Rebecca Grant: Cease-fire halting Syria fighting between Turks and Kurds faces uncertain future

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Australia’s Seven West to Merge With Affiliate Prime Media

Australia’s Seven West Media has agreed a deal to acquire regional broadcast group Prime Media. The move is a further step in the consolidation of Australia’s traditional media industry. The two companies announced on Friday that Seven will make the acquisition entirely through the issue of new shares to the owners of Prime. Both companies […]

Jim Mattis has fun with Trump’s ‘overrated’ dig: ‘I’m the Meryl Streep of generals’

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis poked fun at himself and President Trump at the 74th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York City on Thursday night, a day after the president called Mattis “the world’s most overrated general.”

Everything You Wanted To Know About The Trump-Biden Ukraine Scandal (But Were Afraid To Be Called Partisan)

Everything You Wanted To Know About The Trump-Biden Ukraine Scandal (But Were Afraid To Be Called Partisan)

Authored by Aaron Kesel via,

Scandal-plagued U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic “wonder boy” candidate Joe Biden have been exchanging political punches over a new scandal that erupted in Ukraine. Trump asked the Ukrainian President to investigate potential corruption involving Joe’s son, Hunter Biden, after a prosecutor investigating his financial dealings was fired in exchange for billions of dollars in U.S. govt aid organized by Joe Biden as Vice President of the U.S.

Although, the mainstream media wants the public to believe the Bidens “did nothing wrong.” The truth of the matter is Hunter Biden blatantly used his father’s position of power as Vice President for his own financial gain in both Ukraine and China.

In Ukraine alone, Hunter Biden was paid half a million dollars a year for a job he never showed up to, where he had no experience and couldn’t even speak the language, several red flags.

Hunter, a Yale-educated lawyer, had previously served on the boards of Amtrak and a number of nonprofit organizations and think tanks, but lacked any experience in Ukraine. As a fun fact, to make his case worse, just months earlier he had been discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine. Hunter was paid as much as $50,000 per month in some months for his work for Burisma Holdings, which largely remains unknown.

In 2014, Hunter Biden is seen golfing in the Hamptons with his father and Devon Archer, who served on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings with Hunter, FOX News reported.

Viktor Shokin was widely accused of corruption himself and then booted from his office in April 2016. Shokin was accused of blocking major cases against allies and influential figures. In March 2016, Biden, as Vice President, had threatened to cut off $1 billion in guaranteed loans unless Ukraine ditched Shokin; one month later the country complied with the demand.

However, at the same time, Biden had protected his son under investigation by leveraging U.S. aid to Ukraine in exchange for firing the Ukrainian former prosecutor, which could be seen as a conflict of interest. However, Bloomberg disputes this claiming that the prosecution of Hunter Biden’s client had already been shelved at the time Joe Biden was calling for the prosecutor to be removed.

Investigations into such activities by Hunter are well documented, ironically, by the mainstream press that is now attacking Trump for asking the Ukrainian president to investigate Hunter and his father for corruption; a totally warranted investigation, given that Hunter’s father himself confessed that he told Ukraine to “fire the prosecutor or essentially, I am walking away with a billion dollar loan.” This writer is no legal expert, but that sounds a lot like quid pro quo activity.

Conflicting accounts have now risen in Ukraine as well about what took place by Biden, with the former President of Ukraine and the prosecutor telling two different tales.

Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, told Rudy Giuliani earlier this year that he was asked to back off any probe of the natural gas company linked to Joe Biden’s son, according to a copy of Giuliani’s notes obtained by Fox News.

A former top diplomat, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, asked that Shokin use “kid gloves” in pursuing the company, according to the notes of President Trump’s personal attorney, reported by the outlet. “Mr. Shokin attempted to continue the investigations but on or around  June or July of 2015, the U.S. Ambassador [to Ukraine] Geoffrey R. Pyatt told him that the investigation has to be handled with kids gloves, which according to Mr. Shokin, that implied do nothing,” Rudy Giuliani told FOX.

