And now the prosecutors have resigned from the case, which is all you could do if you have any integrity:
Swamp Rabbit wanted to know why Iran hates America, the beacon of democracy and the land of opportunity. “Just because,” I told him.
Iran hates us just because we overthrew its democratically elected prime minister and propped up the corrupt Shah (1953). Just because we backed Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war, which cost more than a half-million lives (1980-1988). Just because we shot down an Iranian airliner, killing all 290 people on board (1988). Just because we withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and doubled down on economic sanctions that have hurt millions of Iranian citizens.
And just because we took out Qassim Suleimani, the second most powerful character in Iran and a national hero.
“What you mean by took out?” Swamp Rabbit said. “Did we wine and dine him?”
I told him “took out” is a U.S. military euphemism. It sounds cooler than “killed,” much less alarming than “assassinated” and not nearly as ugly as “murdered,” the word used by former New York Times reporter James Risen in an Intercept piece about the hypocrisy of American foreign policy.
“But Suleimani was a terrorist,” Swamp Rabbit said, playing devil’s advocate. “His posses killed hundreds of Americans.”
“Depends which side of the fence you’re on,” I replied. “If you’re in Iran or Iraq, you probably think Bush and Cheney are terrorists, and Petraeus and the other generals. How many people did they kill?”
“But Mike Pompeo said Suleimani was planning more attacks,” he said. “What’s the big deal about killing him?”
I told him President Gerald Ford issued an executive order banning assassinations (1976). A current version of the ban is still in effect. Which means killing Suleimani was illegal. Which means we shouldn’t be outraged or even surprised if Iran blows up some high-ranking U.S. officials.
“But Pompeo said attacks were imminent,” Swamp Rabbit insisted. “And that this was — what you call it? — a targeted killing, not an assassination.”
“Pompeo is an Opus Dei member,” I replied. ‘He hates Iran for being a heathen country and thinks good Christians will continue to fight heathens right up to the Rapture. He thinks lying is okay if you’re lying for the Lord. His mascot Mike Pence feels the same way.”
Swamp Rabbit reached for his whiskey flask and drank deep. He was enjoying himself. “But them bosses in Iran are religious nuts, too. They got big chiefs called ayatollahs. Ayatollah means sign of God.”
I took a deep breath and exhaled. “The point is that America is run by bigoted hypocrites, just like Iran. It’s an open secret our news media will never acknowledge.”
“Well, no shit,” he said. Why didn’t you say that in the first place?”
Footnote: Sure, the assassination ban is vague. Several presidents, including Barack Obama, argued that it doesn’t apply to targeted killings of “nonstate actors” — Osama bin Laden, for example. But Suleimani was definitely not a nonstate actor. If the ban doesn’t cover his case, it’s worthless.
“So you’re telling me part of the multibillion-dollar wall Trump is having built on the Mexican border can be breached with a hundred-dollar saw? You’re not making this up?”
Swamp Rabbit wasn’t making it up. He was reading from a news article he’d called up on my laptop:
…When fitted with specialized blades, the saws can slice through one of the barrier’s steel-and-concrete bollards in minutes, according to [border] agents, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the barrier-defeating techniques. After cutting through the base of a single bollard, smugglers can push the steel out of the way, creating an adult-size gap. Because the bollards are so tall — and are attached only to a panel at the top — their length makes them easier to push aside once they have been cut and are left dangling…
Swamp Rabbit’s parole office, Victor Cortez, interrupted to vouch for the story’s accuracy. “I’ve got one of those reciprocating saws,” he said. “With the right blades it will cut through anything.”
I don’t believe you,” I said. “That reporter is tripping.”
“Just because you can’t drive a nail don’t mean some saw can’t cut through steel,” Swamp Rabbit replied.
I asked why the U.S. Border Patrol didn’t build a regular old brick wall. The rabbit said it was because they thought the concrete and steel bollard system was the best design they could afford.
“They can peek through the bollards — poles is what they are — and see them pesky refugees coming,” he explained. “And they can fix the poles that get wrecked if the refugees are too fast for them and sneak through.”
I persisted, just for the sake of argument. Didn’t Trump say the new wall would be “virtually impenetrable?” Didn’t he assure all those good old boys in the MAGA hats that he would save them from the marauding rapists he warned about?
“The Mexicans were gonna pay for the wall, too,” Swamp Rabbit noted. “If Trump said it, you can bet it ain’t true.”
Footnote: The refugees or aliens or whatever you want to call them are using ladders as well as saws to get past the wall. Who would have thought?
I spoke to the president over the last several days, and President Trump told me that if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before.
— National security adviser John Bolton
Swamp Rabbit and I were watching Donald Trump and his henchmen on TV. I noted that John Bolton looks like God just appeared to him in a burning bush and scared him so bad his goofy mustache turned white. He’s one of those dangerously kooky neocons who, a few years ago, wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near the White House. Now he’s a fixture there, echoing a dangerously kooky president who, arguably, would start a major war to take the country’s focus off the criminal investigation that will eventually, inevitably bring him down.
“Mueller might charge Trump, but that don’t mean he’s going down,” Swamp Rabbit said. “He’s the president. He’s got the Supremes and all them minions in Congress on his side.”
I told my friend that Trump and Bolton’s trash talk about Iran might come to nothing, just like his trash talk about North Korea. That Trump will be indicted if Mueller has the goods. That the law is on our side.
“Which law?” he said. “Most of them legal experts say there ain’t nothing in the Constitution that says a sitting president can be indicted. Nobody can tell the president what to do.”
