The deal was reached during the two leaders’ meeting in Hamburg on Friday on the sidelines of the G20 summit of industrialized and developing nations.
“Russian, American and Jordanian experts … agreed on a memorandum of understanding to create a de-escalation zone”in the regions of Deraa, Quneitra and Suweida, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.
“There will be a ceasefire in this zone from midday Damascus time [9:00 GMT] on July 9,” he added.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed the agreement, saying that it showed that the US and Russia were able to work together in Syria and that they would continue to do so.
“We had a very lengthy discussion regarding other areas in Syria that we can continue to work together on to de-escalate the areas and the violence, once we defeat ISIS,”he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
‘Resident feel unsafe’
Previous ceasefires in Syria have collapsed or failed to reduce violence for long, and it was unclear whether this deal would fare any better.
Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from Gaziantep, Turkey, said that despite such announcements of ceasefires, fighting continues and residents feel unsafe.
“This week there were peace talks in Astana and ahead of those talks, a ceasefire was announced, but in the west of the country, rebels are in a fierce battle with the Syrian forces who are trying to regain control,” she said.
“Along the southern border there is sporadic fighting going on. The Syrian opposition is in control for the most part along the border with Jordan, but clearly fighting continues despite these ceasefires.
“We have spoken to residents in the southwest portion of Syria and they say that despite a ceasefire, they don’t feel safe and humanitarian aid doesn’t reach them.”
The United Nations welcomed the agreement between the US and Russia, saying it would enable upcoming peace talks.
The UN’s deputy special envoy to Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy said the agreement was a “positive development.”
He said he hopes other areas in Syria will see similar agreements to reduce violence.
Ramzy is in Damascus ahead of a new round of UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva on Monday.
The Syrian conflict has killed nearly half a million people, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and forced millions of others to flee the country.
Russia is one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s most important backers and the survival of his regime is critical to maintaining Russian interests there. The US has argued that Assad’s regime must be toppled and backs “moderate” rebels fighting Syria government forces.
President Bashar al-Assad Gives First Interview Since Syria Airstrikes
One president is pushing NATO to get its act together on defense spending. But that president sits in Moscow, not Washington.
On Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced non-U.S. NATO members will boost their defense spending by 4.3 percent this year as it seeks to counter Russian aggression and confront terrorist threats from the Middle East.
“To keep our nations safe, we need to keep working to increase defense spending and fairer burden-sharing across our alliance,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday. “We have really shifted gears. The trend is up, and we intend to keep it up.”
Stoltenberg announced non-U.S. NATO members will collectively increase spending on defense by 4.3 percent in 2017 — a $12 billion boost from 2016 levels. He said the money would be funneled into new military exercises and equipment to help NATO troops deploy quickly in case of emergency. Portions of the new funds would also go to troops’ salaries and pensions.
Burden sharing has long been a sore spot in U.S.-NATO relations. Washington, by far NATO’s largest defense spender, has pushed allies to pay their fair share for years. But Trump upped the ante by railing against allies for “owing” the United States backpay on spending gaps (though according to former U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder, that’s not how NATO defense spending works) and even hinting Washington wouldn’t come to the aid of allies who don’t spend enough on defense — moves that inflamed tensions with European capitals.
Currently, only five of NATO’s 29 allies meet the alliance’s commitment to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense — the United States, United Kingdom, Poland, Estonia, and Greece. Romania is expected to reach the threshold this year, with Latvia and Lithuania following next year.
Trump has also taken credit for NATO’s defense spending boost, but top NATO and European officials insist the wake-up call came from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and not the man in the Oval Office.
In the wake of Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea, which caught Washington and its allies flat-footed, NATO members pledged to reach collectively the 2 percent threshold by 2024 through incremental spending increases. NATO defense spending grew 1.8 percent in 2015 and 3.3 percent in 2016. Many national governments hashed out these increases before Trump’s surprise presidential victory last November.
But regardless of who takes credit for what, Stoltenberg said Trump was on the right track. “I welcome the strong focus of President Trump on defense spending and burden sharing, because it is important that we deliver,” he said Wednesday. “European allies should invest more in defense not only to please the United States, but they should invest more in defense because it is in their own interests.”
On Thursday, Stoltenberg will convene NATO defense ministers to discuss combating terrorism and burden-sharing issues in a semi-regular meeting in Brussels.
