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  1. #4321

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Quote Originally Posted by skatingfan View Post
    Italy has been a country since 1861.
    Needless to say people are having a field day. Many remember the time Washington crossed the Po River...
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  2. #4322

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Ex-Aide Saw Gordon Sondland as a Potential National Security Risk
    A former top White House adviser viewed Mr. Sondland, a Trump donor and the ambassador to the European Union, as a risk because he was so unprepared for his job.
    By Nicholas Fandos and Adam Goldman
    Oct. 16, 2019, 12:54 p.m. ET

    WASHINGTON — A former top White House foreign policy adviser told House impeachment investigators this week that she viewed Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, as a potential national security risk because he was so unprepared for his job, according to two people familiar with her private testimony.

    The adviser, Fiona Hill, did not accuse Mr. Sondland of acting maliciously or intentionally putting the country at risk. But she described Mr. Sondland, a hotelier and Trump donor-turned-ambassador, as metaphorically driving in an unfamiliar place with no guardrails and no GPS, according to the people, who were not authorized to publicly discuss a deposition that took place behind closed doors.

    Ms. Hill, the former senior director for European and Russian affairs at the White House, also said that she raised her concerns with intelligence officials inside the White House, one of the people said.

    Mr. Sondland’s lawyer declined to comment.

    In her testimony, Ms. Hill described her fears that Mr. Sondland represented a counterintelligence risk because his actions made him vulnerable to foreign governments who could exploit his inexperience. She said Mr. Sondland extensively used a personal cellphone for official diplomatic business and repeatedly told foreign officials they were welcome to come to the White House whenever they liked.

    Ms. Hill said that his invitations, which were highly unusual and not communicated to others at the White House, prompted one instance in which Romanian officials arrived at the White House without appointments, citing Mr. Sondland.


    Ms. Hill also testified that Mr. Sondland held himself out to foreign officials as someone who could deliver meetings at the White House while also providing the cellphone numbers of American officials to foreigners, the people said. Those actions created additional counterintelligence risks, she said.


    Mr. Sondland is scheduled to meet privately with impeachment investigators himself on Thursday, despite directions from the State Department and the White House that he and other witnesses should not cooperate with an investigation because the president and his senior advisers view it as illegitimate. Mr. Sondland’s lawyer has indicated that his client will testify.


    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/16/u...ence-risk.html
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  3. #4323

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    This Week
    @ThisWeekABC
    "I view the situation on the Turkish border with Syria to be, for the United States, strategically brilliant," President Trump says amid bipartisan criticism of his administration's decision to withdraw U.S. troops https://abcn.ws/2MiszYW

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1184491403964907521
    Wait for it

    Here's the still of the interpreter going WTF are you saying?!

    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  4. #4324

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Brett McGurk
    @brett_mcgurk

    Trump has no idea what’s happening. US personnel have been scrambling to evacuate positions surrounded by hostile Turkish-backed opposition forces. They are evacuating under duress and then bombing positions so nobody can seize them.

    Recall earlier last week, US officials were downplaying Trump’s disastrous order as only involving <50 people on the border for a limited Turkish incursion. Ten days later we are executing emergency “break glass” evacuation procedure reserved for an extreme worst-case scenario.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  5. #4325
    Forum Director
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    123 GO Champion, Ball Of Madness Champion, Midi Golf Champion, Connect 4 Champion, Yeti Sports 8- Jungle Swing Champion, Yetisports 10 - Icicle Climb Champion, mahjong Champion, 247 Mini Golf Champion, Flash Golf Champion dryrunguy's Avatar
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    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    John Scare-avosis����@aravosis

    Trump just claimed that America’s relationship with Italy goes back “thousands of years.”

    The fact checkers are going to have a field day with this one.

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1184514202406400002
    But that all ended with the Bowling Green Massacre...
    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  6. #4326

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Live updates: Trump called Pelosi a ‘third-rate politician’ in first encounter between the leaders since impeachment inquiry began, Schumer says

    By
    Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz
    Oct. 16, 2019 at 4:43 p.m. EDT

    At their first meeting since the impeachment inquiry began, President Trump called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a “third-rate politician,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday.

