Ed Rogers: Trump’s trip to the World Economic Forum is a chance to change the arc of his presidency

President Donald Trump has had a ragged couple of weeks. Without reliving every sour note, let’s just say he hasn’t started the year with an inspirational vibe. His unforced, bizarre errors have overshadowed soaring consumer confidence, the potential benefits of tax cuts and the dismantling of Obama-era regulations. But could everything soon change? Is Trump about to take a break from his acidic public presence? I was encouraged to hear that the president is going to attend the World Economic Forum later this month. The Davos meeting is a sui generis event on the world stage. It draws an unequaled audience of business and political leaders from around the world. But as the forum has gotten bigger, it has also become predictable and politically correct. The featured CEOs and participants too often offer tame set pieces that gently align their businesses with fashionable topics such as worker rights, inequality and, of course, climate change. A certain degree of hypocrisy is expected and warmly received by the financial elite and the mainstream media. Well, Trump won’t be sticking to that script. The question is: Will he have any script that doesn’t include insults, uninformed observations and gratuitous non sequiturs that will only add to the growing disillusionment with his presidency worldwide? I am in the midst of completing a trip that has taken me to Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Business and political leaders scowl with surprise, horror and disgust whenever I ask how the president is doing. They all remark on the inexplicable things that Trump has said or tweeted. They regret that the United States is retreating from the world. Depending on where you are, they talk about the undesirable forces that they see filling the vacuum created by America’s exit. That said, most leaders think Trump is trying to do the right thing with the U.S. economy. They also note that the U.S. withdrawal started under President Barack Obama. Continue Reading

Keith Ellison Is No Anti-Semite

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison proposes to change how the Democratic National Committee operates, and his campaign for the chairmanship has unsettled a number of political and media insiders. That’s understandable. Democrats who disagree with Ellison have every right to dissect and dissent from the Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair’s proposals to focus on grassroots organizing and recruitment of younger and more diverse candidates. They can even raise questions about whether a sitting member of Congress is the right choice to lead a party that has a lot of rebuilding to do. But the suggestion that Ellison, a Muslim who has been in the forefront of efforts to promote international dialogue and understanding, is a divisive figure who would have trouble working with Jewish Democrats is as absurd as it is unsettling. Ellison, who was an ally of the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, has as a state legislator, congressional candidate, and member of the US House worked across lines of religion, ethnicity, and race with an agility so great that in 2007 then–Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and top State Department officials invited him to assist public diplomacy efforts in the Middle East. Yet The Washington Post is now suggesting that Ellison would be a “controversial” pick for DNC chair because of past statements and writings—some from a quarter-century ago—that critics suggest display insensitivity toward Israel or even anti-Semitism. After Ellison was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League, Politico wrote, “The ADL statement underscores the shadow of past controversial statements that have loomed over Ellison as he runs for DNC chair.” And NBC’s Chuck Todd asked, “Keith Ellison—is his candidacy toast?” Those who know Ellison reject the charges as political smears that are at dramatic odds with reality. American Federation of Teachers president Randi Continue Reading

Bastille Day march-past closes Trump’s Paris visit

By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Matthias Blamont PARIS (Reuters) - President Donald Trump watched U.S. and French soldiers march together through the Paris sunshine on Friday in a double celebration marking 100 years since the United States entered World War One and France's annual Bastille Day holiday. Also featuring a bi-national fly-past of American F16 and French Rafale jets symbolizing military cooperation in the Middle East and elsewhere, the occasion followed a day of talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, a first ladies' tour of Paris, and a dinner for the four at a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. "Great evening with President @EmmanuelMacron & Mrs. Macron. Went to Eiffel Tower for dinner. Relationship with France stronger than ever," Trump wrote in a tweet. The ceremonies brought to an end a visit Macron needs as a boost to France's standing on the world stage - one which could also help a U.S. leader left short of international friends by his stance on free trade and climate change. Trump, also dogged at home by an investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, appeared on Thursday to leave open the door for more talks on the Paris accord which he pulled the United States out of earlier this year. MILITARY CUTS Macron arrived standing in a military jeep and surrounded by cavalry - repeating a scene from his inauguration two months ago aimed at reinforcing a message that he heads an important military power. But it came as a fierce row raged between Macron and his armed forces chief, General Pierre de Villiers, over proposed defense budget cuts that are part of his bid to put the French economy in order. Trump arrived with his wife Melania in a black sedan to be greeted by French first lady Brigitte Macron. At the parade, the two heads of state sat together in a stand applauding, pointing and touching each other on the arm as military aircraft flew overhead. Trump saluted as U.S. Continue Reading

