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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Good news!

If Mr. Doom-N-Gloom (a.k.a. me) has a smile on his face, it's a good day.
NEW: @NYGovCuomo announces his office is prepared to send a referral to the state A.G. to conduct a criminal investigation of the Trump Foundation. This would go quite a step further than the civil lawsuit, @NewYorkStateAG previously launched. @ZephyrTeachout had called for this.
A presidential pardon can't save Trump's ass here. I'm predicting that the pro-Trump media will declare all-out war on Governor Cuomo, with smears and stings and frame-ups galore. You know damned well that there will be a "Me Too" smear job.

If Cuomo survives the onslaught, he'll be a hero. In all likelihood, though, they'll find some way to give him the Scheniderman treatment, and he'll be forced to resign.

Sorry. You know me: Always gotta push some doom-n-gloom into the narrative.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Clarification and updates

In the preceding post, I published a picture labeled "Russian spy Maria Butina in the Oval Office." Several readers have posted links to a Gizmodo article which demonstrates that the woman in the picture is someone else.

I knew that. I knew it all along.

What we are dealing with here is a simple slip of the keyboard. The label was supposed to read "This WOULDN'T be Russian spy Maria Butina in the Oval Office." I don't know why the first three words were left off, although I suspect a conspiracy by the Deep State.

You want a better explanation? All right. Here's what happened: You see, there were these DNC servers, and the FBI was supposed to look at the servers, and all I want to know is, what was on those servers? What? Also, 30,000 emails. Fake news. Sad. I am 100 percent supportive of our intelligence agencies.

I think that clarifies things pretty good by itself (to quote our eloquent leader).

By the way: It was hilarious to see Trump try to blame the negative reaction to his disastrous press conference on "the fake news." For chrissakes, we all watched the thing in real time, as it happened.

On a more serious note... Let's talk about that really weird shit Trump spouted in Helsinki about a DNC server. Are you wondering what the hell he was burbling on about? This. Trump was referencing a situation in which the DNC was the victim -- a situation in which neither the FBI nor the DNC did anything wrong. (Putin did.) Trump obviously had no idea what he was talking about -- or how computers work.

God damn, but that nonsense Trump said in Helsinki has to be the stupidest blast of conspiracy vomit ever to rocket out of that man's copious gut.

A few other updates...

The Manafort trial was delayed because Mueller wants an immunity deal for five witnesses, people whose names have not heretofore been connected to the case. I'm cool with that, but a little sad to see that Manafort is not going to flip.

(Note to self: Never get your hopes up, particularly when it comes to these incessant "he's gonna flip" predictions.)

You think Hope Hicks might be one of the five? That could be droll.

The Mariia Butina affadavit references Dana Rohrabacher. Yes, he's the congressman.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is the U.S. Congressman named in Monday's FBI affidavit against Russian national Maria Butina, which alleges Rohrabacher was part of a 2015 delegation that traveled to Moscow and planned to meet with a Russian official widely believed to be Alexander Torshin, reports The Daily Beast.
By the way, Josh Marshall says that "Mariia" (with two Is) is the correct spelling of Ms. Butina's first name. Henceforward, I may go with "Maria," since she doesn't seem to mind that.

Cambridge Analytica and Russia. We have further confirmation.
Damian Collins, the Conservative MP leading a British parliamentary investigation into online disinformation, told CNN that a British investigation found evidence that the data, collected by Professor Aleksandr Kogan on behalf of Cambridge Analytica, had been accessed from Russia and other countries.
Kogan! I forgot to mention him in my previous piece on CA and Russia. Has there ever been any doubt as to Kogan's true loyalties?

Tom Arnold. You may be interested in his most recent tweet...
How will history remember Mark Burnett? Affable Christian producer of a Jesus doc & America's favorite singing show? Or a man who allowed his best friend Donald Trump to sexually harass his employees & made them sign 10 yr NDA's & now sits on his $$$ & tapes while America falls?
The responses in that thread are not without interest. One tweet mysteriously name-drops Semion Mogilevich, the incredible vile crime boss who traffics in underaged prostitutes. Another tweet reads thus:
Tom, Mark Burnett & NBC colluded with Donald Trump on the Apprentice to knowingly defraud investors for years. Trump Soho, Tampa, Baja Mexico, Trump University, Cap Cana & the Trump brand were all promoted by Burnett & NBC even after the criminal frauds were publicly known.
We have good reason to believe that certain Trump properties had ties to the Russian mob, although I do not know if the producer of the Apprentice had any awareness of such things.

If the fabled Apprentice tapes do contain evidence of sexual harassment, might it now be possible to subpoena them pursuant to a legal action against Trump by one of the women who have made claims against him? Remember, during the Paula Jones trial, Clinton was grilled about Monica Lewinski in order to establish a pattern of behavior. I did not agree with that line of inquest at the time (and still do not) but if Clinton's pattern was aired, then Trump's pattern also deserves an airing.

And I'd really, really like to see those tapes.

Finally: If there are still protests at the White House this weekend, there is some possibility that I may attend. Is it acceptable to bring dogs to these events? Perhaps my young pooch Charlie could wear signage: "POOP ON PUTIN" and "TINKLE ON TRUMP."
I'm posting this again now that everybody's speaking the word "treason". Seems that this video segment could be put to good use by someone;

We're all familiar with Trump's habit of projecting his own negative behaviors and toxic personality traits upon others. And most of us know how a bad poker player will show "tells", behavioral quirks that give away his state of mind.

Watch a reporter directly ask Donald about Russian collusion; Trump deflects the question by switching the topic to Crooked Hillary's cheating in the elections... then he reveals what's really been on his mind by talking about getting the electric chair.

Start at minute 40:00

"You think Hope Hicks might be one of the five?"
Joe, how do you keep all these balls in the air? Hope Hicks slipped my mind until just now.
Donald Trump is a cult like Scientology or Mormon. Otherwise intelligent people, like my PhD kid sister are true believers. Congressional republicans are keeping shut about the Great White Dope's Helsinki Chernobyl bc retaliation from the Trumptards.
The only remedy for the madness is a Blue GOTV effort this November and 2020.
Inre Bernie Sanders: The Gipper during 1980 primarily said something about not going negative on the other candidates bc the opposition could use it during the general election. Somebody should give the Bernie Bros n Hos a clue.
The Cambridge Analytica/Facebook/Russian troika will be working to suppress Democrats turnout with negative stories about candidates including #metoo tales. We need a strategy to counter. Any thoughts?
I don't understand why Hillary and her team are so quite now. Why don't they go all out with a law suit or something. They are not going to have new enemies for sure. This passive attitude what got us here in the first place.
Does anyone seriously believe that Hillary should be running for anything? Look, I buy it that she has been smeared but the stench will always remain. To continue for what purpose? Aren't there other Dem candidates out there? The BernieBots are nuts but they have tapped into the fact that a large segment of the population wants somebody else, somebody with less of an aura of entitlement.
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A new hope: Will Manafort flip?

There's talk of Manafort flipping. As you know, I've become allergic to all of this loose "flip" talk -- remember when everyone assured you that Steve Bannon would flip? -- but in this case, we have some indicators that an actual change is a-coming.

First, there was a delay in Manfort's trial in Virginia, just before the beginning of jury selection. This, in the "rocket docket" court where delays are rarely tolerated.
According to the publicly-accessible court docket, no party had submitted a request for such a delay and there was also no indication of an official court notice being filed as of late Monday afternoon.
A last-minute deal? That theory would explain things nicely. Manafort must be unhappy with his new cell.

More to the point, Trump's behavior in Helsinki -- he practically wore a baseball cap with the word "TRAITOR" sewn on -- reportedly led to a secret meeting of Republican senators. I still have not seen confirmation of that report, but if such a meeting did in fact take place, those in attendance might have concluded that they've had quite enough of Dirty Donnie. There were even a few anti-Trump grumblings on freakin' Fox. Yes, it's true: Mr. T got dissed on his favorite show, Fox and Friends.

If Trump loses support in Congress and on Fox, he won't be in a position to hand out pardons. Even if he holds onto the presidency, pardoning a co-conspirator requires a great deal of political capital -- and he lost a lot of capital yesterday.

Manafort must be making a difficult calculation right now. Mueller is offering a definite "Get out of jail" card. Trump may hand out a "Get out of jail free" card.

Of course, Manafort must also weigh the threat of assassination. A man in jail is in a particularly vulnerable position. And Vlad does like to hand out polonium "treats" to those he considers treasonous to his cause.

Dark money. This is ominous...
The U.S. Treasury said on Monday that it will no longer require certain tax-exempt organizations including politically active nonprofit groups, such as the National Rifle Association and Planned Parenthood, to identify their financial donors to U.S. tax authorities.
Yesterday, we learned of Maria Butina's links to the NRA -- and to Putin. Under Trump, Putin and the 'garchs can funnel billions to conservative causes via the NRA and cognate organizations.

Why does Bernie love Russia? Bill Maher infuriated me when, in his latest comedy special, he called Bernie Sanders "authentic." Really? How authentic was it for Sanders to tell Hillary "Nobody cares about your damned emails" -- only to harp on that very issue incessantly later in the campaign, even when it became crystal clear that Hillary was the certain nominee? Would an "authentic" candidate have hired the vile Tad Devine, Paul Manafort's partner?

How authentic is it to create a fanatical cult of personality every bit as obnoxious and brownshirt-esque as the Trump cult? Why didn't this "authentic" politician decry the obvious rightist ratfuckers in his cult -- people like Lord H.A. H.A. and Cassandra Fairbanks? Would an "authentic" politician say nothing about the documented aid he received from Russian sources? Isn't there something inauthentic -- something downright Trumpian -- about Bernie's refusal to disclose his taxes?

If Bernie were authentic, wouldn't he join the party he hopes to lead? (If he gets his wish, he'll lead it straight into the ditch.) If Bernie were authentic, wouldn't he have accomplished something after all this time? Talk-talk-talking is not the same as accomplishment.

I could go on and on. I have gone on and on, in previous posts. Right now, I'd like to draw your attention to this exchange between Asha Rangappa and Virginia Heffernin. Rangappa:
Remember that @RandPaul was one of only two senators who voted against the Russia sanctions bill, along with @SenSanders
.@SenSanders voted against Russia sanctions? Sanders Sanders I know that name...oh yes from Mueller's February IRA indictments...Wasn't he named by Mueller as having been helped by the Kremlin in 2016? Didn't he have Manafort-linked Tad Devine as campaign manager? Weird day.
To justify that obscene vote, Sanders offered some inane rationale involving the Iran deal. Obvious bullshit.

Sanders was also one of a bare handful of Congress-critters to vote against the Magnitsky sanctions. And he didn't even have a bullshit rationale in this case.

There's no point in asking "What have they got on Sanders?" since it has already been established that the Republicans have plenty, including video of Sanders enthusiastically participating in anti-American rallies on foreign soil.

Speaking of Magnitsky....

Why are the Trumpers defending Putin's absurd lie?
Putin told the world that his enemy Bill Browder -- the man who promoted the Magnitsky sanctions -- donated a whopping $400 million to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Somehow, this happened without coming to the attention of the SEC or even the Republican party, not to mention the zillions of reporters looking for every speck of dirt they could find in Hillary's resume.

