TRUMP is seriously dangerous

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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:36 pm

Exclusive: Trump EPA won't limit 2 toxic chemicals in drinking water

The decision could complicate acting agency chief Andrew Wheeler's hopes for Senate confirmation.

ANNIE SNIDER01/28/2019 06:58 PM EST


While EPA has decided against a drinking water limit, the draft chemical plan does include a decision to list those two chemicals as hazardous under the Superfund law.
The Trump administration will not set a drinking water limit for two toxic chemicals that are contaminating millions of Americans' tap water, two sources familiar with the forthcoming decision told POLITICO.

The expected move is yet another sign of the administration's reluctance to aggressively deal with the chemicals, which have been used for decades in products such as Teflon-coated cookware and military firefighting foam and are present in the bloodstreams of an estimated 98 percent of Americans. And it comes less than a year after the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency faced criticism for delaying publication of a health study on the chemicals, which a White House aide had warned could trigger a "public relations nightmare."

EPA's decision means the chemicals will remain unregulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to sources familiar with a still-unreleased draft plan that acting administrator Andrew Wheeler signed off on in late December. That means utilities will face no federal requirements for testing for and removing the chemicals from drinking water supplies, although several states have pursued or are pursuing their own limits.

The decision could complicate Wheeler's confirmation to lead the agency on a full-time basis. Both Republicans and Democrats have pressed EPA to do more to keep the chemicals out of drinking water and raised alarms about past political interference from the administration.

The chemicals, known as PFOA and PFOS, have been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, hypertension and other ailments. Major chemical companies like 3M as well as the Defense Department would face billions of dollars in liability from aggressive efforts to regulate and clean up the chemical, which has contaminated groundwater near hundreds of military bases and chemical plants.

While EPA has decided against a drinking water limit, the draft chemical plan includes a decision to list those two chemicals as hazardous under the Superfund law, according to the two sources, a move would help force polluters to pay for cleanup.

The agency said it would not discuss the plan's contents until it is made public.

"The action plan is currently undergoing interagency review," EPA spokesperson John Konkus said by email.

It is unclear when the plan will be released, but it could come soon now that the partial government shutdown is over. During his confirmation hearing earlier this month, Wheeler told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that the plan had initially been scheduled for release in late January — but he refused to promise that it would set a drinking water standard for the chemical.

"I cannot make that commitment," Wheeler told Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), whose state has a major PFOA contamination problem, also pressed Wheeler on how he would handle the issue.

"We are going to be recommending and moving forward on a number of different areas under a number of different statutes," Wheeler told her. He specifically cited the EPA's Superfund toxic cleanup program as well as a recently revised regulatory framework for chemical safety.

The committee is scheduled to vote on Wheeler's nomination Feb. 5; Republicans have a one-seat majority on the panel. In the full Senate, Wheeler also likely would have to allay concerns from Republicans in other states that have experienced major problems with the class of chemicals, including North Carolina.

Federal scientists last summer concluded that PFOA and PFOS pose dangers at extremely low concentrations in a health assessment that POLITICO reported Trump administration officials initially sought to block.

EPA-mandated testing has found the chemicals at unsafe levels in at least 16 million Americans' tap water, but activists say the problem is even more widespread.

When an advocacy group reanalyzed federal monitoring data to include lower levels of contamination, it estimated that as many as 110 million Americans may be drinking water with levels of the chemical that could cause harm. The problem is particularly acute near military bases, more than 400 of which the Pentagon suspects to be contaminated with the chemicals.

In order to regulate a chemical under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA must show not only that the contaminant is dangerous, but also that setting a limit offers "a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction" and that doing so is financially justified.

Congress established these requirements in amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1996. They have proven to be major hurdles to new regulations: EPA has not regulated a new contaminant under the drinking water law since then.

EPA issued a voluntary health advisory for PFOA and PFOS in 2016, recommending a lifetime limit in drinking water of 70 parts per trillion for both chemicals. A handful of states have established their own drinking water limits, some of which are significantly stricter than the EPA guidance. But other states have lacked the scientific expertise to act on their own, and have struggled to explain to their residents why their limits differ from those in neighboring states. Public health advocates say these are reasons a federal drinking water standard is necessary.

But some state and local officials, as well as rural water utilities, have argued against a federal drinking water standard. They say the problem is localized and that utilities across the country should not have to pay to test their water if they are unlikely to find the chemicals.

The Trump administration has generally pushed to have states take the lead in environmental regulations, and has taken some steps that suggested it may prefer that approach to setting a federal drinking water limit. For instance, officials at EPA opted to release only toxicity information for two other chemicals in the same class, called GenX and PFBS, and left it to the states to use that information to decide what a safe limit is.

A number of the political appointees at EPA come from industry backgrounds, including the No. 2 political official in the chemical safety office, who previously worked for the chemical industry's main lobbying group. The No. 2 official in the agency's Office of Research and Development came to the agency last fall from Koch Industries.

Industry groups, including the American Chemistry Council, have backed the Trump administration's work on the class of chemicals, expecting that it will be as industry-friendly as they can hope for.

The Trump administration's approach to PFOA and PFOS has also been shaped by the Defense Department, which faces potentially massive liability for the hundreds of contaminated sites it owns around the country.

Internal emails show that Pentagon officials last year raised alarm with the White House over a draft study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found the chemicals cause harm at far lower levels than EPA had said were safe. And POLITICO reported earlier this month that the Defense Department sought to hire a scientist with a reputation for downplaying chemicals' risks to work on PFOA and PFOS, even though his prior work on the chemicals was so controversial that even Republicans had opposed his nomination for an EPA post.
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/ ... =hootsuite





Blavatnik is a co-owner of Oleg Deripaska's formerly sanctioned company Rusal & was a biz partner with Mnuchin who made $25 mil in 2017 deal

Blavatnik donated $1 mil to trump inauguration

Blavatnik donated $3.5 million to a Mitch McConnell affiliated PAC


House Democrat Targets Steven Mnuchin's Business Dealings In The Russian Sanctions Fight

Rep. Jackie Speier is seeking answers about Mnuchin’s reported business dealings with a Ukrainian-born billionaire with ties to Oleg Deripaska.

Emma LoopJanuary 29, 2019, at 11:25 a.m.
Last updated on January 29, 2019, at 1:12 p.m. ET

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin


WASHINGTON — A House Democrat is demanding answers about an alleged business deal that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had with an associate of a Russian oligarch whose companies recently received US sanctions relief.

California Rep. Jackie Speier, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to Mnuchin last week seeking answers about a deal he reportedly made in 2017 with an associate of Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire aluminum magnate whose companies Treasury surprisingly announced it would be taking off the formal sanctions list in December. The letter, sent Wednesday, was obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Mnuchin’s department has been embroiled in a fight on Capitol Hill over Treasury’s decision to lift sanctions on companies controlled by Deripaska, the oligarch connected to President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Democrats in Congress — and some Republicans — tried unsuccessfully in recent weeks to block Treasury from lifting the sanctions, which initially shook aluminum markets and reportedly cost Deripaska billions.

Speier says she wants to learn more about Mnuchin’s involvement with Leonid Blavatnik, a Ukrainian-born billionaire with whom he co-owned a Hollywood film company up until 2017. Mnuchin had to divest from RatPac-Dune Entertainment as part of his confirmation process and disclosed the sale of his shares, but the exact prices and purchasers are unknown. However, the Hollywood Reporter reported that Mnuchin sold the shares to Blavatnik for approximately $25 million.

In the letter, Speier wrote that she had “serious concerns” about the alleged transaction, adding that it is “especially alarming” given a recent New York Times report saying that Deripaska might have gotten a better deal with Treasury than has been publicly disclosed.

Blavatnik, the letter notes, co-owns Sual Partners with another sanctioned oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, and Sual “is a major shareholder” of Rusal, one of Deripaska’s sanctioned companies. It also notes that Blavatnik formerly served on Rusal’s board, and that one of his companies donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund.

“Blavatnik had a clear financial interest in the outcome of the Treasury action,” Speier wrote.

The letter acknowledges that Mnuchin disclosed the sale of the shares, but argues that Mnuchin’s relationship with Blavatnik and involvement in easing sanctions “is clearly a conflict of interest.”

The letter asks a series of specific questions about the sale of the RatPac shares, including the date of the transactions, names of purchasers, value of the sales, whether Mnuchin sought ethics advice beforehand, and more. The letter also asks whether Mnuchin has sought ethics guidance related to his involvement in the sanctions issue more broadly. Moreover, the letter asks whether Blavatnik has tried to communicate with Mnuchin directly about the sanctions.

The Treasury Department did not respond to a request for comment.

On Dec. 19 — three days before the federal government was set to shut down — the Treasury Department announced that “significant restructuring and corporate governance changes” at three Deripaska-controlled companies, including Rusal and En+, would “enable them to meet the criteria for delisting.” Treasury first imposed the sanctions on Deripaska, a close confidante of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his companies in April 2018 in response to Russian interference in the last presidential election.

The move received immediate skepticism from Congress, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian election interference and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the committee’s respective chair and vice chair, said Treasury’s announcement did “not change the fact that Mr. Deripaska, his employees, and his companies work at Vladimir Putin’s behest and operate as de facto representatives of the Russian government — a government that has occupied and intimidated its neighbors, sought to disrupt free and fair elections, violated nuclear treaties, and continued to wage influence campaigns to undermine western democracies, including our own.”

Lawmakers have expressed frustration at the level of information Treasury has provided on the decision to ease the sanctions, which were lifted on Sunday. Mnuchin delivered a classified briefing to all House members three weeks ago about the plan, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “one of the worst classified briefings” they had received from the administration.

On Tuesday, a group of top House Democrats issued a statement saying they were "deeply troubled" by Treasury's decision to lift the sanctions. The statement, signed by the chairs of the House Ways and Means, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Financial Services committees, also criticized Mnuchin for denying lawmakers' requests for more time to evaluate Treasury's decision to ease sanctions.

“We are considering additional legislative actions to ensure that Treasury and these companies comply with the agreement in letter and in spirit, and to prevent something like this from happening again in the future," the statement said. "More importantly, we will continue our oversight of Treasury’s decision by examining the terms of this deal and its implementation to safeguard against harmful actors like Mr. Deripaska benefitting from the Treasury’s delisting decisions. We do not believe termination of the sanctions has relieved Treasury of its obligation to explain fully this deal to Members.”

For her part, Speier wants information on Mnuchin’s dealings. “The fact that you did not recuse yourself from deliberations surrounding the proposed termination of sanctions on RUSAL and En+ is deeply troubling and a conflict of interest,” she wrote.

The letter requests that Mnuchin provide responses within two weeks of receiving it, and argued that Treasury should have delayed lifting the sanctions until lawmakers had time to review the requested information.

UPDATE

This story has been updated with a new statement from House committee leaders on Treasury's decision to lift sanctions on the companies connected to Deripaska.



Image\


U.S. Intelligence Chiefs Are Sounding the Alarm About the Administration* They Work For

They've earned scrutiny, but their warnings about Trump's incompetence on North Korea and Iran are serious.

By Charles P. PierceJan 29, 2019
Senate Select Intelligence Committee

I don't want to alarm anyone unreasonably, but the heads of the entire United States intelligence community went before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday morning and testified that the President* of the United States doesn't know enough about foreign affairs generally, and the threats to this country in particular, to throw a cat. From the Washington Post:

[Director of National Intelligence Dan] Coats, speaking on behalf of the assembled officials, gave a global tour of threats, focused mainly on Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. Coats said that North Korea was “unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities,” which the country’s leaders consider “critical to the regime’s survival.” That assessment threw cold water on the White House’s more optimistic view that the United States and North Korea will achieve a lasting peace and that the regime will ultimately give up its nuclear weapons...And throughout the hearing, officials found themselves repeating earlier assessments on subjects that also were at odds with other public statements from the president.
Getty ImagesWin McNamee

The officials assessed that the government of Iran was not trying to build a nuclear weapon, despite the Trump administration’s persistent claims that the country has been violating the terms of an international agreement forged during the Obama administration. Officials told lawmakers that Iran was in compliance with the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as some officials had previously said privately. But Iranian leaders are discussing reneging on the deal if they fail to reap the economic benefits it was supposed to bring after international sanctions were lifted, Haspel said. The Trump administration has reimposed U.S. sanctions.
The intelligence community has earned every speck of every grain of salt with which its evaluations are taken in the wake of what happened in the run-up to the Iraq War. (So, in fact, has anyone associated with the late Avignon Presidency, no matter what their opinion of the current president* is.) But these are people saying now that the administration* is being unreasonably naive towards North Korea and unreasonably bellicose toward Iran. This comes out to being hilariously and dangerously incompetent on all counts.

Trump continues to equivocate on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election on his behalf, contradicting the unanimous assessment of all the top intelligence officials currently serving. At last year’s threats hearing, leaders focused much of their remarks on Russia, unanimously concluding that the country was trying to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections by sowing discord and confusion via social media, as it had two years earlier in the U.S. presidential race.
Yeah, that, too.

Coats and the rest of them have done everything except sound an air raid siren about this administration*'s bungling attempts to develop a foreign policy, and there's no indication yet that the Senate Republicans have mustered the gumption to act on the alarm. And John Bolton is making policy. This will all end splendidly.
https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/p ... orea-iran/



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Re: TRUMP is Seriously Bizarre

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:54 pm

thanks for this! :D

the book is here to read

barontrump.tiff
barontrump.tiff (187.83 KiB) Viewed 1469 times


https://archive.org/details/travelsadve ... k/page/101

Cordelia » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:01 am wrote:Yesterday a friend sent me this 2017 Newsweek article. I'm not surprised I missed it a year & a half ago but can't find any mention of it on the board. So, putting aside 4chan, Newsweek, etc.., and at the risk of opening another floodgate on Russia, I'll include it here as fwiw way-out Trump material.



Did an Author From the 1800s Predict the Trumps, Russia and America's Downfall?


By Chris Riotta On 7/31/17 at 12:43 PM

Ingersoll Lockwood, an American political writer, lawyer and novelist, combined a unique mixture of science fiction and fantasy into his novels from the late 1800s. Two of his most popular works of literature were illustrated children’s stories, focusing on a peculiar fictional character whose name rings a bell in 2017: Baron Trump.

Trump, an aristocratically wealthy young man living in Castle Trump, is the protagonist of Lockwood's first two fictional novels, The Travels and Adventures of Little Baron Trump and His Wonderful Dog Bulgar and Baron Trump’s Marvelous Underground Journey. The little boy, who has an unending imagination and "a very active brain," is bored of the luxurious lifestyle he has grown so accustomed to. In a twist of fate, Trump visits Russia to embark on an extraordinary adventure that will shape the rest of his life.

Lockwood's final novel arrived in 1896, titled The Last President.

There are some incredible connections to be made to the first family of the United States and Lockwood’s novels from the turn of the 19th century. For starters, the main character’s name is the same as President Donald Trump’s son, albeit spelt differently. Trump’s adventures begin in Russia, and are guided thanks to directions provided by "the master of all masters," a man named "Don."

Before leaving for his voyage through the unknown, Trump is told of his family’s motto: "The pathway to glory is strewn with pitfalls and dangers."

Illustrations from the novels depict Trump dressed in lavish, old-fashioned clothing and jewelry as he departs from Castle Trump and begins his voyage, heading to Russia to locate an entrance into alternate dimensions.

But by Lockwood’s third novel, The Last President, things become even more eerily linked to the present day.

The story begins with a scene from a panicked New York City in early November, describing a "state of uproar" after the election of an enormously opposed outsider candidate.

"The entire East Side is in a state of uproar," police officers shouted through the streets, warning city folk to stay indoors for the night. "Mobs of vast size are organizing under the lead of anarchists and socialists, and threaten to plunder and despoil the houses of the rich who have wronged and oppressed them for so many years."

"The Fifth Avenue Hotel will be the first to feel the fury of the mob," the novel continues, citing an address in New York City where Trump Tower now stands. "Would the troops be in time to save it?"

Lockwood’s creations have resurfaced online in recent weeks on forums and Reddit, thanks to a number of 4chan users who shared images and conspiracy theories about the fantasy stories. Some claimed the Trump family possesses a time machine that has allowed them to remain powerful to this day.

The Last President doesn’t follow the same fictional narrative of Lockwood’s previous novels, though the links to Trump are once again abundantly clear. The president’s hometown of New York City is fearing the collapse of the republic in this book, also titled 1900, immediately following the transition of presidential power. Some Americans begin forming a resistance, protesting what was seen as a corrupt and unethical election process.

https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-p ... ast-644284


Image Image

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_G._Trump

I thought it could be a very elaborate ruse; like the creation of the vintage scratchy recording single of 'Good '
'Ol Shoe' song by Willie Nelson & the old black musician, in 'Wag The Dog' ...

Conrad Brean: "Get it in the Library of Congress now."


but Snopes confirmed (w/a couple of corrections) :wink: and Politico also wrote a piece,


Trump Is the Star of These Bizarre Victorian Novels


And the Internet is losing its mind.


The first thing to know about Baron Trump is that he can’t stop talking about his brain. While meeting with the Russian government, he talks about his glorious gray matter. As foreign women fall for him, he mentions his superior intelligence before casting them off. He once sued his tutors, alleging that they owed him money for everything he had taught them. He won.

This Trump does not exist, except in the dusty stacks of a library, digital archive or Reddit thread near you. He’s not a member of the first family, but instead the entirely fictional protagonist of a series of somewhat satirical Victorian novels for kids.

MORE...https://www.politico.com/magazine/story ... ian-215689
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:22 am

:yay :yay :yay :yay :yay :yay :yay

HAPPY NATIONAL EMERGENCY DAY


Rick Wilson
By all means, shred the Constitution because you're addicted to The Scary Brown People Agitporn channel on MAGAtube.



The President Is Hallucinating and I Think We Should Be Concerned

Trump is declaring a fictional emergency to complete a wall he hasn't started in response to an incursion that doesn't exist. It's Wayne Hays in the White House.

