Jesse Jackson slams US president over white supremacist rally

August 18, 2017


© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson slammed President Donald Trump for insisting anti-racism protester shared equal blame with white supremacists for weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia

CHICAGO (AFP) – American civil rights pioneer Jesse Jackson on Friday slammed President Donald Trump for insisting anti-racism protesters were equally to blame for the violence at a white supremacist rally last weekend.Jackson also endorsed removals of Confederate statues and flags, as efforts to shed such symbols accelerated around the country. A Civil War-era monument was at the center of the Virginia rally.

“There is a sense of humiliation, insult by the president equating violent white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK with civil rights demonstrators,” Jackson said at a Chicago news conference.

“One marching to tear the country up. One marching to heal.”

Trump has come under fire from Republicans and Democrats alike for his much-criticized response to the rally in the city of Charlottesville.

In the aftermath, the president lost the support of numerous CEOs and cities across the country decided to remove Confederate symbols from public spaces.

America’s most populous city, New York, announced Thursday that it would remove two busts of Confederate army commanders from the “Hall of Fame for Great Americans” landmark.

Jackson — who marched with Martin Luther King Jr in the 1960s — called such steps “long overdue.”

“The statues must go. The (Confederate) flag must go. One American flag is enough,” Jackson said.

“There are no swastikas flying in Germany today. There are no statues of Hitler in Germany today.”

Lebanese Army Finds Surface-To-Air Missile in Nusra Front Arms Cache

August 18, 2017

BEIRUT — The Lebanese army found a surface-to-air missile (SAM) in a weapons cache left by Nusra Front militants after it took over some of the jihadists’ positions in northeast Lebanon, a Lebanese security source said on Friday.

The cache also included U.S.-made so-called TOW anti-tank missiles, the source said. Photographs of the cache sent by the security source showed large numbers of shells and rockets.

There have been sporadic reports throughout Syria’s six-year-old civil war of rebel groups gaining access to SAMs. Last year the Syrian government said rebels had used one to shoot down a jet, but insurgents said they had downed it with anti-aircraft guns.

The Nusra Front was the official branch of al Qaeda in Syria until it changed its name a year ago and broke formal allegiance to the global jihadist network.

It held a pocket of territory straddling the border between Syria and Lebanon until a Hezbollah offensive last month that forced it to accept evacuation to a rebel-held part of Syria.

Lebanon’s army has taken over the positions that Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shi’ite group allied to the Syrian government, took from the Nusra fighters last month.

The Lebanese army is also preparing for an offensive against the last militant presence in the mountainous border area, an Islamic State pocket near to the one previously held by Nusra.

(Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Afghan Official: 7 Die in Violence in Western Herat Province

August 18, 2017

KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan official says seven people have died in two separate incidents of violence in the western Herat province.

Hekmatullah Hekmat, governor in Shindand, says a gunbattle between two rival Taliban groups there killed four people, all members of the same family, when a mortar shell hit their home.

The fighting erupted overnight and lasted into early morning on Friday.

In the same district, also on Friday, a roadside bombing killed three civilians driving in a car.

No one claimed responsibility for the deadly explosion but Hekmat blamed the Taliban for planting the bomb.

Along with the Taliban, the Islamic State affiliate has also been active in Herat. Earlier this month, a brutal IS suicide bombing in a Shite mosque in the provincial capital of Herat killed 33 worshippers.

Steve Bannon Leaves White House Staff

August 18, 2017

Controversial strategist pushed President Trump toward nationalist, populist agenda

Steve Bannon helping with last-minute preparations before President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement at the White House on June 1 in Washington, D.C.
Steve Bannon helping with last-minute preparations before President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement at the White House on June 1 in Washington, D.C. PHOTO: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

Aug. 18, 2017 12:55 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon left his position Friday, as the newly minted Chief of Staff John Kelly sought to bring order to a White House riven by infighting and power struggles, according to people familiar with the decision.

Mr. Bannon’s departure marks the fourth senior White House official to leave the president’s administration in the past five weeks, which has yet to see a major legislative victory despite serving with a Republican-controlled Congress.

The former banker and media executive is credited with shepherding Mr. Trump to victory in last year’s election. He joined the campaign in the final months when Mr. Trump was trailing in the polls by double digits. He put an end to news conferences by his candidate and pushed for more rallies and a focus on closing the border, renegotiating international trade deals, and eviscerating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with personal attacks.

