Tag Archives: sign

Police: No sign that Duluth synagogue fire was hate crime

Police: No sign that Duluth synagogue fire was hate crimeA fire that destroyed a historic synagogue in northeastern Minnesota doesn’t appear to have been a hate crime, authorities said Sunday in discussing the arrest of a suspect. Matthew James Amiot, 36, of Duluth, was arrested Friday in the fire last week at the Adas Israel Congregation in downtown Duluth, the city’s police chief, Mike Tusken, said at a news conference. Tusken said he has no reason to believe the fire was a hate crime, although the investigation is ongoing.



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In a sign of what’s to come, Trump trolls Democrats as they debate

In a sign of what’s to come, Trump trolls Democrats as they debateAn airplane above Thursday’s Democratic debate venue trailed a banner: “Socialism will kill Houston’s economy! Vote Trump 2020.” The plane was hired by the Trump campaign in a likely preview of how the president will treat his opponent: as a dangerous leftist.



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The GOP lawmakers disgusted by Trump’s invitation to the Taliban are the latest sign his foreign policy is in shambles

The GOP lawmakers disgusted by Trump’s invitation to the Taliban are the latest sign his foreign policy is in shamblesThe Taliban invitation and subsequent backlash adds to an expanding list of foreign policy controversies and failures for Trump ahead of 2020.



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Exclusive: Secretary of State Pompeo Declines to Sign Risky Afghan Peace Deal

Exclusive: Secretary of State Pompeo Declines to Sign Risky Afghan Peace DealThe deal doesn't ensure several crucial things, those familiar with the discussions tell TIME



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Exclusive: Pompeo Declines to Sign Risky Afghan Peace Deal

Exclusive: Pompeo Declines to Sign Risky Afghan Peace DealTentative First Steps Towards Peace Leave Major Questions Unanswered, Raise Fears of a Return to Taliban Rule



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Call Sign Chaos review: James Mattis pulls a flanking manuever on Trump

