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FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow


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Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

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Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

When this sale was used by Trump on the campaign trail last year, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman said she was not involved in the committee review and noted the State Department official who handled it said she “never intervened … on any [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] matter.”

In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.

The Obama administration’s decision to approve Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One has been a source of political controversy since 2015. That’s when conservative author Peter Schweitzer and The New York Times documented how Bill Clinton collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees and his charitable foundation collected millions in donations from parties interested in the deal while Hillary Clinton presided on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their actions at the time, insisting there was no evidence that any Russians or donors engaged in wrongdoing and there was no national security reason for any member of the committee to oppose the Uranium One deal.

But FBI, Energy Department and court documents reviewed by The Hill show the FBI in fact had gathered substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.

Then-Attorney General Eric Holder was among the Obama administration officials joining Hillary Clinton on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States at the time the Uranium One deal was approved. Multiple current and former government officials told The Hill they did not know whether the FBI or DOJ ever alerted committee members to the criminal activity they uncovered.

Spokesmen for Holder and Clinton did not return calls seeking comment. The Justice Department also didn’t comment.

Mikerin was a director of Rosatom’s Tenex in Moscow since the early 2000s, where he oversaw Rosatom’s nuclear collaboration with the United States under the Megatons to Megwatts program and its commercial uranium sales to other countries. In 2010, Mikerin was dispatched to the U.S. on a work visa approved by the Obama administration to open Rosatom’s new American arm called Tenam.

Between 2009 and January 2012, Mikerin “did knowingly and willfully combine, conspire confederate and agree with other persons … to obstruct, delay and affect commerce and the movement of an article and commodity (enriched uranium) in commerce by extortion,” a November 2014 indictment stated.

His illegal conduct was captured with the help of a confidential witness, an American businessman, who began making kickback payments at Mikerin’s direction and with the permission of the FBI. The first kickback payment recorded by the FBI through its informant was dated Nov. 27, 2009, the records show.

In evidentiary affidavits signed in 2014 and 2015, an Energy Department agent assigned to assist the FBI in the case testified that Mikerin supervised a “racketeering scheme” that involved extortion, bribery, money laundering and kickbacks that were both directed by and provided benefit to more senior officials back in Russia.

“As part of the scheme, Mikerin, with the consent of higher level officials at TENEX and Rosatom (both Russian state-owned entities) would offer no-bid contracts to US businesses in exchange for kickbacks in the form of money payments made to some offshore banks accounts,” Agent David Gadren testified.

“Mikerin apparently then shared the proceeds with other co-conspirators associated with TENEX in Russia and elsewhere,” the agent added.

The investigation was ultimately supervised by then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, an Obama appointee who now serves as President Trump’s deputy attorney general, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, now the deputy FBI director under Trump, Justice Department documents show.

Both men now play a key role in the current investigation into possible, but still unproven, collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election cycle. McCabe is under congressional and Justice Department inspector general investigation in connection with money his wife’s Virginia state Senate campaign accepted in 2015 from now-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe at a time when McAuliffe was reportedly under investigation by the FBI.

The connections to the current Russia case are many. The Mikerin probe began in 2009 when Robert Mueller, now the special counsel in charge of the Trump case, was still FBI director. And it ended in late 2015 under the direction of then-FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired earlier this year.

Its many twist and turns aside, the FBI nuclear industry case proved a gold mine, in part because it uncovered a new Russian money laundering apparatus that routed bribe and kickback payments through financial instruments in Cyprus, Latvia and Seychelles. A Russian financier in New Jersey was among those arrested for the money laundering, court records show.

The case also exposed a serious national security breach: Mikerin had given a contract to an American trucking firm called Transport Logistics International that held the sensitive job of transporting Russia’s uranium around the United States in return for more than $2 million in kickbacks from some of its executives, court records show.

One of Mikerin’s former employees told the FBI that Tenex officials in Russia specifically directed the scheme to “allow for padded pricing to include kickbacks,” agents testified in one court filing.

Bringing down a major Russian nuclear corruption scheme that had both compromised a sensitive uranium transportation asset inside the U.S. and facilitated international money laundering would seem a major feather in any law enforcement agency’s cap. But the Justice Department and FBI took little credit in 2014 when Mikerin, the Russian financier and the trucking firm executives were arrested and charged. The only public statement occurred a year later when the Justice Department put out a little-noticed press release in August 2015, just days before Labor Day. The release noted that the various defendants had reached plea deals.

By that time, the criminal cases against Mikerin had been narrowed to a single charge of money laundering for a scheme that officials admitted stretched from 2004 to 2014. And though agents had evidence of criminal wrongdoing they collected since at least 2009, federal prosecutors only cited in the plea agreement a handful of transactions that occurred in 2011 and 2012, well after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United State’s approval.

The final court case also made no mention of any connection to the influence peddling conversations the FBI undercover informant witnessed about the Russian nuclear officials trying to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons even though agents had gathered documents showing the transmission of millions of dollars from Russia’s nuclear industry to an American entity that had provided assistance to Bill Clinton’s foundation, sources confirmed to The Hill.

The lack of fanfare left many key players in Washington with no inkling that a major Russian nuclear corruption scheme with serious national security implications had been uncovered.

On Dec. 15, 2015, the Justice Department put out a release stating that Mikerin, “a former Russian official residing in Maryland was sentenced today to 48 months in prison” and ordered to forfeit more than $2.1 million.

Ronald Hosko, who served as the assistant FBI director in charge of criminal cases when the investigation was underway, told The Hill he did not recall ever being briefed about Mikerin’s case by the counterintelligence side of the bureau despite the criminal charges that were being lodged.

“I had no idea this case was being conducted,” a surprised Hosko said in an interview.

Likewise, major congressional figures were also kept in the dark.

Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who chaired the House Intelligence Committee during the time the FBI probe was being conducted, told The Hill that he had never been told anything about the Russian nuclear corruption case even though many fellow lawmakers had serious concerns about the Obama administration’s approval of the Uranium One deal.

“Not providing information on a corruption scheme before the Russian uranium deal was approved by U.S. regulators and engage appropriate congressional committees has served to undermine U.S. national security interests by the very people charged with protecting them,” he said. “The Russian efforts to manipulate our American political enterprise is breathtaking.”

Indictment Affidavit by M Mali on Scribd

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Warrant Affidavit by M Mali on Scribd

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Mikerin Plea Deal by M Mali on Scribd

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Corporate Tax Cut Will Raise Middle-Class Wages


Reported 

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/corporate-tax-cut-will-raise-middle-class-wages/?

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A study released Monday by Kevin Hassett, President Donald Trump’s chief economist, gives a boost to Trump’s proposed corporate tax cut. The study shows that if the tax cut is implemented, the average family could see an income boost in the thousands of dollars.

The tax cut would lower the current rate of 35 percent to 20 percent. Based on “conservative estimates,” this decrease would boost the average household income by $4,000, the paper said. But more “moderate estimates” reveal increases of $9,000 per family.

“Put simply, capital deepening, which brings additional returns to the owners of capital, brings substantial returns to workers as well,” said the paper, which studied evidence from other countries that have lowered their corporate tax rates.

But Democrats have disapproved of Trump’s proposed tax cut from the start. They believe it will not benefit ordinary families, but only business themselves.

The new study will allow Republicans to offer a rebuttal.

Hassett, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, insists that American families would benefit the most from significantly lower corporate tax rates, more so than the companies themselves.

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“America’s broken corporate tax system creates incentives for firms to hold their money outside of our borders,” Hassett told reporters on Sunday, according to the Washington Examiner. “When firms hold their money overseas rather than invest them in America, they’re holding down the productivity of the American economy and the wages of American workers.”

The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, leading many companies to keep their profits abroad in lower-tax countries to avoid significant tax hits back home.

