(CNN)— It had been 169 days since President-elect Donald Trump—then the newly minted Republican nominee—took questions at an open news conference. On Wednesday, Trump broke the streak by hosting reporters, along with top aides, family and applauding staffers, for a wide-ranging, at times chaotic question-and-answer session.
Here’s how it unfolded, minute-by-minute. All times eastern:
10:59 a.m.: Two-minute warning given for beginning of news conference.
11:13 a.m.: Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer comes to the podium, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence at his hip, and begins speaking as Trump and three of his children, along with a group of high level staffers, look on from the wings.
11:14 a.m.: Spicer calls out and rejects the content of documents made public by Buzzfeed on Tuesday night, saying it is “outrageous and irresponsible for a left wing blog” to publish “highly salacious and flat-out false information on the internet just days before (Trump) takes the oath office.”
Spicer does not deny a CNN report that Trump and President Obama were presented classified documents that included, in a two-page synopsis, allegations that Russian operatives claim to have damaging information about Trump.
11:15 a.m.: Spicer says that Trump does not know a former campaign adviser named Carter Page. (Trump had mentioned Page by name during a March 2016 interview with the Washington Post.)
11:16 a.m.: Pence takes over from Spicer, says he is “honored to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a new president who will make America great again.” He praises Trump’s energy, twice, and touts the “caliber” of the nominees selected by the transition staff. He then attacks the press as “irresponsible” and introduces Trump.
11:19 a.m.: Trump says he “maybe” won the nomination because of his frequent news conferences.
“We stopped giving them,” he said, “because we were getting quite a bit of inaccurate news.”
11:21 a.m.: Trump speaks for four minutes about the industries (auto, pharmaceutical) he has pressured or plans to and again promises to be “the greatest jobs producer that God ever created.” He also talks about all the military bands that will be at the inauguration.
11:25 a.m.: “Speaking of veterans,” Trump announces that he will appoint David Shulkin to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. Shulkin is currently the VA’s undersecretary for health.
11:28 a.m.: Trump takes his first question, refuses to confirm or deny that he was briefed on Russian claims to have embarrassing information about him. He calls the unsubstantiated, published details “crap” and the work of “sick people.”
11:32 a.m.: Asked if he would undo the actions taken against Russia put into place by the Obama administration in response to the hacks, Trump deflects and says: “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability.”
11:33 a.m.: After another question about his activities in Russia, Trump describes telling “many people” to beware of “cameras all over the place” during his visits.
He adds: “I’m also very much of a germaphobe. Believe me.”
11:35 a.m.: “I have no loans with Russia,” Trump says. Then claims he was, over the weekend, offered $2 billion to “do a deal in Dubai with a very, very very amazing man, a great, great developer,” but turned him down. Not because he had to, but because he doesn’t want “to take advantage.”
11:37 a.m.: Trump is asked if he will release his tax returns. He says they are under audit, so he will not.
“The only ones who cares about my tax returns are reporters,” Trump tells the questioner, a statement not backed up by recent polling.
11:38 a.m.: Sheri Dillon, an attorney for Trump, steps to the podium to explain why the President-elect will formally leave his businesses but not sell off his interests.
As CNN’s Jill Disis and Jeremy Diamond report: “All of Trump’s business and financial assets will be placed into the trust before he is inaugurated January 20, said Sheri Dillon, a lawyer for Trump. But she said he will still receive reports on the overall profit of the Trump Organization, his worldwide empire.”
11:53 a.m.: Trump returns to the mic, calls Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ performance on Tuesday during his confirmation hearing “brilliant.” What is he hearing from many people? That his cabinet will be “one of the great cabinets ever put together.”
11:55 a.m.: Questioned about the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump says he could have “waited and watched and criticized” and “let it implode” this year, but decided to act because it’s only fair to “the people.”
Of the timing of the replacement, Trump adds, it will happen “on the same day or the same week… could be the same hour.”
12:00 p.m.: On to jobs. Trump again touts the Carrier deal, calling his recent work to name and shame certain companies a statement of intent.
