Hong Kong Heats Up

Ken AshfordChina, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Backgrounder: For the past several days, pro-democracy protesters have taken over the Hong Kong airport. There have been major scuffles with police. All departing flights have been cancelled. It's Hong Kong but the State thuggery could just as easily be in Paris. pic.twitter.com/wMZvLEvgB2 — David Vance (@DVATW) August 13, 2019 Then this morning… Our Intelligence has informed us that the … Read More

What’s Up With The Russian Explosions?

Ken AshfordDisasters, RussiaLeave a Comment

There have been two notable explosions in Russia this past week. First, an arms storage depot exploded at Achinsk, near Krasnoyarsk, in Siberia. Every summer, a couple of arms storage depots explode in Russia. They have a lot of them, and their safety measures leave something to be desired. Explosions have continued for a week. Once they start, it’s dangerous … Read More

Trump Administration Actively Rebuffed Intelligence Community Attempts To Prioritize Domestic Terrorism

Ken AshfordRightwing Extremism/Violence, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Jake Tapper at CNN has the exclusive: White House officials rebuffed efforts by their colleagues at the Department of Homeland Security for more than a year to make combating domestic terror threats, such as those from white supremacists, a greater priority as specifically spelled out in the National Counterterrorism Strategy, current and former senior administration officials as well as other … Read More

Trump Has A History Of Thwarting Law Enforcement Of Far Right Terrorism

Ken AshfordGun Control, Rightwing Extremism/Violence, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

If you want a quick rundown of some of the ways Donald Trump’s team of hard-right conservatives has sought not just to downplay far-right domestic terrorism threats but to weaken the ability of government to investigate them in the first place, the Los Angeles Times’ Molly O’Toole has you covered. From the beginning moments of Trump’s administration, his appointees moved to shift government … Read More

Coats Replaced As National Intel Director And Replaced With Trump Toadie

Ken AshfordElection 2020, L'Affaire Russe, Russia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Coats out as national intel director, clashed with Trump: WASHINGTON (AP) — Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, will leave his job next month, President Trump announced Sunday, after a turbulent two years in which Coats and the president were often at odds over Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump announced Coats’ departure as Aug. 15 in a tweet … Read More

Trump Embarrasses The U.S. On The World Stage

Ken AshfordForeign Affairs, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Asked at a news conference in Japan on Saturday whether he agrees with Vladimir Putin’s claim that “Western-style liberalism” is in decline, President Trump responded by criticizing the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, which he said are “sad to look at” because they are “run by liberal people.” Obviously, this was not what the Russian strongman was talking about during his interview with the Financial … Read More

Indecision As Foreign Policy

Ken AshfordIran, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Things have been ratcheting up with Iran for a few weeks, starting last week with a questionable attack by Iran on a US oil tanker, accompanied by weak, grainy photographic evidence. But it went into overdrive this week when Iran shot down a U.S. drone over… well, Iran or international waters, depending on who you listen to. Trump’s response was… … Read More

The Iran War Drumbeat

Ken AshfordIran, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

This morning, the State Department issued a “Do Not Travel” advisory for Americans considering going to Iraq, ordered nonessential personnel to leave the country, and warned of a “high risk for violence and kidnapping.” This action comes after the United States indicated that Iran was behind attacks on four oil tankers just outside the Persian Gulf. Iran has denied those accusations, but as tensions in the region increase, Republicans … Read More

Breaking: Russian Gun Rights Activist Maria Butina Sentenced To 18 Months After Conspiring To Infiltrate The NRA

Ken AshfordBreaking News, Crime, Gun Control, L'Affaire Russe, RussiaLeave a Comment

Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina was sentenced to an 18-month prison term Friday in Washington after failing to register as a foreign agent for conspiring to infiltrate conservative U.S. political circles for the Kremlin. Butina, 30, pleaded guilty in December to conspiring with a senior Russian official to access the National Rifle Association among other groups from 2015 until she was … Read More

North Korea Billed U.S. The Sum Of $2 Million For The Return Of A Dead Hostage

Ken AshfordNorth Korea, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

What the hell? North Korea issued a $2 million bill for the hospital care of comatose American Otto Warmbier, insisting that a U.S. official sign a pledge to pay it before being allowed to fly the University of Virginia student from Pyongyang in 2017. The presentation of the invoice — not previously disclosed by U.S. or North Korean officials — … Read More

Trump Reverses His Advisors On NK Sanctions

Ken AshfordNorth Korea, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Yesterday: Important actions today from @USTreasury; the maritime industry must do more to stop North Korea’s illicit shipping practices. Everyone should take notice and review their own activities to ensure they are not involved in North Korea’s sanctions evasion. https://t.co/AVnOPrWbH6 — John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) March 21, 2019 Today: It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale … Read More