Friday, July 20, 2018



Not much time or energy for this, but it should get out.  1) Isreal voted to make Hebrew the only offical language ande designate certain areas, previously Palestinian, Jewish.  Officially a Jewish State.  2) Interview on Yemen and what we are doing there.  Flag done by a previous illustrator I once tought that illustration was too much and the other just Yemen as it looks now, courtesy of our bombs.

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen is incredibly difficult to cover on the ground, with many obstacles for journalists hoping to access the capital Sana'a and other areas affected by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition bombings. We speak with a reporter who smuggled herself into northern Yemen to report on the widespread famine and devastation there in an exclusive three-part series for "PBSNewsHour." Special correspondent Jane Ferguson is a Beirut-based special correspondent. Her pieces are titled "Yemen's spiraling hunger crisis is a man-made disaster," "American-made bombs in Yemen are killing civilians, destroying infrastructure and fueling anger at the U.S." and "Houthis deny U.S., Saudi claim that they are Iran's puppets."

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: We spend the rest of the hour in Yemen, where Houthi rebels say they're prepared to hand over the crucial port of Hodeidah to the United Nations, if U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition halt military operations there. Last month, tens of thousands of civilians fled the city when coalition forces launched an all-out offensive there. The U.N. warned the offensive would severely exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which is already experiencing the world's worst cholera epidemic, with more than a million people afflicted, and with millions more on the brink of famine. This is U.N. humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande.
LISE GRANDE: Most of the eight-and-a-half million people that we describe as being pre-famine, the reality of their life is that when they wake up in the morning, they have no idea if they will eat that day. No idea. Eight-and-a-half million people are in that category. The U.N. estimates that by the end of the year, if there is not an end to this war, another 10 million Yemenis will be in that same situation. That's 18 million innocent civilians who are the victims of this war. And that's why all humanitarians are saying, "Enough is enough. There has to be a political solution, and the parties to the conflict have to sit at that table and agree on how to stop this."
NERMEEN SHAIKH: That's a clip from PBS NewsHour's exclusive three-part series by correspondent Jane Ferguson, who recently smuggled herself into northern Yemen to report on the widespread famine and devastation there.
JANE FERGUSON: The only way into rebel-held Yemen is to smuggle yourself in. And for me, that means to be dressed entirely as a Yemeni woman, with a full face veil, just to get through the checkpoints. I traveled across the embattled front lines to see what's actually happening inside what the United Nations is calling the world's worst humanitarian disaster.
AMY GOODMAN: We'll speak with PBS correspondent Jane Ferguson, now in Beirut, about what she saw in Yemen. But first we're going to her report. It was part two of her three-part exclusive PBS series. This pieceis called "American-made bombs in Yemen are killing civilians, destroying infrastructure and fueling anger at the U.S."
JANE FERGUSON: Inside rebel territory in Yemen, the war rains down from the sky. On the ground, front lines have not moved much in the past three years of conflict. Instead, an aerial bombing campaign by the Saudi-led and American-backed coalition hammers much of the country's north, leaving scenes like this dotted across the capital city, Sana'a, and beyond. A few weeks before I arrived, this gas station was hit. Security guard Abdul Al Badwi was in a building next door when it happened. He says six civilians were killed.
Why did they target here?
Can't explain why they would have targeted something like this.
Elsewhere in the city, a government office building was recently hit. Another pile of rubble, another monument to the civilian deaths of this war.
When this building was hit, it was mostly clerical workers in offices who were injured. And you can still see their blood smeared all over the walls as they were evacuated after the airstrike.
In 2014, Yemeni rebels called Houthis seized the capital and much of the rest of the country. The Houthis are supported by Sunni Saudi Arabia's archrival, Shiite Iran. So, the next year, the Saudis mobilized a coalition of Arab militaries to defeat the group. The aerial bombing campaign has not managed to dislodge the rebels, but has hit weddings, hospitals and homes.
