Why on earth...? What kind of monster would do such a thing?
Embattled WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who has spent years hiding in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, said previously: “The Saudi Cables lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself.”
What an inane attempt to switch the subject! Outing gay people and exposing rape victims can hardly be defended by pointing to the evils of the Saudi royal family.
In the past year alone, the radical transparency group has published medical files belonging to scores of ordinary citizens while many hundreds more have had sensitive family, financial or identity records posted to the web. In two particularly egregious cases, WikiLeaks named teenage rape victims. In a third case, the site published the name of a Saudi citizen arrested for being gay, an extraordinary move given that homosexuality is punishable by death in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom.
"They published everything: my phone, address, name, details," said a Saudi man who told AP he was bewildered that WikiLeaks had revealed the details of a paternity dispute with a former partner. "If the family of my wife saw this ... Publishing personal stuff like that could destroy people."
Assange is a monster who deserves to die in pain.
"Assange is a monster who deserves to die in pain." typical attitude of an exceptional american, where killing, murdering or maiming others over their perceived wrongs takes precedence over any court of law, lol.. it's the great amerikkkan way..
posted by Anonymous : 11:44 PM
Thanks for highlighting RFK's speech. I'll be glad when November is behind us, and you can go back to your muckraking ways.
April 4, 2017 will be the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's very radical Riverside speech, where he called the USA "the greatest purveyor of violence today," and assailed the triple evils of racism, militarism, and poverty. When he was shot down on April 4. 1968, he was running for president with Dr. Benjamin Spock and was planning to bring 500,000 poor people to occupy the Washington Mall (and Congress) to press their demands for economic justice. RFK was going to be a part of the Poor People's Campaign.
There are a lot of questions about RFK's assassination, and MLK's as well.
I don't know what you think of James Carville, and I don't care: In this case, petty ad hominem attacks simply will not do. In the video embedded above, Carville quickly sets the record straight on The Clinton Foundation.
The Foundation is a charity -- a fact which many ideologues and CDS sufferers want you to forget. This charity has has done a lot of good work, and has saved many lives.
The Foundation is not a Clinton family slush fund, even though so many people (on the right and the left) have pretended otherwise.
The attacks on this charity resemble the 2004 attacks on John Kerry's war record: In both cases, the strategy involves an assault on a candidate's greatest strength. In both cases, small people with no morals have tossed mud at their betters.
I'd like those smear merchants to explain just how it is that they know more about the Foundation than Charity Watch does.
The emails.Here's another instance where some of you may be chomping at the bit to launch a petty ad hominem attacks on a famous writer. If you try to do so, you are simply dodging the issue. At the other end of that link, John Dean mounts a superb, detailed, scholarly response to the nonsense we've all heard about Hillary Clinton's emails.
None of those emails were marked in the header as classified, although a very few contained paragraphs that contained a (c) for "confidential" -- the very lowest classification rating. (Confidential documents can be sent through the mail.) Hillary Clinton did not send those emails, and she could have no way of knowing what was in those emails when they showed up in her inbox.
I've read elsewhere that the few emails bearing these markings were later determined to be marked (c) in error; for example, one had to do with the inauguration of the President of Malawi, a public fact -- hardly a state secret. None of these passages were of any significance. Most of the emails which went through that server were piffle -- links to internet news stories, things of that sort.
Dean masterfully destroys all of the other arguments that Clinton somehow committed perjury.
He also demolishes the myth that FBI Director James Comey was part of some imaginary pro-Clinton conspiracy. In fact, Comey (a Republican) seems to have deliberately tried to create a murkier picture than the evidence warranted.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort was working very closely in Ukraine with someone who, in all likelihood, was a Russian intelligence officer.
At the time, the connection was deemed unimportant — Mr Kilimnik was valued for his “excellent English”, these people say.
Today, with Mr Kilimnik still close to Mr Manafort, according to people who know both men, the links have taken on new significance. As Russian president Vladimir Putin likes to joke, there is no such thing as a former intelligence officer.
Manafort is still linked to the campaign. Moreover, he has long been the business partner of Roger Stone, one of Trump's oldest and closest associates. Let that scenario sink in: A man closely tied to a likely KGB officer was running the campaign of the Republican presidential candidate.
And we're supposed to think that Hillary is the one who poses a threat to American security?
Powell. You may have read (or seen on teevee) that Colin Powell now denies giving Hillary Clinton advice about setting up her own email server. In fact, he did just that -- and admitted so himself, just a couple of months ago.
Joe Conason will tell the story in his forthcoming book. The conversation in question occurred during a meeting between Hillary Clinton, newly appointed as Secretary of State, and all living previous holders of that title, both Republican and Democrat. Only the most inane conspiracy buff could claim that Conason concocted this story: The witnesses are many, and they are of differing political persuasions.
I totally agree with James Carville on this one - people will die.
Also, the headlines I'm seeing are all along the lines of donors *sought* access - very clever, sounds murky - with no evidence in the articles that these "seekers" ever received anything from the Clintons.
posted by totallyseriously : 1:25 PM
Good post. Whatever horrors they put you through in that hoswpital have worn off and you are back to your usual good writing -- pointed, accurate and relevant.
The press (MSNBC no less) regularly covers the email and Clinton Foundation "scandals" letting pundits question and make very clear accusations of wrongdoing without ever challenging them to name one example.
I can hardly watch - and it's on 7 days a week/52 weeks a year. Every.Single.Night.
Donald Trump wants his campaign to make money, not to make himself president: That is the clear lesson from this TPM analysis. He's spending more on arenas than on staff, and the rallies are "rock concert" venues designed to sell merch.
All and all, the Washington Post estimated that Trump and his family have made $7.7 million so far in the campaign by spending on Trump-owned services from event space to air travel.
Campaigns are required to pay market value on items it purchases, and there is nothing per se illegal about using Trump-owned vendors.
But he's not paying market value: That's the lesson we learn from this eye-opening post, which reveals yet another scandal that would end the chances of any Democratic politician.
In short and in sum: The Trump campaign rents office space in Trump Tower. Not illegal. However, Trump (despite his claims) is not the sole funder of this campaign: Donations have come in from the website. Once that source of funding kicked in, Trump Tower immediately started to charge FIVE TIMES THE RENT.
During this same time period, the number of staffers went down. Obviously, if he has fewer staffers, he probably is not using more space -- certainly not five times as much space.
Adding insult to injury: To judge from this photo, the office space is unfinished, unprofessional and just...awful. I doubt that Trump Tower could have rented this space to anyone else.
The fact that Donald Trump is scraping after this kind of spare change tells me that he cannot possibly be worth what he claims. If he were truly a billionaire, why isn't the guy in the picture to the right sitting in an office with a marble entranceway, with original paintings by Frederick Remington and Albert Bierstadt hanging on the walls?
The campaign is clearly just another scuzzy, Trumpy money-making scheme. Trump is using other people's donations to profit from the sales of his own swag.
But that doesn't mean that I think Trump has given up on victory. I heard on a recent political radio show (was it Sam Seder? Thom Hartmann?) that lower-level campaign staffers report, off-the-record, that the higher-ups all seem to be hiding some great and important secret.
I think that a very dirty covert political op is in the works. Very dirty. Perhaps even something on the scale of 9/11.
When that particular piece of shit hits the fan, Alex Jones will insure that every paranoid on the internet interprets the event as an operation directed against Trump, rather than an operation perpetrated to help Trump.
Trump is pinning his hopes on something big, an unprecedented exercise in political spectacle. A game changer. He doesn't care about traditional campaigning except insofar as he can use the campaign to fatten his wallet.
TPM don't get it. They even call Trump's "digital" campaign "comically bad".
"All and all, the Washington Post estimated that Trump and his family have made $7.7 million so far in the campaign by spending on Trump-owned services from event space to air travel."
As for that office space...Trump is a landlord.
"If he were truly a billionaire, why isn't the guy in the picture to the right sitting in an office with a marble entranceway, with original paintings by Frederick Remington and Albert Bierstadt hanging on the walls?"
Because nobody makes it by giving it away?
posted by b : 9:26 AM
(1) With a trivial handful of exceptions, the only people who will believe any "October Surprise" are the people who would never have voted for Clinton, anyway.
(2) Except for a few renegades such as Flynn, the vast majority of the members of the national security establishment have lined up behind Clinton. They. Do. Not. Want. Trump. They have means of making sure they do not get Trump, although I doubt they will actually need to use them.
Let me add a new one:
(3) 2016 is not 2000. The demographics of the electorate have shifted significantly. Specifically, DAWPs (Dumb Ass White People) are a smaller portion of the electorate. Who does Trump have, besides DAWPs and a handful of actually rich people (unlike Trump the fake tycoon) who wish to continue dominating the country by manipulating the DAWPs (the basic GOP strategy since 1968, if not earlier)?
Ivory Bill, I hope you are right, except it very much looks like 2000, from the news media. Don't forget also that Roger Stone actually accused Hillary of being able to steal the election (and then used Republicans stealing Wisconsin as an example!) which, as we know, is broadcasting what the Republican can and would do!
Meanwhile, the media, just like 2000, will give cover to the theft. So long as the national NARRATIVE matches the theft, the nation will go along with it.
Last night, while waiting on a food order, I had the misfortune to have several tv screens blaring at me. CNN's headline, which remained in place for 20 solid minutes, blared "Breaking News: Donald Trump delays speech." A delayed speech is breaking news??!!
Only if, just like in 2000, the entire election is covered from one candidate's POV.
They finally took down that Important Headline, only to replace it with this Breaking News: some wonder if Hillary Clinton is ill.
So baseless speculation is breaking news?
Meanwhile, on Fox News, they took a break from speculating on Hillary's emails to rolling all the accusations Hillary has faced over the years. Just one big scrolling list.
We need to do more than vote. We need to disrupt the media drumbeats. Good luck with that. I organized two busloads of protesters down to DC for Dumbya's inauguration. It would not be difficult, especially in NYC, to disrupt news stations but people don't get it. Even activists, even protesters. The closest anyone's come is Code Pink. You would think Anonymous could do it, but most people just don't think conceptually. They can't view something like "The News" or "TV" as a villain, or even as a war front. Or even as ground we need to capture. Twitter is not going to save the world, and in fact is itself a medium that encourages bullying and poor information.
Barney Frank, who has done his share of good work already this political season, once told me you can't fight (I forget how he put it) the general perception, the media drumbeat. The most you get is one sound byte.
posted by prowlerzee : 11:54 AM
I'm with you prowlerzee; that's why I fight every dumbass Facebook meme that comes my way. It may be a losing effort but I'm not trying to move the hardcore tRumpians to my side-- the goal is to prevent the media from moving anyone from undecided to the GOP. We can do it. I have hope that Clinton will have the guts in her first two years to attack the causes of this regression in what was once a great nation-- the media. Since the Fairness Doctrine repeal, lying became not only legal but without consequence of any kind. At least, before the repeal, station licenses could be challenged more often and without entire squadrons of lawyers. I know, I know. Cable. It doesn't matter anymore whether the "news" comes over the air, through a fiber, or from a diarac from inner space, if it is labelled "news" in any way, shape, or form, it must be subject to truth. And if the truth is not told, either through distortion or omission, punishment must ensue.
Go ahead and spend the rent money on strippers or booze. The apocalypse is right around the corner anyways, so nothing really matters.
If you clicked on the link above, lemme ask ya: Does that tie go with that suit? I don't think so. To my eye, only a solid color would work. But at least Stone didn't include a patterned shirt, which is something that Tim Gunn might have done.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has finally turned the tables on Donald Trump. Despite the nonsense you've been reading and hearing from the usual right-wing noisemakers, the Clinton Foundation is completely clean, having been examined carefully by Charity Watch and other groups. No charity watchdog group has investigated the Trump Foundation.
We do know, however, that Donald Trump's "charitable" gifts on The Apprentice actually came from the Trump Foundation, which Trump himself may or may not run. (Accounts differ. That's a conundrum I've been trying to resolve.) We do know that NBC donated more than enough to the Foundation to cover all of Trump's displays of ersatz magnanimity.
I'll have more to say about the Trump Foundation in the future.
A big Trump lie that you probably don't know about. I don't know why people aren't talking about this one -- if any Dem has something so shady on his resume, his political career would be over.
It all has to do with the massive Trump Tower (formally called the Trump International Hotel and Tower) in Chicago, built right beside the river -- the fourth-tallest building in the United States, and the tallest residential building in the world. I happen to think that the building is quite magnificent, from an architectural standpoint.
Trump had YUUUUGE plans for a shopping paradise at the base of the Tower.
Some dozen stories below the Trump sign is a testament to Trump’s Chicago flop.
About 70,000 square feet of space on the terrace and riverwalk levels has never been rented since the building opened in 2008. That means Trump’s organization each year leaves potentially millions of rent dollars on the table, as the vacant space generates no revenue.
Trump’s real estate experience did not guarantee the success of the commercial/retail aspect of the Chicago skyscraper, which also contains a hotel, condominiums and parking.
Trump complains about media bias. So I want to underscore that the admissions about why the Trump Tower retail space is not rented come from a legal brief filed with the Cook County Assessor by the law firm Trump’s own organization hired to seek a property tax break.
Trump’s own brief states the devastating shortcomings of the tower’s commercial and retail space.
