As reported Monday, April 25 on almost all mainstream and alternate news sites, Britain’s Defense Minister Michael Fallon has openly declared that his country will carry out a preemptive nuclear strike even if not attacked, as such:
“In the most extreme circumstances we have made it very clear that you can’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike.” –Michael Fallon, BBC Today, 4-25-17
This is very serious and no longer simply rhetorical, as the Russians responded to the effect that the UK could be wiped off the face of the globe if they were to provoke the wrong party. The U.S. now has a submarine in position in South Korea that is carrying Tomahawks armed with nuclear warheads and the American Naval armada continues to sail toward the region. The North Koreans have been conducting artillery drills, as South Korea and Japan are preparing their citizens for war to break out. The United States just test-launched an ICBM from California that splashed into the South Pacific.
In the U.S., President Trump has convened a meeting in the White House for all 100 U.S. senators as reported yesterday throughout the alternative media. The mainstream media (MSM) is being notoriously silent about the whole matter, although it is plain to see the focal point of the meeting is North Korea, as announced by the White House.
Deflection has been rendered partially by the MSM by the endless barrage regarding the 9th Circuit Court trying to sabotage the Executive Order signed by the President to withhold federal funding from “sanctuary” cities trying to circumvent federal law and procedure with the illegal aliens. The “First 100 Days” of the Trump Administration is the new catch-phrase the MSM is focusing upon, much as they did with the “47 million on food stamps” phrase that virtually stayed the same for more than 3 years. Underreporting and obfuscation (if not outright lies) are the MSM’s way of keeping the public in the dark nationally and globally.
In the meantime, the Russians are beginning to redeploy ground troops to Syria. It appears that the U.S. is going to be pushed into a war in one theater or another by the progressives masquerading as conservatives. This brings to mind the ratiocination for the initiation of hostilities in either theater. For North Korea, it is simple: The North Koreans are one of the three nations not involved in the global banking cartel. In addition, a war will increase U.S. hegemony in the area regardless of what happens to South Korea or Japan in the aftermath.
Regarding Syria, the Obama administration started a proxy/indirect war with Russia over Syria, with Russia backing Bashar al-Assad and the United States its own “created boogeyman” of ISIS/ISIL. Obama did not take Russia on directly, and Russia out-maneuvered him by suggesting he fight against his own creation…which he did…and then the Russians bombed the daylights out of them. Russia then declared the bombing campaign to be over and did a “drawdown,” while still leaving enough of a force to deter Obama, who fizzled out in pusillanimous splendor.
Syria is still on the table, though, because we don’t have that pipeline running out of Qatar through Northwestern Syria to cut off Gazprom and the Russians from supplying Europe with natural gas. In addition, the House of Saud wants Assad out of Syria, and in addition to this, the U.S. needs to take Syria if it wants (and it does want) to invade Iran. The Russians bombing ISIS/ISIL prevented any more oil from being stolen from Northwest Syria and trucked across the border, where it was sold to Erdogan and his brother.
The Military Industrial Complex (MIC) and their paid-for congressmen and senators (such as McCain, Graham, Ryan, ad infinitum) are the ones who stand to benefit, either in stocks held or in kickbacks to either advance or snafu legislation or policy (depending on which benefits the firms). They did it with Ukraine, as well, but the threat of directly confronting Russia was as good as an orchiotomy for Obama, and we have a stalemate between the U.S.-created Kiev government of Poroshenko and the separatists of the Eastern Ukrainian provinces.
The powers that be are intent on having a war, regardless of the consequences and effects on noncombatants. A war would also be a way to prop up the administration’s flagging ratings. Domestically we have not emerged from the “soft” police state and liberal “legislative” powers of the Courts to remake Constitutional law and circumvent Congress and the President through selective interpretation of anything and everything: These things are the true “legacy” of Obama.
Now, where from there? We are at the threshold of another major war that could erupt in any of these areas. The choice is not up to us anymore, and it is surely being decided upon at this very moment.
A Little Background: The U.S. Has Tried to Carry Out Regime Change Since Syria Became An Independent County …
The U.S. government has been trying to replace the Syrian government with folks who will be subservient to America since 1949 … 3 years after Syria became an independent nation.
The CIA succeeded in carrying out a coup in Syria 1949.
In 1957, the American president and British prime minister agreed to launch regime change again in Syria using a false flag. (False flags are not only historically documented, but presidents, prime ministers, congressmen, generals, spooks, soldiers and police have ADMITTED to planning and carrying out false flat attacks).
In 1983, 1986, 1991, 2001, 2009 and 2012, American officials again schemed about regime change in Syria.
The 2013 Syrian Weapons Attack Was Carried Out By …
The 2013 sarin attack in Ghouta, Syria, was blamed by the U.S. on the Syrian government.
However, the United Nations’ report on the attack did NOT blame the government, and the U.N.’s human rights investigator accused the rebels – rather than the Syrian government – of carrying out the attack.
Moreover, high-level American and Turkish officials say that Turkey supplied Sarin gas to Syrian rebels in 2013 in order to frame the Syrian government … to provide an excuse for regime change.
Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh – who uncovered the Iraq prison torture scandal and the Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam – previously reported that high-level American sources tell him that the Turkish government carried out the chemical weapons attacks blamed on the Syrian government.
As Hersh noted:
‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’
Indeed, it’s long been known that sarin was coming through Turkey.
And a tape recording of top Turkish officials planning a false flag attack to be blamed on Syria as a justification for war was leaked … and confirmed by Turkey as being authentic.
The 2017 Chemical Incident … Which “Justified” Trump’s Bombing Syria with 57 Cruise Missiles
The recent chemical incident was immediately blamed on the Syrian government. And the Trump administration immediately launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base based on the accusation.
But many of the American intelligence officials who warned that the claims about Iraq (which led to a disastrous war) were fake say that these claims are fake as well.
Indeed, former CIA officer Philip Giraldi says that American intelligence community insiders are furious that the Trump administration has twisted the intelligence so as to claim that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack. And see this.
Indeed, the lead UN investigator into Syrian chemical weapons attacks has debunked one of the main allegations attempting to pin the recent chemical incident on the Syrian government.
But when the military-industrial folks want a war, do facts even matter?
Image: Mark Taliano’s book, click here to order directly from Global Research
Syrian politician Fares Shehabi correctly identified the terrorists as NATO/al Qaeda. He is correct. NATO’s al Qaeda/al Nusra Front terrorists are responsible.
All of the death and destruction in Syria is a direct result of the West’s criminal “regime change” military operation. This has been amply proven.
The US and its allies including Canada are responsible for the murder of the two girls pictured below, and many others.
Part of the West’s criminality involves war propaganda, a very lucrative industry, funded by Western citizens, to deceive Western, and world citizens.
Confusion-mongering is an important component of war propaganda, (sometimes referred to euphemistically, as “information warfare”).
The end-game of the West’s war is the destruction of Syria and its peoples, and various military strategies sometimes present overlapping agendas, and are seemingly at cross-purposes. Sometimes one strategy will subordinate another. All of this creates openings for “information warfare” but the underlying goal of destruction remains the same.
For example, balkanization of Syria will weaken and ultimately destroy the country. If this strategy is successful, it will complement the West’s longstanding support for all of the terrorists. If supporting Kurdish minority ambitions for federation means temporarily opposing ISIS, then the West’s alliance with ISIS will be (temporarily) subordinated to its support for polities attempting to fragment Syria.
Thus, the on-the-ground tactics lend themselves to confusion-mongering “information warfare”, much of which serves as a distraction, a “red herring”, from the broad-based aggressive warfare operations.
Overall, the West supports all of the terrorists in Syria, but the West also supports conflicting terror groups (ie both sides) if it serves to create more chaos, more death and destruction.
Professor Tim Anderson presents a timely reminder of the West’s criminality in the following graph:
In a private Facebook conversation, dated April 28, 2017, I asked Samy Eissa, a former teacher with the Syrian Ministry of Education, to comment on the fact that the West and its allies like to pretend that they are fighting (rather than supporting) ISIS.
I believe from the beginning they support that terrorist group
they’ve been supporting extremist Muslims for many years.
They made al Qaeda, the mother of all those sh***, with the support of Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia. They have used them as triggers and pretexts to launch many wars.
By the time they had invaded Iraq, these groups appeared in it.
How did they come from Afghanistan in such a hurry!
And the same had happened in Yemen, Libya, and now Syria.
These groups are very excellent proxies for the West
to fight instead of using West’ armies.
And these groups, and ISIS is one of them, are just paving the road for the Western powers and Israelto interfere easily to impose their vision and interests and all their targets in every country they caused war in it ….
Voices from Syria, unfiltered by corporate war propagandists, deserve a global audience. Their voices are aligned with the truth, solid evidence, and historical memory.
Despite protests around the world, the Cassini space probe—containing more deadly plutonium than had ever been used on a space device—was launched 20 years ago. And this past weekend—on Earth Day—the probe and its plutonium were sent crashing into Saturn.
The $3.27 billion mission constituted a huge risk. Cassini with its 72.3 pounds of Plutonium-238 fuel was launched on a Titan IV rocket on October 17, 1997 despite several Titan IV rockets having earlier blown up on launch.
At a demonstration two weeks before in front of the fence surrounding the pad at Cape Canaveral from which Cassini was to be launched, Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, warned of widespread regional damage if this Titan IV lofting Cassini exploded on launch. Winds could carry the plutonium
“into Disney World, University City, into the citrus industry and destroy the economy of central Florida,” he declared.
Four months before, at an earlier demonstration at the same site, Allan Kohn, a NASA career official from 1964 to 1994 who had been the emergency preparedness officer at the Kennedy Space Center, noted that
“we were told by NASA that the odds against the Cassini blowing up and releasing radiation [are] 1,500 to one. These are pretty poor odds. You bet the lottery and the odds against you are one in 14 million.”
As to NASA’s claim that the plutonium system was “indestructible,” he said it is
“indestructible just like the Titanic was unsinkable….It’s time to put a stop to their freedom to threaten the lives of people here on Earth.”
And, indeed, on an Earth “flyby” by Cassini , done on August 18, 1999, it wouldn’t have been a regional disaster but a global catastrophe if an accident happened.
Cassini didn’t have the propulsion power to get directly from Earth to its final destination of Saturn, so NASA figured on having it hurtle back to Earth in a “sling shot maneuver” or “flyby”—to use Earth’s gravity to increase its velocity so it could reach Saturn. The plutonium was only used to generate electricity—745 watts—to run the probe’s instruments. It had nothing to do with propulsion.
So NASA had Cassini come hurtling back at Earth at 42,300 miles per hour and skim over the Earth’s atmosphere at 727 miles high. If there were a rocket misfire or miscalculation and the probe made what NASA in its “Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission” called an “inadvertent reentry,” it could have fallen into Earth’s atmosphere, disintegrating, and releasing plutonium. Then, said NASA in its statement, “Approximately 7 to 8 billion world population at a time … could receive 99 percent or more of the radiation exposure.”
The worst accident involving space nuclear power occurred in 1964 when a satellite powered by a SNAP-9A plutonium system failed to achieve orbit and fell to Earth, breaking apart and releasing its 2.1 pounds of Plutonium-238 fuel, which dispersed all over the planet. According to the late Dr. John Gofman, professor of medical physics at the University of California at Berkeley, that accident contributed substantially to global lung cancer rates.
In her book, Nuclear Madness, Dr. Helen Caldicott, president emeritus of Physicians for Social Responsibility, writes about plutonium:
“Named after the god of the underworld, it is so toxic that less than one-millionth of a gram, an invisible particle, is a carcinogenic dose. One pound, if uniformly distributed, could hypothetically induce lung cancer in every person on Earth.”
Further, the Plutonium-238 used in space devices is 280 times more radioactive than the Plutonium-239 used in nuclear weapons.
Cassini finally reached Saturn and took excellent pictures and provided scientific information about Saturn, its rings, and moons including Enceladus and Titan.
NASA sent it crashing into Saturn on April 22, 2017
“to make sure Cassini is incinerated at the end of its journey to ensure that any of its earthborn microbes do not contaminate the biotic or prebiotic worlds out there,” wrote Dennis Overbye in his front-page story in The New York Times on April 22. (The article didn’t mention plutonium at all.)
“When I heard that NASA would be dive-bombing Cassini into Saturn with 72 pounds of deadly plutonium-238 on-board, I thought of the Army handing out smallpox laden blankets to Indians on the reservations,” comments Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, which has been in the lead in protesting NASA nuclear space missions. “NASA readily admits that ‘biotic or prebiotic’ life very possibly exists on Saturn—are they trying to kill it?”
“We are told that NASA is out searching for the origins of life in the universe but they seem to have forgotten the prime directive from Captain Kirk on Star Trek to ‘do no harm.’”
Felton Davis, an activist with the Catholic Worker movement in New York City, who participated in anti-Cassini protests through the years, said NASA
“should face the environmental reality that other celestial bodies are not garbage dumps.”
After the 1964 accident involving the SNAP-9A plutonium system, NASA moved to develop solar photovoltaic panels to energize satellites, and now all are powered by solar panels—as is the International Space Station.
But NASA has insisted that it needs nuclear power for missions into space—claiming for years that it could not use anything but atomic energy beyond the orbit of Mars. However, that has been proven incorrect by NASA itself. On July 4th, Independence Day, 2016, NASA’s solar-energized space probe Juno arrived at Jupiter. Launched from Cape Canaveral on August 5, 2011, it flew nearly two billion miles to reach Jupiter, and although sunlight at Jupiter is just four percent of what it is on Earth, Juno’s solar panels were able to harvest energy.
Juno spacecraft above the north pole of Jupiter
Photo from NASA
Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of Energy working with NASA has started up a new production facility at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to produce Plutonium-238 for space use. Other DOE labs are also to participate.
Says Gagnon of the Maine-based Global Network (www.space4peace.org):
“Various DOE labs are rushing back into the plutonium processing business likely to make it possible for the nuclear industry to move their deadly product off-planet in order to ensure that the mining operations envisioned on asteroids, Mars, and the Moon will be fully nuclear-powered. Not only do the DOE labs have a long history of contaminating us on Earth but imagine a series of rocket launches with toxic plutonium on board that blow up from time to time at the Kennedy Space Center. They are playing with fire and the lives of us Earthlings. The space and the nuke guys are in bed together and that is a bad combination—surely terrible news for all of us.”
