« What will Japan do about Syria? | Main | On-Line Sales Taxes »

April 11, 2018

Comments

By which I mean everything coming out is entirely consistent with that, rather than dissonant.

Charlie Pierce has some questions for "honorable" Republicans.

--TP

The Scooter Libby pardon is despicable. And hilzoy says on her twitter feed she's taking to the streets if Trump fires Rosenstein. Good luck to any of you who plan to do the same thing.

Good luck to any of you who plan to do the same thing.

Thanks. Plan on it. And Hilzoy is still a force.

Weesa launch somes bombads1

Putin made him do it. No American President ever bombed anyone unless a former KGB guy was pulling his strings.

Or maybe he is trying to show he isn’t a puppet. In which case he needs to do lots and lots of bombing. Show those Russians and Iranians which thugs he really likes. Not to mention the never Trump Republicans like McCain and his good buddies Netanyahu and MBS.

i can't imagine the CD generated by looking at Trump and then spending your whole life trying to figure out ways to make sure everything, including the attempt bring him to justice, is still Teh Librulz fault.

c.u.l.t.

The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Confirmation of the trip would lend credence to a retired British spy’s report that Cohen strategized there with a powerful Kremlin figure about Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

no collusion. you're the puppet.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article208870264.html#cardLink=tallRow1_card1

c.u.l.t.

The fact (presuming, for the sake of discussion, that it is a fact; although it looks increasingly likely) that Putin is pulling Trump's strings in no way suggests that he is the only one doing so.

In fact, it's pretty clear that multiple folks have figured out approaches that work. Sometimes in different directions, which can be confusing . . . until you realize that someone with few if any views (on anything outside himself) is essentially a pinball.

Mattis says it's a one off. My tin foil hat paranoia votes for Putin putting Assad up to this so Drumf would get a chance to look presidential.

....and he still couldn't pull it off.

I don’t want him looking Presidential. . I wasted 14 minutes watching Haspel supporter Panetta telling the Morning Joe crowd that Trump needed a strategy. He wasn’t opposed to military force. Oh, no, not Panetta. We have to let those Syrian thugs know that if they are going to kill civilians they are going to do it the way they and the Russians and the Saudis and the Americans and the Israelis do it — with high explosives.

One indication that we are in the end times is that I find myself agreeing with a National Review columnist. This piece sounds exactly like what I wrote above.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/04/president-trump-syria-strike-threats-dont-celebrate/

For reasons that I am not completely clear about, somehow the topic of Syria gets the most Orwellian treatment of any political topic in my lifetime. Somehow people know we have been supporting rebels, they kind of know that many of these rebels really aren’t very nice, they are vaguely aware that the war has dragged on for years and hundreds of thousands have been killed and no, not all by Assad and this includes at least 100,000 fighting to keep the rebels out of power ( probably not so much for Assad as for him as the lesser evil). They know that the US and the Saudis kept the rebels going.

But the conversation is mostly about how Syria shows the dangers of our lack of intervention. We ridicule Gary Johnson for not knowing about Aleppo and people barely mention the city we flattened, Raqqa.

Last time tiny hands fired some cruise missiles he was criticized for not doing more. Apparently Mattis held him back this time.

People might want to take away the Congressional keys to the cruise missiles from tiny hands. It seems like a good idea, rather than continuing to let Presidents just bomb whoever they want.

Wonder how the NK summit will go.

the focus on collusion is not to the point.

if mueller reports any potentially impeachable offense to congress it's likely to be obstruction of justice. if that's so, it will be because trump obstructed an investigation into russian interference in the election. he shouldn't have done that, if it results in his impeachment that is on him.

mueller's doing his job. if there is an animus toward trump among federal law enforcement people, it is an animus he has earned. he has the authority to hire and fire, but they are not his freaking lackeys. this isn't the family business anymore, he's not "the boss" and this isn't a reality TV show. people in government have resposibilities and obligations that extend well beyond loyalty to the potus.

as far as the basic institutions of governance go, trump is clueless. more than that, he doesn't appear to be interested in acquiring a clue. it may be possible to operate a closely held private family business by bullying and threatening people, the rules are quite different for positions of public responsibility.

i'm not even getting into the smorgasbord of corruption, criminality, and self-dealing that characterizes everyone in his circle.

it'll land where it lands, and any negative outcomes trump suffers will be those he has earned.

any negative outcomes trump suffers will be those he has earned.

Well, here's hoping. (Who, friend or foe, could argue with: "He should get what he deserves?" 🤔)

What think the commentariat of this from this morning's New York Times - headline When Liberals become Progressives, Much is Lost.

I certainly see myself as a liberal, and probably a progressive too, but hadn't really analysed the difference too much. Do we/you agree with any of his analysis or definitions?

"Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes against Syria without Congress’s approval is illegal. We need to stop giving presidents a blank check to wage war. Today it’s Syria, but what’s going to stop him from bombing Iran or North Korea next?"

