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20 Sep

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

The Age>>

The Observer>>

View All>>

 

GUARD: ‘See you on the street!’ Greta Thunberg urges all to join Friday’s climate strike – video

‘Even though it is slow, the pace is picking up and the debate is shifting,’ 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tells a rapturous audience at George Washington University. Thunberg pioneered the Fridays for Future school climate strikes in August last year by staging a solo protest outside the Swedish parliament. The movement has since grown around the world. The next mass protest is on 20 September. ‘Activism works’, she says, before concluding: ‘See you on the street!’

Millions of people from Sydney to Manila, Dhaka to London and New York are marching for urgent action on climate breakdown

 

Jeremy Corbyn delivers speech at climate protest in London – watch live

Primary school headteacher Scott McFarlane took the morning off work to attend the Middlesborough climate strike with his wife, who is also a teacher, and his nine-year-old son, who is a pupil at his school.

During the strike, dozens of protestors staged a “die in” in the North Yorkshire town’s Centre Square – lying on the pavement for seven minutes to illustrate the rate at which it is believed species are becoming extinct.

A ‘die-in’ led by climate strikers in Middlesborough on Friday 20 September

A ‘die-in’ led by climate strikers in Middlesborough on Friday 20 September Photograph: Scott McFarlane/Guardian Community

McFarlane allowed other children at Stokesley Primary Academy to take part in the strikes if they wished, giving them an “education other than at school” mark on the register.

While not many took up the offer, he said the fact that so many young people seemed to be engaged with environmental activism had given him “hope”.

“I think Greta Thunberg’s an absolute idol. We’ve got kids at school who last year were coming dressed as Ariana Grande, but have now changed their hairstyles to look like Greta,” said McFarlane.

World Politics

United States

New York City mayor told MSNBC’s Morning Joe ‘it’s clearly not my time’ after struggling to gain traction in a crowded field

Bill de Blasio addresses a crowd in South Carolina on 16 September.

Bill de Blasio addresses a crowd in South Carolina on 16 September. Photograph: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, is ending his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

De Blasio struggled to gain traction in a sprawling field of Democrats seeking the presidency. He announced his decision in an MSNBC interview on Friday.

De Blasio launched his bid in May, but his campaign largely failed to take off.

De Blasio said he feels he has contributed all he can “to this primary election”. He told MSNBC’s Morning Joe show “it’s clearly not my time”.

He tweeted an abrupt announcement a little later on Friday morning.

GUARD: As a foreign reporter visiting the US I was stunned by Trump’s press conference

Despite being subjected to a daily diet of Trump headlines, I was unprepared for the president’s alarming incoherence

Not normal: Donald Trump addresses the press at Otay Mesa, California.

As a regular news reader I thought I was across the eccentricities of the US president. Most mornings in Australia begin with news from America – the bid to buy Greenland, adjustments to a weather map hand-drawn with a Sharpie or another self-aggrandising tweet. Our headlines and news bulletins, like headlines and news bulletins everywhere, are full of Trump.

As a political reporter for most of the last 30 years I have also endured many long and rambling political press conferences with Australian prime ministers and world leaders.

But watching a full presidential Trump press conference while visiting the US this week I realised how much the reporting of Trump necessarily edits and parses his words, to force it into sequential paragraphs or impose meaning where it is difficult to detect.

The press conference I tuned into by chance from my New York hotel room was held in Otay Mesa, California, and concerned a renovated section of the wall on the Mexican border.

I joined as the president was explaining at length how powerful the concrete was. Very powerful, it turns out. It was unlike any wall ever built, incorporating the most advanced “concrete technology”. It was so exceptional that would-be wall-builders from three unnamed countries had visited to learn from it.

There were inner tubes in the wall that were also filled with concrete, poured in via funnels, and also “rebars” so the wall would withstand anyone attempting to cut through it with a blowtorch.

The wall went very deep and could not be burrowed under. Prototypes had been tested by 20 “world-class mountain climbers – That’s all they do, they love to climb mountains”, who had been unable to scale it.

It was also “wired, so that we will know if somebody is trying to break through”, although one of the attending officials declined a presidential invitation to discuss this wiring further, saying, “Sir, there could be some merit in not discussing it”, which the president said was a “very good answer”.

The wall was “amazing”, “world class”, “virtually impenetrable” and also “a good, strong rust colour” that could later be painted. It was designed to absorb heat, so it was “hot enough to fry an egg on”. There were no eggs to hand, but the president did sign his name on it and spoke for so long the TV feed eventually cut away, promising to return if news was ever made.