Beyond the claim by Giuliani on FOX, Shokin swore in an affidavit prepared for a European court, that when he was fired he was told the reason behind his departure was that Biden was unhappy about the Burisma investigation.

“The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors,” Shokin testified.

“On several occasions President Poroshenko asked me to have a look at the case against Burisma and consider the possibility of winding down the investigative actions in respect of this company but I refused to close this investigation,” Shokin added.

You may remember Pyatt from the infamous Ukraine coup phone call, in which the former diplomat and then Asst. Sec. of State for Europe, Victoria Nuland, discussed a plot to overthrow the government. Nuland then states, “fuck the EU.”

Both Joe and Hunter Biden were cleared of any wrongdoing in Burisma earlier this year when Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said that the Ukrainian private gas company was not the target of investigations by his office. He also added the former Vice President, and current Democratic 2020 candidate, didn’t act improperly when he called for the dismissal of Ukraine’s former prosecutor general, Victor Shoki, who had been investigating the company.

“I do not want Ukraine to again be the subject of U.S. presidential elections,” Lutsenko said in an interview with Bloomberg.  “Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws – at least as of now,  we do not see any wrongdoing. A company can pay however much it wants to  its board.”

However, there is a matter of memos and documents that contradict the narrative that were reported by The Hill’s John Solomon. According to the news site, these files, “raise the troubling prospect that U.S. officials may have painted a false picture in Ukraine that helped ease Burisma’s legal troubles and stop prosecutors’ plans to interview Hunter Biden during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

Solomon continues writing, “for instance, Burisma’s American legal representatives met with Ukrainian officials just days after Biden forced the firing of the country’s chief prosecutor and offered “an apology for dissemination of false information by U.S. representatives and public figures” about the Ukrainian prosecutors, according to the Ukrainian government’s official memo of the meeting. The effort to secure that meeting began the same day the prosecutor’s firing was announced.

In addition, Burisma’s American team offered to introduce Ukrainian prosecutors to Obama administration officials to make amends, according to that memo and the American legal team’s internal emails.”

So what’s the deal with Trump’s own involvement?

Allegations are flying around that Trump may have also withheld money in the form of defense aid to Ukraine and demanded that Biden and his son be investigated for corruption. Trump is further alleged to have instructed Ukraine’s President to work with DOJ Attorney General William Barr.

Despite these claims, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated that Trump didn’t pressure him, contrary to whats being reported in the media.

There have been many significant updates since the scandal broke, including the GOP accusing the entire CIA whistleblower complaint to be an organized coup against Trump. The Republicans reason this by saying there was foreknowledge by House Intelligence Committee leader Adam Schiff and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who launched an impeachment investigation.

This is in part because a spokesman for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., acknowledged that one of the two whistleblowers alleging misconduct in the White House had reached out to Schiff’s staff before filing his/her complaint. Schiff had previously claimed in a televised interview that “we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.” A Schiff spokesperson, however, told FOX News that Schiff himself “does not know the identity of the whistleblower, and has not met with or spoken with the whistleblower or their counsel” for any reason.

The New York Times also weighed in stating in a report that Schiff got an “early account” of the phone call between President Donald Trump and the Ukrainian leader. Schiff respond on Twitter, claiming that his staff on the Intelligence Committee only advised the whistleblower to speak to an inspector general within the intelligence community.

Trump responded to the claims of foreknowledge by bashing Schiff calling him a “fraud” while meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

“It shows that Schiff is a fraud. … I think it’s a scandal that he knew before,” Trump said. “I’d go a step further. I’d say he probably helped write it. … That’s a big story. He knew long before, and he helped write it too. It’s a scam.”

Schiff read what he called a “parody” version of President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a hearing on the matter, which has drawn controversy and blowback.

“I have a favor I want from you,” Schiff said while appearing to read from a paper. “And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it, on this and on that.”

