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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 03 May , 2019 3:30 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1703
More on Trump's rules allowing medical providers to refuse treatment based on their personal beliefs:
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-abortion-conscience-rule-assisted-dying-trans-sterilisation-health-workers-religion-a8897961.html
Quote:
“The rule allows a very wide range of people – from the receptionist to the boards of hospitals and everyone in between – to deny a patient’s medical care if their personal beliefs get in the way,” said Fatima Goss Graves, the president of the National Women’s Law Centre.

Ms Goss Graves described the rule as not only tightening enforcement of civil rights laws, but also changing the balance of rights between patients and their clinicians.

...A series of civil rights laws has long protected health care workers from offering certain types of care that conflict with their religious beliefs. But the new regulation pulls together 25 separate laws – some dealing only with abortion services, some with advance directives, and many that had typically not been overseen by the department’s Office for Civil Rights – into one broad framework. It also protects workers who not only decline to provide care but also refuse to refer patients to someone who will provide it.

...Laws written in the 1970s to provide protections to workers who objected to sterilisation procedures, for example, are cited in the rule. The old laws were brought up in connection with recent cases about health care workers with religious objections to treating transgender patients.






https://thehill.com/policy/defense/441984-bolton-shanahan-pompeo-meet-at-pentagon-to-discuss-military-options-in
Quote:
Top members of President Trump’s national security team met at the Pentagon on Friday morning to discuss military options for the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, a senior administration official confirmed.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was joined at the Pentagon by national security advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the official confirmed.

National security officials also met Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issue.
No surprise. And I predict that most US media sources will uncritically jump on board in support, no matter their other criticisms of Trump. Because "patriotism." (yes, I'm cynical)


What looks like preparations for US military involvement may be in response to reports that Guaido doesn't seem to have been successful in getting the support of the Venezuelan military.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/venezuela-braces-rival-protests-crisis-intensifies-190501084427750.html
Quote:
"Despite the rise of a group of soldiers against Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan government continues to count on the decisive support of this sector, which allows it to continue to exercise the power in Venezuela," Carlos Pina, a political analyst in Venezuela, told Al Jazeera.

"The opposition has also recovered the street pulse, [with many] feeling encouraged by the return of Leopoldo Lopez to the political scene," he added. "Maduro still has a strong and organised structure of mobilisation of his bases, which has allowed his regime to counter the efforts of the opposition."

Javier Buenrostro, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, agreed, saying Wednesday's protests "won't generate change".

"The opposition is still betting on generating news," he told Al Jazeera. "But they haven’t yet achieved the popular support they need to force a change in the structure."



https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/venezuela-nicolas-maduro-military-juan-guaido-protests-coup-a8897381.html
Quote:
The Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has made a show of unity with his top military chiefs as the ruling socialists appear to have repulsed the latest US-backed attempts to remove the government.

Following two days of political unrest and violent protests, Mr Maduro visited an army base in Caracas, where he was surrounded by soldiers, including his defence minister and military operations chief.



https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/jon-lee-anderson-qa-covering-venezuela-poses-challenges-190501125517561.html
Quote:
Jon Lee Anderson Q&A: Covering Venezuela poses serious challenges

Journalist Jon Lee Anderson discusses how foreign interests and misinformation make it difficult to report on Venezuela.

btw, the US and Russia have already been giving each other warnings about getting involved - though both countries seem to be. China also supports Maduro, so this has ramifications beyond Venezuela.


And we have Trump - who reportedly pays little or no attention to briefings and has made so many stupid or belligerent choices - making the decisions.

_________________
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 06 May , 2019 3:45 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1703
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/05/article/markets-tumble-after-trumps-tariffs-bombshell/
Quote:
China-US trade talks hang by a thread

Asian markets go into meltdown mode after Trump warns of new tariffs threat
Quote:
In a few keystrokes, Trump put an accord between the world’s two leading economies at risk when he threatened to increase tariffs by 25% on Chinese imports worth US$200 billion if Beijing refuses to sign up to a detailed “enforcement mechanism.”

...Reaction from Beijing has been measured although round 11 of trade talks, which were due to start later this week in Washington between US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Vice-Premier Liu He’s team, hang in the balance.
US markets are not doing so well today either.


One perspective from an Asian paper:
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/05/article/trump-trade-war-2-0-is-asias-nightmare/
Quote:
Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling isn’t the bestseller in Asia it is in the US. But its fallout is written between the lines in bold font as Asian punters run for cover.

The threat posed by special counsel Mueller’s report is dawning on Donald Trump. The spike in impeachment talk in Washington is almost perfectly correlated with the US president’s Twitter tirades.

And now, it appears to have Trump lashing out overseas – from Venezuela to Iran to China.

Oil markets are gyrating over hints from John Bolton, Trump’s trigger-happy national security advisor, of military dramas to come in Caracas and Tehran. But tangible actions are already slapping Asian bourses around.

Case in point: an imminent boost in tariffs on Chinese goods....






https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/05/article/palestinian-camps-on-the-brink-amid-unrwa-cuts/
Quote:
Palestinian camps on the brink amid UNRWA cuts

US decision to cut support to the UN agency overseeing refugee camps in the Middle East has created a sense of desperation in one of the biggest camps in Jordan
Quote:
The deterioration began last August when US President Donald Trump ordered an end to his country’s $360-million annual contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

...In Baqa’a’s busy UNRWA-run health center... “We have only basic medicines here nowadays,” said one doctor, also on condition of anonymity. “We have no specialists and there’s a very limited amount we can do for people.”... Similar cuts have hit the camp’s schools...“When I started,” recalls Nemer Abu Ghanim, a retired teacher and member of the local camp committee, “there were about 20-25 teachers in my school. Now, there are eight.”

...last August, the US State Department announced that it viewed UNRWA as “irredeemably flawed,” and “unsustainable”, with Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner describing it as “corrupt” and “inefficient” – charges strenuously denied by the agency... Indeed, until recently, the US government itself “has consistently commended UNRWA’s high impact, transparency and accountability… reiterated during the UNRWA Commissioner General’s visit to Washington in November 2017,” he added.

...The US, meanwhile, has hiked up its financial squeeze on Palestinians elsewhere ahead of announcing its much-awaited plan for the Middle East.

...“Unfortunately,” said Azayzeh, “with all this going on, we see the Palestinians being pushed into a desperate situation. The result might be instability, perhaps even an explosion,” he said.
The Israeli-Palestinian situation has always been a mess, but Trump has been helping destabilize the region in many ways, from making political announcements no previous president thought wise to creating economic turmoil.



https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/442312-hundreds-of-former-prosecutors-say-trump-wouldve-been-charged-with
Quote:
Hundreds of former federal prosecutors have signed a letter asserting President Trump would have been charged with obstruction of justice if he didn't occupy the Oval Office. In Monday's letter, former Department of Justice (DOJ) officials said the evidence of obstruction as laid out in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was enough to bring forward an obstruction charge.

...The letter, first reported by The Washington Post, had almost 400 signatures as of Monday afternoon. It was organized by the group Protect Democracy.

Among the letter's notable signatories are former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R), who is challenging Trump for the GOP nomination in 2020, and Paul Rosenzweig, who was senior counsel to former independent counsel Ken Starr.

_________________
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 07 May , 2019 5:26 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1703
More from one of the former Dept of Justice prosecutors who signed that letter:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/05/i-worked-ken-starr-and-i-signed-doj-letter/588907/
Quote:
Twenty years ago, I held President Clinton accountable. That’s why I joined hundreds of prosecutors to say that Trump has obstructed justice.
Quote:
Earlier this week, I signed a letter (along with a growing number—now more than 600—of other former federal prosecutors) expressing the view that the facts recounted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report to Attorney General William Barr were in many cases (the letter lists three) sufficient to have warranted criminal charges against President Trump for obstruction of justice. For me the question was one of intellectual consistency. Having held President Clinton to this standard 20 years ago I could not, in good conscience, decline to apply the same standard to President Trump...


btw, the number of signatories continues to grow:
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/442537-list-of-former-federal-prosecutors-accusing-trump-of-obstruction
Quote:
The open letter organized by the nonprofit group Protect Democracy had roughly 400 signatures when it was initially posted Monday afternoon on Medium. The letter neared 700 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon.


https://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/442437-mcconnell-to-declare-case-closed-on-mueller-report
Quote:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will declare on Tuesday that it's time to move on from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, summarizing the two-year probe as "case closed."





One of the rare occasions when a US soldier was actually held accountable for a war crime (and, I assume, for disobeying his superior officers). And Trump pardons him.
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/442401-trump-pardons-ex-soldier-convicted-of-killing-iraqi-prisoner
Quote:
The White House released a statement announcing Trump's decision to pardon Michael Behenna, who was sentenced in 2009 to 15 years for shooting and killing Ali Mansur Mohamed.

...Prosecutors argued Behenna shot and killed Mansur, an alleged al Qaeda operative, in the desert in 2008 in retaliation for an improvised explosive device (IED) attack. Mansur had previously been ordered released because of a lack of evidence of his connection to the terrorist group, and Behenna reportedly killed him while returning him to his hometown after attempting to question him about the IED attack.


https://thehill.com/homenews/house/442374-25-dems-ask-federal-appeals-court-to-invalidate-trump-pardon-of-arpaio
Quote:
A group of 25 Democratic lawmakers are calling on a federal appeals court in California to invalidate President Trump's pardon of Arizona's controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The lawmakers, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), filed the brief last week, arguing that the presidential pardon “is an encroachment by the Executive on the independence of the Judiciary.”
I doubt they'll get anywhere. As far as I know, there are no restrictions on Trump pardoning as many crooks, criminals and assholes as he likes.




https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/442490-white-house-orders-mcgahn-to-defy-house-subpoena
Quote:
White House orders McGahn to defy House subpoena
Quote:
The White House has ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn not to turn over documents to Congress because President Trump may exert executive privilege to block their release.






https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/442452-economists-quit-trump-admin-after-their-studies-showed-tariffs-hurt
Quote:
Trump administration economists are quitting their jobs, saying they've faced retaliation for publishing reports highlighting how President Trump's tariffs and other trade policies have hurt farmers, Politico reports.

Six economists in the Agriculture Department's (USDA) research branch quit the Trump administration in a single day late last month and more are reportedly planning to leave. The exodus comes after the Economic Research Service (ERS) published findings that painted the new Republican tax law, Trump's trade disputes and other policy decisions as hurting American farmers financially.

A recent report shows a drop in farmers' income by about 50 percent since 2013, and says slightly more than half of farm households have faced negative farm income in recent years, forcing them to rely on other sources of income to support their families.




https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/442448-us-refused-to-sign-arctic-agreement-over-climate-change-wording
Quote:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left a Tuesday meeting of the Arctic Council without signing an agreement to manage resources... The council brings together the eight nations that border the Arctic, tasking them with crafting a two-year agreement for sustainably developing oil and gas in the region in light of the challenges posed by global warming.

But the U.S. chose not to sign on to the agreement because of misgivings over describing climate change as a serious threat to the Arctics...
This council was formed in 1996 and no country has ever done this before. Nor do we gain anything by it.

EDIT: There's more...
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/07/mike-pompeo-canada-northwest-passage-illegitimate
Quote:
Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, has rejected Canada’s claims to the Northwest Passage as “illegitimate”, in a high-profile foreign policy speech that prompted frustration and surprise among experts and government officials...

Michael Byers, a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia and author of International Law and the Arctic, said Pompeo’s remarks were consistent with US policy. But he said the “belligerent” speech contained numerous,“factual mistakes and logical and consistencies”....





https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/05/trump-china-trade-could-end-trade-war-wont/588880/
Quote:
The U.S.-China Trade Talks Have Already Changed the World

The trade talks may end. But the trade war will never die.
Quote:
Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, is no one’s idea of an optimist. ...

