Economics of Spanking: Forbes Magazine Allegedly Edified in a Stormy Style……..

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Stormy Daniels Reportedly Spanked Trump With A Copy of Forbes Magazine. In the wake of a Wall Street Journal article that alleges Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid off porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a 2006 sexual encounter with now-president Donald Trump, several other stories about Daniels’ rendezvous with Trump have surfaced – including one account that she spanked Trump with a copy of Forbes…… “She says one time he made her sit with him for three hours watching ‘shark week.’ Another time he had her spank him with a Forbes magazine.”……..”

Talk about mixing ‘business’ with pleasure…..
I can see Steve Forbes’ famous lopsided smile/grin that some think lost him the Republican nomination so many years ago (he had no chance anyway). His magazine has been edified with the rump of a future (now current) President Trump.

The suddenly-wittier-than-usual Bill Kristol (of Weekly Standard) tweeted that it was a Supply-Side spanking: thus introducing a risky mix of dismal economics with kinky sex.
Which probably (hopefully) tells us what he really thinks of the theoretical underpinnings of the economic policies of Ronald Reagan, Steve Forbes, and possibly Trump (not clear if the latter focuses beyond self-interest). 

Yet I have some doubts about this Stormy story, until I see, hear, read more. No savvy politician or prominent businessman (even some not-so-prominent ones) would engage such services in a hotel room. Probably not even a New York businessman-about-town who is steeped in the culture surrounding beauty pageants and reality shows. There is always the possibility, nay the probability, of electronic recording and taping and blackmail. So all this spank-gate can be fake news as well, even in the case of someone as impulsive as Donald Trump. Maybe, maybe not.

On the other hand: this that allegedly happened, if it happened, was a completely private matter. Besides, there are so many houses of glass around, on both sides.

Either way: way to go, Stormy….

Cheers
M. Haider Ghuloum

Warm and Fuzzy from Korea or Iran? Allen Dulles and the Panda Go Go Dancer…….

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“In the late 1950s, US relations with Communist China were virtually nonexistent. Trade had been tightly controlled since China’s intervention in North Korea in 1950, and, to deny Beijing any advantage from commercial or financial transactions, the Secretary of the Treasury issued strict regulations prohibiting the import of goods that originated in or had passed through Communist China. There were rarely any exceptions, even for pandas. In 1958, one frustrated animal importer tried a different tactic. He took his case to the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), Allen Dulles……….”

Chi Chi was apparently a somewhat naughty Panda, just like that other Chi Chi. Yes, once there was a “Chi Chi the Go Go Dancer“, actually there were probably several of them. Including one in the wilder days of San Francisco, when Herb Caen and the Go Go people reigned.
But she/they didn’t come from China and no doubt wasn’t Allen (or John Foster) Dulles’ type. But given the alleged history of the current CinC of the country, anything is possible again, even in the era of Pompeo the Dour…..

(We can always think of something cute and warm and fuzzy that comes from North Korea or Iran. But what can that be?)

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

America in the Twilight Zone of Trump: Which Countries Qualify as Genuine Shitholes?………

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In the Beginning:
There were the Axis of Evil countries none of whose citizens were involved in the September 2011 terrorist attacks on the USA (I thought that was a stupid term at the time)….
Then the Coalition of the Willing (the war on Iraq)…..
Then the Muslim Ban list against “potential” terrorists that included only countries whose citizens have never committed terrorism in America…
Then the Muslim-Arab-American Summit i Riyadh Against… everybody else….
Then….

Now America is in a twilight zone she had never been in before in the modern era. Nothing, no term, is taboo now. Now we have a new term, rather a new use of an old privately used American term:
People who immigrate from Haiti, Africa, other Central American and Latin and Arab countries came out of Sh*tholes….. and should not be allowed…

A country has the right to decide whom to allow in and whom to keep out. Other countries do it as a matter of routine, and America has been quite generous towards aspiring immigrants. But the leaders of these other countries, their heads of state, never ever use the term shithole for another country. No Arab or Muslim or African or Latin leader ever called another country a shithole. Not publicly and not in a quotable setting. The Saudi rulers, for example, never call their rivals in Qatar or Iran by such an epithet. The Arabs, even Hezbollah, never call Israel a shithole, and vice versa….

In the Middle East, leaders, dictators, kings, and potentates are now pouring over memos from their advisers. All trying to answer the newest most important Trumpian question of the week: Are We Among the Select Shithole Countries? (I expect Mr. Netanyahu will be the usual exception: he will probably tweet a line of strong support for Mr. Trump, as he has done with the Mexican Wall and other issues).

Remember, as someone on a big News Network said just an hour ago: talking of immigrants, with all respect, the homeland of the First lady Melania, Slovenia, is not exactly the “Jewel of Europe”…

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

The Fast and Furious Iterations of Steve Bannon…..

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“Steve Bannon is stepping down as executive chairman of Breitbart News. NYT’s Jeremy Peters reports his exit was forced by financial patron Rebekah Mercer amid the backlash from President Trump following Bannon’s comments in Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury…….”

A new iteration for Steve Bannon:
Out of the White House…
Back to Breitbart….
Out of Breitbart….
A new iteration coming soon, no doubt. I wouldn’t be (too) surprised if Mr. Bannon lengthens his beard, flies into Istanbul, hires a car and heads for the Syrian border……
Or, he can join the other side by flying into Damascus or Beirut…..
How about Iran? I doubt that he would enjoy the (not very) Islamic ambience of Tehran…

It is tempting to say: “Steve, we hardly knew ye“, but I suspect you’re not fading away yet…..

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

The Second Frustration of Prince Bin Salman: a Fiasco in Qatar……

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, known affectionately and otherwise as MBS, has had a rocky period. But that is to be expected for a young man who finds himself suddenly at the helm of a country, purely by the coincidence of birth. In my last post I covered briefly his Yemen adventure. But the adventures were not done.

Last Spring came the Qatar fiasco. Qatar generally stood on the Saudi side in the losing Syrian war. But Qatar supported its own version of Islamic Jihadists, not the Salafist Wahhabis that the Saudis funded and armed (who later became AQIS and ISIS). Yet as long as they were both on the same side against the Assad regime things were mostly fine.

But there has been serious tension between the two Gulf states in the past. In the 1990s the Saudis engineered a coup attempt in Doha to overthrow the father of the current Emir and reappoint his predecessor (his father) who was more to their liking. The coup attempt failed, and Qatar continued to be a thorn on the Saudi side. The Qataris also supported and funded the Muslim Brotherhood, whom the Saudis (and Emiratis) disliked almost more than the Iranians. Then there was  the Aljazeera network, which was too outspoken on regional issues for the Saudi (and Emirat) taste.

So, finally, after several bouts of alternately making up and breaking up, the dark cloud of Donald Trump and his avaricious clan showed up in Arabia. I posted here at the time that Trump’s visit to the Arabian Peninsula in May of 2017 was a most poisonous visit. Apparently the potentates of Saudi Arabia and the UAE convinced Trump that Qatar was a major source of trouble and terrorism; they also bribed him with promises of hundreds of billions of dollars of arms purchases and investments. Somehow they got the impression that Trump was on their side, and that he would condone any action they might take against the smaller Wahhabi emirate.

So, early in Summer 1917, they announced a complete break with Qatar including land, air and sea blockades, with the support of the Egyptian regime which fears the MB as much as they do. The inexperienced new Saudi strongman Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was told that it will be easy, that the Qataris will fold, but that unlike the case of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the Americans will not object.


There were signs of trouble from the start with the campaign against Qatar. First: Oman and Kuwait, almost half the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members refused to join the boycott and blockade and the threat of invasion against Qatar and its citizens. Second: Turkey stepped in to shore up its budding military alliance with Qatar. Third: Iran, which shares a huge gas field in the Persian Gulf with Qatar, opened her airspace and sea lanes and land routes to Qatar in order to go around the closure of the Arab routes. Soon plentiful Turkish and Iranian foods started replacing Arab sources of food and other imports. One pathetic Saudi commentator went so far as to absurdly tell the Qataris on Saudi semi-official Alarabiya TV that their stomachs were not used to Turkish and Iranian food products.

So far the Qatar adventure has failed. Qatar’s rulers  have not become Saudi satraps or an appendix like the rulers of rebellious Bahrain.

Another major miscalculation that has backfired and further weakened the Saudi hold and influence on the GCC alliance.

Stay tuned. More to follow….

GCC AND PLIABLE ARAB REVOLUTIONARIES: QATARI-SAUDI MICRO COLD WAR……

MEDIA WARS: CAN SAUDIS AND QATARIS BUY THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE ARAB WORLD?………

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

The First Frustration of Prince Bin Salman: Horrors of a Complex War in Yemen…….

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, known affectionately and otherwise as MBS, has had a rocky period. But that is to be expected for a young man who finds himself suddenly at the helm of a country, purely by the coincidence of birth.
In fairness, Saudi Arabia and her allies (as well as little Qatar) were well on their way to losing the Northern Tier of the Arab World (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon) when his father Salman became king and started prepping his son to take over. By then it was almost certainly too late to roll back Iranian influence in those three countries.

But King Salman and his son and designated heir thought their first new foreign project, closer to home, would be easy. Piece of cake, as they say. Besides, Yemen is a sort of vulnerable underbelly of the Arabian Peninsula: it could be disastrous if controlled by a hostile power, like Iran. Unfortunately it was a piece of bitter hard Yemeni cake that they tried to swallow in the wrong way. By that time Yemen was engulfed in a complex of multiple domestic and regional wars that included AQAP, ISIS, Southern Secessionists, among others. A war of many fronts.

The Saudis should have known from their own recent experience that the Yemeni cake has always been too bitter and hard for outsiders if mishandled. Late in 2014 the largely autonomous northern Houthi group allied itself to influential former President Ali Abdallah Saleh and swept the corrupt Hadi-Islah regime out of Sanaa and the rest of North Yemen. Soon after that the new Saudi regime took power in Riyadh, with Prince MBS as its Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince. The 30-year old prince had the Yemen portfolio. Unfortunately he has proven that he is no Alexander.


The original goal of Saudi intervention was to put Saleh’s hapless but also corrupt successor General Hadi back in power, along with the Muslim Brotherhood oligarchs of the Islah and Al Ahmar clan. Hadi’s legal term had actually expired before then. So they blockaded Yemen, and started a ferocious campaign of air bombardment that has killed thousands of people and ruined the infrastructure of that poorest of Arab states. The Saudi war is also a war waged by the USA (under both Obama and Trump) as well as Britain against Yemen. Western powers not only supplied the weapons and the ammunition, including cluster bombs, they also help with targeting and midair refueling of Saudi/UAE bombers. Several impoverished African countries, including Sudan, were also bribed and recruited in order to provide mercenary fighters.

The futile genocidal war on Yemen has lasted three years so far, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel for the Saudis and their allies. It has been a drain on the Saudi economy, to the tune of many billions of dollars. The lightly armed Houthis have even taken the war back into southern Saudi Arabia, with attacks and occasional incursions into enemy territory. Only a political solution can end the Yemen war, which is actually a complex network of multiple civil and proxy wars.

(I had predicted early on that the deposed Hadi will never return to rule from Sanaa. He is now basically a captive of his hotel suite in Saudi Arabia).

Stay tuned. To be followed…..

THE WAR IN YEMEN: EXACTLY WHOSE SIDE IS ALLAH ON?…..

MIRACLE OF THE IRGC: SHIPPING WEAPONS TO YEMEN THROUGH WESTERN MEDIA……… 

YEMEN: A GENOCIDAL WAR OF CLASHING FOREIGN MERCENARIES……. 

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

D-Day At Camp David: a Stable Genius, a Gaggle of the Worst, a Suicidal Teddy Roosevelt…….

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Donald Trump made another of his usual daily headlines this weekend. The headlines read: Trump, Defending His Sanity, Says He’s a ‘Very Stable Genius’.

A president of the United States needing to assert that he is “a very stable” genius. Meaning: he is not as unstable nor as stupid as the rest of the world believes him to be…..
He might be a genius in his own right. After all, as a newcomer he did defeat that other Democratic female genius, the former wonder woman of politics. What is at issue is the term “stable”.

Richard Nixon once famously declared to a Sam Donaldson question: “I am Not a Crook“, months before he was forced to resign.

Even Warren G. Harding, wherever he is now, is probably shocked at all this.

Abe Lincoln can’t believe how such a gaggle of aspiring Social Darwinist jungle-dweller quasi-Nazis have taken over “his” party. How the worst and least bright have floated to the top of “his” party in recent years, just in time to manipulate their new extremely insecure leader.

The no-nonsense Teddy Roosevelt, rightly known as a true patriot, would look at all this going on with “his” party, and very likely end up having his name headlined in a murder-suicide crime case. Dying twice is the same as dying once, he would argue.

Dwight Eisenhower? Ike would start planning a new D-Day for this weekend. Target? Camp David (as he named the presidential retreat), the new Normandie (or Normandy, if you prefer)…..

Stay tuned: unfortunately there’s more. The fun has just begun, I’m afraid…..

Cheers
M. Haider Ghuloum

Age of Freedonia Shines over America: the Nikki Haley Hail Binomo Syndrome……

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“Haley was referring to the U.N. vote last week to condemn President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Poland was one of 35 countries who abstained from voting on the resolution.
The man posing as Morawiecki then asks Haley about the fictional island of Binomo in the South China Sea.
You know Binomo?” the man said, to which Haley replied “yes, yes.”
They had elections and we suppose Russians had its intervention,” the man said.
Yes, of course they did, absolutely,” Haley replies. “We’ve been watching that very closely, and I think we will continue to watch that as we deal with the issues that keep coming up about the South China Sea.”
The man posing as (Polish PM) Morawiecki asks Haley what the United States plans to do about the fictional island of Binomo………”

I know that Binomo exists, so does Donald Trump, so do the American people…
Nikki Haley confirmed it the other day, when some imposters they tried to prank her (another quote): “we are aware of development in Binomo, we have been following them keenly…...”….
Nikki Haley (same week): “We have proof that Iran fired a missile from Yemen into Saudi Arabia….” No this large rusty cylinder is not a garbage can.

I am guessing there is no exam to take in order to become governor of South Carolina. Nothing like Board Exams or GRE or Quals and Orals for doctoral candidates. Apparently there are no requirements to become a senator from the Palmetto State either: witness Lindsey Graham. Come to think of it, what are the ‘rigorous’ requirements to become president of the United States nowadays?

PS: Mr. Trump, when discovering he was pranked, would insist on one of two things: (1) “Bimono exists and the MSM media know nothing“, OR; (2) “I knew all along it was a prank, I just wanted to see how far they’d take it

Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

Party of Personal Choice: From Syria’s War Missing to America’s Homeless…….

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Senator John McCain tweeted today that this article in the Wall Street Journal is “important”. It is about the estimated 100,000 people missing in Syria. It is of course important…

Then this hardly-noticed news item was published today about a study on homelessness in the USA:
“More than 500,000 people – a quarter of them children – were homeless in the United States this year amid scarce affordable housing across much of the nation, according to a study released on Thursday……Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Hawaii have all recently declared emergencies over the rise of homelessness, and on Thursday Seattle’s mayor toured a new encampment for his city’s dispossessed…….”

I have not seen any comment or tweet on this from McCain or other Republican politicians yet. Nor do I expect to see any comment from the “Party of Choice”. They usually ascribe any misfortune or sickness (including children’s sickness) or other tragedy to “a matter of personal choice”. That was the case even before this new Wild West era of MAGA.

FYI: Democrats did only marginally better when they were in power….

Cheers

M Haider Ghuloum

A Dichotomy of Protests: Streets of Iran, NFL Fields……..

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A Dichotomy of Protests:
Kaepernick, Kaepernick, Kaepernick……
NFL, NFL, NFL…..
Iran, Iran, Iran…….
Fire and Fury, Fire and Fury, Fire and Fury…..
Right of Protest and Freedom of Expression…..

(FYI: this political outrage in Washington, it is all about regional rivalry, stupid)

Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

Multidisciplinary: Middle East, North Africa, Gulf, GCC, World, Cosmos…..