Originally Posted on February 23, 2017
Both sides are doing this, right?
CNBC says that a team of retired diplomats and Putin staffers are busily compiling a seven-page “portrait” of Trump’s mental state
Former Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Fedorov told NBC that Russian officials now worry that Trump could be viewed as too friendly to the Kremlin, which could weaken his standing among members of Congress and lessen the chance of a thaw in relations.
"Trump cannot come to a meeting with Putin as a loser,” Fedorov said. “He must sort out his domestic problems first."
Like Russian nested dolls, this story just keeps spiraling to, what?
Originally Posted on February 14, 2017
The Russians again - and the word "blackmail".
Was Michael Flynn freestyling, on his own? Was Mike Pence really surprised? Did 45 want the Russians assured that sanctions would be a thing of the past when he took office, that Russia would be a favored State, and wanted his future National Security Advisor to deliver the message?
There is a lot of bottom there, to get to the bottom of this.
The Russians - again!
Originally Posted on January 13, 2017
This, from today's New York Daily News:
From the article:
"A former British ambassador to Russia played a major part in alerting U.S. intelligence agencies to the existence of an unverified dossier ...."
Andrew Wood, who served as Britain’s head of mission in Moscow between 1995 and 2000, told The Independent that he met Arizona Sen. John McCain at an international security conference in Canada after Trump’s election this past November.
The two spoke at length about a 35-page document that claimed Trump was being blackmailed by Russia ...
The article asserts that the conent of the dossier cannot be corroborated by the Daily News.
But the details that are leaking out are becoming vivid and alarming - and not just the steamy stuff.
Remember when Trump gloated with ""Thank you, Huma. Good job, Huma,"
In that spirit: Good job Christopher, Good job Andrew
Originally Posted on May 12, 2017
Donald Trump is one of the least transparent people on earth, and with good reason, the Trump University fraud settlement is just the tip of his iceberg.
Despite his attempts to deflect, to actually deny there is any such thing as, the truth - after 100 + days in the public eye a pretty clear picture has emerged, will continue to unfold - and some of it is quite troubling and dangerous to we the citizens of the United States. Troubling too, around the world.
This week it became clear that Michel Flynn, one of the President's most trusted advisors and ardent supporters, his selection as National Security Advisor to the President, spent time while the Russians had compromising evidence on him - and he lied about it.
That becomes worse when it becomes clear that Trump was warned of exactly this, and was warned by several sources to steer clear of Lieutenant General Flynn.
There is a long series of reasons to be concerned about President's Trump love for Vladimir Putin and the Russian dictatorship he oversees. It has oft been stated. Candidate Trump even publicly pleaded with Russia to hack deeper, to hack into his opponents' email history, to tip the scales further towards Trump.
And there are reasons to be concerned that the President himself might be kompromat, in relation to the Russians.
- Is Trump, the Trump Organization, or Trump's inner circle of advisors involved in Russia's mysterious "sale" of 19.5 percent of Rosneft, the Russian Oil Conglomerate? That has been alleged, and needs to be addressed. Is it possible that Putin, a KGB Foreign Intelligence Officer for 16 years, had cultivated Trump over several years as part of a plan to subvert the West? The only way to make clear that the Rosneft stake was not an investment made to gain direct access to the United States National Security policy makers; is to open up Trump's murky financial past. Short of that - this story makes a lot of sense.
See this, from Foreign Policy, for more background:
- Is there a "golden showers" film? Given "grab them by the p@#$%", would we be surprised?
Now there is the firing of FBI Director, James Comey. Comey had recently requested additional funds from Jeff Session's Justice Department to further the FBI probe of the Russian connections to our Presidential campaign, and possible collusion by members of the Trump Campaign. (again, remember Trump requesting more Russian hacking form the campaigh trail)
Today, news breaks that seven days into his term, Trump had dinner with Comey, and requested his loyalty.
This from today's NY Times: "Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not “reliable” in the conventional political sense."
Which is exactly what we count on.
This, I suspect, is beyond the President's ken.
