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Hometown: NY
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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 170,306

Journal Archives

Brett McGurk, Trump's Ex Lead on ISIS, Slams 'Impulsive' Decision to Pull Out of Syria


Brett McGurk, Trump’s Ex Lead on ISIS, Slams ‘Impulsive’ Decision to Pull Out of Syria
Jamie Ross

U.S. military personnel began pulling back from the Syria-Turkey border early Monday, clearing the way for Turkey to launch an attack against Kurdish fighters who led the allied campaign against ISIS. The White House announced its withdrawal with a statement late Sunday, and convoys of troops were seen leaving the area just hours later. The decision to withdraw has been heavily criticized by former national security personnel. “Donald Trump is not a Commander-in-Chief,” said Brett McGurk, who resigned last year as the Trump administration’s special envoy on ISIS. “He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation. He sends military personnel into harm’s way with no backing. He blusters and then leaves our allies exposed when adversaries call his bluff or he confronts a hard phone call.” Trump said Turkey will now be responsible for the 12,000 detained Islamic State terror group fighters and about 58,000 women and children held by Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Oct 7, 2019, 09:55 AM (0 replies)

Impeachment tentacles spread throughout Trump's team

Impeachment tentacles spread throughout Trump’s team
A president who loves to be in control is finding it difficult to control an investigation that’s extending far beyond his direct orbit.
10/07/2019 05:01 AM EDT

The tentacles of the Democratic impeachment investigation are extending far beyond the arms of President Donald Trump.

The vice president’s office, acting chief of staff's office, State Department, Energy Department, Office of Management and Budget and Justice Department are among the government entities quickly finding themselves ensnared in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, joining a huge squad of White House lawyers, Cabinet officials, and national security staffers — many of them detailed from the Pentagon, CIA and elsewhere in the intel community — potentially tainted by the widening investigation.

The impeachment fight under Trump is quickly surpassing the reach of the presidential impeachment battles under Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, swallowing even larger swaths of the federal government. The whistleblower complaint and the resulting investigative sprawl are making the probe harder for Trump and his White House to stamp out, with Democrats gaining new avenues to uncover damaging details that contradict Trump.

And a president who loves to be in control is increasingly finding himself out of it, left to lob angry tweets from the White House residence or the Oval Office as he and a handful of emissaries — such as personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — function as their own uncoordinated rapid-response operation.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Oct 7, 2019, 07:45 AM (7 replies)

Mulvaney predicts post-impeachment landslide


Jonathan Swan2 hours ago
Scoop: Mulvaney predicts post-impeachment landslide
Mick Mulvaney

In numerous recent conversations with colleagues, including last week's senior staff meeting, White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has said he thinks President Trump could win 45 states in 2020 after the impeachment process — a magnitude of landslide that few if any independent pollsters would dare predict.

Between the lines: People who've heard Mulvaney make this remark say he wasn't joking or even exaggerating. He appears to genuinely believe that impeachment will have a profoundly positive effect on Trump's political fortunes, according to 3 sources who have heard Mulvaney make the 45-state prediction.

Mulvaney also believes that the longer the impeachment process drags on, the better it is, politically, for Trump, these sources added.

Mulvaney did not stipulate which 5 states he thought Trump would still lose when he made these comments, a source who heard them said.

His view appears to be based more on instinct than polling data. I have seen no polling that supports his prediction, and at this early stage, responsible polling analysts are extremely wary of predicting which party will benefit more from impeachment in 2020.

But it's possible Mulvaney is echoing the ebullience emanating from the Trump campaign. They are raising breathtaking sums online by telling supporters to give money to help Trump fight the Democrats trying to impeach him.

The big picture: Mulvaney's view is far from a consensus in Trump's orbit — some see considerable peril and downside political risk for the president as the impeachment inquiry moves forward — but his voice is one that the president hears every day and could bolster how Trump views the political dynamics of impeachment.
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Oct 6, 2019, 08:42 PM (6 replies)

Scoop: Trump's private concerns of an impeachment legacy

Jonathan Swan, Alayna Treene27 mins ago
Scoop: Trump's private concerns of an impeachment legacy

President Trump has told friends and allies he worries about the stain impeachment will leave on his legacy.

