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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 27 Nov , 2019 3:45 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/472202-two-omb-staffers-resigned-after-voicing-concerns-about-halted
Quote:
Two staffers for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) resigned after expressing frustrations about a hold on military assistance to Ukraine... Mark Sandy, an OMB staffer, testified this month that the two staffers, one of whom was in the legal division, had resigned partially due to frustrations with the unexplained aid freeze, according to a transcript of his testimony released Tuesday.

Sandy recalled that one individual who resigned had "expressed some frustrations about not understanding the reason for the hold," according to the transcript, but he noted that he was "reluctant to speak to someone else's motivations."

He was also asked whether the OMB legal division employee said they were leaving "at least in part because of their concerns on frustrations about the hold on Ukraine security assistance."

"Yes, in terms of that process, in part," Sandy responded....

A senior administration official categorized the assertion that the two officials resigned in part over the aid freeze as false in an email to The Hill.

Sandy also testified that he believed President Trump had directed the hold on Ukraine aid....




Hard to believe anyone would be gullible and stupid enough to believe this:
https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/472211-trump-vows-not-to-rename-thanksgiving-were-not-changing-it
Quote:
President Trump claimed at his rally Tuesday night ... "You know, some people want to change the name Thanksgiving," Trump told the crowd in Sunrise, Fla., without offering specifics. “They don’t want to use the term 'Thanksgiving.'”

“And that was true also with Christmas, but now everybody’s using Christmas again. Remember I said that?” he continued, echoing a common refrain from past rallies....

“Now we’re going to have do little work on Thanksgiving,” Trump said later in his remarks on Tuesday night. “People have different ideas why it shouldn’t be called Thanksgiving.” “But everybody in this room, I know, loves the name Thanksgiving, and we’re not changing it,” he added...


An interesting editorial, in that context:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/opinion/chernobyl-hbo-lies-trump.html
Quote:
I binge-watched HBO’s “Chernobyl” this week. It made me think of Donald Trump.

No, my Trump Derangement Syndrome has not spiked to 12,000 Roentgen on the ideological dosimeter. And no, I don’t think of the Trump administration as an open-air nuclear-reactor fire. To watch “Chernobyl” (and read nonfictionalized accounts of the tragedy) is to be reminded that such similes should be used sparingly.

But there’s one striking parallel. “Chernobyl” isn’t just an account of an environmental catastrophe, or the personal heroics that prevented it from becoming even worse. It illustrates what happens to societies corrupted by the institutionalization of lies and the concomitant destruction of trust....
Quote:
Middlebury’s Allison Stanger...quoted Hannah Arendt’s famous observation: “If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer.”

The result is that people lose the capacity to think for themselves, to make judgments, to find a rational basis for taking any sort of stand on principle. They become sheep....

On Tuesday, The Times’s Jeremy Peters published a profile of the conservative radio host Michael Savage, an early and fervent Trump supporter who occasionally voices his disappointment with the president, always from a right-wing perspective. Many of his 7.5 million listeners don’t take it too well. As Savage puts it, to “too many people” Trump is more than a human being, “he’s a demigod.”

Those people — the ones who brook no criticism of Trump, ever, on any subject — are the sheep.

That’s not anything like a majority of the country. But it is further poisoning a society in which the idea of truth was already being Balkanized (our truth), personalized (my truth), problematized (whose truth), and trivialized (your truth) — all before Trump came along and defined truth as whatever he can get away with....
Quote:
The most telling thing about The Post’s count of Trump’s untruths is how un-shocking it becomes as the number grows larger. Like money, lies are subject to an inflationary rule: The more there are in official circulation, the less each one matters.

Though I do disagree with the author in one thing - people in societies where the government lies to you don't necessarily become sheep. Many of them become skilled at finding out the truth in underground ways. But the lies are still harmful because they erode trust. And because the "truth" you find in underground ways may or not actually be the truth.




btw, it should be interesting how Trump supporters try to explain this:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-26/trump-denies-sending-rudy-giuliani-to-ukraine-for-biden-probe
Quote:
Donald Trump denied directing Rudy Giuliani to go to Ukraine to look for dirt on his political rivals, in an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

“No, I didn’t direct him, but he is a warrior, he is a warrior,” Trump told O’Reilly in an interview streamed on the internet on Tuesday....

Asked by O’Reilly what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine, Trump said “you have to ask that to Rudy.” “Rudy has other clients, other than me,” the president added. “He’s done a lot of work in Ukraine over the years.”

So, what about that comment in your phone conversation with Zelenskyy, Dear Leader? You know, the one where you told him to coordinate with Giuliani and Barr...

Seriously, someone who thinks this poorly should not be making any decisions beyond what they want to have for lunch.



EDIT:
And, of course, the news they want to bury comes out late on the day before a long holiday. A new report from the DHS Inspector General finds that, before DHS implemented the family separation policy, they knew they didn't have the systems to reunite the families, but went ahead and did it anyway. And they expected to separate 26,000 children from their families, had there not been widespread condemnation that made them stop. Or at least mostly stop - reports suggest they're still doing it at lower levels and with "excuses." So it seems that the mess was not inadvertent or unexpected. They just plain didn't give a damn.
https://thehill.com/latino/472298-dhs-watchdog-administration-predicted-zero-tolerance-would-separate-26k-children
Quote:
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) internal watchdog found that the Trump administration predicted it would separate 26,000 children if its now-scrapped “zero tolerance” policy from last year had been allowed to continue. ...

The report also indicated that the administration lacked the technology to sufficiently track all of the separated children, leading it to have to revise an original estimate that 2,800 were separated to 3,014.

However, CBP kept the implemented policy despite knowing it could not effectively track the 26,000 children and thus eventually reunify the families....

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 03 Dec , 2019 6:07 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
It seems the people who called the Trump administration a banana republic are absolutely right. It looks like his pet attorney general intends to dispute at least one key finding of the IG report because it doesn't agree with the narrative Trump wants:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/472720-barr-rejects-key-finding-in-report-on-russia-probe-report
Quote:
Attorney General William Barr is rejecting a key finding in the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the Russia probe, The Washington Post reported Monday.

People familiar with the matter told The Post that Barr said he does not agree with the report’s finding that the FBI had enough intelligence to initiate an investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016.

The long-awaited report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to be made public in a week. But a draft is being discussed behind the scenes, and the attorney general reportedly is not persuaded that the FBI investigation was justified.

The draft report is now being finalized and shown to the witnesses and offices investigated by Horowitz....
At this point, I'm starting to wonder if Barr is also putting his fingerprints on this draft.

Of course, no matter what it says, this report can't invalidate the Mueller investigation, which found plenty to investigate and put some crooks in jail. It's just a weapon for Trump sycophants to muddy the waters around how it started. Which suggests they still fear the Mueller report and what else may come out of it.



Speaking of which:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/472726-justice-dept-releases-another-round-of-summaries-from-mueller-probe
Quote:
The Department of Justice on Monday released a new collection of documents summarizing FBI interviews conducted as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller's sweeping investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump....

The second batch of documents includes 295 pages of heavily redacted witness memoranda and notes from FBI interviews, CNN reported. The Justice Department is expected to release a new tranche of memos at the beginning of each month for the next eight years.

A summary of Cohen's interview sheds new light on efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow amid the 2016 campaign and how much Trump knew about the negotiations. ...

Cohen also alleged to the FBI that he told Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow that there was key information missing in a statement he was providing Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations.

Sekulow said it was "not necessary to elaborate or include those details because the transaction did not take place." Per a summary of the interview, Sekulow also said that "Cohen should not contradict Trump and that it was time to move on." ...
There's no way the release of this information should take 8 years. I wouldn't be surprised if Barr wants to hide something until Trump is dead and gone.


The rest of Trump-related news is the usual stuff out of this garbage administration - Trump slapping new tariffs on all and sundry, trade talks with China falling apart again, Trump feuding with other world leaders and saying stupid stuff (it seems even Macron is no longer Trump's friend), him calling impeachment hearings unpatriotic and whatever else comes into his mind, the EPA continuing to make it easier for companies to pollute our neighborhoods (https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/472816-epa-proposes-rule-to-speed-up-disputed-industry-pollution-permits), etc.


btw, it seems Big Brother will now be watching anyone who leaves or enters the country, with facial recognition technology. They're handing this over to companies without enough restrictions on its misuse, too, IMO. :
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/department-of-homeland-security/472742-dhs-proposes-face-scans-for-all
Quote:
The Trump administration is proposing a new regulation that would require all travelers leaving or entering the U.S. to be photographed, citing safety concerns.

The proposal, which is set to be issued in July by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), aims to use face scans to track travelers — including U.S. citizens — as they come and go in the U.S., Reuters reports....
There's a public comment period, of course, as required by law, but this administration has always done whatever it pleased even when >90% of the comments opposed their plans so it's pretty much a sham IMO.


And the military continues its spending bonanza, while the federal deficit grows:
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/472758-us-navy-issues-massive-22-billion-order-for-nuclear-submarines
Quote:
US Navy issues massive $22 billion order for nuclear submarines





EDIT:

Hmmm,yet Trump claims Giuliani being in Ukraine had nothing to do with him...
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/472878-phone-records-detail-extent-of-giuliani-white-house-contacts
Quote:
The House Intelligence Committee released phone records on Tuesday showing extensive communications between Rudy Giuliani and the White House, as well as several other key figures in the impeachment inquiry.

The phone logs revealed frequent contact between President Trump’s personal attorney and the Office of Management and Budget, as well as interactions involving top Intelligence Committee Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and John Solomon, a conservative columnist formerly with The Hill.

In one instance, on Aug. 8, Giuliani was in regular contact with the White House as other administration officials sought to finalize a meeting in Washington between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Giuiliani connected with the White House switchboard for roughly two minutes at about 12:45 p.m. that day and he exchanged texts with an unspecified White House phone number roughly 20 minutes later.

A phone number associated with the Office of Management and Budget connected with Giuliani’s phone at about 3:13 p.m. that day for a call that lasted 13 minutes, according to the records.

That evening, a caller from an unidentified number tried to reach Giuliani several times in the span of about 60 seconds. Minutes later, Giuliani phoned the White House switchboard and connected for 47 seconds, the records show.

About 16 minutes after that, the afternoon caller from an unidentified number connected with Giuliani for a call that lasted just over four minutes....



https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/472875-lev-parnass-attorney-devin-nunes-you-should-have-recused-yourself-in
Quote:
An attorney for Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, slammed House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Tuesday after it was revealed that the lawmaker had been in frequent contact with Giuliani, the White House, as well as Parnas himself....

Bondy's comments came after a report by the House Intelligence Committee released on Tuesday included phone records showing that Nunes had multiple contacts with figures personally involved in Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a potential 2020 rival.

"Devin Nunes, you should have recused yourself at the outset of the #HIC #ImpeachingHearings. #LetLevSpeak," Bondy tweeted....
Alas, that would have required Nunes actually have some ethics...
Probably too much to ask.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec , 2019 2:55 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
It sounds like Barr won't be happy with the Durham report either. I expect he and the other sycophants for King Donald will make a lot of noise about any mistakes individual agents made, but their main hope has been dashed. Then again, that should come as no surprise. This was a joke of a conspiracy theory in the first place and no one with a brain should have believed it.
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/473107-report-barr-attorney-cant-provide-evidence-trump-was-set-up-by-doj
Quote:
The attorney handpicked by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of the probe into the Trump campaign and Russia's election interference has reportedly found no evidence to support claims from conservatives that the case was a setup by U.S. intelligence officials.

Sources told The Washington Post that John Durham, the U.S. attorney chosen by Barr to lead the investigation, told the Justice Department's inspector general (IG), who conducted his own probe, that he has found no evidence to support claims that a Maltese professor who spoke with former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos was secretly a U.S. intelligence asset.

Allies of the president have claimed for months that the professor, Joseph Mifsud, who spoke with Papadopoulos about the possibility of obtaining Hillary Clinton's stolen emails, was actually an asset of U.S. intelligence agencies seeking to set up the Trump campaign on criminal charges....



So Trump was going to get us out of the endless wars in the Middle East? As always, Iran is their perpetual boogeyman. I guess Bolton's departure didn't change that.
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/473078-trump-mulls-sending-additional-14000-troops-to-middle-east-report
Quote:
The Trump administration is looking into sending as many as 14,000 more troops, as well as dozens more ships and other equipment, to the Middle East in the face of a growing threat from Iran, The Wall Street Journal reported....

The administration began increasing numbers of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf in May, when Trump said he would deploy roughly 1,500 troops, a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East to counter Iran's influence there.

A month later the Pentagon also announced that it would deploy 1,000 more troops to the same area to address “air, naval, and ground-based threats” in the region. ...

Then in September roughly 200 additional personnel as well as missile defense and radar equipment were sent to Saudi Arabia...




Meanwhile, Republicans have approved another unqualified judge to plague the courts for years to come. This one's a rabid partisan too from the sound of it. Susan Collins (Maine) couldn't stomach her. Unfortunately, all her Republican colleagues were loyal foot-soldiers for the evangelical cause of overturning the federal right to a safe medical abortion. Because, of course, that's all the anti-abortion crusaders can actually do. Their hopes of completely banning abortions are delusional, even in GOP-controlled states: there have always been back-alley abortions. And dead or infertile women as a result of that.
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/473098-senate-confirms-trump-pick-labeled-not-qualified-by-american-bar-association
Quote:
Senators voted 49-44 to approve Sarah Pitlyk's nomination to be a judge for the Eastern District of Missouri. ...

"Ms. Pitlyk defended a state law banning abortion at six weeks. She opposed the Affordable Care Act's coverage for contraception. ... Ms. Pitlyk has also filed multiple legal briefs that contain misinformation," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said during a floor speech....

Pitlyk — who serves as the special counsel for the Thomas More Society, a conservative law firm — told the National Catholic Register that "surrogacy is harmful to mothers and children, so it’s a practice society should not be enforcing."

She also defended Iowa's six-week abortion ban, which was subsequently struck down by a state court. ...

... Collins, in a statement explaining her decision to oppose Pitlyk, questioned if Trump's pick would be able to separate her personal views from the rulings she will make as a judge.

"My concern is not based on Ms. Pitlyk’s personal views on abortion or various medical decisions, which she has every right to hold. I do question, however, given her pattern of strident advocacy, whether she could put aside her personal views on these matters," Collins added.

Pitlyk was rated "not qualified" by the American Bar Association, according to a memo sent to Judiciary Committee leadership. The outside group's standing committee said it "believes that Ms. Pitlyk does not have the requisite trial or litigation experience or its equivalent." ...



btw, "conservative law firm" is a euphemism for what the Thomas More Society does. In their own words:
https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/about/
Quote:
Mission

The Thomas More Society is a not-for-profit, national public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends and fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

About the Thomas More Society

The Thomas More Society was forged out of necessity in 1997 in order to continue defending the historic N.O.W. v. Scheidler case. This nationwide class action lawsuit brought by the National Organization for Women against prominent pro-life leader Joseph Scheidler (among others) was a transparent attempt to gag pro-life activism at abortion clinics nationally through the blatant misuse of federal antitrust and racketeering statutes. Having decisively prevailed in N.O.W. v. Scheidler in the U.S. Supreme Court, 8-1 (2003) and 8-0 (2006), the Thomas More Society continues to litigate cutting-edge cases including:

Protecting the First Amendment rights of those who pray and counsel outside our nation’s abortion facilities
Defending laws that protect human life from conception to natural death
Ensuring the free expression of religion in the public square
Respecting family values

And now the people of Missouri have one of this religious group's lawyers on their federal courts.






btw, if anyone wants to know what Trump's current wife and the Trump supporters are making such a big fuss about, regarding the "insult" to Trump's son, it's that an impeachment witness used his name in an analogy:
https://www.businessinsider.com/melania-trump-impeachment-witness-son-barron-trump-should-be-ashamed-2019-12
Quote:
Pamela Karlan, a professor of public interest law at Stanford Law School, testified in a congressional hearing Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, where she discussed the constitutional power of the president.

When asked by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to compare a king's conduct with President Donald Trump's, Karlan made a point to say that the president does not have the power to "do anything he wants" like a king does.

"So kings could do no wrong because the king's word was law," Karlan said during the hearing. "Contrary to what President Trump has said, Article 2 [of the Constitution] does not give him the power to do anything he wants.

"The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can't make him a baron."

Melania's reaction:
Quote:
The First Lady reacted to Karlan's mention of her son's name via Twitter, saying the Stanford professor should be "ashamed" for her "very angry and obviously biased public pandering."


And Dr. Karlan actually made a point of apologizing for using that example. I believe it was even before Mrs. Trump had her little hissy fit.

And no, I don't feel the least bit ashamed of being snarky. I have sympathy for Melania Trump wanting to keep her son out of the limelight. But when she's this ridiculously overprotective and nasty herself, she reveals herself as a true Trump. It was just a damn example. Maybe not the best one to use, since it mocked Trump's autocratic tendencies. But it wasn't even directed at the kid, just a mild joke on his parents.

And given all Mrs. Trump's nude pictures in the media, she'd better grow a thicker skin. Because I'll bet Barron's classmates will have plenty to tease or torment him about on that front. Not to mention the things his dad does.

Of course, all this fuss could just be a deliberate distraction from what the impeachment witnesses actually said.* (Unbelievably, Trump's GOP defenders even entered Mrs. Trump's upset tweet into the official record of the impeachment hearings. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry/live-blog/impeachment-hearing-live-updates-judiciary-committee-n1095001/ncrd1096196)
And the media aids and abets the Trump family's circus, as usual, even dignifying it with editorials in major news sources.


*For instance, this from Dr. Karlan:
Quote:
Everything I know about our Constitution and its values, and my review of the evidentiary record, tells me that when President Trump invited — indeed, demanded — foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this country the republic to which we pledge allegiance. That demand constituted an abuse of power …

Based on the evidentiary record, what has happened in the case before you is something that I do not think we have ever seen before: a president who has doubled down on violating his oath to “faithfully execute” the laws and to “protect and defend the Constitution.” The evidence reveals a President who used the powers of his office to demand that a foreign government participate in undermining a competing candidate for the presidency.




EDIT:
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/473152-pelosi-asks-nadler-to-proceed-with-drafting-articles-of-impeachment-against
Quote:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that the House will move forward with impeaching President Trump....

"The president's actions have seriously violated the Constitution," Pelosi said in a televised address against a backdrop of American flags. "Our democracy is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act."
Personally, I wish they'd first pursued their subpoenas against Trump's crooked associates instead of letting Dear Leader defy them. But we'll see how this goes.


A couple of unrelated bits of news:

I was glad to see this:
https://thehill.com/policy/technology/473187-trump-administration-sued-for-requiring-foreigners-to-disclose-social-media
Quote:
The Trump administration was sued on Thursday over a controversial new policy requiring foreigners to share their social media accounts when they apply for U.S. visas.

The lawsuit, filed by civil liberties advocates representing two U.S.-based documentary filmmaking groups, alleges the administration is violating constitutional free speech rights and stripping away any semblance of online privacy in the name of vetting new entrants to the country, some of which already have strong ties to the U.S.

