Saturday, February 4, 2017

U.S. Army Corps Gives Eviction Notice to Dakota Access Protest Camp

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given a evacuation order to those protesting at the Dakota Access Pipeline camp in Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

In a statement Friday evening, the Corps said it would close the Oceti Sakowin Camp, which sits on approximately 50 acres of Corps land, on Feb. 22 due to the "high potential for flooding" in the low-lying area.

The land sits at the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball Rivers, which the Corps says puts it at particular risk of flooding after a winter of record snowfall in the region. 

Click here for the full article. 

White House Pushes Back After Judge Puts a Hold on Donald Trump's Travel Ban

President Trump's Weekly Address

Swearing in of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Friday, February 3, 2017

The FBI Has Quietly Investigated White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement

By Alice Speri

White supremacists and other domestic extremists maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies. A striking reference to that conclusion, notable for its confidence and the policy prescriptions that accompany it, appears in a classified FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from April 2015, obtained by The Intercept. The guide, which details the process by which the FBI enters individuals on a terrorism watchlist, the Known or Suspected Terrorist File, notes that “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers,” and explains in some detail how bureau policies have been crafted to take this infiltration into account.

Although these right-wing extremists have posed a growing threat for years, federal investigators have been reluctant to publicly address that threat or to point out the movement’s longstanding strategy of infiltrating the law enforcement community.

No centralized recruitment process or set of national standards exists for the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, many of which have deep historical connections to racist ideologies. As a result, state and local police as well as sheriff’s departments present ample opportunities for white supremacists and other right-wing extremists looking to expand their power base.

In a heavily redacted version of an October 2006 FBI internal intelligence assessment, the agency raised the alarm over white supremacist groups’ “historical” interest in “infiltrating law enforcement communities or recruiting law enforcement personnel.” The effort, the memo noted, “can lead to investigative breaches and can jeopardize the safety of law enforcement sources or personnel.” The memo also states that law enforcement had recently become aware of the term “ghost skins,” used among white supremacists to describe “those who avoid overt displays of their beliefs to blend into society and covertly advance white supremacist causes.” In at least one case, the FBI learned of a skinhead group encouraging ghost skins to seek employment with law enforcement agencies in order to warn crews of any investigations.

Click here for the full special report. 

Source: The Intercept

James Baldwin: 'I Am Not Your Negro'

Trump Has Dismissed the Overwhelming Evidence and Instead Stridently Defended Putin

By Askold Krushelnycky

Few think the savage upsurge in fighting in Ukraine following a telephone chat between US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin is a coincidence.

Many in Ukraine have been fearful that Trump, who during the presidential election campaign repeatedly praised the Russian dictator, will ditch crucial US support for Ukraine in return for improved relations with Moscow.

Within hours of Trump and Putin talking last Saturday fighting intensified in the eastern Ukrainian Donbas confrontation zone where Ukrainian troops face pro-Moscow separatists, armed and backed by Russian regulars to its worst since 2015. At least a dozen soldiers have been killed on each side and many more, including civilians, wounded.

The epicenter of the fighting is around the Ukrainian government-held town of Avdiyivka, a few miles from the rebel capital of Donetsk. Intense artillery and missile attacks by the separatists have knocked out electricity and water supplies.  Thousands of civilians, left without heat in freezing conditions and rapidly running out of food, face evacuation.

Predictably the Russians blame Ukrainians for the increased fighting.  If only Ukrainians did not defend their nation but rolled over and surrendered to Russia there would not be any fighting. Quite right. Bad obstinate Ukrainians!

The likeliest explanation  is that Putin is testing how far he can murderously ramp up the conflict in Donbas without triggering US criticism.

Possibly he has misunderstood the affectionate signals from Trump and believes he already has Washington’s tacit blessing to do what he likes in Russia's "backyard".   Or - the nastiest explanation - he really has received some back-channel assurance from Trump that America will no longer impede Putin’s ambitions to revive a new Russian empire.

If Trump had explicitly warned Moscow against intensifying the conflict in Ukraine that almost certainly would have prevented this escalation of the violence as Putin wouldn't want to snuff out a promising relationship just as it was beginning. 

