Connect with us

News

WaPoABC poll: Majorities want more sanctions on Russia — and a summit

Published

on

How should the Trump administration deal with Russia? Turns out that the carrot-and-stick approach gets the most support from American voters, even if we’re more enthusiastic about the stick. A new WaPo/ABC poll shows majority support for a Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin summit meeting, but much larger — and bipartisan — majorities for more sanctions:

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans support tougher U.S. sanctions against Russia, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that also finds roughly half the public saying President Trump has done “too little” to criticize Russia for alleged violations of international law.

Despite support for penalizing Russia, 52 percent of adults say Trump should invite Vladimir Putin to the White House in an effort to improve U.S.-Russia relations, while 42 percent say Trump should not do so, because it would grant Putin legitimacy.

The legitimacy argument is odd. No one doubts that Putin is the leader of Russia, although there are certainly doubts about how he wields power and the methods he applies to elections. We have diplomatic relations and head-of-state contacts with a variety of nations where that’s true without necessarily those contacts being portrayed as an endorsement of the leader in question. The purpose is to dial down tensions, not to cheer each other’s existence.

For instance, the upcoming (presumably, anyway) meeting between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un will be seen as an opportunity to avoid war, not as a Trump endorsement of Kim, which wouldn’t be useful for either nation. Given all the friction points between Russia and the US — Ukraine, Crimea, Syria, cyberspace, the Skripal poisoning, missile-defense systems in eastern Europe, and so on — a meeting between Putin and Trump should be in the same category. In fact, it might be even more urgently needed than the Kim-Trump summit. Even if one is inclined to consider Putin illegitimate, the threat Russia represents isn’t.

In fairness, the numbers in the poll for the two summits are about the same, although the expectations remain low:

The results on both countries underscore a longstanding public preference for talking rather than fighting between nations. Indeed, six in 10 oppose Trump threatening military action against Pyongyang. It’s also notable that most support a summit with Kim even though, in an ABC/Post poll last fall, just 32 percent trusted Trump to act responsibly in dealing with North Korea. In January, 52 percent expressed concern Trump would launch an unjustified nuclear attack; surely talks are preferable.

Well, yeah, although it seems very doubtful that Trump would launch a first-strike nuclear attack, simply because there are plenty of other weapons to use in a “bloody nose” strategy. China would retaliate immediately for a nuclear strike, too, not to mention what the remnants of the Kim regime might cook up. Just because 52 percent of respondents worry about a scenario doesn’t mean it’s a probability or even a possibility.

Let’s go back to sanctions on Russia. The support for more punitive action gets majorities across all partisan demographics, scoring 68% overall and the same among Republicans and independents, with 74% of Democrats supporting the idea. It’d be a good political move for the White House to at least propose some new sanctions, although they just got done launching fresh sanctions earlier this month that took special aim at Putin’s inner circle. So why are they balking after Nikki Haley’s announcement? The Washington Post reports that Trump wants more time to consider them and to see whether the existing sanctions will have an impact:

Preparations to punish Russia anew for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria caused consternation at the White House. Haley had said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” that sanctions on Russian companies behind the equipment related to Assad’s alleged chemical weapons attack would be announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

But Trump conferred with his national security advisers later Sunday and told them he was upset the sanctions were being officially rolled out because he was not yet comfortable executing them, according to several people familiar with the plan.

Administration officials said the economic sanctions were under serious consideration, along with other measures that could be taken against Russia, but said Trump had not given final authorization to implement them. Administration officials said Monday it was unlikely Trump would approve any additional sanctions without another triggering event by Russia, describing the strategy as being in a holding pattern.

Bear in mind that the new sanctions were only three days old at the time this survey was taken (April 8-11). One can read this as a desire for even more sanctions or perhaps as an endorsement of the new sanctions that had just been rolled out. In any case, it makes sense to give the new sanctions more than ten days to gauge their effect before amplifying and expanding them. If Trump decides to push forward, though, the political consensus for them will make additional sanctions a very safe policy.