Just yesterday, in a bizarre and Trumpian turn, the President announced he was hosting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Whether surprised, of he did not want to announce, Trump also hosted Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who has been at the center of several controversialist of late (you could look it up). To add a Mark's Brothers turn to the meeting, photographer Sergey Kislyak, crashed the party. He told the White House (often paired w the word "chaotic" these days) that he was the official photographer for the Foregoing Minister - actually he is a photographer for Tass, the Russian state-run news agency - and here he is a few feet from our President.
Bizarre-on-Bizarre - the US Press was banned from the meeting, a White House photographer was on hand. Tass posted a set of three pals photos right away. One of them, on this post. The photos from the White House hid the Russian Ambassador from view.
So what is the take away here?
Is the President a puppet by circumstance? or just extraordinarily fond of the current Russian Government?
Is the firing of Comey because the FBI was getting too close to home with opening up the true nature of the ties between Trump, the Trump Organization, and / or the Trump Campaign - and Vladimir Putin and his interests?
Who else has gotten,can get to within a few feet of the President of the United States - on false grounds?
So where're the hope?
With the FBI's independence in the balance, only the United States Senate now stands in Trumps way when it comes to an independent investigation of the multiple threats that Russia now poses to the United States.
As luck would have it, members of the Senate tend to be deeply patriotic, and a few of them have good reason to hate Candidate Trump's guts. "I like people who were not captured" - who, older than 8 years old, says that?
There is good reason to believe that they will persevere, fight through all the venom the President will surely throw their way, and get to the bottom of this all.
May it be so
A final word:
Sinclair Lewis was a writer, in the Depression era. He wrote the novel Elmer Gantry, which featured a con man. He made a study and developed a fine ear for the con.
He also wrote It can't Happen Here which is about Buzz Windrip, a populist politician who wins the Presidency by fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and "traditional" values. After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes a plutocratic/totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force (where in history have we seen this before?).
#Recommended - a good, chilling, summer read.
It happening here is always in the balance - the desire for complete control can come from right or left, from the very wealthy, from the "military industrial complex", from outer space (kidding :- )
We need to stay alert and stand strong - together - across our ideologies and for the common good for our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Right now, we are counting on the Senate to see this through
Originally Posted on June 16, 2017
As of Wednesday, June 14, nearly two hundred members of Congress agreed to file a lawsuit against Donald Trump, citing a violation of the emoluments clause. This suit is directly related to the President's refusal to disclose financial information, which may include gifts from foreign powers, gifts that the Legislative branch must consent for him to receive. Meanwhile, multiple investigations are underway to explore ties the administration has to Russia, including the possibility of treason. Attorney General Sessions has come under fire for failing to initially disclose, under oath, meetings with Russian officials and later claiminghe cannot recall said interactions in a Congressional hearing. With legal pressure ramping up against the Executive Branch, activist groups around the country are banding together for a nationwide Impeachment March on July 2nd.
Join the Metro-Detroit Political Action Network at noon on Sunday in downtown Detroit to show Congress that Presidential impeachment has not just the consent, but the enthusiastic support of the people! Activists will gather at the Joe Louis Fist, on the corner of Woodward and Jefferson, for a rally before taking to the streets. Loud voices welcome, signs encouraged.
Even without the suspicious relationship to Russia and violations of the Emoluments Clause, President Trump has done enough in his time in office to warrant removal from it. His travel ban has seen multiple defeats in court, and succeeded only in fomenting racism towards Muslims and refugees fleeing countries under seige by extremist insurgents. He mobilized Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enact mass deportations of residents in America, a policy that finally struck Michigan. This week, ICE detained roughly 80 Iraqi Christians in Southest Michigan, at times raiding churches on Sunday, where the community gathered for worship. A return to Iraq could be a potential death sentence, due to religious persecution in the country.
The President furthered his assault on humanity by gutting regulations meant to protect the environment, including an executive order that removed protections on the country's waterways from waste dumping by coal plants. He's also attempting to sabotage healthcare by refusing to pay cost-share reductions to insurers, meant to protect low-income enrollees in the Affordable Care Act. This move effectively creates the crisis Republican Members of Congress are using to justify an ACA repeal.
Should that not be enough, his Presidency is costing taxpayer's an extraordinary amount of money. Congress has allocated $120 million dollars in additional security spending to protect Trump and his family when away from the Washington DC. Half of that sum covers reimbursements to New York City and Palm Beach County, where he elects to take up residence instead of his traditional quarters in the White House. With that in mind, Impeachment and removal from office could be a cost saving move for America.
