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Nov 13, 2018, 01:11 AM
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Author Topic: ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE, GLOBAL WARMING, AND CULTURE  (Read 1434222 times)
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Darja
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« Reply #4170 on: Nov 11, 2018, 07:24 AM »


In World War I remembrance, France’s Macron denounces nationalism as a ‘betrayal of patriotism’

By David Nakamura , Seung Min Kim and James McAuley
November 11 2018
WA Post

PARIS — In the shadow of a grand war memorial here, French President Emmanuel Macron marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I by delivering a forceful rebuke against rising nationalism, calling it a “betrayal of patriotism” and warning against “old demons coming back to wreak chaos and death.”

Macron’s speech in French to more than 60 global leaders, including President Trump, aimed to draw a clear line between his belief that a global order based on liberal values is worth defending and those who have sought to disrupt that system.

Those millions of soldiers who died in the Great War fought to defend the “universal values” of France, Macron said, and to reject the “selfishness of nations only looking after their own interests. Because patriotism is exactly the opposite of nationalism.”

His words during a solemn Armistice Day ceremony under overcast, drizzly skies at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe in the heart of this French capital were intended for a global audience but also represented a pointed rebuke to Trump, Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and others in the audience.

Macron has attempted to stand as a vocal counterweight to Trump, who recently called himself a “nationalist” and has moved to set the United States apart from global treaties, including the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate accord and a U.N. program for refugees.

Amid growing divisions in Europe that have strained the European Union, Macron defended that institution, along with the U.N., and declared that the “spirit of cooperation” has “defended the common good of the world.”

He denounced rising ideologies that have warped religious beliefs and set loose extremist forces on a “sinister course once again that could undermine the legacy of peace we thought we had forever sealed.”

The powerful remarks came as the world leaders gathered here have sought to mark the 100 years since the war by honoring those who served and died.

Ahead of the ceremony, dozens of world leaders dressed in black strode shoulder-to-shoulder along the Champs Elysees toward the Arc. Military jets streaked overhead, emitting red, white and blue smoke, the colors of France.

Yet Trump and Putin did not participate in the processions. The group, which had first gathered at the Elysee Palace, had come to the Arc on tour buses along the 230-foot wide boulevard. Bells at Notre Dame cathedral tolled at 11 a.m., marking the signing of the armistice of a war in which 10 million military troops perished.

But Trump and Putin took their own motorcades to the event and made separate entrances a few minutes after the main group. A White House spokeswoman said Trump arrived separately due to “security protocols,” though she did not elaborate.

Trump and Putin shook hands with members, now assembled on risers a the foot of the monument, and took their own positions. Trump and first lady Melania Trump took position next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while Putin stood next to Macron.

The ceremony could begin.

To the sound of a military brass band, Macron inspected French troops standing at attention and a choir sang the national anthem. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed a solo piece.

For Trump, dressed in a dark blue suit and red power tie, the ceremony marked the beginning of a day in which he is scheduled to participate in a luncheon with the world leader and then visit the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial — a day after he skipped a visit to a different ceremony.

The relationship between Trump and Macron has soured as the U.S. president has promoted an “America First” foreign policy that has unsettled allies on trade and defense. Macron has sought to counter some of Trump’s agenda and he has organized a three-day Peace Forum that will begin Sunday afternoon, just as Trump heads home to Washington on Air Force One.

In his remarks, Macron warned of the spread of falsehoods that fuel extremism and he encouraged the pursuit of science and art.

“The worst can be overcome as long as we have men and women of good will to guide us,” Macron said. “Without shame, let us be the men and women of good will.”

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Critics pile on after Trump cancels visit to U.S. military cemetery outside Paris, citing weather

French President Emmanuel Macron said Europe had to take greater responsibility for its own defense, saying he agreed with President Trump on the need for greater "burden sharing" by Europe in NATO. (Reuters)

By David Nakamura , Seung Min Kim and James McAuley
November 11 2018
WA Post

PARIS — President Trump flew 3,800 miles to this French capital city for ceremonies to honor the military sacrifice in World War I, hoping to take part in the kind of powerful ode to the bravery of the armed forces that he was unable to hold in Washington.

But on his first full day here, it rained on his substitute parade weekend.

Early Saturday, the White House announced Trump and the first lady had scuttled plans, due to bad weather, for their first stop in the weekend’s remembrance activities — a visit to the solemn Aisne Marne American Cemetery, marking the ferocious Battle of Belleau Wood.

It was not completely clear why the Trumps were unable to attend. The cemetery is 50 miles from Paris. Perhaps the president was planning to travel on Marine One, which is occasionally grounded by the Secret Service.

But the sight of dignitaries arriving at other sites outside Paris, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, led some foreign policy analysts to speculate the U.S. commander in chief just wasn’t up for it.

Retired Marine Corps general and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly visits the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Belleau, France. (Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images)

“It’s incredible that a president would travel to France for this significant anniversary — and then remain in his hotel room watching TV rather than pay in person his respects to the Americans who gave their lives in France for the victory gained 100 years ago tomorrow,” David Frum, who served as a speechwriter to President George W. Bush, wrote in tweets. Trump is actually staying at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Paris.

So began a weekend in which Trump — battling on a number of political fronts in Washington — seemed distracted and disengaged. Trump left Washington as the list of White House worries piled up: newly empowered Democrats, criticism of his pick for acting attorney general and backlash over his personal attacks against journalists.

Trump was in France in body but appeared unenthusiastic in spirit.

The White House said Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, would attend the Belleau ceremony in the Trumps’ absence, but Frum suggested Trump could have tried to scramble a motorcade to keep his schedule.

Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser under President Barack Obama, noted he helped plan Obama’s foreign travel throughout his two terms and said it was common to have a backup plan to deal with inclement weather.

“There is always a rain option. Always,” he wrote in a tweet. “Trump will use the U.S. military for a pre election political stunt but sits in his hotel instead of honoring those who fought and died for America.”

The cemetery has 2,288 grave­sites honoring those who died, including many Americans. The names of 1,060 more Americans who went missing and whose bodies were not recovered are engraved on the walls of the site.

Trump held a bilateral meeting with Macron, but the U.S. president appeared subdued, almost sullen, as Macron tried to mask growing tensions between them.

When Macron tried to pat Trump’s thigh, the president ignored him and didn’t acknowledge the touch or reciprocate it — a marked difference from their demonstrative power-grip handshakes and back slaps during previous meetings.

Trump is still planning to attend the featured ceremony under the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, where more than 100 world leaders will pay homage to the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Great War.

But he won’t really get a parade. The event will not feature tanks or missiles like the parade Trump had envisioned on the streets of Washington on Veterans Day but canceled due to exorbitant costs.

After another scheduled visit to a ceremony on Sunday, the president plans to fly home just as Macron’s Paris Peace Forum kicks off for three days of meetings aimed at galvanizing global action on shared challenges, such as climate change.

Thomas Wright, a Europe expert at the Brookings Institution, noted Trump announced he was going to France on a whim in August after abruptly canceling his order for the Pentagon to stage a parade.

The Peace Forum was intended “a bit as a counterpoint to ‘America First,’ ” Wright said, referring to Trump’s nationalist foreign policy in which he has unsettled allies on trade and defense. “Now they have this weird situation of Trump being there [in Paris] but the forum going against everything he and [National Security Adviser John] Bolton stand for. . . . My impression is that he’s going to pretend like it’s not happening.”

In the evening, Trump tweeted that he had spent the afternoon in meetings and making calls, though he gave no details. He followed up with a tweet warning he is closely watching the election recount in the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races in Florida. “Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida!” he wrote, apparently referring to Democrats.

Trump’s critics, including former national security aides under Obama, piled on — payback, perhaps, for the times Trump ridiculed Obama by calling him feckless and weak on the world stage.

In the two years since his election, Trump has not visited troops in an active war zone — an attempt to make a surprise visit to the Korean demilitarized zone in November 2017 was aborted when Marine One was forced to turn around due to bad weather.

“Real low energy, @realDonaldTrump to not bother to honor the sacrifice of American soldiers in WWI due to some rain. Somehow everyone else was able to do so today. Obama never had this problem. He also visited our troops in war zones,” Kelly Magsamen, who served as a high-ranking Pentagon official on Asia affairs, wrote on Twitter.

On Instagram, Trump did make a statement to U.S. troops, posting a photo of himself speaking to service members at Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

“Happy 243rd Birthday to the GREAT U.S. Marine Corps!” Trump wrote.

But in Paris, there were some visible signs of strain between Trump and his host amid tensions over Macron’s call for a “true European army” — remarks the U.S. president deemed “very insulting” moments after he landed here on Air Force One late Friday.

Fearful of waning U.S. commitment, Macron hinted at a new path forward for Europe during a radio interview this past week in which he touted the “project of a sovereign Europe” and argued the continent would not be protected “if we don’t decide to have a true European army.”

“We have to have a Europe that can defend itself alone — and without only relying on the United States — in a more sovereign manner,” he said.

That prompted an angry response from Trump in a tweet he sent as Air Force One touched down in Paris late Friday. Trump revived his frustration over countries in the NATO alliance that do not spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on their militaries.

Ahead of their bilateral meeting at Elysee Palace, Macron attempted to soothe Trump by stressing publicly that European nations in the NATO alliance should pay more to defend themselves.

Calling Trump “my good friend,” Macron proclaimed “great solidarity” between the two nations and said the leaders will discuss a litany of issues during their one-on-one meeting, including Iran, Syria, Yemen, trade and climate change.

