Current

Calling All Whistleblowers

TOPSHOT-US-POLITICS-GENERAL ASSEMBLY-DIPLOMACY-Ukraine-climate

Dear Friends,

Yesterday Donald Trump declared he will not cooperate or, in fact, have anything to do with his impeachment inquiry, a clear indication that the “rule of law” in our country is no longer of interest to the Trump camp. Will it be the same if we go to the 2020 election and he declares elections are not to his liking? Will, should there be an election that he loses, he declare that it is a fake election and he will simply remain as President? When a populist stands against the rule of law it is probable he will breech others and, eventually, all!

Sadly, the Vice President and the cabinet do not have the fortitude to admit that Trump is unfit to serve as President. He is unfit! Those in his party who pretend to care about democracy, deficits, defense, the economy, the respect America has maintained in the World since the Second World War, decency, etc etc etc – cower before Trump’s megalomaniac behavior.

What can we do? We can be rational, careful, accurate, specific and target Mr. Trump in a way that his supporters will recognize the risks they are taking for the country and for their own future well being. The current cause will not achieve this goal. The Ukraine is not of much interest to anyone, let alone Trump supporters. We need more. We need to expose all of the illegal acts of the President and his coterie, not only the Ukraine foray. We need more whistleblowers. Calling all whistleblowers! I will provide some whistles to follow. Let the House know what you know, let the press know what you know, let the populace know what you know.

Whistles:

  • Stock Market manipulation paid for with taxpayer funds and providing inside information to certain Trump supporting institutions.

 

  • Tax fraud and money laundering.

 

  • Putin Trump calls and meetings of the past years.

 

  • Financing from the Saudi contingent et al to Javanka and other Trump coterie.

 

  • Secret arrangements with Israel to prompt a war with Iran.

 

  • Payoffs to the ladies and perjury.

 

  • Trump and Javanka projects benefiting from foreign and domestic sources who receive Trumpblessings. Scottish golf course for U.S. Military visits.

 

  • Nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

 

  • Military defense funds not so allocated to build the “Wall”

 

The list goes on and on whistle blowers. Please help your country and tell us what you know. It may be your last chance to save democracy, as we knew it pre-Trump.

Thank you, whistleblowers.

 

Asher Edelman

Current

Liquidity Crisis

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Dear Friends,
It has been a while since I’ve had much to say about the Trump administration activities. Most has been covered by the press – both left and right. However, today, a new wrinkle, a possible devastating blow to the already shaky economy. The Trump court is considering prohibiting American investment in China – later the rest of the world? If this were to happen (a form of currency controls) one could imagine China cashing in the balance of its lending to the United States, the number now exceeding $1.0 trillion. Should that even be a short-term threat the repo market and all other markets will crash. The mere concept will impair liquidity in our economy in the coming weeks. Yes, Trump can then sanction China and not allow its debt to be redeemed. Imagine the then blow to the U.S. and the world economies. A loss of confidence in the U.S. having its debt, combined with unimaginable government spending and deficits would be a world we cannot now imagine.
Be you to the right or left, encourage your representatives in government to stop this folly.
Asher Edelman
Current

‘The public has a right to art’: the radical joy of Keith Haring

Keith Haring, Untitled, 5 march 1984, high res.JPG

KEITH HARING UNTITLED (MARCH 5, 1984), 1984. Sumi ink on paper, 34 x 48 in (86.4 x 122 cm)
Price on request

 
Though he died in 1990, in many ways Keith Haring is still alive. His art is everywhere. There are Haring T-shirts, Haring shoes, Haring chairs. You can buy Haring baseball hats and badges and baby-carriers and playing cards and stickers and keyrings.
Keith Haring’s work pops up all over the place – his radiant baby, the barking dog, the dancer, the three-eyed smiling face. Simple, cheerful, upbeat, instantly recognizable. They make you smile and they work like graffiti tags, small signifiers that say “Keith woz here”. But Haring did much more than provide cute cartoons. He was publicly minded. His art faced outwards. He wanted to inform, to start a conversation, to question authority and convention, to represent the oppressed. Those cute figures are political.
“Although his imagery is ubiquitous, he’s actually an artist that has been overlooked,” says Darren Pih, co-curator of this month’s major Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool. “People forget that back in the 1980s, he was talking about socially important issues: apartheid, Aids, environmentalism, how capitalism increases inequality – and he was using very accessible language.”
Sometimes that language was direct, as in his Crack Is Wack mural (on 128th Street in New York), or the hundreds of specially designed posters he gave out at anti-nuclear and anti-apartheid rallies. Sometimes it was subtler: some of his later works, when he knew he was dying, featured broken birds, daggers, nails, nooses, blood. Always, it was attractive, with an exuberance and joy that spoke to people of all ages, all backgrounds. That universal quality draws us to Haring’s work – but can lead some to think that his art is superficial, and easy to achieve. It isn’t.
“His line was astonishing,” says artist Kenny Scharf, Haring’s contemporary and friend, of the way Haring drew. “Keith was totally confident, that’s one of the reasons why his art is so strong: the confidence in his line, the conviction, everything about it.”
“He was unique,” says Mare169, real name Carlos Rodriguez, a graffiti artist who worked with Haring in the 1980s. “The vernacular of his art was so appealing, with a quality of entertainment. But it was also a tremendous, beautiful response to the activism of the time… the really unusual thing about Keith is that he felt he could be of service.”
Haring lived and worked in New York from 1978 until his death, aged 31, from an Aids-related illness. In his final few years, he was invited all over the world to make work, and if you want to see some real-life Keith Haring art, you still can. There is a mural in Pisa, on the side of the church of Sant’Antonio, which he made in the last year of his life. There is one at the Carmine public swimming pool on Clarkson Street in Greenwich Village, New York, painted by Haring in one day in 1987. There is public work by Haring in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Antwerp, Berlin, Paris, Melbourne; on hospitals, at schools (often made with children), in an LGBT community services centre.
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KEITH HARING FERTILITY SERIES, 1993, Edition of 100. Fluorescent silkscreen on paper
Set of 5 prints, 42 x 50 in (each) (106.7 x 127 cm)
$285,000

