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Jan 21, 2018, 02:26 PM
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 21 
 on: Jan 20, 2018, 06:08 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Test of Einstein’s theory shows our sun is losing mass

Newsweek
20 Jan 2018 at 17:28 ET

As our sun gets older, it's losing mass, and so its gravitational pull becomes weaker. As a result, the orbits of all the planets in our solar system are expanding, not unlike "the waistband of a couch potato in midlife," according to a new NASA press statement.

A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Maryland and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has shown that the aging sun is behaving according to Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity. The key to testing his theory? The planet Mercury.

In 2015, NASA's MESSENGER probe crashed into Mercury (intentionally; this is just how NASA wraps things up a lot of the time) ending its planetary exploration mission. But the seven years' worth of data it gathered while still active provided the researchers with everything they needed to estimate the relevant parameters for both general relativity and the sun's own life cycle. A paper describing the research was published in the scientific journal Nature.

“Mercury is the perfect test object for these experiments because it is so sensitive to the gravitational effect and activity of the sun,” lead author Antonio Genova, an MIT researcher working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in the press statement.

Einstein's famous theory accounts for the fact that the gravitational fields of huge objects—like the sun—warp the space-time continuum around them, according to Gizmodo. Because Mercury is the planet in our solar system closest to the Sun, its orbit is the tightest.

“We’re addressing long-standing and very important questions both in fundamental physics and solar science by using a planetary-science approach,” Goddard geophysicist Erwan Mazarico said in the NASA statement. “By coming at these problems from a different perspective, we can gain more confidence in the numbers, and we can learn more about the interplay between the sun and the planets.”

That warping effect Einstein predicted slowly but steadily affects Mercury's orbit. In a few billion years, it might crash into the Earth, according to Space.com. The accuracy with which the researchers found general relativity has predicted Mercury's path has reaffirmed that Einstein was right. This may seem like a foregone conclusion to the average non-physicist who isn't really in a position to question Einstein, but it's important to remember that pretty much nothing in science is proved as a fact for sure. Even gravity is still just a theory.

“The study demonstrates how making measurements of planetary orbit changes throughout the solar system opens the possibility of future discoveries about the nature of the sun and planets, and indeed, about the basic workings of the universe,” co-author Maria Zuber, vice president for research at MIT, said in the NASA statement.

 22 
 on: Jan 19, 2018, 01:33 PM 
Started by Nerissa - Last post by Nerissa
Wow, Skywalker - you know what's weird? I was just thinking that all this is very much like a key in a lock that finally opens up the door!! & then I see your post....
Thanks!
Editing this to add: just went for a hike in the mountains & found a little antique looking key, rusted by the elements with this little heart at the top!
(Also I neglected to note above @ emotional healing, that the north node makes a grand trine with the other planets/asteroids, water sign/houses: and right now Mars is conjunct it! EA is amazing!)

 23 
 on: Jan 19, 2018, 11:13 AM 
Started by Nerissa - Last post by Skywalker
Hi Nerissa and Rad,

To me integration as you said Nerissa is really the key (pun intended) with Chiron. The wound becomes part of us and many qualities can come from the integration process itself.

All the best

 24 
 on: Jan 19, 2018, 10:38 AM 
Started by Nerissa - Last post by Nerissa
Thanks Rad!
I want to share a couple of things, it so graphically demonstrates EA.
In my chart right  now Uranus is conjunct Asc/Jupiter/Chiron - all sorts of subconscious memories & also liberation occurring.
It is liberating to understand that it cannot be healed, the frustration with it vanishes.
Here's the thing I remembered that shows these archetypes: Uranus natally opposes this Jupiter/Chiron conjunction & your example Rad actually is part of what occurred to me - here's what I remembered :from when I was a toddler to @8-9 I would take my dolls & recreate the PL trauma, I took red lipstick to recreate the in this case literal wound - I'd then sit away from it & study the scene - and get into a trance like state, I would have some flashes, I was trying to get information from this state. That Uranus libra 7th house opposing the Jupiter/Chiron: the need to objectify to understand! And of course these memories now that Uranus is triggering it all!
In addition: the healing such as can be done is emotional - and, again, the symbols are so graphic: natal vesta & black moon Lilith conjunct Pisces/12 trining Saturn which also is on Vestas south node! Soon Uranus will square that!
Hope it's ok to share this. I'm just blown away at how graphically the EA paradigm works!! And I'm very excited to FINALLY get some degree of integration & resolutions with these issues!
Thank you Rad! This MB is truly a special place....

