‘Unite the Right’ Doesn’t Live Up to the Hype

The people who attended dueling rallies in the nation’s capital Saturday and Sunday came to be heard, although their messages were vastly different.

About two dozen white supremacists, some shielding their faces behind masks and unfurled American flags, rallied in a park across the street from the White House Sunday afternoon but the event ended under rainy skies before the official 5:30 p.m. start time.

Jason Kessler, the man who organized the event in support of “white civil rights,” expected between 100 and 400 people to attend, according to the permit he received from the National Park Service.

“I’m O.K. with sharing this country with people from around the world,” Kessler said, speaking from a platform before the rally’s official start time, “but if you bring in too many people at once, it’s not the same country anymore and that’s what they’re doing and that’s why a lot of white people feel aggrieved.”

Kessler also said he is not a white nationalist. Journalists were kept away from the rally site and could not directly interview the participants.

Kessler and his group of protesters arrived at and departed Lafayette Park under police protection. They were far outnumbered by anti-hate protesters at a counter rally. A heavy law enforcement presence, and a temporary metal fence, kept the opposing groups away from each other.

Marcia Gaysue, a web content manager from nearby Silver Spring, Maryland, who joined the counter-protests, said she felt uneasy about being in the same vicinity as white supremacists.

“You hear about it but to actually be here, see, experience it, is something I can’t describe. It’s mind-boggling to think that in 2018, we’re still doing this,” said Gaysue.

“Being black in America is a very difficult thing at the moment so I wanted to be out here…I feel like sitting at home is not really going to do anything.”

Leah Sink-Barth, the wife of a U.S. military officer and stay-at-home mother of two teenagers, also attended the counter-protest and referred to Kessler and his group as a “bunch of Nazis.”

“I’m scared for my friends that are immigrants, I’m scared for my black friends, my brown friends,” said Sink-Barth. “I just felt, as a white woman, that I wanted to show my solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. And I just wanted to show my brothers and sisters my support because I don’t know their struggle on a daily basis. And if I can come down and show that people are supporting them, that we are against fascism and xenophobia, racism, then at least I did something as a human being.”

Earlier in the day, before the protests began, the white nationalists gathered at a metro station in Northern Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C., to travel into the nation’s capital. They were jeered by counter-protesters as they exited the metro stop at the end of their short trip before marching to the site of their rally near the White House.

One of the Unite the Right marchers shook a U.S. flag at the heckling counter-protesters and said, “America, baby, America.”

The white nationalist event, called Unite the Right II, came one year after the first Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists, neo-Nazis and members of other hate groups, marched across the University of Virginia campus and clashed with counter-demonstrators in the city. A self-described Nazi is accused of ramming his vehicle into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing a 32-year-old woman named Heather Heyer.

“I would prefer that we didn’t have any identity politics. I would prefer that we could not see race at all,” rally organizer Kessler said at Sunday’s rally. “[But] no one [is] advocating for white people and that’s got to change.”

Counter-protesters screamed and threw water bottles at a man and woman leaving Sunday’s rally wearing Trump 2020 t-shirts. When someone in the crowd told them to get out of his city, the woman answered with a smile, “It’s my city, too.”

A French tourist who happened to come across Sunday’s protests says his impression of the United States has recently changed.

“America is great already, there are plenty of things that are good,” said Arnaud Fourcans. “At the moment it seems like things are going backwards. And that’s not the way I used to see America earlier.”

Counter-protester Jesse Belsky came dressed for a luau, which is a traditional Hawaiian party that typically features entertainment. He saw his outfit as a way to mock the white supremacists who carried tiki torches in Charlottesville last year. Belsky said he’s “disappointed, saddened and concerned” about the current political and social climate in the United States.

“I hope we can make a strong left turn towards civility and moderation and democracy,” Belsky said, “and, you know, find our better selves and be better than we are right now.”

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Erdogan Claims Lira Plunge a ‘Political Plot’ Against Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embroiled in a bitter dispute with the U.S., a NATO ally, contended Sunday the plunging value of his country’s lira currency amounted to a “political plot” against Turkey.

Erdogan, speaking to political supporters in the Black Sea resort of Trabzon, said, “The aim of the operation is to make Turkey surrender in all areas, from finance to politics. We are once again facing a political, underhand plot. With God’s permission we will overcome this.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has feuded with Erdogan over several issues, including the detention of an American pastor in Turkey, whom Turkey has held since 2016 and accused of espionage. Turkey last month released the evangelical preacher from a prison, but is still detaining him under house arrest pending his trial, despite the demands of the U.S.

With the dispute intensifying, Trump on Friday doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, sending the beleaguered lira plunging 16 percent, part of a 40 percent plummet for the currency this year. In early Asian trading Monday, the lira fell to a record low of 7.06 against the dollar.

“What is the reason for all this storm in a tea cup?” Erdogan said. “There is no economic reason for this … This is called carrying out an operation against Turkey.”

Erdogan renewed his call for Turks to sell dollars and buy lira to boost the currency, while telling business owners to not stockpile the American currency.

“I am specifically addressing our manufacturers: Do not rush to the banks to buy dollars,” he said. “Do not take a stance saying, ‘We are bankrupt, we are done, we should guarantee ourselves.’ If you do that, that would be wrong. You should know that to keep this nation standing is … also the manufacturers’ duty.”

Erdogan signaled he was not looking to offer concessions to the United States, or financial markets.

“We will give our answer, by shifting to new markets, new partnerships and new alliances,” said Erdogan, who in recent years has built closer ties with countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. “Some close the doors and some others open new ones.”

He indicated Turkey’s relationship with Washington was imperiled.

“We can only say ‘good-bye’ to anyone who sacrifices its strategic partnership and a half century alliance with a country of 81 million for the sake of relations with terror groups,” he said. “You dare to sacrifice 81-million Turkey for a priest who is linked to terror groups?”

American pastor Andrew Brunson, if convicted, faces a jail term of 35 years. Trump has described his detention as a “total disgrace” and urged Erdogan to free him immediately.

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Erdogan Claims Lira Plunge a ‘Political Plot’ Against Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embroiled in a bitter dispute with the U.S., a NATO ally, contended Sunday the plunging value of his country’s lira currency amounted to a “political plot” against Turkey.

Erdogan, speaking to political supporters in the Black Sea resort of Trabzon, said, “The aim of the operation is to make Turkey surrender in all areas, from finance to politics. We are once again facing a political, underhand plot. With God’s permission we will overcome this.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has feuded with Erdogan over several issues, including the detention of an American pastor in Turkey, whom Turkey has held since 2016 and accused of espionage. Turkey last month released the evangelical preacher from a prison, but is still detaining him under house arrest pending his trial, despite the demands of the U.S.

With the dispute intensifying, Trump on Friday doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, sending the beleaguered lira plunging 16 percent, part of a 40 percent plummet for the currency this year. In early Asian trading Monday, the lira fell to a record low of 7.06 against the dollar.

“What is the reason for all this storm in a tea cup?” Erdogan said. “There is no economic reason for this … This is called carrying out an operation against Turkey.”

Erdogan renewed his call for Turks to sell dollars and buy lira to boost the currency, while telling business owners to not stockpile the American currency.

“I am specifically addressing our manufacturers: Do not rush to the banks to buy dollars,” he said. “Do not take a stance saying, ‘We are bankrupt, we are done, we should guarantee ourselves.’ If you do that, that would be wrong. You should know that to keep this nation standing is … also the manufacturers’ duty.”

Erdogan signaled he was not looking to offer concessions to the United States, or financial markets.

“We will give our answer, by shifting to new markets, new partnerships and new alliances,” said Erdogan, who in recent years has built closer ties with countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. “Some close the doors and some others open new ones.”

He indicated Turkey’s relationship with Washington was imperiled.

“We can only say ‘good-bye’ to anyone who sacrifices its strategic partnership and a half century alliance with a country of 81 million for the sake of relations with terror groups,” he said. “You dare to sacrifice 81-million Turkey for a priest who is linked to terror groups?”

American pastor Andrew Brunson, if convicted, faces a jail term of 35 years. Trump has described his detention as a “total disgrace” and urged Erdogan to free him immediately.

