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Category Archives: Donald Trump

Trump and son get in booth for alternative broadcast of Belfort -Holyfield bout – New York Post

Posted: September 12, 2021 at 10:13 am

Former President Donald Trump provided ringside commentary for a pay-per-view boxing event Saturday night that saw former heavyweight world champion Evander Holyfieldlose in a first-round technical knockoutto MMA star Vitor Belfort.

Trump received a warm welcome from the crowd at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, which erupted into cheers when his name was announced as the evenings special guest.

He and son Donald Trump Jr. called the entire four-fight card for the Triller gamecast, giving live analysis and discussing his experiences in the boxing business.

In comments before the first fight, the ex-president acknowledged the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and repeated criticisms of the Biden administration over the chaotic US evacuation from Afghanistan.

As a country, in the United States, its certainly one of the most important days, and we had a very bad week because of some of the decisions that have been made that made it even more somber than it should normally be, he said.

Earlier on Saturday, Trump visited New York City police officers andfirefighters to commemorate the anniversary.

Media company Triller announced last week that the Trumps would be joining its alternative broadcast, available for interested viewers for $49.99, the same cost as the main telecast.

Trump Jr. said on the broadcast that while he and his dads involvement in the event came together rather quickly and takes place during a sensitive time, the opportunity seemed like a bit of levity on a somber day.

We came in sort of last minute, he said. Obviously we have such a special and important day, a somber day, but to be able to have a bit of levity in that is so important and so American.

The former president is no stranger to boxing, having hosted a number of bouts throughout the 1980s and 90s at his casinos in Atlantic City. Hes also a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.

He seemed shocked by Holyfields loss, and noted that the 58-year-old champ wasnt in top form.

No, hes not the same, Trump said. Right from the beginning he was not the same fighter. He lost a lot. It was not Evander Holyfield.

He commended Belfort, 44, on the victory, saying, Vitor, your stock was very high, but your stock is even higher tonight because you beat somebody who may be the greatest of all time.

Belfort was originally slated to fight former heavyweight champion Oscar De La Hoya, 48, who was forced to drop out last Friday after he was hospitalized with COVID-19.

His replacement, Holyfield, was defeated just 1:45 into the fight, clearly outmatched by Belfort.

Trump thanked the fans after the swift fight, telling them, This is like a rally. We love you, we love this country.

Triller offered to host a $30 million winner-take-all fight on Thanksgiving weekend between Belfort and Jake Paul, if Paul accepts.

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Donald Trump’s Chicago property tax was slashed by 30% because retail space in the city’s Trump Tower was mostly empty, a report says – Yahoo News

Posted: at 10:13 am

Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago. John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Trump's Chicago tower got a $300,000 tax break because of its vacant retail space.

The assessed value of the building's retail space dropped about 37%, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

With a lower valuation, Trump's 2020 tax bill reportedly dropped to $698,399 from about $1 million.

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Former President Donald Trump's property tax was slashed for his Chicago office tower because the building's commercial space was mostly vacant, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The building's retail space had its assessed value cut to $12.5 million, down from $19.9 million, the report said. The assessed value was cut by about 37% because about 95% of the square footage was vacant, the report said.

"We provided a reduction based on vacancy," a spokesperson from the assessor's office told The Sun-Times.

With the lower valuation, Trump's property taxes for the commercial space fell to $698,399 for 2020, down from $1 million the year prior, the report said.

The glass-faced Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago has a prominent spot in the city's skyline. It sits along the north side of the Chicago River, straddling the line between the Loop and the River North neighborhoods.

The building's official website describes it as "a showcase of bold style and engaging design situated along the Chicago river."

People celebrate Joe Biden's presidential victory in front of Trump Tower. Scott Olson/Getty Images

But it's had difficultly attracting commercial tenants for the bottom three floors, including its ground-floor retail space, reports have said.

The building was "losing money hand over fist," Vanity Fair said. The tower's profit fell 89% in the four years ended in 2018, The Washington Post reported. One real estate blog, The Real Deal, said in 2019 that the building was Chicago retail's "biggest failure."

The building's reappraisal came a few months after Illinois officials said the value had been assessed higher than it should have been in 2011. In July, the Cook County Board of Review ruled that Trump was owed a $1 million refund on that year's taxes.

The building's official website said the Chicago tower was the fourth-tallest building in the US. Wikipedia now lists it as seventh, with three newer New York City towers higher on the list.

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Donald Trump's Chicago property tax was slashed by 30% because retail space in the city's Trump Tower was mostly empty, a report says - Yahoo News

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Donald Trumps Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago gets a $300,000 property tax break after Fritz Ka – Chicago Sun-Times

Posted: at 10:13 am

Former President Donald Trump has gotten a $300,000 property tax cut this year because Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi slashed the value of the Trump International Hotel & Towers vacant retail space along the Chicago River.

Trump paid slightly more than $1 million in property taxes last year on the three levels of retail space in the downtown skyscraper. Most of it has remained vacant and left unfinished since the building was completed about a decade ago.

His tax bill this year is $698,399 after Kaegis office lowered its estimation of the buildings value.

It reconsidered that figure after Trump lawyer Patrick McNerney challenged the $19.9 million value that Kaegis staff originally put on the unfinished space for retail stores in the building.

