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General Category => General Forum => Topic started by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 10, 2018, 03:16:13 pm

Title: America's great “clown show”…
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 10, 2018, 03:16:13 pm

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Drh9doIUUAA-0hj.jpg) (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Drh9doIUUAA-0hj.jpg)

Title: Re: America's great “clown show”…
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 13, 2018, 11:35:30 am

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DrwKghRWoAAUgV0.jpg) (https://twitter.com/Cartoon4sale/status/1061735171655909378)

Title: Re: America's great “clown show”…
Post by: Im2Sexy4MyPants on November 15, 2018, 11:45:34 am

Title: Re: America's great “clown show”…
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 15, 2018, 05:34:19 pm

No point having a wife if you have a needle-dick and cannot get it up any more.

ROFLMAO .... Trump is the world's greatest CLOWN SHOW .... ever!!!!!!!!

(http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/TooFunny_zps2gz4suf2.gif~original) (http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/LaughingPinkPanther_zpsy6iu8yso.gif~original) (http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/ROFLMAO_Dog_zpsc4esrpyc.gif~original) (http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/LaughingHard_zpswco6umsu.gif~original) (http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/ItchyBugga_zpsebzrttez.gif~original)

Title: Re: America's great “clown show”…
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 23, 2018, 03:36:57 pm

from The Press…

A world leader in thrall to the enemies of justice

By JOE BENNETT | 5:00AM — Wednesday, 21 Noember 2018

(https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/s/q/e/0/i/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.710x400.1sqaqm.png/1542669873617.jpg) (https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/s/q/e/0/i/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.710x400.1sqaqm.png/1542669873617.jpg)
A man holds a poster showing images of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman and murdered
journalist Jamal Khashoggi, describing the prince as “assassin” and Khashoggi as “martyr”
during funeral prayers in absentia for Khashoggi. — Photograph: Associated Press.

CALL ME ISIAH. A few weeks ago on this page I prophesied that Trump would help the Saudi Crown Prince to get away with murder (https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/108030087/shakespeare-said-it-the-powerful-get-away-with-everything). And we've spent the last month watching it happen.

In case you've forgotten - and how easy it is to forget when headlines break upon us as ceaselessly as waves upon a beach — the man murdered was Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist. He went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get a marriage licence. Fifteen men were waiting for him. They killed him, cut him into bits and dissolved the bits in acid.

The 15 men, including close associates of Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince, had been sent from Saudi for the sole purpose of committing the murder, bringing with them the tools they needed, including a bone saw. But the official Saudi story, which has shifted half a dozen times to conform with facts as they emerged, is that they were rogue killers acting independently. The men have been arrested and the Saudi authorities have ‘asked for’ the death penalty for five of them, thereby implying that they have such a thing as an independent judiciary. They love a good laugh in Saudi.

The Saudi lies are transparent and self-serving, but Trump has chosen to go along with them. Immediately the story broke he sent an emissary to Riyadh. This emissary was Mike Pompeo, who looks exactly like his surname. Pompeo grinned for the cameras, shook the hand of the man who'd ordered the murder, and sat down with him to plot how to get him off the hook.

Of course there is nothing new in Western governments siding with murderous regimes. Geopolitics is a filthy business. And Saudi Arabia buys huge quantities of weapons from the USA, as it does from the UK, France and elsewhere.

Here, however, Trump is at odds with his own government agencies. The CIA has determined that Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Khashoggi, but Trump doesn't want to know. Just as he didn't want to know when US intelligence determined that Russia had meddled in the election Trump won.

What drives Trump is not the American national interest. It is the Trump family interest, and in this case the interests of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Somehow Kushner, who is Jewish, has become close friends with Mohammed bin Salman, who is Muslim. It may be, of course, that the two of them just hit it off like a latter-day Romeo and Juliet's brother. But it seems more likely that money came into it.

Bin Salman has limitless supplies of the stuff whereas Kushner was in danger of going bankrupt. But then his father-in-law ran for the presidency and the money poured in to save Kushner's business (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/13/trump-white-house-donald-ivanka-jared-clinton), not least from the Middle East. Bin Salman has since been heard to boast he has Kushner ‘in his pocket’ (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jared-kushner-saudi-crown-prince-mohammed-bin-salman-jamal-khashoggwhatsapp_us_5bc89652e4b0a8f17ee9eda1) which means he has Trump in the same location. Saudi Arabia, you will recall, was the first country Trump visited after being elected.

