Thursday, October 12, 2017

Last Call For These Disunited Nations

The Trump regime continues to play the role of international pariah as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has officially announced plans to withdraw the US from UNESCO, the United Nations science and culture organization, over what Washington calls "anti-Israel bias."

The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it would withdraw from Unesco, the United Nations cultural organization, after years of America distancing itself because of what it called the group’s “anti-Israel bias.” 
“This decision was not taken lightly,” according to a State Department statement on Thursday. Along with the anti-Israel bias, the department also cited “the need for fundamental reform” and “mounting arrears” at the organization. 
While the United States withdrew from the group, the Trump administration said it wanted to continue to be engaged with Unesco to provide American perspective and expertise, but as a nonmember observer. The United States withdrawal goes into effect at the end of 2018. 
Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization known for its designation of world heritage sites, is a global development agency with missions that include promoting sex education, literacy, clean water and equality for women. 
The Obama administration cut off funding to Unesco in 2011 because the group admitted Palestinians as full members, which the United States saw as undercutting its influence in countries around the world. America lost its vote in the organization in 2013 because it ended its financial contributions. 
In July, Unesco declared the ancient and hotly contested core of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank as a Palestinian World Heritage Site.

And yeah, it's difficult to say this is entirely unexpected, even the Obama administration cut off money to UNESCO over Palestine years ago.  It looks like however that the Hebron declaration of the Tomb of the Patriachs as a World Heritage Site by secret ballot was the excuse Trump needed to pull out altogether.

It's a shame, but the writing was on the wall for this for a while now.  Still, for the US to bail on UNESCO is yet another sign that the Trump regime is increasingly isolated politically. Keep in mind that UNESCO is also a champion of global women's issues, global climate issues, and of global press freedom, all things the Trump regime have repeatedly taken action against. We weren't exactly welcome there anyway, and I doubt we'll be welcome anywhere soon.

Oh, and all this would makes sense if Israel wasn't, you know, still a UNESCO member and has been one since 1949.

So yeah, not about Israel, but about Palestine.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Somebody at the White House is telling Team WIN THE MORNING that Donald Trump would be made available to talk to Robert Mueller if the good special counsel will but ask.

Donald Trump’s lawyers are open to having the president sit down for an interview with Robert Mueller, according to a senior White House official, as part of a wider posture of cooperation with the special counsel’s Russia probe. 
If Mueller doesn’t request an interview by Thanksgiving, Trump’s lawyers may even force the issue by volunteering Trump’s time, the official said. The White House believes such an interview could help Mueller wrap up the probe faster and dispel the cloud of suspicion over Trump.

A meeting with Mueller could bring serious risks for Trump—exposing him to questions about everything from potential obstruction of justice over his firing of FBI Director James Comey to what Trump might know about Kremlin support for his presidential campaign. 
But the official suggested that the White House has no reason to stonewall Mueller.
“Whatever happens with regard to whether or not, or how, the special counsel might want to interview the president, there’s no reason to expect that would be combative,” the senior White House official explained. 
Trump told reporters this spring that he was “100 percent” willing to testify under oath about alleged Russian ties to his campaign. But even if he has nothing to hide, Trump’s unpredictable nature and willingness to bend the facts poses headaches for his legal team as it strategizes for a possible sit-down with Mueller. One angry or untrue statement could have devastating political and legal consequences for the president.

There are a couple of separate issues here in these five graphs.  First of all, who on Trump's legal team is counseling Trump to talk to Mueller under oath?   Does Trump actually know about this plan, and is the plan to force Trump to talk to Mueller even if he doesn't want to? How the heck are they going to make Trump do this and it not be a disaster where he blows his stack?

Second, why volunteer to talk to Mueller under oath at all?  Bill Clinton did and he was still impeached for his troubles and while the Senate votes to remove him from office were a foregone conclusion of acquittal as the GOP only had 55 senators in January 1999, the fact remained that it was Clinton's statements to Ken Starr (the now infamous "depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is") that led to the articles and subsequent trial.

