Citizen Trump Kane Visits Asia. A Russian Offshore Paradise. Texas Tragedy.
|IN A NUTSHELL: MUST READ|
Mass Shooting In A Texas Church: A young white male dressed in black tactical gear carrying a Ruger assault rifle gunned down at least 26 people Sunday morningin the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, a tiny rural community just southeast of San Antonio. The dead ranged in age from five to 72 years. The 14-year old daughter of the church pastor was among those killed. The lone shooter died as he was being chased by police across county lines. Sunday’s massacre occurred exactly eight years to the day from the one at Fort Hood, Texas, when a US Army major and psychiatrist fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others. Last month a gunman opened fire on people attending an outdoor concert in La Vegas, killing 58 and injuring 546 others.
We think it’s time to implement reasonable and thoughtful gun control. We don’t say this because we label certain people as “bitter [and] they cling to guns or religion.” This sentiment and approach is the fastest way to end a dialogue. Instead we advocate reasonable gun laws because we no longer want to feel like a mass shooting is an acceptable thing. And that just days after a mass shooting everybody shrugs like nothing can be done. The most polarizing topics in the United States in no particular rank order are Trump, abortion, immigration, and guns. Daily Pnut readers please share your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org on gun control (whether we should have more regulation or not) and how can we reduce the frequency of mass shootings.
Saudi Arabia’s Next Ruler Is Flexing His Muscle: Saudi Arabia’s future king, 32-year old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has launched an anti-corruption crackdown shortly after his father decreed late Saturday that Mohammed, known as MbS, would head up an anti-corruption committee. The crown prince began arresting royals, ministers and investors, including Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of the king and one of the kingdom’s most prominent businessmen. The charges against Alwaleed include money laundering, bribery, and extorting officials. In all, 11 princes, four ministers, and several former ministers were detained Sunday. King Salam’s decree gives his son’s committee broad powers to investigate cases, issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions, and seize assets. The arrests seem very much like a pre-emptive measure to remove powerful figures as MbS exerts control. Since 2014, he has made a meteoric rise. This past year he has taken over decision-making for the wealthy kingdom’s military, foreign, economic and social policies.
We are skeptical that anti-corruption is the main reason for MbS’s moves as we have yet to learn about an anti-corruption drive (Spanish Inquisition, Savonarola, Salem Witch Trials, Cultural Revolution, McCarathyism, etc…) that has not been simply a pretext by an individual or group to assume more power. Anti-corruption drives often are just as corrupt as the “corrupted” or become corrupt with blinded righteousness.
|NUTS AND BOLTS: SHOULD READ|
Paradise By The Dashboard Light: President Trump has spoken about bringing US money parked offshore by wealthy people and companies back to the US. Thanks to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and millions of leaked documents, light is being shed on the trillions of dollars that move through offshore tax havens. Almost three and a half million files from two offshore service providers and 19 tax havens’ company registries were leaked. The Paradise Papers is a special investigation into the leak. The files reveal not only who is hiding their money where, but also the surprising number of high profile elite with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Turns out, Russia funded Facebook and Twitter investments through a business associate of Jared Kushner. The investments were made through Yuri Milner, who also holds a stake in Cadre, a company co-owned by Kushner. Milner says Facebook and Twitter were not made aware that funding for the investments came from Russia’s state-controlled VTB Bank and a financial arm of Russia’s state oil and gas firm Gazprom.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Is Also Enjoying Paradise: US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is doing business with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law through a shipping company, Navigator, using a chain of offshore investments. Navigator has a lucrative partnership with Sibur, a Russian gas company part-owned by Kirill Shamalov, the husband of Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova. Ross, a billionaire and close friend of President Trump, retained his holdings in Navigator after taking office this year. The relationship means he stands to benefit from the operations of a Russian company run by Putin’s family and close allies, some of whom are under US sanctions. Ross told a US ethics watchdog organization that he was keeping a pair of holding companies, but did not specify whether he would retain their interests in Navigator and its lucrative contract in Russia. The links between Ross and Russian finance has raised questions over his selection by Trump to head the US Department of Commerce.
|KEEPING OUR EYE ON|
MAGA Goes To Japan: “We will never yield, never waver, and never falter in defense of our people, our freedom and our great American flag,” US President Trump told servicemen and women at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo on Sunday. The country is the first stop of his 12-day trip to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines–the longest Asian tour by any US president since George H.W. Bush in 1992. North Korea marked Trump’s arrival in Asia by warning the “spiritually unstable” president not to make “reckless remarks” about its regime, which has launched two ballistic missiles over northern Japan recently and threatened to conduct a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has consistently backed Trump’s unwavering stance on North Korea, and Trump returned that support in his speech, describing Japan as a “treasured partner and crucial ally.” Trump and Abe later had a lunch of hamburgers at a private golf club, and the two leaders signed white caps bearing the message: “Donald and Shinzo Make Alliance Even Greater.” Abe tweeted that he was having a “spirited conversation” on the course with his “marvelous friend,” with whom he wants discuss the US’ watertight commitment to security in the volatile Asia-Pacific region. Trump says he plans to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin during the trip to get help on North Korea.
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