Pessimism won the day on Monday, when Lighthizer and Mnuchin announced that the U.S. would execute President Donald Trump’s recent threat to raise tariffs on China once again. The punitive action in the midst of a negotiation was a departure from Trump’s generally optimistic tone about the talks, but it was a return to form for Lighthizer, an experienced negotiator with a reputation for brinksmanship. China, he believes, poses a grave danger to Americans’ way of life. ...

The trouble with the administration’s plans is that China doesn’t really want to do most of the things America wants it to, other than buying U.S. goods. (China was buying lots of American soybeans until Trump imposed his tariffs; Beijing switched to Brazil and other suppliers as punishment.) The Chinese Communist Party stays in power by giving its people an ever-growing promise of a better life. Changes to the country’s economic model are no small thing, especially when they’re demanded by outsiders...

A crucial moment for the talks came in April, when Mnuchin said that the U.S. and China had “pretty much agreed” to create a mechanism to enforce the deal....Both sides would agree to let the other police the deal. The trouble with that plan is that it cuts against everything Lighthizer and his hawkish allies believe about America’s role in the global economy. In their telling, China has been plundering the American economy since at least its entry into the WTO, in 2001. Letting China monitor the U.S. would be something of an insult to the American workers the negotiators say they’re defending...







Not Trump but clearly Trump-inspired:
https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/442410-drone-drops-anti-media-swastika-flyers-outside-ariana-grande-concert
Quote:
A drone dropped flyers featuring swastikas and slogans such as “the press is the enemy” outside an Ariana Grande concert and at a Sacramento State University event, according to the campus paper, the State Hornet.

The drone dropped the flyers on both sides of the Guy West Bridge around 6:30 p.m. on Friday during the university's annual “Bites on the Bridge” Farm-to-Fork dinner, according to the Hornet.




https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/442444-judge-rules-epa-must-enforce-obama-era-landfill-pollution-regs
Quote:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must begin enforcing pollution regulations that were set for landfills under the Obama administration.

Haywood Gilliam Jr., a U.S. district judge in Northern California, sided with California and seven other states late Monday, ordering the EPA to begin reviewing state plans for reducing pollution from landfills...Gilliam said the EPA was long overdue in meeting its obligations and ordered the agency to review state proposals and begin promulgating regulations by fall.




https://thehill.com/policy/international/europe/442447-pompeo-canceling-berlin-visit-due-to-pressing-issues
Quote:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has canceled a visit to Berlin due to "pressing issues" and is expected to reschedule his meeting there.

My guess is Venezuela (Guaido's recent attempt to overthrow Maduro has failed and Trump, Bolton, Pompeo et al are clearly not happy) and/or the increasing US tensions with Iran as the Trump administration continues to provoke them.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/05/iran-could-hit-back-boltons-us-carrier-move/588826/
Quote:
The Many Ways Iran Could Target the United States

The White House is citing unspecified threats from Iran. The specifics are murky, but the potential for escalation is real.
Quote:
“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime,” National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a Sunday-night statement* announcing that U.S. warships were headed to the Middle East. But “any attack on United States interests or those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

In the year since President Donald Trump left the Iran nuclear deal, his administration has steadily ratcheted up economic pressure against the Iranian regime...With Sunday’s announcement, though, Bolton invoked unspecified Iranian threats to the U.S. and its regional allies, while hinting at a more serious step: the threat of violence.

Bolton’s announcement could ultimately represent just that: a threat. But the announcement fit the harsh tone of an administration that has repeatedly demanded behavior change from Iran...

... the dynamics of the region, and especially how deeply entrenched both Iranian and U.S. forces are there, have left the Iranians with plenty of opportunities to harass America and its allies if they choose.

... Wasser wrote that U.S. military strategy now calls for more unpredictability to confront rivals like Iran. ..As harsh rhetoric escalates on both sides, so does the potential for miscalculation

*Yeah, right. Bolton has been arguing for war with Iran for a long time.



https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/countingthecost/2019/05/trump-iran-oil-gamble-affect-global-economy-190504073832283.html
Quote:
US President Donald Trump's attempts to make Iran abandon its nuclear ambitions and change its foreign policy is fraught with danger. After ripping up a nuclear agreement with Tehran, Trump is forcing China, India and Turkey to end imports of crude from the Islamic Republic.

Trump is gambling that there is enough oil from the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to fill the void. But he is betting the world's economy that events in the "shaky six" - nations with troubled political climates such as Algeria, Angola, Libya, Iran, Nigeria and Venezuela - do not spiral out of control.

So what will the impact be on the global economy?

If Iran carries out its threat to blockade the Strait of Hormuz, or if oil stops flowing from other hotspots, like Libya and Venezuela, there will be a number of consequences...



Edit:
btw, for those who don't know, the history between the US and Iran is NOT a black-and-white-one of the US always being the good guys and Iran the evil one.
https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/08/26/exclusive-cia-files-prove-america-helped-saddam-as-he-gassed-iran/
Quote:
Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran
The U.S. knew Hussein was launching some of the worst chemical attacks in history -- and still gave him a hand.
Quote:
U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent. The intelligence included imagery and maps about Iranian troop movements, as well as the locations of Iranian logistics facilities and details about Iranian air defenses. The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq’s favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration’s long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed. But they were also the last in a series of chemical strikes stretching back several years that the Reagan administration knew about and didn’t disclose.

...In contrast to today’s wrenching debate over whether the United States should intervene to stop alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, the United States applied a cold calculus three decades ago to Hussein’s widespread use of chemical weapons against his enemies and his own people. The Reagan administration decided that it was better to let the attacks continue if they might turn the tide of the war. And even if they were discovered, the CIA wagered that international outrage and condemnation would be muted.

In the documents, the CIA said that Iran might not discover persuasive evidence of the weapons’ use — even though the agency possessed it. Also, the agency noted that the Soviet Union had previously used chemical agents in Afghanistan and suffered few repercussions.



https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/06/20/64-years-later-cia-finally-releases-details-of-iranian-coup-iran-tehran-oil/
Quote:
Declassified documents released last week shed light on the Central Intelligence Agency’s central role in the 1953 coup that brought down Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh, fueling a surge of nationalism which culminated in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and poisoning U.S.-Iran relations into the 21st century.

The approximately 1,000 pages of documents also reveal for the first time the details of how the CIA attempted to call off the failing coup — only to be salvaged at the last minute by an insubordinate spy on the ground.

Known as Operation Ajax, the CIA plot was ultimately about oil...


This put in power the Shah of Iran.
https://www.pri.org/stories/2004-10-26/us-and-iran-part-ii-shah-and-revolution
Quote:
After the 1953 coup, the United States lost no time in shoring up the Shah's regime. Washington poured money into Iran for economic recovery. It began providing military aid. The United States took one other fateful step: it sent CIA experts to Iran to train a new intelligence agency. That agency grew into the Shah's notorious secret police force, SAVAK

_________________
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 Tue 07 May , 2019 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 07 May , 2019 7:31 pm 
Aspiring to heresy
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Location: Canada
Is a presidential pardon irrevocable? I thought the pardoning of Arpaio was execrable, but I think reversing it would cause more problems than it solves - it would mean that everyone who gets pardoned, including those who actually deserve it, will have to spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulder to see if they get "unpardoned" whenever a regime changes.

Thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 07 May , 2019 9:17 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1703
I have no idea. Previous presidents have made some controversial pardons, though, and, as far as I know, no one made any effort to nullify them. So I always assumed pardons were not reversible.

Though I have to admit that I wouldn't weep if Arpaio - or Scooter Libby, for that matter - was "unpardoned." I was also skeptical of that pardon the media praised so much, the "grandmother" who was portrayed as a first time non-violent drug offender, implying that she was some small-time operator who made a single mistake. Someone pulled up the original local news reports (they're old and not online so are not widely available) and she apparently ran a huge drug operation. Maybe she wasn't violent but I'd be willing to bet that her subordinates were. Not to mention that the Justice Dept examined her case when Obama was considering who to pardon and decided not to recommend her. That raises more concerns for me.


btw, I agree with you that a pardon that can be reversed seems wrong. But Trump is also making it obvious that the power to pardon can be abused. Maybe what we need is a formal system where pardons cannot be made by a single person.



And there's some interesting news about Jerry Falwell,who is such a staunch Trump supporter.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-politics-falwell-exclusive/exclusive-trump-fixer-cohen-says-he-helped-falwell-handle-racy-photos-idUSKCN1SD2JG
Quote:
Exclusive: Trump fixer Cohen says he helped Falwell handle racy photos
Quote:
Falwell, president of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest Christian universities, said someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy “personal” photographs — the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife,” Cohen said in the taped conversation.

According to a source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the person who possessed the photos destroyed them after Cohen intervened on the Falwells’ behalf.

...Cohen would later prove successful in another matter involving Falwell, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Cohen helped persuade Falwell to issue his endorsement of Trump’s presidential candidacy at a critical moment, they said: just before the Iowa caucuses. Falwell subsequently barnstormed with Trump and vouched for the candidate’s Christian virtues.

Reuters has no evidence that Falwell’s endorsement of Trump was related to Cohen’s involvement in the photo matter. The source familiar with Cohen’s thinking insisted the endorsement and the help with the photographs were separate issues.
Sure, and I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

_________________
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 08 May , 2019 1:00 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1703
The consequences of Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran agreement are starting to be felt:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/iran-announces-partial-withdrawal-2015-nuclear-deal-190508052804798.html
Quote:
Iran will resume high-level enrichment of uranium if world powers do not keep their promises under a 2015 nuclear agreement.... [President Rouhani [said].the remaining signatories - the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia - had 60 days to implement their promises to protect Iran's oil and banking sectors from US sanctions.

...Rouhani also announced that Iran would roll back some of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, saying it would keep excess enriched uranium, instead of selling it...

In response to the Iranian move, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed not to allow Iran to acquire nuclear arms....


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/world-reacts-iran-decision-abandon-parts-nuclear-deal-190508102055343.html
Quote:
World reacts to Iran's decision to abandon parts of nuclear deal

China, Russia and Israel among first countries to react to Tehran's decision to lift cap on uranium enrichment.


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/pompeo-surprise-iraq-visit-rising-iran-tensions-190508034718722.html
Quote:
The top diplomat of the United States has made an unannounced visit to Iraq, underlining Washington's efforts to stand up its ties with Baghdad as it pushes ahead with its "maximum pressure" against Tehran - a US arch foe but an ally of neighbouring Iraq.

Mike Pompeo on Tuesday suddenly cancelled talks in Germany and made a long detour from a European tour to spend four hours in Iraq, where he met both President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

"We talked to them about the importance of Iraq ensuring that it's able to adequately protect Americans in their country," the US secretary of state told reporters after the meetings. "They both provided assurances that they understood that was their responsibility," he said.
That's the part for public consumption. I doubt that was all that was said.


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/carrier-middle-east-credible-iran-threat-pentagon-190506194124855.html
Quote:
Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said on Monday that he had approved sending a carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East because of indications of a "credible threat by Iranian regime forces".... "We call on the Iranian regime to cease all provocation. We will hold the Iranian regime accountable for any attack on US forces or our interests," he added.

Shanahan in his tweet provided no details on the threat.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Sunday that the United States was deploying the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East to send a message to Iran....

...Three US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters News Agency on Monday that "multiple, credible threats" picked up by intelligence were primarily against US forces in Iraq by Iran and its proxy forces. They said there was also concern about US forces in Syria and in the waters nearby...


https://thehill.com/policy/defense/442678-white-house-official-promises-more-iran-sanctions-very-soon
Quote:
The Trump administration will impose more sanctions on Iran “very soon,” a senior White House official said Wednesday, hours after the nation announced its intention to stop complying with parts of the nuclear deal.

“Expect more sanctions soon,” Tim Morrison, the National Security Council’s senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense, said at a Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Very soon.”