“The Global Network,” said Gagnon, “remains adamantly opposed to the use of nuclear power in space.”
Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College of New York, is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.
Its deplorable policies belie its national motto – first declared during its 1789 – 99 revolution, overthrowing monarchical rule, establishing the First French Republic in 1792.
When the 1848 Constitution was drafted, it was considered a “principle of the Republic.” July 14, Bastille Day, represents transferring power from the monarchy to the people.
The national motto was written into the 1946 and 1958 Constitutions. It’s part of France’s national heritage, inscribed on the pediments of public buildings, appearing on coins, postage stamps and elsewhere.
Modern French governance is deplorable, its sovereignty sacrificed to Brussels, a US-dominated NATO member, an imperial American partner.
After its May 7 runoff election, it’s likely to stay that way – establishment favorite Emmanuel Macron heavily favored to win.
French aristocracy loves him, strongly opposes Le Pen for wanting national sovereignty regained, an anathema notion for globalists, a scheme to enrich privileged elites at the expense of most others.
Hoping to distance herself from unpopular National Front policies, she announced she’s no longer its president, stressing “I am the candidate for the French presidency.”
Explaining her move, she said it’s to be “above partisan considerations.” She faces a daunting task of winning over enough undecided voters and others supporting defeated candidates.
Polls aren’t encouraging, showing Macron heavily favored. On May 7, voters will choose a new president.
Hugely unpopular Francois Hollande’s tenure will end days later, continuity under Macron likely to follow.
French media and establishment figures already proclaimed him the winner. Le Pen warned he’ll “destroy (the) entire (French) social and economic structure.”
It’s already in shambles after five disastrous Hollande years. Under him, his recent predecessors, with Macron likely France’s next president, dirty business as usual should replace its Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité national motto.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
The residents of Seongju and Gimcheon were caught off guard when the United States Forces Korea and the South Korean Defense Ministry forced key parts of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system into the former Lotte Skyhill Golf Course in the early morning hours of April 26. Many of the THAAD parts, including the AN/TPY-2 radar, are believed to have been transported into the deployment site.
Below is video of Seongju residents showing outrage, shedding tears of anger and sadness, as riot police contain them and allow for military vehicles to pass through to the deployment site.
(Video source: Street Journalist)
The South Korean government deployed 8,000 riot cops to forcibly remove the residents and Won Buddhist ministers peacefully protesting on the road leading to the THAAD deployment site. On two occasions, the police were able to clear a path for military vehicles carrying THAAD parts and equipment. At 4:45 AM, eight U.S. military vehicles entered the deployment site, and 30 more vehicles made their way in at 6:40 AM.
Below is a minute-by-minute breakdown of what transpired in the early morning hours of April 26:
1:40 AM — 30 people, including members of the Won Buddhist Emergency Struggle Committee, joined by other religious clergy, began a prayer sit-in on the road in front of the village center of Soseong-ri. Village residents blocked the road to the deployment site with their cars.
1:54 AM — South Korean riot police began to arrive at the protest site and surround the prayer sit-in. The police also blocked the protesters from communicating with other residents. They used excessive force to subdue several residents demanding the officers stop containing them. Several police officers threatened arrest against residents for blocking the road with their cars.
3:20 AM — The police issued an order of dispersal to the protesting residents.
3:40 AM — Immediately after the order of dispersal, the officers began to to use excessive force to break up the crowd.
4:05 AM — 30 Won Buddhist ministers were forced to disperse by the police. During the process, several protesters collapsed and lost consciousness.
4:13 AM — All Won Buddhist ministers were forcibly removed from the streets, and the road to the THAAD deployment site was cleared for the entry of military vehicles.
4:18 AM — Three injured residents were escorted to the hospital in ambulances.
4:45 AM — Eight U.S. military vehicles carrying what appeared to be parts of the THAAD battery drove past the residents of Soseong-ri and headed to the deployment site.
A group of 60 people, including Seongju residents, Won Buddhist ministers and Catholic clergy members attempted to block the entry of the military vehicles. The police, however, forcibly removed them from the road.
5:10 AM — 60 residents continued to protest near the Soseong-ri village center demanding the police withdraw from the village and the USFK stop the forced deployment of the THAAD battery. Residents chanted, “U.S. cops back off” to mean the South Korean police officers serve the interests of the U.S. and not the South Korean people. The riot police continued to block the residents from occupying the streets and obstructing the entry of U.S. military vehicles.
6:40 AM — Additional components of the THAAD battery were transported into the deployment site. The riot police, again, suppressed the residents to allow 30 vehicles carrying additional THAAD parts to pass through Soseong-ri.
At least six residents and Won Buddhist ministers were transported in ambulances to the hospital due to injuries sustained as a result of excessive force used by the riot police.
7:40 AM — 200 protesters gathered in front of the Soseong-ri village center to condemn the Defense Ministry for ambushing the peaceful protesters to transport key THAAD parts and equipment in the middle of the night.
8:05 AM — All police units pulled out of the village of Soseong-ri.
9:00 AM — A group of 100 people including residents and religious leaders held a press conference condemning the U.S. for forcibly deploying the THAAD missile system. The residents emphasized the lack of transparency surrounding the THAAD deployment and noted that there was never an official agreement signed between the U.S. and South Korean governments on the deployment.
The environmental impact assessment has yet to be completed, they also noted, yet the key THAAD components have already been transported into the deployment site. The THAAD battery’s radar system — the AN/TPY-2 radar — was transported on April 26. From the start of their fight to oppose the THAAD deployment, Seongju and Gimcheon residents had expressed concerns about the electromagnetic waves emitted by the radar and their long-term impact on their health and agricultural crops.
A total of 12 protesters sustained injuries and were escorted to the hospital in ambulances.
The Defense Ministry reportedly told the South Korean media that it plans to transport the remainder of the THAAD components into the deployment site by the end of this year.
As US President Donald Trump prepares to mark 100 days in office, the administration’s foreign policy approach has become a painful disappointment to anyone with mildly optimistic expectations Washington would take a more realist approach to its role in the world.
In no time at all, Trump has strayed from the ‘America First’ rhetoric on the campaign trail and reversed course in a remarkable way. His decision to launch cruise missile strikes against Syria’s government on painfully a pretense, humiliatingly revealed to China’s leader over a piece of chocolate cake, is the picture of volatility.
Establishment pundits who had bogusly derided Trump as a Russian stooge christened him “presidential.” Buoyed by this bipartisan support for militarism, the Pentagon dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in a distant corner of Afghanistan, likely without Trump’s direct approval as part of his policy of giving the military a freer hand to act.
Far from “isolationism” or a realist repositioning of American foreign policy, Trump represents the continuity of endless warfare and US militarism’s pursuit of global hegemony, different in perhaps only it’s cruder, more impulsive presentation and televised set pieces with higher explosive yields.
A pragmatic US-Russia détente remains as elusive as ever, for obvious reasons. It is extremely disconcerting that Trump, whose approval ratings have hit historic lows, was so enthusiastically supported by the US political and media establishment for his display of military muscle.
Trump’s vivacious and approval-seeking personality, his shallow understanding of strategic affairs and his proneness to react to media coverage make him more prone than ever to the temptation of launching one-off cruise missile strikes in a “Wag the Dog” style publicity coup. Call it “tweeting with bombs.”
Nowhere is this propensity for impulsive militarism more dangerous than the Korean peninsula, where a provocation or miscalculation can quickly spiral out of control with unbearable and unthinkable humanitarian consequences. Trump himself hinted at unilaterally bombing North Korea as if the spectacles of Syria and Afghanistan hadn’t got the message across.
It’s crucial to understand that any US use of force to degrade North Korea’s weapons program would start a major war in Northeast Asia, both the world’s most densely populated region and a main driver of global economic growth, with some of the world’s busiest airports and container ports.
On a recent visit to South Korea, US Vice President Mike Pence declared the Obama-era policy of ‘strategic patience’ had come to an end, warning Pyongyang against conducting further nuclear or long-range missile tests to avoid triggering an unspecified US response.
Aside from the familiar adage of “all options on the table,” the Trump administration’s policy toward Pyongyang continues to lack a precise definition. The White House has recently completed a review of North Korea policy and settled on what it calls a policy of ”maximum pressure and engagement.”
This seems to mean the US will enforce tougher sanctions and pressure in other ways while leaving the door open for some form of negotiation. Trump, like the veritable leader of a global empire, recently summoned ambassadors of countries on the UN Security Council for a working lunch to call for tougher sanctions on North Korea.
He has also taken the extraordinary step of inviting the entire US Senate to the White House to be briefed on the administration’s North Korea policy. The outcome of a maximum pressure and engagement policy is certain not to achieve US strategic objectives unless accompanied by a level of flexibility previous administrations have been unwilling to show.
Firstly, Pyongyang has very limited exposure to global markets, and it cannot be expected to respond to economic sanctions in the same way as Iran, an energy exporter and key regional power, which agreed to a deal with the Obama administration for economic and financial sanctions relief.
North Korea is already the world’s most sanctioned country, and it has still achieved a modest level of economic growth in recent years. Pyongyang’s policy makers treat sanctions as a fact of life, and they’ve given every signal that they are prepared to stay the course.
Secondly, the chance of negotiating a peaceful end to North Korea’s weapons program is exceedingly unlikely, and for very logical reasons. Pyongyang has learned from the mistakes of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, and will not give up its strategic nuclear deterrent, which serves both a critical security function and a symbolic function, one of immense national pride.
The Obama administration would only engage in dialogue with Pyongyang on the precondition that it agreed to commit to denuclearization. Unsurprisingly, this approach failed, and North Korea made strides in developing its nuclear capability. If the biggest carrot of Trump’s “engagement” policy involves the characteristically arrogant capitulation-for-dialogue approach, then no deal.
Pyongyang has signaled on numerous occasions a willingness to freeze nuclear development and missile tests in exchange for a peace treaty to formally end the 1950s-era Korean War (which ended in an armistice) and a moratorium on US and South Korea joint military exercises, which it views as a dress rehearsal for invasion.
This is the only soft landing in sight, and the outcome would far better serve the region’s security and development interests. Consequently, South Koreans are widely expected to elect opposition leader Moon Jae-in as president in polls scheduled for May. Moon favors engagement and détente with Pyongyang, a dramatic reversal of the policies taken by the outgoing conservative administration in Seoul.
He is also opposed to the earlier-than-expected deployment of the THAAD anti-missile defense system to the country and aims to hasten the transfer of wartime operational control of South Korea’s armed forces to Seoul, rather than the US military. For these reasons, he could find himself at loggerheads with the Trump administration.
Ultimately, Donald Trump as a politician narcissistically seeks attention and a dramatic victory to hold up as an example of how fantastic he is. Whether this is achieved through peace and deal-making or war and coercion is secondary to the man. He is not a student of history or a strategic thinker. He has no values or ideology apart from his ratings and his brand.
From the vantage point of his first 100 days in office, Trump appears to be channeling the foreign policy strategies of Ronald Reagan: a massive military build-up accompanied by threatening displays of strength as a means of gaining leverage over adversarial powers.
In any case, it didn’t take long for Trump to fold on the populist rhetoric and realist foreign policy of his campaign. The bitter irony is that the United States now finds itself back on a more-or-less Clintonian foreign policy trajectory. As Americans say, the only sure things in life are death and taxes… and the continuity of a militaristic US foreign policy.
Nile Bowie is an independent writer and current affairs commentator based in Singapore. Originally from New York City, he has lived in the Asia-Pacific region for nearly a decade and was previously a columnist with the Malaysian Reserve newspaper, in addition to working actively in non-governmental organisations and creative industries. He can be reached at [email protected]
The French government released a report blaming the Syrian government for this month’s chemical weapons incident.
The report states:
According to the intelligence obtained by the French services, the process of synthesizing sarin, developed by the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC) and employed by the Syrian armed forces and security services, involves the use of hexamine as a stabilizer.
The presence of the same chemical compounds in the environmental samples collected during the attacks on Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April 2017 and on Saraqib on 29 April 2013 has therefore been formally confirmed by France. The sarin present in the munitions used on 4 April was produced using the same manufacturing process as that used during the sarin attack perpetrated by the Syrian regime in Saraqib. Moreover, the presence of hexamine indicates that this manufacturing process is that developed by the Scientific Studies and Research Centre for the Syrian regime.
Sounds convincing, right?
But the report falls apart upon closer scrutiny …
Specifically, the head of the United Nations’ team investigating the possible use of chemical warfare in Syria (Åke Sellström) wrote an email to MIT rocket scientist Ted Postol in 2014 stating:
Hexamine … is a product simple to get hold of and in no way conclusively points to the [Syrian] government.
In addition, hexamine found in samples may be derived from other sources for example, explosives.
(I blacked out Postol’s email address to protect his privacy; as I did with personal information in the email below.)
This week, Washington’s Blog wrote the following email to Dr. Sellström seeking confirmation:
The Washington Post quotes French officials as saying that analysis of sarin from Khan Sheikhoun shows the presence of hexamine, indicating that the sarin was produced by the Syrian government: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/samples-from-syrias-deadly-sarin-attack-bear-assadssignature-says-france/2017/04/26/af5d47e0-2a5d-11e7-86b7-5d31b5fdc114_story.html?utm_term=.dc5df76866af
However, my understanding is that it is easy to acquire hexamine, and so the presence of the substance does not indicate state-sponsored manufacture. I also understand that hexamine is a common byproduct from explosives. s that right?
Dr. Sellström responded:
It is really a question of the meaning of the word indicating. The presence of hexamine could, indeed, indicate that the source is the government. Leaving out who actually used it.
But it could also indicate a lot of other things, like someone using the same recipe for example
In other words, the lead UN investigator is saying that the presence of hexamine could prove that:
(1) The Syrian government did use sarin
(2) The rebels got a hold of old stocks of government-produced sarin, and then used it themselves
(3) Someone reverse-engineered the sarin formula previously used by the government and created their own new sarin
(4) Something else altogether (e.g. that the hexamine came from every day explosives, was otherwise introduced from other sources, or perhaps the evidence was altogether fudged for political purposes)
The French report also claims:
France assesses that the theory of an attack by the armed [rebel] groups using a neurotoxic agent on 4 April is not credible. France has no information confirming the possession of sarin by these groups.
