Conflict between China and the USA: Successful extortion (neue-deutschland.de)

Photo: dpa / Jens Buettner

It is a prime example of how Donald Trump conducts politics: the “deal” for the Tiktok video platform of the Chinese company Bytedance. What the US president is boasting about and what his supporters still appreciate has nothing to do with the often dirty business conduct of a US government, which used to be at least cleverly disguised. What Trump openly does with pride and success, even the biggest mafia boss shouldn’t be ashamed of.

So the talk of the “deal” he has approved can be translated as follows: The US president has a veritable blackmail to his and his cronies’ advantage – the companies that come into play are well-disposed towards Trump (Oracle) or at least competition (Walmart) from those who are not (Amazon) – successfully brought to a close. To the disadvantage of China. Provided that the “compromise” is actually implemented in the end. But even if not, Trump has definitely achieved at least two goals: For his supporters, he was once again able to mark the strong man who puts evil China in its place. And he has once again made it unmistakably clear to the domestic economy that those who are on his side will benefit from his mafia behavior.

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America and Europe clash

DGermany, France and Great Britain openly oppose attempts by the American government to reinstate sanctions against Iran. The dispute is sparked by differing views on the status of the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) that the three European countries as well as the United States, Russia and China concluded with Iran five years ago. Donald Trump’s administration terminated its membership in the agreement in May 2018.

Thomas Gutschker

Political correspondent for the European Union, NATO and the Benelux countries based in Brussels.

Johannes Leithäuser

A month ago you tried to bring about the rescission of the agreement in the Security Council of the United Nations because Iran was not adhering to important agreements. This “snapback” mechanism would automatically reinstate UN sanctions against Iran that were suspended when the agreement came into force.

The foreign ministers of the three European states stated in a joint statement on Sunday that the United States has no longer been a participant in the JCPOA since its withdrawal from the agreement in 2018. Therefore, their communication to trigger the “snapback” could “have no legal effect”. It follows from this that “all decisions and measures that would be taken on the basis of this procedure or its possible outcome cannot have any legal effect either”.

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In contrast, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would not hesitate to enforce sanctions against Iran. He also threatened on Saturday that America would expect all UN member states to meet their obligations under the revived sanctions. Washington also threatened states that did not act in turn face sanctions.

The Security Council snubbed and divided

The United States has also snubbed and divided the UN Security Council with its legal opinion. Thirteen of the fifteen members, including Germany, refused to follow the American argument. The three European foreign ministers stated that they were “further guided by the goal of safeguarding the authority and integrity of the UN Security Council”. They leave no doubt about their stance: they “worked tirelessly” to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, “and will continue to do so”.

The EU foreign representative, Josep Borrell, also announced that the United States had left the nuclear agreement and was therefore no longer a state party and could not initiate the process of reintroducing UN sanctions. “Therefore the commitments to lift sanctions under the nuclear deal remain in effect,” affirmed Borrell. The Spaniard expressed himself in his role as coordinator of the joint commission, which monitors compliance with the agreement. He spoke not only on behalf of the European contracting states, but also on behalf of Russia and China.

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The USA after the death of Bader Ginsburg: a dirty fight

Will the Senate nominate a Trump candidate to succeed him before the election? Hard times are ahead for potential republican dissenters.

Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the Supreme Court in Washington Photo: Reuters

BERLIN taz | It was to be expected. Only hours after the death of Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the US capital Washington, DC, became known on Friday, Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader in the US Senate, said he would see to it that the Senate passed a nomination President Donald Trump will vote. And that’s despite the fact that the presidential election on November 3rd is less than two months away.

It was the same Mitch McConnell who, in February 2016, when Conservative Chief Justice Antonin Scalia had died, declared that the American people deserved a say in the composition of the Supreme Court and that the Senate would be “so close” to the presidential election not even listen to a candidate nominated by then-incumbent Barack Obama. There were still nine months until the election.

In fact, the Republican majority in the Senate blocked Obama’s candidates in order to give the elected Donald Trump the opportunity to make his first judge nomination just ten days after taking office. The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch by the conservative Senate majority, however, initially did not change the majority situation in the Supreme Court: the conservative Scalia was replaced by the conservative Gorsuch.