Call Sign Chaos review: James Mattis pulls a flanking manuever on TrumpIn a memoir that is part hymn to the constitution, the former secretary of defense offers only veiled criticism of the presidentJames Mattis listens as Donald Trump speaks to the media in the cabinet room in October 2018. Photograph: Leah Millis/ReutersJames Mattis was Donald Trump’s defense secretary for less than two years, resigning in December 2018. The general’s departure came with headlines but little surprise. His resignation letter omitted any praise for the commander-in-chief. “Because you have the right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours,” he wrote, “I believe it is right for me to step down.”Mattis had been on thin ice for a long time. At an infamous cabinet meeting in June 2017, Mattis praised the men and women of the military instead of gushing over the president. Just months later, a White House official told me Mattis had shown insufficient loyalty to Trump. But because North Korea was on the front burner – before “Little Rocket Man” had started sending Trump love letters – the president felt he needed generals around him. In the end, everyone in Trump’s orbit is expendable. Except Ivanka Trump.Call Sign Chaos, Mattis’s memoir, is a readable look at more than four decades as a marine. Co-written with Bing West, a former marine and Reagan Pentagon alumnus, the book spans Mattis’s career, from enlistment through retirement.It contains veiled disapproval of Trump and is sharper in expressing disagreements with his Oval Office predecessors.> Call Sign Chaos takes aim at bigotry and lauds the military service of migrants. It gives full-throated support for NatoOfficially, the book’s title derives from the call-sign bestowed when Mattis became a regimental commander, Chaos an acronym for “Colonel Has An Outstanding Solution”.Mattis comes across as plain-spoken and reflective, a fan of books and history. Abraham Lincoln and Gettysburg receive their due. As a younger man, however, Mattis was not above brawling. In other words, he’s interesting.He repeatedly expresses his regard for America’s institutions and its constitution even as he offers criticism, one thing which sets him apart from the 45th president.“I’ve developed a love affair with our constitution,” Mattis writes.He tells of getting into a fight in Montana with three other men. Then 19, he was rewarded with a brief jail sentence and a sheriff’s escort to a westbound freight train. His brush with the law became a formative experience.Mattis recalls that as a marine recruiter he was confronted with a prospect who had been arrested for a “single use of cocaine”. Channeling his inner Nick Saban on the value of “second chances”, Mattis pushed for a waiver. “There’s a huge difference,” he writes, “between making a mistake and letting that mistake define you.”As Mattis moved up the ranks, interaction with Congress, the White House and civilian Pentagon leadership became a norm, although not necessarily a welcome one. Mattis professes to prefer the field and his troops. DC was not his “cup of tea”. Yet he appears to have overcome that hurdle, to a point anyway, when he was appointed executive secretary to Bill Clinton’s defense chiefs, William Perry and William Cohen.“I gained an abiding respect for those with whom I served and from whom I also learned a new skill set,” he writes. “I had a front-row seat to policymaking as it was supposed to work.”As for congressional oversight and the power of the purse, Mattis “received a pragmatic introduction to article one of the constitution”, a reminder to the reader that it is Congress that is tasked with raising America’s armed forces.Mattis saw action in Afghanistan and Iraq. He blames Tommy Franks, head of US Central Command and an army general, for Osama bin Laden’s escape from Tora Bora, his refusal to deploy the marines a key cause of that debacle. As Mattis frames things: “We in the military missed the opportunity, not the president, who properly deferred to his senior military commander on how to carry out the mission.”But Iraq was a different story, and there Mattis places blame squarely on George W Bush for getting the US into the mess, and on Barack Obama and Joe Biden for the mode of the eventual pullback. As for going to war, Mattis observes: “Invading Iraq stunned me. Why were we fighting them again?”> For Mattis, Iran was an implacable foe. He also believes Tehran came to view the Obama administration as 'impotent'In a chapter titled Incoherence, Mattis acidly mocks and quotes Bush 43’s Freedom Agenda. These days, Iraq is ranked “not free” by Freedom House. Irony abounds.He commends Obama for his intelligence and reserve and Biden for his warmth. Yet he tags them over the pullout from Iraq, Obama’s imaginary red line in Syria and their stance toward Iran. He does not mask his disapproval.For Mattis, Iran was an implacable foe. He also believes Tehran came to view the Obama administration as “impotent”. To the general, proof positive lay in the failure to respond to an Iranian plot to bomb Cafe Milano, a restaurant just miles from the White House, and assassinate the Saudi ambassador.Mattis also takes aim at WikiLeaks, describing it as “new kind of adversary” that “inflicted deep harm” to American interests. Unlike Trump, he never harbored any love for Julian Assange’s creation.To Mattis, American uncertainty and messianism can both have steep downsides. As he saw it, an absence of strategy would engender the sense that the US was “proving unreliable.”“I was disappointed and frustrated,” he writes. “Policymakers all too often failed to deliver clear direction.”Yet Mattis does not grapple with domestic political realities. Lives and treasure aside, Iraq cost the Republicans both houses of Congress in 2006 and paved the way for Obama. Furthermore, casualty counts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were factors in Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Not everything is about Russia.When it comes to Trump, Mattis flanks, avoiding a head-on clash. Call Sign Chaos takes aim at bigotry and lauds the military service of migrants. As in his resignation letter, Mattis gives full-throated support for Nato: “Nations with allies thrive, and those without wither.”In his epilogue, Mattis notes America’s political divide and full-throated tribalism. But he is optimistic. Call Sign Chaos ends thus: “E Pluribus Unum.”



