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THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:07 am

Trump sows confusion by rejecting idea of North Korea talks.

WASHINGTON (AP) — True to form, President Donald Trump sowed policy confusion with a tweet.

Declaring Wednesday that "talking is not the answer" on North Korea, Trump's message appeared to clash with efforts by his Cabinet members to safeguard the possibility of a diplomatic solution as Kim Jong Un's military races toward mastering a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach America.

The president's morning tweet came a day after a highly provocative North Korean missile test that flew over Japan, a close American ally, potentially endangering civilians on the ground. On Wednesday, Kim called for more weapons launches in the Pacific.

"The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!" Trump tweeted.

The statement raised fresh uncertainty about the Trump administration's strategy for North Korea. How the U.S. plans address the North's growing nuclear capabilities is of increasing urgency not just in Northeast Asia, but also in the United States. Last month, the isolated, communist country tested for the first time a missile that could potentially strike the U.S. mainland.

Trump didn't spell out what he meant by "extortion," but he appeared to be referring to the $1.3 billion the U.S. has provided in aid to North Korea since 1995. Most of that has been food and fuel.

Criticism of past administrations' failures to halt North Korea's march toward nuclear weapons has been a recurrent theme from Trump. However, his comment overlooked that fact there's been virtually no U.S. aid to North Korea since early 2009. Talks also have been in limbo for years. The last formal negotiation between Washington and Pyongyang on the nuclear issue occurred in 2012.

Eliminating the possibility of new negotiations could limit U.S. options. It also risks increasing the chance of military confrontation between nuclear-armed powers.

Within hours of Trump's tweet, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis appeared to contradict him.

"We're never out of diplomatic solutions," Mattis said as he met with his counterpart from South Korea for talks on military readiness.

The U.S.-allied government supports, in theory, greater diplomatic outreach to Pyongyang. If war were to ever break out, millions of South Koreans would immediately find themselves within range of the North's large conventional weapons arsenal.

In Geneva, Robert Wood, the U.S. ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, sought to explain the president's tweet.

Trump was expressing his frustration at North Korea's "dangerous and provocative threats," Wood said. But like Mattis, he said the U.S. remained willing to discuss the North's denuclearization.

"The United States is open to trying to deal with this question diplomatically, but the other side is not," Wood told reporters.

It's not the first time Trump has complicated his administration's national security message via social media.

Last month, as aides worked to defuse tensions between Qatar and its Arab neighbors, Trump blindsided them by tweeting that Qatar funded terrorism. The gas-rich monarchy hosts 11,000 U.S. troops.

Trump also surprised officials with tweets on Russia and banning transgender people in the military.

Supporters of U.S. engagement with North Korea argue that periods when the U.S. is talking and providing aid to the country have proved the most successful in curbing its weapons development. In the past five years, without formal talks, the North's technological strides have been most rapid.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week hinted at possible direct talks if North Korea demonstrated its sincerity by stopping weapons tests. The U.S. also has been maintaining a diplomatic back channel with North Korea.

The immediate outlook for diplomacy, however, appears bleak.

On Wednesday, North Korea's Kim called for more weapons launches into the Pacific Ocean. The Korean Central News Agency said the launch that overflew Japan was of an intermediate-range missile that the North first successfully tested in May and threatened to fire into waters near Guam earlier this month. It described the launch as a "muscle-flexing" countermeasure to U.S.-South Korean military drills that conclude Thursday.

Trump offered a surprisingly subdued, initial response to the Japan overflight Tuesday, without any of the bombast of earlier this month when he warned the North of "fire and fury" if its threats persist. He said "all options are on the table," a standard formulation signaling Washington hasn't ruled out military action.

While the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday condemned the launch as "outrageous," there was no move to impose more sanctions.

At the disarmament body in Geneva, North Korean diplomat Ju Yong Chol said the council's statement revealed Washington's "evil intention to obliterate the DPRK's sovereignty and rights to existence and development."
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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:14 am

Trump pushes tax overhaul to “bring back Main Street”.

