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Meanwhile - every day lies, every day division. Tweeting today included this response and amplification from the Republican National Committee.....

Whatever your politics, these are the Leader of the House and senior minority member of the Senate. And as such part of the Gang of Eight with whom the most sensitive information is shared. This is taking us v them beyond the pale. 

And now the White House "press secretary" who hasn't held an actual press briefing since she took over from Sarah Sanders says this - just despicable. We are paying her about $180,000 as a government employee too ....

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Edited by Surfer

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I really don’t think Trump is that bothered about the Middle East anymore. He clearly waves the Israeli flag and any risk of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons is a red line, as is attacks on US interests in the area. But imo he would be quite happy to get as many US troops out of the area as possible, as has been demonstrated in Northern Syria with catastrophic results for the Kurds.

I disagree. He has had to defend his election rhetoric about other areas. Mexico, Russia and now the impeachment. But his staff and lobbyists will have one eye on the ME at all times. After all he has Saudi Arabia and, as you say, Israel to support. You mention Iran's nuclear capability but Israel has nuclear weapons, that the west turns a blind eye to. And I believe they, as much as any country, would use them if really threatened. The only compensation is that Israel is unlikely to threaten western nations.

I don't necessarily blame him for the Kurds. Successive POTUS have ignored them when it suits and the EU would really like Turkey to be in the EU, if their human rights issues are resolved.

The US is never going to downsize its armed forces and it will always keep enough in the area. Advisers I think they  were called in Vietnam.

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53 minutes ago, keelansgrandad said:

I really don’t think Trump is that bothered about the Middle East anymore. He clearly waves the Israeli flag and any risk of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons is a red line, as is attacks on US interests in the area. But imo he would be quite happy to get as many US troops out of the area as possible, as has been demonstrated in Northern Syria with catastrophic results for the Kurds.

I disagree. He has had to defend his election rhetoric about other areas. Mexico, Russia and now the impeachment. But his staff and lobbyists will have one eye on the ME at all times. After all he has Saudi Arabia and, as you say, Israel to support. You mention Iran's nuclear capability but Israel has nuclear weapons, that the west turns a blind eye to. And I believe they, as much as any country, would use them if really threatened. The only compensation is that Israel is unlikely to threaten western nations.

I don't necessarily blame him for the Kurds. Successive POTUS have ignored them when it suits and the EU would really like Turkey to be in the EU, if their human rights issues are resolved.

The US is never going to downsize its armed forces and it will always keep enough in the area. Advisers I think they  were called in Vietnam.

I agree with a lot of that but the US dependance on ME oil is nothing like what it was and he seems content to concede strategic advantage in the area to Russia for example. 

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As Leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has commented  “ All roads lead to Putin”  - why? 

Edited by Surfer

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I agree with a lot of that but the US dependance on ME oil is nothing like what it was and he seems content to concede strategic advantage in the area to Russia for example. 

That is why people don't trust him. The Russian links just don't seem more than a carve between the two superpowers

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3 hours ago, Surfer said:

As Leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has commented  “ All roads lead to Putin”  - why? 

Perhaps because she built them?

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On 11/01/2020 at 19:13, Herman said:

Moyo, like the majority of the country at the time ,egged on by the right wing press, supported the Iraq war. Now it has been proven to be a disastrous decision, based on lies and misinformation they desperately try to distance themselves from it. And to his shame he has let the government do exactly the same thing to him again. Will he be calling Johnson a criminal in 10/20 years time??

I supported the Iraq war & it had nothing to do with WMD. The atrocities enacted by Saddam's regime made my blood boil & it was my naive hope that The USA's intention was to go in & actually improve things, to at least set the country onto the path to democracy.

When they basically simply smashed the place up & ran away i was aghast. I could not believe they didn't have at least the semblance of a plan. 

I learnt a lot from that war. I believe I can now see what the motivation behind the war was. 

Hussein was becoming too powerful. He was a threat to American Middle Eastern political & economic interests. The more factional fighting that exists in that region the weaker they become as a collective force - USA support for Israel also ensures they always have a military & intelligence ally in the region.

The suffering of the Iraqi people didn't come into it. It was pure pragmatism driving the USA. Does that make them evil? I don't think so. I think they've had their fingers burnt before. There is a strong streak of missionary zeal in Americans, & I believe their ideals are generally laudable; they believe in democracy, the rule of law, a free press, the right to self-determination & the pursuit of happiness. I'm sure the average American wants those principles to be applied throughout the world, & when they see the atrocities enacted by foreign dictatorships as a tool of state power - deliberate, sanctioned torture & murder, not by aberration but by design - they want them to stop. 

The USA government, however, has learnt that this is no easy matter. I'm sure they would like to follow the mood of the electorate - after all, that's how you get elected - & set the world to rights. The law of unintended consequences rules supreme (look at our interventions in NI for example, originally welcomed by the Catholic population) & sending the troops in always seems to end in uniting everyone against the troops; I remember hearing a story about someone trying to break apart a man beating his wife on the street, whereupon they both turned on him. 

And of course the Vietnam war altered the public appetite for intervention abroad for a long, long time.

