This is one news story that will get Donald Trump’s attention. While the rest of the world wide press is reporting all the drastic possibilities and permutations of Trump’s assassination of Qasem Soleimani, not to mention the reality of Iraq telling the U.S. to leave and Iran throwing aside the 2015 nuclear deal, the wildly popular general was laid to rest. Iran state TV is reporting that “millions” flooded the streets, but even if it’s only half a million or so, that’s more than the crowd at Trump’s inauguration and that is guaranteed to incense him. Financial Times: Sakineh, a 70-year-old woman, struggled to keep up with the hundreds of thousands of mourners who had gathered in the streets of Mashhad, Iran’s holiest city, to pay tribute to military commander Qassem Soleimani. “But I thought even my dead body should be at the funeral,” she said, walking with difficulty. “We owe a lot to him.” The US assassination of the commander responsible for Iran’s foreign military strategy on Friday has triggered one of the biggest public outpourings of grief seen in the country. Can you feature anybody wanting to honor Trump so badly, that she would show up, even in death? Let’s hope Trump doesn’t find out about this. Having been taken earlier on Sunday to Ahvaz, southwestern Iran, in commemoration of Soleimani’s part in the battle against Iraq in the 1980s, the body has been taken to Mashhad’s holiest shrine, where the eighth Imam of Shias, Reza, is buried. In a sign of the depth of the mourning, the shrine’s green flags have been replaced by black ones. Iranian media and analysts estimated that as many as 1m people — a third of Mashhad’s population — had turned out on to the streets. A third of the population? That will fry Trump’s circuits. And so will this: He may have given Soleimani what he really wanted all along. “Although Gen Soleimani always dreamed of martyrdom, it is so painful to lose a man whose presence meant security for us,” said Farzaneh, a 20-year-old woman who was in tears. “We want revenge and should not worry about the US retaliation. They are more vulnerable than us.” “His blood will change many things as his life changed many things. We shall see huge changes coming, like a big revolution,” said Hamid, a 27-year-old mechanic as he walked with his wife and small daughter. Maybe there will be a new word coined for the dictionary, “trumpfired” which is “backfired on steroids, like when Trump assassinated Soleimani and everything went straight to Hell.” Trump loves to put his name on things, and it’s emblazoned for all times in the history books on this debacle. Who knows where it will lead, but so far things are not looking good. Trump miscalculated that this would be yet another outrage he would get away with, as he has so many, but in this case, retribution has been swift and certain. The only question that remains is how far will it go and how costly will it be?
Foreign policy may take a while to develop, but it sure can come crashing down in no time at all. The killing of Qasem Soleimani on Thursday is sending out yet another shockwave. Bloomberg: Richard Goldberg, the U.S. National Security Council official who clashed with other members of the administration over his push for a more hawkish stance toward Iran, is leaving the job after one year for personal reasons, a person familiar with the matter said. Goldberg’s departure comes just as tensions with Iran have soared following a U.S. strike in Baghdad that killed Qassem Soleimani, a key Iranian general the administration said was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” against American diplomats and military personnel. Former National Security Adviser John Bolton created Goldberg’s job — director for countering Iran’s weapons of mass destruction — explicitly for him. The goal was to counter what Bolton saw as a desire at the departments of State and Treasury to weaken the “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. As Dan Rather said about Ukraine, “this story’s moving faster than a hummingbird’s wings.” With another expert walking out, that leaves the dummies to make all the decisions and set policy. Who’s left in the White House? Jared, Ivanka, and Stephen Miller? Is that who’s running the country now? May God help us.
If you’re not a member of the Q-immunity, you might not be aware of just how important yesterday really was. December 5 was the day. D-5 Day. The Coming of the Storm. The Avalanche of Truth....
