Monday Reads: The Failure of Trumpism

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Good Day

Sky Dancers!

The resplendent chaos of the Trumpist Regime appears to include chickens coming home to roost.  Yes, the Bolton Book is out.  But did that really tell us much about the goings on that we didn’t at least suspect?  I didn’t have begging and whining to China on my bingo card but it certainly is basically his M.O. for his reelection strategy.

Bolton has all kinds of interviews out there and now he opines hope that  Trump will be term limited by voters.

This is from the ABC interview yesterday:

President Donald Trump‘s longest-serving national security adviser John Bolton condemned his presidency as dangerously damaging to the United States and argued the 2020 election is the last “guardrail” to protect the country from him.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Bolton offered a brutal indictment of his former boss, saying, “I hope (history) will remember him as a one-term president who didn’t plunge the country irretrievably into a downward spiral we can’t recall from. We can get over one term — I have absolute confidence, even if it’s not the miracle of a conservative Republican being elected in November. Two terms, I’m more troubled about.”

In the interview with ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz and in his new book, “The Room Where It Happened,” Bolton paints Trump as “stunningly uninformed,” making “erratic” and “irrational” decisions, unable to separate his personal and political interests from the country’s, and marked and manipulated by foreign adversaries.

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Yeah, it just continues.  That’s about it.  And then, there’s the clean up man who supposedly is the chief agent of justice in the country.  The massive failure of the Tulsa CoronaViruspalooza is only upstaged by the massive failure of Barr to disassemble the Southern District of New York’s investigations of so many Trumpist cronies, relatives, and Trump himself.

This NY Op Ed was written by Preet Bharara a former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York: “The Wrong Justice Department Official Lost His Job This Weekend.  The attorney general, Bill Barr, undermined the rule of law by forcing out Geoffrey Berman, the United States attorney in Manhattan.”

Trump’s latest domestic political errand involves the office I led for almost eight years — the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, commonly known as S.D.N.Y., a place where politics is supposed to be off limits. The United States Attorney Geoffrey Berman was fired on Saturday in a manner and under circumstances that warrant criticism and scrutiny.

To understand the uproar over the termination in legal circles, some context helps. S.D.N.Y. is famously and proudly independent. It embraces its nickname, the “Sovereign District of New York,” as a badge of honor. Sovereign, in the understanding of those who have served there, does not mean rogue. It signifies respect for law and scorn for political considerations. Republicans and Democrats are equally in the cross hairs.

The career lawyers are hired without knowledge of their politics or ideology. Mary Jo White, the U.S. attorney who hired me to be a prosecutor, opened an investigation of Bill Clinton, the president who appointed her, after he pardoned fugitive financier Marc Rich. Such independent action would seem beyond this president’s comprehension.

That same commitment to independence is why I did not return President Trump’s unusual phone call to me in March 2017, after which he fired me.

The importance of reputational independence isn’t codified in a rule or a statute, but it is rightly embedded in the D.N.A. of any worthy law enforcement institution for a simple reason: That independence gives comfort to the public that decisions about life and liberty will not be influenced by politics or partisan interests, that those decisions will not depend on an individual’s identity, wealth, fame, power or closeness to a president — every judgment rendered without fear or favor, as the oath commands.

It is this independence, and the public’s faith therein, that Attorney General Bill Barr, in cahoots with President Trump, threatened with his dubious, if legal, removal of Mr. Berman.

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The Daily Beast’s Asha Rangappa argues Barr should be impeached.

We’re now on *checks notes* plan D. This would involve the House Judiciary Committee conducting its own oversight investigation into Barr’s conduct and issuing him a subpoena to testify. As we know, however, this administration is fond of ignoring subpoenas, and there is no reason to believe that Barr would comply with one. The remedy for that is a citation for criminal contempt. But enforcing a congressional criminal contempt citation is ultimately referred to the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s office, the same office now headed by Timothy Shea, who is a close associate of… the attorney general. In fact, Shea was put in place last January after Barr executed a Berman-like move with the former U.S. Attorney for D.C., Jessie Liu, whose office had prosecuted Trump’s campaign associate Roger Stone. Shea’s office has since moved to drop the charges that came out of the special counsel’s investigation against Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Since the executive branch has always reserved the right to determine whether criminal contempt citations issued by Congress should be enforced, it’s safe to assume that this route won’t go anywhere, either.

That leaves just one last option: impeachment. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler has stated that pursuing impeachment against Barr would be a “waste of time” because the Senate would never vote to remove him. That may be true. It may also seem pointless to begin impeachment with an election only five months away. But that approach misses the point, and the urgency. Barr’s actions have the potential to conceal attempts by the president to corrupt the very electoral processes we are relying on to hold him accountable—and it is in Barr’s interest to assist Trump in this effort, since his own political survival (and avoidance of accountability) depends on it.

