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downzy

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downzy last won the day on August 5

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About downzy

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  • Birthday 04/12/1980

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    Toronto, Canada
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    Politics, photography, snowboarding, golf, weight lifting, current events, television, running.

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  1. US Politics/Elections Thread

    They really need to get on the same page: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qvgnjb/trumps-chief-of-staff-yup-there-was-a-quid-pro-quo-on-ukraine-aid?utm_source=vicenewsfacebook&fbclid=IwAR2-UVM73CzYyfN6zKiZKtjcPiX8lFLf5kyCKx45ZBDXxonNEYlCJ9J0HMQ Apparently there was admitted quid pro quo, but as the "acting" chief of staff for the White House says, "get over it." As I suspected, the defence this administration will eventually land on is, "yeah, so what?"
  2. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Maybe, maybe not. But I would assume Kaplan would strike the same chord in any asinine comparison to ISIS.
  3. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Sorry, but I think you missed the point. Trump makes a claim that the PKK is worse than ISIS. By any metric that is clearly not true and muddies the waters about who the PKK are, what they stand for, and what they have done.
  4. This might sound blasphemous, but I never quite got why this video is considered a classic. It's decent and enjoyable to watch, but in terms of overall concept it's pretty simple and not much to it. I suppose the power of the song itself helped elevate the video to its iconic status it now enjoys, but remove the song and there's not much to it. With respect to the style and substance, I always preferred the video for Yesterdays over SCOM. I prefer the vibe better in Yesterdays with Axl and Slash dressing down a bit and looking a little less like their 80s personas. Plus I like the song better. But I know I'm probably in the very small minority on that one. For me, November Rain is still the epitome of what a rock n' roll music video should be.
  5. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Trump awards next year's G7 meeting to his resort in Miami. But China, Bidens, Ukraine, corruption.... Grumble, grumble, grumble...
  6. US Politics/Elections Thread

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/10/trump-syria-turkey-meltdown.html "In any event, one week has passed since he wrote the letter [to Turkey], and there has been no deal. Apparently, Erdogan was not impressed. He threw the letter in the wastebasket and proceeded to invade northern Syria. Three things are worth noting here. First, Trump was ranting at Erdogan for doing something that, a few days earlier, he’d invited Erdogan to do. Second, this letter was publicized in an exclusive scoop by Fox Business Network, suggesting that Trump wanted it made public—that he thought it made him look good. Third, also on Wednesday, Trump sent Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Turkey, to work out a deal with Erdogan, with no assurance that a deal was in the offing. Yet even before they held the meeting (and here’s where things get really weird), Trump told reporters that he didn’t care what the Turks did in Syria. During the session with reporters in the Oval Office, Trump went further, saying, “The PKK, which is part of the Kurds, as you know, is probably worse at terror and more of a terrorist threat in many ways than ISIS. … So it’s a very semi-complicated, not too complicated if you’re smart, but a semi-complicated problem.” It’s a toss-up which is more appalling: the ignorance, the slander (clearly parroting Erdogan talking points), or the blithe incoherence. Asked about the possible threat posed by ISIS militants who escaped from their Syrian prisons while their Kurdish captors had to go fight the Turks, Trump replied that Americans didn’t need to worry about “terrorists 7,000 miles away”—ignoring the fact that Osama bin Laden was that far away from New York when his agents smashed a plane into the World Trade Center."
  7. US Politics/Elections Thread

