Times publisher asks Trump to reconsider anti-media rhetoric
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE
Monday, July 30
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — The publisher of The New York Times said Sunday he “implored” President Donald Trump at a private White House meeting this month to reconsider his broad attacks on journalists, calling the president’s anti-press rhetoric “not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.”
In a statement, A.G. Sulzberger said he decided to comment publicly after Trump revealed their off-the-record meeting to his more than 53 million Twitter followers on Sunday. Trump’s aides had requested that the July 20 meeting not be made public, Sulzberger said.
“Had a very good and interesting meeting at the White House with A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher of the New York Times. Spent much time talking about the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, “Enemy of the People.” Sad!” Trump wrote.
Hours after that exchange, Trump resumed his broadside against the media in a series of tweets that included a pledge not to let the country “be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the … dying newspaper industry.”
Sulzberger, who succeeded his father as publisher on Jan. 1, said his main purpose for accepting the meeting was to “raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric.”
“I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous,” he said.
Sulzberger said he told Trump that while the phrase “fake news” is untrue and harmful, “I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the people.’ I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”
Sulzberger, who attended the meeting with James Bennet, the Times’ editorial page editor, said he stressed that leaders outside the U.S. are already using Trump’s rhetoric to justify cracking down on journalists.
“I warned that it was putting lives at risk, that it was undermining the democratic ideals of our nation, and that it was eroding one of our country’s greatest exports: a commitment to free speech and a free press,” the publisher said.
Sulzberger added that he made clear that he was not asking Trump to soften his attacks against the Times if he thinks the newspaper’s coverage is unfair. “Instead, I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country,” he said.
Trump reads the Times and gives interviews to its reporters. But the president — who, like all politicians, is concerned about his image — also regularly derides the newspaper as the “failing New York Times.” However, the Times’ ownership company in May reported a 3.8 percent increase in first-quarter revenue compared to the same period in 2017.
The president, who lashes out over media coverage of him and the administration that he deems unfair, has broadly labeled the news media the “enemy of the people” and regularly accuses reporters of spreading “fake news” — the term he often uses for stories he dislikes.
Hours after his tweet about the Sulzberger meeting, Trump renewed his criticism of the media in a series of posts in which he accused reporters of disclosing “internal deliberations of government” and said that can endanger “the lives of many.” He did not cite examples but wrote “Very unpatriotic!” and said freedom of the press “comes with a responsibility to report the news … accurately,” a sentiment that journalists share.
Trump also claimed that 90 percent of the coverage of his administration is negative, leading to an “all time low” in public confidence in the media. He cited the Times and The Washington Post, two favorite targets, and claimed, “They will never change!”
Last week, Trump told hundreds of people attending the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City, Missouri: “Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” as he gestured toward journalists at the back of the room.
He also told them to remember “what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
Sulzberger said he accepted the meeting because Times publishers have a history of meeting with presidential administrations and other public figures who have concerns with the publication’s coverage of them.
After Sulzberger took charge, Trump tweeted that his ascension gave the paper a “last chance” to fulfill its founder’s vision of impartiality.
In the January tweet, Trump urged the new publisher to “Get impartial journalists of a much higher standard, lose all of your phony and non-existent ‘sources,’ and treat the President of the United States FAIRLY, so that the next time I (and the people) win, you won’t have to write an apology to your readers for a job poorly done!”
Tension between the administration and the news media was put on display last week after the White House told a CNN correspondent that she could not attend a Rose Garden event that was open to all credentialed media.
The correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, said she was barred because she asked Trump questions he did not like at a press event in the Oval Office earlier that day. The White House said Collins was barred because she refused to leave the Oval Office after being repeatedly asked to do so. Other journalists who were in the room at the time disputed the White House account.
Anthony Scaramucci, who spent 11 days as White House communications director last year before he was fired over an obscenity-laced tirade against other staffers in an interview, said he disagreed with the decision to put Collins in the “penalty box.” He told CNN’s “State of the Union” the order to bar Collins likely came from Trump because “he likes to be respected.”
Vice President Mike Pence, in a separate interview, said the administration believes in freedom of the press.
“But maintaining the decorum that is due at the White House I think is an issue that we’ll continue to work for,” he said in a taped interview broadcast Sunday on Fox Business Network.
Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap
Rob Richardson Receives Endorsement from Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
COLUMBUS, OH – Today, the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio (FOP) today announced their endorsements in the 2018 election, which included Democratic nominee for treasurer Rob Richardson. Richardson said in a statement:
“I am honored to have the support of the 30,000 men and women of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio who protect our families and communities. In 2011 I stood with the FOP during the assault on collective bargaining rights, and as Treasurer I will continue to stand with them and ensure they have a voice in Columbus. Police are among the most overworked, underpaid members of the workforce, and I will do everything I can to advocate for fair pay, proper training, and affordable healthcare, particularly related to PTSD treatment which often goes overlooked.”
Ohio FOP President Gary Wolske said that Richardson and the other endorsed candidates share the FOP’s values and will stand for officers and their families.
“These candidates share our values and have proven a willingness to fight for our members,” Wolske said. “We’re supporting them, because we know they will support us.”
Rob Richardson is a former chairman of the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees, where he established the U.C. Scholars Academy for students in the Cincinnati Public School District. He also founded the first Next Lives Here Innovation Summit and led the development of the 1819 Innovation Hub where students, faculty, and staff collaborate with entrepreneurs, startups, and others in the private sector.
Richardson has been a longtime advocate for workers as a marketing construction representative. He also serves “of counsel” with the law firm Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, where he practices in securities litigation.
Greek PM visits area damaged by deadly forest fires
Monday, July 30
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s prime minister has visited the site of Greece’s deadliest wildfire in decades, a week after the blaze swept through a seaside resort north of Athens, killing dozens.
Alexis Tsipras visited Mati, the worst-affected area, early Monday morning, tweeting that he spoke with “citizens, engineers, soldiers, firefighters and volunteers.” His office released photos and the prime minister took along a camera from state-run television. No other media was alerted.
Last week, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos visited the area and was heckled by distraught survivors who criticized the response to the fire.
The blaze, whipped by gale-force winds, raced through the seaside area northeast of Athens on July 23. The vast majority of victims died in the fire itself, with some drowning while swimming out to sea fleeing the flames.
Macedonia: Parliament to vote on referendum on name deal
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonian lawmakers will vote on a government’s proposal setting down details for a referendum over a deal with neighboring Greece to change the country’s name to North Macedonia.
The proposals are expected to be approved Monday. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s coalition holds 67 of parliament’s 120 seats, and a simple majority is required.
Zaev has suggested the referendum be held Sept. 30 with the question: “Are you in favor of European Union and NATO membership by accepting the agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Greece?”
The two countries have been at odds for decades over the smaller country’s use of the name Macedonia, which Greece says implies territorial claims over its own province of the same name.
German FM: Membership for Western Balkans in EU’s interest
BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s foreign minister says it’s in the European Union’s “strategic interest” to expand in the Western Balkans, otherwise China and Russia will gain influence there instead.
Heiko Maas said Monday that Macedonia and Albania have already begun putting in place reforms required for membership of the bloc.
Speaking after a meeting with his Albanian counterpart Ditmir Bushati, Maas said he’s “firmly convinced that the people in the Western Balkans want to live the way we do in Europe, and not the way people in China or Russia want to live.”
He said Germany is “very, very positive about expanding the EU in the Western Balkans because we’re firmly convinced it’s in the strategic interest of a free Europe.”
The EU could open membership talks with Albania and Macedonia next year.
Opinion: Trump’s Fun-Filled Week Abroad
By Doug Bandow
If American foreign policy was a reality show, Donald Trump would have turned it into television’s highest rated program. But when he acts as president, the consequences are real. Washington’s policies have a disproportionate effect on the entire world.
Unfortunately, the president’s almost weekly train wrecks obscure criticisms that frequently are reasonable, even far-sighted. For instance, President Trump’s insistence that other nations do more is long overdue. Similarly, his willingness to break protocol and meet foreign leaders formerly seen as untouchable puts America’s interest before foolish tradition.
Such was the case with his recent trip to Europe.
The president raised serious issues. For instance, he is quite right that NATO members long have taken advantage of America. Although Washington initially had to carry most of Europe’s load after World War II, that ceased to be the case decades ago.
Despite the presumed threat posed by the Evil Empire, as Ronald Reagan called the Soviets and their satellites, the Europeans routinely failed to keep their promises to spend more. During the Cold War Washington might have decided that it had to defend its irresponsible clients to prevent Soviet domination of Eurasia. But no longer.
Today the Europeans believe that either they face no serious threat or America will continue to protect them. The result is the same in both cases: they take a free, or at least cheap, ride on America. With the United States essentially bankrupt — running trillion-dollar annual deficits and facing $200-trillion-plus in unfunded liabilities — what amounts to defense welfare no longer is affordable. It is time to tell them, “No More!”