Third, is this a good faith effort in order to strike a deal later on?  The "we've got nothing to hide" defense only works if you're 1) completely innocent or 2) you're so guilty and so powerful that you just want to save time and get to the horse trading already.  Clinton's guys figured impeachment would never come because they knew the GOP didn't have the votes in the Senate.  It ended up costing Al Gore votes a year later because people thought Clinton got away with it.

Finally, what's coming from Mueller that's prompting Trump's lawyers wanting to fully cooperate?  Is it Trump selling out his cabinet and maybe even his family?  Is this open treason?  It can't get much worse, right?

We'll see.

Tang The Conqueror Is Losin' It

Donald Trump has apparently reached the Nixon '74 stage of paranoia as Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair reports.

At first it sounded like hyperbole, the escalation of a Twitter war. But now it’s clear that Bob Corker’sremarkable New York Times interview—in which the Republican senator described the White House as “adult day care” and warned Trump could start World War III—was an inflection point in the Trump presidency. It brought into the open what several people close to the president have recently told me in private: that Trump is “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.” 
The conversation among some of the president’s longtime confidantes, along with the character of some of the leaks emerging from the White House has shifted. There’s a new level of concern. NBC News published a report that Trump shocked his national security team when he called for a nearly tenfold increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal during a briefing this summer. One Trump adviser confirmed to me it was after this meeting disbanded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron.” 
In recent days, I spoke with a half dozen prominent Republicans and Trump advisers, and they all describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods. Trump’s ire is being fueled by his stalled legislative agenda and, to a surprising degree, by his decision last month to back the losing candidate Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary. “Alabama was a huge blow to his psyche,” a person close to Trump said. “He saw the cult of personality was broken.”
According to two sources familiar with the conversation, Trump vented to his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller, “I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!” (A White House official denies this.) Two senior Republican officials said Chief of Staff John Kelly is miserable in his job and is remaining out of a sense of duty to keep Trump from making some sort of disastrous decision. Today, speculation about Kelly’s future increased after Politico reported that Kelly’s deputy Kirstjen Nielsen is likely to be named Homeland Security Secretary—the theory among some Republicans is that Kelly wanted to give her a soft landing before his departure. 
One former official even speculated that Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have discussed what they would do in the event Trump ordered a nuclear first strike. “Would they tackle him?” the person said. Even Trump’s most loyal backers are sowing public doubts. This morning, The Washington Post quotedlongtime Trump friend Tom Barrack saying he has been “shocked” and “stunned” by Trump’s behavior. 
While Kelly can’t control Trump’s tweets, he is doing his best to physically sequester the president—much to Trump’s frustration. One major G.O.P. donor told me access to Trump has been cut off, and his outside calls to the White House switchboard aren’t put through to the Oval Office. Earlier this week, I reported on Kelly’s plans to prevent Trump from mingling with guests at Mar-a-Lago later this month. And, according to two sources, Keith Schiller quit last month after Kelly told Schiller he needed permission to speak to the president and wanted written reports of their conversations. 
The White House denies these accounts. “The President’s mood is good and his outlook on the agenda is very positive,” an official said.

He's also losing with with the generals.  When Trump can't get his way, he pitches a fit like a child.

In July, Trump was livid with his national security staff for suggesting he had to certify Iran’s compliance with the international deal arranged by President Barack Obama. 
He threw a fit,” said one Post source. “He was furious. Really furious.” 
With Trump ignoring the arguments put forth by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, national security advisor H.R. McMaster came up with a scheme to accommodate Trump’s hatred of everything Obama — without killing the deal between the United States, Iran, Britain France, Germany, Russia and China. 
The workaround employed by McMaster is for United States to certify Iran’s compliance the deal, but to put allies on notice Trump wants to walk away by announcing new conditions for continued participation and then punting the issue to Congress. 
“It would give a few months or years lead time to give time to get U.S. allies on board with the same restrictions — a unified front that will put lots of pressure on the Iranians” a White House aide told The Post. 
Trump’s July 17th tantrum about the deal reportedly lasted all afternoon — even forcing a postponement of a planned announcement.

To be fair, it took Tricky Dick six years before things fell apart this badly, and it took America almost 50 years to find out he won the 1968 election by selling the country out to a foreign power.

Both have been compressed into under 12 months for Trump.

Think about that.


Related Posts with Thumbnails