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

February 13, 2020

Trump Asks For Help with Iran From Allies He knocks and Gets~A Loud Silence~


By David Gilbert/Vise

President Donald Trump has spent the last three years alienating allies in Europe and undermining the decades-old relationship with NATO. Now he needs their help.
Trump on Wednesday appealed to the leaders of Germany, France, and the U.K. to help resolve the crisis in Iran by abandoning the nuclear deal and join his campaign of “maximum pressure.”
While NATO has pledged to do more, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have ignored Trump's demands, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson chose to phone Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday morning, reaffirming the U.K.’s support for the Iran nuclear deal. None of this should shock anyone given how the relationship between Washington and its allies across the Atlantic has deteriorated during Trump’s presidency. Iran has been central to this breakdown since Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May 2018 over the objections of France, Germany, and the U.K. 
But as Trump threatens even more sanctions and Iran says it's abandoning all restrictions on uranium enrichment, Europe is caught in the middle.
“If the Europeans walk out, they will commit the same mistake Trump did, which is to lose the ability to go forward with snap-back sanctions and at the same time give the Iranians the license to completely shred any of the restrictions that they have on the nuclear program,” Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute, a Washington-based think tank, told VICE News. 
But Europe’s reticence to kowtow to Trump’s desires is nothing new.
In August of last year when Trump and the U.S. went looking for support from Europe for a plan to bolster security in the Persian Gulf by providing patrols to ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz, the requests were met with silence and, in Berlin, with a blunt “no.”
Trump also didn’t bother to warn the Europeans about the deadly drone strike last week that could have sparked an all-out war.
 “There is deep frustration on all sides,” Sanam Vakil, an Iran expert at London-based think tank Chatham House, told VICE News. “Case in point is that Trump didn’t confer or even alert Europe about the killing of [top Iranian General Qassem] Soleimani.”
On Wednesday, as Trump was making his demands in a televised address, Boris Johnson was speaking in the House of Commons reiterating his commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
“It is our view that the JCPOA remains the best way of preventing nuclear proliferation in Iran, the best way of encouraging the Iranians not to develop a nuclear weapon,” Johnson told Parliament.
“We think that after this crisis has abated, which of course we sincerely hope it will, that way forward will remain,” Johnson added. “It is a shell that has currently been voided, but it remains a shell into which we can put substance again.”
Even an in-person appeal by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo didn’t work. 
In a meeting in Washington on Wednesday, Pompeo failed to convince Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, with the U.K. lawmaker once again reiterating the U.K.’s commitment to the JCPOAin a BBC interview. 
The offices of Macron, Merkel, and Johnson did not respond when VICE News asked whether they would meet Trump’s demand to withdraw from the nuclear pact. However, the trio made their desire to see the 2015 pact endure in a statement published earlier this week, calling on Tehran to “withdraw all measures that are not in line with the nuclear agreement.”
That statement was published in response to Iran’s announcement that it was removing all limits on uranium enrichment after the U.S. assassination of Soleimani, one of Iran's most powerful leaders.
However, Iran left the door open for a possible return to the nuclear deal if crippling economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. were lifted.
But rather than offering an olive branch on Wednesday, Trump doubled down, saying his administration would impose fresh “powerful sanctions” on Iran — without giving any specifics on what that might look like.
Under the terms of the JCPOA, all signatories are required to ensure that trading relationships with Iran remain normal as long as Iran abides by the terms of the nuclear deal. 
Since the U.S. withdrawal, Iran has broken the terms of the pact on several occasions, but European countries have also failed to live up to their end of the bargain, preferring instead to implement Trump’s sanctions over fears of losing access to the U.S. market.
European countries are therefore doing a balancing act: trying to keep Tehran within the JCPOA while trying not to anger Trump and losing access to the lucrative U.S. market. 
Trump may be hoping that the desire to maintain trading relations with the U.S. will be enough to make Europe act even if doesn't want to.
“With the JCPOA being in shambles, Trump is calculating that Europe will eventually be forced to trigger the dispute resolution mechanism — a process that even if dragged out will result in the return of snapback sanctions and the further isolation of Iran,” Vakil said.

November 20, 2018

Trump Has The Answer For Forest Fires But Strangely People Are Laughing Worldwide

 Raking the forest! Why nobody thought of it before?

