Trump 2.0: Military Parades and Controversial Pardons;Hamas Stalemate: No Ceasefire Without Israeli Withdrawal;Mystik Dan's Belmont Stakes Decision Looms:Defense Briefing20240531

Welcome to our 《Defense Briefing》 show, I’m your host: Liang Jun. Today, we’ve got a lineup of riveting stories that you won’t want to miss. First up, we dive into a speculative piece on what a second term for former President Donald Trump might look like. Imagine military parades, controversial pardons, and a whole lot of inflammatory rhetoric. The article raises serious concerns about the potential erosion of democratic norms and the continuation of divisive rhetoric under a Trump 2.0 presidency. It suggests that Trump’s rise is deeply rooted in America’s past and warns of the dangers of ignoring these darker aspects of history. The 2024 election between Trump and President Joe Biden is shaping up to be another intense chapter in America’s ongoing political saga. Stay tuned as we unravel more details on this intriguing topic. Next, we turn our attention to the Middle East, where Hamas has made it clear that they will not enter negotiations unless Israel stops its military actions in Gaza. The group demands a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces, a permanent ceasefire, and the return of displaced Palestinians. Both sides have blamed each other for the lack of progress, making the path to peace seem ever more elusive. We’ll delve deeper into the complexities of this situation and what it means for the future of the region. And finally, horse racing fans, get ready! Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness runner-up Mystik Dan is on track to run in the Belmont Stakes on June 8. Trainer Kenny McPeek is still weighing his options but plans to make a decision by the end of the weekend. If Mystik Dan doesn’t run, McPeek might enter Kentucky Oaks-winning filly Thorpedo Anna against the colts. This year’s Belmont Stakes promises to be a thrilling race, especially with the reconstruction of its traditional home in New York. Please stay tuned for more detailed coverage on these stories and much more. Thank you for joining us, and remember, keep watching for the full scoop!

The Sydney Morning Herald

In envisioning a second Trump presidency, the landscape is painted with bold strokes of past actions and stated intentions. Trump’s penchant for grandiosity might see him stage a massive military parade, reminiscent of North Korean displays, complete with tanks and choppers. His inaugural address could echo his prior inflammatory rhetoric, potentially accusing immigrants of “poisoning the blood of our country” or signaling a retreat from NATO. His first executive actions might include pardoning himself and ordering mass deportations. Trump’s authoritarian tendencies, hinted at by his admiration for strongmen, could lead to a constitutional crisis if he attempts to extend his presidency beyond two terms. The historical context of American political violence, from the Revolutionary War to the January 6 insurrection, underscores the persistent allure of a strongman leader. Trump’s rise is not an anomaly but a product of a national history steeped in selective recollection and a glorified sense of exceptionalism.

Al Jazeera

Hamas has declared it will not engage in further negotiations unless Israel halts its military operations in Gaza. Despite mediation efforts by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States, talks have stalled. Hamas has shown willingness to negotiate, including a recent agreement to a mediator’s proposal, but insists on a permanent ceasefire, withdrawal of Israeli forces, and the return of displaced families. Israel, determined to dismantle Hamas, continues its offensive, claiming it aims to rescue hostages and eliminate fighters. The conflict has resulted in significant casualties and destruction in Gaza, with humanitarian conditions worsening. Despite international calls for restraint, Israel presses on, exacerbating the crisis and leaving Palestinians with dwindling hope and resources.

Associated Press

Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness runner-up Mystik Dan is poised to compete in the Belmont Stakes at Saratoga, the final leg of the Triple Crown. Trainer Kenny McPeek is cautiously optimistic, noting Mystik Dan’s strong post-Preakness condition and performance at Saratoga. The Belmont Stakes, shortened to 1 1/4 miles this year due to track constraints, could see a rematch with Derby runner-up Sierra Leone and Preakness winner Seize the Grey. McPeek also considers running Kentucky Oaks-winning filly Thorpedo Anna, highlighting her potential against the colts. The Belmont’s relocation to Saratoga, necessitated by renovations at its traditional venue, and the shorter distance have influenced trainers’ decisions, setting the stage for a competitive race.

Associated Press: Police in Clarksville, Tennessee, are urgently seeking public assistance and following leads in the tragic killing of 23-year-old Army soldier Pfc. Katia Dueñas Aguilar, who was discovered dead in a home near Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The soldier’s family is preparing for her funeral in Dallas, where members of her unit, the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, are expected to attend. Dueñas Aguilar, who served as an information technology specialist, was found dead on May 18, and her death has been ruled a homicide. The 101st Airborne Division is providing support to her family in Mesquite, Texas, and has urged anyone with information to contact the police. Her family and The League of United Latin American Citizens have offered a $55,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Dueñas Aguilar, who enlisted in 2018 and had been stationed at Fort Campbell since 2019, leaves behind a 4-year-old son. The Clarksville Police Department and Army investigators are collaborating on the case.

