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« Reply #4125 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was a president turning away from the world, a man occupying the office of the leader of the free world who appeared withdrawn and unenthusiastic on the global stage.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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« Reply #4126 on: Today at 05:06 AM »

Pneumonia to kill nearly 11 million children by 2030, study warns

Agence France-Presse
13 Nov 2018 at 04:30 ET                   

Pneumonia will kill nearly 11 million children under five by 2030, experts warned Monday on a global day aimed at raising awareness of the biggest infectious killer of infants worldwide.

While in the developed world the severe lung infection mainly affects the elderly, in developing nations it is children who bear the brunt, with hundreds of thousands dying each year from the easily preventable disease.

More than 880,000 children — mainly aged less than two years old — died from pneumonia in 2016 alone.

A new analysis conducted by Johns Hopkins University and the aid group Save the Children using forecasts based on current trends showed more than 10,800,000 under-fives would succumb to the disease by the end of the next decade.

Furthermore, a handful of countries are set to carry the highest burdens, with 1.7 million children set to die in Nigeria and India, 700,000 in Pakistan and 635,000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Yet there is some good news.

The study, published on World Pneumonia Day, found that scaling up existing vaccination coverage, coupled with cheap antibiotics and ensuring good nutrition for children could save a total of 4.1 million lives.

Pneumonia, an inflammatory infection of the lungs that may be contracted via viral or bacteria infection, is treatable if caught early enough and the patient’s immune system isn’t compromised.

But worldwide it hits young children who are often weak through malnutrition, killing more infants each year than malaria, diarrhoea and measles combined.

“It beggars belief that close to a million children are dying every year from a disease that we have the knowledge and resources to defeat,” said Save the Children CEO Kevin Watkins.

“There are no pink ribbons, global summits or marches for pneumonia. But anyone who cares about justice for children and their access to essential healthcare, this forgotten killer should be the defining cause of our age.”

Watkins’ group, which operates health programmes in some of the countries worst hit by the disease, called for prices of major existing pneumonia vaccines to be lowered “dramatically”.

2030 is the target date for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a pledge to “end preventable child deaths” by the end of the next decade.

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« Reply #4127 on: Today at 05:08 AM »

EU states call for tough action on deforestation to meet 2020 UN goal

Show leadership to halt forest loss from agribusiness, Amsterdam Declaration group tells EU

Arthur Neslen
13 Nov 2018 05.49 EST

The UK, France and Germany have called on the European commission to launch tough new action to halt deforestation by the end of the year.

A long-delayed EU action plan should be brought forward “as soon as possible”, says a letter to the commission sent by the Amsterdam Declaration group of countries, which also includes Italy, the Netherlands and Norway.

To help meet a UN goal of halting deforestation by 2020, the EU should show “a leadership role, mobilising its political and market leverage, and promoting broader international dialogue and cooperation”, the letter says.

Actions should be taken to align “economic opportunities” with “responsible management of global supply chains”, says the letter signed by Denmark’s environment minister, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen.

Up to 80% of global forest loss is driven by agribusiness, even though research shows that better forest stewardship and natural climate solutions could provide more than a third of the climate mitigation needed by 2030.

The EU states moved on the issue as concerns continue to mount over Brazil’s recent election of a far-right supporter of Brazil’s former military dictatorship.

Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to designate land rights activists as “terrorists” and pave a highway through the Amazon, potentially spreading deforestation to an area of rainforest larger than Germany.

His election campaign was backed by powerful agribusiness interests in Brazil but some industry leaders on Sunday called on him to show restraint.

Géraldine Kutas, the head of international affairs at the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, said the Amazon’s importance to the world – and Brazil – had to be respected.

“We are perfectly fine with our current environmental regulations,” she said. “We are really committed to them and we will not support any change that would relax the rules.”

Strong EU laws could reduce the ecological footprint of commodities such as soy, palm oil and beef, which drive deforestation in the Amazon, according to Greenpeace.

Sébastien Risso, the group’s EU forestry director, said: “Ignoring the problem and delaying action will only move us deeper into catastrophic climate change and a major global species extinction.”

EU officials noted that Bolsonaro, who takes office in January, has backtracked on some campaign pledges and said it was too soon to consider tougher due diligence checks for deforestation, despite the president-elect’s statements and initiatives aimed at relaxing environmental regulation in the Amazon.

“We had them on our radar during the campaign speeches,” one EU source said. “We will assess whatever decisions are taken, once they’re taken.”

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« Reply #4128 on: Today at 05:13 AM »

Norway Becomes World’s First Country to Ban Deforestation


Norway has become the first country to ban deforestation. The Norwegian Parliament pledged May 26 that the government's public procurement policy will be deforestation-free.

Any product that contributes to deforestation will not be used in the Scandinavian country. The pledge was recommended by Norwegian Parliament's Standing Committee on Energy and Environment as part of the Action Plan on Nature Diversity. Rainforest Foundation Norway was the main lobbying power behind this recommendation and has worked for years to bring the pledge to existence.

“This is an important victory in the fight to protect the rainforest," Nils Hermann Ranum, head of policy and campaign at Rainforest Foundation Norway said in a statement. "Over the last few years, a number of companies have committed to cease the procurement of goods that can be linked to destruction of the rainforest. Until now, this has not been matched by similar commitments from governments. Thus, it is highly positive that the Norwegian state is now following suit and making the same demands when it comes to public procurements."

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xFCYXs7aK4

Norway's action plan also includes a request from parliament that the government exercise due care for the protection of biodiversity in its investments through Norway's Government Pension Fund Global.