If these issues or a litany of others are a concern, join MDPAN on July 2nd in downtown Detroit, and demand that Congress kicks this administration to the curb!
Support MDPAN - Facebook - Twitter
#Trump #ACA #ahca #TravelBan #march #mdpan #trumprussia #collusion
We tuned in this week to the Michael Cohen testimony, a hearing which would certainly sink any other person to hold the office of the President. But events like this that demonstrate the lack of character and illegality of Trump in this saga has become almost commonplace. Despite what Wolf Blitzer or Rachel Maddow tell us, they are not earth shattering. It is Wednesday in Trump world, and we are all part of this shitbag's quest to placate his ego and pad his wallet.
The Republican Party demonstrated time and again that they lack any moral center or really any values at all in their defense of a bad man at every turn. Count among them the conservative Christian "values voters" who demonstrate power and xenophobia as the real core of the philosophy. Michael Cohen rightfully warned Congressional Republicans that they too would end up like him, disgraced and imprisoned, for supporting a man whose psychology requires only that he feels superior to anyone that comes within his awareness.
All of this bullshit is taking away from the core issues of our time. We have all of about a decade to stop the dramatic shifts we are causing to the climate. We are one of the few countries who doesn't provide health care to all of its citizens while we bankrupt ourselves on tax cuts for rich people. Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt as the inequality gaps widen. We live in the new Gilded Age and Trump drags us into these small-minded, childish disputes on a daily basis. Every tantrum is reported in the media. The resistance claps back on twitter. All this energy spent making sure we don't normalize his fascist proclivities, racism and misogyny. And while I participate (this blog being no exception), I keep wondering to myself how come we are wasting so much time on Trump? We'll look back on it as battles that needed to be fought, but we were largely fight in the wrong war with the long view of history in mind.
Russia's meddling in our election processes and the rise of right wing dictatorships (and wanna be in the case of Tump) is a recipe for disaster for democracy and must be confronted, and the core issues of our day around climate and inequality require our full attention as we work the problems and optimize the public policy to address these fundamental challenges to our world. I dedicate myself to focusing on these larger issues moving forward.
Many progressives have long thought what the revelations of the last week are starting to reveal: Trump is deeply compromised by Russian President Vladimir Putin and is acting at his behest. The befuddling embrace of an American leader of a Russian dictator should give any casual student of American history great pause. Over the last week we learned much to confirm our suspicions:
- The FBI suspected foul play after the Comey firing and opened a counter-intelligence operation to determine what the hell was going on. Others knowledgable have suggested there had to be other classified information other than what made into the NY Times. They reported that the justification for the investigation was Trump claiming the Comey firing rationale was in part the Russia investigation. The FBI investigation was handed over to Bob Mueller when he was appointed Special Counsel
- Through a mistake in a filing by Manafort's lawyers, they revealed some degree of sharing of information with Russia when Manafort was Trump campaign chair.
- Carl Bernstein, of Watergate sleuth fame, is reporting today that Mueller's final report will say that Trump helped Putin destabilize the United States. If this is indeed in his report, this is an astounding accusation. If he has the evidence to back up the claim, how is anything less than a treason charge appropriate?
Assuming there is treason charge related to Putin using Trump to undermine the American political process and potentially undermine alliances such as NATO, what is the appropriate progressive response to Putin? Thus far, I have seen tepid response from most progressives as Putin has continued to be a bad actor in the world.
Indeed, in some progressives circles, there is even seeming support for Putin. Jill Stein infamously ended up going to Russia sitting at the same table with Michael Flynn at the Russian news channel (RT) event. The disgraced former general and Jill Stein dined with Vladimir Putin. Stein says there was no direct contact with Putin which is fine, but why are you there in the first place at banquet for Russian state media? There really is no excuse for this behavior. None. Rather than hanging out with Putin or his state-sponsored media or looking the other way as he invades the Ukraine, we ought to offer our full-throated opposition to Putin, even if we sound like Cold War warrior Republicans.
