Trump: “A Boy with a Fifth Grader Understanding”

As it frequently happens, in the United States Donald Trump’s performance is judged again with a bitter and pessimistic tone.

Alarmed White House officials attempt to control the unsteadiness, ignorance, amorality and childish behavior of their president that can cause damages beyond repair.

Several media published that this Wednesday. One of them, The New Herald, wrote an article under the signature of Rosa Townsend.

Another of their concerns revolves about what they call republican plot, where they exonerate the behavior of the leader, nevertheless the great threat it represents to National Security.

They operate under the motto: “It doesn't matter that Trump is crazy if economy goes well and if we can name ultraconservative judges, it doesn't matter while his base of fanatics follow him and that allows us to stay in power.”

The aforementioned journalist adds that while a national debt never seen before is looming, the president refused to integrate the World Trade Organization, (WTO) although, in general, it favors the United States.

With that and other countless tantrums, and impulsive decisions, Trump appears as a president disconnected from reality, reluctant to learn or change his opinion.

Also paranoiac, vengeful and with a huge inferiority complex that tries to be strong. A wayward and ignorant baby sat in the Oval Office.

He was even called “idiot” by his Chief of Staff, John Kelly.

“A boy with a fifth grader understanding” by the Secretary of Defense, John Mattis who frustrated by his ignorance had to explain to him during a meeting of the National Security Council that the North American Army was in South Korea “to avoid the Third World War.”

Due to the characteristics of the leader, now the North American people are even more aware of the dysfunctional government they have.

Although, Trump sustains the approach that true power resides in instilling fear.

In articles published in other media, their authors wonder: who would lead Washington in the event of a serious crisis, or another catastrophic situation?

An erratic, isolated, more paranoiac than never president, while he spends several hours a day to watch television and tweet nonsense.

Journalist Rosa Townsend affirms that a number, every larger of North Americans also wonder: Whose hands are we in?

  • Published in Now

China Retaliates Against Trump With Tariffs on $60B of US Goods

China’s Foreign Ministry said the U.S. steps have brought "new uncertainty" to talks between the two countries.

China said on Tuesday it had no choice but to retaliate against new U.S. trade tariffs, raising the risk that U.S. President Donald Trump could soon impose duties on virtually all of the Chinese goods that the United States buys.

RELATED: Trump To Aid US Farmers Suffering From His Trade War

The tariff rates will be levied at 5 and 10 percent, instead of the previously proposed rates of 5, 10, 20 and 25 percent, the Finance Ministry said on its website late on Tuesday.

China will impose a 10 percent tariff on U.S. products it previously designated for a rate of 20 and 25 percent. Liquefied natural gas (LNG), for example, was previously under the 25 percent tariff category but now will be subject to a tariff of 10 percent.

The new tariff measures will take effect on Sept. 24, the date when the Trump administration says it will begin to levy new tariffs of 10 percent on $200 billion of Chinese products.

The tit-for-tat measures are the latest escalation in an increasingly protracted trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

The Chinese ministry announced tariff hikes hours after Trump said he was imposing 10 percent tariffs on about US$200 billion worth of imports from China, and threatened duties on about US$267 billion more if China retaliated against the U.S. action.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing later that the U.S. steps have brought "new uncertainty" to talks between the two countries.

"China has always emphasized that the only correct way to resolve the China-U.S. trade issue is via talks and consultations held on an equal, sincere and mutually respectful basis. But at this time, everything the United States does not give the impression of sincerity or goodwill," he added.

 

  • Published in World

Ex-Trump Campaign Chief Paul Manafort Pleads Guilty In Russia Probe

WASHINGTON: U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will plead guilty to two criminal counts as part of a deal with prosecutors on Friday, court documents showed in what could be a blow to Trump in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-running probe of Russian election meddling.

As part of the deal, Manafort, 69, could be required to cooperate with Mueller's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Details of the deal were likely to emerge in a plea agreement hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) in federal court. Manafort would become the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller's investigation, which has cast a shadow over Trump's presidency.

It remains unclear if the deal will include Manafort's cooperation with Mueller's probe, dealing a blow to Trump ahead of congressional elections on Nov. 6.

Another approach would be for Manafort to plead guilty without cooperating in hopes of a presidential pardon. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out.

Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Five other charges were dropped in the new court filing.

A Virginia jury convicted Manafort last month on bank and tax fraud charges.

Jury selection was due to begin on Monday in a second trial on charges including conspiring to launder money, conspiring to defraud the United States, failing to register as a foreign agent and witness tampering.