    In the 90s, Republicans were convinced the Clintons were guilty of some sort of real estate scheme and wanted (and got) a special prosecutor to investigate. Now... Not so much. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/10/propublica-tax-documents-trump-fraud-property-taxes-buildings.html?via=homepage_taps_top "ProPublica got ahold ofproperty tax documents of the Trump Organization, adding to the growing corpus of financial info on the president that strongly points to Trump deploying a secret financial weapon to maintain the appearance of “successful businessman”—fraud. ProPublica collated financial info from public sources and found the president was reporting different numbers on his properties to lenders and tax authorities. Trump arranged the numbers to paint a rosier picture of his buildings’ performance for lenders to secure cheaper loans, and then rearranged those numbers to look less profitable when reporting to the taxman in order to lower his property taxes."
  8. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Can you take four more years of this? https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/15/can-you-take-four-more-years-this/?fbclid=IwAR38qXmIaWDUlP0OZqhAeqRNC5WOAYEeiRDgRB6OkW-NUGA6rgGh45SGslQ The Trump administration makes so much news that it’s easy to become numb and forget how unprecedented and awful its conduct really is. It’s important, therefore, to pause and remember what happened last week. The seven days between Oct. 6 and Oct. 13 saw far, far more corruption, chaos and dysfunction revealed than any other administration has experienced during eight years in office. Not only is the Trump administration profoundly crooked, but it is also so hopelessly inept that it’s unable to keep its machinations secret. It’s as if the Three Stooges starred in a sequel to “Breaking Bad.” Last week, we received additional confirmation of how outrageously President Trump behaved in his efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and to absolve Russia of 2016 election interference. A second whistleblower emerged with further information about the July 25 call between Zelensky and Trump, and the original whistleblower reported that a White House official who listened in on the call found it “crazy” and “frightening.” The Post also reported that political appointees in the White House budget office froze aid to Ukraine despite concerns from career officials that doing so was improper. The Ukraine scandal deepened when Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Soviet-born associates of Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, were arrested by the FBI on charges of violating federal campaign finance laws to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars from murky sources to Republican candidates. While working with Giuliani to dig up dirt on Biden, they were also attempting to profit from their political connections to strike cushy business deals in Ukraine. Trump claims that he was fighting corruption in Ukraine. Instead he was fostering corruption. Marie Yovanovitch told Congress that she was abruptly fired as ambassador to Ukraine not only because she was unwilling to further Giuliani’s plot to malign Biden but also because “individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.” By the end of the week, there were reports that Giuliani himself was being investigated by his former colleagues in the Southern District of New York on charges of violating lobbying laws. If Giuliani is indicted, he would join a long list of Trump associates — including the president’s personal lawyer, campaign chairman and national security adviser — who have run afoul of the law. The former mayor of New York also featured prominently in another scandal that broke last week: The New York Times reported that Giuliani and former attorney general Michael Mukasey persuaded Trump to try to release their client, Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who has been sitting in jail on charges of orchestrating a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade sanctions on Iran. Trump asked his then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for help to free Zarrab, but Tillerson refused. In any other administration, this would have been headline news for weeks, but because of the glut of corruption in this administration, this story has come and gone. While the administration continued to leak like crazy, more senior officials were leaving the sinking ship. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan — the fourth individual to hold that post in the Trump administration — quit on Friday, apparently because he objected to being undercut by Trump and other extreme nativists. His critical post is now vacant. Also quitting was Michael McKinley, a senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was reportedly upset by “the secretary’s lack of public support for diplomats who have been named in the Ukraine controversy.” The courts continued to rebuke the administration for its unlawful conduct. In just one day last week, Trump lost five major court cases concerning his attempts to keep his tax returns secret and to impose draconian restrictions on immigration. Trump added to the chaos on Sunday night, Oct. 6, by impetuously giving Turkey a green light to invade northern Syria, thereby allowing Islamic State prisoners to escape and the United States’ Kurdish allies to be slaughtered. In one week, Trump undid five years of work to defeat Islamic State and foster a moderate, secular zone in Syria. Seemingly unperturbed by the ethical and geopolitical disasters in his wake, Trump continued with his usual routine: golfing, watching TV (he urged his Twitter followers to vote for his former press secretary Sean Spicer on “Dancing With the Stars”), wallowing in maudlin self-pity (“Serial killers,” he tweeted, “get more Due Process than the Democrats give to the President”), and of course spewing bombastic insults. At a campaign rally in Minneapolis, Trump reviled not only Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) but also other Somali refugees who have found haven in Minnesota. Racist and xenophobic comments are Trump’s go-to moves when he’s feeling the political heat. Note that this is an incomplete chronicle of only one week — albeit a week that is a strong contender (against some stiff competition) for the worst week of Trump’s entire presidency. Commentator Charlie Sykes notes that in 1980 the question was: “Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?” In 2020 it will be: “Can you take another four years of this?” I can’t even take another week like last week — much less four more years.
  9. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Things are not looking good for Rudy...
  10. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Consider it a primer, if you've forgotten some of this stuff. It's hard to keep it all straight, for sure. But one thing is certain, the Kurds will not soon let this slide. Nor should they. For reference, and somewhat confusingly as a graphic, the light blue shaded area is Kurdish Iran, not a body of water. The other shadings are easier to read: Green: Iraqi Kurdistan, Yellow: Syrian Kurdistan, Brown: Turkish Kurdistan. ----- So, the difference in the situation on the ground and the way I think you're framing it, is that here it's not the case of a terrible thing happening in the world, and the United States - under any President - being faced with a choice to intervene or to not intervene. Rather, it is the result of a long history between the Kurdish people, the United States, and the varying forces in the region. First, the geography. Kurdistan isn't a country, but the Kurdish people have as much claim to one as the Iraqi people, the American people, the British people or anyone else. They just didn't get a seat at the table after World War I, when the rough outlines of today's map were drawn. As such, there are lots of Kurds in Eastern Turkey, Northern Syria, Northern Iraq, and Northwestern Iran. What they want, in the end, is to have a country that provides them a homeland in that rough area. That's not likely going to happen anytime soon, but it is the goal. Because of that, they see the national governments in Ankara, Damascus, Baghdad, and Tehran as their nearby adversary. Sometimes those relationships are not awful - like today in Iraq, where there's a tense peace between the Iraqis and the Kurdish Iraqis. Sometimes it is hell on earth, as it was after the First Gulf War (back when we were young, George H.W. Bush in charge.) In that war, when Bush attacked Saddam Hussein in the south (Kuwait), the Kurds rose up against him in the north under a PROMISE that we would defend them. Saddam had also moved many of the Kurds internally to the South, to divide their power, and they rose against him as well. Still, we PROMISED them we'd have their back if they did. And then George H.W. Bush sold them out and they were slaughtered. Gaining their trust in that war was terribly difficult because of a previous betrayal. You might remember when George W. Bush was ramping up to war a second time in Iraq in the early 2000s. One of his main talking points was that Saddam Hussein had "gassed his own people." He had. In the Iraq / Iran war of the 80s and early 90s. Those people were Kurds, and at the time of that massacre, Saddam Hussein was our ally against the mullahs in Iran and we SOLD HIM THE POISON GAS, something made very clear to the Kurds because of the English writing on the sides of the cannisters. So, yeah, getting them to trust us in the first Gulf War was a nightmare, as we had armed their own local Hitler and helped the slaughter of their parents. But STILL they trusted us, and STILL they were betrayed. So, when George Bush the Lesser needed them again in HIS war in Iraq it took every single bit of leverage we possibly could muster to say, "Look, we know we betrayed you in the past, but THIS TIME we've got your back." They came around and helped us fight Saddam Hussein and later ISIS. Then when ISIS moved to Syria, the Syrian Kurds helped us fight them there. But the Syrian Kurds had ANOTHER problem: Turkey. Turkey - particularly under the current President, Erdogan - looks at the Kurds as an existential threat. He does NOT want a nation of Kurdistan to take part of his territory, so for a long time, there have been bloody tensions along that border in Eastern Turkey, and Northern Syria. The Syrian Kurds there were under pressure from Turkey, and then a Civil War broke out after the Arab Spring in Syria and ISIS came in to form their caliphate, while the Syrian Hitler - Bashar al Assad - started bombing the hell out of regions that didn't support him. With all that chaos, millions (literally millions) of Syrians became refugees and fled to Europe and beyond. And, notably, Turkey. But the United States desperately needed the Syrian Kurds to NOT join that exodus, but rather, to stay and face down ISIS and the Islamic State, as well as keeping a check on Assad. But what could we give them? Why would they trust us? We offered them weapons and training. We offered them development aid. All that was important, but the ONE THING they needed most of all was a guarantee that while they were busy in the south and east of their region fighting the Islamic State and Bashar al Assad, we would keep their most dangerous natural enemy - Turkey - off their backs. We promised, they agreed. Together - though largely through their blood and honor - ISIS was deeply wounded. Our commitment in troops was (get this) fewer than 100. Those troops were Special Forces on training missions, and providing logistical support - but the most important thing they were doing for the Kurds was simply being there, because Turkey would not drop a bomb on their territory that might kill an American soldier. Then Trump spoke to Erdogan and got some so-far-unknown promise from him, and he pulled out those troops. The fewer than 100 troops - the number in the media has been citing is fifty - who were training Kurdish fighters, and providing nearly a million people security simply by being there. After that call, Trump removed the tripwire and within a day, Turkey began bombing our friends. With that, we betrayed the Kurday for a THIRD time in less than forty years. Now, they will be our enemies forever, and we deserve it. And it was all so unnecessary. twitter.com/MichaelXTallon
  11. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Beto needs too STFU and drop out of the race already. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/10/beto-orourke-tax-exemptions-religious-groups-churches-lgbtq.html
  12. US Politics/Elections Thread

    But in fairness to Trump, Saudi Arabia played a key role in the invasion of Normandy
  13. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Quite an amazing 24 hours when new accusations of unwanted sexual contact against a sitting President by 23 women disappears from the headlines to be replaced by a sitting President declaring he views an impeachment hearing as unconstitutional. Nevermind the fact that it looks like Trump's own party is ready to dump him over his decision to pull the rug from Syrian Kurds. By the way, you would assume that when Trump would want support from his party the most he wouldn't undermine the one policy matter they are all in an agreement on. The timing on all of this seems suspect. I've read a few articles on whether America is now finding itself within a constitutional crisis. I don't think it's there quite yet. Trump can declare the impeachment inquiry as unconstitutional and defies Congress all he wants. Where we run into problems is he defies court orders and then nothing gets resolved. That's when the country is fully enmeshed in a constitutional crisis. We'll see what happens should it come to that. Failure to comply with Congress and issued subpoenas is one thing; failure to comply with court orders is another.
  14. Let's just make this clear. We will not allow any discussion relating to any correspondence that was intended to be private. This is none of our business and just as we would want others to respect our privacy we will extend the same courtesy to anyone involved with GNR. We kindly "ask" that members do not provide any information of the contents within private documents. This includes summaries, quotations, descriptions or anything of the kind. Failure to abide by this rule will result in a warning point and a seven day suspension. We appreciate your cooperation on this matter.
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