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‘Very stable’ Trump? European leaders beg to differ  

“The president’s wild shifts in tone left many NATO allies concluding no hidden strategy lies behind his unpredictability.”

From Politico:

As a NATO summit he threw into chaos wrapped up Thursday, President Donald Trump cheekily declared himself a “very stable genius.”

The other world leaders present mostly begged to differ.

Trump’s wildly unpredictable performance over two days in Brussels left many European leaders convinced that there is little method to the American president’s rhetorical madness, and simply no way to anticipate what he might do next.

“Nobody knows when Trump is doing international diplomacy and when he is doing election campaigning in Montana,” Danish defense minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said. “It is difficult to decode what policy the American president is promoting. There is a complete unpredictability in this, and one of the things you need in this alliance is predictability towards Russia.” […]

A senior NATO official said leaders had concluded that they simply could not rely on anything Trump said.

“You know the way he speaks, you cannot take him literally,” the official said.

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Donald Trump is the president I didn’t want, but now I know we need  

“I admit that I was wrong about Trump. He’s not a clown, and he is delivering on his promises.”

Gary Varvel, cartoonist and columnist for the Indianapolis Star, writes:

Over the years, my caricatures of Donald Trump have evolved but not as much as my opinion of him.

When Trump announced he was running for president, I admit that I didn’t take this millionaire, hotel magnate, reality TV show celebrity as a serious candidate. I doubted his ability to do the job. So I drew him as a clown. In fact, my cartoons were as critical of him as many of my liberal cartoonist friends.

Then Trump started a war with the news media, tagging major news outlets as “fake news.” Ahem, I’m in the media.

And while Trump promised to pursue conservative policies, this conservative cartoonist doubted his sincerity. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that he was on the left.

In the crowded primary field, Trump got the most attention by being the loudest. His tweets could not be ignored by the media and resulted in Trump dominating news coverage.

I found his personal attacks sophomoric. I mean, calling his opponents “Low-energy Jeb,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco,” “Crazy Bernie” and “Crooked Hillary” was not presidential. It was childish, but it worked. He won and they lost.

In this braggadocios “I’m the greatest” culture, Trump became the Muhammad Ali of politicians. His claims of, “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” “I’m really rich,” “I’m very highly educated,” “I’m the best (fill in the blank)” stretched credulity but was certainly entertaining.

In one of the debates, Trump admitted that he was an entertainer but said that he was more than an entertainer, that he was “a businessman, and that’s the kind of mindset this country needs to bring it back.” Soon his rallies were filled with people who believed that he was the real hope and change America needed.

In 1992, millionaire businessman Ross Perot said that the country needed to be run like a business. He was great at listing the country’s problems, but he didn’t communicate how he would fix them.

Trump identified the problems and fixes. His political promises were simple, repeated often and easily remembered — build the wall, repeal and replace Obamacare, cut taxes, destroy the Islamic State group, renegotiate better trade deals and make America great again.

So how in the world did Trump change my mind? He started keeping those promises.

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What kind of Supreme Court are we likely to have now?  

Leftist talking-head prophets of doom are in full cry over President Trump’s announcement of Brett Kavanaugh as his Supreme Court nominee.

They’re warning that earth-shattering transformations, to America’s detriment, are about to befall us.

Many on the political left are hopping mad and calling for all-out opposition to Kavanaugh.

Documentary film-maker Michael Moore, for example, has called for non-stop aggressive action everywhere to stop Kavanaugh, even to the extent of urging, in an Instagram post, “those on the left to do everything from calling their Senators, to pleading with journalists to engage in ‘investigative journalism,’ to find the ‘skeletons in every closet.'”

Talk about fighting dirty.

Conservative political commentator and writer Ben Shapiro, on the other hand, is of the view that with Kavanaugh, “we’re likely to get careful, narrowly tailored decisions, not earth-shattering transformation.”

In National Review, Shapiro writes:

Amid the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the political Left and the triumphalist trumpeting from the political Right regarding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, one question has gone missing: What, exactly, will the Supreme Court look like once Kavanaugh joins?

Those on the left, like those on the right, suggest that Kavanaugh will be a transformational pick. They believe Roe is in danger, that Citizens United will be dramatically strengthened, that religious believers will be handed carte blanche, and all the rest.

Here’s the truth: If there’s one proposition that distinguishes Kavanaugh from his more militant colleagues, it’s his unique capacity to write specific, detailed decisions that knock down trees while leaving forests intact. Kavanaugh’s opinions tend not to be ringing endorsements or rebukes of the Justice Scalia or Justice Thomas type; they tend to be narrowly tailored decisions that recall Chief Justices Roberts and Rehnquist.

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Reunited immigrant children scooped up into parents’ arms  

“It was the largest single effort to date to undo the effects of President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance policy of separating families who try to slip across the Mexican border into the U.S.”

From AP News:

Lugging little backpacks, smiling immigrant children were scooped up into their parents’ arms Tuesday as the Trump administration scrambled to meet a court-ordered deadline to reunite dozens of youngsters forcibly separated from their families at the border.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, two boys and a girl who had been in temporary foster care were reunited with their Honduran fathers at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement center about three months after they were split up.

The three fathers were “just holding them and hugging them and telling them that everything was fine and that they were never going to be separated again,” said immigration lawyer Abril Valdes.

