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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cambridge Analytica and much more

Cambridge Analytica. Here's the expose that everyone is talking about.
Last month Nix told MPs: “We have never worked with a Russian organisation in Russia or any other company. We do no have any relationship with Russia or Russian individuals.”

That appears to contradict the company documents seen by the Observer, that list Russia as one of the countries where Cambridge Analytica and affiliate companies have clients.
Always remember that Cambridge Analytica has done highly sensitive work for the American and British intelligence. Always remember that CA is largely staffed with Tory-leaning MI6 agents, or "former" agents. Yet CA appears to be in large measure a Russian operation, revolving around the work of "Dr. Spectre," trained in St. Petersburg.

See here:  "Cambridge Analytica: links to Moscow oil firm and St Petersburg university"

See here: "Data Firm Tied to Trump Campaign Talked Business With Russians"

See here and here for the Russian ownership ties to CA.

Just as America must come to grips with the Trump/Alt Right connection to Russia, so too the UK must come to grips with the MI6 connection to Russia. If America needs to clean its closet -- and it does -- then the British people also need to pick up some ammonia and a scrub brush. So far, the process has not begun. Where are the speeches in Parliament? Where is the Panorama documentary? Where is the inquiry?

Why has not one British notable demanded an official inquiry into Cambridge Analytica, the firm that stands at the intersection of MI6 and the fiends who brazenly use nerve agents on British soil?

Our British friends look at Trump and laugh. They look at our Alt Right and they sneer in derision. They are right to laugh and right to sneer. But they must also look in the mirror. MI6 agents are working with Cambridge Analytica -- which means that MI6 agents are working with Russia. That's a fact. 

You want to know where to start the investigation? Start here.

Kushner deserves jail. Crime lord Jared Kushner lied on official documents, claiming that he had no rent-controlled tenants when in fact he had hundreds. He did this in order to sell the buildings at a huge profit.

Ayn Randroids cannot excuse this crime by making libertarian arguments against rent control. First, the law is the law. Second, the victims of Kushner's deceit were other capitalists, who paid much more for the buildings than they were worth.

Lindsay Graham has warned Trump not to fire Mueller, even though it is clear as day that Trump intends to do so. Although other Republicans have joined his cry, it seems that Lindsay Graham functions as the weathervane, or the coal-mine canary. Our democracy hangs by a thread named Lindsay -- an uncomfortable thought.

South Korea. Trump now threatens to pull troops out of South Korea, due to a trade dispute. Is this an excuse to get Americans out of a potential war zone? Does Trump intend to ignite a war with North Korea?

Eric Boehlert offers another example of the double standard for Dems:
reminder: if Bill Clinton had threatened to sue Paula Jones for $20M to keep her quiet, NYT reporters would've typed up the articles of impeachment themselves
Kurt Eichenwald on the McCabe memos that went to Mueller:
Innocent person: “there are memos recounting those meeting? Thank heavens. That will show what happened.

Trump: There are memos recounting those meetings? They’re LIES! THEYRE FAKE!!! The guy who wrote them LIES! His former boss should he in jail!

Trump is guilty of something
What's amazing to me is that Trump doesn't have the slightest idea how to fake innocence -- a skill that should come as second nature to a seasoned con artist (which Trump is). Most children develop better lying skills by the age of 13.

Even Trey Gowdy understands.
"When you are innocent … act like it," Gowdy said on “Fox News Sunday“ when asked about Trump's repeated Twitter attacks on Mueller, whose probe has become increasingly perilous to the president and his inner circle. "If you’ve done nothing wrong, you should want the investigation to be as fulsome and thorough as possible."
Did Mueller start out with incriminating info? This Kos writer claims to have a secret intelligence source who has been doing data analysis for the Mueller investigation.
"They had evidence of collusion from day one," he insisted, "now it's all about seeing how high up the chain the corruption goes." He says our intelligence services have evidence of collusion with Russians by members of the Trump campaign, mostly in the form of SIGINT (signal intelligence, i.e. foreign wire taps). It was that SIGINT, both by our intel agencies and by our allies, that caused the investigation to kick off in the first place. What has leaked to the press, he says, would only be the tip of the iceberg. The most damning stuff has been kept secret to protect sources and methods. But the Mueller indictments actually hint that evidence runs much deeper than what has been publicly revealed so far.

This is how my friend described it: “Mueller is playing poker with a whole extra deck stuffed up his sleeve. He has the entire US intelligence apparatus at his disposal. When he calls someone in for an interview, he often already has something on them, something he knows they will lie about. Then when they lie, he has them... they've perjured themselves, and he has the documents or SIGINT to prove it. They have to flip and become a cooperating witness, otherwise they go down for the lie as well as the thing they lied about."
This is a pleasant picture, and not outside the realm of possibility. But my EMF meters detect the ghost of Louise Mensch whenever someone in the Resistance claims "I have a spooky friend whose name I cannot divulge..."

Once burned, twice shy.

Yes, the Trump impeachment is getting to be like the NWO takeover - always just around the corner, any day now.

As for our English entanglements with the Russians, the Foreign Secretary has just been revealed to have played tennis with the wife of a former Russian government minister in return for over a hundred grand in donations to the Tory Party, who have taken several hundred thousand pounds of donations from various Russian big wigs. A bigger problem is the role of Russian money laundering in the London property market. Maintaining that is the Tories' number one concern.
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Saturday, March 17, 2018

McCabe, the Russians, "Spectre," Cambridge Analytica, Flynn -- and treason.

Looks as though McCabe may get his pension after all. More than that: The AP has just reported that McCabe kept some rather important memos on Trump.
That’s according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation who wasn’t authorized to discuss the memos publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

This person says the memos are similar to the ones maintained by former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired last May.

Comey’s series of notes detailed interactions with Trump that Comey said unnerved him.

The person with knowledge of McCabe’s situation says McCabe’s memos include details of interactions with the president, among other topics.
There's an old saying: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Trump is apparently unfamiliar with this aphorism.

Added note: The memos are now in Mueller's hands. Tweet from Joy Reid:
Republican source to me just now: “The McCabe Memos are the new Pentagon Papers.”
Unfortunately, it seems that McCabe's retirement problem won't be solved if a congressperson hires him. It's complicated.

Why Russia targeted McCabe. In the preceding post, my view mirored McCabe's: The GOP/St. Petersburg demonization machine targeted Andrew McCabe because he can testify to Comey's basic truthfulness. Trump needs to rob McCabe of credibility in order to take out Comey.

But this may not be the full story. After giving the matter much further thought, I believe that we should view the McCabe matter in light of Russia's infiltration -- dare I say "takeover"? -- of western intelligence.

Andrew McCabe worked for many years in the FBI's New York office. There, he oversaw investigations into organized crime -- particularly Russian organized crime.

McCabe is the reason why the FBI bugged the gambling ring at Trump Tower -- a ring which you should know all about from the film Molly's Game. (Unfortunately, director/writer Aaron Sorkin decided to create a very deceptive film. One of these days, I shall offer a full explanation of Sorkin's deceit.) McCabe is the reason why the leader of that ring, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov -- a Russian mobster who worked with Donald Trump in Russia -- can't enter this country. Trump claims to have nothing to do with this ring, even though he and Ivanka own a company called "Poker Venture" headquartered in Trump Tower.

In most press accounts, Preet Bharara gets credit for breaking up that ring. But it was the FBI who bugged the place -- and McCabe was in charge of the FBI's efforts.

McCabe has also crossed paths with Trump's business partner Felix Sater, who (with the help of Chris Hayes, of all people) is making an unconvincing bid to convince the populace that he is not a crook. Sater also ran a criminal enterprise out of Trump Tower:
Further, pending civil litigation alleges that Bayrock, whose offices were just a floor beneath Trump’s in Trump Tower, served as a massive money laundering operation for funds from the former Soviet Union.
The Tokhtakhounov ring was also just below Trump's residence in Trump Tower. Someone should prepare a map of who owned which suite. Or perhaps it was all one big suite...?
In the mid-1990s, Sater had been one of the chiefs of State Street, a mobbed-up financial brokerage that racked up tens of millions of dollars in profits in a few short years and fleeced thousands. Sater and 21 others were swept up in the high-profile FBI operation that targeted the brokerage, which included associates of both Italian crime families and the Russian mob — which includes Sater. Sater then “flipped” and became an informant, after pleading guilty to a single count of racketeering. He was working at Bayrock a few short years later.
That's the real story of Sater's work for the FBI. He became a rat in order to stay out of the pokey, so don't let anyone convince you that he was some sort of patriotic super-spy. Logic tells us that he would not have been in a position to rat out anyone if he did not associate with terrorists and mobsters. (Chris Hayes tried to make that point during his interview; unfortunately, he didn't do his best work on that occasion.)

Side note: Do you remember the time, in the summer of 2017, Sater was telling associates that his name was about to become a household word? What was all that about, I wonder?

Here's how McCabe links up with the Sater investigation:
McCabe worked for 20 years in the New York field office of the FBI. According to older FBI biographical information, he joined the New York office in 1996, when he worked on “organized crime matters.” In 2003, “he became the supervisory special agent of the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force, a joint operation with the New York City Police Department.”

“Eurasian organized crime” is the FBI designation for crime that originates from the former Soviet Union, including Russia and Ukraine.
Let's sum things up. McCabe made Sater's life miserable. Now, Sater's friend Donald Trump is president. Sater is doing his rehabilitation tour while his old enemy McCabe -- who should be running the Bureau right now -- was treated like trash.

We will get back to McCabe before we end this post. But first, this:

Putin takes control of western intelligence. I want to remind you of an extremely important story we referenced a few days ago. Viktor Kamenev writes for an important Russian military journal, Military Review -- a journal which would never print anything contrary to Putin's wishes. In this piece, Kamanev impudently declares that "Trump is ours." The Russian word for "ours" is nash. It's an old-school spy term: When the KGB called someone nash, they meant "He's one of our own agents."

As you read the following excerpt, keep in mind that these words reflect Kamanev's highly biased point of view.
But Kamenev says, Trump “somehow was able to take under control the special services” in part by his alliance with Republicans in Congress like Representative Devon Nunes whose report “in fact reveals a conspiracy of FBI agents and the Justice Department against President Trump.” That report may lead to “a massive purge of the FBI, other US special services, and the Justice Department as well as a political earthquake in Congress.”

According to Kamenev, “the special services are the main instrument of American democracy; and if Trump masters them completely, then the days of the fake globalist press and of the Congress which has fallen under its sway are numbered.”
McCabe is not mentioned by name here, but these words were largely directed against him. In the deranged propaganda of the Alex Jonesian right, McCabe was the leader of this "conspiracy of FBI agents."

There is no such conspiracy. It's fictional.

The real conspiracy is the one against the FBI. Moscow is the ultimate power behind that conspiracy. They targeted Andrew McCabe because he was the FBI official who led the fight against Russian organized crime. During his time in New York, he learned a lot about Trump's Russian business associates.

You should read the rest of the article to which I have linked. Kamenev goes on to say that CIA Director Mike Pompeo is, in essence, "nash". That is to say: Kamenev considers Pompeo to be a de facto Russian agent. Any pro forma criticisms of Putin which Pompeo uttered in the past were just a matter of political expediency; pay no heed.

Pompeo will soon replace Rex Tillerson as head of the State Department. Tillerson was originally Moscow's choice, which explains why he kept his job even after calling Trump a "fucking idiot." Once Tillerson started to criticize Vladimir Satanovich, he had to go. Soon, Pompeo will be in.

Trump did not make that choice. Putin did. Let's not kid ourselves.

"Pip pip, cheerio, and Hail Hydra!"
Although few have attempted to give the matter sufficient study, Putin's control of western intelligence may be even more profound in the UK than it is in the United States. We've known for a while that Cambridge Analytica is largely staffed by "former" MI6 personnel. Some consider it a lightly-privatized outgrowth of MI6.

We've also known that Cambridge Analytica receives Mercer money. One investor (and officer) was Steve Bannon, who is on record as admiring Benito Mussolini, Nazi theoretician Julius Evola, and Satan himself.

(Side note: Although it has been reported that Bannon invested millions in Cambridge Analytica, we should note that some -- including Trump himself -- have questioned whether Bannon actually has that kind of money. Alas, we shall have to leave the Mysteries of Bannon for another occasion.)

We're now learning why Facebook took the extraordinary step of banning Cambridge Analytica.
A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer how Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements.

Christopher Wylie, who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data, told the Observer: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”

Documents seen by the Observer, and confirmed by a Facebook statement, show that by late 2015 the company had found out that information had been harvested on an unprecedented scale. However, at the time it failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals.
Here comes Russia:
The data was collected through an app called thisisyourdigitallife, built by academic Aleksandr Kogan, separately from his work at Cambridge University.
Kogan is an incredibly strange fellow who has changed his name to -- I kid you not -- "Spectre." That's right: He named himself after the Bad Guy Group in the James Bond movies. That's almost as outrageous as Steve Bannon's praise of Satan and Mussolini.

For more about his work, see here. This nugget deserves to be better known:
Trump’s former National Security Adviser Lt-Gen Michael Flynn, a compromised Russian asset, also disclosed he played an advisory role for Cambridge Analytica.
Flynn? Cambridge Analytica? Let's explore this tributary further.