Tim Kaine.

oh well, his running mate wasn't 100% perfect. so fuck him.

GftNC - I think he makes too much of labels and hit it on the head that liberal was demonized by the GOP so much that progressive is merely a different term for liberal these days.

As for what he claims is a "progressive" political philosophy, seems fairly straw-mannish to me based on a quick read.

Thanks, Ugh.

liberal was demonized by the GOP so much that progressive is merely a different term for liberal these days

I certainly agree with this, and had rather assumed that was all there was to it. But since I'm always rather unsure of my grasp of political theory, I was/am curious to know what ObWi people at large think. Of course, it's possible that this character is defining "progressives" in this way in order to have a subject to write about, and get grants and book deals to explore. You can never discount that kind of motivation when dealing with academics.

are there many Woodrow Wilson-style progressives around these days?

GFNC,

I smiled ruefully at the last paragraph where the author wrote, "One cannot, of course, make too much of labels." This, as he was wrapping up an short exercise of doing exactly that.

We are all familiar with how the political right successfully turned the word "liberal" into a smear. But it is relevant to consider that the term, as commonly understood (in the US), was itself relatively new, arising in response to the disaster of the Great Depression and the fight, not against the "accumulated wisdom of the past" but against vested and powerful economic interests deeply wedded to the rather recent ideology of free market capitalism and its inhumane offspring, social Darwinism. The early 20th century Progressive Era was but one earlier iteration of this struggle.

But deeper down, the essay was yet again a plea for liberals to take up to baton of "compromise", and the right? Not so much.

In this, it is deeply stupid (in the political sense).

Woodrow Wilson?

https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/100571847/donald-trump-most-racist-us-president-since-woodrow-wilson

Much of became a Republican in the 1970's along with the Southern Democrats and was re-elected as President in 2016.

"conservatives" are no longer conservative. they are reactionary.

a party or political movement that seeks to preserve and maintain political, economic, and social norms that are almost a century old, and which have much older roots, is by definition conservative.

the debate is not between conservatism and something else. it is a debate about different understandings about the role and scope of government and its relationship to people, and it is a debate about culture.

the two debates overlap, but they are distinct.

But deeper down, the essay was yet again a plea for liberals to take up to baton of "compromise", and the right? Not so much.

It’s like the one about the husband and wife who both want to eat the one pie they have. After the husband offers to split it 50-50, the wife says, “Let’s compromise. I’ll take 3/4 and you get 1/4.” (You might say it’s a sexist joke, and you might be right, but I’m not endorsing the joke so much as the play on what compromise means.)

The difference is that so-called “conservatives” aren’t willing to give up a single bite these days.

"oh well, his running mate wasn't 100% perfect. so fuck him."

Nor would she have been likely to agree with Tim Kaine on this point and would likely have bombed Syria more aggressively. And, not being under Putins thumb, would probably have expanded our involvement in Syria.

So bad example.

I am inclined to agree with Marty's 11:10 AM.
Only the reaction in Congress (and parts of the media) would be slightly different.
Would be interesting to know though, whether the "she is the one actually under Putin's thumb" talking point would be in play or not.

I would say that it's entirely possible that a President Clinton would have been more vigorous militarily in Syria. But also that she would have been less likely to behave there in a blundering way that gets WW III going.

Also, to Kaine's other point, it's vastly less likely that she would have blustered and blundered us into wars in Iran or Korea. At the moment, I'd put the odds of Trump doing one or the other at about 1 in 4. (With, since it's Trump, a huge uncertainty factor. Because who knows what, possibly totally unrelated, event or comment might set him off?)

bobbyp and others, thanks for responses on NYT piece. Hard to disagree with any of them.

Also, what wj said 11.44 above.

Yeah "liberals" preferred the label "progressive" after GOPers turned it into a swear word.

Just like GOPers preferred the label "tea party" after Dubya turned "Republican" into a swear word.

Tragedy requires a protagonist with virtues, to which his "tragic flaw" contrasts. When thete are no virtues, farce is all that's left.

I’m not sure why, but this comment from wj popped into my head while I was doing yard work. I realized that the tragic hero was the United States, and Trump was just a particularly virulent manifestation of its tragic flaw.

I realized that the tragic hero was the United States

Trying to imagine this guy, looks like uncle sam?, standing at Wounded Knee or Antietam. No, the United States of genocide, expansionism, slavery, rapacious capitalism, and neo-imperialism is not a tragic hero. Never was. Everybody, including the Nazis professes noble ideals and commits acts of benevolence, Not as many have wiping out entire nations as their identity (Algonquin, Apache, Nazis, Japan, Iraq, Libya)

The US, and the imperialism and monopoly capitalism it epitomizes is the villain of all the other stories.

And tragedy is dead. Been nothing but melodrama for two centuries.

