Rachel and Hillary

 Posted by at 1:10 pm  Politics
Sep 152017
 

I was quite pleased with Hillary Clinton in her interview with Rachel Maddow last night.  She was the Hillary I had wanted to see the last time I published an article about her.  She was concise and personable.  Most important of all, she tore Fuhrer Drumpfenfarten a third sphincter, in addition to the one in the traditional location and the one under his nose.

0915clinton-maddow

Hillary Clinton appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show yesterday and she ripped into Donald Trump.

Clinton is back in the public spotlight this week with the release of her new book, What Happened. While other interviews have focused on her campaign and the election last year, Rachel Maddow wanted to know what Clinton thought about how Trump is doing.

The conversation starts with North Korean missile testing. Clinton said that Trump is being “played” by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. “This missile test[…] is sending a message from Kim Jong Un that he is not deterred,” the former Secretary of State said.

“[Diplomacy] needs to be happening right now. Get over the Twitter stuff,” she added.

Maddow then brought up reports that Trump mocked Attorney General Jeff Sessions so badly that he wrote a resignation letter. Clinton said that Trump “delights” in insulting and humiliating people, and that his understanding of power makes him dangerous…

Inserted from <LGBTQ Nation>

I am sharing only the first of several clips from Rachel’s show.  If you let the video keep playing after the end, it should play the rest.  Or you can click through, and watch them piecemeal.

Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed Rachel to debrief her about her interview with Hillary.

Rachel said Clinton was a different person.  I agree.  I prefer this Hillary Clinton.

RESIST THE REPUBLICAN REICH!!

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Aug 292017
 

When I read this article from AlterNet, my mind immediately went back to Iraq.  With Trump saying “We are not nation-building again.  …”, what I heard was one nation, the US, justifying the rape and pillaging of another, Afghanistan. 

From AlterNet

The upsurge of the Taliban has nothing to do with the presence of ISIS in Afghanistan. It does, however, have a great deal to do with the entry of al-Qaeda fighters of various stripes from Pakistan into its ranks. But even al-Qaeda is not central to the Taliban’s surge.

That surge can only be explained by the slow desiccation of the Afghan government in Kabul. Despite billions of dollars of aid, Afghanistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world (31%) and half of Afghanistan’s children are stunted with a third of the population suffering from food insecurity.

The collapse of humane aspirations for the Afghan people certainly fuels the insurgency and the violence, making it harder to build state and social institutions to tackle these key problems, which once more fuels the war. This cycle of chaos could only be ended if regional powers agreed to freeze their interventions in Afghanistan and if the Afghan state would be able to robustly build up the infrastructure to feed and educate its citizens.

Trump’s comment that he is against ‘nation-building’ shows how little he understands war, for the only antidote to this endless American war in Afghanistan is for the people to reconcile around a believable mandate for human development rather than violence and corruption. No such agenda is on the table.

Late in July, before Trump made his recent announcement, one of Afghanistan’s most hardened leaders, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, held a press conference in his home in Kabul. Hekmatyar, who was a key CIA and Pakistani ally in the 1970s and ’80s, said that ‘neither the Afghan government nor foreign troops can win the war. This war has no winner.’ This is remarkable coming from Hekmatyar, who was known as the ‘Butcher of Kabul’ for his role in the siege of that city after the Soviet troops left Afghanistan (more Afghans died in that civil war than in the mujahedeen’s war against the communist government and their Soviet ally). He has called for negotiations between the Kabul government and the Taliban.

U.S. General Nicholson painted the Taliban as ‘a criminal organization, more interested in profits from drugs, kidnapping, murder for hire,’ but nonetheless called upon them to join a peace process. It is clear that whatever the U.S. thinks of the Taliban, they have positioned themselves to be a major political force in Afghanistan in the near future. This is why Nicholson and Trump have begun to distinguish between the Taliban (which should be in a peace process) and ISIS/al-Qaeda (which have to be destroyed). That al-Qaeda is now a key ally of the Taliban should sully this simplistic thinking. But it has not.

