October 31, 2019

The End of HIV is Here and Many Don't See It

                        Illustration of two toolboxes

Factual case: A senior male became HIV at just pre-midlife. Started on Crixivan which was the first antiretroviral that started keeping people alive if not with awful side effects. Some people prefer to have died than to have had a came back or any of the other problems associated with this pill. But the research continued and meds we made specific to the immune system of the person and the type of virus they had. He took all the meds as they came out. As the test was made to show the efficacy of the meds he kept burning most of them. Six months a year ..but eventually he did become undetectable which means the virus could not be detected (under 50)> He has stayed undetectable for 8 yrs  except for the last news he got from his doctor was "if you burn these meds you will be shit out of luck because there is nothing else"(they have a straight honest relationship the Doctor and the patient). So imagine he has no more meds but he is doing well on what he is taking  (it's happened before, when he was doing well and then the meds failed) but with the knowledge that he is undetectable and can not give to anyone else which was always his fear particularly at one time he had a partner for five years and his partner was negative. When the relationship his partner went the same way he came into the relationship, the same health if not better. The way this HIV man looks at it if he lasts 5-10 years everything would have worked out. He is single now and hoping to find his last relationship and happy THAT HIV AT LAST FOR HM IS NOT A PROBLEM. IF HE CAN GET 10 YEARS OF JUST A NORMAL HAPPY LIFE HE WOULD HAVE BEEN GLAD OF THE LIFE HE HAS HAD. This man shows us how you beat HIV: You don't spread it and you keep your self as healthy as you can, nothing extraordinary just take the meds and stay off the K and cocaine drugs which will destroy you inside out. We still need improvement to have meds taken once a month and this should be done already tomorrow. The science of HIV was complicated with republican politics. Money was withheld but now it is time to floor the gas and get the speed because we see the end of the tunnel. The government of the US has a lot of blood on their hands for ignoring and then cutting benefits to keep on living and for science. Let's do our parts and then we can throw it in their faces where they have failed but first we need to do our part particularly this new young generation. 

Optimal implementation of existing HIV prevention and treatment tools and continued development of new interventions are essential to ending the HIV pandemic, National Institutes of Health experts write in a commentary in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Today, many highly effective HIV treatment and prevention interventions are available. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) not only improves the health and prolongs the lives of people with HIV but also plays an important role in HIV prevention. People living with HIV whose virus is durably suppressed to undetectable levels by ART cannot sexually transmit HIV to others, a concept known as Undetectable=Untransmittable, or U=U. Antiretroviral drugs taken by people without HIV as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) are highly effective at preventing the acquisition of HIV.

Theoretically, the widespread provision of ART and PrEP could end the HIV pandemic. However, a gap exists between theory and reality, write Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and colleagues. Implementation gaps exist at all stages of the HIV care continuum. Progress in cities like San Francisco, which has dramatically reduced new HIV cases by deploying ART, PrEP and other tools, suggests that these gaps can be overcome. Such examples offer lessons for optimizing implementation strategies. 

Even with the availability of simplified HIV drug regimens, medication adherence remains a challenge for many. Thus, there is a need to develop new treatment and prevention strategies and products that can be efficiently taken up by people from diverse communities. Potentially, these new tools will have improved efficacy and broader uptake due to better acceptability and usability. 

Researchers are pursuing multiple approaches to achieve durable control of HIV without daily ART, including pursuing a cure that would eradicate HIV from the body or keep it at very low levels, and developing long-acting ART and broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) that could be dosed once every few months or less often. Approaches to optimizing HIV prevention include long-acting injectables and implants, bNAbs, multi-purpose tools for HIV prevention and contraception, and other innovative strategies. Scientists also are working toward the development of a safe and effective preventive HIV vaccine. Currently, three large HIV vaccine efficacy clinical trials are underway globally.

RW Eisinger, GK Folkers, and AS Fauci. Ending the HIV pandemic: optimizing the prevention and treatment toolkits. Clinical Infectious Diseases DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciz998 (2019).
NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available for comment.

