“The impeachment saga that is only just starting will revolve around whether Donald Trump is unfit to hold the office of the president. But we already know the answer to that. The real question is whether Trump is fit to hold a pack of Tide pods.” – Richard Wolffe, in The Guardian.
“Now, Siri, let’s see if I can get my entire arm up my nose.”
The Method of King Donald
Those following Trump’s “Chopper talk” appearances to selected hacks on the White House lawn, posed in front of his military helicopter – the one that doesn’t fly in the rain – will be aware of his latest rambling excursion into Trumpworld.
The one where, having called for both the Ukraine phone call whistleblower and Congressman Schiff to be executed for treason (and don’t imagine obsessive little claques of his well-armed Nazi dumbfucks aren’t responding to the call), he then doubled down on his Federal crime of asking for foreign help in his 2020 election campaign, by publicly calling on Ukraine again, and also this time “Jina”, to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his dodgy son, Hunter.
I say dodgy, although Hunter Biden (who was born in the same city as my grandmother, Wilmington, De., fancy that!) is like most of the offspring of wealthy and influential men, valuable for his connections – and hence, in demand as a well-remunerated non-executive director on the boards of companies of whose business sectors he probably has little knowledge. He’s not there as the production manager! Nor is he, like Trump’s sons, congenitally useless and stupid – he has a law degree from Yale, and worked for three years in a lobbying firm, after all.
So if Daddy gave him some legs up, ignoring his drug conviction, well, that’s what makes the wheels go around. It’s a practice you’ll find all over the world, it stinks pretty much, but it happens. And if, for instance, BlackRock wants to pay former UK Chancellor Gideon “George” Osborne £650,000 a year for a weekly chat over lunch, well, that’s their business, not ours.
That being said, to date both men have been cleared by media fact-checkers of any suspicion of actual corruption or grubby dealings in either country, and Trump’s vague insinuations about Biden being part of some scam to steal $1.5 billion from the Chinese government has yet to be shown to have any basis in this reality or the next.
You might as well ask, how it was that $100 thousand came to end up in Trump’s 2020 election fund, apparently illegally donated by a Malaysian businessman wanted by Interpol for his role in the disappearance of much of a $4.5 billion “sovereign wealth fund” that may or may not have been the personal account of a former Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, now in gaol.
Anyway, if there’s evidence of corruption involving “Jina” – Trump’s famous Adderall addiction messes with his sinuses – you could look closer to home. Forbes magazine reported in February, 2018 in a piece called “Trump’s Biggest Potential Conflict of Interest is Hiding in Plain Sight” (it’s a long extract (with apologies) so I’ve cut and pasted a few bits):
“The largest American office of China’s largest bank sits on the 20th floor of Trump Tower, six levels below (Donald Trump’s office). The bank doesn’t welcome visitors, a man guards the elevators downstairs – one of the perks of forking over an estimated $2 million a year for the space.
“Trump Tower officially lists the tenant as the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, but make no mistake who’s paying the rent: the Chinese government, which owns a majority of the company. And while the landlord is technically the Trump Organization, make no mistake who’s cashing those millions: the president of the United States, who has placed day-to-day management with his sons but retains 100% ownership. … Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. could well be negotiating right now over how many millions the Chinese government will pay the sitting president.”
In 2016, The Hill reported that no-one knows exactly how much money the Bank of China has lent to the Trump Organization, or how much he owes.
“The state-owned Central Bank of China has loaned Trump hundreds of millions of dollars. The New York Times has reported that American companies owned by Trump have at least $650 million in debt and the Bank of China is among the lenders.”
(Let’s recall. $650 million isn’t massive by real estate development standards. However, Trump hasn’t built anything for years, he merely licenses his name and sends in Ivanka to rape the world of its rarest woods and animal hides as a “design consultant”, charges $millions for the use of his brand and then waltzes off with the money from the ensuing fire sale when the project goes tits-up. Now, carry on….)
Meanwhile, Bank of China was involved in a deal Trump’s son-in-law and “Senior White House Advisor”, Jared Kushner was desperately trying to do, as a huge mortgage loan repayment was looming on his loss-making retail-and-residential tower, 666, 5th Avenue, NY that while trying to impress his dad, Charlie, who was in gaol at the time and barred from running a business, he massively overpaid for in 2007, just before the Crash.
Billions of dollars in debt, Kushner and his dad went running around many sources before obtaining an offer of a half-billion-dollar investment from the Emir of Qatar – but it was contingent on a huge loan from Bank of China, within which it appeared Kushner had stashed a $400 million lollipop for himself.
