Corbyn calls for unified European strategy to fend off far-right

Jeremy Corbyn addressed socialists in Lisbon

Jeremy Corbyn addressed socialists in Lisbon

European politics must change if the left is to fend off the far – right “fake populists” who feed on people’s fear of low living standards and inse

|LAMIAT SABIN, MORNING STAR|AIWA! NO!|EUROPEAN politics must change if the left is to fend off the far-right “fake populists” who feed on people’s fears of low living standards and insecure work to fulfill their political agendas, Jeremy Corbyn urged today.

The Labour leader was in Lisbon at the Congress of the Party of European Socialists, where he said his party is committed to “build a new Europe, inside and outside the institutions of the EU.”

Donald Trump hailed Boris Johnson as a future prime minister, accused the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, of doing “a bad job” on terrorism and said there had been too much immigration in Europe in an incendiary interview that raised questions about the decision to invite him to Britain.
A day before the US president was due to have bilateral talks with Theresa May, Trump used an interview with the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun to endorse her principal Tory rival just days after he resigned from the cabinet in protest at her Brexit policy.
Trump described Johnson as “a very talented guy” for whom he had “a lot of respect”. He claimed he was not trying to pit Johnson against his host, but added: “I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes.”

The Guardian

He slammed EU support for austerity that had caused “serious hardship” across the continent.

He warned that the far right will “always find a scapegoat” for national problems and that the left needs to find real solutions.

“The stakes could not be higher. If we cannot rise to the task, then we will smooth the path to power of the fake populists,” he said.

“The far right feeds on fears fuelled by falling living standards, damaged communities, insecure work and underfunded public services. It diverts the blame away from the powerful few responsible for economic and social failure and on to minorities.

“If the European political establishment carries on with business as usual, the fake populists of the far right will fill the vacuum.”

He paid tribute to the Portuguese example of progressive political parties working together to curb austerity and said that that approach should be taken across the continent.

Mr Corbyn said: “Inside or outside the European Union we are internationalists to our very core.

“As socialists and trade unionists, we will work together to help build a real social Europe: a people’s Europe, a socialist Europe, that will strengthen solidarity across borders, resist the race to the bottom in rights and protections and work together to extend them for all workers, consumers and our environment.

“We have to recognise that EU support for austerity and failed neoliberal policies have caused serious hardship for working people across Europe, damaged the credibility of European social democratic parties, and played a significant role in the vote for Brexit.

“European socialists have to fight for a different kind of Europe.”

With Prime Minister Theresa May’s botched Brexit deal likely to be voted down on Tuesday with the help of Tory rebels, Mr Corbyn laid out Labour’s alternative plan for Brexit in his speech.

It includes “a new comprehensive customs union with the EU, a new strong relationship with the single market, and guarantees on existing EU rights at work, environmental standards and consumer protections.”

Lamiat Sabin is Morning Star Parliamentary Reporter.

Trump Advisers Fear US Heading for Recession Ahead Of 2020

Recent market volatility is one of several signs that an economic boom may be petering out, potentially dealing a severe blow to the president’s reelection chances.

President Donald Trump’s economic officials are reassuring investors about recent white-knuckle stock market volatility, while Trump’s political advisers are increasingly alarmed that the economy could present a stiff 2020 campaign headwind.

Many of Trump’s political allies acknowledge that his reelection prospects hinge in large part on how Americans judge their economic prospects at the time of the next election. But many independent analysts say that recent market turbulence is a warning sign that the U.S. economy will likely slow and maybe even tip into recession by 2020.

At the moment, that scenario could be the biggest threat to Trump’s chances at winning a second term, according to interviews with eight current and former senior administration officials and close White House advisers.

The president knows this better than anyone, since he is highly attuned to fluctuations in the stock market and views it as a form of polling. At times, Trump has bragged about the market’s performance on a near daily basis. A real estate mogul who has borrowed heavily, Trump is equally obsessed with interest rates, and has closely monitored the runup to a mid-December Federal Reserve meeting in which central bankers are expected to raise rates. Political advisers have urged Trump to build his economic message around more stable data points than the daily volatility of the stock market, such as the low unemployment rate.

“I am amazed at this mini-wave of recessionary pessimism that has swept the media” — Larry Kudlow, National Economic Council Director

Speaking publicly, Trump allies dismiss the worries of economic forecasters who call events like Tuesday’s 700-point drop in the Dow Jones average — followed by another temporary dive on Thursday after markets were closed Wednesday — a sign of things to come.

