ORLANDO, Fla. ― President Donald Trump formally launched his reelection campaign at a packed-to-the-rafters rally in Orlando on Tuesday, officially moving to continue one of the most divisive administrations in modern history for four more years.
“We’re going to keep on fighting for every man, women and child across this land. We’re going to keep [America] better than ever before,” Trump said to a chorus of cheers. “That is why, tonight, I stand before you to officially launch my campaign for a second term as president of the United States.”
During his announcement, the president brushed off any residual damage from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the 2016 election and praised his supporters for defending him throughout what he referred to as a “great hoax” and an “illegal witch hunt” meant to erase their votes.
Donald Trump Played Central Role in Hush Payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal - WALL STREET JOURNAL Investigation of the facts
While President Trump publicly fought with women leading up to the 2016 election, in private he directed schemes to silence their stories of two alleged affairs. Here’s a timeline of Trump’s personal involvement.
Taken together, the accounts refute a two-year pattern of denials by Mr. Trump, his legal team and his advisers that he was involved in payoffs to Ms. McDougal and a former adult-film star. They also raise the possibility that the president of the United States violated federal campaign-finance laws.
The Wall Street Journal found that Mr. Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the agreements. He directed deals in phone calls and meetings with his self-described fixer, Michael Cohen, and others. The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has gathered evidence of Mr. Trump’s participation in the transactions.
On Thursday, the White House referred questions about Mr. Trump’s involvement in the hush deals to the president’s outside counsel Jay Sekulow, who declined to comment.
In an Oct. 23 interview with the Journal, Mr. Trump declined to address whether he had ever discussed the payments with Mr. Cohen during the campaign.
“Nobody cares about that,” he said. He described Mr. Cohen as a “public-relations person” who “represented me on very small things.”
Mr. Cohen, who left the Trump Organization to serve as the president’s personal attorney in early 2017, and other aides denied Mr. Trump played any role in the two hush-money deals when they were first reported in the Journal.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan came to believe otherwise. READ MORE
President Donald Trump appeals to men with fragile masculinity, two researchers from New York University wrote in analysis published in The Washington Post. They also said Republican candidates facing a Democrat drew more support in areas with higher levels of fragile masculinity in 2018 House races.
The president has touted his masculinity since declaring he would run for office. After Marco Rubio insinuated the president had a small penis in 2016, Trump raised his hands and said "he referred to my hands -- 'if they're small, something else must be small.' I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee."
He frequently calls other political figures weak and has promoted his bravery, saying after the Parkland school shooting that "I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon." He espouses visions of toughness, like cheering hard football hits, and promotes shows of strength, like his proposed military parade.
NYU Psychology professor Eric Knowles and doctoral student Sarah DiMuccio queried 300 men on Amazon's crowdsourcing platform Mechanical Turk to discover whether they had or would search for terms such as "erectile dysfunction," "how to get girls," "penis enlargement," "testosterone," and "Viagra," among others.
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By Joe Scarborough
Cataclysmic events often bring with them violent and abrupt endings to settled ages and long-established norms. Those absorbing the impact of these historical aftershocks rarely grasp the epochal changes in real time.
Who could have imagined during their commute home on the night of Nov. 21, 1963, that an event in Dallas the next day would shake the postwar order guaranteed by America’s victory in World War II? Even after Lee Harvey Oswald’s shots rang out from the Texas School Book Depository, could anyone have foreseen the collapse of such an ordered age soon overtaken by the anarchy of Vietnam, the murders of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, the race riots, Chicago, Kent State, Watergate, postindustrial rot and the cultural chaos set loose across the country by these events?
And could even the most insightful observer have foreseen — while staring at the billowing smoke set against New York’s brilliant September sky — the avalanche of strategic blunders set in motion by Osama bin Laden’s attack on the United States?
Of course not. But two wars, three presidents and 17 years later, the tragic lessons of that time are still lost on our leaders.
On Sept. 10, 2001, the United States dominated the world stage in a way no other country had since the height of the Roman and British empires.
CONTINUE READING . . .
By Felicia Sonmez
September 5 2018
President Trump has long derided the mainstream media as the “enemy of the people” and lashed out at NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem. On Tuesday, he took his attacks on free speech one step further, suggesting in an interview with a conservative news site that the act of protesting should be illegal.
Trump made the remarks in an Oval Office interview with the Daily Caller hours after his Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh, was greeted by protests on the first day of his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill.
“I don’t know why they don’t take care of a situation like that,” Trump said. “I think it’s embarrassing for the country to allow protesters. You don’t even know what side the protesters are on.”
He added: “In the old days, we used to throw them out. Today, I guess they just keep screaming.”
More than 70 people were arrested after they repeatedly heckled Kavanaugh and senators at Tuesday’s hearing.
Trump has bristled at dissent in the past, including several instances in which he has suggested demonstrators should lose their jobs or be met with violence for speaking out.
Giant 'Trump Baby' blimp takes flight in LondonOn July 13, a blimp depicting President Trump as a diapered baby was flown in London's Parliament Square, during his first visit to London since taking office. (Karla Adam/The Washington Post)
In July, ahead of his visit to Britain, Trump told the Sun newspaper that reports of large-scale demonstrations against him in London — including a 20-foot-tall blimp depicting an angry baby Trump — had offended him.
“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London,” Trump said. Months earlier, Trump had implicitly rejected reports that his initial plans to visit in the spring were scuttled because of fears of protests.
Last September, Trump called on NFL owners to fire players who kneel during the national anthem to protest systemic racial injustice. And in several appearances during the 2016 campaign, when demonstrators interrupted his rallies, Trump at times appeared to encourage violence against them.
Trump has also prompted cries of “dictator envy” for remarks in which he seemed to emulate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “He speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same,” Trump told Fox News Channel in an interview after his Singapore summit with the North Korean leader.
A PRESIDENCY OUT OF CONTROL - An Open Letter The Helsinki Summit and the Awkward Art of Cleaning Up Trump’s Messes
By Susan B. Glasser
On Monday morning, the world woke up to President Trump’s all-caps tweet to the President of Iran, sent late the night before. “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” the President warned Hassan Rouhani. By Tuesday, it seemed that nuclear war was not, in fact, imminent. When I spoke on Wednesday with Mark Dubowitz, an expert on Iran who advises the Trump Administration, he had an entirely different theory.
The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, had delivered a major speech on Sunday night, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, in California, accusing the Islamic Republic’s leaders of corruption and encouraging protests in the country in advance of a series of punitive new measures the Administration plans to take against the regime. “But it wasn’t even one news cycle,” Dubowitz said, “before Trump had to send his all-caps tweet and stomp on Pompeo’s messaging.” Dubowitz, who attended the speech at the Reagan Library, has been consulting with the State Department on what he says are a range of new measures on Iran, including replacing the nuclear deal that Trump pulled out of in May over the objections of European allies and some key advisers, including the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis. The new policy was meant neither to suggest imminent war, as Trump’s tweet did, nor a new round of negotiations with the Iranians, as Trump offered in the course of walking back his inflammatory tweet.
In the space of two days, Trump had once again utterly confused the world
by Jeffrey Sachs - CNN -
The United States was born in a revolt against the tyranny of King George III. The Constitution was designed to prevent tyranny through a system of checks and balances, but in President Trump's America, those safeguards are failing.
Donald Trump holds the grandiose belief that only he should rule America. Unchecked by cowed or complicit Republicans in Congress, Trump invokes executive authority to alter policies and practices long established by law and treaty.
Days after his summit meeting with Vladimir Putin, no one knows what the two autocrats agreed to, or even talked about -- not the President's top aides, nor the Pentagon, nor security establishment or Congress, never mind the rest of us. And in the midst of the ensuing uproar, Trump has invited Putin to Washington, without telling his top intelligence official and no doubt most other key aides and officials.The list of one-man actions grows rapidly. Trump is single-handedly imposing hundreds of billions of dollars of tariffs -- that is, taxes -- on imported goods from key US allies and China, without any explicit or implicit Congressional backing.
Trump abrogated the Iran nuclear deal despite its unanimous support by the UN Security Council. Trump is in the process of imposing new and severe sanctions against Iran, including the cutoff of all of Iran's oil exports, against the international agreement with Iran and with no vote of Congress, presumably to try to topple the Iranian regime.
Fascism poses a more serious threat now than at any time since the end of World War II.
By MADELEINE ALBRIGHT
APRIL 6, 2018
On April 28, 1945 — 73 years ago — Italians hung the corpse of their former dictator Benito Mussolini upside down next to a gas station in Milan. Two days later, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker beneath the streets of war-ravaged Berlin. Fascism, it appeared, was dead.
To guard against a recurrence, the survivors of war and the Holocaust joined forces to create the United Nations, forge global financial institutions and — through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — strengthen the rule of law. In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and the honor roll of elected governments swelled not only in Central Europe, but also Latin America, Africa and Asia. Almost everywhere, it seemed, dictators were out and democrats were in. Freedom was ascendant.
Today, we are in a new era, testing whether the democratic banner can remain aloft amid terrorism, sectarian conflicts, vulnerable borders, rogue social media and the cynical schemes of ambitious men. The answer is not self-evident. We may be encouraged that most people in most countries still want to live freely and in peace, but there is no ignoring the storm clouds that have gathered. In fact, fascism — and the tendencies that lead toward fascism — pose a more serious threat now than at any time since the end of World War II.
Continue Reading . . .
From the Atlantic - Perspective on this troubled age
The stories we tell ourselves, far more than the evidence of scientific analysis, determine how we interpret the world around us. Accordingly, the fate of capitalism rests in no small measure on the real and imagined characters whose ethics and efforts, at any given time, seem to embody the system. Whether the system is identified with Bill Gates or Bernie Madoff, Horatio Alger or Gordon Gekko, opinions about how exactly capitalism works, no less than its moral fitness, reflect the heroes and villains who drive these tales.
Whichever of these two designations best describes Donald J. Trump, he is clearly a chief protagonist, the world over, in the contemporary tale of capitalism.