It may yet happen that Trump will be forced to impose some feeble sanction on the Crown Prince. But that will not alter the fact that the United States, like many another corrupt country, is now run by a man who seeks only to enrich himself and his family. And for the first time in my life the ostensible leader of the democratic world is in thrall to the tyrants and bastards, the Putins and bin Salmans, the enemies of justice and the murderers of journalists.

How will it pan out? Worse before it gets better, sayeth Isaiah.


• Julian “Joe” Bennett is a writer, columnist and retired English school teacher living in Lyttelton, New Zealand. Born in England, Bennett emigrated to New Zealand when he was twenty-nine.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/108722398/a-world-leader-in-thrall-to-the-enemies-of-justice (https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/108722398/a-world-leader-in-thrall-to-the-enemies-of-justice)

Title: Re: America's great “clown show”…
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 23, 2018, 03:39:15 pm

from The Washington Post…

Confronted with the bloody behavior of autocrats,
Trump, instead, blames the world

“Maybe the world should be held accountable, because the world is a vicious place,”
President Trump said on Thursday when asked about the killing
of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

By KRISTINE PHILLIPS | 5:02PM EDT — Thursday, November 22, 2018

(https://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_911w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2018/11/22/National-Politics/Images/5QS3TFXOPYI6RC2HXUEXL7LBTE.jpg) (https://www.washingtonpost.com/rw/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2018/11/22/National-Politics/Images/5QS3TFXOPYI6RC2HXUEXL7LBTE.jpg)
President Donald J. Trump responded on Thursday, November 22, to questions about the death of Washington Post contributor
Jamal Khashoggi, saying, “The world is a vicious place.” — Photograph: The Washington Post.

IN fielding questions from reporters about the killing of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump avoided blaming Mohammed bin Salman, despite the CIA's findings that the Saudi crown prince had ordered the assassination.

“Who should be held accountable?” a reporter asked Trump on Thursday. Sitting inside his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the president took a deep breath, seemingly mulling his response.

Then he said: “Maybe the world should be held accountable, because the world is a vicious place.”

This line of thinking is not new for Trump. When confronted with questions about allegations of murderous acts and abuse of power lodged against autocratic leaders, he has often brushed them aside, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Trump deflects by blaming other countries for also committing atrocious acts, or the United States for having “a lot of killers.” He condemns the world, but not the powerful people accused of making it “vicious” in the first place.

Last year, former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly pressed Trump about Vladimir Putin (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/02/04/oreilly-told-trump-that-putin-is-a-killer-trumps-reply-you-think-our-countrys-so-innocent) and accusations that the Russian president and his associates have killed journalists and dissidents in Russia.

“Putin is a killer,” O'Reilly said.

But Trump, who has refused to condemn Putin (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-repudiates-us-intelligence-community-by-according-equal-weight-to-putin/2018/07/16/cdac77ba-891c-11e8-85ae-511bc1146b0b_story.html) despite findings by U.S. intelligence officials that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential elections, seemed unfazed.

“There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?” he said.

Trump had a similar exchange with Joe Scarborough in 2015.

“He kills journalists that don't agree with him,” the “Morning Joe” host said of Putin.

“Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe,” Trump responded.

At least 34 journalists have been killed in Russia since 2000, according to PolitiFact (https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/article/2016/jan/04/does-vladimir-putin-kill-journalists), which combined data from two non-profits that chronicle such incidents. Nina Ognianova of the Committee to Protect Journalists's Europe and Central Asia program told PolitiFact that journalists can be “slain with impunity in Putin's Russia,” where killers feel “emboldened to act” by an administration that marginalizes journalists. She acknowledged that there has been no evidence linking Putin to the deaths. Harley Balzer, a Georgetown University professor who specializes in Russian and Eastern European studies, said that Putin did not need to personally sign off on assassinations of Kremlin critics.

In his comments about Khashoggi's killing on Thursday, Trump seemed to defer to what he described as Mohammed's vehement denials of his involvement and contradicted the CIA's assessment (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-concludes-saudi-crown-prince-ordered-jamal-khashoggis-assassination/2018/11/16/98c89fe6-e9b2-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html) that the direct order came from the crown prince himself.

He also seemed to suggest that all U.S. allies were guilty of the same behavior. If others were held to the same standard to which critics are holding Saudi Arabia, “we wouldn't be able to have anyone for an ally,” Trump told reporters.

Trump treasures being an ally of Saudi Arabia because of the country's role in fighting Iran, forging Israeli-Palestinian peace, defeating Islamist terrorism and, as the president has said repeatedly, the economic growth this partnership promises.

He also treasures being an ally of Russia: “If Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS … that's a good thing,” he said last year (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/02/04/oreilly-told-trump-that-putin-is-a-killer-trumps-reply-you-think-our-countrys-so-innocent), using another name for the Islamic State.