Featured Image
Season three of True Detective follows Wayne Hays, a stoic, world-weary cop, played by Mahershala Ali, as he tries to uncover the truth behind the kidnapping of two children in three separate timelines over the course of three decades. The final stanza depicts Hays in his twilight years. His gut and instincts are still there. The elements that drew you to love (or hate) the character haven’t dimmed. But he’s not the same. His memory is fading. He’s experiencing vivid hallucinations including his deceased wife, an ominous and non-existent sedan on his street, and threatening beings in his home. In one vignette he wakes up on the street in his bathrobe.

The show has not yet given us a medical diagnosis of what exactly is afflicting him. And I’m no doctor. But as I’ve been watching the show and the news the past week I am becoming increasingly alarmed by the prospect that Wayne Hays and the president of the United States may be suffering from the same condition.

I do not offer this possibility lightly. I know that the Trump administration and its allies take very seriously false accusations of health problems. And I am aware that the president just recently received another glowing review from the plenipotentiary vice-minister of medical services in the White House and has in the past availed himself of the top-of-the-line medical advice that is afforded the wealthy in our free market system.

But even so, I feel compelled to abide by the DHS mantra of “see something, say something,” so here it is.

The president seems to be hallucinating about marauding Hispanic invaders. I think we should be concerned.

Maybe Trump isn’t in the same deteriorating mental place as Wayne Hays. After all, Hays is a fictional character on prestige cable and Trump was a character on a network reality series. You can’t equate the two, of course.

So maybe Trump is really a 243-pound (lol) septuagenarian Haley Joel Osment, and he’s seeing the corpses of contractors he and his father have screwed over in decades past? Or maybe he’s gone deep down a YouTube suggested video rabbit hole and he’s watching clips from a Middle Eastern war zone that have been mislabeled as present-day Mexico and Trump is convinced its real because the people are brown-skinned and it looks kinda like what he imagines the border to be. I don’t know. As I said, I’m not a doctor.

We should also consider the possibility that a member of the Deep State has been dosing his Diet Coke with acid. After all, they never found out who wrote that anonymous New York Times op-ed.

What I know for certain is that here on the physical plane of existence there is no security emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border. The incursion the president describes is not the lived reality of any actual Americans. Border crossings are down, crime is down, employment is up. Yet the president’s hallucinations persist, and in the past week they seem to be growing more severe.

At a speech in El Paso, rather than just talking about the imaginary caravan of people invading the country, Trump actually claimed that he had invented the word “caravan” altogether. (In fact, the word is sourced from medieval Latin, caravana, picked up during the Crusades from Persian karwan “group of desert travelers.” Donald Trump is very old but this is slightly before his time.)

He has also begun touting the construction of an imaginary wall. “The wall is being built. It’ll continue. It’s going at a rapid pace,” he said. “Now you really mean ‘finish the wall’ because we’ve built a lot of it,” he continued. None of these statements are remotely true. And rather than be alarmed that the president is having a wall-themed seance, everyone is going along with it. After all, the wall is in our hearts.

So then I start to wonder—maybe I’m the crazy one. Maybe this is all just equal parts Trumpian hyperbole and good old fashioned gaslighting.

But if so, what explains the other delusions, like the blubbering tough guys crying whenever they meet Trump. And it’s not just this one time. Trump seems to keep meeting “monster” sized buff men who are brought to tears by their gratitude to him. For a wall that doesn’t exist. That’s designed to stop an infiltration that isn’t happening.

The layers of unreality build upon itself.

After-all, whatever happened to the president’s friend “Jim” who used to go to Paris every year but now doesn’t? He was scared of the imaginary brown-skinned “infiltration” of the City of Lights. We haven’t heard from him in a while. Are you in there Jim?

Now the dots are being connected . . . Pepe Silva . . . Time replaced by a fever dream . . . Paris under siege. The apparitions in Trump’s delusions are having menacing delusions of their own.

So now the Orange King is set to act. Haunted by these threats he is poised to declare an extralegal national emergency to prevent a U.S.-Carcosan nightmare. This, you would hope, would be the moment for those close to the president recognize this illness and shake him back to reality. To stand with him by the window and with kind eyes let him know that, no there is no ominous car out there. There are no barbarians at the gates.

But no, the delusions persist. The fantasy is fed. And at times even those who can see the light can feel our definitions fading.
https://thebulwark.com/the-president-is ... concerned/
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:57 pm


US farm exports expected to fall $1.9 billion in 2019 thanks to Trump’s trade war

Reuters

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects the value of U.S. farm exports to drop by $1.9 billion to $141.5 billion in fiscal 2019 from a year earlier, led by a steep decline in shipments to China due to an ongoing trade dispute, a department official said on Thursday.

The forecast was issued even as trade negotiators from the world’s two largest economies were working ahead of a March 1 deadline to resolve their trade spat, something that could vastly change the USDA’s outlook, if successful.

“The share of total U.S. agricultural exports to China in value terms is projected to be 6 percent, down sharply, with China falling from the top market in 2017 to fifth place,” USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson told the USDA annual forum in Washington.

He said the United States had exported 24 million metric tonnes of soybeans in the 2019 crop year, down 13.5 million metric tonnes from this time last year.

“Under the trade dispute, exports to China alone have plummeted by 22 million tonnes, or over 90 percent,” he said.

Johansson said sales of U.S. soybeans to the European Union, Egypt, Argentina, and others had risen, but that has “not been enough to make up for the lost exports to China.”


The South American soy harvest would make exports more competitive in the rest of the marketing year, dimming the prospects for an export recovery, he said.

Johansson did not provide an update on the U.S.-China trade negotiations.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that China and the United States were looking at a list of 10 ways China could reduce its trade surplus with the United States, which included buying agricultural produce, energy and other goods.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that China is expected to propose buying an additional $30 billion of U.S. agricultural imports a year.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Julie Ingerswen; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
https://www.rawstory.com/2019/02/us-far ... trade-war/
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby BenDhyan » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:45 pm

Dangerous warrior... :P

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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:10 am

Trump’s Right-Hand Troll

Stephen Miller once tormented liberals at Duke. Now the president’s speechwriter and immigration enforcer is deploying the art of provocation from the White House.

McKay Coppins
May 28, 2018


t’s late on a Friday afternoon in March, and I’m sitting across from Stephen Miller in his spacious, sunlit West Wing office, trying to figure out whether he’s trolling me.

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This is no easy task. A provocateur as skilled as Miller doesn’t just announce when he’s saying something outlandish to get a rise out of you—he tries to make you think he means it. So you have to look for the subtle tells. The fleeting half-smirk when he refers to himself as a “conservative social-justice warrior” early in the conversation. The too-emphatic tone he takes later when he says the best movie he’s seen in the past 15 years is The Dark Knight Rises, and then chides you for not properly appreciating its commentary on the French Revolution.

“It takes on the issue of anarchy and social breakdown in a really interesting way,” he says of the Batman movie. “There’s a lot going on in the film that you, of all people, I’d have thought would be all over.”

“Me … specifically?,” I ask, taking the bait.

“Well,” he replies, letting the mask slip and a sarcastic grin surface, “it’s just your reputation as a very deep thinker.”

Perched on a high-backed chair, Miller looks as if he’s posing for a cologne ad in a glossy magazine—his slender frame wrapped in an elegantly tailored suit, his arm draped over the backrest, his legs crossed at the knee just so. As President Donald Trump’s top speechwriter and senior policy adviser, the 32-year-old aide has cultivated a severe public image, his narrow features forming a kind of perma-glower when he’s on television. But in person there are glimpses of something else—not charm, exactly, but a charisma-like substance. He can be funny and self-aware one moment, zealous and hostile the next. In conversation, he slides from authentic insight into impish goading and back again. It’s a compelling performance to watch—but after an hour and a half in his office, I realize I’m still straining to locate where the trolling ends and true belief begins.

In the campy TV drama that is Donald Trump’s Washington, Miller has carved out an enigmatic role. He lurks in the background for weeks at a time, only to emerge with crucial cameos in the most explosive episodes. The one where Trump signed a havoc-wreaking travel ban during his first week in office, unleashing global chaos and mass protests? Miller helped draft the executive order. The one where the federal government shut down over a high-stakes immigration standoff on Capitol Hill? Miller was accused of derailing the negotiations. (“As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we’re going nowhere,” Senator Lindsey Graham grumbled.) To watch him in his most memorable scenes—theatrically hurling accusations of “cosmopolitan bias” at a reporter; getting his mic cut in the middle of a belligerent Sunday-show appearance—is to be left mesmerized, wondering, Is this guy serious?

I put that question to Miller, one way or another, repeatedly over the course of our meeting. He insists that he believes every word he says, and that he is not a fan of “provocation for its own sake.” But after some reflection, he admits that he has long found value in doing things that generate what he calls “constructive controversy—with the purpose of enlightenment.”

This is what makes Miller different from all the other Republican apparatchiks who became supervillains when they joined the Trump administration: He has been courting infamy since puberty. From Santa Monica High School to Duke University to Capitol Hill, his mission—always—has been to shock and offend the progressive sensibilities of his peers. He revels in riling them, luxuriates in their disdain.

Inside the White House, Miller has emerged as a staunch ideologue and an immigration hawk championing an agenda of right-wing nationalism. But people who have known him at different points in his life say his political worldview is also rooted in a deep-seated instinct for trolling. Miller represents a rising generation of conservatives for whom “melting the snowflakes” and “triggering the libs” are first principles. You can find them on college campuses, holding “affirmative action bake sales” or hosting rallies for alt-right figures in the name of free speech. You can see them in the new conservative media, churning out incendiary headlines for Breitbart News or picking bad-faith fights on Twitter. Raised on talk radio, radicalized on the web, they are a movement in open revolt against the dogmas of “political correctness”—and their tactics could shape the culture wars for years to come.

The story of Miller’s rise to power offers an early answer to an urgent question: What happens when right-wing trolls grow up to run the world?

T

he conservative education of Stephen Miller began with a middle-school magazine drive.

He was in seventh grade, and, needing one more sale to qualify for a prize, he decided to buy himself a subscription to Guns & Ammo, which looked less boring than the alternatives. While flipping through the magazine one day, he came across a column written by Charlton Heston, the movie star turned gun-rights activist. It was, he recalled, “the first conservative writing I’d ever read.”

Growing up in the so-called People’s Republic of Santa Monica as the son of well-off Jewish Democrats—his father was a lawyer and real-estate investor, his mother a homemaker—Miller was uninitiated in conservative thought. But the magazine piqued his curiosity. Guns & Ammo led him to Wayne LaPierre’s book Guns, Crime, and Freedom, which he devoured, enraptured by the blunt force of the author’s prose. (“Clearly, the Warsaw ghetto stands in history as a shining example of the dangers of gun control.”) “I remember thinking to myself, If what I believe is true is so wrong on these issues … what else could I be wrong about?,” Miller told me.

When high-profile Republicans are asked to describe their early intellectual influences, they tend to name-check a lot of the same Serious Thinkers: Edmund Burke. Milton Friedman. Friedrich Hayek. Maybe Ayn Rand. Miller’s list is different. When I asked him which books had shaped his politics, he rattled off a procession of titles by screed artists and talk-radio personalities, including David Horowitz—the author of such works as Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes—and Larry Elder, who wrote The Ten Things You Can’t Say in America. What these books lacked in substance, they made up for in visceral appeal. “When I read Rush Limbaugh’s The Way Things Ought to Be, it was like a page-turning thriller to me,” Miller recalled, fondly. “Every page was like some new revelation.”

Miller believes his right-wing transformation may have been preordained. “I do think it’s possible to have a conservative personality,” he mused, pointing to his own deeply embedded attitudes toward criminals. Even from a young age, he said, crime stories on the news would upset him “on a core emotional level.” He bristled against the sort of “gentle rehabilitation programs” for convicts beloved by bleeding-heart Santa Monicans. “My core instinct was … to put them behind bars and keep them behind bars until they’re not a threat to anybody anymore.”

But Miller’s youthful political reinvention was also a puckish reaction to his surroundings. In the beachside bubble of liberal affluence where he was raised, people saw themselves as proud citizens of a progressive utopia. There were festivals celebrating multiculturalism, and “racial-harmony retreats” for students. Yet there were also tensions around racial and class inequality. Jason Islas, a progressive activist who was friends with Miller when they were kids, says it was the kind of place where wealthy white liberals would “conspicuously celebrate diversity in very self-congratulatory ways”—and then avert their eyes from the problems in their own community.

Miller seemed to mold his new political identity with the express aim of needling these self-righteous neighbors. “I think it was a teenage rebellion against an upper-middle-class, liberal establishment that metastasized,” Islas told me. “The style of conservatism that he has could only have come out of a place like Santa Monica.” Yet there were also signs that Miller’s persona expressed something deeper. Shortly before they started high school, Islas recalled, Miller informed him that they couldn’t be friends anymore, citing Islas’s “Latino heritage” as one of several reasons.

At Santa Monica High, Miller constantly found ways to rile his classmates. He loudly complained about the Spanish-language announcements that came over the PA system, and once jumped into the homestretch of a girls’ track race, evidently to prove male athletic superiority. After 9/11, he emerged as a vociferous defender of the Bush administration, writing op-eds that compared students who opposed U.S. military actions to terrorists and concluding, “Osama Bin Laden would feel very welcome at Santa Monica High School.” During his junior year, he agitated for the school to lead regular recitals of the Pledge of Allegiance—and when his demand wasn’t met, he went on local talk radio to kick up some controversy. The tactic worked, and the school eventually acquiesced.

At times, his shtick was greeted with amusement. In a video clip unearthed by Vice News, a young Miller—wearing a white tennis sweater and oozing bravado—can be seen eliciting laughter from other teenage boys in the back of a school bus as he cracks jokes about his receding hairline, performs a silly pop ballad, and holds forth on the merits of cutting Saddam Hussein’s fingers off. “Torture is a celebration of life and human dignity,” he proclaims, his lips curling into a grin. “We need to remember that as we enter these very dark and dangerous times of the next century.”

More often, though, Miller’s stunts elicited hostility—just as he intended. In perhaps his most memorable act of teenage trolling, he ran for student government on a platform that included increasing the janitorial staff’s workload. Speaking to an amphitheater full of privilege-checking peers, he asked, “Am I the only one who is sick and tired of being told to pick up my trash when we have plenty of janitors who are paid to do it for us?” The crowd erupted in boos and Miller, looking pleased with himself, was forcibly removed from the stage.

In retrospect, Miller concedes that he may have crossed some lines, but overall he’s proud of his youthful posture. “I think it’s very healthy for kids to be a little bit rebellious,” he told me. What bothered him most about his high-school experience wasn’t the school’s liberalism but the way other students reacted to his dissent. Rather than engage in “spirited, open debate,” he complained, their instinct was to tattle on him. “Far from the images of 1960s kids rebelling against power, most of my classmates who were upset by the things I was saying … wanted to have a more disciplined administrative environment with stronger, tougher rules about what you can and can’t say—set by adult authority figures!”

By the time he graduated and headed to Duke, Miller had come to view this “educational authoritarianism” as a chilling threat to his generation, one he was determined to fight. “I’ve always been a nonconformist,” he told me. “I think that nonconformity is part of the American DNA. And in today’s culture, the nonconformists are conservatives.”

O

n the evening of March 7, 2006, a scruffy-faced Miller stepped up to a podium in Duke’s Page Auditorium and retrieved a list from his breast pocket. “Making this event happen was not easy,” he began, in a grave tone. “We beseeched many departments, many institutions at Duke University, for funding. Many of them wanted nothing to do with us.”

The event in question was a speech by David Horowitz, the right-wing polemicist whose books Miller had so admired as a teenager. Horowitz had recently published a new book identifying “the 101 most dangerous academics in America,” including two Duke professors—and Miller had invited him to campus. Now, as he introduced Horowitz to an audience of skeptics and hecklers, Miller was making the most of the moment.

Turning to the piece of paper in front of him, Miller began to list the university entities that had withheld their support, reading them off one by one with gusto—the literature department, the philosophy department, the multicultural center. When some in the audience began applauding the groups he was trying to shame, Miller straightened his tie and furrowed his brow in faux concern. “I see that many of you are happy that people on this campus don’t want to support a debate of ideas,” he snapped, and then glanced back down at his notes, an amused look flickering across his face.

That night was the culmination of a well-organized campaign of campus disruption. It had begun when Miller formed a chapter of Students for Academic Freedom—a national conservative pressure group Horowitz had launched to expose the leftist “indoctrination” taking place at America’s universities. As the head of the Duke chapter, Miller was sent a 70-page handbook that provided detailed instructions for orchestrating a campus controversy. It included guidance on how to investigate faculty members’ partisan biases (special attention should be paid to professors of women’s studies and African American studies, the handbook noted); tips for identifying “classroom abuses” (“Did your professor make a politically-biased comment in class about the war in Iraq?”); and advice for drumming up publicity (“Appearing as a guest on your local talk radio station is probably easier than you think”). The handbook also urged students to invite controversial speakers to their schools, adding that if the administration declined to fund such visits, students should “issue a press release … questioning why they have refused your request to increase the scope of intellectual diversity on campus.”

The playbook was in many ways ahead of its time, but Miller recognized its merits—and executed flawlessly. After inviting Horowitz to speak at Duke, he seized on the pushback from some professors as evidence that the university was trying to stifle free speech. He wrote an incendiary op-ed in the student newspaper, The Chronicle, titled “Betrayal,” in which he claimed that “a large number of Duke professors” were determined to “indoctrinate students in their personal ideologies and prejudices”—and then presented a series of anonymous student testimonials as proof.


At Duke, when other students confronted Miller on the quad, he would expertly bait them into public shouting matches. (The Chronicle / WG600 / The Atlantic)
There were protests, and counterprotests, and angry letters to the editor, and before long, Miller had spun the event into a culture-war spectacle. When Horowitz arrived, he was amazed to find a packed auditorium, with cameras rolling in the back. (His speech later aired on C-span.) “It really impressed me,” Horowitz told me. “There were, like, 800 people there, and Stephen organized that single-handedly.”