    Trump had also lashed out at Pelosi earlier Wednesday, saying she has “done this country a tremendous disservice.”

    The president’s comments came as Trump’s Republican allies escalated their attacks on the proceedings — accusing Democrats of “Soviet-style tactics” — as another witness testified behind closed doors on Capitol Hill.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), meanwhile, told Republican senators that the Senate will probably meet six days a week during the impeachment trial, which he expects to begin around Thanksgiving.

    House investigators are hearing from Michael McKinley, the former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, behind closed doors. McKinley resigned last week amid worsening morale at the State Department and widespread concern that Pompeo has done little to defend diplomats who became ensnared in efforts by Trump to get Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

    4:40 p.m.: Trump called Pelosi a ‘third-rate politician’ in first encounter between the leaders since impeachment inquiry began, Schumer says

    At their first meeting since the impeachment inquiry began, Trump called Pelosi a “third-rate politician,” Schumer said.

    “He was insulting, particularly to the speaker. She kept her cool completely. But he called her a third-rate politician. … It was sort of a diatribe, a nasty diatribe not focused on the facts,” Schumer told reporters after the meeting, which focused on Syria and during which impeachment was not discussed.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...67e_story.html

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1184578728715837441
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  7. #4327

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Katie Rogers @katierogers
    White House correspondent/magpie
    @nytimes

    Felt the need to ask WH if this is actually real and it is.

    Question then becomes - was it actually sent that day (3 days after Erdogan call)?

    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  8. #4328
    Forum Director
    Forum Moderator

    Awards Showcase

    123 GO Champion, Ball Of Madness Champion, Midi Golf Champion, Connect 4 Champion, Yeti Sports 8- Jungle Swing Champion, Yetisports 10 - Icicle Climb Champion, mahjong Champion, 247 Mini Golf Champion, Flash Golf Champion dryrunguy's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  9. #4329

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Karen Tumulty
    @ktumulty

    Per Dem aide:
    Schumer to Trump: "Is your plan to rely on the Syrians and the Turks?"
    Trump: "Our plan is to keep the American people safe."
    Pelosi: "That's not a plan. That's a goal."
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  10. #4330

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Zac Petkanas
    @Zac_Petkanas
    Nancy Pelosi is literally standing up to the unhinged madman in the White House.




    If this proves to be legit the Dems for once pounced early.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  11. #4331

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Asha Rangappa
    @AshaRangappa_

    THREAD. What does it mean that the FBI reportedly has a counterintelligence investigation on Giuliani? First and foremost, it means that the FBI believes he may pose a national security threat to the United States. 1/

    2. CI investigations aren’t predicated on a suspicion that someone has broken the law. Rather, they typically begin because some has had contact with people linked to foreign intelligence and/or is furthering the interests of a foreign power in the U.S.

    3. Sometimes people may be targeted unwittingly. For this reason, and bc CI investigations have broader threshold to open (and are secret), they have to be closed after 6 months if no actual threat exists or it can be neutralized in that time

    4. Based on reports that the FBI was questioning people about Giuliano’s counterintelligence related issues as far back as Feb/Mar, an ongoing investigation would mean that this is a “Full” rather than “Preliminary” Investigation (former can be open indefinitely)

    5. Given that Giuliani is an USPER, the bar to have a Full Investigation on him would be higher than for nonUSPERs. Also, in my experience, people who are being “unwittingly” targeted are neutralized pretty quickly (usually with a warning/heads up that they are targets)

    6. (I should also note that the bar would be especially high since Giuliani is POTUS’ lawyer and, well...honestly wth would the FBI go through this movie all over again if there not some serious red flags???)