The assessor cut the value even more than the figures McNerney presented. Kaegi agreed to lower the value to $12.5 million. Thats about $1 million less than an appraisal McNerney submitted.

McNerney then appealed to the Cook County Board of Review, asking for a bigger break on the taxes for Trump Tower. But the board said no, noting that Kaegi had lowered the assessment even below Trumps appraisal.

Trumps savings this year follow another big tax win earlier this year. The Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board decided in June that the former president should get a $1 million refund on his 2011 property tax bill for those vacant storefronts and other commercial space at Trump Tower, including restaurants and hotel rooms.

The Cook County Board of Review is fighting the state boards decision, which could cost the Chicago Public Schools which gets the biggest cut of each Chicago taxpayers property taxes $500,000. It has appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court.

Kaegis spokesman Scott Smith defends the tax break given to Trump on this years taxes and notes that the savings are only for this years tax bill. All property in Chicago will be reassessed this year.

We provided a reduction based on vacancy, Smith says.

Since 95% of the space is vacant, Kaegi cut the assessed value by 37.5% on top of another 10% vacancy credit that was included in his initial assessment.

Our current vacancy policy states that a property can only receive half of its claimed vacancy, Smith says. This is a change from the previous administration, which would reduce the assessed value based on the claimed vacancy, which is not an assessment standard used elsewhere. . . Were definitely treating this property differently than in the past.

Smith says that, even with this years tax cut, Trump is paying more for the vacant retail space than he did under Kaegis predecessor, former Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios.

Trump is paying about $200,000 more in taxes on the vacant retail space this year than he did in the final year under Berrios.

Last year, during Kaegis first year in office, he nearly doubled the value that Berrios had put on the empty storefronts. And Kaegi rejected Trumps appeal last year to lower the assessment because, according to Smith, the former president did not follow the rules for appeal provided by our office. That left Trump with the tax bill of slightly more than $1 million the figure that Kaegi has now decided is too high.

McNerney wont comment.

McNerney and Ald. Edward M. Burke, who previously handled Trump Towers property tax appeals, have long argued that the former president should receive steep tax breaks on the retail space, which has never been occupied except for a small boat dock thats leased to Wendella Tours & Cruises.

Trump has used three different leasing agents, trying to find tenants for the property over the past decade, McNerney told the assessors office, pointing out that retail leases have been devastated by COVID-19 and arguing that should be a factor in reducing Trumps taxes.

Kaegi has used his authority to reduce assessments on many of the 1.7 million pieces of property in Cook County because of COVID though it isnt clear which properties have gotten those reductions.

In response to a public records request, the assessors office provided the Chicago Sun-Times with a letter, signed by Kaegi, telling Trump hed been given an unspecified reduction in the assessment on the retail space translating to lower property taxes because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter doesnt specify the amount of that reduction, though. Nor do any of the other documents released by Kaegis staff.

Smith says that, despite what the letter from his own agency says, Trump didnt receive any tax break because of COVID.

I dont know where this letter came from, but, unless you can tell me otherwise, I dont see how it could have come from our office, Smith said when first asked about that. This property did not get a COVID adjustment.

We dont have a record of it getting a COVID reduction notice. Ive been told its not possible for this to happen.

Now, Smith says, In some cases, property owners who filed an appeal last year got sent this letter in error when they should have received an appeal results letter.

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Why Donald Trump is now using Robert E. Lee to rehab his own reputation – Salon

Posted: at 10:13 am

As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this weekend it's hard not to think of how different everything would have been over these past two decades if it had never happened. The attacks changed America in some fundamental ways and I'm not sure we've ever fully grappled with it. Our government responded in a primitive, unthinking way and unearthedan enduring weakness in our national character that continues to haunt us to this day.

We should have known that when Dick Cheney, the vice president at the time,appeared on televisionjust days after the attacks and announced that the country would have to go to "the dark side" and "use any means at our disposal" that we were going down an immoral path that would lead us to an ignominious end. And it did.

Spencer Ackerman, author of"Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump"makes the case in his book that the ongoing war on terror primed the country for MAGA nihilism and violence by demonizing Muslims and "the decadent left" which Trump successfully capitalized on in his run in 2016. I think there's something to that.

Trump instinctively understood the undercurrent of racist violence that was electrified when he "took off the gloves" and he used it to great effect, spending hours on the campaign trail repeating lurid details of alleged deviant criminality by immigrants and insisting that torture works,gleefully promising to do more of it with descriptive detail.One of his greatest hits was endorsing an apocryphal story about General Blackjack Pershing dipping bullets in pig's blood before he summarily executed Muslim prisoners in the first World War. His campaign was drenched in violent rhetoric and yet somehowthe fact that he had read the polls and determined that the "forever wars" were unpopular and unwittingly appropriated the isolationist slogan of the pre-WWII era, "American First" he got a reputation as some kind of anti-war pacifist. Recall that New York Times writerMaureen Dowd even characterized him as "Donald the Dove"in one notorious column.

His followers, of course, never believed it. Trump was a bloodthirsty leader, and they knew one when they saw one. He was just going to wage his war at home and thatsuited them just fine.

