It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.
Roger Stone, a longtime political operative and associate of US President Donald Trump, was found guilty of federal charges on Friday. "The panel of nine women and three men deliberated for less than two days before finding Stone, 67, guilty on all seven counts," the Washington Post reported. "A judge set Stone’s sentencing for Feb. 6 and allowed him to remain free until then. Stone faces a legal maximum penalty of 50 years in prison — 20 years for the witness tampering charge and five years for each of the other counts, although a first offender would face far less time under federal sentencing guidelines."
Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs George Kent testified in open impeachment inquiry hearings before the House Intelligence Committee earlier this week. Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified Friday. Here are my thoughts about this: the Democrats claim they have a rock-solid, smoking gun case for impeachment. What I have heard so far is a circumstantial presentation that requires what I call inferential supposition. Today, Yovanovitch’s testimony sounded like what my colleague Bob Schlehuber called a bad HR exit interview.
Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned from office on Sunday, and riots and protests intensified across the country Monday. On Tuesday, Senator Jeanine Añez, a leader of Bolivia's right-wing opposition party, declared herself interim president of the country, despite lacking the constitutionally required number of lawmakers to approve her appointment. In response to that development, Morales, who has accepted asylum in Mexico, tweeted that the coup in the country "has been consummated." What’s going on in Bolivia?
Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata was killed by an Israeli airstrike this week. "Israeli security forces killed a senior leader of the militant Palestinian group Islamic Jihad in a targeted airstrike in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, sparking retaliatory rocket fire from the enclave and raising fears of escalating reprisals," the Washington Post reported Tuesday. "Syrian state media, meanwhile, reported that an attack about the same time struck the house of a second Islamic Jihad leader in Damascus. The reports said that the leader, Akram al-Ajouri, was not injured but that his son and one other person were killed and 10 others were wounded. Israel declined to comment on the reports." How dramatic and destabilizing of an action is this?
"There are seven weeks until North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is scheduled to deliver a keynote New Year’s Day speech. That will come a day after his self-imposed year-end deadline expires for the United States to come up with new proposals to restart nuclear talks," the Washington Post reported Thursday. "On Wednesday — with Washington transfixed on the House impeachment inquiry — North Korea significantly raised the stakes, making an implicit threat to resume long-range missile or nuclear tests. In an official statement, the North said it felt 'betrayed' by a US decision to continue with joint air drills with South Korea, calling it an 'undisguised breach' of an agreement made between Kim and Trump in Singapore last year."
Lee Stranahan — Co-host of Fault Lines on Sputnik News Radio.
Dr. Linwood Tauheed — Associate professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.
Jim Kavanagh — Political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist.
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