The U.S. military supports the Saudi coalition with logistics and intelligence. The United States also sells the Saudis and their coalition partners many of the bombs they drop on Yemen. In the mountains outside the capital, we gained exclusive access to the site where the Houthis store unexploded American-made bombs, like this 2,000-pound Mark 84 bomb made in Garland, Texas. It landed in the middle of the street in the capital, we are told. One of the men here told me where each was found around Sana'a.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: [translated] One month ago, it landed near the Shaharah Bridge, next to the central bank of Yemen. It didn't explode.
JANE FERGUSON: He also showed me the fin of a Mark 82 bomb used to guide it to its target.
Back in the city, the Houthis also let us see a storage site with the remains of American-made cluster bombs. Cluster bombs are among the most deadly to civilians, filled with baseball-sized smaller bombs that scatter over a larger area. Any that don't explode stay where they fell, primed, and often wounding civilians like land mines. The Houthis have also targeted civilians, throwing anyone suspected of opposing them in jail.
I traveled deep into Yemen's countryside to find out more about how the bombing campaign is affecting peoples' lives there. This is what I found: a Doctors Without Borders cholera treatment center completely destroyed by an airstrike the day before. It was just about to open its doors to patients. The war has made it harder for people to access clean running water, leading to the worst cholera outbreak in modern history. Now, every time the rains come, people fall ill.
Cholera is a seasonal disease here in Yemen, and that's why the aid organizations are getting ready for the worst of the cholera season coming up. This facility was brand-new.
No one was killed here, but the loss of the precious medical facility, filled with life-saving equipment, is devastating.
LISE GRANDE: It's quite clearly a contravention of humanitarian law. There is no question about that.
JANE FERGUSON: The United Nations warns the Saudi-led coalition on the location of thousands of humanitarian facilities across the country, requesting they don't bomb them.
Lise Grande is the U.N. Development Program coordinator in Yemen.
LISE GRANDE: If you look at the total number of requests that we have in and the total number of violations, there have been few violations compared to the requests. But when those violations occur, they are serious indeed.
JANE FERGUSON: In a refugee camp closer to fighting along the Saudi border, people told me they were attacked by warplanes in the last camp they lived in. In 2015, Mazraq refugee camp was bombed by coalition jets. Radiyah Hussein lost a grandson in the attack and walked for days to get here.
RADIYAH HUSSEIN: [translated] They attacked the camp with three missiles in one day, and then we ran away.
JANE FERGUSON: On the road to the refugee camp, several bridges had been bombed. Anger towards America is growing in rebel-held areas of Yemen. Most people here, whether they support the Houthis or not, know that many of the bombs being dropped are American. It provides a strong propaganda tool for the Houthi rebels, who go by the slogan "Death to America."
Dr. Ali Al Motaa is a college professor. He did his doctorate in the U.S., but is a strong Houthi supporter.
DR. ALI AL MOTAA: The missiles that kill us, American-made. The plane that kills us, American-made. The tanks, Abrams, American-made. You're saying to me, "Where is America?" America is the whole thing.
JANE FERGUSON: Despite desperate efforts to end the fighting in Yemen, the violence is getting worse. The Saudi-led coalition launched an attack on Houthi-controlled Hodeidah city last month. The city is home to hundreds of thousands of Yemenis, and aid organizations warned that the attack could kill many civilians. As the bombs began to fall, these people fled to the capital, Sana'a.
DURA ISSA: [translated] My house is a traditional house. And when the bomb landed, the gate was blown off, and the roof was gone.
JANE FERGUSON: Dura Issa's house was hit. Her family got out alive, but she is now homeless, trying to care for her severely disabled son.
DURA ISSA: [translated] I don't know where to stay tonight. We don't have money for a hotel. We cannot afford it. We left in a hurry, scared. We left everything.
JANE FERGUSON: Ahead of the battle, the coalition warned civilians to get out.
MOHAMMED ISSA: [translated] The coalition announced on the TV that we have to leave. They didn't tell us anything. They just told us to go out. The Houthis made trenches. My house is next to the sea, and the battles are there.
