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Monday, January 23, 2017

Big Wedding II


I'd like your feedback: How much time will pass before Big Wedding II hits us?

And where will it hit? What will be the nature of the strike?

I've said before that I think it will be a mini-nuke in Chicago. Trump has a building on the Chicago river -- the fourth-tallest in the world, and the tallest residential building in the world. The bottom floor, meant for commercial use but presently empty, offers plenty of room for mischief. Depending on the insurance arrangements, the building might be more profitable down than up.

Whatever hits us, it needs to be big. Only a massive shock will short-circuit this nation's natural cynicism. We know who will take the blame: Half the country hates Muslims and all of the country hates ISIS. Those within the conspiracist subculture will believe whatever nonsense Alex Jones tells them to believe, while the mainstreamers will never permit themselves to consider the "Trump diddit" theory (regardless of the actual evidence).

The signals have been clear for some time. Trump has more-or-less admitted that he plans to go back into Iraq to steal the oil.

He'll need the revenue.

It's quite obvious that his economic plans involve a lot of old-fashioned Keynesianism, although Trump would never use the K-word (and probably would not even be able to define it). Massive infrastructure spending -- the common liberal recommendation -- becomes possible only if Congress is compliant, but the Republicans might oppose Der Donald on this score. If they do, there is always the more GOP-friendly route of "military Keynesianism," otherwise known as the Reagan solution. We've all seen the clear signs that Trump wants another arms build-up.

The problem: All forms of Keynesianism require massive deficit spending, especially when conflated with huge tax cuts on the wealthy. Where is the money going to come from? China no longer wants to buy our debt -- in fact, they are girding for all-out trade war.

So Trump needs a war for oil. He needs to relive Dubya's big error.

Trump's adviser Michael Flynn collaborated with Michael Ledeen on a book which outlines how and where this war will be fought. But the book is very old school neo-con in its outlook: Iran and Russia are the chief bad guys.
The Field of Fight details the cooperation between Iran, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the PLO, and Russia. To give but two of many examples, Iran funds Hezbollah, which trains al-Qaeda terrorists. The British found an Iranian terrorist manual in Bosnia that had been used for training militants in Sudan. It detailed the use of sophisticated surveillance devices provided to terrorists by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
This is nonsense. Russia and Al Qaeda -- a.k.a. the Nusra Front -- are enemies fighting on opposite sides in the Syrian civil war. Al Qaeda/Nusra would have overrun Syria by now if not for military assistance from Iran. Being Sunni, the warriors of Al Qaeda and ISIS consider the Shiites of Iran to be infidels.

Flynn can't possibly believe the words he has co-written; after all, his own dealings with Russia are well-known. We now have further evidence of Flynn's Russian entanglements.
U.S. counterintelligence agents investigated National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian officials, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday night.

Flynn is the first person inside President Trump’s White House whose communications are known to have been combed as part of a multiagency investigation by the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency, among others, into whether Russia’s government secretly helped elect Trump.
The key focus is a series of calls Flynn made to Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak on Dec. 29, the WSJ reported, the day the Obama administration announced sanctions against Russia.

The goal of the probe is to determine the nature of Flynn’s contact with Russian officials and whether it may have violated the law, people familiar with the matter told the WSJ.

But the White House denied the investigation on Sunday.

“We have absolutely no knowledge of any investigation or even a basis for such an investigation,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement to the paper.
Yeah. Right. And the crowds at Trump's inauguration were the largest ever. Period.

Speaking of those crowds: Josh Marshall has provided an interesting chart...

In an earlier post, I said that the inauguration day crowd on the mall looked less impressive than the crowds who come there on any summer's day when the biggest attraction is softball. (The last time I was there to do the museums, the place was swarming.) And now we have data.

The important aspect of this matter -- the thing which right-wing apologists cannot permit themselves to discuss -- was not the size of the crowd but Trump's inane, hyper-narcissistic reaction. All he needed to do was say these words: "True, my crowd wasn't as big as Obama's. Well, maybe next time!" Wink, grin, pointed 'finger gun.'

That's all. Situation diffused. Next.

Instead, he insisted on pretending that reality was not reality. Worse, the Trumpers insist that any news organization which does not validate the hallucinations of Dear Leader must be a purveyor of "fake news."

We've elected a nut supported by incurable cultists.

Why we fight. A political organizer named Keegan Stephan has uncovered what I consider to be the true face of Trumpism.


I went to the Wayback Machine and looked up the actual piece. Here it is. Although Alternative Right is Spencer's website, the actual article is written by Colin Liddell, Spencer's partner. Here are a few choice excerpts:
It strikes me that one of the main things about having a good debate is how it is framed. Get that right and the chances are something good will be the outcome. However, for too long now, when we consider questions of race, especially questions concerning the Black race, we have been framing things in completely the wrong way. Instead of asking how we can make reparations for slavery, colonialism, and Apartheid or how we can equalize academic scores and incomes, we should instead be asking questions like, "Does human civilization actually need the Black race?" "Is Black genocide right?" and, if it is, "What would be the best and easiest way to dispose of them?" With starting points like this, wisdom is sure to flourish, enlightenment to dawn.
But why should Whites even be in a position where we are forced to consider such a possibility? The White race is history's victor. We conquered Africa and the Africans on the sheer merit of the superiority of our race, culture, and society, and in a land that was largely going to waste we built an affluent and modern society capable not only of supporting a large number of our own people but also a vastly larger number of Blacks than would otherwise have been able to survive there. Of course, Black labour helped, but if that hadn’t been there, we would have imported White, Indian, or Chinese labour and have done the job anyway.
As we know, the world is becoming increasingly over-populated, while at the same time vital resources are being rapidly depleted. The world will be unable to support much of its future projected population growth. In fact we are probably heading for a great 'die off' in which hundreds of millions of our kind will cease to be.

With Europeans and some Asians having much less children, most of the population growth leading to this future crisis is projected to come from Africans. This is the race that history and the present example of South Africa proves is least able to take care of itself; a race that has contributed almost nothing to the pool of civilization and which even shows little inclination to stay within the bounds of that civilization; a race that also seems to harbor a potent inferiority complex and savage hatred towards the creators of that civilization; and a race that votes to keep the ANC in power, the very party that helps power their increasingly genocidal attitude towards Whites.
Increasingly, this kind of talk has become mainstream.
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Regardless of how odious Spencer's (or his writers') comments are, I find it extremely short-sighted to encourage physical attacks on a speaker with whom one disagrees *especially* given what is currently this nation's president. The punching of a smarmy alt-right ass-hat is every bit as wrong as the attacks on SCLC Freedom Riders. There's no stupidity exemption to the First Amendment.
 
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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Terror is coming -- then war

I had not intended to top the preceding post so early in the day, but this can't wait. In his weird speech to the CIA, Trump -- as is his wont -- blurted out more than intended:
And he said about Iraq, "We should have kept the oil. Maybe we'll have another chance."
American's won't tolerate another Iraq war unless there's another 9/11. When the next "Big Wedding" hits, the official, Trump-approved storyline will have the blessing of Alex Jones, the king of America's "conspiracy culture." Thus, neither the mainstream media nor the right-wing fake newsers will challenge the lie.

The left had best get over its aversion to "conspiracy theory" pronto, because we're about to be hit hard by the most devious stratagem in American history. Trump needs to stage a terror event; his presidency cannot long survive without one.

During the election, any number of dimwits said that Trump was an antidote to the neocons. Bullshit. He is placing his entire military/national security establishment in the hands of Michael Flynn, the partner of Michael Ledeen, the neocon-to-end-all-neocons. He is an apostle of Ares who believes in war as an ultimate good and an end-in-itself.
In 2016, Ledeen co-authored The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies with Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn, who would be soon be designated as Donald Trump's National Security Adviser. This book laid out an updated version of Ledeen's conspiracy theories of nearly forty years earlier, arguing that Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, al Qaeda, and ISIS were all working together in an “international alliance of evil countries and movements that is working to destroy” the United States.

When then-candidate Donald Trump was asked in the summer of 2016 whether he'd trust the information he received in intelligence briefings, he responded, “Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country. I won’t use them because they’ve made such bad decisions.” Coupled with his almost complete lack of interest in receiving briefings since the election, and the explanation by his staff that he relies on other sources, it seems probable that the Haig-Ledeen playbook is back in action and will be used to justify a hard-line foreign policy along with a crackdown on domestic dissent.
Ledeen is still listing Russia as part of the axis of evil, even as Flynn's own dealings with Russia are well-known. If you know how to explain that, please share your thoughts with the rest of the class!
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I think North Korea is the oddity in all of this. Nobody seems to be able to stop their R & D and they seem to making missiles that travel farther and farther. Although were North Korea to launch a missile that reached a Hawaiian Island and destroyed it, it seems like the rest of the world would align together against North Korea, no?
 
The Pro Israel, Pro Russia stance is contradictory for sure.
 
Joseph,
I know that you have praised Kelly Anne Conway in the past, so I hope you do not take offense in what I am about to say.
I truly can not stand that bitch. She is as much of a bully and as big a lier as Trump himself. I am not sure I can stomach her every Sunday on TV.
I am not much of a TV watcher during the week, but I do try to catch the sunday shows just to take the pulse of cable networks. It was right down painful watching her today.
M
 
Oh, I agree, M. She is a horror. I can barely stand to watch her myself.

But you do have to admire her abilities.
 
Joseph,
But I don't admire her abilities to lie and bully. The same way that I don't admire Trump's abilities to win a presidential race by lying and cheating and promising things he has no way of delivering.
I guess I don't admire people that win at any cost and by breaking every rule.
M
 
Are you guys aware of a movie called (Trump stole it ) or something like that? It's talking about the machines that didn't record Hillary's vote and some other stuff. Tom Hartman believes that some of wasn't done for trump 's benefit necessarily, it was done for whoever the republican nominee happen to be. Because it seems it was done before he became the nominee.
 
"Trump needs to stage a terror event; his presidency cannot long survive without one."

I reached the same conclusion. Something like how he lied against widely known evidence about the relative crowd sizes for his inauguration and the protest demonstration can happen a few times now he's president. It can happen 10 times. But when it starts happening every two or three days, then within a month or two the returns will diminish. At breakfast tables all over the US and the world, it will be "What crazy shit is that whackball in the White House saying this morning? What obvious truth is he denying, denouncing as made up against him by his enemies?"

That's what it will be like for 90% of the population, including senior figures in the administration. Down in East Deliverance where the Trumpers hold on to their guns and imagine murdering Hillary Clinton when they take a shit, it won't be like that. But everywhere else, it will. Something's got to change. He needs a Reichstag Fire. He needs to change the face of the CIA, FBI, and DHS. He needs an SS. He needs mass internment. He needs war.

This is him, before the election, promising to "bomb the shit" out of "ISIS" and to ally himself with Exxon to steal the oil and stop anyone from getting it back. With Exxon, the company where Rex Tillerson was the CEO.

It's possible he will try something with North Korea, which would mean bye bye Seoul.

An armed confrontation with Russia is also possible. (I expected this to happen before the election.)

The Argentinian government was encouraged by the British government to take the Falklands in 1982. There was no antagonism between the regimes. The many rich scumbag Brits in Argentina were mostly highly supportive of the torture state in that country. Arms sales between Britain and Argentina resumed the year after the war.

Such a scenario today could be nuclear. Bad news if you live in the Ukraine, or in Turkey or Syria or wherever else gets it.

@Alessandro - Why is the pro-Russian pro-Israeli stance contradictory? The large majority of "Russian" oligarchs are Jewish.
 
Forestalling an impeachment -- let me count the ways.

Even if the public and the Dems demand an impeachment the Republicans can (if they so desire) avoid those proceedings by refusing to attend and provide a quorum for Congress.