“Rep. Adam Schiff fraudulently read to Congress, with millions of people watching, a version of my conversation with the President of Ukraine that doesn’t exist,” Trump tweeted. “He was supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call, but he completely changed the words to make it sound horrible, and me sound guilty.”

Schiff responded to Trump on social media, accusing him of trying to “shakedown” a world leader for election dirt and then attempt to cover it up.

Despite all this, the CIA’s top lawyer, Courtney Simmons Elwood, made what she considered to be a criminal referral on the phone call, according to NBC News.

NBC botched its reporting by revealing that the whistleblower was a man, writing:

Elwood, the CIA’s general counsel, first learned about the matter because the complainant, a CIA officer, passed his concerns about the president on to her through a colleague. On Aug. 14, she participated in a conference call with the top national security lawyer at the White House and the chief of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Another article by NBC reveals that there is a complaint that involves someone outside of the intelligence agencies.

As a result, the Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, is withholding that complaint because it doesn’t meet the legal requirement for disclosure to Congress, according to letters obtained by the news agency.

What much of the mainstream press is missing, is that this information regarding Trump and Ukraine isn’t new. In fact, a headline from May by NYMag reads: “Trump Is Pressuring Ukraine to Smear Clinton and Biden.”

In that article, NY Mag writes that, “Trump’s agents are lobbying Ukraine to smear his political rivals Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.”

“Giuliani is trying to get Ukraine to pursue two investigations: one against the last Democratic presidential nominee, and another against the leading candidate to be the next one,” NY Mag continues.

Although claims that Trump had his eyes set on going after Biden aren’t new, there is new information that allegedly Trump administration officials sought to take over a Ukrainian gas giant Naftogaz and direct its money-flow back to their own pockets, Associated Press reported.

According to the news agency, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer Giuliani were involved and their aims were profits not politics. This group’s plan was then to steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by the Trump allies.

Trump’s attorney Giuliani is in the crosshairs of the investigation in multiple ways. Recently, Ukrainians who helped Giuliani’s efforts to investigate Democrat Joe Biden were arrested for campaign finance violations. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were alleged to be a part of a conspiracy to funnel foreign money into U.S. elections according to prosecutors, Wall Street Journal reported.

Besides the CIA whistleblower and another unknown official, additional government employees are debating coming forward to testify against Trump in favor of the impeachment efforts, according to reports.

Business Insider reports the full alleged transcript of the conversation Trump had with Ukraine President Zelenskyy:

Donald Trump: Congratulations on a great victory. We all watched from the United States and you did a terrific job. The way you came from behind, somebody who wasn’t given much of a chance, and you ended up winning easily. It’s a fantastic achievement. Congratulations.

President Zelenskyy: You are absolutely right Mr. President. We did win big and we worked hard for this. We worked a lot but I would like to confess to you that I had an opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for our elections and yes it is true that these were unique elections. We were in a unique situation that we were able to achieve a unique success. I’m able to tell you the following; the first time, you called me to congratulate me when I won my presidential election, and the second time you are now calling me when my party won the parliamentary election. I think I should run more often so you can call me more often and we can talk over the phone more often.

Donald Trump: [laughter] That’s a very good idea. I think your country is very happy about that.

President Zelenskyy: Well yes, to tell you the truth, we are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp here in our country. We brought in many many new people. Not the old politicians, not the typical politicians, because we want to have a new format and a new type of government. You are a great teacher for us and in that.

Donald Trump: Well it’s very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it’s something that you should really ask them about. When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she doesn’t do anything. A lot of the European countries are the same way so I think it’s something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.2

President Zelenskyy: Yes you are absolutely right. Not only. 100%, but actually 1000% and I can tell you the following; I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her. I also met and talked with Macron and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions. They are not working as much as they should work for Ukraine. It turns out that even though logically, the European Union should be our biggest partner but technically the United States is a much bigger partner than the European Union and I’m very grateful to you for that because the United States is doing quite a lot for Ukraine. Much more than the European Union especially when we are talking about sanctions against the Russian Federation. I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps. specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.