JANE FERGUSON: Millions of Yemenis are just like him, living in fear of the battle raging near their homes, or an airstrike killing them and their families. Both the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition have disregarded innocent civilian life in this war. Every bomb that falls on a hospital, office building or home causes more unease about where they came from.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Jane Ferguson, reporting from Yemen for the PBS NewsHour. When we come back, we'll go to Beirut, Lebanon—Jane has come out of Yemen, which she smuggled herself into—and speak directly with her. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: "Yemen Blues" by Yemen Blues. This is Democracy Now! I'm Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: We're spending the rest of the hour in Yemen. We're joined in Beirut by Jane Ferguson, special correspondent for PBSNewsHour.
AMY GOODMAN: Jane is just back from Yemen, where she spent nearly a month reporting this remarkable three-part series for PBS NewsHouron widespread starvation in Yemen, American financing of the Saudi-backed coalition there, and Houthi rebels. Her recent piece in The New Yorker is headlined "Is Intentional Starvation the Future of War?"
Jane, welcome to Democracy Now! I mean, the bravery of you even going into Yemen, which particularly shows what the Yemeni people face, explain how you got there. And then, this piece we just aired, where you talk about the U.S. support for what's happening, how you found this evidence?
JANE FERGUSON: Getting into Yemen itself is not as complicated, or not even close to as complicated, as getting into northern Yemen. Journalists from some outlets, including American outlets, have been granted visas and allowed to board flights into the south of Yemen. That's the area that the Saudi-led coalition controls, and that's into the capital of the south, which is Aden. And you can fly in there. And I was able to get a visa to get to Aden after a couple of attempts, and board a flight to Aden. And from there, as you would have seen in that report, I basically had to drive north. You can drive north across the front line. Yemenis themselves, civilians, are moving back and forth. But you have to go through dozens of checkpoints. I wasn't able to film them, obviously, for the piece, as I was smuggling my way up. But it took sort of several cars and on various routes to be able to get up there, disguised as a Yemeni woman.
And, you know, once I got there, I had to work with a Yemeni team, because I could only really smuggle myself up. I couldn't bring my cameraman and have him passed off as a believable Yemeni woman. So, I worked with a Yemeni team when I was in Sana'a, journalists and friends that I've known for some time. Now, it's worth pointing out that news organizations all around the world, and particularly American news organizations, have been trying to access Sana'a, and they very much so want to report from Houthi-controlled areas, but journalists are banned. The Saudis control the airspace, and they ban journalists and human rights researchers from boarding the U.N. flights. Only U.N. flights land in Sana'a, in the capital, that is Houthi-controlled. And so, journalists, for a long time, from various news organizations, all the major networks in the U.S., have been trying to access those areas, but they've not been permitted to go. So, you know, it really is a case of whoever can smuggle their way up there. And that's extremely challenging logistically, because then you end up with one staff member up there and not a support team.
So, when I was there, you know, as you've pointed out, a major focus on the reporting is the fact that this is a war that perhaps not so visually on the ground the United States is involved in, but behind the scenes the United States is supporting this war. They are supporting the Saudi-led coalition. And when the Saudi-led coalition formed in 2015, it was Barack Obama then president of the United States, obviously. He brought in support. He supported the coalition's efforts, not with boots on the ground, but certainly with the logistics that was mentioned there. Some of those logistics include things like refueling Saudi jets. In between bombing raids, if they can be refueled midair by United States Air Force jets, that helps them, makes the process much more efficient. Also the sale of weapons, over $100 billion worth of U.S. weapons agreed in sales to the Saudis, often agreed by Obama, but then confirmed by President Trump.
There's also various logistical and intelligence support. And this is really where, you know, the Yemenis that I spoke to were coming from in terms of why they saw this as a United States war. And when I would put this question to them, even privately, off camera, to people who didn't wish to speak on camera because they were not supporters of the Houthis or the coalition, they would say, you know, "We know, we feel very much so like this is a United States war." And also when you're on the ground there, like I said in my report, the Houthis are able to use this as a very strong propaganda tool, because they're able to couch this war in terms of a jihad, a religious war, against not only foreign invaders like Saudis, but they will say, you know, whenever they're trying to recruit fighters, that this is a war against foreign invaders who are fighting against Islam.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Jane, one of the weapons that the U.S. has sold to the Saudis, as you witnessed and discussed in your piece, are cluster bombs. Could you talk about what you learned about the effects of these bombs? I mean, this is a weapon that is banned by 102 countries. Explain what the effects of cluster bombs are.