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/iran-tensions-escalate-trump-imposes-sanctions-190508155445230.html
Quote:
The United States announced harsh new sanctions on Iran as tensions surge between the decades-long rivals. President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Wednesday to sanction Iran's steel, aluminium, copper and iron sectors, which provide crucial foreign currency earnings for its crippled economy. Trump also threatened further action unless Tehran "fundamentally" changed its behaviour.



So all the pieces are in place and the posturing and propaganda have begun. And, of course, Donald Trump faces domestic troubles, always a good reason to get the news media behind you with a good war. I have a bad feeling about this.




https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/442635-doj-tells-house-judiciary-to-cancel-contempt-vote-or-it-will-ask
Quote:
The Department of Justice (DOJ) says it will ask President Trump to invoke executive privilege over the Mueller report if the House Judiciary Committee goes through with its threat to vote on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd in a letter on Tuesday to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) threatened to turn to the presidential power on the eve of the contempt markup before the panel, a move that is certain to deepen the agency’s feud with Capitol Hill.


Edit:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/442674-trump-exerts-executive-privilege-over-mueller-report
Quote:
The White House on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, ramping up its clash with Congress over its investigations into President Trump.... [which] could trigger a legal challenge that may take months to resolve.

...“Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the attorney general’s request, the president has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. Trump’s efforts to stonewall congressional investigators have provoked top Democrats, to the delight of campaign advisers who believe the probes could backfire and boost the president’s chances of reelection in 2020.

...Barr has allowed a select group of lawmakers to review a less-redacted version of the report in a secure area, provided they don’t discuss its contents, but has refused to give the committee his blessing to petition a court for the release of grand jury material.

Democrats have described his offer as unacceptable, demanding more members have access to the full special counsel’s report and the evidence Mueller collected in his 22-month investigation.
It looks like Barr is using delaying tactics to protect Trump again, as he did with the Mueller report. btw, I've heard that "provided they don't discuss the contents" doesn't just mean "don't leak it to the press" but even that they can't talk about it with other members of Congress, including the judiciary committee. So it sounds like any information they gain would be useless in any practical sense.




Also, it looks like the US-China trade talks have broken down (not surprising if you read The Atlantic's analysis). It seems the US was demanding too much without enough leverage and without getting other countries on board as well. This is apparently why Trump is threatening new tariffs, which seems to be all he knows how to do, in terms of the economy. Besides force out the USDA economists who tell him inconvenient truths about the effects of his tariffs, of course:
https://thehill.com/policy/international/442642-china-reverses-on-key-parts-of-us-trade-deal-report
Quote:
Chinese negotiators reportedly walked back key terms of a trade agreement hammered out with their Washington counterparts, sparking a tweet threatening tariffs from President Trump.

Reuters reported Wednesday that U.S. officials received a cable from Beijing on Friday that contained numerous edits to the previously agreed upon terms, prompting complaints that China was attempting to abandon its promise to address issues such as theft of trade secrets and intellectual property.

....Chinese sources contended that Beijing's commitment to changing its laws could not be part of the agreement, according to Reuters, despite the two sides previously agreeing to binding language that would force China to abandon laws that allow for unfair trade practices.


Expect the price of tomatoes to go up, too. Trump is putting tariffs on Mexico as well.
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/442569-study-tomato-prices-could-soar-under-new-tariff-on-mexican-imports
Quote:
Tomato prices are set to see a major hike starting Tuesday, as the Commerce Department exited an anti-dumping treaty and imposed a 17.5 percent tariff on Mexican tomato imports.

...The Commerce Department gave the legal 90-day notice that the U.S. would nix the 2013 Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico, originally struck in 1996 to suspend an American investigation into Mexican tomato dumping.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is promoting this as a negotiating tactic.


btw, just in case we don't have enough enemies, we're doing our best to aggravate Canadians too:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/somnia-1.5125009
Quote:
The Trump administration fired two warning shots last year over the Liberal government's long-delayed plan to replace Canada's CF-18 fighters, saying the procurement process discriminates against the Lockheed-Martin-built F-35 stealth jet, according to a new academic report.

The study by a researcher at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) cites leaked Pentagon letters written last summer and late fall to officials at Public Services and Procurement Canada.

The report, released Monday, largely blames the Liberal government for the delays in the procurement, while making only a passing reference to the inability of the former Conservative government to deliver on the same program...






And there will be circuses for the masses, to distract from the threats of war, economic losses and a Justice Department that Trump seems to have brought fully under his control...
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/442634-trump-touts-big-fireworks-returning-to-mt-rushmore-for-july-4
Quote:
I am pleased to inform you that THE BIG FIREWORKS, after many years of not having any, are coming back to beautiful Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Great work @GovKristiNoem and @SecBernhardt! #MAGA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2019


...The fireworks show was discontinued after 2009 due to concerns over a pine beetle infestation in the Black Hills National Forest, but Noem said Tuesday the forest had gained strength and that pyrotechnic advancements would help ensure a safe fireworks display.






EDIT:

https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/442787-trump-admin-to-challenge-authority-of-district-judges-to-issue
Quote:
Vice President Pence on Wednesday announced that the Trump administration will challenge the ability of federal district court judges to issue nation-wide injunctions.

Pence argued to supporters at an event hosted by the conservative Federalist Society that the Trump administration has been “unfairly” targeted by injunctions issued by lower courts. The vice president said that in the coming days, administration officials will seek pathways to put the issue before the Supreme Court.

And the Federalist Society's hand-picked Supreme Court justices might agree with them. Say good-bye to any hope of restraining the destruction caused by this damned wrecking ball of a presidency if that happens. I thought Pence might have a few brain cells and the ability to act like an adult (except about religious matters, where he's an extremist loon) but I was wrong. He's as nasty and destructive to American norms and political balance as Trump, if not quite as ignorant and arrogant.



https://thehill.com/homenews/house/442675-house-panel-votes-to-hold-barr-in-contempt-escalating-feud
Quote:
The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress...In a 24-16 vote, Democrats made a formal recommendation that the House hold Barr in contempt for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena for Mueller's full un-redacted report and underlying documents.

It’s unclear when the contempt resolution will advance to the House floor for a full vote, though House leaders have expressed support for it.



https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/442782-senate-panel-subpoenas-donald-trump-jr-report
Quote:
The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. in relation to his previous testimony to Senate investigators, the first known congressional subpoena to one of President Trump’s children.
This is because it looks like Trump Jr lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee in his previous testimony. He claimed he was only “peripherally aware” that his father planned to expand his businesses into Russia. That was, of course, highly unlikely. But now the House has actual evidence to question Trump's son again, after Michael Cohen testified to Congress that Junior was much more involved in the project.

I expect Trump to fly into a rage soon and look for ways to get his revenge, now that his thuggish offspring may face consequences that Dear Leader is sheltered from by being president.



https://thehill.com/latino/442773-aid-group-files-claim-accusing-ice-private-prison-of-blocking-migrants-legal-access
Quote:
A legal aid group for immigrants filed a formal complaint with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), claiming that the agency is working with a private prison corporation to restrict migrant access to its legal services at a Texas detention facility.

RAICES Texas filed the complaint, dated Tuesday, saying its visits to the Karnes County detention center are being restricted by ICE and GEO Group. It said in the complaint that as of Monday, 42 people were waiting to meet with RAICES volunteers.
Not the first time Dear Leader's DHS has tried to restrict migrants' legal rights.



btw, I just became aware of this article from January:
https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/bolton-and-the-deepening-iran-obsession
Quote:
John Bolton has added a new hard-line Iran hawk to the National Security Council. Curt Mills reports on the hiring of Richard Goldberg from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD)...Goldberg has been a leading opponent of the nuclear deal and a fanatical advocate for enforcing new sanctions on Iran and anyone that does business with them. Bringing Goldberg into the administration is a sign that the Iran obsession is getting worse, and by making him the “Director for Countering Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction” Bolton is promoting the fiction that there are Iranian WMDs to be countered.
So it seems we may now have both a "Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Biodefense" and a “Director for Countering Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction” on the Security Council? I'll make a safe bet, though, that there is no "Minister to Counter Saudi Arabian Torture Squads and Nuclear Ambitions."

(https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/the-american-conservative/ The American Conservative: RIGHT-CENTER BIAS
Factual Reporting: HIGH)


https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-tax-returns-latest-pardon-new-york-state-senate-bills-congress-a8905661.html
Quote:
New York ...state’s senate voted on Wednesday in favour of a bill that requires local agencies to comply with requests for state tax returns from the heads of Congress’s House ways and means committee, the Senate finance committee or the joint committee on taxation.

New York’s senate also voted to support legislation that allows state prosecutors — including attorney General Letitia James — to file charges against certain members of the president’s orbit if they have received pardons for federal crimes....

The senate’s tax return legislation is expected to pass in the state assembly before governor Andrew Cuomo — a prominent opponent to Mr Trump — signs it into law.

_________________
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 09 May , 2019 1:01 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1703
Unfortunately, deplorables seems to be an accurate word when it comes to some Trump supporters:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/442860-trump-jokes-after-rally-goer-suggests-migrants-be-shot
Quote:
Trump, speaking to a crowd of thousands in Panama City Beach, noted the U.S. Border Patrol agents are not allowed to carry weapons to deter migrants.

“And don’t forget, we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons,” Trump said of the border agents. “We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people? You can’t.”

“Shoot them!” someone yelled from the crowd, according to reporters and attendees at the rally.

The audience cheered while Trump smiled and shook his head.

“That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement,” Trump joked. “Only in the Panhandle.”





https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/442830-senate-gop-grows-frustrated-with-trump-chief-of-staff
Quote:
Senate Republicans are growing increasingly frustrated with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

GOP senators see the former House lawmaker as an obstacle to striking deals on spending, including a stalled disaster relief package. The intraparty battle could spill over into high-profile debates on fiscal matters, such as raising the debt ceiling and avoiding another government shutdown.

Before joining the administration, Mulvaney was a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which rose to prominence after the Tea Party wave of 2010 by opposing spending increases and the implementation of ObamaCare. Some GOP lawmakers worry that Mulvaney has ingrained the Freedom Caucus’s staunch conservative worldview to the White House, making it tougher to cut deals with Democrats...


A Senate Democratic official familiar with the negotiations on disaster relief said Mulvaney has derailed emerging deals with last-minute objections. “Even when they meet with Trump and the president says I’ll go along with this, that or the other thing, Mulvaney will say no,” said the Democratic official...

Mulvaney has reined in Trump on other issues, such as a massive infrastructure deal the president discussed with Democrats last week...
The GOP needs to take the blinkers off their eyes - Trump is perfectly happy with people like Mulvaney and Stephen Miller.



https://thehill.com/policy/technology/442817-pompeo-warns-us-may-not-share-intel-with-uk-if-it-lets-huawei-into-5g
Quote:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Wednesday that the U.S. may not share intelligence with the U.K. if it lets the Chinese-owned tech giant Huawei into its 5G network...

Pompeo was asked whether that could endanger U.S.-U.K. security cooperation. “We’ll find a way. I’m very confident we’re too important of partners,” Pompeo said. “We certainly will never put America’s national security secrets in a network that we don’t have confidence in.”
This seems to presume that security experts in European countries are all idiots and only the US knows anything.



Europe seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to save the Iran nuclear deal, with Iran and the US both making aggressive statements and Trump/Bolton/Pompeo pushing Iran into a desperate corner with their sanctions. I think any idea that Iran's response to the US will be "OK, we'll agree to a new deal that benefits us less than the last one" is very much a fantasy. The Trump administration seems to be hoping for that war and is enabling the hardliners in Iran while sidelining the moderates:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/eu-rejects-iran-nuclear-deal-ultimatum-regrets-sanctions-190509092136144.html
Quote:
The European Union has rejected Iran's 60-day "ultimatum", referring to Tehran's decision to quit parts of the 2015 nuclear agreement a year after the US withdrew from the landmark accord signed with major world powers, including the EU.

