Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Judge temporarily blocks publication of tell-all book by President Trump's niece


The ruling, issued by Judge Hal B. Greenwald of the New York State Supreme Court, the state's trial court, is the first legal win for Robert S. Trump, the younger brother of the President. Robert Trump has sought to block the book by Mary Trump, the President's niece, contending it violates a confidentiality agreement related to the estate of the President's father, Fred Trump.

The Tuesday ruling comes after a judge for the Queens County Surrogate Court in New York last week dismissed a similar attempt to block the book, citing a lack of jurisdiction.

Berlin authorities placed children with pedophiles for 30 years


The 'Kentler Project' in West Berlin routinely placed homeless children with pedophile men, assuming they'd make ideal foster parents. A study has found the practice went on for decades.

Starting in the 1970s psychology professor Helmut Kentler conducted his "experiment." Homeless children in West Berlin were intentionally placed with pedophile men. These men would make especially loving foster parents, Kentler argued.
A study conducted by the University of Hildesheim has found that authorities in Berlin condoned this practice for almost 30 years. The pedophile foster fathers even received a regular care allowance.
Helmut Kentler (1928-2008) was in a leading position at Berlin's center for educational research. He was convinced that sexual contact between adults and children was harmless.

765 new infections recorded over last 24 hours, as virus curve bulges


Number of seriously ill patients jumps to 52, up from 46 Tuesday morning; single day case tally matches second highest since start of pandemic

The Health Ministry releases new coronavirus data showing 765 new infections over the last 24 hours, as the pandemic continues to trend upward.




Twitch suspends Trump's account for hate speech


  US President Donald Trump's Twitch account was suspended on Monday for violating the site's rules regarding hateful content, gaming news outlet Gamespot reported.

“Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch. In line with our policies, President Trump’s channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed,” a Twitch spokesman said in a statement, according to Gamespot.
The statement gave examples of hate speech used in some of Trump's livestreams, citing both a 2016 rally that was recently rebroadcast, and the recent campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Both examples could be perceived as racist and hateful against Mexicans.
The example from the 2016 rally was the now-infamous quote regarding Mexican immigrants. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us,” Trump said at the time. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense – it only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.”

New revelations stir old questions about Trump and Russia


Reports that a Russian military intelligence agency put a bounty on the heads of US troops in Afghanistan launched the President's team into a new cycle of confusion, apparent half-truths and contradictions as a fresh storm raged over Trump's mysterious deference to Moscow and its strongman leader, President Vladimir Putin.
Conflicting messages from the President and his press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, only deepened the intrigue about what is really going on. 
None of what they are saying clears up an episode that comes as new reporting for CNN from veteran Washington reporter Carl Bernstein lifts the lid on Trump's desperate flattery of Putin, his ignorance of basic world events, the way he was manipulated by smarter world leaders and his "near-sadistic" -- according to one source -- behavior toward female world leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

White House Was Aware Of Russian Bounties In 2019: Report | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Rep. Slotkin, Ex-CIA Analyst: Bounty Intel Likely Went To President | Morning Joe | MSNBC

'Blood is on their hands': Rep. Banks says NYT revealed sensitive details on Russia bounty intel


"Having served in Afghanistan during the time the alleged bounties were placed, no one is angrier about this than me," Banks wrote. "Now it’s impossible to finish the investigation. All b/c the @nytimes will do anything to damage @realdonaldtrump , even if it means compromising nat'l security."
The White House said Monday that Trump wasn't briefed on U.S. intelligence assessments concerning the bounties because the information had not been verified.
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Monday that Trump — even now — had not been briefed on the allegations because the intelligence “would not be elevated to the president until it was verified."

The result was an odd situation in which eight Republican lawmakers attended a briefing at the White House on Monday about explosive allegations that the president himself was said to have not been fully read in on.


Joe: Trump Taking The Words Of Putin Over His Own Intel Chiefs | Morning Joe | MSNBC

GOP Lawmakers Urge Action After Russia-Afghanistan 'Bounties' Briefing


The White House seemed to be setting an unusually high bar for bringing the information to Trump, since it is rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of doubt before it is presented to senior government decision-makers. McEnany declined to say why a different standard of confidence in the intelligence applied to briefing lawmakers than bringing the information to the president.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said, “After today’s briefing with senior White House officials, we remain concerned about Russian activity in Afghanistan, including reports that they have targeted U.S. forces.”