Negotiations seem far off in Afghanistan. The Taliban is well positioned to increase its bargaining power as its legions expand across the country. Surrendered Taliban leader Zangal Pacha (Amir Khan) recently left the fight in Nangarhar province with six fighters. He said that a foreign intelligence service—most likely that of Pakistan—has been egging the Taliban onwards to take more territory. Attacks on tribal elders and public welfare projects are being urged, largely to squeeze Kabul’s hold on the provinces and to strengthen the Taliban’s claim to being the natural rulers of Afghanistan. Pakistan has long wanted a friendly government in Kabul and it has seen the Taliban as its instrument. Whether the U.S. will once more turn a blind eye to al-Qaeda’s role in the Taliban is to be seen. History does repeat itself, particularly when it comes to geopolitical hypocrisy.

Rachel covered it in two segments.  In the first, she explains what she thinks Trump means and who is tasked with investigating the opportunity and bringing it to fruition.

In the second, she speaks with the former Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan about Trump’s initiative.

When I first read this article, my thoughts went back to Iraq and the 2003 invasion by the US and the UK and allies, Australia and Poland.  Wikipedia describes the rationale for the invasion as follows:

“According to U.S. President George W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, the coalition mission was “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.””

However, in the years since, it has been generally acknowledged that oil was the goal.  Some of the first heavy fighting was around Basra in the south east by Kuwait and the Persian Gulf, an area rich in oil.  In his 2003 book, General Wesley Clark described talking to a senior military officer:

“As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.”” 

So when I hear Trump saying that the US is not into nation building, and saying that it will mine the mineral resources, particularly lanthanum, to pay for the war, it is déjà vu!

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Rachel on Bannon

 Posted by at 1:55 pm  Politics
Aug 192017
 

Yesterday we learned that Steve Bannon, Trumps touchstone on all things Nazi, got the boot, apparently because he wanted more attention than his Fuhrer could stomach sharing.  I’ve been trying to learn more about the situation and what to expect from now on, where both Bannon and Trump are concerned.  I learned more from three segments on the Rachel Maddow Show, than from all other sources combined.  Here they are.

Bannon uniquely odd among Trump’s many weird staff choices

Rachel Maddow reviews some of Donald Trump’s weird staff picks, many of whom, it turns out, are united by a connection to Russia, but Steve Bannon, though also a weird choice, has a different explanation for how he got there.

 

Billionaire behind Trump, Bannon, Breitbart plans next move

Jane Mayer, staff writer for The New Yorker, talks with Rachel Maddow about the role of Robert Mercer in funding Donald Trump and Breitbart, and what he might do next with Steve Bannon out of the white House.

 

Bannon leaves Trump, takes important constituency with him

Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian, talks with Rachel Maddow about Steve Bannon’s unusual role in the Trump White House, from his job title to "nationalist" constituency he commands that could seriously sap Trump’s base.

 

In short, Trump is still Trump, and none of his hate, greed, and sociopathic behavior will change one iota.  Bannon is still a Nazi with plans to deconstruct America in every way he can, and with virtually unlimited funding from Mercer, he may have even more influence, especially with the TEAbaggers.  We are no better off than before.

RESIST!!

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Aug 152017
 

We have not heard a lot about Robert Mueller’s investigation into “Russia-gate” or whatever one chooses to call Trump and the Trump campaign’s association with Russia in the past few days.  Trump’s response, or better put, a lack of appropriate response, to the Charlottesville tragedy has taken over.  Is his “response” to the Charlottesville tragedy meant as a distraction from Mueller’s investigation?

AlterNet — MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow spent the opening of her Friday show doing a deep dive into the “extraordinary flim-flammery” of President Donald Trump’s past financial dealings.

As it turns out, the president once short-changed New York City to the tune of $2.8 million in a deal designed to avoid paying upwards of $150 million in property taxes.

Rachel Maddow presents a very interesting backstory as to a very possible motivation for why Trump did not want to release his tax returns like previous presidential candidates have done.

The second video explores the issue with journalist David Cay Johnston founder of DCReports.org .

I think both Rachel and David Cay Johnston make a very good argument as to why Trump does not want his financial records available for scrutiny by Mueller or anyone else for that matter.  And what about Trump’s ability to pardon himself or anyone else involved in criminal dealings with Russia or Russians?  The US Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 states in part (Wikipedia) “…  and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”  So Trump could pardon his kids or anyone else if they are convicted of a crime but he could not pardon himself if he is impeached.  However, were he to be impeached, he would be succeeded by VP Pence who likely would pardon him.  This is what happened with Richard Nixon . . . Gerald Ford, who succeeded Nixon as president, pardoned Nixon on 08 September 1974.  What are your thoughts? 