To put this all simply: There may have been atrocious acts, but however much blood has been spilled, it is not worth sacrificing the partnership for.

Trump has praised other autocratic leaders, including North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, whom the president declared to have developed “a very special bond” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-kim-summit-trump-says-we-have-developed-a-very-special-bond-at-end-of-historic-meeting/2018/06/12/ff43465a-6dba-11e8-bf86-a2351b5ece99_story.html) with after a summit in June. About a year before that, in April 2017, Trump told Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/10/13/philippine-president-rodrigo-duterte-pulls-out-brutal-drugs-war/760799001) that he's “doing an unbelievable job” ridding the Southeast Asian country of its long-standing drug problem. Thousands of Filipinos have been killed since Duterte launched his bloody war against drugs.


Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.

Kristine Phillips (https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/kristine-guerra) is a member of The Washington Post's general assignment team. She previously covered criminal justice, courts and legal affairs at the Indianapolis Star.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Trump on Khashoggi: ‘If we went by this standard, we wouldn't be able to have anybody as an ally’ (https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/world/trump-on-khashoggi-if-we-went-by-this-standard-we-wouldnt-be-able-to-have-anybody-as-an-ally/2018/11/22/10dc3094-ee6b-11e8-8b47-bd0975fd6199_video.html)

 • VIDEO: Asked about Khashoggi killing, Pompeo says, ‘It's a mean, nasty world out there’ (https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/world/asked-about-khashoggi-killing-pompeo-says-its-a-mean-nasty-world-out-there/2018/11/20/95a5579a-ecfb-11e8-8b47-bd0975fd6199_video.html)

 • Trump brushes aside CIA assertion that crown prince ordered killing, defends him and Saudi Arabia (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-brushes-aside-cia-assertion-that-crown-prince-ordered-killing-defends-him-and-saudi-arabia/2018/11/22/d3bdf23c-ee70-11e8-96d4-0d23f2aaad09_story.html)

 • Trump's dangerous message to tyrants: Flash money and get away with murder (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-dangerous-message-to-tyrants-flash-money-and-get-away-with-murder/2018/11/21/4202e69e-edc2-11e8-8679-934a2b33be52_story.html)

 • Trump calls Saudi Arabia a ‘great ally,’ discounts crown prince's responsibility for Khashoggi's death (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-defends-saudia-arabias-denial-about-the-planning-of-khashoggis-death/2018/11/20/b64d2cc6-eceb-11e8-9236-bb94154151d2_story.html)

 • For Trump, the relationship with Saudi Arabia is all about money (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/for-trump-the-relationship-with-saudi-arabia-is-all-about-money/2018/11/19/74a2bef8-ec28-11e8-8679-934a2b33be52_story.html)

 • CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi's assassination (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-concludes-saudi-crown-prince-ordered-jamal-khashoggis-assassination/2018/11/16/98c89fe6-e9b2-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/11/22/confronted-with-bloody-behavior-autocrats-trump-instead-blames-world (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/11/22/confronted-with-bloody-behavior-autocrats-trump-instead-blames-world)

Title: Re: America's great “clown show”…
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 23, 2018, 05:49:43 pm

from The Washington Post…

Trump is not a champion of human rights.
He is a clueless clown.

If you lavish him with praise, treat him like a king and promise
him vague deals, he'll literally let you get away with murder.

By EUGENE ROBINSON | 5:42PM EDT — Thursday, November 22, 2018

(https://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_800w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2018/10/14/Editorial-Opinion/Images/Saudi_Arabia_The_Prince_03958-fa3e9-3122.jpg) (https://www.washingtonpost.com/rw/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2018/10/14/Editorial-Opinion/Images/Saudi_Arabia_The_Prince_03958-fa3e9-3122.jpg)
President Donald J. Trump holds a chart highlighting arms sales to Saudi Arabia during a White House meeting
with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, in March. — Photograph: Evan Vucci/Associated Press.

IN RIYADH, they must be laughing at President Trump. In Pyongyang, too, and in Tehran. In Beijing and, of course, in Moscow, they must be laughing until it hurts. They look at Washington and they don't see a champion of freedom and human rights. They see a preening, clueless clown.

Trump's reaction (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-defends-saudia-arabias-denial-about-the-planning-of-khashoggis-death/2018/11/20/b64d2cc6-eceb-11e8-9236-bb94154151d2_story.html) — or non-reaction — to the Saudi regime's brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is a holiday-season gift to autocrats around the globe. It shows them that if you just shower Trump with over-the-top flattery, feed him some geopolitical mumbo jumbo and make vague promises to perhaps buy some American-made goods in the future, he will literally let you get away with murder.