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets, and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

Jeffrey Epstein Autopsy Points Out to Homicide

                 Image result for jeffrey epstein commits suicide

A forensic pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s brother claimed on Wednesday that evidence suggested that Mr. Epstein did not die by suicide, but may have been strangled.

The authorities, including the New York City medical examiner, have concluded that the death of Mr. Epstein, the financier who was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, was caused by hanging in his jail cell.

But the pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, said on the morning TV show “Fox & Friends” that Mr. Epstein, 66, experienced a number of injuries that “are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation.”

“I think that the evidence points to homicide rather than suicide,” Dr. Baden said, who observed the autopsy, which was conducted by city officials. 

Dr. Baden, a former New York City medical examiner and a Fox News contributor, added, “I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case.”

The findings by Dr. Baden were strongly disputed by the city’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Barbara Sampson, who previously ruled Mr. Epstein’s death on Aug. 10 in the Metropolitan Correctional Center a suicide.

                    Related image

The death led to several investigations into how a high-profile inmate died by suicide soon after having attempted to take his own life and being placed under additional supervision.

Mr. Epstein was a wealthy financier and convicted sex offender. He used his money and connections to get a widely criticized plea deal in Florida in 2008.

Mr. Epstein was arrested in July at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey by federal officials.

A spokesman for the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan had no comment on Dr. Baden’s statements about Mr. Epstein’s death.

Azi Paybarah writes the New York Today column. He was raised in Queens, educated in Albany and lives in Manhattan. He worked at The Queens Tribune, The New York Sun, Politico New York and elsewhere before joining The Times. Email him or follow him on Twitter. @Azi

There is A Path For Puerto Rico Statehood on a U.S. Bill Which Will Authorized A PR Election

Image result for puerto rico as state 51


The question of statehood for Puerto Rico would be put to voters of the U.S. commonwealth for the third time since 2012 under legislation introduced in Congress on Tuesday.  Proponents of the bill said it would provide the island with the same path to statehood taken by Alaska and Hawaii, the last two states admitted to the union. 
Under the legislation, which has some bipartisan support, a federally authorized referendum would appear on the Nov. 3, 2020, ballot in Puerto Rico. Approval by a majority of the island’s voters would lead to a presidential proclamation within 30 months making Puerto Rico the 51st state. 
President Donald Trump has called Puerto Rico “one of the most corrupt places on earth,” making the bill’s future murky. The island’s non-voting congressional representative, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, said the measure has 45 sponsors.  The island is still trying to recover from devastating hurricanes that hit in 2017, while it works its way through a bankruptcy process to restructure about $120 billion of debt and pension obligations. 
Gonzalez-Colon said the bill provides political equality for Puerto Rico. 
“The American citizens of Puerto Rico will have the opportunity to participate in a federally-sponsored vote and be asked the following question: ‘Should Puerto Rico be admitted as a State of the Union, yes or no?’” she said in a statement.  “This is similar to what happened in Alaska and Hawaii, which is what ultimately makes this legislation different.” 
In a non-binding 2017 referendum here 97% of the island's voters favored statehood, although turnout was just 23% due to a boycott against the vote. 
In a 2012 vote, 61% of Puerto Ricans favored statehood over other alternatives. Neither result moved Congress to act on statehood. 
Puerto Rico, which has been governed by the United States since 1899, has suffered the effects of unequal treatment under federal law compared with U.S. states, hindering the island’s development and economy, according to the bill. 
Reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis

October 30, 2019

'Tone Down Your Gayness Officer'

Credit...Cristina M. Fletes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, via Associated Press

A jury in St. Louis has awarded a gay police sergeant nearly $20 million in a discrimination case involving claims that the department failed to promote him based on sex stereotyping and retaliated against him for filing a lawsuit.

The sergeant, Keith Wildhaber, 47, said that he was told to “tone down” his sexuality while working for the St. Louis County Police Department and that he was transferred to another precinct after he filed a discrimination complaint.

The county executive released a statement Monday promising leadership changes to the police board, which oversees the police chief.

