kscarbel2

The Trump Administration

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I have zero problem with Mr. Sessions having met with the Russian ambassador. But I do have a problem with him lying under oath, saying that he never met with any Russian officials. My opinion of Mr. Sessions has now been diminished.

Senator Franken is straightforward and very sharp.

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Trump ‘true friend of Muslims,’ Saudi prince says after meeting

RT  /  March 15, 2017

Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince is singing US President Donald Trump's praises after their meeting, calling him a "true friend of Muslims" and claiming the leader's immigration ban does not target Islam.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Trump at the White House on Tuesday, in what his senior adviser deemed a "historic turning point" in US-Saudi relations.

The adviser said in a statement that although Washington and Riyadh had previously "undergone a difference of opinion," the Tuesday meeting "put things on the right track, and marked a significant shift in relations."

The two sides discussed Trump's controversial ban on citizens from six Muslim-majority countries, which does not include Saudi Arabia.

"Saudi Arabia does not believe that this measure is targeting Muslim countries or the religion of Islam," the statement reads, noting that Riyadh believes the ban is merely aimed at preventing terrorists from entering the US.

Trump has been repeatedly criticized for failing to put Saudi Arabia on the list, despite some of the 9/11 terrorists hailing from the country. Many claim it was omitted because Trump has business dealings in the Gulf kingdom which he didn't want to jeopardize.

The release goes on to state that "President Trump expressed his deep respect for the religion of Islam, considering it one of the divine religions that came with great human principles* kidnapped by radical groups.”

It calls Trump a "true friend of Muslims who will serve the Muslim World in an unimaginable manner," noting that the reality of the US president is different to how the media and others have portrayed him.

Salman and Trump also discussed the 2015 nuclear deal between six world powers – including the US – and Iran. The prince appeared to agree with Trump, who has previously called the agreement "disastrous" and the "worst deal ever negotiated."

The prince called the deal "bad" and "very dangerous," stating that it will merely hold Iran back for a "short period of time" when it comes to producing a nuclear weapon.

The adviser's statement accused Iran of "trying to gain its legitimacy in the Islamic world by supporting terrorist organizations."

Meanwhile, as Trump continues to push his plan to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, the two sides discussed Saudi Arabia's successful building of a fence along its border with Iraq, which, according to the statement, "led to preventing illegal entrance of individuals, as well as preventing smuggling operations."

The talks are being seen as a positive change from Riyadh's often tumultuous relationship with the Obama administration, especially in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal.

 

* The legal system of Saudi Arabia is based on Islamic Law (aka. Sharia Law) derived from the Quran.

Wahhabism, a strict form of Sunni Islam, is today the dominant for of Islam in Saudi Arabia, and seemingly at the core of world's dilemma.

Its barbaric corporal punishments include flogging, amputation and eye gouging.

Capital punishments include death-by-stoning, crucifixion and beheading.

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"Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much."

Donald Trump

Campaign Rally - Mobile, Alabama - August 21, 2015

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And Obama bowed, kissed his fathers ring,

Edited by 41chevy
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You know someone isn’t your ally when................

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Saudi Arabia orders 300 Chinese strike-capable reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles

Defense Blog  /  March 20, 2017

Saudi Arabia has signed a contract for the acquisition of 300 of the newest Chinese strike-capable reconnaissance unmanned aerial long-haul vehicles Wing Loong II (also known as Pterodactyl II).

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported on 28 February said the deal represented the “biggest overseas purchase order in the history of Chinese [UAV] foreign military sales”. But the identity of the customer and the size and value of the contract were not disclosed.

The export order was revealed on the same day that the Wing Loong II completed its maiden flight.

The new Wing Loong II is a  long-endurance strike-capable reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Chengdu Aircraft Design & Research Institute (CADI), a division of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

CAIG formally unveiled the Wing-Loong II during Air Show China in November 2016. The Wing Loong II has a payload of 400 kg, which can be used for armaments and/or ISR equipment. The Wing-Loong II can reach a top speed of 370 km/h and service ceiling of 9,000 m. It has an endurance of 32 hours.

While observers have noted that the Wing-Loong II bore a strong resemblance to the MQ-9 Reaper, the Wing Loong II is a smaller and lighter platform than the Reaper.

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Quite a few of our "allies and friends" have purchased Russian and Chinese weapon systems. More for less money and in many cases just a capable if not more so.

