From The Editors Technology

Trump Tells Apple to Withdraw From China and Start Making iPhones at Home

Last week, a day after Apple lost $57 billion in market value, resulting from the plunge the company’s stocks took after it slashed its revenue forecast, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters at a White House press conference that he was not really worried about it.

No, I’m not,” he said when a reporter asked him if he was concerned about the tech giant’s stock debacle.

“I mean, look, they’ve gone up a lot,” Trump said, adding, “You know, they’ve gone up hundreds of percent since [I’ve become] president.”
He also said: “Apple was at a number that was incredible, and they’re going to be fine.”

However, he did express his dissatisfaction with the fact that Apple continues to manufacture its products in China when making them at home was a better option, he thought, for the Cupertino-based company.

The US president probably doesn’t realize that moving iPhone production out of China is easier said than done.

Here’s what Dan Ives, Wedbush Managing Director of equity research, told CNN Business.

“Man could be on Mars before Apple is producing more of its iPhones in the United States, just from a supply chain cost perspective.”

In a letter to Apple investors, company CEO Tim Cook cited a number of reasons for the company’s modest projection for the last quarter, including, but not limited to, below par iPhone sales, US-China trade war, and its own reduced-price iPhone battery replacement scheme.

Although emerging markets, including China, were largely responsible for the year-over-year decline in iPhone revenue, iPhone upgrades in developed markets were also “not as strong as we thought they would be,” Cook wrote.

He added: “While macroeconomic challenges in some markets were a key contributor to this trend, we believe there are other factors broadly impacting our iPhone performance, including consumers adapting to a world with fewer carrier subsidies, US dollar strength-related price increases, and some customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements.”

Back to Trump and his soft Apple-bashing, the US president said that the Apple’s stock would have no bearing on the US economy because the iPhone company makes its products in China, something that the company has refuted.

“Apple is a great company. Look, I have to worry about our country,” he said at the press conference, adding, “Don’t forget, Apple makes the product in China.”

He wasn’t done yet, as he went on to say, “I told Tim Cook, who’s a friend of mine who I like a lot, make your product in the United States.”

If you are wondering whether or not his friendship with Cook is on a reciprocal basis, you’re not alone.

He added: “Build those big beautiful plants that go on for miles. Build those plants in the United States. I’d like that even better. Apple makes its product in China. China is the biggest beneficiary of Apple … because they build their product mostly in China.”

He had more to say.

“But now, [Cook is] investing $350 billion — because of what we did with taxes and the incentives that we created — in the United States,” Trump said. “He’s going to build a campus and lots of other places.”

He said his focus was on the nation and that he wanted Apple to make its iPhones and all of its other products in the United States, asserting that it “will take place.”

However, the $350 billion investment Trump is talking about is mostly going towards tax repatriation and to Apple suppliers, with a likelihood of less than ten percent of the amount ending up in investments in the country, according to a Politifact report last year after Trump first bragged about it.

As far as building campuses in the country is concerned, Apple did announce in December that it was planning to spend $1 billion to build a brand new campus in Austin, Texas, that would eventually employ 15,000 workers.

It is part of the company’s three-year expansion drive to build new facilities in Seattle, San Diego, Culver City, Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado, with a strong likelihood of more such facilities coming up in other US cities in the longer term.

“Apple is proud to bring new investment, jobs and opportunity to cities across the United States and to significantly deepen our quarter-century partnership with the city and people of Austin,” company CEO, Tim Cook said in a Dec 13 press release.

“Talent, creativity and tomorrow’s breakthrough ideas aren’t limited by region or zip code, and, with this new expansion, we’re redoubling our commitment to cultivating the high-tech sector and workforce nationwide,” said the Apple CEO.

Apple was apparently living up to its January 2018 promise of generating employment for at least 20,000 people across the nation by 2023, having already created 6,000 jobs in the U.S. last year.

The Steve Jobs-founded company is looking to invest a whopping $10 billion in data centers across the country over the next five years, with plans of spending nearly half of it by the end of 2019.

Work is already underway to expand the company’s existing data centers in North Carolina, Arizona, and Nevada, in addition to a new 400,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art data center being planned for Waukee, Iowa, to boost its iMessage, Siri, the App Store, and other services in the country.

From The Editors Politics

Trump Accuses Google of Rigging Search Results to Show Him in Bad Light

It all started with a Tuesday tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump in which he accused search engine giant Google of rigging its search results in a manner that would only show negative news about him while hiding all the good stuff when somebody searched for “Trump News.”

The president said that there was a growing tendency among tech companies to suppress Conservative viewpoints, calling it a “very serious situation,” which “will be addressed.”

“Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent.

Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal?” read the presidential tweet.

“96% of results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation will be addressed!” he wrote.

Google was quick to deny the president’s unsolicited allegations, saying in a press statement that the company didn’t use its search platform to “set a political agenda” nor did it manipulate its results to support any political ideology.

Here’s the press statement in full.

“When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds.

“Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology.

“Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users’ queries.
“We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”

Speaking to reporters at the White House later that afternoon, following a meeting with FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Trump expanded his attack to include Facebook and Twitter alongside Google, saying that the three companies were “treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful.”

“I think Google is really taking advantage of a lot of people, and I think that’s a very serious thing, and it’s a very serious charge,” he told the attending reporters during the Oval Office press meet.

“And I think what Google and what others are doing, if you look at what’s going on at Twitter, if you look at what’s going on in Facebook, they better be careful, because you can’t do that to people,” he continued.

“You can’t do it. We have tremendous, we have literally thousands and thousands of complaints coming in, and you just can’t do that,” he went on.