Why? Putin thinks like a 19th European power in which land and sphere of influence matter most in a never ending battle for supremacy amongst world powers. This framing of the world is diametrically opposed to a progressive global worldview of multilateralism, respect for the sovereignty of all nations, and the human rights of their people therein. As evidenced by the military interventions in Syria, the Crimea, or in eastern Ukraine, Putin is reasserting Russia as a bad actor in the world. Furthermore, he is undermining democracies at their core by attacking the democratic processes of elections and the the free exchange of ideas. He is attempt to shift the scales of democracies towards Russia through using these tactics to support right wing candidates sympathetic to Russia or those compromised by Russia. Trump was the big get as the US is a long-time adversary.
Progressives should accept that we have a problem globally with the Russian dictator at the helm. We should support sanctions and speak out against this threat to democratic governments the world over. Assuming we rid ourselves of Trump by 2020, we will have a lot to fix at home, but the incoming progressive President will have to deal with Putin squarely. That newly elected President ought to have our full support. Ahead of a change in US foreign policy, we should be organizing support now for sanctions and other diplomatic actions that make this case to Putin and protect elections and free political discourse the world over.
#Politics #trumprussia #putin #collusion #trump #trumptraitor #Trump is a traitor. That's why he bowed down to #Putin in #Helsinki and kept the meeting private. This week we learned from a #Manafort filing that there was indeed collusion and that the #FBI was concerned about why Trump was acting in Russia's interest and opened an investigation after the #Comey firing. That investigation was handed off to #bobmueller. #trumprussia #traitortrump #treason #kompromat #impeachtrump #impeachthemf
In post-apartheid South Africa, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions were established in order to bear witness to the atrocities of the era, to give voice to the victims of discrimination and violence, and ultimately to reconcile and move forward as a nation. Similar processes have been used successfully in post-conflict situations. The United States never had its Truth Reconciliation Commission, despite 250 years of enslavement of African peoples, despite genocide and confiscation of land of Native Americans, despite the discrimination and vigilante terrorism of lynchings in Jim Crow South, despite ongoing institutional racism. Perhaps now is the time for such a process.
Indeed, in the not so distant future, the Trump Era will be over. Whether an impeachment, resignation, indictment, the deploying of the 25th Amendment, or simply being rejected at the ballot box, the Trump Era will come to an end. Perhaps the support of Trump is a the final straw of needing to come to terms with a sizable group of white folks who thrive on bigotry and disdain for their fellow citizens who don't look or talk like them. Trump has lifted whatever veil some of America had that progress was perpetual and inevitable. There are many in America who are way too at ease with xenophobia, racism, and misogyny. Indeed way too many folks do more than turn a blind eye, but hold such beliefs and act on them in their lives. A truth and reconciliation process would bring those sentiments out and suggest different paths moving forward. It would make clear that moving forward, this country will not tolerate bigotry and will take affirmative steps to end institutional racism. We would put racists and their apologists on the spot, demanding a change in behavior, and an apology for judging others by their skin color or ethnic heritage.
Maybe it is time to finally come to terms with a brand of Christianity that allows for bigotry. The same brand of Christianity that supported slavery and Jim Crow, now finds itself as an apologist for the behavior Donald Trump, the very same behavior that they have castigated politicians on the other side of the aisle and denounced from their pulpits since for generations. This blatant hypocrisy is turning younger people and people with any decency away from those churches. It took until the 1990s for the Southern Baptists to apologize for Jim Crow and it will be high time for the conservative Evangelicals to apologize for their support of such an amoral, indecent human being who is contray to every teaching that Jesus provided as to how to conduct oneself in the world.
And maybe it is finally come time for the GOP and Trump supporters to apologize for allowing no progress on what the majority of Americans want to see to make all of our lives better, including those who stand in opposition:
- Raise the minimum wage and put policies in place to reduce grotesque economic inequality.
- Act on climate change.
- Provide universal health care.
- Put sensible gun control measures in place
All of these have the majority of Americans support and Republicans block based on an ideology that cares little for others, rather promotes greed as the primary value in which to base public policy.
