Tuesday ReadsPosted: October 16, 2018
I am completely burned out on politics today. I can’t handle any more Trump madness. It makes me feel sick even to type his last name. I can’t stand anymore Hillary bashing. I don’t really care that much for Elizabeth Warren, but I’m fed up with the attacks on her family stories. I can’t stand the media focusing on these meaningless stories and ignoring the administration’s failures to help hurricane victims and it’s torture of immigrant children and their families.
Ever since the Kavanaugh confirmation, I can barely stand to watch cable TV. Reading about politics makes me angry and depressed. I really think this state of mind is going to be with me until election day at least. I wonder if there is any chance that we as a country can come out of this dark tunnel into the light of democracy?
Here’s what’s happening. A New York Times financial reporter posted this tweet:
So far the tweet has received 1.4K replies and only 33 retweets and 116 likes. At least this ratio shows that lots of people thought the tweet was offensive and ridiculous. But why are people still relitigating something that happened 20 years ago, and why are they blaming Hillary, who was actually the victim in the events? Why is it strange that a woman would refuse to attack the husband she obviously loves?
Here’s another one–also from a woman in the media:
Sigh . . . I can’t stand any more of this. When I finish this post, I’m going to read novel and pretend everything is OK, just for today.
From The Daily Beast: Trump Hangs ‘Tacky’ Fantasy Painting of Himself With GOP Presidents in White House.
President Trump’s latest addition to White House decor is a kitschy fantasy painting that shows him relaxing with Republican presidents of the past—an update to a best-selling image commonly found in tourist gift shops and online galleries.
The print, “The Republican Club” by Andy Thomas, could be seen in the background of a photo tweeted by 60 Minutes, which aired an interview with Trump on Sunday night.
It shows a slimmed-down Trump sandwiched between Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, directly across from Abraham Lincoln. Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and both Bushes are also in the imaginary scene.
Amateur art critics sneered on social media that the artwork was “tacky,” “a travesty,” or “blasphemy.” Some said it looked like the political version of the famous “dogs playing poker” painting.
Here’s the painting:
Trump also has a framed map of his electoral college win hanging in the White House. He’s so embarrassing.
In more serious news, Trump is still defending the Saudis for murdering a Washington Post journalist. CNN: Trump suggests ‘rogue killers’ behind Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance.
President Donald Trump suggested Monday that “rogue killers” could be behind the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, after a phone call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman about the case.
Trump told White House reporters that Salman offered him a “flat denial” in relation to the disappearance of Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who was last seen in public when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Turkey on October 2.
Later Monday, the Saudis were preparing to admit that Khashoggi died during an interrogation that went wrong, one that was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey, according to two sources.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Washington for Riyadh at around midday to meet with the Saudi King on Trump’s orders.
Previously, Saudi authorities had maintained that Khashoggi left the consulate the same afternoon of his visit, but have provided no evidence to support the claim. Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the consulate, says she did not see him re-emerge.
Pompeo is in Saudi Arabia right now, and judging by the photos I’ve seen and reports of his meetings with King Salmon and his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Pompeo didn’t even give the Saudi rulers a stern talking to. In fact, they are both grinning ear-to-ear in all the pictures.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks with top Saudi leaders Tuesday as sources told CNN that the Kingdom is preparing to acknowledge that missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi died at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Pompeo had a short discussion with King Salman before a longer meeting with the King’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler. US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo “thanked the King for his commitment to supporting a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation” of the Khashoggi case and expressed “concern” about the case to the foreign minister.
Nauert described the meetings as “direct and candid.”
CNN’s sources say Saudi Arabia plans to contend that the Washington Post columnist died when an interrogation went awry, but there was no public mention on Tuesday of any new Saudi explanation of Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Meanwhile, back in Turkey:
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkish officials, who searched the consulate for nine hours on Monday, are looking into “toxic” and “painted over material” as part of their investigation. “My hope is that we can reach conclusions that will give us a reasonable opinion as soon as possible, because the investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over,” Erdogan told reporters.
Kashoggi’s family wants and international investigation. I doubt if Trump and Pompeo will support that.
The Saudi government is preparing to a release a report claiming that the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed as a result of a botched interrogation, CNN reported on Monday, citing two sources.
The interrogation was reportedly supposed to lead to Khashoggi’s abduction from Turkey. CNN described one source as saying the report is likely to claim that the interrogation was conducted without clearance or transparency.
In other words, he was tortured to death by “rogue” operators. Yeah, right.
The Washington Post Editorial Board points out that the U.S. really doesn’t need Saudi Arabia for anything –although Trump and Jared Kushner may be concerned about personal losses to their businesses interests.
…it’s worth considering just how much the United States might have to lose if its relationship with Saudi Arabia ruptured. What about that oil, and the $110 billion in arms purchases Mr. Trump keeps talking about? What about the war on terrorism?
Start with the oil. Saudi Arabia, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, supplied 9 percent of U.S. petroleum imports in 2017, or about 960,000 barrels a day. But thanks to the shale revolution, the United States is essentially energy independent: It, not Saudi Arabia, is now the world’s largest crude-oil producer. Last year, U.S. daily oil exports averaged 6.38 million barrels, or nearly seven times the Saudi imports. If the Saudis cut back production or boycotted the United States, they could temporarily drive up prices, but the beneficiaries would be U.S. shale companies, which over time would fill the gap — and deal a devastating blow to the Saudi oil industry.
As for arms sales, someone needs to brief Mr. Trump on the actual results of the promises made to him when he visited Riyadh last year. As Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution sums it up, “The Saudis have not concluded a single major arms deal with Washington on Trump’s watch.” Moreover, an end to supplies of U.S. spare parts and technical support, something Russia cannot provide, would quickly ground the Saudi air force. That would have the welcome effect of ending a bloody bombing campaign in Yemen that a U.N. investigation concluded was probably responsible for war crimes.
Saudi Arabia does supply the United States with counterterrorism intelligence. But as Andrew Miller of the Project on Middle East Democracy points out, stopping it “would be a colossal error . . . when there’s already a strong perception in Congress and with Americans that Saudi Arabia has fueled extremism.” Mr. Miller notes that a law passed by Congress in 2016 opens the way for civil suits against the Saudi government for any terrorist acts it enables.
The reality is that Saudi Arabia, which, as Mr. Trump himself has crudely pointed out, would not survive without U.S. security support, has everything to lose from a break in relations, while the United States no longer needs the kingdom as much as it once did. Mr. Trump has overvalued the relationship and encouraged Saudi leaders to believe they can behave recklessly and even criminally without consequence.
So all the concern from the administration must be about Trump’s and Kushner’s private finances. That is just sickening.
One more story before I escape into my book.
If the Nov. 6 midterm elections turn into what many Democrats hope will be a “blue wave,” swamping Republican majorities from Congress to state legislatures nationwide, it will have been powered in part by a new and sprawling network of activists on the left who, like Wilburn, have leaped into action over the past two years — energized by their deep desire to thwart the rise of Trump and his agenda.
Like the conservative tea party groups that rose up after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 and that helped Republicans retake the House and gain power in state legislatures in 2010, this new liberal movement has emerged largely outside the traditional party structure.
It is led by hundreds of thousands of mostly white, college-educated, middle-aged women who trace their inspiration to the inaugural women’s marches in January 2017 and whose ambitions have only grown amid a succession of disagreements with Trump, including over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.
Read the rest at the link. If anyone saves this country from Trump it will be women.
What stories are you following today?