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 on: Jan 16, 2017, 08:18 PM 
Started by Rad - Last post by
RAD,  So sorry head cold is still raging, just cannot think or write.  I will try again tomorrow.  Tashi

 on: Jan 16, 2017, 11:17 AM 
Started by Gonzalo - Last post by Rad
Hi Gonzalo,

Thanks for your loving message. Simply redouble your efforts to do the work your Soul desires to help others through and because of EA.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Jan 16, 2017, 09:50 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Merlyn
I've got a full-day, so had to finish here.  I've been able to sit in mediation 2-3 times daily, which I feel has helped my astrology practice immensely, especially working directly with others (just with friends and visitors to my Cafe at this point).

With Pluto in the 5th house, the couple has felt a powerlessness in the past, and an intention of the current partnership is to feel secure in a self-expression deeply rooted in natural law.  Through Pluto’s polarity in Gemini (11th), and Jupiter (Pluto’s ruler) in Scorpio (5th), it’s clear that growth emerges through integrating their relationship into the larger guise of their community via service over survival.  The South Node is in Virgo (2nd, conj. Ceres), with its ruler Mercury in Capricorn (6th, balsamic Moon).  A past life dynamic is an intense focus on the immediate needs of the relationship and any external event which may threatened that security.  Mars in Cancer (12th) opposes the conjunction (6th), showing ambiguity in maternal figures, which emerge instead by nurturance through the trauma inspired by outside forces.  However, the relationship’s emotional state often paralleled the intensity of the traumatic experiences, causing Shaw and Chloe to project the same sort of energetic dynamic onto one another (like the taking of Chloe’s life, mentioned by Rad).  This lays the foundation for the immense need for self-awareness and individuation in the partnership between Chloe and Shaw today.

The North Node is in Pisces (8th, conj. Uranus), with its ruler, Neptune in Aquarius (7th, conj. Juno).  These positions echo dynamics within each of their individual charts, implying an ultimate need to break free from the limitations of the partnership’s self-contained spirituality based on the relationship itself.  The “frog-in-the-well” dynamic of the 2nd house is going to be hesitant to reach outside of its own value-structure, yet growth comes through experiencing these forces from outside of the relationship (either shared by Chloe and Shaw, or independently and related back to one-another) through a sense of mindfulness, rather than the survival instinct alone.  These houses of partnership, overlaid by Uranus, Neptune, and their ruling signs, again show the need to place the relationship in tandem with the larger whole, and develop a self-awareness of what is needed for growth and emotional sustenance through the way in which they relate to outside occurrences.

In the composite chart, Pluto is the skipped step, finding resolution in the South Node in Virgo.  It’s several degrees into a separating square, implying the completion of a lesson which has carried over from the past.  Again, Pluto in Sagittarius the 5th is going to struggle feeling secure in its self-expression, with a drive to connect more fully to natural law.  That self-expression is going to come from a talent for relaying the traumatic experiences of the past in a way which no-longer isolates Chloe and Shaw, but rather connects them more fully to the voices of others.  Finding resolution in that South Node and it’s ruler, Mercury, growth comes through the integration of the relationship’s purpose into that larger whole.  This is only possible with a direct understanding of what nurtures the relationship (and simultaneously what is draining), and what gives it value and meaning.  Going back to the experience of feeling nurtured through outside forces, the relationship must become aware of how they are affected by these external factors, and how they sub-consciously reflect the various traumas through their own actions.  The transformation thus becomes one of playing the victim (and acting accordingly through the relationship’s expression, most likely toward one-another), into having such an immense self-awareness in response to these external forces that the two are able to accommodate their sense of expression to best utilize the energies from the outside. 



 on: Jan 16, 2017, 08:58 AM 
Started by cristina - Last post by Gonzalo
Hola Urano,

Primero que nada, gracias por tu post y tu pregunta, y por favor disculpa mi demora en responderte, la cual se ha debido a que debí tomarme un tiempo fuera del Foro.  

¿Con qué parámetros se interpreta a Lucifer cuando éste se vuelve «portador de la Luz»? ¿Un asteroide Lucifer ubicado en la Casa VIII se centra en enfocarse en todos los puntos débiles psicológicos de otras personas? ¿Se podría decir que el asteroide Lucifer cuando está ubicado en la Casa VIII o en Escorpio está dignificado?

Lo que dices sobre Lucifer en la Casa VIII es correcto, esa es una manifestación posible. Y efectivamente, es una posición en que el asteroide Lucifer está arquetípicamente enfatizado.

Hay que recordar que el arquetipo de Lucifer tiene una doble naturaleza. Por un lado - el lado oscuro -  Lucifer es el enemigo de Dios, que se opone a los planes de Dios para el Alma y aleja al Alma de su camino. Por el otro lado - el lado luminoso - Lucifer simboliza tipos de deseos, dinámicas y experiencias, a través de los cuales se manifiesta en la conciencia individual la acción directa de Dios, el Espíritu, creando 'atajos' para avanzar en el camino e ir más pronto a su verdadero hogar.

En su aspecto oscuro Lucifer en la Casa VIII o en Escopio se manifiesta creando o intensificando todo tipo de distorsiones emocionales y psicológicas, y dentro de eso, todo tipo de temores irracionales, compulsiones, obsesiones, fobias, y estados emocionales extremos. Puede generar o intensificar una orientación de vengatividad, de  querer ajustar cuentas, o de querer destruir emocional o psicológicamente a otras personas, en función de una intensidad extrema de dinámicas emocionales que se ven exacerbadas a través de la acción de Lucifer, en su aspecto oscuro, en el Alma del individuo con Lucifer en la Casa VIII o Escorpio. En algunos casos, se manifestará a través de inducir o intensificar una psicología de ocultamiento, que luego se traduce en una psicología de sospecha, y a través de todo tipo de manipulaciones de otras personas. Dentro de eso, puede traducirse en una tendencia a ocultar la verdad y a mentir. Pude manifestarse como niveles extremos de arrogancia y soberbia. En general, todo tipo de extremos emocionales y psicológicos, y de patologías psicológicas y emocionales, pueden manifestarse con esa posición de Lucifer. En algunos casos eso puede traducirse en una identificación con la 'sombra' en el sentido Junguiano, en una intensidad de las dinámicas de la sombra, en una dificultad específica en su integración o resolución, en otros casos algunos individuos pueden identificarse consciente o inconscientemente con un principio retributivo, y verse empujados a actuar como agentes kármicos en las vidas de otras personas. En general, desde el punto de vista del arquetipo, en todos esos casos coexistirán dinámicas que impiden al individuo penetrar en su propia psicología y comprender sus propias razones - sus propias dinámicas de deseos - por las cuales tales orientaciones o actitudes existen en su Alma en primer lugar. En general, esto se va a traducir en todo tipo de 'resistencias' al impulso evolutivo, y en la posibilidad de intensificar más allá de lo necesario la naturaleza de todo tipo de deseos de separación que existan en el Alma. En algunos casos, niveles intensificados o extremos de violencia psicológica pueden manifestarse con Lucifer en la Casa VIII o Escorpio. Todo tipo de distorsiones sexuales pueden existir, incluyendo el empleo de la sexualidad como medio para herir a otros o para manipularlos. En algunos casos, Lucifer en la Casa VIII puede reflejar de hecho una intensa atracción a la oscuridad o la energía del mal. Esas dinámicas pueden también manifestarse en la vida/conciencia del individuo, a través de la acción de otras personas o energías que sean atraídas a la vida del individuo. Pueden ocurrir en bases más o menos regulares, o a través de 'tentaciones' de todo tipo, relativas a las mismas dinámicas, que se manifiestan en momentos críticos en la vida del individuo,  

