Fraud Filled Friday Reads: Pity the US Taxpayer and pray for the Kurds

Image result for famous paintings chaos

The Beginnings of Chaos, Zhong Baio, 2009

Good Morning!

I figured things that went crazy yesterday would be further elucidated today.  I was right.  Yesterday’s Trumpist regime actions still look appalling even with a bit more information and explanation.   We have Mike Pence getting outfoxed by the Turks which unfortunately means death for the Kursish people in Syria.  His negotiations were basically a recipe for capitulation and genocide. I’m also wondering how much money from the US Treasury will be piled into refitting the Doral for a grand old case of emoluments violations?  Plus there was  Mulvaney’s mea culpa on a Trumpist quid pro quo that cannot be unwound once put on national TV.  Is there a stronger description of what’s going on in the White House other than utter chaos? Labeling it all chaos seems like such an understatement!

kennedy memeLet me start with USA Today’s opinion page and the heading from Paul Brandus: “Trump’s unmatched sleaze: Grifters, women, trampling Constitution and now G-7 at Doral”. 

We’ve had presidents who were used by members of their own family for personal gain, like Ulysses S. Grant.

We’ve had presidents who stocked their Cabinet with greedy, self-serving mediocrities who took advantage of the public trust, like Warren G. Harding.

We’ve had presidents who swore to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution, only to then abuse it, like Richard Nixon.

And we’ve had presidents who, thanks to a presumptive sense of entitlement, lived slimy private lives, using countless women before tossing them aside — Harding again, plus John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton.

President Donald Trump falls into every single sleazy category, squarely and shamelessly. Just Thursday, we learned that he’ll hold next year’s Group of Seven meeting (with leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom) at his own Doral golf resort in Miami.

It’s the latest example of how Trump, who never divested from his businesses, continues to make millions from them. It’s also the latest reminder that he constantly violates the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which is supposed to ban presidents from accepting money from foreign governments. This while the House is in the middle of an impeachment inquiry and there are two lawsuits pending over the emoluments clause.

This is unbelievable,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which filed one of those suits, speaking for much of America.


“Flower of Death—The Bursting of a Heavy Shell— Not as It Looks, but as It Feels and Sounds and Smells” (1919) by Claggett Wilson Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

And then there’s this tell-all book by Ex VA chief Shulkin as reviewed in WAPO by Lisa Rein.  Here’s the headline: “Ex-VA chief Shulkin’s new book decries ‘toxic, subversive’ culture in Trump’s Washington”.

His security detail leaked his schedule, putting him at risk. A senior adviser on his team circulated a three-page memo outlining his ouster — with a succession plan. His inner circle held meetings without him and scurried to secret huddles at the White House.

And a trio of rich men who are fixtures at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla. — but had no experience in the federal government — were his keepers.

These are some of the scenes from David Shulkin’s new book, “It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Serve Your Country,” an account of his tumultuous 15 months as Trump’s first Veterans Affairs secretary.

The book portrays a toxic, backstabbing culture in Trump’s Washington that, as its title suggests, should give pause to anyone considering public service, Shulkin writes. From his rib-tickling interview with the president-elect to his dismissal by tweet in March 2018, Shulkin says he was blindsided at almost every turn by a multitude of institutions, from his inspector general to the media. And he says veterans are paying the cost.

“The VA was once thought to be the only part of the federal government that was above politics,” Shulkin, 60, writes. But “the environment in Washington had grown so toxic, chaotic and subversive that it became impossible for me to accomplish the important work that our veterans need and deserve.”

Ultimately his own staff did him in, Shulkin writes, turning ethics questions about a trip he took to Europe that mixed business with pleasure to their advantage. The Ivy League-trained physician who had excelled at turning around ailing hospitals was unprepared for the onslaught.

The score-settling book, to be published Tuesday by a division of Hachette Book Group, is Shulkin’s comeback to the forces that derailed him. He describes a deep state of subordinates within his own inner circle — not of career bureaucrats but political appointees — who assumed outsize power with a singular goal: to privatize veterans’ health care.

Two halves of a fractured face next to a serene ocean.

René Magritte. The Double Secret, 1927.

I can only imagine that every privatized VA hospital would also carry the Trump logo across its entrance paid for with a hefty bill by the US Taxpayer while Vets languish in lines waiting for services they’ll never receive in the name of personal profit for Trump and his family crime syndicate.