Bash Says ‘It’s Inconceivable’ Trump Would Not Be Told About A Direct Threat To U.S. Troops | MSNBC

Rice: 'Makes No Sense' That Trump Wasn't Told Of Russia Bounties | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Trump battles NY Times on Afghanistan story, deletes inflammatory video


The president’s first instinct, as always, was to blame the press.
When a damaging story emerged, Donald Trump said he hadn’t been told about it, and besides, it was another “phony hit job” by the New York Times, and the paper should name its unnamed sources which, he said, were probably made up.
Trump went further yesterday, calling the report “possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News New York Times, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!”
Much remains murky about what the president was or wasn’t told about Russia and Afghanistan. But unnamed administration officials have since confirmed the guts of the story to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NBC, CNN and the AP, among others.
Kayleigh McEnany kept the focus on the Times yesterday, telling “Fox & Friends” that “it is truly egregious when you have anonymous sources spewing out this information on the pages of the New York Times anonymously, giving them false information.” I understand the frustration about leaks, which have plagued Trump from the beginning, but it’s hard to simultaneously argue that the information is both classified and false.
Some Republicans, led by Liz Cheney, have joined Democrats in demanding to know why the president wasn’t briefed, if that’s the case.

Pentagon says ‘no corroborating’ evidence to stand up NYT report on Russian bounties


The Defense Department said late Monday that there is “no corroborating evidence” to support the explosive New York Times report last week that said the Russian military offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. 

Robert O’Brien, the national security adviser, said in a statement that since the allegations in the report were not verified by the intelligence community, Trump has not been briefed on the matter.

A White House official told Fox News on Monday that Trump has now been briefed on the issue. It’s unclear exactly when this briefing took place, but the official says it took place sometime “after the NY Times reported on unverified intelligence.”
The statement is at odds with the White House, which insisted that Trump has still not been briefed.

St. Louis couple pulls firearms on protesters cutting through their private street

"The peaceful protesters were not the subject of scorn or disdain by the McCloskeys," their attorney, Albert S. Watkins, said in a statement to CNN. "To the contrary, they were expecting and supportive of the message of the protesters. The actions of violence, destruction of property and acts of threatening aggression by a few individuals commingling with the peaceful protesters, gave rise to trepidation and fear of imminent and grave."
Watkins says his clients acted, "lawfully on their property," and that "their actions were borne solely of fear and apprehension, the genesis of which was not race related. In fact, the agitators responsible for the trepidation were white."

Golden State Killer pleads guilty to 13 murders


Joseph DeAngelo, the man known as the Golden State Killer, has admitted to 13 murders in a deal with US prosecutors meant to spare him the death penalty.

Trump is facing the thing he dreads most


 Declaring in 2016 that "I alone can fix it," Donald Trump made the country's fate all about him. He promised so much "winning" we'd get sick of it, and asked "What have you got to lose?" As President he made everything into a fight between Team Trump (good) and everyone else (bad). He bullied those he couldn't persuade and even survived an impeachment trial. But now, confronted with a pandemic, an economic crisis, and a moment of reckoning over racism, the limit of the president's method is obvious, and he seems on the brink of becoming the thing he most dreads: A loser.

With his limited mind, deficient heart and empty soul on full display, Trump is discovering that a man who declares "I alone can fix it" runs the risk of being blamed when everything breaks down. This is why his 2016 campaign aide Sam Nunberg says Trump is risking one of the worst defeats in history and political TV host Joe Scarborough is speculating about Trump quitting. Trump is "acting like he doesn't want to get re-elected," says Scarborough. "He's acting like he really wants to lose badly and take the Republican Party down with him."
Exposed by his own actions, the man who makes everything into a referendum on himself has given Americans another clear choice. He has demonstrated that what we've got to lose are our lives and that the choice really is between him, or us. Now we'll have to decide whether we will all join Team America and deliver to the bully his just deserts.

White House Was Reportedly Aware of Intel on Russian Bounties for U.S. Troops in 2019


Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence.
The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.