Michael T. Bucci provides us with an insightful review and detailed timeline of Trump “accomplishments”.
One Hundred Days and Counting.
And there is more to come …
January 20, 2017 (Friday):
– Trump signs first executive action canceling Obama’s FHA mortgage rate premium cuts
– Trump signs executive order to roll-back Obamacare hours after taking office
– Trump writes memo temporarily banning new federal government regulations.
January 21, 2017 (Saturday)
– Massive Women’s march in U.S. and world.
– U.S. Customs asks Canadians entering for D.C. if “pro-Trump” or “anti-Trump”. Some anti-Trump barred from entering.
– Throughout weekend, Trump argues about size of his inaugural crowds compared to those who attended Women’s rally
January 23, 2017 (Monday):
– Trump signs repeal of TPP.
– Trump freezes federal hiring (except military).
– Trump bans federal money to those who counsel on abortions (incl international groups).
– Trump blames voter fraud for loss of popular vote.
January 24, 2017 (Tuesday)
– Executive Order to continue construction of Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
– Trump orders EPA freeze and media blackout, banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency’s social media accounts. Also told Agricultural and Interior Depts, if not also DHS.
January 25, 2017 (Wednesday)
– Trump sends directives to build a 2,000 mile wall at the US-Mexican border and curtail immigration.
– Trump vows to strip funding from cities shielding illegal immigrants.
– Trump to direct federal resources toward building a border wall.
– DOW hits 20,000
January 26, 2017 (Thursday)
– Trump calls Chelsea Manning an “ungrateful traitor.”
– Trump tells Republicans meeting in PA, “now is the dawn of a new era.”
– Mexico cancels meeting with Trump citing disagreement over paying for wall.
– Trump calls for 20% tax on Mexican imports to pay for border wall.
– Bannon tells the NY Times the media is the “opposition party” of the new administration and should “keep its mouth shut.”
– Trump signs first presidential proclamation declaring this week “National School Choice Week.”
– DHS has temporarily halted trips by staff to interview refugees abroad
– Trump pulls ad budget in the closing days of HealthCare.gov. Former Obama officials call it “sabotage”.
January 27, 2017 (Friday)
– Trump signs executive order that will limit immigration and refugees from some Muslim-majority countries for six months; suspends the United States’ Syrian refugees program indefinitely.
– Trump signs executive action to begin military buildup
– British PM Theresa May and Trump pledge allegiance to special relationship. White House misspelled Theresa “Teresa” three times. British press corp was locked outside the White House because their birthdates were submitted in UK format and Secret Service didn’t understand it.
– Melania Trump wins first round in libel lawsuit against MD blogger (Webster Tarpley) for citing she was in escort service. Tarpley asked for dismissal of suit and denied by judge.
– Trump tells Mexican president Peña Nieto, “You have a bunch of bad hombres down there. You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”
January 28, 2017 (Saturday)
– Trump’s immigration ban causes chaos and controversy
– Trump and Putin discuss ‘mutually beneficial’ trade, security
(Leaked later – Feb. 9 – and reported by Reuters, Putin raised possibility of extending START treaty. Trump asked his aides what it was and then told Putin the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration, saying that New START favored Russia. Trump also talked about his own popularity, the sources said.)
– Trump signs executive order banning administration officials from ever lobbying the U.S. on behalf of a foreign government and imposing a separate five-year ban on other lobbying.
– Trump signs memorandum giving military leaders 30 days to construct and present a report outlining the U.S. strategy for defeating ISIS.
– Trump signs memorandum ordering a reorganization of the National Security Council, gives seat to Steve Bannon.
– Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refugee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win.
– The federal court for the Eastern District of New York issued an emergency stay halting President Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry to the US from seven majority-Muslim countries
January 29, 2017 (Sunday)
– Judges in Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington state block federal authorities from enforcing Trump’s executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries
– Global backlash:
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Divisive and wrong to stigmatise because of nationality.”
French President Hollande: defending democratic principles required compliance with “the principles on which it is founded, in particular the acceptance of refugees”.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands said his country believes refugees “deserve a safe haven” … “we reject this travel ban.”
– Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway said television networks should be “cleaning house” of “these people who said things that just weren’t true [about Donald Trump] … The election was three months ago. None of them have been let go.”
January 30, 2017 (Monday)
– Mass protests continue over Trump immigration ban.
– Trump denies chaos at airports from immigration ban but from computer glitch, demonstrators and “fake tears” of Charles Schumer.
– Trump signs an executive action aimed at cutting regulations for small businesses – a “one in, two out” plan, requiring government agencies requesting a new regulation to identify two others they will cut.
– Trump fires acting justice department head Sally Yates for refusing to enforce immigration ban.
– State Department officials circulated a draft memo criticizing Trump’s executive order on immigration.
– Washington State sues Trump over immigration order.
– Trump replaces acting Immigration Enforcement head.
January 31, 2017 (Tuesday)
– Democrats stall confirmation hearings of Steven Mnuchin (Treasury) and Tom Price (DHHS).
– More State Dept protests on their dissent channel drawing 1,000 signatures.
– New York, Massachusetts and Virginia join Washington state sue Trump over immigration ban.
– Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch to be associate justice of the Supreme Court.
– European Commission President Donald Tusk lists US administration as one of EU’s ‘external threats’.
February 1, 2017 (Wednesday)
– Senate Republicans suspend the rules to approve two Trump nominees, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) for secretary of health and human services and Steve Mnuchin to lead the Treasury. Republicans also advanced the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for attorney general, and they finalized confirmation of former ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson for secretary of state by a vote of 56 to 43. Trump urged Senate Republican leaders Wednesday to be prepared to tear up the rules of the Senate and “go nuclear” if Democrats try to block Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch — that is, change long-standing Senate rules to permit the confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee with a simple majority vote.
– Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn delivered a tight-lipped warning to Iran over its most recent ballistic missile test, “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”
– Trump reverses campaign pledge to let Medicare negotiate for lower prescription drug promises. After meeting with Big Pharma lobbyists, he would oppose apparent “price-fixing” by Medicare, rather than working to stymie the industry’s grip on drug prices.
– Senate confirms Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, sworn in.
February 2, 2017 (Thursday)
– The European parliament’s main political parties are making an unprecedented attempt to block Trump’s likely choice as ambassador to the European Union from EU buildings, describing Ted Malloch as hostile and malevolent.
February 3, 2017 (Friday)
– Trump signed a pair of executive orders aimed at lightening the regulatory load on financial institutions, setting the stage for a broader push to scale back the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
– The Trump administration slapped new sanctions on Iran after the administration signaled it wanted to punish Tehran for its latest ballistic missile test. The Treasury Department announced that 13 people and 12 companies face new restrictions
– A U.S. judge imposed a nationwide hold on Trump’s ban on travelers and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Trump Cries ‘Witch Hunt’ as Russia Questions Pile Up.
February 4, 2017 (Saturday)
– Trump administration filed notice of appeal to suspension of immigration ban.
– “So-called” judge in immigration hold decried by Trump.
– Tens of thousands join marches across UK against Trump’s travel ban.
– Thousands swarm New York’s Stonewall Inn to protest Trump.
– Hundreds of anti-Trump protesters marched on Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. Other protests at White House, Supreme Court and Paul Ryan’s hometown office.
– Trump stands by voter fraud claim in Fox News interview.
– Iran would use its missiles if its security is under threat after Trump imposed sanctions on entities linked to the Revolutionary Guards. Flynn said it put the country “on notice” after it test-fired ballistic missiles.
February 5, 2017 (Sunday)
– A federal appeals court denied an initial bid by the Trump administration to restore its controversial immigration order.
– Trump attacks judge and court system. Trump said Americans should blame U.S. District Judge James Robart and the court system if anything happened.
– Trump said he would put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of a commission to probe what he believes was voter fraud in last November’s election.
February 6, 2017 (Monday)
– Corporate titans among 100 companies joining brief against Trump travel ban. “The order inflicts significant harm on American business, innovation, and growth as a result. Immigrants or their children founded more than 200 of the companies on the Fortune 500 list.”
– Trump reaffirmed his support for NATO before military leaders and troops at U.S. Central Command, and laced his speech with references to homeland security.
– New York Assembly passes bill to make New York State a “sanctuary state” in response to Trump’s promised crackdown on sanctuary cities.
February 7, 2017 (Tuesday)
– Betsy DeVos is confirmed Education Secretary. Senate voted 50-50 with V.P. Pence casting decisive vote.
– Author Webster Tarpley settles defamatory lawsuit filed by Melania Trump paying her a “substantial sum”. He had repeated rumors in his blog that Melania Trump had worked as a “high-end escort”. Her lawyers claimed she suffered “multiple millions of dollars” in economic damages because of the lost value to her brand.
– Sen. Elizabeth Warren was stopped by Republicans from reading a nine-page letter written by the late Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King’s widow. In the 1986 letter, addressed to Strom Thurmond, then the Senate Judiciary committee chairman, King expressed her opposition to Sessions, who had been nominated for a federal judgeship in Alabama. She was accused of ‘impugning’ Jeff Sessions.
– Jeff Sessions confirmed as Attorney General.
– Trump bashes Nordstrom after it drops Ivanka’s line.
– Supreme court nominee Neil Gorsuch calls Trump judge attacks ‘demoralizing’ and ‘disheartening.
– Trump went after a panel of federal judges weighing whether a court order blocking his travel ban should be lifted. Trump argued the law gives him broad powers to control who enters and leaves the U.S.
– ACLU vows to sue Sessions if he violates Constitution as AG.
– New York Post reporter sues after being fired for critical Trump tweet. He Bart Hubbuch called Trump’s election a “national tragedy,” and compared his victory to the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
February 9, 2017 (Thursday)
– British PM Theresa May says Trump’s travel ban is wrong and Britain does not plan to adopt a similar policy.
– NY Times and Washington Post report Michael Flynn, National security adviser, discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador during the month before Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said.
– Trump signs three executive orders to combat crime, further his “law and order” agenda, crack down on international crime and crimes against law enforcement.
– In call with Putin, Trump denounced Obama-era nuclear arms treaty.
– Federal appeals court rules 3 to 0 against Trump on travel ban, a sweeping rebuke of the administration’s claim that the courts have no role as a check on the president.
– Trump calls the appeals court ruling “a political decision.” “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
– Trump promises Chinese president Xi Jinping he’ll honor ‘One China’ policy.
February 10, 2017 (Friday)
– Trump hints at new travel order coming next week.
– Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was greeted with protesters when she tried to enter a Washington middle school.
– British government drops plan to allow Trump to address joint houses of Parliament. Officials are trying to ensure that Trump is not in London at a time when parliament is sitting, in order to avoid a formal snub.
– Obamacare opponent Tom Price sworn in as Health Secretary.
– The Central Intelligence Agency has denied elite security clearance for Michael Flynn’s top National Security Council deputy Africa Robin Townley.
– Democrats call for Michael Flynn’s dismissal after reported Russia talks, a potential violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments in disputes involving the American government.
– Undocumented Immigrants Arrested Nationwide, Stoking Fears Of Trump’s ‘Deportation Force’.
February 11, 2017 (Saturday)
– Anti-abortion protesters rallied at scores of Planned Parenthood clinics to urge Congress and President Trump to strip the health services provider of federal funding, while supporters of the organization staged counter-demonstrations around the United States. All told, rallies and marches were called in 45 states in cities large and small.
– Army veterans return to Standing Rock to form a human shield against police.
– Trump claimed that his daughter Ivanka had been “abused” by news media following renewed scrutiny over the family’s potential conflicts of interest.
February 12, 2017 (Sunday)
February 13, 2017 (Monday)
– GOP says it will not investigate Trump’s tax returns.
– Senate confirms Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary.
– Justin Trudeau meets with Trump at W.H.
February 14, 2017 (Tuesday)
– Trump national security aide Flynn resigns over Russian contacts.
– Secret Service director to step down.
– Intel leaks reveal Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign.
– Trump signs repeal of transparency rule for oil companies, to scrap Dodd-Frank rule on oil extraction.
February 15, 2017 (Wednesday)
– NY Times and Washington Post cast doubt on claims made by Trump’s team that there had been no contact with Russian officials; report intel knows of contacts between Trump campaign figures and Russia. “Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.”
– Andy Puzder withdraws nomination for labor secretary after he admitted employing an illegal immigrant as a former housekeeper.
– Trump blasts ‘criminal’ leaks by intelligence agencies, calls Flynn ‘wonderful’.
February 16, 2017 (Thursday)
– Trump gives 76 minute press conference and berates media.
– Mick Mulvaney, staunchly conservative tea-party, confirmed by Senate to run Trump’s OMB.
– Six Donald Trump staffers fired today, escorted out of White House, after flagged by FBI.
February 17, 2017 (Friday)
– Senate confirms climate-denier Scott Pruitt to head EPA.
– John McCain broke with the reassuring message that U.S. officials visiting Germany have sought to convey saying that the administration of President Donald Trump was in “disarray”.
– Trump considered using national guard to round up immigrants, memo suggests.
– Trump Calls the News Media the ‘Enemy of the American People’.
– Senate Intelligence Committee asked more than a dozen agencies, organizations and individuals to preserve communications related to the panel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. (This wasn’t reported until days later.)
February 18, 2017 (Saturday)
– (story) Eight people flee U.S. border patrol to seek asylum in Canada.
– Trump holds rally in Orlando complete with promises to repeal the health care law, insults for the news media and a playlist highlighted by the Rolling Stones.
– At Orlando rally Trump states that a terrorist attack had occurred in Sweden, which has admitted tens of thousands of refugees in recent years. He based it on a Fox News report. (No such attack took place.)
– Memos signed by DHS secretary describe sweeping new guidelines for deporting illegal immigrants.
– U.S. inquiries into Russian election hacking include three FBI probes.
February 19, 2017 (Sunday)
February 20, 2017 (Monday)
– Trump named Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond McMaster as his new national security adviser, again turning to the U.S. military to play a central role on his foreign policy team.
– Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, died suddenly in New York after being taken ill at work, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
– Norway pledges $10 million to counter Trump’s global anti-abortion move.
– Protests take place across the US for “Not My President’s Day”.
– The Senate Intelligence Committee has now informed more than a dozen government agencies that they must secure documents relating to the Trump-Russia investigation and are not allowed to destroy them.
– More than 100 headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery in St Louis were damaged or knocked. More than 50 bomb threats had been made against Jewish organisations in the US since January, including 11 today.
February 21, 2017 (Tuesday)
– Millions of people living in the United States illegally could be targeted for deportation – including people simply arrested for traffic violations – under a sweeping rewrite of immigration enforcement policies announced Tuesday by the Trump administration. The broad scope of the president’s ambitions are: to publicize crimes by immigrants; enlist local police officers as enforcers; strip immigrants of privacy rights; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately, speed up deportations.
February 22, 2017 (Wednesday)
– Mexico fumes over Trump deportations to Mexico. DHS unveiled plans on Tuesday to consider almost all illegal immigrants subject to deportation, and will seek to send many of them to Mexico if they entered the United States from there, regardless of their nationality.
– Police surrounded the Standing Rock camps to evict the remaining Native American activists fighting the Dakota Access pipeline.
– DoJ moves to prevent CIA official from detailing role in Bush-era torture.
– Trump Administration Rescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students.
February 23, 2017 (Thursday)
– Alt-right leader Richard Spenser expelled from CPAC after organizer denounces ‘sinister organization’. Dan Schneider, the executive director of the American Conservative Union labeled the alt-right leftist: “We must not be deceived by [a] hateful, left-wing fascist group,” a reference to National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism”.
– Conservative activist O’Keefe posts tapes targeting CNN.
– At CPAC, Bannon states Trump administration is locked in an unending battle against the media and other globalist forces to “deconstruct” an outdated system of governance. “If you think they are giving you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.”
– Trump says efforts to remove undocumented immigrants is a “military operation.”
– At CPAC, Ted Cruz suggested that another seat on the U.S. Supreme Court will open up this summer (with no explanation).
– Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) on Thursday invoked the 2011 shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) at a constituent event as a reason not to hold a public town hall. “At this time there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety,” Gohmert said in a statement.
– White House chief of staff Reince Priebus asked a top FBI official to dispute media reports that Trump’s campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election.
February 24, 2017 Friday
– Trump addresses CPAC: calls for an arms-race, vows military build-up, hammers nationalist themes; reiterates that media is “enemy of the people”. He vowed to “do something about it [the press].”
– Trump blasted the FBI for being “totally unable to stop the national security ‘leakers’ that have permeated our government for a long time.”
– Trump promises border wall ‘soon, way ahead of schedule’.
– Trump issues executive order requiring federal agencies to create “deregulatory” task forces responsible for eliminating outdated and unnecessary rules.
– Media outlets were denied entry to later press briefing by Spicer: Guardian, the New York Times, Politico, CNN, BBC, LA Times, The Hill, NY Daily News, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, BuzzFeed and others. AP, USA Today and Time were invited but boycotted the briefing to show solidarity with fellow news outlets. The White House Correspondents Association condemned the White House’s move
– State legislators take steps to criminalize protests.
– The White House acknowledged its chief of staff Reince Priebus asked the FBI’s deputy director to dispute a New York Times article alleging Moscow links.
– Trump puts regulation monitors in U.S. agencies. Trump signed the executive order in the Oval Office with chief executives of major U.S. corporations standing behind him including Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and U.S. Steel Corp.
– Hate crime is feared as 2 Indian engineers are shot in Kansas. It raised new alarms about a climate of hostility toward foreigners in the United States, where Trump has made clamping down on immigration a central plank of his “America first” agenda.
– John Dean Accuses The White House Of A Russia Cover-Up.
February 25, 2017 Saturday
– Wary of Trump unpredictability, China ramps up naval abilities.
– Trump decides to skip White House press dinner. U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he would not attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, a high-profile event that draws celebrities, politicians and journalists.
– Former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez was elected DNC Chair in a close election, and in his first move as Chair, he created the new position of DNC Deputy Chair for his opponent Keith Ellison. The Democratic Party is now led by a Hispanic son of immigrants and a Muslim.
February 26, 2017 Sunday
– Trump’s first budget proposal will spare big social welfare programs such as Social Security and Medicare from any cuts, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview. (Entitlements will be cut, says a NYT report.
– Spicer cracking down on leaks coming out of the West Wing, with increased security measures that include random phone checks of White House staffers, overseen by White House attorneys.
– Sixty to one-hundred Jewish headstones vandalized in Philadelphia.
February 27, 2017 Monday
– House Intelligence chairman Nunes denies evidence of Trump team’s ties to Russia. Nunes contended there was no need at this time for a special prosecutor. Instead, the “major crimes” that have been committed are leaking to the news media on the subject of Russia.
– Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., a former banker and investor who earned billions during decades of buying and selling industries, dubbed the “king of bankruptcy”, was confirmed as secretary of commerce by the Senate in a 72-to-27 vote.
– Trump administration will formally end opposition to Texas voter ID law. Justice department says administration won’t challenge the strict law, in a shift from Obama-era opposition to such discriminatory laws.
– Jewish community centers in Cherry Hill, NJ, North Jersey, Wilmington, Delaware, and York, Pennsylvania, were among those evacuated, targeted in wave of bomb threats. NBC News lists at least 20 bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers and day schools in 13 states.
– A federal appeals court rejected a Justice Department request to place on hold an appeal over President Donald Trump’s travel ban on people from seven majority-Muslim countries.
– House Republicans beat back a Democratic attempt to smoke out President Donald Trump’s tax returns, after the issue was forced on the floor.
– Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) argue they want full repeal of Obamacare.
February 28, 2017 Tuesday
– Washington Post reports FBI once planned to pay MI6 agent Christopher Steele. An agreement with the FBI was reached a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work.The agreement fell apart once Steele’s dossier was published and reported.
– White House lawyers instructed Trump’s staff to preserve materials that could be connected to Russian interference in November’s election.
– Trump gives address to Congress heralding a “new chapter of American greatness,” overhauling the health care system, boosting military spending, spending $1 trillion to upgrade infrastructure, tax relief for middle-class and reduction in corporate tax rates, promotes new immigration crime office. Trump invited relatives of those killed by undocumented people to Capitol Hill.
– Donald Trump signs bill allowing mentally ill people to buy guns.
– House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines not to investigate the Trump-Russia scandal.
March 1, 2017 Wednesday
– Senate confirms Ryan Zinke to head Interior Department.
– Justice Department admits Sessions had contacts with Russians, though he had denied it earlier. Adam B. Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that if the reports about Mr. Sessions were accurate, “it is essential that he recuse himself from any role in the investigation of Trump campaign ties to the Russians.” Mr. Schiff added, “This is not even a close call; it is a must.” Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader of the House, called on Mr. Sessions to resign, saying on Twitter that “he is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country.”
– House Intelligence Committee has agreed an investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US elections.
– Trump Delays New Travel Ban After Speech to Congress Gets High Marks. “We want the [executive order] to have its own ‘moment,’” a White House official told CNN.
March 2, 2017 Thursday
– Ben Carson confirmed to head HUD.
– Trump stands by Session in Russia controversy.
– Euro lawmakers press EU to impose visas on U.S. citizens. (File under Western nationalism.)
– Senate confirms Rick Perry as Energy Secretary.
– Sessions recuses himself on all current and future investigations into Russia ties with the Trump campaign.
– White House EPA budget proposal cuts climate protection program 70 percent to $29 million, targets climate, clean water programs. An EPA climate protection program on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases like methane that contribute to global warming would be cut 70 percent to $29 million.
– Adam Schiff, leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, claims FBI holding back information on Russia probes. “At this point we know less than a fraction of what the FBI knows.”
– Vice President Mike Pence used a private email account to conduct public business when he was governor of Indiana, a practice that was legal but raised questions about the security of the communications, some of which addressed sensitive topics.
– ‘The fuse is lit’: Dan Rather says Trump-Russia scandal is about to go off like a bomb.
March 3, 2017 Friday
– Women and children crossing together illegally into the United States could be separated by U.S. authorities under a proposal being considered by the Department of Homeland Security.
– Vice President Pence said there was “no comparison whatsoever” between his use of a private email account for state business while he was governor of Indiana and the email woes of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
– Trump administration is seeking a 17 percent cut to the budget of the government’s meteorological agency that monitors the climate and issues daily weather forecasts. Proposed reductions in NOAA would affect research and satellite programs and eliminate funding for some smaller programs.
– Current and former officials said that in a departure from past practice, access to a classified computer system at the White House has been tightened by political appointees to prevent professional staffers from seeing memos being prepared for the new president. And at the Department of Homeland Security, some officials told Reuters they fear a witch hunt is under way for the leaker of a draft intelligence report which found little evidence that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries covered by Trump’s now-suspended travel ban pose a threat to the United States.
– The Transportation Security Administration has started using a new and more rigorous pat-down at airports, which one passenger this week likened to “groin scrutiny.”
– European Parliament votes to end visa-free travel for Americans. The passing of the non-binding resolution comes after the US failed to agree visa-free travel for citizens of five EU countries.
– Trump leaves White House furious that Sessions recused himself.
– Carter Page, Adviser Once Linked to Trump Campaign, Met With Russian Ambassador.
March 4, 2017 Saturday
– Trump suggested Obama had improperly tapped his phones, without citing evidence, in a series of tweets on Saturday morning. “No president can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you,” Ben Rhodes wrote on Twitter.
– The White House budget director Mulvaney confirmed that the Trump administration will propose “fairly dramatic reductions” in the U.S. foreign aid budget later this month.
– Mexico opened legal aid centers at its 50 consulates across the United States on Saturday to defend its citizens, the Mexican government said, amid worries of a crackdown on illegal immigration under U.S. President Donald Trump.
– Supporters of Trump held a second day of small rallies in communities around the country, a counterpoint to a wave of protests that have taken place since his election in November.
– The U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services will temporarily suspend expedited processing of H-1B visas, halting the option for American companies to quickly bring skilled immigrants to the United States for employment.
– Before heading to his so-called winter White House in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump summoned some of his senior staffers to the Oval Office and went “ballistic,” a senior White House source told ABC News. Trump furious that Sessions recused himself. Washington Post reporter Robert Costa tweeted Saturday morning that Trump left the White House “in a fury” on Friday, “fuming about [Jeff] Sessions’s recusal and telling aides that Sessions shouldn’t have recused himself,” also calling the reports of his meeting “bull.”
March 5, 2017 Sunday
– White House asks Congress to probe Trump’s accusation of Obama wiretap.
– Former DNI James Clapper tells “Meet the Press” “There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate or against his campaign.”
– James B. Comey, the director of the F.B.I., asked the Justice Department to publicly reject President Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama ordered his phones to be tapped. It has not.
– In a Mere 6 Weeks, Trump Alters More Than 90 Regulations. The Trump administration has pushed a flurry of deregulations, giving more freedoms to gun sellers, bankers and miners, and corporate lobbyists are clamoring for more.
– Priebus and Bannon didn’t fly with Trump to Florida. Various interpretations allege Trump punished them.
March 6, 2017 Monday
– Trump signed a revised executive order for a U.S. travel ban, leaving Iraq off the list of targeted countries.
– Senators push Trump to release White House, Mar-a-Lago visitor logs.
– House Republicans reveal bill to repeal and replace Obama’s healthcare law. American Health Care Act would shrink government role in healthcare and could leave more people without insurance despite Trump administration promises. Replaces subsidies with tax credits.
– Senate votes to repeal labor protection laws that safeguarded poultry workers.
– Ben Carson compared slaves to immigrants seeking a better life in his first official address Monday as HUD secretary.
– Gold Star father of American soldier killed in Iraq who criticized Trump says travel rights reviewed. Khizr Khan had planned to speak at a luncheon in Toronto on Tuesday in a discussion about President Trump’s administration.
– The US has temporarily suspended the fast-track processing of H1B visas, leaving many foreign workers in limbo. H1B visas allow skilled workers to come to the US temporarily. They are in high demand, particularly in Silicon Valley and the medical sector, and are allocated by lottery.
– The Homeland Security Department is considering separating children from parents caught crossing the Mexican border illegally, Secretary John Kelly said.
– The Supreme Court is leaving the issue of transgender rights in schools to lower courts for now after backing out of a high-profile case.
– Top member ff House Intel Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, questions Trump’s mental state on MSNBC.
March 7, 2017 Tuesday
– House intelligence chief has seen no evidence to back Trump’s wiretap charge.
– House schedules first hearing in Trump-Russia investigation.
– Conservatives rebel against Trump-backed Republican healthcare plan. Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky decried it as “Obamacare Lite.” Conservative groups including Heritage Action for America, the Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners, backed by the billionaire Republican donor Koch brothers, urged its defeat for different reasons.
– Bomb threats against Jewish centers continue: The threats Tuesday targeted facilities in at least eight states, Washington, D.C., and Toronto, officials said. “Four ADL offices in Atlanta, Boston, New York and Washington D.C. received bomb threats. Before Tuesday, the ADL had reported 121 bomb threats made across the United States and Canada.
– A vast portion of the CIA’s computer hacking arsenal appeared to have been exposed by the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, which posted thousands of files revealing secret cyber-tools used by the agency to convert cellphones, televisions and other ordinary devices into implements of espionage.
– Trump’s nominee for deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, declined Tuesday to endorse the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, bucking pressure from Democrats.
March 8, 2017 Wednesday
– Trump’s administration is weighing a deployment of up to 1,000 American soldiers to Kuwait to serve as a reserve force in the fight against Islamic State as U.S.-backed fighters accelerate the offensive in Syria and Iraq, U.S. officials told Reuters.
– Mexico has canceled existing sugar export permits to the United States. The letter sent by Mexico’s sugar chamber to mills on Monday partly blamed the situation on unfilled positions at the U.S. Department of Commerce, which it said has led to a “legalistic” interpretation of rules with no U.S. counterparts in place in Washington for Mexican officials to negotiate with.
– China has granted preliminary approval for at least 35 trademarks linked to Donald Trump, documents on China’s state trademark office show, giving the U.S. President and his family protection were they to develop the “Trump” brand in the market.
– Pivotal industry and consumer groups mounted intensifying opposition to the Republican health care bill. The American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and AARP, the nation’s largest advocacy group for older people, were arrayed against the GOP measure.
– Many American women stayed home from work, joined rallies or wore red Wednesday to demonstrate how vital they are to the U.S. economy, as International Women’s Day was observed with a multitude of events around the world.
– The Trump administration has considered more than $6 billion in cuts at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to preliminary budget documents obtained by The Washington Post. The plan would squeeze public housing support and end most federally funded community development grants. HUD’s budget would shrink by about 14 percent to $40.5 billion in fiscal 2018, which begins in October. While suggesting significant cuts, the preliminary budget maintains the same level of funding to rental assistance programs and avoids reductions that could directly put families on the streets. Budgets for public housing authorities — city and state agencies that provide subsidized housing and vouchers to local residents — would be among the hardest hit. Under the preliminary budget, those operational funds would be reduced by $600 million, or 13 percent. Under the proposal, direct rental assistance payments — including Section 8 Housing and housing vouchers for homeless veterans — would be cut by at least $300 million, to $19.3 billion. Additionally, housing for the elderly — known as the Section 202 program — would be cut by $42 million, nearly 10 percent.
– Hawaii Mounts Legal Challenge To President’s Revised Travel Ban.
– Turkish client paid $530,000 to Michael Flynn’s consulting firm. Flynn, fired last month from his White House post, formally registered as a foreign agent this week with the Justice Department and disclosed the details of his work for Inovo BV, a Dutch consulting firm owned by a Turkish businessman with ties to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
March 9, 2017 Thursday
– Two House of Representatives committees approved the legislation that would undo much of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, moving it closer to a vote before the full House.
– Three states suing to block Trump’s new travel ban: Hawaii, NY and Oregon.
– EPA head Scott Pruitt denies that carbon dioxide causes global warming.
– Bill Clinton, “Resurgent nationalism ‘taking us to the edge of our destruction’”
– U.S. Is Sending About 400 Marines To Syria.
March 10, 2017 Friday
– Trump’s administration is asking for resignation letters from all 46 remaining U.S. attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama.
– More States Join Legal Challenge to Trump Travel Ban: Massachusetts, Minnesota New York and Oregon.
– Maryland joins states suing over Trump’s travel ban.
– State Dept asked NYC Medical Examiner not to disclose cause of death of Russian UN ambassador who died last month.
– Seattle synagogue targeted by anti-Semitic vandalism. “Holocaust is fake history” was spray-painted across a wall of Temple de Hirsch Sinai, with each instance of the letter “S” replaced with dollar signs.
– Trump’s revised travel ban dealt first court setback. A federal judge in Wisconsin dealt the first legal blow to President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban on Friday, barring enforcement of the policy to deny U.S. entry to the wife and child of a Syrian refugee already granted asylum in the United States.
March 11, 2017 Saturday
– Defiant U.S. prosecutor fired by Trump. A prominent Obama appointed U.S. prosecutor said the Trump administration fired him on Saturday after he refused to step down, adding a discordant note to what is normally a routine changing of top attorneys when a new president takes office.
– Man faces 10-year sentence after scaling White House fence today.
– A federal court has dealt Texas another loss over voting rights, finding that Republicans racially gerrymandered some congressional districts to weaken the electoral influence of the state’s booming minority population. A federal three-judge panel in San Antonio invalidated three Texas congressional districts for violating the Voting Rights Act or the Constitution in a decision late Friday night.
– 134 foreign policy experts condemn Trump travel ban
– Sanders: US facing ‘very scary times’. “We have a president who is a pathological liar. Trump lies all of the time. He lies in order to undermine the foundations of American democracy.”
– ACLU To Hold ‘Resistance Training’ So Americans Can Fight Trump’s Dangerous Policies.
– Preet Bharara was investigating Fox News when Sean Hannity urged Donald Trump to fire him.
March 12, 2017 Sunday
– Aides to Trump attacked the credibility of The Congressional Budget Office that will analyze the costs of a replacement for Obamacare, as the White House sought to quell opposition from many conservative Republicans.
– Mayors of Santa Fe and Philadelphia said in a SXSW panel that the president’s orders and immigration policies represent a threat to the safety and prosperity of US cities. ‘We cannot submit to a bully’.
– A Jewish community center in Rochester, New York, closed temporarily on Sunday after receiving its second bomb threat in less than a week.
– Kellyanne Conway suggests Obama could have spied on Trump through a microwave.
– Trump budget expected to seek historic contraction of federal workforce.
March 13, 2017 Monday
– CBO: 14 million would lose coverage in 2018 under GOP Obamacare repeal.
– Trump gives CIA authority to conduct drone strikes. The move would be a change from the policy of former President Barack Obama’s administration of limiting the CIA’s paramilitary role.
– White House Seeks to Cut Billions in Funding for United Nations. U.S. retreat from U.N. could mark a “breakdown of the international humanitarian system as we know it.”
– The chief federal prosecutors in Connecticut and northern New York have won short-term reprieves from Trump’s abrupt action Friday demanding immediate resignations from several dozen U.S. attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama.
– Trump signs Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch. The order directs OMB Director Mick Mulvaney to “propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies … components of agencies and agency programs.” The Executive Branch Is About to Be ‘Reorganized’ into Oblivion. Steve Bannon’s time has come.
March 14, 2017 Tuesday
– ‘Never Trump’ Republicans join call for select committee to investigate Russia and Trump. “Never Trump” Republicans are planning to pressure GOP leaders to establish a bipartisan select committee to take over the inquiries and settle the matter once and for all.
– Secretary of State Tillerson told the U.N. advocates and human rights groups that the U.S. “continues to evaluate the effectiveness” of the Human Rights Council but is skeptical about being in a group with nations such as China, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which have poor human rights records, Foreign Policy reported.
– Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Republicans on Tuesday that they’d risk a government shutdown if they try to attach money for Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall to a must-pass bill to keep the government open. The same applies to any attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, Schumer said.
– Trump set to completely scrap US consumer protection agency.
– Trump gives CIA power to carry out its own drone strikes. New authority sparks fears about accountability as until now all lethal remote strikes had to be launched by military.
– Trump’s administration is preparing to release a wide-ranging executive order to reduce the role that climate change plays in policy decisions. The move could alter how U.S. agencies weigh regulations on a broad array of industries, from drilling, coal mining and auto manufacturing to refining.
– Kushners, Trump In-Laws, Weigh $400 Million Deal in sale of NY skyscraper with Chinese Firm. The Kushner family, owners of the tower, would reap a financial windfall courtesy of a Chinese company, even as Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to Mr. Trump as well as his son-in-law, helps oversee American foreign policy.
March 15, 2017 Wednesday
– Hawaii judge halts Trump’s new travel ban before it can go into effect. A U.S. federal judge in Hawaii dealt another legal blow to President Donald Trump on Wednesday, issuing an emergency halt to his revised travel ban just hours before it was set to go into effect early on Thursday. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson put out an emergency stop on Trump’s executive order, which aimed to temporarily bar entry to the United States of most refugees as well as travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.
– The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm former Republican senator Dan Coats to be Trump’s director of national intelligence and to approve Army Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster’s transfer to become his national security adviser.
– The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, who has been one of the few defenders of Trump’s claims, made clear Wednesday that there is zero evidence to suggest Trump Tower was wiretapped.
– US Federal Reserve raises interest rates to 1% in bid to hold off inflation. Fed chair Janet Yellen says US economy in strong health as she announces third rate rise since 2008 and the first of several expected this year
– US charges two Russian spies and two hackers in Yahoo data breach.
– Trump has begun the process of rolling back carbon pollution standards for vehicles following a meeting with automakers in Detroit, Michigan. Trump has directed the EPA to review fuel efficiency standards that were a key plank of Barack Obama’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The move is a victory for carmakers who have claimed the standards are too onerous and out of step with Americans’ car buying habits.
– FBI Director James Comey briefed a group of top senators Wednesday amid growing demands that he clarify if the bureau is investigating any contacts between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
March 16, 2017 Thursday
– The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said on Thursday they saw no evidence to support Trump’s claim that the Obama administration tapped his phones during the 2016 presidential campaign.
– Trump vows to appeal against travel ban ruling to Supreme Court.
– Trump unveiled a $1.15 trillion budget, proposing a far-reaching overhaul of federal spending that would slash many domestic programs to finance a big increase for the military and make a down payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Massive cuts to the arts, science and the poor.
March 17, 2017 Friday
– The White House has apologized to the British government after alleging that a UK intelligence agency spied on President Donald Trump at the behest of former President Barack Obama.
– U.S. prepared to take military action against N. Korea, if necessary, Sec. of State Tillerson says.
– Merkel Meets Trump, the Defender Versus the Disrupter.
– Trump defiantly backs-away from apologies to Britain at his news conference with Angela Merkel, making clear that the White House had nothing to retract or apologize for because his spokesman had simply repeated an assertion made by a Fox News commentator. Fox itself later disavowed the report.
– Immigration judges headed to 12 U.S. cities to speed deportations.
– The U.S. government took the legal battle over President Donald Trump’s travel ban to a higher court on Friday, saying it would appeal a federal judge’s decision that struck down parts of the ban on the day it was set to go into effect.
March 18, 2017 Saturday
– On the heels of a visibly awkward visit from the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, Donald Trump said that Germany owed “vast sums of money” to Nato and the US, even though the alliance does not stipulate payments to America. His remarks prompted a former US permanent representative to Nato to reply “that’s not how Nato works.”
– China has rebuffed Donald Trump’s latest Twitter attack after the US president accused Beijing of doing little to help force North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, to abandon his nuclear ambitions. Speaking in Beijing alongside the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, claimed a responsible China had “devoted a lot of energy and effort over the years” to resolving the North Korean issue.
– G20 Leaders Roll Back Free Trade Pledge After Pushback From Trump Administration. At a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 industrialized and emerging nations and the European Union, Steven Mnuchin signaled that American policy would follow the campaign promises made by President Trump to put “America first” and review existing trade agreements to seek better deals for the United States.
– Roger J. Stone Jr., an informal adviser to President Trump, has been asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee to preserve any records he may have in connection to a broader inquiry into Russian attempts to interfere with United States elections.
– One person was in custody after a car drove up to a White House checkpoint late Saturday and the driver claimed to have a bomb in the vehicle, CNN reported. There wasn’t any immediate confirmation that a device was in the car, but the vehicle was being checked, CNN reported citing law enforcement sources. The report followed another incident earlier Saturday when a man was detained after jumping a pedestrian barrier near the White House.
March 19, 2017 Sunday
– Germany rejects Trump’s claim it owes NATO and U.S. ‘vast sums’ for defense.
– Sir Peter Westmacott, writing in the Guardian, has accused the White House of ‘peddling falsehoods’ by suggesting British intelligence spied on Trump Tower.
– Intruder Arrested at White House After Saying He Has ‘Bomb in the Trunk’.
– White House installs political aides at Cabinet agencies to be Trump’s eyes and ears.
– Chair of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes told Fox News host Chris Wallace on-air that a current person in the White House is under investigation and surveillance.
– The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, said Sunday there was “circumstantial evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials — and “direct evidence” of deception.
March 20, 2017 Monday
– Day 1 of Neil Gorsuch Senate Hearings.
– FBI: Trump campaign, Russia ties investigated, no wiretap evidence found. In a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey said for the first time Monday that the bureau is investigating whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow while Russia was interfering in the presidential election. Comey also delivered an implicit rebuke to President Donald Trump, saying that he had “no information” to support claims by the President that he was wiretapped on the orders of predecessor Barack Obama. What made the moment even more extraordinary was Trump’s tweeted commentary on – and misrepresenting of – the hearing as it was happening. Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump would not apologize to Obama for the accusations against him, adding that there were questions still remaining about surveillance that may or may not have taken place during the campaign.
– Donald Trump tweets lies during Russia hearings, but MSNBC corrects him in real time.
March 21, 2017 Tuesday
– Day 2 of Neil Gorsuch Senate Hearings.
– Trump tells GOP critics of health-care bill: ‘I’m gonna come after you’
– Chair of House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes received a phone call that caused him to bail on his Uber ride and disappear from the staffer he was with.
March 22, 2017 Wednesday
– House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes – without any notice to the committee’s Democrats – held a press conference and then briefed the White House on what he called new evidence, provided to him by an unnamed source, that members of the Trump transition might have been improperly monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies following the November election.
March 23, 2017 Thursday
– Trump hosted conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh for dinner at the White House. Limbaugh and his wife had dinner with the president, Vice President Pence and Pence’s wife Karen at the White House.
March 24, 2017 Friday
– New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling what police said was a racially-motivated murder of a black Manhattan resident by a white man who traveled to the city from Baltimore an “act of domestic, racist terrorism.” And he believes that “a dynamic of hatred” is growing in America that “is clearly related to the rhetoric of Donald Trump and even other candidates during the presidential election.”
– Republican Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee cancels next week’s open hearing where Sally Yates, John Brennan and James Clapper were to give public testimony. Democratic Co-Chair Schiff strongly objected, calls it a “serious mistake”.
– The head of the House Intelligence Committee secretly went to the White House grounds to meet with a source, before he surprised his colleagues by briefing the president — and the press — on information they hadn’t seen.
– Democrats are plotting their next move after questioning House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ fitness to lead the panel’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.
– House repeal and replacement of ACA fails, is pulled lacking enough votes. Ryan said he told President Trump the best thing to do was pull this bill and Trump agreed with that decision. Trump blamed Democrats.
– FBI Director James Comey was at the White House on Friday, days after he confirmed his bureau is investigating ties between associates of President Trump and Russia. The White House said Comey visited to attend a “routine interagency meeting,” but did not say with whom he met. No meeting with Comey was listed on the president’s public schedule. Comey was spotted leaving the White House less than an hour later after television cameras showed him entering the West Wing.