Reporter Kenneth Vogel mentioned this absurd smear in his twitter feed.
We tried to fact-check PUTIN's claim that @BillBrowder's associates donated $400M in un-taxed Russian $ to @HillaryClinton's campaign, but it was so completely without evidence that there were no pants to light on fire, so I hereby deem it "WITHOUT PANTS."
The responses tell us much about what has happened to the American right (presuming that these people are Americans).
As a former Int'l Banking Officer, I respectfully call BS on you, Sir. No one, not even the CEO of my former employer, could investigate a claim of that magnitude in the time frame you're claiming to have done so & w/out the proper security clearances. A Special Counsel's needed.
A Special Counsel? To investigate an outlandish, evidence-free claim made by a dictator?
He didn't investigate jack shit. He's just another typical lazy journalist, probably late for a wine-tasting or an art show. They don't give a damn about actual "journalism." The truth is out there, but you won't find it in the main-stream media...just sayin'.
And so on. Even a noted liar like Vladimir Putin can say anything he likes about Hillary Clinton -- however ridiculous, however unproven -- and the American right will swallow it.

Sit! A reader sent in this graphic, along with the following words of explanation...
Did you notice when Trump and Putin went into that pre-meeting press conference, Trump stood there looking dazed and confused until Putin said one word, moved his foot, and Trump sat right down? It occurred to me the word was "sit". I've been tweeting this all day. It's time to take to the streets.
Indeed it is. There was an impromptu gathering at the White House yesterday. I propose something more organized.

Cambridge Analytica. Reader B (who lives in the UK) offered a follow-up to the yesterday's post...
Regarding Cambridge Analytica and the British end of the successful project to install Trumpski in the White House, note that the story about Dominic Cummings having to give evidence to a House of Commons Select Committee was suddenly stopped last month. Since then there have been some reports mentioning Cummings in relation to the Vote Leave campaign (which is looking increasingly criminal), but few on his involvement in any other legal matters, such as the Mueller investigation.

He has not posted to his blog for around a month.

Cummings (called a "psychopath" by David Cameron) to me looks like FSB all the way through.

It would not surprise me if he and Alexander Dugin are acquainted. The "free school" lobbying on his CV suggests a Steinerite connection too.

Both Michael Gove (for whom Cummings used to work) and Boris Johnson also look "nash".

Just sayin'...
That Whitehouse photo doesn't show Maria Butina.
According to the final candidate list for the August primary from the Vermont Secretary of State, Bernie Sanders is running in the Democratic primary. I have no idea why, and his campaign website provided no answers that I could find.
Gizmodo says nyet on Butina in the Oval Office.
on DailyPUMA I had two Image Links at the top from 2016 until March of 2018. I then moved them down on the page so they are harder to find, but are still there. Anyways, here is a great article from from ThinkProgress in 2016 about the NRA and Maria Butina.
Joe, you're my personal hero.
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Monday, July 16, 2018

Trump is not the ONLY traitor. Plus: The latest from Mueller

I'm disgusted by anyone who asks why Trump behaved the way he did today. The answer is obvious. Several tons of evidence, not to mention the principle of Occam's razor, forces us to conclude that Donald Trump is, and always has been, a witting traitor.

Many people scoffed when I suggested (on June 16, 2016 -- more than a month before the "Russia, if you're listening" speech) that Putin was pulling the strings. That wild conspiracy theory now looks like common sense.
Trump is right now, before our eyes and those of the world, committing an unbelievable and unforgivable crime against this country. It is his failure to defend.
Just so. By deliberately leaving the 2018 election open to manipulation, Donald Trump has committed an impeachable offense. If any Dem had done the same, said Dem would have been removed from office.

John McCain:
“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.
I disagree with the final sentence: The word "mistake" implies good intentions. Trump is a witting traitor. From the Atlantic:
Either Donald Trump is flat-out an agent of Russian interests—maybe witting, maybe unwitting, from fear of blackmail, in hope of future deals, out of manly respect for Vladimir Putin, out of gratitude for Russia’s help during the election, out of pathetic inability to see beyond his 306 electoral votes. Whatever the exact mixture of motives might be, it doesn’t really matter.

Or he is so profoundly ignorant, insecure, and narcissistic that he did not realize that, at every step, he was advancing the line that Putin hoped he would advance, and the line that the American intelligence, defense, and law-enforcement agencies most dreaded.

Conscious tool. Useful idiot. Those are the choices, though both are possibly true, so that the main question is the proportions.
Option one. No other explanatory scenario fits the facts.

There's a rumor going around that Senate Republicans are in an emergency meeting right now, thanks to this obvious evidence of Trumpian treason. Although the sourcing is iffy, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that this claim is true.

Former CIA Director John Brennan has it precisely right:
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???
Although I appreciate this tweet, I can't help but ask: Where were you, John Brennan?

Western spooks and the rise of Trump. Do not forget that the British and American intelligence community did business with Cambridge Analytica -- and we have no evidence that this interaction bothered John Brennan. We do have growing evidence that Cambridge Analytica was, in essence, a Russian tool.

At the very least, we can say that CA's servers were accessed from Russia -- probably with CA's full kowledge. From the Guardian:
There is even, the Observer has learned, an ongoing channel of communication between them. A source familiar with the FBI investigation revealed that the commissioner and her deputy spent last week with law enforcement agencies in the US including the FBI. And Denham’s deputy, James Dipple-Johnstone, confirmed to the Observer that “some of the systems linked to the investigation were accessed from IP addresses that resolve to Russia and other areas of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States]”.

It was a recent discovery, he said, but an explosive one, potential evidence of a direct link between the company at the heart of the Trump campaign – and files holding information of 220 million US voters – and the Russian government’s disinformation campaign.
Like it or not, there is a kernel of truth to Trump's desperate reminders that the dirty deeds of 2015-16 were done while Obama was in office.

It's time we demanded answers from Brennan, Michael Hayden and other representatives of the American intelligence community. Why did British and American intelligence use Cambridge Analytica?

See, for example, here. The "Wylie" in the following sentence refers to CA whistleblower Christopher Wylie...
Wylie has now come out as the whistleblower who exposed the dubious link between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign. Moreover, Wylie has exposed Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix as a supremely arrogant individual who once boasted of working with the Pentagon, CIA and MI6.
Now go here:
SCL boasts of providing “data, analytics and strategy to governments and military organizations worldwide,” notably the British Ministry of Defence, the US State Department and NATO.
(SCL is the parent company of CA.)
According to Liam O’Hare at Bella Caledonia, SCL went public in 2005 at the DSEI conference, a global arms fair in London, promoting itself as the first private company to provide psychological warfare services to the British military:

“Its ‘hard sell’ was a demonstration of how the UK government could use a sophisticated media campaign of mass deception to fool the British people into thinking an accident at a chemical plant had occurred and threatened central London.”
A Freedom of Information request from August 2016 showed the MoD took out a £40,000 contract with SCL for the “provision of external training” in 2010/11 and £150,000 for the “procurement of target audience analysis” in 2014/15.
“In addition, SCL also carries a secret clearance as a ‘list X’ contractor for the MOD. A List X site is a commercial site on British soil that is approved to hold UK government information marked as ‘confidential’ and above. Essentially, SCL got the green light to hold British government secrets on its premises.”
Now go here:
Palantir, a secretive company co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel, worked with Cambridge Analytica, the political analysis firm that harvested data from Facebook users, whistleblower Christopher Wylie told U.K. lawmakers Tuesday.

Wylie claimed that Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix was introduced to Palantir by Sophie Schmidt, the daughter of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Palantir has previously done work for the National Security Agency and is backed by the CIA's not-for-profit venture capital firm. Palantir's CEO Alex Karp, who is also not accused of wrongdoing, was also one of the technology executives who was at a meeting with Trump in December 2016.
The logos of the State Department and NATO used to appear on the SCL website -- and yes, like it or not, that was something that happened during the Obama years.

We haven't even begun to get into the copious evidence of Israeli intelligence aid to Trump -- aid usually extended via "private" intelligence groups, probably acting as plausibly-deniable Mossad cut-outs.

And lest we forget: Michael Flynn was the head of the freakin' DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. He seems to have gotten honeytrapped by a Russian woman at the Cambridge Intelligence Forum (which has itself become a very strange affair).

The bottom line. The election of Donald Trump is the result of a longstanding pro-fascist faction within western intelligence. 

If the preceding sentence seems outrageous, you need to do some reading. Look up Operation Gladio. Study the CIA's installation of Pinochet in Chile. Find a biography of Reinhold Gehlen. Read Christopher Simpson's Blowback. I could go on (and on and on and on). When all is said and done, we may find that Trump's triumph -- which is really the triumph of fascist Russia -- derives from the events outlined in this excellent summary.

(Why'd you leave that stuff out of your recent book, Malcolm Nance? Instead of citing ultra-rightwing assholes like John Barron and Pete Bagley, why didn't you give us the real history of the Cold War?)

When did it start? The question is not "Was Trump recruited?" but "When was he recruited?" There is an interesting argument that he got onto the Russian radar when he married Ivana. Luke Harding goes into this theory in his book Collusion, as well as in this Politico article.

Also see this recent Jonathan Chait piece:
It is not difficult to imagine that Russia quickly had something on Trump, from either exploits during his 1987 visit or any subsequent embarrassing behavior KGB assets might have uncovered. But the other leverage Russia enjoyed over Trump for at least 15 years is indisputable — in fact, his family has admitted to it multiple times. After a series of financial reversals and his brazen abuse of bankruptcy laws, Trump found it impossible to borrow from American banks and grew heavily reliant on unconventional sources of capital. Russian cash proved his salvation. From 2003 to 2017, people from the former USSR made 86 all-cash purchases — a red flag of potential money laundering — of Trump properties, totaling $109 million. In 2010, the private-wealth division of Deutsche Bank also loaned him hundreds of millions of dollars during the same period it was laundering billions in Russian money. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” said Donald Jr. in 2008. “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia,” boasted Eric Trump in 2014.
A note on conspiracy theory. We still run into pieces written by well-meaning bourgeois intellectuals who try to sell us on the misleading view that all conspiracy theories are right-wing fantasies. Like it or not, we are all now forced to choose between two competing conspiracy theories -- the theory of Trump's treasonous conspiracy with Putin, or the ludicrous "deep state" conspiracy theory proffered by Trump, Alex Jones and like-minded individuals.

It's one or the other folks; I see no third choice. Whichever road you take, you're on the path of paranoia. That is the nature of the current situation.

The Nazis came to power by promoting false conspiracy theories, yet they were also the foremost practitioners of actual, provable, real-world conspiracies. The transcripts of the Nuremberg inquests are titled Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression.

As then, so today.