Yeah, wiping out that Nazi nation was truly reprehensible.

And for a nation which has been wiped out, Japan seems remarkably hale and hearty. With a culture which stretches back centuries before the United States (or even the colonies on which it was based) was even dreamed of.

yes, counterfactual Hillary is the very worst thing anyone can imagine. always has been.

actual existing Donald Trump is actually bombing actual Syria, again.

Clinton is irrelevant. The problem is that most of the people who criticize Trump for his belligerence would be (and have been) defending any Democrat doing the same or worse tooth and nail - and thus the nasty and stupid travesty called US Foreign Policy in the ME+ carries on and on.

but ok... let's have Pretend Times.

a world where Counterfactual Hillary (CfH) is President is a world where the US government is not a parade of grifting idiots following the staggering lead of a corrupt, compromised, inept, idiot clown. the US might still be respected. Syria might not feel emboldened to us chemical weapons; Russia might not feel emboldened to support them.

we might not be in a situation where Syria has used these weapons twice in the past year. because Trump has done fuck-all to help stabilize or defuse the Syria situation. but maybe CfH could.

or is CfH only allowed to play in the world that Trump inhabits? she just subs in when things start going bad.

seems pretty limited, as far as analytical tools go.

the problem is that most of the people who criticize Trump for his belligerence would be (and have been) defending any Democrat doing the same or worse tooth and nail

if that's "the problem", i say we don't worry about it.

The problem is that our political class actually seems to believe it can, for example, support Saudi bombing in Yemen and oppose Russian bombing in Syria, condemn the shooting of peaceful protestors except when Israel does it, wax eloquent and outraged about Aleppo and Ghouta and say nothing about Raqqa and Mosul and expect their moralizing to be taken seriously.
They are, in effect, high functioning sociopaths. Trump is a low functioning sociopath. This is why so many warmongers in both parties hate him. He makes them look bad because at times he doesn’t even bother to pretend he has good motives. No class.

Plus it is actually hard to tell if he has enough sense not to start a nuclear war. The rest of our mass murdering foreign policy elite seem to realize that you only bully and kill people who can’t shoot back.

AFAIK, Kaine has a good record on wanting Congress to take back its warmaking powers. But for most politicians it is a partisan issue.

https://mobile.twitter.com/justinamash/status/984991095473000448

Donald, novakant,

Could you please take a moment to suggest what you're FOR, or are you too outraged to do anything but denounce what you're AGAINST?

I'd ask bob mcmanus the same question, but I'm not sure I'd have the erudition to understand his answer.

--TP

If I remember correctly I noted Kaine as a Democrat as close to someone I might vote for as existed.

But not for VP.

By the way, in case someone decides to make a partisan point, most Democrats voted on the right side in the most recent Yemen debate. It was a different story when it was Obama’s war.

Countries which do not themselves have blood on their hands might wish to get together and discuss ways to out pressure on countries like the US and Russia and their allies to stop behaving the way they do. What our politicians and pundits ( with some exceptions) don’t seem to realize is that we are part of the problem.

They are, in effect, high functioning sociopaths.

well.. they are a fairly representative slice of the people they act in the name of. most people are not true pacifists. most people are OK with killing people who "deserve" it. and "deserve" is usually pretty low bar, so long as they're strangers. very very few people seriously care about the lives of people who aren't like them and who they will never interact with.

Countries which do not themselves have blood on their hands might wish to get together and discuss ways to out pressure on countries like the US and Russia and their allies to stop behaving the way they do.

I'm curious what countries those might be. Or, to put it another way, how far back in history do you go . . . because, outside a few tiny places which simply don't have the capability, prety much everybody has done something you would abhor at some point.

wj: I'm curious what countries those might be.

How about the Duchy of Grand Fenwick?

--TP

Tony, as noted, small (as in microscopic) size seems to the only route to purity. Well, except for the implicit complicity inherent in the reality that, absent some large, and tainted, power willing to prevent it, you would rapidly be absorbed by one that is worse....

Good for you, Marty, and I mean that completely sincerely in the spirit of non-partisanship. The only thing is, once they really got going on him with the equivalent of swift-boating, you'd find yourself gradually changing your mind and by the time you realised what had been done (if you ever did realise) it would be too late.

Yes, I know you are against children working in mines, but what are you for?

Gosh. Where to start? Back in my ignorant youth, at the height of the Cold War, I came across a tract that argued for unilateral disarmament. If we pull back a bit from that, we might be able to come up with a sane foreign policy. It would involve less arms sales and hugely more foreign aid. It would involve actual capital assistance to the 3rd world. It would involve actual voluntary devolvement of the world wide power projection we currently insist is our right.

But what it seems to come down to are "vital" interests, and those who espouse all these interventions seem to have a very expansive interpretation of what those interests are.

Maybe we should start there before insisting your interloquer come up with a detailed plan of what should be done.

