Trump enters the stage

Discussion of the recent unfolding of history.

Re: Trump enters the stage. Pocket veto not likely

Postby Meno_ » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:26 pm

Messianic claim:

Related video: Donald Trump refused to say what his favourite Bible verse is after he claimed it was his 'favourite book'

Trump shares claim he is 'heaven sent' and suggests Obama 'kicked Jesus out' of US

President's post comes as administration records 'historic lows' for refugee resettlement

4 hours ago 

Donald Trump has promoted a post claiming he is “heaven sent” and suggesting Barack Obama “kicked” Jesus out of the US in a string of tweets just days after Christmas.

The president spent some of his Friday evening retweeting praise for himself, including one post from January 2018 with a picture of a man who appears to be Jesus Christ and a caption saying: “Obama kicked me out. Trump invited me back.”

“I truly believe this man was heaven sent in order to save and protect the most gracious, benevolent, and in turn, prosperous country ever,” the caption to the post said, referring to the president. 

Mr Trump's decision to share the post follows a number of current and former Trump administration officials who have suggested the president was sent by God.

The suggestion about Jesus Christ, a man who is thought to have been from the Middle East, also comes as refugee resettlement in the US has dropped to “historic lows” during the Trump presidency.

Donald Trump celebrity president: A decade in two halves

Data from the State Department shows that the US is no longer the world’s top country for refugee admissions after substantial declines since Mr Trump’s inauguration, according to the Pew Research Centre.

The president added a comment of “Thank you!” to the post, which he has also shared on his Instagram account.

In November, Rick Perry, the US secretary of energy, described Mr Trump as the “chosen one” and said he had told the president that he was picked by God to rule.

It isn't just Rick Perry who believes Donald Trump is the 'chosen one'

Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN, followed Mr Perry with similar comments and claimed Mr Trump’s election showed “everything happens for a reason”.

“I think God sometimes places people for lessons and sometimes places people for change,” Ms Haley said.

“And you can look at everything that has happened [in Mr Trump’s presidency], and I think we are seeing a lot of changes, and I think we are gaining a lot of lessons.”

Sarah Sanders, the former White House press secretary, has also claimed God “wanted Donald Trump to become president”.

In August, Mr Trump promoted a claim that Jewish people in Israel love him as if he is the “King of Israel” and like he is “the second coming of God”.

However, the president’s spiritual credibility has been called into question in recent days.

Earlier this month, the religious magazine Christianity Today backed Mr Trump’s impeachment and called for evangelicals to examine their “unconditional loyalty” to his presidency.

The magazine’s stance provoked an angry response from the president, who accused the publication of being part of the “far left” on Twitter.
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Re: Trump enters the stage. What the Foxx is coming down in

Postby Meno_ » Sun Dec 29, 2019 5:55 pm

Trump is in debt!

Huge debts up to his ears likened to his life, .to Russia, China, the German Banks, the IRS, and the enforcers.are nuclear triggers tied to economic and ideologically vested national intelligences.

These interests are tied sub marginally to residual modes of.operational proceeders, encompassing , a tightening web of international money flows, that have not changed since the bottom one of.seeking the source of money flow
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Re: Trump enters the stage - is it possible?.Senate

Postby Meno_ » Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:13 am

Democracy Dies in Darkness

Explosive new revelations just weakened Trump’s impeachment defenses

By Greg Sargent 

Opinion writer

December 30, 2019 at 9:58 AM EST

If Mitch McConnell is going to pull off his scheme to turn President Trump’s impeachment trial into a quick and painless sham with no witnesses, the Senate majority leader needs the story to be covered as a conventional Washington standoff — one that portrays both sides as maneuvering for advantage in an equivalently political manner.

But extraordinary new revelations in the New York Times about Trump’s corrupt freezing of military aid to Ukraine will — or should — make this much harder to get away with.

McConnell badly needs the media’s both-sidesing instincts to hold firm against the brute facts of the situation. If Republicans bear the brunt of media pressure to explain why they don’t want to hear from witnesses, that risks highlighting their true rationale: They adamantly fear new revelations precisely because they know Trump is guilty — and that this corrupt scheme is almost certainly much worse than we can currently surmise.

That possibility is underscored by the Times report, a chronology of Trump’s decision to withhold aid to a vulnerable ally under assault while he and his henchmen extorted Ukraine into carrying out his corrupt designs.

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The report demonstrates in striking detail that inside the administration, the consternation over the legality and propriety of the aid freeze — and confusion over Trump’s true motives — ran much deeper than previously known, implicating top Cabinet officials more deeply than we thought.

Among the story’s key points:

As early as June, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney worked to execute the freeze for Trump, and a top aide to Mulvaney — Robert Blair — worried it would fuel the narrative that Trump was tacitly aiding Russia.

Internal opposition was more forceful than previously known. The Pentagon pushed for the money for months. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-national security adviser John Bolton privately urged Trump to understand that freezing the aid was not in our national interest.

Trump was unmoved, citing Ukraine’s “corruption.” We now know Trump actually wanted Ukraine to announce sham investigations absolving Russia of 2016 electoral sabotage and smearing potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden. The Times report reveals that top Trump officials did not think that ostensibly combating Ukrainian “corruption” (which wasn’t even Trump’s real aim) was in our interests.

Lawyers at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) worked to develop a far-fetched legal argument that Trump could exercise commander-in-chief authority to override Congress’ appropriation of the aid, to get around the law precluding Trump from freezing it.

Michael Duffey, a political appointee at OMB, tried to get the Pentagon to assume responsibility for getting the aid released, to deflect blame away from the White House for its own role in blocking it. This led a Pentagon official to pronounce herself “speechless.”

Duffey froze the aid with highly unusual bureaucratic tactics, refused to tell Pentagon officials why Trump wanted it withheld and instructed them to keep this “closely held.” (Some of this had already been reported, but in narrative context it becomes far more damning.)

It’s impossible to square all this with the lines from Trump’s defenders — that there was no pressure on Ukraine; that the money was withheld for reasonable policy purposes; and that there was no extortion because it was ultimately released. As the Times shows, that only came after the scheme was outed.

Multiple officials worried that the hold violated the law or worked extensively to skirt it. Others saw Trump’s actions as contrary to the national interest and never got a sufficient explanation for his motives. One top official executing the scheme tried to distance the White House from it and keep it quiet.

The Post's View: Trump’s pardon of Gallagher just got even more appalling

What makes all this new information really damning, however, is that many of these officials who were directly involved with Trump’s freezing of aid are the same ones Trump blocked from appearing before the House impeachment inquiry.

This should make it inescapable that McConnell wants a trial with no testimony from these people — Democrats want to hear from Mulvaney, Bolton, Duffey and Blair — precisely because he, too, wants to prevent us from ever gaining a full accounting.

We now have a much clearer glimpse into the murky depths of just how much more these officials know about the scheme — and just how much McConnell and Trump are determined to make sure we don’t ever learn. That’s so indefensible that it might even breach the levee of the media’s both-sidesing tendencies.

( and /The Washington Post)

Trump’s defenders are taking a huge risk

Here’s another possibility. If McConnell does pull off a sham trial leading to a quick acquittal, more might surface later that, in retrospect, will get hung around Republicans’ necks and reverse-reveal just how corrupt their cover-up really was.

As George T. Conway III has noted, in such a scenario, Trump’s defenders will suffer blowback from “the very evidence they sought to suppress.”

This new report underscores the point. The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) is currently battling the administration over a tranche of OMB and Pentagon documents related to the aid freeze that CPI just obtained due to a court order. This is how Duffey’s emails surfaced, but much of what CPI has obtained has been blacked out.

CPI is asking a judge to lift the blackouts, and a ruling is expected as early as March. So it’s plausible that CPI could obtain a great deal of new information — showing even more clearly how worried officials were that Trump’s freeze was breaking the law — in only a few months.

That could come after Senate Republicans ran a sham trial and acquitted Trump. Do they really want to be on the hook for having suppressed such evidence, even in the face of a whole new round of deeply incriminating revelations?

Apparently they see that outcome as less risky than allowing witnesses to testify. Which again shows how worried they are about allowing the American people to gain a full accounting of Trump’s corruption.

Read more:

James Comey: The four stages of being attacked by Donald Trump

Paul Waldman: Could Democrats impeach Trump twice? They might have to.

Paul Waldman: Donald Trump, whiner in chief

Paul Waldman: Newly revealed emails show why Trump should fear a real Senate trial

Jennifer Rubin: Here are some New Year’s resolutions for the media and politicians


© 1996-2019 The Washington Post
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Re: Trump enters the stage. Democracy over?

Postby Meno_ » Tue Dec 31, 2019 2:40 pm

.this page has been intentionally left blank.

Draw Your own inferences.
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Re: Trump enters the stage. What's ahead

Postby Meno_ » Tue Dec 31, 2019 6:23 pm

A grim end to a dark political year

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue December 31, 2019


(CNN)A rancorous year is raging to a close in apt fashion, with a prolonged burst of presidential fury, partisan dislocation in Washington and amid warnings that America's very soul is under threat.

On the last day of 2019, President Donald Trump is fuming about acquiring the historic stain of becoming the third president to be impeached after stretching the boundaries of his office one too many times.

He's whipping up a storm of misinformation that challenged the very notion of fact itself, creating an alternative narrative for Republicans, who are trapped by his mastery of the party's grassroots base, to adopt.

Democrats had hoped to use the House majority handed to them by midterm election voters last year to spotlight the issues their presidential field is encountering on the trail -- access to health care, high college costs and rebalancing an economy tilted further toward the rich and corporations by Trump's mammoth tax cut.

But Trump's pressure on Ukraine for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden -- a possible 2020 foe -- forced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bow to her liberal base and drop her antipathy to impeachment. She will learn next year whether the process, which has deepened divides between two halves of a nation with no common political language, will backfire among swing-state voters.

GOP lawmakers ignored a strong body of evidence of presidential malfeasance in Ukraine, leading to questions over whether the insurmountable partisan divisions in Washington render the ultimate constitutional tool designed to constrain an unchained president is now obsolete.

And once again the specter of foreign interference is threatening to cloud a US presidential election, raising the possibility that whatever happens next year, the legitimacy of Trump's second term -- or the new mandate of the 46th President -- will be compromised in the minds of millions of American voters.

The economy -- one of the few bright spots

There were a few bright spots in 2019. The economy extended its unlikely winning streak -- over a decade now since the Great Recession -- as the jobless rate hovered at a half-century low and even wages began to rise. Its success is one reason why Trump is a viable candidate heading into his reelection year -- but also underscores that, absent his divisive, scorched earth brand of politics, his approval rating would surely be far higher than the mid- to low-40s.

And a rare joint agreement by Trump and Democrats on a refashioned US-Canada-Mexico trade deal and a year-end budget accord showed that, despite the fury on Capitol Hill, some things can get done when both sides have a political incentive to do so. Trump is touting a phase one trade deal with China but experts suggest its limited progress is hardly worth the cost of the tariff war. And with tensions with Iran racing back to the boil, American foreign policy seems set for a testing period ahead.

Back in the US, in the last days of the year, the political mood darkened further. Democrats and Republicans seemed to track further apart on the arrangements for the Senate impeachment trial expected to start within days. Trump's GOP allies in the Senate are refusing to reopen investigations and to call witnesses -- despite new evidence of the administration's machinations over Ukraine that have emerged in recent days. Pelosi is yet to transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate as she awaits the shape of the possible trial -- in a sign of how partisanship is infecting the operating system of American democracy.

A knife attack on a rabbi's home in New York may not turn out to be politically motivated. But it underscored the brittle national mood as key power brokers suggested that the latest assault on a Jewish target on US soil was an emblem of something badly wrong. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, warned of intolerance, anger and hatred exploding into an "American cancer in the body politic."

Trump's daughter, Ivanka, blamed local New York leaders -- many of whom are political foes of her father -- for doing too little to stem a rise on anti-Semitic attacks. "Attacks on Jewish New Yorkers were reported almost every single day this past week. The increasing frequency of anti-Semitic violence in New York (and around the country) receives far too little local governmental action and national press attention," she tweeted.

Her tweet sparked a volley of responses from critics who believe the President's wild, sometimes racially tinged rhetoric has contributed to a rise in right-wing extremism.

And just when it seemed like a leaden holiday season could not get much worse, it did.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a beloved civil rights hero, announced on Sunday the foreboding diagnosis of his stage IV pancreatic cancer. The 79-year-old is one of the last living links to an era when aspirational politics overcame entrenched intolerance and discrimination -- an equation that often seemed reversed in the rough political year of 2019.

A holiday seasons that encapsulated a nation's divides

Political exchanges that crackled over the holiday season exemplified a sense of national estrangement.

America's President spent the season of peace and goodwill tweeting abuse at great US cities that are home to his top political opponents. He retweeted conspiracy theorists and tweets that might have outed a whistleblower whose revelations prompted an impeachment case against him for abuse of power.

Most recent presidents went off the grid at Christmas. They were more likely to be accused of responding too slowly to events than refusing to cede the spotlight.

But Trump, fulminating over impeachment, quickly disregarded his own advice spelled out in his holiday message: "Together we must strive to foster a culture of deeper understanding and respect -- traits that exemplify the teachings of Christ."

Trump's invective offers a window into how he wields power -- by creating a charged and chaotic political atmosphere in which he seems more comfortable than other leaders.

He long ago dismissed the notion that the presidency helps set the moral tone of the nation. He's used the platform from the start to advance his own personal and political grievances.

Biden, who is no stranger to tough campaign trail rhetoric, accused Trump of going much further than the norm by subverting America's moral fabric.

"Today's politics are too toxic, mean and divisive," Biden wrote in a Sunday editorial carried by Religion News Service.

"People are too quick to demonize and dehumanize, too ready to dismiss all that we have in common as Americans," the former vice president wrote.

"(Trump) doesn't understand America. He doesn't know what it means to live for or believe in something bigger than himself," Biden wrote.

Trump's defenders often tell those shocked by the President's antics not to overreact to tweets that might question someone not used to the vitriol to question the commander-in-chief's state of mind.

Yet Trump has 68 million Twitter followers. His tweets are official presidential statements. And so they are bound to shape the nation's political discourse.

The President knows his unrestrained behavior is key to his political appeal. His supporters love conduct that tramples every code of the political elites whom they abhor and prove that the outsider that won election in 2016 has not gone native. Media squeamishness about the rhetoric only solidifies his appeal to his flock.

There is risk for Trump, however, in his culture-war tactics. Recent polling and analysis suggest he's lost support among white female voters - to such an extent that his prospects in the swing states he needs to win reelection could be compromised.

Still, there's no sign that key Republicans who understand the forces shaping the party's base are ready to distance themselves from the President -- a sure sign of his political strength.

Asked about Trump retweeting an item that contained the unsubstantiated name of a person named by some right-wing outlets as a whistleblower at the center of the Ukraine scandal, Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy demurred.

"I have enough trouble paddling my own canoe. But I do agree with Mrs. Trump that -- and I have suggested before to the White House -- that if the President would tweet a little bit less, it wouldn't cause brain damage," Kennedy told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" on Sunday.

Trump also used his holiday season tweets to spread misleading news accounts about the Ukraine episode from conservative media outlets and commentators. He personally attacked Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer -- the top two Democrats involved in his impeachment and the Senate trial to come.

His incessant attacks are a bleak omen. If 2019 was a poisoned political year, 2020 will very likely be much worse.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - stroking a wagging dog

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:07 am

Protesters storm US Embassy in Iraq, shouting, 'Death to America'
Donald Trump threatens Iran for insurgents storming of US Embassy in Iraq

Dozens of angry Iraqi Shiite militia supporters broke into the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad, prompting tear gas and sounds of gunfire. This follows deadly U.S. airstrikes this week that killed 25 fighters of an Iran-backed militia in Iraq. (Dec. 31)
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Amid renewed tensions in the Middle East, President Donald Trump on Tuesday blamed Iran for insurgents storming the U.S. Embassy in Iraq and threatened Tehran over the incident.

"Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities," Trump tweeted late in the day. "They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!"

He also said the U.S. embassy in Baghdad is safe and "has been for hours," and he thanked Iraqi leaders for their assistance.

Earlier in the day, Trump said Iran would be held "fully responsible" for violence targeting Americans.

"Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many," Trump said in his morning tweet. "We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq."

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is, & has been for hours, SAFE! Many of our great Warfighters, together with the most lethal military equipment in the world, was immediately rushed to the site. Thank you to the President & Prime Minister of Iraq for their rapid response upon request....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
Supporters of the Iraq Shiite militia, which is backed by Iran, broke into the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad earlier Tuesday, setting fire to a reception area amid tear gas and gunfire.

As protesters massed outside the U.S. compound in Baghdad, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement that "we are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the Embassy."

The episode hearkened to the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, in which four Americans were killed, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. Republicans were heavily critical of the Obama administration’s response to that attack, and that criticism become a central GOP talking point against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who was the Secretary of State at the time of the attack.

Trump sought to head off those comparisons by tweeting at one point that the U.S. response to this incident was "The Anti-Benghazi!"

Some lawmakers feared the escalating violence in Iraq could lead to military conflict with Iran.