In May, the Sun-Times’ Chris Fusco and Tim Novak reported on how Trump and his investors were able to cut millions of dollars from their Cook County property tax bills, hiring Klafter & Burke, the law firm run by clout king Ald. Ed Burke (14th), for a series of successful appeals.
In a legal brief dug up by Novak and Fusco, the commercial/retail space is described as “empty and un-leasable” with details on all its shortcomings.
“There are no direct or easy ways to reach the space from Michigan Avenue. The space has remained vacant since the hotel opened in 2008, even though the hotel has used real estate brokers from several different firms from both Chicago and New York,” the brief said.
In 2014, the real estate firm RKF was hired to market the property, but the space is “so detrimental” that no one wants it — even for offices, the brief states.
In short, Trump told the County Assessor that the offices were "unleasable," and thus deserving of a tax reduction.
At this point, you are probably asking: "But where is this 'big lie' that Cannon promised us?" It comes to this: Trump tells a very different story about these offices to any potential renters. For example, see here.
Situated at the base of the Trump International Hotel & Tower overlooking the Chicago River, this breathtaking retail space is ideal for restaurants and retailers looking for a high-profile location and direct access to Trump Tower's hotel guests, condominium residents and locals alike. Spaces range in size from 1,478 sf to 66,929 sf and can be demised or combined to fit a variety of uses.
Either Trump is lying to the assessor or he is lying to potential retailers.
You're still making bullshit posts on your bullshit blog. Joseph, you're gonna give yourself another heart attack if you don't accept the inevitable.
Trump will be Emperor of the World.
You should watch this hilarious video of Killary, erm, I mean Hillary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoXDe8HxHBA
And get that chocolate milkshake you've been craving, stop posting, and take the rest of the day off. No, take the rest of your life off. You won't ever need to work or live another day when Trump is in charge. Take care, bon voyage!
If Stone is suggesting it, there's gotta be a catch... Doctored tax returns, showing massive wealth and great charity? Perhaps the IRS won't be able to comment on their veracity due to the audit or somesuch. An inverse Rathergate?
posted by quasiblotto : 11:12 PM
Does the epithet "The Donald" connote wrestling? Please can someone tell me.
Or does it only connote Trump's iconic macho superstar status, similar to how one might call Liz Hurley "La Hurley" to emphasise her status as a feminine icon?
I am beginning to think Trump's presentation relates to wrestling a lot.
His presentation doesn't only hook up with his own profile in that area of entertainment. It also depicts both him and his rivals in cartoon terms, including by means of epithets.
I don't watch wrestling. Am I in the right ballpark here?
Many of Trump's supporters also display stupidity on an astounding scale, as if at any one time they can only concentrate on a single idea expressed in about two or three words - and as if all they can do is shout it out, unwilling to hear what anyone else is saying. Because that would spoil their enjoyment of the show.
This is highly relevant to how the TV debates will go. (I note that the release of Clinton emails seems to be planned to fit in with those debates.)
Whether the answer to my opening question is "yes" or "no", I have always thought "The Donald" is far too friendly a term for Trump's critics to use. So was "Maggie" for Margaret Thatcher. It's like calling Stalin "Uncle Joe" or Hitler "Hittie".
This guy Trump is literally an insane fascist who has mass support, and who could soon become the executive president of the country with the world's second largest nuclear arsenal.
posted by b : 5:44 AM
"The Donald" was a pet name used by his first wife, Ivana, of Czech origin. Her English was good -- arguably better than his, since she knows how to finish one sentence before blustering on to the next thought. At times, though, she expressed herself in ways that were endearingly...foreign.
I also use "Uncle Joe" and "Adolf" from time to time. Doesn't mean I'm a fan.
But is "The Donald" used in wrestling? Origin may not explain current use.
It doesn't mean you're a fan, but such terms can express unconscious respect even when used by critics with ironic or belittling intent. The image of the charismatic fascist leader has an aspect which is very much of ordinary human size.
That Trump knows exactly what he is doing was clear from his entrance on the stage at the RNC. His style was compared by some to that of a wrestler called the "Undertaker". I also noticed that when he first came on he appeared a bit bumbling, as an ordinary person might be. His performance was quite brilliant.
Amy Argetsinger sources the popular usage of "The Donald" to Jonathan Van Meter's 1989 Spy piece on Ivana and subsequent adoption by the Washington Post. Van Meter wrote that Ivana called her husband "The Don", but the article's sub-editors preferred the term "The Donald". It's not clear from Argetsinger's piece whether Van Meter himself reported Ivana saying "The Donald" at all. Given that Trump owes his career to Roy Cohn, one can imagine him not liking being called "The Don". From a marketing point of view, "The Donald" helped Ivana's image as well as her husband's.
Ivana later tried to trademark "The Donald"; then they fought over it.
If there's one thing that all social climbers from Eastern Europe love, it's the mafia.
I doubt that the reason Ivana called her husband "The Don" had anything to do with her not having learnt when to use and when not to use the English definite article.
posted by b : 7:01 AM
Any public call by Stone for Trump to do anything is part of the campaign. Putting out bad news earlier than the other side would want, so as to muddle it and get the discussion over and done with, is a classic PR move. Or maybe there's little or nothing there.
On "The Donald", I've now read Jonathan Van Meter's piece in Spy and he says Ivana called Trump "The Don". He does quote someone as saying she always puts the definite article before people's names, but "The Donald" is his own usage.
posted by b : 9:16 AM
I think Ivana used The Donald as a snide comment on his high and mightiness.
Despite all, I respect the man's intelligence and rhetorical skills. But Hillary must avoid him like cancer, for three reasons.
1. Dershowitz is a friend of Jeff Epstein, and Epstein is a friend to Trump. We don't want a repeat of the 1980 theft of Carter's debate materials. The campaign should be run like an intelligence operation; paranoia is our friend.
2. Dershowitz is despised by the left. While I understand that Clinton must veer right to win the general election, she must also be wary of alienating progressives. An alliance with Dershowitz -- however temporary or limited -- will outrage many, yet would do nothing to help Hillary Clinton win over moderates in (say) Georgia.
3. When it comes to the rationalization of Israel's turn to fascism, Dershowitz is cancer.
Everything you said about Dershowitz is true, he's cancer to democracy in Israel. He's just as much a fascist in Israel as Trump wants to be here. Out of 324 million in the US there has to be someone else.
In the winter of 2001--2001 I was reading in a nice warm bookstore in NYC when Alan Dershowitz came in to give a talk about terrorism. This was just a few months after 9/11 and he was already asserting the "ticking time bomb" scenario advocating that torture was justified to prevent a bomb going off and to save hundreds of lives.
You may chortle at Michael Rosenblum's prediction. But even if he's wrong about the next president, he is -- in a deeper sense -- absolutely goddamned 100 percent right. Take the words below, stir in the name "Roger Stone," top it off with the concept "spectacular dirty trick," and you will understand why I still predict a Trump victory.
(As longtime readers know: I always predict the worst. Presume the worst and all of your surprises will be happy ones.)
Donald Trump is going to be elected president.
The American people voted for him a long time ago.
They voted for him when The History Channel went from showing documentaries about the Second World War to Pawn Stars and Swamp People.
They voted for him when The Discovery Channel went from showing Lost Treasures of the Yangtze Valley to Naked and Afraid.
They voted for him when The Learning Channel moved from something you could learn from to My 600 Pound Life.
They voted for him when CBS went from airing Harvest of Shame to airing Big Brother.
These networks didn't make these programming changes by accident. They were responding to what the American people actually wanted. And what they wanted was Naked and Afraid and Duck Dynasty.
The polls may show that Donald Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton, but don't you believe those polls. When the AC Nielsen Company selects a new Nielsen family, they disregard the new family's results for the first three months. The reason: when they feel they are being monitored, people lie about what they are watching. In the first three months, knowing they are being watched, they will tune into PBS. But over time they get tired of pretending. Then it is back to The Kardashians.
The same goes for people who are being asked by pollsters for whom they are voting. They will not say Donald Trump. It is too embarrassing. But the truth is, they like Trump. He is just like their favorite shows on TV.
There is one possible flaw in this argument. Rosenblum is right about that "three month rule" involving Nielsen families, but the very fact that people feel obligated to lie about their viewing habits indicates that they still have some vestiges of a social conscience. A voice within whispers: "You really should be a better person than this." It's the classic battle of Id vs. Superego.
The gravity of a presidential choice may force people to act like a Nielsen family within those first three months.
I like chocolate milk shakes more than I like healthy salads. When impulse takes over, when the Cannon Id overpowers the Cannon Superego, I go for the shake every time. But I know which is better.
On the other hand: Knowing which is better may not suffice.
I don't think that my fellow citizens have stopped caring about what's good for them, but I do think that they've become very skilled at playing the Rationalization Game.
Let's go back to my milk shake metaphor. After about five minutes of research, most of you could come up with a pseudo-scientific argument as to why a chocolate milk shake is actually healthier than a salad. (I'll start you out: "Chocolate is said to ward off heart disease; dairy products provide calcium...") The argument need not be grounded in scientific research, and it need not have the endorsement of the majority of nutritionists. The argument needs only to be just persuasive enough. As long as the argument has a superficial sprinkling of scientific patter, casuistry will win the day: You'll order the shake.
(Hell. I want one now.)
L. Ron Hubbard believed that tobacco use cures lung cancer. Being a master of casuistry, he was able to mount a fairly involved argument to that effect. As long as you can convince yourself that the establishers of Established Opinion are engaged in a conspiracy to deprive you of what you crave, anything becomes possible.
And that's why a garish, impulsive, unstable con artist like Donald Trump may win.
Mr. Cannon seems to assume that the USA is actually a democracy.
Execpt for a handful of renegades such as Flynn, our national security establishment (NSE hereafter) has made it clear that they prefer President Clinton to President Trump.
Hence, Trump can win only if Putin's hackers and other operatives are better than the NSE's hackers and other operatives--otherwise, the unaccountable vote-counting computers will say "CLINTON WINS", whether or not she actually wins.
Putin's gremlins might be better, but who won the Cold War?
Ivory Bill, you and I are on the same page on this. I suspected two years ago that Clinton was the selection of the NSE this time around. I'm more sure each passing day. Trump loosing will most likely create some civil unrest and some extremists will probably try to take some sort of action. Which will only play further into the hands of the NSE. I think Joseph might not realize that our scenario is actually the worst case scenario, in that, it would probably prove once and for all that votes are not really counted and that voting really is a fruitless exercise (at least at the national level). Though I suppose not necessarily, since it is possible that the majority of Americans are sane and thoughtful. I'm not optimistic though.
posted by Gus : 9:53 AM
For many, the election is like the wrestling. This is how well Trump performs. And here. After watching those videos, I became even more of the opinion that Trump is likely to whup Clinton's arse in the TV debates.
posted by b : 11:43 AM
Come on, guys. I'm not buying it. Enemy of the State was a movie. (I have skin in the NSA, btw so you can view me as disinformation if that helps.)
Bob, I do NOT view you that way. But maybe you can answer a question that has been on my mind for a while: If anyone on Team Trump has been in communication with folks overseas, do you think that the NSA would have a record of it? I understand that minimization would require the censorship of the American side of that dialogue, but not if a crime were involved.
Let us suppose (for the sake of argument) that the crime was the engineering of a 9/11-scale act of domestic terrorism. On one side of the conversation is someone with a foreign accent talking about "another big wedding." And on the other side, you have someone who says: "Not just a BIG wedding. The BIGGEST. Just so you know, it's gonna be YUUUUUGE. No one puts on a big wedding like me, believe me."
You think the lads and lasses at Fort Meade would have a recording of that conversation?
Bob, we're not talking about NSA, if that helps. NSA is a tool of the national security establishment. No one believes that all people in such agencies are part of a huge conspiracy to turn the USA into a fascist state (well, okay, maybe not "no one", but probably no one here). NSE was just Ivory Bill's shortening of national security establishment. I have no doubt that the vast majority of NSA employees are just doing their jobs and probably think they are making the US safer (and probably are, in many ways). I just think that the people that appear to run our country don't really run our country. I think fascism is a by product of what the people who actually run our country want (basically a new feudalism). I think presidential elections have been fixed for a long time, but I don't think NSA or any other government agency is responsible for the fixing.....at least not more than peripherally. I could easily be wrong......though if that means Trump would have a shot at being President, I hope I'm not.
posted by Gus : 4:18 PM
Conspiracy theorists are special.
In every one of your scenarios, you forget one thing...majority America elected a black man to the Oval Office. Twice.
Yes, Robin Leach and soap operas primed the nation for reality TV, the racist conmen who now run the Republican Party and presidential candidate Trump. But only the less intelligent denizens of White America are following that piper.
After Clinton, it took the combined efforts of the Supreme Court, 9/11 and the Iraq war to get and keep a Republican in the Oval Office. Obama voters are the nation's majority now and they will not be voting for the candidate who thinks broadcasting his reality program from the White House is a great idea.