You should understand that Cambridge Analytica has strong ties to Cambridge University, which, in turn, has long had a special relationship with Britain's secret services. Basically, if you're a young Brit hoping to get recruited to work as a spy, Cambridge is the school for you.

But be warned: Russia is there too.

Michael Flynn visits Cambridge. In a previous Cannonfire post, we looked at Russian infiltration of Cambridge. (That post owed much to the exemplary work of Luke Harding, although I also included material from other sources.) To explore how this infection has spread, we need to take a hard look at a fellow named Christopher Andrew, an esteemed professor of history at Cambridge.

Most Americans don't know the name, but in the UK he is familiar as a presenter on television and BBC4. More than that: He is the official historian of MI5, and his protegees now hold important positions in British intelligence. Rumor has long held that Andrew is the main recruiter in Cambridge for the British services. Some would go so far as to say that the distance between Andrew and the intelligence community is as narrow as the distance between mortar and brick.

Andrew also heads the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, which is an important gathering in the world of British -- and American -- intelligence. In short and in sum, spy chiefs go to these gatherings and freely discuss world developments.

One of Andrew's post-graduate students is Svetlana Lokhova, an attractive Russian woman in her 30s who claims to be nothing more than a historian with an interest in espionage. Oddly, she has been granted full access to the archives of the GRU -- a privilege granted to no other outsider. Odder still: While perusing her historical studies, she maintained a second life as an official at the British branch of Sperbank, the Russian bank inextricably linked to Russian intelligence.

One of the things you'll learn from the Corn/Isikoff book Russian Roulette is that FSB agents in the west have used Sperbank as a cover. Just thought I'd mention that bit in passing.

Lokhova is litigious. Lokhova denies being a Russian spy. Therefore, I will not call her a Russian spy. I can, however, state that other people have (rightly or wrongly) strongly implied that she works for Russian intelligence.

And that is why her proximity to Christopher Andrew is troubling. But he is not the only one she got to know well.

As you know, former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn used to run the Defense Intelligence Agency. In that capacity, he attended the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar and met Lokhova. The two became very close -- indeed, some have alleged a romantic entanglement. Although I do not share that view, I do think that Lokhova took Flynn by the hand and led him down a troubling path -- a path that led first to Putin's table, and ultimately to that federal court in which Flynn entered a "guilty" plea.

Flynn and Lokhova met at Christopher Andrew's Cambridge Intelligence Seminar (CIS). At this time, CIS -- formerly a revered institution within the British and American intelligence community -- came under suspicion. The former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, decided that he wanted nothing to do with it. Others followed his lead.

Why? Because Dearlove learned that a Russian front company called Veruscript was providing funding for CIS. From a site called Intel Today:
Some of those involved are thought to be concerned that Russia may attempt to use the link to the seminars to influence sensitive debates on national defence and security.”
For more about the Flynn/Lokova/CIS interaction, read the rest of the post at the other end of that last link. Also see my earlier piece.

McCabe vs. Flynn. At this point, let me repeat an overlooked nugget of information from our previous post on McCabe. Michael Flynn Jr. -- son of the indicted former Trump aide -- has this to say of McCabe:
Good. Now he needs to be prosecuted. He’s had it out for my father since his days at the DIA.
In response, Natasha Bertrand tweeted:
Flynn was on McCabe’s radar when he was at DIA? In 2014?
McCabe was an FBI official in New York who specialized in the Russian mob. Flynn was the head of the DIA engaged in an unnerving dalliance with Svetlana Lokhova, Sperbank official and espionage historian who insists that she is not a Russian spy, all indications to the contrary notwithstanding. Flynn and Lokhova met at CIS, which was apparently taken over the by Russians, and which has strong links to Cambridge Analytica, which worked with the Russians to put Trump in power.

How did McCabe learn about Flynn's Russian connections? I honestly don't know, but I suspect that Sperbank may be the key.

A final word. The Russians have penetrated our air traffic control systems and our energy systems. In all likelihood, the Russians can shut off the juice this very evening; nothing can stop them. In all likelihood, the Russians can make jets crash; nothing can stop them.

Nobody will admit that the Russians have hacked into our voting systems, but evidence suggests that they have done so. Note that Lamb received far fewer votes in Pennsylvania than the polls predicted.

We would not be in this situation if Russia had not first compromised our intelligence services.

I find myself in a strange position. For much of my adult life, I counted myself as a critic of the CIA. I believe that CIA counterintelligence orchestrated the murder of John Kennedy. I have always advocated strict oversight of the intelligence community and strict limits of the NSA's power to eavesdrop.

But before this crisis, I never wondered what would happen if our services were penetrated -- and perhaps commandeered -- by a foreign power.

God help us all. 
"Basically, if you're a young Brit hoping to get recruited to work as a spy, Cambridge is the school for you."

Cambridge would be top of your list. Every college at Cambridge University has an MI6 presence and, the whole place being so private boarding schooly, many "tutors" think they are experts at "character" and some like to spot talent for the said agency. But there are other places too, including the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. The universities of Durham, Exeter and St Andrews are also MI6-y to some extent.

Some youngsters know they can make an application which will probably be successful, and therefore they can probably have the secret service as a career option, before they reach university and are still a pupil at one of a handful of top boarding schools, aged maybe 16. Does it work like that at Andover or Exeter or other places in the US?
A bit like that. Everyone knows that Yale is a "feeder" into the intelligence community, and you don't necessarily have to be tapped into Skull and Bones. (I think JJA was Book and Snake. Isn't that a wonderful name?) Harvard has a similar clique. Obama went there. So have a number of famous old spooks.

Although I was mostly blind to it at the time of my attendance, the Agency had links to UCLA. Good old Dr. Jolly ran the neuropsychiatric center on campus, but did most of his dirty work at the Veteran's Administration center across the freeway. Wesley Liebeler (of Warren Commission ill-fame) more or less ran the law school. During my own school days, I did notice that the CIA regularly ran recruitment ads in the Daily Bruins. They were kind of corny and everyone I knew laughed at them.

The CIA has wires into a number of other universities. But I don't think that any one school in this country is quite as spooky as Cambridge.
Another article by Carole Cadwalladr, this time with Emma Graham-Harrison:
"Cambridge Analytica: links to Moscow oil firm and St Petersburg university | Data company gave briefing to Moscow firm Lukoil, and the lecturer who developed the crucial algorithm worked for St Petersburg university".

And the Tories say it's Jeremy Corbyn who has got snow on his boots!
b, I should add: I don't really know how things work at Andover or other prep schools. I was always too poor to travel in such circles. As far as I know, the spooks do no recruiting at the high school level. The military does.
Facebook bans Cambridge Analytica and Chris Wylie gets a mention there. Wylie also crops up in relation to Aggregate IQ, a Canadian company CA used as a cut-out to conceal its role in the Brexit vote, and later, the US elections:

>>> AggregateIQ holds the key to unravelling another complicated network of influence that Mercer has created. A source emailed me to say he had found that AggregateIQ’s address and telephone number corresponded to a company listed on Cambridge Analytica’s website as its overseas office: "SCL Canada". A day later, that online reference vanished.

... Paul, the first of two sources formerly employed by Cambridge Analytica. He is in his late 20s and bears mental scars from his time there. 'It’s almost like post-traumatic shock. It was so… messed up. It happened so fast. I just woke up one morning and found we’d turned into the Republican fascist party. I still can’t get my head around it.'

... There wasn’t just a relationship between Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ, Paul told me. They were intimately entwined, key nodes in Robert Mercer’s distributed empire. 'The Canadians were our back office. They built our software for us. They held our database. If AggregateIQ is involved then Cambridge Analytica is involved'. <<<
In a letter to the Times, written FOUR DAYS after the Salisbury attack, a consultant medic at the Salisbury hospital writes as follows (emphasis added).

The Times, 16 Mar 2018
Sir, Further to your report (“Poison exposure leaves almost 40 needing treatment”, Mar 14), may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.
Stephen Davies
Consultant in emergency medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

The Times then reported on his letter, distorting his words, as follows.

In a letter to The Times Dr Davies writes that no patients experienced symptoms other than the three with “significant poisoning”. “Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed,” he adds. “None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.”
Correction: Davies wrote that letter TWELVE days after the alleged Salisbury attack, not four.
Two things, the FBI field agents in the Trumpland office leaking to Rudy Giuliani, are they nash?
You had written you thought President Obama did some work for the CIA whilst visiting friends overseas have you given any more thought in light of recent events?
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I'm sure you already know about the unconscionable firing of Andrew McCabe. If you have not already seen his statement, I've give you the guts of it:
The investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility. The investigation flows from my attempt to explain the FBI’s involvement and my supervision of investigations involving Hillary Clinton. I was being portrayed in the media over and over as a political partisan, accused of closing down investigations under political pressure. The FBI was portrayed as caving under that pressure, and making decisions for political rather than law enforcement purposes. Nothing was further from the truth. In fact, this entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau and to make it clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed.

The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter. It was the same type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week. In fact it was the same type of work that I continued to do under Director Wray, at his request. The investigation subsequently focused on who I talked to, when I talked to them, and so forth. During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.

But looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.

Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens. Thursday’s comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.

This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.
A few comments.

First, note that the administration's war against the FBI is purely about Trump; nobody on the right complains about anything the FBI has done in any other regard. It's not as though the GOP suddenly decided that there was a problem with the way the Bureau handles terrorism or organized crime. Trump decided that the FBI was corrupt only after he realized that the FBI might learn his secrets.

The right is calling McCabe a tool of the so-called "deep state conspiracy." At this point, the phrase "deep state" simply means "anti-Putin." The term has no other definition.

I am positive that McCabe is correct when he says that Trump is taking vengeance on him because he can corroborate Comey's version of events. Trump pretty much admitted as much in a tweet that was, even by Trumpian standards, utterly bonkers.
Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!
Note that Trump makes no reference to that IG report, which Trump surely has not read. In Der Donald's mind, McCabe and Comey are linked. Make no mistake: This imbroglio is all about discrediting Comey.

That fact raises (but does not "beg") an important question: Why is Trump so intent on discrediting Comey? I can think of only one answer: Trump believes that Mueller will bring obstruction charges against the president. In other words, Trump foresees an impeachment and is already planning his defense.

In a way, the firing of McCabe constitutes an admission of guilt.

We won't be able to judge the IG report until we see it, although I'm fairly certain that I'll end up filing it alongside that four-page Nunes memo. As readers know, I strongly suspect that there is kompromat on Nunes -- and I'm hardly alone in feeling that way. Could kompromat be the secret factor behind that IG report?

Keep in mind, Donald Trump has the full weight of Putin's intelligence apparat working on his behalf. Keep in mind, too, that everyone has secrets. Even good people.

The Inspector General of the Department of Justice is a man named Michael E. Horowitz. He has a remarkable resume and is considered a straight shooter; I know of no skeletons in his closet.

It may be instructive, however, to take a look at the way he is portrayed by the far right. This conspiracy site (which strongly resembles the Russian fake news sites that spread the Pizzagate myth shortly before the election) reveals that the "patriots" targeted Horowitz long ago...
And so on. These accusations are pure madness, of course -- but they prove that Horowitz was on the far right's radar long before most of the rest of us understood his importance. I wonder: Now that Horowitz has done Trump a service, will he continue to be damned as a soldier in the Great Soros Conspiracy?

Selected tweets.
Nancy Sinatra, of all people, offered the sharpest response:
You are a dirty bastard @jeffsessions How dare you take a man's pension away. A man who has served our country well for twenty years. You can't lick Andrew McCabe's shoes.
John Schindler:
What happens when a President up to his neck in dirty Kremlin ties declares open war on the FBI and its employees? We're about to find out.
Scott Dworkin:
Trump pushed Sessions to fire Andrew McCabe for no other reason than to try & use the firing to stop Mueller’s Russia probe. McCabe agrees. He just stated that his firing is part of the effort to destroy him, so Trump can stop the Mueller probe. Congress needs to #ProtectMueller.
Preet Bharara, in response to Trump's insane tweet:
This is called lawsuit Exhibit A
I'm not quite sure what Bharara means by that...

Ari Melber:

Legally, tonight McCabe is alleging Sessions’ act is basically an element of obstruction of justice. A serious claim to make about a sitting A.G. (who claims to be recused).
The IG report functions as Sessions' excuse and justification.

Here's a particularly interesting exchange. Michael Flynn Jr. -- son of the indicted former Trump aide -- has this to say of McCabe:
Good. Now he needs to be prosecuted. He’s had it out for my father since his days at the DIA.
To which Natasha Bertrand responded:
Flynn was on McCabe’s radar when he was at DIA? In 2014?
I'll add this: McCabe won't be prosecuted for anything -- and Flynn has pled guilty. Further down the thread, a liberal named Dana Smith Dutra chimed in (re: Flynn):
He’s afraid of lots. Like his Russian lover spy while he was DIA. Svetlana Lokhova
Very few are paying attention to the Lokhova angle. This humble blog took a hard look at her interactions with Flynn back in December. I do not believe that Lakhova and Flynn had a romantic relationship; however, there is more than one type of honeytrap. The Lokhova trail leads back to MI6 and Cambridge Analytica -- which has been banished from Facebook. Never thought I'd say this, but...bravo, Facebook!