Trump reciprocated Macron’s warm tone, telling the French leader that we “have become very good friends” and that the two countries “have much in common in many ways.”

“I appreciate what you’re saying about burden sharing. You know my view,” Trump said. Later, he added: “We want to help Europe, but it has to be fair.”

Even as their words aimed to gloss over their differences, their body language betrayed the growing tensions.

Foreign policy analysts said Macron and other European leaders have felt burned by Trump, who pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, both negotiated by the Obama administration.

“I think he has shed any illusion about Trump that flattering him will be a way of getting concessions,” said Wright, the Brookings expert. “But he is hesitant to push back hard because he’s not sure what that will get him. It’s cautious realism.”

The Paris weather forecast shows more rain for Sunday.


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« Reply #4171 on: Nov 11, 2018, 07:37 AM »

WATCH: SNL ridicules White House intern who grabbed microphone from CNN’s Acosta — with another doctored video

Tom Boggioni
Raw Story
11 Nov 2018 at 08:05 ET                   

During the Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live, the cast parodied the recent incident between a White House press intern and CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

In the segment, cast member Cecily Strong appeared as the intern attempting to take a microphone away from co-host Colin Jost.

“My boss said you can’t come to the White House anymore,” she said, with Jost asking why, to which she alleged he had punched her.

Strong then demanded heroll the tape of the incident, and it was a doctored version showing Jost taking a swing.

“My boss tweeted it, so it’s real,” Strong explained.

Watch the video via SNL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=132&v=4b6ttHSgIFM

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

WATCH: SNL gives Jeff Sessions the perfect sendoff

Martin Cizmar
Raw Story
11 Nov 2018 at 23:50 ET                   

President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, mere hours after the midterm elections.

Saturday Night Live gave the former Alabama senator, who was one of Trump’s earliest and most eager supporters, the perfect sendoff.

In a skit set inside Sessions’ old office, Kate McKinnon’s “iconic” Sessions character cleans out his things before being escorted out by Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“I don’t know how Mr. Trump could replace me with Matt Whitaker,” Sessions said. “He’s just a shady businessman with no experience who is blindly loyal to Donald Trump—OK, hearing it out loud, it makes sense.”

Sessions packs up his things, including his copy of the Bob Woodward book.

“In chapter 26 the president calls me mentally retarded,” Sessions said.

McKinnon uses her musical skills to deliver a version of Adele’s “Someone Like You” before getting a goodbye visit from Robert De Niro’s Robert Mueller character.

Watch: https://vimeo.com/300107336

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Bill Maher’s HBO panel explains exactly how press can band together to expose Trump’s lies and bring him down

Tom Boggioni
Raw Story
10 Nov 2018 at 08:12 ET                   

During the Overtime segment of Bill Maher’s Real Time, the host and his panel — which included author Bob Woodward, comedian Sarah Silverman, commentator Cornell Belcher, and journalists Katty Kay and Bret Stephens — were pressed to figure out a way for the press to handle President Donald Trump’s lies and expose his as a fraud.

According to Kay, journalists need to band together and share stories that focus, laser-like, on the important topics and not get caught up in Trump’s sideshows.

Woodward concurred, by saying journalists need to also avoid getting into spats with Trump.

“We’re taking the bait in the press,” Woodward explained. “Trump is just throwing it out on the table and saying, ‘You’re the enemy of the people,’ and then we get all steamy and emotionally unhinged about it.”

“The way to work together is when the New York Times or the BBC have a great story and the Washington Post needs to follow it and dig and get specifics and make the case for the truth,” he added.

New York Times columnist Stephens jumped into to call out Trump’s massive volume of lies that obscure the truth by invoking a quote attributed to Russian strongman Joseph Stalin who reportedly once said, “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”

Watch the video via HBO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP1ttCxEcME


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« Reply #4172 on: Nov 12, 2018, 05:06 AM »

Humanity under threat from antibiotic-resistant infections

The Conversation
12 Nov 2018 at 04:45 ET                  

I grew up believing in the forward trajectory of progress in science and medicine – that human health would continue to improve as it had for hundreds of years. As I progressed through my own career in health sciences, I continued to be optimistic.

Now I have serious doubts.

Science is still working well, but deadly obstacles are blocking the way between research and progress in the field where I work: Antibiotics.

The threat to humankind is grave and growing worse by the day, but for reasons that escape my colleagues and me, there appears to be shockingly little collective will to do much about it.

This week (Nov. 12-18) is World Antibiotic Awareness Week. We need to talk about this threat. We need to develop models of public-private co-operation — to incentivize, fund and invest in antibiotic drug discovery and development.

Penicillin led to complacency

Here’s the problem: about 75 years ago, science brought penicillin into public use, opening a new era in infectious disease control, much as sanitation had done before that. Infectious diseases such as pneumonia and strep, which had commonly been fatal even in my grandparents’ day, were tamed — at least for a time.

In the generations that followed, life expectancy leapt by 25 years and infectious disease tumbled from its No. 1 one spot among all causes of human death, where it had consistently ranked higher than bullets and bombs — even during the World Wars.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhwL2WEOfto

With cheap, abundant and effective antibiotics at hand, people in the developed world became complacent about controlling infection.

But this whole time, while we have been living our better, longer lives, infectious diseases have been working on a comeback, and today they are pounding at the door. In fact, they are already breaking down the door.

Market will not meet demand

In a fast-forward example of Darwinian adaptation through natural selection, bacteria and other microbes are evolving to survive antibiotics. They will continue to adapt and they will succeed unless humanity builds new layers of defence in the form of new antibiotics and other creative approaches.

Governments of the world recognize the crisis, as they affirmed at a special high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in 2016 and at the G20 in 2017.

The troubling part is that we know what we have to do to create new antibiotic therapies, and though the work is undeniably hard, there already exist some promising new alternatives to older drugs, and more are in the pipeline.

Unfortunately, they are not yet available on the commercial market, and they may never get there unless something changes to make them viable — not as drugs, but as commodities.

The critical impediment to producing new antibiotics turns out to be our own economic model, which trusts the market to meet the demand. The invisible hand, as philosopher and economist Adam Smith called it, is not working here, and what’s at risk is all of the progress that antibiotics has made possible.

Public model is risky

This past summer in the United States, two pharmaceutical companies earned FDA approval for new antibiotic compounds. As soon as the markets learned those companies had created drugs that could literally save the world, their stocks fell.

Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? It turns out that spending hundreds of millions to create, test and market a new drug is a bad risk unless the drug can earn back the investment within the 20 years before its patent expires.

That’s hard to do when you’re trying to recover the cost one 10-day prescription at a time. And when you’re prescribing the new drug only for infections that can’t be resolved with cheap, traditional antibiotics, which still work in many cases.

The only way it would make business sense to create new antibiotics would be to make them astronomically expensive, in the range of rare cancer drugs, and who would pay for that?

Many argue that we should look at antibiotics the same way we look at fire departments. As individuals, we may never need them, but we are all willing to share the cost, because we expect them to be there.

A public model seems to make sense, but who will take the political risk?

Hospitals under threat

Without intervention — where the public, through their governments around the world, cooperates with the private sector to help incentivize, fund and invest in antibiotic drug discovery and development — the end of effective antibiotics will be frightening.

It will happen gradually, but it will certainly happen. The first stages are already here in the form of multi-antibiotic-resistant infections that threaten the basic function of hospitals.

Next, we’ll see common procedures like dental hygiene appointments and joint replacement surgeries cancelled permanently due to the risk of infection.

People of all ages will begin to die again from illnesses that we have become used to treating with $10 or $20 worth of pills. Those who don’t die will be sick more often and for much longer, driving up the cost of care.

Life expectancy could fall back to where it was in the early 1900s, and the golden era of antibiotics would prove to have been but a brief, happy blip in history.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Lets turn our awareness into action.The Conversation

Gerry Wright, Professor of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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« Reply #4173 on: Nov 12, 2018, 05:08 AM »


UK renewable energy capacity surpasses fossil fuels for first time

Renewable capacity has tripled in past five years, even faster growth than the ‘dash for gas’ of the 1990s

Adam Vaughan
Guardian
11/12/2018

The capacity of renewable energy has overtaken that of fossil fuels in the UK for the first time, in a milestone that experts said would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

In the past five years, the amount of renewable capacity has tripled while fossil fuels’ has fallen by one-third, as power stations reached the end of their life or became uneconomic.

The result is that between July and September, the capacity of wind, solar, biomass and hydropower reached 41.9 gigawatts, exceeding the 41.2GW capacity of coal, gas and oil-fired power plants.

Imperial College London, which compiled the figures, said the rate at which renewables had been built in the past few years was greater than the “dash for gas” in the 1990s.

Dr Iain Staffell, who undertook the research, said: “Britain’s power system is slowly but surely walking away from fossil fuels, and this quarter saw a major milestone on the journey.”

However, the amount of power from fossil fuels was still greater over the quarter, at about 40% of electricity generation compared with 28% for renewable sources.

In total, 57% of electricity generation was low carbon over the period, produced either by renewables or nuclear power stations.

In terms of installed capacity, wind is the biggest source of renewables at more than 20GW, followed by solar spread across nearly 1m rooftops and in fields. Biomass is third.
Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

In the past year, coal capacity has fallen by one-quarter, and there are only six coal-fired plants left in the UK.