In a joint statement with the foreign ministries of France, the United Kingdom and Germany, the EU urged Iran to respect the nuclear deal, and said they regretted fresh US sanctions imposed on Tehran...




https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/05/iraq-militias-flash-point-between-united-states-and-iran/589003/
Quote:
The Flash Point Between America and Iran Could Be Iraq's Militias

U.S. troops and Iran-backed fighters had an alliance of sorts in the anti-ISIS campaign. With Washington and Tehran at odds, could they turn on each other?
Quote:
The global fight against ISIS created strange alliances—and the de facto one between the U.S. military and Iraq’s Shiite militias, some of whom are backed by Iran, was among the most striking.

While the two sides had a shared interest in defeating the Sunni extremist group, the alliance was never going to be enduring, and there was always the risk that if tensions between America and Iran ever ignited, the militias could be a flash point.

Those tensions have now spiked....

_________________
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 10 May , 2019 1:10 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1703
https://thehill.com/policy/international/443007-bolton-held-unexpected-meeting-on-iran-with-top-intel-military-advisers
Quote:
White House national security adviser John Bolton last week participated in a meeting at CIA headquarters to discuss Iran with the Trump administration's top intelligence, diplomatic and military officials, NBC News reported Thursday.

The meeting was rare in that national security meetings are usually held in the White House Situation Room, and senior White House officials and Cabinet members don’t typically attend meetings at the CIA.

...Five former CIA operations officers and military officials told NBC News that in the past such meetings have been held at the CIA to brief top officials on highly sensitive information on covert actions, with two former officials saying the headquarters is the only place to review specific intelligence-gathering on Iran. A meeting of senior administration officials would also be held if there were conflicting views on what the intelligence shows...




https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/442995-finalized-trump-plan-would-expand-drilling-along-california-coast
Quote:
The Trump administration moved forward Thursday with its plan to open up hundreds of thousands of acres on California's Central Coast to oil and gas drilling. The effort comes despite opposition from Democratic officials in the Golden State, who have starkly criticized the plan.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its final proposal as part of the administration's “energy independence” push on Thursday.

It would open up 725,500 acres of land across 11 counties in California to oil and gas lease sales. The counties affected include Monterey, Fresno and Santa Cruz...





https://thehill.com/homenews/media/442915-white-house-denies-limiting-columnists-access-under-new-50-percent-rule
Quote:
The White House is pushing back on a claim by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank after he said the press pass he has held for more than two decades was revoked for “being a Trump critic.” ...

The back-and-forth comes after the White House announced new rules regarding the number of reporters who are granted hard passes, which allows a reporter and camera crew to enter White House grounds without going through the process of having to request permission daily.

[Sarah] Sanders cited security concerns as the reason behind the changes...
I'd call that bullshit.



https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/443045-fbi-investigating-day-spa-owner-who-advertised-access-to-trump
Quote:
The FBI is reportedly investigating the former owner of a Florida day spa who is alleged to have advertised access to President Trump to Chinese executives.

The Miami Herald reported Thursday that the FBI opened a public corruption investigation into Li “Cindy” Yang examining whether she illegally distributed money from China into Trump's reelection campaign....




https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/442910-judge-orders-doj-to-give-her-unredacted-mueller-report-portions-on
Quote:
A judge on Thursday ordered the Department of Justice to hand over the unredacted portions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report pertaining to Roger Stone for her to review privately...


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/443046-foxs-napolitano-slams-barr-memo-as-dumb-and-foolish-attempt-to
Quote:
Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano on Thursday denounced Attorney General William Barr's summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report... "It is clear that Barr's four-page letter, about which Mueller complained to Barr and some of Mueller's team complained to the media, was a foolish attempt to sanitize the Mueller report," Napolitano wrote in an op-ed published on FoxNews.com.

"It was misleading, disingenuous and deceptive. Also, because Barr knew that all or nearly all of the Mueller report would soon enter the public domain, it was dumb and insulting."




https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/strong-trump-hand-china-trade-war-190509161601903.html
Quote:
How strong is Trump's hand in US-China trade war?

High-level negotiations to continue as US raises tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent.



https://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/asia/2019/05/cold-war-trade-war-puts-china-ties-risk-190510084639907.html
Quote:
'New Cold War': Trade war puts China-US ties at risk

There is a grim realisation among China's leaders that a full blown trade war with the US is now about to become a reality.
Quote:
Whatever the outcome of the 11th round of trade talks in Washington, the relationship is bad and it's going to stay bad for a long time.





https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/05/patrick-shanahan-nominated-trumps-defense-secretary/588196/
Quote:
After keeping him in the audition phase for more than four months, the White House finally announced President Donald Trump’s intent to nominate Patrick Shanahan to drop the acting in his secretary-of-defense job title and make it official. He is likely to be confirmed by the Republican-held Senate, which means he will formally take leadership of a massive bureaucracy trying to fundamentally change its approach to dealing with the world’s most pressing threats. But not everyone is convinced that he’s the best man for the job.

The Pentagon is attempting a radical shift, turning its attention to preparing for potential conflict with a powerful rival such as Russia or China after two decades focused on counterterrorism [which, as the article notes later, "has its critics and is likely to cost enormous sums"]. ...

Shanahan..., brings no military background to the job... His lack of any background to speak of in foreign policy or public service before taking over in January, following Mattis’s abrupt resignation, has made adjusting to the role a challenge. Whereas Mattis had a reputation as a “warrior scholar” with deep knowledge of military history and a fondness for quoting Marcus Aurelius, Shanahan has struggled to answer policy questions...

Meanwhile, he and the department face complicated foreign-policy problems, and even a domestic one, now that Trump has pulled the Department of Defense into the fraught politics of controlling the border...


https://www.stripes.com/pentagon-is-planning-a-military-border-mission-for-the-next-couple-years-1.580304
Quote:
The Defense Department is working on a plan now with the Department of Homeland Security that could keep troops at the U.S.-Mexico border for the “next couple years,” a top Pentagon official told Senate lawmakers Wednesday....

Shanahan told lawmakers that there’s enough Pentagon contracts and funding from their budgets and other agencies in place to build more than 250 miles of new border fencing. ..

_________________
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 13 May , 2019 2:33 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1703
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/05/article/trade-war-pushing-asia-closer-together
Quote:
Trade war pushing Asia closer together

In Fiji, Asia agreed to upgrade its currency buffer as the region circles the wagons amid Washington’s trade war


https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-trade-war-china-us-tariffs-larry-kudlow-fox-news-interview-a8911091.html
Quote:
Trump’s top economic adviser admits US will ‘suffer’ from escalating trade war with China

Larry Kudlow contradicts president's claims about latest US manouvre

According to Dear Leader's brilliant fantasy economic analysis:
Quote:
The president claimed that “we are right where we want to be” as he insisted that the import tax increase from 10 per cent to 25 per cent would bring in tens of billions of dollars.

...“Buyers of product can make it themselves in the USA (ideal), or buy it from non-Tariffed countries,” he wrote on Twitter. “We will then spend (match or better) the money that China may no longer be spending with our Great Patriot Farmers (Agriculture), which is a small percentage of total tariffs received, and distribute the food to starving people in nations around the world! GREAT! #MAGA.”


https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/12/goldman-trump-tariff-costs-fall-entirely-on-us-businesses-households.html
Quote:
Goldman Sachs said the cost of tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump last year against Chinese goods has fallen "entirely" on American businesses and households, with a greater impact on consumer prices than previously expected.

... "One might have expected that Chinese exporters of tariff-affected goods would have to lower their prices somewhat to compete in the US market, sharing in the cost of the tariffs," Goldman said. "However, analysis at the extremely detailed item level in the two new studies shows no decline in the prices (exclusive of tariffs) of imported goods from China that faced tariffs."

In addition, US producers have "opportunistically" hiked prices in response to protection from Chinese competitors, the bank said.

...Further escalation of the trade war could also result in a 0.4% hit to GDP, and if trade tensions instigated a sell-off in the equity market, the growth impact could worsen, Goldman said.

Goldman is expecting a trade agreement to be reached eventually but presumably they're basing this on having a normal president who takes advice and doesn't listen to extremists.

And don't forget it's our taxes being used to bail out farmers, to compensate for the harm Trump's tariffs are doing to them. Much of it is going to the big agribusiness corporations.





https://www.businessinsider.com/pentagon-shifts-funds-from-programs-to-fund-border-wall-2019-5
Quote:
The Pentagon is reportedly shifting funds from ballistic missile and surveillance plane programs to fund Trump's border wall
Quote:
The document states explicitly that the funding shift will not affect military readiness, according to The Post, and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has also confirmed as much on Friday.

"The Department carefully selected sources for the reprogramming that are excess or early to need and will not adversely affect military preparedness," the document said, according to The Post.
If the military has this much excess money, why does Congress boost their bloated budget each year instead of shifting some of it to civilian needs or simply reducing our national debt?




https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/05/trump-uses-maximum-pressure-north-korea-and-iran/589279/
Quote:
Two Nuclear Problems, One Policy: Maximum Pressure

Can Trump do with Iran what he’s tried to do with North Korea?


https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/05/why-trumps-sanctions-iran-arent-working/589288/
Quote:
Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Won’t Make Iran Yield

The one thing Tehran would find more intolerable than the crushing impact of sanctions is raising the white flag because of them.

_________________
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 14 May , 2019 1:26 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1703
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/military-probes-oil-tanker-sabotage-attacks-uae-coast-190514105033539.html
Quote:
The US military is investigating the alleged sabotage attacks on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a US official has confirmed to Al Jazeera.

The move comes as Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif said his country had anticipated an event that would escalate tension in the region.

The four ships - two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati - were allegedly damaged on Sunday in what Emirati officials described as acts of sabotage near the port of Fujairah.

...The incident comes amid fears in the Middle East that hawks in Washington are trying to provoke a military confrontation between the US and Iran...
I would feel much more comfortable if it was a neutral third party investigating.



https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/yemen-houthis-target-saudi-installations-reports-190514075133749.html
Quote:
Saudi Arabia has said armed drones struck two oil pumping stations that belong to the country's state-run oil giant Aramco while other assaults targeted energy infrastructure elsewhere in the kingdom.

...Earlier on Tuesday, a television station run by Yemen's Houthi rebels, an Iran-aligned group, said the group launched drone attacks on Saudi installations, without identifying the targets or time of the attacks... It was not immediately clear if the Houthis, who are battling a Saudi-UAE-led military coalition in Yemen, were claiming responsibility for Sunday's attack near Fujairah, which lies just outside the Strait of Hormuz...


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/16/us/politics/trump-veto-yemen.html
Quote:
President Trump vetoed a bipartisan resolution on Tuesday that would have forced an end to American military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s civil war in Yemen, rejecting an appeal by lawmakers to his own deeply rooted instincts to withdraw the United States from bloody foreign conflicts.

The veto, only the second time Mr. Trump has used his power to block legislation passed by both houses of Congress, strikes down a resolution that invoked the War Powers Act to distance the United States from a four-year conflict that has killed thousands of civilians and resulted in a widespread famine.

The measure was a rebuke of Mr. Trump’s support for Saudi Arabia even after the killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It was opposed by several of the president’s top advisers, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the national security adviser, John R. Bolton...



https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/trump-veto-yemen/587332/
Quote:
Trump Owns the War in Yemen Now

His veto of a congressional effort to end U.S. involvement violates the public will and the national interest.
Quote:
The Saudis are leading a brutal military campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen. U.S. support for that campaign is a stark departure from the “America first” foreign policy that Trump has pledged. As Benjamin H. Friedman noted at Defense Priorities, “None of the limited U.S. interests in the Middle East—preventing the emergence of a regional hegemon, preventing large-scale disruptions to the global oil supply, and eliminating transnational terrorists who directly threaten the United States—justify supporting the Saudi-led war in Yemen.”

