Friday, August 18, 2017


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Mike Pence Compares Donald Trump to Teddy Roosevelt, Who Said White People Were The 'Forward Race'

Vice President Mike Pence compared President Donald Trump to former President Teddy Roosevelt, who believed white people were “the forward race.” Speaking on Tuesday, just days after violence at a white supremacist rally left one person dead, Pence made the unfortunate comparison between the U.S.’ 26th president and Trump.

“In President Donald Trump, the United States once again has a president whose vision, energy and can-do spirit is reminiscent of President Teddy Roosevelt,” Pence said in comments reported by Guardian correspondent Ben Jacobs.
“Then, as now, we have a builder of boundless optimism, who seeks to usher in a new era of shared possibility,” Pence said, “Then, as now, we have a leader who sees things not just for what they are but for what they could be.”

The vice president’s decision to compare the president to Roosevelt, whose views on Native American and African people are well documented, comes at a time when Trump himself is facing criticism over his failure to denounce white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Roosevelt was known for calling white Americans “the forward race,” and minorities “the backward race." He said of Native Americans, “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”

Trump faced a backlash after he gave a press conference about the violence in Charlottesville in which he claimed not all people marching in the white supremacist rally were white supremacists, in comments that prompted criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.
“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump told reporters. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”

“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch,” he added.

Missouri state senator says she hopes Donald Trump is assassinated sparking Secret Service investigation

A US state senator is being investigated by the Secret Service for saying she hopes President Donald Trump will be assassinated.

Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a Democrat state senator from Missouri, made the remarks on her personal Facebook page but then later deleted them.

The politician said “I hope Trump is assassinated!” in response to a post suggesting Vice President Mike Pence would try to oust Mr Trump from the Oval Office.

The Secret Service said they are “looking into the comments” and say “all threats against the President” will be subject to investigation.

Ms Chappelle-Nadal, who gained prominence for criticising the Ferguson police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, has since deleted the comment and apologised.

But the politician, who has been an outspoken activist while in the Legislature, has been insistent she will not be stepping down over the furore and said her comment was borne out of frustration with the current political landscape.

She also said she was frustrated with the president’s response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

“I am not resigning. When people of colour are respected by this White House and they are willing to do real work, I'll sit down with them. People are traumatized!” she said on Twitter.
She told the St Louis Post-Dispatch: "I didn't mean what I put up. Absolutely not. I have deleted it, and it should have been deleted.

"I am not resigning. What I said was wrong, but I am not going to stop talking about what led to that, which is the frustration and anger that many people across America are feeling right now."
The comments about assassination have drawn swift condemnation from Republicans and fellow democrats and some have called for her to step down,

Stephen Webber, the chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party, said the remarks were “indefensible” and the party “will absolutely not tolerate calls for the assassination of the president.”
Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill said: “I condemn it. It’s outrageous and she should resign.”
Ms Chappelle-Nadal, who has been subject to frequent vitriolic abuse from Trump supporters online, became a leading critic during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the police killing of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black resident who was unarmed when fatally shot by an officer in 2014.
The politician, who is from the St. Louis suburb of University City, took part in protests against the fatal shooting and was among the protesters who were tear-gassed by law enforcement officials.
She argued institutional inequality was a critical issue which lay behind the civil unrest in Ferguson and had contributed to heightened tensions between police and the community, saying: "I have to tell you that there has been systematic racism, institutionally in state government for decades, including my own state party,” she said. “People are angry, and they are hurt, and they’re trying to figure out: how are they going to receive justice?”

Johnny Depp was also recently forced to apologise for joking about assassinating President Trump, saying his remarks were in “poor taste.”

Speaking during an appearance at Glastonbury music festival, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor publicly pondered how long it had been since an actor had killed a US president.
"I apologise for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump," Depp said in a statement.

"It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone."

Trump memoir ghostwriter predicts US leader will resign

Washington (AFP) - The ghostwriter who penned Donald Trump's 1987 memoir "The Art of the Deal" thinks the US president will throw in the towel before the end of his term.
Writer Tony Schwartz tweeted that "Trump is going to resign" before investigators probing alleged ties between the Republican's campaign team and Russia "leave him no choice."
"The circle is closing at blinding speed," the author tweeted. "Trump is going to resign and declare victory before Mueller and congress leave him no choice."

"Trump's presidency is effectively over," he said in a follow-up tweet. "Would be amazed if he survives till end of the year. More likely resigns by fall, if not sooner."
While writing Trump's bestselling breakthrough memoir Schwartz spent 18 months with the billionaire tycoon.

He spoke out last year against the real estate mogul during the presidential campaign, telling The New Yorker magazine that he put "lipstick on a pig."

"I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is."

Defiant, Trump Laments Assault on Culture and Revives a Bogus Pershing Story

WASHINGTON — Despite ongoing rebukes over his defense of white supremacists, President Trump defiantly returned to his campaign’s nativist themes on Thursday. He lamented an assault on American “culture,” revived a bogus, century-old story about killing Muslim extremists and attacked Republicans with a renewed vigor.

Hours after a terrorist attack in Spain, Mr. Trump recalled a debunked event in which Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing supposedly killed Muslim rebels in the Philippines by shooting them with bullets dipped in the blood of pigs, which Muslims are forbidden to eat. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in Barcelona, where the driver of a van crashed into a busy tourist boulevard, killing 13.

“Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught,” Mr. Trump tweeted, spreading a mythical story even as he again accused the news media of being “Fake News” in another tweet. “There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”
As when he trafficked in the same unproven legend during the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump ignored the conclusions of historians, who repeatedly have said it did not happen. Additionally, his claim that Pershing ended terrorism in the Philippines for 35 years is refuted by the violence that continued for decades after the rebellion that ended in 1913.

Mr. Trump also appeared in peril of losing support from key Republicans he will need to advance his agenda in Congress. Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, questioned the president’s “stability,” and Senator Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, declared Mr. Trump’s moral authority is “compromised.”
Mr. Corker, a sober voice on foreign policy and a frequent ally of the Trump administration, bluntly questioned the president’s ability to perform the duties of his office.

“The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,” Mr. Corker told reporters. He said Mr. Trump had not “appropriately spoken to the nation” about Charlottesville, Va.

Mr. Scott, of South Carolina, insisted that he would not “defend the indefensible” when it came to the president’s comments about “both sides” in Charlottesville being responsible for the violence last Saturday.

“What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority,” Mr. Scott said in an interview with Vice. “And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happens — there’s no question about that,” he said, noting the president’s angry remarks to reporters this week in Manhattan, where Mr. Trump criticized the “alt-left” while abandoning earlier condemnations of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump made clear that he has no intention of stepping back from his assertions about the Charlottesville rally that have drawn widespread condemnation. In three tweets, Mr. Trump defended Civil War-era statues, using language very similar to that of white supremacists to argue the statues should remain in place.

On Twitter, Mr. Trump called it “foolish” to remove statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and mused that monuments to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would be next. “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” the president wrote.

And as he faced a new round of bipartisan denunciations, Mr. Trump also lashed out at two senior Republican senators who have been unsparing in their criticism during the past week.
The president accused Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, of “publicity seeking” and said that Mr. Graham had uttered a “disgusting lie” when he said — accurately — that the president had equated the white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville with the counterprotesters who were there to oppose them.

“He just can’t forget his election trouncing,” the president said of Mr. Graham, who waged a losing bid against Mr. Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. “The people of South Carolina will remember!”

Mr. Trump also called Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, “toxic” and “WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor” in the Senate. He praised Mr. Flake’s Republican primary race opponent.
There was new evidence on Thursday that the political crisis created by the president’s Charlottesville remarks was having an effect on Mr. Trump’s business. The Cleveland Clinic announced it was pulling out of a 2018 fund-raiser at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., and the head of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce urged businesses not to host events there.
The American Cancer Society, which had planned to hold its 2018 gala at Mar-a-Lago, announced it, too, would change the venue, citing its “values and commitment to diversity.”

“It has become increasingly clear that the challenge to those values is outweighing other business considerations,” the group said in a statement.

The White House announced that Mr. Trump had decided to cancel plans to assemble a President’s Advisory Council on Infrastructure. The decision to abandon the business group came a day after a revolt among industry leaders on two other advisory panels forced the president to disband them.
And Carmen de Lavallade, a dancer and choreographer who will be honored by the Kennedy Center in December, announced on Thursday that she will forgo the related reception at the White House.
“In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in, and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for, I will be declining the invitation to attend the reception at the White House,” Ms. de Lavallade, 86, said in a statement.

Even so, White House officials said Mr. Trump was in good spirits on Thursday as he continued a working vacation at his estate in Bedminster, N.J. He dined with Richard LeFrak, a longtime friend, at the president’s golf course, according to a person briefed on the dinner.

Mr. Trump also held meetings with Gov. Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, and Linda McMahon, the head of the Small Business Administration. But both events were closed to the news media, depriving the president of any further ability to engage in another back-and-forth with reporters.
Within his administration, his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, was said to be deeply frustrated and unsure how to contain his boss. And pressure mounted on Gary D. Cohn, the director of the White House National Economic Council, who is Jewish and had privately expressed dismay about the president’s remarks.

Unconfirmed reports that Mr. Cohn was about to resign prompted a statement from a White House official: “Nothing has changed. Gary is focused on his responsibilities as N.E.C. director and any reports to the contrary are 100 percent false.”

For the president, Thursday was a return to themes that were last on display in the weeks and months after he won the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9, 2016.

During that period, he praised dictators like Saddam Hussein as effective counterforces on terrorism and declared his support for enhanced interrogation techniques that have been outlawed as a form of torture. “Torture works,” Mr. Trump said in South Carolina that month.

That was the same month that Mr. Trump first alluded to a legend — thoroughly debunked by numerous historians — about Pershing, then governor of the Moro Province in the Philippines, and his use of pig’s blood.

Mr. Trump’s remarks about the Civil War statues were also an echo of his campaign, and are not unlike sentiments in the South that the monuments and Confederate history reflect “heritage not hate” — a phrase commonly used by groups like the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
“To those 70 million of us whose ancestors fought for the South, it is a symbol of family members who fought for what they thought was right in their time, and whose valor became legendary in military history,” Ben Jones, a former Democratic congressman from Georgia, wrote in an opinion piece in The New York Times in 2015.

Critics say the president’s remarks reflect a dangerously sanitized view of a war to uphold slavery and destroy the union. And they say the comparison with the Founding Fathers is entirely off base: Unlike the Southerners who helped found the country, the issue with Civil War monuments is that they honor people who took up arms against the United States, at least in part, to maintain slavery, critics say.

Mr. Trump saw it otherwise. “The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” he tweeted.

NY Times

Trump Makes Caligula Look Pretty Good

Even before the media obsession with Hillary Clinton’s email server put The Worst President Ever™ in the White House, historians were comparing Donald Trump to Caligula, the cruel, depraved Roman emperor who delighted in humiliating others, especially members of the empire’s elite. But seven months into the Trump administration, we can see that this comparison was unfair.
For one thing, Caligula did not, as far as we know, foment ethnic violence within the empire. For another, again as far as we know, Rome’s government continued to function reasonably well despite his antics: Provincial governors continued to maintain order, the army continued to defend the borders, there were no economic crises.

Finally, when his behavior became truly intolerable, Rome’s elite did what the party now controlling Congress seems unable even to contemplate: It found a way to get rid of him.
Anyone with eyes — eyes not glued to Fox News, anyway — has long realized that Trump is utterly incapable, morally and intellectually, of filling the office he holds. But in the past few days things seem to have reached a critical mass.