Up until 2005, there was his Pop Shop on Lafayette Street in downtown New York. I went there in the 1990s, and it was an all-encompassing experience. The shop was tiny, with white walls and floor covered in Haring’s art. There was music playing and T-shirts hung up. It was playful and fun, with a club vibe. I bought two badges.
His work is timeless, but it is rooted in its time. The Reaganite 1980s have parallels with today, with an anti-immigration, anti-union, pro-guns, anti-abortion, go-USA “entertainer” president in the White House. Back then, young artists reacted, shaking up the art establishment. A new post-Warhol crew that included Haring, Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat suddenly emerged, making work that referenced what was around them: clubbing, rap, street art, television, high and low culture. They grabbed attention, shows and sales.
But art institutions, especially museums, didn’t know how to react to these upstarts and their work. Neither did critics: some were supportive, many were snide (Time’s Robert Hughes caricatured Haring as “Keith Boring”). There was a sense among the stuffy that these young artists were not to be taken seriously, and Haring’s likable painting style meant that his art, though loved by the public, was not “high” enough for the elite. Plus, he collaborated with others too often; he was too commercial; he would keep banging on about politics and safe sex.
Today, though, Haring paintings sell for millions. In 2016, Sotheby’s sold four Haring canvases, including the wonderful The Last Rainforest, which he painted in 1989 when he knew he was dying. The sale price was over £4m.
And there’s a renewed interest in the artistic era in which Haring operated – that collaborative time in New York where pop and rap and art met and mixed, a time that started in the mid-to-late 70s and ended, in essence, with a trio of deaths: first Warhol in 1987, then Basquiat in 1988 and finally, Haring, in February 1990. Last year, the Beastie Boys, native New Yorkers, used their vastly entertaining memoir to paint a seductive picture of growing up during that era. In 2017, there was a huge and highly successful Basquiat exhibition, in London; around the same time, MoMA in New York put on a show based around Club 57, a small nightclub where artists and musicians and performers would hang out in the late 70s and early 80s. The time in which these artists lived and worked seems so near, and yet so far away. New York was still New York, but grubby, dangerous, abandoned, cheap. Fertile, angry, full of possibilities.
Keith Haring was born in May 1958. He grew up in a conventional family, led by a respectable man, in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. His dad, Allen, was a church-going, Nixon-supporting Republican, who drew cartoons in his spare time and encouraged his son to do the same. The Harings were loving, but Keith had a strong sense that he was different. In his teenage years, he turned first to church, becoming what he would later call a “Jesus freak”, and then, an acid-dropping (Grateful) Deadhead and occasional runaway (he went to Jersey Shore for a summer when he was 17, against his parents’ wishes).
After graduating from high school, he enrolled in a Pittsburgh college for illustrators, but found it too limiting. He dropped out and hitchhiked across America with his girlfriend, funding the trip by selling his drawings. Soon after their return, his girlfriend said she was pregnant. Haring had just started sleeping with men. He knew he had to leave. “New York was the only place to go,” he said later. He applied and got into the School of Visual Arts, on East 23rd Street. Other students included Samantha McEwen and Kenny Scharf.
At their very first lesson, a drawing class, remembers McEwen, Haring “dragged his chair all the way across the room” to sit opposite her, so that he could draw her, and her him. She thinks it was because she looked different to the other class members, because she was English, with mad curly hair, dressed in secondhand clothes. They had an instant rapport, she recalls. “He was so charming and engaged. He really listened.”
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KEITH HARING Fertility Series, 1983, Single print, Edition of 100
Fluorescent silkscreen on paper, 107 x 127 cm (42 x 50 in)
$50,000