The price of Obama’s detachment: Powerlessness has its consequences, from Russia to Iran to Iraq and Syria

This week Russian bombers flew out of Iranian air bases to attack rebel positions in Syria. The State Department pretended not to be surprised. It should be. It should be alarmed. Iran's intensely nationalistic revolutionary regime had never permitted foreign forces to operate from its soil. Until now. The reordering of the Middle East is proceeding apace. Where for 40 years the U.S.-Egypt alliance anchored the region, a Russia-Iran condominium is now dictating events. That’s what you get after eight years of U.S. retrenchment and withdrawal. That’s what results from the nuclear deal with Iran, the evacuation of Iraq and utter U.S. immobility on Syria. Consider: Iran The nuclear deal was supposed to begin a rapprochement between Washington and Tehran. Instead, it has solidified a strategic-military alliance between Moscow and Tehran. With the lifting of sanctions and the normalizing of Iran’s international relations, Russia rushed in with major deals, including the shipment of S-300 ground-to-air missiles. Russian use of Iranian bases now marks a new level of cooperation and joint power projection. Iraq These bombing runs cross Iraqi airspace. Before President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq, that could not have happened. The resulting vacuum has not only created a corridor for Russian bombing, it has gradually allowed a hard-won post-Saddam Iraq to slip into Iran’s orbit. According to a Baghdad-based U.S. military spokesman, there are 100,000 Shiite militia fighters operating inside Iraq, 80% of them Iranian-backed. Syria When Russia dramatically intervened last year, establishing air bases and launching a savage bombing campaign, Obama did nothing. Indeed, he smugly predicted that Vladimir Putin had entered a quagmire. Some quagmire. Bashar Assad’s regime is not only saved. It encircled Aleppo and has seized the upper hand in the civil war. Meanwhile, our hapless secretary of state is Continue Reading

West Point’s Kelsey Minato is a ruthless scoring machine who treats every game as though she’s going into battle

Men and women dressed in camouflage dot the stands inside Christl Arena, the cavernous gym at West Point, as Kelsey Minato, a pitiless scoring machine for Army, turns in time to intercept a pass beneath her basket against first-place American. She takes a quick look at her troops in transition, and then advances the ball, deking a defender with an inside-out dribble beyond midcourt. She toys with her counterpart, taking her right before whipping the ball left behind her back. Her finish comes with her right hand, a twisting, reverse layup to the left as she crashes to the floor, sliding on her back. Superintendent Robert Caslen, chest dappled with decorations, sits three rows above her, near Brigadier General Timothy Trainor. Both nod approval and applaud. “Sometimes us coaches just sit on the bench and say, ‘we have Kelsey and you don’t,’ ” Army associate coach Colleen Mullen says. “She has moves you don’t see anymore.” Minato, 20, is the show at the military academy. At 5-feet-6, she is slight of build yet practiced in sleight of hand, manipulating defenses with misdirection and timing tricks as she spies open space. In negotiating paths past defenders instructed to ambush her, she counters with hip turns and head fakes before flicking floaters — the ball often arcing over out-reached arms — to rank among the nation’s top 10 scorers with 22.3 points per game. Targeted by defenses as the two-time reigning Patriot League player of the year, she rarely emotes, relishing her role as a stoical sharpshooter who once scored 49 points in a game, an academy record. Prior to tipoff, she offers a warning. When her name and No. 5 are announced, she runs on court to embrace reserve guard Brigette Ocran at the end of a gauntlet. Minato subtly mimes slitting her throat with her fingers doubling as knives. She smiles. “She loves all the military stuff that we do,” forward Brianna Continue Reading