As it turned out, this left Trump with a conundrum as president. He actually saw himself as a great warrior leader but he couldn't pull the trigger on a big military adventure. I always suspected that it was because he was justifiably insecure about which way to turn and relied on his 2016 promise to keep from having to test himself in that way. Instead he talked loudly and carried a small stick. At one point in 2019 during a joint appearance with the Prime Minister of Pakistan,he said:

"If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. I just don't want to kill 10 million people. I have plans on Afghanistan that, if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone. It would be over in literally, in 10 days. And I don't want to do I don't want to go that route."

For all his chillingly inane bluster, he clearly didn't have a firm grip on national security and foreign policy, consistently falling back on stale bromides about trade and antagonizing allies he knew were no threat while kissing up to tyrants and dictators. He constantly fought with his military advisers, seeing them as "losers" who didn't know how to win wars, but never really had the nerve to do what he always threatened to do which was unleash the full might of the U.S. military. (Thank God!)

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Now that he is out of office, ensconced in temporary exile at one of his resort palaces, anticipating his full return to campaigning, he is busily re-writing the story of his presidency to fit the current facts. Early in the process he took credit for negotiating the withdrawal with the Taliban and insisted that Biden was dragging his feet. In April,he said,"Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do. I planned to withdraw on May 1st, and we should keep as close to that schedule as possible." Heboastedtwo months later, "I started the process. All the troops are coming back home. They couldn't stop the process."

Then during the chaotic final days in Kabul last month, he frantically shifted his posture.

As Trump saw the right revert to its warmongering ways, he saw the opportunity to airbrush his involvement and pretend that he had the war "won" until Biden surrendered. He said that the situation wasnot acceptableanddemandedthat President Biden "resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan." Babbling incessantly about the mostly defunct military equipment left behind, hedeclaredthat if the Taliban didn't return it, "we should either go in with unequivocal Military force and get it, or at least bomb the hell out of it."

Now, during this week of commemoration of 9/11 and the beginning of that misbegotten war from which we have finally, painfully, withdrawn military troops, Trump has outdone himself.

On the occasion of the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee from the capital of Virginia, he managed to thread together his grotesquely racist impulses, his embarrassing ignorance of history and his incompetent national security and foreign policy leadership all in onestunningly stupid statement:

"Robert E. Lee is considered by many Generals to be the greatest strategist of them all. President Lincoln wanted him to command the North, in which case the war would have been over in one day. Robert E. Lee instead chose the other side because of his great love of Virginia, and except for Gettysburg, would have won the war ... If only we had Robert E. Lee to command our troops in Afghanistan, that disaster would have ended in a complete and total victory many years ago. What an embarrassment we are suffering because we don't have the genius of a Robert E. Lee!"

That is the very stable genius who has the entire Republican party on its knees begging for his favor.

I don't know if Spencer Ackerman is correct to say that the War on Terror "produced" Donald Trump. But it certainly did rouse some of the violent, lizard brain racism and ignorance that's never very far from the surface of our culture. And nobody in this country better personifies that violent, lizard brain racism and ignorance than Donald Trump.

More from Salon on the20th anniversary of September 11:

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9/11 20th anniversary: Trump makes surprise visit to cops & firefighters after Biden told hes not wel… – The Sun

Posted: at 10:13 am

DONALD Trump made a surprise visit to cops and firefighters on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

It comes after New York City's former mayor Rudy Giuliani said Joe Biden was not welcome in NYC.

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The former president was pictured smiling and shaking hands as he surprised NYPD and FDNY.

Were not supposed to say it, but Ill say it. We love the Blue, he told the crowd.

Trump will appear via video message at the "Let Us Worship" event led on the National Mall.

In an interview withFox Newson Friday, the former Republican president said he will visit Ground Zeroto mark the 20th anniversaryof the terrorist attack.

Ahead of his expected visit to the site, Trump sent a video message of support and also took a swipe at Joe Biden.

For the great people of our country this is a very sad day, Trump said in the 90-second long video which was shared online. September 11 represents great sorrow for our country.

Many things were displayed that day, including most importantly the bravery of our police, fire, and first responders of every kind, the job they did was truly unbelievable, said Trump. We love them and we thank them.

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He then turned his attention to taking aim at Biden and his handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

It is also a sad time for the way our war on those that did such harm to our country ended last week, the loss of 13 great warriors and the many more who were wounded, should never have happened, Trump said in the video.

Read our 9/11 live blog for the very latest news and updates...

It was caused by bad planning, incredible weakness, and leaders who truly didnt understand what was happening. This is the 20th year of this war, and should have been a year of victory and honor, and strength.

But, Trump claimed, Biden had surrendered in defeat.

It comes after New York City's former mayor Rudy Giulianitold WABC radio during a 9/11 remembrance: President Biden shouldnt come here. He doesnt belong here.

President Biden made decisions that were reckless, almost to the point of insanity, he said Friday afternoon.

It would be as if I went down to Ground Zero and I said, Take out the firefighters and all you civilians, see if you can get yourselves out and maybe some terrorists can help you out.'

If youleave Americans behind, you could be the president or anybody else, I just have no respect for you, the former mayor added. President Biden did probably one of the most reckless acts in American history and hes putting us through hell.

Donald Trump had been tight-lipped about whether he would mark the tragedy.

