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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 11 Feb , 2019 11:57 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
Trump's attempt to silence or intimidate federal employees with nondisclosure agreements finally got challenged.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/429501-ex-white-house-aide-cliff-sims-sues-trump-report
Quote:
A former White House communications aide who wrote a memoir about his experience working in the Trump administration is suing President Trump.

Cliff Sims, who once served as director of White House message strategy and as a special assistant to the president, is arguing that Trump used his campaign as "a private surrogate" for the federal government in an effort to get retribution on him and prevent him from invoking his First Amendment rights.

The New York Times noted that Trump's campaign organization filed an arbitration claim against Sims last week, accusing him of violating a nondisclosure agreement by publishing accounts of his time in the White House in the book, "Team of Vipers."

....Sims accuses Trump of "seeking to impose civil liability against Sims through application of NDAs that apply to information Mr. Sims learned solely during his federal service.”



Guess who might end up paying for Trump's family separation policy? (hint: not Trump)
https://thehill.com/latino/429506-immigrant-families-separated-by-us-sue-for-millions-in-damages
Quote:
Eight immigrant families separated under the Trump administration's immigration policies filed claims Monday for millions of dollars in damages for what a lawyer called “inexplicable cruelty” that left lasting damage, according to the Associated Press.

..Stanton Jones, a lawyer for the families, said his clients were entitled to monetary damages because of the government’s “inexplicable cruelty.”

“The government was harming children intentionally to try to advance what it viewed as a policy objective,” Jones said, according to AP. “It’s heinous and immoral, but it’s also a civil wrong for which the law provides a claim for relief.”




EDIT:

Not that I trust what Maduro's government says, but it looks like Elliot Abrams might be up to his old tricks in South America, presumably in collaboration with Bolton and with Trump's approval. The flight tracking seems suggestive:
https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/latin-america/article225949200.html
Quote:
Venezuelan authorities say a U.S.-owned air freight company delivered a crate of assault weapons earlier this week to the international airport in Valencia to be used in “terrorist actions” against the embattled government of Nicolás Maduro.

An air freight company, 21 Air LLC, based in Greensboro, N.C., operates the Boeing 767 aircraft that the Venezuelans allege was used in the arms transfer. The flight originated in Miami on Feb 3.

The Boeing 767 has made dozens of flights between Miami International Airport and destinations in Colombia and Venezuela since Jan. 11, a flight tracking service shows, often returning to Miami for only a few hours before flying again to South America.

The discovery of the weapons occurred Tuesday — two days after the flight landed briefly in Valencia, Venezuela’s third-largest city — as tax authorities and other inspectors conducted a routine inspection of cargo that came off the flight, according to a statement by the Carabobo state governor’s office.

...An Ottawa-based analyst of unusual ship and plane movements, Steffan Watkins, drew attention to the frequent flights of the 21 Air cargo plane in a series of tweets Thursday....[In January] the cargo plane began flying to destinations in Colombia and Venezuela on a daily basis, and sometimes multiple times a day, Watkins said. The plane has made close to 40 round-trip flights from Miami International Airport to Caracas and Valencia in Venezuela, and Bogota and Medellin in Colombia since Jan. 11.
So now Maduro's regime is using some of the weapons as propaganda.


And in the Middle East:
https://www.businessinsider.com/white-house-differs-with-intelligence-community-on-iran-nuclear-deal-2019-2?r=US&IR=T
Quote:
President Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, on Monday again broke with the US intelligence community's consensus regarding Iran's nuclear program, less than two weeks after Trump publicly berated the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, for saying Iran wasn't seeking to build a nuclear weapon.

...Bolton's statement that Iran continues to seek a nuclear weapon contradicts the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Tehran's nuclear programs as part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

It also directly clashes with Coats, whose recent Worldwide Threat Assessment said the US's top spies and analysts "continue to assess that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device."

... Bolton concluded with a veiled threat to Iran's leadership that was very much in keeping with Trump's suggestions of military action against Tehran. ... "I don't think you'll have many more anniversaries to enjoy,"

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 12 Feb , 2019 4:26 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
The truth about Trump's crowd size claims at his El Paso rally, just because the Trump supporters are repeating his lies on discussion boards.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/429583-el-paso-fire-department-says-trumps-crowd-claims-were-false
Quote:
[El Paso Fire Department public information officer] Enrique D Aguilar... told The El Paso Times that Trump received no special treatment and that 6,500 people attended the rally at the El Paso County Coliseum. Aguilar added that the crowd size may have been 10,000 when considering the crowd outside the arena. But he said the fire department did not specifically track those figures.

Trump on Monday night ... said at one point "69,000 people signed up to be here." "Now the arena holds 8,000," he added. "And thank you, fire department. They got in about 10,000. Thank you, fire department. Appreciate it."

Trump later claimed that there were 35,000 people at the rally while comparing his to the one former Rep. Beto O-Rourke (D-Texas) was headlining across town.

“A young man who's got very little going for himself except he's got a great first name. He challenged us. We have, say 35,000 people tonight, and he has, say, 200 people, 300 people," Trump said.

...Between 7,000 and 8,000 people attended the march and rally opposing Trump on Monday, according to NBC News. Bloomberg News reported that O'Rourke's rally drew between 10,000 and 15,000 people.
It's also worth mentioning that a significant number of the people at Trump rallies seem to follow him around like groupies. And, as we saw in Montana (plaid shirt guy), the people shown on camera are removed by Trump campaign staff if they're not sufficiently enthusiastic during the rally.



Trump also stirred his supporters up against the media, as usual, and one of them assaulted a BBC cameraman (shoved him violently). Security did get the attacker out of there but, according to some accounts, other Trump supporters were then upset at the security guards.
https://thehill.com/homenews/media/429543-bbc-cameraman-shoved-at-trump-rally

Trump wasn't a complete ass this time - he did apparently check to see that the cameraman was OK before continuing his pep rally - but he also didn't tell the crowd to cut it out and behave like decent human beings. So IMO he's still responsible for encouraging his supporters to act like nasty little cult followers. Sometimes I think the scariest thing about Trump is that he's revealed some really ugly things about America. I'm under no illusions about human nature - the type of people who were enthusiastic about Hitler and helped propel him to power will be with us always - but it's still disturbing to see them encouraged to yield to their ugliest impulses.(not that Antifa on the left gets a pass either)



https://thehill.com/policy/finance/429561-irs-faces-severe-challenges-because-of-shutdown-says-report
Quote:
IRS faces severe challenges because of shutdown, says report


Meanwhile, there are questions about whether Trump will sign a bipartisan border funding compromise Democrats and Republicans reached on Monday night, or shut down the government again. So far, the right wing commentators who steer Trump are very much against the compromise agreement.
https://thehill.com/homenews/media/429542-sean-hannity-blasts-funding-compromise
Quote:
Fox News host Sean Hannity .... warned that any Republican supporting a compromise with Democrats that did not involve funding for President Trump's planned wall along the Mexican border would "have to explain" their positions.

..."That's not a-- not even a wall, a barrier?" Hannity continued. "I'm going to tell [you] this tonight we will get back into this tomorrow. Any Republican that supports this garbage compromise, you will have to explain [it.]"



And more drumbeats for war:
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/429575-inhofe-us-military-may-have-to-intervene-in-venezuela-if-russia-does
Quote:
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Tuesday morning that the U.S. military may have to intervene in Venezuela if Russia places weapons there.

“I think that it could happen,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) told the Defense Writers Group. “You’ve got a guy down there that is killing everybody. You could have him put together a base that Russia would have on our hemisphere. And if those things happen, it may be to the point where we’ll have to intervene with troops and respond.”

When asked by The Hill after the breakfast roundtable what type of military action he thinks is appropriate, Inhofe said, “Whatever is necessary should they bring in some armaments on our hemisphere that would be, in the smart people’s opinion, something that would be a threat to the United States of America.”
Though my money, for the moment, would be on them planning covert supplies of weapons (the news report yesterday) and mercenaries paid for by US taxpayers rather than open confrontation with Russia. If it does come to something like the Cuban missile crisis and we have Trump in charge, god help us all.

Also from this article:
Quote:
Last week, the commander of U.S. Southern Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. military is ready to protect Americans and U.S. diplomats in Venezuela “if necessary.”
Why are they even still there?

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 13 Feb , 2019 3:41 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
I'm not sure this is any different than any other administration would do, but it's worth a read given how outlets like CNN are dutifully falling in line with the Trump administration, Abrams and the necons on Venezuela.

https://fair.org/home/western-media-fall-in-lockstep-for-cheap-trump-rubio-venezuela-aid-pr-stunt/?fbclid=IwAR10UmTj05DayK1kQ1K29OVjcefG9JF4kcj2iQyguYCxqPRdZWT2aSab5oc
Quote:
The Trump administration’s now completely overt effort to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro had a very successful public relations effort this week, as major Western media outlets uniformly echoed its simplistic, pre-packaged claim that the Venezuelan government was heartlessly withholding foreign aid:

...All of the above articles—and scores more like it—repeated the same script: Maduro was blocking aid from the US “out of refusal to relinquish power,” preferring to starve “his own people” rather than feed them. It’s a simple case of good and evil—of a tyrannical, paranoid dictator not letting in aid to feed a starving population.

Except three pieces of key context are missing. Context that, when presented to a neutral observer, would severely undermine the cartoonish narrative being advanced by US media.

Both the Red Cross and UN warned the US not to engage in this aid PR stunt.
The bridge in question is a visual metaphor contrived by the Trump administration of little practical relevance.
The person in charge of US operations in Venezuela has a history of using aid as a cover to deliver weapons to right-wing mercenaries.

Apparently, that bridge has not been open to traffic for more than a year, so Maduro has not blocked it to prevent aid trucks from entering Venezuela.

If we're going to fall in line with military interference with another country (even if their leader is corrupt), let's at least do it with our eyes open.
(Personally, I vote against it - I'm tired of all the money going to wars and even tireder of all the killing and the enemies we make of the survivors. Especially when we're simultaneously buddies with other dictators. I suspect that, as usual, this is more about oil and politics than the people suffering in Venezuela.)


https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/fairness-accuracy-in-reporting-fair/
Quote:
Overall, we rare Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) Left-Center biased based on slightly favoring the left politically and High for factual reporting due to strong sourcing of information.

Founded in 1986, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (Fair) is a media criticism organization based in New York City. The organization was founded by Jeff Cohen and Martin A. Lee. FAIR monitors the U.S. news media for “inaccuracy, bias, and censorship” and advocates for greater diversity of perspectives in news reporting. It is opposed to corporate ownership of media entities and calls for the break-up of media conglomerates. In other words it is hold a progressive stance.




Speaking of spending, the national debt just hit a new high:
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/budget/429680-debt-surpasses-22-trillion-for-first-time
Quote:
The gross national debt has surpassed $22 trillion for the first time in the U.S. history, according to Treasury Department data released Tuesday.




btw, so far it looks like Trump may sign the border funding bill (the Minister of Propaganda is still uncertain, as well she might be given that Trump is completely unreliable in sticking to his word). But he still wants to get his wall somehow - hard to say whether he's going to try some method to bypass normal government funding channels or he's just trying to save face.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/429794-trump-expected-to-sign-border-deal-averting-new-shutdown
Quote:
President Trump appears increasingly likely to sign border security legislation to avert another government shutdown that would begin on Saturday.

The president and his allies have expressed dismay at an agreement reached this week by a bipartisan group of lawmakers but have downplayed talk of shutting down the government for a second time this year.

...“The president isn’t fully happy, as he said yesterday, with everything that’s in the legislation but there are some positive pieces of it,” Sanders added. “At the end of the day the president is going to build the wall.”



https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/429681-court-tosses-challenge-to-epa-policy-excluding-some-scientists-from
Quote:
A federal judge Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) policy of removing scientists with EPA grants from its advisory boards.

Public health groups, led by Physicians for Social Responsibility, and scientists who say the policy affected them, argued that then-EPA chief Scott Pruitt violated federal ethics standards in 2017 with his directive that people who receive EPA grants have to choose between grants and serving on advisory committees.

...An EPA spokesman said that the agency is still reviewing the details of the ruling. “But we are pleased that the court granted our motion to dismiss all of the claims in this case,” the spokesman said.

Pruitt rolled out the policy in October 2017, arguing that serving on a committee like the Science Advisory Board would be a conflict of interest to someone receiving agency money to conduct scientific research...Opponents, including academics and environmentalists, argued that Pruitt wanted to increase friendly representation from the fossil fuel industry and other Trump administration allies on the influential committees.

...Since the policy took effect, representation for regulated industries and their allies has grown on the committees, at the expense of academics and researchers.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb , 2019 7:25 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/429960-mccabe-said-justice-dept-discussed-25th-amendment-confirms-rosenstein
Quote:
CBS News’s Scott Pelley appeared on “CBS This Morning” Thursday to discuss his interview with [former acting FBI Director] McCabe, saying that McCabe told him about the efforts to figure out “what to do” with Trump during the eight days between the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.

“There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment,” Pelley said Thursday. “And the highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what to do with the president.”

Pelley said that McCabe told him Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offered multiple times to wear a wire in meetings with Trump.