So how did Trump explain his veto?...


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/restraint-europe-allies-reject-escalation-iran-190513193300744.html
Quote:
European diplomats urged the United States to exercise "maximum restraint" as tensions mount in the Gulf a year after Washington withdrew from a landmark deal that curbed Iran's nuclear programme.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union's diplomatic chief, stressed the need for dialogue following a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who made a last-minute visit to Brussels on Monday to share information on "escalating" threats from Iran. ...


https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-iran-john-bolton-invasion-middle-east-foreign-policy-iraq-a8912716.html
Quote:
At a meeting of President Donald Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack US forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.

The revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John Bolton, Mr Trump’s national security adviser...

The 120,000 troops would approach the size of the US force that invaded Iraq in 2003....

As recently as late April, a US intelligence analysis indicated that Iran had no short-term desire to provoke a conflict. But new intelligence reports, including intercepts, imagery and other information, have since indicated that Iran was building up its proxy forces’ readiness to fight and was preparing them to attack U.S. forces in the region. The new intelligence reports surfaced on the afternoon of 3 May, Shanahan told Congress last week...

Part of the updated planning appears to focus on what military action the United States might take if Iran resumes its nuclear fuel production, which has been frozen under the 2015 agreement.....it would take a year or more [for Iran] to build up a significant quantity of material, and longer to fashion it into a weapon...






https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/korea-ship-seizure-illegal-demands-return-190514042556544.html
Quote:
North Korea has denounced the recent seizure of one of its cargo ships by the United States as an "unlawful robbery" and demanded its immediate return. The US Department of Justice last week said it had seized a North Korean cargo ship that it accused of illicit coal shipments in violation of United Nations sanctions after it was first detained by Indonesia in April 2018.

In a statement carried on Tuesday, the official Korean Central News Agency reported quoting an unnamed foreign ministry spokesperson that the US had betrayed the spirit of a summit agreement last year between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump....

Kim called for "full combat posture" following the US seizure of the cargo ship.





https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/venezuelas-guaido-to-seek-military-support-bid-topple-maduro-190512095943244.html
Quote:
Venezuela's Guaido 'to seek US military support' to topple Maduro

Venezuela's opposition leader threatens to open talks with US military - as many of his political allies forced into hiding.






https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-west-bank-settlement-trump-palestinian-middle-east-a8913041.html
Quote:
Israel went on a spending binge in its West Bank settlements following Donald Trump’s election in the US, according to newly obtained official data.

Investment on roads, schools and public buildings in the territory increased 39 per cent in 2017, prompting suggestions Mr Trump’s presidency had emboldened Israel’s pro-settler government. Both supporters and opponents of the settler movement have previously referred to a "Trump effect” – with claims the president's friendlier approach to settlements is paving the way for additional West Bank construction....

Since capturing the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war, Israel has settled some 700,000 of its citizens in the two areas... The international community has protested that Israel moving people into settlements in those territories is both illegal and a deliberate obstacle to any future Palestinian state.

....For decades, the US had joined much of the international community in expressing concern over the settlements while doing little to halt their construction.... But since taking office, Mr Trump, whose inner circle of Middle East advisers have longstanding ties to the settler movement, has taken a different approach....



https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/senior-palestinian-official-refused-visa-190513174818152.html
Quote:
Senior Palestinian official says she was refused US visa

Veteran negotiator Hanan Ashrawi, who has in the past met US leaders, describes denial as 'pettiness.'





https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-news-ice-arrest-deport-migrant-families-mexico-border-us-a8912771.html
Quote:
Trump officials wanted ICE to round up and arrest thousands of migrant families across US

Policy reportedly backed by Stephen MIller described as 'less than half-baked'
Quote:
Homeland Security officials reportedly planned to arrest thousands of migrant families who had final deportation orders and remove them from the US in a show of force. ...The proposal was intended to send a message and possibly deter others from crossing the border, the officials said, and was supported by Donald Trump‘s senior adviser Stephen Miller and ICE’s deputy director Matthew Albence.

But Mr Vitiello and Ms Nielsen reportedly put the proposal aside over concerns about diverting resources from the border, a lack of detention spaces and the possibility of renewed public outrage over the treatment of migrant families

The plan, which remains under consideration...





This might be a good time to remember some unintended consequences from the past, though there are more recent examples too.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2014/06/27/the-wrong-turn-that-changed-a-century-and-still-haunts-us-today/
Quote:
The Wrong Turn That Changed a Century -- and Still Haunts Us Today
Quote:
This year [2014] is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, which cost the lives of 116,000 American soldiers.... history passed through a moment on which everything hinged, a moment that changed tens of millions of lives, set the course of the bloody 2oth century, and even reverberates today, in events such as the radical Sunni insurgency in Iraq...

...The war plans of France and Germany, designed to achieve a quick victory, failed within weeks. Instead, millions of men spent four years fighting from opposing trenches that stretched from the English Channel to the Swiss border. By the time the war ended, no country could really explain what national interest had justified the carnage.

The anonymous driver’s wrong turn on June 28 led to the deaths of 10 million soldiers and millions of civilians, destroyed most of the empires and dynasties of Europe, created the conditions for the Russian Revolution and the rise of communism, left a wounded German Army corporal named Adolf Hitler vowing revenge on those responsible for Germany’s defeat, brought America onto the world stage, and thus set the course for the rest of the 20th century, including another world war that killed many times more soldiers and civilians..

....Fate just recently smirked again at the sudden Sunni insurgency in Iraq, because World War I redrew the map of the Middle East, which penned up within Iraq’s borders millions of Sunnis, Shiites, and their centuries’ old feud over the rightful heir to the Prophet Muhammad...
Of course, the whole powder keg of a situation could have blown up over something other than the assassination.

Which is one reason Dear Leader disturbs me so much. He's blundering around escalating things with practically everyone, which makes it easier for an event to trigger something.



EDIT:

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/443542-initial-us-military-assessment-points-to-iran-in-sabotage-of-oil-tankers
Quote:
A U.S. military assessment of explosions that damaged four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates were bound for the U.S. reportedly points to Iranian sabotage.

...The official added that the damage was thought to be caused by Iranian military forces or Iranian-backed militias.
I assume that, by "Iranian-backed militias," they might mean the Houthis. No surprise that the information being fed to Americans says nothing about the war in Yemen or the role of Saudi Arabia.


I don't know what sort of an expert he is (if any), but someone on a messageboard posted a picture of the IED from the United Arab Emirates. His posts have usually struck me as reasonable. He said it was a small explosive device underwater on the stern, on what is usually a ballast tank, and far from the rudder/screws or oil and fuel tanks. He implied its positioning and size is better for a media show than for doing permanent damage to the ship or causing an oil spill.



Edit 2:
More domestic troubles for Trump?
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/economy/judge-expedites-trump-lawsuit-to-block-house-subpoena-of-his-accountant
Quote:
A federal judge has expedited President Trump’s lawsuit against the House Oversight and Reform Committee over its subpoena of Trump’s accountants for his financial information.

The decision to expedite the case could bode... poorly for any administration attempts to stall investigations past the 2020 election...On Thursday, Judge Amit Mehta expedited the suit, telling Congress and the president, who is represented in the case by his personal attorneys rather than White House counsel, that he has enough information from both sides to rule on the case.

Charles Tiefer, former deputy general counsel for the House a....cautioned that the expedited schedule might not necessarily tip whether Mehta could rule one way or the other, but added the president has the “heavy lifting” in this battle, particularly since he is “asking the court to go against the House.”

But Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor who spent 11 years in the Justice Department’s tax division, said Mehta’s decision to fast-track the case indicates he is not inclined to side with Trump...

As others have said, Trump's decisions may become more dangerous and irrational if he feels things are not going his way and he wants distractions for the media.



Edit 3:

And more interesting news:
https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2019-05-13/ukraine-prosecutor-made-up-biden-allegation-kiev-lawmaker-says
Quote:
A Ukrainian lawmaker accused his country’s top prosecutor of manufacturing a “conspiracy” about U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, adding to a political intrigue playing out from Kiev to Washington.

The lawmaker, Serhiy Leshchenko, said he had been given parts of a letter written by the prosecutor with the intent of currying favor with the Trump administration. The letter was sent by the prosecutor through unofficial channels to President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani...

The letter, purportedly written by Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, said that Biden, while U.S. vice president, personally received income from a Ukrainian natural gas company in exchange for “lobbying activities and political support.”The lawmaker said those allegations were false...


https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/10/trump-biden-ukraine-barr-1317601#
Quote:
President Donald Trump told POLITICO on Friday that it would be "appropriate" for him to speak to Attorney General Bill Barr about launching an investigation into his potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden, or his son, Hunter.

The question of whether Trump could pressure Barr to probe Biden is coming under scrutiny after Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, said he would be traveling to Ukraine to urge the incoming government there to look at Hunter Biden's involvement with a Ukrainian energy company that has reportedly been in prosecutorss crosshairs. The efforts appear to be part of a broader campaign by Trump's allies to damage the former Democratic vice president's White House campaign and have raised questions about whether Trump's team is trying to enlist a foreign government to aid the president's re-election bid.

_________________
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 15 May , 2019 2:28 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1703
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/orders-emergency-government-employees-leave-iraq-190515081039448.html
Quote:
US orders 'non-emergency government employees' to leave Iraq

Directive comes as tensions between the US and neighbouring Iran ratchet up as US military forces head to the Gulf.


https://thehill.com/policy/defense/443758-spain-withdraws-warship-from-us-led-combat-group-in-gulf
Quote:
Spain's government announced that it would withdraw a frigate from a U.S.-led carrier strike group deployed to the Persian Gulf amid heightened tensions with Iran.Reuters reported that Spanish officials made the decision following disagreements with the Trump administration over Iran policy.


https://thehill.com/policy/defense/443693-coalition-general-no-increased-threat-from-iranian-backed-forces-in-iraq-syria
Quote:
The Pentagon on Tuesday disputed comments made by a British general who said earlier in the day that he had seen "no increased threat" from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria.

British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, the deputy commenader of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria, told Pentagon reporters earlier on Tuesday that in terms of militia groups that receive funding from Iran, the coalition has found “no change in their posture since the recent exchange between the United States and Iran, and we hope and expect that that will continue.”

“There are a range of threats to American and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria,” Ghika said via video stream from Baghdad. “We monitor them all. Iranian-backed forces is clearly one of them and I am not going to go into the detail of it, but there are a substantial number of militia groups in Iraq and Syria and we don't see an increased threat from many of them at this stage.”




https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/443748-gop-officials-unsatisfied-with-kushner-answers-during-meeting
Quote:
Republican officials were left unsatisfied with answers from Jared Kushner to some of their questions regarding the White House's immigration plan, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

While Republican senators publicly applauded the administration’s proposal to move the immigration system toward one that prioritizes highly skilled workers, GOP officials told The Post that Kushner did not have answers to some of their questions and that Stephen Miller, an immigration hawk and another senior adviser, had to step in at times.

“He’s in his own little world,” one source familiar with the discussion in the meeting told The Post. “He didn’t give many details about what was in [his plan]. . . . And there were a number of instances where people had to step in and answer questions because he couldn’t.”...




https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/443670-top-aide-to-labor-secretary-to-leave-department-amid-friction-with
Quote:
A top aide to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta will leave his post amid ongoing tension with White House officials frustrated at the pace of deregulation.

...Geale has been viewed by White House officials as standing in the way of the Trump administration’s agenda.

