Trump calls UN club for people to 'have a good time'

President-elect Donald Trump lashed out at the United Nations on Monday days after the Security Council voted to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Taking to Twitter, he said the U.N. has “such great potential,” but has become “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!”

@realDonaldTrump The United Nations has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!

Trump also gave a stark warning to the U.N. after Friday’s vote, saying “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th," referring to the day he takes office.

The president-elect has taken a more pro-Israel stance since telling the Associated Press in an interview last December that he wanted to be “very neutral” on Israel-Palestinian issues. However, since getting into the thick of his presidential campaign, he has moved toward favoring Israel. He has said the Palestinians have been "taken over" by or are condoning militant groups.

The Obama administration abstained from Friday’s vote, brushing aside Trump’s demands that the U.S. exercise its veto power and providing a climax to years of icy relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. slammed the resolution on Monday, suggesting the incoming Trump administration and Congress should take a close look at how much money the U.S. hands over to the U.N.

Ambassador Ron Dermer doubled down on Israel's claim the U.S. orchestrated the resolution vote before abstaining last week in an interview with Fox News' “Special Report.” Still, he gave few specifics. "We have that evidence... we're going to present it to the new administration, and if they choose to share it with the American people, that'll be their choice."

The ambassador responded to calls from some prominent Republicans to stop all U.S. funds bound for the U.N. "I think a new president and Congress that wants to make sure that every penny of your money is going to something that protects and defends and advances U.S. interests -- I think there's a lot of changes that could happen at the United Nations," Dermer said.

This year the U.N. Security Council has approved over 70 legally binding resolutions, including new sanctions on North Korea and measures tackling conflicts and authorizing the U.N.'s far-flung peacekeeping operations around the world. The General Assembly has also approved dozens of resolutions on issues, like the role of diamonds in fueling conflicts; condemned human rights abuses in Iran and North Korea; and authorized an investigation of alleged war crimes in Syria.

Trump's criticism of the U.N. is by no means unique. While the organization does engage in large-scale humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts, its massive bureaucracy has long been a source of controversy. The organization has been accused by some Western governments of being inefficient and frivolous, while developing nations have said it is overly influenced by wealthier nations.

  • Published in World

Nearly 50 people shot in Chicago over long holiday weekend

Five people were wounded in shootings in Chicago early Monday, bringing to almost 50 the number of people shot in the city since Christmas weekend began Friday afternoon. 

Much of the violence happened in areas "with historical gang conflicts on the south and west side of Chicago," said Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department.

He also referred to the department's "strategic subject list," which is generated daily from a computerized algorithm and assigns a score from 1 to 500 based on such factors as a person's arrests and the activities of his or her associates. Those people with a score in the upper 200s or higher are considered in danger of being shot or of shooting someone else.

"Ninety percent of those fatally wounded had gang affiliations, criminal histories and were pre-identified by the department's strategic subject algorithm as being a potential suspect or victim of gun violence," Guglielmi said.

The shootings Monday included a man shot in each leg in the North Lawndale neighborhood, a man shot in the hand in Englewood and two people in the Park Manor neighborhood who were shot, one in the head, authorities said.

Monday morning's shootings came after two brothers were killed and five other people were wounded while shooting dice at a family Christmas party in East Chatham late Sunday.

That mass shooting, and the others on Christmas, added to the tolls this year in Chicago, where more than 700 homicides have been recorded and more than 4,000 people have been shot -- a level of violence not seen in Chicago since the late 1990s, according to Chicago Tribune and police data. Last year, 488 people were killed in Chicago.

The holiday weekend began with five teenagers shot within feet of each other in the South Austin neighborhood. At 3:30 p.m. Friday, a 16-year-old boy was shot; a little more than an hour later, four other teenagers were shot on a nearby block. Their conditions had stabilized, officials said Monday.

  • Published in World

Trump wants veto for ‘extremely unfair’ UN resolution on Israel

President-elect Donald Trump is opposed to the resolution before the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlements, and wants the US to veto it.