Since Donald Trump has been in office the bar of public discourse in this country has plummeted to where it’s now somewhere down around the molten core of the earth. Now the Trump effect on civilized expression is going world wide. His tweets threatening the destruction of Iranian cultural sites have been particularly ill-received by both America and the world community, being as how they constitute war crimes. They prompted an Iranian official to respond in kind with a troll/threat of his own, to wit, the retweet of an article showing a list of Trump’s properties — and their locations. https://t.co/t6JyUk6aRj — Hesameddin Ashena (@hesamodin1) January 5, 2020 Now here the official, an adviser to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, bottom lines it. We have ZERO problems with the American people. We even achieved deals with previous US administrations. Our sole problem is Trump. In the event of war, it is he who will bear full responsibility. — Hesameddin Ashena (@hesamodin1) January 5, 2020 This is not dissimilar from when Justin Trudeau responded to Trump’s insults early on, when Trump was claiming a massive trade deficit with Canada, and his idiot economic adviser, Peter Navarro, was babbling, “There’s a place in Hell for Justin Trudeau.” Trudeau came right out and said that Canada had no problem with the American people, only with the current administration. This is worldwide sentiment. The bottom line here, and it’s one that Trump can’t grasp, because he appears to be constitutionally incapable, is that it’s not all about him. International treaties and relationships existed between the United States and the rest of the world long before he came and will continue long after he’s gone. What he’s really doing is excommunicating himself from the human race, minus his clueless followers, who believe what right-wing media spoon feeds them, (and who were ignorant bigots long before he came on the scene.) Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. All this animosity has been caused by Trump, and the fallout will hurt innocent people, even if it is directed at Trump. So far, the collateral damage of having this clown in office has been stupendous — and it’s only going to get worse. Maybe Iran will target a Trump property or two. But who will get hurt if they do? Trump will get hurt in the pocket book, but the people living and working and passing by there are the ones who will get killed. The rest of us are already suffering from this Iran debacle by paying more at the gas pump. That reaction was immediate, the price of oil sky rocketed when Suleimani was assassinated. Trump has no problem putting innocent lives in harm’s way because, once again, to him this isn’t real. It’s all a TV show and a game. He lacks normal feelings. Remember when he told the Green Beret widow, “Your guy knew what he was getting into?” If the Republicans won’t remove him from office, then the voters have to. We can’t take four more years of this — and you know it will get worse, still. That much can be predicted with certainly, because that is what we’ve seen all along. As bad as it was on day one of this regime, it is many thousand fold worse right now.
Have you noticed the change in the mood around Trump? For a long time, it seemed like no matter what he did, no one spoke back to him and there were no consequences. Little by little,...
I’m not going to tell you to get out your tinfoil hats, because, truth be known, this is not the craziest proposition I’ve ever heard. This is plausible. Conservative columnist Johnathan Last opines that Lindsey Graham has been sucking up to Trump all this time, because he figured that the best way that he could have influence over the lunatic (my words, not Last’s) in a time of crisis, would be by being an insider. So. Graham got inside the Trump cabal, onto the links with Trump, onto the Trump sycophant circuit on TV, etc. — waiting for the right moment to exercise his influence and that moment happened this week, with the Syrian debacle. Lindsey Graham is a double agent, so to speak, and he’s here to save the day. The Bulwark: Graham rushed out onto Twitter. He ginned up the beginnings of sanctions legislation to try to protect the Kurds if (when) Turkey slaughters them. He even called in to Fox & Friends. I know it sounds like I’m goofing on him, but I’m not. If you want to get this president’s attention immediately, showing up on Fox & Friends is better than being part of the delegation for his morning briefing. My point is this: Lindsey Graham is doing everything he can to try to influence a specific, deeply important, piece of policy. Because of Trump’s decision, American allies will die. The region will destabilize. Our adversaries will benefit. Lindsey Graham has spent three years abasing himself in front of Donald J. Trump. Three years in which he has had to publicly repudiate just about everything he’s ever said. And he did it all with an eye toward a moment like this: When Trump might do something impulsive and dangerous to American foreign policy. And Graham’s theory was: When the moment of peril comes, I can do more good for American interests by being on the inside. That way, I’ll be able to influence Trump’s decision-making. I have to admit, this never occurred to me. My theories have ranged from alien mind control to extortion, but Lindsey Graham, agent provocateur, undercover? Posturing as a Trump toadie so that when the moment of truth came, he could turn into Captain America and save the republic? Well, it’s a novel twist, you must admit. And friends, let’s face it: nothing, and I mean no thing, is impossible in this administration. If the past three years have taught us anything, surely it has taught us that.