Journalists have stopped seizing on brief moments of not-craziness to declare Trump “presidential”; business leaders have stopped trying to curry favor by lending Trump an air of respectability; even military leaders have gone as far as they can to dissociate themselves from administration pronouncements.

Put it this way: “Not my president” used to sound like an extreme slogan. Now it has more or less become the operating principle for key parts of the U.S. system.

Despite this, it may seem on the surface as if the republic is continuing to function normally. We’re still adding jobs; stocks are up; public services continue to be delivered.

But remember, this administration has yet to confront a crisis not of its own making. Furthermore, a series of scary deadlines are looming. Never mind tax reform. Congress has to act within the next few weeks to enact a budget, or the government will shut down; to raise the debt ceiling, or the U.S. will go into default; to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or millions of children will lose coverage.

So who’s going to ensure that these critical deadlines are met? Not Trump, who’s too busy praising white supremacists and promoting his businesses. Maybe Republican leaders in Congress will still be able to wrangle their extremist members, who see crippling the government as a good thing, into the necessary deals.

But the revelation that these leaders were lying about health care all those years has destroyed their intellectual credibility — remember when people took Paul Ryan’s pretense of policy expertise seriously? And their association with President Caligula has destroyed their moral credibility, too. They could keep the government functioning by dealing with Democrats, but they’re afraid to do that, for the same reason they’re afraid to confront the madman in the White House.

For here’s the situation: Everyone in Washington now knows that we have a president who never meant it when he swore to defend the Constitution. He violates that oath just about every day and is never going to get any better.

The good news is that the founding fathers contemplated that possibility and offered a constitutional remedy: Unlike the senators of ancient Rome, who had to conspire with the Praetorian Guard to get Caligula assassinated, the U.S. Congress has the ability to remove a rogue president.
But a third of the country still approves of that rogue president — and that third amounts to a huge majority of the G.O.P. base. So all we get from the vast majority of elected Republicans are off-the-record expressions of “dismay” or denunciations of bigotry that somehow fail to name the bigot in chief.

It’s not just that Republicans fear primary challenges from candidates pandering to the racist right, although they do; Trump is already supporting challengers to Republicans he considers insufficiently loyal.

The fact is that white supremacists have long been a key if unacknowledged part of the G.O.P. coalition, and Republicans need those votes to win general elections. Given the profiles in cowardice they’ve presented so far, it’s hard to imagine anything — up to and including evidence of collusion with a foreign power — that would make them risk losing those voters’ support.
So the odds are that we’re stuck with a malevolent, incompetent president whom nobody knowledgeable respects, and many consider illegitimate. If so, we have to hope that our country somehow stumbles through the next year and a half without catastrophe, and that the midterm elections transform the political calculus and make the Constitution great again.
If that doesn’t happen, all one can say is God save America. Because all indications are that the Republicans won’t.



 Atlantic Monthly

'Before I Make a Statement, I Need the Facts'

President Trump responded quickly to a terrorist attack in Barcelona, but waited to condemn the one in Charlottesville.

President Trump said Tuesday he waited days to condemn the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, because he wanted to get all the facts. Trump has not explicitly described as terrorism the attack that took place there, which like today’s Barcelona attack involved a vehicle striking pedestrians.
In response to a question about whether it met the definition of terrorism, given the by-then widely reported extremist right-wing political ideology of the attacker, Trump said: “You can call it terrorism. You can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want.” He described the debate over the term, which according to most definitions involves politically motivated violence designed to inspire fear, as “legal semantics.” But now it’s Thursday, and just hours after reports emerged of a fatal attack in Barcelona, Trump took to Twitter to call it terror, and prescribed a solution to eliminate “radical Islamic terror” based on a historical falsehood.

By Sunday, a day after the attack in Charlottesville that killed one person amid a demonstration including far-right and neo-Nazi groups, reports had already emerged of the suspected attackers’ white-supremacist ideology and fascination with Nazis. It took Trump a day to condemn neo-Nazis in a statement on Monday, and another day to equivocate on the definition of “terrorism.” In Barcelona, the attacker used his van to strike pedestrians in a tourist zone on Thursday, and within hours Spanish authorities had a suspect in custody whom they identified as a Moroccan-born man. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack online—but not until after the U.S. president had declared his certainty about the motivations of the culprit.

Trump is right about the virtues of waiting for information before declaring a seemingly violent event a terrorist attack—not least because some such events prove to be accidents or “ordinary” crimes, and invoking terrorists in such instances risks exaggerating their power. In the case of the Barcelona attack, it could be that the president had access to classified intelligence the general public did not, and saw fit to share the information on Twitter. We in the media typically rely on official confirmation of motives behind attacks to attribute them to an individual or group. Trump’s public statements on attacks could serve as a confirmation of motive.

Trump, in fact, is among the first world leaders to chime in whenever there’s a terrorist attack—well before the authorities in those countries have labeled the attack as terrorism. But he has sometimes called them terrorism even when they were not—as in the case of a fatal incident in a Philippines resort that authorities called a robbery—or when they simply didn’t happen, as when he seemed to make up a terrorist attack in Sweden in February.

Trump has also used attacks as an opportunity to criticize local responses, as he did when he misquoted Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London as having said there was “no reason to be alarmed” after a June attack that killed eight people; Khan had actually been telling Londoners not to be alarmed by the increased police presence. Trump has also used attacks to criticize France’s immigration policies and Germany’s refugee policy, and to make political predictions, as he did following an April attack in Paris, which he tweeted “will have a big effect on presidential election!” It did not. (And as I’ve reported previously, it’s not clear it ever does.)

Although terrorism remains an important challenge for many countries around the world, attributing successes to terrorist groups—when there’s little evidence for it—can be counterproductive. For instance, al-Qaeda has been considerably weakened since the U.S. began the war on terrorism after the attacks of September 11, 2001, with most of its top leaders dead or dispersed. ISIS, which took over as the most prominent global jihadist enemy after al-Qaeda, is facing that same fate. It has lost much of the ground it controls in Iraq and Syria, and is now confined to areas around Syria’s Raqqa, its de facto capital, as reports keep emerging of the deaths of its leaders. The group no doubt continues to inspire people to carry out attacks across Europe and elsewhere, but its online reach may at this time be greater than its ability to plan and execute an operation overseas.

The caution Trump claims characterized his response to Charlottesville thus seems not to apply when it comes to attacks carried out by Islamists. It may well be that Trump sees Islamic terrorism as a greater threat than white-supremacist groups in the U.S. In fact, he has said it’s the biggest threat to Western civilization. As Foreign Policy noted in June, the Department of Homeland Security has stripped funding from groups that fight neo-Nazi violence, in what the magazine called “another indication the Trump administration is turning away from its efforts to combat far-right violence, and refocusing the [countering violent extremism] program to focus more on Islamic extremism.” A 2017 report from the Government Accountability Office, however, notes that in the 15 years between September 11, 2001 and the end of 2016, fatal attacks by far-right extremists outnumbered those by their jihadist counterparts, though the jihadist attacks killed more people.
But as my colleague Julia Ioffe pointed out this week Islamist terrorists and white supremacists have much in common:

The attack in Charlottesville, after all, used a signature ISIS technique, one that has also been espoused by the American far-right in targeting Black Lives Matter protesters. “Run them over,” they say. Or, “All lives splatter.” But for the differing death tolls, it looked a lot like the acts of Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, the man who plowed an 18-wheeler into a crowded boardwalk in Nice
Similarly, despite the differences in jihadist and neo-Nazi, white-supremacist ideologies, the two movements and how they attract and retain followers are often studied side by side by scholars of extremism. When the problem of mass recruitment by jihadists emerged in the West, researchers turned for guidance to what they had learned studying the psychology, behavior, and structure of neo-Nazi groups. “It’s an obvious comparison, absolutely,” says Jessica Stern, a leading scholar of terrorist groups.

Immediately after Charlottesville, Trump’s closest aides were unequivocal about what had happened. General H.R. McMaster, the national-security adviser, called it “terrorism.” Attorney General Jeff Session described it as “domestic terrorism.” Trump it would appear is still looking for facts.
“It is a very, very important process to me,” Trump said Tuesday of the virtue of patience. “It is a very important statement. So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts.”

Democrats Mount an Effort to Censure Donald Trump

The House resolution faults the president for failing to adequately condemn white supremacists “and assure the American people of his resolve to opposing domestic terrorism.”
When Donald Trump failed to single out and denounce Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, and their allies Sunday, even after they marched by torchlight through an American city, where one among them ran down an anti-racist protester, I noted the historic failure of presidential leadership—a failure underscored by the praise that white supremacist leaders heaped on his approach—and called on Congress to step into the breach, reasserting the nation’s conscience by censuring the president.
In the days that followed, Trump buckled to widespread pressure to single out the white-supremacist groups, naming them in a statement that he read from a teleprompter. But he subsequently declared, in a combative, unscripted press conference Tuesday, that there were some good people on both sides of the Charlottesville protest, implying that good people marched alongside swastikas and KKK members.

A formal censure became even more necessary.
And Wednesday, a group of House Democrats produced a censure resolution against President Trump.

Its full text:

Censuring and condemning President Donald Trump.
1st Session
August 18, 2017

Mr. NADLER, Ms. WATSON COLEMAN, and Ms. JAYAPAL submitted the following resolution, which was referred to the Committee on _______;

Censuring and condemning President Donald Trump.
Whereas on August 11, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, a gathering of white supremacists, including neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members, and other alt-Right, white nationalist groups, marched through the streets with torches as part of a coordinated ‘Unite the Right’ rally spewing racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred;

Whereas on August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, a car driven by James Alex Fields, Jr. rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 20 others;
Whereas President Donald Trump’s immediate public comments rebuked “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and failed to specifically condemn the ‘Unite the Right’ rally or cite the white supremacist, neo-Nazi gathering as responsible for actions of domestic terrorism;
Whereas on August 15, 2017, President Donald Trump held a press conference at Trump Tower where he reasserted that “both sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and attempted to create a moral equivalency between white supremacist, KKK, neo-Nazi groups and those counter-protesting the ‘Unite the Right’ rally;

Whereas President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with, and cultivated the influence of, senior advisers and spokespeople who have long histories of promoting white nationalist, alt-Right, racist and anti-Semitic principles and policies within the country;

Whereas President Donald Trump has provided tacit encouragement and little to no denunciation of white supremacist groups and individuals who promote their bigoted, nationalist ideology and policies;

Whereas President Donald Trump has failed to provide adequate condemnation and assure the American people of his resolve to opposing domestic terrorism:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1)   does hereby censure and condemn President Donald Trump for his inadequate response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017, his failure to immediately and specifically name and condemn the white supremacist groups responsible for actions of domestic terrorism, for reasserting that “both sides” were to blame and excusing the violent behavior of participants in the ‘Unite the Right’ rally, and for employing people with ties to white supremacist movements in the White House, such as Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka; and

(2)   does hereby urge President Donald Trump to fire any and all White House advisors who have urged him to cater to the alt-Right movement in the United States.
An overwhelming vote by the House to censure Trump would help to mitigate his inadequate leadership by sending the message he failed to send to white supremacists: that the people are overwhelmingly opposed to their bigotry; that even the most populist branch of government is so adamantly anti-KKK and anti-Nazi that members will censure a president of their own party for delivering anything short of moral clarity. The country would benefit greatly.
This isn’t a perfect resolution; there are likely tweaks that would increase the chance of Republican votes without undercutting the benefits to America. It is, however, a good starting point. The GOP can suggest changes or write its own resolution, bearing in mind that the resolution at hand is far better than nothing at all.

