excuses

Not What We Mean When We Say Foreign Service

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

A protester holds a photo of journalist Jamal Khashhoggi, later acknowledged to have been slain by the Saudi government. (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)

Annieli, at Daily Kos, writes:

Those who wonder why we should care about Khashoggi’s death should ask whether we want an autocratic thug to be directing US foreign policy? Why is America’s president covering up a brutal extra-territorial murder? All this whabboutery serves MBS. Is that what we want?

And this is an important question: All of President Trump’s equivocation and excuses serve foreign interests.Remember that Donald Trump still thinks he is doing business, and this is reflected in conservative language; among Republican excuses for the President’s behavior, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), often seen as a critic of the administration, mewled and rolled over:

A key consideration in the administration’s mind, according to Republican Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), is the belief that the crown prince can salvage Kushner’s stalled peace plan between Israelis and Palestinians. “A lot of the Middle East peace plan is based upon their support. They feel like they have a lot of equity there,” Corker said.

(Dawsey, Hudson, and Gearan)

“Equity” is a curious word. Certes, the Trump family has invested tremendous “political capital”. There are a handful of Congressional Republicans willing to speak against President Trump, and the general criticism runs that tweeting disapproval is pretty much all they do compared to their voting records. And in this moment, Mr. Corker, the retiring U.S. Senator, is lending his voice in aid and comfort to presidential pandering on behalf of foreign interests. The Washington Post goes on to explain:

Trump allies acknowledged that the White House’s equivocations would probably result in growing calls from Congress for a more credible accounting of events from Saudi Arabia, but they doubted it would damage the president politically.

Equity. This is just an investment. And if Sen. Corker, a Republican, wishes to be seen in opposition to President Trump, “equity” is the wrong word. Consider an actual Trump ally, such as evangelical preacher Pat Robertson:

“We’ve got to cool the rhetoric,” Robertson said. “Calls for sanctions and calls for punitive actions against the Saudis is ill-advised … You’ve got a hundred billion dollars worth of arms sales—which is, you know, that’s one of those things—but more than that, we’ve got to have some Arab allies. We have to have it! We cannot alienate a biggest player in the Middle East who is a bulwark against Iran.”When Robertson’s co-host Wendy Griffith argued that we cannot have governments killing critical journalists with impunity, Robertson dismissed those concerns.”We’ve had so many people killed,” he responded. “We’ve had CIA people killed in Lebanon. People have been taken hostage over the years. I know it’s bad, but we’ve had all kinds of stuff, but you don’t blow up an international alliance over one person. I mean, I’m sorry.”

(Mantyla)

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What They Voted For: Corruption & Special Interest

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks at a sheet of notes and talking points as he speaks during a rally in Eugene, Oregon, 6 May 2016. (Photo by Ted S. Warren/AP)

Who: Steve Benen (msnbc)
What: “Trump presents a new, twisted version of ‘populism'”
When: 11 November 2016

Steve Benen offers something of an obvious point:

The president-elect has effectively cornered the market on the former. Rhetorically, Trump is A Man of the People, railing against the established order. The elites have run roughshod over the interests of everyday Americans for too long, the billionaire celebrity told voters, and it was time the electorate overturn the corrupt system by electing Donald J. Trump, a champion of those overlooked taxpayers who’ve been left behind.

Trump, in other words, has a populist style. He adopted a populist tone. The more Trump railed against the elites, the more the media characterized him as a populist, and the more his fans swooned.

But then there’s actual populism, which is based on policies and proposals that advance the interests of working people. Real populists may struggle at times with style and tone, but they nevertheless fight for opportunities for those without, not those who are already members of the elite.

And if you mistook Trump as someone who believes in actual populism, I’m afraid he fooled you.