The Continuity of Government provisions are activated by US presidential directive and the executive has overall control of its implementation (something legal scholars argue is unconstitutional).

Also, according to the Constitution, Congress can only meet at the Capitol Building.

So Trump's best bet for avoiding impeachment is to: first start a conflict with a foreign power. Then, conduct a nuclear incident against the Capitol building forcing its evacuation. Blame the foreign power for the attack. Finally, activate and administer COG.

Who can argue back at that point?
 
I watched the swearing in, Trump's address, and Obama's departure on NBC, the commentators remaining invisible (except for the split-screen of Doris Kearns Goodwin), so I don't know who expressed woeful dismay about Trump's saying he would eliminate "... radical Islamist extremists", while Trump actually said he would eliminate "Radical Islamist terrorists". I realize that corporate news card-carrying journalists cannot say or write "terrorists" or "terrorism" because it's a term of art, and of law to a great extent, but in that instance such rules of the game wouldn't apply. It just reaffirms that nobody knows what they're talking about and can't go off message.

It reminded me of MSNBC's pre-game coverage of Obama's announcement of the killing of bin Laden, when pre-shamed Brian Williams was reviewing for the babies just born the history since September 11, 2001. He stated as fact that the U.S invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq to oust Al-Qaeda. In a TV second, we saw David Gregory again, who had to revise the Williams error about Al Qaeda, which had no presence in Iraq until after the U.S. occupied the country. It was obvious that he was listening to instructions through his earpiece, re-reporting haltingly.

Q: Why has Trump bought so many exclusive golf clubs?
A: No exclusive golf club would accept him as a member.
 
Well, for a truly great terrorist experience wouldn't control of the state apparatus be necessary? Trump seems to barely be clinging on by his short, stubby little fingers.
 
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Why drugs are bad: They make you vote Republican



Bill Maher sure as hell opened my eyes with this segment of New Rules.

I already knew that red-staters were this nation's biggest drug addicts. I knew that in the red-voting desert communities of California, meth flows like the oil in Kuwait. Even here in Bawlmer, many a pill gets popped in the Trump-loving white working class suburbs, such as my own unhappy home town.

I knew all of that stuff before Maher did this "New Rules" bit. What I did not know about was the situation in West Virginia, the Trumpiest place on earth.
Drug wholesalers shipped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia in just six years, a period when 1,728 people fatally overdosed on these two painkillers, according to an investigation by the Charlotte Gazette-Mail.

That amounts to 433 of the frequently abused opioid pills for every man, woman and child in the state of 1.84 million people.
Four hundred thirty three pills per person?

Can that possibly be real? Who sells those drugs? Where do the buyers find the long green? According to this site, here's the kind of money we're talking about:
We have found, for example, that oxycodone in almost any formulation (e.g. mixed with acetaminophen as brand name Percocet) costs about $1/mg almost everywhere in the US; in pure form (instant release) it can cost more in low doses (e.g. a 30mg pill of oxycodone can cost as much as $50 but usually costs $30) and in high doses (e.g. an 80mg pill of oxycodone sold as Oxycontin with OROS REMS "abuse" prevention costs only $50 as it is not easily converted into an IV formulation).
Since many of these pills were prescribed (by doctors who must have the ethics of snakes), we also have to factor in the cost of medical consultations. Looks to me as though the good Christian folk of West Virgnia spend at least one billion dollars getting goofy on opium-based happy pills. I've been all over that state and I know that there aren't very many good jobs to be had. So how can folks afford to get higher than Mothman on a daily basis?

I'm asking in all seriousness. I know that some of my readers are southern, either by heritage or by current address. Where do y'all find the money to buy all those drugs?

Let's phrase it another way. With all of the money which red staters give to evangelists (especially the ones who talk about "the prosperity gospel"), to supplement peddlers like Alex Jones and to the pushers of meth and smack and pill-shaped opiods, how can they possibly have enough cash left over to eat and pay the rent?

No wonder these red state pillbillies are so fond of conspiracy theories. They have to blame their own failings on someone else. It's those damned Clintons, I tells ya. It's all their fault.

On a related note, let us turn our attention to...

The Roger Stone mystery. A couple of posts down, we discussed Roger Stone's claim that "the deep state" poisoned him with polonium. We have no medical records to prove that claim, and the photos released don't show the hair loss associated with polonium poisoning. All we can see are some spots:



There's another damn-near-inevitable symptom of polonium poisoning which dear old Rog somehow managed to evade: Death. Here he is, just a short while after his alleged "polonium" attack, miraculously spot-free:


So now I'm wondering: What could have caused Roger's face to get all spotty for a brief period? Well, while doing some research just now into Oxy abuse in the red states, I came across this before-and-after picture...


Do you think...? Can it be?

Nah. Not possible. I'm sure that Roger Stone would deny that he has ever mis-used oxy. And if you can't believe the Republican party's most infamous dirty trickster, who can you believe?

(Of course, Rush Limbaugh would have issued an exactly similar denial just before he lost his hearing.)

Final note: Here's the new image adorning Stone's Twitter page. That's AJ by his side.


A while back, I noted the physical resemblance between Alex Jones and Julius Streicher, the guy who more-or-less played the AJ role in Nazi Germany. This picture really drives it home...


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How do they afford it? Probably by getting ever deeper into debt.

I came to a similar conclusion about people who live in the Republic of Ireland. The supermarkets there charge sky high prices including for staple foods and yet they continue to do a thriving business. There is no way that incomes can cover that kind of expenditure.
 
It's obvious, they're reselling this crap to other states on an industrial scale. What the Western states are to marijuana, West Virginia is to opiates.

Not surprisingly, the Red states have the most draconian anti-marijuana laws, so people turn to other (much worse) drugs to entertain themselves. In the reddest and most depressed states, the collapsed aboveground economy has devolved into a underground ghetto-style economy, reselling guns and opiates to other parts of the country. Both guns and boxes of pills are small, high-value, and the risk of detection on the highways are pretty small.

This is the traditional home of untaxed moonshine distilled in secret locations in the woods and booze smuggling, after all. They've just shifted to higher-profit activities.
 
The oral narcotics are relatively cheap. Those are street prices you gave. Several years ago there was a horrible problem with "pain clinics" who gave the drugs out like candy. The clinics were shut down, leaving thousands of people in West Virginia, Kentucky, eastern Ohio ad western Pennsylvania addicted to narcotics. This also happened in other states. With so many addicts and no more legal access to drugs, a heroin boom was born. The pills are very expensive on the street but heroin is comparatively cheap. Now the heroin is cut with fentanyl and carfentanyl which are much stronger giving us lots of dead people.

 
Drug addicts afford their habits in three ways: 1) become a drug dealer yourself; 2) prostitution; 3) shoplifting at one store and return the goods at another; or just trade the goods for drugs or half-price if you're lucky. Through anyone of these ways, or a combination of all three, drug addicts routinely spend hundreds of dollars a day on their habit, 365-days a year. It's a horrible existence you wouldn't wish on your most hated enemy.
 
have to doubt oxo's the culprit. those spots simply look like the proverbial 'liver' spots of aging while playing a lot of mid-day golf in FL, if you ask me.

shots like those would have been taken by his dermatologist prior to having them frozen off..

convenient they could do double duty tho.
 
Colorado Guy hit the nail on the head:

It's obvious, they're reselling this crap to other states on an industrial scale.

For a number of years, addicts across the south used to caravan to the pain clinics of Florida, one of the most infamous of which ended up burning the dollar bills it received rather than go through the hassle of laundering them. Following crack-downs in Florida, the traffic shifted to West Virginia. Obviously Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers knew what was going on -- but, at Hopsicker always says, "There are no American drug lords."
 
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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Protest!



Yeserday (compared to the Obama inauguration):


Today:



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Heh...a picture really is worth a thousand words!
 
Just got back. At my age, a 12 hour marathon like this may be my last. And I had to get up at 2 am just to get myself and the dog taken care of, plus make my signs. But a couple of neighbors were going, so I went with them. The train stations were mobbed and the roads jam-packed, so we knew it was yuuuuuge even before we got there. So worth it just to pour salt in Donnie's butt-wounds.

Here's a funny note: yesterday, Trumple Thinskin had the Don's Johns name taped over on each porta-pottie because it's the same as Donald J's. Of course, today the tape was all removed so people were taking pictures of the name alongside their homemade signs in amusing combos.

I was at the last women's march on DC during Dubya's regime, and it was 1.1 million. This one was estimated at 1.3. It was more unwieldy and there were a few bottle-necks so it was hard for me to judge because the last one was just one massive more orderly march. At the least, I would say it was half a million in the morning (when we arrived) and another new half a million as we laboriously made our way back against an unrelenting tide. Spirits were high. Songs were sung. Who needed speakers because all the creative signs were our show. So many pussyhats, too. I made three and gave away two, one to a little girl from Michigan who hugged me and hoped to see me again! The police were awesome, the Amtrak and Marc train workers were helpful, cheerful and thanked us for coming. They must be way more exhausted than I by now.

We saw one lone news station covering the march from the outskirts, and on our way back I stopped a professional UPI photographer who opined we had "somewhat" more than yesterday....by maybe 500,000 to yesterday's 400,000 (seriously NO traffic jams yesterday and empty bleachers) but that the policemen who estimated over 1 million today didn't know what they were talking about. And so the news will paint a sparser picture if they can.

Add to this all the sister protests in cities around the country and the world. We need to let the tin horn and his media mouthpiece know we are everywhere and we're watching. And calling them out.





 
Trump says he got the largest inaugural crowd ever and that the media are lying when they say otherwise.

#ProvokeTrump

"#ProvokeTrump is dedicated to baiting him so that his craziness becomes undeniable"
"Make him go so crazy until he gets locked up"
"Make him launch a Twitter war, not a nuclear one"
 
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WHAT?

Is this even possible?
Donald Trump has fired all foreign US ambassadors with nobody to replace them

He demanded they leave their offices by midday on Inauguration Day
While presidents usually appoint their own ambassadors, it is unprecedented for all ambassadors to be dismissed without replacement. If a Democrat had done such a thing, the right would have raised unholy Hell -- and correctly so.

No matter what Dear Leader says or does, his cultists treat him the way the townsfolk treated Billy Mumy in that old Twilight Zone episode. That was a GOOD thing you did, Donnie! That was a VERY good thing!
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The diplomat sackings had been announced a while back. Trump has also purged all mention of civil rights, LGBT rights, health care and climate change from the White House website. More here.

It's Pol Pot territory. The memory of the previous regime needs to be expunged in order for Trump's new cult to emerge. Trump can never fail because he is going to write the public narrative to flatter himself. Everyone else is be trashed and vilified beyond measure. Nothing is beneath him. Recall how he tried to confront Bill Clinton by bringing his alleged sex abuse victims to the presidential debates. Trump is a dangerous, vicious nut job. People sense it but they just need a few more kicks to the head to get the message.
 
The Russian-owned Independent lost its reputation long ago. No-one else has picked up the story. Looks like fake news to me.
 
Stephen, the issue has been covered by the NYT and NBC.

There are approximately 4100 appointees for the new government requiring Senate confirmation. The vast majority of these currently do not even have a candidate assigned to them, much less have been considered by the Senate. Of 690 senior positions only 30 have been announced leaving 660 without a mention or confirmation. The administration is a hollow shell.

The media will start to notice at some point that the admin is dysfunctional and will be howled down by the Trump team. Government will increasingly be run behind closed doors by a small cadre of cult members with minimal liaison with the public service. Delivering government will be replaced by Trump media releases.
 
if you think it's bad to be flying w/o benefit of full diplomatic gear, consider the fact that all the folks at our nuclear missile silos have also been summarily relieved of duty.

it all feels a bit like kubrick komedy, until you realize how neatly it reflects patin's style.

we.are.so.screwed.
 