Greece, Turkey and Italy are only a few whom have bought Russian and Chinese weapon systems. Some NATO members Turkey for one are re negotiating the purchase of Chinese Anti  Missile systems even though the systems can not interact with our computer and F or F systems.

Edited by 41chevy
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"He's that rarity in Washington sometimes," Obama said when nominating Comey to lead the FBI in 2013. "He doesn't care about politics, he only cares about getting the job done. At key moments, when it's mattered most ... he was prepared to give up a job he loved rather than be part of something he felt was fundamentally wrong."

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(A reasonable summary of current events)

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News  /  March 22, 2017

President Trump is clinging to his wiretapping claim “like a drunk to an empty gin bottle,” the Wall Street Journal said in a scathing editorial published Tuesday night. And that claim, floating in the president’s “seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods,” is severely damaging his credibility, both at home and abroad.

“If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure,” the paper said.

The Journal slammed Trump’s evidence-free assertion that former President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower before the 2016 presidential election. Trump leveled his explosive charge on Twitter on March 4, and the White House has refused to back down, even after FBI Director James Comey dismissed the allegation as unfounded.

“He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence,” the paper’s editorial board wrote.

The president has plenty of media critics, and the Journal’s editorial board was not particularly supportive of his candidacy. But the editorial is striking, given the paper’s traditionally conservative tone. Its owner, Rupert Murdoch, also owns Fox News, Trump’s favorite cable news network.

“Two months into his presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39 percent,” the editorial continued. “No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth, most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.”

The paper also pointed out how Trump’s refusal to back off his evidence-free claim has co-opted what could have been a positive news cycle.

“This week should be dominated by the smooth political sailing for Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the progress of health-care reform on Capitol Hill,” the editorial said. “These are historic events, and success will show he can deliver on his promises. But instead, the week has been dominated by the news that he was repudiated by his own FBI director.”

The Journal wasn’t the only paper to publish a Trump takedown Tuesday. In an op-ed for the Washington Post, former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice warned that false statements from the Trump White House “are part of a disturbing pattern of behavior that poses real and potentially profound dangers to U.S. national security.”

“First impressions matter,” she wrote, “and an unsettling pattern has already been established.”

“The foundation of the United States’ unrivaled global leadership rests only in part on our military might, the strength of our economy and the power of our ideals,” Rice explained. “It is also grounded in the perception that the United States is steady, rational and fact-based [at least in perception]. To lead effectively, the United States must maintain respect and trust. So, when a White House deliberately dissembles and serially contorts the facts, its actions pose a serious risk to America’s global leadership, among friends and adversaries alike.”

Following Comey’s testimony, the New York Times published an op-ed titled “All the President’s Lies.”

“The ninth week of Donald Trump’s presidency began with the F.B.I. director calling him a liar,” the Times’ David Leonhardt wrote. “Comey didn’t use the L-word in his congressional testimony Monday. Comey serves at the pleasure of the president, after all. But his meaning was clear as could be.”

“I’ve previously argued that not every untruth deserves to be branded with the L-word, because it implies intent and somebody can state an untruth without doing so knowingly,” Leonhardt continued. “But the current president of the United States lies. He lies in ways that no American politician ever has before. He has lied about — among many other things — Obama’s birthplace, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Sept. 11, the Iraq War, ISIS, NATO, military veterans, Mexican immigrants, Muslim immigrants, anti-Semitic attacks, the unemployment rate, the murder rate, the Electoral College, voter fraud and his groping of women.

“He tells so many untruths that it’s time to leave behind the textual parsing over which are unwitting and which are deliberate,” Leonhardt added, “as well as the condescending notion that most of Trump’s supporters enjoy his lies.”

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After climbing into a famous American brand truck today, President Donald Trump was angered to learn that the iconic truckmaker is now foreign-owned. "We're going to make America great again", Trump said. "And we're going to make American brands American again." More news at eleven.

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That pic looks like me at 4:30pm on the Cross Bronx!

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Can you imagine if it was an International or a Freightliner made in Mexico? 

What is he actually doing in there? lol

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The Guardian  /  March 26, 2017

Joe Biden believes he could have won the presidency in 2016, had he made it through a tough Democratic primary.

Barack Obama’s vice-president also hopes Donald Trump, who has had a tempestuous first two months in office since beating Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, “grows into the job a little bit”.

“I don’t have a lot of hope now,” Biden said. “I hope that he succeeds.”

