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Saturday, March 17, 2018


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 complained 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 Bureau handles terrorism or organized crime. Trump decided that the FBI was corrupt only after he realized that the FBI might learn his secrets.

Right now, the right is calling McCabe a tool of the so-called "deep state." The "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

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.
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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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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

So much is going on! Stone, Nunberg, Russian escorts, Q-anon, the poisoned spy in the UK...

We have a lot of catching up to do, don't we? Let's go as rapidly as possible -- and when possible, let's try to add something new to the stories that everyone is talking about.

Why Nunberg matters. A day after the Nunberg meltdown, many voiced regrets: Should the media have given so much airtime to such an obviously troubled man?

Yes. It's clear now that what bothered Nunberg was the prospect of aiding the investigation of his friend and mentor Roger Stone. It is clear now that Stone lied -- at least to some extent -- about his dealings with Assange. I strongly suspect that it will be established that Stone had foreknowledge of the DNC hack.

If and when that comes out, Trump's only defense will be: "Roger who?"

Everyone knows that Stone and Trump have been bestest buds for ages. Indeed, Stone may be Trump's truest friend. However, at the beginning of the campaign, Trump and Stone staged a loud tiff, and Stone officially severed ties with the Trump effort. Few believe that this row was what it seemed.

One of Stone's rules: "Always use a cut-out."

Stone, in this instance, may have functioned as his own cut-out. The staged falling-out was meant to allow Stone to scurry about doing dirty tricks -- and if ever he was discovered, the mud splattered on Stone's bespoke suit would not have sullied Trump. Because they had fallen out. Because Stone was a lone wolf and an independent operator. Supposedly.

Get it?

However: Nunberg's communications with Stone could establish that Stone was part of Team Trump all along.

I've never been among those who dismissed Stone as a mere showboater and talk-talk-talker. Neither would I necessarily take the man at his word when he claims that he has never broken the law.

Nunberg complained that Trump (an "idiot") has screwed over Roger Stone. Nunberg would not have said such a thing unless he had previously heard that very claim, or something like it, made by Stone himself. Although Stone issued a response to Nunberg, he did not deny this specific Nunberg remark.

Perhaps Stone really has broken with Trump by this point. If so, the break must have occurred recently, well after Trump took the oath of office.

Perhaps Stone now wants to flip.

Stone is close to Alex Jones. If Stone flips, how will Little Alex cover the event?

Another question: How can we be certain that Nunberg will comply with the subpoena fully? I could hand over a list of emails from 2015 and say it was complete, but only my email provider would know for sure. In the case of Hillary Clinton's email server, the FBI examined the physical devices.

Nastya Rybka. I'm so glad that people are starting to take this story seriously. For the latest, go here and here and here.

The 25-minute video embedded above -- a superb, fast-moving production with very good subtitles -- is mandatory viewing. Your host is Alexei Navalny, Russian lawyer, activist, and leader of the Progress Party. The video has been officially forbidden in Russia.

As you watch, recall that Paul Manafort did what he did because he was trying to "get whole" with Oleg Deripaska. We still don't know exactly how Manafort got in so deep with Deripaska. One of the stories I've heard is that Deripaska involved himself in a business venture at Manafort's urging, and that Manafort got the blame when the whole thing went bust. (I don't know if this is true; just passing it along.)

Let's try to take this story further.

First and foremost: Allow me to make an obvious and discomforting observation that everyone else has avoided. Rybka looks young. She could pass for underaged now. It is possible that, not long ago, she could have successfully claimed to be fifteen, fourteen -- hell, maybe as young as twelve -- even though she was actually older.

By her own admission, she was not just an escort: She was bribery-bait. It's easy to visualize a situation in which she seduces a VIP who, on the following morning, gets the bad news: "You know that girl you were with last night? She may have told you that she was nineteen, but she's really fourteen. We have video."

"Rybka" is a nomme-de-l'amour; the word means "little fish." The choice of this pseudonym may offer a clue. If you've read your Tacitus, you may recall that the Emperor Tiberius owned a pleasure palace, where he kept a beautiful swimming pool. This pool came stocked with "little fishes" -- children required to service the emperor and his guests.

So I think Rybka's job was to play younger than she really was. She would seem persuasively underaged when it came time to strike fear into a politician's heart.

The elements outlined in the above video -- Russians, gangsters, yachts, underaged prostitutes, kompromat -- have all appeared in previous Cannonfire stories. You will recall this bit, quoted from a book called Deep Capture:
One of Bayrock’s co-founders was Tevfik Arif. In 2011, Arif was arrested in Turkey after Turkish commandos raided a party that Arif was holding on a yacht that had once belonged to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey’s founding president. Arif, a native of Kazakhstan, was arrested along with a small harem of prostitutes and some unnamed government officials from Central Asia. (It is unclear why the commandos raided the yacht; the media has reported that Arif was charged only with illegally hiring prostitutes, a crime that does not usually result in commando raids).
Arif and Trump are connected. This fact has been established beyond rational debate.