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Lincoln's prophecy, and more

On August 24, 1855, Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to his friend Joshua Speed. The most famous section comes toward the end...

Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.
Prophetic, eh wot?

I am happy to report that a dismal crowd showed up to watch D. Fredovich Trump make America bolshoi again. What an embarrassing amount of open space! The last time I was in DC there were far more people on the mall playing softball. I speak literally.





Why are those cops driving motorcycles with sidecars? Second question: Why do we say that someone rides a motorcycle but drives a car? And why do we switch back to the word "drive" when someone hooks a sidecar up to a motorcycle? Language, she is a funny theeng, no? 

Speaking of language, Donald Fredovich seems to have borrowed some key phrases from a certain Batman villain. Turns out that Mark Hamill got it all wrong. Kevin Smith does an excellent Bane: Why doesn't he start reading Trump tweets?

Added note: Trump lied his ass off about relinquishing control of his companies. Can he actually get away with this?

Yes, he can. He won't be subjected to hearings until the Dems control one of the houses of Congress -- and Trump's going to do everything he can to make sure fewer blacks and Hispanics vote. 

Here's another interesting development: I don't condone punching Richard Spencer in the face. Ineffective.



On a completely unrelated note...


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Hey guys, you need either a blue sky or blue balls to follow the trajectory the whole way.
 
Trump has fired all US ambassadors, often with no replacements to take over.

The idea is that if you're not with the Project then you're out. A reorganisation of the DHS and CIA looks likely. Trump needs an SS.

BTW America would be bolshaia, not bolshoi. Bolshoi is masculine; the noun "America" is feminine.

The rumour was that Trump would address the Koblenz conference of European far-right parties by video link, but so far he doesn't seem to have done that.
 
Interesting point about Lincoln, Joseph.

But Lincoln can also be applied in regards to the low attendance for Ol' Yellow Stain's Inauguration--you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Of course, they will spin the s**t out of this (and Spicer tried), but the pics speak for themselves. Reality bites.

And while I do not approve of violence...I must admit I cracked a smile when Spencer got it in the puss. At least it wiped that smug, s**t-eating grin off his face.
 
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Friday, January 20, 2017

BUSTED on inauguration day

I didn't want to write a post today. In fact, I had intended to avoid thinking about politics unless events forced me to do so. But then...

...then THIS hit.
American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.
I was half-expecting -- well, hoping for -- a story like this to appear earlier. Like, about a month before the election.
Mr. Manafort is among at least three Trump campaign advisers whose possible links to Russia are under scrutiny. Two others are Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign, and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative.
As many of you know, Stone made the news recently when he went on Alex Jones' show and claimed that the "deep state" tried to kill him with polonium. We don't have any actual medical documentation proving this claim, natch -- at least, I haven't seen such documentation. But I have seen a picture of the "poisoned" Stone; unlike Litvinenko, Roger didn't lose his hair. And unlike Litvinenko, Roger recovered -- thanks, apparently, to one of those "miracle elixers" that AJ offers for sale.

Stone's outlandishly blatant plug for AJ's product line has led many to suspect that Stone's claim is revival-tent hogwash. (Note to self: One day, I must write a post comparing conspiracy-peddlers like AJ to miracle-peddlers like Peter Popoff; similar scams, same audience.) It should also be noted that this alleged "hit" helps to publicize Stone's latest book.

However, I've not yet evicted all love for conspiracy theory from my heart. What if there really was an attempt on Stone's life? A couple of post ago, I offered the suggestion that Stone might have been one of Christopher Steele's sources. RS can be pretty loose-lipped -- perhaps too loose. Many far-rightists have said that Stone is far past his prime as a dirty trickster. In other words, maybe someone decided that he has become an expendable liability.

Forgive that side-trip down Paranoia Lane. Let's get back to the NYT story:
The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.
In an emailed statement Thursday evening, Mr. Manafort called allegations that he had interactions with the Russian government a “Democrat Party dirty trick and completely false.”
"Democrat Party Dirty Trick." Yeah, right. There is no equivalent to Rascally Roger on Team Blue. And you certainly can't get the NSA, the CIA and Treasury to join forces on a mere "dirty trick."

The big question: Will further evidence come out before Trump can fire everyone involved in this investigation?

The other big question: Won't it look awfully damned suspicious if he fires everyone involved in this investigation?

If Hillary had won, she could never have "cleaned house" at FBI, even though the Bureau employs many who despise her. Yet everyone expects Trump to say "You're fired!" to anyone who coveys even the slightest hint of disloyalty to The Donald.

Trump repeatedly said that how awful, awful, awful it would be for Hillary Clinton to take the oath under FBI investigation. Well, isn't Trump under FBI investigation right now? Today? Inauguration day?

Let's see if I have this straight: If the FBI investigates Hillary, the fault must be Hillary's -- but if the FBI investigates Donnie, the fault must be with the FBI.

Let's get back to Manafort. His defense is striking:
Manafort also said that his activity in Ukraine “focused on the westernization of Ukraine.”

He added: “Anyone who takes the time to review the very public record will find that my main activities, in addition to political consulting, were all directed at integrating Ukraine as a member of the European community including assisting the Obama Administration’s effort to denuclearize Ukraine, expanding military exercises between NATO and Ukraine, and engaging in the process of negotiating the documents which were the basis of Ukraine becoming a part of the EU - the DCFTA and Association Agreements.”

The DCFTA is the Deep Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
Wait a minute. Wait a goddamn minute.

Isn't that the precise opposite of what Manafort was doing? Let's not rehash the question of who is right in the Ukrainian civil war. Is it not a matter of objective fact that Manafort was allied with Viktor Yanukovich, the pro-Russia guy? The guy whom Obama targeted for removal because he (Yanukovich) opposed ties between Ukraine and NATO?

Meanwhile, in Spain: AP offers a little-noticed story which may prove to be of major significance.
Spanish officials say a Russian computer programmer wanted by the United States on hacking allegations has been jailed while a decision is made on whether to extradite him.

The National Court said Thursday that Stanislav Lisov, 31, was jailed Jan. 13 after Civil Guard police arrested him at Barcelona airport on an FBI warrant issued though Interpol.

The court said a Madrid judge questioned him by videoconference over charges of criminal conspiracy in connection with electronic and computer fraud for which he is wanted by the U.S. It said he was ordered jailed because of the seriousness of the offenses and the risk of him fleeing justice as he had done previously in the United States.

Lisov was arrested as he prepared to take a flight out of Spain with his wife.
And yet many Trumpers still deny that Russia had anything to do with the hacks. I can only presume that the Spanish government must now be considered part of the Evil Clinton Conspiracy.
Permalink
Comments:
If everyone is allowed to do his/her conspiracy, I am going to go as outlandish as they come. Remember when very early on people thought the Trump run was engineered so to help Clinton win, what if it was the other way around. What if someone somewhere wanted trump to be the president all along. This could explain the similarities between the dem primaries and the general in terms of attacks on Clinton. Actually trump himself credited Sanders campaign for the materials he used against her. His campaign was a smooth continuation of the primaries. Now it seems like they had the same financiers more or less. heck I can give a lot of specific examples of the rhetoric used in both campaigns. So what if Clinton run was intended to get dump in the WH. Who's the stupid now?
 
Ukraine was denuclearised lomng before Manafort arrived, surely.

The Russian hacker arrested in Spain doesn't seem to be alleged to work for the government, or to have been involved in the election. He's probably just a criminal.
 
If RS was indeed poisoned with traces of polonium, the first blush suspects would be the Russians or Israelis who are said to have done that in the past.

The next, deeper thought would be it could be others trying to make it seem one of them did it.

Bibi is a friend to some oligarch in Putin's circle, but he'd like to attack or have us attack Iran, and Russia is Iran's backer. So it's Israel, trying to get Trump angry at Putin?

Might it be Trump's own people, tidying up loose ends/mouths, with a plausible third party to point at?

Trump is apparently a loyal person, but look at how he dumped Roy Cohn, his key mentor, when he got AIDS. Eric Prince is in the country now.

I can't pretend to know, except there are dark forces around all these three potential movers behind the attempt who are highly capable.

Maybe it was just a shot across the box, and a warning, not intended to kill him, also.

XI


 
Putin's girlfriend sends hacked intel to Trump's wife Melania via secret server to and from Russia going to and from Trump Towers. Melania gives hacked intel to Roger Stone, Stone gives hacked intel to Manfort. Manfort gives hacked intel to Devine of the Sanders campaign. Sander's campaign uses hacked intel to damage the democrat party and Hillary Clinton.
The Clever part is each person in the chain can deny getting or receiving hacked intel from Russia because it's the two woman who do the actual initial interaction. So all the guys are actually telling the truth when then say they did not get hacked intel from Russia.
Example….Tad Devine received hacked intel from Russia, no he didn't, he had no connection to Russian hacking. That becomes a truthful statement because there are enough people in the chain to legitimately say that no one directly got Russian hacking intel from Russia since it would be Melania and only Melania getting the hacked intel. What makes this so juicy is that progressives (unlike moderate democrats), love to feast on the alleged stupidity of women in politics, such as Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and now Melania Trump.
So the progressive media falls into the trap of not even considering the possibility that Melania Trump is basically the connection to Russian hacking intel even though Melania speaks six or seven different languages.
 
https://theintercept.com/2017/01/19/major-fake-news-operation-tracked-back-republican-operative/
 
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

This censored article predicts what Trump will soon do

In 2009, respected journalist Scott Anderson wrote a piece for GQ called Putin's Dark Rise to Power, which lays out the case that Vladimir Putin, shortly after taking office, established his hold on the Russian government by staging a series of terrorist events, which were blamed on the Chechens. As you will recall, Litvenenko made the same accusation before his poisoning.

Conde Nast (publisher of GQ) censored the article, making sure that it never appeared on the internet and never appeared in Russia. For a few years, the piece found a home on a Chechen web site. That site is now down. Until the publication of this post, this censored story could be found nowhere on the internet -- not even on the torrent sites.

I am making it available here because I think that this is not just a story about Russia's recent past; it's about our own future. I believe that Donald Trump will follow Putin's blueprint.

If required to remove this article, I will of course do so. However, I will then publish a detailed summary/rephrasing of the piece. Until then, I hope that one of my readers will make sure that Anderson's piece is published on a foreign site.

In other words, a request for removal will draw more attention to the contents of this article.

Everything below the asterisks was published in 2009.

*  *  *

Ten years ago this month, Russia was rocked by a series of mysterious apartment bombings that left hundreds dead. It was by riding the ensuing wave of fear and terror that a then largely unknown Vladimir Putin rose to become the most powerful man in the country. But there were questions about the nature of those bombings - and disturbing evidence that the perpetrators might actually have been working for the Russian government. In the years since then, the people who had been questioning the official version of events began one by one to go silent or even turn up dead. Except one man. Scott Anderson finds him.

The first building to be hit was the barracks in Buynaksk housing Russian soldiers and their families. It was a nondescript five-story building perched on the outskirts of town, and when the enormous truck bomb went off late on the night of September 4, 1999, the floors pancaked onto each other until the building was reduced to a pile of burning rubble. In that rubble were the bodies of sixty-four people - men, women, and children.

In the predawn hours of last September 13, I left my hotel in central Moscow and made for a working-class neighborhood on the city's southern outskirts.

It had been twelve years since I'd been in the Russian capital. Everywhere, new glass-and-steel buildings had gone up, the skyline was studded with construction cranes, and even at 4 A.M., the garish casinos around Pushkin Square were going full tilt and Tverskaya Street was clogged with late-model SUVs and BMW sedans. The drive was a jarring glimpse at the colossal transformation that Russia, its economy turbocharged by petrodollars, had undergone in the nine years since Vladimir Putin came to power.