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Omarosa Says she Secretly Taped her Firing, Plays Audio

Former presidential adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman said Sunday she secretly recorded conversations she had in the White House, including her firing by chief of staff John Kelly in the high-security Situation Room. It was a highly unusual admission, which immediately drew fire from allies of the president.

Parts of her conversation with Kelly were played on the air during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to promote her new book, “Unhinged,” which will be released next week.

 

In it, she paints a damning picture of President Donald Trump, including claiming without evidence that tapes exist of him using the N-word as he filmed his “The Apprentice” reality series, on which she co-starred.

 

Manigault Newman said in the book that she had not personally heard the recording. But she told Chuck Todd on Sunday that, after the book had closed, she was able to hear a recording of Trump during a trip to Los Angeles.

 

“I heard his voice as clear as you and I are sitting here,” she said on the show.

 

But the other recording she discussed Sunday could prove equally explosive.

 

“Who in their right mind thinks it’s appropriate to secretly record the White House chief of staff in the Situation Room?” tweeted Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee.

 

The Situation Room is a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF, and staff are not permitted to bring in cell phones or other recording devices.

 

In the recording played on air, and which Manigault Newman quotes in the book, Kelly can be heard saying she can look at her time at the White House as a year of “service to the nation” and referring to potential “difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.”

 

Manigault Newman said she viewed the comment as a “threat” and defended her decision to covertly record it and other White House conversations, describing it as a form of protection.

 

“If I didn’t have these recordings, no one in America would believe me,” she said.

 

The White House did not immediately respond to the tape, but has tried to discredit the book. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it “riddled with lies and false accusations” and Trump on Saturday labeled Manigault Newman a “lowlife.”

 

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also questioned Manigault Newman’s credibility in an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

 

“The first time I ever heard Omarosa suggest those awful things about this president are in this book,” she said, noting Manigault Newman “is somebody who gave a glowing appraisal of Donald Trump the businessman, the star of the ‘The Apprentice,’ the candidate and, indeed, the president of the United States.”

 

Conway said that, in her more than two years working with Trump, she has never heard him use a racial slur about anyone.

 

Manigault Newman had indeed been a staunch defender of the president for years, including pushing back, as the highest-profile African-American in the White House, on accusations that he was racist.

 

But Manigault Newman now says she was “used” by Trump for years, calling him a “con” who “has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities” and is “truly a racist.”

 

“I was complicit with this White House deceiving this nation,” she said. “I had a blind spot where it came to Donald Trump.”

 

On the anniversary of the deadly gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, Manigault Newman told Todd that Trump uses race to “stir up his base” and doesn’t have the ability to bring the country together “because he puts himself over country every day.”

 

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Omarosa Says she Secretly Taped her Firing, Plays Audio

Former presidential adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman said Sunday she secretly recorded conversations she had in the White House, including her firing by chief of staff John Kelly in the high-security Situation Room. It was a highly unusual admission, which immediately drew fire from allies of the president.

Parts of her conversation with Kelly were played on the air during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to promote her new book, “Unhinged,” which will be released next week.

 

In it, she paints a damning picture of President Donald Trump, including claiming without evidence that tapes exist of him using the N-word as he filmed his “The Apprentice” reality series, on which she co-starred.

 

Manigault Newman said in the book that she had not personally heard the recording. But she told Chuck Todd on Sunday that, after the book had closed, she was able to hear a recording of Trump during a trip to Los Angeles.

 

“I heard his voice as clear as you and I are sitting here,” she said on the show.

 

But the other recording she discussed Sunday could prove equally explosive.

 

“Who in their right mind thinks it’s appropriate to secretly record the White House chief of staff in the Situation Room?” tweeted Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee.

 

The Situation Room is a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF, and staff are not permitted to bring in cell phones or other recording devices.

 

In the recording played on air, and which Manigault Newman quotes in the book, Kelly can be heard saying she can look at her time at the White House as a year of “service to the nation” and referring to potential “difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.”