The episode helped solidify Miller’s reputation at Duke as a right-wing firebrand. Roving around campus in his dark suits and ties, a Nat Sherman cigarette dangling from his lips, he epitomized a new breed of college Republican—less debate-team dork, more smirking prankster. In classes, he was known to derail discussions with inflammatory comments. When other students confronted him on the quad, he would expertly bait them into public shouting matches.

One semester, he coordinated an “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” to educate students about the “holy war being waged against us.” And through an event called the Great Immigration Debate, he got to know a graduate student named Richard Spencer, who would go on to become one of America’s leading white supremacists. (The extent of their relationship is somewhat murky. When Spencer claimed last year that he had been a “mentor” to Miller, the White House aide issued a forceful denial, telling The Washington Post, “I condemn his views. I have no relationship with him. He was not my friend.”)

Miller was best known for a column he wrote, called Miller Time, for The Chronicle. Perusing the archive today, one can see the influence of Limbaugh, LaPierre, and his other idols. In one column—headlined “Sorry Feminists”—he made the case for old-fashioned gender roles: “I simply wouldn’t feel comfortable hiring a full-time male babysitter or driving down the street and seeing a group of women carrying heavy steel pillars to a construction site.” He produced tirades against affirmative action, multiculturalism, and various other talk-radio targets. His Judaism notwithstanding, he wrote two separate columns about the War on Christmas, and a third in which he lamented that Mel Gibson had been snubbed by the Oscars for The Passion of the Christ.

Seyward Darby, who was Miller’s editor at The Chronicle, recalls that his columns were never calibrated for persuasion. “I have no recollection of ever speaking to someone who said, ‘Oh, Stephen makes some good points in his latest column,’ ” she told me. “He picked the most contrarian of stances to articulate, wrote the most hyperbolic prose he could, then put it out into the world. I have to imagine that he then sat back and waited for people’s reactions. Really, the smartest response was to avoid having one.”

Miller told me that he knew his views were unpopular at Duke, but added, “I also knew that expressing them meekly or apologetically in that kind of environment would be totally ineffective.” His objective wasn’t to upset anyone, he said, but “to challenge people to reevaluate their own assumptions”—and sometimes doing so required an in-your-face approach. Perhaps sensing that I found this unconvincing, he added a caveat that seemed closer to candor: “I mean, at some level you have to be interesting.”

Even as his notoriety grew, Miller remained a somewhat mysterious figure on campus. He was rarely seen at parties, and few classmates remember hearing him discuss his personal life. Paul Slattery, a fellow student who spent many late nights talking politics with Miller over coffee and cigarettes at an off-campus diner, told me, “I don’t ever recall having a conversation about, like, whether he had a girlfriend … You would think I’d have a much more comprehensive view of this person. I don’t—and it’s weird to me.”

Darby said she was always trying to figure out how much of Miller’s behavior was performance art. “I vacillated between thinking that he was deeply unempathetic, perhaps even cruel, and thinking that one day we were going to find out that he did it all for show, to pull the ultimate joke, to assert some modicum of power,” she said. “Looking back, maybe both things were true?”

This question, of how seriously to take Miller, carried over into his interactions with women—like when he approached a woman on campus who he knew disliked his politics and, apropos of nothing, said, “You and I would make beautiful babies together.” Women who knew him told me they saw such remarks as escalations in his endless quest to provoke. One recalled that she was “typically disgusted” by his creepy comments, but didn’t feel “violated.” Another said, “He liked getting a rise out of people in a very sociopathic way.”

N

ear the end of Miller’s junior year, Duke drew national attention when a black woman accused three white lacrosse players at the school of raping her. Almost overnight, the campus became a battlefield. Protesters marched through the streets of Durham banging pots and pans and waving a banner that screamed castrate!! A group of 88 professors published an open letter declaring the case a “social disaster” that revealed their university’s systemic racism and misogyny. A cavalcade of news trucks surrounded the campus, and reporters swarmed.

For most students, the uproar was a nightmare. For Miller, it was an opportunity. From his perch at The Chronicle, he took up the unpopular cause of the accused lacrosse players—crusading for their right to be presumed innocent, and casting them as victims of political correctness. He caught the attention of cable-news bookers and became a frequent guest on Fox News, playing the head-nodding yes-man to Bill O’Reilly’s cranky culture warrior. But he also turned up on shows that were less friendly to his position. During one particularly feisty interview with Nancy Grace, the host was so appalled by Miller that she was reduced to rolling her eyes and exclaiming, “Oh, good lord!”

To many, Miller’s position seemed not only wrongheaded but outrageous—but then the case unraveled. By the time Miller graduated, the lacrosse players had been exonerated, and the Durham County district attorney was later disbarred. Miller was vindicated.

Miller told me that his activism on behalf of the players was the thing he was most proud of from his college years. It also helped launch his career in conservative politics. After graduating, he moved to Washington to join the office of an up-and-coming congresswoman named Michele Bachmann.

But among those who knew Miller at the time, the question of why he inserted himself into the lacrosse scandal remains a point of debate. Some believe it was simple opportunism—an attention seeker chasing the Fox News searchlight. Others see a more nefarious motive—a budding white nationalist drawn to the racial politics of the case.

Miller himself told me that he’d felt moved to take a stand because of his upbringing in Santa Monica. In the campus-wide rush to judge the lacrosse players—whose gender and ostensible privilege were cited as exhibits A and B—he said he recognized “some of the more totalitarian tendencies in parts of the new left that I’d seen growing up.” And, he added, “my experiences in high school, in which I was used to being unfairly labeled, unfairly maligned, gave me the thick skin that I needed” to withstand the blowback.

Paul Slattery offered a simpler theory. He said that while his old friend had been motivated by a genuine belief in the players’ rights, he was also following a deeper impulse: “He just loved to kick shit up.”

T

his past February, thousands of right-wing activists descended on National Harbor, in Maryland, for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. A Millerian spirit of lib-baiting permeated the convention center’s exhibit hall, where young attendees in blue blazers and shift dresses roamed the premises collecting mischievous political swag. There were i ♥ co2 buttons, and “safe spaces” coloring books (“Crayons not included, especially the white ones”). At one booth, a young man hawked socialism sucks T-shirts—Just imagine how people on your campus will react!—and at another, a woman in a Hillary Clinton mask and prison stripes posed for selfies with passersby.

Outside, I met a trio of young men in sport coats and asked them what they thought of Miller, who had helped write the speech Trump had given earlier in the day. One, a student from Hillsdale College, in Michigan, began enthusiastically recapping one of Miller’s greatest hits: his combative appearance at a White House press briefing in which he had berated a CNN reporter for “cosmopolitan bias” and schooled him on the true history behind the Statue of Liberty, before finally leaving the podium with a self-satisfied look. “I really admired that,” the student told me.


At a White House press briefing in August 2017, Miller accused a CNN reporter of “cosmopolitan bias.” (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
In the decade since Miller graduated from Duke, the kind of trolling he mastered there has come to dominate campus conservatism in America. Today’s archetypal college Republican is not a mini Mitt Romney with a copy of National Review tucked under his arm, but a red-capped rabble-rouser pranking the pious liberal students who fret that cafeteria sushi is a form of cultural appropriation or demand free tampons in both men’s and women’s bathrooms in the name of “menstrual equity.”

Some of these campus conservatives’ antics are silly and relatively harmless, like when the Yale College Republicans hosted a barbecue next to pro-union hunger strikers last year. Others take on an absurdist quality, in the spirit of the right-wing activist James O’Keefe’s demands that Rutgers stop serving Lucky Charms on the grounds that the cereal’s trademark leprechaun perpetuated negative stereotypes about Irish Americans. (“We’re not all short,” he protested to an administrator.)

But there is also a darker strain to this movement, perhaps best embodied by Milo Yiannopoulos, the gay former Breitbart News blogger who became a right-wing sensation in 2016 when he embarked on his “Dangerous Faggot” tour of college campuses. Yiannopoulos’s tirades against Muslims, lesbians, and other minority groups were designed to draw protests—and if the demonstrations turned violent, all the better. After a riot broke out last year at UC Berkeley, where Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak, conservatives pointed to the incident as proof that free speech was under attack from the left.

Despite their shoestring appearance, many of these exploits have real money behind them. Yiannopoulos’s tour was funded in part by Robert Mercer, the secretive hedge-fund billionaire who also was a major Trump donor in 2016. And Turning Point USA—a nonprofit that trains conservative students in the art of provocation—reportedly has a budget of about $15 million this year.

In his 2017 book, Dangerous, Yiannopoulos laid out the ideology undergirding his project. He described his mission as “finding boundaries and raping them in front of you,” and promised his followers, “I’ll teach you how to cause the same sort of mayhem I do in defense of the most important right you have in America: the right to think, do, say and be whatever the hell you want.” In this scorched-earth view of the culture wars, the goal is not to advance conservative arguments in a provocative way; the provocation itself is the point. “Liberal tears” are the coin of the realm, and giving offense is a form of conquest.

But if any slur or slander can be excused as ironic under the guise of combatting political correctness, it becomes all but impossible to distinguish genuine extremists from those impersonating them for effect. According to the Anti-Defamation League, incidents of white-supremacist propaganda at colleges increased by 258 percent from the fall of 2016 to the fall of 2017.

What’s more, the journey from winking provocateur to racist ideologue might be shorter than many imagine. You start out with the goal of provoking the left—and, well, what’s more provocative than posting a racist meme on the internet? But with each new like and upvote, an incentive structure forms, a community coalesces, an identity hardens. Before long, the line between performance and principle is blurred beyond recognition, your “true” beliefs buried under so many layers of irony that they’ve been rendered irrelevant.

Of course, when your personal beliefs become a matter of national policy, the stakes are higher. Miller dismisses any suggestion that he’s motivated by racism or xenophobia. When I asked him, for example, whether he had been drawn to the Duke lacrosse case because of its racial politics, he curtly brushed off the question. And when I mentioned the historically anti-Semitic roots of Trump’s “America First” slogan, he said that was a “completely insincere” argument ginned up by liberals who are simply uncomfortable with the “nationalist populism” that the term invokes.

As for his views on Yiannopoulos, he said he didn’t want to drag the White House off message by commenting. But if college campuses are teeming with Milo wannabes, Miller clearly believes that the modern left has only itself to blame. Today’s liberal orthodoxies, he said, constitute a “bloodless appeal” to his generation—lacking the emotional resonance, excitement, and danger on offer from the #maga movement.

“I mean, is there anything more conformist than an idealistic liberal college student deeply concerned about not knowing what today’s official hyphenated expression is, who attends four classes a day on, like, cultural Marxism, and makes sure all of their coffee beans are locally sourced?”

Miller paused in conjuring this stereotype.

“I’m in favor of the last one,” he noted. “I do want them made in America.

“But the point is … I think you’d have a lot more fun being a campus conservative in a ‘Make America great again’ hat.”

I

t should perhaps come as no surprise that Stephen Miller, enemy of the globalist elite, chose one of Washington’s poshest condo complexes to call home. For a man who has long seemed most comfortable surrounded by people who hate him, there must have been a certain appeal to CityCenterDC, where he bought a $1 million two-bedroom in 2014 (paid for, property records indicate, with the help of his parents). Not only did the sparkly glass complex in downtown Washington feature retailers like Gucci and Hermès and stylish restaurants like Momofuku, but it was also home to such establishment luminaries as Attorney General Eric Holder and Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.

Since arriving in Washington, Miller had sanded off some of the rougher edges of his merry-prankster persona, refashioning himself as a serious ideologue. But he remained an agitator. Still in his 20s, Miller had become known on Capitol Hill as the chain-smoking, right-wing gadfly from Senator Jeff Sessions’s office who blasted out rambling emails to reporters and congressional aides at all hours on the dangers of illegal immigration. In 2013 he emerged as a devoted foot soldier in the populist right’s drive to kill a bipartisan immigration-reform bill—an effort that ultimately succeeded.

To the extent that Miller, a notorious workaholic, had a social life, it often involved getting together with reporters from Breitbart News, a reliable booster of his boss’s agenda. He grew especially close to Julia Hahn, an acid-penned writer and Steve Bannon protégé with whom he was sometimes seen at parties, engaging in private, intense-looking conversations away from the rest of the group. (Hahn would later follow Miller and Bannon to the White House, where she serves as a special assistant to the president.)

In this scene, Miller was not a misfit or a menace, but part of the vanguard of a growing conservative-populist movement.“People in that circle took him really seriously as an intellectual,” said a Republican Hill staffer who hung out with the group a handful of times in 2015. She recalled one get-together at which Miller asserted matter-of-factly that the Catholic Church was engaged in a conspiracy to financially benefit from the refugee crisis. The Hill staffer, a Catholic, was bewildered that no one else in the group was challenging him. “He just said it like it was fact, like it was indisputable,” she remembered—and when she asked him for evidence, he was “caught off guard.” For the rest of the evening, she said, “there was a different energy between us.”

When Donald Trump entered the presidential race in the summer of 2015, it was perhaps inevitable that Miller would find a way onto the campaign. The rest of Washington scoffed at Trump’s candidacy, but for Miller, the New York billionaire was the flesh-and-blood manifestation of everything he cared about most: an opponent of political correctness, a hard-liner on immigration, an enemy of the political establishment—and a world-class troll.


“He doesn’t have to command rooms to be effective,” a senior Democratic Senate aide said of Miller, “because he does his thing behind the scenes.” (Chris Pizello / AP / Kevin Lamarque / Reuters / Shutterstock / WG600 / The Atlantic)
Of the many things Miller admires about his boss, Trump’s talent for performance and provocation is what gets him most worked up. “If this was a fair political culture,” he told me, “there would be many articles written and many stories on TV about his natural gifts as a communicator and his ability to keep an audience rapt for an hour and a half; to be able to pivot seamlessly from comedy to gravity; his understanding of drama.”

“A political rally is supposed to be a rally,” Miller went on. “It’s supposed to have almost, like, the fun and excitement of a revival—and so few politicians today are able to establish anything resembling that kind of connection with people.”

To illustrate, Miller pointed me to one of the longest-running—and most controversial—staples of Trump’s speech-making: “The Snake.” During the GOP primaries, Trump began periodically reading the lyrics of an obscure 1960s soul song drawn from Aesop’s fables. The song tells the story of a woman who takes a half-dead snake into her home and nurses him back to health. The snake responds by biting her. As she dies, she asks him why he did it. The moral of the lesson is in the concluding couplet:

“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin.

“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”

Trump uses the deceitful, poisonous snake to represent Syrian refugees and undocumented immigrants. It is objectively one of the most demagogic things he regularly says out loud (as an added bonus, it also works as a metaphor for Trump himself, something he seems to know and delight in). It is quintessentially Trumpian rhetoric: shocking, offensive, and destined to send his haters into paroxysms of outrage.


Early in the Trump presidency, Miller worked with then–chief strategist Steve Bannon to craft an executive order that banned travel to the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries. (Carlos Barria / Reuters)
It also thrills Miller to no end. In his office, he spent several minutes describing to me—in meticulous, loving detail—how Trump conceived of this oratorical device himself; how, before certain speeches, he would announce to aides, “I’m gonna do ‘The Snake,’ ” which meant that Hope Hicks had to print off a fresh copy of the lyrics from her computer, where she kept them saved in a Word document for these special occasions; how Trump would go through each line and expertly “hand edit” the page, making tweaks “so that it works better as spoken word, or lands more dramatically in certain areas”; how the president’s crowds still show up to rallies hoping to hear him do “The Snake”; and how, on the days when he does, the opening lines are greeted as if they are “the first three chords of ‘Free Bird.’ ”

On the campaign trail, Miller played the dual role of speechwriter and hype man, getting the crowds amped up before Trump took the stage. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not a good person because you believe the American people should come first,” he would tell supporters.

But to Miller, the most exhilarating moments came when Trump would tell him—often while they were en route to an event—that he wanted to add a new section to his speech. Miller, who said he writes best “under pressure,” recalled that he felt in those moments like a football player in the final minutes of a game. They would be on the plane, getting ready to touch down, and Trump would dictate to him “seven or eight paragraphs of material” off the top of his head. “The best lines in the rallies,” he said, “are the ones that he comes up with on the spot, because he has incredible wit and speed, and he can just get the audience in real time.”

As Miller gushed, I realized that there was something familiar about this worshipful anecdote: He had shared it—several times—during his most infamous TV appearance. In January, Miller had been dispatched to CNN to refute reports that the president’s own staff was questioning his mental stability. But the interview, with Jake Tapper, devolved into a heated back-and-forth in which Miller repeatedly attacked the media and refused to engage with the host’s questions. The segment ended when an exasperated Tapper declared, “I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time” and cut Miller’s mic. The clip went viral.

When I asked Miller about the appearance, he cast his eyes downward in a show of contrition. “You know, I’ve thought about it for a long time,” he said. “And I’ve decided that … if he ever offered it, I’d be willing to accept Jake Tapper’s apology.”

As a senior policy adviser to the president, Miller enjoys a position of uncommon influence for his age. In addition to running the speech-writing team and crafting Trump’s major addresses, he works closely with the communications office to shape the administration’s message, and he has a seat at the table in most areas of domestic policy. And yet—remarkably, given the divisiveness of his views—Miller has remained largely absent from news stories about intramural combat in the West Wing. While dozens of top officials have departed over the past 16 months, Miller has kept his head down and survived.

The lack of damaging leaks about him is partly a function of the fact that he is generally well liked among his close colleagues, who say he is more self-aware than his strident on-camera persona would suggest. “He knows the charges against him,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says, and he enjoys playfully nodding to his villainous image in interactions with co-workers.

Hogan Gidley, who works in the White House press office, told me he first bonded with Miller over their shared love of fashion. Describing Miller’s aesthetic as “policy chic,” he praised his friend’s collection of pocket squares and attentiveness to seasonal fabrics. When it comes to sartorial matters, Miller once told him, “springtime is my playground.” (Despite my numerous requests for details, Miller refused to tell me anything about where he bought his suits except to say that they were bespoke, and American-made.)