Trump’s past comments may have cast doubt on U.S. guarantees to NATO, but he isn’t shorting the alliance when it comes to money. The Trump administration committed $4.8 billion in its 2018 defense budget to expanding its military footprint and activities in Europe.
“Beyond any words in the newspapers, you can judge America by such actions,” Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Wednesday, speaking in Garmisch, Germany.
“The reason U.S. forces are in Europe is not out of charity to the Europeans,” he said. “The security of the U.S. would be directly affected if Europe came under the domination of an unfriendly power.”
Congress also wants NATO to know it has its back. On Tuesday, the House overwhelmingly voted for a resolution endorsing NATO’s mutual defense clause — something Trump failed to do in his gaffe-filled visit to Brussels last month.
“NATO is absolutely essential to our national security and global stability,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said in a statement Tuesday, in what appeared to be a signal to both nervous allies and some NATO-skeptics in the White House. “The United States must remain the world’s leading force for good, but we cannot confront the challenges of the 21st century alone.”
Trump earlier this month finally endorsed NATO’s mutual defense clause in response to a question from a journalist during a joint press conference with the Romanian President in Washington. “I’m committing the United States to Article 5,” he said.
NATO’s mutual defense clause, known as Article 5, has been the linchpin of transatlantic security since NATO’s inception in 1949. It was only ever invoked once, in support of the United States after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Paul Ryan is defending Donald Trump’s attempts to interfere with FBI investigations (commonly called “obstruction of justice”) by claiming thatTrump just didn’t know:
Of course, there needs to be a degree of independence between [the Department of Justice], FBI and the White House, and a line of communication’s established. The president’s new at this. He’s new to government. So he probably wasn’t steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, the FBI and White Houses. He’s just new to this.
Is Ryan claiming that ignorance of the law is a good excuse? Even for the president?
“The president’s new at this,” Ryan said. “He’s new to government.”
For example, on Friday Trump attacked James Comey, calling the former FBI director a liar, a leaker, and without actually providing any actual evidence against Comey’s testimony under oath, claimed that there was “No collusion. No obstruction.”
Then Trump had to just throw out one last thing. He tried to claim that the whole Russia investigation was merely a creation of those loser Democrats:
That was an excuse by the Democrats, who lost an election that some people think they shouldn’t have lost, because it’s almost impossible for the Democrats to lose the electoral college, as you know. You have to run up the whole East Coast and you have to win everything as a Republican, and that’s just what we did.
Trump is absolutely obsessed by the magnitude of his victory over Hillary Clinton, such as her taking the popular vote, and even including such inconsequential things as the size of his inauguration crowd. So he is now claiming that he won the entire Eastern seaboard.
But that is a total fabrication. Trump won four states on the East coast: Florida, Georgia, and both Carolinas. He also won one electoral vote (EV) (out of four) in Maine (a state that divides up its electoral votes). It would be accurate to say that Trump won four states in the south, and other than one EV in Maine, lost the rest of the Eastern Seaboard (eight states and DC, plus three EVs in Maine).
But Trump seems to believe that he won “everything!” He might also believe that Comey is a liar and a leaker. Although Trump is (once again) just hurling insults and calling names, as he has not presented any evidence that Comey lied, nor that Comey did anything illegal in getting his own memo disseminated to the public.
Fake news purveyors are promoting dubious claims from “Alt-Right” figures Mike Cernovich And Jack Posobiec that former FBI Director James Comey dropped an FBI investigation into former national security advisor Susan Rice because it would have implicated him. They are also claiming that Rice is in legal jeopardy for unmasking aides of President Donald Trump who were caught on incidental FBI surveillance. There have been no mainstream media reports that Rice or Comey committed any wrongdoing, and both Cernovich and Posobiec have a history of pushing misinformation and conspiracy theories.
Lets recap: F.B.I. Director James Comey Is Fired. On May 9, President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, according to The New York Times. The Times reported that Trump claimed he was following the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who in a memo cited Comey’s July 5 announcement that he would end the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails without prosecuting anyone involved as a reason for the degradation of trust between the FBI and the public. Trump has since contradicted that claim, telling NBC he would have fired Comey regardless of the memo. From the May 9 article:
President Trump last Tuesday fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly terminating the top official leading a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
The stunning development in Mr. Trump’s presidency raised the specter of political interference by a sitting president into an existing investigation by the nation’s leading law enforcement agency. It immediately ignited Democratic calls for a special counsel to lead the Russia inquiry.
