Talking Turkey

The fog of scandal is thick and spreading. While it’s true that all roads lead to Russia, there’s at least a back road leading to Turkey. Trump loves autocrats and the Turkish model of government has long been elected autocracy. Erdogan is not the first Turkish strongman and he won’t be the last. It’s why Turkey has always been an odd member of NATO and cannot get into the EU: they have democratic forms but autocratic norms.

As a Greek American, I was raised to be skeptical of Turkish intentions. That upbringing has come in handy since the advent of the Trump regime. I’ve learned that many Americans are unaware of the back story of the Turkish Republic: the Armenian genocide and ethnic cleansing of Anatolian Greeks took place in the era of national hero Kamal Ataturk.

Ataturk was the first president of post-Ottoman Turkey and Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hero and role model. Admiration for a murderous predecessor is something Erdogan and Trump have in common: Ataturk and Andrew Jackson are peas in a bloody pod.

Donald Trump’s business ties to Turkey lurk in the background of this self-created crisis or is that self-inflicted wound? It’s both. It’s time to revisit Kurt Eichenwald’s classic 2016 Newsweek story about the impact of Trump’s business dealings on US national security:

Trump already has financial conflicts in much of the Islamic world, a problem made worse by his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his impulsive decisions during this campaign. One of his most troubling entanglements is in Turkey. In 2008, the Trump Organization struck a branding deal with the Dogan Group, named for its owners, one of the most politically influential families in Turkey. Trump and Dogan first agreed that the Turkish company would pay a fee to put the Trump name on two towers in Istanbul.

When the complex opened in 2012, Trump attended the ribbon-cutting and declared his interest in more collaborations with Turkish businesses and in making significant investments there. In a sign of the political clout of the Dogan family, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Trump and even presided over the opening ceremonies for the Trump-branded property.

Dogan’s subsequent falling out with Erdogan may well have given the latter leverage over President* Pennywise. That’s unclear but what *is* clear is that this is a glaring conflict of interest. Trump has been mighty solicitous of the Turkish president even parroting Erdogan’s talking points about the Kurds as “terrorists” and “no angels.” Neither Erdogan nor Trump are angels either.

Trump’s henchman Rudy Giuliani followed in the footsteps of Mike Flynn and lobbied the president* to eject Muslim cleric and Erdogan foe, Fethullah Gulen, which is one of the Turkish regime’s top foreign policy objectives. In case you’re wondering why, Gulen is a former Erdogan ally who provided much of the intellectual heft in the early days of the ruling Justice and Development Party. Few feuds are bitterer than those between former friends. It’s another reason the US should not expel Gulen: we shouldn’t help a foreign leader in a personal vendetta.

I wonder if Trump either knows or cares that Erdogan’s party origins are Islamist. That’s right: the anti-Muslim xenophobe is in bed with an Islamist leader. All the Insult Comedian cares about are his personal relationships with foreign leaders even if his friendship with Erdogan makes him a hypocrite. Trump is used to accusations of hypocrisy: his record is full of contradictions, after all.

I also wonder if Trump knows or cares about Turkey’s ambitions to become a nuclear power. The United States used to oppose nuclear proliferation but if you flatter the Current Occupant that can change. Just ask the Communist dictator with the bad haircut: he’s been playing this president* with his “beautiful” letters.

If the Kaiser of Chaos had any knowledge of, or interest in, history, he’d know that Erdogan is a “bad hombre.” Hell, even if he read his briefing papers or listened to his military advisers, he’d understand that Turkish intentions in Northern Syria are malign. They want to drive the Kurds out of that area, which constitutes ethnic cleansing. The Turks and their Sunni Muslim allies are not above genocide either.

The horrible thing is that this crisis all started with a phone call and a green light. Trump’s latest self-inflicted wound is getting people killed. All the denials and fake cease fires in the world won’t wash the blood off Trump’s hands.