So they take the short-term, self-interest approach. Just do what's best for our country, because trying to do good all too often ends up making things worse. That, naturally, suits the huge American based corporations - their only concern is profit of course - but it makes it hard to argue against.

It's all rather depressing. I don't have a solution (surprise surprise). Perhaps to simply help where you can, small scale, piecemeal, is the only way to help turn things around. 

The optimist in me hopes this can happen, & despite the daily horrors on the news I believe it is - world poverty is definitely reducing - but so damn slowly. I just wish anyone knew how to speed it up. War & violent revolution are certainly not the answer.

 

 

Edited by ron obvious
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The second Iraq conflict came shortly after 9/11, Ron. And the US government knew it was Al Quaeda not Iraq who planned and carried out the deed. But VP Cheney decided he wanted to blame Iraq. No doubt he ignored the intelligence to make it more financially viable for Halliburton. And there is no oil in Afghanistan.

Hussein's regime was evil, as are most dictatorships backed by their army. But I would bet there have been more deaths and casualties arising from the conflict and the mess afterwards. And Hussein would not have ruled forever.

I remember when Lee Quan Yew first took over Singapore. Yes he wasn't evil, but he instilled a discipline in the country that has transformed it from a Third World country into the First World country it is today. So there is a way to transform and govern nations without murdering their citizens. But you have to have an end game. And the US is to fond of interfering, sometimes justified, without any concern or plan for what happens when it is over.

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And even more US arrogance and isolationism.

The chances of an American accused of killing motorcyclist Harry Dunn being extradited to the UK are "very low", the prime minister has said.

Mr Dunn, 19, died after being hit by a car allegedly driven by suspect Anne Sacoolas, who left the country for the US claiming diplomatic immunity.

The US had criticised the UK's request to extradite her.

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6 hours ago, keelansgrandad said:

The second Iraq conflict came shortly after 9/11, Ron. And the US government knew it was Al Quaeda not Iraq who planned and carried out the deed. But VP Cheney decided he wanted to blame Iraq. No doubt he ignored the intelligence to make it more financially viable for Halliburton. And there is no oil in Afghanistan.

Hussein's regime was evil, as are most dictatorships backed by their army. But I would bet there have been more deaths and casualties arising from the conflict and the mess afterwards. And Hussein would not have ruled forever.

I remember when Lee Quan Yew first took over Singapore. Yes he wasn't evil, but he instilled a discipline in the country that has transformed it from a Third World country into the First World country it is today. So there is a way to transform and govern nations without murdering their citizens. But you have to have an end game. And the US is to fond of interfering, sometimes justified, without any concern or plan for what happens when it is over.

I am not attempting to justify the USA government's interventions but explain them. 

There is obviously a way to transform a country without murdering their citizens, but the track record of benign dictatorships is not good. Whatever its failings, democracy has proved to be the least bad option. It cannot be imposed by external powers however, whatever the motivation.

 

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I can understand the US intervention. It occurred at a time of mass hysteria here after 9/11. In such times bad things can happen. 

What is more unforgivable is what happened after the invasion, why did the de-Baathification program go so wrong?

Why did the US never leave Iraq? 

That isn't because the US public were demanding action, that is on the US Government - i.e Bush, his cabinet, administrators, army.

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2 hours ago, ron obvious said:

I am not attempting to justify the USA government's interventions but explain them. 

There is obviously a way to transform a country without murdering their citizens, but the track record of benign dictatorships is not good. Whatever its failings, democracy has proved to be the least bad option. It cannot be imposed by external powers however, whatever the motivation.

 

It was long ago and to be honest I wasn't paying that much attention at the time, but why was the WMD angle pushed so much when the treatment of the Kurds, Marsh Arabs and Southern Shia should have been enough to garner enough support from the public, UN and other agencies against Saddam. Why did they go on this route when the other could have left some sort of legacy,

The deliberate stopping of nation rebuilding was and is unforgivable and is a foreign policy disaster.

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5 minutes ago, Herman said:

It was long ago and to be honest I wasn't paying that much attention at the time, but why was the WMD angle pushed so much when the treatment of the Kurds, Marsh Arabs and Southern Shia should have been enough to garner enough support from the public, UN and other agencies against Saddam. Why did they go on this route when the other could have left some sort of legacy,

The deliberate stopping of nation rebuilding was and is unforgivable and is a foreign policy disaster.

I think the WMD allegation was to give invasion some sort of legal basis. Ironically slaughtering tour own people is adjudged to be an insufficient reason in international law.

The way the USA abandoned the Iraqis to their fate after the war was disgusting. I couldn't believe it.

 

 

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Meanwhile, the House has just received a batch of records from Lev Parnas, relevant to the Ukraine scandal, the foundation of the impeachment trial about to take place in the Senate.

https://www.courthousenews.com/house-releases-trove-of-documents-from-giuliani-associate/

Stay tuned.  ( I wonder of this will delay the Articles of Impeachment being sent to the Senate tomorrow? ) 

https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/20200114_-_hpsci_transmittal_letter_to_hjc_-_new_evidence.pdf

https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/20200114_-_hpsci_transmittal_letter_to_hjc_-_new_evidence_attachment.pdf

There is already a lot of explosive commentary about this, and there will be much more overnight I'm certain. 

