To The Phones: Stop the Gulf of Tonkin, Iran Edition

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Some crazy bullshit happened last evening, probably while our fearless Agent Orange Chaos was under the influence of anti-anxiety medication/two scoops/Hannity’s fluffery:

This is like a half-assed Gulf of Tonkin event, a deliberately staged precursor to war. The Gulf of Tonkin was the rationale for the Vietnam War which resulted in 58,318 dead and 303,644 wounded U.S. military personnel and nearly 4,000,000 total dead, along with billions in defense expenditures.

It’s not like we haven’t seen other similar bullshit lies leading us into war, and some of the key lies propelled by the same news outlet quoted above, written by NYT’s Judith Miller. NYT has clearly prepped itself for more of the same — just look at the specialty Twitter account it set up called “NYTimesAtWar.”

We’re being dragged into a wholly unnecessary war because other non-US factions want to use our military for their ends. We have total shit for soft power right now because Trump doesn’t believe in diplomacy unless he’s conducting it with some other Big Authoritarian Man[™]. He will definitely trash anything the previous administration negotiated as part of the JCPOA (read: something a black man did). Trump’s also pliable depending on when he’s approached and by whom — like this propaganda by Fox News yesterday catching him first thing in the morning when he watches television, conditioning his responses for the day:

And again today, after the attack last night was canceled, Fox News is again beating the drum for war and tacitly questioning Trump’s manhood:

Who else was working on Trump’s head all day yesterday, pushing this bullshit narrative based on manufactured evidence?

Thankfully the House has finally voted this Wednesday to end the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) which has been used to support all manner of military action against real and claimed terrorist threats:

The House of Representatives voted today to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Presidents have used the AUMF to justify never-ending wars that lack Congressional approval.

This is the first time in nearly 18 years that a chamber of Congress has repealed this law. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), was included in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 2968). Designed to take effect eight months after being signed, Congress would need to pass a new AUMF or the administration would need to remove military personnel from current conflicts during that time.

Prescient timing, or no? Whatever the case, if factions within the Trump administration were going to rely on the 2001 AUMF to execute their attacks on Iran, the support is gone in the House.

This is where YOU come in. The Senate hasn’t voted on the Defense Appropriations Act including the rescindment of the 2001 AUMF; it could be stalled once again on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk. Stalled or not, the Senate needs to hear from its constituents about this absurd run up to war — denounce this incompetent attempt at launching war without adequate Congressional approval and ask for an investigation into whatever happened last evening to launch an attack without a legitimate AUMF and then reversed the attack mid-flight. This behavior is irrational and only more likely to trigger events the American people have no desire to see happen.

If you need another briefing and a script for making your calls to your senators, visit @Celeste_pewter’s TinyLetter page.

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Do call your House reps and praise them if they supported the rescindment and admonish them if they didn’t. They need to know constituents are paying close attention.

The really scary/aggravating part of last night’s near-miss was that fossil fuel corporations can’t be happy about this. If they aren’t happy and they weren’t consulted, who’s running our foreign policy besides a guy responsible in no small part for hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the Iraq War and another Christianist doofus too stupid to realize he’s being used as a pawn by other non-Christian geopolitical forces?

This is an open thread.

173 replies
  1. Geoff says:

    What I found infuriating was how all the evidence was pointing to at least this happening (plans for a strike) – if not an actual strike. But while you knew Bolton and Pompeo were pushing this hard, the media was falling for the utter BS that Trump was the reasonable one, and didn’t want it. All his nonsensical statements were simply cover, as someone pushed this line of thinking on them, when in reality there was no reason whatsoever to believe it. Then we find out 10 minutes before he starts a war that it was all untrue.

    S&*%, impeachment isn’t good enough for this mutha*#%er.

    • Rayne says:

      Check out all the media coverage of Russia — Putin thought an attack was stupid. It’s like our military is a chew toy in a tug of war between KSA+Israel and Russia, with Bolton+Pompeo representing the former and Trump deciding at the last minute for the latter.

      • Geoff says:

        OK, this also makes more sense – that Putin has Trump by the balls, and even if Pompeo and Bolton wanted it, and Trump wanted it too, Putin intervened ultimately, to shut it down, which, since no one in the media really understands how owned Trump is by Russia, conveniently interpreted it as Trump actually “thinking” it wasn’t the correct response.

        • Mongoose says:

          Yes, and look for Bolton and Pompeo to retire pronto to spend more time with their families after claiming total responsibility for the aborted attacks.

          • Mooser says:

            Jeez, and I thought I was torturing myself by thinking about what a Trump Presidential Library might be like.
            But war, with Donald Trump as Commander-in-Chief? Hoo-boy!
            Okay, Trump will be second-in-command behind the last person he talked to or the TV.

  2. Rayne says:

    This week. Jeebus.

    Yeah, it looks Nixonian — but on crack:

    • Geoff says:

      This is the inverse of what I was thinking, but totally plausible. It could be that Trump actually didnt want to retaliate, but others did, and he didnt mind people thinking he did. But my take was that they all want it to happen, Trump especially (because, brown people) but that Trump wanted for sure to have an excuse, as in, the military and Iran made me do it, so when it goes TU, he can fire people and blame them. This comes down to your belief on who really called it off 10 minutes before, and the story we are being fed that Trump didnt find it proportionate, just sounds like utter BS, because I dont think he is even capable of thinking that way.

      • P J Evans says:

        I was wondering who would get to him, Bolton/Pompeo or Vlad.
        It should be embarrassing to *everyone* in DC to have the world saved from idiocy by Putin. (I don’t think Bolton and Pompeo are capable of being embarrassed that easily, unfortunately.)

        • PR says:

          Pompeo is the CIA playing babysitter to Bolton (asshole) and Trump (a deeply compromised traitor who isn’t really a billionaire and is just an illiterate drama queen). Who cares what Trump thinks, it will change several times in an hour with some 6th grader mindfuckery and Fox “news” propaganda. That bitch is entirely irrelevant. He breaks the law because THEY LET HIM.

          Absolute Immunity. My Ass.

          Let’s be clear: Uncle Sam never wanted a self-described “socialist” Bernie Sanders to be POTUS. They’d rather have this shithead SideshowBob-esque pigfuckery Trump and his shitshow than let Americans have universal healthcare, equal pay, paid family leave, universal Pre-K, and a true safety net – even if it’s just RESPONSIBLE capitalism and not even close to socialism.

          Daggers out. It’s never been about equality. Just do Venn diagrams with SES and race. It’s easy to see where the wealth remains decade after decade. Social mobility was but for certain groups and it’s from a bygone era.

          America gets off on “othering” poor people because it’s NOT a meritocracy – people are socially reproduced. Wealth begets wealth.

          America was never as economically prosperous as it was post WWII. In the 70s we kept spending then came the 80s and we were in deep. Gen Z were the first to be handed the BLIGHT of the New Economy. You’re disposable and surprise there’s no meritocracy. Millennials got the Gig Economy.

          Wars are an economic buffer or boom or distraction for US spending, e.g. Iraq/Afghanistan under GW Bush when we overspent on housing and let the ENTIRE world suffer a **depression** masquerading as “Great Recession” so as to spread the wealth (haha) of our cancer – it was metastatic.

          So going to war? Babe we’re already in War.

          When Snowden leaked all that shit it was Game On. Philippines & Duarte, South China Sea islands and build up, Russians killing openly in UK, Brazil getting its museums burned, France getting Notre Dame burned, planes shot down, planes disappearing. Saudi Arabia playing Trump for a FOOL with medals and billboards so Putin’s ally could colidate power and flip from Team America to Team Russia. Xi becoming an INDEFINITELY leader and siding w/ Russia. Hacked Austrian and Hungarian elections. Brexit hacked. Infrastructure and cities being hacked

          SHIT IS REAL ppl.

          Put down your phones. They’re just leashes anyway. Unless you’re gonna the psychic hotline, it’s pointless.

          [Please use a different screenname, one with more content to differentiate yourself. A user named ‘PR’ has posted but it’s not clear to auto-moderation you are the same ‘PR’. Once you have settled on a screenname, please stick with it so community members get to know you. If you do not choose a different, more differentiated screenname your comment will be pulled to moderation. Thanks. /~Rayne ]

      • pjb says:

        I have a very hard time believing the narrative that Trump, after ordering a strike, called it off because he found the casualty count unacceptably disproportionate to the downing of the unmanned drone. I feel like that’s his off the cuff way of trying to please both his constituencies: the look tough (anti-Obama) crowd and the no foreign entanglements his base wants (anti-Bush). Wouldn’t any process of discussing military and non-military options have included (in fact, begun) with a likely casualty assessment? To credit Trump would mean he thought the casualties were acceptable based upon the discussion with the brass and his aides, and then simply choking based on no further intel. Makes no sense to me.