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Call Sign Chaos review: James Mattis pulls a flanking manuever on Trump

Call Sign Chaos review: James Mattis pulls a flanking manuever on TrumpIn a memoir that is part hymn to the constitution, the former secretary of defense offers only veiled criticism of the presidentJames Mattis listens as Donald Trump speaks to the media in the cabinet room in October 2018. Photograph: Leah Millis/ReutersJames Mattis was Donald Trump’s defense secretary for less than two years, resigning in December 2018. The general’s departure came with headlines but little surprise. His resignation letter omitted any praise for the commander-in-chief. “Because you have the right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours,” he wrote, “I believe it is right for me to step down.”Mattis had been on thin ice for a long time. At an infamous cabinet meeting in June 2017, Mattis praised the men and women of the military instead of gushing over the president. Just months later, a White House official told me Mattis had shown insufficient loyalty to Trump. But because North Korea was on the front burner – before “Little Rocket Man” had started sending Trump love letters – the president felt he needed generals around him. In the end, everyone in Trump’s orbit is expendable. Except Ivanka Trump.Call Sign Chaos, Mattis’s memoir, is a readable look at more than four decades as a marine. Co-written with Bing West, a former marine and Reagan Pentagon alumnus, the book spans Mattis’s career, from enlistment through retirement.It contains veiled disapproval of Trump and is sharper in expressing disagreements with his Oval Office predecessors.> Call Sign Chaos takes aim at bigotry and lauds the military service of migrants. It gives full-throated support for NatoOfficially, the book’s title derives from the call-sign bestowed when Mattis became a regimental commander, Chaos an acronym for “Colonel Has An Outstanding Solution”.Mattis comes across as plain-spoken and reflective, a fan of books and history. Abraham Lincoln and Gettysburg receive their due. As a younger man, however, Mattis was not above brawling. In other words, he’s interesting.He repeatedly expresses his regard for America’s institutions and its constitution even as he offers criticism, one thing which sets him apart from the 45th president.“I’ve developed a love affair with our constitution,” Mattis writes.He tells of getting into a fight in Montana with three other men. Then 19, he was rewarded with a brief jail sentence and a sheriff’s escort to a westbound freight train. His brush with the law became a formative experience.Mattis recalls that as a marine recruiter he was confronted with a prospect who had been arrested for a “single use of cocaine”. Channeling his inner Nick Saban on the value of “second chances”, Mattis pushed for a waiver. “There’s a huge difference,” he writes, “between making a mistake and letting that mistake define you.”As Mattis moved up the ranks, interaction with Congress, the White House and civilian Pentagon leadership became a norm, although not necessarily a welcome one. Mattis professes to prefer the field and his troops. DC was not his “cup of tea”. Yet he appears to have overcome that hurdle, to a point anyway, when he was appointed executive secretary to Bill Clinton’s defense chiefs, William Perry and William Cohen.“I gained an abiding respect for those with whom I served and from whom I also learned a new skill set,” he writes. “I had a front-row seat to policymaking as it was supposed to work.”As for congressional oversight and the power of the purse, Mattis “received a pragmatic introduction to article one of the constitution”, a reminder to the reader that it is Congress that is tasked with raising America’s armed forces.Mattis saw action in Afghanistan and Iraq. He blames Tommy Franks, head of US Central Command and an army general, for Osama bin Laden’s escape from Tora Bora, his refusal to deploy the marines a key cause of that debacle. As Mattis frames things: “We in the military missed the opportunity, not the president, who properly deferred to his senior military commander on how to carry out the mission.”But Iraq was a different story, and there Mattis places blame squarely on George W Bush for getting the US into the mess, and on Barack Obama and Joe Biden for the mode of the eventual pullback. As for going to war, Mattis observes: “Invading Iraq stunned me. Why were we fighting them again?”> For Mattis, Iran was an implacable foe. He also believes Tehran came to view the Obama administration as 'impotent'In a chapter titled Incoherence, Mattis acidly mocks and quotes Bush 43’s Freedom Agenda. These days, Iraq is ranked “not free” by Freedom House. Irony abounds.He commends Obama for his intelligence and reserve and Biden for his warmth. Yet he tags them over the pullout from Iraq, Obama’s imaginary red line in Syria and their stance toward Iran. He does not mask his disapproval.For Mattis, Iran was an implacable foe. He also believes Tehran came to view the Obama administration as “impotent”. To the general, proof positive lay in the failure to respond to an Iranian plot to bomb Cafe Milano, a restaurant just miles from the White House, and assassinate the Saudi ambassador.Mattis also takes aim at WikiLeaks, describing it as “new kind of adversary” that “inflicted deep harm” to American interests. Unlike Trump, he never harbored any love for Julian Assange’s creation.To Mattis, American uncertainty and messianism can both have steep downsides. As he saw it, an absence of strategy would engender the sense that the US was “proving unreliable.”“I was disappointed and frustrated,” he writes. “Policymakers all too often failed to deliver clear direction.”Yet Mattis does not grapple with domestic political realities. Lives and treasure aside, Iraq cost the Republicans both houses of Congress in 2006 and paved the way for Obama. Furthermore, casualty counts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were factors in Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Not everything is about Russia.When it comes to Trump, Mattis flanks, avoiding a head-on clash. Call Sign Chaos takes aim at bigotry and lauds the military service of migrants. As in his resignation letter, Mattis gives full-throated support for Nato: “Nations with allies thrive, and those without wither.”In his epilogue, Mattis notes America’s political divide and full-throated tribalism. But he is optimistic. Call Sign Chaos ends thus: “E Pluribus Unum.”



