Quote of the Week
“Speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech.”
– spokesperson for Chinese State TV, as the entire nation rises up against one US National Basketball Association coach who dared to tweet a message of support for the Hong Kong protestors. War looms….
Trump’s donors are such a gas
Take a look at the faces of these two men. They are said to be “business associates” of Mr Rudy Giuliani, former crimebusting Mayor of New York, Trump’s “personal lawyer” and bafflingly weird media motormouth, who were (allegedly) involved with him in a plot (supposedly inspired by dim but dim Energy Secretary, Rick Perry), to remove the US ambassador and set-up the Bidens for a corruption charge over dealings with a gas company in Ukraine. They are both Russian, but apparently with US nationality.
(For some reason, Mr Giuliani has not been arrested.)
The BBC has described them as illegal “donors” to the Trump campaign, having allegedly laundered over $400 thousand through a fake energy company in Florida (!)*, $325k of which has ended up in a Trump 2020 PAC, courtesy of an “unidentified” foreign individual. They were arrested at Dulles International, 10 Oct. on their way to Vienna.
Why Vienna? You don’t suppose it’s because that’s where Ukrainian multi-billionaire Dmitry Firtash, the “gas king”, the expensive “middle man” for all Russia’s gas exports that go via Ukraine to Germany, is out on bail in his own recognizance of £137 MILLION while fighting an extradition warrant from the FBI on money-laundering charges, do you?
Who, as Ms Maddow of MSNBC has suggested, is keen to persuade the Trump administration that it would be greatly in their interest to make the investigation and the sanctions on him go away?
Who is everyone trying to kid? Look at them! What are you thinking right now? Probably what I’m thinking. That I wouldn’t want to meet either of these businessmen in an alleyway on a dark night, let alone at a financial service providers’ convention at Mar-a-Lago, right? But we mustn’t jump to conclusions, looks aren’t everything, book, cover…. pussycats, probably.
*Funny, you never seem to get these numerous references to organized crime links in states like Montana, Vermont or Idaho. Does Mr Trump have no bidness interests there?
The Madness of King Donald #374
“As I have stated strongly before, 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!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!”
– Insane Trump tweet, following a phone call with Erdogan, announcing the immediate withdrawal of US troops in northern Syria, abandoning their allied Kurdish militias to the tender mercies of the Turkish army. By Monday night Turkish forces were reportedly shelling Kurdish positions.
Kurds “didn’t help us in the second world war, they didn’t help us with Normandy as an example – they mention the names of different battles, they weren’t there. I learned this in a very powerful article…”
For God’s sake, Republicans, this catastrophic individual has lost his mind, can’t you see that? He was already the most intellectually inadequate man on the planet and in the light of events in the Ukraine now clearly a criminal, but you gave him absolute power.
Please, if you still support this crazy old mobster, make sense of this if you can:
“I, we, altogether, you, defeated and took over 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate, everybody said that was going to be an impossible thing to do, I did it, and I did it quickly because we have a great military now. When I took over our military we didn’t have ammunition. I was told by a top general (loud sniff), maybe the top of them all, Sir, I’m sorry Sir, we don’t have ammunition. I said I’ll never let another president have that happen to him or her. We didn’t have ammunition. Now we’ve captured ISIS, we’ve done what we’ve done, we had fifty soldiers in the area you’re talking about….”
It is all stream-of-consciousness, mad bullshit, every bit of it. Who was the “top general, maybe the top of them all”? Maybe, General Mattis, his Defense Secretary, who quit over Trump’s dangerously whimsical policy in Syria, on which he was not consulted. Mr Trump blames Mr Obama for failing to buy ammunition, despite spending only $680 billion on the military in 2017. Mr Trump’s additional $64 billion for the military was, he now says, to buy more ammunition. That’s a lot of rounds.
Americans must take full collective responsibility for allowing this mentally disturbed and chronically undereducated old man who refuses to take advice from anyone, who lives entirely in a world of his own spinning, who is unused to strategic thinking, to carry on serving in a capacity he was never fitted for in the first place.
GET HIM OUT, ANY WAY YOU CAN.
The liar-in-chief strikes again
“’I consulted with everybody. I always consult with everybody,’ he said when asked if he consulted with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“That appeared to conflict with reports that Trump’s decision came as a surprise to the Pentagon, which had no forewarning of the move. As Fox News reported, even top Pentagon officials were ‘completely blindsided’ and ‘shocked’ by the order, which came after Trump spoke with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”
– from inquisitr website.
Lying again. Fucking insane, lying Adderall-addicted old numbskull, he’s been on the phone again and we bet that call is stashed in the Top Secret drawer along with his Putin calls and the notorious Zelenskiy call.
So we ask, what deal, what “favor” did Trump extort from Erdogan, what help with his Trump 2020 campaign will those Kurdish militia allies pay for with their lives? According to reports, he’s still making $1 million a year profit from Trump Towers, Istanbul. Maybe that’s what he’s protecting, Erdogan is blackmailing him, who knows what these rootling fascist pigs get up to in the privacy of their phone calls?
Talk about corruption, this atrocious man’s is seemingly bottomless. But then, the word on the digital street is that it may be Erdogan is strongarming him, having “tapes” or whatever, incriminating Kushner with MBS in the plot to assassinate Khashoggi as a quid pro quo for extorting money from Qatar to bailout the failing property developer. Nothing is too filthy for all these scummy “entrepreneurs”.
Tonight even Trump’s most craven enablers, Senators Graham and McConnell are demurring. Is this just another sackful of cats he’s chucking into the room to drain media attention away from the impeachment hearings, or from the New York court order to release his taxes?
A serious implication is that the Kurds are holding thousands of ISIS prisoners who may just be allowed to walk if their captors have to fight the Turkish army crossing the border
NBC News reports former U.S. envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS (whose other members were not informed either), Brett McGurk, as saying Trump’s decision is causing chaos at the White House:
“This is very serious. No one knows what to do. I see the administration scrambling to make sense of what is happening. The president is all over the place. His tweets indicate he has no real idea or conception of what is happening on the ground.”
US troops have reportedly begun pulling out. American allies, the Kurds, who did all the heavy lifting removing ISIS from Syria, lost 11 thousand fighters helping to defend America from this barely-existent threat. Trump doesn’t give a damn. How would he, he’s a sociopath.
This is what you get when you put a demented old drug addict* who thinks he’s a genius, a man of infinite wisdom – more like Norman Wisdom – who knows “more about ISIS than many Generals”, in charge of US Defense forces.
Salmond branded him a “loser” and Trump retaliated by describing the then former first minister as a “has-been”.
Nya nah! You suck! No, you suck!
This is the President of the United States of America we are talking about. A toddler in an outsize suit and his daddy’s tie.
It seems “Mini-me” Trump, Boris Johnson is not the only one doing battle in the Scottish courts. “Maxi-me” Trump is there too.
Trump Organization is reportedly refusing or, in its familiar way, somehow failing to meet an order for “£tens of thousands” (peanuts, surely, to the man who once boasted of being the wealthiest man in America? Ed.) in costs awarded against it after losing a fight that went all the way to the UK Supreme Court to stop the Scottish government siting a small wind-farm directly offshore of Trump’s Balmedie, Aberdeenshire golf course, alleging the visual impact would damage his loss-making business.
He also failed to intervene to stop a much larger windfarm out in the windy Shetland Islands, claiming that all windfarms suppress tourism. He has no tourism interest in the Shetlands!
This is why Trump hates wind farms, and will tell any lie to keep them out of America. The pitiful corpses of thousands of decapitated sacred American Bald Eagles litter the ground around the windmills. People’s TV sets go dark whenever the wind drops, and they miss the rest of the ballgame. The endless whirring of their sails causes people to develop cancer…. (Yes, he said those things.)