Driving the news: In a phone call with House Republicans on Friday, Trump articulated why he really doesn't want this. Impeachment, Trump said, is a "bad thing to have on your resume," according to a source on the call. Two other sources on the call confirmed the substance of the comment, but one said they recalled Trump phrasing it as "you don't want it [impeachment] on your resume."

After making the resume remark, Trump added, "But it's going to make Kevin speaker," these sources said, a reference to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's upside.

Why it matters: These two Trump quotes might seem like throwaways on what was a lengthy and discursive call with allies. But sources who have discussed impeachment candidly with the president say these comments perfectly encapsulate how Trump feels about it: He believes it could help him get re-elected and win back the House. But he doesn't want the history books recording Donald Trump as an impeached president.

Between the lines: Some prominent political analysts, including the New York Times' Ross Douthat, have speculated that the president might welcome articles of impeachment. Sources close to the president say this interpretation is dead wrong. Trump adamantly does not want to be impeached — because he cares, above all, about his legacy.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Oct 6, 2019, 06:11 PM (21 replies)

Visiting foreign journalists call out Trump's increasingly erratic behavior. Why won't D.C. press?


Visiting foreign journalists call out Trump's increasingly erratic behavior. Why won't D.C. press?
Eric Boehlert for Daily Kos
Sunday October 06, 2019 · 10:15 AM EDT

Donald Trump's stupefying public performances last Wednesday as the widening collusion scandal continued to gain momentum were stunning, even by his erratic standards. Trump uncorked rambling, incoherent, angry, whiny monologues that were filled with lies and rattled conspiracy theories. That's when he wasn't yelling at a Reuters reporter and threatening to sue members of Congress. Incredibly, both disturbing Alex Jones-style performances were delivered inside the White House by a sitting American president.

The two sessions with reporters advertised an unstable man who clearly is not attached to reality and has no interest trying to be. They featured a president who had trouble articulating coherent thoughts and who lied at an astonishing rate. They really did perfectly capture the lunacy that has become the Trump presidency. But how did the Beltway press cover the mighty Trump meltdown, and specifically his joint press conference with the president of Finland?

Much of the Beltway press whitewashed the event, watering it down to seem as if Trump had merely been contentious and aggressive. Trump was in a "stormy" mood, according to The New York Times. Meanwhile, The Washington Post depicted the entire debacle as merely a "fiery," "combative" event (a "roller coaster", and the Wall Street Journal stressed Trump's "free wheeling style." For news consumers, "stormy," "fiery" and "free wheeling" don't sound like there's reason for alarm, right? Those descriptors seem almost normal. They represent acceptable behavior by mainstream politicians, and don't even hint that Trump might be some kind of sociopath who uncorked epic, shocking meltdowns in plain view last week.

But so it goes at the Trump White House, as American reporters have become accustomed to turning Trump's erratic, unstable performances into something that appears to be not so unusual. In contrast though, foreign journalists, and particularly foreign journalists who travel to the U.S. and watch Trump's bizarre actions in person, don't have the same interest in normalizing him. Stunned visitors covering the same president, and who are likely less concerned about maintaining White House access, often present a much more accurate, and far less filtered look at Trump's disturbing conduct.