“Our police department must be a place where every community member and every officer is respected and treated with dignity,” Dr. Sam Page, the county executive, said on Twitter. “Employment decisions in the department must be made on merit and who is best for the job.”

The lawsuit was sparked by a conversation in February 2014 between Sergeant Wildhaber and a member of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners who owned a restaurant. Sergeant Wildhaber had applied for a lieutenant position with the Police Department at the time. 
While at the restaurant, the owner, John Saracino, told Sergeant Wildhaber that he was aware that the sergeant had applied for a promotion.
“The command staff has a problem with your sexuality,” Mr. Saracino said, according to Sergeant Wildhaber. “If you ever want to see a white shirt,” — meaning a promotion — “you should tone down your gayness.”
Court documents show that an assessment of Sergeant Wildhaber, who had more than 15 years of experience on the force, landed him in the top three of 26 candidates, but he did not get the job. Over the course of five and a half years, he was turned down for 23 promotions, the lawsuit claims. 
In April 2016, Sergeant Wildhaber filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. One month later, he was transferred to another precinct around 27 miles from his home, where he was assigned to work an overnight shift, according to court documents. He then filed a second charge of retaliation.

During the weeklong trial at the St. Louis County Circuit Court last week, Chief Jon Belmar testified that issues unrelated to Sergeant Wildhaber’s sexuality prevented his promotion, including tipping off the target of an F.B.I. investigation and failing to submit official reports, according to The St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Chief Belmar said that he had not punished Sergeant Wildhaber for being gay nor quashed his advancement and that he had been unaware of the transfer, which the county’s lawyer attributed to other reasons. The St. Louis County Police Department declined to comment on Monday.

On Friday, the jury capped the proceedings with three hours of deliberations before awarding Sergeant Wildhaber $1.9 million in actual damages and $10 million in punitive damages on the discrimination allegation. The jury also awarded Sergeant Wildhaber $999,000 in actual damages and $7 million in punitive damages for the retaliation allegations.

“We wanted to send a message,” the jury foreman told reporters, according to The Post-Dispatch. “If you discriminate, you are going to pay a big price.”

Four jurors told The Post-Dispatch that they were affected by testimony from the widow of a former police officer, who said the police Capt. Guy Means had called Sergeant Wildhaber “fruity” at an event in 2015, and that he would never be promoted because he was “way too out there with his gayness and he needed to tone it down if he wanted a white shirt.”

Captain Means testified Thursday that he did not know the widow. But on Friday, the widow produced a photo showing them together, according to The Post-Dispatch.

“The county should be ashamed,” Mr. Wildhaber’s attorney, Russell Riggan, said during his closing argument to the jury. “Our community deserves better.” 
Mr. Riggan said Sergeant Wildhaber was not available for comment. Attempts to reach Sergeant Wildhaber on Monday were unsuccessful.
County Counselor Beth Orwick said that her office was reviewing its legal options and would do “what is in the best interest of the citizens of St. Louis County.”

The St. Louis County Police Union said in a statement Monday that it was “extremely embarrassed” by the reported actions of some of its senior commanders.
“We look forward to the healing process that can begin to take place now that this has been heard in open court,” the union said.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi May Be is No More But What Happens Now

In Iraq and Syria, news of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death has stirred a mix of responses — from joy to disbelief to dread.

Since President Trump announced this weekend that Baghdadi died during a U.S. military operation in Syria, analysts have been grappling with the implications for the militant organization that has now lost its main chief in addition to all the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria. 

But in the lands that were under ISIS rule, conspiracy theories are swirling. While many are happy that the man behind much suffering is dead, residents are questioning the details the U.S. has offered about Baghdadi's demise and whether he died at all. Some even wonder if he ever existed, suggesting how deep distrust of the U.S. government may run in this part of the world.

"First [President George W.] Bush came and said he killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, then [President Barack] Obama came and he said he killed [Osama] bin Laden, now this one comes saying he killed Baghdadi. Every president kills one," says Zekko Zuhair, a pet store owner in Mosul, Iraq.