 

 

Edited by Surfer

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Heads up: read whatever you can about Lev Parnas’s interview With Rachael Maddow tonight - it’s explosive stuff. 

Edited by Surfer
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The pundits believe that no witnesses will be allowed. But even though we know he will been found not guilty, just to hear the testimony might persuade many of the US citizens who are not driven by racist, right wing, puritan views, to vote for someone other than this idiot in November.  Maybe the continued slump in growth will awaken many people to the fact that the US economy is no better than under Obama despite higher wages and the increase in the Dow,

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Meanwhile, liars can lie, but the truth will always come out (despite whatever obstruction is put in its way) 

The President "doesn't know Mr Parnas" - and neither does anyone else apparently - well at least according to what they say .... 

Lev started working for Fred Trump selling condos at age 16, and obviously has been with the family since then...

That's the President, the Vice President, Jared and Ivanka, Presidential advisor and spokeswoman Kelly Anne Conway, Mike Huckerbee, Minority Leader of the House Kevin McCarthy, Eric and Don Jnr. Trump, Steve Scalise. And there are several other pictures too. 

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Edited by Surfer

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The impeachment is purely politically motivated and will fail.  Most politicians are up to no good in one way or another and the main thing is what they actually achieve, and do the bad bits outweigh the good.  If the good outweighs the bad as it most certainly does in Trump's case, that can only be a good thing for the USA and the world.  The alternative is self-righteous, handwringing lefties, and we know where they got Venezuela very recently and of course the UK in the noughties with their profligacy.

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Well of course it's politics, that word describes what politicians do. The question is whether what they do is justified, honourable and in the countries interests....

One thing that has become crystal clear over the past three years is the center - right and right of the political spectrum have just disengaged from reality, projecting their own worst behaviors onto their opponents, taking no responsibility for any actions - 

So Trump has been good for America? And the left wing are too sensitive snowflakes, there is a vast left wing media conspiracy. Below, just from today ... now you are free to believe what you want, but I prefer the truth. 

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Edited by Surfer

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If the good outweighs the bad as it most certainly does in Trump's case, that can only be a good thing for the USA and the world. 

You are just like him. Say something without proving it and think that makes it right. Fact is, the World is scared of him at the moment.

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18 minutes ago, keelansgrandad said:

If the good outweighs the bad as it most certainly does in Trump's case, that can only be a good thing for the USA and the world. 

You are just like him. Say something without proving it and think that makes it right. Fact is, the World is scared of him at the moment.

The world ( not sure the whole world...LOL)  is scared of him because he is standing up for the USA, just as the EU is now getting scared of Boris.  Both are vote-winners and for good reason, because they are doing what the majority of their electorates want, not least in growing their own economies, cutting crime  and controlling immigration.    

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He's corrupt as **** and clearly lacking in any morals. It's quite simple moyo. 

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gdp growth under recent presidents

OK Paul. This graph suggest that Trump is just a BS about the economy. "I've said it so it must be right". His warped version of QED. And remember that Obama went through the outcome of the world financial crash in 2008. But I guess you will say something else. That is what you right wing Tories do.

Here is another person out of his depth thinking he is a Tory. He is just a bully. And he got it wrong.

 

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Meanwhile.
 

The “trial” phase of the formal Impeachment of President Donald Trump starts today, with the Republican Leader of the Senate doing literally everything in his power to suppress evidence, and not call witnesses ....

..... what wonderful times for a democracy. 

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Luckily, the vote has only to be a simple majority for calling witnesses and some commentators believe there are enough Republicans who despise Trump enough to vote for witnesses.

Meanwhile the Know It All climate change denier tells the world that we are all doom and gloom and should be happy. Like Melania you mean?

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Here we go ... so it would suggest that no, there are not even four Republicans who are prepared to stand up for democracy....

Sen. Mitch McConnell warns against calling Executive Branch officials as witnesses, as their communications "lie at the very core of the president's constitutional privileges." "Pursuing those witnesses could indefinitely delay the Senate trail."

Update.... you may be right KG that McConnell does not have a lock on Republican votes, they just caved on three key issues over the proposed rules of the trial. It's moving in the right direction ....

 

Update .. web that didn't last long - all Republicans just voted in lock step to avoid any evidence and witnesses from coming in front of them while pretending that this decision can be taken later.... 

Edited by Surfer

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We know the President lies, there is plain evidence for that. 

However lawyers are lot supposed to lie in court. And the President's lawyers have immediate headed in that direction. They are not arguing the law, instead just repeating political debate points. It's not their role and they should be held in contempt. In a regular court the judge would have pulled them up already and stopped this. 

Cipollone says “Not even Mr. Schiff’s Republican colleagues were allowed into the SCIF” during impeachment investigation. That’s 100% false. Any member of the three investigating committees could attend, and many Republicans did!

Update - and Cipollone has just been publicly called out on that lie by Schiff, using judicial terminology "he was mistaken" 

Edited by Surfer

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