GftNC - Hilzoy didn't much like that piece either:

https://twitter.com/hilzoy/status/985306823707299841

"by the time you realised what had been done (if you ever did realise) "

Guess we've seen how far that can be taken.....

I, for one, am not for the Muntz Doctrine.

Marty: yes, you're right (if I understand you correctly). I bet there are still loads of people who don't realise that that swift-boating of Kerry turned out to be completely bogus and politically orchestrated dirty tricks, like McCain's illegitimate black baby...

My criticims of Trump re bombing is that he has no policy. No strategy. No goals. No idea what he is doing.

The situation is extremely complex and we have only a limited ability to affect outcomes there, so any policy might fail to meet a set of goals.

But action without policy will have consequences and they are unlikely to be good.

"The situation is extremely complex and we have only a limited ability to affect outcomes there, so any policy might fail to meet a set of goals."

Dont use chemical weapons because that crosses a humanitarian red line is a policy, shared seemingly by our two longest term Western allies.

May fall short in lots of ways but it does have upsides, including not acting rashly or unilaterally.

And not being deterred in that coordination by Russia. Unless you believe Putin told him to act in concert with NATO allies.

bobbyp: ...It would involve less arms sales and hugely more foreign aid. It would involve actual capital assistance to the 3rd world. It would involve actual voluntary devolvement of the world wide power projection we currently insist is our right.

That's a great start, and I am entirely for it.

It's getting from here to there that needs a strategy. A more prosperous, better educated world would be less violent and more just. And it can be achieved within a generation or two. But what do we do in the meantime?

I mean, what do we do in the present world, which contains people opposed to prosperity for Others -- or even their mere existence? We can let them fight it out among themselves and concentrate on helping the survivors, I suppose. It may be the only rational -- and possibly the most humane -- thing we can do.

And, if the proposition is that the West in general and the US in particular are the reason the Sunni hate the Shia, the Hutu hate the Tutsi, the Burmese hate the Rohingya, and everybody hates the Jews then we definitely need to get out of the way.

--TP

Intervention: A Success Story!: Let's look back at our nation's questionable adventures in the Middle East. (YouTube)

The US's approach to damping down conflagrations in the Middle East is to sell/give them gasoline.

Mary I am not opposed to the red line policy. But I dont think it is Trump's policy ( and it is a very very rudimentary policy but thats another issue.

Trump's policy is to tweet something one day tweet a contradiction the next, they try to get him to focus on something long enough to make a decision and stick to it for a day or two...

He was withdrawing from Syria only what? Ten days ago? And had nothing to say about the gassing until people started criticizing him for having nothing to say, so he said it was awful and tweeted that there would be bombing to the surprise of everyone. Now he has declared a success and will go back to tweeting about the Mueller investigation. I doubt if anyone in State or the Joint Chiefs or even the White House has more than the very vaguest idea what we might do in Syria next.

SO no I dont think he even has the red line as a policy I think he just reacts to stuff by tweeting whatever comes into his head at three in the morning

personally, i don't have a lot of problem with "you used chemical weapons, we bomb you" in the abstract. i just don't think it's going to have much of an effect in this case. but how much infrastructure does it take to make chlorine bombs? pretty much none. we blew up some isolated buildings after giving them a day's warning? ok.

besides, Trump already did this, last year. Assad and Putin know Trump is incoherent and stupid and likely to keep himself tied up in scandals for the next 2.5 years. they can do whatever the want in Syria, and if it costs them a few shitty buildings every few months? meh.

credibility : Trump has none.

"how much infrastructure does it take to make chlorine bombs? pretty much none."

Which means that it is within the capabilities of ALL sides in Syria, and there's plenty of reason for Group A to try to put the blame on Group B so that the US strikes them.

There are really, really good reasons not to get involved in someone else's civil war, as hard as it is to just watch from the sidelines (and help refugees).

i don't really understand the international legalities but i don't have much problem with bombing assad's military infrastructure in response to assad's use of chemical weapons.

fwiw.

all of that said, trump is subject to US law like everyone else who lives here.

the feds and congress went after nixon, reagan, clinton, and bush. trump neither deserves, nor gets, a pass.

wonkie: My criticims of Trump re bombing is that he has no policy. No strategy. No goals.

I get what you mean. And agree with that. However.

In the literal sense, I think he does have policy, strategy (well as close as he ever gets), and goals. Just none of them particularly related to Syria per se.

  • Policy: two policies, actually
    1. make himself look good to his fans. While keeping happy whoever is holding the strings -- probably not a single individual, which creates some complexity.
    2. do the opposite of whatever Obama did.
  • Strategy: whenever stuff happens which might make him look bad, create a distraction. (And what's a better distraction than a war? Or at least a military strike with the threat of one.) Granted, with someone with a microscopic attention span, strategy can look an awful lot like tactics for anyone else.
  • Goals: create enough chaos to stay in office a full term (stretch goal: two terms), monetizing the office all the way.

