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Putin extends olive branch to Arab League on Syria

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to extend his influence in the Middle East by being a little chummy with the Arab League. TASS in Moscow reports Putin’s main focus was regional stability in his missive to Arab League members.

“Russia is prepared to develop cooperation with the Arab League in order to ensure regional stability. I hope that in the wake of the defeat of the main forces of ISIL (former name of the Islamic State terror group, outlawed in Russia – TASS) in Syria and Iraq, we will be able together to contribute to intensifying the political settlement and post-conflict reconstruction processes in those countries and tackling pressing humanitarian issues,” the head of state said in his message of greetings to the participants of the Arab League meeting posted on the Kremlin’s website on Sunday.

Putin also noted that it is necessary to continue the fight against terror groups, while respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Arab states.

According to Putin, the normalization of the situation in the Middle East is impossible without resolving the Palestinian issue. “All issues related to the status of the Palestinian territories, including the Jerusalem problem, need to be tackled through direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations on a generally recognized international legal basis, including the relevant resolutions passed by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly and also the Arab Peace Initiative endorsed by the Arab League,” the Russian president noted.

One interesting thing to come out of this is the fact Putin’s statement isn’t on the Kremlin’s website anymore, so it’s possible his slide into the Arab League’s DMs didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. The group is staying relatively quiet about Putin’s gesture and there’s no word if it had any real effect on this past weekend’s summit in Saudi Arabia. It was quite curious to see an Al Jazeera report claiming the US, UK, and French airstrikes on Syria weren’t discussed at all during the gathering.

According to a summit spokesman, the leaders were to discuss the Syrian conflict but not the strikes that targeted the sites near Damascus as well as in the province of Homs.

The leaders called for an international probe while condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters after the summit.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar have previously issued statements in support of the action while Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon expressed concern.

My guess is the Arab League decided to treat the airstrikes as an “elephant in the room” and one which needed to be avoided at all costs to keep shoes from being thrown at each other. The group did find plenty of time to discuss President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, so…priorities? It does show the failure of governmental bodies to get together and discuss issues because Syria is technically a member of the Arab League, although their membership was suspended in 2011. It’s quite a conundrum for the League and whether they end up figuring something out or burying their heads in the sand is another question entirely.

It will be interesting to see if any further discussions happen on the Syrian airstrikes and whether the Arab world will decide to get more involved in the civil war. They certainly seem more than willing to let the West and the Kremlin handle the load while they wring their hands and offer platitudes, and money, towards the rebels. The conflict in Syria is supposed to be a civil war yet it’s turning more and more into a bit of a proxy war between the West and Russia.

The key factor for Americans is to remember what George Washington and Thomas Jefferson said about global alliances which favor one country over another. Washington wrote in Daily American Advertiser in 1796 how troublesome and destructive these situations can become.

Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence therefore it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Jefferson was more succinct in his 1801 inaugural address.

Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none;

This doesn’t mean isolation, as many might guess, but simply being careful about crazy alliances which could pit Americans against another country instead of allowing free trade and free markets to rule the day. The world has definitely changed since Washington and Jefferson made the statements but the principal stays the same. The U.S.’ inability to remain out of entangling alliances is one reason why it finds itself being drawn further into Syria. Putin’s move towards the Arab League could actually come back to bite him as the Arab world tries to figure out what to do with a civil war which is being funded by more than a few outside actors.

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The robot dog that will murder you will also dance on your grave

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To cleanse the palate, obviously I don’t know if there’ll be “graves” as such after the robot apocalypse. I assume it’ll depend on their olfactory capabilities. If they’re not equipped to detect scent, maybe the ‘bots will just leave us where we lie to decay in the sun, our streets transformed into rivers of putrefied viscera from the sheer mass of leaking carcasses.

It’s my great privilege to share thoughts like that with you at the end of a long day.

I’m curious about what possessed Boston Dynamics to put this clip together. Could be nothing more than boredom or a creative way to show off Spot’s motor skills. But I wonder if all the freaky-deaky videos of humanoid robots demonstrating ever more impressive feats of mobility has created a strange sort of PR problem for them. They don’t want every promo they do to seem menacing, however inadvertently. Soon they’ll have people breaking into their factory, trying to stop them before they build the first T-800. Time to do something whimsical instead.

This thing is set to go on sale next year, by the way. Not to everyday consumers; the price tag will likely ensure that it remains a corporate plaything. But you’ll be seeing them around sooner than you think. Plus, some ultra-rich tech bros are destined to buy them and show them off as look-what-I-got novelties. We all know who the first one will be.

