Showing posts with label Trump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trump. Show all posts

Sunday, December 11, 2016

CIA Concludes Russian Interference Aimed To Elect Trump

The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election specifically to help Donald Trump win the presidency, a U.S. official has confirmed to NPR.

"Before, there was confidence about the fact that Russia interfered," the official says. "But there was low confidence on what the direction and intentionality of the interference was. Now they [the CIA] have come to the conclusion that Russia was trying to tip the election to Trump."

The official adds: "The reason the assessment changed is that new information became available" since Oct. 7, when the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence released a joint statement accusing Russia of interfering with the American election process.
Obama Orders Sweeping Review Of International Hacking Tied To U.S. Elections
Obama Orders Sweeping Review Of International Hacking Tied To U.S. Elections

The Washington Post first reported the CIA's new assessment on Friday.

In addition to hacking into Democratic organizations, Russians hacked the Republican National Committee's computer systems, according to a separate report from The New York Times — but they did not release any information that might have been retrieved from Republican networks.

"Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials," the Post reports. "Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton's chances."

Citing anonymous officials briefed on the issue, the Post says the CIA shared its findings with senators in a closed-door briefing last week, saying it was now "quite clear" that Russia's goal was to tip the presidency in Trump's favor:

    " 'It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,' said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. 'That's the consensus view.' "

In a previous assessment, CIA officials had thought Russians intervened with the intention of undermining Americans' electoral system, Adam Entous, one of the Post story's reporters, tells NPR's Scott Simon. "donald trup"

On Friday evening, the Trump transition team fired back with a statement dismissing the report of the agency's conclusion.

"These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," the statement said. "The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It's now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again.' "

In fact, Trump's percentage of the electoral vote in the 2016 election ranks 46th among presidential election winners in U.S. history, according to

Trump's claim is a reference to the CIA's flawed intelligence on Iraq, in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The CIA and other spy agencies judged that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction — a judgment that proved to be false. While the leadership of the CIA has changed hands several times in the years since then, many intelligence officers and analysts who worked on the Iraq intelligence still serve at CIA and in other parts of the U.S. intelligence community.

But whether or not Trump's top officials acknowledge the report as a possible threat, the Post's Adam Entous points out Trump will soon be in command of the intelligence agencies.

"I'm sure they're going to declassify some elements of the report and I'm sure there will be leaks," he adds, but the Obama administration can't disclose the full details of the case, because it would be "compromising what's known as 'sources and methods,' which would then make it harder for the CIA and the NSA and other spy agencies to get more information in the future for donald trump 2016."

Earlier Friday, President Obama ordered the intelligence community to conduct a "full review" of "malicious cyber activity" timed to U.S. elections, as we previously reported:

    "In the 2016 election, U.S. intelligence officials charged that Russia had interfered. In early October, they released a strongly worded statement saying they were 'confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations.' The statement went on to say 'these thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.' "

The U.S. official says that "there is a determination to do something" before the Obama administration leaves power. "It's still being discussed exactly what to do. And as we've said before, some of it you may see and some of it you will not for donald trump ties."

Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, says the response from President-elect Donald Trump is "very misguided."

"When you have strong evidence that a foreign power has interfered with the American election, with American institutions, then what you do is keep digging. You get all the facts out," Wyden says. "You respond to the American people with the kind of information that they have a right to know."

He also advocates releasing more information on the cyberattacks.

"I do believe there is important information that the American people have a right to know. It ought to be declassified promptly."

"It's very important that the American public knows what happened, not necessarily to re-litigate this election, but to look forward," says Sen. Angus King, an independent senator from Maine. "What worries me is the extent to which this is an ongoing pattern — which, by the way, is the Russians' pattern in other parts of the world.

"And is that going to be the case in our elections? Four years from now, are we going to have the Democrats, the Republicans, the independents and the Russians?" King asks. "I mean, this is very serious stuff." donald trump book, and you can check donald trump house & now you can also check
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Credit: the tow-way 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Judiciary panel sets 2 day hearing for AG nominee Sessions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times EST):
7:50 p.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold two days of confirmation hearings for Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions when Congress returns in January.

Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, says the hearings will be held Jan. 10-11. He says Sessions returned a committee questionnaire Friday, and members will have ample time to prepare for the hearing.

The timing of the hearing means Sessions could be confirmed as soon as President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated Jan. 20.

Democrats say they have concerns about the Alabama senator's views on civil liberties, voting rights and immigration and have asked for time to review his decades of work as a senator and federal prosecutor.

Sessions is a member of the Judiciary panel.


6:40 p.m.

CBS Sports says it will interview President-elect Donald Trump during Saturday's Army-Navy game in Baltimore.

Trump is attending the annual football game between the rival military academies.

CBS Sports says Trump will be interviewed by Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson during the third quarter of the game.

Transition officials said earlier this week that Trump will sit on Navy's side of the field for one half of the game, and on Army's side for the other.

President Barack Obama attended the game in 2011. President George W. Bush also attended the game while in office.


4:25 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump says Rudy Giuliani is taking himself out of consideration for a position in his administration.

Giuliani, a loyal Trump supporter throughout the campaign, was an early front-runner to be secretary of state. But he faced questions about his overseas business ties and Trump began looking at other candidates, including Mitt Romney.

In a statement, Trump says Giuliani would have been an "outstanding" Cabinet secretary in several roles. He says he respects the former New York City mayor's decision to remain in the private sector.

Reince Priebus, Trump's incoming White House chief of staff, says Giuliani was vetted by the transition team for possible conflicts and "passed with flying colors."

Trump is yet to announce his pick to lead the State Department.


4:15 p.m.

Donald Trump has spoken with one of his sharper critics in the club of world leaders.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke with Trump by phone Friday. The Trump transition team describes the conversation as a "short congratulatory call." Sturgeon's office adds that she used the call to emphasize the "values Scotland and the United States share."

Trump owns two golf courses in Scotland. He has waged a headline-grabbing legal battle to block wind farms near one of the properties.

Sturgeon broke diplomatic protocol to publicly back Democrat Hillary Clinton.

After Trump's victory, she said she would not maintain "a diplomatic silence in the face of attitudes of racism, sexism, misogyny or intolerance of any kind."


3:30 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is imploring Louisiana Republicans to turn out in Saturday's final U.S. Senate election, urging them to back John Kennedy.

Trump says at a rally in Baton Rouge, "We need John in Washington." Kennedy is the state treasurer. He faces off Saturday against Democrat Foster Campbell for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. David Vitter.

Polls show Kennedy ahead in the race. Trump says Kennedy would be key to helping him enact his agenda.

Republicans will have a narrow 52-48 Senate majority next year if they hold onto the Louisiana seat.


2:45 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to pick Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn for an influential White House economic post.

That's according to two people informed of the decision.

The 56-year-old Cohn would lead the White House National Economic Council. The posting would require him to leave his $21 million a year job as president and chief operating officer at Goldman.

Trump repeatedly vilified the prestigious Wall Street bank on the campaign trail. Yet with the choice of Cohn, he's now named three of its alumni to key positions in his upcoming administration.

The people informed of the decision spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the expected move.

—By Ken Thomas and Julie Pace


2 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump's transition team is asking Energy Department employees detailed questions about the agency's operations and personnel, requesting a list of employees and contractors who attended international meetings on climate change over the past five years.

The questionnaire also seeks a list of all political appointees and senior executives and asks workers to offer their opinions on who "owns" the department's clean energy mission and other policy goals.

One Energy Department official, who asked not to be named, expressed concern about the 74 questions and said it appears Trump's transition team is targeting officials who have helped implement Obama administration policies on issues from the Iran nuclear deal to the operations of national energy labs.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the questionnaire, which was first reported by Bloomberg News.

—By Matthew Daly


1:55 p.m.