Multiple intelligence streams suggest Russians paying bounties for US troops, Trump not briefed: official


Meanwhile, a White House official acknowledged to Fox News on Monday that Trump has now been briefed on the intelligence behind reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. It’s unclear exactly when this briefing took place, but the official says it took place sometime “after the NY Times reported on unverified intelligence.” 
This statement is at odds with answers Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary gave to members of the White House press corps during Monday’s briefing.  McEnany said - “The president has not been briefed on the matter” – and gave multiple variations of that answer throughout the briefing.  But the White House official said, “Kayleigh meant the President had not been previously briefed on the matter (before the NYT report came out)”


Trump Invites Republicans, Bars Democrats from Briefing on Putin's Bounty on US Troops

Trump's press secretary claims he wasn't briefed on Russia bounty intel

Israel coronavirus cases continue to rise, 432 confirmed in 24 hours


The Health Ministry says 3.5% of those tested, found positive for coronavirus with numbers growing in hard-hit Jerusalem and Ashdod; 43 hospitalized in serious condition, 24 on ventilators


Coronavirus: Has China or the US tested more?


Trump's claim

"We have more cases because we do the greatest testing... Other countries, they don't test millions."
The US has carried out almost 31 million coronavirus tests, according to the latest data.
That is more than any other Western country, but significantly less than China's reported total of over 90 million.

Based on these figures, China has carried out about one test for every 15 people, compared with about one in 11 in the US. So that's slightly more per head of population in the US.

This has got to be the worst of Trump's outrages


"Dignified transfer." That's what the military calls the solemn process of returning fallen heroes to the family they loved and the country they served. If you have ever witnessed it, you're never quite the same after. August 13, 1998, was by far the most difficult day I had as a senior White House aide to President Clinton. Al Qaeda terrorists led by Osama bin Laden had bombed our embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, a week earlier. Twelve Americans were killed; some were State Department servants, others were Marines. All were heroes.
Yes, like you I thought I had lost my capacity to be shocked by Trump. Trump himself has witnessed a dignified transfer. He has seen the flag-draped coffins unloaded, heard the muffled sobs of the heartbroken, seen the bottomless grief in the eyes of a child who's lost a parent. How can it be that, after reportedly being briefed about Putin targeting American troops for death Trump has offered Putin rewards, like an invitation to rejoin the leading democracies of the G-7 and come to the US for a meeting of the leaders of the free world. An American president who truly loved the troops might perhaps invite Putin to join bin Laden at the gates of hell.

From pandering to Putin to abusing allies and ignoring his own advisers, Trump's phone calls alarm US officials


In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America's principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials -- including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff -- that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.

The calls caused former top Trump deputies -- including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials -- to conclude that the President was often "delusional," as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders. The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time. Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.

Monday, June 29, 2020

EU preparing to reopen its borders -- but probably not to Americans


The European Union is preparing to reopen its external border to 15 countries outside of the bloc as early as Wednesday. However, one country that won't be featured on the proposed list is the United States of America, according to two EU diplomats.
The diplomats, who were not permitted to discuss the matter before the EU's 27 member states had reached an agreement, have confirmed to CNN that EU governments have been given until lunchtime Tuesday to agree on the list of 15 countries allowed entry.
On the proposed list of 15 nations is China, where the virus originated. However, the EU will only offer China entry on the condition of reciprocal arrangements. The other 14 countries are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay.
As had been widely expected, the US -- where the coronavirus is currently resurging -- will not be on that list.


2020 Becomes the Dementia Campaign


The two people most likely to control the U.S nuclear arsenal, and with it the capacity to blow up civilization, through January 2025 are both well into their 70s and facing pervasive public speculation that they are becoming senile.
That is some funny stuff, no?

President Donald Trump’s own public blunders—saying that his father was born in Germany when it was really his grandfather or referring to Apple CEO Tim Cook as “Tim Apple”—have prompted commentary throughout his term questioning whether his cognitive faculties are deteriorating.

Hear why Roberts sided with liberals on Supreme Court abortion ruling

What's going on between Russia, US and Afghanistan?



This episode also throws a stark light on the current state of US-Russia relations. US policy towards Moscow is suffering from a kind of schizophrenia.
On the one hand, the US is wary of Russian nuclear modernisation and suspicious of its broader plans in the Middle East and elsewhere; but on the other, this administration is strangely accepting of Russian denials, for example concerning its alleged intrusion into the US election campaign.
Much of this ambiguity is down to the person of President Trump himself, whom many see as rather admiring of strong, dictatorial leaders.
And to this extent, the handling of this intelligence report casts another light on the whole foreign policy process within the Trump administration.
It will add weight to those critics from both the Democratic side of politics and more hardline Republicans, like the former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who argue in their different ways that there is no strategic direction, no joined up thinking, and no leadership from the top.