Put another way, Barr has the potential to inflict more damage on the U.S. than even the president because he can use the levers of justice to stonewall investigations, bury evidence, and provide a veneer of legality to illegal acts. Even if he isn’t ultimately removed, an impeachment hearing brings some measure of accountability to Barr, by making public the myriad ways he has subverted the administration of justice by acting as Trump’s legal goon. And because impeachment invokes a plenary and explicit constitutional authority, elevating its power beyond mere oversight, Barr’s refusal to comply with the House’s subpoenas in this process could themselves become impeachable acts of obstruction, as they did in the articles of impeachment against President Trump.

 

So, I will make one more “big deal” about the Walk Of Shame Tulsa thing.  From Ed Mazz of HuffPo: ‘Walk Of Shame’: Deflated Trump’s Lonely Helicopter Walk Becomes Biting New Meme. The president’s walk from Marine One after his disappointing Oklahoma campaign rally gets the treatment on Twitter. 

 

Some folks are arguing that he’s setting himself up for the role of come back kid, but let’s hope not meanwhile from that HuffPo piece.

The rally was meant to restart his 2020 reelection campaign, stalled since the coronavirus pandemic shut down most large gatherings.

But the crowd that turned out was much smaller than anticipated, and Trump returned to the White House with an open shirt and an undone necktie as he clutched one of his campaign’s signature red caps.

On Twitter, critics said Trump looked dejected ― and some even added music to the moment …

Trump Tulsa rally

Bet that gets play all week on the late night shows and political cartoon pages everywhere!

 

 

And back to the real issue of Bill Barr …

 

Check this out from the Atlantic “Why Bill Barr Got Rid of Geoffrey Berman. This is how an authoritarian works to subvert justice.” It’s written by Paul Rosenzweig.

But the real question is: Why? Why replace Berman now, just five months before the election?

The answer lies in the firing earlier this year of Jessie Liu, the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. By firing Liu, Barr and his team took control of the Washington, D.C., U.S. attorney’s office. Until they did that, the office was following up on various indictments and charges that had been brought against Trump’s associates. Once they seized control, Barr’s team intervened to short-circuit that process. They interceded in the sentencing of Roger Stone, and more recently, they have made an effort to dismiss the case against Michael Flynn. In both circumstances, career prosecutors were so outraged that they withdrew from the case, and some resigned from the Department of Justice altogether.

This is how an authoritarian works to subvert justice. He purports to uphold the forms of justice (in this case, the formal rule that the attorney general and the president exercise hierarchical control over the U.S. attorneys) while undermining the substance of justice. In the Flynn case, for example, Barr has asserted an absolute, unreviewable authority to bring and dismiss cases at will—a power that, even if legally well founded, is a subversion of justice when misused.

That may be the game plan for New York as well. Barr may want Berman out so that he can use his newly enhanced control to dismiss or short-circuit all of the pending cases in Manhattan that implicate Trump or his associates.

We know those are many. We know that Trump’s various organizations, including his inauguration committee, are under investigation. We know that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is under investigation. We know that Trump’s bank, Deutsche Bank, is under investigation.

Since taking office, Barr has repeatedly intervened to protect Trump. In addition to the behavior already mentioned, we might identify his attempt to protect Trump’s tax records from disclosure, or the way he distorted the true contents of the Mueller report. Barr’s actions are more like those of a consigliere to Don Trump than those of an attorney general of the United States, working for the American people.

Even that characterization is too kind to Barr. The attorney general’s apparent goal is to turn the Department of Justice into an arm of the president’s personal interests. He seems to have no regard for the department’s independence, and is doing long-term damage to the fabric of American justice.

There just doesn’t seem to be a level of corruption to dark and dangerous for this crowd.  I fear for our country.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: Really Freaking Over It All

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Good Day

Sky Dancers!

I’m just tired of the constant bombardment of absolutely outrageous actions, words, and plans coming out of the Trumpist Regime.  There appears no end to what Trump and his cronies think they can get away with and still be considered fit to work and walk around in pubic.

Watching Trumpists downplay the dangers of a pandemic running rampant in many parts of the country is just one of these outrages that sets me off.  Trump wants business as usual and so he’s getting it through mouthpieces like Larry Kudlow who has no business being employed by anyone, let alone our government.  He’s also flouncing around the country spreading hate and discontent and furthering his profile as the nation’s racist-in-chief. This is from the AP.

At the White House, aides now routinely flout internal rules requiring face masks. The president’s campaign is again scheduling mass arena rallies. And he is back to spending summer weekends at his New Jersey golf club.

Three months after President Donald Trump bowed to the realities of a pandemic that put big chunks of life on pause and killed more Americans than several major wars, Trump is back to business as usual — even as coronavirus cases are on the upswing in many parts of the country.