“So I think that Google and Twitter and Facebook, they’re really treading on very, very troubled territory, and they have to be careful,” he told the reporters, adding that it wasn’t “fair to large portions of the population.”

Responding to a query about Trump’s misgivings about Google, his economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the White House was taking stock of the situation through “investigation” and “analysis” and considering whether the search engine should be regulated.

In a similar attack on Twitter last month, Trump accused the social networking service of limiting the visibility of top Republicans using a procedure known as “shadow banning,” which the president said was a “discriminatory and illegal practice” and that his administration would “look into it.”

Shadow banning, basically, means preventing someone’s content from being discovered by other users on the platform, without the knowledge of the user who posted it.

“We do not shadow ban,” Twitter rebutted the president’s accusation in a blog post entitled “Setting the record straight on shadow banning.”

“You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile). And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology,” the blog post said.

A Twitter spokesperson had earlier said that the company was aware that some accounts were not auto-populating the search box and that Twitter was working on correcting the issue.

“The profiles, tweets and discussions about these accounts do appear when you search for them,” he said, adding that the platform’s “behavioral ranking doesn’t make judgments based on political views or the substance of tweets.”

As a matter of fact, earlier this year when there was a public outcry to ban Trump on Twitter for his vitriolic and inflammatory tweets, particularly in the wake his outburst against North Korea at the time, Twitter released a statement explaining why the company was against the proposed ban.

In a blog post entitled “World Leaders on Twitter,” the company said that blocking political figures and world leaders or removing controversial tweets posted by them would amount to depriving people of access to important information, which they were entitled to see and debate on.

While such a decision would not silence the leader it would most definitely come in the way of “necessary discussion around their words and actions,” the statement said.

Twitter had gone on to say that the company reviewed tweets by leaders “within the political context that defines them” and implemented rules accordingly.

“No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth or influences these decisions. We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind,” the statement said.

The impression that Twitter’s explanation gave at the time was that world leaders were exempt from saying anything in the name of “necessary discussion around their words and actions,” at least as far as the social media platform was considered.

With the kind of stand Twitter took against the public demand to ban the president on its platform, Trump’s latest accusation against the social networking behemoth seems kind of unjustified and uncalled for, especially in the absence of any substantive evidence to back his claims.

From The Editors Politics

Fierce Criticism Forces Trump to Fly White House Flag Back at Half-Staff until Sen. McCain’s Interment

Trump has ordered the lowering of the White House flag back to half-staff after it was re-raised on Monday, less than 48 hours after it was initially lowered following the death of Arizona Sen. John McCain on Saturday.

In the face of scathing bipartisan backlash and immense pressure from all quarters, Trump was left with no option but to sign the proclamation to fly the flag at half-staff again, until the senator was laid to rest.

So intense and relentless were the attacks against the decision to prematurely re-raise the flag that the presidential decree came within hours of what was a disrespectful move against a national hero – a true son of the soil.

“On the behalf of The American Legion’s two million wartime veterans, I strongly urge you to make an appropriate presidential proclamation noting Senator McCain’s death and legacy of service to our nation, and that our nation’s flag be half-staffed through his internment,” the American Legion’s national commander Denise Rohan demanded in a statement addressed to Trump.

“Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment,” Trump said in a statement.

A celebrated war hero and former presidential candidate, the Republican senator passed away after a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an extremely malignant form of brain cancer. McCain was 81.

Trump’s disdain for McCain and the acrimony that existed between the two Republicans are pretty well-documented.

The fact that Trump desisted from commenting on the senator and his legacy, despite repeated requests from reporters, further confirms his intense dislike for the man – so much that even his death couldn’t elicit a few words of respect from the president.

All that the Trump could initially manage was his “deepest sympathies and respect” to the senator’s family on Twitter.

However, in what seemed like an attempt at damage control, after the barrage of criticism and rebuke he was subjected to for his tepid response to McCain’s death and for raising the White House flag to full-staff way too soon, Trump came out with a few measured words in honor of the senator, on Monday.

Adding to his half-staff proclamation statement, Trump said that he had instructed Vice President Mike Pence to honor McCain in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Friday.

“I have asked Vice President Mike Pence to offer an address at the ceremony honoring Senator McCain at the United States Capitol this Friday,” the president said.

“At the request of the McCain family, I have also authorized military transportation of Senator McCain’s remains from Arizona to Washington, D.C., military pallbearers and band support, and a horse and caisson transport during the service at the United States Naval Academy. Finally, I have asked General John Kelly, Secretary James Mattis, and Ambassador John Bolton to represent my Administration at his services,” he added.

At a dinner of evangelical supporters that evening, Trump said, “We very much appreciate everything that Senator McCain has done for our country.”

“It sounds like in the end, he probably decided it was a political loser to continue to hold out on this,” CBC News quoted William Howell, a University of Chicago lecturer and an expert on presidential powers, as saying.

“I don’t know who got into his ear that changed his mind, but the [reports] that his very closest advisers — his chief of staff and his press secretary — both recommended to him earlier that he recognize John McCain as a hero, suggests that the pressure was as close as it could be,” Howell told CBC, claims the news channel.

The president’s daughter Ivanka Trump was, in fact, much more charitable in her tribute to the departed senator than her father, calling him an “American patriot” and a “true hero,” while speaking at a women’s empowerment event in Washington, D.C.

“As we gather here today I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Sen John McCain –an American patriot who served our country with distinction for more than six decades,” said Ms.Trump.

“The nation is united in its grief and the world mourns the loss of a true hero and a great statesman,” she added.

