Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Monday, May 01, 2017

A coupla' brutal demagogues sittin' around talkin'

by digby

I wrote about the Duterte invitation for Salon this morning:

A few weeks ago, the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography was awarded to a freelance photojournalist named Daniel Berehulak for a multimedia report published in the New York Times last December called “They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals.” It documented the deaths of 57 homicide victims in the Philippine government’s brutal campaign against drug users and dealers. The photographer had this comment upon winning the prize:

The story is indeed important. Those photographs document the grotesque campaign of terror in the Philippines, which experts believe has left more than 7,000 people dead in less than a year from extrajudicial killings at the hands of police and vigilantes.

The Philippines is currently run by President Rodrigo Duterte, who won the election last June after in his final campaign speech, “Forget the laws on human rights, if I make it to the presidential palace, I will do just what I did as mayor [of the coastal city of Davao]. You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out because I’d kill you.” He kept to his word, telling his police forces the day after he was sworn in, “Do your duty, and in the process, [if] you kill 1,000 persons, I will protect you.” Last September, he proudly compared himself to Adolf Hitler:
Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now there is 3 million, what is it, 3 million drug addicts [in the Philippines], there are. I’d be happy to slaughter them. At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have [me]. You know, my victims, I would like to be all criminals, to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.
Duterte admitted to being a murderer, and not in the abstract sense of being a leader who orders killing by others. He says he has personally pulled the trigger. As the New York Times reported last December:
“I killed about three of them because there were three of them,” Mr. Duterte told reporters at a news conference in Manila, the capital. “I don’t really know how many bullets from my gun went inside their bodies.”

“It happened. I cannot lie about it,” he said in English. 
The remarks followed comments he made on Monday, when he told business leaders that as mayor, he had patrolled the streets on a motorcycle and killed criminal suspects in order to set an example to his police officers.
None of that stopped President-elect Donald Trump from chatting up Duterte after the election, telling him that he was going about his war on drugs “the right way.” And last Saturday night the White House released a statement that they two men had had another “very friendly conversation,” in which they’d talked about regional security and “discussed the fact that the Philippine government is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs.” (That’s one way of putting it.) It said that “President Trump enjoyed the conversation and looks forward to visiting the Philippines in November” for the East Asia Summit meeting.

Then the statement said that Trump had invited the admitted murderer and Hitler admirer, Rodrigo Duterte, to the White House.

According to the New York Times, White House aides were “slack-jawed” at the invitation and both the State Department and National Security Council were expected to object internally. The call was simply supposed to be part of a hand-holding exercise for Asian nations whose leaders were feeling neglected by Trump’s single-minded focus on China, Japan and North Korea.

Reince Priebus tried to clean it up on ABC’s “This Week,” saying that Trump was rounding up support against North Korea. That might make some sense if it weren’t for the fact that Manila is 1,700 miles south of Pyongyang, and the Philippine navy can hardly defend its own coastline. North Korea has never shown any interest in the Philippines and it’s fairly obvious that Donald Trump couldn’t find either country on a map without color coding and multiple guesses.

No, Trump was making pro-forma calls they told him to make and simply hit it off with the violent, authoritarian president of the Philippines. He’s had similarly “warm” conversations and meetings with the autocratic leaders of Egypt and Turkey and, as he did on the campaign trail, he continues to praise Kim Jong-un for being a very impressive young man. Everyone knows in what high regard he holds Vladimir Putin.

Trump is a natural authoritarian and is drawn to others like him. It’s obvious that he has little respect for constitutional principles. This weekend alone he has indicated that he wants to consolidate his power because he thinks the system is archaic and needs to be changed for the good of the country. His chief of staff said twice on Sunday that the Trump administration is “looking at” changing the First Amendment. Since he has put Jeff Sessions — a ruthless, doctrinaire drug warrior — in charge of federal law enforcement, it’s possible that Trump’s compliments on Duterte’s brutal tactics might be more of a consultation about best methods and practices.

Even setting aside the president’s autocratic temperament, he is also still involved in his family business. One cannot discount the fact that all the despots he has cultivated are leaders in countries in which he either has ongoing deals or whose bankers are rumored to have business with him. (We don’t know the specifics, because Trump has refused to reveal the extent of his business ties or divest himself of them.)

Time magazine put together a handy map of all the deals that are public knowledge, and the locations include Egypt, Turkey and Russia, as well as other nations in Russia’s economic orbit. But the deal with the Philippines is very big and very current:

Trump Tower Manila is the most advanced of a series of Trump-branded buildings planned by property magnate Jose E.B. Antonio (though it remains under construction today, with scaffolding up, exposed pipes and breeze blocks stacked outside). Just before Trump’s election, the Philippines appointed Antonio as its special envoy to the U.S.

For multiple, overlapping ideological and financial reasons the president of the the United States has seen fit to invite a confessed murderer and brutal tyrant to the White House. That should alarm every one of us.