The resolution proposed by Egypt says the "establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace," according to a draft put forward on Wednesday.

It also demands of Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed,” Trump announced Thursday morning on Twitter.

@realDonaldTrump The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed....cont: https://www.facebook.com/DonaldTrump....

In a lengthier statement, posted on his Facebook page, the president elect argued that “peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.”

“This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis,” Trump concluded.

Israel presently controls all of the territory of the old Palestine Mandate, which the UN Resolution 181 (II) partitioned into two states – one Jewish, one Arab – in 1947.

A war fought in 1948-49 resulted in the establishment of Israel, while the remaining Arab territories in the West Bank and Gaza were incorporated into Jordan and Egypt, respectively. Israel gained control of both territories during the June 1967 war against Egypt, Syria and Jordan.

While the West Bank and Gaza are considered occupied territories, and have been administered by the Palestinian National Authority since 1994, Israel considers all of Jerusalem its capital – including the eastern part of the city, held by Jordan until 1967. The proposed Egyptian resolution explicitly denies this claim.

During the campaign, Trump promised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

  • Published in World

‘There are ‘angry white men,' but is ‘Trump the answer’?

Does Donald Trump have the power to bring real change, fix the ills of the US, and get the Black and Hispanic vote; or is just duping angry, scared white men and selling Americans a lot of crud? Analysts discussed this on RT America’s News with Ed Schultz.

Former US President Bill Clinton and US President-elect Donald Trump are trading insults in the wake of the Electoral College vote.

Giving an interview to the local Record-Review newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, Clinton harshly criticized Trump.

The ex-President said: “He doesn’t know much. One thing he does know is how to get angry, white men to vote for him.” The statement was followed by Trump’s answer on twitter saying that Clinton ran a failed election with an unlimited budget.

@realDonaldTrump Bill Clinton stated that I called him after the election. Wrong, he called me (with a very nice congratulations). He "doesn't know much" ...

Conservative commentator Ernie White, and Brad Bauman, a partner at the progressive lobbyists the Pastorum Group, joined RT America’s Ed Schultz to discuss the matter.

RT: Brad, what’s your reaction to Bill Clinton stepping up on the political stage with the negative comment about the incoming President?

Brad Bauman: President Clinton has a right to be angry. I think it is ok to share that anger. Let’s be very, very clear: there is a grain of truth to what President Clinton said. I would have probably taken it a little further and said that what Trump is best able to do – is to dupe angry white men. To dupe scared, white men into believing that somehow he has the power to fix all that ills our country, when in reality he’s selling us all just a lot of crud, frankly.

@RT_com ‘He doesn’t know much’ – Trump fires back against Bill Clinton http://on.rt.com/7y9g

RT: Ernie, what’re your thoughts on that?

Ernie White: First of all, President Trump won the election, and he won the election by having all people vote for him. He won the election by winning the electoral votes that he needed to win. He didn’t spend his time in California, where he knows those 56 electoral votes are not going to go to him. He spent his time in places where the electoral vote matter. He didn’t spend his time in New York – those votes weren’t going to go to him. If the system was not electoral college, Trump would have gone to those states, and he would have campaigned. So Trump did what he had to do to win the election – that is what he did. We’re very excited. Look at these terror attacks going on – we’re very excited to have President Trump...

RT: Bill Clinton is admitting that there are “angry white men” out there. Hillary didn’t get them, and Trump did. That is what he thinks the election was all about. What did Trump do with these “angry white men?”

EW: Trump won the women’s vote too. Hillary was supposed to win the women’s vote. Guess what, Trump next time is going to start digging in that Black vote, the Hispanic vote, as well. You know why? Because people are going to see that change that he promises, real change in America, and not the change that Obama brought to us, which was nothing more than just socialism, which is something that we’re really tired of. We want our country back!

@realDonaldTrump Especially how to get people, even with an unlimited budget, out to vote in the vital swing states ( and more). They focused on wrong states

RT: Brad, where do you go to rejuvenate those union workers? What would be your advice at this point?