Recall what happened: The Saudi government lured Khashoggi, a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, where a team of assassins lay in wait. Khashoggi was killed and his body dismembered. The CIA has reportedly concluded with “high confidence” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-concludes-saudi-crown-prince-ordered-jamal-khashoggis-assassination/2018/11/16/98c89fe6-e9b2-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html) — as close to certainty as the agency gets — that the assassination was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the nation's de facto ruler.

After weeks of hemming and hawing, the White House put out a statement on Tuesday (https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-president-donald-j-trump-standing-saudi-arabia) from Trump making clear that for the murder of Khashoggi — who lived in Virginia (https://thehill.com/homenews/house/410854-virginia-dem-rips-administration-on-khashoggi), was a permanent U.S. resident (https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/21/18106314/trump-khashoggi-saudi-arabia-america-first) and had children who are U.S. citizens — the Saudi regime will face no consequences. Zero. Not even a slap on the wrist.

Despite the CIA's assessment that the crown prince ordered the killing, the White House statement waffles on whether he even knew about it in advance: “Maybe he did and maybe he didn't!” Trump said the same thing later to reporters, adding, “We are with Saudi Arabia. We're staying with Saudi Arabia” (https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-marine-one-departure-25).

Even more appalling, the statement — which is littered with exclamation points, suggesting Trump himself had a hand in writing it — attacks and defames the victim (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trumps-latest-statement-on-khashoggi-was-a-betrayal-of-american-values/2018/11/20/f4efdd80-ecef-11e8-baac-2a674e91502b_story.html). Khashoggi was a respected journalist who sometimes criticized the Saudi government. The president of the United States suggests he deserved to die.

“Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an ‘enemy of the state’ and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that,” the statement says (https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-president-donald-j-trump-standing-saudi-arabia). That is a rhetorical device known as paraleipsis — saying something by professing not to say it — and its use to suggest the Saudis were somehow justified in killing Khashoggi makes me want to throw up.

In the statement — which is headlined “America First!” — Trump emphasizes what he calls the “record amount of money” that Saudi Arabia is supposedly prepared to spend in the United States. Trump goes on to make a series of false claims. No, there is no agreement for the Saudis to spend $450 billion on U.S. goods (https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2018/oct/23/donald-trump/donald-trump-touts-nonexistent-450-billion-saudi-o), despite Trump's assertion. No, there is no firm agreement for $110 billion in arms sales (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/11/trumps-billion-arms-sales-saudi-arabia-still-fake); the actual figure is $14.5 billion (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congress/ap-fact-check-trump-inflates-value-of-saudi-arms-deal/2018/11/21/6bcdf47a-ed4d-11e8-8b47-bd0975fd6199_story.html). No, what Trump reckons as “hundreds of thousands of jobs” are not at stake. And no, the Saudis could not simply decide to buy Chinese or Russian arms, instead.

The truth is that in the U.S.-Saudi relationship, the United States holds all the cards. We don't need the Saudis' oil and can easily do without their arms purchases. By contrast, without U.S. military assistance and American-made spare parts, the Saudi armed forces could not function.

But leave aside Trump's inability to calculate the power equation here — perhaps he should read The Art of the Deal (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399594493) — and consider the factors that are absent from his thinking. There is no mention in his statement of human rights, no mention of freedom of the press. There is no notion of the United States as an advocate for liberty or a foe of despotism. There is only the amoral pursuit of what Trump sees — not very clearly — as U.S. national interests.

The Saudi royals got on Trump's good side by hosting his first foreign visit and fawning over him as if he, too, were an absolute monarch. North Korea's Kim Jong Un was gracious and deferential to Trump at their summit — and now continues his nuclear and ballistic missile programs (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/12/us/politics/north-korea-missile-bases.html) unmolested. Russia's Vladimir Putin complimented Trump's political skill — and escaped any meaningful punishment for meddling in the 2016 election. There cannot be a strongman ruler in the world who fails to see the pattern — and the opportunity.

Lavish Trump with praise. Treat him like a king. Wave a fistful of money in front of his face. And if you want to, say, kill an inconvenient journalist, he'll look the other way.


