Saturday, March 24, 2018

How do you know if the president is lying?

You know the punch line.

The power of Christ compels him?

No, the real answer is twofold:  1) he's a narcissistic, compulsive liar; and 2) he has to keep hammering home to his base that all news outlets other than Fox are fake news.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

We condemn the violent actions

No such thoughts and prayers for Austin bomber victims and no such Twitter condemnation of the bomber.  In fact, this was the only tweet about that:

And these were his remarks three weeks after the bombings began, and only in response to a direct question by a reporter during a meeting with the Saudi crown prince:

By March 20, when he made those few remarks, the authorities already knew who they were looking for, although they hadn't made that information public, and they caught him the next day.

(If you haven't seen this Fox News YouTube video, which is labeled "President Trump condemns Austin bombings" (which he didn't) check it out.  When someone asks a follow-up question whether this was a hate crime or terrorism, he starts talking about his phone call with Putin.)

He never made any statement of concern for the people of Austin, and he never condemned the bombers actions nor the people who supported him.

Let me guess....the French gunman was a Muslim.
The attacker, Radouane Lakdim, 26, a Moroccan-born French national, was a petty criminal already on the radar of French police for his links to radical Salafist networks, authorities said.


...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Background on the bomber.


Bolton's prediction

Rob Malley, who coordinated Middle East policy in the Obama administration, observed that Bolton’s appointment, along with the nomination of Iran deal critic Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, seemed to signal that the agreement would most likely be “dead and buried” within months.


Bolton, who made his name as a belligerent member of George W. Bush’s State Department and a Fox News contributor, has not only demanded that the Trump administration withdraw from the nuclear deal, he also previously advocated bombing Iran instead. Bolton has spent the better part of a decade calling for the United States to help overthrow the theocratic government in Tehran and hand power to a cult-like group of Iranian exiles with no real support inside the country.


“I think the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, that military action, was a resounding success,” Bolton told [Fox News' Tucker] Carlson. The chaos that followed in Iraq, he said, was caused by a poorly executed occupation that ended too soon. On the bright side, Bolton said, the mistakes the U.S. made in Iraq offered “lessons about what to do after a regime is overthrown” in the future.


Just eight months ago, at a Paris gathering, Bolton told members of the Iranian exile group, known as the Mujahedeen Khalq, MEK, or People’s Mujahedeen, that the Trump administration should embrace their goal of immediate regime change in Iran and recognize their group as a “viable” alternative.


“The declared policy of the United States should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran,” Bolton added. “The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change and, therefore, the only solution is to change the regime itself.”

As the Iranian expatriate journalist Bahman Kalbasi noted, Bolton concluded his address to the exiles with a rousing promise: “And that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!”

  The Intercept
Remember when the MEK was on GW Bush's terrorist groups list?
After members of the MEK helped foment the 1979 revolution, in part by killing American civilians working in Tehran, the group then lost a bitter struggle for power to the Islamists led by the revolution’s leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. With its leadership forced to flee Iran in 1981, the MEK’s members set up a government-in-exile in France and established a military base in Iraq, where they were given arms and training by Saddam Hussein, as part of a strategy to destabilize the government in Tehran that he was at war with.

In recent years, as The Intercept has reported, the MEK has poured millions of dollars into reinventing itself as a moderate political group ready to take power in Iran if Western-backed regime change ever takes place. To that end, it lobbied successfully to be removed from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2012.
Remember who helped them get the job done? (For hefty speaking fees, of course.)
At a previous gala, in 2016, Bolton was joined in singing the group’s praises by another former U.N. ambassador, Bill Richardson; a former attorney general, Michael Mukasey; the former State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley; the former Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend; the former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I.; and the former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. That Paris gala was hosted by Linda Chavez, a former Reagan administration official.

At a similar event this January, the backdrop behind former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, as he praised MEK leader Maryam Rajavi, made the aim of the group’s investment in American politicians clear.


At the group’s celebration of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, in Albania on Tuesday, Rajavi was joined on stage by Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City.

And remember who was reportedly funding MEK?
All of these mysteries received substantial clarity from an NBC News report by Richard Engel and Robert Windrem yesterday. Citing two anonymous “senior U.S. officials,” that report makes two amazing claims: (1) that it was MEK which perpetrated the string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and (2) the Terrorist group “is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service.”