No, I didn't forget that. I did notice how he continued the policies of the Bush administration almost as if there was no difference (well, actually he doubled down on some of those polices). He was just as much the national security establishment candidate as Clinton is. Now, on domestic issues he was miles better than the alternatives, so I can certainly grant him that. Clinton is no doubt miles ahead of Trump in just about every way. I will vote, most likely for Clinton, just to keep that psychopath Trump from getting anywhere near the nuclear launch codes, even though I think the voting system is rigged......and even if it isn't, do genuine men or women of the people get to run for President? I don't think so. But go ahead and use "conspiracy theorist" as a derogatory term if you like. I don't claim absolute certainty about my claims. Most of the time I hope I'm wrong, but paying close attention to how our government operates makes me concerned that I'm right.
posted by Gus : 10:44 AM
May the Ascended Madoka grant that Missy will be correct.
Joe-- I always operate on the assumption that everything I have used that involved electronic communication was recorded, if not monitored. The monitoring is actually the key element. Until Skynet comes on-line, it's going to be at least one order of magnitude impossible to analyze every conversation in real-time (that's why the recording of the Boston bomber brothers surfaced two days after the fact and why they were not stopped). I think it is possible for plotters to get away with code talking but they will have to hop it through quite a few servers since I'd bet the main routes are very closely monitored. Back in the 60s I went to school with electronic intercept operators (they were called ditty-boppers back then); they had an extremely high suicide rate because the stress level was so high. From I was told, air traffic controller high, so the point I'm making is that good analysts are very hard to find and train and keep. Of course, I only know the edges, but the edges always look burned and frayed. One of tRump's enablers might be up to something but he'd have to have at least six degrees of separation to avoid being detected. I hear what you're saying folks about the Military-Industrial-Complex and I believe they have tried and will continue to try to influence the outcome of elections (Diebold? Ohio? hmmmm) but I don't believe they can reverse the trends on this particular election since the GOPers nominated animate diarrhea as their candidate. Prople might notice if Clinton was up 10 in the exit polls then lost by 10.
Let's do a little further research into the mysterious Dr. Harold Bornstein, the doctor who (allegedly) wrote that hilariously unprofessional "To Whom My Concern" missive. Remember? That's the one that proclaimed Donald Trump to be the fittest living entity since Hercules. That's also the letter in which Donald Trump tested positive for...everything.
Since everyone except me seems to be on Twitter these days, I thought I'd look up the man's Twitter history.
The second account appears to be quite real. Bornstein emitted only three tweets in late 2013 and in November of 2014; all three messages appear to be unimportant piffle. Oddly enough, he seems to prefer expressing himself in Italian. Here's a screen shot:
I'm not saying that Bornstein is in any way an unethical medical practitioner; I'm sure that everything he does is honest and above-board. All I'm saying is that he looks like the kind of doctor whose patients have a tendency to say things like "Look, man -- I just need some stuff. Just to tide me over. You gotta help me, man." I will also tentatively suggest that if we were to explore this line of investigation, we might understand why Donald Trump sometimes sounds like Sarah Palin on meth. (Actually, the theory that she is on meth would explain a lot.)
But our focus today is on Dr. Bornstein, not on his most famous patient. Perhaps we will learn more about this doctor if we study the Twitter feeds that he has chosen to follow.
(As always, the reader must understand that I myself avoid Twitter and cannot claim to understand its ways.)
There are three listed accounts. First up: Darth MaKaVeLious. He appears to have something to do with the hip-hop subculture, even though he's a Trump fan. Not interesting.
Much more intriguing is the account of a Lebanese singer named Amar. Although I've never heard her perform, Amar instantly became my favorite pop music star.
Why? Here's why:
"Did my heart love till now? Foreswear it, sight!/For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night."
My feminist readers, if I still have any, will probably hate me for noting that Lebanese women are famous for their beauty. So are Ukrainian women, by the way.
(Christ, I'm starting to sound as skeezy as The Donald.)
It may interest some of you to know that, last December, Amar was attacked by a madman who claimed to have a connection to ISIS.
What really intrigues me is the third listed account which Dr. Bornstein has chosen to follow. It's in Arabic.
YOW. Take a look.
I hate to jump to conclusions, but doesn't that page look kind of...you know...jihad-y?
I don't know Arabic. However, I do know how to run a web page through Google Translate:
Okay. Now this account is looking more like the work of someone who is anti-terror -- and also anti-Israel. But I can't really be sure of that conclusion, given the language barrier and the uncertainties of a Google translation. Let me repeat once again: I do not often visit the world of Twitter and cannot claim to comprehend how it works.
We can fairly say that the mysterious Dr. Bornstein keeps unfolding like a flower. If my readers can offer any help in understanding his various interests, I am all attention.
Again, nothing in this post is meant to defame Dr. Bornstein. I have no doubt that HE IS THE MOST AWESOMELY EXCELLENT DOCTOR IN ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY!
Believe me, folks. He'll make you so healthy you'll get sick of not being sick.
As I write this, Harold Bornstein, the most astonishingly excellent medic and report-writer in the galaxy, is following 36 people at Twitter and he's got 23 followers.
The only person in both categories is Marina Carminati (@marucarmi), an Italian producer and communications consultant living in New York who says she has worked with NBC News and the Today Show. Her website is at NewYorkOK.com, and she checks out as the owner of that domain. Ms Carminati publishes some information about herself here. In Italy she worked in TV and newspapers, and since coming to the US she has worked in those media and also in radio.
"After arriving in New York City, she created the radio show 'Medicine and Wellbeing' for radio ICN."
I wonder whether any medics we know of may have appeared on that show?
"As a presidential candidate, I have instructed my long-time doctor to issue, withn two weeks, a full medical report-it will show perfection"
Then 11 days later he published the report, with the words
"I am proud to share this health report, written by the highly respected Dr. Jacob Bornstein of Lenox Hill Hospital. https://t.co/5RZa5of0TR"
...but Jacob Bornstein died several years ago, and Trump meant to refer to his son Harold Bornstein, who has supposedly been his medic since 1980.
In the report, Jacob Bornstein uses the letters MD and FAGC after his name. "FAGC" stands for "Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterologists", which he is NOT. He was once a fellow at said college, but his membership "lapsed" in 1995.
"When asked by MSNBC about using the title in his signature without maintaining membership, Bornstein said that the title 'has no value' but that he will continue to use it."
1) Why did his membership lapse in 1995? Was it just that he decided to stop paying his dues?
2) In claiming on Donald Trump's medical report that he is something that he isn't (namely a Fellow of the ACG), has he broken any professional rules?
posted by b : 12:13 PM
Sorry to break it to you, but this @hbornst1 is a bot account. It's not anyone's personal Twitter account. It's of no interest or importance.
You might want to delete the post.
posted by Anonymous : 12:34 PM
Bots are multilingual? Bots know how to appreciate Lebanese goddesses? A bot would know how to become a follower of Marina Carminati, who is also a follower of this bot, and who is ALSO linked to Bornstein via Google+?
I don't think it's Trump's doctor's actual Twitter account. Mediaite described it thusly: "Some kind of weird parody Twitter account using Bornstein’s name has existed since 2013. There’s not much to it… except for an even more amazing picture." Scroll down towards the bottom of the following article: http://www.mediaite.com/online/meet-harold-bornstein-personal-physician-to-donald-trump/
Also, doesn't look like the same guy to me (though admittedly very similar).
And this sounds like a mockery of Trump's use of superlatives: The most beautiful foto from the best journalist nel mondo
posted by Anonymous : 4:22 PM
What are the reasons for thinking it's a fake account? The pictures seem to me to show the same man, who has used a photo from a few years ago for his Twitter account, which isn't an unusual thing to do. Andrew Husband makes no argument for his assertion at Mediaite.com that the account is a parody.
posted by b : 8:22 PM
Andrew Husband, author of the Mediaite piece calling the @hbornst1 Twitter account a "parody", has a photo of Jill Stein as his own Twitter profile pic (@AndrewHusband). I have had a very low opinion of Stein ever since she was asked how Trump could be stopped and she answered about how to stop Clinton.
posted by b : 8:32 PM
Good points b. After "researching" a little further, I found out that that photo actually a photo of Trump's Doc: http://heavy.com/news/2015/12/harold-bornstein-donald-trump-doctor-dr-letter-note-medical-record-physician-photos-bio-father-jacob-md-age-hair-tufts-medical-school-new-york-practice/
Maybe it is his Twitter account, too. Who knows? It doesn't seem too important a topic really.
posted by Anonymous : 11:59 PM
Joseph, @hbornst1 still looks more like a bot to me than anything else. There are whole bot **networks** on Twitter and some are fairly sophisticated. It wouldn't surprise me at all if a bot had corresponding account on another social media network.
However, I don't yet know what to make of @marucarmi. You might find this tweet of interest. https://twitter.com/marucarmi/status/676720873395625984
jotman, I would say that your link proves the case: hbornst1 is our man.
Also, hbonrst1 of NY offered a review on TripAdvisor. He mentions his wife's 50th birthday, an age which matches up with the age range of The Most Amazing Doctor Ever. So that's that: So far, all of our tests have shown only positive results.
Why are they lying about Hillary's health? Here's the obvious answer...
Why are the Trumpers and the Republican media spreading the smear-story that Hillary Clinton suffers from some form of brain damage? In all likelihood, Trump is the one with health issues: Were he healthy, he would not have had to concoct that fake doctor's report. (I suspect that Dr. Feelgood gives The Donald drugs to keep his energy level high.)
The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus thinks that the purpose of this smear is to emphasize the perception that women are inherently weak. But I think that the dirty tricksters have another goal.
First: We know that Roger Stone always plants a confederate in the opposition camp. That's how the GOP obtained Jimmy Carter's debate briefing book in 1980.
Second: We know that one of the reasons why the CIA researched LSD and other drugs was to discredit perceived enemies. They had hoped to spike Fidel Castro just before he gave one of his long-long speeches. (One wit has suggested that the drug might have improved his performance.)
Third: We know that this kind of attack has seen field use. For example, the late Carl Oglesby (who had a nodding acquaintance with Hillary many years ago) testified at the Chicago 8 Trial. Oglesby told me that he was spiked with LSD shortly before his court appearance. I looked up the transcript of his testimony; he spoke with surprising lucidity and eloquence, given the circumstances.
Fourth: Surreptitious drugging is hardly the only means of making someone appear to be unhinged or impaired. If you want to ponder some truly horrifying possibilities, go here and then go here.
The current Hillary health smear is not the thing-in-itself. Dirty tricksters (and Roger Stone is the king of the dirty tricksters) are laying the groundwork for a forthcoming attack. You read it here first.
I'm guessing your (Joe's) idea is that if the rest of us aren't scared witless of Orange Julius, not enough of us will turn out to vote against him, while the Trump Chumps will turn out--so you need to try to scare us witless?
Once again--with a trivial handful of exceptions, the only people who will believe a hypothetical October Surprise from VladiLeaks are the people who will have already decided never to vote for Clinton.
Orange Julius is losing among non-whites, among women of all colors, and now even among college-educated white men. Despite this, with his hiring of the Blightfart boss, he's doubling down on the "appeal to my base of vacuum-skulled pithecanthropoids" strategy.
Still, there's a stark contrast between Trump's indefatigable campaigning and availability to the press, and Hillary's. Voters notice such things. If her absences from the public eye are not because of health, then the inevitable speculation will be that she no longer has the "fire in the belly" to be president.
What absences?she is out campaigning every freaking day.
posted by Anonymous : 3:41 PM
She is not in a tennis tournament. All we need is her brain, and from what I see its the best in the political landscape now.
posted by Anonymous : 4:58 PM
Am I right that it's unlawful in the US to bet on political elections?
Perhaps the biggest market on the 2016 US presidential election is this one at Betfair. The third favourite after Hillary Clinton (1.295) and Donald Trump (5.05) is Bernie Sanders (95). Next come Paul Ryan and Joe Biden (both 190), Gary Johnson (285), Mike Pence (810) and John Kasich (835). No other candidates can be betted both on and against.
So the betting market is saying that Clinton is more likely to be removed from the contest than Trump is.
posted by b : 6:16 PM
We can always count on right wingers to accuse others of doing whatever nefarious thing they themselves are doing, and to have as a weakness whatever they're attacking their opponents for.
For example, Trump's attacks on the Clinton Foundation as being corrupt is a direct reflection of his corrupt business deals and owing money to China and Russia.
Every time they attack, look for what it is in their camp that mirrors what they're attacking.
I have many half-formulated posts germinating in my thoughts, and may not have a chance to write them out. But as I ponder those essays, one key problem keeps nagging at me: Why is Trump down only three-to-eight points in national polls?
He has run no ads, many leading Republicans have turned against him, and his campaign has been a massive collection of gaffes. In spite of all of that, he keeps inching upward.
No other candidate in American history has received such disastrous press. No other candidate has displayed such immaturity, such deceit, such underhandedness, such impulsiveness. No other candidate has been so lacking in talent, erudition, education, experience, patience, tolerance, taste or intellectual curiosity.
The man has ties to both the Mafia and Putin's Russia. He has lied about his taxes, his wealth, and his alleged charity. (If you want real dirt, look at the Trump Foundation, not the Clinton Foundation). His health report is clearly bogus. He changes his stances at whim. He lies incessantly. He treats women as sex objects. He speaks to minorities condescendingly. He espouses torture. His instincts are thoroughly authoritarian. His claims to respect the Bible, a book he obviously knows nothing about. He has wedded himself to absurd conspiracy theories. His skin is thinner than onionskin. He has absolutely no concept of what's in the Constitution and seems uninterested in reading that text -- probably because he plans to use any plausible excuse to bypass its constraints.