This just in: We have a new Mueller arrest! I haven't had the time to process this, but...
Russian National Charged in Conspiracy to Act as an Agent of the Russian Federation Within the United States - Mariia Butina, 29, a Russian citizen residing in Washington D.C., was arrested on July 15, 2018, in Washington, D.C.
Here is the Complaint. She apparently has close ties to the NRA.
She's was the go-between for Putin and the NRA, too. Touches a lot of figures in the Trump orbit like Sheriff Clarke, etc.
Her name is usually spelled Maria. Here is her Wikipedia bio.
At one time, she worked for Aleksandr Torshin, a former Russian senator belonging to Vladimir Putin’s political party and deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia, with alleged ties to the Russian mafia. In recent years, Butina has developed extensive ties to conservative American political circles. As of 2018 Butina, Torshin, and Paul Erickson, an American political operative, are under investigation in the United States for their potential involvement in Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections; Torshin has also been the subject of a probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigations into whether the Russian government attempted to illegally funnel money to the NRA in order to help Donald Trump win the presidency.[3] On July 15th, 2018, Butina was arrested in Washington, DC and charged with conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation.
The Daily Beast wrote a longish piece about her back in February.
With his blatant groveling deference to Putin regarding national security, Trump may have just lost the support of his troops. If Donald doesn't have the The National Guard behind him, then it's harder to play the NRA trump card of armed insurrection.
Joe, do you mean Chalmers Johnson's Blowback? Is there another book by that title on that subject? Reading that book not too long after 9/11 was an epiphany.
"It's one or the other folks; I see no third choice. Whichever road you take, you're on the path of paranoia. That is the nature of the current situation."

My daughter came up with a third one: "I hope there is a deep state and it's got our back." LOL
Do you mean Blowback by Chalmers Johnson?

You said: It's one or the other folks; I see no third choice. Whichever road you take, you're on the path of paranoia. That is the nature of the current situation.

My daughter came up with a novel third choice: I hope there's a deep state and it's got our backs.

If I posted this before, please ignore. Can't remember if I did your robot thing.
Regarding Cambridge Analytica and the British end of the successful project to install Trumpski in the White House, note that the story about Dominic Cummings having to give evidence to a House of Commons Select Committee was suddenly stopped last month. Since then there have been some reports mentioning Cummings in relation to the Vote Leave campaign (which is looking increasingly criminal), but few on his involvement in any other legal matters, such as the Mueller investigation.

He has not posted to his blog for around a month.

Cummings (called a "psychopath" by David Cameron) to me looks like FSB all the way through.

It would not surprise me if he and Alexander Dugin are acquainted. The "free school" lobbying on his CV suggests a Steinerite connection too.

Both Michael Gove (for whom Cummings used to work) and Boris Johnson also look "nash".
@Anon 5.48. That's interesting. I'd never thought about connecting the National Guard with the NRA. (I'm from Britain.) To me that idea has a very Northern Ireland feel about it, where there was an illegal armed network that for a long time was on the brink of mounting an insurrection and which overlapped heavily with both the police and the local army regiment. What role does religion play in the NRA or for that matter the National Guard?

Reportedly one of Putin and Trumpski's topics of conversation in Helsinki was how they can both support Israel. Gotta ask why the fuck.

One could easily imagine events occurring in Syria and Israel that will be a dream come true for the Armageddon crowd in the US. (As for Russia, Russian Orthodoxy is far more Armageddonist than most Roman Catholicism and its flavour is akin in that regard, although not others, to Protestant "end of days" anticipation.)
Sharon, I was referring to a different "Blowback." There have been several books by that title. Here's the one that made such an impression on me:

I HATE "the robot thing" but whenever I turn off comment modification I get hit with a zillion spam comments ever day. When I zap the spam I inevitably zap a "good" message too.
"Reportedly one of Putin and Trumpski's topics of conversation in Helsinki was how they can both support Israel. Gotta ask why the fuck."

I need to write a long comment regarding the NRA...
Digby Parton has a long post on the NRA this morning;
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Saturday, July 14, 2018

What they're not telling you about the indictments

Well, fate chose one hell of a day to keep me away from the keyboard! Sorry for my absence yesterday.

First: Wave bye-bye to Rosenstein. I predict that this effort will succeed.
It is unclear how much support conservatives will have in their effort. Rosenstein has become a punching bag for Trump and his allies as they vent frustration over the Russia investigation. Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, Rosenstein has overseen the Mueller probe, which is also examining potential obstruction of justice charges against the president.

But House GOP leaders like Speaker Paul Ryan have clearly been uncomfortable with the notion of going after Rosenstein.
Well, Ryan isn't going to be around forever, is he? The time has come to drop the petticoat and show what's underneath. We're heading toward open fascism, not the pseudo-stuff we've been living with since January, 2017.

Indicted. By now, you must know all about Robert Mueller's indictments. I have a problem with the way CNN and MSNBC covered this bombshell news: They continually made the logical error of presuming that chronology indicates causality.

To be specific, they kept replaying Trump's "Russia, if you're listening..." speech. Now, I am the first to admit that this particular speech was one of the two most idiotically self-defeating things that Mr. Blabbermouth has ever blurted. (The other Big Blurt would be the Lester Holt interview).

The speech occurred on July 27, 2016. On the same day, says the indictment...
...the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a thirdparty provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton Campaign.
Cause and effect? That's the impression you received if you watched Chris Hayes last night. (By the way, Marcy Wheeler showed up on that episode and did a fine job.) That's also the impression you would form after reading this piece in the Atlantic.

Here's the problem: In that instantly-infamous speech (which, at the time, appalled most other Republicans, even Mike Pence), Agent Orange referred to the emails supposedly wiped after the Benghazi investigation. Benghazi happened years earlier, while Clinton was Secretary of State.

On July 27, 2016, the Russians hacked the Clinton campaign and her personal office. The hackers had already breached the DNC months earlier.

So we are talking about two very different things. How can we make Chris Hayes understand this fact?

Let's talk about the damned emails AGAIN. Trump and the Republicans have continually lied about those supposedly "bleached" 30,000 emails. Those messages did not concern the Benghazi incident, and they were not deleted by Hillary Clinton. The FBI recovered the majority of those emails and found that they were indeed unrelated to Congress' Benghazi inquest.

We've seen some of those deleted emails. They were piffle -- recommendations to read certain news stories, things of that nature. None were responsive to Congress's subpoena.

I wish to hell that Chris Hayes would remind his audience of that all-important point when he replays that "Russia, if you're listening" clip. Every time that bit of video shows up on our teevee screens, the smear is revived.

Trump's dimwitted followers don't understand the nature of emails. Bottom line: Unless you take very intricate precautions, there are likely to be multiple copies of an email message.

So why did Trump harp on that 30,000 number? Why did he make that "Russia, if you're listening" speech in the first place?

As longtime readers know, I favor the theory that hackers intended to plant incriminating fakes into a trove of "recovered" emails published either by Guccifer 2.0 or Wikileaks. This plan was scuttled when the FBI revealed on July 28 (the next day) that they had recovered many of the lost emails.

It simply would have been too suspicious if "horrifying" revelations showed up in the Russian batch but not in the FBI batch. Here's how I put it in an earlier post:
If you don't yet understand my point, let's try a thought experiment.

Picture this: Let's say you use a knife to mark forty pennies. Then you toss those forty into a big vat of 30,000 pennies. Then you pour out that vat into two piles: One pile goes to James Comey, while the other goes to Vladimir Putin. After that, Comey and Putin ask underlings to go through their respective piles in order to see which pile contains more of those forty marked coins.

Do you really think that all forty would appear in Putin's pile? Does that make sense to you?

I mean, yeah, it's possible technically. I've read books about gambling, and I know that it is possible for a tossed coin to come up heads ten times in a row.

But is it likely?
I think when the full history of the 2016 is finally written, we will learn that a plot to frame Hillary came a-cropper on July 27. Trump thought he was laying the groundwork when he gave that speech -- but then Comey ruined the scheme. The purpose of the plot was to credibilize those nutty Republican theories about Benghazi -- y'know, the ones that say Obama wanted the consulate overrun because he's a secret Muslim who hates America and Jesus and all that.

Spookery. The perception that Russia's anti-Clinton campaign began on July 27 is dangerous. Mueller's indictment clearly states that the ball got rolling much earlier.

It is also dangerous to presume that Russia acted alone, without aid from a faction within western intelligence: Cambridge Analytica was (is) an implausibly-deniable arm of MI6. In other words, Donald Trump is a gift bestowed upon us by both Bond, James Bond and Putin, Vlad Putin.

And let's not ignore Black Cube, which is Israeli.

You won't hear about "our" pro-Trump spooks from Robert Mueller or from Malcolm Nance or from anyone on MSNBC, but you're damned well gonna hear it from me.

One final point about Hillary's emails. The Republicans kept harping on the claim that a private server is inherently insecure. This assertion has always bugged me, since it used to be axiomatic that private servers are more secure. Not that it matters: All evidence indicates that Hillary used government channels for the truly classified information.

(Some material was classified after the fact, but that was just a slimeball GOP trick used to dupe the rubes who watch Fox News.)

If that server was so damned insecure, then why didn't the Russians produce those 30,000 emails? There are only two possible explanations:

1. They didn't hack into it, even though we've been told that they did.

2. They did hack into it, and found piffle.

Can you think of an option 3? I can't.

Name that writer. I don't know whether the following had anything to do with Trump's speech; the date is probably pure coincidence. Nevertheless, let us note these words from the indictment:
On or about June 27, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, contacted a U.S. reporter with an offer to provide stolen emails from “Hillary Clinton’s staff.” The Conspirators then sent the reporter the password to access a nonpublic, password-protected portion of containing emails stolen from Victim 1 by LUKASHEV, YERMAKOV, and their co-conspirators in or around March 2016.
Who is the reporter? Whoever he or she was, he or she was a de facto Russian agent.

The truth about Guccifer 2.0 was well-known by July 27, 2016. If I had doped it out -- and I had -- then this unnamed reporter should have known. By that point, it was revealed that the first Guccifer -- the alleged Romanian cab-driver who hacked into George W. Bush's account -- was also a front for (or dupe of) Russian intelligence.

Roger Stone. Everyone knows that the indictment references him, though not by name. "You gotta know the territory," as they say in The Music Man. Stone knows the territory, making him invaluable to the Russian effort. Who knows how to manipulate an American election better than the King of the Dirty Tricksters, who happens to be Paul Manafort's old business partner?

Amusingly, Stone originally claimed that he is not the unnamed American in the indictment. Within hours, he changed his story, saying that the indictment exonerates him.

(Check out the insane presentation here. Hilarious! The Stoney One sure is popular with those drooling Illuminati-spotters.)

That said, don't get your hopes up. Yes, Roger Stone will probably be indicted, and I wouldn't be surprised if the anvil drops fairly soon. But as long as Trump has the power to pardon, he's in the clear.

On the other hand, if there is an incriminating recorded telephone call between Stone and Trump -- as some have claimed -- then the promise of a pardon won't matter. As much as I would like to see Stone behind bars, the point is to catch the big fish.

In all likelihood, no such recording exists. Stone and Trump would probably discuss criminal matters only in a private place, face-to-face. These guys think like mafiosi. Mobsters have learned not to say certain things on the phone.

Bottom line: Some liberals have made the mistake of deriving hope from the indictment. Are they kidding? Did they even read this material? 
Defendants OSADCHUK and KOVALEV were GRU officers who knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other and with persons, known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to hack into the computers of U.S. persons and entities responsible for the administration of 2016 U.S. elections, such as state boards of elections, secretaries of state, and U.S. companies that supplied software and other technology related to the administration of U.S. elections.
(Emphasis added by me.)

My prediction of a red wave in November stands.

It used to be the case that election-rigging was plausible only in a close vote; a deficit of more than 3% (maybe 5%) could not be erased without creating suspicion. Right now, Trump is desperate and Putin is shameless. They will rig elections even if the Dem candidate is more than ten points ahead in both pre-election polls and exit polls -- and neither MSNBC nor Nate Silver will cry foul, for fear of losing credibility. (Fake polling outfits can be very helpful here.)