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said "the predictable result of the Trump administration’s reckless bluster, escalation and miscalculation in the Middle East is that we are now hurtling closer to an unauthorized war with Iran that the American people do not support."

The embassy attack in Baghdad followed U.S. airstrikes on Sunday that killed 25 fighters from the Iranian-backed militia. The U.S. described those strikes as retaliation for last week’s killing of an American contractor in a rocket attack on a military base in Iraq.

In defending the U.S.-led airstrikes, Trump tweeted that Iran "will be held fully responsible."

Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
It was Trump's first public comment on Sunday's airstrikes.

As for the embassy attack, Trump said that "we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!"

The president, who is spending the holidays at his resort in Palm Beach, Fla., has been largely out of sight since taking questions from reporters on Christmas Eve. Trump briefly traveled to his golf course near the resort, but stayed for less than an hour, breaking his usual routine of spending several hours at the club.

In a later tweet, the president said he had a "very good meeting on the Middle East" and was returning to his Mar-a-Lago resort. He promised to provide "updates throughout the day" on the situation in Baghdad.

Speaking to U.S. soldiers by video call on Dec. 24, he thanked the military for its effort to eliminate the last remnants of the Islamic State’s territory and for the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But on Tuesday the president remained largely out of sight and had no public events listed on his schedule.

Baghdad protests break out outside US embassy following deadly airstrikes
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, echoed the president and blamed Iran for the confrontation at the embassy and for escalating tensions.

“When an Iran-backed militia killed an American in Iraq last week, it met with a firm response. Now our embassy in Baghdad — sovereign U.S. territory — has been attacked in yet another reckless escalation,” Cotton said in a statement. “As the president notes, Iran must be held responsible.”

In describing the invasion of the U.S. embassy in Iraq, the Associated Press said its reporter "saw flames rising from inside the compound and at least three U.S. soldiers on the roof of the main building inside the embassy."

The AP added: "There was a fire at the reception area near the parking lot of the compound but it was unclear what had caused it. A man on a loudspeaker urged the mob not to enter the compound, saying: 'The message was delivered.'”

Critics said Trump's policy toward Iran is flawed, starting with his decision to withdraw from the multi-national nuclear agreement with the regime in Tehran. As the U.S. renews economic sanctions on Iran, its government is threatening to revive programs that could be used to make nuclear weapons.

"It’s hard to overstate what a total failure Trump’s Iran policy has been," tweeted Ben Rhodes, a foreign policy aide to President Barack Obama. "Nuclear program resumed. Regional provocations escalated. US isolated."

Originally Published 11 hours ago
Updated 2 hours ago

© Copyright Gannett 2019

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Crack in Republicam Bastion

Some GOP have 'misgivings' about McConnell impeachment strategy
Sen. Susan Collins: 'It is inappropriate' for Mitch McConnell, Democrats to prejudge impeachment trial

The House approved both articles President Trump was being accused of for impeachment, making him the third impeached president in U.S. history.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins criticized Democrats in the Senate as well as GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for predetermining their votes on the pending impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

"It is inappropriate, in my judgment, for senators on either side of the aisle to prejudge the evidence before they have heard what is presented to us, because the each of us will take an oath, an oath that I take very seriously to render impartial justice," Collins said in an interview with Maine Public Radio on Monday.

The Maine lawmaker's comments came after fellow moderate Republican from Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, voiced her own reservations about McConnell's declaration that he was in lockstep with the White House to set the trial procedures. Murkowski said she was “disturbed," and that it "further confused the process."

More: GOP senator 'disturbed' with McConnell 'total coordination' with the White House for impeachment trial

“Everything I do during this I'm coordinating with the White House counsel,” McConnell said earlier in December, before the House had cast its vote. “There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this, to the extent that we can.”

"We know how it's going to end. There's no chance the president's going to be removed from office," he also said.

Collins, who faces a tough reelection for her fifth term, said her position during the impeachment trial would be as an impartial juror, and slammed senators from both sides of the aisle for indicating they would not do the same.

"I have heard Democrats like Elizabeth Warren saying that the president should be impeached, found guilty and removed from office. I've heard the Senate majority leader saying that he's taking his cues from the White House," Collins said. "There are senators on both sides of the aisle, who, to me, are not giving the appearance of, and the reality of judging this in an impartial way."

More: Touting 'centrist' approach, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announces she is running for a fifth term

Collins, like Murkowski, criticized House Democrats for impeaching Trump without going through court proceedings to enforce subpoenas that the White House was blocking. The House voted to impeach Trump on two articles of impeachment over his dealings with Ukraine: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"I am open to witnesses," Collins said, breaking from what some Republicans in the Senate have indicated. "I think it's premature to decide who should be called until we see the evidence that is presented and get the answers to the questions that we senators can submit through the Chief Justice to both sides."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to hold the articles of impeachment in the House also "seems like an odd way to operate," Collins said.

More: Trump's impeachment trial in Senate likely to be more partisan than Bill Clinton's was in 1999

Collins, one of the senators who was also present for former President Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings, said the "precedent established by the trial for President Clinton is one that our leaders should take a hard look at," specifically pointing to a bipartisan negotiation on trial terms.

"I can't imagine anything like that happening today, regrettably," Collins said.

Originally Published 5 hours ago
Updated 4 hours ago

© Copyright Gannett 2019

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Is Pelosi trying to delay the impeachment trial to ruin Trump's state of the union speech?








Has Nancy Pelosi got one last trick up her sleeve when it comes to U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment process?

Huffington Post is reporting that in political circles, theories are increasingly doing the rounds that Pelosi, the tactically astute House speaker who has led the impeachment charge, could delay sending Trump’s articles of impeachment to the Senate until after the president gives his annual state of the union address on Feb. 4.

The idea, some believe, is to have Trump make the high-profile speech while still under the shadow of impeachment — rather than after the Republican-dominated Senate acquits Trump, as it is expected to do.

It had been assumed the Senate trial, which follows a vote to impeach Trump in the Democrat-dominated House of Representatives, would happen in January. But if Pelosi can delay the Senate trial, it is increasingly believed Trump might give an unhinged rant as an impeached president rather than bask in acquittal.

Huffington Post reports that on Monday, Paul Rosenzweig, a top George W. Bush adviser who served as a policy executive in the Department of Homeland Security, set political pulses racing with the following tweets:

“I think I may have figured out why (Pelosi) is holding the articles of impeachment (or at least part of the reason): She wants to make sure that when POTUS gives the SOTU on Feb 4, he is still under impeachment,” he wrote.

“Imagine what it would be like if he got to give the SOTU having been cleared by the Senate — it would be a full-blown triumphal rant. But if the impeachment is still pending, it might, instead, be an unhinged narcissistic screed of almost unimaginable insanity.

“Just think of how painful it would be for 53 Republican Senators to sit in the halls of Congress, watching a live meltdown on national TV. That, alone, would be worth the price of admission. Maybe I’m wrong and this hasn’t crossed her mind — but I love the idea.”

David Frum, a one-time Bush speech writer speaking on MSNBC’s The Last Word on Monday, told Lawrence O’Donnell that he felt Rosenzweig could be right.

“If there’s been a trial and there’s been a sham hearing and the Senate has slapped together an acquittal, imagine the tone of President Trump on the 4th of February: triumphal, obnoxious, overbearing, ‘I win, I win, you lose, you lose,’” Frum said. “If the impeachment is still pending on the 4th of February, can you imagine how insane that state of the union is going to be?”

Votes of Representatives are pictured on a screen as US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presides over Resolution 755, Articles of Impeachment Against President Donald J. Trump as the House votes at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on December 18, 2019.- TheSAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

“It’s going to be an hour of paranoia and grievance and narcissism of a kind that is going to terrify, as Paul suggests, that will terrify even many of his supporters. So if it’s not wrapped up by the 4th of February, that could have very dramatic consequences.”

The House voted on Dec. 19 to charge Trump with “high crimes and misdemeanours.” He’s only the third U.S. president in history to be impeached.

Blowback: Trump outs the alleged whistleblower who helped spark his impeachment

‘The president is impeached’: U.S. House deals Donald Trump a historic rebuke

Conrad Black: The impeachment effort will blow up in the Democrats' faces

Democrats charge he abused his power as president by pressuring Ukraine to help him win re-election. They accuse Trump of endangering the U.S. Constitution, jeopardizing national security and undermining the integrity of the 2020 election.

At the heart of the case is testimony by current and former officials alleging an extraordinary effort that went outside official channels to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce a corruption investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

With files from Reuters

Read the feature rich experience


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Is Pelosi trying to delay the impeachment trial to ruin Trump's state of the union speech?

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Pelosi trying to delay the impeachment trial to ruin Trump's state of the union speech?





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Re: Trump enters the stage who will win in 2020

Postby Meno_ » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:50 am


2020 will be the worst year of Trump’s life

With his impeachment by the House of Representatives and the Russia investigation, 2019 was a bad year for Trump. But 2020 will be worse.

(Associated Press)


JAN. 1, 2020

A year ago for this newspaper, I wrote a piece headlined “2019 will be the worst year of Trump’s life.” Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit smug about my prescience. A wiser man might retire from the prognostication game on that high note, but instead I’m going to double down with a new prediction: 2020 will be the worst year of Trump’s life.

Last year’s foresight wasn’t that hard, in retrospect. It seemed likely, given what we’d already seen, that Trump was going to create problems for himself on a scale unmatched in his previous life. No one foresaw the exact nature of his misdeeds — that he’d threaten to withhold military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure leaders there to investigate his campaign rival — but it was pretty easy to see that the year was likely to produce more scandals, failures and defeats.

The coming year presents many more uncertainties. There’s the election, of course, and the Democrats aren’t seen as having a surefire winner.

President Trump, on the other hand, is a strong campaigner and more determined to win than ever. If he doesn’t, he spends the rest of his life as a loser — the worst thing you can be in Trump world. Republicans have worked tirelessly to create new restrictions on voting by Democrats, and the bots and dirty tricks that helped sway the last election will undoubtedly be reprised.

There is also the possibility that the Democrats will self-destruct at their convention. Maybe vote suppression by Republicans will succeed. Maybe Tulsi Gabbard will run as a third-party candidate and draw enough votes in a few key states to give the election to Trump. Maybe Trump will lose the popular vote by millions — again — but squeak through in the electoral college by a few thousand.

But I don’t think he can win this time. Despite being the most powerful political figure in America for the last three years, Trump hasn’t done anything to expand his base. And the Democrats will never again make the mistakes Hillary Clinton made in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The starting point for 2020 is the fact that the Democratic base is considerably larger than the Republican base. Almost half of registered voters (48%) say they are certain they will vote against Trump, while only a third (34%) say they are certain they will vote for him.

The Democratic strategist and pollster Stan Greenberg has a whole book about why Trump will lose (with the great title R.I.P. G.O.P.). He asked voters in a 2016 election day poll whether they could handle an unexpected expense of $500. A majority of unmarried women said they could not. They are unlikely to agree with Trump’s claims about his tax cut benefiting everybody, and unmarried women make up a quarter of the potential electorate.

On many of the issues Americans care most about, Trump is consistently on the wrong side. An increasing majority of people, as Greenberg points out, believe “immigration benefits our country,” up from 50% in 2016 to 65% today. An increasing majority — now more than 60% — believe that the government should play a bigger role in addressing our problems, especially in healthcare. Free college tuition and a wealth tax have widespread support.

Of course 2016 showed that we need to look beyond the national polls, and focus on the swing states. But there, too, the news is encouraging. In Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, since Trump took office, his net approval ratings, which started out on the plus side, have fallen — disastrously. In Pennsylvania they decreased by 17 points, in Wisconsin by 20 points, in Michigan by 22 points. In the midterm voting, those three swing states all elected Democrats in 2018. Wisconsin elected a Democratic governor to replace a Republican, and reelected a Democratic senator; Pennsylvania reelected a Democratic governor and Democrats there took three House seats away from Republican incumbents. In Michigan, which the Democrats lost to Trump by 11,000 votes, the Democrats had a huge victory in 2018, sweeping the elections for governor and senator and flipping two House seats. Voters also banned gerrymandering and created automatic voter registration, which together will bear fruit in 2020. All this explains why I’m quite certain we’ll be free at last from Donald Trump on Jan. 20, 2021.

What polls show:


By Shane Croucher On 1/02/20 at 10:14 AM EST


More American adults believe the U.S. Senate should remove President Donald Trump from office than those who think it should not, according to a poll.

The Economist/YouGov survey found that 45 percent of people think the Senate should remove Trump from office against 41 percent who said it should not. 14 percent were not sure.

The poll of 1,500 adult citizens from YouGov's internet panel, including 1,123 registered voters, was conducted between December 28-31.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives impeached Trump shortly before Christmas with two articles—abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Trump is accused of soliciting a foreign government's interference in the 2020 election to his personal benefit.

Specifically, the president allegedly conditioned military aid to Ukraine and a White House visit for its leader President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Kyiv opening unfounded corruption investigations that would damage Trump's domestic political rivals. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

The obstruction article is based on Trump's refusal to comply with the House impeachment inquiry or honor its subpoenas for documents and witness testimony. He calls it a "hoax."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, is currently refusing to pass the articles up to the Republican-controlled Senate for Trump's trial. The Democratic and Republican leaderships in Congress are locked in a stalemate over the trial.

Democrats want to call several key current and former members of the administration to testify at the trial and are demanding the release of documents withheld by the White House from the impeachment inquiry. But Senate Republicans are refusing to grant their requests.


The Republican leadership argues that the case for impeachment is terminally weak and wants to expedite the trial of Trump to move on quickly to the election campaign. To convict Trump of either article, at least two-thirds of the Senate must vote to do so, meaning a number of Republicans must flip.

To achieve that, Democrats hope that the witnesses they want to testify, including Trump's former national security adviser Ambassador John Bolton, and the as yet unreleased documents will deliver enough evidence to convince Republican Senators to turn against Trump.

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press outside the grand ballroom as he arrives for a New Year's celebration at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on December 31, 2019. Trump is impeached and faces a trial in the Senate.

The Economist/YouGov poll found that Americans were divided on Pelosi's delay. Those who approved totaled 38 percent while slightly more disapproved at 39 percent. The remaining 23 percent were not sure.

"Remember when Pelosi was screaming that President Trump is a danger to our nation and we must move quickly," Trump tweeted on New Year's Eve.

"They didn't get one Republican House vote, and lost 3 Dems. They produced no case so now she doesn't want to go to the Senate. She's all lies. Most overrated person I know!"

Just before Christmas, Pelosi wrote on Twitter: "The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct.

"President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?"

The headline of this article has been updated.

© Copyright 2020 NEWSWEEK
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Re: Trump enters the stage The Christian Right

Postby Meno_ » Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:25 am

The New York Times

Christianity Today Editor Laments ‘Ethical Naïveté’ of Trump Backers

Mark Galli was overwhelmed by the response — both vocal criticism and quiet praise — to his editorial in a prominent evangelical magazine calling for President Trump’s ouster.

Mark Galli’s last day as editor in chief of Christianity Today, an evangelical magazine, is on Friday. He had already planned to retire before writing an editorial calling for President Trump’s removal.Credit...David Kasnic for The New York Times

By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

Jan. 2, 2020Updated 6:05 p.m. ET

People have been upset with Mark Galli before. As the editor in chief of Christianity Today, a prominent evangelical magazine, he has printed some controversial editorials. But the people he irks usually do not include the IT department of his own publication.

That is what happened when Mr. Galli published an explosive editorial on Dec. 19 arguing that President Trump should be removed from office. So many readers flocked to read the editorial online that the website crashed, overwhelming those whose job it was to keep it running.

Mr. Galli had been working for Christianity Today for two decades after being a Presbyterian pastor for about 10 years, first in Mexico City and later in Sacramento, Calif., but the response to the editorial was like nothing he had ever seen. The traffic to the website was 50-fold what it is on a typical day.


Five of the editorial’s sharpest rebukes of the president.

Mr. Galli’s last day with the magazine will be Friday. He had announced his retirement in October, long before the editorial and the response to it.

In an interview with The New York Times on Thursday, he said he was shocked by the magnitude of the reaction to the editorial — but also by evangelicals’ willingness to stick by Mr. Trump for more than three years. The interview has been edited and condensed.

Did you ever expect the sort of reaction this editorial received?

Not in the least. On a very viral article, we might get 4,000 or 5,000 on the site at one time. Not only did this crash the site almost immediately, but when it came back on, there were between 15 and 17,000 people on our site for hours. I’ve kind of gotten in trouble with my IT department because they said, “Why didn’t you give us a heads up?” and I said, “I had no idea.”

Friday I came into the office, and the desk phone we’re speaking on now literally rang — this is not hyperbole — all day, and I did not pick it up once because I was also getting messages by email, text messages and calls on my cellphone.

There was quite a bit of criticism from evangelicals and others of the piece. What did you make of that opposition?

I was a little surprised that Donald Trump and then Franklin Graham thought it was worth commenting on. And it did strike me as a bit ironic that they both said that it wasn’t significant or going to make any difference. It makes you immediately think that they do think it’s significant, or they wouldn’t comment on it.