The U.N. special envoy to Syria says it makes sense that President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin would work together on Syria, because both have made fighting the Islamic State group a top priority.

Staffan de Mistura spoke to The Associated Press in an interview Friday at the U.N. He plans to meet next week with Trump's transition team.

De Mistura said, "We have heard from the Russians more than once, and from Putin himself, that the last thing he wants is to see the Daesh people returning to the Russian Federation, those who came from there and were trained to fight there." He was using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

But de Mistura cautions that defeating the group requires a politically inclusive solution for the broader crisis in Syria.


12:50 p.m.

A top aide to President-elect Donald Trump is confirming that former Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally is among those being considered for the job of secretary of state.

In an interview with Fox News, Kellyanne Conway said Mulally met with Trump on Thursday.

Mulally, a longtime Boeing Company executive, was hired as CEO of Ford in 2006. He is widely credited with the company's turnaround. Using a well-timed loan, he helped keep Ford out of bankruptcy during the recession and revitalized the company with new products and technology. He also ended the corporate infighting that had long plagued Ford.

Mulally, 70, retired from Ford in 2014. He now serves on the board of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google.


11:20 a.m.

Washington state congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers has emerged as President-elect Donald Trump's top contender to lead the Interior Department.

That's according to a person involved in the transition. Trump's been weighing others for the post, including Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, but is said to be interested in finding a place for McMorris Rodgers in the administration.

McMorris Rodgers is the only Republican woman with a leadership role on Capitol Hill. As interior secretary, she would oversee the nation's public lands.

The person involved in the transition was not authorized to discuss the internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

—By Julie Pace


10:54 a.m.

The Indiana union leader slammed by Donald Trump on Twitter says he's willing to work with the president-elect to protect manufacturing jobs.

United Steelworkers local president Chuck Jones got support Friday at a news conference with several Indiana union officials. Trump tweeted that Jones "has done a terrible job representing workers" at a Carrier Corp. furnace factory in Indianapolis.

That was after Jones said Trump inflated the number of jobs being saved in a Trump-brokered deal to stop some outsourcing to Mexico. Trump said 1,100 jobs were staying, while the deal only prevents about 800 layoffs. Some 550 layoffs are still expected.

Jones says he'd be glad to sit down with Trump if he's sincere about saving American jobs.


3:05 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is rallying supporters in Louisiana on Friday ahead of the state's Senate runoff election, aiming to pad the Republican majority he will inherit in the White House.

Trump is campaigning for Republican John Kennedy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and then making another stop on his "thank you" tour in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a state that helped him prevail against Democrat Hillary Clinton in last month's election.

Republicans will have a narrow 52-48 Senate majority next year if they maintain the Louisiana seat. Trump has backed Kennedy and Vice President-elect Mike Pence campaigned for him last week in New Orleans, saying a Kennedy win would "put an exclamation point at the end of a great American victory in 2016."

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Monday, December 5, 2016

No 10 slaps down Boris Johnson over excluding students from migration figures - Politics live

Ukip says many of its arguments have been vindicated by Casey report

Ukip is claiming that many of its arguments have been vindicated by the Casey report. This is from David Kurten, a member of the Welsh assembly and Ukip’s education spokesman.

Many of the report’s recommendations are things which Ukip has been saying for years. All schoolchildren should learn English, and have a proper understanding of British history and culture, whatever background they are from.

And this is from John Bickley, Ukip’s immigration spokesman.

Today, [Casey’s] damning report on integration has been released. It pulls no punches and is an excoriating critique of the Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrat parties’ support of mass immigration, multiculturalism and political correctness, which has led to whole towns having changed “out of all recognition” ...

For years Ukip has been the only political party willing to point out the failings of mass, uncontrolled immigration and multiculturalism. For this we have been accused of being racist by a cowardly Establishment. That won’t wash any longer. The main parties have singularly failed to address the impact of uncontrolled immigration on mainly working class communities and the British people have had enough.