En su lado luminoso, Lucifer en la Casa VIII o Escorpio es exactamente lo contrario. Puede manifestarse como una orientación y una guía interior a penetrar cada vez más profundamente la propia psique y comprender la propia realidad emocional y psicológica, y generar autoconocimiento emocional y psicológico cada vez más profundo y rico, en el individuo, y a través del individuo, para otra otras personas. Puede manifestarse como una energía que ayuda a sanar interiormente, a nivel emocional, psicológico y espiritual, y en la capacidad para ayudar a otras personas a hacer eso mismo. Puede traducirse en la capacidad creciente de encontrar seguridad interior a través de percibir que siempre hay una profundidad interior aún por descubrir, y dar al Alma la capacidad y la guía interna para entrar en esa profundidad - la capacidad para entrar en la propia oscuridad a fin de encontrar la luz interior, la capacidad para ir en busca de la luz interior y no temer los fantasmas que acechan en las sombras. Puede guiar al individuo en la intensidad de procesos metamórficos, alquímicos, a través de los cuales la luz y la oscuridad interiores, de naturaleza psicológica, están siendo integradas y sanadas. Pueden manifestarse a través de la capacidad aumentada de 'confiar', aun en medio de la mayor oscuridad, basada en la evidencia interior de naturaleza experiencial sobre la realidad del Alma y de la Luz. En general, todas esas manifestaciones arquetípicas también pueden ocurrir en la vida del individuo a través de otras personas que llegan a su vida.

Bendiciones, Gonzalo

 on: Jan 16, 2017, 08:12 AM 
Started by Gonzalo - Last post by Gonzalo
Hi Rad,
I’m posting this brief message only to express my love, gratitude and devotion to you, and to Jeff Green. You are great teachers and the greatest astrologers of all times. You are so beautiful loving Souls caring for us. You have given me so much. My inner processes are pretty slow, I always need to go step by step, once and again, and again. It has taken so long to realize the essence of my own Soul is one of feeling and being guided by heart, rather than the mind. Where I’ve been wrong, I will rectify myself. The Spirit and the teachers will always help me. My heart sings because it has found a depth of love for you that cannot be destroyed by the illusion of error. It is stronger than that. I’m thinking about what offerings need to be made for repair of anything that were broken.
God Bless,

 on: Jan 16, 2017, 07:28 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Women's March on Washington set to be one of America's biggest protests

Pink hats will be much in evidence as an extraordinarily wide range of groups come together to repudiate President Trump the day after his inauguration

Joanna Walters in New York
15 January 2017 15.00 GMT

It began as a spontaneous feminist rallying cry via social media. It has morphed into what is expected to be one of the largest demonstrations in American history – a boisterous march about a smorgasbord of progressive issues, and an extraordinary display of dissent on a president’s first day in office peppered with knit pink hats.

Before the bunting and barriers are even cleared away from Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump, hundreds of thousands are likely to attend the Women’s March on Washington the following day, 21 January.

“A march of this magnitude, across this diversity of issues has never happened before,” said Kaylin Whittingham, president of the association of black women attorneys. “We all have to stand together as a force no one can ignore.”

The Women’s March now has almost 200 progressive groups, large and small, signing on as supporting partners. The issues they represent are as varied as the environment, legal abortion, prisoners’ rights, voting rights, a free press, affordable healthcare, gun safety, racial and gender equality and a higher minimum wage. Men are invited.

More than 300 simultaneous local protests will also occur, across all 50 states, and support marches are planned in 30 other countries, organizer Linda Sarsour said.

“We have no choice. We need to stand up against an administration that threatens everything we believe in, in what we hope will become one of the largest grassroots, progressive movements ever seen,” said Sarsour.

June Barrett, a domestic worker in Florida, was spurred to travel from Miami to Washington by Trump’s leaked audio tape in which he boasted of accosting women and “grabbing them by the pussy”.

She had been sexually assaulted by an elderly man in her professional care who grabbed her genitals, she said.

“When that tape came out, I went into a bit of a depression. And I’ve had to walk away from my Baptist church after they were strongly guiding us to vote for Trump and Mike Pence. It’s shaken my whole faith. I have to march against this hate,” said Barrett.

She moved to Florida from Jamaica in 2001.

“I’m a black woman, I’m queer, I’m an immigrant and everything that’s going to happen under Trump and Pence is going to affect me, perhaps adversely. It breaks my heart that so many women voted for them,” she said, referring to results that showed, among other things, that a majority of white women voted for the Republican ticket.

The Women’s March on Washington was conceived on 9 November. Teresa Shook, a retired lawyer in Hawaii, reacting to Trump’s shock win and his comments and actions related to women, posted on Facebook suggesting a protest timed around Trump’s inauguration. The message ended up on Pantsuit Nation, one of the invitation-only Facebook support groups lauded by Hillary Clinton in her concession speech.

Support surged overnight. But there was also an outcry because it was being seen as predominantly a white event.

It was also briefly known as the Million Women March, which sparked some anger because of its echoes of the Million Man March, in Washington in 1995, and the Million Woman March, in Philadelphia in 1997, both organized as predominantly African American demonstrations to protest against racism.

Changes were quickly made to the latest event.

“The presidential election was on the Tuesday and I came in on the Friday,” said Sarsour, who is also a civil rights activist in New York and an Arab American with Palestinian roots.

Gun control campaigner Tamika Mallory, who is black, and Carmen Perez, a Latina and civil rights worker also joined the leadership team, alongside female New York fashion designer Bob Bland.

“Some people think we are tokens, but I’m not just a pretty Muslim face – we’re leading this together,” said Sarsour, who is in charge of fundraising.

Many other grassroots efforts have emerged in the planning of the march. Among the most popular is an initiative to hand-knit pink “pussyhats” that thousands of attendees are expected to wear.

Larry Sabato, director of the center for politics at the University of Virginia, cited anti-Vietnam war demonstrations and civil rights-era protests that attracted crowds up to half a million as among the most prominent in US history – so far.

“It’s never happened that so many people have gathered in opposition to the new administration on day one,” said Sarsour. “Will it be the largest US mass mobilization ever? I’ll be able to tell you on January 22.”

Celebrities slated to attend include Scarlett Johansson, America Ferrera, Uzo Aduba, Zendaya, Katy Perry and Cher.

Thanu Yakupitiyage, spokeswoman for the advocacy group and march partner, the New York Immigration Coalition, is marching not just for immigrants’ rights but for women’s equality, fair police reforms and healthcare protection, she said.

“A lot of immigrant communities were scared by Trump’s vitriolic messages. Some who are undocumented or insecure may be afraid to march in Washington,” she said.

Colleen Flanagan will have to navigate her wheelchair amid seething masses of marching women.

“I may not be marching but I will personally be rolling in Washington – for all women,” said Flanagan, a Boston-based consultant on policy for the disabled.

Of Trump’s astonishing actions in mocking a disabled reporter, on camera, during the campaign, Flanagan said: “Such bullying just turns into wider discrimination in society.”

Following its rapid expansion in scale and scope, the march organizers on Thursday published the event’s new set of “unity principles”.

“It adds up to a comprehensive call for social justice and equal rights,” said Jessica Neuwirth, a human rights lawyer and president of a leading partner group, the Equal Rights Amendment Coalition.

Some progressives are still shunning the event, with reports both of white women feeling excluded by talk of race relations, and minority women citing privileged whites acknowledging too little, too late their struggle against chronic class and race discrimination.

But Jon O’Brien, who will attend the march as president of event partner Catholics For Choice, said the march is about “true solidarity”.

“There will be all kinds of people there,” he said. “White, black, LGBT, straight, Democrat, moderate Republican, rich, poor – in other words, America.”