        • Geoff says:

          This is how the NYTimes addressed your topic :

          “It was unclear why Mr. Trump would have been getting information about possible casualties so late in the process of launching military action. Such information is typically discussed early in the deliberations between a president and national security officials.”

          Um, Helloooooo…..unclear??? When something that makes no sense is trotted out as your backstory, you have to be pretty obtuse to not see what is happening. It’s called LYING. It’s what comes naturally to Trump every time he opens his mouth. Does that clear it up for you? Good grief, if this is the state of reporting, we are in huge trouble.

          • BobCon says:

            Everybody lies there, and if the NY Times was going to be responsible about its access reporting, it would change “it was unclear…” to read “due to chaos in the White House and demonstrably untrue statements by multiple people, it was unclear…”

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              McConnell’s utter, abhorrent failure to respect and follow FBI warnings about Trump prior to Nov 2016 is part and parcel of this mess. The NYT ought to include that tidbit in their backstory.

              This is what system failure looks like.

          • pjb says:

            Thanks Geoff, I had not read the NYT today. But it actually doesn’t clear anything up for me. I, of course, assumed Trump was lying. Not only is that his general mode of living, but the logic of the narrative made no operational sense in this case. What I am interested in is: how did it actually go down? Any theories? Did Trump ever intend to retaliate last night? He seems genuinely caught in a vise between the two disparate elements of his shitty constituency.

        • BobCon says:

          It’s obviously not about casualties, it’s votes.

          I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this is happening at the same time the terrible poll story came out, with Kushner behind an effort to knock Conway out due to her connections to the pollsters who were just fired for delivering bad news.

          I think the Boltonistas are building walls to keep Trump from knowing about the effect that coffins and hostages will have on 2020. They want him wrapped in the cocoon of rallies and Fox News and away from any idea how war with Iran will translate into a political nightmare.

          • William Bennett says:

            I tend to agree. Two things: I think Trump genuinely lacks the sack, as the phrase goes, for a real shooting war. I think there the reasons for this include the fact that ALL of his “accomplishments” thus far have been stage managed through braggadocio and fakery, creating problems he then “solves,” or staging a crisis that is resolved when the other guy makes some concession that turns out to be a minor gloss on the deal worked out back in the Obama administration. That kinda thing. But a real war? That’s really hard to fake. You’re up against some pretty hardline shit there. People get killed, shit gets blown up, and not just other countries’ people and other people’s shit. Just not a great field of play for a con man. Closest he’s come was bombing the airfield in Syria, and even there they were careful to forewarn Putin to make sure the Russians got their shit off the base first.

            That’s one, and it’s one of the main reasons I don’t worry about a wag-the-dog war the way I did when he first got elected. The more you see how he operates and what his fears are, the more you see why he’s happy to be bellicose as all get out in Tweet land, but always finds a way to back down and declare victory when it comes to launching cruise missiles and armored personnel carriers.

            The other is that Bolton’s longstanding wet dream has this big downside when it comes to the price of oil, the effects thereof on the global economy, and the many signals that a recession may be immanent. A real shooting war with Iran could have very painful economic effects that should be of some concern to a president who’s going into his next election with approvals that have been wearing lead boots since his inaugural. From this angle, too, the proposition looks like the kind of concrete and substantial reality it’s not easy to launch a successful con job out of. There’s only so much you can expect foreign election tamperers to do.

        • Ed bell says:

          I think trump called off the strike because a hot war with Iran would seriously interrupt his golf outings as far as his eye could see. He remembers George W forgoing golf during the Iraq debacle and that would put him in a very sad state of mind.

    • Rayne says:

      And then this GOP bullshit. Syria is NOT Iran. These are wholly new and separate mistakes from whatever missteps Obama made in Syria. This guy’s logic is just as flawed as claims that Iran (Shi’a) is allied with al Qaeda (Sunni).

      Illinois’ 16th District needs to take this idiot to the woodshed. I don’t know if I’d trust someone this stupid and easily misled with a taxpayer-funded aircraft.

      • Democritus says:

        The redline bs was ALWAYS bs. Obama was ready to order attacks, GOP Congress demanded he ask for authorization for use of forces and it was congress who declined to authorize the Syrian strikes.

        It was ALWAYS BS.

        Sorry that one always get me going. Another lie that is similar:

        Obama pulled us out of Iraq

        No Iraq would not authorize a new status of forces agreement. Without which we would have been operating in a country whose government we both were trying to prop up and simultaneously ignoring. Not to mention status of forces agreements also protect the service members by providing them legal cover and I would imagine somewhat limited immunity.

  3. Bobby Gladd says:

    “Iran, you’re FIRED (upon)!” –the Celebrity Apprentice @POTUS.

    The husband of a niece of mine is a Marine Major, an Osprey pilot. He said not too long ago “we are SO not ready.”

    • Mooser says:

      “we are SO not ready.”

      As a member of the military, she should know that the US military is completely prepared to not be ready, so an emergency requiring conscription, or nuclear devastation of Iran will be easy to generate.

  4. fpo says:

    Some wars are worth fighting – like the one we’re in over impeachment/immigration/healthcare/the environment…
    Others, not so much. But with this group, it’s deadly serious, either way.

    Some may be too young to remember, others too old to care anymore – but I sure hope not.
    Pardon the tweaks, Joe, know you’ll understand. (ref. “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag”, 1965)

    Well, come on all of you, big strong men,
    Uncle Sam needs your help again.
    He’s got himself in a terrible jam
    Way over yonder ol’ Iran
    So put your life on hold and pick up a gun,
    We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.

    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is ol’ Iran;
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

    Come on Wall Street, don’t be slow,
    Why man this is war au-go-go
    There’s plenty good money to be made
    Supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,
    Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
    They drop it on ol’ Iran.

    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is ol’ Iran.
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

    Come on mothers throughout the land,
    Pack your boys off to ol’ Iran.
    Come on fathers, don’t hesitate
    Send your girls off before it’s too late.
    Be the first ones on your block
    To have your kids come home in a box.

    And it’s one, two, three
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is ol’ Iran.
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

    >> If you need another briefing and a script for making your calls to your senators, visit @Celeste_pewter’s TinyLetter page.
    Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 <<

    • Democritus says:

      Thank god Dunford is still around. I wish Mattis still was, but I understand why he had to leave Trumps ignoring his recommendation that we not abandon the Kurds.

        • Democritus says:

          Like our pact with Lafayette, when we stepped in to help in WW1, that we would always fight for our common love of Briedom!

          Sorry for this…stinker of a pun.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Therein lies my strongest hope.
      What that says about American government is tragic.

  5. Jenny says:

    Thanks Rayne for the reminder to our Senators. I will call today. And thanks for the open thread.

    Dizzy days with Agent Orange. Now he will say, “See I saved the USA. I kept us out of a war.”

    The Trump way: Stealing from We the People. Using public service for private gain.

    Hope Hicks has 6 lawyers: 2 private, 3 WH lawyers and 1from DOJ. WHAT? Is that even legal? (Susan McDougall refused to testify for B. Clinton got 18 months. Hicks refused to testify for DT, gets 6 lawyers.)

    Meanwhile, at the border, migrant children are being held by this administration in deplorable, unsanitary and inhumane facilities. This maniacal administration refuses toothbrushes, soap and allowing them to sleep on the floor. Shameful! The administrations mantra, “I really don’t care, do u?”

    I plan to remind my representatives, about Defense Appropriations Act, also the abusive use of public funds, and the inhumane treatment of the children and people looking for asylum.

    Again I say, Morality is America’s biggest problem. We neglect children at risk, lock them up in cages, abuse and kill one another, let people go hungry, judge people by their skin color, spew fear and hate at those who are different, rip people off through greed and corruption, cheat and lie to get ahead and are war makers rather than peacemakers.

    • Tom says:

      Someone should tell the President that first you load, then you cock. Maybe he should have used a golfing metaphor: “We were all teed up and ready to swing, but then Mick Mulvaney coughed.” Also, “sights” should obviously be “sites” unless the plan was to take out some tourist destinations.

      The President also must know that, if anything happens, this will be “Trump’s War.” I also think he has enough self-awareness to realize that this time he’s REALLY in over his head. No way to bullshit people that ‘the Wall is being built’ once body bags start coming back from the Persian Gulf.

      • William Bennett says:

        I also think he has enough self-awareness to realize that this time he’s REALLY in over his head. No way to bullshit people that ‘the Wall is being built’ once body bags start coming back from the Persian Gulf.

        A much more succinct way of putting it than I managed upthread, but it’s reassuring that someone else has the same sense of the guy. His whole life is con job fantasy. War has a far too high concentration of reality about it.