Miller’s allies say that his standing in the president’s orbit has remained so stable for another reason: He’s content to be a staffer instead of a star. “People have made him out to be some type of puppet master when nothing could be further from the truth,” Gidley said. “He executes what the president wants him to execute.”

I heard variations of this line from several people in the administration, and at first I was skeptical. Given his lifelong penchant for attention-getting provocation, could he truly be content playing the part of the obedient lieutenant? But as it turns out, Miller has found ways to channel his talent for trolling into the less visible work of government policy making.

W

hen President Trump needs to learn about an issue, he likes to stage his own cable-news-style shout-fests in the Oval Office. In lieu of primped pundits, he has to make do with White House staffers, but the basic concept is the same: Two people with conflicting points of view whacking away at each other as forcefully—and entertainingly—as possible. Trump seems to process information best in this format, according to people who have worked in the administration. Often, when the debate lacks a voice for a position the president wants to hear articulated, he will call Miller into the room and have him make the case.

Miller “can play both sides for the sake of the argument,” Gidley told me. “He can come in and play the staunch conservative or the Democrat, because he understands both.” What’s more, he often wins. “You can pull a debate-club argument out of a hat and Stephen can argue it convincingly,” a former administration official said. “It’s not that he knows everything in the world—it’s that he understands Trump. He’s been dealing with him a long time, and he understands how he inputs information.”

Miller told me that while there is sometimes a need for a devil’s advocate, he spends most of his time pushing for positions that he believes in. Indeed, a review of his record thus far leaves little doubt about the agenda he’s trying to advance, from more aggressive law enforcement to a conservative-nationalist economic policy. Notably, he’s emerged as one of the most strident immigration restrictionists in an administration known for such draconian measures as forcibly separating children from their parents at the border.

But Miller’s work in the White House has also borne the same trollish hallmark that defined his campus activism. One of his first acts on the job was to work with then–chief strategist Steve Bannon in crafting an executive order that banned travel to the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries. The hastily written order contained no guidance on implementation, and soon after Trump signed it—on a Friday afternoon one week into his presidency—airports across the country were plunged into chaos. Hundreds of travelers were detained, civil-rights lawyers descended, and protesters swarmed. To many, the televised disarray was proof of failure. But according to Michael Wolff’s account of the Trump administration’s first year, Fire and Fury, the architects of the ban were tickled by the hysteria; Bannon (who was Wolff’s main source) boasted that they’d chosen to enact the disruptive measure on a weekend “so the snowflakes would show up at the airports and riot.” They counted the anger on display as a political win.

Miller played a similarly disruptive role a year later, during congressional negotiations over immigration. While lawmakers scrambled to reach a compromise on legislation that would protect some 700,000 young undocumented immigrants who had come to the country as children, Miller was quietly hustling to block any deal that didn’t include major Democratic concessions, according to aides on both sides of the aisle. When Miller found out one afternoon in January that Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin were coming to the White House to pitch Trump on a bipartisan bill, he reportedly moved to stack the Oval Office with hawkish conservatives in hopes of swaying the president. By the time Graham and Durbin arrived, Trump was in an uncompromising mood: angry, dug in, and ranting about immigrants from “shithole countries.” As Trump uttered those soon-to-leak words, which would poison the talks on Capitol Hill, Miller stood on the periphery. “He doesn’t have to command rooms to be effective,” one senior Democratic Senate aide said, “because he does his thing behind the scenes.”

Miller, of course, denies any suggestion that he would try to manipulate Trump. “My job is simple,” he told me. “The president has made clear what he wants to accomplish, and I’ll do the best I can to help that happen.” At the time we were talking, in late March, that still meant striving for a deal with congressional Democrats that would protect the so-called Dreamers from deportation—and Miller insisted he was working tirelessly toward that happy outcome.

But, alas, he told me in a tone of great disappointment, he had become convinced in recent weeks that Democrats would rather keep immigration as a political issue to campaign on than actually fix the problem. “They oppose anything that would actually prevent future waves of illegal immigration,” Miller explained. “It’s almost like they’ve adopted the position of immigration nihilism and anarchy.”

For what felt like the hundredth time that day, I found myself searching Miller for signs of trolling. His voice was steady; there was no smirk in sight. But his assertion was so inflammatory, so out there, so weighted down with words not normally uttered in the course of daily conversation—nihilism, anarchy—that I had to wonder: Does he actually believe this, or is he just fishing for a reaction?

In any case, these did not seem like the words of a man who was doing everything in his power to shepherd a bipartisan compromise on immigration to the president’s desk. So I wasn’t surprised when, a week later, on Easter morning, Trump announced that he was pulling the plug on a deal for Dreamers. “The Democrats blew it,” he told reporters on his way into a church in Palm Beach.

The pronouncement set off a wave of frenzied media coverage, with reactions from Capitol Hill, and analysis of what it could mean for the midterm elections, and stories of young immigrants bracing for the worst—their lives now more uncertain than ever. And though it didn’t make the headlines, the White House pool report from that weekend noted that among the president’s travel companions was one Stephen Miller.
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ar ... source=twb
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby liminalOyster » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:31 am

New favorite Trump nickname: "Agent Orange" LOL
"It's not rocket surgery." - Elvis
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:00 am

the recent government shutdown delayed work on fix

trump has not yet put a person in charge of FAA

Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes grounded after Ethiopian crash
https://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/boe ... index.html




Boeing CEO assures Trump that 737 MAX is safe
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/ ... fe-1218439


Image
CEO Dennis Muilenburg spoke by phone with trump, urging him not to ground 737 Max 8s after Sunday’s crash.
Muilenburg has tried to cultivate Trump. He visited Mar-a-Lago after AF1 dust-up, & Boeing donated $1M to Trump inaugural.






Boeing Flights Grounded Across the Globe, but Not in the U.S.


Boeing 737 Max 8 pilots complained to feds for months about suspected safety flaw

3 hrs ago

Pilots repeatedly voiced safety concerns about the Boeing 737 Max 8 to federal authorities, with one captain calling the flight manual "inadequate and almost criminally insufficient" several months before Sunday's Ethiopian Air crash that killed 157 people, an investigation by The Dallas Morning News found.

The News found at least five complaints about the Boeing model in a federal database where pilots can voluntarily report about aviation incidents without fear of repercussions.

The complaints are about the safety mechanism cited in preliminary reports about an October plane crash in Indonesia that killed 189.

The disclosures found by The News reference problems during Boeing 737 Max 8 flights with an autopilot system, and they all occurred while trying to gain altitude during takeoff — many mentioned the plane turning nose down suddenly. While records show these flights occurred during October and November, the information about which airlines the pilots were flying for is redacted from the database.

Records show that a captain who flies the Max 8 complained in November that it was "unconscionable" that the company and federal authorities allowed pilots to fly the planes without adequate training or fully disclosing information about how its systems were different from previous 737 models.

The captain's complaint was logged after the FAA released an emergency airworthiness directive about the Boeing 737 Max 8 in response to the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia.

An FAA spokesman said the reports found by The News were filed directly to NASA, which serves as a neutral third party for reporting purposes.

Tuesday evening, the agency issued a statement from Acting Administrator Daniel K. Elwell, saying that it "continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 MAX."

"Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft. Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action," Elwell said in the statement.

A federal audit in 2014 said that the FAA does not collect and analyze its voluntary disclosure reporting in a way that would effectively identify national safety risks.

U.S. regulators are mandating that Boeing upgrade the plane's software by April but have so far declined to ground the planes. China, Australia and the European Union have grounded the 737 Max 8, leaving the U.S. and Canada as the only two countries flying a substantial number of the aircraft.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who leads a Senate subcommittee overseeing aviation, said in a statement Tuesday that U.S. authorities should ground the planes.

"Further investigation may reveal that mechanical issues were not the cause, but until that time, our first priority must be the safety of the flying public," Cruz said.

At least 18 carriers — including American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, the two largest U.S. carriers flying the 737 Max 8 — have also declined to ground planes, saying they are confident in the safety and "airworthiness" of their fleets. American and Southwest have 24 and 34 of the aircraft in their fleets, respectively.

"The United States should be leading the world in aviation safety," said John Samuelsen, the president of a union representing transport workers that called Tuesday for the planes to be grounded. "And yet, because of the lust for profit in the American aviation, we're still flying planes that dozens of other countries and airlines have now said need to be grounded."

The fifth complaint from the captain who called into question the 737 Max 8's flight manual ended: "The fact that this airplane requires such jury rigging to fly is a red flag. Now we know the systems employed are error-prone — even if the pilots aren't sure what those systems are, what redundancies are in place and failure modes. I am left to wonder: what else don't I know?"
Image
A 737 Max 8 captain noted problems on takeoff (p. 2)
Selected portion of a source document hosted by DocumentCloud
View the entire document with DocumentCloud
The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) was included on the Max 8 model aircraft as a safety mechanism that would automatically correct a plane entering a stall pattern. If the plane loses lift under its wings during takeoff and the nose begins to point far upward, the system kicks in and automatically pushes the nose of the plane down.

After the Lion Air crash, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive that said: "This condition, if not addressed, could cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane, and lead to excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain."

Officials have not yet determined what caused Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to nosedive into the ground on Sunday, but many experts have noted similarities between this week's crash and the one in Indonesia.
Image
A Boeing 737 Max 8 goes nose down suddenly during takeoff, pilot reports incident. (p. 10)
Selected portion of a source document hosted by DocumentCloud
View the entire document with DocumentCloud
A spokesperson for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines told The News that it hasn't received any reports of issues with MCAS from its pilots, "nor do any of our thousands of data points from the aircraft indicate any issues with MCAS."

Fort Worth-based American Airlines did not respond to questions from The News.

The FAA issued a statement to The News Tuesday that said that it is "collecting data and keeping in contact with international civil aviation authorities as information becomes available."

"The FAA continuously assesses and oversees the safety performance of U.S. commercial aircraft. If we identify an issue that affects safety, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action."

Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said in a press release Monday night: "We fully support Southwest Airlines' decision to continue flying the MAX and the FAA's findings to date."

Boeing, which posted a record $101 billion in revenue last year, issued a new statement Tuesday saying that no grounding of planes was necessary. "Based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators," the company said.

Samuelsen of the transport workers union said it's "unconscionable" that the FAA has not yet grounded the planes in the U.S., given the number of deaths that have occurred.

"This pressure should not be on these pilots to overcome an engineering flaw that Boeing themselves acknowledges," said Samuelsen.
https://www.dallasnews.com/business/air ... afety-flaw




Countries are piling on to ban Boeing’s new plane from their airspace

Ashley NunesMarch 12 at 2:04 PM
Investigators look over debris from the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
The European Union has just joined Australia and China in banning Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jetliner from their airspace, after Britain, France and Germany individually did so earlier Tuesday. This is likely to lead to greater pressure for a worldwide grounding of the aircraft. That will have big consequences for Boeing for the aviation industry, and perhaps for the U.S. economy.

The ban is a response to two crashes

The nations that have banned the 737 Max from their airspace are responding to Sunday’s horrific crash. Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 had just left Addis Ababa for the Kenyan capital of Nairobi when it reported technical problems and requested permission to turn back. Its wreckage was found moments later on the outskirts of Africa’s political hub, near the small town of Bishoftu. Everyone on board was killed.

The crash marks the second time in five months that this new type of Boeing aircraft was involved in a fatal crash. In October, another 737 Max belonging to Indonesian low-cost giant Lion Air plunged into the sea, killing 189 passengers and crew.

Big money is at stake

Sunday’s crash was an enormous tragedy, which killed, among others, many humanitarian workers and aid professionals. Yet there is also another dimension to the crash: money. The 737 has long been one of Boeing’s best-selling products. First introduced in 1968, thousands of these airplanes have been sold to date. The Max — a newer, more fuel-efficient version of the original 737 — is particularly important for Boeing. With global airlines expected to buy over 37,000 airplanes — valued at over $5 trillion — over the coming decades, Boeing sees the Max as key to winning the jet order arms race against its European rival, Airbus. The world’s dominant plane makers have long been locked in a tussle for market share.

Sales in the Asian Pacific market are particularly important to Boeing. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an airline trade group, the region will be the biggest driver of air travel demand over the next decade with over half of all new passenger traffic coming from countries including Indonesia and China. Since Sunday’s crash, the Max has been banned from operating in both countries. The move by Chinese authorities is particularly worrying given the country already operates one of the largest fleets of the 737 Max in the world. The Chinese air safety regulator said the move was in line with its principle of “zero tolerance of safety hazards.” Now, the swift action from the E.U., together with tweeted complaints from President Trump, may transform a regional market crisis into a global one.

Regulators’ response has been mixed

On Monday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told reporters, “If the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identifies an issue that affects safety, the department will take immediate and appropriate action.” Chao’s Canadian counterpart — Minister Marc Garneau — voiced similar sentiments. Garneau’s comments come as his country’s flag carrier sought to reassure nervous travelers. In a statement, Air Canada — which operates 24 of the Max jets — said, “These aircraft have performed excellently from a safety, reliability and customer satisfaction perspective.”

However, one member of an influential U.S. air safety group sounded the alarm. Paul Hudson — a member of the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee — said the agency’s “'wait and see attitude risks lives as well as the safety reputation of the U.S. aviation industry.” Hudson called for the immediate grounding of the Boeing 737 Max. So did Jim Hall — the former head of the National Transportation Safety Board — as did Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Monday said the planes “should be grounded until the FAA can assure American travelers that these planes are safe.” On Tuesday, other U.S. lawmakers joined the chorus, calling on the FAA to take action.

It will take time to figure out what happened

Crash investigators are expected to comb through the wreckage looking for clues. However, a report summarizing their findings is unlikely to be made public anytime soon. Investigations can often take months, if not years. In the meantime, back-to-back crashes of American-made airplanes may have political ramifications.

For one thing, these events undercut Trump’s claims that his policies have made flying safer than ever. In a widely reported 2017 tweet, the president claimed that air safety had improved because he’d been “very strict on commercial aviation.” Defensiveness over these comments may explain why he on Tuesday complained that “airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly.”

If Boeing aircraft sales are suspended, there are likely to be indirect consequences for American jobs. Following October’s Lion Air crash, the airline threatened to cancel over $22 billion worth of jet orders. If airlines start to believe that there is something inherently wrong with Boeing’s prized offering — or, even worse, if consumers start to identify the new 737 models as unsafe — it will have serious ramifications for Boeing.

Ashley Nunes studies regulatory policy at MIT.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... 4b20c30dca


NATIONAL
U.S. Lawmakers Call To Ground The Boeing 737 MAX 8. FAA Says 'No' For Now

March 12, 20197:42 PM ET
Brakkton Booker at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., November 7, 2018. (photo by Allison Shelley)
BRAKKTON BOOKER

Rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash. Countries around the world have grounded their Boeing 373 MAX jets and there is growing political pressure on the Federal Aviation Administration to do the same.
Mulugeta Ayene/AP
As countries worldwide continue to ground their Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, aviation officials in the U.S. have been hesitant to follow suit.

The Federal Aviation Administration says there is "no basis to order the grounding of the aircraft." That's according to a statement Tuesday evening from Daniel Elwell, the acting FAA administrator.

"The FAA continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 MAX," the statement reads. "Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft. Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action."

Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed on Sunday, killing all 157 passengers and crew on board. Just five months earlier, a 737 MAX jet flown by Lion Air crashed off the coast of Indonesia killing all 189 people on the plane.


Dozens Of Countries Ground Boeing's 737 Max 8 Following Deadly Crash In Ethiopia
Tuesday, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency announced it was suspending all flight operations of the Boeing series of jets involved in the crashes. That follows similar moves by China, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia and others to either ground the planes or temporarily ban them from their airspace.

And on Capitol Hill there is a growing chorus of lawmakers from both parties calling for the FAA to do the same.

Speaking on NPR's All Things Considered, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the FAA has a responsibility to put "safety ahead of airline profits."

"Right now there's more than ample reason for airline passengers to be greatly concerned. In fact, justifiably frightened about the safety of these airplanes and the ability of pilots to handle a malfunction," Blumenthal said.

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"I believe it would be prudent for the United States likewise to temporarily ground 737 Max aircraft until the FAA confirms the safety of these aircraft and their passengers."

Cruz, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, said he plans to hold hearings on the matter, "to investigate these crashes, determine their contributing factors, and ensure that the United States aviation industry remains the safest in the world."

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Mitt Romney, R-Utah have also called on the FAA to ground the planes.

According to NPR White House Correspondent Scott Horsley, President Trump spoke to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg on Tuesday. It's a sign of just how extreme the stakes are for one of the nation's most prominent companies.

In a pair of morning tweets, which came before the Trump's conversation with Boeing's CEO, the President weighed in on Ethiopian Airlines tragedy by lamenting that present-day planes are becoming "far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT."

The FAA said in its notice on Monday that as part of its "ongoing oversight activities" it expects Boeing to complete flight control system enhancements "which provide reduced reliance on procedures associated with required pilot memory items."

The FAA said it expects those updates sometime next month.
https://www.npr.org/2019/03/12/70279744 ... no-for-now



----------------------------------------------------------

Trump Moves to Deport Vietnam War Refugees

The White House again wants to expel certain groups of protected immigrants, a reversal after backing away from the policy months ago.