Besides, the Democratic primary vote in MI in 2016 was so obviously bogus that the vote manipulators now understand that they can be as bold as they like.
I'm all in for Chris Hayes conflating The Great White Dope's asking the Russians with the spear fishing attack if it motivates voters. Something Democrats need to catch up with republicans in doing.
Why am I thinking that the reporter contacted works for the New York Times?
Democrats are going to be a day late and a dollar short until they stop bringing a sport to a knife fight.

"Stone and Trump would probably discuss criminal matters only in a private place, face-to-face. These guys think like mafiosi. Mobsters have learned not to say certain things on the phone."

Yeah, but both these clowns each have an ego the size of the Graf Zeppelin, and can't restrain themselves from boasting. After listening to Donald's free form interviews and press conferences, it's obvious he hasn't the mental rigor to keep from speaking what's on his mind. Donald and Roger together could be a goldmine of a bragfest.

Maybe so, anon. But it's never wise to underestimate a foe. I've suffered fewer disappoints after deciding on a policy of predicting the worst possible outcome.
Here's a crazy thought; why can't the military confiscate the voting machines now and put them in a safe place till the end of this investigation? I have a feeling they are not safe where they are now should a need for further inspection came up.
JOE, there is a hospital in town( a system actually) they have it in for you. Your blog is blocked for inappropriate materials, they say. I tried every blog with the same political views, even the ones who use more racy language but everyone else is ok with them only you who is not. I find it curious, and funny.
But they did find Clinton's missing emials on Weiner's computer. See Comey testimony
Comey states this where Feinstien says, "But they weren't there". Comey states the FBI didn't know how the emails got there. The Wiener computer is why Comey says he went public and changed the election. What role, if any, did the Russians and the NYC FBI play in getting the emails and then putting them on Wiener's computer.

Anon 2:05 (and please don't be Anon), I privately received a similar message from another reader. Unless that reader was you.

I don't know what is going on. I did once publish a NSFW picture of Karl Rove's dad, but so did a lot of other sites. It was quite the scandal (or at least, quite the laff) at the time.
Moms Rising has a form where you can check online to make sure Putin's rat bastards haven't wiped you off the rolls:

Click here
In my opinion the Conservatives think that Barack Obama was involved in some type of gun running both in Mexico and in Libya. What the conservatives won't mention is the possibility that the plan was to have multiple GPS sensors in the guns so that the US could track various drug cartels and terrorists groups via the gun running and smuggling. The conservatives may believe that if an investigation was done they knew that the Obama administration would have to keep quiet about the multiple GPS sensors and therefore be caught. If true, this would basically amount to treason by Conservative factions for trying to force a standing president to release information they know the President could not have released.
This could be revenge for the Iran Contra controversy, one that included releasing one of the reports just days before the 1992 Presidential Election.
Then in regards to Hillary Clinton, the Conservatives probably believe that Hillary Clinton made contacts as Secretary of State and possibly communicated with those contacts in regards to the Clinton Foundation. The Conservatives believe that HIllary Clinton probably handed over all the relevant emails to the FBI, but by the FBI not requesting all emails its possible that Hillary Clinton complied then destroyed emails on other matters that could have put her in hot water.
Possibly the most frustrating aspect is I doubt the Clintons ever did anything worse than any Republican Conservative has ever done, so why the ongoing hate towards them? Perhaps because the Clintons are one the one family that has answer more questions under oath then any other political family, and once answered, they give opponents all kinds of opportunities to rehash all the interviews over and over and over again, simply because they exist.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

"Awwwww!" and The Awful. UPDATED: Strzok strikes back!

Update: DAMN! That's Peter Strzok forcing Trey Gowdy to chow down on his own ass. I may be a cynic, I may be a man without heroes, but...DAMN!

(We now return to this morning's post as originally published. The Rachel Maddow clip has been moved downward.)

Meet Charlie! This blog's current canine mascot is an Australian Shepherd puppy named Charlie, who is less than three months old. A friend gifted him to us. This dog's specialty is chewing everything he sees into sub-molecular particles. And I mean everything: Wallets, shoes, books, headphones, cars, trees, national monuments, meteors, abstract concepts... If I dangle my right arm within range of those fearsome teeth, that arm will soon look as gruesome as any shot in Passion of the Christ. Don't let that cute face fool you: This guy's a killer.

But how can we stay mad? Look at those eyes. One blue, one black. Awwwwww!

And now, let's turn from Awwwww to The Awful. That's my new name for each day's news: The Awful.

Trump wants out of NATO.
How can anyone see this story and not admit that Trump is Putin's plaything? The ramifications are historic and horrific.
U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to break with NATO and conduct American security unilaterally — if allies do not immediately meet higher military spending targets, NATO officials and diplomats said.
The military spending targets demanded by Trump are absurd -- deliberately so. Donnie and Vladdie know that the European nations will never go for a proposal to raise military spending to four percent of GDP. Doing so would be ruinous: Consider the perilous economic states of Greece, Italy and the U.K.

I disagree with Josh Marshall's analysis only at the very end...
Again, these numbers are total nonsense and intended as nonsense. It’s not a real proposal. It’s just the US President’s effort to toss another smoke bomb into the summit.
No: Not a smoke bomb. An atom bomb.

Putin decided to put Trump into office for many reasons, but the main motive was the destruction of the NATO alliance. This goal has been crystal clear since the summer of 2016.

Manafort in prison. I am so sick of "flip" predictions. Manafort ain't flipping. Look at how he's living...
I have NO IDEA why Manafort is allowed to have a laptop and cell in jail. I've never heard of this in any of the jurisdictions I've worked in (DC, federal; Massachusetts, state; and New Hampshire, state). Of *course* Manafort's feeling no pressure to flip—he's living like a king.
2/ He has his own bathroom, shower, workroom, and wardrobe? Wow, we're really *bringing the hammer down* on white-collar crime. It's almost like the corrupt politicians who get charged with white-collar crimes are writing all the criminal statutes. In fact, it's *just* like that.
3/ Despite all this—despite Manafort telling people that he's being treated like a VIP—he's complained in filings about the facility he's in and his lockdown status. Folks, this is why Trump is winning: America bends over backwards for rich criminals. We need to wake up—and fast.
Fortunately, there's a solution. But even if Manafort is placed into less palatial digs, the situation remains the same: He can lie and defy and practically beg for a conviction. Nothing matters. A pardon is in the bag.

I know what you're thinking: "But if he accepts a pardon, he can still be forced to testify, and he won't have any Fifth Amendment rights!" Oh, just stop it. Trump will pardon any further crimes as well.

Face facts, folks. Between the pardon and the plutonium, no member of the Trump crime crew has any motive to cooperate with Mueller and every motive to hang tough. Until I see state charges against one of these guys, I consider the very concept of hope laughable.

Cohen won't rat out Trump either, no matter what people are saying right now. Remember when all the smartypants-types assured us that Steve Fucking Bannon was about to turn, or had already turned? Aren't you sick of being misled by cockeyed optimists? Positive thinking is killing us. No matter what assurances Lucy gives us, she's always going to pull the football away at the last second.

Election meddling. David Corn's latest is a must-read.
Two weeks ago, Trump, in a tweet, gave credence to Putin’s claim that Moscow did not intervene in the election. “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” Trump maintained. Instead, Trump insisted, the real scandal was that the Democratic National Committee in 2016 did not hand over to the FBI its servers, which were hacked by Russian intelligence. This server business is a phony Fox News-fueled scandal; the DNC provided copies of its servers to the bureau. And even if there were anything untoward about the server matter, it still would pale in comparison to a foreign adversary assaulting an American election with hacks and the dissemination of stolen material.
The aim of Trump’s tweet was to legitimize Putin’s disinformation and to divert attention from Putin’s operation to a distraction. In doing so, the president was stunningly serving Putin’s interests rather than those of the United States.
"Are you now or have you ever been a Democratic voter?" Just look at the vile questions put to Peter Strzok...

This is worse than McCarthyism. At least McCarthy demonized Communists, although his witch-hunt quickly segued into an excuse to undo the New Deal and to toss labor leaders into prison.

For nearly forty years, a magnificently-funded propaganda has created a sick, distorted view of the Democratic party. Many Americans (even liberals) (hell, especially liberals) think that all Dems are evil, subhuman conspirators, and that anyone who favors a a Democratic candidate must be party to the conspiracy.

For the truth about Strzok, I strongly encourage you to view the Rachel Maddow segment embedded below.

How many other deep cover Russian Federation spies are operating in the United States?
Given his actions derailing the House Intelligence committee investigation have Russian agents gotten to the California Cow Cuddling Congressman?
Peter Strzok's work leading operation Ghost Stories be at the root of republican animus?
"Face facts, folks. Between the pardon and the plutonium, no member of the Trump crime crew has any motive to cooperate with Mueller and every motive to hang tough. Until I see state charges against one of these guys, I consider the very concept of hope laughable."

I'm not against a pessimistic attitude (been feeling it strong since the Supreme Court corrupt bargain), but getting Papadopoulous, George Nader, Rick Gates, and especially Michael Flynn to cooperate is getting some serious cooperation. And I'm not gonna celebrate until it's official, but every indication is that Michael Cohen is gonna flip.

It's what I've always said, but if Trump was going to pardon Manafort, every incentive is to do it sooner rather than later. The fact that he's waited this long when one of his trials starts in like two weeks tells me that he ain't gonna pardon him.

But seriously, why the f**k is he getting VIP treatment in jail? Seriously, just, WTF? If jail was that nice for everybody, I'd think about getting arrested instead of spending money on hotel rooms!
Hillary Clinton continues to play the part of Snowball from Animal Farm. The crazier Trump behaves, the more progressive Hillary Clinton goes, the better the Republican's chances for holding onto their power base and for Trump to get re-elected.

The person who is being exalted the most, and the only person left to fix this mess, is Barack Obama admitting his mistakes during his term in office. Anything he did to hurt the rust belt States he should own up to. Until that happens The crazier Trump gets, the safer his supporters feel.
Does Mueller actually need Cohen and Manafort to flip? Both those guys hoarded a lot of documents. Enough documentation would make cooperation beside the point,

Plus all the tax filings that the IRS routinely hands over, plus all other communications that they had warrants for.

The bad news is that the entire GOP is fixed, and getting rid of trump leaves the rotten system in place.

Joseph, Very cute dog.

Tell me about puppies with chewing issues. Since March 21, I have been owned by a chi-dachshund mix who is a holy terror on everything. She is probably eight or nine months old now. My other dog tolerates her.
suan: "Been owned by" THAT'S a good way to phrase it. Nine months old and still chewing? Oy. Sorry to hear that.
Gotta wonder how relations will play out between Adelman-Kushner-Las-Vegas-Trump and the US military-industrial complex. NATO means big contracts. That's what it's about. Surely no US president can successfully fuck with that?

Trump is mentally ill. Everywhere he goes, he leaves people thinking "this guy is a fucking nutcase". I was looking at how he has pissed people off who live close to a big golf project of his in Scotland, possibly at Turnberry. Basically he tries to grab grab grab, he lies his head off, especially about how many percent of people say he's great, and if anybody doesn't lie down like a doormat for him he subjects them to personal abuse. He tries to grab everything, he tells lies, he says most people think he's great, and he throws verbal shit at people when he doesn't get what he wants. He obviously deep down knows he's a pathetic excuse for a human being who deserves a fucking good thrashing.