Update: Since this article originally published in the Washington Post, some have suggested that Trump had in mind a more esoteric form of raking, such as perhaps an excavator rake; or a McLeod tool (a.k.a. a “fire rake”); or the 19th century European practice of removing organic topsoil known as “litter raking;" or — as a reader put it in a profanity-laced email to The Washington Post — “He didn’t mean literally raking with a rake, like some guy with a little rake from Home Depot, it’s a term meaning to clear underbrush and rotted forest floors with control burns which California does not do.”
The White House has not responded to a request for clarification on what Trump meant by “raking," so the above possibilities cannot be totally discounted. 
However, it’s worth pointing out that when the president spoke of watching firemen rake beneath a little nut tree, he moved his hands back and forth as if he were miming a garden rake.
Original article:
Reversing course on his threat to cut the state’s federal funding if Californians don’t solve their forest fire problem, President Trump now says he’ll solve it with them.
“We go through this every year; we can’t go through this,” Trump said Saturday as he toured the state’s massive wildfire zones. “We’re going to have safe forests.”
How to make California’s vast drought-stricken forests “safe” after the Camp Fire grew to the size of Chicago this month, killing dozens if not hundreds of people and burning an entire town to the ground? Trump promised federal funds and says he has some ideas.
One of those ideas is raking.
It’s not a popular idea.
“You’ve got to take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forests, it’s very important,” Trump told reporters as he posed with California officials in the charred ruins of Paradise — his first stop on the tour.
Trump went on to explain that the president of Finland, whom he met on an overseas trip a week earlier, told him about raking the forest floors. “He called it a forest nation,” Trump said, “and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem."
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto later disputed this. He told a local newspaper that he had briefed Trump on Finland’s efforts to surveil and care for its forests, the Associated Press wrote, “but said he can’t recall anything being mentioned on raking.”
Maybe it wasn’t Niinisto who gave Trump the raking idea. Maybe it was something he saw on TV.
“I was watching the firemen the other day, and they were raking areas. They were raking areas!” Trump told Fox News from the Oval Office on Friday — before he left for California. “They’re raking trees, little trees like this — nut trees, little bushes, that you could see are totally dry. Weeds! And they’re raking them. They’re on fire.”
“That should have been all raked out,” he concluded. “You wouldn’t have the fires.”
The Fox host, Chris Wallace, asked whether climate change might not be a larger wildfire factor than unraked debris, but Trump didn’t think so.
Wherever Trump got the notion that raking parts of California — be it entire forest floors or the areas around little nut trees — could have prevented the Camp Fire, not many people seem to agree.
The online reaction in Finland alternated between those pointing out that the country has a vastly different climate and population density and those making jokes.
The idea’s domestic reception wasn’t much better.
“If preventing wildfires were as easy as raking leaves, we would have done that by now, but it is a very complicated issue.” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) told MSNBC on Sunday, mentioning climate change, dry weather, and high winds. “I hope the president consults some experts, maybe talks to folks who actually know something about wildfires, and really stop believing these bizarre theories that he has.”
This is not to say that raking has nothing to do with fire prevention — even if it’s not the exotic and comprehensive solution Trump made it sound like.
“His general sentiment is correct — that we need to manage fuels,” said Yana Valachovic a forest adviser with the University of California’s Cooperative Extension program. “And yeah, managing that pine litter adjacent to our homes and buildings is super important. … But the reality is, to manage every little bit of fuel with a rake is not practical.”
Raking is an effective way to clear light debris like leaves and pine needles away from residences, she said. It’s of much less use on the forest floor, where infernos burn through swaths of brush and large debris that only heavy machinery can clear.
California’s problems are complicated, she said — a combination of hot, dry climates, poor community design and “100 years of fire suppression” that helped turn forests into tinderboxes.
Like Trump, Valachovic said the problem is solvable — but through long-term programs of community education, controlled burns, forest thinning and economic incentives.
Much more than rakes, in other words.

August 12, 2018

What Hurts Trump is Not The Deep State But The Shallow State

President Trump and his supporters have often complained about the "deep state" — a supposedly shadowy cabal of opposition bureaucrats buried deep within the government. But perhaps the biggest impediment to the president isn't the deep state at all. It's the "shallow state" — which exists right below Donald Trump at the Cabinet level. 
After all, there's a distinct pattern in the administration. The president makes a claim that seems to contradict longstanding policy. Shortly thereafter, a Cabinet member or two will step up to a microphone and reiterate U.S. policy, contradicting the president. 
 The most recent example are new sanctions the Trump administration plans to level against Russia for using a nerve agent in the attempted assassination of a former Russian agent in the United Kingdom. Shortly after the British government declared in March that Russia was behind the chemical weapons use, Trump sowed doubt on the findings.
"As soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn Russia or whoever it may be," said Trump in March of conclusions drawn by the intelligence agencies of the United States' closest ally. 
The administration quickly put out a stronger statement in Trump's name and this week's sanctions show that it's another of many disconnects between what the president has said (or tweets) and what his top officials and Cabinet secretaries do. 
Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, says this dynamic is unusual for a president.

