Thursday Reads: Putin Gets Payback from Puppet

Mrs. Winslows Soothing Syrup with Morphine

Good Morning!!

So I’m still coughing constantly, my ribs ache from it, and I’m so tired. I’ve gone through three boxes of Kleenex in the past few days. How much longer can this go on, Dr. Luna? If only the old-fashioned remedies pictured in this post were still available (just kidding).

Meanwhile, it’s looking like Putin is pressuring Trump to pay up for all the help he’s been getting from Russia. Is this what they discussed in the private meeting in Helsinki? And Turkey’s Erdogan may be threatening to take Trump’s name off his Istanbul properties.

Yesterday, the Trump administration announced plans to lift sanctions from Oleg Deripaska’s companies. Deripaska is the Russian oligarch with ties to Paul Manafort. In addition Trump ordered all U.S. troops removed from Syria; he did this without consulting anyone at the Pentagon or the State Department and without warning our allies.

Reuters: In Syria retreat, Trump rebuffs top advisers and blindsides U.S. commanders.

U.S. President Donald Trump overrode his top national security aides, blindsided U.S. ground commanders, and stunned lawmakers and allies with his order for U.S. troops to leave Syria, a decision that upends American policy in the Middle East.

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The result, said current and former officials and people briefed on the decision, will empower Russia and Iran and leave unfinished the goal of erasing the risk that Islamic State, or ISIS, which has lost all but a sliver territory, could rebuild.

Trump was moving toward his dramatic decision in recent weeks even as top aides tried to talk him out of it, determined to fulfill a campaign promise of limiting U.S. involvement militarily abroad, two senior officials said.

The move, which carries echoes of Trump’s repudiation of the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate change accord, is in keeping with his America First philosophy and the pledge he made to end U.S. military involvement.

A former senior Trump administration official said the president’s decision basically was made two years ago, and that Trump finally stared down what he considered unpersuasive advice to stay in.

Read much more at the link.

Vladimir Putin is ebullient. The Washington Post: Putin backs Trump’s move to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, says Islamic State dealt ‘serious blows.’

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, describing the American presence there as illegitimate and the Islamic State as largely defeated on the ground.

Putin told journalists at his annual year-end news conference that the Islamic State has suffered “serious blows”in Syria.

“On this, Donald is right. I agree with him,” Putin said.

Cough syrup with alcohol, cannabis, chloroform, and morphine.

Trump said Wednesday that the Islamic State has been defeated in Syria, although analysts say the militant group remains a deadly force. Russia — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s most powerful ally — turned the tide of the civil war in Assad’s favor in 2015 and has maintained its military presence there.

The United States and many of its allies denounced Russia’s military intervention in Syria. But Trump’s withdrawal is viewed by many — including some Trump backers — as an indirect boost for Moscow and its status as the main foreign power in Syria.

Putin is so full of himself that he’s even lecturing Theresa May. The Guardian: Putin tells May to ‘fulfil will of people’ on Brexit.

Vladimir Putin has said the UK should not hold a second referendum on Brexit, insisting Theresa May must “fulfil the will of the people”.

Offering public support that the embattled British prime minister may rather do without, Putin said he “understood” May’s position in “fighting for this Brexit”.

“The referendum was held,” the Russian president said from Moscow during his annual press conference, which is broadcast on national television. “What can she do? She has to fulfil the will of the people expressed in the referendum.”

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Russia is seen as a possible beneficiary of the UK’s exit from the EU, and a prominent financial backer of the leave campaign, Arron Banks, met Russian embassy officials repeatedly during the run-up to the referendum in June 2016.

In a nod to recent accusations of election meddling, Putin coyly suggested he was hesitant to give advice on Brexit “lest they accuse us once again of something”.

But he then went on to criticise the idea of a second referendum or people’s vote, which could offer the possibility of Britain staying in the EU. A no-deal Brexit has recently become significantly more likely, with May’s deal expected to be rejected by the UK parliament.

“Was it not a referendum?” the Russian president said. “Someone disliked the result, so repeat it over and over? Is this democracy? What then would be the point of the referendum in the first place?”