Bannon’s Critics: Alt-Right Is Wrong for White House
Trump spokespeople rushed to defend the president-elect’s pick of Steve Bannon for senior White House strategist. Democrats and advocacy groups denounced Bannon as a proponent of the Alt-Right, a movement that includes white nationalists. WSJ’s Jason Bellini reports.(Originally published Nov. 4, 2016)

Among White House staff, he was the most associated with the conservative, populist nationalism bent espoused by Mr. Trump during the campaign and in the White House. His departure could give rise to more moderate voices in the administration, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

While the relationship between the president and Mr. Bannon ebbed and flowed, the breaking point came after liberal political magazine American Prospect published an extended interview in which he referred to white supremacist groups as “clowns,” said the president’s pro-business advisers were “wetting themselves” and—contrary to the president’s public positions—dismissed the potential for military action in North Korea.

Mr. Bannon’s allies said he didn’t intend his discussion with the American Prospect to be on the record.

Mr. Bannon’s exit comes after a week in which the president has come under fire for his response to racially charged protests in Virginia. One woman was killed during the violence when a car driven by an alleged white supremacist plowed into a crowd of counter protesters.

The president initially said both sides were to blame for the clashes. On Monday, after facing heavy pressure, Mr. Trump issued a statement singling out white supremacists for blame. But then Tuesday, he delivered one of the most combative news conferences of his presidency, again saying both sides were to blame.

Inside the White House, Mr. Bannon had argued against issuing Monday’s “white supremacists” statement, telling the president that he would be criticized in the media for changing this position, said one person familiar with the exchange.

Later in the week, Mr. Trump doubled down on another of his chief strategist’s recommendations: lamenting the removal of statues commemorating Confederate leaders by likening it to a whitewashing of American history.

In a Trump administration filled with political outsiders, Mr. Bannon is among the most colorful, and the most controversial. He texts and emails with colleagues around the clock, and is known for his unkempt appearance and for dropping obscure quotes from John Wayne movies or ancient philosophers into casual conversation.

Mrs. Clinton sought to turn Mr. Bannon into a campaign issue, arguing his arrival showed Mr. Trump was “taking hate groups mainstream.” Before joining the campaign, Mr. Bannon was head of Breitbart News, which he once described as a “platform for the alt-right.” Breitbart has published such articles as “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.”

In a phone call with Mr. Trump several weeks ago on an unrelated subject, Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) pushed back hard against the idea of getting rid of Mr. Bannon, according to a person familiar with the matter. Conservatives from the tea party movement have viewed him as a crucial link to the White House.

Mr. Meadows, who is part of the House Freedom Caucus, didn’t immediately comment on Friday. His group, consisting of several dozen Republicans, doesn’t have enough members to drive the GOP agenda, but it is big enough to deprive House Republicans of the votes they would need to advance legislation with only GOP support.

Among conservative activists and Bannon allies, there are deep concerns about the former Breitbart CEO’s ability to influence the administration from the outside in the same way he had at times from his office just steps from the Oval Office. Additionally, they worry about the president moving toward the political center without Mr. Bannon involved in policy fights, the person said.

“I see New York Democrats and generals in ascendancy, and that is not what we ran on in 2016,” the person continued. “So it worries me.”



Murdoch son donates $1 million to anti-hate crime group in Trump rebuke

August 18, 2017


© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox, criticized Donald Trump’s response to recent violence in Virginia and pledged $1 million to countering hate

NEW YORK (AFP) – James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox whose father Rupert has been a Donald Trump ally, criticized the US president’s response to recent violence in Virginia and pledged to donate $1 million to countering hate.The unusual political intervention from an executive who has cultivated a more low-key persona than his father, was notable, coming from the top echelons of a media empire that includes Fox News.

Trump is said to assiduously watch the news network, whose viewers include many of his staunchest supporters.

The US president has come under blistering attack across the political spectrum for saying anti-racism protestors deserved equal blame for violence at a neo-Nazi and white supremacist rally that left one woman dead last Saturday.

Nineteen other people were injured when a suspected white nationalist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at the rally in Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

In an email addressed to “friends,” a copy of which has been seen by AFP, Murdoch said he had been moved to act “as a concerned citizen and a father.”

“What we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the president of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people,” wrote Murdoch.

“The presence of hate in our society was appallingly laid bare as we watched swastikas brandished on the streets of Charlottesville and acts of brutal terrorism and violence perpetrated by a racist mob,” he said.

“I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.”

Murdoch said he and his wife Kathryn were donating $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League, which calls itself the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism, and which also counters hate crimes and threats to democracy.

The ADL is an “extraordinary force for vigilance and strength in the face of bigotry,” Murdoch wrote, calling on recipients of the email to donate as well.

Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon and Fox News founder, has repeatedly urged Trump to sack his far-right chief strategist Steve Bannon, The New York Times reported this week.

Trump Tells Aides He Has Decided to Remove Stephen Bannon

August 18, 2017

President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion.

The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time.

As of Friday morning, the two men were still discussing Mr. Bannon’s future, the officials said. A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

Mr. Bannon had clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers and members of the president’s family.

But the loss of Mr. Bannon, the right-wing nationalist who helped propel some of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises into policy reality, raises the potential for the president to face criticism from the conservative news media base that supported him over the past year.

