The Memo: Trump in a corner on Saudi Arabia | TheHill


In the wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump has appeared ambivalent about the right response to the kingdom and its crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, whom the U.S. administration has previously backed.
Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner was an emphatic supporter of Mohammed, often known in Washington circles by his initials, MBS.
On Friday, Trump said he viewed the latest Saudi statement as credible and called the arrest of 18 Saudi nationals in connection with the case “a great first step.”
But the kingdom’s statement — its first acknowledgement after more than two weeks that Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in Istanbul — drew derision in Washington, including from Republican lawmakers such as Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). Graham has, of late, been a strong Trump ally.
Nine other GOP senators, as well as Graham and Corker, have signed a letter to Trump calling for an investigation into whether sanctions should be levied against individual Saudis over Khashoggi’s death. Those sanctions could target the crown prince himself or his allies.
The Republican critiques point to a larger problem for Trump.
The Saudis are not viewed sympathetically even by conservative foreign policy voices or by Trump’s broader base, which tend to regard U.S. support for Riyadh as a necessary evil aimed at countering Iranian influence in the Middle East.
That makes it harder for Trump to gain traction with his case, outlined this week, that the Saudis have been somehow treated unfairly.
Trump twice compared the Saudis’ situation with that of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings — first, in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday and, in milder form, while speaking to reporters on Friday.

 

Source: The Memo: Trump in a corner on Saudi Arabia | TheHill

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The world has a question for the White House: When do murders matter?


With Trump’s views on journalists what is the betting that he wishes this could occur in any of the US Embassies and Consulates.

The Secular Jurist

For nearly three weeks, the world has watched President Trump downplay the disappearance and apparent slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and waited for the most powerful man in the world to act. They are waiting still.

Trump’s inconsistent and cautious remarks about the case have renewed questions about U.S. credibility and complicated the global response, emboldening adversaries such as Russia and China and discouraging robust action by traditional allies, according to analysts and former U.S. officials.

“This is a drastic break from American practice,” said Vali R. Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. “It signals a very different foreign policy that does not hold governments accountable for things that are outside normal legal or ethical parameters.”

Continue reading:  The world has a question for the White House: When do murders matter?

Further reading:  Republicans Break With Trump Over Khashoggi Death

Related story:  Diners confront Mitch…

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UK joins chorus of disapproval after Trump praises assault on Guardian reporter | US news | The Guardian


The British government has joined press freedom advocates and journalists in expressing dismay and disgust with Donald Trump’s remarks at a rally, where he praised the unprovoked assault on a Guardian US journalist by the state’s congressman, Greg Gianforte.

At the Republican rally in Montana on Thursday night, the president lauded and made jokes about the violent attack by Gianforte, when he was a candidate, on the Guardian’s political reporter Ben Jacobs in 2017.

A spokeswoman for the British prime minister, Theresa May, when asked about the president’s remarks, said on Friday: “Any violence or intimidation against a journalist is completely unacceptable.”

Journalists across the US launched into fierce criticism of the congressman, via social media.

“Gianforte is a criminal. He pled guilty to [assault]. The president is congratulating a criminal on committing a crime,” said the New York Times correspondent Binyamin Appelbaum on Twitter.

Trump’s comments “mark the first time the president has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil,” added the New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

Trump fondly reminisced about the physical assault that occurred on 24 Maylast year when Jacobs, the Guardian’s political correspondent, asked Gianforte a question about healthcare policy in the course of a special congressional election in Montana. At Thursday’s rally, Trump said that anyone who could perform a body-slam, as Gianforte did on Jacobs, was “my guy”, and that news of the attack, which occurred the night before the special election, probably helped Gianforte win.

Trump finished his account of the physical assault by saying of Gianforte: “He’s a great guy. Tough cookie.” The partisan crowd at the rally in Missoula in western Montana clapped and cheered.

On Friday afternoon, on his way to a rally in Arizona, Trump was asked if he regretted the comments. He said: “No, no, no, not at all,” according to a tweetfrom a CNN reporter traveling with the president. He labelled the rally a tremendous success and called Gianforte a “tremendous person”.

The writers’ organization PEN America, which had filed a lawsuit earlier this week against Donald Trump accusing him of violating the first amendment of the US constitution by using his powerful position to threaten press freedom, has also condemned the president’s encouragement for Gianforte’s attack.

In a statement issued on Friday, PEN America said Trump’s “explicit praise” for Gianforte’s assault “marks a startling new low in terms of the White House’s open hostility toward the press”.

 

Source: UK joins chorus of disapproval after Trump praises assault on Guardian reporter | US news | The Guardian

Russian woman charged with attempted meddling in upcoming U.S. midterms : NBC News


ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A Russian woman who works for an oligarch close to Russian President Vladamir Putin has been charged with attempting to meddle in the 2018 midterm election.

The charges, filed Friday in the Eastern District of Virginia, accuse Elena A. Khusyaynova of St. Petersburg with using social media platforms to create thousands of social media and e-mail accounts — appearing to be from people in the U.S. — to “create and amplify divisive social media and political content.” The case is not being brought by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Among the other topics were gun control, gay rights, the women’s march and the NFL national anthem debate. They also keyed off specific events, including the Las Vegas shooting and the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The content adopted several viewpoints, not just one, court documents said.

Among the politicians attacked were John McCain, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell and former President Barack Obama.

Khusyaynova’s operation also targeted Mueller, pushing out an article published by the right-wing website WorldNetDaily that was titled, “The 8 Dirtiest Scandals of Robert Mueller No One Is Talking About,” the criminal complaint said.

The influence campaign worked to create “political intensity through supporting radical groups” and to “aggravate the conflict between minorities and the rest of the population,” according to federal prosecutors.

Court documents include photos of phony “memes” planted in this Russian effort.

 

Source: Russian woman charged with attempted meddling in upcoming U.S. midterms : NBC News

Trump, GSA head caught putting Trump business ahead of taxpayers : MSNBC


Rep. Elijah Cummings talks with Rachel Maddow about e-mails that show Donald Trump’s direct role in preventing the FBI from moving to a new building and leaving their old building to likely development as a hotel that would compete with Trump’s.

 

Source: Trump, GSA head caught putting Trump business ahead of taxpayers : MSNBC

Slavery was never abolished – it affects millions, and you may be funding it : The Conversation


When we think of slavery, many of us think of historical or so-called “traditional forms” of slavery – and of the 12m people ripped from their West African homes and shipped across the Atlantic for a lifetime in the plantations of the Americas.

But slavery is not just something that happened in the past –- the modern day estimate for the number of men, women and children forced into labour worldwide exceeds 40m. Today’s global slave trade is so lucrative that it nets traffickers more than US$150 billioneach year.

Slavery affects children as well as adults

Debt bondage often ensnares both children and adults. In Haiti, for example, many children are sent to work by their families as domestic servants under what’s known as the Restavek system – the term comes from the French language rester avec, “to stay with”. These children, numbering as many as 300,000, are often denied an education, forced to work up to 14 hours a day and are sometimes victims of sexual abuse.

 

Source: Slavery was never abolished – it affects millions, and you may be funding it : The Conversation

Outrage as disability assessment reports are ‘altered’ to refuse benefits support


There is growing evidence to suggest that disability benefit assessment reports are being deliberately “altered” or “tampered” with in order to deny disabled people the benefits support they desperately need, it has been revealed.

Evidence suggests that assessment reports for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) sent to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are routinely “audited” by DWP officials so that the altered reports bear little or no resemblance to the originals.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey MP, is now facing calls to explain the reasons behind these “audits”, after SNP MP Marion Fellows highlighted the case of one of her constituents who was refused PIP based on an audited assessment report by a DWP official.

 

Source: Outrage as disability assessment reports are ‘altered’ to refuse benefits support

Donald Trump’s racist obsessions are the real story — not Elizabeth Warren’s heritage | Salon.com


After years of Donald Trump taunting Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with the racist nickname “Pocahontas” and suggesting, falsely, that she used her family’s claim to have Native American ancestry for a leg up in her law career, the truth is now out: Warren, as her family has long believed, is partly of Native ancestry. A DNA test, analyzed by a Stanford scientist prominent in the field, confirms not just this fact but the Warren family’s timeline, which traced their Native ancestor back to the 1700s.

Now this largely irrelevant question — once again, Warren never used her claim to Native ancestry to influence her career trajectory — should be settled. Maybe the mainstream media can turn its attention to the more important and more interesting story, which is why Trump is so obsessed with this question of Warren’s ancestry in the first place. An overwhelming amount of public information suggests that Trump has an unhealthy obsession with questions of bloodlines, ethnic heritage and genetics. Worse yet, his understanding of these issues appears to be filtered through the lens of eugenics, a pseudo-science with an unsavory history that looks even more troubling in light of Trump’s overt and well-documented racism.

This isn’t even the first time Trump has become fixated on the question of the racial heritage of a major Democratic politician. It was he, after all, who catapulted a fringe conspiracy theory that Barack Obama had somehow faked his birth certificate into the mainstream news cycle, hyping this conspiracy theory not just on Fox News but on NBC and ABC. Obama finally released his long-form birth certificate, settling the issue in the mainstream media — which should have never let Trump play this racist game in the first place — but Trump kept on hyping birtherism, using his Twitter account to repeatedly insinuate that Obama had cheated his way into the White House.

Trump praises first responders after Hurricane Michael

 

Source: Donald Trump’s racist obsessions are the real story — not Elizabeth Warren’s heritage | Salon.com

The Catholic Church’s grim history of ignoring priestly pedophilia – and silencing would-be whistleblowers : The Conversation


Widespread public shock followed the recent release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that identified more than 1,000 child victims of clergy sexual abuse. In fact, as I know through my research, the Vatican and its American bishops have known about the problem of priestly pedophilia since at least the 1950s. And the Church has consistently silenced would-be whistleblowers from within its own ranks.

In the memory of many Americans, the only comparable scandal was in Massachusetts, where, in 2002, the Boston Globe published more than 600 articles about abuses under the administration of Cardinal Bernard Law. That investigation was immortalized in the 2015 award-winning film, “Spotlight.”

What many Americans don’t remember, however, are other similar scandals, some even more dramatic and national in scope.

Doubling down on secrecy

 

Source: The Catholic Church’s grim history of ignoring priestly pedophilia – and silencing would-be whistleblowers : The Conversation

Trump vows ‘severe punishment’ for Saudi Arabia if Khashoggi was killed


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said in a CBS interview on Saturday that there would be “severe punishment” for Saudi Arabia if it turns out that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

 

Source: Trump vows ‘severe punishment’ for Saudi Arabia if Khashoggi was killed