– NBC News Chief Andrea Mitchell has learned that staffers in the Trump Administration are racing to “purge their cellphones” of relevant information as the threat of a subpoena by one of the three investigations into the Trump team’s potentially treasonous collusion with the Russian Federation grows with each passing day.
March 25, 2017 Saturday
– New York Mayor De Blasio blames Trump for ‘dynamic of hatred’ in US.
– Fights erupt at pro-Donald Trump rally on California beach.
– Trump aide Boris Epshteyn leaving White House, officials say.
– Politico and London Times reveals Trump handed Angela Merkel a bill thought to be for more than £300 billion supposedly owed by Germany to NATO.
March 27, 2017 Monday
– Nunes said Monday that he did not coordinate his allegations that President Donald Trump’s transition team was monitored by U.S. intelligence officials with the White House. CNN reported on Monday morning that Nunes had gone to the White House grounds to view those documents, which further raised the question of whether the Trump administration had given them to him and coordinated the story.
– The storm around intensified Monday after it was revealed that Nunes secretly visited the White House grounds the day before announcing incidental surveillance of President Trump’s transition team. The visit raised questions about whether the White House itself was the source of the mysterious intelligence that Nunes, but no one else on Capitol Hill, has seen. Nunes has vowed to protect his source while offering contradictory descriptions of what the documents reveal.
– Pelosi, Schiff call on Nunes to recuse himself from Russia probe. The calls are a stunning breakdown for a committee that has traditionally operated in a bipartisan manner.
– Trump is reportedly creating a new White House innovation office that will be led by his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. The new office, which is described in the Post report as a “SWAT team” to fix the federal bureaucracy, is working with tech giants. It is expected to pull ideas from the business world and may consider privatizing some government functions. The team will include former business executives, according to the report.
– Trump criticized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s policies on Russia in a series of tweets Monday night, adding, the “Trump Russia story is a hoax.”
March 28, 2017 Tuesday
– Trump administration sought to block Yates from testifying to Congress on Russia.
– Trump signs executive order to sweep away Obama-era climate change regulations. The decree’s main target is Obama’s Clean Power Plan that required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants – a critical element in helping the United States meet its commitments to a global climate change accord reached by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015. The so-called “Energy Independence” order also reverses a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, undoes rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production, and reduces the weight of climate change and carbon emissions in policy and infrastructure permitting decisions.
– Europe poised to take baton from US as leader in global efforts to fight climate change, with America’s commitment to Paris accords at risk.
– White House backs repeal of broadband privacy rules.
– Congress voted to kill rules meant to prevent internet service providers from selling users’ web browsing histories and app storage histories to advertisers.
– House of Representatives Republican leaders said on Tuesday they still intended to repeal and replace Obamacare after their White House-backed bill failed to get enough support and collapsed last week.
– House Republicans on Tuesday blocked more attempts by Democrats to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns from the IRS.
– Trump asks police union officials (FOP) to find out which cops didn’t vote for him.
– Dan Rather warns Americans of Trump’s ‘power to decimate and destroy’.
– Trump Administration Omits LGBTQ People from 2020 Census.
March 29, 2017 Wednesday
– (incidentally) Britain’s PM May triggers Brexit. Britain now has two years to negotiate the terms of the divorce before it comes into effect in late March 2019.
– Trump’s business network reached alleged Russian mobsters (USA Today)
– A judge in Hawaii has extended a broad block on Trump’s revised travel ban, turning aside pleas from the federal government to narrow or drop an earlier order forbidding the president from implementing key parts of his plan.
– A supervisor at the Energy Department’s international climate office told staff this week not to use the phrases “climate change,” “emissions reduction” or “Paris Agreement” in written memos, briefings or other written communication, sources have told POLITICO.
– Seattle filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration Wednesday, charging that President Donald Trump’s executive order threatening funding for “sanctuary cities” is “unconstitutional and ambiguous,” and violates the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.
– Ivanka Trump will become a federal employee as part of unpaid White House role.
March 30, 2017 Thursday
– First day of Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on Trump-Russia probe. Clinton Watts informed the committee that Russia had been targeting Rubio, along with other of Donald Trump’s Republican opponents, with propaganda or fake news stories during the primary.
– Pence broke a tie in a Senate vote to roll back federal funding for family planning and reproductive health (derail grants flowing to clinics that provide contraception and other health services to low-income women in states that want to block the funding, e.g., Planned Parentood). In recent years states such as Texas have blocked some healthcare providers from receiving the grants.
– Nineteen U.S. states have introduced bills that would curb freedom of expression and the right to protest since Donald Trump’s election as president, an “alarming and undemocratic” trend, U.N. human rights investigators said on Thursday. Maina Kiai and David Kaye, independent U.N. experts on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression respectively, said in a statement that the state bills were incompatible with international human rights law.
– Mike Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, has told the FBI and congressional committees investigating the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia that he is willing to be interviewed in exchange for a grant of immunity from prosecution.
March 31, 2017 Friday
– Trump urged Mike Flynn, his former national security adviser, to strike an immunity deal because he’s facing “a witch hunt.”
– Trump officials defend immigration arrests at California courthouses. Sessions and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly gave no indication that agents would stop the arrests.
– Come Monday, the Trump administration may quietly revoke the ability of hundreds of thousands of immigrants — almost all women — from legally working in the United States, forcing them to choose between heading back to their kitchens or leaving the country altogether.
– Trump’s EPA has issued a new, more detailed plan for laying off 25 percent of its employees and scrapping 56 programs including pesticide safety, water runoff control, and environmental cooperation with Mexico and Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
– Trump signs executive order aimed at identifying and targeting foreign trade abuses and orders stricter and more effective enforcement of US anti-dumping laws to prevent foreign manufacturers from undercutting US companies by selling goods at an unfair price.
– The Trump administration released the financial disclosure forms from members of the White House staff.
April 1, 2017 Saturday
– A federal judge has rejected President Donald Trump’s free speech defense against a lawsuit accusing him of inciting violence against protesters at a campaign rally. Trump’s lawyers sought to dismiss the lawsuit by three protesters who say they were roughed up by his supporters at a March 1, 2016 rally in Louisville, Kentucky.
– Wealthy White House staffers’ finances detailed in new disclosures.
– Fox, Bill O’Reilly settle claims with five women
April 2, 2017 Sunday
– EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, said the Paris climate change agreement is a “bad deal” for the country. He did not confirm whether the United States would remain in the global climate change pact, under which nearly all countries agreed in 2015 to halt or curb their greenhouse gas emissions, even as the world’s biggest emitter China reaffirmed its commitment to the agreement.
– Adam Schiff accused Trump of trying to divert Congress from its investigations of Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election and any links between Moscow and the Trump campaign. He said the Republican president and his aides have instead attempted to throw the focus on the possibility of illegal leaks of classified information and whether Trump or his associates were caught up in incidental collection by surveillance that was targeting foreigners.
April 3, 2017 Monday
– Democrats secure enough votes to block Gorsuch, setting stage for ‘nuclear option’. Senate Democrats secured enough votes to filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, increasing the likelihood that Republicans will change the rules of the U.S. Senate to ensure his confirmation later this week.
– Trump signed a resolution approved by the U.S. House and Senate to revoke a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule banning most predator control on Alaska refuges.
– Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered Justice Department officials to review reform agreements with troubled police forces nationwide, saying it was necessary to ensure these pacts do not work against the Trump administration’s goals of promoting officer safety and morale while fighting violent crime.
– Blackwater founder, Erik Prince, held secret Seychelles meeting to establish Trump-Putin back channel.
– California lawmakers gave initial approval to a measure that prevents law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, a measure that proponents said rebukes President Donald Trump for his immigration crackdown. It makes California a statewide sanctuary for many people who are in the country illegally.
– The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the first hurdle in a week heading towards a political showdown and a permanent change to Senate rules.
– Top White House officials met moderate and conservative Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday in an effort to revive a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
– Ever since he seized power in a military takeover nearly four years ago, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt has been barred from the White House. But Trump made clear on Monday that the period of ostracism was over as he hosted Mr. Sisi and pledged unstinting support for the autocratic ruler.
– Ex-Trump adviser, Carter Page, gave energy industry documents to Russian spy, court files show.
– Trump signed into law a resolution that repealed protections requiring Internet service providers to get your permission before collecting and sharing data. Democrats and privacy advocates have argued this approach effectively hands over the customer’s personal information to the highest bidder.
– Trump and his son hype misleading reports blaming Susan Rice for alleged wiretap. Right-wing conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich claims Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, ordered the “unmasking” of Trump campaign associates ensnared in U.S. surveillance of foreign agents. It was picked up by Bloomberg’s Eli Lake and then amplified in other conservative media outlets — as vindication of the president’s claims, which have been debunked by various lawmakers, intelligence officials and federal investigators.
– Fox News hit with new Ailes harassment suit in wake of O’Reilly bombshell.
– Eleven killed in suspected suicide bombing on Russian metro train.
April 4, 2017 Tuesday
– A chemical attack occurred in Syria and Trump blamed the Syrian regime’s “heinous actions” on the Obama administration’s “weakness and irresolution.”
– Advertisers flee ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ amid sexual-harassment claims against host.
– U.S. would slash EPA vehicle testing budget under Trump plan.
– Trump’s senior adviser Kushner meets Iraqi PM.
– Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro predicted Tuesday that the investigations into Trump’s campaign’s ties to Russia would lead to imprisonment for some of the key players. “I wouldn’t be surprised after all of this is said and done that some people end up in jail.”
– Republicans are set to use the “nuclear option” to get Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court.
– North Korea test-fires missile into sea ahead of Trump-Xi summit.
– Trump officials told the newspaper they are evaluating whether to require foreign nationals who visit the U.S. to divulge cellphone contacts and passwords for social media; new rules could potentially force visitors to supply their phones to authorities to check their contacts. Another method would require visitors to supply authorities with the passwords for online accounts so they may view both public and private interactions. Foreigners entering U.S. could be forced to hand over phones, answer questions on ideology; changes could apply to allies like France and Germany.
– Infowars host Alex Jones threatens Adam Schiff: “I’ll beat your goddamn ass”.
– Politico.com reports Gorsuch plagiarized. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch copied the structure and language used by several authors and failed to cite source material in his book and an academic article, according to documents provided to POLITICO.
April 5, 2017 Wednesday
– Trump removed his chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council on Wednesday, reversing his controversial decision early this year to give a political adviser an unprecedented role in security discussions. The New York Times reported Wednesday evening that Bannon “resisted the move” and threatened to resign if the change was made. It took the intervention of billionaire Rebekah Mercer to persuade him to stay after he was ousted from the NSC saying that achieving their shared nationalistic goals was a “long-term play” and that he needed to remain. The shifting roles also restored the Joint Chiefs chairman and intelligence director roles as “regular attendees” of the Principals Committee on the NSC.
– House GOP mulls emergency meeting to push Obamacare repeal.
April 6, 2017 Thursday
– Senate Republicans on Thursday crushed a Democratic blockade of Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee in a fierce partisan brawl, approving a rule change dubbed the “nuclear option” to allow for conservative judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation by Friday. Trump had encouraged Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “go nuclear.” “In 20 or 30 or 40 years, we will sadly point to today as a turning point in the history of the Senate and the Supreme Court, a day when we irrevocably moved further away from the principles our founders intended for these institutions: principles of bipartisanship, moderation and consensus,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor.
– Twitter Inc said in a lawsuit on Thursday that it had received a demand from U.S. officials for records that could reveal the user behind an account opposed to Trump and that it was challenging the demand in court.
– Devin Nunes steps aside from House intelligence committee’s Russia inquiry. Nunes said he would ‘temporarily’ leave the inquiry into Trump’s connections to Russia, saying that ‘leftwing activists’ had filed ethics complaints against him.
– Trump weighing military options following chemical weapons attack in Syria. When asked if Trump would be organizing an international coalition to remove Assad, Tillerson said, “Those steps are underway.”
– The House Ethics Committee announced today that it is investigating Nunes’ actions after “allegations of unauthorized disclosures of classified information,” noting that the investigation “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.”
– House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Republicans as they departed Washington on Thursday that their recesses could be cut short if a deal is reached on legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
– Trump launches military strike against Syria. US warships launched between 50-60 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian government airbase where the warplanes that carried out the chemical attacks were based, US officials said.
– Canada Welcomes Tech Companies That Are Spooked by Trump.
April 7, 2017 Friday
– The Republican-led Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court tilting it to the right for decades.
– Russia warns of “extremely serious consequences” from U.S. strike in Syria. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev charged that the U.S. strikes were one step away from clashing with Russia’s military.
– Russia is suspending a communications channel with the United States set up to avoid midair incidents between Russian and U.S. pilots in the skies over the Syria.
– Truck drives into crowd in Stockholm, killing four people. Suspect arrested over incident which police are treating as act of terrorism.
– Syrian military officials appeared to anticipate Thursday night’s raid on Syria’s Shayrat air base, evacuating personnel and moving equipment ahead of the strike, according to an eyewitness.
– Syrian strikes didn’t target runway as to not effect Russians, says US military official, & Tomahawk type used was precision, not cratering. This might offer some reassurance to Assad that the air strikes were more a slap on the wrist than the beginning of a knockout blow.
– The US had provided Russia with advance information of its deadly missile strikes on Syria, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.
April 9, 2017 Sunday
– A joint command center made up of the forces of Russian, Iran and allied militia alliance supporting Syrian President Bashar al Assad said the U.S. strike on a Syrian air base crossed “red lines” and it would now respond to any new aggression.
Asked at a press conference whether the U.S. would lead an international coalition to oust the Syrian leader, Tillerson replied that “those steps are underway.”
– Palm Sunday bombings of Egyptian Coptic churches kill 44.
– As the US navy deployed a strike group towards the western Pacific Ocean, to provide a presence near the Korean peninsula, the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said China agreed with the Trump administration that “action has to be taken” regarding North Korea.
– Third Trump ally KT McFarland removed from National Security Council. Her departure follows that of Michael Flynn and Stephen Bannon.
April 10, 2017 Monday
– North Korea ‘ready for war’ after US navy strike team redeploys. Pyongyang cites ‘reckless moves’ by US and says it will defend the country from invasion ‘by powerful force of arms’.
