Tag Archives: Trump

Afternoon Thoughts: Impeachment, Narrow Focus, Jerry Falwall Jr., Bill Barr and Universities

barr

Some thoughts at the end of the day:

  • Matt Miller said on MSNBC tonight that the Democrats were trying to hurry along the impeachment investigation out of fairness. He maintains they don’t think it’s fair to drag it out longer because it’s an election year.    Is this really what they’re saying?  Can they be that absolutely feckless?
  • When they bring this investigation to a close and vote on the Articles of Impeachment is that it? That’s the end of holding Donald Trump et. al. accountable for all the myriad crimes of this administration?  I simply don’t see how that can stand.  What are the Democrats thinking?
  • I can’t see them bringing another impeachment investigation after the election. They’re going to let the Senate vote not to impeach and then just what?  Ignore everything from them on out?  Let Bill Barr destroy the Justice Department?  Let the Supreme Court destroy the ability of the government to delegate functions to the agencies?  I just don’t understand this.
  • Jerry Falwell Jr. has launched a new think tank. What a ridiculous notion.  The last thing these people do is think.  He and another religious zelot are saying that they are just trying to educate people since the universities have become “liberal indoctrination camps.”  I taught at a number of universities and I can swear that they are nothing of the sort.  The universities are bastions of conventional thinking and teaching.  They sit on top of vast funds and hire professors who can write lucrative grants.  They are concerned with endowments and grants and let me tell you, left wing thinkers don’t get those grants.
  • Republicans widely condemned the auto bailout in the middle of an economic crisis. But, Trump’s farm bailout will cost more than twice what the auto bailout cost.

Some lingering questions:

  • Why won’t the Congress investigate Trump’s financial dealings including his past?
  • Why did Robert Mueller (King of the Chickenshits) purposefully exclude Trump’s finances from his investigation?
  • Why did Robert Mueller give Trump Jr. a “get out of jail free” card with regard to the Trump Tower meeting?
  • How could Mueller possibly say that there was no conspiracy to defraud the government in the Trump administration dealings with Cambridge Analytica and the Russians?
  • Why does the corporate media continue to behave as if this is just politics as usual?

Trump was Organizing a Propaganda Campaign: Against the American People

ukraine scandal

Yet another impeachable offense.  What Trump and Giuliani (and Sondland, Perry and Volker) were organizing was a covert propaganda campaign designed to fool the American people.  And, Republicans are fighting for their right to do so.  This article by Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent, explains the most important point of the Ukraine dirt for money scandal.

Article

Running Covert Propaganda Against Americans Is Illegal. Trump Tried It Anyway.

 

 

The Most Dangerous Bulls in the Herd: Greg Sargent, William Barr and the Corporate Media

sargent

Yesterday, I spent hours reading about William Barr launching a criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.  What struck me most forcefully was the repeated dismissal of the action by various corporate media commentators.

There is a squad of normalizers out there in the corporate news world, working overtime to convince us that we are not seeing what is right before our eyes, an authoritarian take-over of the state.

The attitude was, “Oh well, this is just a distraction.”  “Don’t worry, there’s nothing there.”  “They don’t even know what they’re investigating.”  “The prosecutor (Durham from Connecticut) is a fine man.”  “Who could imagine that such a fine man would be participating in anything nefarious.”

The Attorney General of the United States has launched a criminal investigation into the Justice Department’s own Russia investigation.  The effect of this investigation will be to harass, to target, and to punish members of the intelligence community and the FBI who dared, dared to follow up credible leads that the Trump Campaign was consorting with Russians in order to steal an election.

As David Lohfman, head of the counterintelligence section at Justice at the time stated Thursday night on Rachael Maddow, “We would have been derelict” had an investigation not been initiated.

But the Attorney General is now using a criminal investigation to punish and silence anyone who participated in this lawful investigation.  And, the normalizers tell us that there’s nothing to see here.

They are tying themselves in knots trying to dismiss what has happened.  It reminds me of a Time Magazine cover during Watergate where all the principles were surrounded by audio tape, desperately pointing at each other.