Read: The U.S. used to criticize countries that didn’t allow their citizens to leave.Many pre-1995 arrivals, all of whom were previously protected under the 2008 agreement by both the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, were refugees from the Vietnam War. Some are the children of those who once allied with American and South Vietnamese forces, an attribute that renders them undesirable to the current regime in Hanoi, which imputes anti-regime beliefs to the children of those who opposed North Vietnam. This anti-Communist constituency includes minorities such as the children of the American-allied Montagnards, who are persecuted in Vietnam for both their ethnicity and Christian religion.The Trump administration’s move reflects an entirely new reading of the agreement, according to Ted Osius, who served as the United States ambassador to Vietnam from December 2014 through November 2017.* Osius said that while he was in office, the 2008 agreement was accepted by all involved parties as banning the deportation of all pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants.“We understood that the agreement barred the deportation of pre-1995 Vietnamese. Both governments—and the Vietnamese-American community—interpreted it that way,” Osius told The Atlantic in an email. The State Department, he added, had explained this to both the White House and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.News of the Trump administration’s renewed hard line quickly made the rounds on Vietnamese American social media, with advocacy groups warning of potentially increased deportations.“Forty-three years ago, a lot of the Southeast Asian communities and Vietnamese communities fled their countries and their homeland due to the war, which the U.S. was involved in, fleeing for their safety and the safety of their families,” said Kevin Lam, the organizing director of the Asian American Resource Workshop, an advocacy group. “The U.S. would do well to remember that.”* An earlier version of this article misstated the month Osius ended his tenure as ambassador. We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com. Charles Dunst is a journalist based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Twitter Krishnadev Calamur is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers global news. He is the author of Murder in Mumbai. Twitter
Dec 12, 2018
Donald Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen speak at a meeting in February.
Donald Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen speak at a meeting in February.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Updated at 10:20 a.m. on December 13, 2018.

The Trump administration is resuming its efforts to deport certain protected Vietnamese immigrants who have lived in the United States for decades—many of them having fled the country during the Vietnam War.

This is the latest move in the president’s long record of prioritizing harsh immigration and asylum restrictions, and one that’s sure to raise eyebrows—the White House had hesitantly backed off the plan in August before reversing course. In essence, the administration has now decided that Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the country before the establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and Vietnam are subject to standard immigration law—meaning they are all eligible for deportation.

The new stance mirrors White House efforts to clamp down on immigration writ large, a frequent complaint of the president’s on the campaign trail and one he links to a litany of ills in the United States.

Read: Another blow against refugees

The administration last year began pursuing the deportation of many long-term immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, and other countries who the administration alleges are “violent criminal aliens.” But Washington and Hanoi have a unique 2008 agreement that specifically bars the deportation of Vietnamese people who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995—the date the two former foes reestablished diplomatic relations following the Vietnam War.

More Stories

Immigrants sit on a border fence between the United States and Mexico after arriving as part of a caravan.

Visitors arriving at the Miami airport wait in line to have their passports checked.
Theresa May greets supporters in Dudley in May 2018.
The White House unilaterally reinterpreted the agreement in the spring of 2017 to exempt people convicted of crimes from its protections, allowing the administration to send back a small number of pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants, a policy it retreated from this past August. Last week, however, James Thrower, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Hanoi, said the American government was again reversing course.

Washington now believes that the 2008 agreement fails to protect pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants from deportation, Thrower told The Atlantic. This would apply to such migrants who are either undocumented or have committed crimes, and this interpretation would not apply to those who have become American citizens.

“The United States and Vietnam signed a bilateral agreement on removals in 2008 that establishes procedures for deporting Vietnamese citizens who arrived in the United States after July 12, 1995, and are subject to final orders of removal,” Thrower said. “While the procedures associated with this specific agreement do not apply to Vietnamese citizens who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995, it does not explicitly preclude the removal of pre-1995 cases.”

The about-turn came as a State Department spokesperson confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security had met with representatives of the Vietnamese embassy in Washington, D.C., but declined to provide details of when the talks took place or what was discussed.

Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for DHS said: “We have 5,000 convicted criminal aliens from Vietnam with final orders of removal—these are non-citizens who during previous administrations were arrested, convicted, and ultimately ordered removed by a federal immigration judge. It’s a priority of this administration to remove criminal aliens to their home country.”

Spokespeople for the Vietnamese embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group, said in a statement that the purpose of the meeting was to change the 2008 agreement. That deal had initially been set to last for five years, and was to be automatically extended every three years unless either party opted out. Under those rules, it was set to renew next month. Since 1998, final removal orders have been issued for more than 9,000 Vietnamese nationals.

When it first decided to reinterpret the 2008 deal, Donald Trump’s administration argued that only pre-1995 arrivals with criminal convictions were exempt from the agreement’s protection and eligible for deportation. Vietnam initially conceded and accepted some of those immigrants before stiffening its resistance; about a dozen Vietnamese immigrants ended up being deported from the United States. The August decision to change course, reported to a California court in October, appeared to put such moves at least temporarily on ice, but the latest shift leaves the fate of a larger number of Vietnamese immigrants in doubt. Now all pre-1995 arrivals are exempt from the 2008 agreement’s protection.
https://www.theatlantic.com/internation ... es/577993/



it is now Wednesday the 13th and Canada GROUNDS BOEING


Donald Trump's Boeing fiasco proves he's a clear and present danger to the American people

Ryan Cooper
President Trump. Illustrated | CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images, SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
March 13, 2019

Presidents, ideally speaking, have two sorts of duties. The first is pursuing one's political agenda, within constitutional norms: passing bills to boost or cut social welfare spending, adjusting regulations, fiddling with taxes, and so on. Then there are the daily maintenance tasks to keep the machinery of state ticking over: staffing the national bureaucracy with quality employees, maintaining national defense and infrastructure, dealing with natural disasters, and so on.

Obviously these are ideal categories and will tend to overlap in any presidency. But the recent story of Boeing's troubled new 737 Max 8 jet demonstrates without question that President Trump is absolutely wretched at the latter tasks. He doesn't care about the job and couldn't do it even if he tried. American lives are in danger as a result.

Two of the Max 8 planes have crashed in the last six months, one in Indonesia and one in Ethiopia this week. Worse, the crashes may be due to defects in the plane, not pilot error. It turns out that at least five U.S. pilots have complained about janky systems on the Max 8, one of which noting autopilot troubles of the sort that may have led to the Ethiopia crash:

For one U.S. incident in November 2018, a commercial airline pilot reported that during takeoff, the autopilot was engaged and "within two to three seconds the aircraft pitched nose down," in a manner steep enough to trigger the plane's warning system, which sounded "Don't sink, don't sink!" After the autopilot was disengaged, the plane climbed as normal, according to the report. [Politico]

Now, airline travel is still extremely safe. But the reason it is safe is because of a complex and extremely effective regulatory bureaucracy in almost every country in the world, whose operations have been carefully coordinated over decades. That is why Max 8's have been grounded across almost the whole world. If one wants to keep air travel safe, it's important to keep on top of these sorts of problems. "The autopilot sometimes crashes the plane" is a possibility that must be either ruled out or corrected.

But not in Trump's America! At time of writing, the U.S. is the only major country in the world where Max 8's continue to fly. They're grounded in Canada, China, the E.U., South America, and Africa. And why is that? It probably has something to do with Boeing CEO Dennis A. Muilenburg calling up Trump and promising the plane is safe. (The fact that grounding the new plane would cost Boeing a ton of money is just a slight side detail, no doubt.) Muilenburg has also visited Mar-a-Lago, and Boeing donated $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee, which is under criminal investigation for corruption.

It's also worth noting that the Federal Aviation Administration still has no officially confirmed chief, as Trump tried for months to get his personal pilot appointed to the job, only recently giving up and reportedly picking a former airline executive instead.

The remarkable thing about this is that it puts rich and powerful people in potential danger. Only the very wealthiest can afford to fly private or charter jets — everyone else, including members of Congress (who are constantly flying back and forth to their districts) flies commercial. And it doesn't matter whether you pay for first class and Premium Platinum Executive Sapphire early boarding or whatever, if the plane goes down you are the exact same smoking cinder as the proles in economy class.

But Trump gets a call from one rich CEO who has given him lots of money, and he goes along with it (and naturally, he's got Air Force One to carry him around). He seems to be convinced the problem is too much technology on planes, writing on Twitter that "Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly … I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!"

God only knows where he picked up that idea, but it's a safe bet he's completely out to lunch.

At any rate, it's an object lesson for what happens when you put an incurious reality TV star in the presidency of the United States. It turns out the political leader of the world's most powerful nation actually carries some important responsibilities — and Donald Trump just can't do the job.

https://theweek.com/articles/828861/don ... can-people
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:52 pm

1. FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES

27 MINUTES AGO

Pentagon IG Probes Acting Defense Secretary for Alleged Boeing Bias

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
The Department of Defense’s Inspector General confirmed Wednesday that it has launched an investigation into allegations that Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan violated ethics rules by promoting his former employer, Boeing, during his time at the DoD. “The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General has decided to investigate complaints we recently received that Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan allegedly took actions to promote his former employer, Boeing, and disparage its competitors, allegedly in violation of ethics rules,” Dwrena Allen, a spokesperson for the IG’s office, said in a statement. “In his recent Senate Armed Services Committee testimony, Acting Secretary Shanahan stated that he supported an investigation into these allegations. We have informed him that we have initiated this investigation.”

Allen told The Daily Beast that Shanahan was notified about the investigation on March 19. The probe comes a week after a watchdog group filed a complaint against Shanahan with the IG’s office. The group claimed Shanahan pushed the Pentagon to buy more Boeing F-15X fighter jets and claimed Boeing competitor Lockheed Martin made “fucked up” planes. Shanahan, who reportedly spent over 30 years working at Boeing, previously called the claims “just noise.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/pentagon- ... oeing-bias



A Judge Has Ruled That Trump’s Transgender Military Ban Can’t Take Effect Yet After All

“Defendants were incorrect,” says a decision from US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

Dominic Holden
Posted on March 19, 2019, at 4:14 p.m. ET

The Trump administration was wrong to claim last week it could begin to implement a ban on transgender troops, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said in a decision issued Tuesday that rebuked officials for insisting a court order blocking the ban since 2017 had been lifted.

“Defendants were incorrect in claiming that there was no longer an impediment,” says Kollar-Kotelly’s notice in US District Court in Washington, DC. “Defendants remain bound by this Court’s preliminary injunction to maintain the status quo.”

The decision makes clear the Pentagon may not yet implement a ban on transgender troops, despite several claims by the Justice Department last week that it was free of any blockade on enacting new policy to block transgender recruits from the armed forces.

The administration released a memo last week saying that it planned to enact the ban next month after the Justice Department said in a court filing “there is no longer any impediment” that stopped them from doing so.

“We are grateful for the district court’s clarity in stating, unequivocally, that the injunction against the transgender military ban remains in place,” Jennifer Levi, an attorney for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, a group representing the challengers, told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday.

Levi and other lawyers challenging the ban had argued Trump officials were running roughshod over courts when they issued the ban last week.

“Plaintiffs will continue to challenge the government’s efforts to reinstate an unfair and discriminatory policy against transgender people,” Levi added. “And, for now, the military cannot take any adverse action against transgender troops or recruits who meet all current standards of service.”

Still, it wasn’t immediately clear if Kollar-Kotelly’s decision would change a timeline to implement the ban, which the Pentagon said will take effect on April 12, due to pending action from an appeals court.

The underlying legal situation is complicated. The case is one of four in which judges issued nationwide injunctions that blocked the policy from being implemented. Courts had lifted three of the injunctions while all of the legal challenges continue — though the status of this fourth injunction in the DC court was disputed.

The Justice Department argued that when the DC Court of Appeals vacated the injunction in January, it ceased to exist and the Pentagon was free to instate a ban. LGBT advocacy lawyers countered that the appellate court still hadn’t issued a mandate to lift the injunction, because a series of procedural steps had to first be undertaken while the plaintiffs decide to request a rehearing.

The Trump administration issued its memo to set up the ban anyway.

That led to Tuesday’s decision from Kollar-Kotelly.

“On October 30, 2017, this Court ordered Defendants to maintain the status quo as it relates to the accession and retention of transgender individuals in the military,” she said. “That preliminary injunction remains in place until the D.C. Circuit issues its mandate vacating the preliminary injunction.”

The plaintiffs in the DC court have until March 29 to request a rehearing before the full bench of judges at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Doing so could extend the timeline for the injunction to remain in place.

In June 2016, the Obama administration lifted a decadeslong ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces after finding they wouldn't harm the military. Trump reversed that decision in 2017, saying that transgender people would render the military “burdened with medical costs and disruption.”

Trump formalized his policy in a memorandum that August — but courts issued preliminary injunctions putting Trump’s ambitions on hold. In an effort to bypass those injunctions, Trump’s policy evolved in February 2018, when former defense secretary James Mattis recommended banning most transgender personnel but allowing those who’d already joined and transitioned to remain in the ranks, which was the blueprint for the ban released this month.
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/do ... hold-judge
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:19 am

Trump’s Treachery Goes Way Beyond Russia
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He’s not working for Putin. He’s working for any dictator who flatters him.

William SaletanMarch 29, 20195:45 AM
Donald Trump flanked by photos of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, Mohammed bin Salman, and Kim Jong-un.
Photo illustration by Derreck Johnson. Photos by Sean Gallup/Getty Images, Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images, Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images, Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images, and Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has ended his Russia investigation, and Republicans are gloating. “Complete and Total EXONERATION,” says President Donald Trump. “There was nothing there,” adds Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway. “We know that now. We know it from Director Mueller.”

Trump and his surrogates are lying. Mueller has indicted dozens of people. He has obtained multiple convictions and guilty pleas. He has proved or confirmed that Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Donald Trump Jr., and others in the Trump camp collaborated with Russian agents or intermediaries. According to the Justice Department, Mueller’s report also presents evidence that Trump may have obstructed justice.

Beyond the report, there’s plenty of evidence that Trump has collaborated with Russia against the U.S. government. He has shilled for Vladimir Putin, urged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, defended a secret meeting to get Russian dirt on her, attacked U.S. intelligence agencies that documented Russia’s election interference, and fired the FBI director who was investigating that interference. All of these betrayals are recorded or acknowledged on video.

And Russia is just the beginning of the story. Trump’s treachery goes well beyond his service to Moscow. Transcripts, videos, and government records show that he has repeatedly collaborated with tyrants against our country. He has defended North Korea’s Kim Jong-un against U.S. intelligence that shows Kim is lying about his nuclear programs. He has defended Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, against American intelligence that exposes the crown prince’s role in the murder of a U.S. resident. He has sided with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, against American generals and U.S. law enforcement. He has declared that the Chinese government is more honorable than the American Democratic Party.

There’s a good reason why Mueller didn’t find proof that Trump is a Russian agent. It’s because Trump isn’t a Russian agent. Trump doesn’t particularly care about any country, just as he doesn’t particularly care about any of his employees or wives. And the list of countries Trump is willing to betray includes the one that elected him. He chooses his friends and enemies based on their utility to him, not based on their national allegiance. That’s how Putin turned Trump against the United States. And other governments have learned the same trick.

The lesson of the Mueller investigation isn’t that Trump is less treacherous than his critics feared. It’s that he’s more treacherous. He’s been selling out his country to a series of dictators. Don’t take it from me. Don’t even take it from Mueller. It’s all in the public record, one damning story after another. Here are four of them.
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Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin shake hands before a meeting in Helsinki on July 16.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Trump’s relationship with Russia is the template for all the treacheries that followed. Here’s how it works: A foreign authoritarian flatters and favors Trump. Unlike past presidents, Trump has no immune response to such courtships. He has never served in the military or in public office. He thinks he’s a patriot—earlier this month, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he literally hugged an American flag—but he doesn’t really understand what patriotism means. He loves Americans only if they love him. And that makes him susceptible to the authoritarian’s advances.

Trump has openly collaborated with the Russian government against Americans.
Trump is amoral, so he ignores the authoritarian’s abuses of human rights. He thinks of America as a corporation, with himself as the CEO. He regards the authoritarian as a fellow CEO and is happy to make a deal. Anyone who gets between Trump and his new friend becomes, in Trump’s view, an enemy. So when American officials challenge the authoritarian’s lies, Trump attacks the Americans.

That’s what happened with Putin. In December 2015, as Trump gained ground in the Republican presidential race, Putin began to lavish praise on him. Trump reciprocated by suggesting that Russia was better than the United States. An interviewer reminded Trump that Putin “kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries.” Trump retorted that “our country does plenty of killing also” and that Putin was “a leader, you know, unlike we have in this country.” In February 2017, a month after Trump became president, he excused Putin’s crimes again. When an interviewer described Putin as “a killer,” Trump replied: “There are a lot of killers. … What, you think our country’s so innocent?” Earlier this year, Trump went further, defending the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Trump has openly collaborated with the Russian government against Americans. In July 2016, he called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. Trump now claims he was joking. But at the time, when a reporter asked Trump whether he had “any pause about asking a foreign government—Russia, China, anybody—to interfere, to hack into the system of anybody in this country,” the candidate replied, “No, it gives me no pause.” In 2017, Trump defended a secret meeting between Russian emissaries and his top campaign officials during the election. The meeting was based on an explicit, written Russian offer of “sensitive information” about Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” The president said there was no difference between getting such information from Russians and getting it from Americans. He claimed that any candidate would have accepted the offer.

Trump has also conspired against the United States in private. In February 2017, he shooed a dozen U.S. officials out of the Oval Office so he could ask then–FBI Director James Comey, one on one, to drop the FBI’s investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who had lied about his contacts with Russia. Three months later, Trump fired Comey and told two Russian officials, behind closed doors, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” In July 2017, after a meeting with Putin in Germany, Trump confiscated the U.S. interpreter’s notes from the meeting and instructed the interpreter not to tell U.S. officials what had been said. In July 2018, Trump excluded U.S. officials from a two-hour meeting with Putin in Helsinki.

Trump has repeatedly sided with Putin against the 2017 U.S. intelligence report that documented Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He has dismissed the U.S. officials behind the report as liars and “political hacks.” He has explicitly denounced the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and “the intelligence community.” He has revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, citing Brennan’s role in the Russia investigation. In July, the Department of Justice released an indictment that documented the complicity of 12 Russian intelligence officers in the election hacks. Three days later, after his private meeting with Putin, Trump dismissed the evidence and indicated that he believed Putin’s denial.

