Saturday, August 8, 2020

Will Joe Biden's Basement Campaign Propel Him To The Presidency?

Patrick Buchanan: Biden’s Game Plan — Take No Risks & Run Out the Clock

When Vice President Calvin Coolidge ascended to the presidency on the death of Warren Harding in 1923, a wag remarked that Silent Cal’s career had exhibited unmistakable signs of celestial intervention.

Governor Coolidge vaulted to national attention during the Boston police strike of 1919, where, in a stinging letter to Sam Gompers of the AFL, he thundered: “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.”

If Joe Biden becomes president, celestial intervention, once again, cannot be ruled out.


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WNU Editor: It is going to be hard to keep his campaign low key and tightly scripted. But they are going to try. As to the question .... will it succeed? In the normal situation the answer is no. But we are in the middle of a pandemic, and the old rules no longer apply. And because of that there is a possibility that this campaign strategy may succeed. But my money is still on President Trump winning re-election based on three issues. He has not put the US in a new war. People have more confidence in him rebuilding the economy. The opponent is weak and campaigning from his basement.

Russian Defense Ministry Says Any Inbound Ballistic Missile Will Be Seen As A Nuclear Attack

FILE PHOTO. © Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov

RT: Nuke first, ask questions later! Top military officers reveal Moscow could respond to ANY rocket attack with a nuclear strike

Fire any ballistic missile at Russia, and Moscow might respond with a nuclear warhead. That's according to the Russian Defense Ministry, which has publicly disclosed its conditions for launching a nuclear strike.

“Any attacking missile will be treated as a nuclear-equipped missile. Information about the launch of an automatic missile will be communicated to the country's top leadership, which, depending on the situation, will determine the scale of the nuclear forces’ response,” wrote Andrey Sterlin, a member of Russia's General Staff and Alexander Khryapin, a top military scientist, in the Defense Ministry's newspaper Red Star.

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WNU Editor: For as long as I can remember this has always been Soviet and now Russian policy. Any inbound ballistic missile will be seen as a nuclear attack.

More News On The Russian Defense Ministry Saying Any Inbound Ballistic Missile Will Be Seen As A Nuclear Attack

Russia warns it will see any incoming missile as nuclear -- AP
Russian General Staff Outlines What Kind of Attack on the Homeland May Spark Nuclear Retaliation -- Sputnik
Kremlin Warns The US Of Nuclear Retaliation If Russia Or Her Allies Are Targeted -- Eurasian Times
"Any Inbound Missile Will Be Seen As Nuclear" - Russia's Military Warns Amid Arms Treaty Talks -- Zero Hedge

In A Crisis With The U.S. Would China Answer The Hotline? US-China Hotline Sparks Paranoia Among Military, Intel Officials

High tensions mean communications are often difficult in the modern era, and countries have used a direct hotline as a way to keep things from spiraling out of control. Recently, the US and China are considering an updated version of the hotline to avoid catastrophes.

But US-China relations are at a multi-decade low, and distrust is such that intelligence and military officials are offering rather paranoid predictions of ways that China might abuse the hotline to deceive the US.

The biggest objection to the phone seems to be based on it being a phone, with retired Captain James Fanell, a former director of intelligence in the Pacific Fleet warning the US might feel dependent on the phone, and then have China “fail to answer” when there is a crisis.

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WNU Editor: I am more worried about the lack of hotlines between China and its neighbours more than the one between the US and China .... Asian Governments Need To Establish More Hotlines (February 11, 2014).

President Trump: “This May Be The Last Time You’ll See Me For A While”

Summit News: Trump: “This May be the Last Time You’ll See Me for a While”

“I have a lot of enemies out there.”

Remarks made by President Trump during a speech have prompted speculation after he referred to having a lot of rich enemies and told the audience, “This may be the last time you’ll see me for a while.”

The comments were made during an address Trump gave at the Whirlpool Corporation Manufacturing Plant in Clyde, Ohio.

The context of the remarks was an executive order that will mandate U.S. government agencies purchase all essential drugs from American sources.

Trump blamed the American political class for the fact that drugs are cheaper to buy in other countries Canada even if they are made by the same company.

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WNU Editor: Talk about cryptic messages. But the President does have a lot of enemies who are not happy with his policies.