Mr. Trump explained the firing by citing Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, even though the president was widely seen to have benefited politically from that inquiry and had once praised Mr. Comey for his “guts” in his pursuit of Mrs. Clinton during the campaign.
But in his letter to Mr. Comey, released to reporters by the White House, the president betrayed his focus on the continuing inquiry into Russia and his aides.
“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,” Mr. Trump said in a letter to Mr. Comey dated Tuesday. White House officials refused to say anything more about the three occasions Mr. Trump cited.
The officials said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, pushed for Mr. Comey’s dismissal. But many in Washington, including veteran F.B.I. officers, saw a carefully choreographed effort by the president to create a pretense for a takedown of the president’s F.B.I. tormentor. [The New York Times, 5/9/17; MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell Reports, 5/11/17]
Susan Rice Reportedly Unmasked Trump Officials Caught In Surveillance:
CNN: Susan Rice Accused Of Improperly UnmaskingNames Of Trump Officials Caught In Surveillance, With No Proof She Broke Law. CNN reported that some Republicans, including Trump, have claimed that former national security adviser Susan Rice “broke the law by requesting the ‘unmasking’ of … identities”of “US individuals” who were connected to Trump and had been caught in surveillance. “Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides”told CNN they had “so far found no evidence that Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal.”From the April 12 article:
After a review of the same intelligence reports brought to light by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides have so far found no evidence that Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal, multiple sources in both parties tell CNN.
Their private assessment contradicts President Donald Trump’s allegations that former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice broke the law by requesting the “unmasking” of US individuals’ identities. Trump had claimed the matter was a “massive story.”[…]
One congressional intelligence source described the requests made by Rice as “normal and appropriate” for officials who serve in that role to the president.
And another source said there’s “absolutely” no smoking gun in the reports, urging the White House to declassify them to make clear there was nothing alarming in the documents.
The lawmakers’ assessment comes after Trump, in a New York Times interview last week, accused Rice of breaking the law. [CNN, 4/12/17]
NBC News: “Susan Rice Did Nothing Wrong, Say Both [Democrats] and Republicans.” NBC News on April 17 confirmed CNN’s article, reporting, “A review of the surveillance material flagged by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes shows no inappropriate action by Susan Rice or any other Obama administration official, Republican and Democratic Congressional aides who have been briefed on the matter told NBC News.” [NBC News, 4/17/17]
“Alt-Right” Figures With History Of Dubious Reporting Claim Comey And Rice Implicated In Supposed FBI Investigation Of Rice
Rebel Media’s Jack Posobiec: “FBI Source Tells Me Comey Dropped The Susan Rice Unmasking Investigation [Because] It Would Have Implicated Himself.”On May 12, Rebel Media’s Jack Posobiec wrote on Twitter, “FBI source tells me Comey dropped the Susan Rice unmasking investigation bc it would have implicated himself.”Posobiec has a history of pushing misinformation and conspiracy theories and was one of the main people who spread forged documents targeting then-French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.
Infowars’ Mike Cernovich: Rice’s Lawyers Are Seeking “Immunity” For Rice After Comey’s Firing.
On May 10, Infowars host Mike Cernovich claimed that Comey had “protected” Rice and that following Comey’s firing, Rice’s lawyers had “reached out the FBI” in order to get her “immunity” because she committed“multiple felonies.”Cernovich also suggested that Rice had spied on conservatives and conservative media figures. Cernovich, who seems to have been the first to claim that Rice committed nefarious behavior by unmasking officials, has a history of making dubious claims and promoting conspiracy theories. He also pushed the conspiracy theory that a chemical attack in Syria in April was a hoax, and he helped promote the forged documents targeting Macron. [YouTube, 5/10/17; Media Matters, 4/5/17, 5/3/17, 4/6/17, 5/5/17]
Fake News Purveyors Promote Cernovich’s And Posobiec’s Dubious Claims
Angry Patriot: Posobiec’s Claim “Could Potentially Destroy James Comey, and will Only Affirm Trump’s Decision In Giving Him The Boot.” Fake news purveyor The Angry Patriot referenced Posobiec’s claim that “Comey dropped the Susan Rice ‘unmasking’ investigation because it would have implicated himself,” adding that without Posobiec, “we wouldn’t have any idea of what happened.” The site also used the unsubstantiated claim to defend Trump’s decision to fire Comey, writing that “what was leaked could potentially destroy James Comey,”and suggesting Posobiec’s claim “will only affirm Trump’s decision in giving [Comey] the boot.”From the May 14 article:
The public is aware now more than ever in terms of White House transparency. What was leaked could potentially destroy James Comey.