Manafort's decision could be a blow to Trump, who last month praised his former aide for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had.

On Twitter on Aug. 22, Trump wrote: "Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break' - make up stories in order to get a 'deal. Such respect for a brave man!"

According to the court filing, the charge of conspiracy against the United States includes money laundering, tax fraud, failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, and acting as an unregistered lobbyist for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. The second count, for conspiracy to obstruct justice, concerns attempts to tamper with witnesses related to Manafort's foreign lobbying.

Manafort's conviction in Alexandria, Virginia, last month was at a trial arising from Mueller's investigation. Trump has denied colluding with the Russians and the Russians have denied interfering.

Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner and the campaign's deputy chairman, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his cooperation, later testifying against Manafort in Virginia. Gates may have been a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now representing Trump in the Russia probe, told Reuters on Friday that a guilty plea to avoid a second trial would not crush Manafort's chances of receiving an eventual presidential pardon.

"It's not going to hurt him if he pleads guilty. Usually it helps you get a pardon down the road. It shows you've admitted your guilt," he said on Friday before a deal was announced. He declined further comment until after the hearing.

  • Published in World

Ortega Warns of US Military Intervention, Open to Meeting Trump

In an interview to be aired Monday night, Nicaraguan President Ortega says he will talk to U.S. President Trump, but wants U.S. government out of Nicaraguan affairs.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega says he is open to meeting U.S. leader Donald Trump at the United Nations Security Council meeting this month despite the fact that he feels “under threat” from the country’s military amid interventionist comments and actions from the U.S., along with other regional right-wing governments.

RELATED: Nicaragua: 'Scientific American Should Try Sticking to Science'

In an exclusive interview taped on Sunday night, Ortega told France 24 TV, "We are under threat. We can't rule out anything out as far as the U.S. is concerned. We can't rule out a military intervention," added the Nicaraguan head of state during the interview to be aired on Monday night.

U.S. government officials have not responded to Ortega’s comments, but the United States government is moving forward to apply the Nica Act (Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act) passed in October 2017 to slap sanctions on the Central American country much like it has on Venezuela.

However, Ortega said that if given the chance, he would meet with President Trump at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) scheduled to take place in New York City starting Sept. 24.

"The idea of having a dialogue with a power like the U.S. is necessary," said Ortega, and that going to the UNGA summit, "could be an opportunity (to meet Trump). ... I'd like to go."

The Nicaraguan president added, “I don’t think that Nicaragua is on President Trump's agenda,” in terms of trying to overthrow his government in a soft-coup. He says those ambitions, “have their roots in Florida,” referring to right-wing business leaders and politicians within the state with strong ties to the Central American country.

Last week, the United States ambassador to the U.N. Security Council, Nikki Haley, pushed to include Nicaragua and Venezuela on the September meeting agenda, despite not having a 15-member consensus. China, Russia, Bolivia, and Ethiopia rejected the proposal saying the two Latin American countries don’t pose an international security threat.

Though he expressed interest in talking with Trump during the interview, Ortega added that if the United States wants to “contribute to peace, stability in Nicaragua and the region, they simply have to be respectful of the decisions that Nicaraguans make and not be conspiring against governments that are not enemies of the US. We are enemies of submitting ourselves to U.S. policies," said Ortega, reiterating again that the U.S. should "not mess with Nicaragua."

RELATED: 
Nicaragua: Sandinistas Demand Justice, Ortega Slams UN

The U.S. government has long sought to suppress Ortega who first came to power in 1979 as part of a Marxist junta overthrowing the Somoza dictatorship. Voted in several times as president for the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) party, Ortega has implemented a slew of social welfare programs, including land redistribution, and greater access to health and education.

Between April and August of this year, 270 people died and over 2,100 were injured during major national protests in Nicaragua, according to Nicaragua's Commission for Truth, Peace and Justice. Demonstrations initially began over state plans to increase social security contributions in order to bridge a budget deficit. Those demonstrations were quickly co-opted by violent opposition groups demanding Ortega's resignation.

When asked by France 24 TV about the stalled peace talks in his country, the FSLN leader responded that “an attempt was mad; it simply did not work," but added that he wants to restart dialogue with opposition leaders and had approached Spain and Germany to help play a role. For the moment, said the president, the dialogue is "in the community, in the neighborhood, among the population ... among the people."

  • Published in World

'US Bullying': Trump To Close Palestinian Mission in Washington

The administration will also threaten the International Criminal Court with sanctions if it goes forward with an investigation on alleged war crimes by the U.S.