"The pace of change has not been sufficient. [Acosta] tends to be fairly fearful of taking hardline positions. He tends to be solicitous of the unions, often making the argument that that's what the president wants,” said a source close to President Trump. "The only question in my mind is, is it Nick Geale that's the problem? Or is he just doing his boss's bidding? It's not clear to me that Nick is the only problem. You take your cues from the top."




https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/alabama-senate-oks-total-abortion-ban-including-rape-cases-190515033549596.html
Quote:
Alabama's Republican-dominated state Senate has passed a bill to ban nearly all abortions, including in cases of rape or incest, as part of a multi-state effort to have the United States Supreme Court reconsider a woman's constitutional right to the procedure.

Senators on Tuesday voted 25-6 for the bill that would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison for the abortion provider. The only exception would be when the woman's health is at serious risk.




The Trump family continues to dictate terms to Congress:
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/443701-trump-jr-reaches-deal-to-testify-with-senate-intelligence
Quote:
Donald Trump Jr. has agreed to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a second round of questions, complying with a subpoena from Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who came under fire from fellow Republicans for demanding the testimony.

Trump Jr. struck the deal Tuesday to interview with the panel next month for between two and four hours....

the committee outlined 10 topics it hoped to discuss with Trump Jr., but the scope of the interview was negotiated down to six topics. The two sides also agreed this would be Trump Jr.’s last appearance before the committee.




National Park law enforcement rangers are being pulled from their duties and sent to the border:
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/443727-interiors-border-surge-puts-more-officers-in-unfamiliar-role
Quote:
The Interior Department has doubled the number of law enforcement officers it’s sending to the border, according to new data reviewed by The Hill, putting police who usually patrol national parks and wildlife refuges in the new and unfamiliar role of dealing with a surge in immigration.

Since the pilot program began last May, Interior has increased the number of law enforcement officers assigned to assist U.S. Border Patrol under its surge support operations, from 22 to 47.

...USPP officers are ill-equipped for the border assignments because for many of them, urban policing is their primary role, Shalton said. Park police are traditionally tasked with overseeing federal parks and roadways in Washington, D.C., New York City and San Francisco.


Prepare for extra long waits at airports?
https://thehill.com/policy/transportation/tsa/443756-tsa-sending-hundreds-of-security-ops-employees-to-border-report
Quote:
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plans to send hundreds of “Security Ops” personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border to help deal with an influx of migrants, CNN reported Wednesday.

An internal email obtained by the network shows plans for TSA workers, reportedly including air marshals, to temporarily assist with immigration duties.... The efforts will not initially include uniformed airport TSA screeners, but the email reportedly states that parts of TSA will be asked to contribute “around 10 percent” of its workforce.
So air marshals are needed more at the border than on planes? This is dumb.




https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/443736-prosecutor-appointed-by-barr-poised-to-enter-washington-firestorm
Quote:
John Durham, a longtime Justice Department official who is serving as a U.S. attorney in Connecticut, has reportedly been picked by Attorney General William Barr to review the origins of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference.

The Justice Department has been silent on the reports about Barr’s decision, and a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut also declined to comment.
He apparently has a good reputation and is nonpartisan but why are we wasting time on this nonsense? There was plenty of reason to be concerned, Judges approved and renewed the warrants (which they would not do if Mueller's team wasn't coming up with new information), lots of information about Russian interference was found, and several people were indicted and some crooks sent to jail. Is this now going to be standard DOJ practice - investigate something when there's reason to, then investigate how the investigation started? And is Barr going to investigate the origins of all the GOP investigations into Hillary Clinton - which were blatantly partisan - too?

btw, Barr seems to have 2 investigations now into the origins of the probe into Russian meddling. Plus an investigation by the Inspector General.





https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-nasa-moon-pell-grant-student-loan-crisis-funding-money-space-a8915696.html
Quote:
Under a new proposal from the Trump administration sent to Congress, the president is asking that some $1.6bn (£1.2bn) in funding be reallocated from the US federal Pell Grant programme into Nasa, citing a budget surplus for the grant represents the largest source of aid for low-income students in America.

The money is being sought in order to help launch a mission to the moon in 2024, a full four years earlier than initially planned by the space agency.

But, the planned funding source has been criticised on several fronts, with even those in the space community crying foul...
For some reason, Trump seems to be obsessed with another manned moon mission ASAP. This is not the first time I've heard about him pushing the idea.

_________________
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 20 May , 2019 1:51 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1703
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/444418-trump-looking-into-pardoning-military-members-accused-or-convicted-of
Quote:
President Trump is signaling he may pardon several military servicemen either accused of committing war crimes or convicted for them, officials told The New York Times Saturday.

...One of the men Trump is reportedly seeking to pardon is Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who was charged last year for a number of war crimes, including stabbing and murdering a wounded person and shooting at unarmed Iraqi civilians.

Another one of the cases Trump is allegedly looking at involves a group of Marine who were charged with urinating on a dead Taliban member.

The officials said they believe the president is also allegedly considering a pardon for Nicholas Slatten, a former Blackwater security guard who was convicted last year for his role in a 2007 shooting of unarmed Iraqi civilians.



https://thehill.com/policy/finance/444462-bank-staff-highlighted-suspicious-activity-in-trump-kushner-controlled
Quote:
Deutsche Bank anti-money laundering personnel reportedly recommended turning over information about transactions by entities owned by President Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to a government watchdog in 2016 and 2017, but the bank's executives apparently declined to do so.

The transactions, including some connected to the now-dissolved Trump Foundation, were flagged by the bank's computer system, which was set up to find unlawful activity, five current and former employees told The New York Times. ...






https://thehill.com/policy/defense/444366-pentagon-reporters-left-in-dark-as-iran-tensions-escalate
Quote:
Heightened anxiety in the Middle East is coinciding with the one-year mark since the Pentagon last held an on-camera briefing from its chief spokesperson... A Defense Department press secretary has not held a previously-routine on-camera briefing since May 31, 2018. And once-regular off-camera gaggles, usually held for Pentagon reporters on a weekly basis, have ceased to exist since late last year.

Reporters for months have called for the press briefings to resume, a request that has grown more urgent as the Trump administration refuses to explain the reasoning and intelligence behind quickly escalating tensions with Iran...



https://thehill.com/policy/defense/444300-trump-europe-increasingly-at-odds-on-iran
Quote:
Escalating tensions with Iran have laid bare President Trump’s split with the United States’ traditional European allies.

Several times this past week, the United States appeared out-of-step with European countries on whether Iran is presenting enough of a new threat to justify a military buildup and the partial evacuation of U.S. diplomats from neighboring Iraq.... with the Iran tensions threatening to boil over into military action, critics warn that Trump’s go-it-alone approach could have serious consequences.

“We’ve isolated ourselves,” said Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack Reed (D-R.I.). “There’s just a danger in terms of if something happens, we won’t have the ability to call upon them to come to our assistance and cooperate with us.”...


Yeah, we're the country that elected a dangerous lunatic and doesn't have the sense to get rid of him:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48329852
Quote:
US President Donald Trump has issued a stern warning to Iran, suggesting it will be destroyed if a conflict breaks out between the two countries. "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran," he said in a tweet on Sunday. "Never threaten the United States again!"

...President Trump, after appearing to dial down the tensions with Iran, has now seemingly threatened catastrophic consequences if there is any attack against US interests or facilities. It underscores the mercurial approach of the US president to world affairs - restraint one moment and bluster the next. Such an approach is hugely destabilising and could contribute to Tehran misjudging US intentions.

All of the ingredients for a confrontation are there: a lack of clarity in the US approach; the potential desire by Iran to push matters to the brink; and a series of incidents in the region itself (the recent sabotage against a small number of oil tankers and the rocket attack near the US compound in Baghdad) which demonstrate that there are elements on the ground eager to inflame tensions and test the US administration's resolve....





https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/05/trump-doesnt-care-about-constitution/589654/
Quote:
What Pleases Trump Has the Force of Law

No president I know of has asserted a blanket power to reject any request that doesn’t suit him—until Donald Trump.
May 19, 2019
Garrett Epps
Professor of constitutional law at the University of Baltimore

Quote:
In my long career as an academic jack-of-all-trades, I sometimes teach law students Jurisprudence—that is, Philosophy of Law. The course begins with the question “What is law?” and its corollary, “What is lawlessness?”

The latter comes in two flavors. The first is anarchy—Hobbes’s “war of all against all,” a Mad Max moonscape in which only stealth and brute force provide even a semblance of safety. Such situations existed for millennia and, though relatively rare, exist in remote parts of the globe today.

But there is an authoritarian lawlessness that is far more common in the 21st century, and next time I teach the course, I will have the most precise example of this second version I have ever seen: the dispute over 26 U.S. Code § 6103(f)(1), which reads: “Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary [of the Treasury] shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request,” subject only to a requirement that the return be considered in closed session.

Served with a proper demand by Representative Richard Neal, the Ways and Means Committee chair, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin responded, “I have determined that the Committee’s request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose,” and that he therefore would not comply.

Let’s begin at the beginning...
Quote:
Without norms, the Constitution is toothless. ..



EDIT:
And Barr's Justice Department is working hard to protect Trump from congressional oversight. I never thought I'd miss Sessions, who it seems wasn't subservient enough for Trump.
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/444624-white-house-denies-subpoena-for-mcgahn-to-testify
Quote:
President Trump has instructed former White House counsel Don McGahn to defy a subpoena to testify before Congress on Tuesday, his latest effort to stymie congressional Democrats who are investigating him and his administration.

The House Judiciary Committee had subpoenaed McGahn to appear before the panel to answer questions about the Russia probe, but the White House on Monday released a legal opinion from the Justice Department arguing the lawyer should not attend over concerns about separation of powers.

“I think it’s a very important precedent,” Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania. “They’re doing it for the office of the presidency.”

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) said in its 15-page letter that McGahn is not “legally required” to testify about matters related to his work for Trump, citing decades of precedent stating that White House aides cannot be compelled to speak to Congress about their official duties.

“The immunity of the President’s immediate advisers from compelled congressional testimony on matters related to their official responsibilities has long been recognized and arises from the fundamental workings of the separation of powers,” the letter states...



A judge who is not under Trump's thumb doesn't seem so impressed with Trump's attempts to stonewall congressional investigations:
https://www.scribd.com/document/410854553/Court-order-ruling-Trump-cannot-block-subpoena#fullscreen&from_embed
Quote:
The President argues that there is no legislative purpose for the subpoena. The Oversight Committee’s true motive, the President insists, is to collect personal information about him solely for political advantage. He asks the court to declare the Mazars subpoena invalid and unenforceable. Courts have grappled for more than a century with the question of the scope of Congress’s investigative power. The binding principle that emerges from these judicial decisions is that courts must presume Congress is acting in furtherance of its constitutional responsibility to legislate and must defer to congressional judgments about what Congress needs to carry out that purpose. To be sure, there are limits on Congress’s investigative authority. But those limits do not substantially constrain Congress. So long as Congress investigates on a subject matter on which “legislation could be had,” Congress acts as contemplated by Article I of the Constitution.

Applying those principles here compels the conclusion that President Trump cannot block the subpoena to Mazars. According to the Oversight Committee, it believes that the requested records will aid its consideration of strengthening ethics and disclosure laws, as well as amending the penalties for violating such laws. The Committee also says that the records will assist in monitoring the President’s compliance with the Foreign Emoluments Clauses. These are facially valid legislative purposes, and it is not for the court to question whether the Committee’s actions are truly motivated by political considerations...
Trump supporters are NOT happy and are busy explaining to the internet world how their knowledge of law is so much greater than this judge's. :)

btw, the judge has also denied a request by Trump's legal team for a stay, pending appeal - they essentially have no good legal argument to merit it. Sounds like that means Mazars has no grounds not to comply immediately with the Congressional subpoena.




Much as I tend to disagree with Amash politically (too extreme right for me), he has my respect for having a brain and a backbone and standing up for what he thinks:
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/444613-amash-defends-saying-trump-committed-impeachable-offenses
Quote:
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) on Monday doubled down on his critical remarks of President Trump, detailing in a series of tweets why he thinks the case can be made that Trump should be impeached for obstruction of justice.