Unlike most 20-year-olds, Haring was clearheaded and motivated; he knew what he wanted to do and he used his time well. “He would move into whatever space that was available,” says McEwen.
Scharf recalls that Haring “always took the initiative, he located any avenues that were available in a smart way. He really had it together.”
When he spotted an unused room in SVA, Haring found some three-metre wide paper, put it on the floor of the room, where it fitted exactly, and started painting in there. He brought in his tape player and painted to Devo, timing the brush-strokes to the music, stopping when the track stopped. Scharf met him for the first time here, as Haring was literally painting himself into a corner.
“A lot of other artists were jealous, like: ‘Oh, you get to do this room just for yourself, how come you get to do that?'” remembers Scharf. “And it was like: ‘Well, you didn’t ask!'” The outgoing, charismatic Scharf was already known for dragging in debris off the streets into SVA to glue together and paint. He and Haring became instant friends.
Haring was warm and open, but focused – “always learning” says McEwen – and more opinionated than most of his contemporaries. A compulsive diarist – he believed recording his work was part of his practice – Haring wrote later that he came to SVA “prepared to aggressively get things from the school, instead of expecting the school to give them to me”. He hung the Devo paintings on the college walls without permission, and from that, got himself an exhibition.
Though Haring was confident in his drawing, he was also interested in words, and experimented a lot with poems, as well as new technology like Xerox and video cameras. Some of his first New York works were cut-ups of tabloid covers (“Ronald Reagan Accused of TV Star Death”), and when, at a Canal Street sign shop, he found a bag of 13 letters, he used them to make a sort of restricted poetry: “art art boys sin as if no if no art lick fat boys”. He used them as the basis of videos, created Xeroxed, Warhol-esque posters and would read the “art boys” poems at Club 57. For a while, in 1979, he wore a black beret and called himself a terrorist poet.
The then new Club 57 was in a Polish church at 57 St Mark’s Place. Haring, Scharf and another SVA student called John Sex stumbled across it by mistake; they liked the jukebox and put a track on. Ann Magnuson, who ran the club, came out from behind the bar and started go-go dancing with them. Magnuson got her new friends to do one-night art shows at the club, “and it kept tumbling like that”, says Scharf. “Every night, performances, art shows, happenings.” Unlike the well-established punk venue CBGB, or the Mudd Club, both of which were cool (“heroin-y”), or the high-end celeb-station that was Studio 54, Club 57 was small, silly – “uncool,” says McEwen – and very sexually free. Everyone was sleeping with everyone else. The chosen drugs were booze and hallucinogens. Haring loved Club 57’s attitude, which was less nightclub and more playroom: he staged spontaneous art shows, read his poems, joined in with big Twister parties. He did performances with a TV on his head, speaking through the screen.
Haring was interested in art that talked to people. After just one month at SVA, he wrote a manifesto-cum-self-definition that included the words: “The public has a right to art/The public is being ignored by most contemporary artists/Art is for everybody.” As far as Haring was concerned, it was the viewer that created the meaning and reality of the artwork. So he wanted to gain as many viewers as possible. (“As graffiti artists say,” says Rodriguez, “he wanted eyeballs.”)
McEwen remembers him painting abstract images on the ground in the loading bay of SVA. Lots of passersby stopped to talk, to tell him what they thought. “One would say it reminded them of fighting in world war two, another said they could see animals in there,” she says. “He thrived on that interaction and I think it pushed him to take his art out on to the streets.”
She also recalls Haring’s show at an abandoned school turned DIY art venue, PS122, in 1980. He had turned from poetry back to art, and at the show, he debuted the style that became his signature. He drew pictures of flying saucers shooting out light-rays, of penises being worshipped by crowds of people, of a baby that shone like a star. “It was so arresting,” she said. “Immediate.”
Street art was flourishing in New York. Tagging and graffiti art was part of the emerging hip-hop scene, which was mostly based uptown, in Harlem and the Bronx, but moved to the Lower East Side once rappers and taggers like Fab Five Freddy started mingling with downtown artists. Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose own SAMO tag began as a sort of on-wall manifesto poetry, wasn’t a student at SVA, but would visit the college, invited by Scharf.
Though Haring, Basquiat and Scharf were very different artists, all three were interested in making work outside galleries. Haring started tagging – he drew his tag, the radiant baby, next to existing graffiti, never over the top – and Basquiat was already doing so. All three were also interested in the risk and magic of making work without preparatory drawings, and Haring was the king of this. Lenore and Herb Schorr, collectors of both Basquiat and Haring, recall his ability to fill whatever space he needed to.
“He was a phenomenon,” says Lenore. “He would just get up in front of a wall and right from his head, no drawing, he would start working. It was unreal, his understanding. He saw the space and he filled it and it was beautiful and it was balanced, it had a rhythm.”
“It was more than that,” says Tony Shafrazi, who became Haring’s dealer. Being out and about drawing on walls led Haring to look at the streets differently. He noticed the small advertising spaces at subway stations. Whenever an old advert was removed, but before the new one was put up, the space was covered in black paper. Haring decided to draw on these blank canvases in chalk.
Haring silence
“He was unbelievably quick,” says Shafrazi. “I went with him on a couple of the trips and he would spot a space, dart out and it would be done in minutes. He would go up one line, come back down; he went all over Manhattan like that, covering the place.”
An SVA friend, the photographer Tseng Kwong Chi, would come by a few hours later and take pictures of the chalk drawings before they were covered over or stolen.
Haring was arrested a few times for this, but it just added to the street glamour (CBS’s Sunday Morning did a piece on him, complete with convenient cop handcuffing him). People would stop and chat to him while he drew, and he made badges and handed them out. Robin Williams had one. So did Diane Keaton.
At that time, Scharf and Haring shared an apartment, a huge two-storey loft near Bryant Park, filled with both of their work. But it quickly became tricky for Scharf, because Keith’s work was becoming popular. Collectors came up to their apartment to buy a Haring and walked straight past Scharf’s work. “It caused Kenny a lot of angst,” remembers McEwen.
“We all had ambitions of moving up, getting a bigger audience and money,” says Scharf, “but when it happens, things change. It isn’t so fun and simple as it was when we were each other’s audience. There’s other people’s take on you, you’re taken more seriously, then they’re more critical, then there’s jealousy. Before, you had a focal point of getting out there and creating, and then all of a sudden you have to deal with this machine that you wanted to be involved in, but that you didn’t know anything about.” Soon after, Haring decided he needed a dealer, and chose Shafrazi.
In 1981, Haring moved in with McEwen, into her Broome Street railroad apartment, where there was no corridor, and each room led into another. At the start, McEwen’s rooms were the kitchen and a bedroom, but that changed when Keith became romantically involved with a DJ called Juan Dubose, “and it became clear that Juan needed access to the kitchen,” says McEwen.