Fearful that this would get out – which it did – Bank of China withdrew the offer, and so then did Qatar. Not long afterwards, the UAE and Saudi Barbaria launched a blockade of Qatar, demanding absurd terms (close down Al Jazeera news!). Within weeks, a Canadian investment trust funded by the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar took a 99-year repairing lease on the entirety of 666, 5th Ave., paid for in cash up-front, a highly unusual arrangement, and the blockade (mostly – the UAE and MBS hate Qatar) went away; as did the Kushners’ debt.
The “quid pro quo” is suggested to have been the provision to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin-Salman, of a classified CIA file naming and shaming many opposition figures within the Saudi royal family and the business community, 200 of whom were rounded up and imprisoned in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh until they agreed to pay huge ransom sums to the Crown Prince. Some were tortured and one died. Was the name of Jamal Khashoggi on that list?
Trump had better be careful which countries he strongarms into investigating Sleepy Joe and Hunter Biden!
Mr Trump would indeed do well to avoid mentioning “Jina”, the country against which he has declared a trade war that is crippling American exports and seriously pissing off Premier Xi – a trade war whose only rationale is that Candidate Trump used to campaign to the MAGA dumbfucks on a somewhat generalized assertion that, in future trade relations, he would be putting “America First!”, claiming that “Jina” was screwing America over! Currency manipulators!
Former Republican candidate and serial adulterer, Sen. Mitt Romney has at last broken ranks to declare Mr Trump’s attempts to suborn US foreign policy to the whims of his devious-but-dumb campaign director, Brad Parscale, and the sinister racialist college vampire, Stephen Miller, ‘brazen’, ‘unprecedented’, ‘wrong’ and ‘appalling’. But they’re just words. In politics, votes are everything.
The acid test will be if Pelosi can push impeachment forward to the Senate and rely on a 2/3rds majority to get the demented old fucker out and into the dock.
Thighs and whispers
Meanwhile, try to put out of your mind the news that a thousand Australian couples have already applied for just six opportunities to be married at weddings sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken, complete with free “buckets” of fried chicken.
40 billion chickens are slaughtered annually, worldwide.
Where did the story about the Bidens in Ukraine originate?
Trump watchers will remember, no doubt, the “Uranium One” saga, in which Hillary Clinton was alleged to have done a deal with a Russian state-owned company to sell off America’s entire surplus uranium stocks, from which she personally benefitted to the tune of $2 million.
Subsequent investigations showed she had had nothing to do with the deal, which was signed off by no fewer than nine separate government agencies and involved only a small quantity of uranium.
Intensive press coverage, however, greeted the book in which the allegation was originally made, “Clinton Cash”, written by a man called Peter Schweizer. Typically, the New York Times published excerpts that had not been fact-checked, while the Fox News/Sean Hannity echo-chamber went into overdrive for months.
If they had been, writes Jane Mayer in The New Yorker (4 Oct.), they might have noticed that Schweizer was an editor at Breitbart News, the notorious “alt-right” website funded by billionaire hedge-fund manager, Bob Mercer and managed formerly by Trump-whisperer Steve Bannon; and president of The Government Accountability Institute, another rightwing vehicle, a “think-tank” whose CEO is listed as Mercer’s daughter, Rebecca, and which was founded by Bannon.
The Mercers were among the very largest of Trump’s election donors in 2016 although later on they distanced themselves from him, as did the Koch Brothers, apparently because he wasn’t right-wing enough.
It appears from the New Yorker story that Trump’s wildly swingeing allegations about the corruption of the Bidens, not only in Ukraine but also in China, over which impeachment hearings have begun, have been based entirely on a subsequent book by Schweizer, “Secret Empires”. The story that Vice President Biden had intervened to stop an inquiry into his son Hunter’s role on the board of a Ukrainian gas company owned by a corrupt oligarch was picked up by Rudy Giuliani and amplified by an op-ed writer on conservative website The Hill, John Solomon, who developed the story into a piece asking “Did Ukraine try to secretly help Hillary Clinton win the 2016 election?”
Just that question has enabled Trump to seize on the possibility that it was not Russia that interfered in the 2016 election to get him into the White House, but Ukraine that interfered to get Crooked Hillary elected; thus encouraging him to legitimize his claim that his failure to achieve an overall popular majority was due to the election having been rigged against him; although somehow, he won anyway.
There is a possibility that he is so crazy, he genuinely believes this to be true. He is certainly crazy enough to imagine that it still matters: he won!