The New York Times reported in September that Rosenstein proposed secretly recording Trump, a report that Rosenstein quickly denied. An unnamed Justice Department spokeswoman told the Times that Rosenstein made the offer sarcastically.

Pelley says that McCabe said that Rosenstein's offer was serious and it happened more than once.


You can always tell whether Trump believes something by his twitter storms and apparently this one was major. Our Minister of Propaganda also weighed in to do damage control.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/429997-trump-blasts-former-fbi-official-mccabe-after-explosive-interview
Quote:
In a string of morning tweets, Trump wrote that the “disgraced” McCabe “pretends to be a ‘poor little Angel’ when in fact he was a big part of the Crooked Hillary Scandal & the Russia Hoax” and “a puppet for Leakin’ James Comey.”

...“McCabe is a disgrace to the FBI and a disgrace to our Country. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” the president wrote.

The White House piled on hours later..."His selfish and destructive agenda drove him to open a completely baseless investigation into the president,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Andrew McCabe has no credibility and is an embarrassment to the men and women of the FBI and our great country.”









That the Trump administration was only going to transfer adult asylum-seekers back to Mexico was a lie. Though it doesn't sound like Mexico has much choice about it, according to earlier reports.
https://thehill.com/latino/430038-trump-administration-sends-back-first-migrant-families-to-mexico
Quote:
The Trump administration has sent the first asylum-seeking Central American families back to Mexico to await the results of their asylum cases in the United States.

...A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman confirmed that it has been expanded to include family units.

Authorities have sent back four women, one couple and 10 children at the El Chaparral port of entry near Tijuana, according to BuzzFeed, which first reported on the transfers.




https://thehill.com/policy/international/middle-east-north-africa/429970-pompeo-peace-in-middle-east-not-possible
Quote:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that peace in the Middle East is impossible without "confronting Iran."

...Pompeo was asked about Iran following a now-deleted tweet from Netanyahu's office that said he was meeting with Arab leaders to discuss "war with Iran.”

"What is important about this meeting, and it is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran,” the tweet, which came after Netanyahu met Oman's foreign minister, said.

...The tweet is said to have been a mistranslation, however. The account later shared a similar tweet that instead mentioned "combatting Iran."

...The leaders met at a U.S.-supported conference on Middle Eastern policy in Warsaw, Poland.

I saw somewhere that the language is ambiguous enough that "combat" could plausibly be mistranslated as war, but I have to wonder whether an experienced translator would make such a mistake and not clarify its intent before posting it publicly.



https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/429988-pence-eu-must-withdraw-from-iran-nuclear-pact-another-holocaust
Quote:
Vice President Pence on Thursday called on the European Union to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear pact with Iran, accusing the bloc of trying to undermine U.S. pressure on Tehran's nuclear missile programs while saying Iran is trying to bring about “another Holocaust.”



https://thehill.com/latino/429996-cuba-says-us-secretly-moving-special-forces-closer-to-venezuela
Quote:
Cuba said Wednesday that the U.S. is secretly moving special forces closer to Venezuela as part of a plan to practice military adventurism in the country under the guise of "humanitarian intervention."

In a release from Granma, the Cuban government's official press, Havana officials say that between Feb. 6 and 10 there has been military transport from the U.S. to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean nations without the knowledge of those countries.
I have no idea how reliable this information is. Cuba supports Maduro and may be lying. Then again, we're not exactly getting reliable information from the US government either, so it's probably worth looking at other sources too.




The EPA says it may issue new regulations on PFOA and PFOS

... eventually:
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/429973-epa-to-announce-pfas-chemical-regulations-by-end-of-year
Quote:
The Trump administration on Thursday said it will issue a draft regulation placing a limit on a cancer-causing chemical frequently found in drinking water by the end of the year, but provided no details on the level of protection it would seek.

The new steps to eventually regulate the the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as “PFAS" or "PFOA" are being announced by Environmental Protection Agency head Andrew Wheeler in Pennsylvania

The United States currently sets a health advisory for water for PFAS of 70 parts per trillion in water, a number many experts say does not accurately represent its hazards.

...That draft suggestion will jumpstart a months to years long public comment period that could push the formalization of any PFAS standard far down the line.



EDIT: And it seems Dear Leader is actually going to declare a national emergency so he can try to snatch money for his precious wall. Then again, I'm not sure what else he could do. He would have a hard time shutting down the government again - even his GOP enablers are pushing back against that - and meanwhile Fox talking heads have been livid about Trump signing any compromise funding bill.
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/430070-mcconnell-trump-to-sign-border-deal-declare-national-emergency
Quote:
President Trump will declare a national emergency to fund his demand to build a border wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on the Senate floor Thursday.

"I had an opportunity to speak with President Trump and he, I would say to all my colleagues, has indicated he's prepared to sign the bill. He also [will] be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time. I indicated I'm going to support the national emergency declaration," McConnell announced shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday.
I suspect McConnell might have just ended his own career. Then again, apparently he isn't even very popular in Kentucky any more.

And I can't help wondering if this is a move to distract the media from the news that Trump's own intelligence agencies thought he was such a threat to the US that the 25th amendment should be invoked.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Last edited by aninkling on Fri 15 Feb , 2019 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 15 Feb , 2019 2:08 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430130-mccabe-book-trump-pushed-back-on-officials-using-putin-claim-that
Quote:
Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe wrote in his new book that President Trump did not believe U.S. intelligence reports about North Korean missile advances because of claims he'd heard from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

...McCabe wrote that Trump called the launch of the long-range missile a "hoax," telling officials he knew North Korea did not have the ability to launch that type of missile "because Vladimir Putin had told him so."

Asked for comment, the White House pointed to a statement earlier Thursday from press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that said McCabe "has no credibility and is an embarrassment to the men and women of the FBI and our great country.”
Don't forget that people have been wondering why Trump was recently parroting the Russian line about their "justifications" for invading Afghanistan, something he was unlikely to have picked up from anyone in the US.


For those who don't know about Elliot Abrams's history, from a reporter who was there in El Salvador:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/02/ilhan-omar-elliott-abrams-and-el-mozote-massacre/582889/
Quote:
What Did Elliott Abrams Have to Do With the El Mozote Massacre?

Inadvertently, Ilhan Omar revealed that Trump may have picked the right man to implement his policy in Venezuela.
Quote:
In a testy exchange with Elliott Abrams on Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar resurrected the memory of El Salvador’s El Mozote massacre, one of the worst mass killings in modern Latin American history. ...

What happened in 1981? And what did Abrams have to do with it?

More than 900 peasants were murdered in and around several villages in the eastern province of Morazon. Mostly old men, women, and children....Some 140 children were killed, some of them toddlers. Average age: Six.

Omar’s questioning of Abrams was not artful, and Abrams wasn’t unreasonable in viewing it as a personal attack. But she was right to suggest that he had sought to diminish the massacre. Nor was she wrong to question whether Abrams was ethically qualified to assume a high government position, with the mission to oust the Venezuelan dictatorship and promote democracy....

In El Salvador, the Reagan administration, with Abrams as point man, routinely defended the Salvadoran government in face of evidence that its regular army, and allied right-wing death squads, were operating with impunity, killing peasants, students, union leaders, and anyone considered anti-government or pro-guerrilla...


More about Abrams from an older article:
https://www.businessinsider.de/trump-new-venezuela-envoy-elliot-abrams-polarizing-figure-latin-america-2019-1?r=US&IR=T
Quote:
Abrams, who has recently been working as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, served as a top foreign policy adviser in the administrations of both former President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush.

He was instrumental in pushing the US to prioritize thwarting Marxism in Latin America for a significant portion of the Cold War. During that era, both before and during the height of Abrams' influence, the US orchestrated coups against democratically elected leaders, propped up dictators, and directly aided and trained death squads in the region. The consequences of the US government's activities in Latin America, especially Central America, are still being felt to this day.


It seems he has been a fan of Trump's foreign policy for some time. This editorial by Abrams is behind a firewall but the beginning says it all:
https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-with-trump-the-entire-mideast-now-knows-you-re-either-with-america-or-against-us-1.6614067
Quote:
Opinion: Thanks to Trump, the Entire Mideast Now Knows: You're Either With America, or Against Us

Trump’s policy has been grounded in realism, in reasserting that the U.S. knows who its friends are - and who are not: A simple, old-fashioned, yet absolutely indispensable stance for a world power
Elliott Abrams Nov 04, 2018 5:24 PM

When Donald Trump arrived in office U.S. influence in the Middle East was in broad decline...





https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/02/trumps-emergency-declaration-is-a-test-for-republicans/582856/
Quote:
Trump’s Emergency Declaration Is a Test for Senate Republicans

For weeks, GOP lawmakers have warned the president against pursuing extraordinary measures. What now?
Quote:
There was a climactic moment Thursday afternoon as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on the Senate floor that President Donald Trump would sign a compromise deal on border-security funding, but would also declare a national emergency to try to build his wall. What happens next will be a test of the mettle of Republicans in the Senate—though if the past is any indication, it’s likely to be more of an anticlimax.

...Republicans have warned Trump against declaring a national emergency for weeks. Their concerns spring from both principle and pragmatism. Emergency declarations are a gray area of the law and raise concerns about executive power. It isn’t clear how an emergency declaration to build a border wall would work, nor whether courts would approve it in the inevitable legal challenge to come...



Edit. And here we go. It seems that Trump was serious this time. Should be interesting.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430092-trump-signs-emergency-declaration-for-border
Quote:
President Trump on Friday said he would be declaring a national emergency to bypass Congress and build $8 billion in barriers on the border, a big step toward his long-desired wall along the southern border. Trump's move, announced in a rambling, improvised address from the Rose Garden, will launch a fierce constitutional battle in the courts with lawmakers and outside groups opposed to his decision.

...Trump plans to redirect $3.6 billion in military construction funding toward the border project. Trump will also take separate executive action repurposing about $2.5 billion from the Defense Department’s drug-interdiction program and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset-forfeiture fund.

...Officials said the goal is to ultimately build roughly 234 miles of barriers along the border, including bollard-style wall.
Gee, let's take the money from presumably successful drug-interdiction programs and put it toward a useless wall. What a president he is.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430184-us-chamber-says-trump-emergency-declaration-erodes-system-of
Quote:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued sharp criticism of President Trump on Friday ahead of his announcement of a national emergency on the border, saying the move would "erode" the country's system of government.



I'm not sure this makes much difference in what was reported earlier, but McCabe's spokesperson has clarified a reporter's statement:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430227-mccabe-spokesperson-says-he-was-never-involved-in-conversations-about
Quote:
A spokeswoman for former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said Friday that comments he made regarding a potential use of the 25th Amendment to oust President Trump have been “taken out of context and misrepresented.”

“At no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions,” spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said in a statement. “Mr. McCabe has merely confirmed a discussion that was initially reported elsewhere."






And there's more. :)

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/430301-cummings-new-documents-show-trump-lawyers-may-have-lied-about-cohen-payments
Quote:
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said Friday the panel believes two attorneys for President Trump may have given false information to government ethics officials.

Cummings said the panel has reviewed newly uncovered documents from the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) suggesting Trump's personal lawyer Sheri Dillon and former White House lawyer Stefan Passantino gave false info about hush-money payments to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.



https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/430299-new-filing-suggests-mueller-has-evidence-stone-communicated-with
Quote:
Special counsel Robert Mueller said in a new court filing that search warrants have uncovered communications that connect longtime GOP operative Roger Stone to "Guccifer 2.0 and with Organization 1,” which is widely believed to be WikiLeaks.

Mueller made the disclosure in a filing Friday arguing that Stone’s case is related to the one involving Russian military hackers who are alleged to have breached the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and personal account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 18 Feb , 2019 2:40 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/430383-acting-pentagon-chief-we-have-not-made-any-decisions-on-wall-funding
Quote:
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said Saturday that he had not yet made any decisions on how much money would be redirected from the military budget to help fund President Trump's border wall.

“We always anticipated that this would create a lot of attention and since moneys potentially could be redirected, you can imagine the concern this generates,” Shanahan told reporters traveling with him abroad. “Very deliberately, we have not made any decisions, we have identified the steps we would take to make those decisions,” he added.

Shanahan said he would review an initial analysis on the potential wall funds on Sunday.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is one reason Trump has not yet nominated a Secretary of Defense. People predicted that Shanahan would not push back against anything Trump does.

The lawsuits have already been filed against Trump's emergency declaration attempt to bypass normal Congressional funding channels. Protests are also planned for today. I hope they're bipartisan and welcome members of both parties. Trump's action should not stand, for many reasons.
https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/430365-protests-planned-across-us-on-presidents-day-in-response-to

But some members of the GOP support it:
https://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/430409-white-house-gop-defend-trump-emergency-declaration
Quote:
President Trump’s allies in the GOP and one of his top advisers defended on Sunday his decision to declare a national emergency to secure funding for his long-desired border wall, a move that triggered a flurry of lawsuits and bipartisan reservations.

The White House, seeking to quell political and legal questions about the president's declaration, sent hard-line immigration advocate and senior adviser Stephen Miller to push the administration’s message in a rare Sunday show appearance.

...Trump's emergency declaration threatens to divide the Republican Party, with some members falling in line to support the president and others expressing reservations about setting a troubling precedent, raiding military funds and diminishing Congress's appropriation powers.