But my journey that morning was to a place in "old" Moscow, to a small park where a drab nine-story apartment building known as 6/3 Kashirskoye Highway had once stood. At 5:03 on the morning of September 13, 1999 - exactly nine years prior to my visit - 6/3 Kashirskoye had been blasted apart by a bomb secreted in its basement; 121 of its residents had died while they slept. That explosion, coming nine days after the one in Buynaksk, was the third of what would be four apartment-building bombings in Russia over a twelve-day span that September, leaving some 300 citizens dead and the nation in panic; it was among the deadliest series of terrorist attacks in the world until September 11. Blaming the bombings on terrorists from Chechnya, Russia's newly appointed prime minister, Vladimir Putin, ordered a scorched-earth offensive into the breakaway republic. On the success of that offensive, the previously unknown Putin became a national hero and swiftly assumed complete control of the Russian state. It is a control he continues to exert today.

Where 6/3 Kashirskoye had stood there was now an orderly grid of well-tended flower beds. These surrounded a stone monument engraved with the names of the dead and topped by a Russian Orthodox cross. For the bombing's ninth anniversary, three or four local journalists had shown up, discreetly watched over by a couple of policemen in a nearby squad car, but there really wasn't much for anyone to do. Shortly after 5 A.M., a cluster of perhaps two dozen people - most of them young, relatives of the dead, presumably - trooped up to place candles and red carnations at the foot of the monument, but they retreated as quickly as they had appeared. The only other visitors that morning were two elderly men who had witnessed the bombing and who dutifully related for the television cameras how terrible it had been, such a shock.

I saw that one of the old men became quite emotional as he stood before the monument, repeatedly brushing at his cheeks to wipe away tears. Several times he turned and walked purposefully away, as if willing himself to leave, but he never got very far. He would linger by the trees at the edge of the park and then inevitably make a slow return to the shrine. Finally, I approached him.

I lived very close to here, he said, and I was awoken by the sound, I came rushing over and... He was a big man, a former sailor, and he waved his hands helplessly over the flower beds. Nothing. Nothing. They pulled a young boy and his dog out. That was all. Everyone else was already dead.

But as it turned out, the old man had a more personal connection to the tragedy. His daughter, son-in-law, and grandson had lived at 6/3 Kashirskoye, and they had all perished that morning, too. Leading me up to the monument, he pointed out their names in the stone, and desperately brushed at his eyes again. Then he angrily whispered: They say it was the Chechens who did this, but that is a lie. It was Putin's people. Everyone knows that. No one wants to talk about it, but everyone knows that.

It is a riddle that lies at the very heart of the modern Russian state, one that remains unsolved to this day. In the awful events of September 1999, did Russia find its avenging angel in Vladimir Putin, the proverbial man of action who crushed his nation's attackers and led his people out of a time of crisis? Or was that crisis actually manufactured to benefit Putin, a scheme by Russia's secret police to bring one of their own to power? What makes this question important is that absent the bombings of September 1999 and all that transpired as a result, it is hard to conceive of any scenario whereby Putin would hold the position he enjoys today: a player on the global stage, a ruler of one of the most powerful nations on earth.

It is peculiar, then, how few people outside Russia seem to have wanted that question answered. Several intelligence agencies are believed to have conducted investigations into the apartment bombings, but none have released their findings. Very few American lawmakers have shown an interest in the bombings. In 02003, John McCain declared in Congress that there remain credible allegations that Russia's FSB [Federal Security Service] had a hand in carrying out these attacks. But otherwise, neither the United States government nor the American media have ever shown much inclination to explore the matter.

This apparent disinterest now extends into Russia as well. Immediately after the bombings, a broad spectrum of Russian society publicly cast doubt on the government's version of events. Those voices have now gone silent one by one. In recent years, a number of journalists who investigated the incidents have been murdered - or have died under suspicious circumstances - as have two members of Parliament who sat on a commission of inquiry. In the meantime, it seems that most everyone whose account of the attacks ran counter to the government's version now either refuses to speak, has recanted his earlier statements, or is dead.

During my time in Russia this past September, I approached a number of individuals - journalists, lawyers, human-rights investigators - who had been involved in the search for answers. Many declined to speak with me altogether. Others begrudgingly did so but largely confined their statements to a recitation of the known inconsistencies in the case; if pressed for an opinion, they allowed only that the matter remained "controversial." even the old man in Kashirskoye park ultimately underscored the air of unease that hovers over the topic. After readily agreeing to a second meeting, at which he promised to introduce me to other victims' families who doubted the government's account, he had a change of heart.

I can't do it, he said when he called me back a few days later. I spoke to my wife and my boss, and they both said that if I meet with you, I will be finished.

I was curious what he meant by "finished," but the old sailor hung up before I could ask.

No doubt part of this reticence stemmed from recalling the fate of the man who made proving the conspiracy behind the bombings a personal crusade: Alexander Litvinenko. From his London exile, the rogue former KGB officer had waged a relentless media campaign against the Putin regime, accusing it of all manner of crimes and corruption - and most especially of having orchestrated the apartment-building attacks.

In November 2006, in a case that riveted the world's attention, Litvinenko was slipped a lethal dose of radioactive polonium, apparently during a meeting with two former Russian intelligence agents in a London hotel bar. Before the poison killed LItvinenko - it took an agonizing twenty-three days - he signed a statement placing the blame for his murder squarely at Putin's feet.

But Litvinenko had not worked alone on the apartment-bombing case. Several years before his murder, he had enlisted another ex-KGB agent in his search for answers, a former criminal investigator named Mikhail Trepashkin. The two men had a rather complicated personal history - in fact, back in the '90s, one allegedly had been dispatched to assassinate the other - but it had actually been Trepashkin, working on the ground in Russia, who had uncovered many of the disturbing facts in the case.

Trepashkin had also run afoul of the authorities. In 2003 he had been shipped off to a squalid prison camp in the Ural Mountains for four years. By the time of my visit to Moscow last year, however, he was out on the streets again.

Through an intermediary, I learned Trepashkin had two young daughters, as well as a wife who desperately wanted him to stay out of politics; combining these factors with his recent prison stint and the murder of his former colleague, it seemed likely that my approach to him would go as badly as had my conversations with other former dissenters.

Oh, he'll talk, the intermediary assured me. The only way they'll stop Trepashkin is by killing him.

On September 9, five days after the blast in Buynaksk, the bombers struck Moscow. This time it was an eight-story apartment building on Guryanova Street, in a working-class neighborhood in the city's southeast. Rather than a truck bomb, the device had been stashed on the building's ground floor, but the result was virtually identical; the explosion brought down all eight floors and killed ninety-four residents as they slept.

It was with Guryanova Street that the general alarm first went out. Within hours a number of Russian-government officials strongly suggested that terrorists from Chechnya were responsible, and the nation was sent into a state of high alert. As thousands of police fanned out to question - and in several hundred cases, to arrest - anyone resembling a Chechen, residents of apartment buildings throughout Russia organized themselves into neighborhood-watch patrols. Calls for retaliation rose from all political quarters.

At Trepashkin's request, our first meeting took place at a crowded coffee shop in central Moscow. One of his aides showed up first, and then twenty minutes later Trepashkin arrived in the company of his bodyguard of sorts, a muscular young man with a crewcut and an opaque stare.

Trepashkin, while short, was powerfully built - a testament to his lifelong practice of a variety of martial arts - and still very handsome at 51. His most arresting feature, though, was a perpetual amused grin. It gave him an aura of instant likability, friendliness, although I could imagine that anyone who sat across an interrogation table from him back in his KGB days might have found it unnerving.

For a few minutes, we chatted about everyday things - the unusually cold weather in Moscow just then, the changes I'd noticed since my last visit - and I sensed Trepashkin was trying to figure me out, deciding how much to say.

Then he began to tell me about his career at the KGB. He'd spent most of his years as a criminal investigator who specialized in antiques smuggling. He was, in those days, an absolute loyalist to the Soviet state - and most especially the KGB. Trepashkin was such a dedicated Soviet that he even supported a group that attempted to thwart the ascent of Boris Yeltsin in favor of preserving the Soviet system.

I could see that this was going to be the end of the Soviet Union, Trepashkin explained in the coffee shop. But even more than that, what would happen to the KGB, to all of us who had made it our lives? I saw only disaster coming.

And that disaster came. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia plunged into economic and social chaos. One particularly destructive aspect of that chaos stemmed from the vast legions of Russian KGB officers who suddenly entered the private sector. Some went into business for themselves or joined on with the mafiyas they had once been detailed to combat. Still others signed on as "advisers" or muscle for the new oligarchs or the old Communist Party bosses who were frantically grabbing up anything of value in Russia, even as they paid obeisance to the "democratic reforms" of President Boris Yeltsin.

Of all this, Trepashkin had an intimate view. Kept on with the FSB, the Russian successor to the KGB, the investigator found it increasingly difficult to differentiate criminality from governmental policy.

In case after case, he said, there was this blending. You would find mafiyas working with terrorist groups, but then the trail would lead to a business group or maybe to a state ministry. So then, was this still a criminal case, or some kind of officially sanctioned black operation? And just what did ‘officially sanctioned' actually mean anymore, because who was really in charge?

Finally, in the summer of 1995, Mikhail Trepashkin began work on a case that would change him forever, one that placed him on a collision course with the seniormost commanders of the FSB and, Trepashkin says, would lead at least one of them to plot his assassination. As with so many other incidents that exposed the malevolent rot in post-Soviet Russia, this one centered on events in the breakaway southern republic of Chechnya.

By December 1995, rebels fighting for the independence of Chechnya had fought the Russian army to a bloody and humiliating stalemate after a full year of war. The Chechens' success was not as simple as mere force of arms, however. Even during the Soviet era, Chechen mafiyas had controlled much of the Russian criminal underworld, so when Russian society itself became criminalized it played beautifully to the Chechen rebels' advantage. For their steady supply of sophisticated weapons with which to fight the Russian army, the rebels often had only to turn to corrupt Russian army officers who had access to such weaponry, with the funds for such "purchases" supplied by the Chechen crime syndicates operating throughout the nation.

Just how high up did this cozy arrangement go? Mikhail Trepashkin got his answer on the night of December 1, when a team of FSB officers stormed a Moscow branch of Bank Soldi with guns drawn.

The raid that night was the culmination of an elaborate sting operation, one that Trepashkin had helped supervise, designed to finally bring down a notorious bank-extortion team linked to a Chechen rebel leader named Salman Raduyev. It was a huge success: Caught up in the Soldi dragnet were some two dozen conspirators, including two FSB officers and a Russian-military general.

But inside the bank, the FSB men found something else. To ensure they weren't walking into a trap, the conspirators had planted electronic bugs throughout the building, and those were linked to an eavesdropping van parked outside. While their precautions obviously needed some fine-tuning, it begged the question of how the gang got their hands on bugging equipment.

All these sorts of devices have serial numbers, Trepashkin explained in the Moscow coffee shop, and so we traced the numbers back. We discovered that it had all come from either the FSB or the Ministry of Defense.

The implication of this was staggering, for access to such equipment was severely restricted. It suggested that high-ranking security and military officers had colluded not only with a criminal gang but with one whose express purpose was to raise funds for a war against Russia. By the standards of any country, that wasn't just corruption, it was treason.

Yet no sooner had Trepashkin started down that investigative trail than he was removed from the Bank Soldi case by Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the FSB's internal-security department. What's more, he says, no charges were brought against any of the Russian officers implicated, and nearly all of those caught in the initial dragnet were soon quietly released. Instead, Patrushev ordered an investigation of Trepashkin. That investigation lasted nearly two years, at the end of which Trepashkin had reached his personal breaking point. In May 1997, he wrote an open letter to President Yeltsin detailing his involvement in the case and charging much of the senior FSB leadership with a host of crimes, including forming alliances with mafiyas and even recruiting their members into FSB ranks.