To the above quotation, I added these words:
As we've seen below, the Israeli press reported that the prostitutes were underaged girls from Russia, who were being used to acquire blackmail on VIPs; they were working for Arif. This ties in with what we know about Mogilevich, who is said to run a large-scale prostitution ring, and who obtains kompromat on important people around the world.

It also inevitably reminds us of Trump's old pal Jeffrey Epstein, who also surrounded himself with underaged Russian girls. According to Virginia Roberts, these girls were also used to acquire kompromat on VIPs.

Since the source of Epstein's money remains mysterious, it is fair to speculate as to whether he has had financial dealings with Mogilevich's criminal empire. For all of his personal failings, Epstein is a brilliant man -- and the same can be said of Mogilevich. The two men would seem a natural fit for each other.
Now let's explore some very dangerous territory.

There is a certain extremely pro-Trump congressman whose disruptive tactics have made him despised by all Democrats. I won't mention his name here, but you should be able to guess. (Please: Let's have discretion in the comments.)

This congressman has made a hefty (for him) personal investment in a certain bibulous business located in his home state. For a brief period, some reporters looked into the possibility that this business had Russian ties -- an investigative avenue which turned out to be a blind alley.

However: A female employee of said bibulous business brought suit when she was asked to work a party on a large white yacht belonging to the business owner, a successful lawyer. What bothered this employee was the presence of prostitutes brought in to service the "VIPs" on board that yacht on that night.

The party occurred in San Francisco Bay. The employee (who is attractive) spent that night in fear that she might be taken for one of the prostitutes. (It wasn't as if she could simply walk off.)

She also said that some of the prostitutes clearly appeared to be underaged. My memory may be playing tricks here, but I recall that she said that these girls were of Eastern European origin.

I do not know how the lawsuit was adjudicated. The employee moved on to another job.

I looked (a bit) into the yacht. It's a huge damned boat. Too huge, I should think, to be owned by a lawyer, even a very successful lawyer. To put things into perspective, it's substantially larger than the ship featured in the video embedded above -- a ship which Russian magnate Oleg Deripaska considered his home away from home.

(The yacht that I'm talking about has nothing to do with the yacht owned by Attaturk, which is a much older vessel called the MV Savarona. After the prostitution scandal, that ship is now back in the hands of the Turkish government, and has served the needs of Prime Minister Erdogan.)

Although the party took place in the San Francisco area, the yacht is often found in the Mediterranean.

Was the much-despised congressman aboard that yacht? Well, he had invested heavily in the afore-mentioned bibulous business, so his presence at the party as a "VIP" certainly seems possible. The theory that this congress-critter opened himself up to kompromat would explain a lot.

Was our "little fish" present on that vessel? Was she previously a visitor to the Savarona? If not, does she know any of the girls who worked

(Again: I ask for discretion in the comments. Mentioning names may prove counter-productive, for reasons that should be obvious after a moment's thought.)

Q-anon (sometimes called Qanon). Not long ago, I spent a little time reading the cryptic claims made by Q or Q-anon, the source of the "Storm" conspiracy theory. All in all, this "Storm" nonsense is the most obvious, inane, over-the-top claptrap since the heyday of Milton "Bill" Cooper. The Q communications were designed for redneck researchers who will believe only what they want to believe, and who couldn't care less about evidence. As you might have guessed, there are the obligatory invocations of Gawd and Jayzuss Crass in every Q text.

The wording of these messages strikes me as a little "off." I suspect that there is more than one Q, and that the writers are not native English speakers. Russians? Perhaps -- but I lean toward the theory that the authors are German.

Consider the pseudonym: Q.

In New Testament studies, "Q" is used to represent the author of a now-lost document presumed to have served as a source for the synoptic gospels. The "Q theory" originated a little more than a century ago, when Germany led the field of historical research into the Bible. "Q" comes the German Quelle, which means "source."

And now we have another Q who claims to be the ultimate source for dirt on the Great Clinton Conspiracy. Does this Q also refer to the word Quelle?

The culprits may hail from the German right.

When "The Storm" first came to my attention, I wrote a post discussing my suspicion that a notorious forger and conspiracy-monger named "Gregory Douglas" may be involved. His real name seems to be Peter Stahl, and he definitely seems to be the kind of guy who thinks that the wrong side won World War II. As I said on a previous occasion: "These people live in a world best described as 'The Blacklist with brown shirts.'"

The poisoned spy case. Our UK correspondent b has covered this astonishing story in the comments. I should have written a post about this matter yesterday. In case you came in late, here are some basic facts via The Guardian:
The former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was deliberately poisoned with a nerve agent in a case that is now being treated as attempted murder, the police counter-terrorism chief has said.