"Unfortunately, when it comes to Trump, the Congress is locked down and will not give him what we've given past presidents. So unfortunately, he's got to do it on his own and I support his decision to go that route," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on CBS's "Face the Nation."...

...Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) [said]... he wants to see the specifics on funding sources and a timetable for spending the money before committing his support.

...GOP Rep. Will Hurd, the lone Republican to represent a border district in Texas, called an emergency declaration unnecessary, but did not say whether he would vote to blunt Trump’s use of emergency powers.
Jim Jordan - and no doubt the other extremist Freedom Caucus - are, of course, behind Trump all the way.




https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430294-trump-inaugural-committee-subpoenaed-by-nj-attorney-general-report
Quote:
New Jersey's attorney general subpoenaed financial records from President Trump's inaugural committee, the Associated Press reported Friday. ...the attorney general's office ...reportedly seeks information on whether Trump donors got special benefits. This is the second such request the committee has received following increasing questions about how it spent the $107 million it raised on inaugural events.

The state of New York is also interested in whether people from other countries gave money for the inauguration.

...Activities surrounding Trump's 2017 inauguration are reportedly also of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller.




https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430351-pence-calls-for-european-allies-to-dump-iran-deal-after-merkel
Quote:
Vice President Pence on Saturday called on European allies to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear pact with Iran after German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out in defense of the accord.


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430343-pence-met-with-silence-after-mentioning-trump-in-munich-speech
Quote:
Vice President Pence was met with silence on Friday when he mentioned President Trump at a security conference in Munich.“I bring greetings from the 45th president of the United States of America, Donald Trump,” Pence said, before being met with a lengthy silence.


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430437-mccabe-trump-said-i-dont-care-i-believe-putin-when-confronted-with-us
Quote:
Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said that President Trump dismissed intelligence on North Korea given to him by U.S. officials, telling them, "I don't care, I believe Putin."

Trump told officials in a meeting that he did not believe North Korean missiles could strike the U.S. mainland because Russian President Vladimir Putin told him those missiles did not exist, according to McCabe.



And Heather Nauert will not be the new UN ambassador. Unfortunately, that means it could be a blind partisan rather than just someone unqualified who has apparently been trying to do a good job in her present State Dept. position:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430369-heather-nauert-withdraws-her-name-from-consideration-for-un
Quote:
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert withdrew her name from consideration for the nomination of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Saturday.

...Sources familiar with Nauert's bid to represent the U.S. at the United Nations told The New York Times that her withdrawal centered around her employment of a nanny who was in the country legally but was working without proper authorization for employment in the U.S.



Edit: The list of candidates now includes Grenell, the awful ambassador to Germany who all the Germans hate (I believe he's also a former Fox contributor like Nauert). I don't know anything about the others, though I can't see what qualifications a Goldman Sachs partner could have for being ambassador to the UN. Or a GOP senator who lost his race, for that matter.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430490-four-names-emerge-for-un-position-report
Quote:
Potential nominees include Dina Powell, a partner at Goldman Sachs; Kelly Craft and Richard Grenell, the current ambassadors to Canada and Germany, respectively; and John James, a former GOP Senate candidate from Michigan, sources told the news service.




https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430431-mulvaney-told-trump-officials-their-highest-priority-will-be
Quote:
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney recently told top Trump administration officials during a meeting that their "highest priority" would be deregulation in the coming year, Axios reported Sunday.

A senior official told Axios that when Mulvaney sits down with the president to evaluate the job performances of the Cabinet secretaries, deregulation will be one of the main criteria on their list. "We knew there was one thing we could do without legislation," the official told the news outlet.

President Trump lent significant focus to rolling back regulations, especially environmental ones, since being elected.

Deregulation through top agencies allows the president to circumvent Congress for the most part, avoiding large political battles.



And in the ongoing question of how much Trump and his family are personally benefiting from the presidency:
https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/430382-maine-paid-for-dozens-of-rooms-for-governor-staffers-at-trump-luxury
Quote:
Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) and his staff racked up more than $20,000 in costs in 2017 and 2018 staying at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., the Portland Press Herald reported Sunday.



https://thehill.com/policy/international/430403-us-asked-japanese-leader-to-nominate-trump-for-nobel-prize-report
Quote:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly nominated President Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize on the request of the U.S. government.

Reuters, citing a report from the Japanese newspaper Asahi, noted that the U.S. government reached out to Abe months after the president's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

An unidentified Japanese government official told the newspaper about the request, according to Reuters.



Edited to add the new list of probable candidates for UN ambassador.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Last edited by aninkling on Mon 18 Feb , 2019 11:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 18 Feb , 2019 10:29 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
What looks like it might turn out to be another ICE scandal, from the Detroit Free Press. Two stories, an older one that sets the background and a newer one that reveals how ICE fooled some foreign students who thought they were attending a legitimate university to extend their visas. (Though the charges against the 8 brokers seem to be entirely legitimate):
https://eu.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/oakland/2019/01/31/university-farmington-arrests/2733751002/
Quote:
In a nationwide sweep, federal agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have arrested 130 foreign students who were enrolled at a fake university in metro Detroit that was created by ICE to lure in students trying to remain in the U.S.

"We have arrested 130 foreign nationals on civil immigration charges," ICE spokesperson Carissa Cutrell told the Free Press on Thursday. "This may increase."

...The eight defendants were charged criminally for conspiracy to commit visa fraud and harboring aliens for profit. But the 130 students were arrested on only civil immigration charges.

...Federal prosecutors claim the students were aware the university was not running a legitimate operation. But attorneys who have spoken with students or with family and friends of those arrested are pushing back against the government's claims



https://eu.freep.com/story/news/2019/02/11/emails-reveal-how-university-lured-students-fake-farmington-university/2744103002/
Quote:
In the summer of 2017, a foreign student in Michigan received an email from an official at the University of Farmington.

"It was a pleasure speaking with you," Ali Milani wrote to the student from India. "Thank you for your recent interest in The University of Farmington, a nationally accredited business and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) institution. Here at the University of Farmington we have created an innovative learning environment that combines traditional instruction with fulltime professional experiences. We offer flexible class schedules and a focus on students who do not want to interrupt their careers."

At the bottom of the email, it described the university as: "A nationally accredited institution authorized to enroll international students by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security."

The email and others like it were obtained by the Free Press, revealing how the university portrayed itself to potential foreign students.

Federal prosecutors allege that more than 600 students enrolled at the university knew it was improper, but the emails and attorneys tell a different story.

In addition to the emails, federal undercover agents took other steps to manipulate the foreign students, according to public records and attorneys...


There are also questions about the treatment of the students:
Quote:
There are reports in Indian-American and Indian media outlets such as The American Bazaar saying that some of the students were being held in poor conditions and not getting vegetarian food in accordance with their religious and cultural beliefs. Some students were already removed, and are now stuck in India with debt, said a Times of India report.

...On Thursday, four U.S. House Reps, including U.S. House Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) released a letter they sent to DHS and ICE, expressing "concerns surrounding the recent undercover operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)." The Indian government has also expressed its concern in a letter from its Ministry of External Affairs.

The letter from the Congressmen said that Indian-Americans "have expressed concerns regarding the treatment of these detained foreign nationals. We urge DHS and ICE to ensure the detained students are treated properly and afforded all rights provided to them under the law, including access to an attorney and release on bond, if they are eligible.


It seems the students paid the fake university $100 application fees and in some cases also paid tuition, then discovered there were no classes, but ICE reassured them that they would happen eventually. So the students ICE didn't arrest are also stuck in this scam and may have lost their money:
Quote:
"I was told by the students, that the university reassured them that classes would be held and everything would be fine and that they are following the immigration laws," said Prashanthi Reddy, an attorney in New York City. "The students payed them the tuition fees and were trapped once they realized that classes were not being held, as some didn't have the money to transfer and pay tuition at another university."



The BBC interviewed a student who says he didn't realize the school was a sham.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-47154187
Quote:
Farmington offered online courses and what is called curricular practical training (CPT). This is an option that allows student visa holders in the US to work full-time while they study. Although several colleges offer this option, it can also be misused by students who wish to work rather than study in the US.

Veeresh enrolled in October 2017 and he received his CPT the following day.

He says he did what he could to verify the college's credentials. He visited the website, which showed pictures of students in classes, libraries or elsewhere on campus; he compared the documents he was given to those belonging to his friends from other colleges.

"I called the phone numbers on the website to ask about classes. I was told they would let us know when they schedule them," he said. "After six months, I asked a friend to contact the recruiter, who connected us with someone who again told us they would let us know."

He claims not to have suspected anything and so paid the tuition and waited for more than a year for classes to begin.


The Times of India checked with some people who work in the same building:
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/students-had-no-way-to-check-university-of-farmingtons-authenticity/articleshow/67823186.cms
Quote:
While the US government is claiming that everyone who paid tuition fee knew that they are paying to stay and are not going to attend classes or progress academically, people who work in the building where the university was located contradict the claim.

“They were asking about what time they open, what time they close,” said Nada Abdulmeseh, who works in the building, to a television station based out of Detroit in its website.

She added that students were always trying to find out information about the school and were struggling to get hold of people from administration or management.

The website also quoted another employee named Steven Jeffers, who said some students came with backpacks asking about classes.
One interesting thing is that ICE used a name that could be confused with legitimate universities (there seem to be quite a few at places called Farmington), for instance The University of Maine at Farmington.


EDIT: btw, the university the BBC mentions that lost its accreditation might or might not have been legitimate (I have no idea in its case - programs can lose their accreditation for various reasons.) I found out about the pay-to-play "universities" when a friend's daughter was seriously considering a program at a place that raised lots of red flags for me. I think most of them are online and promise you can get a degree while continuing to work, which is also attractive to some Americans. Practically everyone seems to be accepted, but messageboards and student rating sites are full of people complaining that they enrolled and couldn't withdraw and get their money back, or the promised financial aid evaporated, or credits wouldn't transfer, or the online classes were a joke. Worst of all are the people who say they got through the entire course of study but can't seem to get the college to give them their diploma, or actually got the diploma then found out it was less than useless when they applied for jobs. Those same boards are also full of people claiming it was a wonderful program and the best experience of their life. I'm not sure how many of the latter are honest but weak students who are naive about what college should be, and how many are scammers paid by the schools to make them look better than they are.








Related:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/24/us/politics/trump-crackdown-student-visas.html
Quote:
In a policy memorandum, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced this month that it plans to change how it calculates “unlawful presence” for foreigners in the student visa and exchange program. It will also impose harsher punishments — up to a 10-year ban from the country — for graduates who overstay their visas.

...The harsh penalties are especially jarring because small mistakes could now carry big consequences, said Angelo A. Paparelli, an immigration lawyer at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, a firm based in Los Angeles.

...It is common for students to fall out of compliance while awaiting a new visa or transitioning to a new one, Mr. Paparelli said. Students who use visas to stay and work after completing their degrees are particularly vulnerable. Determining whether their jobs meet certain requirements to stay is subjective. Their violations could be applied retroactively, and subject them to an automatic ban, he said.

Administrators who work with international students worry that they will be punished for life events that domestic students are usually supported through. Many students fall out of status because of extenuating circumstances, such as temporarily dropping below a full course load because of mental health issues, leaving school temporarily for a family emergency or picking up a part-time job to help with family finances.

....College administrators have already noticed that the international talent pool is shrinking.



And Trump makes the US position perfectly clear: Maduro isn't a problem because he's a brutal dictator who has done awful things; the problem is actually socialism.
https://thehill.com/latino/430498-trump-on-latin-america-the-days-of-socialism-are-numbered
Quote:
President Trump repeatedly slammed socialism during a Monday speech about Venezuela, saying that the political ideology's days in North and South America are "numbered."

“The days of socialism and communism are numbered, not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and Cuba as well," Trump told a crowd gathered in Miami.

...“Socialism by its very nature does not respect borders. It does not respect the boundaries or the sovereign rights of its citizens or its neighbors. It’s always seeking to expand, to encroach, and subjugate others to its will.”

In other words, Trump is an utter moron who assumes every country must want the political system the US has and can't even get a PR message right. Doesn't seem like much of a boost for Guaido.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb , 2019 1:49 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/02/mutual-distrust-2019-munich-security-conference/583015/
Quote:
The Moment the Transatlantic Charade Ended

At the Munich Security Conference, Europe and the Trump administration stopped pretending to respect each other.
Quote:
For the past two years, we have been treated to a transatlantic charade. Everyone knows there’s a problem, but publicly the leaders proclaim that nothing has fundamentally changed. But at the 2019 Munich Security Conference, which took place over the weekend, the charade ended.

...Vice President Mike Pence seems unable to give a speech without offering long declarations of fealty to President Donald Trump. In Munich, he mentioned Trump by name 30 times....The substance of Pence’s speech, though, was more significant and worrying. In 2017, Pence spoke at length about the importance of the NATO alliance and its historic accomplishments. In 2019, there was none of that. The only praise of NATO was for its response to Trump’s leadership on defense spending. Otherwise, Pence offered a litany of criticism leveled against NATO and the EU...