The plaintiffs are alleging the rule, which requires visa applicants to submit their social media handles across 20 online services to the U.S. government, has created a "far-reaching digital surveillance regime that enables the U.S. government to monitor visa applicants’ constitutionally protected speech and associations not just at the time they apply for visas, but even after they enter the United States." ...



And amused at this. I guess Trump and Kim are no longer best buddies? No wonder we don't hear much about North Korea from him, these days:
https://thehill.com/policy/international/asia-pacific/473207-north-korea-takes-shot-at-trump-senility-of-a-dotard
Quote:
North Korea took a shot at President Trump after he announced at NATO meeting in London that the U.S. would use force against the regime if needed.

North Korea 1st Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hu said Thursday that her office could not “contain its displeasure” over the president’s comments, and added that if he continues, Trump “will again show the senility of a dotard,” USA Today reported....

I just hope Dear Leader doesn't turn this personal insult into an escalation of tensions with North Korea.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 06 Dec , 2019 12:06 am 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
This seems worth knowing about even though it seems completely possible that another administration would have made the same choice. The first article is slightly misleading - these devices were reauthorized (after questions were raised about their use), not authorized - but it gives the current news. The second one fills in some details and also gives a perspective on how at least one other civilized country sees this. The third one is outdated news but adds more detail.
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/473184-epa-authorizes-use-of-cyanide-bombs-to-protect-livestock-against-predators
Quote:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authorized the use of "cyanide bombs" to protect livestock against wild animals on Thursday after adding additional safety requirements in response to backlash from environmental groups.

...The new restrictions require a 600-foot buffer around residences but make exceptions for landowners who have given permission for placement of the devices on their property. The restrictions also call for 300 feet, up from 100 feet, between public paths and roads where the devices cannot be used...

Collete Adkins, a conservation director at [the Center for Biological Diversity] said the EPA’s “appalling decision” to approve the "cyanide bombs" threatens people, pets and imperiled animals....Kelly Nokes, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, said the EPA "fails to meaningfully address the problem" with the updated restrictions.

The EPA maintains that the M-44 devices are a vital and effective tool for farmers to protect animals from wild predators....

The revised proposal is backed by some leaders of the livestock industry. “We sincerely appreciate [U.S. Department of Agriculture] and EPA working together to ensure livestock producers have access to effective predator control, while also increasing public awareness and transparency,” American Sheep Industry Association President Benny Cox said in a statement shared by the EPA....

“Livestock producers have to contend with predation of livestock on a daily basis and having access to every tool in the toolbox allows our ranchers to continue to protect the herd,” added Ethan Lane, vice president of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-49292681
Quote:
The US government has approved the continued use of "cyanide bombs" to kill pests such as coyotes, foxes and dogs that live in the wild in America. It comes despite thousands of objections to the M-44 devices, which have killed more than just wild animals since they were first introduced.

They work by drawing animals with bait then spraying poison into their mouths.

But in 2017, a child was temporarily blinded and three pet dogs killed in two incidents in Idaho and Wyoming. The family of the child successfully sued the US government for $150,000 (£124,000) in 2018. One of the M-44 cyanide bombs had been placed near their backyard in Idaho....

In 2018, the US Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to assess the use of the M-44 devices after a lawsuit was brought by four conservation and animal welfare groups in America. They've been in use since the 1960s.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says 200,000 people wrote letters of objection to the M-44 devices during the 18-month assessment period. And the Centre for Biological Diversity says that 99.9% of responses to the EPA's proposal were in support of a ban.

But the EPA has decided they are still safe for use, after support from rancher groups and "stakeholders" including farmers groups....


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/10/us/cyanide-bombs-animals-trump-administration.html
Quote:
Predator Defense, a wildlife advocacy group, has been tracking human and pet injuries and fatalities caused by M-44s. In the past 30 years, Predator Defense documented one death, more than 10 human injuries and nearly 50 dogs killed by these devices.

In February 2018, Dennis Slaugh of Utah died after being poisoned 15 years earlier by an M-44, the group said. In March 2017, a teenager in Idaho watched his dog die after accidentally triggering a device near his home. In the same month, two dogs were killed in Wyoming during a family walk, according to Predator Defense.
They don't say why they attributed the human death to the cyanide bomb.
Quote:
Several states, however, have banned or limited the devices’ use, including Oregon, Idaho and Colorado.







I don't always fault CBP for deaths due to illness (at least when they take the right steps) but this one is appalling. And it looks like they lied to cover up their negligence.
https://thehill.com/latino/473265-teen-who-died-in-us-custody-was-not-properly-monitored-before-death-report
Quote:
Footage of a Guatemalan teen who died in U.S. custody in May contradicts official Border Patrol accounts of his death, according to ProPublica....Staff appears to overlook “increasingly obvious” signs his condition is deteriorating after initially presenting flu symptoms, according to ProPublica.

In the footage, Vasquez is seen writhing for nearly half an hour on the cell floor and a concrete bench before walking to the toilet and collapsing. He stayed in the same position for over four hours.

...The Border Patrol’s subject activity log says a Border Patrol agent checked on Vasquez three times in the early morning hours and reported no warning signs, ProPublica reports, but the video indicates his “agony was apparent” and that despite a CBP press release indicating agents discovered his body, it was in fact his cellmate.

Medical experts told ProPublica Vasquez should never have been sent to a cell rather than a hospital in the first place....

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 06 Dec , 2019 1:47 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
Trump's defenders just can't keep their stories straight, as more and more damning evidence comes out. :)
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/473335-white-house-claims-no-one-from-omb-has-talked-to-giuliani-report
Quote:
The White House is saying that President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani did not speak with anyone at its Office of Management and Budget (OMB) days after the House Intelligence Committee released phone call logs that showed Giuliani connecting with an OMB number.

“No one from OMB has talked to Giuliani,” a presidential spokesperson told RealClearPolitics.

Giuliani also told CNN in a text message that he doesn't “remember calling OMB and not about military aid never knew anything about it.” ...

Giuliani said in a tweet earlier this week that the fact that he had made calls to the White House "does not establish any specific topic."

"Remember, I’m the President’s attorney," he added....


Though I suppose we should expect that after the "It was Ukraine, not Russia, that meddled in the 2016 election" weirdness from the GOP.



All the same, I'm uneasy about Nancy Pelosi's narrow focus on Ukraine and rush to conclude the impeachment investigation. This editorial in The Guardian put my feelings into words:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/06/nancy-pelosi-impeachment-inquiry-trump
Quote:
For months, Pelosi was reluctant to pursue impeachment, and even after being persuaded to open the inquiry, she has seemed weary and anxious of the political stakes of the process. It seems to have been Pelosi who dictated a narrow focus for the inquiry: the House intelligence committee focused only on the Ukraine affair and ignored evidence that emerged even in regards to that case, such as testimony and call records that indicate that the Republican ranking member, Devin Nunes, may have been a part of the very foreign pressure scheme that he was later tasked with investigating. And it seems to have been Pelosi who pushed for a rapid close of the inquiry and quick drafting of impeachment articles, even though a longer fact-finding process in the intelligence committee could have been useful to Democrats both on the investigative and political fronts.

Pelosi’s motivations appear to be political: fearful of losing her majority and fiercely protective of the more conservative members of her caucus, she has directed the impeachment proceeding to be as small, focused and palatable as possible, so as to placate moderate suburban voters and not to force her conservative members to take many difficult votes.

But by rushing impeachment, and focusing it so narrowly on only one of the president’s innumerable misdeeds, Pelosi may be making a grave political miscalculation, and wasting a precious opportunity for her party ahead of the 2020 presidential vote....

Quote:
Polls suggest that in the partisan media landscape, many voters’ opinions have already calcified, but it remains likely that a full and public accounting of Trump’s copious wrongdoing, broadcast on television and covered in detail by the media, could change minds in a way that an abrupt party-line vote on a narrow and esoteric set of issues might not.
Quote:
Perhaps more broadly, such a narrow and quick impeachment process risks being not only being politically wasteful for the Democrats, but cowardly as well. In the admittedly warped logic of American political messaging, to impeach Trump for only one of his myriad violations of ethics and law is to imply that all the rest of his behavior is acceptable.

The narrow impeachment inquiry, then, risks dangerously lowering the standards for future presidential conduct, and setting a precedent that Trump-style criminality and self-dealing are privileges of the office. The prospect of impeaching Trump for all of his impeachable misdeeds is daunting, simply because there are so many of them. But his misconduct cannot be ignored simply for the sake of political convenience.
Then again, I've never really thought Nancy Pelosi wanted to impeach Trump - his awfulness seems quite valuable to the Democrats in the coming elections. She seemed to be bowing to increasing pressure from other Democrats in Congress, the can of worms opened by the whistleblower (which revealed corrupt actions impossible even for her to ignore), and maybe the growing disgust and restiveness from independents and Republicans who voted for the Democrats in the midterm elections so they'd rein in Trump, but weren't seeing much happen.

I suppose we'll find out all the rest of it someday, including what John Bolton knows, what other calls got moved to the secret White House server, how Nunes and John Solomon were involved, what roles Pompeo and Rick Perry and Mulvaney played ...

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 09 Dec , 2019 10:53 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/09/inspector-generals-report-russia-key-takeaways-079030
Quote:
Inspector general’s report on Russia probe: Key takeaways

Here are the major findings from IG Michael Horowitz’s review of the FBI’s handling of its investigation of the Trump campaign in 2016.
Quote:
A long-awaited review of how the FBI came to investigate the Trump campaign's possible links to Russia has validated the agency’s decision to open its probe.

The report, compiled by the Justice Department’s inspector general, stresses that political bias did not influence the bureau’s actions, as President Donald Trump and his allies have frequently alleged.

But the document is also littered with criticisms of FBI officials and how they vetted some information, such as a dossier of salacious allegations compiled by an ex-British spy.


We pored through the 434-page document and highlighted the most important revelations. Check back for updates.

Key takeaways from the report:

Jump to each takeaway by clicking the links below

The FBI did not use the Steele dossier to open Russia probe

Lynch, Comey sat for IG interviews

No evidence political bias was a factor

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were not decision-makers

Carter Page was the only Trump official under FISA surveillance

First Carter Page FISA contained ‘seven significant inaccuracies and omissions’

Steele dropped as FBI source after Mother Jones article

Steele had prior relationship with Ivanka Trump

Manafort was under investigation prior to Russia probe scrutiny

The FBI did not use the Steele dossier to open Russia probe...


btw, I very much doubt this will get much attention in right wing circles. ;)
Quote:
Trump has gone on obsessively about the Page-Strzok texts showing their concerns over him winning the White House. Monday’s IG report makes it clear that the FBI also had agents working with sources tied to the Russia probe who were excited about Trump’s victory.

The texts and instant messages were sent the day after Election Day 2016. A supervising agent volunteers to work on any special prosecutor probe into the Clinton Foundation and compares Trump’s win to “watching a Superbowl comeback.” Another FBI agent writes, “Trump!” A colleague replies, “Hahahah. Shit just got real.” And then they add in another message: “I saw a lot of scared MFers on…[my way to work] this morning. Start looking for new jobs fellas. Haha.”



What did our Dear Leader make of this?
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/473731-trump-watchdog-report-shows-fbi-attempted-overthrow-of-government
Quote:
President Trump on Monday hailed a new report from the Justice Department inspector general, claiming it showed FBI officials attempted “an overthrow of government” by investigating his 2016 presidential campaign.

“This was an overthrow of government, this was an attempted overthrow and a lot of people were in on it and they got caught, they got caught red-handed,” Trump said in the Cabinet Room at the White House during a roundtable event on education.

“I think I'm going to put this down as one of our great achievements. ..

Either he hasn't a clue or he's trying to mislead his supporters. Either way, he's a dangerous fool, playing with fire.



EDIT to add:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/473588-trump-brings-pardoned-soldiers-on-stage-at-florida-fundraiser-report
Quote:
Trump brought Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn and Army Lt. Clint Lorance, who he pardoned over cases involving war crimes, on stage at the Florida GOP’s annual Statesman’s Dinner, the newspaper reported citing six people who attended the event.

Golsteyn, a former Green Beret, was charged with murder in the death of an Afghan man during a deployment in the country in 2010. He had pleaded not guilty in the case.

Lorance was found guilty in 2013 or murder in the second degree for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle. He has served six years in the 19-year prison sentence he received for the charge. Pentagon leaders reportedly had privately opposed the controversial pardons....

The Miami Herald reported that the 1,000 attendees were asked to check their cell phones into individual locked cases and reporters were not allowed to attend the event which raised $3.5 million for the party.

The attendees that spoke to the Herald said Trump was a “total comedian” at the event, doing impressions of Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)...
Needless to say, there are no news reports that any Republicans at the event walked out after being asked to honor war criminals and watching our president mock his political rivals like a third grader ...



https://thehill.com/policy/international/europe/473640-nato-event-cancelled-after-us-ambassador-barred-trump-critic-from
Quote:
A NATO conference was canceled after the U.S. ambassador to Denmark barred a speaker critical of President Trump from participating, organizers said Monday.... The decision followed objection from U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands to one of the speakers, Stan Sloan.

...Sloan, a visiting professor at Middlebury College, fellow at the Atlantic Council and former CIA analyst, was known to be critical of Trump based on his social media posts. The council “never doubted,” however, that Sloan would deliver an “unpolitical and objective lecture,” Struwe said. ...

The U.S. Embassy in Denmark, in a series of tweets, said it’s “unfortunate” the organizers canceled the conference and said the embassy “supports freedom of speech.” ...




https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/473672-justice-argues-congress-cant-take-non-legislative-steps-against
Quote:
The Department of Justice argued before a federal appeals court on Monday that the only way for Congress to take action against President Trump over alleged violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause would be to pass legislation..

During oral arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, Hashim Moopan, an attorney with the Justice Department, said that a group of lawmakers suing Trump have no recourse other than legislation for taking action....

The courts are grappling with how to interpret the constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause...

The provision has largely gone unexamined by the courts over the past 230 years, but was revived in several cases against the president for not selling off his network of private businesses, including hotels frequented by foreign diplomats.

At least one judge appeared skeptical of the argument presented by Moopan, that essentially nobody has standing to sue the president over the constitutional provision....

“Here's what troubles me about your position,” said Tatel. “It seems to me that if you were right about standing — I'm not saying you are — it does raise the question of what is the remedy for alleged violations of the Emoluments Clause? And it seems to me one easy answer to that is congressional oversight. But you're resisting that in other cases. In other cases, you're saying congressional oversight is inappropriate. So I'm just wondering what is Congress to do in a case where it has reasons to think the Emoluments Clause is being violated?”...




https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/473749-trump-russian-foreign-minister-lavrov-to-meet-tuesday
Quote:
President Trump will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday during the diplomat’s visit to Washington.

“President Trump will meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia tomorrow to discuss the state of the bilateral relationship,” a senior administration official told The Hill on Monday....

The visit will mark Lavrov’s first official visit to Washington since 2017. Trump made headlines when he allegedly shared classified information with Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during an Oval Office meeting....

No word yet on whether Trump will allow any American note-takers. Or confiscate everyone's notes so no one will ever know what happened...




This was a very interesting reaction considering that Trump is usually the first to yell "Muslim terrorist!" whether or not there's any reason to think that's the case. Even in this case, when the targets were the military, normally a group Trump constantly praises. :
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/07/us/politics/trump-pensacola-saudi-arabia.html?
Quote:
When a Saudi Air Force officer opened fire on his classmates at a naval base in Pensacola, Fla., on Friday, he killed three, wounded eight and exposed anew the strange dynamic between President Trump and the Saudi leadership: ...

Hours later, Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that he had received a condolence call from King Salman of Saudi Arabia... On Saturday, leaving the White House for a trip here for a Republican fund-raiser and a speech on Israeli-American relations, Mr. Trump told reporters that “they are devastated in Saudi Arabia,” noting that “the king will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones.” He never used the word “terrorism.”

What was missing was any assurance that the Saudis would aid in the investigation, help identify the suspect’s motives, or answer the many questions about the vetting process for a coveted slot at one of the country’s premier schools for training allied officers...[

But even stranger, said Mr. Riedel, was “the president’s parroting of the Saudi line” before learning the results of an investigation into whether the gunman acted alone, or had allegiances to Al Qaeda or terrorist groups...

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 11 Dec , 2019 2:30 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
An interesting editorial in The Atlantic, by a former ambassador, about U.S. involvement in the Middle East:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/12/end-magical-thinking-middle-east/602953/
Quote:
An End to Magical Thinking in the Middle East
It’s time to abandon the dogma that’s driven our foreign policy and led to so much disaster in the region
Quote:
President Donald Trump’s October decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria produced a rare moment of bipartisanship in foreign policy. With a shared sense of alarm, Republicans and Democrats alike accused Trump of betrayal.

Certainly, it was a betrayal of the Kurdish partners who bled for us in the fight against the Islamic State. It was also a betrayal of process—leaving our military leaders and diplomats struggling to keep up with tweets, our allies in the dark, our messaging all over the map, and chaos on the ground.

If all this episode engenders, however, is a bipartisan dip in the warm waters of self-righteous criticism, it will be a tragedy—or worse, a mistake. We have to come to grips with the deeper and more consequential betrayal of common sense—the notion that the only antidote to Trump’s fumbling attempts to disentangle the United States from the region is a retreat to the magical thinking that has animated so much of America’s moment in the Middle East since the end of the Cold War.

I served as a career diplomat throughout most of this era, sharing in our successes as well as our failures. Despite important achievements, we all too often misread regional currents and mismatched ends and means. In our episodic missionary zeal, especially after the terrible jolt to our system on 9/11, we tended to overreach militarily and underinvest diplomatically. We let our ambitions outstrip the practical possibilities of a region where perfect is rarely on the menu, and second- and third-order consequences are rarely uplifting....

Most of it is not about Trump but he does discuss why Trump being an idiot makes a complete mess even in cases where he might be moving in the right direction.
Quote:
Trump’s diagnosis of the pathologies of U.S. policy in the Middle East was in some ways similar to Obama’s, and his anti-establishment view struck a chord with many Americans. As Trump saw it, we were suckers for taking on too much and gaining too little in the Middle East, where people had been fighting for millennia, and where we had no obvious responsibility or capacity to fix things. Trump’s prescription, however, has been crudely drawn and ineptly executed, a reflection of his own distinct brand of magical thinking.

Rather than rebalancing diplomacy and force, he has so far abandoned the former and misplayed the latter. His big idea was the flawed notion that you could shoehorn American strategy into a grand coalition against Iran, stretching from Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel to Gulf Arab autocracies. The result has been spectacularly corrosive for American interests. ....