    7. So basically, the FBI thinks something bad — and likely not “unwitting” — is up: That Giuliani is a conduit for pushing the agendas of foreign intelligence and/or foreign interests. Which we really don’t want happening, especially in the Oval Office

    8. A couple of things: First, a CI investigation is not mutually exclusive with a criminal investigation. They can happen on different tracks. Given that SDNY has public corruption unit involved, there appears to be a separate criminal investigation on G as well

    9. Second, there can be criminal violations on the CI side: Those are espionage (not likely here) or FARA violations (more likely, given what G’s associates were up to). But CI investigations don’t have to — and often don’t — result in criminal prosecutions

    10. And bc CI cases don’t often cross over into criminal prosecutions, they would stay within FBI, and not bleed into SDNY unless and until that happened. (It’s not clear to me how much Main Justice would be involved, and how much power Barr would have over it)

    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1...155489793.html
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  12. #4332

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Gordon Sondland, Trump envoy and key figure in impeachment probe, faces criticism over $1 million taxpayer-funded home renovation
    By
    Michael Birnbaum, Shane Harris and John Hudson
    Oct. 16, 2019 at 7:10 p.m. EDT

    BRUSSELS — Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and a central figure in the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump, is overseeing a nearly $1 million renovation of his government-provided residence, paid for with taxpayer money, that current and former officials have criticized as extravagant and unnecessary.

    The work on the ambassador’s home on the outskirts of Brussels includes more than $400,000 in kitchen renovations, nearly $30,000 for a new sound system and $95,000 for an outdoor “living pod” with a pergola and electric heating, LED lighting strips and a remote-control system, government procurement records show.

    The State Department also has allocated more than $100,000 for an “alternate” residence for Sondland for September and October, while work is performed.

    Sondland, a hotel developer and major Trump fundraiser who had no diplomacy background before he was confirmed by the Senate in June 2018, was pivotal to the administration’s efforts to pressure the government of Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rivals, according to text messages and testimony from current and former officials.

    He is scheduled to be deposed by impeachment investigators on Thursday and plans to say that a text message he sent Sept. 9 to the senior U.S. diplomat in Kyiv denying any quid pro quo with Ukraine, which was desperate for U.S. military aid and diplomatic support, was relayed to him directly by Trump, according to a person familiar with his testimony.

    The renovations at the E.U. ambassador’s residence, which include $33,000 for handmade furniture from Italy, appeared driven by Sondland’s lavish tastes rather than practical needs, people familiar with the matter said. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the situation’s sensitivity and a desire to be candid with their insights.

    The State Department defended the renovations, saying they were part of a “regular 17-year cycle of reviewing and refreshing furnishings and interior décor in representational residences.” The renovations were funded in April, after Sondland’s confirmation, a spokesman said. “Other minor renovations currently underway” were reviewed and approved by staff at the U.S. mission and funded in fiscal 2019, which began in October, after Sondland was confirmed.

    Two former U.S. officials said Sondland delighted in the trappings of being an American ambassador in Brussels.

    “He got addicted,” one former official said. “The way you’re treated as a senior U.S. official, there’s nothing like it in terms of adrenaline and ego boost.”

    Some of Sondland’s colleagues said that, upon arriving in Brussels, he quickly became disappointed with his accommodations and, after unsuccessfully arguing to move to a new residence, began proposing renovations.

    The residence, located in a leafy residential area in the Uccle section of Brussels, is not at the pinnacle of Brussels luxury standards, people who have spent time there said. But it was well-suited to its purpose — housing the ambassador and hosting working dinners and social affairs. Whitlock Hall, the residence for the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, is where American diplomats customarily hold major events.

    A person who has spoken to Sondland about the upgrades said the residence was “deteriorated and nearly unusable for representational purposes.”

    But others disputed this claim.

    “Bull----,” said one person with extensive knowledge of the residence before Sondland arrived. “The house was in excellent condition.”

    A former U.S. official also called claims of the home’s disrepair “false.”

    “The problem with [the residence] is mainly the location, very far from the center and completely inaccessible by public transit,” the former official said. “But the physical state is fine.”

    During the Obama administration, the house was used two to three nights a week for entertaining. “The gardens were superb, and it had a fantastic swimming pool. The facility is one of the most luxurious of any in Brussels,” one person said.

    Guests often found themselves invited for dinner or receptions. Sondland’s predecessor, Obama appointee Anthony Gardner, held annual July 4 parties there as a brass band played and European bureaucrats, diplomats, business executives, academics and journalists chomped on hot dogs.

    Sondland has called himself a “disruptive diplomat.” In public appearances and in private meetings, he has often echoed the rhetoric of his boss, Trump, another hotel developer. Sondland once said to American business representatives that unlike his predecessors he would “get s--- done,” according to people who were present. He called the E.U. “out of touch” and accused it of stalling on trade talks with the Trump administration.

    Procurement records show that in the years before Sondland’s arrival, the biggest expenses were for regular maintenance of the swimming pool, which cost between $15,000 and $20,000 per year, and for general upkeep and landscaping, save for a $122,000 purchase in 2015 for refrigeration equipment, apparently for the house’s catering kitchen.

    Under Sondland, however, the State Department has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on furniture, fabrics and what is described in documents as a “family kitchen,” at a cost of just under $223,000.

    That project is distinct from another for a “professional kitchen,” costing about $209,000, the records show. Before Sondland’s arrival, the home did not have a personal kitchen, and ambassadors and their families would prepare their personal meals in the professional kitchen, according to people familiar with the residence.

    The cost of the family kitchen was in line with high-end homes in Brussels, said Jorge Almada, a Brussels-based designer who has experience working on luxury projects.

    “It’s like in [New York City],” Almada said in an email. “That price is within reason if it’s all decked out with appliances. It’s always the woodwork which is especially expensive.”

    Some of the work at the residence seemed designed for the comfort of the occupant, not for making the house suitable for guests.

    The records show $82,000 was spent on a bathroom renovation labeled “backside office.” Renovation of a restroom in a vestibule, a more public space, cost about $54,000, the records show.

    Sondland has also tried to upgrade the offices where he and the staff of the U.S. mission to the E.U. work, former officials and colleagues said.

    “He had a weird obsession with creating a snack room after he visited Uber headquarters in the Bay Area,” a former U.S. official said, referring to the ride-hail service headquartered in San Francisco.

    “He was often trying to use his own money for renovations that weren’t allowed,” the former official said.

    “He had separate meetings on these issues with administrative services and procurement people,” another former official said.

    Sondland wouldn’t be the first wealthy donor-turned-diplomat to try to spruce up his accommodations.

    “It’s unusual but not unheard of for ambassadors to pay for renovations with their own money,” said Ron Neumann, the president of the American Academy of Diplomacy.

    The lifestyle of well-heeled donors can sometimes create sticker shock when the expenses become public.

    “If you’re a multimillionaire used to doing these things for your own place, you might not look at the price tags the same way,” Neumann said.

    While the work on the residence continues, a former official said, Sondland is staying at a hotel. The person described the hotel as “not the nicest in Brussels, but one of the nicer ones.”

    Harris and Hudson reported from Washington. Aaron C. Davis contributed to this report.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...199_story.html
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  13. #4333

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Josh Dawsey
    @jdawsey1

    Trump wanted Megan Brennan out as postmaster general, frustrated agency was losing money & not billing Amazon enough. She resisted his ideas, including doubling price on Amazon. He finally got quorum on board this fall to replace her. She retired today.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...224_story.html
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  14. #4334

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Stephanie Ruhle
    @SRuhle
    STUNNING
    In the last 10 mins of trading on 8/23 as mkts were roiling in the face of more bad trade news, someone bought 386,000 Sep e-minis. 3days later,Trump lied about getting a call from China to restart the trade talks-S&P shot up nearly 80 points. The potential profit +1.5bn

    “There Is Definite Hanky-Panky Going On”: The Fantastically Profitable Mystery of the Trump Chaos Trades

    The president’s talk can move markets—and it’s made some futures traders billions. Did they know what he was going to say before he said it?
    By William D. Cohan
    October 16, 2019
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





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