I suppose the thing that was most surprising, and which I’m still trying to wrap my head around, was the positive response. People wrote to me and said they had felt all alone and were waiting for someone in the evangelical leadership to say what the editorial said. I wish I could tell you that I had noticed that and wanted to respond to it, but I didn’t see that. There were a lot of people who were feeling alone and they’re not feeling that way now.

Despite that, of course, evangelicals as a bloc largely support President Trump. Is there anything Trump could do to lose that support?

I’ve been surprised by the ethical naïveté of the response I’m receiving to the editorial. There does seem to be widespread ignorance — that is the best word I can come up with — of the gravity of Trump’s moral failings. Some evangelicals will acknowledge he had a problem with adultery, but now they consider that a thing of the past. They bring up King David, but the difference is King David repented! Donald Trump has not done that.

Some evangelicals say he is prideful, abrasive and arrogant — which are all the qualities that Christians decry — but they don’t seem to grasp how serious it is for a head of state to talk like that and it does make me wonder what’s going on there.

Do you think evangelicals’ willingness to excuse Mr. Trump’s behavior will translate to a more broad willingness to forgive bad behavior by politicians, or does it seem to be Trump-specific?

I think his supporters would say it is limited to Trump. But I will say that some of his closest followers are, in a sense, being discipled by him. Mr. Trump’s typical response to a critic is to frame the entire conversation as a competition between success and failure. When the editorial published, the first response coming out of the mouth of some leading evangelicals was “That’s Christianity Yesterday” or “You’re a dying magazine.” They’re taking their cues on how to react in the public square from Donald Trump, whose basic response is to denigrate people.

What’s next for you? Do you plan to engage more with politics?

I’m planning to take advantage of the benefits of retirement: more time with my grandchildren, more time on the stream to do fly-fishing. If I can use religious language to talk about this, it does seem like providence has intervened in my life and made sure I’m not going to relax for the next few months.

I was planning to continue to write and comment, and this just put an exclamation point on it. I feel like I need to keep talking about things on my website and I’ve already been invited to write for The Los Angeles Times and The Guardian and I’m going to do that. I’m going to write as honestly and as charitably as I can about the movement that I’ve been a part of for 50 years.

Have your views about Mr. Trump changed since 2016? And who did you vote for then?

Like many, I was not happy with either candidate, and so I voted for a third-party candidate. And you’re about to ask me who that is, and I don’t remember. The most important thing is, I didn’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.


We published one hard-hitting editorial in 2016 asking if voters had fallen into the sin of idolatry. After Trump was elected, I spent the first three years of his administration just trying to understand why conservatives and why very conservative evangelicals would vote for him and support him so enthusiastically.

The right and the left clearly wanted to excommunicate each other from the movement, so whenever I had the opportunity, I tried to get evangelicals on the left, center and right to have a reasonable conversation. I wanted to continue that when I sat down to write the editorial, but something in me clicked and I thought: That approach doesn’t work anymore. Given what we now know about what the president has done, we need to speak out more directly about this.

Do you view politics or religion differently than you did before Mr. Trump’s presidency?

I’m actually not a political person. I don’t follow political reporting too much. I find it caustic, both to the culture and to one’s own heart. I often say the most political things Christians do is, every Sunday, go to church and say “Jesus Christ is Lord.”

I’ve been thinking more deeply about what the relationship is between Christian faith and political life. I had drawn much more of a separation between politics and faith in my past, and I need to rethink that. I certainly don’t want to do what mainstream Christianity has done and make politics indistinguishable from faith — especially on the left, and now on the right. But is there a way to talk about our nation’s issues that is not merely partisan, but raises questions of ethics and morality and ideals?

Trump and Evangelicals

Christian Post Editor Resigns Over Editorial Defending Trump

Dec. 24, 2019

Evangelical Leaders Close Ranks With Trump After Scathing Editorial

Dec. 20, 2019

Evangelical Magazine Christianity Today Calls for Trump’s Removal

Dec. 19, 2019
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Re: Trump enters the stage - wag the dog?

Postby Meno_ » Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:43 pm


Pelosi says Trump carried out strike on Iranian commander without authorization and she wants details
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the U.S. strike that killed the commander of Iran's Quds Force "risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence."

Jan. 3, 2020, 1:40 AM EST

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling on the Trump administration to immediately brief lawmakers on the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian commander in Iraq and what the White House plans to do next.

The strike in Iraq was directed by President Donald Trump and killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's secretive Quds Force, the Defense Department announced Thursday night.

The move, which is likely to provoke retaliation from Iran, comes amid heightened tensions between the Trump administration and Tehran over rocket attacks aimed at coalition forces in Iraq. U.S. officials have said those attacks were likely carried out by Iranian-backed militias with links to the Quds Force.

"Tonight's airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence. America — and the world — cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return," Pelosi said in a statement late Thursday.

The strike was carried out without an "authorization for use of military force" against Iran and without the consultation of Congress, the speaker said.

"The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the Administration, including the significant escalation of the deployment of additional troops to the region," Pelosi said.

This browser does not support the video element.

The Defense Department characterized the strike as "decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad" and said in a statement that Soleimani "was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region."

Several Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised Trump's move.

Graham said in a statement that Soleimani "had American blood on his hands" and welcomed what he called Trump’s "bold action against Iranian aggression."

"To the Iranian government: If you want more, you will get more," Graham said.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the airstrike that killed top Iranian general was done with Congressional authorization. Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images file
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton, a longtime hawk on Iran, tweeted his "congratulations" to the Trump administration for the strike and said he hoped "this is the first step to regime change in Tehran."

Meanwhile, Ari Fleischer, who served as President George W. Bush's press secretary, said on Fox News that he hoped Soleimani's death would be cheered in the same way Osama Bin Laden's was.

Soleimani and the Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and other coalition forces and orchestrated attacks on bases in Iraq within the last several months, including a Dec. 27 attack that killed a U.S. contractor and wounded several service members, the Defense Department said.

Democrats were quick to condemn Soleimani on Friday but expressed concern about the consequences of his death and what they said was a lack of domestic oversight.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted that Soleimani "was responsible for unthinkable violence and world is better off without him."

"But Congress didn't authorize and American people don't want a war with Iran," Schiff said. "All steps must now be taken to protect our forces against the almost inevitable escalation and increased risk."

Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser under President Barack Obama, questioned Trump's ability to handle the potential unknown consequences from the airstrike.

Iran's Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, called the U.S. strike an "act of international terrorism" and an assassination. He said in a tweet that it was an “extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.”

"The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism," Zarif said.

In addition, at least two Congressional Republicans called on the Trump administration to provide more details to Congress on its strategy for the region or any further steps.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, in a statement commended the strike but said that the administration must be prepared for possible retaliation and should "consult closely with Congress on any next steps should the situation escalate."

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, also pushed for more information from the White House. "It's imperative that the US & our allies articulate & pursue a coherent strategy for protecting our security interests in the region. I will be pressing the Administration for additional details in the days ahead," he tweeted.

Democratic presidential hopefuls raised concerns about the strike.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden said that while "no American will mourn" Sulimani's death, killing him was a "huge escalatory move in an already dangerous region." He said in a statement that Trump had "tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said that although Suleiman "was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans," the strike was a reckless move.

“Our priority must be to avoid another costly war,” Warren tweeted.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, tweeted that "Trump's dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars."

Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, tweeted Thursday night: "We have a president who has no strategic plan when it comes to Iran and has only made that region less stable and less safe."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said Soleimani "was responsible for directing Iran’s destabilizing actions in Iraq, Syria, and throughout the Middle East, including attacks against U.S. forces," but she also said the immediate focus is on protecting U.S. military and diplomatic personnel in Iraq and the region.

"The Administration needs to fully consult with Congress on its decision-making, response plans, and strategy for preventing a wider conflict," she tweeted.

In addition to Soleimani, the deputy of the militias known as the Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was also killed, according to Iraqi state television and the PMU.

He had been accused of plotting attacks on the United States since the 1980s. He was convicted in absentia and sentenced to death by Kuwait for his role in the 1983 attacks on the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait, in which five Kuwaitis were killed.

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC l

1 minute ago
News > World > Middle East
Iran news – live: Trump claims Qassem Soleimani was ‘plotting to kill’ Americans, and tells US citizens to leave Iraq after killing of Iran’s top general
-------- -------- -------- ------'-

{ At the very least, a minimal view can be held that there is internal politocal expediency in the move to impress a naive public, that there is no politocal connection, especially that it is happening when a impeachment judgement by the senate is impending, and that there was not even any kind of notice to Congress}*

*{ } are my own narratives.

&everyone knows whom scaramucci called a paranoid schizophrenic. Well, not everyone, will sell their soul in a Faustian bargain, who will not take themselves out, for fear of, without the will not to further unravel.

Course probably was dropped for that reason

---- ---- ---- ---- --- ---- ----
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Iran

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:33 pm

The Guardian - Back to home

'Incredibly dangerous': Jeremy Hunt reacts to Qassem Suleimani assassination – video
Jeremy Hunt
Hunt: US confrontation with Iran is ‘dangerous game of chicken’
Comments come as Foreign Office cautions against all but essential travel to Iraq and Iran

Simon Murphy
Sat 4 Jan 2020 06.27 EST

Jeremy Hunt has called the US’s escalating confrontation with Iran over the assassination of Tehran’s top general an “incredibly dangerous game of chicken”.

He made his comments as the Foreign Office updated its travel advice on Saturday, warning British nationals against going to Iraq apart from essential travel to the Kurdistan region in the north of the country. The government is also urging Britons to avoid all but essential travel to Iran.

It has also updated its travel advice for Lebanon and urged British nationals in the country to remain vigilant and issued similar travel advice for British nationals in Israel, Afghanistan and Palestine.

As concerns grow about reprisals over the killing of Qassem Suleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad, the former foreign secretary urged the UK to use its position as a key US ally to push Donald Trump to take a more consistent foreign policy approach.

US failing to give UK warning of military strikes, says senior MP
Suleimani, who spearheaded Tehran’s military operations in Iraq and Syria as commander of the elite Quds force, was considered the second most powerful figure in Iran. The 62-year-old, who was implicated in tens of thousands of civilian deaths, was killed on Friday morning when his vehicle was targeted by a drone as local allies from the Popular Mobilisation Forces drove him from the airport.

Hunt, who served as foreign secretary before standing down in July after losing the Tory leadership race to Boris Johnson, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s an incredibly dangerous game of chicken going on at the moment because both sides have calculated that the other side cannot afford and doesn’t want to go to war.

“So they are doing increasingly extreme things, not just the assassination of general Suleimani, but the bombing of the Saudi oil facility last September is another example of this. And, of course, it is true that neither side wants to go to war but it’s also true that both sides are compelled to react when things like this happen and that is the risk in the current situation.”

Loading video
Footage shows aftermath of US airstrike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Suleimani – video
Hunt said it was impossible to predict whether the reaction to the killing would be immediate or play out longer term. “It’s clear that they [Iran] will have to react and that will have been calculated by the United States,” he said. “This is a very difficult situation for allies of the United States, like ourselves, because I happen to be someone who believes the world is safer when America is involved in what’s happening beyond its shores.

“The UK cannot afford to be neutral if we want to be a serious global player but this is a very, very risky situation and I think that the job we have to do is as one of the US’s closest allies is to use our influence to argue for more consistent US policy. Because sometimes the US seems torn between a desire to appear strong and decisive and influential across every region in the world and the other desire, which is to get its troops home, to reduce the risk to American lives on the ground and to concentrate on the big power competition with China.

“And it’s those two conflicting forces that are tugging at the president and that makes people miscalculate because I’m sure, Suleimani thought that the US might not react to some of the things he had been plotting and planning and that was, of course, a big miscalculation. And it’s those miscalculations that are dangerous.”

Asked whether he believed Trump miscalculated by ordering the strike, Hunt said: “Only time will tell. But, as I say, I would rather an America that was active and involved in the region. Despite being known for his rhetoric, actually what has characterised Trump is his caution in deploying troops.”

Hunt said the apparent decision by the US not to inform the UK in advance of the strike was not in the spirit of its relationship as a close ally. He said: “Well, I think it’s regrettable because, as one of the US’s closest allies, I think it’s an important aspect of that relationship that there are no surprises in the relationship.

“But it may also have been because they didn’t want to put us in a difficult position of asking us to make a judgment whether we agreed or not with what was done. I think our relationship with the US is one where we shouldn’t overestimate our influence, but we shouldn’t underestimate it either.”

Jeremy Corbyn has written to the prime minister, who has been on holiday on the private Caribbean island of Mustique, calling for an urgent meeting of the privy council to discuss whether the strike had heightened the risk of a terrorist attack in the UK.

In his letter, the Labour leader asked if the UK had spoken to the UN to discuss consequences for peace and security and what measures had been taken to ensure the safety of UK nationals.

I've written to Boris Johnson requesting an urgent Privy Council briefing and answers to questions following the US assassination of Qassem Suleimani.

— Jeremy Corbyn

© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - march to war?

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:39 pm

Protests planned across US to condemn Trump administration actions in Iraq, Iran

GRACE HAUCK | USA TODAY | 1 hour ago

CHICAGO – More than 40 demonstrations were planned across the U.S. Saturday to protest the Trump administration's killing of a top Iranian general and decision to send about 3,000 more soldiers to the Middle East.

The protests are being spearheaded by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), a U.S.-based anti-war coalition, in conjunction with more than a dozen organizations. Demonstrations were expected to protest outside the White House, in New York City's Times Square and more.

Another international protest is expected at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

"The targeted assassination and murder of a central leader of Iran is designed to initiate a new war. Unless the people of the United States rise up and stop it, this war will engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and potentially the gravest consequences," the organization said on its website.

Timeline: How tensions escalated with Iran since Trump withdrew US from nuclear deal

Organizers could not say how many people were expected to attend the protests, but Facebook events suggest that hundreds of people planned to participate. Nearly 300 people indicated interest in a Facebook event for a protest in Madison, Wisconsin, along with nearly 200 people for protests in both Chicago and Burlington, Vermont.

"We’re having the protest to say no to war and to bring the troops home from Iraq," said Anamaria Meneses, an organizer with the Justice Center en El Barrio, ANSWER's New York City branch. "Our tax dollars shouldn’t be spent on killing people abroad. We should stand against senseless wars."

ANSWER's national headquarters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ANSWER coalition formed in the wake of 9/11, organizing demonstrations against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that drew hundreds of thousands of protesters. While it has since led some of the biggest and most successful protests in the U.S., the coalition is not without its critics. Some groups have accused the coalition of supporting anti-Semitism; others have scrutinized its approach to supporting the rights of undocumented immigrants.

The protests come after several days of escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran that started with the killing of an American contractor.

Democrats warn against 'march' to war: Trump orders killing of Qasem Soleimani

It's also the latest in a broader beef between the two nations, including President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear pact in 2018 and subsequent sanctions he imposed on Iran in order to make them come to a new deal.

Thousands of Iranians protested against the U.S. airstrike in the nation's capital, Friday, while some Iraqis sang and danced in Baghdad.

Contributing: Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY.

Protesters demonstrate over the U.S. airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 3, 2020. Iran has vowed "harsh retaliation" for the U.S. airstrike near Baghdad's airport that killed Tehran's top general and the architect of its interventions across the Middle East, as tensions soared in the wake of the targeted killing.


Baghdad protests break out outside US embassy following deadly airstrikes

Originally Published 4 hours ago

Updated 1 hour ago

© Copyright Gannett 2020
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Re: Trump enters the stage - part political. Justification t

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:23 pm

Skepticism mounts over evidence of 'imminent' threat that Trump says justified Soleimani killing

By Zachary Cohen, CNN

Updated 8:37 AM EST, Sun January 05, 2020



Washington (CNN)Top US national security officials continue to defend the Trump administration's claim that it killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani in response to an impending threat to American lives, but the lack of evidence provided to lawmakers and the public has fueled lingering skepticism about whether the strike was justified.

President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and top military officials have offered similar explanations for targeting Soleimani, citing an "imminent" threat from his plans to carry out what Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley called a "significant campaign of violence" against the US in the coming days, weeks or months.

But questions have continued to swirl in recent days about the imminence of such Iranian attacks, whether the administration fully considered the fallout from such a strike against Soleimani, and if an appropriate legal basis was established for the presidential authorization of lethal force.

How Trump's decision unfolded to kill a top Iranian general

A Republican congressional source familiar with the administration's decision to strike Soleimani acknowledged that in the past the President "has been reluctant to take military action" in this case, the killing of an American contractor, the wounding of others, and the subsequent embassy protests "crossed his line." His advisers also pointed out to the President that if he "didn't respond now, they (Iran) will continue to cross it."

"I am very confident he was not reluctant," said the source. When Trump finally gets ready to act, they added, "you can't out escalate him."

CNN has previously reported that there was internal debate over the decision and work behind the scenes to develop a legal argument before the operation was carried out.

After a meeting Sunday in Mar-a-Lago where President Donald Trump was briefed by senior members of his national security team on options regarding Iran, some officials emerged surprised the President chose to target Soleimani, according to a source familiar with the briefing.