The guy is not fit for public office of any kind.

This will all end in tears. I have never seen a national leader before who has had "I've got it coming to me" written on his forehead in bigger letters.

The guy has disgraced the United States on his trip to Europe and there is almost certainly more to come. Meanwhile his wife wears a jacket saying she doesn't give a shit, when she's off to see Spanish-speaking children separated by the US authorities from their parents in a blatant crime against humanity. She shouldn't be let off the hook because she's physically beautiful. Her slogan may be cause for postmodernist idiots to discuss irony, but for people who can think straight and who aren't themselves scumbags, it's cause for ensuring her fascist nutcase husband is removed from office (whether his destination is jail or mental hospital or he "does a Forrestal") as soon as possible, by any means necessary - and if the army have to do it, then that would be better than leaving him where he is.

Would it have been right to shoot Hitler in 1932? Yes.

The problem is you don't know the consequences of your actions. Someone else would have replaced Hitler and he might have won ww2.
The only way the Axis could have won WW2 is if none of the Axis Powers had attacked the USSR or the USA. Only against the British Empire alone would the Axis have stood a chance in Areinnye. The material odds were just too great against the Axis, but they started believing their own propaganda about how they had the Biggest Swinging Dicks Ever To Hang From A Primate's Crotch, and the sheer power of their testosterone would pulverize any merely material disadvantages.

Reality proved to be rather different. Matter matters.
@William - I agree. It's only about probabilities. If someone had replaced Hitler and then proceeded to win WW2, we might be in a worse position now, or one that's about the same, or we might be in a better one. Trump will eventually fall, but the longer it takes the more it's going to look like Armageddon. I doubt the course of events will feature lawyers in as big a way as some are hoping. If he is not stopped, his trajectory is to become a war leader and mass murderer. It's unclear where he will start. It could be against China or in Syria, Ukraine, Korea, or he could fall out with Qatar or Iran or somewhere unexpected, perhaps a NATO ally or Mexico or Saudi, or he could go for race war internally, or some combination. About the only regime he definitely won't fall out with is Israel.

I despise Theresa May's government in Britain but a small part of me sympathises with her for how she has to wear a shit-eating grin while she holds this psycho's hand in public. I kept thinking of Ceausescu when looking at pictures of Trump in London.

Serious question: does Trump have a flunky following him around with some alcohol or other substance for washing his hands in after he has shaken hands with someone?

It's great that so many people have protested against Trump in Britain, including many US citizens, but there seems to be a scary "all we can do is bear witness" vibe.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Various items: Shera Bechard, Melania, Manson, fascism, and more on our Mystery Man...

First, let's update a couple of previous stories.

Marcy's Mystery Man. Our last post offered a theory regarding a Mystery Man who apparently poses a threat of some sort to Marcy Wheeler, a.k.a. emptywheel, a.k.a. the internet's best blogger on national security and privacy issues. Marcy "dropped a dime" on this unnamed gentleman to the FBI, accusing him of participating in the Great Russian Election Hack. Now she seems fearful.

It is not characteristic of Marcy Wheeler to communicate with the feds. It is also not in her nature to show fear.

In the preceding post, I outlined what we know of this Mystery Man, and deduced that he must have some association with Ray McGovern's group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. (See points 1-6 in the preceding post; I could add another two or three clues, if pressed.)

I further suggested a name: NSA whistleblower Bill Binney.

(Not long ago, I had a high opinion of both McGovern and Binney. The rise of Trumpism has changed everything.)

Here's the new development: I have been privately assured that Binney is not the guy we're looking for.

However, I remain convinced that the perpetrator is connected in some way to VIPS. This conclusion is my personal deduction; it is not based on private information.

Keep an eye on VIPS. I've said from the start that Trump has received aid from a faction within our intelligence community. A simplistic "Blame Putin" theory doesn't cover all of the facts.

Avenatti and the Bechard/Broidy affair. When last we looked at this controversy, Michael Avenatti -- lawyer for Stormy Daniels -- wanted to find out why he was named in a lawsuit filed by Shera Bechard, the Playboy model impregnated (allegedly) by Republican bigwig Elliot Broidy.

The big question: Why was Avenatti dragged into that business? He's the lawyer for another woman. Bechard's suit has been placed under seal, and yesterday a judge in California refused to lift that seal.
Shera Bechard, who was Playmate of the Month in November 2010, sued Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy of Beverly Hills on Friday and convinced a judge to keep the complaint under seal for 20 days.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for the news organizations urged a second judge to make the suit public. “There is no basis for continuing to keep this sealed,” Kelli Sager told Judge Ernest M. Hiroshige at a morning hearing in state Superior Court in Los Angeles.

But Hiroshige agreed with attorneys for both Bechard and Broidy that Judge Ruth Kwan was correct to block public disclosure of the lawsuit.
Victor O’Connell, a lawyer for Bechard, said Tuesday that her complaint was filed under seal because of concerns that Broidy would argue that disclosure of the confidentiality pact in a public lawsuit would breach the agreement.
Okay, but I still don't understand the Avenatti angle. We are told that Bechard's former lawyer, Keith Davidson, broke the original contract by discussing it with Avenatti. Well, isn't that on Davidson? How did Avenatti do wrong?
Bechard had also declined to provide a copy of the lawsuit to Avenatti. The concern, O’Connell told the court, was that Avenatti “is notorious for leaking documents and information” to the news media.
I don't see how a man can be sued yet not served. Is that legal?

If someone were to sue you for some reason, would you not have to right to publish that Complaint?
In court papers, Avenatti accused Bechard’s attorneys of leaking the complaint to the Wall Street Journal.

“Putting lies in legal documents doesn’t make them true,” Bechard attorney Peter Stris responded to Avenatti on Twitter. “When YOU inevitably leak our complaint, it will be very clear why Judge Kwan provisionally sealed it for 20 days. Your media sideshow is a disgrace.”
With all of these accusations of leakage, I'm reminded of that lovely morning when I first read the Steele Dossier. Now go here:
A source told the Daily News that Bechard named Avenatti as a co-defendant because he posted a Twitter message April 12 that described her confidential deal with Broidy. A day later, the Wall Street Journal confirmed the hush-money deal in a blockbuster story.
But Avenatti was not party to any agreement!

Let's say you run an entertainment blog. Let's say you publish the plot of the fourth Avengers movie. Let's say you got this information from someone who signed an NDA with Marvel Studios. (I've just described a situation that crops up in the real world from time to time.) How can anyone sue you? Your name does not appear on that NDA!

If you're curious, here is the April 12 tweet that apparently stands at the heart of the Complaint against Avenatti:
In last 18 mos, Mr. Cohen negotiated yet another hush NDA, this time on behalf of a prominent GOP donor who had a relationship with a LA woman, impregnated her and then made sure she had an abortion. The deal provided for multiple payments across many months.
Sorry, but this tweet was neither irresponsible nor illegal. Nobody is named, and Avenatti violated no agreements. Again: If Davidson screwed up, that's on him.

The big news is that, according to HuffPo, we finally have an official denial of the oft-heard theory -- first sounded in this humble blog -- that Donald Trump is the true father of the aborted fetus.

(Yes, that's a cold choice of terminology. Apologies; I don't know which words to use. When discussing abortion in today's America, any phrasing is likely to annoy someone.)

Unfortunately, this denial traces back not to Shera Bechard -- whose twitter feed remains mystically silent on this topic -- but to unnamed sources.
The sources, who are unaffiliated with the president, asked not to be named in order to speak frankly about sensitive information. When asked by HuffPost about the speculation that Broidy acted as a conduit, both sources denied the rumors and said there had been no affair — or even any contact — between Bechard and Trump.
Might these sources be lawyers for either Bechard or Broidy? I wouldn't discount the idea. But if that suggestion is correct, why wouldn't the lawyers go on the record?

If HuffPo is proven right on this score, I'm perfectly happy to let the world continue to believe that the "Daddy Donnie" theory originated with Paul Campos. That said, I will consider this matter unresolved until we get a statement from Shera Bechard herself.

Why doesn't she settle the question once and for all by tweeting the words "I never met Donald Trump"? How can those words be construed as a violation of her agreement with Broidy? Any refusal to issue that simple statement may be interpreted as an admission -- or at least an indication -- of Trump's involvement.

Melania's message. Here's a matter which I should have discussed earlier.

You must surely recall the controversy surrounding the "I don't care" message emblazoned on Melania's jacket -- a jacket she wore at a time when any other political personage would have tried very hard to convey the message "I do care." So why did she do it?  I think she was sending a message of fascist solidarity.
Tasteless on its surface, the statement assumes added significance when we factor in the fact that “I don’t care” (“Me Ne Frego” in Italian) was an important fascist slogan.

Furthermore, the Zara company that made Melania’s jacket has a history of marketing garments with fascist/racist overtones. It marketed a shirt that mimicked a concentration camp inmate’s garb and a swastika-enlaid handbag. It also marketed a Pepe The Frog skirt.
Many articles discussed Zara's other questionable offerings, but few American journalists noted the Me ne frego connection.

The phrase goes back to WWI, which Italy entered belatedly. An elite Italian force called the arditi marched off to battle singing a song featuring the phrase me ne frego, which at the time was considered very vulgar. (A better translation might be "I don't give a shit.") The phrase signified a willingness to die. After the war, the arditi joined forces with Mussolini's Black Shirt movement, and Me ne frego became a fascist anthem.

Modern Italian fascists have resurrected the slogan. They've even put it on t-shirts. (Note the fasces and the ax in the design.)

Did Zara intentionally echo this fascist slogan? Although this Spanish company will probably insist otherwise, I am persuaded that they had to have known.

Did Melania intentionally wear that jacket as a shout out to the Pals of Pepe? Snopes says that there is no proof. Personally, I believe that Melania is guilty as hell. Her jacket represents the sort of plausibly-deniable messaging that sniggering, immature American fascists love.

It is worth noting that Melania speaks fluent Italian -- in fact, her Italian is probably better than her English. She is much more likely than the average American to understand the true historical meaning of the phrase me ne frego.

Since Melania is such an astute student of history, perhaps she is familiar with the fate that befell Clara Petacci, Mussolini's mistress. See the photo to the right? That's her in the middle; Benito is close beside her.

And you know what? At the very end, I think Clara did care. I think she cared very much.

Crazy theory.  Not long ago, I noted the Crazy Days and Nights blind item which intimated that there is a "sex tape" of Kamala Harris at an orgy. As a reader pointed out, orgies are far more common in right-wing imagination than they are in reality.

(Eyes Wide Shut is a fantasy. In the real world, wealthy men do not flaunt their shortcomings.)

My earlier post tossed some cold water on this allegation. I also suggested that "Enty Lawyer" (the proprietor of that blog) is probably relying, at least in part, on material (both accurate and not-so-accurate) provided by either the Russians or the Israelis. There's no way one person -- no matter how well connected -- could publish that frequently without a little help from on high (or, in this case, down low).

Much of Enty's material is designed to push the right-wing meme that All Powerful Liberals Are Child Molesters. In other words, Crazy Days and Nights is a propaganda operation disguised as a gossip site. The Breitbarters seem to love that place.