That same illogic played out in Syria. Our modest military deployment in northern Syria couldn’t be sustained indefinitely, and gave us only limited diplomatic leverage. But there was a smart way and a dumb way to manage that reality. Trump chose the latter: In one hasty phone call, he surrendered our leverage, offering a green light for a Turkish offensive and a boost for Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the Russians, and the Iranians. While most American forces remain—their redeployment thinly disguised, in a bow to presidential vanity, as an effort to “keep the oil”—the sad reality is that ISIS may prove the ultimate beneficiary, resurrecting itself out of the nasty muck of grievance and insecurity we are leaving behind.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to indulge the overreach of Arab authoritarians at home and abroad, convinced that strongmen are the optimal custodians of regional stability. His talk of a “deal of the century” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict camouflaged a methodical tilt toward the Israeli right, all but obliterating any vestigial hope of a two-state solution. Never has American diplomacy given away so many negotiating cards so fast for so little.

So where do we go from here?...




btw, I think Trump's latest FBI director might not last much longer. He made the mistake of announcing that they were fixing the problems revealed by IG Horowitz's report but also accepting and publicizing his conclusions that there was no bias and that the FBI wasn't spying on Trump or starting a vendetta against him. That's too logical and appropriate. You don't get to do that when it doesn't suit King Donald, who has his own agenda.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/473799-trump-rebukes-fbi-chief-wray-over-inspector-generals-russia-inquiry
Quote:
President Trump in an early morning tweet on Tuesday criticized FBI Director Christopher Wray, disagreeing with his characterization of a newly released Justice Department inspector general report.

“I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me,” Trump said, a day after the report’s release....
I'm not sure if that's rhetorical or meant to imply that he has some super-secret version no one else in the government (except his supporters) has seen.

And he's continuing to promote his delusional version of reality (AKA blatant lies) to his supporters.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/474014-trump-rails-against-fbi-impeachment-during-pennsylvania-rally
Quote:
President Trump spent a large part of a campaign rally Tuesday evening hailing a new Justice Department Inspector General report and blasting House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

...“The FBI failed to disclose the nature of the political hit job to the FISA court, they hid it … and they lied,” Trump said, referring to an application the FBI filed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

“Folks, they spied on our campaign,” Trump said. “Never happened before in the history of our country and we’re really wise to it.”

Trump also mocked ex-FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page...

Trump claimed without evidence on Tuesday that the FBI deliberately “hid” exonerating evidence against him in order to continue the investigation.

“They knew right at the beginning that it was all a frame up, a set up,” Trump said.


Meanwhile, Bill Barr is busily protecting Dear Leader and enabling his delusions. I sometimes wonder what made Barr decide to completely trash his professional reputation this way. I never liked his views much but he had a good reputation among hardliners and, as far as I know, was never known as a toady. He could have stayed in retirement and let his ambiguous role in the Iran-Contra cover-up disappear. Now his efforts on behalf of Trump will overshadow everything else he ever did in his life.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/473904-barr-criticizes-fbi-says-possible-agents-acted-in-bad-faith-in-trump
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/473699-barr-horowitz-report-shows-fbi-launched-trump-campaign-investigation




And it seems Dear Leader wasn't happy that security dealt too gently with a protester at one of his rallies. I suppose he wanted them beaten and thrown bodily out the door. Sometimes he openly reveals the ugliness of his nature.
https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/474012-trump-on-removal-of-protester-at-rally-we-dont-want-to-be
Quote:
...Trump became noticeably frustrated after a woman wearing a black knit hat and carrying a "grabbing power back" sign disrupted his speech. After stepping a way from the lectern, Trump returned to microphone and repeatedly stated, "get her out."

Video shared on social media showed the woman walking around in circles and shouting as a security guard tried to contain her. Security eventually escorted her out of the arena. Footage showed one rally attendee attempting to snatch her sign as she neared an exit.

"See, these guys want to be so politically correct. Get her out," Trump said amid a chorus of boos and jeers from the audience. "See that. I’ll tell you, law enforcement is so great."

"That particular guy wanted to be so politically correct," Trump added, before mocking the security guard's posture. "We don't want to be politically correct. I don't know who he was. He didn't do the greatest job."...

Contrast that with how the other presidential candidates deal with protesters. They even talk to them sometimes.





This one just makes me scratch my head. Is it just another tool to attack universities and "the elites," i.e., educated people? Or something on Netanyahu's wish list? Or a weird way to attack the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement and stop criticisms of Israel? (That hardly seems to need Trump's help - the US Congress and some state governments are already doing their best to outlaw free speech if it's in support of BDS.)

Because I can't see how it would provide any benefits to US citizens who happen to be Jewish. And universities already make great efforts to protect minorities on campus, whether that's racial, religious, gender identity or whatever.
https://www.businessinsider.com/american-jews-response-trump-executive-order-judaism-as-nationality-2019-12
Quote:
Many American Jews are worried Trump's decision to define Judaism as a nationality and not just a religion will do far more harm than good
Quote:
President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order that would classify Judaism as a race or nationality instead of just a religion, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing three administration officials.

According to The Times' report, the order would threaten to withhold federal funding for colleges or universities that fail to combat discrimination of minority students on their campuses....

I do like this pithy summary from the article:
Quote:
Halie Soifer, the executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said on Tuesday that Trump's executive order represented "the height of hypocrisy."

"If President Trump truly wanted to address the scourge of anti-Semitism he helped to create, he would accept responsibility for his role emboldening white nationalism, perpetuating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and repeating stereotypes that have led to violence targeting Jews," she said in a statement. "Instead, President Trump continues to view Israel and anti-Semitism solely through a political lens, which he attempts to use to his political advantage."

She added: "President Trump is more interested in symbolic gestures that politicize Israel and use Jews as political pawns than actually doing something meaningful to ensure our security and that of Israel. The timing of this signing reveals this is a PR stunt, plain and simple.
I don't think it's an accident that anti-Semitic acts* have been on the rise since the current president of the United States made it plain that it's OK to be an asshole or bigot and act on your prejudices. I don't think he created them; he just made them feel that they have a powerful ally in the government.

*also anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Democrat, and whatever other prejudices you happen to have. As long as it's not anti-Christmas, of course. According to Dear Leader, he's made it OK to celebrate Christmas again.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 12 Dec , 2019 9:08 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-11/giuliani-associate-parnas-got-1-million-from-russia-u-s-says
Quote:
Rudy Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas got $1 million from an account in Russia in September, a month before he was charged with conspiring to funnel foreign money into U.S. political campaigns, according to U.S. prosecutors who asked a judge to jail him for understating his income and assets.

“The majority of that money appears to have been used on personal expenses and to purchase a home,” prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday. Parnas failed to disclose the payment to the government, prosecutors said.

The payment raises provocative new questions about the nature of the work Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman were doing and who they were doing it for. Much about what they did remains unclear....




https://thehill.com/policy/defense/474325-us-military-tests-previously-banned-ballistic-missile
Quote:
The Air Force has tested a prototype of a non-nuclear ballistic missile that was previously banned by an arms control treaty from which President Trump withdrew earlier this year, the Pentagon said Thursday...

“Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense's development of future intermediate-range capabilities,” ...

Such a missile was prohibited under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned the United States and Russia from having nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Trump withdrew from the 1987 treaty, which was credited with helping end the Cold War, in August....
This was at least the second test launch and clearly they have plans for a lot more of the previously banned weapons.




https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/474275-physicians-arrested-after-protesting-denial-of-flu-shots-to-migrants-in-us
Quote:
At least two volunteer physicians were among a group of people arrested after protesting the refusal of the federal government to give migrant detainees a flu shot....

The protests occurred after the Trump administration denied the same group of doctors permission to open a free pilot flu clinic for detained migrants....

Doctors groups have raised concerns that detention centers are at high risk for influenza outbreaks, especially ones that combine rapid turnover of detainees with long-term detention. Last month, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) released a letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that immigration authorities ignored its recommendation to provide detained migrants with flu shots.

The outrage and criticism intensified earlier this month, when ProPublica published a video of a 16-year old Guatemalan boy who died in the agency’s custody after being left alone in a cell for hours. He had been diagnosed with the flu....
Some of the attempts to vaccinate people being detained by CBP could be a stunt, given the participation of immigration activists, but the overall picture is damning. Instead of working with these physicians to set up vaccination clinics, which would have cost the government nothing, it seems CBP decided to just obstruct them. Even after a letter from the CDC.

It reminds me of when people tried to donate diapers, toothbrushes, etc. to the would-be immigrants and CBP refused them. Can't have people trying to treat these migrants like fellow humans, now can we?

Speaking of which, it seems that it's routine for CBP to take all sorts of personal items away from people (long before Trump). It strikes me as stupid and inhumane. A photographer who used to work as a janitor at CBP has collected and turned the confiscated items into art.
https://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/a-janitors-collection-of-things-confiscated-from-migrants-in-the-desert
Quote:
Tom Kiefer was a Customs and Border Protection janitor for almost four years before he took a good look inside the trash. Every day at work—at the C.B.P. processing center in Ajo, Arizona, less than fifty miles from the border with Mexico—he would throw away bags full of items confiscated from undocumented migrants apprehended in the desert. One day in 2007, he was rummaging through these bags looking for packaged food, which he’d received permission to donate to a local pantry. In the process, he also noticed toothbrushes, rosaries, pocket Bibles, water bottles, keys, shoelaces, razors, mix CDs, condoms, contraceptive pills, sunglasses, keys: a vibrant, startling testament to the lives of those who had been detained or deported. Without telling anyone, Kiefer began collecting the items, stashing them in sorted piles in the garages of friends. “I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he told me recently. “But I knew there was something to be done....

He’d always known, technically, about the C.B.P.’s strict confiscation policies, which were posted on bilingual signs and applied to all items classified as either “non-essential” or “potentially lethal.” But he hadn’t spent much time thinking about these policies, and he hadn’t realized how broadly they were applied, or just how many of the confiscated items—including cell phones and wallets, many still containing I.D.s, prepaid debit cards, and cash—were ending up in the trash, never to be returned. Increasingly, Kiefer felt uncomfortable at work: angry at the system that employed him, sad for the people being “processed,” and afraid that he would be caught making off with government property. But he kept sneaking out what he could, kept building his piles, and kept taking pictures, which at first he showed to no one.

Many of the photographs that make up “El Sueño Americano” are clean and bright, even exuberant: a radiant sea of toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes, all pointed in the same direction, like a swarming Pop-art school of fish; a plastic quilt of condoms, their multi-hued wrappers advertising a cornucopia of brands, flavors, and designs. These lively objects can seem incongruent with the gravity of their backstories....

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 13 Dec , 2019 1:41 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
It looks like some Republicans have gone completely insane in support of Trump.
https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/474391-huckabee-teases-hannity-appearance-says-hell-explain-why-trump
Quote:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said he will appear on alongside Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday night to “explain” how President Trump “will be eligible for a 3rd term.”...

“I'll be on @seanhannity 2nite @FoxNews at 9pm ET and will explain how @realDonaldTrump will be eligible for a 3rd term due to the illegal attempts by Comey, Dems, and media , et al attempting to oust him as @POTUS so that's why I was named to head up the 2024 re-election,” Huckabee tweeted.

Trump is constitutionally prohibited from serving a third term under the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution....
Huckabee is the father of Trump's former mouthpiece, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.


Other Republicans are putting up billboards opposing Trump:
https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/474402-conservative-group-hits-white-house-with-billboard-ads-what-is
Quote:
Conservative organization Republicans for the Rule of Law released a new digital billboard campaign Wednesday blasting President Trump and several GOP lawmakers and officials over the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

The ads show an image of President Trump behind Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former National Security adviser John Bolton, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani with tape over all of their mouths, according to copies of the billboards shared with The Hill.

“What Is Trump Hiding?” the ads ask. They will be placed in the congressional districts of House Republicans,...



Dear Leader invites a crass bigot to the official White House Hanukkah celebration. Does someone need to tell Trump that Hanukkah is actually a Jewish celebration? And that these White House events are official events on behalf of the U.S., not his personal playground? :
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/474373-trump-hosts-pastor-who-says-jews-are-going-to-hell-at-white-house
Quote:
The White House hosted an evangelical pastor who has said that Jews “can’t be saved” as part of the administration’s Wednesday Hanukkah celebration during which President Trump signed an executive order aimed at targeting anti-Semitism.

Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas called Trump “the most pro-faith president in history” at the Wednesday event.

“You’re on the right side of God,” Jeffress said of Trump.

Jeffress has a history of making offensive comments about Jewish people, as well as Muslims and Mormons. ...

“Islam is wrong, it is a heresy from the pit of hell. Mormonism is wrong, it is heresy from the pit of hell,” Jeffress said. “Judaism — you know you can’t be saved being a Jew.”...

Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism — not only do they lead people away from the true God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in hell,” he said. “Hell is going to be filled with good religious people who have rejected the truth of Christ.”...
I believe the executive order he signed was the one that might be aimed at outlawing support for BDS and/or attacking university campuses. The Hill summary yesterday was brief but there's a more extensive article on it today, and the concerns about it, from AlJazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/rights-groups-slam-trump-plan-sign-anti-semitism-order-191211173214821.html

btw, this is an excellent demonstration of hypocrisy from the Republicans, if that's the purpose of Trump's executive order. On the one hand, they're complaining that students won't let conservatives speak on campus.* On the other hand, they want to silence a movement that aims to pressure Israel to stop promoting settlements in illegally occupied territories.

* In some cases, this is a true issue, IMO. One purpose of college is to learn to evaluate other viewpoints and construct rational arguments for/against them. NOT to protect yourself from ever hearing anything you disagree with. But some conservative groups take this to a ridiculous extreme when they want to force campuses to also give a voice to some pointless idiot like Richard Spencer or Milo Y. Which makes me wonder how much of their view is sincere and how much is just a political cudgel to beat liberals and academics with.




btw, it's good to be the king (thanks, Mel Brooks ;) ). Or, at least, the king's son.
https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/474046-mongolian-government-retroactively-granted-trump-jr-rare-permit
Quote:
The president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reportedly shot and killed an endangered sheep in Mongolia before receiving a permit from the Mongolian government.

A ProPublica report published Wednesday found that Trump Jr.'s recent hunting trip to Mongolia in August resulted in the president's son shooting and killing an argali, a species of sheep listed as endangered and which requires a permit to be hunted legally...

The White House declined a request for comment from The Hill, and a spokesman for Trump Jr. told ProPublica that the trip was a personal excursion won at auction before Trump announced his candidacy in 2015....


https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/474345-mongolian-officials-visited-mar-a-lago-before-retroactively
Quote:
Mongolian Ambassador Yondon Otgonbayar and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tsgot Damdin visited Mar-a-Lago at the same time the president’s son was celebrating Easter there in April. The officials are pictured in a River School of Government Instagram post at the resort.

It is unclear whether Trump Jr. met with the Mongolian officials during their visit or if he discussed his upcoming August hunting trip, the Post reported.





https://thehill.com/homenews/house/474279-pelosi-says-leadership-wont-pressure-moderates-to-back-impeachment
Quote:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that party leaders will apply no pressure on rank-and-file members to support the articles of impeachment against President Trump that are expected to hit the House floor next week.

While the House Democratic Caucus is overwhelmingly supportive of the impeachment effort, several moderate members are holding out ahead of the votes amid concerns that backing the effort might alienate voters in their battleground districts heading into the 2020 election....
On one hand, I approve of a party that (supposedly) doesn't pressure its members to vote a particular way. On the other, I have nothing but contempt for anyone, Democrat or Republican, who puts his/her own reelection chances over doing the right thing. In any vote.

This also seems like more evidence that Nancy Pelosi really would prefer not to impeach Trump.

(admittedly, not as bad as Mitch McConnell announcing that he'll move to acquit Trump in an impeachment trial. And later saying that he'll be taking orders from Trump: https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/474399-mcconnell-says-hell-be-in-total-coordination-with-white-house-on-impeachment Yeah, that's an open-minded attitude. Then again, no one expects any different from the GOP leadership, which is really sad.)


Really, a pox on both their houses.





EDIT:
Yeah, this is how totally innocent people behave:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/474490-white-house-cuts-officials-allowed-to-listen-to-trump-calls-with
Quote:
Fewer administration officials are allowed to listen to President Trump's phone calls with foreign leaders after the president's July 25 call with the leader of Ukraine became a central part of the House impeachment inquiry, CNN reported, citing White House sources.

Transcripts of the calls are also being given to a smaller number of officials, sources told the news network.

"Nobody is allowed on the calls," a White House official told CNN while describing a new attempt to limit access to the calls to top aides only. "The barn door officially closed after the horse escaped."

...the list is approved by national security adviser Robert O'Brien.

Previously in the administration and during other presidencies, a greater number of officials were reportedly permitted to listen in, including aides with expertise on the countries involved in the calls. ...

_________________
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The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 18 Dec , 2019 1:08 am 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
For those who despise Trump but are principled conservatives:

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/474847-george-conway-other-conservatives-launch-effort-to-block-trumps-reelection
Quote:
A group of conservatives known for their criticism of President Trump, led by lawyer George Conway, is launching a super PAC aimed at stopping Trump from winning reelection.

The Lincoln Project is made up of some of Trump’s staunchest conservative critics and represents the first formal operation for the so-called Never Trump movement, according to The Associated Press.

Organizers have reportedly garnered more than $1 million in fundraising commitments, with the hopes of raising much more to spend on anti-Trump advertising in the build-up to the 2020 election....

The authors wrote that their effort over the next 11 months will be to defeat Trump “and Trumpism at the ballot box and to elect those patriots who will hold the line.”

“We do not undertake this task lightly, nor from ideological preference. We have been, and remain, broadly conservative (or classically liberal) in our politics and outlooks,” they wrote. “Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain, but our shared fidelity to the Constitution dictates a common effort.”...


Their website, The Lincoln Project:
https://lincolnproject.us/

btw, I'm glad to see this group seems to be scaring the hell out of the pro-Trump brigade. :) In the Us vs. Them political scene, having "Them" include decent people of all political stripes will hurt the Trump supporters' appeal to blind partisanship.




Also, with friends like this, who needs enemies?
https://www.businessinsider.com/rudy-giuliani-i-needed-yovanovitch-out-of-the-way-2019-12
Quote:
...Giuliani told The New Yorker's Adam Entous that he viewed Yovanovitch as an obstacle as he attempted to obtain politically damaging information about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine ahead of the 2020 election.

"I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way," Giuliani said. "She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody."

To that end, Giuliani compiled a dossier of conspiracy theories about the Bidens and Yovanovitch that he sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this year and was later shared with the FBI and The New Yorker.

Giuliani also began speaking out against Yovanovitch on news outlets like Fox News, while directing John Solomon, a self-described investigative journalist who traffics in conspiracy theories, to publish op-ed articles smearing Yovanovitch in The Hill....




https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/read-letter-trump-accuses-democrats-attempted-coup-191217221855011.html
Quote:
On the eve of his expected impeachment in the US House of Representatives, President Donald Trump accused Democrats of pursuing an "illegal, partisan attempted coup" and declaring "open war" on American democracy as they seek to remove him from office for pressing Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden.

Trump's remarks came in a signed, six-page letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, released as House politicians met to set the rules for debate before Wednesday's planned vote on two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Read the full letter below: ...

I wonder who wrote this for Trump? One of his lawyers? It has his usual rants and nonsense but couched in formal business language and words (egregious? unfettered contempt?) that I've never seen any hint of him using, much less understanding.

Though, here and there, a different, often borderline ignorant, style is inserted:
Quote:
It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!

Quote:
President Zelensky has repeatedly declared that I did nothing wrong, and that there was No Pressure.
Quote:
Worse still, I have been deprived of basic Constitutional Due Process from the beginning of this impeachment scam right up until the present.

I wonder if those bits were in Sharpie? ;)




EDIT:
It seems Dear Leader's lawyers didn't want the letter associated with them. :D
Can't say I blame them. Polishing up utter nonsense with proper grammar and educated writing, instead of suppressing it in the best interests of your client, is not a brilliant career move.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/475033-wh-counsel-didnt-take-lead-on-trump-letter-to-pelosi-reports
Quote:
White House lawyers did not take the lead on President Trump's scathing letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday in which he accused Democrats of "interfering in America’s elections” with their impeachment efforts, according to multiple reports.

The New York Times reported that the process for the letter was led by Eric Ueland, the director of the Office of Legislative Affairs, who was joined by policy adviser Stephen Miller and Michael Williams, an adviser to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney...

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 18 Dec , 2019 8:07 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/475114-fourth-pentagon-official-announces-resignation-within-week
Quote:
A top Pentagon intelligence official will soon leave the building, the fourth key defense official to announce their resignation within a week.

Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Kari Bingen submitted her resignation on Dec. 5 and will leave Jan. 10, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Uriah Orland confirmed in a statement. Her departure was first reported by Politico....

Her announced departure follows three others within seven days: the Dec. 12 notification that top Asia policy official Randall Schriver would leave after two years on the job; the Dec. 13 announcement that top official in charge of personnel and readiness Jimmy Stewart had resigned after a little over a year on the job; and on Tuesday Defense News reported that Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency leader Steven Walker will leave in January for a private-sector job.

Those four vacancies add to a number of openings within the Defense Department, with six of the 21 deputy assistant secretary of Defense policy jobs still empty. Several other roles are filled in an acting capacity, including chief management officer, comptroller, deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy, and assistant Defense secretary for international security affairs...




Trump rewards Neil Jacobs, his political appointee at NOAA, for being loyal:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/475139-trump-nominates-aide-who-backed-noaa-during-dorian-controversy-for
Quote:
The acting chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who backed the agency for siding with President Trump over its own scientists when the president claimed Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian is being nominated for a position at the Department of Commerce, the White House said Wednesday. ...

The Hill article is convoluted and badly written, so here's an old article about Neil Jacobs, from the days of hurricane Dorian.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/09/climate/hurricane-dorian-trump-tweet.html
Quote:
...on Sept. 4, [Trump] displayed a NOAA map that appeared to have been altered with a black Sharpie to include Alabama in the area potentially affected by Dorian. (Alabama was not struck by the hurricane.)

Mr. Ross, the commerce secretary, intervened two days later, early last Friday, according to the three people familiar with his actions. Mr. Ross phoned Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political staff at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode....

The political staff at an agency typically includes a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. They are appointed to their jobs by the administration currently in power, as opposed to career government employees, who remain in their jobs as administrations come and go.

NOAA ultimately issued an unsigned statement last Friday calling the Birmingham office’s statement “inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”...




More Republicans fighting back against Dear Leader:
https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/475135-former-republicans-create-group-to-defend-amash
Quote:
Former Republicans Wednesday announced the creation of a group intended to protect Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) going into his 2020 reelection race.

Country Above Party, an independent federal Super PAC, was formed to “keep Justin Amash the only Independent in Congress” after threats from the president to try to unseat him next year over his staunch criticism of the White House and his defection from the GOP.

Amash is also expected vote to impeach President Trump later on Wednesday when the House votes on two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“I don’t agree with him on every issue, but I think Washington needs more Justin Amashes,” said Jeff Timmer, a longtime political consultant and former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party...
This is interesting and intelligent timing. If anything can get Republican senators to vote against Trump in an impeachment trial, it will be fear of being voted out of office. It seems there are several campaigns being launched by conservatives, Republicans and former Republicans right now, to counteract the pressure from Trump sycophants and current GOP leaders.



And a bit of seasonal cheer:
https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/475090-anti-trump-celebs-celebrate-happy-impeachment-day-america
Quote:
God, arrest ye scary gentlemen
The people you dismay
Remember oaths of office
On this Impeachment Day
Please save us all
From Donald's lies,
Abuses everyday
O Congress impeach the
Orange menace today
O Congress impeach
His ass today!
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) December 18, 2019


It seems Tweety spent the morning of his impeachment day putting out dozens of tweets and retweets. It must be nice to be the only president who gets to goof off this much. He was also complaining that Nancy Pelosi didn't bother to read the bizarre 6-page letter his more literate supporters wrote for him, based on his rants. Who could? I made it through a few paragraphs out of morbid curiosity before my eyes glazed over and I started skimming. I'd say Trump is right that this letter will definitely go down in history - though probably not in the way he expects. ;) https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/475088-trump-blasts-pelosi-as-impeachment-looms

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 20 Dec , 2019 9:22 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
It sounds like this editorial by a Christian magazine stung:
https://thehill.com/homenews/news/475445-trump-attacks-christianity-today-over-bruising-editorial
Quote:
President Trump on Friday went after Christianity Today after it published an editorial calling for his removal from office, saying the flagship evangelical magazine was “far left” and claiming it has been “doing poorly.”

“A far left magazine, or very ‘progressive,’ as some would call it, which has been doing poorly and hasn’t been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years, Christianity Today, knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President,” Trump wrote in a pair of tweets....

Trump continued to criticize the publication throughout the day Friday, claiming he has done more than any other president for "religion itself."...


And now it seems that some evangelicals are turning against Christianity Today instead of against Trump. The truth stings, I suppose. It's even set up a battle within the Falwell family, with some supporting and some opposing the editorial.




EDIT:

Undying loyalty, really?? What are we now, a kingdom where a simple change of political party means you pledge fealty to King Donald? :scratch:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/475345-trump-announces-van-drew-will-become-a-republican-in-oval-office
Quote:
President Trump met with Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.) at the White House on Thursday and announced that the Democrat would switch parties and become a Republican.

“Jeff will be joining the Republican Party,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Thursday afternoon, after teasing a “very big announcement.”

Van Drew told Trump... “I believe that this is just a better fit for me. This is who I am. It’s who I always was but there was more tolerance of moderate Democrats, Blue Dog Democrats or conservative Democrats. And I think that’s gone away,” Van Drew said.

“You have my undying support. Always,” Van Drew told Trump....


It seems Van Drew got what he wanted out of this bargain, though. Money.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/475550-trump-asks-supporters-to-donate-to-van-drew
Quote:
President Trump called on his supporters to donate to Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-N.J.) on Friday, reiterating his endorsement of the newly-minted Republican congressman. ...

“....and has my FULL Endorsement. This is a BIG win for our GOP and a BIG win for South Jersey. South Jersey is TRUMP COUNTRY, so I know ALL NJ Republicans will join me in supporting Jeff Van Drew. The Dems are already coming after him, so help Jeff win.”...
Interesting how Trump thinks one House member changing parties is a such a big win for the GOP. I suppose it counteracts one of the many Republicans who have left the Republican party over Trump.

It seems that Van Drew waited just so he could cast a vote against impeachment as a Democrat. It's a trivial bit of dishonesty but appropriate for the current GOP. I wonder whether this idea was his or Dear Leader's?
Quote:
Van Drew waited to make the announcement from the White House after casting a vote as a Democrat against impeachment.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Sun 22 Dec , 2019 12:31 pm 
Try to stay perky
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Apropos the editorial:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec , 2019 3:11 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
Quote:
Apropos the editorial:
:D
.



Most of us meet friends and relatives around the holidays. Trump, well....
(To be more serious, I assume Trump and Giuliani, in particular, met now because people are less likely to be paying attention to the news)
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/475688-trump-had-brief-encounter-with-giuliani-on-saturday
Quote:
President Trump briefly met with his attorney Rudy Giuliani on Saturday as Giuliani faces a federal investigation over possible campaign finance violations, Bloomberg News reported.

The two men met Saturday night at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Fla., where Trump spent the weekend ahead of this week's Christmas holiday. It was unclear what the two men discussed...

A communications aide to Giuliani, Christianné Allen, tweeted a picture of herself next to a smiling Trump on Sunday morning, hours after the meeting occurred.


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/475687-navy-seal-at-center-of-war-crimes-case-meets-with-trump-at-mar-a-lago
Quote:
The Navy SEAL accused of war crimes in whose case President Trump intervened met with the president and first lady at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort Saturday.

The Instagram account “eddie_and_andrea,” which appears to be a joint account between the Navy SEAL, Edward Gallagher, and his wife, Andrea, posted a series of pictures of the couple meeting the Trumps.

Mar-a-Lago is listed as the "location" on the post.

“Finally got to thank the President and his amazing wife by giving them a little gift from Eddie’s deployment to Mosul,” the Gallagher account wrote in the caption of the post....






https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/475578-the-memo-impeachments-scars-cut-deep-with-trump-say-those-who-know
Quote:
President Trump is blasting back at impeachment but he will feel its scars deeply, according to people who know him. Trump, for all his belligerence and bluster, is viewed by many who have been close to him as acutely insecure. He has sought validation and respect for much of his adult life — and has often been frustrated when it has not been forthcoming....

Sam Nunberg, whose association with Trump began in 2011 and extended to working on the early stages of his presidential campaign, said that he believed Trump would “personally be extremely upset” about impeachment “from a historical perspective — just the same way that it was always a big issue if you mentioned past bankruptcies.”

Nunberg also contended that the scorching effect of impeachment was likely to spark an even more intense desire on Trump’s part to win reelection next year. The president would likely see such a victory not just as vindication, but as the ultimate rebuttal to his foes.

“What I would tell his political enemies, if they feel happy about this, is — as someone who has worked for him and fought with him — you have really created a monster here for 2020,” Nunberg said. “The amount of drive that he had to get reelected has been magnified by millions.”...
Quote:
None of this is exactly a secret, to be sure....

His tweets in recent days have been aflame with rage about impeachment. ...

Trump has also launched attacks that are inflammatory even by his standards. ..

Barbara Res, a former vice president at the Trump Organization who worked with the future president for more than a decade, expressed her disgust with the remark but said that her former boss was unlikely to feel any contrition for it.

“I think it’s outrageous,” Res told The Hill. “But does he think that he is being classless? It’s more a matter of him thinking he can do whatever he wants.”...





Transcript of Turning Point-sponsored Trump speech to a student group. I've quoted a fair amount because it seems useful to realize what the current president of the United States is thinking and saying to his supporters. (also government documents can be used freely and don't fall under copyright protections). I've bolded a few things I thought interesting, either because it's bizarre or it seems to provide an insight into his thinking and/or propaganda to his supporters. :
https://factba.se/transcript/donald-trump-speech-turning-point-usa-student-summit-december-21-2019
Quote:
Well, thank you very much. Thank you everybody. What a group. What a group. What a group. I also want to thank a true American legend, and a beloved national hero, Rush Limbaugh. ...

But I have to say, he's a very unique guy and he's a great man and he's been a great friend. So thank you to Rush. Thank you. And let me begin by wishing you a beautiful -- look, do you remember this? Do you remember they were trying to take "Christmas" out of Christmas? Do you remember? [Audience Boos]...
Quote:
Each of you is a fighter on the frontlines of defending our way of life. And I am profoundly grateful to all of you. The whole country is. And by the way, your crowds are getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I see on television, where Charlie had a deal going on where they had 4- or 5,000 people standing outside.I get a little angry because that's supposed to be only me. But they had thousands of people on one of the colleges where they couldn't get in, and you have that. You have that. We're sort of different. We don't do it quite the other -- you know, we do the nice way. But the truth is, you're tougher. You're smarter. You're far more elite. Don't you love it when they say "the elite"? They're referring to the others -- "the elite." No, no, you're the elite. The elite. ...
Quote:
There's no crime. There's no nothing. How do you impeach? You had no crime. Even their people said there was no crime. In fact, there's no impeachment. There's no -- their own lawyers said there's no impeachment. What are we doing here? The world is watching. Crazy Nancy. She's crazy. No, no, so now she says -- you know, she has no case. She has no case. So let's not submit it. That's good, right? That's good. But you know what? So unfair. It's so unfair. She has no case. Did they look bad? They got up -- the same thing, the Constitution. They are violating the Constitution totally. Totally. They're violating the Constitution.In the meantime, our polls have gone through the roof. And the Senate, like the House -- we've done great work together. You know, today, with the judges. Last week, we did 13 judges -- 13 extra. We're going to talk about it in a second. But we're doing like no other party has done in the first, think of it, less than three years, and what we've done.

Last night was so exciting, with the National Defense bill. The greatest military ever. Ever. New jets, new ships, new rockets, new missiles.All made in the USA, folks. Made in the USA. But as we near the end of another extraordinary year, we celebrate America's incredible comeback, and that's what it is. Our country was down.We were depressed. We were depleted. Our military was so, so down and so out. I mean, I could tell you stories, and I won't tell you because it's embarrassing to tell you, but we've rebuilt it. Two and a half trillion dollars.

Somebody said, "Well, that's bad for the budget." Let me tell you about budgets: I'm a big budget person, but when it comes to the military, there is no budget. There is no budget. There's no budget when it comes to the military. Somebody says, "Well, we're doing really badly in the war. We don't have enough ammunition. But we're losing the war. But you know, we had a good budget last year." No, it's -- you have people that think that way. You know, it doesn't work that way.

We're so powerful, militarily, now, especially at the end of another six months. This stuff is all pouring in: brand-new jets, the most incredible stealth jets, the F-35 fighters, the F-18, the F-16s, the -- -- nobody has ever seen what we're doing. Ships, submarines -- I won't even tell you about the submarine....
Quote:
How come the polls were wrong? In my case, they do a poll and then they add 10 or 12 percent now to it. They've learned that. Took them a little while to figure that one out. But you know what? I do it. And I say -- look, I have these room full of incredible people -- I say, "What do you like better?" Now, I'm a little superstitious.
Quote:
Because if you're superstitious -- because, look, let's face it, when we came in, and when we started that campaign, like four years -- even more than four years ago -- "Make America Great", that was probably the greatest phrase in the history of politics. Really, right? So I'm a loyalist.

I don't take things and just throw it to the side. But the truth is, our country is doing better than ever before. We're so respected again. Leaders come in from other countries -- prime ministers, presidents, kings, queens, dictators, in some cases -- they just don't know they're dictators -- -- or our people don't either -- but they come in and they say, "Congratulations. What you've done is amazing." They're talking about all of us. And you know what? It is.
Quote:
But we're in a battle of survival of this nation. We really are. When you look at these people talk, with their Green New Deal. But I don't want to knock it now, if you don't mind. I don't want to knock it. I knocked -- I knocked the hell out of Pocahontas. I got her down. don't want to -- too early. It's too early. They can change. I don't want say "the Green New Deal." I think it's a wonderful thing. I do want to think about it. I want to study it closely. I want to see whether or not we should ever use airplanes again.

How about the senator from Hawaii?Nasty. Nasty. Horrible. Gee, what she says -- what she says is so mean and angry. She's not the smartest person on the planet. She wants the Green New Deal, and then they informed her that that does not include airplanes. And you're the senator from Hawaii. So they said, "What are you going to do?" And then they talked about building a train to Hawaii, can you believe it? No, no, she wants it, even though you can't -- you'll never get to Hawaii again.

Say goodbye to Hawaii. No, it's crazy, isn't it, though? But I don't want to knock it.
All of these things have to be st- -- it's too soon. It's too soon. Let it go. Let -- let it seed. Like -- just like our great agenda has to seed like a tree. It has to seed. Let the Green New Deal seed. And then about two months before the campaign ends, I will rip that sucker like you have -- . We'll let it seed, the Green New Deal.

We'll have an economy based on wind. I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. I've studied it better than anybody I know. It's very expensive. They're made in China and Germany mostly -- very few made here, almost none. But they're manufactured tremendous -- if you're into this -- tremendous fumes.
Gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint -- fumes are spewing into the air. Right? Spewing. Whether it's in China, Germany, it's going into the air.
Quote:
We used the word "swamp." It thought it was okay. We'd wipe it out. These people are crazy. They're vicious. They're totally out of control, but we're knocking them down pretty good right now. They're waging war on the values and principles that have always defined America.

They're trying to silence, censor, and punish anyone who dissents from their oppressive ideology. You know that. They want to hound conservatives. You see what they do. You see what they do -- the reporter who was beat up, but so many others. But they only go after people that aren't fighters. They only go after the non-fighters.I could tell you some stories. They don't go after -- they don't go after the tough ones. We have the toughest people, but our toughest people don't need to do that and hopefully they never will. Hopefully, they never will. But we have incredible people. But they always go after people that are non-fighters, people that are not going to do anything bad, other than they'll write or they'll put down their feelings.
Quote:
And their unbelievably, crazy partisans seek to nullify elections they didn't win. Remember that we won an election? And I'll tell you what, it's never been so much in the fore- -- not only did we win the election, we had an Electoral College landslide. Okay? It was a landslide. And when all else fails, they pursue an illegal, unconstitutional, and hyper-partisan impeachment.They go with the impeachment thing. [Audience boos]

Some of these extremists may call themselves Democrats, but they really don't believe in democracy. They can't. They can't believe in democracy. Generations of patriots before us didn't work -- look, we had people -- they want to work. We have people now that maybe it just doesn't work for them. But generations of patriots before us did not work, fight, and sacrifice so that we could surrender our country to a raging left-wing mob. And that's what's happening. While they want to punish America, we will fight to preserve America. And that's what we're doing. And you're doing it incredibly well. Together we'll stand up to socialists. We will defend our nation -- the greatest and most glorious republic in the history of this world.

And you know what? The best is yet to come. You know that, right? Each of you is coming of age at a critical moment in our country's history. And your spirit is so unbelievable. Your spirit through thick and thin has been unbelievable. The level of excitement in the Republican Party today is greater, in my opinion, than it's ever been in the history of the Republican Party.

I really believe that. Never been this way. In fact, they have polls -- "enthusiasm polls," they call them -- that have us at a level that we've never been at before. The Democrats always had the edge on that. We are higher than them. We have more enthusiasm. They are cutting themselves up. They don't know if they're down the middle, if they're far left...

We're not going let it happen. And if it did happen and if they were successful, they will destroy this country. Remember that: They will destroy this country. And that's why it's more important than ever to drain the swamp, and we're doing that. Despite everything the failed ruling class has thrown at us -- and don't forget, when I came here, I didn't have great experience.

I mean, I learned quickly. I've been a very good spokesman. Have I done well as a spokesman? But -- but, we went through eight years of Clinton, eight years of Bush, eight years of Obama. [Audience boos]

So we have Bush and Clinton and Obama. So I -- that's 24 years. That's a lot of people they put in. They put in. They put in. It's thousands and thousands of people, and they fight you. And we have Republicans, frankly, that are worse. These Never Trumpers. You have Never-Trumper Republicans. [Audience boos] In some cases, they're worse than the Obama and the Clinton people. They're Never Trumpers. These are the dumbest human beings on Earth, okay? They're the dumbest human beings. We give them the judges. We give them the great military. We give them low taxes. We had the greatest tax cut in the history of our country.

We give them all of these things, right? And they just hate me.
If it was Jim Smith, President of the United States, they'll say he's the greatest President that ever lived. But with me, they can't get over it. But there, fortunately, aren't too many of them left. But they are sick people. There's no question about it. But despite crooked leadership at the top of the FBI -- they were crooked.

There were dirty cops at the top. FBI: great people. But at the top of the FBI, you had dirty cops. Deep state sabotage. Eighteen angry Democrat prosecutors. These were all put in there to destroy us. Think of what we did. You heard Rush. Think of what we did. Think of what we've -- where we've come, how vicious it was.

They had 13 angry Democrats that were smart, vicious, evil -- and it built up to 18. They had 49 FBI agents, thousands of subpoenas, hundreds of people, and they found nothing. There's nobody in this room that could have gone through that and found nothing. I really mean that, too. It's incredible. They found nothing.

How clean am I? No, think of that.
But endless congressional investigations -- but think of it. Hundreds of people, interviewing everybody that I -- and they found nothing. The Mueller report came out; it was a total dud. After two and a half years, they have a baseless impeachment, millions of pages of fake-news propaganda -- because the news was totally on their side.

It's a Democrat -- it's part of the Democrat [sic] Party. It's a wing; the media is a wing of the Democrat[sc] Party. And all of the Washington powers -- they were all arrayed against us. They're losing. We're winning. And we're succeeding in our mission to make America great again.

I assume he was following the teleprompter a little more closely, since this speech seemed less disjointed and rambling than some of Trump's speeches, where you wonder what planet he's on and what he might be trying to say, because it's completely opaque. Though it's not exactly coherent in some places, especially when he's trying to talk about things he clearly doesn't understand at all, like wind power or other green energy. (He reminds me there of elderly, failing relatives who catch a little bit of what's going on and make up strange stories to fill in the gaps in their understanding. )

Of course, it's a very toxic and divisive speech, full of blatant lies, lies and half-truths. The appalling thing is, most of us have come to expect that of our current president.

I'm not sure who his speechwriters are but presumably Stephen Miller is among them. And I think we would all be wise to pay attention to what Sam Nunberg said, especially now that Trump is clearly feeling betrayed by some Republicans and even some evangelicals. Because it seems likely that Trump will get in bed with anyone, right now, who will keep him in power.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 31 Dec , 2019 9:57 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/29/us/politics/trump-ukraine-military-aid.html
Quote:
Behind the Ukraine Aid Freeze: 84 Days of Conflict and Confusion

The inside story of President Trump’s demand to halt military assistance to an ally shows the price he was willing to pay to carry out his agenda.
Quote:
Deep into a long flight to Japan aboard Air Force One with President Trump, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, dashed off an email to an aide back in Washington.

“I’m just trying to tie up some loose ends,” Mr. Mulvaney wrote. “Did we ever find out about the money for Ukraine and whether we can hold it back?”...

The Democratic-led inquiry into Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine this spring and summer established that the president was actively involved in parallel efforts — both secretive and highly unusual — to bring pressure on a country he viewed with suspicion, if not disdain.

One campaign, spearheaded by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, aimed to force Ukraine to conduct investigations that could help Mr. Trump politically, including one focused on a potential Democratic 2020 rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The other, which unfolded nearly simultaneously but has gotten less attention, was the president’s demand to withhold the security assistance. By late summer, the two efforts merged as American diplomats used the withheld aid as leverage in the effort to win a public commitment from the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to carry out the investigations Mr. Trump sought into Mr. Biden and unfounded or overblown theories about Ukraine interfering in the 2016 election.

Interviews with dozens of current and former administration officials, congressional aides and others, previously undisclosed emails and documents, and a close reading of thousands of pages of impeachment testimony provide the most complete account yet of the 84 days from when Mr. Trump first inquired about the money to his decision in September to relent.

What emerges is the story of how Mr. Trump’s demands sent shock waves through the White House and the Pentagon, created deep rifts within the senior ranks of his administration, left key aides like Mr. Mulvaney under intensifying scrutiny — and ended only after Mr. Trump learned of a damning whistle-blower report and came under pressure from influential Republican lawmakers....



I missed this one earlier:
https://www.spiegel.de/international/business/donald-trump-damages-america-by-defanging-wto-a-1300381.html
Quote:
United States President Donald Trump has ample reason to be satisfied with the World Trade Organization (WTO). In his eyes, the body has helped him achieve all sorts of victories. Just last October, for instance, the WTO condemned European Union subsidies for Airbus and awarded the United States the right to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion (6.8 billion euros) of European imports.

"We're having a lot of wins at the WTO since I became President," Trump said at a press conference with the Finnish president in October, dismissing a remark by a journalist who pointed out that the WTO had been weighing the Airbus case since 2004. "Excuse me. Your wins are now, because they think I don't like the WTO, and they want to make sure I'm happy."

In fact, Trump is doing everything he can to undermine the organization -- and barring some miracle, he will achieve that goal this week.

For two years, the U.S. has refused to fill vacancies within the WTO's dispute settlement system. The appellate body, an important panel that mediates trade disputes, should have seven members. These are usually experts in trade law, diplomats or government officials. Currently, however, the panel has only three members, the minimum needed for the body to be able to do its job. On Dec. 10, the terms of two of those members will end, leaving the WTO without an appellate body and the world without its most important mechanism for resolving trade disputes....
As far as I know, this happened and has not been resolved.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/crr7mlg0gppt/world-trade-organization
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50736344

So it seems that Trump has managed to break another thing intended to help keep the peace between nations. I expect Putin is quite pleased with our idiot-in-chief.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 02 Jan , 2020 2:16 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
New Years update on how much time Dear Leader has spent at golf reports vs. the White House (not that he seems to do much actual work even there):
https://thegolfnewsnet.com/golfnewsnetteam/2019/12/31/how-many-times-president-donald-trump-played-golf-in-office-103836/
Quote:
The cost of Trump's golf rounds to the American taxpayer varies by round and course, but it has totaled so far in the tens of millions of dollars....

Trump ended 2017 with 91 golf course visits and was just shy of 100 visits in Year 1 as President. In his second year as President, Trump played golf 76 times. Trump has spent nearly 22 percent of his days in office at one of his golf properties for some portion of the day. ...

We don't know if Trump has played golf every time he shows up to one of his clubs. That's because the Trump Administration has gone out of its way to bar the White House press pool from shadowing President Trump when he goes to his golf clubs. That means Trump could be playing golf, or he could be hitting golf balls on the range, or he could be twiddling his thumbs. We don't know, and the Trump Administration won't say...



https://www.justsecurity.org/67863/exclusive-unredacted-ukraine-documents-reveal-extent-of-pentagons-legal-concerns/
Quote:
Exclusive: Unredacted Ukraine Documents Reveal Extent of Pentagon’s Legal Concerns
Quote:
Thanks to the testimony of several Trump administration officials, we now know what Trump was waiting on: a commitment from Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. *

But getting at that truth hasn’t been easy and the Trump administration continues to try to obscure it. It is blocking key officials from testifying and is keeping documentary evidence from lawmakers investigating the Ukraine story. For example, this note from Duffey to McCusker was never turned over to House investigators and the Trump administration is continuing to try to keep it secret. ..

Last month, a court ordered the government to release almost 300 pages of emails to the Center for Public Integrity in response to a FOIA lawsuit. It released a first batch on Dec. 12, and then a second installment on Dec. 21, including Duffey’s email, but that document, along with several others, were partially or completely blacked out.

Since then, Just Security has viewed unredacted copies of these emails, which begin in June and end in early October. Together, they tell the behind-the-scenes story of the defense and budget officials who had to carry out the president’s unexplained hold on military aid to Ukraine.

The documents reveal growing concern from Pentagon officials that the hold would violate the Impoundment Control Act, which requires the executive branch to spend money as appropriated by Congress, and that the necessary steps to avoid this result weren’t being taken....
Quote:
What is clear is that it all came down to the president and what he wanted; no one else appears to have supported his position. Although the pretext for the hold was that some sort of policy review was taking place, the emails make no mention of that actually happening. Instead, officials were anxiously waiting for the president to be convinced that the hold was a bad idea. And while the situation continued throughout the summer, senior defense officials were searching for legal guidance, worried they would be blamed should the hold be lifted too late to actually spend all of the money, which would violate the law....

*Although one impeachment witness suggested that all Trump actually wanted was a public announcement that Ukraine would start an investigation; he wasn't so much interested in the investigation itself.




Old, but relevant given Kim's recent activities:
http://prospect-production-dupe.eu-west-1.elasticbeanstalk.com/world/how-kim-jong-un-outsmarted-donald-trump
Quote:
How Kim Jong-un outsmarted Donald Trump
Quote:
For a man who has declared bankruptcy for his businesses no fewer than six times, Donald Trump takes inordinate pride in his deal-making skills. He was bragging about those skills again in Singapore as he prepared for an historic sit down with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. A few hours later, after much handholding and mutual flattery, the contents of the declaration the two men had signed were widely hailed by everyone outside Trump’s immediate circle as a victory for Kim. The bankruptcy record began to make sense....

There are well documented precedents President Trump might have wished to study—along with the reasons for their failure. ....

His nuclear testing complete, Kim launched his diplomatic initiative in January... He could hardly have imagined that barely five months later, he would have cemented his relationship with China and would be basking in the world’s brightest media spotlight as the US president announced a “special bond”—all without having to make any measurable concessions. He returned to Pyongyang, secure in the knowledge that the severe sanctions regime is effectively dead—neither South Korea nor China will consider continuing them.

That leaves Trump a little short of cards to play, should he need to revive the pressure. The US president, who appears to suffer from a severe case of the Dunning-Kruger effect, may not have fully understood that has given away the toolkit....

https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/prospect-magazine/
Quote:
Left Center Bias
Factual Reporting: HIGH
World Press Freedom Rank: United Kingdom 40/180

Notes: Prospect is a monthly British general interest magazine, specializing in politics, economics and current affairs. It features a mixture of lengthy analytic articles, first-person reportage, one-page columns, and shorter, quirky items. Overall, Prospect is well sourced journalism with a left-center bias in reporting.



https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/deadline-north-korea-talks-200101185805630.html
Quote:
Kim Jong Un has made it clear there will "never be denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula" if Washington adheres to "its hostile policy", as the North Korean leader's year-end deadline for the Trump government to restart negotiations elapsed....

Kim made it clear there were no grounds for North Korea to be bound by a self-declared moratorium on testing nuclear bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). "We will steadily develop necessary and prerequisite strategic weapons for the security of the state until the US rolls back its hostile policy towards the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) and a lasting and durable peacekeeping mechanism is built," Kim said in his New Year's address following a four-day Workers' Party meeting in Pyongyang....

The North Korean leader also revealed plans to introduce a "new strategic weapon" in the near future, state media reported him as saying....

... analysts suggest that lack of an agreement is the result of a conflicting approach to the talks....




More news has emerged about Gallagher, who Trump worked hard to help acquit (I posted a few articles earlier on some of the Trump connections) - and later pardoned of the one charge where prosecutors had a photograph his defenders couldn't dismiss:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/27/the-weekly/eddie-gallagher-navy-seal.html
Quote:
Combat video, text messages and confidential interviews with members of the Navy SEALs obtained by The New York Times reveal chilling details about the conduct of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher....

Gallagher’s case continues to roil the Navy even after his acquittal on the most severe charges, and the public debate on Fox News and Twitter has widened the rift between President Trump and some top military leaders.

What exactly happened in Iraq in 2017 that so alarmed Gallagher’s brothers in arms? And why has the case resonated with Trump and his political base?...


The second link has more details without looking at videos.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/27/us/navy-seals-edward-gallagher-video.html
Quote:
Video recordings of the interviews obtained by The New York Times, which have not been shown publicly before, were part of a trove of Navy investigative materials about the prosecution of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher on war crimes charges including murder.

They offer the first opportunity outside the courtroom to hear directly from the men of Alpha platoon, SEAL Team 7, whose blistering testimony about their platoon chief was dismissed by President Trump when he upended the military code of justice to protect Chief Gallagher from the punishment.

“The guy is freaking evil,” Special Operator Miller told investigators. “The guy was toxic,” Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens, a sniper, said in a separate interview. “You could tell he was perfectly O.K. with killing anybody that was moving,” Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, a medic in the platoon, told the investigators...

The trove of materials also includes thousands of text messages the SEALs sent one another about the events and the prosecution of Chief Gallagher. Together with the dozens of hours of recorded interviews, they provide revealing insights into the men of the platoon, who have never spoken publicly about the case, and the leader they turned in....

“I was listening to it, and I was just thinking, like, this is the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Special Operator Miller, who has since been promoted to chief, told investigators....
Quote:
...SEALs who spoke to Navy investigators painted a picture of a platoon driven to despair by a chief who seemed to care primarily about racking up kills. They described how their chief targeted women and children and boasted that “burqas were flying.”

Asked whether the chief had a bias against Middle Eastern people, Special Operator Scott replied, “I think he just wants to kill anybody he can.” ...
Quote:
The SEALs in the platoon were scattered to new assignments. They tried to keep tabs on the case, texting one another and commiserating over a series of setbacks, including accusations of prosecutorial misconduct, the removal of the lead prosecutor and reports that the judge overseeing the case was being investigated on suspicion of lying under oath.

“This stuff is frustrating to read and makes it seem like Eddie will possibly get away with murder (literally),” Special Operator First Class Dylan Dille texted the group. “Let’s not forget there are 7-12 of us in here who had the balls to tell the truth about what Eddie has done.”
It always amazes me that some people who claim to respect the military are quick to defend Gallagher but not the SEALS who spoke out against him or the military prosecutors who built the case against him (only to have it derailed by a medic - who had been given immunity so he could testify- suddenly change his story and claim, during the trial, that he was the one who actually killed the prisoner. Though I haven't heard anything about why the military jury acquitted him of shooting two passing civilians in cold blood.)
I do think it should give people a clue that the Navy wanted Gallagher out, regardless of his acquittals.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 03 Jan , 2020 3:48 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/iran-tensions-latest-updates-200103022407743.html
Quote:
Soleimani killed in US air strike: All the latest updates
Quote:
Tensions between the United States and Iran escalated on Friday after a US air strike killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF.

The Pentagon confirmed the strike at Baghdad's international airport, saying it came "at the direction of the president". ...


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/iraq-3-katyusha-rockets-fired-baghdad-airport-200102232817666.html
Quote:
General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC's) Quds Force, and architect of its regional security apparatus, has been killed following a US air raid at Baghdad's international airport on Friday.

The White House and the Pentagon confirmed the killing of Soleimani in Iraq, saying the attack was carried out at the direction of US President Donald Trump and was aimed at deterring future attacks allegedly being planned by Iran.

A three-day national mourning period has been declared in Iran in honour of Soleimani....


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/trump-assassination-soleimani-200103172526102.html
Quote:
US-Iran tensions have peaked with the United States assassination of Qassem Soleimani, a 62-year-old who headed the foreign arm of Iran's elite military force.

Soleimani was deeply popular at home and among Tehran's allies.

He survived several previous assassination attempts over the past 20 years and was credited with helping armed groups defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group.
More:

Who was Qassem Soleimani, Iran's IRGC's Quds Force leader?

Soleimani killed in US air raid: All the latest updates

Qassem Soleimani assassination: Trump, Pompeo defend decision

Here are five things to know:
What has happened?...




Trump didn't consult with Congress, much less inform any US allies.
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/476626-pelosi-says-trump-launched-strike-killing-iranian-general-without
Quote:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday said that an airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani was not authorized and Congress was not consulted on the decision.

“The Administration has conducted tonight’s strikes in Iraq targeting high-level Iranian military officials and killing Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran," Pelosi said in a statement.

"Further, this action was taken without the consultation of the Congress," she added. ...

"We cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions," the top House Democrat said.

(However, newer reports suggest that Trump did inform some of his Republican supporters in Congress and they kept Trump's plans secret from their colleagues.)

I doubt if he even paid much attention to anything his advisers told him- if there's anyone left who had the guts and honesty to tell him something he doesn't want to hear - he seems to have gotten rid of all of "the adults" by now. And he doesn't have the attention span or intelligence to consider complicated situations and scenarios and consequences, even if they did. From all reports, he just shouts until he gets his way.


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/world-reacts-killing-iran-qassem-soleimani-iraq-200103072643596.html
Quote:
World reacts to US killing of Iran's Qassem Soleimani in Iraq

Leaders across the world warn that US's targeted killing of Iranian top general could ignite conflict in region.



https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/iraq-braces-difficult-days-soleimani-killing-200103122412024.html
Quote:
Iraq is poised for a period of uncertainty as top Shia leaders warned of repercussions following the killing of top Iran general Qassem Soleimani by a United States air strike in Baghdad on Friday. Iraqi protesters have also called on Tehran and Washington to take their battle elsewhere...

Iraq's top Shia leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani condemned the US attack and called on all parties to practice restraint, ... "The vicious attack ... is an insolent breach of Iraqi sovereignty and international agreements. It led to the killing of several commanders who defeated Islamic State terrorists," Sistani's office said....

Although there were some scenes of celebration in Tahrir Square, the majority of protesters are very concerned about the implications of these developments," Renad Mansour, head of the Iraq Initiative at London's Chatham House, told Al Jazeera. "This is a dangerous time for Iraq as it moves into a period of greater instability and uncertainty.....

Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi said the killings on Friday were "a dangerous escalation that will light the fuse of a destructive war in Iraq, the region, and the world". "The assassination of an Iraqi military commander who holds an official position is considered aggression on Iraq ... and the liquidation of leading Iraqi figures or those from a brotherly country on Iraqi soil is a massive breach of sovereignty," he said before adding that the US strike violated the terms of the US military presence in Iraq... Some officials and parliamentarians have already called for the expulsion of US troops from Iraq following the attack....
So it sounds like Trump treated Iraq like his own backyard again and didn't inform the Iraqis either (no surprise, given that some of their own military leaders were killed in the air strike)


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/476635-trump-says-iranian-general-should-have-been-taken-out-many-years-ago
Quote:
Trump addressed the decision to launch air strikes that killed Iran's most powerful military commander in a pair of tweets that marked his first public comments on authorizing the action.

“General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more...but got caught! He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number … of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself,” Trump tweeted Friday morning.

“While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country. They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!” the president wrote. ...

The State Department on Friday urged U.S. citizens to leave Iraq immediately, and said that American citizens “should not approach” the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. ...