Donald Trump: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it3. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

President Zelenskyy: Yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine. For that. purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from United States and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two nations are getting closer. I would also like and hope to see him having your trust and your confidence and have personal relations with you so we can cooperate even more so. I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us. I will make sure that I surround myself with the best and most experienced people. I also wanted to tell you that we are friends. We are great friends and you Mr. President have, friends in our country so we can continue our strategic partnership. I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.

Donald Trump: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great.4 The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.

President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation6 to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one, who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President: well enough.

Donald Trump: Well, she’s going to go through some things. I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your economy is going to get better and better I predict. You have a lot of assets. It’s a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, their incredible people.

President Zelenskyy: I would like to tell you that I also have quite a few Ukrainian friends that live in the United States. Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower. I will talk to them and I hope to see them again in the future. I also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit the United States, specifically Washington DC. On the other hand, I also want to ensure you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation. As to the economy, there is much potential for our two countries and one of the issues that is very important for Ukraine is energy independence. I believe we can be very successful and cooperating on energy independence with United States. We are already working on cooperation. We are buying American oil but I am very hopeful for a future meeting. We will have more time and more opportunities to discuss these opportunities and get to know each other better. I would like to thank you very much for your support.

Donald Trump: Good. Well, thank you very much and I appreciate that. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call. Thank you. Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out. I look forward to seeing you.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much. I would be very happy to come and would be happy to meet with you personally and get to know you better. I am looking forward to our meeting and I also would like to invite you to visit Ukraine and come to the city of Kyiv which is a beautiful city. We have a beautiful country which would welcome you. On the other hand, I believe that on September 1 we will be in Poland and we can meet in Poland hopefully. After that, it might be a very good idea for you to travel to Ukraine. We can either take my plane and go to Ukraine or we can take your plane, which is probably much better than mine.

Donald Trump: Okay, we can work that out. I look forward to seeing you in Washington and maybe in Poland because I think we are going to be there at that time.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much Mr. President.

Donald Trump: Congratulations on a fantastic job you’ve done. The whole world was watching. I’m not sure it was so much of an upset but congratulations.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you Mr. President bye-bye.

If Trump did hold money over Ukraine’s head, like Biden did, he should be impeached and prosecuted for quid pro quo the same as Biden should be. It seems that for whatever reason the mainstream press is making this only about Trump, while ignoring the corruption of Biden. However, Biden is not innocent and scrutiny is warranted on his son’s investments in both Ukraine and China.

Further, if Biden and his son Hunter should be prosecuted for quid pro quo, so should Donald Trump and his kids from  who Ivanka Trump and her husband alone profited $82 million last year according to reports. One such mention is the comparison of Ivanka’s Chinese relationship to Hunter Biden’s own deals with China during his father’s vice presidency. Ivanka is said to have a an estimated 39 trademarks in 2018 and 2019 alone that were accepted by China.

Ivanka’s clothing line is produced in China, Indonesia, and Vietnam, according to Teen Vogue magazine which looked into her businesses. In 2017, a Chinese labor activist was arrested and two others vanished after investigating alleged labor abuses at a factory called Huajian known to make shoes for several brands — including Ivanka Trump’s, NPR reported.

In July 2018, Ivanka shut down her company; despite this, she received 16 trademarks in China and her business dealings are completely shrouded in secrecy, as CBS reported in 2017. Those trademarks pertain to everything from bags to umbrellas to sausages, Business Insider reported.

Two months before, in May, Ivanka’s brand received approval for another seven trademarks. This was coincidentally the same month Trump announced that he had reached a deal with China to lift a U.S. ban on telecom giant ZTE. If that’s not enough, on the same day she dined with Chinese president Xi Jinping, her business received another three trademarks, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW.)

NBC reports that in 2018 alone by the end of November, Ivanka had a strikingly high number of 34 total Chinese trademarks. Then in 2019, Ivanka was awarded another additional 5 trademarks according to Fortune magazine.