True to form for the president, Trump dangled the prospect of the “biggest ever” tax cut.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — President Donald Trump launched his fall push to overhaul the nation’s tax system by pledging Wednesday that the details-to-come plan would “bring back Main Street” by reducing the crushing tax burden on middle-class Americans, making a populist appeal for a proposal expected to heavily benefit corporate America.

Trump said his vision for re-writing the tax system, a key campaign pledge, would unlock stronger economic growth and benefit companies and workers alike. He promised it would be “pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker and pro-American.”

True to form for the president, Trump dangled the prospect of the “biggest ever” tax cut and warned that without it, “jobs in our country cannot take off the way they should. And it could be much worse than that.”

Trump, who rarely travels to promote his policy agenda, chose to debut his tax overhaul pitch before employees at a manufacturing plant in Springfield, Missouri, a community known as the birthplace of Route 66, one of the nation’s original highways, and one known as America’s Main Street.

“This is where America’s Main Street will begin its big, beautiful comeback,” the president declared.

After eight months without any major legislative victories and after a significant defeat on health care, Trump and Republican congressional leaders face mounting pressure to notch some significant achievements before next year’s midterm elections. But the tax overhaul effort already is facing political headwinds.

The White House and Republican lawmakers have not finalized details of the plan, and the push comes as Congress returns to face an intense September workload filled with must-do items such as raising the debt limit, funding the government and providing assistance for the Harvey recovery effort.

While the White House has been designing a tax plan aimed at appealing to Republicans, Trump sought to cast the effort in bipartisan terms. He called on members of both parties to work with him on a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver real tax reform for everyday hard-working Americans.”

“I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done — and I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress, do you understand?” Trump said. “Do you understand? Congress. I think Congress is going to make a comeback.”

The president used the official White House event to inject an overtly political message aimed at Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, a top Republican target in next year’s midterm elections.

“We must lower our taxes, and your senator, Claire McCaskill, she must do this for you. And if she doesn’t do it for you, you have got to vote her out of office,” Trump said, drawing out each of the last five words for emphasis.

Even before Trump took the stage, Democrats eagerly laid down their own markers for what the tax plan should look like.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer outlined a series of conditions, telling reporters the tax cuts should not go to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. He added that the plan should not increase the budget deficit and should be written by both parties — not just Republicans like the GOP’s failed health care effort.

“If the president wants to use populism to sell his tax plan, he ought to consider actually putting his money where his mouth is” and cut taxes for the middle class, not the richest Americans, Schumer said.

The Trump administration released a one-page set of goals in April for its tax overhaul, followed by a joint statement in July with congressional leaders.

In an interview with the Financial Times last week, Gary Cohn, a top Trump economic adviser, said the White House and Republican leaders had agreed on a “good skeleton” for the plan, and said the tax-writing committee in the House would be drafting legislation while the White House tries to sell it.

Cohn, who recently publicly denounced the president’s response to the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, traveled to Missouri with the president and was standing to the side of the stage. But he was not among a number of administration officials whom Trump publicly thanked in his opening remarks.

The White House played down the omission, saying White House staff members typically aren’t recognized in prepared remarks, only Cabinet members.

Trump said he would like to see the top corporate tax rate drop from 35 percent to 15 percent. But it’s not clear that the top rate will go that low in the plan or what kind of tax break a typical taxpayer would see.

With his promises to the middle class, Trump is essentially betting that the benefits of tax cuts for businesses will flow directly to workers, rather than ending up in the pockets of top executives and wealthy investors.

His administration has asserted that high corporate tax rates primarily hurt workers, since companies can stash their money overseas in countries with lower tax rates.

Trump’s Treasury Department cited a 2006 Congressional Budget Office study to back the claim that workers mostly bear the brunt from corporate taxes, as well as research by Kevin Hassett, the economist picked to lead the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

But Treasury officials concluded in a separate 2012 analysis that only 18 percent of corporate taxes’ costs fell on labor. This would suggest that Trump’s plan is more likely to bolster stock prices and CEO pay than trickle down to worker’s salaries.
http://www.denverpost.com/2017/08/30/donald-trump-tax-system-overhaul/
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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  bb1 on Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:38 am

I doubt if ordinary taxpayers will see a single red cent.