These aren’t conspiracy theories. They’re facts. They show that Trump formed an alliance with Putin and attacked anyone in the U.S. government who sought to tell the truth about Putin’s crimes. But Putin isn’t the only despot Trump has protected. He was just the first.
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Mohammed bin Salman and Donald Trump shake hands during a meeting at the White House on March 20, 2018.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

On May 20, 2017, Trump took a seat of honor at the royal palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was his first presidential trip overseas. Three weeks earlier, he had complained that the United States was spending too much money defending the Saudi kingdom. The Saudis were about to rectify that. As Trump looked on, American executives paraded before him to receive lucrative defense and investment contracts from Saudi ministers. Officially, it was a “Signing Ceremony Supporting Saudi Arabia’s Defense Needs.” Unofficially, it was Riyadh’s purchase of the president of the United States.

From that point forward, Trump excused or ignored everything the Saudis did: their brutal war in Yemen, their abduction of Lebanon’s prime minister, and their incendiary blockade of Qatar. He explicitly defended them as a wealthy client deserving of special respect. When Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the White House in March 2018, Trump fawned over him in front of cameras, detailing the billions of dollars the Saudis were spending on American products.

Then came a more difficult test of Trump’s loyalty. On Oct. 2, a Saudi hit squad murdered and dismembered Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and U.S. resident, inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. First the Saudi government denied that Khashoggi had been killed. Then the Saudis denied that MBS had played any role in the crime. But U.S. intelligence agencies obtained an audio recording and other evidence documenting the murder and the crown prince’s involvement.

When Mohammed bin Salman visited the White House in March 2018, Trump fawned over him in front of cameras.
As with Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, Trump would have to choose between facts collected by the U.S. government and lies peddled by an authoritarian regime. Again, he chose the regime.

Initially, aides showed Trump the evidence against MBS in private. Trump resisted it, so officials leaked it to the press. One exhibit, confirmed by CIA Director Gina Haspel, was audio of a phone call in which the commander of the hit squad instructed an aide to MBS to “tell your boss” that the job was done. Another was a phone call in which the crown prince’s brother told Khashoggi to go to the consulate, where the hit squad was waiting. Passport records also linked MBS to the killers. The CIA’s internal assessment, based on this and other information, was that MBS had “ordered the assassination.”

To make certain that Trump understood the evidence, Haspel briefed him in person and in writing. Afterward, reporters asked Trump what the CIA had found. Trump couldn’t attack Haspel, since he had appointed her. So instead, he lied. “They haven’t assessed anything yet,” Trump told reporters on Nov. 17. Three days later, he repeated, “They didn’t make a determination.” Two days after that, Trump lied again: “They did not come to a conclusion. … The CIA points it both ways.” The White House made sure that Haspel, who could have contradicted the president, was kept out of a Nov. 28 briefing with senators.

Officials who knew the truth tried to alert Congress. On Dec. 1, they leaked more details from the CIA’s assessment. Just before and after the murder, MBS had exchanged at least 11 electronic messages with his aide, who was simultaneously communicating with the hit squad. The crown prince had also proposed, a year earlier, to lure Khashoggi into a trap and “make arrangements.” The CIA’s report concluded: “We assess it is highly unlikely this team of operators … carried out the operation without Muhammed bin Salman’s authorization.” But Trump refused to budge. “The crown prince vehemently denies it,” he told the press.

Three months later, Trump is still covering up for MBS. On Feb. 7, the New York Times, citing a U.S. intelligence report written in December, reported additional evidence against the crown prince: an intercepted 2017 conversation in which he told an aide he would go after Khashoggi “with a bullet.” On March 17, the Times disclosed that intelligence reports showed MBS had authorized “at least a dozen” violent or coercive operations against Saudi dissenters, some of them executed by the same team that killed Khashoggi. Congress has instructed Trump to issue a legally mandated report on Khashoggi’s death. But Trump has refused.

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Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un shake hands with during a meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Feb. 27.
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images


Trump’s relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, unlike his relationships with Putin and MBS, started out badly. Kim alarmed the world with missile tests; Trump called Kim “Little Rocket Man” and threatened him with “fire and fury.” Then, on Nov. 28, 2017, Kim conducted a missile test so impressive that everyone realized he could hit any city in the continental United States. Kim announced that his nation had “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.” And he turned to his next project: recruiting, as North Korea’s new ally, the president of the United States.

Kim enlisted South Korea as his intermediary. On March 8, 2018, a South Korean emissary went to the White House to pitch Kim’s offer: a summit with Trump. American officials opposed the idea, since Kim hadn’t promised, much less taken, any steps toward halting his nuclear program. But Trump ignored these officials. He immediately agreed to the summit and launched a campaign to promote it.

Kim’s offer converted Trump from an enemy to an apologist. Unlike previous presidents, Trump saw the summit as a showcase not for Kim but for himself. By staking his prestige on the summit’s success, Trump became Kim’s partner. Trump was a willing liar, and if North Korea failed to denuclearize, Trump would look bad. So no matter what U.S. intelligence said, Trump would insist that North Korea was denuclearizing.

The summit took place in Singapore on June 12. Trump declared it a triumph. He brushed aside questions about Kim’s human rights abuses and asserted, without evidence, that North Korea had ended its nuclear research. “Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Trump announced on Twitter. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

Again, Trump was telling his supporters that Americans who spoke the truth about the dictator were the real enemy.
Trump’s assurances were false. A post-summit U.S. intelligence assessment, leaked to NBC News on June 29, found that North Korea had increased its nuclear fuel production at secret military sites. An official familiar with the assessment said it showed “unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S.” and “no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles or that they have stopped their production.” The Washington Post reported additional details from the assessment, including concealment of sites and weapons. The New York Times added that according to satellite images, “the test missile engine site that Mr. Trump told reporters was being dismantled still stands.”

Trump shrugged off these reports. In an interview with Fox News on July 1, he defended Kim’s sincerity: “I shook hands with him. I really believe he means it.” Two days later, Trump tweeted: “Many good conversations with North Korea—it is going well! … Only the Opposition Party, which includes the Fake News, is complaining.” On July 12, Trump piped up again: “A very nice note from Chairman Kim of North Korea. Great progress being made!”

These statements followed the pattern of Trump’s statements about Putin. Again, Trump was taking the word of a dictator over U.S. intelligence. Again, he was treating any criticism of the dictator as a threat to himself. And again, Trump was telling his supporters that Americans who spoke the truth about the dictator were the real enemy.

On July 30, the Post disclosed fresh satellite images and other intelligence that showed North Korea was building “at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs” that could hit the United States. In addition, North Korean officials had been caught discussing plans to conceal missiles, warheads, and nuclear sites so they could feign denuclearization. Trump replied that these “negative stories” were “fake.” On Aug. 10, the New York Times reported that North Korea had opened a new reactor and that the CIA’s estimate of Kim’s nuclear weapons had doubled. Trump repeated that Kim was denuclearizing, and he said he and Kim had fallen “in love.”

In an October interview on 60 Minutes, Trump contradicted his own negotiating team, insisting that North Korea was “closing up sites.” Lesley Stahl asked the president, “But is it true that they haven’t gotten rid of a single weapon, and they may actually be building more missiles?” Trump waved the question away. “Nobody really knows,” he said. In November, a study based on satellite images and information from defectors identified more than a dozen secret military bases involved in North Korea’s missile program. “Just more Fake News,” Trump tweeted.

Trump’s deception campaign continues to this day. A month ago, at a second summit with Kim, a reporter pointed out that in the eight months since the Singapore meeting, North Korea had cranked out more missiles and nuclear material. “Some people are denying that,” Trump retorted. He discounted satellite pictures of North Korea’s secret weapons work, arguing that they had been taken from “way above.” And he insisted that Kim had nothing to do with North Korea’s fatal mistreatment of an American citizen, Otto Warmbier. “I don’t believe he knew about it,” said Trump.
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Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump shake hands before a meeting during the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 21, 2017, in New York City.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

There’s one more story that sheds light on Trump’s disloyalty. It’s the story of his relationship with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey. Trump hasn’t sucked up to Erdogan the way he has sucked up to Putin, Kim, and MBS. But Turkey has repeatedly encroached on American sovereignty in ways that a normal American president would have resisted. Instead, Trump has acquiesced.

Their relationship began with an infiltration. On July 15, 2016, four days before Trump was nominated for president, renegade officers in the Turkish military attempted a coup against Erdogan. The coup failed, and Erdogan set out to capture the man he blamed for the plot: Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric living in the United States. To get at Gülen, Erdogan’s government recruited an American agent: Trump’s foreign policy adviser, Michael Flynn.

Turkish intermediaries opened talks with Flynn in late July. They paid Flynn’s company more than $500,000 and introduced him to Turkish government ministers who backed the project. For the rest of the presidential campaign, Flynn secretly worked for Turkey, promoting Gülen’s extradition. And after Trump won, Flynn did something else that pleased his paymasters. As the incoming national security adviser, he spiked an Obama administration plan to arm Kurdish forces—regarded by the Turks as an enemy—for an attack on ISIS.

Erdogan’s thugs brought their political violence onto American soil. And Trump did nothing.
There’s no proof that Trump knew about Flynn’s duplicity. What’s notable is that once Trump found out, he didn’t care. On Feb. 13, 2017, Flynn resigned for lying about his pre-election talks with Russia’s ambassador. Three weeks later, under pressure from investigators, Flynn filed papers acknowledging that while working for Trump, he had been an unregistered foreign agent for Turkish interests. Trump defended Flynn’s talks with Russia and expressed no concern about the foreign-agent declaration. On March 31, Trump tweeted that Flynn “should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt.” When congressional leaders rebuked Flynn for concealing payments he had received from Russia and Turkey, Trump sent Flynn a private message to “stay strong.” Trump didn’t care whether Flynn was loyal to the United States. He cared that Flynn was loyal to Trump.

In April 2017, Erdogan won a referendum to abolish Turkey’s parliamentary system and consolidate power under its presidency. Election observers warned that the referendum had been stacked and that Turkey was sliding into authoritarianism. Nevertheless, Trump called Erdogan to congratulate him. Weeks later, Trump welcomed Erdogan to the White House. And that’s when their partnership crossed a line: Erdogan’s thugs brought their political violence onto American soil. And Trump did nothing.

The meeting at the White House took place on May 17. Shortly after it ended, Erdogan’s bodyguards broke through a police cordon outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence and assaulted protesters. This was in Washington, in broad daylight. Video showed Erdogan looking on and conferring with his head of security just before the attack began. Congress and the State Department condemned the incident, and a grand jury indicted 15 Turkish officers. But Trump said nothing. When Erdogan complained about the indictments, Trump, in a phone call, expressed regret and told Erdogan he would follow up. The charges were later dropped.

In the following year, Turkey tangled with the United States over steel tariffs and the imprisonment of an American pastor, Andrew Brunson. Then, in the fall of 2018, Erdogan went after Gülen again. He released Brunson and offered to ease up on Trump’s ally, Saudi Arabia, in the Khashoggi case. In exchange, Erdogan asked for help in getting at Gülen. Trump obliged him. The White House ordered the Justice Department to look for ways to expel the cleric. Even after being told there were no legal grounds, the administration pressed DOJ for options. Trump told reporters that he wasn’t extraditing Gülen, but he added: “That is something that we’re always looking at.” He said of Erdogan: “He’s a strong man. He’s a tough man. … He’s a friend of mine. And whatever we can do, we’ll do.”

Trump was good to his word. It turned out there was something he could do. Erdogan wanted to send Turkish forces into Syria to attack the Kurds. But he couldn’t do that with American troops—who were there to fight ISIS—in the way. So, in December, he arranged a phone call with Trump. Trump’s national security team prepared talking points, instructing the president to tell Erdogan to back off.

The conversation didn’t go as planned. On the call, Erdogan pointed out that ISIS had lost nearly all its land. He assured Trump that Turkey would finish the job if the United States got out. Trump’s new national security adviser, John Bolton, was on the call, too, and he reminded Trump that even without control of territory, ISIS remained a potent guerrilla force and terrorist network. Trump listened to the debate between the American position and the Turkish one. And he made his decision. He told Erdogan, “You know what? It’s yours. I’m leaving.”

Trump’s advisers were horrified, particularly at his betrayal of America’s Kurdish allies. Defense Secretary James Mattis, in protest, submitted a letter of resignation. So did Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition. Trump responded by savaging both men and aligning himself with Erdogan. On Dec. 23, Trump announced that he was pushing Mattis out of his job. Minutes later, Trump tweeted that he had just spoken with Erdogan. Trump said Erdogan had pledged to eradicate ISIS, “and he is a man who can do it.”

In effect, Trump had just fired Mattis, sidelined Bolton, and transferred their responsibilities in Syria to Erdogan. The move was indifferent to nationality, and therefore perfectly Trumpian. A Turkish agent in his campaign; Turkish security thugs beating up protesters in America; the Turkish president replacing the American defense secretary. Trump was fine with all of it.
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Donald Trump and Xi Jinping shake hands during a press conference in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2017.
Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

On Jan. 29, the heads of several U.S. intelligence agencies appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee to present their annual report on threats to the United States. None of the witnesses disputed Trump by name, but they contradicted him on every point. Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, testified that North Korea’s ongoing work on nuclear weapons and deception was “inconsistent with full denuclearization.” Gina Haspel, the CIA director, agreed. When Haspel was asked whether North Korea had changed its behavior in the preceding two years—that is, during Trump’s presidency—she said it hadn’t.

Coats told the committee that Russia was meddling throughout Europe. He cited “issues with Turkey”—apparently a reference to his written report, which warned of Turkey’s “growing authoritarianism” and its “regional ambitions.” And he cautioned that although ISIS had lost control of territory, it continued to command “thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria,” had returned to guerrilla warfare, and was “moving to other ungoverned spaces” and “continuing to plot attacks” against the United States and other targets. Haspel made the same points.

Xi isn’t the opposition. Nor is Putin or Kim. The opposition is Americans: Schumer, Pelosi, and unruly intelligence officials.
The directors’ testimony infuriated Trump. On Twitter, he lashed out at “the Intelligence people” and insisted he was right about ISIS and North Korea. “Caliphate will soon be destroyed,” the president tweeted. “North Korea relationship is best it has ever been … Decent chance of Denuclearization. … Progress being made.” The next day, Trump said the intelligence chiefs had told him privately that reports about their testimony—which was broadcast on live TV—were “fake news.” He fawned over Kim (“We have a fantastic chemistry”), second-guessed Coats’ assessment of North Korea, and boasted that he had fired Mattis.

That clash in late January underscores our country’s predicament: Congress, our intelligence agencies, and our national security officials know the truth about Trump’s authoritarian friends. But Trump stands by his friends. He repeats their lies and attacks any American, even a dead war hero, who tells the truth. He’s a traitor.

Go back and watch Trump’s remarks at the White House on Jan. 10, during the government shutdown. At the time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer were refusing to fund Trump’s border wall. But Trump was getting love from Chinese President Xi Jinping. So Trump declared that the Chinese government was better than the Democratic Party of the United States. “I find China, frankly, in many ways, to be far more honorable than Cryin’ Chuck and Nancy,” said Trump. “I think that China is actually much easier to deal with than the opposition party.”

That’s how Trump sees the world. Xi isn’t the opposition. Nor is Putin or Kim. The opposition is Americans: Schumer, Pelosi, and unruly intelligence officials. These troublemakers contradict Trump and threaten the dictators with whom he enjoys warm “chemistry.” When Trump negotiates with men like Kim or Erdogan, he claims to do so on behalf of Americans. But in truth, he sees himself as part of a club of CEOs: heads of state. In that club, little people like Khashoggi and the Kurds don’t count. And helping your fellow CEO by hacking the Democratic Party of the United States—in Trump’s view, the real opposition—isn’t an assault on democracy or American sovereignty. It’s a favor.

Trump sides with his fellow authoritarians over his countrymen, even in disputes about other authoritarians. Consider a story from The Threat, the new book by Andrew McCabe, the former acting FBI director. In July 2017, a U.S. intelligence official reported to McCabe that he had just briefed Trump on Russian espionage inside the United States. Trump wasn’t interested. Instead, Trump wanted to talk about reports of a recent North Korean missile test. “The president did not believe it had happened,” McCabe writes. “The president thought it was a hoax. He thought that North Korea did not have the capability to launch such missiles. He said he knew this because Vladimir Putin had told him so.” The briefers explained to Trump that his assertions were inconsistent with U.S. intelligence. But Trump refused to budge. “I believe Putin,” he said.

Late last week, Trump defied the U.S. government again. He intervened to protect China and North Korea from American sanctions. The Treasury Department had just announced penalties against Chinese shipping companies for helping North Korea evade the sanctions.
Trump, in a tweet, replied that he was personally withdrawing the penalties. Former Treasury officials were aghast that an American president, on behalf of foreign powers, would undercut his own administration’s sanctions. But the White House, in a statement, declared: “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”

Yes, Trump likes Kim. He likes Putin, Xi, Erdogan, Mohammed bin Salman, and many other authoritarians. Trump doesn’t want sanctions on any of these fine fellows. He just wants trade deals, arms deals, and some help in the Middle East. In exchange, he’ll defend their assaults on American citizens and residents, and he’ll attack any American who challenges their lies. You don’t need Mueller’s report to tell you that. You just need your eyes.
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/201 ... ussia.html


Trump cuts off aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador
In the midst of a migrant crisis on the southern U.S. border, President Trump says he is is cutting off $500 million in funding to the Northern Triangle countries. But critics say he lacks the authority to cut the funding and his action undermines efforts to stop the exodos from Central America.
DAVID C ADAMS

29 MAR 2019 – 9:11 PM EDT


President Donald Trump walks with, from left, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Senator Marco Rubio, (R-Fla), and Senator Rick Scott, (R-Fla), during a visit to Lake Okeechobee, Florida, Friday, March 29, 2019. Crédito: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Upset over the mounting flow of migrants at the U.S. southern border, President Donald Trump stated Friday that he has cut off $500 million in foreign aid approved by Congress for three Central American countries.


Trump blamed the governments of the region for not doing enough to prevent the migrant exodus which U.S. officials say is overwhelming immigration controls at the southern border with Mexico.

“I'm not playing games," Trump told reporters during a trip to Florida. "I've ended payments to Guatemala, to Honduras and El Salvador. No money goes there anymore," he said, standing next to Florida's two U.S. Senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, as well as the state's Governor Ron DeSantis.