Leaving the EU will be a major step in taking back control of our borders and immigration. However before that happens the government needs do the following with immediate effect: (i) significantly reduce immigration from non EU countries; (ii) ban the practising of sharia law (there is only one law and that is the law of the land); and (iii) force all public sector institutions to apply the law equally to all citizens and not give preferential treatment to ethnic minorities.

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Report of Tsai-Trump meeting called 'excessive speculation'

Taipei, Dec. 4 (CNA) Taiwan's Presidential Office has denied that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will meet U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in New York during an overseas trip next month, characterizing a report on the prospect of such a meeting as "excessive speculation."

The office was commenting on a media report that Tsai could stopover in New York in January on her way to Nicaragua for a state visit.

The report claimed on Sunday that efforts are being made to secure a meeting between Tsai and members of Trump's team in New York, including Reince Priebus, who is the president-elect's chief of staff.

It also said a meeting between Tsai and Trump would not be ruled out if possible.

In response, the Presidential Office called the report on arrangements for Tsai to meet with Trump or members of his team "excessive speculation."

The itinerary of state visits made by the president or vice president are always made public as soon as they are confirmed, the Presidential Office said.

The speculation came after Tsai and Trump conversed by phone on Dec. 2, the first publicly reported call between a U.S. president or president-elect and a Taiwanese leader since 1979, when Washington switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

Nicaragua is one of just 22 countries that maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan. China sees Taiwan as part of its territory and has vigorously obstructed any official contacts between Taiwan and other nations.


Identity Politics vs. Populist Economics? It’s a False Choice—Liberals Need to Look in the Mirror

For many Democrats, the fact that the Obama years have ended with one of the biggest party implosions in American history — and not the implosion of the Republican Party, as most had anticipated — remains a difficult reality to accept. Thanks to the Democratic Party’s historic collapse, Republicans will soon have complete control of all levels of government in the United States: All three branches of federal government, a large majority of state legislatures and an even larger majority of state governorships.

Facing this bleak reality, one would expect Democrats to quickly take a step back for some reflection, if only to figure out how to start winning elections again. As the country braces for a Trump presidency, it is absolutely critical that Democrats accurately assess what happened last month and learn the right lessons.

Unfortunately, many Democratic partisans have taken another approach; one that is all too familiar. As The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald reported last week:

Democrats have spent the last 10 days flailing around blaming everyone except for themselves, constructing a carousel of villains and scapegoats — from Julian Assange, Vladimir Putin, James Comey, the electoral college, “fake news,” and Facebook, to Susan Sarandon, Jill Stein, millennials, Bernie Sanders, Clinton-critical journalists, and, most of all, insubordinate voters themselves — to blame them for failing to fulfill the responsibility that the Democratic Party, and it alone, bears: to elect Democratic candidates.

There is plenty of blame to go around, of course, and some of the scapegoats that Greenwald lists probably did have some impact, albeit minimal, on electing Trump. But when one looks at this year’s election objectively — not just at the Democratic Party’s failure to stop Trump, but at its failure to retake the Senate or make any gains at the state and local levels (Republicans now control 33 governorships and 32 state legislatures) — one has to be delusional not to recognize that the party itself is primarily responsible for this implosion.

Donald Trump — whom the majority of Americans view unfavorably and consider unqualified to be president — was a gift to the Democrats, and his nomination should have led to an easy electoral triumph. Instead, they nominated one of the most flawed candidates in history, and ran as an establishment party during a time when most Americans were practically begging for anti-establishment politics. As Trump’s loathsome chief strategist Steve Bannon recently put it: “Hillary Clinton was the perfect foil for Trump’s message. From her e-mail server, to her lavishly paid speeches to Wall Street bankers, to her FBI problems, she represented everything that middle-class Americans had had enough of.”

Trump’s victory was all the more depressing for progressives who had warned about the risk of nominating an establishment candidate with almost endless political baggage (in a season of angry populist politics, no less). During the Democratic primaries, these criticisms were either dismissed by establishment Democrats or critics were bitterly attacked for pointing them out. Recall back in February, for example, when Hillary Clinton implied that her progressive opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, was sexist for claiming that she represented the establishment: “Sen. Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment.”