"Almost all presidents plan what they're going to say and plan how to have the government behind them when they go to implement what they say," she says.
For the Trump administration, that formula is turned on its head. 
There was the time Trump said he'd forgive Puerto Rico's debt. His budget director stepped in and said, no, in fact, that wasn't going to happen. 
There was the time when Trump went to the NATO headquarters and refused to say the U.S. was committed to NATO's mutual defense pact. His defense secretary and vice president rushed out to say, in effect, the president's words, or the absence of them, was not the official U.S. policy toward NATO.
Last week, the president continued his rhetoric on the special counsel's "witch hunt" and wrote what seemed like a request to his attorney general on Twitter. Quickly, his administration sought to clarify that the president wasn't issuing any commands — just his opinion. 
One of Trump's top lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, said the president has established a clear practice that he expresses his opinions on Twitter. 
"He used the word 'should.' He didn't use the word 'must.' And there was no presidential directive that followed it," Giuliani said. "He didn't direct him to do it and he's not going to direct him to do it."
Press secretary Sarah Sanders echoed that sentiment during a briefing. "It's not an order," she reiterated. "It's the president's opinion." 
That opinion, which the president repeatedly expresses, is that the Mueller probe is a rigged witch hunt, something that top administration officials, including the president's FBI director, Christopher Wray, deny.  
Kamarck says Donald Trump increasingly operates as a party of one, untethered from his own administration.
"This president simply seems to wake up in the morning and say things with nothing behind them, no preparation, no theory of the case, and no coherency," she says. "And it's causing a lot of confusion in his White House because they're always scrambling after him."
Sometimes, that scrambling ties Cabinet secretaries in knots. 
Take Iran, for example. During a press conference with the Italian prime minister, President Trump said he would be willing to meet with the leaders of Iran without any preconditions. 
"No preconditions, no," he said in response to a reporter's question. "If they wanna meet, I'll meet."
Hours later on CNBC, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seemed to backtrack that idea, sharing a long list of preconditions that Iran would have to meet before sitting down with the president — like reducing its malign behavior and agreeing that it's worthwhile to enter into a nuclear agreement that prevents proliferation.
The difference between what the president says and the policy of the United States is yet another question that tripped up the secretary of state during a Senate hearing on July 25.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., questioned Pompeo about U.S. policy versus a statement from the president regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. 
"I make lots of statements. They're not U.S. policy. The president says things, right?" Pompeo said. "The president makes comments in certain places. We have we have a National Security Council. We meet, we lay out strategies, we develop policies, right?"
Later on in the hearing, Pompeo asked for a redo on how to decipher policy from presidential messaging.
"I misspoke. It is the case that the president calls the ball," he said. "His statements are in fact policy."
Kamarck says these kind of back and forths between the administration and the president cause "confusion internationally among our allies [and] some glee among our adversaries."
She says it also causes confusion for leaders in Trump's own party.  
"Just the other day, he said he was going to shut down the government because they they haven't appropriated money for the wall," she says. "It took hours, if not minutes, for Mitch McConnell to say, no we're not shutting down the government."
But on some level, she says, what the president of the United States says or doesn't say really might not matter.
"What's important to remember is we have never been a government of men.
We are a government of laws," she says. "So the laws of the land, the treaties that we have signed to, that's what is operative for the United States government, not what any president may say one morning."
Barbara Sprunt contributed to this report.

Fox is No Fox More Like a Dingo! Fell For North Korean Propaganda and so Did DJT

 Praising North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for spending time “out with the people.
” Describing him as “quite the romantic.” Even lauding Kim’s uncharacteristically casual summer outfit.