As yet, House Republicans have been willing to ally with Trump despite his cozying up to the alt-right, denigrating Mexicans and Muslims, and stoking ethnic anxieties. If they are to redeem themselves in the least, censure or impeachment is necessary. Should they do nothing, history should record that they were complicit in Trumpism.

Washington Post

Romney calls on Trump to address the nation, apologize for Charlottesville comments

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on Friday called on President Trump to address the nation and apologize for his remarks about Charlottesville, warning of “an unraveling of our national fabric” if Trump doesn’t take “remedial action in the extreme.”

“Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn,” Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said in a lengthy Facebook post.

With his post, Romney, who was highly critical of Trump during last year’s campaign but later considered by Trump for secretary of state, became the latest high-profile Republican to speak out about the president’s comments, in which he blamed both sides for the hate-fueled violence at a gathering organized by white supremacists.

Romney said the Republican president’s words had hurt the morale of the military and threatened U.S. security.

“Our allies around the world are stunned and our enemies celebrate,” Romney wrote. “America's ability to help secure a peaceful and prosperous world is diminished. And who would want to come to the aid of a country they perceive as racist if ever the need were to arise, as it did after 9/11?”
Romney also voiced concern about the impact of Trump’s statements on the nation’s youth, saying how Trump handles the situation going forward is not only a defining moment for him but “is a moment that will define America in the hearts of our children.”

In the post, Romney suggests Trump acknowledge his comments were wrong in an address to the nation and “state forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville.”

Trump, Romney said, should also make clear “there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis — who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat — and the counterprotesters who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute.”

There is a shriveled emptiness where Trump’s soul once resided

O mother
What shall I cry?
We demand a committee, a representative committee, a committee of investigation
— T.S. Eliot, “Difficulties of a Statesman”

After President Trump's most recent rhetoric about Charlottesville inflamed even more criticism, a handful of GOP lawmakers, including Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), are criticizing Trump directly, while others stay silent. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)
Many have asked with rising hope in their voices: Will Stephen K. Bannon be fired?
It would certainly be ironic for the alt-right conscience of the White House to be dismissed at the moment of his triumph. President Trump’s recantation of his staff-enforced moral clarity on the Charlottesville clash was a high point for the Breitbart worldview. About that unequivocal condemnation of Nazis, racists and murder? Never mind. The left is just as bad. Both sides share the blame.

This might be defensible — if you leave out the 400 years of oppression, segregation, violence and cruelty that black people have experienced in North America. If you leave out a bloody Civil War started by slave interests to defend an economic system based on theft of labor and the lash. If you leave out the millions shot, gassed and incinerated under the Nazi flag, their wedding rings and gold fillings carefully collected by their killers. If you leave out every grave of every American who fought and died to defeat fascism and militarism.

So moral equivalence is an option — for those who are willfully blind to history and have a shriveled emptiness where their soul once resided.

This is now, sadly, an accurate description of the United States’ 45th president, who felt compelled to reveal his true convictions. Such compulsion has the virtue of honesty. It has the drawback (from Trump’s perspective) of leaving his defenders without excuse.
Now the operative question is not “Should Bannon leave?” It has become: “Why should anyone not named Bannon stay at the White House?”

There are, of course, some true believers beside Bannon who constitute a deep state of lunacy and malice. And it would be difficult for relatives to resign in protest from the family. But consider poor chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, standing beside Trump during his moment of sympathy for the “very fine people” at a white supremacist rally. (Cohn was “somewhere between appalled and furious,” according to sources who talked to Axios.) Or consider poor Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, who watched helplessly as message discipline swerved into the alt-right abyss.

But “poor” is not quite the right adjective. People with jobs at the White House or in the Cabinet are not victims. They hold positions of public influence and trust, with their primary duty owed to the U.S. Constitution (look at the oath they take), not to the president.

Loyalty to the president is a good thing, in the proper context. It is rooted in gratitude for the opportunity of a lifetime. There is a natural tendency, I can attest as a former White House staffer, to defend the leader you know from attacks by outsiders who know him not at all. Being a Cabinet officer or an assistant to the president is a chance to do great good — a chance that may never come again. Besides, the president won an election and has the right to set his own agenda. But Trump is knocking out the props that support this type of reasoning. He shows precious little downward loyalty, frequently subjecting his closest aides to public humiliation as a kind of management tool. The chance to do great good is dwindling day by day, as Trump systematically alienates natural allies and embitters enemies through compulsive taunting. His disordered character is preventing him from pursuing any sort of mandate that his election might have represented.

And it is not possible for a Cabinet officer or White House staffer to comfort himself or herself that 

“at least the president’s heart is good.” That is something I did not doubt when serving George W. Bush. Now Trump has opened his own chest for all to see. And the cavity is horrifyingly empty.
Every additional day of standing next to Trump — physically and metaphorically — destroys reputation and diminishes moral standing. The rationalizations are no longer credible. But resignation, in contrast, would be a contribution to the common good — showing that principled leadership in service to the Constitution is still possible, even in the age of Trump. When loyalty requires corruption, it is time to leave.

The Guardian

To understand the US's complex history with slavery, look to Thomas Jefferson

The third US president has been back under the microscope in the wake of neo-Nazi violence, and his Virginia home reflects the moral ambiguity of his legacy. Steve Light looked at the tourists gathered on the east portico and asked what words come to mind when they think of Thomas Jefferson. “Declaration of Independence,” ventured one. “President,” said another. “Library,” offered a third. No one mentioned slave owner.

Trump: Confederate statue removals 'rip apart' American history

But the tour guide, describing Monticello’s grand house on a hill and 5,000-acre plantation that grew mainly tobacco and wheat, did not mince words. “It’s important to remember this house is not possible without enslaved labour that supported Jefferson’s lifestyle. So Jefferson’s a complicated guy. If you want to understand the United States, you probably have to understand Thomas Jefferson.”

Not every country in the world embraces such a self-critique or subtle understanding of founders and heroes. Jefferson has been back under the microscope this week in the wake of neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan violence in nearby Charlottesville, Virginia. Donald Trump, decrying the removal of Confederate statues, tweeted: “Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!”

It is true that both Jefferson and Lee owned slave plantations in Virginia. But most historians find the comparison absurd: Jefferson (1743-1826) helped create the United States, whereas Lee was a traitor who took up arms to destroy it. Nevertheless, the third US president’s reputation has risen and fallen over time, and Monticello – the only former home of an American president to be granted UN world heritage status – is a beautiful, living museum that strives to reflect the moral ambiguity of his legacy.
Tour manager Light led the group into what Jefferson called his “essay in architecture”, drawing on ancient Rome, and an entrance hall decorated with Native American tools, weapons and clothing as well as antique maps, mineral samples, antlers, horns and bones of extinct animals. A cannonball-sized weights-and-pulley system worked as a seven day calendar clock over two floors. Busts included Jefferson’s political nemesis Alexander Hamilton, “now a Broadway star,” Light said.
Next, in the south square room, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, authored by Jefferson, hangs in a frame. It includes the words, “all men are created equal”. Light explained to the tour group that Jefferson opposed slavery, calling it a “moral depravity” and a “hideous blot” that presented the greatest threat to the survival of the new nation. Yet for all his unquenchable curiosity and exquisite reasoning, he owned 607 enslaved men, women and children during his lifetime and freed only five in his will.

His writings also suggested that black people were inferior in “body and mind”. Light told the group: “Jefferson’s ideas have been used by generations to support the institution of slavery, the Jim Crow laws and, very plainly, racial ideas today.”

Next are the library and cabinet room, like stepping into the mind of this Enlightenment polymath who believed reason and knowledge could improve human condition. There are books, an octagonal filing table with drawers labeled for alphabetical filing, an astronomical case clock, telescope, orrery (model of the solar system), a revolving book stand that allowed Jefferson to read and reference five books at a time and a copying machine he used to duplicate his numerous letters as he wrote them.
But for visitors to Monticello, about 120 miles from Washington DC, there is also recognition of the brutal, unpaid labour that made this personal laboratory and genteel life of the mind possible. In this it is a metaphor for America itself and the glittering cities, soaring skyscrapers and industrial might inextricably bound with centuries of exploitation.

Last year Monticello, with the National Endowment for the Humanities and University of Virginia (founded by Jefferson), hosted a public summit on the legacies of race and slavery. It has also launched an app, “Slavery at Monticello”, and is restoring Mulberry Row, the principal plantation street that was the center of life for free white and black people, indentured servants and slaves. Work is under way to preserve or reconstruct its dwellings, workshops and storehouses.

In one of the rebuilt cabins, which includes a bed, an information panel is entitled provocatively: “Not so bad?” It says: “John and Priscilla Hemmings lived in a cabin similar to – or even better than – the dwelling of many poorer free whites. Yet the material comfort suggested here did not lessen the enslavement of the Hemmingses. All enslaved people, as property, endured the constant threat of sale and separation from their families subject to the needs and wishes of their owners, a reality that no poor free person had to endure. Physical violence and force were hallmarks of bondage but the threat of separation to enslaved families was an equally powerful and devastating aspect of the American slave system.”

Descendants of the Hemmings have slept in this reconstructed dwelling, part of an ongoing project at Monticello to engage the families of Jefferson’s slaves. Nye Bates, a guide specialising in public histories of slavery and African American life, recalled: “There were 10 people in this cabin, it was the hottest night of the summer and they could hear animals outside. There was a sense of ‘Wow, these spaces are uncomfortable.’”

Next year, Monticello will open the restored quarters of Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman, to the public. Hemings had at least six children, now believed to have been fathered by Jefferson many years after the death of his wife. Hemings’s name became publicly linked to Jefferson’s in 1802, when a newspaper alleged that she was Jefferson’s “concubine” and had borne him a number of children. A 1998 DNA study genetically linked Hemings’s male descendants with male descendants of the Jefferson family.

Bates said: “I was eight when Sally Hemings’s DNA came out and I remember people fighting tooth and nail in the grocery store. A lot of people just denied her relationship with Jefferson ever existed there were his descendants and people who have this in their oral history. The DNA just backed it up.”

Bates, 27, who is African American and grew up in Charlottesville, added: “Charlottesville has always had a complex racial history. People are unwilling to deal with racism in an intimate way with their friends and family. But we’ve had the Monticello descendants uniting with Jefferson’s white descendants and trying to reconcile. What we can do is have communities come together.”

Charlottesville started with a statue. Will Americans confront their history now?

Monticello worked closely with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History in Washington on a Jefferson exhibit that captures his moral complexity. It places a statue of the former president against the backdrop of a wall bearing the names of enslaved people he owned and, laced with irony, a quotation from the Declaration of Independence in giant gold letters. A caption notes that “slavery was woven into his daily life, as were its contradictions”. Trump stood before the exhibit during a tour of the museum earlier this year but was talking to officials and gave little sign that he had digested its message.

The museum’s juxtaposition offers an intriguing contribution to the current debate about statues and context. Jefferson’s decree that “all men are created equal” invites a charge of hypocrisy but was cited by civil rights leader Martin Luther King in his “I have a dream speech” speech as an ideal worth striving for.

In short, it’s always more complicated than heroes and villains. Gary Sandling, vice-president of visitor programmes and services at Monticello, said: “Jefferson’s fortunes have waxed and waned throughout US history. Telling a more nuanced story has forced people to grapple with those elements that were not emphasised. From 1619 to 1865, slavery was legal in the United States: the legacy of that is important for us to understand what follows.”

