Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to email@example.com; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
It is appreciated that a special counsel was appointed, eventually, to investigate Russia's connection with the election and Trump though it shouldn't mean Congress (and others!*) should stop investigating. As that link and this more liberal leaning blog notes, someone appointed by the Trump Administration (or the executive itself) with a criminal investigation mindset does not get to all the issues, including political.
Meanwhile, Trump has gone to meet with the Saudis. First, we have the usual hypocrisy related to funds given to Ivanka supported fund. (Trump also in the past called out Michelle Obama for not covering her head when she went to Saudi Arabia; no prize for lack of surprise Ivanka and Melania not doing it either) Some are glad Trump was able to read a speech though also making fun of the photo here involving the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. The speech itself has some issues as does the weapons deal agreed to that was less concerned with human rights concerns than the still concerning Obama Administration policy.
A bit from the speech. There is the usual b.s. self-praise (“new spirit of optimism is sweeping our country: in just a few months” etc.) and this bit:
A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.
DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship. DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities. DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH.
Repeated caps in this speech. This is a rather troubling bloody tone though a bit ironic given the “extremists” found in Saudi Arabia leadership. There is also this:
If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and YOUR SOUL WILL BE CONDEMNED.
When I want to know what happens to my soul, Trump is the guy I’d go to. There is a lot of basic boilerplate to this speech (including nice noises about Islam that seem fake coming from Trump) but these excerpts suggest some dubious aspects. There is a lot of fun with that stupid looking shiny globe thing referenced above, but let's not ignore the substantive things going on.
One tidbit covered in one of the articles linked is that there is a suggestion the Saudis will invest a lot of money in U.S. infrastructure, which would appeal to the Trump Administration given its plans to have a major infrastructure bill (as Dear Leader types like him tend to do to get populist cred with more ability to spread his seed ... mean name ... around too, I gather). Also, there is concerns with Yemen (the kill! kill! kill! tone is trouble there in particular given Saudi's role), Iran (which clashes with the Saudis) etc. A credible person in the White House helps here.
The bottom line is that this is hard stuff, the U.S. policy has issues as is and Trump being there just makes it worse in certain ways.
* This would be particularly the press, though there is some "now a warning" feel about it being so very excited now that Trump is in office. This post is not meant to cover all the bases, but should note that the "now a trend" habit of not having U.S. press at major events (even if Russia press is invited!) is horrible.