Though Clinton did not explicitly call Sanders sexist, her campaign was eager to paint the senator and his supporters as misogynists who opposed Clinton solely because she was a woman. The “Bernie Bro” narrative — which portrayed Sanders supporters as a bunch of white sexist frat-boy types, harassing women and people of color online — was propagated by the Clinton campaign and sympathetic journalists. It was also discredited time and again, particularly by the fact that the Sanders-Clinton split was more of a generational divide than anything else — as evinced by Sanders’ 37-point advantage among millennial women (ages 18 to 29) across 27 states and his popularity among younger black and Hispanic voters.

The kind of self-serving identity politics that we saw from the Clinton camp during the Democratic primaries leads into what has been the most contentious debate among Democrats and progressives since the election: Whether the party has become too preoccupied with the politics of identity and political correctness, while straying too far from a class-based politics that addresses the structural inequities of capitalism. Not surprisingly, the debate has been full of deliberate misinterpretations.

Consider how various news outlets reported on comments made by Sanders on his book tour last week while discussing diversity in political leadership. “We need diversity, that goes without saying,” noted Sanders, who was responding to a question from a woman asking for tips on how to become the second Latina senator, after this year’s election of Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada. “But it is not good enough for someone to say, ‘I’m a woman, vote for me.’ That’s not good enough. What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industries.”

From this comment, the New York Times reported that Sanders had said “Democrats need to focus more on economic struggles and less on the grievances of minorities and women,” while the popular liberal website Talking Points Memo posted the misleading headline: “Sanders Urges Supporters: Ditch Identity Politics And Embrace The Working Class.” These reports are both founded on a false dichotomy pitting economic justice and civil rights against each other. This was also illustrated by a tweet from the Times shortly after the election:

It is extremely troubling that appealing to young people, people of color, women and working-class whites is perceived as an either/or question, or that “economic struggles” and the “grievances of minorities and women” are seen as mutually exclusive. In reality, economic struggles and civil rights are deeply interconnected. Women and people of color, for example, are much more likely to suffer disproportionately from poverty and economic inequality, while young voters who care deeply about social issues are currently facing crushing student loan debt, a subpar job market and low social mobility.

This illustrates the real problem with modern liberalism. Not that it is too preoccupied with promoting diversity or ending all forms of discrimination — there is really no disagreement on the left that these are vitally important goals — but that these efforts and achievements are often used to mask or divert attention from the deeper structural problems of our economic and political systems.

The fact that Goldman Sachs has been a leader in promoting diversity and inclusivity in its workforce, for example, should not comfort anyone when the same firm committed massive fraud leading up to the financial crisis and is still led by the same CEO, who recently entered the billionaire’s club. When Hillary Clinton gave her notorious $225,000 speeches for Goldman Sachs, it is reported that she lavished praise on the firm’s diversity and the prominent roles played by women in its internal hierarchy. She did not, however, talk about Goldman’s role in exacerbating the financial crisis or the way the firm committed massive securities fraud and reaped billions of dollars in profit, let alone the fact that none of the firm’s top executives faced any criminal prosecution for their misdeeds.

This is the liberalism that failed to stop Trump. This is the liberalism that self-servingly exploited identity politics to protect an establishment candidate whose severe flaws were evident long before the 2016 campaign began. This is the liberalism that must be overcome, and the sooner the better.

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

The "Two Trumps" surface in president-elect's transition

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump's skeptics hope the presidency will reveal a serious side of the brash businessman. His supporters want him to keep the freewheeling style that rattled Washington.

In true Trump fashion, so far he's doing both.

Trump has soothed some Republican establishment anxieties with many of his early Cabinet picks, including the respected retired Gen. James Mattis to lead the Pentagon and Georgia Rep. Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon tapped to head the Department of Health and Human Services. He's hinted that he's open to shifting some of his most controversial policies, including his rejection of climate change and support for torture. He's been full of praise for President Barack Obama and largely respectful of Hillary Clinton, his vanquished campaign rival.