Former FBI Director James Comey landed himself in hot water and was fired by President Trump earlier last week. Comey acted out of concern for himself rather than that of the American people. But it’s much worse. A source stated that Comey dropped the Susan Rice “unmasking” investigation because it would have implicated himself. (via Pat Dollard)
The source told this statement to Jack Posobiec. Posobiec is a Washington-based writer and a conservative activist. He is mostly known for sharing Emmanuel Macron’s hacked emails on Twitter during the French election. (via US Defense Watch) […]
We have to respect Posobiec’s efforts to be transparent. He made this information public because he felt that the American people have the right to know any background information pertaining to this.[…]
It’s imperative that conservative commentators and writers continue to serve as a trusting liaison between government officials and the general public. Jack Posobiec was our eyes and ears in the White House, and he publicized exactly what he heard.
Jack Posobiec has a history of making information available to the public. Conservative journalists differ from left-wing journalists because they rely on truth to do their jobs. Liberals rely on whining, ad hominem attacks, and excuses.
We are thankful to Posobiec because we wouldn’t have any idea of what happened without him, but the issue does need to be investigated further. It will only affirm Trump’s decision in giving him the boot. [The Angry Patriot, 5/14/17; Media Matters, 12/14/16]
TruthFeed: Posobiec’s Claim Does “Logically Make Sense.”
On May 13, fake news purveyor TruthFeed claimed that while “we can not be sure of the veracity ofPosobiec’s claim, but it does logically make sense” because “Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch and James Comey were among the few that had the ability to unmask U.S. citizens and thus digging deeper into the Susan Rice investigation could have very well led to Comey having improperly unmasked Trump Team members for obvious political motivations.”[TruthFeed, 5/13/17; Media Matters, 12/14/16]
Conservative Daily Post And Washington Feed: Posobiec’s Claim Shows Comey “Covered For” Rice. Fake news purveyor Conservative Daily Post argued that Posobiec’s claim meant Comey “was worried that investigators would’ve found something that he didn’t want them to know about.”It added that“Comey’s past reluctance to help the Senate investigate Rice makes much more sense with this in mind,” and that Comey “was an extremely corrupt individual that not only covered for Clinton and Rice but also compromised their investigation in order to protect himself.” The article was later republished by fake news purveyor The Washington Feed. From the May 12 article:
The Democratic Party is filled with corrupt liberals. They get into office simply so they can engage in illegal behavior and do favors for others. While Barack Obama was the President, he did nothing to hold the left accountable for their misconduct.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice had repeatedly asked to “unmask,” or reveal the identities of, people associated with the Trump campaign. Before that, it was proven that Hillary Clinton stored classified information on private servers. Despite this, James Comey, the former FBI Director did not investigate either Democrat’s questionable conduct. If he did, sources close to the FBI say he would’ve implicated himself, which suggests that he dropped both investigations in order to protect himself.
Just recently, Jack Posobiec, a reporter for Rebel TV, tweeted, “FBI source tells me Comey dropped the Susan Rice unmasking investigation bc it would have implicated himself. Developing.” Apparently, he was worried that investigators would’ve found something that he didn’t want them to know about.
Comey’s past reluctance to help the Senate investigate Rice makes much more sense with this in mind. Despite the Senate’s repeated attempts to get information about the “Intelligence official who ‘unmasked’ Trump associates by Rice and others, the FBI refused to cooperate. Last month, Adam Housley, a Fox News correspondent, reported that Intelligence Committee members were complaining that the FBI was being extremely difficult. “The information they continue to request from the Intelligence Agencies, now for over a month, has been very little given,” he explained. If this continues, Congress may decide to deauthorize the congressionally approved program that allows them to collect the information in the first place. […]
Trump’s decision to fire Comey was an excellent one. He was an extremely corrupt individual that not only covered for Clinton and Rice but also compromised their investigation in order to protect himself. With this in mind, firing him may not have been enough. President Trump should consider having charged with corruption. [Conservative Daily Post, 5/12/17; The Washington Feed, 5/12/17; PolitiFact 11/4/16; Snopes.com, 1/18/17]
Fake news purveyor Before It’s News wrote that “award winning journalist” Cernovich reported that “Susan Rice is freaking out over Trump’s wise decision to fireComey” because she thought “she would beat the rap of illegally unmasking people as long as Comey was FBI director.” It added that “if we all get this information out and get in front of Susan Rice’s plans, she will be exposed,”and encouraged people to spread the story on social media. From the May 11 article:
According to award winning journalist, Mike Cernovich, Susan Rice is freaking out over Trump’s wise decision to fire FBI Director, James Comey. Cernovich says his sources have confirmed she felt confident she would beat the rap of illegally unmasking people as long as FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe were in control! Now that James Comey has been fired, she has freaked out and ordered her lawyers to get an immunity deal with the FBI! She’s in a panic because she knows she will be going to jail if justice is served!