JANE FERGUSON: Well, a cluster bomb, effectively, when it's dropped, it explodes just before it hits the ground. And it can contain anything from dozens to up to hundreds of smaller bombs. They're around about the size of a baseball, and they are just miniature bombs primed to explode. And they spread out over a wider area. They can be particularly deadly for civilians, especially in countries where people live in, you know, non-brick or non-concrete homes. So, areas where people live in mud homes or wattle homes, straw huts, they can be particularly dangerous in those situations. But they also are—they have a particularly poor fail rate, where, if they land, not all of the small munitions will explode, and so they will remain primed on the ground. And they can be picked up by a child. They can randomly explode much, much later. And that's why cluster bombs are seen as such a deadly weapon, because they can act like mines, as well as an explosive that spreads itself out.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Jane, your piece also ends with a remarkable and horrific statistic, that an estimated 130 Yemeni children died every day in 2017 from extreme hunger and disease. Now, you point out in this piece, as well as your piece in The New Yorker, that this is a man-made disaster, that there is, in fact, food in Yemen. It's just that people no longer have the means to buy that food, because millions of workers have been put out of work or are simply not being paid. Can you talk about that?
JANE FERGUSON: Sure. This is the real toll of the war. Of course, civilians are dying in these airstrikes, but not in anywhere near to the numbers of people who are falling ill and dying from the humanitarian crisis that has been caused by this war. Of course, you know, you'll hear the statistic, "Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian disaster," but that's really just a phrase. And it was—you know, one of the reasons I wanted to go into rebel-held Yemen was because no one really understands what that looks like. What does that mean to a viewer?
And what it means is a third of the country, an entire third, over 8 million people, on the brink of starvation, meaning they're not getting enough nutrients. They cannot afford to buy enough food to feed themselves and their families sufficiently. And, you know, the statistics on the deaths of children are particularly startling, and that's because, of course, as anywhere in the world, children are the most susceptible to falling ill from malnutrition. They can die of starvation. They can also, and more often is the case, die of infectious diseases, because their bodies have become so weak. And so, when I traveled to various hospitals and went to the children's wards, which are very—pretty much now just malnutrition wards, you'll see absolutely terrifyingly thin children. And you'll see a small trickle of them every single day. A lot of parents can't afford to bring their children to clinics or hospitals in rural capitals, because the cost of fuel has gone up, which means a bus ride will be more expensive.
And the reason that this is man-made, and the reason that every NGOand humanitarian organization has pointed out that this is man-made, is that it is caused by the war. There hasn't been a weather pattern or a particular natural disaster. There is plenty of food getting into Yemen. Now, what is happening is that the food prices are higher than they should be. They're higher than they were before. That's partly because of the Saudi-led coalition's blockade on the area. They're allowing food in, but it's restricted, and it's a slow process, and it's an expensive process, because the ships that import the food, they get held up for weeks at a time, they have to be inspected, and so that process is particularly difficult. Yemen imports the vast majority of its food. It has done since long before this war. So those prices going up have also been coupled with the fact that the economy, certainly in the north, but also really all over Yemen, is on its knees, if not has collapsed, essentially. You'll see people have just lost their jobs, and so it doesn't really matter how much food there is in the supermarket, and it doesn't really matter how expensive it has become, because if you have absolutely no money, then you're really—you're not going to be able to buy it anyway. And that's why Yemenis are hungry. They're hungry because of the economic collapse. And the economic collapse is as a direct result of this war.