The United States government announced the closure of the Palestinian leadership’s de facto embassy in Washington as a "punishment" for not engaging in one-sided talks with Israel, and for attempting to sue the Israeli government at the International Criminal Court despite warnings from Washington. 

RELATED: Palestinian Hospitals, Patients Latest Victims of US Fund Cuts

In a statement on Monday, the U.S. State Department said the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) office "has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel".

"We have permitted the PLO office to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians since the expiration of a previous waiver in November 2017," the statement said.

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said Monday that this move by the Trump administration is to “protect Israeli crimes”.

He also said that the leadership will not be deterred from seeking action in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague against Israel. "We reiterate that the rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale, that we will not succumb to US threats and bullying."

Interestingly, the Trump administration will also announce on Monday that it will adopt an offensive posture against ICC, threatening sanctions against the institution if they proceed with an investigation into alleged war crimes by the U.S in Afghanistan.

U.S. National Security adviser John Bolton confirmed on Monday that the Trump administration had closed the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's office as "punishment" for calling on Israel to be investigated by the ICC.

According to a draft of the speech, published by Reuters, Bolton will say, “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court. The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel.”

“We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system,” he is expected to say, as reported by the Independent. “We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans.”

RELATED:
As Israel Approves 'Apartheid' Law, Trump Spends $21M on US Embassy Move to Jerusalem

The Palestinians described the closure of PLO mission as the latest pressure tactic by the Trump administration that has slashed funding to a U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees and to hospitals in East Jerusalem, all in one week.

“It is also extremely cruel and spiteful to persist in deliberately bashing the Palestinian people by denying them their rights, giving away their lands and rightful capital of Jerusalem, and defunding UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) and Palestinian institutions, including East Jerusalem hospitals,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO.

Ashrawi also said the U.S. closing the General Delegation of the PLO office in Washington D.C. is an irresponsible move. “This is yet another affirmation of the Trump administration’s policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people, including by cutting financial support for humanitarian services including health and education,” said Erekat.

Commenting on the U.S. threatening sanctions against ICC, Erekat said, “this dangerous escalation shows that the U.S. is willing to disband the international system in order to protect Israeli crimes and attacks against the land and people of Palestine, as well as against peace and security in the rest of our region. …  It symbolizes the U.S. attacks against the international system as a whole, including the Paris Convention, UNESCO, and the Human Rights Council among others.”

The official also said the PLO will take necessary measures to protect the rights of Palestinians living in the U.S. to access their consular services.

  • Published in World

Social Networks and the Price of Truth

While Trump was making his remarks against the possible censorship of conservative speech, the news of the hacking of Cubainformacion.tv website was disclosed on Facebook.

The president of the United States, who often says that US journalists are "the enemies of the people", because they only publish "fake news", has just declared "it is dangerous for social networks such as Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc to silence the diversity of voices on their services."

Trump's remarks, made on Monday during an interview with Reuters, come at a time when social networks are struggling to monitor foreign propaganda on their platforms.

Facebook has spent more than a year and a half trying to put an end to the "fake news demon" and recently suffered the scandal of Cambridge Analytica, a company that used, as it became known only a few months ago, its platform to obtain data of 87 million people that may have been used in the presidential elections of the United States in favor of Donald Trump’s election.

Less than three months before the November elections in the United States, Planet Facebook is determined to improve its impartial network image after, thus it is ensured, there will be revealed that Russians financed thousands of false political ads in the 2016 elections.

To do this Facebook wants to investigate people who place political advertisements in national elections and require them to confirm their names and addresses. The political ads must, according to the new rules, have a note clarifying who paid for them.

Just a few days ago, Apple Inc, YouTube and Facebook decided to remove some content published by Infowars, a website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the same man who claimed on the networks that the massacres caused by the Sandy Hook Elementary School and High School shootings, in Parkland, Florida, are an hoax in which the students are "used as political tools by the extreme left to boost their anti-conservative rhetoric and anti-weapon agenda."

According to the Spanish newspaper El País, Facebook said Jones's pages violated its terms of service. "We have removed it because it glorifies violence, which violates our policy on graphic violence, and uses a dehumanizing language to describe transgender, Muslim and immigrant people, thus violating our policy on hate speech and bullying."

Thus Reuters insinuates, Trump's assertions that "I'm not going to mention names, but when they take some people off Twitter or Facebook, and they're making that decision, that's really a dangerous thing, because tomorrow it can happen to you", might have to do with Jones's recent social media censorship. Trump appeared on a show produced by Infowars and hosted by Jones in December 2015, while campaigning for the White House.