“The word is now out that when you want to move your plant to Mexico or some other place and you want to fire all of your workers from Michigan and Ohio and all these places that I won for good reason… not gonna happen that way anymore,” he says.
Trump adds: “We don’t have border” but “an open sieve,” and urges companies to shop state-to-state for better deals—“as long as it’s within the borders of the United States.”
12:02 p.m.: Asked how he will make Mexico pay for a “fence” on the Southern border, Trump corrects a reporter: “It’s not a fence, it’s a wall.”
He says negotiations with Mexico will begin shortly after he takes office. The country, he adds, will “in some form” reimburse the US for the cost of construction and says the “deal” will probably happen in less than 18 months.
12:05 p.m.: Trump pledges to name a Supreme Court nominee “within two weeks” of his inauguration.
12:06 p.m.: So what was Trump driving at with his Wednesday morning tweet that asked, “Are we living in Nazi Germany?” a reporter inquires.
He says that recent intelligence leaks were like something the government in Nazi Germany “would have done and did do.”
12:07 p.m.: Trump refuses to answer a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta.
12:12 p.m.: Asked by CNN’s Jeremy Diamond why he spent weeks taking shots at US intelligence before having seen their work, Trump brushed past the question and says, “I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press. I think it’s pretty sad.”
12:13 p.m.: Another reporter, ABC’s Cecilia Vega steps up to ask the question that Trump refused to hear from CNN’s Jim Acosta—whether the president-elect could “stand here today, once and for all, and say that no one connected to you or your campaign had any contact with Russia leading up to or during the presidential campaign?”
Trump dodges the question.
He speaks for 88 seconds—about the “respect” Russia will have for him; Chinese hackers; if his administration will “get along” with Putin (maybe); Hillary Clinton’s “reset” button—but does not say whether any of his campaign associates spoke regularly with Moscow during the election.
12:15 p.m.: And that’s a wrap.
On the way out, Trump explains that the stacks of papers and folders propped up on the table beside the podium are “all just a piece of the many, many companies that are being put into trust to be run by my two sons.”
12:16 p.m.: Trump exits stage right.
If this pathetic press conference is a sign of things to come over the next four years, then it may turn out to be more of a commentary on Trump’s supporters than on Trump himself.
It’s possible that in the history of the United States, never have so many lemmings lined up, to morosely tumble off so many terraced cliffs, into so many yawning valleys, at the prompting of so few, with so little persuasive power exerted.
Posted by DanielS on Saturday, 17 December 2016 11:31.
Nationalism should never be about being edgy and scaring people. We aren’t some 1% motorcycle club, with the motto, ‘no one likes us and we don’t care.’ ..we aren’t trying to scare people or offend them. In fact, we are trying to offer scared people hope…and our people have plenty to fear.
RUSSIA is engaged in a “campaign” of propaganda and cyber-warfare against Britain, Government officials have acknowledged for the first time. British officials are concerned about growing Russian influence on UK institutions. Theresa May will chair a National Security Council session within weeks to discuss the issue after senior Whitehall figures claimed the Kremlin is responsible for a plot to sabotage the UK with espionage and misinformation.
This comes after Barack Obama directly challenged Russia in an astonishing response to reports by US intelligence services claiming November’s general election was hacked under Vladimir Putin’s watch..
The outgoing President vowed the US would retaliate to the suspected espionage, and said the country would take action “at a time and place of our own choosing”.
He added: “Don’t do this stuff to us, because we can do this to you.”
US officials have expressed near-certainty Putin supervised the data breaches which brought Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to ruin.
One official said: “If anything, given his background as a KGB officer, Putin has a much tighter grip on all Russian surveillance operations, civilian and military, foreign and domestic, than any democratic leader does.”
And in a cabinet meeting two months ago, top intelligence officers and civil servant voiced worries the same scale of threat from Moscow could extend to Britain.
A source told the Times: “There was an agreement on the need to do more across Whitehall to understand and assess and formulate options on how to reposed to Russian activities.”
Security services fear British institutions and companies have been infiltrated by Russian agents – some of whom could even be UK citizens.
And last night it was revealed several leading academics at Cambridge University left an intelligence forum following concerns over Russian interference.