I'm not fully sure how a Truth and Reconciliation Process would work, but I know that when the Trump Era comes to a close, he will leave in a more disgraced state than he has already done to himself and to the nation. Anyone who touches him heaps this disgrace upon themselves. As indictment after guilty plea deal in the Mueller investigation become known, it is clear that Trump is in the crosshairs beyond his usual amorality but was likely breaking the law like so many of the associates around him. The writing is on the wall, and now is the time to turn away from Trump the pathological liar, Trump the sexual assaulter, Trump the greedy, Trump the racist, Trump the xenophobe.
Time for a better path. Time to jump off the Trump wagon. Time to realize you made a mistake. Time to apologize to the rest of us. Time to atone so it doesn't happen again.
We accept your apology. Let's work together prioritizing goodness over greatness to form a more perfect union reconciled finally from these division through eliminating the oppression that is division's root cause.
#Politics #trumprussia #trump #apology #trumpsupporters #inequality #universalhealthcare #guncontrol #climate #climatechange
#alternativeuniverse that #trump supporters live in means they might not hear about or understand the full gravity of Trump’s worst day as #president. #trumpers #trumprussia #michaelcohen #paulmanafort #foxnews #mainstreammedia
On the singular worst day of an otherwise abysmal Presidency for Donald Trump, I posted an invitation to Trump supporters:
What was that about her emails and the chants of lock her up? I think it’s high time for any Trumpers and GOPers with any decency to admit their error of supporting such a corrupt person and campaign.
But alas, we live in two different political universes in this country. I'm not sure that Trumpers even knew to what I was referring. If Trumpers were watching Fox News or reading their website, what happened today may not have been fully communicated to them. I'm sure we can say something similar about the rest of conservative media.
The newspapers of record in the United States reported on the abundantly clear implications of Michael Cohen's acceptance of guilt in a plea deal and Paul Manafort's guilty on 8 charges verdict.
The headlines say it all and speak the truth about the main happenings of the day: Michael Cohen, the President's personal attorney for many years, implicated the President in breaking campaign finance laws to pay off a porn star and a playboy model with whom he had affairs. The question which the analysis of the news rightly asks, is what steps are next. We have a President implicated in a crime of a guilty plea in federal court. What steps do prosecutors now take? Can they indict a sitting President? Do they refer to Congress for impeachment? Do they wait until the Presidency is over to indict?
---As an aside, the absolute and complete hypocrisy of the Religious Right is stunning for accepting such breaking of laws in order to cover up what they believe moral sins to which they have held other politicians, in particular Democratic politicians, to account. You don't want to hear from these folks ever again on issues of morality as they have ceded whatever limited moral standing they may have had at the feet of a corrupt and corrupting President.
CNN reported the news in a similar vein in the evening yet again making clear in the headlines that Michael Cohen implicated his former boss in his guilty plea:
Fox News on the other hand buried both of those stories below the fold in order to talk about the Tibbetts story:
This is the parallel universe in which conservatives choose to reside. While Mollie Tibbetts disappearance and murder was certainly newsworthy, was it more so than the President of the United States being implicated in a crime? I even tuned into Tucker for a few minutes to hear more about the Mollie Tibbetts story and about Trump's campaign rally in West Virginia. When people lament about our divided politics it is not both sides doing the same thing.
Perhaps it is unfair of me to expect that Trump supporters come forward to say that they made a mistake given the growing number of convicted felons around Trump in his inner circle and his campaign. Their media consumption affirms false narratives and shifts narratives away that may be harmful to the President or the conservative cause, shielding the more impressionable from the truth.
For most of us, the meaning of this day is not lost. The President was implicated in a crime, a crime that helped him become President. If there is justice to be served, he certainly be impeached. Furthermore, I would argue that because this crime is directly related to him becoming President, he should be indicted. Likewise for any Russia collusion if and more likely when that comes into the open.
Trump ruins everything he touches including many of the lives of those who work for him. He is now doing the same with the Presidency and we must have the political will to save the institution by ridding ourselves of this corrupt, indecent occupant who came to position through corrupt means.
#trump #trumpers #trumprussia #michaelcohen #paulmanafort #foxnews #washingtonpost #nytimes #cnn #media #mainstreammedia #maga #myattorneygotarrested #trump #trumprussia #stormydaniels #collusion #corruption #hypocrites #gop #gophypocrisy #donaldtrump #prison