Tag Archives: united-states

Der Spiegel Just Published the Minutes From Trump’s Contentious Meeting With G7 Leaders

Mother Jones

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German magazine Der Spiegel has been given access to minutes from a contentious meeting of G7 leaders in Taormina, Sicily, at the end of May, in which they applied last-ditch pressure on President Donald Trump to stay in the Paris climate agreement.

The meeting came toward the end of Trump’s first trip abroad as president—and became an opportunity for world leaders to intensely lobby the American president before Trump’s final decision on whether the United States would leave the historic climate accord.

The leaders told Trump in no uncertain terms that if the United States abandoned the agreement, China would be the direct beneficiary.

“Climate change is real and it affects the poorest countries,” said Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected French president, at the outset of the private conversation.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau then told Trump that the success of repairing the ozone layer proved that industry could be persuaded to act on harmful emissions, according to the account.

Then, German Chancellor Angela Merkel brought up China: “If the world’s largest economic power were to pull out, the field would be left to the Chinese,” she said. According to Der Spiegel, Merkel added that Chinese President Xi Jinping was preparing to take advantage of the vacuum left by America’s exit. Even Saudi Arabia, she added, was preparing for a world without oil.

Trump was unmoved. “For me,” the president reportedly said, “it’s easier to stay in than step out,” adding that green regulations were killing American jobs.

As it became clear Trump would not budge, Macron admitted defeat, according to this account.

“Now China leads,” he said.

The account adds fresh details to the president’s fraught European trip. Following the meeting, the G7 broke with tradition to release a statement where six nations reaffirmed the Paris climate agreement, without the United States. The president also caused a diplomatic scuffle in Italy after accusing Germany of being “very bad” on trade and appeared to literally shove aside a leader of a NATO ally.

In a Rose Garden ceremony last Thursday, Trump announced that the United States would leave the historic Paris climate agreement—promising to “begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States.”

In response to the president’s announcement, President Macron of France released a video statement, saying, “If we do nothing, our children will know a world of migrations, of wars, of shortage. A dangerous world.”

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Der Spiegel Just Published the Minutes From Trump’s Contentious Meeting With G7 Leaders

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Look at All the Ways Trump’s Staff Is Avoiding Answering This Basic Question

Mother Jones

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Nobody at the White House seems to have asked President Donald Trump about his position on climate change. For years, Trump has been calling global warming a hoax, sometimes alleging that it was invented by China.

So why not just confirm that this is still his opinion? Especially when, after withdrawing the United States from the most important climate deal in history, aides might want to use the opportunity to show that the president understands the basic science.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and White House press secretary Sean Spicer had several opportunities to share the president’s current thinking on the issue. At Friday’s press briefing, four different reporters asked Pruitt four variations on this basic question from ABC’s Mary Bruce: “Yes or no, does the president believe that climate change is real and a threat to the United States?”

And four different times, Pruitt basically gave this response: “All the discussions we had over the last several weeks was focused on one singular issue: Is Paris good or not for this country?”

But Pruitt isn’t alone. Over the last several days, many of his closest advisers have revealed they spend no time discussing global warming with the president.

At Tuesday’s press briefing, when a reporter asked if Trump believes that human activity contributes to global warming, Spicer replied, “Honestly, I haven’t asked him. I can get back to you.” When he appeared at the podium again on Friday, Spicer still didn’t have an answer.

On Thursday, after the Paris decision was announced, CNN asked Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, whether or not the president believes climate change is real. “You are going to have to ask him,” Cohn responded.

During a press briefing following the Paris announcement, a reporter asked about Trump’s beliefs on climate change. “I have not talked to the president about his personal views on climate change,” a White House official said.

Earlier on Friday, Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway also refused to answer if Trump thinks global warming is a hoax. When pressed by news anchor George Stephanopolous on Good Morning America, she assured him “The president believes in clean environment, clean air, clean water.”