Putin, the expert on democracy.

And then there’s Erdogan. What does he have on Trump? The two spoke on Friday. The Military Times reports: Erdogan: Positive answers in call with Trump, but says Turkey could act against US-backed Syrian Kurds ‘anytime.’

Turkey’s leader said Monday he received “positive answers” from President Donald Trump on the situation in northeastern Syria, where Turkey has threatened to launch a new operation against American-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Turkey has vowed to launch a new offensive against the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which is the main component of a U.S.-allied force that drove Islamic State militants out of much of eastern Syria. U.S. troops are based in the area, in part to reduce tensions.

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Turkey views the YPG as a terrorist group because of its links to the Kurdish insurgency within its territory. Ankara views Washington’s support as empowering of the Kurdish militia, which is seeking an autonomous region in northern Syria….

Erdogan said Turkey is waiting for the U.S. to keep its promises but could launch a new offensive “anytime.” He said the Turkish army has completed preparations and planning.

The two countries reached an agreement last summer over the town of Manbij, whereby the Kurdish militia would leave and Turkish and American troops jointly patrol the area. Turkey says the U.S. has stalled on implementing the agreement.

Yahoo News: Trump’s ‘Green Light’ to Erdogan on Syria Leaves Dilemma on Iran.

(Bloomberg) — Turkey and Iran are wasting little time as they seek an advantage in Syria after President Donald Trump’s order to withdraw American troops from the war-torn country.

Less than an hour after Trump’s abrupt decision on Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani’s plane touched down in Ankara for a previously planned visit. The Iranian leader was given a gun salute at a welcoming ceremony with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the following day.

“There are many steps that Turkey and Iran could take together in order to end the conflict in our region and establish an atmosphere of peace,” Erdogan said during a joint news conference with Rouhani.

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Trump tweeted that it’s “time for others to finally fight,” questioning if the U.S. wants “to be the Policeman of the Middle East.”

Erdogan and his Russian and Iranian counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Rouhani, have emerged as the key arbiters of Syria’s fate. Now the dilemma for Turkey, a U.S. NATO ally, is whether to deepen ties with Iran or try to curtail its influence.

Trump’s order represents another shift in the rapidly changing landscape around Syria, with the U.S. this week making a proposal to sell the Patriot missile-defense system to Turkey. Days earlier, Erdogan threatened to start a military operation targeting America’s Kurdish allies, a group known as the YPG, in northeastern Syria.

I thought Trump despised Iran, but I guess not.

More stories to check out:

NBC News: Trump’s withdrawal from Syria is victory for Iran and Russia, experts say.

Politico: Trump defends surprise Syria withdrawal despite withering GOP criticism.

The Washington Post: The Islamic State remains a deadly insurgent force, analysts say, despite Trump’s claim it has been defeated.

In other news, Robert Mueller appears to be gearing up to indict Roger Stone. He requested a transcript of Stone’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, and the Committee voted this morning to give it to him, according to MSNBC.

In other breaking news, Matthew Whitaker has been told he doesn’t need to recuse himself from supervising the Mueller investigation. CNN exclusive:

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has consulted with ethics officials at the Justice Department and they have advised him he does not need to recuse himself from overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, a source familiar with the process told CNN Thursday.

The source added Whitaker has been in ongoing discussions with ethics officials since taking the job in early November following the ouster of Jeff Sessions, who had stepped aside from overseeing the investigation due to his role as a Trump campaign surrogate during the 2016 election.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein oversaw the investigation following Sessions’ recusal and his office is still managing the investigation on a day-to-day basis, as CNN has previously reported.

When, exactly, ethics officials signed off on Whitaker’s role was not immediately clear, but as of last month, he had not stepped aside from participating in significant developments in the Russia investigation. He was informed ahead of time that Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen would plead guilty to lying to Congress about the proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow.

Whitaker is expected to inform senators, many of whom have raised ethics concerns given his past criticism of Mueller’s investigation, about this development later Thursday, the source said.