The New Jersey Globe reported on Thursday Trump would visit Ground Zero early Saturday afternoon, following a formal ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

It is not thought he will bump into the current president, Joe Biden.

Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are due to attend the beginning of the 8.30am ceremony before leaving New York around 10am to take part in observances at Shanksville, Pennsylvania the site of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 and the Pentagon.

Trump has been piling on stinging criticism of Biden in the last few weeks over the withdrawal of US troops and the subsequent takeover of the country by the Taliban.

The US moved troops into the country in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

It is very depressing, Trump told Fox News on Friday of his feelings on the anniversary. This was supposed to be a day of victory. Now it is a day of embarrassment. How do you have this happen?

I think Biden rushed it [the Afghan pullout] to try to claim victory, the former president added, and now, he looks like a fool.

Chaotic scenes were seen in Kabul in the final few days of the US withdrawal as military personnel and civilians were rushed out of the country in order to meet the August deadline.

After Trumps visit to New York he is due to head to Florida where he and his son Donald Trump Jr as expected to provide an alternative commentary track for an eight-round boxing exhibition between former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield and former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort.

Earlier this month, the mom of a Marine killed in the deadly suicide bombing in Afghanistan in August has invited Trump, not Biden, to her son's funeral.

Shana Chappellsaid it would be an "honor" to meet the "real president" at the memorial service for her 20-year-old son Kareem Nikoui.

Nikoui was one of the 13 Marines killed in the terrorist blast in Kabul last month.

Chappell blamed Biden for her son's death, adding that the president has "blood on his hands."

9/11 timeline of events

The 9/11 terror attacks occurred 20 years ago. Here is a timeline of the day:

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Kanye West and the New Politics of Shock – POLITICO Magazine

Posted: at 10:13 am

In this, the Donda event earned him yet another banner week. The Daily Beasts blunt-force headline was representative: Kanye West Brings Out a Homophobe and an Accused Rapist at DONDA Chicago Show. Some critics called for Apple Music, which livestreamed the event, to be held accountable. British outlet the Independent refused to rate the record due to Mansons involvement. (None of which, of course, prevented the album from racking up astounding streaming numbersfor its debut on August 29.)

In 2021, Kanye West courts backlash might be uncomfortably close to dog bites man. But this round of censure was telling not just of the man himself, but American cultural politics writ large. For Wests critics, the sins of DaBaby and Manson, serious as they might be, become almost secondary to Wests giving them quite literally, in this case a platform. By refusing to shun such figures, West has re-invented himself as a sort of impresario for the cancelled. And in placing himself next to Manson particularly, once the bte noire of mainstream American morality in his own right, West has illustrated exactly how much our cultural conversation about it has changed.

As maybe heavy metals last iconic public figure in the late 1990s, Mansons combination of adolescent rage, provocative androgyny and Satanic shadowboxing earned him widespread protest from religious groups, the wary prohibition of concerned parents across middle America and even blame for the Columbine massacre. Today, such things register as kitsch if they register at all. In 2021, the quickest way to gin up outrage isnt to invoke taboo spiritual forces; its to flout liberal social norms in the manner in which West has become so skilled whether through these most recent antics or his embrace of Donald Trump, whom he reportedly also invited to the event. (No word on whether the former president was asked to lay down a verse himself.)

To be transgressive in todays mainstream pop culture or at least to be perceived as such is not to do something cancel-worthy, but to willingly align oneself with the cancelled. Wests bromance with Trump was a telling prelude to his current iteration. For all their differences, the quality that brought the two men together is a profound belief in the value of provocation for provocations sake. The substance of what is actually said is almost secondary to the reaction it earns.

That kind of trolling, and its attendant shaming, have been used to enforce cultural norms since antiquity. But West, once again, has produced a cultural innovation. By purposely stoking a controversy-by-proxy that almost obscures his accomplices original sins, hes revealed the matryoshka-like nature of mainstream American cultural discourse which in turn feeds an endless stream of tabloid, cable, and inevitably political controversies.

The Trump-West principle of controversy as an inherent good transfers to the company the latter now keeps. Whatever one thinks of him, it strains credulity to imagine Wests inclusion of Manson, for example, as an explicit endorsement of sexual violence. The intended message, rather, is one of defiance: West (or Trump) will not be proscribed in the company he keeps (or his speech) by the offense it might cause to a wider audience.

The gravity of that offense has grown much stronger in the nearly two decades since West launched his career, just as Mansons mainstream popularity was waning. Homophobia, once endemic to mainstream rap music, is now largely taboo; one of the genres biggest stars is an out gay man. (West himself has been sharply critical of homophobia in rap culture; he removed another recent collaboration with DaBaby from streaming services in the wake of the latter rappers comments, which he himself addresses on Donda in a neat ouroboros of controversy.)

In Mansons case, allegations of sexual assault are treated far more seriously today than in the era where Harvey Weinsteins predations were whispered about as a morbid inside joke. But more relevant to Wests success as a provocateur than Americans decreasing tolerance for such speech and behavior is the ongoing debate over whether or not to shun the achievements of those who take part in it. As Armin Rosen wrote in The Bulwark of the musical collaboration between the three men in question, West has gathered unto himself the cancelled in order to force people to reconcile artistic achievement with their own discomfort. (One gets the sense that, given the opportunity, West would return the films of Woody Allen to wide release as well, simply in protest of anything being placed beyond the cultural pale.)