Mr. Bannon’s many critics bore down after the violence in Charlottesville. Outraged over Mr. Trump’s insistence that “both sides” were to blame for the violence that erupted at a white nationalist rally, leaving one woman dead, human rights activists demanded that the president fire so-called nationalists working in the West Wing. That group of hard-right populists in the White House is led by Mr. Bannon.

On Tuesday at Trump Tower in New York, Mr. Trump refused to guarantee Mr. Bannon’s job security but defended him as “not a racist” and “a friend.”

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Steve Bannon May Be Fired At Any Moment

August 18, 2017


Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, in April at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times


August 18, 2017 12:14 PM

Jonathan Swan of Axios, a very fine reporter, has just written that Chief of Staff John Kelly’s review of White House staff is coming to an end — and that Steve Bannon appears to be on the chopping block. “A decision is imminent,” Swan writes.

More fascinating is that the decision seems to rest in Kelly’s hands. Apparently, President Trump now suspects Bannon has been responsible for a series of damaging leaks about his colleagues in the West Wing. His recent on-the-record news dump to a left-wing reporter, in which he bad-mouthed other members of the White House staff, cannot have helped either.

Bannon may still survive, however. Swan notes that he appears unfazed and that Trump will have to consider whether Bannon can damage him from outside the administration, or cost him the support of billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, valuable Trump allies.

Image result for National Review, logo

“Get ready for Bannon the barbarian,” warned a source close to Bannon.

But this may not be enough to save his job: “Many West Wing officials are now asking ‘when,’ not ‘if,’ Bannon goes,” according to Swan.

Chief of Staff Kelly would have good reasons to fire Bannon. As National Review’s David French has written, “Bannon’s actions indicate that, if nothing else, he’s a vicious opportunist.”

This opportunism has led him not only to indulge some of the elements of the hateful alt-right, but also to wage a vicious media campaign against national-security adviser H. R. McMaster, with Bannon’s allies falsely accusing him of being anti-Israel and an alcoholic.

David puts it with characteristic clarity: “Vindictive men who promote the work of racists and normalize their ideas obviously shouldn’t be within 100 miles of political power, never mind two steps from the Oval Office.”

We would do well to remember that as Kelly makes his ultimate decision.

It has become even more difficult to defend Bannon now that, as Charles Krauthammer explained last night, Bannon is openly contradicting the president and attacking other White House staff to left-wing reporters. Kelly will have to keep all of this in mind as he makes his final decision.

Will Bannon be more damaging to the president from the outside than from the inside?

We may soon find out.

Read more at:



Corker: Trump hasn’t demonstrated the stability or competence to be successful — White House is in a “downward spiral.”

August 18, 2017
Image result for bob corker, photos


  • President Donald Trump has lashed out at his Republican critics on Twitter
  • Bob Corker is the latest GOP senator to slam Trump’s handling of Charlottesville

(CNN) — Sen. Bob Corker slammed President Donald Trump’s handling of the racially motivated protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, charging that the President “has not demonstrated he understands the character of this nation.”


The Tennessee Republican told reporters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Thursday that he thinks there must be “radical changes” within the White House.
“He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today, and he’s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that,” Corker added.
Corker is the latest Republican senator to criticize Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville protests. Trump attacked two other Republican senators — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona — on Twitter on Thursday morning over their criticisms of him.
Corker has maintained a collegial relationship with Trump and his administration, and he has spoken regularly with both the President and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
At the same time, he spearheaded the Russia sanctions legislation Trump reluctantly signed into law earlier this month, and in May, he said the White House was in a “downward spiral.”
Corker on Thursday declined to detail what he meant by “radical changes” and said he did not want to discuss specific officials in the White House.
“There just needs to be a different approach,” he said.
But he took aim at Trump for his Tuesday comments that played to the extremist wing of his political base and sparked condemnation from Republican lawmakers as well as business leaders and others.
“Helping inspire divisions because it generates support from your political base is not a formula for causing our nation to advance, our nation to overcome the many issues we have to deal with right now,” Corker said.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to add a dropped phrase back into Corker’s quote.

Includes video:

Newt Gingrich: Donald Trump’s Presidency Is In Trouble — Needs to make “serious changes” if he’s going to survive

August 18, 2017

By Peter Hasson

The Daily Caller

Former Speaker of the House and longtime Trump supporter Newt Gingrich is seriously worried about the future of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Gingrich, who has consistently been one of Trump’s most optimistic supporters, said Friday morning that Trump is more isolated than he realizes and needs to make “serious changes” if he’s going to have a stable presidency.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich shakes hands with Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich shakes hands with Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)

“I think he’s in a position right now where he’s much more isolated than he realizes,” Gingrich said in an interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer. “On the Hill, he has far more people willing to sit to one side and not help him right now, and I think that he needs to recognize that he’s taken a good first step with bringing in General Kelly, but he needs to think about what has not worked. You don’t get down to 35 percent approval and have people in your own party shooting at you and conclude that everything’s going fine.”