Trump wouldn't even have had to introduce a brittle tone by warning Putin off directly during their telephone chat. He could have sent the message confidentially through diplomatic channels.  But it doesn't look like he did do that.

Failing to warn Putin that aggressive actions would harm attempts to improve relations between the US and Russia continues the pattern of Trump's fond posture towards the Russian dictator throughout the presidential election campaign. It conforms with Trump's repeated public praise of Putin; shrugging off Putin's aggression in Ukraine and war crimes in Syria.

Trump has encouraged Putin by mooting he might accept Russia's armed annexation of Crimea and is considering lifting the sanctions imposed on the Kremlin for shattering long-embedded international rules forbidding border changes by invasion and slaughter. 

While American intelligence agencies concluded that Russian security services tried to influence the US elections, Trump has dismissed the overwhelming evidence and instead stridently defended Putin.  He even compared CIA methods to those used by the Nazis.

Trump accused two senators from his own Republican party, who are outspokenly critical of Putin, of wanting to start World War Three.

So it's only natural that Putin assumes Trump is on his side.  The new American president has already handed Putin a great propaganda triumph. The sub-text message the Kremlin is spreading to the Russians and other suckers - is that Putin's all-seeing, strategic genius indeed was in full play during the US elections and the world is changing in his favor.

Trump has remained silent about the escalation of the conflict.  That further bolsters Putin's belief that Trump will fall in with Moscow's distorted, alternate reality, portrayal of the conflict.  Particularly that it’s all Ukraine’s fault and that Russia did not create the “separatists” trying to dismember Ukraine and is not propping them up with its regular forces.

The fact that the US has not firmly pinned the blame for the current increased killing where it belongs - on Putin - augurs ill.  I'm not sure whether the State Department has already been reduced to mumbling lame statements about "all sides should refrain from.........." but no wonder that Ukrainians are scared that Trump is about to sell their country down the Volga.

Trump seemingly would justify discarding Ukraine to its fate in Moscow's "sphere of influence" as a "great" deal that would ally Russia to America in a war on ISIS. But if Russia really wanted to make war on ISIS instead of bombing women and children in Syria, it could have been doing that already without being anyone's ally.  However, it hasn't. 

So if Trump's motive for buddying up to Putin isn't to gain Russia's alliance in a "war on terror" what is it?

One motive that has always driven Trump is greed.  And a clue to his infatuation with Putin could be the boast of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, last year that Russian "investors" were  "pouring" money into Trump's businesses.

This is one of the allegations that US intelligence agencies are quietly continuing to pursue about their president’s opaque dealings in Russia.

This week (Feb 2) Trump seemed to heap more insult on US intelligence agencies with an executive order lifting some sanctions on Russia's FSB secret police to do with their acquiring internet technology.

At the Kremlin and the Lubyanka they must be laughing loudly. But perhaps this latest insult will cause the CIA and others to approach exploring Trump’s past with added relish. 

Askold Krushelnycky is a British citizen and freelance journalist whose parents were refugees from Ukraine. He is the author of “An Orange Revolution – A Personal Journey Through Ukrainian History”, which was published in 2006 by Random House/Harvill Secker. He is working on a second book that will focus on the turbulent events in Ukraine since the fall of 2013, when mass demonstrations turned into revolution and, ultimately, the present conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

President Trump Signs Executive Orders on Financial Regulations

President Trump signs two executive orders calling on federal agencies to review financial regulations limiting commissions on sales of financial products and prohibiting banks from making speculative investments. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

White House Policy and Strategy Forum

President Trump delivers remarks at an economic strategy and policy forum in the State Dining Room at the White House. He says his administration will roll back the Dodd-Frank Act.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Prime Minister Turnbull Remarks on Phone Call with President Trump

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks with a reporter about his recent phone call with President Trump, during which the two discussed an Obama administration commitment to resettle refugees Australia has been housing.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

U.S. House Repeals Regulation Preventing Gun Sales to Severely Mentally Ill

User-Created Clip
by etouhey
February 2, 2017 

The House voted Thursday 235-180 to roll back an Obama administration regulation aimed at restricting gun sales to people with severe mental illness. The measure, which is backed by the NRA, now moves to the Senate and is expected to be signed by President Trump if it reaches his desk.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

White House Press Briefing

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Iran

The following statement was issued by National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. 