"We were giving them $500 million. We were paying them tremendous amounts of money and we're not paying them anymore because they haven't done a thing for us," he added. "They set up these caravans in many cases, they put their worst people in the caravan. They're not going to put their best in. They get rid of their problems and they march up here."

The State Department on Friday began the process of informing Congress that it intended to halt the foreign aid, according to internal press guidance obtained by Univision. Trump appeared to have jumped the gun on Friday, as rules require a seven day notification period before officials make any announcement to the public, or the affected governments. According to the State Department guidance that process was not due to begin officially until Monday, April 1.

The White House and State Department did not respond to repeated requests from Univision for comment. There was no immediate response from the governments of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, who diplomats said were blindsided by the decision.

"Not effective partners"
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave instructions "to redirect approximately $450 million in 2018 foreign assistance funds planned for the Northern Triangle to other foreign policy priorities," according to the internal guidance. Remaining 2017 foreign assistance funds were also to be redirected.

"These funds will be redirected to support foreign assistance programs that are truly effective and work to advance our foreign policy goals. At this time, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvadaor are not effective partners in our effort to curb migration to our southern border," it added.

Critics say halting the aid could jeopardize efforts to build greater cooperation with the governments of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to stem the flow of migrants.

"Aid programs give hope"
"This hits the U.S. organizations, churches and dedicated professionals who are trying to make this happen, and develop these countries while they lower migration," said one U.S. diplomat in the region who asked not to be named. "Then there are all the hundreds of thousands of people who these aid programs give hope to and keep on their land. Who knows how many more people are going to migrate without that hope."

The lack of funding is already having an impact as budget managers try to rearrange what little money is left in the pipeline, according to sources who spoke to Univision.

“It’s gotten to a critical point. We are a week or two from having to close programs and start firing people,” said the diplomat. “All programs are being brought down to a minimum level so they are not destroyed,” the diplomat added.

Funding delays over foreign aid are common due to bureaucratic issues, but there are legal restraints on how much the White House can interfere with the budget set by Congress. “In the case of Central America aid, it would be illegal not to spend it as specified,” said Adam Isacson, a regional expert at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a U.S.-based human rights group.

The White House has until September 30 to assign the funds, he added.

The withholding of aid comes after repeated threats by Trump to cut funding for Central America due to his frustration over the mounting number of migrants arriving at the southern U.S. border with Mexico to seek asylum.

Trump also threatend on Friday to close the border with Mexico if the situaiton does not improve.

“This is classic Trump. The same thing happened with the wall. Once Congress appropriates money and it becomes law, the President doesn’t get to just do whatever he wants with it,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, an influential Washington DC group that seeks to shape regional policy.

Funds designed to stop migrants
The aid is part of a bipartisan program designed by the Obama Administration to reduce illegal immigration by increasing security, improving democratic governance and creating jobs in the three so-called Northern Triangle countries, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, where most of the migrants come from. The funds pay for training of the judiciary, rural development programs to help farmers and reduce poverty, as well as programs to deter migrants from making the dangerous journey north and helping resettle those who are deported.

Some observers noted the irony of money being withheld from programs designed to reduce immigration at a time that the Trump administration is complaining about a national emergency at the border due to the large number of migrants.

One affected program manager who runs a $65 million job training program in Guatemala, told Univision, "it means gutting aid to youth, women, and communities."

"Everything we were doing to reduce gang presence, provide education and workforce development, improve services; and everything we were doing with the private sector to employ people (reduce migration) is literally going down the crapper." - US senior project manager in Guatemala.

"Cutting funding will actually increase migration, crime, gangs, corruption. Don't expect less caravans. And certainly don't expect less cocaine on U.S. soil as result of this policy," the manager said.

President "countermands" senior advisers
"The president’s recent statement on zeroing out assistance for the Northern Triangle reveals once again that his foreign policy is based on highly personalistic misinterpretations of what is actually going on around the world," said former US ambassador and Univision foreign policy analyst John Feeley, who previously served as the deputy head for Latin America at the State Department.

"His own senior advisers tell him that a small amount of foreign assistance will help achieve the goal of slowing the migrant flows, and in a fit of hubristic anger, he countermands them. This is not how a serious American administration conducts foreign policy. It’s how second-tier dictatorships operate.”

James Nealon, who was U.S. ambassador to Honduras from 2014-2017, said "cutting off assistance to cooperative countries will exacerbate the poor governance and instability that feed migration." He added: " If the President hates irregular migration now, just wait until he cuts off the very assistance designed to mitigate it."

In October, Trump tweeted the US would "begin cutting off" foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador after he accused them of not being able “to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the US.”


In a March speech to conservatives, Trump accused Central America of sending “some very bad people … with tremendous violence in their past: murderers, killers, drug dealers, human traffickers.”

Mixed messages
At the same time as Trump lashes out at the region, administration officials are seeking the cooperation of Central American governments. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met with officials from the three countries in Honduras on Wednesday to sign what she called was a "historic" regional migration pact to increase cooperation on security issues and prevent the migrant ‘caravans’ that have so angered Trump.

“America shares common cause with the countries of Central America in confronting these challenges,” Nielsen said in a press statement on Thursday, hailing the pact. "Together we will prevail," she added.

Trump has already tried to slash the budget for Central America, though he has met strong resistance in Congress which sees value in support for programs on the ground to deal with what many see as the push factors that cause migrants to leave: poverty, insecurity and government corruption.

Funding to the Northern Triangle countries has fallen steadily in recent years dropping to around $500 million last year, according to an analysis by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a U.S.-based human rights group.

While government corruption is a major concern in the region, aid experts point out that 90 percent of the funding goes to private contracts with international aid agencies, U.S. consulting companies and local non-profit groups who carry out the programs. The Trump administration appear more interested in spending money on securing the border than tackling issues of third world poverty afflicting the region, they add.

...
00:02 / 00:15
Poverty in Honduras driving a mass exodus to the U.S.


"Breaking point"
Trump declared illegal immigration a national emergency in February as part of a plan to shift $6.7 billion in non-congressionally approved funds to border wall construction.

Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), told reporters on Wednesday that he had urged Congress to allocate more resources for the border, warning of an unprecedented migration surge that has pushed his agency to “the breaking point.”

The agency detained more than 3,700 migrants on Monday, the highest one-day total at the border in a decade. U.S. authorities detained more than 76,000 in February, and this month, they are on pace to exceed 95,000, according to the CBP projections.
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:19 pm

Letter and memo released by @RepCummings detailing the concerns of a career White House official about how security clearances were issued in the Trump administration.

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Whistle-Blower Tells Congress of Irregularities in White House Security Clearances
April 1, 2019
President Trump personally ordered his former chief of staff, John F. Kelly, to grant a clearance last year to Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser.Doug Mills/The New York Times


President Trump personally ordered his former chief of staff, John F. Kelly, to grant a clearance last year to Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser.Doug Mills/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — A whistle-blower working inside the White House has told a House committee that senior Trump administration officials granted security clearances to at least 25 individuals whose applications had been denied by career employees, the committee’s Democratic staff said Monday.

The whistle-blower, Tricia Newbold, a manager in the White House’s Personnel Security Office, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee in a private interview last month that the 25 individuals included two current senior White House officials, in addition to contractors and other employees working for the office of the president, the staff said in a memo it released publicly.

The memo does not identify any of 25 individuals referenced by Ms. Newbold. The New York Times reported in February that President Trump had personally ordered his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, to grant a clearance last year to Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser. Mr. Kelly had recorded Mr. Trump’s direction to him in a memo, according to several people familiar with its contents. Mr. Trump had denied playing a role in an interview with The Times in the Oval Office a month earlier. Mr. Kelly left the White House at the end of last year.

Ms. Newbold told the committee’s staff members that the clearance applications had been denied for a variety of reasons, including “foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct,” the memo said. The denials by the career employees were overturned, she said, by more-senior officials who did not follow the procedures designed to mitigate security risks.

Ms. Newbold, who has worked in the White House for 18 years under both Republican and Democratic administrations, said she chose to speak to the Oversight Committee after attempts to raise concerns with her superiors and the White House counsel went nowhere, according to the committee staff’s account.

“I feel that right now this is my last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office,” she said, according to a summary of her March 23 interview with the committee’s staff distributed on Monday.

White House officials have been concerned for weeks that Ms. Newbold would either speak publicly or share information that she had gleaned about how security clearances had been handled during the first half of Mr. Trump’s term. Her statements to the Oversight Committee, which is controlled by Democrats, are likely to increase pressure on the White House to address lingering questions about its general practices around keeping the nation’s secrets and several high-profile cases.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who is the Oversight Committee’s chairman, included information provided by Ms. Newbold in a letter to Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, on Monday again demanding that the White House turn over files connected to the security clearance process and make administration personnel available for interviews.

Mr. Cummings said he was prepared to authorize subpoenas as soon as Tuesday to try to compel the White House to comply with an investigation into whether national secrets were at risk — an escalation that could force Mr. Cipollone either to reach an accommodation with Congress or fight in court.

“The committee has given the White House every possible opportunity to cooperate with this investigation, but you have declined,” Mr. Cummings wrote to Mr. Cipollone, describing a 90-minute briefing Mr. Cipollone provided and on-site document review as “general” and unhelpful. “Your actions are now preventing the committee from obtaining the information it needs to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Republicans on Capitol Hill blasted Mr. Cummings for his handling of the case, calling it a “partisan attack on the White House” and accusing him of cherry picking from Ms. Newbold’s interview. For example, they said, among the 25 individuals cited by Ms. Newbold were nonpolitical employees including a General Services Administration janitor.

“Chairman Cummings’s investigation is not about restoring integrity to the security clearance process, it is an excuse to go fishing through the personal files of dedicated public servants,” said Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the Oversight Committee’s top Republican.

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Representative Elijah Cummings, chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, said he was prepared to authorize subpoenas as soon as Tuesday to try to compel the White House to comply with an investigation into whether national secrets were at risk.Erin Schaff/The New York Times


Representative Elijah Cummings, chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, said he was prepared to authorize subpoenas as soon as Tuesday to try to compel the White House to comply with an investigation into whether national secrets were at risk.Erin Schaff/The New York Times
Mr. Cipollone has argued repeatedly that the power to deny or grant security clearances “belongs exclusively” to the executive branch and therefore Congress has no authority to make such “unprecedented and extraordinarily intrusive demands.” He has simultaneously accused Mr. Cummings of mischaracterizing his posture toward the committee, writing that his office had been acting in good faith with regard to several of the committee’s investigations.

Mr. Cummings said he planned to issue a subpoena for the testimony of Carl Kline, who until recently served as the head of the personnel security division and was Ms. Newbold’s boss, and he identified five other senior White House officials whose testimony he planned to seek.

He requested summaries of the security clearance adjudication process and any related documents for nine current and former officials, including Mr. Kushner; Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and White House adviser; and John Bolton, the national security adviser. Mr. Cummings also asked for a document Ms. Newbold said she assembled on the 25 individuals whose clearance denials she said were reversed.

Ms. Newbold gave the committee details about the cases of two senior White House officials whom she said were initially denied security clearances by her or other nonpolitical specialists in the office that were later overturned.

In one case, she said that a senior White House official was denied a clearance after a background check turned up concerns about possible foreign influence, “employment outside or businesses external to what your position at the EOP entails,” and the official’s personal conduct. Mr. Kline stepped in to reverse the decision, she said, writing in the relevant file that “the activities occurred prior to Federal service” without addressing concerns raised by Ms. Newbold and another colleague.

NBC News reported in January that Mr. Kline had overruled a decision by career security officials concerned about granting Mr. Kushner a clearance.

In the case of the second senior White House official, Ms. Newbold told the committee that a specialist reviewing the clearance application wrote a 14-page memo detailing disqualifying concerns, including possible foreign influence. She said that Mr. Kline instructed her “do not touch” the case, and soon granted the official clearance.

In its January report, NBC News also said that Ms. Newbold had filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in October 2018 against Mr. Kline, accusing him of discriminating against her over her short stature, which is caused by a form of dwarfism.

There is nothing barring the president or his designees from overturning the assessments of career officials. But Ms. Newbold sought to portray the decisions as unusual and frequent, and, in any case, irregular compared to the processes usually followed by her office to mitigate security risks.

“Once we adjudicate it, the president absolutely has the right to override and still grant the clearance, but we owe it to the president and the American people to do what is expected of us, and our job is to adjudicate national security adjudications regardless of influence,” she told the committee, according to the staff’s memo.

Ms. Newbold also asserted that the Trump administration had made changes to security protocols that made it easier for individuals to get clearances. The changes included stopping credit checks on applicants to work in the White House, which she said helps identify if employees of the president could be susceptible to blackmail. She also said the White House had stopped, for a time, the practice of reinvestigating certain applicants who had received security clearances in the past.

The issue is not a new one for the Trump administration.

In February 2018, questions emerged about the process behind the interim security clearance granted to Rob Porter, then the White House staff secretary. Mr. Kelly announced a series of changes to the process, which resulted in Mr. Kushner’s status — interim top secret at the time — being downgraded.

In the months that followed, some White House officials privately accused Mr. Kelly and other officials of using the security clearances in an arbitrary fashion, to push out aides they either did not favor or who they saw as disruptive to managing Mr. Trump.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/01/us/p ... ances.html
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:31 am

‘STAMPED OUT’
White Nationalist Body Count Swells, and Trump’s Department of Homeland Security Retreats

The intelligence work that is supposed to support law enforcement is being shuttered by an administration that finds bliss in ignorance.
Mark Potok
04.02.19 5:17 PM ET
OPINION
Win McNamee/Getty
The Department of Homeland Security’s decision to disband its group of domestic terrorism intelligence analysts effectively ends the agency’s role in providing assessments of white nationalist threats to law enforcement.

The elimination of a branch of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), first reported by the Daily Beast earlier this week, resulted mainly in the reassignment of more than a dozen analysts devoted to Islamist terrorism and extremism. But it also saw the reassignment of the final two DHS experts on white nationalist extremism—just as white nationalist terrorism is clearly rising.

The reorganization, which took place last summer, was the latest, and perhaps final, step in what amounts to a dismantling of the agency’s work on domestic terrorism threats—a weakening that began under Barack Obama but accelerated under President Trump. That task is now largely limited to the FBI.

“There was a little bit of life left, and that’s now been completely stamped out,” said a former DHS official who worked in intelligence. “They made a decision to get rid of the whole counter-terrorism mission of I&A.”


The diminution of DHS’s work in counterterrorism intelligence—it once regularly provided reports to local, state and regional law enforcement agencies—began a decade ago. In the spring of 2009, the non-Islamic domestic terrorism team at DHS produced a report warning of a rise in radical right terror, largely in an angry response to the election of the nation’s first black president.

Its warnings were prescient, coming just before a series of terror attacks. Among them was the murder of an abortion provider at his church; a neo-Nazi’s murder of a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; another neo-Nazi’s failed attempt to murder hundreds of Martin Luther King Day celebrants; and the arrest of a man apparently plotting to bomb immigrants. The period also saw the reemergence of the often extremely violent antigovernment “Patriot” movement.

But that didn’t stop some 20 conservative groups from attacking the DHS report, falsely alleging, among other things, that it painted all conservatives and military veterans as being potential Timothy McVeighs. In the end, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano caved in to the pressure, withdrew the report, and publicly criticized members of the team, who were reassigned to other jobs.

The ultimate result was that six of eight DHS analysts left the agency for other jobs. The two who remained were assigned to the FBI and to the network of “fusion centers” that link local law enforcement to national law agencies.

It got worse under Trump.

This is the president, after all, who while campaigning repeatedly criticized Obama for supposedly refusing to use the words “Islamic terrorism.” He is the man who proposed a ban on immigration from Muslim countries. He infamously said that there were “many fine people” among the neo-Nazi protesters who came to Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, and, in the wake of the recent murders of 50 Muslims in New Zealand, he said he didn’t think white nationalism was rising.

In 2017, the Trump administration seriously considered changing the name of DHS’s Countering Violent Extremism program—designed to deter terror attacks by working through community engagement and education programs—to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.”

The renaming was dropped amid widespread criticism. But the administration did rescind several key grants that had been awarded under the program, including one to Life After Hate, a group of former extremists who work to help others leave the movement, and one to a group of researchers at the University of North Carolina who were “helping young people develop media campaigns aimed at preventing their peers from embracing white supremacy and other violent ideologies,” in the words of The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart.


The Anti-Defamation League reports that 71 percent of killings by extremists in the United States between 2008 and 2017 were carried out by radical rightists. The Center for Strategic and International Studies, looking at terrorism cases between 2007 and 2017, found that there were five or fewer right-wing extremist attacks each year between 2007 and 2011, but that rose to 14 in 2012 and 31 by 2017. Another study, by the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute, found that the American radical right was behind nearly twice as many plots as Islamist groups from 2008 to 2016—115 cases versus 63 involving radical Islamists.

Hate crimes are on the rise, and so are hate groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The murder of 11 congregants of a Pittsburgh synagogue last fall, along with the slaughter of 50 Muslims at two mosques in New Zealand, are merely the latest reminders of the growing threat of the radical right.

But you’d never know that to listen to the administration.

The accused New Zealand killer wrote before his attack of hating “anti-white scum” and admiring racist murderers like Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway, and Dylann Roof, who murdered nine in Charleston, South Carolina, as heroes. He cited the white supremacist “14 Words” approvingly.

But Kellyanne Conway, in trying to suggest that the New Zealand killer was some kind of leftist, described him as a pro-China “eco-terrorist” even as she encouraged people to read the murderer’s full manifesto.

Mick Mulvaney, White House chief of staff, said that the accused killer’s 74-page screed contained “eco-terrorist passages.”

Those claims are based on a superficial reading. While the writer does show an interest in the environment, so did the original Nazis—Hitler and many others then saw themselves as protecting the environment, even if it was mainly from what they saw as the disfiguring presence of Jewish people. And the writer shows that interest in the environment in the course of making his racist motives perfectly plain.