U.S. And China's Defense Chiefs Discuss Taiwan And South China Sea

SCMP: China, US militaries in crunch talks to avoid conflicts in Taiwan and South China Sea

* US Defence Secretary Mark Esper expresses concern over ‘destabilising activity in the vicinity of Taiwan and the South China Sea’, says Pentagon spokesman
* Esper also called on Beijing to share more of its data on Covid-19, adds the spokesman

China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe and his US counterpart Mark Esper warned each other in a phone call about escalating risks over Taiwan and the South China Sea, in the highest-level US-China talks since state leader Yang Jiechi met
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Hawaii in mid-June.

Esper “expressed concerns about [the Chinese military’s] destabilising activity in the vicinity of Taiwan and the South China Sea, and called on [China] to honour international obligations” as well as share more of its data on Covid-19, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters in Washington on Thursday.

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WNU Editor: All they did was trade warnings. The Chinese defense minister is voicing what everyone is thinking .... China risks paying 'high cost' for South China Sea intimidation, Japan defense chief says (CNN).

More News U.S. And China's Defense Chiefs Discussing Taiwan And South China Sea

Pentagon chief expresses concern to Chinese counterpart about Beijing's activity in South China Sea -- Reuters
Pentagon chief voices concern to Chinese counterpart on South China Sea -- Nikkei Asian Review
Pentagon Chief Esper Talks With Chinese Counterpart As Tensions Soar -- NPR
China, U.S. defense ministers agree to push for stable military ties -- CGTN

Friday, August 7, 2020

CNN: President Trump's Advisers Hesitated To Give Military Options Over Fears He Might Start A War

CNN: Trump advisers hesitated to give military options and warned adversaries over fears he might start a war

Washington (CNN)Amid escalating tensions with both North Korea and Iran, President Donald Trump's advisers hesitated to give him military options fearing the President might accidentally take the US to war and deliberately informed their counterparts in both countries that they did not know what the President would do next, multiple former administration officials tell me.

These accounts are contained in my upcoming book, "The Madman Theory: Trump Takes on the World," which will be published August 11 by Harper Collins.

Trump's relationship with Kim Jong Un has blown hot and cold throughout his presidency but in 2017 as the President dubbed Kim "little rocket man" and the North Korean dictator responded by calling Trump a "dotard," there was a very real fear amongst senior members of the administration that the war of words might culminate in the President launching military action against Pyongyang.

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Update: Trump advisers were wary of talking military options over fears he'd accidentally start war: report (The Hill)

WNU Editor:Withholding information/intelligence/options/etc. from the President or his staff is a dangerous course of action.

Top U.S. Intelligence Official: China And Iran Don't Want Trump To Win Reelection, Russia Wants Trump

Chinese President Xi and Russian President Putin.

ABC News: Russia working to boost Trump's reelection and 'denigrate' Biden, as China undermines Trump: US intelligence

A top U.S. official released a statement Friday on foreign election meddling.

Three of America's top adversaries are actively meddling in U.S. presidential politics ahead of the November election, including efforts by Russia to advance President Donald Trump's reelection efforts, according to a public statement issued Friday by the U.S. intelligence community.

"We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia 'establishment,'" the statement said, adding that, "Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television."

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Update: Intelligence community's top election official: China and Iran don't want Trump to win reelection, Russia working against Biden (CNN)

WNU Editor: William R. Evanina, director of U.S. counterintelligence, was saying the same thing two weeks ago .... Counterintelligence chief warns of China, Iran, Russia efforts to influence U.S. election (Washington Times).

Update #2: President Trump has responded to this US intel statement .... Donald Trump insists neither Russia or China want him to win: President rejects claims Moscow wants him in office and says Beijing would 'own our country' if Biden is elected after intelligence warned of meddling in the 2020 vote (Daily Mail).

China Is Building More Type-075 Assault Carriers

Satellite imagery shows the 3rd Type-075 amphibious ship under construction. It's size and internal layout aid identification. H I Sutton (Includes material © CNES 2020, Distribution Airbus DS all rights reserved / PLEIADES satellite imagery | Acquired through ShadowBreak Intl)

Forbes: New Intelligence Shows China Is Building More Type-075 Assault Carriers

The Chinese Navy is expanding at an incredible pace, rapidly outstripping almost all other navies. A year ago it had no amphibious assault carriers (termed landing helicopter docks). These large helicopter carriers are often the most powerful ships in many navies, and almost all navies want them. Fast forward a year’s time and they will likely have the second largest fleet of them in the world. Only the U.S. Navy will have more. And China is building them quicker.