While the nation has now had months to prepare stockpiles of protective gear and ventilators, a vaccine still is many months away at best and a model cited by the White House projects tens of thousands of more deaths by the end of September.

Amid renewed fears of a virus resurgence, financial markets — frequently highlighted by Trump as a sign of economic recovery — suffered their worst drop since March on Thursday. The market opened on the upside Friday morning.

At the White House, though, officials played down the severity of the virus surge and sought to blame it on factors beyond Trump’s forceful push to reopen the economy, which he’s counting on to help him win reelection.

“I spoke to our health experts at some length last evening. They’re saying there is no second spike. Let me repeat that: There is no second spike,” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said Friday on “Fox & Friends.”

He said COVID-19 cases are increasing only in certain spots of the country, but that nationally, the rates of new cases and fatalities have flattened out. “There is no emergency,” Kudlow said. “There is no second wave. I don’t know where that got started on Wall Street.”

See the source imageYascha Mounk–a contributing writer at The Atlantic— wrote this today “The Virus Will Win. Americans are pretending that the pandemic is over. It certainly is not.” There is a huge list of what our country and our so-called leadership is doing wrong.

A second wave of the coronavirus is on the way. When it arrives, we will lack the will to deal with it. Despite all the sacrifices of the past months, the virus is likely to win—or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it already has.

In absolute terms, the United States has been hit harder than any other country. About a quarter of worldwide deaths have been recorded on these shores. And while the virus is no longer growing at an exponential rate, the threat it poses remains significant: According to a forecasting model by Morgan Stanley, the number of American cases will, if current trends hold, roughly double over the next two months.

But neither the impact of mass protests over police brutality nor the effect of the recent reopening of much of the country—including the casinos in Las Vegas—is reflected in the latest numbers. It can take at least 10 days for people to develop symptoms and seek out a test, and for the results to be aggregated and disseminated by public-health authorities.

Even so, the disease is slowly starting to recede from the public’s attention. After months of dominating media coverage, COVID-19 has largely disappeared from the front pages of most national newspapers. In recent polls, the number of people who favor “reopening the economy as soon as possible” over “staying home as long as necessary” has increased. And so it is perhaps no surprise that even states where the number of new infections stands at an all-time high are pressing ahead with plans to lift many restrictions on businesses and mass gatherings.

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I am horrified that bars in my neighborhood are opening tomorrow albeit at 25 % capacity and that the local AirBnbs are filling up with folks with license plates from CoVid Death Zones like Georgia, Alabama, Texas and the like.  I’m just blessed most folks from Arizona don’t get this far east or they’d be here to spreading it merrily around our vulnerable population too so they can have a little Disneyfied Adult Entertainment at our expense.

Then, there’s the endless parade of current and former Trumpist Regime appointees that coulda whoulda shoulda done something but just sat there and let the chaos flow all over us and expect a voice in the criticism now.  Oh, and a big pay check … they expect that too …

This outrage pretty well sums up my thoughts on Bloodless John Bolton and the release of his “tell all”.  He should of told all when we could’ve impeached the ass and saved lives.

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This is from Axios who have gotten an advance copy of the book.  Like I said, it seems to me that we should all boycott buying it since he obviously didn’t care enough about the country to come forward with this out of patriotism instead of greed.

“Scoop: John Bolton to argue Trump misconduct”

John Bolton taunts President Trump, his former boss, on the back cover of his forthcoming book: “Game on.”

  • In a memoir coming June 23 that the White House has tried to delay, former national security adviser Bolton will offer multiple revelations about Trump’s conduct in office, with direct quotes by the president and senior officials, according to a source familiar with the book.

Why it matters: Bolton, who was U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President George W. Bush, is a lifelong conservative and longtime Fox News contributor who is well-known by the Trump base, the source pointed out.

  • In “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” Bolton will go beyond Ukraine, and argue there was “Trump misconduct with other countries,” the source said.
  • Axios agreed to grant anonymity to the source in order to give readers a window into the book ahead of publication.

Behind the scenes: People close to Trump have been worried about the book because Bolton was known as the most prolific note taker in high-level meetings, Jonathan Swan reports.

  • Bolton would sit there, filling yellow legal pad after yellow legal pad with notes.
  • In short: Bolton saw a lot, and he wrote it down in real time. And when he left, the White House never got those notes back.

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Jordan Fabian and Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg have more to offer on this: “Bolton Book to Relate Trump Chaos, How Re-Election Drove Policy.”

“I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations,” Bolton writes in the book, titled “The Room Where It Happened,” the publisher said in a release.