Trump's delivering exactly what they wanted: white male supremacy'

Leaning over a table stacked with “Resist!” buttons and “Impeach Trump” stickers, Kathy Harrington pointed to the offending spot. “It’s probably still there somewhere,” she said. Harrington, 56, was inviting attendees of the annual Musikfest bash in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to sign up to support progressive causes – and to protest against Donald Trump.

Interactions with festival-goers over two busy weekends on Main Street in Bethlehem had been “about 75% positive, about 25% negative, and of that I would say maybe 10% more in-your-face negative,” said Harrington, who was wearing a pink “I stand with Planned Parenthood” T-shirt.
And then there was one guy who “just looked at us and spit”, said Sandra Davis, 58, a colleague of Harrington, who pointed out the evidence still evaporating from the pavement.

“They feel empowered,” Davis said of Trump supporters since the election. “They’re given voice. The louder and the more vulgar, the better.”

Images from the night before of white supremacists carrying torches in Charlottesville, Virginia, were deeply disturbing but not surprising, said another activist, Ginny Atwell.
“I think his core base are the true deplorables,” Atwell, 72, said of Trump. “The white supremacists. He’s delivering exactly what they wanted. White male supremacy.”
“No women and no minorities,” said Harrington.
“And keep everybody else out,” said Atwell.

Whatever it is that might be changing about America under Donald Trump, it seems, an improvement in the quality of political discourse in reflexively moderate places like Northampton County, Pennsylvania, is not part of it.

Once the home of the country’s second-biggest steel manufacturer, Bethlehem is the Democratic heart of a region that may be turning more Republican – unless it isn’t. The county voted twice for Barack Obama before falling for Trump. The Guardian has been reporting from the area over the last eight months to test the political winds and to gauge whether voters here feel that the Trump presidency is living up to its promise.

The current national turbulence, and Trump’s role in it – with his reluctance to call out white supremacists in Charlottesville and his saber-rattling over North Korea – has laid bare local divisions. Trump supporters generally cheer the president’s attack-dog instincts, while critics say Trump’s character and style have emboldened violent expression and created flare-ups of racial and ideological tensions locally.

Down the street from Harrington’s table, Bill Kuzman, 65, who grew up in the area, was watching a youthful blues act perform. Wearing an NRA cap and a tropical shirt, Kuzman said he thought the president’s aggressive rhetoric on North Korea – “locked and loaded”, “fire and fury” – was “absolutely great.”

“I’m glad he’s in there right now,” Kuzman said. “Sometimes you got to smack the bully. Like in school. I don’t know how things are going to pan out, but if Korea does something to us, I don’t think he’s going to think twice about going in, and I support that.”

But Kuzman was not a foreign policy voter. “From my understanding and research on Trump, he does believe in Christian values,” Kuzman said. “And he does not believe in abortion, and he does not believe in gay marriages. To me those are the top three issues. I don’t care who is running.”
Harrington, the progressive activist, said she’d heard that kind of line from other Trump supporters.
“One person said, ‘I’m really religious and that’s why I voted for Trump’,” said Harrington. “Which doesn’t make any sense at all, because he’s like, the exact opposite of any Christian thing you could ever think of.”

‘He speaks to the common man’

Oliviamarie Staniec guided her spring heifer to the middle of the show ring. The nine-year-old had a holster for her grooming brush, a show stick a foot taller than she was, and a side ponytail. She stopped her animal and hooked one of its shanks to line up its legs. Her careful eyes followed a judge with a cowboy hat and a belt buckle as he looked the calf over.

 “She did a very nice job as far as clipping on this animal. Did a very nice job squaring those legs,” said the judge over a public address system. “Let’s give a hand to these young ladies out here. They’re doing a really nice job.”
The dozens of spectators at the Northampton county 4-H Round Up in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, on Saturday applauded as the contestants led their calves back to a shed where older participants were brushing, watering and bedding their animals. Later in the day, there would be judging for rabbits and baked goods and crafts.

Oliviamarie’s mother, Dominique Staniec, a sixth-generation farmer, said she had gotten her family involved in 4-H as a way of reinforcing the values of work, responsibility and fair competition.
“People don’t respect each other in America anymore,” said Staniec, 39. “Even kids, they’re running rampant, there’s no discipline. And there’s all these lazy freeloaders – I could go on. Look, we have our kids working. They are very proud. And not everybody gets a ribbon. They have to win a ribbon.”
For the first time in her life in November, Staniec had voted in a presidential election – for Trump. What was the appeal? “His whole thing,” Staniec said. “He was the one. I really believe this country needs to be run like a business, not like a donation center.”

If there had been any Democratic organizers at the Northampton 4-H event, they might have had to seek out the refrigerator full of prize-winning pies for solace. Many of the voters in the crowd said they could, in principle, back a candidate from either party, but most of them said they were sticking by Trump.

“I don’t vote party lines, I vote for the person,” said Joyce Ludwig, a consultant in the medical device industry who is “over 50 but under 60”. “The bottom line was, I could not ever vote for Hillary.”
“I feel like the parties have changed over the years,” said Dennis Koehler, 39, a farmer and a registered Democrat whose parents were likewise Democrats but who said he had always voted Republican.

Dennis Koehler: ‘I feel like the parties have changed over the years.’ Photograph: Mark Makela for the Guardian.

“The Republicans were the rich ones and your Democrats were the hard-working man. Now it seems like the Democrats are the ones looking for the free handouts and the Republicans are the ones doing the work.”

As he spoke, Koehler, a mild-mannered mile from the caricature that sometimes circulates of the angry Trump supporter, held Pearl, his eight-month-old daughter, with Staniec, his fiancee. He listed his top issues of concern as commodity prices, fertilizer prices, fuel costs, health insurance, liability insurance and environmental regulations.

“My brother and I are the ninth generation in our family to be on that farm, and we really don’t have any plans to change,” he said. “It’s a piece of history. Our family was there before this country was a country.”

Koehler said he thought Trump was doing fine so far. “It’s going to take time before you’re really going to see real improvements in anything,” he said. “Whether you’re talking about imports, exports, the general economy. It takes time. But I think there’s progress being made.”
That kind of patience is not uncommon among Trump supporters, whose experience of the political moment can seem placid, in a world of headlines that have for many people induced a feeling closer to panic.

“I think it’s all about personality and character,” said Ludwig, explaining Trump’s appeal. “He says what he means. It’s not like you hear all these flowery words and then you’re going: ‘Now, what did he say?’ He speaks to the common man.”

‘Democrats need a stronger sense of mission’

Sixty years ago, John P Miller was in the US army and stationed on the Korean peninsula when a company of North Koreans crossed the border under cover of a typhoon.

 “They got 75 miles before we caught up with them,” said Miller, 82. “They just surrendered. They were surrounded, totally. It was only one company. But it scared the living daylights out of us.”
In retirement from a career in accounting, Miller runs a sheep and chicken farm in Bethlehem township with his wife, Jacquie, 79. After some initial misgivings about Trump, the couple had voted for him and remain supportive, blaming Congress for the non-fulfillment so far of large chunks of the president’s agenda.

But the army veteran called Trump’s burly rhetoric in the confrontation with Kim Jong-un “questionable”. Miller wondered whether Trump might do something to project military force without increasing the risks of a cataclysmic escalation.

“The question is whether he should just keep quiet,” Miller said. “Think the things he’s saying, but not say it.”

That was out of the question for Cheech Wagner, 59, Staniec’s mother. “We need to kick his ass,” she said, referring to Kim. “It’s about time. It’s about time. Because sooner or later – the guy is a nut. Some people think Trump is, but let me tell you, he’s putting his foot down.
“We need somebody with a strong backbone.”

Back at her table at Musikfest, Harrington, the activist, was also talking about the need for political backbone – not in the White House, but in the ranks of the local and national Democratic leadership, if the party hopes to turn the political tide in places like Northampton.

“They need to be more organized, they need to have a stronger sense of mission,” Harrington said. “We don’t want to say we’re Democrats, we want to say we’re progressives. And there’s a lot of old-school people in there, and they’re saying that’s treasonous, and that we should stick to the old-school values. But none of that stuff’s working the way it used to.

“We’ve got to revamp how we think about politics now. And there’s a lot of Democrats who don’t want to do that.”

Standing by Trump

In the days following the violence in Charlottesville, the president gave a series of statements culminating in a news conference on Tuesday in which he defended people who took part in the far-right rally and seemed to draw a moral equivalence between white supremacist marchers and the protesters who confronted them.

“You had some very bad people in that group,” Trump said of the white supremacists, “but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.” He added: “I think there’s blame on both sides,.”

The president’s comments, which came at the end of three days of White House statements of various temperatures, prompted military generals, elected Republicans, and the former presidents Bush to issue strongly worded statements of condemnation of the KKK and other white supremacist groups.

“Mr President ... Your words are dividing Americans, not healing them,” said the South Carolina Republican senator Lindsey Graham.

But a prominent grassroots Trump supporter in Northampton county refused all criticism of the president on the issue. The media was twisting Trump’s words, said Tom Carroll, a criminal defense lawyer and a vice-chairman of the local Tea Party who traces his ancestry to a member of the Union army and said he did not mind Confederate monuments coming down around the country.

“I think he said it pretty powerfully,” Carroll said of Trump’s criticism of neo-Nazis. “No matter what he does, you people are going to say he’s not doing enough. You people with these questions are going to destroy our nation. You are bringing us to revolution and civil war, because of the absurdity where you are saying that no matter what he does, it isn’t good enough.”

Carroll said Republicans who put out statements tacitly criticizing the president were part of a “political establishment” bent on destroying Trump, who he said had been better on the issue of race and racism than Obama, who Carroll said had not done enough to condemn the killer of five police officers in Dallas, Texas, last year.

“This is the establishment from both parties who don’t like the fact that their apple cart is being turned over, and the truth about their corruption is being let out all over the world,” said Carroll. “And they don’t like it, and they’re going to do anything they can to destroy the man who is shedding the light of truth on their corruption.”

New York Post

Welcome to the ‘Breitbart White House’

If Van Jones was right, that a moving tribute to the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL in a speech to Congress earlier this year was the moment Donald Trump became president, Trump’s news conference on Tuesday was the moment he became a Breitbart contributing editor.
Charlottesville has been a diminishing event for President Trump. He has been unable to summon the moral authority of his office, even though this wasn’t a difficult test.
It doesn’t take political skill or crisis-management ability to show largeness of heart. Future historians will marvel that one of the most damaging events in the early Trump administration came in a botched response to a neo-Nazi rally.

Over the past few days, Trump hasn’t spoken as the leader of the country, or even leader of one party, but as a leader of an inflamed faction. This is why it was almost unthinkable that he would give a unifying talk, as any other president would, at the funeral of Heather Heyer, the young woman slain in the vehicular attack by an “alt-right” protester.

Trump’s sensibility is highly unusual for a politician — let alone for the leader of the free world — but very familiar from the Internet or social media. As his news conference showed, his level of argument is at the level of a good Breitbart blogger, or of a Twitter egg of yore. He would absolutely kill it in the comments section of a right-wing Web site or trolling a journalist.

Trump knows some things; covers the weaknesses of his case with sheer aggression; doesn’t care about consistency or common sense; wants to play to the base rather than reach the persuadable middle; and feels liberated from any standards of respectability.