AMY GOODMAN: Jane Ferguson, I wanted to go back to your third exclusive piece for the PBS NewsHour on Yemen, where you report on the Houthi rebels. This is a clip from your series. This is Salim Moghalis, a member of the Houthis' political wing, who told you they took the missiles from Yemen's military arsenal when they captured the capital Sana'a.
SALIM MOGHALIS: [translated] The Yemeni people and army have missiles from the past. And the army and experts were able to improve and upgrade these missiles, which is necessary. We are able to produce all sorts of arms, so they can upgrade the old weapons to have longer ranges.
JANE FERGUSON: Beyond the politics, this war has created the world's worst humanitarian disaster. Millions are on the brink of starvation, and the worst cholera outbreak in modern history rages on.
After three years of war, people here are weary of the airstrikes and the blockade, but they also tell us they believe America could end it. In Sana'a's market, people are hopeful for an end to the crisis soon.
ABU MOHAMMED: [translated] Since America has the biggest position in the U.N., it should have pushed for political and economic resolutions to the conflict. Look, now the people are almost dead. Poverty, hunger, disease, death, injuries, and on top of all that, the warplanes are hitting us.
JANE FERGUSON: Meanwhile in Washington, efforts by some to end the U.S.'s support for the Saudis continue.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Vote yes, vote no. Do not vote to table this resolution.
JANE FERGUSON: A bipartisan group of senators, including Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, failed to get a resolution passed in March which aimed to limit the White House's authority to get involved in this war.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: We think that, in fact, this war is unauthorized, and it is in fact unconstitutional. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is pretty clear. It's the United States Congress that declares war. The president cannot do what he wants unilaterally. The president does not have the authority.
JANE FERGUSON: President Trump enjoys warm relations with the Saudis, especially the country's powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The White House is currently pushing for further arms sales of precision-guided missiles to the kingdom. Some fellow Republicans argue the Saudis deserve America's support in this war. Idaho Republican James Risch sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
SEN. JAMES RISCH: The Iranians are in there, and they are causing the difficulty that's there. If the Iranians would back off, I have no doubt that the Saudis will back off. But the Saudis have the absolute right to defend themselves.
JANE FERGUSON: To others, it's not America's job to defend a nation that doesn't reflect its values.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I don't know that I have ever participated in a vote which says that the United States must be an ally to Saudis' militaristic ambitions. You know, this is a despotic regime, which treats women as third-class citizens. There are no elections there. They have their own goals and their own ambitions.
JANE FERGUSON: American support for Saudi Arabia is a major propaganda tool for the Houthis, who frame their war here as a form of jihad against the U.S., a religious battle. But it's a battle that neither side is winning, regardless of who America helps. Instead, the conflict is defined most clearly by those who are losing—the civilians—struggling to live with its consequences. For the PBSNewsHour, I'm Jane Ferguson in Sana'a, Yemen.
AMY GOODMAN: And Jane Ferguson is with us right now, back in Beirut, special correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. The power of what you're saying there, that the people who are losing right now is what counts, the massive hunger, the cholera epidemic. Jane, the fact that journalists rarely go to the north, the way you smuggled yourself in, with the Saudis not allowing that, because you see the effects of their bombing, and you see the actual bombs, and you make that connection to the U.S. Your final comment, in the minute that we have?
JANE FERGUSON: I would point out that, exactly as you say, this is a war which has had a terrible toll on the people of Yemen. And that's a toll that is unmatched anywhere in the world. Nowhere in the world has a statistic like one-third of an entire country's population is on the brink of starvation. There are attempts going on right now to broker more serious peace talks, and there is a way to end this war, if all sides negotiate in good faith and are truly willing to make the compromises necessary. And so it is possible that Yemen could see peace before the end of the year, if there is enough political will there.
AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you very much, Jane Ferguson, speaking to us from Beirut, Lebanon, just returned from Yemen, where she did this remarkable three-part series for the PBS NewsHour. To see the three-part series, you can watch it at