The normalizers shout that what Barr is doing is merely a “distraction.”

But it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference if it is.  It doesn’t make any difference at all why Barr is pursuing this investigation.  Once the Justice Department becomes an enforcement tool of the White House you have authoritarianism.

The corporate media refuses, refuses to state what is obvious to anyone who has eyes and ears.  Instead, they work overtime to bring on the appeasers to tell us that what we are seeing are “stunts” “empty gestures,” nothing to worry about.

I read a tweet from somebody yesterday wondering if the corporate media would have normalized the rise of Mussolini.  I think most definitely so.

I had barely stumbled into my study this morning and turned on the computer before I was confronted with Greg Sargent in the Washington Post making his contribution to the to the normalizing.

Under the headline “Explosive William Barr news points to Trump’s weakness and panic.” (WP 10/25/19), Sargent beings his article with the sentence: “Don’t freak out.”  What?  We’re not supposed to “freak out” over explosive news?

Sargent proceeds to call Barr’s investigation “deeply worrying” a standard utterance widely used yesterday along with “concerning.”  (Concern used to be a noun.)

Then Sargent tells his readers that even though “when we’re talking about Barr, the most nefarious designs imaginable must be treated as a serious possibility,” it’s possible “POSSIBLE” that Barr’s actions are NOT SERIOUS.  Well, hell, it’s POSSIBLE that my head is going to fly off into the goddamn air and become a spotted calf, but I’m not going to waste time talking about it, especially not in the goddamn Washington Post.

Sargent, evidently realizing the utter imbecility of his case, drags in the help of the New York Times, saying that the Times comments that Barr’s actions may “raise alarms” that Trump “is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies.”  May?

Both corporate news outlets refrain from saying what is obvious, that Trump and Barr ARE using the Justice Department go to after enemies.  No, The Washington Post and the New York Times must phrase it differently.  According to them, Barr’s actions MAY “raise alarms” that this is happening.  They don’t say this IS happening, or that we SHOULD BE alarmed, what they say (in all the courage of their convictions) is that these things might be happening, and might raise the alarms of a certain unidentified group of people that it might be happening.

Sargent goes on to state that it is “at least possible” that Barr turning the Justice Department into an enforcement branch to silence Trump’s detractors isn’t “quite as serious as it seems.”  I suppose in some goddamn fictional world, that it’s possible that it’s not as serious as it seems, but I don’t know where that is.  In the world I inhabit, it is serious, goddamn serious.  It is using the investigative branch of the government in a blatant action to silence the President’s enemies.

Sargant says it’s POSSIBLE that it’s not as serious as it seems because the investigation might just be an attempt to calm the president.

Following this logic, it’s O.K. if the Justice Department is pursuing bogus criminal investigations if it’s just to calm the president.  WHAT MAKES THAT O.K.?  IN WHAT WORLD IS THAT ALRIGHT?

Sargent sees it as reassuring that neither the Times nor the Post are “clear what potential crime Durham and Barr are investigating.”  No, that’s not reassuring.  That makes it even more terrifying.  The very fact that Barr managed to initiate a criminal investigation based on NOTHING, should be terrifying, not reassuring.

Sargent drags the Cato Institute in and uses them to say that the criminal matter “could be something relatively less serious” say a leak from the Russia probe.  Again, this is supposed to make us feel better?  The Justice Department intends to drag government officials who were doing their jobs through years of investigation and possible prosecution, but if it’s for something relatively minor, we’re supposed to feel better?

Sargent then adopts the Barbara McQuade idiotic statement of the day from yesterday, that this is merely a diversion from the impeachment probe.  Whether or not it is a diversion from the impeachment probe it is a criminal prosecution trumped up for no reason, to uncover no known crime which will chill investigations in the future.

Again, this is said as if since the criminal investigation is a diversion, we should all relax and move on.  I just don’t understand that.

After repeating McQuade’s ludicrous utterance, Sargent then manages to try to tie himself up in knots by stating: “I’m not saying Barr’s machinations aren’t deeply dangerous. They absolutely are.”

Then why has he has just spent an entire article telling us why they AREN’T deeply dangerous?

“Given Barr’s apparent willingness to place law enforcement at Trump’s political disposal, it’s very possible Barr’s designs are maximally nefarious. But one can also imagine the criminal probe is of some intermediate matter.”

What “intermediate matter?”  What difference does that make?

The very fact that Barr has managed to open this criminal investigation is the point.  What he intends to do, what crime he is targeting (if any), whether the investigation will “go anywhere” is not the goddamn point.

Barr’s Justice Department tried to keep Trump’s Ukraine plot buried by advising against the transmission of the whistleblower complaint about it to Congress, and by successfully declining to investigate the referral within the Justice Department.  He has now successfully launched a criminal investigation targeting Trump’s foes.  This is serious.  Any attempt to portray it as otherwise is deeply subversive, that includes opinion pieces from the Washington Post.

I’m beginning to believe that the corporate media is more dangerous than Trump and to borrow a phrase from ancient Rome about Crassus, William Barr is the most dangerous bull in the heard.

Something is Different: Fight or Get Out of the Way

chris coons

Rachael Maddow said tonight that she feels there is something different going on; that a corner has been turned.  I feel the same way although I can’t explain why.

 

I have watched many Trump rallies, all the way through and taken notes, but tonight, I watched a murderous thug of a moron scream lies at other morons who were wildly cheering the lies he was screaming at them.  The man, the moron, has been allowed to displace 160,000 human beings and provoke the murder of countless men and women who used to be our allies.

 

This must be the way it felt in Germany to stand and watch and listen to obscenity, unbelievable obscenity being swallowed whole by people who could be your neighbors.  It must be what it was like watching lunacy gathering steam, plowing ahead, taking over.

 

It is like being in an earthquake.  The thing you depend on, the ground, is moving underneath you and you are completely disoriented.  In this case, the thing that I value and depend on most in the world, logic, reason, truth is moving underneath me.  The culture is being taken over by lies and deception, sham truth, blatant illogic and the people who have assumed authority are saying “get used to it.”

 

Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel entitled “It Can’t Happen Here.”  Well, it is happening here, but the Democratic leadership is saying: “It’s not happening here.”  “We must be prayerful.”  “It’s not happening here.”  They keep repeating it over and over thinking that it will become the truth if they say it enough times.

 

They abide by the norms, act with politeness, come to work every day (when they are not on recess) raise money, admonish the Trump administration, chat up donors, help fellow Republicans get unqualified judges appointed to the courts because their fellow Republicans helped them.  They talk about a return to normalcy when normalcy is what go us here.  It is mass delusion.

 

The leadership of the Democratic Party, the corporate media, and the moneyed elite want to pretend this country has not been taken over by a Russian asset and his enablers who are involved in varying degrees with an international crime syndicate and allied with a radical religious quest for power.

 

People like Bill Barr and Mitch McConnell have been waiting for, planning for a Donald Trump for decades.  They have their man and they are not going to give up.  They have cast their lot with Trump and they will tear the country apart to maintain and expand their power.

 

Meanwhile, nice people, good people, like Joyce Vance will continue to tell everyone that our institutions will hold, that dedicated professionals in government will assure that justice vanquishes all.

The time to be nice is over.  Those who don’t want to fight, who don’t understand that it  is essential to fight, need to get out of the way.

chris coons

Who Are the Kurds?

syria

 

Based on BBC News, 10/9/19 “Who Are the Kurds.”

