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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: 1577
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: 1577
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: 1577
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: 1577
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: 1577
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: 1577
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: 1577
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.




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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