Trump is not the first person in the world to know that Soleimani was responsible for a lot of deaths and atrocities, not to mention being a serious obstacle for the U.S.'s political aims in the Middle East.* He's just the first world leader to think the simple solution to this is to kill Soleimani, and never mind the fact that he's part of a government and someone similar will take his place and continue his activities.

*Though ISIS is probably among those celebrating his death, so this is kind of a mixed bag even without the other considerations.


https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/476636-oil-prices-rise-following-us-attack-on-iranian-military-leader
Quote:
Oil prices are rising in response to the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

U.S. oil futures rose 3.7 percent Friday morning while oil prices rose to just more than $63 a barrel following news of the Iranian military leader's killing in Iraq in a U.S. air strike ordered by President Trump.

The reverberations of the attack were also felt elsewhere in the market, as the Dow dropped more than 300 points at its opening before clawing back some of the losses. ....


https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-suleimani-trump-nato-isis-islamic-state-tehran-us-assad-syria-a9270396.html
Quote:
Nato suspends Isis operations in Iraq, as Iran vows revenge on Trump after killing of top commander
‘The repercussions and consequences will be unthinkable,’ analyst says
Quote:
The Nato pullback from Iraq is a blow to efforts to keep Isis from regrouping. Hundreds of western soldiers from a broad coalition of countries are in Iraq training local armed forces to take on jihadis in the country’s northern mountains and western desert. Denmark and Sweden had already announced they were withdrawing military personnel.




https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/3000-additional-troops-heading-middle-east-officials-200103175502486.html
Quote:
The United States is sending nearly 3,000 additional troops to the Middle East from the 82nd Airborne Division as a precaution amid rising threats to American forces in the region, US officials said on Friday...


I was afraid something like this might happen, given Trump's weakening position domestically. I'm sure he knows the media and many Americans will back him in a wave of "patriotism" if it comes to war - and by the time the political repercussions hit, he may be long gone. Not to mention that none of the consequences will ever touch him or his family, even in the worst case scenario, if this ends up being the spark that lights the powder keg of the Middle East. They will be protected.

I've already seen some reporting in US newspapers that glosses over the complicated situation in Iraq and the dangers of Trump's seriously stupid act. Does anyone ever bother to think about how the US would react if another country bombed and killed one of our military leaders? Or do we just get to do whatever we like because we have a big military plus a lot of economic power? And has anyone been paying attention to the alliances and increased belligerence, including recent joint military exercises by China, Russia and Iran? It was Trump who pushed Iran toward that group, by isolating them and "punishing" them repeatedly when they were in dire straits from both economic pressures and natural disasters, instead of trying to use the Iran nuclear deal to nudge them toward alliances with western countries. This mess is of his making and he's making it worse.


Anyway, here's an accurate news report about the events of the last week, including the fact that protesters had left the US embassy (though they continued a sit-in elsewhere in the city) long before Trump decided to attack Iran:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/tensions-iran-escalated-200103075922283.html
Quote:
How tensions between US and Iran escalated

A recap of how events unfolded in the past week, leading to the US air attack that killed Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
Quote:
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly pledged to take "severe revenge" for Soleimani's death, the biggest escalation yet in a feared proxy war between Iran and the US on Iraq, where the US and Iran have vied for influence since the US-led invasion in 2003.

While the US has maintained a military presence in the country, leading a coalition to fight the ISIL (ISIS) group, Iran wields vast influence over Iraqi politics and also backs a number of Iraqi militias within the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), an umbrella of armed groups. The militias have long sought the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.

Amid concern that the killing of Soleimani could lead to a military escalation in Iraq and the wider region, here is a recap of the recent events that led to the killing....




I'm sure Bush shares some of the blame, for starting the ill-advised Iraq war that eventually created this mess in Iraq. But you can either work with what you've got and de-escalate things, or you can play Rambo and damn the consequences. Needless to say, Trump chooses the latter, especially when it benefits him politically - particularly with his "base."

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/476624-trump-tweets-that-iran-never-won-a-war-following-us-strike-on-top
Quote:
President Trump tweeted Friday that Iran “never won a war, but never lost a negotiation” hours after the Pentagon confirmed that he ordered an airstrike that killed a top Iranian commander in Iraq....

Trump tweeted an image of the American flag with no text shortly before the Pentagon announcement late Thursday and following reports that an airstrike had killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force....


So we're in a dangerous situation with an idiot who doesn't listen to anyone but himself, has far too much power, and has an ego that says he's always right. Backed by Republican leadership that strongly resembles a cult and refuses to admit Dear Leader is ever wrong. In a country that has been partly insulated from the direct effects of wars in the past, leading to a sense of complacency - but in a world where weapons are more powerful and that may no longer be the case.

Edit: I agree with The Guardian's analyses.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/03/qassem-suleimani-iran-death-middle-east-us-trump
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/03/us-airstrikes-iran-donald-trump-foreign-policy-iranian-middle-east

And that of Mr Harden, though I disagree with his rather naive introductory paragraph. Of course, the Pentagon is going to release a statement justifying Trump's assassination of Soleimani, whether or not it's true (beyond the obvious lessons from the past, like "weapons of mass destruction," Trump has been creating a government that will lie for him, regardless of how plausible that lie is, and firing those who won't.)
"R. David Harden is managing director of the Georgetown Strategy Group and former assistant administrator at USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, where he oversaw U.S. assistance to all global crises. He served as a Foreign Service Officer in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Israel for more than a decade. In May of 2019, President Trump awarded Mr. Harden the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award in the Foreign Service, for “sustained extraordinary accomplishment in the conduct of the foreign policy."
https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/476650-on-the-precipice-unknown-unknowns-in-the-middle-east-again

Many others are also warning of what Trump has created:
James W. Pardew is a former U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria and career Army intelligence officer. He has served as deputy assistant secretary-general of NATO and is the author of "Peacemakers: American Leadership and the End of Genocide in the Balkans."
https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/476762-waist-deep-and-sinking-in-the-middle-east-were-now-at-war-with-iran
Quote:
Waist deep and sinking in the Middle East: We're now at war with Iran





In other news about the actual president of the United States (given tweets like the ones below, this is sometimes hard to believe):
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/trumps-tweets-are-still-crazy-does-anyone-care/604354/
Quote:
Perhaps you, like me, are slowly returning to following the news closely after a break from your standard media diet over the holidays. That meant, among other things, mostly tuning out the president’s social-media feed. Perhaps you heard about the lowlights, such as when Donald Trump retweeted a message naming the presumptive whistle-blower in the Ukraine case. You weren’t looking at the feed regularly, though.

Then you checked out Twitter today to see what the president had to say on the first working day of the new year (Trump himself may or may not be working; he headed to his golf club this morning), and saw this:

A lot of very good people were taken down by a small group of Dirty (Filthy) Cops, politicians, government officials, and an investigation that was illegally started & that SPIED on my campaign. The Witch Hunt is sputtering badly, but still going on (Ukraine Hoax!). If this....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2020

....had happened to a Presidential candidate, or President, who was a Democrat, everybody involved would long ago be in jail for treason (and more), and it would be considered the CRIME OF THE CENTURY, far bigger and more sinister than Watergate!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2020

There’s a lot going on here. None of it is very good, and almost none of it makes any sense. ...

And this is the person with the power to order a nuclear strike.




Evangelical editor surprised at the strength of Trump's cult following and their ignorance:
https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/476639-christianity-today-editor-says-other-evangelicals-ignorant-of
Quote:
Christianity Today editor-in-chief Mark Galli says in a new interview that he was shocked by the reaction to the magazine's recent editorial calling for President Trump’s removal from office...

“I’ve been surprised by the ethical naïveté of the response I’m receiving to the editorial. There does seem to be widespread ignorance — that is the best word I can come up with — of the gravity of Trump’s moral failings. ...
No kidding. It's a cult, fed by a ratings game where stations like Fox, One America and Sinclair affiliates feed people half truths and incomplete information to outrage them and keep them watching (not that some liberal outlets don't do the same thing sometimes, but they're not the problem right now.) The same people who claimed Trump would get us out of the endless wars in the Middle East are today supporting Dear Leader for the assassination of Soleimani, and never mind the obvious consequences.


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/476680-judge-rules-giuliani-associate-lev-parnas-can-provide-documents-in
Quote:
A federal judge ruled Friday that Lev Parnas, a known associate of President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, can turn over documents and data to Congress as a Senate impeachment trial awaits Trump....

Parnas and Igor Fruman, also an associate of Giuliani's, aided the former New York City mayor in opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, in Ukraine...



https://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/476670-report-fbi-searched-home-and-office-of-lobbyist-trump-denied-knowing
Quote:
The home and office of Michael Esposito, the lobbyist who claimed he had inside access to the Trump administration but whom the president denied knowing, was searched by the FBI, The Washington Post reported Friday.

FBI agents are investigating Esposito for evidence of possible fraud, whether by defrauding his clients or financial fraud. Agents went to his home in Virginia and his firm, Federal Advocates, at 1666 K St. NW on Thursday....





EDIT:

Anyone who expected a coherent and believable justification from Dear Leader should be ashamed of themselves (yeah, we did this to stop a war? I don't suppose he could explain how exactly this amazing sleight-of-hand is supposed to work?)
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/476700-trump-says-iranian-commander-was-killed-to-stop-a-war
Quote:
President Trump on Friday defended his order to kill Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani...

“What the United States did yesterday should have been done long ago. A lot of lives would have been saved,” Trump said in a brief address from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”

“Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him,” the president added, describing the action as a “flawless, precision strike.”...

Trump’s statement, which lasted a few minutes and concluded without him taking questions, represented his first public remarks on the strike late Thursday....

Trump also appeared to threaten further action if Iran targets Americans around the globe in retaliation for the strike on Soleimani.

The United States has the best military, by far, anywhere in the world. We have the best intelligence in the world,” Trump said. “If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary.”...
This pattern should be familiar by now. Trump did something stupid and had no real idea why, except "He's a bad guy - let's assassinate him." (something his former non-sycophant advisers had to talk him out of, more than once before). The trouble is, this is not just another dumb move that can be countered by people working hard behind the scenes. This time there will probably be serious consequences.

And that incompetent idiot and mob boss in the White House has no idea what to do with the fallout. He's read a speech someone wrote for him and flown back to his expensive golf club like a kid running home. I cannot imagine any previous president not staying in the White House to receive reports and make decisions in a crisis like this.

Then again, maybe we're better off if he's golfing at Mar-a-Lago while other people try to deal with this.


Ooops, sorry. He's not golfing. He's actually gone to spew re-election propaganda and other rubbish at his evangelical supporters.
Quote:
Trump spoke to reporters Friday afternoon before departing for a campaign event with evangelical supporters in Miami.


If there's anything Trump is good at, it's stoking division. He's working hard to turn religious people against his political enemies with lies.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/476730-trump-rallies-evangelical-supporters-we-have-god-on-our-side
Quote:
President Trump rallied evangelical supporters in Miami on Friday, positioning himself as a champion of religious communities while ripping his Democratic opponents as “radical” leftists pursuing an “extreme, anti-religious and socialist” agenda....

“Together, we’re not only are we defending our Constitutional rights, we’re also defending religion itself, which is under siege,” Trump said. “Every Democrat candidate running for president is trying to punish religious believers and silence our churches and our pastors.”...

Before he began his remarks, a group of prominent evangelicals prayed for the president on stage. Trump — who was welcomed with chants of “USA! USA!” — described the evangelicals coalition as “one of the most important grassroots movements in American history.”

Trump briefly recognized members of the U.S. military at the top of his remarks, mentioning the October raid that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and boasting about the drone strike in Baghdad late Thursday that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force....



And it looks like Trump's sons - who are not in the government, have no security clearances, and should never have heard something this sensitive - might have known what was going to happen even if Congress didn't:
https://hillreporter.com/deleted-tweet-from-eric-trump-hints-he-may-have-known-about-strike-against-iranian-military-leader-days-ahead-of-time-54791
Quote:
Those protests broke out on December 31 of last year, according to the New York Times. On that same date, Eric Trump sent out a tweet, which has since been deleted. Twitter user @realTuckFrumper had a screengrab of the tweet, which suggested military action was coming forth....

“Bout to open up a big ol’ can of whoop ass,” Eric Trump’s tweet read. It was followed with a flag emoji.

Other users on social media also verified the tweet as being legitimately posted by Eric Trump on that date. There’s no indication or confirmation that he was indeed aware of military action occurring later on in the week, but the words from Eric Trump caught many people’s attention after the airstrikes were announced.
Trump supporters are trying to pass this off as "well, Eric was just talking about sending in the Marines, which everyone knew." If so, why did he delete it?


It also seems Trump was giving hints about his plan to lots of his buddies and/or people he wanted to impress.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-told-mar-a-lago-pals-to-expect-big-iran-action-days-before-soleimanis-death
Quote:
In the five days prior to launching a strike that killed Iran’s most important military leader, Donald Trump roamed the halls of Mar-a-Lago, his private resort in Florida, and started dropping hints to close associates and club-goers that something huge was coming....

“He kept saying, ‘You’ll see,’” one of the sources recalled, describing a conversation with Trump days before Thursday’s strike. ...

It also sounds like the promised classified briefing to Congress was basically "trust me, Iran was planning something horrible" without details. Which suggests the explanation might have been a cobbled-together whitewash. For all we know, Trump's motivation may have been as simple as "The killed an American contractor, so we'll retaliate and make them pay even more." which fits with his usual methods.
Quote:
A classified briefing on Friday... featured broad claims about what the Iranians were planning and little evidence of planning to bring about the “de-escalation” the administration says it wants. ...

“This administration has absolutely not earned the benefit of the doubt when it makes these kinds of claims. When you’re taking action that could lead to the third American war in the Middle East in 20 years, you need to do better than these kinds of assertions,” said a Senate aide in the room. ...

Nor, said four sources who requested anonymity to discuss a classified briefing, did the briefers provide detail on a key question surrounding an act of war against a regional power: what next? ...

According to other information in this article, we also just made the Iraqis' attempts at forming a new coalition government even more difficult.




https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/476760-pompeo-after-soleimani-strike-the-europeans-havent-been-as-helpful-as
Quote:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States' European allies "haven't been as helpful as I wish that they could be" following the U.S. strike in Iraq on Thursday that killed Iran's top military commander, Qassem Soleimani.

"Frankly, the Europeans haven't been as helpful as I wished that they could be," Pompeo told Fox News' Sean Hannity during an interview Friday night.

"The Brits, the French, the Germans all need to understand that what we did, what the Americans did, saved lives in Europe as well."...
In other words, after years of Trump breaking ties and damaging relationships, we are, not surprisingly, on our own. (Not to mention that Europeans are, in general, far better informed by their news media than we are, and it would be hard for any leader to make them swallow nonsense like "Trump just stopped a war." )


Lies and propaganda from Pompeo:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/04/world/middleeast/pompeo-tweet-iraq-video.html
Quote:
The video lasted only 22 seconds but its message seemed clear, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wanted the world to know so he posted it to his Twitter account for his 1.1 million followers.

“Iraqis — Iraqis — dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more,” Mr. Pompeo wrote.

The video was authentic, but the problem was that Mr. Pompeo’s description of it was exaggerated.... the group of men was very small, that no one joined in and that the minor demonstration was over in less than two minutes.

Mr. Pompeo’s tweet, widely shared, is another example of how misinformation spreads in the age of social media when people are quick to accept and promote information that validates their own world views.

...The State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, declined to comment on the video.

...The goal with a tweet like that is to create a narrative and editorialize, said Joan Donovan, a lecturer at Harvard who specializes in protest communication. This typically occurs in the first few days of an event — when those with a vested interest hope to score the dominant narrative to shape how the story of a historical moment is shared, Ms. Donovan said.....
This stuff is pervasive. It looks to me as if at least one columnist at The Atlantic was taken in by the supposed scenes of widespread celebration in Iraq.



https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/476752-over-70-protests-planned-across-us-against-soleimani-strike
Quote:
More than 70 protests across the country are planned for Saturday to condemn the Pentagon’s killing of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani and the decision to send thousands of more troops to the Middle East.

The protests are being organized by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), a U.S.-based anti-war coalition, in cooperation with more than a dozen other anti-war groups. Protesters are expected to demonstrate outside the White House, in Times Square, at the Trump Tower in Chicago and at the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin, among other locations.

“The targeted assassination and murder of a central leader of Iran is designed to initiate a new war," ANSWER said on its website. "Unless the people of the United States rise up and stop it, this war will engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and potentially the gravest consequences."
btw, I love how The Hill calls this "the Pentagon's killing." No, sorry. The Pentagon carried it out. But Trump is the one who made this decision and he's now responsible for it.

Sadly, I suspect the protests in the U.S. will be small.

Incidentally, I'm also seeing some people who hate Trump say that they will nevertheless support him and "the troops" if it comes to war. I've always been uneasy about the recent wholesale worship of all things military, among both U.S. conservatives and liberals (but, interestingly enough, not necessarily among career military, who seem to be able to separate respect for a career choice, from constant praise and adulation). It reminds me strongly of historical accounts of Germany before Hitler, where the military were revered above civilians.* So I have the bad feeling that Dear Leader may have made the right move to keep himself in office.


* I don't necessarily mean that Trump is Hitler - though I do think he has the ego, lack of moral compass, and manipulativeness for it. But I'm concerned that American society appears to be heading for a bad place in general, with the combination of increased fearfulness/ passivity ("my school/employer/government needs to protect me from _____"), willingness to give up freedoms for protection, excessive pride ("We're the greatest at everything!" "USA! USA! USA!"), and reverence for all things military.




***********

Monday EDITs: Rather than starting another post, I'll put this here since they are all related to the crisis Trump started. The Orange Idiot is, once again, flailing around and trying to deal with the consequences of the things he set in motion (did they not have a plan for this likely consequence?), but with a toolbox of ideas limited by his very weak understanding of world affairs and politics.
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/06/trump-threatens-to-slap-sanctions-on-iraq-like-theyve-never-seen-before.html
Quote:
President Donald Trump threatened Sunday to slap sanctions on Iraq after its parliament passed a resolution calling for the government to expel foreign troops from the country....

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, the U.S. president said: "If they do ask us to leave, if we don't do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they've never seen before ever. It'll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame."

"We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that's there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We're not leaving unless they pay us back for it," Trump said.

The president added that "If there's any hostility, that they do anything we think is inappropriate, we are going to put sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq."....



I also find it quite scary that we're being led by someone who can say this and his GOP allies STILL aren't restraining him:
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1213593975732527112?s=20
Quote:
Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently....

....hundreds of Iranian protesters. He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years. Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have.....

....targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!
Besides the general craziness of these tweets, it's worth noting that one of the things he's proposing to bomb are cultural sites. The world rightly condemned the Taliban for this. Now the US president is saying that America will deliberately do the same thing.

And it seems the whole thing started because Trump couldn't recognize that one extreme option wasn't a good idea. And the current Pentagon officials didn't realize they were dealing with a moron (how could they be this blind?) and were dumb enough to offer it to him.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/04/us/politics/trump-suleimani.html
Quote:
In the chaotic days leading to the death of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most powerful commander, top American military officials put the option of killing him — which they viewed as the most extreme response to recent Iranian-led violence in Iraq — on the menu they presented to President Trump.