It could be Syria. Or North Korea. Or trade. Or a hurricane. The policy, strategy, and goals will be the same. Not least because he knows nothing about any actual issue or situation. And is disinterested in (possibly incapable of) learning anything about them beyond the occasional Fox News sound bite.

cleek screv :
usenet

I thought I remembered you of old.
At one time or another, I lived and breathed
rec.arts.books
rec.backcountry
ba.food
talk.origins
alt.religion.scientology

Well, it is easy to prevent them from producing chlorine. Just block their access to table salt, seawater and electricity. Oh, and no bleach of course, although that will admittedly heighten the probability of disease outbreaks. On the other hand, people consume too much table salt anyway, so there is a health benefit of blocking access. And people have lived without electricity since at least the stone age and rarely complained about the lack until quite recently. According to urban legends (birth rates going up 9 months after blackouts) it even gets people closer together, so another benefit. Especially civil wars tend to be detrimental on that front (unlike proper wars where the armies of liberation produce an up-tick. Flowers and deflowering and happiness all-around).

usenet

bit.listserv.allmusic

rec.arts.poems was my jam

russel, it's not really that difficult (Article 2):

http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/un-charter-full-text/


Regarding the disaster that is US Foreign Policy in e.g. Afghanistan, I recommend Steve Coll's

"Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001"

"Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001–2016"

This is a very good article on how Syria got where it is today, since the events of 2011.
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/04/syria-chemical-weapons/558065/

Ah, usenet.

I posted my first comments on usenet in 1991 or 92. I fondly remember
ne.general,
ne.politics,
rec.crafts.metalworking,
sci.econ,
and I remember my disappointment when many of the regulars in those started drifting off to these new-fangled blog things.

What I miss about those usenet groups is that they were
1) text-based
2) ad-free
3) diverse as all hell
Fondly do I recall my jousts with gun nuts on r.c.m. and goldbugs on sci.econ, not to mention the magnificent invective on sci.physics by one "Uncle Al". The mix of liberals and conservatives, philosophers and cranks, vulgarians and prissy scolds, in every combination, at least in the groups I frequented, was glorious. True, persons more fastidious than myself might have called them cesspools of mindless insult and unmoderated bullying at times, but I thought then (and think now) that airing your views on the internet requires a certain indifference to badmouthing by the world's trolls. It never occured to me to worry that my mama might actually wear army boots, or that my fellow libruls might be sacrificing virgins and barbequing babies behind my back.

Usenet was "CB radio, but with more typing" according to Dave Barry -- but I enjoyed it while it lasted. Obsidian Wings is the closest substitute I have found in the blog world, and I remain among those who thank Andrew Sullivan for tipping me off to its existence.

I must add: I don't remember anybody on usenet who I enjoyed reading as much as our very own Count. So that's another reason I've made peace with my usenet withdrawal symptoms.

--TP

Tony,
Back at you....what option do you favor wrt the Syrian civil war? Might there be an option not presented?

What to to about bad actors? Try not to make things worse.

Regards,

Is our sycophancy* to the Saudis a tactic, or a strategy? Nevertheless, there are indeed alternatives. They are never discussed by the Very Serious People, or any major political leader from either major party.

Why is that?

*the motivating factor cited by the author, while no doubt true, strikes me as overly simplistic.

WRT Syria, I don't think there are any great options. But the least bad/counterproductive one goes something like this:
-- figure out what the best feasible end is for the Syrian Kurds.
-- work out with them how to get to there.
-- do those things.

There are lots of other bad actors there. But there are too many to figure choosing among them will be productive.

Collusion isn't proven but it is already an established fact that Papadapolous and Jr TRIED to collude, which ought to be a hell of a lot more shocking than someone cleaning the junk mail off their secure server

The people who say Hillary would have been a lot work are rationalizing. They can never back that up with any kind of remotely fact-based arguments. One obvious benefit to having her in office is she would have appointed competent people to Cabinet positions. And she was not involved in collusion, did not try to obstruct justice even when the target of a politically motivated investigation, is not involved in money laundering, is not an adulterer or sexual harasser, thinks before she speaks and would have respected expertise in the formation of policy.

She was not my pick and I suspect that I would have spent a lot of time frustrated by her if she ahd been elected, but to say she would have been worse than Trump is sheer idiocy.

Sometimes people just have to man up or woman up, get over the partisanship and face facts. Trump sucks.

A lot WOrSE, not a lot of work.

The Atlantic article is a mixture of fact and self serving Western crap, about as plausible as what you would read from Assad supporters. Only an exceptionally stupid child would funnel weapons into a civil war and expect this to make the situation better from a humanitarian viewpoint. The hope was to weaken the Russian Iranian Syrian Hezbollah alliance, by toppling Assad. We allied ourselves with well known democratic forces like the Saudis. Golly, who would think that could go wrong. Though then again, it depends on what the primary motivation was.