...The administration’s America First approach to Europe is now riven with contradictions. Take Iran as an example. Senior administration officials have repeatedly said over the past year that while the United States was pulling out of the JCPOA, the Iran nuclear deal, they were not calling on the EU to do the same. That, they said, was a matter for Europeans, as sovereign nations, to decide. Apparently sovereignty is not what it used to be. With no explanation for the U-turn, Pence demanded that the EU now withdraw from the JCPOA. His message was clear: Under Trump, the alliance means getting behind whatever Washington decides, even if that changes weekly.

...Rumors are rife in Washington of a new Trump move against the NATO alliance, which is preparing for a major meeting in Washington in April. Trump still has to choose a new defense secretary. The acting secretary, Patrick Shanahan, was at the Munich conference, but oddly did not speak. He is losing support on Capitol Hill, and it is unclear if he will be nominated.
Putin must be smiling at the current state of affairs.





This should be up at other sites soon, but so far it has only broken at the Wall Street Journal (paywall):
https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-trump-adviser-pushed-saudi-nuclear-plant-plan-report-says-11550593223?mod=hp_lead_pos2
Quote:
Former national-security adviser Mike Flynn and others within the White House ignored repeated legal and ethical warnings as they pushed early in President Trump’s tenure a plan to build dozens of nuclear-power reactors in Saudi Arabia, according to a report released Tuesday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.




https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430611-trump-wanted-top-ally-in-charge-of-cohen-probe-report
Quote:
President Trump reportedly asked former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker late last year whether the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, a Trump ally, could take over the investigation into money paid to two women who alleged they had affairs with the president, among other subjects.

The New York Times reported that Trump requested that U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman be put in charge of the investigation that has since resulted in jail time for former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, even though Berman recused himself from the probe.

Whitaker, whose tenure ended last week with the confirmation of Attorney General William Barr, knew Berman could not un-recuse himself, the Times reported. Trump then grew frustrated with Whitaker and the appointee's inability to address his mounting legal problems.

The Times cited the previously unreported request from Trump as one of several examples of the president seeking to influence the investigations into his presidency, his associates and his business interests.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb , 2019 3:58 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
The consequences of the US abandoning the INF treaty begin:
https://thehill.com/policy/international/430702-putin-russia-will-target-us-if-missiles-are-placed-in-europe
Quote:
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow will target the U.S. if it deploys nuclear missiles in Europe.

Reuters reported that Putin said Russia would not make the first move or initiate the confrontation, but warned the U.S. against putting short- or intermediate-range missiles in Europe.

"It's their right to think how they want. But can they count? I'm sure they can. Let them count the speed and the range of the weapons systems we are developing," Putin told a gathering of Russia's political elite, according to the news service.

"Russia will be forced to create and deploy types of weapons which can be used not only in respect of those territories from which the direct threat to us originates, but also in respect of those territories where the centers of decision-making are located," he added.




More echoes of dictators. This follows the New York Times' report that Trump wanted Whitaker to appoint Berman to the Cohen investigation (what really surprises me about all this is that Whitaker seems to have acted ethically, as far as we know, during his tenure as Acting Attorney General):
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430716-trump-declares-new-york-times-enemy-of-the-people
Quote:
President Trump on Wednesday labeled The New York Times "a true enemy of the people" one day after an extensive report detailing the ways in which he has sought to influence the investigations into his presidency and allies.

"The New York Times reporting is false," Trump tweeted. "They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!"





Something admirable, for once:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430591-administration-plans-push-to-end-criminalization-of-homosexuality
Quote:
The Trump administration is planning to launch a worldwide effort to end the criminalization of homosexuality.

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-profile openly gay person in the administration, will reportedly lead the effort, which will be kicked off in Berlin Tuesday night.


But odd, given past actions from this administration - for instance, this:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45722400
Quote:
US ends diplomatic visas for UN same-sex partners

So, few people seem to entirely trust this new campaign. Some think it might be another way to try to pressure other countries into getting on board with US plans for Iran ( if so, it's clumsy - Saudi Arabia is also on the wrong side in this). Maybe it's just an empty PR move. Between appointing the very abrasive ass Grenell to lead it and the likelihood that other countries won't care what the US thinks, I can't see this announcement really doing much..






EDIT
Interesting US allies:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/people-s-mujahedin-and-its-quiet-war-against-iran-a-1253507.html
Quote:
The Cult-Like Group Fighting Iran

Members of the Trump administration have been providing support to a political sect that aims to topple the Iranian regime in Tehran. Around 2,000 of its members live in a camp in Albania. Former members say it subjected followers to torture and psychological terror
Quote:
Just like everyone in the camp, Somayeh Mohammadi is a member of the People's Mujahedin, a once-militant Iranian opposition group that was listed by the United States. and Europe as a terrorist group until 2012. These days, however, several members of the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump are supporting the group, commonly known by the abbreviation MEK. Both the administration and the MEK, after all, want to see the end of the current regime in Iran -- and now that the group has Washington's backing, the Mujahedin apparently hopes that its time has finally come.

...U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Giuliani have all spoken at NCRI events and they all view the group as a viable alternative to the current regime in power in Tehran.

...The statements suggest that once the People's Mujahedin take over power in Iran, everything will immediately improve. But reports from those who have experienced life in the camp do not reflect that message. ..
Quote:
Not long after the beginning of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Americans captured the People's Mujahedin's camp and disarmed the group. Soon, though, the organization began claiming it backed the U.S., even though it had been fighting on behalf of Saddam Hussein only a short time before.

The group's disarming could have spelled the end, but hardliners like then-U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney wanted to use them as leverage against Iran. Already in 2002, the group had worked with the Israeli secret service Mossad in revealing that Iran had begun covertly enriching uranium.

In 2007, units of the People's Mujahedin began to receive training at a U.S. military facility in the desert of Nevada -- even though the group was still listed by Washington as a terrorist organization at the time. And now, the Trump administration has taken the position that the People's Mujahedin has been demanding for years: a hardline stance toward Iran....

Their list of supporters is currently longer than it has ever been, including numerous U.S. Senators and members of the U.S. military and security apparatus.
It's not just the US, btw


The original New York Times story summarized in The Hill's report yesterday:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/19/us/politics/trump-investigations.html
Quote:
Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him
Quote:
As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation...

...An examination by The New York Times reveals the extent of an even more sustained, more secretive assault by Mr. Trump on the machinery of federal law enforcement. Interviews with dozens of current and former government officials and others close to Mr. Trump, as well as a review of confidential White House documents, reveal numerous unreported episodes in a two-year drama.

The story of Mr. Trump’s attempts to defang the investigations has been voluminously covered in the news media, to such a degree that many Americans have lost track of how unusual his behavior is. But fusing the strands reveals an extraordinary story of a president who has attacked the law enforcement apparatus of his own government like no other president in history, and who has turned the effort into an obsession. Mr. Trump has done it with the same tactics he once used in his business empire: demanding fierce loyalty from employees, applying pressure tactics to keep people in line and protecting the brand — himself — at all costs.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb , 2019 2:37 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/430857-five-things-to-know-about-trump-confidant-tom-barrack
Quote:
Tom Barrack, one of President Trump's closest confidants, is a major player in the president's orbit who could be ensnared in a Democratic probe unveiled this week. The investigation, led by Democrats in control of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, is digging into Trump’s desire to sell nuclear energy technology to Saudi Arabia.

...Barrack, a billionaire real estate investor, is one of Trump’s oldest friends. ..

Barrack was the chairman of the committee overseeing Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, a committee under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York....

Barrack is the one who connected Trump with a now-familiar name: Paul Manafort. Barrack, who first met Manafort in Beirut about 40 years ago, convinced Trump to bring in the political operative as his campaign chairman during a pivotal moment of the 2016 campaign. According to the Times, Manafort first pitched himself to Barrack, who then pitched Manafort to Kushner and Trump’s daughter Ivanka...

Barrack has longtime ties to the Saudis...

The House Oversight committee obtained a memo sent to then-national security adviser Michael Flynn from IP3 International, a private company pushing the plan to sell the Saudis nuclear reactors, that was intended for Trump to approve. The memo, among other things, named Barrack as special representative to oversee implementation of the nuclear plan, which was dubbed the Middle East Marshall Plan. The night IP3 sent the memo, in January 2017, National Security Council (NSC) staff reportedly raised concerns about the plan improperly benefiting Barrack....


https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/430906-senate-investigators-want-to-question-russia-based-businessman-tied-to-trump
Quote:
CNN reported Thursday that the Senate Intelligence Committee is interested in interviewing David Geovanis, whose ties to Trump reportedly date back to the 1990s, in its probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Geovanis is said to have helped Trump make a trip in 1996 to Moscow, where he was looking to build a Trump Tower. He also reportedly worked for the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire aluminum magnate with ties to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort
The Trump administration recently lifted sanctions on Deripaska's companies, with the help of the Republicans in Congress.



https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/430841-interior-officials-accused-of-violating-ethics-pledge
Quote:
A government ethics group is accusing six political officials at the Interior Department of violating the Trump administration’s ethics pledge.

The Campaign Legal Center sent a formal complaint to Interior’s Office of Inspector General, asking it to investigate those officials’ compliance with provisions of the pledge all political appointees sign, including cooling-off periods for working on matters involving former employers, restrictions on meeting with former employers or clients, and restrictions on dealing with matters for which an employee used to lobby.

“Several political appointees at Interior appear to have violated these provisions, which are specifically designed to prevent public officials from using their positions to favor former employers or lobbying clients,” the group wrote.




https://thehill.com/latino/430910-critics-say-migrant-families-still-being-separated-at-border
Quote:
A Texas group analyzing migrant separations in the U.S. says that the Trump administration has continued to separate families of migrants suspected of crossing the border illegally months after the president signed an executive order halting the process....nearly 300 family separations have occurred at a single Texas courthouse since the executive order was signed last June.

...The separations largely occurred because U.S. law does not allow unaccompanied minor children to stay with family members who are not their parents, while the group also contends that as many as 38 families have been separated at the location due to one or more parents having criminal convictions.

...Civil rights groups including the ACLU say that the Trump administration is not giving experts the ability to oversee the welfare of children detained by CBP.“What’s happening is the government is doing separations unilaterally without any process to contest the separations and without a child welfare expert overseeing the separations,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelenrt told the AP.
CBP told the AP it won't stop and claims this is for the benefit of the children. It's also worth mentioning that the criminal convictions that resulted in previous family separations were sometimes things like a drunk driving conviction that occurred long before the child was even born.


https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/02/human-smugglers-thrive-under-trumps-zero-tolerance/583051/
Quote:
Human Smugglers Are Thriving Under Trump

The president’s “zero tolerance” policy drains manpower and money from deeper probes that target criminal syndicates.
Quote:
In his quest to build a border wall, President Donald Trump has warned of jobs stolen from American workers, suburbs terrorized by criminal aliens, and desperate migrant caravans headed north. Lately, though, he has found a favorite new target in the “ruthless coyotes” and “vicious cartels” that smuggle migrants into the United States. “Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate—it is actually very cruel,” Trump said in his State of the Union address. “Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country.”

Yet Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies have made America’s historically weak anti-smuggling efforts even weaker. Over the past two years, as smuggling networks have thrived, the Department of Homeland Security has shifted money and manpower away from more complex investigations to support the administration’s all-out push to arrest, detain, and deport immigrants here illegally. Hundreds of agents have been temporarily reassigned to low-level enforcement tasks, such as checking businesses for undocumented workers or locating foreigners who overstayed their visas. Some investigators’ travel has been curtailed, officials said; others have lost funds to pay informants.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb , 2019 2:37 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/431037-agencies-reduce-grazing-fees-for-federal-land
Quote:
Two federal agencies are cutting the fees that ranchers and other land managers pay them to graze their animals on public land.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Agriculture Department’s Forest Service announced Wednesday that the fees would be $1.35 for each month that an animal unit — one cow and calf, one horse, five sheep or five goats — grazes.

That’s a cut from last year’s $1.41 per animal unit, and it’s the lowest that federal law allows.


They were already getting a really nice deal, even under Obama, and now it's even better. The fees seem to have been dropping drastically under the Trump administration.
https://advocateswest.org/high-cost-of-cheap-grazing/
Quote:
It costs more to feed a domestic housecat than to graze domestic livestock on federal public lands.

This has generally been the case since the early 1900s, when the federal government first required ranchers to pay a fee for grazing their livestock on millions of acres of federal land, primarily in western states.

Each January the USDA Forest Service and the USDI Bureau of Land Management calculate what the federal grazing fee will be for that year. For 2017, it’s $1.87/animal unit month (AUM), down from $2.11/AUM in 2016. An AUM is the amount of forage that a cow and calf can eat in one month. This below-market subsidized federal grazing fee applies only to the eleven western states. Fees for grazing on National Forest System lands in the Midwest and East are closer to market value.

The federal land management agencies calculate the fee based on an arcane formula that favors the federal grazing permittee at the expense of the federal taxpayer. .... Because these indexes as used in the grazing fee formula could result in the grazing fee approaching $0/AUM, a floor of $1.35/AUM was included to prevent such an acute embarrassment.

...When the Government Accountability Office looked into the matter in 2005, it found that the federal government recovered in fees less than one-sixth of what it expended on public lands grazing...