The rapid construction of Chinese Navy (PLAN) warships is hard to keep up with. China’s new Assault Carriers are known as the Type-075 LHD. They have already launched two in the past year. And now images have emerged on Chinese-language social media that, perhaps unwittingly, reveal yet another.

This equates to an assembly time in dry dock of about 6 months. It is difficult to make direct comparisons to the U.S. Navy because the construction approaches vary, and America is not in the same rush. But for context the U.S. Navy’s second America Class assault carrier, USS Tripoli, was laid down in June 2014 and launched in May 2017. 2 years and 10 months later.

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WNU Editor: When you look at the massive military buildup that is occurring right now in China, you have the question .... is China preparing to start a war with someone?

Editor's Note

My part of the world has had no power since this morning. I have been told that power will be restored this evening. When that happens blogging will resume.

Update 22:22 EST: 14 hours of no power. But I am one of the lucky ones. The reason for the outage was equipment failure. And while my power has just been restored, the street next to me will not be having power until tomorrow or Sunday. So much for those whose freezers are full.

President Trump Issues Orders Banning TikTok And WeChat From Operating In 45 Days

Daily Mail: Donald Trump raises tensions with Beijing by issuing executive orders to BAN TikTok and WeChat in 45 days - amid warning Apple and Microsoft could be outlawed in retaliation as world markets fall

* Trump on Thursday signed an executive order giving a 45-day deadline for deal
* After that time, transactions with TikTok parent ByteDance will be forbidden
* Order also effectively bans TikTok in the US unless a sale is completed
* Microsoft is said to be considering acquiring TikTok's global operations
* Separate executive order bans Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat
* Trump's orders are the latest escalation in growing US-China tensions on tech
* Fears mount of 'Silicon Curtain' descending between the two countries
* Experts say Beijing could bar Apple or Microsoft from China as retribution

President Donald Trump has issued executive orders effectively banning Chinese video sharing app TikTok and messaging service WeChat in a dramatic escalation of tensions with Beijing that sent stocks tumbling worldwide overnight.

Using national emergency powers, Trump on Thursday night signed the orders, which give TikTok parent ByteDance 45 days to sell the app, and bar WeChat from the U.S. after the same time period.

The orders also banned any U.S. transactions with WeChat owner Tencent, a major Chinese company that owns significant shares in Tesla, Snap Inc, and Reddit. Tencent shares fell as much as 10 percent in Asian markets overnight, and it was not immediately clear whether the company would be forced to divest its U.S. holdings.

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WNU Editor: It looks like the US has just realized that China is waging cyber warfare against them. TikTok has responded .... TikTok threatens legal action against Trump’s executive order, saying it sets a ‘dangerous precedent’ (CNBC).

More News On President Trump Issuing Orders Banning TikTok And WeChat From Operating In 45 Days

Trump issues executive orders banning U.S. transactions with WeChat and TikTok in 45 days -- CNBC
Trump Signs Executive Order That Will Effectively Ban Use Of TikTok In the U.S. -- NPR
Trump issues orders banning TikTok and WeChat from operating in 45 days if they are not sold by Chinese parent companies -- CNN
Trump Signs Executive Order Banning TikTok, WeChat In 45 Days -- Zero Hedge
China fumes over United States ban on use of TikTok, WeChat -- DW
What is WeChat and why does Trump want to ban it? -- Shannon Liao, CNN Business

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

A general view shows the damage following Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area, Lebanon August 6, 2020. REUTERS/Bader Helal

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Aftermath of deadly blast in Beirut (Reuters).

