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AMERICA IN CRISIS

Trump Administration Quietly Moves to Pull Out of Treaty Allowing US and Allies to Monitor Russian Military Moves

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“American withdrawal would only benefit Russia.”

While the world was focused on President Donald Trump’s overnight blindsiding of the Pentagon and U.S. allies, announcing he is pulling troops out of Syria so Turkey can crush Kurdish forces that have helped the U.S. fight ISIS, the Trump administration was quietly laying plans to pull out of a key and critical compact, the Open Skies Treaty.

First proposed in 1992, since 2002 the Open Skies Treaty has allowed the now 34 signatory nations to fly over each others’ territory for the purpose of monitoring and recording military deployments and movements.

In the real world, the Open Skies Treaty allows the most powerful nations on earth to monitor Russian military movements.

And President Trump wants to end that.

U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel on Monday sent Trump’s Acting National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien, a letter demanding he “ensure that the United States does not unwisely and rashly withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty.”

Chairman Engel also called the possible withdrawal “reckless,” and noted “American withdrawal would only benefit Russia.”

Chairman Engel’s letter was followed by this tweet:

Experts are perplexed and outraged.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia:

Investigative journalist and expert on Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe says “Trump is acting like a kamikaze pilot destroying America in any way he can and in a hurry”:

Dr. Michael Carpenter’s résumé says all you need to know:

“Dr. Carpenter previously served in the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, the Balkans, and Conventional Arms Control. He also served in the White House as a foreign policy advisor to Vice President Joe Biden as well as on the National Security Council as Director for Russia. Previously, Dr. Carpenter was a career Foreign Service Officer with the State Department.”

He says pulling out is a bad idea:

Russian Media Analyst:

 

Image via Wikimedia

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AMERICA IN CRISIS

Bill Barr Wants an ‘Autocratic President’ — and He’s Made ‘Significant Progress’ Getting One: Ex-Bush DOJ Official

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Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general who served under President George H.W. Bush, has issued a startling warning about Attorney General Bill Barr’s goals in pushing for the expansion of powers under the executive branch.

In an interview with The New Yorker, Ayer said that Barr has been all too eager to make the Department of Justice into President Donald Trump’s personal squad of attorneys whose job is to serve him and not the American public.

“[Barr’s] systematic trashing of the department’s traditions of even handedness and independence have helped him make significant progress toward his goal of an autocratic President,” Ayer said. “I think Barr is getting as much out of Trump as Trump is getting out of Barr. All for his own reasons of wanting the President to have complete and unchecked power.”

David Laufman, a former head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, tells The New Yorker that the consolidation of power around the president hasn’t just been limited to the DOJ.

“I think we need to be careful not to be too lackadaisical in recognizing the significance of what is happening throughout our government, not just in law enforcement and intelligence but the attempted politicization of our public health system,” he said.

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AMERICA IN CRISIS

‘Chaos’: Kushner-Commandeered Supply Chain Task Force Operates in the Dark, Turned Government Into Arm of Big Business

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Jared Kushner is best known for his failures, and his decision to commandeer the supply chain task force and turn it into an arm of Big Business may be his greatest.

The supply chain task force, a part of the larger coronavirus task force, should be helping the federal government procure desperately-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) including face masks and shields, along with life-saving medical equipment like ventilators, at a lower cost, and distributing it to the areas that need it the most.

But under Kushner’s manipulation, the supply chain task force has “virtually no accountability,” NBC News reports. It has “operated almost entirely in the dark, releasing few details of their arrangements with the big companies; created a new and convoluted emergency response system; and sown confusion and distrust in the states and among the people who need medical supplies.”

“Jared and his friends decided they were going to do their thing,” one senior government official told NBC News. “It cost weeks.”

Congressional officials warn the supply chain group is mired in “chaos, secrecy and ineptitude.”

NBC reports under Kushner the supply chain task force has spent about one million dollars each on 40 chartered FedEx flights in a deal for chemical giant DuPont to send its made in the USA Tyvek material over to Vietnam, where it is sown into body suits.

Those suits used to sell for $5 each. The federal government, in addition to basically donating what would amount to $40 million to DuPont, is now paying up to three times as much for the suits: $15 each, NBC News reports. To make matters worse, instead of paying FedEx $1 million per flight the federal government could have used U.S. military aircraft which would have cost less than half: $410,000 per flight.

And if all that weren’t bad enough, DuPont only sold 60 percent of the suits to the federal government.

“We actually helped get raw materials supplied from Richmond, Virginia, and we flew that s— to Vietnam, all so that DuPont could sell us” their products, said a senior federal official involved in the coronavirus effort.

President Donald Trump and HHS, which announced the deal last week, described the arrangement as one in a string of massive successes in delivering badly needed medical equipment into the U.S. in an expedited fashion.

Read the entire report here.

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AMERICA IN CRISIS

Meltdown: Trump Explodes on Reporter Who Tells Him America Does Not Have Enough Tests, Masks, PPE, or Ventilators

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President Donald Trump is continuing his attempts to gaslight America, this time during Friday’s daily coronavirus press briefing when he attacked a reporter who told him America does not have enough masks, PPE, hospital beds, or ventilators.

The president derided CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta immediately as he began posing his question, which Trump would not allow him to even ask without interruption.

“Do we have enough masks? No. Do we have enough tests? No. Do we have enough PPE? No,” Acosta began.

“Why would you say ‘no’? The answer is ‘yes,'” Trump lied, interrupting. “Why would you say ‘no’? I think the answer is ‘yes.’ Who said ‘no’ to that?”

“I’m saying –” Acosta began to answer.

“No, no. You’re saying no, but who said no?”

“Do we have enough masks? Yes,” Trump insisted, falsely.

“We hear from doctors, we hear from health experts,” Acosta replied.

Related: Trump Is ‘Treating Life-Saving Medical Equipment as Emoluments’ to ‘Dole Out’ as Political Favors: Reports

“No, no you don’t say this. You say, do we have enough masks? Yes. Do we have enough tests? Yes. We’re developing new tests. Do we have enough – do we have enough ventilators? Yes. Do we have enough hospital beds? Yes. We built 20,000 hospital beds. We have enough hospital beds,” Trump insisted, falsely.

“What do you say – I mean, you watch the coverage?” Acosta continued.

“I watch a lot of the coverage,” Trump replied. “A lot of it’s fake news.”

“No, no,” the CNN reporter responded. “When the doctors and the medical experts come on our air and say we don’t have enough tests…”

Trump claimed they have to say that or CNN won’t allow them on air, which is also false.

The President then said a group of 14 governors Thursday night told him, “It’s been unbelievable what’s happened.”

“We’ve been totally responsive,” the president added. “Ventilators. Everyone has the ventilators they need,” he claimed, which is also false. “We’re at a point where all the foreign countries” are calling to ask for ventilators, he said.

“This is not happy talk. Maybe it’s happy talk for you, it’s not happy talk for me we’re talking about death. We’re talking about the greatest economy in the world, one day I have to close it off. And we did the right thing,” Trump claimed, as if he were mourning the loss of the economy instead of the more than 15,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus. “We did the right thing.”

Literally not one word of his remarks were true.

Watch:

Related: Trump’s Latest Target to Blame for His Coronavirus Failures Is at Least His Sixth: Report

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