The old rodent has a point. The language in the Constitution regarding presidential crimes is a bit vague. It says a president who has committed serious offense may be removed by Congress, but it does not say he can be criminally prosecuted while in office.
Few people in the news media are admitting this, but the apparent problem is that “the founders” simply couldn’t imagine an America that would elect a would-be dictator, or a Congress and courts system that would accept and support a would-be dictator’s misconduct, or a gaggle of presidential advisers who were nothing more than demented yes men.
I said, “You’re right, Trump would pull the trigger, or press the button, or whatever it takes to make the heat go away. But I’m hoping the general public will stop him before it comes to that.”
“Don’t count on it,” the rabbit replied. “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran is a pretty catchy song.”
“I really don’t care, do u?” was the message scrawled on a cheap jacket Melania Trump wore on her way to visit a detainment facility – a jail, really — for kids who were separated from their parents by U.S. border guards.
Was there a hidden meaning, or was Melania merely stating the obvious?
The Washington Post received thousands of e-mails from readers responding to reports of the incident. Most of the e-mail writers expressed contempt for Melania and said they weren’t surprised by her stupidly insensitive fashion choice.
Many of them seemed fixated on the notion that Melania is a whore, what do you expect? They mentioned that she had worked in the soft-core porn industry.
One person wrote “…there are names for women who are willing to sell their, uh, integrity for money.”
Another asked “Why would anybody care about the overt opinion of an individual who has sold both her body and her soul to the devil for the metaphorical 30 pieces of silver?”
Whoa! Washington D.C. is crawling with prostitutes and most of them are men. They attach themselves to men who have money and power, and they do whatever they must to keep their jobs. They trade their souls — and their bodies, sometimes — for a little bit of money, in the hope that they can further their careers by pleasing their sugar daddies.
Centers of power have always attracted such men, but the current crop of prostitutes seems more blatant and shameless, probably because Trump is a dictator-type who demands out-loud professions of loyalty from underlings.
A case in point: Can you think of anything more sickening than the video of Trump’s cabinet members sitting around a table and pledging allegiance to him, one by one? What sort of men would behave like this? They couldn’t have been more obsequious if they’d knelt down and fellated him.
So let’s not make too big a deal of Melania’s behavior. Her face is inexpressive, maybe because of Botox. She doesn’t say much, and her rare public statements would seem to indicate she’s not too bright. She may have unwisely sold her body to a bloated monster in return for financial security. (Nothing new about that.)
But she’s not destroying the environment, or chipping away at our First Amendment rights, or giving further tax breaks to billionaires. She’s not in the same league with the whores who help Trump make policy decisions.
To single her out is nothing less than sexist. That’s a word I don’t often use, but there it is.
The media keeps breaking it into little pieces! David Corn for Mother Jones:
In this ongoing fight, it is Trump and his bumper stickers versus a media presenting a wide variety of disparate disclosures that come and go quickly in a hyperchaotic information ecosystem, often absent full context. No wonder then that a recent poll found that 59 percent of Americans said Mueller has uncovered no crimes. In fact, he has secured 17 criminal indictments and obtained five guilty pleas. Accurate news reporting alone does not always carry the day.
The Russia scandal is the most important scandal in the history of the United States. President Andrew Johnson was impeached (but not convicted) because he violated an act of Congress to remove a secretary of war. In the Teapot Dome scandal, the secretary of the interior in Warren Harding’s administration leased federal lands at low rates to private oil companies, presumably in return for bribes. In Watergate, a president and his aides engaged in political skulduggery against political foes. President Bill Clinton lied about a sexual affair he had with a subordinate in the White House. All these scandals raised serious questions about integrity in government. But at the heart of the Russia scandal is the most fundamental issue for a democracy: the sanctity of elections.
An overseas enemy struck at the core of the republic—and it succeeded. Trump and his minions helped and encouraged this attack by engaging in secret contacts with Moscow and publicly insisting no such assault was happening. This is far bigger than a bribe, a break-in, or a blow job. And, worse, the United States remains vulnerable to such a strike.
Yet the full impact of this scandal does not resonate in the daily coverage and discourse. In many ways, the media presents the Russia scandal mostly as a political threat to Trump, not as a serious threat to the nation. And many Americans, thanks to Trump and his allies, view it as a charade. All this shows how easy it is for disinformation and demagoguery to distort reality. That is a tragedy for the United States. For Trump—and Putin—that is victory.
As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2018
Who would have thought Donald Trump, not even half-way through his term, would claim he can pardon himself for crimes committed while running for and serving as president? (Not that he would do anything wrong, of course.)
I asked my friend Swamp Rabbit and he said, “Anyone who knows Trump’s history and isn’t a total dumb-ass would have thought it.”
Trump’s tweet was a wake-up call to all the peeps who think our much-lauded system of checks and balances is a guarantee that a dictator type like Trump will never defy the law in order to hold onto power.
And it was a warning to special counsel Robert Mueller and his posse as they strengthen their case regarding the Trump team’s possible collusion with Russian hackers who helped him win the 2016 presidential election. (Actually, he lost by about 2.9 million votes, but that’s another story.)
We’re likely to hear the word “self-pardon” fairly often as Mueller gets closer to nailing Trump.
Just the other day constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley wrote that Trump can indeed pardon himself, even though “a self-pardon would be [an] ignoble and self-defeating act.”
Some scholars disagree with Turley, but the fact that Trump has made the idea of self-pardon a point of debate is evidence of flaws in the laws governing the executive branch.
The flaws were always there. How ironic that it took a third-rate Mussolini to bring them to light.