“Other countries should follow Norway's leadership, and adopt similar zero deforestation commitments," Ranum said. "In particular, Germany and the UK must act, following their joint statement at the UN Climate Summit."

Germany and the UK joined Norway in pledging at the 2014 UN Climate Summit to "promote national commitments that encourage deforestation-free supply chains," through public procurement policies and to sustainably source products like palm oil, soy, beef and timber, the Huffington Post reported.

Beef, palm oil, soy and wood products in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papau New Guinea were responsible for 40 percent of deforestation between 2000 and 2011. Those seven countries were also responsible for 44 percent of carbon emissions, Climate Action reported.

Another Step in the Right Direction

Norway's recent pledge is yet another step the country has taken to combat deforestation. The Scandinavian country funds several projects worldwide.

The Norwegian government announced a $250 million commitment to protect Guyana's forest, WorldWatch Institute reported. The South American country, which has its forests zoned for logging, received the money over a four-year period from 2011 to 2015.

"Our country is at a stage where our population is no less materialistic [than industrialized countries] and no less wanting to improve their lives," Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Guyana's minister of foreign affairs, said. "We want to continue our development, but we can't do that without a form of payment."

The partnership is part of the UN's initiative Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, which was launched in 2008. Guyana is unique among its counterparts in the initiative because the country's forests don't face significant deforestation pressure.

In 2015, Norway paid $1 billion to Brazil, home to 60 percent of the Amazon forest, for completing a 2008 agreement between the two countries to prevent deforestation, according to mongabay.com. Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon decreased more than 75 percent over the last decade, representing the single biggest emissions cut in that time period. The deal helped save more than 33,000 square miles of rainforest from clear-cutting, National Geographic reported.

The partnership was praised by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:

“The partnership between Brazil and Norway through the Amazon Fund shows intensified support for one of most impressive climate change mitigation actions of the past decades. This is an outstanding example of the kind of international collaboration we need to ensure the future sustainability of our planet."

The Amazon has lost around 17 percent of its trees in the last 50 years, according to World Wildlife Fund.

This TED talk explains how Brazil reached its goal:

Norway doesn't just focus on South American forests. The country is also hard at work in Africa and other regions of the planet.

Liberia, with the help of Norway, became the first nation in Africa to stop cutting down trees in return for aid, the BBC reported. The deal involves Norway paying the West African country $150 million through 2020 to stop deforestation.

"We hope Liberia will be able to cut emissions and reduce poverty at the same time," Jens Frolich Holte, a political adviser to the Norwegian government, said.

Liberia is home to 43 percent of the Upper Guinean forest and the last populations of western chimpanzees, forest elephants and leopards. The country agreed to place 30 percent or more of its forests under protection by 2020.

The Case for Deforestation Bans

Forests cover 31 percent of the land on Earth. They are the planet's figurative lungs, producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Forests also provide homes to people and much of the world's wildlife.

There are 1.6 million people who rely on forests for food, fresh water, clothing, medicine and shelter, according to the World Wildlife Fund. But people also see forests as an obstacle they must remove. Around 46,000 to 58,000 square miles of forest are lost each year—a rate equal to 48 football fields every minute.

Deforestation is estimated to contribute around 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Not only does deforestation contribute to climate change, it can also disrupt livelihoods and natural cycles, the World Wildlife Fund said. Removal of trees can disrupt the water cycle of the region, resulting in changes in precipitation and river flow, and contribute to erosion.

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« Reply #4129 on: Today at 05:19 AM »

The Climate Change Light Show That’s Making Waves in Cities Around the World

By Clara Chaisson

The people of Rotterdam know a thing or two about living with water. In fact, it's right there in the name—the Dutch city dates back to the 13th century, when the Rotte River was dammed, making it possible to safely settle nearby.

"When I was a boy, I wasn't even allowed to play outside without my swimming diploma," said artist Daan Roosegaarde, founder of the Rotterdam-based social design lab Studio Roosegaarde. "In the Netherlands, we are surrounded by water. Without technology, we would literally all drown."

Today, 90 percent of Rotterdam sits below sea level, and its historically intimate relationship with water has undergone a thoroughly modern makeover in preparation for the impacts of climate change. And just like the Dutch engineers who are sharing their creative approaches to sea level rise with the world, Roosegaarde is showing his art in the hopes of inspiring innovation.

For the past three years, Studio Roosegaarde's Waterlicht project, which translates to "water light," has been traveling the globe. Commissioned by Dutch water authorities, the public art installation uses LEDs, lenses, software, and the elements to create a virtual flood that submerges visitors in a blue-tinted dreamscape. It's a waterlogged alternate reality—one that could easily become our future if we fail to intervene (and quickly) to protect our cities from the ocean's steady rise.

Late last month, Waterlicht made its hometown debut at the Kunsthal museum, attracting 25,000 visitors in only three evenings. It was the project's 12th stop since 2015. Other 2018 hosts included London's Granary Square, the United Nations headquarters in New York, and the Bentway in Toronto.

Each installation is site-specific, and the team might spend six months preparing for an exhibition that lasts just a few nights. (In the case of the U.N. installation, it took three years just to get the permits.) A major part of the challenge, Roosegaarde said, is "undesigning" the landscape. Waterlicht is always presented outdoors after sunset, and for maximum effect, the studio must work with local authorities and businesses to minimize light pollution. Sometimes the organizers even rent billboards simply to turn them off. The goal is to make it dark enough to create the appropriate atmosphere, but light enough to ensure a safe experience for visitors. "It's a puzzle every time," Roosegaarde said. Following a Nov. 11 opening in Dubai, the artist doesn't yet know where Waterlicht will travel next. Venice is his "dream location," for obvious reasons.