I wrote this first thing Monday morning, but I need a shot of whiskey. Some musical Wild Turkey will have to do:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Mental Health Week edition

Folks, I’m going to need a short break from the Freepitude.

This is what pushed me over the line :

Rep. Elijah Cummings has died at age 68 due to health complications………
wjla ^ | !0/17/2019 | Wjla

Posted on 10/17/2019, 4:37:14 AM by caww

Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07) died early Thursday morning due to complications concerning longstanding health challenges, according to a statement from his office.

1 posted on 10/17/2019, 4:37:14 AM by caww

Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: caww

 

The Trump curse.Don’t mess with this President because God is on his side.

14 posted on 10/17/2019, 4:47:37 AM by Nateman (If the left is not screaming, you are doing it wrong. I)

To: caww

 

One of worst of the worst! Good riddance!!!!

20 posted on 10/17/2019, 4:51:35 AM by KobraKai

To: caww

 

Richly with ridiculous display
The politician’s corpse was laid away
While his acquaintances sneered and slanged
I wept.. for I longed to see him hanged

24 posted on 10/17/2019, 4:53:36 AM by ArtDodger

To: caww

 

A hymn for Brother Elijah.

Swing low, sweet limousine
Comin’ fo’ to carry me hooome
Swing low, air-conditioned machine
Comin’ fo’ to carry me—where?!
Baltimo’?!!!! I done represented Baltimo’
mah hole career. They is garbage and rats the’
And pissed off constituents all ovah da place! Baltimo’ is
HELLL! Fo’ this I got smacked upside mah haid
by thet cracker cop way back when. To spend mah
Hereafter in Baltimo’! Wah don’t ah get to go to the good place?! You know, Boston. Aw, damn! Now ah’ll have to put on this accent for eternity. Oh, drat. Baldehdash, old boys. I do hope you sha’n’t be prodding me with one of those beastly pitch fohks, old boy. Cheerio. Le’s go, boss. Lead on to dah fahr ‘n’ brimstone.

32 posted on 10/17/2019, 5:00:15 AM by Eleutheria5 (If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism.)

Blackface and minstrel show music accompaniment optional, but recommended.
To: Blueflag

 

Hillary went to walk in the woods?

34 posted on 10/17/2019, 5:00:50 AM by caww

 

To: caww

 

Yay! Hooray! Best news I have heard all week.

May Pelosi be next! Azrael, do yo thang!

45 posted on 10/17/2019, 5:09:51 AM by LeoWindhorse

To: caww

 

OMG This is like Christmas and my birthday all wrapped up in one!!!!

48 posted on 10/17/2019, 5:10:56 AM by Trump Girl Kit Cat (Yosemite Sam raising hell)

Out of almost 500 responses, there were exactly TWO that were even vaguely human :
To: caww
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” Matthew 5:44, KJV. 

Rest in peace.

27 posted on 10/17/2019, 4:55:11 AM by Widget Jr
To: Widget Jr

 

Thank you for putting things in perspective. A lot of people on this thread need to read your post.

51 posted on 10/17/2019, 5:12:03 AM by GreenLanternCorps (Hi! I’m the Dread Pirate Roberts! (TM) Ask about franchise opportunities in your area.)

I’m kinda thinking they didn’t.

To: caww

 

I pray for the suffering and death of leftists.

229 posted on 10/17/2019, 1:06:04 PM by coaster123 (Distrust everyone under fifty.)

JesusHatesYou
.
You can see why I need to take a short break from this sewage.
.
Also, back surgery was ineffectual compared to the same procedure a year ago (for my Facebook Friends who have wondered about my not being around much this week).
.
See you in a couple of weeks, unless The Darnold strokes out over Speaker Pelosi.
.
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Sunday Catblogging: Chatty Catty Edition

Mr. A and I recently left our cats (and, you know, kid) with my parents while we went on a quick trip to a wedding, and before we left I sat down and wrote out instructions about how and when to pick Kick up from school and what packages we were expecting and how to work the coffeemaker.