The head of the armed forces earlier this week urged for counterintelligence efforts to be ramped up in an attempt to catch Russian cells.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach said: “We need to pay more attention to counterespionage and counterintelligence to protect our hard-won research, protect our industry and protect our competitive advantage.”
The extent of Russian infiltration in Britain is believed to be more severe than during the Cold War.
Breitbart, “Germany: Nearly 40 Per Cent of Under Fives Now ‘Migrant Background’, 21 Sept. 2016:
Following the release of figures which reveal almost four in ten children under five have foreign roots, Michael Paulwitz says the demographic change will be the death of Germany’s welfare state.
The journalist and historian predicts that “hard struggles” over resources will take place when ethnic Germans are a minority, and that native Germans “will inevitably lose out”.
Mr Paulwitz’ article follows the release on Friday of official figures from the Federal Statistics Office. While they show 21 per cent of the total population currently have a migrant background he notes that such people are disproportionately represented in the younger age cohorts.
One in three people aged under 18 who are resident in Germany have foreign roots, and the number jumps to 36 per cent among people under five.
This, he ominously points out, “allows one to appreciate where [Germany] is headed”. Mr Paulwitz points to the demographics of Berlin, where people with a migration background comprise 30 per cent of residents.
Mr Paulwitz also mentions that ethnic Germans are already minority in the district centre and many of the surrounding central districts.
With these trends in mind, he observes: “First in the cities, later throughout the country, ethnic Germans are to become a minority in their own city and in their own country.
“Will Germany still be, in the coming years and decades, the land of the Germans when immigration of people from non-European cultures continues at a high level?” Mr Paulwitz asks.
The historian writes that “one does not need much imagination to imagine how profoundly the population picture will change within the next two decades”.
He calls attention to the fact that in this timeframe many current pensioners will die and that the, mainly German lineage, cohort of 45 to 65 year olds — those “at the peak of their working lives” with regards to paying taxes — will have withdrawn from the workforce.
The demographic statistics for this year also show that people with foreign roots are twice as likely to be unemployed than Germans and are significantly more likely to have been educated to only a lower secondary school level, or have no education background at all.
Mr Paulwitz writes: “The social and redistributive state as we know it will no longer be affordable at its present level when the population is no longer dominated by ethnic Germans, and is a multicultural population mix.”
Collected in mid 2015, the Federal Statistics Office data fails to reflect the more than 1.6 million migrants who arrived in 2015 and the first half of 2016, or the huge number of estimated illegal immigrants living in Germany.
Mr Paulwitz points out that while Angela Merkel’s open door policy was a “dramatic escalation” of previous policies, even before she “opened the lock” a quarter of people aged between 15 and 45 had foreign roots in 2014.
He contends that these demographic trends can only increase as, “through family reunification, this number [1.6 million] is expected to at least double if not multiply”.
Furthermore he observes there is an “inexhaustible supply” of Arabs and Africans who want to move to Germany. The historian typifies them as “second, third and fourth sons” of families, who are “demanding” but “lack the education or drive to create their own wealth”.
Taking all of this into account, Mr Paulwitz diagnoses a grim future for Germany and its native population. He forecasts “hard struggles over resources will be the result” and contends that ethnic Germans are “pacified” and “ageing”.
Considering the huge number of people with foreign roots already present, their far higher fertility rate and no sign of an end to the country’s policy of importing hundreds of thousands of migrants a year, Mr Paulwitz says indigenous Germans “will inevitably lose out”. He also foresees that “the sexual assaults, a result of the surplus men imported, will increase”.
Mr Paulwitz concludes: “A government that decides to change the ethnic and cultural structure of the country without asking its people violates the principle of popular sovereignty, constitutional lawyer Dietrich Murswiek has said … It’s surprising that citizens have begun to fight it at the ballot, but more surprising is that so few are doing so.”
Posted by DanielS on Wednesday, 30 November 2016 10:00.
The Somali shooter at Ohio State had apparently been inspired by neo-liberal propaganda presuming that Muslim incursions and compradors which had been promoted and backed in Burma by right-wing Western sources supposedly had some right to remain there.