From The Editors Politics

National Enquirer CEO David Pecker Gets Federal Immunity in Michael Cohen Case

American Media Inc (AMI) chief executive David Pecker has been granted immunity by federal prosecutors in the ongoing investigations into former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s role in offering hush money to women on behalf of the U.S. president, according to various news reports that started emerging Thursday (August 23).

The federal immunity was granted in exchange for information on Cohen, who on Tuesday pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges, including tax fraud and campaign finance violations that could likely put him away for years.

Pecker and Cohen are believed to have worked together to buy off the silence of porn star Stephanie Clifford – professionally known as Stormy Daniels – and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal, who had been threatening to go public with their stories about their alleged sexual encounters with Trump, during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Daniels and McDougal, by the way, have not been named in the plea bargain filed in court

Cohen admitted in court on Tuesday that he and the “CEO of a media company, at the request of the candidate, worked together” to muffle the scandal that could have well thrown a spanner in the works for the Trump campaign.

Although details of the plea deal have not been made available yet, Pecker is reported to have given prosecutors detailed evidence of the president’s knowledge of the hush money paid out to the two female accusers.

Meanwhile, Trump has denied having had any knowledge of the hush-money payments until “later on,” without giving a specific date.

However, contrary to the U.S. president’s claim, Trump can be heard talking to Cohen about buying off the McDougal story from AMI in a September 2016 tape released by Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis.

Speaking to Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt, following the Cohen plea bargain, Trump said, “You have to understand, Ainsley, what he did — and they weren’t taken out of campaign finance.”

He added: “In fact, my first question when I heard about it was, ‘Did they come out of the campaign?’ because that could be a little dicey. And they didn’t come out of the campaign, and that’s big.”

Trump even went to the extent of suggesting that plea agreements between the government and people facing prosecution are unfair and should be deemed “illegal.”

“It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal,” Trump said, adding that it wasn’t “a fair thing.”

Long-time Trump ally Pecker is accused of playing a significant role in quashing damaging stories against the president by purchasing the story rights from the accuser and not publishing them – a practice known in the industry as “catch-and-kill.”

In the case of McDougal, AMI-owned tabloid magazine National Enquirer purchased the rights to her story, wherein she was claiming a sexual relationship with the president, for $150,000.

The Trump- McDougal thing is believed to have happened when he was already married to Melania, making it even more scandalous and damaging for the White House.

While the Justice Department (DOJ) didn’t mention Pecker by name, they did say on Tuesday that the “chairman” of “a media company that owns, among other things, a popular tabloid magazine” was also responsible for bringing Cohen and Stormy Daniels together for the hush-deal in which the porn was paid $130,000 in October 2016.

According to the Tuesday court filing, the prosecutors meant Pecker – that’s what everyone believes – when they said “Chairman-1 offered to help deal with negative stories about [President Trump’s] relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided”

The Wall Street Journal had reported earlier this year that Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen finalized a non-disclosure agreement for $130,000, initiated by Stephanie Clifford’s (Stormy Daniels) lawyer a month before the 2016 US presidential election, to buy the former porn star’s silence on her sexual relationship with the US president.

Known for her steamy movies, Daniels reportedly told friends that she met Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, which led to the so-called sexual encounter, “people familiar with the matter” told WSJ.

Clifford, who has appeared in dozens of porn movies, including “Good Will Humping” and “Porking with Pride #2”, as well as feature films such as the “40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up,” was reportedly arrested in 2009 for “domestic battery” after an altercation with her husband.

In October 2011, Hooman Karamian, who goes by the alias Nik Richie on his gossip website, ran a report from an anonymous whistleblower under the heading “World Exclusive: Donald Trump Cheats on His Wife Melania Trump While She Was Pregnant.”

The tipster wrote: “Donald Trump is the scum of the earth! Not only did he break up my friend’s marriage, but he also cheated on Melania Trump as she was pregnant with his child. My friend had sex with Donald after one of his golfing events and he lured her to multiple hotels [sic] rooms after that.

My friend wants to speak with you directly because she is in fear that Donald Trump will ruin her life more than he already has.”

Richie followed-up with a post of his own saying, “I know you cheated on your wife with Stephanie Gregory Clifford aka Stormy Daniels and now the world knows.”

In late October 2016, prior to Clifford’s story, another porn artist Jessie Drake had accused the president of offering her $10,000 for having sex with him in 2006, after he kissed her without her consent.

Peter Stris, McDougal’s legal representative in her lawsuit against AMI seeking annulment of the hush-deal, wrote “Told you so” in a Thursday tweet.

He tweeted: “To all media asking our firm to comment on
#NationalEnquirer publisher #DavidPecker getting immunity from prosecution in exchange for corroboration of his collusion w #MichaelCohen + @realDonaldTrump in silencing #KarenMcDougal, here is our official statement: “Told you so.”

Here are some reactions on Twitter.

From The Editors Politics

Anonymous Street Artist Replaces Trump’s Vandalized ‘Walk of Fame’ Star with Multiple Fake Ones

“You take away one and we’ll replace it with at least thirty” seems to be the motto of a conservative street artist who took it upon himself to replace U.S. President Donald Trump’s Walk of Fame star that was destroyed last month by a pickaxe-wielding vandal – not for the first time, though.

The Trump-supporting street equivalent of Van Gogh spoke to The Hollywood Reporter on condition of anonymity, telling the entertainment publication that his decision was motivated by last month’s defacement of the president’s original star.

The other factor that influenced his actions was the West Hollywood City Council’s recent decision, a unanimous one, to push for the removal of Trump’s star because of allegations of disrespect for women against him, as well as his take on climate change.