Leave a comment

Continue Reading

News

You won’t have Maggie Haberman to kick around anymore (on Twitter, anyway)

Published

on

By

Another voice on Twitter is falling silent (at least mostly) but it has nothing to do with the recent Great Twitter Purge. New York Times columnist Maggie Haberman is throwing in the towel for the time being, while allowing the possibility that she may return after a break. The first indication of her imminent departure came, ironically enough, on Twitter.

I’m not sure how “no reason or prompt” fits into the explanation, but Haberman expanded on her decision in a column yesterday.

I woke up last Sunday morning feeling anxiety in my chest as I checked the Twitter app on my phone, scrolling down to refresh, refresh, refresh. There was a comment I started to engage with — I opened a new post, tapped out some words, then thought better of it and deleted the tweet. The same thing happened repeatedly for the next two hours.

The evening before, I had complained to a close friend that I hated being on Twitter. It was distorting discourse, I said. I couldn’t turn off the noise. She asked what was the worst that could happen if I stepped away from it.

There was nothing I could think of. And so just after 6 p.m. last Sunday, I did.

After nearly nine years and 187,000 tweets, I have used Twitter enough to know that it no longer works well for me. I will re-engage eventually, but in a different way.

Haberman goes into greater detail than simply saying it “wasn’t working for her” anymore. She describes at length the, “viciousness, toxic partisan anger, intellectual dishonesty, motive-questioning and sexism” she regularly encounters. In a sweeping bit of generalization, she describes the platform has having become, “an anger video game for many users.”

Having been a user of the system for eight years now, and not wanting to come off as too much of a jerk, all I could really think to say is, “welcome to Twitter.”

People leave Twitter all the time, some permanently and others just for a break. And yes, if you allow it to absorb your life it can definitely be an overwhelming experience. But as I said, that’s only if you let it. The fact is that Twitter is what you make of it, particularly in terms of how much time you’re willing to invest and to what purpose. Many of us (including yours truly) went through a period during their early days on the internet where our entire evening could boil away because… Oh My God… Somebody Is Wrong On The Internet.

I can remember some of my first online community interactions on the web. For a time I enjoyed participating in some USENET newsgroups. Since we’ve always kept pets I spent a brief period participating in the alt.cats community. What could go wrong in a group that enjoys talking about cats, right? Let me enlighten you. I ran into some Brit who was virulently opposed to keeping cats as indoor pets and thought they should all live outdoors. And yes, I spent weeks in a flamewar with him on that subject which sometimes kept me up until the wee hours of the morning because of the time difference between us. To this day I’m not sure which one of us came off looking more like the troll.

The point is that I eventually learned that I didn’t have to do that. Twitter is no different. If you’re getting so much hate and trolling that you’re losing your mind you can always simply shut down (or ignore) your mentions. It’s easy enough to set up groups of people you actually want to hear from. If you’re a relatively famous blue checkmark person (and Haberman definitely qualifies) you can also tone down the noise by filtering your mentions to only show verified accounts. Mute is also a wonderful feature if those other filters don’t do the trick.

But mostly it’s just a question of how compelled you feel to engage or how much weight you assign to some anonymous user who wants to call you names, impugn your reputation or otherwise haunt you. Personally, I find that my eyes are the best filter of all. After enough time walking through the maelstrom of the various social networks, you can quickly skim past the comments that aren’t going to add to the experience and simply engage with the ones who are either positive or at least offering constructive criticism.

I’m sure Maggie Haberman and I don’t see eye to eye on much but I’ve been following her on Twitter for some time. She frequently highlights and links to articles which I at least find worth my time to read and possibly even respond to here. I hope she comes back.

Leave a comment

Continue Reading

News

Rep. Mark Meadows Calls For Carter Page FISA Docs to be Declassified, Unredacted

Published

on

By

On Saturday, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton announced documents related to the FISA warrants on Trump’s former campaign advisor, Carter Page were released by the FBI — and arrived at JW headquarters.

Fitton said Saturday evening Judicial Watch received the requested documents and even though they are heavily redacted, they confirm the FBI and DOJ misled the courts.