Living in a bubble is a very dangerous thing. Unfortunately the deaf, dumb and blindness of the current administration is affecting us all in ways which will have a profound effect on the future of this country, and not in a positive way. The latest example of this trend was graphically illustrated this weekend at the Munich Security Conference, which in better days, served as an affirmation of the powerful bond between members of the western alliance. This year’s meeting only pointed up the widening chasm of interests between France and Germany, and the United States. Politico: The two sides aren’t just far apart on the big questions facing the West (threats from Russia, Iran, China), they’re in parallel universes. Most alarming: The biggest disconnect concerns the U.S. commitment to Europe, the very essence of the transatlantic alliance itself. In speech after speech, whether in public or private, European leaders lamented what they perceive as the U.S.’s disengagement from both the region and the world at large. If you weren’t following the news this weekend, both the president of France, Emmanuel Macron and the president of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that the U.S. was “rejecting the idea of the international community” and that “what Europe wants is not quite the same as the U.S.” Mike Pompeo found these words insulting, apparently, because he went on record stating, “I’m here to tell you the facts. Those statements do not reflect reality.” No, they do reflect reality. They just don’t reflect an endorsement of his wingnut talking point, “The West is winning and we’re winning together.” That might be a great line to drop to the rubes at a rally, or to please Pompeo’s real audience, which is Trump, but the people in attendance at Munich are anything but fools. They see through the Trump mis-administration like glass and they know what a disaster the past three years have been. But Pompeo forged ahead, convinced, again apparently, that if you just spin the lie enough different ways people will believe eventually. “Is this an America that rejects responsibility?” he asked. “Let’s be straight up: The U.S. is out there fighting for sovereignty and our friends.” Aside from representatives from Poland and the Baltics, who consider the U.S. the guarantor of their sovereignty, few of the Europeans in the room seemed open to being convinced. After the speech, a consensus formed among the Germans and French that Pompeo’s audience wasn’t the Europeans in the room, but Donald Trump. Pompeo’s insistence that the “West is winning, we’re collectively winning,” was registered by many attendees as “the U.S. is winning.” The reaction to Pompeo reflects the toll Trump’s aggressive, often abusive, rhetoric toward European allies has taken on the relationship. Even when confronted with facts that disprove the narrative of American disengagement, European officials simply don’t believe it. In private, U.S. representatives tell their European counterparts to “ignore the tweets,” but that’s proved to be a tall order. The likes of Jared Kushner may take to the airwaves and sneer derisively about how he and the other know-nothings in this administration have a “fresh approach” and “new ideas” for foreign policy. So far, all that adolescent hyperbole has devolved into nothing but embarrassment and an erosion of key alliances, not in some brave new world solutions […]
Members of the mental health community and laypeople alike have speculated on what goes on in Donald Trump’s head. My take on it has always been that his mental landscape resembles a Hieronymus Bosch painting with shades of H.P. Lovecraft, which is to say — chaotic and disturbed? For openers? In any event, demonstrable lies fall from this man’s lips like scales from a molting reptile. Today’s gaffe du jour was to tell reporters after the G-7 conference that Melania, “has gotten to know Kim Jong Un.” That’s quite a feat, considering she’s never met him — at least, not that anybody knows about. Needless to say, fact-checkers and reporters were all over this one like white on rice, so the White House was forced to say something. Interesting job Stephanie Grisham has: how to cover up Trump’s idiotic off-the-cuff comments, and spin them in such a manner that they sound 1. intentional and 2. reasonable. UPDATE! “President Trump confides in his wife on many issues including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim – and while the First Lady hasn’t met him, the President feels like she’s gotten to know him too.” Stephanie Grisham says in a statement. https://t.co/m3OzXMGh88 — Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) August 26, 2019 So, their pillow talk is so profound and detailed, that Melania feels that she’s (music please) “getting to know Un, getting to know all about Un…” That’s one theory. The other theory, is that he’s thinking about his wife-daughter, Ivanka, who has met Kim Jong Un, and who took it upon herself to play Stateswoman Barbie, at N. Korean