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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  bb1 on Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:41 am

Meanwhile......

http://news.sky.com/story/smoke-and-explosion-reported-in-flood-hit-texas-chemical-plant-11013475

Storm Harvey causes explosions at flood-hit Texas chemical plant
Nine people are in hospital after blasts at a plant which makes organic peroxides, which are extremely flammable.

Two explosions have occurred at the flood-hit Arkema SA chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, and there is a risk of further blasts.

The Arkema plant makes organic peroxides used in the production of plastic resins, polystyrene, paints and other products.

"Organic peroxides are extremely flammable and, as agreed with public officials, the best course of action is to let the fire burn itself out," the company said.

"We want local residents to be aware that the product is stored in multiple locations on the site, and a threat of additional explosion remains.

"Please do not return to the area within the evacuation zone until local emergency response authorities announce it is safe to do so."
...etc.

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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  bb1 on Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:26 pm

http://news.sky.com/story/trump-to-donate-1m-to-harvey-flood-relief-white-house-11014774

Trump to donate $1m of own money to Storm Harvey relief - White House
The US President is asking reporters to help him decide which specific organisation to give the money to, the White House says.

Donald Trump is pledging $1m (£774,000) in personal funds to Harvey storm relief efforts, the White House says.

The US President is also calling on reporters to help him decide which specific organisation to give it to, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says.

Harvey's floodwaters have heavily damaged tens of thousands of homes across Texas.

The storm is now threatening the region near the Texas-Louisiana state line.

At least 30 people have been killed, including a family of six whose van was swept off a Houston bridge during the storm.

:: More fires expected at Texas chemical plant

More follows...



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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:33 am

Donald Trump's pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio may not be upheld by a US court.

Donald Trump's controversial pardon of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio may not go through due to a US district court judge.

Judge Susan Bolton of the US District Court handling Mr Arpaio's case has cancelled a sentencing hearing for the former Maricopa County sheriff but stopped short of throwing out his conviction.

Instead, Ms Bolton said that because a presidential pardon carries an implication of guilt she wants both Mr Arpaio's lawyers and the US Department of Justice to submit briefs on why she should or should not vacate Mr Arpaio's conviction.

She has scheduled oral arguments for 4 October on the matter and will make a decision at that point. More at link.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/donald-trump-apos-pardon-sheriff-172358071.html
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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:39 am

Donald Trump's lawyers 'lay out strategy to discredit James Comey and head off obstruction of justice probe'.

Lawyers for Donald Trump say he has the power to hire and fire as he sees fit, and have called into question the reliability of his former FBI director as they lay out their defence against allegations of obstructing justice, it was reported on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal reported the President’s legal team submitted a memo to the special counsel leading the investigation saying he has authority under the constitution to dismiss the head of the FBI.

It also said another memo suggested James Comey, fired by Mr Trump in May, was the source of leaks to the news media and would make an unsuitable witness.

The details offer a glimpse into how Mr Trump’s lawyers plan to head off the investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, which becomes bigger and broader all the time. More at link.
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/donald-trump-apos-lawyers-apos-032000370.html
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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:15 am

Escalating tit for tat, US orders Russian consulate closed.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Escalating a diplomatic tit-for-tat, the United States abruptly ordered Russia on Thursday to shutter its San Francisco consulate and close offices in Washington and New York, intensifying tensions between the former Cold War foes. Washington gave Moscow 48 hours to comply.

The Consulate-General of Russia in San Francisco. The United States is retaliating against Russia by forcing closure of its consulate in San Francisco and scaling back its diplomatic presence in Washington and New York. The State Department says move is in response to the Kremlin forcing a cut in U.S. diplomatic staff in Moscow.

The Trump administration described its action as retaliation for the Kremlin's "unwarranted and detrimental" demand earlier this month that the U.S. cut its diplomatic staff in Russia. But Moscow declared it a major escalation, with a top Russian lawmaker saying the move heralded "the hot phase of diplomatic war."

"The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. Still, she said the U.S. hoped both countries could now move toward "improved relations" and "increased cooperation."    More at link.
https://www.mail.com/int/news/us/5481118-escalating-tit-tat-us-orders-russian-consulate-clo.html#.1258-stage-hero1-1
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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  bb1 on Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:50 am

Utterly childish, IMO. Why would any nation on earth 'co-operate' with an increasingly anarchic, blowhard Washington?