It was only with the resignation of longtime Chief Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and the Senate’s confirmation of Trump-nominated conservative Brett Kavanaugh that the majority of the court tipped to the right. Kennedy, although appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1987, had mostly voted together with the Liberal judges. With Gorsuch a conservative majority of 5 to 4 votes was now guaranteed.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg had been ill for a long time, and the left and liberal public in the United States was repeatedly shocked by news of an emergency admission of the liberal grand dame of the US justice system. She herself had said that if Hillary Clinton had won the election in 2016, she would soon have resigned from her judge’s office for health reasons – but she still wanted to survive Trump’s presidency. She wasn’t granted that now.

So Trump actually has the option to appoint a third judge to the Supreme Court. This would mean that a conservative majority of 6: 3 judges’ votes would last for many years. Should Trump be re-elected, it could be even more drastic, because the current senior incumbent chief judge is the liberal Stephen Breyer at 82.

Whether Trump will get another candidate through before the election, or at least before a successor takes office on January 20 or the constitution of a new Congress on January 6, now depends on whether the conservative majority in the Senate follows Mitch McConnell’s instructions .

Deviating senators are threatened with attacks from Trump

However, that is uncertain. Because on November 3rd, not only the President, but also the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate will be re-elected – this time including 23 seats that are currently held by Republican Senators. A few, including according to the New York Times Susan Collins from Main, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, Lindsay Graham from South Carolina and Charles E. Grassley from Iowa have already expressed doubts as to whether a nomination process, which normally lasts almost three months, should be rushed through so shortly before an election.

Republican senators in particular, who also need the votes of moderate voters in the center for their re-election, will think twice about whether to play along in such a maneuver.

It is also clear, however, that if they deviate, they would have to expect a flood of attacks from the White House in the middle of the election campaign. In the past few years, Trump has made it abundantly clear how tough he is against even the smallest contradiction from within his own ranks – and mostly with success.

Most recently, Mitt Romney felt it: The senator and former Republican presidential candidate was the only Republican who dared to vote against Trump on one of the two counts during the impeachment process. Since then he has been an outlaw in his own ranks, without any chance of playing any important role under the Trump presidency.

Evangelicals and the NRA are almost at the goal of their dreams

The dispute over the successor to Ruth Bader Ginsburg will have a major impact on the last few weeks of the election campaign, so much is foreseeable.

However, it is not so easy to predict what effects this will have on the election result. If Trump manages to whip through a conservative judge with the help of McConnell and a closed Republican Senate faction, the Democrats will brand this as a betrayal by the Republicans of their own allegedly so honest principles from 2016 – but that is an argument that Trump voters * should not be of interest to anyone.

Because the shifting of the majority in the Supreme Court is for a large part of the basis that helped Trump to victory in 2016, especially the conservative evangelicals, the core of their political commitment, they have long been hoping to remove the old fundamental judgment on the legalization of abortions from the 1973 to finally tip over.

Even for the gun lobby of the National Rifle Association, which is still influential despite all the internal scandals, a conservative supreme court is the best guarantee that the 2nd amendment will continue to be interpreted in their favor, thus preventing any attempt at stricter firearms controls.

In this respect, Trump can definitely score points with his own base with the dispute over the successor to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

It’s more difficult on the democratic side. If the appointment is completed before the election date, a major motivation for the left and liberal electorate to vote at all, namely the prevention of a cemented conservative majority in the Supreme Court, simply disappears. In this respect, the fight against a Senate vote before the election is also a fight for the democrats’ ability to mobilize. The weeks will be exciting – and they are likely to get very dirty.

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Alone in the forest (newspaper Junge Welt)

US President Trump before the announcement to withdraw from the Vienna Agreement (Washington, May 8, 2018)

The US government has now finally declared itself and the five to ten states that may follow it on its lonely path to be a “world community”. From a US perspective, all former UN Security Council resolutions against Iran that were officially repealed in 2015 have been in force again since 8 p.m. Washington time on Saturday. In addition to numerous sanctions, this also includes the ban on enriching uranium, producing so-called heavy water for reactor operation and developing, testing and mass-producing rockets.