I then devoted two entire long paragraphs to how Ada never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, shuts the fuck up even for a second:

Dear Mom and Dad, Miss Kitty-Witty will yell at you from the second you let her out of the basement in the morning until the moment she goes back down there willingly for her bedtime. She will yell at you if she has pushed her mousie under the front closet door and can’t reach it. She will yell at you if her food bowl is empty. She will yell at you if her water is not to her liking. She will yell at you if her litter box is less than pristine. She will yell at you if you are petting Slade. She will yell at you if you are petting her. She will yell to be brushed and have her nails clipped and while you are doing these things, which you do not need to do because I’ve just done them, she will continue to yell.

She will yell and yell and yell and you will text me to ask if she needs to go to the vet because maybe she is sick, and I will text you back that we have taken her to the vet for this exact reason and the vet has examined her and she is fine. She just likes to talk. She likes to chitter and chirp and she thinks it’s the funniest thing on earth if you meow and then she meows and then you meow and then she meows and so on and so forth forever and ever, amen. Please feed her and try not to turn her into a hat, we love her tremendously but she’s absolutely the worst.

Love,

A.

Or, as the kids once called it, the Bush Administration

We fucking warned you: 

“Get over it,” Mulvaney told the assembled journalists.

“Elections have consequences,” he also said.

Allow me to translate: American voters gave Trump the presidency, so it’s his to use and abuse as he wants. If you’re looking for an apology, you might as well be looking for the yeti. What you should really be doing is looking the other way.

We tried to tell everybody who was shocked when Bush didn’t, you know, do anything different when his approval rating dipped below 50, that the real Bush Doctrine was that approval ratings and the howling of the public and the neverending protests (and there were, in fact, protests) didn’t matter. He had the presidency.

He could do what he wanted with it.

But now he’s pals with Ellen, so. I mean, honest to Christ.

We tried to warn you this was leading nowhere good, but you couldn’t begin to reckon with what he’d understood, which is that your “norms” don’t mean shit and your DC rituals don’t mean shit faced with somebody who don’t want none unless you got guns, hon. People forget but this is the kind of thing Bush was faced with on a daily basis:

And if after that Bush didn’t resign in disgrace, honestly could you blame the next guy for thinking he could do whatever he wanted? Including, let’s be fair, drone-bombing however many Pakistani schoolchildren and wedding guests he thought he needed to while Republicans accused his wife of covering the White House Christmas tree in crack pipes?

Those revelations of rottenness that I mentioned before? They’re no longer an inadvertent tic. They’re an advertent tactic. Done with denials of wrongdoing, administration officials are reframing it as right-doing — as a president’s prerogative, even his entitlement, pre-emptively authorized by voters themselves.

If only he’d put such things in the mouths of his admin-adjacent Super PACs, instead of using the sacred White House podium for it. Jesus tits, Bruni, where have you BEEN?

We tried to warn you we were heading right exactly here, and you didn’t listen, and don’t get me wrong, we’ll fight them til we can’t no matter how many of you are late to the party, but come on, you can’t possibly tell me you’re shocked. Bush plugged this destination into the GPS. All the GOP did recently was let Trump drive.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

Leona Lansing and Charlie Skinner are out here fucking shit up: 

Jane Fonda was arrested again on Friday for protesting outside the Capitol in an effort to urge U.S. officials to take climate change seriously. This time, however, fellow “Grace and Frankie” actor Sam Waterston joined in on the protest and was also arrested.

“Today, the United States Capitol Police arrested 17 individuals for unlawfully demonstrating in the unit block of First Street, SE.,” Eva Malecki, communications director with the Capitol Police, told Variety in a statement. She added that they were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding.

Tweets of the two actors with their hands restrained were posted to social media. This is the second week in a row where Fonda has been arrested as part of her ongoing Fire Drill Fridays campaign, for which she vowed to protest on the Capitol every Friday through the end of the year.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Begin The Beguine

Masks by Emil Nolde.