Today, the United States sanctioned twenty-five individuals and entities that provide support to Iran’s ballistic missile program and to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and engages in and supports violent activities that destabilize the Middle East. This behavior seems continuous despite the very favorable deal given to Iran by the Obama Administration. These sanctions target these behaviors.

Iran’s senior leadership continues to threaten the United States and our allies. Since the Obama Administration agreed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran in 2015, Iran’s belligerent and lawless behavior has only increased. Examples include the abduction of ten of our sailors and two patrol boats in January 2016, unwarranted harassment of vessel traffic and repeated weapons tests. Just this week, Iran tested a ballistic missile, and one of its proxy terrorist groups attacked a Saudi vessel in the Red Sea.

The international community has been too tolerant of Iran’s bad behavior. The ritual of convening a United Nations Security Council in an emergency meeting and issuing a strong statement is not enough.  The Trump Administration will no longer tolerate Iran’s provocations that threaten our interests.
The days of turning a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Sessions' Embrace of Racist Law One More Reason to Reject His Confirmation as Attorney General

By Mark Potok
Senior Fellow, Southern Poverty Law Center 

When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 on Liberty Island, he had no doubt about the perniciousness of the law that it was replacing. The 1924 Immigration Act, which imposed a racist quota system favoring Northern European whites, was a "cruel and enduring wrong," a "harsh injustice" and "un-American in the highest sense," he said at the signing ceremony.

“We can now believe that [the 1924 law] will never again shadow the gate to the American Nation with the twin barriers of prejudice and privilege,” he said. He added that “the American Nation returns to the finest of its traditions today.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican seeking confirmation as President Trump’s nominee for U.S. attorney general, doesn’t see things the same way.

In an October 2015 interview with Stephen Bannon, then the chief of Breitbart News and now Trump’s chief strategic adviser, Sessions praised the law and said that between 1924 and 1965 it had “created really the solid middle class of America, with assimilated immigrants, and it was good for America,” The Atlantic reported

Click here for the full article.  

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center

Saving Our Youth: CSC Youth Violence Prevention Program

CSC’s Youth Violence Prevention Program reduces youth violence and violent crime by directly engaging high-risk youth (ages 14-24) and their families in multiple evidence-based activities.
CSC implements a community-based, multi-disciplinary approach that:

Strengthens advocacy support strategies

Certifies outreach workers in the District of Columbia with intensive training

Improves and expands the Gang Intervention Partnership (GIP) model

Supports youth and their families and redirects youth to positive youth development opportunities

Leads community education campaigns 

Additional information is available here

Source: Collaborative Solutions for Communities

'Flashback Friday': The Destruction of 'Black Wall Street'

This video was published on YouTube on February 4, 2015. 

Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma, (aka "Black Wall Street"), home to many prominent black businessmen and location of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot of Whites against Blacks, "one of the most devastating massacres in the history of US race relations"

Greenwood is a neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As one of the most successful and wealthiest African American communities in the United States during the early 20th Century, it was popularly known as America's "Black Wall Street" until the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. The invasion was one of the most devastating massacres in the history of US race relations, destroying the once thriving Greenwood community. 
Note: Some may find the content deeply disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

Trailblazers in Black History: Diahann Carroll

Her 1968 series Julia changed the game for black women on television. Playing a nurse and a single mother, Carroll’s Julia was poised, well-spoken, professional, beautiful and a devoted mother. When she joined Dynasty in the 1980s, she turned up the heat as Dominique Deveraux, proving that black women of a certain age could be just as glamorous and treacherous as Joan Collins’ Alexis. At 74, she’s still representing, proving that ageless beauty and glamour never go out of style. 

Source: The Grio

Dorothy Height Honored With Forever Stamp

To kick off Black history Month, the United States Postal Service added civil rights activist Dorothy Height to its Black Heritage Series on the Forever Stamp.

Height, dubbed by President Barack Obama the "godmother of civil rights," and a past National President of public service organization Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, was honored in a dedication ceremony at Howard University where the organization was founded in 1913. 

Click here for the full article.