But Trump is also refusing to abandon the raucous, stream-of-consciousness rallies and Twitter tirades that defined his presidential campaign. He's continued to level false statements, claiming without evidence that millions of people voted illegally in the election. And he's infused the normally staid Cabinet selection process with reality television drama, inviting cameras into his dinner with Mitt Romney, a leading candidate for secretary of state, and announcing the secretary of defense pick in an arena, seemingly off the cuff.

"He was a very unconventional candidate," House Speaker Paul Ryan said. "He's going to be an unconventional president."

Despite his tell-it-like-it-is reputation, Trump is fueled by a deep need to be liked, according to long-time associates. He often modulates his tone to his setting and frequently tries to curry favor with his audience by telling them what he thinks they want to hear. He often speaks in vague generalities, his policy plans short on details, and that allows supporters to read in what they wish.

And sometimes he seems to move in contradictions, as when he made simultaneous appointments of Reince Priebus — a nod to the Washington establishment — and Stephen Bannon — a shot across the establishment's bow — to fill two key roles in his administration, giving opposing factions of his coalition something to cheer.

People who meet with the president-elect personally talk about there being "two Trumps" — the self-promoting celebrity that's seen in public and the amiable and courteous grandfather who emerges in private.

"He's charming in person," said John Allison, the former CEO of BB&T, who recently met with Trump. "He absolutely has a lot of personal charisma."

Indeed, Trump has appeared to win over some of his toughest Republican critics since defeating Clinton. GOP lawmakers have praised all of his Cabinet nominees, some of whom hold more traditionally conservative views than Trump himself. Romney, who was one of Trump's fiercest critics during the campaign, emerged from their dinner this week with warm words for a man he'd only recently called a "phony."

"He continues with a message of inclusion and bringing people together and his vision is something which obviously connected with the American people in a very powerful way," Romney said in a stunning turnabout for the 2012 GOP nominee.

But Trump appears acutely aware that the enthusiastic supporters who propelled him to the White House are watching carefully to see if he'll back away from his pledges to shake up the political system. Supporters shouted their opposition to Romney being in the Cabinet Thursday as Trump stood on stage in Cincinnati for the kickoff of a "thank you" tour for voters.

Trump gave them plenty else to cheer about, fully re-embracing his firebrand and raucous campaign persona.

He took the stage full of swagger and as focused on score-settling as he was during the campaign. He spent more than 10 minutes bashing the press, recounting how the media doubted his chances of winning.

"These are very, very dishonest people," said Trump, one of several times during the night when he incited the crowd to jeer the press gathered in the pen at the back of the arena. "Ok, I love this stuff. Should I go on with this just a little bit longer? I love it." Shifting to how he broke Clinton's so-called Midwest firewall, he said, "We didn't break it, we shattered that sucker. We shattered it, man. That poor wall is busted up."

Trump did hit some of the right notes in terms of unifying the nation when he managed to stick to the script rolling down the teleprompter. He called for a "truly inclusive society, where we support each other, love each other, and look out for each other."

But he also reminisced how "fun" it was "fighting Hillary." He stunned even his own advisers by announcing his nomination of Mattis from the stage. And facing the pressures of the presidency, he seemed to still be reliving and relishing his victory.

"We had a lot of fun," he said, adding: "The bottom line is, we won."

An all-encompassing need to win seems to be one thing the "two Trumps" have in common.

"Nothing is presidential except victory," Trump said in March. "Victory is presidential."