Rachel Maddow made a good point:
If McCabe is right that these actions against him are intended discredit him as a corroborating witness for Comey’s account of his firing, then the invective and taunting by POTUS have a purpose: make sure McCabe will be seen as having good reason to hold a grudge vs POTUS.
The same logic applies to Comey and all the other corroborating witnesses. The more they’re mistreated (unjustly maligned, randomly demoted, etc) by POTUS, the more “biased” vs the President they will be made to seem.
Finally, let's end with a somewhat hopeful tweet from Andrea Mitchell...
One suggestion from a McCabe supporter: if a friendly member of Congress hired him for a week he could possibly qualify for pension benefits by extending his service the extra days
I think this all stems from Andrew McCabe's attempts to get out in front of leaks by the "Trumpland" FBI agents given to "America's Mayor",the repulsive Rudy Giuliani, about Hillary.
Those field agents know Trump's dirty laundry but still tried to derail the Clinton campaign. Begs the question as to who's pocket FBI agents working at the New York field office are in, Trump's or Putin's and why haven't we heard about Horowitz going after them?
I especially liked this comment McCabe made about his firing... second to last sentence of his statement;

"But it will not erase the important work I was privileged to be a part of, the results of which will in the end be revealed for the country to see."

"This is called lawsuit Exhibit A"

"I'm not quite sure what Bharara means by that..."

"McCabe has retained the ex-inspector general of the Justice department to represent him."

This is going to be one hell of a lawsuit!
Pretty sure you're wrong about the IG report being like the Nunes memo. It's more analogous to the FISA warrant i.e. the IG report is legitimate, but the Trumpers have twisted it to look corrupt. Remember, the IG report is looking at the entire FBI's conduct with Hillary's emails in October 2016 not just McCabe's actions to provide a pretext for firing him.

I'm almost as anxious to read the IG report as I am to read Mueller's report. Whatever your thoughts on all the actors involved, it's clear there are a ton of unanswered questions about the FBI in this time period and that virtually none of them have been answered in the public. My opinion? Call me naive and falsely optimistic, but I think the report will finally reveal that Comey (and it turns out McCabe) were blackmailed into releasing the letter. This is because the NY FBI field office was going to leak the existence of the emails anyway, and Comey would've inevitably had to confirm their existence. In this situation Comey decided they would do the least damage if he revealed their existence himself. Unfortunately, the damage was still catastrophic.

Holy s**t do we live in tumultuous times. And it's only going to get crazier.
Another article by Carole Cadwalladr: " The Cambridge Analytica Files:‘I created Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower". "Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans". This is so fucking evil! Moral: don't use Facebook. Don't ever use it. If you are using it, STOP and DELETE. Some of us always knew that shit was evil.

In other news, someone threw a potato through my window. Potatoes come from South America. All potatoes are "of a type" of vegetable developed in South America. So it must have been the Peruvian state. Just as in Salisbury, if the weapon used was "of a type developed" in the USSR in the 1970s, then it must have been "the Russian state".
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Friday, March 16, 2018

Is Trump worried about the 25th?

Looks like McMaster is out again. For a while, we heard rumors that his head was on the chopping block, then we got word that his head was safe. Now he's fired again, or very close to fired. For obvious reasons.

Same thing with John Kelly, who was set to exit today, but now may be back in Trump's good graces.

I can't find the link at this moment, but apparently a White House source told a CNN reporter to expect a big "season finale" soon. Even Trump jokes about the tumult.

Apparently, the big plan -- and I wish I were kidding -- is to to take out those who might possess any professional skills and replace them with Fox News hacks. Bill O'Reilly could be the new Chief of Staff.

Even by Trumpian standards, this situation is surreal.

Count me among those favoring the theory that this madness must be linked to the 25th Amendment. I think that Trump got wind of a plot.

Stormy times ahead. Michael Avenatti says that another six women have claimed relationships with Trump.
"We've been approached by six separate women who have claimed to have similar stories to that of my client," Michael Avenatti told CNN's "New Day" Friday morning. "Two of them -- at least two have (nondisclosure agreements). We're in the very early stages of vetting those stories."
But this development is of even greater importance:
The lawyer representing Stormy Daniels, the porn star suing President Donald Trump, claimed Friday that she has faced physical threats.

"My client was physically threatened to stay silent about what she knew about Donald Trump," Michael Avenatti told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day." He said more details would be forthcoming in Daniels' upcoming interview on CBS's "60 Minutes," which is scheduled to air later this month.
I've been saying it for a while. We are talking about mobsters here. They think like mobsters and they act like mobsters.

Take Steve Bannon, for example: He's a naturally combative fellow who clearly looks down on Trump. Yet Bannon stonewalled the House Intel Committee at some personal risk, refusing to answer questions or to say anything in public that might be construed as critical of Der Donald. We know from Sam Nunberg that Roger Stone now feels that Trump screwed him over -- yet Stone (usually a vindictive man) won't say one public word against Trump.

Why? The answer should be obvious.

And if it isn't obvious to you yet, run your eyeballs over this story.
Nikolai Glushkov: Russian exile murdered at London home by 'compression to neck', police say
An exiled Russian businessman associated with a leading critic of Vladimir Putin was murdered at his London home, police have revealed just days after a nerve agent attack on a former spy.
The bodies are piling up in the UK. Very soon, we'll see corpses here in the U.S. In fact, the stateside murders have already begun. Neo-Nazi thugs make excellent hit men: They are easy to manipulate and plausibly deniable.

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised to see a hit against Stormy herself, or perhaps her lawyer. A really obvious gesture of that sort would send a message to others. (Of course, if Stormy sleeps with the fishes, Alex Jones will blame Hillary.)

That's the country in which we now live. That's what happens when mobsters take power.

Wealth and morals. This tweet from the 11th Hour offers a remarkable quote from Larry Kudlow:
Trump's new econ adviser Larry Kudlow: The wealthy "have no need to steal or engage in corruption" because "they know how to achieve goals and convince skeptics that good deals can be made to the benefit of both sides."
Dig it: It's not enough for the wealthy to have all the money; we must now pretend that they have all the morality as well. The French have a saying: There is no great wealth without a crime. Kudlow thinks that there is no crime among the wealthy -- that the wealthy, by definition, are incapable of corruption.

Ted Lieu responded:
Your statement below is really stupid. Here's some wealthy people who are convicted felons: Jeff Skilling, Enron Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco Bernie Ebbers, Worldcom Raj Rajaratnam, Galleon Group Sam Waksal, ImClone Martin Shkreli, Retrophin Bernie Madoff Get it?
I would add that those convictions occurred even though we live in a world in which the wealthy are the hardest to put behind bars, because wealth confers power and influence. The previous sentence used to be non-controversial, but Kudlow wants that idea to be considered Thoughtcrime Most Foul, at least when applied to any non-Democrat.

The most obvious disproof of Kudlow's ludicrous assertion would be the oligarch class in Russia. Who can say where the oligarchy ends and the mafia begins? Is there any dividing line at all?

The same can be said of the oligarchies in all other countries. For example, everyone knows that Dubai was built on slave labor. So, for that matter, was much of the United States. Slavery is always a crime -- perhaps the worst of crimes -- and slavery is more prevalent now than at any other time in the world's history. Do poor people buy slaves? No. Rich people commit that crime.

Can any honest and intelligent person look at our alleged president and not see a gangster and a conman? How much money has he laundered? How many investors has he defrauded? How many contractors has he stiffed? Did the naive rubes scammed by Trump University come away from their experience thinking that the wealthy have no need to steal?

Kudlow's statement represents the triumph of libertarian theology over reality. The man isn't stupid. He's corrupt. And in his desperation to get ahead, he's doing a deep-dish rim-job on people who are even more corrupt.
You should add a like article gadget to your page.
Larry Kudlow is a market fundamentalist and an economic extremist of the Far Right. He penned a book titled 'JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity'. This book proposes that President Kennedy was the forerunner of President Reagan. That President Kennedy rejected Keynesian capitalism and embraced the Austrian School variant of capitalism (deregulation, lower taxes, privatization, social Darwinism, the market is God, etc.). Kudlow's book complements Ira Stoll's book 'JFK, Conservative'. Stoll's book makes the case that JFK was socially and economically conservative (in fact, much more dramatically conservative than George Bush or his son, George Bush II) and that JFK governed like a Christian fundamentalist + Market fundamentalist.

I continue to maintain that Christianity is not compatible with nationalism (much less hypernationalism) or capitalism, but my view on this is held by perhaps no more than one dozen people on the Earth.

I still don't understand why JFK was murdered, nevermind who exactly murdered him. On the one hand, there is the Warren Commission, the official narrative. But I don't know why LHO would have murdered JFK. The only explanation I've seen put forward is that LHO didn't think there were enough night clubs in New Orleans and blamed this on JFK. As for the people who reject the Warren Commission, they don't shed any further light.

JFK was murdered by the Mossad for opposing Israel's nuclear program.
JFK was murdered for planning to disclose 'the truth' about UFOs.
JFK was murdered by Lyndon Johnson, who was singing 'I just can't wait to be king!".
JFK was murdered by any number of mob bosses because . . . . . .????

And the list goes on and on.

One plausible explanation for JFK's murder, if LHO is not to blame, is the issue of Congo and Cobalt. This Empire Files video here:
implies that JFK was murdered because he supported Congolese self-determination. Which cannot be allowed because the West relies upon Cobalt from the Congo. And now even China (the PRC) relies upon Congo for cobalt, which is to electric vehicles what petrol is to the carbon automobile.

I have three videos from Caspian Report that I think all of you (you too, Joe) should check out. These two concern the post-electoral changes that Putin is planning for Russia.

Russia's post-election economic reforms:
Russia's post election security reforms:

And this Caspian Report video is an excellent overview and review of 'The Red Web':

I've said this before and I'll continue to say it. The adversarial politics, chaos of democracy, widening laissez-faire economics, rampant and deepening privatization (of even intelligence agencies), strict and short term limits of office-holders (causing them to spend more than 50% of their time fundraising and being unable to accomplish any long-term goals), decentralization and federalism (even unitary states in Europe govern more like decentralized federations or even confederations), and other issues portend bad things for the US. The United States will not be able to combat the combined efforts of the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China. If it was only one of them, Russia or China, then the possibility would exist. But not both of them. And certainly not with weak allies like Canada, UK, continental Europe, etc. All of whom are utterly dependent upon the US for security obligations and military deterrence.
It's mostly when the wealthy scam other wealthy people that they end up in prison.
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Thursday, March 15, 2018


Trump has -- belatedly -- embraced the concept of sanctions, but only because Putin's antics have made any other course of action intolerable. Never forget that, throughout his presidency, Trump has refused to enforce the sanctions already on the books. And never forget the wide chasm between what Trump says and what he does.

Here's something else you should not forget: CIA Director Mike Pompeo briefly enjoyed a rep as a Russia hardliner because, unlike his boss, he dared to say a few words critical of Putin. In response, Viktor Kamenev (a contributor to Russia's most influential military journal) wrote that Pompeo was a "player" who had to speak against Putin for political reasons, and that what counted were not Pompeo's words but his "hands and feet."

True that. As with Pompeo, so with Trump.

Kamanev also repeated the ancient Greek aphorism that the first casualty of any war is the truth. Note that he believes that Russia and the United States are at war. Note that he considers Pompeo -- our CIA Director -- to be on Russia's side in that war.

Tellingly, RT has reacted to these new sanctions in a very muted fashion. The anti-American comments deserve your attention. The Russians have clearly bought into "Globalist" conspiracy theories -- and just as clearly, they loathe democracy.

Speaking of a loathing for democracy...

Jared and the Russians. Marcy Wheeler noticed something in the House Dem response to the Republican intelligence committee report on Russiagate.
In the section describing why HPSCI should know more about the Trump campaign’s digital operations, the report reveals that Jared Kushner sent the Trump campaign Assistant Director of Data Analysis, Avi Berkowitz, to go meet with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak a month after the election, around the same time Russia was floating back channels so banks could bail out Kushner’s failing family real estate empire.
Imagine what the Republicans would have said if any Dem had behaved in this fashion.
Before we fell off the end of the political earth, that would have justified appointment of a special counsel. What is a GOP president-elect doing working so closely with senior Russian government figures and why is he working so hard to hide it? The meeting with Kislyak is odd as hell.
Marcy thinks that Trump habitually uses deniable "peons" like Avi Berkowitz as cut-outs.
Using people too junior to appreciate the context of what they’re being asked to do, or too conflicted or junior to say no and keep their posts, is a Trump specialty. Even Jared fits that bill.
So does Papadopoulos. Keep this factor in mind next time some Trumpian declares that so-and-so was a mere "coffee boy."

(Some of you may remember Lindsay Anderson's great film O Lucky Man! I'm thinking of the sequence in which a wealthy international manipulator screws over Malcolm McDowell, an underling with naive dreams of rising in the organization. Maybe Trump saw that movie and got ideas.)
what counted were not Pompeo's words but his "hands and feet."