“Any time you see the stock market fall by 1,400 points in two days, there is lots of nervousness,” said Stephen Moore, a distinguished visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and informal economic adviser to the 2016 Trump campaign. “But the economy is fundamentally strong in terms of construction, manufacturing, and corporate earnings. I don’t think they are worried about a recession.”

“I am amazed at this mini-wave of recessionary pessimism that has swept the media,” National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said at a recent Wall Street Journal event. “The evidence is quite different than these speculations. We are humming.”

But many economic analysts also predict the recent economic boom will soon fizzle, with growth plunging below two percent by 2020, according to an analysis by S & P chief U.S. economist Beth Ann Bovino. Currently, the economy is growing at a rate of 3.5 percent. That squares with cyclical trends suggesting the U.S. is due for an economic downturn soon.

Compounding the worry is Trump’s trade showdown with China, which poses a risk to the global economy. Over dinner at last weekend’s G-20 summit, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to pause their escalating trade fight for 90 days as they search for a long-term agreement. But since then, Trump has shaken markets with bellicose trade talk.

That means stress for Trump aides and allies planning a 2020 message they hope to build, in part, around economic growth and greater prosperity for Americans. Former presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and, to a lesser degree, Barack Obama all vaulted to reelection with the help of an growing economy. The last one-term president, the late George H.W. Bush, is widely considered to have been doomed by a recession which struck midway through his tenure.

U.S. President Donald Trump (right) and China’s President Xi Jinping (left), along with members of their delegations, hold a dinner meeting at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires on December 1, 2018 | Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

While top officials like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin argue that gross domestic product and inflation are the most important metrics to track, and that those figures remain healthy, other advisers say voters are focused on more tangible indicators, including wages, unemployment, and the housing and stock markets.

“They know it could be a very dangerous situation if the market volatility is hurting workers in key battleground states through their pensions, investments, you name it,” said one Republican close to the White House. “The concern is probably at a DEFCON 3 at this point, but it will definitely spike in 2019 if there’s no real solution [to the trade dispute with China] during this 90-day period.”

Part of the problem for a president obsessed with the stock market is that no one can pinpoint what exactly is causing the drops — uncertainty about trade deals, fear about rising debt, or slowing economic growth.

President Trump himself appears to be prepping for a slowdown by identifying scapegoats. Chief among them, for the moment, is Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell. Just last week, Trump blamed the independent Fed for the drop in the stock market as well as a recent plant-closing announcement by General Motors. Speaking to the Washington Post, Trump said he was “not even a little bit happy” with Powell, whom he nominated to run the Fed.

Trump “is more strategic about setting up the assignment of blame than people give him credit for,” said a second Republican close to the White House when asked about the attacks on Powell.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin | Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Other advisers expect Trump to continue blaming Democrats for recent market weakness, as he and his aides did in the runup to last month’s midterm elections. One likely target is the presumed incoming House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who is far better known than Powell to Americans beyond Washington.

Added to the scapegoat list will be any departing Cabinet or top White House officials, said a Republican close to the White House.

“He’s going to blame Wilbur Ross for some of these problems once Ross leaves,” said the Republican. “And if any of his advisers walk, he’ll blame them too.”

Some officials are desperately hoping for a trade deal with China so that tariffs do not loom over consumers and companies just as the Fed begins raises rates, as expected, and as economic growth begins to slow. But there are no guarantees that China hawks within the administration — who scoff at Wall Street’s market-driven concerns about a trade fight — won’t carry the day.

Officials are heartened, however, by the thought that a real estate developer-turned-politician like Trump takes the state of the economy personally.

“It’s not just a talking point for reelection but one about his legacy,” said one former senior administration official. “The president wants to be able to say, “I handled the economy better than Obama.”

Mueller’s Size 16 Shoe Is About To Drop; CNN’s Phil Mudd

Former CIA officer Phil Mudd and former prosecutor Laura Coates discuss the significance of Robert Mueller's filing detailing the cooperation of President Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Source: CNN

Former CIA officer Phil Mudd and former prosecutor Laura Coates discuss the significance of Robert Mueller’s filing detailing the cooperation of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Source: CNN

|AIWA! NO!|Former CIA officer Phil Mudd and former prosecutor Laura Coates discuss the significance of Robert Mueller’s filing detailing the cooperation of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Ex-CIA official on Mueller: Size 16 shoe is about to drop

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: So Phil, let’s go to you first, since frankly, you scare me on a good day and now I’ve offended you. When you see the redactions in this memo — and you worked for Robert Mueller; you know how he works — what do you see here?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I’m putting a bunch of pieces together that aren’t evident but look pretty clear to me. No. 1, you’ve got to combine what the document says with the information, for example, about the extent of interviews like Don McGahn with other people from the White House. You’ve got to look at the number of times that this individual, General Flynn, met with the special counsel. 