Satirical Muslim-themed Valentine’s Day Cards Fight Back Against Islamophobia

"Let's Engage In Some Heavy Vetting"
"Are You Russian? Because You've Hacked Into My Heart"
"First Muslim Registry...Then Wedding Registry"
#MuslimVDay cards are back for Valentine's Day — this time, with a direct response to the current political environemnt.

Created in 2011 by artist and activist Tanzila Ahmed, #MuslimVDay cards are a series of satirical "Muslim-themed" Valentine's Day cards with new messages each year that joked about news of the day. Ahmed said she had retired the cards in 2015, but decided this year to bring them back in response to the rhetoric of the new Trump administration. 

Click here for the full article.

Trans Women a Target in One of World’s Most Dangerous Countries

Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and members of the LGBTQ community — particularly trans women — are at especially high risk. Transgender activist Ruby Ferreira has been fighting against discrimination for more than ten years, often at great personal cost.

Chris Matthews Pushes Kellyanne Conway on Use of Executive Power

Trump Met with CEOs of America’s Largest Companies to Push Pro-Jobs Agenda

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, told CNBC it had been a "fabulous meeting" and said the president "engaged forcefully" on every topic.

Steve Schwarzman, CEO of private equity firm Blackstone and chairman of the council that arranged Friday's meeting, said the session had been "spirited intellectually" and that the members had had a "balanced discussion" about "taxes, trade, infrastructure, women's issues, education, and how to bring home jobs in terms of training people in technology." 

Click here for the full article.

Israeli Settler Group Brushes Off Trump Settlement Warning

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli settlers on Friday downplayed White House criticism of settlement construction, instead looking forward to Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming meeting with Donald Trump, while Palestinians said the settlers' hard-line stance — with the new U.S. administration's blessing — could spell the end to a two-state solution to the conflict.

President Trump has been perceived as sympathetic to the settlements, an issue at the heart of the Israel-Palestinian conflict that was a frequent source of friction between his predecessor, Barack Obama, and Netanyahu. Israeli nationalists now believe they have an ally in the White House, and have made no secret they will push for more settlements in the West Bank. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

U.S. Hits Iran With New Sanctions for Ballistic Missile Test, Terrorism Sponsorship

The Trump administration hit Iran with new sanctions Friday following the test-firing of a medium-range ballistic missile, an action the White House says is in defiance of a U.N. resolution.

"Iran's continued support for terrorism and development of its ballistic missile program poses a threat to the region, to our partners worldwide, and to the United States," said John E. Smith, acting director of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The sanctions targeted three networks comprising 13 people and a dozen entities including a group affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps working with the terrorist group Hezbollah. The Trump administration maintains that none of these designations violate the Iran nuclear deal.

"Iran has a choice to make. We are going to continue to respond to their behavior in an ongoing way at an appropriate level to continue to pressure them to change their behavior," a senior administration official told NBC News. 

Click here for the full article.

Global Calls for Constraint Amid New Flare-Ups in Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists are being urged to pull their forces back from front line positions in the east of the country amid new flare-ups in fighting.

The call comes from the UN, the OSCE and aid groups, as concern mounts about a humanitarian crisis. 

The US Ambassador to the UN has condemned what she calls the aggressive actions of Russia.  

Click here for the full article/video.

Source: euronews.

EU Leaders Back New Steps to Stem Immigration from Africa

EU leaders have backed new steps to stem immigration from Africa, including financing migrant camps in Libya run by the UN-backed government.

The latest measures – largely led by Italy – are aimed at helping to fight people smugglers and improve conditions for migrants on the ground.

They were supported by leaders meeting at a summit in Malta.

In 2016, some 4,500 are estimated to have perished attempting to cross from North Africa to Italy.

Arriving at the Malta summit, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: “We will agree on a very relevant packages of measures that will help us manage the flows better save lives in partnership with the UN agencies, the UNHCR and the IOM, in Libya, in the countries of origin, having a strong external European initiative to decrease and avoid loss of lives.” 

Click here for the full article/video.

Source: euronews.

Louvre Attack 'Clearly Terrorist in Nature', Says French PM

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says a machete attack near the capital’s Louvre Museum was “clearly terrorist in nature.”

Anti-terror police have launched an investigation into the incident.

The head of Paris police, Michel Cadot said the assailant was “clearly aggressive and represented a direct threat.”

Click here for summary/video.

Source: euronews. 