The anonymous artist defiantly told THR that he and his like-minded team members, who call themselves “The Faction,” were up to the task and would plant 30 stars each time a Trump Walk of Fame star was removed or destroyed.

“Rip up the president’s Walk of Fame star or try to have it removed — like you’re the mayor of West Hollywood or something — and 30 more will pop up,” he told THR.

In fact, “The Faction” even posted a couple of tweets to drive home their point.

“Take down his star, and we will descend upon you with 30 fresh new stars,’ read one of the tweets, closing the message with, “We are MAGA Legion.”

The Faction followed it up with another tweet that said:

“Keep taking down the @realDonaldTrump star, and we will further spread Trump Derangement Syndrome by installing a never-ending stream of stars.”

The seriousness of the die-hard Trump-supporters can be gauged from the fact that they were happy to shell out $1,000, part of it coming from “a young and anonymous entrepreneur,” to have the fake stars printed on floor vinyl.

The Faction members then laminated the vinyl stars before affixing them on unpopulated squares on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the adhesive backs of the vinyl making the job relatively easy for them.

According to one onlooker, at least one of the replicas was placed on disgraced celebrity star Kevin Spacey’s star.

Fearing intervention from onlookers, the anonymous artist and his merry gang kept the stars covered until they were all in place.

“I didn’t want to get hit over the head from behind. We thought Trump Derangement Syndrome was a joke, but I’m pretty sure it’s real,” he told THR, adding that the fake stars were good for the next ten years if nobody peeled them off.

But peeled off they were!

A “Ripley Believe it or Not!” employee told THR that the stars were peeled off because of apprehensions of a repeat of last month’s pickaxe incident, as that would not only destroy the stars but the Walk it was placed on, as well.

“We didn’t want to have what happened to the old star here. Not only would the star be destroyed, but it would damage our property,” he said.

“We started at 5 o’clock in the morning and we’ve found about 50 stars,” said a member of the cleaning service responsible for the Walk Fame’s graffiti- and vandalism-related issues, reported THR.

Last month a man surrendered himself to the police after vandalizing Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which the president had been honored within recognition for producing beauty pageants.

“He was selected for his producer job for his Miss Universe shows,” Walk of Fame spokesperson Ana Martinez explained to Christopher Zara of in an emailed response to his query in that regard.

According to eyewitnesses, the vandal unleashed his fury on the Trump star, attacking it with a pickaxe, which he had brought hidden in a guitar case, in the wee hours of the morning of July 25.

The man didn’t bother to take back his weapon of vandalism with him, leaving it behind at the crime scene, as can be seen in the picture accompanying the tweet immediately above.

As mentioned at the outset, this wasn’t the first incident of a vandal attacking the Trump star on the Walk.

Back in 2016, a man smashed the Trump star to express his disgust of the president bragging about his sexual escapades, revealed in an “Access Hollywood” recording.

While both the attacks involved pickaxes, the 2016 attacker used a sledgehammer as well.

From The Editors Politics Science

America is Reaching for the Heavens: Trump Plans to Launch U.S. Space Force by 2020

If U.S. President Donald Trump manages to get Congress to see through his eyes, which he most likely will, Space Force could become a reality by, as early as, 2020.

Effectively, it will become the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, after the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and the Navy.

“Separate but equal” is the term President Trump had used to compare Space Force with the U.S. Air Force, speaking about it in a June meeting where the NSC (National Space Council) was going to reveal the first all-encompassing policy on space traffic management.

“We are going to have the Air Force and we’re going to have the Space Force, separate but equal. It is going to be something so important,” Trump had said.

Describing Space Force as “an idea whose time has come” in a Pentagon address on Thursday (August 9), U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said:

“The next generation of Americans to confront the emerging threats in the boundless expanse of space will be wearing the uniform of the United States of America,” going on to suggest that the ball was now in the Congress court for establishing and funding the mammoth project.

“Our nation’s armed forces have always been the vanguard of advancing American leadership here on Earth and beyond,” he also said. “The Space Force is the next and natural evolution of American military strength.”

“Now the time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces, to prepare for the next battlefield where America’s best and bravest will be called to deter and defeat a new generation of threats to our people, to our nation,” he said.

Trump’s tweeted response, to what we can consider another official announcement of a sixth military entity, read, “Space Force all the way!”

Of course, establishing Space Force would necessitate Congress consensus in the form of a new legislation and funding, which is exactly what the Trump administration proposes to do, come February when the president presents his annual budget request.

“Next February in the president’s budget, we will call on the Congress to marshal the resources we need to stand up,” Pence said during his Pentagon speech.

Explaining how the Trump administration plans to proceed in the initial stages, subject to a Congress nod, of course, Pence outlined four basic lines of action, or what you can call the first steps toward the creation of Space Force.

Here they are:

ONE: The incumbent U.S. government proposes the creation of a new U.S. Space Command in order to “establish unified command control for our Space Force operations; ensure integration across the military; and develop the space warfighting doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures of the future,” the vice president said.

TWO: Pence said that a Space Development Agency would be established for the research and development of emerging technologies, all of which would go a long way in ensuring “cutting-edge war-fighting capabilities.”

THREE: Pence said “an elite group of joint warfighters specializing in the domain of space” would be established.

FOUR: A new chain of command will be set up to establish “clear lines of responsibility and accountability to manage the process of standing up and scaling up the United States Department of the Space Force.”

Trump first publicly floated the idea of a sixth military dimension in space earlier this year, saying that his government’s “new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea.”

Then, again, in a June meeting of the NSC, Trump demonstrated his administration’s seriousness in pursuing the idea by officially ordering the Pentagon and the DoD to work on developing Space Force.

“I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” Trump had said and then spoilt it by a bit of braggadocio as he added, “That’s a big statement.”

As brilliant as the idea of having a dedicated military branch to secure the infinite deeps of space may seem to a lot of people, it is definitely not without its fair share of detractors.

Critics and naysayers, including National security specialists, as well as U.S. Armed Forces officials, have openly voiced their concerns against the creation of such an entity.

Their argument is based on the premise that creating a separate force for space-related activities of the U.S. Armed Forces would encroach on the domain of the U.S. Air Force Space Command, which is currently managing that particular area of the nation’s concerns.

Following the June announcement, senior U.S. Senator from Florida Bill Nelson (D) claimed in a tweet that U.S. military generals had told him they were not happy with the idea of Space Force.

Sen. Nelson said that this was not the opportune time to rearrange the Air Force in order to create a new branch for the military; it would, potentially, jeopardize several important ongoing missions.

“The president told a US general to create a new Space Force as 6th branch of military today, which generals tell me they don’t want,” the senator tweeted.

“Thankfully the president can’t do it without Congress because now is NOT the time to rip the Air Force apart. Too many important missions at stake,” the tweet further said.

Among the takers of the proposed concept is the U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, as his opening remarks before the vice president’s Thursday address at the Pentagon suggests.

“It is becoming a contested war-fighting domain, and we’ve got to adapt to that reality,” Mattis said.

From The Editors Politics

Trump Nominates Brett Kavanaugh as Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Replacement in Supreme Court

Monday night, President Donald Trump named Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee for the Supreme Court, describing the District of Columbia appeals court judge and former advisor to George W. Bush as a “brilliant jurist.”

Speaking from the podium in the East Room of the White House, the president said that a judge’s ability to execute his duties according to the law and Constitution, regardless of his political leaning, is what he admires the most in a justice.

“I am pleased to say that I have found, without a doubt, such a person,” Trump said, adding that there was “no one in America more qualified for this position and no one more deserving.”

Trump further justified his choice by saying that Kavanaugh “has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law.”

He called his 53-year-old nominee “a judge’s judge, a true thought leader among his peers. He’s a brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style, universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time.”

The announcement, which was made amid much fanfare, was attended by First Lady Melania Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence and a number of senators.

Kavanaugh’s entry was timed to near perfection as he entered the East Room with wife Ashley, and daughters Margaret and Liza, in between a rather extended pause Trump took after announcing the judge’s name. The entire charade looked so scripted.

Kavanaugh thanked the president for nominating him, saying that he was “humbled” and “deeply honored.”

“Throughout this process, I’ve witnessed first-hand your appreciation for the vital role of the American judiciary,” he told Trump.

“No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination,” he said in praise of the president.

“I believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic,” he said, pledging that if his nomination was confirmed by the Senate, he would “keep an open mind in every case and that he would “always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law.”

“My judicial philosophy is straightforward: a judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history, and tradition and precedent,” Kavanaugh also said.

It didn’t take Trump too long after Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement announcement to narrow down his choices to four judges, including Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas Hardiman and Raymond Kethledge, finally settling for Kavanaugh, as we now know.

Trump is believed to have made his decision on Sunday night, after which he, reportedly, called up the man himself to let him know of his decision, reported CNN, based on information given to the news channel by a senior White House official.

Trump also had a talk with Vice President Pence and White House Counsel Don McGahn, CNN said.

CBS News’ Kathryn Watson has rightly noted in her July 9 piece that the key to Kavanaugh’s confirmation will be in the hands of a “handful of moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats,” including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Sen. Doug Jones (D-Alabama), and Sen. Susan Collins(R-Maine), all of whom are still undecided on the president’s pick and “will await a review.”

Reactions to the president’s choice for the Supreme Court started coming in thick and fast following the Monday announcement.

“As the senator from West Virginia, I have a constitutional obligation to advise and consent on a nominee to fill Supreme Court vacancies and I take that responsibility seriously,” Sen. Manchin said in his statement.

“Just as I did when Merrick Garland and Neil Gorsuch were nominated, I will evaluate Judge Kavanaugh’s record, legal qualifications, judicial philosophy and particularly, his views on healthcare,” added the senator, who is readying for a tough re-election showdown in November.

George W. Bush was one of the first to comment on his former aide’s nomination, saying that Trump’s choice of Judge Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court was an ‘outstanding decision.”

“Brett is a brilliant jurist who has faithfully applied the Constitution and laws throughout his 12 years on the D.C. Circuit. He is a fine husband, father, and friend – and a man of the highest integrity. He will make a superb justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,” said the former president.

Sen. Collins, who could play a key role during Kavanaugh’s confirmation process also had good things to say about Trump’s nominee.

“Judge Kavanaugh has impressive credentials and extensive experience, having served more than a decade on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals,” Collins said in her statement.

“I will conduct a careful, thorough vetting of the president’s nominee to the Supreme Court, as I have done with the five previous Supreme Court justices whom I have considered,” said Collins.

“I look forward to Judge Kavanaugh’s public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee and to questioning him in a meeting in my office,” she added.

Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, who is the Senate Majority Leader, also appears to be happy with Trump’s nomination, if his statement is anything to go by.

“President Trump has made a superb choice,” McConnell said, adding that Kavanaugh is an “impressive nominee who is extremely well qualified to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.”

“I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh and to the Senate’s fair consideration of his nomination, beginning with the work of Chairman Grassley and the Judiciary Committee,” McConnell said.