Juan’s contribution is underestimated,” she says. “He did all the cooking for Keith, he sort of kept house so that Keith could work.” With Dubose moving in, McEwen swapped rooms, but then she had to walk through Haring and Dubose’s bedroom to get to the kitchen. So Haring bought a tent. “Just a perfect-sized tent that was his and Juan’s bed,” says McEwen. “I came back one day and there it was. With the TV right up against the door to the tent so they could watch it.”
Though neither was completely monogamous, Haring and Dubose were together for several years. They loved to dance, and became regulars at the Paradise Garage, where Larry Levan DJed. Haring adored the exhilaration and community at the club: when he became successful and had to travel around the world for his work, he would organise his schedule so that he would leave straight after a Saturday night at the Garage or return just before, “so that I didn’t miss any of my Garage time”. Dancing was immensely important to him, as were the “cute boys” of the Garage, who were mostly black and Latino. Haring was attracted to non-white men. “I’m sure inside I’m not white,” he once wrote.
In 1982, Shafrazi put on a solo Haring show. It was a huge success. Important art collectors mingled with Haring’s downtown friends, plus graffiti artists and hip-hop DJs. From there, things really took off. Haring met Warhol and they became close. He went for dinner at Yoko Ono’s, he hung out with David Bowie, Iggy Pop, William Burroughs, Robert Mapplethorpe. He already knew Madonna, from clubbing at Danceteria. He went to her wedding, and took Warhol as his guest.
By 1984, Haring couldn’t do the subway paintings any more, because people were stealing them as soon as they were up and putting them up for sale. Fake Harings started springing up; his style was much imitated, especially in Japan. In 1986, he set up his Pop Shop on Lafayette Street. He wanted the public to be able to access his real work, not just those with enough money to be able to buy one of his paintings. Popular culture accepted his art long before the establishment did. For Haring, the Pop Shop “was the ultimate in cutting them [the art establishment] out of the picture”.
Scharf remembers this. “Keith was crucified for it,” he says. “The art world likes to think: ‘Oh, if you’re doing things in a mass commercial way, you’re dumbing it down for the masses.’ Well, no. We’re not dumbing things down, we’re bringing people up. But the art world doesn’t want to see people coming up.”
Haring and andy
Haring often spoke eloquently about the notion of “selling out”. He turned down many offers of lucrative work: to license his art in Tokyo, to run a Macy’s boutique, to paint a Hall & Oates album cover, to advertise Kraft cheese and Dodge trucks. He accepted some, like Swatch and Absolut: those that offered a challenge. “Ever since there have been people waiting to buy things, I’ve known that if I wanted to make things people would want, I could do it easily,” he said. “As soon as you let that affect you, you’ve lost everything.”
And he continued to work with graffiti artists, though he only went out tagging with them once; he felt stupid as the older white guy, like a chaperone. He didn’t call himself a graffiti artist – in an Interview piece, he described what he did as drawing, rather than graffiti – but the media didn’t listen. He talked to Rodriguez about it. “Keith and I often discussed this,” he says. “I would say to him, You’re not a graffiti artist. And he would say: ‘Oh, it’s the media, it’s how they write it.’ But we both knew that he was playing along with it, because it helped give rise to his success. The thing that people don’t know is that his success also elevated us as well. There was this mutual understanding and agreement that he was really making headway for a lot of people. He was making street art acceptable.”
Dancer Bill T Jones believes that Keith tried to raise consciousness in general. “Everyone knew his sexuality, he was very out, which was important,” he says. “And he would try and represent the young, underserved black and brown people of the streets, like the Central Park Five. The art world claimed to not know about such things – and its passivity, its silence was political – but because of the people he associated with, Keith was pulled into these issues.”
Jones worked with Haring on a number of occasions, including in the UK in 1983. For a show at the Robert Fraser gallery, Haring decided he would paint Jones’s naked body and have Tseng take photographs. The painting took four-and-a-half hours, and when he was done, the press were invited in to do interviews. Jones remembers the whole event with affection, calling it both “innocent” and “brazen”. “That body-painting gave me power,” he says. “It made one feel transformed, into a heightened consciousness, a special status, I was a moving sculpture.” After this, Haring painted Grace Jones.
Haring’s horizons were expanding. He painted on the Berlin Wall, he worked with MTV. He was immensely popular: in 1986, he was the subject of more than 100 newspaper articles. But in the mid-1980s, as he was flying high with his career, back in New York, the carefree environment began to change.
Aids swept through New York like a fire, “like world war two,” recalls Jones, whose dance and life partner Arnie Zane died of Aids-related lymphoma in 1988. “An entire generation was killed, it decimated a whole class of persons, the homosexual, creative people.”
McEwen got pregnant around this time and was required to take an HIV test. She had to take her blood sample to an abandoned car park, to a box-like structure that was set up away from people, and post the sample through a slot. Everyone was petrified of catching this new and terrible disease; no one knew quite how it was spreading. But spreading it was, and people were dying.
“People got sick and they’d die in two weeks,” says Scharf. “Recently, I went to a friend’s photography show and looked at a photo of us all, and everyone is no longer here and they’ve been gone 30 years.”
“You had a kid, and you’d look around for who could be godfather,” says McEwen, “and there was nobody left.”
Haring knew he was at risk – Dubose had been diagnosed HIV-positive. His friends were dying, including Bobby Breslau, a mentor who worked at Pop Shop. Haring was badly affected by Bobby’s suffering, but was accepting of his own fate. He wrote about the possibility in his journals in March 1987.
“I am quite aware that I have or will have Aids,” he wrote. “The symptoms already exist… my days are numbered. Important to do as much as possible as quickly as possible. WORK IS ALL I HAVE AND ART IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN LIFE. I always knew, since I was young, that I would die young, But I thought it would be FAST (an accident), not a disease… time will tell but I am not scared. I live every day as if it were the last. I LOVE LIFE. I love babies and children and some people, most people, well maybe not most. But a lot of people…”
Haring end.jpg
In 1989, the year before his death, Haring did four shows. He set up the Keith Haring Foundation, which still exists today, working to support underprivileged children and HIV charities. And he did an interview withRolling Stone.
He said: “No matter how long you work, it’s always going to end sometime. And there’s always going to be things left undone… part of the reason that I’m not having trouble facing the reality of death is that it’s not a limitation, in a way. It could have happened any time, and it is going to happen sometime. If you live your life according to that, death is irrelevant. Everything I’m doing right now is exactly what I want to do.”
Haring worked right up until two months before he died. Scharf was at his side when he was very ill. Haring was agitated, twitchy, with his eyes shut, and Scharf held him. “I said: ‘You can relax. Everything you’ve done is going to keep going. You’re going to continue.’ And I felt him relax. I meant it. He started something really big, and I will always honour his legacy.”
Haring died on 16 February 1990. During his lifetime, he had almost 50 one-man shows. He painted 45 murals. Since his death, his foundation has supported hundreds of youth, community, art, LBGT, safe sex and planned-parenthood projects. His work is held by MoMA, the Whitney, the LA County Museum of Art, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. And many, many people own a Keith Haring badge.
Current

