — Japan’s northern-most main island — and will last until Aug. 28. According to the U.S. Pacific Command, the drill will include 500 Marines and 18 aircraft operating out of the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base, on the northern tip of the island of Honshu. “We are improving our readiness not only in the air, but as a logistical support team,” Col. R. Scott Jobe, the 35th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement. “We are in a prime location for contingency purposes and this exercise will only build upon our readiness in the case a real-world scenario occurs.”

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http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/08/10/us-japanese-troops-begin-joint-military-exercise-amid-north-korea-threat.html

Congress heads into break with Republican promises unfulfilled

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A five-week summer break might sound sweet to many people, but maybe not to the 292 Republicans in Congress who leave Washington with none of their major legislative goals achieved after six months in power alongside President Donald Trump. With Congress due to be closed until Sept. 5, voters may ask: What happened to repealing and replacing Obamacare? Overhauling the tax code? Investing more money in job-creating infrastructure projects? The awkward answer for Republican lawmakers and Trump is “not much.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-congress-idUSKBN1AJ31U?il=0

If the FBI Has Your Biometrics, It Doesn’t Have to Tell You – Nextgov.com

A new rule will prevent millions of people from finding out if their fingerprints, iris scans and other biometric information is stored in a massive federal database. The FBI’s Next Generation Identification system stores the biometric records of people who have undergone background checks for jobs, volunteer positions and military service, as well as of those who have criminal records. Effective Aug. 31, that database will be exempt from certain parts of the Privacy Act, a law that allows people whose records are held by the federal government to request more information about which records those are. The exemption means the FBI doesn’t have to acknowledge if it is storing the biometric records of an individual in that database; the bureau has argued that notifying people that they were in the database could compromise investigations.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

http://m.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2017/08/if-fbi-has-your-biometrics-it-doesnt-have-tell-you/139952/

Donald Trump warns Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela president, to release opposition leaders – Washington Times

“The United States condemns the actions of the Maduro dictatorship,” Mr. Trump said in a statement released hours after the Venezuelan government took opposition figures Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma into custody early Tuesday.

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http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/1/donald-trump-warns-nicolas-maduro-venezuela-presid/

Intelligence chairman accuses Obama aides of hundreds of unmasking requests | TheHill

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is accusing top political aides of President Obama of making hundreds of requests during the 2016 presidential race to unmask the names of Americans in intelligence reports, including Trump transition officials. Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, said the requests were made without specific justifications on why the information was needed. “We have found evidence that current and former government officials had easy access to U.S. person information and that it is possible that they used this information to achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information,” Nunes wrote in the letter to Coats. The letter was provided to The Hill from a source in the intelligence community.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/344226-intelligence-chairman-accuses-obama-aides-of-hundreds-of-unmasking

California secession campaign can start gathering signatures | The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. A group that wants California to secede from the United States can start collecting signatures for its ballot initiative. The state attorney general issued an official ballot measure title and summary Tuesday. The campaign can now start gathering the more than 585,000 signatures it will need to qualify for the 2018 ballot. The initiative would form a commission to recommend avenues for California to pursue its independence and delete part of the state constitution that says it is an inseparable part of the U.S. The measure would also instruct the governor and California congressional delegation to negotiate more autonomy for the state.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

http://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article163629198.html