Foreign Minister Michael Pompeo made a corresponding press release on Saturday. From the point of view of the US government, this is “a step towards peace and security on an international scale.” In the next few days Washington will announce “a number of additional measures to strengthen the implementation of UN sanctions and to punish violations”.

After months of negotiations, Iran, the USA, Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Germany signed an agreement in Vienna on July 14, 2015, which is usually cited with the abbreviation JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). The agreements oblige Iran to put several restrictions on its civilian nuclear program for different periods of time. In return, the USA and the three EU states in particular promised the lifting of all “nuclear-related” sanctions based on the Iranian nuclear program.

As a supplement, the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution 2231 on July 20, 2015. This repealed all previously adopted resolutions against Iran. At the same time, some of the old punitive measures, including the ban on the import and export of weapons, were resumed in a moderated and temporary form through the back door. This ban in particular, to the great annoyance of the US government, will expire soon on October 18.

To assert that all UN sanctions lifted in 2015 have been in force again since the weekend, Washington relies on a clause in Resolution 2231. It provides for the “automatic” revival of all old resolutions if one of the partners in the Vienna Agreement so requests. A vote on this in the Security Council is not required; the permanent members of the body cannot veto it.

However, 13 of the 15 members of the Security Council have determined that the USA no longer has the right to invoke the “snap-back” clause of Resolution 2231 after President Donald Trump explicitly declared the termination of the Vienna Agreement on May 8, 2018 and followed the gradual breach of all resulting obligations. Only the Dominican Republic sided with the US on this issue.

Politically, this means that only a fraction of the 193 member states of the UN accept Washington’s position that the resolutions repealed in 2015 had come into force again. When trying to enforce the previous UN sanctions, for example through threats of punishment against states that do not comply, the US would be left entirely on its own.

In practice, only Russia and China come into consideration. First, the EU states submit to almost all of the sanctions imposed by Washington without resistance. Second, they have not been delivering weapons to Iran – and this is currently the main point from the point of view of the US government – since the “Islamic Revolution” in 1979, that is for over 40 years. Conversely, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Sarif has stated that his country has no interest in buying military material from EU countries. No government acting rationally cooperates in this sensitive area with suppliers who are notoriously unreliable, often directly breach of contract and often even hostile.

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Trump announces Tiktok deal (neue-deutschland.de)

Trump announces Tiktok deal

Foto: dpa/ZUMA Wire/Andre M. Chang

For Tiktok, the decision came shortly before close: From Monday, it should no longer be possible in the USA to download the short video app. But with his place on an agreement between the Chinese Tiktok owner Byte-dance and the US companies Oracle and Walmart, US President Donald Trump has initially postponed the measure for a week. The matter is not officially over by the time the deal is actually concluded. In a failure of the deal, however, none of the parties involved should have an interest – it’s simply too much money for everyone.

Not least for Trump himself, more precisely, for a new project of his. The amazing thing about this deal is not the cooperation between the companies or the conditions under which this should take place, but what Trump has found out for himself or perhaps simply added on top of it on his own initiative.

Trump announced during an election campaign that part of the agreement was a payment of five billion dollars from Bytedance to an “education fund” based in Texas. With this Trump wants to ensure “that the real history of our country is taught,” said the US President. For him that means above all: less history of slavery.

In any case, Bytedance was surprised by this announcement by Trump and announced on Sunday that they had “first heard of the five billion payment in the news.” Without specific reference to Trump’s “education fund” it was also said that the company was obliged to invest in education and was planning online lessons with global shareholders on the basis of artificial intelligence and video technology. In addition, the Chinese company announced that it wanted to reach a cooperation agreement with Oracle and Walmart “as soon as possible” that would meet the legal requirements in the USA and China.

