Media (421)


Rule of Law No More

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

After his acquittal in the impeachment trial Trump went into full vengeance mode.  Lt. Col. Alex Vindman and his brother Yevgeny, a lawyer who had nothing to do with the Ukraine case, were removed from their positions with the National Security Council and perv-walked out of the White House.  The fact that Alex had obeyed a congressional subpoena – and thus disobeyed a presidential order – only made things worse for Trump, who insisted that the Pentagon should investigate him.  Gordon Sondland was next, and after his removal as US Ambassador to the EU everybody who testified to the House Intelligence Committee had retired, been fired or left their positions.  A final victim, at least for now, was a female Pentagon employee who had questioned the withholding of money for Ukraine and whose nomination for comptroller was withdrawn.  At a rally in New Hampshire the president, with his whole mob family minus Melania present, read Al Wilson’s ‘The Snake’ to discredit asylum seekers, confused Concord NH with Concord Mass,  called for Obama’s impeachment and engaged in some virtual incest with his daughter Ivanka.

When prosecutors, following guidelines, recommended a 7-9 year sentence for Roger Stone for lying to and obstruction of Congress and witness tampering in the Russia investigation, Trump tweeted furiously that the sentence would be a miscarriage of justice, and within a few hours the Department of Justice, apparently after an intervention by Attorney General Barr, withdrew the recommendation, just like it had earlier reduced the recommendation for Michael Flynn from a prison term to probation.   The president declared that he never communicated with Barr about the recommendation, which may very well have raised his number of lies to over 17,000.  In addition to interfering in Stone’s case Barr issued a new policy that all politically sensitive investigations have to be approved by him.  All four prosecutors who had been involved in the Stone case quit the case in protest, and one of them resigned from DOJ altogether.  A new victim of Trump’s wrath was the DC District Attorney who oversaw the Manafort, Flynn and Stone cases and had resigned to take a top position with the Treasury Department that was subsequently denied to her.

Still not able to let go the president told reporters that prosecutors should apologize to Stone, who will be sentenced next week.  When asked if he would pardon Stone Trump said that he didn’t want to talk about that now, but since the judge has full discretion with regards to the sentence and she and Stone have duked it out quite a bit during the trial a stiff sentence, followed by a pardon, might be forthcoming.  In a new development, according to Lindsey Graham a line to Barr has been opened for Rudy Giuliani, who is under investigation himself, to relay dirt about Hunter Biden.

Next to the dismantling of the rule of law the week was full of the usual idiocies.  At the New Hampshire rally Trump announced without any proof that the Corona virus would be gone by April because of the rising temperatures, and said that the EU had been created to rip off the US.  With the text ‘Tough Guys for Trump’ he tweeted a clip from HBO’s show ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ with Larry David wearing a MAGA hat, clearly not realizing that David was making fun of his deplorables.

After a line-up of Senate Republicans, led by bobblehead Susan Collins, fantasized that the president had learned ‘something’ from his impeachment trial their hopes and dreams were put to the test yesterday.  In answer to reporters’ questions Trump said that he had learned that Democrats are ‘crooked and vicious’ and that his impeachment was ‘a disgrace that should never have happened.’

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Trump Unleashed

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Every American child learns that when the national anthem is played you are supposed to stand straight with your right hand over your heart, but not Donald Trump.  The man who excoriated black football players for kneeling during the anthem in protest against police killings of young black men was jumping around and pretended to be directing when the anthem was sung before the Super Bowl.  It was only the beginning of the president’s deepest dive into the sewer so far.  Emboldened by his upcoming acquittal in the impeachment trial Trump delivered a State of the Union address that was so full of falsehoods that Pinocchio would have refused to read it.  The thrust of the speech was the state of the US economy, according to the president better than ever.  Probably not knowing that GDP grew more under Carter and that job growth was higher under Obama during their presidencies Trump spoke of a ‘blue collar boom,’ while employment in manufacturing is declining, in part due to his China tariffs.  Without any evidence he also boasted that people at the bottom of the economy have done far better than people at the top.

Another whopper was the president’s promise to protect people with pre-existing conditions, at a time when his minions are in court trying to end Obamacare, and his blaming Democrats for wanting to introduce socialism in health care by taking insurance away from 180 million ‘happy Americans.’  Almost amusing was Trump’s statement that America is respected again, at least to those who remember how his closest allies were making fun of him at a recent summit.  For the lowest point of the address Melania decorated Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, adding the singer of ‘Barack the Magic Negro’ to a pantheon with among others Jacky Robinson, John Lewis and Maya Angelou.  From the start, when he refused to shake Speaker Pelosi’s outstretched hand before his address, it was obvious that the president was on the war path, and she returned the favor by ripping up the speech while he was still basking in the Republican applause after delivering it.  It would only get worse the next day, when the Senate voted to acquit Trump but Mitt Romney called him guilty on one of the Articles of Impeachment.