 

Manigault Newman said she viewed the comment as a “threat” and defended her decision to covertly record it and other White House conversations, describing it as a form of protection.

 

“If I didn’t have these recordings, no one in America would believe me,” she said.

 

The White House did not immediately respond to the tape, but has tried to discredit the book. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it “riddled with lies and false accusations” and Trump on Saturday labeled Manigault Newman a “lowlife.”

 

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also questioned Manigault Newman’s credibility in an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

 

“The first time I ever heard Omarosa suggest those awful things about this president are in this book,” she said, noting Manigault Newman “is somebody who gave a glowing appraisal of Donald Trump the businessman, the star of the ‘The Apprentice,’ the candidate and, indeed, the president of the United States.”

 

Conway said that, in her more than two years working with Trump, she has never heard him use a racial slur about anyone.

 

Manigault Newman had indeed been a staunch defender of the president for years, including pushing back, as the highest-profile African-American in the White House, on accusations that he was racist.

 

But Manigault Newman now says she was “used” by Trump for years, calling him a “con” who “has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities” and is “truly a racist.”

 

“I was complicit with this White House deceiving this nation,” she said. “I had a blind spot where it came to Donald Trump.”

 

On the anniversary of the deadly gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, Manigault Newman told Todd that Trump uses race to “stir up his base” and doesn’t have the ability to bring the country together “because he puts himself over country every day.”

 

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‘Everybody Should See This’: Perseids Light Up Bosnian Sky

A meteor shower lit up the skies above eastern Bosnia Saturday night, giving star gazers a rare opportunity to see a display of shooting stars with the naked eye.

“I think that everybody should see this,” said Miralem Mehic, a Bosnian from an international group of star gazers who watched the light show at the Sand Pyramids, an area of naturally occurring sand columns, near the town of Foca.

The so-called Perseids meteor shower returns to the skies every August and are best viewed in the northern hemisphere in isolated areas where there is little light pollution.

They arise when the Earth passes through the debris of Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862.

Meteors are parts of rock and dust that hit the Earth’s atmosphere, heat up and glow. Most vaporize as they descend, but some explode.

“This year the moon is young and will not obstruct the vision, so we will be able to see 100 ‘shooting stars’ an hour,” Muhamed Muminovic, a member of the Sarajevo Orion astrological society, told Reuters.

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‘Everybody Should See This’: Perseids Light Up Bosnian Sky

A meteor shower lit up the skies above eastern Bosnia Saturday night, giving star gazers a rare opportunity to see a display of shooting stars with the naked eye.

“I think that everybody should see this,” said Miralem Mehic, a Bosnian from an international group of star gazers who watched the light show at the Sand Pyramids, an area of naturally occurring sand columns, near the town of Foca.

The so-called Perseids meteor shower returns to the skies every August and are best viewed in the northern hemisphere in isolated areas where there is little light pollution.

They arise when the Earth passes through the debris of Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862.

Meteors are parts of rock and dust that hit the Earth’s atmosphere, heat up and glow. Most vaporize as they descend, but some explode.

“This year the moon is young and will not obstruct the vision, so we will be able to see 100 ‘shooting stars’ an hour,” Muhamed Muminovic, a member of the Sarajevo Orion astrological society, told Reuters.

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‘Everybody Should See This’: Perseids Light up Bosnian Sky

A meteor shower lit up the skies above eastern Bosnia Saturday night, giving star gazers a rare opportunity to see a display of shooting stars with the naked eye.

“I think that everybody should see this,” said Miralem Mehic, a Bosnian from an international group of star gazers who watched the light show at the Sand Pyramids, an area of naturally occurring sand columns, near the town of Foca.

The so-called Perseids meteor shower returns to the skies every August and are best viewed in the northern hemisphere in isolated areas where there is little light pollution.

They arise when the Earth passes through the debris of Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862.

Meteors are parts of rock and dust that hit the Earth’s atmosphere, heat up and glow. Most vaporize as they descend, but some explode.

“This year the moon is young and will not obstruct the vision, so we will be able to see 100 ‘shooting stars’ an hour,” Muhamed Muminovic, a member of the Sarajevo Orion astrological society, told Reuters.

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