Substituting Pompeo's name for any politician (*cough* John McCain), I have no idea why the media doesn't cover politics this way. They value words much greater than action.
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Identifying Steele's sources. Plus: A criticism of David Corn and Michael Isikoff

In the preceding post, I repeated something I've mentioned in these cyber-pages several times: An anonymous reader said that the likeliest candidate for the Steele Dossier's "Source E" is Boris Epshteyn. The Corn/Isikoff book Russian Roulette mentions another possibility: Sergei Millian. The WP tentatively identified him as Source D.
By his own evolving statements, Sergei Millian is either a shrewd businessman with high-level access to both Trump’s inner circle and the Kremlin, or a bystander unwittingly caught up in a global controversy.

An examination of Millian’s career shows he is a little of both. His case lays bare the challenge facing the FBI as it investigates Russia’s alleged attempts to manipulate the American political system and whether Trump associates participated.

It also illustrates why the Trump administration remains unable to shake the Russia story. While some of the unproven claims attributed in the dossier to Millian are bizarre and outlandish, there are also indications that he had contacts with Trump’s circle.

Millian told several people that during the campaign and presidential transition he was in touch with George Papadopoulos, a campaign foreign policy adviser, according to a person familiar with the matter.
More here:
President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, was copied on emails sent to the Trump campaign last year from Sergei Millian, the Belarus-born businessman who has worked with the Trump Organization and was reportedly a key source in the explosive dossier alleging ties between Trump and Russia.

Senate Judiciary Committee leaders said on Thursday that Trump campaign officials had handed over "communications with Sergei Millian, copied to Mr. Kushner," that Kushner had apparently failed to disclose voluntarily. Kushner also received an email that discussed a "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite" from Alexander Torshin, the deputy head of Russia's central bank, according to NBC.

Jared Kushner's lawyer told the committee that the "communications" with Millian were between Millian and Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, in which Cohen was urging Millian to stop speaking to the press.
Epshteyn and Millian link up through our old friend Papadopoulos:
Papadopoulos wrote that he wanted to connect Epshteyn with a friend, Sergei Millian of the Russian American Chamber of Commerce, the emails said.

Millian would later be identified as a major source for the author of a dossier that included unsubstantiated salacious allegations about Trump’s activities in Russia, a claim Millian has denied.

Epshteyn said he never met Millian and declined to comment further.
Just to refresh your memory, here is the actual text of the Steele dossier:
3. However, there were other aspects to TRUMP's engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit personal obsessions and sexual perversion in order to obtain suitable 'kompromat' [compromising material] on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP's (perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew President and OBAMA {whom he hated] had stayed on one other official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a 'golden showers' (urination) show in front of him. The hotel was known to be under FSB control with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

4. The Moscow Ritz Carlton episode involving TRUMP reported above was confirmed by Source E, [REDACTED] who said that s/he and several of the staff were aware of it at time and subsequently. S/he believed it had happened in 2013. Source provided an introduction for a company ethnic Russian operative to Source F, a female staffer at the hotel when TRUMP had stayed there, who also confirmed the story. Speaking separately in June 2016, Source B (the former top level Russian intelligence officer) asserted that unorthodox behavior in Russia over the years had provided the authorities there with enough embarrassing material on the now Republican presidential candidate to be able to blackmail him if they so wished.
Speaking in confidence to a compatriot in late July 2016, Source B, an ethnic Russian close associate of Republican US presidential candidate Donald TRUMP, admitted that there was a well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between them and the Russian leadership.
Inter alia, Source E, acknowledged that the Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to the WikiLeaks platform.
Shortly after Buzzfeed bestowed the Dossier upon the world, the WP published a story indicating that Source E was an "ethnic Russian" in Trump's inner circle. These words describe Epshteyn. To some degree, they also point to Millian, although I would hesitate to say that he was a member of the inner circle.
In the wider context campaign/Kremlin co-operation, Source E claimed that the intelligence network being used against CLINTON comprised three elements. Firstly there were agents/facilitators within the Democratic Party structure itself; secondly Russian emigre and associated offensive cyber operators based in the and thirdly, state-sponsored cyber operatives working in Russia. All three elements had played an important role to date. On the mechanism for rewarding relevant assets based in the US, and effecting a two-way flow of intelligence and other useful information, Source E claimed that Russian diplomatic staff in key cities such as New York, Washington DC and Miami were using the emigre 'pension' distribution system as cover. The operation therefore depended on key people in the US Russian emigre community for its success. Tens of thousands of dollars were involved.
The allegation about agents within the Democratic party receives insufficient attention. The reader may decide whether Millian or Epshteyn is more likely to be privy to this information. For my part, I would -- hesitantly -- suggest that Source D could be Millian and Source E could be Epshteyn. Obviously, this guess may be wide of the mark.

Now go here:
In fact, there is evidence that at least one Russian was murdered because of Steele’s revelations: Gen. Oleg Erovinkin of Russia’s State Security Service (FSB). On the morning of Dec. 26, 2016, Erovinkin, age 61, was found dead in his car in central Moscow. Life News, known to be a Kremlin mouthpiece, first claimed on its website that Erovinkin had been “killed,” but then quickly changed its story, saying simply that Erovinkin had “died.” FSB investigators were called immediately to the death scene, and news outlets soon reported that Erovinkin had succumbed to a heart attack. There was no more official Russian mention of him.
From the Dossier:
Speaking to a trusted compatriot in June 2016 sources A and B, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin respectively, the Russian authorities had been cultivating and supporting US Republican presidential candidate, Donald TRUMP for at least 5 years.
The suggestion is that Erovinkin was either A or B.

A couple of nights ago, Rachel Maddow reported that Mike Pompeo has commanded the CIA's Countintelligence Center to report solely to himself. This claim intrigued me. Regular readers will known of my fixation with James J. Angleton, who headed the CIA's counterintelligence effort from the Agency's founding until 1974. It was named the Counterintelligence Center in 1988; in Angleton's day, it was called the Counterintelligence Staff, and it took up the second floor of CIA headquarters. The famously paranoid Angleton erected a CIA-within-the-CIA, with its own filing system and even its own assassination capability.

Nobody outside the intelligence community really knows how the counterintelligence center operates now. I don't even know who is in charge at present, aside from Pompeo himself. All of the post-Angleton heads of counterintelligence have been rather mysterious figures.

A side note: After reading about the JFK assassination for many years, I have formed the opinion that Jim Angleton masterminded the crime. I've no faith in my ability to convince others to share this conclusion; doing so would require the writing of a very long book. If, in the short time remaining to me, I ever do write a book, it won't be that one. Thus, the "JJA did it" theory is just one man's private conclusion; feel free to deride it, if doing so gives you pleasure. I make public mention of my belief only because there is a small possibility that one reader will decide to research the matter for himself or herself -- and perhaps write the book that I can't.

Let us now return to the present day.

In Russian Roulette, Corn and Isikoff reported that Tillerson became Secretary of State because Russia approved of him. If that claim is true -- and I think it is -- then it stands to reason that Pompeo also has the Moscow stamp of approval.

For reasons given in the preceding post, I suspect that Pompeo is a Russian agent. If so, then Russia would now know everything about CIA's counterintelligence efforts. Russia would know about our moles in their system, and would be able to compromise American efforts to uncover Russian agents in this country.

Absolutely terrifying.

Speaking of the JFK assassination:
In Russian Roulette, Corn and Isikoff blunder badly when they suggest, at one point, that the entire JFK assassination controversy was a Russian disinformation effort.


Right-wingers have made this claim for may years, most notoriously in a book called The Scavengers and Critics of the Warren Report. That exercise in calumny doesn't bother to present anything resembling evidence. Look it up for yourselves, if you can find a copy of the book. (It's now rather rare; I stumbled across it at UCLA.)

I could write a post twice as long as this one explaining why this claim is a canard. The bottom line is simple enough: If there were any proof that the Russians had a hand in fomenting distrust of the Warren Report, we would have seen that proof long ago.

The Warren Commission critics have long been subject to attack through fair means and foul. Nobody can claim that the first generation critics received soft treatment -- hell, they were accused of every imaginable sin. Yet no-one has ever presented any evidence linking them to the Soviets.

The history of how the JFK assassination research community came together in the 1960s is well-documented. If you seek granular detail, John Kelin's Praise From a Future Generation scrupulously reconstructs how that community originated and how it interacted. These people were citizen investigators whose names, occupations and sources of income are all known or easily discoverable. Much of their private correspondence still exists. (A surprising amount of it is online, via the Harold Weisberg and Mary Ferrell collections.)

It's no secret that those in the critical community loved to gossip about each other. It's also no secret that their interactions were marred by bickering and backstabbing. All dirty laundry received an airing, even if the "dirt" amounted to a few tiny particles of soot.

Whether you admire those "first generation" critics or consider them contemptible, two facts are beyond dispute: 1. Their history is on the record. 2. The USSR played no role in that history. There is not a single anecdote suggesting that anyone in that community spoke to or gained information from any Russian agent. And I can assure you that the Russians didn't fund anyone.

The sole exception is this highly dubious smear-job directed at Mark Lane. The source -- predictably enough -- is a document written by William Sullivan, who was Angleton's man in the FBI. Please note that this document was released only after Lane was no longer around to defend himself. The CIA had targeted Lane for attack back in the 1960s and would not have kept secret any provable damaging information about him. The footnotes for Lane's books are copious and demonstrate that he depended entirely on material in the public record.

There have been JFK assassination books which I consider disinformation -- and these efforts all came from non-Russian sources. By "disinformation," I refer to works such as Hugh McDonald's Appointment in Dallas or Edward Epstein's Legend. Epstein was close to Angleton. I cannot think of a single title in the literature even suspected of having a Russian origin. (A faction of French intelligence created a strange work called Farewell America, which caused a stir back in the day.)

The Corn/Isikoff book is, in many other respects, quite fine. But this gratuitous, evidence-free dig at the JFK research community required a correction.
I'm just hoping that Stormy says that #donnysmallhands likes golden showers.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

"Trump is NASH" -- and so is Mike Pompeo

So much has happened since last we spoke!

First, I'm glad I didn't make another public statement erring on the side of pessimism in the PA race. Congrats to Conor Lamb, who attained a razor-thin victory in a red district -- a victory that he could lose in the absentee vote count. There's still room for pessimism here.

I've been reading -- well, listening to -- the new Corn/Isikoff book Russian Roulette. One of the big revelations seems to be that Christopher Steele now seems to have less confidence in the "damp" section of his dossier than in the other material.

Of course, as far as Trump voters are concerned, the pee-pee portion is the only part that matters. Most people are too fucking stupid to follow allegations of money laundering and other financial wrongs. They can understand claims of sex and perversion.

The main sources for the pee-pee allegation were "Source E" -- a Russian-born personage on Team Trump -- and a worker at the hotel, which is owned by Mariott, an American corporation. Some months ago, as you will recall, there was a conservative campaign to convince the world that the Russian government itself provided this information to Steele, allegedly to help Hillary -- a weird scenario which would make sense only to an advanced thinker like Alex Jones. It sure as hell never made sense to me.

An anonymous informant wrote in to this humble blog and claimed that the Russian-born Trumpster was Boris Epshteyn. Is this claim true? I don't know, but no other candidate seems to fit. After this humble blog published this suggestion, it appeared elsewhere -- for example, in Seth Abramson's twitterstream. Epshteyn left the Trump administration for still-mysterious reasons in March of 2017, just as the "Source E" allegations started to take root. Epshteyn still stumps for Trump at every opportunity

My larger point is this. Since we do not know, and probably will never know, how Steele and his crew approached their sources, it is possible that the Steele operation was "made" by the FSB. Perhaps someone decided to toss a little disinfo into the works.

(Although Source E worked for Trump, I'm sure that he still had wires leading to the Russian government.)

Corn and Isikoff looked into the pee-pee claim and determined that Trump had stayed in that suite on that night, but went to bed late (due to a party) and had to rise early the next day. The tight chronology left little time for shennanigans. Of course, as we know, Trump sleeps little.

Note that Steele did get the time and place correct, which is no small matter.

Sometimes it is very instructive to take another look at material published a year ago. This old post on Epshteyn references yours truly, then takes the story further:
“Here’s where it gets tricky, but where this claim may help explain the confusing events of this past week. Six days ago, House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes let slip in an interview that one person currently in Donald Trump’s White House is under surveillance (link). Three days later someone fed Nunes some intel about surveillance of the Trump transition team which spooked him to the point that he ran to the White House and told Donald Trump about it. And now the end result of the Nunes controversy is tonight’s abrupt resignation of Boris Epshteyn.”

“If you start with the asserted but unproven the premise that Boris Epshteyn helped set up the “pee pee tape” incident which led to Russia having blackmail over Donald Trump, then you have to logically assume that Epshteyn has been some kind of Kremlin spy against Trump the entire time. If so, and if the U.S. intelligence committee had evidence to that effect, it would have led to a judge granting a FISA surveillance warrant against Epshteyn. When Nunes said a week ago that someone in the Trump White House is currently under surveillance, he would have been referring to Epshteyn. And if Nunes was subsequently fed intel revealing that Epshteyn was under surveillance because he was Kremlin operative spying on Trump the entire time, it would explain why Nunes flipped out and went running to Trump at his own career peril.”
What this underscores yet again is that Devin Nunes is the wrong man to be running this investigation. He himself is a ‘person of interest.’
Indeed! And he is moreso now than he was a year ago. I had forgotten about that Nunes slip, and I bet you had forgotten as well.