As the first Senator ever to vote for the impeachment of a president of his own party Romney explained that his faith forced him to take his oath before God seriously, and mentioned the pressure put on him to ‘stand with the team.’  Since he denied Trump a single-party vote to remove him from office Romney immediately incurred the wrath of the Trump family, with the Don calling him a ‘Democrat secret asset’ and Don Jr. demanding that he be expelled from the GOP.  Signaling its disarray a White House press event was cancelled right after Romney’s vote.

At the National Prayer Breakfast the next morning, with Nancy Pelosi sitting four chairs away from him, Trump talked about the people who ‘misuse their faith to do what they know is wrong’ and those ‘who say they pray for him but don’t,’ clearly referring to Romney and Pelosi.  And at an event later in the day where he did some stand-up comedy the president pretended to reflect and acknowledge that he ‘said a lot of things he shouldn’t have said,’ adding ‘but I meant every word of it.’

Taking a victory lap and effusively praising his family, his Republican backers and his lawyers, Trump, clearly after a triple dose of Adderall, found the time to call Pelosi and Adam Schiff ‘vicious people,’ investigators ‘leakers and liars,’ James Comey ‘a sleazebag’ and spoke of the ‘top scum of the FBI.’  His impeachment had been ‘a dirty rotten deal,’ promoted and effectuated by ‘evil and sick people.’

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Bring in the Clowns

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Normally Donald Trump is the main attraction in the DC circus, but this week it was his legal team.  The White House had pulled Ken Starr out of the trash heap of history to let him qualify Trump’s impeachment as too frivolous.  Those who thought that irony is dead stood corrected when they were reminded that Starr investigated Bill Clinton for three years, and after starting with Whitewater via Travelgate eventually had him impeached for lying under oath about a blow job.  But Starr was only the opening act of the legal clownshow.  Next came Alan Dershowitz, who started by stating that a president can only be impeached if a crime has been committed, a thesis resulting from ‘more study’ than he had done during the Clinton impeachment, when he defended the opposite position.  The retired law professor didn’t stop there and proclaimed that if a president believes that his re-election is in the national interest anything he does to get re-elected is acceptable.  In Trump’s case, asking for and accepting foreign help would be fine.  This was puzzling for those senators who are familiar with 52 USC 30121, which makes it unlawful.

Confronted with the fact that Trump had asked Ukraine for an investigation of Joe Biden and thus had committed a crime that would be impeachable Dershowitz came up with the following pretzel: if the president was worried that Biden was corrupt it was his duty in the national interest to have him investigated, because Biden might one day be president and the country cannot afford to have a corrupt occupant of the Oval Office.  The suggestion that the most corrupt US President in history could legally investigate a rival for corruption was breathtaking.  Other lawyers on Trump’s team argued that removing Ambassador Yovanovitch and putting pressure on the Ukrainian government was just a matter of US foreign policy, which the president has the sole responsibility to conduct.  Possibly today the Senate will decide whether to call witnesses and all bets are off, but it is doubtful that four GOP senators will have the courage to incur the wrath of Trump.  The prime candidate to be called would be former NSA John Bolton, whose manuscript with for Trump incriminating information was leaked out of the White House NSC office.

The president, always the very stable genius, publicly made the unbelievable statement that he never spoke with Bolton about Ukraine, effectively waiving executive privilege if he was ever planning to claim that and allowing Bolton to speak freely about their conversations.  Trump called Bolton a ‘warmonger,’ who begged for his position, was fired and then wrote a nasty and untrue book.  The president claimed that if he had listened to Bolton, who told AG Barr he had concerns about Trump’s granting favors to authoritarian leaders, the US would now be fighting WW VI.

As the White House threatened to block the publication of Bolton’s book in March, Trump, helping his friend Netanyahu, unveiled Jared Kushner’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians, which for the latter comes down to permanently giving up 30% of their territory and living in a ‘homeland’ with limited autonomy as was pioneered by the South African Apartheid regime, in exchange for $50 billion.  For Trump and Kushner only money matters and they obviously think everything is for sale.

After Mike Bloomberg, who is running for the Democratic nomination, spent $10 million on a Superbowl ad, Trump responded by buying equal time.   It made New York’s former mayor open up about the time the president asked for his counsel after having been elected.  ‘Hire a lot of people who are smarter that you,’ had been Bloomberg’s good advice, but Trump’s respons was ‘nobody is smarter than me.’