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“How many times have we had this conversation? It was John McCain, Gold Star families and Access Hollywood. Is this week that much different than the numerous other situations?” Hemmer asked.

“It is only different in that you go through little ground, little ground, little ground, and after a while you have enough different people pull back that you are in a qualitatively different position and right now, that if he wants to get his agenda enacted that if he wants get things done and have a presidency that is stable, he is going to have to have a couple of serious changes,” Gingrich said. “I think ‘The Art of the Comeback,’ which is a fascinating book that he wrote in 1997, is a really helpful reminder and he needs to think of what hasn’t been working and what he will do that is more effective in the rest of the presidency.”


Philippines Cannot Kill Its Way To the End of Illegal Drugs and Addiction

August 18, 2017

Image result for philippines, war on drugs, photos

Above: The body of a man whom police said was killed during a drug-bust operation on “Shabu” (meth), is seen in Manila, Philippines, August 18, 2016. REUTERS/Ezra Acayan


By:  – ThINQ Blogger / @inquirerdotnet
 / 05:30 AM August 18, 2017

The “real,” effective and long-term solution to the drug problem is not, believe it or not, EJKs, “tokhang,” or any newfangled, fancily named police or military operation.

Killing suspected drug dealers and pushers or just plain users produces only dead people, while the orphans and widow/ers the killings leave behind become prime candidates for a new generation of addicts.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference in Davao, Philippines. Thomson Reuters

No, the long-term solution to addiction is behavioral modification through the creation of a “therapeutic community” combined with clinical interventions to address the user’s dependence on drugs and other harmful substances and behavior.

But, as Martin Infante, founder and president of Self Enhancement for Life Foundation (SELF), would himself admit, the process is time-consuming, complicated and subject to ups and downs as the drug dependent or patient struggles with deep-seated issues that underlie the addiction. As Infante once put it: “Relapse is part of recovery.”

A client’s stay at the SELF Center in Talisay, Batangas, ranges from 18 to 22 months, says Infante, with six months of “after-care” during which the graduate joins a work/study program where he or she learns or relearns “discipline and structure” in daily life. A graduate of the program must complete at least one semester in school before being deemed “cured,” adds Infante. And in fact, he says with some astonishment, SELF has so far produced 10 graduates who’ve made it to the Dean’s List in different colleges.

Of course, a “good” postgraduate performance doesn’t guarantee lifelong freedom from drugs or other forms of dependence. In fact, Infante notes, alcoholism is one of the “most difficult” forms of addiction to address or cure. For one, alcohol is far more available and accessible than illicit drugs. Another thing to note is that there is little social condemnation of alcoholism, except perhaps by people most directly affected by it—the alcoholic’s family, work mates and friends.

Still, despite the odds, SELF offers hope to all affected by drugs and other dependencies, including parents, siblings and children, without resorting to the drastic “final solution” of mass killings.

Indeed, SELF is marking its 25th year in September with a series of activities meant to “share its wisdom and experience in a holistic approach to their treatment and rehabilitation,” with the theme “Rekindling Hope and Rebuilding Lives.”

Foremost of these activities is a lecture by Dr. Gregory Bunt, an international expert on addiction medicine, followed by a panel discussion by international practitioners and experts in the therapeutic community approach.

To be held on Sept. 14 at the SMX Aura Function Room 1, the lecture panel will be attended by the families of SELF residents, medical practitioners and students, with slots available for the general public. On Sept. 15, SELF will organize a roundtable with its Council of TC (therapeutic community) Elders and their Asian counterparts, to discuss the future of the TC Federation of South Asia.

But the highlight of the 25th anniversary events, especially for SELF alumni and residents as well as their families, is the fellowship program and show on Sept. 16. It pays tribute to SELF’s 25 years of being a healing community, highlighted by a show mounted by the SELF family and directed by longtime collaborator Fritz Ynfante.

Founded in 1992 by Infante, himself a former drug user, SELF is dedicated to helping afflicted individuals “recover from various addictions and dependencies and to share the experience of the TC’s success with other groups and individuals in the same mission.”

Indeed, despite its “small scale” approach to rehabilitation, given the time, facilities and personnel needed to work with residents, the SELF program offers a valuable alternative mode to the prevailing law enforcement mentality which views the eradication of human beings—users, pushers and dealers—as the preferred solution.

There is hope for addicts and other dependents. They are human beings, after all, and humanity holds within its core the promise of recovery, change and transformation.

ThINQ is the Inquirer’s attempt to highlight in the public space the distinct viewpoints contributed by bloggers covering a wide range of topics and issues.

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