Speaking of the devil...

The response. Here's the Schiff response to the Republican report. The response is only 21 pages, and seems absolutely damning. Here are some of Schiff's suggested avenues of further investigation:
Bayrock Group: Founded by Tevfik Arif, Bayrock Group employed Felix Sater as Chief Operating Officer and was involved in several Trump-branded properties of interest to the Committee. The Committee should request documents from the company to help clarify Bayrock’s financial dealings, including with Russia, as well as Mr. Sater’s activities.

Estate of Peter Smith: The Committee must send a production letter to the estate of Peter Smith. The Committee has thus far only interviewed a small number of individuals tied to Mr. Smith’s effort to solicit assistance from actors on the dark web, including possibly Russian individuals, to acquire “missing” emails linked to Clinton, and has reason to believe that Mr. Smith was, in fact, in contact with the Trump campaign.

KLS Research LLC: The Committee should also send a letter to the LLC formed by Peter Smith to facilitate his operation to find and disseminate Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails.

Colt Ventures: As explained in Appendix B, the Committee should seek documents from Darren Blanton and his company Colt Ventures, which the Trump campaign reportedly contracted for “data management services” and is an investor in VizSense, a social-media company reported to have conducted work on behalf of the campaign and Michael Flynn.

VizSense Inc. and White Canvas Group: As explained in Appendix B, the Committee should also seek documents from VizSense Inc. and White Canvas Group, both of which are tied to Michael Flynn associate Jon Iadonisi. VizSense is reported to have conducted social-media work for the Trump campaign and Mr. Flynn’s firm, while White Canvas Group reportedly undertook Turkey-related work for Mr. Flynn.
Cendyn: Cendyn is a cloud computing company that hosted the Trump Organization and may be able to shed light on allegations that the Trump Organization and Russia-based Alfa Bank shared a data link that transmitted large volumes of data during the election. The Minority asks that the Committee send Cendyn a document production letter, to include a request for underlying data that can help the Committee evaluate these allegations.

Bridges LLC: Bridges LLC is a limited liability company reportedly begun by Paul Erickson and Maria Butina (see Appendix B) in South Dakota. Given Mr. Erickson and Ms. Butina’s attempt to facilitate a meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin through their connection to the National Rifle Association, we recommend seeking records relative to any donations made to the NRA during the campaign, in particular to determine whether foreign money was funneled to the organization to support the candidate Trump.
Schiff also wants to interview workers for the Ritz-Carlton. When you think about what Nunes and his cronies managed to avoid looking at, it's hard not to be stunned. We may fairly compare Nunes to a man who hikes the Appalachian Trail without noticing a single tree.

A word about Tillerson.
The Secretary of State and former head of Exxon was fired by Twitter. When Tillerson's aide revealed that fact (which the White House had tried to lie away), the aide was also fired. Classy!

Of course, the ever-loyal drinkers of Kool-Aid at Fox are proclaiming that Tillerson was axed as part of Trump's effort to "drain the swamp." Wow. Suddenly, Tillerson is the swamp? I thought Tillerson was an outsider. I thought he was picked by Trump.

Actually, according to Corn and Isikoff, Tillerson was picked by Putin.

It's pretty obvious to me that Tillerson was put into place because Moscow liked him, and yanked offstage because Moscow stopped liking him. Putin's antics -- particularly the attack in the UK -- had finally given Tillerson a bellyache. In other words: If you piss off Putin, you become the swamp.

"Drain the swamp" means "Kill all enemies of Mother Russia."

The important point that everyone is missing has to do with Tillerson's replacement, Mike Pompeo. Corn and Isikoff have strongly suggested that nobody gets into the Secretary of State position without Vladimir Satanovich's approval. Pompeo got the gig. Conclusion: A Russian stooge has been running CIA.

That's scary. Really scary.

Did you see Rex Tillerson's on-camera statement? The man looked shaken to his core. Honestly, I've never seen anything like it. Even Nixon looked more composed when he left office. Even that guy who blew his brains out on live TV back in the '70s looked less upset than Rex Tillerson. Did Tillerson act that way because he was fired so abruptly? Or is something else going on?

Trump is Nash. Perhaps what upset Tillerson so profoundly has something to do with this:
#BREAKING:.@PaulBegala says that a popular Russian TV Anchor COMPLAINED yesterday after #Tillerson blamed Russia for the #NerveAgent attack and that after his firing today, she said on live TV, "WE OWN #Trump".
"We own Trump" is an Americanized translation. The actual words, it seems, were "Trump is ours!"
Olga Skabeeva: "Yesterday, Tillerson supported Theresa May in her 'highly likely' [#Skripal poisoning] allegation. So Trump immediately fired him. Trump is ours!"
As we shall see, the use of this phrase is of no small significance. Let us now turn here:
Viktor Kamenev, a commentator for the influential Russian military journal, Voyennoye obozreniye, says that the visit to Washington by the three heads of Russia’s security services as well as a series of other events in Washington, Davos and Dubai prove that “Trump is again ours.”
The wording is important. As regular readers know, Russian intelligence uses the term nash -- "ours" -- to indicate that a double agent (or triple agent) bears ultimate loyalty to Russia. During the Cold War (I have been told), competing services picked up on this argot. Even a CIA counterintelligence officer might have used the phrase "He's nash" as a way of saying "He's with us."

I trust that my readers are intelligent enough to correct for bias when assessing the rest of the afore-linked article:
But Kamenev says, Trump “somehow was able to take under control the special services” in part by his alliance with Republicans in Congress like Representative Devon Nunes whose report “in fact reveals a conspiracy of FBI agents and the Justice Department against President Trump.” That report may lead to “a massive purge of the FBI, other US special services, and the Justice Department as well as a political earthquake in Congress.”

According to Kamenev, “the special services are the main instrument of American democracy; and if Trump masters them completely, then the days of the fake globalist press and of the Congress which has fallen under its sway are numbered.”

The Russian commentator says no one in Moscow should be misled by the statements of Michael Pompeo, the CIA director, that Russia interfered in the American elections. He is a player in Washington, “the first victim of any war is truth,” and what one needs to watch is not his words but his “hands and feet.”

Kamenev points out that the Washington visit of the three Russian security chiefs “took place after the Volker-Surkov summit in Dubai. A chance coincidence?” The Russian analyst doesn’t think so. Nor in the context of both these events is Trump’s snubbing of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at Davos.

“It is difficult to say how the fight of President Trump with the neo-cons and with the Congress standing behind them,” Kamenev says; “but the president has gone over into the attack.” That is why the Russian security chiefs were invited to Washington. Trump is showing that he feels free to do this regardless of what the other side says.

“For Russia,” he argues, “it is important that this war of the special services in America have an impact on the Ukrainian question.” The American neo-cons want a war in Ukraine. “Trump in contrast is not interested now in a military escalation in Ukraine: it can interfere with his suppression of those pursuing him. Therefore, now he is ours.”
These words are even more fascinating -- and frightening -- now that Pompeo has taken the Secretary of State position. Never forget the Corn/Isikoff revelation that Moscow picked the last Secretary of State. In my view, Moscow probably picked the new one as well.

Kamenev seems to have "insider" knowledge that Pompeo's criticisms of Russia have always been purely for show. Pompeo, too, is nash.

Speaking of the Corn/Isikoff book. This tweet asks a question that popped into my own cranium:
I learned something new from @Isikoff and @DavidCornDC on @NPR —When Comey informed Trump about the Dossier’s lured allegations, Trump immediately assumed it was an FBI shakedown—that Comey/FBI was threatening him w blackmail—now, why would an innocent man have that reaction?
An innocent man can't be blackmailed. An innocent man can't be shaken down. You can't have a guilty conscience without actual guilt. (Except maybe if you're Catholic.)

It's a bit like the Stormy Daniels business. Is anyone really so obtuse as to believe that Trump (or his lawyer) would pay to hush up an affair that didn't take place?
Hi! I've been following your weblog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and gie you
a shout out from Humble Tx! Just wanted to tsll you keep up
the good work!
While I love this comparison photo, for the sake of accuracy, close examination shows that the man is wearing an army uniform (note the shoulder insignia). Mueller was a marine.
Also worth noting that Trump (if I remember) said he DIDN’T stay in the presidential suite. So...
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Monday, March 12, 2018

Too pissed to think straight

You probably want, need, someone to cheer you up today. The Republicans on the House Intel Committee pulled off a propaganda coup, and the right has declared victory. As Charles Pierce put it, Sean Hannity has set the orgasmatron to infinity and stepped inside.

You no doubt want words of solace. Words to lift your spirit and inspire you for the next round of the fight. I understand your desire to read such words. Seriously: I do. But you'll have to seek optimism elsewhere; it's not in my nature.

Here's Palmer. Maybe that'll put a smile on your face. He thinks Nunes is going to jail.

Here's Kevin Drum. He's a little more realistic.

Here's Politicus. They accuse the Republicans of being divorced from reality. In one sense, this is true. In another sense, they are making reality.

Here's Scott Dworkin. A lot of people don't trust him these days, but when you're drowning in a sea of pessimism, you reach for whatever flotsam or jetsam keeps you afloat.
A Republican who works on the Hill just told me that Trump’s White House was involved with the ending of the House Russia probe. They also said the White House was involved with the “no collusion narrative” and the drafting of the memo. This is pure corruption.
To the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee—you are committing an act of treason by shutting down your probe & LYING saying you found “no collusion.” I hope every single one of you dirty rotten traitors spends the rest of your lives in prison—it’s where you all belong.
@SpeakerRyan-Remember when my group & others filed ethics complaints against your boy Devin Nunes? And then he “recused” himself from the probe? You lied to us & said he would stay recused. You’re a fraud & you committed treason. Can’t wait for you to lose in Nov. #RemoveRyan
Damn straight. The committee allowed people to flat out lie and refuse to answer questions. They refused without even plausibly claiming privilege. Those witnesses should be in jail.
Rick Wilson:
To imagine for even one moment that every intelligence agency in this nation is wrong and that Devin Nunes, super-staffer Derek Harvey and the other partisans are right about Putin and Trump is beyond ludicrous. Harvey, a refugee from the Trump national security council purge executed by H.R. McMaster and John Kelly, is now the lead agent in the coverup by Republican members of the House. Nunes, while claiming to have recused himself, has remained deeply involved at all time in the coverup.

House Intelligence is now officially an oxymoron. Nunes’ “investigation” has been an example of Washington at its worst, a pure exercise in protecting Donald Trump, and a low point for the Republican Party’s reputation as the party of national security. The committee refused to interview key players in the drama, failed to seek campaign, government, intelligence community and corporate records that would have led to places that Team Trump doesn’t want them to go.

In fact, this White House has refused to even recognize Putin’s global special warfare operations against us exist, much less to take a stand against them. Trump continues to behave toward Putin like a preacher caught in a whorehouse; cowed, compliant, and terrified of his prospective blackmailer. Putin’s ongoing attempts to divide and influence the American political system aren’t speculation, imagination, or some Soros-driven conspiracy. His anti-American propaganda campaign is still in full swing, and the only upside is he’s not murdering people here quite yet, though if I were Paul Manafort I’d cut the deal and get into witness protection now.
Charles Pierce:
Sit, Devin. Roll over. Play dead. Who’s a good dog?
Maybe he's a good dog because there are photos of him humping the wrong bitch. (I use that word only to maintain the canine metaphor.)

Me? know that bottle of opened wine you have lying around somewhere in the house? The one that you suspect has gone vinegary? The one that most people would consider undrinkable? You know: THAT bottle.

Right now, this night, THAT bottle is the only booze in the house. Maybe mixed with sugared water...
Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't appear.

Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to
say superb blog!
Relax. There are a lot of people cooperating with Mueller now. If there's collusion, Mueller is gonna find it.
I can guess what one note song the AM Hate Radio outlets will be playing this week while they ignore the Senate Intelligence Committee is still investigating. The 35% lost to reason supporting Trump will be more obnoxious than usual crowing the Great White Dope's innocence while bleating Hillary is the one who colluded with Russians.
The comments section can log you off if you take too long. However sometimes you can hit the back button and the comment may reappear. Always click copy before posting, especially if it is a long post.
Couldn't disagree more. This ending of the probe just confirms that it's always been a clown show. Schiff is preparing the minority report and once that's out, the majority report will be contradicted by both the minority report and Mueller. Also add in the story confirming Roger Stone did have multiple contacts with Julian Assange came out hours after the investigation closed.

I also think this is good because anything worthwhile from the investigation was probably just being sent directly to Trump anyway.

If they can advance the ball by shutting down a clown show investigation, then the battle is already lost.
My mistress testified that I'm faithful to my wife.