Eugene Robinson (https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/eugene-robinson) writes a twice-a-week column on politics and culture for The Washington Post and hosts a weekly online chat with readers. In a three-decade career at The Post, Robinson has been city hall reporter, city editor, foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires and London, foreign editor, and assistant managing editor in charge of the paper's Style section. He started writing a column for the Op-Ed page in 2005. In 2009, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for “his eloquent columns on the 2008 presidential campaign that focus on the election of the first African-American president, showcasing graceful writing and grasp of the larger historic picture.” Robinson is the author of Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0767929969) (2010), Last Dance in Havana (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0743246225) (2004), and Coal to Cream: A Black Man's Journey Beyond Color to an Affirmation of Race (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0684857227) (1999). He lives with his wife and two sons in Arlington.


Related to this topic:

 • Jamal Khashoggi: What the Arab world needs most is free expression (his final column) (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/jamal-khashoggi-what-the-arab-world-needs-most-is-free-expression/2018/10/17/adfc8c44-d21d-11e8-8c22-fa2ef74bd6d6_story.html)

 • The Washington Post's View: Trump slanders Khashoggi and betrays American values (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trumps-latest-statement-on-khashoggi-was-a-betrayal-of-american-values/2018/11/20/f4efdd80-ecef-11e8-baac-2a674e91502b_story.html)

 • Max Boot: Democracy is in crisis around the world. Why? (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/democracy-is-in-crisis-around-the-world-why/2018/11/21/ccb6423c-ecf4-11e8-8679-934a2b33be52_story.html)

 • Aaron Blake: Trump broke his word on Jamal Khashoggi — plain and simple (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/11/21/trump-broke-his-word-jamal-khashoggi-plain-simple)

 • Brian Klaas: Trump won't stand up to Saudi murderers. The private sector should instead. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2018/11/21/trump-wont-stand-up-to-saudi-murderers-the-private-sector-should-instead)

 • Greg Sargent: No, Trump isn't putting ‘America first’. He's putting himself first. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/11/21/no-trump-isnt-putting-america-first-hes-putting-himself-first)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-not-a-champion-of-human-rights-he-is-a-clueless-clown/2018/11/22/979a1342-edd7-11e8-8679-934a2b33be52_story.html (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-not-a-champion-of-human-rights-he-is-a-clueless-clown/2018/11/22/979a1342-edd7-11e8-8679-934a2b33be52_story.html)

Title: Re: America's great “clown show”…
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 23, 2018, 06:46:43 pm

from The Washington Post…

‘HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!’: Rhetorical bedlam erupts
as President Trump speaks to the world from Mar-a-Lago

The president's morning announcements mixed Thanksgiving tidings,
grievance and sparring with familiar foes.

By JOSH DAWSEY | 10:01PM EDT — Thursday, November 22, 2018

(https://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_933w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2018/11/22/National-Politics/Images/Trump_18503.jpg-419f8.jpg) (https://www.washingtonpost.com/rw/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2018/11/22/National-Politics/Images/Trump_18503.jpg-419f8.jpg)
President Donald J. Trump spoke to reporters in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, about what he was most thankful for on Thanksgiving 2018.
 — Photograph: The Washington Post.

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA — President Trump's Thanksgiving began, as his days often do, with an all-caps tweet (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1065576088779272192): “HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!”

Minutes later, he tweeted (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1065583286188158976) of potential “bedlam, chaos, injury and death,” a harbinger of what would be a frenetic Thanksgiving morning.

Over the span of a few hours, the president would mix the traditional pablum of Thanksgiving tidings with renouncing the findings of his Central Intelligence Agency, threatening Mexico, criticizing court decisions, attacking Hillary Clinton over her emails, mis-stating facts about the economy, floating a shutdown of the government — and per usual, jousting with the news media.

Asked what he was most thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day — a question that for commanders in chief usually prompts praise of service members in harm's way — Trump delivered a singularly Trumpian answer.

“I made a tremendous difference in our country,” he said, citing himself.

Trump opened the public part of his day by hosting a televised conference call with military officers around the world that, while intended to spread cheer and inoculate him from criticism of his absence from war zones, quickly morphed into an effort to enlist them in his domestic priorities.

In the slathered-in-gold center foyer of his Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump sat at a small table covered in a black tablecloth, holding a script as aides scurried about. An American flag stood nearby, and a crystal chandelier dangled above. Behind him, servers arranged the tables for a Thanksgiving feast.

Beneath a gold ceiling, Trump told troops representing five branches in five countries overseas about “barbed wire plus … the ultimate” that was blocking migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Loquacious and hopping from topic to topic, he debated the merits of steam catapults versus electromagnetic ones for aircraft carriers and whether the United States was being treated poorly on trade. On both occasions, perplexed officers on the other end of the phone seemed to disagree with his conclusions.

