Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comments came during a speech at the annual Munich Security Conference, where US Vice President Mike Pence spoke earlier in the day, vowing that the United States would "hold Russia accountable," even as the White House seeks common ground with the Kremlin. "What kind of relations do we want with the US? Pragmatic relations, mutual respect, understanding our special responsibility for global stability," Lavrov said. "If you want, you can call it a post-West world order when each country, based on its sovereignty within the rules of international law, will strive to find a balance between its own national interests and the national interests of partners."


A United States aircraft carrier strike group has begun patrols in the South China Sea amid growing tension with China over control of the disputed waterway and concerns it could become a flashpoint under the new U.S. administration. China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday warned Washington against challenging its sovereignty in the South China Sea. The U.S. navy said the force, including Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, began routine operations in the South China Sea on Saturday.


HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US will not, in fact, be divided much longer. Shia LaBeouf's anti-Donald Trump half livestream, half performance art project will permanently move to the El Rey Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a week after it was shut down over public safety concerns at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. -- Vulture


Jared Bernstein: If you needed any more proof that progressives stink at coming up with catchy names for things, consider that we're now defending something called the "fiduciary rule." But defend it we must. I'm talking about a rule change from the late Obama era intended to reduce conflicts of interest between financial advisers and their clients saving for retirement. Most people are unaware that any such conflicts exist, but they do, and at significant costs to retirement savers. By requiring financial advisers to follow an established, fiduciary standard, the rule, which was slated to take effect in April, is simply intended to more closely align the interests and goals of those trying to do the right thing -- save for retirement -- and their advisers. Last Friday, the Trump administration signed an executive order designed to undermine the rule before it takes effect. In an economy in which retirement security is already too precarious, doing so is a big policy mistake. read more


Defense Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis said Sunday that the media is not the "enemy of the American people," refusing to align with President Trump's startling declaration last week. "I've had some contentious times with the press," he said in response to a question about whether he saw the media as an enemy. "But no, the press is a constituency that we deal with, and I don't have any issues with the press myself." On Friday, Trump tweeted that the "fake news" media was an "enemy of the American people." An initial tweet mentioning CNN, the New York Times, NBC and "many more" was deleted and reposted, expanding the list to include ABC and CBS. read more


The Federal Bureau of Investigation is pursuing at least three separate probes relating to alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential elections, according to five current and former government officials with direct knowledge of the situation. While the fact that the FBI is investigating had been reported previously by the New York Times and other media, these officials shed new light on both the precise number of inquires and their focus. The FBI's Pittsburgh field office, which runs many cyber security investigations, is trying to identify the people behind breaches of the Democratic National Committee's computer systems, the officials said. Those breaches, in 2015 and the first half of 2016, exposed the internal communications of party officials as the Democratic nominating convention got underway and helped undermine support for Hillary Clinton. read more


In November, the U.K. Daily Mail used its entire front page to brand three judges "enemies of the people" following a legal ruling on the Brexit process. Then on Friday, President Donald Trump deployed the epithet against mainstream US media outlets that he sees as hostile. "The fake news media (failing New York Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS, CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!" he wrote on Twitter. ... The U.S. president's use of "enemies of the people" raises unavoidable echoes of some of history's most murderous dictators. ... "Charming that our uneducated president manages to channel the words of Stalin and fails to hear the historical resonance of this phrase," tweeted Mitchell Orenstein, a professor of Russian and East European studies at the University of Pennsylvania. read more


Glenn Kessler, Washington Post: President Trump's speech at a campaign-style rally in Melbourne, Fla., was filled with a number of dubious claims. Here's a quick round-up of his rhetoric -- and the facts. We will examine these statements in the order in which he made them. ... "We've allowed thousands and thousands of people into our country. And there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing." This is false. The vetting of refugees is careful and takes about two years, including FBI screening, Department of Homeland Security interviews and extensive security and background checks. read more


Donald Trump appeared to invent a terrorist attack in Sweden during a campaign-style rally in Florida on Saturday. Campaigning in Melbourne, Florida, despite the fact there's no election going on, Trump told the crowd of 9,000, "We've got to keep our country safe. You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible." There was no attack in Sweden, but one did occur in Sehwan, Pakistan. Former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt tweeted: "Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound."


Authorities have arrested a fourth suspect in the mysterious death of the half brother of North Korea's leader. North Korean Ri Jong Chol was arrested Friday in Selangor, Malaysia. He is one of four people detained in the death of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The victim was on his way to catch a flight Monday morning to see his family in Macau when he died. Police say they believe he was sprayed with poison as he waited to board the flight at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. In addition to the North Korean man, an Indonesian woman, a Malaysian man and another woman carrying Vietnamese identification have been arrested. read more


Sen. John McCain spoke out Saturday in defense of the free press after President Trump lashed out against the news media several times over the past week, at one point declaring it "the enemy of the American People!" Such talk, McCain (R-Ariz.) said on NBC News in an interview set to air Sunday, was "how dictators get started." "In other words, a consolidation of power," McCain told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd from Munich. The 80-year-old Republican senator was responding to several tweets by Trump over the past week, in which he repeatedly attacked the media as "fake news." In one widely shared tweet Friday, Trump said the press was "not my enemy" but that of the American people.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Instead of doing his job, President Donald Trump held a campaign rally Saturday in Melbourne, Florida, preening from the cheers of the 9,000 people who attended. CNN reports, "What was unclear Saturday was what exactly Trump was campaigning for. The event was being run by Trump's 2016 campaign, Donald J. Trump for President Inc." Presidents who just took office don't hold rallies. Trump's stunt today brought comparisons to Sally Field's soap opera diva on the movie Soapdish going to Paramus Mall in New Jersey to encounter fans whenever she needed an ego boost. read more


The White House abruptly dismissed a senior National Security Council aide on Friday after receiving reports that he had publicly laced into the president and his senior aides, including son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump at an event hosted by a Washington think tank. The aide, Craig Deare, was serving as the NSC's senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Earlier in the week, at a private, off-the-record roundtable hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center for a group of about two dozen scholars, Deare harshly criticized the president and his chief strategist Steve Bannon and railed against the dysfunction paralyzing the Trump White House, according to a source familiar with the situation. read more


Monopoly fans cast four million votes last month to decide which of the board game's classic eight tokens should stay around -- and which gets the ax. The results are in: Say goodbye to the thimble. ... The thimble's fate is the result of an online vote Monopoly parent Hasbro held last month at VoteMonopoly.com, marking the first time in Monopoly's 82-year history that Hasbro crowdsourced the future of the game. "Monopoly is being gentrified," harrumphed Gizmodo.


Occupy Democrats: The President's son Eric Trump filed a petition with the Department of Labor to hire 23 additional foreign guest workers to "take Americans' jobs" at his Virginia winery. Eric Trump's demand comes in addition to a December request for only six workers for the jobs which will pay $11.27 per hour, but that they claim that no American wants. Donald Trump's hypocritical political position involves constantly advocating for American jobs on one hand and hiring as many foreign workers as the law allows on the other hand. Reportedly, Trump businesses employ a total 286 foreign workers in the family's golf courses, restaurants, and hotels.


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