Summit II, the sequel to N. Korean Summit I — both of them disasters. If anybody ever decides to make a movie out of these two debacles, call Irwin Allen. Here’s what happened, to refresh your recollection. New York Times: On Sunday, Ms. Trump, the president’s elder daughter, used an impromptu meeting between her father and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, to further slip into the role of unofficial spokeswoman and budding stateswoman for the Trump administration. With her husband, fellow senior adviser Jared Kushner, at her side, Ms. Trump delivered news interviews, posed for photos and met Mr. Kim. Earlier in the day, Ms. Trump had repeated what her father has often said about dealing with the North: that it would be free of crippling sanctions and clear for an economic boom if Mr. Kim were to dismantle his nuclear program. Scant evidence suggests that Mr. Kim is taking the steps to do this, but on Sunday, two Trumps rewarded him with a visit. “We are on the precipice of ushering in potentially a golden era for the Korean Peninsula,” Ms. Trump told Bloomberg News in the hours before her father took the historic step of crossing into the North. But by the time she emerged from a building designed for negotiations hours later, she only had one word for journalists about her encounter with North Korea. She called it “surreal.” So, are you, sweetie. Watching you in action is definitely like an hallucination or a dream, a bad one. Her actions in Korea caused immediate blow back. “Ivanka Trump is not on the National Security Council — she is not an adviser on the issues being discussed,” Michael A. McFaul, an ambassador to Russia […]
You may remember how George W. Bush was challenged frequently as not being knowledgeable enough about foreign affairs to be president. Malapropisms were Dubya’s forte and he had us holding our sides when he called the Greeks “Grecians” or referred to the East Timorese as Timorians. That level of ignorance was glossed over at the time with the observation that, “the relevant question isn’t how many names of foreign leaders a candidate knows, but whether he has the strategic vision for America’s role in the world,” according to Charlie Pierce’s column in Esquire today. In other words, who needs facts or knowledge, as long as you have a “vision?” It was a ridiculous notion then and under Donald Trump it has gone beyond ridiculous to horrifying. This is an excerpt from “A Very Stable Genius” the latest Trump book to drop. Esquire: By that point, six months into his administration, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had grown alarmed by gaping holes in Trump’s knowledge of history, especially the key alliances forged following World War II. Trump had dismissed allies as worthless, cozied up to authoritarian regimes in Russia and elsewhere, and advocated withdrawing troops from strategic outposts and active theaters alike. Trump organized his unorthodox worldview under the simplistic banner of “America First,” but Mattis, Tillerson, and Cohn feared his proposals were rash, barely considered, and a danger to America’s superpower standing. They also felt that many of Trump’s impulsive ideas stemmed from his lack of familiarity with U.S. history and, even, where countries were located. To have a useful discussion with him, the trio agreed, they had to create a basic knowledge, a shared language. Trump’s first complaint was to repeat what he had vented about to his national security adviser months earlier: South Korea should pay for a $10 billion missile defense system that the United States built for it. The system was designed to shoot down any short- and medium-range ballistic missiles from North Korea to protect South Korea and American troops stationed there. But Trump argued that the South Koreans should pay for it, proposing that the administration pull U.S. troops out of the region or bill the South Koreans for their protection. “We should charge them rent,” Trump said of South Korea. “We should make them pay for our soldiers. We should make money off of everything.” “We should make money off of everything.” This is what you get when you have a rank amateur, with no background in public service or government, who has spent his entire life grifting. This is what the man knows. This is his level of development. He also went on to say that NATO was “in arrears” thereby demonstrating that he knows nothing about how that body works, and that collection efforts should be made. This is vintage Trump on foreign policy. You recall after the Suleimani assassination how he crowed that the Obama administration “gave billions of dollars to Iran.” He made it sound as if Obama wrote Iran a check. No. What happened is that sanctions were lifted, so Iran got billions of dollars of it’s own money. And we hardly need mention the tariff delusion, that China is pumping cash into the U.S. […]
The Hoarse Whisperer on Twitter pointed out that at least one President could make The Third Lady smile…