Scotland Yard assistant chief commissioner Mark Rowley said the police officer who was first to the spot where Skripal was found in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon was “seriously ill” in hospital. His condition had deteriorated, Rowley said, adding: “Wiltshire police are providing full support to his family.”

Describing the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia, as a major incident, Rowley said scientists had identified the substance used. He refused to reveal what the specific poison was.
It appears to be a nerve toxin, like sarin.
An unidentified man and a woman spotted strolling in the alleyway close to the bench where Skripal was poisoned are likely to be of intense police interest. The woman has blond hair and was holding a large scarlet bag. CCTV captured them around the time Skripal collapsed.

The man appears much thinner than Skripal, who was recorded on CCTV on 27 February, buying milk and lottery scratchcards from a local shop, Bargain Stop.
From the NYT:
In 2006, a Russian court convicted Mr. Skripal, a former colonel in Russia’s military intelligence, of selling secrets to the British. In 2010, he was released from prison and sent to Britain as part of an exchange of imprisoned spies.
From b:
Skripal's family deny he was ever a British asset. They must surely have a view on who jacketed him as one and why.

It seems to be a risky job, being a member of Mr Skripal's family.

"Col Skripal last called his mother, who is very ill, two weeks ago. He reportedly sounded optimistic, though members family say he was very vigilant all the time because after the 2010 spy swap, he believed the Russian special services could come after him at any time."

Why is his address available at then?
More from b:
The British media are unlikely to be able to keep to the line that the weapon used against Skripal and his daughter was Fentanyl, the strong synthetic opiate. I imagine a D Notice has been sent out to stop unwanted speculation about what weapon was used, but still, the Fentanyl line is unlikely to hold. You don't need guys in chemical warfare and radiation suits, complete with gas masks over their faces and oxygen tanks on their backs (as the photographs show) for that. Fentanyl is handled by nurses every day.

This could have been a chemical weapon, or it could have been polonium. Just think of the propaganda effect of polonium.

MI6 have taken a major hit. If they can't recruit foreign sources, they are fucked. Never mind that they can tell the British mainstream audience that the guy was a "Russian former spy" etc., which works well with the 90% of the population who can only "take away" one or two phrases from any news item - and in this case the main words they will hear are "Russian" and "spy".

A far more important market for MI6 is comprised of potential and existing recruits from foreign countries. The message to them is that MI6 either could not or would not, and in any case DID not, protect one of its own informants - so why the fuck should any foreigner want to work for the bastards? This is going to play extremely badly among non-British men and women over the world who work for MI6 or who might work for MI6, who dream of the day when things will get too hot for them and their ultra-trustworthy handlers will sort them out a house in the Home Counties and, if they're important enough, a place at a private boarding school and then at Oxford and Cambridge for their brat.
I was right: British police have now revealed that the weapon used in Salisbury was a nerve agent. As far as I know, they have not been any more specific than that.

I doubt it is a coincidence that the announcement came only hours after the US government stated that the murder of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un's brother in Malaysia was also effected using a nerve agent, specified in that case as VX.

VX, by the way, was a British invention.

I wouldn't be surprised if a North Korean connection develops in connection with Salibury, but we shall see.

By having the British media refer to the "Russian spy case" etc., MI6 are trying to limit the damage to their reputation, even if among potential and actual sources they are surely pissing into the wind. They want to imply that Sergei Skripal was working for Russia all along (a triple agent), somehow betrayed his hosts, was involved in some other dirty business, or was a total fucking nutcase who wouldn't know "security" if it booted him up the arse (which since he worked as a colonel in the GRU is unlikely to be true). Of course there is also the bigger market of the British sheeple here, but MI6 will be most concerned about one of their own major markets, probably the most important of all: sources. If sources can't trust their handlers, then an agency like MI6 is fucked - even among many whom they recruit using blackmail. (And even those whom they do recruit by blackmail, they'll often butter up and wine and dine and "protect" afterwards for obvious reasons.)

In other words, they want the message to go out as follows: "Sure, we didn't protect him, but he turned dirty on us, so we didn't want to. Anybody who doesn't turn dirty on us, we'll protect as if they were our own mother, forever and a day."

Another point: if Yulia Skripal is a Russian citizen and not a British one, she has a right to contact the Russian consulate.

Has she asked to? Is she being allowed to? Has she asked for asylum instead? Is she conscious?

If journalists didn't publish whatever shit they're told to publish, and if they had enquiring minds instead of solid cocaine in their turdy heads, these are some of the questions they would ask.
There's more! Ye gods, so much is going on! I've covered only half of the topics I had hoped to discuss, but the above shall have to suffice for now. Coming up: I should have some bombshell new information concerning the Eric Prince connection. It's an incredibly complex affair which even the most seasoned Russiagate aficionados may have a hard time following. I'll try to offer a comprehensible version of the tale.