As a measure of Enty's credibility, take a look at this item from roughly a week ago...
This famous and horrific crime has an anniversary next year and is due to be the subject of yet another movie, this one a big budget production by an A list director. The facts are well known except for one niggling detail that a couple of the original investigators who are still alive are hoping will one day be cleared up. The complete list of who was present did not include this significant other of one of the victims. He was supposed to be on set in Europe. However, a source who was present reports seeing him at the crime scene that night. Considering all the awful but unrelated things reported about this person over the years, this at least warrants an investigation.
Obviously, this is a reference to Sharon Tate's murder by the Manson gang. (Tarantino is making a movie.) The only "significant other" on a movie set in Europe is at the time of the crime was, of course, Roman Polanski. In truth, he was not actually on a set; he was engaged in pre-production on a film version of Day of the Dolphin.

The allegation that Polanski was secretly on the crime scene is beyond ridiculous. The police and the press met him at the airport when he returned to Los Angeles. (I have a photo of the arrival somewhere on this computer.) I know for a fact that Polanki's passport was examined. He underwent an extensive (and not particularly friendly) grilling, a transcript of which can be found on Scribd.

When Polanski got the news of Sharon's death by telephone, two individuals still living -- Gene Gutowski and Andrew Braunsberg -- were with him.

For god's sake, what would be Polanksi's motive?

Actually, it is more important to examine the motive of Enty Lawyer. It serves the purposes of the Breitbarters and the Pals of Pepe to keep bringing up the name of Roman Polanski in any context, since doing so allows them to perpetrate the myth that Everyone in Hollywood is Liberal and All Liberals Are Pedos. That myth did a lot to upend Hillary Clinton, and it is being repeated ad nauseum in those regions of the internet where most Democrats fear to tread.

It's a very Trumpian attitude, isn't it? "I don't like Person X. Therefore, I am free to say anything I like about Person X, even if my claims are utterly false." I'm sure that even Samantha Geimer would agree that, even if a man is guilty of statutory rape, people do not have carte blanche to make up false stories about that man.

(You should read the interview with Geimer at the other end of the link given above. She makes a lot of sense.)

Three cheers for politics as usual. I recommend this NYT opinion piece on the center of the road, and why Dems should steer toward it if they want to win.
Enough about the Freedom Caucus. Enough about the Democratic Socialists of America. They’re flamboyant players in our political debate, but they’re extremes: More politicians — and most Americans — occupy the expansive territory in between. That’s where the pivotal races in 2018 are being fought. And if Democrats take back the House, it’s where any legislation with a prayer of getting through Congress will be hammered out.
An analysis by Third Way, a think tank in Washington that promotes what it defines as a center-left agenda, showed that pragmatic Democrats were holding sway generally. While only a minority of candidates endorsed by progressive groups like Justice Democrats and Our Revolution had won their primaries, more than three-quarters of those endorsed by the more centrist New Democrat Coalition had.

And most of the winners endorsed by Justice Democrats or Our Revolution prevailed in districts that are considered safely Republican, according to Third Way. They’re probably not bound for Congress.
For much of my life, I've wanted to vote for the leftmost candidate I could find on any given ticket, but -- except for an early period of blinkered idealism -- those instincts were always tempered by realism. Like it or not, Nixon was right: Losers don't legislate. The problem is that many progressives genuinely want to lose. They value purity over power.

We can't afford to think that way in a time of a growing fascist menace. In the German election of 1933 -- the one that brought Hitler to power -- the left-wing parties spent most of their energies attacking the centrists, not attacking the Nazis. And where did that attitude get us?
Is serving a defendant a blank summons a thing?
How does one defend against a suit w/o knowing the particulars?
Why am I reminded of a B movie comedy subplot that has the protagonist going to absurd lengths avoiding a process server?
About Marcy Wheeler, she really have the conference of highly placed individuals in government who would be targets of Russian Federation directed rat fuckery by a cow cuddling California Conservative congressman?
I thought you liked Melania. Perhaps the inopportune slogan was designed to spite Donald, who she may have reason to inconvenience in this way.
I used to like her, Stephen. Kind of. But to me, the jacket slogan is best interpreted as a pro-fascist statement.
Just wanted to say, I read that Samantha Geimer interview, which led me to watch the HBO doc Wanted and Desired about Polanski, as well as her twitter feed and her blog post re: the #MeToo open letter she signed. Thank you for pointing me towards these things, I found her perspective quite interesting.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Kavanaugh. Plus: Who put fear in the heart of Marcy Wheeler?

Vis-a-vis Brett Kavanaugh, I can only trot out a familiar phrase: What can you expect from a pig but a grunt? Trump is Porky and Kavanaugh is his grunt.

So much for abortion. Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

Akhil Reed Amar's "Liberal case" for Kavanaugh is a bad joke. We're talking about the chief author of the Starr Report. We're talking about a guy who thought Bill Clinton obstructed justice by trying to put off questions from the special counsel. By that logic, Trump is ultra-vulnerable. Will Kavanaugh apply the same standard to Trump? Of course not. Kavanaugh wouldn't have gotten the gig if he weren't one of the boys.

Partisan hacks don't care about accusations of hypocrisy. It's all about power. Pretending (as Amar does) that Kavanaugh espouses an "originalist" view of the Constitution obscures that depressing truth: It's all about power. Kavanaugh will demonstrate a view of the Constitution that is not so much originalist as orange, and he will do so well after Trump is gone. Kavanaugh's opinions will evolve, but only when his masters tell him to evolve.

How should vulnerable red state Democrats vote? It's all about attaining a majority in November; no other consideration matters. Progs who argue otherwise are Putin's puppets.

When abortion rights go bye-bye, don't blame any red-state Dems who, with nostrils pinched shut, cast votes for Kavanaugh. Blame the progressive purists and BernieBros who bought into all of those insane lies about Hillary. They are the assholes who made Trump possible.

Let's now turn to a mystery which a reader brought to my attention...

Did someone threaten Marcy Wheeler?
A friend forced me to pay attention to this remarkable Emptywheel column from July 3. I had not seen it previously, in part because I had become "disgustipated" with politics altogether, and in part because -- to be honest -- I had stopped following Marcy's work.

Y'see, she and I see eye to toe on the Steele Dossier. She's very doubtful of that whole affair, while I've always presumed that there's definitely a there there. True, I've become somewhat suspicious (as has Steele) of the pee-pee claim, which seems to trace back to sources within the Trump camp. There's much more to the dossier than the stink of urine, of course; unfortunately, Americans are sex-obsessed ninnies who can't pay attention to anything else.

In the past, whenever I've disagreed with Marcy Wheeler, she turned out to be right. (Well, almost always.) So instead of saying "You got it wrong this time, Marcy" -- a practice likely to end in humiliation -- I've avoided her site altogether.

As long as we're being honest, I'll mention another problem: Her writing style is too intricate, too "inside baseball." She reminds me of those academic authors who presume that the reader is already familiar with every obscure 19th century foreign-language article that the writer has seen.

Behind the scenes, she and I have corresponded very rarely, although I did tell her that I had done an OCR of that dossier. (Unfortunately, my publication of the dossier opened with a veritable waterfall of pee-related jokes. Sorry! I can resist everything except temptation.) Beyond that, she probably doesn't even recall my name.

We've strayed from the topic at hand, haven't we? Let us return.

I can't here summarize everything she says. Suffice it to say that Marcy Wheeler -- privacy advocate and avowed enemy of the Secret State -- walked into the FBI to inform them of a potential threat posed by one of her colleagues. Only an ultra-serous concern could make her do a thing like that. She intimates that she personally feels threatened by this person or by his associates. She hints that she could be killed. Clearly, there is much more to this story than she is willing to tell at this time.

It seems that this Mystery Man has demonstrably lied in furtherance of the Russian agenda.
I never in my life imagined I would share information with the FBI, especially not on someone I had a journalistic relationship with. I did so for many reasons. Some, but not all, of the reasons are:

I believed he was doing serious harm to innocent people
I believed (others agreed) that reporting the story at that time would risk doing far more harm than good
I had concrete evidence he was lying to me and others, including but not limited to other journalists
I had reason to believe he was testing ways to tamper with my website
I believed that if the FBI otherwise came to understand what kind of information I had, their likely investigative steps would pose a risk to the privacy of my readers

To protect the investigation, I will not disclose this person’s true identity or the identity and/or role I believe he played in the attack. Nor will I disclose when I went to the FBI. I did so on my own, without subpoena; I did that in an effort to protect people who have spoken to me in confidence and other journalists. Largely because this effort involved a number of last minute trips to other cities, I spent around $6K of my own money traveling to meet with lawyers and for the meeting with the FBI.
The obvious conundrum: Who is this person?

Don't expect an intelligent discussion of that quandary in this Daily Kos column. The flabbergastingly beside-the-point reader response demonstrates everything wrong with "debate" on the internet. God damn but Kossacks can be obtuse!

We do have a few clues as to the identity of the Mystery Man:

1. Mystery Man is familiar with the argot of intelligence analysts, and thus is probably a former denizen of Spookworld.

2. Mystery Man is pro-Putin and (presumably) anti-Clinton

3. Mystery Man is taken seriously by other journalists, and not just journalists of the Fox persuasion.

4. Mystery Man must know a thing or two about cyber warfare. Marcy accuses him of directly participating in the Russian cyber-attack, and of possibly tampering with her site.

5. Mystery Man is probably someone Marcy came to know as part of her investigations of NSA abuses.

6. Mystery Man does not operate alone.

When I first read Marcy's column, the first name that popped into my head was that of Ray McGovern. But he's not the guy. McGovern (who is closing in on 80) is too old to provide the kind of threat that Marcy discusses.

Nevertheless, I am now convinced that McGovern's organization, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, is the "home base" for Mystery Man. After mulling over the clues, I would like to offer this suggestion:

Bill Binney.

Everything fits. He's a former NSA guy. He knows about hacking and cyber warfare. He can't stand Obama and the Clintons. He is doing Putin's work regarding the DNC hack. Many journalists believe that his background makes him a credible source. His Spookworld associates must surely include someone who might conceivably pose a threat to the life of a writer like Marcy Wheeler. He would know how to tamper with her blog -- or, at the very least, he would know someone who knows.

If not Binney, then our Mystery Man must be someone else from the world of VIPS. This group is definitely trying to sell Trumpism to lefties. Part of their act seems borrowed from Lord H.A. H.A., although they are going about it in a subtler, cleverer fashion. They are even using, without shame or apology, Thierry Meyssan, inventor of the World's Stupidest Theory of 9/11.

Cannonfire was the first blog to suggest that Putin played a role in the Trump effort. But I've also consistently said that the enemy is not just Russia; Trump couldn't have done what he has done without aid from British and American spooks. To prove the point, one need do little more than whisper the name Cambridge Analytica. There is a pro-Fascist contingent within American intelligence which has been wreaking havoc since WWII.

(That's a truth you won't hear from Malcom Nance, whose latest book offers a familiar right-wing take on Cold War history. Seriously, Malcolm? You actually think you can get away with citing Pete Fucking Bagley, one of the Angletonian kooks who thought that the Sino-Soviet split was a hoax? And yet lefties are taking this shit seriously!)