All of the trademarks were said to be filed in 2016-2017 and last until at least 2028, according to numerous reports.

Before this report was about to go to press, Hunter Biden stepped down from the board of BHR Equity Investment Fund Management Co. a Chinese-backed private equity firmNY Post reported.

On the flip side, if Trump administration officials really did try to run a scheme in Ukraine they, too, should be prosecuted; corruption is corruption and isn’t restricted by political gang colors exempting individuals like the media tries to do with Biden.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/17/2019 – 23:45

VIDEO: Trump unloads on ‘hateful’ Democrats

As the most reliable and balanced news aggregation service on the internet, DML News App offers the following information published by DailyMail:

President Donald Trump stripped the bark off his Democratic opponents on Thursday, saying his ‘hateful and enraged’ adversaries ‘are destroying this country’ and ‘won’t come close’ to beating him in 2020.

‘They know it,’ he charged during a fist-pumping Dallas rally, blasting ‘Crazy Nancy’ Pelosi and ‘Shifty’ Adam Schiff.

The article goes on to state the following:

Trump said Joe and Hunter Biden amassed their wealth through a rape-and-pillage plan, but refused to use the word ‘rape.’

(See video clips of some of Trump’s comments about Democrats below.)

After the rally, Trump continued his assault with two tweets:

“Tonight, we forcefully condemn the blatant corruption of the Democrat Party, the Fake News Media, and the rogue bureaucrats of the Deep State. The only message these radicals will understand is a crushing defeat on November 3, 2020!”

“The radical left tolerates no dissent, it permits no opposition, it accepts no compromise, and it has absolutely no respect for the will of the American People. They are coming after me, because I am fighting for YOU!”

To get more information about this article, please visit DailyMail. To weigh in, leave a comment below.

The post VIDEO: Trump unloads on ‘hateful’ Democrats appeared first on DML News.

Are US Presidents Getting Older?

Are US Presidents Getting Older?

With three front-runners over the age of 70 and one heart attack suffered by candidate Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail, the presidential primaries for 2020 have been putting presidents’ ages on the agenda.

President Trump, who is running for re-election in 2020, is himself the oldest president ever to be inaugurated (he was 70 at the time), and as Statista’s Katharina Buchholz notes, all three democratic frontrunners (Warren, Biden, Sanders) would break that record still.

But taking a look at all presidents’ ages at the time of their inauguration since 1789, the trend only extends to the four individuals already mentioned.

Infographic: Are U.S. Presidents Getting Older? | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Before Trump and the 2020 line-up, recent presidents’ ages were actually below average. Barack Obama took office at 47 years and 169 days, according to, making him the fifth youngest president at the time of inauguration. Bill Clinton, who was 46 when he took over, was the third youngest.

Some of the oldest presidents hail from past centuries. William Henry Harrison was 68 at his inauguration in 1841 (he died a month later of typhoid and pneumonia), making him the third-oldest president ever. James Buchanan, who took office in 1857, was the fourth-oldest president at 65.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/17/2019 – 23:25


REPORT: Here’s What Senate Republicans Are Saying About Impeachment

As the most reliable and balanced news aggregation service on the internet, DML News App offers the following information published by DAILYCALLER.COM:

Senate Republicans do not appear to be concerned about House Democrats’ ongoing effort to impeach President Donald Trump, with many saying even if the House were to move forward with impeachment, that there is no way the Senate would vote to impeach the president.

The Daily Caller spoke with over ten GOP senators throughout the week, who all shared their views about House Democrats’ efforts to impeach the President. Not one senator was concerned about the impeachment process, saying they are most concerned about the Democrats’ ongoing attempts to impeach Trump based on no hard evidence.

The article goes on to state the following:

“I have to tell you, I think the House is not going to send anything over because they’re refusing to take a vote,” Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn told the Daily Caller. “What we have to realize is before Donald Trump was sworn in, they started on impeachment, that was in 2016. They tried again in 17, 18, 19, and The Mueller report,” Blackburn continued.