Women's March on Washington: what to know and what to bring

For those attending the protest after Donald Trump’s inauguration, here’s a list of what you can and can’t bring – and a refresher on what your rights are

Nicole Puglise
Sunday 15 January 2017 14.00 GMT

The Women’s March on Washington will take place at 10am Saturday – the day after Donald Trump is officially sworn into office. More than 200,000 people are expected to attend, with participants traveling across the country.

Logistics can be tricky for any such large event, so if you’re planning to attend, here are some suggestions for what to bring and what you need to know:

What to bring

Posters or flags: both will be allowed, but flags cannot have poles and posters cannot have wooden sign posts, according to the march FAQ. If you’re making your own sign, guides like this one from i-D recommend using foam core instead of poster board. The Amplifier Foundation has chosen a selection of five posters that you can print and bring with you. A number will be distributed for free.

A small bag or clear backpack: be warned, there are size restrictions and bags may be subject to search. Transparent backpacks can be no larger than 17in by 12in by 6in, and small bags, purses or totes cannot exceed 8in by 6in by 4in.

Food: every participant is allowed to have one 12in by 12in by 6in plastic or gallon bag for meals. The FAQ also mentions food trucks, and DC of course has plenty of restaurants.

Your phone: for all your photography needs, live tweeting and, most importantly, keeping in contact with those with whom you travelled. A portable battery charger may not be a bad idea either.

A breast pump, if you need it: there are plans for lactation areas, though more information will be updated later on, the FAQ reads.

Other necessities: wallet, water, tissues, medications, bandages, sunscreen, snacks, hand sanitizer, sunglasses, hand warmers, a camera, and anything else you may need for a day outside.

Other people: the march “is for any person, regardless of gender or gender identity, who believes women’s rights are human rights”, according to the official website, which notes that “the decision to bring your children is a personal one”. The site also has information on accessibility for those with disabilities.

What not to bring

The FAQ says not to bring “anything that can be construed” – by law enforcement – “as a weapon”. The DC government has also compiled a list of security restrictions for public events during inauguration week.

What to wear

Warm clothing or layers: DC can get cold in the winter, so you’ll want to bring a hat, gloves or mittens, scarves and a coat. The Washington Post reports however that Saturday could be warmer than usual for the time of the year, with rain a possibility.

Comfortable shoes: you’ll probably be doing a lot of standing or walking, plus you’ll want warm, dry feet no matter the weather. The March begins at 10am and while details of the route have not yet been publicized, it could last until 5pm, according to the New York Times.

Clothing with pockets: with limitations on bag sizes, it may be easier to stow necessities in jacket or pant pockets.

Coordinated clothing: organizers haven’t specified a color to wear to unify the group, but you’re welcome to plan something with your group.

A pink Pussyhat: the Pussyhat Project hopes to outfit marchers with handmade, cat-eared hats in all shades of pink to create a “unique collective visual statement”, according to their site.
How to stay safe

Know the city: Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia, emphasized that attendees should make a plan ahead of time when going to any demonstration. That includes having meeting points in case you get disconnected from your group and understanding the basic layout of the city.

A website established by local DC government advises on street closures and getting around during the chaos of inauguration weekend.

Know what safety means to you: Hopkins-Maxwell recommends knowing what feels safe to you. “Safety is along a spectrum, right?” she asks. “What are you willing to engage in? What are you not willing to engage in?”

Know your rights: The ACLU will pass out pamphlets about knowing your rights when demonstrating in DC, compiled with Black Lives Matter DC, Law4BlackLives-DC and a number of other groups. Hopkins-Maxwell highlighted a few tips for interacting with police officers, including memorizing their badge numbers, which should be in plain view, specifying that you would like to remain silent, and knowing that you can ask if you are free to leave.

Know when not to engage: Should counter-protests occur, Hopkins-Maxwell recommended not engaging. If you are concerned about surveillance, she recommended using FaceTime or an app like Signal for communication, or using a temporary phone.

Though such precautions are an important step, Hopkins-Maxwell said she was not expecting any incidents. “In safety planning, you arm yourself with knowledge in case you need to use it and hope you don’t have to,” she said.

The website for the Women’s March said organizers are not expecting any arrests. The protest is permitted and city agencies have been involved in planning. A private security firm has been hired, trained marshals will be there to help and there will be legal observers too.

 on: Jan 16, 2017, 07:23 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad

Pig Trump and Pig Putin to hold summit 'within weeks'

President-elect reported to be planning to meet Russian counterpart in Reykjavik shortly after becoming assuming office

Alexandra Topping
Sunday 15 January 2017 15.21 GMT

Donald Trump’s first foreign trip is to be to Iceland for a summit with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, according to reports.

In a move that echoes Ronald Reagan’s cold war meeting in Reykjavik with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986, Trump and his team have reportedly told British officials that the summit will take place within weeks of him becoming US president.

The Icelandic capital is thought to be the most likely place host the talks as it did three decades ago, according to the Sunday Times.

The summit would be an attempt to rest reset western relations with the Kremlin, with the agenda thought to include a deal limiting nuclear weapons. The news comes as Trump continues to face claims that Russia holds material which could be used to blackmail him.

On Saturday the president-elect said he would consider dropping sanctions against Russia if Moscow helped tackle terrorism and worked with the US on other goals, although they would remain in place “at least for a period of time”.

He also said he was willing to meet Putin. “I understand that they would like to meet, and that’s absolutely fine with me,” he said.

A source who discussed the plan with Trump and officials at the Russian embassy in London told the Times: “The idea of a summit with Putin is definitely on the cards. The Russians are also keen on it.”

A Trump adviser confirmed the president-elect’s intention to meet Putin very soon and said that Reykjavik was under active consideration.

“What does Putin want?” the adviser said. “Prestige, centre stage at the sum­mit, the one-on-one meet­ing, the hand on the back from Trump. That gives the US tremendous leverage. Mr Trump is master of the photo op and he will use that skill.”

The news is unlikely to be welcomed by senior figures in the British government, who fear a deepening relationship between the US and Russia under Trump risks leaving Britain out in the cold. It is understood Downing Street expects Theresa May to visit Trump at the White House in the second half of February.

Britain has called for sanctions against Moscow over Putin’s aggression in Ukraine and Syria. It is understood that British intelligence has sought reassurance from the CIA that UK agents in Russia will be protected when intelligence is shared, the Times reported.

A British intelligence source with extensive transatlantic experience said US spies had labelled Trump and his advisers’ links to the Kremlin problematic. “Until we have established whe­ther Trump and senior mem­­bers of his team can be trusted, we’re going to hold back,” the source told the Times. “Putting­ it bluntly, we can’t risk betraying sources and methods to the Russians.”

Russia has caused further alarm by announcing plans to move thousands of tanks and tens of thousands of troops to Nato’s borders this year in a development that has caused concern among the Baltic states.

Trump’s claims that he has “nothing to do with Russia” appear to have been contradicted by his son Donald Jr, who reportedly said in a speech in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section” of a lot of the Trump Organisation’s assets.

The Russian embassy in London referred calls to the foreign affairs ministry in Moscow, which did not comment­.


Trump plans to end sanctions if Putin agrees to cut nukes: ‘Russia’s hurting very badly right now’

16 Jan 2017 at 06:32 ET                  

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will propose offering to end sanctions imposed on Russia for its annexation of Crimea in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he told The Times of London.

Trump, in an interview with the newspaper published online on Sunday, was deeply critical of previous U.S. foreign policy, describing the invasion of Iraq as possibly the gravest error in the history of the United States and akin to “throwing rocks into a beehive”.

But ahead of his inauguration on Friday as the 45th U.S. president, Trump raised the prospect of the first major step toward nuclear arms control since President Barack Obama struck a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia in 2010.