"People who say there were no underlying crimes and therefore the president could not have intended to illegally obstruct the investigation—and therefore cannot be impeached—are resting their argument on several falsehoods," Amash tweeted...


Unlike some of his colleagues:
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/444596-dem-senator-many-republicans-privately-expressed-concerns-about-mueller
Quote:
Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) said Monday that several of his Republican colleagues had "privately expressed concerns" about the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russia's election interference and the Trump campaign.

...“Many privately expressed concerns about what was revealed in the Mueller report in part because of the gap between what Attorney General [William] Barr characterized as being in the Mueller report and what was actually in the Mueller report for those who have taken the time to read through it," Coons said...

...But Coons drew a hard line between Republicans raising concerns about Trump's behavior and Republicans being willing to impeach Trump, saying he hadn't "spoken to a single Republican senator who would vote to remove the president."

"There is a difference between thinking the Mueller report reveals conduct that is deeply disappointing, inappropriate, even borderline or actually illegal and saying they would vote to remove the president," Coons added. ..

_________________
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 21 May , 2019 4:48 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1703
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/444691-house-freedom-caucus-votes-to-condemn-amashs-impeachment-comments
Quote:
The conservative House Freedom Caucus took an official position condemning Rep. Justin Amash’s (R-Mich.) call for impeaching President Trump on Monday evening, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told reporters.

“We had a good discussion and every single member, I think now based on who was there and our board meeting was probably over 30 members, every single member disagrees and strongly with the position Justin took over the week, and we're focused on the now,” he said.

“I mean, look, we're focused on the fact that what the FBI did was wrong. We think that [Attorney General William] Barr’s handled himself exactly the way the American people want the attorney general to handle themselves, and he's going to get to bottom of all this.”...






You can't make this stuff up. What Trump (and Steven Miller) think the U.S. needs is...

Kris Kobach, with his failed illegal immigrant voter conspiracy theories (and failed bid for governor of Kansas), as immigration "czar." And Kobach thinks that the grandiose title for this new position should come with grand benefits.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-immigration-czar-kris-kobach-jet-list-oval-office-a8923916.html
Quote:
Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state, reportedly demanded access to a jet 24 hours a day and the ability to enter the Oval Office without prior approval before he will take on the role as Donald Trump’s “immigration czar”.

He allegedly handed over a list of 10 conditions to the White House as the would-be presidential aide was considered for the new post, which the president is creating in order to coordinate America’s immigration policy across agencies.

In addition to the jet and “walk in” privileges, Mr Kobach indicated that he wanted to be offered a job as secretary of Homeland Security come November if he wanted it — and the ability to spend his weekends away from Washington with his family.
The access to the jet is partly so he can use it to go home on weekends. Trump's favorite cronies do like spending taxpayer money on themselves.



More news from King Donald's regime:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/white-house-counsel-don-mcgahn-defies-congressional-subpoena-190521140914965.html
Quote:
Ex-White House counsel Don McGahn defies congressional subpoena

Ex-White House counsel skips House Judiciary panel hearing, further escalating the struggle between Trump and Congress.
Quote:
..."Our subpoenas are not optional," Jerrod Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said during the opening remarks of Tuesday's hearing. "Mr McGahn has a legal obligation to be here for his scheduled appearance. If he does not immediately correct his mistake, this committee will have no choice but to enforce the subpoena against him." ...


https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/444700-top-dem-challenges-epa-for-skipping-hearing-on-mercury-pollution
Quote:
The chair of a House panel is crying foul over the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to provide an expert to testify on the effects of toxic mercury air pollution.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), the leader of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations panel that oversees the EPA, said the denial left the committee with “serious questions.”

“The EPA is supposed to be working for the American people,” DeGette said in a statement sent Monday night...


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/444685-trump-hits-fox-news-after-buttigieg-town-hall-what-is-going-on-with
Quote:
Donald Trump turned his fire on Fox News, threatened to have his attorney general investigate Democrats and FBI for treason and joked about serving five terms as president during a typically rambling rally speech in Pennsylvania.

“What’s going on with Fox, by the way?” Mr Trump asked the crowd.

“They’re putting more Democrats on than Republicans. Something strange is going on at Fox, folks! Something very strange!”

His remarks caused the crowd to loudly boo the right-wing television network, which has previously shown staunch support to the president....




https://thehill.com/homenews/house/444703-more-dems-pushing-to-start-impeachment-proceedings-reports
Quote:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is facing increased pressure to support impeachment from Democratic House colleagues but has counseled other Democratic leaders to let investigations of President Trump run their course, according to a Politico report.

During a leadership meeting on Monday, Pelosi and allies in House leadership, including Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), pushed back on calls from other Democratic leaders, including Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), to begin impeachment proceedings, Politico reported, citing multiple sources.

According to a Washington Post report, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) has met privately with Pelosi to recommend starting an impeachment inquiry but was reportedly rebuffed by the Speaker...





Interesting bit of news, though it sounds like Guaido is still hoping for more US intervention instead. I doubt Bolton and Elliott Abrams are happy about this:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/venezuela-government-opposition-norway-crucial-talks-190516062348526.html
Quote:
Envoys from the Venezuelan government and the opposition will hold talks in Norway on resolving the political impasse in the South American country... The representatives include Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez on the government side and Stalin Gonzalez, a leading member of the National Assembly, on the other, officials said.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido confirmed on Thursday he sent delegates to Norway but denied talks were under way with President Nicolas Maduro's government.... He said Oslo "is trying to mediate" in the crisis, however, the opposition won't enter into any "false negotiation".
(btw, who in their right mind would name their child Stalin?)



EDIT:
From yesterday's news, above
Quote:
..One of the men Trump is reportedly seeking to pardon is Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who was charged last year for a number of war crimes, including stabbing and murdering a wounded person and shooting at unarmed Iraqi civilians.


Today the New York Times has an extensive article about this evil piece of scum.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/23/us/navy-seals-crimes-of-war.html
Quote:
Stabbing a defenseless teenage captive to death. Picking off a school-age girl and an old man from a sniper’s roost. Indiscriminately spraying neighborhoods with rockets and machine-gun fire.

Navy SEAL commandos from Team 7’s Alpha Platoon said they had seen their highly decorated platoon chief commit shocking acts in Iraq. And they had spoken up, repeatedly. But their frustration grew as months passed and they saw no sign of official action.

Tired of being brushed off, seven members of the platoon called a private meeting with their troop commander in March 2018 at Naval Base Coronado near San Diego. According to a confidential Navy criminal investigation report obtained by The New York Times, they gave him the bloody details and asked for a formal investigation.

But instead of launching an investigation that day, the troop commander and his senior enlisted aide — both longtime comrades of the accused platoon leader, Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher — warned the seven platoon members that speaking out could cost them and others their careers, according to the report.

The clear message, one of the seven told investigators, was “Stop talking about it.”...

Eventually they managed to get people outside the unit involved and Gallagher was charged.

Gallagher wanted to retaliate against the SEALS who eventually reported him.:
Quote:
“The only thing we can do as good team guys is pass the word on those traitors. They are not brothers at all.”


Details of one of his war crimes:
Quote:
Two SEAL snipers told investigators that one day, from his sniper nest, Chief Gallagher shot a girl in a flower-print hijab who was walking with other girls on the riverbank. One of those snipers said he watched through his scope as she dropped, clutching her stomach, and the other girls dragged her away.
The others are just as bad. As is his reaction to stabbing the young man a medic was working on,
Quote:
Chief Gallagher texted a picture of the dead captive to a fellow SEAL in California, saying, “Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife.”


And perhaps the most sickening part:
Quote:
At the same time, some conservatives have rallied to Chief Gallagher’s defense, raising money and pressing publicly for his release...

Spurred by the Gallagher family, 40 Republican members of Congress signed a letter in March calling for the Navy to free the chief pending trial, and soon after, President Trump said on Twitter that he would be moved to “less restrictive confinement.” Chief Gallagher was released from the brig...
And it's certain the president of the United States had access to this information long before we did and before he considered pardoning him. Hell of an insult to the people who served in the military and tried to be decent human beings, if Trump does pardon him on Memorial Day.



Edit 2:

Our lives and health may now be on the wrong side of the cost-benefit ratio for the EPA. Seems they're outweighed by the benefits to US corporations and need to promote Trump's deregulatory agenda. About what I expected from Andrew Wheeler.
https://thehill.com/regulation/energy-environment/444878-epa-to-reconsider-cost-benefit-analysis-of-air-pollution-on
Quote:
EPA to reconsider cost benefit analysis of air pollution on human life
What they're actually planning to do is veiled in bureaucratese and vague gobbledygook but the president of a paper industry group is celebrating. If you've ever had the dubious pleasure of going through a town with a paper mill (hint: the smell is far from pleasant), you'll know that isn't good.

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That no river is a river which does not flow.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 22 May , 2019 4:22 pm 

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Posts: 1703
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/444932-washington-post-irs-draft-memo-found-that-agency-has-provide-tax-returns-to
Quote:
A draft memo written by an IRS lawyer last fall found that the agency has to provide tax returns sought by Congress's tax committees unless executive privilege is invoked, The Washington Post reported Tuesday....

The draft memo is not in line with Mnuchin's reasoning for denying Democrats' request, and it signals there may be disagreement within the executive branch on the tax return issue, the Post reported...

The IRS said in a statement provided to The Hill that "the memo in question is a draft background paper that was never finalized" and "is not the official position of the IRS." "The document was prepared last fall. The IRS Commissioner and the Chief Counsel were unaware of the paper until this week’s media inquiry. The document was not sent to Treasury," the agency added...
How I read this is that the IRS asked for a lawyer's expert opinion and Trump's political appointees didn't like what they heard, so they buried it.

So now they're trying to find the person who embarrassed them:
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/444968-mnuchin-treasury-trying-to-find-out-who-wrote-trump-tax-returns-memo
Quote:
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday said that the department is trying to find out who wrote a draft IRS memo that found that the agency has to provide tax returns to Congress unless executive privilege is invoked. ...“We're trying to find out who wrote the memo, where it came from, when it was and why it wasn't distributed," Mnuchin said at a House Financial Services Committee hearing.

Mnuchin last week rejected a subpoena from House Democrats for six years of Trump's tax returns, saying their request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.
btw, I heard a new term the other day for a situation where a political appointee twists the real findings into something different that's favorable to their boss. Someone said Mnuchin (or Mulvaney?) "pulled a Barr." Seems an appropriate legacy for Barr.



We have a president who folds his arms, stomps his feet and refuses to act on important unrelated matters because the Democrats are not being nice to him:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/445005-trump-rails-on-dems-after-pelosi-accuses-him-of-cover-up
Quote:
President Trump cut off infrastructure talks with congressional Democratic leaders and lit into them during an appearance at the White House Rose Garden after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said he was “engaged in a cover up.”

...“I walked into the room and I told Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi that I want to do infrastructure ... but you know what, you can’t do it under these circumstances," he said.

This is the best part :D :
Quote:
Trump spoke at a lectern with a placard attached to it reading “ No Collusion No Obstruction” with statistics attacking special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Seems straight out of second grade.


What prompted Trump's hissy fit:
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/444975-pelosi-trump-is-engaged-in-a-cover-up
Quote:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday accused President Trump of being "engaged in a cover up" following a special meeting of House Democrats focused on ongoing congressional investigations into the Trump administration.

"We do believe that it is important to follow the facts, we believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States, and we believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover up, in a cover up," Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill.

But inside the closed-door meeting, Pelosi apparently continued to urge caution about rushing down the path of impeachment...



https://thehill.com/homenews/house/444928-tillerson-meets-with-house-foreign-affairs-committee
Quote:
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday met with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and their staff to discuss his tenure at the State Department.