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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:19 am

Russia considering next move in spat with US.

Russian cadets walk past the U.S. consulate in St.Petersburg, Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow still has to study the United States' decision to shut its consulate in San Francisco before considering any possible retaliation.

The U.S. move, announced on Thursday in Washington, came in reaction to Russia's decision to make the United States cut its number of diplomatic staff in Russia.

Speaking at Russia's top diplomacy school on Friday, Lavrov said Moscow would react to the decision once it has finished analyzing it.

Lavrov defended Russia's decision to cut U.S. diplomatic staff as reciprocal reaction to the U.S. expelling Russian diplomats last December.
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COLD WAR DEJA VU?

Post  Lamplighter on Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:29 am

US may resume some visa work at Russia outposts

MOSCOW (AP) — The United States says it may resume conducting limited interviews at its three Russia consulates for people seeking U.S. visas.

The U.S. had temporarily suspended non-immigrant visa processing in Russia after Moscow ordered it to cut its diplomatic staff to 455. The U.S. said it had to let go of consular officials who process visas to comply.

At the time, the U.S. also said it would start doing visa interviews only at the Embassy in Moscow and no longer at the consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok. But a diplomatic cable sent to U.S. overseas posts and obtained by The Associated Press said "limited visa services" are resuming Friday.

The cable says the State Department will assess its new, smaller operation to determine whether it can resume some interviews at the consulates.
...............................................
Workers clear out of Russian consulate in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Acrid, black smoke was seen pouring from a chimney at the Russian consulate in San Francisco and workers began hauling boxes out of the stately building in a historic area of the city Friday, a day after the Trump administration ordered its closure amid escalating tensions between the United States and Russia.

The workers were hurrying to shut Russia's oldest consulate in the U.S. ahead of a Saturday deadline. The order to leave the consulate and an official diplomatic residence in San Francisco — home to a longstanding community of Russian emigres and technology workers — escalated an already tense diplomatic standoff between Washington and Moscow, even for those who have long monitored activities inside the closely monitored building.

"There is finally the realization by the administration that Russians have been involved in intelligence operations at this consulate, which they have been doing for decades," said Rick Smith, a veteran FBI special agent who previously headed the bureau's Russian counterintelligence squad in San Francisco. "It's almost 50 years of history and part of a tit-for-tat, but this is more like a hammer."

In a statement posted on Facebook, the Russian consulate said the closure would hurt both Russian and American citizens needing its services. The consulate issued more than 16,000 tourist visas to American citizens last year, it said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claims U.S. "special services" intend to search the consulate Saturday. She says that the U.S. also plans to search apartments in San Francisco used by Russian diplomats and their families. Zakharova said that involves the families leaving their apartments for 10 to 12 hours so officials can search.

The State Department isn't commenting specifically on whether officials plan to search the premises. But the State Department said as of Saturday, access to the consulate will only be granted with State Department permission.

It had no comment on the black smoke coming from the embassy in San Francisco, which triggered a visit from the San Francisco Fire Department. Firefighters who arrived at the scene were turned away by consulate officials who came from inside the building. An Associated Press reporter heard people who came from inside the building tell firefighters that there was no problem and that consulate staff were burning unidentified items in a fireplace.

Mindy Talmadge, a spokeswoman from the San Francisco Fire Department, said the department received a call about the smoke and sent a crew to investigate but determined the smoke was coming from the chimney.

Talmadge said she did not know what they were burning on a day when normally cool San Francisco temperatures had already climbed to 95 degrees by noon. "It was not unintentional. They were burning something in their fireplace," she said.

American counterintelligence officials have long kept a watchful eye on Russia's outpost in San Francisco, concerned that people posted to the consulate as diplomats were engaged in espionage. In addition to Consul Sergey Petrov, the consulate's website showed 13 other Russian officials working at the San Francisco post. When approached Friday, Petrov declined to answer questions about the closure or about what was being burned inside.