Moreover, it appears he’s happy for his presidency — to paraphrase adviser Steve Bannon’s notorious description of Breitbart — to be a platform for the “alt-right” and in exactly the same sense.
Trump doesn’t want his administration actually to be “alt-right” (it is overwhelmingly composed of honorable men and women), and he isn’t himself “alt-right.” But he is keenly aware of the political energy in the fever swamp. He learned this during his time as a birther and during a campaign when sundry haters, conspiracy theorists, s - - tposters, trolls and bots provided air cover. So he wants to do the minimum necessary to distance himself from it and the maximum possible to associate himself with it.

This would explain his conflicted, otherwise unaccountable reaction to Charlottesville. He initially wanted to maintain some ambiguity. When that was unsustainable, he was willing to read a more specific denunciation of the right-wing groups under duress. But that didn’t sit well with him. At his news conference, he repeated his condemnation of neo-Nazis, but praised the menacing torch-lit march on the grounds of the University of Virginia on Friday and maintained there were “fine people” who protested on the “alt-right” side.

In general, Trump’s news conference was a tour de force of whataboutism, one of the most important rhetorical tools of the pro-Trump Internet. The “alt-right” marched on Charlottesville? Well, what about the “alt-left”? Robert E. Lee’s statue is coming down. Well, what about George Washington?
It’s not that these aren’t legitimate points. They are. But they were used, as whataboutism so often is, as cover for Trump’s failings and to obscure rather than sharpen distinctions.

Charlottesville highlights how the problem with Trump is not the crudity of his expression. This, at times, can be part of his charm and makes him a distinctively powerful communicator. It’s the crudity of thought and feeling. These qualities can’t be dismissed in an office whose occupant is supposed to represent the nation.

The media coverage of Trump has been consistently catastrophist since January. Whenever there’s an outrage, pundits talk as though it’s the end of his presidency. This is too dire. So long as Trump has the right enemies, namely the mainstream media and PC culture, there’s a sturdy floor to his political support.

But he is slip-sliding toward a crisis of legitimacy. This is the significance of the dissolution of his business councils. It’s not unthinkable, should this trajectory continue, that a time could come when some Republican officeholders refuse to visit the White House.

If they wouldn’t feel comfortable at the Breitbart editorial offices, why would they want to show up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Huffington Post

How A German City Found An Absolutely Genius Way Of Handling Neo-Nazis

What do you do when neo-Nazis keep flooding your town? 
One German city was faced with exactly that problem. 
A viral post on Twitter from Cleve Jones shares the story of Wunsiedel in northeast Bavaria, which has been a neo-Nazi destination since it was once home to the grave of Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess

But in 2014, sponsors agreed to donate money for each step marched by the neo-Nazis, with the cash going to programs that fight Nazis, the Guardian reported at the time. 
It was billed as Germany’s most involuntary walkathon. 

Instead of greeting the group with protests, they put up banners welcoming them to the “Nazis Against Nazis” walkathon, according to a video on a YouTube channel run by the organization that promoted it. 

Mocking signs throughout the route encouraged them to keep walking to raise more money, and organizers put out a table of bananas to help them keep up their energy so they could keep walking ― and keep raising money. 

They even painted numbers in the ground so the neo-Nazi marchers would be forced to see how much money they’d collected at every milestone.

And at the end, they passed out certificates reminding them of how much many they raised to fight Nazis: 10,000 euros, or close to $12,000, going to EXIT Deutschland, a group that helps neo-Nazis to defect from the movement. 

A report on the event by Britain’s SOFII Foundation found that it was so successful other communities began emulating it. 

“The campaign inspired other cities in Germany and other countries to have a new, creative and amusing way of handling the problem of Nazi-walks,” the organization said. 

Southern anger: Nazis, KKK 'hijacking' Confederate debate

CHULAFINNEE, Ala. (AP) — White Southerners who equate Old South symbols with regional pride rather than hate are even more on the defensive since neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen and other extremists became the face of the fight over Confederate monuments. With more than two dozen relatives who fought for the Confederacy, Robert Castello literally wears his Southern pride. The visor, suspenders and ring he donned Thursday were all emblazoned with the familiar design of the rebel battle flag. But Castello, whose Dixie General Store sells Confederate-themed hats, shirts, stickers and signs in rural eastern Alabama, said he doesn't have any use for overtly racist groups like the Klan. "When I was growing up it was like a badge of honor to be proud of your Southern heritage. It was taught and it was part of who you were," said Castello, 58. "To see it denigrated down to the point of Nazis is disgusting."

A leading Southern heritage organization, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, had no official involvement in the bloody protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, and its leader condemned the white supremacists who rallied for preserving a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
"It's painful to watch, for lack of better words," said Thomas V. Strain Jr., the group's commander. "It was our family that fought, and it was our families that died, and now we have these knuckleheads hijacking the flag for their own purposes."

Social media feeds dominated by Southern whites contain similar criticism of extremist organizations, which watchdog groups have said were out in force in Charlottesville in the largest white supremacist gathering in years.

The driver of the car, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, has been described as an admirer of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. Photographed with white nationalist demonstrators before the deadly crash, Fields is charged with murder and other offenses.

The Confederate battle flag has long been used as a symbol by the Ku Klux Klan, which has displayed the banner during rallies for decades. But many white Southerners see the flag and rebel monuments as nothing more than part of a regional identity that includes Lynyrd Skynyrd music, college football, sweet tea and the Bible.

The idea that any of those things have become caught up with Nazism is baffling to people like Castello.

"I've always loved Southern heritage, even when I was in high school," he said. "It was passed down that it was an honorable thing and I believe it was, although not all of it was good."
Even the children of Southern music icon Johnny Cash are distancing themselves from extremists after a neo-Nazi was shown wearing a shirt with an image of the late singer in Charlottesville. A Facebook post by the Cash family requested that his name "be kept far away from destructive and hateful ideology."

Jeff Schoep, who leads a white nationalist group that demonstrated in Charlottesville, said Confederate symbols and monuments have become a rallying cause for white extremists not because of any Southern identity but because they see their removal as an "assault on American freedoms."
To be sure, neither Castello nor Strain advocates the removal of Confederate monuments. Both see them as important historical touchstones that have an important place in modern life.

"These statues were erected over 100 year ago to honor the history of the United States," said Strain. "They're just as important to the entire history of the U.S. as the monuments erected to our forefathers."

Similarly, President Donald Trump on Thursday blasted the movement to remove Confederate monuments, tweeting that the nation is seeing "the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart."

Castello supports Trump and sees the president as the unlikely New York real estate magnate who has become a defender of Southern symbols. Trump seems to get that not all Southerners are Nazis or Klansmen, Castello said, and others should, too.

"To me all the talk about the Klan and the Nazis is a smoke screen for an attack on Southern heritage," he said. "They want to link everyone who flies the (Confederate) flag with the Klan and Nazis, which I don't want any part of."

Yahoo news

Steve Bannon is leaving the White House

WASHINGTON — Friday will be controversial White House chief Strategist Steve Bannon’s final day working in the West Wing. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement to the press pool describing the move as a mutual decision between Bannon and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Friday.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” Sanders said.
The official word from the White House came after a slew of reports about Bannon’s departure. According to a New York Times report published shortly before Sanders’ statement, President Trump “told senior aides that he has decided to remove” Steve Bannon, the controversial White House chief strategist. ABC News and other outlets reported that Bannon had already resigned.

Both the White House and Bannon did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment from Yahoo News.

Prior to the Times report, the conservative journalist Matt Drudge, who enjoys a close relationship with the White House, declared that Bannon’s time in the West Wing was coming to an end. Axios also reported that a review conducted by new White House chief of staff John Kelly was expected to conclude with an “imminent” announcement of Bannon’s departure.

Trump’s White House had been infamously volatile with a series of high profile departures. Bannon had regularly been involved in infighting with other top aides and rumors of his potential dismissal swirled at multiple points. The reports of a Bannon exit intensified after an he gave an extensive interview to the liberal American Prospect that was published on Wednesday. In it, Bannon described some of his disagreements with other top officials and appeared to undermine the president’s position on North Korea.

Bannon was a key figure in Trump’s shocking upset victory in last year’s presidential election. Prior to joining Trump’s campaign, he ran the conservative news site Breitbart News, which he once proclaimed was the “platform for the alt-right.” At Breitbart, Bannon found a base for his philosophy of economic nationalism and staunch opposition to immigration and political correctness. His ideology led many to see him as a key architect of Trump’s victory, but it also drew criticism from liberals who saw him as a dangerous zealot.
Donald Trump Has Never Had Any Friends, Likes to Speak to His Family Every Day

Newsweek published this story under the headline of “Citizen Trump” on September 28, 1987. Newsweek is republishing the story.

Donald Trump, America's brash billionaire, wants the land Harry Stein's restaurant-equipment store stands on, and he wants it badly. It's behind Trump Plaza, a hotel and casino in Atlantic City that on a good day drops roughly $ 2 million into its owner's pocket. Where the Steins' store now stands, Trump wants to build a huge wall and turn it into a waterfall—a $ 4 million touch. If he can buy out Harry Stein and knock down the building, the waterfall will look better. The Stein family has been in business in Atlantic City for more than 90 years; Harry and his son Bill sit alone with Trump in a windowless casino office. No lawyers, no bankers, no aides.

"I don't really need your land," Trump says, calmly and politely, "and, as you know, land prices aren't nearly what they were a few years ago. And I'll put up the wall anyway. Once we decide to build the wall, I will have zero interest in your building. So give me a number. All I want to know is if we have a deal."

The Steins fidget. "We were looking for $ 200 a square foot."
"Three years ago I'd have given it to you."
"It will cost us $ 1.5 million to move."

"But you'll save a fortune in taxes. The price you're asking is far above what I paid others. The alternative I have is to preclude you forever. Once I don't buy it, I don't believe the property will have any value. The gravy train is leaving the station."

Trump tells the Steins to call his New York office in a week. He shakes hands and leaves. "You wait," he says later, "they'll come around. They always do."

A huge black helicopter with red lettering—TRUMP—flutters above the southern tip of Manhattan. The French-made military chopper can travel 180 miles per hour; at $ 2 million, the price Trump paid Warner Communications for it, it was a steal. He is flying to Atlantic City to promote an upcoming heavyweight fight that his casino is sponsoring. With him is Don King, the bombastic boxing promoter and heavyweight champ of hair. It is a cloudless morning, and before banking to the southwest the pilot hangs the copter directly above the gleaming twin towers of the World Trade Center for half a minute. Neither Trump nor King pays much attention to the staggering view. A reporter is present, and it's show-time. Trump, after a long soliloquy detailing his problems with his current archenemy, Ed Koch, the mayor of New York, turns the floor over to King.

"Donald Trump is a man of vision," King bellows. "New York City needs a man like Donald Trump. I have come up with a word to describe him: 'tele-synergistic.' That means, 'progress ingeniously planned by geometric progression—the capability of transforming dreams into living reality, in minimal time, at megaprofits.'"

"Go on Don, I kinda like this," Trump says sarcastically.
"Now, I believe the rift between Donald and Mayor Koch must be healed. We must get it behind us. New York needs Donald Trump's energy and his vision. That's why I am offering my services as an intermediary. To act as a peacemaker, to do anything I can to help bring them together."
"Don," replies Trump, stroking his chin thoughtfully, "I'm not interested in peace. I'm interested in competence."

Donald Trump sits in his office in the midtown Manhattan building that bears his name—"the most luxurious building in the world," he calls it. All week he has been lampooned in Gary Trudeau's comic strip, "Doonesbury." In one of the series, Trudeau had Trump in front of a press conference, protesting that his alleged presidential ambitions are nothing more than "a billionaire developer exercising his right to float trial balloons."