The former top security aide, who was ousted last September, will argue the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry was too narrow and should have focused on more than Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden. Simon & Schuster promised Bolton will offer details on other similar moves by Trump across the full range of his foreign policy and the national security adviser’s efforts to stop them.
Bolton declined to testify in the House’s impeachment probe, and instead deferred to the federal courts if a subpoena would be legally valid. House Democrats did not issue a subpoena, saying a lengthy legal battle would unnecessarily prolong the impeachment process.

Bolton said during a February speech at Vanderbilt University he did not regret his refusal to testify because it “would have made no difference to the ultimate outcome.”

“I sleep at night because I have followed my conscience,” he said, according to USA Today.

So glad he can sleep well at night.  I sure as hell wish I could.

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Bill Barr continues to dismantle democracy daily.  Can this Judge stop him from setting Michael Flynn Free?  From WAPO: “Court appears reluctant to order judge to immediately drop criminal case against Michael Flynn”.

A federal appeals court in Washington on Friday appeared reluctant to order a judge to immediately dismiss the guilty plea of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, suggesting courts have the authority to review whether Justice Department moves to drop a prosecution are “in the public interest.”

Flynn, joined by the Justice Department, had asked the appeals court to force U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to quickly close the case and put a stop to Sullivan’s examination of the government’s unusual decision to drop the charges against the retired three-star general.
But Judges Karen Henderson and Robert Wilkins of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit expressed skepticism of Flynn’s argument that Sullivan cannot conduct an independent evaluation or name an outside party to argue against the Justice Department’s May 7 motion.

“If Judge Sullivan had just kept this motion waiting and languishing, that’s one thing,” Henderson told Flynn attorney Sidney Powell. “But he has set a hearing for mid-July. For all we know, by the end of July he will have granted the motion. You also know courts have said he’s not a ‘mere rubber stamp’ either. There’s nothing wrong with him holding a hearing — there’s no authority I know of that says he can’t hold a hearing.”
Wilkins agreed, citing two cases in which he said the Supreme Court upheld the authority of federal judges “to perform an independent evaluation” before granting a government motion to drop a prosecution.
“You’re saying the Supreme Court got it wrong,” he asked.

“No,” Powell said, “I’m saying the independent review of the record consists of just that, and the record in this case is extremely well documented of prosecutorial misconduct, and suppression of [exculpatory] evidence which would warrant dismissal in any circumstance.”

So, one final scream on Trump, his rallies, and his plan to  host his triumphal speech in Jacksonville Florida violating yet another sacred day in US History.  So, of course, the first is holding a rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth which is the site of a horrific massacre of African Americans on May 31 and June 1, 1921.

And now this!

There is no end to his hateful racists actions, words, and sentiments.

So, I know all of this is depressing because living in our country right now is an ongoing nightmare.   He has no respect for the US Constitution, our American laws and values, or any of us for that matter.

I hope you have a very peaceful weekend and that you’re fortunate enough that you can stay safe at home with your beloveds!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 


Imminent My Ass Monday Reads

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Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

So, just in case you’re not of the sportsball persuasion like me, I  thought I’d mention our LSU Tigers have a big game today in the Super Dome and the Orange Snot blob has decided it might be a good place to be cheered at even though outside he will be jeered at. The Tigers are going after their 4th National Championship and, of course, I have no idea what a Clemson is other than some college with another team

Frankly, I’d rather the university my kids went to and the system for which I taught for about 10ish years would stop all the  water leaks in the Library and other buildings.  But, silly me, panem et circenses  always keeps the desperate masses from revolution or so it’s been said.

ImageYes.  We’re getting a visitation from the orange snot blob that either lies continually, says deluded things continually, and just makes up things of the top of his critter festooned head.  He mentioned he’s going to visit his property here to the usual suspects.  So, look to the left and see exactly how realistic, possible, and plausible said visitation would be.

Most of the outstate Yahoos from here included the folks that put into office do not care that he lies and some of them–Yes Senator John Kennedy I’m looking at you–just repeat  the lies with a faux hillbilly vibe.

Even more startling than the sheer number of POTUS lies is how brazen many of them have been. Dig deeper into this political phenomenon and something odd and counterintuitive emerges: Many people know that Trump is lying to them and simply don’t care. This raises a fascinating question: Could the president extricate himself from the Ukraine quid-pro-quo scandal, the linchpin of the current impeachment proceedings, by spewing one lie after another? 

According to the academic paperProcessing Political Misinformation: Comprehending the Trump Phenomenon, the answer is yes. Conducted prior to the 2016 presidential election, the study focuses on credibility experiments. Subjects were asked to rate their belief in eight statements (four true, four false) that Trump made during his campaign. Some were attributed to him: “Donald Trump said that vaccines cause autism.” Others had no attribution: “Vaccines cause autism.” Then came the fact checks. After false items were corrected and true items confirmed, the test subjects rerated the statements. 