“This is an opportunity for Senators to put partisanship aside and consider his legal qualifications with the fairness, respect, and seriousness that a Supreme Court nomination ought to command,” said the Republican from Kentucky.

Not be left behind, the Democrats also went on record with their statements, most of which were, expectedly, against Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court.

Calling Kavanaugh’s nomination “a clear and disrespectful assault on the fundamental rights of women and on the quality, affordable health care of the American people,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the Kavanaugh had a long history of opposing women empowerment.

“Judge Kavanaugh’s long history of opposition to the full, fundamental right of every woman to make her own decisions about her body, family, and healthcare poses a grave threat to women’s rights and to our founders’ promise of liberty and justice for all,” she said.

“If he proves as eager an executor of the president’s bitter campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade and sabotage Americans’ health care as his record suggests, a woman’s right to choose will be repealed and the health coverage and economic security of 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will be in grave peril,” lamented the Democrat.

Expressing his disregard for far-right organizations like the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society, Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said that any nominee suggested by either of them would certainly not enjoy his support.

“If an individual from the list provided to candidate Donald Trump by far-right organizations like the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society is nominated, then I am highly unlikely to support that nominee,” he said.

“Justices who sit on the most important court in the world should not be selected by corporate interests and extreme right organizations,” Casey said.

From The Editors Politics Top 5

Top Five Inflammatory Remarks Donald Trump Made in his Montana Speech

Donald Trump was at his scathing best on Thursday in his Make America Great Again rally speech in Great Falls, Montana, where he launched a vicious attack on Elizabeth Warren, repeatedly taking jibes at the Massachusetts Senator’s ancestry.

He also trained his guns on his favorite target – the “fake media”; lashed out at the Justice Department; ridiculed Hillary Clinton; mocked the #MeToo movement; and didn’t even spare his ailing fellow Republicans, John McCain, and George H.W. Bush.

We have compiled, here, the top five nastiest remarks he made at the rally, most of which have been called dangerous by CNN’s Chris Cillizza in his analysis of the man’s controversial Thursday address.

1. Trump launches a racist attack on Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, ridiculing and challenging her Indian heritage

Trump, who rarely misses out on a chance to hit out at Sen. Warren, a Democrat who has been at the receiving end of Trump’s multiple tirades against her Native American lineage, took it to a whole new level of nastiness, this time around.

While the president almost always refers to Warren as “Pocahontas” in a blatantly offensive, openly racist manner, on Thursday he also mocked people who had demanded an apology for his demeaning comment.

“I want to apologize. Pocahontas, I apologize to you. I apologize to you. To you I apologize,” he said with open sarcasm. “To the fake Pocahontas, I won’t apologize.”

He suggested that if Warren were to win the 2020 Democratic nomination, and if they were to debate, he would challenge her to take an ancestry test and would donate a million dollars to her pet charity if the test proved her Native American heritage.

“I’m going to get one of those little kits and in the middle of the debate when she proclaims she’s of Indian heritage because her mother said she has high cheekbones,” he said before a 6,500-strong crowd of cheering and jeering supporters.

He made it a point to trivialize the #MeToo movement, too, as he continued his verbal assault on the Democrat.

“We will take that little kit and say — and we have to do it gently because we’re in the Me Too generation, so we have to be very gentle — and we will very gently take that kit and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn’t hit her and injure her arm even though it probably only weighs two ounces. And we will say, ‘I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity paid for by Trump if you take the test, and it shows you’re an Indian,” he said.

“I have a feeling she will say no,” he added.

Warren responded to his comments with a tweet, suggesting that he would be better off fixing the lives he’s destroying and while he remained fixated on her ancestry, his team was busy “conducting DNA tests on little kids because you ripped them from their mamas & you are too incompetent to reunite them in time to meet a court order.”

“This was supposed to be an event to honor heroes, people who put it all on the line for our country, who, because of their incredible work, saved the lives of countless Americans and our allies,” Warren told MSNBC during an interview with the news channel.

“It is deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur,” the senator added.

2. Trump slams Montana Senator Jon Tester for voting against his party’s health care plan and other Republican initiatives

Trump took Tester to the cleaners, well, at least in his own opinion and that of his supporters, accusing the Democrat senator of double standards.

“Jon Tester says one thing when he is in Montana, but I will tell you he does the exact opposite when he goes to Washington,” said the president.

“You deserve a senator who doesn’t just talk like he is from Montana, you deserve a senator who actually votes like he is from Montana,” he added.

He said it was time to take him out of the picture because “a vote for Jon Tester is a vote for Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and the new leader of the Democrat Party Maxine Waters.”

He also rebuked the man for voting against the Republican move to repeal the Affordable Care Act; for not supporting a major tax cuts bill; for opposing Trump’s inhumane immigration policies; and for not backing Neil Gorusch – Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

“You wouldn’t think he’d play very well out here. How did he get elected?” Trump asked, rhetorically. “You can right your wrong in November.”

3. Trump was his usual vitriolic self in attacking the media

The fact that a gunman mowed down five journalists at a Maryland newspaper office, just a week ago, made no difference to Trump, as he renewed his derision of the media with comments like “fake news,” “bad people” and “so damn dishonest.”

“They’re fake,” he said, pointing at the press area. “These are really bad people.”

He accused the media of attributing fake news to unnamed sources, indicating that it was a regular ploy by the press to justify made-up news.

“They’re fake. They’re fake. They quote sources — ‘A source within the Trump organization said’ — a source. They don’t have a source,” he mocked.