Get this video out EVERYWHERE so the Fake News can’t spin it. If we all get this information out and get in front of Susan Rice’s plans, she will be exposed and hopefully Donald Trump will also fire FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe because he is listed as the other person protecting Susan Rice! Let Trump Know and spread on his Twitter Feed and through all Social Networks and email lists. This is Key Information that must go viral NOW before she gets a deal to escape jail! Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and James Comey must be forced to take an NSA, CIA and FBI lie detector test to see if they covered up crimes of the Clintons and others. I guarantee you that if McCabe is asked to do a lie detector he will resign immediately! [Before It’s News, 5/11/17; Media Matters, 12/14/16]
Descending the steps of Air Force One with his wife, Melania – and apparently referring to the planning problems that have overshadowed a trip Israeli officials have described privately as “chaotic” – Trump asked Netanyahu: “What is the protocol?” Throwing up his hands, the PM replied: “Who knows?”
– Photo: From left: Reuven Rivlin, Donald Trump, Melania Trump, and Benjamin Netanyahu at the airport.
In joint statements on the tarmac, Trump and Netanyahu referred to hopes of a wider peace deal in the region, comments that were heavy on rhetoric but light on details of how that could be achieved.
“Israel’s hand is extended in peace to all our neighbours, including the Palestinians,”Netanyahu said. WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!
Trump praised Israel, saying it had “built one of the great civilizations: a strong, resilient, determined nation”that he said was “forged in the commitment that we can never allow the horrors and atrocities of the last century to be repeated.” [Sigh, smh].
“During my travels in recent days, I have found new reasons for hope,” Trump added. “We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and its people, defeating terrorism and creating a future of harmony, prosperity and peace, but we can only get there working together. There is no other way.”
Officials on all sides have played down hopes of an imminent breakthrough in peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians – described by Trump before his trip as his “ultimate deal.”
Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife, was captured by a hot mic telling US first lady Melania Trump: “The majority of the people of Israel, unlike the media, they love us, so we tell them how you are great and they love you.”
From Ben Gurion airport Trump flew by helicopter to Jerusalem for his first official engagement with Rivlin at the president’s official residence. In public remarks made alongside Rivlin, Trump reiterated criticisms of Iran that he had also made in Saudi Arabia.
“The United States and Israel can declare with one voice that Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon – never, ever – and must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias, and it must cease immediately,” Trump said. [too late]
On Monday afternoon, he made private visits in the Old City at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, accompanied by his wife, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, but without any Israeli government officials.
Later on Monday Trump is due to hold talks with Netanyahu and make more remarks to the press, before dining with the PM.
In his brief time in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, Trump hopes to re-invigorate an Israeli-Palestinian peace process that has been moribund since 2014.
On the eve of Trump’s arrival, Israeli ministers approved measures aimed at improving the Palestinian economy and facilitating crossings, initiatives said to have been made at the US president’s request hours before his arrival.
The “confidence-building measures”– announced ahead of his talks with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, on Tuesday – include the enlargement of a Palestinian industrial zone on the edge of the southern West Bank.
– Photo: President Donald Trump is welcomed by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Tuesday.
The moves are likely to be seen as small beer by most Palestinians. “It is all incredibly small stuff,”one Palestinian official said. “Most of what has been mentioned is either vague or covered under previous agreements. It is management of occupation. The same non-solution that Netanyahu has always pursued.”
Some of the moves – not least plans to issue more building permits to Palestinians in so-called Area C, the 60% of the West Bank under full Israeli security and administrative control – are opposed by key ministers in Netanyahu’s coalition.
Trump has sent mixed signals about how he will approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He cast uncertainty over years of international efforts to foster a two-state solution when he met Netanyahu at the White House in February.