Many of his advisers may not broach climate change with Trump, but recently, K.T. McFarland, his deputy national security adviser, slipped him two Time cover magazine stories about global warming to get the president riled up.

The only problem? One of the stories turned out to be an internet hoax.

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Look at All the Ways Trump’s Staff Is Avoiding Answering This Basic Question

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Today’s Terror Attack Was Fake News

Mother Jones

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Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States:

I would like to begin by addressing the terrorist attack in Manila. We’re closely monitoring the situation and I will continue to give updates if anything happens during this period of time. But it is really very sad as to what’s going on throughout the world with terror. Our thoughts and our prayers are with all of those affected.

What? A terrorist attack in Manila?

Oh. So what was going on?

A masked gunman stormed a hotel-casino complex in the Philippine capital early Friday, shooting up a TV screen, torching gambling tables and stuffing a backpack with casino chips before fleeing, authorities said….A guard was shot during the melee but survived, and more than 70 others suffered mostly minor injuries in a stampede to get away from the gunman, who was wielding an assault rifle.

Within three hours of the violence at the complex near Manila’s airport, police said that they uncovered no ties to terrorism and suggested the motive could have been robbery.

Roger that. As usual, Trump was just making stuff up.

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Today’s Terror Attack Was Fake News

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Obama Slams Trump’s Withdrawal From Paris Deal

Mother Jones

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As President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement on Thursday, former president Barack Obama released a statement denouncing the move as one that “rejects the future” and reduces American leadership on the international stage.

He also expressed hope that cities and states would take the lead in the fight against climate change, even without the administration’s support.

“I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack,” Obama said. “But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.”

The statement, which was released as Trump was speaking from the White House Rose Garden, was a rare rebuke from the former president, who has largely avoided criticizing his successor.

Trump defended his decision to pull the country out of the historic accord, claiming the treaty was “very unfair to the highest level” to Americans. He said he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Trump’s exit from the Paris accord is his most consequential move so far to undo his predecessor’s legacy in combating global warming. The decision adds the United States to a group of just two countries, Nicaragua and Syria, that have rejected the landmark agreement.

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Obama Slams Trump’s Withdrawal From Paris Deal

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Trump made some pretty wild claims when announcing the U.S. exit from the Paris Agreement.

Some highlights:

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Pittsburgh’s votes went mostly to Hillary Clinton. She won 55.9 percent of votes in Allegheny County. Note that the Paris Agreement encompasses people from nearly 200 countries, not just the city where it was drafted.

“The bottom line is the Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States.”

Other countries think U.S. involvement is extremely fair. The United States blows every other country away in terms of per capita emissions.

“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining an economic advantage over the United States.”

Actually, the economic advantages of combating climate change are well documented. Companies like Exxon, Google, and even Tiffany & Co. asked Trump to stay in the agreement.

And, just for fun, a comment from Scott Pruitt:

“America finally has a leader who answers only to the people.”

Nearly 70 percent of Americans were on board with the Paris Agreement. Only 45 percent voted for Trump.

This story has been updated.

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Trump made some pretty wild claims when announcing the U.S. exit from the Paris Agreement.

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British Officials Angered by US Leaks of Manchester Intelligence to Media

Mother Jones

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High-ranking British officials, including Home Secretary Amber Rudd, are speaking out against the United States, after a number of confidential details in the ongoing investigation into Monday’s Manchester attack appeared in American media before British authorities confirmed them.

“The British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information to protect operational integrity, the element of surprise,” Rudd said in an interview Wednesday with BBC’s Radio 4. “So it is irritating if it gets released from other sources.”

“I have been very clear with our friends that that should not happen again,” she continued.

The information in question includes the suspected attacker’s identity and the detail that the attack was likely a suicide-bombing—intel that emerged in American reports hours before authorities publicly verified them. BuzzFeed reports CBS News and the Associated Press were among the American media to cite anonymous US intelligence officials in the reports in question. Notice the time-stamps below:

Meanwhile, British news outlets adhered to police exhortations and waited to disclose such details until officials were ready to reveal them.