The officials who briefed Trump included Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Pompeo, National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien and Milley.

The source said that some aides expected Trump to pick a less risky option, but once presented with the choice of targeting Soleimani he remained intent on going forward.

Failure to connect the dots

Since that time, the US has provided few details about those specific threats posed by Soleimani and failed to clearly outline the legal underpinnings.

The administration has failed to connect the dots in a way that provides a clear picture of an imminent threat and that argument has been obscured by inconsistent messaging from US officials.

One thing that has become relatively clear is that the operation to take out Soleimani did not hinge on some kind of golden opportunity to target the Quds force commander, unlike the missions that killed Osama bin Laden and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Some information has surfaced.

A source briefed on the latest intelligence told CNN that before the strike, specific information showed Iranian surface to air missiles and other military weaponry that the US had been watching, were moving in on at least two US air bases, as well as US embassies in the region.

Dems question order to kill Iranian military leader. Trump hasn't publicly explained his reasoning

Additionally, the source said that the situation was different because the US had advanced notice of his plans to kill Americans and that the previous reason not to kill him has gone away -- fear that it could cause the IRGC to specifically target Americans.

O'Brien made the case Friday that the strike was prompted by intelligence related to Soleimani's movements coupled with ongoing attacks that he was planning against US diplomats and military personnel.

"Soleimani was in the Middle East, in Iraq, and traveling around the Middle East. He had just come from Damascus, where he was planning attacks on American soldiers, airmen, Marines, sailors, and against our diplomats. So this strike was aimed at disrupting ongoing attacks that were being planned by Soleimani, and deterring future Iranian attacks, through their proxies or through the IRGC Quds Force directly, against Americans. As President Trump said today, this action was taken to stop a war, not to start a war," he said.

When asked by a reporter if the threat was "imminent," Milley responded Friday saying, "absolutely," but defined the time frame as days and maybe weeks.

He also warned that attacks could still happen, meaning the threat was not eliminated by killing Soleimani.

One Republican congressional source, when asked about whether there was intelligence that attacks were imminent, said there was "no doubt he was there to plan attacks against the US," referring to Soleimani.

Trump administration warns Congress Iran could retaliate against US 'within weeks'

Soleimani was under frequent surveillance by the US intelligence community, according to a senior administration official.

"Capturing intel from this guy would be a top priority," the official said. Counterintelligence officials were routinely monitoring his movements, gathering information on who he was meeting with and what he was doing as he moved around the region. The official said he was definitely not in a secure undisclosed location like bin Laden and Baghdadi.

That kind of visibility gave the intelligence community a multitude of options for taking out Soleimani. This factor would obviously be of great use to the intelligence community were Soleimani determined to be moving toward an imminent attack on US interests.

This official, however, could not confirm whether that was the case prior to the Soleimani operation.

Lawmaker doubts

Some lawmakers have said that the information provided in classified settings last week painted an incomplete picture, prompting more questions about whether the threats cited by the administration meet the legal standard of "imminent."

One Democratic source who was briefed Friday by administration officials said the information offered was "absolutely unconvincing" as far as proving there was an imminent threat and Democratic lawmakers have raised similar concerns.

In an interview with CNN Friday, Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico said more than once that he does not believe an attack on the United States was imminent as President Donald Trump and other top administration officials have said.

"My staff was briefed by a number of people representing a variety of agencies in the United States government and they came away with no feeling that there was evidence of an imminent attack," Udall said, adding he believed the President is only saying an attack was imminent to justify killing Soleimani.

Trump and Rouhani trade warnings after killing of top general

Still, the US military remains comfortable with calling Soleimani's potential plan imminent, a US defense official told CNN Saturday.

"It all depends on what you call imminent," the official said, "but we believe he was in the final stages" of ordering attacks when he visited Beirut and Damascus in the days before he was killed."

The official added that while they continue to believe the intelligence showed Soleimani was planning multiple attacks at multiple locations, they do not have absolute detailed evidence of everything he was trying to execute.

Separately, a senior defense official told CNN there were multiple intelligence indicators that he was continuing to plan attacks. A significant turning point came when the US contractor was killed a week ago, the senior official said. "The intelligence may be no different of him (Soleimani) planning" attacks as he had in the past, but this was different because an American had been killed, added the Republican congressional source.

Another US official hedged, saying said the threat posed by the attacks Soleimani was accused of planning was "pretty imminent".

The official added, when asked if Soleimani was needed to be alive for these threats and plans to be executed in the same way that he planned them, that after his death "things will change."

Killing of American contractor crossed line for Trump, source says

Trump's assertion that the strike was meant to "avoid a war" and claims by administration officials that the operation was intended to de-escalate have also prompted confusion. However, a source familiar with the administration's thinking told CNN that those comments offer some insight into what the intention behind the attack was.

This source said the argument for targeting Soleimani, rather than Iranian assets, centers around the idea that it was a preemptive move intended to de-escalate the situation by deterring any plans to attack American embassies or bases.

The reasoning behind this, the same source told CNN, is that if Iran were to fire on a US base or embassy, it would trigger a large-scale military response by the US, so by killing Soleimani, the hope was that it would cause the Iranians to change their behavior.

Aim to reestablish a deterrent?

But that rationale may betray the administration's true goal of reestablishing a deterrent against Iran -- a step national security officials have long said was necessary but does not necessarily provide evidence of an imminent attack as required for the President to legally authorize lethal force.

A separate US official raised additional questions about the motive for the strike, telling CNN it had presidential authorization at this level and they opted for a preemptive option after the previous moves of maximum pressure didn't change the Iranian pattern of behavior.

Former CIA director David Petraeus seemed to also conclude that the objective of the strike was deterrence in a recent interview with Foreign Policy.

"The reasoning seems to be to show in the most significant way possible that the US is just not going to allow the continued violence—the rocketing of our bases, the killing of an American contractor, the attacks on shipping, on unarmed drones—without a very significant response," he said.

Trump warns Iran if it hits any Americans or American assets 'we have targeted 52 Iranian sites'

"Many people had rightly questioned whether American deterrence had eroded somewhat because of the relatively insignificant responses to the earlier actions. This clearly was of vastly greater importance. Of course it also, per the Defense Department statement, was a defensive action given the reported planning and contingencies that Soleimani was going to Iraq to discuss and presumably approve," Petraeus added.

But Petraeus' comment noting the Pentagon's assertion that the strike was defensive underscores the confusion caused by the administration's shifting legal justifications for the operation and failure to explain its definition of "imminent."

Democrat Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland also told CNN that one of his representatives was at the Friday briefing and said "nothing that came out of the briefing changed my view that this was an unnecessary escalation of the situation in Iraq and Iran."

Van Hollen went on to say: "While I can't tell you what was said, I can tell you, I have no additional information to support the administration's claim that this was an imminent attack on Americans."

CNN's Kevin Liptak, Barbara Starr, Jim Acosta, Pamela Brown, Nck Paton Walsh and Jamie Gangel contributed to this report.

© 2020 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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

{Two logical systems at play

The meaning of collusion

The optics of the popular front drives trump, with a reactive search for meaningful yet hollow references to the basis of collusive and swampish images of what America echoes in it's post WW2 days. That mirror started to crack way back in the sixties, in the infantile stage of its manifold superiority, which became fixed into it's adolescence. However, it had short tenure for lasting imperium for it lacked the eidectic tendency for post modern residency.

That belonged to ancient civilizations of history. Now its coming home to roost, overcoming it with a terror.

The optics as phenomenal presence of familial meaning, is beset by internal dynamics, because the politocal presence and its progenitor lost the history of their mutual imterrelation.

That nexus lost the hidden dialectic between its actual and it's remote function as a modus operandi in universal politocal affairs. The whole structure of the dynamic of this relations is on hold, as the unanswered question remains , what new definitions is that state, that epoch is capable to be sustained in a hidden future?}

The derivitive of none system of logic, has become an optical illusion , the resemblances to meaning broken, while the other one has lost its deductible glory}

In fact the scepter that hung in the air prior to WW2 has not diminished and Obama was right in his neutral attitude toward international world affairs, and the damgerousnstamdoff standoff has been prematurely directed.

The best of it is that Trump is a reactionary whose logic tries to reduce the now irreducible and colluded state of affairs into a vastly less progressive political economy of the US, while feeding that hunger with personal ambitions of his own.

That is explosive and he is far from being a continental politician, & he forgets the importance of the French leaders , cut to Jefferson, how that shaped the Constitution. And that goes for the short sighted Republican Party as well.}
Last edited by Meno_ on Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - reaction

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:21 pm

Meno_ wrote:

{The best of it is that Trump is a reactionary whose logic tries to reduce the now irreducible and colluded state of affairs into a vastly less progressive political economy of the US, while feeding that hunger with personal ambitions of his own.

That is explosive and he is far from being a continental politician, & he forgets the importance of the French leaders , cut to Jefferson, how that shaped the Constitution. And that goes for the short sighted Republican Party as well.}*

*my comments
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Re: Trump enters the stage. Reactions

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:53 pm

LIVEUpdated2 minutes ago

News > World > Middle East

Iran news – live: Iraq votes to expel US troops as Iranian MP says ‘we can attack the White House itself’ amid vows of retaliation after Trump threat to bomb civilian sites

Follow here for the latest updates

Andy Gregory

2 minutes ago 

Donald Trump has prompted further condemnation after he threatened to strike 52 targets, some apparently civilian sites, if Iran retaliates over the US assassination of military commander Qassem Soleimani.

As bombs fell near the US embassy in Baghdad, the US president was labelled a “monster” and accused of plotting war crimes after promising swift retribution at high level targets “important to Iranian culture”.

Meanwhile, the Iranian parliament opened with politicians chanting “death to America”, as Iraq also held an emergency session in the face of pressure to expel the thousands of US troops stationed there to prevent an Isis resurgence.


Iraq votes to expel foreign troops

MP claims Iran can 'attack the White House itself'

UK foreign secretary backs Trump's 'right' to kill Soleimani

Trump accused of threatening war crimes

Iran promises 'crushing and powerful' retaliation

3 minutes ago

Ceremony to honour Soleimani in Tehran 'cancelled due to mass turnout'


Sunday night's ceremony for Soleimani at Tehran's Grand Mosalla mosque has been cancelled, after the huge number of mourners delayed the arrival of the late military commander's body to Tehran, AFP reported the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as saying.


"Considering the glorious, intense and million-man presence of the revolutionary people of Mashhad in the ceremony to bid farewell to Islam and Iran's great general Qasem Soleimani and since the program is still continuing ... it is not possible to hold the event in Tehran," the Guards said.


Mourners were advised to attend an alternative ceremony planned at the University of Tehran on Monday.


5 January 2020 16:54

34 minutes ago

'There will be dead Americans': Former CIA chief issues warning to Trump as Iran crisis deepens


Michael Morell, a former acting and deputy CIA director, said the killing of Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani would spark a “harsh retaliation” from the Iranian government, and that US citizens would be targeted, Clark Mindock reports.


“Soleimani was an evil genius. He had a lot of American blood on his hands. The world is a better place without him. The problem is that comes at a very high cost,” Mr Morell, who served during Barack Obama’s presidency, told CBS.

"Number one, there will be dead Americans, dead civilian Americans, as a result of this. Possibly over the next few days in any place where Iran has its proxies, Iraq is the most likely place, but also Lebanon, Bahrain, other places in the Middle East.”



'There will be dead Americans' after Trump's order to kill Iran leader, says former CIA chief


5 January 2020 16:21

49 minutes ago

Pompeo insists assassination was justified


"Senior leadership had access to all of the intelligence," Mr Pompeo told ABC. There was no scepticism. I think General Miller used the term 'we would have been culpably negligent had we not taken this strike'.


"The intelligence assessment made clear that no action - allowing Soleimani to continue his plotting and his planning, his terror campaign - created more risk than taking the action that we took last week."



When pressed on Donald Trump's threat to bomb cultural sites – which many insist would constitute war crimes, Mr Pompeo said the US will "behave lawfully".


5 January 2020 16:06


57 minutes ago

Helicopter footage purports to show vast scale of mourning in Iran




5 January 2020 15:58

1 hour ago

Trump's wisdom in Soleimani assassination questioned further as Iraq moves to expel US troops


Veteran diplomat and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, says the US departure from Iraq will lead to greater Iranian influence in the country.



David Corn of Mother Jones and MSNBC points out that Donald Trump got his wishes for US withdrawal, albeit perhaps not in the way anyone expected.



Meanwhile, George Conway, husband of Kellyanne, Mr Trump's counsellor has denounced the president as a "sociopath" in response to an observation about the shortsightedness of his decision to assassinate Soleimani

In response to expulsion vote, Iraqi politician and militia leader calls for US 'humiliation'


It appears some in Iraq are not content with the non-binding resolution to expel foreign forces from the country, notably a militia leader who, in the wake of Soleimani's assassination, called for dormant anti-US military groups to prepare "to protect Iraq". Reuters reports:


Populist Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said the parliamentary resolution calling on the government to end foreign troop presence did not go far enough and called on local and foreign militia groups to unite.

"I consider this a weak response insufficient against American violation of Iraqi sovereignty and regional escalation," Sadr, who leads the largest bloc in parliament, said in a letter to the assembly read out by a supporter.

Sadr said a security agreement with the United States should be cancelled immediately, the US embassy should be closed down, US troops must be expelled in a humiliating manner, and communication with the US government should be criminalised.


And in perhaps the most significant sign of the longstanding tensions Donald Trump has exacerbated, the militia leader continues:

"Finally, I call specifically on the Iraqi resistance groups and the groups outside Iraq more generally to meet immediately and announce the formation of the International Resistance Legions," he said.


5 January 2020 15:42

1 hour ago

Iraq votes to expel foreign troops

At an emergency parliamentary session, Iraqi politicians have voted in favour of a resolution telling the government to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq, and ensure they not use its land, air, and waters for any reason.

"The government commits to revoke its request for assistance from the international coalition fighting Islamic State due to the end of military operations in Iraq and the achievement of victory," the resolution read.


"The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason."

Parliament resolutions, unlike laws, are non-binding to the government, but Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had earlier called on parliament to end foreign troop presence.


Some 5,200 US troops are reported to be stationed in Iraq, with America announcing the deployment of an additional 3,000 to the region following the killing of Soleimani. 


Yesterday, Nato suspended its operations in Iraq, where it had been assisting Iraqi troops in preventing the resurgence of Isis.

Iraq complains to UN about American drone strikes


Iraq's foreign ministry has lodged official complaints with the United Nations secretary general and Security Council over the airstrikes that killed Soleimani and several Iraqi milita leaders.

The complaint is about "American attacks and aggression on Iraqi military positions and the assassination of Iraqi and allied high level military commanders on Iraqi soil," the ministry said in a statement.

It described the attacks as "a dangerous breach of Iraqi sovereignty and of the terms of US presence in Iraq" and called on the Security Council to condemn them.


In the immediate aftermath of the assassination, Mr Abdul-Mahdi warned that it was “a dangerous escalation that will light the fuse of a destructive war in Iraq, the region, and the world.”

If you are travelling in the Middle East, or have imminent plans to visit the region, here's a must-read article from The Independent's veteran travel correspondent Simon Calder.


As the Iran crisis escalates, is it safe to travel to Dubai and the Middle East?

Changing planes in Dubai, Doha or Abu Dhabi? Holiday in the UAE or Oman? On a cruise to or from the Gulf

Here's some footage of the start of Iran's parliamentary session today, in which politicians began by chanting "death to America".



Tonight, Iranian politicians are expected to meet to discuss the next step of their commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Hezbollah says Soleimani assassination marks new phase in Middle East's history

Referring to the date of Soleimani's killing, the group's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said it was a "date separating two phases in the region ... it is the start of a new phase and new history not just for Iran or Iraq but the whole region".

He was speaking at the start of a rally in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut to commemorate Soleimani.

Criticism over Boris Johnson's silence on the Iranian crisis continues to roll in, as Dominic Raab sparked fears of the government's intentions by citing Donald Trump's "right to self-defence" in ordering the killing of Soleimani.




And an interesting observation from Carole Cadwalladr of The Observer:



Speaking to Andrew Marr, Mr Raab insisted the PM had been in “constant contact”, to discuss the crisis, adding: “What really matters is that there is a very clear strategy and message.

“There has not been a vacuum at all – the prime minister has been in charge.”


Iran to decide commitment to nuclear deal tonight, foreign ministry spokesperson says

"Tonight, there will be a very important meeting to decide about our next nuclear step and the implementation of the deal ... considering the recent threats [by America] it should be underlined that in politics, all developments and threats are linked to each other," said spokesperson Abbas Mousavi, according to state news agency IRNA.

In reaction to the US policy of "maximum pressure" and punishing sanctions since Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement in 2018, Iran has taken several actions in violation of the deal, involving the production of materials that could be used to create nuclear weapons.

Iran has warned that it will further decrease its commitments if European parties fail to shield Tehran from US penalties. In November, Iran gave Britain, France and Germany a third 60-day deadline to salvage the deal.