More of Miller's attempts to reduce legal immigration, no doubt - make it harder for legal immigrant families to make ends meet. :
https://thehill.com/latino/431035-uscis-completes-proposal-to-end-work-visas-for-h1b-spouses-report
Quote:
U.S. Customs and Immigration Services completed a proposal to end work visas for spouses of temporary specialized foreign workers, Bloomberg Law reported Thursday. The reported proposal would eliminate H-4 work permits for spouses of people holding H-1B visas and waiting for green cards to become available.



Shanahan moves forward on Trump's wall. What else is interesting is that he seems to assume that we'll have a permanent military presence on the Mexican border. :
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/431065-pentagon-asks-dhs-to-justify-moving-funds-for-trumps-border-wall
Quote:
The Pentagon signaled Thursday that it has asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for a priorities list to justify using military funds to build President Trump's desired border wall. “We’ve asked DHS for input facts, data, priorities; we are waiting to receive those,” Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon.

“When we do, we will then ... match that with our mission analysis and begin the process I think I've described to many of you.”

The Military Times first reported Thursday that the Pentagon asked DHS for such a list in a Feb. 18 memo. The document asks for locations where border wall construction would improve the “effectiveness" of military troops deployed there.


https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/431040-attorney-representing-landowners-in-border-wall-fight-says-some-may-have-homes
Quote:
An attorney representing a group of landowners suing over the President Trump's national emergency declaration said Thursday that some could lose their homes or the ability to access their property if a wall goes up on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“They basically live in houses that back up to the river and Mexico is across the river, so building the wall may in fact end up having to have their houses torn down, potentially,” Public Citizen attorney Michael Kirkpatrick told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on Thursday.

Kirkpatrick said even if homes aren’t demolished, some landowners could still lose access to their land.




A commentary on Trump's latest monument to himself, the Space Force, by a former Secretary of the Navy and NASA administrator (under Bush). Since a new military branch would require Congress to do it, Trump decided to create the Space Force by executive order inside the Air Force:
https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/431090-so-far-creating-us-space-force-is-a-bureaucratic-mess
Quote:
Space Force is a bureaucratic mess in search of a problem
Quote:
If all this sounds like a swampy, bureaucratic exercise, that’s not an unfair conclusion to reach. If enacted, this directive will add an organizational overhead expense for this separation and will create countless bureaucratic fist fights over what goes into which part of this new Department of the Air Force enterprise.




Edit to addd:
https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/431168-trump-administration-bans-abortion-providers-referrals-in-federal-family
Quote:
Family planning clinics that provide abortions or refer patients for abortions will not be eligible for certain federal funds under a new rule finalized by the Trump administration Friday.

Under the rule, women's health clinics must be "physically and financially" separate from abortion providers to be eligible for Title X Family Planning grants, which fund organizations providing reproductive health services to low-income women.

Clinics will also not be allowed to refer women to other facilities for abortions, or promote or support abortion as a method of family planning.




https://thehill.com/policy/international/middle-east-north-africa/431144-un-nuclear-watchdog-iran-maintains-compliance
Quote:
The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog confirmed Friday that Iran remained within key parameters set in the 2015 nuclear pact it signed with the U.S. and other world powers.

The news that Iran is respecting the nuclear limits, contained in a confidential report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that was uncovered by Reuters, comes as the Trump administration has renewed U.S. sanctions on the country after deciding to withdraw from the deal last year.




https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/431138-new-york-has-prepared-paul-manafort-charges-incase-of-a-trump
Quote:
The New York County district attorney's office has prepared charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in case he receives a presidential pardon, Bloomberg News reported Friday.

...Manafort, 69, was convicted of eight bank and tax fraud charges over the summer in a criminal case that sprang from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Separately, he pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges in September for lobbying for politicians supportive of Russia in Ukraine.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb , 2019 2:16 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
The latest group to condemn Trump's declaration of a "national emergency" to get the funds Congress won't give him:
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/431465-58-ex-national-security-officials-rebuke-trump-over-emergency
Quote:
A group of former national security officials issued a joint letter Monday condemning President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to divert funds to build his wall on the southern border.

In the 13-page document, the former officials — including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano — argue that the president’s declaration undermines the purpose of the national declaration and will ultimately damage the country's security.

“We are aware of no emergency that remotely justifies such a step. The President’s actions are at odds with the overwhelming evidence in the public record, including the administration’s own data and estimates,” the letter reads.


https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/431499-wisconsin-governor-issues-order-pulling-national-guard-troops-from
Quote:
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) on Monday issued an executive order withdrawing the state's National Guard troops from the southern border.

..."There is simply not ample evidence to support the president’s contention of a national security crisis at our southwestern border. Therefore, there is no justification for the ongoing presence of Wisconsin National Guard personnel at the border," Evers said.
As the article says, the governors of New Mexico and California have also pulled Nation Guard troops from the border this month for the same reason. I read about other withdrawals from other states earlier, though they had a smaller presence at the border - I think, in one case, it was a helicopter crew the state pulled.

Meanwhile, there are THREE Republican senators who are saying they will support the bill rejecting Trump's pseudo-emergency. THREE people who are willing to put the country over their party - and in 2 cases, it may be as much politics as doing what's right. This is beyond disgusting.
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/431517-gop-sen-tillis-to-vote-for-resolution-blocking-trumps-emergency-declaration
Quote:
GOP Sen. Thom Tillis (N.C.) said on Monday that he will support a resolution to block President Trump's national emergency declaration on the U.S.-Mexico border.

...Tillis's decision comes a day before the House is expected to take up the resolution to block Trump's national emergency declaration. Because Democrats control that chamber, it's expected to pass and kick the fight to the Senate.

Tillis's decision puts Democrats on the brink of being able to block Trump's emergency declaration in the Senate. If the resolution of disapproval passes the Senate it will go to the president's desk, where he has said he will use his first veto.

...GOP Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are both viewed as likely yes votes, which would make Tillis the third Republican defector. Both Tillis and Collins are up for reelection in 2020 and viewed as targets as Democrats look for ways to pick up seats.






Interestingly, US allies are saying that the US has NOT given them actual evidence that Huwei products pose a risk and they're not going along with the US without that information. They're not saying the US is necessarily wrong; the US government just isn't trusted to tell the truth.
https://thehill.com/policy/technology/431484-us-allies-buck-trump-on-huawei
Quote:
The Trump administration's push to get U.S. allies to block Chinese firm Huawei from their next-generation wireless networks is facing skepticism from political and industry leaders in Europe.

At a major global industry conference this week in Barcelona, many are pushing back on U.S. claims that Huawei poses a national security threat. Industry players instead argue that a blanket ban on the Chinese telecom's hardware would set 5G deployments back years and inject more uncertainty into the rollouts.

Nick Read, the CEO of the British telecom giant Vodafone, told reporters ...“We need to have a fact-based risk-assessed review,” ... “People are saying things at the moment that are not grounded, I’m not saying that is the case for the U.S. because I have not met them directly myself so I have not seen what evidence they have, but they clearly need to present that evidence to the right bodies throughout Europe.”



It's one thing to say whatever you fancy as a private citizen. Quite another to do so as the US president. A recent GOP bill that Congress just rejected was nothing but propaganda, a solution in search of a problem, which would have injected more government bureaucracy into the practice of medicine. I suppose its real purpose was to scare more doctors into not performing abortions for fear of lawsuits from anti-abortion groups. But Trump is spewing lies again. :
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/431532-trump-claims-democrats-dont-mind-executing-babies-after-birth-after
Quote:
"Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children," Trump claimed on Twitter on Monday. "The Democrat position on abortion is now so extreme that they don’t mind executing babies AFTER birth."

....This will be remembered as one of the most shocking votes in the history of Congress. If there is one thing we should all agree on, it’s protecting the lives of innocent babies.


Info on the bill:
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/431504-democrats-block-abortion-bill-in-senate
Quote:
Senate Democrats blocked legislation on Monday meant to respond to a political firestorm sparked in Virginia over "late-term abortion." Senators voted 53-44 on the legislation from Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), which needed 60 votes to advance.

... The legislation would penalize doctors who fail to "exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion."

...Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who is Catholic, released a statement after the vote saying he opposed the bill because GOP statements about it are "misleading." "Congress reaffirmed that fact with its passage of the bipartisan Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in 2002. I support that law, which is still in effect. There is no need for additional federal legislation on this topic," Kaine said.



btw, Trump says he'll veto any vote for universal background checks for gun buyers. I thought he claimed he was for some gun control measures after one of the many mass shootings, but I could be wrong.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/431530-white-house-threatens-to-veto-background-check-bills
Quote:
The White House on Monday issued a statement warning that President Trump would veto proposed legislation to enhance background checks for gun purchases if it passes the House and Senate.

The legislation in question, H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112, would require universal background checks and close a so-called Charleston loophole that the shooter used in the 2015 massacre at a historic black church to buy a gun. One of the measures is a bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) and Pete King (R-N.Y.).

Both bills are expected to pass the House along party lines with limited support from Republicans when they vote on it this week. If the bills pass in the House, they would still need to be sent to the Republican-controlled Senate for approval before reaching Trump.




Edit to add:

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/431636-trump-to-hold-one-on-one-with-kim-on-first-day-of-vietnam-summit
Quote:
President Trump is slated to meet one-on-one Wednesday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the first night of their two-day summit in Vietnam.

The White House released Trump’s schedule for Wednesday, which shows the president greeting Kim at 6:30 p.m. local time at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi. Trump and Kim are then set to meet one-on-one for 20 minutes, followed by a “social dinner,” according to the White House.

The dinner is scheduled to last roughly an hour-and-a-half and conclude around 8:35 p.m. local time. Hanoi is 12 hours ahead of Washington, D.C.

The White House had previously indicated the two leaders would meet one-on-one during the president’s trip to Vietnam, but had not released specific times or details.


This article from an Asian news source has an interesting last paragraph:
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/02/article/stage-is-set-for-kim-trump-sequel-summit/
Quote:
Stage is set for Kim-Trump sequel summit

Vietnam has pulled all the commercial and repressive stops to stage the historic meeting
Quote:
On an overcast and damp morning, North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un arrived today (February 26) in Hanoi ahead of his highly anticipated second summit meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Central Hanoi’s streets were eerily quiet around the Melia Hotel where Kim will stay. The hotel is opposite the Government Guesthouse where the two leaders will meet on Wednesday and talks will wrap up on Thursday...

...The US is keen to portray Vietnam, whose economy has been growing at one of the fastest rates in the world in recent years, as a model for North Korea to replicate. The message is that, just like Vietnam, North Korea could experience rapid economic growth while maintaining its rigid one-party system and tyrannical control over society if it drops its pariah status and integrates with the global order.

True to form, Vietnam has shown that it will brook no dissent during the summit, restrictions that would make North Korean leader Kim feel at home and perhaps also appeal to Trump.



Also from The Asia Times, how Japan has been sidelined in the talks between Kim and Trump.
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/02/article/while-trump-presses-the-flesh-in-hanoi-abe-sits-on-the-sidelines/
Quote:
Japan’s prime minister won’t be on hand Wednesday when Trump and the North Korean dictator begin their second date. Trump did not include Abe in the proceedings. While Hanoi is a bilateral affair, Trump has totally disregarded Abe, who has made no secret of his desire to be at the summit with Kim.

This means Tokyo’s two biggest priorities are way out in left field: One is the fate of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in recent decades, the other is Kim’s short-range missile capabilities.

Team Abe, of course, harbors the same overarching worry about Trump’s odd bromance with Kim as the rest of humankind. While Trump has trumpeted Kim’s ongoing missile and nuclear test moratorium – something Tokyo is most certainly grateful for – the worry is that this will turn into an all carrots, no sticks affair that front-loads goodies for Kim with little reciprocity.

Trump’s embattled administration, meantime, is so desperate for a win on the global stage – not to mention a Nobel – that there’s no telling what he might give away...



https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/02/26/asia-pacific/politics-diplomacy-asia-pacific/singapore-dud-expectations-low-trump-looks-win-hanoi-summit-replay-kim/
Quote:
After Singapore dud, expectations low as Trump looks for win in Hanoi summit replay with Kim
Quote:
President Donald Trump will head into his second meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un having reframed what would make a successful summit, lowering expectations for Pyongyang’s denuclearization while eager to declare a flashy victory to offset the political turmoil he faces at home.

Trump was the driving force behind this week’s Vietnam summit, aiming to re-create the global spectacle of his first meeting with Kim, although that initial summit yielded few concrete results and the months that followed have produced little optimism about what will be achieved in the sequel.

...Kim, his world standing elevated after receiving an audience with a U.S. president, has yet to show a convincing sign that he is willing to deal away an arsenal that might provide a stronger guarantee of survival than whatever security assurance the United States could provide. The North Koreans have largely eschewed staff-level talks, pushing for discussions between Trump and Kim...

The Hanoi summit comes at a politically perilous time for Trump.... “Clearly, the president is looking for a win,” said Denmark. “The North Koreans know this and will likely expect President Trump to be looking to make an agreement with limited regard for its content.”


https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/02/24/asia-pacific/north-korea-state-media-slams-u-s-critics-trump-kim-summit/
Quote:
Pyongyang’s state media on Sunday slammed U.S. critics of the planned meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un a day after the North Korean leader boarded an armored train en route to the summit venue in Vietnam.

