Terrifying Tuesday Reads

Vincent van Gogh, Autumn Landscape, 1885

Good Morning!!

If you thought Trump couldn’t be any more despicable than we already knew, behold his latest outrage.

CNN: Trump calls impeachment inquiry a ‘lynching’

President Donald Trump on Tuesday called House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry a “lynching,” employing a term associated with the extrajudicial killings of African-Americans while calling on Republicans to aid his political defense.

“So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!” the President tweeted.

Trump has repeatedly railed against the probe, calling it a “witch hunt” and a “fraud,” but Tuesday marks his first use of the term “lynching,” which is associated with a period of horrific racial violence in the United States, in regard to the inquiry. Following Emancipation and the Civil War, killings, often carried out in public settings, known as lynchings, terrorized newly freed black Americans. Thousands of citizens were killed this way.

Jean-Francois Millet, Haystacks Autumn, 1873

Trump’s use of the term is also notable as he has frequently stoked racial tensions while in office, from referring to undocumented immigrants as an “infestation” to sharply criticizing African-American athletes who protest during the National Anthem.

Quoted at The Washington Post,

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, responded to Trump’s comparison of the impeachment inquiry to lynching with a pair of pointed tweets.

“You are comparing a constitutional process to the PREVALENT and SYSTEMATIC brutal torture of people in THIS COUNTRY that looked like me?” she wrote.

“Every time your back is up against the wall, you throw out these racial bombs,” Bass said in a second tweet. “We’re not taking the bait. While we CONTINUE our business here in DC, why don’t you take a trip to the @MemPeaceJustice in Alabama and LEARN SOMETHING.”

Her tweet used the Twitter handle for the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which, according to its website, is “dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.”

If that isn’t sickening enough, Trump suck-up Lindsey Graham announced his agreement.

Honestly, I feel sick knowing that Trump can and will get even worse.

The latest CNN poll, released this morning, found that “50% support impeaching Trump and removing him from office.”

Half of Americans say President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, a new high in CNN polling on the topic and the first time that support for impeachment and removal has significantly outpaced opposition….

Childe Hassam, Autumn Boulevard, Paris

Support for impeachment and removal is strongest among Democrats (87% favor it) and stands at 50% among independents. Among Republicans, just 6% say they support impeaching and removing the Republican President, lower than the 14% who said so in a September CNN poll. While a handful of other polls also have found support for impeachment in double digits among Republicans, most have found Republican support closer to the level in the new CNN poll than the September one.

Beyond partisanship, demographic dividing lines on impeachment seem to mirror those that have driven Trump’s approval rating throughout his presidency. Women (56%) are more apt than men (44%) to favor impeachment and removal. Nonwhites (68%) support it in greater numbers than whites (40%), and whites are split by education (51% with college degrees back impeachment and removal vs. 35% of those without degrees) and further by gender (26% of white men without college degrees favor impeachment and removal, but that more than doubles to 54% among white women who hold four-year degrees).

The poll finds that Americans overall are entrenched in their views on each side of the impeachment debate. Among those who say Trump should be impeached and removed, 90% say they feel that way strongly, as do 86% of those who say he should not be impeached and removed.

Trump’s response to all this has been an extended tantrum. The Daily Beast: With Impeachment Looming, Trump Is Threatening to Sue ‘Everybody Who Pisses Him Off.’

Last week, as the White House struggled to grapple with an accelerating impeachment probe and a bloodbath in Syria, President Donald Trump’s mind drifted to old, familiar territory: threatening frivolous and petty lawsuits.

With crises surrounding him, the president spent days privately grousing to those close to him about undercover video and audio, released by Project Veritas, purportedly showing a vast anti-Trump conspiracy orchestrated by CNN President Jeff Zucker. According to a source with direct knowledge of Trump’s grievance, the president repeatedly made clear that he wanted there to be consequences for CNN’s alleged malfeasance (though the released videos showed fairly mundane, if not outright boring, editorial meetings).

Egon Schiele, Four Trees, 1917, Belvedere, Vienna

Representing both the president and the 2020 Trump campaign, Gawker-killing celebrity lawyer Charles Harder sent a four-page document to Zucker and CNN General Counsel David Vigilante alleging the news channel was violating the law with its coverage. In the letter, Trump and Harder threatened to sue CNN for falsely advertising itself as a legitimate news outlet, in addition to seeking “substantial payment of damages” as part of some sort of resolution.