More Republican Comments:

Montana Sen. Steve Daines: “Democrats have been obsessed with impeachment.”

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis: “I’m more worried about the absence of facts to justify where they are to this point.”

North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr: “I’m not sure that would play well with the American people.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz said “it won’t succeed.”

Louisiana  Sen. John Kennedy: “I think my Democratic friends are making a big, big mistake…”

Read more comments at DAILYCALLER.COM

To get more information about this article, please visit DAILYCALLER.COM. To weigh in, leave a comment below.

The post REPORT: Here’s What Senate Republicans Are Saying About Impeachment appeared first on DML News.

The NBA’s China Problem Is Due To Political Control Over Markets

The NBA’s China Problem Is Due To Political Control Over Markets

Authored by Richard Ebeling via The American Institute for Economic Research,

The news and sports media have been focused on the recent confrontation between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Chinese government due to a tweet by the general manager of the Houston Rockets about recent pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong that brought down the wrath of China. While many commentaries have focused on the NBA’s attempt to placate the Chinese authorities in the face of losing millions if not billions of dollars in lost revenues in the Chinese market, less attention has been given to what lies behind it all: a government’s ability to shut down commercial dealings between willing participants by simple command. 

It all began when Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey posted a personal tweet that said, “Flight for freedom, stand for Hong Kong.” For several months massive and sometimes violent demonstrations have been going on in the former British colony of Hong Kong. When the British Union Jack was lowered from the last flag pole in Hong Kong in 1997, there was an agreement between London and Beijing that for several decades Chinese authority within the former colony would not interfere with many if not most of the freedoms that people had enjoyed for a good part of the time since 1842, when Hong Kong came under British jurisdiction. 

China’s Threats to Freedom in Hong Kong

The arrangement was known as “One Country, Two Systems,” meaning that on the Chinese mainland, the Communist Party ruled with their existing authoritarian power, while in Hong Kong, many of the internal affairs of the territory would remain untouched by Beijing. But especially in recent years, the Chinese government has been attempting to eat away at the freedoms enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong, including freedom of speech and the press, which has often taken the form of harsh commentaries on Chinese government domestic and foreign policies.

What set off the demonstrations early in the summer of 2019 was a proposed law that would more easily compel the extradition to China of those accused of illegal acts against Chinese law. The extradition proposal itself was really less than it was made out to be, given other Chinese encroachments on Hong Kong freedoms. It was more like a straw-that-breaks-the-camel’s-back that sent waves of people, weekend after weekend, into the streets of the city. The demonstrators’ demands have been not only a withdrawing of the extradition legislation, but demands that the Chinese government respect the freedom of the people of Hong Kong in general, with even some voices calling for Hong Kong’s independence.

China’s Domestic Authoritarianism and Global Imperialism

Chinese President Xi Jinping has not only been tightening the authoritarian screws at home against any and all dissent against him or his government, he has been far more aggressively nationalistic in his foreign policies, insisting on reestablishing a global place in the sun for China through a grand mercantilist-type vision of growing Chinese influence and power over many other parts of the world. (See my article “Economic Armaments and China’s Global Ambitions.”)

Many if not most territories “lost” by China in past centuries are often expressed as fair game to once more bring back into the administrative fold of those in Beijing. Thus, the Chinese government insists that a good part of the South China Sea is “historical” Chinese territory, on which they have been building a series of artificial islands and demanding that other nations stay out of these newly established territorial waters without their permission. 

It is equally on this basis that Beijing says that Hong Kong as well as the self-ruling island of Taiwan is part of China. It is the reason the Chinese government opposes “separatist” talk concerning Tibet or among the Muslim Uighur population in the huge western region of Xinjiang, where from all accounts the Chinese authorities have incarcerated upward of a million Uighurs in “re-education camps” that others call mass detention centers; reportedly harsh and even brutal treatment is experienced by those who challenge those who rule over them in these camps. (See my article “Freedom and the Right of Self-Determination.”)