I thought that if the president knew what was happening, Trepashkin said, then he would do something about it. This was a mistake on my part.

Indeed. Boris Yeltsin, it turned out, was fabulously corrupt himself, and the letter alerted the FSB that they now had a serious malcontent on their hands. The very next month, Trepashkin resigned from the FSB, burn out, he says, but the harassment he'd been subjected to. But that didn't mean Trepashkin was going to go quietly into the night. That summer he brought a lawsuit against the FSB leadership and began filing complaints that extended all the way to the FSB director himself. It was as if, even at this late date, the investigator imagined that the honor of the Kontora (Bureau) could still be redeemed, that some as yet invisible reformer might step forward. Instead, his persistence apparently convinced some senior FSB officials that it was time for a permanent solution to their Trepashkin problem. One of the first people they turned to was Alexander Litvinenko.

On paper, Litvinenko looked just the man for the job. Having just returned to Moscow from a stint on the brutal Chechen battlefield as a counterterrorism operative, he had been transferred into a new and highly secretive of the FSB called the Office for the Analysis of Criminal Organizations, or URPO. While Litvinenko didn't know it at the time, it seemed the URPO had been formed to serve as a death squad. As reported in the book Death of a Dissident, by Alex Goldfarb and Litvinenko's widow, Marina, Litvinenko learned of this when he was summoned by the URPO commander in October 1997. There is this guy, Mikhail Trepashkin, the commander allegedly told Litvinenko. He is your new object. Go get his file and make yourself familiar with it.

When he did, Litvinenko learned of the criminal investigator's involvement with the Bank Solid case, as well as his lawsuit against the FSB leadership; it left him puzzled as to just what he was supposed to do with Trepashkin.

Well, it's a delicate situation, Litvinenko quoted his commander as saying. You know, he is taking the director to court and giving interviews. We should shut him up, director's personal request.

Shortly after, Litvinenko claimed his target list expanded to include Boris Berezovsky, an oligarch and Kremlin insider whom apparently someone powerful now wanted dead. Litvinenko stalled for a time, making continual excuses for his inability to carry out the assassination orders.

According to Trepashkin, at least two attempts were made on his life during this period: a failed ambush on a deserted stretch of Moscow highway, and a rooftop sniper who couldn't get off a clean shot. On other occasions, he says, he was tipped off by friends still in the Kontora.

In November, the alleged FSB plot against Trepashkin and Berezovsky was exposed in dramatic fashion when Litvinenko and four of his URPO colleagues appeared at a Moscow news conference to detail the kill orders they'd been given. Also in attendance was Mikhail Trepashkin.

And there, somewhat anticlimactically, the matter seemed to end. Litvinenko, the ringleader of the dissident officers, was summarily dismissed but otherwise suffered no immediate retribution. As for Trepashkin, after improbably winning his lawsuit against the FSB, he married for a second time and settled into his new job with the Russian tax police, determined, he says, to quietly serve out his term until he was eligible for retirement.

But then, in September 1999, the apartment-building bombings would shake Russia's political foundations to their core. Those attacks would also propel Trepashkin and Litvinenko back into the shadow world, this time with a common purpose.

Amid the near hysteria that gripped Moscow after the Guryanova Street bombing, early on the morning of September 13, 1999, authorities were called to check on reports of suspicious activity at an apartment building on the city‘s southern outskirts. Finding nothing untoward, security personnel completed their search of 6/3 Kashirskoye at about 2 A.M. and left. At 5:03 A.M>, the nine-story building was collapsed by a massive bomb, leaving 121 civilians dead.

Three days later, the target was an apartment building in Volgodonsk, a city south of Moscow. This time it was a truck bomb, and it left another seventeen dead.

In the Moscow coffee shop, Trepashkin grew uncharacteristically somber, staring into the distance for a long moment.

It just seemed incredible, he said finally. That was my first thought. The country is in an uproar, vigilantes are stopping strangers on the streets, there are police roadblocks everywhere. So how is it possible that these bombers are moving about so freely, that they have all this time to set up and carry out these sophisticated bombings? It seemed impossible.

Another aspect that Trepashkin had a problem with was the question of motive.

Usually, this is quite easy to find, he explained, it is money or hatred or jealousy, but for these bombings, what was the Chechens' motive? Very few people thought about this.

On one level, this was perhaps understandable. Antipathy for Chechens is deeply ingrained into Russian society, and it had grown much worse during their secessionist war in the '90s. Unspeakable atrocities were committed by both sides in that conflict, and the Chechen rebels had shown no compunction against taking their fight into Russia proper or targeting civilians. Except that war had ended in 01997, with Boris Yeltsin signing a peace agreement recognizing Chechnya's autonomy.

So why? Trepashkin continued. Why would the Chechens want to provoke the Russian government when they already had everything they had fought for?

And there was something else that gave the former criminal investigator pause: the composition of the new Russian government.

In early August 1999, just weeks before the first bombing on Buynaksk, President Yeltsin had appointed his third prime minister in less than three months. He was a slight, humorless main, virtually unknown to the Russian public, named Vladimir Putin.

The chief reason he was so little known was that, until a few years earlier, Putin had been just one more midlevel KGB/FSB officer toiling away in obscurity. In 1996, Putin was given a position in the presidential-property-management department, a crucial office in the Yeltsin patronage machine that gave Putin leverage to grant or withhold favors to Kremlin insiders. He apparently put his time there to good use; over the next three years, Putin was promoted to deputy chief of the presidential staff, then to director of the FSB, and now to prime minister.

But though Putin was still obscure to the general public in September 1999, Mikhail Trepashkin already had a pretty good sense of the man. Putin had been the FSB director at the time the URPO scandal went public and had personally dismissed Alexander Litvinenko for provoking it. I fired Litvinenko, he had told a reporter, because FSB officers shouldn't hold press conferences...and they shouldn't make internal scandals public.

But equally alarming to Trepashkin was who had been chosen to be Putin's successor as FSB director, Nikolai Patrushev. As head of the FSB internal-security department, it was Patrushev who had removed Trepashkin from the Bank Soldi case and who was now among those government officials most vehemently claiming a Chechen connection to the apartment-building bombings.

So what you saw was this dynamic building, Trepashkin said, and it was the government promoting it. ‘The Chechens are behind this, so now we must take care of the Chechens'.

But then something very strange happened. It happened in the sleepy provincial city of Ryazan, some 120 miles southeast of Moscow.

Amid the state of hypervigilance that had seized the nation, several residents of 14/16 Novosyolov Street in Ryazan took notice when a white Zhiguli sedan pulled up to park beside their apartment building on the evening of September 22. They became downright panicked when they observed two men removing several large sacks from the car's trunk and carrying them into the basement before speeding away. Residents called the police.

Discovered in the basement were three 110-pound white sacks wired to a detonator and explosive timer. As police quickly evacuated the building, the local FSB explosives expert was called in to defuse the detonator; he determined that the sacks contained RDX, a explosive powerful enough to have brought the entire apartment building down. IN the meantime, roadblocks were established on all roads out of Ryazan, and a massive manhunt for the Zhiguli and its occupants got underway.

By the following afternoon, word of the incident in Ryazan had spread across Russia. Prime Minister Putin congratulated the residents on their vigilance, while the interior minister lauded recent improvements by the security forces, such as the foiling of the attempt to blowup the apartment building in Ryazan.

There the matter may well have ended, except that same night two of the suspects in Ryazan were apprehended. To the local authorities' astonishment, both produced FSB identification cards. A short time later, a call came down from FSB headquarters in Moscow that the two were to be released.

The following morning, FSB director Patrushev appeared on television to report a wholly new version of events in Ryazan. Rather than an aborted terrorist attack, he explained, the incident at 14/16 Novosyolov Street had actually been an FSB "training exercise" to test the public's alertness. Further, he said, the sacks in the basement had contained not explosives, but rather common household sugar.

Contradictions in the FSB's account were manifold. How to reconcile FSB headquarters' sacks-of-sugar claim with the local FSB's chemical analysis that had found RDX? If this truly had been a training exercise, how was it that the local FSB branch wasn't informed ahead of time, or that Patrushev himself didn't see fit to make mention of it for a day and a half after the terrorist alert was raised? For that matter, why did the apartment-building-bombing spree suddenly stop after Ryazan? If the attacks were truly the handiwork of Chechen terrorists, surely the public-relations black eye the FSB had received over the Ryazan affair would spur them to carry out more.

But the time for such questions had already passed. Even as Prime Minister Putin gave his speech on the night of September 23 praising the residents of Ryazan for their vigilance, Russian warplanes began launching massive air strikes on Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. Within a few more days, Russian armored battalions that had been massed on the border for months crossed into Chechnya, marking the start of the Second Chechen War.

Events moved very quickly after that. On New Year's Eve 1999, Boris Yeltsin stunned the nation by announcing that he was stepping down from the presidency effective immediately, which made Vladimir Putin acting president until new elections could be held. And instead of holding them sometime in the summer, as originally scheduled, those elections would now occur in just ten weeks' time, leaving Putin's many competitors for the position little time to prepare.

In a presidential poll taken in August 1999, Putin had garnered less than 2 percent support. By March 2000, however, riding a wave of popularity for his total-war policy in Chechnya, he swept into office with 53 percent of the vote. The reign of Vladimir Putin had begun, and Russia would never be the same.

For our next meeting, Trepashkin invited me into his apartment. I was a bit surprised by this - I'd been told that, for security reasons, Trepashkin rarely brought visitors to his home - but I guess he figured all his enemies knew where he lived, anyway.

It was a pleasant enough place, if a bit on the spartan side, on the ground floor of a high-rise tower surrounded by other high-rise towers in southern Moscow. Trepashkin gave me a quick tour, and I noticed that the only space with even a hint of clutter was the tiny, paper-filled room - a converted walk-in closet, really - he used as his office. One of his daughters was home, and she brought us tea as we settled in the sitting room.

With a vaguely embarrassed smile, Trepashkin offered that there was actually another reason he rarely had work-related meetings at his home: his wife. She wants me to stop all this political stuff, but since she is away this morning... His smile eased away. Well, it's because of the raids. You know, they came charging in here - he waved toward the front door - with their guns, shouting orders; the children were terrified. It really affected my wife, and she is always worried it will happen again.

The first of those raids had occurred in January 2002. Late one night, a squad of FSB agents burst in and proceeded to take the apartment apart. Trepashkin maintains they found nothing but instead planted enough evidence - some classified documents from the FSB archives, a handful of bullets - to enable prosecutors to hang three "pending" charges over his head.

It was their way of putting me on notice, he explained, of letting me know they would come after me if I didn't straighten up.

Trepashkin had a good idea of what had sparked the FSB's attention: Just days before the raid, he had started getting telephone calls from the man regarded by the Putin regime as one of Russia's greatest traitors, Alexander Litvinenko.

Lieutenant Colonel Litvinenko's fall from grace had been swift. After his 1998 press conference alleging the URPO assassination plots, he'd spent nine months in prison on an "abuse of authority" charge and had then fled Russia as prosecutors prepared to move against him again. With the help of the now exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky, Litvinenko and his family settled in England, where he joined forces with Berezovsky to expose to the world what they claimed were the crimes of the Putin regime. A primary focus of that campaign was getting to the truth of the apartment-building bombings.

So this is why he was calling, Trepashkin explained. Litvinenko couldn't come back to Russia, obviously, so they needed someone here to help with the investigation.

Easier said than done, for by January 2002, Russia had become a very different place. In the two years since Putin had been elected president, the once-thriving independent media had all but disappeared, while the political opposition was being steadily marginalized to the point of insignificance.