In Finland, Trump's deranged press conference last week was dubbed a "Trump circus" by one leading newspaper, while a headline in the UK's Independent accurately called Trump's presser "rambling" and "furious." It seems journalists who view the Trump insanity from a different perspective aren't so circumspect about accurately describing the insanity that's unfolding in front of them.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Oct 6, 2019, 04:59 PM (16 replies)

The Strange Saga of Karyn Turk, Palm Beach MAGA Socialite Charged With Scamming the Elderly

The Strange Saga of Karyn Turk, Palm Beach MAGA Socialite Charged With Scamming the Elderly
Hours after hosting a fundraiser for Roger Stone, pro-Trump pundit Karyn Turk pleaded guilty in federal court to Social Security fraud. But that is just the beginning.
Tarpley Hitt
Updated 10.05.19 7:57PM ET / Published 10.05.19 5:03AM ET

Last week, a crowd of several dozen filed into Bull Bar, a divey pub in Delray Beach, Florida, for a fundraising event called “Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong!” The fundraiser, which had the vibe of an American flag wholesale outlet, had been organized to raise money for Stone’s legal fees and condemn his “censorship” at the hands of the federal government (the censorship being seven counts of witness tampering, lying to Congress, and obstructing an investigation, alongside a gag order imposed by a federal judge). Audience members milled about over drinks and giant cigars, buying MAGA merchandise, and posing for photos with the indicted Republican consultant. At the end, Stone autographed a black-and-white painting, which read: “It’s Only Rock N’ Roll Baby!”

On stage that night was a blonde woman who resembles a mash-up of Tomi Lahren and Katie Couric: small-time beauty queen turned right-wing pundit Karyn Turk. In the past two years Turk, who helped organize and host the fundraiser, has become a recurring character on the fringes of the MAGA extended universe. She made a cameo appearance in Burt Reynolds’ short-lived series, In Sanity, Florida, and scored the part of “Trump Supporter” in the TV movie, Fake News: A Trump Story. More recently, she's moonlit as a guest on Bold TV, Russia Today International, and Bill Mitchell’s YourVoice America. On the latter, she's appeared alongside conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer, for whom Turk has a "girl crush," calling Ilhan Omar a “sleeper cell" and making claims like Democrats “want little girls to get raped.”

Like Stone, Turk has had her own gripes with censorship (some of her posts on social media, her husband Evan Turk said, don’t get as many views as others, a fact he attributes to the hardship of being “a conservative blonde woman”). Also like Stone, Turk has a long and complicated legal record. Just hours after her fundraiser, for example, Turk appeared in a West Palm Beach federal courthouse and pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $46,376 from her late mother’s Social Security benefits. In court documents, first reported by the Palm Beach Post, the mother’s guardian accused Turk of appropriating the funds to realize her dream of starring in “The Real Housewives of Palm Beach.” At her sentencing in December, Turk faces up to a year in jail, a year of probation, a fine of $100,000, and restitution. Her attorney, Guy Fronstin, who led Jeffrey Epstein’s defense in Florida and remained on his legal team until the billionaire’s suicide in August, said he hopes the judge will choose probation.

A review of court records shows Turk has recently been involved in a series of legal proceedings, many of them unreported. The filings include: a restraining order from her husband’s ex-wife, alleging Turk had abused her children; a defamation suit from the same woman, claiming Turk had threatened her with a Christian Louboutin stiletto and launched a harassment campaign painting her as a drug addict, “skank,” and pedophile; a wrongful-death countersuit against her mother’s retirement home; and a tenuous case against her late ex-husband’s girlfriend, claiming damages of $65,000 in a complaint a judge dismissed last week. (Turk denied wrongdoing in the restraining order and slander suit, which were later dismissed; the wrongful death papers were served last week; she plans to refile the damages complaint by Friday).


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Oct 6, 2019, 08:04 AM (3 replies)

Anti-Muslim Group ACT for America to Host Annual Gala at Mar-a-Lago


Anti-Muslim Group ACT for America to Host Annual Gala at Mar-a-Lago
Anna Kaplan
Breaking News Reporter
Published 10.05.19 8:41PM ET