In that sense, his one-man campaign against cancel culture is reminiscent of that from one of the few equally famous avatars of unreformed masculinity: Joe Rogan, the podcaster whose interviews with decidedly canceled figures such as Alex Jones, Roseanne Barr and West himself have earned him a massively loyal fanbase that shares his unwillingness to publicly shun (or, alternatively, to hold accountable) such figures for their transgressions.

Ironically, this debate over how to deal with such transgressors is very much alive in the one thing about Wests album rollout thats been somewhat obscured by the attendant controversy: the actual music. Donda, recorded amid Wests divorce from his mega-famous ex-wife Kim Kardashian, is a sprawling opus in which West acknowledges, yet still yearns for, the impossibly difficult path to redemption for his inner flaws and ill-thought-out actions alike. Messy as it may be, its Wests most fully realized and creative music in nearly a decade.

And its not just Manson and DaBaby who appear as musical props in Wests passion play. Buju Banton, a Jamaican reggae and dancehall star who gay rights groups have protested for homophobic lyrical content, appears on a track. Jay Electronica, whos long engaged in a coy anti-Semitism in both his music and on social media, gets in a verse. Wests overall subtext is characteristically messianic: all have been canceled, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Yeezus.

To many (perhaps most) Americans, such absolution is not Wests to give. Hence the controversy: To those like the Independent reviewer who placed Donda beyond critical evaluation, the hard-won gains of the past two decades in holding figures like Manson accountable are too precious to risk normalizing their offenses by sharing ones cultural platform with them, much less as part of one of the years biggest pop-cultural events. That places West on a nearly equal moral footing to his band of canceled men: He is, in the eyes of his critics, complicit which makes him the modern successor to Mansons circa-2001 public-enemy status.

West stands beyond the bounds of polite society, at least as its defined by many Americans, helplessly, painfully and, yes, still occasionally transcendently himself. He is the habitual line-stepper of our time par excellence, and that line has shifted undeniably, and in most cases admirably, when it comes to our behavioral and speech taboos.

But even more so, the American cultural conversation has shifted largely beyond consideration of unacceptable behavior per se to a debate over who might or might not condone it, the words we use to speak about it, and what to do with the work of those who commit it. By diving head-first into that conversations farthest deep end, Kanye has once again revealed the combination of cultural intuition and sheer recklessness thats allowed him to largely own it for now nearly two decades.

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Trump: ‘Magnificent reality’ of denuclearized Korea within reach – Washington Times

Posted: at 10:13 am

Former President Donald Trump said Saturday that Americas bold step to begin a direct dialogue with Pyongyang has opened the door to the reunification of North and South Korea and paved the way for a more peaceful world in the 21st century.

Joined online by current and former heads of state and other prominent international figures for a major virtual rally, Mr. Trump offered an optimistic call for unity and newfound cooperation around the world and for permanent denuclearization of North Korea, which has been a longstanding policy goal of both the U.S. and its unwavering regional friend and ally, South Korea.

In one of his highest-profile public appearances since leaving office in January, he stressed there is no substitute for strong, creative, determined leadership from Washington.

I truly believe that an extraordinary future awaits the people of North Korea and I have faith that if they pursue the path of denuclearization, they will make that future a magnificent reality, Mr. Trump said at the digital Rally of Hope event.

Until that blessed day comes, the indispensable force for peace on the Korean peninsula remains a strong America. As we have seen recently in other parts of the world, weakness only invites more violence and chaos.

The true task for all of us who pray for peace on the Korean peninsula is to ensure that our nations are not only great in power and rich in wealth but even more, we must be strong in spirit. Every nation must summon the will to protect its citizens, its allies, and to leave a better world for its children, Mr. Trump said. These are the forces and values that inspire change, that move countries, that make history, and that ultimately lead to peace.

The rally, organized by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and the seventh such event since August 2020, drew participants from across the globe, all united in the fight against oppression, poverty and racial discrimination. Saturday evenings event was part of UPFs Think Tank 2022 Rally of Hope initiative, designed to bring together prominent figures from across the world and across all sectors of society to examine all aspects of the unification of North and South Korea, organizers said.

In addition to Mr. Trump, other speakers at Saturday nights event included: Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia; Jos Manuel Barroso, former president of the European Commission; Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former president of The Philippines; H.D. Deve Gowda, former Indian prime minister; Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmon, former president of Trinidad and Tobago; Natasa Micic, former Serbian president; and others.

Beyond the reunification of North and South Korea, speakers also addressed key regional issues, including Chinese aggression toward Taiwan and the Chinese Communst Partys broader effort to exert influence over the Pacific region.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for Japan, the U.S., South Korea and other stakeholders to come together as one and face that challenge head-on.

The need for more solidarity between countries that share the values of freedom and democracy such as Japan, the United States, Taiwan, and South Korea is more pressing than ever, he said.

We will need passionate leaders if we are to achieve solidarity between countries sharing freedom and democracy, maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and achieve peaceful reunification on the Korean peninsula. These Rallies of Hope will give us much strength, he said. Of that I am confident.