They didn’t think he would take it. In the wars waged since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable....

Also summarized by Business Insider if you can't get the NY Times:
https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-had-menu-for-iran-strike-but-chose-soleimani-2020-1

Put the idiot in a straight-jacket and let's be done with this insanity.
Our system is clearly failing when it has to deal with someone like Trump.




And not that this tells us anything the intelligent people didn't already know, but it's the best article I've seen so far on Soleimani, and what he was involved in (and the nuances). And, of course, why what Trump did changes nothing (except to make the world a more dangerous place for Americans).
.https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/admired-reviled-soleimani-middle-east-200104154825611.html
Quote:
Admired and reviled: How Soleimani was seen in the Middle East

Experts say killing of Soleimani, a 'strategist' but 'unpopular' among many, will not affect how Quds Force functions.

One important (but not at all surprising) point from the article:
Quote:
Aman who is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington pointed out that Soleimani was "unpopular" among the liberals and civil-rights activists because of his role in the crackdown against protesters demanding political and economic reforms in the past decades.

"However, his killing has elevated his status in Iran and rallied the Iranian public behind the government, empowering hardliners and weakening civil society," Aman added.


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/iranians-detained-asked-political-views-border-cair-200105234042589.html
Quote:
Activists and the Washington chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) said immigration authorities detained and questioned at least 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans over the weekend at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington. The watchdog group said some were held and questioned for at least 11 hours....

CAIR said one woman, identified as a 24-year-old American medical student named Crystal, was detained for 10 hours with her family before being released.

Crystal's family reached out to the Iranian-American writer and community organiser Hoda Katebi, who then took the matter to CAIR-WA.

Katebi said by the time she was contacted by Crystal's family, they were at the facility for five hours. "Other people were already there for eight to nine hours," she said....
CBP denies it. Of course. They've denied a lot of things, lately, that turned out to be true.

Speaking of denials, apparently Pompeo was trying to deny that Trump wanted to bomb cultural sites. Only to have Trump later confirm that he definitely wants to do that. It must be hard to be a government official these days. The minute you try to deny that your president is an idiot or a criminal, he turns around and does it again.


And I'm not sure what to make of this "we're leaving Iraq; no we're not." Either the media jumped the gun or Trump and the Pentagon are in chaos. If was one of the major networks competing for viewers, I'd be inclined to the "media goofed" theory. But Reuters, who first broke the report, isn't usually given to unsubstantiated scoops, so I'm not so sure. And Trump does have a habit of throwing fits and blowing up reasonable decisions.
https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/01/06/world/middleeast/06reuters-iraq-security-withdrawal.html
Quote:
The United States has no plans to pull American troops out of Iraq, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday, following reports by Reuters and other media of a U.S. military letter informing Iraq officials about the repositioning of troops in preparation to leave the country....

Poorly worded, implies withdrawal. That's not what's happening," U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, stressing there was no withdrawal being planned.

The authenticity of the letter, which was addressed to the Iraqi defense ministry's Combined Joint Operations Baghdad and signed by a U.S. general, had been confirmed to Reuters by an Iraqi military source.

Esper added the United States was still committed to countering Islamic State in Iraq, alongside America's allies and partners.

Several helicopters could be heard flying over Baghdad on Monday night. It was not immediately clear if this was a related development. The letter said coalition forces would be using helicopters to evacuate. ...

"Sir, in deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement," the letter stated.

It was signed by U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General William Seely III, commanding general of the U.S.-led military coalition against Islamic State....

For some reason, the Pentagon is/was also claiming the letter was an unsigned draft.
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/477017-defense-secretary-denies-us-troops-leaving-iraq
Quote:
“That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released,” Milley told reporters in an off-camera briefing. “Poorly worded, implies withdrawal. That’s not what’s happening.”
It makes me suspicious they're covering for a Dear Leader tantrum.

Also, the Pentagon's Chief of Staff quit this morning. The official word was that this was long-planned and unrelated to the crisis. I took that at face value at first but now I'm starting to wonder.


https://thehill.com/policy/international/un-treaties/477009-trump-administration-denies-irans-top-diplomat-visa-to
Quote:
President Trump’s administration denied Iran’s foreign minister a visa to attend a United Nations Security Council meeting as tensions between the U.S. and Iran increase, Foreign Policy reported Monday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was reportedly denied access to the U.S. to address the Security Council at a Thursday meeting, three diplomatic sources told Foreign Policy.

The visa denial was in violation of the 1947 headquarters agreement mandating the U.S. allow foreign officials into the country to conduct U.N. business, according to the publication...

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has limited access to the U.S. by Iranian officials, including Zarif, to prevent their ability to bring their message to the U.S. public....


An interesting thing in an analysis at Asia Times. I've seen this mentioned elsewhere but didn't know the origins was the parliamentary session in Iraq where they passed a resolution telling the U.S. to leave. :
https://www.asiatimes.com/2020/01/article/financial-n-option-will-settle-trumps-oil-war/
Quote:
The bombshell facts were delivered by caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, during an extraordinary, historic parliamentary session in Baghdad on Sunday.

Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani had flown into Baghdad on a normal carrier flight, carrying a diplomatic passport. He had been sent by Tehran to deliver, in person, a reply to a message from Riyadh on de-escalation across the Middle East. Those negotiations had been requested by the Trump administration.

So Baghdad was officially mediating between Tehran and Riyadh, at the behest of Trump. And Soleimani was a messenger. Adil Abdul-Mahdi was supposed to meet Soleimani at 8:30 am, Baghdad time, last Friday. But a few hours before the appointed time, Soleimani died as the object of a targeted assassination at Baghdad airport....



Oh, and UNESCO reminded Dear Leader that the US signed treaties not to commit war crimes by deliberately targeting cultural sites in retaliation. Though I doubt he cares - he and Netanyahu withdrew the U.S. and Israel from UNESCO last year. Apparently, they made the mistake of recognizing Palestine in 2011 and criticizing Israel's occupations.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/iran-protect-cultural-sites-unesco-200106183016546.html

Edited to add some links and new information and Monday's news on the Iran/Iraq/Trump situation.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 07 Jan , 2020 4:04 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/iran-parliament-designates-forces-terrorists-200107081230324.html
Quote:
Iran's parliament has unanimously passed a bill designating the United States' forces as "terrorists" over the assassination of top military commander Qassem Soleimani in an air attack in Iraq last week.

Under the newly adopted bill on Tuesday, the entire US forces and employees of the Pentagon and affiliated organisations, agents and commanders and those who ordered the "martyrdom" of Soleimani were designated as "terrorists".

"Any aid to these forces, including military, intelligence, financial, technical, service or logistical, will be considered as cooperation in a terrorist act," the bill said.....

Trump designated part of Iran's military as a "terrorist" organization nearly a year ago, something that many experts warned was a serious mistake and would end up hurting U.S. military members and making their lives more dangerous. In retaliation, Iran designated US Central Command as a terrorist organization and the US as a "state sponsor of terrorism" but stopped at that (I was somewhat surprised at their relative restraint.) Now they've gone much further, thanks to our idiot president.


It seems our government is obediently preparing Trump's threatened sanctions "worse than those on Iran." No surprise. Trump wants Iraq to know they're not a sovereign country, but our vassal. He's making us look like real bullies. But what else is new?
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/477062-trump-admin-officials-begin-drafting-potential-iraq-sanctions-after
Quote:
Senior administration officials have reportedly begun drawing up potential economic sanctions against Iraq in the wake of President Trump's threat to impose sanctions should the country force American troops to withdraw...

One said that the plan was to wait “at least a little while” to see if Iraq followed through with its calls to expel U.S. troops from the country. ..


Speaking of which, I believe the "mistakenly sent" letter explanation from yesterday even less after hearing more of the supposed explanation by Trump's Secretary of Defense. I don't remember the link but they claim there were multiple draft letters, both pro and con, and the U.S. sent the "OK, we're leaving since you want us to and we'll be using helicopters to do this at night" letter to someone in the Iraqi government for approval. And that letter was sent to someone else who didn't realize it was a draft and told Reuters it was real. Bullshit. Since when do we send draft letters to other governments for approval, before actually sending them? Not to mention expecting us to believe the Iraqi government is the Keystone Cops and ours is working smoothly and professionally under Trump. It's clear they expect Americans to be quite gullible.




Of course, there are many lies and propaganda being spread by Trump's toadies. I'm sure Pompeo's propaganda video that there was widespread rejoicing in Iraq at the consequences of Soleimani's assassination is still circulating, too. :
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/477082-nikki-haley-democratic-leadership-2020-dems-are-the-only-people
Quote:
In an interview with Fox News, Haley quipped that Democratic candidates for president in 2020 as well as Democratic leadership in the House and Senate were saddened by the loss of Soleimani, who the Trump administration has said was responsible for the death of U.S. troops in Iraq.

"You don't see anyone standing up for Iran. You're not hearing any of the Gulf members. You're not hearing China. You're not hearing Russia. The only ones that are mourning the loss of Soleimani are our Democrat [sic] leadership and our Democrat [sic] presidential candidates," Haley said Monday...

"This was something that needed to be done and should be celebrated," she continued. "And I will tell you right now, partisan politics should stop when it comes to foreign policy. This is about America united."

"We need to be completely behind the president, what he did, because every one of those countries are watching our news media right now, seeing what everyone's saying," Haley added. "And this is a moment of strength for the United States. It's a moment of strength for President Trump."...



https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/476915-conway-defends-trump-threat-to-target-iranian-cultural-sites
Quote:
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Monday defended President Trump for threatening strikes on Iranian cultural sites, claiming that Tehran has “strategic military sites” that are also considered cultural sites and that the United States would act lawfully..

Conway also denied that Trump and Pompeo were not on the same page on the action, after the secretary of State in an interview on Sunday said that the United States would act lawfully in its response to any retaliation for the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani...

Trump said Saturday that his administration had identified 52 targets of importance to Iran, one for each American hostage taken from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979.

"So, I think the president's putting out the number 52 is significant for those numerologists in Iran who are listening to numbers,” Conway said.
Cute explanation for what sounds more like hyperbolic nonsense from a half-crazy dictator than the remarks of a sensible leader of a western country. So now she's suggesting Trump was being really clever and trying to fool the "numerologists" in Iran? I believe the Iranian population is supposed to be pretty well-educated and not too likely to believe in signs and portents.


https://thehill.com/policy/international/477121-pompeo-pushes-back-on-nbcs-mitchell-youre-not-really-wondering-andrea
Quote:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clashed with NBC anchor Andrea Mitchell at a Tuesday press briefing over President Trump's threats to attack cultural sites in Iran.

Trump over the weekend said the U.S. was prepared to hit cultural sites on Iran if Tehran strikes American personnel or sites in response to the targeted killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week....

Mitchell questioned whether Pompeo would also push back on the president’s directive.

“You’re not really wondering Andrea, you’re not really wondering,” Pompeo snapped back, defending that military action plans are legally vetted before being presented to the president and insisting there was no daylight between he [sic] and Trump....

"Let me tell you who has done damage to the Persian culture. It's not the United States of America. It's the Ayatollah."...



https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/476917-kellyanne-conway-accuses-trump-critics-of-hero-worship-for-soleimani
Quote:
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Monday hammered Democrats over their response to the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, accusing critics of the move of not being properly appreciative of President Trump's decision to target the high-ranking Iranian official.

"You think that they’ll be satisfied?" Conway said from the White House briefing room when asked about declassifying to Congress the intelligence that led to the strike.

"It sounds like they’re defending Soleimani and attacking this president, and that's on them. I'm a little tired of this hero worship of whoever the president has taken out."...

"I know that they’ll be briefed in due course, and probably expeditiously. And they know that, too," she said. "But they also should calm down and celebrate, not denigrate, the fact that the world's greatest terrorist"[TM] was killed....



EDIT: Pompeo "responds" to questions about recent US activities:
https://thehill.com/policy/international/477159-pompeo-says-us-acting-legally-in-denying-iranian-official-entry-for-un
Quote:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said the Trump administration is acting within legal boundaries to deny a U.S. visa for Iran’s foreign minister, following news that Tehran’s top diplomat will be blocked from attending an upcoming session of the United Nations Security Council.[NB: This is apparently illegal, as an article I posted yesterday mentioned]

Pompeo refused to comment on consular matters and visas for individuals traveling to the United States during a Tuesday press briefing where he was peppered with questions about Iran, but insisted the U.S. always complied with the requirements of the United Nations.

“We will always comply with our obligations under the U.N. requirements and the headquarters agreements and we will do so in this particular instance, and more broadly everyday,” Pompeo said. ...
Quote:
...[he] also denied reports that Soleimani was in Iraq on a diplomatic mission pushing a Saudi peace agreement.

“Anybody here believe that?” Pompeo asked reporters. “Is there any history that would indicate that it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order, Qassem Soleimani, had traveled to Baghdad for the idea of conducting a peace mission? I made you reporters laugh this morning. That’s fantastic. We know that wasn’t true. We not only know the history, we know in that moment that was not true.”
Quote:
...the administration has yet to be forthcoming on the specifics of the attack they say Soleimani was planning, and instead refer to the laundry list of crimes the Iranian general is linked to committing,, including the deaths of more than 600 U.S. service members in Iraq between 2003 and 2011*... “If you’re looking for imminence, you need to look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Soleimani,” Pompeo said.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/477217-trump-puts-us-exit-from-iraq-on-hold-amid-fallout-of-soleimani
Quote:
“If you’re looking for imminence, you need to look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Soleimani,” Pompeo told reporters at a briefing, citing a bomb attack from an Iran-backed militia that killed a U.S. contractor and unrest at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

“And then you, in addition to that, have what we could clearly see were continuing efforts on behalf of this terrorist to build out a network of campaign activities that were going to lead potentially to the death of many more Americans,” Pompeo said. "It was the right decision.”

My translation of all this is "We have nothing to support our position. Donald Trump just wants it so." And I'm sorry, but I'd be more likely to believe the implication that the acting Iraqi prime minister is a liar and the Iraqi parliament deluded if Pompeo treated it soberly and gave a decent statement, instead of just mocking the very idea. Trump and his cronies, including Pompeo, have lied to us too often to be worthy of immediate trust.

*And in all honesty, I have to admit that I keep wondering about why Soleimani is a monster for the deaths of US soldiers in Iraq but the US is not equally a monster for all the Iraqi soldiers and civilians we killed during this time. I agree he was not a nice guy and his repression of Iranian dissidents, among others, was horrendous, but I'm not understanding what Iranian-backed Iraqi militias did to US soldiers that was outside the bounds of legitimate warfare. Have yet to see a news organization explain this and I wish they would.

The second link also says Trump essentially told Iraq "We don't care what you say; we're not leaving your country right now. Maybe someday." The state of their government looks rather delicate, with widespread protests against government corruption, government crackdowns that have killed protesters, and a number of competing factions in the government. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/iraqi-students-join-thousands-ongoing-anti-gov-protests-191027201126667.html). And I'm pretty sure that, if anyone can mess up a delicate situation, it's Trump.




btw, the Republican/Party of Trump seems to be quite worried about calling witnesses in a Senate trial. Though I do think the House should have done a proper job instead of voting quickly and sending a partial investigation to the Senate, the Senate's reluctance suggests they're scared the new information will make it harder to exonerate Dear Leader.
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/477045-mcconnell-has-the-votes-to-block-democrats-witness-demands-in-trump
Quote:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has the votes to quash Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer’s (N.Y.) demands to require additional witnesses testify at the start of President Trump’s impeachment trial.

Two key moderate senators, Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), on Monday evening backed McConnell’s position that the Senate should follow the precedent of the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial and defer until later in the process the question of calling additional witnesses.

Collins told reporters at Monday evening votes that the Senate should follow the 1999 precedent and consider the question of subpoenaing additional witnesses and documents only after House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team present their opening arguments. ...



Did Bolton's offer to testify if subpoenaed scare them? When someone like Bolton finds something too shady to consider, I for one would like to know more about it. Guess most of them don't.
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/477053-bolton-shakes-up-impeachment-debate
Quote:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is prepared to get Senate Republicans to unilaterally pass a resolution setting the rules for President Trump’s impeachment trial despite John Bolton’s statement Monday saying he would testify under subpoena....

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a tweet responding to news of Bolton’s willingness to testify that Trump and McConnell had “run out of excuses” and “must allow key witnesses to testify and produce documents Trump has blocked.”

One key Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah), said he wanted to hear from Bolton about “what he knows.”...

Other Republicans are sticking with McConnell’s view that additional witnesses are not needed at the trial....




https://thehill.com/homenews/house/476881-pelosi-house-to-vote-on-resolution-limiting-trumps-actions-against-iran
Quote:
The House will vote on a resolution limiting President Trump’s military actions toward Iran following his decision to launch a drone strike that killed a top Iranian commander, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday.

Pelosi told Democratic members in a letter that the House will introduce a vote on a “War Powers Resolution” mandating that the administration's military hostilities with regard to Iran would cease within 30 days if no further congressional action is taken.

The resolution will be led by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a former CIA and Department of Defense analyst specializing in Shia militias.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) has introduced a similar legislation in the Senate. ...

I wouldn't hold my breath. This is just politics. The Democratic party will probably mostly be for it (though some will have to decide whether it's more advantageous to appear super-patriotic to their constituents or to oppose Trump)/the Republicans will stand with Dear Leader and claim he's playing multidimensional chess that none of the rest of us can understand, though they all know that's utter nonsense.

Congress periodically makes noises about withdrawing their approval for US presidents to conduct whatever wars they want, but never goes through with it.


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/477112-trump-meets-with-saudi-defense-official-amid-iran-tensions
Quote:
Prince Khalid bin Salman [of Saudi Arabia] tweeted that he met with Trump under the direction of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to discuss "aspects of cooperation, coordination and joint work between the two friendly countries in various aspects, including joint efforts to confront regional and international challenges."

Khalid posted photos to social media of the Oval Office meeting, which was not listed on Trump's public schedule. National security adviser Robert O'Brien, deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner also attended....
What a reassuring meeting. At least we have Khashoggi's killers on our side. And Trump's real estate developer son-in-law must be giving such sage and experienced advice.

And, of course, Robert O'Brien: https://www.businessinsider.com/robert-obrien-ill-equipped-new-us-national-security-advisor-2019-9
Quote:
Trump's new national security adviser is a 'nice guy', but poorly equipped for one of the toughest jobs in the White House, sources say




https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/477194-trump-campaign-planning-10m-super-bowl-ad-buy
Quote:
President Trump’s reelection campaign will spend $10 million on a television ad during the Super Bowl next month as the president ramps up his push for a second term.