BB: The very first thing that I think we need to do is: we need to acknowledge the fact that the so-called angry white men that exist in our country have a right to be angry. Because they were told, we were all told, that if you work hard, you play by the rules, you go to college, etc. – you’re going to be able to provide for your family. And guess what? Millionaires and billionaires, like the ones that Trump is putting into his cabinet, have made sure that every piece of economic power goes straight to the top in this country, and they’ve been sold a ‘bill of goods.’ And I agree because I am angry too. But guess what: Trump is not the answer here.

RT: I’ve heard a number of people saying in the African-American community that Barack Obama did not address Black youth unemployment. When Ferguson, Missouri, was burning, he stood silent only to send the Attorney General down there. Ernie, what would be your advice to Donald Trump to reverse the numbers of Black youth unemployment in America?

EW: The first thing Trump did during the election was – he started going to the church; he started to go to the Black leaders in the churches - started to talk the communities. He is going to start working with the crime elements that are happening in our community. And the one thing he is going to do is start bringing jobs back to our community. Yet, we don’t have white collar jobs, but we need jobs that we can work with our hands again. Those are the factory jobs, those are the kinds of that are going to come back to community –we’re going to see a change.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

  • Published in Specials

Sylvester Stallone 'flattered' by Donald Trump job link

Actor Sylvester Stallone has said he is "flattered" by reports that Donald Trump may offer him an arts post - but would prefer a role helping veterans.

Several publications suggested last week that the president-elect would offer the star a top job in the arts.

In a statement, Stallone said he was "incredibly flattered to have been suggested to be involved with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)".

But the star said he would prefer to highlight issues faced by US veterans.

"I believe I could be more effective by bringing national attention to returning military personnel in an effort to find gainful employment, suitable housing and financial assistance these heroes respectfully deserve," the statement said.

'Better painter'

Stallone, famed for his role in the Rambo and Rocky films, is also an artist.

He has created hundreds of artworks and last year exhibited at the Modern Art Museum in Nice, France.

In 2013, a collection of his paintings went on display at The Russian Museum in St Petersburg.

At the show's opening the star said, if he had the choice, he would spend his life drawing instead of acting.

"I think I'm a much better painter than an actor," he said.

The Oscar-nominated actor studied art before his film career took off.

In an interview with Variety earlier this year, Stallone said: "I love Donald Trump. He's a great Dickensian character. You know what I mean? There are certain people like Arnold [Schwarzenegger], Babe Ruth, that are bigger than life. But I don't know how that translates to running the world."

Established in 1965, the NEA is an independent federal agency which distributes government grants to arts organisations.

The NEA has come under threat in the past from previous Republican governments, including Ronald Reagan's administration.

  • Published in Culture

Thousands March in Solidarity with Migrants, Against Trump

Opposing his predatory campaign and rhetoric, demonstrators including celebrities, filmmakers and even public officials have all called for more mobilization against Trump.

To denounce U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant stance, thousands of people staged protests in several U.S. cities this Sunday, the same day the world celebrated International Migrants Day.

Across Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and Denver, protesters reflecting various nationalities and social movements rallied in solidarity with the large immigrant population in the country that Trump has repeatedly attacked and denigrated. In an interview with 60 Minutes last month, Trump pledged to deport approximately 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants after taking office on Jan. 20.

RELATED: Trump's Election Sees More Than 1,000 Hate Crimes in a Month

Demonstrators, who included influential anti-Trump activists such as liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, called for acts of civil disobedience to put a stop to Trump’s unrelenting hate and bigotry. Speaking with MSNBC, Moore said the answer was more “protesting, obstructing, disrupting.”

“Listen, we’re hours away now from the Electoral College coming together on Monday. This needs protest, this needs people’s voices,” Moore had said, according to Press TV.