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Joe Biden Apologizes For Suggesting The Latino American Community Is More Diverse Than African Americans

Daily Mail: 'In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith': Joe Biden APOLOGIZES for suggesting the Latino American community is more diverse than African Americans

* During an interview that aired Thursday, Biden claimed the Latino American community is more diverse than the African American community
* By Thursday evening Biden had responded to the criticism over his comments
* 'Throughout my career I've witnessed the diversity of thought, background, and sentiment within the African American community', he wrote
* President Donald Trump said before departing the White House Thursday that Joe Biden 'totally disparaged and insulted the black community'
* 'Wow! Joe Biden just lost the entire African American community. What a 'dumb' thing to say!' Trump tweeted along with an article including a clip of the gaffe

Joe Biden on Thursday attempted to 'clarify' his comments suggesting the Latino American community is more diverse than African Americans.

The presumed Democratic nominee wrote on Twitter: 'Earlier today, I made some comments about diversity in the African American and Latino communities that I want to clarify. In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith—not by identity, not on issues, not at all.'

In an interview with NPR host Lulu Garcia-Navarro had asked Biden if he would stop Cubans from being deported if he became president. It sent Biden into a confusing comment about race in America.

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Update: Biden Apologizes For Comments on Racial Diversity Among Blacks (Bloomberg)

WNU Editor: Biden had no choice. He to backtrack and apologize.

Saudi Crown Prince Accused Of Sending Hit Squad To Canada To Assassinate A Former Top Intelligence Official

CTV News/Canadian Press: Saudi Crown prince sent hit squad to Canada to kill former spy, lawsuit claims

TORONTO -- The crown prince of Saudi Arabia sent a hit squad to Canada in an effort to hunt down and kill a former top intelligence official who knows too much, a civil suit filed Thursday in court in the United States asserts.

The 106-page unproven complaint, which reads like a spy thriller, accuses Mohammed bin Salman of orchestrating attempts to silence Saad Aljabri, a permanent resident of Canada.

The document describes Aljabri as a 39-year veteran of the government of Saudi Arabia with expertise in national security and counterterrorism. As such, it says, few people know more about bin Salman than he does, including his allegedly corrupt business dealings and creation of a team of personal mercenaries called the Tiger Squad.

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More News On The Saudi Crown Prince Being Accused Of Sending A Hit Squad To Canada To Assassinate A Former Top Intelligence Official

Saudi crown prince sent hit squad to Canada to kill former spy, lawsuit claims -- CBC
Saudi crown prince accused of sending hit squad to Canada -- BBC
Ex-Saudi intelligence official accuses Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in lawsuit of ordering torture, assassination -- FOX News
Saudi Crown Prince accused of assassination plot against senior exiled official -- CNN
Former Saudi intelligence official accuses crown prince of plot to kill him -- The Guardian
Former Saudi spy accuses MBS hit squad of attempting to kill him -- Al Jazeera

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials On The Beirut Bombing -- August 6, 2020

Lucia Stein, ABC News Online: Lebanon's banking, economic and political systems were already under threat before the explosion. Here's why

The massive blast that hit Lebanon's capital on Tuesday has delivered yet another devastating blow to a country already rocked by crises.

Well before the explosion, and even the coronavirus pandemic which upended the world, Lebanon was in the midst of the worst economic crisis in its history.

Half its population of 6 million lives near or below the poverty line and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs.

The nation's currency has more than halved during the crisis, with people's savings locked up in inaccessible bank accounts.

And the pandemic has only further laid bare the strain the whole system is under.

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Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials On The Beirut Bombing -- August 6, 2020

Why the US and its allies should keep Lebanon from blowing apart -- Jon B. Alterman, The Hill
'Moment of reckoning': angry Lebanese vow not to let leaders off the hook -- Martin Chulov, The Guardian
Someone’s to Blame for the Beirut Blast -- Bloomberg
Why Hezbollah will not escape blame for deadly chemical blast in Beirut -- Hussein Ibish, The Print
I have reported from Lebanon for years. What I saw at the Beirut port after the blast was total devastation -- Cherine Yazbeck, ABC News Online
Lebanon is no stranger to disaster – but this is like nothing we've ever seen -- Kim Ghattas, The Guardian
Don't blame fate for Beirut's cruel tragedy -- Frida Ghitis, CNN
No lights, no glass, no money: Beirutis hamstrung in efforts to rebuild -- Bethan McKernan, The Guardian
Beirut explosion: What we know so far -- BBC
Beirut blast timeline: what we know and what we don't -- The Guardian

Bride Whose Wedding Video Shoot Captured The Moment Of The Beirut Explosion Returns To The Scene

Daily Mail: Bride whose wedding video shoot captured the moment catastrophic Beirut explosion returns to the scene and says she thought she would die in the blast

* Bride Israa Seblani said she wondered if she was going to die after the explosion
* Young couple were sent flying by the huge shockwave but remain unharmed
* Seblani arrived in Beirut three weeks earlier to prepare for her wedding

Radiant in a long white gown and veil, 29-year-old Lebanese bride Israa Seblani stands smiling and posing for her wedding video. The scene is shattered by a deafening roar, and a powerful shockwave nearly blows her off her feet.