One of the findings confirmed what every FOX and MSNBC pundit already knows. When subjects first rated the veracity of true and false statements, Republican supporters of Trump believed the claim more when it was attributed to Trump; the opposite was true of Democrats. Republicans who were not pro Trump also believed less in statements attributed to him (but not to the same degree as Democrats), while their belief in the false statements was not influenced by attribution. 

The other key finding is less obvious. There was a large bipartisan shift in belief after the fact check, suggesting that both conservatives and liberals can change their minds if they’re presented with convincing, unbiased information. But there was a catch: After a one-week delay, subjects partially “rebelieved” the false statements and partially forgot that factual information was true. Or, to quote the study: “Even if individuals update their beliefs temporarily, explanations regarding both fact and fiction seemingly have an expiration date.” 

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So, I’m not the psychologist on the blog so I have no idea what makes him lie so much.  I do know that I have never in my life seen any one even near this level of bull shit swinging and my dad had a car dealership and used car salesmen in his employ.  I can’t even imagine the pathology that would create that circumstance but it’s really so disturbing in needs a new term because pathological lying just doesn’t sound enough  for how he manages to nuclearize obvious whoppers.

So, there are lies and then there are lies that cover up things that every one country needs to realize are dangerous lies. This headline and story from NBC:  “Trump authorized Soleimani’s killing 7 months ago, with conditions.”  So, we know the entire story of four embassies under imminent danger is basically a Lie of Mass Destruction and now we have more and more evidence thanks to Carol E. Lee and Courtney Kube.

President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran’s increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials.

The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final signoff on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said.

That decision explains why assassinating Soleimani was on the menu of options that the military presented to Trump two weeks ago for responding to an attack by Iranian proxies in Iraq, in which a U.S. contractor was killed and four U.S. service members were wounded, the officials said.

The timing, however, could undermine the Trump administration’s stated justification for ordering the U.S. drone strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3. Officials have said Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, was planning imminent attacks on Americans and had to be stopped.

“There have been a number of options presented to the president over the course of time,” a senior administration official said, adding that it was “some time ago” that the president’s aides put assassinating Soleimani on the list of potential responses to Iranian aggression.

After Iran shot down a U.S. drone in June, John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser at the time, urged Trump to retaliate by signing off on an operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wanted Trump to authorize the assassination, officials said.

But Trump rejected the idea, saying he’d take that step only if Iran crossed his red line: killing an American. The president’s message was “that’s only on the table if they hit Americans,” according to a person briefed on the discussion.

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Not even his cronies in the cabinet are supporting the stories he’s telling his cult in the Hatefests or to Hate Monger Laura Ingraham on Faux News (via WAPO).

In an interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham, excerpts of which were released Friday afternoon, Trump expanded on comments from a day earlier, when he initially told reporters that Soleimani’s forces “were looking to blow up our embassy” in Baghdad. He later said at a rally in Toledo that “Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad.”

Mike Esper did not carry water for the Liar-in-Chief yesterday on Face the Nation (via Raw Story).  Pompeo is still on the End Times Juice and is hanging in there with each shifting explanation

President Trump has claimed that Soleimani was plotting to  “blow up” the U.S. embassy in Baghdad as well as “four” other embassies, but according to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper speaking to CBS News, the claim of four embassies being targeted wasn’t based on an intelligence analysis; it was just something Trump “believed” to be true.

Esper confirmed that there was intelligence to support the claim that Soleimani was targeting the embassy in Baghdad and that intelligence was “shared with the Gang of Eight, not the broader membership of the Congress” — a claim that was somewhat contradicted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who told NBC News that the information was indeed shared with Congress. According to Blake, therein lies the contradiction.

“…Esper now says he hasn’t seen intelligence on the threat to multiple embassies, whereas Pompeo said the ‘specific information’ about imminent threats included threats to those embassies,” Blake writes, adding that “even if we’re to accept that Pompeo was speaking loosely and the intelligence was really just about the one U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Esper said that information wasn’t shared with ‘the broader membership of the Congress,’ but only with the Gang of Eight. Pompeo, in contrast, said ‘we did’ when asked if the information about attacks on embassies was shared in that wider briefing. He later deflected when asked to re-confirm, but he did confirm.”

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I remembered Jeremy Scahill–writing for The Intercept--on the connections between Trump, Erick Prince, and ignorance and then a developing obsession on Suleimani.  He’s updated that information and this was his headline on January 3: “WITH SULEIMANI ASSASSINATION, TRUMP IS DOING THE BIDDING OF WASHINGTON’S MOST VILE CABAL”.

On August 3, 2016 — just three months before Donald Trump would win the Electoral College vote and ascend to power — Blackwater founder Erik Prince arranged a meeting at Trump Tower. For decades, Prince had been agitating for a war with Iran and, as early as 2010, had developed a fantastical proposal for using mercenaries to wage it.