4. Trump questions the intelligence of Maxine Waters’, calling her a “low IQ individual”

“Democrats want anarchy. They really do. And they don’t know who they are playing with, folks,” Trump said.

“I said it the other day, yes, she is a low IQ individual, Maxine Waters. I said it the other day. I mean, honestly, she is somewhere in the mid-60s. I believe that” Trump said about the elected representative of the United States House of Representatives for California’s 29th congressional district.

His attack on the Waters’ intelligence, which is, of course, being looked at as racially motivated, is the not the first of its kind, though.

Trump had taken a shot at the African American congresswoman’s intelligence as recently as earlier this month, at the Gridiron Club dinner, where he said she should take an IQ test.

Waters’ had called it a racist comment while speaking to Joy Ann Reid on MSNBC’s “AM Joy.”

“I certainly expected him to come out with some racist remarks about me,” she said.

“So he did exactly what I expected him to do. And, by the way, I’m told he wasn’t funny at all,” she quipped.

Speaking to CNN in October last year, Waters had said she didn’t think Trump was worthy of the high office he held and that she wanted to impeach the man.

“Everybody knows that I’m on the front lines not talking about harming anybody but I am talking about impeachment,” she told CNN.

“I don’t think this President should be representing our country … he creates controversy, he cannot get along with our members of Congress, and I’m going to continue my efforts to impeach him.”

5. Trump undermines Hillary Clinton and the Justice Department

CNN’s Cillizza has correctly noted that Trump’s constant criticism of the Justice Department can set a dangerous precedent in so far as people’s perception of the agency is concerned.

“When the President of the United States insists the Justice Department is biased and can’t be trusted, it erodes one of the long-standing pillars of civil society,” Cillizza wrote.

Amid chants of “lock her up” from a, rather prejudiced gathering, Trump said, “She gets special treatment under the Justice Department. … Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. She gets special treatment under the Justice Department,” obviously, referring to none other than Hillary Clinton – one of many the president loves to hate.

From The Editors Politics

Trump Administration Quashes Obama-Era Guidelines on Affirmative Action in Schools

Under the previous government, the Education Department emphasized the importance of diversity in educational institutions, urging them to adopt legal ways to consider race in their admission procedures, in order to achieve a healthy race-mixture on their campuses.

The Trump set up, it seems, is hell-bent on undoing all of that and returning to the pre-Obama-era guidelines that strongly advocated limits on colleges and universities when considering race.

The move, however, does not alter the existing legislation on affirmative action, but it does give a strong indication of the incumbent government’s stand on the issue that is likely to be pursued more rigorously, now that Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement.

Kennedy’s departure is expected to make a, rather, lasting impact on policy decisions such as abortion and LGBT rights, for example, with this latest move to annul Affirmative Action guidelines appearing to be one such policy overhaul, directly or indirectly, related to judge’s retirement announcement.

Kennedy, who wants to give more time to his family, stated that it was “the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years in the Supreme Court.”

Kennedy also made it a point to notify President Trump of his decision to step down.

“For a member of the legal profession, it is the highest of honors to serve on this Court,” he wrote to the US president.

“Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises,” he said.

The announcement has triggered a flurry of activity among Senate Republicans as they scramble to announce Kennedy’s replacement, sooner rather than later – ahead of the Grand Old Party’s fight with the liberals for control of the Senate in November, this year.

Speaking to reporters on Kennedy’s impending departure, Trump referred to him as a “great justice” with “tremendous vision and heart,” going on to say that a hunt for the judge’s successor would commence “immediately.”

“The American people deserve to have their voices heard and a government that is accountable to them,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in an official announcement on Tuesday.

“When issuing regulations, federal agencies must abide by constitutional principles and follow the rules set forth by Congress and the President,” he said.

“In previous administrations, however, agencies often tried to impose new rules on the American people without any public notice or comment period, simply by sending a letter or posting a guidance document on a website. That’s wrong, and it’s not good government,” added the Attorney General.

In a separate statement, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos adopted a softer approach, without, really, expressing any adverse or disapproving comments on the previous administration.

She said that the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action policies are legitimate and should be the final guideline for addressing “this complex issue,” urging schools to pursue an equal-opportunity policy for all students alike, in a lawful manner.

“The Supreme Court has determined what affirmative action policies are constitutional, and the court’s written decisions are the best guide for navigating this complex issue. Schools should continue to offer equal opportunities for all students while abiding by the law,” said DeVos.

The Trump administration’s reversal of affirmative action isn’t only about guidelines; it is also an investigation into discrimination against Asian students, who have accused the country’s premier educational institutions of consistently and deliberately ignoring some Asian-American applicants in favor of students of other races.

According to a recent New York Times report, one scrutiny of admissions files has revealed that Harvard University has followed a consistent trend of sidelining Asian-American students to leave admission slots open for applicants of other races

“Harvard consistently rated Asian-American applicants lower than others on traits like ‘positive personality,’ likability, courage, kindness and being ‘widely respected’,” wrote NYT’s Erica L. Green, Matt Apuzzo, and Katie Benner.

The hardliners are viewing this as irrefutable proof that affirmative action is anti-Asian Americans.

Justice and Education Department conservatives are keen to do away with the use of race as a benchmark for diversity on college campuses.

With Justice Kennedy out of the picture, the Supreme Court’s swing vote will cease to exist, giving Trump the golden opportunity to nominate a successor with a leaning not only towards his administration’s viewpoint on affirmative action but, in fact, a lot of other policy changes he’s contemplating.

The move has the potential to drastically change the racial makeup of the country’s leading colleges and universities and, consequently, all educational institutions in the country.