As for the United Kingdom, the form of Brexit obviously will determine how fast and far London and Washington can go in forging a bilateral free-trade agreement. Geography alone makes the U.K.’s economic ties to Europe vital. However, to the extent that the British government hopes to replace continental business with American commerce, London will have to craft Brexit carefully.
Finally, the United States and Russia appear to be heading into a new Cold War. That is foolish for both sides.
Although Vladimir Putin is no friend of America, there is no evidence that he views Washington as a necessary enemy. Like a modern tsar, he wants respect and secure borders.
Unfortunately, the United States has done much to treat Moscow as an adversary: it ignored pledges to Soviet and Russian leaders not to expand NATO to Russia’s new borders; it lawlessly dismantled traditional Russian ally Serbia; and it promoted revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine against governments friendly to Moscow. Moreover, Washington’s international behavior is consistently aggressive, intervening in scores of other nations’ elections (including Russia’s in 1996) and routinely bombing, invading and occupying other states, including Syria, a traditional Russian ally.
These actions help explain, though not justify, Putin’s annexation of Crimea and support for Ukrainian separatists. Moreover, the latter response, though ugly, threatens no vital U.S. interests. Which suggests a deal is possible: perhaps end NATO expansion in return for Russian withdrawal from the Donbas. The West should accept though not recognize Crimea as part of Russia: the former won’t return to Ukraine short of war.
Yet the president did his own cause no good when he seemed to go out of his way to insult not just his hosts, but almost every foreign official he met. He trashed the Europeans and insisted that they spend 4 percent of GDP on the military, more than America.
He dumped on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit stance while endorsing departing Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson for her job. The president then flipped to lavish praise upon May, who survives mostly because the Tories fear an all-out leadership battle.
Finally, his complimentary, even obsequious stance toward Putin undermined his case for making a hard-nosed deal to advance America’s interest. Even Republicans trashed his reluctance to accept the judgment of U.S. intelligence agencies on Russian interference with America’s election, a genuinely vital American interest. Had he drawn a red line there, he could have better advocated concessions elsewhere.
The president is his own worst enemy. Despite his oft-confrontational rhetoric, he is willing to use diplomacy to advance America’s ends. Equally important, he appears to recognize that America’s traditional foreign policy consensus too often has led to horrid, bloody failure.
Yet he seems unable to take the responsible steps necessary to turn his views into policy. As a result, he discredits otherwise sound arguments on the need to transform American foreign policy.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of “Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.” He wrote this for InsideSources.com.
Pakistani official: Jailed former PM Sharif hospitalized
By ZARAR KHAN
Monday, July 30
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was moved from his cell to the main hospital in Islamabad after suffering heart trouble, an official said Sunday.
Shaukat Javed, home minister of Punjab province, said a routine cardiogram preformed on the 69-year-old Sharif in the prison in Rawalpindi indicated the need for hospitalization.
Wasim Khwaja, spokesman for the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, said Sharif was in the hospital’s cardiac center and his condition was stable. He said besides hospital security, extra police and paramilitary troops were deployed in and around the premises.
Sharif was arrested along with daughter Maryam Nawaz upon returning home from London to face a 10-year prison sentence for corruption. His daughter was given seven years in the same case. He was dismissed from office by the Supreme Court last July. A court will hear their appeals on July 31.
Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League party, which had run the government, lost heavily in last week’s general elections to Sharif’s longtime critic, former cricket player Imran Khan. Khan’s party came in first but must form a coalition.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called Khan to congratulate him on the victory.
“Our focus is not on the past, but on the bright future,” Ghani said, according to a statement issued from Kabul’s Presidential Palace. It said that both leaders agreed to overcome the past and to lay a new foundation for a prosperous political, social and economic future of both countries.
Naeemul Haq, a spokesman for Khan’s party, said the would-be prime minister thanked Ghani and said that he would like to make an official visit to Kabul soon to strengthen ties between the neighboring countries.
Meanwhile, political parties which did not perform well in the election continue to allege that the vote was largely fraudulent.
An hours-long meeting of the leaders of former ruling party Pakistan Muslim League and the Pakistan People’s Party in Islamabad concluded the elections were largely rigged.
“Both the parties are in consensus that elections were rigged but we want to keep the democratic system going,” said Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for Pakistan People’s Party.
He said the two parties will meet again to develop a strategy but not boycott parliament. The religious parties alliance and other smaller parties have threatened to boycott parliament and start a protest campaign against the alleged irregularities.
Mohammad Zubair, a PML-N nominee and governor of southern Sindh province, resigned from office in protest. He also said the election ‘managed to favor one particular party.’