Anti-Muslim group ACT for America is planning to host their annual gala at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s club in south Florida, the Miami Herald reports. ACT for America is considered the largest anti-Muslim group in the United States by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group is well-known for organizing the “March Against Sharia” in 2017, a nationwide protest attended by far-right and white supremacist groups. Tickets for the Mar-a-Lago event start at $1,500, according to an invitation posted on ACT for America's website. The group previously charged $250 to $350 for tickets to the annual gala when it was hosted in and around Washington, D.C., according to the SPLC.
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Oct 6, 2019, 07:54 AM (5 replies)

No Republican Is Willing To Go On The Sunday Shows And Defend Trump


Posted on Sat, Oct 5th, 2019 by Jason Easley
No Republican Is Willing To Go On The Sunday Shows And Defend Trump

Things are getting ugly for Trump as there is not a single White House official, House or Senate Republican on the Sunday shows to defend him this week.

Maggie Haberman of The New York Times tweeted:

Maggie Haberman


No one from the White House on the Sunday shows. Giuliani on Fox News with Kurtz. Several senators and House members who are allies of Trump, but no one carrying WH message.
1:53 PM - Oct 5, 2019

Howard Kurtz is the host of Media Buzz on Fox News, which airs on Sunday mornings, but is not considered a Sunday show.

Republicans can’t go on the Sunday shows to defend Trump with the White House message on impeachment, because the White House has no coherent message or strategy on impeachment.
So far the strategy is Trump repeating word corruption over and over again, and tweeting non-stop every single day. There is no organized response team like Bill Clinton had during his impeachment. It’s just Trump and his phone tweeting dumb nicknames for Adam Schiff, Fox News quotes threats to members of Congress, and Biden conspiracies.

No Republican in their right mind would try to go on the Sunday morning shows and defend what Trump has done this week.

The president can’t find any defenders, and it is revealing that not even Kellyanne Conway wants to go on the networks and get grilled on Trump’s comments and behavior.

Republicans may vote to impeach and convict him, but they also aren’t rushing toward the television cameras to defend Donald Trump.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Oct 5, 2019, 02:37 PM (7 replies)

Trump's Ukraine Nightmare Is About to Get Much, Much Worse


Trump’s Ukraine Nightmare Is About to Get Much, Much Worse
Reports of a second, more formidable whistleblower loom, as scrutiny of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders continues in embarrassing detail.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick
October 5, 2019

As the object of President Trump’s rage over the Ukraine scandal ricochets from representative Adam Schiff, to pharmaceutical companies and the as-yet-unnamed whistleblower, a new nightmare looms. The New York Times reports that a second whistleblower is perhaps waiting in the wings, weighing whether to provide the “first-hand” details Trump claimed the first whistleblower could not.

According to the Times, an unnamed intelligence official with “more direct information” on Trump’s call with Ukraine president Volodymr Zelensky is considering a formal whistleblower complaint that would inevitably lead to their testimony before Congress. Two sources briefed on the matter identified the new whistleblower as a figure interviewed by intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson to corroborate claims made by the first—that Trump effectively made military aid to Ukraine contingent on Zelensky opening an investigation into Hunter Biden’s involvement with a Ukrainian oil company, and that the White House subsequently hid the call in a top-secret database.

It is not yet clear if the second official will formalize a whistleblower complaint—thereby circumventing the White House’s ability to keep this person’s testimony under wraps—though it would seem a more credible perspective of Trump’s call could undercut arguments the original whistleblower had no first-hand knowledge of the incident. A second whistleblower would also bolster house Democratic investigations into Trump’s communications with foreign leaders, which have thus far uncovered efforts with Australian, British, and potentially Italian leadership to work with attorney general William Barr to discredit the Mueller investigation.

Already, heightened scrutiny of Trump’s potentially corrupt dealings with foreign leaders has uncorked a torrent of leaks regarding his private conversations with his counterparts. On Friday night, the Washington Post reported a laundry list of gaffes and bizarre asks from Trump’s increasingly free-wheeling calls over the last few years. Not only has the president been reported as “obsequious” and “fawning” in conversations with Russian president Vladimir Putin, but Trump reportedly “pestered” Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe for his aid in securing a coveted Nobel Prize, told a Saudi royal he would back their country’s admission to the G-7, rambled to Chinese president Xi about chocolate cake, and repeatedly rejected then-British prime minister Theresa May’s intelligence-backed conclusion that the Russian government poisoned a former spy on their soil.