People walk near Mosul's heavily damaged Al-Nuri Mosque. Baghdadi used the site in 2014 to announce the launch of a caliphate. 
Zaid al-Obeidi/AFP via Getty Images

Mosul is where, in 2014, the ISIS leader declared himself "caliph," claiming to be a successor to a historical Muslim figure. Baghdadi later went into hiding, while ISIS went on a rampage across Iraq and Syria, imposing its extreme interpretation of Islamic law, recruiting members from around the world to help slaughter civilians, soldiers, and rival militants; take hostages for ransom; and women and girls as sex slaves. 
Much of Mosul is still recovering from ISIS' three-year reign, and from the destruction left by U.S.-backed forces battling the militants. Many families have relatives who were killed either by ISIS fighters or during the fierce fighting against them.

Mahmoud Saeed, a local imam, says he recalls the day Baghdadi came to the city surrounded by bodyguards and declared the start of the caliphate from the pulpit of al-Nuri Mosque.

Ruins where Baghdadi declared the caliphate six years ago. ISIS blew up the mosque in the battle for Mosul before it was driven out of the area in 2017.
Jane Arraf/NPR
"We did not choose him," Saeed says.

Still, even after news of his death, Saeed and friends have been discussing whether Baghdadi was really invented by the U.S.

'The Old City Will Come Back Better': Residents Of Mosul Return And Rebuild 
'The Old City Will Come Back Better': Residents Of Mosul Return And Rebuild
When asked who the man really was, Saeed says: "We don't know — ask America. Ask Donald Trump."

Mosul resident Marwa Khaled is with her 5-year-old son Mohaiman, who's holding a plastic toy rifle almost as big as he is. Mohaiman never met his father, a police officer who was killed by ISIS.

"I'm happy but I'm not sure about the news," Khaled says. "We didn't see a body, we didn't see anything." 
President Trump announced on Sunday Baghdadi had died during a U.S. military operation in northwest Syria the night before.
According to Trump, as U.S. special forces attacked the compound where Baghdadi was hiding out, the ISIS leader ran into a dead-end tunnel and detonated a suicide vest that killed him and three children.

Trump said he is considering making some of the footage of the raid public "so that [Baghdadi's] followers and all of these young kids that want to leave various countries, including the United States, they should see how he died. He didn't die a hero. He died a coward."

In spite of Trump's claims of victory over ISIS, Baghdadi's death does not represent the end of the group, says Mansour Marid, the governor of Nineveh, Iraq.

"This is only one page of the situation, and we presume there is another page to it," says Marid. "The important thing is to end the ideology, otherwise with these kinds of men, one leader goes, another will come in his place." 
Next door in Syria, many residents who spent years under ISIS rule say they're thrilled Baghdadi is dead.

"It's very happy news ... because it feels like he's a personal enemy," says Mohammed Kheder, who leads a group of Syrian researchers documenting ISIS atrocities called Sound and Picture. "ISIS committed numerous crimes against our sons. ... The person responsible for the death of their sons has died." 

Kheder adds that families feel like "they have gotten their revenge, even if it's from someone who's also responsible for many deaths of their sons." The someone he's referring to is the U.S.-led coalition that defeated ISIS but used overwhelming firepower, which rights groups say killed many more civilians than it did ISIS fighters. "People believe one criminal killed another criminal," he says.

This attitude doesn't surprise Jeremy Shapiro, who worked on Syria policy at the State Department under the Obama administration. "People in that area are pretty jaded about the United States. The fact that they are not sad that Baghdadi is dead isn't going to change their opinion of us," Shapiro says.

In March, U.S.-led forces drove ISIS fighters out of their last held territory in Syria. Now thousands of suspected ISIS fighters are in prisons in the country and their wives and children are in detention camps. The facilities are run by Syrian Kurdish forces, who have come under heavy attack by Turkey, following President Trump's order for U.S. troops to withdraw from parts of Syria.

A woman walks with children at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp where families of ISIS foreign fighters are held in northeastern Syria on Oct. 17.
NPR contacted a Syrian humanitarian worker who is in touch with detainees in al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria to hear what they are saying about Baghdadi's death. He called them on their smuggled cellphones and provided recordings of some detainees.