??IRAN WAR??

Trump_Bomb_Dr_Strangelove

Dear All,

Donald Trump, “Autocrat”, is losing support across the broad electoral spectrum, even among Republican legislators. He is completely aware of it, though awareness is not one of his strengths. What will he do? How will we see his future? What will we name it?

The Plunge Protection Plan, an administration program in place to manipulate markets, will not bear fruit for much longer. The stock market, propped up with taxpayer money, has been a stalwart of support for Trump – soon to come to an end. The trade wars with China and our allies rapidly losing favor. “Grab them by the ….” is a statement of the past now out of style. The economy – looking good – sadly, only looking good for the upper 30% of earners – the balance of the population suffering.

The list goes on and on but all is known and clear. What do autocrats do when the popularity options run out? Typically they go to war. Not Trade War, not Cold War, not War on poverty but killing wars. The activities leading up to a war with Iran are undeniable. Who is causing the friction – debatable? The executive powers of “natural emergency” emerging from the “Wall” are minor compared to those executive powers at wartime. Autocrats are rarely displaced in times of war. We are at serious risk of polarizing the world and committing the crime of war to soothe Trump’s ego in an attempt to win back his supporters.

What will the war be called? Will it be known as the “Mueller War”, the “Tax-return War”, the “Donald Junior War”, the “Javanka War”, The “Deutsche Bank War” – a myriad of naming opportunities awaits us.

Now is the moment to contact your elective representatives, yes the Republican ones as well, and make it clear their votes are at risk if they encourage or allow the “Autocrat” to enter the league with the Devil called “WAR”.

 

Asher Edelman

Current

Trump Logic

Dear Friends,
As you all are aware I have been disturbed with President Trump and his policies. I do feel, in the spirit of fairness, he should be given the podium, from time to time, in order to clearly define his views and activities. Yesterday the President in a press conference had that opportunity. The media printed it in whole highlighting false statements. I believe you should all read and study the content attached to better understand our President, his goals, and activities.