In writing about this not-especially-important or unusual press conference I’ve run into what US reporters must encounter every day

He did, at one point, concede that would-be immigrants, unable to scale, burrow, blow torch or risk being burned, could always walk around the incomplete structure, but that would require them walking a long way. This seemed to me to be an important point, but the monologue quickly returned to the concrete.

In writing about this not-especially-important or unusual press conference I’ve run into what US reporters must encounter every day. I’ve edited skittering, half-finished sentences to present them in some kind of consequential order and repeated remarks that made little sense.

In most circumstances, presenting information in as intelligible a form as possible is what we are trained for. But the shock I felt hearing half an hour of unfiltered meanderings from the president of the United States made me wonder whether the editing does our readers a disservice.

I’ve read so many stories about his bluster and boasting and ill-founded attacks, I’ve listened to speeches and hours of analysis, and yet I was still taken back by just how disjointed and meandering the unedited president could sound. Here he was trying to land the message that he had delivered at least something towards one of his biggest campaign promises and sounding like a construction manager with some long-winded and badly improvised sales lines.

I’d understood the dilemma of normalising Trump’s ideas and policies – the racism, misogyny and demonisation of the free press. But watching just one press conference from Otay Mesa helped me understand how the process of reporting about this president can mask and normalise his full and alarming incoherence.

Lenore Taylor is the editor of Guardian Australia.

Trump claims homeless people hurt the environment. Here’s why that’s wrong>>

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16 Sep

‘House Democrats Must Not Delay’: Progressives, 2020 Contenders Demand Kavanaugh Impeachment Amid New Sexual Misconduct Accusations

‘House Democrats Must Not Delay’: Progressives, 2020 Contenders Demand Kavanaugh Impeachment Amid New Sexual Misconduct Accusations

“Confirmation is not exoneration. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren

 The McGlynn:

Yes! But our problem persists due to the rotten core of Cabals of Businessmen, Senators, Judges, Representatives, Governors, Military officers, spies and a president.

Most Important is the corrupt court system.

Our courts should be the place that we can trust to safeguard our rights and promote justice. But in Donald Trump’s America, our justice system is being corrupted to serve corporate interests and impose a far-right, social agenda on our everyday lives.

 Citizens must organize around our nation’s courts and prevent them from continuing to devolve into just another tool of economic and social oppression. We must wage fact-based campaigns to defend our right to bodily autonomy and to stop our courts from pursuing an agenda that further enriches the wealthy and corporations at the expense of everyday Americans.

The McGlynn

Brett Kavanaugh speaks during his Senate confirmation hearing. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

Progressive advocacy groups and 2020 Democratic presidential candidates led the chorus of voices demanding that House Democrats launch impeachment proceedings against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after the New York Times over the weekend published fresh details about sexual misconduct allegations against the judge and FBI failures to investigate complaints made against him prior to his confirmation.

“The evidence that Kavanaugh committed perjury in his Senate testimony is mounting,” Demand Justice, Women’s March, and Center for Popular Democracy said in a joint statement on Sunday. “Brett Kavanaugh is unfit to sit as a Supreme Court justice in the face of so many credible allegations that he sexually assaulted these women. House Democrats must not delay in launching an impeachment probe.”

Two Times reporters who spent nearly a year investigating the claims against Kavanaugh wrote Saturday that, in addition to credible sexual assault allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, accusations by Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez also stood up to scrutiny.

“During the winter of her freshman year, a drunken dormitory party unsettled her deeply,” Times journalists Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly wrote of Ramirez. “She and some classmates had been drinking heavily when, she says, a freshman named Brett Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it.”

Kavanaugh denied Ramirez’s allegation during his Senate confirmation hearing last year. “During his Senate testimony, Mr. Kavanaugh said that if the incident Ms. Ramirez described had occurred, it would have been ‘the talk of campus.’ Our reporting suggests that it was,” wrote Pogrebin and Kelly.

The two journalists also discovered a previously unreported allegation against Kavanaugh that resembles Ramirez’s story.

According to Porgrebin and Kelly,

A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the FBI about this account, but the FBI did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier; the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say she does not recall the episode.

“This new report corroborates the allegations made by Debbie Ramirez and proves the FBI investigation conducted last year was a sham from the start,” said Demand Justice, Women’s March, and Center for Popular Democracy. “At this point, an impeachment inquiry in the House is the only appropriate way to conduct the fact-finding that Senate Republicans refused to conduct.”