Hawa Diallo to Join Sharpton, Rangel and Dinkins at Amadou Diallo Benefit Dinner

BRONX, NY – Emerging artist/painter Ms. Hawa Diallo join elected officials and advocates from across the city at the 2nd annual Amadou Diallo Foundation Dinner, at the Alhambra Ballroom, 2116 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, on February, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

The event honors former Congressman Rangel, former Mayor David Dinkins, and Rev. Al Sharpton. Emmy award-winning reporter and multimedia journalist AJ Ross will emcee the dinner.

Noted R&B Artist Aloe Blacc will also be performing in an event remembering the life of Amadou Diallo, who was gunned down in a hail of 41 police bullets in 1999.
Source: Mercury

Flu Kills Another NY Child, Hospitalizes 961 People Statewide


ALBANY, N.Y. -- Flu activity continued to grow in New York during the week ending Jan. 29, killing another child and hospitalizing 961 people statewide, according to a state health department report.

There have been four pediatric flu deaths so far this season. The health department did not identify the counties where those deaths occurred.

The state received 5,235 lab-confirmed flu reports during the week ending Jan. 29, a 20 percent increase over the previous week.

The Onondaga County Health Department received reports of 205 lab-confirmed flu cases for the week, up 90 percent from the previous week.

Lab-confirmed cases represent the tip of the iceberg because most people who get the flu do not get tested. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: (via The Empire Report)

McCarthy: Cuomo, County Dems Mend Fences


Back in 2013 and the days when Erie County Democrats rated nary a blip on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s political radar, an event at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo marked a new low for upstate New York’s largest Democratic organization.

Chairman Jeremy Zellner found himself mixing with the big ballroom commoners for a Cuomo fundraiser, while Democratic “grown-ups” hobnobbed with the governor in an adjoining inner sanctum.
Zellner, like predecessor Len Lenihan, was on the outs.

Maybe it’s something in the Cuomo DNA. The governor’s father – the late Gov. Mario Cuomo – once in the 1980s referred to former Erie County Democratic Chairman Joe Crangle as a “non-person.” Crangle’s alleged offense, which he denied, was criticizing Andrew Cuomo, then an aide to his father.

Soul-Searching at Clinton Foundation in Trump Era

Last summer, former President Bill Clinton pledged that if Hillary Clinton won the presidential election, he would avoid conflicts by stepping aside from many of his duties at the Clinton Foundation, restricting foreign donations to the charity and spinning off certain programs.

Now, nearly three months after Mrs. Clinton’s defeat, the foundation is still grappling with its place in the era of President Trump. It faces some daunting challenges: a drop in fund-raising during the campaign; uncertainty about the scale of the former president’s ambitions; and questions about leadership, including how long its president, Donna E. Shalala, will stay, and whether Mrs. Clinton might rejoin the charity.

Mr. Clinton, in a letter to be released with the foundation’s annual report this week, went so far as to ask supporters for advice on its future. “We seek both your input and your ideas,” he wrote, noting that the organization would work to expand its impact.

Ms. Shalala, in an interview on Thursday, acknowledged the difficulties. “Last year was a tough year,” she said, “because people were beating on us with nonsense,” a reference to bruising political attacks claiming that donors were using the foundation to curry favor with the Clintons. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Times (via The Empire Report)

Following the Leader: New Yorkers Joining the Trump Administration

By Jeff Coltin, Jon Lentz and Sarina Trangle

For weeks, Donald Trump ran his presidential transition out of Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan. Now that he has been sworn in as president, he has made the move to the White House – and he’s taking part of New York with him.

While son Barron and first lady Melania Trump are staying in New York City for now, there are a number of New Yorkers who have joined the new president on the big move down to Washington, D.C.

Some of them are longtime friends and associates of the 45th president, or even family, in the case of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Some are wealthy Wall Street executives who will be charged with overseeing the nation’s financial and banking sectors. Others are political veterans tapped for their expertise, or major donors selected for their past support.

“There’s a lot of talent here in New York and Donald Trump’s from New York,” said Ed Cox, the chairman of the state Republican Party. “There are a number of people ... from New York here who will be playing roles, and this state is going to be very important to Trump’s administration.”

Click here for the full article.