It’s been a long week in New Orleans. The collapsed Hard Rock Hotel sits there like a dagger pointed at our municipal throat. That’s led to concerns about damage to the beautifully restored Saenger Theatre across the street and other historic buildings.

There’s also been some serious conclusion jumping and finger pointing. It reminds me that *all* Americans love to jail people, liberals and conservatives just want to jail different people. TFC. What’s that spell? This Fucking City.  I’ve created a Fish Cheer for 21st Century New Orleans.

In addition to my acronymic exploits, I have a new catchphrase via the Insult Comedian: “They have a lot of sand over there; a lot of sand.” Believe me.

Cole Porter wrote this week’s theme song in 1935 whilst taking a Pacific cruise. It debuted in the Broadway musical, Jubilee.

We have two versions of Begin The Beguine for your listening pleasure: Artie Shaw and his orchestra, and Sheryl Crow from the 2004 Porter bio-pic, De-Lovely.

A quick note about bio-pics. Cary Grant played Cole Porter as a manly heterosexual in the 1946 movie, Night and Day. In 2004, Kevin Kline played Porter as what he was: a gay man in  a “lavender cover-up” marriage with a woman. There was no sex in the first movie, way too much in the second. Neither movie did a good job depicting Porter as a genius songwriter. That’s why we remember Cole, not who he slept with.

Let’s jump to the break whistling, You’re The Top. That’s bound to guarantee a smooth landing unless we land on the Tower of Pisa. In that case, we’ll just have to lean into it…

Continue reading

Dwight & Me

People who don’t read First Draft are always surprised that I like country music. I am emphatically a city boy, one might even call me urban or urbane. The second U-word is a value judgment so I’ll pass on that.

I don’t like all forms of country music but I like the real deal for the songwriting and singing. That’s why I like Dwight Yoakam who I saw live for the first time last night.

I’m notoriously stingy when it comes to concert ticket prices so I hadn’t planned to attend. I’d entered a contest but did not win freebies. On the day of the show, I received an email from the Fillmore informing me that two free tickets awaited at will-call. I was so skeptical that I called the box office for confirmation. Apparently, they were papering the hall because it wasn’t sold-out but it was my lucky day.

As someone who grew up in the Bay Area attending Bill Graham Presents shows, the name Fillmore is tinged with magic. I was too young to go to the Fillmore West but more or less grew up at Winterland, its successor concert hall.

I loved the venue. It would be a great place for a certain carnival krewe to hold its ball: hint, hint, hint. The Fillmore is spacious, well-ventilated, and attractive despite being attached to Harrah’s Casino. We did not gamble before or after. I didn’t want to press my luck.

I had high expectations but they were exceeded. Dwight Yoakam’s set was great. Dwight and his crack band played for two hours at a breakneck pace barely stopping for a second. It’s probably why Dwight’s sidemen are all younger than the star. They’re great musicians and rocked like crazy. It goes without saying that Dwight is one of the greatest singers to have ever walked the planet, with or without cowboy boots.

It was a night for doppelgangers. Dr. A spotted a guy who resembled Gret Stet goober candidate Eddie Rispone. Mercifully, it was not him. A guy who was a dead ringer for our pal the Bear Jieux danced with Dr. A as the band played Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down. Initially, she thought it was him but it was not: the doppelganger was equally hairy but too short.

You’re probably wondering about the post title, Dwight & Me. We had tickets to see him in Biloxi in September of 2005. The show was hurricaned out and we were in exile in Dallas in any event. It was a long time coming but I finally saw Dwight Yoakam. It was well-worth the wait.

I wrote about last night because I needed a respite from all crazy in the news. A post called Talking Turkey can wait until Monday. That crisis will still be there.

The last word goes to (who else?) Dwight Yoakam with his set closer and encore:

Friday Catblogging: In The Bag

Paul Drake’s love of boxes is well-known. He also likes bags.