Democratic presidential candidates were quick to join calls for impeachment proceedings against Kavanaugh, who was sworn in last October after being narrowly confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate thanks to the decisive vote of Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

 

Calling the newly uncovered accusation against Kavanaugh “disturbing,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said the judge’s Senate confirmation process lacked “a thorough examination of the allegations against him.”

“Confirmation is not exoneration,” said Warren. “Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”

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16 Sep

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

The Age>>

The Observer>>

View All>>

Irish people holidaying overseas often hear the comment: “Oh, you’re Irish.”

It is almost always freighted with contrasting possibilities.

The speaker, hearing English spoken, may be glad that the person talking in English is Irish rather than British or American.

But, nine times out of 10, no matter where in the world the speaker hails from, they have at best a positive view of the Irish, and at worst a neutral view, not least because we, as a nation, haven’t left scars on them or their country of origin. We don’t have much of a history of invading or colonising.

That’s perhaps why, when, just a week ago, the head of the Church of England publicly prostrated himself in penitence over the massacre at Amritsar in India in 1919, Ireland hardly noticed. We had damn all to do with the Raj and felt no culpability for the way the British treated millions of Indians they turned into fan-wielding servants.

We believed we could not be held accountable for some historic atrocity.

Except that one of the two key men involved in the atrocity was Irish, and the other had the strongest connections with this country. One was educated in Cork, the other came from Tipperary.

To this day, an Irish name evokes a shudder in India: that of Michael O’Dwyer, who never in the two decades following the carnage expressed anything but the approbation of it and the man who directed it, Reginald Dyer.

At the time of Amritsar, the UK was apprehensive of another Indian Mutiny. Apprehensive to the point of paranoia, because it would have taken a rancid case of paranoia to see as dangerous a dusty walled garden full of Amritsarinhabitants gathered to discuss the threat posed by revolutionaries. The agenda for the meeting expressed concern about actions“deleterious to the British government”.

In addition to those wanting to discuss such serious matters,as the day progressed, the garden filled up with pilgrims on their way back from the Golden Temple, looking for somewhere to sit down and eat, somewhere their children could safely play.

The problem was that Brigadier General Dyer was so rigid a character that he couldn’t trust his own eyes. Instead of registering the self-evident harmlessness of roughly 5,000 unarmed civilians, his concern was that he had issued a proclamation that meetings of more than four men were banned, and by God, he was going to ensure the natives paid attention to that proclamation.

He said afterward that if he had been able to get his armoured cars through the procession of people headed for the dusty garden, he would have equipped his men with machine guns — machine guns being more efficient at mowing down the unarmed innocent.

As it was, he blocked the entrance, marched his men into the garden, ordered them into firing positions, told them to aim into the mass of those present, not overhead, and instructed them to open fire. They did. Bullets ploughed into men, women, and children.

Desperate to escape, some of those as yet unwounded tried, with the help of family members, to get over the wall to the outside. The bullet holes still to be seen in that wall testify to their failure. Several hundred (according to British records) died; more than a thousand (according to Indian accounts)perished.

The Brigadier General’s report described the incident as a successful dispersion of a mob. The truth was that he trapped 5,000 people who only a lunatic would regard as a mob and gave them no chance to disperse.

No warning was given. None of those present were told to prove their innocent intent by leaving the area — not that they could have left, given the armoured cars making the gates impassable.

Brigadier General Reginald Dyer.

They were assassinated without cause or conscience. Dyer then ignored the wounded and provided them with no medical help: “It was not my job. Hospitals were open, and they could have gone there.”

Within two days, Michael O’Dwyer, the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, declared martial law, pausing only to instruct the building of gallows in public places so the populace could see what was in store for them if they challenged the military men who now governed their every move.

O’Dwyer devoted the rest of his life to justifying what Dyer had done. But then, he had been raised with a generational reverence for the authority of the British Empire and a matching contempt for revolutionaries back home in Ireland.

O’Dwyer was one of a family of 14 children, so it is, perhaps, unsurprising that the O’Dwyers were Catholic. They were well-to-do landowners who farmed in the shadow of the Galtees. Michael was the sixth child born to Margaret and John O’Dwyer, and adored the two of them, writing admiringly of his father’s unselfish devotion to his clan and his hospitality to others.

Of his mother, he wrote: “She kept the family together in her own loving, unobtrusive and efficient manner till all were launched in the world or provided for at home, no easy task in those days of agricultural depression.”