One indication of this chilling effect was the revisions performed on the shakiest aspect of the government's bombing story, the FSB "training exercise" in Ryazan. By 2002 the Ryazan FSB commander who had overseen the manhunt for "the terrorists" now supported the training-exercise explanation. The local FSB explosives expert who had insisted before television cameras that the Ryazan sacks contained explosives suddenly went silent on the whole matter and disappeared from sight. Even some of the residents of 14/16 Novosyolov Street who had appeared in a television documentary six months after the incident to angrily deride the FSB's account and insist the bomb was real now refused to talk with anyone beyond allowing that perhaps they'd been mistaken after all.

I told Litvinenko that the only way I could become involved was in some kind of official capacity, Trepashkin explained in his sitting room. If I just went out on my own, the authorities would move against me immediately.

That official capacity was fashioned at a meeting held in Boris Berezovsky's London office in early March 2002. one of those in attendance, a Russian member of Parliament named Sergei Yushenkov, would organize a blue-ribbon committee of inquiry into the bombings and make Trepashkin one of his investigators. Another attendee was Tatiana Morozova, a 31-year-old Russian émigré living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Morozova's mother had been killed in the Guryanova Street blast, and under Russian law that gave her the right to review the government's records on the case; since Trepashkin had recently obtained his license to practice law, Morozova would appoint him as her attorney and petition the courts for access to the FSB's Guryanova Street files.

So I agreed to both of these ideas, Trepashkin said, but the question was where to look first. So many of the reports were unreliable, and so many people had changed their stories, that my first goal was to get access to the actual forensic evidence.

Also easier said than done, for a hallmark of the government's response to the bombings had been a peculiar haste in clearing away the ruins. Whereas, for example, the Americans had spent six months sifting through the remnants of the World Trade Center after September 11, regarding it as an active crime scene, Russian authorities had razed 19 Guryanova street just days after the blast and hauled everything away to a municipal dump. Whatever forensic evidence had been preserved - and it wasn't clear that any had - was presumably locked away in FSB storehouses.

While what he discovered didn't pertain to the specifics of the bombings, Trepashkin did soon manage to come up with something quite interesting.

One of the odder footnotes to the whole affair was a statement that Gennady Seleznyov, the Speaker of the Duma, had made on the floor of Parliament on the morning of September 13, 1999. I have just received a report, he had announced to legislators. An apartment building in the city of Volgodonsk was blown up last night.

While Seleznyov got the basics right - an apartment building had indeed just been blown up - he had the wrong city; the blast that morning had been at 6/3 Kashirskoye Highway in Moscow. Which put the Speaker in kind of an awkward spot when an apartment building in Volgodonsk was blown up three days later. At least one Duma member found that puzzling.

Mr. Speaker, please explain, he had asked Seleznyov on the Parliament floor, how come you told us on Monday about the blast that occurred on Thursday?

In lieu of an answer, the questioner had his microphone quickly cut off.

To many observers, it suggested that someone in the FSB chain of command had screwed up the order in which the bombings were to take place and had given the "news" to Seleznyov in reverse.

Searching around nearly three years after the fact, Trepashkin says he determined that Seleznyov had been given the erroneous report by an FSB officer, though he won't say how he knows.

But with progress also came the potential for danger to Trepashkin. One of those who had attended the London meeting, human-rights activist and Berezovsky lieutenant Alex Goldfarb, became concerned enough about Trepashkin's welfare that he arranged a meeting with him in Ukraine in early 2003. The two had never met before, and Goldfarb found it an odd encounter.

He was one of the stranger people I've ever met, Goldfarb recounted. He had no interest in the philosophical or political implications of what he was doing. To him, this was all just a criminal case. In the back of my mind, I was thinking, ‘Is this guy crazy? Doesn't he appreciate what he's up against?' but I finally concluded he was this kind of supercop - you know, a Serpico figure. He was determined to do the right thing because it was the right thing to do; it was just that simple. Still, Goldfarb felt it his duty to at least alert Trepashkin to the deepening peril, the very little that could be done if the authorities decided to go after him. The more he pressed on this, though, the more Trepashkin seemed to bristle.

He didn't care about any of that, Goldfarb remembered. I think he still believed he was fighting to reform the system, rather than that he was up against the system itself.

But as it turned out, the hammer first fell elsewhere. In April 02003, Sergei Yushenkov, the Duma member who had hired Trepashkin for his committee of inquiry, was murdered in front of his Moscow home, shot down in broad daylight. Three months later, another committee member died under mysterious circumstances. The two deaths effectively ended the independent inquiry - which also meant that Trepashkin was now essentially on his own. Still, acting as Tatiana Morozova's attorney, he soldiered on - and in July 02003, he finally hit pay dirt. It hinged on another loose end in the case, one that no amount of cleaning up after the fact could quite tie off.

In the hours just before the Guryanova Street bombing, the FSB had released a composite sketch of a suspect based on information provided by a building manager. But soon after and with no explanation, that sketch had been withdrawn and replaced with that of a completely different man. This second man had long since been identified as one Achemez Gochiyayev, a small-time businessman from the region of Cherkessia, who had immediately gone into hiding. In the spring of 02002, Alexander Litvinenko had tracked Gochiyayev to a remote area of Georgia where, through an intermediary, the businessman steadfastly insisted that he had been framed by the FSB and had only run because he was sure they would kill him.

It made Trepashkin very curious to learn the identity of the man in the first sketch, even more so when, going through the voluminous FSB files on Guryanova Street, he discovered there wasn't a copy of it to be found anywhere. As a last resort, he started sifting through newspaper archives to see if any had run that sketch before the FSB had pulled it from circulation. And there it was.

It depicted a square-jawed man in his mid-30s, with dark hair and glasses. Trepashkin was convinced he knew the man, that in fact he had arrested him eight years before. He believed it was a sketch of Vladimir Romanovich, the FSB agent who had manned the electronic-surveillance van for the Raduyev gang during the robbery of Bank Soldi.

Trepashkin's first thought was to find Romanovich and try to compel him to reveal his role in the apartment bombings. Not likely. As far as Trepashkin could determine, shortly after the bombings, Romanovich had left Russia for Cyprus and died there in the summer of 2000, killed by a hit-and-run driver.

Trepashkin then tracked down the original source of the sketch, the Guryanova Street building manager.

I showed him the sketch of Romanovich, Trepashkin said in his sitting room, And he told me that was the accurate one, the one he had given to the police. But then they had taken him to Lubyakna [FSB headquarters], where they showed him the Gochiyayev sketch and insisted that was the man he saw.

With his bombshell, Trepashkin planned a little surprise for the authorities. the FSB had long since released the names of nine men they claimed were responsible for the Moscow and Volgodonsk bombings. Ironically, considering that the bombings had been the chief pretext for embarking on the Second Chechen War, none of these suspects were Chechen. By the summer of 2003, five of those men were reportedly dead, and two others remained at large, but the trial for the two in custody was slated to begin that October. As attorney for Tatiana Morozova, Trepashkin intended to attend the trial and introduce the Romanovich sketch as evidence for the defense.

He took an added precaution. Shortly before the trial's tart, he met with Igor Korolkov, a journalist with the independent magazine Moskovskiye Novosti, and described the Romanovich connection in detail.

He said, ‘If they get me, at least everyone will know why,' Korolkov explained. He was apprehensive, tense, because I think he already knew they were coming for him.

Sure enough, shortly after meeting with Korolkov, Trepashkin was picked up by authorities. while he was being held, the FSB conducted another raid on his apartment, this one involving a whole busload of agents.

I understand it was very exciting for the neighbors, Trepashkin said with a laugh, the biggest thing to happen around here in a long time.

They brought him up on an old FSB standby - possession of an unlicensed gun - but the judge, apparently familiar with that tired cliché, immediately dismissed the charge. Prosecutors then turned to the charges they still had pending on Trepashkin from the raid two years earlier and the classified he maintains were planted. It wasn't much, but it was enough; tried in a closed court, trepashkin received a four-year sentence for "improper handling of classified material" and was shipped off to a prison camp in the Ural Mountains.

In his absence, the two men tried for the apartment bombings were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Declaring the matter officially closed, the government then ordered all FSB investigative files on the case to be sealed for the next seventy-five years.

My last question to Mikhail Trepashkin was something of a throwaway.

We were standing on the sidewalk outside his apartment building, and I asked him if, in looking over the trajectory of his life for the past fifteen years, he would have done things any differently.

It was a throwaway because people in Trepashkin's position, those who have waged battle against power and been crushed, almost invariably say no: In the pursuit of justice or liberty or a better society, they explain, they'd do it all again and in just the same way. It's what such people tell themselves to give their suffering meaning.

Instead, Trepashkin gave a quick laugh, his face creasing into his trademark grin.

Yes, he said, I would have done things very differently. I see now that one of my flaws is that I am too trusting. I always thought the problems were with just a few bad people, not with the system itself. Even when I was in prison, I never believed that Putin could actually be behind it. I always believed that once he knew, I would be released immediately. Trepashkin's grin eased away; he gave a slow shrug of his powerful shoulders. So a certain naïveté, I guess, that led to mistakes.

I wasn't wholly convinced of this. More than naïveté, I suspected his "flaw" was actually rooted in a kind of old-fashioned - if not downright medieval - sense of loyalty. At our first meeting, Trepashkin had given me a copy of his official résumé, a document that ran to sixteen pages, and the first thing that struck me was the prominence he'd given to the many awards and commendations he had received over his lifetime of service to the state: as a navy specialist, as a KGB officer, as an FSB investigator. As bizarre or as quaint as it might seem, he was still a true believer. How else to explain the years he had spent being the dutiful investigator, meticulously building cases against organized-crime syndicates or corrupt government officials, while stubbornly refusing to accept that, in the new Russia, it was the thieves themselves who ran the show?

Of course, it was also this abiding sense of loyalty that rather paralyzed Trepashkin and prevented him from learning from his past "mistakes," from living his life any differently in order to get out of harm's way. For that matter, even the change of venue of our meeting from his apartment to the sidewalk outside was kind of a testament to Trepashkin's obduracy; his wife, returning home earlier than expected, had been so incensed at finding him meeting with a Western journalist that she'd promptly kicked both of us out of the house.

Well, what can you do? Trepashkin had whispered as we'd fled, as if he really had no control over the matter.

But perhaps his wife's edginess that day - September 25 - was rooted in something else. That afternoon, Trepashkin was headed downtown to meet with a handful of his supporters, and then at 6 P.M. they would hold a demonstration in Pushkin Square to demand a new investigation into the bombings. You should come by, he said with his usual grin. It could be interesting.

In the five years since Trepashkin had first gone off to prison, there'd been a lot of changes in Russia - but none of them particularly auspicious for a man like him. In March 2004, Vladimir Putin had been reelected with 71 percent of the vote, and he'd use the mandate to even more forcefully restrict political and press freedoms. In October 2006, Anna Politkovskaya, Russia's leading investigative journalist and someone who had written extensively on the murky connections between the FSB and Chechen "terrorists," had been shot to death in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building. The following month, it had been Alexander Litvinenko's turn to be eliminated.

But perhaps most dispiriting, it appeared the Russian public saw very little cause for worry in all this. Instead, with their economy booming on a flood of petrodollars, most seemed rather pleased with Putin's tough-guy image and his increasingly belligerent posture to the outside world, the whiff of superpower redux it conveyed. This image was fittingly captured in May 2008 when Putin, constitutionally barred from a third term as president (although he remained on as prime minister), officially handed the reins of state over to his handpicked successor, Dmitry Medvedev. For the occasion, the two men donned matching black jackets with Medvedev in jeans, looking less like co-heads of state than a pair of gangsters as they strutted about Red Square. Even Russia's ferocious intervention in Georgia in August 2008, an act roundly denounced in the West, spawned a new burst of Russian national pride, a new spike in Putin's popularity.