Meanwhile in Europe yesterday:

* according to the Estonian government, a Russian military aircraft violated its airspace on the way to Kaliningrad

* Nikolai Glushkov, associate of the late Boris Berezovsky, was found dead at his home in New Malden, London

(which BTW is one of the few areas outside of North Korea - perhaps the only area - to have a sizeable NK population)
Ok, I'll play. Neither Schiff nor Mueller will be successful. Why? Because the US democratic safeguards have been systematically eroded for decades by the GOP and criminal elements. Because Trump has sacked Tillerson and needs to start a war (Nth Korea, China or Iran, who cares). Maybe the US and the Brits go to war against Russia. With a war occurring (or at least a major conflict close to actual war) and financial markets in turmoil Trump has every reason to cancel the mid terms. Republicans gleefully fall in line. We'll see.
Espionage smeshmionage... what's going to take down Donald Trump is his penis. Josh Marshall notes that Stormy Daniel's first attorney, Keith Davidson, who negotiated the lousy $130K deal for Stormy, also was the same attorney who negotiated a lousy deal for Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. McDougal sold her Donald Trump sex story to the Enquirer (where it was shelved). Turns out Davidson specializes in cutting these crooked deals for rich guys.. Deals that silence the girls while cheating them.

And the word is getting out that Trump enjoys being humiliated during sex play.

Karen and Stormy can now sue Keith Davidson in open court, for fraudulently pretending to work in the best interests of his clients when he was actually perpetuating a fraud to deceive Karen and Stormy, in concert with Mike Cohen and Donald Trump.
Why Europe and the US are so afraid of Putin. Britain did their version of Obama's (cut it out) the other day. I bet he will react the same way he reacted to Obama. Seriously I don't think it's blackmail, they are genuinely afraid of him. He knows it.
Greetings, I do think your web site could possibly be having web browser compatibility issues.
When I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues.
I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
Apart from that, fantastic site!
@Anon 6.27 - Britgov is going to do more against Russia for sure. They will announce some measures tomorrow (already today here, Wednesday). It is likely to be provocative and escalatory stuff, not just an Obama-style "cut it out". Looking like an end to RT in London and an end to the BBC in Moscow. An admitted cyberattack has been floated. That's war, right there and then. Even without it, Kaliningrad and Estonia are looking like flashpoints. One plane shot down and it's also war.

The US midterms in November are an awfully long way off.

A hunch tells me there will be a North Korean angle to the row involving Russia, chemical weapons, or both.

The US blamed North Korea for the WannaCry attack which among other targets hit the British state health service. Is there more to come?

I know the New Malden area of South London where Nikolai Glushkov, close associate of the late Boris Berezovsky, was found dead on Monday. It's fairly rundown. It's not "leafy Surrey". It's not a slum district by any means (it's got a Waitrose!), but it's high-density and not the kind of area where a billionaire or even someone worth £100m would live, other things being equal - especially not in an ordinary terraced house like the one Glushkov apparently lived in. We're not talking about Eaton Square.

What the area is known for is a large Korean population, including I think the largest NK population outside NK. These are NK exiles, many in a precarious position because while they could get SK citizenship they'd then have to apply for visas they might not get. They are not officially communicant with the NK regime, but they are still regarded with suspicion by most SK people in the area. Obviously NK secret police have a presence.

Glushkov could have been "protected" by a Korean gang.

Gotta wonder whether the Berezovsky organisation might have set some kind of figurative "bomb" to go off before the Russian election. Berezovsky made an almost explicit call for war on one occasion. The "miracle" is that Russia-linked gangsters haven't yet had a big war in London (maybe they love the panelled courtrooms at the Chancery Division too much?) or indeed in Moscow.

Putin is strong.

I've said it before, but the most realistic way to undermine him would be to provoke gang warfare in Moscow. Which doesn't seem feasible (don't fuck with the ~KGB), so there isn't a realistic way to undermine him.

Magic is afoot............

A woman called Kayleigh McConnon who is believed to suffer from a contagious condition is reported to have disappeared last night from a hospital in Cheltenham, the town that houses the headquarters of GCHQ.

Reports have not identified the illness she suffers from.
For some are some "vote for Putin" videos: "I want a man like Putin" This is supposed to be satirical against Putin - seriously!! It looks more like an ad.

And here he is, singing "On Blueberry Hill"...He's the man!
Yes, b. Russia, China and North Korea have been acting in concert in the recent NK "peace initiative" with SK. It takes the heat out of the US moves towards open military conflict with NK while at the same time preserving China's political leverage using NK instability as a continuing regional threat. A win for China, Russia and NK. Don't forget, NK is still sending their labourers to Siberia in return for Russian hard cash. Team players, for sure.
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Saturday, March 10, 2018


I am sooooooooo jealous of this guy.

How wrong would it be to chuck the fight and just spend the rest of one's days contemplating the higher things in life? I wouldn't mind giving it all up. Maybe I could devote my time to reading about New Testament scholarship. Or watching porn. It's all good.

Hilariously, the world of Trump overlaps the world of porn but not the world of New Testament scholarship. I love Bill Maher's line: "Who are you going to trust -- the fake blonde with big tits? Or Stormy Daniels?"
There was 60 Minutes segment a few years ago about a monastery in Greece that had been there for hundreds of years. The monks spent their lives in prayer and meditation. When the Nazis took over Greece they reached an accommodation which allowed them to continue while not interacting with the Nazis. It seems to me that is not what religion is about. Becoming a New Testament scholar is a fine idea, but religion should encourage us to engage with the world, not escape from it. Tilting at windmills may ultimately be futile, but it is better than ignoring them.
Ignore political reality at your own risk. Being 'apolitical' seems attractive on the surface. When the NSDAP won a plurality (never a majority) in government, they muscled their way to unfettered power. After that, anyone (including ethnic Germans/Austrians) not on board with their vision for a 'City on the Hill' (in this case, to be called Welthauptstadt Germania) was brutally beaten to death or shot and tossed into a mass grave/ditch. And by comparison to the fiery inferno deaths, the vivisection deaths (at the hands of warped souls like Dr. Aribert Heim aka. Dr. Death), the suffocating and defecating naked deaths in the 'shower rooms' of the concentration camps, etc. Being beaten to death or shot into a ditch is comparatively merciful.

If we ignore the Trumpists, we risk a similar fate.

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Fuck Trump. Fuck Salvini. Fuck Le Pen. Fuck Alex Jones. Fuck Carl Benjamin (aka. Sargon of Akkad). Fuck Black Pigeon Speaks (whoever this anonymous NeoNazi fucker is). Fuck Milo Hanrahan (aka. Milo Yiannopoulos). Oh and Fuck Vlad Putin too.

These men are some of the most evil men to ever walk upon this Earth. And that's not hyperbole.
Okay, small-j joseph, I realize that the idea of New Testament scholarship might not be your own cup of tea. (Although, as you know, Jews have made important contributions to that field of study.) (Come to think of it, they started it.) I'm sure you understand that most scholars trying to dope out the "Who wrote the gospels?" question are not themselves religious. But who can resist the world's greatest literary puzzle?

Let's put that ambition to one side. Is there anything in the Talmud that would speak to a man who, having lost faith in his ability to do anything to improve a mad world, decides to spend his remaining years watching porn?

I'm visualizing a monastery in Greece where the monks, in their search for transcendent wisdom, tune into PornHub 24/7. If such an institution does not yet exist, perhaps we could get it going. You in...?
Actually I am quite interested in the origin and development of all religions. Although I am not a Karaite Jew, I think they are probably right about the origin of the Talmud (I don't think Karaites are direct descendants of the Sadducees but cam about in the 8th century c.e. An interesting Sunday question might be "What became of the Sadducees?) Anyway, there is an interesting Hasidic story addressing you question. A student goes to his Rabbi and says, "I have studied and studied and am thoroughly depressed and confused. I don't know why I'm here, I don't know what I'm doing and I don't even know it there is a God." The Rabbi answers, "I understand, when I was your age, I felt the same way. Come let us study together." Which tells us that wherever we are, someone has been there before, that togetherness is the key, and that study answers many questions. But study without real life application, Tikkun Olam, is meningless.
From the Department of Jack of All Trades.
Tried to read that NYT article but my handheld device kept scrolling to the bottom of the page. An apt metaphor for the New York Times, reporting on a lot of news, none of it well.
Joseph, I had a week of this last week. Took off for spring break (my wife works for the local school, so had off). Usually when I'm off I avoid facebook, blogs, news, etc. It's incredibly refreshing, frankly, and lowers my stress levels considerably. However, I don't think I would want to do it full time. I don't think that is being a responsible citizen. A few times a year though, I find it very helpful to shut out the world and focus on my interests and relationships (particularly in our current situation, I find I need to do this for a day or so almost every week).
Joseph,I wish you would allow yourself to take a break. Instead of compulsively reporting on every twitch and jiggle of the Trump story that does not deserve your talents, indulge a bigger-picture view.

Specifically, I would appreciate your majestic perspective and super-heroic research skills to provide some commentary regarding the upcoming 50th anniversaries of the assassinations of Dr. King and of RFK.

I am the only true anon; pay no attention to those imposters
Anon, you talked me into it. I'm doubling down on the fight against Trump. You've reminded me that this is THE fight of my life, and there is no excuse for shirking this duty for even one day.

(The best way to make me go blind is to tell me NOT to look directly into the sun.)
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Friday, March 09, 2018

Let's go deep into Prince, Nader and the UAE (plus a Stormy note)

Before proceeding to our main topic, let's take another look at the Stormy Daniels affair. To be specific, let's hear from her lawyer, the redoubtable Mike Avenatti, who projects an air of unnerving confidence:
Avenatti said he has further "substantial evidence and facts that were not included in the complaint" to back up his claims, though he said he was "not going to lay all of our cards out on the table" Friday.

"When that evidence and those facts come to light, the American people are going to conclude that attorney Cohen and the White House have not shot straight with them on this," he alleged.
He also said that Stormy would pay back the $130,000. How can she afford to do so and afford Avenatti's fee? One can only presume that whatever she's sitting on is big. (Yes, there's a porny pun to be made out of the previous sentence, but let's not go there.) What I don't understand is why she doesn't just spill the beans, agreement or no agreement. If what she reveals is really that humiliating for Trump, is he likely to sue?

Maybe she already has told all to 60 Minutes. Maybe Avenatti's suit is just a bid for publicity.

Michelle Goldberg just published an excellent analysis which argues that this "sex scandal" is actually a campaign finance scandal. I agree. But if it were not also a sex scandal, few would be paying attention. 

Prince. Erik Prince was recently exposed by the WP as an ad hoc Trump representative during that meeting in the Seychelles. Despite his denials, it's now clear that he was trying to set up a secret back channel with the Russians.

This claim was first made in an anonymous communication sent to the Post. Prince denied it -- under oath, no less -- but his denial now looks very questionable. Mueller, we are told, has learned more about this matter from George Nader -- a Lebanese mystery man whom MSNBC seems to have just now discovered, although I wrote a very full account of his comings and goings on January 23.

(In that earlier piece, I wrote that Nader must have played a role in the Seychelles episode. Nice to see one of my little theories confirmed!)

But: Who was the secret pen pal who first tipped off the Post?

I'm now leaning toward Mark Corallo, the former spokesperson for the Trump legal team. He quit after Trump (in Corallo's opinion) requested him to obstruct justice. Corallo was the one who revealed that Hope Hicks played an important role in covering up the truth about the Trump Tower meeting. An uncharitable soul might characterize that as obstruction of justice.

Corallo is, or at least was, a friend to Erik Prince. Mueller interviewed Corallo last month. We've been told that they discussed Hicks -- but did they also talk about Prince?

The important point is this: Prince -- like Jared -- set out to create a secret Trump-Russia communications channel, a channel designed to avoid American intelligence. This fact tells us all we need to know: Russiagate is not a hoax. Collusion is real. There is no innocent reason for a new, incoming administration to treat American intelligence as The Enemy. The establishment of a secret backchannel proves collusion.

The Prince connection becomes even more ominous when we consider last December's revelation that Erik Prince and Oliver North proposed setting up a private intelligence network with covert action capability. These "mercenary spooks" would be loyal only to Trump and unrestrained by congressional oversight.

In other words, Prince hopes to use the myth of the "the deep state" to create an even deeper state -- one which would be utterly lawless. (You may recall North's own contempt for the CIA, privately expressed during the Iran-Contra episode.)

Trump and his apologists frequently blame the CIA for the bad intel that led to the Iraq war. Wrong. Fake history. In that case, the intel was fixed around a predetermined policy, as the Downing Street memo proved. Moreover, the dubious intel came not from the CIA (which hesitated to go along with the Bush/Cheney program) but from several ad hoc groups set up within the Department of Defense, as is demonstrated by the story of "the Italian letter".

In essence, Prince wants Trump to recapitulate and to enlarge upon that great error.

History buffs might say that Prince seeks to recreate the Praetorian guard, who (as many forget) were secret policemen as well as bodyguards. I guess nobody ever told Trump what happened to Caligula.

Prince, the UAE and the slave trade. Keep Prince's ominous ambition in mind as I present the findings of an investigator we shall call F. She sent me a large mass of material a few days ago, before the latest twists in the Prince/Seychelles saga. (Since then, I've stumbled across much more -- too much for this post.)