On Afghanistan, where the militant Taliban recently recaptured the country after the withdrawal of all U.S. troops, some world leaders called for international cooperation but also for an understanding that local populations are often best positioned to offer solutions.

Other countries cannot transplant political values and systems upon any country, as these fundamentals need to be indigenously developed corresponding to the political, economic, social and cultural contexts of each individual country, said Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia.

Kept the promise

In her own remarks Saturday, UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon said todays generation is poised to see history made on the Korean peninsula.

Throughout human society, you have been specially chosen by heaven with regards to the heavenly unified Korea and the realization of world peace, she said. There is a profound meaning. You need to understand that heaven is working with you.

Mrs. Moon, the leader of the Unification Church, and her late husband, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, devoted their lives to the reunification of the Korean peninsula and to the promotion of world peace.

Reuniting Korea is a key pillar of the Unification movement that grew from the Unification Church that Rev. Moon founded in 1954. Mrs. Moon has led the movement since a few years before the 2012 death of Rev. Moon, whose ministry grew from a tiny, embattled church in South Korea to a global spiritual movement and an affiliated commercial empire comprising real estate, manufacturing and agricultural operations, as well as media properties including The Washington Times.

The goal of truly changing the dynamic on the Korean peninsula seemed closer than ever during Mr. Trumps time in office.

Perhaps more than any other U.S. official in recent history, Mr. Trump spent time and expended political capital in a personal effort to break the stalemate of division between North and South Korea.

While past presidents have pursued policies of isolation toward Pyongyang, Mr. Trump met face-to-face with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Their first meeting in Singapore in 2018 sparked the hope that the two nations could strike a long-awaited denuclearization deal, which proponents say would be a key step in the broader push toward reunification.

Mr. Trump held a second meeting with Mr. Kim in Vietnam, and in 2019 the two men met at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea. The Trump administration pushed for a deal in which Pyongyang would have agreed to permanent and verifiable abandonment of its nuclear-weapons program in exchange for relief from crushing economic sanctions and millions of dollars of outside investment from around the world.

While such a deal did not materialize, Mr. Trump said its clear the outreach still paid major dividends. Most notably, he said, the North Korean leader has at least temporarily given up nuclear-weapons launches and other major weapons testing.

Although it became clear in our second summit in Hanoi that North Korea was not yet ready to make a deal, I remain full of hope for the future, Mr. Trump said. To this day, Chairman Kim has kept the promise he made to me in Singapore, that there would be no more long-range missile launches or nuclear weapons testing I hope that continues.

North Korea conducted several smaller-scale weapons tests early in President Bidens tenure. The U.S.-North Korean dynamic has remained frosty during the first nine months of the Biden presidency and its unclear exactly how the Biden administration will approach Pyongyang over the next several years.

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Trump loyalists team up with anti-vax doctors for health and freedom tour – The Guardian

Posted: September 4, 2021 at 6:12 am

Top loyalists to Donald Trump, who frequently push lies about election fraud, have joined forces with conservative doctors touting unproven Covid curesand vaccine skepticism, and like-minded evangelical ministers at a series of events across the US this summer.

The conservative ReAwaken America tour featuring ex-general Michael Flynn and top Donald Trump loyalist donors has held events in Florida, Michigan and other states.

It underscores how Trumps allies, anti-vaccine doctors and conservative preachers are amplifying baseless claims that are hurting the nations public health and its democracy with potentially far-reaching impacts, say pandemic and election experts.

The tour comes as Covid cases soar and as Republican drives to pass state laws weakening voting rights increase. While the tour has touted Flynns key role, a Tulsa Oklahoma media figure and Christian entrepreneur named Clay Clark has been instrumental in orchestrating the gatherings also dubbed health and freedom conferences using his ThriveTime podcast and radio show and Charisma News coverage.

The ReAwaken events have featured talks by vaccine skeptics such as Simone Gold, who was charged for taking part in the Capitol riot and leads Americas Frontline Doctors, a rightist group that garnered attention for touting dubious Covid-19 cures such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.

Stella Immanuel, a Houston doctor who is part of Golds group and who spoke at a Michigan ReAwaken rally on 20 August, gained notoriety last year for public remarks at a Washington rally near the supreme court, suggesting Americas health problems were linked to alien DNA and sperm from demons.

Another doctor listed as a speaker at the rallies is Scott Jensen, a former state senator and Fox News favorite who is running for governor in Minnesota. Last year, Jensen was a candidate for Politifacts lie of the year for claiming baselessly that doctors were overcounting Covid cases for their own financial gain.

Further, the conservative tour has provided new audiences for rich Trump donors such as Mike Lindell, the chief executive of MyPillow, who has stated falsely that Trump would be reinstalled as president by 13 August, and Patrick Byrne, the former chief of Overstock, who bankrolled with millions of dollars a spurious audit in Arizonas largest county that has drawn bipartisan fire for lacking merit.

The ReAwaken meetings, which each appear to have drawn audiences in the hundreds or more, have also taken place this year in Oklahoma and California, with more slated for Colorado and Texas in coming months. Promotional materials indicate that attendees are asked to pay $250 for general admission or $500 for VIP tickets, with pastors eligible for half-price tickets.