Anyway, Balmedie, also known as Trump International, Aberdeen. That’s the golf course he built over a Site of Special Scientific Interest, after former First Minister, Alex Salmond foolishly intervened in favour of job creation – the promise all gullible local officials fall for, every time; the numbers never actually being achieved, and then they’re usually imported specialist jobs, not local at all. (Or they simply pocket the brown envelope. Ed.)
The golf course where, when local residents refused to move out, he cut off their water and built high banks around their homes.
Trump and Salmond later fell out over the small, 11-turbine development, that Trump said would ruin the view. It was then that Salmond was accused out of the blue of being a groper – a sexual predator, just like Trump! Was that a story Trump let loose from David Pecker’s little black safe at the National Enquirer? It was a mishandled accusation, anyway, for which the former cruise line crooner received very substantial damages from the Scottish parliament earlier this year.*
Trump’s local manager at Balmedie has denied the report, saying the matter was in the hands of the Scottish courts. Yes, Ms Malone, it is. They want you to pay up!
The list of things Trump knows more about than anyone else was comically extended during the hearing, when Trump famously declared that the planning committee did not need to call any witnesses to verify his claims.
“I am the evidence,” he said. “I’m an expert in tourism. I have won many, many awards…”
Oh well, case closed then. Will the Chosen One be the evidence at his own impeachment hearing? He has already made it abundantly clear that he knows more about “perfect” phone calls than anyone, because he made that one to the president of Ukraine.
The Guardian concludes its report, from which the above is extrapolated, thus:
“The Trump International Golf Club posted a £1m annual loss for 2018 last week, the seventh loss in a row. Trump and his family firm have now loaned the business £43m and it has yet to turn a profit.”
It would be instructive to know where the money came from in the first place to develop the complex site, built on a well-known beauty spot comprising miles of shifting sand-dunes: the lonely sea and the sky, sadly no longer. Mr Trump’s sons have told the media at various times “We get all the money we need from Russia”.
A website investigating Trump’s Russian connections, The Moscow Project, recently reported:
“During the campaign, Trump reportedly requested a loan from Deutsche Bank for his golf course in Scotland. According to The New York Times, Deutsche Bank officials rejected the request, claiming it was too risky. … As Trump prepared to take office in December 2016, he owed nearly $364 million in outstanding debts to the financial institution.”
The BogPo has in the past noted drily that, 20 miles up the A49 from Balmedie lies the formerly wealthy oil city of Aberdeen, home of Aberdeen Asset Management, one of Europe’s largest financial institutions, with £312 billion under management. Following its very big merger with Standard Life last year, AAM is now known as Aberdeen Standard Management, but we’ll ignore that.
AAM is the child of the “ebullient” socialite, Martin Gilbert, once described in the House of Commons as the “unacceptable face of asset management”, now a Knight of the realm. We wondered idly, how it was that this firm that nearly went under, owing £650 million to small investors in 2002, was able to get back on the acquisitions trail almost immediately, and to buy “most of” the UK asset management arm of Mr Trump’s favorite bank, Deutsche, in July 2005, for £265 million? (As well as a substantial slice of Rupert Murdoch’s Sky TV, now sold to Disney.)
We have yet to discover the answer, although we’re pretty certain there’s “nothing to see here”. What we have just read, however, coincidentally in the Financial Times, peeking naughtily over their paywall, is basically this: that Sir Martin Gilbert was an invited guest (along, as it happens, with Kremlin lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya and the two Russian former GRU men with money-laundering expertise involved in the controversial 9 June, 2016 meeting with Trump campaign officials) at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration in 2017.
“The two had met on the golf course….” the FT reported.
Sir Martin announced just days ago that he would be standing down as CEO in November, joking that he was quitting before he was pushed.