 25 
 on: Jan 19, 2018, 09:48 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Is This the Collusion We Were Waiting For?

Michelle Goldberg
JAN. 19, 2018
NY Times

In May 2016, Paul Erickson, an activist who has raised money for the National Rifle Association, sent an email to Rick Dearborn, an adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, with the super-subtle subject heading “Kremlin Connection.” As The New York Times reported last December, Erickson wrote that Russia was “quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and planned to use the N.R.A.’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky. that month to make “first contact” with the Trump camp. At the convention, Donald Trump Jr. met with Aleksandr Torshin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, reputed mobster and deputy governor of the Russian central bank.

This is one of those episodes that is easy to lose track of amid the avalanche of evidence connecting the Trump administration and Russia. But it takes on new significance because of an intriguing, potentially explosive article that McClatchy published Thursday headlined, “F.B.I. Investigating Whether Russian Money Went to N.R.A. to Help Trump.” We know of numerous secret communications between members of the Trump campaign and Russia, and favors asked for and received. This, however, is the most significant hint of a money trail. Norman Eisen, Barack Obama’s White House ethics czar, tweeted: “this could well be the collusion we have been waiting for, prosecutable as possible campaign finance crimes.”

It’s important not to get carried away, if only because a scenario in which the Russian investigation ensnares the N.R.A., probably the most influential conservative group in the United States, seems a bit too much like Resistance fan fiction, too delicious to be true. Indeed, if it is true, it has devastating implications for the entire Republican Party, since many officeholders enjoy lavish financial support from the N.R.A. Still, an N.R.A. role in Russiagate would explain a few things, including why the N.R.A. has, in recent years, developed such a close relationship with Russia.

There’s been a lot of reporting about that relationship, which is widely seen as part of Russia’s efforts to cultivate right-wing groups throughout the United States and Europe. As The Washington Post noted last year, “On issues including gun rights, terrorism and same-sex marriage, many leading advocates on the right who grew frustrated with their country’s leftward tilt under President Barack Obama have forged ties with well-connected Russians and come to see that country’s authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, as a potential ally.”

At least some investigators think the relationship between the N.R.A. and Russian government actors went beyond mutual admiration. On Thursday afternoon, the House Intelligence Committee released the transcript of its interview with Glenn Simpson, one of the founders of the research firm Fusion GPS. (The transcript of Simpson’s interview with the Senate was released last week.) In it, Jackie Speier, Democrat of California, asks Simpson about Russia’s interest in the N.R.A. Simpson replied that it appeared that the Russians had “infiltrated” the N.R.A. He mentioned Torshin and a woman named Maria Butina, whom McClatchy describes as Torshin’s “protégée.”

Adam Schiff, Democrat of California and ranking member of the intelligence committee, told me that the committee’s interest in the gun lobbying organization predated its meeting with Simpson. “The issue of whether there was an effort to either create a back channel through the N.R.A., or provide funding through the N.R.A., has been an issue of concern for the committee, and something we’ve endeavored to look into with the limited resources we have,” he said.

If a relationship between the N.R.A., Trump and Russia exists, Torshin and Butina appear to be the nexus of it. Torshin helped create a Russian gun-rights group called Right to Bear Arms, and Butina runs it. The purpose of the group is ambiguous. Gun laws in Russia are strict, and if people close to Putin actually wanted to change them, creating a group alluding to America’s Second Amendment seems like a weird way to do it. As Simpson said in his House testimony: “Vladimir Putin is not in favor of universal gun ownership for Russians. And so it’s all a big charade, basically.”

If so, the charade has been useful in building relationships between Putin allies and American conservatives. In 2015, Right to Bear Arms hosted a luxurious trip to Russia for N.R.A. leaders, where, according to McClatchy, they met with “a senior Kremlin official and wealthy Russians.” (Among the American delegation was former Sheriff David A. Clarke, the Trump supporter and Fox News regular.)