Joe: GOP Senators, Speak Out For Our Troops Today | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Trump Says ‘Nobody Briefed’ Him On Alleged Russian Plot Offering Bounties On U.S. Soldiers

Trump's Response to Putin's Bounty on US Troops - "There Have Not Been Many Attacks on Us"

Trump Fights the Last War


The president reasons: “Based on decisions being rendered now, this list is more important than ever before (Second Amendment, Right to Life, Religious Liberty, etc.).” Lest we miss the characteristically Trumpian subtlety, he adds, “VOTE 2020!”
If you needed a laugh to get you through just-another-day-at-the-Apocalypse, our “Conservative” president then proceeded to post no fewer than 21 tweets describing the combined hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure spending he plans to shovel out to states he hopes to win in November.
By the way, with Trump in the White House and the McConnell-led Republican Senate having slyly buried periodic public debates over the debt limit, the nation is now over $26 trillion in the red. If you’re keeping score, that’s an increase of over $6 trillion since January 20, 2017. Obama spending was unprecedented, but Trump is on pace to exceed it. And don’t tell me about the unforeseen coronavirus crisis; debt was already accumulating mountainously before the lockdown, and the president keeps saying more infrastructure spending is imperative — it may be the only thing he and congressional Democrats can agree on.
The point being that the president is not a conservative, in the sense either of political ideology or temperament. He has some conservative sensibilities and has mastered some right-wing tropes. But he’s not a conservative thinker wedded to a conservative policy agenda. That’s hardly a revelation. He’s not wired to think in those terms. He’s not a progressive, either.

As the pandemic rages, Trump indulges his obsessions


"If wearing masks is important, and all the health experts tell us that it is in containing the disease in 2020, it would help if from time to time the President would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you're for Trump, you don't wear a mask, if you're against Trump, you do," the Tennessee Republican said on CNN's "Inside Politics."

Russian Bounty Report Seems Like the Kind of Thing Trump Should’ve Known, GOP Says


Conservative commentator David Frum noted that the story being reported by the Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal “doesn’t mean it’s certainly true.” What it does mean, Frum wrote on Twitter, is that “very credible people in [the] U.S. intelligence service are angry and alarmed. Angry and alarmed enough to provide evidence to three leading media sources.” In addition to Trump’s denial, Frum cited former Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell’s claim that he never “heard” of the bounties and that of John Ratcliffe, the office’s current director, who tweeted that he had never “briefed” the president. But, he added, “it’s also not impossible” for these three officials to be “telling a version of the truth,” noting the possibility that “the information was withheld from Trump by briefers who have learned not to upset him”—given previous reports of Trump staff keeping Russia-related things from the president so as not to piss him off—as well as “that Grenell during his tenure at ODNI was simply not doing the work.” Frum remarked it to be “noteworthy” that no denials have come from the Pentagon, the C.I.A., or the National Security Council, all of which the Times said declined to comment.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Trump retweets video of supporter shouting 'white power'


In the tweet, which was later deleted, the president thanked "the great people of The Villages" - referring to the retirement community north-west of Orlando where the rally took place. "The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!!," he wrote.
The video included in the tweet showed a Trump supporter in a golf cart raising a clenched fist and shouting "white power". He appeared to be responding to a protester calling him a racist and using profanities. Other anti-Trump protesters shouted "Nazi" and other accusations at the rally-goers.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said the president "did not hear the one statement made on the video" but saw "tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters".


‘No Good Answer’ To Why Trump Wasn’t Briefed On Russian Bounty Intel, Chuck Todd Says | Sunday TODAY

Top conservatives demand answers on reports Russia paid Taliban to kill US troops


One of the top Republican lawmakers in the House joined on Sunday a growing list of legislators calling on the Trump administration to explain what it knew about the reports that Russian intelligence agents offered to pay bounties to Afghan militants who killed U.S. troops in the country. 
House Republican Conference chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming tweeted on Sunday morning that if the reports in the New York Times about the bounties is true, then the White House needs to explain what it knew about the intelligence and how it responded. Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House, specifically focused on the denials by both Trump and White House staff that neither the president nor Vice President Pence were briefed on the matter, and asked for more information on why this is the case.
"If reporting about Russian bounties on US forces is true, the White House must explain: 1. Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed?" Cheney tweeted. "Was the info in the PDB? 2. Who did know and when? 3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable?"