A. E
04-donald-trump-meeting.w700.h700
by Aaron Blake, The Washingtonpost
President Trump was in rare form Thursday. In a lengthy Q&A with reporters after an event on combating surprise medical bills, Trump took questions on the Mueller report, on a Senate GOP chairman’s subpoena of his son Donald Trump Jr., on North Korea and on other topics.
Many of the claims have been fact-checked as false – and some of them were offered in quick succession. Others were new and raised questions about what Trump has been doing behind the scenes.
Below is the transcript,
For analysis with fact-checking click the red.
QUESTION:
Mr. President, on the North Korean missiles, what message do you take from that (INAUDIBLE)?
TRUMP:
Well, we’re looking at it very seriously right now. They were smaller missiles, short-range missiles. Nobody’s happy about it. But we’re taking a good look, and we’ll see, we’ll see. The relationship continues, but we’ll see what happens. I know they want to negotiate. They’re talking about negotiating, but I don’t think they’re ready to negotiate because we have to either do – it’s very much like China. The vice premier is coming here today. We were getting very close to a deal, then they started to renegotiate the deal. We can’t have that. We can’t have that. So our country can take in $120 billion a year in tariffs, paid for mostly by China, by the way, not by us – a lot of people try and steer it in a different direction. It’s really paid for – ultimately it’s paid for by – largely by China. And businesses will pour back into our country, so instead of making the products, it’ll be the old-fashioned way, the way we used to do it. We made our own product. And I think things are going along pretty well there, but a large group delegation headed by one of the most respective respected men and highest officials of China will be coming in today.
They start at 5:00, and they’ll see what they can do, but our alternative is – is an excellent one. It’s an alternative I’ve spoken about for years. We’ll take in well over $100 billion a year. We never took in $0.10 from China, not $0.10. And it will be a – I think it’ll be a very strong day, frankly. But we’ll see. We’ll see. It was their idea to come back.
QUESTION:
TRUMP: 
Well, he just wrote me a beautiful letter. I just received it and I’ll probably speak to him by phone. But look, we have two great alternatives. Our country is doing fantastically well. Our numbers at 3.2. Don’t forget, 3.2 – the first quarter is always by far the worst quarter or at least almost always. You look back over the years, first quarter’s always weak, and we had 3.2 GDP.
And that worked because that was the only thing they could say about our whole economy. Lordstown. They kept saying Lordstown, Lordstown. And when you had all of these great companies spending billions and billions of dollars coming into our country, they couldn’t talk about it. They’d only mentioned the one plant that was a GM plant from a very long time ago. And now we have a great company going in going to make electric trucks. Very appropriate. Interesting idea, actually. Electric trucks. Yes, please.
QUESTION:
TRUMP:
Well, I’m going to leave that up to our very great attorney general, and he’ll make a decision on that. But I will say this, look, the Mueller report came out, it was done at I guess I’m hearing numbers now close to $40 million with 17 or 18 very angry Democrats who hated Donald Trump and also everything that they could possibly have at their disposal.
There was nobody that was in the history of our country more transparent than me. I said give them every document, give them every person. Let the White House counsel testify. I think he testified for 30 hours. I guess they must have asked him the same question because there wasn’t very much to testify about. But I said let him testify and let him – keep him as long as you want.
Actually, when I heard 30 hours, I said that’s a long time, but I let him testify. I didn’t have to. I have presidential privilege. I could’ve stopped everything. I didn’t have to give them a document. I gave them 1.5 million documents. I gave them White House counsel, I gave them other law – anybody you want, you can talk to. At the end of the testimony, no collusion and essentially, no obstruction.
Of course, a lot of people say how can you obstruct when there was no crime, when there was no collusion, how can you possibly obstruct? I’ll tell you, but it’s worse than that. It’s not only was there no crime, but the crime was committed on the other side. So we are protecting against the crime committed on the other side. So after spending all of that money, all of that time, two years, they come up with a report.
And then he puts on his staff almost all Democrats, many of whom contributed to Hillary Clinton. None of them contributed to me. That I can tell you. And it started out at 13, and it went to 18. And these were angry Democrats. These were people that went to her, in one case, went to her what was supposed to be a party and turned out to be a funeral on election evening and was going wild. He was so angry. And this man now is judging me. You had other people made big contributions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. They were angry Democrats in, I think, almost all cases.
One of the people worked on the Clinton foundation as just about the top person at the Clinton foundation. With all of this, they came back no collusion. There is nobody in this room including you if they were – that’s you, John. If we looked at you with $40 million, 18 angry people that hated you and all of the other things I mentioned, they’ll find something. I don’t know, maybe John, not. Go ahead, finish up.
QUESTION:
But Mr. Mueller is also friends with Mr. Barr. And as you’re aware, Mr. Barr told lawmakers that he didn’t have a problem with Mr. – with Mr. Mueller testifying.
TRUMP:
I’m going to leave that up to the attorney general as to whether or not – I think to me it looks like a redo. Here’s what happened, the report comes back, it’s perfect. It’s beautiful. There’s no collusion. Nobody even talks about collusion. You know, I haven’t heard the word “Russia” in a long time. There’s no more talk about Russia. What happened to Russia? The Russian witchhunt – they don’t talk because it was so on collusion, which by the way, is by far – that’s the big deal because it was all about Russia. So I haven’t heard the word “Russia.” They don’t use the word “Russia” anymore. So there’s no crime. There know what never was a crime. It was a hoax. It was a witchhunt. So this comes back, and it comes back totally exonerating Donald Trump and a lot of other people. This was a terrible thing that happened to our country. Now I’ll tell you what they are asking. They are asking about how did this whole thing start. That’s what people want to know, and I want to tell you, I had a – an event last night. A lot of you were there. Thousands and thousands of people standing in a field. They’ve never seen anything like it, meaning even the press. But it’s always that way. We’ve never had an empty seat. Thousands of people last night. You know what they want to know? How did this whole thing start. It’s going to be hard for them to answer that one. Yeah, please.
QUESTION:
Mr. President, are you satisfied with the advice you received from John Bolton?
TRUMP:
(LAUGHTER)
QUESTION:
TRUMP:
Remember he said to me a long time ago when I was thinking about running: Dad, if I can help, let me know. It’s not my expertise, it’s not something I really like, but whatever I can do, you’re my father. Whatever I can do. He’s now testified for 20 hours or something. A massive amount of time. The Mueller report came out. That’s the Bible. The Mueller report came out, and they said he did nothing wrong. The only thing is, it’s oppo research. If he did wrong, then everybody standing with me probably, except for John, and Lamar, I think Lamar is pretty – I’ll tell you, did you ever do oppo research on an opponent? I don’t think so, Lamar, right?
UNKNOWN: (OFF-MIC)
(LAUGHTER)
TRUMP:
And I know John Barrasso never did opposition research because he’s a fine, fine man. But I would say 99 percent of the rest of the folks are – so they didn’t – but what they didn’t discuss is this woman that came in who I watched her on the “Today” show when it all started. Oh, I’m just an innocent. Well, nobody even knows. Although the halls of Congress know her very well, because for years she’s walked around all over the Congress. She came in and she left supposedly GPS Fusion, goes and meets for short period of time with my son and some other people, they talk about a subject as very well, you know, advertised and put out, which is nothing, it was a nothing meeting. In fact, Jared left. He said, “Get me out of this meeting. This is a waste of time.” She then went back to GPS Fusion. They were the ones that wrote the phony dossier. Why was she going to GPS Fusion? Why did she go back?
Then I heard that Don, for a year, made three phone calls with an unmarked number. They called it unmarked. And this was a tremendous event, because they all knew – the fake news, they all – no, you were fair on that, John. But they all knew that these phone calls, these – these tremendous phone calls before the meeting and after the meeting – there were, I believe, three, right? They all knew that it had to be to his father. Unmarked, it’s perfect.
So, he reported about the meeting and then reported what happened at the meeting, except after looking and spending a tremendous amount of time and money, they were able to go back years and find out who made the calls. One was a local real estate developer. The other was a great person from NASCAR. He took two of them, and a friend of Don’s.
This went on for a year and a half. John, you heard all about the phone calls to obviously the father, where I knew – I never knew about the meeting. But the phone calls to the father turned out not to be the phone calls.
QUESTION:
Should he fight that subpoena?
TRUMP:
We’ll see what happens. I’m just very surprised, I really am, by it.
Yeah?
QUESTION:
What did Iran do to prompt you to send an aircraft carrier to the, the region?
TRUMP:
QUESTION:
– Is there a risk – is there a risk –
TRUMP:
QUESTION:
Is there a risk of military confrontation, sir?
TRUMP:
I guess you could say that always, right? Isn’t it, I mean, you know, always? I don’t want to say no, but hopefully that won’t happen. We have one of the most powerful ships in the world that’s loaded up, and we don’t want to have to do anything.
What I’d like to see – with Iran, I’d like to see them call me. You know, John Kerry speaks to them a lot. John Kerry tells them not to call. That’s a violation of the Logan Act. And frankly, he should be prosecuted on that. But my people don’t want to do anything that’s – only the Democrats do that kind of stuff, you know? If it were the opposite way, they’d prosecute him under the Logan Act. But John Kerry violated the Logan Act. He’s talking to Iran and has been, has many meetings and many phone calls. And he’s telling them what to do. That is a total violation of the Logan Act, because what they should be doing is – their economy is a mess ever since I took away the Iran deal. They have inflation that’s the highest number I’ve ever heard. They are having riots every weekend and during the week even.