  6. harpie says:

    6:03 AM – 21 Jun 2019 Trump Tweets four actually threaded tweets:

    1] President Obama made a desperate and terrible deal with Iran – Gave them 150 Billion Dollars plus I.8 Billion Dollars in CASH! Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out. Gave them a free path to Nuclear Weapons, and SOON. Instead of saying thank you, Iran yelled…..
    2] ….Death to America. I terminated deal, which was not even ratified by Congress, and imposed strong sanctions. They are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of my Presidency, when they were causing major problems throughout the Middle East. Now they are Bust!….
    3] ….On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not….
    4] ….proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!

    6:17 AM – 21 Jun 2019 NYT announces article on twitter:

    Breaking News: President Trump said the U.S. military was “cocked and loaded” for a strike against Iran but he called it off when told 150 people would die

    …links to article titled:
    Trump Stopped Strike on Iran Because It Was ‘Not Proportionate’
    …Where is the word “SAID” in that headline?

    • harpie says:

      The headline for the MAY 6, 1969 NYT article Rayne links to above at:
      June 21, 2019 at 9:38 am

      Aides Say Nixon Weighed Swift Korea Reprisal; AIDES SAY NIXON WEIGHED REPRISAL

    • harpie says:

      From today’s NYT article:

      […] Administration officials, including military commanders, did not issue public statements Friday morning to clarify the internal deliberations or the president’s actions. But one person familiar with Mr. Trump’s thinking said he was pleased with Thursday night’s events because he liked the “command” of approving the strike and the command of calling it off. […]
      Still, there remained doubt inside the United States government over whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, this one flown by a military aircrew, did violate Iranian airspace at some point, according to a senior administration official. The official said the doubt was one of the reasons Mr. Trump called off the strike — which could under international norms be viewed as an act of war.

    • harpie says:

      Daniel Dale live tweets a lot of Trump rallies/speeches, etc, and is really good at fact checking in real time. He keeps track of what he calls Trump’s “SIR STORIES”…a recurring phenomenon.
      6:53 AM – 21 Jun 2019

      This is the first time Trump has told a “Sir” Story on Twitter as president:
      I have no insight into the veracity of this particular story, but the overwhelming majority of previous Trump stories in which he has had someone calling him “sir” have been inaccurate. (Lots of people do call him “sir,” it’s just that this word is one of his tells.)

  7. ernesto1581 says:

    Actually, this would be Tonkin 3.0. The first courtesy of McNamara & Co, naturally, the next on Cheney & Co, and this present one on Bolton in the role of Cheney (or is it Scarpia) and Pompeo in the role of Rumsfeld (or is it the hapless Spoletta?) Same kind of provocations, same kind of tarted-up “evidence.” And blessedly, the same artful drumming by NYT, WaPo, and all the rest. (Jeez, this makes DJT in the role of Tosca! But who’s he in love with? Ah, the mirror, of course.)

    Is July really such a good time to role out a new line, though? Andrew Card knew you never do that. Never. And he worked at GM.

    Who has/had the most to gain from setting the teeth of US & Iran even further on edge? Would anyone be surprised to find the fingerprints of the House of Saud (“haircuts while you wait, real short”) all over this, especially those of MBS who seems to view the entire world as his playpen? Which could conceivably make two (2) intractable commitments of “blood and treasure” (as they like to say in DC) they may have gotten us into in 20 years.
    Another notch in the handle of the scimitar, or whatever it is they use for haircuts.

    (Israelis are disqualified for the time being on account of distraction, with Bibby & Bubby up to their respective keesters in fighting corruption charges, not to mention a snap election in a couple months.)

    • Rayne says:

      Oh no, dear, not 3.0; we’ve done all manner of drummed-up excuses for war since the Gulf of Tonkin. Can’t have forgotten the babies in incubators from Gulf War already, yes?

      It’s just a matter of time before we see another phase using the Dolchstasselegende — someone on either side will argue they were held back from protecting the Homeland by a backstabber and this must be rectified immediately — and Trump will probably fall for that ploy if presented as an attack on his personal backside because he’s a narcissist and reactive to perceived slights to his ego.

      • ernesto1581 says:

        oh god, you’re right…HW’s little fictive babies.

        But that war was so neat and clean, so short & surgical I think it hardly qualifies for the full Tonkin award, which is given every several years for the best extended bombing run in someone else’s backyard.

        wow: Dolchstasselegende. Looks like we’ll have to pull a couple moldy old sock puppets out of Wagner’s closet for that one.
        But DJT as Siegfried?? I is flummoxed. Pompeo as Brunhilde I can see — he’s certainly got the physique for it.

        • MissingGeorgeCarlin says:

          At least the Iraq war paid for itself, we were greeted as liberators, we found the WMDS and the whole thing was over in 6 months.

          Too bad the American public can’t remember that 15/19 hi-jackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia.

          President Cheney has been right twice. When he said the Russian attack on our election was “tantamount to an act of war” and when he said this:

          • bmaz says:

            Aw jeez, I hadn’t seen that Cheney footage in forever. And he really was right that time. Incredibly so. Pity he didn’t stay right on that subject a decade later. But he was spot on there.

            Also, hi MGC, welcome to Emptywheel. Please join in more often.

      • Democritus says:

        I’ve had this crazy what if floating around in my mind for a bit now.

        What if Trump, Kushner and Putin’s plan is not to launch another war but for them to do another nuclear deal 2.0, where Trump get the credit for NOy being a warmonger, and it’s just another manufactured crisis.

        Now in my fantastical scenario, I’m sure Bolton and the Pentagon and all the Warhawks would not be kept aware of this and would be shitting bricks if they start figuring out that’s actually what Trump wants to do.

        This is the only way I can square up Putin’s allegiance with Iran, well more the other way, and trumps allegiance to Putin that leaves neither Trump nor Putin holding the bag.

        Though like Ernesto pointed out I’m sure the House if Saud would not be amused, and I would not be surprised if they were bigger players in Trumps dramas than many realize. Especially given Seychelles, Qatar, etc.

        • Rayne says:

          Three critical factors must be considered: MBS’ personal agenda, Erik Prince’s capabilities and agenda, and the fossil fuel market.

          — MBS is ruthless as is Prince; one is more likely to do sensational and mortal damage while the other is happy to wreak quiet and profitable chaos;
          — MBS has too many princes he must control and a diminishing ability to produce oil; I suspect KSA has reached the end of oil and some of what we are looking at is a preparatory response for the end’s full realization combined with the need to change entire KSA culture to move off oil dependency (what’s up with the KSA/Aramco sovereign funds anyhow?);
          — The end of oil will not consist of dried up wells alone but a rapid drop off of demand leaving gluts in the wrong hands — Iran being one of them, Qatar the other;
          — The publicly-held big oil companies like Exxon, BP, Shell are going to get very antsy; they’ve been able to capture regulatory structure up to now to ensure their survival but it’s moving beyond them in a hurry, as fast as the oldest voters die and the youngest replace them. Private-/government-held corporations are feeling the shift — Aramco fell last year behind China’s Sinopec — and there’s no telling how they will react since they haven’t faced these conditions before.

          IMO we need to do what Al Gore advocated more than two decades ago and in a goddamn hurry: establish a Marshall Plan-like national project to exit fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Consumers and businesses first, the military second. Get out of their ugly death spiral and leave them on their own. Our entire foreign policy needs to be rejiggered to put climate stability and human adaptation first instead of business continuity. Corporations are pretty useless things without humans’ survival.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Wot Rayne said. x100.

            Also, a tea leaf: Saudi Arabia’s population is among the highest per capita insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. FYI.

          • Democritus says:

            All good points!

            I saw someone on TV the other week talking about how decades ago the strategy of monetizing the diminishing oil supplies would have likely included the thought that scarcity would increase profits but now given the climate concerns and the availability of greener alternatives will instead leave a less profitable glut as you describe.

            Though as an aside, battery techs are really not that environmentally healthy hopefully there is farther to go there. The more safer, more stable battery methods like Lead acid are way too heavy and bulky and Li-ions are fairly dirty. Though dirty battery tech is a waaay better problem than cascading temp and GHG.

            Totally agree on the Marshall plan idea, maybe we can call it a green new deal😉? *Runs away in case that joke is less clever than I hope!*

            Seriously though, the data on the permafrost melting, where for those who don’t know have trapped immense quantities of methane and other gases frozen and out of the cycled air for eons. The realize of the permafrost gasses has always been one of those cascading runaway triggers rising temperatures. Oh also all the diseases and viruses that could also be trapped in the permafrost.


            Beyond just worldwide emissions decreases, i really do think international orgs should be planning for ways to settle resettle the coming climate refugees before it happens and we see more global instability, and RW assholes capitalizing on people’s often racist rears, from massive migratory movements when water in scarce or the ability to substance is erased by climate.