The Week In Stupid Trumper Tricks

President* Trump is on a roll. He’s done a lot of stupid shit this week even for him. He was the one who tweeted the Pelosi picture with the caption “Nervous Nancy’s Unhinged Meltdown,” when he was the one who had the meltdown. What a lame decision, lame nickname, lame everything. Like Tom Cruise’s character in A Few Good Men, the Insult Comedian cannot handle the truth. Apologies to Jack Nicholson.

The meltdown occurred when the Speaker, quite correctly, pointed out that the Putin regime is the beneficiary of the impulsive and stupid policy shift in North Syria:

Today’s stupid Trumper trick was the announcement by acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, that the G-7 *will* be held at Trump Doral in Miami. Are they that stupid? Is Trump that greedy? Those were rhetorical questions, of course they are.

One more thing. Why the hell is Mulvaney still acting Chief of Staff? The position doesn’t require Senate confirmation. Is he acting out or acting up?

This week’s final stupid Trumper trick was the release of the letter Trump sent to Turkish President Erdogan. It was so OTT nutty and semi-literate that reporters were skeptical that it was real. The White House confirmed its authenticity. Dipshits.

One wonders what Erdogan thought of this incoherent epistle. It was probably some Turkish variation on, “I’m gonna get you, sucka.”

The last word goes to the Kaiser of Chaos with the last two sentences of the Erdogan letter: “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool.”

An exclamation point was withheld to protect the guilty.

Bayou Brief: The Ghosts Of Saturday Night

My latest 13th Ward Rambler column for the Bayou Brief is online. It focuses on the remarkable events of Saturday October 12, 2019 including the Gret Stet Governor and Jefferson Parish President races, the Bad Shepherd’s comeback, the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, and the latest boil water advisory in New Orleans.  It was the opposite of this Macca song:

I use several tunes by Tom Waits to make my point such as it is. He’s the only guy who can give LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron a run for the money in the gravelly voice sweepstakes. Now that’s a contest I’d like to see.

I also add TFC to the world’s acronymic lexicon:

Every time something goes haywire in New Orleans, I mutter to myself TFC: This Fucking City. I love New Orleans but sometimes this town dances on my last nerve. Saturday October 12, 2019 was such a day.

This post just got even more meta: I quoted myself in a post plugging my writing elsewhere.

Speaking of meta, the last word goes to Tom Waits with a song that was the last word of the 13th Ward Rambler column that used another one of his songs as a title. Confused? Me too. I’ll shut up and let Tom Waits growl-sing at you:

Repeat after me: This Fucking City.

Meltdown Of The Week

the-brain-eaters_trump_725

Pretty sure that pretty soon it’s going to be meltdown of the day or even meltdown of the hour as DJT becomes simultaneously more unhinged but more willing to offer fresh material to a news cycle that just can’t quit him.

And speaking of can’t quit, nope, the GOP won’t, or can’t. Sure, individuals break off, but to date NOTHING Trump’s done will keep the lemming mass of the party from following him off the cliff. Hell, down here in the Gret Stet, one of the remaining candidates for governor proudly declares himself in favor of DJT in, I think, most or all of his ads.

Democrats, there’s no GOP hero to step in and save you/give you permission to, um, do the right thing and ITMFA. Same with the media — you feed your DJT addiction at your peril. Fake News has already morphed into Enemy of the People. Do you not get those are fighting words? What will it take to realize he’ll gladly accept real casualties?

And finally…as I’ve said previously, he’s bluffing. Yeah, his base is substantial. But it’s not a majority. Most of us still want to live in civil society, if not the civilized world.

One thousand days in…

Oh, and to change the subject briefly, obviously I’ve only just heard about Elijah Cummings and can only say I’m shocked to hear and may he rest in peace.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: New Orleans Uncensored

This week we go to the movies with New Orleans Uncensored. It’s a tawdry bit of pulp cinema from William Castle who is better known for his horror movies. This flick isn’t horrible but it isn’t great either. The best thing about it is seeing the city in 1955.