Coal operators have been affected by the UK’s carbon tax on electricity generation, as well as competition from gas, though they have enjoyed a recent fillip from high gas prices.

Fortunes for new gas power stations are mixed. This week, the German energy company RWE said it was freezing plans for a new 2.5GW gas plant in Tilbury, Essex. However, UK-listed SSE said it had broken ground on Tuesday on a new 840MW gas power station in Lincolnshire.

The Imperial College London research, which was commissioned by the gas, coal and biomass company Drax, also found the cost of balancing the energy system had risen to a 10-year high of £3.8m per day between July and September.


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« Reply #4174 on: Nov 12, 2018, 05:13 AM »


Ryan Zinke and the environment: a tragedy in three acts

At first I kept an open mind about Trump’s interior secretary. But it soon became clear he put the oil, gas and mining industry above our agency’s mission

Guardian
Mon 12 Nov 2018 08.01 GMT

Back in 2017, the staff at the interior department was not hoping for the best, we were hoping for the competent. A presidential transition can bring dramatic change to the leadership of a federal agency – particularly the agency that manages the conservation and use of one fifth of America’s land area and the seabed of our continental shelf.

Civil servants pledge to continue to serve the American people and the agency mission regardless of whether or not they agree with the political positioning of the president and his cabinet. So we watched the Ryan Zinke confirmation hearings carefully, listening for hints at his management style, his communications style, and his general understanding and respect for public lands and the mission of the agency. These were the qualities that mattered, not his ideology. We were hoping for competence.

The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/12/the-zinke-effect-how-the-us-interior-department-became-a-tool-of-industry

What we heard in his hearing was a general respect for the notion of public lands, of science, and of the career staff who make the agency tick. There were some red flags for public land advocates and positive signs for industry, but for civil servants, he seemed competent and respectful enough. As so often happens in politics, however, looks can be deceiving.

If Zinke deserves credit for one thing during his tenure as secretary, it’s for his acting skills, and he was in effect handed a brand new “script” when he took office as interior secretary. This script was written by his oil, gas, and mining associates and their mouthpiece organizations. It was a script for a provocative new tragedy in three acts, and his job was to do as the script says.

Act one: erase the past.

The Trump administration has tried to reverse everything that the Obama administration did, good or bad. Zinke dutifully has done his part by putting a stop to rules meant to protect health and safety, such as a methane venting and flaring rule that would have improved American health and provided energy to thousands of homes. His most visible action has been to implement the largest reduction of protected lands in American history by shrinking the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, in the process giving the middle finger to millions of Americans who commented in support of the monuments, as well as the many Native American tribes who had supported Bears Ears.

Act two: exile the experts

His new script has also required Zinke to deny the role of science in policy-making and ensure that experts could not interfere with the oil, gas, and mining agenda. He eliminated the term climate change from the agency strategic plan, required that all research grants be reviewed by an old football buddy, and canceled a National Academy study into the health impacts of coal mining just as he was canceling a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands. He also took the unprecedented step of reassigning dozens of career senior executives, including me, as a means to “trim the workforce”, as he stated in a congressional budget hearing. He dutifully and actively worked to hollow out the agency to make it easier for his industry sponsors to operate on public lands.

Act three: choose your rules

In many tragedies, the flaws of the lead character bring his or her demise, and Zinke’s script appears like it will be no different. The Trump administration has a history of hiring less-than-upright characters and Zinke has not disappointed. The subject of over a dozen inspector general investigations, he apparently did not pay attention during the ethics briefing that every new federal employee must attend. Evidence suggests that he used his public office, and taxpayer dollars, for private gain on multiple occasions, and these scandals seem to have finally caught up to him.

If he leaves - which, reports suggest, could be very soon – Zinke will be replaced by another actor but the script won’t change. Waiting in the wings to take over is the deputy secretary, David Bernhardt, a former oil, gas, and mining lobbyist who worked at interior during the George W Bush administration and knows his way around the agency. Bernhardt embodies the revolving door between industry and interior, and has already raised eyebrows over likely conflicts of interest. He may prove to be more effective at doing the job that Zinke started, but will have to face a greater degree of oversight due to recent election results.

The real loser in this brief performance has been the American taxpayer. America’s national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands are national treasures and must be managed with care to serve our national interest. This means using science to guide decision-making rather than ignoring climate change and marginalizing scientists. It means striking a balance between exploitation and conservation rather than providing massive handouts to oil, gas and mining interests. This means supporting and nurturing a federal workforce to effectively execute the laws, regulations, and policies required by Congress rather than hollowing out the operations of the agency you’re tasked with managing.

Ryan Zinke has never looked up from his script long enough.

Americans, and the civil servants who work at interior, deserve a secretary who respects ethics, transparency, science, and the mission of the agency rather than an actor reading from an industry-prepared script. When the time comes, the Senate must hold Ryan Zinke’s successor to a higher standard.

    Joel Clement is a senior fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, and former director of the interior department’s policy office.


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« Reply #4175 on: Nov 12, 2018, 05:15 AM »

Sweden to reach its 2030 renewable energy target by the end of 2018

BGR
11/12/2018

While most countries are struggling to reach their renewable energy targets, others are breezing past them. Thanks to both its geography and impactful policies, Sweden is set to achieve its 2030 goals in mere months.

In 2012, years before the Paris Agreement, Norway and Sweden signed a joint agreement to increase production of electricity from renewables by 28.4 terawatt hours within eight years. It only took a few years for Sweden to realize it was ahead of schedule, and in 2017, it increased its target, aiming to add another 18 TWh by 2030. Lo and behold, once more, Sweden is moving much faster than anticipated and now there’s a good chance it will reach the 2030 goal in mere months — maybe even by the end of the year.

Sweden consumes about 150 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, out of which around 16 were provided by wind energy. But while the country generates just over 10% of its electricity from wind, that figure rose up dramatically in the past years, from 5% in 2012 and 2% in 2010. This very increase in wind energy is one of the main drivers propelling Sweden’s renewable targets forward.

According to the World Economic Forum, if things continue as planned, there will be 3,681 turbines functioning in the country by the end of the year. The turbines will have a capacity of 7,506 MW and an estimated annual production of 19.8 TWh. All in all, there are 15.2 TWh of renewable energy projects in construction today, and of them, 11.6 TWh is wind power, says Markus Selin, analyst at the Swedish Energy Agency. So most of the new energy coming in is wind power.

But this is only the start of the road for Sweden. Sweden already has a cross-party agreement to achieve 100% renewable energy production by 2040, and the figure is already hovering around 57%. The country has also set a target of net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2045.

It’s not like the rest of the European Union is doing particularly poorly. According to the Paris Agreement, all EU countries have agreed to achieve 20% final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Most of the countries are well on target or have already achieved this, but very few can compare to Sweden’s performance. So how is this happening, why is Sweden doing so well?

Certainly, the country’s geography helps. It’s mountainous and rainy, which amount to great opportunities for hydropower. Sweden also invested heavily into nuclear power, drawing 35% of its electricity from 10 nuclear reactors.

The fact that the country has a booming economy and an active, environmentally conscious country also goes a long way. But at the end of the day, this almost certainly wouldn’t have been possible without a healthy governance.

Of course, Sweden still has to find a way to manage this growth and ensure that the transition to a green grid carries on smoothly. It’s by no means an easy task, as neighbouring Denmark has recently learned — but so far, things are looking good.


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« Reply #4176 on: Nov 12, 2018, 05:24 AM »


Woman who bore rapist’s baby faces 20 years in El Salvador jail

Imelda Cortez, 20, faces trial in country where abortion is illegal under all circumstances

Nina Lakhani
Guaridian
Mon 12 Nov 2018 06.00 GMT

A rape victim is facing 20 years in jail charged with attempted murder, after she gave birth to her abuser’s baby in a latrine in El Salvador.

In a case that highlights the rigidity of the country’s abortion laws, Imelda Cortez, 20, from an impoverished rural family in San Miguel, has been in custody since April 2017 after giving birth to a baby girl fathered by her abusive elderly stepfather.

Cortez was rushed to hospital after her mother discovered her in severe pain and bleeding heavily. The emergency room doctor suspected an abortion and called the police. Officers found the baby healthy and alive.

Cortez had been abused by her 70-year-old stepfather since she was 12 years old and said she had no idea she was pregnant. The baby survived, but Cortez was charged with attempted murder, denied bail and sent to jail after a week in hospital.

“This is the most extreme, scandalous injustice against a woman I’ve ever seen,” said Bertha María Deleón, one of Cortez’s defence lawyers. “The state has repeatedly violated Imelda’s rights as a victim; she’s deeply affected but denied psychological attention.”

Abortion is illegal in all circumstances in El Salvador and the total ban has led to aggressive persecution of women.

Like Cortez, most are poor, single rural-dwellers convicted on tenuous evidence after having a gynaecological complication such as a miscarriage or stillbirth.

While Cortez was in hospital, her stepfather visited her, threatening to kill her, her siblings and her mother if she reported the abuse. Another patient overheard and told a nurse, who called the police.

At first, prosecutors accused Cortez of inventing the abuse to justify her crime, until a DNA test confirmed the baby’s paternity. Her stepfather is yet to be charged.

The criminal trial against Cortez opens today, with a ruling by the three judges expected within a week.

A psychological evaluation detected cognitive and emotional deficits consistent with abuse and trauma, yet Cortez has received no psychological support since being detained 18 months ago.