That may sound like typical North Korean propaganda, but in this case, the fawning comments came from Fox News.
Yes, seriously.
Here’s what happened: On Wednesday, Kim traveled with his wife, Ri Sol Ju, to a fish-pickling plant. On New Year’s Day 2018, Kim announced he would be prioritizing improving his country’s struggling economy instead of its nuclear program. Visiting the fish-pickling plant was part of that effort — with the bonus of being a great publicity stunt complete with multiple photo ops.
But what really caught people’s attention was Kim’s clothing. 
Photos showed Kim wearing a breezy short-sleeve white shirt, light gray slacks, and some sort of floppy Panama/cowboy/beach hat hybrid. (Note: We asked our friends over at Racked to help us figure out what kind of hat it was. As of publication time, they are still stumped.)
That’s a whole different outfit for Kim, who usually sports austere dark-colored suits in the style popularized by former Chinese strongman Mao Zedong. (One possible explanation for the wardrobe change is that North Korea is in the middle of a dramatic heat wave, so perhaps Kim was merely trying to beat the heat.)
The hosts of Fox & Friends, the conservative news channel’s morning show that President Donald Trump watches regularly, also noticed Kim’s more relaxed outfit and fun summer outing to the fish-pickling plant.
So on Thursday, instead of explaining the context of the trip — that it’s quintessential North Korean propaganda — the show’s hosts proceeded to applaud Kim. 
 “The last couple of times have you seen him, it’s been out with the people,” said Brian Kilmeade, one of the hosts. “Turns out Kim Jong Un is quite the romantic,” quipped Jillian Mele, another co-anchor, referencing the fact that Kim brought his wife along on the factory tour. (However, the segment beforehand did call Kim a “dictator” and North Korea a “rogue regime.”) Needless to say — but I’ll say it anyway — that’s not a great look for Fox News. 
Even if they meant their comments sarcastically, failing to provide any context and merely portraying Kim as a kooky character at best and a fun-loving man of the people at worst only serves to humanize the bloody, murderous dictator.
Since Kim took over the country from his father in 2011, he’s ruled as a brutal dictator who starves and imprisons his own citizens. 
He oversees prison camps that detain 80,000 to 130,000 people in conditions one organization said are “as terrible [as] Nazi camps.” He had his uncle and half-brother murdered, perhaps because he worried they were plotting to overthrow him. And until recently, he had no problem spending time and money on building up a nuclear arsenal instead of betting the lives of his citizens who live on about $1,700 a year.
For Fox News hosts to laugh and celebrate him simply because he hung out at a factory in hipper clothes shows how just good North Korea propaganda really is — or, perhaps, just how bad Fox News can be.

August 7, 2018

Who Is The Dummy? {{Don Lemon or Don Trump?}}

"Who’s the real dummy?"

Donald Trump continued his attack on the liberal press Friday night when he mocked Don Lemon’s CNN interview of NBA legend LeBron James. 
Promoting the launch of his I Promise School for at-risk Ohio youth, James, who previously called Trump a “bum” on Twitter, referenced the current administration’s separation of immigrant parents from their children at border crossings, as well as Trump’s criticism of peaceful protests by Major League athletes.  
“I believe our president is kind of trying to divide us,” James said in the interview. “He’s kind of used sport to divide us, and that’s something I can’t relate to.”
Asked what he would say to Trump if he were present, James replied, “I would never sit across from him.”
“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” Trump responded on Twitter. “He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!” 
The gay news anchor fired back, tweeting, “Who’s the real dummy? A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts kids in cages? #BeBest.”
Ignoring Trump’s compliment, Michael Jordan sided with James in a statement issued Saturday: “I support LeBron James. He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”
Watch the full CNN segment below.

June 14, 2018

"Unconditional" Love and The Beginning of The US Being the Submissive Partner to China

Some people refuse to learn Spanish which is a language closely associated
  with this nation
since the inception.
 Would they learn Mandarin πŸ¦Š instead?

 Kim Jong Un, A master negotiator on his first try, pushes his
 submissive partner into the lair.

Where will the Singapore summit lead the US?

  • President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the US would suspend military exercises with South Korea during peace talks with North Korea.
  • In doing so, he may have set the US up to lose its status as the world's dominant power.
  • Without drills, the US forces in South Korea will wither, and if peace talks continue, the very rationale for them will erode as well.
  • If the US pulls out of South Korea, as Trump wants to, it will accelerate China's dominance in Asia and likely around the world president Donald Trump's joint statement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday provided few specifics and no binding commitments, but it most likely set in motion a series of events that could unseat the US as the dominant world power. 
    Trump, going above and beyond the statement on paper, promised to halt joint military exercises with South Korea. For the US, its 30,000 or so troops in South Korea represent a foothold on the Asian mainland and a major check on China's growing global ambitions. 
    South Korea and the US forces themselves were apparently shocked by the news, but both North Korea and China seized on this concession. 
    Kim, according to North Korean media, said "to achieve peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and realize its denuclearization," North Korea and the US "should commit themselves to refraining from antagonizing with each other." 
  • Trump and Kim Jong Un wrote Tuesday of a new future for the world, but that new future may be one ruled from Beijing, not Washington. 
  • To China, the agreement sounded like one it had been pushing all along, a "suspension for suspension," in which the US stops military drills with South Korea in exchange for North Korea halting its missile and nuclear tests. 
The US had long resisted calls from North Korea and China for dual suspension, saying the bilateral, planned, and transparent military exercises were legal while North Korea's nuclear program was not. 
If North Korea's illegal nuclear program forced the US military to stop training with its ally, then it sends a powerful message to leaders everywhere: The US can be blackmailed with nukes. 