Here’s the whole damn movie:

John Bolton Is An Honest Asshole, Not A Hero

Who among us didn’t enjoy this quote from the NYT’s coverage of Fiona Hill’s testimony?

“I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Mr. Bolton, a Yale-trained lawyer, told Ms. Hill to tell White House lawyers, according to two people at the deposition. (Another person in the room initially said Mr. Bolton referred to Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mulvaney, but two others said he cited Mr. Sondland.)

It was not the first time Mr. Bolton expressed grave concerns to Ms. Hill about the campaign being run by Mr. Giuliani. “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” Ms. Hill quoted Mr. Bolton as saying during an earlier conversation.

Some people have gotten carried away. I’ve heard Bolton called an unlikely hero. I’m unlikely to ever agree with that characterization. Bolton is an ideologue who is obsessed with regime change in Iran. Ideologues are often honest and straight-forward. Just because he’s relatively honest does not make John Bolton heroic: he’s still a war mongering asshole, not a hero.

A reminder of who John Bolton is:

 

Why I Didn’t Watch The CNN Debate

The Tweeter Tube was jam packed with complaints about last night’s Democratic presidential debate. Some were shocked that it was set up to maximize conflict and drama. I was not. It was one reason I did not watch.

For many years, CNN has packaged debates as if they were reality shows. Reality shows require conflict and drama to hold the audience’s interest. While that might be true of a debate as well, that’s not what the candidates are there for. Their goal is to get their message out. That’s hard to do when the moderators want the candidates to comment on the other guy’s message.

A three-hour long debate with twelve candidates is simply too long and overcrowded. It’s aimed at filling time on CNN, not informing the voters. It’s also cruel and unusual punishment to force candidates to go that long without a pee break.

I don’t know about you but I’m fine with never hearing from Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer, and Tulsi Gabbard again. The two rich guys have no chance of being nominated and the Congresscritter from Hawaii sounds like she’s planning to run as an independent apologist for the Assad regime. The other candidates are viable until they’re not. Someone else is bound to drop out some time soon.

The biggest problem I have with the MSM focus on debates is two-fold. First, they have nothing to with governing. Normal presidents make important decisions in conjunction with advisers and experts. Second, debates don’t matter in the long run. It’s more important whether a candidate has a strong message and a good organization in the early states. John Kerry and Hillary Clinton were dominant in their general election debates but lost.

I may watch the next time around but if Tulsi is there gabbing, in the immortal words of movie mogul Sam Goldwyn, “include me out.”

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Words Don’t Fit The Picture

Sometimes I select an album cover because it’s odd. Hence this 1972 Willie Nelson album with a photograph by Jimmy Moore.

Here’s the title track:

People Need Money

This is great and everyone should do it: 

Tubbs’ program, which started in February, could serve as a test case. For eight months, 125 Stockton residents living at or below the median income line (about $46,000 annually) have been getting $500 monthly stipends. The money is distributed through the mail in the form of debit cards.

This week, the city released the first set of data about the program. Most participants, it found, had been using their stipends to buy groceries and pay their bills.

The presumption that the poor will spend money frivolously is a deeply racist and offensive wingnut creation designed to keep middle class white people in the suburbs scared of the slavering hordes of welfare queens roaming the city streets armed with Your Tax Dollars. Fuck’s sake. People are people and everyone I know has a bill they could make disappear with $500. Even people who are relatively well off would benefit from that and if you’re NOT well off? That’s a goddamn windfall.

That’s the home repair you’ve been putting off or the dental work you’ve been struggling to pay for or the school fees for all of the kids plus your sister’s, that’s the coat you couldn’t replace plus the field trip you told your son he couldn’t take or the groceries for a month, for two months if you stretch.

And who does that sort of thing benefit? The local grocery, clothing and drug stores, the mom-and-pop places we’re told will benefit so hard from our support only nobody’s got any money to support them. Look, if you don’t have any customers it doesn’t matter how many tax cuts you get, you’re gonna close down, and you won’t have customers if they don’t have money.

Plus these thing spiral. We know this now, the missed bus leading to the lost job to the poorhouse, but also the $500 home repair not getting done and turning into $1,500 plus a fine from the city. If anyone thinks an extra $500 is some kind of incentive to not work they haven’t paid rent in several decades.

Five hundred dollars does not cover rent and utilities and the occasional hamburger, and even if it did, Jesus tits, the presumption that you’re the only one busting your ass is so goddamn conceited I want to put my fist through some thing.

A.

 

Not Everything Sucks

Native people are creating a safe place for LGBTQ & two-spirit kids: 

In addition to fellowship and support, members learn about LGBTQ friendly community resources for mental health, counseling and substance abuse needs.

Janis invites representatives from various tribal agencies to speak at circle meetings and get to know its members.

“We’ve brought in people from the Public Safety Department. We want people to get to know us so our young people aren’t afraid to call police if needed,” Janis said.

Family members of LGBTQ people also attend the meetings.“We have mothers bringing their children to meetings; we have lesbian mothers bringing their children here for support too,” Janis said.

A.

Lock Them Up?

During a crisis there’s always the temptation to fight fire with fire, especially when the executive branch is trying to burn the government down. It’s tempting to say “lock them up” when an executive branch official under “orders” defies a congressional subpoena. But however appealing the idea is, it’s always wise to look before leaping into what could turn out to be a ring of fire.

I pride myself on my knowledge of Congress and its history. That’s why I’ve been telling people that Congress lacks the power to arrest contemnors and must rely on referrals to the Justice Department to enforce contempt citations. We all know how that would go with Bill Barr in charge. Those contempt citations would disappear into a black hole and become part of Barr’s contemptible cover-up.

It turns out I was wrong about the whole arrest power thing. Here’s how Cornell Law professor Josh Chafetz explains it in a New York Times op-ed:

The House should instead put back on the table the option of using its sergeant-at-arms to arrest contemnors — as the person in violation of the order is called — especially when an individual, like Rudy Giuliani, is not an executive branch official. Neither house of Congress has arrested anyone since 1935, but it was not uncommon before that point (and was blessed by the Supreme Court in 1927).

There are some major problems with the superficially appealing notion of Congress resorting to its power of inherent contempt. Let me list the defects:

First, any power that has not been exercised in 84 years is suspect. It opens the door to valid-sounding criticism of the majority. Just because Congress has this power doesn’t mean they should set the dial on the Wayback Machine to 1935 and dust it off. The mere thought makes me sneeze. Achoo.

Second, they do not have facilities to house contemnors (my new favorite word) and the US Marshal Service is unlikely to be willing to transport people to the nearest federal slammer. Their big boss is the Attorney General who is the Contemnor-in-Chief’s henchman.

That means that contemnors would have to be held in empty offices, the mail room, or subway tunnels. This would look ad-hoc and improvised as well as opening the door to valid-sounding criticism of the majority that could undermine the growing popularity of the impeachment inquiry. Why create martyrs? Especially when the other side is adept at playing the victim card. It’s one of the few things they do well.

Third, invoking inherent contempt gets us bogged down in another procedural argument that will lead to litigation. Political junkies, lawyers, and Senators may like procedural arguments but the public hates them. Procedural arguments are not only boring, they’re losers. We should stick to the substantive arguments in favor of impeachment and removal instead of discussing process. Hell, I’m a political junkie and my eyes glaze over when process is the subject of the day.

As emotionally satisfying as it would be to see Don McGahn, Rudy Giuliani, Hope Hicks, and other miscreants frogmarched to the pokey, it’s a loser in the court of public opinion and impeachment is a political process. Just because the Insult Comedian lacks impulse control does not mean his opponents should follow suit.