Abortion was criminalised in El Salvador 21 years ago, by legislators from across the political spectrum. Hopes have plummeted of the ban being relaxed to allow abortion in cases of rape or human trafficking, when the foetus is unviable, or to protect the pregnant woman’s life.

A parliamentary bill, drawn up almost two years ago amid a groundswell of public and medical support for reform, remains stuck at the committee stage, with no hope of a vote as political parties gear up for next year’s general election.

Yet campaigners refuse to give up. Five women wrongly imprisoned for murder – Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, Mayra Figueroa, Elsy Rivera, Katherine Mazariego and Maria Lopez – have been freed so far this year after dogged campaigning by domestic and international human rights groups.

A further 24 women known to activists are still serving 15 to 30 years in jail. Cortez is one of four awaiting trial or, in the case of Evelyn Hernández, a new ruling after her 2017 guilty verdict was recently overturned.


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« Reply #4177 on: Nov 12, 2018, 05:27 AM »


May’s hopes of Brexit summit fading after EU chief bemoans lack of progress in talks

Michel Barnier says negotiators have failed to achieve breakthrough on Irish border

Daniel Boffey and Jennifer Rankin in Brussels
Guardian
Mon 12 Nov 2018 11.10 GMT

Theresa May’s hopes of a special Brexit summit appear to be slipping away after the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said a breakthrough had not been achieved in the latest intensive negotiations with the British.

During a short meeting in Brussels, Barnier told European affairs ministers for the 27 EU members that the negotiators had so far failed to the make the decisive progress needed on the Irish border issue.

“Barnier explained that intense negotiating efforts continue, but an agreement has not been reached yet”, a statement said.

UK sources had spoken last week of a hope that Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, could make a visit to Brussels on Tuesday to unveil a deal and prepare the way for a Brexit summit.

If an agreement can be secured in the next 36 hours, a November summit could still be convened by Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, leading to the publication of both the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration on the future relationship. May wants to secure a November summit to ensure there is enough time for the British parliament to ratify a deal.

EU capitals, however, want time to examine any agreement made between the European commission and the UK before it is published. Officials on both sides were said to have been in discussions until 3am on Monday, and talks have continued into the morning.

In the meeting with Barnier, about 10-12 member states intervened, stressing the need for national capitals to be able to scrutinise any Brexit deal, including the political declaration on the future. Ministers also welcomed continued no-deal planning and stressed that the EU had to remain united.

Earlier in the day, doubts had been voiced by ministers for the EU27 about the chances of an imminent breakthrough given the sensitivity of the issues still on the table.

To avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland ever emerging, the government is proposing a temporary UK-wide customs union to be in place until another solution is believed possible by Whitehall.

The EU is in turn insisting the UK could not unilaterally withdraw from such an agreement if Whitehall decided that another border solution was possible.

Brussels is also demanding that the UK sign up to “dynamic” alignment with future environmental, social and labour regulations, which would in effect force parliament to cut and paste EU diktats into British law.

A commitment on the side of the British to provide the European fishing fleet with access to UK seas after Brexit has also been proposed by member states as a condition for agreement on the customs union.

Michael Roth, Germany’s minister of state for the EU, said the member states had made “many compromises but the room for manoeuvre is very much limited and our British friends know exactly where our discussions are”.

Belgium’s deputy prime minister, Didier Reynders, told reporters: “We have time but not so much, so for this moment it’s very difficult to make real progress but before Christmas I’m hoping that it will be possible.

“Of course we are prepared for all the different possibilities but we try to work hardly on a good agreement and we are very close, you know what are the limits for the moment.

“About Ireland we have made a proposal with some evolutions in the last days but until now we don’t have a positive signal about that so I’m hoping this will be the case in the next weeks but certainly not today.”

With concerns growing that the prime minister’s timetable is slipping, the pound fell on Monday morning by 0.8% to $1.2827, an 11-day low.

Nathalie Loiseau, the French EU minister, said there had been intensive discussions and Brussels was working to avoid a no-deal scenario, which she stressed was primarily important for the UK.

She said: “I have no crystal ball unfortunately. We will have a close look at what a customs union would mean for us because it’s in between the withdrawal agreement and the future relationship so of course it’s a little bit special to discuss the two of it. We are ready, we are open but of course we want to see the details.

“If we end any sort of temporary arrangement this is to be a bilateral decision from the EU27 and from the UK at the same time and we have to know in that moment what sort of solution there is for the Irish border.”

With the UK cabinet yet to back May’s plan for a customs union, Aleš Chmelař, the Czech Republic’s Europe minister, suggested the logjam was at the political level rather than between the negotiators.

He said: “I still hope that we will have a decision soon on decisive progress in the negotiations but it is to be seen whether we hold a summit before December or not.

“We’ve all seen some technical possibilities on the compromise, it is now a matter of political agreement. I’m still hopeful that we can have decisive progress this month.”


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« Reply #4178 on: Nov 12, 2018, 05:29 AM »


'An outrage': global outcry at legal threat to news site that stood up to Duterte

Journalists around the world voice support for editor Maria Ressa, who is facing charges of tax evasion

Hannah Ellis-Petersen South-east Asia correspondent
Guardian
Mon 12 Nov 2018 04.57 GMT

The decision by authorities in the Philippines to charge Rappler, a news website critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime, with tax fraud has prompted an outpouring of support from journalists around the world who have heralded editor Maria Ressa’s bravery.

Rappler, which was founded and is run by Ressa, is facing charges of tax evasion that have been described as a direct attack on press freedom in the Philippines.

Alan Rusbriger, former editor of the Guardian, said on Twitter that the charges were “very concerning”, adding: “Maria Ressa is a great great journalist and needs all of our support.”

Lydia Polgreen, editor of Huffington Post, said it was “an outrage”, and that Ressa was “a journalist of the highest integrity”. Jay Rosen, professor of journalism at New York University, said the charges were an attack on “one of the most important free press figures in the world”.

Emily Bell, director of the digital journalist centre at Columbia Journalism School, said Ressa had been “a beacon of energetic reporting in Duterte’s dark world”. She was echoed by Marty Baron, editor of the Washington Post, who described the charges as an “attack on one of the world’s bravest journalists”. David Clinch, global news editor of Storyful, said simply: “We have your back Maria.”

The government had accused Rappler, specifically Ressa, who is executive editor, of failing to pay tax on the company’s 2015 bond sales to two foreign parties to the tune of $3m. Rappler denies all charges and Ressa called it “a clear form of continuing intimidation and harassment.”

One the same day that news of Rappler’s inditement broke, Ressa was awarded the Knight international journalism award in Washington, DC. In her speech, as she collected the award, she said: “We battle impunity from the Philippine government and Facebook. Both seed violence, fear, and lies that poison our democracy. Those lies on social media formed the basis of the government’s legal cases against us.”

Rappler, which was founded by Ressa in 2012, has grown to be one of the most influential news websites in the Philippines. After the election of Duterte in 2016, Rappler was at the forefront in exposing the thousands of extrajudicial killings in the president’s bloody war on drugs and also worked to shed light the army of trolls flooding social media with pro-Duterte propaganda and threatening critics and journalists.

The critical coverage of the Duterte administration angered the president, who began an all-out assault on the news site last year. The tax evasion charges filed over the weekend are the latest in a series of attempts by the government to muzzle Rappler and Ressa.

Last year, the government ordered the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate Rappler for being “foreign owned” – in what Ressa described as “fishing expedition” – then revoked its licence in January. The case is currently in the court of appeals. The government then banned its political reporter from the presidential palace where all media conferences are held.

Duterte has personally attacked Rappler in speeches and as a result, Ressa and her journalists have had to endure daily death and rape threats from what has been described as the “pro-Duterte online troll army”, with Ressa receiving up to 90 death threats a day. The news site’s office in Manila has had to install bodyguards and bulletproof glass.

Speaking to the Guardian in March, Ressa said she intended to fight off every charge and attack that was thrown at her news organisation by the Duterte regime. “We’re ready to fight it,” she said. “The end goal is to keep reporting, as long as we’re a democracy, and this, as far as I know, is still a democracy.”


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« Reply #4179 on: Nov 12, 2018, 05:31 AM »


Poland's president addresses far right at independence march

Nationalists burning flares and carrying fascist flags marched at same time as politicians

Christian Davies in Warsaw
Guardian
12 Nov 2018 19.18 GMT

More than 200,000 people are estimated to have taken part in a controversial independence-day march through central Warsaw on Sunday, after a last-minute agreement was struck between senior politicians and the event’s far-right organisers.

The March of Independence, organised by nationalist and far-right groups and held annually in the Polish capital on 11 November to commemorate the anniversary of the re-establishment of the country’s independence in 1918, has grown dramatically in scale over the past decade, attracting activists from across Europe.

Last year’s event, which attracted an estimated 60,000 people, received international condemnation for the presence of racist and xenophobic banners and slogans and violence directed at counterprotesters.

There was widespread concern in Poland that the march would overshadow official commemorations of the centenary of the country’s rebirth as an independent state at the end of the first world war. Preparations were thrown into chaos on Wednesday after Warsaw’s outgoing mayor, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, announced she was banning the march due to concerns surrounding security and “aggressive nationalism”.

Hours after Gronkiewicz-Waltz’s announcement Andrzej Duda, Poland’s rightwing president, announced the Polish state would be organising its own march at the same time and along the same route as the nationalist march. But it was unclear what would happen if a court overturned the mayor’s ban, which it did on Thursday evening.