– White House warns of potential US ‘red line’ over Syria barrel bomb attacks
– Neil Gorsuch is Sworn in as Supreme Court Justice, placing a devoted conservative in the seat once occupied by Justice Antonin Scalia and handing President Trump a victory in his push to shape the court for decades to come.
– Russia and Iran request an ‘unbiased investigation’ into Syrian chemical attack
– Russia and Iran warn US they will ‘respond with force’ if red lines crossed in Syria again.
– Don Benton, the controversial former state senator from Vancouver who was an early Donald Trump supporter, will be nominated to head the U.S. Selective Service System.
[Other] It’s not just Syria. Trump is ratcheting up wars across the world.
April 11, 2017 Tuesday
– White House spokesman Sean Spicer triggered an uproar on Tuesday by saying Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons.
– North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression, if provoked.
– The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of Carter Page saying there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power (Russia).
– Trump’s message to bankers: Wall Street reform rules (Dodd-Frank) may be eliminated. Trump said major banking rules put in place after the 2008 financial crisis were planned to get a “major haircut”.
April 12, 2017 Wednesday
– Russian President Vladimir Putin said trust had eroded between the United States and Russia as Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria.
– Trump administration moving quickly to build up nationwide deportation force.
– Trump on NATO: ‘I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.’
April 13, 2017 Thursday
– U.S. drops ‘mother of all bombs’ in Afghanistan. The United States dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb (cost $16M), also known as the “mother of all bombs,” in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday against a series of caves used by Islamic State militants, the military said.
– China warns against force against North Korea. With a U.S. aircraft carrier group steaming to the area and tension rising, China said military force cannot resolve tension over North Korea.
– NATO deploys troops to Poland. Poland on Thursday welcomed the first U.S. troops in a multi-national force which is being posted across the Baltic region to counter potential threats from Russia.
– Improperly stored raw meat among violations found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. Undercooled meat, potentially dangerous raw fish and broken coolers were among 13 violations found by restaurant inspectors at Mar-a-Lago.
– Trump signed a resolution that will allow U.S. states to restrict how federal funds for contraception and reproductive health are spent, a move cheered by anti-abortion campaigners.
– CIA director labels WikiLeaks a ‘hostile intelligence service’.
– British intelligence passed Trump associates’ communications with Russians on to US counterparts.
– Trump signs bill that guts Title X emboldening states that try to block access to health care, particularly at Planned Parenthood health centers, which provides basic health care, including family planning, to millions of Americans every year.
– The former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service went on the record saying Donald Trump owes money to Russia, putting Trump in a compromised position that “lingers” over him as president.
– Trump administration issued a final rule that will shorten the Obamacare enrollment period and give insurers more of what they say they need, likely making it harder for some consumers to purchase insurance. It could also raise out-of-pocket medical expenses, the experts said, because it gives insurers more flexibility in determining the value of their coverage.
– Trump administration halts Obama-era rule aimed at curbing toxic wastewater from coal plants.
– Trump’s administration has been quietly loosening firearms restrictions in the United States after successfully seeking the support of gun owners on the campaign trail.
April 14, 2017 Friday
– China fears North Korea-US conflict ‘at any moment’. China said tension over North Korea had to be stopped from reaching an “irreversible and unmanageable stage.”
– Trump will keep list of White House visitors secret.
– EPA chief Scott Pruitt calls for an ‘exit’ from the Paris climate agreement.
– Trump’s lawyers in a federal court filing argued that he cannot be sued for inciting his supporters to hurt protesters because, as the president, he is immune from civil lawsuits.
April 15, 2017 Saturday
– Thousands at U.S. rallies demand Trump release tax returns.
– Right, left-wing protesters clash in Berkeley, California park.
– U.S. judge puts hold on Arkansas plan for successive executions. Arkansas planned to begin the lethal injections of at least six convicted murderers on Monday and complete the executions before the end of April (totaling 8). Arkansas had scheduled the fast-paced series of executions in order to beat the expiration date on its batch of one of the three drugs used in its lethal injection cocktail.
– Former Afghan president calls decision to drop massive U.S. bomb ‘treason’.
– North Korea displays apparently new missiles as U.S. carrier group approaches. New missiles centre of huge parade as Kim Jong-un aide threatens ‘annihilating’ nuclear strike
– Maxine Waters rallies Tax March crowd for Trump’s impeachment.
– Man accused of assaulting woman at election rally says Trump inspired him. Lawyers for veteran being sued over an altercation at a Trump campaign rally in Kentucky says he acted at the candidate’s urging.
– G.O.P. Bill Would Make Medical Malpractice Suits Harder to Win.
April 16, 2017 Sunday
– EPA emerges as major target after Trump solicits policy advice from industry, dramatic steps that Trump officials are likely to take in overhauling federal policies, especially those designed to advance environmental protection and safeguard worker rights.
– ICE immigration arrests of noncriminals double under Trump.
– Trump reverses campaign pledge to label China ‘currency manipulator’ in light of North Korea
– Trump claimed that the tens of thousands of protesters that want his tax returns made public were paid; demanding an investigation into who paid them.
– Mike Pence warns North Korea: ‘Era of strategic patience is over’; reiterates commitment to protect South Korea during visit the heavily armed border with the North.
April 17, 2017 Monday
– Trump called Turkey’s Erdogan to congratulate him on referendum win.
– Burying ‘Trumpomania,’ Kremlin TV says Trump scarier than North Korean leader.
– Trump’s travel policies hurting ‘U.S. brand’ and discouraging tourists, experts say.
– Trump says he has ‘exposed the total failure’ of Obama’s foreign policy.
April 18, 2017 Tuesday
– Trump ordered federal agencies to look at tightening a visa program used to bring high-skilled foreign workers to the United States, as he tries to carry out his campaign pledge to put “America First.”
– Asylum applications in Mexico surge after Trump election win.
– Congressional critics of the Department of Homeland Security should “shut up’’ and assume the agency is acting appropriately and following the law, the agency’s chief said in a combative public speech.
– Trump just targeted a new opponent — Canada’s dairy trade industry.
– World Leaders On Edge as Trump Weighs Pulling U.S. Out of Paris Climate Deal.
– Pruitt allies explore hiring private lawyers to rewrite EPA rule to bypass the EPA employees who spent five years writing the Waters of the U.S. regulation — the kinds of career federal bureaucrats whom supporters of President Donald Trump often deride as the “deep state.”
– U.S. carrier not near North Korea after all despite what the president said.
April 19, 2017 Wednesday
– U.S. House banking chairman unveils Dodd-Frank replacement.
– Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway 2016 U.S. election to Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system.
– The EPA said it would begin the process of shrinking its 15,000-employee workforce through buyouts, in the wake of President Trump’s executive order last month aimed at streamlining agencies throughout the federal government.
– Berkeley cancels conservative firebrand Ann Coulter’s speech over fears of more violent protests.
– [Other] How Bill O’Reilly created Donald Trump.
– [Other] Neurologist Diagnoses Trump With ‘Cognitive Failure’ – Mental Ability Limited.
– The White House is gearing up for a government shutdown fight to secure money for a border wall, more immigration enforcement officers and a bigger military.
– [Other] Dan Rather: While we were distracted by O’Reilly, Trump brought us closer to World War III.
April 20, 2017 Thursday
– White House Officials, Craving Progress, Push Revised Health Bill.
– Trump launches trade probe targeting Chinese steel.
– U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, said on Thursday he has not ruled out leaving before his term finishes.
– Rex Tillerson Warns Iran Over ‘Alarming’ Behavior in The Middle East.
– Exxon seeking U.S. permission to resume oil project in Russia. With its old C.E.O. Rex Tillerson running the State Department, this should be a piece of cake.
– U.S. defense secretary James Mattis met with Saudi royals, American officials suggested that Washington might provide additional military and intelligence assistance to the kingdom’s fight in Yemen.
– US could end visa-free travel for Europeans, Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security says.
– Trump hosts man who called for death of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at White House.
– Pentagon chief: US won’t reveal ‘mother of all bombs’ toll.
– A divided Supreme Court has rejected appeals that would have put off the execution of Arkansas inmate Ledell Lee. New justice Neil Gorsuch voted with the majority of five to deny the stay of execution sought by Lee and the other inmates.
– US prepares charges to seek arrest of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.
– UC Berkeley reverses course, re-books canceled Ann Coulter speech.
– White House turns up heat on Congress to revise the Affordable Care Act.
– Trump’s lawyers argued in a Thursday court filing that protesters “have no right” to “express dissenting views” at Trump’s campaign rallies because such protests infringed on his First Amendment rights.
– Palin invited Ted Nugent and Kid Rock to the White House because ‘Jesus was booked’.
– Jeff Sessions doesn’t think a judge in Hawaii — a.k.a. ‘an island in the Pacific’ — should overrule Trump.
April 21, 2017 Friday
– Sanctuary Cities Face Aid Cuts as Justice Dept. Tightens Screws. Trump administration sent letters Friday to nine jurisdictions telling them they were obligated to prove compliance.
– California cities ready to fight Trump’s call to punish so-called ‘sanctuary cities’.
– [Other] Tech firms look to Canada in light of Trump H1-B visa reform.
– Arkansas execution flurry marks early test for new Justice Gorsuch who casts death-penalty vote in one of his first Supreme Court cases. Gorsuch helped clear the way for Arkansas to hold its first execution in 12 years, a sign of the challenges facing other inmates seeking to block their executions next week.
– Treasury Department will not grant exemptions to companies looking to drill in Russia, including Exxon Mobil, in a move aimed at showing the United States would maintain a tough stance on sanctions against Moscow.
– Trump: Marine Le Pen is ‘strongest candidate’ in French election. Trump claims he did not ‘explicitly endorse’ when appearing to support the far-right leader known for her Islamophobic and xenophobic platform.
– Trump ordered his Treasury Department to review measures put in place by the Obama administration, setting the stage for a rollback of regulations that were intended to curtail corporate tax evasion and prevent another financial crisis.
– U.S. states realign in legal battle over Trump’s travel ban which faces its second challenge at a U.S. appeals court next month, and this time more Republican states are backing the measure.
– Trump on US charging Julian Assange: ‘It’s OK with me’.
– Trump has ‘dangerous mental illness’, say psychiatry experts at Yale conference. Mental health experts say President is ‘paranoid and delusional’.
– Indian techies, IT firms fret as Trump orders U.S. visa review.
– Transcript of AP interview with Trump.
April 22, 2017 Saturday
– March for Science draws big crowds across U.S. The marches were effectively protests against steep cuts that Trump has proposed for federal science and research budgets and his administration’s skepticism about climate change and the need to slow global warming. ‘There is no Planet B’. More than 600 marches held around the world, with organizers saying science ‘under attack’ from a White House that dismisses the threat of climate change.
– Trump’s promised “big announcement” next week on overhauling the U.S. tax code will consist of “broad principles and priorities,” an administration official said.
– Trump officials delay grant for Caltrain upgrade. California officials, who had hoped the long-awaited project would mesh nicely with Trump’s call for fresh spending on the nation’s aging infrastructure but an otherwise popular initiative has become a GOP target, seen as a pet project of the former president.
– Surgeon general is removed by Trump administration, replaced by deputy for now.
– Trump and his top aides have been calling on Congress to take dramatic action in the coming week: vote on health care, take up tax reform and demand that Democrats agree to a stopgap spending measure that includes funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
April 23, 2017 Sunday
– (Other) North Korea says it is ready to strike U.S. aircraft carrier.
– Trump, Pence allies rake in millions as new Washington lobbyists.
– Senior US officials hint that Donald Trump’s Mexican border wall could lead to government shutdown.
– Trump has worst poll approval rating at 100 days than any President since 1945.
April 24, 2017 Monday
– Trump pressed congressional Republicans to use the threat of a government shutdown to win funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
– Trump’s boastful AP interview – Some of the claims are truly remarkable, including that he may have given the greatest speech in the history of the House chamber and that a Democrat told him he’d be among the greatest presidents ever.
– U.S. college campuses have been the “hotbed of anti-Semitism,” according to researchers at Tel Aviv University. The Anti-Defamation League found that anti-Semitic incidents overall, which it says were driven by the presidential election, skyrocketed last year and in first months of 2017.
– Trump calls for new U.N. sanctions on North Korea.
– China urges ‘restraint’ amid North Korea threat to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier. Xi Jinping Urges Trump to ‘Avoid Aggravating’ North Korea.
– Entire U.S. Senate to go to White House for North Korea briefing. All 100 senators have been asked to the White House for the briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
– U.S. Senate confirmed former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as secretary of agriculture.
– U.S. State Department website published an article this month about Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, stoking criticism from prominent ethics experts.
– Students who invited conservative commentator Ann Coulter to speak at the University of California at Berkeley sued school officials saying their postponement of her talk was discriminatory and violated free speech rights.
– Trump to impose tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber.
– AP uses the word “Unintelligible” sixteen times in its interview transcript with Donald Trump.
– Transcript of AP interview with Trump.
– US Supreme Court clears way for rare double execution in Arkansas. Ruling came just minutes before another inmate was pronounced dead. Lethal injections will be first double execution in more than 16 years.
– Trump fumes about supposedly ‘fake’ polls giving him a dismal approval rating.
– Trump seeks 15 percent corporate tax rate, even if it swells the national debt. Trump has instructed advisers to propose cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, according to White House officials.
– Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote Monday that the court is developing a “disturbing trend” of siding with police officers accused of excessive force at the expense of their alleged victims, a notion disputed by two of her colleagues.
– Republicans in Congress push for religious liberty executive order asking Trump to scale back Obama-era protections for gays and lesbians in order to make good on a campaign promise to protect religious liberty.
April 25, 2017 Tuesday
– German crowd boos Ivanka Trump for calling her father a ‘champion’ for families.
– Public pans Republicans’ latest approach to replacing Affordable Care Act. American public disagrees with the course that Trump and congressional Republicans are pursuing to replace the Affordable Care Act with conservative policies, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
– Trump signals delay on border wall funding to avoid government shutdown; tells conservative media his $1.4bn demand could be pushed to September, avoiding a spending freeze on his 100th day in office.
– Michael Flynn’s Russia payment likely broke disclosure laws, the leading Republican and Democrat on the House oversight committee said.
