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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#13921 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-06, 11:44

I don't fault the trolls who post on this thread. Rick Perry made them do it too.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#13922 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-06, 18:56

Now the Ukrainian connection is starting to make sense. Trump did't care about re-election;he was squeezing Ukraine because he was pissed his money-making affair collapsed with the election of the "wrong" president.

Associated Press:

Quote

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials last spring to investigate one of Donald Trump’s main political rivals, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer were also active in the former Soviet republic.

Their aims were profit, not politics. This circle of businessmen and Republican donors touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s massive state gas company. Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their plans.

Their plan hit a snag after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lost his reelection bid to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose conversation with Trump about former Vice President Joe Biden is now at the center of the House impeachment inquiry of Trump.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13923 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-07, 07:45

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

Quote

Late Sunday night, the White House announced that the U.S. would be, in effect, okaying a Turkish incursion into Syria, contrary to what had been long-standing policy. The decision came after President Donald Trump talked to Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. Other than noting that several experts on the issue were not at all happy with the reversal, I’ll leave it to others to assess the policy. What concerns me is having a president whose motives, at this point, just can’t be trusted.

One issue is that Trump, as Ryan Lizza of Politico points out, has a property in Turkey. As he says: “This is why presidents divest. It is crazy that a president is making national security decisions like the one tonight when he has lucrative business relationships at stake in the country that will benefit.”

Another issue relates to the Ukraine scandal. What we’ve learned so far is that Trump’s call in July with the president of Ukraine – in which he pressured his counterpart to produce dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden – wasn’t the only one that White House aides took extraordinary (and perhaps illegal) steps to hide from the public because Trump had done something that was potentially improper. That’s bad enough in terms of democratic values and open government, given that Congress can’t exercise oversight of foreign policy it doesn’t know about.

But now that the Ukraine scandal has been exposed and will likely result in impeachment, the potential dangers get much worse. We know that Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders are – unlike those of every previous president – unstructured and at times almost random. But now we also know that they could contain material that would strengthen the case for impeachment. In other words, a foreign leader may have evidence that could cost the president his job.

And so when Trump personally and inexplicably reverses U.S. policy immediately after a conversation with a foreign leader, it’s hard not to wonder exactly what motivations are at work.

In normal cases, I’d caution people against getting carried away with such speculation. With Trump, it’s difficult. The basic facts of the Ukraine story are sufficient for a legitimate impeachment and removal. Their implications for how the president conducts foreign policy are extremely worrying.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#13924 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-07, 08:56

View Posty66, on 2019-October-07, 07:45, said:

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:


I read a couple of things today that has given me hope. First, USA Today, not exactly a bastion of progressive ardor, had an article absolutely devastating impeachment of the entire GOP and an call to voters to utterly rid the government of their complicity. Second, a WaPo opinion piece exhibited how the Trump bases in not nearly so large as is assumed - more like 20-25%, at best - and that the strong support for is offset by the strong opposition by numbers that predicted the 2018 Democrat sweep.

Something else I noticed, but didn't give a lot of credence to at the time, was a small article I think in Wired from an ex Trump organization vice-president who claimed in Tweets that Trump was toast and that he was so afraid of the stigma of impeachment that he would likely resign and claim some outlandish conspiracy made him or somehow claim victory and walk off - even before the impeachment vote on the floor. I found this fanciful thinking and totally unreliable.

And then, just when I have a little hope, I read about Guiliani and Rick Perry trying to strong-arm the new Ukraine government into restructuring the board of directors for their state-owned gas company to allow friends of Trump to pillage and plunder at will - following the Russian oligarch playbook. And that brought to mind the editorial piece from the NYT by Peter Pomerantsev you posted the other day.

Quote

We are all post-Soviet now.


Da. Das vindaniya Amerika.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13925 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-October-07, 10:03

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-October-07, 08:56, said:

ISomething else I noticed, but didn't give a lot of credence to at the time, was a small article I think in Wired from an ex Trump organization vice-president who claimed in Tweets that Trump was toast and that he was so afraid of the stigma of impeachment that he would likely resign and claim some outlandish conspiracy made him or somehow claim victory and walk off - even before the impeachment vote on the floor. I found this fanciful thinking and totally unreliable.