He blamed “the world” for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, disputing the analysis from the CIA (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-brushes-aside-cia-assertion-that-crown-prince-ordered-killing-defends-him-and-saudi-arabia/2018/11/22/d3bdf23c-ee70-11e8-96d4-0d23f2aaad09_story.html) that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was to blame. In fact, Trump said inexplicably, the crown prince hated the death even more than Trump did.

Explaining why he needed to keep a close alliance with Saudi Arabia, he cited lower oil prices. That leads to lower gas prices, he said, before saying the news media had unfairly blamed him for traffic jams caused by cheap gas.

In recent weeks, Trump has stumbled when it came to demonstrating his support for the military — skipping a military cemetery memorial service (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/trump-and-macron-meet-whats-left-to-talk-about/2018/11/10/680a014c-e1ec-11e8-ba30-a7ded04d8fac_story.html) outside Paris, declining to visit Arlington National Cemetery to mark Veterans Day and mocking a Navy SEAL who led the raid to capture Osama bin Laden (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-attacks-retired-navy-admiral-for-not-capturing-osama-bin-laden-faster/2018/11/18/b3e1bbb0-eb69-11e8-9236-bb94154151d2_story.html), saying bin Laden should have been found far earlier.

Asked on Thursday whether it was enough to call troops from his palatial resort and later visit officers at a nearby station, he retreated to a familiar boast.

“Nobody's done more for the military than me,” Trump said.

Sometimes, he praised those on the other end of the line, but often by extension he praised himself.

“A as in the best,” he said of one Coast Guard officer's school, likening it to his alma mater. “Going to that school is like going to the Wharton School of Finance if you happen to be doing what you do.”

A Navy commander in Bahrain, a U.S. ally, became the foil to discuss trade.

“As you know, trade for me is a very big subject,” Trump said, adding that the United States was getting ripped off.

“We don't have any good trade deals,” Trump complained.

The commander seemed confused and told the president of abundant goods being carried across nearby waters. “We don't see any issues in terms of trade right now,” the officer said.

Trump quickly moved on to hurricane response, bragging several times about the improving brand of the Coast Guard.

“Waves like record-setting. It's been record-setting. The one hurricane in Texas they say dumped more water, and it was more violent in terms of water, than anything we've ever had in the country,” he said, referring to rescues they had undertaken.

He complained at length that a new Navy ship was using electromagnetic catapults to propel planes off ships. He said steam was better and was incredulous the military would consider otherwise. “Would you go with steam or would you go with electromagnetic? Because steam is very reliable, and the electromagnetic, unfortunately, you have to be Albert Einstein to really work it properly,” he asked.

“You have to be Albert Einstein to run the nuclear power plants that we have here, as well. But we're doing that very well. I would go, sir, with electromagnetic,” the officer responded.

Trump repeatedly asked military commanders what they were seeing in their regions, a conversation not usually held on a televised broadcast. He asked if those serving in Afghanistan were enjoying themselves. (Later, he demurred when asked by reporters whether he would pull troops out of the country.)

He bragged during part of the conversation about sending troops to the Mexico border, a mission that is controversial and seen by many as a waste of time. He expressed no second-guessing about the constitutionality of signing an order giving soldiers the right to use lethal force at the border (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/troops-approved-to-use-force-at-the-border-but-mattis-says-the-mission-hasnt-changed/2018/11/21/7b9e5e34-edbc-11e8-96d4-0d23f2aaad09_story.html), although many in his government harbor such concerns.

As he spoke, a soccer net was being set up on the large front lawn, and his daughter Ivanka Trump and her children were spotted in leisurewear near the mangrove bushes.

The subsequent 55-minute question-and-answer session with reporters had a similar antic air. He claimed to know little about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange or the Justice Department's desire to prosecute him (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/julian-assange-has-been-charged-prosecutors-reveal-in-inadvertent-court-filing/2018/11/15/9902e6ba-98bd-48df-b447-3e2a4638f05a_story.html). (In the past, Trump has said, “I love WikiLeaks!”)

Falsely, the president said the gross domestic product percentage was “going down to minus 4, 5, 6 percent” when he took office, describing the country as “teetering” under President Barack Obama. (It was a positive 2.1 percent in the last quarter of 2016.)

He offered, without evidence, that Clinton had “probably” deleted more than 100,000 emails, a continuation of his long campaign to impugn her for using a private email system. At the same time, he defended Ivanka Trump's use of a private email account for government business (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ivanka-trump-used-a-personal-email-account-to-send-hundreds-of-emails-about-government-business-last-year/2018/11/19/6515d1e0-e7a1-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html) as “very innocent.” He said Ivanka's private emails were all “in the Historical Society”; her lawyer has said they were forwarded to an official government server.