Washington Post, “I can’t take it anymore’: Ohio State attacker said abuses of Burma’s Muslims led to ‘boiling point”, 29 Nov 2016:
Participants in a vigil at Jacob’s Porch pray after the attack of Ohio State University, who rammed his car into a crowd of pedestrians and attacked them with a butcher knife.
The Ohio State University student who carried out a knife attack on campus Monday wrote in a Facebook post shortly before the rampage that the abuse of a little-known Muslim community in Burma had driven him to the “boiling point,” writing, “I can’t take it anymore,” CNN reported.
“Seeing my fellow Muslims being tortured, raped and killed in Burma has led to a boiling point,” Abdul Razak Ali Artan allegedly wrote on his Facebook page shortly before Monday’s rampage, where he injured 11 people with a butcher knife before police killed him.
“America! Stop interfering with other countries,” he wrote.
Artan’s Facebook post throws a little-known and long-persecuted Muslim community in western Burma, also known as Myanmar, into the spotlight.
More than 1 million Rohingya Muslims live in Burma, but they have long been denied citizenship and other basic rights, and many from Burma’s Buddhist majority consider them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Aung San Suu Kyi — the Nobel laureate leading Burma’s new civilian government — has been criticized for refusing to use the term “Rohingya,” which she says is inflammatory.
In recent weeks, thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been fleeing into the forests and neighboring Bangladesh on the heels of a brutal military crackdown that followed a terrorist attack on police posts Oct. 9, allegedly carried out by Rohingya militants.
Human Rights Watch has alleged that the military has perpetrated a scorched-earth campaign, providing before-and-after satellite images that showed three villages completely burned. The death toll estimates vary, but several dozen have been killed since October, activists say.
Earlier this week, a U.N. refugee agency official, John McKissick, was in the Bangladesh region of Cox’s Bazar — where more than 30,000 people, many of them Rohingya, have fled to — and told the BBC that Burmese troops were “killing men, shooting them, slaughtering children, raping women, burning and looting houses, forcing these people to cross the river” into Bangladesh. He said that the “ultimate goal” of Burma’s government is “ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority.”
Kosher/ Neo-liberal media jerking the tears and prayers from fellow Abrahamics
Posted by DanielS on Tuesday, 29 November 2016 12:36.
Major western media outlets, The New York Times and Yahoo are misleading the public - they are vilifying Assad as he retakes Aleppo, inducing the misconception that it is Assad that has created the situation that has led to civilian casualties and from which the residents have had to flee.
Whereas Assad (a Left Nationalist) should be applauded for re-taking Aleppo on behalf of Syria and Aleppo natives, a misconception has been created by these Western outlets that casualties have resulted from Assad’s arbitrary aggression and that rather than seeking temporary safety from the fighting, civilians are fleeing Assad.
Rebels prevented some refugees from fleeing
New York Times, “Thousands Flee Aleppo, Syria, as Government Forces Advance”, 28 Nov 2016:
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Thousands of people were sent fleeing for their lives on Monday as rebel fighters lost a large stretch of territory to government forces in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, in what could prove to be a turning point in the conflict, both militarily and psychologically.
Residents described desperate scenes of people’s being killed by shells as they searched for shelter after their homes came under the heaviest bombardment yet of the nearly five-year civil war. Years of airstrikes and shelling have destroyed entire neighborhoods of the rebel-held half of the divided city, once Syria’s largest and an industrial hub.
At least 4,000 people have fled from the rebel-held eastern districts to the city’s government-controlled western side and have registered with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Jibreen, a neighborhood there, Jens Laerke, the spokesman for the United Nations office of humanitarian affairs, said on Monday.
As the rebels absorbed the harshest blow since they seized more than half the city four years ago, it seemed increasingly likely that President Bashar al-Assad would eventually manage to take back all of Aleppo.
That would give the Syrian government control of the country’s five largest cities and most of the more-populous west, leaving the rebel groups that are most focused on fighting Mr. Assad with only the northern province of Idlib and a few isolated pockets in the provinces of Aleppo and Homs and around the capital, Damascus.