Me, too. Trump never gives in, he digs in deeper. Sharpiegate was the clearest example -- any sane person would just admit "oops", but Trump's narcissism just wouldn't allow that. There's no way he would give in to an attempt to oust him, especially if he thinks the Republican Senate will save him.

#13926 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-07, 12:52

View Postbarmar, on 2019-October-07, 10:03, said:

Me, too. Trump never gives in, he digs in deeper. Sharpiegate was the clearest example -- any sane person would just admit "oops", but Trump's narcissism just wouldn't allow that. There's no way he would give in to an attempt to oust him, especially if he thinks the Republican Senate will save him.


Except if he feels shame (the kryptonite of narcissists) for facing impeachment.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13927 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-07, 13:16

From William K. Rashbaum and Benjamin Weiser at NYT:

Quote

A federal judge on Monday rejected a bold argument from President Trump that sitting presidents are immune from criminal investigations, allowing the Manhattan district attorney’s office to move forward with a subpoena seeking eight years of the president’s personal and corporate tax returns.

The ruling issued by Judge Victor Marrero of Manhattan federal court does not mean that the president’s tax returns will be turned over immediately. Mr. Trump’s lawyers quickly appealed the decision, and the appeals court agreed to temporarily block the order.

The judge’s decision came a little more than a month after the Manhattan district attorney subpoenaed Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for his personal and corporate returns dating to 2011. The demand touched off a legal showdown that raised new constitutional questions and drew in the Justice Department, which supported the president’s request to delay enforcement of the subpoena.

Mr. Vance’s office has been investigating whether any New York State laws were broken when Mr. Trump and his company reimbursed the president’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, for payments he made in the run-up to the 2016 election to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, who had said she had an affair with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump has denied having an affair with Ms. Daniels.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers sued last month to block the subpoena, arguing that the Constitution effectively makes sitting presidents immune from all criminal inquiries until they leave the White House. The lawyers acknowledged that their argument had not been tested in courts, but said the release of the president’s tax returns would cause him “irreparable harm.”

In his 75-page ruling, Judge Marrero called the president’s argument “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.” Presidents, their families and businesses are not above the law, the judge wrote.

A lawyer for the president and a spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., each declined to comment.

On Monday, a lawyer for Mr. Trump asked the appeals court to block the subpoena until it hears the whole case, plus an additional week to give the losing side time to ask the United States Supreme Court to hear the arguments.

“This case presents momentous questions of first impression regarding the presidency, federalism and the separation of powers,” the lawyer, Patrick Strawbridge, wrote.

Mr. Vance’s office had asked Judge Marrero to dismiss Mr. Trump’s suit, saying a grand jury had a right to “pursue its investigation free from interference and litigious delay” and rejecting his claim to blanket immunity. The judge was appointed by President Bill Clinton.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers have called the investigation by Mr. Vance, a Democrat, politically motivated. Mr. Vance has accused the president and his team of trying to run out the clock on the investigation.

Last week, lawyers with Mr. Trump’s Justice Department jumped into the fray, asking the judge to temporarily block the subpoena while the court takes time to consider the “significant constitutional issues” in the case.

The Justice Department, led by Attorney General William P. Barr, did not say whether it agreed with Mr. Trump’s position that presidents cannot be investigated. But, citing the constitutional questions, the department said it wanted to provide its views. A spokeswoman for the department declined to comment on the ruling Monday.

The Constitution does not explicitly say whether presidents can be charged with a crime while in office, and the Supreme Court has not answered the question.

Federal prosecutors are barred from charging a sitting president with a crime because the Justice Department has decided that presidents have temporary immunity while they are in office.

But in the past, that position has not precluded investigating a president. Presidents, including Mr. Trump, have been subjects of federal criminal investigations while in office. Local prosecutors, such as Mr. Vance, are also not bound by the Justice Department’s position.

As part of a temporary deal reached last month, Mr. Vance’s office agreed not to enforce the subpoena until two days after Judge Marrero issued a ruling, which would give Mr. Trump a chance to appeal if he lost. But that agreement was to expire at 1 p.m. on Monday.

The president and his lawyers have fought vigorously to shield his tax returns, which Mr. Trump said during the 2016 campaign that he would make public but has since refused to disclose.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers have sued to block attempts by congressional Democrats and New York lawmakers to gain access to his tax returns and financial records. They also successfully challenged a California law requiring presidential primary candidates to release their tax returns.