Stay tuned.
Wasn't Eric Prince once connected to some sort of child abuse? Was he related to Mary Kay LeTourneau?

Regarding Skripal, the obvious question is why now? Living peacefully in Britain for several years, and now suddenly poisoned, allegedly. And only a few miles from Porton Down, home of Britain's chemical weapons stockpile, and likely to best place to find people who know how to treat such attacks.

Joseph wrote "I've never been among those who dismissed Stone as a mere showboater and talk-talk-talker. Neither would I necessarily take the man at his word when he claims that he has never broken the law."

Talk about a 180 degree reversal, are you afraid of a reprisal from some nefarious element connected to Stone? You were the one blowing smoke Stone's way long before the mainstream media was.
My theory is the NRA is deeply entrenched with Russia. Russia wants America armed. The incredibly fast response by the Alabama legislature against Delta Airlines after Delta rescinded the NRA's discount, it was just done too fast and with too much precision. Russian freaked at the thought of higher costs for air travel they surreptitiously fund, gor the word out to the NRA, and they in turn contacted their own compromised Republicans, that's my theory.
I wonder how many Republican politicians are compromised by Russian methods via the NRA.
I've not reversed, Alessandro. I think you misunderstood. And I think your misunderstanding resulted from the fact that I used too many negations in those sentences. Things got confusing.

The fault is entirely mine.

I tried to write a very long piece in under an hour, in order to get all my thoughts down while they were fresh in my head. Perhaps I didn't express myself well. To be honest, my writing rarely pleases me until after I've polished a post for another hour or two. Or three.

Anyways, you have my apologies if things were unclear.
I think I understood what you wrote. You associated yourself with a group sentiment about Stone that you have never belonged to, then stated you were not part of that group. To someone like myself who knows how loudly you warned about Stone before most anyone else did, it is a jaw dropping association / dis association to make.

Your sentence would work as is if you posted a link to your best Stone column that you wrote that came out before the mass media and the FBI started sniffing around him.


On a separate note, you might have left out a word after describing Rybka's age?

"Regarding Skripal, the obvious question is why now?"

The Feds seem to be on a roll, gathering cooperative informants and witnesses in the Trump treason case. Undoubtedly many more people hold relevant information and are considering offering their help to Mueller's team.

Well, Vladmir just announced that Russia is still in the game... and he offered a not so subtle reminder that the Russians play by their own rules. Maybe some of those informants/witnesses are now thinking that it's best to just lay low and keep quiet?
Apparently there have been a number of assassinations of Russian nationals in the UK that remain unsolved. One reason given is nobody wants to jeopardize the large amounts of Russian mob money flowing through London banks.
I'm drawing a blank on the rat fucker congress member. Three come to mind an alleged cow molester, a car thief, and a goober with a pointy head or a really bad wig.Two West Coast one East Coast.
Um, the yacht in question is actually a 57' Carver Voyager -- probably in the Carver 560 series. I think you may have been confused by the owners of said yacht *also* occasionally hosting a Mediterranean 'super-yacht' cruise aboard a much larger vessel. These latter cruises are in conjunction with a bibulous company they own in Spain.

I've not been able to identify who the party was for. The yacht's owners regularly make its use available as a prize for charity auctions. (Wonder if that will continue under the new tax laws?) The event to which the auction's winners allegedly brought prostitutes almost certainly had nothing to do with the bibulous company itself, let alone their Congressional investor....
It has been reported, although I'm not sure of the source, that our poisoned Russian was working with Steele. That would also, in spy terms, make him fair game.
And among other news; Putin personally intervened to nix Romney as Trump's new Secretary Of State, and told Donald to select Rex Tillerson instead. I remember reading from several sources at the time, that Tillerson was recommended to Trump by Condi Rice. So who started that story?
There is an interesting detail in the video -- Victoria Nuland raped by Russian sailors. When you look at the Neocons, or any other ideologue who seem to have an agenda different then a simple agenda in line with the average American interests, I often wonder what makes a person this way??? Imagine living on a fishing boat and being raped. It's not like you can run away. You're stuck there for days. And yet this person rises to the top of American diplomacy in areas of USA/Russian relations. Do you think this could color her thinking? Now it could be that this is a false story, but I sort of doubt it, given the low key context that it is repeated between two very powerful Russians who aren't likely to be trying to indoctrinate each other. But here is another interesting thing--- Victoria was allegedly a camp counselor at a Russian summer camp in 1982, two years before the Russian trawler incident. I find it odd that someone would be a camp counselor during that phase of the cold war, and furthermore, if you believe the internet she was throwing food on the ground to watch the Ukrainian kids pick it up and eat it. What kind of sick twisted girl is this? And at a such a young age. Was she being groomed back then to be a Neocon?
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