Meanwhile, election authorities continue to handle petitions for vote recounts from contenders who lost by thin margins, while thousands of votes were canceled for being marked twice.
Also on Sunday, Khan’s and Sharif’s parties spent a busy day garnering support of candidates who won seats in Punjab province, the country’s largest, as independents. Sharif’s party got slightly more seats in the Punjab Assembly than Khan’s party. Khan’s PTI party is attempting to form a provincial government in Punjab.
PTI won a majority in conservative Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province, while the People’s Party dominated in southern Sindh’s provincial legislature. The restive Baluchistan province, which is troubled by militant violence, was won by a mix of small parties that will have to form a coalition.
Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez in Kabul, Afghanistan and Zaheer Babar in Lahore, Pakistan contributed to this report.
Philippines raises concern over Chinese radio warnings
By JIM GOMEZ
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines has expressed concern to China over an increasing number of Chinese radio messages warning Philippine aircraft and ships to stay away from newly fortified islands and other territories in the South China Sea claimed by both countries, officials said Monday.
A Philippine government report seen by The Associated Press showed that in the second half of last year alone, Philippine military aircraft received such Chinese radio warnings at least 46 times while patrolling near artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea’s Spratly archipelago.
The Chinese radio messages were “meant to step up their tactics to our pilots conducting maritime air surveillance in the West Philippine Sea,” the report said, using the Philippine name for the South China Sea.
Philippine officials have raised their concern twice over the radio transmissions, including in a meeting with Chinese counterparts in Manila earlier this year that focused on the Asian countries’ long-unresolved territorial disputes, according to two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.
It’s a new problem that emerged after China transformed seven disputed reefs into islands using dredged sand in the Spratlys, where the new islands now stand in close proximity to islands occupied by Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan. Malaysia and Brunei are the other claimants to the chain of islands and barren islets and atolls.
The messages used to originate from Chinese coast guard ships in past years but military officials suspect transmissions now are also being sent from the Beijing-held artificial islands, where far more powerful communications and surveillance equipment has been installed along with weapons such as surface-to-air missiles.
“Our ships and aircraft have observed an increase in radio queries that appear to originate from new land-based facilities in the South China Sea,” Commander Clay Doss, public affairs officer of the U.S. 7th Fleet, told the AP by email in response to questions about the Chinese messages.
“These communications do not affect our operations,” Doss said.
Although the U.S. lays no claims to the strategic waterway, its Navy has deployed ships and aircraft to patrol the region in a security presence it says is aimed at promoting freedom of navigation and overflight, but which China protests as foreign meddling in an Asian dispute.
U.S. Navy ships and aircraft communicate routinely with regional navies, including the Chinese navy. “The vast majority of these communications are professional, and when that is not the case, those issues are addressed by appropriate diplomatic and military channels,” Doss said.
A Philippine air force plane on patrol near the Chinese-held islands received a particularly offensive radio message in late January when it was warned by Chinese forces that it was “endangering the security of the Chinese reef. Leave immediately and keep off to avoid misunderstanding,” according to the Philippine government report.
Shortly afterward, the plane received a veiled threat: “Philippine military aircraft, I am warning you again, leave immediately or you will pay the possible consequences.” The Filipino pilot later “sighted two flare warning signals from the reef,” said the report, which identified the Chinese-occupied island as Gaven Reef.
Chinese Embassy officials did not immediately reply to requests for comment but Beijing officials have repeatedly said they have the right to build on what they say is their territory and defend their sovereignty at all costs.
Philippine air force chief Lt. Gen. Galileo Gerard Rio Kintanar Jr. said Filipino pilots respond calmly to the Chinese radio messages and proceed with their mission as planned, adding that the higher number of reported radio challenges reflects the Philippine military’s commitment to protect the country’s territorial interests through intensified patrols.
“They do that because of their claim to that area and we have a standard response and proceed with what we’re doing,” Kintanar said.
In April last year, Chinese forces attempted by radio to drive away two Philippine military aircraft carrying the country’s defense and military chiefs, along with other top security officials and about 40 journalists, to Philippine-occupied Thitu island, which in the Philippines is called Pag-asa.
Thitu is more than 22 kilometers (14 miles) from Subi Reef, once a coral outcrop that now resembles a small Chinese city with a runway and skyline visible from the Philippine-held island when its lights glow at night.
China warned the Philippine planes that they were straying into its territory, and that they should turn around to avoid any mishap. The aircraft responded by saying they were flying over Philippine territory.