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‘Vladimir Putin has had a good year, and it just keeps getting better’ thanks to Trump: WSJ editor

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The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Vladimir Putin has had an impressive 2019 as his U.S. protégé carries the water for the Russian leader, particularly on Ukraine.

“Even Mr. Putin must be amazed at how well he is achieving his goal of sowing discord within the U.S. political system,” wrote The Journal. “First, his agents interfered in the 2016 election. Now they can sit back and watch as their efforts to deflect blame away from Moscow and toward Ukraine are bearing fruit, in the form of a bitter American debate that is driving pro-Trump and anti-Trump forces further apart.”

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Fiona Hill, former official at the U.S. National Security Council specializing in Russian and European affairs, testified that Trump and the GOP are doing nothing but promoting Russian GRU talking points.

“The impact of the successful 2016 Russian campaign remains evident today. Our nation is being torn apart. Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career foreign service is being undermined,” she testified to the House Intelligence Committee.

Trump’s withdrawal in Syria has opened a huge door for Russia’s defense working with Bashar al-Assad.

Putin even went so far as to brag about his impact in a press conference last week.

“Thank God no one is accusing us of interfering in the U.S. elections anymore; now they’re accusing Ukraine,” he chuckled.

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Meanwhile, in Britain, Borris Johnson announced another election as Parliament struggled to come to an agreement on Brexit.

“Regardless of whether Russia actually influenced the Brexit vote, the reality, three years later, is that Britain appears to be on the road toward exiting the EU in the messiest, most damaging way possible. What’s bad for European economic and political unity is good for Russia, so Mr. Putin can put the continuing Brexit mess as a big entry on the positive side of his 2019 ledger,” The Journal said.

To make matters worse, Putin’s dream of undermining NATO hasn’t yet come to fruition, but the group is descending into arguments about the future of the organization.

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“From Mr. Putin’s point of view, discord within the main Western military alliance is good news of the first order,” The Journal wrote.

Read the full report from The Wall Street Journal.

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Donald Trumps needs a coronavirus scapegoat — and right now it’s China

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"If we are at war, who is the enemy?" asks Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for The Washington Post in a smart piece that examines the question of who constitutes a target for a self-declared "wartime president."

While it is obvious that the enemy, in this case, is a tiny, sticky, invisible microbe that stubbornly gloms onto surfaces or leaps through the air to weaponize subway cars or shared gym equipment or a touch to the face.

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Some Trump supporters ‘delight’ in defying pandemic protocols to stick it to liberals: report

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A new report from The Atlantic's McKay Coppins reveals that some conservative Trump supporters are intentionally defying recommended social distancing protocols as a way to stick it to their political foes.

In his article, Coppins interviews Georgia resident Geoff Frost, who says that older conservatives who play at his local country club have made a habit of blowing off recommendations against shaking hands and sharing golf carts during the worst public health crisis the United States has faced in decades.

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Alternet 2020

Pandemic modelers warn that Trump’s lies may increase the spread of COVID-19

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Epidemiologists model how an infectious disease outbreak may spread within and between communities. The computer models are based on research into past epidemics, the virulence of a pathogen,the  severity of the illness it causes and various other factors. But these scientists assume that leaders will offer a coherent response to the crisis, and that people will modify their behavior appropriately. Trump, the conservative press and the Republican base are upending those assumptions.

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