Official: Investigators Conclude Missing Jet Hijacked

A Malaysian government official tells The Associated Press that investigators have concluded that one of the pilots or someone else with flying experience hijacked the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.  Read more via FoxNews.com: Investigators trying to solve the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner have concluded that one of the pilots or someone else with flying experience hijacked the missing Boeing 777 and steered it off course, according to a Malaysian government official. The official, who is involved in the investigation, told The Associated Press that no motive has been established, and it is not yet clear where the plane was taken. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media. The official said that hijacking was no longer a theory. "It is conclusive." The jet's communication with the ground was severed under one hour into a flight March 8 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Malaysian officials have said radar data suggest it may have turned back and crossed back over the Malaysian peninsula westward, after setting out toward the Chinese capital. A senior U.S. official told Fox News on Friday that the search effort will broaden deep into the Indian Ocean, based on new intelligence assessments that there is a "higher probability" the aircraft went down in that region, a senior U.S. official told Fox News.   As a consequence of the shared U.S.-Malaysian intelligence assessments, it is understood that the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Kidd will expand its search into a southern quadrant of the ocean, while Indian authorities will cover a northern quadrant. The development comes as authorities speculate that the disappearance may have been an "act of piracy,” and more evidence suggests the plane was diverted by a skilled pilot before it vanished, U.S. and Malaysian officials familiar with the investigation said Friday. Investigators trying to piece together what happened to the Malaysia Airlines Continue Reading

Reporter adds global focus to Rutgers

Mary D’Ambrosio was a college student studying in Italy in the early ’80s when she realized her view of the country was warped.“I thought it was all rolling hills and olive oil,” she said. “But there were tanks in the streets, high inflation and an assassination attempt on the Pope. This was news to me in my 20-year-old bubble.” “The journalists of my generation went into journalism to right wrongs and to uncover the truth,” said D’Ambrosio, who joined Rutgers’ Department of Journalism and Media Studies at the School of Communication and Information last semester as an assistant professor of professional practice. “It sounds a little corny, but we felt the truth was being hidden from the public.”More than three decades later, the respected international journalist's search for the truth continues.D’Ambrosio has probed some of the globe’s darkest corners to expose social injustices and analyze political upheavals, including Latin America’s transition from dictatorship to neoliberalism, Russia’s emergence from the collapsing Soviet Union, the Mexican debt crisis and, most recently, the struggles of Syrian refugees.The Brooklyn resident spent her summer in Sicily and coastal Turkey speaking to refugees hoping to access Western Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.“Hordes At The Gates? Look Again,” is a collection of vignettes detailing the horrors D’Ambrosio’s interview subjects have experienced in their search for safe haven. The series, a "humanizing migration" project partially funded by a Rutgers faculty research grant, was featured in The Huffington Post.“My goal was for readers to see migrants in human terms. The footage of them coming in boats to shores is a very threatening narrative to Americans and Western Europeans. It seems like these refugees are coming with scary diseases and intentions,” she said. “I’m Continue Reading