On Saturday, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke with his counterparts in Germany and China, before issuing a public statement calling on Iran to "avoid any further measure of violation of the Vienna Agreement".
The Independent's international correspondent Borzou Daragahi reported Iran's claims in November it had amassed 500kg of enriched uranium, more than the 300kg limit set by the nuclear deal, and was producing enriched uranium at a rate of six kilograms per day.
Around 1,100 kilograms of reactor-grade uranium would be required to produce enough highly enriched fissile material for a single nuclear weapon. 

Here's a visual of the Iranian parliamentary session as politicians chanted "death to America", and the speaker warned: "Mr Trump, this is the voice of Iranian nation. Listen."




Elsewhere in Tehran, angry mourners burned American and Israeli flags.



And in the city of Ahvaz, tens of thousands of mourners turned out as Soleimani's coffin was paraded through the streets.




5 January 2020 13:13

3 hours ago

While Trump's usual allies have defended the seemingly reckless decision to kill Soleimani, he faced criticism from one unusual source last night – Fox News' Tucker Carlson.




5 January 2020 13:02

As Dominic Raab says Trump had a right to self-defence, scepticism is mounting over US claims of an 'imminent' threat


According to Middle East analyst Rukmini Callimachi, US officials briefed after the drone strike on Soleimani have contradicted official claims that by killing the Iranian general, America averted an "imminent" attack.


Ms Callimachi, who reports for the New York Times and provides analysis for NBC, said one official had described the justification for the "chaotic" strike as "razor thin".



Echoing similar reports elsewhere, the official said that after the attack on an Iraqi base which killed an American defence contractor, Mr Trump was given several options for retaliation, of which killing Suleimani was the "far out option".
Despite alleged fury at the killing of the US contractor, Mr Trump is said to initially have gone with a more moderate option of strikes on the Popular Mobilisation Forces. He reportedly changed his mind after the protests at the US embassy in Baghdad.


One Republican source told CNN that Mr Trump had been warned by his advisers that if he did not take some form of military action, Iran would continue to attempt such attacks.

"I am very confident he was not reluctant," he said, adding that when Mr Trump has decided to act "you can't out escalate him."

Raab's defence of Trump criticised by Labour


The foreign secretary took an abrupt turn in his position on the Soleimani killing this morning, as he insisted Donald Trump had "a right to self-defence". 


Given the shadow chancellor had previously urged Boris Johnson, who has been silent during his Carribean holiday, to go beyond calls for restraint and condemn the attacks outright, he was quick to criticise Mr Raab for his comments to Sophy Ridge.




Emergency parliament meeting in Iraq over future of US troops looks uncertain


The session called to debate the withdrawal of US troops was due to begin at 1pm local time (10am GMT), but is still yet to commence.


According to CNN, only about 20 of a possible 329 politicians have arrived, casting doubt on whether or not the meeting will take place. 



Since the US airstrike that killed Soleimani and the Popular Mobilisation Forces commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, rival Shiite leaders have come together in an unusual show of unity to call for the expulsion of US troops from the country.


"There is no need for the presence of American forces after defeating Daesh (Islamic State)," said Ammar al-Shibli, a member of the parliamentary legal committee told Reuters. "We have our own armed forces which are capable of protecting the country."


Hadi al-Amiri, the top candidate to succeed Muhandis, repeated his call for US troops to leave Iraq during Saturday's funeral procession.


While several parties have now floated plans to restrict the US presence in Iraq, to various degrees, prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi's approval also hangs in the balance for plans announced on Saturday to restrict the movement of coalition forces in Iraq.


It is unclear how far-ranging the proposed restrictions would be. Some 3,000 additional US troops have been deployed to the region, which currently houses 5,200 American soldiers.

5 hours ago

Iranian MP claims Islamic Republic has power to 'attack the White House'


"We can attack the White House itself, we can respond to them on the American soil. We have the power, and God willing we will respond in an appropriate time," said Abolfazl Abutorabi, a hardline MP, according to Iranian news agency ILNA .

The hardline lawmaker urged Iran "should crush America's teeth" in response to a question on whether and how the Islamic Republic would react to the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani, in a furious parliamentary session held on Sunday. 

"This is a declaration of war, which means if you hesitate you lose," Mr Abutorabi added. "When someone declares war do you want to respond to the bullets with flowers? They will shoot you in the head."


The Independent's international correspondent, Borzou Daragahi, said the MP was an obscure lawmaker known for making incendiary remarks and suggested the claims should be treated with a large dose of scepticism.

He said Iran was not believed to have any missiles capable of reaching Washington DC, and an individual suicide attack would likely be the only realistic means of Tehran targeting the capital.

Any significant military action by Iran would have to be vetted and approved by its Supreme National Security Council, a body that includes Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, and the leaders of the various branches of government and armed forces.


Mr Abutorabi also echoed previous suggestions that Iran could target ships in the Strait of Hormuz, where the Royal Navy was sent yesterday to escort ships.

"There are tens of thousands of possibilities for us to respond. Responding to the Americans in open waters does not pose any problem for us in terms of international regulations. We can take our revenge inside Iraq or in open waters."


5 January 2020 12:09

5 hours ago

Baghdad rocked by blasts late on Saturday night, near US embassy and forces

With funeral processions were still taking place last night in Baghdad, as some Iraqis mourned the death of Soleimani and commander of the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, there were several explosions at significant locations across the city.


The US-led coalition confirmed a rocket attack had taken place inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, where the US embassy and government buildings are housed.


Another hit the nearby Jadriya neighbourhood, some 500 metres from the president's usual residence of As-Salam palace. Police sources told Reuters five people were injured.


Several more mortars were fired at the Balad air base north of the city. The US-led coalition said no troops were hurt.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - reaction

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:07 pm

A British prime minister flies back from a Caribbean holiday where he has been, courtesy of millionaire friends, sunning himself on yachts while the Middle East is in flames and Britain in the grip of a security crisis. Britain’s key ally is accused of war crimes on foreign soil in a fight with Iran and its regional proxies. European opinion has quickly solidified around the idea that both sides show restraint. The British response is to defy this advice and endorse a belligerent US administration’s approach. Deja vu? It certainly should sound familiar.

The year was 2006 and the British prime minister was Tony Blair. His stubborn refusal to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon dealt, by his own account, a “fatal blow” to his premiership.

Boris Johnson could console himself that history does not quite repeat itself. He ought not to. Today’s crisis in the Middle East is much more dangerous and volatile than the one faced by his predecessor. Unlike Mr Blair, the current Downing Street incumbent is unproven in war. Mr Johnson is also dealing with a far more unstable, narcissistic and bullying president in the shape of Donald Trump than Mr Blair did. The fact Mr Trump did not think it necessary to inform Britain of his rash decision to assassinate Qassem Suleimani – Iran’s second most important leader after Ayatollah Khamenei – ought to tell Mr Johnson how little the White House thinks of him. Because the prime minister refused to return home early, his foreign secretary ate his own words in public. Dominic Raab was given a dressing down by his US counterpart after first siding with Europe over the almost certainly illegal killing of the thuggish Suleimani. It was disappointing to see Mr Raab replace his temperate response with self-serving US propaganda.

There appears barely any credible evidence of an imminent threat to the US from Suleimani or his Iranian-backed militias. Mr Trump has succeeded in replacing the media focus on his impeachment with the fallout from his lethal strike. This will not be inconsiderable: the Iraqi parliamentary vote for a motion calling for the ejection of US troops from the country is a taste of things to come. Mr Trump lacks the imagination to see the issues involved in the Middle East. The killing of the Iranian general is just another example of the failure of his “maximum pressure campaign” on Iran. His idea that crippling economic sanctions would force Tehran to capitulate only saw its leadership make bold military moves against both Arab rivals and western interests while restarting key parts of its nuclear programme.

Mr Trump projects the image of a strongman. Yet his actions have weakened the US strategic position in the Middle East. The national interest is not a guide to Mr Trump’s action. What matters is personal political advantage in a US election year. To stoke his evangelical base he presents his rivalry with Iran as a clash of civilisations. It is appalling that he thinks a legitimate military response is to commit war crimes by levelling Iran’s historic monuments. Mr Trump fears a public who already hold his policies responsible for tensions with Tehran. Whatever the Iranian retaliation it will be a messy outcome with no easy way for Mr Trump to pin the blame for war on anyone but himself.

Mr Johnson faces the first test of Britain’s post-Brexit foreign policy posture. Unlike George W Bush, Mr Trump won’t offer the British prime minister a way to sit out any upcoming war. He does not give help for free. He expects a quid pro quo. Jumping into the trenches with the US over a war Britain does not want may be the price Mr Johnson has to pay for a post-Brexit US-UK trade deal. There is a certain truth about the danger of any British prime minister swinging away from conventional wisdom and from British public opinion. Mr Blair was derided because it was said he let Britain become America’s poodle. This time the country risks ending up as its lapdog.

Trump's America stands utterly alone

Updated 2:14 PM EST, Sun January 05, 2020



Editor's Note: (David A. Andelman, executive director of The RedLines Project, is a contributor to CNN where his columns won the Deadline Club Award for Best Opinion Writing. Author of "A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today," he was formerly a foreign correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News in Europe and Asia. Follow him on Twitter @DavidAndelman. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN.)

(CNN)This time, the United States stands utterly alone.

Since his inaugural address three years ago, President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted his nationalist views and acted on a warped belief that the essence of American foreign policy is self-reliance. Now, for the first time in at least a century, America may be going to war all by itself.

David Andelman

Trump launched his attack on Iran's Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani without the backing of American allies. Trump even kept British Prime Minister Boris Johnson out of the loop, according to the BBC. A United Nations expert on extrajudicial executions said the killing "most likely" violated international law, while UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab urged "all parties to de-escalate."

Trump has repeatedly alienated most of America's traditional allies and led them to question his style of leadership. He has railed against fellow NATO members, and attacked leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron.

Soleimani killing: What happens next?

And despite protests from US allies, Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal while the remaining members -- Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany -- pledged to maintain the agreement designed to prevent Iran from making a mad dash toward a nuclear weapon. And the Europeans have bent over backwards to find ways of neutralizing or circumventing the sanctions Trump subsequently loaded onto Iran.

In withdrawing from the nuclear pact, the Trump administration launched a maximum pressure campaign, and Iran reciprocated with a number of provocations including shooting down a US military drone in June 2019. Trump nearly responded with a military strike, before calling it off and writing that it was "not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone."

In 2013, when President Barack Obama contemplated a massive attack on Syria for use of chemical weapons during that nation's civil war, he backed off when the British, following an eight-hour debate in Parliament, refused to join in. The UK's support might have helped sway Congress, where Obama faced opposition from both parties.

Iran conflict confirms Trump is who Dems think he is

The foundations for Britain's distrust were laid in 2003, when the UK supported the invasion of Iraq under the pretense that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, and members of Parliament were wary of making the same mistake a decade later. As Prime Minister David Cameron admitted during the debate, "One thing is indisputable: the well of public opinion was well and truly poisoned by the (2003) Iraq episode and we need to understand the public skepticism."

George W. Bush convinced the world that Saddam was building a nuclear arsenal. Secretary of State Colin Powell even went before the UN Security Council with aerial photos purporting to show such advances. "My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources," Powell said on February 5, 2003. "These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence." Of course, it turned out to be all utterly bogus. And Powell later acknowledged it was a blot on his record. By then, however, tens of thousands of troops fighting for America and its allies, had lost their lives, as well as at least 180,000 Iraqi civilians.

This time, Trump said, "Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him." Since then, he has produced no such evidence.

'World War III' was trending

By killing Soleimani, Trump has provoked a power that has powerful friends, and little to lose. Last month, Iran joined Russia and China on massive joint naval maneuvers in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman. China has also proved to be a receptive customer for Iran's oil sales, despite Trump's efforts to crush the Islamic Republic's economy. Iran has also aligned with Russia in backing Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria.

History would also suggest that Iran is fully prepared to unleash asymmetric warfare unlike any before seen. Its eight-year war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988 has shown it to be capable of assembling vast reserves of would-be martyrs in the form of human wave attacks unlike anything terrorist groups have been able to mount.

By his action, Trump crossed several critical red lines in the region, without notice and without backup. For the past two years, I have been studying the nature, structure and history of red lines for my forthcoming book, A Line in the Sand: Red Lines in Peace and War," to be published by Pegasus. I've found that the Middle East, particularly Iran, Iraq and Syria today have a density of red lines -- ranging from geographical borders to political, diplomatic or military realities -- replicated in no other region of the world, nor at any other moment in history. Each line must in some fashion be carefully communicated or structured so that all parties understand the reality and the stakes for violating them.

Certainly, Soleimani crossed a critical red line himself by going into Iraq where he was killed in a drone strike at a Baghdad airport. But Trump, by his response, crossed an even more dangerous one by escalating an already tense situation across a red line that was not its own -- without support from crucial allies.

Perhaps most troubling is the fact that Trump does not seem to be at all concerned about his lack of friends and allies, nor for that matter has he expressed any real plan of response beyond a tweeted threat of retaliation against 52 Iranian targets if Iran strikes back. Above all, he does not seem to have an exit strategy or end game in mind. Establishing or violating a red line is not an action to be undertaken cavalierly or without careful consideration as to the response or the outcome.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - war!

Postby Meno_ » Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:54 am

Trump tells Congress to follow him on Twitter for updates on war with Iran

The president recently used Twitter to threaten Iran with war crimes

By T.C. Sottek 

on January 5, 2020 4:15 pm


After ordering the assassination of a top Iranian commander without giving notice to congressional leaders, President Trump has told Congress to follow him on Twitter for updates on his acts of war against Iran.

Today’s dramatic tweet from the president follows another issued on January 4th, in which Trump threatened the destruction of 52 Iranian targets, including cultural sites. (The targeting of cultural sites is considered a war crime.)

Trump has long used Twitter to harass, insult, and demean his enemies, and as president, he has used the platform to issue surprise orders, announcements, and even threats against other nations like North Korea. In 2018, Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by tweet. More generally, federal agencies have struggled to reckon with the president’s use of Twitter during his administration, often wondering whether his mercurial pronouncements should be handled as official government policy.

Nonetheless, Trump’s recent tweets are an improbable escalation of his use of the platform to incite geopolitical disorder and marginalize Congress. They may also signal illegal behavior; according to Yale Law School processor Oona Hathaway, Trump “cannot notify Congress under the War Powers Resolution by tweet.” (Trump also later posted the same message on Facebook.)

Despite now threatening war on the service, Twitter is unlikely to take action against the president’s account. In January 2018, Twitter declared that “blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial tweets would hide important information.”

© 2020 Vox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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The New York Times

Iran Challenges Trump, Announcing End of Nuclear Restrictions

President Trump thought the nuclear deal was flawed because restrictions on Iran would end after 15 years. Now, responding to a U.S. strike, Iran has declared the limits over after less than five.

To much of the world, President Trump’s decision to back out of the Iran nuclear deal precipitated the hostilities today.Credit...Eric Thayer for The New York Times

When President Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, he justified his unilateral action by saying the accord was flawed, in part because the major restrictions on Iran ended after 15 years, when Tehran would be free to produce as much nuclear fuel as it wanted.

But now, instead of buckling to American pressure, Iran declared on Sunday that those restrictions are over — a decade ahead of schedule. Mr. Trump’s gambit has effectively backfired.

Iran’s announcement essentially sounded the death knell of the 2015 nuclear agreement. And it largely re-creates conditions that led Israel and the United States to consider destroying Iran’s facilities a decade ago, again bringing them closer to the potential of open conflict with Tehran that was avoided by the accord.

Iran did stop short of abandoning the entire deal on Sunday, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and its foreign minister held open the possibility that his nation would return to its provisions in the future — if Mr. Trump reversed course and lifted the sanctions he has imposed since withdrawing from the accord.

That, at least, appeared to hold open the possibility of a diplomatic off-ramp to the major escalation in hostilities since the United States killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the second most powerful official in Iran and head of the Quds Force.

But some leading experts declared that the effort to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions through diplomacy was over. “It’s finished,” David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that tracks nuclear proliferation, said in an interview. “If there’s no limitation on production, then there is no deal.”

To some of the Iran deal’s most vociferous critics, the announcement was a welcome development. Among them was John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser who was ousted by Mr. Trump last summer because, the president said, he was concerned Mr. Bolton was forcing him into conflict with Iran.

“Another good day,” Mr. Bolton wrote on Twitter. “Iran rips the mask off the idea it ever fully complied with the nuclear deal, or that it made a strategic decision to forswear nuclear weapons. Now, it’s on to the real job: effectively preventing the ayatollahs from getting such a capability.”

But to much of the world — especially the Europeans, Russians and Chinese, who were partners in the nuclear deal — Mr. Trump’s decision to back out of the accord led to the crisis.

The president’s unilateral action started a sequence of events — the re-imposition of American sanctions, Iran’s gradual return to nuclear activity over the past year, actions that led to the targeting of General Suleimani — that could be speeding the two countries toward conflict.

Iran’s announcement means that it will no longer observe any limits on the number of centrifuges it can install to enrich uranium or the level to which it enriches it.

Iran did not say if it would resume production at 20 percent, a major leap toward bomb-grade uranium, or beyond. But by allowing inspectors to remain in the country, as the foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Tehran would, Iran will have witnesses to its own “maximum pressure” campaign against the West.

The primary American objective in the 2015 agreement was to keep Iran at least a year away from getting enough fuel to fashion a warhead.

Even before Sunday’s announcement, a series of steps by Tehran discarding elements of the agreement had reduced that warning time to a matter of months. The risk now is that uncertainties about how close the Iranians are to their first weapon will grow, and perhaps become fodder for calls in the United States and Israel to take military action.

In essence, Iran is saying it now can produce whatever kind of nuclear fuel it wants, including bomb-grade material.

Now, the United States and Israel must confront the big question: Will they take military or cyberwarfare action to try to cripple those production facilities?

More than a decade ago the United States and Israel cooperated on a mission code-named Olympic Games, the most sophisticated cyberattack in history, to get into the computer code driving the centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear enrichment site and make them blow up.

The Iranians recovered, and rebuilt the facility, tripling the number of centrifuges that existed before the cyberattack and opening a new centrifuge center deep in a mountain called Fordow, which is far harder to bomb. Israel repeatedly considered bombing the facilities, but was stopped by the United States and internal warnings about starting a war.

Now, after the killing of General Suleimani, those restraints could evaporate.

The nuclear deal also laid out unusually stringent scrutiny for all of Iran’s main nuclear facilities — “including daily access” if international atomic inspectors requested it.

Sunday’s announcement left unclear whether Tehran intends to obey that heightened scrutiny or will lower its adherence to the standard level. In a Twitter post, Mr. Zarif, the foreign minister, said “Iran’s full cooperation” with the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency “will continue.”

Mr. Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security said that reduced visibility into the Iranian nuclear program could end up increasing fears of worst-case scenarios — and, perhaps, miscalculations — related to military strikes and war.

“They were added to gain comfort,” Mr. Albright said of the strengthened inspections. “Having daily access reduced suspicions and the chance of conspiracy theories taking root.”

For example, Mr. Albright said, new ambiguity could darken views in the West on how long it would take Iran to make enough fuel for a single atomic bomb — what nuclear experts call “breakout.” Such estimates are based on the number and efficiency of the whirling machines that concentrate a rare isotope of uranium to levels high enough to make weapon fuel.

The Iran deal was designed to keep Tehran a year or more away from getting enough highly enriched uranium to fashion a single warhead — what international inspectors call “a significant quantity.”

Mr. Albright said his group’s worst-case estimate for an Iranian breakout is four to five months. But some experts, he added, have estimated as little as two months.

He noted that the international inspectors still would have regular access to Iran’s nuclear facilities as part of the safeguard agreements of nuclear nations.

But if “the high level of transparency that the nuclear deal provided” should come to an end, Mr. Albright added, “it could undermine confidence” in the West’s assessments of Iran’s nuclear acts and intentions.

The Deepening Conflict With Iran

Read more on the turmoil following a U.S. strike that killed an Iranian general.

Iran Ends Nuclear Limits as Killing of Iranian General Upends Mideast

Jan. 5, 2020

Pompeo Warns Iran’s Leaders U.S. Could Attack Them if They Retaliate

Jan. 5, 2020

U.S.-Led Coalition Halts ISIS Fight as It Steels for Iranian Attacks
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Pelosi vs. Trump

Postby Meno_ » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:57 am

Nancy Pelosi says House will vote to limit Trump's war powers on Iran as tensions grow
NICHOLAS WU | USA TODAY | 1 hour ago

Members of the 290-seat Iranian parliament raise a fist and chant "death to America" to protest the death of Qasem Soleimani.


WASHINGTON – On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House of Representatives will vote this week on legislation to limit President Donald Trump's military actions on Iran in the wake of increased tensions between the two countries after Trump ordered an airstrike killing top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani last Thursday

In a letter to Democratic members of the House, Pelosi said the "provocative and disproportionate" airstrike on Soleimani "endangered our servicemembers, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran. "

Pelosi thanked lawmakers for their "patriotic leadership" during the tense period.

The resolution, which Pelosi said will be introduced and voted on this week, will mandate that military hostilities with Iran cease within 30 days unless further congressional authorization like a declaration of war is taken.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., has introduced a similar resolution in the Senate.

Pelosi's promise to deliberate and vote on the war powers legislation comes as Congress returns from its holiday recess on Monday and could alter the politics around Trump's impeachment.

The House voted to impeach Trump on Dec. 18 but has declined to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate over concerns about a fair trial. Senate Democrats and Republicans have deadlocked in negotiations over the format of a trial.

According to Pelosi, freshman Michigan Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin will lead the resolution. Slotkin, who is from a swing district outside Detroit, is a former Department of Defense and CIA analyst.

More: Donald Trump again threatens to target Iranian cultural sites amid mounting tensions over Qasem Soleimani killing

More: Donald Trump threatens Iraq with sanctions, says US won't leave unless 'they pay us back' for air base

Slotkin has been critical of the Trump administration's actions in the Middle East, and in a series of tweets on Friday, she saidthat the Democratic and Republican administrations she served under made the calculation that targeting Soleimani posed too great a risk to American diplomats and service members.

The two administrations I worked for both determined that the ultimate ends didn’t justify the means. The Trump Administration has made a different calculation.

The Iranian government has vowed to retaliate and avenge Soleimani’s death, and could do so in any number of ways:

— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) January 3, 2020

Soleimani's killing has sparked fears of a broader conflict in the Middle East as tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated.

On Sunday, the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel American soldiers from the country, drawing the threat of sanctions from Trump. Trump also reiterated his threat to target Iranian cultural sites if Iran takes military action against U.S. forces.

Iran also abandoned its remaining commitments to a nuclear deal between it and world powers that the United States left in May 2018.

© Copyright Gannett 2020

....... ...... ......

The Guardian - Back to home

Boris Johnson


UK would not back US bombing of Iran cultural sites – No 10
Downing Street says such military action would break international treaties in implicit rebuke to Trump

UK politics latest – live updates
Rowena Mason Deputy political editor
Mon 6 Jan 2020 08.08 EST
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Downing Street has said targeting cultural sites in Iran would breach international warfare conventions in an implicit rebuke to Donald Trump for threatening to bomb protected heritage sites.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman refused to criticise Trump directly but made clear the UK government would not support such a course of action, after the US president said he could target 52 Iranian sites if Iran retaliated over the assassination of Qassem Suleimani – “some at a very high level and important to Iran and the Iranian culture”.

Trump’s comments amount to threatening a war crime because such action would violate international treaties, but he repeated the threat on Sunday, saying: “They’re allowed to kill our people, they’re allowed to torture and maim our people, they’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people, and we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way.”

To believe there’ll be world war three is to swallow US propaganda | Nesrine Malik
Responding to Trump’s latest comments, Johnson’s spokesman said there were “international conventions in place that prevent the destruction of cultural heritage”, implying the UK does not believe such threats would be carried out.

“You can read the international conventions for yourself. It is the 1954 Hague convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict,” he added.

However, Downing Street was careful not to criticise Trump directly, insisting that Britain’s security partnership with the US remained “very close” despite Johnson not having been informed of Washington’s plan to assassinate Suleimani in advance.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We have a very close security partnership with the United States, we are in regular dialogue at every level.”

Asked if Johnson was convinced the US drone strike was legal, the spokesman said: “States have a right to take action such as this in self-defence and the US have been clear that Suleimani was plotting imminent attacks on American diplomats and military personnel.”

The spokesman also defended Johnson’s failure to make any sort of statement on the assassination for 68 hours while he was holidaying with his partner on the Caribbean island of Mustique.

“The PM was in contact with senior officials and senior ministers throughout the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The government’s position was set out by the foreign secretary,” he said.

The prime minister spoke to Trump, as well as Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Emmanuel Macron, the French president, on Sunday. The UK, Germany and France issued a joint statement urging de-escalation and restraint by all parties late on Sunday night.

Johnson also spoke to the Iraqi prime minister on Monday morning, and urged him to allow foreign troops to remain in the country to fight against the threat posed by Islamic State.

“The coalition is in Iraq to protect Iraqis and others from the threat from Daesh [Isis] at the request of the Iraqi government,” the spokesman said. “We urge the Iraqi government to ensure the coalition is able to continue our vital work countering this shared threat.

“The foreign secretary spoke to the Iraqi president and prime minister this weekend. The prime minister is speaking with his Iraqi counterpart today and our ambassador in Baghdad is in touch with political leaders in Iraq to emphasise these points and urge them to ensure we can keep fighting this threat together.”

Johnson will meet senior ministers to discuss the Iran situation later on Monday and hold a meeting of the national security council on Tuesday

© 2020 Guardian News & Media
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Risk of WW3?

Postby Meno_ » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:01 pm

"To believe there’ll be world war three is to swallow US propaganda | Nesrine Malik
Responding to Trump’s latest comments, Johnson’s spokesman said there were “international conventions in place that prevent the destruction of cultural heritage”, implying the UK does not believe such threats would be carried out."

{Is there such a risk? There always is. The nuclear clock has not of late been mentioned, neither the accidentally human risk of technical accidents. But these aside, how about the discrepancy between human political and psychological error based on multiform differences between levels of intelligence? The basic cunning of animals to overcome fight or flight decisions clashes with civilization's vaneer, whose thickness varies not only response awareness and reaction in situ, but with the differences entailed regionally.
The sacred sights of Islam is possibly the only lasting symbol which people in the middle east can be able to apprehend, and as such it is possibly a fuse which is very sensitive to them, and it most certainly more dangerous then an assassination.
Let us face the fact that it is no longer the Democratic Ideal that draws men to the light of faith and reason, because the power plays by an imperium such as the U.S. represents, draw the powerless , like blind moths to a lamp.They are also aware, the disillusioned, to be squeezed between the equally blind Capital acquisition, and the opposing illusions of social paradise...
People the world over have followed children in seeing the undressing of the naked emperor, their political faith gone down the toilet, their recurrent faith in the greatness of their heritage is the last draw.

Playing with fire, in the name of remaking America into the thin layer of supremacy that was sustained for a mere few decades, is like sustaining communism as a lasting principle to live by.

The dialectic showed one thing, that it's demise, as a dynamic formulation, of replacing god, became a conceivable major fault, whereby the non dialectical adjunct, will be pulled down as well.

Democracy, in all fairness was the countwrbalancing of values by which Capital could maintain it's credibility.
This is the huge balancing act whose fulcrum is in disarray, to the extent that it's width has become internationally variable to a dangerous level.
This is where the ancient end of world mythic scenario impinge on political expediency.

As that realization sinks in, Trump ingeniously would rather de-mythologies the past, American style, then allow people to hold on to these magnaminious and delusive symbols to their disadvantage.

There is a kind of strange rationale to this, and the BIG question now, is, can a progressive light be adopted to overcome the madness of aesthetic support in ancient, albeit lost powers of social and uniform powers?

Because , man's will has always been dependent on powers, powers which suspend temporal and terirorriak reality, and is capable to deconstruct the reasonable adherence to law, of any current order impressed upon compatible and peaceful sustenance of life.

The ominous facts point to a fulcrum, whose power is becoming vastly shortened to it's source, and the sad fact us, that power apparently has leaked into an abyss so unwary of it's self, that it can look out of it's self and begin to see itself as the source of it's own eclipse.

The darkness is slowly able to identify it's self , and here is the problem in essence:

When that essential being dies to it's self, for repression is becoming near absolute followed by it's nemesis -denial, the real need to collude with the unreal, life with death, knowing, that only life exists. The old myths are hard to come by in absence of artifacts, and this awareness is only palatable on either ends of an extremely palatable spectrum:

1 The far strung of formal aesthetic, and 2 That of its opposite-the extremes form of self indulgence. The grey area has blown out the light of reason a king long time ago, there are few if any reasonable men left there to warrant consideration.}*

{ }*represents my comments
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby MagsJ » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:37 pm

I will have to watch tonight’s news.. I don’t envy the current newly-elected U.K. government, in this situation they find themselves in, and have to make decisions on.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ
I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Huh! - MagsJ
You’re suggestions and I, just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a really bad DJ - MagsJ
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:08 pm

MagsJ wrote:I will have to watch tonight’s news.. I don’t envy the current newly-elected U.K. government, in this situation they find themselves in, and have to make decisions on.

Would You inform us as to Your reactions of it?


The interesting correlative to this is the effect of techno-politics and how all combatants can be infused by the so called collusive effects which pit the representatives against the executors of constitutive interpretation.

When it really comes down to the wire, the executive wins palms up, because representation has become kind of a endlesw search for meaning.

That meaning is presented , and represented on in a high wire class act that has become more aesthetic performance than demonstrative of real information. Everyone gets caught in the novel ways then in actually reading them in what may turn out to be just another plotless novel.

The theatrics anticipated in the 2020 election may dwarf those that went down in the 2016 one.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:21 pm

MagsJ wrote:I will have to watch tonight’s news.. I don’t envy the current newly-elected U.K. government, in this situation they find themselves in, and have to make decisions on.

Decisions, which for the most.part predicate on part of having to accede to U.S. foreign policy. The result of an integral special U.S.- U.K. relationship

But please, at it's earliest , remit whatever You got out of it tonight.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Bolton witness in Senate trial

Postby Meno_ » Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:24 am



Bolton curveball threatens to upend impeachment trial

Bolton's offer is a win for Senate Democrats, who have sought additional testimony and documents against the president.


01/06/2020 12:03 PM ES

Former national security adviser John Bolton said Monday that he would testify if he is subpoenaed as part of the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

In a statement posted online, Bolton, who was asked to testify as part of the House's impeachment inquiry but refused to appear for a deposition, said he wants to meet his “obligations” both as a citizen and as a former top presidential adviser.

“Since my testimony is once again at issue, I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study,” Bolton wrote. “I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify.”

Bolton’s surprise offer comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) remain at an impasse over the parameters for the chamber’s trial. Schumer has been pushing McConnell to allow additional witness testimony and document production as part of the trial, but McConnell has maintained that those issues should be considered after the trial begins.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

“It is now up to four Senate Republicans to support bringing in Mr. Bolton,” Schumer said in a statement, renewing his demand for three other witnesses to appear for testimony: acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, top Mulvaney aide Robert Blair and senior budget official Michael Duffey. All three refused to appear for testimony before House impeachment investigators.

“If any Senate Republican opposes issuing subpoenas to the four witnesses and documents we have requested they would make absolutely clear they are participating in a cover up,” Schumer added, noting that Bolton’s lawyer has already said his client has information to share with investigators that has not been previously disclosed.

The statement from Bolton — who has remained relatively quiet since Trump fired him last year — hands Senate Democrats a new weapon as they seek to exert pressure on Republicans to call witnesses and seek documentary evidence to add to the House's articles of impeachment. A Senate subpoena requires at least 51 votes, and four Republicans would need to vote with Democrats.

One of those potential GOP votes, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, said he would “of course” want to hear from Bolton. But he stopped short of declaring he would vote in favor of subpoenaing Bolton, adding: “What’s important is that we hear from him.”

Before his announcement, Bolton, who has been described as a central witness to the allegations for which the House impeached Trump, gave a heads up to McConnell informing the majority leader of his decision, according a source familiar with the matter.

GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas did not rule out voting to subpoena Bolton, but said the question of witnesses should be left for later in the trial, echoing McConnell’s position. He suggested if that occurred, it could actually help Trump’s case.

“What I think Bolton could say, this is a disagreement over the way foreign policy is being conducted. There’s no crime being judged,” Cornyn told reporters. “I have no objection to his testifying either through his deposition or some pre-recorded testimony. To me it amounts to an admission that what they’ve presented so far is pretty thin gruel.”


Bolton’s move also unleashes new and complicated constitutional questions, including whether the House will attempt to subpoena Bolton now that he has acknowledged his willingness to comply with a congressional subpoena. Bolton’s pronouncement also raises the question of whether Trump could intervene to block his testimony.

Amid the clashes between McConnell and Schumer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has refused to formally transmit the impeachment articles to the Senate. The House impeached Trump on Dec. 18, but Pelosi has said she wants to wait until the parameters of the Senate trial become clearer. Senators expect Pelosi to send the articles later this week.

“The president & Sen. McConnell have run out of excuses,” Pelosi wrote on Twitter Monday. “They must allow key witnesses to testify, and produce the documents Trump has blocked, so Americans can see the facts for themselves. The Senate cannot be complicit in the president’s cover-up.”

Bolton was not subpoenaed as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry, and he did not say in his statement whether he would comply with a subpoena from the lower chamber. A spokeswoman for Bolton declined to comment on whether he would honor a House subpoena.

Bolton indicated that he had initially planned to decide whether to testify based on the outcome of a court case brought by his former deputy, Charles Kupperman. Kupperman — who had been subpoenaed to testify in the House’s impeachment inquiry but was ordered by Trump not to appear — sought a federal court ruling to resolve the conflicting demands.