Source: City and State New York (via The Empire Report) 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Rex Tillerson Confirmed as Secretary of State

The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to confirm ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as the next secretary of state.

The vote in favor of President Trump's pick for the key cabinet post fell mostly along partisan lines, with Republican lawmakers who have voiced concerns like Senators Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham joining fellow GOP members in affirming the nomination.

Tillerson needed a simple majority — 51 senators — for confirmation. The final vote was 56 in favor, 43 against. 

Click here for the full article. 

White House Press Briefing

These Refugee Grandparents Were Finally Allowed To Flee Ukraine — Then Trump’s Order Stopped Them

Larisa and George Gabliya

Yuri Karpenko expected his wife’s parents to arrive in Seattle from eastern Ukraine in two weeks’ time.

Instead, on Monday, he got a phone call telling him that George and Larisa Gabliya, granted refugee status by the US in November 2016, would not be coming. They, like an estimated 20,000 others, had been blocked from entering the country by President Donald Trump’s executive order halting the refugee program for 120 days.

“It’s awful, especially because they are older parents, they are not young anymore,” Karpenko told BuzzFeed News. “They want some kind of security in their life, and right now they don’t have any security, or even a place to live.”

Karpenko said his father and mother-in-law were granted admission into the US as refugees in November 2016, fleeing religious persecution and the conflict in Ukraine.

They began to prepare, and as required by Ukrainian law, they gave up their Ukrainian identification — and were left with their passport — resigned from their jobs, and sold their apartment before their anticipated departure (their passport only allows for international travel, which they do not have the ability to do, for visa and financial reasons). They are now stuck in Kharkiv, Ukraine. They’re jobless, without a place to live, and without the ability to travel outside of the country. They will be without these safeguards for at least the next four months until — and if — the ban is lifted.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Buzzfeed

Links for the Latest Information on the Fighting in Ukraine

The following links were submitted by Andrij Dobriansky, Director of Communications and Media for the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America

The attachments, reports and websites will provide more information and insight on the escalation in fighting throughout various sectors of Ukraine. 

'Putin Will Test President Trump, and Trump Will Need to Call Putin's Bluff''

By Matthew Dubas

As I've said in previous commentaries, Putin will test President Trump, as evidenced by the latest uptick in fighting since the inauguration and following the January 27 phone call between Washington and Moscow, and Mr. Trump will need to call Putin's bluff with action (not dialogue or "deal-making") or risk the global order of peace by appeasing Putin with Russia gaining a sphere of influence over the entire (non-NATO) former Soviet space. 

Europe is also called to action and the EU's future hangs in the balance as well (threatened by Brexit and the rise of nationalism financed and fueled by the Kremlin), if nine million (or more) refugees from Ukraine flood Europe because of Russia's aggressive actions and (due to lack of will or leadership) the West's failure to use effective deterrence measures. 

Economic measures against Russia have been effective to a point, but Putin clearly does not respect them (but would prefer to be rid of them), as evidenced by the latest military escalation in Ukraine. The measures should name Putin as well, for a start. 

Nearly 17,000 people of Adiyivka are being prepared for evacuation, as many do not have electricity, heat or water, as the temps dip near -20 C (-4 F).

There are a slew of statements by Ukrainian American and Ukrainian Canadian organizations, as well as analytical pieces, condemning the latest attacks, and, at least in the U.S., calling on President Trump not to underestimate Putin and to avoid appeasing the Russian president. 

Early reports from groups like (and others) have indicated that the Russian-backed fighters had suffered heavier losses (estimated at near 60 KIA) than the Ukrainian side (8 KIA, 25 WIA) during the fighting over January 28-29. Data on losses can only be confirmed on the Ukrainian side, as Russia (which leads the DPR/LPR fighters) tends to conceal its war dead and continues to bury them in secret (in Russia).

Matthew Dubas is editor of the nationally-distributed publication The Ukrainian Weekly. The newspaper is also distributed throughout Canada and serves as a major source of news and information for the Ukrainian community in America and abroad. He has reported on many of the country’s political and social conflicts and worked with ambassadors, politicians, policy advisers, activists and scholars on a range of issues concerning Ukraine. The views expressed by Mr. Dubas do not necessarily reflect those of the publication's management or editorial staff.