Why isn't Hillary Clinton twenty or thirty points ahead of this disgusting, vile, oafish ambulatory tumor? Why isn't she crushing him?
I know that you've been keeping an eye on those electoral maps that seem to show many safely blue states -- the same maps that I check several times a day. Ostriches, it's time for you to yank your heads out of that cerulean sand: If Trump inches up just two or three points more in the national polls, many of those pale blue states will start to go pink again. Two or three points beyond that, and he wins.
Hillary Clinton's ads and her rhetoric have been weak tea. She has mounted the kind of campaign one would expect if she were running against a normal political opponent such as John McCain or Mitt Romney. Her advertising should reflect the unique danger of the current situation.
For example: Trump, as a major landlord, has a documented and easily-provable history of discriminating against people of color. His campaign is run by Steve Bannon, the man who transformed the Breitbart website into a cesspool of white supremacism. Eight years ago, any Republican with a strong link to a human bacillus like Bannon would have had no chance for national office.
Why would she hesitate to say "Trump is a racist"? She should use those exact words. No adverbial qualifiers.
Trump is the candidate of Breitbart, of the Alt Right movement. Breitbart is a fascist site. The Alt Right movement is a fascist movement. It's time for us to use that term without apology or shame, because no other description fits -- and any academic who disagrees can go to that circle of hell where the devil stows pseudo-scholarly hair-splitters.
Why won't Hillary launch a hard-hitting series of ads attacking Trump's racism and fascism -- using that term again and again and again, doubling down, quadrupling down, billioning down?
Why not a series of ads devoted to exposing the copious evidence that Trump is working hand-in-hand with Vladimir Putin?
Why not a series of ads devoted to exposing Trump's ties to the Mafia?
Why not a series of ads devoted to exposing the victims of this man's refusal to pay laborers for their labor?
Why not a series titled "TRUMP LIES"?
A couple of posts down, I listed just some of the many, many outrageous falsehoods this man has promulgated. The Clinton campaign should produce dozens of ads devoted to these many lies. The ads should not look slick or expensively-produced, but they should move fast. Lots of fast, hard cuts. The images should land like a punch in the face. The ads should devastate. The series should seem endless. The public should feel as though they cannot turn on their teevees without seeing a brand new set of Trump lies: Wham wham wham WHAM.
Why hold back? Why don't Democrats call him "LYING DONALD TRUMP" repeatedly?
Why isn't Donald Trump being portrayed as world-historical disaster comparable to Hitler or Stalin?
Why is Hillary Clinton taking the high road? Why is she treating Donald Trump as though he were just another Republican with whom she has policy disagreements? Trump has no policies; he's not intelligent enough to formulate a coherent set of policies. All he has is egomania and the will to dominate.
Why doesn't Hillary Clinton make crystal clear that Donald Trump is subhuman fascist filth?
Perhaps she knows she doesn't need to, because the national security establishment prefers her to the orange dude. One way or another, the NSE will prevent the orange dude from winning--and in this age of hackable voting computers, I do not speak of anything so crude as an assassination or a military coup.
Also, we do not have direct popular elections of the President in this country; we have the Electoral College, and she is crushing him in the EC. If he loses a large number of states by only 1 or 2%, he still loses them. As I noted in an earlier thread, if Nate Silver starts agreeing with you, I will probably start worrying. (Oh, I worry a little now, but that's probably mainly because I read your blog. -_^)
Also, you are convinced of Trump's ties to Putin. To the average above-it-all "professionally trained", lap-up-what-the-official-spokespeople-tell-you "journalist", that, and all those other criminal and quasi-criminal things you listed, sound like conspiracy crap from the fever swamps. Clinton may, therefore, think it would backfire on her.
By the way--yes, Putin is formidable, but he's not a Bond villain (he'd be smart enough to just shoot Bond, instead of putting him into a deathtrap from the ACME Corporation)--and yes, Russia is formidable, but who won the Cold War?
Besides, maybe Clinton is planning to do at least some of what you suggested in September and October. Maybe she's saving the hard stuff for if she needs it. Plus, she already has released that ad with national security officials and pundits saying Trump is not fit for the Presidency.
That Trump is at 37% is pretty unprecedented in a GE at this moment. And both Johnson and Stein are the only ones showing movement, if minimal But it wouldn't surprise me to see it 41 - 35 - 13 - 7 - 3 in a month either.
The ascent and effects of FOX News plus Rush Limbaugh have provided sufficient evidence that anybody will say anything and get away with it. Not so oddly, FOX News started at the same time we got a saturation ad campaign featuring the wonderful Joe Isuzu.
Did it matter in 1972 that George McGovern compared Nixon's administration to Nazi Germany and Nixon to Hitler? Or that Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News on the Monday before Election Day also compared Nixon to Hitler?
Does it matter that in October 2007 on Real News, Bill Maher offered the argument that a foreign-born naturalized citizen -- Arnold Schwarzenegger -- should be eligible for the presidency? Does it matter that when Maher was challenged on the obvious Constitutional grounds, he replied, "It's only an amendment [that could be repealed]"? Or that his guest, former presidential candidate, extraordinarily decorated, retired five-star General Wesley Clark, said, "Amendments are part of the Constitution"? Or that the citizenship eligibility is not expressed in any amendment, but in Section 1 of Article II of the Constitution? Does it matter that nobody knows anything? It probably doesn't matter that the Clinton campaign was accused of playing the race card in 2008 unless everyone will be reminded. Does it matter that the two candidates (plus Sanders) are just too old to be doing what they're doing? They're perpetually at risk of age-related trauma or death. Their hearing is all but shot, they have cataracts or had them removed, Trump has lost at least 40% of his body's muscle mass. They wake every day knowing that their personal futures are brutal, nasty, and short.
Will it matter in late October and early November that Trump will make a perfect fit and match to the 24/7 football seasonal coverage, while Clinton might become an annoying distraction?
Did Gore 'lose' because his would-be VP is a Jew?
posted by Amelie D'Bunquerre : 4:40 PM
And why oh why is David Cay Johnson not a prime guest on EVERY major TV news show in the country? In the weeks after the release of his recent Trump expose, he has been all over foreign news networks, but might as well not exist in the good ol' USA.
Then there's Evan McMullin. But unless a lot of money is deliberately spent, support for candidates outside the two main parties will drop off after the first TV debate on 26 September. This is assuming Johnson doesn't make it to 15%, but I doubt that he will/
@B - You say "Donald Drumpf". That makes him Donald JOHANN Drumpf, the first 666-er since Ronald Wilson Reagan :)
Seriously, I wish someone would target the evangelical demographic with the 666 stuff. If the Clinton campaign wants to pass me a million or two, I'd be happy to take charge :) He calls the first floor of his triplex apartment the 66th even though it isn't; he's got "666" on the coat of arms he loves so much (click here), and the founder of his Organisation was his grandmother, born Elizabeth Christ, who died on 6/6/66.
@J Story - Good point. Clinton needs to get into the fight more. Otherwise when the TV debates come round, part of the smartphone-clutching audience is going to think "Trump we know, but who's that woman he's debating with?"
Clinton has got her work cut out for her. Ideally she should have a strong case if she says "I've spent decades in public service, while this guy has no public service experience whatsoever, because he's spent his whole life advancing his own personal interests". That's a simple message, and it's true. But as we know, it's not so easy for her to say, given a) her weak points (which are obviously going to get attacked), and b) the respect that too many people in the US have for swaggering macho bosses who rub the other guys' faces in the dirt. I mean c'mon, it says something about the country's culture that Trump's books have sold so well. Why hasn't the US got a proper state health service? Why is there so much homelessness in the country, when there's none in Cuba?
Nor should it be a surprise that the first time a woman runs for the US presidency for one of the major parties, her opponent is a super-macho arsehole of arseholes. As Germaine Greer says, we underestimate the force of the macho movement at our peril.
And it's not just US culture; it's the US political system too. What major country with an executive presidency (France, Russia, the US) rather than a figurehead presidency (Germany, Ireland) has ever had a woman near the top job?
Trump needs to be attacked more on that bullshit "medical report". Does it (prima facie) breach AMA rules somehow? BTW Trump announced in a tweet before he released it that his medical report would show perfection.
@Joe - I don't know the answer to your big question in this post, but the fact that billionaires from a single company (Renaissance Technologies) are helping both sides may be relevant.
posted by b : 5:49 PM
re: "Why is Trump down only three-to-eight points in national polls?"
No mystery here. That's what I predicted long ago, if Trump were the GOP nominee.
1. We live in an era of increasing partisan polarization. Voters are increasingly hardening along party lines, with decreasing crossover voting.
As Brendan Nyhan noted:"At the mass level, #NeverTrump will be more rare than people think. Partisanship + motivated reasoning are powerful"
A couple articles on the increasing partisan solidification, here and here.
2. The best (most accurate) models based purely on fundamentals (e.g. economic factors, etc.), such as the Abramowitz Time for Change model, tend to favor a GOP Presidential victory this year. So Clinton is running against fundamental headwinds.
Incidentally, as an aside - the analyst with the best predictive track record right now is Sam Wang. He had the lowest error for the 2012 national elections (predicted state outcomes for Presidential race and Senate races). In late December 2015, he not only correctly predicted that Clinton and Trump would be the Dem and GOP nominees, but he also correctly predicted that Tim Kaine would be the Dem VP nominee.
posted by affinis : 4:42 AM
A a woman it pains me to say that even in 2016 there is still a double standard in how woman and men will be judged for their behavior. Hillary Clinton cannot appear to sink to Trump's level, not that she would want to. It goes to what the First Lady said at the DNC convention: "When they go low, we go high." If Hillary hits too hard she will be criticized and lose more support than she will gain. See the 2008 primary results where she did hit hard, was criticized and it cost her. While I appreciate that it frustrates some supporters, I think she is hitting back with facts and humor. She lets her surrogates do the dirty work. That being said, I think she and her surrogates will hit harder as the election draws closer.
Added note: Earlier today, passing by a TV in a public place, I caught a glimpse of Donald Trump in flood-stricken Louisiana handing out...something. It turns out that this "something" was Play-Doh, and that his act pf charity lasted less than a minute. Of course, his presence meant that the Governor of Louisiana had to assign personnel to help provide security for Trump.
I thought that Paul Ryan's soup kitchen episode was the most transparently phony "charitable" act ever caught on camera, but Trump managed to top even that.
I realize that's not exactly an objective web site, but it is the most recent thing I could find about this. I would be very surprised if Trump actually donated using his own money. Also, regardless of whether he helped or not it's pretty plain the motives were primarily political and that his supporters are completely ignoring the fact that Obama was asked not to come (just as Trump was as well) by the governor.
So yeah, regardless of the actual facts, it was a publicity stunt for Trump, first and foremost.
Two days after this hit, Paul Manafort has officially resigned from the Trump campaign. Given the likelihood that the guy broke the law regarding foreign agents, one wonders why he took on such a high-profile job in the first place. The guy said: "Hey, world -- look at me!" And the world did just that. Had he never worked for Trump in an official capacity, he would not now be fretting about an indictment.
Unfortunately, Manafort will now serve as a convenient scapegoat for everything that went wrong in the Trump campaign. People will blame Paulie when they should blame Donnie.
Exactly! Why didn't Manafort understand his relationship with Trump would come under microscopic scrutiny? Is it possible the people surrounding Trump really don't have any idea how U.S. elections actually work? That the campaign has come to believe its own bullshit and has now made itself as stupid as its followers?
It was to be expected. Steve Bannon has always felt that the great problem with the anti-Clinton smears of the 1990s is that the right became content with talking to itself. The important thing (argues Bannon) is to get the message through to the other side.
That's what Trump is attempting to do now.
In his speech, Trump called Hillary Clinton "one of the greatest liars of all time." Audaciously, he then insists: "In this journey, I will never lie to you."
Of course, the very speech in which that statement appears contains a number of whoppers.
The problem with Trump's mendacity is that he has told so many whoppers over the years that the mainstream media has, to a large extent, stopped trying to expose them all. I shall attempt in this post to list some of his more important lies, starting with the featured in the above-linked speech.
He claims that he is funding his own campaign -- "nobody else is." As we've seen, he's using these rallies as a way to make money. He raised $80 million a couple of months ago, and many of those who contribute find themselves locked into monthly contributions that they can't opt out of.
Trump then said: "Tell me, has Hillary Clinton ever apologized for lying about her illegal email server and deleting 33,000 emails?"
She apologized for instituting the server in the first place, which -- we now know -- she did on the advice of Colin Powell, who spoke to her during a private dinner with other former Secretaries of State. (The story will be told in full in a new book by Joe Conason.) She never lied about the existence of that server, and there is no evidence that she deleted any emails.
Trump said: "Has Hillary Clinton apologized for turning the State Department into a pay-for-play operation where favors are sold to the highest bidder?"
A complete fabrication. This never happened.
Here's a truly remarkable deception:
Speaking of lies, we now know from the State Department announcement that President Obama lied about the $400 million dollars in cash that was flown to Iran. He denied it was for the hostages, but it was. He said we don’t pay ransom, but he did. He lied about the hostages – openly and blatantly – just like he lied about Obamacare.