Donald Trump has repeatedly avoided criticizing the white nationalist right, apparently not wanting to antagonize his base. He has suggested that the radical right is tiny and does not pose a serious threat.

Now, thanks to the latest changes at the agency that is meant to provide an intelligence basis for many agencies’ law enforcement work, the administration seems to be doing its best to ensure that the threat it talks down continues to swell.
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:55 am

and because of trump now millions of Americans will think that the noise from wind turbines causes cancer



4/02/2019

The Trump-Forsaken, Flood-Fucked Farmers and Tribes
A state of emergency exists right now (or existed within the past week) for the Crow Reservation in Montana, as well as in the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation and the Pine Ridge Reservation of the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota, all due to the insane, ongoing flooding from a sudden huge snowfall and sudden warm up that suddenly caused that sudden snow to become sudden water. In Nebraska, the Ponca and Santee Sioux tribes were affected by the floods, too.

The floods washed away a water line at Pine Ridge and while it was being repaired, the reservation didn't have safe drinking water. The waters have also prevented people from being able to get to grocery stores and pharmacies, and that's in a place of 20,000 people, half of whom live below the poverty line, where health problems are an issue without the roads to the doctor and, well, food being cut off.

What does it mean that the road was cut off? Here's what one highway in Iowa looked like a few days ago:


How fucked are things in the Midwest right now? Those Iowa roads will take months to repair, with some not expected to open until the fall because the ground is so saturated they can't even get in the construction equipment to start work.

Oh, and the water in all these places is likely fucked, especially for people who rely on wells. See, floods tends to take anything they wash over with them, including shit and poison that covers the farms all over the region. That shit and poison is now polluting the wells. In 300 counties in 10 states are over a million people who rely on water from ground wells that could get a dose of poisonous shit water. We're not even talking about the Superfund clean-up sites that were already contaminated and that were hit by the floods in Nebraska and Missouri. More free-flowing chemical nightmares.

And there's the farmers. Yeah, that contaminated flood water is also fucking up the lives of thousands of farmers. It's not just that whatever crops they thought they might grow are gone. It's that the grain and soybeans they had in storage got contaminated by the poisonous shit water. That means that what a farmer hoped to sell to make up for how terrible things might be with the crops is now mostly going to have to be destroyed. And currently, the USDA doesn't have a fund to assist farmers with crops and stored grain lost in floods. Hundreds of thousands of acres of farm land were or are underwater. For soybean farmers already getting fucked by Trump's trade war with China, it's a double blow.

Trump is talking a good pro-farmer game right now as he intensifies his hate-fucking of Puerto Rico, which he sees as less worthy of government help than the almighty farmer. But Trump's 2020 budget proposal fucks over farmers nearly as badly; it cuts the budget of the USDA by over 14%, or $3.6 billion, and lowers the crop insurance subsidies for farmers, as well as capping what small farmers can get. Plus, if he closes the border with Mexico, well, that closes a huge market for American crops.

Just a continuous fucking by the potent combination of utter incompetence, complete ignorance, and willful dickishness that is the standard operating ethos of the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, the one issue that combines all of these issues, from South Dakota to Puerto Rico, climate change, ain't even on Trump's radar. But you can sure as hell bet it's on the minds of farmers. They fuckin' know, even if they want to pretend otherwise. The same goes for immigration issues. They know how shit works.

Of course, they're gonna have to figure out if their farms matter more than their racism in 2020.
http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2019/04/ ... rmers.html


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Farmers in the Midwest are in fact experiencing a horrific economic and environmental crisis that no one is alleviating. The Trump admin couldn't care less.



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Grain silos that burst from flood damage in Fremont County, Iowa, on March 29, 2019.Tom Polansek / Reuters
Farmers won't be compensated for millions of dollars of soybeans lost after floods and trade war
Farmers will have to destroy all grain contaminated by floodwater, and many are worried about making good on previously signed contracts to deliver crops.
Image: Grain silos that burst from flood damage in Fremont County, Iowa, on March 29, 2019.

April 2, 2019, 9:54 AM CDT / Source: Reuters
By Reuters
There's nothing the government can do about the millions of bushels of damaged crops in Iowa and other flooded states, since the Department of Agriculture has no program that covers the catastrophic and largely uninsured stored-crop losses from the widespread flooding that was triggered by the "bomb cyclone" that hit the region in mid-March.

The USDA last year made $12 billion in aid available to farmers who suffered trade-war losses, without needing Congressional approval. The agency has separate programs that partially cover losses from cattle killed in natural disasters, compensate farmers who cannot plant crops due to weather, and help them remove debris left in fields after floods.

But Congress would have to pass legislation to address the harvests lost in the storm, according to Agriculture Under Secretary Bill Northey and a USDA statement to Reuters.




How farmers in 'Trump country' are being hit by the shutdown
JAN. 14, 201907:28
"It's not traditionally been covered," he said. "But we've not usually had as many losses."

Indigo Ag, an agriculture technology company, identified 832 on-farm storage bins within flooded Midwest areas. They hold an estimated 5 million to 10 million bushels of corn and soybeans — worth between $17.3 million and $34.6 million — that could have been damaged in the floods, the company told Reuters.

Across the United States, farmers held soybean stocks of 2.716 billion bushels as of March 1, the largest on record for the time period, the USDA said. Corn stocks were the third-largest on record.

Some Congress members have expressed interest in pursuing legislation to provide aid for damaged crops in storage, Northey said. But passing legislation could require a lengthy political process in the face of an urgent disaster, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told farmers at a meeting in Malvern, Iowa.

"If we have to pass a bill to do it, I hate to tell you how long that takes," said Grassley.

With farm incomes declining for years before the flood, many farmers had planned to sell their grain in storage for money to live, pay their taxes or finance operations, including planting this spring.

Farmers will have to destroy any grains that were contaminated by floodwater, which could also prevent some growers from planting oversaturated fields.

Near Crescent, Iowa, farmer Don Rief said the flood damaged more than 60,000 bushels of his grain, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. He tried to move the crops before the flood, but dirt roads were too soft from the storm to support trucks.

"We were just hurrying like hell," Rief said. "Hopefully USDA will come in and minimize some of the damage."

The USDA does not have a program that covers flood-damaged grain because farmers have typically received more advance notice of rising waters, allowing them to move crops and limit losses, said Tom Vilsack, who ran the agency under former President Barack Obama.

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In this case, floods inundated fields quickly after multiple levees failed when rain and melting snow filled the Missouri River and other waterways. The frozen ground was unable to soak up the water.

Near Percival, Iowa, railroad tracks leading up to a grain facility were flooded and broken. A Deere & Co dealership, Wendy's restaurant, Motel 6, and gas station nearby were also underwater, along with homes, cars and farm equipment. Some farmers moved machinery such as tractors on to highways to keep it out of the path of the floods.

About 416,000 acres of cropland across six counties in Iowa were flooded, said Amanda De Jong, state executive director for the USDA Iowa Farm Service Agency.

Of that, about 309,000 acres will be eligible for the federal program that helps farmers and ranchers remove debris left by natural disasters on farmlands, De Jong said last week. She estimated the program would need about $34 million to clean up the fields.

Iowa's agriculture secretary Mike Naig said the government also should help compensate farmers for some of the grain that was damaged.

"This is clearly a gap that we think needs to be addressed," said Naig, who accompanied Grassley and Northey in the chopper.

Time is short for a solution, said Carol Vinton, supervisor of Mills County, Iowa, one of the state's two most heavily damaged counties.

Vinton said she was getting calls from farmers whose grain was damaged and are worried about making good on previously signed contracts to deliver those crops to elevators.

The USDA wants to do everything it can to help farmers hurt by the disaster, Northey said.

"They spent all last year raising that crop, putting it in the bin and they maybe already have it marketed," he said. "And now they're going to have to spend time just to get rid of it — just to clean the place up."
https://www.nbcnews.com/business/busine ... er-n989956




Certified Moron Donald Trump Thinks Wind Turbines “Cause Cancer”
Trump, who once likened wind turbines to the Lockerbie bombing, has a new conspiracy theory.

Bess LevinApril 3, 2019 12:37 pm

“Come on people! The dots are all there.”

By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
Donald Trump has a long history of attacking wind energy, which he likely views as a threat to coal, as well as to his campaign to transform the planet into a truck-stop urinal—the kind you have to unlock with a key attached to a giant steering wheel. “It’s Friday,” he tweeted one innocent afternoon in August 2012. “How many bald eagles did wind turbines kill today?” A couple months later, he opined: “If Obama keeps pushing wind turbines our country will go down the tubes economically, environmentally & aesthetically.” He spent most of 2013 and 2014 fighting Scotland‘s first minister over plans to build an offshore wind farm near his Aberdeenshire golf course, telling an Irish paper that “wind farms are a disaster for Scotland, like Pan Am 103,” meaning the transatlantic flight that was bombed by a terrorist in 1988, killing all 259 passengers on board and 11 on the ground when chunks of the aircraft landed on residential areas of Lockerbie, Scotland. (“Here’s a reference these Scots will understand,” he presumably thought to himself.) Returning to his avian concerns, the noted animal-rights activist told a West Virginia crowd last summer, “You look underneath some of those windmills, it’s like a killing field [for] birds.”

His concerns, it seems, aren’t limited to wildlife. “If Hillary got in. . . you’d be doing wind. Windmills. Weee,” he told the crowd at a rally in Michigan last week during an aside that, were he not president, would be submitted as evidence to have him committed. “If it doesn’t blow, you can forget about television for that night. ‘Darling, I want to watch television.’ ‘I’m sorry! The wind isn’t blowing.’ I know a lot about wind.” So, really, it was only a matter of time before this happened:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday launched his latest wild attack on wind turbines, an energy source that has long attracted his ire.

“They say the noise causes cancer,” the president remarked of the turbines at the National Republican Congressional Committee fund-raiser in Washington, D.C. “If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations—your house just went down 75 percent in value.”

As virtually everyone on the Internet was quick to point out, over here, on planet Earth, cancer is not caused by noise, wind-induced or otherwise. Meanwhile, an energy source that does tend to cause health issues, as New York’s Jonathan Chait notes, “is coal, an extremely dirty fuel Trump loves and has attempted to bolster, with almost no success. Aside from costing more to produce than other sources of power, and in addition to enormous air-pollution side effects, coal also emits greenhouse gases in large amounts.”

“Wind turbines cause cancer” isn’t the first piece of medical advice Dr. Trump has dispensed to his followers. In April 2012, he tweeted a story claiming that “people who live up to 2 miles away from the turbines develop such things as sleep, stress and mood disorders once wind farms go up.” (More likely, experts say, the symptoms are psychosomatic.) That same year, he warned that L.E.D. light bulbs cause cancer, and that one must “be careful,” because “the idiots who came up with this stuff don’t care.” Meanwhile, he believes fracking poses “ZERO health risks” and is, in fact, good for you.

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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:43 am

The Trump Administration seeks to monitor disabled peoples' social media profiles to cut benefits.

How A Trump Proposal Could Reduce 'Happy' Disabled People
Imani Barbarin

Contributor
Diversity & Inclusion
I understand disabled life, advocating for independence and inclusion.


The Trump Administration seeks to monitor disabled peoples' social media profiles to cut benefits. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) GETTY


A new policy proposal by the Trump administration calls for the surveillance of disabled people’s social media profiles to determine the necessity of their disability benefits. The proposal, which reportedly aims to cut down on the number of fraudulent disability claims would, monitor the profiles of disabled people and flag content that shows them doing physical activities. When it comes down to it, the policy dictates that disabled people shouldn’t be seen living their lives for fear of losing vital financial aid and, possibly, medical care.

The administration has been working closely with the Social Security Administration in an effort to reduce false claims believing that social media holds a cache of information regarding eligibility of Social Security Disability Benefits. They believe that by monitoring the social media accounts of disability benefit recipients, they can root out false claims and reduce the overall amount of money spent on the programs.

The proposal, like many of its policies regarding disabled people, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of disability and takes advantage of how social media operates in order to cut them off from the support they need. Disabled people don’t all function in the same way, and disability is not a set of stereotypes like taking selfies staring longingly at the world. They live lives while managing their energy for the activities they can handle and trying to make those they cannot more accessible.

Additionally, studies have shown that a majority of social media users show only the good in their lives, not the hardships or difficulties. Disabled people should be allowed to share the full scope of their existence without fear they’ll be accused of lying—and even fraud—by the United States Government which will likely reason that if a disabled person is seen going to the mall or taking time to swim or jog, they can be working.

The truth about disability is that it isn’t a series of down moments but both highs and lows that comprise the lives of the disabled. Simply because disabled people are seen exercising, dancing or shooting hoops does not mean that they have the ability to sustain that level of energy all day. This type of policy also plays upon the assumption that people with disabilities all function and move about in the world in the same way, which is entirely untrue. There are wheelchair users who can walk, people with cerebral palsy that can run and amputees that are bionic. It is just as dangerous to assume that disabled people should have to “overcome” their disabilities to do what they love as it is to assume there is nothing they want to do. One person’s body should never be considered a prescription for another.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/imanibarba ... a3d8b0636c



4/11/2019

Trump Likes to Watch
Let us say, and why not, that Donald Trump likes to watch members of his administration fuck and get fucked by animals. I mean, if there is one thing we know about Donald Trump, it's that, for almost every activity in his life short of playing golf and fucking porn stars and feeling up his daughter and glad-handing dictators, he prefers watching to doing. He stares at the goddamn TV all day. He makes other people do the firing. He doesn't even like to walk. That's how little he does. Remember the alleged pee tape? It wasn't that Russian prostitutes were pissing on him. He requested that the prostitutes do a show of pissing on the bed that Barack and Michelle Obama slept on when they were in Russia, and he watched that show, probably with that little, cruel smirk on his bloated, putrid face.

So let's say that when Trump wants to know how much his advisers, cabinet officials, and assorted lackeys are devoted to him and his mission to fuck shit up for the sake of fucking shit up, he asks them to have some kind of sex with some kind of animal. It's a loyalty method he learned from Roy Cohn, who was well known for letting goats fuck his ass whenever McCarthy wanted him to. Hell, McCarthy would invite J. Edgar Hoover over for a goat party, and Hoover would show up in full drag to let McCarthy pinch his man-tits while Cohn eagerly took goat cock.

Obviously, there are some true believers who are tripping over themselves to get their bestiality on with whatever beasts Trump wants. Mike Pompeo gladly fucked a large sow, who barely noticed it was being fucked. Betsy DeVos has had her ass eaten out by a well-trained iguana and a particularly anxious labradoodle that shit on her back. Racist ersatz human Stephen Miller creeped everyone in the room out by having a tiny grin on his unmoving face in his enormous alien head while he was fucked by a German shepherd.

Trump sits there in the Oval Office with the curtains closed and watches it all, usually with Ivanka, Jared, and his secret nurses by his side.

Mike Pence made a deal with Trump early on: no anal penetration and no placement of his holy dick in the orifice of another of God's creatures. However, Pence has learned to love sucking animal cock. He's blown donkeys and chimps. He even jacked off a lemur. Trump loves throwing new animals at Pence to see if he can get it to jizz. He'll have someone bring out a pangolin or some weird shit, and Pence will take stock of the situation before breaking out the hand lotion or lip balm and get down to business. "Hey, Mikey, he likes it," Trump will say when the aardvark or hairless cat ejaculates in Pence's pinched, pained face, and then Trump will look around to see if people get his 1970s joke and laugh. They do. Of course, they do.

When someone leaves the Trump administration, it's usually because they finally refuse to finger fuck a crocodile pussy or run away when they how weird a capybara penis is. Occasionally, they get out early. James Mattis avoided Trump constantly until one day the president pinned down the then-Secretary of Defense, handed him a jar, and said, "You smear this peanut butter on your balls and let that Great Dane lick it off." Mattis was out before the cap was even off the Jif. Kirstjen Nielsen let herself get fucked by a Shetland pony and let prarie dogs nibble at her nipples, but she drew the line when Trump had a boa constrictor brought out and wanted her to use it as a vibrator. Trump keeps pushing, wanting weirder and more dangerous shit because that's what it takes to keep him watching.

And then there are those who try and try but never can do enough. Poor Jeff Sessions made every effort to please the ever-watching president. He fucked sheep and chickens and all the farm animals he was given. He fucked and fucked, even though he was exhausted, even though he couldn't even orgasm anymore. When Trump started checking his phone to see how many retweets he had while Sessions was getting fucked by a frantic miniature donkey, it broke the Attorney General's soul.

So when someone new gets into a prime position in the administration, it's good to keep an eye out to see how willing that person is to go whole hog, if you will, into Trump's bizarre fetish/power trip.

When newly-minted Attorney General William Barr was speaking to the House and then the Senate judiciary committees this week, it was pretty clear that he was on board with the bestiality. That is a man who is DTFA. You could watch him lie about his redactions in the Mueller report and imagine that he had just been gang-banged by horny spider monkeys. You could watch him make the genuinely surprising and entirely fucked-up assertion that the FBI had been "spying" on the Trump campaign without good cause and picture this bulbous motherfucker hunched over while a zebra humped him. You know he gave a thumbs-up no matter how much pain and rupturing it might cause. Bill Barr will get fucked by animals as much as Trump wants.

I know, I know, we don't want this shit in our heads. We don't wanna think about Ben Carson receiving a rim job from a cocker spaniel. But we have to understand that the worst is happening. And the worst will continue to happen until it's stopped somehow. Hell, maybe the animals will have to do it for us. At this point, we'll fucking take our heroes in any genus. It's awful and it's agonizing and it's unending and it's not funny.

Although, ok, Mitch McConnell getting reamed out by a rhino. That's funny.
http://rudepundit.blogspot.com



The War On Transgender
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Re: TRUMP is seriously dangerous

Postby liminalOyster » Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:19 pm

SLAD, has the information relayed from Mueller/Barr had any significant impact on your view of the current situation? This is meant as a totally friendly and respectful question despite our apparent difference of opinion.
"It's not rocket surgery." - Elvis
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