What America Stood For

After Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election in November, a foreign ambassador accosted one of my deputies at the State Department, where from 2014 to early this year I served as the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor. “You must be so sad!” the man, a representative of a Central Asian government, said, grinning widely. “All this talk of elections being important, of democracy being important, and now look at you! Now even your new president says there were 3 million illegal votes in your election! … You must all feel so stupid these days.” Since then, the global club of autocrats has been… Read More

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The Jordanian Airline Making Money Off the Laptop Ban

Walk into the offices of Memac Ogilvy Advize, an advertising firm on the third floor of a car rental building in a business district of West Amman, Jordan, and you’ll be greeted with an immense black-and-white photo of Donald Trump’s face. The red cursive text printed across it reads: “We Trumped the awards.” The sign sits behind a reception counter boasting a large trophy won at the Dubai Lynx 2017, an annual advertising competition where Memac Ogilvy won the Grand Prix for PR (a first for any Jordanian agency) along with four other silver and gold prizes, for trolling Trump in their ads on behalf of Royal Jordanian Airlines. 🍊… Read More

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After health care bill’s withdrawal, elation and anger

NEW YORK — Some Americans breathed a sigh of relief, others bubbled with frustration, and nearly all resigned themselves to the prospect that the latest chapter in the never-ending national debate over health care would not be the last. The withdrawal of the Republican-sponsored health bill in the face of likely defeat Friday in the U.S. House seemed to ensure that the deep divisions over the Affordable Care Act and its possible replacement will continue to simmer. As news spread, Americans fell into familiar camps, either happy to see a Democratic effort live another day, or eager to see Republicans regroup and follow through with their “repeal Obamacare” promises. “Yessssss,”… Read More

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Immigrants find sanctuary in growing Austin church network

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Austin Sanctuary Network of churches offering shelter to immigrants in the liberal Texas city is growing rapidly since President Donald Trump was elected. More churches are exploring opening their doors to immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally and seeking sanctuary from deportation by moving into the churches. Two Austin churches have already offered sanctuary. Others in the network of more than two dozen are preparing to house immigrants or offer support for churches that open their doors. Nationwide more than 800 churches and religious organizations are involved in the loosely organized sanctuary movement. Volunteers say increase in churches interested in offering sanctuary has allowed… Read More

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AP FACT CHECK: The week when Trump’s wiretap accusation died

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s accusation that his predecessor ordered snooping of his communications has fallen apart, slapped down by the FBI chief and again by the Republican leading the House intelligence committee, a Trump ally. The president gave up on arguing that Barack Obama tapped his phones, and he doesn’t give up on anything easily. A look at how that sensational charge and a variety of other statements by the president — on the failed “Obamacare” replacement bill, Russia, immigration and more — met reality checks over the past week: THE WIRETAP THAT WASN’T Trump now says he never meant that Obama literally had his phone tapped. “When… Read More

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US military plane makes emergency landing in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s air force says an American military plane made an emergency landing at an airport in Indonesia’s Aceh province. Air Vice Marshall Jemi Trisonjaya says the U.S. Air Force plane requested permission to land Friday after one of its four engines failed. Trisonjaya said Saturday that permission was granted and the Boeing 707 successfully landed at Sultan Iskandar Muda airport in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province. The plane was carrying 20 military personnel to Japan’s Haneda airport from Diego Garcia, an American military base in central Indian Ocean. Trisonjaya said no one on board the plane was injured. The cause of the plane’s engine… Read More

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Gorsuch hearings show him as careful, folksy, testy at times

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nominees appearing before the Senate all have one goal in mind: Win confirmation. And when one party controls the Senate and the White House, the strategy of saying as little as possible doesn’t vary much. But because Supreme Court nominees spend several long days in televised hearings, they still manage to reveal a few things about themselves, professionally and personally. Here are a few things we learned about Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s pick for the high court: ___ A DELIBERATE MANNER Gorsuch was careful in his phrasing, rarely appeared to allow his pulse to quicken and steadfastly refused the many Democratic attempts to get him… Read More

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Failure on health bill also hurts prospects for tax overhaul

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans’ failure to repeal Barack Obama’s health care law deals a serious blow to another big part of President Donald Trump’s agenda: tax reform. Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., say they will soon turn their attention to the first major re-write of the tax code in more than 30 years. But they will have to do it without the momentum of victory on health care. Just as important, the loss on health care will deprive Republicans of $1 trillion in tax cuts. The GOP health plan would have repealed nearly $1 trillion in taxes enacted under Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The bill coupled the… Read More

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Security, parking, garbage irk Ivanka Trump’s DC neighbors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Residents of a posh Washington neighborhood say the Trump clan doesn’t make for very good neighbors, hogging parking on an already crowded street and leaving trash bags rotting on the curb. A big part of the complaint: a huge security presence, with even a trip to the playground requiring three vans. Neighbors of Trump, her husband Jared Kushner and their three children have groused that sidewalks have been closed, public parking overrun and that the family and their staff can’t even be bothered to learn the trash pickup schedule outside their $5.5-million home. “It has been a three-ring circus from the day that they’ve moved in,” said… Read More

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Religion emerges in secular French politics as presidential campaign heats up

PARIS — Two of the most interesting photo ops of France’s current presidential election campaign took place last month 2,000 miles away in Lebanon — and they were all about religious optics. In one, the far-right leader Marine Le Pen called off a scheduled meeting with Grand Mufti Abdellatif Deriane just outside his Beirut office when the Muslim cleric’s staff insisted she don a headscarf before going in for the meeting. With the video cameras rolling, she emphatically refused. Later that day, with the same media entourage in tow, she smiled and exchanged pleasantries with Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai, leader of Lebanon’s Maronite Christians and a cardinal of the Roman… Read More

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