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CONFIRMED: Mikheil Saakashvili resigns as Odessa’s Governor, positions himself as leader of opposition to Kiev’s government

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s resignation as Governor of Odessa in Ukraine brings an unhappy experiment to an end.

Alexander Mercouris

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News of former Georgian Mikheil Saakashvili’s resignation today from his position as Governor of Odessa in Ukraine brings to an end a bizarre and unhappy experiment, whose failure became obvious long ago.

Saakashvili was appointed Governor of Odessa by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in May 2015. 

The purported intention behind Saakashvili’s appointment was to bring in a supposedly clean outsider to sweep away the supposedly corrupt politics of Ukraine’s premier seaport and third biggest city. 

Unofficially there have been constant rumours that Saakashvili was actually brought in because as an outsider he was trusted to hold the ring and keep a balance between the fiercely competing interests of the various Ukrainian oligarchs who have interests in Odessa.  A Ukrainian supposedly could not be trusted in the same way, since he or she would supposedly be bound eventually to be bought one oligarch or another.

Undoubtedly another reason for Saakashvili’s appointment is the disturbed and politically fraught mood in the city.  Odessa, as a creation of Catherine the Great’s, though a culturally very diverse city, has always historically identified itself with Russia, and Russian is the prevalent language there.  Odessa voted for Yanukovych in the 2010 Presidential election, and in May 2014, shortly after the Maidan coup, protests broke out against the coup in the city, during which protesters raised the Russian flag.

This led to clashes with Maidan supporters in the city, culminating in a massacre on 2nd May 2014 in Odessa’s trade union building, which was set on fire after it was occupied by anti Maidan protesters.  As a result 42 anti-Maidan protesters were killed (this is according to official tallies – unofficial reports put the death toll much higher).  Official investigations into what happened have continued to this day, but seem to be going nowhere.

In light of this situation Poroshenko seems to have concluded that he needed a strong “big name” figure to step in to restore the Maidan government’s reputation and authority in the city.

Saakashvili’s appointment took place at a time when appointment of foreigners to senior positions in Ukraine’s power structure were very common and had in fact become something of a fashion. Possibly the most famous example – other than the appointment of Saakashvili himself – was the appointment 9 months after the Maidan coup of the US born investment banker Natalie Jaresko to be Ukraine’s Minister of Finance.

Poroshenko may also have seen in Saakashvili’s appointment something of a propaganda coup.  Saakashvili’s strident anti-Russian and anti-Putin politics whilst President of Georgia, culminating in a short war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008 in which Georgia was comprehensively defeated, made Saakashvili into something of a hero for anti-Putin activists throughout the former USSR, including in Russia.  

Bringing Saakashvili to Ukraine and giving him a senior position there must have seemed to Poroshenko a good way to win the support of these people, consolidating Ukraine’s claim within the territory of the former USSR to be the leader of the struggle against “Putinism”, and winning thereby for Ukraine more anti-Putin friends in the West.

As for Saakashvili, the offer of an important position in Ukraine must have looked to him like a good way of restarting his otherwise moribund political career, which appeared to have ended after his flight from Georgia on criminal charges following his unexpected electoral defeat in the Presidential elections of October 2012.

Saakashvili actually has longstanding connections to Ukraine.  Whilst he was President of Georgia he forged a close alliance with Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s strongly anti-Russian Orange President, who in 2006 became the godfather of Saakashvili’s son.  Before his appointment Saakashvili took a close interest in the country, and was an outspoken supporter of the Maidan movement before the Maidan coup.  It is therefore easy to see how accepting an important job in Ukraine – like that of Governor of Odessa – may have seemed to Saakashvili a good way of getting his political career restarted.

In the event the appointment quickly became for Poroshenko and Ukraine a public relations disaster, with Poroshenko and Saakashvili rapidly falling out, and with Saakashvili quickly emerging as a relentless critic of Poroshenko’s government. 

The speed and extent to which Saakashvili had become completely alienated from the Ukrainian leadership became starkly apparent a year ago in December 2015 – just 8 months after Saakashvili was appointed to his post – when Saakashvili and Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov had a furious public row on national television during a Ukrainian government meeting.

In truth Saakashvili’s appointment demonstrates the underlying amateurism of Ukraine’s Maidan government. 

It ought to have been obvious that an outsider like Saakashvili was not the right person to navigate the complex shoals of Ukrainian politics, especially in a proud city like Odessa, and especially at a time of national crisis, whilst Saakashvili’s outspoken and domineering personality, and his record as President of Georgia, ought to have made it obvious that he would not be a loyal or compliant subordinate. 