Adam Schiff’s big picture strategy of folding contempt of Congress into the articles of impeachment is a wise one. We already have the smoking gun: the White House memo describing the Trump-Zelensky call. Getting bogged down in procedural arguments will slow things down and make the fog of scandal even denser. There’s already too much denseness in Washington as is.

My answer to the rhetorical question posed in the title is a resounding NO. Democrats should be the smart party, let the Republicans be the stupid party. They’ve earned the title.

The last word goes to Crowded House:

 

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Cold Turkey edition

Well, this was an extremely interesting week over at Free Republic, I must say.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

(composite thread)

REPORT: Turkish War Planes Strike Kurdish Targets in Northern Syria
GP ^ | 10/07/2019 | Cristina Laila

Posted on 10/7/2019, 4:16:25 PM by mplc51

Turkish war planes carried out airstrikes against Kurdish targets at the Semalka border crossing between Syria and Iraq.

Shortly before the air strike, US defense officials shut down Northern Syria airspace to Turkey in a statement to Anadolu.

“DOD spokesperson confirms the CAOC has pulled Turkey off the air tasking order and stopped the ISR feed, meaning Turkey is effectively cut out of the airspace along the border with Syria.”

“Turkish artillery bombards PKK/YPG targets in Malikiyah,” reported Israeli journalist Amichai Stein.

President Trump earlier Monday morning warned Turkey, a NATO ally, that he would destroy their economy if they did anything Trump “considers to be off” in a pair of tweets.

TRUMP: As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!

1 posted on 10/7/2019, 4:16:25 PM by mplc51

Aaand – we’re off!

To: mplc51

“… I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!”

Smells like a pile of bovine excrement.

Doesn’t it, now?

POTUS doesn’t talk this way, it’s likely an exaggeration by locals opposed to the US.

5 posted on 10/7/2019, 4:25:25 PM by Hostage (Article V)

“POTUS doesn’t talk this way”
.
Where the hell have you been for the last three years?
To: Hostage
I just checked his twitter feed. This was taken exactly as he posted it.

FWIW, I think the “in my great and unmatched wisdom” is just more trolling of the opposition.

7 posted on 10/7/2019, 4:27:29 PM by TigersEye (This is the age of the death of reason.)

At this point, the Freeperati start casting around for justifications:
To: xkaydet65

in my great and unmatched wisdom

This is dad humor, and a subtle way of saying (not to his opposition, but to normal people with common sense): “ya’ll just chill out, I’m acting in America’s interests”.

25 posted on 10/7/2019, 5:14:05 PM by scottinoc
Ah – yeah.
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Because if there’s one thing The Darnold is famous for, it’s his self-deprecating sense of humour.
To: scottinoc

He is my Pres, not my dad. Someimes he just has to grow up and understand it’s not the Howard Stern Show.

26 posted on 10/7/2019, 5:29:27 PM by xkaydet65

Good luck with that.
To: Reno89519

So we are siding with the Turks over the Kurds that protected and provided shelter for Syrian Christians? Yikes.

21 posted on 10/9/2019, 4:45:02 PM by Sam Gamgee

NoShitSherlock
Of course,  when in doubt…
To: Zhang Fei
Bomb them, Turkey!
posted on 10/12/2019, 10:29:19 PM by ConservativeMind (Trump: Befuddling Democrats, Republicans, and the Media for the benefit of the US and all mankind.)
And the response :
To: ConservativeMind
“My comments stand.”
********************
Yes indeed, your comment “Bomb them, Turkey” stands as evidence of your ignorance and your cruelty.

Your new good buddies the Turks have been subverting America’s and the West’s interests for several decades. And what have the Syrian Kurds done to America or you in particular? Did they do something for you to jubilantly cheer on the Turks to bomb them. You embarrass yourself and make me ashamed that you are a fellow FReeper. I find your attitude and your heartlessness to be REPUGNANT,

23 posted on 10/13/2019, 12:01:17 AM by House Atreides (Boycott the NFL 100% — PERMANENTLY)

OtherwiseOkMandy
.
More cold Turkey at the link below…
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