A Tweet Brings China Down on the NBA

So, given the direction of Chinese domestic and foreign policy, when Daryl Morey tweeted his support for the Hong Kong demonstrators and their cause, this immediately set off the ire of the Chinese government. All media and public broadcasting of Houston Rocket basketball events were banned from the Chinese airwaves. Rockets team sportswear and paraphernalia were banned from sale in China. This was followed by the end to a wide variety of business and other commercial relationships between the NBA in general and Chinese businesses, including the threat of breaking endorsement and other ties between leading American basketball players and Chinese companies. 

Millions, if not billions, of dollars of revenues were now at risk of being lost, all because of a tweet and the hesitation by the NBA and individual team owners and representatives to unequivocally distance themselves from the Houston Rockets, or the Rockets’ own partial apologies for offending the “Chinese people.” 

In the United States, conservative and “progressive” politicians and pundits lambasted the NBA for not standing up to the Chinese government and its attempt to hinder the freedom of speech of NBA administrators and team members. The NBA was told by voices all across the U.S. political spectrum that their reluctance to tell the Chinese authorities “Hell, No” demonstrated that the NBA and the individual teams placed the fear of lost profits above the political principle of freedom of speech. It showed the decadence of “capitalism” and the greed of those interested only in money. 

Some of these pundits pointed out the hypocrisy of the NBA, which has heralded the right and freedom of its players to publicly speak out against “social injustice” and the policies of the current president of the United States, but which now kowtowed to a foreign government threatening its financial bottom line from lost business in China. 

China’s Reaction to the NBA and the Importance of Economic Liberty

What has been missed in all this, I would suggest, is the important institutional dilemma when any government has the power and authority to dictate with whom its own citizens do business and on what basis and terms of exchange. That the day after Morey’s tweet suddenly all of the leading Chinese media outlets and enterprises doing business with the Rockets and the NBA in general announced that they were halting or cancelling their dealings with the Americans makes it very clear that this was not a “spontaneous” series of acts by private Chinese citizens simultaneously upset with the words and deeds of their American business partners.

This was a command coming from the Beijing government authorities to whom all those Chinese enterprises — public and private — are absolutely answerable for their existence and financial survival. Even think of disobeying, and literally “heads would roll” in terms of being fired from state enterprises and having your legal ability to operate threatened in your nominally “private” enterprise. 

It should have demonstrated, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that however much China has been praised for its four decades of economic reforms in a direction permitting degrees of individual initiative and private business, the entire Chinese economy remains under the microscopic control and command of the government. If and when businesses are left alone by the Chinese government, it is when those directing and managing those enterprises are doing what is explicitly or implicitly in the directions the Chinese authorities wants them to be moving. 

And when those doing the central planning of the Chinese economy, starting with President Xi at the top, want any or all of those enterprisers to do different things differently, they are instantly at the beck and call of those holding the power of life and death over them and their businesses. This is the meaning of “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Others might call it economic fascism, under which businesses may nominally be in private hands, but it is the government that ultimately determines and dictates how those in charge of their businesses go about doing business. In other words, economic fascism is simply socialism with nominal (and not real) private-enterprise characteristics. 

Beijing Regularly Threatens American Businesses 

The Chinese government has used this power to strong-arm American companies doing business in China numerous times over the years, including being at the service of the communist authorities in their attempt to surveil everyone in the country and dictate the type of political, social, economic, and historical information that will be accessible to citizens of China. In other instances, it has concerned an American company sharing proprietary technology with a Chinese enterprise with which it wants to do business. And at other times, it has been more crassly materialistic, with the expectation that a U.S. company will give a bribe or appoint some government higher-up’s son or nephew to a well-paying position in a joint U.S.–Chinese enterprise 

In this latest instance concerning the NBA, it is demanding that a group of American sports teams either keep their collective mouths shut on political matters dear to the Chinese government or parrot the Communist Party ideological line, after giving the necessary public and groveling apology for daring to challenge anything said or done by the rising global power of the 21st century. 