During his election campaign, Trump advocated breaking with decades of precedent by moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, alarming Palestinians. He has since said the move was still being looked at.
After visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories, Trump will head to the Vatican as well as Brussels and Italy for Nato and G7 meetings.
The foreign trip comes as he contends with a series of problems at home, including a special counsel investigating alleged collusion with Russia.
As Trump arrived, Palestinians in the West Bank observed a general strike in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners in Israeli jails.
Israeli forces shoot and wound 11 Palestinians in West Bank, as prisoners’ mass hunger strike enters sixth week.
But in a sign of the difficulties ahead for Trump’s peace initiative, hundreds of protesters blocked roads in cities and towns of the West Bank as the hunger strike entered its 36th day on Monday. A Palestinian advocacy group said several of the hundreds of hunger-striking prisoners have been treated in hospital.
– Photo: Democrats riot in Washington DC in resistance to President Donald Trump on Inauguration Day.
Democrats Launch ‘Civil War’ in America with Violence, Lies and Rejection of Trump Election Win
With the latest outright lies promoted by the media and Democrat politicians, the violence at nearly every Trump rally and interruptions at all Trump rallies, the left is leading America to a very dangerous place.
This civil war is very different than the last one. There are no cannons or cavalry charges. The left doesn’t want to secede. It wants to rule. Political conflicts become civil wars when one side refuses to accept the existing authority. The left has rejected all forms of authority that it doesn’t control.– Photo: Leftist agitators viciously attacked attendees at a Donald Trump presidential campaign fundraiser in Minneapolis.The left has rejected the outcome of the last two presidential elections won by Republicans. It has rejected the judicial authority of the Supreme Court when it decisions don’t accord with its agenda. It rejects the legislative authority of Congress when it is not dominated by the left.
It rejected the Constitution so long ago that it hardly bears mentioning.
It was for total unilateral executive authority under Obama. And now it’s for states unilaterally deciding what laws they will follow. (As long as that involves defying immigration laws under Trump, not following them under Obama.) It was for the sacrosanct authority of the Senate when it held the majority. Then it decried the Senate as an outmoded institution when the Republicans took it over.
It was for Obama defying the orders of Federal judges, no matter how well grounded in existing law, and it is for Federal judges overriding any order by Trump on any grounds whatsoever. It was for Obama penalizing whistleblowers, but now undermining the government from within has become “patriotic.”
There is no form of legal authority that the left accepts as a permanent institution. It only utilizes forms of authority selectively when it controls them. But when government officials refuse the orders of the duly elected government because their allegiance is to an ideology whose agenda is in conflict with the President and Congress, that’s not activism, protest, politics or civil disobedience; it’s treason.
After losing Congress, the left consolidated its authority in the White House. After losing the White House, the left shifted its center of authority to Federal judges and unelected government officials. Each defeat led the radicalized Democrats to relocate from more democratic to less democratic institutions.
This isn’t just hypocrisy. That’s a common political sin. Hypocrites maneuver within the system. The left has no allegiance to the system. It accepts no laws other than those dictated by its ideology.
The treasonous left has also become the violent left. The GWP has noted numerous isolated violent attacks on conservatives by the left. (query violent and see violence against Trump Supporters and the manyviolent acts from the left).
The mainstream media (MSM) adds gas to the flames of the liberal politicians and Democrats in a constant stream of hate and lies for our President and our country. Large institutions are now factories of hate and fake news.
Conservatives need to be ready and courageous because the President and our country are under an all out assault by the left.
– Photo: Donald Trump’s win has raised much speculation about how the US-China relationship could change.
As soon as Donald Trump was elected as the president of the US, speculations from scholars came in quickly, especially on how global geopolitics would be reshaped. His phone conversation with Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, soon after his election, did create some ripples in East Asia. This phone call brought about two important divergences in the US’ policy towards Taiwan; first, after a forty year hiatus, there had been a direct interaction between the heads of the two countries and Trump addressed Tsai as the President of Taiwan. Trump’s second statement has been that anything and everything – including the ‘One China Policy’ – is negotiable. This made strategists sit up and predictions of realignment in US-Taiwan and US-China relations were made.
Taiwan and mainland China have been guarded in their reactions to this phone call, still uncertain about Trump’s foreign policy. China’s official reaction to date has been mixed. In the initial statement, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi blamed Taiwanese leaders for the phone call, calling it a “petty gambit.” On 3 December 2016, the China Daily took a condescending swipe with an editorial, titled “No need to over-interpret Tsai-Trump phone call,” opining that “For Trump, it exposed nothing but his and his transition team’s inexperience in dealing with foreign affairs.”