Russia offered cash rewards to Taliban fighters to kill US troops in Afghanistan

Panicking Trump tries to change the subject


With the prospect of losing reelection by a landslide, Trump views any acknowledgment of the pandemic disaster as another mark against him. So, he not only lies about it himself, he sent Vice President Mike Pence to do a more elegant version of his misleading claims. Pence, appearing Friday for the first time in almost two months with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, claimed against all evidence, "all 50 states," are "opening up safely and responsibly." He told Americans, "we've all seen encouraging news as we open America again," misleadingly saying the upsurge in cases is "a reflection of a great success in expanding testing."


Trump Is OBSESSED With Convincing Voters That He's Not Mentally Unstable

White House admits Trump was involved in firing of top US attorney after Trump claimed he wasn't


 The White House on Monday admitted that President Donald Trump was involved in the removal of US Attorney Geoffrey Berman after Trump had claimed he was "not involved" in the process this weekend.
Speaking at the White House Monday, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump was "involved in the sign-off capacity" as she sought to explain the removal of Berman as a simple swap that would allow Jay Clayton, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to take the post.

How Donald Trump's Mistakes Became Joe Biden's Big Breaks


It’s unusual for the challenger to be a clear favorite for the presidency at this stage in the election. Only three candidates have beaten an incumbent President since Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover in 1932, and the last time any candidate had such a large lead at this phase in the race was Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign almost 25 years ago. The only thing more remarkable than Biden’s advantage is how little he’s had to do to get it.
“Trump is just constantly serving up wins for him,” says Democratic strategist Jess Morales Rocketto. “All he has to do is nothing.”


Trump's brother fails in bid to block niece's tell-all book


 An attempt to block publication of a book claiming to tell the inside story of the Trump family by the US president’s niece has been dismissed by a court in New York.
Queens county surrogate court judge Peter Kelly said on Thursday “several improprieties” in the filing by Robert Trump, the president’s younger brother, meant the bid to stop the book was “fatally defective”.

Ted Boutros, an attorney for Mary Trump, said in a statement: “The court has promptly and correctly held that it lacks jurisdiction to grant the Trump family’s baseless request to suppress a book of utmost public importance and concern.

Michael Flynn: Former US national security adviser


Mr Flynn earlier this year requested immunity from the congressional committees investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, in exchange for his testimony.
"As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else," said Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz.
"And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate, and there are repercussions for a violation of law."

Lawmakers want answers from Trump Administration on reports Russia paid Taliban to attack US troops


Lawmakers on both sides the aisle in Washington want answers on new explosive reporting that a Russian spy unit paid the Taliban to attack U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan.
The New York Times first reported that American intelligence officials have determined a Russian military unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces, including targeting American troops. The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post also reported on the Kremlin's effort to orchestrate attacks on Western troops.

Cabinet to weigh reimposing restrictions amid rise in coronavirus infections


Israel’s “coronavirus cabinet,” tasked with leading the government’s response to the virus outbreak, is set to convene on Sunday to weigh reimposing some restrictions, as the infection rate in Israel continues to climb.
In an interview with Channel 12 news on Saturday, Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch said possible measures proposed by the Health Ministry would include limiting youth programs over the summer break, limiting the size of gatherings, and requiring “capsules” at educational institutions and at workplaces, with set groups of employees working the same shifts.


Afghanistan war: Russia denies paying militants to kill US troops


Russia has rejected as "baseless" accusations that it offered Taliban-linked militants rewards to kill US and other Nato troops in Afghanistan.
The New York Times and Washington Post cited US officials as saying a Russian military intelligence unit linked to assassination attempts in Europe had offered the alleged bounties last year.
The Russian embassy in the US said the claims had led to threats to diplomats.
The Taliban also denied there was any such deal with Russian intelligence.