Sasha Sobol was among the crowd who went to the consulate Friday morning to renew a Russian passport, but was told the document wasn't ready and turned away by early afternoon. "It's really too bad because now we are going to have to go to Seattle or Houston," said Sobol, a resident of Sunnyvale with joint U.S-Russian citizenship.
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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:19 am

Trump reportedly growing frustrated with closest members of team.

Donald Trump is said to be silently growing frustrated with some of the top members of his administration.

In recent weeks, the President reportedly clashed with several of his officials on policy issues. Meanwhile, a top adviser expressed disapproval of Mr Trump's controversial comments following a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Friends of Mr Trump told the Washington Post that while the President spent August dealing with North Korea’s aggression, a tax reform plan and the government’s response to damage brought by Hurricane Harvey, he was also fuming over criticism from the media and his aides.

One subject of the President’s alleged fury is Gary Cohn, his chief economic adviser.

Mr Cohn, who is Jewish, told the Financial Times last week that “this administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups,” referring to the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups that gathered to protest the removal of a Confederate statue in the Virginia city.

Mr Trump received bipartisan backlash for his remarks appearing to equate white supremacists and new-Nazis with the left-wing demonstrators who opposed them at the event.

Mr Cohn also said he felt “enormous pressure” to quit the administration following Mr Trump’s response to the violent protests.

On Wednesday, Mr Cohn travelled with Mr Trump to Missouri, where the President announced the principles of his tax reform plan.

During a White House briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr Trump still has confidence in Mr Cohn.

“The President is working hand-in-hand with Gary and the rest of his team on tax reform,” Ms Sanders said. “As I’ve said several times earlier today, that's a big priority for the administration moving into the fall. And Gary is an integral member of the team leading that effort.”

According to the Post, Mr Trump is also apparently chafing against new restrictions placed on him by new Chief of Staff John Kelly, who appears to be trying to bring more order to the chaotic White House.

“He’s having a very hard time,” a friend of Mr Trump told the newspaper. “He doesn’t like the way the media’s handling him. He doesn’t like how Kelly’s handling him. He’s turning on people that are very close to him.”

But Mr Trump has publicly remained supportive of his Chief of Staff.

“General John Kelly is doing a great job as Chief of Staff,” Mr Trump tweeted on Friday. “I could not be happier or more impressed - and this Administration continues to.....get things done at a record clip. Many big decisions to be made over the coming days and weeks. AMERICA FIRST!”
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/trump-reportedly-growing-frustrated-closest-214500854.html
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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  bb1 on Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:07 pm



According to the Post, Mr Trump is also apparently chafing against new restrictions placed on him by new Chief of Staff John Kelly, who appears to be trying to bring more order to the chaotic White House.

“He’s having a very hard time,” a friend of Mr Trump told the newspaper. “He doesn’t like the way the media’s handling him. He doesn’t like how Kelly’s handling him. He’s turning on people that are very close to him.”


How on earth did Trump manage to run a huge global business for all these years? It's mindboggling that he's turned out to be so, well, incompetent and disorganised.

Oh, and there's lots of chatter flying around that he's going to go back on his word about the Great Wall of Mexico; if he does that, even his hard core supporters will, IMO, turn on him.

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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:51 pm

Russia calls in US diplomat to protest alleged office search

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's Foreign Ministry has called in a top United States diplomat in Moscow to protest what the ministry claims is a plan to search the newly closed Russian trade mission office in Washington.

A ministry statement on Saturday said the United States has threatened to "break down the entrance door" to the office, but did not say who made the threat. The office is one of three Russian facilities the U.S. ordered closed this week; the others are the San Francisco consulate and a New York trade office.

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Friday claimed the consulate would be searched, but the State Department hasn't commented. The ministry says a protest note handed to Deputy Chief of Mission Anthony Godfrey called the purported trade office search an "unprecedented aggressive action."
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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  bb1 on Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:56 pm

Madness - I cannot recall such a thing being threatened before?

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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  bb1 on Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:02 pm

On this subject---

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-02/unprecedented-aggressive-action%E2%80%9D-moscow-furious-over-us-plan-search-russia-trade-mis

Quote from end:

Former US diplomats, questioned the reasons behind the searches, saying it will only lead to a further escalation of tensions. The US authorities are highly unlikely to find “anything of interest” in the Russian Consulate in San Francisco, as there is probably nothing more than “confidential diplomatic materials,” which are supposed to be there anyway, said Ted Seay, a former US diplomat.