And what they should be doing is calling me up, sitting down. We can make a deal, a fair deal. We just don’t want them to have nuclear weapons, not too much to ask. And we would help put them back into great shape. They’re in bad shape right now. I look forward to the day where we can actually help Iran. We’re not looking to hurt Iran. I want them to be strong and great and have a great economy.
But they’re listening to John Kerry, whose violated a very important element of what he’s supposed to be doing. He violated the Logan Act, plain and simple. He shouldn’t be doing that. But they should call, and if they do, we’re open to talk to them. We have no secrets. And they can be very, very strong financially. They have great potential, very much like North Korea. North Korea has tremendous potential economically. And I don’t think he’s going to blow that. I don’t think so.
QUESTION:
Can I circle back to trade just for a second?
TRUMP:
Yeah, please.
QUESTION:
Is it still possible to get a trade deal with the Chinese this week, or is it –
TRUMP:
– It’s possible –
QUESTION:
– You’ve never said –
TRUMP:
– They’re all here. Look, the vice premier, who’s one of the most respected men, one of the highest officials in China, is coming. You know, you heard he wasn’t coming. He’s coming.
I will say this. Once the tariffs went on, they upped the meeting. It was supposed to take place originally on Thursday. Then about five weeks ago they said how about Friday, how about next week? I said what’s this all about? And I said that’s okay. Let’s – don’t worry about it. Let’s take in $100 billion a year. And we put the tariffs on. We made the statement, and then they upped the meeting. How about let’s go back to Thursday?
So, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I did get last night a very beautiful letter from President Xi, let’s work together. Let’s see if we can get something done. But they renegotiated the deal. I mean, they took – whether it’s intellectual property theft, they took many, many parts of that deal, and they renegotiated. You can’t do that.
And I’m different than a lot of people. I happen to think that tariffs, for our country, are very powerful. You know, we’re the piggy bank that everybody steals from, including China. We’ve been paying China $500 billion a year for many, many years. China rebuilt their country because of us. They couldn’t have done what they’re doing. They’re building a ship every three weeks. They’re building aircraft like you’ve never seen, fighter jets.
I respect it. I don’t blame them. I blame our past leadership for allowing this to happen. What I’m doing now with China should have happened many years ago, not just Obama, long before Obama. I always say, you know, if you look, NAFTA is one of the worst deals ever made, trade deals.
But the worst trade deal ever made is the WTO, because China was flatlining for many, many decades, many, many. It was flat, right here. The WTO came along. We allowed China into the WTO, and they became a rocket ship. You got to take a look at a chart sometime. Do it. It’ll be very interesting, and economic chart. They’re here, and they went up like a rocket ship.
Well, they did it with our money, and others. And they did it because they’re very smart and they’re good people. And I like the president a lot. He’s a friend of mine. But I’m representing the USA, and he’s representing China. And we’re not going to be taken advantage of anymore. We’re not going to pay China $500 billion a year.
So, we put very heavy tariffs on China as of Friday, and we put them on also eight months ago. And when people looked at the economic numbers, they were shocked. When they look at the import/export numbers, they were shocked. They said, wow, how did they get to this point? This was very good. That was a very good report. They’ve never seen that for many years. I said try looking at all of the tariffs that China has been paying us for the last eight months, billions and billions of dollars. And that’s only because I gave them a break. Because we were negotiating – goodwill, we were negotiating, I gave them a break. And I said let’s keep it at 10 percent instead of 25 percent. So, now what we’re doing is we’re raising it to 25 percent on Friday. So, it’ll be $250 billion at 25 percent, and it’ll be $325 billion at 25 percent, and we’re starting that paperwork today. So, we’ll see. But you know what? As president of our country, I had to do something about it. And as president of our great country, we’re going to be taking in more money than we’ve ever taken in. And all of these countries, many of them have taken advantage of us, including our allies. They’ve taken advantage of us on trade. They’ve taken advantage of us on military. We defend all these countries for nothing or for a tiny fraction of what it costs.
We take care of NATO. I’m all for NATO. I’m all for NATO. And I think it’s just wonderful, but it’s different than it was 25 years ago and 40 years ago. And I got NATO to put up an extra $100 billion. Ask Secretary General Stoltenberg. He’s, like, Donald Trump’s biggest fan, because spending was going down. The – the contributions that the 28 countries were making, it was heading like – like a slope down, like a very steep mountain. And then I came, and it went up like China. It went up like a rocket ship, okay?
But I don’t like seeing people take advantage. We pay for anywhere from 70 to 100 percent of NATO. So, we protect NATO. We protect European countries. And we protect them, and we protect them beautifully. We’re the power. We’re the most powerful nation, especially since we’ve redone our military, redoing and -done all of the nuclear. You never want to use it, but you have to have it.
But we’ve spent, and I thank Congress for this, $700 billion, and then $717 – 16 billion on our military. Our military, when I came to office, was totally depleted. We now have by far the strongest military in the world. But we defend countries. When you look at our budget – so, we’re at $716 billion, and Russia’s at $68 billion. How do you figure that? Because Russia doesn’t go around defending every country in the world and not getting paid for it. And you know what? I don’t mind not getting paid if there’s a country that’s been horribly treated and lots of bad things are happening and they’re not a rich country. But when we defend the richest countries in the world and they don’t pay us for or what we do. And, frankly, they go back into closed meetings, and they laugh at the stupidity of the United States for doing it. These are countries with nothing but cash. They could very easily – I told a story last night. I picked up $500 million with one phone call to a country, and that’s just the beginning. And I’ve done it with many other countries anyway. But just over the last very short period of time. One phone call that lasted for a period of, I would say, five minutes, I picked up $500 million because I said you’re not taking care of us. We’re taking care of you, but you’re not taking care – it’s not fair. So really the word is not fair. NATO doesn’t treat us fairly at all. But now they’re starting to pay. And if you look at Mr. Stoltenberg, he will tell you he has never seen anything like it. $100 billion. And that’s a low number. They’re paying $100 billion more.
But how do you feel about this? Germany, you’re supposed to be paying 2 percent. Germany is paying 1 percent. They say 1.3, but call it 1 percent because it really is closer to 1 percent. Germany pays to Russia billions of dollars a month for the pipeline, and yet we’re supposed to be defending Germany from Russia. So Germany is giving the so-called enemy – I don’t call it an enemy. I want to get along with Russia, and I want to get along with China, because I’m smart. Stupid people don’t want to get along. Because I’m smart. This witch hunt hurt us in our relationships with a lot of countries. It was a very expensive, horrible thing for our country. And by the way, should never, ever happen again to a president. Two years I’ve been going through this nonsense, and now we have a good report, and now guys like Jerry Nadler who I fought for many years, successfully I might add, back in New York in Manhattan. He was a Manhattan congressman. I beat him all the time, and I come to Washington, and now I have to beat him again over nothing, over nothing, over a hoax. And they know it’s a hoax. They’re smart. Nadler is a smart guy. Schiff is a smart guy.
When Schiff goes to the microphone, he’s conning this whole country, and he knows that. And he goes back into a room and he talks to his friends, and he laughs, because that’s the way life is. But our country is doing great. We’re going to find out about China tonight, and I think in the end you’re going to be very impressed with the kind of things we’re doing. And the reason they were so surprised with the numbers two, three weeks ago – not the 3.2 GDP, which everybody was surprised at, but maybe more importantly export numbers, import numbers, because we have billions of dollars coming to our country that our country never would have seen with a regular president. They should have been done many years ago. And I told President Xi of China, and I tell Abe, who is a good friend of mine, prime minister of Japan, doing a great job, I tell him – I tell everybody, I say I don’t blame you. I blame the people that ran the United States. And I blame their trade representatives, and frankly, I blame our presidents, because this should have never happened. We’ve been losing, for years, close to $800 billion – not million. $800 million is a lot – but we have been losing $800 billion on trade, $800 billion. We’re going to stop that, and we’ve already started. So we have a meeting tonight at 5:00 with the top people from China, and we’ll let you know what happens. Thank you all very much.
QUESTION:
There was a moment in your rally last night when someone in the crowd seemed to say (INAUDIBLE).
(APPLAUSE)
TRUMP:
The Red Sox are coming in a little while. I like the Red Sox.
QUESTION:
What do you say to those who argue that you’re too divisive, and do you worry it’s going to hurt your reelection (INAUDIBLE)?
TRUMP:
You know, it’s interesting; Puerto Rico – just so you understand, we gave Puerto Rico $91 billion for the hurricane. That’s the largest amount of money ever given to any state – talking about states and Puerto Rico, a little different – $91 billion. Texas got $30. Florida got $12. Puerto Rico got $91 billion. So I think the people of Puerto Rico should really like President Trump. Now that money was given by Congress, but they got $91 billion. Now you remember how big the hurricane was in Texas, the largest water dump in the history of our country, they say. Three times it went in, went out, went in. Texas got $30 billion. Florida got actually anywhere between $9 and $12. Puerto Rico got $91 billion, and now the Democrats are trying to hold up the money from Georgia, from South Carolina, from Alabama, to Florida. They’re trying to hold it up. They’re hurting Florida. They’re holding – I mean, what they’re doing to North Carolina, to Louisiana, they’re trying to hold relief aid because Puerto Rico, which got $91 billion, have to love their president, they want to get Puerto Rico more money. So they’re willing to sacrifice Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana and other states. The Democrats are doing that. They are very divisive people. Thank you very much
Current