Her message offers deep background on Erik Prince and the UAE -- the kind of material you don't see elsewhere. As you read, keep two facts in mind:

1. Erik Prince, formerly of Blackwater, has transferred his operation to the United Arab Emirates, where he created a secret army, similar to the one he hopes to bestow upon Trump. Prince's secret army protects an evil, corrupt regime which profits from slave labor.

2. George Nader, the smooth-talking facilitator now cooperating with Mueller, primarily works for the UAE.

F believes that the UAE and the illegal trade in weapons and slaves may have played a role in the under-investigated Niger incident. Personally, I'm not convinced by this notion -- yet -- but I'm willing to consider the idea. I'm sure of this much: Too few people are paying attention to the UAE's role in the slave trade, which is the most under-reported story of our time.

I have little doubt that Erik Prince knows all about what the UAE is doing in that part of the world.

The material below the asterisks was originally my correspondent and edited by me.

* * *

It's hard to see exactly where UAE fits into Mueller investigation at this point, but there are glimmers.

My personal take is that the Prince investigation will lead to a revelation that some of Trump's "best people" -- like Erik Prince, corrupt elements of the CIA, and perhaps Wilbur Ross -- are directly involved with weapons and human trafficking in Africa and the Arabian peninsula. The trail leads back to mercenary-style outsourced security contracts in Africa, money laundering, and UAE slave trading.

Without doubt, U.S. military operations in Niger are interfering with the internal affairs of some African nations, without Congressional consent.

Perhaps the U.S. or the UAE is underwriting private contractor security operations that are complicit in unauthorized use of U.S. drone intelligence. Perhaps corrupt security contractors have provided cover for trafficking routes for militants, weapons and humans in Africa.

I think a betrayal by security contractors or operators financed by UAE (and perhaps run by Erik Prince) occurred when Special Forces got too close to the truth in Niger. This is just my unsubstantiated conjecture at this point.

There are two U.S. drone bases in Niger. Questions:

1. Who is getting access to U.S. drone intelligence and military communications?

2. What is the full scope of the U.S. mission in Niger?

3. Is this tied into the Saudi and UAE investment in troops from 5 African Nations (see below)?

4. Who vets U.S. or UAE security contractors to be sure that these guns for hire aren't vulnerable to bribes, drugs, and other perks?

From the Washington Post:
Agadez, about 500 miles northeast of Niamey, is much closer to Saharan smuggling routes that Islamist militants use to transport arms and fighters from Libya to northern Mali. U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones have a range of about 1,150 miles.

The Air Force initially budgeted $50 million to build an airfield, living quarters and other facilities at the Agadez site, but the project has taken far longer than expected to finish. The cost has doubled to about $100 million, according to a report last year by the Intercept, an investigative media website.
I suspect trafficking between Libya and northern Mali is 2-way. Slave trading in refugees and migrants in Libya finances weapons and fighters. UAE has a finger in the slave trade in a couple of ways, including creating market for the labor of persons who have unpaid migrant debt.

Also see here
The gateway to Europe was left wide open. Instead of Gaddafi's functioning state, Libya became a country of vast ungoverned spaces awash with weapons.

Into the power vacuum militias have presented as the most effective deterrent to the refugee influx into Europe. Within this messy situation, a complex people trafficking system has emerged.

It is a money spinner: Sub-Saharan Africans pay fees to militiamen - the gatekeepers - but money can go missing and passage can be arbitrarily denied. Without authority or oversight, increasing numbers of Africans have become ensnared.

Powerful Libyan militias operate detention centres which hold fresh arrivals from sub-Sahara, including many from Nigeria, Chad and Niger.
Testimony from the International Organization for Migration suggests that the Libyan trade in human beings has become normalised to the point that people are being openly traded in public. CNN released footage in November apparently showing Africans being sold at auction for as little as $400.

Some arrivals in Libya are held in makeshift prisons controlled by militias and carry out forced labour. The militias will call the captives' family homes and demand a ransom. Africans are sold between prisons, when the demand arises, and are held without sufficient food in unsanitary conditions. If no ransom is forthcoming, the slaves can be killed.
* * *

Cannon here. Perhaps I should add an additional note which will explain the fuller implications of this last point. War and strife in the region has forced many unfortunates to make a horrifying choice. To escape starvation or slavery, they must take their chances as illegal immigrants.

The destabilization of sub-Saharan Africa created a massive surge in African migration to Europe -- in particular, to Italy. The eight-fold increase in migration led directly to the recent surge of fascism in Italy.

Similarly, the Syrian civil war -- fomented by the west -- led to an influx of Syrian refugees in Europe. (A handful came to America, thus laying the groundwork for that insane conspiracy theory involving Chobani yogurt.)

Syrian refugees, through no fault of their own, helped fuel anti-Islamic madness in Europe. Who benefited from this madness? Far right demagogues.

If we step back and take in the entire picture, it seems as though the right is deliberately creating a massive upsurge in illegal immigration. When more immigrants arrive in Europe and the U.S., the public is more likely to turn to the extreme right.
Joseph Cannon said: "If we step back and take in the entire picture, it seems as though the right is deliberately creating a massive upsurge in illegal immigration. When more immigrants arrive in Europe and the U.S., the public is more likely to turn to the extreme right."

Mr. Cannon, in a previous post, you talked about an international fascist movement that relies upon conspiracy theories (always the Jewish canards, the myth of Judeo-Bolshevism [which is a spectre that still haunts Europe and the US], the myth of cultural Bolshevism [today called Cultural Marxism], the classics, the original conspiracy theories, the Ur-conspiracies) yet are in actuality the conspiracy practitioners. You are absolutely, 100% correct in your suspicion that an international fascist movement exists. It is, in effect, a shadow multinational organization that seeks to usurp power in "the West" (United States, United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) and to conquer the rest of the world.

Matteo Salvini and his fascistische thugs prevailed with a plurality in Italy, Donald Trump (who was created by many shadowy men behind the throne) and his neofascists prevailed with a plurality here in America, etc. The problem of neofascism, resurgent fascism, is only going to get worse.

And by casting their enemies with terms such as "snowflakes", "SJWs (Social Justice Warriors, as if 'social justice' is bad)", "cultural Marxists", etc. the neofascists are winning and gaining ground in the wider culture.

It isn't just restricted to YouTube comments or hangout dens like 4Chan. Steam, a digital video game marketplace that relies entirely on DRM, is replete with fascists and their groups. Atomwaffen, a notorious and notable group (who achieved their notoriety through murder), is only one such NeoNazi group that was just recently removed from Steam. Removed after having been in place for YEARS.
I often see it claimed that the left must want illegal immigration because it provides them with a dependent voting block, although of course they are not able to vote. It makes far more sense, in a qui bono way, that it is favoured by the right. It provokes ethnic tension, divides the working class, provides more supply of labour to weaken wages, and all to be caused by the government subsidising the destruction of the far off parts of the world.
Whoever described the resulting cluster tuck post Iraq Murder Spree as "Arab Spring" should be taken behind the barn and shot. We played no small role in the misery of the Middle East and are due a large dose of karma.
I have heard the theory that Putin's strategy for intervening in Syria is to prolong and the war as much as possible so more and more refugees flee to the west which helps the far-right parties he promotes. It sounds far fetched, but we live in times where a reality TV host won the Presidency because of Putin's help, so the only crazy ones are those dismissing it out of hand.
Josh, I agree with everything you've said. I saw this day coming back in the 1990s, when a quasi-fascist right was emerging as the Only Permissible Alternative to the mainstream.

In the '90s, I kept running into people who really seemed to believe that one either accepted the mainstream "Dan Rather" view of political reality or one accepted the "Spotlight" or "Bill Cooper" version of reality. No third choice. It was if the 1960s had never happened. As if there had never been a hippie movement. Never been a Chomsky.

I realized then: If mainstream culture fails -- and in a number of respects it HAS failed -- young people will see no alternative except for fascism. Which will, of course, call itself ANTI-fascism.

And that's where we are today.

Mike: You're right, but with a few caveats. I think that the Arab Spring began well in Tunisia and Egypt. Those regimes needed to go. But even at the time of the first Egyptian rebellion, I had this queasy feeling that not all was as it seemed. And I got to thinking Michael Ledeen's clever way of repackaging American/Israeli imperialism in the region as a "fight for democracy."

That said, I'm now rethinking much of what I said then. I still think that Obama-era policy in Syria was disastrous, because there simply was no democratic alternative to Assad, and because the civil war was just too brutal and had to end. But that was an issue where the Alt Right more or less felt as I felt. Which kind of makes me believe that I should rethink everything.

As for karma -- look, from a karmic perspective, what happened to America in 2016 can be justified as simple payback for what we did to Chile in the early 1970s. (To cite but one of many examples.) But as I've said in previous posts, I can't think in karmic terms right now. I LIVE here. I live in Donald Fucking Trump's America. And I feel obligated to change that situation, using every legal means at my disposal. You may say: "Well, karmically speaking, it's your turn to eat shit." But I refuse.
Let's look on the bright side: at least Yulia Skripal and her dad hadn't taken a recent trip to Stonehenge. Removing the megaliths to Porton Down for examination by chemical warfare specialists would irk those who respect the ancient sites of these islands; and army tanks would spoil the site awfully.
The agreement that Stormy signed requires she pay a million dollars to Trump every time she speaks about their alleged affair. What is getting somewhat lost in all of this, Trump's attorney early on stated the affair never happened and that Stormy was lying, that in and of itself could be grounds to nullify the agreement. It was only after that statement had been made that Stormy's attorney vowed to have the agreement nullified.
If instead Stormy's attorney wants the agreement null and void because Trump never signed it, that may not work because the purpose of the agreement was to keep the alleged affair hidden from the public, so even if Trump had signed it, nobody would have been able to see his signature, the act of showing that Trump never signed it nullifies Trump having to sign it. I hope Stormy's attorney sticks to Trump's attorney calling Stormy a liar since that is the real grounds for nullification of the lawsuit, moreso than the lack of Trump's signature, in my opinion anyways.
Joseph, Today's state of affairs is a direct result of Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton had the rustbelt backing her in 2008. When the Media, Soros and the Chicago Mafia or whatever they are called decided to back Obama, the ensuing 8 years showed Obama to be obtuse about helping the rust belt states when it came to saving their homes.
The combination of the bitter midwestern states clinging to their guns and religion comment that Obama made before Obama was elected, followed by his administrations high brow attitude towards the midwest in general caused an exodus of Democrat Moderates to Trump in 2016.
Sure Obama was able to give Hillary Clinton progressive support in 2016, but Hillary Clinton lost her own Moderate base at the same time, more than nullifying the Obama push. People keep focusing on the Mexico Wall, there is a bigger wall in the midwest that won't give up on Trump as long as Trump connects with them.
The Russia Investigation could backfire on Democrats. Trump should have never been allowed to lie about Hillary Clinton which he did every time he called her a criminal without a disclaimer being inserted at the end of the Trump tirade. that one act alone would have reminded the entire country that Trump was basically a liar, the ultimate fake newser. If Trump's IRS income tax filings are not made public, then the Russia Investigation will miss the mark while creating a new wall along the rust belt.
The Independent (owned by billionaire Russian oligarch Evgeny Lebedev, but still, a "quality" British newspaper):

"one UK Government minister has revealed Britain will be discussing the (Skripal) case with its Nato allies".

If Britgov invokes NATO's Article 5, we could be in very deep shit here. That article has only been invoked once before - by the US in 2011.

The EU has a similar clause of "mutual defence" - Article 42(7) of the Lisbon Treaty. As far as I know, that too has only been invoked once, by France after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in 2015.
Don Lemon interviewed an attorney who has represented Donald Trump in the past, and they discussed the Stormy Daniels situation. The lawyer said that the absence of Trump's signature on the contract was a non-issue... Said that it's been long accepted in the courts that taking the money demonstrates that the party has accepted the contract. Stormy can't have it both ways. You can't take the $130,000 and then state that there's no contract.

But the real issue here is that Trump is using this contract to violate federal election laws and deceive the voting public. There's not a chance that Trump will ever receive a cent from Stormy being forced to pay monetary penalties for revealing this fraud.

On another note, Stormy is going to be a lousy spokesperson for the "Me Too" movement. She was abusive to her former husband. She physically assaulted him for not doing her laundry properly.
See "Weapons Of Mass Migration", Kelly M. Greenhill, Cornell Press:

"This "coercion by punishment" strategy can be effected in two ways: the first relies on straightforward threats to overwhelm a target's capacity to accommodate a refugee or migrant influx; the second, on a kind of norms-enhanced political blackmail that exploits the existence of legal and normative commitments to those fleeing violence, persecution, or privation."

If you google it there is a 30 page PDF summary of the book also
Yes, please do update your thinking on Syria.
Syria? It is said that chemical weapons are a poor country's nuclear bomb... weapons to be used as a last resort when one's back is against the wall. Then why is it that chemical weapons attacks have only occurred in Syria, when Assad's forces and allies have the upper hand?
What a shame that Consortium News, Info Clearinghouse and Global Research have been banished from the blogroll, but I suppose they publish too much Russiagate skeptical material.

We have always been at war with Eurasia.

And we will be long after the clown has been retired.