Perhaps not surprising, then, the rally in Pushkin Square was a rather pitiful showing. Other than Trepashkin and his closest aides, perhaps thirty demonstrators showed up. Many of them were elderly people who had lost relatives in the bombings, and they stood mutely on the sidewalk holding up posters or faded photographs of their dead. The small band was watched over by eight uniformed policemen - and presumably a number of others in plainclothes - but it seemed quite unnecessary. Of the vast throngs passing on the sidewalk at rush hour, very few gave the protestors a second glance, and fewer still took the leaflet proffered them.

Watching Trepashkin that evening, it seemed there might be another way to understand why someone like him was still alive while people like Litvinenko and Politkovskaya were dead. Part of it, no doubt, is that Trepashkin has always shied away from pointing an accusatory finger directly at Putin or anyone else in connection with the apartment bombings. This fits with his criminal investigator's mind-set: that you only make accusations based on facts, on what is knowable and certain.

But surely another part of it is his single-minded focus on getting to the bottom of the apartment bombings, his bringing the same level of dogged tenacity to that case as he did to the Bank Soldi affair. This was the problem for Litvinenko and Politkovskaya: They made so many accusations against so many members of Russia's ruling circle that they gave their enemies safety in numbers. For Trepashkin, there is really nothing else but the apartment bombings, and if he is murdered, everyone in Russia will know why.

The irony, though, is that by continuing to push on with the case, and by continuing to call for a public investigation, Trepashkin may also be propelling himself ever closer to the answers that will destroy him. So long as those behind the bombings are confident that they have won or that they have at least sufficiently buried the past, he remains relatively safe. It is when the crowds start taking his leaflets that the danger to him grows.

That day may now be fast approaching. Amid the international economic collapse of the past year, few countries have been more ravaged than Russia, and almost every day brings accounts of new popular protests: against the oligarchs, against government policies, increasingly against Vladimir Putin himself. It may not be very long now before the Russian people start to ask themselves how all this was set in motion and remember back to the awful events of September 1999.

But it didn't come on that day in Pushkin Square. On that day, the throngs were still true believers in the Russian renaissance, and they hurried on past Trepashkin toward the subway and home, hurried toward the bright, shiny future their ruler has promised them.
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Comments:
Hello - this is also covered on a PBS Frontline documentary titled "Putin's way." Keep up the good work and I hope you are wrong in your assessment that this is Trumps path also, it is my worst fear.
 
Scary as hell. Good work, Joseph.
 
And if something happens, it won't be Hillary Clinton supporters who do the dirty work, it will be crazy Sander's supporters doing something that will be pinned on Hillary Clinton supporters. This could be so Snowball.
 
It's a given something will happen. Remember the Anthrax scare when Dubya first came into power illegitimately? First person killed was the journalist who published the drunk photos of Jenna Bush.

Also that "training exercise" excuse has been used a few times here also.

I'm agreeing with you something will happen. Especially to detract from the march on Saturday.
 
Joseph-just when i think you can't come out with a more 'wow' conspiracy theory you come out with one.


 
There are no crazy Hillary's supporters. They are as bland and fireless as she is. So if crazy stuff started to happen definitely not them.
 
I am a Hillary supporter and bland is definitely not how anyone would describe me. I miss her on the scene so much, but she just got trashed everyday so I guess we didn't deserve her.
 
I don't know. According to the WSJ and USA Today, the NFL Conference Championships are scheduled to be played on Sunday, January 22. No alternate plans have been published. The Super Bowl's contestants are at stake and that game has already been scheduled. If rioting and Reichstag events break out, combined with Kristallnachts everywhere, there will have to be Time Outs called during the endless coverage, for commercials, since Valentine's Day and Presidents Day sales are around the corner.

I don't know. A lot of fear, anxiety, and animus has been manufactured this time around. It's not palpable like it was in 1969, 1972, 2001, and 2004. The worst and only certain truth is that the poor get to eat beans and the rich get to eat the poor, but that isn't anything new.
 
Gerry,
I am getting tired of your one liners. Could you amp up the conversation a bit?
We kinda like smart trolls here. You are fast becoming a bore.
M
 
Can anyone point to additional acts of terror that occurred in Russia after January of 2009? This article implies that Putin was losing control, so if we find additional acts of terror after January of 2009, that might establish a pattern.
Putin faces sign of Mutiny in own government as protests break out
 
Anonymous, when the protestors were in LA stopping the freeway, Michael Corden of Late Night implied they were Hillary Clinton supporters when more likely the protestors were a combination of illegal immigrants, non voters Sander's supporters, and possibly even Stein supporters.
 
Alessandro, you are on to something. I have a long history of protesting, and many of my comrades were Nader, Obama and Sanders dupes. Like Denise Black, however, no one could mistake me for bland. Denise is right as well: we didn't deserve Hillary because we did not have her back regarding the biggest enemy. You both note the media bullseye on her and they are not done with her even now. I don't watch cable news (don't have the steel) but over at a relative's house they had it on and I nearly blew a gasket when some asshole was STILL talking about her emails and how there should be a "proper" investigation and then how "President Trump should pardon her."

If they are broadcasting their roadmap, I guess that's better route than blowing things up. Even more boring than our troll, but we could use some uninteresting times.
 
She mapped the road her supporters took for them. Twice she ran in both runs the same people destroyed her candidacy. Now you tell me if any ordinary person knows who his enemy is and not take any steps to defend himself. instead does exactly the opposite what would you say to that. What her supporters suppose to do? They were more angry for her than she was. But at some point you to start to ask yourself WTF
 
As for not deserving Hillary Clinton, there is a Jesus Motiff that the Clintons are traveling that needs to change.
DailyPUMA.blogspot.com has for years advocated the Clintons get into the media game.
A future article on DailyPUMA will point out that the election was stolen simply by the fact that both congresses stayed republican. It's become common for there to be a split among our legislative and executive branches every time a new president is elected. Voters compensated for a presumed Clinton victory by keeping congress Republican, but the combination of a year's worth of Russian hacking in which the FBI said nothing to the DNC, the second Comey letter, and the voter rolls being scrubbed of hundreds of thousands of voters in key battleground states was enough to turn the election to Trump.
Much of that could have been altered if the Clinton's had provided the structure for a moderate democrat news channel in prior years.
Their own daughter Chelsea Clinton could run the channel. Instead, Hillary Clinton apparently spoke at dozens of Wall Street speaking functions over a two year period of time when she could have been visiting red states via the Clinton Foundation (with Obama's permission of course so they did not steal the limelight from him).
The Clintons have over focused on their message and ideas and perhaps under focused on creating opportunities for their own supporters. Thus when the Clintons are attacked, the response to the attack is thwarted by Progressive Cable News and lack of EARNED enrichment of those who support them but have no media base to contribute to.
It actually mimics a Jesus Structure of operation.
 
Even during the election never took advantage of any opportunity to counteract any allegations towards her. Called crooked during the primaries and the general neither her or her campaign treated that with any kind of seriousness. Just carried on talking about love and children and trumps sexual behaviors as if that was his most serious crime or failing. Sometimes I had a feeling if she showed a little back bone or fire the media would have backed off a little. Actually I will never forget one of those vultures in CNN said and I quote(she is afraid of us). She demand her money back from those advisors she listens to because they either completely incompetent or moles. The question is would she have again after the first failure
 
I believe its a bit late for traditional media so I'm not sure a Clinton run media machine would solve our problem. there seems good support in blogs like these and I avoid, like the plague, any pro bernie crap from any quarter. Perhaps some media that teaches basic civics, but I suppose we are way too far gone down the idiot road for that to take affect. I am lower than a snakes belly right now, and am looking forward to another streak of righteous anger.
I enjoy this website thanks
 
I read this, or something very much like it back in 2009 or 10. I've never trusted Putin, but he often seemed almost reasonable compared to our own leaders. Thanks for this reminder that he IS a dictator, a "former" KGB agent, and a man focused on nationalism and his own nations interests at the expense of other nations. Anyone who thinks false flag events are just "conspiracy theory" is someone who knows very little of US history, let alone world history. I would certainly never put it past Trump. That said, the right wingers thought that every attack and shooting during the Obama administration was a false flag designed to take their guns away. They were obviously wrong, at least about the guns, anyway.

Our Gerry troll is getting more and more pathetic in his disagreements with Joseph, not even bothering to try to justify his disagreement with any sort of explanation, let alone facts to back it up.
 
Joseph, you've probably seen it already but there are developments... here and here.
 
A Clinton backed media channel would have put a firewall and safe harbor around Bill Clinton's achievements in the 90's. Achievements that were perverted and shot back at Hillary Clinton this time around.
NAFTA, Don't Ask Don't Tell, the Super Predator comment by Hillary Clinton and her Coal comments, The Workfare program, all of these successes were perverted into failures by both Progressive Media and Neo Conservative Media and Hillary Clinton had to back off and not discuss them, and that is why she did not go into the smaller towns where the media was lying in wait to pounce on her over these issues.
Hillary Clinton would have benefited from a Clinton Media channel because it would have given Hillary Clinton straight access to what she and Bill did well, by just watching her own channel!
I think one of the dumbest moments during the three debates was the secret opinion and the public opinion question. Hillary Clinton fell for that one big time and I think it re-enforced her caginess image when she should have shot right back and called the people making the claim, idiots, and then giving examples of how OF COURSE WE ALL have PRIVATE VIEWPOINTS that can at time conflict with public stances. She should have written a speech on that topic and gone full tilt, instead she talked about a class she took and they discussed Abe Lincoln talking about a public position and also having a private position, I was like, what? Just tell them that what makes America great again is how we merge our own opinions with our public interactions and create a better overall solution to problems when we don't just exert our own opinions 100%.
 
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A brief note...



We're all grateful to President Obama for commuting the sentence of Chelsea Manning. But isn't it time for Leonard Peltier? If he were anyone else, he'd be out of prison already.

I'd also prefer a commutation for Snowden. Why not? If Snowden comes home, he'd still be living under Putin.

Assange has tweeted that he would be willing to be extradited if Manning were to leave prison. Of course, this is a lie. Assange has made an arrangement with Trump and everyone knows it.

Meanwhile: I keep running into rumblings in the right-wing conspiracist community that something big is planned for the inauguration. An operation. Something Reichstag-y.

You can be sure that it will be designed to give Trump powers to attack the left.

I do NOT think that Trump will be assassinated. Nevertheless, I maintain that the JFK assassination should serve as our model for understanding parapolitical events.

If there is one thing that JFK researchers learned about, it's the concept of the false sponsor. Oswald was set up as the patsy in order to smear the USSR. CIA agent David Atlee Phillips -- who pretty much made a deathbed confession (or something similar) to his brother -- went to extraordinary lengths to create a fake trail pinning the blame on the Soviets. Phillips worked for CIA counter-intelligence chief James Jesus Angleton, who was the actual mastermind of the assassination.

(By the way: Four important files on Phillips remains classified. If Obama really wanted to do the world a favor, he could release them. I doubt that he will.)

If my fears are true -- if something does go down on inauguration day -- you can be sure that Alex Jones and his ilk will promulgate a completely false version of events. AJ always falls for the false sponsor; he is, arguably, the single most predictable human being in this country.

Our mainstream media is also quite predictable: They will, of course, frame the matter purely in simplistic terms of "conspiracy theory" versus "non-conspiracy theory."

Wrong. As I have often said: The theories offered by right-wingers like Jones are always, always, always bunk while those proffered by lefties have a much better record. Right-wing theories = bad; left-wing theories = good (sometimes).

I've also often said that it's foolish to ask whether some conspiracy theories are real. Of course they are. The important point to recognize is that the right-wing conspiracy theorists are the conspirators.

If you didn't understand that point before, you will -- under Donald Trump. Whenever a conspiracy believer acquires power (Hitler and James Jesus Angleton are two good examples), he becomes a conspiracy practitioner. Invariably.
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Comments:
I'm figuring the event will be on Saturday, maybe as you predicted in Chicago.