If these senior U.S. officials are telling the truth, there are a number of vital questions and conclusions raised by this. First, it would mean that the assurances by MEK’s paid American shills such as Howard Dean that “they are unarmed” are totally false: whoever murdered these scientists is obviously well-armed. Second, this should completely gut the effort to remove MEK from the list of designated Terrorist groups.


Of course, as I documented in my last book, those who are politically and financially well-connected are free to commit even the most egregious crimes; for that reason, the very idea of prosecuting Giuliani, Rendell, Ridge, Townsend, Dean and friends for their paid labor on behalf of a Terrorist group is unthinkable.

  Glenn Geenwald February 2012
How many times has the US overthrown foreign governments and set up its own puppet regime that proved to be disastrous? It's the never-ending story.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Let the pretexts begin

On Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictment of nine Iranians for conspiring to hack and defraud American universities and businesses on behalf of the Iranian government. Rosenstein vowed harsh repercussions for the Iranian hackers, including their extradition to the United States and imprisonment if convicted. The strongly worded presser stood in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s approach to hacks by Russia, a far more pervasive threat to the United States. Since 2014, Russia has hacked the State Department, the Department of Defense, the Democratic National Committee, the Republican National Committee, the personal emails of millions of Americans, and most notably, critical infrastructure including the power grid.


While the contrast between the Trump administration’s treatment of Iranian and Russian hackers is alarming in its own right, the most troubling aspect of the announcement may be the timing. Less than 24 hours before the indictments were revealed, Trump appointed notorious warmonger John Bolton as his new national security advisor, effective April 9. Bolton has been seeking to invade Iran for at least 15 years.


Bolton has insisted, without evidence and in defiance of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s assessment, that Iran is not honoring its commitment to constrain its nuclear program, and that military invasion is necessary. He has repeatedly insisted that the U.S. should abandon the Iran deal completely, appearing on FOX News–Trump’s main repository of policy advice–to argue that Trump should “just get out of it.”


In the fall of 2017, as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea ran sky-high, Bolton repeatedly called for a pre-emptive strike, one that would likely lead to nuclear war. Bolton differs here from Trump only in his experience and bureaucratic prowess: Trump has fantasized about using nuclear weapons for over 30 years – “If we have them, why not use them?” he famously said–and has proposed massive spending on a new nuclear arsenal. [...] In January, the Pentagon announced in its updated nuclear posture review that nuclear strikes were a legitimate response to nonmilitary attacks if they involved “extreme circumstances”, citing a major cyberattack as an example.


If the Iranian hacks–which, according to Rosenstein, caused $3.4 billion in damage–are considered “extreme circumstances” by the White House, nuclear strikes may be on the table.

  Sarah Kendzior
Talk about inappropriate response. "That's the Chicago way."

For Bolton, the answer to any international crisis is always war, and the indicted Iranian hackers, presented with much fanfare by Rosenstein, give the administration an ostensible pretext. Needless to say, an administration that runs on “alternative facts” will simply invent an excuse where none exists, but the timing of the announcement seems geared to direct the nation’s attention to Iran as a major threat, laying the groundwork for Bolton to pursue military and even nuclear strikes–now justified in official documents by the changes in the Pentagon’s nuclear posture review–when he begins his tenure in April.


Bolton will enter a White House with a gutted State Department, multiple officials under investigation for illicit Kremlin ties (which Bolton also shares) and illicit work with Cambridge Analytica (with whom Bolton also worked), and a support team of religious zealots, Islamophobes, kleptocrats, and mercenaries, all of whom would likely find a rearrangement of the Middle East power structure advantageous. It is an administration that has long abandoned accountability, violating both White House protocol and the constitution with impunity, and firing officials—like James Comey and Andrew McCabe—who attempt to investigate the corruption.

Who's gonna tell him?

Oh Dear God

Or, are they having second thoughts?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

This is your president

Some people with stronger stomachs than I listened to Trump's ominibus bill.

I'm sure he does...he said as much when he introduced Marillyn Hewson as Marillyn Lockheed yesterday.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Lies daily

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


Trump's threat to veto the omnibus bill was just another in a long line of off-the-cuff attempts to get attention by stirring the pot. 
Which proves the underlying truth of Trump’s immigration stance: His efforts at “leadership” are just temper tantrums.

This is not a good quality in a president.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


That was already the case when he tweeted he was considering a veto.