Also, about Felix Sater...maybe not an agent of V. Satanovich so much after all?
Sater is exactly what I said he was when I first wrote about him. He ratted out his Al Qaeda buddies to avoid going to prison. No other reason. The Bureau had him by the balls. The fact is that he learned all that stuff because he worked for the worst of all Russian gangsters -- the same guy who probably supplies Epstein with girls, and who made him rich.
And by the way, viowa -- your reference to Orwell falls apart. Orwell risked his life fighting fascism. YOU, it seem would rather we ignore present-day fascism -- which we may now call Duginsim, and which seems to make Russia its home country.
Last word, viowa. I would compare you to those Americans in 1939 who decried the idea of American involvement in the European war, on the grounds that WWI was some sort of evil capitalist plot (which it wasn't).
Sorry, I thought Felix was part of the whole seven degrees of Putin elected Trump story..

Anyway - you know who else risked his life fighting fascism? Vladimir Spirdonovich Putin.

Volunteered for the front, wounded, highly decorated - just saying..

But seriously, if you are looking for the home country of present-day fascism then just Google image search "Azov Battalion"

We are of course now sending those clowns Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Just in time for the World Cup.

P.S. Robert Parry RIP

I have been thinking about the world cup. Russian state TV was accusing Britain of trumping this whole thing up to distract from Russia hosting the world cup, a good opportunity to cause trouble for Russia and so on. That could conceivably be a coded reference to something else. Christopher Steele's first job after MI6, before Orbis, was working for the FA, trying to have the World cup hosted in England. Obviously he failed and Russia won, and he accused Russia of using bribery to win. Which, with FIFA, is absolutely certainly true. And we have the accusation that Skripal was back to work for Steele on the dossier, and that they had known each other since Steele was under diplomatic cover in Russia while Skripal was still a double agent.
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Thursday, March 08, 2018

Did Donnie knock up Stormy? (Updated -- another porn star!)

The Trump scandals are very real, and they do wound -- but the wounds are never mortal. Liberals and moderates have to change that situation soon, because right now (and this is something MSNBC won't tell you) the Republicans are posed to gain seats in the Senate. The latest Marist poll indicates that Trump's number is rising.

These facts are unmentionable on the popular Democratic websites, due to the culture of "enforced optimism." Which I hate.

The economy explains why Republicans should feel some confidence. It all comes down to the infuriating fact that Republicans are allowed to run up huge deficits and Dems are not. As Lloyd Bentsen said in his '88 debate, "You know, if you let me write $200 billion worth of hot checks every year, I could give you an illusion of prosperity too."

That said, let's not overdo the pessimism. Indicators suggest that a new round of scandals might actually stake the vampire.

I finally caught up with the Lawrence O'Donnell interview with Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels. O'Donnell brought up the fact that the "hush" agreement covered not just incriminating photos but also "paternity" information. Frankly, the segment seemed rehearsed -- as though Avenatti knew that O'Donnell would drop the P-bomb, and O'Donnell knew that Avenatti would promise juicy revelations once his client was freed to speak her mind.

Stormy Daniels has one child born in 2011, not fathered by Trump. Presumably. (That said, I don't know who the actual father is. The existence of that child indicates that the biological clock ticked as loudly for Stormy as it does for other women.) If, on an earlier occasion, Trump conceived a child with Stormy Daniels, it is fair to speculate that she had an abortion, and that Trump paid for it.

And that would be the one thing that Trump's evangelical voters would never tolerate.

The abortion theory is making the Twitter rounds as we speak. To state the obvious, it is neither proven nor probable. Frankly, I'm not even sure whether one should use the word "rumor" or "theory." Whatever you choose to call it, the idea does make a certain sense.

It explains why the strange case of Stormy Daniels seems to bother Trump more than any other fling or accusation has bothered him. It explains why Melania (who, says Michael Wolff, accepts her husband's wandering nature) seems more chuffed by the Stormy Daniels affair than by any other allegation. It explains why previous leaks about the affair included the detail that Trump went in for unprotected sex. It may even explain Trump's bizarre "rage reaction" to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the most loyal flack any political crook ever had. The poor woman's doing the best she can with what she has.

I once knew a former $3000-a-night escort. Lovely woman, within and without. At the time I knew her, she struggled with her deep and conflicted feelings about her abortion. Those conversations forced me to realize that we (and by "we," I'm talking mostly about men, though not only about men) tend to think about our culture's "sex goddesses" without ever considering nature's intended purpose for sex. When we think of these women, we think of sex divorced from reproduction.

This is a hoary problem. (No puns, please.) In the 19th century, a French aristo might spend decades meandering among the demimondaines without worrying about how many "accidents" were handled via infanticide, which was surprisingly common in that era. In modern times, we tend to presume that a woman famed for her sexuality must perpetually be on the pill -- either that, or she has undergone tubal ligation.

But this is not necessarily the case, is it?

There are two major arguments against the theory that Trumpy knocked up Stormy. First, she did not hint at such an outcome in her In Touch interview, which she gave before signing the NDA. Second, an alleged billionaire presidential candidate desperate to cover up a freakin' abortion really should have offered more than $130,000. Or to put it another way: Stormy should have demanded more.

(Come to think of it: Why didn't the magazine publish that interview before the election? Was there another pay-off supposedly handled by Michael Cohen's on-paper "corporation"? Paging Mr. Mueller...!)

We should mention the other Trump sex story to rain down on us today. If you're looking for something as, er, juicy as the Steele dossier, urine for a treat:
The Act was no ordinary nightclub. Since March, it had been the target of undercover surveillance by the Nevada Gaming Con­trol Board and investigators for the club’s landlord — the Palazzo, which was owned by GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson — after complaints about its performances. The club featured seminude women performing simulated sex acts of bestiality and grotesque sadomasochism — skits that a few months later would prompt a Nevada state judge to issue an injunction barring any more of its “lewd” and “offensive” performances. Among the club’s regular acts cited by the judge was one called “Hot for Teacher,” in which naked college girls simulate urinating on a professor. In another act, two women disrobe and then “one female stands over the other female and simulates urinating while the other female catches the urine in two wine glasses.” (The Act shut down after the judge’s ruling. There is no public record of which skits were performed the night Trump was present.)

As the Act’s scantily clad dancers gyrated in front of them late that night, Emin, Goldstone, Culpo and the rest toasted Trump’s birthday. (He had turned 67 the day before.) Trump remained focused on Emin and their future partnership. “When it comes to doing business in Russia, it’s very hard to find people in there you can trust,” he told the young pop singer, according to Goldstone. “We’re going to have a great relationship.”
I give the final word to Kurt Eichenwald:
As I watch their hypocrisy & their greater dedication to politics than Christianity, I am truly - and I mean truly - beginning to wonder if folks like @Franklin_Graham, @JerryFalwellJr, @GovMikeHuckabee and others actually believe in the religion at all, or just use it for gain.
Added note: I've been sitting on a story about Erik Prince for days now -- since before the latest revelations. Other revelations will probably hit before tomorrow's sunrise. I'm going to let this one marinate a while longer.

Update. And this is a pretty important update. Some tweets speak for themselves...
Something I'd love to see a reporter ask Trump Org about: 1) Cohen formed EC LLC on Oct 17 2016 2) The contract provided for EC LLC to pay Stormy $130K by Oct 27 2016 3) Between Oct 17 & Oct 25, the Trump campaign made payments to Trump Org properties that add up to $129,999.72.
That lovely bit of digging was done by DC attorney Susan Simpson. One of her readers notes that Trump's last rally in Vegas was in June.

Also, see the latest from TPM. Basically, the hush agreement mentions four people who saw naughty Trumpian photos before the agreement was signed (if I understand the sitch aright).
So who are these people?

Gina Rodriguez is herself a former porn actress who became an entertainment talent rep after leaving the business and has repped numerous people involved in scandals, people who became famous for odd or weird reasons as well as people in the porn business. One of her highest-profile clients was the so-called “Octomom”, Natalie Suleman. Here’s a write up of her in the Times from a few years ago. She has a fascinating story. Rodriguez is also Stormy’s rep.

Keith Munyan is a celebrity photographer in Hollywood who has at least been involved in shooting some of Stormy’s calendars and other photo shoots. Notably, he shot Stormy’s 2007 Calendar. According to the lawsuit, that was when Daniels and Trump were still having an affair. It’s not clear to me who Mike Moshey (?) or Angel Ryan are.
The handwriting suggests that the name could be Moshey or Moshely. However, after checking Google and Pipl, I can't find anything to indicate the existence of a Michael Moshey or Moshely. (Pipl does list a couple of people named "Michael Moshey" but their listed relatives indicate that the real name is Mosley.)

Angel Ryan turns out to be another adult actress named Jessica Drake. She has independently accused Trump of harassment. Her lawyer, the inevitable Gloria Allred, confirms that Ryan and Drake are one and the same.

From the WP, October of 2016:
An adult film actress on Saturday accused Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or someone acting on his behalf of offering her $10,000 and the use of his private jet if she would agree to come alone to his hotel suite at night after a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in 2006.

Jessica Drake, who spoke at a news conference alongside attorney Gloria Allred, said she met Trump while working a booth at the tournament for her employer, Wicked Pictures. Trump then invited her and two other women to his suite in the evening, where, while wearing pajamas, Drake said he kissed the women each in turn without their permission.

According to Drake, after the group left his suite, a man called and asked her to return alone. When she declined, Drake said she was then called by Trump, who asked to her to come to his suite for dinner and a party. “What do you want?” she said he asked. “How much?”

Later, she said Trump, or a man calling on his behalf, called again, this time with the monetary offer, which she said she declined.
So why would Stormy show a "secret" photo (which may well depict the Trumpian junk) to Jessica? I dunno. Perhaps for the same reason people go to zoos: Curiosity. You never know when the orangutan is going to start playing with himself.
You seem to think Evangelical Christians have a limit to their hypocrisy, like any mental aberration no limits. Trump could display the aborted fetus in the middle of 5th Ave and Christians would still worship him as the Second Coming.

About the Pollyannas predicting the Blue Tsunami, republican rat fuckers giving lazy Democrats an excuse to stay home this November.

Speaking of the "D.C. Madam" (Heidi Fliess?) did any of her clients ever suffer exposure?
Erik Prince is spelled with a K...

And it's MosNey, who was her boyfriend, aka Mike Moz.
I'm sure she wouldn't want to talk about an abortion.

What if the paternity information is about someone else? What if Stormy is Trump's daughter? Crazy idea, but who knows? She reminds him of the other one.

As for scandals, he's innoculated. What hasn't killed him has made him invincible. He could be her dad and have impregnated her and people would just say "Well, that's Trump".

Regarding the Russian state's alleged carrying out of a chemical weapons attack in Salisbury, British prime minister Theresa May, according to the Evening Standard, has told cabinet colleagues to prepare options for a powerful response across military, diplomatic and economic fronts.

I am not sure it would have a positive effect on morale in the British armed services if such a response were to be of a kind that Russian state publicists could laugh off as Monty Pythonesque, as they recently did the British defence secretary's statement about Russian military interest in Britain's fuel pipelines.

It could be much more serious this time.

It could mean putting more military forces in eastern Europe, perhaps creating a supposedly "defensive" line along the eastern borders of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Since that would threaten to cut off Kaliningrad from the rest of Russia, at least by land, it would not be merely "defensive" and an attempt to do this would certainly be met with a Russian military response.

I don't know what may happen before Theresa May makes her announcement. But whoever is pushing for war would eagerly welcome an "event" involving one of the three Baltic states, or in Poland or Kaliningrad. It was a disagreement over the relocation of a statue in the Estonian capital of Tallinn in 2007 that is thought to have provoked a massive and successful Russian cyber attack on that country. Yes - a fucking statue.

If something like that happens again now, you can kiss your arse goodbye.

The Evening Standard, by the way, is the London evening paper which often gets stories first and is in a sense Britain's most important newspaper. Ironically it's Russian owned! The guy who owns it, Evgeny Lebedev, is the son of Alexander Lebedev, the billionaire "oligarch" who was a senior KGB (SVR) officer in London in the early 1990s.

Evgeny is a pal of British foreign secretary and former London mayor Boris Johnson, and he's also the employer of the editor of the Evening Standard, former chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne. (Johnson and Osborne, like David Cameron, are former Bullingdon Club boys.)

And to think that for decades the Tories told the left that they had "snow on their boots" and they should "get back to Russia"!
Let's imagine the British government accuses Russia of carrying out an attack using a military weapon, a nerve agent, in Salisbury, a few hundred yards from Britain's tallest cathedral spire and a few miles from Stonehenge.

The NATO treaty says an attack on one is considered as an attack on all, right?

What will the Trump government's position be?

It's noteworthy that Trump has yet to tweet. Is he "torn"? I doubt that with his fat arse and his teenage-bully facial expressions (let alone the US armed forces) he will be in a position where he can even try to "AMOG" Putin.

The same question could of course be asked of the German and French governments. Emmanuel Macron will probably say the British government is talking shit! I'm not so sure about Angela Merkel, but then who knows whether she will actually get appointed as non-caretaker chancellor on 14 March? There's many a slip twixt cup and lip.
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