Intangible waves undulating against the night sky like the ghost of climate change future is a haunting sight. But it's also a thrilling, mesmerizing one, and Roosegaarde hopes it fosters creative thinking. As the designer sees it, we already have the tools we need to build a more livable world.

"It's not a lack of technology," Roosegaarde said. "It's a lack of imagination for what we want the future to look like. The role of public art is a really great trigger to create this collective experience where people are curious, not afraid."

Waterlicht, which the U.N. Development Programme cites as "inspiring action," is not the first Studio Roosegaarde project to leverage technology in an effort to find environmental solutions. The driving concept behind the studio's work is schoonheid, which means both "clean" and "beauty." Their decade long CV includes a glowing bike path inspired by the painting The Starry Night in the Dutch town where Vincent Van Gogh lived, energy-producing kites that appear as lasers in the night sky, sleek towers that suck smog from the air and bicycles that do the same, and most recently, an initiative to upcycle and call attention to outer-space waste. Roosegaarde, who has degrees in fine arts and architecture, founded the studio in 2007. "I had ideas, and nobody knew how to build them," he said. "So I just thought, 'We'll do it ourselves.'"

"I make things because I look outside my window and I don't understand the world anymore," Roosegaarde said. "The CO2, the traffic jams, the rising water ... Waiting for government or politicians is not going to help. I try to make things to show you it can be done."

If he's right, it's high time the world dove in.

Reposted with permission from our media associate onEarth.

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« Reply #4130 on: Today at 05:29 AM »

Michelle Obama reveals dread of Trump and how news cycle 'turns her stomach'

In her new memoir, Becoming, the former first lady sometimes wonders ‘where the bottom might be’ as her husband’s legacy is aggressively unravelled
David Smith in Washington
Tue 13 Nov 2018 00.02 GMT

Michelle Obama has told of her dismay that so many American women chose “misogynist” Donald Trump as their president instead of the first female nominee of a major party, Hillary Clinton.

In her new memoir, Becoming, which is published on Tuesday, the former first lady admits that some news stories now “turn her stomach” and, as her husband Barack Obama’s legacy is aggressively unravelled, sometimes wonders “where the bottom might be”.

The couple spent election night 2016 at the cinema in the White House. “As the movie wrapped up and the lights came on, Barack’s cell phone buzzed,” Obama writes. “I saw him glance at it and then look again, his brow furrowing just slightly. ‘Huh,’ he said. ‘Results in Florida are looking kind of strange.’

‘I wanted everything’ – read an exclusive extract from Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming..Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/13/michelle-obama-wanted-everything-read-exclusive-extract-memoir-becoming

“There was no alarm in his voice, just a tiny seed of awareness, a hot ember glowing suddenly in the grass. The phone buzzed again. My heart started to tick faster … I watched my husband’s face closely, not sure I was ready to hear what he was going to say. Whatever it was, it didn’t look good. I felt something leaden take hold in my stomach just then, my anxiety hardening into dread.”

Obama could not bring herself to stay up through the early hours watching the climax on TV. She went to bed, hoping to “block it all out.” As she slept, the stunning news was confirmed: Trump would succeed her husband as president. She admits: “I wanted to not know that fact for as long as I possibly could.”

The couple’s daughters, Malia, who was in Bolivia, and Sasha, who went off to school in Washington, were both “deeply rattled” by the result, she recalls. “I told both our girls that I loved them and that things would be okay. I kept trying to tell myself the same thing.”

The former first lady, now 54, refrains from second guessing whether Russian meddling, FBI director James Comey’s intervention or flaws in Clinton’s campaigns brought about Clinton’s loss. She admits: “I am not a political person, so I’m not going to attempt to offer an analysis of the results. I won’t try to speculate about who was responsible or what was unfair.

    I will always wonder about what led so many women, in particular, to reject an exceptionally qualified female candidate

“I just wish more people had turned out to vote. And I will always wonder about what led so many women, in particular, to reject an exceptionally qualified female candidate and instead choose a misogynist as their president. But the result was now ours to live with.”

That afternoon she went to her office in the East Wing where her entire staff had gathered. It was made up largely of women and minorities, including several who came from immigrant families. “Many were in tears, feeling that their every vulnerability was now exposed,” she writes.

But she and Barack Obama were “determined to make the transition with grace and dignity, to finish our eight years with both our ideals and our composure intact”. On 20 January, they welcomed Trump and his wife, Melania, to the White House, then proceeded to the 45th president’s inaugural stage in front of the US Capitol.

“The vibrant diversity of the two previous inaugurations was gone, replaced by what felt like a dispiriting uniformity, the kind of overwhelmingly white and male tableau I’d encountered so many times in my life – especially in the more privileged spaces, the various corridors of power I’d somehow found my way into since leaving my childhood home. What I knew from working in professional environments … is that sameness breeds more sameness, until you make a thoughtful effort to counteract it.
Former first lady Michelle Obama begins her book tour with a stop at the Whitney M Young Magnet high school in Chicago, Illinois, on Monday.

“Someone from Barack’s administration might have said that the optics there were bad – that what the public saw didn’t reflect the president’s reality or ideals. But in this case, maybe it did. Realizing it, I made my own optic adjustment: I stopped even trying to smile.”