Pace reported from Washington.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

At last, a flag-and-lighter solution to a bureaucratic nightmare


The Emmanuel Centre in Westminster is doing good business out of Ukip. Over the last few months I have lost count of the number of leadership elections, leadership resignations and general cock-ups I’ve been to there. On the latest visit, Ukip announced Paul Nuttall as its new leader. Nuttall was at pains to state he would be in post for at least a couple of weeks before Nigel took over again, because he had the overwhelming mandate of 63% of the vote. However, it’s worth looking at the numbers of this mandate. In last place in the contest, with 2,775 votes, was Jonathan Rees-Evans, the man who believed a gay donkey had raped his horse. In second place, with 2,973, was Suzanne Evans. Nuttall won with 9,662 votes. Which leads me to think Ukip is ripe for a Corbynista style takeover. If just 10,000 Momentum supporters joined Ukip they would be in a position to seize the party and install John McDonnell as its leader. That would kill two birds with one stone.


After my American mother-in-law died five years ago, my wife discovered that the US government also considered her to be an American citizen, despite the fact she had never lived or worked in the US and didn’t have a US passport. Ever since, the IRS has insisted my wife pay US taxes on her UK earnings and pensions contributions that are exempt from tax under British law. Understandably, my wife has spent much of the last five years trying not to be an American citizen. This is easier said than done, partly because the US finds it impossible to believe anyone wouldn’t want to be an American citizen, and partly because it’s a bureaucratic nightmare, requiring five years of financial information that no one in their right mind keeps. Every time my wife thinks she is nearly there, another year elapses and she has to start all over again. But help may be at hand. President-elect Donald Trump tweeted this week that anyone who burns the American flag should lose their citizenship. I can feel a trip to Grosvenor Square with a flag and lighter coming on. Shades of 1967.


A rare sighting of six cabinet secretaries in the same room, as Sir Jeremy Heywood chaired a discussion panel on behalf of the Institute of Government and the British Academy, threw up some interesting insights into the workings of government. Lord Wilson (1998-2002) said he had always thought he got on well with his predecessor, Jonathan Powell, until he read in Alistair Campbell’s diaries that Powell didn’t like him. “That’s odd,” said Lord Butler (1988-98). “The same thing happened to me.” It was also less than reassuring to hear how unprepared Downing Street can be for major incidents. On the day of the 9/11 attacks in the US, Butler thought he should prepare some contingency plans in case there was an attack in the UK. It turned out the civil contingencies unit was away in the countryside at a bonding event, the switchboard that had been installed in Downing Street the previous weekend had collapsed, and the tunnel between Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence was locked and no one had a clue where the key was kept.


With rather more free time on his hands than he might have wanted, Michael Gove has started tweeting at every available opportunity, with generous use of emojis suggesting a mid-life crisis. Conservative Tracey Crouch has apparently been taking lessons from Mikey in Twitter etiquette. Today she tweeted: “[email protected] says to get more followers you’re supposed to tag someone with more followers than you and be rude about them. Tosser.” Mikey has also started complaining about the “MSM” (mainstream media) for suggesting Boris Johnson may have contradicted himself. As if. But it does make you wonder who Mikey thinks the MSM – a term generally used disparagingly by leftwingers for anyone foolish enough to offer even mild criticism of Jeremy Corbyn – really are. Mikey has a second career moonlighting as a columnist and reviewer for the Times. His wife is a columnist for the Daily Mail.


It can often feel as if MPs are experiencing a different world to the rest of us. At prime minister’s questions, Conservative Fiona Bruce raised the issue of Christians being afraid to talk about Christmas. Here was the time for the prime minister to prove she was in touch by pointing out that Bruce really should try getting out a bit more. Every high street is covered in Christmas lights, every shop has Jingle Bells playing on a loop, there are Christmas trees for sale on every street corner, and just about every TV advert is trying to sell you something you probably don’t want for Christmas. Far from being afraid to talk about Christmas, it seems the country can talk about little else. But what was Theresa May’s reply? “I am sure we would all want to ensure that people at work feel able to speak quite freely about Christmas.” There are many battles worth fighting in parliament: so why bother to pick this one?

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Will Defense Secretary Mattis help or harm Israel?

Late last month, when it first emerged that Trump was considering Mattis for the job, the Zionist Organization of America said it would oppose the pick, citing a 2013 appearance at the Aspen Security Forum shortly after he retired as chief of the US Central Command.

