Monday, February 27, 2017

Trump simply wants the truth not to be true

Trump lashes out with mindless twaddle, insinuating that the media has fully abandoned the pillars and principles of journalism to join the opposition.

Donald Trump’s unrelenting assault on the media is in fact an assault on the implacability of truth, the notion of accountability and the power of free speech. It is also a bit of a bow to the conspiracy theorizing that Trump is wont to do.

Last week at CPAC, the politically crippled Reince Priebus delivered a soliloquy lamenting Trump’s negative media coverage, saying, “We’re hoping that the media would catch up eventually.”

Trump’s “boss,” Steve Bannon, immediately blasted the notion the way a shotgun blasts a quail rising from the brush:

“The reason Reince and I are good partners is that we can disagree. It’s not only not going to get better. It’s going to get worse every day.”

Bannon continued:

“And here’s why. By the way, the internal logic makes sense. They’re corporatist, globalist media that are adamantly opposed — adamantly opposed to an economic nationalist agenda like Donald Trump has.”

He later added:

“And as economic conditions get better, as more jobs get better, they’re going to continue to fight. If you think they’re going to give you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken. Every day — every day, it is going to be a fight.”

Friday, February 17, 2017

Will Trump be assassinated, ousted in a coup or just impeached?

Although the temptation is to say to trump's remaining supporters "I told you so!"
It should be resisted.
Most of us knew the main reason trump would be the first president in modern times to hide his tax returns is that they show he has stupidly squandered his inheritance.
His presidency is following the same pattern as his forays into business, he is a loser.
He tries to cover his incompetence by saying "This is the information I was given."
During the campaign businessmen who worked around trump unanimously said he was a terrible businessman.

All Washington can talk about is how badly trump's reign will end.

The ‘most deadly adversaries of republican government,’ wrote Alexander Hamilton, arise ‘chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?’ Hamilton’s warning against ‘intrigue, and corruption’, published in 1788, speaks eerily to the Washington of today, where Donald Trump’s enemies imagine he is a Russian ‘agent of influence,’ bought or blackmailed by the Kremlin. The new chief magistrate himself is in full Nixon mode, at war with the media, the intelligence community, the ‘establishment’ and the ‘rigged system’, even as he takes his place behind the desk in the Oval Office . The scandal — if that’s what it is — has now inevitably been titled ‘Watersportsgate’. Is it conceivable that, like Nixon, Trump might eventually be forced from office?

Paul Wood, Freddy Gray and Kate Andrews discuss Trump’s arrival at the White House:

It seems absurd to ask this question in the week of the new President’s inauguration. Still, the Senate Intelligence Committee has already announced hearings into ‘links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns’. The committee’s Republican chairman issued a statement saying the inquiry would be ‘bipartisan’ and would rely on ‘the issuance of subpoenas if necessary to compel testimony… The Committee will follow the intelligence wherever it leads.’ If Trump’s staff or friends did meet with Russian officials to co-ordinate hacking the US presidential election, there is a word for that: treason, the first and most important of the ‘high crimes and misdemeanours’ set out in the constitution as grounds for impeachment. But Trump’s people have denied that any such meetings took place. And even if there were meetings, what was discussed? And if there were any discussions that would trouble a Senate committee, was Trump even aware? What did the President know and when did he know it?

If, if, if — a long chain of ifs. Importantly, there is almost no public discussion in Congress — from either party — of impeaching Trump. One of the very few to talk openly about the possibility was Congresswoman Maxine Walters, a Democrat, as you would expect. She told the cable news channel MSNBC that Trump had ‘wrapped his arms around Putin so tight… I don’t buy it, I don’t think the American people buy it, and he’s not going to get away with it. We’re going to investigate him and find out what is this real connection he’s got.’ She concluded: ‘Let’s find out… whether we’re putting a man in the most important office in the free world who may be held hostage by Putin and Russia.’ I was told by a senior Congressional aide that other House Democrats were keeping quiet until after the inauguration for tactical reasons. They recognised there was no support for hearings among the majority Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, the place where any move to impeach would have to originate. This is not (yet) 1974.

A university professor called Robert Kuttner has begun his own effort to get the impeachment bandwagon rolling. He is trying to convene an ‘independent body of very reputable jurists and other blue-chip people’ to assemble a ‘running dossier of impeachable abuses’. The dossier (a word that now resonates in Washington) would be given to the House Judiciary Committee if, as Kuttner hopes, it eventually convenes impeachment hearings. ‘You have to let him take office,’ he told me, echoing the Congressional aide’s analysis. ‘You have to see which of his actions that look like they are impeachable carry over into his actual presidency. The evidence has to accumulate… to the point that Republican members of Congress feel the need to put some distance between themselves and Trump… this is what happened with Nixon.’

Professor Kuttner is pinning his hopes on the emoluments clause of the US Constitution, which says office holders cannot receive gifts from foreign states unless Congress gives permission. ‘Trump is incapable of not mixing his personal self-interest with his duties as President. He just doesn’t have the impulse control to know how to do that.’