Nearly two years later, Trump’s cabinet remains dominated by middle-aged white men.

Some are urging Obama to consider her own run for the White House. A recent poll from Axios by SurveyMonkey found that if she made a bid for the presidency in 2020, Obama would have a 13-point advantage over Trump, while media entrepreneur and TV host Oprah Winfrey would have a 12-point advantage.

But in the epilogue of her memoir, which offers insights into her upbringing, education and attempts to balance a career with family, she once again moves to squash such talk. “Because people often ask, I’ll say it here directly: I have no intention of running for office, ever. I’ve never been a fan of politics, and my experience over the last ten years has done little to change that.

0:55..'I felt lost and alone': Michelle Obama reveals experience of miscarriage – video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRB0GmPX67o

“I continue to be put off by the nastiness – the tribal segregation of red and blue, this idea that we’re supposed to choose one side and stick to it, unable to listen and compromise, or sometimes even to be civil. I do believe that at its best, politics can be a means for positive change, but this arena is just not for me.

    I have no intention of running for office, ever. I’ve never been a fan of politics

“That isn’t to say I don’t care deeply about the future of our country. Since Barack left office, I’ve read news stories that turn my stomach. I’ve lain awake at night, fuming over what’s come to pass.

“It’s been hard to watch as carefully built, compassionate policies have been rolled back, as we’ve alienated some of our closest allies and left vulnerable members of our society exposed and dehumanized. I sometimes wonder where the bottom might be.”

She also takes a swipe at Trump’s campaign launch in June 2015 in which he branded Mexican immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists”, setting the tone for his divisive campaign and presidency. “I figured he was just grandstanding, sucking up the media’s attention because he could. Nothing in how he conducted himself suggested that he was serious about wanting to govern.”

Obama launches the promotional tour for her book on Tuesday in Chicago where tens of thousands of people have bought tickets to attend an event moderated by Winfrey. Becoming is part of a joint book deal with Barack Obama – whose memoir is expected next year – thought to be worth tens of millions of dollars, a “significant portion” of which will go to charity.

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« Reply #4131 on: Today at 05:36 AM »

French army trolls Trump with picture of them training in rain

Tweet appears to mock US president who cancelled visit to war graves due to weather

Martin Belam
13 Nov 2018 18.04 GMT

After Donald Trump failed to make it to the American war cemetery at Belleau in France at the weekend, the US president has been gently mocked by the official Twitter account of the French army.

Using the hashtag #MondayMotivation, they posted a picture of a soldier training, with the caption: “Il y a de la pluie, mais c’est pas grave [it is raining, but it is not serious].”

    Armée de Terre (@armeedeterre)

    #MondayMotivation Il y a de la pluie, mais c'est pas grave 😅 On reste motivé 👊 pic.twitter.com/29hOJ9ITF0
    November 12, 2018

At the weekend, the French weather was given as the reason for Trump not visiting the cemetery. His press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said “near-zero visibility” meant Trump could not visit via helicopter, and he did not use a motorcade to travel for fear of disrupting traffic in Paris.

The jibe from the French military came after social media users picked up on an appearance in the rain last year by Justin Trudeau, seized on by many as a rebuke to Trump’s non-attendance.

Dispensing with his umbrella mid-speech, the Canadian prime minister said: “As we sit here in the rain, thinking how uncomfortable we must be these minutes as our suits get wet, and our hair gets wet … it’s all the more fitting that we remember on that day in Dieppe the rain wasn’t rain, it was bullets.”

0:50..'It wasn't rain, it was bullets': Justin Trudeau's tribute to war dead – archive video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cHbFDRdfo4

The US president was bombarded on social media with images of his predecessor Barack Obama paying his respects to veterans on multiple occasions in the rain.

    Zach Dendas (@Zdendas1)

    Hey @realDonaldTrump here’s a picture of President Obama in the rain supporting his American troops on Memorial Day. Sad to know you’re too much of a gerber baby to go outside to pay homage to our American hero’s. pic.twitter.com/309elqRiXw
    November 10, 2018

Trump, who has made paying respect to veterans a significant element in his complaints about black NFL athletes kneeling during the national anthem, has a history of difficulty with the rain. A couple of weeks ago, he was filmed dumping an umbrella outside Air Force One, after struggling to put it down so he could get through the door of the plane.

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« Reply #4132 on: Today at 05:40 AM »

Khashoggi killing audio evidence is appalling, says Erdoğan

Turkish president claims recorded evidence shocked a Saudi intelligence official

Bethan McKernan Turkey and Middle East correspondent
Tue 13 Nov 2018 11.09 GMT

Audio evidence related to the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi contains appalling details of the crime, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said, as he continues to pile pressure on the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

Erdoğan’s latest intervention came as the New York Times reported that a member of the Saudi hit team dispatched to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi told one of his superior’s by phone to “tell your boss” the operation was accomplished, in an apparent reference to Prince Mohammed, and a Turkish newspaper published x-ray images of the team’s luggage, which included scissors, defibrillators and syringes.

The audio recordings shocked a Saudi intelligence official, Erdoğan told reporters on his return to Ankara on Monday night from first world war commemorations in France, where he said the killing was discussed with his US, French and German counterparts.

“We played the recordings regarding this murder to everyone who wanted them from us. Our intelligence organisation did not hide anything. We played them to all who wanted them including the Saudis, the USA, France, Canada, Germany, Britain,” he said. “The recordings are really appalling. Indeed, when the Saudi intelligence officer listened to the recordings he was so shocked he said: ‘This one must have taken heroin, only someone who takes heroin would do this’.”