That led to frantic negotiations between the Polish authorities and nationalist organisations, resulting in an agreement in which participants in the state-sanctioned section of the event would march first, followed closely behind by participants in the nationalist march, separated by a cordon of military police.

Lining up in parallel columns, Polish soldiers stood side-by-side with members of the National-Radical Camp (ONR), the successor to a pre-war Polish fascist movement, and representatives of Forza Nuova, an Italian neo-fascist movement, as they were addressed by Duda at the march’s inauguration.

“I want us to walk under our white-and-red banners together and in an air of joy. To give honour to those who fought for Poland, and to be glad that it is free, sovereign and independent,” Duda said, before leading the crowd in chants of “glory and praise to the heroes” and a rendition of the national anthem.

Dwarfing previous iterations of the march in terms of size, this year’s event appeared to feature far fewer overtly racist banners and symbols than last year, although white supremacist symbols such as the Celtic cross were present, and some media outlets reported instances of racist chanting.

The far-right All-Polish Youth, a co-organiser of the march, posted a video of an EU flag being set on fire on the march, as some people chanted “down with the European Union.”

Poland’s political divisions were also on display, as police in riot gear separated marchers from counter-demonstrators gathered under a large banner reading “Constitution”. Some marchers threw objects and fireworks, making obscene gestures and labelling their opponents prostitutes and communists.

Many of those marching sought to distance themselves from any controversy, saying they simply wished to celebrate their country’s independence.

“I just want to celebrate the 100th anniversary. To see all these Polish flags, it’s a beautiful view. I am not involved in politics, I am not involved in the war between politicians,” said Piotr, a biotechnologist from Kraków who was attending the march for the first time. “The atmosphere is very good – except for a couple of groups whose slogans are not OK.”


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« Reply #4180 on: Nov 12, 2018, 05:52 AM »


Thumbs up from Putin as Trump rains on Armistice parade

US president’s apparent snub of Belleau memorial highlights absence of western solidarity

Julian Borger World affairs editor
Guardian
12 Nov 2018 18.45 GMT

The weekend away in Paris should not have been hard. For most politicians, events like the armistice commemoration represent an opportunity to project themselves as greater than the sum of their soundbites, above the political fray, sombre yet at their ease among world leaders as they look out across the century gone by. There are lofty prepared remarks and no questions.

For Donald Trump, that was a bridge too far. The trip to France got off to a bad start and kept getting worse. He landed with a tweet, directed against his host, Emmanuel Macron, and based on a mangling in the US press of something the French president had said, to make it sound like he wanted a European army to fend off the US, as well as China and Russia.

It was not what Macron said, but Trump fulminated anyway. “Very insulting,” he declared.

In a way, the US president had come to France by mistake. He had announced the trip in August after he declared that Washington’s municipal leaders wanted to over-charge for the military parade he had demanded.

He would go to the big parade in Paris, where he had been inspired by the display of military pageantry on 14 July festivities last year. But the French do parades for Bastille Day, not Armistice Day. This time there were no tanks and no marching bands.

After a few hours in a Paris hotel, the White House called off Trump’s attendance at the first memorial event of the weekend, at Belleau, where 2,000 US marines were killed. The ostensible reason for the sudden cancellation: rain.

As an alibi, this was almost instantly undermined by footage of Macron, Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, and Trump’s own staff attending ceremonies around the country, evidently under the lightest of drizzles. Trump stayed in his hotel room, watching cable news and tweeting. Back in Washington, the White House officially dubs this ‘executive time’. It has become the norm in the president’s daily routine.

In France, on Veteran’s Day weekend, it came across as a snub to America’s war dead by a president who had avoided military service in Vietnam, claiming to suffer from “bone spurs”.

In the ensuing storm of tweeted derision, there were countless video clips of other leaders standing in the rain at important ceremonial events, including Trudeau in Dieppe the year before remembering the Canadian dead from the second world war, and deliberately folding his umbrella away and comparing his mild discomfort to those of soldiers for whom “the rain wasn’t rain, it was bullets”.

Former officers weighed in to note that the military had helicopters quite capable of flying in light rain. Veterans of the White House recalled they always had a contingency plan for getting the president to an important event in case of inclement weather.

Once again, Trump had demonstrated his knack for making global events of historic significance telescope inwards until they become frenzied debates over his own quirks.

A display of leadership solidarity in the face of the scourge of war became once more an exercise in isolation. As other leaders walked in a phalanx along the Champs Élysées on Sunday, Trump travelled separately, by armoured limousine. On early occasions he had managed a show of bonhomie in meetings with Macron but at his Élysée Palace meeting this time, he sat glumly like a pupil made to stay after school and did not respond when Macron patted him on the arm.

When the French president spoke under the Arc de Triomphe, no one had any doubt whom he was speaking to when he said: “Patriotism is the antithesis of nationalism. Nationalism is inherently treasonous. In saying ‘our interests first, and forget the others’, we lose the most important part of the nation: its moral values.”

Trump looked on grimly throughout. The only moment he brightened up was when he saw Vladimir Putin approach. He flashed a goofy smile, all the more noticeable alongside Macron and Merkel who had switched their demeanour to steel resolve on spotting the Russian leader.

Putin solemnly shook hands with them and then gave Trump a big thumbs up.

Merkel looked on in astonishment and then turned back with a smile on her face that suggested that she had come up with a vignette to start the chapter on the Trump-Putin axis in her memoir.

There had been much speculation – fed by the Kremlin and half-denied by the White House – over whether Trump and Putin would meet at the world war one commemorations.

It turned out they had been slated to sit next to each other at Sunday lunch, but the French hosts switched the seating arrangement to place Trump next to Macron and across from Putin, making personal asides considerably more difficult.

After lunch, Trump had a second chance at public remembrance of his country’s war dead, at a cemetery in the Parisian suburb of Suresnes. He delivered respectful remarks in the rain this time, remembering those who had given their last breath in the mighty struggle. But he could not resist an aside observing he was being “drenched” while veterans were watching from under cover. “You look so comfortable up there, under shelter,” he joked, “as we’re getting drenched. You’re very smart people.”

From Suresnes, the presidential entourage went straight to the airport. Trump did not take part in the “peace forum” Macron had arranged with the intention that his fellow leaders ruminate on the murderous follies of the Great War and compare it to the rise of nationalism today.

The whole weekend was supposed to be a show of western solidarity, and ended up proving its absence. Trump showed himself ill at ease with most of his European counterparts and the fleeting encounter with Putin was a reminder of his much greater affinity for autocrats.

He has claimed warm, even affectionate, relations with Putin, Kim Jong-un, Xi Jinping, Mohammed bin Salman, Rodrigo Duterte and now Brazil’s president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro.

Trump may have cut a lonely figure in Paris, but on the world stage, he is less and less isolated.

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

Trump ditched cemetery visit to avoid causing Paris traffic jams, says Sanders

When rain grounded Marine One, the president didn’t hit the road because it would have disrupted traffic, says White House

Staff and agencies
Mon 12 Nov 2018 03.21 GMT

Donald Trump didn’t attend an event honouring US military dead because he didn’t want to disrupt the traffic in Paris, the White House said on Sunday, as the fallout for his no-show on Saturday continued.

The US president had been scheduled to lay a wreath and observe a moment of silence at the Aisne-Marne American cemetery and memorial at Belleau, about 60 miles (100km) north-east of Paris. The White House cited rain that grounded the president’s helicopter for the cancellation.

The move sparked incredulity among some of Trump’s critics: Nicholas Soames, the Conservative MP and grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, tweeted: “They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen #hesnotfittorepresenthisgreatcountry.”

Nicolas Burns, an American diplomat who served both Republican and Democratic presidents, called the choice “astonishing”.

In the wake of criticism that Trump didn’t instead travel by car, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement on Sunday that noted the weather and “near-zero visibility” as well as concerns that a motorcade on short notice would have required closing roads to traffic.

“President Trump did not want to cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people,” Sanders said. She also said the trip to Aisne-Marne was 2½ hours each way by car.

Instead, Trump spent much of Saturday at the US ambassador’s residence following a meeting and lunch with French president Emmanuel Macron. Trump was in Paris for events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of world war one.

Attending the cemetery event in Trump’s place were the White House chief of staff, retired Marine General John Kelly; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Joe Dunford; and several staff members. The Battle of Belleau Wood near the site was a critical conflict in the war and a pivotal encounter in Marine Corps history.

The decision to ground Marine One, the president’s helicopter, due to bad weather was made by the Marine Corps and the White House Military Office, which then presents the recommendation to the White House in collaboration with the Secret Service, according to a Secret Service official.

Paris was covered in clouds with drizzling rain through most of Saturday.
On Sunday, Trump attended a scheduled event honouring American war dead at a US cemetery just outside Paris.

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

Revealed: Trump sulked in Europe after his dreams for a grand military parade evaporated

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
12 Nov 2018 at 06:13 ET                   

President Donald Trump spent the weekend in France, skipping World War I commemoration events and apparently sulking in front of the television, instead of enjoying the grand military parade he’d once envisioned for himself.

The president was dazzled last year by the 2017 Bastille Day parade in Paris, and he notified defense officials he wanted a display like that for Veterans Day the following year, reported CNN.

But military officials balked at the nearly $100 million cost, and eventually persuaded the president he needed to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I’s end with other world leaders.

The solemn events he found in Paris were more stately than spectacular, and he sent a series of tweets grousing about vote recounts back in the U.S. and blaming massive California wildfires on forest management.

