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Robert Parry

Trump’s Tulsi Gabbard Factor

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Two weeks after Donald Trump’s shocking upset of Hillary Clinton, the imperious and imperial neoconservatives and their liberal-interventionist understudies may finally be losing their tight grip on US foreign policy.

The latest sign was Trump’s invitation for a meeting with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, on Monday. The mainstream media commentary has almost completely missed the potential significance of this start-of-the-work-week meeting by suggesting that Trump is attracted to Gabbard’s tough words on “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Far more important is that Gabbard, a 35-year-old Iraq War veteran, endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries because of his opposition to neocon/liberal-hawk military adventures. She starred in one of the strongest political ads of the campaign, a message to Hawaiians, called “The Cost of War.”
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How Ukraine’s Finance Chief Got Rich

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Before becoming Ukraine’s Finance Minister last December, Natalie Jaresko collected $1.77 million in bonuses from a US-taxpayer-financed investment fund where her annual compensation was supposed to be limited to $150,000, according to financial documents filed with the US Internal Revenue Service this year.

The near 12-fold discrepancy between the compensation ceiling and Jaresko’s bonuses, paid in 2013, was justified in the IRS filing from the Jaresko-led Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF) by drawing a distinction between getting paid directly from the $150 million US government grant that created the fund and the money from the fund’s “investment sales proceeds,” which were treated as fair game for extracting bonuses far beyond the prescribed compensation level.

Using this supposed loophole, Jaresko and some of her associates enriched themselves by claiming money generated from US taxpayers’ dollars while avoiding any personal financial risks. She and other WNISEF officers collected the bonuses from what they deemed “profitable” exits from some investments even if the overall fund was losing money and shrinking, as it apparently was in recent years.

According to WNISEF’s filing for the 2013 tax year, submitted to the IRS on Aug. 11, 2015, the value of the investment fund had shrunk from $150 million at its start to $93.9 million in the fund’s 2012 tax year and to $89.8 million in the 2013 tax year. (WNISEF’s tax years end on Sept. 30.)
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