...The lack of progress since the first summit has fueled skepticism in Washington over the North’s intentions, with Trump’s own intelligence chief saying Pyongyang was unlikely to completely give up its weapons program.

But in a sharply-worded commentary issued Sunday, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency slammed U.S. critics and urged the Trump administration to seize “the rare historic opportunity.”

“The U.S. administration must not forget last year’s lesson when it plunged the bilateral negotiations into a stalemate, being swayed by the opponent forces,” it said. “If the upcoming DPRK-U.S. negotiations end without results as wished by the opponent forces, the U.S. people will never be cleared of the security threats,” it added.
North Korean state media is, of course, saying whatever Kim wants it to say.




Another Dept of the Interior deal comes to light:
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/431695-environmental-groups-challenge-plans-to-let-company-build-pipeline
Quote:
Conservationists are planning a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s decision to allow a company to build transmission lines and pipelines on federal lands in Utah.

...The Trump administration’s green-lit plan would let Enefit American Oil construct the U.S.’s first commercial-scale oil shale development if it were to become operational.

Part of the operations would include constructing three pipelines and two transmission lines across federal public lands to move processed oil from the shale facility to various utilities.

...The groups argue in their filing that the decision would violate the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and that BLM did not “adequately analyze how BLM’s approval of the rights-of-way — including indirect effects, the effects of interrelated or interdependent actions, and cumulative effects — would affect four endangered fish species, two rare plant species, and their critical habitat.”

The filing argues that the water pipeline approved by BLM would also “enable removal of up to 10,867 acre-feet per year of water from the Green River” for use at the oil shale facility.
Despite the name, Enefit American Oil is actually based in Estonia.





btw, one of Trump's staunch congressional allies just threatened Cohen, the day before his testimony to Congress:
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/431699-gop-lawmaker-asks-if-cohens-wife-will-remain-faithful-while-hes-in-prison
Quote:
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on Tuesday [tweeted]...

“Hey @MichaelCohen212 - Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?” The lawmaker tweeted. “Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…”

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 27 Feb , 2019 1:52 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
13 ethical House Republicans who are resisting Trump's power grab and want Congress to continue to control funding, as is laid out by the structure of the US government:
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/431746-13-house-republicans-who-bucked-trump-on-emergency-declaration
Quote:
Thirteen House Republicans bucked their party on Tuesday to vote for a measure that would overturn President Trump's declaration of an emergency at the southern border.

The resolution passed the Democratic-controlled House in a vote of 245-182, with all Democrats voting to send it to the Senate. The GOP-led Senate is expected to vote on the measure in the coming weeks.

House GOP leaders worked to limit defections heading into Tuesday's vote.





https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/431758-cohen-to-deliver-scathing-testimony-allege-trump-knew-stone-talked
Quote:
Michael Cohen is expected to deliver scathing and explosive testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday, calling President Trump a "conman," a "racist" and a "cheat," according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by The Hill.

..."I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat. He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of DNC emails," Cohen says in the prepared remarks.

"A lot of people have asked me about whether Mr. Trump knew about the release of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of time. The answer is yes," he continues.

Cohen claims that Trump spoke to Stone on speakerphone, and he overheard Stone saying that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was planning to dump emails in a couple days that "would damage Hillary Clinton's campaign."

"Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of 'wouldn't that be great,'" Cohen's prepared remarks say.


Nancy Pelosi's response to Congressman Gaetz's threat to Cohen is weak. No censure, just a vague "be careful about what you say" type comment:
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/431740-pelosi-says-ethics-committee-should-vigilantly-monitor-social-media-statements
Quote:
“I encourage all Members to be mindful that comments made on social media or in the press can adversely affect the ability of the House Committees to obtain the truthful and complete information necessary to fulfill their duties,” Pelosi said in a vague statement.

The Ethics Committee should monitor statements “which may not be protected by the speech or debate clause,” Pelosi said without naming a lawmaker.

...The Speaker’s comments came shortly after Gaetz, a Trump loyalist who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted about the president’s former lawyer.

“Hey @MichaelCohen212 - Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…” Gaetz wrote.


EDIT: Live coverage of Cohen's testimony, reporting below. Mark Meadows, head of the Freedom Caucus, already tried to stop ("delay") it and didn't succeed.
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/431764-live-coverage-michael-cohen-testifies-in-public-on-president-trump

There have apparently been some shockers already. Someone said that Cohen just claimed that Cohen's perjury was directed by Trump and cleared by Trump's other lawyers. Which, of course, implicates them in something illegal, too.


Video coverage here:
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/431795-watch-live-michael-cohen-testifies-on-capitol-hill

Another interesting tidbit - Trump told Cohen to threaten all of his schools and colleges against releasing his grades or SAT scores. Seriously, they were that bad?! I don't believe they could have released them in any case, for privacy reasons, but it's very revealing that Trump was so scared they might....
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/431810-cohen-trump-directed-me-to-threaten-high-school-colleges-not-to


Trump attempt to spin Cohen's testimony:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/431762-trump-knocks-cohen-ahead-of-house-testimony
Quote:
Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately). He had other clients also. He was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud. He did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!
Hmmm, well, considering that he was disbarred for lying and fraud at least partly because of what he did for Trump... ;)


That other rat, Guiliani, also sounds desperate to keep us from believing Cohen:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/431769-rudy-giuliani-anyone-who-believes-pathetic-cohen-testimony-is-a-fool
Quote:
"It’s pathetic. This is a lawyer who tapped (sic) his own client when he claimed he was being loyal. If you believe him you are a fool," Giulian, an attorney for President Trump, told The Washington Post.






The House Judiciary Committee is not letting former Acting Attorney General Whitaker off the hook with his evasions and useless answers the last time they questioned him
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/431745-house-judiciary-chair-says-whitaker-will-return-to-capitol-to-clarify
Quote:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker would return to Capitol Hill to clarify previous testimony.

"I want to thank Mr. Whitaker for volunteering to meet with us to clarify his ⁦@HouseJudiciary⁩ testimony, and I look forward to working with Ranking Member ⁦@RepDougCollins⁩ to schedule that meeting in the coming days," Nadler tweeted.

...The Justice Department said that Whitaker will meet with the committee privately, according to The Associated Press.





As I've said before, I don't think the Democratic leadership has any real interest in ridding us of Trump ASAP. They want Dear Leader to continue in office for political purposes.It seems that people close to Nancy Pelosi think the same thing:
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/431737-why-pelosi-is-unlikely-to-try-to-impeach-trump
Quote:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will soon have to make one of the biggest decisions of her political career: whether to impeach President Trump.

Starting impeachment proceedings seems unlikely to end in a Senate conviction given the two-thirds majority needed in a body Republicans control with a 53-47 majority.

That makes it a tricky political proposition, especially as Democrats eye a 2020 election they think could end the Trump era and leave Democrats in control of Congress and the White House. That scenario would leave Pelosi with the chance at scoring some sweeping policy achievements on health care and climate change in her last years in Washington.

People who have worked closely with Pelosi believe she will take the more pragmatic approach and not move to impeach Trump — barring a bombshell finding from special counsel Robert Mueller.

They say the Speaker is focused on the Democratic agenda ahead of the 2020 election. “Democrats like to govern,” a former leadership aide said.

The risk of impeachment is that it could backfire...
I saw an interesting comment the other day on a political board. The person called Trump a symptom of an illness in the US and not the cause. He/she also said we were relatively lucky that we got a vain and incompetent narcissist and not someone like Steve Bannon. I'm not entirely sure that's true, because the Bannon types seem to be manipulating Trump from the shadows and doing some serious damage to government institutions behind the scenes, but it's something to think about.



https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/thousands-migrant-children-allege-abuse-border-officials-190227132513602.html
Quote:
Thousands of migrant children stopped while trying to enter the United States say they were abused in the custody of US border authorities.

Their cases were the focus of a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports from Washington.




Complete reporting on Trump's meeting with Kim in Vietnam (includes reports of Trump's meetings with Vietnamese officials to sign trade deals. )
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/trump-kim-summit-vietnam-latest-updates-190225054914749.html
Quote:
Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam: All the latest updates

US and North Korean leaders meet in Hanoi for high-stakes summit, eight months after landmark meeting in Singapore.


https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/02/article/us-vietnam-in-a-warm-embrace-ahead-of-kim-trump-summit/
Quote:
On February 27, hours before Trump was set to meet with Kim for the first time this week, the US president and his Vietnamese counterpart oversaw the signing of three new airline deals between the two nations worth almost US$21 billion. This could go a long way to limiting the sizable trade deficit that exists between the two countries, an imbalance that has irked Trump since he entered the White House in 2017. Vietnam has become one of Washington’s main allies in Asia in recent years, while bilateral trade has boomed to $54.3 billion last year.

...Trump responded by praising Vietnam for its economic successes and stated that he is impressed by how much Hanoi has developed, even compared to his previous trip to Vietnam last year... “I also appreciate the fact that you are looking at much of our military equipment; we make the best military equipment in the world by far…And I know that’s a decision you’ll make.

...For Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party, it was most likely overjoyed that Trump at no point during their meetings is thought to have mentioned its human rights record, one of the worst in Asia, nor the fact it hasn’t engaged in a democratic election since 1975. “It’s shocking how human rights can be so easily trampled by an unscrupulous US President searching for favorable headlines in front of an exotic backdrop,” Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch’s deputy director for Asia, told Asia Times. “The Vietnam government is playing Trump like a fiddle.”
btw, Vietnam has close ties with Russia and mostly gets its weapons there.




These last articles are not Trump-related (except that we have the absence of competent leadership in the presidency) but I thought I'd share them since they provide insights on the current situation with India and Pakistan, including background such as the elections in India. There's one article on the latest strikes and retaliation, and one analysis. As far as I know, Trump has made no comments about the situation (Pompeo has urged restraint, though). Maybe it's just as well Trump is keeping his mouth shut so far.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/india-pakistan-tensions-latest-updates-190227063414443.html
Quote:
India-Pakistan tensions: All the latest updates

Tensions escalate between two archrivals after India bombed targets inside Pakistan following deadly Kashmir attack.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/war-coming-south-asia-190227102523463.html
Quote:
Is war coming to South Asia?

The confrontation between India and Pakistan could escalate further but war is not in anyone's interest




Edit (in addition to the Cohen testimony links above): Kushner and the Saudi prince are meeting again while everyone's attention is elsewhere. :
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/431803-kushner-meets-with-saudi-crown-prince-for-first-time-since-khashoggi
Quote:
President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner met this week with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the first time since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The White House said in a statement that Kushner and the crown prince “discussed increasing cooperation between the United States and Saudi Arabia” and “efforts to facilitate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians” during their meeting Tuesday in Saudi Arabia.

The statement made no mention of Khashoggi, whose killing in October 2018 inflamed tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

...Earlier this month, the White House missed a deadline imposed by Congress to identify all people behind the operation, including the crown prince, and decide whether to slap new sanctions on them under the Global Magnitsky Act. The White House justified the decision by saying the request overstepped separation of powers under the Constitution.



btw, one of the universities has confirmed that Cohen was truthful when he said he sent them a letter threatening legal action if they released Trump's grades, even after they confirmed by phone that grades are not released without the person's permission. I'm not sure whether we should be comparing Cohen to John Dean or to a mob boss's crooked confidant who has turned against him, but Cohen was surprisingly forthright and gave the media plenty of things to talk about today. Including telling Republicans that it's time they stopped enabling Trump as he (Cohen) did for 10 years. As far as the GOP, only Amash (Michigan??) seemed like an honest person interested in asking questions; the rest mostly seemed like they were there to try to muddy the waters and protect Trump by calling Cohen a liar. And yet it's likely that Cohen has nothing to gain now by lying; only by telling the truth.

Today's cartoon from The New Yorker. :)
https://www.newyorker.com/cartoons/daily-cartoon/wednesday-february-27th-north-korea-michael-cohen

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 28 Feb , 2019 4:59 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
Not surprisingly, the Trump-Kim summit was a bust. This is why experienced leaders usually wait until negotiators have actually worked out an agreement before they show up for a photo op. But I can't fault Trump for trying something different and for walking away when it was the right thing to do (it seems that for once he listened to advisers), though it did end up looking like amateur hour.
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/431958-trump-kim-summit-ends-with-no-agreement
Quote:
President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s second summit ended without any agreement Thursday. "Sometimes you have to walk," Trump said at a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. "This was just one of those times." Trump said the sticking point was sanctions, which Kim wanted lifted before taking all steps the United States was asking of him.


https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/02/article/north-korea-us-summit-collapses-without-agreement/
Quote:
North Korea-US summit collapses without agreement

Despite good vibes between Kim and Trump, the two sides may have attempted to do too much
Quote:
The much-anticipated North Korea-US summit in Hanoi summit ended early on Thursday in dramatic and unexpected fashion, with no agreement having been reached, no declaration signed, and no apparent road-map in place for future engagement...

...Analysts thought that the two sides bit off more than they could chew in Hanoi. Both [sides] from the beginning – their expectations were too high, they were too optimistic,” said Choi Jin-wook, a North Korea expert at Hankook University of Foreign Studies. “But I expected this kind of problem was going to happen after this summit,” rather than during it, he said.