Weird but true: In a few decades’ time, this thing shaking its ass in your face as it does a victory twerk might be the last thing you ever see.

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WOW! Claire McCaskill Speaks Out After Project Veritas Reveals She’s a Complete Fraud — Lies and Blames Hawley (VIDEO)

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James O’Keefe strikes again!

On Monday evening, Project Veritas released an undercover video of endangered Missouri Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill admitting to being deceptive about her stance on firearms and immigration policies.

McCaskill is a red-state Democrat Senator so she has to appear pro 2nd Amendment to her constituents because Missourians love their guns.

Claire McCaskill’s staffers were also caught on video saying she puts on a moderate front to get the Republican votes.

The top staffer then continued saying McCaskill believes everything Obama does.

THIS WAS A DEVASTATING VIDEO! Claire McCaskill was COMPLETELY EXPOSED!

Senator McCaskill’s staffers admitted she is pro-DACA, pro-DREAMERS and against the border wall even though she runs ads to the contrary claiming she is strong on border security.
The Project Veritas Video has been viewed over 267,000 times so far!

On Tuesday morning Claire McCaskill responded to the stunning revelations.
McCaskill went on Ozarks First to try to dig herself out of this deep hole.


Claire lied some more, blamed Josh Hawley for the undercover video.

Senator McCaskill: I’ve been very up front about all my positions. I remember this person was trying to get me to say something different than what my positions are… It is startling that Josh Hawley would be part of fraudulently embedding something in my campaign.

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Coincidence or corruption? In Andrew Cuomo’s government it’s hard to tell

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Given the parade of people in the orbit of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who have recently either been shipped off to jail or come under investigation, it’s amazing that none of the dirt ever sticks to Cuomo himself. How does he account for the various people who funneled money toward his campaign, and then were later discovered to have benefitted from state government “generosity” and wound up in handcuffs? It’s all just a coincidence.

Today we’re hearing news of yet another of these amazing coincidences. This story starts with a situation we first covered more than a year ago and it dealt with some donors who helped Cuomo out during his 2014 campaign. A medical corporation named Crystal Run Healthcare was run by a few people who had funneled more than $400K to Cuomo’s campaigns over the previous four years. When the “Buffalo Billion” was announced (a plan to invest a billion dollars of taxpayer money into projects creating jobs in the western, upstate region) Crytal Run was at the front of the line. They wound up receiving more than $25M dollars for two new medical centers.

But there were some fishy elements to the story. First of all, they had actually broken ground on both of those new projects six months before the grants were even announced or applications were being taken. It’s almost as if they knew they had the money coming from somewhere. Then we found out that the Crystal Run had coughed up a flurry of maximum donations only weeks before the checks to them were cut. In addition to that, there was a meeting held less than two weeks after the announcement of the grants where Crystal Run executives met with state officials, including a top aide from inside Cuomo’s office.

How did Cuomo explain it? It was all just a happy coincidence and the meeting didn’t matter because they didn’t even talk about the grants. The meeting was about Medicaid.

But now the local press has gotten hold of emails from Crystal Run showing that they did indeed discuss their two new developments and the grants, and that the state representatives at the meeting were “very receptive” to their requests. (NY Post)

Now, despite earlier denials from everyone involved, it turns out company execs got a private sitdown with top state officials in 2015, just 12 days after Albany started seeking applications for $1.2 billion in development grants. Crystal Run wound up with $25.4 million of that (the only for-profit company to qualify) for two projects.

Team Cuomo insists those projects never even got mentioned at the meeting, saying it was only about Medicaid. Yet the Albany Times Union reports that an e-mail sent two weeks later by Crystal Run’s chief legal officer stressed that company execs had “shared our vision for growth,” including the two “expansions,” with the health commissioner and a top aide who worked in Cuomo’s office.

Both officials, the e-mail noted, “were, obviously, supportive, as we are bringing real jobs to real people” — and had agreed that “further discussion was warranted” with the state economic-development agency “at the highest levels.”

How much more evidence do we need at this point? Cuomo’s spokespeople obviously lied about what went on at that meeting. They have records from the company who benefitted from it after making massive contributions. (Two of the people involved in organizing these meetings, donations, and windfalls have already been convicted or indicted on related charges.) And yet Andrew Cuomo continues to insist that all the grants were handled fairly and above board. These are all just amazing coincidences. And somehow, while his closest aides head off to the crowbar motel, Cuomo floats along and prosecutors can’t seem to lay a glove on him. On top of that, he’s on track to cruise to electoral victory for another four years in office.

I guess that’s just a happy coincidence too, eh?

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