Erdoğan said Turkey was “waiting patiently” for Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, to shed more light on the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi’s death.

The respected Washington Post columnist and critic of Prince Mohammed was killed by a team of men who flew from Riyadh to ambush him during a marriage paperwork appointment at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month. His body, which investigators believe was cut up and dissolved in acid at the nearby consul general’s house, has not been found.

Turkey has maintained that the hit was ordered at the highest levels of the Saudi government, steadily leaking gruesome details from the criminal investigation which undermine the Saudi version of events.

It was clear the House of Saud was involved in the killing, Erdoğan reiterated in comments to the tabloid Yeni Şafak on Tuesday, but he did not think King Salman, for whom he had “limitless respect”, could be behind such a crime.

“It must be revealed who gave them [the Saudi team] the order to murder,” Erdoğan said.

After two weeks of denying it had anything to do with Khashoggi’s disappearance, the kingdom said he had died in a fight, before changing its story again to say the Turkish investigation’s findings indicated his killing was premeditated.

Khashoggi’s death has created the biggest diplomatic crisis for Riyadh since 9/11, reigniting a debate about arms sales to the country, its human rights record and the war in Yemen – but little concrete action has been taken by western powers so far.

The UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, travelled to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi on Monday for talks concerning both the Khashoggi investigation and the violence in Hodeidah, a key port city in Yemen.

Ankara’s most damning evidence has come from audio recordings from the consulate which it is believed were obtained by Turkish intelligence officers who hacked the Saudi hit team’s communications.

On Monday, the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, became the first western leader to confirm the tapes’ existence, telling reporters in Paris that Canadian officials had listened to them.

The New York Times, quoting sources familiar with the recording, reported that the hit team’s leader, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb – a security officer who frequently travelled with Prince Mohammed – picked up a phone at the consulate to say “tell your boss” the operation was accomplished. The paper said Turkish intelligence officers had told US officials they believed Mutreb was speaking to one of the prince’s aides, and that US intelligence officials believed “your boss” was a reference to Mohammed.

On Tuesday, the Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah published photos of what it said were x-rays of the Saudi team’s luggage when they left Istanbul via Atatürk airport. They showed syringes, electric shock devices, large scissors, staple guns, walkie-talkies and a signal jammer. The bags were not searched because the men were travelling under diplomatic immunity.


Crown Prince’s wings clipped as Khashoggi death rattles Riyadh

Fallout from killing has weakened Prince Mohammed and given second wind to old guard of elders

Martin Chulov Middle East correspondent
13 Nov 2018 14.12 GMT

Six weeks after Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents, the decision-making process in Riyadh is slowly starting to change. Fallout from the assassination in Istanbul has wounded Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the throne, and given a second wind to an old guard of elders, whose views are once more being heard.

Publicly, the kingdom’s leaders appear chastened and contrite in the wake of Khashoggi’s gruesome killing inside the Saudi consulate. In private though, senior members of the House of Saud, including the crown prince, are partly blaming Turkey for the global revulsion, which they say could have been contained if Ankara had played by “regional rules”.

Central to the resentment, according to sources close to the royal court in Riyadh, is a view that the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, betrayed the kingdom by disclosing details of the investigation and refusing all overtures from Saudi envoys, including an offer to pay “significant” compensation.

“They say they were betrayed by the Turks,” a regional source said. “That’s where they are in their most private thoughts.”

The extraordinary ramifications of Khashoggi’s death continue to reverberate through the halls of power in Riyadh, where some decisions are now being made away from the ubiquitous crown prince, who Turkey alleges directly ordered the assassination, and has since tried to deflect blame to fall guys, including his most prominent domestic aide. Ankara has been aiming to isolate Prince Mohammed through weeks of pointed rhetoric that has appealed to the Saudi king to rein in his son, and restore more conventional ways of doing business.

The return to Riyadh earlier this month of Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the sole surviving full brother of King Salman, has been widely interpreted as a first step in the restoration of an old order, in which decision making was made after extensive consultation among elders. Another senior figure, Khalid al-Faisal, led the Saudi delegation to meet Erdoğan in October, and the king himself - who has taken more of a chairman role since appointing Prince Mohammed as his heir - has been more visible and vocal in meetings, a second senior source says.

“MbS [the common acronym for the crown prince] has had his wings clipped,” the source said. “There’s no doubt about it. He doesn’t have the same swagger, and he’s just as scared of a mis-step as the next guy. That’s a big change.”

In the days after Khashoggi was killed, as the official Saudi reaction shifted from outright denial that it had played a role, to a begrudging admission that Khashoggi had been killed in a fight, Prince Mohammed struggled to comprehend the scale of the reaction – and even the reason for it.

“He was blaming the Americans for betraying him initially,” said the regional source. “He’d seen Abu Ghraib, renditions, death penalties, and he felt comforted by Trump. He could not understand why this was happening to him.”

Since then, western leaders’ once enthusiastic embrace of Prince Mohammed has been replaced by wariness and a view that some of the regional feuds launched in his name need to be brought to an end.

“We saw [the US secretary of state Mike] Pompeo talk strongly about Yemen,” said a British diplomat, who like other senior officials contacted by the Guardian, declined to be named. “That was not a ‘we’re working with you’ tone. It was something very different.”