Moore’s comments echo what other prominent figures have said, such as Virginia Senator Bernie Sanders, who has called for and organized and well-strategized massive mobilizations against Trump. In Seattle, renowned socialist councilmember Kshama Sawant was also recently arrested at an anti-Trump rally for inviting people to create a "wall of mass resistance" in order to block Trump's cancerous rhetoric, specifically by staging protests during his inauguration.

"We must bring together millions of progressive workers and young people to build a wall of mass resistance against Trump,” Sawant wrote in CounterPunch in November. “And to defend immigrants, women, Muslims, LGBTQ people and all others targeted by his presidency.”

The decision to elect a president does not ultimately belong to the people via the popular vote. According to the U.S. Constitution, voters elect members of the Electoral College, who then elect the president. A majority of 270 votes are required to be elected.

This means that despite losing to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by over 3 million ballots in the popular vote on the Nov. 8 election, Trump still won the state-by-state contest for the Electoral College.

RELATED: International Migrants Day

The New York Immigration Coalition organized a rally that saw hundreds of people, including elected officials, march towards Trump Tower to let him and the Electoral College know they continue to oppose his looming presidency.

“It’s important because even though he is elected, we want to show not everyone is on board,” Hansol Lee, a South Korean immigrant, said, according to AM New York.

In Los Angeles, more than 2000 people came out.

"I want to tell Mr. Trump that we are immigrants, we help this economy grow, we don't want nothing for free," Los Angeles marcher Horalia Jauregui told CBC News.

All protests were reportedly peaceful.

  • Published in World

Trump once donated $10,000 to a West Bank Israeli settlement

In 2003, President-elect Donald Trump donated $10,000 to institutions in one of Israel’s oldest and most steadfast West Bank settlements, one of the community’s founders told an Israeli radio station on Sunday.

Yaakov “Katzele” Katz, one of the original settlers of Beit El, said on the radio that Trump had made the donation in honor of his good friend and Jewish adviser David Friedman, now Trump’s pick to be the next U.S. ambassador to Israel. Friedman, a New York lawyer, serves as president of the American Friends of Bet El Institutions.

Katz told the radio station that more than a decade ago, the settlement honored Friedman at a gala dinner in New York. It was then that Trump made his donation.

“If I would have known he would be elected president, I would have saved the check,” Katz said. He said that Friedman was like a brother to him. The two have been friends for 40 years.

[Israel says no U.S. ambassador has been as right-wing as Trump’s pick]

Trump's pick for ambassador to Israel signals shift in foreign policy

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped David Friedman to be the next U.S. ambassador to Israel. The bankruptcy attorney welcomed the announcement, saying he's looking forward to taking up his post in Jerusalem, a nod to Trump's pledge to move the U.S. embassy out of Tel Aviv. (Reuters)

Friedman’s nomination as ambassador was warmly welcomed by many Israelis, especially those living in some 300 Jewish communities in the West Bank. But it also drew sharp criticism because Friedman is an outspoken supporter of the settlements, which the Obama administration has often said are the main impediment to achieving a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

[Israel rejects latest U.S. criticism of settlement policy]

Katz, a former member of the Israeli parliament, did not comment further on Trump’s donation but said the money was used for the settlement’s yeshivas, or Jewish learning institutions. Trump has donated money to many yeshivas in Israel and the United States.

The Jerusalem Post published an article Sunday showing a 2003 U.S. tax form from the Trump Foundation, which listed a $10,000 donation to American Friends of Bet El.

The group’s website also shows that financial support for the settlement came from the family of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. The website shows that his parents, Charles and Seryl Kushner, are on the fundraising organization’s founding board of trustees. The group recently held its gala fundraising event in New York.

Beit El was established in 1977 on a hill on the outskirts of the de facto Palestinian capital of Ramallah. Today, about 1,300 families live in the settlement. As well as the yeshiva, the settlers there also run a pre-military academy and house one of Israel’s most right-wing media outlets, Arutz Sheva.