And meanwhile, what is supposed to be a ceasefire in Syria, appears to be a free for all including chemical weapons. This headline is from Foreign Policy and is written by Lara Seligman: “Turkish Proxies Appear to Be Using White Phosphorus in Syria. Photos of children show horrific burns caused by what looks like white phosphorus.”   This is a NATO all.  WTF?

Turkish-backed forces appear to be using munitions loaded with white phosphorus—a chemical that can maim and kill when it comes in contact with human flesh—in their violent campaign against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, Foreign Policy has learned.

Meanwhile, reports emerged overnight that Turkey has continued to attack Kurdish fighters and civilian settlements in the border town of Ras al-Ain, despite a cease-fire agreement announced by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Turkish-backed forces targeted a Kurdish medical convoy and an American aid organization trying to get into the town to evacuate wounded civilians, according to a Syrian conflict monitor.

Photos provided to Foreign Policy by a Kurdish source and confirmed by a senior U.S. administration official show children in Ras al-Ain with chemical burns on their chests and faces consistent with wounds from white phosphorus. (One of the photos, which is graphic, is published here.)

An official with an aid organization, who declined to be named for security reasons, confirmed that several people had been admitted into the National Hospital in Hasakah city coming from Ras al-Ain with “severe burns” that appeared to have been caused by white phosphorus or napalm.

In a letter supplied to Foreign Policy by Bassam Saker, the representative of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) to the United States, the co-secretaries of the SDC’s health department, Rapareen Hasn and Manal Mhemed, urgently called on the international community to evacuate the wounded civilians.

“Turkey uses all kind of weapons including the internationally prohibited ones, and our medical teams are unable to evacuate the civilians,” according to the letter, which was also confirmed by the senior U.S. administration official. Saker confirmed that the prohibited weapons referred to in the letter are suspected to be “unusual bombs” loaded with white phosphorus.

Separately, a former combat medic who deployed to Syria in 2017-2018 confirmed to Foreign Policy that the photos appeared to show chemical burns.

The She Wolf, 1943 - Jackson Pollock

The She Wolf, 1943 – Jackson Pollock

This is what the Orange Snot Blob in the Oval office laughs off as “not our problem”.

And the letter sent to Erdogen by the Toddler in Chief was seen as an insult to Turkey so there’s this reporting from the UK Independent. “Erdogan says Turkey will take necessary steps against Trump’s ‘disrespectful’ letter. Letter ‘was not in line with diplomatic and political courtesy. We will not forget this lack of respect'”.

The letter “was not in line with diplomatic and political courtesy. We will not forget this lack of respect. This is not a priority for us. But when the time comes we would like it to be known that we will take the necessary steps.”

The extraordinary missive warned the Turkish leader not to be a “fool” over Turkish plans to start a military campaign in northern Syria.

It emerged on Thursday that Mr Erdogan reacted angrily to the letter, throwing it in the bin and commencing the military offensive, which has left dozens of civilians dead and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Well, so much for impressing folks with his stable genius and art of the deal.  From Raw Story Today: “Turkey’s foreign minister bursts out laughing as he mocks Trump’s erratic tweets.”

Speaking to the BBC’s HARDtalk this Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu scoffed at the Trump administration’s threat of sanctions over his country’s military operation in northeast Syria, saying that the threat is the result of erratic confused messaging that’s not doing anything to help the situation.

Cavusoglu laughed and mocked Trump for his constant tweeting about various issues, including Turkey.

“Different voices, different positions are coming from the United States, because of the differences between the administration, the State Department, Pentagon, and this and that,” he said.

Meanwhile, here’s what’s partying at Mar A Lago these days.  Yeah, it’s still grifting bigots pushing conspiracy theories and stupid rich people if you want to know.  This is from the Palm Beach Post: “Another anti-Muslim group to host event at Mar-a-Lago”.

Another anti-Muslim group has scheduled a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago, prompting the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group to again ask the Trump Organization to cancel an event sponsored by such a group.

The Center for Security Policy, a Washington, DC think-tank whose founder, Frank Gaffney once suggested President Barack Obama was a Muslim and that Sharia law threatens American society, intends to host its annual Flame Dinner at Mar-a-Lago on Nov. 23. Tickets for the event start at $650, according to the Center’s website.

Fred Fleitz, the Center’s president and CEO, said the group was not deterred by the Trump Organization’s abrupt decision on Oct. 6 to cancel an event hosted by another anti-Muslim group, ACT for America, after news of that group’s dinner plans grabbed national headlines and drew widespread criticism.

“We are honored to have this event at Mar-a-Lago,” said Fleitz, adding that he has dined at the club many times.

And then there was another HaterPalooza in Texas with the typical Trumpist Rage and Rant.  It was even more amped up than usual.

Plus, there was the usual misogyny and lies and insanity. Where do these Trumpers spring from? Who likes this sort’ve thing? Trump’s hateful catharsis in front of aggrieved white bigots is something you could not pay me to do. Not any amount. No HOW.

The Fall of the Rebel Angels by Pieter Bruegel | © Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium/WikiCommons

The Fall of the Rebel Angels, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1592

 Beto O’Rouke had a counter rally in what the Dallas Observer called a packed venue.

Standing on a platform surrounded by a crowd of screaming fans and waving signs, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke told a packed theater at his Rally Against Fear about his plans and dreams for the country.

Throughout the night, he and other speakers focused on the need for gun control, immigration and healthcare reform and denounced the imprisonment of immigrant children and last week’s shooting of Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old woman who was killed in her home by a Fort Worth police officer.

Many issues make it easy to be afraid right now, he said, but it’s important to come together and work to overcome terror, racism, sexism and discrimination.

“We cannot stand for that fear because we must stand for those who have been the victims of that fear,” he said.

Rather than speak from the stage behind him, he opted to stand among the people who came to support him at Thursday night’s event in Grand Prairie. The theater seats 6,000 people and was packed to the gills.

Quite a contrast to the usual attacks on Hillary, “crazy” Nancy Pelosi and any one that dares name the orange devil for what he is.

So let me end with a few things that show we can make progress despite him.  Notice this is another moment from a Democratic Candidate President celebrating the strides women have made in Space.

And, there are other things that go on despite the chaos … like Bulldog Mattis roasting Trump which you know always makes the Orange Snot Blob testy.

So, let me end with a classic song that also sums up the times today:

Have a good weekend! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

31 Comments on “Fraud Filled Friday Reads: Pity the US Taxpayer and pray for the Kurds”

  1. dakinikat says:

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Turks are now mocking Trump’s letter on Twitter.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    Every so often some current event raises the question: Is this the end of civilization?

    The correct answer today would be “yes”.

  5. dakinikat says:

    good gawdesses he just gets more and more psychotic

    • Enheduanna says:

      Is he having a rally again? Where is he saying this?

      He seriously needs an intervention at the very least. A straightjacket would be even better.

    • Enheduanna says:

      You know what I think he’s saying here? By “we” he means Russia – he means him and his Russian benefactors. He owes Putin and his oligarch cronies a lot of money for bailing him out over the years, not to mention the kompromat over the money-laundering aspects.

      The tell is he had to add “We have — the US has control of that.” In reality, Russia now has control of that thanks to this move.

      Erdogan and Putin to meet next week to divvy the spoils. Dump probably jealous he wasn’t invited. He considers himself one of them – “we”.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    This interview with Hillary is must-listen!! If we are going to have a septuagenarian president, it should be her. What a tragedy that she isn’t president right now.

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. dakinikat says:

    Stealthy Russian Hacker Group Resurfaces With Clever New Tricks
    Largely out of the spotlight since 2016, Cozy Bear hackers have been caught perpetrating a years-long campaign.

    The researchers found that the spying campaign extend both years before the DNC hack and years after—until as recently as June of this year—and used an entirely new collection of malware tools, some of which deployed novel tricks to avoid detection. “They rebuilt their arsenal,” says ESET researcher Matthieu Faou, who presented the new findings earlier this week at ESET’s research conference in Bratislava, Slovakia. “They never stopped their espionage activity.”

    • NW Luna says:

      Perhaps it’s part of the general gloom and doom I feel, but I have doubts we’ll have a fair election next year.

  9. dakinikat says:

  10. dakinikat says:

  11. dakinikat says:

    I still have to ask … was he ever raveled?

    • quixote says:

      He was always a self-centered psychopath with a black hole where his morality would have been in a normal human being, but he was definitely more raveled even ten years ago.

      Those comparison clips people sometimes post are startling.

  12. Joanelle says:

    It’s like a bad movie. He’s going to go further over the line with his greed, as he seeks control over resources and one of the countries that is impacted by his actions is going to reach its limit and they’ll do something terrible to stop him.