One of the fathers, Ever Reyes Mejia, walked out of the ICE center carrying his beaming son and the boy’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack. The boy was secured in a booster seat, and father and son were driven away. Lawyers said the fathers were too distraught to speak to the news media.

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‘A matter of life & death’: 15,000 white South African farmers seek refuge in Russia, report says  

“Russia has 43 million hectares of unused farmland, and has recently begun giving out free land to Russian citizens to cultivate farming.”

From RT:

A delegation of 30 South African farming families has arrived in Russia’s farmbelt Stavropol Region, Rossiya 1 TV reports. The group says it is facing violent attacks and death threats at home.

Up to 15,000 Boers, descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa, are planning to move to Russia amid rising violence stemming from government plans to expropriate their land, according to the delegation.

“It’s a matter of life and death – there are attacks on us. It’s got to the point where the politicians are stirring up a wave of violence,” Adi Slebus told the media. “The climate here [Stavropol Region] is temperate, and this land is created by God for farming. All this is very attractive.”

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Spy for Us — or never speak to your family again  

“China is using its huge digital surveillance system, and the threat of sending family members to reeducation camps, to pressure minorities to spy on their fellow exiles.”

From Buzzfeed:

Spying on behalf of the Chinese state went against everything O. believed in.

Yet even as he sat thousands of miles away in a quiet town in Sweden, he knew the police in his home country held something over him that could compel him to do just that — the freedom of his teenage son.

“What could I do?” O. said. “I told them, ‘My son is in your hands. He is the only thing that matters to me. I will do whatever you ask.’”

O. and his son belong to an ethnic group called the Uighurs, a Muslim minority group who make up close to half the population of Xinjiang, a sprawling region in China’s west. There, China’s government has built one of the world’s most sophisticated surveillance states. Measures used there include techniques like DNA collection, iris scans, and cellphone surveillance, and they are disproportionately targeted at minority groups. Hundreds of thousands of Uighurs have been sent to internment camps that are shrouded in secrecy over the past two years. None have been formally charged with a crime.

But if you’re Uighur, escaping China doesn’t mean you’ve escaped the surveillance state.

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Trump Reeks of Fear

From The New York Times, by opinion columnist Charles M. Blow:

I can smell Donald Trump’s fear from here. His panic. His anxiety.

And yet, I don’t have a full picture of what is causing it.

The only people who know what has been discovered in the Russian election meddling probe are Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team, and they aren’t talking.

But President Trump no doubt knows far more about it than the rest of us, and what he knows — or what he fears — appears to be a consuming preoccupation. He tweets about the investigation constantly.

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Trump’s personal driver sues for back wages  

“The complaint asked Trump to pay a yet-to-be-determined amount for the overtime work, plus punitive damages, interest and attorney’s fees.”

From Politico:

President Donald Trump’s onetime personal driver filed a lawsuit against the president Monday, alleging that Donald Trump shorted him on thousands of hours in overtime pay.

Noel Cintron, who served as Trump’s driver for the quarter-century that preceded his presidency, said Trump failed to compensate him for more than 3,000 hours of overtime during the past six years, according to a complaint filed with the New York Supreme Court.

Cintron also said Trump violated federal and state labor laws by failing to reimburse him for accrued vacation and sick time, and by not giving him annual wage notices or pay stubs.

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Just how much trouble is Rep. Jim Jordan in over alleged Ohio State sexual abuse?  

“This week we’ll find out whether Jordan’s sort-of denials and ‘they’re-out-to-get-me’ theories are enough to keep his colleagues on his side. What they decide could make or break Jordan’s political future.”

From The Washington Post:

In politics, as in life, there are varying degrees of denials. But only one denial counts — a full, unequivocal one. And in the case of what Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) knew about sexual abuse happening while he was a coach for the Ohio State University wrestling team decades ago, he has yet to give one.

That could complicate things for Jordan, specifically with whether his GOP colleagues have his back.

“I never saw, never heard of, never was told about any type of abuse. If I had been, I would have dealt with it,” Jordan told Fox News on Friday night of allegations by seven former Ohio State wrestlers that as assistant coach there, he knew or must have known of misconduct surrounding the team.

But when Fox News host Bret Baier asked Jordan to explain why more than a half-dozen wrestlers insist that sexual misconduct was discussed on a regular basis in the locker rooms, Jordan had this to say: “Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than people coming up and talking about abuse. No one ever reported any abuse to me.”

For something as serious as sexual abuse, that sounds to any logical listener like splitting hairs. In what situation would you hear about your own players feeling violated sexually and think they were just joking, or it wasn’t worthy of following up?

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North Korea is reportedly working on a new submarine capable of firing nuclear-armed missiles  

“Despite North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s recent summit with President Donald Trump, North Korea doesn’t appear to have abandoned its nuclear ambitions.”

From Business Insider:

North Korea appears to be working on a new submarine capable of firing nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, according to information gathered by South Korea’s military.

Kim Hack-yong, a South Korean lawmaker who until a few weeks ago was head of the legislature’s defense committee, told The Wall Street Journal that North Korea appeared to working on the sub at the port of Sinpo on the country’s east coast.

An aide to Kim said South Korean intelligence had noticed workers and materials moving at the port, where work on the sub appeared to be taking place at an indoor facility. Kim, whose term as the defense-committee chief recently ended, is a member of the conservative party that has been wary of talks with North Korea.

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