According to Trump, the deal he approved provides for Tiktok’s global business to be moved to a new company based in the United States, “probably in Texas,” Trump said. According to a spokeswoman, the software and hardware manufacturer Oracle is responsible for the processing of all data from US users and the associated technical systems. Together, Oracle and Walmart should be able to take over a stake of up to 20 percent in Tiktok before an IPO. Oracle plans to acquire 12.5 percent, Walmart 7.5 percent. Bytedance would keep 80 percent of Tiktok Global. Since US investors in turn held around 40 percent of Bytedance, according to media reports, Trump’s demand that US investors should hold the majority in Tiktok should also be fulfilled. Officially, Trump took action against the platform over security concerns. In particular, he charged the company with delivering US user data to Chinese authorities. With agencies

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“Big Brother Award” for the Groko (neue-deutschland.de)

In 2020, the negative “Big Brother Award” for data abuse, surveillance and privacy violations goes to the federal government, two federal states and the US car manufacturer Tesla. This can be found in the jury’s statement, which “nd” was presented to before the award ceremony on Friday evening.

The grand coalition of CDU and SPD received the unpopular prize because of their legal and political responsibility for the US drone war, which is contrary to international law and which is being carried out via the US military base in Ramstein in the Palatinate, according to the jury. Armed drone operations to research target persons and illegal executions in the Near and Middle East would be controlled from German soil. Uninvolved civilians would regularly fall victim to the operations. “We are ultimately dealing with a murder program,” said the laudatory speech by peace activist Rolf Gössner from the International League for Human Rights.

The data protection association Digitalcourage awards the prize in the digitization category to the state of Baden-Württemberg for the decision to let Microsoft operate essential services of the state’s digital education platform. The association accuses the responsible minister, Susanne Eisenmann (CDU), of delivering data and emails from teachers and students not only to the US company, but also to the US secret services. Eisenmann ignored warnings from privacy advocates and a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), according to the statement of reasons.

In the authorities and administration category, the state of Brandenburg received the “Big Brother Award” because it has permanently saved license plates. According to the laudation, the state has been archiving information on vehicles in over 40 million records for years, although the Federal Constitutional Court has drawn clear limits.

In the mobility category, the US company Tesla received the award for monitoring vehicle occupants and the environment. “The automaker Tesla has received a lot of recognition for its electric cars. For many rich and eco-friendly, the cars have cult status, ”said the jury. The fact that these are monitoring systems on four wheels does not seem to matter. “The hip cars from California have sensors for practically everything that happens to, in and around the car.” What happens to the collected data in detail remains unclear.

Further prizes are awarded in the categories of the world of work and the oblivion of history. With agencies

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Trump blocks Tiktok in the USA (neue-deutschland.de)

Foto: XinHua/dpa

Washington. The US government will take action against Tiktok from Sunday and block the download of the Chinese video platform via the Google and Apple app marketplaces. The Department of Commerce in Washington justified the decision on Friday with threats to the “national security” of the United States. WeChat will no longer work on Sunday for users in the US, while it should be the case for Tiktok from November 12th. Trump has set the deadline within which national security concerns can still be allayed, said Minister of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

US President Donald Trump had asked the owner Bytedance to sell the US branch of the video platform by Sunday to prevent a ban. Trump suspects Tiktok of espionage for China, which the parent company Bytedance rejects. Trade Minister Wilbur Ross now said that the Communist Party had shown that it had “the means and the motives” to use the apps “to threaten national security”.

Most recently, the US software company Oracle intervened in the bidding dispute over the politically controversial video platform, which is particularly popular with young people, and submitted an offer for the US branch of the Chinese online service. Microsoft had previously left the bidding dispute.

Also Read: The Tik Tok Ban Is Politically Motivated – One Comment

Tiktok was created in 2017 by merging with the sing-along app Musical.ly, which had become successful with a lip-sync function for self-made videos. Tiktok users can create videos that are 15 to 60 seconds long: there is dancing in the clips, and they also contain parodies, skits and lots of beauty tips. With the help of artificial intelligence, the app, which is particularly popular with young people, determines user preferences and suggests more videos to them. Agencies / nd

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Florida before the election: Circus Maximus in Sarasota – Politics

Sarasota, Florida is a retirement haven and completely unpredictable for the US elections. No wonder that every vote is fought here. About preachers, bullies and a few elephants.