I doubt the Donald would want attention taken away from him on Friday, but he certainly would want to steal the thunder from the protest march on Saturday.
 
Marine le Pen is hosting an international far-right gathering in Germany on Saturday that Trump may address by video link. Anyone who is interested in the Brexit angle to the global drift should have a look at this story in the Daily Mail about paedophile abuse and murder in Belgium.

Big trouble is brewing in western Europe, at least as big as in the US. The theme of this article in the Daily Mail could play an important role in the weeks to come.

Note the references to "the politician in charge of the paedophile network" and the description of the "ring" as "aristocratic".

Victim Anneke Lucas was sold into this murderous network when she was six, in 1969. When or shortly after she was 11, she was allowed to go back and live with her mother. That must have been in the early 1970s.

The reason I mention that is because the article states that "the man who tortured her was one of the defendants in the (Marc) Dutroux case". It then says that only Dutroux got a life sentence. Well there were only two other male defendants. And one of them was born in the early 1970s and was obviously far too young to have been the torturer in question. The man referred to can only possibly be Michel Nihoul.

Nihoul was acquitted of child abduction and the case against him for other offences against children was dropped, but everyone knows he is as guilty as hell. He has openly boasted of being "the monster of Belgium". A prominent businessman, he was far senior to Dutroux in the network.

One of the headlines states that "Anneke Lucas was a sex slave to Europe's elite at age 6". The reference to "Europe's elite" is taken from here.

"The boss of this pedophile network was a Belgian cabinet minister. The clients were members of the elite. I recognized people from television. Their faces were familiar to the masses, while I was confronted with the dark side of their power addiction — the side no one would believe existed. I came across VIP's, European heads of state, and even a member of a royal family."

Someone is firing a shot at someone here.

The "Battle of Brexit" is going to be BRUTAL.

Marine le Pen is likely to be assisted by the intelligence agencies of Britain and Russia as well as by the interests around Donald Trump in the US. On the other side, one has Germany, certain "énarque" interests in France, and of course a knot of interests in Belgium, the main country where the EU Commission is based.

In western Europe, as in the US, expect terror attacks.

 
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Agents provocateurs and propagandists

James O'Keefe has been caught trying to instigate a riot at the inauguration.
The counter-sting, carried out by The Undercurrent and Americans Take Action, a project of a previous target of provocateur James O’Keefe, managed to surreptitiously record elements of O’Keefe’s network offering huge sums of money to progressive activists if they would disrupt the ceremony and “put a stop to the inauguration” and the related proceedings to such a degree that donors to the clandestine effort would “turn on a TV and maybe not even see Trump.” To have riots blot out coverage of Trump, the donor offered “unlimited resources,” including to shut down bridges into D.C.
A longer video of the interaction between Project Veritas operative Allison Maass and Ryan Clayton of Americans Take Action was posted online Tuesday. In it, Clayton confirms with Maass that her goal is indeed to incite a riot at the inauguration. “What you’re asking for, let’s bullet point it,” Clayton says, referring to the donor Maass claims to be representing. “He says, I’ll give you $100,000 to shut down a bridge, incite a riot and make sure we hack the media narrative on the inauguration.”
A few of you may recall the classic film noir Kiss Me Deadly, particularly the scene in which we learn that there are not one but two bombs in the car. The first one is the one they want you to catch. (One wonders how Mike Hammer gained his expert knowledge of such things.)

O'Keefe, I suspect, is the one they want you to catch. There will be others.

For a very obvious example of an agent provocateur action, check out the warning offered by this "red journalism" site. The Washington Times is still pushing the O'Keefe smear without warning readers that O'Keefe has been caught red-handed -- and not for the first time.

An entire propaganda machine is in place, designed to portray the anti-Trump left as violent. When the bombs start going off -- and let me repeat: I am predicting a nuclear event in Chicago -- the propagandists will find a way to blame not just ISIS but all progressives.

The Occupy movement was an utter cock-up from the word go, precisely because the left -- as it always does -- fell for the myth of consensus, the myth that hierarchy is always bad. Ask John Lewis: The Civil Rights movement would never have succeeded without leadership and discipline. Eschew discipline and you open the way for infiltrators and natural-born troublemakers. Occupy was destroyed from the inside by asshole anarchists, narcissists, and libertarians.

Always remember that Putin is the wealthiest man in the world, and he will stop at nothing to attain his goal of destroying NATO. To accomplish this, he will do whatever is necessary to strengthen his hireling, Trump. Putin has a troll army numbering in the thousands -- perhaps hundreds of thousands -- and he will insure that Trump keeps power in the US the same way Putin keeps power in Russia.

Sending a message. The trickery of a James O'Keefe relies on the use of propaganda. Rand calls it the "Firehose of Falsehood." This fascinating study goes a long ways toward explaining the 2016 election.
We characterize the contemporary Russian model for propa- ganda as “the firehose of falsehood” because of two of its distinctive features: high numbers of channels and messages and a shameless willingness to disseminate partial truths or outright fictions. In the words of one observer, “[N]ew Russian propaganda entertains, confuses and overwhelms the audience.”

Contemporary Russian propaganda has at least two other distinctive features. It is also rapid, continuous, and repetitive, and it lacks commitment to consistency.
Russian propaganda is produced in incredibly large volumes and is broadcast or otherwise distributed via a large number of channels. This propaganda includes text, video, audio, and still imagery propagated via the Internet, social media, satellite television, and traditional radio and television broadcasting. The producers and disseminators include a substantial force of paid Internet “trolls” who also often attack or undermine views or information that runs counter to Russian themes, doing so through online chat rooms, discussion forums, and comments sections on news and other websites.4 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that “there are thousands of fake accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal, and vKontakte” maintained by Russian propagandists. According to a former paid Russian Internet troll, the trolls are on duty 24 hours a day, in 12-hour shifts, and each has a daily quota of 135 posted comments of at least 200 characters.
Experimental research shows that, to achieve success in disseminating propaganda, the variety of sources matters:

• Multiple sources are more persuasive than a single source, especially if those sources contain different arguments that point to the same conclusion.

• Receiving the same or similar message from multiple sources is more persuasive.

• People assume that information from multiple sources is likely to be based on different perspectives and is thus worth greater consideration.8

The number and volume of sources also matter:

• Endorsement by a large number of users boosts consumer trust, reliance, and confidence in the information, often with little attention paid to the credibility of those making the endorsements.

• When consumer interest is low, the persuasiveness of a mes- sage can depend more on the number of arguments support- ing it than on the quality of those arguments.9

Finally, the views of others matter, especially if the message comes from a source that shares characteristics with the recipient:

• Communications from groups to which the recipient belongs are more likely to be perceived as credible. The same applies when the source is perceived as similar to the recipient. If a propaganda channel is (or purports to be) from a group the recipient identifies with, it is more likely to be persuasive.

• Credibility can be social; that is, people are more likely to perceive a source as credible if others perceive the source as credible. This effect is even stronger when there is not enough information available to assess the trustworthiness of the source.

• When information volume is low, recipients tend to favor experts, but when information volume is high, recipients tend to favor information from other users.

What Matters in Producing and Disseminating High-Volume, Multichannel Propaganda?

• Variety of sources

• Number and volume of sources

• The views of others, especially the views of those who are similiar to the message recipient.

• In online forums, comments attacking a proponent’s exper- tise or trustworthiness diminish credibility and decrease the likelihood that readers will take action based on what they have read.
The experimental psychology literature tells us that first
impressions are very resilient: An individual is more likely to accept the first information received on a topic and then favor this information when faced with conflicting messages.13 Furthermore, repetition leads to familiarity, and familiarity leads to acceptance:

• Repeated exposure to a statement has been shown to increase its acceptance as true.

• The “illusory truth effect” is well documented, whereby people rate statements as more truthful, valid, and believable when they have encountered those statements previously than when they are new statements.

• When people are less interested in a topic, they are more likely to accept familiarity brought about by repetition as an indicator that the information (repeated to the point of famil- iarity) is correct.

• When processing information, consumers may save time and energy by using a frequency heuristic, that is, favoring information they have heard more frequently.

• Even with preposterous stories and urban legends, those who have heard them multiple times are more likely to believe that they are true.

• If an individual is already familiar with an argument or claim (has seen it before, for example), they process it less carefully, often failing to discriminate weak arguments from strong
arguments.
I strongly urge you to read the entire piece. What Rand doesn't tell you, of course, is that these techniques were pioneered by our own CIA. To prove that point, you should read up on the destabilization of Chile (Death in Washington by Freed and Landis is an excellent source) and on the work of Paul Linebarger.

Added note: Have I mentioned how stupid it was to label the main anti-Trump rally a "women's march"?  

Look, democracy requires a mass movement. Identity politics is the opposite of a mass movement. Always have been, always will be. The irritatingly predictable counter-argument that you are right now dying to make is nothing but pure casuistry.

Throughout the Reagan era, lefties kept opposing the Republicans with identity politics -- and guess what? The left kept losing and losing and losing to the hyper-conservatives. This strategy is a proven loser -- just like the myth of "consensus" -- yet the left keeps using strained argumentation to convince itself that this time, it's gonna work.
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Comments:
I like that Rand article. Gullibility taking the form of psychological internalisation is the curse of our time.

"What Rand doesn't tell you, of course, is that these techniques were pioneered by our own CIA". Indeed, and the CIA used them most extensively not against Russia but against the US population and against the population of the rest of the West, and then against the Arab world. (The "Arab spring" was CIA bullshit from the very beginning, as practically no lefties understand.)

The CIA probably thought that Russia was in their pocket because many Russians, especially middle class Russians, favour western consumer goods. That is true, but it doesn't mean Russia was ever going to roll over and play doggo for the US. They had practically no regard for the role in Russia of the notions of motherland, fatherland, and destiny. And they didn't appreciate that, as I keep saying, whereas the CPSU disappeared, the ~KGB got stronger.

After setting up Facebook, the CIA experienced a gigantic blowback.

The scale of blowback dwarfs what they got when they funded fundamentalist Islam in the 1980s.

Trump certainly needs a Reichstag event before too much time passes.

Side note: do you know why when Trump meets people the photos often show the pair of them doing a thumbs up gesture, or some other gesture that doesn't involve shaking hands?

It's because he is pathologically afraid of shaking hands. There's a massive HANDS thing going on with that guy. You know the triangle gesture he makes with his hands when sitting? He may be trying to "air" his hands.
 
Women planned their march not as a mass movement, but as a protest. Others have joined in. You cannot blame women for wanting to protest women's issues. You also cannot blame them for the way their march has been co-opted by others.
 
What was dumb about the Woman's March was the idea came up so soon after the election that it took away focus from Comey's letter and potentially putting up real heat for the electors to consider versus the faux 5 million petition that was started by a Sander's supporter.
I encountered the 3 comments parroting the same point of view and even using the exact same phrase under three different ID's on Nate Silver's 538 site.
 
The electors were never going to really switch. Even if you had a critical mass ready to switch-not likely, these are party die-hards, nobody was prepared to shield them from the firestorm they would have endured as a result. So they would-and could be pressured to "stay the course".

And it attacks the problem from the wrong end. We should be prepared to do things to keep them from getting to the point we need turn-coat electors. Back in 2001, there should have been a movement for voting reform and one to abolish the Electoral College jumpstarted. Now we should do so, and keep the pressure up to end it. Suffrage reform is never easy, and I have no illusions it would be a short course. Women took 80 years to get the vote. However, just having something up and running puts on the pressure and gains results. There were several states that already had women voting beforehand, which never would have happened if there was no underlying movement.

There is real discontent that has nothing to do with the CIA in the Arab world. The Arab would has a great deal of hereditary and generalissimo politics that is abusive to say the least. People go away to school and see that there's a better way of running things and no longer want to submit to the old ways
 
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