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MSM wrong again: Donald Trump’s transition is going smoothly

There is no warrant for the media to talk about a chaotic transition when Donald Trump has made more and smoother appointments at this stage in his transition than did Barack Obama and Bill Clinton during theirs.

Alexander Mercouris

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Less than 2 weeks since his unexpected election victory, it is already becoming clear that one of the major problems Donald Trump is going to face is the established media’s hostility to everything he does.

A case in point is the way the media is misreporting his discussions aimed at setting up his new administration.  There has been much talk about how this process has supposedly be chaotic, with much talk of a backlash against Trump for some of his appointments.

On the contrary my opinion is that the process has been going quite smoothly.  Trump acted decisively and quickly to replace Christie with Pence as head of the transition team, rather than remove Christie too late when it was already obvious that he was not up to the job, whilst the appointments of Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff and Stephen Bannon as chief strategist seem to be carefully judged to balance the appointment of a seasoned political insider and professional manager (Priebus) against a loyal publicist and ideologue (Bannon), whilst his appointments of Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser, Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and Mike Pompeo as CIA chief bring in seasoned professionals who in the cases of Sessions and Pompeo should not have difficulty getting Senate confirmation.

The latter is important because the way Trump obtained the Presidency set him at odds with the Republican Party establishment, which means he has few obvious allies in the Senate.  In order to ensure a smooth transition and to avoid embarrassing defeats in the Senate during the confirmation process, Trump has to win over the leading Republican Senators and the leaders of the Republican Party’s establishment.

That almost certainly explains Trump’s meetings with figures like Mitt Romney.  Whilst it is possible that Trump is considering Romney for a cabinet post, it seems more likely that Trump met with Romney in order to buy Romney’s support by negotiating over jobs lower down the hierarchy for people Romney proposes.

Trump is almost certainly doing the same thing with other senior figures in the Republican leadership.  In this way Trump can neutralise in advance opposition from the Republican Party establishment and in the Senate to his more senior appointments when they are announced, ensuring that they will have no difficulty getting confirmed by the Senate.  With 4,000 appointments to make, Trump has any number of jobs he can negotiate over to buy support in this way.

In the meantime, whilst the process of winning over support for the more senior appointments is underway, Trump is filling key positions in the administration which do not require Senate confirmation – such as those of Priebus, Bannon and Flynn – with people close to his own views, and whom he feels he can trust.

This is very much the way a businessman and deal – maker works, and that of course is exactly what Trump is.  In other words Trump is acting exactly as someone of his background and personality would be expected to act.

What this means is that Trump will finally name whoever he intends to appoint Secretary of State – the post that is attracting the most speculation – only once he is confident that he has fixed things sufficiently in the Senate so that whoever he nominates is going to be confirmed.  In the meantime it is in his interests to keep this information to himself.

Again this approach – fixing things in advance and playing with his cards close to his chest – is very much how Trump the businessman and deal – maker can be expected to behave.  As it happens I suspect that Trump already has in mind the person he wants as Secretary of State.  Whether this is the person he will eventually nominate will however depend on how well his deal making goes.

I would add that though Trump’s conduct of the transition is very much in the style of a businessman, the use of patronage to build a winning coalition is an entirely traditional part of the style of US government.   Past Presidents who were extremely skilled at it included Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan.  It is those Presidents who do not have a good feel for how to use patronage effectively that struggle in the US to get things done.

As it is Trump has apparently already made more appointments than Obama did at this point in his transition, and there is certainly no warrant for talking about a chaotic and disorganised transition, such as Bill Clinton’s was in 1992.

In saying all this I make no comment about the calibre of the people Trump is appointing.  The criticisms of Bannon and Sessions for being racist seem to me overdone, and besides it is ultimately hardly surprising if a right wing President is appointing right wing people like Bannon and Sessions  to positions close to him.  As for Michael Flynn, it seems to me that many of the attacks on him are more the product of his known opposition to the Obama administration’s  Syrian policy than any real judgement on his professional and managerial abilities.  Ultimately however I simply don’t know enough about these people to be able to judge them fairly.

Regardless of how good or bad these people are,  the fact is that Trump is forming his administration, and so far is doing it successfully.  There is no warrant for talking about chaos when on the facts there is none.

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NXIVM Sex-Cult Prosecutors Have Evidence Of Illegal Clinton Campaign Contributions For “Political Influence”

NXIVM’s Clinton connections have been known for some time.

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Via Zerohedge


US Attorney Richard Donoghue asked a federal judge last month for permission to present a mountain of new evidence in the NXIVM sex-cult trial – including evidence of an “illegal scheme to exceed contribution limits to a presidential primary campaign,” in the “hopes of obtaining political influence to advance their own agenda,” according to a March court filing.

“At the suggestion of a political operative, who has since pleaded guilty to an unrelated New York state bribery charge also involving campaign contributions, the contributions were “bundled” and presented to the candidate at a fundraising event attended by conspirators,” the filing continues.

And whose “presidential primary campaign” did the group allegedly attempt to buy influence with?

None other than Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to former NXIVM publicist-turned-whistleblower Frank Parlato, who told Big League Politics “I was there, and I knew that the contributions were made by more than a dozen NXIVM members to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

At present, the judge overseeing the case has not responded on the case docket.

Founded by accused pedophile Keith Raniere, NXIVM started out as a multi-level-marketing self-help business for people who wanted to “reach their potential” through various courses.