Last year, the Daily Beast reported on the figure Butina, a woman in her 20s who formerly owned a Siberian furniture store, cut in Trump’s Washington: “Now she’s wheeling and dealing with D.C. think-tankers, Republican strategists and a Russian bank chief with alleged mob connections.” The article said she repeatedly boasted of her role as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and Russia.

As McClatchy reported, Erickson — the author of the “Kremlin Connection” email — and Butina set up a limited liability company together in 2016. Erickson told McClatchy that the company was founded to provide Butina with money for her graduate studies, should she need it. That, noted McClatchy, is “an unusual way to use an L.L.C.”

Here’s another way L.L.C.s could be used: as an intermediary between foreign agents and tax-exempt organizations that are not required by law to disclose their donors, often called dark money groups. Indeed, in July the left-leaning Center for American Progress put out a report warning that loopholes in campaign finance laws make it easy for foreign citizens or governments to influence our elections in precisely this way.

Speaking of the F.B.I.’s investigation into the N.R.A., Liz Kennedy, the senior director of Democracy and Government Reform at the center, told me, “If this investigation in fact finds that illegal behavior occurred, this would really be the kind of illegal foreign spending that we were warning would happen.” (During the Obama administration, Senate Democrats twice tried to pass the Disclose Act, which would require greater transparency about the sources of political donations; both times Republicans filibustered.)

Of all the so-called dark money groups involved in the 2016 election, none spent more than the N.R.A. The $30 million it expended to elect Trump was three times more than the N.R.A. spent on Mitt Romney’s behalf in the 2012 election.

That $30 million, however, is just what the N.R.A. spent on the presidential race. It also backed other candidates, reportedly spending $55 million overall. The organization helped Republicans cement control of Congress. If it did so with Russia’s assistance, the whole party is implicated.

Of course, the citizenry has no way of knowing where any of that money came from. But the F.B.I. almost certainly does. We’re far from understanding what role, if any, the N.R.A. played in helping Russia help Trump. But a scandal that encompasses both the Trump campaign and the right’s most powerful lobby would be bigger than most people imagined before Thursday.

“In terms of what the Russians are doing in the United States, it’s far broader than just the Trump campaign,” Schiff told me. “In that sense when people think that the Russian intervention was just about tipping the scales to one of the candidates in 2016, they’re thinking far too narrowly.”

 26 
 on: Jan 19, 2018, 07:25 AM 
Started by Nerissa - Last post by Rad
Hi Nerissa,

Some wounds that the Soul creates for itself must remain within the memories of the Soul because of affect on the Soul's evolution itself: meaning they were necessary for whatever the reasons or causes were within the Soul that created the need for the wound(s) to occur in the first place. A 'relative' healing can take place once the Soul accepts the responsibility in it's own actions: 'why did I need to create that'. Even when the understanding as to the why occurs to the Soul the affect of the wound continues to have it's effects, relatively speaking, upon the Soul is some ways because the evolutionary need to have created the wound(s) in the first place.

A women who has been gang raped for example will always be wounded and affected by that no matter how much Soul understanding takes place as to why she needed to create that in the first place. This one example could be exampled in countless ways relative to wounds that can never be fully healed as if they never existed in the first place.

Chiron is just one archetype that correlates with 'wounds'. It is the nature of the archetype that correlates with what types of wounds manifest through the archetype: and the reasons for them which, in the end, is a total understanding of the EA paradigm itself including the nodes of all the planets relative to that paradigm.

God Bless, Rad

 27 
 on: Jan 19, 2018, 06:47 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Stormy Daniels: Trump asked to be spanked with a copy of Forbes Magazine — around the time he and his kids were on the cover

Newsweek
19 Jan 2018 at 20:35 ET    

Stormy Daniels, the porn star who allegedly had an affair with Donald Trump before he was president, said Trump once asked her to spank him with a copy of Forbes Magazine.

In emails obtained by Mother Jones from 2009, when Daniels was embarking on a political career, campaign strategists working for her at the time and looking for possible donor contacts in her cell phone chattered about the relationship between Daniels and Trump: Andrea Dubé, a Democratic political consultant wrote, "Donald Trump? In her cell phone?"

Another consultant, whom Mother Jones did not name, responded, "Yep. She says one time he made her sit with him for three hours watching ‘shark week.’ Another time he had her spank him with a Forbes magazine.”

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, reached international fame when the  Wall Street Journal reported that Trump's lawyer had allegedly paid $130,000 for her silence about the extramarital affair he had with her in 2006, a year after he married Melania Trump. The president denies the claims.

In the email exchange  Mother Jones reported, Daniels was in the midst of putting together a 2009 campaign to be the senator of Louisiana. She went on a "listening tour," met with consultants and began to brainstorm possible donors. She gave consultants a list of names of people she knew who could be potential donors, and that list included Donald Trump.

In another report recently published in  In Touch magazine, which interviewed Daniels years ago, she describes once again the president's affinity for "Shark Week," a week of shark-focused programming on the Discovery Channel. Daniels said Trump watched the program "obsessively." In that interview, Daniels claimed, “He told me once that I was someone to be reckoned with, beautiful and smart, just like his daughter.”

For the Journal piece, Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, submitted a statement from Daniels denying the claims. She said, “Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false...If indeed I did have a relationship with Donald Trump, trust me, you wouldn’t be reading about it in the news, you would be reading about it in my book.”

To read the full interview click here: http://www.intouchweekly.com/posts/stormy-daniels-full-interview-151788

 28 
 on: Jan 19, 2018, 06:35 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Here are the five biggest bombshells from the Fusion GPS founder’s House intel testimony

Noor Al-Sibai
Raw Story
19 Jan 2018 at 17:54 ET                  

On Thursday, the House of Representatives released the declassified intelligence committee testimony of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson — and journalists immediately began perusing the 165 pages for clues.

The lengthy interview contained ample twists and turns, but below are five of the biggest revelations from Simpson’s testimony.

1. The Kremlin used the release of the “Trump-Russia” dossier to justify a massive purge.

    New: Glenn Simpson said the Kremlin used the release of the dossier as a justification for a purge – arrests and killings https://t.co/0U9f2a489B

    — Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets) January 18, 2018

As The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff wrote, “The Kremlin used the publication of his firm’s dossier—which contains salacious and unsubstantiated allegations about Trump—as a pretext for a spate of arrests and killings,” and some of the people expelled from the intelligence institution may have been “American sources.”

2. Vladimir Putin was “very interested” in the Jewish diaspora.

    Weird snippet from the Glenn Simpson/Fusion GPS testimony before House Intel Committee: the Kremlin is apparently "very interested" in the Jewish diaspora. pic.twitter.com/ibcTAh9Dsi

    — Noor Al-Sibai (@nooralsibai) January 18, 2018

As Raw Story reported after the Simpson testimony was released, the research firm executive claimed the Russian government infiltrated the Orthodox Jewish and Christian churches for intelligence purposes.

3. A supposed “Russian gangster” ran a “high-stakes gambling ring” out of Trump Tower.

    SHOT: A Russian gangster ran a high-stakes gambling ring out of Trump Tower, per Fusion GPS cofounder Glenn Simpson.

    CHASER: Trump was with that Russian gangster in the VIP section at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant (along with other "Kremlin biggies"). pic.twitter.com/zoa9OA60yk

    — Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) January 18, 2018

In one of the more difficult-to-corroborate aspects of his testimony, Simpson claimed that a Russian gangster known as “Taiwanchik” made Trump Tower his base of operations for a “high stakes gambling ring” — and that this knowledge led Fusion GPS to hire former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate.

4. Jared and Ivanka’s marriage was a business decision.

    The marriage of Ivanka and Jared was largely a business deal, Fusion GPS's Simpson suggests (page 86) https://t.co/hQZ0UbsNih pic.twitter.com/HyCx7xJNLR

    — David S. Joachim (@davidjoachim) January 18, 2018

Though he attempted to be “polite” about it, Simpson suggested that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s marriage had a “business element” to it.

5. Fusion GPS was looking into Kushner’s use a controversial visa program that allowed foreign investors to “buy” their way into the U.S.