President-elect Donald J. Trump, who campaigned against the corrupt power of special interests, is filling his transition team with some of the very sort of people who he has complained have too much clout in Washington: corporate consultants and lobbyists. […]

Mr. Trump was swept to power in large part by white working-class voters who responded to his vow to restore the voices of forgotten people, ones drowned out by big business and Wall Street. But in his transition to power, some of the most prominent voices will be those of advisers who come from the same industries for which they are being asked to help set the regulatory groundwork.

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What Law Enforcement Calls Justice

Seal of the Philadelphia Police Department.

This is what it gets us:

Currently, the Defender Association of Philadelphia is seeking to have more than 500 convictions involving Officer Christopher Hulmes reopened and tossed out. In 2011, Hulmes admitted to lying in open court in a drug-and-gun case against two black men who claim they were framed. He did so in front of a judge and prosecutor. But he was not charged with perjury until this April ....

Reporter Daniel Denvir brings to Salon reporting he has been working on all year, including an April article for the Philadelphia City Paper explaining:

Last Thursday, District At­torney Seth Williams an­nounced that Phil­adel­phia Police Officer Christopher Hulmes, a narcotics cop who admitted in open court to lying under oath, had been charged with perjury and other offenses.

It only took more than three years.

During that lapse, Hulmes continued to patrol the city’s bustling drug markets and to testify in criminal trials that likely sent many defendants to prison. Some of those convictions could end up being overturned and costing the city in civil settlements.

That Hulmes admitted in 2011 to lying multiple times in a drug-and-gun case is without question. But precisely what he intended to cover up, and why it took an August 2014 City Paper investigation to prompt prosecutors to file charges, is much more complicated.

It always is.

More complicated, that is.

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Not a Bond Villain: Bugfinger

Detail of 'Bug Martini', by Adam Huber, 27 January 2015.No, really, any excuse to post another picture of a Bug flipping the bird.

Two birds.

And something about women and rainy days, except it’s snowing.

Never mind. Four-tier metajokes, as a rule, should be considered axiomatically bad ideas.

You’d think the same thing about eating disorder jokes, perhaps, but remember, this is the twenty-first century.

And, you know, it’s all in how you say it.

And, yeah, any ex post facto excuse for Tommy Shaw, too.

____________________

Huber, Adam. “If You Snow What’s Good for Ya”. Bug Martini. 27 January 2015.

Very Possibly the Defining Stupidity of the 2014 Electoral Cycle

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist waits next to an empty podium for Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott, who at first refused to participate in a gubernatorial debate due to an Crist’s use of an electric fan. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Maybe monumental stupidity in reckless lying is more of a Republican thing in general, instead of merely a foible of a small-time Republican calling for an American coup. The current stupidity comes out of Florida, where, as many of us have already heard and watched, incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R) refused to take the stage for nearly seven minutes at the beginning of the debate, apparently complaining that former Gov. Charlie Crist (D, fmr. I, fmr. R) had an electric fan under his podium.

Yes, really.

Reporter Marc Caputo tweeted last night:

Privately, Republicans/Rick Scott loyalists are telling me the moment he didn’t go onstage over fangate was the moment he lost the election

Maybe so, but Gov. Scott and even surrogate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) decided to drive a couple more nails just to make sure.

Consider, please, the answer from Gov. Scott:

'Privately, Republicans/Rick Scott loyalists are telling me the moment he didn't go onstage over fangate was the moment he lost the election' (Marc Caputo)Well I waited to see if he—’til we figured out if we figured out if he was going to show up. He said he was going to come to the, uh—uh, he said he was going to come to the debate. So why come out until he’s ready?

And then there was Sen. Rubio to back him up:

Well, as you saw Governor Scott say, it wasn’t clear he was even going to show up. When I got here today for this debate, I was told that Charlie Crist was going to cancel the debate. Because unless there was a fan on that stage he would not come out. So I think that Governor Scott was waiting to see if Charlie would actually pull it off or not.

And, of course, there is a punch line: While Gov. Scott was apparently waiting to see if Crist showed up, Mr. Crist was standing onstage waiting for the incumbent to emerge.

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