The dramatic footage captured the moment when a massive explosion rocked the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, killing 135 people and injuring more than 5,000.

Seblani, a doctor working in the United States, helped to check on the injured nearby, before fleeing central Beirut's Saifi square to safety.

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Update: Beirut bride recounts horrors of wedding day blast (DW)

WNU Editor:That is a wedding shoot for the ages.

Who Is To Blame For The Beirut Bombing Disaster?

Daily Mail: 'It's crystal clear Hezbollah are in charge of the port and warehouse': Leading Lebanese politician blames terrorist group and 'corrupt' government for catastrophic explosion – as aerial images reveal blast even sank a cruise ship

* Bahaa Hariri, 54, has said everyone in the city knew that Hezbollah controlled Beirut's port and airport
* Blast has threatened to reignite anti-government protests in Lebanon that have been ongoing since last year
* At least 137 people have so far died, with some 5,000 wounded, 300,000 homeless, and widespread damage
* Investigators say 16 employees of Beirut's port have been detained and 18 questioned in total

A leading Lebanese opposition figure has blamed Hezbollah, along with the country's 'corrupt' government, for the devastating explosion in Beirut which capsized a cruise ship and has so far claimed 137 lives.

Bahaa Hariri, whose father, Prime Minister Rafiq, was assassinated in 2005, said last night everyone in the city knew Hezbollah controlled Beirut's port and airport and it was inconceivable that the authorities did not know the deadly ammonium nitrate was stored in a warehouse there.

Speaking for the first time Mr Hariri, 54, said: 'The question we have to ask is how come for six years this combustible material was allowed to remain in the middle of this city of two million people?'

'It is crystal clear Hezbollah are in charge of the Port and the Warehouse where the ammonium nitrate was stored.

'Nothing goes in and out of the Port or the Airport does so with them knowing. Nothing.

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More News On Who To Blame For The Beirut Bombing Disaster

Lebanese officials deflect blame as anger grows over Beirut blast -- Al Jazeera
Lebanese investigators focus on negligence in Beirut blast -- France 24
The ship carrying the ammonium nitrate that blew up in Beirut was abandoned in 2014 by a Russian businessman, who has said nothing since the explosion -- Business Insider
What Caused the Beirut Explosion? What We Know -- New York Times

French President Emmanuel Macron Visited Shell-Shocked Beirut On Thursday

France 24: Macron pledges help for Beirut as Lebanese rage against rulers

French President Emmanuel Macron visited shell-shocked Beirut on Thursday, pledging support and urging change after a massive explosion devastated the Lebanese capital in a disaster that has sparked grief and fury. Follow the day's events as they unfolded on our liveblog.

Macron was the first foreign head of state to make the trip after two explosions rocked Beirut on Tuesday, killing scores, injuring thousands and inflicting billions of euros in damage.

The French leader pledged the support of Lebanon's former colonial power and urged reform, telling crowds that he was not planning to write a blank cheque to the country's discredited regime.

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More News On French President Emmanuel Macron's Visit To Beirut

In devastated Beirut, French leader offers comfort and a hug -- AP
On Beirut visit, Macron says aid to go 'directly to the people', relief groups -- France 24
Macron promises angry Beirut crowds aid won't go to "corrupt hands" -- Reuters
Macron visits Beirut in aftermath of devastating blast -- Euronews
Beirut explosion: Macron calls for 'deep change' in Lebanon after blast -- BBC
‘Without reforms, Lebanon will continue to suffer,’ says Macron in Beirut -- France 24
After deadly blast, Beirut residents look to Macron for relief -- Al Jazeera
44,000 sign petition for France to take control of Lebanon -- DW