No-one has produced a shred of evidence to back up this “fake news”, which seems to rest on the fact of a trip to Ukraine Biden Sr made, several days after the state prosecutor abandoned an investigation of the company, Burisma.
Because the prosecutor then happened to be fired after complaints from a number of governments that he had been on the take, Schweizer and then Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani joined the dots backwards to suggest Biden had misused US foreign policy to pressure Ukraine’s then-president Poroshenko to get the inquiry, that would have incriminated his son, stopped.
But the inquiry into Burisma had started long before Hunter Biden was appointed to the job.
It all looks have been part of a deliberate campaign to discredit leading Democrats, as well as one of Trump’s rivals for the 2020 presidential election. But thanks to Trump and his rambling press “gaggles”, and Giuliani’s demented TV interviews, in which both men accepted that Trump had leaned on new Ukrainian president Zelezniy to force him to back the story up, and “so what?”, it has descended into a morass of claim and counter-claim.
Once again, voters are being asked to make up their minds on the basis of propaganda, relying on their own opinions and interpretations, rather than hard facts, that are out there if only they would look.
The madness of King Donald #137…
“Trump has at various times claimed—in all seriousness—that no one knows more than he does about: taxes, income, construction, campaign finance, drones, technology, infrastructure, work visas, the Islamic State, “things” generally, environmental-impact statements, Facebook, renewable energy, polls, courts, steelworkers, golf, banks, trade, nuclear weapons, lawsuits, currency devaluation, money, “the system,” debt, and politicians.” (George Conway, in The Atlantic)
The Conway marriage is, surely, one of the more extraordinary phenomena of the Trump maladministration era.
Trump’s former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, made herself famous with her excuse for Trump’s early blindsiding about his inauguration rally numbers, that he dealt in “alternative facts” that were no less true than the actual facts.
And she continues to hurl her emaciated body in front of the tanks of the nightly news shows, irrationally defending Trump to the point where you imagine she might suffer a mental breakdown on the spot, if her interviewers didn’t have one first.
Yet her corporate lawyer husband, the well-filled George T Conway 111 continues calmly and rationally to demolish the myth that this is a “normal” president, fit for office, in any conceivable stretch of the word; but is instead a tyrannical, abusive, sociopathically narcissistic, dysfunctional liar. Who nevertheless continues to employ his wife!
Drawing on a convincing range of sources from modern psychology to the Founding Fathers, his latest exegesis is absolutely worth reading, in The Atlantic magazine: a ten-thousand-word forensic examination of Trump’s glaring unfitness, as obvious to anyone, he says, as the badly broken leg of a footballer; public diagnosis of which requires no medical degree.
(In fact, your Pumpkin made exactly the same point only a week ago, including the broken leg analogy. Morphic resonance, or does he have more fans than hitherto suspected?)
Conway deals capably with the accusation that such amateur diagnoses are just more evidence of snobbish Washington elitists and the Deep State attempting to bring down the brash, populist New York real-estate developer who tells it like it is, and who brushes boring convention aside, in reality a clever man with a multidimensional chess-playing brain.
He digs down deep into the roots of the narcissistic sociopathic personality, coming up with unarguable proof with innumerable examples, that the president’s most notorious psychopathic disorder is only the beginning of his mental health issues; but that it is his inexperience, his native ineptitude and refusal to read briefing documents, ignorance for which the true narcissist seeks to overcompensate, that exacerbates the problem.
Other presidents, he says, have not been handicapped by their health issues. Abraham Lincoln for instance being what we would now call bipolar, or “manic depressive”; they have otherwise had what it takes, the right stuff as defined by, say, Alexander Hamilton – that “fiduciary responsibility” to the nation which Trump so signally lacks, his presidency being entirely devoted to himself. If anything, they were able to use their deficiencies to the good, which Trump simply cannot do.
As for being clever and multidimensional, a “stable genius” as he insists on calling himself at every opportunity, well, as Conway reminds us, the former $75 thousand-a-day CEO of the world’s largest oil corporation probably wasn’t far wrong, when he described Trump as “a fuckin’ moron”. Nor is Trump’s recollection of his legendary academic prowess totally aligned with the opinions of his former teachers.
Not many of his former staffers who have come reeling in confusion out of the White House over the past three tortuous and turbulent years, often fired on a jealous whim by tweet or rumor, would disagree. But the Republican party is stuck on the freeway and can’t find the exit ramp, as Trump biographer Tony Schwartz put it on MSNBC last night.