          • Savage Librarian says:

            Two separate things related to your comments, Rayne:

            1. Related to human survival, for those who like to watch science fiction, you might appreciate an episode of
            Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. It’s
            called “Autofac” and features
            Janelle Monae.

            2. Related to oil and WH connections:
            “Cleanup of Pence family gas stations cost Indiana more than $20 million” – Chicago Tribune


  8. Democritus says:

    Biden is NOT a safe bet for a general election

    Link to article and mini thread

    From second tweet:
    “thread stretches to 1st big interview in 1970: “I have some friends on the far left&they can justify to me the murder of a white deaf mute for a nickel by five colored guys…But they can’t justify some AL farmers tar and feathering an old colored woman””

    Now just imagine the Russian trolls like blacktavist with this arsenal of boys to lob at Biden throw out the general and drive minority ANS youth turnout to low levels. But the wealthy donors I’m sure love the idea of keeping their taxbreaks and power.

    • Democritus says:

      Ohhhh, so far as interesting reads, I also stumbled on this read from Le Monde Diplo that links US gas lobbyist to UK RWNJ and Brexit.

      A smal taste to try to encourage reading:

      “The evidence comes thanks to a network map produced by independent investigative media outlet DeSmog UK, exposing for the first time the astonishing array of connections between President Donald Trump, right-wing lobbies in the US, and far-right parties in the UK and Europe.

      Published after a leaked recording showed US secretary of state Mike Pompeo threatening to interfere in British democracy to block opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, the map unveils the extent to which US corporate lobbies with a direct line to senior Trump officials are backing both mainstream British politicians and European far-right extremists.”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Each iteration is different. But I’m afraid that template has been in place in the UK and much of Europe since Labour took power in 1945.

      • PSWebster says: CA was one of the original exposing the gas lighting by Big Oil. Always good. Tremendous resource. Desmogblog UK is a more recent off shoot but equally as good.

  9. Hops says:

    Anyone else wondering whether the refinery explosion was terrorism?

    I wonder about Putin too; Russia would benefit hugely from Hormuz being shut and oil spiking.

    • Democritus says:

      No, that refinery has been barely profitable and changing ownership recently from what I read last night.

      It’s 150 years old and being unprofitable and likely to be shutdown, which to me means it’s likely getting bare bones maintenance.

  10. Observiter says:

    The same people involved with big mistakes from the past are back (including Condoleesa Rice). Here they are again, pushing for their agenda that was unsuccessful in the past (other than providing riches for the U.S. armaments industry, one of the largest industries in the U.S., if not THE largest) and led to the world we have today, including total destruction of Iraq, emergence of ISIS and massive emigration of populations from the Middle East towards the safety and “humanity” of Europe. My observations. Same ole tactics from the past being replayed now.

    This potential horror by Trump smells of Tonkin and Iraq. Macnamera, Secretary of Defense during Tonkin and person who authorized “escalation” on Vietnam because of a (supposed) missile strike against a U.S. warship, spoke out years later. He openly, publicly acknowledged he lied about the incident. He made a documentary about it called “Fogs of War.” I heard him speak at a World Affairs Council (San Francisco) event and heard him admit he lied and apologize.

  11. dude says:

    I may be in the minority here, but I think the whole thing about mobilizing and calling it off was more of a head-fake. I don’t think any of them ever intended to follow through. I went to bed last night with the grainy images of the drone trailing smoke as it fell. That was around 10 PM And Trump was saying “I dunno–we’re gonna do something..wait and see…” __it all rang hollow to me. I do not think the Pentagon could have prepared what it needed to obtain a menu for consideration by executives or actually execute a well-planned attack by morning, and I don’t think Pompeo, Trump and Bolton ordered pizza last night to spend any time thinking about it. They think they are playing poker.

    • Observiter says:

      I do wonder if there was an “October surprise” element to it — a sudden major distraction away from Trump corruption. Felix Sater was supposed to testify this morning and Sater was indicating he was agreeable to answering any questions posed to him.

      • dude says:

        Trump head-faked again last night with the ICE raids being called off. The media analysis is now divided into two broad camps: 1) Trump was brushed backed by public outcry (pardon the mixed metaphor) or 2) Trump doesn’t have the nerve to “fire” anybody in public–he needs enablers. Trump will bluff all day long or do half-measures unless-or-until his critics in the press or the Democratic Party actually start saying out loud he is really ‘spineless’and ‘a loser’. Say that loud enough and long enough, and Trump will truly get out of control. It will be harder to distinguish what he will or won’t do. His handlers are fans of the strategy “hit’m where they ain’t” to keep opponents off-balance. The result is a new theme of outrage every other news cycle, but a long story arc toward back to his original narrative: borders, the ‘shame’ of bad American deal-making of the past, and that better deals are the key to America’s future. He thinks of “deals” like the typical real estate developer thinks of them and he thinks of them like real estate contracts. He doesn’t know “social contracts” and he doesn’t know “criminal” law either. He is a real estate speculator out of his element. I believe the most damaging thing to do to undermine Trump is go after exposing his net worth and undermine his ability to borrow on his reputation either from banks, or the full faith and credit of the voting populace.

  12. JamesJoyce says:

    Wall Street always wants its pounds of flesh.
    Investors have no allegiances other than return on investment.

    Deja Vu?

    1939 1950 1964 1990 2003 2019…..

    Looks like perpetual war.
    Most depressing…

  13. harpie says:

    10:53 AM – 21 Jun 2019

    NEWS — ICE raids targeting migrant families slated to start Sunday in major U.S. cities [WaPo]
    When @realDonaldTrump tweeted Monday that the roundup would start “next week” he meant it. The “family op” will target parents and children in at least 10 major cities starting early Sunday. ICE will use hotels as staging areas to temporarily hold families if they’re separated.

    • harpie says:

      Trump has been determined to go forward with the family operation after tweeting Monday that the immigration raids were coming “next week” as a first step toward his pledge for “millions” of deportations. The White House has been in direct communication with acting ICE director Mark Morgan and other ICE officials, circumventing [DHS Sec.] McAleenan, three officials said.

      • harpie says:

        wrt: McAleenan [I haven’t listened to this, yet]:
        Quinta Jurecic Retweeted:
        7:52 AM – 22 Jun 2019

        Former ICE dir. Tom Homan accused acting DHS Sec. McAleenan of “resisting what ICE is trying to do” in this operation and heavily implies that McAleenan leaked operation details to the Washington Post.
        Homan was picked by Trump to be “border czar.”
        Homan is known for being…blunt in TV interviews but that interview is unlike any other.

        The text links to this FOX News broadcast on youtube:
        Former ICE Director Tom Homan GOES OFF – Accuses Homeland Security Secretary of Resisting ICE Raids

        • harpie says:

          I’m SO sorry. I didn’t realize this video got posted like this! Please delete this, RAYNE.

          • bmaz says:

            Eh, it is okay, no worries. We need to restore some edit functions that went away for security reasons, which would allow linking of that. Just don’t do it too often, because those videos render huge!

        • harpie says:

          I’m re-posting that Haleaziz thread including a last tweet I missed above:

          7:52 AM – 22 Jun 2019

          Former ICE dir. Tom Homan accused acting DHS Sec. McAleenan of “resisting what ICE is trying to do” in this operation and heavily implies that McAleenan leaked operation details to the Washington Post. Homan was picked by Trump to be “border czar.”
          He’s essentially accusing McAleenan, the head of DHS, of endangering ICE officers in the field. Unreal.

          One response to that thread:

          8:34 AM – 22 Jun 2019

          Replying to @Haleaziz Why is he doing an interview in front of the DHS seal?
          That makes it appear he is speaking on behalf of the Dept rather than on his own (which is the case).
          And he attacks the acting DHS Secretary while sitting in front of that seal.

          Now, as PJ Evans notes below:

          [quote] Tr*mp tweeted this morning that he’s delaying it for two weeks “at the request of Democrats”. Which would be the weekend of the 4th. (His is embedded in the one linked.) [end quote]

      • harpie says:

        On 2/16/2017, less than a month into the Trump administration, Linda Greenhouse wrote a prescient column:
        Who Will Watch the Agents Watching Our Borders?

        Whom do federal immigration agents despise more: former President Barack Obama, or the immigrants whose lives are in their hands?
        That uncomfortable question came to mind as I read articles over the past week of the growing numbers of raids, roundups, the knocks on the door, the flooding of “target-rich environments,” a phrase an anonymous immigration official used in speaking to The Washington Post. What’s a target-rich environment? “Big cities,” the official explained, “tend to have a lot of illegal immigrants.”

        Clearly, with President Trump’s executive orders having expanded the category of immigrants deemed worth pursuing and deporting, the gloves are off. There’s been plenty of news coverage of this development, but few reminders of the context in which the pursuers have been freed from previous restraints.[…]

        Here she reminds us that the ICE union, for the first time in it’s history, endorsed a presidential candidate…Trump.

        • harpie says:


          […] Last month, after President Trump issued his immigration orders, Mr. Crane’s union and the union representing Border Patrol officers issued a joint statement declaring that, in case anyone asked, “morale among our agents and officers has increased exponentially” as a result of the president’s promised actions. […]

          This is the reason I placed these comments here:

          On the chaotic night last month when Mr. Trump fired the acting attorney general, Sally Yates, for refusing to defend his immigration order, he made another personnel change that got less attention.
          Without explanation, he replaced the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Daniel Ragsdale, with Thomas Homan, a career employee who had been serving in the agency’s top enforcement position.
          Last April, when Mr. Homan received the government’s highest Civil Service award, a profile in The Washington Post began: “Thomas Homan deports people. And he’s really good at it.” […]

    • harpie says:

      […] Officials also acknowledge that they might arrest individuals they cannot immediately deport — known as “collateral arrests” — and likely will release those people with ankle monitoring devices. […]
      ICE agents have limited intelligence on the locations of the families with court-ordered deportations beyond their last known addresses. But White House and ICE officials believe agents will be able to make many “collateral arrests” by vacuuming up foreigners living in the country illegally at or near the target locations. […]

      • bmaz says:

        That was always the method of operation here while Arpaio was Sheriff. It has gotten some better without him because of the Melendres litigation. But it is still a common thing.

    • harpie says:

      More from Miami Herald:
      10:36 AM – 21 Jun 2019

      #BREAKING: Deportation crackdown expected to start in Miami – and these other cities– on Sunday. @MiamiHerald […]
      Immigration agents will target Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, and San Francisco by this weekend, congressional offices and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sources told the Miami Herald. […]

      • P J Evans says:

        And if the immigrants stay home from fear of la Migra, then they’ll get arrested there. It’s a lose/lose for them. (It also isn’t going to make people like look on ICE with favor. They seem to be immune to the laws that are supposed to control them.)

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah, was one of my first thoughts. And for all the power of Catholic churches, they are exactly who will be targeted in only select “enforcement locations”. It is sick.

        • Eureka says:

          Mine, too. I was remembering news coverage of the churches taking people in (years ago) to forestall deportation.

          These are different times and I would say Trump admin doesn’t care about the optics of raiding churches, but Will Bunch pointed out that of the cities proposed, only one is in a true swing state (i.e. they don’t want to piss off swing-state moderates), so maybe they would still observe that boundary. Maybe.

          ETA: Bunch here:

          “Only one of these (Miami) is in a true swing state. Putting on a show for his base and hoping not to rile up moderates in the battlegrounds (quoting tweet below)”

          “The cities ICE will begin mass deportations in *this weekend* are: Miami Atlanta Chicago Baltimore Denver Houston Los Angeles New Orleans New York City San Francisco (quoting another tweet)”

          • P J Evans says:

            There are a lot of Spanish-language Protestant churches in California. (And also LDS congregations and JWs, Assembly of God, a zillion small independent churches…)

        • Rayne says:

          I think Trump can be played about the Catholic church, too, given Pope Francis’ disapprobation of Trumpian behavior. The Nazis whispering in his ear like Stephen Miller can easily persuade him that attacking targeting Catholic Latinx would both discourage more border crossing and payback the Pope for insults to his person at the same time. Utterly revolting behavior manifest in a complete disregard for human rights.

      • Democritus says:

        Makes me fucking sick to my stomach.

        There is action planned for July 12th!

        “Simply put, our country is at a tipping point.


        On July 12th, Lights for Liberty will shine a light on the horrific abuses of the Trump administration in human detention camps. People will begin arriving at 7pm local time at locations around the nation.”

    • Tom says:

      In the antebellum South, the worst thing that could befall a slave family was for the parents to be separated from their children and sold down the river. Plus ca change …

    • harpie says:

      I’m responding here to Rayne’s June 21, 2019 at 9:39 pm
      “I hope to gods activists are doing urgent outreach about civil rights.
      here.” …about outreach:
      4:50 AM – 22 Jun 2019

      I feel like words are the only thing I can fight with right now, so I’m doing that. But we’ve got to figure out how to do more.
      This is a good list. And PLEASE, ask your churches what they’re doing to ensure protection and fight this injustice.
      I just emailed the leaders of my church asking what we are doing about it. Can you do the same?
      Can we challenge ourselves to be better than we’ve been?
      While we are here, please share any protests happening in your city in this thread. Let’s show up.

      …links to:
      American Friends Service Committee:
      How allies can defend against ICE raids KRISTIN KUMPF, JUN 21, 2019

    • harpie says:

      Informative thread from Juliette Kayyem [law professor, formerly at DHS] retweeted by Wendy Siegelman:
      6:33 AM – 22 Jun 2019

      THREAD on what to expect tomorrow. (still on vacay but short interruption given the WH move). I do this mostly for reporters and advocates who will face a confusing (and morally vacuous) day tomorrow.1/ […]

      The desire to do this is not for enforcement purposes, but for optics. That DHS Secretary is squirmy about it doesn’t make me shed a tear, but this is — in wonkish terms — a reprioritization of enforcement actions from focusing on criminals to focusing on families. 4/ […]

      It is for show, but it is not unlawful. 5/
      The show has 3 pieces: 1: the Trump WH likely wants local law enforcement to refrain from supporting (or more scary counter) ICE enforcement efforts. These are Dem mayors in these cities. It’s a trap and Dem mayors need to focus on the prioritization issue, not enforcement. 6/ […]

      While I understand the emotions about tomorrow, the substantive issue is really one of priorities.
      Why would a WH facing the kind of immigration issues it has focus lawful removal efforts on non-criminals?
      We know why.
      Report it that way. 10/10

      • bmaz says:

        Ah yes, Juliette Kayyem. I still cannot see her name without picturing her husband, who wrote the kill memo for the extrajudicial drone execution that led to the death of Abdulrahman Awlaki at age 16.

        For doing that, her husband was awarded a Circuit Court of Appeals judicial appointment in the First Circuit.

        • harpie says:

          I didn’t realize that. I still think her information is sound and important.
          Here’s a thread from another immigration lawyer–also very informative:

          9:24 PM – 21 Jun 2019

          […] These ARE NOT GENERAL RAIDS. They will not be random. Here’s what they will be, and what you can do. /
          2/ The intended targets (and their legal advocates) have reason to know who they are: –Anyone who has missed an immigration court date or –Has received a final order of removal, from an immigration judge or at the border –Anyone living in their homes. That’s all. That’s it /
          3/ Recent entrants (2017 and onward) are at the most risk given the message ICE appears to be trying to send with this. […]
          4/ If someone you know might be in one of the categories above, they should call 18008987180 and enter their 9-digit A# number into the system for their case status.
          If the system indicates that an order of removal has entered, they need a qualified immigration lawyer. NOW. […]

          • bmaz says:

            Yeah, that was not to discount her opinion, this time or others, just to note what I think of when I see her. It may not be fair in the least, but that is what I see.

      • harpie says:

        11:56 AM – 22 Jun 2019

        At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!

        added: can’t take one word at face value.

      • harpie says:

        Trump Has Unexpectedly Postponed The Nationwide ICE Raids Targeting Immigrant Families
        Sources within the Trump administration said they believed the acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary, or his staff, leaked operational details, putting the plan in jeopardy.
        June 22, 2019, at 5:16 p.m. ET

        […] However, two senior administration officials told BuzzFeed News that those within the administration believe acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, or his staff, leaked operational details and that is what ultimately put the ICE operation in jeopardy.
        “Leaking the locations and details to stop the operation from happening not only harmed operational integrity, but it put the safety and well-being of his own officers in jeopardy,” said one senior administration official.
        “The ICE mission is enforcing the nation’s laws and ensuring those who are unlawfully present in the country are removed if ordered by a judge; this will leave an un-erasable mark on his tenure.” […]

        This is basically what Thomas Homan was saying on FOXinthe WhiteHouse this morning. [See: ]
        “one senior Administration official” = Stephen Miller ???

        • P J Evans says:

          Ignoring that most of those who are undocumented are not criminals, and a lot came in legally as tourists or students and never left; they’re guilty of misdemeanors, civil penalties apply, not felonies and criminal penalties.

  14. Jenny says:

    Rayne, I called both Senators from VA. Here is what unfolded with both calls: Made my statement and the individual answering the phone said, “Thanks for calling. I will pass your concerns on to the Senator.” I replied, “Thanks; however ACTION is vital not just talk. When will the Senate ACTUALLY hold the occupant of the WH accountable? When?” So frustrating.