Rudd’s admonishment comes as the latest setback in the United States’ intelligence-sharing relationships with key allies, after the Washington Post reported last week that President Donald Trump divulged highly classified information to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister during a meeting in the Oval Office. The bombshell allegation raised concern that Trump’s reveal could jeopardize relations with the intelligence-sharing partner—later reported to be Israel—who relayed the information to the United States in the first place.

On Monday, Trump stepped into it again, when he appeared to inadvertently confirm that the source was in fact Israel.

“This is a leaky administration,” Thomas Sanderson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in DC told the Guardian. “What does that mean for sharing information we need to going forward? The UK and Israel are probably our two biggest sources of intelligence. Now they’re thinking, ‘Is this going to cause us damage every time we share?'”

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British Officials Angered by US Leaks of Manchester Intelligence to Media

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Everyone On The Internet Is Fighting About This Image. What Do You Think It Is?

Mother Jones

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Good afternoon.

What is this?

Twitter user @wayne5540 made this amazing observation today. But what exactly is the observation? People can’t agree!

Do you know? Because I know. The internet isn’t sure. “What is this drawing?” asks the internet.

Is it a cat?

An Elephant?

The United States of America?

What do you think?

#qp_main1071606 .qp_btna:hover input background:#00355F!important #qp_all1071606 max-width:815px; margin:0 auto;

What is this?




Something else

survey maker

It’s an elephant.

Have a nice day.

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Everyone On The Internet Is Fighting About This Image. What Do You Think It Is?

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Industrial Production Is Not Really "Surging"

Mother Jones

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Donald Trump is bragging today that industrial production “surged” in April. And sure enough, it was up 1.7 percent compared to last year. That’s not bad. But you know what else increased since last year? The population of the United States. Here’s the industrial production index from the Federal Reserve adjusted for population growth:

That tiny blip at the end represents the surge. So don’t get too excited. Per capita industrial production in the US has been roughly flat for the past four years and nothing that Trump has done so far—or is likely to do—has much chance of changing that dramatically.


Industrial Production Is Not Really "Surging"

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Against the Odds, Members of a Refugee Caravan Are Let Into the US

Mother Jones

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Last weekend, dozens of refugees who participated in a caravan that traversed Mexico to seek asylum in the United States, presented themselves at the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana and were admitted into the United States. Planned by a coalition of Mexican and American organizers, the caravan began in early April at the Guatemala-Mexico border. Its goal was to raise awareness of the dangers migrants face while traveling through Mexico as well as the reportedly widespread practice of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents illegally turning back refugees at the border. The group reached Tijuana last weekend after suffering a variety of threats and setbacks during nearly four weeks on the road.

In total, 78 asylum seekers were admitted during the weekend border crossing. The group included men, women, and children, most of whom were fleeing violence in Central America. Alex Mensing, one of the caravan organizers and a paralegal at the University of San Francisco’s Immigration and Deportation Defense Law Clinic, says that several families were released on parole to family members and sponsors in the country, while the rest have been sent to immigration detention centers or are in the custody to of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Only one asylum seeker was turned away at the border, Mensing says. A child with US citizenship crossing with his Guatemalan father was sent back to Mexico when border patrol learned his mother was still there. “Once they found out the mother was in Tijuana, they called her and told her that if she didn’t come get her son, they would take the child away and put him in foster care.” (Under international law, separating children from their parents usually should be avoided, according to the detention guidelines outlined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.) There were also allegations of refugees receiving poor treatment in CBP custody. Los Angeles resident Dolores Ramirez, who had relatives traveling in the caravan, told the local news outlet KPBS that her relatives were “only getting 10 minutes to eat, they have no blankets, they’re sleeping on the floor in cells, they’re being yelled at… They shouldn’t be treated like animals, they’re not animals, they didn’t cross the border illegally, they’re seeking help.”

Cristobal Sanchez

Not all of the refugees who turned themselves in last weekend had traveled with the caravan. Several, having already been turned back by CBP multiple times, waited in Tijuana to cross with the group.