I used to think the world of Binney, just as I used to be pro-Greenwald, pro-Taibbi, pro-Parry, even pro-Assange. Hell, I was even (kinda, sorta) pro-Putin. At least, I was willing to argue that we should leave Russia and Syria alone, if only because so many of our efforts at regime change proved disastrous.

Similarly, many formerly anti-Establishment liberals now feel compelled to defend guys like John Brennan and Michael Hayden. I'll never feel comfortable wearing that suit. But after reading Roger Stone's ludicrous attempts to demonize Brennan, what choice do we have?

The rise of Trumpism has changed so much. This vile new ism has forced many of us hop into bed with the strangest of bedfellows. Some lefties (Bob Parry, for example) decided to snuggle up with Russian fascists, while other lefties (Rob Reiner, for example) are sleeping spoons with former CIA heads.

Never forget that the anti-Imperialist left has long been open to fascist infiltration.

I saw this right-woos-left dynamic play out during the first Bush administration, when a few naive youngsters drawn to the Christic Institute (anyone remember them?) became entranced by the weirdo ravings of Milton "Bill" Cooper, an anti-gubmint conspira-crank who functioned as a kind of gateway drug. The kids soon fell prey to even more absurd far-right hucksters.

In 1990, that left-right flirtation was purely a fringe thing. Nowadays, fringe politics is simply...politics.
Democrats want the immigrant and migrant vote. To that end they keep not feeling the pain of the rust belt states. So no matter how bad Trump acts, is, or does, it won't matter because Progressives don't connect with the rust belt states.
This is how you connect: Candidates, ask your constituents if they know anybody who has worked long stretches as a "temp" or a "contractor" and then was flicked off like a booger. That's the real rust belt.
So, what are we talking M W inviting the FBI into her digs?
Efrem Zimbalist Jr dusting for prints?
Or Agent Mulder tweezing microcircuits out of her hard drive enclosure?
She going through boxes of surgical gloves ever time she operates a door?
Might be prudent since Vlad killed Dean Burgess with a door knob greased w Novichok.
Ya gotta ask, who would be so stupid to do this drawing unwanted attention?
If bad actors are rat fucking Wheeler they left footprints forensic computer guys can trace.
Anyway a diversion from the Great White Dope appointing Elmer Gantry to the SCOTUS.
Trump gets another pick it will be the SCROTUS Supreme Court Republicans.
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Saturday, July 07, 2018

Share, fair Shera!

Looks like I may have a blog after all. Or maybe not. Here's the deal: It seems that the existence of this site has caused a family squabble, and I'd rather give it all up than lose anyone dear to me. But if the loss is going to hit regardless, I should just keep writing. Right?

At the moment, Cannonfire is Schroedinger's blog, existent and nonexistent simultaneously.

Since the last post dealt with the Shera Bechard mystery, and since I was the very first to posit the theory that she aborted Trump's child...

(Have I mentioned that fact before? I believe so.)

...I feel obligated to discuss the latest. She is suing Elliott Broidy (the putative fetus-daddy) for non-payment of the promised hush money. That part makes sense to me, more or less. It also makes sense that she sued her former lawyer Keith Davidson, whose "secret team-up" with Michael Cohen strikes most people as pretty damned smarmy.

What does not make sense is the fact that she has included Michael Avenatti in this suit.

Avenatti is the lawyer for Stormy Daniels and has no obvious link to the Bechard case. In a statement, he has emphasized that he has never communicated with Shera Bechard in any way.
Mr. Avenatti said he didn’t know why he was named as a defendant, “unless it is a ploy by Ms. Bechard to get publicity.”

“I was never a party to any agreement with her and I never had any obligation to her,” he added.
Surreal! It's as if DC decided to sue Marvel Comics in a complaint which also named Barbra Streisand as a co-defendant.

Moreover, at the last moment the Complaint was sealed. God knows why. Avenatti has not yet been served and, at the moment, cannot make a proper reply.

The first hypothesis which popped into my cynical imagination is that Shera Bechard has been covertly promised that the money flow will return if she takes part in a scheme to smear Avenatti. The full nature of the smear will become clear only with the passage of time.

Let's be clear: I am not saying that this is what's going on; I'm saying that this was the first notion to pop into my fevered skull. One thing's for certain: The trolls and bots are engaged in a massive mud-slinging effort right now: Avenatti's a rapist! Avenatti's a tax cheat! Avenatti helped George Soros steal the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos! And so forth.

(Incidentally, this anti-Avenatti effort is something I also predicted. The "He groped me" allegations should have hit by now. Soon, soon...)

Journalists covering Broidy/Bechard business have denounced the "Daddy Donnie" theory, claiming that there is no hard evidence that Bechard slept with anyone other than Broidy. As previous posts have detailed, there are plenty of soft indications that Trump is the actual father.

One under-discussed indicator is the bizarre way Shera Bechard has handled the matter in her own Twitter feed. When it comes to inconsequential matters, Bechard usually responds to reader comments. But when people accuse her of engaging in a cover-up for Trump, she just lets the accusation hang in the air, unanswered.

And yet she continually tweets about narcissists. She knows full well that most people in this country consider Donnie to be the King of the Narcissists. She knows full well how those tweets and retweets are interpreted. Yet she remains as silent as the Sphinx.

Absolutely nothing in that "hush hush" agreement prevents her from saying the words "I never had sex with Donald Trump" -- unless she really did. If Donald Trump is the "David Dennison" in that contract (as he was in other contracts), her silence becomes explicable.

Here are a few of the reader comments which Shera refuses to address:
@SheraBechard The truth, please. Either quickly put to rest the conspiracy that it was trump who impregnated her and Broidy paid via trump bribe, or confirm it, please. No games, no lies.
evidence points to the affair being between Donald Trump and Bechard, and that Broidy entered into the NDA to silence Bechard as a favor to Trump. Trump, according to this theory, repaid Broidy by agreeingto at least two Oval Office meetings, at which Broidy lobbied...
Simple question: was Broidy the father or trump. Discovery will be wonderful. Adding @MichaelAvenatti is pretty stupid imo
Find it extremely hard to believe you slept with this man. And without a condom. Girl bye. Tell the truth, move on and get your money. No one is buying your current story.
Writer Paul Campos is the journalist whom most people incorrectly credit as the originator of the "Daddy Donnie" scenario. He believes...

(Have I mentioned that I was first? I believe so.)

He believes that this current turn of events is explicable only when seen through the lens of that theory. He notes that Broidy isn't saving any money by not paying Bechard, since the current lawsuit pileup will no doubt cost more than whatever he still owes her. (Broidy uses very pricey lawyers, naturally.) If Keith Davidson screwed up by blabbing about a secret arrangement, then Broidy would be better served if he sued Davidson for damages.

(Does Davidson have that kind of money? Probably.)

Here's Campos' most interesting point:
Chris Clark is a white-collar criminal-defense lawyer. Indeed, Broidy employed Clark when he was prosecuted a decade ago for bribing officials in the New York State comptroller’s office (Clark worked out a plea deal, in which Broidy testified against seven officials in exchange for pleading guilty to a single felony charge). Why is Broidy using a criminal-defense specialist to litigate a contract dispute? One possibility here is that Broidy is backing out of the contract on Clark’s advice, because the NDA is actually a bribe to Trump, and, by not paying the rest of that bribe, Clark’s client would be lessening his criminal liability.
By claiming that their agreement is void, Broidy is putting Bechard in a position to tell her story — whatever it may actually be — in whatever forum she likes.

I suspect this last point contains a key to understanding why Broidy is trying to back out of the agreement now. Perhaps like so many other people, Broidy has concluded that Donald Trump is a bad business partner.
Here's where Campos and I part company. At this moment, I prefer the theory that Broidy is still in bed with Donald Trump, and so -- perhaps -- is Shera Bechard. Figuratively.

Please understand: She seems like a nice person. I have nothing against her, aside from the fact that at least one of her lovers was poorly-chosen. (Then again, who doesn't have a poorly-chosen partner in his or her romantic resume?) All I'm stating here is my belief that, between the polonium and the pay-offs, between the carrot and the stick, Donald Trump and his cronies can manipulate nearly anyone to do nearly anything.

I may be wrong, but I still think that this current twist in the story is all about Avenatti.

Avenatti has been making noises about running for president in 2020. In some ways, he'd be a strong candidate, although I'd definitely prefer someone else. The naming of Michael Avenatti as a defendant in this suit, and then the strange decision to seal the Complaint, tells me that we are about to witness an anti-Avenatti ratfucking op, the exact nature of which is impossible to guess at present.

Ending the pay-offs to Shera Bechard made no sense, financially. Naming Avenatti in the Complaint made no sense, legally. (At least, so it seems given our present information.)

Something else must be going on. I'm not sure what that "something" is. We'll find out soon.
Well, I observed Cannonfire and it was not dead, so Schroedinger's paradox worked OK for me.
Some Cannonfire is better than none. If time spent writing and editing is a problem come to an agreement with the partner. On days other than the agreed on 15 min should suffice to log on delete Truther and Birthed comments then log out.
I see Avenatti as a self appointed cattle prod goading Democrats into action with the candidate talk.
I'm not sure how much they could gain from smearing Avenatti.
Joseph, glad to have you back in the saddle. I'm happy to give you credit on Bechard/Broidy, but I'll let you hash it out w/Baronvonsixpack.

Los Angeles is Avenatti's wheelhouse. What if Avenatti has goods on a "Genius" visa scam used by the Bechard and Hef in 2010 (remember, Trump and Hef were good buddies for decades?) facilitated by LA Atty Chris Wright? What if the method for scamming US Immigration has earlier provenance w/Trump?

The scummier corners of California law are in Avenatti's wheelhouse.
It might make him look like the hero -- fair dealer of reciprocal justice to the "shutdown ICE" voting bloc -- now the military is discharging aliens serving in our armed forces for a path to citizenship and deporting parents without children after taking the babies & kids hostage in cages and shipping them to unknown locations.

Did Hef and DJT both have atty's who specialized in EB-1 "modeling" Visas? Did Stormy explain to Avenatti how this works for porn flics? What does Stormy know about DJT falling out w/Hef (over Bechard?) in 2015/16? Does Avenatti have goods on Ms Melanie's (DJT's preferred sp) genius EB-1 visas ('96-'01)? Would Seattle (or Silicon Valley) be uncomfortable about his revelations if it uncovered their genius visa practices?

In 1996, who made a legal practice of helping models working for a guy in Italy who would bring young Eastern European women to NYC for seedy lesbian photo (fashion?) shoots (for French rags) and parties at "gentlemen's clubs" featuring European "models", tiger cubs, and alligators? Do beauty pageants use the same visas? NY Times reported Paolo Zampolli introduced Melanie to her future philanderer at a party at the Kit Kat Klub in 1998, after Zampolli "secured Ms. Knauss' visa to the United States" in 1996 (press reported her 1 yr Visa was renewed 5x before she got a green card). The Daily Mail settled Mrs. Trump's lawsuit against the story they ran alleging she provided more than PG rated "Breakfast at Tiffany" escort services.

2012: Bechard's Visa status -

Why Melanie would qualify for an EB-1 visa in 1995-1996 -

Do scoundrels (e.g. Trump, Broidy, Cohen, & Avenatti) deserve each other?