The founding fathers thought the dangers of corruption by foreign powers were such that they put the emoluments clause in the first article of their new constitution. They had in mind a notorious incident involving Benjamin Franklin, who had been given a diamond-encrusted snuff box by the king of France. Franklin was allowed to keep it only after the Continental Congress approved.

Trump’s lawyers have said they don’t think the emoluments clause applies to him. And Trump himself said, in an interview with the New York Times after the election, that ‘The law is totally on my side, meaning the President can’t have a conflict of interest.’ He has since announced plans to put his businesses into a trust — though, as it is run by his sons, this is far from the kind of blind trust that other presidents have used. His lawyer, Sherri Dillon, told the news conference called to discuss all this: ‘No new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of President Trump’s presidency. New domestic deals will be allowed, but they will go through a vigorous vetting process.’

But what happens if foreign diplomats start booking out Trump’s hotel in Washington? If foreign banks lend his companies money at cheap rates of interest? If foreign corporations buy up condos in Trump Tower? Trump has stated — correctly — that he has few business interests in Russia, but Russian money has poured into New York real estate and (as his son Donald Junior has acknowledged) into Trump’s companies.

Trump’s opponents may think he is doing to the constitution what those Russian hookers are alleged to have done to the bed in the Ritz Carlton’s presidential suite. (Pity the poor maid if this is true.) But no one has seen any sex tape. It is a distinct possibility that there is no kompromat — compromising material. Instead, another Russian secret service term is needed to understand what is going on: provokatsiya — a provocation, or hoax, designed to confuse the enemy. Last March I was told by someone in the US intelligence community of another alleged tape, about Kremlin money going to Trump’s associates for his campaign. The recording was supposedly made by the Estonian secret service. One of the (many unproven) allegations in the dossier compiled by the ex-MI6 man Christopher Steele is of a meeting his sources say was monitored by the Estonians. If the Senate Intelligence Committee finds nothing at the end of this trail of breadcrumbs, there will be no votes among House Republicans on the judiciary committee for impeachment hearings. If more comes out, however, anything is possible. Trump might then complain, along with Nixon, of Congressional attempts to overturn the result of an election. ‘Resigning now,’ Nixon told his Cabinet as pressure grew for him to step down, ‘could start America down the road to a parliamentary type of government in which the executive stays in office only as long as he can win a vote of confidence from the legislative branch.’

For some of Trump’s supporters, this is the least of it. The most popular story now on the right-wing ‘news’ site Infowars is headlined: Will the CIA assassinate Trump? ‘If you are at home, shelter in place and prepare to ride out a storm,’ the website advises. ‘Do not trust the media; and try to take notice if a coup has taken place, and constitutional authority subverted.’

Infowars is a vehicle for Alex Jones, who told listeners to his radio show to expect a military coup. Evidence for this included a tweet calling for martial law by Rosie O’Donnell, a liberal TV personality who has feuded with Trump in the past. ‘You heard this from me first,’ Jones said. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, they’re nakedly saying they want to overturn the election. They are prepping… saying we need a national emergency to clear up if Trump is a Russian agent…They are planning to put 50 million Americans in re-education camps. These people mean business.’

Funnily enough, I heard something similar at an impeccably liberal cocktail party in Washington before the election. The crowd were national security intellectuals. ‘If Trump is elected,’ said one of the guests, ‘it will end in a military coup. Tanks on the White House lawn.’ He was the second person to tell me that at the party. Conversations in Washington have taken on a hallucinatory quality. Impeachment — however far-fetched an idea — is not the most outlandish possibility being discussed in this town as the 45th president

Paul Wood

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Trump "Stupid," and "Counterproductive":

Another massive trump snafu.
Another stark reminder of why most Americans voted against trump.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans are once again taking to the streets as a result of trump's ham-fisted idiocy.
If trump had even the least bit of common sense he would have had experts vet this idea, plan for it, and implement it in a way that at the very least would have minimized the chaotic nature of this Muslim Ban.

Despite a decade of working to help America in Iraq, Hameed Khalid Darweesh was welcomed to the United States with handcuffs. Darweesh had received a special immigrant visa on January 20 for his work as a contractor, engineer, and interpreter for the Army's 101st Airborne Division in Baghdad and Mosul. But when he arrived at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday night, he was among the refugees detained upon arrival in the wake of President Donald Trump's latest executive order.

On Friday afternoon, Trump banned refugees from Syria indefinitely, suspended all refugee resettlement to the United States for 120 days, denied entry to citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations (Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen), and reduced the number of refugees to be resettled this year by more than half. After nearly 19 hours of detention and a lawsuit filed on his behalf, Darweesh was released on Saturday. Countless others remain stuck in limbo.

While Trump's executive order claims to be in the interest of "protecting the nation," experts in national security and counterterrorism who spoke with Mother Jones argue that it poses potentially disastrous immediate and long-term security threats to the nation and US personnel overseas.