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

German Newscast

Putin, Trump v. whatever


Trump, Putin v. Sanity
Czar Donic

Let us start out with a quote:

Following @GonzoVice

How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?
2:13 PM - 16 Jul 2018
We now have an answer for him, even though his ashes were shot over the mountains out of a some kind of cannon by Johnny Depp.  Does that sound strange to you?  Well, it shouldn't.  Not if you have been seeing what is going on today.

This was posted, apparently, by a Hunter Thompson fan on social media.  Now here's the rest of the story, my story, as I remember it, and as it happened.

Before we get to that, though, there is one thing you have to keep in mind about Donald J. Trump and that is he actually believes he is the greatest and all criticism or accusation against him is motivated though envy.  If you can not trust this, and still pay attention to what is going on here, they may well be forced to build a new wing in the mental institution for for people who went totally insane trying to makes sense about of what is going on and those when take these things seriously.

He first asked that question during the Presidency of Richard Nixon as the Watergate process was going on and he was, I think, the political correspondent for the ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE (this was before it moved to New York for the culture and money).  It is pretty well documented what happened during that, and leading up to that, but it is worth revisiting. 

The first real encounter with politics many of us had was during the 60s when Lyndon Johnson ran as the peace candidate against the Koch family's candidate Barry Goldwater to promised to "bomb North Vietnam into the stone ages."  Less than a year later, we were sending troops over there to "help save Vietnam from Vietnamese," as Tom Paxton said.  RFK and Martin Luther King had been assassinated, probably with help from J. Edgar Hoover who hated Bobby with a passion because he insisted he report to him, not directly to the President.  With him out of the way, he maneuvered his way back into fashion.  LBJ was in no way intimidated by Hoover, but kept him on as Hoover had found his weak spot.  He entertained LBJ with reports of the sexual exploits of people in Congress and this made great bedtime reading for the old bugger. 

So, Gene McCarthy had run LBJ out of office and it looked like Bobby would come back.  Gene folded, Bobby was killed, and that led to Nixon, one of the most paranoid presidents we have ever seen.  In his second term, he was still frightened that he would loose re-election and thus several things happened, including the Pentagon papers and the Watergate scandal.  Before his first term, he was able to take advantage of the Police Riot in Chicago at the convention that nominated Hubert Humphrey to run for President. 

The police riot (as it was called in an official report) took place mainly in the Grant Park Area outside the convention, and was directed by Mayor Daley, not the Democratic party.  Most of us were simply protesting the process, Abbie Hoffmann was running around insanely, usually wild on acid, but hard to photograph as we had helped him write FUCK on his forehead.  I briefly acted as the press secretary, explaining why our candidate was named "Pigasus."  I explained that if we were going to nominate a pig, we might as well have a real one and the rest of it came from a Greek Legend about a winged horse that one could still see on some mobile gas stations as their symbol.  I served only so long as it took me to get that out and simply angered and confused all sides at once.  Dylan could not make it as he was busy crusading for the right to use electronic guitars and well as the purists' acoustic ones.  Norman Mailer was there, but ducked out to do his reporting by the evening after his speech.

By his own account, Hunter was there, but I had no idea who he was at the time.  He reports that he did have the sense to wear a motorcycle helmet to cover it, but still got the crap beat out of him.  This hardly distinguishes him from many others.  I was lucky as I had attended High School with several of the "Hoodlums" who then became police officers and who not only adopted me as a sort of mascot, but also found the entire scene fun.  It was the older cops, the five and ten year veterans that were so stirred up and I figured it was because all the guys demonstrating, or most of them, were scrawny and wearing beards and had long hair and the nubile females clung to them, not the cops who were REAL MEN.

Well, the first election was close, but Hubert's apology and change of stance on the war came way too late.  Nixon campaigned for the "silent majority," which was actually a bad translation of the term used by Homer in the Illiad to describe the underworld (this never crossed anyone's mind so far as I know).  On Viet Nam, "I have a plan," and that was that.  Well, they figured, a plan really sounded good about now and so he got elected.  After awhile, the second time around, he ran against George McGovern who managed to loose almost every state, but he was still paranoid and afraid of loosing.  That was the start of Watergate.

By the end, he was walking the halls at night, forcing Henry Kissinger to pray with him by the fireplace, probably drinking heavily.  Nixon.  Everybody thought he was the worst, and that is when Hunter asked that question.  How low?  Well, from the Watergate era, John Dean still exists as well as Carl Bernstein, and both rate Trump lower than Nixon, but what about Reagan-Bush?

Most people forget about the Iran Contra deal, and many still think of Ollie North as a hero from those days.  He is now spokesman from the NRA and a Russian spy has been charged with infiltrating the NRA.  But there is still more we have to remember from those days.  Ronnie and George assurred Gorbochev that, if we could unite East and West Germany, we would NOT move NATO any closer to Russia.  It helps to understand that Russia never started any conflict beyond its borders   Even in the time of 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia, not the converse. Hitler attacked Russia and that is what started the Warsaw Pact, or the "Iron Curtain," Churchill's term.  Well, with that assurance, Gorby said "Go Ahead," and we know what has happened since.

Still, we need to remember what Putin was going through at the time.  When the wall came tumbling down, Putin was the only person left in the Kremlin building.  Everyone else had fled and communications were cut off.  Germans were trying to storm the building, not unlike what happened in Iran.  Putin, however, managed to hold them off and at the same time managed to burn all sorts of documents.  He would come back and tell the Germans that he was trying to keep the army from attacking them and that they should just wait.  He went to burn more.  It was a desperate night, and he did not know if he would get out alive, so hated were the Russians by the Germans at that time.  He made it out, KGB, intact, and that was the end of his stay in Germany. 

But this is like the narrator in Thomas Mann's biography of Adrian Leverkūhn – we are leaving things out and rushing forward.  When Ronnie started the Iran-Contra debacle, there was concern as to whether he really started.  Mclaughan had his group on TV and Bob Germond was one of the regulars and the question, no so strangely if you think about it now, "Did they tell Reagan about the plot?  Yes or no"  There were various answers, but Germond came up with the best one "Yes, they told him, but he forgot."  At the time, nobody realized how perceptive all this was and Reagan was in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

Ollie North would end up testifying after holding out for immunity and spent most of the time talking about what a patriot he was, how he loved his family and flag, and so on.  He is now with the NRA after his brave actions in shipping weapons to Iran, having met "briefly with" Butina, currently charged with being a Russian spy, perhaps filtering money though the organization.

At any rate, it's time to wrap this up as I am getting very tired of Trump and his whole deal.  He is definitely the lowest we have ever seen.  When he finished his press conference, I had been watching it on CNN as that is his most hated news channel, Anderson Cooper launched into an attack at how "disgraceful" or "disgusting" his performance was.  I knew MSNBC would be jumping all over it, so I went over to Fox.  I was again, a stranger in a strange land, but wait!  They were pissed off at him as well.  Since that is where Trump gets his advice, the next day he said "wouldn't" instead of "would," (never mind the context as it is sick enough) and that was that.  How low can we get?  I don't know, but I think we got there at last.  Frankly, I was surprised at the reaction on social media as I simply asked "Well, what did you expect?"  It was as if everyone was surprised and shocked.  I suppose the world is denser than I thought.

If you are not certain, consider this (someone sent this out):

Verified account

Follow @realDonaldTrump
FollowSome people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It's called Trump Derangement Syndrome!
6:27 AM - 18 Jul 2018