Trump remained at the U.S. ambassador’s residence Saturday after military and security officials determined cloud cover posed a safety hazard for the president’s Military One helicopter, but the White House did not have a backup plan in place to get Trump to the Aisne-Marne American cemetery.

The White House declined to say how Trump spent those hours that opened up in his schedule, but the president tweeted that evening he’d had “some very productive meetings and calls for our country today.”

Trump arrived late, and alone, as other world leaders marched shoulder to shoulder down the Champs-Élysées.

The White House cited unspecified “security protocols” for Trump missing out on the event.

French president Emmanuel Macron took a pointed shot at Trump, who bragged ahead of the midterms that he was a “nationalist,” during the ceremony marking the armistice.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism,” Macron said. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying ‘our interests first; who cares about the others?’, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great, and what makes it essential — its moral values.”

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

Unhinged press conferences, doctored videos and election conspiracy theories — Trump is spiraling out of control

Joshua Holland - COMMENTARY
Raw Story
12 Nov 2018 at 13:30 ET                   

Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

In the past five days, we had a crucial midterm election – don’t let anyone tell you it wasn’t a Blue Wave – and then Trump held a meandering, hostile press conference, after which his regime stripped a senior White House correspondent’s press credentials and circulated a doctored video suggesting that the reporter assaulted a young intern. Then the “President” replaced his racist, bootlicking AG with a griftier one. A guy shot up a bar, killing 12, including survivors of the Las Vegas massacre. Then multiple senior GOP officials started claiming that counting all ballots is a form of election fraud and half of California caught on fire.
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So it was another slow news week in Trump’s America.

Matthew Whitaker, the new acting attorney general, may just be the perfect Trump appointee. He auditioned for the job of Jeff Sessions’ Chief of Staff by getting himself booked on cable TV shows to say that the Mueller investigation is an illegitimate witch-hunt and then stabbed his boss in the back by positioning himself to be appointed as his replacement. Meanwhile, the White House doesn’t appear to have vetted him, and were taken aback when reports emerged that he’d insisted that Russia didn’t interfere with the 2016 election—among other wacky claims — or that he was “involved in firm that scammed veterans out of [their] life savings.” Now the FBI is investigating not only the “President” and his family and business associates, but also the nation’s top law enforcement official.

    Consider Trump’s new AG.
    -hired by DOJ after going on TV to rip the Mueller probe
    -friends with a Trump campaign chair, Mueller witness
    – helped lead company that bilked customers out of $millions, threatened one for complaining
    https://t.co/FkZb3hN8BS

    — Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) November 8, 2018

We could have had taco trucks on every corner, is what we’re saying.

*****

On his way out the door, belligerent gnome outgoing Attorney General Jeff Sessions “has drastically limited the ability of federal law enforcement officials to use court-enforced agreements to overhaul local police departments accused of abuses and civil rights violations, the Justice Department announced on Thursday.”

Katie Benner reported for The New York Times:

    In a major last-minute act, Mr. Sessions signed a memorandum on Wednesday before President Trump fired him sharply curtailing the use of so-called consent decrees, court-approved deals between the Justice Department and local governments that create a road map of changes for law enforcement and other institutions.

*****

Donald Trump is bestowing the Medal of Freedom on Miriam Adelson, the wife of casino magnate and GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.  We don’t really care – Elvis and Babe Ruth are getting the award posthumously too – but it raises eyebrows coming so soon after the couple invested close to $100 million in the Republicans’ midterm campaign.

That figure amounts to about 14 percent of what they reaped from the GOP’s #TaxScam in the first quarter of 2018 alone. We always tip at least 20 percent, and nobody ever gave us a medal for it.

*****

It’s always sweet to be an oligarch, but especially so in Trump’s America. “Across the corporate landscape, the Trump administration has presided over a sharp decline in financial penalties against banks and big companies accused of malfeasance,” according to an analysis by The New York Times. “The approach mirrors the administration’s aggressive deregulatory agenda throughout the federal government.” Trump refers to this as standing up for those “forgotten Americans.”

*****

There are rumors that toxic bigot failed Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach may replace embattled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in the near future. As we’ve documented here before, the Trump regime has installed quite a few anti-immigrant hardliners with ties to designated hate-groups at the agency. So Kobach would fit right in — Stephanie Kirchgaessner reported for The Guardian this week that Kobach’s campaign accepted donations from white supremacists and that he “has for over a decade been affiliated with groups espousing white supremacist views.”

*****

Scott Pruitt 2.0 Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has done a bunch of grifting in his official position and is now looking for a cushy landing spot, according to Politico. Ben Lefebvre and Eliana Johnson report that Zinke “has been exploring potential roles with Fox News, the energy industry or other businesses amid growing signs that he will leave President Donald Trump’s Cabinet as he faces investigations into his ethics.”

Are there any members of Trump’s cabinet who can’t accurately be described as “embattled” at this point?

    Can someone please tell us how Ryan Zinke racked up 17 ethics investigations even though he took 66 personal days in a year and a half?https://t.co/DttfVWrF5Q

    — Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) November 10, 2018

*****

As was widely anticipated, the refugee caravan slowly working its way to our border through Mexico has largely disappeared from the news now that the midterms are over, but let’s not forget that thousands of troops remain on the scene, twiddling their thumbs and making busy-work. Will they remain deployed through the holidays?

    US troops sent to thwart “the caravan” eat MREs, have little electricity, and live 20 to a tent.

    In Texas.

    They can see the ⁦@Whataburger⁩ from their FOB, but can’t go over there for lunch.  https://t.co/ST4fGWryVQ

    — Aki Peritz (@AkiPeritz) November 10, 2018

*****

In somewhat related news, a federal court appeared to give Dreamers – young people brought to the US without papers at a young age – some good news this week, but Ian Millhiser reports for Think Progress that when you dig a bit deeper, it’s likely to be a devastating blow to their hopes for the future.

The judges upheld a lower court’s decision blocking the Trump regime’s move to end protections for Dreamers, but as Millhiser notes, “now that a federal appeals court has ruled on this issue, it has a straight shot to the Supreme Court,” where “the Republican-dominated Supreme Court is likely to back Trump along party lines.”

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And the Trump regime enacted a “temporary rule” – citing national security to get around the usual agency process – to sharply limit the number of people eligible to apply for asylum. The Texas Tribune reported that the move “will likely prompt legal challenges.”

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Among the many victories Democrats scored on Tuesday, knocking off Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was one of the most satisfying.

But now Wisconsin’s GOP-controlled legislature is considering stripping powers from the incoming Democratic Governor, Tony Evers, during the lame duck session. This follows a model established by North Carolina Republicans when they pulled off a similar “legislative coup” after GOP governor Pat McCrory lost his race in 2016.

Perhaps the most maddening thing about such norm-busting maneuvers is how asymmetrical they seem to be. The Milwaukee Sentinel noted that in 2010, Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin “tried to rush labor contracts through the Legislature after Walker was elected but before he was sworn in,” but “the effort failed when two Democratic senators stunned their colleagues to vote with Republicans against the labor deals.”

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There was lots of good news this week on the electoral front, but we want to highlight one state legislative win in New Hampshire. Cassandra Levesque first got into politics when, as a high school senior, she mounted a campaign to raise the state’s minimum age for marriage from 13 for girls and 14 for boys to 18 for everyone. It was “part of a Girl Scouts project that ultimately earned her the organization’s gold award,” according to The Concord Monitor. Eventually, she got a bill passed raising the age to 16, and then she decided to run for the state assembly. On Tuesday, at age 19, she became a lawmaker.

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Finally, this week “a federal judge temporarily blocked construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, ruling late Thursday that the Trump administration had failed to justify its decision granting a permit for the 1,200-mile long project designed to connect Canada’s oil sands fields with Texas’s Gulf Coast refineries,” according to The Washington Post.

    The judge, Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court in Montana, said the State Department ignored crucial issues of climate change to further the president’s goal of letting the pipeline be built. In doing so, the administration ran afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires “reasoned” explanations for government decisions, particularly when they represent reversals of well-studied actions.

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Republican senator calls for vote on bill to bar Trump from firing special counsel

Reuters
12 Nov 2018 at 15:55 ET                   

U.S. Republican Senator Susan Collins said on Friday that she wants the Senate to vote on legislation to restrict President Donald Trump’s ability to fire the special counsel probing Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow.

In a statement, Collins said she was concerned about comments acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has made about the investigation.
SPONSORED

Whitaker, who was tapped by Trump this week to lead the Justice Department after the president fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will oversee all matters under the department’s jurisdiction, including the Russia probe, a spokeswoman has said.

Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann

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‘He lies, he deceives and he spreads conspiracy theories’: CNN’s John King rebukes Trump with a merciless fact check

Brendan Skwire
Raw Story
11/12/2018

CNN’s John King came loaded for bear after President Trump’s unhinged press conference Friday morning, taking a wrecking ball to the president’s many lies, falsehoods, and personal attacks on his opponents.

“Amen, Mr. President, we should all agree with that. You should not lie on sacred ground,” remarked King cutting from a clip of Trump demanding “respect” for the White House and the presidency. “Twisting the truth is not respecting that very special place or the presidency.”

King continued, calling out the president’s lack of respect for the press and for his own voters.

“Calling journalists or their questions stupid is not respectful,” he said.”Lying and misleading and stoking conspiracy theories to keep your supporters riled up disrespects them, in the place they voted for you to call home.”