"We are all soldiers of Baghdadi ... but the jihad hasn't stopped," says one of the women, an Iraqi. "And there's nothing to prove he died. We heard in the news. It's been a rumor numerous times. As warriors, we believe that even if Baghdadi dies, the caliphate will not end. ... We aren't just here for one person."

Analysis: The End Of The 'Caliphate' Doesn't Mean The End Of ISIS

Analysis: The End Of The 'Caliphate' Doesn't Mean The End Of ISIS
"If Baghdadi is dead, there are tens of thousands of Baghdadis," says another detainee, speaking in French. "Do not think we are over. We are like a boiling volcano in constant eruption."

Some of the women in the camps say they regret joining ISIS. One Tunisian woman sends texts saying she is relieved Baghdadi is dead. "He will be rewarded with hell," she says.

But she and some of the other women detained with her do not trust President Trump's account that Baghdadi died in a cowardly way, she says. "Nobody believes Trump's tales."

Fatma Tanis and Jane Arraf reported in Mosul, Iraq; Daniel Estrin and Lama al-Arian reported in Beirut, Lebanon; and Alex Leff contributed from Washington, D.C.  

A worker in Mosul, Iraq, assesses the damage in the al-Nuri Mosque compound. Workers are reconstructing the mosque's al-Hadba minaret.
Add caption 
 Iraqi youth watch the news of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death, in Najaf, Iraq, on Sunday.
Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

TENN. Students Kicked Out of Frat Party For Being Gay

By Quinn Gawronski
The University of Memphis has opened an investigation after two students claimed they were kicked out of an off-campus fraternity party and berated with homophobic slurs for being gay.
“We were just wanting to have a night out for fun,” one of the students, sophomore Benjamin Buckley, told WMC News 5, NBC’s local Memphis affiliate.
Buckley and Luke Chapman, a senior exchange student from the United Kingdom, said they went to the party Friday with a group of friends. They were then approached by several male students who they say forcibly pushed them out of the house and into the rain while yelling anti-gay slurs.
“When he chucked us out, it was something along the lines of, ‘You don’t belong here, f----t,’” Chapman said of one of the students who physically removed Buckley and him.
Buckley said one of the men looked at him and said, “I’m going to beat the f----t out of you. I’m going to beat the life out of you.”
Benjamin Buckley and Luke Chapman.
Benjamin Buckley and Luke Chapman.WMC
After they were able to find their friends and leave, Chapman went home that night and wrote a Facebook post about the incident. He said he was amazed by the response he received the following morning.
“I had so many messages of support and so many people messaging me offering to help,” Chapman said.
Once university officials saw Chapman’s post, they opened an investigation into the incident, according to WMC News 5. The university president, David Rudd, also released a statement to faculty and students via email.
“As a reminder, one of our core values is diversity and inclusion,” Rudd wrote. “The University of Memphis is a community where everyone is respected, included and given the opportunity to excel. This is a value we embrace with conviction.” 
Buckley and Chapman said they’re pleased that the university is addressing the issue and hope the incident sparks a larger conversation around homophobia on campus. They also said they want the students who kicked them out of the party while yelling homophobic slurs to be held accountable.
“It actually reflects a lot of what’s happening in society today,” Buckley said of the incident. “We can understand that and grow from that.”
While the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is estimated by Gallup to comprise 4.5 percent of the U.S. population, LGBTQ people make up more than 16 percent of federally reported hate crimes, according to the FBI’s 2017 hate crimes report. In 2017, the number of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes increased by 3 percent compared to the year prior. 
Jojo Sigala, a representative for the Memphis Progressive Student Alliance and a friend of Buckley’s, told NBC News that Buckley and Chapman are not the only ones on campus who have experienced discrimination “just for being themselves.” Sigala said the silver lining, however, is that Friday’s incident has already ignited dialogue on campus about homophobia and discrimination.
“We’re not excited it happened, but excited about the ripples it’s making,” Sigala said of Friday’s incident.
Sigala applauded Buckley and Chapman for “being brave and taking action” by coming forward about the incident.
“My biggest issue is that people are afraid to take action, and this is a call to action,” she said. “If we all do this, they can’t hurt us. We have power in numbers, power in strength.”