Voting rights lawyers and pandemic experts are troubled by the volume of election and pandemic disinformation that the ReAwaken tour seems to be spreading.

Many Americans believe the 2020 election was stolen, despite numerous failed court cases alleging it and recounts that verified the results, said Gerry Hebert, who spent over two decades as a senior lawyer at the justice department handling voting rights.

Hebert added: People have refused to wear masks and get vaccinated because of Covid disinformation campaigns. Lies and disinformation campaigns can kill, both our fellow Americans and our democracy, and this ReAwaken America tour seems designed to accentuate these problems.

Similarly, Covid experts say that the ReAwaken America tour is exacerbating medical disinformation.

These events are stark reminders of how Trump was elected in 2016 and remains popular to this day, with many now vying to assume his mantle in campaigning for elected office at all levels of governments, said Irwin Redlener, who leads Columbia Universitys Pandemic Resource and Recovery Initiative.

Im actually embarrassed by the fact that there are doctors fully into this craziness.

Flynn, who was pardoned by Trump late last year after twice pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador in the federal investigation into Kremlin meddling in the 2016 elections, has become a fixture at conspiracy-heavy gatherings this year, including one in Texas in May that was backed by QAnon advocates who have falsely claimed Trump will become president again this year.

Other Trump loyalists have popped up at the ReAwaken events, including Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser who also was pardoned by Trump after he was convicted of lying to Congress and other felonies as part of the federal inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, and Charlie Kirk who runs the pro-Trump youth group Turning Point USA.

Anne Nelson, the author of Shadow Network, a book about the rightwing Council for National Policy, which boasts some key evangelicals, said Clarks ReAwaken tour has echoes of earlier religious political entrepreneurs but said Clark has modernized their techniques with religious rallies and media platforms promoting Trump surrogates like Michael Flynn and medical misinformation peddlers like Simone Gold, to build momentum for the radical right, leading up to next years midterms and 2024.

The ReAwaken gatherings have dovetailed with more drives by conservative doctors and Trump loyalists spreading pandemic and election disinformation.

For instance, Golds Americas Frontline Doctors, which was formed with the help of Tea Party Patriots early last year, filed a motion this July aimed at the health department seeking to halt vaccinations. The motion contained some widely debunked assertions about Covid-19.

The discredited claims included that CDC data reveals that the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not effective in treating or preventing Covid-19, and that the pandemic is not a public health emergency.

Further, Golds group announced in May that it was launching a national RV Uncensored Truth Tour with an initial focus on several states including Arizona, Texas and Florida.

Critics see the RV tour as another vehicle for Gold to spread disinformation, as in her comments in Washington at a rally the day before the Capitol attack, when she labeled FDA approved vaccines an experimental biological agent deceptively named a vaccine and urged people to avoid being coerced.

More broadly, Redlener is dismayed by the abundance of disinformation at the ReAwaken America rallies, and via similar avenues. The increasingly flagrant promotion of anti- science ignorance and bizarre political extremism is worrisome, he said.

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Heart of Dixie remains Donald Trump Country – The Troy Messenger – Troy Messenger

Posted: at 6:12 am

Former President Donald Trump paid a visit to the Heart of Dixie last week. Obviously, this is Trump country.

Alabama was one of Trumps best states in the 2020 Election. He got an amazing 65 percent of the vote in our state. If the turnout for his August 21 rally in rural Cullman County is any indication, he would get that same margin of victory this year if the election were held again. Many of those in attendance were insistent that Trump won last years presidential contest and that it was stolen from him.

The event was held on a desolate rural north Alabama farm. It was reminiscent of the 1969 Woodstock event in rural New York. In fact, our newly minted U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville referred to it as Trumpstock. Tuberville nor I either one attended Woodstock, but we are old enough to know about the legendary music and imbibing event. It was also reminiscent of some of the old George Wallace rallies in the 1960s only much larger.

The rally drew an enormous crowd. Estimates said there were 45,000 Trumpites in attendance and I am not an expert on estimating crowds, but I do not disagree with that number. It took me 30 minutes to walk through the crowd to get to my car.

Trump is truly an entertainer and Alabama is truly Trump Country, although there were quite a few folks in attendance from neighboring states. I was very appreciative to be given a VIP front row private reception invitation to the event. Allow me to share some of my observations.

Coach/Senator Tommy Tuberville won his seat in the U.S. Senate because Trump endorsed him. It is obvious that Trump and Tuberville like each other and have bonded. Tuberville ran for and is in the Senate for the right reason. He wants to spend some of his retirement years giving back to this country. Tuberville was not groomed to be a politician. He is a football coach, but he is doing a good job representing Alabama in Washington. He has put together a good staff headed by veteran Stephen Boyd. They are doing a good job with constituent service. Tuberville looked jovial, relaxed, and dapper when he spoke prior to Trump.

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth gave a great speech. It was fiery and almost George Wallace level. He is a true conservative. He has two young sons who accompanied him to the rally. They are very gentlemanly young men, who are always courteous and mannerly.

Attorney General Steve Marshall gave an excellent speech. It was conversational, sincere and well received.