    Simpson, looking at a Kushner project, realized that the EB-5 VISA scam could be a way for foreign intel services to GET SPIES INTO AMERICA DISCREETLY. pic.twitter.com/RkbU2ubOIz

    — Eric Garland (@ericgarland) January 18, 2018

Simpson revealed that his research firm had been looking into Kushner’s use of the EB-5 visa program that critics say allows wealthy investors to get green cards in exchange for investments.

*************

Did Trump obstruct justice by silencing Bannon?

Newsweek
19 Jan 2018 at 07:18 ET  

President Donald Trump possibly obstructed justice or intimidated a witness if he did indeed tell Steve Bannon not to answer certain questions during his interview with the House Intelligence Committee, according to Laurence Tribe, a Harvard Law School professor who worked at the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama.

Foreign Policy reported Thursday that Trump “personally” decided to limit what Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, would tell House investigations on Tuesday. Trump based his decision on advice from Uttam Dhillon, a deputy White House counsel, said the report, which was based on two sources with knowledge of the matter. It was unclear how Trump conveyed the instruction to Bannon.

“Instructing Bannon to invoke a non-existent ‘executive privilege’ for pre-presidential communications—if that’s what Trump in fact did—would be legally improper at the very best, and could well constitute a form of witness tampering, and, in conjunction with Trump’s pattern of interference with the official probes into his campaign and the transition, an obstruction of justice,” Tribe told Newsweek by email.

Other legal experts were less certain. “Privilege may not apply because of what question Bannon is being asked to answer,” said Kathleen Clark, a professor at the Washington University School of Law, “but the mere assertion of privilege is not obstruction of justice.”

Another legal analyst, Eric Columbus, who worked at the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration, said in a Twitter message that the reported scenario is not unprecedented, except for one aspect: “This is conceptually similar to how things have worked in past administrations, though very rare for POTUS himself to get involved at this point.”

Trump has previously faced allegations of obstruction of justice and witness intimidation. It’s unlikely that prosecutors would pursue Trump for obstructing justice in this way because there are better examples, according to Norm Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the former ethics czar under Obama.

“This would be a somewhat tenuous addition to what otherwise is shaping up to be a potentially strong case,” Eisen said. “A prosecutor wouldn’t want to open up himself to arguments about the president’s legitimate right to enforce a privilege. So it’s possible but unlikely that this will support the larger obstruction case.” The same goes for witness intimidation, he added.

Bannon met this week with the House committee as part of its probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and any links to political campaigns. Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters on Tuesday that Bannon’s lawyer, William Burck, had informed the committee that Bannon wouldn’t answer questions about his time in the White House or during the presidential transition, forcing the committee to issue a subpoena.

“His counsel then conferred again with the White House and was instructed by the White House to ... refuse to answer any questions, even though he was under compulsory process, concerning the period of time during the transition and during the administration,” Schiff said.

“The scope of this assertion of privilege, if that’s what it is, is breathtaking. It goes well beyond we anything we have seen in this investigation," Schiff added. "This was effectively a gag order by the White House.”

On Thursday, Schiff referred to Bannon in a statement: “His counsel informed our committee that he was willing to answer these questions, but that he was being directed not to by White House counsel and the president.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at daily press briefings that such White House involvement in congressional testimonies is not unusual. The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Trump will have less ability to limit what Bannon tells Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is also investigating Russia’s election meddling and possible coordination with the Trump campaign. Mueller subpoenaed Bannon to testify before a grand jury, The New York Times reported Tuesday, but Bannon and Mueller's team have since reportedly worked out an arrangement for a less formal interview.

****************

Morning Joe panel destroys ‘twisted scoundrel’ Trump: ‘Putin has something on him — and it’s bad’

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
19 Jan 2018 at 07:12 ET                  

Panelists on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” were just as disgusted as anyone by salacious claims by a former porn actress about her sexual relationship with President Donald Trump — but they said it was more than tabloid trash.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen set up an LLC to pay $130,000 in hush money to Stormy Daniels shortly before the election, possibly in violation of election law — but multiple news outlets passed on the story before the election.

“Funny, the National Enquirer is not covering this, probably because Donald Trump is friends with them,” said co-host Mika Brzezinski.

Co-host Willie Geist said it was a “serious and real story,” despite the subject, and host Joe Scarborough said it proved claims in the infamous dossier that Trump had been compromised by Russia president Vladimir Putin.

“Vladimir Putin has something that he is holding over Donald Trump’s head, and it is bad,” Scarborough said. “We started asking that question in December of 2015, two years ago, when Donald Trump was defending Vladimir Putin for assassinating journalists. Donald Trump was defending Vladimir Putin for assassinating political leaders in his own country. Donald Trump was defending Vladimir Putin for all the things he did.”

Republican strategist Susan Del Percio said conservative Christians had already compromised their own values to back Trump, after the scandals that had erupted before the election.

“How do you get past the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape?” Del Percio said. “It’s equally as bad, it’s his voice, saying what he did. This man is a scoundrel. His values are twisted.”

Scarborough said multiple Trump campaign associates and Cabinet members had lied about their contacts with Russians, and he said the president was hoping the barrage of scandal would eventually take its toll on Americans.

“So what is Donald Trump hoping? He is not hoping he can just brush aside a story of a porn star,” Scarborough said. “He’s hoping that when the truth comes out about what Vladimir Putin has and has had hanging over his head for decades, possibly, that we will all be too numb to notice. Ten tweets a day, five lies a day, bread and circuses, all of the game show, reality show distractions. Mika, that’s all he’s hoping. He wants to numb the American people, he wants to numb the electorate, he wants to numb everybody — his supporters, which already is numbing a lot of his supporters — to the dirty reality that is — not only his presidency, but his past.”

MSNBC contributor Donnie Deutsch said the scandal had barely been a blip, although it would have commanded wall-to-wall coverage if any other president had been accused of paying off a porn actress to cover up an extramarital affair.

“This would bring down any other president, it would be over,” Deutsch said. “Because this president has set the bar so below mud, that it almost becomes just another day at the office. We can’t let that happen. Let’s think about this again, think about that story. I don’t understand just from a selling newspapers point of view, just from a pure capitalism point of view.”

*************

The man-child in the White House reels wildly out of control

By Eugene Robinson Opinion writer
January 19 2018
Wa Post

The rude, petulant man-child in the Oval Office is reeling ever more wildly out of control, and those who cynically or slavishly pretend otherwise are doing a grave disservice to the nation — and to themselves.

How do you like him now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell? President Trump convened a made-for-television summit at the White House and said he’d sign any immigration bill Congress passed. “I’ll take the heat,” he boasted. So a bipartisan group of senators came up with a deal — and he rejected it out of hand, launching into an unhinged rant about “shithole countries.”

What about you, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan? You came up with a clever way to get Democrats to agree to a stopgap funding bill, dangling the possibility of a long-term renewal of the vital Children’s Health Insurance Program. But the president tweeted that “CHIP should be part of a long term solution” and not a short-term measure to keep the government from shutting down.

Is this what you signed up for, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly? In a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, you said that some of Trump’s campaign positions on immigration were “uninformed” and that there will never be a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. You reportedly added that whatever partial barrier gets built, Mexico won’t pay for it. But the president slapped you down with another series of tweets, claiming that his promised wall “has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it” — and that Mexico will, too, pay for the wall, “directly or indirectly.”

How was your week, White House physician Ronny Jackson? You did what is expected of everyone who stands at the lectern in the briefing room: lavish the president with flowery, over-the-top, Dear Leader praise. He is in “excellent health,” you announced. But the test results you released, according to many other doctors, indicate that Trump suffers from moderate heart disease and is on the borderline between overweight and obese.

Opinion writers Molly Roberts, Christine Emba, Alexandra Petri and Stephen Stromberg analyze President Trump's medical report with wit and wisdom. (The Washington Post)

Having fun, Stephen K. Bannon and Corey Lewandowski? As bigwigs in the Trump campaign, you helped a manifestly unfit blowhard get elected president. This week, you did the White House a favor by stonewalling the House Intelligence Committee in a way that angered even the Republicans on the panel, which is hard to do. But you remain in the crosshairs of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, and the best-case scenario is that you emerge unindicted but saddled with mountainous legal bills.

No one should feel sorry for those who choose to aid and abet this travesty of an administration. They made their choices. They elected to trust a man they know to be wholly untrustworthy, and to lie shamelessly to massage his swollen ego. At this point, I wouldn’t believe Sarah Huckabee Sanders if she told me that water is wet and the sky is blue.

But the larger impact is something we all must worry about: One year into the Trump presidency, we effectively do not have a presidency at all.

As McConnell noted in frustration Wednesday, he can’t orchestrate passage of an immigration bill unless he knows what Trump is willing to sign. Likewise, Ryan can’t pass spending legislation unless he knows what Trump will and will not accept. But the president has no fixed positions. His word is completely unreliable. How are congressional leaders supposed to do their jobs?

Regarding foreign policy, how can other nations take seriously anything Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says when he is subject to being countermanded on Twitter at any moment? What is the point of Jared Kushner’s diplomacy, if you can call it that, in the Middle East? Does “America first” really mean anything, or is it just Trumpian hot air?

And why, at this point, do reporters even bother to attend Sanders’s briefings, unless perhaps for the entertainment value? Past press secretaries all delivered pronouncements that were loaded with spin, but Sanders concocts laughable fantasies out of thin air — usually to “justify” crazy things Trump has said or tweeted.

The nation has never faced a situation like this: It is unwise to take literally or seriously anything the president and his official spokesmen say. An administration with no credibility cannot possibly lead.

Trump is incapable of growing into the job; if anything, he is becoming more erratic. I fear the day when a crisis arises and we must face it with a bratty preteen at the helm.

 29 
 on: Jan 19, 2018, 06:30 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Merkel still in charge of her future amid impasse in Germany

New Europe
1/19/2018

BERLIN  — Angela Merkel has defied many forecasts of her looming political demise in 12 years as German chancellor. And nearly four months into post-war Germany's longest political impasse, she's likely to emerge on top again for the time being — whatever happens.

Opponents have argued that Merkel's time is nearing its end as they chew over her efforts to create a new government following September's election, in which support for her conservatives and their center-left coalition partners dropped.

Those partners, the Social Democrats, are agonizing about a decision Sunday on whether to negotiate another government with the former scientist. "The end of Angela Merkel's time in office has begun," Kevin Kuehnert, the head of the Social Democrats' youth wing and a prominent opponent of a coalition, said recently. "The Social Democrats would do well not to extend this time in office."

The pro-business Free Democrats, who pulled the plug on Merkel's first coalition-building attempt with them and another smaller party in November, have since sought to pin much of the blame on the chancellor.

"Germany won't be able to thrive in the future with Angela Merkel's recipes of the past 12 years," deputy leader Wolfgang Kubicki said. But opponents failed for years to find a way past Merkel and don't look close to doing so now, even if the 63-year-old is past her political peak. And there's no single obvious successor in her own party — potential rivals don't have the strength or, for now, the desire to mount an open challenge.

Merkel's popularity among voters and supporters of her own Christian Democratic Union remains remarkably solid for a leader in power so long. She built up that popularity in her early years as chancellor, sealing it with a calm response to the 2008 financial crisis and building on it by convincing many Germans that she was shielding them from the effects of the subsequent eurozone debt crisis.

"This feeling of security that she gave people is still there, in large part," said Manfred Guellner, the head of the Forsa polling agency. "That remains her strength, and is what many want in an uncertain global situation."

She still has popularity ratings that one-time mentor Helmut Kohl "could only dream of for 16 years" as chancellor, he added. Merkel has pulled her party to the center, helping squeeze support for the Social Democrats and others. She has developed a light-touch style of leadership that often allows her to appear above everyday politics, letting others argue over contentious issues before committing to a solution.

Critics have charged that she shows too little leadership. Her second-term government, a center-right coalition with the Free Democrats, was notorious for infighting that fueled periodic speculation it would collapse.

Guellner notes that German media speculation of an imminent end to Merkel's chancellorship dates as far back as 2010. Merkel emerged from that second-term government at the 2013 election with her party's best result in more than 20 years, while her coalition partners were punished.

Merkel's decision in 2015 to allow in large numbers of asylum-seekers caused major political friction and boosted the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, which last year became the third-largest in parliament after campaigning on a shrill anti-migration and anti-Merkel message.

But while a section of the electorate is now vehemently anti-Merkel, her Union bloc was still easily the biggest party in September's election, albeit with its weakest result in decades. That means that, whether or not the Social Democrats choose to continue the "grand coalition" of Germany's biggest parties that has governed since 2013, there still appears to be no way past Merkel for the foreseeable future. If there's no coalition, the options would be an unprecedented conservative minority government or a new election.

Merkel has made clear that she doesn't want a minority government — an arrangement that would require her to break with her consensual style and cobble together majorities on a case-by-case basis. Anti-coalition Social Democrats argue that it would be better for German politics if Merkel has to do so, and point to her past ideological flexibility.

"Mrs. Merkel has rejected all kinds of things, so I think this position could change under heavy pressure," left-wing lawmaker Hilde Mattheis said this week. If a minority government isn't installed, a decision that would be made by Germany's president, Merkel has indicated that she would run again in a new election. So far, polls suggest that there's been little change since September, and that her bloc would again emerge on top by a distance.

The conservative-leaning Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung questioned this week how long "the very German wish for stability, calm and reliability that brought Merkel high popularity ratings for 12 years" will hold at bay people's desire for new faces.

"When Merkel calls it quits, a new game will begin," it said in an editorial. It remains to be seen when that will be. "I don't think she will get into difficulty because there is no uprising in the Union," said Guellner, the pollster. "The only thing would be if she says, 'I've had enough and I'm packing up,' but there is no sign of that."

 30 
 on: Jan 19, 2018, 06:25 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Frosty reception for South Korea's Winter Olympics detente with North

Young people and conservatives in South Korea accuse President Moon Jae-in of sacrificing Olympic ideals for diplomatic expediency

Justin McCurry and agencies
Guardian
Fri 19 Jan 2018 05.59 GMT

South Korea is facing a public backlash over its sports rapprochement with North Korea, with critics accusing the government of turning next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics into the “Pyongyang Olympics”.

After three high-level meetings along their border in little over a week, North and South Korea have proposed forming a joint women’s ice hockey team and allowing their athletes to march together under one flag at next month’s games in South Korea.

Despite the logistical challenges posed by North Korea’s eleventh-hour agreement to compete in Pyeongchang, the International Olympic Committee is expected to give the proposal a sympathetic hearing when it meets officials from both countries in Lausanne on Saturday.

But young people and conservatives in South Korea have accused the country’s president, Moon Jae-in, of sacrificing Olympic ideals for diplomatic expediency.

Moon’s approval rating fell to a four-month low of 67% on Friday, in a reflection of the public’s lukewarm response to his attempts to promote an Olympic détente he hopes will lead to a diplomatic breakthrough over Pyongyang’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

Moon’s approval rating among people in their 20s and 30s – his core support – fell to 75% and 82% respectively, down six percentage points and seven percentage points from last week.

“North Korea was all about firing missiles last year, but suddenly they want to come to the South for the Olympics? Who gets to decide that?,” said Kim Joo-hee, a 24-year-old Seoul resident. “Does North Korea have so much privilege to do whatever they want?”

Conservative politicians voiced anger over a proposal to have the country’s athletes march with their North Korean counterparts under a unification flag rather than the South Korean flag.

“We are turning the Pyeongchang Olympics that we’ve got into the Pyongyang Olympics,” said Hong Joon-pyo, leader of South Korea’s main conservative opposition party, adding that Seoul was now “dancing to the tune” of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

Moon countered that North Korea’s participation at Pyeongchang “will serve as a chance to warm solidly frozen South-North ties.” He added: “If we march together or field a single team, I think that can be a further step in developing South-North relations.”

While the overall number of North Korean athletes has yet to be decided, the existing South Korean ice hockey squad of 22 players will have to be expanded, possibly to 35, to accommodate them – an arrangement criticised by their Canadian coach, Sarah Murray.

“Adding somebody so close to the Olympics is a little bit dangerous just for team chemistry because the girls have been together for so long,” Murray said.

Ice hockey officials in Switzerland, who face South Korea in their opening match, said the expected late addition of North Korean players was “not fair and distorts competition”.

South Korean government officials have also been forced to defend the planned use of North Korea’s Masikryong ski resort as a training base, after critics said it would generate publicity for one of Kim Jong-un’s pet projects.

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