    • Jenny says:

      What in the hell happen to separation of church and state?
      This is just crackers with the right wing religious radicals speaking. Take a look. Can’t make this poop up. Ugh! Okay, I need a glass of wine.

      Roy Moore says that Muslims should NOT be allowed to serve in Congress.
      When asked why not, Moore’s spokesman Ted Crockett: “Because you have to swear on the Bible.”
      @JakeTapper: You don’t actually have to swear on a Christian Bible.

      • P J Evans says:

        There’s no requirement that you swear on anything – it’s tradition, not law, and you could swear on a copy of “1984” if you wanted to. It’s the oath that’s binding, not the gestures.

        • Democritus says:

          Lol, I remember this it from last year I think and went viral then.

          The guys face is priceless and he sounded about as intelligent as you would expect someone t be who makes that argument. If you haven’t seen the video it’s worth a watch as Tapper schools him and he is just… dumbfounded.

          I watched it again today and got a good chuckle. Helps to have a super dark sense of humor.

    • bmaz says:

      It is gathering steam. But, remember that comment where I detailed, via David Dayen, how there is a fantastic bill with 200 or more sponsors, that Pelosi refuses to bring to the floor because of a few asshole Blue Dogs.

      • Rayne says:

        IMO that ‘fantastic’ bill is being left open exactly because Blue Dogs are being asshats — there’s no chance in hell that bill will go anywhere in the Senate, but if the Blue Dogs don’t sign on it can be used against them next year. No idea why they have to be so goddamn stubborn but it’s not the first time stupid purity tests would encourage some Dems to shoot themselves in the foot.

  15. greengiant says:

    Where is the US Senate, any senators independent of the adminstration on this? Does Trump have blackmail on ALL the senators?

    The Trump twitter masters making new words up again, just google “locked and loaded” .

    • MOG says:

      It is time for the brass (active and retired) to stand and denounce this reckless and utterly incompetent Commander-in-Chief. It took the military more than 30 years to restore our reputation after Vietnam Nam, and we were fortunate that the incompetence of Iraq didn’t attach. Seriously, we considered attacking and killing Iranian citizens in response to Iran shooting down a drown? Where is the “…regrettable, I must resign…” red line?

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The stories about Trump’s alleged raid on Iran conflict in important ways. Did his advisers really forget to inform him of probable intended and collateral deaths? Did they fail to advise him on the requirement that his actions be proportional to the harm they respond to?

    Was their really disagreement among his formal advisers about what course to take and when? Pompeo and Bolton seem of one mind on Iran, but who knows about the new acting SecDef? Trump famously talks to people outside the normal policy apparatus in undisciplined ways. Did he talk to a failson or daughter, someone at Mar-a-Lago, on his campaign, someone on the Hill, to Valdimir Putin or his cut-out?

    The least complicated version that fits with Trump’s view of his office as a studio from which to manage his Greatness, is that he cynically gave a go order and then aborted the mission. To demonstrate his power and his magnanimity; to keep advisers talking about things he doesn’t understand at bay through apparent, not real, action; as a way to back down from the untenable position he’s put himself in. Even without including Iranians and others, that put a lot of people in harm’s way.

    Naval air operations, for example, are inherently dangerous: Explosive munitions and fuel are loaded. Ships maneuver in variable wave and wind conditions. Complex aircraft systems can fail or be misinterpreted. Men and women move at speed, under tension, and in harm’s way. Accidents happen. In a live operation that could rapidly escalate in unpredictable ways, they can happen more often, even in the absence of enemy action.

    Any way you cut it, Donald Trump is unfit for office, let alone to fulfill his responsibilities as commander-in-chief.

  17. Rollo T says:

    There should be a rule that all wars must be fought by men and women over the age of 50. That might slow things down a bit.

    • P J Evans says:

      Better yet – politicians who want to start wars get their children/grandchildren/nieces and nephews drafted for active duty, and any politicians who are reserve officers get called to active duty in the active area.
      Not everyone over 50 wants wars.

  18. White Tiger says:

    I agree with virtually all the posts above. I usually lurk, but this past couple of weeks have left me bludgeoned. It is as if a steady river of tears flows through me. Pelosi’s pushback against impeachment even after Mueller kind of broke me. We know the Senate won’t convict, but the majority of Americans want to see the story laid out a la Watergate hearings.

    And infants, toddlers and other children without bed, blankets, soap, toothbrushes, etc. trying to sleep in near freezing temperatures with the lights on all night not only intensifies my internal tears, it seems the last straw on our march to fascism. Then the attacks on AOC for using the term ‘concentration’ camps — and the author of the definitive book on the subject agreeing with her usage — the tears just flow deeper and faster.

    Now a march to war we were just waiting for and the scheduled Sunday roundup of the undocumented . . . kind of a steady drip, drip, drip.

    Aren’t we ready yet for something like a shopping strike for all of this? Will we ever be ready?

  19. Eureka says:

    Well, I know my home heating oil company has been betting on war with Iran higher oil prices in the fall (margins, I assume– prior assume they’ve bought up). They left the tank uncharacteristically low, held off on usual spring deliveries and issued budget refunds (to those willing to jump through hoops). Which, with some irony, is what allowed me to both make a donation and replace some pyrex lids. Looks like I need to up my thermogenesis game for next winter just in case.

    I’ll have to finish my calls when dinner settles. Thanks, Rayne.

  20. Eureka says:

    This was a riveting read, re a hedge-funder couple who are major funders of anti-vaxxer ops/events, a former tv producer who works for their org, links to Wakefield and others (if you search this title, it is reprinted elsewhere):

    Meet the New York couple donating millions to the anti-vax movement

    Excerpt (deeper history cited in article):

    How the Selzes came to support anti-vaccine ideas is unknown, but their financial impact has been enormous. Their money has gone to a handful of determined individuals who have played an outsize role in spreading doubt and misinformation about vaccines and the diseases they prevent. The groups’ false claims linking vaccines to autism and other ailments, while downplaying the risks of measles, have led growing numbers of parents to shun the shots. As a result, health officials have said, the potentially deadly disease has surged to at least 1,044 cases this year, the highest number in nearly three decades. 

    The Selz Foundation provides roughly three-fourths of the funding for the Informed Consent Action Network, a three-year-old charity that describes its mission as promoting drug and vaccine safety and parental choice in vaccine decisions.

    Lisa Selz serves as the group’s president, but its public face and chief executive is Del Bigtree, a former daytime television show producer who draws big crowds to public events. Bigtree has no medical credentials but holds himself out as an expert on vaccine safety and promotes the idea that government officials have colluded with the pharmaceutical industry to cover up grievous harms from the drugs. In recent weeks, Bigtree has headlined forums in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County, N.Y., both areas confronting large measles outbreaks.

    “They should be allowed to have the measles if they want the measles,” Bigtree told reporters outside the Brooklyn meeting on June 4. “It’s crazy that there’s this level of intensity around a trivial childhood illness.”

    (internal links removed)

    Not directly addressed in the article: how all this relates to the social-media-based disinfo campaigns.

    • Democritus says:

      I like to call the anti-Vaxxers plague bearers, which is what they are to cancer patients, immunosuppressive patients, and the old and young.

      The plague-bearers who know they can afford to quarantine themselves When an actual plague breaks out.

    • P J Evans says:

      Vaccination of children isn’t a “parental choice”, it’s a legal health requirement. Parents don’t own their children, and denying them medical care should get them charged with child abuse.

    • Eureka says:

      Democritus & PJ- When the second-to-most-recent celebrity figure came out as an anti-vaxxer, there was a clip going ’round of the old tv show _House_, where the character confronts a parent with a line to the effect of ~~”…You know another really good business? Teeny tiny baby coffins.”

      House Vs. Anti-Vaxxer | House M.D.

      I had forgotten that show!

      And here we are how many years later, where that ‘official’ show clip has this wiki-statement (and link to Vaccine hesitancy page) embedded below it on yt:

      Vaccine hesitancy, a reluctance or refusal to be vaccinated or to have ones children vaccinated, is identified by the World Health Organization as one of the top ten global health threats of 2019.

  21. Thomasa says:

    This gulf of Hormuz incident is not a repeat of the gulf of Tonkin. Tonkin was necessary because the Kennedy Administration assassinated Diem in 63. By 64 things in VN had gone so sideways that major military intervention was seen as necessary. The hawks needed an excuse for escalation to fight the NVA commies. They got it. This time Bolton just wants a trophy and Pompeo wants to hasten the second coming. There is no possible moral justification. Of course in the end any attempts at justification of Tonkin are pretty ragged.

  22. di says:

    Dates of the two tanker incidents are May 12 and June 13.