According to multiple human rights attorneys and a new report from Human Rights First, CBP has been turning away more asylum seekers since the election of President Donald Trump. “In the wake of the election and President Trump’s January executive orders relating to refugees, CPB agents have in some cases claimed the United States is no longer accepting asylum seekers,” Human Rights First reports. By blocking refugees, CBP may be putting them in direct danger. The report adds, “Cartels, smugglers, and traffickers—who control areas around border crossings and wait outside some ports of entry where they see migrants and asylum seekers as easy prey—have kidnapped, raped, and robbed asylum seekers wrongly turned away by the U.S. government.”

B. Shaw Drake, a fellow at Human Rights First and one of the authors of the report, has heard reports that CBP officers turned away two Eritrean refugees on the day after the caravan members turned themselves in. “We had hoped our report and all the media attention would have put them on notice,” Drake says. “But we continue to hear about those cases happening.”

Mensing says that while the caravan was by and large a success, he has concerns that the practice of turning back asylum seekers will continue unchanged. “There’s no doubt in mind that of those 78 people, most if not all of them would have had difficulty being processed if it had not been for the caravan. And clearly, if they were back to rejecting people on Monday, it was not a lasting thing, either.”

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Against the Odds, Members of a Refugee Caravan Are Let Into the US

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What the Hell Is Going on With Trump’s Delay on the All-Important Paris Decision?

Mother Jones

Will the president follow through on his campaign pledge to withdraw from, or “cancel,” the Paris climate change agreement?

Rumors have been swirling that the end to this reality show would come as early as Tuesday, when the White House had reportedly scheduled another meeting to examine its options. Ivanka Trump also was supposed to meet with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt earlier on Tuesday, but the White House did not confirm if that meeting ever took place. Discussions on the climate deal were canceled without much explanation, but when White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the progress Tuesday, he replied that the president “wants to make sure he has an opportunity to meet with his team.” Trump has now decided he won’t decide on Paris until after G-7 meetings later this month in Italy, once more because he wants to “meet with his team.”

In the meantime, Trump is keeping 194 countries who signed the deal two years ago waiting and wondering. If he winds up withdrawing from the agreement, postponing the announcement might make meetings with world leaders slightly more pleasant, given their warnings that the United States shouldn’t defy the hard-fought 2015 deal.

We’ve heard for months that Trump’s Cabinet is split on what to do about both climate change policy and the Paris agreement. Ivanka Trump, now in her official role at the White House, represents those who want to stay. We’re told that she’s “passionate about climate change,” and she is joined by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and economic adviser Gary Cohn, who are also in favor of staying in the Paris agreement. Energy Secretary Rick Perry wants to “renegotiate.” Secretary of Defense James Mattis sees climate change as a national security threat and likely favors staying involved, as does Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

On the other side of the debate, Scott Pruitt is leading the “leave” team, echoing the president in calling the accord a “bad deal.” Team Pruitt also includes senior adviser Steve Bannon and White House Counsel Don McGahn. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has not publicly weighed in, but he opposed the deal as a senator. According to the New York Times, Pruitt’s side is convinced that staying in the Paris climate accord will be impossible if the administration wants to downgrade its ambitions. They point to a single clause in the agreement—that a nation “may at any time adjust its existing nationally determined contribution with a view to enhancing its level of ambition”—and argue that it would impose undesirable legal constraints on the administration and favor environmentalists in court.

Pruitt’s legal argument surprised the groups that usually sue him. “We’re not relying on the Paris agreement for any of the Clean Power Plan litigation,” Jake Schmidt, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s international program director, says. “I’m not sure why anyone would use a city in France in a US court when there’s much stronger domestic law.” On top of that, negotiators say that nowhere in the largely nonbinding Paris deal does it legally force a country to meet or exceed its emissions targets. The only legally binding components of the accord commit countries to similar transparency and reporting standards to measure progress, or lack of progress, in meeting targets. Its biggest proponents argue that the agreement was built to be weak on legal enforcement, so as to keep as many countries involved as possible. International peer pressure, not legal pressure, is supposed to do the rest of the work.