Trump's fears over censorship are to some extent justified if you take into account that the president has a glass roof. A few hours after his statements, the New York governor called him "anti-American" because "he protects white supremacists, denies basic healthcare rights, discriminates people because of their sex orientation, closes doors for refugees, rips babies from their mother's arms because they want to come to this country and because he locks children in cages."

It is not the first time that users ask for the shutdown of Trump’s Twitter account because the president's tweets violate several of the rules of that social network according to which "behaviors that crosses the line into abuse are not tolerated, and that includes harassment, intimidation or the use of fear to silence other users’ voice or threatening or inciting violence."

But so far Twitter has made it clear that it does not intend to shutdown Donald Trump's account, even if the president violates its rules to combat harassment of others. The executive director of the firm Jack Dorsey told NBC in May that "it is very important to listen to the leaders directly" in order to ask for an accountability and to be able to openly address the problems, not behind closed doors. In addition, he also said that besides the presidential prominence, Trump’s account is attractive from a commercial point of view because his tweets constantly generate headlines that constitute free advertising for the company and could attract more users.

In the end, Trump continues to insult right and left in that way, as he did recently with his former adviser, Omarosa Manigault, whom he called "bitch” and nobody seems to care much about the double standard of Twitter censorship.

The same happens with Facebook and its concern over political interference in North American elections. Who has protested or questioned the role played by Cambridge Analytica in the elections of other countries?

According to data published recently by PhD in Social Communication and Sciences Rosa Miriam Elizalde: "Cambridge Analytica, the London branch of a US contractor devoted to active military operations online  for twenty-five years, has intervened in some 200 elections all over the world. "Psychological operations" were its modus operandi, its goal: to change public opinion and influence not through persuasion, but via "information control." The novelty is not the use of flyers, Radio Europa Libre or TV Martí, but rather Big Data and artificial intelligence to lock each citizen who leaves information traces on the network in an observable, parameterized and predictable bubble."

Task Force through both Facebook and Twitter, fake news and hate and bullying against Cuba dominate the scene. The same happens against countries such as Nicaragua and Venezuela. It is worth wondering. Will Facebook and other social networks take the same precautions before the political manipulation of other countries' elections or their concern over "foreign propaganda" is only exclusivity for the U.S.?

Just today, while Trump was making his remarks against the possible censorship of conservative speech, the news of the hacking of Cubainformacion.tv website, an alternative outlet online that defends the Cuban Revolution, was disclosed on Facebook. Of course no "news" agency has said anything about it and likely they never will. In this case, how much will it be necessary to pay for the news to be promoted to the largest number of people?

Does anyone know how much can truth cost in social networks?

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

 
  • Published in Specials

Bob Woodward:People Better Wake Up to What's Going On With Trump

Washington, Sep 9 (Prensa Latina) Watergate journalist Bob Woodward made headlines once again this past week, with his new book about the Trump White House, entitled ''Fear.'' This morning, in his first TV interview, Woodward paints a picture of an administration in disarray: 'You look at the operation of this White House and you have to say, 'Let's hope to God we don't have a crisis,'' said Bob Woodward.

For the Washington Post reporter, that is the bottom line to all the jaw-dropping chaos and discord described in his new book, 'Fear: Trump in the White House' .

'People who work for him are worried ... that he will sign things or give orders that threaten the national security or the financial security of the country, or of the world,' Woodward said.

Aides like then-Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn and White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter literally stole documents off the president's desk in the Oval Office, such as a letter terminating a trade agreement with South Korea, so that, Woodward explained, Mr. Trump could not sign them: 'Because they realized that this would endanger the country.'

Unelected officials like Cohn and Porter intentionally thwarting the actions of the elected president, the exact reverse of what a White House staff is supposed to do.

Going back to Richard Nixon and Watergate, this is the ninth White House Woodward has covered. 'In the eight others,' he said, 'I never heard of people on the staff in the White House engaging in that kind of extreme action.'

According to Woodward, the president is obsessed by the fact that the U.S. pays $3.5 billion a year to station troops in South Korea as a first line of defense against the North. 'I don't know why they're there,' he said at one meeting. 'Let's bring them all home.' At another meeting, Secretary of Defense James Mattis starkly why the U.S. has 28,000 troops in Korea: 'We're doing this in order to prevent World War III.'