There is no government on earth that would fight a clean war faced by opponents armed by the outside that can kill a hundred thousand members of its armed forces. Probably every single government in the Middle East including Israel would fight as brutally as Assad in those circumstances. We ourselves leveled Mosul and Raqqa. Yes, Assad is a dictator. It was utterly predictable that a civil war would become a bloodbath and that Westerners would largely ignore our role in fueling it. But it might work and it wouldn’t involve large scale uses of American troops, (though somehow there we are) and without large American casualties nobody important will question our noble goals.

Here is a rather detailed study of what happened to the weapons we supplied.

http://www.conflictarm.com/download-file/?report_id=2568&file_id=2574#page36

We should have done “ nothing” in Syria after the shooting started and by “ nothing” I mean the sort of action we take in other cases where we aren’t one of the villains. We denounce the atrocities, we try to push for an end to violence, we sanction individual members of the government but not Syria as a whole, and in general treat the situation like we treat the killing of the Rohingya, for instance. I call that “ nothing” because in American parlance if we aren’t bombing, if we only supply billions of dollars of weapons, we are doing nothing. And, by the way, if we care about war crimes maybe we could stop committing them or actively assisting crimes against humanity in Yemen. Make some rude noises when Israel guns down unarmed protestors. Or, say, maybe we could give Hamas a few billion in weapons?

I'm curious as to how you think the article was self serving crap, Donald ?
It's pretty clear that most of the decisions taken by the US in Syria have turned out to be fairly disastrous.

If there is one thing that is not in question in all of the Trump BS, it's that members of his family and entourage made contact with Russian nationals, including people connected to Putin, and sought information from them that would be damaging to Clinton.

If that is not collusion, I'm not sure what the word means.

The focus on collusion is beside the point. There is no actionable legal meaning to the word that I'm aware of. I suppose Mueller could present a report about cooperation between Russian nationals and members of Trump's team to Congress and recommend that some action be taken, whether impeachment or censure or whatever. Congress might scold Trump and tell him not to do it again. Then again, this Congress might say "Well done Mr. President!" and buy a round of drinks for the house.

Did Trump or members of his entourage *conspire* with Russian nationals to break any laws?

Did Trump act to impede either Comey's or Mueller's investigations into Russian interference in the election?

Those are the *legal* questions that rise from the context of the campaign and Trump's time in office.

And, it is also within Mueller's brief to investigate other crimes that he discovers in the process of looking into the above. Which opens the door to the business dealings of Trump, his kids, and virtually everyone in his circle. Which, as we have seen and will no doubt continue to see, is a truly target-rich environment for a federal prosecutor.

The man is a crook, and he can't keep his stupid mouth shut. And, he decided he needed to step into a role that requires you to live under a freaking microscope.

A bad idea, all around. So, various kinds of crap have been hitting, and will continue to hit, the proverbial fan.

Normally about this time Marty will chime in to say "Yeah, that's just what *you* want". I will save him the time effort and say no, it's not what I want, I don't want any of this bullshit. It's what has been forced upon me by the profoundly, almost unimaginably bad judgement of the folks who voted for the man.

If you go out on a Saturday night and drink twelve boilermakers in short order, or eat 17 Big Macs for dinner, or hit yourself over the head with a bat until you pass out, you're going to feel like crap the next day. Probably for the next week. Right?

If somebody like me says "Hey, you are going to suffer if you do that stuff", somebody like me is not wishing for you to feel like crap. Somebody like me is just making an observation that is more or less like saying what goes up, must come down.

And if somebody like me seems somewhat pissed off as they say "you're going to suffer", it's probably because in the process of drinking your twelve boilermakers, or eating your 17 Big Macs, or bashing your own head with a bat, you've done no small amount of damage to the rest of us along the way. You've crashed into our car, or puked on our sofa, or managed to club us over our heads once or twice while you were at it.

So, hell yeah, we're pretty pissed off. Like, very much so.

The folks who voted for Trump voted for a crook. Not just a crook, but a foolish and vain crook. A man of no discernable virtue whatsoever. And, a man who brought his crooked family and personal circle of crooks and incompetent creeps along with him, into positions of the highest possible public responsibility.

Shit like that is bound to fall apart.

Suck it up, take your lumps, and quit voting for assholes like Trump. And don't blame the rest of us when the wheels come off. We didn't vote for the guy.

I just want this mess cleaned the hell up.

Let's see how Judge Kimba Wood rules today, russell.

Depending on how much of the Cohen documentation is ruled admissible, he and his number one client could be in very deep trouble.

Mostly, what Russell said (at 7:29). With one exception. When you say:
he decided he needed to step into a role that requires you to live under a freaking microscope.

I don't think he did that. I don't think he thought when he entered the primaries that he would actually win. Maybe, outside chance, the nomination but certainly not the general election. It was a chance to grandstand, which he loves. And to hugely expand his brand recognition, which he could monetize after the campaign was over.