Meanwhile, Global Times took a hard stance and called Trump an inexperienced, complacent and brash billionaire. The article further stated that China is prepared to engage in a long-term struggle on the Taiwan question with the US, and added that the one-China policy is the political foundation of bilateral ties and that it is “non-negotiable.”
Taiwanese officials and media also demonstrated mixed reactions. Some were euphoric and said US-Taiwan relations will be consolidated and witness more high-level exchanges during Trump’s presidency. Some analysts were skeptical and felt that the US would use Taiwan as a bargaining chip for economic gains.
Trump’s coming to power in the US has created additional problems in the already volatile China-Taiwan relations. After Tsai’s election in Taiwan, her silence on the 1992 consensus infuriated China, which then broke off communications with Taiwan. China blamed the US for interfering in cross-strait relations and warned Washington that “China is preparing for a final solution by non-peaceful means.” Global Times also took a strong position on the former US President Barack Obama’s signing of the ‘Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act’, which for the first time authorized higher level exchanges between US civilian officials above the level of US Assistant Secretary of Defense and active duty US military officers and their Taiwanese counterparts. Global Times called for military pressure on Taiwan after all these actions by the US. Not only the media but the Chinese government too has increased its military activities and aggressive rhetoric against Taiwan. In January 2017, China’s lone aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, accompanied by other ships went into the Taiwan Strait during a drill in the South China Sea. China has already alienated Taiwan in the international arena but after Tsai’s election and Trump’s phone call, it has begun building additional pressure on countries that recognize Taiwan as the Republic of China. In December 2016, São Tomé and Príncipe switched their diplomatic allegiance to Beijing, to which China’s foreign ministry responded, stating that “China expresses appreciation of this, and welcomes São Tomé back onto the correct path of the ‘one China’ principle.”
Even after this tense situation, the US invited a Taiwanese delegation to attend Donald Trump’s oath taking ceremony despite Chinese pressure. Former Taiwanese Premier Yu Shyi-kun led the delegation and said that the Trump administration posed more of an opportunity than a challenge for Taiwan, adding that the nation should take the opportunity to improve relations with the US. The delegation visited think tanks including the Washington-based American Institute In Taiwan, and met with members of the US Senate and House of Representatives to convey Taiwan’s ideas and sincerity regarding the development of bilateral relations.
However, on 10 February 2017, Trump stumped everyone again by taking a U-turn on the ‘One China Policy’. People’s Daily (RenminRibao) elaborated on this and said that Trump called China’s President Xi Jinping and reaffirmed the US’ policy of accepting the ‘One-China policy’ and that Xi thanked Trump for accepting the core principle that was the basis of Washington-Beijing relations. During the conversation, both promised to work towards the enhancement of communication and cooperation to further strengthen the relationship. Chinese official media, especially Global Times, did not shy away from taking a jibe at Trump and stated that “Trump has stopped openly challenging China’s core interests, and instead showed respect to Beijing. The change creates an impression that Trump is learning about his role in the realm of Sino-US ties. He’s now sending a new message that he does not want to be a disruptor of the Sino-US relations.”
This change in Trump’s rhetoric on China indicates that the US will never sacrifice its relations with China for Taiwan and US diplomats too understand that a secure and confident Taiwan is better able to constructively engage Beijing. Thus, Trump’s team must have convinced him not to challenge Beijing on this issue that might lead to direct friction between US, China and Taiwan.
Uncertainties still loom in the US-China relationship but they will be about specific interests and not on the ‘One China policy.’ The U.S.-Taiwan Relations under Trump remains uncertain in terms of upgradation but certain in terms of continuation.
– Photo: Donald Trump in 1985, shortly before the publication of The Art of the Deal. Image Los Angeles Times.
I don’t do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks. -Donald Trump, The Art of the Deal
The stunning win by Donald J. Trump in the November 8th U.S. presidential election took many by surprise, since Hillary Clinton was the chosen candidate. Everyone seemed to think that Clinton would win – either legitimately or in a rigged election. News coverage favored Clinton by a wide margin, and the only major network to give Trump a break was Fox News. Most polls predicted that Clinton would win the presidency, with her odds of winning put as high as 85% and Trump’s as low as 35%. The pundits are now asking how they all got it wrong.
– Photo: Journalists at the New York Hilton Midtown in Manhattan before Donald J. Trump appeared early on Wednesday to celebrate his surprise victory.
Blame is being placed on “the e-mail scandal,” with James Comey’s letter of October 28 to the U.S. Congress refocusing attention on Clinton’s private e-mails just 11 days before the election. FBI Director Comey continued the investigation after another 650,000 e-mails were found, this time on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The laptop was confiscated by the New York Police Department (NYPD) and turned over to the FBI. On November 6, Comey, perhaps, caved to pressure, announcing that no charges were warranted, but some said the damage had been done.
Election night was a long, drawn-out affair, with final results not in until 2:40 am on Wednesday. The television networks “called” the electoral vote in the states, a notoriously undemocratic way of deciding U.S. elections before all the votes have actually been counted. Fox News ran consistently high vote counts for Trump, as opposed to the lower numbers predicted at CNN. Dramatic coverage continued into the wee hours, with a number of states said to be “too close to call” – including Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, all of which eventually went to Trump, who won by a landslide.
– Photo: Blame Clinton, Not Comey, for Email Woes
Although many states were “called” earlier in the evening based on partial results and exit polls, the last few states were agonized over by the networks, with Fox anchor Megyn Kelly walking back to the desk of experts twice to ask them why they could not call these key states – and when they might be able to do so. According to Kelly, she thought Fox would be able to call the election around 11 pm. She said she expected Clinton to win, until there was an abrupt shift, when “the real vote” started to come in. She ascribed the dramatic turnaround to
“a hidden Trump vote…It was a resounding victory. I have never seen anything like this. You will never have a result this shocking where people got it shockingly this wrong.”
A return to Anthony Weiner’s laptop may provide an explanation.
Anthony Weiner. Image Washington Times.
Unnamed but highly-placed sources, including NYPD detectives and prosecutors, revealed that the laptop contained “enough evidence to put Hillary (Clinton) and her crew away for life.”Also reportedly involved were Huma Abedin, Bill Clinton, Jeffrey Epstein – convicted pedophile, as well as members of the U.S. Congress, the Saudis, and other interests in the Middle East. Epstein and his “Lolita Express” have been associated with numerous well-known people, such as Alan Dershowitz, Prince Andrew, and Bill Clinton. The NYPD reportedly said that if the FBI and Department of Justice did not issue indictments against “Clinton and co-conspirators,” they would go public with the e-mails. According to an NYPD chief:
What’s in the emails is staggering and as a father, it turned my stomach…There is not going to be any Houdini-like escape from what we found. We have copies of everything. We will ship them to WikiLeaks or I will personally hold my own press conference if it comes to that…People are going to prison.
This being the case, what better way to stanch the blood than to give Trump the presidency?
Although Comey let Clinton off the hook, it seems clear that forces within the government had decided she was a liability. Should she be elected, the emails would come out, and she would be indicted along with many others. And Trump had vowed to investigate “crooked Hillary” with chants from supporters to “lock her up.” Inconveniently, as it now turned out, the election had been fixed in favor of Clinton. Clearly it was time to make a deal with Trump.
The best thing you can do is deal from strength, and leverage is the biggest strength you can have. Leverage is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without.
-Donald Trump, The Art of the Deal
Let’s say that Trump was approached by government insiders and told he could be president – if he agreed to certain terms. Let’s say that the deal was this: Trump gets a win on November 8th and becomes the nation’s 45th president; he lets all allegations against Clinton and her foundation drop; he respects Obama’s “legacy”; and he agrees to partner with Israel. This deal was struck after Comey’s letter of October 28. Clinton was given notice as Election Day approached (although she may have held out hope that she could win). And the news teams were informed during the course of the election.
When the counter-fix went live, the networks experienced the turnaround – the “hidden Trump vote” referred to by Megyn Kelly. Around 10 or 11 pm, the anchors began to refer to Trump as the winner, frequently correcting themselves or qualifying their statements: “I mean, IF he wins,” or “that is, presuming he is elected.” This included Anderson Cooper and his cronies at CNN, who suddenly turned conciliatory toward Trump after months of abuse and slander. The consolation prize went to Clinton: winning the popular vote. Even this was predicted by the networks, with no surprise or consternation.
It’s strange how things can turn around.
-Donald Trump, The Art of the Deal
Was this the deal of a lifetime? Or did Trump really win the election?