Pompeo on 31 October had demanded a 30-day ceasefire in Yemen, where Saudi-led forces had been fighting Houthi rebel groups, who it alleges are backed by Iran. The US defence secretary, James Mattis, added his voice on Friday, and urged the start of peace talks between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran.

They were the strongest remarks yet by a US official in the two-year war on the kingdom’s eastern border. Also on Friday, the US said it would no longer refuel Saudi fighter jets conducting missions in Yemen – a further sign that Riyadh’s most important ally, and supplier of most of its weapons, is losing faith in the campaign.

The Saudi-led blockade of Qatar is also facing renewed scrutiny, with US officials believed to be newly energised in finding ways to force a climbdown which would not further diminish Prince Mohammed in the eyes of his critics or domestic stakeholders.

There is little appetite in London or Washington for Prince Mohammed to be removed, and Ankara – which is strongly opposed to the crown prince, but not at odds with King Salman – is being lobbied heavily by Riyadh’s allies to accept the fact that Prince Mohammed will not be ousted.

A Whitehall assessment is that a risk exists of a slide back towards the religious establishment, revocation of social change and a plunge in the Saudi economy if a palace coup was launched. “It’s in everyone’s interests to find a way forward that world leaders can just about live with,” an official with responsibility for Saudi security policy said.

Erdoğan is understood to remain unconvinced about Prince Mohammed remaining in power. On Saturday, the Turkish leader claimed Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Britain, France and Germany had been given audio tapes that recorded the killing of Khashoggi by a team of 15 security officials who had flown to Istanbul and waited for him to enter the Saudi consulate to sign marriage papers on 2 October. Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, confirmed Canadian spies had listened to audio depicting the last moments of Khashoggi’s life. Germany later followed suit, in what appeared to be a co-ordinated effort to maintain pressure on Riyadh.

What was recorded on the tapes remains the centrepiece of the case against the kingdom, and could help answer whether the crown prince himself was incriminated in the conversations. His chief domestic aide, Saad al-Qahtani, was sacked two weeks after the assassination, as was a deputy intelligence chief. Mohammed bin Salman insists he played no role and his defenders have insisted the hitmen over-reached in a bid to please their masters. Intelligence officials in the region and in Europe remain incredulous at the claim.

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« Reply #4133 on: Today at 05:44 AM »

Italian journalists respond with fury to M5S's 'whores' insult

Freedom of the press is under attack, claims union behind protests

Angela Giuffrida in Rome
Tue 13 Nov 2018 05.00 GMT

Italian press unions have called on journalists to join protests after leaders of the Five Star Movement (M5S) branded those working in the profession as “jackals” and “whores”.

The anti-establishment party, which is ruling in coalition with the far-right League, also renewed threats to cut funding for publishers and introduce new conflict-of-interest laws as relations with the media hit a new low after the mayor of Rome was acquitted for cronyism on Saturday.

Virginia Raggi was cleared of abuse of power after a judge ruled that the alleged offence did not constitute a crime.

Luigi Di Maio, the M5S leader and deputy prime minister, lashed out at journalists who had reported on the case for two years, calling them “jackals” and accusing them of generating “fake news” in order to bring down the M5S mayor. Alessandro Di Battista, a prominent party figure, described the journalists as “whores”.

The insults sparked fury among the journalists’ unions, FNSI and Usigrai, which have organised flash mobs to take place on Tuesday in major Italian cities as well as in Brussels and London.

“Freedom of the press is under attack,” said Vittorio di Trapani, the president of Usigrai. “It is clear that this is not only about isolated cases, but a strategy to hit journalists, the freedom of the press, and therefore the right for citizens to be informed.”

Raffaele Lorusso, the president of FNSI, pointed out that the same journalists who reported on the Raggi case also covered legal proceedings against her centre-left Democratic party predecessor Ignazio Marino, who was eventually cleared of accusations of fiddling his expenses. Marino quit in 2015, with online attacks by M5S politicians contributing to his downfall.

“The journalists insulted for their reporting on Raggi did not spare Marino either … previously they were fine, but not today?” Lorusso said. “Di Maio and those like him within M5S who dream of having information on a leash must get over it: threats or insults will not prevent journalists from doing their work.”

Italy’s foreign press association signalled its solidarity with “colleagues who are increasingly being attacked in Italy and around the world”, saying: “We strongly believe that our work is one of the pillars of democracy and today, more than ever, it must be protected.”

When asked if he would like to reconsider his remarks during a television interview on Sunday night, Di Maio replied: “Absolutely not. The game now is to extol the League and depict us like the plague. They’re trying to make the government fall but we’re not taking the bait.”

In September, Di Maio threatened to pull advertising by state-run companies in newspapers after accusing them of “polluting the political debate every day”.

M5S takes particular aim at La Repubblica, often accusing it of perpetrating “fake news”, a phrase popularised by the US president, Donald Trump. It is also common for journalists and other commentators who criticise the party to be met with a deluge of online abuse.

“I know when an article of mine is effective as the trolls start biting,” said Gianni Riotta, the director of the school of journalism at Rome’s Luiss University. “But the ones producing the most venom are the TV shows, newspapers and blogs that support the government.”

M5S, which built most of its support online, has been accused of spreading misinformation via unofficial social media accounts.

Riotta said the threat to cut public funding for newspapers was based on “complete falsehood” as money from the state to sustain major dailies was scrapped several years ago, with only a handful of local newspapers as well as Avvenire, a publication affiliated with the Catholic church, currently benefiting from subsidies.

In an article in October, Mario Calabresi, the director of La Repubblica, said M5S leaders knew there were no funds to cut but repeated the claim in order to give the impression that journalists were on the government payroll.

“The point here is not about not criticising the Italian press – I do it often,” said Riotta. “The point is that our constitution gives journalists a role in our democracy, and they are trying to undermine that role; this is what is dangerous, they are trying to run a government without the press checking on them.”

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« Reply #4134 on: Today at 05:47 AM »

The Latest: Bulgaria says it won't sign UN migration pact

New Europe

ANKARA, Turkey — The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local): 6:50 p.m. Bulgarian officials are signaling the country will not sign a global pact to promote safe and orderly migration, saying that it would harm national interests.

The floor leader of the main ruling center-right GERB party in parliament, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, said after a meeting of the ruling coalition that "the position of the Bulgarian government will be not to join the United Nations' global pact on migration."

GERB's coalition partner, the United Patriots, strongly opposes the U.N. pact, saying it poses a threat to national interests. Bulgaria's parliament will debate the pact on Wednesday. The ruling coalition holds a thin majority of 122 legislators in the 240-seat chamber.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which won't be legally binding, was finalized under U.N. auspices in July. It is due to be formally approved at a Dec. 11-12 meeting in Marrakech, Morocco.

Bulgaria's government has adopted a tough stance against mass migration to Europe. The Balkan country has sealed off its border with Turkey with a barbed wire fence to halt the influx of illegal crossings.

10:30 a.m.

Turkey's state-run news agency says the country's coast guard has launched a search-and-rescue mission to locate 10 migrants who are reported missing after their boat sank in the Aegean Sea.

Anadolu Agency says the boat went down on Monday off the coast of Dikili, in Izmir province, close to the Greek island of Lesbos.

It said authorities launched the rescue operation after two of the migrants managed to swim to shore to seek help.

There was no immediate detail on the nationalities of the migrants.

Although their numbers have decreased in recent years, migrants still try to cross into Greece from nearby Turkey in the hopes of making their way to other European countries.

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« Reply #4135 on: Today at 06:00 AM »

Democrats and Mueller about to plunge Trump into ‘two years of probing hell’ — and ‘GOP should be freaking out’

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
13 Nov 2018 at 06:32 ET                  

Three trends are working against President Donald Trump and the Republican Party two years out from the 2020 election.

The GOP maintained its U.S. Senate majority despite losing its control of the House of Representatives, but the midterm results show softening support in states that Trump won in 2016 — and that he’ll need for re-election, reported Axios.

With Democrats gaining subpoena power on House committees, Trump faces an onslaught of investigation into his campaign ties to Russia and his family’s business practices.

“Trump and the GOP face two years of public investigations, coming from three different and dangerous directions: Robert Mueller, the state of New York and Congress,” wrote Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen. “Two years of probing hell await.”

Those investigations will weaken Trump, at best, and potentially result in significant findings of wrongdoing that could end his presidency.

The prolonged economic recovery could end before the 2020 election, which could put Trump in an even more perilous position, and Southern states are slowly turning more Democratic with rising Hispanic populations, while Midwest states like Wisconsin were never a sure thing for the GOP.

“Long term, the GOP should be freaking out about this,” the pair wrote for Axios.

Without Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket, Trump could lose the key states he won two years ago.

“Trump could easily lose Pennsylvania in 2020,” they wrote. “He could easily lose Wisconsin. He could lose Michigan. It’s clear now that Trump’s wins in those vital states were based largely on Hillary Clinton voters staying away — Trump got fewer votes in Wisconsin than Mitt Romney had four years before. Absent one or both of those states, Trump’s path becomes tenuous, at best.”


Here are 6 recent incidents that show how Donald Trump is deteriorating mentally: report

Sarah K. Burris
Raw Story
13 Nov 2018 at 18:26 ET                  

The Washington Monthly has listed out six major indicators that President Donald Trump is deteriorating mentally — and they’ve all happened within the last week.

Their first example was the epic press conference the day following the Midterm election last week. It was obvious he was depressed and was very confrontational. The first two signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, which Trump’s father suffered from, is depression and irritability.

Trump canceled his plans for a Washington, DC military parade so that he could go to Paris on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended WWI. Instead of attending the parade he anticipated, he cut out instead.

“The White House suggested that it was because of the weather, but that didn’t stop other world leaders or Trump’s staff from attending the event,” The Washington Monthly wrote.

Trump was two hours late to a dinner that evening he was supposed to have with world leaders. There was no reason given and presumably, a staffer had informed him about the dinner.

Trump was also scheduled to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (SEAN) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summits in the coming weeks but those trips have now been canceled.

Not long after that announcement, the White House confirmed the president wouldn’t go to Arlington National Cemetary on Veterans Day because of the rain.

The White House hasn’t released the president’s schedule for next week, but after the president fought to go to Pittsburgh after the shooting, there hasn’t been a word out of the West Wing about going to Thousand Oaks. Trump hasn’t visited California in the past when they’ve had fires that put people in shelters, so it’s unclear if he’s interested in doing so here.

It’s unclear what’s happening, but a pattern is emerging. After spending the final days of the election racing all over the country to campaign for Republicans, the 72-year-old president could very easily be exhausted, overwhelmed and in need of some executive time. However, more seems to be at work here.

The Monthly wondered if Trump was depressed or decompensating, a term used for a person’s “functional deterioration.”

“Decompensation may occur due to fatigue, stress, illness, or old age. When a system is ‘compensated,’ it is able to function despite stressors or defects. Decompensation describes an inability to compensate for these deficiencies,” one explanation outlined.

