None of this is impeachable, but it’s certainly inexplicable.
President Trump’s conduct and rhetoric regarding Turkey and its autocratic ruler appear to be incompetent and irresponsible. In November, the President said he was a “great fan” of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Since Erdrogan’s regime has been notable for its restrictions and attacks on basic civil rights, such praise is certain to stir the embers of the “Trump is a secret fascist dictator just waiting for his chance” narrative. Maybe that’s the idea, and this is more intentional trolling; who knows? Does Trump play three dimensional chess? Does he just say stuff without thinking, and then backtrack just as quickly?
Over recent months, the President also sided with Erdogan in rejecting Congress’s bi-partisan resolution officially labeling the Ottoman Empire’s massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 as genocide. Turkey’s official position has been that the deaths were a product of war, and not illegal. Trump called it “one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century” on Armenian Remembrance Day, and after the Senate passed its side of the resolution, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement,“The position of the Administration has not changed…Our views are reflected in the President’s definitive statement in April.”
It is worth noting, since the anti-Trump media won’t tell you, that the ‘horrible but not genocide’ approach follows decades of US policy designed to avoid angering Turkey, a NATO ally. Former President Barack Obama also did not refer to the killings as “genocide” during his tenure. Continue reading
The White House announced this week that President Trump called Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on winning a sinister referendum that will lock-in his autocratic rule over the country and further erode Turkey’s democratic institutions, which are already on life-support, or maybe not even that. It is reported that 140,000 Turkish citizens have had their passports canceled. More than 100,000 people are at risk of imprisonment or worse for being suspected of complicity in the recent the attempted coup: so far 71,000 of these have been detained, and 41,000 have been arrested. Six thousand academics have lost their jobs, 4,000 judges and prosecutors, 24,000 policemen and security personnel, and 200 governors and their staff members. Seven thousand military personnel have been relieved of their posts. Fifteen universities, 1,000 schools, 28 TV channels, 66 newspapers, 19 magazines, 36 radio stations, 26 publishing houses and five news agencies have been shut down.
Erdogen has also imprisoned moderate Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas on the charge of inciting violence with his criticisms of the regime, and thousands of members of Demirtas’s political party, H.D.P., have been detained or arrested.
Our President’s irresponsible official response, if indeed he is aware of these developments (it is all a mouse click or briefing paper away) was, in essence, “Hell of a job, Ergie!” Continue reading
Now that we know the whole story, it’s Michael Flynn, the erstwhile National Security Advisor, hands down. That’s amazing, when one considers some of the other appointments, like the spectacularly unqualified Ben Carson, Rick Perry, appointed to lead an agency he has previously said should be eliminated (and couldn’t remember its name); and the embarrassingly unethical Tom Price, the HHS head.
Earlier this week, Flynn, who was forced to resign February 13, for lying to Vice-President Pence, filed with the Justice Department revealing that he had done work from August to November “that could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.” That work had netted Flynn’s firm more than a half-million dollars, and made Flynn legally obligated to register as a foreign agent.
On Election Day, Flynn’s op-ed was published on The Hill praising Turkish President Erdogan as an ally against ISIS. On November 18, Representative Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, wrote a letter to Pence inquiring about Flynn’s ties to the Turkish government. When the White House confirmed that the Trump transition team knew before Inauguration Day that Flynn might be required to register as a foreign agent. it was stating the undeniable.
How could someone like General Flynn ever be appointed national security adviser? White House spokesman Sean Spicer (speaking of bad hires) has made the silly excuse that Flynn’s status as a registered foreign agent didn’t mean he had a disqualifying conflict of interest. A top national-security aide who was under contract to lobby for a foreign government deeply involved with U.S. Middle East policy? Outrageous! Outrageous, and guaranteed to spark a scandal as soon as this became public. Not only was this a bad appointment, an incompetent appointment, an irresponsible, reckless and dangerous appointment, it was a really stupid appointment. Continue reading
The online payments company PayPal announced that it is cancelling plans to open an office in Charlotte, North Carolina because the state’s so-called “bathroom law” “violates PayPal values.” Dan Schulman, PayPal’s president and chief executive, wrote in a statement this week:
“The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture. As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.”
My many knee-jerk progressive Facebook friends immediately slapped their seal-flippers together and barked their approval in unison. “I (heart) PayPal!” more than one wrote. “PayPal is my hero!” wrote others.
Never mind that a corporation has no business using financial muscle to exercise extra-legal vetoes over legislation in states where it is not a citizen and where the actual citizens, in their legal exercise of their rights, have elected representatives who duly passed it. This cheering on excessive and abusive influence on governance by big corporations is especially hypocritical coming from supporters of Bernie and Hillary, who regularly claim that allowing companies the right to engage in political speech magically robs voters of their ability to reason and causes all to vote, zombie-like, according to corporate America’s will.
This is why Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are leading…wait, that doesn’t make sense, does it? Actually none of the popular and media attacks on Citizens United are grounded in reality, law, or comprehension of the Constitution, and virtually none of the indignant opponents of the decision have read it or listened to the revealing oral argument. But I digress. The point is that the progressives endorse the practice of corporations using their power to warp the system in directions progressives like, but believe that this—this meaning bullying, threats and coercion— is the only form of influence that should be allowed—certainly not speech and advocacy.
That is just half of what makes the cheering for PayPal foolish and cynical. For PayPal is playing these people like a harpsichord, and indulging in outrageous, hypocritical grandstanding. Moving an office into North Carolina where the bathroom privileges of trans citizens are being restricted “violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture,” but somehow… Continue reading
From the BBC (2008):
An Italian woman artist who was hitch-hiking to the Middle East dressed as a bride to promote world peace has been found murdered in Turkey.
The naked body of Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo, 33, known as Pippa Bacca, was found in bushes near the northern city of Gebze on Friday.
She had said she wanted to show that she could put her trust in the kindness of local people.
Turkish police say they have detained a man in connection with the killing.
Reports say the man led the police to the body.
I think I’ll add my reactions to the comments.
Fragments can be found in the tags.
You go first.
Pointer: Red Flag
On CNN, the gang was discussing and chuckling over one of Joe Biden’s lesser gaffes, not that the same gaffe wouldn’t have had them screaming and shaking their fists if, say, Chris Christie had spoken similarly. In this case (with Biden, gaffes should be given case numbers; I’m guessing this one would be about #6,782,304), Biden used the uncivil term “bitch” when referring to the role of Vice President. This provoked Chris Cuomo to express his affection for Lunch Bucket Joe, saying…
“I still love Biden for what he is. I just do. I think his candor is refreshing – and when he is insensitive to something, he owns it. What more can you ask for? Perfection?”
What does this even mean? Let me rephrase that. What the hell does this even mean? “For what he is”? Does Chris mean “an ongoing embarrassment”? A gaffe machine a heartbeat away from the Presidency? An unapologetic clown in a position of high responsibility and influence? You know what Chris really means, don’t you? He means nothing more nor less than, “I love Joe Biden because I love liberal Democrats, even silly, inept, dumb ones.”
Is that an admission that we should take lightly? Does it matter? Yes, I think it matters. Continue reading
Noah’s Ark Officially Found in Turkish Mountains
The story, by reporter Irina Shlionskaya, concludes this way:
“Many discussions have taken place since the “official” discovery of Noah’s Ark. Some scientists say that Wyatt indeed discovered the Biblical vessel, whereas others deny this theory. The search for the Ark still continues.”
In other words, the Ark hasn’t been “officially found.” Some officials declared it found, which means nothing at all.
It is nice to be reminded, however, that it isn’t only the American media that does things like this.