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Aug 012017
 

Can you believe it? We’re almost half way through summer! The days are shorter.  Kids are talking about returning to school.  I for one can hardly wait for the cooler weather of fall!  But until then, I’ll enjoy fresh fruit sorbets to cool me off, and perhaps a “run” through my neighbour’s sprinkler which he only turns on at dusk.

Short Takes

Alternet — People are wondering out loud about the parallels between today’s Republican Party and organized crime, and whether “Teflon Don” Trump will remain unscathed through his many scandals, ranging from interactions with foreign oligarchs to killing tens of thousands of Americans by denying them healthcare to stepping up the destruction of our environment and public lands.

History suggests – even if treason can be demonstrated – that, as long as he holds onto the Republican Party (and Fox News), he’ll survive it intact. And he won’t be the first Republican president to commit high crimes to get and stay in office.

In fact, Eisenhower was the last legitimately elected Republican president we’ve had in this country.
Since Dwight Eisenhower left the presidency in 1961, six different Republicans have occupied the Oval Office.
And every single one of them – from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump – have been illegitimate – ascending to the highest office in the land not through small-D democratic elections – but instead through fraud and treason.

(And today’s GOP-controlled Congress is arguably just as corrupt and illegitimate, acting almost entirely within the boundaries set by an organized group of billionaires.)

What a storied history for the Grand Old Party, and certainly nothing of which to be proud. Yet Republicans continue in their errant ways as if nobody is watching. Perhaps voters are not watching, or perhaps they just don’t care. This is a sad commentary on American democracy, such that it is.

YouTubeOf course, for the past week we have been hearing how Anthony Scaramucci was going to clean things up by plugging leaks at the White House.  He provided plenty of fodder for comedians in his short White House stay. According to news today, he was fired from his position as communications director by the Orange Ogre with the inappropriateness of his profanity laced tirade about Reince Priebus given as the reason. Hmmmm . . . I wonder how that squares with Trump being called the Pussy Grabber.  More over, Scaramucci was fired before he officially started.  Damn, and I had just finally remembered how to spell his name!

John Oliver — Anthony Scaramucci

Stephen Colbert Monologue — The Mooch Mokes

Raw StorySpeaking by phone on MSNBC, a former U.S. Attorney walked host Joy Reid through the legal ramifications if it turns out to be true that President Donald Trump personally dictated his son’s statement that contained lies about his meeting with Kremlin-connected Russians back in June of 2016.

According to Barbara McQuade, if Trump did dictate the statement then he was trying to mislead the public and the government.

Trump might just keep Robert Muller permanently employed.  With his continuous lying and highly questionable acts, Trump is shooting himself in the foot, and you know who he’ll try to blame . . . anyone but himself.

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Well this little fiasco should attract Robert Mueller’s attention at the very least.  In my opinion, Trump is guilty of corruption, collusion and obstruction of justice.  I guess we have to wait for Mueller’s investigation to conclude.

 

Resist, Persist and Remove!!!

My Universe

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Jul 212017
 

As the noose slowly tightens around the neck of Resident Donald Trump, Fuhrer of the Republican Rectum Reich, it is apparent that he is on the verge of desperate measures. Sad as it it, it appears that there is nothing so sleazy and devious that Trump’s minions won’t pursue it in defense of Republican fascism.

0721TrumpLockUp

Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves…

…With the Russia investigation continuing to widen, Trump’s lawyers are working to corral the probe and question the propriety of the special counsel’s work. They are actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work, according to several of Trump’s legal advisers…

From <Washington Post>

There are few people capable of dissecting such issues as these as Rachel Maddow.  Here, she talks with Ashley Parker, one of the authors of the Post article.

I did a little research myself and could not find any actual proof that the Fuhrer could not pardon himself, but there are limitations.  First, he would have to do so at the point of resignation, because he could not pardon himself for future offenses.  So, if he can pardon himself and stay in office, he will commit more crimes virtually immediately.  Second, if he could pardon himself, he can do so for federal crimes only.  Therefore it is imperative that State AGs prepare criminal indictments against him for financial felonies committed within their borders.

About Mueller, we need to keep an eye on the fate of Jefferson "KKK Beauregard" Sessions.  If Trump cans him, I think it will indicate that he’s about to go after Mueller.

RESIST!!

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