“They have sanctions on Russia — let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia,” the Republican president-elect was quoted as saying by The Times.

“For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it. But Russia’s hurting very badly right now because of sanctions, but I think something can happen that a lot of people are gonna benefit.”

The United States and Russia are by far the world’s biggest nuclear powers. The United States has 1,367 nuclear warheads on deployed strategic missiles and bombers, while Russia has 1,796 such deployed warheads, according to the latest published assessment by the U.S. State Department.

Trump has vowed to improve relations with Moscow even as he faces criticism he is too eager to make an ally of Putin, a former KGB spy who rose to the top of the Kremlin in 1999.

The issue has faced renewed scrutiny after an unsubstantiated report that Russia had collected compromising information about Trump.

The unverified dossier was summarized in a U.S. intelligence report presented to him and Obama this month that concluded Russia tried to sway the outcome of the Nov. 8 election in Trump’s favor by hacking and other means. The report did not make an assessment on whether Russia’s attempts affected the election’s outcome.

Trump accused U.S. intelligence agencies of leaking the dossier information, which he called “fake news” and phony stuff.” Intelligence leaders denied the charge.

Russian relations

In the interview with The Times, Trump was also critical of Russia’s intervention in the Syrian civil war, which along with the help of Iran, has tilted the conflict in President Bashar al-Assad’s favor.

Trump said Putin’s intervention in Syria was “a very bad thing” that had led to a “terrible humanitarian situation”.

The war has killed more than 300,000 people, created the world’s worst refugee crisis and aided the rise of the Islamic State militant group.

On NATO, Trump repeated his view that the military alliance was obsolete but added it was still very important for him.

“I took such heat, when I said NATO was obsolete,” Trump told The Times, speaking of comments during his presidential campaign. “It’s obsolete because it wasn’t taking care of terror. I took a lot of heat for two days. And then they started saying Trump is right.”

Trump added that many NATO members were not paying their fair share for U.S. protection.

“A lot of these countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to be paying, which I think is very unfair to the United States,” Trump said. “With that being said, NATO is very important to me. There’s five countries that are paying what they’re supposed to. Five. It’s not much.”

Trump also said he would appoint his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to broker a Middle East peace deal, urged Britain to veto any new U.N. Security Council resolution critical of Israel and criticized Obama’s handling of the Iran nuclear deal.

On Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Trump said: “Brexit is going to end up being a great thing” and said he was eager to get a trade deal done with the United Kingdom.


John Brennan: Trump's 'Nazi Germany' tweet to US agencies was 'outrageous'

The outgoing CIA director admonished the president-elect for ‘talking and tweeting’ without fully understanding Russia’s threat to national security

Staff and agencies
Sunday 15 January 2017 20.52 GMT

Departing CIA director John Brennan criticized Donald Trump on Sunday for his approach to national security, saying the president-elect should not be carelessly “talking and tweeting” without understanding Russia’s threat to the US.

Brennan also said he took “great umbrage” at Trump’s suggestion that agencies biased against him were behaving as if the US were “Nazi Germany”.

“Now that he’s going to have an opportunity to do something for our national security as opposed to talking and tweeting,” Brennan told Fox News Sunday, “he’s going to have tremendous responsibility to make sure that US and national security interests are protected.

“I think he has to be mindful that he does not have a full appreciation and understanding of what the implications are of going down that road.”

Trump has repeatedly praised Russian president Vladimir Putin and criticized American intelligence officers, accusing them of letting “fake news”, about what intelligence agencies believe to be Russian hacks on political parties and alleged contacts with Trump’s campaign, appear in press reports.

“One last shot at me,” Trump tweeted this week. “Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

    Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

    Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?
    January 11, 2017

Brennan called the comparison of the CIA, NSA, FBI and the director of national intelligence offensive to American officers.

“What I do find outrageous is equating an intelligence community with Nazi Germany,” he said. “I do take great umbrage at that, and there is no basis for Mr Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for leaking information that was already available publicly.”

Undaunted, on Sunday Trump used Twitter to comment further on this week’s publication by BuzzFeed of an unsubstantiated intelligence dossier, writing: “Thank you to [journalist] Bob Woodward who said, ‘That is a garbage document … it never should have been presented … Trump’s right to be upset (angry) about that …

“Those Intelligence chiefs made a mistake here, & when people make mistakes, they should APOLOGIZE. Media should also apologize.”

After weeks of insisting that China or “a 400-pound guy” could have hacked his political opponents, Trump conceded this week: “I think it was Russia.”

His transition team has denied, however, alleged contacts between Trump aides and high-ranking officials in Russia. On Sunday, vice president-elect Mike Pence insisted there were no such contacts during the campaign.

Trump’s national security adviser, retired general Mike Flynn, spoke with Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, in late December around the time the US imposed sanctions on Russian officials. According to Pence, the men did not discuss those sanctions.

“It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation,” Pence told CBS’s Face the Nation. “They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.”


Chinese state media mocks Trump: ‘We cannot help but laugh’

Sarah K. Burris
Raw Story
16 Jan 2017 at 06:39 ET                  

An editorial in the state-run news outlet Global Times of China is literally mocking U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

“Trump’s thinking about China is becoming increasingly clear: He wants China to make huge economic and trade concessions to the U.S. To achieve that, he is willing to stir certain calm areas in China-U.S. relations, including treating the Taiwan issues as his trump card,” the editorial outlined, according to CNN’s John Berman. “We were simply angry initially, but now we can’t help but laugh at this U.S. leader-in-waiting. Maybe American voters ‘promoted’ him too quickly, his amateur remarks and over-confident manner are equally shocking.”

The op-ed comes as a response to Trump’s phone call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and comments that the “One China” policy is “negotiable.”


A hellscape of lies and distorted reality awaits journalists covering President Trump

By Margaret Sullivan Media Columnist January 15 at 5:52 PM
WA Post

At the northeast corner of the National Archives building sits Robert Aitken’s sculpture “The Future,” inscribed with some famous words from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”: “What is past is prologue.”

If you buy that, it’s possible to have a solid idea of what Donald Trump’s presidency will be like for the American media and for citizens who depend on that flawed but essential institution.

The short form: hellish.

Consider, for example, the saga of Serge Kovaleski, the highly regarded New York Times reporter whose disability limits the use of his arms.

Yes, this is the reporter whom Trump mocked during the campaign — waving his arms in a crude but unmistakable imitation of Kovaleski’s movements. When criticized for doing so, Trump vehemently denied that mocking Kovaleski was even possible because he didn’t know him. (Which was also a lie.) All this, because Trump wanted to promote a myth — talk about “fake news” — that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated 9/11, which he falsely claimed Kovaleski reported while working at The Washington Post. Any reasonable person looking back at the facts would find that ­absurd.

What can this small chapter tell us about what’s to come?

That Trump will be what columnist Frida Ghitis of the Miami Herald calls “the gaslighter in chief” — that he will pull out all the stops to make people think that they should believe him, not their own eyes. (“Gaslighting” is a reference to the 1940s movie in which a manipulative husband psychologically abuses his wife by denying the reality that the gaslights in their home are growing dimmer and dimmer.)

“The techniques,” Ghitis wrote, “include saying and doing things and then denying it, blaming others for misunderstanding, disparaging their concerns as oversensitivity, claiming outrageous statements were jokes or misunderstandings, and other forms of twilighting the truth.”

But that’s just part of what experience teaches us to expect from Trump.

Here’s another: Trump will punish journalists for doing their jobs. Famously touchy and unable to endure serious scrutiny, he has always been litigious — although, as journalist Tim O’Brien has pointed out based on Trump’s failed suit against him, sometimes unsuccessfully so.

Imagine that tendency, now with executive powers, a compliant attorney general and a lily-livered Congress. Trump’s reign will probably be awash in investigations and prosecutions of journalists for doing their jobs, stirring up the ugliest of class wars along the way.

What’s worse, as investigative reporter James Risen wrote recently, President Obama has set the stage with his administration’s use of the once-forgotten Espionage Act to prosecute government whistleblowers and threaten journalists; the blueprint awaits.

Another: He will relentlessly manipulate. For example, Trump’s first news conference as president-elect last week featured a crowd of paid staffers who cheered his every statement, creating a false picture for viewers.

After all, his public image as reflected in media coverage is perhaps his highest priority. And he has assembled plenty of expert help.

As Emily Bell argued in the Columbia Journalism Review, Trump is a media entity unto himself: “For Trump, the medium is not just the message, it is the office, too.” His coterie stands ready: “His chief of strategy Steve Bannon was most recently editor in chief at Breitbart . . . Jared Kushner, the son-in-law with Trump’s ear, owned the New York Observer. Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire who put Gawker out of business by backing the multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan, is also in the trusted inner circle of supporters.” And media mogul Rupert Murdoch, head of Fox, is said to talk to Trump several times a week.

So, we can expect President Trump to lie to the media, manipulate reality and go after those who upset the notion that adulation is his birthright.

After last week’s news conference, Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev wrote “A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media .” He warned: “This man owns you. He understands perfectly well that he is the news. You can’t ignore him. You’re always playing by his rules — which he can change at any time without any notice.”

To those who say let’s wait and see, or maybe it won’t be as bad as you think, or stay hopeful, I’m having none of it.

Journalists are in for the fight of their lives. And they are going to have to be better than ever before, just to do their jobs.

They will need to work together, be prepared for legal persecution, toughen up for punishing attacks and figure out new ways to uncover and present the truth.

Even so — if the past really is prologue — that may not be enough.


Bernie Sanders Strikes A Blow For Democracy And Won’t Call Trump A Legitimate President

By Jason Easley on Sun, Jan 15th, 2017 at 11:58 am

During an interview on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) raised serious concerns about Trump’s legitimacy, and when asked didn’t call the president-elect a legitimate president.

Transcript via ABC’s This Week:

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: Well, what Cory Booker and John Lewis are right about is to talk about the racist past of Donald Trump.

We all remember that Trump was one of the leaders of the so-called birther movement trying to delegitimize the presidency of our first African-American President Barack Obama, which is an outrage.

So, I think right now, the focus has got to be on how we hold Trump accountable. What has been doing in the last week, attacking Hollywood actresses for criticizing him, I mean what would is this guy living in?

But right now what my job is, and I think the job of Democrats and Republicans, is to protect the middle class and working families of this country from some devastating ideas that Trump has proposed.

You will remember, George…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think Donald Trump will be a legitimate president?

SANDERS: Well, I think he’s going to be inaugurated this week. I have great concerns, and apparently Republicans do as well, and there’s going to be an investigation about the role that Russian hacking played in getting him elected.

Do I think Russians supported him? Do I think they tried to get him elected? Do I think it worked against Clinton? I do. And that is something that has to be investigated.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Does that make him illegitimate?

SANDERS: But right now, what my job is — pardon me? Those are just words. Right now, what my — my job is right now going beyond media conflicts and words is to say that Donald Trump, among other things, told the American people he would not cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and right now Republicans in the House and Senate are doing just that.

Sanders, Lewis, Booker and others are far from alone. As long as questions remain about Russia’s role in helping Trump win the election, many will not view him as a legitimate president.

The years of birtherism that Republicans engaged in against Obama have come home to roost. Republicans opened up this door by working endlessly for eight years to delegitimize President Obama. Bernie Sanders is a pretty straight talker, so his lack of answer on questions of Trump’s legitimacy spoke volumes about how he feels.

Bernie Sanders is not willing to openly recognize Trump’s legitimacy. Republicans can try to ignore them, but the concerns are real, and they have already undermined Trump’s presidency.


A Revolution Erupts As Tens Of Thousands Storm Across America To Save Obamacare

By Jason Easley on Sun, Jan 15th, 2017 at 7:07 pm

Tens of thousands of Americans filled up rallies in 70 locations across the country as a new political movement was born in the effort to save Obamacare.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) released a statement on the more than 8,000 people who showed up in Warren, MI to defend the ACA.

At the Michigan rally, Sanders said, “I say to my Republican colleagues: yeah, you’re going to have to worry about Sen. Stabenow and Peters and all of us in the Senate and our friends in the House. But that’s the least of your worries. You’re going to have to worry about millions of people who are standing up, who are fighting back and who demand a day when health care will be a right of all people, not just a privilege.”

Picture of the Michigan crowd:

    @daveweigel 10K in Warren, MI!

    — Michigan Resistance (@michresist) January 15, 2017

Dave Weigel of The Washington Post had some pics of the crowds:

    So far the Dem effort to reverse-engineer the Feb 2009 Tea Parties looks successful

    — Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) January 15, 2017

    Rep. Jamie Raskin addressing one of two overflow crowds

    — Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) January 15, 2017

The pictures of the crowds are direct evidence that contradicts the Republican claims that everyone hates Obamacare, but as Sen. Sanders pointed out, the success of these rallies across the country highlighted a much bigger problem for the GOP.

A health care fight that cost them dearly in 2008 has returned, and Republicans are once again, on the wrong side of the issue.

The Washington Post reported that these rallies attracted more than Democrats, “In Bowie, a number of rally attendees said they were also planning to join the Women’s March to be held in Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration. Some lifted unofficial signs from Sanders’s 2016 primary campaign; others said they had been galvanized by the election itself. Valencia Danner, 23, said that the Bowie rally was her first political event of any kind. Scott Gledhill, 73, said that he’d voted for Gary Johnson for president but was worried about Republicans’ plans regarding the ACA and Medicare.”

Trump has yet to take office, but a new political movement is galvanizing against his Republican Party.

The American people aren’t going sit back and let Trump and the Republicans repeal Obamacare and privatize Social Security and Medicare without a fight.

This isn’t a tea party. It’s a new American revolution, and it’s coming to take America back from Donald Trump.

 on: Jan 16, 2017, 07:04 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
French progressives dare to hope as maverick Macron surges in polls

Pro-EU, socially liberal and a political outsider, the former economy minister is drawing crowds who fear rise of Marine Le Pen

Angelique Chrisafis in Lille
Sunday 15 January 2017 18.33 GMT

From the stage in a packed concert hall, France’s youngest presidential candidate looked up at the thousands of people who had come to witness his trademark thunderous speaking style.

“Never accept those who promote exclusion, hatred or closing in on ourselves!” Emmanuel Macron urged the audience in Lille, a city surrounded by France’s leftwing northern heartlands that are increasingly turning to Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front National. “When the Front National promises to restore security points at the border, they are lying,” he said.

Then the maverick centrist, who is running an independent, outsider campaign, did something no others are doing. He hailed the European Union to a standing ovation. “Europe is us! Brussels is us! We need Europe!” he shouted. Cheering supporters, many in their 20s, stood up waving EU flags.

Macron is becoming a growing phenomenon in the highly unpredictable French presidential election campaign. In recent weeks, the maverick former economy minister has begun to rise so steadily in polls that he is now seen as capable of causing a major surprise in the spring vote – perhaps able to reach the final round by knocking out one of the current top contenders: the rightwing, social conservative, free-market reformist François Fillon and the far-right, anti-immigration, anti-EU Marine Le Pen.

When Macron launched his outsider bid to blow apart the inadequacies of the “vacuous” political class two months ago, he was bucking every trend in French politics. The 39-year-old former investment banker, who had been a chief adviser and then economy minister to François Hollande, was not a member of any political party. He had never run for any kind of election. He defined himself as “neither left nor right”, and only two years before, the public had never even heard of him. He was more than a decade younger than any serious presidential contender, and his disgruntled opponents inside French traditional parties said he was a “champagne bubble” waiting to burst.

But now, with huge numbers turning up to his rallies, rising ratings and one poll this week showing he was France’s most popular politician, the political novice who has promised to revolutionise the way France is governed is being eyed nervously by the other main candidates.

There are no foregone conclusions in the French presidential race, and the final line up of candidates for the two rounds in April and May is not yet known. But Macron wants to show he can buck a recent trend in western politics – he styles himself as a liberal “progressive” who believes he can triumph against the odds in a political landscape where support for the extremes is growing.

More than 4,500 people in Lille turned out to see Macron, a very high number in the historically Socialist city. Far from the well-heeled dotcom entrepreneurs who attended Macron’s first rally in Paris last summer, they were of all ages, from students and sixth-formers, to doctors, hauliers, teachers, pensioners and local business people. Macron is economically liberal and a pro-business reformist, but he is firmly on the left on social issues, including on the freedom to practise religion in a neutral state, on equality and immigration.

“I’m afraid of the rise of Marine Le Pen and if Macron proves a possible rampart against her then I’m interested,” said Franck Tronet, a former wedding photographer on disability benefit who lives near Calais and considered himself centre-left. “Macron represents something new in French politics. He’s young, he’s not aggressive, he’s always smiling and that’s a good thing.”

The growing curiosity about Macron and his fledgling movement, En Marche (Forward), is also linked to disappointment in other parties. The Socialists are in disarray and expected to fare badly no matter who they choose as their candidate in an open primary race this month. Fillon’s rightwing campaign is struggling to take off.

Fanny Brunet, 24, an engineering student from Aix-en-Provence, once voted Socialist. “Emmanuel Macron is young; he sees the world the way we see it,” she said. “I want realism; I’m fed up with politicians making promises that can’t be kept.”

Ghislaine Desbordes, 50, a trainer in office management and an independent local councillor from Wambrechies, near Lille, approved of Macron’s regular appearances on the front cover of celebrity magazines with his wife, who is 24 years older and was once his drama teacher. “Having an older wife means he’s tolerant in life. He’s not closed-minded,” she said.

Macron’s critics say France has a long tradition of an outsider “third man” peaking before a presidential election but then fading away. There are many variables – such as whether or not the veteran centrist François Bayrou decides to run, and whether disgruntled Socialists defect to Macron, seeing him as the only way to stop the far right.

Macron’s trip to the north did not all go according to plan. His comments in the former mining heartlands that the difficulties, social and health problems in the area included high rates of “smoking and alcoholism” were attacked by one local Front National mayor as the Parisian elite stereotyping the northern working classes.

Yves-Marie Cann, political director at the Elabe polling group in Paris, said: “Some saw Macron as a bubble that would burst, so far that isn’t the case. The indicators show that he is now a weighty candidate.

“If the momentum around him continues, he could reshuffle the cards and disprove predictions that the final run-off will be between Fillon and Le Pen. He could re-orientate the second round into a battle that is Fillon versus Macron or Le Pen versus Macron. This is not yet the case – Fillon and Le Pen remain the frontrunners – but the campaign is about to begin in earnest and things could change.”

Pierre Mathiot, a politics professor at Lille’s Sciences Po university, said: “There are two questions. First: will French voters accept a candidate who says he is above the left-right divide? Second: is he credible when he says he embodies change, a break with the past and a new way of politically doing things?

“Those factors, added to the poor health of the Socialist party and the poor start for Fillon, could carry him far in terms of results,” said Mathiot.

One 28-year-old IT technician from Lille had come to the rally out of curiosity. He has always voted right but thought Fillon was “too socially conservative and wants too much austerity”. Afterwards he said: “Macron has really given me a boost. If enough people come to see him live, he’ll rise higher and higher. I found him quite exhilarating.”

 on: Jan 16, 2017, 07:02 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Germany hits back at Trump criticism of refugee policy and BMW tariff threat

Deputy chancellor blames America’s ‘flawed interventionist policy’ for refugee crisis and warns of ‘bad awakening’ for US carmakers

Philip Oltermann in Berlin and Alec Luhn in Moscow
Monday 16 January 2017 12.46 GMT

Berlin has mounted a staunch defence of its policies after Donald Trump criticised the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, for her stance during the refugee crisis and threatened a 35% tariff on BMW cars imported into the US.

Germany’s deputy chancellor and minister for the economy, Sigmar Gabriel, said on Monday morning that a tax on German imports would lead to a “bad awakening” among US carmakers since they were reliant on transatlantic supply chains.

“I believe BMW’s biggest factory is already in the US, in Spartanburg [South Carolina],” Gabriel, leader of the centre-left Social Democratic party, told the Bild newspaper in a video interview.

“The US car industry would have a bad awakening if all the supply parts that aren’t being built in the US were to suddenly come with a 35% tariff. I believe it would make the US car industry weaker, worse and above all more expensive. I would wait and see what the Congress has to say about that, which is mostly full of people who want the opposite of Trump.”

In an interview with Bild and the Times, the US president-elect had indicated that he would aim to realign the “out of balance” car trade between Germany and the US. “If you go down Fifth Avenue everyone has a Mercedes Benz in front of his house, isn’t that the case?” he said. “How many Chevrolets do you see in Germany? Not very many, maybe none at all … it’s a one-way street.”

Asked what Trump could do to make sure German customers bought more American cars, Gabriel said: “Build better cars.”

Shares in carmakers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen fell on Monday morning following Trump’s comments. BMW shares were down 0.85%, shares in Daimler were 1.54% lower and Volkswagen shares were trading 1.07% down in early trading in Frankfurt.

All three carmakers have invested heavily in factories in Mexico, where production costs are lower than the US, with an eye to exporting smaller vehicles to the American market.

A BMW spokeswoman said a BMW Group plant in the central Mexican city of San Luis Potosi would build the BMW 3 Series starting from 2019, with the output intended for the world market. The plant in Mexico would be an addition to existing 3 Series production facilities in Germany and China.

Responding to Trump’s comments that Merkel had made an “utterly catastrophic mistake by letting all these illegals into the country”, Gabriel said the increase in the number of people fleeing the Middle East to seek asylum in Europe had partially been a result of US-led wars destabilising the region.

“There is a link between America’s flawed interventionist policy, especially the Iraq war, and the refugee crisis, that’s why my advice would be that we shouldn’t tell each other what we have done right or wrong, but that we look into establishing peace in that region and do everything to make sure people can find a home there again,” Gabriel said.

“In that area Germany and Europe are already making enormous achievements – and that’s why I also thought it wasn’t right to talk about defence spending, where Mr Trump says we are spending too little to finance Nato. We are making gigantic financial contributions to refugee shelters in the region, and these are also the results of US interventionist policy.”

Trump’s remarks on Nato were met more favourably in Moscow, where Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, agreed with the US president-elect that the alliance was “obsolete”.

“Since Nato is tailored toward confrontation, all its structures are dedicated to the ideals of confrontation, you can’t really call it a modern organisation meeting the ideas of stability, steady growth and security,” he said.

But Trump’s suggestion that the US could lift its sanctions on Russia in exchange for an agreement to reduce the countries’ nuclear arsenals elicited a cooler response.

Peskov said Russia had not been conducting talks with the US about nuclear arsenal reduction and said cancelling sanctions was not a political goal in Russia.

“Russia wasn’t the initiator in introducing these restrictions, and Russia, as the president of Russia has underlined, doesn’t intend to raise the issue of these sanctions in its foreign contacts,” he said.