In the hysteria of an American political election season, the worst thing that could happen would be if politicians and pundits now propose to legislate or regulate the response by the NBA or the Houston Rockets to the Chinese government. With all the chatter about the Chinese attempting to abridge the freedom of speech of Americans through the weapon of financial intimidation if they want to do business in China, it then would be the U.S. government dictating what those sports teams and their NBA representatives could say and agree to in trying to salvage their growing business in China.

The U.S. authorities would be merely doing a political variation on the same commanding-and-controlling theme that the Chinese government is accused of doing. Plus, the establishment of such a precedent would only reinforce the degree to which the U.S. government already regulates, controls, restricts, and commands American enterprises in far too many ways and directions. 

Donald Trump Cannot Dictate People’s Words or Actions

Those who have suggested hypocrisy in the NBA, in that domestically it encourages players to publicly express their political and social views on a variety of American policy-related issues, but cowers in fear before the Chinese government over a tweet, forget an important difference: the U.S. government cannot just shut down those teams and destroy their financial viability. 

There is much made of President Donald Trump’s huffing and puffing about football players who kneel during the national anthem at the beginning of a game, or that he says how the mainstream media are out to get him and declares much of what they print and say to be “fake news.” His critics accuse him of trying to intimidate those who wish nothing more than express their views under the First Amendment to the Constitution and speak their minds as citizens of a democratic society. 

There is one important difference in the words and actions of Donald Trump and those of President Xi Jinping and his government in China: Donald cannot command that all companies doing business with the NFL in terms of products, media coverage, or endorsement contracts are to stop doing so until every football player who has kneeled during the national anthem publicly apologize for “offending the American people” and promises to happily stand and sing along at the start of every game from now on. 

Nor can the president of the United States order the firing of the heads of CNN or MSNBC, or command that Fox News get back in line never criticizing anything he says or does, like as good Trumpians they used to always do. The strength of freedom of speech in the United States is demonstrated by the fact that no matter how much Donald Trump may rant and rave, the mainstream media continues to report and editorialize just the way they want, no matter how much they say that he is a friend of fascism and an enemy of freedom. 

Freedom Requires Separating Markets From the State

Why and how can they do this? Because in spite of the degree to which the government influences and regulates much in the American marketplace, it still remains institutionally grounded in an important and respected degree of personal freedom, private property, and freedom of enterprise outside of Chinese-style heavy-handed central planning. It is precisely because of the remaining degree of free enterprise in the United States, again, even with the existing interventionist and regulatory intrusions and controls, that sports teams and their members can make public statements of disagreement without being shut down, driven out of business, or arrested as “enemies of the people.” And the same applies to conflicting and competing news reporting and editorializing in the various forms of mass communication. 

The essential lesson that should be drawn from this recent dispute between the National Basketball Association and the communist government of China is not that administrators and players in the NBA are being intimidated to make public apologies and toe the party line, but that this is why friends of freedom should always be concerned about and argue against government involvement and regulatory oversight and control over private enterprise and the free market. 

It is not only that government regulation over business misdirects how and what private enterprises do, which deflects them away from competitively trying to find the best ways of satisfying consumer demands as the means to earning profits. That is certainly true. 

Equally if not more importantly in terms of freedom in society, it is that every introduction and extension of government control, command, and regulation over the private affairs of the marketplace threatens the liberty of the citizenry. How you manage and direct your enterprise as a businessman; where and at what type of work you will be able to earn a living; and with whom you may do business and under what terms. All these become more and more dependent not on your free choices and voluntary associations with others on mutually agreed-upon terms, but upon the fate and favors of those in political power, and their goals and agenda to which you must conform or suffer potentially devastating consequences.

It is not just classical liberal ideologizing about the importance of separating the marketplace from the state, private enterprise from political control. The dilemma that the NBA and its affiliates find themselves in with the Chinese government is the latest example of why a free society is not sustainable without a functioning free market that is widely free and independent from the power of those in political authority. 

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/17/2019 – 23:05


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