At the time of Saakashvili’s appointment even many Western commentators favourable to Ukraine thought it was a mistake, and events have proved them right.  

In the event not only has Saakashvili resigned, but so apparently has Odessa’s police chief whom he appointed, whilst all the other people he brought with him to Odessa as his team – including the Russian liberal politician Maria Gaidar (daughter of Boris Yeltsin’s liberal prime minister Yegor Gaidar) – have either already left Ukraine or are under investigation by Ukraine’s government.

Saakashvili now apparently plans to lead a political movement in Ukraine in opposition to the Maidan government.   Apparently its pitch will be “the revolution betrayed”. 

As Ukrainians struggle to make ends meet in difficult economic conditions and with winter closing in, and as the gross corruption of their leaders becomes increasingly obvious, there is no doubt that such a pitch could gain traction.  However it is most unlikely that a foreigner and outsider like Saakashvili  is the person to make it successfully.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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Why Joe May be Courting Stacey

Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


Of 895 slots in the freshman class of Stuyvesant High in New York City, seven were offered this year to black students, down from 10 last year and 13 the year before.

In the freshman class of 803 at The Bronx High School of Science, 12 students are black, down from last year’s 25.

Of 303 students admitted to Staten Island Technical High School, one is African-American.

According to The New York Times, similar patterns of admission apply at the other five most elite high schools in the city.

Whites and Asians are 30 percent of middle school students, but 83 percent of the freshman at Bronx High School of Science, 88 percent at Staten Island Technical and 90 percent at Stuyvesant.

What do these numbers tell us?

They reveal the racial composition of the cohort of scientists and technicians who will lead America in the 21st century. And they tell us which races will not be well represented in that vanguard.

They identify a fault line that runs through the Democratic Party, separating leftists who believe in equality of results for all races and ethnic groups, and those who believe in a meritocracy.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed anger and frustration at the under-representation of blacks and Hispanics in the elite schools. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have ignored his pleas to change the way students are admitted.

Currently, the same test, of English and math, is given to middle school applicants. And admission to the elite eight is offered to those who get the highest scores.

Moreover, Asians, not whites, are predominant.

Though 15 percent of all middle school students, Asians make up two-thirds of the student body at Stuyvesant, with 80 times as many slots as their African-American classmates.

The egalitarian wing of the Democratic Party sees this as inherently unjust. And what gives this issue national import are these factors:

First, the recent scandal where rich parents paid huge bribes to criminal consultants to get their kids into elite colleges, by falsifying records of athletic achievement and cheating on Scholastic Aptitude Tests, has caused a wave of populist resentment.

Second, Harvard is being sued for systemic reverse racism, as black and Hispanic students are admitted with test scores hundreds of points below those that would disqualify Asians and whites.

Third, Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Here are Biden’s quotes, unearthed by The Washington Post, that reflect his beliefs about forced busing for racial balance in public schools:

“The new integration plans being offered are really just quota systems to assure a certain number of blacks, Chicanos, or whatever in each school. That, to me, is the most racist concept you can come up with.

“What it says is, ‘In order for your child with curly black hair, brown eyes, and dark skin to be able to learn anything, he needs to sit next to my blond-haired, blue-eyed son.’ That’s racist!

“Who the hell do we think we are, that the only way a black man or woman can learn is if they rub shoulders with my white child?

“I am philosophically opposed to quota systems. They insure mediocrity.”

That was 44 years ago. While those views were the thinking of many Democrats, and perhaps of most Americans, in the mid-’70s, they will be problematic in the 2020 primaries, where African-Americans could be decisive in the contests that follow Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden knows that just as Bernie Sanders, another white male, fell short in crucial South Carolina because of a lack of support among black voters, he, too, has a problem with that most loyal element in the Democratic coalition.

In 1991, Biden failed to rise to the defense of Anita Hill when she charged future Justice Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment. In the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was a law-and-order champion responsible for tough anti-crime legislation that is now regarded as discriminatory.

And he has a record on busing for racial balance that made him a de facto ally of Louise Day Hicks of the Boston busing case fame.

How, with a record like this, does Biden inoculate himself against attacks by rival candidates, especially candidates of color, in his run for the nomination?

One way would be to signal to his party that he has grown, he has changed, and his 2020 running mate will be a person of color. Perhaps he’ll run with a woman of color such as Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the 2018 governor’s race in Georgia.

An ancillary benefit would be that Abrams on the ticket would help him carry Georgia, a state Donald Trump probably cannot lose and win re-election.

Wrote Axios this morning:

“Close advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden are debating the idea of packaging his presidential campaign announcement with a pledge to choose Stacey Abrams as his vice president.”


Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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