The US loose tooth in Asia 

US soldiers South Korea
US troops at the Osan Air Base in 2016 in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.
Jeon Heon-Kyun-Pool/Getty Images

Without military drills, the massive installation of troops will wither. Already, North Korea has criticized the US and South Korea's military exercises, saying they're not helpful for peace talks.  Trump, seemingly unprompted, has long wanted to withdraw the US from South Korea, and now he may have found a reason. 
If the US and North Korea — or North Korea and South Korea — normalize relations, that undercuts the stated rationale for having US forces on the peninsula. 
Why should the US station 30,000 troops in Korea if Korea is at peace? One reason could be to rein in China. 
China is set to overtake the US as the world's dominant power within the coming decades. As China embraces some capitalism and uses strong-arm tactics to become a technological power while modernizing the world's biggest armed forces, it falls on the US to reassure its allies in Asia and around the world that international order will stand up to Chinese hegemony. The US military in Asia remains vital to that task
China's rise has been a long time coming. The US military, even with its massive forces in Japan and Korea, already strains to contain it. But losing the foothold in South Korea could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

"The US-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future," Trump and Kim's joint statement said. 
But the new epoch envisioned here by Trump and Kim may be one in which the US loses its grip on Asia, and then the world and the new future will most likely be ruled from Beijing, not Washington.

May 19, 2018

Trump Asked Bill Gates: "Trump is Heard You Don't Like Trump?" and...

Bill Gates
 Bill Gates, Microsoft

President Donald Trump made “scary” observations about the appearance of Bill Gates’ daughter and asked if HPV and HIV were the same things, the billionaire philanthropist said in video footage obtained by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. The Microsoft founder was recorded addressing staff at a recent meeting of his charitable Gates Foundation where he talked about meeting Trump. In the video, which aired Thursday night on "All In With Chris Hayes," Gates explained that he had never met the president before the election but that his 22-year-old daughter had previously encountered him at an event in Florida. “There was a thing where he and I were at the same place before the election and I avoided him,” Gates told his co-workers. “Then he got elected. So then I went to see him in December. Image: Jennifer Gates Image: Jennifer Gates Jennifer Gates is an elite equestrian. Horacio Villalobos / Corbis via Getty Images file "He knew my daughter, Jennifer, because Trump has this horse show thing down in Florida. He went up and talked to Jen and was being super nice. And then around 20 minutes later he flew in on a helicopter to the same place. So clearly he had been driven away and he wanted to make a grand entrance on a helicopter. “Anyway, so when I first talked to him it was actually kind of scary how much he knew about my daughter's appearance. [Gates’ wife] Melinda did not like that too well.” Gates then described two meetings in Trump Tower in which he urged the president to become a leader in science and innovation, perhaps by accelerating progress toward an HIV vaccine. “In both of those two meetings he asked me if vaccines weren't a bad thing because he was considering a commission to look into ill-effects of vaccines,” Gates said. “And somebody, Robert Kennedy Jr., was advising him that vaccines were causing bad things and I said, ‘No, that is a dead end, that would be a bad thing, do not do that.’” There were laughs and groans from the audience after Gates added: “Both times he wanted to know the difference between HIV and HPV and so I was able to explain that those are things that are rarely confused with each other.” Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection — affecting 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s —and can cause health problems including cancers. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) weakens the immune system destroying important cells that fight disease and infection and can lead to AIDS. There are vaccines for HPV but no known cure for HIV. Gates also revealed that Trump spoke about himself in the third person. “When I walked in his first sentence kind of threw me off. He said, ‘Trump hears that you don't like what Trump is doing.’ And I thought, ‘Wow, but you are Trump.’" Hayes told viewers: "We have reached out to the [Gates] Foundation, of course, for comment but have not yet received a response.

by Alastair Jamieson 


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