TRUMP/JAVANKA – SAUDI ARABIA

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Dear All,
Saudi Wahhabi mosques and schools worldwide have given birth to 95% of all international terrorist attacks since September 11th.
The Donald / Javanka relationship to the Saudis of more importance to the U.S. than the Russian follies.
The Wahhabi Code
Last night we hosted a seminar on the Saudi Wahhabi dominance of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and Taliban, cults of terrorist murder. The Saudi – Trump warring on Iran, a planned diversion for “rogue regime” misbehavior, especially as to Middle East and the Trump administration.
Terrence Ward, speaking last night, focused the crowd on his book “The Wahhabi Code” – how the Saudis spread extremism globally. Terrence tells of how, to reduce the Wahhabi clerics religious and social control of the Royal family, the Royals unleashed Saudi charities to fund Wahhabi schools, missionaries and mosques across the world. It is there institutions (65 in Brussels alone) from which the world wide terrorist attacks emanate.
It is this crowd the Trump / Javanka folk idolize and profit from. It is this crowd pushing for war with Iran. “Regime” changes seldom occur while wars rage. Trump, the strategist, gets this point. Forget Russia, China et al – the greatest treat to the democratic civilized world today is the Trump – Saudi bedfellow dance.
Asher Edelman

Saudi Arabia puts to death 37 people in largest mass execution in past three years 

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Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said Tuesday, April 23, 2019, that 37 Saudi citizens have been beheaded in a mass execution that took place across various regions of the country. Saudi King Salman ratified the executions for terrorism-related crimes by royal decree. (Cliff Owen/AP)

Saudi Arabia said Tuesday it had executed 37 people convicted of terrorism-related offenses, bringing the number of executions there in the first four months of the year to 105, according to the Saudi interior ministry and Reprieve, a human rights group that tracks the use of the death penalty in the kingdom.

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