“That’s how math works,” King scoffed after Trump complained that “out of the wilderness” Democrats were winning elections after the votes were counted. “Not out of the wilderness: in the places they were cast. They are called ‘ballots’ and ‘boxes’, that’s how they do it.” And he called the president’s claim that special counsel Robert Mueller should have been confirmed by the Senate “a misleading stunt.”

“The man who says the White House is very sacred and the presidency should be treated with respect never passes an opportunity to disrespect or smear any public servant or institution who fails to vow loyalty,” King concluded.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XI5BFxCODg

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Here is the frightening truth behind Donald Trump’s perpetual dishonesty

Heather Digby Parton, Salon - COMMENTARY
12 Nov 2018 at 14:29 ET                   

All presidents lie at one time or another. Some have told monumental lies (“Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction”) and others have told self-serving lies (“I did not have sex with that woman”). But no previous president has told an average of eight lies per day on every subject, important or not, as Donald Trump has done. After observing him for the past two years we can be confident in saying that he is the most dishonest president in history.

Even he doesn’t really deny it. Jonathan Karl of ABC News interviewed him this week and said “I remember, you remember well in the campaign, you made a promise. You said, ‘I will never lie to you,’ So can you tell me now, honestly, have you kept that promise at all times? Have you always been truthful?” In a revealing reply, the president said:

    Well, I try. I mean, I do try. I think you try, too. You say things about me that are not necessarily correct. I do try, and I always want to tell the truth. When I can, I tell the truth. I mean, sometimes it turns out to be where something happens that’s different or there’s a change. But I always like to be truthful.

He tries. He likes to be truthful. When he can, he tells the truth. Apparently, most of the time he cannot. And we know why. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about so he makes things up.

But just as Trump reveals himself in that comment, the last couple of weeks have revealed something else. If anyone wondered whether there were any limits to what he would say and do to win, Trump has shown us that there are not. As Salon’s Amanda Marcotte points out, the sharp escalation in xenophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric, boosted through a feedback loop by Fox News, makes that clear. And nothing will stand in his way, not even a week of violent threats and an attack that left 11 people dead at the hands of a gunman who parroted his lies and racist demagoguery.

That’s not to say the president wasn’t personally upset by those awful events. He was. Vanity Fair reports that until the mail bombs and the Pittsburgh synagogue attack, Trump had been in a buoyant mood, assured by his pollsters that the midterm campaign was going well. His rallies were raucous events featuring his greatest hits. He had gone sharply negative, particularly against the media, and was feeling the energy and excitement that incites among his followers. Then these violent extremists came along and inflicted carnage and terror and ruined all his plans. He has even said as much, in tweet form.

Again according to Vanity Fair, there was some talk of having Trump do a prime-time address on the topic of “unity,” but he quickly shot that down and went with his top advisers — former Fox News executive Bill Shine, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and long-time GOP henchman David Bossie — who told him what he wanted to hear: Give the bloodthirsty base some red meat, and go after immigrants twice as hard. It’s not clear whether anyone considered that this tactic might be reprehensible in light of the fact that the synagogue shooter was motivated to kill Jews at worship not just out of his long-standing anti-Semitism but because Trump and his fellow travelers at Fox News were pushing the idea that the caravan of refugees walking through Mexico had been financed by the “globalist” (i.e., Jewish) George Soros.

Not that it would have made a difference in Trump’s conduct. He was chuckling at the White House when members of a worshipful crowd yelled out Soros’ name and chanted “lock him up,” just a day after the horrific massacre in Pittsburgh took place. As recently as Thursday, when asked if he still thinks the caravan is being financed by George Soros, Trump said, “I don’t know who but I wouldn’t be surprised, a lot of people say yes.”

He also admitted once again on Thursday night that he was upset about the violence interrupting GOP “momentum”:

    Trump on mail bomb campaign and Pittsburgh massacre: “We did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible.” pic.twitter.com/ffn4C5jklW

    — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 2, 2018

Just as Trump gave away the game when he declared he was a nationalist — adding, “We’re not supposed to use that word” and thereby making clear that he knows exactly why he shouldn’t say it — he let it slip that he knows exactly why whining about losing “his momentum” over a national tragedy is grotesque. Not that it stopped him in either case.

He knows what he’s doing. Since he is so thoroughly entwined with Fox News that it’s impossible to know where he begins and it ends, and since his rally-goers are enraptured by his every utterance, he believes that there are more than enough people like him in America and that if he can light a fire under them he can win this election. So every day, he’s throwing more gasoline on the fire. He’s sending troops to the border: First it was 800, then it was 5,000 and now he’s talking about 15,000.

On Thursday he gave his followers another giant thrill by saying that he told those soldiers to shoot any migrants who throw rocks. “Consider them a rifle,” he said. He has revived the “birthright citizenship” issue, apparently believing he has the power to interpret the Constitution however he chooses and can end a bedrock American principle enshrined in the 14th Amendment by presidential fiat. He has also announced that he will build refugee camps on the border and will reinterpret the law that allows asylum seekers to turn themselves over to the authorities for processing anywhere in United States territory, which has always meant they can do so even after illegally crossing the border. And then there was that despicable racist ad.

He hasn’t yet taken up the Fox News line that the migrants are carrying diseases, although it may only be a matter of time. At the moment he is content with portraying this ragtag group of desperate people, many of them mothers with children, as criminals and terrorists who are invading the country.

Axios interviewed the president for a TV show to be aired this weekend on HBO and posted this excerpt:

    Axios: Tens of thousands of people go into a stadium to listen to you, and then people go on social media and they get themselves so jazzed up. There’s got to be a part of you that’s like: “Dammit, I’m scared that someone is gonna take it too far.”

    Trump: It’s my only form of fighting back. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t do that.

This reveals his attitude about his entire presidency. Just because he understands that he’s using inflammatory rhetoric to gin up his base doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe it himself. He’s not a cynic, and he isn’t just being a “pragmatic strategist.” If he were, he would have taken the opportunity to give that “unity” speech and try to bring a few of the independent and female defectors back into the fold. All presidents benefit from moments when they can bring people together, and with this one coming so close to an election, it could have made a difference for the Republicans.

He chose not to emphasize unity because he doesn’t believe in it and doesn’t want to. I hope everyone is prepared for the fact that even if Democrats pull off a big win next Tuesday — which is far from guaranteed — Donald Trump will be ratcheting up the hostility and anger every day for the next two years. This “fight” is all he knows how to do.

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9 hours of ‘Executive Time’: Trump’s unstructured days define his presidency

The president’s schedule shows huge swaths of his day unplanned, allowing his whims and momentary interests to drive White House business.

By ELIANA JOHNSON and DANIEL LIPPMAN
Politico
11/12/2018

President Donald Trump had about three times as much free time planned for last Tuesday as work time, according to his private schedule. The president was slated for more than nine hours of “Executive Time,” a euphemism for the unstructured time Trump spends tweeting, phoning friends and watching television. Official meetings, policy briefings and public appearances — typically the daily work of being president — consumed barely more than three hours of his day.

The president was slated to spend 30 minutes on the phone with CEOs and make brief remarks at a state leadership conference. He was briefed by senior military leaders in the evening and joined them for dinner. Aside from an 11:30 a.m. meeting with White House chief of staff John Kelly — his first commitment of the day — the rest of his day was unstructured, some in blocks as long as 2 hours and 45 minutes.

A review of one week of the president’s private detailed schedules, from Monday Oct. 22 through Friday Oct. 26, showed the president had more free time on Tuesday than on any other day that week, but his Tuesday agenda was hardly atypical. And while the notion of Executive Time, and the president’s increasingly late start to the day, has come under scrutiny over the past year, this new batch of schedules obtained by POLITICO offers fresh insight into the extent to which that unscheduled time dominates Trump’s week and is shaping his presidency, allowing his whims and momentary interests to drive White House business.

“The president’s time is, in many ways, his most valuable commodity because it’s finite,” said Mack McLarty, who served as chief of staff for President Bill Clinton’s first year in office. “It reflects his priorities. It reflects what he’s trying to get done with the country.”

As a freewheeling president in one of the world’s most regimented jobs, Trump appears to be redefining the nature of the role. Past presidents were disciplined in their scheduled time, squired from meeting to meeting, event to event, from the moment they arrived in the Oval Office until they headed up to the residence at night.

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Trump, by contrast, enjoys huge blocks of unscheduled time in which he can do as he pleases. He is hardly the first president to have an erratic schedule. Clinton and Jimmy Carter were known to make middle-of-the-night phone calls, and every president has kept different hours: George W. Bush was an early bird, Barack Obama a night owl. But even Trump allies who say the president is always working concede that the Trump presidency is uniquely defined by his down time, when his short-term bugaboos become the drivers of his agenda, rather than any long-term vision.

“He might read something in the paper and immediately you’d get an impromptu meeting on trade,” said a person familiar with the president’s scheduling. “It’s just more impromptu than like a month in advance you have a policy time set that you’re going to work up to.”

Some White House aides insist the president is productive during these open stretches, calling lawmakers, Cabinet members and world leaders, and scheduling meetings rather than simply watching television in the private dining room off the Oval Office. One aide even described Trump as a “workaholic.”

But the president’s official commitments last week began no earlier than 11 a.m. according to the schedules obtained by POLITICO, and on Tuesday — in the midst of a potential serial bomber and two weeks ahead of the midterm elections — they didn't start until 1 p.m.