“What are our people going to do in your ambassador’s apartments or in the consulate in San Francisco? Look for illegal recipes for borsch? Of course, you have to respond and to go into our consulate in St. Petersburg – looking for what? Perhaps, for too many copies of Doctor Zhivago in the embassy’s library?” John Graham, former US ambassador to Libya, said.

“This foolishness happens [but] it happens usually at the lower levels,” he added. Meanwhile, Seay warned that “things are already too tense between the two countries” and both sides should proceed with “great care. To me, that means again that anyone who is actually planning to raid diplomatic premises in San Francisco, has lost their mind,” the former US diplomat said.

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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:13 pm

Donald Trump 'lashed out' at new chief of staff John Kelly amid rising tension in White House.

Donald Trump has reportedly lashed out against his new chief of staff John Kelly following reports the pair were on a "collision course" due to tensions in the White House.

The US president gave the retired Marine Corps general a dressing down in an incident seen by a number of administration staff, it is claimed.

Mr Trump's temper is said to have flared after advisers suggested he should stop politicising normal issues of government following another blistering attack on the media at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona.

Sources told the New York Times that Mr Kelly, 67, reacted to the outburst calmly, but said he later told colleagues he had never been spoken to in such a way during 35 years of military service and would not put up with similar treatment again.
More at link.
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/donald-trump-apos-lashed-apos-145541522.html


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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  bb1 on Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:35 pm

Even watching from afar, this is just awful. I would not have believed it possible for the US to be spinning out of control like this, and I don't see it ending well at all.

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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  bb1 on Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:40 pm

And in the middle of all this sabre-rattling:

https://www.wsj.com/article_email/trump-administration-weighs-withdrawal-from-south-korea-trade-pact-1504375312-lMyQjAxMTA3MTA1MjcwNTI1Wj/

The Trump administration is weighing giving notice to South Korea of plans to withdraw from a five-year-old bilateral trade pact, with a decision arriving as soon as this coming week, according to people familiar with the matter.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly complained about the pact and the sharp increase in the U.S. trade deficit that followed the 2012 implementation of the agreement. Trade negotiators from the two countries held a series of tense meetings over the summer with American officials leaving unhappy with what they felt was Seoul’s unwillingness to make significant changes to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, known as Korus, according to people briefed on the meetings.

Talk of an exit comes as the Trump administration is simultaneously trying to round up support in South Korea and around the region to more aggressively oppose North Korea’s effort to build nuclear missiles that can hit the U.S.


I am sure South Korea is thrilled by such wonderful support from Washington - not.

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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:15 pm

Trump faces pair of double-barreled crises at home and abroad.

As a candidate, Donald Trump boasted of his lack of government experience and argued his business background qualified him to handle a president’s most august responsibility — handling the nuclear arsenal.

On Sunday, hours after North Korea claimed it had tested its first hydrogen bomb, far more powerful than its previous nuclear tests, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis emerged from a meeting that Trump had just held with his top national security advisors, and raised the specter of nuclear war.

Standing in the White House driveway with Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mattis warned Pyongyang that aggression against the United States or its allies would trigger a unified world response and what he termed the “total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea.”

“Any threat to the United States or its territory, including Guam, or our allies, will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming,” Mattis said.

The warning was all the more severe because it came from Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general who had sought to tamp down so many of Trump’s bellicose comments and tweets in recent weeks that he was forced to deny a split with the president.    More at link.
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-crisis-analysis-20170903-story.html
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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:10 pm

Trump didn’t have the nerve to make the DACA announcement himself.

President Donald Trump never manages to take responsibility for any political failure or controversy. We saw this vividly in his handling of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. He could not even manage on an issue of such grave importance to deliver the message personally.

Instead, he sent out longtime anti-immigrant advocate Attorney General Jeff Sessions to deliver the news. Sessions declared that the program would be “rescinded.” He blithely declared, “We cannot admit everyone who would like to come here.” But DACA recipients are already here and were brought here as children.