Nobody working for him really thought he would win either. That contributed to why there was nobody doing any planning for the transition or for staffing the government -- Trump himself doesn't seem to do planning, but someone would have gotten them at least a little bit prepared. Then it was the week before the general election, and there actually seemed to be an outside chance . . . but still too slim a one to waste effort preparing for it.

Then he won, and it became a scramble to find people to work for him. Yes, most of what he ended up with, besides his inner circle of crooks, were massive incompetents. But he was unwilling to take people who had opposed him (and said nasty things about him) during the campaign. And pretty much everybody competent who had said anything had done exactly that. So the "talent" pool was damn shallow.

I confess that I can't fault the Trump campaign for not thinking he was going to win. Because most of the country, definitely including me, thought the same. Granted, in that position I would definitely do some contingency planning, but still . . . .

I don't think he thought when he entered the primaries that he would actually win.

Lately I think that maybe Trump was / is the mark.

In any case, ya gotta be careful what you wish for, even if you're just pretending.

Heat, kitchens.

There is no person inside the beltway whose personal and professional relationships, financial and otherwise, could withstand the scrutiny of a Mueller investigation.

Railing on about what a crook all his friends and colleague's are is wasted breath unless you just want him, out of all the crooks, to be singled out. Cohen isnt the only fixer in Washington. More than a few strippers have been paid off along the way. More than a few contracts have been fast tracked.

I think legally catching someone doing that is ok if they cross the line, paying someone to not say disparaging things is not a crime. But faux righteousness is a little overdone.

The special prosecutors primary task was Russian interference and , most importantly to Democrats, collusion.

Saying collusion wasnt the point ignores simple facts, like Sessions need to recuse himself, or the need for a special prosecutor at all. Im pretty sure the DOJ could have handled Russuan interference sans collusion.

This is about wanting Trump gone at any cost.

I have had to live with different kinds of embarassing Presidents, Clinton as bad as Trump from the cgeating and lying perspective, Obama as bad from a representing the US in th ME perspective and insulting aa huge portion of the country, and likely as corrupt based on his political roots. Even Bush II managed to turn a simple victory into an embarassing torture fiasco.

Maybe we will talk someone into running that wont be embarassing, but based on the historical candidate pool i doubt it.

ya gotta be careful what you wish for

Too true. Like the Bernie folks who refused to vote for Hillary because they hated the thought of her winning with their support . . . and never imagined she would actually lose to someone like Trump. Got their wish: she didn't win with their support; or at all.

There is no person inside the beltway whose personal and professional relationships, financial and otherwise, could withstand the scrutiny of a Mueller investigation.

I expect that's a serious overstatement, but assume it's true. There is still a point at which a difference of degree becomes a difference in kind.

You wouldn't class someone who skims a few dollars from the tip jar with Bernie Maddoff . . . even though both were guilty of theft. Same thing here.

Trump's escapades with hookers are, I agree, not all that exceptional among politicians. It's all the other stuff. For example, how many other politicians do you know who spend most weekends at government expense at a place that they, personally, own -- so the money goes straight into their own pocket? And that's just the most publicly obvious of Trump's bad behavior.

ya gotta be careful what you wish for

Too true.

Yes. Like wishing for an autonomous breakaway-from-Syria Kurdish region next door to Turkey. The chances of this happening are close to nil.

I would wager that the number of hardcore Berniecrats who refused to vote for HRC is just about equal to the number of Republicans who refused to vote for Trump because....which is to say not many.

I have had to live with different kinds of embarassing Presidents, Clinton as bad as Trump from the cgeating and lying perspective, Obama as bad from a representing the US in th ME perspective and insulting aa huge portion of the country, and likely as corrupt based on his political roots. Even Bush II managed to turn a simple victory into an embarassing torture fiasco.

Without disputing any of the points you've made about the past presidents mentioned, it appears you have to take what you think is the worst about each of them to equate them with Trump separately on different measures.

Was your point that Trump is the worst of all worlds? Because that's the point you appear to have made.

The order outlining what Mueller was to investigate.

I don't give a crap about Stormy Daniels. If it violated campaign finance - something Mueller was specifically authorized to look into - then Cohen and possibly Trump are liable. Other than that, I don't really care.

When I say "collusion is not the point" it's because "collusion" can mean almost anything. Some of the things it can mean are illegal, some are not. Focusing on "collusion" is like saying Mueller is investigating Trump and his circle for not playing fair.

For purposes of justifying the time, expense, and effort of a special counsel investigation, it's just not relevant.

I don't particularly disagree with this:

There is no person inside the beltway whose personal and professional relationships, financial and otherwise, could withstand the scrutiny of a Mueller investigation.

"No person" is probably a few steps too far, but in general I don't disagree that DC is ground zero for certain categories of corruption and self-dealing.