Trump’s work activity also reflects much more time spent on the performative aspects of the job, like signing ceremonies and media interviews, than on the actual work of policymaking.

A bulk of the president’s time last week was spent traveling to and from political rallies and campaigning on behalf of Republican candidates ahead of next Tuesday's midterm elections. On Wednesday, which began with an 11:30 a.m. meeting with John Kelly, Trump delivered brief remarks on the opioid crisis and sat for a media interview before departing for an evening rally in Wisconsin. The rest of his day, according to his schedule, was open.

Last week’s schedules are remarkably light on policy discussions. The president spent a little more than two hours of his week in policy briefings, according to the schedules, and he was scheduled to receive the President’s Daily Brief on just two of the five days reviewed.

Obama, by contrast, was generally booked throughout the day, according to Mona Sutphen, who served as his deputy chief of staff for policy from 2009 to 2011. "I'd say it was significantly, fundamentally a different pace of intensity of workload," Sutphen said. Her successor, Nancy-Ann DeParle, recalled schedules packed with policy meetings — on average, six to seven hours a day, she said.

“If the president was taking nine hours of Executive Time, we would just say the president was down for the day or something like that,” said a senior Obama White House aide, who declined to be named.

For Trump aides, scheduling presented a challenge from the outset. Accustomed to conducting business largely over the phone from his office in Trump Tower, the president chafed at back-to-back meetings that kept him off his phone and away from the television, according to a half dozen current and former White House aides.

The concept of “Executive Time” was Kelly’s response to the president’s complaints that he was over-scheduled under his previous chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and “didn’t have any time to think,” one of those aides said.

“There was always this tug and pull early in the administration when Priebus was there because if there were too many things on his schedule, he would complain. But if there were too few things on his schedule, the senior staff would complain because he would be left to his own devices and spend more time watching TV or calling people on the phone or calling in advisers unscheduled to the Oval Office,” said a former White House aide familiar with the evolution of his schedule and the president's gripes about it.

What is unclear is how much thinking and working actually takes places in these off-hours, despite the protestations of some Trump aides — as opposed to tweeting, television-watching, gossiping and venting with friends and allies by telephone.

Last week, White House aides say, Trump was briefed on the spate of attempted pipe bombings that targeted some of his political enemies, last-minute meetings that did not appear on his private schedule. On Monday afternoon, the president said on Twitter that he had just spoken to French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, calls also left off the schedule.

But dozens of the president's trademark tweets, driven by TV news coverage, have also emerged during this down time. He complained Friday morning during a three-hour block of Executive Time, for example, that the rash of attempted pipe bombings had driven coverage of the midterms out of the news.

"Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this 'Bomb' stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics," Trump wrote. "Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!"

During another block of unstructured time last week, he complained about a story published by The New York Times, revealing that Chinese and Russian intelligence agents routinely eavesdropped on his unsecured cellphone calls, arguing that the "long and boring article" was "so incorrect I do not have the time here to correct it ... Story is soooo wrong!"

For better or worse, Trump's demand for a White House organized to answer to his immediate impulses — the good and the bad — will emerge as a defining feature of his presidency.

“Different presidents spend their time differently and it makes sense that his schedule would reflect his preferences to some degree," said Yuval Levin, the vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, who served as a domestic policy aide to President George W. Bush.

"But the lack of structure yields a lack of orderly decision-making and discipline that can be a huge problem given the demands of the job,” he added. “'Executive’ is the last thing I would call unstructured time."


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« Reply #4181 on: Nov 12, 2018, 07:24 AM »


In Paris, a relatively understated Trump finds he’s still the center of the world’s attention — and outrage

By David Nakamura
November 12 2018
WA Post

PARIS — President Trump likes to throw Twitter bombs that explode in concentric circles of offensiveness. He delivers speeches that contain insults and falsehoods. He announces policies on a whim, some constitutionally questionable.

But on a trip to Europe, the president hardly said a word — and he still managed to outrage at almost every turn.

Aside from a critical tweet aimed at French President Emmanuel Macron when Trump landed in Paris late Friday — one based on an inaccurate newspaper summary of an interview Macron gave suggesting that he had called the United States a threat — Trump didn’t throw any sharp elbows at his peers here. It was still all about him.

In this case, it was because of the images.

He looked uncomfortable and listless in a bilateral meeting with Macron, whose sinewy energy stood in stark contrast to Trump’s downbeat expression as the French leader patted him on the thigh.

He was a no-show at a scheduled tour of a military cemetery for Americans, while other world leaders publicly paid homage to those who died on the battlefield. Instead, the president holed up at the U.S. ambassador’s residence, announcing hours later that he had spent a few hours making calls and attending meetings — but not offering to whom or about what.

In speech honoring WWI soldiers, Trump vows to preserve 'civilization ... peace'

President Trump spoke Nov. 11 at a U.S. cemetery in France on the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice. Here are key moments from that speech. (The Washington Post)

And on Sunday, Trump arrived separately from the 60 other leaders at a World War I remembrance at the Arc de Triomphe. He had no speaking role, sitting stone-faced as Macron railed against the rise of nationalism — a rebuke of Trump’s professed worldview.

The overall takeaway to many was a president turning away from the world, a man occupying the office of the leader of the free world who appeared withdrawn and unenthusiastic on the global stage.

“Watching the event from France I cannot recall a time when America seemed so isolated,” David Axelrod, who was a senior political adviser to President Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter late Sunday. “America First feels like America Alone.”

On previous foreign trips, Trump had made his presence felt, taking pains to push other leaders around. He shoved past the prime minister of Monte­negro to get to the front of a group of fellow leaders at a dedication ceremony of a new NATO headquarters in May 2017. He engaged in a macho 29-second handshake with Macron during a visit to Paris in July 2017 for a Bastille Day parade.

He abruptly revoked U.S. support for a milquetoast joint communique at the Group of Seven Summit last spring, in a fit of pique over mild criticism from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whom Trump called “mild and meek” and “very dishonest & weak” in a tweet. And he disparaged British Prime Minister Theresa May in an interview with a London newspaper that was published just as he arrived in the country to meet her in July.

In Washington, before he left for Paris, Trump had been on a tear of executive actions after a midterm election in which Republicans lost control of the House. He ousted Jeff Sessions as attorney general and named a loyalist as his temporary replacement. He banned a CNN correspondent from the White House. And he signed a proclamation to deny asylum to Central American migrants, one that is likely to draw legal challenges.

But Trump displayed almost none of that kind of overt provocation here in Paris.

Although national security adviser John Bolton had said Trump was likely to meet with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, it did not happen. They spoke, but only to begin setting up a formal meeting in two weeks at the Group of 20 Summit in Buenos Aires. Although Trump had made a big show of his summit in Helsinki in July — defying Washington’s foreign policy elite who warned that he was rewarding Putin’s bad behavior — it was Putin, not Trump, who revealed publicly that they had spoken in Paris.

And according to Russia’s authoritarian ruler, the reason he and Trump had not had a longer meeting here was out of respect for a request from their French hosts that they not do anything to overshadow the dignity of the remembrance ceremonies. In this telling, two leaders not known for respecting the global order were doing just that.

Likewise, at a dinner for the world leaders late Saturday at the presidential palace, the White House press pool was kept outside, not allowed in even for the standard “pool spray” in which they are permitted to enter for a quick photo-op that often can lead to the kind of off-the-cuff remarks from Trump that set cable news chyrons ablaze and social media atwitter.

Trump did make some news at the dinner — but not necessarily because he wanted to. It was the Turkish government that released a photo of Trump with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has said he has presented evidence that Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Turkey as part of a Saudi government assassination plot.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders grudgingly confirmed to reporters the next day that the two leaders had been seated together and had spoken about the journalist’s death.

Even on Twitter, Trump was relatively mum on foreign affairs during the trip. He tweeted happy birthday wishes to the U.S. Marine Corps on Saturday and a Veterans’ Day greeting to the troops on Sunday. He wrote several insensitive tweets about the forest fires in California, and he repeated a falsehood he has said before, implying that Democrats are trying to steal elections in Florida after the state began a recount in the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races in which GOP candidates held narrow leads.

But Trump also wrote on Twitter that the World War I ceremony was “Beautiful” and he thanked Macron. And in his 10-minute address at the Suresnes American Cemetery in Paris where more than 1,500 U.S. troops are buried, Trump stuck closely to his prepared remarks, which were respectful.

“It’s a wonderful two days we spent in France,” he said. “This is certainly the highlight.”

Still, the outrage was widespread and swift.

Reacting to a video clip from a Washington Post reporter showing world leaders striding together along the Champs-Elysees, with Trump not participating, Michael V. Hayden, who served as director of the CIA and the National Security Agency under President George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter: “WHAT!!! (Actually, what the **** ,but you know what I mean.”

David Rothkopf, a former editor of Foreign Policy magazine, mocked Trump: “The isolationism seems to be working. Have you ever seen an American president more isolated than Trump appears to be in Paris?”

In Paris, the local newspapers were also highly critical. Le Journal’s Sunday cover led with a close-up photo of Trump pointing a finger and the headline, “Why Trump threatens us.” Le Parisien went with a photo of Trump and Macron facing off and the headline, “Macron’s other front.”

And Le Monde led its weekend edition with an even more ominous bulletin: “The Europe-United States Divorce: Tensions in the Western Family.” It was accompanied by a photo of Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is covering her face with her hands.


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