Michael, like the rest of his family, was raised to high expectations and set out to fulfill them. He was a man untroubled by uncertainty or doubt, for 20 years defending if not promoting the actions of his military in Amritsar.

Indeed, he was at a triumphalist event in a Westminster hall on the night when an Indian named Udham Singh shot him dead. An eponymous biography of the “patient assassin” by Anita Anand, published earlier this year, points out that he had waited for 20 years to avenge Amritsar.

No apology was ever forthcoming for the massacre. When Queen Elizabeth II of Britain laid a wreath at the site of the massacre 20 years ago, Prince Philip described Indian estimates of those who died as “vastly exaggerated”.

On his visit as British prime minister, David Cameron, writing in the visitors’ book, managed to ascribe eternal virtue to the UK while vaguely acknowledging that Amritsar might not have been itsfinest hour.

“We must never forget what happened here,” he wrote. “And in remembering we must ensure that the United Kingdom stands up for the right of peaceful protest around the world.”

Theresa May didn’t even go that far. She expressed regret for the terrible thing that had happened, as if that terrible thing had been an unowned climate event like a hurricane.

We in Ireland have hardly registered the Amritsar massacre. Maybe we should. Maybe we should apologise for an emigrant, who a hundred years ago approved multiple murder. Because that’s the truth of Michael O’Dwyer.Despite a privileged background, a Jesuit education, and enormous pride in tracing his family back to Brian Boru’s time, this man saw nothing wrong in exterminating hundreds of unarmed and entrapped civilians he considered to threaten the Raj, despite the fact that some were babies and several were in their 80s.

His command soaked the garden at Amritsar with the blood of innocents. And he never regretted it.

 

Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2019 finalists – in pictures

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15 Sep

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

The Age>>

The Observer>>

View All>>

Wildlife photographer of the year – highly commended images

 

Major CBS News poll released as part of Covering Climate Now, a collaboration of more than 250 news outlets around the world to strengthen coverage of the climate story

The dome of the US Capitol is seen behind the smokestacks of the Capitol Power Plant, a coal-burning plant in Washington DC.

The dome of the US Capitol is seen behind the smokestacks of the Capitol Power Plant, a coal-burning plant in Washington DC. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Two-thirds of Americans believe climate change is either a crisis or a serious problem, with a majority wanting immediate action to address global heating and its damaging consequences, major new polling has found.

Amid a Democratic primary shaped by unprecedented alarm over the climate crisis and an insurgent youth climate movement that is sweeping the world, the polling shows substantial if uneven support for tackling the issue.

More than a quarter of Americans questioned in the new CBS News poll consider climate change a “crisis”, with a further 36% defining it as a “serious problem”. Two in 10 respondents said it was a minor problem, with just 16% considering it not worrisome at all.

More than half of polled Americans said they wanted the climate crisis to be confronted right away, with smaller groups happy to wait a few more years and just 18% rejecting any need to act.

“Americans are finally beginning waking up to the existential threat that the climate emergency poses to our society,” said Margaret Klein Salamon, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Climate Mobilization Project. “This is huge progress for our movement – and it’s young people that have been primarily responsible for that.”

But while nearly all of those questioned accept that the climate is changing, there appears to be lingering confusion over why and scientists’ confidence over the causes.

There is a consensus among climate scientists that the world is heating up due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels for electricity generation and transportation, as well as cutting down forests. However, just 44% of poll respondents said human activity was a major contributor to climate change. More than a quarter said our impact was minor or nonexistent.

There is an even starker split on the findings of climate scientists. According to the CBS poll, 52% of Americans say “scientists agree that humans are a main cause” of the climate crisis, with 48% claiming there is disagreement among experts.

“This remains a vitally important misunderstanding – if you believe global warming is just a natural cycle, you’re unlikely to support policies intended to reduce carbon pollution, like regulations and taxes,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, which has made similar findings in its own, long-running polling.

“These results also again confirm a long-standing problem, which is that many Americans still believe scientists themselves are uncertain whether human-caused global warming is happening.

“Our own and others’ research has repeatedly found that this is a critical misunderstanding, promoted by the fossil fuel industry for decades, in order to sow doubt, increase public uncertainty and thus keep people stuck in the status quo, in a ‘wait and see’ mode.”

Similar to previous polls, the CBS research finds sharp ideological differences in attitudes to the climate crisis. While nearly seven in 10 Democratic voters understand that humans significantly influence the climate and 80% want immediate action, just 20% of Republicans think humans are a primary cause and barely a quarter want rapid action.