"'Doonesbury,' 'Doonesbury,' everybody's asking me to respond to 'Doonesbury'," Trump says, a bit exasperated. A day earlier he had said he was only vaguely aware of the comic strip and had dismissed the barbs with a wave of his hand: "People tell me I should be flattered." Now he will lay the political rumors to rest. "I'm not running for president," he says, "but if I did . . . I'd win. There, I said it. I didn't think I would, but I did."

Donald John Trump—real estate developer, casino operator, corporate raider and perhaps future politician—is a symbol of an era. He is the man with the Midas fist. For better or worse, in the 1980s it is OK to be fiercely ambitious, staggeringly rich and utterly at ease in bragging about it. He is the latest of a breed unique to the decade: the businessman who becomes larger than life, like a star athlete or popular actor. Trump has made it into that rarefied group as fast as anyone, and he revels in his high celebrity status as few have before him. "There is no one my age who has accomplished more," he boasts openly.

Trump has created one of the most profitable private empires in the most public of fashions. His high profile, in fact, has been central to his success. "The aura of the Trump name," as one of his attorneys puts it, "is a big asset." For the new rich, says a New York real-estate broker, the name is synonymous with "status." So Trump plasters it on practically every building he builds or casino he operates—and he promotes them brilliantly. "The P. T. Barnum of real estate," a friend once called him. He has become so wealthy in the process, he concedes, that life has become something of "a game" for him. The ultimate scoreboard, he says, "is the unfortunate, obvious one: money." Trump, who at 41 has amassed an empire whose assets are worth more than $ 3 billion, agrees with an assessment that others might find less than flattering. Asked if he's the ultimate Yuppie, he replies, "Yeah, maybe."
The ambition may be pure '80s, but the Trump lifestyle is roaring '20s. He owns three homes, and the word opulent does them no justice: 110 rooms at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, the former mansion of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post; a huge triplex apartment in Trump Tower, the Fifth Avenue skyscraper he built four years ago, and a 10-acre, 45-room weekend estate in Greenwich, Conn.

He also owns a Boeing 727, the Darth Vader helicopter, and now he's negotiating to buy a yacht owned by Saudi arms broker Adnan Khashoggi that's about six times the size of the average Manhattan apartment. ("Not many people life a life like Khashoggi," he says, and then adds with a grain, "but I'm coming damn close.") Town & Country, an upper-crust print version of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," recently ran a 12-page cover spread featuring Trump's wife, Ivana, a beautiful ex-model from Czechoslovakia. A friend of Trump's younger brother, Robert, an executive vice president in the family-owned company, says Robert once left a Manhattan dinner party early, joking that he "had to go home and watch 'Dynasty' to learn how to act."

Star struck: Trump makes no apologies for his lifestyle. He is obsessive about surrounding himself with what he calls "the best" of everything. Walk with him through one of his casinos and he shows off "the best high roller's suite ever built," one replete with all "the best" touches—from the hot tub overlooking the ocean to the marble on the bathroom floor.

Trump believes he is in tune with times. "The man in the street, the little guy, digs the limo, the helicopter, the 727." (In the final "Doonesbury" strip last week, a reporter asks what experience noncandidate Trump has with "people of modest means." Plenty, Trump relies, "evicting them.") Trump can hardly wall the streets of his native New York anymore without being hounded by autograph seekers, most of whom seem star struck.

Clearly, neither New York nor Atlantic City is big enough for Trump's ambition. In the last year he has thrust himself, his money and his ego onto the national stage. As a businessman sitting atop an empire worth $ 3 billion, Trump in the last year joined the richest army in the world—the growing legion of corporate raiders. Three separate times he made millions of dollars after buying up big chunks of publicly traded companies and then selling after rumors of a possible acquisition drove the share prices up. It was all pretty easy, he says, easier than real estate.

Open pleas: Maybe too easy for a man who seems as attracted to power as he is to wealth. Last month Trump paid $ 94,801 to run a full-page advertisement in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. He wasn't hawking luxury condos or the upcoming fight in Atlantic City. In an "open letter," Trump thumped U.S. foreign policy, saying, "The world is laughing at America's politicians" for protecting "ships we don't own, carrying oil we don't need destined for allies who won't help." Trump has agreed to an October speaking engagement in New Hampshire, where a lone political activist without any ties to the noncandidate is running around trying to organize a draft-Trump movement. Since the ad ran, Trump has denied presidential ambitions on several occasions; but since he does not intend to cancel the New Hampshire trip, talk of his political ambitions probably won't stop anytime soon.

To Trump's enemies—and he has enemies galore—his flirtations with politics confirm their worst suspicions: they view him as Citizen Kane sprung to life, an arrogant tycoon whose insatiable ambition leads him to seek political power. John Moore is an attorney who led a tenant group into bitter battle with Trump after he bought their rent-controlled building and announced he wanted to tear it down. "He is a dangerous man," Moore says. As a political leader, he's "the type who'd make the trains run on time."

Trump is undoubtedly enjoying the hype associated with his recent political forays. He has long recognized the benefits of publicity. The equation is simple: if more people know your name and your reputation, more people will buy your flashy condominiums, dump quarters into your slot machines or pick up a copy of your new book. Trump feeds the hype machine because nothing matters more to him than success. At times, say people close to him, it seems it's all he cares about. Says his sister Maryanne Trump-Barry, a federal district judge in New Jersey, "success brings success, which brings more success. The more he gets, the more he wants."

Ice show: How successful a promoter is Trump? Though he is now the largest casino operator in Atlantic City, he's still known in his hometown mainly as a real-estate developer. Several developers have had a bigger impact on the New York skyline recently than Donald Trump. Yet only one building constructed in New York during the last 10 years has become a tourist attraction—Trump Tower. The difference is, the other developers don't build buildings with soaring waterfalls, lobbies made of pink marble and astonishingly opulent apartments that sell for more than $ 2 million. Most also don't name buildings after themselves. Few would humiliate the city's mayor by reconstructing a public skating rink in four months after the city had spent seven years trying to do it. And absolutely no one else would proceed to insult the mayor at every turn thereafter.

Trump has managed to thrive flamboyantly in two scandal-ridden industries—casinos and New York real-estate development—and he's done it without a taint of corruption. A high-level law-enforcement official in New York says, "There aren't even rumors" about the Trump organization in the construction industry. In Atlantic City, the gaming-enforcement division several years ago asked Trump to sever his ties to a convicted felon who had worked for him in New York. He did so, and has had little trouble with the state since. He has also managed to avoid conflicts with unions in both industries, primarily because he pays union workers relatively well.

No one, not even people who loathe Donald Trump, denies his talent as a businessman. Born in Queens, the fourth of five intensely competitive children, he is the son of a successful New York real-estate developer, Fred Trump, and his wife, Mary. As a teenager, Donald worked for his father's company, prowling around construction sites in Brooklyn and Queens in his spare time. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, Trump worked for his father full time. At 28, he set off on his own and moved into Manhattan. As Fred Trump got older he turned over most of his assets to Donald. Trump "very much wanted to match his father's success," says Trump-Barry.

Trump became the consummate dealmaker, possessing what seems to be an intuitive knack for acquiring attractive assets cheaply. He is smart, tough and as tenacious as anyone in getting what he wants. Those traits, combined with his ability to attract customers to casinos or condos—"I do know how to sell," he says—made Trump very rich, very quickly.

Trump laid the cornerstone of his New York empire in 1975, when he took on a project no other developer would. With the city practically broke, he cut a deal: he offered to rehabilitate a crumbling old hotel next to Grand Central Terminal—a block then in seemingly irreversible decline. In return, the city agreed to grant Trump a tax break worth $ 120 million to him.

The deal was vintage Trump. "Nobody believed I could pull it off," he recalls. But after getting the subsidy, he persuaded lenders to give him $ 70 million, and Trump constructed what is now the hugely profitable Grand Hyatt Hotel. Though the tax break was controversial then, few in New York today doubt its wisdom. "The project triggered a tremendous amount of investment when that end of 42nd Street could have fallen into dereliction," says Richard Kahan, a former state official.
Trump learned a lesson in the Grand Hyatt deal: it was important to have government officials on his side, particularly in New York, where a thicket of regulations makes it extremely difficult to build anything. He became, in the words of one major developer, "the ultimate inside player." When other developers made relatively small campaign contributions to government officials, "Trump was giving $ 50,000—and bragging about it," says a former government official. He also hired key government people after they left public service because he wanted their intimate knowledge of the bureaucracy.
Screwing back: Whether that tack has actually helped him much is questionable. When he tried to get another major tax subsidy for Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, the city fought him. He finally won in court, but only after a long delay. Then he tried to get tenants evicted from a building he wanted to tear down next to Central Park. The tenants fought back and eventually won a favorable settlement from Trump.

Now he has alienated Koch by demanding a $ 1 billion subsidy for a quintessential Trump project: a 150-story building—the world's tallest—that he wants to build on a piece of land he bought for $ 92 million three years ago. The land sits against the Hudson River on Manhattan's West Side and, thanks to a real-estate boom in New York, is already worth much more than what Trump paid for it. In addition to the 150-story tower, Trump wants to build 11 other skyscrapers, all 45 stories high.
He calls the project Television City, because he wants his new buildings to house the National Broadcasting Co. NBC's parent company, General Electric, has been threatening to move the network out of New York. Trump says Koch should grant him tax relief so he, in turn, can offer NBC subsidized office space and keep it in New York. Though publicly cast as a struggle to keep the network in the city, the issue in fact has become a test of wills between Koch and Trump.
Even some city officials privately say they'd bet on Trump. Those who have sat across the table from him say his negotiating style is infuriating, but effective. A rival developer says Trump "does business through intimidation. It's bravado and shock. Intimidate until they collapse. Ask for the moon and you will get something." Trump doesn't necessarily disagree with all of that. He just characterizes it differently. "If people are fair to me, I'm fair to them," he says. "If people screw me, I screw back in spades."

Felling trees: That combativeness applies to anyone, anywhere. At Trump Tower he told Irving Fischer, chairman of HRH Construction Corp., for years the Trump family's main contractor, to get rid of a bunch of trees that had been installed in the building's lobby. It had been an ordeal getting the tall trees into the building to begin with, and Fischer was unclear as to how Trump though they could them out. "Ever hear of a chain saw?" he snapped. It cost Trump $ 100,000 more, but he got rid of the trees he didn't want.

Does toughness necessarily translate into more money for Trump? Ask Eric Silverstein. His sign-painting company had been working overtime to get ready for the opening of Trump Plaza, one of Trump's Atlantic City casinos. Silverstein was a minor contractor on a huge project. But for him, the $ 800,000 fee was enormous.

No choice: Trump kept asking for small improvements in his work, Silverstein says, and delayed payment until they were completed. Then, he claims, Robert Trump, who managed the project for Donald, called Silverstein to a meeting he swears took place in one of the hotel's men's rooms. Trump, Silverstein says, had a new offer. He would give him 50 cents on the dollar to settle the contract. If he didn't like it, he claims he was told, he could sue. Silverstein says he had little choice. A suit would take years, and he simply couldn't afford the legal fees.

Robert Trump says Silverstein's company got paid less than what he contracted for because it did "shoddy work and was late in finishing it, besides." Silverstein disputes those claims, but Robert Trump says, "Anything he got paid was too much." Donald says he is unaware of the incident, but adds, "If a contractor does a great job, he gets full payment on the first of every month. Sometimes even earlier. If a contractor does less of a good job, I will try to renegotiate. If a contractor has done a bad job, he will go through hell."