For Melanie's unsubstantiated 2016 proof of her genius rating for legal immigration status when she worked in NYC on lesbian shoot appearing in "February 1997 issue of Max, #88", see links to her tweeted copy of her DJT hired NY lawyer's letter (and why didn't DJT give this job to Cohen in 2016?)
Anon, I am not a Reddit reader regularly, and thus was unfamiliar with this von Sixpack personage and his work. My post is timestamped April 13, 6:55 pm. Perhaps he did come first.

I doubt that Hef and DJT were involved in any scheme to bring women over from Eastern Europe. Hef never had any need for that sort of thing. His forte has always been the All-American Girl Next Door, and he never had any shortage of volunteers.

That said, TRUMP'S involvement with the Eastern Europe milieu demands more attention.

There is a massive effort underway to connect Dems to underaged sex. No evidence; plenty of accusations. The Trumpers always engage in mirror imaging...
Morgan, I wish they agreed with you. The smears are constant.
Joseph, glad you're back.

At this point I don't trust anyone not already holding elective office who announces a presidential run.

Morgan, they smear to do harm, to instill hesitation and fear. It's part of the psychological operations that the right has made its bread and butter.

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Monday, July 02, 2018

Will Cohen spill? (No.) Does Kamala Harris have a deep, dark secret? (Maybe.)

Depending on how things play out "off camera," I may have to forgo plans for expanding my activities -- in fact, I may just have to call it a day. But the looming Exit sign should not stop us from mulling over a few points.

Cohen. The Cohen interview was mildly encouraging, and it certainly gave everyone the impression of barely-hidden criminality. Even the righties understand that it's not a question of if Trump is dirty but whether his confederates will expose the dirt.

That said, I see no need for anything so gauche as hope. Cohen clearly is angling for a pardon. Betwixt the pardon and the polonium, the man has no incentive to fink on our new Czar.

Sorry, Digby, but Cohen will not play the hero, and shame on you for raising liberal expectations.

Broidy. The Cohen interview has renewed speculation that Elliott Broidy falsely claimed responsibility for an aborted "love child" fathered by Donald Trump. As most now forget, that theory was first aired on this humble blog (check the date). It has since been mentioned -- sometimes obliquely -- on a couple of the leading MSNBC shows.

In the past, I've noted that the woman in question, Shera Béchard, has offered strong hints that the "Daddy Donnie" theory is accurate. By "hints," I refer to a series of tweets warning against the dangers posed by narcissists, a topic which seems to be very much on Béchard's mind. Trump is the World's Greatest Narcissist -- as even he would probably admit, as long as he can claim the title "World's Greatest." (I fully expect him to be referenced in psychology textbooks one of these days.)

Guess what? Shera continues to drop hint after hint. For example, she retweeted this.

Here's a response from one of Shera's readers:
Did @realDonaldTrump have you abort his baby. It’s going to come out! @TomArnold knows the truth. Get paid now contact a reporter. Tell your story before abortions are made illegal. @MichaelAvenatti @MichaelCohen212 @Elliott_Broidy the truth will come out. Hypocrisy at its best!!
Every single time Shera Béchard tweets about narcissists, she receives this kind of feedback. Her readers assume that she's talking about Donald Trump, and Shera never upends that assumption. That's the important point: Shera never says "No, you have it wrong."

Nothing in Cohen's contract prevents her from saying those words. At the very least, she could say "Don't jump to conclusions."

In many other less-weighty threads, Shera responds to the things said by her readers. But whenever her readers say "You aborted Trump's child, didn't you?" she just lets the idea hang out there in cyberspace, without refutation. Under certain circumstances, isn't silence is a form of confirmation?

I used to say that the Republicans would never end abortion because they benefited from the issue in GOTV terms. But Trump will actually do it. And when he does, evangelicals will forgive even the pay-off to Bechard.  

"Ma! Ma! Where's my Pa?" "He paid for your abortion, ha ha HA!"

(Believe it or not, there are some supporters of abortion rights who have decided to blame the upcoming Roe overturn on -- get this -- the Clintons. They did it. The right will blame the Clintons if Roe survives. The left will blame the Clintons if Roe goes away. Feel free to blame the Clintons if your dog soils the carpet.)

Does Kamala Harris have a deep dark secret? When the BernieBros smeared Kamala Harris, I became a fan. Now that they seem to like her better, I like her less.

Her early call to abolish ICE infuriated me. This meme plays right into the right-wing narrative that Dems want unrestricted immigration.

When will progressives learn how this "democracy" thing works? It's basically a popularity contest. "Don't separate babies from their mothers!" is a popular notion. "Unrestricted immigration!" is not a popular notion -- in fact, it is deeply unpopular. As this CNN commentator puts it:
With Democrats attacking ICE, the administration has been given an opening to paint its opponents as extreme, radical and a threat to national security. Even though we are long overdue for a rigorous debate over our immigration system, a call to abolish anything makes it sound as if the proponents want the entire system to go away.

Though Democrats are on the airwaves explaining they want something else that is better, Trump is already using this as a rallying cry to tell Republicans who strongly support his policies that the opposition is made up of extremists who don't want any kind of border security at all. "The Liberal Left, also known as the Democrats, want to get rid of ICE, who do a fantastic job, and want Open Borders. Crime would be rampant and uncontrollable!" he tweeted on Sunday morning.
Barring a bombshell on the Mueller or Cohen fronts, I'm predicting a red wave. Frankly, the Dems deserve to lose. "Abolish ICE"? Good Lord, the sheer idiocy of that position! It's as if Hillary Clinton's supporters responded to Pizzagate by adopting the slogan "Legalize pedophilia."

Look, Dems, it's simple. Ask yourself: "If I take X postion, will Roger Stone or Stephen Miller smile?" If you sense a grin, don't fucking do it.  

I just went off on a tangent, didn't I? My intent was to discuss Kamala Harris. Let's return to her.

She appears to be the person referenced in a blind item which appeared in the Crazy Days and Nights blog. That site, run by someone calling himself Enty Lawyer, is usually focused on celebrity piffle. That said, a number of people take the site seriously. Many of the puzzles are easy to figure out, and the claims appear to be accurate(ish).

The Weintstein affair is said to have begun here. So did the exposure of Kevin Spacey.

Having theorized that "Me Too" is largely a ratfucking op perpetrated by the Trumpers and their overseas enablers, I am open to the suggestion that Enty Lawyer regularly receives information from certain Foreign Sunza Bitches. Then again, maybe those foreigners have a number: 8200. (It could go either way. Those two foreign entities are basically partners in the worldwide project of ending multicultural democracy in favor of ethno-nationalism.)

Am I being paranoid? Look, I lived in L.A. for many years and often worked on the outskirts-of-the-outskirts of the industry. Yes, they all love to gossip. But believe me: I don't care how well-connected you are in town -- there's no way you can write that many accurate blind items on any given day if you ain't gettin' ELINT.

With that in mind, let us note a recent political blind item run by Crazy Daysky and Nightsky:
It is well known that this female politician who is being talked about as a possible future president started her career by having a relationship with a married senior politician in her state. For this, she was appointed to a number of part-time boards with hefty salaries. What isn’t so well known is the senior politician she had an affair with used to take her to swinger parties which were basically glorified orgies where she would engage in sex with large numbers of men and women. What not even she knows is there are compromising pictures of her at these orgies which is why senior leaders from her party are quietly trying to discourage her presidential ambitions and the leader of the other party, the current president, is very excited about running against her, her being her party’s nominee.
Kamala Harris. Obviously. The senior politician is probably Willie Brown. Enty has obliquely written about both before.

The only question is: Are there "senior leaders" in the Democratic party who are quietly discouraging a presidential run? If so, then I can see no reason for quiet. Best for the damage to hit now than later.

Right now, I doubt the story. If Kamala Harris has such a past, would she consider a presidential run? Nobody is that stupid. Everyone knows that conservatives may swing and liberals may swing not. That's the double standard in America right now.

We must therefore ask if Enty's item is a Roger Stonian ratfuck, perhaps inspired by this movie. Perhaps the providers of ELINT have slipped in a smear. After the success of the Pizzagate hoax, anything is possible.

In point of fact, Enty has been providing gossip items supportive of the Pizzagate/Q-Anon delusion that All Dems Abuse Kids. And he has even tried to tie Harris in with this. Enty's readers tend to push Q-Anon conspiracy theories. (Example.) (Example.)
I'm beginning to see what it's like, living in a failed democracy.

So much bad theater, that's real. Plus so many opportunities for faked videos.

Keep well, Joseph.

Nice to know our fate was sealed w Bill Clinton's Third Rail ...Way. Hope your issues can be resolved.
What you think of what Marcy Wheeler is saying about the Russians. Too late.
Great White Dope and Putin meeting in Helsinki to be private, only translators present. Wanna start a pool on how many days the translators survive until fatal accident?
The translators will be fine; Putin will supply both. Heh.
The allegation of having participated in “orgies” is always bunk. The “orgy” is the American’s fantasy of ultimate sexual depravation. It rarely happens in reality, even at swinger clubs, and then it is usually an awkward affair. It’s a mere mental image. It allows the racists to jack off picturing themselves clusterfcking Kamala Harris while simultaneously despising her for it. And the belief in the allegation provides a convenient excuse.
brumel, you make an excellent point. I know something about "swingers" and bdsm enthusiasts and so forth. Despite shared tastes for sexual experimentation, these people usually have actual intercourse in private. I can honestly say that I've never met anyone who has participated in an actual orgy -- and I've met people who have no problem admitting that they have tried just about everything ELSE.

I'm not saying that the orgy is a complete myth. But most people are too body-conscious and insecure for such activities.

Of course, our putative president spent a lot of time at Platos and similar clubs back in the 1980s. But a Trump may do what a Dem may not.

You think there's anything to that old story about Messalina? I go back and forth on that one...
Mueller no doubt knows everything that Cohen could possibly say. Cohen may add some context to all the documents that Mueller recovered from him, but if he doesn't, the Special Prosecution Team won't miss a beat.
Did you see where Ed Shultz died? Interesting years for him. Going from a big Conservative to big Liberal to big time Democrat to big time Bernie Sanders supporter/whiner to working for RT News (formerly Russia Today news)! Strange voyage...but maybe not as strange as some think. Coincidence that he went from Bernie to Russia Today News??? I don’t think so.
I haven't heard the orgy thing, but I have heard that Harris more or less "slept" her way to the top. So if she ever slept with one of her superiors, that would probably be enough to end her run.

Messalina, and more generally the “Roman orgy”, are another story. The historian David Vincent Kimel deals with this fascinosum here:
Stay well.
Its all about who a democrat cares for more, do they care more for immigrants and migrationists, or seniors who have lived in the US. for the past 30, 40, or 50 years and are being bamboozled every which they turn. Democrats are choosing the migrationists and immigration issues over senior issues.
The irony being the Republicans really don't want to help seniors, but if they can portray the democrats as caring more for migrationists and immigrants than seniors, the Republicans win.
Democrats should ask themselves this question, if they can't help seniors who have been paying into the system for decades before the became seniors, how are they going to pay for a massive influx of middle aged people form other countries who won't have paid into the system for nearly as long?
This of course then plays into the Republicans hands when they claim the influx of outsiders is how the Democrats crank up their vote totals.
I understand that most the migration issues are based on a flood of deadly weapons into areas of the world where the weapons then cause migration to occur. That is the layer that someone like Trump will never acknowledge and won't have to because of the democrat's getting their priorities mixed up.
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