He disclosed that he was interviewing job candidates at Mar-a-Lago, although no jobs are known to be open. He has let his frustration with several Cabinet officials be known, and the president said on Thursday (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-is-preparing-to-remove-kirstjen-nielsen-as-homeland-security-secretary-aides-say/2018/11/12/77111496-e6b0-11e8-bbdb-72fdbf9d4fed_story.html) that embattled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was “in there trying.” And he offered effusive, unprompted praise for Hope Hicks, a former top aide.

By 11:15 a.m., he had arrived at a nearby Coast Guard station, where he greeted troops and posed for pictures for 14 minutes in a sweltering kitchen, in front of a tray of submarine sandwiches the troops would soon eat for lunch. He served no turkey but told Coast Guard officials there that he would give them $100 if they could break par at his golf course.

By noon, Trump disappeared behind the towering hedges of that course. On Thursday night, he was enjoying a spread in the gilded Mar-a-Lago ballroom. The menu included turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, ribs, Chilean sea bass, Florida stone crab, beef tenderloin and Caesar salad, among other dishes. Surrounded by family, he pointed at the cameras and waved while other club­goers angled to get in the camera shot.


Josh Dawsey (https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/josh-dawsey) is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. He joined the newspaper in 2017. He previously covered the White House for Politico, and New York City Hall and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for The Wall Street Journal.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Trump is thankful he ‘made a tremendous difference” in U.S. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/trump-is-thankful-he-made-a-tremendous-difference-in-us/2018/11/22/037e7c62-ee99-11e8-8b47-bd0975fd6199_video.html)

 • VIDEO: Trump on Khashoggi: ‘If we went by this standard, we wouldn't be able to have anybody as an ally (https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/world/trump-on-khashoggi-if-we-went-by-this-standard-we-wouldnt-be-able-to-have-anybody-as-an-ally/2018/11/22/10dc3094-ee6b-11e8-8b47-bd0975fd6199_video.html)

 • VIDEO: Trump praises Coast Guard on Thanksgiving (https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/trump-praises-coast-guard-on-thanksgiving/2018/11/22/7cd97e28-ee84-11e8-8b47-bd0975fd6199_video.html)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/happy-thanksgiving-to-all-rhetorical-bedlam-erupts-as-president-trump-speaks-to-the-world-from-mar-a-lago/2018/11/22/349c4a3e-ee7d-11e8-96d4-0d23f2aaad09_story.html (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/happy-thanksgiving-to-all-rhetorical-bedlam-erupts-as-president-trump-speaks-to-the-world-from-mar-a-lago/2018/11/22/349c4a3e-ee7d-11e8-96d4-0d23f2aaad09_story.html)

Title: Re: America's great “clown show”…
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on January 17, 2019, 08:36:06 pm

from the Los Angeles Times…

Why you can't look away from that Trump fast food photo

A photo of Donald Trump presiding over a fast food buffet evoked some unexpected comparisons to classical art.

By JESSICA ROY | 5:10PM PST — Tuesday, January 15, 2019

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dw6nGzyX4AAgIGa.jpg) (http://www.latimes.com/resizer/uYUXGHlFGHMBJymrpWcKZ_QalXE=/800x0/www.trbimg.com/img-5c3e6a95/turbine/la-1547594385-7ilyg3lpll-snap-image)
President Donald J. Trump's fast food bounty for the Clemson football team at the White House on Monday night. — Photograph: Shealah Craighead/White House.

PRESIDENT TRUMP served the college football national champion Clemson Tigers a fast food buffet for their official White House visit on Monday, and newly released photos from the event are pretty incredible to many people, including a UCLA art history professor who saw parallels to Leonardo da Vinci's “The Last Supper”.

The White House staff who would ordinarily cook and serve the meal were tied up with the government shutdown, the explanation went (https://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-trump-fast-food-20190114-story.html), and so the president paid out of pocket for a selection from McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King.

Pictures taken by official White House photographer Shealah Craighead were posted on the verified @WhiteHouse (https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse) Twitter account. One in particular stood out.

(http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/Los%20Angeles%20Times%20news%20pix/20190115tw1twh_TwitterTheWhiteHouse_zpswibgzvl8.jpg~original) (https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/1084988299041738752)

The tweets came fast and furious, marveling at what some may see as a metaphor for Trump's tenure: The president, arms spread, in the formal State Dining Room of the White House, with a feast of boxed fast food stacked neatly on silver trays between gold candelabra. George P.A. Healy's 1869 oil painting “Abraham Lincoln” painting looks on from above.