Trump's not a crook because he's in DC. He's pretty much always been a crook. I don't mean fast-tracked a contract for a supporter, or paid off a stripper. I mean money-laundering, fraud, stuff like that. Gross criminality. Trump, and Cohen, and Kushner, and Manafort, and the rest of that crew. They're criminals.

Sessions had to recuse himself because it was an investigation into Russian interference in the election, and as a member of Trump's campaign staff he (Sessions) had met with the Russian ambassador, and was not particularly candid about it. So, he stood down, as was appropriate.

As far as I can tell, Trump is not being hammered any harder than Reagan was, Clinton was, or Bush was. Obama wasn't hammered as hard because he was, actually and remarkably, not a sleazebag.

There was, and is, reason to believe that members of Trump's campaign, and possibly Trump himself, conspired with foreign nationals, including people close to Putin, to illegally interfere in the US presidential election. That's worth looking into. Comey was looking into it, and Trump fired him. That smells a hell of a lot like obstruction. So now Mueller is looking into all of that.

And it will land where it will land, and if Trump gets booted out, that's what will happen. And if that upsets the folks who supported him, so be it. Perhaps they'll make better choices next time around.

This is not some vendetta to "get Trump out at all costs". Mueller is doing his job. And he damned well better be allowed to finish doing his job, or there will be hell to pay.

Cohen isnt the only fixer in Washington.

he's the only one who works for The President Of The United States.

This is about wanting Trump gone at any cost.

no, it isn't.

it's about figuring out exactly how vulnerable our elections are, and finding out if the President Of The United States is compromised by Russia.

sure, the answers to those questions could turn out to be awkward for Republicans to hear. but pretending they're not worth answering is just crazy.

Obama ... likely as corrupt based on his political roots.

This is madness, Marty. Is there any basis for this claim other than, "Hey, Chicago?"

byomtov, it was only because the GOP-controlled congress was so deferential to Obama that none of his misdeeds were brought to light. Stop being naïve.

Saying collusion wasnt the point ignores simple facts, like Sessions need to recuse himself, or the need for a special prosecutor at all. Im pretty sure the DOJ could have handled Russuan interference sans collusion.

Marty, when you consider wj's point about the investigation being about Russian interference, rather than collusion, that still explains Sessions's recusal given he mis-stated his contacts with Russians. That doesn't have to amount to collusion, it just, on its face (because of the mis-statement), amounts to a possible conflict of interest. Also, there would be no special prosecutor if Trump hadn't fired Comey: as I understand it the DOJ was handling it (the question of Russian interference) until then. Or have I misunderstood it (always a distinct possibility)?

If Trump was thinking he wouldn't win, that may have won him the primary and the election.

For laughs, I took a little walk down memory lane. Back to the 80's and the days of the Gipper.

138 individuals in his administration investigate for criminal activity. 26 indictments, 16 convictions.

It must have been a push to get rid of Reagan at any cost!!

Sometimes the simplest explanation is sufficient. Sometimes folks get investigated because they are bad actors.

It must have been a push to get rid of Reagan at any cost!!

(sarcasm) It was, and we failed miserably. I blame all those centrist Republicans would would not disavow that utterly corrupt administration and join us in that fight.(/sarcasm)

LOL

guess who else Cohen 'represents' ?

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/16/trump-lawyer-michael-cohen-refuses-to-identify-clients-as-court-faceoff-looms.html

Hannity.

*insert gif of a box of popcorn eating a box of popcorn*

So, Hannity is in for a "Stormy" time?

Sounds plausible.

How can you not love this?
Lawyers for Cohen said that if Cohen's clients, other than Trump, were publicly revealed, it is "likely to be embarrassing or detrimental to the client."

Why would you retain an attorney who, if it would revealed that he represented you, that fact alone would be an embarrassment? Why would you ever do that??? Inquiring minds want to know....

Judge Kimba Wood was nominated by Bill Clinton to be Attorney General back in 1993. I mention it because Marty will soon be giving us the RWNJ party line on the subject.

I am actually disappointed that Wood is the judge in the case. It would have been much more popcorn-worthy if the judge had been He, Trump's sister.

As Rumpole of the Bailey once said of British justice, the American legal system is a lifelong subject of harmless fun.

--TP

Judge Kimba Wood 'trained' as a Playboy Bunny!

the cirrrrrcle of liiiiiife

...Obama...likely as corrupt based on his political roots

That's wishful thinking, and the wish does you no credit. We know for a stone-cold fact that Obama was straight, because the entire Republican party was out to get him, and came up with nothing.

Pro Bono,

Nah he had tbe whole justice system protecting him.

Marty,

Your comment about Obama is despicable. No other way to put it.

You have no reason to think it's true, yet you spew the garbage like a Fox host.

If you expect other things you say to be taken seriously, you shouldn't post this kind of slime.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Blog powered by Typepad