Last month, Putin said Russia needed to strengthen its strategic nuclear forces. Leonid Slutsky, a Russian MP, said he “wouldn’t connect these two issues and make the cancellation of sanctions a negotiating point in such a delicate area as nuclear security”.

Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the foreign affairs committee in the Russian senate, said the cancellation of sanctions was “definitely not an end in and of itself for Russia”.

“It’s not even a strategic goal for which something needs to be sacrificed, especially in the security sphere,” he told state news agency RIA Novosti. “We think [sanctions] are a bad legacy of the departing White House team that need to be sent after it into history.”

Following Trump’s election victory in November, Merkel had offered the president-elect close cooperation on the basis of the shared values of “democracy, freedom, and respect for the law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or political views”.

Gabriel, who is expected to run as the centre-left candidate against Merkel in Germany’s federal elections in September, said Trump’s election should encourage Europeans to stand up for themselves.

“On the one hand, Trump is an elected president. When he is in office, we will have to work with him and his government – respect for a democratic election alone demands that,” Gabriel said. “On the other hand, you need to have enough self-confidence. This isn’t about making ourselves submissive. What he says about trade issues, how he might treat German carmakers, the question about Nato, his view on the European Union – all these require a self-confident position, not just on behalf of us Germans but all Europeans. We are not inferior to him, we have something to bring to the table too.

“Especially in this phase in which Europe is rather weak, we will have to pull ourselves together and act with self-confidence and stand up for our own interests.”

Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the chancellor had read the Trump interview “with interest”, but declined to comment in more detail until the president-elect had been sworn in. “We are now waiting for President Trump to start his term and will then work closely with the new government,” he said.

Martin Schäfer, a spokesman for the German foreign ministry, rejected Trump’s labelling of the EU as a “vehicle for Germany”. He said: “For the German government, Europe has never been a means to an end, but a community of fate which, in times of collapsing old orders, is more important than ever.”

The foreign ministry also rejected Trump’s criticism that creating “security zones” in Syria would have been considerably cheaper than accepting refugees fleeing the war-torn country. “What exactly such a security zone is meant to be is beyond my comprehension and would have to be explained,” said Schäfer, adding that there had not been enough willingness among the international community to lend military support to create a no-fly zone in Syria.



01/15/2017 05:16 PM

Trump's World Order: Merkel Anticipates Frosty Relations with U.S.

Doubts are growing inside Angela Merkel's Chancellery that the incoming American president will mature and become a statesman. The chancellor is preparing for frosty trans-Atlantic relations while at the same time trying to pull Europe together. By SPIEGEL Staff

The hour-long video didn't exactly put the German chancellor in a cheerful mood. The footage was from Donald Trump's recent appearance in Pennsylvania during his so-called Thank You Tour and Angela Merkel, as she told the national executive committee of her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), watched the rally in its entirety. She recommended that her fellow party members do the same. "It is interesting to see the thought environment he inhabits," she said.

During his speech, Trump celebrated a landslide victory that was anything but; he blasted the press ("the world's most dishonest people") and in no way left the impression that he has matured into a statesman following his election win. But one passage really stood out in Merkel's memory and she quoted it verbatim: "There is no such thing as a global anthem, a global currency, a global flag. We salute one flag, and that is the American flag."

Merkel described Trump's speech as "culturally interesting," saying that it indicated the political direction the president-elect might take. Trump, she said, has announced plans for massive tax cuts and added that his primary focus is America first. Merkel made her comments in a calm tone of voice, but the extent of her concern was clear to all who attended the pre-Christmas meeting: She is preparing for the worst.

Merkel Critical of Trump

Merkel largely refrained from public comment during the US election campaign and she considered it a mistake when Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier publicly described the Republican candidate as a "hate preacher." That doesn't, however, mean that she doesn't share his opinion.

Internally, she makes no secret of what she thinks about Trump's campaign. No other presidential candidate in the history of the United States has ever violated the rules of decency to the degree that Trump has. That's how Merkel sees it. That helps explain why, in a brief statement given to the press following his Nov. 9 election, she held the kind of moral sermon that no previous German chancellor had ever delivered to a US president.

She said that "Germany and America are connected by values of democracy, freedom and respect for law." She then offered close cooperation with the next president on the "basis of these values." It was the language of a parole officer trying to get her charge back on the right track. Merkel didn't just say this publicly -- she also repeated it during an hour-long telephone conversation with Trump on Nov. 11. The future president remained friendly, but was apparently thoroughly unimpressed.

Trump Is No Second Coming of Ronald Reagan

The more optimistic minds in the Chancellery still held the view in the days following Trump's election that the real estate tycoon could become a second Ronald Reagan. Reagan too showed a weakness for crudity. The moment in August 1984 remains memorable -- when, during a sound check prior to his weekly radio address, he jokingly said: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." The recording was eventually leaked. By the end of his two terms in office in January 1989, however, Reagan had come to be seen as a leader who had led the US to several years of prosperity.

More recently, though, Merkel's Chancellery staff is coming to the realization that comparisons between Reagan and Trump aren't entirely accurate. Reagan didn't chart a collision course with his own party. And before entering the White House, he had spent eight years as the governor of California, a state that is larger than Germany and has a population of around 40 million people.

Every American presidential candidate must pursue methods during the election campaign that aren't ethically immaculate. But no one has stretched them as far as Donald Trump, and he is showing no intention of changing the style that resulted in him winning the Republican nomination and, ultimately, the presidency.

Merkel and her advisors were shocked that Trump refused to abandon his Twitter account, even after his Nov. 9 victory. How he, in all seriousness, suggested to British Prime Minister Theresa May that she should appoint Brexit populist Nigel Farage, one of her worst political adversaries, as her country's ambassador to Washington. Before then turning his attention to late-night television, issuing grades to actors who spoofed him on "Saturday Night Live." ("Not funny ... Sad.")

It's not Trump's ideology that worries Merkel most. His opinions, after all, morph quickly, something that Merkel has experienced personally. As recently as August 2015, he said the German chancellor was "probably the greatest leader in the world today." Then the refugee crisis came and Trump said, "What she's done in Germany is insane. It's insane."

It's Trump's character that worries Merkel most, his craving to be loved and admired and his fury against all those who refuse to do so. Merkel has been in office for 11 years and she knows very well just how unstable the world order has become. "Many have the feeling that the world has been turned upside down," she said at the CDU's annual party conference at the beginning of December. It was a tone that one seldom hears from Angela Merkel.

A New Berlusconi?

There is, of course, an element of self-interest in her words given that Merkel stands to profit during her re-election campaign this year if Germans see her as the last bastion of stability in a world gone mad. But there was more to it than that.

It was only with considerable effort that the international community managed to persuade China to sign the global climate agreement. How is that agreement going to take root in an environment where the U.S. president considers global warming to be the invention of a few crazed environmentalists?

The nuclear deal with Iran was one of the few diplomatic successes seen in recent years. Now Trump is pining for the days when Iran's economy was "choked" by sanctions, as he puts it. And what will happen with Ukraine if Trump sees sanctions merely as an unnecessary provocation of Russian leader Vladimir Putin?

Merkel is no amateur when it comes to dealing with difficult men. In 2002, Edmund Stoiber, who at the time was head of the powerful Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's CDU, snatched the chancellor candidacy away from her. In 2007, Vladimir Putin took great pleasure in Merkel's angst-ridden face when his Labrador crept up to the dog-shy chancellor's feet. Sources in the Chancellery say the most accurate Trump comparison is former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi -- a man who, even at his advanced age, tolerates no doubts about his virility and, like Trump, doesn't spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about manners.

At a 2009 NATO summit in the city of Kehl, Germany, Berlusconi made hostess Merkel wait on the red carpet as he took his sweet time to finish a call on his mobile phone. That same year, a phone conversation conducted by Berlusconi was leaked in which he made extremely impolite comments about Merkel's figure.