October 29, 2019

What a Fu*up Week For Trump on His Impeachment Saga


President Trump kicked off his week much like he ended his last: deflecting damning revelations coming from within his own administration. 
Things got ugly Tuesday, when Trump’s own acting ambassador to Ukraine, a widely-respected career diplomat, delivered an “excruciatingly detailed” account of the president’s pressure campaign to swap military aid for politically-helpful investigations with Ukraine.  
Ambassador William Taylor’s testimony was especially troubling for Trump because he appeared to confirm, and expand upon, the lengths to which officials in Trump’s administration went to force Ukraine into launching such investigations.  
By Friday, federal investigators had blown the lock off a safe to access the contents in their intensifying probe of soviet-born businessmen who guided Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, in his back-alley diplomatic escapades in Ukraine, according to CNN. One of those men explicitly tied his case to Trump in a New York courtroom, further challenging Trump’s claim not to know “those gentlemen.” 
And we’d be remiss not to mention Rudy’s not one, but two, embarrassing butt-dials to an NBC reporter, in which he complained about needing money and Vice President Joe Biden’s family. 
As signs emerged of softening support for Trump among GOP senators, Trump’s defenders in the House flailed, holding a bizarre pizza-fueled takeover of the secure room in the basement of the Capitol where the closed-door impeachment depositions are being held, even though several of them already have unrestricted access to the chamber. 
“At this point, it seems hard to imagine that the House won’t ultimately impeach the president,” said Richard Arenberg, a veteran Capitol Hill staffer who spent three decades working for Democrats. “Ambassador Taylor’s statement was devastating.” “Everything” depended on investigations
Taylor kicked the week off with a hair-raising account of his discovery of the “irregular” diplomatic pressure campaign on Ukraine, which involved Giuliani and Trump’s Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. 
Taylor’s dramatic opening statement read like a mystery novel — and recounted how Sondland told Taylor that Trump wanted Ukraine’s president to personally announce politically helpful investigations.  
Trump wanted to put Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky “‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations,” said Taylor, who was appointed an acting ambassador to Ukraine last spring by the Trump administration. 
Taylor said Sondland told him that “everything” in U.S.-Ukraine relations depended on Ukraine announcing those investigations — including millions in vital military aid that the Trump administration withheld. 
“Ambassador Sondland said that he had talked to President Zelensky and [Zelensky adviser] Mr. Yermak and told them that, although this was not a quid pro quo, if President Zelensky did not ‘clear things up’ in public, we would be at a stalemate,” Taylor said. “I understood a ‘stalemate’ to mean that Ukraine would not receive the much-needed assistance.”
Democrats emerging from Taylor’s testimony looked visibly agitated.
“All I have to say is that in my 10 short months in Congress... this is my most disturbing day in Congress so far,” said Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.). 
Republicans were left to argue that Taylor’s narrative hadn't held up as well during cross-examination, without pointing to any specifics. 
Instead, they stormed the hearing room the next day, stalling the deposition of a new witness, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Laura Cooper, for hours.
They complained loudly about the process, ordered pizza, and broke House rules by bringing cell phones into the secure room known as the SCIF (sensitive compartmented information facility) in a security breach. 
Ultimately, they couldn’t stop Democrats’ impeachment momentum. 
Next week, the Dems will hear from Tim Morrison, a National Security Council official thought to be the first witness who was on the notorious July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, which helped kickstart the whole impeachment shebang. 