At this meeting was George Nader, an American citizen who had a long history of being a quiet emissary for the United States in the Middle East. Nader, who had also worked for Blackwater and Prince, was a convicted pedophile in the Czech Republic and is facing similar allegations in the United States. Nader worked as an adviser for the Emirati royals and has close ties to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince.

There was also an Israeli at the Trump Tower meeting: Joel Zamel. He was there supposedly pitching a multimillion-dollar social media manipulation campaign to the Trump team. Zamel’s company, Psy-Group, boasts of employing former Israeli intelligence operatives. Nader and Zamel were joined by Donald Trump Jr. According to the New York Times, the purpose of the meeting was “primarily to offer help to the Trump team, and it forged relationships between the men and Trump insiders that would develop over the coming months, past the election and well into President Trump’s first year in office.”

One major common goal ran through the agendas of all the participants in this Trump Tower meeting: regime change in Iran. Trump campaigned on belligerence toward Iran and trashing the Obama-led Iran nuclear deal, and he has followed through on those threats, filling his administration with the most vile, hawkish figures in the U.S. national security establishment. After appointing notorious warmonger John Bolton as national security adviser, Trump fired him last September. But despite reports that Trump had soured on Bolton because of his interventionist posture toward Iran, Bolton’s firing merely opened the door for the equally belligerent Mike Pompeo to take over the administration’s Iran policy at the State Department. Now Pompeo is the public face of the Suleimani assassination, while for his part, the fired Bolton didn’t want to be left out of the gruesome victory lap:

CNN picked up the Blackwater Back Channel.  This is a good summary from Raw story on the connection between the assassination and Erik Prince.  Again, the last attack by a Hezbollah proxy killed now American Soldiers but took out a “contractor”.  American soldiers were injured but not killed.

An American defense contractor whose death late last month was cited by President Trump amid escalating violence with Iran was identified Tuesday as an interpreter who was born in Iraq and lived in Sacramento.

Nawres Hamid, 33, became a naturalized citizen in 2017, according to his widow. He was the father of two boys, ages 2 and 8, she said.

In recent years, as an Arabic interpreter for U.S. forces in Iraq, Hamid was known to decorate his living space with pictures of the children, according to a co-worker.

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So, did we do this because of Erik Prince? John Bolton? Mike Pompeo? Who pushed the dementia-addled Dotard to do this outsized attack at mar a lago?

New details continue to emerge about Donald Trump ordering the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

“Erik Prince, the Blackwater-founder-turned-unofficial-2016-Trump-campaign-adviser, advocated to the campaign years ago for the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, according to a recently disclosed memo that reveals some of the earliest thinking circulated within Donald Trump’s team regarding his approach to Iran,” CNN reported Saturday.

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The UK version of Business Insider believes Trump made the assassination orders based on GOP Senators.  This is based on Wall Street Journal reporting late last week.

President Donald Trump told associates that he assassinated Iran’s top military leader last week in part to appease Republican senators who’ll play a crucial role in his Senate impeachment trial, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

In a lengthy piece detailing how the president’s top advisers coalesced behind the strike on Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, The Journal reported that Trump had told associates he felt pressured to satisfy senators who were pushing for stronger US action against Soleimani and who will run defense for him on impeachment.

One of Trump’s most outspoken supporters, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, appears to be the only congressional lawmaker Trump briefed about his plan to assassinate Soleimani in the days leading up to the strike.

“I was briefed about the potential operation when I was down in Florida,” Graham told Fox News. “I appreciate being brought into the orbit.”

The South Carolina Republican, an Iran hawk, celebrated the controversial strike, which the administration did not seek congressional authorization to carry out. After Iran retaliated by hitting US-occupied Iraqi bases on Tuesday, Graham called the move “an act of war.”

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The other shocking part of the Ingraham interview was this via Crooks and Liars: “Trump Blasted For Bragging About ‘Selling’ American Troops To Saudi Arabia And S. Korea. ” Trump boasted to Fox’s Laura Ingraham during an interview last Friday that Saudi Arabia deposited a billion dollars “in the bank” for US troops being sent, and that South Korea is paying $500 million for troops as well.  So is this boast a truth, dare, or lie?

Attacking Nancy Pelosi and making up more threats to our embassies out of whole cloth weren’t the only crazy things to come out of Trump’s mouth during his softball interview with Fox’s Laura Ingraham Friday night. Trump also told Ingraham that both Saudi Arabia and South Korea have deposited money into a “bank account” in exchange for more U.S. troops. Who this supposed “bank account” belongs to, he did not say.

Trump was rightfully taken to task on Twitter for the exchange by former Republican Rep. Justin Amash and others, who went after Trump for treating our troops like mercenaries, and would like to know, as I would, just where this money he’s talking about was deposited.

Rep. Justin Amash Blasts Trump For ‘Selling’ American Troops To Saudis:

Conservative Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) accused Donald Trump Saturday of “selling” American troops to Saudi Arabia after the president boasted that the nation has deposited $1 billion into a bank he did not identify for “more troops.”

“He sells troops,” Amash tersely noted in a tweet.

Other critics erupted on Twitter over a possible future in which U.S. soldiers could be sent as mercenaries to any high-bidding country to risk their lives, regardless of a nation’s ideology or rationale for fighting.

Others argued the country doesn’t deserve American support because of Saudi Arabia’s link to the vicious dismemberment and murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was writing at the time for The Washington Post. Some pointed out that most of the hijackers in the 9/11 attack were Saudis.

And some wondered exactly where the Saudi $1 billion is.

Trump clearly saw nothing wrong with the idea. “Listen, you’re a very rich country,” he told Saudi officials, Trump recounted on Fox News. “You want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us. They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1 billion in the bank.”

So, did the US take oil from Syria thereby committing a war crime and  did he send US troops as mercenaries to South  Korea and Saudi Arabia as mercenaries?   Inquiring minds want to know

Just one last item and it’s not related to the Lying Scumbag occupying the Oval Office.  Corey Booker has pulled out of the 2020 Presidential Race leaving former Mass. Governor Deval Patrick as the only black candidate in the race.  We clearly need a change in the way we elect president because it is truly odd that a party with a diverse base can only come up with a slate of mostly white senior citizens which is all the Republicans provide and work hard to ensure.

 

Mike Berbenes of Yahoo News asks this question: “Do Democrats have a diversity problem?”   Why is it that everyone thinks the safest way to get Trump out of the White House is to sic a white man on him?  

Many on the left have expressed concern that an all-white top tier of the Democratic field might alienate voters of color that the eventual nominee will need to defeat Donald Trump in the general election. One of the key reasons Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 was a decline in black voter turnout. Others have argued that the party has a duty to represent its base so issues that matter to the various racial and ideological constituencies are heard.

Castro echoed a popular sentiment among liberals in blaming the primary process for the lack of diversity in the field. Having the predominantly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire vote first, he argued, puts minority candidates at a disadvantage. Part of the criteria for debate qualification is how many donors a candidate has — which some argue disadvantages minority voters who are less likely to have disposable income.

Some analysts say the lack of minority representation in the Democratic field isn’t as big of a problem as it may seem. The top of the field is actually historically diverse if you look beyond race, some argue, with a woman, a Jewish man and a gay man among the top three candidates. There’s also a significant chance that the nominee will choose a person of color as their running mate.

Others have argued that it’s reductive to think black and Latino voters would only be excited about candidates of their own race. Part of the reason Castro, Harris and Booker have struggled is because the demographics they represent have given steady support to white candidates. Joe Biden has a strong advantage among black voters, and Bernie Sanders has been the top choice of Latinos.

Image result for political cartoon trump liar liar

Yeah, right. I forgot. Everything is Hillary’s fault.

So, we have a debate on Tuesday Night, impeachment articles are heading to the Senate, and I’m tired of being bullied and gaslighted by what’s supposed to pass as a leader in the USA.  I’m as confused as any one on this slate of candidates including the sudden interest in Steyer.   This NPR article kinda sums it up for me the kid who grew up in Iowa.  The debate will be at Drake University which is my sister’s Alma mater.

Without Yang or Booker (who failed to qualify for the debate and suspended his campaign on Monday), the debate will not have even one person of color.

Those who remain will, as always, strive to differentiate themselves from each other while proving they have what it takes to defeat President Trump in November. Iowans will have their chance to weigh in on that question in three weeks during the party’s precinct-level caucuses on Feb. 3.

And that suggests something else that may seem missing Tuesday night: a clear favorite. The well-respected Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll now has Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont leading in Iowa, but the average of polls nationwide and in other early voting states still shows a modest preference for former Vice President Joe Biden.

At this point, it is possible to imagine either emerging from the early voting states as a bona fide front-runner in time for Super Tuesday on March 3, when 14 states will vote, including delegate-rich California and Texas.

But it is also possible to imagine neither of them doing so, and thus to imagine Super Tuesday as a hodgepodge of conflicting results.

What’s on you reading and blogging list tonight?

 


Wednesday Reads: Turd Reich

After seeing a few minutes of the MSNBC interview with Barr yesterday…I had to turn the shit off.

Did you see this crap:

Check out some of the responses on that thread.

I believe my expression had to be something like that mountain lion…

Wouldn’t you know it, later last night…

If this impeachment trial in the Senate goes by like we know #MoscowMitch will handle it… I am so fearful of what could end up happening…

Someone is actually selling this design online… (lucashgm on redbubble)

The photo above was taken in Atlanta.