'The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.' - President Trump at the United Nation, Sept. 19, 2017

The standoff with North Korea has been eased, for the moment, by the Singapore Summit, which brought together two leaders who had been trading nuclear threats and schoolyard insults.

The most dangerous moment of the standoff, Woodward says, came when the president went to work on another tweet: 'He drafts a tweet saying 'We are going to pull out dependents from South Korea ... Family members of the 28,000 people there.''

That tweet was never sent, because of a back channel message from North Korea that it would regard a pullout of dependents as a sign the U.S. was preparing to attack. 'At that moment there was a sense of profound alarm in the Pentagon leadership that, 'My God, one tweet and we have reliable information that the North Koreans are going to read this as an attack is imminent,'' Woodward said.

The president surrounded himself with generals - active duty and retired - all of whom had served in Afghanistan. But before he decided on a new Afghan strategy, he insisted on meeting with enlisted men who had served there as well. In a meeting the next day, he lashed out at the generals: 'I don't care about you guys,' he said to Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford, and then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. ''The soldiers on the ground could run things much better than you,' he says to Mattis and Dunford, and there is a 25-minute dressing down of the generals and senior officials,' said Woodward.

When he didn't like a trade deal Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had negotiated with China, the president lit into him at a White House meeting: 'It's a terrible deal. We got screwed. ... You're past your prime. You're not a good negotiator anymore. ... you've lost it. I don't trust you.'

When Economic Adviser Gary Cohn was upset over the president's reluctance to condemn white supremacists for the violence in Charlottesville he went into the Oval Office to resign. According to Woodward, 'Trump said, 'You can't resign. I need you to do tax reform. If you leave, this is treason.' And Trump talked him out of resigning.'

Afterwards, Chief of Staff John Kelly, who had been in the room, pulled Cohn aside: 'Cohn wrote this down, quote from General Kelly: 'If that was me I would have taken that resignation letter and shoved it up his *** six different times.''

The president has been bracing for Woodward's book since last month when the two lamented - or at least pretended to lament - that they had not talked.

Last week, when the contents of 'Fear' began to leak ahead of its scheduled publication, the president said it was worse than bad. 'The book is a work of fiction,' Mr. Trump argued. 'If you look back at Woodward's past, he had the same problem with other presidents. He likes to get publicity, sell some books.'

  • Published in World

Trump Cuts US$25 Million Aid For Palestinians in Hospitals

Trump called for a review of U.S. assistance to Palestinians earlier this year to ensure the funds were being spent in accordance with 'national interests.'

U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered that US$25 million earmarked for the care of Palestinians in East Jerusalem hospitals be directed elsewhere as part of a review of aid, a State Department official said on Saturday.

RELATED: 140 Int'l Artists Call for Boycott of Eurovision in Israel

Trump called for a review of U.S. assistance to the Palestinians earlier this year to ensure that the funds were being spent in accordance with national interests and were providing value to taxpayers.

"As a result of that review, at the direction of the president, we will be redirecting approximately US$25 million originally planned for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network," the State Department official said. "Those funds will go to high-priority projects elsewhere."

The aid cut is the latest in a number of actions by the Trump administration that have alienated the Palestinians, including the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

That move reversed longtime U.S. policy and led Palestinian leadership to boycott Washington peace efforts led by Jared Kushner, Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law.

Last month, the Trump administration said it would redirect US$200 million in Palestinian economic support funds for programs in the West Bank and Gaza.

And at the end of August, the Trump administration halted all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), a decision that further heightened tensions with the Palestinian leadership.

Palestinian refugees have reacted with dismay to the funding cuts, warning they would lead to more poverty, anger and instability in the Middle East.

A statement from the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the latest aid cut was part of a U.S. attempt "to liquidate the Palestinian cause" and said it would threaten the lives of thousands of Palestinians and the livelihoods of thousands of hospital employees. 

"This dangerous and unjustified American escalation has crossed all red lines and is considered a direct aggression against the Palestinian people," it said.

At the gates of two of the East Jerusalem hospitals affected, medical staff were aware of the decision but refused to comment, Reuters reports.

One of the centers, Al Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital, said in statement the U.S. aid cuts come as the "hospital is going through a suffocating crisis as a result of the lack of flow of financial aid, and the piling up of debts and funds held back by the Palestinian government."

It said it had received US$12.5 million of the U.S. money to treat patients from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. In the statement hospital CEO Dr. Bassam Abu Libdeh "questioned the justification behind mixing political issues with medical and humanitarian issues."

The last round of U.S.-brokered Palestinian-Israeli peace talks collapsed in 2014. 

  • Published in World
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