No wonder Mueller seems to be in a hurry lately.

That’s all I have for you today. What stories are you following?

55 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Putin Gets Payback from Puppet”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    More breaking news:

    Trump says he won’t sign a bill to keep the government open unless he gets money for his wall. Per MSNBC

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Rod Rosenstein responded to questions about Trump’s nominee for AG, William Barr and his 20 page memo criticizing the Mueller investigation.

    From Politico:

    “Obviously, our decisions are informed by our knowledge of the actual facts of the case, which Mr. Barr didn’t have,” Rosenstein said. “I didn’t share any confidential information with Mr. Barr. He never requested that we provide any non-public information to him, and that memo had no impact on our investigation.”

    The Deputy Attorney General also offered assurances that no matter who is overseeing the investigation, it will be “handled appropriately.

    “It’s being handled appropriately, whether its Bob Mueller or Rod Rosenstein or Matt Whitaker or Bill Barr, that investigation is going to be handled appropriately by the Department of Justice,” Rosenstein said.

  3. dakinikat says:

    Love the old Ad art … are you feeling any better? Is your voice holding yet?

    • bostonboomer says:

      Just what I wrote in the post. I’m coughing constantly, my ribs hurt, and I’m very exhausted from it.

      • Enheduanna says:

        BB – so sorry to hear you’re feeling bad. It sounds miserable. I’m bad to give unsolicited advice, which I’m sure is old news to you anyway – but make sure you have a humidifier going or steam your face from time to time and make sure the room isn’t overly hot. I overheat my rooms without even feeling it until I step outside or into another part of the house.

        Anyway – get well soon! Thanks for all the information – I feel so much safer now with Dump in charge….(not).

      • NW Luna says:

        Gentle hugs to you, BB, and here’s a couple of boxes of kleenex — the ultra soft, expensive kind. Lol. I went through 3+ boxes when I had a hideously bad cold a couple of weeks ago, and my nose was so raw that I kept slathering it with A&D ointment in between bouts of blowing my nose. Then the rhinitis eased up but my coughing got worse. It kept me from sleeping and my throat was so painfully raw I tried to stop myself from coughing (which you can’t really do). I couldn’t think very well at all. I’m amazed you have been doing your posts this week!

        I’m sure you know the recommended interventions: sips of hot (but not scalding) tea, gatorade-type drinks, broths, are good. Small amounts frequently. A quarter-spoonful of honey to let dissolve at the back of the throat occasionally. Salt-water gargles really do help. Boil the water first, add salt, let cool before using. The salt helps shrink inflamed tissues. There are OTC throat sprays and cough drops which have ingredients which temporarily numb a sore throat.

        If you have a productive cough, that is your body trying to keep the junk from settling down in your lungs possibly leading to pneumonia. OTC guaifenesin (mucinex) helps thin the secretions so they are easier to bring up. If it’s a nonproductive — dry or dryish — cough it can be suppressed without risking lower respiratory problems. Rx cough syrup with codeine or other opioid helps suppress –not eliminate — the cough reflex. A non-opioid Rx which helps decrease the cough is benzonatate (Tessalon perles), which is a local anesthetic, and the capsules are swallowed, rather than let to dissolve. BB, can you call your doctor and get one of the Rx’d options for you without you having to go in again?

        OTC zinc products have been studied and indications are that their use may shorten overall symptoms by a day or two.Take orally. Do NOT use any zinc products in the nose! No sprays, no inhalers. There’s a high risk of semi- or permanent loss of alternation of sense of smell with zinc nasal products.

        The average upper respiratory infection aka cold takes up to 2 weeks to resolve, except for the cough which will start decreasing but can take another 2-3 weeks before it resolves.

        Keep babying yourself. It seems a bad season with many people getting severe colds.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Thanks for all the suggestions. I’m taking Mucinex and drinking herbal teas. I’m also using Hall’s cough drops. My nose is raw too and I’m using Vaseline on it. I saw a doctor on Monday, and he didn’t suggest any cough remedies. My lungs were clear. I can’t handle going out again right now; I’m too exhausted. I can’t take anything like codeine because I’m a recovering alcoholic.

          I appreciate the support–from everyone! I don’t think I’ve ever had a cough this bad. It sounds very similar to what you had except I have pain in my rib area, not my throat. I did have a sore throat at the beginning, but not now. I guess that’s a sign of improvement.

          • NW Luna says:

            Ask your doctor about the Tessalon perles — non-narcotic — if he’d call them in to a pharmacy for you.

            Not to alarm you, but it’s not unheard of to strain muscles (my upper abdomen was feeling pretty sore by the time my cough decreased) or even crack a rib from severe coughing. That is rare.

      • Fannie says:

        Tried Hot toddy………whiskey.

  4. dakinikat says:

    • joanelle says:

      Yes, the elderly are being taken. But is it any wonder when we have government leaders scamming Social Security, sucking it dry of our money. They keep getting raises with our ‘security’

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    Can someone tell me where the GOP leadership is these days?

    This fool is getting away with murder and still few speak up.

    The GOP, in its silence, is complicit in this “collusion” by allowing this criminal full autonomy to destroy this nation.

    The nation as a whole needs to rid itself of these enablers who lack the spine to carry out their sworn duties to prevent this nutcase from further destruction.

    Either that or we all agree to sign up for Russian speaking lessons.

    • bostonboomer says:

      In just 15 days, the Democrats will take over the House and serious investigations will commence.

    • Enheduanna says:

      From what I understand, the 2020 election presents a more favorable landscape for Democrats to pick up seats in the Senate. If Dump continues to be erratic and controversial I have high hopes we’ll see another blue wave.

    • joanelle says:

      The GOP is lost, wandering in the wilderness. Mitch McConnell needs to be removed from office so someone else can lead them back where they belong.
      It’s absolutely disgusting

  6. bostonboomer says:

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Uh oh . . . It turns out Whitaker was told by ethics officials probably should recuse, but he chose not to. He also didn’t seek an official opinion from them.

    • bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      ….he did not seek formal ruling from ethics office.

      But I didn’t know it was wrong!”

  8. dakinikat says:

  9. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      This is wonderful to see. A whole nother world, sigh. If Trump appeared the children would run away screaming. As would most of the adults.

  10. dakinikat says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      That story is unreal.

      The extraordinary unofficial line of communication arose in the final year of the Obama administration — in the midst of what multiple US intelligence agencies have said was a secret campaign by the Kremlin to interfere in the US election. Russian agents ostensibly trying to track ISIS instead pressed their American counterparts for private financial documents on at least two dozen dissidents, academics, private investigators, and American citizens.

      Most startlingly, Russia requested sensitive documents on Dirk, Edward, and Daniel Ziff, billionaire investors who had run afoul of the Kremlin. That request was made weeks before a Russian lawyer showed up at Trump Tower offering top campaign aides “dirt” on Hillary Clinton — including her supposed connection to the Ziff brothers.

  11. dakinikat says:

  12. dakinikat says:

  13. dakinikat says:

  14. Enheduanna says:

    I can’t believe grown adults are taking these kinds of directions from Dump:

    Apparently The Wall is now to be referred to as simply “Wall” – so says his majesty.

  15. bostonboomer says:

    Mattis is gone. No more “adults in the room.”

  16. Pat Johnson says:

    The darkness has officially descended.

  17. OG says:

    The morphine cough syrup sounds good.
    And put the cocaine back into Co o-Cola and the lithium in Pepsi.
    We need some spring back into our step.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  18. bostonboomer says:

    Please read this thread. It’s so funny!

  19. NW Luna says:

  20. NW Luna says:

    Schumer shows a spine, and the wall is really a wheel.

    …the Trump temper tantrum will shut down the government, but it will not get him his wall,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Thursday night.

    [Trump] “The Democrats are trying to belittle the concept of a Wall, calling it old fashioned,” Trump wrote. “The fact is there is nothing else’s that will work, and that has been true for thousands of years. It’s like the wheel, there is nothing better.”