The action is so indefensible that Sessions had to resort to platitudes from the anti-immigrant handbook. One wonders how his speechwriter could have penned such a line as “there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws.” That is rich for someone who is forcing a gratuitously cruel action. Invoking the fear of criminality, Sessions of course ignored that DACA recipients have already been screened for criminal activity. They are among the safest immigrants we have.

Sessions announced in advance he would not take questions, one more sign of the intellectual cowardice and lack of accountability that are the hallmarks of the anti-immigrant advocates pushing for DACA repeal.

Trump hid behind a tweet telling Congress to fix DACA. He declared, “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!” He claims to “love dreamers.” That’s entirely disingenuous. There was no need to pull the trigger on DACA. No lawsuit compels it; the aggressive conservative attorneys general haven’t even filed their threatened lawsuit, which could take years to reach a final decision.

It is Trump who is setting in motion a disruptive and fear-inducing measure that affects 800,000 or so young people brought here as children. It is Trump who could, but has not, presented actual legislation to Congress. It is Trump who could insist, but has not, that DACA legislation be included in the debt-ceiling measure, the Harvey relief funding bill, the budget or other must-pass legislation.

The false emergency in the form of a faux constitutional deadline that Trump and Sessions hide behind is belied by the conditions they place upon DACA’s repeal. Trump will allow pending applications filed before today to be processed. How is that possible if the measure is unconstitutional? Trump will also reportedly allow those with permits that will expire before March 5, 2018, to renew their permit for two years. How is that possible if the measure is unconstitutional? In trying to soften the blow of a heartless policy, the Trump administration reveals that it is making up constitutional rules as it goes along.

Then there is the claim that immigration officials will not prioritize DACA recipients for deportation. That’s worthless. Trump has already “prioritized” criminals for deportation but has somehow wound up deporting hundreds of noncriminals. Time magazine recently reported:
In a four-day operation at the end of July (in San Diego), ICE arrested 650 people. Of those, 457 weren’t targets of the raid. In other words, a full 70% of the immigrants swept up in this operation were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. …

In fiscal year 2016, non-criminals made up 42% of removals. Under the Trump Administration, that proportion has so far increased slightly. According to data provided to TIME by ICE, which is not considered final until the end-of-year report, 44% of removals haven’t had criminal records so far in fiscal year 2017.

“It’s basically a push through a lot of different ways to try to deport as many people as possible without regard to whether or not they’re a public safety threat,” says Kate Voigt, associate director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Trump has more than doubled the number of arrests of noncriminal illegal immigrants.

So make no mistake, the promise that DACA recipients won’t have to fear immediate deportation is entirely unreliable.

Trump would like to blame everyone and anyone for his catastrophic decision — President Barack Obama, Democrats, Congress as a whole, state attorneys general. Congress might — if it suddenly is possessed with a sense of urgency and discovers newfound competence — save Trump from himself. But if Congress does not intervene, Trump will be responsible for a gratuitously cruel action.
http://www.denverpost.com/2017/09/05/trump-didnt-have-the-nerve-to-make-the-daca-announcement-himself/
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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  bb1 on Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:57 pm

As predicted, he's done the nasty, stupid thing - and looks like a coward as well.

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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:10 am

Trump's $28 million mansion is about to be hit by Hurricane Irma.

Donald Trump's multi-million dollar mansion on the Caribbean island of St Martin is directly in the path of Hurricane Irma.

The Category 5 storm is heading straight for Mr Trump's five-acre estate known as "Le Chateau des Palmiers" or "Castle of the Palms," the Miami Herald reports.

The US President owns the 11-bedroom gated mansion through a trust set up to avoid conflicts of interest during his presidency.

The trust has been attempting to sell the property since March, when it was listed at $28m (£21.5m).

In financial disclosure forms, Mr Trump said he rents the mansion out, putting its value between $25m (£19.2m) and $50m (£38.4m).

Its listing price was recently cut to $16.9m (£13m), The Washington Post reported.

Several of Mr Trump's properties in the Caribbean and Florida could sustain damage in the storm.