Read more  Trump continues his post-election ‘thank you’ tour

  • Published in World

'If Electoral College votes against Trump, US will get worst constitutional crisis in its history'

The system of the Electoral College is corky, but it is not going away anytime soon. Each party thinks they can work the system to their advantage. The losers complain about it. The winners are happy with it, says political cartoonist Ted Rall.

Donald Trump may have won the US presidential election, but he faces one last hurdle - the Electoral College which convenes on Monday to vote for America's 45th leader.

Technically, it has the power to block him and electors are facing immense pressure from those hoping to scupper a Trump presidency.

RT: How can you explain all the pressure about the vote of the Electoral College members to usher in Donald Trump as President of the United States?

TR: Every time there is a situation as in 2000 when George W. Bush technically won the Electoral College vote over Al Gore, who won the popular vote - and there have been other examples in the history - the losers always look to the Electoral College as sort of a “maybe we can get these guys to change their minds after the fact”. But the fact is that historically, although technically it is legally allowed for members of the Electoral College to change their vote, there isn’t much precedent for it. The fact is that they are expected to vote in accordance with the way that their states ordered them to vote. They are appointed by their respective political parties and 99 percent of the time, they always have cast their votes exactly the way that they are supposed to. It does seem a little bit churlish at this point for Democrats to be complaining about the Electoral College. If the election had gone the other way and Hillary Clinton had won with the minority of the popular vote but had won the Electoral College, you could probably guess that the complaints would be coming from the Republican side. As they say “Hypocrisy, thy name is politics.”

RT: What can you tell about the history of the Electoral College? Is there any chance that pledged electors will change their votes over to Hillary Clinton?

TR: The Electoral College does have a long and strange history. The US is the only country that I know of that has a system like this. And it is balanced in order to benefit more rural states. The way it works is basically the number of Electoral College votes per population tends to benefit small states like Rhode Island and Vermont over large states like California, Texas and Florida. So, it is a system that is quirky. But I think it is not going away anytime soon. And the reason is that each party thinks that they can work the system to their advantage. The losers always complain about it. The winners are always quite happy with it. You would need a bipartisan effort on the part of both Democrats and Republicans to get rid of it. And while there are certainly grounds to complain about it. It is not direct democracy; it is not purely one man, one vote or one person, one vote. But nevertheless is also does serve to give a more equal vote to people who live in parts of the country that might not otherwise get that much attention. The Democrats are kind of looking foolish by not only trying to look anti-democratic by trying to defy the system that they tried to work and lost fair and square. This is just not going to work. And the last thing you want to do in politics is to try to get involved in a battle that you don’t have any chance of winning. There is just literally no way that you are going to get forty or more of this pledged electors to change their votes over to Hillary Clinton.

RT: What could be the consequences if members of the Electoral College really decide to change their mind?

TR: If you remember during the campaign Democrats really thought they are going to win and not by a little bit, they thought that Hillary Clinton really thought she was going to win by a landslide. And many of the polls said the same thing. And at that time there was a lot of pressure on Donald Trump to agree, pledge and promise that he was going to honor the results of the election when he lost. Well, he didn’t lose. Now, you have the Democrats doing the same thing that they didn’t want Donald Trump to do, which is an attempt to delegitimize the winner. Trump won the election fair and square. No matter what any Democrats say, there is just no allegation that there were millions of votes were changed somehow by magical means… I don’t think they are thinking this through very carefully. If by some miracle they were able to get the Electoral College to change its mind and install Hillary Clinton, this would create a constitutional crisis which would be unprecedented in American history. And nobody knows where that would lead. You’d have the odd situation, and you’d be doing it at a time when the Supreme Court – which could be called upon to settle it – isn’t in any position to do so due to the death of Antonin Scalia. You now have a 4-4 balance between Democrats and Republicans on the Court. So literally the system couldn’t cure the problem they’re creating. They really need to stop this… the country is already terribly divided in the aftermath of this very difficult and divisive election. If they want to take on Donald Trump there are better ways to do so.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

  • Published in Specials
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