Obama’s Deep State DOJ and FBI withheld information about Hillary Clinton and the DNC being behind the information used to obtain the FISA warrant.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) called for the FISA docs to be declassified so “Americans can know the truth.”

Meadows tweeted: Potentially groundbreaking development here. The Carter Page FISA docs should be declassified and further unredacted (protecting only sources and methods) so Americans can know the truth.


If the previous admin was funneling campaign research toward surveillance, we need to know.

Comey, Rosenstein, McCabe and Sally Yates all signed the FISA applications even though Hillary’s fraudulent Russia dossier was used as a pretext to obtain the warrants.

Obama’s Deep State FBI and DOJ obtained a FISA warrant on Carter Page in October of 2016 and three subsequent renewals in order to spy on Trump’s campaign and transition team.

By law, the FBI must present to the FISC new, compelling information gathered from current monitoring in order to get a FISA warrant renewed every 90 days…

However, the applications filed to renew the Carter Page FISA warrants simply recycle old Christopher Steele/Yahoo information [Michael Isikoff’s Yahoo article on Carter Page] from the original application, reported Paul Sperry.

The newly released docs also reveal Peter Strzok did indeed provide information which was used to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page, directly contradicting his sworn claims to GOP lawmakers.

And President Trump isn’t allowed to question our intel agencies after all of this corruption??

Leave a comment

Continue Reading

News

Nikki Haley: For peace, we need to tell the truth about Hamas

Published

on

By

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, along with presidential adviser Jared Kushner, ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and assistant to the president Jason Greenblatt, published a piece today at CNN arguing that peace in Gaza will require telling the truth about Hamas. Haley recounts a recent vote in the UN when it seemed, for the first time, a majority of other nations might actually agree:

On the surface, everything about the General Assembly session on June 13 appeared to be business as usual. Algeria offered a grossly one-sided resolution blaming Israel — and Israel alone — for the recent violence in Gaza. The resolution blatantly ignored the facts.

Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza, has been inciting the violence at the Israeli boundary fence for months, using Palestinian civilians as human shields. And Hamas and other terror groups have fired more than 100 rockets and sent untold numbers of flaming kites, some displaying swastikas, into Israel in the past month, hoping to kill as many Israeli civilians and destroy as much property as possible. And yet the Algerian resolution not only failed to hold Hamas terrorists accountable for their role in the violence, it failed to mention Hamas at all.

In response, the United States proposed a simple amendment to the resolution that called out Hamas for its role in the skirmishes. A minimum fealty to the truth demanded that the United Nations condemn Hamas by name for firing rockets into Israel and for allowing other terror groups to do the same…

When the amendment came to a vote, a miracle by UN standards happened. Although the measure ultimately failed for technical reasons, more nations voted for holding Hamas accountable with the US amendment than against it.

For the first time in the United Nations, more nations than not acknowledged that peace between Israel and the Palestinian people must be built on a foundation of truth regarding Hamas.

Haley goes on to say that this kind of realism will be part of any U.S. sponsored peace proposal. If you haven’t been keeping up with what is going on in Gaza, Israel unleashed a string of attacks on Hamas outposts after an Israeli soldier was killed by a sniper:

On Friday, a Palestinian sniper killed an Israeli soldier along the border — the first casualty it has sustained in four years — and Israel unleashed an offensive it says destroyed more than 60 Hamas targets, including three battalion headquarters. Four Palestinians were killed, of which three were Hamas militants.

“The attack delivered a severe blow to the Hamas’s training array, command and control abilities, weaponry, aerial defense and logistic capabilities along with additional military infrastructure,” the Israeli military said in a statement, adding that the strikes “will intensify as necessary.”…

In a brief statement early Saturday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the movement accepted the cease-fire brokered by Egyptian and United Nations officials and that calm had been restored. Later, the Israeli military announced a return to civilian routine along the volatile border.

So, further escalation of the conflict has been avoided for now but there’s no telling how long it will last. While Hamas lacks the military strength to make significant strikes on Israel, its leaders continue to talk in terms of ethnic cleansing. It’s difficult to imagine making peace so long as these people are in control:

Leave a comment

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Like us on Facebook

Advertisement

Trending

Close