In Bizarre Feud, Trump Denies Disrespecting Army Widow As Mother Says President Lies

For the second time in 24 hours, President Trump again pushed back against reports that he crassly told the widow of one of the US Green Berets killed in an Al Qaeda ambush in Niger two weeks ago that her husband ‘must have known what he signed up for’. In response to a reporter’s question following a press conference with Republican senators that was intended to focus on tax reform, Trump again accused Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of lying after she spoke to CNN and the Washington Post about Trump’s comments
‘I didn’t say what that congresswoman said – didn’t say it at all – she knows it,’ Trump told reporters. ‘I would like her to make the statement again because I did not say what she said.”
The comments followed an early tweet by Trump in which the president claimed Wilson ‘totally fabricated’ her account of the call.


This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.

Kirkuk: Asking the Next Big Questions

Will the Kurdish Government Join Forces With the Central Iraqi Government in Baghdad to Govern Kirkuk?
Before the ISF staged its operation, there had been rumors that the faction of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party led by the Talabani family proposed jointly governing Kirkuk province with Baghdad. In seeming support of the rumors, the Talabani faction ordered Kurdish peshmerga fighters to withdraw and to allow ISF to retake some of the energy installations in the city. It’s still uncertain, however, if there’s a deal in place between the PUK and Baghdad to jointly manage the province’s government or its oil and natural gas resources. That a deal would exist makes sense given the longstanding divisions between the PUK and rival Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which controls much of the economy in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Will Baghdad Maintain Control of Kirkuk’s Oil Exports?
It almost certainly will, at least in some capacity. For the last three years the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has been able to export oil produced at the Bai Hassan oil field and the Avanah and Baba Gurgur formations of the Kirkuk oil field, given it had effectively appropriated and incorporated the fields into its own energy sector. The federal government is now in control of those fields and could use them in negotiations with the KRG. But, though Baghdad plans to rebuild its own pipeline to export oil from Kirkuk, right now all export infrastructure from the city goes through the Kurdish-controlled territory, which could complicate Baghdad’s ability to sell the oil Kirkuk produces. Baghdad, recognizing its constraints, could offer the KRG joint administration of the oil resources or continue transit contracts with it to distribute Iraq’s oil wealth. Alternatively, it could shut off production in Kirkuk to increase financial pressure on the Kurdish government. Thus, there’s the chance that Iraq’s northern oil exports – which amount to around 550,000 barrels per day – could decline by as much as 300,000 bpd. In the long run, Baghdad hopes to boost Kirkuk’s production to above 1 million bpd.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 10/18/2017.

Bannon Says GOP “Trying To Destroy Me” As He Sets His Sights On Jeff Flake’s Senate Seat

Having successfully led a campaign to elect Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore in his primary runoff against the GOP establishment candidate Luther Strange, former Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has now set his sights on Jeff Flake’s Arizona Senate seat. At a kickoff rally for Flake’s Republican primary opposition, Dr. Kelli Ward, Bannon said that the Republican establishment, led by Mitch McConnell, John McCain and Bob Corker are actively “trying to destroy him everyday.” More from The Hill:
Former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon attacked top Republicans at a primary campaign rally Tuesday, accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other GOP leaders of “trying to destroy him every day,” according to the Associated Press.
Bannon also targeted Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) in his speech at a campaign fundraiser for Kelli Ward, a primary challenger to Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who is one of the many incumbent Republicans that Bannon is targeting in 2018.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.

The Countries Most (& Least) Satisfied With ‘Democracy’

Across the globe, the spread of right- and left-wing populism and authoritarian politics have shaken the very foundations of democracy.
As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, a new survey from Pew Research has found that people across the globe are generally unhappy with the functionality of their political systems, though levels of satisfaction with democracy vary hugely between countries.
As can be seen from the following infographic which shows a selection of countries from the survey, people in India have tremendous faith in democracy. 79 percent of those polled said they are satisfied with the way democracy is working in India compared to 11 percent who are dissatisfied. Germany also recorded a high level (73 percent) of satisfaction with democracy.
In many other developed countries, however, faith is waning.
In the United Kingdom and Japan, 47 percent of people are not satisfied with how democracy is working in their countries while in the U. S., that rises to 51 percent. France, South Korea and Brazil all recorded dissatisfaction levels of 65 percent or higher… but Greece tops the charts with only 21% of its citizenry ‘satisfied’ with the weay democracy is working.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.