NXIVM’s Clinton connections have been known for some time 

After being run out of Arkansas in the early ’90s by then-Governor Bill Clinton’s attorney general on charges of fraud and business deception, Raniere and NXIVM executives emerged a decade later only to donate $29,900 to Hillary Clinton’s 2006 presidential campaign a decade later. At least three NXIVM officials are (or were) “invitation-only” members of the Clinton Global Initiative, according to the New York Post.

Meanwhile, NXIVM’s ‘inner sanctum’ turns out to have been sex-cult known as ‘DOS’ – which Parletto says stands for “dominus obsequious sororium,” or “master over the slave women.”

A 2009 photo of Raniere in Albany, New York, where Mack bought a house to be closer to the Nxivm founder.

Raniere’s inner cadre included Seagrams heiresses Clare and Sara bronfman, who joined NXIVM in 2002 and subsequently contributed $150 million of their inheritance to the organization, while Claire bought 80% of Wakaya island off the coast of Fiji for $47 million in 2016, according to Vanity Fair.

Female members of DOS – such as former Smallville actress Allison Mack, would procure women for Raniere – who required that prospective “slaves” upload compromising collateral into a Dropbox account. One such recruit-turned-coach was India Oxenberg – daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenbergwho met with prosecutors in New York in late 2017 to present evidence against Raniere.

Allison Mack

Raniere and Mack were arrested on federal charges which include sex trafficking, forced labor, wire fraud conspiracy, human trafficking and other counts. Most recently, Raniere was accused of having sex with children and producing kiddie porn, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Mack – who allegedly held the second-most-senior position in NXIVM, pleaded guilty earlier this month to racketeering charges and manipulating women into becoming sex slaves.”I believed Keith Raniere’s intentions were to help people, and I was wrong,” a tearful Mack told a Brooklyn judge. “I know I can and will be a better person,” she added.

Prior to his death, Clare and Sara’s father, Seagrams founder and former president of the World Jewish Congress Edgar Bronfman (whose funeral Hillary Clinton spoke at), told Vanity Fair of NXIVM “I think it’s a cult.”

Edgar Bronfman Sr. receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1999

A cult which tried to buy favor with Hillary Clinton, allegedly.

(March filing below, P. 24)

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Tulsi Gabbard: Trump is ‘Saudi Arabia’s servant’ as he refused to end US support of Yemen war

Tulsi tweets: “By vetoing War Powers Act, Trump again proves he’s the servant of Saudi Arabia.”

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Via RT…


Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has called President Donald Trump’s decision to veto a bill seeking to end US support for the Yemen war nothing less than proof he serves Saudi Arabia.

By vetoing the bill dubbed the War Powers Act, Trump again “proves he’s the servant of Saudi Arabia – the theocratic dictatorship spending billions spreading the most extreme and intolerant form of Islam around the world, supporting al-Qaeda & other jihadists, and waging genocidal war in Yemen with US help,” Gabbard said in an emotional tweet.

The War Powers resolution, approved in the House of Representatives in April and the Senate in March, was vetoed by President Donald Trump, who said it was an “unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members.”

In the video that accompanies the tweet, Gabbard is heard saying that the US is complicit “in this genocide that’s causing millions of people to starve and suffer.” She accused Trump of being “more interested in pleasing the Saudis that doing what is right.”

This is by no means the first time Gabbard has attacked Trump over Saudi Arabia. Last year, she tweeted: “Hey @realdonaldtrump: being Saudi Arabia’s b*tch is not ‘America First.’”

Since a Saudi-led coalition started the military offensive against Yemen in 2015, an estimated 60,000 Yemenis have died due to the conflict, and another 85,000 have succumbed to famine and malnutrition. Airstrikes conducted often with munitions supplied by the US and its allies frequently target areas with civilians. The Saudis say they are acting in support of the exiled president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, against the Yemeni Houthis who control most of the country. Riyadh and its Western allies accuse the opposition group of being proxies of Iran.

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Is Lori Loughlin’s Daughter Olivia Jade Now Under Investigation?

Both Olivia Jade and Bella are technically still University of Southern California students whose accounts are on hold while the university reviews their cases.

The Duran

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Via Yahoo News…


Another day, another “ruh-ro” in the ongoing Operation Varsity Blues saga. After Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges in the college admissions scam on Monday, the Daily Mail now reports one of their two daughters—either influencer/vlogger Olivia Jade, 19, or Bella Giannulli, 20—has received a “target letter” declaring her the subject of an investigation by the Department of Justice.

As The New York Times reported earlier this week, “at least some children of the parents who were charged in the scandal have received so-called target letters, which notify people that they could be targets of a criminal probe.” So far, no students (read: kids of the dozens of parents) allegedly involved in the scandal have been charged.

Internet sleuths are now, inevitably, speculating that the daughter in question could be Bella, who deleted her Instagram account this week. (Her sister’s remains active.) Both Olivia Jade and Bella are technically still University of Southern California students whose accounts are on hold while the university reviews their cases; their parents, Loughlin and Giannulli, stand accused of paying $500,000 to Operation Varsity Blues ringleader William “Rick” Singer to pass their daughters off as crew recruits. Some of the high-profile parents charged, including Felicity Huffman, have pleaded guilty in hopes of reduced sentences, though prosecutors are still seeking a four- to 10-month jail sentencefor the actress. But on Monday, Loughlin and Giannulli entered not guilty pleas to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and are vowing to fight the charges.

One potential line of defense? Loughlin and Giannulli—because, reminder, it wasn’t only the moms who were allegedly involved in the scam—were just trying really, really hard to help their kids, according to the L.A. Times, in this cultural moment of “parenting on steroids.” For future reference, though, steroid possession is also illegal.

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