Associated Press: Kentucky’s tourism industry is on a record-setting trajectory in 2023, generating nearly $14 billion in economic impact while sustaining close to 100,000 jobs, according to Governor Andy Beshear. Travelers spent $9.7 billion in the Bluegrass State last year, marking a significant post-pandemic recovery. Beshear celebrated this achievement at Castle & Key Distillery, highlighting that the tourism sector produced $13.8 billion in economic impact and supported 95,222 jobs in 2022. Key attractions include horse farms, bourbon distilleries, outdoor adventures, and historical sites. Bourbon tourism is particularly thriving, with over 2.5 million visitors last year. Tourism generated $4.2 billion in Jefferson County, $2.1 billion in Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties, $1.6 billion in Fayette County, $477 million in Warren County, and $319 million in McCracken County. State Tourism Commissioner Mike Mangeot praised the tourism officials and hospitality workers who contribute to the sector’s success, calling them “frontline ambassadors.”

CBC: About two dozen protesters gathered outside Lakehead University’s convocation ceremony in Thunder Bay, Ontario, urging the school to disclose its investments and divest from companies supporting Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza. The 2023 auditor’s report shows Lakehead holds over $143 million in long-term investments, but details are not provided. Student activist Andrew Wilson, leading the demonstration, emphasized the need for responsible investment and plans to meet with university officials to discuss the issue further. The protest aimed to raise awareness among new graduates and their families. Similar demonstrations have occurred across North America, with students demanding universities cease business with Israel or related companies. Lakehead University issued a statement affirming its commitment to freedom of expression and zero tolerance for discrimination, ensuring convocation remains safe. The ongoing conflict has resulted in significant casualties, with over 36,000 Palestinians killed and around 1,200 Israelis dead. Chris Houghton of Palestine Solidarity Thunder Bay highlighted the personal impact and parallels between the plight of Palestinians and Indigenous-Canadians.

Yahoo US: The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Oklahoma City Public Schools, accusing the district of violating federal law by not reinstating Air Force reservist Senior Airman Michael McCullough to his teaching position after his deployment. The complaint, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, states that the school district ignored the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), which mandates employers to rehire service members returning from over 90 days of military duty. McCullough had faced a similar issue previously with the district, highlighting a pattern of non-compliance. Despite informing his principal and the district about his orders and subsequent extensions, McCullough was forced to reapply for his job through standard recruitment channels, leading to an investigation by the Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). The DOJ is seeking compensation for McCullough’s lost wages and benefits, and a court order for his reemployment.

Washington Post: The French presidency has confirmed that Russia will not be invited to the 80th anniversary ceremonies of the D-Day landings in Normandy, citing the ongoing war in Ukraine as the primary reason. This decision marks a significant departure from previous commemorations where Russian representatives were acknowledged for the Soviet Union’s sacrifices during World War II. The event, which will be attended by President Biden, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and other global leaders, will honor the historic contributions of Allied forces in the 1944 invasion that paved the way for the defeat of Nazi Germany. Despite the exclusion, the Elysee assured that Soviet wartime contributions would still be recognized, emphasizing that there would be no historical erasure. This move is seen as a strong rebuke to Russia amidst its aggressive actions in Ukraine, contrasting with past events where Russian President Vladimir Putin had been invited, such as the 70th anniversary in 2014.

Yahoo US: Notre Dame has announced the kickoff time for their upcoming football game against Navy, which will take place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. Scheduled for October 26 at 12:00 p.m. ET, the game will be televised on either ABC or ESPN. This match marks the 97th meeting between the two teams and is one of three games Notre Dame will play in professional stadiums this fall, including venues like Mercedes Benz Stadium and Yankee Stadium. The Fighting Irish have a strong historical record against Navy, leading the series 82-13-1 and securing a dominant 42-3 victory in their last encounter in Dublin, Ireland. The announcement adds to the excitement for fans eagerly anticipating the storied rivalry’s continuation.

NY Times: In recent days, Ukraine has launched a series of audacious drone attacks deep within Russian territory, targeting radar stations integral to Moscow’s early nuclear warning systems. On Monday, a Ukrainian drone struck a radar station near the Kazakhstan border, over 1,100 miles away, which experts say was used to detect missile threats from Asia. The following day, the governor of Russia’s Krasnodar region reported another Ukrainian drone downed over Armavir, a town housing two radar stations. While Ukraine did not announce new strikes that day, these actions underscore Kyiv’s strategic use of its own drones and missiles. Amid these developments, Ukrainian officials have been pressing the U.S. for permission to use powerful American-made weapons against Russia. Initially resistant to these appeals, the Biden administration has now allowed Ukraine to use such weapons, albeit strictly against military sites attacking the Kharkiv area. However, the strikes on radar systems have raised concerns among American officials about potential escalation. By striking deeper into Russian territory, Ukraine aims to force Russia to spread its air defense systems thinner, preventing Moscow from concentrating its defensive efforts near the border. Military experts note that these strikes serve a strategic purpose, even if the radar systems themselves are not directly involved in the ongoing conflict.

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