– White House refuses to hand over documents to House Oversight Committee on Michael Flynn to Trump-Russia investigation.
– Trudeau vows to defend Canada interests as U.S. targets lumber and trade tensions between the two countries escalated, sending the Canadian dollar to a 14-month low..
– Trump to strip all funding from State Department team promoting women’s rights around the world.
– Trump behaviour ‘showing a lot of signs’ of dangerous mental illness, says psychiatrist.
– Hannity: Liberal ‘fascism’ trying to silence every conservative voice.
– Sen. Richard Burr, Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a recent interview that the U.S. and Russia are locked in a new Cold War.
– A U.S. judge blocked Trump’s executive order that sought to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, dealing another legal blow to the administration’s efforts to toughen immigration enforcement.
– [Other] New Alt-Right “Fight Club” Ready for Street Violence.
April 26, 2017 Wednesday
– Trump unveiled a one-page plan proposing deep U.S. tax cuts, many for businesses, that would make the federal deficit balloon if enacted, and would be the largest overhaul since Reagan era.
– Mnuchin: Trump has ‘no intention’ of releasing his tax returns.
– U.S. Commerce Department launched an investigation to determine whether a flood of aluminum imports from China and elsewhere was compromising U.S. national security, a step that could lead to broad import restrictions on the metal.
– Republican lawmakers launched the next round in their fight against federal regulation as the U.S. Senate began work on legislation to change nearly every step agencies take in creating and applying new rules.
– The conservative House Freedom Caucus came out in support of a reworked U.S. healthcare overhaul bill. The bill would replace Obamacare’s income-based tax credit with a flat age-based credit, roll back an expansion of the Medicaid government health insurance program for the poor and repeal most Obamacare taxes. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated 24 million fewer people would have insurance under the bill.
– FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed overturning the landmark 2015 Obama-era net neutrality rules that prohibit broadband providers from giving or selling access to certain internet services over others.
– Trump looks to renegotiate, not cancel NAFTA With Canada.
– Trump is considering splitting up the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after its recent rulings that have blocked two of his executive orders.
– Pentagon and Trump officials sound alarm on North Korea nuclear threat, summoning all 100 senators to the White House to hear top defense officials declare that defending the U.S. from a possible nuclear attack has become a top priority.
– Iran fires new cruise missiles amid gulf tensions with U.S.
– Nuclear attack drills staged near Manhattan as US-North Korea tensions escalate.
– Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein on Trump-Russia investigation: ‘Oh my god, there’s a cover-up going on’.
April 27, 2017 Thursday
– U.S. Senate confirms R. Alexander Acosta to head Labor Department, first Hispanic member of the Trump cabinet.
– FCC chief unveils plan to scrap Obama-era internet rules to reverse the landmark 2015 “net neutrality” order and disclosed the agency may withdraw “bright line” rules barring internet companies from blocking, throttling or giving “fast lanes” to some websites.
– Mike Flynn under formal investigation by Pentagon over payments from Russia.
– White House press secretary Spicer blames Obama for Flynn’s security clearance.
– Senate Minority Leader Schumer objected to a deal on passing a one-week stopgap government funding bill, citing concerns about ongoing negotiations over a larger spending agreement. Schumer said there were still unresolved “poison pill riders” being worked out on a longer spending deal that would fund the government through Sept. 30.
– Senate Democrats are exploring a lawsuit against Trump on the grounds that his vast business empire has created conflicts of interest that violate the Constitution.
– Rep. Adam Schiff said Trump is likely to blame his predecessor Barack Obama for any shortcomings or difficulties during his time in office. “I’m confident of this, Chuck: On the last day of the Trump administration, Trump will be blaming Obama for something,” Schiff told MSNBC.
– Trump will abolish women’s right to abortion, warns expert US doctor. Dr Willie Parker said he expected the Trump presidency to succeed in overturning Roe v Wade.
– House Republican leaders delayed a vote on their Obamacare repeal bill until next week at the earliest, denying Trump a major legislative victory during his first 100 days in office.
April 28, 2017 Friday
– The House passed legislation to avoid a government shutdown just hours ahead of a midnight deadline. The weeklong stopgap measure easily passed. After the Senate clears the bill late Friday, lawmakers will have one week to hash out a longer-term spending package that lasts through September.
– Attorney General Sessions recuses himself from any Michael Flynn investigation. The attorney general recused himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election amid reports that he had met on multiple occasions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the campaign even though he had testified during his Senate confirmation hearing that he had not interacted with Russian officials.
– Trump picks former anti-abortion leader, Charmaine Yoest, for health and human services post
– Trump warns of ‘major, major conflict’ with North Korea, though he would prefer to solve the standoff over the country’s nuclear and missile programmes through diplomacy.
– Trump pledges fealty to NRA gun lobby.
– House and Senate approve stopgap spending measure while negotiators work to reach an agreement over a longer-term funding package.
– Trump tells NRA: ‘I am going to come through for you’.
– DeMint to be ousted from Heritage Foundation.
– EPA scrubs website of references to Obama climate plans.
– North Korea test-fires ballistic missile in defiance of world pressure.
– U.S. could speed up North Korea sanctions in response to missile test.
– U.S. says time to act on North Korea, China says not up to Beijing alone.
Trump’s first 100 Days: What media has said:
The White House:
Wall Street Journal:
New York Times:
The Telegraph (UK):
Deutsche Welle (Germany)
France 24 (France):
Global Times (China)
Hindustan Times (India)
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong):
What Trump said:
[Note: With few exceptions, sources are from mainstream media and updated daily with additions and changes.]
Michael T. Bucci is a retired public relations executive now residing in New England. He has authored nine books on practical spirituality collectively titled The Cerithous Material.
This article first published by GR on August 10, 2010. An expanded version was subsequently incorporated as a chapter in Michel Chossudovsky’s book entitled: Towards a World War III Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War, Global Research, 2011.
A decisive shift in US military doctrine was reached in 2014 with the creation of the Islamic State (ISIS- Daesh) and the launching of Obama’s 2014 counter-terrorism campaign.
The “Global War on Terrorism: launched by George W. Bush has evolved under the Trump administration towards a full-fledged “war of religion”, a “holy crusade” directed against the Muslim World.
Vilification of the enemy. The “Good Muslim”, “Bad Muslim” divide has been scrapped. In the words of Donald Trump, there are “A lot of bad dudes out there!”
* * *
US military dogma and war propaganda under the Bush administration were predicated on combating Islamic fundamentalism rather than targeting Muslims. “This is not a war between the West and Islam, but .. a war against terrorism.” So-called “Good Muslims” are to be distinguished from “Bad Muslims”:
“The dust from the collapse of the twin towers had hardly settled on 11 September 2001 when the febrile search began for “moderate Muslims”, people who would provide answers, who would distance themselves from this outrage and condemn the violent acts of “Muslim extremists”, “Islamic fundamentalists” and “Islamists”. Two distinct categories of Muslims rapidly emerged: the “good” and the “bad”; the “moderates”, “liberals” and “secularists” versus the “fundamentalists”, the “extremists” and the “Islamists”.” (Tariq Ramadan, Good Muslim, bad Muslim, New Statesman, February 12, 2010)
In the wake of 9/11, the Muslim community in most Western countries was markedly on the defensive. The “Good Muslim” “Bad Muslim” divide was broadly accepted. The 9/11 terrorist attacks allegedly perpetrated by Muslims were not only condemned, Muslim communities also supported the US-NATO invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, as part of a legitimate campaign directed against Islamic fundamentalism.
Washington’s objective was to instill a sentiment of guilt within the Muslim community. The fact that the 9/11 attacks were not instigated by Muslims has rarely been acknowledged by the Muslim community. Al Qaeda’s ongoing relationship to the CIA, its role as a US sponsored “intelligence asset” going back to to the Soviet-Afghan war is not mentioned. (Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terrorism” Global Research, Montreal, 2005)
Since the early 1980s, Washington has covertly supported the most conservative and fundamentalist factions of Islam, largely with a view to weakening secular, nationalist and progressive movements in the Middle East and Central Asia. Known and documented, the fundamentalist Wahhabi and Salafi missions from Saudi Arabia, dispatched not only to Afghanistan but also to the Balkans and to the Muslim republics of the former Soviet republics were covertly supported by US intelligence. (Ibid) What is often referred to as “Political Islam” is in large part a creation of the US intelligence apparatus (with the support of Britain’s MI6 and Israel’s Mossad).
The Ground Zero Mosque
Recent developments suggest a breaking point, a transition from “the war on terrorism” to the outright demonization of Muslims. While underscoring the freedom of religion, the Obama administration is “beating the drums” of a broader war against Islam:
“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country… This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.” (quoted in Obama Backs Ground Zero Mosque; Iranian Link Questioned, Israel National News, August 15, 2010)
Beneath the political smokescreen, the distinction between “Good Muslims” and “Bad Muslims” is being scrapped. The proposed Ground Zero mosque is allegedly being funding by “the radical rogue Islamic state of Iran … as the United States is stepping up sanctions on the regime in retaliation for its support of terrorism and what is feared to be an illegal nuclear-weapons development program.” ( Ground Zero mosque developers refuse to outright reject funding from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – NYPOST.com, August 19, 2010)
The rising tide of xenophobia, sparked by the proposed Ground Zero mosque and community center, has all the appearances of a PSYOP (Psychological Operation) which contributes to fomenting hatred against Muslims throughout the Western World.
The objective is to instil fear, rouse and harness citizens’ unbending support for the next stage of America’s “long war”, which consists in waging “humanitarian” aerial attacks on the Islamic Republic of Iran, portrayed by the media as endorsing the terrorists.
While “all Muslims are not terrorists”, all terrorist attacks (planned or realized) are reported by the media as being perpetrated by Muslims.
In America, the Muslim community as a whole is being targeted. Islam is described as a “religion of war”. The proposed mosque and community center are being heralded as “violating the sanctity of Ground Zero”.
“..opening a mosque at Ground Zero is offensive and disrespectful to the city and the people who died in the attacks. The project is “spitting in the face of everyone murdered on 9/11.” (Plan to build mosque at Ground Zero angers New Yorkers ,National Post, May 17, 2010)
The arrests on trumped up charges, as well as the show trials of alleged “homegrown” “Islamic terrorists”, perform an important function. They sustain the illusion, in the inner consciousness of Americans, that “Islamic terrorists” not only constitute a real threat but that the Muslim community to which they belong is broadly supportive of their actions:
“[T]he threat increasingly comes not from strangers with rough English and dubious passports. Instead, it resides much closer to home: in urban townhouses, darkened basements — anywhere with an Internet connection. Homegrown terrorism is the latest incarnation of the al-Qaeda threat.” How terror came home to roost, Ottawa Citizen, August 27, 2010, report on an alleged homegrown terrorist attack in Canada)
From a process of selective targeting of Muslims with radical tendencies (or allegedly associated with “terrorist organizations”), what is now unfolding is a generalized process of demonization of an entire population group.
Muslims are increasingly the object of routine discrimination and ethnic profiling. They are considered a potential threat to national security. The threat is said to be “much closer to home”, “within your neighborhood”. In other words what is unfolding is an all out witch-hunt reminiscent of the Spanish inquisition.
In turn, Al Qaeda is described as a powerful multinational terrorist organization (possessing WMDs) with subsidiaries (covertly supported by US and allied intelligence agencies) in a number of Muslim countries: Al Qaeda is present (with corresponding acronyms) in various geopolitical hotspots and war theaters:
-Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) (comprised of Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Jihad of Yemen), Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia (Jamaah Islamiyah), Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb, Harakat al-Shabaab Mujahideen in Somalia, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, etc.
At no moment is the issue of atrocities committed against several million Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan considered a terrorist act by the occupation forces.
The American Inquisition
A “war of religion” is unfolding, with a view to justifying a global military crusade. In the inner consciousness of many Americans, the “holy crusade” against Muslims is justified. While President Obama may uphold freedom of religion, the US inquisitorial social order has institutionalized patterns of discrimination, prejudice and xenophobia directed against Muslims. Ethnic profiling applies to travel, the job market, access to education and social services and more generally to social status and mobility.
The American Inquisition as an ideological construct which is, in many regards, similar to the inquisitorial social order prevailing in France and Spain during the Middle Ages. The inquisition, which started in France in the 12th century, was used as a justification for conquest and military intervention. (See Michel Chossudovsky, 9/11 and the “American Inquisition”, Global Research, September 11, 2008).
The arrests, trials and sentences of so-called “homegrown” terrorists” (from within America’s Muslim community) on trumped up charges sustain the legitimacy of the Homeland Security State and its inquisitorial legal and law enforcement apparatus.
An inquisitorial doctrine turns realities upside down. It is a social order based on lies and fabrications. But because these lies emanate from the highest political authority and are part of a widely held “consensus”, they invariably remain unchallenged. And those who challenge the inquisitorial order or in any way oppose America’s military or national security agenda are themselves branded as “conspiracy theorists” or outright terrorists.
Beyond the process of inquisitorial arrests and prosecution, which outdwarfs the Spanish inquisition, an expedient extrajudicial assassination program sanctioned by the White House has been launched. This program allows US special forces to kill American citizens and suspected homegrown terrorists:: “A shortlist of U.S. citizens specifically targeted for killing”? (See Chuck Norris, Obama’s US Assassination Program? “A Shortlist of U.S. Citizens specifically Targeted for Killing”?,. Global Research, August 26, 2010)
The objective is to sustain the illusion that “America is under attack” and that Muslims across the land are complicit and supportive of “Islamic terrorism”.
The demonization of Muslims sustains a global military agenda. Under the American inquisition, Washington has a self-proclaimed holy mandate to extirpate Islam and “spread democracy” throughout the world.
What we are dealing with is an outright and blind acceptance of the structures of power and political authority. America’s holy crusade against the Muslim World is an outright criminal act directed against millions of people. It is a war of economic conquest.
More than 60% of the World’s oil and natural gas reserves lie in Muslim lands. “The Battle for Oil” waged by the US NATO Israel military alliance requires the demonization of the inhabitants of those countries which possess these vast reserves of oil and natural gas. (See Michel Chossudovsky, The Demonization of Muslims and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, January 4, 2007)