"At the exact moment we need them most, we're telling these people, 'Get screwed.'"
"Not only is it immoral and stupid, it's also counterproductive," says Patrick Skinner, a former CIA counterterrorism case officer who now works at the Soufan Group, a security consulting firm. "We've got military, intelligence, and diplomatic personnel on the ground right now in Syria, Libya, and Iraq who are working side by side with the people, embedded in combat, and training and advising. At no time in the US's history have we depended more on local—and I mean local—partnerships for counterterrorism. We need people in Al Bab, Syria; we depend on people in a certain part of eastern Mosul, Iraq; in Cert, Libya. At the exact moment we need them most, we're telling these people, 'Get screwed.'"

Kirk W. Johnson, who spent a year on the reconstruction in Fallujah in Iraq with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), echoes Skinner's fears: "This will have immediate national security implications, in that we are not going to be able to recruit people to help us right now, and people are not going to step forward to help us in any future wars if this is our stance."

The US-led war on ISIS is but one front in a constellation of fights against extremist groups that could be hampered by Trump's decision. "The US is officially banning people in these countries at the same time we're trying to build up local support to fight ISIS," Skinner says. "It takes a long time to build trust with these people. This is like the Abu Ghraib thing. You have to start over, say, 'Okay, starting now, trust me.' How many times can you get away with that?" It also sends a message that groups like the so-called Islamic State can exploit. Elizabeth Goitein, the codirector of the Brennan Center's Liberty & National Security Program, says, "The message this projects is that America sees Muslims as a threat—not specific actors who are intent on committing terrorist acts. The message that America really is at war with Islam will be ISIS's best friend."

BuzzFeed reporters Mike Giglio and Munzer Al-Awad spoke with five current or former ISIS fighters who cited Trump's divisiveness as a factor that will weaken America. They added that his rhetoric against Muslims will help them reinforce their narrative that America and the West are fighting not just terrorism, but Islam itself. "Trump will shorten the time it takes for us to achieve our goals," said one.

Meanwhile, the very allies who have operated alongside US personnel in war zones for years—contractors and translators like Darweesh—are once again being abandoned. For the past decade, Johnson has been leading an effort to resettle Iraqi allies, many of whom, he says, face torture, kidnapping, and death after collaborating with American soldiers. It all started in 2006 when he heard from an Iraqi USAID colleague who'd been identified by a militia. The militia left a severed pig's head on his door step, along with a message saying that it would be his head next. Despite his years of helping the United States, the US government offered no help, and he had to flee the country with his wife.

"We are not going to be able to recruit people to help us right now. And people are not going to step forward to help us in any future wars if this is our stance."
Johnson discovered that there was no mechanism in place to help US allies like his colleague, and he began a personal crusade to change that. Since then, through legislation and a special immigrant visa platform, Johnson's efforts have helped thousands reach the United States, but the process is cumbersome, long, and often too late for the people who need it most. Johnson speaks of interpreters "who were having legs shot off, cut off, their wives raped, their children abducted." Some of his colleagues were even killed. And though Johnson has been critical of the process for years, now he's in the "awkward position" of defending it, because it was at least better than shutting those allies out as a matter of policy.

Skinner, Johnson, and Goitein all point out that the executive order reads as if whoever wrote it had no understanding of, or done any work with, US refugee admissions programs. Indeed, a senior Department of Homeland Security official reportedly told NBC News that career State Department and DHS officials had no input in the order, saying, "Nobody has any idea what is going on." Johnson says, "It reads as though 9/11 happened yesterday, and that 9/11 was carried out by refugees, which it wasn't, and it creates a series of policy prescriptions to solve a problem that doesn't exist, as if the stringent measures that have been put in place over the past 15 years to screen refugees don't exist."

Johnson, exasperated at the thought of US allies being turned away by the very country they spent years helping, adds, "These people who are directly and immediately impacted by this have done more to help our country than just about every breathing American has—especially the president. Shame is not a strong enough word for today. This is a disgraceful moment."

Susan Walsh/AP

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Putin Watching anti-trump Demonstrations "Mission Accomplished!"

Reports from the Kremlin are that Vlad Putin is overjoyed at trump's narrow electoral college win.
"I shocked the world!" Putin crowed "I am the reason that so many uneducated Americans voted for this idiot."
A reporter asked Putin why he would want such an obvious moron to run the American Presidency.
Putin chuckled. "He will end capitalism. His lack of understanding, and his dislike of the American people, his failure to realize that he will unite the intelligent people of America against him, will cause that nation to fall into disorder. He will expose the character of his cohorts, a stupid, selfish group of morons who have nothing to boast about other than how much money they inherited. I am the man who coached trump to say  'I can grab women by the P##sy because I am rich. Mexicans are rapists. Megyn Kelly is on her period!
I knew Clinton had the intelligent vote, so I counted on the Americans with low IQ's and poor education, and it worked."
One of the Kremlin ministers let out a low whistle, "You are a brilliant man,"
Putin smiled, "That's what he said."

The Chomsky Hoax

The Chomsky Hoax
Exposing the Dishonesty of Noam Chomsky