The former Delaware senator with a dazzling smile was speaking to a student audience at Colgate University in central New York state on Friday. A local newspaper, the Observer-Dispatch of Utica, reported his remarks.

“On a college campus I will never, never do anything other than answer the question completely unvarnished and straightforward,” said Biden, 74.

“The answer is that I had planned on running for president. And although it would have been a very difficult primary, I think I could have won.”

Biden had “a lot of data collected” which backed his confidence, the paper reported.

In October 2015, after much press speculation and an organised attempt among activists to draft Biden, the vice-president announced that he would not run for the White House for a third time, after short runs in 1988 and 2008.

In an emotional speech delivered in the White House rose garden, with Obama and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, at his side, Biden said the “grieving process” for his son Beau, who died of brain cancer in May 2015, had affected his decision.

At Colgate, Biden said: “At the end of the day, I just couldn’t do it. So I don’t regret not running. Do I regret not being president? Yes.”

He added: “I didn’t run because no man or woman should announce they’re running for president of the United States unless they can look the public in the eye and promise you they can give you 100% of [their] attention and dedication to this effort. I couldn’t do that.”

Clinton, who defeated a strong primary challenge from the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, beat Trump by nearly 3m ballots in the popular vote but lost in the electoral college, after a string of working-class states usually strongly Democratic plumped for Trump’s populist platform.

“I don’t regret not running in the sense that it was the right decision for my boy, for me, for my family at the time,” Biden said.

“But no man or woman announces for president of the United States unless they honestly believe that from their experience they’re the best-qualified person to do that. And at the time I thought that the circumstances were such that I was the best qualified.”

Biden’s question and answer session with students followed a 30-minute lecture about technology, taxation, education, infrastructure investment and what Biden called “the fourth industrial revolution”.

“To all of you students assembled in this auditorium, we’re counting on you,” he said. “You understand this better than most of us.”

The Observer-Dispatch highlighted what it said was Biden’s likely bipartisan and multigenerational appeal, quoting the husband of a local Republican couple in their 60s who said he thought Biden was “an extremely intelligent person”.

“I think if he had run,” the husband said, “I would have liked to have heard what he had to say.”

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How is Joe Biden regarded as "highly intelligent", and Barack Obama is considered a brilliant public speaker, yet G.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan are dismissed as simpletons?!? I don't see much difference between the speech patterns of Bush and Obama, and Biden has put his foot in his mouth many times. But the media coverage is "unbiased". Yeah right. Reagan was one of the most inspirational and motivational speakers in our history.

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16 minutes ago, Underdog said:

How is Joe Biden regarded as "highly intelligent", and Barack Obama is considered a brilliant public speaker, yet G.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan are dismissed as simpletons?!? I don't see much difference between the speech patterns of Bush and Obama, and Biden has put his foot in his mouth many times. But the media coverage is "unbiased". Yeah right. Reagan was one of the most inspirational and motivational speakers in our history.

C'mon, you've heard G.W. Bush speak behind the podium. Though I didn't care for his performance as president, I don't want to knock him. However, an accomplished speaker he is not.

I myself have never heard anyone describe Reagan as a simpleton.

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C'mon, you've heard G.W. Bush speak behind the podium. Though I didn't care for his performance as president, I don't want to knock him. However, an accomplished speaker he is not.
I myself have never heard anyone describe Reagan as a simpleton.

My point is, Barack Obama was no better a public speaker than Bush, yet never a harsh word was said about his elocution.

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At least he BUILT the libraries! He came to America penniless from Edinburgh Scotland! Or was that Edinborough? Don't remember!

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KSB, I tend to be VERY apolitical,but due to my extended time on the planet I seem to have an anecdote related to every situation! I'm near Cairo Illinois the night John Carey is debating George Bush,remember Carey was captain of his debating team in college! GW, not so much😁 After a few exchanges it's GWs turn to answer, I say to myself no,no please be still! I'm ready to run the truck thru the guardrail! I actually pitied him! I always thought GW would be a good guy to have a beer with, but maybe not run the country! Bottom line you can't judge a man by his public speaking ability! Pos Bill Clinton could sell ice cream to an Eskimo! (Ask Monica) As I said before I liked Andrew Carnegies statement " I  judge a man by what he does not what he says!

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How can I remember where I was at during a debate years ago and I can't remember what I did three minutes ago?😁

The first time I heard Obama speak I was in Chicago, I said to myself "who is this guy!" I was very impressed. Anyway, none of them and certainly not Reagan is a simpleton!

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23 hours ago, 41chevy said:

Benito and Adolph were also eloquent speakers and like Clinton (whom could charm the pants off a leg of lamb), Bush jr., Obama and Biden had a bit of difficulty running their governments. I will say Obama was an eloquent "reader"

   parrot would be suitable

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Reuters  /  March 30, 2017

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has told the FBI and House and Senate intelligence committees investigating the Trump campaign's potential ties to Russia that he is willing to be interviewed in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Flynn was fired in February for failing to disclose talks with Russia's ambassador before Trump took office about U.S. sanctions on Moscow.

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The New York Times  /  March 31, 2017

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, President Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, will remain the beneficiaries of a sprawling real estate and investment business still worth as much as $740 million, despite their new government responsibilities, according to ethics filings released by the White House Friday night.

Ms. Trump will also maintain a stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The hotel, just down the street from the White House, has drawn protests from ethics experts who worry that foreign governments or special interests could stay there in order to curry favor with the administration.

It is unclear how Ms. Trump would earn income from that stake. Mr. Kushner’s financial disclosures said that Ms. Trump earned between $1 million and $5 million from the hotel between January 2016 and March 2017, and put the value of her stake at between $5 million and $25 million.

The disclosures were part of a broad, Friday-night document release by the White House that exposed the assets of as many as 180 senior officials to public scrutiny. The reports showed the assets and wealth of senior staff members at the time they entered government service.

Those disclosures included the assets of Gary D. Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs who now leads the National Economic Council, Kellyanne Conway, the pollster and counsel to Mr. Trump and Stephen K. Bannon, the chief strategist to the president.

Mr. Bannon disclosed $191,000 in consulting fees he earned from Breitbart News Network, the conservative media organization, $125,333 from Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that worked for the Trump campaign, and $61,539 in salary from the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative nonprofit organization. All three are backed by Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, financiers and major Republican donors.

Mr. Bannon’s most valuable asset was Bannon Strategic Advisors Inc., a privately held consulting firm into which income from his other investments appeared to flow. It was valued at between $5 million and $25 million. He also held bank accounts valued at up to $2.25 million, and rental real estate worth as much as $10.5 million.

Kellyanne Conway earned at least $842,614 last year, and perhaps slightly more, the filings show. Her assets are valued at between $11 million and at least $44.2 million.

Mr. Cohn is far wealthier, with assets valued between $253 million and $611 million, and income last year as high as $77 million. Another White House official, Reed Cordish, who heads up technology initiatives, accumulated assets as a Maryland developer valued as high as $424 million.

Mr. Trump’s administration is considered the most wealthy in American history, with members of his senior staff and cabinet worth an estimated $12 billion, according to a tally by Bloomberg. The Friday filings will add voluminous detail to that top-line figure. The White house chief of staff, Reince Priebus, for example, earned at least $1.18 million — nearly half of which came from the Republican National Committee, which he formerly led. His assets totaled between $604,008 and at least $1.26 million.

Until January, Mr. Kushner was the chief executive of Kushner Companies, a family-run real estate investment firm with holdings across the country. It is a growing business that has taken part in at least $7 billion of acquisitions over the past decade.

Although Mr. Kushner has stepped down from his management positions at the more than 200 entities that operated aspects of the family real estate business, he will remain a beneficiary of a vast majority of the business he ran for the past decade, through a series of trusts that already owned the various real estate companies.

The plan laid out on Friday “is not sufficient,” said Larry Noble, a former general counsel and chief ethics officer for the Federal Election Commission. “While removing himself from the management of the businesses is an important step, he is still financially benefiting from how the businesses do. This presents potential for a conflict of interest. Given his level in the White House and broad portfolio, it’s hard to see how he will recuse himself from everything that may impact his financial interest.”

While the filing discloses Mr. Kushner’s personal lenders, it does not provide information on his business partners or lenders to his projects.

His real estate firm has borrowed money from the likes of Goldman Sachs, the Blackstone Group, Deutsche Bank and the French bank Natixis. It also received loans from Israel’s largest bank, Bank Hapoalim, which is the subject of a United States Justice Department investigation into allegations that it helped wealthy Americans evade taxes using undeclared accounts.

Most recently, his firm’s flagship property at 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was the subject of controversy: Around the time his father-in-law received the Republican nomination last spring, Mr. Kushner’s firm began conversations with a Chinese company with ties to some of the Communist Party’s leading families about a plan to invest billions of dollars in the troubled office tower.

Mr. Kushner’s company and the Chinese firm, Anbang Insurance Group, agreed to end the talks on Wednesday after weeks of negative publicity about the deal, criticized as a bailout of the Kushners. The building had already been rescued by a number of prominent firms, including the private equity giant Carlyle Group, and Zara, the Spanish fashion retailer founded and owned by Amancio Ortega, one of the world’s wealthiest men.

Mr. Kushner has divested his stakes in any businesses connected to that property.

The disclosures do not reveal the names of investors and lenders to ventures that Mr. Kushner is retaining a stake in. For example, the form shows Mr. Kushner is retaining a stake in a limited liability corporation that owns a Trump-branded luxury rental high-rise building in Jersey City worth as much as $5 million. That project was financed with tens of millions of dollars from wealthy Chinese investors through a controversial visa-for-sale program called EB-5.

However, the filing does not disclose the names of any of those investors — or partners in any of his other projects.

“We don’t know who the business partners are in many of these investments,” Mr. Noble said, “and those business partners may also have interests that will be affected by how he advises the government. And that’s a concern.”

“He could have foreign business partners who have a real interest in policy, and he may be advising the president on those policies,” Mr. Noble added. “This is a dark area where we just don’t know what’s going on.”

In all, the Kushner company owns more than 20,000 apartments and approximately 14 million square feet of office space.

Previous disclosures by the United States Office of Government Ethics showed that Mr. Kushner had divested his interests in several entities, mostly partnerships connected to a venture capital firm run by his brother, Joshua, called Thrive Capital, that invests in technology firms like Instagram.

He also shed his interests in funds run by the private equity giant Blackstone Group — whose chief executive, Stephen A. Schwarzman, is an economic adviser to Mr. Trump — as well as BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager.

Over all, he has shed his stakes in 58 businesses.

He is still the sole primary beneficiary of a majority of the trusts that will retain assets, with his children as the secondary beneficiaries.

Mr. Kushner was required to submit some limited financial information for his wife, Ms. Trump, who will continue to receive payments from the Trump Organization as well as her fashion brand.

Ms. Trump, who now serves as an assistant to the president, resigned from her leadership roles at both companies. Instead of performance-based payments, Ms. Trump will receive fixed payments from T International Realty, the family’s luxury brokerage agency, as well as fixed fees from two entities related to real estate projects, the documents show.

Ms. Trump had previously rolled her fashion brand into the Ivanka M. Trump Business Trust, which is overseen by her brother-in-law, Josh Kushner, and sister-in-law, Nicole Meyer. The documents released on Friday valued the trust at more than $50 million.

The brand is largely a licensing operation, meaning that it sells the use of Ms. Trump’s name to partners who manufacture her clothes, shoes and other accessories. Since it is privately held, little is known about the company’s financials, but The New York Times has previously reported that revenues were roughly between $4 million and $6 million in 2013, before the debut of a major partnership.

The disclosure forms released Friday for less senior White House staff members were not reviewed by the federal Office of Government Ethics. Only the White House Counsel’s Office examines their assets to determine if there are potential conflicts, and to decide what steps employees must take to sell assets, resign positions or recuse themselves from decisions.

Already, a complaint has been filed against at least one White House staff member for taking actions that might benefit his own financial interests. Christopher P. Liddell, an assistant to the president and the director of strategic initiatives, had been the chief financial officer of companies including Microsoft, International Paper and General Motors before taking his White House job. Until recently, he also owned stock in General Motors, according to disclosure forms, among more than 750 other companies.

But in late January and early February, according to a complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Mr. Liddell participated in meetings that involved several of the companies in which he still owned a total of about $2 million in stock, including International Paper and General Motors. Mr. Liddell, according to disclosures, sold these stock holdings by mid-February.

“It is Ethics 101 — the most basic thing you are not supposed to do: using your official capacity to benefit your financial interest,” said Norman Eisen, who served as a White House ethics lawyer during the Obama administration and now is a co-chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

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Just out of curiosity, anyone know what Barack and Michelle Obama were worth when he entered public life (I believe in the Illinois statehouse) and what they are worth today?   He had no revenue streams other then his income from the government sector???  Or did Michelle earn some speaking fee income?

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