But Merkel has a knack for dealing with a somewhat cocky charm. Within her party, people like to share an anecdote about how Berlusconi actually did fall into line in crunch time, as he did during climate negotiations. "Angela," he then asked, "is today the day I have to give in?"

Merkel Knows Little About Trump Administration

Will Trump ultimately fall into line? Merkel's problem is that she knows very little about the real estate mogul and his new administration. During the election campaign, there was only sporadic contact between the German government and Trump's people, which was also a product of the fact that few in Berlin believed the Republican candidate would actually win.

In April, Steinmeier's state secretary Markus Ederer met with former Air Force colonel Sam Clovis. The Iowa Republican sought to ease the German's concern about a possible Trump victory. But whenever Ederer probed deeper, Clovis was unable to provide satisfactory answers. Germany's Ambassador to Washington, Peter Wittig, had a similar experience when he met with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner in spring 2016. Steinmeier even made several telephone calls to former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, "but even he couldn't help us," the foreign minister told the German parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee the day after the election.

Since then, the German government has sought to intensify its contacts with the Trump camp. In early December, Andreas Michaelis, the director of the Foreign Ministry, and Thomas Bagger, the head of the ministry's Planning Staff, traveled to the United States. And in mid-December, the chancellor dispatched her foreign policy advisor, Christoph Heusgen, to New York.

It's Merkel's belief that Trump is only impressed by strength. She found it appalling to watch former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney beg Trump for the secretary of state as though he were a candidate on some TV talent show even though, during the campaign, he had described Trump as a "phony" and "fraud" whose "promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University." In the end, Romney lost more than just the casting show -- he also lost his dignity.

Merkel also had trouble understanding why Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was unable to wait to set up an appointment with Trump, instead flying to New York only nine days after his election in order to ensure his good graces.

The End of the World Order as We Know It?

The chancellor is fully aware of what is at stake. If Trump carries out even part of what he promised during his campaign, then the world order as Merkel knows it would be relegated to the dustbin of history. The messages that Merkel's emissaries have been given by Trump's people so far haven't been particularly encouraging. They have reported that the new president will make his decisions based solely on domestic policy considerations. His foreign policy will be dictated by how his decisions will be seen by voters at home.

Trump also has a penchant for dismissing the warnings of his advisers and allies. This creates the additional problem that efforts to coax or even pressure the new president may have the opposite of the intended effect. "To Trump, what matters is not if his decisions are coherent, but how they are perceived," says one diplomat who represented the German government in Washington.

Those in German foreign policy circles are currently examining developments in the Middle East with particular concern. The situation there is already complicated enough: Syria is embroiled in a civil war and the Israeli government has more or less abandoned the two-state solution aimed at creating real peace with the Palestinians. The only ray of light has been the nuclear deal with Iran that was reached in July 2015, to which Steinmeier contributed.

Tying Hands over Tehran

Trump wants to dismantle this deal. Back in March, Trump said he considered the treaty to be a mistake. "My No. 1 priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran," Trump said in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influential pro-Israel lobbying group.

Dismantling is precisely what Trump has in mind. Trump's advisers in New York have said that the new president will not formally revoke the agreement. But he will do everything he can to ensure that the deal does not result in the resumption of normalized relations. Even without those moves, plans to resume trade between Europe and Iran aren't going as quickly as hoped out of fear of possible reprisals from the United States.

Many European banks have refused to provide financing for deals with Iran out of fears for their US operations. All observers are united in their belief that Trump will increase this pressure. One possible outcome is that the Iranian government could nullify the nuclear deal on its own because it finds itself in the position of no longer being able to justify itself to opposition hardliners.

This, in turn, could spark another arms race in the Middle East. This wouldn't just entail Iran resuming its nuclear efforts, but it could also prompt Saudi Arabia to pursue its own atomic bomb. At that point, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could pull his plans for a preemptive strike back out of the drawer. That's why, Berlin government sources say, even Israeli diplomats are praising the advantages of the nuclear deal with Trump's people behind closed doors.

Difficult Years in Trans-Atlantic Relations

"We have to brace for difficult years in trans-Atlantic relations," says one high-ranking German diplomat. Even during his presidency, Barack Obama shifted much of the US focus to China and the Pacific region, largely leaving it to Merkel and the Europeans to deal with the Ukraine crisis. What assistance he did provide came in the form of supporting sanctions against Russia and preventing Congressional hawks from further heating up the conflict by providing U.S. weapons deliveries to Kiev.

Trump has since announced that he wants to remove the tension in U.S. relations with Putin. During the campaign, Trump indicated that he no longer felt obliged to NATO's mutual defense clause. When asked by the New York Times whether the Baltic states would be defended against a Russian attack, the then-presidential candidate said in July it would depend on whether they had fulfilled their obligations to the United States.

In both the Chancellery and the Defense Ministry there is hope that not even Trump would dare to shake the pillars of the postwar order. This optimism is based largely on Trump's decision to appoint General James Mattis as head of the Pentagon. A number of high-level German officers got to know Mattis in Afghanistan, where he served as brigadier general. They describe him as a straightforward officer not easily intimidated. Mattis is a champion of the trans-Atlantic alliance, having spent two years as the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, one of NATO's highest posts. Sources in the German Defense Ministry say they believe that Mattis will make clear to the president the importance of Europe and the Western alliance.

Alarm Over Other Appointments

Still, the government in Berlin is less hopeful when it comes to other appointments Trump has made. A number of German military personnel also got to know Trump's designated national security adviser, Michael Flynn, during the time he served as a senior staffer for American ISAF Commander Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan. The verdict among German military officials is as unanimous as it is scathing. "At best, he is useful as a locomotive fire tender and not as a strategist," says one German military officer who has since retired.

In Kabul, Flynn was thought to care little about collateral damage. Whereas his boss McChrystal always took pains to avoid civilian losses, Flynn seemed less concerned about killing innocent Afghans. One German officer says it is little wonder that Flynn never succeeded in getting promoted from a three-star to a four-star general. Soon, though, he will be sitting in the White House, where he will be tasked with coordinating U.S. security policy. Officials in Berlin are certain that those policies will not be overly friendly toward the trans-Atlantic alliance.

So, what can be done? The recognition is slowly sinking in across the continent that Europe in the past relied too heavily on the Americans and their military strength. At the EU summit in Brussels on Dec. 15, Merkel and her colleagues agreed to transfer a bit of sovereignty in defense matters that they had spent decades guarding zealously.

More joint military operations are planned, more civilian interventions and possibly even a joint headquarters: Concerns about America's possible pull-back have hastened things that for years had seemed implausible. "I have to say," Merkel announced after the meeting, "within only a few months, a considerable amount of cooperation has taken shape."

EU member states currently spend around 230 billion euros a year on defense, about one-third of the United States' military budget. But that figure is misleading. "We have 154 different types of weapons in Europe," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is fond of saying. "That figure is 24 in the USA. That shows that we are spending our money on defense poorly." The Commission recently estimated that member states waste between 25 billion and 100 billion euros a year by not working together more closely. They now want to change that.

If Europe were to close ranks, then Trump's election would have at least one positive effect. During his time as secretary of state, Henry Kissinger once famously quipped, "Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe?" It's possible that the EU may soon finally have such a number -- thanks to Donald Trump.

By Konstantin von Hammerstein, Peter Müller, Ralf Neukirch, René Pfister, Gordon Repinski and Christoph Schult

 on: Jan 16, 2017, 06:57 AM 
Started by Skywalker - Last post by Rad
Hi Skywalker,

No. Plants and rocks do not have individual soul's / consciousness.

God Bless, Rad

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