If Mr. Vance ultimately prevails in obtaining the president’s tax returns, they would not automatically become public. They would be protected by rules governing the secrecy of grand jury investigations unless the documents became evidence in a criminal case.

Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, which he sued along with the district attorney’s office to bar the company from turning over his returns, reissued the statement it released nearly three weeks ago when the lawsuit was filed, saying it “will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.”


Edit via Bloomberg: "Trump immediately appealed and in less than two hours won a delay to give the federal appeals court in Manhattan time for expedited review. The delay postponed what would have been a Monday afternoon deadline for Mazars to begin turning over the records to prosecutors."
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#13928 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-07, 13:20

Amazing. When you add this to the Rick Perry led plan to take over the board of Ukraine's oil company, it begins to look like the grand plan is to create a Russian-style American oligarchy of the right.

Quote

After his arrest, in Miami, Zarrab hired some of the most expensive lawyers in New York. They tried to secure a comfortable bail arrangement—and failed. They then sought to have the case thrown out entirely, and failed at that, too. For a time, it looked as though the Zarrab case was headed for trial. Then, last month, came several dramatic developments. Zarrab fired most of his lawyers and hired Rudy Giuliani, a confidant of President Trump, and Michael Mukasey, the former U.S. Attorney General. Then Trump fired Bharara, the prosecutor who indicted Zarrab in the first place. With a legal team friendly to the President in place, and a hostile prosecutor out of the way, Zarrab may be hoping for a sweet deal from the prosecution. It has since been revealed that Giuliani and Mukasey travelled to Turkey in February to meet with Erdoğan about the case—another of Zarrab’s lawyers said that they were seeking a “diplomatic solution” to the situation.


Are we truly all post-Soviets now? Is corruption our new norm?
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13929 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-07, 17:52

"When I die, I may not go to heaven" by Tanya Trump

When he dies Trump may not go to heaven
abandoning allied Kurds is a sin
So when he dies, just write it off his taxes
as a gift to his pal Erdogan

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13930 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-07, 18:30

https://www.sacbee.c...e235887622.html
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13931 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2019-October-07, 18:45

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-October-07, 17:52, said:

When he dies Trump may not go to heaven
abandoning allied Kurds is a sin
So when he dies, just write it off his taxes
as a gift to his pal Erdogan



I nominate Winston for Poet Laureate of the WC.

#13932 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-07, 19:20

Does Donald Trump Know What His Sysria Policy Is? from the Editorial Board at NYT:

Quote

American diplomats thought they had negotiated a solution to a seemingly intractable problem. The United States needed Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria to face off against remnants of the Islamic State. But Turkey, a NATO ally, saw those same Kurds as terrorists, allied with separatists inside Turkey.

To prevent a Turkish invasion, the three sides — the United States, Turkey and the Kurds — agreed to five-mile-wide safe zones along the border with Turkey, in Syria. Americans would patrol alongside Turkish forces, and the Kurds would dismantle fortifications in those areas that were designed to defend against a possible Turkish incursion. Turkey would also join American-led air operations against Islamic State militants. The deal would put a strain on the 1,000 or so American troops stationed in the region, but it would protect the Kurds in northern Syria and maintain pressure on the Islamic State.

President Trump let all that be destroyed when, succumbing to pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, the White House announced that Mr. Trump would not stand in the way of a Turkish invasion to expel Kurdish forces from the border region. The language of the announcement made it seem as if he was even endorsing the move.

Even if the Turks do not invade — and while the president’s tweets on Monday indicated he might be rethinking his green light to the Turks, there were reports that attacks had already begun — the decision may destroy any trust the Kurds, America’s crucial partner in Syria, had left. It could also threaten the fight against ISIS.

Mr. Trump appears once again to have acted impulsively, in this case after a phone call with Mr. Erdogan. He blindsided officials at the Pentagon and the State Department and kept Congress and the allies in the dark. Administration national security officials have argued forcefully for maintaining a small troop presence in northeast Syria to continue pursuing the Islamic State and as a counterweight to Turkey and Syria’s Russian and Iranian allies. Mr. Trump’s determination to withdraw those remaining troops led to the resignations of former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the special envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS, Brett McGurk, last December.

Mr. Trump’s announcement and tweets infuriated conservative allies, including the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and Senator Lindsey Graham.

“The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria,” tweeted Nikki Haley, Mr. Trump’s first ambassador to the United Nations. “Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend.”

By midday Monday, the Pentagon was trying to contain the damage by announcing that it and the president had made clear to Turkey “that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in northern Syria.” The statement added that American military forces “will not support or be involved in any such operation.”

The president himself expressed second thoughts, which were, in their own way, even more jarring.

“As I have stated strongly before,” he tweeted, “and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”

Just what, in his unmatched wisdom, Mr. Trump meant by “off limits,” or economic destruction, or the rest of the tweet was not clear. Nor is this the first time the Trump administration has sent conflicting messages about American objectives in Syria.

Last December, Mr. Trump overruled his top advisers to order the withdrawal of all 2,000 American ground troops from Syria within 30 days. The decision was ultimately reversed, but it was the final straw for Mr. Mattis.

Mr. Erdogan has long threatened to send troops into Syria. Since losing an important election in Istanbul in March, he has been under increasing pressure to find ways to shore up his domestic political support. He’d also like to resettle at least one million Syrian refugees now living in Turkey within the safe zone on the Syrian side of the border. Those refugees have become a political liability for him.

But if Kurds in Syria have to defend themselves against the Turks, they are likely to shift their forces from the fight against ISIS, including the guarding of about 10,000 ISIS prisoners now in Kurdish detention centers.

Making it possible for refugees to return home is a worthy goal, but forced resettlement is rarely successful. Moreover, many refugees in Turkey do not come from northern Syria and are unlikely to mix easily with local populations.

Whether Turkey will go forward with a full invasion is unclear. On Mr. Trump’s orders, a couple hundred American troops have been removed from two military outposts. At the same time, the Kurds have stopped dismantling their fortifications and the joint American-Turkish patrols have been ended, officials say. Congress is threatening sanctions on Turkey.

It may seem paradoxical, but in caving in to one of the strongmen he so admires, Mr. Trump may have set the United States on a collision course with Turkey. He’s also put himself into conflict with the Pentagon and his own Republican allies. He may walk his own decision back once again, in part or in whole. But what ally could look at the United States now and see a stalwart partner — and what foe could look at it and fear a determined adversary?

Calling Bruce Wayne.
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#13933 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-07, 19:37

View Posty66, on 2019-October-07, 19:20, said:

Does Donald Trump Know What His Sysria Policy Is? from the Editorial Board at NYT:


Calling Bruce Wayne.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13934 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-08, 06:21

From David Leonhardt at NYT:

Quote

Gen. James Mattis, the former defense secretary, has so far said nothing about President Trump’s reckless decision to abandon the Kurds, longtime allies of the United States, to a threatened military assault by Turkey.

Rex Tillerson, the former secretary of state, has also said nothing.

And Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the former national security adviser, has said nothing.

They’re all making a mistake. With their silence, they are showing greater loyalty to one man — Trump — than to the national interest.

Brett McGurk yesterday showed how to speak up, clearly and courageously. McGurk is no liberal firebrand. He clerked for William Rehnquist, the conservative Supreme Court justice, before joining George W. Bush’s administration as a foreign-policy official, and then serving in Barack Obama’s administration and later Trump’s. In late 2018, McGurk resigned on principle, shortly after Mattis did, in protest of Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria.

Here’s what McGurk wrote yesterday: “Donald Trump is not a Commander-in-Chief. 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.”

And in response to a tweet from Trump he added: “Mr. President: With all due respect, none of this is true. I’d recommend having meetings with your experts and policy team before making historic life-and-death decisions. Making such decisions after a one-off call from a foreign leader is malpractice.”

General Mattis; Mr. Tillerson; General McMaster: It’s past time to say what you think.

For more …

Republican leaders — including frequent defenders of the president like senators Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, as well as Nikki Haley, Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations — harshly criticized Trump’s decision. So did some of his usual media allies, including Fox News and the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal.

“A lot of [Republicans] who held back criticism of the president on Ukraine grift are unleashing at him over Syria,” tweeted Tamara Cofman Wittes of the Brookings Institution. “It is very clear that [Republicans] with aspirations to national leadership now see an imperative to show their independence from Trump. And that’s a big change.”

Bloomberg Opinion’s Jonathan Bernstein asks whether the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, may have politically damaging information on Trump — like knowledge of another unseemly phone call — or whether Trump’s business investment in Turkey may be affecting his actions. “In normal cases, I’d caution people against getting carried away with such speculation. With Trump, it’s difficult,” Bernstein writes. “When Trump personally and inexplicably reverses U.S. policy immediately after a conversation with a foreign leader, it’s hard not to wonder exactly what motivations are at work.”

Trump has a strange idea of how loyalty works and what it means to be able to count on an ally.
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#13935 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-October-08, 13:27

Reading the news today regardnig Syria, Turkey and, of course, the USA:

From our president speaking of what Turkey might do:

"If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey"
See https://www.washingt...1b63_story.html

From Pat Roberson, on the same general subject:
""I believe … the president of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen"


Has someone slipped LSD into my coffee? Have I been transported to some other universe? Forget fake news, just tell me this is a bad dream.
Ken
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#13936 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-October-08, 13:48

What I found really weird was the "Mandate of Heaven" comment.

I'm used to seeing this expression used wrt to China, but not US...
Alderaan delenda est
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#13937 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-October-08, 14:22

View Postkenberg, on 2019-October-08, 13:27, said:

Has someone slipped LSD into my coffee? Have I been transported to some other universe? Forget fake news, just tell me this is a bad dream.

Not just a bad dream that has lasted almost 3 years but the worst kind of bad hallucination. A nightmare that you can't believe is real but is actually reality.
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#13938 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-October-08, 14:42

Speaking of bizarro world

Trump Claims Poll Numbers Have Zoomed 17 Points As He Defends Abandonment Of Kurds

Quote

In a fractured White House news conference Monday, President Donald Trump claimed poll numbers supporting him have jumped 17 percentage points. That’s despite an impeachment inquiry and the uproar over his decision Sunday night to draw down U.S. troops as Kurdish allies face a Turkish incursion into Syria.

A very modest man. He forgot to mention the recent poll where he got 99% of the vote for best president in the history of the world, and the 75% of the vote for greatest man in history (soundly trouncing wannabes like Jesus, Muhammad, George Washington, Abe Lincoln, etc)

Quote

He boasted that ISIS was defeated, thanks largely to him, particularly because he supplied the U.S. military with ammunition when it had none.

“When I took over our military, we didn’t have ammunition,” he explained. “I was told by a top general, maybe the top of them all: ‘Sir, I’m sorry, sir, we don’t have ammunition.’ I said, ‘I will never let another president have that happen to him or her. We didn’t have ammunition.’”

More modesty by god's messenger. In fact, the US military soldiers didn't even have shoes, or fuel for their planes and tanks. It was very sad to see US soldiers in their bare feet trying to push tanks and trucks that had run out of fuel.

Quote

As for his controversial decision on Syria, Trump appeared resigned Monday to inevitable fighting between Turkey and the Kurds because they’re “natural enemies.” He seemed surprised to note that a historian said Monday that they’ve been fighting for “hundreds of years.”

Who would have known that Turkey has tremendous animosity towards the Kurds? :rolleyes: You would to be a student of history to know something like that, or maybe listen to your foreign affairs experts who spend their lives studying things like that.
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#13939 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-08, 15:25

Speaking of polling, this just in from the Hartford Courant:

Quote

For the second straight week a Quinnipiac Poll has found that a majority of voters support the impeachment inquiry now underway in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The poll found that by a 53-43 margin, voters approve of the inquiry, about the same breakdown as a week ago.

Voters are divided however on whether President Trump should be actually impeached and removed from office. The poll found that 49% oppose impeachment and 45% support ousting the president.

Nearly 90% of Republicans say the impeachment inquiry is “a witch hunt.” The poll found that 48 percent of voters think that asking a foreign leaders to investigate a political rival is justification for impeaching the president.

Among Democrats running for president, Sen. Elizabeth Warren remains virtually tied with former Vice President Joe Biden. Warren had the support of 29% of voters while Biden had support from 26% of voters.

“Warren maintains her strength in the Democratic primary, which has been consistently growing since the start of her campaign. This poll confirms her status as a co-frontrunner with Biden,” Malloy said.

The poll of 1,483 voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

One in ten Republicans aren't bonkers? Ha. Who's coffee is spiked with LSD?
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#13940 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-08, 18:53

The White House has sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi that states the administration will not cooperate with an unconstitutional impeachment inquiry. I guess Cipollone doesn't realize that unconstitutional impeachment inquiry is an oxymoron; but then, so is President Trump.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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