The commander-in-chief would, obviously, do everything within his presidential means not to have an Attorney General with a soft corner for the decades-old policies that have worked towards promoting race-based admission practices in the nation’s best educational institutions.

Harvard spokeswoman Melodie Jackson told CNN that the university would “continue to vigorously defend its right, and that of all colleges and universities, to consider race as one factor among many in college admissions, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court for more than 40 years.”

Although the Tuesday announcement does not infringe on the rights of educational institutions to pursue their own policies within the ambit of the current Supreme Court precedent, civil rights activists didn’t take long to voice their frustration with the decision.

“We condemn the Department of Education’s politically motivated attack on affirmative action and deliberate attempt to discourage colleges and universities from pursuing racial diversity at our nation’s colleges and universities,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, reported CNN.

“The rescission of this guidance does not overrule forty years of precedent that affirms the constitutionality of a university’s limited use of race in college admissions. This most recent decision by the Department of Education is wholly consistent with the administration’s unwavering hostility towards diversity in our schools,” Clarke added.

Here’s how the National Education Association (NEA) reacted to the move
“Affirmative action has proven to be one of the most effective ways to create diverse and inclusive classrooms,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said in a statement.

“But by telling schools and universities that they should not use affirmative action to achieve inclusive classrooms, the Education Department has again failed our students,” Garcia said.

She continued:

“President Trump has indicated he intends to appoint a nominee to the Supreme Court who will declare that affirmative action is unconstitutional in our schools.

“The Education Department’s action forecasts how much is at stake in the upcoming Supreme Court nomination process.

“Our nation must join together and fight to ensure all our students have what they need to succeed.”

From The Editors Politics

Donald Trump Jr. and Wife Vanessa Trump are Ending their 12-Year Marriage

Looks like Donald Trump Jr. is trying to play catch-up with his twice-divorced and three-time-married president father.

Well, at least he’s made a start; needing one more to equalize and another to lead, in so far as divorces are concerned.

Also, looks like Vanessa Trump has had enough!

Yes, people, Donald Trump Jr.’s wife of twelve years filed for “uncontested” divorce in the Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday (March 15).

In a joint statement, issued through The Trump Organization, the couple confirmed their mutual decision to part ways, saying that they will continue to respect one another, including their families, and that their children will always take precedence over everything else. The 40-year-olds have appealed to the people to respect their privacy at this difficult time.

“After 12 years of marriage, we have decided to go our separate ways,” the statement said. “We will always have tremendous respect for each other and our families. We have five beautiful children together and they remain our top priority. We ask for your privacy during this time.”

The “uncontested” filing means that the decision to go their separate ways was mutual, and amicable, and also indicates that the ex-model is okay to relinquish her right to contest Junior for custody of their five children, including her rights over their assets.

Michael Stutman, a divorce lawyer at Stutman Stutman & Lichtenstein LLP who, by the way, is not attached to the case, is pretty sure that the couple has a prenuptial; in fact, he would be “surprised” if there isn’t one.

“Prenuptial agreements and confidentiality agreements are in the Trump dynasty DNA so I would be surprised if Donald Jr. went into the marriage completely naked,” Stutman said.

Junior, who played an important role in seeing his father’s election campaign successfully through, has since been looking after the New York end of things, running the Trump empire together with his brother Eric Trump.

He has been under scrutiny for facilitating the alleged collusion between Trump Sr.’s 2016 campaign officials and Russian agents, in order to manipulate the outcome in favor of his Republican dad – an allegation that, both, father and son have vehemently denied.

Reportedly, Junior was the man responsible for setting up a meeting between the Russians and Trump campaign members, after learning that Kremlin had damaging information and “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, which could help in upsetting the Democratic challenger’s campaign applecart.

Vanessa was introduced to Junior at a fashion show in 2003 by none other than the would-be president of the U.S. and her soon-to-become father-in-law, at the time.

Talking about that day in her life in a 2006 interview with the International Herald Tribune, Vanessa said:

“I’m at this fashion show and Donald Trump comes up to me with his son: ‘Hi, I’m Donald Trump. I wanted to introduce you to my son Donald Trump Jr.’”

There was some small talk and they split, only to meet again at the halfway break.

“Donald comes back up to me again, ‘I don’t think you’ve met my son Donald Trump Jr.,’” Vanessa told the magazine.

“Yeah, we just met, five minutes ago,” she replied.

Vanessa, who is known to keep a low public profile, was in the news last month for being taken to a hospital after she opened a letter containing some kind of white powder, which the New York Police Department later declared non-hazardous as it turned out to be corn starch.

According to sources, the accompanying message, which read “now you get what you deserve,” was written by a Daniel Frisiello, 24, a Massachusetts resident.

“Thankful that Vanessa & my children are safe and unharmed after the incredibly scary situation that occurred this morning. Truly disgusting that certain individuals choose to express their opposing views with such disturbing behavior,” Trump Jr. said in a tweeted statement.

Nancy Chemtob, who is also not connected to the case, but is known for having represented Annette Roque, wife of alleged sexual offender Matt Lauer, questioned the urgency of the divorce filing.

“What could be so bad that you just can’t wait?” she said.

Ironically, the divorce papers were filed on the same day that special counsel Robert Mueller served subpoenas to the Trump Organization asking for internal documents related to Russia.

Chemtob, however, does not think it was a coincidence; in fact, she sees a possible connection between Mueller’s investigations into the Russian interference and the timing of the divorce.

“(Vanessa) may want to distance herself as much as possible from the investigation,” she said.

“If this is going to affect her financially, then separating now would be in her best interest,” Chemtob added.