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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Trump Lied about a Deal with China. Turkey Lied about a Deal with Trump.

In Defying the Oddswe discuss Trump's character and record of dishonestyThe update -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

Trump lied about a deal with China and Turkey lied about a deal with Trump. 

Heather Long at WP:
President Trump claimed that he struck a “phase one” trade deal with China on Friday and that the Chinese agreed to massive purchases of U.S. farm products. But nearly a week has passed, and China has not confirmed that critical piece of the agreement.

According to the White House, a key part of Trump’s initial deal is China’s commitment to buy $40 billion to $50 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products. But nothing was written on paper, and China’s Commerce Ministry would not confirm that figure Thursday, saying instead purchases would be made according to Chinese market needs.
CBS reports:
As the deal Vice President Mike Pence announced with Turkey to stop attacks on Kurdish forces in northern Syria came under criticism Friday, fighting continued in the region. Video showed gunfire and shelling in a Syrian city along the Turkish border.
CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata said it was a shaky ceasefire, and not everybody was happy about it. There have been serious questions about the U.S. military's role in ensuring the terms of the ceasefire are implemented.
Turkish attacks continued on the border, breaking the so-called "pause in hostilities" agreed to by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government. The pause is supposed to last 120 hours, or five days, to give the U.S. a chance to "facilitate" exactly what Turkey wanted in when it launched its incursion on October 9: the removal of the formerly U.S.-allied Kurdish forces from a 20-mile-deep so-called "safe zone" along Turkey's border.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Endorsing Ethnic Cleansing, Acknowledging a Quid Pro Quo, and Announcing a Blatant Emoluments Clause Violation: "Get Over It"

In Defying the Oddswe discuss Trump's character and record of dishonestyThe update -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

The Best Words

Syria may have some help with Russia, and that’s fine.  It’s a lot of sand.  They’ve got a lot of sand over there.  So there’s a lot of sand that they can play with.
But we were supposed to be there for 30 days; we stayed for 10 years.  And it’s time for us to come home.  We’re not a policing agent, and it’s time for us to come home.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

"No Angels"

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty .     The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. Impeachment is becoming likely.

Today Trump tried to justify his betrayal of the Kurds:  "The Kurds are very well protected; plus, they know how to fight.  And, by the way, they’re no angels, but they were with us.  They are no angels."

He has said that others are "no angels."

  • Senate Democrats who criticized Brett Kavanaugh: ""I watched those senators on the Democrat side, and I thought it was a disgrace. And partially because I know them. I know them too well, and you know what, they are not angels."
  • The wrongly-convicted Central Park Five: "Speak to the detectives on the case and try listening to the facts. These young men do not exactly have the pasts of angels."
  • Migrants: ""These are tough people.  These are not angels.  These are not little angels."

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Hand Grenade Rudy

In  Defying the Oddswe discuss the people surrounding Trump (The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.)
The choice of servants is of no little importance to a prince, and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince. And the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.
-- Machiavelli
The effort to pressure Ukraine for political help provoked a heated confrontation inside the White House last summer that so alarmed John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, that he told an aide to alert White House lawyers, House investigators were told on Monday.
Mr. Bolton got into a tense exchange on July 10 with Gordon D. Sondland, the Trump donor turned ambassador to the European Union, who was working with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, to press Ukraine to investigate Democrats, according to three people who heard the testimony.
The aide, Fiona Hill, testified that Mr. Bolton told her to notify the chief lawyer for the National Security Council about a rogue effort by Mr. Sondland, Mr. Giuliani and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, according to the people familiar with the 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.
Karen Freifeld, Aram Roston at Reuters:
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was paid $500,000 for work he did for a company co-founded by the Ukrainian-American businessman arrested last week on campaign finance charges, Giuliani told Reuters on Monday.
 The businessman, Lev Parnas, is a close associate of Giuliani and was involved in his effort to investigate Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination.
Giuliani said Parnas’ company, Boca Raton-based Fraud Guarantee, whose website says it aims to help clients “reduce and mitigate fraud”, engaged Giuliani Partners, a management and security consulting firm, around August 2018. Giuliani said he was hired to consult on Fraud Guarantee’s technologies and provide legal advice on regulatory issues.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Violent Pro-Trump Video

In Defying the Odds, we discuss partisan polarization and views of Trump.     During the campaign, he openly encouraged violence by supportersThe update  -- recenty published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms, when a Trumpist addressed pipe bombs to his foes.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Syrian Debacle: "Let Them!"

In Defying the Odds, we discuss foreign policy issues in the 2016 campaign.  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  

Carlotta Gall and Patrick Kingsley at NYT:
Hundreds of relatives of Islamic State fighters fled a Kurdish-run detention camp on Sunday morning after Turkish airstrikes hit the surrounding area, an aid group said, deepening the crisis prompted by the Turkish-led invasion of northern Syria.
The escapes raised fears that the attempts to contain affiliates of the militant group were crumbling.
A Kurdish official also said that the flag of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, had been raised in the countryside between the camp in the Kurdish-held town of Ain Issa and the Turkish border, another indication of how the Kurdish authorities were losing control of a region they had freed from the extremists only months ago.