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''Mediageile massahysterie'''

De man heet Erik Noomen. Hij was vorige week donderdag te horen in Spraakmakers op Radio 1. (KRO/NCRV). Natuurlijk ging het daar over de massale aandacht voor het Corona virus. Noomen noemde de berichtgeving hierover ‘’mediageile massahysterie’’

      Volgens hem zijn er sinds de uitbraak van het virus meer mensen overleden aan het stoten van hun grote teen, die ontstoken is geraakt. ''Maar we gaan toch ook niet zeggen, dat de mensen voortaan werkschoenen aan moeten met stalen neuzen''.

      Noomen introduceert zichzelf op twitter als volgt: ‘’Stamhouder van het geslacht Noomen, journalist, kaasdromer, televisiemaker, fundamentalistisch atheïst en vergeefs kattentrainer’’.

      Niet alleen een kroegprater voor de radio dus, maar ook nog een man met een verkeerd gevoel voor humor.

VPRO’er Leonard Ornstein zat ook in de studio. Hij ging wijselijk genoeg niet tegen Noomen in, maar verwoordde het heel duidelijk  : ‘’ Ik denk dat er ooit een virus komt dat een enorme besmetting gaat veroorzaken waar we niet tegen bestand zijn"". Volgens hem moeten media wel oppassen om een 'massapsychose te veroorzaken. "Individuele mensen zijn vatbaar voor dit soort berichten en denken dat ze het zelf onder de leden hebben."

Presentatrice Ghislaine Plag, die ik overigens goed vind, maakte nog een soort tut-tut-ho-ho opmerking ("Stalen neuzen zijn niet besmettelijk"), maar ook dat weerhield Noomen niet.  
Als u het allemaal niet gelooft luister dan nog eens. HIER.
      Ga naar het onderdeel tusen 10 en 11 uur. Na 7 minuten begint het Corona virus.  



Greetings from Davos

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Donald Trump went to the World Economic Forum to create a distraction from his impeachment trial, but it looks more like the trial created a distraction from his screw-ups in Davos.  After a book came out that told the story of how the president called ‘his’ generals ‘dopes and babies,’ adding ‘I’m not going to war with you’ – something they knew already because they were all in Vietnam, as Bill Maher observed – and reported that Trump didn’t know what exactly happened at Pearl Harbor and got stuck trying to read the Constitution because ‘it’s written like a foreign language,’ the US President apparently expected to meet with his Iranian counterpart in Davos, something that was never in the works.  Instead he met with the leader of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, whom he mistook for the leader of the Syrian Kurds and thanked for his cooperation after the departure of American troops, adding ‘we kept the oil.’ It was a reminder of the time Trump told India’s Prime Minister Modi that his country doesn’t border on China, and showed how he is struggling with geographic information and thinks all Kurds are the same.

In Davos the president took sole credit for the state of the US economy, which he assessed by just referring to the stock market and the unemployment rate, ignoring the damage his tariffs have done to farmers and how they caused a decline in manufacturing employment, as well as the fact that wages are barely rising and the gap between rich and poor is widening.  Avoiding the topic of climate change directly Trump bragged that America has the cleanest air and water in the world, although research shows the air is becoming more polluted and just this week the administration rolled back clean water protections Obama had put in place.  On the bright side, the president promised to join an effort to plant one trillion trees, which finally gave his audience reason to modestly applaud him.  Trump’s presentation was followed by the usual ludicrous statements: he said that the brain damage US servicemen had suffered during the recent Iranian rocket attacks was not serious enough to be considered an injury and claimed that an American had invented the wheel.  Leaving Davos he announced future cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

Since he had kept an eye on the trial in DC the president could report that his team of lawyers and the ‘I did it, so what’ defense were doing very well, primarily because ‘we have all the documents, they have nothing,’ which once more illustrated the correctness of the second Article of Impeachment.  He added that he would have preferred a long trial with witnesses but that for national security reasons that was unfortunately not possible.  Calling his Democratic accusers ‘sleazebags’ Trump lied that he would have loved to attend the trial and face the House managers.

In spite of his stated satisfaction with the trial, which has to be taken with a grain of salt because his lawyers are not exactly performing up to snuff for a client who prefers actors over experts, the president cannot be all that happy with recent polling.  According to CNN and Pew Research polls a majority of Americans wants him to be removed from office, and a much larger majority – including a sizeable percentage of Republicans – wants a trial with witnesses and documents.

In what he probably still considers a good week Trump set two records that will never be broken:  during the first three years of his presidency he made 16,241 false statements, raising his daily average to 14.83, and on Wednesday alone he released 141 tweets.  And to prove what a spiteful miser he is the president reversed Michelle Obama’s healthy school lunch rules ‘unintentionally’ on her birthday.

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