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Trump wanting to buy Greenland is yet another sign of Putin’s puppetry

Trump wanting to buy Greenland is yet another sign of Putin’s puppetryGreenland didn’t just bubble into Trump’s mind randomly – it’s very much on Russia’s radar for its unknown supply of oil, gas and rare metalsIcebergs float behind the town of Kulusuk in Greenland on 16 August 2019. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty ImagesThe last time Americans felt hostility to anything remotely Danish was when the pompous old Duke of Weselton launched a trade-war-turned-palace-coup against the warm-hearted ice queen known as Elsa. Even the prepubescent fans of Frozen know that trade wars are doomed and that strong female leaders are unstoppable.It’s tempting to look at Donald Trump’s ludicrous desire to buy Greenland – and the Danish spat that followed – as just another sick joke of the Trump presidency: an aberration that the world will forget with tomorrow’s distracting tweets on some other outrage.But after two and half years of this corrosive nonsense, it’s time to admit some unpleasant truths. The madness of Donald Trump is getting worse, not better. The presidency has not normalized him, it has only normalized our numbed reaction to his excesses. We cannot see through the fog of disinformation and distraction how much of the world’s instability is directly linked to his abject failure as a president.Let’s just pause to look at Greenland, shall we? On the face of it, the notion of buying the Arctic autonomous territory seems like just another brain fart from the cavities inside Trump’s cranium: “an absurd discussion”, as the new Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, put it on her trip to Greenland on Monday. “Thankfully the time where you buy and sell countries and populations is over. Let’s leave it there. Jokes aside, we will of course love to have an even closer strategic relationship with the United States.”Sadly, the days of buying and selling other countries are far from over because Trump himself seems to be easily bought by his Russian and Saudi friends. He’s so cheap you only have to dangle the idea of a Trump Tower in Moscow to win his undying support for lifting sanctions imposed after Russia invaded and annexed part of Ukraine.Greenland doesn’t just bubble into Trump’s mind randomly, unless Fox News is airing obscure weekend segments on Arctic politics. But it is very much on Russia’s radar. Earlier this year, Russia revamped its Arctic circle military base on the tiny Kotelny Island, which sits close to the shipping routes that are opening up as the polar region warms catastrophically.There are unknown quantities of oil, gas and rare earth metals in the arctic, and the region’s powers – Denmark among them – can either green light a global free-for-all or restrain the usual human plunder of one of the last pristine frontiers on the planet. You can guess where Russia sits on this spectrum of environmental concerns in the middle of our climate crisis.It is one of the sickest Trump jokes that his half-baked idea of buying Greenland should be seen as American machismo when it is yet another sign of Putin’s puppet American presidency at work.Denmark is a loyal ally within the organization that Russia loathes: Nato. So the downside to trashing a state visit, complete with a royal dinner, is not what it normally would be for an American president who supposedly leads the greatest global alliance in military history. He did, after all, suggest withdrawing US troops from Nato just last year.One of the many gobsmacking cons of our current crop of so-called nationalist leaders is how happy they are to surrender their national interest in subordination to any foreign strongman who offers to grease their personal interest. It’s almost like they’re not serious about America First or Global Britain at all.It is too much to expect rational public thought from the 45th president of the United States. But you have to wonder if he ever admits to himself that the only reason the Arctic is opening up is because of the climate crisis he used to call a Chinese hoax.More recently he told CBS News that “something’s happening” to the climate that probably isn’t a hoax but definitely has nothing to do with human actions.