“There was a constant undercurrent in the Trump administration of [senior staff] who were genuinely horrified by the things they saw that were happening on these calls,” an anonymous former White House official told the Post. “Phone calls that were embarrassing, huge mistakes he made, months and months of work that were upended by one impulsive tweet.”

As to Ukraine, Trump’s attempts to portray his July 25 call with Zelensky as routine have been undermined by Thursday’s release of damning texts between Ukraine diplomat William B. Taylor Jr. and Kurt D. Volker, the State Department’s former special envoy for Ukraine, as well as Gordon D. Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Then there’s Trump himself, who brazenly invited investigations into the Biden family from both Ukraine and China, while standing on the White House lawn. If the leaks and whistleblower complaints go on, as they appear they will, the pressure for impeachment should only continue to build.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Oct 5, 2019, 01:10 PM (10 replies)

Donald Trump Jr. Is Outraged by Hunter Biden's "Conflict of Interest." Where to Begin?


Donald Trump Jr. Is Outraged by Hunter Biden’s “Conflict of Interest.” Where to Begin?
Chutzpah alert.
Russ Choma

On Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr. joined his father’s ongoing effort to smear Joe Biden and his son Hunter over the younger Biden’s role as a board member of a Ukrainian energy company. In a tweet, Trump Jr. claimed the situation created the “appearance of impropriety” and represented a clear “conflict of interest.” Given that his father is the most conflict-riddled commander in chief in American history and the Trump family has profited in various ways through the presidency, Trump Jr.’s comments bordered on self-parody. But he did make a valid point: When the relatives of prominent political figures engage in overseas business dealings or receive payments or benefits from foreign individuals or entities, ethical issues often arise. Trump Jr., his siblings, and his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, know this well—at least they should, considering the questions that have been raised about their families’ foreign entanglements.


If Donald Trump Jr. is really concerned about the appearance of impropriety, he could start by looking at the operations of his own family business
, including the Trump International Hotel in DC. Not only is the hotel housed in a government building (conflict!), placing the government in the awkward position of being a landlord to the nation’s chief executive, but it has become a magnet for foreign officials (conflict!) and others seeking to curry favor in Washington.

The ongoing overseas business dealings of the Trumps pose another set of conflict-of-interest concerns. Before taking office, Trump pledged his company would engage in no new business deals abroad, but this ban on doing international business didn’t apply to projects that were already in various stages of development. Each of the Trump Organization’s foreign relationships carries its own ethical baggage, because foreign governments can attempt to use these ventures to influence the president.


Speaking of China, the country—not known for its friendliness to American brands claiming intellectual property rights—has granted Ivanka Trump 34 trademarks since her father took office. At least three were approved the same day she dined, in her capacity as a presidential aide, with Chinese president Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in March 2017. Another batch of trademarks were granted in the days before and after President Trump publicly announced he would take steps to keep Chinese cellphone manufacturer ZTE afloat. Were these trademarks approved on their merits or as part of an effort to influence Trump administration policy? That’s the pesky thing about conflicts of interest—it’s difficult to know whether business arrangements are legitimate or an attempt at influence peddling. Ivanka’s in-laws, the Kushners, have been involved in their own questionable dealings in China, where Jared Kushner’s sister appeared to actively promote the family’s connection to Trump as she marketed an EB-5 investment program on behalf of Kushner Companies.

Donald Trump’s efforts to muddy a political rival with corruption allegations has already backfired, landing the president in the middle of a growing impeachment scandal. But the strategy—if this ham-handed effort at political dirt digging could be called that—also seems likely to lead to uncomfortable questions about the Trump clan’s own business dealings.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:59 AM (9 replies)
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