It would be an enormous stretch indeed to link the timing of the announcement in any way with the continuing inquiries into why Deutsche Bank continued to lend to Trump over $2.5 billion in total (Mother Jones) – despite his being red-flagged as a possible money-launderer and a serial loan defaulter – and with the Southern District Court of New York’s successful subpoena of Deutsche Bank last month for a vast trove of financial records relating to the Trump Organization.
Happily I know nothing whatever of high finance, or even much about low. I just sit here and fiddle with the internet all day. It’s here somewhere….
*Mr Salmond appeared in court last week and has been bailed until the New Year on charges of sexually propositioning ten women.
A Funny Comment found under Rachel Maddow:
Japan: At last, it takes a Category 5 superstorm bearing down on a world sporting event to get mainstream journalists interested!
“Super Typhoon Hagibis” writes The Guardian‘s Gerard Meagher, “had initially threatened Ireland’s key match in Fukuoka on Saturday, but has altered its course and is now zeroing in on Tokyo and Yokohama. It has escalated from a tropical storm into a supertyphoon with wind speeds estimated at 160mph in one of the most dramatic intensifications of any tropical cyclone since records began. According to the Japanese Meteorological Agency it is on course to be the strongest to hit Japan this year.”
Other sources suggest it could be the strongest storm ever recorded in the western Pacific, with peak winds of 195 mph.
Rugby bore alert
England is scheduled to play France in a Pool C fixture this weekend, followed by a Sunday bout between Scotland and home team Japan. If either match has to be cancelled a draw is automatically awarded, with 2 points per team. England and France are already through to the quarter finals, but a “scoreless draw” would see Scotland knocked out. It’s also possible the Japan F1 Grand Prix might have to be cancelled, and the racing schedule doesn’t allow for re-runs.
Venezuela: Heavy rain in the Sierra de Perijá triggered flooding of the Kunana river in the town of Toromo from around 5 Oct.. Around 400 homes, as well as livestock, schools and material possessions suffered damage. Civil Protection said they were searching for 6 people, believed to be from the same family, who went missing in the floods. (Floodlist)
Kenya: Heavy rain in border areas between Kenya and Ethiopia has caused flooding in parts of northern Kenya. Around 1,000 people from 200 households have been displaced after homes were damaged or destroyed, and many livestock were swept away and drowned. Damaged roads are making relief efforts difficult. (from Floodlist)
Darfur: At least 367 homes collapsed and a large number of livestock were killed after heavy rains and flash floods hit Um Kedada in North Darfur at the weekend (4 to 6 Oct). No casualties were reported but many people have been left homeless. Two schools were reportedly destroyed. (Floodlist)
Vietnam: High tides and rising river levels left wide areas of the city of Cần Thơ under water from around 1 Oct., with homes and roads flooded and close to 30,000 people affected. As of 01 October, the water level of the Hau River reached 2.25 metres, the highest level in 30 years. The reason for flooding is the coincidence of high water levels in the Mekong River with very high lunar tides in the South China Sea.” (Floodlist)
USA: The second major storm in 10 days will dump several inches to 2 feet of snow over the northern Rockies and shock areas farther to the east over the northern Plains with blizzard conditions. The storm system will bring another round of early-season accumulating snow to nearly a half a million square miles of the interior United States, and, in some cases, the snow will fall less than 24 hours after temperatures have … been in the 80s F. Up to 50% crop losses have been reported through adverse weather and the snow is likely to hit the harvest. (Accuweather)
Over in California, hundreds of thousands are suffering rolling power blackouts as the utilities shut down sections of the grid to avoid very strong winds blowing down power lines and starting fires. So far in 2019, there have been 4,609 fires in California, which have burned 40,712 acres. (Accuweather)
Australia: New South Wales has over 40 fires burning at the moment. The Busbys Flat fire, south of Casino, and another further inland at Drake that has been burning for 5 weeks and destroyed 78,000 acres were still at emergency warning levels on Tuesday night. NSW Rural Fire Service said a “significant number” of homes across the north of the state had been destroyed, including in the village of Rappville, with a population of about 250 people. (Guardian)