Trump is still scheduled to attend the G20 meeting in Argentina after Thanksgiving.


CNN analyst claims if Florida has shown us anything — Trump will throw a tantrum if 2020 election is close

Dominique Jackson
Raw Story
13 Nov 2018 at 23:13 ET                  

On Monday, CNN’s political reporter Chris Cillizza explained that if President Trump’s 2020 presidential race is close that he might have a temper tantrum.

So far, President Trump has said that there was voter fraud in close midterm races without evidence.

“I think it shows that this is not someone who if he does come up short in 2020 — and obviously we’re a long way from that, but if he does come up short in 2020, this is not someone who is going to go gently into that good night,”  Cillizza said.

“You’re going to have to evict him from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?” Lemon joked.

“His life is largely him telling himself the stories of him winning. I think 2020 could be close. But if there’s a close election, let’s say it comes down to Florida where he loses by a point or two,” he said.

“Given what we know about him personally, about his approach in business and politics, and about how he has handled just claiming there’s fraud and they should stop the automatic recount by state law, why would we conclude that with his own personal political interests at stake, that he would act any different,” he said.


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

Heather Digby Parton, Salon - COMMENTARY

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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« Reply #4136 on: Today at 07:27 AM »

Donald Trump knows the true meaning of sacrifice

By Dana Milbank Columnist
November 12 2018

“We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.”

—Canadian soldier John McCrae,
remembering the sacrifice of fellow
World War I troops.

“We’re getting drenched.”
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)

—President Trump, noting his own
sacrifice during World War I centennial
observance Sunday.

On Veterans Day, Americans recall the sacrifices of those who served our country.

We think of the bayonet charge of Maine’s 20th Regiment on Little Round Top, the young men battling through rain and poison gas in the Argonne, the soldiers in the frozen Ardennes Forest in the Battle of the Bulge.

And we think of President Trump, battling rain for not one but two days in France this weekend.

Other presidents had made sacrifices. George Washington camped with his frozen troops in Valley Forge. William Henry Harrison died after a two-hour inaugural address in the rain.

But these were as nothing compared with the elements Trump battled in Paris.

On Saturday, the White House, citing “logistical difficulties caused by the weather,” canceled Trump’s trip to a memorial at Belleau, where 2,000 U.S. Marines died a century ago. It was raining — and Trump opted to remain at the U.S. ambassador’s residence, watching TV and tweeting.

The next day, when other world leaders marched down the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe for the centenary of the Armistice ending World War I, Trump instead took his motorcade. The reason this time: security. Once again, it was raining, and Trump stayed dry in his armored limousine.

These were brave decisions, because they meant Trump would have to endure the hurtful images of other world leaders visiting other memorials around France despite the rain, then marching in soggy solidarity without him. His excuses for skipping the war memorial earned ridicule because the cemetery was just an hour’s drive (less than half the time the White House claimed) and Trump had previously boasted about ordering his pilots to fly him despite bad weather — to a campaign rally.

But Trump’s behavior, not unlike Washington’s winter at Valley Forge, should be seen in a patriotic light — a selfless sacrifice for the good of the country. Consider the international disgrace the United States would have suffered if his hair were to have become matted by rain without adequate measures to protect it. Or if wind gusts had whipped his mane into an orange tornado swirling above a sparse white scalp. A soaking could have been calamitous. (This explains why he sent his bald chief of staff, John F. Kelly, in his place.) Trump, therefore, absorbed the losses at Belleau Wood and on the Champs-Elysees to prevail later, at Suresnes American Cemetery, after receiving hair spray reinforcements.

Such shrewd strategic thinking has been Trump’s hallmark since high school at New York Military Academy, where he received “more training militarily” than many get in the actual military. Bone spurs sadly kept him from Vietnam, but he said that avoiding STDs was “my personal Vietnam” and that he was “a great and very brave soldier” in this cause.

Some say Trump doesn’t know the meaning of sacrifice, particularly because he resisted lowering flags after the death of John “Not a War Hero” McCain. But as Trump himself told one Gold Star family, “I’ve made a lot of sacrifices.” And the Paris voyage highlighted Trump’s powers of self-abnegation, coming after he abandoned a $100-million military parade he ordered to honor himself.

He endured French President Emmanuel Macron’s “very insulting” proposal that Europe build up its own military. He endured a topless woman disrupting his motorcade with the words “fake peacemaker” on her chest. He endured mockery in the French press for confusing the Balkans with the Baltics. He endured Macron’s speech declaring that “nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.” And he endured the obvious impression that other leaders didn’t want him at their “Peace Forum,” which began as Trump left.

Through it all, Trump kept his powder dry — and his hair. In the end, his sacrifice was rewarded.

It was still raining Sunday afternoon when Trump went by motorcade to Suresnes. But this time Trump did not retreat. He heroically cast aside his umbrella and spoke — for 10 moist minutes.

He recalled the sacrifice of Americans in the Great War (“through rain, hail, snow, mud, poisonous gas, bullets and mortar, they held the line”). And he invoked his own sacrifice, telling a group under a tent: “You look so comfortable up there, under shelter as we’re getting drenched.”

The lectern dripped. His overcoat glistened. And yet his hair, under protective lacquer, held firm — like the burning bush that was not consumed.

The valiant polymers that fell defending his hair from the rain seeped into the soil at Suresnes. Now it truly can be said, as the poem goes, that there’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever Trump.

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