New U.S. COVID-19 Infections Top 43,000 In A Single Fay, Far Outstripping Previous Peaks | MSNBC

Former U.S. Attorney Says DOJ Has Become A 'Tool' For Trump To use | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Neal Katyal On Barr Testimony: 'I'll Believe It When I See It' | MTP Daily | MSNBC

Chuck Rosenberg On Bill Barr: ‘What I See Is Incredibly Repugnant’ | Deadline | MSNBC

Trump wasn't briefed on report Russia paid Taliban to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan, White House says


The White House denied Saturday that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had been briefed on an intelligence finding that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill American troops and other coalition forces in Afghanistan.
“The United States receives thousands of intelligence reports a day, and they are subject to strict scrutiny,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
While the White House does not routinely comment on intelligence or internal deliberations, “the CIA Director, National Security Advisor, and the Chief of Staff can all confirm that neither the President nor the Vice President were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence,” McEnany said.

EU to reopen borders to 14 countries starting July 1, Israel, US left out


 European Union members agreed to reopen their borders to citizens of 14 countries, with Israel excluded from the list as its situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is more serious than in Europe, according to a report published by Le Monde.
Among other nations also excluded by the EU include the United States, Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Russia Paid Bounties To Kill US Troops, US Intel Says; Trump Mum: NYT | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC


The Trump Referendum


He still has no second term message beyond his own grievances.

President Trump may soon need a new nickname for “Sleepy Joe” Biden. How does President-elect sound? On present trend that’s exactly what Mr. Biden will be on Nov. 4, as Mr. Trump heads for what could be an historic repudiation that would take the Republican Senate down with him.


NYT Reports Putin Put Bounty on US Troops. Trump's Silence is Deafening

Grassley chides Trump, Fox News for answer on second term agenda


Sen. Chuck Grassley laid blame on Fox News — and President Donald Trump — on Saturday over failing to articulate what his administration’s second term priorities would be during a recent interview with the news organization.
The Iowa Republican tweeted that Trump got “off point” when asked by Fox’s Sean Hannity what his goals would be if re-elected, but appeared vexed at Hannity for helping the president “digress” instead of helping Trump form a more intelligible answer.

The criticism from Grassley comes a day after he encouraged Trump to heed the advice of a scathing Wall Street Journal editorial that warned Trump could only serve one term.
“Will somebody w access to the Oval Office read the WSJ editorial ‘The Trump Referendum’ to President Trump,” Grassley wrote in a tweet on Friday. “We won’t hv more good scotus justices or the best economy in 50 years like we hv had if he doesn’t follow that advice.”

Saturday, June 27, 2020

In Someone Else’s Court


This past week, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that was nothing short of a legal earthquake. In a speech on the floor of the US Senate, Republican senator Joshua Hawley of Missouri called it “truly a seismic decision… a historic decision.”
In Bostock v. Clayton County, a 6-3 majority held that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which protects against discrimination on the basis of gender, also protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and orientation. The biggest shock of the decision is that the majority opinion, which Chief Justice John Roberts joined, was written by Trump-nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Do you see? “That’s what, when we nominated him and confirmed him, we wanted him to do.” So where does a religious person go to take back the vote he cast, holding his nose, for a party that has betrayed so many of his values?

Appeals court: Trump wrongly diverted $2.5 billion for border wall


  A federal appeals court on Friday ruled against the Trump administration in its transfer of $2.5 billion from military construction projects to build sections of the U.S. border wall with Mexico, ruling it illegally sidestepped Congress, which gets to decide how to use the funds.
In two opinions, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a coalition of border states and environmental groups that contended the money transfer was unlawful and that building the wall would pose environmental threats.

Trump move to take US troops out of Germany 'a dangerous game'


British politicians and European military experts have warned that Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw 9,500 troops from Germany risks handing a strategic advantage to the Kremlin and undermining the postwar western military alliance.
It would also affect the United States’s ability to operate in the Middle East and Africa – although there is scepticism as to whether the notoriously fickle president will be able to carry out the threat before November’s election.

Does The President Have A Second-Term Strategy? | Morning Joe | MSNBC

What is Trump's agenda for a second term? He can't say

See The Moment Tucker Carlson Realized Trump Could Lose 2020 | MSNBC

rav shlomo miller against Tamar's remarriage without Get

Friday, June 26, 2020

Governors Who Quickly Reopened Their States Are Backpedaling as Coronavirus Surges


The escalating crisis is testing governors — many of them Republicans who aggressively reopened before most of the U.S. — as pressure mounts from their biggest cities, health experts and even friendly business groups. Any move backward could land them at odds with President Donald Trump, who has sought to move on from the virus and return to the campaign stage, all while refusing to wear a mask in public.

Trump entrenched in failed strategy as virus surges and polling drops


 While advisers say Trump is aware of his weakened standing, he has rejected public surveys showing him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden by double digits, claiming they are flawed attempts to suppress the vote. And while advisers and allies have privately -- and, this week, publicly -- begun to encourage Trump to moderate his tone and change behaviors they fear are alienating wide swaths of the electorate, he has shown almost no willingness to change course.
"He didn't think he would win in 2016, he doesn't think he can lose in 2020," one senior White House official said.


Haredi lawmaker Uri Maklev urges public to accept discriminatory arrangement for ultra-Orthodox communities despite 2011 High Court ruling banning such practices, says the move is 'for the benefit of women'


 America's single worst day of new coronavirus cases obliterated President Donald Trump's fantasyland vision of a post-Covid America -- even as he sowed new diversions in an effort to hide the reality of his leadership void in a deepening national crisis.

More than 37,000 new cases of Covid-19 were reported on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The numbers superseded the previous darkest day of the pandemic, on April 24. The new data suggests that the sacrifices made by tens of millions of Americans who stayed at home, that cost many of them their jobs, might have been in vain. It also suggest that the aggressive state re-openings championed by Trump, who wants a quick economic reboot to boost his reelection hopes, exacerbated a situation that now seems close to tipping out of control across a swathe of southern states.

Dep. transportation minister: Women should sit at back of bus


Haredi lawmaker Uri Maklev urges public to accept discriminatory arrangement for ultra-Orthodox communities despite 2011 High Court ruling banning such practices, says the move is 'for the benefit of women'

Jason Greenblatt to settler leaders: Stop attacking Trump


Former US special envoy Jason Greenblatt noted during the hearing: "Settlement leaders and the right-wing leadership should not attack President Trump and Jared Kushner. They need to explain what their concerns are without simply criticizing. It's not fair. A future Palestinian state will not pose a threat to Israel. "

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Appellate Court Rules Judge Sullivan Must Dismiss Flynn Case. Sullivan Pushes Back

How A President Leads

Trump Amps Up the Racism Because He’s Failed at Everything Else: A Closer Look

Federal appeals court orders Flynn judge to dismiss charges


The ruling Tuesday may not be the last word on the issue. Any active judge on the D.C. Circuit — including dissenting Judge Robert Wilkins — could call for a vote to bring the matter before the full court en banc. The court’s active bench is currently made up of seven Democratic appointees and five Republican ones.
But the victory, no matter how temporary, was greeted with celebration — not just by Trump, who called the ruling “great!” but his Justice Department too.

Bolton’s book reveals: Trump was America’s first anti-Kurdish president


The US President, according to former National Security Advisor John Bolton, is actually anti-Kurdish and dislikes a minority group in the Middle East that has been consistently pro-American.

532 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours


Health Ministry reports that the number of coronavirus cases is greater than 460 for just the second time since April 9.


US said to slam covering of Jerusalem embassy Pride sign as sovereignty breach



The Jerusalem Municipality’s covering of an LGBT pride banner from an external wall of a US Embassy facility in the capital continued to draw protest on Wednesday, with one American official comparing the issue to Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the West Bank.
“While Ambassador Friedman is fighting for annexation in the United States, are you invading our sovereign territory here?” the senior embassy official fumed to Channel 12 news, referring to the envoy’s trip to Washington for talks at the White House on whether the Trump administration should back Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to begin the process of annexation from July 1.



Trump promised to pay for Covid care. But patients with long-term symptoms see huge bills.


The Trump administration’s pledge to protect Covid-19 patients from massive medical bills is falling short for a growing number of survivors who experience long-term complications from the virus.
Doctors are discovering life-threatening and costly long-term health effects ranging from kidney failure to heart and lung damage. That’s exposing a major gap in the federal government’s strategy for ensuring patients won’t go broke because of a coronavirus diagnosis.

The 6 Trump Bombshells Still Waiting to Explode


Three and a half years into his presidency we know so much that it raises the question: What do we not yet know about Donald Trump?
The question itself is a sign of the times. All presidents have gaps between the heroic picture they seek to project to the world and the messy, chaotic, compromised reality of daily life in the White House. Understanding any presidency is a vast puzzle. But never before have so many pieces of the puzzle been disgorged contemporaneously, in such a relentless and flamboyant way. Almost every turn of the news cycle produces an episode that—in more conventional times—could easily be the headline of the last Woodward book or the kind of revelations coaxed from deep in the archives decades after the fact by the likes of a historian like Robert A. Caro.

How Bill Barr's Manhattan transfer went awry


Shortly after 9 p.m. that evening, Attorney General Bill Barr made two announcements in one fateful missive: Geoffrey Berman, the powerful U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, was stepping down from his job, effective immediately. And President Donald Trump would nominate Clayton to take his place. In the meantime, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey would step in.
There was just one hiccup: Berman hadn’t actually resigned.

Trump team looks to prevent a Tulsa-style debacle in Jacksonville


“Sadly, protesters interfered with supporters, even blocking access to the metal detectors, which prevent people from entering the rally,” Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, said in a statement following the Tulsa rally. The campaign didn’t say how many people were turned away; reporters on the ground disputed that protests at the entries prevented rallygoers from ultimately entering.

New lawsuit demands details on Bolton book review


Officials, including a federal judge, have accused Bolton of putting national security at risk by bailing out of the review process. He contends he thought the process was done in April and that an additional round of checks senior officials initiated was a transparent effort to cater to Trump’s desire to suppress the tell-all book, which paints a deeply unflattering portrait of Trump.

“The Bolton case describes a prepublication review process driven by the whims of the political appointees in the White House, shrouded in the deference courts traditionally give the Intelligence Community on questions of national security,” he said. “The public deserves to know if the claims made behind closed doors about Bolton's book hold up to the scrutiny of a skeptical judge in a more demanding FOIA context.”


As feud with Trump erupts, Bolton goes from pro-Israel hero to ‘John who?’


Bolton is dominating headlines this week with his new tell-all book, “The Room Where It Happened,” in which he depicts Trump as a know-nothing prone to placing his personal fortunes above the country’s and seeking political favors from Ukraine, China, and Turkey. In response, Trump is threatening his former national security adviser with criminal action for allegedly disseminating classified information (Bolton says the book was cleared by censors for publication; the White House disagrees). 

The Trump-Bolton clash puts Jewish Republicans and right-wing pro-Israel groups in an especially tricky situation. They have long hailed Bolton as a voice of moral clarity willing to speak hard truths in defending Israel, often in the face of international consensus. But this time, Bolton is fixing his aim on a president whom many of his erstwhile pro-Israel allies view as the best friend Jerusalem has ever had in the White House.

Senior health official advises elders to avoid events, public transportation

Prof. Sadetzki says authorities should discuss scaling down number of participants at events, public not observing health regulations to blame for resurgence of coronavirus


In light of the recent spike in coronavirus cases, the head of Public Health Services at the Health Ministry Prof. Siegal Sadetzki on Thursday advised senior citizens to avoid attending events with many participants and traveling on public transportation to avoid getting infected.


New York imposes quarantine on eight US states


New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have asked people travelling from states where Covid-19 cases are rising to go into self-isolation for 14 days.

19 attorneys general sue Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over gainful employment rule


The 2014 gainful employment rule was created by the Obama administration to ensure that schools — many of them for-profit colleges — were denied access to federal aid if their graduates had weak career prospects and heavy debt loads.

DeVos repealed the rule in July 2019, and her decision goes into effect on July 1.
On June 24, attorneys general of the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia sued Betsy DeVos and her agency. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in D.C.

Randi Weingarten, president of the teachers’ union American Federation of Teachers, added: “Betsy DeVos has already made history as one of the most unproductive, unpopular and frankly embarrassing cabinet appointments — and today, states across the country are holding her to account.”

Michael Flynn: Court rules in favour of ex-Trump aide


All four prosecutors assigned to the Stone case - including Mr Zelinsky - quit after the lower sentence was requested.
Mr Zelinsky told lawmakers on Wednesday that he had been pressured to change a sentencing memo to the judge to ask for a lighter sentence for Stone. He said he was warned he could be fired if he did not co-operate.
"I was explicitly told that the motivation for changing the sentencing memo was political, and because the US Attorney was 'afraid of the President'."
He also said that he was directed to investigate an environmental deal made between US auto manufacturers and the state of California after Mr Trump criticised it on Twitter.
DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said: "Mr Zelinksy's allegations concerning the US Attorney's motivation are based on his own interpretation of events and hearsay (at best), not first-hand knowledge."