On the science, nearly three-quarters of Democrats said almost all experts agree that humans are driving climate change, with just 29% of Republicans saying the same.

Read Full Article>>

World Politics

United States

Donald Trump blames lightbulbs for his orange hue – video

Donald Trump has blamed energy-efficient lightbulbs for his sometimes orange appearance. Speaking before an audience of Republican legislators in Baltimore on Thursday evening, he addressed criticism of his recent plans to weaken regulations on environmentally friendly bulbs. ‘The bulb that we’re being forced to use, number one, to me, most importantly, the light’s no good,’ he said. ‘I always look orange. And so do you! The light’s the worst’

  • New York Times details new claims against supreme court judge

  • Castro: ‘Kavanaugh lied under oath. He should be impeached’

Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate judiciary committee in September 2018.

Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate judiciary committee in September 2018. Photograph: Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump came storming to the defence of Brett Kavanaugh on Sunday, after the publication of new allegations about the supreme court justice’s behaviour while he was a student at Yale led to renewed calls for his impeachment.

Kamala Harris and Julían Castro were among Democrats leading the charge. Harris said Kavanaugh “lied to the US Senate and most importantly to the American people”.

Trump tweeted: “The Radical Left Democrats and their Partner, the LameStream Media, are after Brett Kavanaugh again.”

On Saturday, the New York Times, a leading target for Trump’s ire, published an essay adapted from a new book by two of its reporters, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly.

In the extract from The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: an Investigation, Pogrebin and Kelly look into the judge’s time at Yale in the 1980s.

The piece concerned a claim by another student, Deborah Ramirez, that at a drunken party, Kavanaugh “pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it”.

Ramirez’s claim first surfaced during Kavanaugh’s stormy confirmation last year, though it did not attract as much attention as that of Dr Christine Blasey Ford, an academic who said Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a high school party.

Brett Kavanaugh lied to the US Senate and most importantly to the American people … He must be impeached

Kamala Harris

Pogrebin and Kelly wrote: “While we found Dr Ford’s allegations credible during a 10-month investigation, Ms Ramirez’s story could be more fully corroborated. During his Senate testimony, Mr Kavanaugh said that if the incident Ms Ramirez described had occurred, it would have been ‘the talk of campus’. Our reporting suggests that it was.”

The reporters also said they had “uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms Ramirez’s allegation”.

A classmate, they wrote, “saw Mr Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student”.

The Times said senators and the FBI were notified about that claim but it was not investigated.

Kavanaugh vehemently denied all allegations against him. He was confirmed on a 50-48 vote, the narrowest for a supreme court pick in more than a century. As Trump’s second pick, he has tilted the court firmly to the right.

Pogrebin and Kelly’s book comes on the heels of another book by Times reporters, She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, about the investigation and downfall of Harvey Weinstein, which triggered the #MeToo movement.

News of the new claim against Kavanaugh and the investigation of the known one touched off a social media firestorm. On Sunday morning, Trump duly fired back.

Democrats and the media, he said, were “talking loudly of their favorite word, impeachment. He is an innocent man who has been treated HORRIBLY. Such lies about him. They want to scare him into turning Liberal!”

Calls for Kavanaugh’s impeachment have surfaced periodically since his confirmation.

Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for liable [sic], or the justice department should come to his rescue

Donald Trump

On Saturday, former Obama housing secretary and Democratic presidential candidate Julían Castro tweeted: “It’s more clear than ever that Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath. He should be impeached. And Congress should review the failure of the Department of Justice to properly investigate the matter.”

On Sunday, Harris, a California senator, a member of the judiciary committee and a top-five contender for the nomination, wrote: “I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the US Senate and most importantly to the American people. He was put on the court through a sham process and his place on the court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice. He must be impeached.”

Another candidate, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, was less direct.

“I strongly oppose him,” she told ABC’s This Week, “based on his views on the executive power which will continue to haunt our country, as well as how he behaved, including the allegations that we are hearing more about today. My concern here is that the process was a sham.”

For his part, Trump appeared to suggest the justice department should act at his behest to aid a political ally, a highly irregular if familiar stance.

Read Full Article>>

Donald Trump blames lightbulbs for his orange hue – video>>

Republican Trump challengers warn of totalitarian drift in party>>

RIP GOP review: how Democrats can usher fall of the house of Trump>>

Is Texas, long a Republican stronghold, really in play for the Democrats in 2020?>>

Trump floats possible defense treaty days ahead of Israeli elections>>

Trump’s new world disorder: competitive, chaotic, conflicted>>

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