Reached for comment by phone on Friday, Harder simply hung up and wouldn’t answer questions about Trump’s role in crafting the letter. (The president has been known to enthusiastically suggest insults and jabs in his lawyers’ missives.) A Harder spokesman also declined to comment and said that the letter spoke for itself.

The delivery of the Trump attorney’s four-page document was a blip on the news cycle, but one that offered a glimpse into how the president has often responded over the decades when he feels besieged. In his game-show host years and real-estate days, he and his legal counsel would frequently lean on lawsuits and legal threats as an intimidation tactic—even if they knew there was no chance of it advancing in the courts. It’s a strategy that Trump hasn’t abandoned, even after he became leader of the free world. And with impeachment at the hands of House Democrats looming, one senior White House official said that the president’s impulse to sue, or say he’ll sue, “everybody who pisses him off” is only intensifying….

According to two people close to the president, Trump has also asked his lawyers and advisers about options for legal retaliation against other news outlets, including MSNBC and The Washington Post.

Trump is ridiculous, but he’s still sitting in the White House, and he’s also a danger the country and the world.

Pierre Bonnard, Autumn View, 1912

Last night The Washington Post reported that Putin and Hungary’s Orban helped sour Trump on Ukraine.

President Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine for information he could use against political rivals came as he was being urged to adopt a hostile view of that country by its regional adversaries, including Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, current and former U.S. officials said.

Trump’s conversations with Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and others reinforced his perception of Ukraine as a hopelessly corrupt country — one that Trump now also appears to believe sought to undermine him in the 2016 U.S. election, the officials said.

Neither of those foreign leaders specifically encouraged Trump to see Ukraine as a potential source of damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, nor did they describe Kyiv as complicit in an unsubstantiated 2016 election conspiracy theory, officials said.

But their disparaging depictions of Ukraine reinforced Trump’s perceptions of the country and fed a dysfunctional dynamic in which White House officials struggled to persuade Trump to support the fledgling government in Kyiv instead of exploiting it for political purposes, officials said.

The role played by Putin and Orban, a hard-right leader who has often allied himself with the Kremlin’s positions, was described in closed-door testimony last week by George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, before House impeachment investigators, U.S. officials said.

Kent cited the influence of those leaders as a factor that helped sour Trump on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the months leading up to their July 25 phone call — a conversation that triggered an extraordinary whistleblower complaint as well as a House impeachment inquiry.

Read the rest at the WaPo and read more details at The New York Times.

Winslow Homer, Autumn Woods, 1877

Meanwhile in the Trump-caused Syrian situation, the so-called “cease fire” ends today. The Guardian: Erdoğan threatens to ramp up assault on Kurds in Syria ‘safe zone.’

The Turkish president has threatened to press ahead with an operation against Kurdish-led forces in Syria “even more strongly” if promises made by the US regarding the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters have not been met by the time a five-day ceasefire expires.

Up to 1,300 fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are yet to vacate Ankara’s proposed border “safe zone”, as per the terms of a ceasefire announced by the US vice-president, Mike Pence, in Ankara last week, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters before flying to Russia.

Erdoğan is meeting Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Tuesday for talks expected to focus on the size and scope of the planned buffer zone before the pause in fighting ends at 10pm local time (1900 GMT).

Turkish troops, allied Syrian rebel proxies, the SDF, and soldiers belonging to both the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and his Russian allies are all now present in the border area after Donald Trump announced he would withdraw US troops, paving the way for Ankara to launch an attack on the SDF on 9 October.

As a result of the Turkish offensive, Syria’s Kurdish officials struck a deal with Assad, their former enemy, for military reinforcements in the border area.

Trump’s withdrawal of the remaining 1,000 US special forces from Kurdish-held Syria means Moscow and Ankara have emerged as the two main foreign players in Syria’s long war.

Claude Monet, Autumn on the Seine at Argenteuil, 1873

Finally, from this morning’s New York Times: ISIS Reaps Gains of U.S. Pullout From Syria.

When President Trump announced this month that he would pull American troops out of northern Syria and make way for a Turkish attack on the Kurds, Washington’s onetime allies, many warned that he was removing the spearhead of the campaign to defeat the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

Now, analysts say that Mr. Trump’s pullout has handed the Islamic State its biggest win in more than four years and greatly improved its prospects. With American forces rushing for the exits, in fact, American officials said last week that they were already losing their ability to collect critical intelligence about the group’s operations on the ground.

“There is no question that ISIS is one of the big winners in what is happening in Syria,” said Lina Khatib, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Chatham House, a research center in London.

Cutting support for the Syrian Democratic Forces has crippled the ability of the United States and its former partners to hunt down the group’s remnants.

News of the American withdrawal set off jubilation among Islamic State supporters on social media and encrypted chat networks. It has lifted the morale of fighters in affiliates as far away as Libya and Nigeria.

That’s it for me. What stories are you following today?


47 Comments on “Terrifying Tuesday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

  2. dakinikat says:

    I’ve entered the twitter frenzy on the absolute false equivalency of any white man saying he’s being lynched. It’s beyond appalling and disgusting. And Lindsey Graham from SC and his words … may the earth open up and swallow them all whole. There’s not enough bad adjectives in the English language to label this act of absolutely denying and diminishing the experience of black Americans and the shameful, tragic history of lynching in this country. Shame on them and every white republican who abuses this term for their own piddling little problems.

    • dakinikat says:

      • quixote says:

        This.

        Anyone “who abuses this term for their own piddling little problems.”

        I’m not of the belief that you can never compare one set of atrocities to another. But they do have to be in a similar level of hell. Lynching and wartime sexual torture of women are both atrocities committed to demoralize whole populations and stop resistance. Very different, both mindnumbingly horrific in traumatic effect, and with instructive similarities in motivation in the perps.

        The Dump’s usage, though, and his bootlickers supporting him, are comparing a few dirty dishes, after they themselves made them dirty, to poor people getting cancer from a superfund site they had nothing to do with. It shows so little understanding and sense of proportion it makes me wonder if they’re all just facsimiles of humans. What horrible planet do these scumballs come from?

        • RonStill4Hills says:

          Ironic, because this is the same mug who rendered “Godwin’s rule of Hitler analogies” obsolete. In a normal discussion when we get to Hitler, the discussion is usually done…until along comes Twittler and the Turd Reich.

          Further irony, lynching is about extra-judicial execution without due process and often based in racial persecution. Sounds like what IL DOUCHEBAG and the MAGAts are trying to do every day.

        • dakinikat says:

          Well, witchhunt is definitely a violent expression of misogyny but that’s back in the past and most civilized countries have stopped it. Lynching, however is far too recent and there are still victims waiting for compensation and justice. For some reason, we can’t get folks to just understand any atrocity has its own unique signature of terrorism on the target and lynching terrorized black people for 100 + years after the Civil War. Now, we’re participating in genocide in several countries in the middle east and we have yet to find a term for that. How about we stop killing people to control them for rich, mostly christian, white men? Wouldn’t that work out just dandy?

          • RonStill4Hills says:

            You make an excellent point about the misogyny inherent in the legacy of “witch hunts.”

            My grandson who is at risk for going Republican, tried to tell me that Mueller was a bit of a witch hunt because if you can’t produce proof that will stand up in court you should eventually let it go.

            I had to point out to him that “witch hunt” has nothing to do with a things dragging on and on, the central attribute of a witch hunt, and demonstrably NOT what we have happening here, is that there is NO SUCH THING A WITCHES! At least not witches in the sense that they were burned and hanged for. Witch hunts regularly “proved” to the legal standard of the day that IMPOSSIBLE things were true. The opposite of lynching. Murder without due process versus murder posing as due process.

            Neither of which has ever even remotely happened to Mousse-olini.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      Y’all remember that time somebody blew the whistle on Cletus and they held extensive hearings with sworn testimony establishing his abuse of power, obstruction of justice and conspiring with foreign enemies, then forced him to endure a constitutionally mandated trial in the Senate!

      Naw, Me neither.

      • dakinikat says:

        All I know I learned from Ida B Welles and never read any thing close to that for any of the victims of lynchings. Not the Women. Not the Children. Not the Men.

  3. bostonboomer says:

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    The paintings you included today are absolutely beautiful! We need to see and feel genius at times like this in order to refresh our souls. That Monet painting is breathtaking. Look how he created the water as the focus of his depiction! Sheer genius!

    That said, the madman has once again shown the world another example of his stupidity. Just as Clarence Thomas brought up the issue of “lynching” to martyr himself Trump is using the same word for the same reason. There is no depth to his lack of character.

    South Carolina must rid itself of two faced Lindsay Graham. How can anyone from that state ever trust this man again as he continues to lie and spin his “attachment” to that horrible man in the White House? I have never seen such “toadying” in my life.

    We are in very dim times for sure. We have never seen anything like this in our lives.

  5. dakinikat says:

    • dakinikat says:

    • dakinikat says:

      She’s also retreating every single response by the other candidates to… so far, these are the responses I’ve seen along with the one by Kamala Harris up top. Every Democratic Candidate needs to be speak out clearly and quickly on this.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. bostonboomer says:

  8. bostonboomer says:

    As horrific as the lynching comments are, remember that Trump is trying to distract us from the most damaging witness yet to testify in the impeachment investigation.

  9. dakinikat says:

  10. dakinikat says:

    Turkey’s New Maps Are Reclaiming the Ottoman Empire
    Erdogan’s aggressive nationalism is now spilling over Turkey’s borders, grabbing land in Greece and Iraq.
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/10/23/turkeys-religious-nationalists-want-ottoman-borders-iraq-erdogan/?fbclid=IwAR11Q8_dLrpBrZtUJfqDEoeNHyKpyIBQTj0mW8YnqTbtjRld4SqEI4jO5ro

    In the past few weeks, a conflict between Ankara and Baghdad over Turkey’s role in the liberation of Mosul has precipitated an alarming burst of Turkish irredentism. On two separate occasions, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the Treaty of Lausanne, which created the borders of modern Turkey, for leaving the country too small. He spoke of the country’s interest in the fate of Turkish minorities living beyond these borders, as well as its historic claims to the Iraqi city of Mosul, near which Turkey has a small military base. And, alongside news of Turkish jets bombing Kurdish forces in Syria and engaging in mock dogfights with Greek planes over the Aegean Sea, Turkey’s pro-government media have shown a newfound interest in a series of imprecise, even crudely drawn, maps of Turkey with new and improved borders.

    Turkey won’t be annexing part of Iraq anytime soon, but this combination of irredentist cartography and rhetoric nonetheless offers some insight into Turkey’s current foreign and domestic policies and Ankara’s self-image. The maps, in particular, reveal the continued relevance of Turkish nationalism, a long-standing element of the country’s statecraft, now reinvigorated with some revised history and an added dose of religion. But if the past is any indication, the military interventions and confrontational rhetoric this nationalism inspires may worsen Turkey’s security and regional standing.

    • quixote says:

      Greece? ?????????? Hoo boy. This is going well.

      So Putin is trying to recreate the most extensive borders the USSR ever had. China is trying to consolidate it’s hold over all of East Asia. Turkey recreating the Ottoman Empire to the best of its ability. What else could help matters? Restart the Crusades?

      God help us.

      • NW Luna says:

        Greece? And oh, I wouldn’t put it past Trump to want to start the 9th Crusade. Or would it be the 10th? Must brush up on my medieval white Xian supremacy history.

  11. dakinikat says:

    I’m with Grandma Winnie

  12. dakinikat says:

    Opening statement of Ambassador William B. Taylor
    Updated Oct 22, 2019 at 1:53 PM

    William B. Taylor, the senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified before impeachment investigators Tuesday. Read the story here.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/opening-statement-of-ambassador-william-b-taylor/6b3a6edf-f976-4081-ba7f-bce45468a3ff/

  13. NW Luna says:

  14. dakinikat says:

  15. dakinikat says:

  16. NW Luna says:

    Trump lawyer claims a sitting president can’t be prosecuted even if they shot someone. Remark came as lawyers were arguing over subpoena for president’s tax returns as part of Manhattan county criminal investigation

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2019/oct/23/trump-news-today-live-impeachment-inquiry-biden-2020-democrats-latest-updates?page=with:block-5db0836d8f0859498cfb2cd7#block-5db0836d8f0859498cfb2cd7

  17. NW Luna says:

    Here’s a tweet for the Weds post: