It’s Thanksgiving time. Following a long tradition, the president will stand on the White House lawn and in some silly ceremony pardon an unsuspecting bird from being gobbled up. (Though rumor has it that The Don, whose agenda is to erase Obama from the history books, has rehired James Comey to search for the last turkey Obama pardoned so he can have it for Thanksgiving dinner!)
Thanksgiving, the celebration of togetherness and pardoning of turkeys is so charming. Well, not really when you think of how greed ruled and we gobbled, gobbled up all the land of Native Americans and showed no mercy in slaughtering them. No pardons for them.
The history of the pardon has been thought to start with Lincoln, but wasn’t a tried and true ritual until John F. Kennedy said “keep it going,” referring to a bird he was given as a gift.
George H. Bush said this about his turkey: “But let me reassure you, and this fine turkey, that he will not end up on anyone’s dinner table, not this guy-he’s granted a presidential pardon as of right now—and allow him to live out his days on a children’s farm not far from here.”
Before we get in to further discussion of pardons and turkey let’s talk about another turkey where greed rules: taxes.
Pardon me, but just when you thought we had seen the limits of heinous cynicism and brazen cruelty with Trumpcare, the Republicans are back at it again. In their tax plan, corporations and the rich will reap the spoils of their greed at the hands of the vulnerable. The rich get to gobble, gobble it all up, the less fortunate get little, less than nothing and are gobbled up. And for gravy, it attempts to throw 13 million people off health care by going after the individual mandate in Obamacare.
The list of injustices is long, so let me mention just a few of my favorites:
Teachers who now can claim $250 deduction for money they spend in classrooms to supplement supplies, will now lose that deduction. Really?
Graduate students will have to pay obscene tax rates on their stipends, which will make it difficult for many of them to continue their education. Really?
Tax breaks for owners of private jets. Really?
Ending the estate tax, which benefits 0.2% of the richest people. Really?
And one more outrage: The Liar-in-Chief claims that the new tax bill will impact his personal finances negatively, when analysts estimate his family will reap a tax savings of approximately 500 million dollars. Gobble, gobble, gobble!
As promised let’s return to turkey and pardons. This turkey starts with a capital T: Turkey.
It is an intriguing story line that includes the Flynn-Flam man, Turkey, Russia and yes, possible kidnapping!
I will try to distill the twists and turns of it.
Reeza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian national, faces charges in a federal court in Manhattan for skirting sanctions on Iran by allegedly moving hundreds of millions of dollars (money laundering) for the Iranian government and other Iranian groups to offshore entities and bank accounts.
After months in jail awaiting trial, Zarrab is out and suddenly speaking to prosecutors. Turkish president Erdogan desperately wants to avoid Zarrab speaking. In fact, he asked then Vice President, Joe Biden, to drop the case and asked Biden to fire Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney at the time. (Whom The Don did fire!) Erdogan continues to ask The Don’s administration to drop the case.
Purportedly, Zarrab has a lot to say about the Flynn Flam Man’s dealings with Turkey and the discussions of kidnapping. It is also thought that Flynn may have been working to get Zarrab out of jail.
Is Zarrab the bird out of the cage and prepared to sing?
Concurrently, Robert Mueller, is investigating whether Erdogan offered the Flynn Flam man 15 million dollars to use his influence as National Security Director to return his chief rival, Fethullah Gulen, from the U.S.
The FBI questioned at least 4 people in regards to a December 2016 meeting in New York at the “21” Club; the plan was to kidnap Gulen on a private jet to the Turkish prison island Imrali. Don’t you wonder what that kidnapping would have looked like given that they would have to break in to his compound in the Poconos.
Prior to the December meeting, James Woolsey, former Director of the C.I.A., who was on the advisory board of Flynn’s private company, attended a September 2016 meeting, where kidnapping of Gulen was floated.
Is this fun or what? But honestly, what kind of turkey invited the former C.I.A.. to a meeting to discuss the use of foreign money to enact a kidnapping, an act that violates U.S. criminal code that could result in 20 years in prison. It’s like asking a police officer to accompany you to a bank robbery. Maybe they thought Woolsey’s experience kidnapping foreign agents would be helpful?
It is has also been established for a while that Flynn was working with the Turkish government and did undisclosed lobbying for Turkey during the campaign. (It is against the law to lobby in The U.S. on behalf of a foreign government without informing the justice department and registering as a foreign agent.) For his lobbying efforts, Flynn gobbled up $600,000 from Ekim Alpyekin, Chairman of The Turkish-American Business Council. Purportedly, Alpyekin was part of the kidnapping planning committee and at the meetings.
Obama was briefed on Flynn (was it Woolsey?) and warned The Don to steer clear of Flynn as he knew what he was up to. The Don appointed Flynn anyway.
So let’s talk turkey. When The Don allegedly tried to stop the FBI from investigating Mike Flynn, was he aware of Flynn’s meetings with Turkish officials? When he asked Comey to “see his way clear to letting the Flynn thing go” did he have knowledge of Flynn’s shenanigans? The Don also tried to get Dan Coates, Director of National Intelligence and CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, to get the FBI to stop investigating Flynn. Why was the Don so insistent on this?
Mueller already had plenty on the Flynn Flam man, to indict him and lock him up. Now with Zarrab talking turkey to prosecutors, the vice is tightening and to save his ass, Flynn, instead of gobbling it up, will have to cough it up. And when he does (and he will) will this be the thing that proves The Don obstructed justice by trying to protect him?
The Don has a lot to be worried about. If he had knowledge of Flynn’s activities and Flynn talks turkey then maybe the two of them (and many more), to paraphrase George H. Bush, will be allowed to live out their days on a prison farm not far from the White House. I for one will be very thankful for that. But then again, there is always the pardon! Gobble, gobble, gobble!