From

Christian Zaschke, Sarasota

It’s not like retired Priest Michael Povey lost faith in God that day three years ago. But something had changed fundamentally. He was sitting in St. Boniface Episcopal Church, a church where he lived in Sarasota, Florida, listening to the service and he wondered, What am I doing here? He noticed that he was now thinking of God as a kind of energy, and that he no longer believed in a physical heaven, nor in a hell, even though a suspiciously reddish-orange shimmering man in the White House a good 1500 kilometers further north in Washington sat who exuded fire and anger. Povey understood that the big questions have to be resolved in the here and now, and the current, non-existential, but deeply soul-searching question is whether Donald Trump will remain President of the United States of America.

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Nord Stream 2: twice next to it (neue-deutschland.de)

Photo: Christoph Soeder / dpa

There seems to be something to the explosive content of a newspaper report, because the Treasury Department did not want to deny it: Head of Department Olaf Scholz is said to have offered the USA to finance the infrastructure for US imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Germany, should Washington do so in return Abolish sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline. Apparently, the SPD candidate-designate is looking for a compromise in a dispute that the Donald Trump administration unilaterally and in violation of international law has unilaterally launched in order to enforce foreign and economic interests. Scholz’s proposal would more or less reward this brutal approach.

The process gives a deep insight into what could be expected of him as head of government in these policy areas. This also applies to the increasingly important field of climate protection: Germany is already being supplied with sufficient natural gas; an expansion of the greenhouse gas-intensive energy source may no longer take place if Germany really takes the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement seriously. But instead of stopping the LNG expansion and the new pipeline, Scholz (like CDU Economics Minister Peter Altmaier) wants to have both. In short: twice wrong!

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After Breonna Taylor dies: City pays millions to loved ones

The Mayor of Louisville announces reforms. The African American Breonna Taylor was shot dead during a police operation.

Mourning Breonna Taylor: Memorial ceremony in Louisville on September 10th Foto: Bryan Woolston/reuters

LOUISVILLE dpa | Six months after the police killing of Afro-American Breonna Taylor in a police operation, the city of Louisville has settled a civil lawsuit with a high severance payment and a promise of police reform. Taylor’s family will receive 12 million US dollars (10 million euros), Mayor Greg Fischer told journalists on Tuesday, September 15.

The criminal proceedings with the decision on a possible charge against the police officers responsible for Taylor’s death are still pending, said Fischer. “The truth has to come out,” he demanded. This is “just the beginning to get justice for Breonna,” emphasized her mother Tamika Palmer.

Due to a search warrant, the police broke the door to the 26-year-old paramedic’s apartment on March 13, apparently without warning. Then there was an exchange of fire between Taylor’s partner and the police. Taylor was hit by eight bullets, according to media reports.

As part of the deal with Taylor’s family, the Kentucky mayor announced mandatory police reforms. In the future, among other things, every use of force by police officers is to be closely followed and, if necessary, examined by a newly created control authority.

Police reforms against structural racism

In addition, with the help of a new program, police officers should also be able to be accompanied by social workers during operations. Fischer also promised stricter control of search warrants and more transparency in police operations. Good police officers value greater openness, explained Fischer.

A family lawyer, Lonita Baker, said it was always about more than just compensation. The police reforms are a starting point to fight structural racism in the city. Another lawyer, Ben Crump, said the family payment was the largest ever settlement payment in the United States for a police-induced black death.

Crump demanded that the officers responsible should be arrested and charged “immediately”. The attorney also represents the family of African American George Floyd, who was killed by police officers in the state of Minnesota in late May.

The brutal and videotaped killing of Floyd had sparked nationwide protests against racism and police violence. It was only the indignation after Floyd’s death that made Taylor’s case known nationwide. Since then, many politicians and celebrities, including pop superstar Beyoncé and presenter Oprah Winfrey, have been calling for charges in Breonna Taylor’s case.

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