Now a few non-tRump things:

Didn’t something like this happen the last time a Saudi national murdered some dissident… after Khashoggi, women got the right to drive? Yes? (Actually, it was given to them a couple of months before he was killed.) I’m just making a connection.

That asshole. Fucking disgusting.

Let’s end this on a positive note.

This is an open thread.


Wednesday Reads: Tank Girl Says It…Dems Got The House

We can turn this shit around!

 

Hey, I know…that is a little too positive, coming from someone like me…but even I have to grasp at some rays of hope. Yesterday, on my way to practice I took a picture of the sunset. It made me think of the future, in this way:

I said a little prayer, may this setting sun be the last of “tRumpian unaccountability”…and will tomorrow’s morning sun bring hope for our democracy.

That image of Tank Girl, it is morning…she is having tea and putting on her boots…preparing herself for the day’s ass kicking. We can turn this shit around! Let’s see what comes from winning the House?

 

Meanwhile, in Georgia:

As of 8:45 this morning, only 75,386 votes separate Kemp and Abrams…

Brian Kemp’s Lead in Georgia Needs an Asterisk – The Atlantic

The Democrat Stacey Abrams, a black woman, made a valiant effort to win the governor’s race in Georgia, one of the original 13 states, whose commitment to human bondage ensured that the U.S. Constitution would treat slavery with kid gloves. A state that was part of the Confederacy. A state scorched by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman in the Civil War. A state that refused to accept the outcome of that war, treating its black residents as second-class citizens—if that—until the federal government forced its hand, a century later, with the Voting Rights Act. She tried to write a new narrative for this state.

Although Abrams has not yet conceded, citing uncounted ballots, it looks as though the other side has won, and the narrative is the same as ever. Abrams didn’t have to fight just an electoral campaign; she had to fight a civil-rights campaign against the forces of voter suppression.

Indeed, I can’t quite bring myself to say that Abrams “lost,” because there’s an asterisk next to her Republican opponent’s victory.

Brian Kemp, who billed himself as a “Trump conservative,” refused to step aside as Georgia’s secretary of state; he ran for governor of a state while overseeing the elections in that state. Former President Jimmy Carter, a Georgian with much experience monitoring elections abroad, stressed that this conflict of interest ran “counter to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections—that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial election authority.”
Kemp had no intention of relinquishing a post he has held since 2010, and often wields as a weapon to cull Georgia’s electorate. He understood that he would need every trick in the book because he was up against a woman who, in addition to serving as the minority leader of the state’s House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017, founded a formidable voter-registration organization, the New Georgia Project.[…]Under Kemp, Georgia purged more than 1.5 million voters from the rolls, eliminating 10.6 percent of voters from the state’s registered electorate from 2016 to 2018 alone. The state shut down 214 polling places, the bulk of them in minority and poor neighborhoods. From 2013 to 2016 it blocked the registration of nearly 35,000 Georgians, including newly naturalized citizens. Georgia accomplished this feat of disfranchisement based on a screening process called “exact match,” meaning the state accepted new registrations only if they matched the information in state databases precisely, including hyphens in names, accents, and even typos.[…]Days before the deadline to register for the November election, the Associated Press reported that Kemp had put 53,000 applicants on hold due to exact-match problems. An analysis of Kemp’s records found that 70 percent of those applicants were black. (Georgia is roughly 32 percent black.) Separately, the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union found that some 700 absentee-ballot applications and almost 200 absentee ballots were rejected by county officials due to a law mandating that the signatures on absentee applications and ballots visually match the signatures on file. Thus, poor penmanship was added to the list of crimes that can lead to disenfranchisement in Georgia.[…]

In the end, it looks like Kemp won. It’s impossible to know if his attempts to restrict the franchise are what pushed him over the line. But if the Georgia race had taken place in another country—say, the Republic of Georgia—U.S. media and the U.S. State Department would not have hesitated to question its legitimacy, if for no other reason than Kemp’s dual roles as candidate and election overseer. Of course, there were other reasons. As of this morning, he led by about 75,000 votes; more than 85,000 registrations were canceled through August 1 of this year alone.

Stacy Abrams is vowing not to concede until all votes are counted. I think she should demand a recount…as well.

 

 

 

This is a good thread to round up the tRump effect:

From down along this thread:

Other observations:

This piece of shit is gone:

And…

On that note, here are a few cartoons:

Blue Shadow: 11/07/2018 Cartoon by Steve Artley

Cartoon by Steve Artley - Blue Shadow

I think Boston Boomer had this in one of her post, but it is so good I have to repeat it:

Election Sticker: 11/07/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Election Sticker

11/06/2018 Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson -

 

 

 

I wonder what the rest of today will bring?

See you in the comments…this is an open thread.