But the House, seeking to disentangle its impeachment push from ongoing litigation, withdrew its subpoena and promised not to punish Kupperman for refusing to testify. The White House, too, urged the court to drop the case, claiming Kupperman was immune from testifying. Last week, Judge Richard Leon agreed, ending the short-lived court battle. Bolton acknowledged that decision, saying Leon issued a “carefully reasoned opinion.”

“It now falls to the Senate to fulfill its constitutional obligation to try impeachments, and it does not appear possible that a final judicial resolution of the still-unanswered constitutional questions can be obtained before the Senate acts,” Bolton said Monday.

Bolton’s testimony would be a major break for impeachment investigators.

Senior State Department and White House officials described Bolton as a central witness to Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. According to former National Security Council aide Fiona Hill, Bolton bristled at Trump’s reliance on his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to conduct back-channel talks with Ukrainians in service of Trump’s efforts. Hill recalled that Bolton referred to the matter as a “drug deal,” adding that Bolton called Giuliani a “hand grenade” who threatened to blow up U.S. foreign policy goals.

A lawyer for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine adviser on the National Security Council, said Vindman “would definitely support” Bolton's testimony.

“It will corroborate [Vindman’s] testimony as well as Dr. Fiona Hill's testimony," said the lawyer, Michael Volkov. Vindman and Hill, the NSC's former top Russia adviser, told lawmakers that Bolton was opposed to Trump's withholding of military aid to Ukraine.

Vindman does not harbor any resentment toward Bolton for refusing to testify in the House inquiry, Volkov said. “He admires Bolton and followed his directions at all times.”

Democrats said the aid was frozen to pressure Ukraine’s new president to launch Trump’s desired investigations. The White House has blocked several central witnesses to the decision on military aid from testifying before impeachment investigators.




Iran cultural sights------

As soon as the news of the killing of Qasem Soleimani broke, Iranians were divided. Some were offended and some celebrated it on social media.

The division got ugly on Twitter. Some were accused of being victims of "Stockholm syndrome" because they were angry about the killing, and others were labelled traitors.

But US President Donald Trump's tweet threatening the targeting of Iran's cultural sites united Iranians against him.

Some of the sites are religious and some are not, but secular and religious Iranians are proud of their heritage and came together to denounce the president's threats. Nothing could better unite divided Iranians at home and in the diaspora than a hit on their beloved past.

Iran's foreign minister seized the opportunity and in several tweets compared President Trump to the Islamic State group, which destroyed many cultural sites in Syria.

Presentational grey line
Iran's top cultural sites
Iran is home to two dozen Unesco World Heritage sites. These are landmarks the UN body believes need preserving for their cultural, historic or scientific significance. They include:

Persepolis, the capital of the ancient Persian Achaemenid Empire, whose earliest remains date back to the 6th Century BC
Image copyrightALAMYAchaemenid inscription at Behistun, Iran
Naqsh-e Jahan Square in the city of Isfahan, which was built in the early 17th Century and is one of the largest city squares in the world
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESTiled Architecture of Imam Mosque, Isfahan
Golestan Palace in Tehran, the residence and seat of power for the Qajar dynasty which ruled Iran from 1785 to 1925

There are also a number of sites which - while not listed by Unesco - still retain huge cultural importance.


Brit Reactions

BBC News


Trump under fire for threat to Iranian cultural sites
 06 January 2020


Middle East

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Image captionNaqsh-e Jahan Square, in the city of Isfahan, is one of two dozen Unesco World Heritage sites in Iran

US President Donald Trump has faced growing criticism over his threats to attack Iran's cultural sites.

Mr Trump made the threats amid fallout from the US assassination of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

The president said cultural sites were among 52 identified Iranian targets that could be attacked if Iranians "torture, maim and blow up our people".

But the UN's cultural organisation and UK foreign secretary were among those to note that such sites were protected.

The US and Iran have signed conventions to protect cultural heritage, including during conflict. Military attacks targeting cultural sites are considered war crimes under international law.

Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad on Friday on the orders of Mr Trump. The killing has sharply increased regional tensions, with Iran threatening "severe revenge".

What were the president's threats?

The first came in a series of tweets on Saturday.

Mr Trump said the US had identified 52 Iranian sites, some "at a very high level and important to Iran and the Iranian culture", and warned they would be "hit very fast and hard" if Tehran carried out revenge attacks on US interests or personnel.

US ready to strike 52 Iranian sites, Trump warns

Who was Iran's Qasem Soleimani?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to try to soften the threat by saying the US would act within international law.

But the president later repeated his threat, saying: "They're allowed to kill our people, they're allowed to torture and maim our people, they're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people - and we're not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn't work that way."

On Monday, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway defended the president, saying he had not said he was targeting cultural sites, only "asking the question".

She also said: "Iran has many strategic military sites that you may cite are also cultural sites", before later clarifying her remark to say she was not suggesting Iran had camouflaged military targets as cultural sites.

Defence Secretary Mark Esper was later asked if the US would target cultural sites, and said: "We will follow the laws of armed conflict."

When asked if that meant no, "because targeting a cultural site is a war crime?", he responded: "That's the laws of armed conflict."

What criticism did his comments draw?

The director general of the UN's cultural organisation, Unesco, Audrey Azoulay, said both Iran and the US had signed a 1972 convention to protect the world's natural and cultural heritage .

They have also both signed a 1954 convention protecting cultural property in the event of armed conflict . Mr Trump withdrew the US from Unesco in 2018, citing alleged anti-Israeli bias.

US Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren and Chris Murphy said Mr Trump was "threatening to commit war crimes", echoing similar statements by Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

On Monday, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said cultural sites were protected by international law, and Britain expected that to be respected.

The wider region has suffered many cultural attacks carried out by the Islamic State group, which targeted mosques, shrines, churches and famous sites such as Palmyra in Syria. The Taliban in Afghanistan destroyed the world's tallest Buddha statues, in Bamiyan province.

Video captionOnce destroyed by the Taliban, the Buddha statues live again

Trump's cultural sites threat unites Iranians

By Sam Farzaneh, BBC Persian

As soon as the news of the killing of Qasem Soleimani broke, Iranians were divided. Some were offended and some celebrated it on social media.

The division got ugly on Twitter. Some were accused of being victims of "Stockholm syndrome" because they were angry about the killing, and others were labelled traitors.

But US President Donald Trump's tweet threatening the targeting of Iran's cultural sites united Iranians against him.

Some of the sites are religious and some are not, but secular and religious Iranians are proud of their heritage and came together to denounce the president's threats. Nothing could better unite divided Iranians at home and in the diaspora than a hit on their beloved past.

Iran's foreign minister seized the opportunity and in several tweets compared President Trump to the Islamic State group, which destroyed many cultural sites in Syria.

Iran's top cultural sites

Iran is home to two dozen Unesco World Heritage sites. These are landmarks the UN body believes need preserving for their cultural, historic or scientific significance. They include:

Persepolis, the capital of the ancient Persian Achaemenid Empire, whose earliest remains date back to the 6th Century BC

Naqsh-e Jahan Square in the city of Isfahan, which was built in the early 17th Century and is one of the largest city squares in the world

Golestan Palace in Tehran, the residence and seat of power for the Qajar dynasty which ruled Iran from 1785 to 1925

There are also a number of sites which - while not listed by Unesco - still retain huge cultural importance.

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

Senate cover-up? So're smells like:



GOP moderates side with McConnell over Bolton testimony
Democrats are unlikely to get four Republicans to vote to subpoena John Bolton

01/06/2020 05:56 PM EST

Despite John Bolton’s willingness to testify about the Ukraine scandal, the GOP-controlled Senate has no immediate plans to subpoena him in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial — a win for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House.

While Democrats have called for testimony from Trump’s former national security adviser, so far there’s no sign that they will secure support from four Republicans they would need to follow through on their demand.

In their bid for a “fair trial,” Democrats were hoping moderate Republicans like Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah will endorse their efforts to bring in Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify at the trial. They also want to subpoena documents related to the Ukraine scandal.

But on Monday, Collins and Murkowski both signaled they wanted to begin the trial first. “I believe that the Senate should follow the precedent that was established in the trial of President Clinton,” Collins said, echoing McConnell’s argument. “I think that we will decide at that stage who we need to hear from.”

Murkowski, when asked about a potential Bolton subpoena, said: “We’ve got to get to the first place first.”

Romney said he was open to hearing testimony from Bolton, but he stopped short of saying he would vote with Democrats to subpoena him. Romney acknowledged Bolton “has firsthand information” on the Ukraine scandal, and “assuming that articles of impeachment reach the Senate, I’d like to hear what he has to say.”

Even vulnerable Republicans, such as Cory Gardner of Colorado, who faces a competitive re-election race in 2020, expressed no interest in hearing from Bolton.

“Is Nancy going to send the articles over? She doesn’t seem to care?” said Gardner, referring to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "You guys want to have a trial by Twitter but until she has the articles sent over there is no trial.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s allies are losing patience with Pelosi and are accusing her of trying to dictate the terms of the Senate trial by withholding the articles of impeachment. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a staunch Trump ally, reiterated Monday he would move to change Senate rules to allow the chamber to move forward on its own authority, if Pelosi refuses to transmit the articles soon.

“From my view, I think we should urge the speaker to send over the articles [of impeachment]. If she doesn’t, we should change the rules,” Graham told reporters on Monday. “You can’t let her use the rules against us. She has a duty to transmit them.”

“I don’t want to turn the Senate over to Nancy Pelosi,” Graham added.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) also introduced his own resolution Monday that would allow the Senate to dismiss the articles of impeachment “for lack of prosecution.”

"My view is that the majority leader's made a very generous offer to Democrats, which is: Let's use the Clinton rules and start this trial. And we can decide witnesses and so forth later,” Hawley said. “Now, I don't know why we would call witnesses on the Democrat side. They've had their chance."

Hawley and other Republicans have argued that they should rely on the same information the House used to impeach the president. In their view, if the House could impeach Trump based on the information presented to the chamber, the Senate can make its decisions based on the same evidence.

The House voted in December to impeach Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, after he pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rivals in exchange for military aid.


Bolton curveball threatens to upend impeachment trial

McConnell and Schumer sparred again about the terms of the Senate impeachment trial on the floor Monday. McConnell is insisting the Senate use the same format as President Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial, when the Senate decided unanimously to initially hear arguments and then call witnesses.

“The Senate has a unanimous bipartisan precedent for when to handle mid-trial questions such as witnesses: In the middle of the trial,” McConnell said Monday. “The Senate said, 100 to nothing, that was good enough for President Clinton. So it ought to be good enough for President Trump. Fair is fair.”

But Schumer has rejected that argument, noting the Clinton impeachment trial had sworn testimony from witnesses.

“Leader McConnell’s view of the trial is an Alice-in-Wonderland view,” Schumer said. “When Leader McConnell proposes that we follow the 1999 precedent, he is essentially arguing that we should conduct the entire impeachment trial first, and then once it’s over, decide on whether we need witnesses and documents.”


The New York Times


The Nightmare Stage of Trump’s Rule Is Here

Unstable and impeached, the president pushes the U.S. toward war with Iran.

By Michelle Goldberg

Opinion Columnist

Jan. 6, 2020

After three harrowing years, we’ve reached the point many of us feared from the moment Donald Trump was elected. His decision to kill Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s second most important official, made at Mar-a-Lago with little discernible deliberation, has brought the United States to the brink of a devastating new conflict in the Middle East.

We don’t yet know how Iran will retaliate, or whether all-out war will be averted. But already, NATO has suspended its mission training Iraqi forces to fight ISIS. Iraq’s Parliament has voted to expel American troops — a longtime Iranian objective. (On Monday, U.S. forces sent a letter saying they were withdrawing from Iraq in response, only to then claim that it was a draft released in error.) On Sunday, Iran said it will no longer be bound by the remaining restrictions on its nuclear program in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the deal that Trump abandoned in 2018. Trump has been threatening to commit war crimes by destroying Iran’s cultural sites and tried to use Twitter to notify Congress of his intention to respond to any Iranian reprisals with military escalation.


 Listen to our podcast every Thursday morning, with Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt

The administration has said that the killing of Suleimani was justified by an imminent threat to American lives, but there is no reason to believe this. One skeptical American official told The New York Times that the new intelligence indicated nothing but “a normal Monday in the Middle East,” and Democrats briefed on it were unconvinced by the administration’s case. The Washington Post reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — who last year agreed with a Christian Broadcasting Network interviewer that God might have sent Trump to save Israel from the “Iranian menace” — has been pushing for a hit on Suleimani for months.

Rather than self-defense, the Suleimani killing seems like the dreadful result of several intersecting dynamics. There’s the influence of rapture-mad Iran hawks like Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence. Defense officials who might have stood up to Trump have all left the administration. According to Peter Bergen’s book “Trump and His Generals,” James Mattis, Trump’s former secretary of defense, instructed his subordinates not to provide the president with options for a military showdown with Iran. But with Mattis gone, military officials, The Times reported, presented Trump with the possibility of killing Suleimani as the “most extreme” option on a menu of choices, and were “flabbergasted” when he picked it.

Trump likely had mixed motives. He was reportedly upset over TV images of militia supporters storming the American Embassy in Iraq. According to The Post, he also was frustrated by “negative coverage” of his decision last year to order and then call off strikes on Iran.

Beyond that, Trump, now impeached and facing trial in the Senate, has laid out his rationale over years of tweets. The president is a master of projection, and his accusations against others are a decent guide to how he himself will behave. He told us, over and over again, that he believed Barack Obama would start a war with Iran to “save face” and because his “poll numbers are in a tailspin” and he needed to “get re-elected.” To Trump, a wag-the-dog war with Iran evidently seemed like a natural move for a president in trouble.

It’s hard to see how this ends without disaster. Defenders of Trump’s move have suggested that he might have re-established deterrence against Iran, frightening its leadership into restraint. But Vali Nasr, a Middle East scholar at Johns Hopkins University and former senior adviser to Obama’s State Department, tells me that Iran likely believes that it has to re-establish deterrence against the United States.

“If they don’t do anything, or if they don’t do enough, then Trump will get comfortable with this kind of behavior, and that worries them,” said Nasr. To Iranians, after all, America is the aggressor, scrapping a nuclear agreement that they were abiding by and imposing a punishing “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign. Just like militarists in the United States, they’re likely to assume that weakness invites attacks. “I don’t think they want to provoke war, but they do want to send a signal that they’re prepared for it,” said Nasr.

Even if Iran were to somehow decide not to strike back at the United States, it’s still ramping up its nuclear program, and Trump has obliterated the possibility of a return to negotiations. “His maximum pressure policy has failed,” Nasr said of Trump. “He has only produced a more dangerous Iran.”


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Meanwhile, ISIS benefits from the breach between Iraq and America. “ISIS suicide and vehicle bombings have nearly stopped entirely,” said Brett McGurk, who until 2018 was special presidential envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS. “Only a few years ago, there were 50 per month, killing scores of Iraqis. That’s because of what we have done and continue to do. These networks will regenerate rapidly if we are forced to leave, and they will again turn their attention on the West.”

Unlike with North Korea, it’s difficult to imagine any photo op or exchange of love letters defusing the crisis the president has created. Most of this country has never accepted Trump, but over the past three years, many have gotten used to him, lulled into uneasy complacency by an establishment that has too often failed to treat him as a walking national emergency. Now the nightmare phase of the Trump presidency is here. The biggest surprise is that it took so long.

© 2020 The New York Times Company

Crisis mode:


No One Believes Trump which is real bad in am international crisis

Jan. 7, 2020, 8:26 a.m. ET


This article is part of David Leonhardt’s newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it each weekday.

“This is where having credibility — and having a president who didn’t lie about everything — would be really, really helpful,” Samantha Power, the former United States ambassador to the United Nations, wrote recently.

A president with credibility would be better able to persuade foreign governments to help protect American diplomats and military members who are now at risk.

A president with credibility would be more likely to beat Iran in the global court of public opinion.

A president with credibility would be able to set clear red lines that might influence Iran’s behavior in coming weeks.

But President Trump has no credibility. His political rise was built on a lie (about Barack Obama’s birthplace). He has told thousands of untruths since becoming president. He appears to be lying again — about why he ordered the assassination of Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most significant military leader.

Over the weekend, Senator Chris Murphy, the Connecticut Democrat, tweeted the following: “The moment we all feared is likely upon us.” Murphy was referring to Trump’s rash behavior. But Murphy just as easily could have been referring to Trump’s credibility. The United States has entered a serious national security conflict, and the whole world knows our president is a habitual liar.

For more …

Trump and his aides have said he ordered Suleimani’s killing to prevent an upcoming attack on Americans. But that explanation doesn’t make much sense on its face: How would the killing of a general stop an attack? Plus, as Slate’s Joshua Keating writes: “Subsequent reporting suggests there was no ticking bomb. The Soleimani strike was first raised not as a preventive measure, but as a response to an attack on a U.S. facility in Iraq that killed an American contractor a week earlier.”

Vanity Fair’s Abigail Tracy writes that though “the Washington defense and diplomatic communities are not exactly mourning the death of Qassim Suleimani, a powerful Iranian commander … there has been such an erosion in confidence, domestically and abroad, in not only what the Trump administration says but in its ability to construct a lucid foreign policy.”

“When someone has proven over and over again that they are not trustworthy, you can, and in important situations should, stop trusting them,” Vox’s Matt Yglesias writes. Yglesias adds: “Unfortunately, in the escalating crisis with Iran, many people [in the media] seem to have forgotten this basic principle.”

Tim Dickinson in Rolling Stone, on Vice President Mike Pence’s claim that Suleimani supported the 9/11 hijackers: “The administration has provided no evidence that Suleimani personally assisted the transit of future 9/11 hijackers. And the formal investigation into the 9/11 attacks absolves Iran of fore-knowledge and operational involvement in the attacks on New York and the Pentagon.”

The Nightmare Stage of Trump’s Presidency

It’s Time to Calibrate Fears of a Cyberwar With Iran

© 2020 The New York Times Company

Reactions: Iran


By killing Qassem Suleimani, Trump has achieved the impossible: uniting Iran

Dina Esfandiary

The national hero’s assassination has brought together Iran’s divided government and its exhausted and desperate public

Tue 7 Jan 2020 13.11 EST

For Iranians, the assassination of Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s notorious Quds force, was a profound upset. Suleimani was one of the most influential and powerful men in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He had more sway than the president, spoke to all the various factions, and had a direct line to the supreme leader. Most importantly, he was popular with the general public. One poll, taken as the fight against Islamic State raged, found that 73% of Iranians had a favourable opinion of him. Even so, the large crowds that have turned out on the streets of cities across the country have exceeded predictions. In a sense, though, the formidable show of unity is no surprise. Iran – like any other country – is proud, patriotic, and its people tend to put their differences aisde when faced with an outside enemy.

Iran: dozens dead in crush at Suleimani burial procession

Suleimani oversaw Iran’s regional policy, and as a result is regarded as having spent his lifetime defending his country. When Isis approached the Iranian border after taking over swaths of territory in neighbouring Iraq in 2014, the Quds force were at the forefront, representing the only country willing to commit boots on the ground in the fight to destroy the group. While many in the region viewed Suleimani as a deeply controversial figure, to put it mildly, a significant number of Iranians, Kurds and Iraqis saw him as having been pivotal in stopping Islamic State.

At home, this popularity cut across political lines. Becoming a battle hero is one way to win broad legitimacy, and so it has proved in death as in life. The killing of one of their country’s most senior officials is perceived by Iranians as a violation of sovereignty, and the rally-around-the-flag effect has been notable.

That doesn’t mean all Iranians condoned Suleimani’s actions abroad. In fact, for years people have been complaining about the extent to which the government has seemed to be occupied elsewhere, even as the internal situation deteriorated. In 2018, chants of “no to Gaza, no to Lebanon, I give my life for Iran” and “Leave Syria and think of us” echoed (not for the first time) at protests around the country. When economic times have been hard due to sanctions, both prior to the 2015 nuclear deal and today, Iranians find it difficult to understand why their rulers pour money into the region rather than using it in Iran.

Ordinary people continue to be squeezed by Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign, with no prospects for improvement. This, along with general discontent, led to significant protests in November 2019. These caught the government off guard, but didn’t prevent it swiftly crushing the demonstrations and enacting a nationwide ban on the internet that lasted five days. That response, unsurprisingly, further entrenched the discontent. Trump’s killing of Suleimani, however, has put those concerns on the back burner. Instead, Iranians have adopted a “better the devil you know” approach: unifying across the spectrum, even to the point of standing behind their government, in order to resist increasing US aggression.

And this means that, while Suleimani’s loss is a significant blow for Iran, the strike by the US was in one sense a gift to the Iranian government. It could never have dreamed of achieving such unity in difficult times otherwise.

The assassination has also had the effect of bringing together a divided elite, at least for the time being. Leading figures from the conservative and reformist camps spoke in unison, from the supreme leader, who vowed “revenge”, to the former presidential candidate and leader of the Green movement, Mehdi Karroubi, still under house arrest, who reportedly expressed his condolences. Even the former foreign minister of Iran under the shah, Ardeshir Zahedi, described Suleimani as a “patriotic and honorable soldier who was a son of Iran”.

The US withdrawal from the nuclear deal already meant that moderates had been forced to harden their positions. The Rouhani administration, for example, could no longer actively support dialogue with the US, instead cautiously calling for discussions on the condition that all sanctions were lifted beforehand. Today, even that position has become difficult. Who in the political establishment can expend political capital suggesting rapprochement with the US after what it has done and, importantly, after the level of public mourning? The answer is easy: no one.

With the killing of Suleimani, Trump has accomplished what no one in the Iranian elite thought possible: he has united a fractured, exhausted and desperate Iranian public in a show of unity.

And while these scenes are very far from an equivocal statement of support for the Islamic Republic, they are a resounding message to the world: Iranians will stand with their government in the face of external threats.

• Dina Esfandiary is a fellow at the Century Foundation and co-author of Triple-Axis: Iran’s Relations with Russia and China

© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
Last edited by Meno_ on Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:14 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby MagsJ » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:32 pm

Meno_ wrote:
MagsJ wrote:I will have to watch tonight’s news.. I don’t envy the current newly-elected U.K. government, in this situation they find themselves in, and have to make decisions on.
Would You inform us as to Your reactions of it?

My reaction to it is, was it justified or not?

The UK’s objective stance meets with UK approval, which is in-keeping with World Heritage Site protection for the preservation of cultural sites. Too much of historically-relevant Civilisations have already been lost.. most recently Syria, in being bombed the f*ck out of.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ
I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Huh! - MagsJ
You’re suggestions and I, just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a really bad DJ - MagsJ
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Location: Suryaloka / LDN Town

Re: Trump enters the stage-war!

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:25 am

Iran launches missiles on US airbases in Iraq at al-Asad and Erbil – live updates

Pentagon confirms attacks on US and coalition forces targeting ‘at least two bases’

Full report: missiles launched against US airbase in Iraq

Donald Trump says strike against 'monster' Suleimani was retaliation – video

Maanvi Singh in San Francisco (now) and Joan E Greve in Washington (earlier)

Key events

20:11 EST

The White House is planning a possible televised address from Donald Trump tonight, according to multiple reports. The White House has yet to confirm any plans.

Confirmed: The WH is planning for a possible address from President Trump tonight. Plans could change but I’m told aides are working on it.

— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) January 8, 2020

Updated at 20:11 EST

20:06 EST

Iran’s Tasnim news agency is now quoting Iranian officials warning that if the US retaliates against these strikes in Iraq, Hezbollah will fire rockets at Israel — a threat to widen the conflict and bring Iran’s regional allies into play.

Updated at 20:13 EST

19:48 EST

A top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader posted an image of the Iranian flag as news steams in of multiple attacks on US military sites.

— Saeed Jalili (@DrSaeedJalili) January 7, 2020

The tweet seems to be a counterpoint to Donald Trump’s tweet featuring a low-resolution image of the American flag, following a strike that killed Iranian general Qassim Suleimani.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020

Updated at 20:02 EST

19:40 EST

Nancy Pelosi says she’s “closely monitoring the situation”, adding that she’d like “needless provocations from the Administration” end.

Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting U.S. troops in Iraq. We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war.

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 8, 2020

In the meantime, defense secretary Mark Esper and secretary of state Mike Pompeo have arrived at the White House. According to CNN, Esper was carrying a large bag.

Updated at 19:49 EST

19:22 EST

The Department of Defense has confirmed: “At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil.”

The assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, Jonathan Hoffman, said that the US is “working on initial battle damage assessments”:

In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners. These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region.

As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region.

Updated at 20:03 EST

19:19 EST

Iran’s Tasnim news agency has just reported a second wave of attacks has commenced against the al-Asad airbase in Iraq, according to the Guardian’s Michael Safi. More to come.

Updated at 20:17 EST

19:09 EST

Nancy Pelosi received a phone call from Mike Pence, as she was about to open the House for new session. The speaker’s chief of staff said Pelosi called the vice president back minutes after presiding over the House, and was briefed on Iran’s attacks.

Pelosi reportedly received a note with news of the attacks in the interim.

[email protected] returned a phone call to @VP at 6:34 p.m. tonight after her required presiding over the House at 6:30 p.m. The Vice President briefed the Speaker on the Iranian attacks on facilities housing U.S. troops in Iraq.

— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) January 7, 2020

Updated at 19:09 EST

18:58 EST

Iran has reportedly fired at multiple US facilities in Iraq

Missiles have fired from Iran at Erbil in northern Iraq, as well as Al Asad Air Base in the west, according to ABC News.

MORE: A U.S. official confirms to @ABC News that ballistic missiles have been fired from inside Iran at multiple U.S. military facilities inside Iraq.

The facilities include Erbil in northern Iraq and Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq, the official said.

— ABC News (@ABC) January 7, 2020

The Guardian has not yet independently confirmed this report.

Updated at 18:58 EST

18:49 EST

The White House press secretary said that Donald Trump “has been briefed and is monitoring the situation” in Iraq.

We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq. The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.

— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) January 7, 2020

Updated at 18:51 EST

18:45 EST

From The Guardian’s Julian Borger and Patrick Wintour:

An airbase in Iraq’s Anbar province that hosts a US contingent has come under fire, the US military confirmed, after a day in which Donald Trump and the Iranian leadership exchanged threats of retaliatory attacks.

Initial reports said al-Asad base was hit by six rockets. It has previously been a target of an Iranian-backed Shia militia, Kata’ib Hezbollah, whose attacks on US and coalition troops triggered tit-for-tat strikes that culminated in the killing on Friday of top Iranian general Qassem Suleimani.

There were also unconfirmed reports of missile attacks elsewhere in Iraq.

Earlier in the day, the secretary of Iran’s national security council, Ali Shamkhani, said 13 “revenge scenarios” were being considered in the wake of the assassination of Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds force, and that even the most limited options would be a “historic nightmare” for the US.

Ali Shamkhani told the Tasnim news agency: “The 27 US bases that are closest to Iran’s border are already on high alert; they know that the response is likely to include medium-range & long-range missiles.”

Trump responded to Iranian threats in remarks to the press at the White House “We’re totally prepared. And likewise, we’re prepared to attack if we have to,” he said.

US base in Iraq comes under rocket attack as Trump and Iran exchange threats

Updated at 18:51 EST

18:42 EST

According to Iran state TV, Tehran has launched “tens” of surface-to-surface missiles toward Iraq’s Ain Assad air base, which houses US troops.

US military officials have confirmed to reporters that at least six rockets fell on the air base.

The US military confirms an ongoing rocket attack on Al-Asad airbase where US troops are based. It’s the one Trump said Iraq would have to pay for if the US leaves.

— Liz Sly (@LizSly) January 7, 2020

Updated at 18:43 EST

18:25 EST

Iran launches missiles on Iraqi air base where US troops are housed

From senior US military source in Iraq:
“Under missile attack from Iran. These are either cruise missiles or short range ballistic missiles. All over the country.”

— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) January 7, 2020

In a statement, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said: “The brave soldiers of IRGC’s aerospace unit have launched a successful attack with tens of ballistic missiles on Al Assad military base in the name of martyr Gen.Qasem Soleimani”.


"The brave soldiers of IRGC's aerospace unit have launched a successful attack with tens of ballistic missiles on Al Assad military base in the name of martyr Gen.Qasem Soleimani."#Iraq #Iran #AlAssadBase

— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) January 7, 2020

There is no information yet on any casualties or damage from the rockets. The Guardian will have more updates soon.

Updated at 20:00 EST

18:18 EST

Republican senators block a resolution to declare that attacks on cultural sites are war crimes

Although Donald Trump has walked back threats to attack Iranian cultural sites, which are forbidden under international law, Democratic senators today tried to pass a resolution rebuking such attacks.

Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, tried to get unanimous consent to pass the resolution, but his efforts were blocked by the Senate armed services committee chair Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma.

“Therefore be it resolved by the Senate, that attacks on cultural sites are war crimes.”

That's the resolution Republicans just objected to passing. 

Attacking cultural sites in Iran would align us with the most sinister forces and draw us further down the path to illegal war.

— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) January 7, 2020

© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.


Mconnel, president

President Mitch McConnell

He’s in charge of everything but shooting at Iran.

By Gail Collins

Opinion Columnist

Jan. 8, 2020

I guess we can get back to impeachment.

Donald Trump announced the Iran crisis was over Wednesday, adding that Americans “should be extremely grateful and happy.”

It’s not entirely clear who he wants us to be grateful to. God? Fate? The ayatollah?

Let’s take a wild guess that the answer is living in the White House.

It was a very short talk — less than 10 minutes — but the president still managed to give himself multiple pats on the back. (“Over the last three years, under my leadership, our economy is stronger than ever before. …”)

And, naturally, blame everything bad on Barack Obama. Trump threw in one whopping inaccuracy — this would be our friendly, peace-loving version of “big fat lie.” He is going to spend the rest of his life claiming the Obama administration paid Iran billions of dollars to get the nuclear peace accord. Utterly false, but you will never talk Trump out of it, any more than you’ll convince him that windmills don’t cause cancer or that he didn’t really win the popular vote.

Dark, suspicious minds wondered if the president had started the whole Iran crisis to get Americans to stop thinking about the impeachment story. Certainly possible. This is a guy who knows how to distract. He golfs, he tweets, he creates crises.

If Trump thought there was any chance of actually getting kicked out of office, God knows what he’d do. Invade another country? Arrest Nancy Pelosi? Pretend to adopt a pet?

Fortunately for him — if not for us — Mitch McConnell is running everything. The House impeachment vote is, of course, a done deal. The bill is going to reach the Senate sometime soon, and the majority leader has been dropping tiny hints that he’s leaning toward giving Trump a pass. (“I’m going to take my cues from the president’s lawyers.”)

During their deliberations, the senators apparently won’t be hearing from John Bolton, who’s now jumping up and down and waving his hand in an effort to volunteer to serve as a witness. Bolton would be the ideal person to ask about Trump’s plan to trade military aid to Ukraine for political dirt on Joe Biden. Granted, he’s a little late out of the gate. Probably been busy searching his conscience. Can’t possibly have anything to do with having a book coming out.

Doesn’t matter. McConnell has expressed zero enthusiasm for the idea of letting Bolton come — unless Donald Trump decides that the Senate’s top priority should be an unconstrained search for the truth. Hehehehe.

It would take four Republican defections just to get Bolton in the door. Even the most theoretically independent of them — even the ones who are at no political risk whatsoever — seem too terrified to stand up to their leader. (O.K., Mitt Romney, one last chance.)

Some of the Republicans might think wistfully that Mike Pence — even Mike Pence — would be a big improvement over the guy we’ve got now. For the country, maybe, but not for Mitch McConnell. Trump is the perfect president for Mitch. For the past three years, the senator from Kentucky has basically been running the government. Somebody has to do it, and the administration’s people are barely capable of opening their office doors.

Trump’s two big victories as president have been the tax cut — organized and pushed through to law by Mitch McConnell — and a raft of new conservative federal judges. Listen to the president and you’d think he had the opportunity to name them all because Barack Obama just forgot — or was too lazy — to fill any openings. (“He gave me 142!”)

In the real world Obama was nominating judges like crazy. McConnell refused to even give them a hearing.

Thanks to his pal and protector Mitch, Trump has it both ways on issues like gun control and prescription drug prices. He can say he’s in favor of change without taking any risk that anything will be presented for his signature into law. Mitch has it all covered — with a lid. The House passed more than 400 bills last year, and about 80 percent of them are sitting around moldering on the Senate runway.

This is incredible power for a politician who’s never been elected to national office and isn’t even popular in his home state — one recent poll put him at the very bottom of the Senate, with a 37 percent positive voter rating in Kentucky.

Nevertheless, the country’s been Mitchified.

It’s really the McConnell era, and we ought to be discussing that every day, particularly whenever Donald Trump is within earshot.

There’s only so much the media can do to make this situation clear. We have certain journalistic rules against beginning news stories with, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who actually runs the country, expressed support for his minion, Donald Trump . …”

But nobody’s stopping you. Tweet away. It’ll drive the president crazy. No idea how McConnell would react. He’s probably too busy making all the real decisions to notice.

© 2020 The New York Times Company
Last edited by Meno_ on Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Iran standdown

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:02 pm

President Trump says Iran stands down!

The chances of his Senate equittal are guaranteed, and his narrative will most certainly suggest a 2020 win!

This was a tremendous politi cal gamble from which he has succeeded to win palms up!

The inversion of politically dynamic , as manifestation of a new dialectic, is testament to his achievement, dare to say.

The pieces of the missing platform have been successfully assembled.

A lot of wind has been removed from the impeachment credibility, by whay Fixed suggested, or the effects of will powered by determination, ( or something akin), and such apparently hidden motives could go by a 'collusive interpretation, but it is simply not quite so.
The ontological rescue consists of the highest level, and it was not Trump who dreamed it up out of an invisible landscape, but someone much higher and more delegated. The frontman had to act as if his apprenticeship was just a debt repaid to an unforgiving god, while in reality it subscribed to Christian values.

It is not really an inside job perpetuated by the mob, and yet they are instrumental.


*course subject to any possible derailment caused by Iranian dirty tricks hereafter.
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