    Related to the May 12 incident, on May 8, pompeo abruptly cancelled talks in Germany and a lengthy European tour, to spend 4 hours in Iraq, ally of Iran, to pressure Iraq for their support of u.s.”maximum pressure” on Iran.

    Related to the June 13 incident, those two tankers had departed two weeks prior from Saudi Arabia while pompeo was on a visit to also talk to s.a. about the u.s. “maximum pressure” plans against Iran.

  23. Scott says:

    Never fear. So long as Putin is opposed to US action nothing will happen. Just like nothing has happened in Venezuela or North Korea. It’s entirely possible Trump never intended to launch strikes but only ordered them to look tough. The whole “compassionate cancellation” was a way of saving face. Probably Vlad’s idea as well.

  24. harpie says:

    This morning bmaz retweeted Lawrence O’Donnell:
    9:53 PM – 21 Jun 2019

    The name of the Trump Administration lawyer arguing that children locked up at the border don’t need soap and should be forced to sleep on concrete floors is Sarah Fabian. Here she is at work in court: [link to video]

    Here’s the blurb on the video:

    A Trump official tried to argue that detained children don’t need soap, toothbrushes, or beds to be ‘safe and sanitary’ while in Border Patrol custody

    In the video, circuit Judge Tashima is shown questioning Fabian:

    [subtitles from video] if you don’t have a toothbrush, if you don’t have soap, if you don’t have a blanket, it’s not safe and sanitary. Wouldn’t everybody agree to that?

    6:56 AM – 22 Jun 2019

    When he was a child, Circuit Judge Tashima was interned at Poston in the Arizona desert. [link]

    • P J Evans says:

      They certainly picked the wrong judge to try that BS on. (My opinion is that any lawyer trying to argue that no soap, no toothbrushes, and spaceblankets, even with pads, on concrete is safe and sanitary, should be required to live under those same conditions for a month.)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump’s Orwellian-named “tender age facilities” are a breeding ground for infectious diseases and death. As Adam Serwer said, cruelty is the point. But it’s beyond cruelty. Trump’s policies target the innocent and most vulnerable. That, too, is the point. AOC’s use of “concentration camps” was no exaggeration.

      The DoJ’s Sarah Fabian should walk over to DC’s Holocaust Museum, just off the Mall, and read about the Justice Case from the Nuremberg Trials. An inexact parallel, it makes the point that lawyering in service to the intentionally violent and cruel is not always just lawyering. Sometimes there are consequences.

      Sadly, were Ms. Fabian vulnerable to such arguments, she would not have made hers to the court. The Obama administration inherited staff like that, too. It did little to clean house. The next president should think harder about doing so little to repair the damage caused by her predecessor.


    • harpie says:

      Inside a Texas Building Where the Government Is Holding Immigrant Children Isaac Chotiner12:47 P.M.

      […] This week, a team of lawyers interviewed more than fifty children at one of those facilities, in Clint, Texas, in order to monitor government compliance with the Flores settlement, which mandates that children must be held in safe and sanitary conditions and moved out of Border Patrol custody without unnecessary delays. The conditions the lawyers found were shocking: flu and lice outbreaks were going untreated, and children were filthy, sleeping on cold floors, and taking care of each other because of the lack of attention from guards. Some of them had been in the facility for weeks.

      To discuss what the attorneys saw and heard, I spoke by phone with one of them, Warren Binford, a law professor at Willamette University and the director of its clinical-law program. She told me that, although Flores is an active court case, some of the lawyers were so disturbed by what they saw that they decided to talk to the media. […]

      • Jenny says:

        Thanks harpie for the links. I read the articles. Disturbing and painful to read; however exposure is good. This story needs to be on the front page everyday with the title “America Has a Morality Problem.”

        The treatment of these children and people from the south seeking asylum is inhumane. These cruel camps created by a pageant president who is a pathological liar with a maniacal administration is disgraceful. It just makes me sick. I feel helpless in helping these innocent children.

        “Compassion is the basis of morality.” Arthur Schopenhauer

      • Eureka says:

        Other things that stood out to me, lingering a day+ later, besides the comb story you excerpt below: Binford also said *most of the kids have family in the US, including some with parents.*

        Plus the part about one of the camp guards recruiting an older kid to serve as “unofficial” guard and being given special treatment/extra food for same, the fallout from that story, and how the guard manipulating the kids paralleled events in “the concentration camps” (as she put it, before also making clear that she wasn’t calling these ‘concentration camps,’ and indicating that she was too busy to have read the terminology debates last week, to be faithful to her words there).

        • Eureka says:

          But I haven’t heard anything about the little girls being given anything ‘extra’ for taking care of the babies…just suggestive of another layer of the hell going on there.

          I am thankful for all of the translators, journalists, lawyers, medical professionals, advocacy groups, and any and all unnamed everyday heroes for their continued vigilance and work in and about these camps.

    • harpie says:

      Distant thunder has been rumbling around in my brain…
      in my heart, really…
      about this KIDS in Concentration Camps in America story
      …more than a story…

      Yesterday Ryan Goodman said something that brought those rumblings into sharper focus: In response to this NYT article:
      ‘There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children June 21, 2019

      Goodman wrote:
      3:48 PM – 22 Jun 2019

      Prisoner of War Geneva Convention of 1949:
      “Prisoners of war shall have for their use…conveniences which conform to the rules of hygiene…Apart from the baths and showers with which the camps shall be furnished prisoners of war shall be provided with sufficient water and soap.”

      The United States government is treating innocent immigrant children worse than the most basic standards required by international humanitarian law for enemy prisoners of war.

      The last time I thought a lot about the Geneva Conventions: our descent into the Guantanamo as a forever prison for “enemy combatants”. I remember discussing the possibility…probability…we would being seeing similar things happening here in the future.

      Looks like the future is now.

      • harpie says:

        Then, Isaac Chotiner wrote [linked above]:
        Inside a Texas Building Where the Government Is Holding Immigrant Children

        [story…reality, really…about 25 children, an outbreak of lice, shampoo and two combs]
        They weren’t allowed to sleep on the beds, and they had to sleep on the floor on Wednesday night as punishment for losing the comb.

        …to which [Laura Rosen retweeted] dburbach responded:
        2:47 PM – 22 Jun 2019

        Border Patrol agents inflicting collective punishment on a cell full of children over a lost comb.
        What the hell are we doing?
        What the hell are we becoming?

        We had the discussion about collective punishment back then, too:

        Third Geneva Convention ART. 87:
        […] Collective punishment for individual act, corporal punishment, imprisonment in premises without daylight and, in general, any form of torture or cruelty, are forbidden. […]

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Excellent point about the illegality of collective punishment. Trump seems addicted to it, whether it be innocent children or withholding federal funds at the beginning of California’s wildfire season. People die because of it – one reason it is illegal. That is on Trump, and everyone cheering behind him.

          • P J Evans says:

            Also, from California: withholding funding for highways (because CA and air-quality laws), and withholding funding from clinics because they can refer women to ab*rtion providers (a safe and legal medical procedure). And “sanctuary cities”, even though they don’t do what he likes to claim they do.

      • harpie says:

        We talked about a child prisoner, too, back then, and about how our government used him:
        Marcy: KHADR’S CONFESSION AND THE LIES WE TELL October 26, 2010

        Omar Khadr’s confession makes me sad. Sad that we insisted on prosecuting a child soldier for defending himself. But also sad for the lies we included in his plea deal to prop up the government’s dubious stories about Khadr and detainees generally. […]

        This happened just 3 months ago:
        8:40 AM – 25 Mar 2019

        Judge rules Omar Khadr’s sentence completed

      • Eureka says:

        Harpie, I’ve also been troubled, thinking about broader contexts like that– parts of the places and policies escalating in recent US history that create gray and/or black zones for civil liberties, entitlements, and/or human rights.

        This and your next comment are reminders that Bolton in 2002, as Under Secretary of State, withdrew the US from the Rome Convention of the ICC* (which oversees not just Geneva (to which we are still obligated) + re wartime, but crimes against humanity in peace time). Another Bush-era decision that facilitates today’s events, this by weakening (inhibition caused by) international oversight power.

        *document reproduced with citations here, when we were discussing related topics:

        Adding quote from 2007 The Economist article:

        John Bolton, America’s erstwhile ambassador to the UN, hailed his country’s decision in May 2002 to pull out of the ICC (not to be confused with the World Court, also in The Hague) as the “happiest moment” of his government career.

        Let the child live – International Criminal Court

      • harpie says:

        ^^^^ This is really informative…recommended! It would be difficult to argue with White’s conclusion:

        […] The fault lies not with any one administration or politician, but with the culture: the ICE and CBP culture that encourages the abuse, the culture of the legal apologists who defend it, and our culture—a largely indifferent America that hasn’t done a damn thing about it. This stain on America’s soul will not wash out with an election cycle. It will only change when Americans demand that the government treat the least of us as both the law and our values require—and firmly maintain that demand no matter how we feel about the party in power.