“I wish you could go to Greenland, watch these huge chunks of ice just falling into the ocean, raising the sea levels,” Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes told him. Maybe Trump just wanted to buy Greenland to make sure nobody could there to see the ice melting.“You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda, Lesley,” Trump said, fabricating yet more lies to cover up his own political agenda. In other words, another day in the Oval Office.As the world knows full well with each passing day of this presidency, Trump cannot project national strength because he is so chronically, personally weak. He told reporters on Wednesday that he dropped out of his Denmark state visit because its prime minister was “nasty” and “not nice” in rejecting his advances on Greenland.On a playground full of pre-schoolers, this language might make sense. On the world stage, as the Danish would say, it’s absurd.Like so many weak souls who never grew out of the playground chapter of their lives, Trump tries to pick on other weak souls to demonstrate the strength he so clearly lacks.The weakest of those victims are the children fleeing for their lives from Central America.Trump is not content with ripping them from their parents, orphaning some of them by losing track of their parents forever, and exposing others to unspeakable abuse in so-called shelters. He now wants to ignore the courts and detain them indefinitely in private for-profit prisons with or without their families.His administration claims the old court-ordered Flores agreement is “outdated and fails to account for the massive shift in illegal immigration to families and minors from Central America”, according to a written White House statement.That conveniently ignores the fact that the “outdated” court agreement is named after Jenny Lisette Flores, who was a 15-year-old fleeing El Salvador in the 1980s when she was arrested by US officials, handcuffed and strip-searched and placed in a for-profit prison for two months. The US refused to release her to family members, claiming they were protecting her, but the ACLU said the Reagan administration was just trying to arrest parents and punish children.So obviously there are no similarities to Trump’s policies at all.From the self-inflicted crisis at the border to the self-inflicted spat with Denmark, so much of the global chaos that numbs us all is the product of this mindless and malignant American leader.The world is staring at a global recession triggered in large part by Trump’s pointless trade wars. It’s watching mini-Trumps grasp for power in Britain and Italy, inspired by his own undemocratic example, including all his trademark incompetence and ignorance.Without Trump, how much of the stupefying sense of chaos would evaporate?Perhaps not all of it, but enough for Scandinavia to return to sleeping soundly. Villy Søvndal, a former Danish foreign minister, said that Trump was “a narcissistic fool” because of his decision to cancel his trip. But he explained that this clown wasn’t funny. “The problem is that he is the president of the most powerful nation in the world,” he said.That’s a problem for the whole world to suffer. But it’s a problem that only American voters can solve.



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Spirit Airlines do's and don'ts: Don't freak out about the seats, do sign up for deals

Spirit Airlines do's and don'ts: Don't freak out about the seats, do sign up for dealsSpirit Airlines' business model of low fares and a flurry of fees can be confusing for travelers. The discount airline with the bright yellow planes



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Trump is expected to sign order to send people seeking asylum in the US to Guatemala instead, according to report

Trump is expected to sign order to send people seeking asylum in the US to Guatemala instead, according to reportUnder the new agreement, asylum seekers wouldn't have a chance to make their case in the US. Instead, they'd make their case in Guatemala.



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