Congressman Robert Aderholt was spectacular and gave a great speech and welcome. He represents Cullman in congress. His 4th Congressional District gave Trump the largest percentage votes of any congressional district in the country. Aderholt looks like a congressman. He is polished and erudite, but has a grassroots appeal. His people in North Alabama love him.

Mo Brooks spoke and was fiery as ever. Trump has endorsed him in the senate race. However, Trump only endorsed him once on this night.

There is a lot of internal discord among the Republican Party membership. It appears that the Mo Brooks supporters have taken over the Republican Party hierarchy and that this Trump event was a Mo Brooks rally. Trump probably was asked to temper his Brooks endorsement. Indeed, Mo Brookss opponents, Katie Britt, Lynda Blanchard and Jessica Taylor were all in attendance.

Several state senators were there, along with the aforementioned state constitutional officers. I saw Greg Reed from Jasper, Tom Whatley from Auburn, along with hometown Cullman Senator Garlan Gudger, and PSC Commissioner Jeremy Oden also from Cullman County. In addition, Secretary of State John Merrill and Jefferson/Shelby Congressman Gary Palmer were in attendance.

It was good to see some of the old, longtime, 50 year Republican Party faithful founders there Elbert Peters from Huntsville, Joan and Paul Reynolds from Shelby County, and Vicki and Mike Drummond from Jasper. They were laboring in the Republican vineyards before it was cool to be a Republican, and still are.

I had a chance to see Trump closeup. He looks amazing for 75. People age differently. He is a lot more cognizant and alert than 78-year-old Joe Biden. If you made me bet, I would say that Trump is running for President in 2024 and that he will carry Alabama.

Happy Labor Day.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers is Alabamas leading political columnist. His weekly column is seen in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at: http://www.steveflowers.us.

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Heart of Dixie remains Donald Trump Country - The Troy Messenger - Troy Messenger

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Rex Murphy: I miss Donald Trump and the hypnotic hold he had on his enemies – National Post

Posted: at 6:12 am

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Biden is a stumbling, unready leader, visibly in a state of intellectual entropy

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I miss Donald Trump.

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Not so much in any personal sense, but in the sense that while his lively demeanour and super energetic style inhabited the White House all the world was fed a daily diary of his doings and sayings.

Some say Mr. Trump leveraged his years on The Apprentice ( a show I could not stand, it was worse than the Dragons Den, another 30 minutes offering a preview of Purgatory without the escape clause) to earn the fame that brought him to the Presidency.

This is an error. It is not so much that reality television brought Donald Trump to the White House, as that Donald Trump brought the White House to reality television. Whether the White House or reality TV suffered the more from this interesting collision will require history to determine.

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I miss Mr. Trump as well because of the fascination he exerted on almost everybody, and particularly the hypnotic power over those who radically despised him. His gift for disconcerting his enemies was something beyond biology: he had something like a Draculean hold over their spirits. He exhaled; they fretted madly.

The feral hosts of cable TV, the Lemons, the Cuomos, the Maddows not the stoutest spars on the vessel of public enlightenment could speak of no one else. They were enthralled.

During his tenure, here in Canada, even with Justin Trudeau as our prime minister, a charismatic magnet though of far less field strength than Mr. Trump, the CBC drank as fervidly and fulsomely at the Trump waterhole, as any of the mastodons in his own country, CBS, NBC, ABC and The New York Times.

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Trump news was evidently very Canadian news. We were deluged by reports of the most trivial and most serious aspects of the Trump presidency. As if it were crucial to know in Red Deer or Twillingate that Donald Trump was most likely a Russian plant in the service of Vladimir Putin. When Trump was president, American news was very much our news. Why, was never detailed.

What I find odd, is how with a Biden presidency our news networks have fully lost interest in the guy that won against him, the hapless, hopeless somnambulistic, Im not supposed to take questions, Joseph Biden. Biden is a disaster as president. As feeble and confused a leader as can be imagined.

Mr. Biden just committed the most bumbling, tragic and incompetent major actions of an American president since the Bay of Pigs. The mangled, bungled, tragic, unspeakably incompetent withdrawal from Afghanistan is a massive humiliation of the worlds preeminent power.

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Under Bidens tottering leadership, the U.S. has left its armaments, its high tech helicopters, its base in Bagram $70 billion of weaponry by some cited estimates to a ragtag militia of fundamentalist Islamists. Worse, it has abandoned some of its citizens, shamed its own military, and left Afghan allies and the women and girls of that sad country to the fierce and revenge-hungry Taliban.

Yet, Mr. Biden, does not get the headlines, does not get the fire-breathing panel shows, the incessant condemnations, the high paid mockery of the late night comics not a fraction that Trump received during his tenure when he so much as walked somewhere with a Bible in his hand.

Biden is a stumbling, unready leader, visibly in a state of intellectual entropy. And that is a world story. It has far more meaning for us than did all the fake drama of Russian collusion. And yet the Canadian news media which were bloated in their coverage of Trump, by comparison, only nibble, and reluctantly so, at Bidens devastatingly inept and world-historical mis-exercise of American power.

On very many issues the media are blatantly activist, not really different from the many pressure groups, politicized NGOs, and various campaigners that they should be reporting on.The difference between how Trump was reported on and how Joe Biden is, is merely the largest illustration of this very unhappy decline.

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