“The essential feature of narcissistic personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.” (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.)
Trump, Conway concludes, quoting several clinical psychologists busily collecting evidence for probably the most complex example of sociopathic narcissism they’ve ever had to work with, is “a textbook case.”
As for winkling him out, Conway explains with legal clarity, both the 25th Amendment designed to remove an incompetent President, and the legal remedy of impeachment for “High Crimes and Misdemeanors”, whatever lawyers think those are (Conway argues it’s more a matter of failing to fulfil the duties of the office than committing actual crimes), are not as easy as they sound.
As the impeachment process wears on, he warns, Trump’s mental state can only get worse, with the very real possibility of some kind of dangerously psychotic episode.
We ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
The madness of King Donald….
“In February 2017, Trump was given a private tour of the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture, and paused in front of an exhibit on the Dutch role in the slave trade. He turned to the museum’s director and said, ‘You know, they love me in the Netherlands.'” (George Conway, in The Atlantic)
“Hey, look what I found up her nose! My thumb!”
The madness of King Donald….
“On Christmas Eve last year, Trump took calls on NORAD’s Santa Tracker phone line, which children call to find out where Santa Claus is as he makes his rounds. Trump asked a 7-year-old girl from South Carolina: ‘Are you still a believer in Santa? Because at 7, it’s marginal, right?'” (George Conway, in The Atlantic)
GW: There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonite…
USA: “In the first 3 days of October, over 30 cities set new all-time high temperatures for the month. New Orleans hit 96F, 35.5C on Wednesday, breaking the old October record of 95F – set on Tuesday! Birmingham, Alabama topped out at a record-shattering 103F, 39.4C on Wednesday, hotter than any days in July or all but three days of August. Some schools were closed. New York City hit 93 degrees on Wednesday – the second-highest October temperature ever recorded in the Big Apple.” (from Accuweather) Temperatures swelled to record-setting levels yet again on Thursday 3rd, with over half a dozen cities reaching the 100-degree mark. No relief is expected before the weekend.
For a time on Wednesday afternoon, every weather station across eight different states was reporting temperatures higher than that of Death Valley National Park in California, one of the hottest places on Earth.
Impeachment: the rules of the game
I’m far from being an expert on US constitutional law but what I glean from those who are is that a) impeachment does not automatically mean the removal or resignation of the subject, ie Trump, because b) the term “High crimes and misdemeanors” coined after much debate by Founders Madison, Jefferson and Hamilton does not have to involve a crime in statute law, it merely refers to the failure of an official to properly execute their oath of office, or to a breach of fiduciary duty. Impeachment can be just a warning or reprimand and the official could carry on, as Bill Clinton did; although the likelihood of them repeating the same actions has to be taken into account.
In Nixon’s case, once proceedings began he resigned, in return for a pardon from Vice President Ford. He was never impeached. If Trump were to be found guilty of a federal crime or crimes in an impeachment hearing, as I understand it, having impeached him Congress would need to get the DoJ to execute an arrest warrant as it has no powers in that regard.
Only two previous counsel’s opinions have said a sitting president cannot be indicted, it is not written anywhere in the Constitution; but it is a principle being stoutly upheld by the current Attorney General, whom Trump appointed precisely for the purpose. Hence Trump remains officially an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the case against his former lieutenant, Michael Cohen, for misusing election funds to buy the silence of a mistress. On leaving office, provided the statute of limitations has not run out, that indictment could be raised against him.
In the meantime it is difficult to see how one would actually remove him, if he doesn’t want to go! I don’t somehow see Federal marshals getting involved in a shoot-out with Trump’s security detail on the White House lawn but there are reports of far-right groups threatening armed insurrection in support of the president, regardless of his legal standing, should he be impeached. As he has warned, they are well armed and he also commands the military and, via the DoJ, the police.
Trump has indicated more than once that if narrowly defeated in 2020, he might refuse to leave office; he uses that to milk applause from the MAGA audiences at his non-stop rallies. He has also expressed the view that as President, he is legally inviolable and may do whatever he pleases. Which, in itself, could be seen as a “High crime” or misdemeanor, a refusal to honor his oath of office, as the President is technically a public official and is not there simply to please himself.
The best outcome then would be for him to go before 3020 with a full pardon for himself and his children, and probably a decent pension, say ten billion – cheap at the price – in return for a comfortable and obscure retirement free from public controversy and an end to the Trump Organization and its shady business shenanigans.
Somehow, one can’t see him accepting that as a condition!