Tillerson met with Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the panel’s chairman and ranking member, respectively, and a small number of majority and minority staff. A committee aide told The Hill the meeting covered a wide variety of topics from Tillerson’s time as secretary of State....




This seems a familiar pattern for the Trump administration but I'll be happy to let them use any face-saving excuse they like so long as they don't start another pointless, expensive and unjustified war that results in another country in ruins and a public relations boost to Islamic extremists:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/444894-trump-officials-say-us-efforts-to-deter-iran-have-worked
Quote:
Trump officials say US efforts to deter Iran have worked





btw, it seems there are no limits whatsoever on presidential pardons:
https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/444797-trumps-increasingly-questionable-pardons-should-make-congress-act
Quote:
Congress cannot interfere with the exercise of that power, but there are some procedural reforms it can make. In addition, it would be worthwhile to identify neutral principles for its exercise. Doing so would foster informed consideration of the president’s actions in the court of public opinion as well as in the House of Representatives, where impeachments begin.

The starting point is an 1866 Supreme Court decision, Ex parte Garland, ... The court wrote:
"This power of the President is not subject to legislative control. Congress can neither limit the effect of his pardon nor exclude from its exercise any class of offenders. The benign prerogative of mercy reposed in him cannot be fettered by any legislative restrictions."...
To me, this seems an insane amount of power to give any one individual, who could be corrupt or crazy.



Edit:
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/445025-shanahan-orders-new-restrictions-on-sharing-of-military-information-with
Quote:
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan has ordered new restrictions on how the Pentagon shares information about international military operations with Congress, according to an internal memo obtained by The Washington Post...

The memo, which was reportedly shared widely within the Pentagon but was sent to key lawmakers after inquiries from The Post, lists six guidelines for information sharing with Capitol Hill. The document orders military officials and political appointees to determine whether a congressional request “contains sufficient information to demonstrate a relationship to the legislative function” and urges officials to provide a summary briefing instead of the requested plan or order itself. It also gives responsibility for evaluating congressional requests to the undersecretary of defense for policy, often a political appointee...

An anonymous Pentagon official told The Post that the agency’s officials had been worried about potential congressional interference in the formulation of military plans, what the Defense Department considers to be an executive branch function. The official added that Congress had been most interested in Special Operations activities, which are highly sensitive and have produced significant public backlash in recent years...
So it seems the argument is that if Americans are likely to disapprove of what our military is doing, we can't be allowed to know it...


https://thehill.com/policy/defense/445088-senate-panel-rejects-requiring-congress-sign-off-before-iran-strike
Quote:
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday rejected a Democratic proposal to require congressional approval before the U.S. can take military action against Iran.

The panel voted 13-9 against a proposal blocking the administration from using funding to carry out a military strike in or against Iran without congressional signoff, according to Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the committee.

We lost 13-9. Every Republican except for @RandPaul opposed it. https://t.co/auz8pCRQkv...

Murphy added that Congress should "remind this administration that they do not have legal authorization to launch a war against Iran without our consent and that no one else is responsible but Trump for putting us on this blind campaign of escalation with no off-ramp."...



https://thehill.com/homenews/house/445052-devos-family-of-michigan-ends-support-for-amash
Quote:
The influential DeVos family of Michigan has said it will end its longtime support of Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) following remarks he made accusing President Trump of committing impeachable offenses.

The family of GOP megadonors, which includes current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, said it has not made any contributions to Amash this cycle and has "no plans to do so," according to a statement provided to The Detroit News....

In the ensuing fallout, Amash has found a new primary challenger in state Rep. Jim Lower (R) and been the brunt of criticism from members of his own Freedom Caucus, including its leader, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). "Mr. Amash’s conclusions are poorly informed and fatally flawed," Meadows told The Hill on Monday.

The move by the DeVos family comes after years of publicly supporting Amash. Betsy DeVos and her husband endorsed the lawmaker during his first run for Congress in 2010. The family most recently gave him a combined total of $24,300 to his reelection campaign in 2018...



Not sure what this means, if anything, but McGahn does seem to have a financial incentive to cooperate with the GOP and defy the Democratic subpoena:
https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/rnc-mcgahn-law-firm-guns/2019/05/21/id/917033/
Quote:
The Republican National Committee shelled out $2 million in April for legal services to former White House counsel Donald McGahn’s law firm — raising questions about its impact on his decision not to testify Tuesday before Congress...





An interesting take on the border by conservatives in DHS:
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/04/05/border-crisis-donald-trump-226573
Quote:
Yes, There’s a Crisis on the Border. And It’s Trump’s Fault.
Quote:
Despite the administration’s attempts to shift blame for the chaos, make no mistake: It is Donald Trump himself who is responsible. Through misguided policies, political stunts and a failure of leadership, the president has created the conditions that allowed the asylum problem at the border to explode into a crisis. The solution to our current border troubles lies in reforming the U.S. asylum system and immigration courts and helping Central America address its challenges—not in a “big beautiful” wall or shutting down the border. Yet effective action on these issues has been missing. And the president has now so poisoned the political well with his approach that there is little hope of meaningful congressional action until after the next election. Unless the administration changes course, the immigration crisis will only continue to worsen...

...the nature of undocumented immigration to the U.S. has changed. Today, it is primarily driven not by Mexican economic migrants—and not by a flood of criminals, as Trump claims—but rather by large numbers of families and minors from Central America who are seeking political asylum. ... and they will descend on a border and immigration court system ill-equipped to handle those claims...
Though this whole "crisis at the border" thing seems odd to me and makes no sense at all. And seems awfully convenient for Trump - he kept bleating for years about a crisis, and everyone including Fox kept pointing out that the numbers are way down, there is no crisis. Then suddenly the crisis appears just when he needs to justify his emergency grab for Wall funds.

Yet no nonpartisan investigative reporters seem to be going down to Central America and investigating root causes. Did something suddenly change in the countries people are fleeing? Why do they all want to come to the US now, under Trump's draconian measures, instead of waiting until a better time? What are potential migrants being told down there?



----------------------
btw, I’m going to take a break for a while. By now, Trump’s incompetence, ignorance, lack of interest in educating himself or governing well or listening to experts, nasty streak, and complete lack of ethics should be obvious to anyone with a brain who has been paying attention to the news. The agendas of Miller, Bolton, Mulvaney, Wheeler (EPA), et al should also be clear.

But it doesn’t seem to matter. For whatever reason, the Republican leadership holds their noses at the things they supposedly dislike –including throwing US intelligence agencies under the bus on Putin’s say-so – and continues to praise and protect Trump. The GOP rank and file in Congress are mostly cowards – no matter how much they might mutter in private, they’re not willing to go against party leadership and take the risk of losing re-election or defend their colleagues who do. Meanwhile, the Democratic leadership talks openly about how terrible Trump is, and happily used him to get votes in the midterm elections, but now they won’t do anything but investigate endlessly while Trump thumbs his nose at them and controls the media narrative.

And much of the media - who helped elect Trump by giving him endless attention but refusing to bore Americans by providing much beyond fluff and clickbait - continues to benefit from the boost to their ratings. And produces poll after poll about what percentage of the American public approves of Trump or supports impeachment, getting all breathless about a tiny change in his ratings, well within the margin of error. Polls that assume everyone follows politics closely, when the reality is that only a minority of the country pays much attention to any news beyond the TV headlines. Or they bring on talking heads who pontificate endlessly and learnedly about how Congress can’t impeach Trump without the Senate Republicans on board (Nonsense. They can impeach but not remove) or how impeaching Clinton backfired on the GOP (If Americans are so stupid that we can’t tell the difference between impeaching someone for lying about a blow job and impeaching someone for corruption, maybe we deserve all this mess.) And everyone bows down to the wisdom of the very same people who convinced everyone that Clinton could never lose to Trump. I, for one, don’t trust their crystal ball.

So I’ve kind of had enough for now. Yeah, Trump is a corrupt clownshow and charlatan probably leading us down the path to ruin. But many of the rest of the players stink, too, and since they don't seem willing to impeach the worst president we've ever had, including Nixon, I’m pretty sick of the lot of them. So, like Bilbo, I think I’m going to pop on my magic ring and vanish for at least a couple of weeks, though after a while I might stop by now and then if I see something interesting to post.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Sun 02 Jun , 2019 8:19 pm 
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So the markets are in a freefall because of the new 5% tariffs on Mexican goods. And, even more unbelievably, Trump has threatened to increase tariffs by 5% each month until Mexico stopping illegal immigration. That means tariffs could be 35% by the end of the year, which is ridiculous.

My investments have gone down by a few thousand this week alone; that means that people with serious money will have seen their net worth drop by tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in a short time. Will this be the issue that finally gets rich white old men to stop supporting Trump? If so, I would consider it a few thousand dollars well-spent :D

In related news, have any of you taken advantage of the new low prices to buy some new shares? You should :poke:

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 03 Jun , 2019 3:43 pm 
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I'm hoping my financial people have. I'm not savvy enough to do it on my own, nor have I researched it at all.

inky, thank you for all of the work you've done with keeping track of the latest political news. :hug: I completely understand that you need a break. I'm surprised it didn't happen before now. It's soul-crushingly overwhelming.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 06 Jun , 2019 2:22 pm 
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Hmmm, it turns out I might have been right: 'Anything but tariffs': How Republican senators found rare occasion to defy Trump

Quote:
The Republican Party has, for the most part, backed U.S. President Donald Trump through controversial policy announcements and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. But the prospect of supporting his proposed tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico seems a bridge too far.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 10 Jun , 2019 2:44 pm 

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Thanks, Lali. It is overwhelming. And not so much because Trump is such a willfully ignorant, incompetent, vindictive, corrupt little asshole but because our political system isn't functioning as it should. Any other western democracy (or the U.S., until recently) would have tossed Trump out in the trash heap within a year. It's just embarrassing to be an American these days.

And thanks for posting the latest Trump temper tantrums, Jude.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 13 Jun , 2019 2:18 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
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I saw this and thought I'd share. It looks like Dear Leader is now trying to normalize accepting Russian help/dirt on his opponent. Not just a demonstration of his lack of ethics but also another demonstration of how his big mouth and its disengagement from his "brain" make him totally unfit for any position of responsibility. (can he possibly make it any clearer that he did accept Russian help in the 2016 election, except by actually coming out and saying it?)
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/448274-trump-says-he-would-listen-if-foreigners-offered-dirt-on-political
Quote:
President Trump on Wednesday wouldn't commit to calling the FBI if a foreign power offered damaging information on a political opponent.... "I think maybe you do both," Trump said when asked whether he would call the FBI or listen if Russia, China or another foreign government reached out.

"I think you might want to listen. There’s nothing wrong with listening," he continued. "It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI."

Stephanopoulos noted that FBI Director Christopher Wray has said campaigns should reach out to the bureau if they are contacted by a foreign entity. "The FBI director is wrong," Trump said.

(The Trump defenders' response? Trump is The Boss so Wray is wrong. Seriously.)

And the idiot doesn't even seem to realize how his attempts to defend his remarks make no sense.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/448331-trump-defends-remarks-about-accepting-information-from-foreign
Quote:
"I meet and talk to 'foreign governments' every day. I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Whales, the P.M. of the United Kingdom, the P.M. of Ireland, the President of France and the President of Poland. We talked about 'Everything!'" Trump tweeted.

"Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings?" he continued. "How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again."

Trump then blamed the press for not playing the entirety of his answer, which was broadcast on Wednesday night in an interview with ABC News.

I also loved it that he doesn't know that Charles is Prince of Wales, not whales. :D
I wish I could have been a fly on the wall after the Trump family left from their official state visit. I'd bet the royals had a few pithy things to say in private.

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That no river is a river which does not flow.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 13 Jun , 2019 2:54 pm 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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Prince of Whales is cool, but did he get to meet the Queen of Dolphins? Yeah, I didn't think so. He's not that cool.

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