Robb: Obama’s United Nations speech proves why his foreign policy has failed

Barack Obama gave a long, reflective and thoughtful address to the United Nations the other day.This was obviously an important speech to Obama, a valedictory to the world of sorts.That Obama put such a high value on the speech, however, is emblematic of the failure of his foreign policy. Obama thinks the United Nations, and what he says to it, is important.When Obama was a candidate in 2008, he delivered a speech to a rapturous and massive crowd in Berlin. He referred to himself not only as a citizen of the United States, but “a fellow citizen of the world.” And he talked about the importance of “global citizenship.”To Obama, global citizenship means rising above differences of race, ethnicity, religion and tribe. It even means rising above what Obama referred to in his U.N. speech as “age-old lines of nation.”Obama regards himself as personification of this enlightened transnationalism. He said as much in Berlin and again to the U.N.As president, Obama has generally conducted his foreign policy in a way that attempts to make the United States a good global citizen, in his eyes. We don’t pursue naked national interests. We work through multilateral organizations such as the United Nations. We defer to international laws, norms, opinion and consensus.As Obama put it in his U.N. speech: “We are all stakeholders in this international system, and it calls upon all of us to invest in the success of institutions to which we belong.”Obama also believes in a progressive arc of history that works ineluctably to produce the world as Obama believes it should be. He frequently positions choices, international and domestic, as between being on the right or wrong side of history.While Obama has been pursuing good global citizenship, the rest of the world has been engaged in traditional national interest realpolitik, trying to make things better for their “age-old lines of nation.”In this world, the United Nations Continue Reading

NJ sees protests, rallies for #DayWithoutImmigrants

Students skipped class. Factory workers didn’t show up to work and neither did some contractors. And several businesses along main retail corridors in Paterson and Passaic were closed Thursday as part of a "Day Without Immigrants," a national demonstration to bring attention to the contributions of immigrants in the United States and to protest the Trump administration's controversial immigration policies.The national action was organized in a few days and gained momentum through social media networks. New Jersey advocates and immigrants were only some of the thousands of people who took part in the boycott in cities across America.On Thursday, #DayWithoutImmigrants was one of the top trending topics on social media.North Jersey immigrants who participated in rallies and closed businesses Thursday had different reasons for not going to work. Most said it was a way to show solidarity with immigrants who have been the target of recent immigration enforcement, President Trump's immigration policies and negative rhetoric.Among the White House actions rankling protesters are plans to build a border wall, impose a temporary immigration ban on nationals from certain Muslim-majority nations, boost patrol agents to curb illegal immigration and strip federal funding from sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with immigration agents. One of the orders signed by Trump on Jan. 25 prioritizes the removal immigrants living in the country illegally who have been accused or convicted of a crime or have deportation orders.Other participants on Thursday said that they just wanted to demonstrate and remind others about the role that immigrants play not only in the economy, but also in the nation's culture and values. IMMIGRATION: Immigrants gather to plan nationwide boycott BUSINESS: N.J. restaurants preparing for immigrant protest NEW JERSEY: Refugees rattled by FBI calls meant to 'build Continue Reading

’24’ baddie President Charles Logan is coming back; Gregory Iztin will reprise love-to-hate-him role

Does anyone ever stay dead on "24"?One of the real-time series' favorite villains, former President Charles Logan, is coming back for a multi-episode arc in the upcoming eighth season, Reuters reports.The last time viewers saw Logan (played by Gregory Iztin) was in Season 6, when the disgraced commander-in-chief flat-lined on the way to the hospital after being stabbed by his wife, Martha Logan (played by Jean Smart.)Granted, at the beginning of Season 7, rogue protagonist Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) learned that Logan was alive and under house arrest in a passing bit of dialogue, but he was never heard from again.Now fans of Fox's adrenaline-pumping drama can look forward to Logan and Bauer squaring off once more, as sitting President Taylor (Cherry Jones) calls on Logan for help in diffusing an escalating international diplomatic crisis."The opportunity for these two remarkable actors to share the stage was simply too compelling to pass up," said the show's executive producer Howard Gordon.Itzin was nominated for an Emmy for his role as the treacherous former president, who was complicit in the assassination of the show's earlier beloved President David Palmer (played by Dennis Haysbert, from the Allstate insurance commercials) and framing Bauer for the crime.The eighth season of "24" launches with a two-night, four-hour premiere on January 17 and 18, with a retired Bauer reluctantly pulled back into active duty after he catches wind of a terrorist plot to assassinate a Middle East peacekeeper in New York. "I Know What You Did Last Summer" star Freddie Prinze Jr. also joins the Season 8 cast, playing a rookie counter-terrorism agent. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading