Friday, November 23, 2018

American Citizens Decapitated at Ohio Fair by Saudi Hit Squad. “Can’t Sanction Saudis, Their Business is Too Valuable,” Says Trump.

A 1607-lb. pumpkin, winner of the Biggest Pumpkin award
at the 2018 Circleville (Ohio) Pumpkin Show
CIRCLEVILLE, OHIO: Declaring that pumpkins and jack o’lanterns are forms of sorcery, witchcraft, and blasphemy, all of which are punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, a ruthless hit squad descended on the Circleville Pumpkin Show in Circleville, Ohio, last month and randomly decapitated at least 17 men, women and children in front of a terrified and screaming crowd. 
The exact number of dead is unknown, and the incident was hushed up at the time. Federal authorities moved in on orders of President Trump, confiscated police records, and declared all information about the event to be top secret, according to several sources, who spoke anonymously. 
However, rumors of the slaughter leaked out despite strenuous efforts to hide them. One woman, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, because she fears Federal agents will hand her over to the Saudis if her identity is known, said that between each decapitation, the Saudis lectured the crowd on the evils of jack o'lanterns. 
The literally captive audience was told that pumpkins in any form have no utility except as infidel symbols, and that celebrating a pumpkin crop, as the citizens of Circleville have done for decades, is not only sorcery and witchcraft, but also blasphemy. 
Asked if The United States would sanction the Saudis for this latest act, President Trump replied, “We’ll see.” 
Trump added, “You have to remember that we have billions of dollars of military contracts with the Saudis, and that means jobs, jobs, jobs. 
“What’s more important, the American economy, or a few dozen heads?” the President asked. “I know one of the victims was a beauty contestant in the Miss Pumpkin Show contest, but let’s be honest. She wasn’t a ten anyway. If you want to know the truth she was barely an eight. I’ve thrown better looking than that out of my own bed. And I know women. I’ve had all the best women.”
The headline and story above are, of course, completely fictional. 

At least they're completely fictional so far. 

But with Trump giving Prince Mohammed Bin Salman a pass on sanctions for the murder of Jamal Kashoggi, it’s only a matter of time before something like the murder of American citizens, on American soil, by Saudi agents becomes an unpunished matter of fact.

After all, why not? The President has already stated the principle behind his refusal to sanction the prince or the Saudis — that American depends on Saudi oil and largess —  despite more than ample evidence to the contrary.

Of course, this is not true of every nation. Even little Denmark has effectively told MBS that murder is unacceptable. They’re not afraid of the oil prices that Trump pretends to be worried about. 
Ultimately, one has to wonder if what worries Trump about sanctions is not the cost to the United States economy, but the cost to the Trump family economy. CBS Money Watch reports:
The president's links to Saudi billionaires and princes go back years and appear to have only deepened.
In 1991, as Mr. Trump was teetering on personal bankruptcy and scrambling to raise cash, he sold his 282-foot yacht "Princess" to Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin-Talal for $20 million, a third less than what he reportedly paid for it.
Four years later, the prince came to his rescue again, joining other investors in a $325 million deal for Mr. Trump's money-losing Plaza Hotel.
In 2001, Mr. Trump sold the entire 45th floor of the Trump World Tower across from the U.N. in New York for $12 million, the biggest purchase in that building to that point, according to the brokerage site Streeteasy. The buyer: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Shortly after he announced his run for president, Mr. Trump began laying the groundwork for possible new business in the kingdom. He registered eight companies with names tied to the country, such as "THC Jeddah Hotel Advisor LLC" and "DT Jeddah Technical Services," according to a 2016 financial disclosure report to the federal government. Jeddah is a major city in the country.
"Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million," Trump told a crowd at an Alabama rally on Aug. 21, 2015, the same day he created four of the entities. "Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much."
Is it simply greed? Or is Trump in to the Saudis so deep that he's subject to blackmail by them — a terrified puppet on a Saudi string?

Let us hope more about this comes out when the product of Mr. Mueller’s investigation is finally revealed.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Mohammed bin Salman, Jamal Khashoggi, Saud el-Qahtani, Turki al-Sheikh, Donald Trump, Anthony Scaramucci, Matthew Whitaker, and The Crank’s Rule of Rolling Heads

So you think loyalty to the top guy is your guarantee of safety and prosperity? Hang on to your head.

Atypical of the stuff I do, there is no illustration for this post. For a good reason.

A photograph of a public beheading in Saudi Arabia would be appropriate. I went on the Internet looking for one. I found, instead, a whole video of a recent public beheading of a woman there. It’s too horrible for me to reproduce. Or even to link to. In fact, it’s so disturbing that I’m sorry that even I looked at it. I may have trouble sleeping tonight.

Decapitation and
other Saudi delights

As of the first quarter of this year, Saudi Arabia had decapitated 48 people, half of them on non-violent charges, according to a story from the BBC. Unfortunately, that is germane to the farcical horror story that is the new, so-called “reformist” regime of Saudi Arabia. But hey, they now permit women to drive — when they’re not cutting the heads off women for the crime of political activism for acts such as, umm, demanding the right to drive.

But this piece is not about the perils of advocating while female in the desert kingdom. No, not at all. Instead, it’s about the price of loyalty to despots who are incapable of either doing the right thing or of telling the truth, even when the right thing, and the truth, would be easier than skulduggery and lies.

A case in point relates to the death of Jamal Khashoggi, the columnist for the Washington Post who was murdered and dismembered — not necessarily in that precise order — in the Saudi Arabia recently.

The story that just
can’t stop changing

The official Saudi story of what happened changes faster than a cheetah can run. We commented on it after a few versions were out here. And then a few days later, the story had changed again — so we commented again. And then guess what? Well, let’s let the New York Times do a few guest paragraphs:

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said on Thursday that he was requesting the death penalty for five people suspected of involvement in the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the country’s consulate in Istanbul. 
Speaking to reporters in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, a spokesman for the public prosecutor said that the 15-man team sent to confront Mr. Khashoggi had orders to return him to the kingdom, but after he resisted they decided on the spot to kill and dismember him. 
The Saudi prosecutor’s account on Thursday appeared to contradict previous statements from both the Saudi government and senior White House officials about Saudi conclusions regarding the killing on Oct. 2 of Mr. Khashoggi.

“Appeared to contradict?” 
Ya think?

You mean the stories that Khashoggi left the Saudi embassy in Istanbul under his own steam and might still be wandering the streets there...and that, well maybe he did get killed, but only because he started a fight and therefore was asking for it...and that he got killed, but only by some rogue people who have nothing to do with Prince MBS and who mysteriously showed up at the Saudi embassy...and that the team of 15 Saudi thugs and a bone saw appearing in Istanbul at the same time were a mere coincidence... and that various other twists, turns, permutations, variations, and enhanced versions of the Saudi tangled yarn were just confections — sort of like a vanilla ice cream with banana chips, chocolate sprinkles, and whipped cream, served on a bed of sun-ripened camel poop?

Evidently so. 

The latest story out of Riyadh is that two of Prince Mohammed The Liar’s best buds, a poet-propagandist named Saud el-Qahtani; and Turki al-Sheikh, a security guy-sports promoter are the dudes who done it. (Loopy grammar intentional.)
“They are the closest people to the crown prince,” said Kristin Smith Diwan, senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. “They are his political enforcers and the face of the brash new ‘Saudi first’ posture at home and abroad, and those opposed to the hypernationalist, thuggish direction in Saudi foreign policy would be happy to see them cut down to size.”
The new, new, new
official story

Now the official story, turning partway back on itself,  goes like this, according to the Times:
While acknowledging that the killers had quickly cut up the body, the Saudi prosecutor sought to portray the dismemberment as a spur-of-the-moment decision after an unintended killing.
Yeah, right. Spur-of-the-moment. That’s why they brought along a forensic pathologist armed with a bone saw.

Net net: the Prince is calling for the death penalty for five members of the team. And while Prince MBS's former best pals, Saud and Turki, are not on the arrest list yet, I wouldn't underwrite any life insurance for them if I were you.

The truth is that like any despot, MBS is perfectly capable of turning on those most loyal to him, and brutally chopping off their heads if he deludes himself into thinking that’ll get him off the hook. That’s The Crank’s Rule of Rolling Heads. 

Which brings me, finally, to another well-known despot who appears incapable of telling the truth. Yeah, that one.

Under the bus with you,
dear loyal retainer

It’s no secret that no matter how loyal you are to Donald Trump, he’ll throw you under the bus if he sees any benefit for himself in doing it. That's what happened to Anthony Scaramucci, who was Trump’s loyal White House Communications Director for about 12 seconds before Trump found it convenient to lop his head off.  To this day, “The Mooch,” as he was called, still sings the praises of the boss who rolled his head.

And I can almost guarantee you that the same will happen to his new acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, who before very long is going to be known as Headless Matty. 

Whitaker may try to get rid of Robert Muller. He may even succeed. But there’s already far too much evidence out there. There are prosecutors in various state attorney general’s offices who can go after Trump. There’s a Democratic Congress that can join the chase. Whitaker himself has a record worthy of prosecution rather than celebration. He will not be able to protect Trump.

And before very long, perhaps using Whitaker's shady past, Whitaker’s head, too, will roll.

I mean that metaphorically, of course, Matthew. All the same, if you sense that Trump is losing interest in your career, you just might want to throw yourself under a bus before he does it to  you.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Investigate the S.O.B.

Is he beginning to act like a cornered rat?

Only in Donald Trump’s world of double-speak and garble-think could a decisive loss of a majority in the House of Representatives be considered a victory. But up is down and out is in when you visit the world of Trump. Right after the election results revealed he had lost the House of Representatives he tweeted:
“Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night, including from foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping, on Trade Deals. Now we can all get back to work and get things done!3:21 AM - 7 Nov 2018”
However, Trump may not be feeling as victorious as he lets on. Something about the Democratic House majority scares the living crap out of Trump. What do you suppose it could be?

The New York Times reports: 
But even as he claimed victory, he quickly went on offense against the newly elected Democratic House, threatening to retaliate if the opposition uses its new subpoena power to investigate him for corruption and obstruction of justice in an early foreshadowing of the bitter partisan warfare that could dominate the next two years. 
“If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level,” he wrote. “Two can play that game!”
If Trump has nothing to hide — if he is covering up nothing rank and criminal  — he could blithely let the Dems waste their precious time investigating to their heart’s content. The fact that, before the new Congress even finds its seats in the House, he’s threatening a counter-investigation if anyone dares investigate him reeks with the rank aroma of fear. 

His behavior merely adds to the growing stink of criminality in the White House. Foreign emoluments are already way out in the open, from foreign diplomats making certain to stay at Trump hotels, to China’s licensing of Ivanka’s trademarks.  The question is, what lies hidden under the rocks — and inside Trump’s thus-far secret tax returns?

There’s only one way to find out. It’s time for a House investigation.

And then he fired Jeff Sessions. A few hours after I posted the first part of this piece, Trump fired Jeff Sessions, his attorney general. It's clear what Trump is after — an end to special counsel Muller's investigation of collusion with the Russians — and other matters that for all we know range from bribery, to multiple forms of corruption, to espionage, to possibly even treason.

Desperate men do desperate things. Tump must be intensely desperate to commit a contemporary version of the Saturday Night Massacre that led to the unraveling of the Nixon Administration and Nixon's resignation in anticipation of impeachment.

When the rock under which Trump's grave crimes and misdemeanors are hidden is turned over, what crawls out from under it may be enough to turn your stomach.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Quick, what does Donald Trump have in common with this guy?

Idi Amin Dada, former "President for Life" of Uganda
and possibly Donald Trump's soul brother
So Donald Trump is now declaring that by executive order, he can undo the 14th Amendment of the United States.

That’s the one that says if you’re born here, you’re a citizen here. No ifs. No buts. No maybes.

Yeah, there are quibblers and legal logic twisters who point out that the language of the 14th Amendment says the parent has to be subject to the jurisdiction of the government. But if the United States government can arrest her, as it has been doing with undocumented immigrants, or separate her from her baby, or throw her or the baby in a cage — all of which Trump has been doing — then that is a clear exercise of jurisdiction, or at least a claim to it. Unless, that is, the Trump administration wants to declare itself guilty of kidnapping of foreign citizens (just like, say, like the Islamic nation of Saudi Arabia) and other felonious acts.

Donald Trump thinks he can end the 14th Amendment by executive order, despite the fact that the Constitution cannot be changed except by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress, or by a Constitutional Convention called by two thirds of the state legislatures.

If Trump can overrule the U.S. Constitution by a stroke of his own pen, we effectively will have no more constitution. The government, and the law, will be whatever Donald Trump decides it is, subject to any whacko executive order that pops into his head.

At that point, there is no difference between Donald Trump and characters like the late Idi Amin Dada, above. Trump can declare himself President for Life, just like Idi Amin  did. And he can torture and kill anybody who objects, just like Idi Amin  did. And he can support terrorists and hijackers, just like Amin did.

And finally, he can be so inept in his dealings with other countries that he'll get us invaded, just the way Idi Amin got Uganda invaded.

Amin eventually went into exile in Saudi Arabia and finally dropped dead there. But Uganda, decades later, is still a mess.

That's where we're all heading, if we don't put a stop to it. And that's why you'd better get out and vote on Tuesday.