Throughout the day, government troops, supported by Iranian-backed militias from Iraq and the militant group Hezbollah, advanced from the east and north into the rebel-held areas of Aleppo. That included Hanano, one of the first areas to fall, in 2012, and Sakhour.
Residents of Aleppo, Syria, told us how they feelwhen they hear an aircraft overhead. Eastern Aleppo has been under heavy bombardment by Syrian and Russian forces.
Kurdish-led militias were also involved in the fight, advancing from the west, from the Kurdish-controlled neighborhood of Sheikh Maksoud, taking the rebel-held district of Sheikh Fares.
Kurdish militias have staked out areas of de facto autonomy in parts of the country but are not entirely aligned with either the government or the rebels. The state news media and opposition activists have portrayed them in the current fighting in Aleppo, however, as working with the government to fight rebels. The Kurdish militias have clashed previously with rebels in Aleppo, who shelled the Sheikh Maksoud area.
If the government takes back the whole city, large parts of Syria will still remain outside its control, as Kurdish groups and the Islamic State hold most of the eastern half of the country. But it could effectively spell the end of the Syrian insurgent movements that sprang up against Mr. Assad after a crackdown on protests in 2011.
“It’s like doomsday,” said Zaher al-Zaher, an antigovernment activist in eastern Aleppo, who could communicate only in short bursts of text messages, as internet connections were failing.
Hisham al-Skeif, a member of a council in the rebel-held eastern districts of Aleppo, said he was scrambling to find housing for families who had fled from areas that had been recaptured by the government in the past day.
“The problem today, in this moment, is not water and food,” he said, at one point choking with tears. “We are threatened with slaughtering, slaughtering.”
The advances shattered a standoff that had lasted months, after government forces surrounded and besieged the rebel-controlled parts of the city this year, closing off regular access to food, medicine and other supplies.
The battle of Aleppo has followed a pattern established by the government: Encircle a rebel-held area; bombard it with airstrikes, barrel bombs and artillery; hit not only rebels but medical clinics, schools and other civilian structures; and wait for exhausted residents to run away or make a deal.
That approach has worked in the old city of Homs, and in several Damascus suburbs. But eastern Aleppo is by far the biggest prize the government has tried to win in this way.
In the past two weeks of fighting alone, at least 225 civilians, including at least 25 children, have been killed by government bombardments in rebel-held areas. At least 27 civilians, including 11 children, have been killed by rebel shelling.
Despite an outcry from the United Nations and many governments condemning indiscriminate attacks, the world has largely stood by, unable or unwilling to stop the carnage, even as Syria’s civil war has become a proxy war, with Russia and Iran backing the government and the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others, to varying degrees, backing the rebels.
“This is violence that is organized and executed by the Assad government with the willing support of the Russians and the Iranians,” the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, said Monday in response to the latest news from Aleppo.
lovakia, Bratislava – Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said some journalists are “dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes” as he was questioned about allegations made on Sunday by a former employee of the MFA and the anti-corruption NGO Transparency International.
Zuzana Hlávková was part of a team of the Slovak MFA in charge of organizing cultural events related to the Slovak presidency of the EU. At a news conference on Monday held in conjunction with Transparency International, she accused her superiors of pressuring her into sidestepping public procurement for the ceremony, and working instead with an events agency close to Fico’s leftwing Smer party, wrote Reuters.
She also alleged that a concert marking the start of the presidency in July was organised without public procurement, and that the cost of organizing the event had been set higher than required. Transparency International, an NGO supported by Soros’ Open Society Foundation, leads this attack on the Slovak Prime minister which is well-known for his statements against Soros and some NGOs.
Asked by journalists on Wednesday, November 23, about these allegations, the Slovak PM Robert Fico spoke harshly to journalists. “Some of you are dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes, and I stand by my words,” Fico told journalists. “You don’t inform, you fight with the government.”
Speaking at the same news conference as Fico, the foreign minister, Miroslav Lajčák, also rejected the accusations. “Everything was in line with the law, and the budget allocated for the presidency won’t be even fully spent,” he said.