The White House reportedly is leaning in Pruitt’s direction. And it’s unclear just how much of a fight Ivanka intends to defend her passions—E&E News‘ source notes she “wasn’t pushing for a strong position” and is more “in the direction of making sure her father gets the right advice.”

Yet given the public nature of this debate, no matter what happens, some members of the administration will end up embarrassed and, in most scenarios, we all lose. Here are some of the options for how this reality show might unfold:

Ivanka wins: She somehow convinces her father to wake up to the threat of climate change, and he decides to fulfill Obama’s promises to the world of at least a 26 percent cut to greenhouse gases by 2025 and providing the rest of the $3 billion in global climate finance.

This isn’t going to happen.

But not because others don’t support her alleged commitment to the agreement. In fact, she’s joined by nearly the rest of the world. According to the NRDC, an additional 1,106 US companies are on record supporting it, even including fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil, Arch Coal, and Peabody Energy. The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found 69 percent of American voters support participating, and hundreds of thousands of marchers took to climate protests around the country in April to send a similar message. Senate Republicans who pilloried the deal as illegal and overbearing when Obama negotiated now have lost the will to demand an exit.

Ivanka loses: If Trump follows through on his campaign promises and kicks off the multiyear process to withdraw from the Paris accord, it will tell us a lot about who Trump is listening to (short answer: not Ivanka or his secretary of state), especially since there are so few businesses or interest groups arguing that it’s a good idea for the United States to defy the rest of the world. The few that are include 44 fossil fuel advocacy groups, as well as the far-right think tanks that promote climate change denial: the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. A “leave” decision would show that Bannon and Pruitt have considerable sway over Trump’s decision-making.

Add to the list Robert Murray, a coal magnate and head of the coal company Murray Energy. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Murray Energy donated its most yet to candidates last year, giving several hundred thousand dollars to Trump’s campaign. CEO Robert Murray hosted a private fundraiser for Trump last June and has returned to Trump’s side a few times since to push his favored policies, which include reversing regulations on the coal industry and pulling from the Paris accord.

No one wins: Renegotiating the deal, as Rick Perry has suggested, would all but certainly drag on the Paris drama for years to come. Perry claims that European nations haven’t done their share, although their commitment of 40 percent cuts over 1990 levels by 2030 is steeper than those agreed to by the United States. “Don’t sign an agreement and expect us to stay in if you’re not really going to participate and be a part of it,” Perry told a Bloomberg energy conference in April. But renegotiating is not as simple as Perry suggests. The time for that has passed, since the agreement has already been negotiated and entered into last fall. And how does Trump plan on convincing other countries to ramp up their ambitions voluntarily if he is moving backward on US commitments? One point of leverage other countries have over the United States is following through on imposing a carbon tax on US products. And a Chinese government climate official warned Tuesday that Trump’s decision “will impact other diplomatic arenas, already on G7 and G20, the Major Economies Forum as well,” and “will harm the mutual trust in multilateral mechanism.”

Ivanka claims to win, but it’s meaningless: This would be the case if we stay in the deal in name only and don’t bother to cut emissions through federal policy. Environmentalists prefer this option to pulling out entirely, if only because it would be easier to pick up the pieces in four years if Trump isn’t reelected. Yet it’s not much of a win, and certainly not for someone who is as passionate about climate change as Ivanka says she is.

“We should be of good intent,” former EPA administrator and League of Conservation Voters chair Carol Browner said on a recent press call. “If we stay at the table, it should be with the intent of achieving measurable reductions” of greenhouse gases. “Any idea that we stay at the table so we can disrupt what the rest of the world is attempting is really outrageous on our part. And the rest of the world will see it.”

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What the Hell Is Going on With Trump’s Delay on the All-Important Paris Decision?

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