To Trump, that's simply good business. And outside time spent with his wife and three children, business consumes him. He recently bought a Florida condominium project in a poor location—an atypical move for Trump. He did it, he says, because when he stays at Mar-a-Lago, he needs something to do. "Now," he says, "I have someplace to go" on weekends.

Such ambition leaves little time for friendships. "Friendship is not part of his agenda," a business associate says, and Trump concedes as much. "I hate to have to rely on friends," he says. "I'm not a trusting guy. I want to rely on myself." His only "real friends," he says, are family members.
Where his ambition will take him is by no means clear. Trump believes one of his "strengths lies in my unpredictability." He could, without question, become one of the most feared corporate raiders around. Trump has cash and almost unlimited borrowing capability. He could go after almost any company he wants. Recently he took over Resorts International, a rival casino operator, the first time Trump had acquired a public company. In the last 12 months he has made more than $ 122 million buying large chunks of stock in three different companies—Allegis (formerly United Airlines), Holiday Corp. (owner of the Holiday Inns hotel chain) and Bally's. In each case news of his stake triggered takeover speculation that drove the stock price up.

But Harvey Freeman, one of Trump's closest advisers, says his boss isn't necessarily the next T. Boone Pickens. "He's not going to go after companies for the hell of it," says Freeman. "Each one of those deals this year were situations we had looked at closely, in businesses related to ours. Donald will just continue to pick his spots."

The political talk is probably also overdone. Even if Trump were serious about a career in public life, it would be difficult for a casino operator, no matter how well known, to get elected to anything. Nor is it at all clear that he is serious. Trump admits that he has only a glancing familiarity with important issues, and intimates say that he would hate running for office. "He'd love to be president, but only if he were appointed," says one friend.

In fact, Trump may have no grand strategic plan. His colleagues say he focuses on what's in front of him. The project at hand completely consumes his energy. For now, that's apt to be Television City and his casinos. A few years from now it may be something else; he just doesn't yet know what. He will simply pursue success obsessively in everything he does, time and time again. "No achievement can satisfy what he wants," believes one friend. "What he wants still is acceptance from his father. He is playing out his insecurities on an incredibly large canvas."

'Correct today': Fred Trump, 83, still goes to work every day at his modest office in Brooklyn. He got rich years ago building thousands of brick pillbox-size homes for the emerging middle class in Brooklyn and Queens. Fred talks to his son nearly every day and says he is "awed" by what Donald's done. His son is still very much a product of the Brooklyn office. His vernacular is neither that of an aristocrat nor of a polished executive. That may be why today, despite the outrageous trappings of his wealth and the unyielding ambition, Donald Trump remains a rather familiar figure.

In David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Glengarry Glen Ross," a slick, street-smart real-estate salesman named Ricky Roma talks of ambition and money and what they mean. Forget Roma, for the moment, and substitute Trump.

"I do those things which seem correct to me today. I trust myself. And if security concerns me, I do that which today I think will make me secure. And every day I do that, and when that day arrives that I need a reserve, (a) odds are that I have it, and (b) the true reserve that I have is the strength that I have of acting each daywithout fear. According to the dictates of my mind. Stocks, bonds, objects of art, real estate. Now: What are they? An opportunity. To what? To make money? Perhaps. To lose money? Perhaps. To 'indulge' and to 'learn' about ourselves? Perhaps. So f---ing what? What isn't? They're an opportunity. That's all. They're an event. A guy comes up to you, you make a call, you send in a brochure, it doesn't matter. 'There're these properties I'd like for you to see.' What does it mean? What you want it to mean . . ."

For Trump, it can only mean more money, more power and—what his $ 1 billion ego seems to covet most—more attention. 
Trump: On the Record
On Ed Koch: He's a bully, and you know what you do with a bully? You hit him between the eyes. On his enemies: If people screw me, I screw back in spades. 

Witness footage was published on Friday of Spanish police in an armed encounter with five suspected terrorists in Cambrils.

Officers killed the men after an Audi A3 smashed into a group of people in the city hours after a larger attack killed 14 people in Barcelona, 60 miles northeast. Police have said the attacks are linked.
The footage does not show the moment the men were killed, but depicts police interacting with one of the suspects, who jumps over a barrier and moves towards the officers as shots ring out.
Davies said the man had been running away but then came back. He said he was shot once, then stood back up, crossed a central barrier in the road then advanced while "taunting" police. They then shot him again.

In the video, the man appears to have something metallic attached to his chest. Police have said the five men were wearing items that looked like suicide belts, but turned out to be fake.

Hero police officer shot dead four terrorists in Cambrils and saved injured partner's life

See videos

An outnumbered police officer shot dead four of the five terrorists who attacked the seaside city of Cambrils last night, saving his injured partner’s life, according to a dramatic account of the shootout.
The officers were carrying out a routine check at a roundabout near the seafront of Cambrils when the terrorists launched their attack, which, it was confirmed today, killed one woman.
Their white Audi A3, coming from the direction of the city, ploughed through four pedestrians before smashing into the police car and overturning. The crash left one officer with a broken tibia and an injured head.

According to a report in the La Vanguardia newspaper, the five men got out of the overturned vehicle, armed with knives and axes, and wearing false explosives. 

The hero police office shot down four of the terrorists and the fifth fled in the direction of a nearby park, stabbing a pedestrian in the face with a knife. He was gunned down by a separate police officer.
The chief of Mossa, the Catalan police force, confirmed that one officer had killed the four terrrorists. 

Josep Luis Trapero told reporters at a press conference: "To kill four people, even if you are a professional, is not easy to digest."

Video footage has emerged of one of the terrorists taunting police before being shot down.
A British tourist told how families and residents were ordered to take cover as bullets tore through the air in a scene he described as being like "watching a horror film".

A total of five civilians were injured in the attack with a sixth dying from her injuries in hospital.
Cambrils is tourist city 74 miles south of Barcelona, where a van had earlier sped into a street packed full of tourists, killing 13 people and injuring around 100 others.
Police said the suspects in Cambrils carried bomb belts, which were detonated by a police bomb squad.

Earlier in Barcelona a van had sped into a street packed full of tourists, killing 13 people and injuring around 100 others. One tourist told how families and residents were ordered to take cover as bullets tore through the air in a scene he described as being like "watching a horror film".
A total of five civilians were injured in the attack with a sixth dying from her injuries in hospital.
Cambril is tourist city 74 miles south of Barcelona, where a van had earlier sped into a street packed full of tourists, killing 13 people and injuring around 100 others.

Police said the suspects in Cambrils carried bomb belts, which were detonated by a police bomb squad.

Earlier in Barcelona a van had sped into a street packed full of tourists, killing 13 people and injuring around 100 others.
CBS news

Barcelona terror attack: At least 13 dead after van barrels into pedestrians

BARCELONA, Spain -- A van veered onto a sidewalk and barreled down a busy pedestrian zone Thursday in Barcelona's picturesque Las Ramblas district, swerving from side to side as it mowed down tourists and residents and turned the popular European vacation promenade into a bloody killing zone. Thirteen people were killed and 100 were injured in what authorities called a terror attack.

Late Thursday, Spanish police have said they killed several people south of Barcelona in Cambrils, according to AP. Authorities say this was a second alleged terror attempt.

Fifteen of the victims were seriously injured, another 23 were moderately wounded and 42 others were being treated for slight injuries. They are all being cared for at various hospitals.
A U.S. citizen suffered minor injuries, the U.S. State Department confirmed to CBS News.
One Australian woman, from New South Wales, is in the hospital in a "serious but stable condition," according Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Victims were left sprawled in the street, spattered with blood or crippled by broken limbs. Others fled in panic, screaming or carrying young children in their arms.

Catalonia's regional president, Carles Puigdemont, told Barcelona broadcaster TV3: "Our priority is to save lives. And our second priority is the police investigation, to find the people responsible of this attack and anyone who has helped them directly or indirectly."

Authorities said a Belgian was among the dead and a Greek woman was among the injured. Germany's Foreign Ministry said it was checking reports that Germans were among the victims.
However, at least three German citizens were among those who died, according to a report by broadcaster ZDF which cited security sources.

According to Puigdemont, two suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack. Police say one suspect is a Spanish national from Melilla and the other is Moroccan. Neither of the suspects drove the van. Police said the driver is still on the run.

According to police, the van attack is "connected" to an explosion that occurred Wednesday night in a town south of the city in which one person died and injured several more.
Amaq News issued a statement on its Telegram channel that reads in part: "A security source to Amaq agency: The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS). They carried out the attack in response to the calls to target coalition countries."
On Twitter, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he is in contact with authorities and the priority is to attend to the injured.

Rajoy announced that Thursday's incident was "jihadist terrorism," the Reuters news agency says.
"Today the fight against terrorism is the principal priority for free and open societies like ours. It is a global threat and the response has to be global," Rajoy told a news conference in Barcelona. 
In a photograph shown by RTVE, at least five people were lying on the ground in the street Thursday afternoon and were apparently being helped by police and others. Videos of the scene recorded people screaming as they fled.

Reuters reported that two armed men entered a restaurant following the crash. Police said they located a second van connected to the attack in the town of Vic.
Spain's El Pais newspaper, citing police sources, says perpetrators of the van incident were holed up in a bar. Armed police ran down the streets and through a market, checking in stores and cafes, presumably in search of them.

Barcelona's TV3 reports police surrounded a bar called Rey de Istanbul. A man thought to be the driver of a van was surrounded by police. The Spanish passport of a person of Moroccan origin was found at the scene of the attack.

The police force for Spain's Catalonia region says troopers have shot and killed a man who was in a car that hit two officers at a traffic blockade in Barcelona. The Mossos d'Esquadra force did not indicate if the incident was related to the van attack in the city's Las Ramblas district on Thursday.
Police say a bomb squad was checking an area in the outskirts of Barcelona, near the site where the driver of car struck police officers.

Local media reports say a white Ford Focus ran over the officers and then was intercepted by police 1.9 miles away. That's where troopers shot one man dead.
Three days of mourning have been declared in response to the attack. A minute of silence will be held Friday in main square "to show that we are not scared," Barcelona's mayor, Ada Colau, said.
Catalan Emergency Services asked authorities to close train stations in the area close to the crash site.
Las Ramblas, a street of stalls and shops that cuts through the center of Barcelona, is one of the city's top tourist destinations. People walk down a wide, pedestrianized path in the center of the street, but cars can travel on either side.

Authorities are asking people not to go near the area.
Keith Fleming, an American who lives in Barcelona, was watching TV in his building just off Las Ramblas when he heard a noise and went out to his balcony.
"I saw women and children just running and they looked terrified," he said. 
He said there was a bang -- possibly from someone rolling down a store shutter -- and more people ran by. Then police arrived and pushed everyone a full block away. Even people leaning out of doors were being told to go back inside, he said.

Fleming said regular police had their guns drawn and riot police were at the end of his block, which was now deserted.

"It's just kind of a tense situation," Fleming said. "Clearly people were scared."
Carol Augustin, a manager at La Palau Moja -- an 18th-century place on Las Ramblas that houses government offices and a tourism information center -- said the van passed right in front of the building.

"We saw everything. People started screaming and running into the office. It was such a chaotic situation. There were families with children. The police made us close the doors and wait inside," she said.

In the U.S., President Trump tweeted about the attack from his New Jersey golf club, where he is on a working vacation.

"The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!" the president wrote.
“Whatever inspired today's terror attack, the United States stands ready to assist the people of Spain and find and punish those responsible. On this dark day, our prayers and prayers of all the American people are with the victims, their families and the good people of Spain," Pence said.
During a joint news conference with Japanese officials, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. stood ready to assist Spanish authorities in their probe of the attack. He stressed Washington's commitment to hunting down "terrorists around the world."