Hurricane Irma made its first landfall in the islands of the northeast Caribbean, passing over Barbuda around 1.47am.

Heavy rain and howling winds raked the neighbouring island of Antigua, sending debris flying as people huddled in their homes or government shelters.

Officials earlier warned people to seek protection from Irma's "onslaught" in a statement that closed with: "May God protect us all."

The Category five storm had maximum sustained winds of 185mph (295kmh), according to the US National Hurricane Centre.

Its forecast was for the winds to fluctuate slightly but for the storm to remain at Category four or five strength for the next day or two.

The most dangerous winds, usually nearest to the eye, were forecast to pass near the northern Virgin Islands and near or just north of Puerto Rico through the day on Wednesday.

Mr Trump has declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, and authorities in the Bahamas said they would evacuate six southern islands.
http://uk.businessinsider.com/trumps-28-million-mansion-is-about-to-be-hit-by-hurricane-irma-2017-9
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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  Lamplighter on Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:15 am

Trump, his party: an American odd couple.

When President Donald Trump spoke to reporters on Air Force One on Wednesday, he went out of his way to praise Democratic congressional leaders he had met earlier at the White House. He failed to mention Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan, the two leaders of his own Republican party who also took part.

It could have been a snub or mere oversight - the White House did not say immediately - but in the context of recent events, it was a reminder of Trump's lingering frustration with Republicans who control Congress, even as he takes his first steps with Democrats to break a congressional gridlock.

Trump, who has branded Democrats as obstructionists, on Wednesday embraced a proposal from Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, for a three-month extension of the U.S. debt ceiling, rejecting a Republican plan for a longer extension.

By contrast, at a meeting on Tuesday with McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives, both fellow Republicans, there was little personal interaction in the presence of reporters.

A close Trump associate said that Trump, a 71-year-old brash former reality TV star who had never held public office before he entered the White House in January, had yet to comprehend the need to improve his relationship with McConnell, a 75-year-old dour legislative tactician with more than 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

His legislative priorities hanging in the balance, Trump is under pressure to improve ties with McConnell and salvage what he can of an increasingly jeopardized agenda that includes a healthcare overhaul, immigration, infrastructure and tax reform.

“You want to go blow up the majority leader, that’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t get your agenda done. If you want to get things done, you have to make nice to him,” the source said.

A senior White House official said on Wednesday that Trump and McConnell had a "great working relationship" and the president respected his grasp of Senate rules and procedures. But aides say Trump privately has expressed annoyance at the slow pace of legislative action on his priorities and blames his own party, especially McConnell, for the failure.

A Republican close to the White House said what Trump "doesn't understand is he needs Mitch McConnell more than anyone else in this town, because he runs the Senate and sets the agenda."

"McConnell is a master of the Senate and he could and should be Trump's biggest asset," the Republican said.

Trump spent part of recent months feuding with McConnell. After a healthcare overhaul effort collapsed in the Senate in July, Trump and McConnell traded accusations.

McConnell said in his home state of Kentucky that Trump had "excessive expectations" of how much could get through Congress in a short period of time and suggested Trump was inexperienced.

Clearly annoyed, Trump questioned McConnell's competence.

"Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations,' but I don't think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?" Trump tweeted.

A source familiar with Trump's thinking said the president had a lot of respect for McConnell. "He just doesn’t like to be criticized and he viewed McConnell's comments as demeaning," the source said.

An associate of McConnell said McConnell considered the usual drama surrounding Trump to be “totally irrelevant” to doing business with him and that from a “practical standpoint” all McConnell wanted to do was get work done.

“He’s pretty drama free,” said the associate. “I have yet to encounter a single situation where he allows his personal feeling or animosity or any kind of emotional response affect the way he does business.”

McConnell, whose wife, Elaine Chao, is Trump's transportation secretary, has said he has no hard feelings after Trump's criticism of him.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we are committed to advancing our shared agenda together and anyone who suggests otherwise is clearly not part of the conversation," McConnell had said.
http://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1BH31U
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Re: THE TRUMP DISASTER AREA

Post  bb1 on Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:34 am

I am horrified by how few political skills Trump has, LL - the concept of catching more flies with honey than vinegar seems to be beyond him.

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