        • harpie says:

          I just want to note the
          palpable MALICE of THIS administration,
          and of ICE and CPB under THIS administration.

          • harpie says:


            […] And even though the litigation began under the Obama administration, it was the Trump administration that elected to bring this appeal and ask the court to bless these inhumane conditions as “safe and sanitary.”

            That’s an extremely aggressive legal argument, and one that suggests that the disturbing conditions being reported at confinement centers are intentional, not a sign of mere neglect. […]

            • P J Evans says:

              A guy who was held hostage by Somali pirates for more than two years points out that *they* gave him a toothbrush and soap.

    • harpie says:

      Government moves migrant kids after AP exposes bad treatment
      AP 6/24/19 [one hour ago]

      The U.S. government has removed most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station [CLINT] in Texas following reports that more than 300 children were detained there, caring for each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation.

      Just 30 children remained at the facility near El Paso Monday, said Rep. Veronica Escobar after her office was briefed on the situation by an official with Customs and Border Protection. […]

      • harpie says:

        From the linked article:

        […] Border Patrol officials have not responded to AP’s questions about the conditions at the Clint facility, but in an emailed statement Monday they said:

        “Our short-term holding facilities were not designed to hold vulnerable populations and we urgently need additional humanitarian funding to manage this crisis.”

        Although it’s unclear where all the children held at Clint have been moved, Escobar said some were sent to another facility on the north side of El Paso called Border Patrol Station 1. Escobar said it’s a temporary site with roll-out mattresses, showers, medical facilities and air conditioning.

        But Clara Long, an attorney who interviewed children at Border Patrol Station 1 last week, said conditions were not necessarily better there. […]
        The lawyers negotiated access to the facility with officials and say Border Patrol knew the dates of their visit three weeks in advance.

        Government rules call for children to be held by the Border Patrol in their short-term stations for no longer than 72 hours before they are transferred to the custody of Health and Human Services, which houses migrant youth in facilities around the country through its Office of Refugee Resettlement. […]

  25. Eureka says:

    Rayne, re your Pence impeachment thought experiment request from your prior (closed) thread:

    The things that return to mind are failure to protect the national security (in lieu of Trump doing so), and also (as to Trump-Russia) the interrelated issue of failing to ensure free and fair elections.

    Under the guise of failure to protect the national security, ignoring DNI warnings on climate would seem to apply. In this exchange, Tapper reminds Pence– who implicitly claims here to believe in science when he starts to ‘both-sides’ it– that the DNI has warned about climate as natsec issue; Pence replies with politicking (video clip and transcript of exchange):

    Mike Pence refuses to answer whether climate change is a threat to the U.S.

    Vice President Mike Pence refused to say on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday whether climate change was a legitimate threat to the United States.
    Jake Tapper: “But is what people are calling a climate emergency, is it a threat? Do you think it’s a threat, manmade climate emergency is a threat?”
    Pence: “I think the answer to that is going to be based upon the science.”
    Tapper: “Well the science says yes. I’m asking you what you think.”
    Pence: “Well, there’s many in the science that …”
    Tapper: “The science community in your own administration, at NOAA, at the DNI, they all say it is a threat. But you won’t for some reason.”
    Pence: “What we’ve said is that we’re not going to raise utility rates. Remember what President Obama said?”
    Tapper: “But it’s not a threat?”
    Pence: “He said he his climate change plan, he said it is necessarily going to cause utility rates to skyrocket and that would force us into these green technologies. Now you have Democrats all running for president that are running on a Green New Deal that would break this economy.”
    Tapper: “Okay. So you don’t think it is a threat?”
    Pence: “I think we’re making great progress reducing carbon emissions. America has the cleanest air and water in the world.”
    Tapper: “That is not true. We don’t have the cleanest air and water in the world. We don’t. You get back to me with statistics to show it.”

    … As CNN’s Tapper points out, the Trump administration’s own director of National Intelligence and other agencies have identified climate change as a threat to national security.

    • Eureka says:

      Better, here’s the full interview from CNN. The climate part starts ~ 18:30, and includes stuff axios omitted from partial transcript above (e.g.Tapper firmly opens with the DNI threat assessment; Pence cites ‘market forces’ in the “cleanest air and water” line)… Then after this segment (20:59) agrees with Tapper that he would call the FBI if offered foreign election goods, asserts Trump said same etc. (~Well he said he would look at it~). Says something about being proud of 2018 election re ~ interference efforts quashed.

      And this is all after talk of Iran, and of the horribly treated, mistreated children and other humans seeking asylum… How does that oath of office end: So help me God?

      Now to wash this gross interview out of my consciousness.

      Mike Pence refuses to acknowledge climate crisis as threat to US

          • Tom says:

            Remember that stunt he pulled at the football game where he pretended to be outraged and stormed out of the stadium because the players took a knee during the playing of the national anthem? But caged kids living in squalor, Mike’s good with that!

      • Tom says:

        Just happen to be reading “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772 – 1832” by American historian Alan Taylor. I’m struck by the similarities between how Republicans are responding to climate change and how 18th century Virginians responded to the problem of slavery.

        Present day Republicans claim that doing anything to tackle climate change would be too expensive and require too much involvement on the part of the federal government. Eighteenth century Virginians likewise thought than any plan of emancipation, manumission, or deportation of the slave population would be prohibitively expensive and would concede too much power to Washington, D.C..

        Republicans are not alone in tending to think and plan only as far ahead as the next election, so any long-range planning to deal with climate change fails to provide immediate gratification. Virginians of 200 years ago also thought in the short term and refused to consider any long range plans to emancipate their slaves.

        Republicans today engage in denial about climate change, either on the grounds that it is not happening or that humans are responsible. Or they take comfort in things such as plastic recycling plans or comforting Pence-like illusions about the purity of the air and water. Virginians, too, were often in a state of denial about slavery, though of a slightly different kind. The possibility of a bloody slave insurrection was too terrible to talk about, so it was rarely discussed in any serious way. When real or imagined plots of a slave uprising were uncovered, Virginians comforted themselves with the thought that a few hangings or floggings would quell any rebellious thoughts among the rest of their slaves, at least for a while. Among both groups there is/was a degree of apathy induced by the enormity of the challenge to be faced.

  26. Tom says:

    FWIW, I emailed the Texas Department of Family and Protection Services to ask why they have not investigated and intervened to ameliorate the conditions in those children’s detention centres. Will let you know if I receive an explanation.

    • Eureka says:

      The number of ‘otherwise’ reportable offenses (were the children in the care of any other guardian), and the fact that most people serving police-type roles would be mandated reporters themselves, were not lost on me, either.

      • Tom says:

        I received a form response acknowledging my question, the Dept.’s responsibilities, confidentiality concerns regarding investigations, and an assurance my concerns would be directed to the appropriate party. I worked for about 25 years here in Ontario with young offenders in detention & custody facilities as well as about 20 years as a child protection worker, so I know the challenges involved in looking after kids in care. But I still find it difficult to understand why there seems to have been no response from the Texas Dept., though there may be steps being taken behind the scenes that we just don’t know about.

        • bmaz says:

          That is good, hard and often thankless work, thanks for having done that. I don’t know about the Texas DCS, but the one here in Arizona is certainly no bastion of competence. I highly doubt the Texas version is either. That said, there may be an issue as to what jurisdiction they have over federal action and facilities. No clue what that answer is, just noting that the question is likely more complicated than it would be if it involved only state removed and placed children.

          • Tom says:

            I figured it must have something to do with jurisdiction and wanting to avoid the situation of a state government dept. intervening to overturn the actions of a federal government dept. Thanks for the kind words about my former career. It was difficult work but had definite rewards, too, and I never felt I was wasting my time. Plus, some of the kids I worked with were real characters, in the positive sense of the term, and were able to rebound from the most horrible situations and tragedies in their lives. It was a privilege to work with them.

    • harpie says:

      >>> 76 Dems. + 1Rep.
      9:15 AM – 24 Jun 2019
      [quote]This is a pretty big name for the impeachment column. Himes is a senior member of the Judiciary Committee and a former chair of the New Dems
      “My motive…is not to pressure the Speaker…whose leadership in this Congress has been superb. She leads us today in the epic mission of defending our democracy. That…requires a vigorous debate &competing ideas, but it also requires care, discipline &a measure of deference” [end quote]

    • harpie says:

      Jim Himes represents Connecticut’s 4th District in the United States House of Representatives where he is serving his sixth term.
      He is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, serves as the ranking member of the NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and is Chair Emeritus of the New Democrat Coalition.

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