“I paid a military-security price every day as the commander of CentCom because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel,” Mattis said then of his job, which involves interactions with America’s Arab allies.

He also warned that the United States urgently needed to press the Israelis and the Palestinians to advance to a two-state solution.

“Either it ceases to be a Jewish state or you say the Arabs don’t get to vote — apartheid. That didn’t work too well the last time I saw that practiced in a country,” Mattis said.

The ZOA said in its statement that Mattis’ remarks were “hostile to Israel, and revealed a lack of appreciation for and understanding of the extraordinary value to American security resulting from a strong American-Israeli alliance and a secure Israel.”

The rebuke drew an unusual defense of Mattis from another right-of-center Jewish group, the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs.

Emphasizing that it does not endorse candidates, JINSA said it understood objections to Mattis’ remarks at Aspen, but commended him for his posture on broader Middle East issues, particularly his vehement opposition to last year’s deal between major world powers and Iran trading sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran’s nuclear program.

“General Mattis has notably and indisputably distinguished himself in advocating for a more robust US military posture to counter, contain and deter Iran, even at the peril of his military career, and its importance to American security and the restoration of America’s position in the Middle East – views JINSA has strongly propounded,” its statement said, alluding the reports that the Obama administration ousted Mattis because of his opposition to the deal then emerging with Iran.

More recently, according to LobeLog, a Middle East analysis website, Mattis in April said in an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that there was “no going back” on the Iran deal as long as the country observed its terms. He continued to maintain that Iran was the “single most belligerent actor in the Middle East.”

Trump himself has said the deal is the worst he has ever examined, but also has delivered mixed signals on whether he would pull the United States out of the agreement.

A former senior staffer for Obama’s National Security Council, Steven Simon, told The Washington Post that Mattis had earned the respect of the Israelis by frequently visiting Israel during his CentCom command, even though the country was not in his purview. Military relations with Israel are the province of the European Command.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Trump Calls For Surveillance Of Mosques

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday called for surveillance of mosques as part of U.S. law enforcement efforts to prevent terrorism, and stood by his remarks on banning Muslim immigrants that others in his party have criticized.

Trump repeated his call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to the United States after a U.S.-born Muslim man with Afghan immigrant parents fatally shot 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub early on Sunday.

The billionaire New York real estate developer said that while the Florida gunman was born in the United States, “his parents weren’t and his ideas weren’t born here.”

“We have to maybe check, respectfully, the mosques and we have to check other places because this is a problem that, if we don’t solve it, it’s going to eat our country alive,” Trump said at a rally in Atlanta.

The Orlando gunman, Omar Mateen, is believed by authorities to have acted alone, inspired by radical ideology he was exposed to over the internet.

Prominent Republicans this week distanced themselves from Trump’s comments about Muslims after the Orlando mass shooting.

House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Tuesday he did not think a ban on Muslim immigrants was in U.S. interests. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who ran against Trump for the Republican nomination and has been a fierce critic since, said Trump’s response made him “unnerved.”

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, said on Wednesday that Trump’s rhetoric had grown “even more inflammatory” in recent days. She said the United States counts on partners in majority-Muslim countries to help fight terrorism.

“Not one of Donald Trump’s reckless ideas would have saved a single life in Orlando,” Clinton said at an event for U.S. military families in Virginia.

Trump on Monday proposed that the United States suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is “a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies until we fully understand how to end these threats.” He also said radical Muslims were entering the country amidst a flood of refugees and “trying to take over our children.”

Trump previously has drawn criticism, including from within his own party, for saying he would implement a database to keep track of Muslims in the United States and require them to register.

Trump’s hard-line proposals on immigration have contributed to his popularity among some conservative voters. But they have also triggered condemnation from minority and human rights activists, and his political opponents, many of whom have called his rhetoric racist.

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Said Donald Trump during an interview on Fox News about his plans to ban all tv shows that promote gayness. He will start with the Gayest show ever put on network television Empire.


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