Meanwhile in New York

As if all that D.C. drama weren’t enough, a criminal case in New York against some of the central players in the impeachment scandal also raced forward. 
A report in Politico indicated that the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division has “taken an interest” in Giuliani, too, adding to the already-reported probes by the FBI and prosecutors for the Southern District of New York into Giuliani’s links to Ukraine. 
Prosecutors told a judge this week they’re sifting through the data of more than 50 bank accounts in the case against Giuliani’s associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who’ve been accused, alongside two others, of attempting to buy political influence by splashing out on illegal GOP campaign donations. 
But to do that, he may just tie his case closer to the president. On Wednesday, Parnas’ lawyer told the judge that some of the voluminous evidence in his case might be covered by presidential executive privilege — remarks that threaten to drag Trump’s White House lawyers directly into the very courtroom. 
“Mr. Parnas was using Rudy Giuliani as his lawyer,” Parnas' attorney, Ed MacMahon, told the judge, according to CNN. “And then we have the issue of Mr. Giuliani working as personal attorney for the President.”
Cover: President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, before boarding Marine One for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base. Trump is heading to South Carolina to speak at Benedict College in Columbia. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Trump Plans For Syrian oil, What is Up With That?

President Trump is renewing his push for U.S. control of Syrian oil. But experts say there's not much oil there, and what there is belongs to the Syrian government. 
Still, the idea of controlling the oil fields is one that has long appealed to Trump. And it may provide a rationale for maintaining a U.S. military presence in Syria, reversing the president's promise of a full withdrawal. 
"We are leaving soldiers to secure the oil," Trump told reporters on Sunday, while announcing the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. "And we may have to fight for the oil. It's OK. Maybe somebody else wants the oil, in which case they have a hell of a fight. But there are massive amounts of oil." 
In fact, in the best of times, Syria produced only about 380,000 barrels of low-quality oil per day. And production has fallen more than 90% during the country's long civil war. Last year, Syria ranked 75thamong countries in the world in oil production, with a daily output comparable to that of the state of Illinois. 
"Syrian oil was never important to the world market because production was so small," said energy expert Daniel Yergin of IHS Markit. "But it was very important to the Assad regime before the civil war because it produced 25% of the total government revenues."
Trump on Sunday floated the idea of modernizing Syria's productive capacity with help from a major oil company. 
"What I intend to do, perhaps, is making a deal with an Exxon Mobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly," he said.
That would be a costly undertaking, according to Joshua Landis, who directs the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.  
"What I intend to do, perhaps, is making a deal with an Exxon Mobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly," he said. 
That would be a costly undertaking, according to Joshua Landis, who directs the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. 
"This whole oil region needs to be rebuilt," Landis said. "So if America is going to get in the business of retaining these oil fields, it will have to invest hundreds of millions of dollars, in theory, to make them exploitable." Trump has argued for years that the U.S. should seize Middle Eastern oil fields to recoup some of the cost of its military operations in the region — an idea that experts say violates international law and would only fuel criticism of American intentions.
"In the old days, you when you had a war, to the victors belong the spoils," Trump told ABC News in 2011.
Emory law professor Laurie Blank says that notion is outdated. "International law seeks to protect against exactly this sort of exploitation," Blank told Reuters. 
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. — who bitterly criticized the president's abrupt decision earlier this month to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria — seized on the oil fields as an argument for a continued American presence in the region. 
Saudi Arabia Says Iran 'Unquestionably Sponsored' Attack On Oil Facilities
Saudi Arabia Says Iran 'Unquestionably Sponsored' Attack On Oil Facilities
"By continuing to maintain control of the oil fields in Syria, we will deny Assad and Iran a monetary windfall," Graham said in a statement last week that echoed Trump's own language. "We can also use some of the revenues from future oil sales to pay for our military commitment in Syria."
That position appears to have struck a nerve with Trump.
"I spoke with Lindsey Graham just a little while ago," Trump said Sunday. "Where Lindsey and I totally agree is the oil."
 I love the Rusos! I love White American..Gays too but only young and in secret
For Graham and others, the oil fields may be a way to appeal to the president's transactional instincts and overcome Trump's aversion to an open-ended deployment in Syria.
"There are many elements of our foreign policy establishment that want to roll back Iran and want to stay in Syria for the long haul," Landis said. "Throwing the oil wells in front of President Trump was a way I think they believed that they could reanimate his interest in staying in Syria."

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