"I'd like to start by acknowledging the incident in Barcelona, which has the hallmarks, it appears, of yet another terrorist attack," Tillerson said. "Terrorists around the world should know the United States and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a written statement in response to the attack that reads in part: "The Department is standing by to support our allies as they respond to and recover from this horrendous attack. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and those affected. We will not let terrorism become the new normal. Instead, such acts of violence only harden our resolve to fight back against violent extremists, bring them to justice and dismantle their networks."
Spain's royal palace has condemned the attack, calling the perpetrators "assassins, simply criminals who will not terrorize us." The royal palace's statement, which was posted on Twitter, said that "All of Spain is Barcelona. Las Ramblas will once again be for all."

Other world leaders -- including British Prime Minister Theresa May, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron -- have condemned the attack.
Vatican spokesperson Greg Burke says Pope Francis is praying for the victims and expressing his closeness to their families.  The Argentine pope was "greatly worried" about the attack and is following developments closely. The Vatican has greatly increased security for Francis' public events to prevent similar truck assaults on crowds that throng to his weekly audiences and Sunday blessings in St. Peter's Square.

Cars, trucks and vans have been the weapon of choice in multiple extremist attacks in Europe in the last year.

The most deadly was the driver of a tractor-trailer who targeted Bastille Day revelers in the southern French city of Nice in July 2016, killing 86 people. In December 2016, 12 people died after a driver used a hijacked trick to drive into a Christmas market in Berlin.

There have been multiple attacks this year in London, where a man in a rented SUV plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four people before he ran onto the grounds of Parliament and stabbed an unarmed police officer to death in March.

Four other men drove onto the sidewalk of London Bridge, unleashing a rampage with knives that killed eight people in June. Another man also drove into pedestrians leaving a London mosque later in June.

CNN news

Spain attacks: What we know so far 

The Spanish region of Catalonia has been rattled by two terror attacks and an explosion over three days, in what authorities are treating as a trio of linked incidents.
On Friday, police said the perpetrators of the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils originally planned to use explosive devices, but their plans were foiled after bomb-making materials accidentally blew up a house -- believed to be the suspects' base -- in Alcanar.

Four people have been arrested -- one in Alcanar and three in Ripoll. Three were Moroccan citizens and another was Spanish; they ranged in age from 21 to 34. None were on the radar for terrorism.
It is unclear how many people were involved in the attacks and how many suspects are still on the run.

In the early hours of Friday morning, five armed attackers drove a car through a crowd of people in the town of Cambrils, 75 miles southwest of Barcelona.
- One woman was killed and six others injured, including one police officer.
- Police engaged in a shootout with the attackers, and all five were shot dead, four of them by one officer.
- The attackers were wearing fake suicide belts, had carried an ax and knives in the car, and had wounded a person in the face with a knife before being shot.



A white van plowed into pedestrians at around 5 p.m. on Las Ramblas, the city's busiest tourist promenade.
- At least 13 people were killed and more than 120 injured in the country's deadliest attack since the 2004 Madrid bombings.
- The driver of the van fled on foot and was believed to be still at large.
- People from at least 34 countries are among the injured, according to officials. A Belgian, two Italians and an American are among the dead.
- A second van, believed to be linked to the Barcelona van, was found in Vic, a town 43 miles from Barcelona, Reuters reported.
- A driver ran over two police officers at a security checkpoint, causing them minor injuries. It was unclear whether this was terrorism-related.
- ISIS claimed the Barcelona attack through its media wing, but offered no evidence supporting the claim.

Barcelona terror attack: How it happened 01:17


Wednesday: Alcanar

Just after 11 p.m., the fire brigade was alerted to an explosion in a house in Alcanar, a city about 100 miles southwest of Barcelona.
- One person was killed and seven others were injured. One of the injured was taken into custody on Friday.
- Police now believe the cause of the blast came from the premature detonation of explosive devices, which the suspects had intended to use in an attacks.
- Police said the person killed was a Spanish national and was not on police radar.
- Officials said the house collapsed completely and caused serious damage to the facade of the house next door.

NY Times

Van Hits Pedestrians in Deadly Barcelona Terror Attack

Spain was hit by its worst terrorist attack in more than a decade on Thursday, when a van driver plowed into dozens of people enjoying a sunny afternoon on one of Barcelona’s most famous thoroughfares, killing at least 13 people and leaving 80 bloodied on the pavement.
Hours later, the Catalan police said they foiled a second vehicular attack, in the seaside town of Cambrils, 70 miles to the south, fatally shooting four people. A fifth died later of wounds, the police said. The suspects appeared to be wearing explosive belts, though these devices were later found to be fake, police said. Six civilians and one police officer were injured during the episode, the Catalan emergency services said.

The Barcelona attack was at least the sixth time in the past few years that assailants using vehicles as deadly weapons have struck a European city.

The police cordoned off the Plaza de Cataluña and Las Ramblas in the heart of Barcelona, both tourist destinations, and began a chaotic pursuit for the attackers.

Three people were arrested, including a Moroccan man whose identification documents had been used to rent the van. The Barcelona police said none were believed to be the driver, who escaped on foot and remained at large.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Barcelona assault, which shattered a peaceful afternoon in one of Europe’s most picturesque cities. President Trump and other Western leaders quickly condemned the attack and pledged cooperation.

In a sign of the confusion that prevailed after the attack, local television reported that one assailant, armed with a rifle, had run into a restaurant and was besieged by the police. The police said the entire version was false.

Witnesses described people screaming and running for their lives as the van driver wove back and forth just after 5:30 p.m., apparently trying to hit as many people as he could. Police officers swept through the area near Las Ramblas, a wide boulevard with a large pedestrian section, moving people out of the area.

Videos taken by witnesses and posted online showed men, women and children motionless on the ground amid broken umbrellas and chairs, in the shade of trees, many bleeding profusely. Paramedics and friends knelt to comfort them as police sirens wailed.

Whitney Cohn, a mathematics teacher from Montebello, N.Y., was walking along the mall with her husband and two daughters, on the way back to their hotel after visiting a museum, when the van came careening through the crowd, throwing people aside like dolls as screams pierced the air. She grabbed her daughters and started running. “It was flying,” Ms. Cohn said in a text exchange from a nearby restaurant. “The van missed us by a sec.”

Other witnesses described chaos as people dropped their belongings and fled as the van entered the mall and accelerated, hitting people indiscriminately, among them children and the elderly. Among the seriously injured was a 6-year-old girl hospitalized with a cerebral hemorrhage, an official at Vall Hebron University Hospital said.

People streamed onto side streets, many of them weeping. “It was horrific,” said Sergi Alcazar, a 25-year-old photographer who arrived 10 minutes after the attack to find victims lying amid broken umbrellas, chairs and cafe tables.

Until Thursday, Spain had been spared from the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Europe — many involving vehicles plowing into crowds — claimed by extremists in France, Germany, Britain and elsewhere.

Keith Fleming, an American who lives just off Las Ramblas, told The Associated Press that he was watching television when he heard a noise, looked out over his balcony and “saw women and children just running and they looked terrified.”

Mr. Fleming said the street was deserted, except for police officers with guns drawn or in riot gear. “It’s just kind of a tense situation,” The A.P. reported him as saying. “Clearly people were scared.”
Maj. Josep Lluis Trapero, a senior police official in Spain’s Catalonia region, said at a news conference that the police were investigating a possible connection between the van attack and a gas explosion the previous night in Alcanar, a town south of the city, which killed one person and injured several others.

One person, a Spaniard from the Spanish territory of Melilla in Morocco, had been taken into custody in Alcanar, he said. A second man, identified as Driss Oukabar, a Moroccan citizen, was arrested in the northern Catalan town of Ripoll when he walked into a police station and reported that his documents had been stolen.

Major Trapero said neither man appeared to be the driver of the van, which came to a stop near Barcelona’s opera house. The driver escaped on foot, he said.
“It was clearly a terror attack, intended to kill as many people as possible,” Major Trapero said.
A third person was later detained in Ripoll, about 65 miles north of Barcelona.
A national police official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation, said at least three vans had been rented under Mr. Oukabar’s name. As night fell, the Barcelona police were frantically searching for the two other vans, combing the streets and underground parking garages, the official said.

A counterterrorism expert, who was briefed on the details of the investigation, said late Thursday night that the police now believed the plot initially involved the use of explosives and a large truck.
“Part of the plan was they tried to rent a larger truck, but they didn’t have the right permit and so they ended up getting” smaller vans, said the expert, who requested anonymity to share information that had been disclosed to him in confidence.

He added that the building in Alcanar where the explosion occurred had been packed with gas canisters, as well as other materials used to make explosives.
American counterterrorism officials in Washington said they were in contact with the Spanish authorities to offer any assistance, but underscored that the investigation had just started.
Mr. Trump said on Twitter that the United States would “do whatever is necessary to help,” telling Spaniards to “be tough & strong, we love you!”
Pro-Islamic State accounts on the Telegram messaging service shared news of the attack. One channel, called “Expansion of the Caliphate,” posted video of the scene alongside a message in Arabic. “Terror is filling the hearts of the Crusader in the Land of Andalusia,” it said.
In the past year, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has devoted resources to translating its channels and messages into Spanish.

Although countries like France and Britain have repeatedly been named in ISIS propaganda urging followers to stage attacks, Spain has been less in the cross hairs.
The country has, however, been a transit point for recruits of the militant group, both for those going to Syria and those returning. The Spanish police arrested nine people in April who they said may have been connected with deadly attacks in France and Spain.
The Barcelona attack appeared to follow the playbook of recent assaults in which attackers drove vehicles into crowded stretches of large European cities.

“While it’s not clear whether the attackers corresponded with ISIS prior to the operation, it’s clear that the methods used in the attack is something ISIS encouraged and incited over and again,” said Laith Alkhouri, a director in New York of the business-risk intelligence company Flashpoint.
In the French city of Nice, a man drove a rental truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day on the seaside Promenade des Anglais last year, killing 86 people.

A few days before Christmas last year, a driver in a stolen truck mowed down shoppers at a holiday market in Berlin, killing 12 people and wounding dozens.

At least seven civilians were killed and dozens injured in June when knife-wielding assailants sped across London Bridge in a white van, ramming numerous pedestrians before emerging with large hunting knives to attack the capital’s Borough Market, a crowded nightspot.

ISIS claimed responsibility, saying the attack had been carried out by “a detachment of Islamic State fighters.”

That assault was reminiscent of another, on Westminster Bridge in London in March, when Khalid Masood, 52, drove a car into pedestrians, killing four. He then fatally stabbed a police officer near Parliament before he was shot and killed. The police treated that attack, in which 50 were injured, as “Islamist-related terrorism.”
There have been other deadly attacks using vehicles that were not related to Islamist extremists. A British man rammed a rental van into Muslims leaving prayers in North London during Ramadan, and a man who was part of white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., is accused of driving his car into a crowd Saturday, killing a woman.

In 2004, a series of bombs ripped through commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 and wounding over 1,800. The bombings were carried out by a group of North African Islamists that intersected with a band of petty criminals.

Leaders of European countries and cities that have suffered attacks quickly expressed solidarity with Barcelona.

In Germany, which has been on alert for potential terrorist threats ahead of the general election on Sept. 24, members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet showed their support.
“I am deeply shaken by the terrible news from Barcelona,” said Thomas de Maizière, Germany’s interior minister. “Once again, terror has shown its grotesque face.”



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