Though I don't like the influence of money in politics, I'm glad to see Bloomberg's money being useful in this instance.
Quote:
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also spent $10 million on a 60-second ad spot during the Super Bowl that is expected to take direct aim at the president.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 08 Jan , 2020 1:53 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
So far, it looks like Iran has shown more restraint than Trump did and limited itself to a face-saving, limited, tit-for-tat attack on a couple of air bases in Iraq. They also warned the Iraqi prime minister of the attack and no doubt knew that warning would be passed on to the U.S. We'll see what the moron-in-chief does once he gets his marching orders from right wing media, but, as of late last night, someone seems to have made him show surprising restraint on Twitter. He was also going to address the nation last night but that was cancelled, which gives me some hope this event might not turn into a bigger mess.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/iran-fires-rockets-forces-iraq-latest-updates-200107235228432.html

And I'd pretty much say we can thank Iran's instinct for self-preservation for that, not the war-mongers or unstable Trump administration in the US. Incidentally, someone last night tweeted the many important positions currently unfilled, or filled with acting heads, at the moment of crisis, and it was a very long list.




A rather interesting editorial:
https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/iran-price-riots-collective-effervescence-200108090421877.html
Quote:
Iran: From price riots to collective effervescence

Or how the Trump administration saved the Islamic Republic.
Quote:
In the days after the events of 9/11 people would often say: "The world has changed." Well, the assassination of Qassem Soleimani has changed the world in much the same way. The thin patina of international order has, once again, been scratched to expose a Hobbesian jungle where terrorists and rogue states claim the "natural right" of self-defence to operate as judge, jury and executioner in their own case.

The second decade of the 21st century was ending badly for the theocrats of Iran. ...

...By November 2019, public discontent was palpable in Iran. Then it all blew up in another spontaneous combustion of popular rage. Two years earlier the price riot was about eggs. Now, gasoline had doubled overnight....

The regime rapidly responded to the new uprising by shutting down the internet and unleashing phalanxes of black-clad riot police backed up by swarms of paramilitaries and hired goons. One of the few areas of efficiency of this regime is its skill in snuffing out local dissent. Hundreds died and up to 7,000 were arrested.

But the regime's attitude towards this disturbance was uniquely bemusing. It started with the regular expressions of triumphalism and even glee...

But in December 2019, the government's victory over desperate demonstrators sounded strangely hollow. The supreme leader, who had encouraged the violent clampdown, appeared to falter in his pugnacity and ended up calling the victims of the riots "martyrs". The regime seemed to have survived yet another challenge. But its legitimacy had worn dangerously thin and public revulsion with corruption, inefficiency, economic depression and political isolation was at an all-time high.

And then came a strong, bracing wind to fill the sails of the Iranian theocrats and lift them from their doldrums. A drone appeared from the clear blue sky above Baghdad International Airport and pulverised the convoy carrying the most popular military leader in the history of the Islamic Republic....

btw, whether or not the information about Soleimani's mission in the editorial is true, the important thing is that Trump's history of constant lying, combined with the members of his administration openly lying (or later getting caught in lies), and his supporters in Congress lying, has made it possible for reasonable people to believe it, and even more importantly, for Iranians and Iraqis to believe it.

I'm not even sure who I believe at this point - it's not implausible that the Trump administration would be treacherous or that a high-ranking military leader would be involved in negotiations. On the other hand, Iraq has more reason to placate Iran-backed factions in their government than to please the US. And, of course, it's entirely possible that Soleimani was doing more than one thing. Pompeo's childish, mocking dismissal, when questioned by reporters, did nothing to reassure me.



EDIT:
Hallelujah. For once he did something right.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/477340-read-trumps-remarks-on-iran
Quote:
President Trump said on Wednesday that Iran "appears to be standing down" after Tehran launched missiles at Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops.

“I’m pleased to inform you, the American people should be extremely grateful and happy. No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,” Trump said in an address to the nation from the Grand Foyer of the White House....
Though he did have to include his American Ayatollah imitation with “Our great American forces are prepared for anything,” and threw in enough bluster that his less astute supporters can convince themselves Dear Leader somehow "won" something, it's overall a very welcome deescalation.


I assume things like these have something to do with it:
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/477301-gop-senators-call-on-trump-to-deescalate-tensions-with-iran
Quote:
...Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a top ally of Trump's in the Senate, said in a string of tweets that "retaliation for the sake of retaliation is not necessary at this time." "What is necessary is to lay out our strategic objectives regarding Iran in a simple and firm fashion," Graham added.

The objectives, according to Graham, should be stopping Iran's ballistic missile program and preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon and supporting of terrorist organizations.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) added that Trump should "de-escalate" and come to Congress on any potential next steps.
I expect they realize that none of Trump's actions have any hope of accomplishing Graham's goals and have only made things worse, but they are urging restraint.


And in the middle of a Fox personality's belligerent pontificating about Iran:
Quote:
"The president has played this perfectly. He’s played it being careful and cautious.”
https://thehill.com/homenews/media/477299-foxs-hegseth-iran-should-return-to-negotiating-table-limping-and-begging-not


btw, is anyone surprised at this, after Pompeo's press conference yesterday?
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/477390-house-democrat-calls-administrations-iran-briefing-sophomoric-and-utterly
Quote:
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said after an administration briefing on Wednesday that he is unconvinced that President Trump's decision to launch the drone strike that killed Iran's top military commander was necessary....

“Without commenting on content, my reaction to this briefing was it was sophomoric and utterly unconvincing and I believe that more than ever the Congress needs to act to protect that constitutional provisions about war and peace,” Connolly told reporters as he left the briefing.

“I believe this administration is after the fact trying to piece together a rationale for its action that was impulsive, reckless and put this country's security at risk,” he added. ...


https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/477424-rand-paul-mike-lee-rip-administration-over-insulting-and-demeaning-iran
Quote:
GOP Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) ripped the administration over a closed-door briefing on Iran on Wednesday, announcing they will now support a resolution reining in President Trump's military powers.

Lee, speaking to reporters after a roughly hourlong closed-door meeting with administration officials, characterized it as "the worst briefing I've seen, at least on a military issue."...

Lee said the officials warned that Congress would "embolden" Iran if lawmakers debated Trump's war powers. "I find this insulting and demeaning ... to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold. I find it insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States," Lee said....

Both GOP senators were undecided on Kaine's resolution before the briefing but announced afterward that they are now supporting the measure. Democrats need four GOP votes to pass the resolution checking Trump's authority.

"I can say that after that briefing — that briefing is what changed my mind. ... I'm now going to support it. I walked into the briefing undecided. I walked out of that briefing decided specifically because of what happened in that briefing," Lee added....




This seems as good a place to put this as any, given the speculation about the Ukrainian passenger plane that took off from Iran near the time of the missile strikes, and crashed, killing all on board. Not much is known yet, but it's a detailed report.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/08/iran-says-it-will-not-give-black-box-from-crashed-airliner-to-boeing
Contrary to some reports in the US, the Iranian statement so far is NOT that they won't let anyone see the black box, just that they're not giving it to the U.S. Which should surprise no one - they have no reason to trust us right now.
Quote:
Speaking after the black box flight recorders were found at the crash site, Abedzadeh said: “We will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer and the Americans. It’s not yet clear which country the black box will go to for the investigation.

“This accident will be investigated by Iran’s aviation organisation, but the Ukrainians can also be present during the incident’s investigation.”
Other countries have sent Boeing black boxes to Europe to be tested lately, not trusting the US or Boeing to be truthful.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 09 Jan , 2020 3:41 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2006
Oh, you have got to be kidding. :scratch:
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/477499-graham-compares-trumps-iran-remarks-to-reagans-tear-down-this-wall-address
Quote:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said President Trump’s speech on Iran will be a highlight of his presidency, comparing it to former President Reagan's 1987 speech in Berlin urging Soviet leaders to "tear down this wall."...

“This speech will be talked about long after his second term,” Graham said. “This is on par with Reagan's ‘tear down this wall’ speech.” ...

Michael Steele, the former Republican National Committee Chairman, said Graham is “smoking stuff none of us should get our hands on because it clearly does some stuff to the brain.”...

And if (giving him the most charitable explanation) Graham said this to just to stoke Trump's ego and keep him from blowing things up again, can't they just get rid of him instead? That seems by far the safer solution.



https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/477492-george-conway-group-releases-first-anti-trump-ad-aimed-at-evangelicals
Quote:
An anti-President Trump conservative group that includes George Conway, who is the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and a frequent critic of President Trump, has released its first advertisement aimed at evangelicals who back the president.

The Lincoln Project’s first advertisement takes aim at “The MAGA Church” by splicing clips of the president and his supporters speaking about faith with clips of Trump cursing and speaking crudely....
I've always thought that videos of Trump himself would make the best ads in the presidential campaign. Put together various footage, like Trump in Helsinki, saying he believes Putin and throwing US intelligence agencies under the bus, or Trump mocking John McCain, or Trump at one of his rallies calling Republicans who don't support him scum, or Trump enraged at a protester and later mocking the security guard who got rid of her too gently, or Trump babbling incomprehensibly when he makes impromptu remarks, or Trump saying Americans took over the airports (huh?) and "rammed the ramparts" during the Revolutionary War... You wouldn't need to say a word, just run the videos.




https://thehill.com/homenews/house/477479-collins-accuses-democrats-of-being-in-love-with-terrorists-they-mourn
Quote:
Republican Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.) on Wednesday said that Democratic lawmakers were "in love with terrorists" in the wake of their criticism of President Trump's decision to order an airstrike that killed a top Iranian commander.

"They’re in love with terrorists," Collins, a vocal defender of the president, said in an appearance on Fox Business's "Lou Dobbs Tonight." He then asserted that Democrats were mourning the death of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, one of the most powerful officials in the country and the leader of its elite Quds Force.

"They mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families, who are the ones who suffered under Soleimani. That's a problem,"...
Quote:
[In response]...former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara [tweeted]..."Who is running against this craven un-American ignorant asshole named Doug Collins?" he asked on Twitter. "I will max out to you tomorrow. I hope you all join me." "I happen to be a Democrat and I prosecuted terrorists for living," he added in a separate tweet. "I don’t know what Doug Collins has ever done to for America except preen and sound stupid."

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who is mounting a primary challenge against Trump, called Collins's remarks "just sick." "This is what Trump does. He corrupts. He corrodes," Walsh tweeted....





I also added another response to the classified briefing to the previous post. Even some Republicans are openly saying it was garbage.

More on the briefing:
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/insulting-demeaning-lawmakers-rip-trump-administration-after-iran-briefing-n1112596
Quote:
...Lawmakers' frustrations in the briefing came to a head when Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., asked Pompeo when, if not during a situation like this, the administration thinks it needs Congress to authorize the use of military force, according to a Senate aide with knowledge of the briefing. The aide wasn’t authorized to discuss the classified briefing publicly and requested anonymity.

Pompeo and the other administration officials wouldn't directly answer the question. Instead, they responded by chiding the senators for harping on the issue and arguing that asking for authorization emboldens Iran. Their response set off both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who were in the room, the aide said, and the briefing ended soon after.

"They had to leave after 75 minutes while they’re in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public," Lee said. "I find that absolutely insane. I think it's unacceptable."...



https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/477483-pence-defends-withholding-soleimani-intel-in-light-of-lee-criticism
Quote:
Vice President Pence defended the Trump administration’s withholding of intelligence it says justified the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani after Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called a White House briefing on the matter “insulting.”...

“some of the most compelling evidence that Qassem Soleimani was preparing an imminent attack against American forces and American personnel also represents some of the most sensitive intelligence that we have.”....

Pence was then pressed on whether the potential threat to sources and methods still applied to classified briefings, which Pence did not answer, saying “those of us who have seen all the evidence, that saw the evidence in real time, know that President Trump made the right decision,” adding “America is safer, the world is safer.”...


Edit: Wait long enough and Trump inevitably destroys his defenders' arguments and explanations. :roll:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/477560-trump-says-iran-was-looking-to-blow-up-our-embassy
Quote:
President Trump said Thursday that the U.S. killed a top Iranian military commander in Iraq because Iran was “looking to blow up” the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

"We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy,” Trump told reporters at the White House, referring to the U.S. strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani a week ago.

“We also did it for other reasons that were very obvious. Somebody died, one of our military people died. People were badly wounded just a week before, and we did it,” Trump continued, pointing to the death of an American contractor killed in a rocket attack in Iraq.

“And we had a shot at him and I took it and that shot was pinpoint accurate, and that was the end of a monster,” Trump said of Soleimani....
I wonder if I might have been right in my hypothesis that Trump's "reasoning" was revenge.

And Trump, of course, conveniently forgets the tit-for-tat sequence of events - missiles from pro-Iran Iraqi militias kill one American and injure others at a military base in Iraq, American forces strike back, killing 25 Iraqis in these militias, angry Iraqis (perhaps backed by Iran) march on the US embassy and damage stuff with fires, graffiti, etc, but then withdraw..... then Trump decides to up the ante in a big way, and assassinates Soleimani.
(I also thought it perhaps a curious coincidence that some of the graffiti they scrawled on the embassy was something about Soleimani. Knowing what we know about Trump and his lack of interest in briefings, did he even know much about him before seeing his name?)

EDT: This also reminded me of something that struck me in an editorial (by an Iraqi protester against government corruption) in The Atlantic the other day.
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/iraqs-real-protesters-are-caught-in-the-middle/604537/
Quote:
The real protesters may have wondered how militiamen and their supporters, many of them armed, were able to enter the Green Zone without any resistance from security forces. Iraq’s riot police and other agencies have been using rounds of live ammunition and tear gas against unarmed demonstrators for more than 70 days. When the peaceful protesters attempted to march toward the Green Zone, unknown snipers deliberately targeted their heads and chests, killing tens in an instant.

I have to wonder - is someone not getting the war they want and trying to nudge it into happening? Or could it be about political interests in Iraq? We know the CIA, Israel's Mossad, Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Russia's agencies (can't remember which) and no doubt many others are involved in covert actions, i.e., secret assassinations, other manipulations, propaganda, etc. in their "areas of interest." I'm starting to wonder what might be going on behind the scenes that we'll find out about in 10 or 20 or 30 years.



Edit to add:
https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2020/0108/Iran-crisis-Why-Gulf-Arabs-increasingly-see-US-as-a-liability
Quote:
Iran crisis: Why Gulf Arabs increasingly see US as a liability
Quote:
Blindsided. Exposed. Anxious. Exasperated.

Such are Gulf Arab leaders as they fly to Washington, Tehran, and European capitals to contain the fallout from the U.S. assassination of an Iranian general they saw as their mortal enemy but whose killing was a red line they could not afford to cross.

Having traveled a policy journey from saber-rattling to mediation, Gulf Arabs are finding themselves racing to prevent a conflict they once sought but now fear.

But as they scramble to prevent a U.S. response to Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes Wednesday, the Sunni Gulf states are facing an even larger challenge: What to do about an ally like America?

Amid rising frustration over what they see as Washington’s erratic policies, internal chaos, and broken promises, many are arriving at the conclusion that after years of policy mishaps, America is becoming a “liability.”...


The Gulf’s dramatic turnabout and push for diplomacy with Iran was fueled in part by what it perceived as the “unreliability” of the Trump administration and Washington’s unwillingness to protect Arab states from repeated Iranian attacks.

In the wake of last summer’s sabotage of Gulf tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, a UAE delegation went to Tehran and signed a pact to monitor the shipping lanes to prevent conflict, while Saudi Arabia quietly reached out to Iranian proxies in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria....
btw, I don't think "unreliability" should be in scare quotes above. It's become very obvious to most of us that it is.


And the Washington Post apparently has an answer to my question about why the Trump administration claims Soleimani killed hundreds of Americans. I can't access it myself since it's behind a paywall and I don't subscribe to the Post.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/01/08/why-administration-claims-that-soleimani-killed-hundreds-americans/





Interesting statue. No idea whether it was burned down because it was Trump and convenient, or because someone likes Trump. The former seems more likely to me, given the timing. :
https://thehill.com/policy/international/477500-trump-monument-in-slovenia-set-on-fire
Quote:
A wooden monument mocking President Trump in his wife's home country of Slovenia was vandalized on Thursday, with a suspected arsonist reportedly burning it to the ground.

ABC News reported that the monument, a depiction of the president in a suit with his right arm raised, was built to depict two Trumps: A stern-looking version, and an angry version with pointed teeth that is triggered by mechanical devices inside the piece.

“Like all populists, the statue has two faces,” the monument's designer, Tomaz Schlegl, said last year, according to ABC. “One is humane and nice, the other is that of a vampire.”...







Update on the Ukrainian plane crash in Iran below, just because I put the previous report here (The Guardian has some good reporting on the incident). Though what caused this tragedy is not likely to make any difference to things, unless Trump and/or the neocons get belligerent and use it for political purposes. The US accidentally shot down an Iranian passenger airliner filled with civilians, once before, during a period of tensions with Iran, and not much happened. And it doesn't sound like anyone thinks it was deliberate.
Not to mention that it's none of our business anyway - Ukraine, Canada and other countries are involved but there were no Americans on board and the plane didn't belong to us either.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/09/tehran-crash-plane-downed-by-iranian-missile-western-officials-believe

I wouldn't be surprised if what US intelligence claims is correct, but I'm still in wait-and-see mode until the investigation is further along and we see what Iran actually does and whether they send the black box to Europe or elsewhere. According to the article, the Iranian investigators have not ruled that out. Though I suspect, right now, they're worried that someone screwed up and the possible repercussions, so we're likely to get even less honesty than if tensions weren't high. Ukrainian investigators with experience are also on their way.
Quote:
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s national security council, cited the same images of missile debris. “Our commission is currently agreeing with the Iranian authorities to travel to the place of the crash, and plans to search for debris of a Russian surface-to-air Tor missile, according to information which was published on the internet,” he said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Some members of the investigative team had been involved in the probe into the 2014 shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine by Russian-armed rebels, Danilov added. “We will use all our best practices from investigating the attack on MH17 to find out the truth in the case of the Ukrainian plane in Tehran,” he said.

And someone elsewhere made a good point - if an Iranian (Russian-made) missile did shoot down the flight, that doesn't necessarily mean the Iranian government did it. It could have been dissidents or others who saw an opportunity. Conversely, it could have been a screw-up but the Iranians blame it on someone else. Finding out the truth is likely to be a complicated mess, and maybe impossible, in a place like Iran.

EDIT: This is interesting. Instead of the usual secrecy, Iran has invited any country with citizens (or dual residents) on the plane to send investigators. Canada is already sending a team. They even invited the US since the plane was made by Boeing.

(for those who don't know, The Guardian likes to constantly update its articles so the information in the link above will change periodically, and already has.)

AlJazeera also has a decent article about possible causes, with more information and quotes from actual aviation experts. It's more measured and analytical than many US news media stories. https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/flight-752-analysts-optics-match-iranian-missile-theory-200109174123302.html




OT: I do think it's ironic that US officials are very quick to release information damaging to Iran in this case, when quickly releasing information doesn't matter much in this situation, but they sat on information about the Boeing Max plane crashes until everyone else had already grounded the planes.



Friday: Edited the above with a couple of links related to previous articles and reorganized a bit.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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