By cutting the tax rate, the idea is that companies would then invest more within the United States. This would cause a boost in productivity throughout the country.

This productivity would then boost wages, according to Hassett’s study.

“More assets like machines let workers produce more, and when workers can produce more, businesses can afford to pay their workers more,” Hassett said, as reported by The Hill. 

But some economists and tax policy experts have voiced their concerns about the tax cut directly benefiting workers. Although they agree this would attract companies to invest more in the United States economy, they cannot predict how much money will bring back home. There is also concern over what corporations will do with their tax savings.

Trump announced his tax proposal during a September a speech in Indianapolis. Calling it a “revolutionary change,” he said it would boost wages to “levels that you haven’t seen in many years,” according to The New York Times. 

Boy Scouts Want To Let Girls In, Girl Scouts Are Mad


Reported 

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/boy-scouts-want-let-girls-girl-scouts-mad/?

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In an historic move for one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, the Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that they will begin to allow the admittance of girls. A new program will be created for older girls wishing to join the organization and the curriculum will be similar to that currently used for Boy Scouts, Fox News reported. 

In a unanimous vote, the Boy Scouts board of directors in Texas opted for the historic change to the organization, which has mostly served young men and boys since its inception more than a century ago.

However, there is notably one organization that is not happy with the decision by the BSA.

The Girl Scouts have publicly spoken out against the initiative, suggesting it would strain the relationship between the two groups and accusing the BSA of simply looking to boost revenue.

“I formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90 percent of American boys not currently participating in Boy Scouts … and not consider expanding to recruit girls,” Girl Scouts of the USA President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan wrote in a scathing letter to Randall Stephenson, the Boy Scouts of America president.

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Still, the boy scouts believe the move is important.

“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children,” said Michael Surbaugh, the current chief executive of the Boy Scouts, according to NBC News.

According the revised plan, Cub Scout dens, which are the organization’s smallest units, will be single-gender — either all girls or all boys. The larger Cub Scout packs will be given the option to remain single gender or allow both boys and girls to join. The program set for older girls is planned to begin in 2019 and will allow girls to earn the envied rank of Eagle Scout.

“The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls,” said Boy Scouts of America in a statement, according to CNN. “(T)he organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who’ve never been involved in Scouting — to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children.”

“Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing,” the statement continued.

The BSA was founded in 1910 and The Girl Scouts was founded not long after in 1912. Both are among many youth organizations it the U.S. that have experienced a sharp decline in membership in recent years.

Girls will be allowed to join the Boy Scouts as soon as next year.

Kaep Loves Protesting on Live TV, but Here’s the 1 Photo He Wants Kept Secret


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URL of the original posting site: https://conservativetribune.com/kaep-photo-wants-kept-secret/?

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When former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the anti-American trend of sitting or taking a knee while the national anthem was played, he insisted he was using his platform to raise awareness and start a broader dialogue regarding perceived racial inequalities in America and police brutality.

Other players who have joined the protest trend have echoed those sentiments, and while some of them may truly believe it and think they aren’t being disrespectful or un-American, the reality is that many Americans do indeed find their actions to be quite disrespectful and offensive.

And in Kaepernick’s case, just a wee bit hypocritical.

You see, while the bi-racial Kaepernick rails against the perceived oppression of minorities in America by a “white supremacist” system, he himself doesn’t appear to have been all that “oppressed” and held back from opportunity by “white people,” but was in fact raised and presented with a multitude of opportunity by white people, namely his adoptive white mother and father.

A REAL FEEL GOOD STORY: Young Boy Takes Matters Into His Own Hands After Coming Across Irma Evacuee


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URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/young-boy-takes-matters-into-own-hands-after-coming-across-irma-evacuee/?

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Landon Routzong of Troy, Alabama, has a big heart for the age of 9, and he proved just how big over the weekend at a Chick-fil-A drive-thru. While he and his mother were waiting in line to pick up their lunch, Landon Routzong noticed the Florida license plate on the back of the car in front of theirs. So, he told his mom he wanted to pay for that car’s meal.

“I didn’t want them to waste their money on food because they’re trying to escape the hurricane,” Landon Routzong told ABC News. “I felt like I should help out.”

But in order to pay for the meal, he had to get to the drive-thru window before the Florida car did. As a result, his mother, Tara Parker Routzong, gave him her debit card and told him to run. The man in the Florida car agreed to let Landon Routzong pay for his meal.

Later, the man pulled over to meet the family, telling the mother and her son he was from Miami and was fleeing Hurricane Irma. He said was on his way to Birmingham to stay with relatives.

“Landon and I both had tears in our eyes from how appreciative he was,” Tara Parker Routzong wrote on Facebook in a Friday post detailing the encounter.

Routzong’s post has since been shared over 700 times has over 1,800 likes.

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Tara Parker Routzong told Inside Edition she and her husband always try to help out. She was proud to see her son do the same thing.

“A 9-year-old could be focused on so many other things, but whenever a situation presents itself, Landon is always thinking of how we can help,” she said.

Routzong said the encounter gave her hope that she is doing a good job as a mother.

“I often feel like I’m failing because I can’t do it all, all the time and then things like this happen and remind me that I don’t have to,” she said in her Facebook post. “My most important job is going just fine.”

Hurricane Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm after it made landfall along the coast of Florida over the weekend. But the storm’s overall damage has been severe, with more still to come. Irma still had sustained winds of up to 70 mph as of Monday afternoon, while over 6.2 million Floridians have experienced power outages.

The family altar would alter many a family.


Today's
 Turning Point

Monday, March 28

Firm Family Foundation

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.
Psalm 128:3-4

Recommended Reading
Psalm 127:3-5; 128:1-4

The question is often asked, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” A corollary is, “Why do godly parents sometimes have ungodly children?” When parents do their best to fear the Lord and raise their children with admonition and nurture in Him, and children still go astray, it can be a heartbreaking experience.

The Bible doesn’t promise that godly parents will never have ungodly children any more than it promises that a godly Christian will never sin. The Old Testament covenant promised the Israelites that the starting place for success in life begins with fearing the Lord (Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). We should never think that not fearing the Lord is the path to blessing. If we want to create a godly family, we should begin by fearing the Lord (Psalm 128:1) lest we labor in vain (Psalm 127:1). That is the only direction the Bible offers, even when things don’t go as prayed for.

Never waver from your life-long commitment to honor the Lord, come what may. Your family’s firm foundation is the fear of the Lord

The family altar would alter many a family.
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1 Samuel 19–21
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Dying twin holds unborn sister’s hand in heartbreaking sonogram photo


waving flagWednesday, February 17, 2016, HUTCHINSON, KS

URL of the original posting site: http://abc30.com/1204049
Twins hold hands in utero

Twins – one with severe health issues – hold hands in the womb

A pregnant mother has a beautiful image to that may serve as a comfort through difficult days ahead: her twins – one with severe medical issues – were caught on sonogram camera holding hands in the womb.

Brittani and Ian McIntire were told one of their unborn twins will not survive. The boy twin has a hole in his heart and an abnormal brain, KWCH reportsAt each doctor appointment, the couple received more bad news, until recently, when the image was captured by sonogram. Brittani recalled, “We didn’t really see much, she said there’s his hand and there’s her hand and it looks like they’re holding hands.”

The boy twin, whom the couple calls Mason, is on the left, and has his tiny hand wrapped around the growing finger of his sister, Madilyn. Brittani said, “Most twins when she’s trying to take pictures and stuff, they’re kicking each other and hitting each other, and she said with our twins, it seems like she was very protective over him.”

Ian said of the photo, “We know we have a piece of them together that will last forever and it’s special to have.”

Brittani added, “It’s just nice with everything going on I know I’m holding him, I’m carrying him but I just want to be there for him and not knowing and she’s the only one who can actually be there and holding onto him through it, and so it’s comforting to know that if he does pass, he won’t be alone.”

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