Look at another thing. There’s specific reference, not to investigating lies by other individuals or money trails, which is what got Paul Manafort. The specific reference is to cooperation on Russia. So if you put the quantity of information together, the fact that there’s specific reference to Russia, three ongoing investigations mentioned in that document, I’m going to tell you one thing I take away. 

There’s about a size 16 shoe going to drop here, and that shoe is not going to be related to lying, or to just financial irregularities, which we’ve seen in the past. I think they’re centering in on the core of the investigation, which is what Flynn and others are saying about cooperation with Russia. I think it’s going to happen. 

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Well, Phil, that gets to your point. He alluded to these three investigations. So one of them is the Mueller investigation. Is the other one the Southern District of New York? Or what — what are the other two investigations? 

MUDD: I can only — I mean, I’m going to guess here, as Neil Katyal was talking about a few minutes ago on the show. There’s a couple of things that I was thinking about when I was reading the document.

You look at categories of investigation, categories related to Russia, related to money and related to lying. I could see more information coming out related to financial information, like what Paul Manafort did. That’s one element of the investigation. 

Clearly, as I mentioned earlier, there’s still the question of whether there was cooperation with the Russians. That’s a Roger Stone kind of an investigation. That’s different than the money investigation. 

In parallel to that, everybody here seems to lie like a rug, so there’s got to be investigations related to who else is lying and whether you want to indict him. I was one of the many who thought this was shut down. 

But when I look at the extent of investigation, which is bigger than I thought — the number of people involved, the number of them who are lying — and the amount of documentation of financial records, et cetera, this one could go on for a while.

US PRESIDENT TRUMP: ‘I look forward to a meeting with Putin. WE might ‘cancel the get-together” with Putin. We are “not happy about it at all,” and “we do not like what’s happening either way.”

Kremlin says Trump-Putin G-20 meeting still on

© Getty Images
The Russian government on Monday said that President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are still expected to meet on the sidelines of the upcoming Group of 20 (G-20) summit despite the flaring crisis in Ukraine.
“This meeting is being prepared,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked if the tensions with Ukraine would impact the planned meeting, according to Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency. 

Kremlin confirms Trump-Putin G20 meet amid Russia-Ukraine tensions

TRUMP “cancels the get-together” with President Putin after Russian ships opened fire on and seized three Ukrainian vessels near Crimea

Trump abruptly cancels planned Putin meeting

||CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|AIWA! NO!|President said he was “not happy about it at all,” then indicated he might see fault on both sides, saying, “we do not like what’s happening either way.”

The President was referring of course to the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine; a tense military ready situation that could blow up into a full-out war if it goes unchecked. Soon.

READ RELATED: Ukraine bans entry to Russian adult men: Ukraine has banned Russian adult men aged 16-60 years from entering Ukraine, the head of the border service Petro Tsygykal said in a televised meeting on Friday.

Trump waited more than 24 hours after Russian ships fired on and then seized three Ukrainian vessels on Sunday before he commented on the clash.

The President’s restrained restraining message was deliberate, administration officials tell CNN, an attempt to avoid conflict before he meets Putin at the G20 in Argentina later this week. Trump tried a tougher line in a Tuesday interview with the Washington Post, saying he might cancel his get-together with the Russian leader depending on the results of a “full report” about the maritime clash.

“That will be very determinative,” Trump told the Post. “Maybe I won’t have the meeting. Maybe I won’t even have the meeting … I don’t like that aggression. I don’t want that aggression at all.”

But so far Russia watchers and even Russian state television have drawn another message from Trump’s behavior, which analysts said telegraphs weakness, will shape the way Putin approaches their consultations in Argentina and could further embolden the Russian leader on the global stage.

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S Personal Attorney Rudy Giuliani’s Latest Blabbermouth Session May Have Turned Him into a Witness to Obstruction

Rudy Giuliani Mueller pushes back Mueller interview again

Matt Naham, LAW & CRIME|AIWA! NO!|President Donald Trump‘s attorney Rudy Giuliani has been pretty forthcoming about the fact that he and Paul Manafort’s attorneys have discussed how cooperation has been going with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. While Manafort and Trump do have a joint defense agreement in place (as Trump has with others), questions have been raised as to whether inappropriate communications have been going on behind the scenes, and what the consequences of this might be.

Another question that’s been raised is whether Giuliani’s comments, such as the ones he made Tuesday in the New York Times, have imperiled both himself and Manafort’s legal team.

As CNN legal analyst and attorney Ross Garber told Law&Crime, joint defense agreements like this one are not improper per se, but there are “substantial potential perils to providing information pursuant to a common interest agreement while cooperating” — which Manafort was doing until he wasn’t.

Garber said that “prosecutors usually take a dim view of such agreements” and that many of them “believe you are either on Team USA or not. ” Given that a prosecutor might already regard such an arrangement as suspect, that prosecutor (Mueller in this case) might be interested in knowing whether the lawyers have gone too far when it comes to sharing information.

“[D]uring the course of cooperation, a person might learn information from the government or get a sense of its strategy. Sharing this information with another party might cross the line into conduct the government would consider obstructive or at least incompatible with cooperation,” Garber said. “I have seen lawyers themselves become subjects or targets under these circumstances.”

Here’s where Rudy Giuliani’s New York Times remarks come in. Per the Times:

Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of the president’s personal lawyers, acknowledged the arrangement on Tuesday and defended it as a source of valuable insights into the special counsel’s inquiry and where it was headed. Such information could help shape a legal defense strategy, and it also appeared to give Mr. Trump and his legal advisers ammunition in their public relations campaign against Mr. Mueller’s office.

For example, Mr. Giuliani said, Mr. Manafort’s lawyer Kevin M. Downing told him that prosecutors hammered away at whether the president knew about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting where Russians promised to deliver damaging information on Hillary Clinton to his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. The president has long denied knowing about the meeting in advance. “He wants Manafort to incriminate Trump,” Mr. Giuliani declared of Mr. Mueller.

So, Giuliani has been gaining insights from Downing and using that to help Trump mount a smear campaign against the Mueller investigation; the same smear campaign that Mueller may already view as obstruction? It’s worth noting that both Giuliani and Trump wanted no part of answering Mueller’s obstruction questions.

We do not know how much or how often Downing filled in the gaps for Trump’s legal team, but it was reported that what he had to say let Trump know Manafort had not “implicated the president in any possible wrongdoing.”

Garber said that Giuliani’s “sharing of otherwise privileged information that he obtained from Manafort’s lawyers is odd and seemingly unwise.” He said it is not clear at this time if the information was subject to privilege.

“It appears Manafort’s lawyers simply conveyed info about what they themselves (as opposed to their client) witnessed,” Garber said. “No privilege protects lawyers themselves from having to testify about what they saw and heard if it wasn’t conveyed by their clients.”

As a result, Giuliani and Manafort’s lawyers could theoretically turn into Mueller witnesses.

Even if there was privilege, Garber said, that is “usually waived if the info is disclosed to a third party,” such as the New York Times.

“Rudy risked this by providing info to the press,” Garber said, adding that if “Rudy and Manafort’s lawyers were communicating with the purpose of getting their clients’ stories straight or interfering with the investigation, this does raise serious obstruction issues. ”

Shanlon Wu, who was the criminal defense attorney for Manafort associate Rick Gates and is also a CNN legal analyst, told Law&Crime that if he was the prosecutor in this case, he would be inclined to speak to the lawyers involved in this joint defense agreement as witnesses.

He also said the arrangement was “questionable ethically” and speculated it could “convert Trump’s legal team into witnesses to potential obstruction.”

Hi Randy! I have said for a while I it very odd to have a joint defense agreement where one defendant cooperating and the other is not. Questionable ethically & may even convert #Trump legal team into witnesses to potential obstruction #Mueller #FBR

To my friends who do white collar defense: there’s a claim floating around that Manafort and Trump still had a joint defense agreement and could be sharing information while Manafort was cooperating with prosecutors. Is that likely? Seems like potential malpractice on all sides.

See Shanlon Wu’s other TweetsTwitter Ads info and privacy

“It’s so rare in my experience to have such an arrangement that were I the prosecutor and thought the cooperator was lying and speaking with other defendants’  counsel then I would be worried they were getting direction from the other lawyers,” he said. “So, I’d want to speak to the other lawyers as witnesses.”

It is notable that Downing did not reply to the Times’ request for comment. Nor has he responded to Law&Crime’s request for the same. Giuliani, for his part, has said of the arrangement with Manafort’s team, “We discuss things that are appropriate.”

The media won’t let Trump bury climate change, but still complicit

Paying attention to climate change, and treating it as a factual matter of settled scientific consensus, are bare minimums for the media

Paying attention to climate change, and treating it as a factual matter of settled scientific consensus, are bare minimums for the media

Severe Cold Spells 

|Jon Allsop, CJR|AIWA! NO!|On Friday, as Americans digested their Thanksgiving dinners, headed out shopping, or stayed in to catch a game, the White House slipped out a dire report on the worsening impact of climate change. The report, issued by 13 federal agencies as part of the Congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment, warned that increasingly frequent natural disasters, like the wildfires ravaging California, could help shear 10 percent off the US economy by 2100 if swift action is not taken. The timing of the report’s release struck many journalists and politicians as a ploy to bury conclusions that contradict President Trump’s extreme deregulatory climate agenda. The hunch was borne out by the Times’s Coral Davenport, who reported that the White House did indeed bet on diminished public interest over Thanksgiving.
Using holidays to dump bad news is a timeworn tactic. This time, however, it appears to have backfired, at least to some extent. In news cycles past, a terrifying official report would have driven the agenda for days; in Trump’s Washington, such stories can get submerged within minutes. The relatively quiet holiday weekend at least gave the report a greater share of the available public attention. And Thanksgiving or not, journalists are in no mood to let this president slide embarrassing news out the back door. As Penn State climate scientist Michael E. Mann tweeted Friday, “Ironically, ‘Trump trying to bury climate report’ is such a compelling media narrative that it might lead to GREATER coverage of the National Climate Assessment.”
The report got big play on Saturday morning. Using the Newseum’s online gallery of newspaper covers, CJR found that at least 140 titles nationwide put the story prominently on their front page, including the Times, the Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Miami Herald. More than 20 of these papers were in California, where wildfires continue to offer a strong news peg. Other titles, from Maine to Hawaii and Florida to Washington state, led off the report with their own localized looks at the impact of climate change. In Mississippi, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger splashed that the issue has been absent from the state’s upcoming US Senate run-off between Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith (whose comments about the Confederacy and attending a “public hanging” have dominated the debate) and Democratic challenger Mike Espy.
This widespread coverage was a positive outcome. On the whole, however, the media is still falling desperately short. With some praiseworthy exceptions, coverage of the California fires has not asserted a strong enough link to climate change—which does not, on its own, “cause” wildfires, but does facilitate and intensify them as rising temperatures make kindling of vegetation. However dire their predictions, official reports remain, to varying degrees, abstractions for news consumers. The media should cite them high up in their stories whenever “real-life” climate tragedies—with their graphic images of human suffering—strike, and vice versa.
On the Sunday shows yesterday, the tenor of some coverage was much worse. MSNBC’s Meet the Press gave a platform to the American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka—a self-professed “not a scientist”—who used her airtime to assert that “we shouldn’t be hysterical” about climate change because  “we just had two of the coldest years… that we have had since the 1980s.” On CNN’s State of the Union, meanwhile, former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said climate scientists are “driven by money.”
Paying attention to climate change, and treating it as a factual matter of settled scientific consensus, are bare minimums for the media. It was thus depressing, over the weekend, that the former counted as a victory while some prominent news organizations could not even manage the latter. It is positive that Trump’s news dump backfired. But when it comes to burying the reality of climate change, the news media is still complicit.
Below, more on climate change:

  • A good example: The release of the National Climate Assessment diddovetail with some nice enterprise reporting over the weekend. As of Monday morning, the Times still led its homepage with Somini Sengupta’s dispatch from Vietnam on the global coal industry and Abrahm Lustgarten’s investigation, in partnership with ProPublica, about the devastating consequences of US biofuels regulations in Indonesia.
  • A TV failure: Media Matters for America’s John Whitehouse has a good Twitter thread rounding up some of the weekend’s worst TV climate coverage. He also re-ups MMFA’s finding, first published in February, that Sunday news shows did not feature a single scientist during any climate-related segment in 2016 or 2017.
  • The shoe fits: On CNN, Brian Stelter pointed out that Fox News only mentioned the climate report once on Friday, devoting more airtime to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shoes.
  • “A shrinking planet”: ICYMI last week, The New Yorker published this haunting deep-dive on our changing climate by the environmentalist and campaigner Bill McKibben. “‘Climate change,’ like ‘urban sprawl’ or ‘gun violence,’ has become such a familiar term that we tend to read past it,” McKibben writes.
  • False balance: In the UK, the BBC has repeatedly drawn criticism for giving a platform to climate change deniers. In a September note to staffers, the broadcaster admitted it had got its coverage wrong too often, and offered training on how to report on global warming.