(http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/Los%20Angeles%20Times%20news%20pix/20190115tw2sp_TwitterSouthPaw_zpsmh6uxem2.jpg~original) (https://twitter.com/nycsouthpaw/status/1084992503806418944)

It's quite an interplay: opulence and modesty, high and low, point and counterpoint, Trump in the middle. It evoked a period costume romp about royals or some dark comedy on cable. For some, it was hard to look away.

(http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/Los%20Angeles%20Times%20news%20pix/20190115tw3mn_TwitterMargaritaNoriega_zpsyu4fdi8n.jpg~original) (https://twitter.com/margarita/status/1084995395220996096)

(http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/Los%20Angeles%20Times%20news%20pix/20190115tw4ap_TwitterAlexandraPetri_zpszvmphvwn.jpg~original) (https://twitter.com/petridishes/status/1085072868503945218)

(http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/Los%20Angeles%20Times%20news%20pix/20190115tw5ib_TwitterIanBremmer_zpsxtoynwue.jpg~original) (https://twitter.com/ianbremmer/status/1085236069065465858)

For others, it elicited comparisons to contemporary art, of a kind.

(http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/Los%20Angeles%20Times%20news%20pix/20190115tw6md_TwitterMikeDrucker_zps3oscz0c3.jpg~original) (https://twitter.com/MikeDrucker/status/1085002985397280768)

(http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/Los%20Angeles%20Times%20news%20pix/20190115tw7dm_TwitterDougMack_zpsos1mzvti.jpg~original) (https://twitter.com/douglasmack/status/1085009800491089921)

It is not surprising that people found the photo visually arresting, said George Baker, a professor of art history at UCLA who specializes in modern and contemporary art. It observes the rule of thirds and has some aspects of the golden ratio, he said, but it's more powerful in the way it evokes classical art.

“You think of all of the great images of feasts in the history of art,” Baker said. “Right away, the most famous images are religious — The Last Supper (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Supper_(Leonardo)) with Christ. And you have this incredible gesture [he's] making, but it's not really a presentation of the bounty and the food. He's holding his hands up in a Christ gesture that we associate more with the crucifixion.”

It's a gesture, Baker said, that calls to mind executions and political protest paintings. “The Third of May 1808” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_of_May_1808) by Francisco Goya and “The Execution of Emperor Maximilian” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Execution_of_Emperor_Maximilian) by Edouard Manet feature similar positions.

The subject matter is also evocative. Baker pointed to “The Land of Cockaigne” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Land_of_Cockaigne_(Bruegel)) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. It depicts a feast taking place in “a medieval land of plenty, which is appropriate as an allegory” for the White House event, Baker said. In it, the food prepares itself: A goose lays down on a plate, an egg walks on two legs with a knife in its cracked shell, a pig carves a strip of bacon from its side.

(http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo227/Kiwithrottlejockey/Los%20Angeles%20Times%20news%20pix/20190115tw8sp_TwitterSouthPaw_zpsp9dy6iq3.jpg~original) (https://twitter.com/nycsouthpaw/status/1085008376227131392)

For Baker, though, the most interesting thing about the photography is the interplay between Trump and Lincoln. Healy's “Abraham Lincoln” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln_(Healy)) was completed before Rodin's “The Thinker” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thinker) sculpture, though the pose is the same and has been used throughout art history to depict contemplation, including in Michelangelo's tomb for the Medici princes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medici_Chapel).

“The gesture Trump is making could be no more different,” Baker said. It's “so striking and so the opposite of the contemplative figure behind him, and the lineage of thought that that painting borrows from.”

On Twitter, people got tired of the photo quickly. “How do I mute a photo” could well be 2019's “Twitter needs an edit button”. But the photo's resonance shows that even in an age where Big Macs substitute for a state dinner, people can still find parallels to fine art where they least expect it.


Jessica Roy (http://www.latimes.com/la-bio-jessica-roy-staff.html) works on the audience engagement team at the Los Angeles Times. She covers pop culture, politics and technology.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-trump-fast-food-photo-art-20190115-story.html (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-trump-fast-food-photo-art-20190115-story.html)

Title: Re: America's great “clown show”…
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on January 17, 2019, 08:36:42 pm

Donald J. Trump has about as much sophistication as a common garden slug.

Title: Re: America's great “clown show”…
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on April 03, 2020, 02:24:14 pm

(https://static.seattletimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Daily-briefing-ONLINE-COLOR-1560x1048.jpg) (https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/cirque-de-la-confusion)