A question mark now hangs over the future of the process of North Korea-US diplomatic engagement, which started so promisingly at the summit in Singapore last June....

Pundits will be watching closely what messages come out of North Korean state media in the hours and days ahead...

....“International engagement will be key,” said Akira Kawasaki of the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. “We cannot just let the two countries seize the matter; we cannot rely on two unstable men.”...




Trump does have a disturbing tendency to believe and support dictators:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/431985-trump-faces-criticism-for-comments-on-otto-warmbier
Quote:
President Trump took heat from both sides of the aisle on Thursday for saying he trusts that Kim Jong Un was not responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died after being imprisoned in North Korea.

At a press conference in Vietnam, Trump told reporters that Kim had denied involvement in Warmbier's death, "and I will take him at his word."

"He knew the case very well. But he knew it later,” Trump said of Kim. “And, you know, you’ve got a lot of people. Big country. Lot of people. And in those prisons and those camps, you have a lot of people. And some really bad things happened to Otto. Some really bad things.”
Don't try to make me believe that Kim doesn't know what happens to a citizen from another country. There's no way his subordinates would do anything without his approval if foreign governments are involved.




https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/state-department-rejects-37000-visas-due-travel-ban-190227210725292.html
Quote:
State Department rejects more than 37,000 visas due to travel ban
Quote:
The State Department refused more than 37,000 visa applications in 2018 due to the Trump administration's travel ban, up from less than 1,000 the previous year when the ban had not fully taken effect, according to agency data released on Tuesday.

The United States denies nearly four million visa applications a year for a variety of reasons. The data released on Tuesday was the first comprehensive look at the human effect of Republican President Donald Trump's ban, imposed shortly after he took office and initially blocked by federal courts.





An extensive look at the situation in Venezuela:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/sanctions-venezuela-intentions-190226124044497.html
Quote:
Sanctions, Venezuela, and US intentions

US says it wants to restore democracy, but critics argue Washington is worsening Venezuela's humanitarian crisis.
Quote:
The United States ramped up pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday, issuing new sanctions against the embattled leader's allies, and encouraging regional leaders to freeze assets of the country's state-owned oil company [PDVSA]......Monday's sanctions follow years of similar moves by the US designed to pressure on Maduro...

...PDVSA - the primary source of income and foreign currency for Maduro's government... plays a crucial role in keeping Maduro in power. ...

...According to Lucas Koerner, an editor and political analyst at Venezuelanalysis.com, the US has sought to overthrow the Venezuelan government partly because of the way Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez have used oil as an "instrument of countering US hegemony" in the Western Hemisphere. Beginning under Chavez, Venezuela helped create multilateral bodies that excluded the US...... It is also no secret that Chavez and Maduro have angered the US by seeking stronger economic relations with Iraq, China and Russia.

....In 2002, the administration of former US President George W Bush supported a failed military coup against Chavez...

...Food and medicine shortages have driven more than three million Venezuelans to flee the country in Latin America's largest-ever refugee exodus, which has put a strain on neighbouring countries. ...

...Former United Nations special rapporteur and international law expert, Alfred de Zayas said that US sanctions are "economic warfare", that have compounded a worsening humanitarian crisis and led to needless deaths. "Their sole purpose is to make Venezuela's economy fail and to force regime change," De Zayas told Al Jazeera.

...Meanwhile, the opposition says the country's humanitarian problems are the result of corruption and years of mismanagement by both Chavez and Maduro...

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 01 Mar , 2019 4:03 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/432033-senate-confirms-wheeler-to-lead-epa
Quote:
The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a 52-47 mostly party-line vote.

Every Democrat voted against Wheeler, while Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) was the only Republican to vote against him.

Collins in a statement Wednesday said she would not vote for Wheeler, a former energy lobbyist, because of his track record backing policies that weaken rules protecting air pollution and lowering car emissions.



https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/432119-trump-ordered-john-kelly-to-grant-kushner-security-clearance-ny-times
Quote:
President Trump reportedly ordered his former White House chief of staff John Kelly last year to grant a security clearance to his son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.

The New York Times reports that Trump ordered Kelly in May to override the security concerns of top U.S. officials and grant a top-secret clearance to Kushner, whose clearance had been downgraded from that level earlier in the year.

The report of Trump's order, which the Times said was documented at the time by Kelly in a memo, contradicts statements the president made to the newspaper last month in which he claimed he had no role in the reinstatement of his son-in-law's security clearance.




Trump is trying to spin his meeting with Kim in Vietnam. What happened there has been predicted by many people - North Korea has been doing this same dance for decades, and intelligence reports since Trump's "agreement" with Kim in Singapore have shown that his nuclear weapons program continues. Trump clearly hopes that Americans don't realize this and think he's done what other presidents couldn't.
https://thehill.com/policy/international/432169-trump-touts-substantive-negotiations-with-north-koreas-kim-after-hanoi
Quote:
President Trump on Friday celebrated what he called "substantive negotiations" with North Korea's Kim Jong Un after returning from his summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, without an agreement on further denuclearization or sanctions relief.

..."Great to be back from Vietnam, an amazing place. We had very substantive negotiations with Kim Jong Un - we know what they want and they know what we must have," the president wrote. "Relationship very good, let’s see what happens!"



btw, Trump's supporters' campaign to discredit Cohen seems to hinge on claiming he's been a liar and also implying that he's turned on Trump because he didn't get a White House job (an argument that falls down flat when you realize he continued to defend Trump for years after he wasn't given any position). Not one of them seems concerned about the fact that Trump HIRED this guy and kept him on for many years to do his dirty work. I suppose they're getting their tactics (attack and distract) from Trump, whose mentor was supposedly Roy Cohn.

Roy Cohn almost makes Michael Cohen look like a choirboy - something he certainly isn't. I'm quite sure the only reason we're now hearing the truth from Cohen is because he got caught and it's to his benefit to give evidence against his former boss. Though I imagine Trump throwing him under the bus may have given him an additional incentive. But Roy Cohn strikes me as evil.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/06/donald-trump-roy-cohn-relationship
Quote:
How Donald Trump and Roy Cohn’s Ruthless Symbiosis Changed America
In 1973, a brash young would-be developer from Queens met one of New York’s premier power brokers: Roy Cohn, whose name is still synonymous with the rise of McCarthyism and its dark political arts. With the ruthless attorney as a guide, Trump propelled himself into the city’s power circles and learned many of the tactics that would inexplicably lead him to the White House years later.


https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/trump-cries-joseph-mccarthy-style-witch-hunt-when-slamming-mueller-but-who-taught-trump-politics-1.6390176
Quote:
Trump Cries 'Joseph McCarthy Style Witch Hunt' When Slamming Mueller - but Who Taught Trump Politics?

Trump critics have long found similarities between Trump and McCarthy as they both regularly launched unfounded accusations against opponents as a means of discrediting critics and creating division



https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-to-understand-trump-understand-his-mentor/
Quote:
How did Donald Trump get to be the way he is? Many who have studied his past proffer advice on that question. Don’t forget, they say, the imprint left by Roy Cohn.
Quote:
If this President ever had much of a moral compass, his long-time ties to the odious litigator – a man Mr. Trump himself called brutal and vicious – did much to unburden him of it.

Roy Cohn’s name first became known when he was senator Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel during the campaign against alleged Communist sympathizers in the early 1950s. Mr. Cohn served as Mr. McCarthy’s henchman, specializing in character assassination. ...Following the disgraced red-baiting campaign, Mr. Cohn went on to become one of New York’s most ruthless, notorious lawyers. He hosted parties for celebrities and the rich and the infamous, including leading crime figures. There was a quip about the Cohn soirées: “If you’re indicted, you’re invited.”

From the early 1970s into the mid-1980s, he served as Mr. Trump’s cold-blooded legal counsel. Threats were at the core of Mr. Cohn’s legal strategy. Threats, counterattacks, intimidation.

...Mr. Cohn introduced Mr. Trump to Roger Stone, who had engaged in dirty tricks for Richard Nixon. Like Mr. Cohn, Mr. Stone was straight out of the admit-nothing-deny-everything school and, like Mr. Cohn, he became a close Trump associate.

...While mixing with the rich and famous, Mr. Cohn was acquitted three times in federal court on various charges including bribery, conspiracy and fraud. He always claimed he was a victim of vendettas, much as Mr. Trump does today in respect to the Russia file.

Note: Vanity Fair is a left-leaning US publication. Israel's Haaretz and the UK.'s Globe and Mail are not. MediaBiasFactCheck says the Globe and Mail leans center right and Haaretz center left.



This personal encounter between a young Canadian TV host and Roy Cohn, from Toronto Star, is also revealing:
https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/opinion/2018/07/06/the-day-i-faced-off-with-the-pitbull-lawyer-who-taught-trump-how-to-attack.html
Quote:
Roy Cohn’s icy crocodile eyes were boring holes in my face: “So where are all these interviews you lined up?” I had no interviews lined up. I froze. The scariest man in America was royally pissed. With me.

It was 1970. I was the hotshot young producer of a hot Canadian TV show, Under Attack, pitting fearless university students against the most fearsome characters of the day. And now, I thought, I had scored a major coup in snagging the redoubtable right hand of commie-scourging Sen. Joe McCarthy as a guest.

...“Did you think I wouldn’t notice that you had f---ed me over?” he snarled, “Did you really think you were going to get away with it?”

I was speechless. I couldn’t understand why he was so upset. To me it was just a prank. It was only later that I learned how critical this kind of publicity was to him. The most feared lawyer in New York, as they called him, had taken two days out of his very lucrative practice to come to Toronto. He didn’t give a damn about a Canadian TV show — he wanted big U.S. coverage because his notoriety fed his practice...

This is the guy who took Trump under his wing. That seems to say a good deal about Trump.






btw, this has to be one of Trump's stupidest attempts to backtrack after saying something idiotic (and getting Sarah Sanders to defend him on it, too):
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/432255-trump-says-his-remarks-on-warmbier-were-misinterpreted
Quote:
In a pair of tweets, Trump claimed that his initial comments at a Thursday news conference following his failed nuclear summit with Kim were “misinterpreted.”

I never like being misinterpreted, but especially when it comes to Otto Warmbier and his great family. Remember, I got Otto out along with three others. The previous Administration did nothing, and he was taken on their watch. Of course I hold North Korea responsible....

....for Otto’s mistreatment and death. Most important, Otto Warmbier will not have died in vain. Otto and his family have become a tremendous symbol of strong passion and strength, which will last for many years into the future. I love Otto and think of him often!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2019
Utterly disgusting - Trump loves Otto Warmbier, who he never knew, and he "did not die in vain"? May I ask what worthy goal he did die for? Because I sure as hell can't see any. He was just a kid who did something dumb in a country where you can pay with your life for trivial mistakes. Unless Trump thinks the worthy goal was that he's useful for making Trump look good via some pretty misleading bragging.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Sun 03 Mar , 2019 7:27 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
Trump rambles on, weirdly:
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/03/president-trump-repeatedly-veered-off-script-cpac/584014/
Quote:
The 7 Most Bewildering Moments From Trump’s CPAC Speech

The president rambled for more than two hours from the stage at the annual gathering of conservatives. One topic he avoided: Michael Cohen’s explosive testimony against him.
Even when he might have a point - for instance, the Green New Deal's plan to replace most flights with train travel is impractical at this point - Trump's mental processes and rambling are just bizarre.



https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/deported-parents-demand-return-their-children-u-s-custody-n978571
Quote:
Parents deported to Central America by U.S. immigration officials returned to the southern border Saturday to demand asylum and reunification with the children they were forced to leave behind.

The 29 parents, who were sent back to their home countries last year after crossing illegally into the U.S. with their children, traveled over the past month with immigration lawyers, religious leaders and other supporters in the hope of rejoining their kids.

A father at the border in Mexicali, Mexico, told MSNBC's Mariana Atencio that he waited for seven hours Saturday for information from U.S. immigration officials.

...The families have 27 children in U.S. custody, and the youngest is 5 years old.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 04 Mar , 2019 2:21 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
The New Yorker looks at the ties between Trump and Fox news. This article is already generating a lot of buzz. It covers a lot of ground, including that Trump told Gary Cohn, his economic adviser at the time, to pressure the Justice Department to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger. :
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/03/11/the-making-of-the-fox-news-white-house
Quote:
The Making of the Fox News White House
Fox News has always been partisan. But has it become propaganda?
Quote:
In January, during the longest government shutdown in America’s history, President Donald Trump rode in a motorcade through Hidalgo County, Texas, eventually stopping on a grassy bluff overlooking the Rio Grande. The White House wanted to dramatize what Trump was portraying as a national emergency: the need to build a wall along the Mexican border. ...But the photo op dramatized something else about the Administration. After members of the press pool got out of vans and headed over to where the President was about to speak, they noticed that Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, was already on location. Unlike them, he hadn’t been confined by the Secret Service, and was mingling with Administration officials...

Hannity was treated in Texas like a member of the Administration because he virtually is one. The same can be said of Fox’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch. ... in the past two years many people who watch the network closely, including some Fox alumni, say that it has evolved into something that hasn’t existed before in the United States. Nicole Hemmer, an assistant professor of Presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center... says of Fox, “It’s the closest we’ve come to having state TV.”...