  • After WWI the Western allies made a provision for a Kurdish state.
  • Treaty of Lausanne set the boundaries of modern Turkey and made no provision for a Kurdish state.  This left Kurds in a minority status in their respective countries.
  • Any time the Kurds tried in the subsequent 80 years to establish their own state, the movement was quashed.
  • The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) targeted three Kursish enclaves that bordered territory under its control in northern Syria.  It launched attacks that until 2014 were repelled by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) – the armed wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
  • June 2014. IS advanced into northern Iraq and drew that country’s Kurds into the conflict.  The government of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region sent its Peshmerga forces into areas abandoned by the Iraq army.
  • August 2014. Jihadists launched a surprise offensive.  The Peshmerga withdrew from several areas.  In Sinjar, where the IS took over, militants killed or captured thousands of Yazidis.
  • A US-led multinational coalition launched air strikes in northers Iraq and sent military advisers to help the Peshmerga. The YPG and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which had fought for Kurdish autonomy in turkey for three decades, came to their aid.
  • September 2014. IS launched an assault on northern Syrian Kursish town of Kobane.  Tens of thousands of people had to flee across the nearby Turkish border.  Turkey refused to respond by attacking IS positions or allow Turkish Kurds to cross to defend the city.
  • January 2015. After a battle that left at least 1,600 dead, Kurdish forces regained Kobane.
  • The Kurds along with local Arab militias under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and helped by US-led coalition air trikes, weapons and advisers, drove IS out of territory innorth-eastern Syria and established control over large tretch of the border with Turkey.
  • October 2017. SDF fighters captured IS capital of Raqqa and destroyed the IS last major foothold in Syria.
  • March 2019. The last pocket of territory held by IS, around the village of Baghouz – fell.
  • There were thousands of suspected IS militants captured and tens of thousands of displaced women and children associated with these IS fighters.
  • Most of the home countries of these fighters refused to accept them back.
  • Turkey claims to want to set up a “safe zone.” This would be a stretch of land 20-miles deep inside north-eastern Syria.
  • They plan to settle 2 million Syrian refugees there.
  • The Kurds in Turkey constitute 20% of the population.
  • After uprisings in the 1920s and 1930s many Kurds were resettled, “Kurdish names and costumes were banned, the use of the Kurdish language was restricted, and even the existence of a Kurdish ethnic identity was denied, with people designated “Mountain Turks”.
  • “In 1978, Abdullah Ocalan established the PKK, which called for an independent state within Turkey. Six years later, the group began an armed struggle. Since then, more than 40,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.”
  • “In the 1990s the PKK rolled back on its demand for independence, calling instead for greater cultural and political autonomy, but continued to fight. In 2013, a ceasefire was agreed after secret talks were held.
  • The ceasefire collapsed in July 2015, after a suicide bombing blamed on IS killed 33 young activists in the mainly Kurdish town of Suruc, near the Syrian border. The PKK accused the authorities of complicity and attacked Turkish soldiers and police. The Turkish government subsequently launched what it called a “synchronised war on terror” against the PKK and IS.
  • Since then, several thousand people – including hundreds of civilians – have been killed in clashes in south-eastern Turkey.”
  • “Turkey has maintained a military presence in northern Syria since August 2016, when it sent troops and tanks over the border to support a Syrian rebel offensive against IS. Those forces captured the key border town of Jarablus, preventing the YPG-led SDF from seizing the territory itself and linking up with the Kurdish enclave of Afrin to the west.
  • In 2018, Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels launched an operation to expel YPG fighters from Afrin. Dozens of civilians were killed and tens of thousands displaced.
  • Turkey’s government says the YPG and the PYD are extensions of the PKK, share its goal of secession through armed struggle, and are terrorist organisations that must be eliminated.
  • Kurds make up between 7% and 10% of Syria’s population. Before the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011 most lived in the cities of Damascus and Aleppo, and in three, non-contiguous areas around Kobane, Afrin, and the north-eastern city of Qamishli
  • Syria’s Kurds have long been suppressed and denied basic rights. Some 300,000 have been denied citizenship since the 1960s, and Kurdish land has been confiscated and redistributed to Arabs in an attempt to “Arabize” Kurdish regions.
  • “In January 2014, Kurdish parties – including the dominant Democratic Union Party (PYD) – declared the creation of “autonomous administrations” in the three “cantons” of Afrin, Kobane and Jazira
  • In March 2016, they announced the establishment of a “federal system” that included mainly Arab and Turkmen areas captured from IS.
  • The declaration was rejected by the Syrian government, the Syrian opposition, Turkey and the US.”