Nothing has formalized the partnership between Fox and Trump more than the appointment, in July, 2018, of Bill Shine, the former co-president of Fox News, as director of communications and deputy chief of staff at the White House...

The Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, another conservative Never Trumper, used to appear on the network, but wouldn’t do so now. “Fox was begun as a good-faith effort to counter bias, but it’s morphed into something that is not even news,” she says. “It’s simply a mouthpiece for the President, repeating what the President says, no matter how false or contradictory.”...

Murdoch may be even closer to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Well-informed sources say that Kushner, an increasingly valued White House adviser, has worked hard to win over Murdoch, showing him respect and asking him for advice. ..

Any hopes that Fox would clean house after Ailes’s departure vanished on August 12, 2016, when Fox named two Ailes loyalists as co-presidents: Jack Abernethy, an executive who managed Fox’s local stations, and Bill Shine. The opinion side of Fox News, which Shine had run, had won out, as had his friend Sean Hannity....

Last June, after only six months of deliberation, the Trump Administration approved Fox’s bid to sell most of its entertainment assets to Disney, for seventy-one billion dollars. ...The Justice Department expressed no serious antitrust concerns, even though the combined company will reportedly account for half the box-office revenue in America. Trump publicly congratulated Murdoch even before the Justice Department signed off on the deal, and claimed that it would create jobs. In fact, the consolidation is projected to result in thousands of layoffs...

White House aides confirm that Trump has repeatedly walked away from compromises at the last moment because Fox hosts and guests opposed the deals. ...

This article reminds me of when one of their conservative personalities, Colonel Peters, resigned more than a year ago, with a blistering letter about Fox that was released to the media by some staffers.




https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/432397-trump-complains-my-generals-dont-understand-business-report
Quote:
President Trump is concerned that his generals and intelligence agencies don't consider business and economics in their intelligence analyses, The New York Times reported Sunday.

...Trump has reportedly requested that trade and economics be the focus of presentations from security officials, forcing some officials to think about the economic angles of international conflicts.
The moron doesn't even understand that their role is to present military perspectives and intelligence and he's supposed to get the economic aspects from others, then weigh everything and make an intelligent decision (not that Trump seems capable of that).



It looks like North Korea got something from the summit after all:
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/432395-trump-defends-decision-to-scrap-large-scale-military-exercises-with-south
Quote:
President Trump on Sunday defended the decision to cancel large-scale military exercises between U.S. and South Korean forces following his failed summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"The reason I do not want military drills with South Korea is to save hundreds of millions of dollars for the U.S. for which we are not reimbursed," Trump tweeted. "That was my position long before I became President. Also, reducing tensions with North Korea at this time is a good thing!"

...U.S. and South Korean defense officials announced Saturday that large joint military exercises between the two nations will end and be replaced by smaller scale activities

...National security adviser John Bolton on Sunday defended the decision to call off military exercises, disputing on CNN's "State of the Union" that it amounted to giving the North Koreans something without getting anything in return. "I don't see that there's any real difference between ... what the president decided in Singapore and now," Bolton said of the drills. "It's not like some new decision has been made. The president made the decision on the exercises back in the summer of last year, and those continue."


And it seems that we should thank Cohen's testimony, in part, for Trump abruptly abandoning the summit and not agreeing to a bad deal with Kim:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/432412-trump-points-to-dems-over-failure-of-north-korea-summit
Quote:
For the Democrats to interview in open hearings a convicted liar & fraudster, at the same time as the very important Nuclear Summit with North Korea, is perhaps a new low in American politics and may have contributed to the “walk.” Never done when a president is overseas. Shame!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2019




https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/03/trumps-use-ndas-unprecedented/583984/
Quote:
A new complaint before the American Arbitration Association reveals that the 2016 Trump campaign’s nondisclosure agreement (NDA) defined as confidential any information that “Mr. Trump insists remain private or confidential.” The gag on embarrassing Trump lasted not only “during the term of your service” but also “at all times thereafter.” Trump has taken his draconian contractual clauses with him to Washington. The White House staff NDA appears to impose penalties for any unauthorized revelation of confidential information, defined as “all nonpublic information I learn of or gain access to in the course of my official duties.” Such language is unprecedented—to use a word that’s getting a workout these days.

Other candidates have used NDAs, of course, including Hillary Clinton. But Trump’s campaign was unusual in that it required everyone, paid or unpaid, staffer or volunteer, to sign one. And the agreement was shockingly broad, basically prohibiting any criticism (or “disparagement,” as the contract puts it) of Trump, any Trump family member, and any entity, partnership, trust, or organization that, in whole or in part, was created by or for the benefit of Trump.

Other presidents have demanded discretion, too. Since the 1980s, presidents have required key staff to sign a form that mandates protection of information marked as classified. But, again, Trump’s NDAs push the envelope far beyond national security and sensitive policy details to all “nonpublic information.”...





https://thehill.com/policy/international/russia/432453-putin-officially-suspends-russias-compliance-with-arms-treaty
Quote:
Russian President Vladimir Putin officially ended his country's participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty Monday after the U.S. withdrew from the agreement last month. "The President signed an executive order suspending Russia's compliance with the INF Treaty," the Kremlin's official account tweeted Monday.

...Putin has said that if the U.S. places ground-based intermediate-range missiles in Europe, then Russia will retaliate."Russia will be forced to create and deploy types of weapons which can be used not only in respect of those territories from which the direct threat to us originates, but also in respect of those territories where the centers of decision making are located," Putin reportedly said in a meeting of Russian elites.
So, has Trump made us safer yet?

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 05 Mar , 2019 5:06 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-trade-war-us-removes-india-and-turkey-import-agreement-2019-3
Quote:
Trump moves his trade war to a new frontier as he kicks India and Turkey out of a $19 billion agreement
Quote:
The Trump administration says it is winding down a trade agreement with India after accusing the country's government of erecting unnecessary barriers to trade with the US.

About $5.6 billion worth of Indian goods enjoy duty-free entry into the US under an agreement known as a Generalized System of Preferences.

The program effectively exempts India, and many other nations, from tariffs on certain goods exported to the US. India is by far the biggest beneficiary of the agreement, which has been in place in some form since the mid-1970s...



https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/432701-cummings-blasts-white-house-for-failing-to-comply-with-security
Quote:
House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on Tuesday criticized the White House for failing to comply with requests for documents and interviews in connection with his panel’s probe into the Trump administration’s security clearance process.

Cummings, who said he would consult committee lawmakers to “determine our next steps” to obtain those materials, also released a new letter written by White House counsel Pat Cipollone ...

Cummings on Tuesday blasted the White House counsel’s argument as “[defying] the Constitutional separation of powers, decades of precedent before this Committee, and just plain common-sense.” “The White House appears to be arguing that Congress has no authority to examine decisions by the Executive Branch that impact our national security — even when the President’s former National Security Advisor has pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with foreign government officials,” Cummings said.


Dear Leader has also chimed in:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/432695-trump-signals-white-house-wont-comply-with-democratic-probes
Quote:
President Trump on Tuesday signaled the White House will not comply with a barrage of congressional investigations, accusing Democrats in the House of launching the probes to hurt his chances of winning reelection in 2020

....The president’s remarks suggest the White House could invoke executive privilege or take other measures to shield internal documents or discussions from Democratic-led panels investigating Trump’s administration, campaign and businesses.





https://thehill.com/policy/defense/operations/432735-former-service-secretaries-accuse-pentagon-of-deceiving-congress-on
Quote:
Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Army Secretary Eric Fanning – all from the Obama administration – said the Pentagon deceived Congress when officials who testified last week made “the untrue assertion that holding all service members to the same standards affords ‘special accommodations’ to transgender troops.”

“In seeking to justify President Trump's wrong-headed ban on transgender service members at a Congressional hearing last week, Defense Department officials made misleading claims,” the three write in a statement organized by the Palm Center.

“Under inclusive policy that is currently in effect, transgender service members must meet exactly the same fitness and deployability standards as everybody else, but the witnesses ignored data confirming the success of that policy.”

The three also agreed with a statement put out last week by more than 40 retired military officers, which said Trump’s policy “contradicts the actual judgment of both current and former senior military leaders, as well as medical research and the experiences our own military and of other militaries.”

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 06 Mar , 2019 8:17 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/432880-cohen-gave-intel-panel-docs-showing-edits-to-previous-false-statement
Quote:
President Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen reportedly gave the House Intelligence Committee documents showing edits to the false statement about the construction of a Trump Tower Moscow that he delivered to Congress in 2017.

Cohen said last Wednesday during his public testimony before a separate House panel that Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow edited his 2017 statement to the House and Senate intelligence committees in which he lied about the timing of a Trump Tower project in the Russian capital.

...During his explosive testimony last week, Cohen said the edits had to do with the timing of the Trump Tower discussions.
That has not been confirmed but seems likely - why else would he give them the edited documents except to confirm that he was telling the truth?


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/432871-trump-nixes-public-report-on-drone-strike-deaths
Quote:
President Trump on Wednesday ended an Obama-era requirement that the U.S. government publish an annual report on the number of people killed in drone strikes or other counterterrorism operations outside of war zones.

Trump issued an executive order revoking the requirement

...The use of drones in targeted anti-terror operations began under former President George W. Bush following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and was dramatically expanded by Obama, who viewed it as a way to fight extremists without a large-scale U.S. troop presence overseas.

But Obama drew criticism from human-rights groups and others over the hundreds of civilians who were killed in the strikes, as well as the 2011 killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who was allegedly working with al-Qaeda in Yemen. Obama adopted a number of reforms to the program during his second term, including the casualty reporting requirement.

After Trump took office, he expanded the use of drone strikes across the Middle East and in places like West Africa. The Trump administration expanded CIA’s drone mission in Niger and Libya after Obama had limited the agency’s involvement in lethal strikes, The New York Times reported in September.



No wonder Trump is resisting House oversight on security clearances. It sounds like he was directly involved in his daughter's security clearance as well as his son-in-law's. Contrary to his earlier denials.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/432777-trump-pressured-white-house-officials-to-grant-ivanka-trump-security
Quote:
President Trump pressured his former chief of staff John Kelly and former White House counsel Donald McGahn to grant his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump a security clearance over their recommendations, according to a new report.





https://thehill.com/policy/finance/432820-trade-deficit-soars-to-record-highs
Quote:
The annual U.S trade deficit reached a record high in 2018, despite President Trump’s efforts to reduce foreign purchases and steer consumers toward American-made products.
It sounds like there may be other factors involved, too, but I doubt his trade wars with everyone are helping.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 07 Mar , 2019 3:15 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1651
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/432969-Trump-admin-tracked-journalists-covering-migrant-caravan
Quote:
The U.S. government kept a database of journalists and activists who were associated with covering or raising awareness of one of the so-called migrant caravans last year, according to documents reviewed by NBC 7 San Diego.

...NBC 7 San Diego reported Wednesday that the journalists and activists who accompanied or monitored the caravan also were tracked by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and, in some instances, had alerts placed on their passports.

That list, titled "San Diego Sector Foreign Operations Branch: Migrant Caravan FY-2019 Suspected Organizers, Coordinators, Instigators, and Media,” reportedly is comprised of 59 individuals, many of whom are American citizens, according to NBC. It reportedly was created so border agents could stop and question specific people when they crossed the southern border.

NBC News further reported that at least 21 individuals in the database were arrested or questioned.




https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/433025-state-dept-cancels-award-for-journalist-who-criticized-trump-report
Quote:
A Finnish journalist says the U.S. State Department rescinded a journalism award given to her because she criticized the Trump administration.

Foreign Policy magazine reported Thursday that Jessikka Aro was initially notified by the State Department that she would be receiving the International Women of Courage Award, but that those plans were later scrapped...
“We regret this error. We admire Ms. Aro’s achievements as a journalist, which were the basis of U.S. Embassy Helsinki’s nomination,” a spokesperson told the magazine.

But an unnamed State Department official familiar with the discussions told Foreign Policy that Aro's award was rescinded over her past criticism of President Trump.



One of Trump's few decent picks is leaving:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/fda-chief-scott-gottlieb-steps-years-190305223114093.html
Quote:
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Scott Gottlieb said on Tuesday he plans to step down in a month, calling into question how the agency would handle critical issues such as e-cigarette use among teens and efforts to increase competition for prescription drugs.

...Gottlieb was well regarded and won bipartisan support for his efforts to curb the use of flavoured e-cigarettes among young people in the United States, speed approval times for cheap generic medicines to increase competition and bring down prescription drug prices and boost the use of cheaper versions of expensive biotech medicines, called biosimilars.

...Before becoming head of the FDA, he was a longtime healthcare investor and consultant who sat on multiple company boards. He surprised critics who worried about his ties to the pharmaceutical industry by speaking out about rising drug prices and drug companies' tactics to keep competitors off the market.

Gottlieb also sought to introduce the FDA into the drug pricing conversation, an unusual move for the agency, which typically oversees clinical trials and drug approvals.

One thing seems very odd:
Quote:
In January, Gottlieb said in a tweet that he did not plan to leave the agency after speculation that he planned to step down. "We've got a lot of important policy we'll advance this year," he wrote in the January tweet.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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