Trump is giving a completely false version of history. That $400 million was Iranian money to begin with; before the 1980 hostage crisis, they paid for American arms and spare parts which were never delivered. Any claimed "lies" about Obamacare will seem credible only the eyes of right-wing zealots.
(In my opinion, this particular falsehood about Russia was the most brazen lie Trump has ever told.)
"Just imagine if the media spent this much time investigating the poverty and joblessness in our inner cities." Although this statement is not a lie, it is an example of the man's formidable capacity for hypocrisy. Trump's campaign is now largely managed by a man who used to run his own media empire, which devotes its energies to shit like this instead of truthful investigations into urban problems.
To African Americans, Trump posed this question: "What do you have to lose by trying something new? – I will fix it." Once again: Trump hired Steve Bannon, the man who wants to put a friendly face on white supremacism. That fact alone tells us that blacks have a lot to lose with Trump.
Meanwhile, the Democrats nominated and elected the first black president.
Moreover, African American lives were greatly improved during the presidency of Bill Clinton: Incomes went up, unemployment went way down, child poverty in black households was reduced, redlining was ended, the Community Reinvestment Act was strengthened, black-owned businesses had a much easier time getting capital, the low-income housing tax credit went up 40 percent, and enterprise zones (which Republicans hated) created many new urban jobs.
I’ve waded through 1,021 pages of documents from that legal battle, and they are devastating. Donald Trump was then president of the family real estate firm, and the government amassed overwhelming evidence that the company had a policy of discriminating against blacks, including those serving in the military.
To prove the discrimination, blacks were repeatedly dispatched as testers to Trump apartment buildings to inquire about vacancies, and white testers were sent soon after. Repeatedly, the black person was told that nothing was available, while the white tester was shown apartments for immediate rental.
A former building superintendent working for the Trumps explained that he was told to code any application by a black person with the letter C, for colored, apparently so the office would know to reject it. A Trump rental agent said the Trumps wanted to rent only to “Jews and executives,” and discouraged renting to blacks.
I'd say that African Americans have a lot to lose if they vote for a landlord who won't rent to black people.
Here's another Trump howler: "On political corruption, we are going to restore honor to our government." How can we expect "honor" from someone who is well-known for his ties to the mob?
Trump says "I am fighting for you" against the "insiders fighting for the insiders." Really? Then why did Trump, back in 2006, proclaim that he was rooting for a housing bubble because he hoped to profit from it? He said that he hoped for a collapse in housing prices so he could "go in and buy."
If Trump is for the little guy and against the insiders, why does he want to eradicate the (insufficient) bank regulations enacted after the crash?
We could examine every phrase and phoneme in that speech and find many further lies -- but now, I would like to zoom out and expand our view to include those who trumpet on Trump's behalf.
If Trump's spokespeople tell lies, then he bears responsibility for what they say. Today, his emptyheaded spokesperson Katrina Pierson said that Hillary Clinton has a rare brain disease -- a complete falsehood. Are we going to get an apology from Team Trump? Of course not.
I would also say that Trump bears personal responsibility for the outrageous things said by his long-time friend Roger Stone, the ultimate dirty trickster (and partner of Paul Manafort). Remember when Stone spun that outrageous yarn about the Khan family being secret agents of the Muslim Brotherhood? Although the entire country said "No sale" to that one, Trump never distanced himself from his old pal's disgraceful mud-slinging.
Now let's turn to Donald Trump's long history of lying.
Good God, where to begin? Some of what follows comes from memory; some comes from here, some from here, some from other sources.
I suppose we should start with Trump's embrace of birtherism. That was a big, BIG lie.
The there's his obviously false claim that he can't release his tax returns because they are under audit. Of course, the audit has nothing to do with it: Nixon released his taxes while still under audit.
Trump's "To Whom My Concern" medical history (about which I should soon have more to say) was obviously written by Trump himself.
Trump claimed that "really they've shut Christianity down" in the United States. Really? If the religion is defunct, why are there so many lovely churches in my city?
Trump claims to be worth $10 billion dollars. Forbes disagrees. Nobody now believes he is worth anywhere near that amount. If he is, why does he routinely stiff contractors for fairly small amounts of money?
Trump accused Ted Cruz's father of being photographed with Lee Harvey Oswald, and then falsely claimed that Cruz never denied the allegation.
Barack Obama did not found ISIS, as Trump has repeatedly and emphatically stated. Trump's later claim that he was engaging in "sarcarsm" was another transparent lie.
Trump claimed that he predicted the rise of Osama Bin Laden in his book The America We Deserve. That book makes but one reference to a then-current news story about Bin Laden; Trump actually diminishes the importance of the man, insinuating that he wasn't really the great enemy of the United States that Bill Clinton made him out to be.
Trump stated that Obama "wants to take in 250,000 from Syria." The actual number is 10,000.
Trump claims that there is "no system" for vetting refugees. Absolutely false: The vetting is quite stringent.
Trump has repeatedly insisted that crime is rising, even though statistics say otherwise.
Trump claimed that Hillary wants "release the violent criminals from jail. She wants them all released." This isn't just bullshit: It's bullshit concentrate.
Trump has stated that Hillary would raise taxes on the middle class and raise small business taxes by 50 percent. Not even slightly true.
During the primaries, Trump said that Hillary "doesn't do very well with women." Good lord! What can one say in response to these hallucinations?
Trump said that he wanted to be "quiet" about raising funds for veterans. In fact, he publicized the effort with all the subtlety of a nuclear bomb.
Trump said that we know nothing about Hillary Clinton's views on religion. Perhaps he should look into a little thing called Google?
Trump said that Hillary wants to "abolish the Second Amendment." Ridiculous.
Trump said that "Democrats want to confiscate all guns." Utterly ridiculous.
Trump first supported a ban on assault weapons, then took the opposite view. One of those statements must be a lie.
Trump claimed that the unemployment rate for black young people is 59 percent. The actual number is 27.1 percent.
Trump accused Hillary of laundering millions of dollars through something called Laureate Education. This accusation is absolutely untrue.
Trump has embraced the theory that vaccines cause autism.
Trump claimed that Hillary wanted to rig the debates by placing them against two NFL games. This one is silly. The two political parties mutually agreed upon the debate schedule well before the candidates were chosen.
Trump gave a vivid description of a video which supposedly showed money being transferred to Iran. No such video exists, according to the government and the mainstream media. Later, even Trump himself stated that he saw no such presentation. (Personally, I suspect that he did -- and stupidly blabbed about classified information.)
Trump said that Michelle Fields (the reporter groped by his former campaign manager) changed her story when she found out about a security tape. Not true.
Trump said that the omnibus spending bill "funds illegal immigrants." Actually, it funded the border patrol.
Trump also said of the omnibus spending bill: "It funds ISIS." Where? What part of the bill does that? What utterly preposterous nonsense!
Trump has said that he supports a federal minimum wage of at least $10 an hour, but earlier went on record opposing any raise.
Trump has claimed that he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning. In fact, he supported it.
Trump has claimed that he opposed the overthrow of Khaddafy. In fact, he strongly advocated it.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that Hillary Clinton created ISIS, which began in 2004.
Trump, apparently having entered a state of total delusion, engineered a television segment in which he pretended that his defunct steak company was still in business. (The steaks shown on camera were from another supplier.)
He also claimed that Trump magazine was still being published. It ceased operations in 2009.
On March 7, he said that he had spent $30 million on his campaign. His total contribution at that time was about a quarter of a million dollars.
He claimed that Trump University got an A from the Better Business Bureau. It was actually a D-minus. (The rating rose only after the company had more-or-less ceased operations and the complaints stopped coming in.)
He claimed that he "handpicked" the instructors for Trump University. Not true.
Trump said "If we competitively bid drugs in the United States, we can save as much as $300 billion a year.” The drug program costs $78 billion total.
Trump claimed that Chinese goods sold in America are completely untaxed. In reality, the tarrif is 2.9 percent.
Trump stated that "The Obama-Clinton war on coal has caused Michigan over 50,000 jobs." If Clinton has had anything to so with any "war on coal," I've yet to see the evidence. Republican governor Rick Snyder is the one who announced "now is the time to look at a long-term transition away from coal." Michigan is not a big coal producer; fewer than 7000 people have worked in mining during the last ten years.
Trump said that one could rebuild all of America's inner cities with the amount of money she plans to spend on refugees. This one is outrageously false.
Trump said that he opposed casino gambling in Florida, even though he had attempted to build a casino with the Seminoles.
Trump claimed to own "100 percent" the largest winery on the east coast. A winery does bear his name, but he doesn't own it. And it isn't the biggest.
Trump accused John McCain of doing nothing to help veterans. This one is hideously untrue. That single lie should have been a campaign-ender.
Trump called The Art of the Deal the bestselling business book of all time. Nope.
I could probably fill another half-dozen posts with lists of Big Trump Lies, but perhaps it would be best to stop here -- for now. Let's close with a Trump fib from the primary campaign which may have contained a suppressed truth. On March 7, in North Carolina, Trump said: "Countries have lobbyists also. They have lobbyists. They have their donors."
A lobbyist for a country is supposed to register. Paul Manafort, who still has a leading position on Trump's campaign, did not see any need to do so; that's why he's in hot water right now.
For example: You've probably read that Deutsche Bank is the last financial institution in the world still willing to do business with Donald "Mr. Bankruptcy" Trump. But even Deutsche Bank had to sue Trump at one point, which is why Trump now must deal with a very exclusive hush-hush subsidiary of that bank. If they are still loaning money to Mr. Bankruptcy, they must have a guarantor for the loan.
I'm not the only one who suspects that the name of that guarantor is Vladimir.
"A former building superintendent working for the Trumps explained that he was told to code any application by a black person with the letter C, for colored, apparently so the office would know to reject it."
The code "No.9" was also used, possibly with the same meaning of "this person is black; don't let them rent here".
That code may represent the word "no" in both English and German: no, nein.
posted by b : 12:11 PM
Her lead is not shrinking and she has the EC all locked up. The latest polls show her at 8 points figuring in Johnson and Stein, 10 points without.
It is impossible for Trump to win. I don't know why you keep insisting he has a prayer in hell of winning.
I wish that were true, susan, but you are not looking at the LATEST polls. Pew was one, I can't recall the other offhand -- I think it was NBC. I'm not talking about pro-Republican polls like Rasmussen. Clinton's lead has been cut in half in an astonishingly short time. The state polls are older; they will soon catch up with the narrowing national polls. Very soon those blue-ish states will start to go pink again.
Mercer, a REAL billionaire, is now behind Trump. The Republicans in congress are doing everything they can to blacken Hillary's name. And you have the entire Russian intelligence establishment working against her.
Keep up on the latest polls here. From the graph, Clinton's lead does seem to have shrunk a bit in the last week and a half.
Now that Trump has made himself the biggest name in this election by far, expect some serious marketing work by Mercer-backed Cambridge Analytica.
posted by b : 6:50 PM
When Nate starts agreeing with Joe, I may start worrying then.
However, Joe keeps forgetting that ace up Clinton's sleeve: Except for a handful of renegades like Flynn, the national security establishment wants Clinton, not Trump--and I expect they can do more to manipulate the election, if necessary, than Pooty-Poot's gremlins.
Nate Cohens work is very conventional and is not very accurate in unusual elections.
I think Trump is substantially behind but he should be dead in the water. I would guess his constituents are unlikely to change their mind. So Mr. Cannon is right to be concerned. My guess is that Trump looses but I think he will partially recover from this low.
This Russian stuff stuff seems overstated to me. I can see that Putin might well hold a grudge against Hillary for some of her comments post Russian elections and also because he might consider Vicky Nuland to be close to HRC. Losing Ukraine must be the worst failure of Putin s career. But he would have to be very annoyed to have his intelligence people "sign" their work.
Plus I think favoring Trump would be unprofessional. The Russian state might have a preference for Trump but they need to prepare for Clinton. So I am unconvinced. If they did it then it's very counterproductive to their interests. Which would be weird.
posted by Anonymous : 9:19 PM
@Harry - I think you mean Nate Silver. He's an OK number-cruncher, but he hasn't decided how fast a decay rate to use, so he offers his readers three options. I'm finding RCP to be the best site for keeping up with all the serious national and state polls.
Losing cooperation with west Ukraine wasn't a huge disaster for Putin. Had the Kiev putschists taken Crimea, joined NATO, and allowed US naval visits to Sevastapol, that would have been a disaster. The US, the West and NATO didn't dare take Putin on. All they could do was whinge about "hybrid warfare", a few years after they'd successfully fucked much of the Arab world up using similar means to the ones they were attributing to the Russians. Now the Russian airforce intervenes in Syria but US warplanes have yet to get involved in the Ukraine.
James Simons ("the mathematician who cracked Wall Street") and Bob Mercer are both billionaires, both involved in this election, and both at Renaissance Technologies. The Financial Times called Simons the smartest billionaire in the world.
Trump will continue to gain ground in the polls. Has he now sold himself, I wonder?
The world was easier to understand a year and a half ago. In Ukraine, you had the pro-Russian forces versus the Azov neo-Nazis. It wasn't tough to figure out which side to cheer and which side to jeer: The bad guys wore swastikas (or swastika-like symbols). History was repeating itself; if you listened closely, you could hear the first movement of Shostakovich's seventh symphony.
But now it has become very clear that Putin is the power behind Trump, just it has become very clear that Trump represents a form of American fascism. Trump's hiring of Breitbart's Steve Bannon -- a man so far to the right that he appalls even some fans of the late Andrew Breitbart -- proves the point once again.
White nationalists today invest a lot of energy worrying about growing Hispanic and Muslim populations in the U.S. Turns out, Breitbart News spends a lot of time worrying about those things, too. And in Bannon, they see a media-friendly, ethno-nationalist fellow traveler.
“Latterly, Breitbart emerged as a nationalist site and done great stuff on immigration in particular,” VDARE.com editor Peter Brimelow told The Daily Beast.
VDare is a white supremacist site. It’s named after Virginia Dare, the first white child born to British colonists in North America. Brimelow said he and Bannon met briefly last month and exchanged pleasantries about each other’s work.
“It’s irritating because VDARE.com is not used to competition,” Brimelow added. “I presume that is due to Bannon, so his appointment is great news.”
Brimelow isn’t the only prominent white nationalist to praise the Bannon hire. Richard Spencer, who heads the white supremacist think tank National Policy Institute, said he was also pleased. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart has given favorable coverage to the white supremacist Alt Right movement. And Spencer loves it.
“Breitbart has elective affinities with the Alt Right, and the Alt Right has clearly influenced Breitbart,” he said. “In this way, Breitbart has acted as a ‘gateway’ to Alt Right ideas and writers. I don’t think it has done this deliberately; again, it’s a matter of elective affinities.”
Yiannopoulos wrote a piece on March 29, 2016, about the Alt Right, praising its members as “dangerously bright,” and cheering the VDARE and American Renaissance sites as an “eclectic mix of renegades.” American Renaissance is helmed by Jared Taylor, who advocates for voluntary racial segregation and says African Americans are genetically predisposed to be criminals.
Breitbart’s role as a propaganda arm for Trump’s campaign goes beyond boosting the candidate. The outlet also fuels the racial panic that is the subtext of much of what Trump says. Breitbart’s editor-in-chief told Bloomberg last year that the outlet focused less on specific stories than on creating long-running narratives with heroes and villains—many of them painting immigrants and people of color as the latter...
The Southern Poverty Law Center documented earlier this year Breitbart is becoming the “media arm” of the alt-right, a young “white identity” movement that sees Trump as a hero:
Breitbart recently published a lengthy defense of the Alt-Right, claiming the white nationalists such asRichard Spencer and Jared Taylor who created the ideology “have been accused of racism,” choosing to ignore the well-documented openly-racist views.
But Breitbart’s open defense of the Alt-Right didn’t appear out of thin air.
Over the past year the media outlet has been openly promoting the core issues of the Alt-Right, introducing these racist ideas to its readership – much to the delight of many in the white nationalist world who could never dream of reaching such a vast number of people.
Breitbart has always given a platform to parts of the radical right, most notably elements of the organized anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant movements. Breitbart has also organized conferences featuring nativist speakers and published op-eds and interviews with movement leaders. But since 2015, Breitbart began publishing more overtly racist diatribes about Muslims and immigrants.
One of the co-authors of Breitbart’s defense of the alt-right was Milo Yiannopoulous, who was on hand at the Republican National Convention this summer to boost Trump.
Mother Jones reports that Breitbart is funded by billionaire Robert Mercer, who previously backed Ted Cruz. Kellyanne Conway -- who has Manafort's old position (I guess) -- worked for Mercer, back when Cruz was still viable. She is also active in the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-LGBTQ organization -- thereby giving the lie to Trump's professions of tolerance for gays.
Now let's turn to the "Merkel meme," as outlined by Josh Marshall:
A few days ago the Trump camp started pushing the idea that Hillary Clinton was "America's Merkel", a reference to longserving German Chancellor Angela Merkel, by many measures one of the more successful European politicians of the post-war era. Trump even personally started pushing the Twitter hashtag "#AmericasMerkel. When I started seeing this my first thought was, "How many Americans do they think have even heard of Angela Merkel, let alone see her as some awful figure in a way that tying her to Clinton would send chills down people's spines?" For better or worse, Putin is super high profile. Netanyahu is high profile. For your average American? Merkel is not high profile.
The answer's obvious. But it didn't occur to me until I read this very smart piece by ThinkProgress's Alice Ollstein. Merkel is now a big, big deal (in a bad way) on alt-right and white supremacist websites where she's become the poster-girl for feckless politician's who are betraying the white race. Merkel led the way on pushing an generous refugee policy vis a vis the refugee crisis emerging from Syria. It's certainly not that no one in the US knows about this. But presidential campaigns are mass audience affairs. And this is where it's big. This is where it's dynamite to make Hillary Clinton into "America's Merkel."
It's not surprising. We've seen numerous instances and evidence and examples of how the Trump campaign is awash in the world of alt-right and white nationalist Internet culture, memes and ideas.
To white nationalist communities that fervently support Trump, Merkel has been a popular villain. Sites like the Daily Stormer, the White Genocide Project, American Renaissance, and The White Resister have posted constantly about her since the Syrian refugee crisis began escalating earlier this year. They have accused her of making a “deliberate attempt to turn Germany from a majority White country into a minority White country.” They have called her a “crazy childless bitch,” “Anti-White Traitor,” and “patron saint of terrorists.” They have asked in articles about her, “Why would you allow a woman to run a country, unless you were doing it as a joke?”
Heidi Beirich, who investigates and tracks white nationalist groups for Southern Poverty Law Center, told ThinkProgress that Trump “seems to be parroting the hate sites” and speaking to their concerns.
“There is no question that the people who call him their ‘glorious leader’ know exactly what he’s talking about,” she said. “That is the audience that is concerned about this issue. Merkel is hated by Trump’s white supremacist supporters, and she and Clinton are seen in the same light.”
I think it was Maddow last night who did a timeline of Breitbart memes and Trump statements. It is clear, he's a fan.
posted by OldCoastie : 1:19 PM
I'm answering myself here, but when Trump tweeted that people would soon be calling him "Mr Brexit", I know what he meant now. He meant that he had hired Cambridge Analytica, who some call the masterminds of Brexit. Kos are right about this.
Everyone is talking about the ascent of Steve Bannon to the top of Team Trump. Yep, that's now the contest facing this country: The Breitbarters vs. civilization.
We'll return to all of that soon.
Right now, I want to talk about Trump's security briefing, which he attended with Governor Christie and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the DIA. Why Christie? Perhaps because Bridge-gate proves that he knows how to keep a secret.
(By the way, it seems quite likely that Flynn was Joe Scarborough's source for the revelation that Trump has an unhealthy hankering for nukes.)
Obama's warning to Trump not to go blabby was unprecedented. No other candidate has ever had to receive a public admonishment of that sort. Moreover, there was something in the way Obama said it that led me to suspect that something was up.
Many now believe that Trump has a working relationship with Putin. (Suggested new Trump slogan: "Make America bolshoy again!") So the question is not just "Will Trump blurt out secret intel in public?" but "Will Trump tell America's secrets to the Russians?"
As one of my readers pointed out, this brings us to Molehunting 101. The classic technique to identify a security risk is the "marked card" -- you pass your suspected mole a document with incorrect information and then see if that same deceptive data-chard gets passed along to the opposing intelligence service.
Here is where it gets very weird. And very clever.
The "marked card" can be something very small -- a personnel file with an incorrect birth date, for example. But the "ringer" can also be something quite large. One way to entice targets into exposing themselves is to let them think that they have gained access to a truly astounding and mind-boggling secret.
I have reason to believe that UFO information -- fake information -- is one tactic that has commonly been used to identify risks.
This idea formed in my head many years ago, when I had tea with two sweet older ladies. One of those ladies was the widow of a famous physicist (and former cryptographer) who had done much work for the government and who had a high clearance. The physicist became well-known for his interest in UFOs -- an interest spurred, in large part, by secret documents made available to him.
During our pleasant chat, the widow revealed a startling fact that has never been published: She had belonged to the Socialist Worker's Party and made no secret about her political leanings. Although I said nothing, the thought struck me: Wouldn't that association affect her husband's security clearance?
Perhaps (I reasoned) the wife's left-wing politics was the reason why her husband was shown secret documents pertaining to UFOs. Perhaps molehunters wanted to determine if he would pass those documents on to his supposed handlers in Russia.
Long story short, that tea-time chat is just one reason why I now believe that fake UFO information has been used for half a century in counterintelligence operations.
In other words: Don't be surprised if Donald Trump starts to say some really weird shit. Weird even by Trump standards.
On the other hand, maybe he won't. The big problem with the scenario I've just outlined is this: Lt. Gen. Flynn will be on hand to tell Trump how to interpret what he sees. I'm not quite sure what to make of this Politico story...
Earhardt followed up by asking whether Trump trusts "intelligence."
"Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country. I mean, look what's happened over the last 10 years. Look what's happened over the years. It's been catastrophic. And, in fact, I won't use some of the people that are sort of your standards, you know, just use them, use them, use them, very easy to use them, but I won't use them because they've made such bad decisions," said Trump, who will also be joined by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at the inaugural briefing. "You look at Iraq. You look at the Middle East. It's a total powder keg. It's a — if we would have never touched it, it would have been a lot better. I mean, we would have been much better off. On top of which, we've spent probably $4 trillion. Nobody even knows what we've spent. So, no, I have great people, and Gen. Flynn is one of them."
What gobbledegook! One is tempted to use the phrase "stream of consciousness" to describe that outburst, but it seems a bit daring to presume that Trump was actually conscious when he spoke. The question was "Do you trust the intelligence community, Mr. Trump?" -- not "Do you like the Middle East situation?" or "Do you agree with current policies?" or "Do you have good people?" Ask Trump about the price of mangoes and he's likely to blather about the mating habits of ocelots. This man doesn't think, he anti-thinks.
Nevertheless, Flynn is there to warn Trump about any potential traps. (Flynn's testiness when asked about Putin is, I would argue, revealing.)
You realize, of course, that the new Aurora fighter/bomber is powered by a pulse drive that leaves donut con trails and that the pulse engine was secured from a UFO that went down in Kecksburg PA in 1965. It was not a bell-shaped Nazi time machine as some people have wrongly speculated, though the Russians think it was. But I'm sure we wouldn't risk national security by telling tRump or revealing the mathematical formula that powers the pulse drive (e=mc^3/0).
Word on the ground is that Trump has been proposing to build a wall to keep those Aliens out too. The problem for the Breitbart gang is that of the two proposed leaders for the new organization, one is black and the other was Al Gore's room mate.
I didn't want to top the preceding post so early in the day, but this can't wait.
Donald Trump's campaign chairman helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party's efforts to influence U.S. policy.
This could well be a violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act. There is a serious possibility that Trump's campaign chairman could go to jail.
No wonder Trump quickly hired that Breitbart bozo!
Added note: Steve Bannon, the Breitbart chieftain who is now running Team Trump, was a Goldman-Sachs banker. Oddly enough, so is Betsy Hambrecht, who runs Salon. Weird, huh? Trump's finance manager, Steven Mnuchin, spent 17 years with Goldman-Sachs. Yet they all want us to hate Hillary because she gave speeches at Goldman-Sachs.
I wonder if our national security briefers might not pull an old trick. Feed some false piece of data to Trump and his handlers, and then see if it shows up in Russian intelligence traffic.
Our military intelligence had broken the Japanese naval code in WW2, and used such a trick to find out that the Japanese were going to try to take the Midway Islands.
Our intelligence knew the Japanese were going to strike at objective “AF”. But what did “AF” mean? They guessed Midway, so a message was sent saying that Midway’s water desalinization plant had broken down (the Midway Islands have no fresh water source). Our intelligence soon intercepted a Japanese message that “AF” was short of fresh water.
Wasn't one of those lobbying firms the Podesta Group, Joseph? Didn't they accept more than half of that $2.2 million to lobby the Obama Administration, and the State Department in particular, on behalf of the pro-Russian faction in the Ukraine? Why do the Podestas get a pass on this?
posted by Propertius : 5:26 PM
Irrelevant and trivial: The last time a Democratic presidential candidate was elected when a Democrat was the incumbent (excluding those who became President upon the incumbent's death, e.g. HST and LBJ) was long ago in the 19th century.
A most worrisome October Surprise would be a huge spike in gasoline prices. The summer 2008 spike (over $4.00/gal prices) initiated the September financial meltdown, which happened sooner than later, being inevitable. It not only insured Obama's election, but it also insured his administration's economic impotence. Every presidential election's outcome follows the economy at the moment: good with jobs = keep the incumbent party; bad with unemployment = elect the opposition. The economy is easily manipulated.
Trump would be the first complete outsider to be elected; a proof of concept for being careful what you wish for.
A Trump presidency would effectively guarantee that Congress would regain its Constitutional place as first among equal branches. A Trump presidency would be held hostage on a daily basis to impeachment and removal. I would trust the Joint Chiefs to be on trigger alert and activate their own a coup d'etat, which Trump will be informed about after the election but before the inauguration.
Pawnbroker Nazerman was right: Money is second only to Einstein's theory that the speed of light is the sole absolute in the universe.
I didn't watch any primary debate, I didn't watch either national convention, but I will watch the Clinton-Trump (alphabetical order of names) debates, which promise to be as extraordinary as the Ali-Frazier and Ali-Foreman encounters.
Not only are elections "rigged", but also the Constitutional Convention and the Founding were rigged. The "snaggle-toothed hillbillies" have always been feared and unenfranchised.
In fairness to Clinton, her vote for the authorization of force against Iraq was cast by the U.S. Senator from New York, which suffered the worst of the 9/11 attacks. She might regret the vote in hindsight, but she has nothing to apologize about.
A global abolition of nuclear weapons must happen or we'll never enjoy good governance.
posted by Amelie D'Bunquerre : 6:08 PM
Mr. Harrison, and any other naval buffs who visit this site, might enjoy this website about the Imperial Japanese Navy in WW2.
A few hours ago, I wrote to a fellow blogger to express my bewilderment at Roger Stone's latest. Trump's human tapeworm seems intent on fomenting another civil war. But why? Heretofore, Stone has been all about the money. Where is the profit in insurrection?
Usually, when weird shit goes down, I can come up with a theory. I may not have the truth, but at least I have a theory. Yet even I have had a hard time conjuring up an explanatory scenario for some of the bizarre things that the Trump campaign has done.
For example: Why did Donnie go to Connecticut at a time when he should devote all of his energies to the battleground states? And why did Trump follow up by going to Wisconsin to preach a law-n-order message right after a flurry of civil unrest?
The Connecticut poser gnawed at me all day yesterday. I finally came up with...well, not a full-fledged theory; more like the rough sketch of a theory.
Before I lay it on you, let's take another look at the popular idea that Trump is intentionally trying to blow it. Michael Moore has offered a variant of the "He's in it to lose it" scenario:
Donald Trump never actually wanted to be president of the United States. I know this for a fact. I’m not going to say how I know it. I’m not saying that Trump and I shared the same agent or lawyer or stylist, or if we did, that would have anything to do with anything. And I’m certainly not saying I ever overheard anything at those agencies or in the hallways of NBC or anywhere else. But there are certain people reading this right now, they know who they are, and they know that every word in the following paragraphs actually happened.
But, let me throw out another theory, one that assumes Trump isn’t as dumb or crazy as he looks. Maybe the meltdown of the past three weeks was no accident. Maybe it’s all part of his new strategy to get the hell out of a race he never intended to see through to its end anyway. Because, unless he is just “crazy,” the only explanation for the unusual ramping up, day after day, of one disgustingly reckless statement after another is that he’s doing it consciously (or subconsciously) so that he’ll have to bow out or blame “others” for forcing him out. Many now are sensing the end game here because they know Trump seriously doesn’t want to do the actual job—and most importantly, he cannot and WILL NOT suffer through being officially and legally declared a loser—LOSER!—on the night of November 8.
Sorry, Michael, but your narrative does not suffice.
It doesn't tell us why Trump brought Ailes on board to help him debate Hillary. It doesn't tell us why Stone is screaming about election fraud. It doesn't explain why Trump recently made a couple of on-message stick-to-the-teleprompter speeches. It doesn't explain why Trump shook up his campaign and (belatedly) made two important new hires.
Trump is not in it to lose it. People may say that hiring Bannon amounts to the rearrangement of chairs on the Titanic. But if you want the ship to sink, why move the chairs?
On the other hand, the "He's in it to win it" theory also doesn't explain what's going on. Why did he tell the Republican party that he won't "pivot" -- that he won't clean up his act?
We now come to my theory. It's a bit more complex than Moore's, but it comes down to two simple concepts.
1. Trump's financial position is a lot more precarious than he lets on.
2. He's in it for the money.
Sure, many of us have been saying for a while that Trump probably isn't worth the ten billion bucks that he claims. But the Chris Hayes clip embedded above suggests that the Donald has one foot in skid row and another foot in a marble hall -- poised on a banana peel.
The gist: Donald bought and refurbished a famous golf course, and supposedly gave it the "grade A" treatment. But he stiffed the painters to the tune of $34,000. Not a lot of money. Nevertheless, the debt went unpaid for years, until the matter ended up in court. Judgment went against Trump, who not only had to pay the money owed but $300,000 for his opponent's legal fees.
Obviously not the kind of behavior we expect from a Commander--Chief.
But it's the kind of play one expects from a wheeler-dealer who constantly has to rob Peter to pay Paul. Most of us have resorted to similar tactics: We make the gas company wait for its money so we can pay the internet bill. Sometimes we incur extra fees when we juggle our bills: Such is the price we pay to buy more time. We do these things because we have little choice. Many of us live on the edge.
But why is Trump so close to the edge? Why did he feel obligated to stiff those painters for $34,000?
Look at the low-class things this guy has done for money: Reality teevee. Those slimy seminars. That ridiculous steak company. Wrestling.
The man is desperate. Financially, he is spinning plates. He may have his name on properties worth billions, but he has run out of Peters to rob, and he faces a horde of Pauls who demand to be paid.
He has stiffed his contractors so often that he has been named in 3500 lawsuits. He has stiffed the banks so often that nobody in the financial industry wants to lend him any more money. People sometimes say that Deutsche Bank will still do business with Trump, but that isn't true: He stiffed even them, resulting in a major lawsuit. Now he is relegated to dealing with a shadowy "exclusive" subsidiary of Deutsche Bank -- an institution which has a long history of dealing with Russia, I might add. As near as I can tell, nobody else will do business with Donald J. Trump.
When his career began, Trump received loans from major banks only because his Dad would co-sign. While Fred Trump was alive, he was able to insure that prodigal Donald didn't screw things up too badly. Under the lash, the younger Trump actually showed signs of becoming a decent manager: Donnie needs a boss.
It is fair to suspect that Donald Trump can get loans from that Deutsche Bank subsidiary only because he has acquired a new co-signer -- a new "dad," if you will. A dad named Vlad. More on that later.
Right now, I want to put across one simple concept: Running for president has become Donald Trump's job. It's how he makes money.
He says that he hauled in $80 million in July, but none of it went to television ads. (Although it appears that a few spots are finally going to start showing up.) The only thing that he has spent money on was Trump merchandise -- the hats and such -- which he hawks at his events. From an MSNBC piece published last February:
Trump loaned his campaign $10.8 million during the final quarter of 2015. Individual donors also pitched in $2.3 million since Oct. 1 to his campaign, according to the Washington Post.
The cost of the hats ranges from $20–30 on Trump’s campaign website. It is unknown how much he profits from the hats – a detail that is not mandated by the FEC.
What does this tell us? If we presume (as many do) that the $10.8 million actually came from Uncle Vlad, we see that Donald Trump uses other people's money to produce doo-dads which are then sold to profit Trump personally.
And now -- finally -- I can offer a guess as to why Donald Trump went to Connecticut, a state that no Republican can win.
Connecticut is prosperous. The people who live there have money. Simple as that.
There aren't enough Trump supporters in that state to prevail in the general election, but the supporters who do live there have some extra cash. People there can afford to buy lots of merch.
(Think about it: What other candidate has ever worn a hat like that while giving speeches? Donald Trump is sending a simple message: Buy the hat.)
Affluent people are more likely to donate. Snaggle-toothed hillbillies can't give much, but middle-class folks in true-blue Connecticut will sign up to have their credit cards dinged every single month. I have little doubt that the dings will continue even after the election.
Wisconsin is still reeling from civic unrest. Although Trump almost certainly cannot win the state, he can appeal to the fears -- and the wallets -- of terrified white people.
In short, I think that Donald Trump's campaign is an "Elmer Gantry" operation -- an evangelical tent show designed to fleece the rubes. He's putting millions in the bank against the day when his business empire faces Bankruptcy #5. Right now, this moment, he's making his golden years secure.
Does this mean that Trump is out to lose, as Michael Moore and others have suggested? No. Embracing failure is not in Trump's nature.
It is in Trump's nature to win through deviousness.
I still think that he and Stone (and Vladimir) have a plan. An ace or two up their collective sleeve.
But the victory plan is based on trickery, not campaigning. The rallies are all about making money. That's why Trump won't tone it down: He has to keep his people happy. They are paying him good money for all of that red meat.
I'm working on the "why" too. Have you looked at the possibility that the FSB/SVR's aim is to split the US? A PPP poll indicates that a majority of Trump voters in Texas want it to secede if Clinton wins. Trump responded by promising there won't be a "Texit" if he is president. The idea is now not only out there, but it has attached itself to Trump.
The presence of conditions for small fascist insurrections in many states may explain his campaigning schedule. Maybe it doesn't look so strange from where the Russian military command are standing. Perhaps the idea isn't to win a majority of the voting market to back him in the polling stations, but to persuade smaller markets to act in other ways.
Dividing the US is reminscient of Zbigniew Brzezinski's plan to split Russia. Brzezinski's plan is taken seriously in Russia. Of course it is ludicrous when considered simply culturally, but it isn't when it's considered in the context of a major US-Russia war.
"How many divisions has Trump?" The answer is of course "none". But he has a hell of a lot of support from the kind of armed white guys who'd like nothing better than lynching some black people, as some of the events at his rallies have shown so clearly.
I wouldn't slot Oleg Deripaska as simply a good friend of Putin. He's also friends with the Rothschilds, and the Rothschilds have a very great interest in Siberia.
I'm wondering what on earth is coming in this campaign regarding Israel. I heard a Trump campaign official saying that the reason those former national security guys signed the letter against Trump was because they put Israel first.
Sure, Trump is in it for the money. Will he drop out? He may do. A threat can be more frightening than its execution. We can be sure that he doesn't conceive of the idea of withdrawal without a dollar sign in front of it. Moore doesn't seem to get the Russian state involvement, though.
If the national security establishment of the USA does not want Orange Julius Caesar--and it appears strongly that it does NOT want him--what Stone wants, and even what Tsar Putin wants, will not matter one whit.
Why do you think the Corporate Media has started taking a harder line toward Orange Julius? The national security establishmentarians are calling in their markers--and they, of all people, would know if there is anything out there capable of really damaging Hillary Clinton's chances. The fact that they are supporting her suggests there is NOT, or else they have already buried it well and deeply. Indeed, they would have known in advance if there is, and pressured the Democratic Party to nominate someone else.
As for breakaway attempts in Texas or wherever--this is not 1861. The Federal Government of the USA is much stronger now than in 1861. Nah gah happen. Lynchers are cowards at heart. A whiff of grapeshot, and they'll soil their Rebel-flag underpants and scatter.
Since I live in the South, I can assure you that none of the snaggle-toothed hillbilly former rebs or current wannabe rebs have the sack to stand up and shoot when someone is shooting back. They are cut from the same cloth that the western blowhards like the Bundy Bunch are wearing. I would take anything that falls from Moore's mouth with a large grain of salt; his Berness has infected Moore's brain and I'm sure he's hoping that a Clinton email or something will put her in the ground so St. Bernie can save us from Goldman's Sacks.
I think it's all about the mailing list. Never would there ever be another chance to collect a list of bigger suckers. Let's say there's 3 million donors. Not only can Trump market all manner of various crap, he can sell the list to others... Buck a name works out to many many dollars if you sell the list more than once.
I don't think it's much more complicated than that. Bringing on Bannon and all the chaos involved there makes a much more refined and exclusive list.
posted by OldCoastie : 4:26 PM
Lynchers are certainly cowards at heart. But this thesis isn't made in 1861. It's rooted in today's changing forms of warfare. As Russian general Valery Gerasimov put it in 2013, in a text in which he considers what the US-led west achieved using new methods of warfare in the Arab world and proceeds to set out an updated doctrine for the Russian armed forces, "The defeat of the enemy’s objects is conducted throughout the entire depth of his territory."
If about a quarter of Texans are already saying they'd rather secede than stay in the US under Hillary Clinton, that doesn't mean Texas will secede - but it's easy to picture 1000 local armed uprisings, across the US, maybe including some led by nutcases hell-bent on re-running Mount Masada. With the insurgents united by the fanatical belief that the election was "rigged" and Clinton is a "crook". By that time, there may also be some open conflicts between the US and Russia - in Syria, the Baltic area, the Ukraine, or some combination. The situation on the home front would cause the US federal government big trouble that they would find it hard to solve with mere grapeshot.
"Trump, this person close to the matter suggests, has become irked by his ability to create revenue for other media organizations without being able to take a cut himself"
posted by b : 6:17 PM
B worries too much. The Dixie wing of the Great Amurkan Booboisie know damn well they got their sorry @$$es kicked the last time they tried to secede. No more than a trivial handful will be stupid enough to try it again, if any try it at all. Selah.
It would seem that Trump's modus operandi for much of his "deal making" career has been the "big move", the "trump card"; strategic posturing before landing the blind side punch. Trump hasn't invested in the standard campaign stratagem of building a nationwide mechanism piece by piece to capture the White House following the tried-true arduous path. Perhaps he seeks a short cut, a knock out punch. In fact, perhaps he is counting on it.
Consider the recent Wikileaks dumps on the DNC. A curious focus for Wikileaks considering the espoused egalitarian notions of Julian Assange. Wikileaks hasn't offered any commensurate dumps on Trump who poses a greater threat to Assange's sense of liberty. But Assange is a "hunted" man as is his sometimes cohort Edward Snowden. Both men without countries at the moment, with Snowden an extended "guest" of the Russian government. Hunted men are sometimes known to make deals.
Therefore it is not just a little bit curious that the DNC hacks have their origin in Russia, and that Putin and Trump have been trading "warm fuzzies" in recent times.
Now Roger Stone suggests that he has learned through a friend of Assange, that the latter is planning an "October Surprise" dump, intimating that it will destroy Clinton's chances. It would be a "blind sided punch", a "trump card" if you will. Why spend 82 million dollars or go through the exhausting motions of traditional campaigning if you have a trump card? Why clean up your act or polish your turd if you expect to scoop up all the marbles anyway?
Perhaps, Trump isn't being lazy or politically naive. Maybe he's just being economical: "getting the mostest for leastest." In finance it's called leveraging. And historically, he likes to win through intimidation, through hired muscle (often of the litigating kind). Trump also has a penchant for manipulating perception to achieve his goals. A "trump card" has the earmarks of all these attributes.
Just to make this scene even more "scintillating" we have the recent revelation of a "Ivanka-WendiDengMurdoch-Putin" triad. Why isn't Alex Jones all over this like paranoid flies on a big pile of steaming Russian bear dung? Why so silent Alex? Bear got your tongue, or are you too invested in Trump?
posted by Anonymous : 1:01 AM
I really doubt Donald Trump and Roger Stone are smarter than the U. S. national security establishment.
The members of that establishment, almost to a man (or woman) are backing Hillary. If she does have something potentially devastating in her background, I rather think they would know it, and so they would have pressured the Democratic Party establishment to nominate someone else.
A long time ago, I argued for the disenfranchisement of citizens who fail a basic intelligence test. The test would consist of ten very easy questions, such as "What is the capital of France?" and "Which came first -- the Civil War or World War I?" Anyone who gets three questions wrong would be forbidden from voting in the next election but would be eligible for retesting within two years. Anyone who gets all ten questions correct need never take the test again.
The Trump campaign underscores the urgent need for such testing, as does this video. How on earth could these ninnies not have realized that their legs were being yanked?
I wonder if these people think that Triumph is an actual talking dog...?
(I've read that the editor of this video has confirmed that everything you see is 100 percent real.)
All through the night and early morning, the internets have been abuzz about this NYT article on Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager. It's been known for a long time that Manafort worked on behalf of Putin's man in Ukraine. Now we have documented evidence of large amounts of off-the-books money changing hands.
Before proceeding, I should remind readers that Manafort and Roger Stone are longtime partners in the political manipulation business. Stone and Trump are close friends who met via the infamously mobbed-up lawyer Roy Cohn.
In the past, Manafort's specialty was burnishing the images of bloody foreign dictators. He would wipe away the bloodstains, train his thuggish clients to spout a few anti-communist cliches, and then introduce them to various movers-n-shakers in DC.
Amusingly, Manafort could take a psychotic killer like Ferdinand Marcos and get him to sit up straight and say the right words -- but Donald Trump has proven to be utterly uncontrollable.
By this point, it is widely known that the morality-free former leader of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich, hired Manafort to burnish his image. Yanukovich was pro-Putin, and he was corrupt as hell -- a fact admitted by one and all, even by those Ukrainians who favor Russia.
The current Ukrainian government has launched a probe of the Yanukovich years -- and guess whose name showed up in the course of that investigation?
Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.
In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies that helped members of Mr. Yanukovych’s inner circle finance their lavish lifestyles, including a palatial presidential residence with a private zoo, golf course and tennis court. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.
Offshore shell companies? That reminds me of the Panama Papers. Remember them? We'll get back to that line of inquiry in a short while.
It should be noted that Manafort has never registered as a foreign agent for Ukraine. Also, I'm not sure if taxes were ever paid on that $12.7 million. That's an awful lot of money from a Putin ally -- and in light of the "Guccifer" hacks on Democrats, this story is looking extremely sinister. (It should be noted that Russian hackers also appear to have targeted John McCain and other Republicans who aren't big fans of The Donald.)
The NYT's story really took off when it was referenced in a tweet by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. It's an open secret that Lewandowski and Manafort did not get along.
It's fair to presume that when Lewandowski left Team Trump, he probably signed some sort of non-disclosure agreement, and that he probably also agreed not to say anything harmful to The Donald. But such an agreement would not stop him from linking, without comment, to a New York Times article -- even though doing so really ticked off some leading Trump supporters.
(A more neutral observer delightfully tweeted: "Revenge isn't a bad dish when served hot either, am I right, @CLewandowski_ ?"
Politicus (a pro-Hillary site) zooms out for a wider view:
Anti-corruption officials there say the payments earmarked for Mr. Manafort, previously unreported, are a focus of their investigation, though they have yet to determine if he actually received the cash. While Mr. Manafort is not a target in the separate inquiry of offshore activities, prosecutors say he must have realized the implications of his financial dealings.
Trump’s campaign manager’s name appeared in an illegal off the books ledger that came from a system where Russia strongman Putin exerts an overwhelming influence. Donald Trump’s campaign was already reeling, but this news is another step towards confirmation that despite his tough talk, Donald Trump is a chosen puppet of Putin.
Suspicion was already growing that Putin was attempting to manipulate the US presidential campaign through Trump, and this report, which is rumored to be the tip of the iceberg as a series of upcoming stories are going to shed a great deal of light on the ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Putin.
The Republican Party has a whole new set of problems thanks to Donald Trump. The man that the Republicans handed their presidential nomination to is this close to being outed as a puppet for an adversarial foreign country. The election was already going badly for the GOP, but this story is about to make things a whole lot worse.
All of which brings us to the tweeted response that really intrigues me. Adam Weinstein -- a good journalist who has worked for Gawker and Mother Jones -- offered this tantalizer:
Speaking as someone who has a story coming this week: This is just the beginning for Manafort. It gets worse.
(Side note: I've skimmed Weinstein's Twitter feed for follow-up info. The right-wingers seem to have targeted him for one of their gang assaults, as they are wont to do. It's the usual guff: "Why aren't you looking into the real stories? Evil Hillary! Evil Soros! Emails! BenGHAAAAAAAZEEEEEEE!" Unless your name is Donald Trump, Twitter is a worthless time suck, and I'm glad I decided to stay away from it.)
So: What might Weinstein be looking into? I'd like to suggest some possible areas of investigation. Remember when we mentioned the Panama Papers...?
When the story first broke, I wrote that the Panama Papers scandal was a controlled leak designed to malign Putin, even though that scandal did not direct implicate Putin himself. (I had a much more favorable impression of Putin at that time.) But even then, I had the gnawing feeling that the story would one day morph into something more important.
First, there is Oleg Deripaska, the oligarch who is worth a little more than two billion dollars. We've already noted his link to Manafort.
Second is -- guess who? -- Donald Trump. His name appears in those papers some 3500 times. You read that right: 3500 times.
Oddly, many of the offshore accounts set up by Mossak Fonseca use Trump's name yet have no traceable link to the Republican nominee. This doesn't make sense: Everyone knows that Trump charges big money for the use of his name. Something very weird is going on here.
The third name is that of Paul Manafort.
Former partners and associates of Trump campaign strategist Paul Manafort, a lawyer and lobbyist, appear in the Panama Papers too. One is a Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, currently suing Manafort and investment partners in a Cayman Islands court over a $26 million offshore entity that went bust about eight years ago.
“He and others gave deposition testimony last year under the auspices of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at the request of a Cayman Islands court,” Richard Hibey, Manafort’s lawyer, confirmed, adding Manafort has never done business through Mossack Fonseca. “The proceeding in the Virginia federal court is ‘terminated.’”
The documents show Deripaska as the true owner of Batu Mining Limited, an offshore company opened in the British Virgin Islands in 2003 and designed, the documents said, for investments in the Mongolian coal mining business. Attempts to reach Deripaska through his website and a Cyprus firm handling his offshore went unanswered.
A 2009 British lawsuit names Ziad Takieddine, a Franco-Lebanese businessman, as the owner of an offshore company called Warwick Estates Limited in the British Virgin Islands. The lawsuit, found in Mossack Fonseca files, suggests the offshore was a holding company for pricey London property.
Manafort and Takieddine have both become involved with an investigation of an ongoing scandal in France from 1995. The inquiry was about arm sales and the campaign funds of former French President Edoard Balladur, who Manafort was then advising.
“(Manafort) was interviewed by USDOJ (Justice Department) at the request of the French authorities. He was thanked for his cooperation. Nothing more transpired,” Hibey said, denying Manafort had any relationship with Takieddine.
You may be asking: How does all of this tie in with the recent revelations from Ukraine? I'm not sure. But it all seems connected, don't you think?
The Balladur scandal is easily summarized: In the mid-1990s, France sold some submarines to Pakistan for a billion dollars -- and Balladur is said to have skimmed off some of this money for himself. Manafort also got a chunk for helping to arrange the deal; he was paid by one Abdul Rahman el-Assir, a middleman in the sub deal. (I haven't researched that name yet, but it sounds intriguing.) Takieddine was the other middleman involved in that transaction.
The French scandal probably won't come back to haunt Manafort, but I suspect that whatever Weinstein is looking into may have something to do with the Panama Papers. Here's one suggestion:What if Putin (or one of his oligarch pals) is using those offshore accounts to funnel money to Donald Trump?
No, I don't have any evidence that such is the case. Are you now poised to accuse me of concocting a baseless conspiracy theory? Well, that accusation might carry more weight if Trump himself were not bestest buds with Alex Jones, one of the most irresponsible paranoia-peddlers in the history of this nation. Conspiranoia is the fuel that propels the entire Trump movement.
(Another side note: One of the oddities of Trumpworld is that everyone sues everyone -- so I'm not surprised to learn that Deripaska sued Manafort. You should look up the weird relationship between Manafort and Carl Palladino.)
One aspect of the story that we should always keep in mind is tax evasion. That's why offshore accounts exist.
Remember how they got Al Capone?
A really weird Trump/Putin/Murdoch link. Did you know that Ivanka Trump is on vacay in Croatia (of all places!) with Wendi Deng, until recently the wife of Rupert Murdoch?
Question: Why is Ivanka out of the country this close the election? Shouldn't she be traveling around the battleground states stumping for her father? Among civilized people, she makes a better impression than he does.
(I've been given to understand that Trump's sons are also out of the country. Supposedly, they are off shooting more animals in exotic locales, although I've yet to confirm that.)
Reports of the pair have been floating around for years, ever since their respective divorces in 2014 and 2013.
One insider close to the powerful leader tells Us Weekly the relationship is “serious.”
Donald Trump's daughter is best friends with Vladimir Putin's main squeeze. Wow. Yow. Holy cow.
You can't make this stuff up. Yes, I know that's a cliche, but what else is there to say? You can't make this stuff up.
Summing up: Some of you may have trouble squaring all of the above with my previous posts decrying the "new Cold War" mentality. Let's set the record straight: I still don't want a new Cold War, and I still think that Putin can be a valuable ally in Syria. But I sure as hell don't want Moscow to manipulate American politics -- and I sure as hell don't want to see Donald Freakin' Trump in the White House.
I never wanted to be a Putin-hater, but -- NO. Not Trump. You can't ask me to accept that.
David Atkins in Washington Monthly articulates a position which "kinda sorta" resembles my own.
I’m personally more concerned about the radicalization and subversion of democracy in Turkey than by what’s happening in Russia, and I do believe that our working to subvert Russia (e.g., by kowtowing to Erdogan in Turkey, acting at cross-purposes in Syria or by promoting fracking in Europe) is doing more harm than good in the world. Furthermore, I’m a proudly self-described post-Westphalian transhumanist socialist who sees jingoistic nationalism as morally equivalent to racism, sexism and every other form of prejudice exercised between human beings.
So I’d be the last person to start freaking out about whether another country might be meddling in American affairs, since I believe the fate of the world rests on eventually erasing the barriers that exist between nation-states.
But still. How much does Trump and his team need to do before we start asking serious questions about whether they’re a Manchurian Candidate campaign actively working on behalf of a foreign nation? Trump’s campaign manager is deep in with Putin cronies, the Putin regime is very likely behind the hacking on Democratic organizations to benefit Trump, his campaign worked to soften anti-Putin and anti-Russia language in the GOP platform, and his finances and investments are enmeshed with Russian cronies–which may be a key reason why he refuses to release his tax returns.
Can you imagine what Fox News and Rush Limbaugh would be saying if these things were true of a Democratic candidate for president? They would be openly demanding a trial for treason and using “Rosenberg” as a nickname.
It’s astonishing what the Republican Party has been reduced to, and just how unprecedented this campaign has become.
Update:Wendy Deng has denied that she is dating Vladimir Putin. That link goes to a story published by People. The article which says that she is dating Putin was published by Us. Frankly, I never thought that this blog would ever be citing those two publications -- I'm not exactly a "People" person. I wonder how they came to be in conflict on such a matter.
And yet, prepare for the "Hillary is the one that's really corrupt!!" screamers to arrive here.
Furthermore, I’m a proudly self-described post-Westphalian transhumanist socialist who sees jingoistic nationalism as morally equivalent to racism, sexism and every other form of prejudice exercised between human beings. Hmmm...you know, Mr. Atkins had a great article, but this sentence nearly ruined it for me. It wasn't needed; it just felt like an unnecessary bit of hard-man posturing just to show "Hey, I'm more to the left than the rest of you!!".
My significant other told me she though Trump would win (she doesn't follow politics at all, really) because she knows people who say they are voting for him and sees signs in yards. Here in rural central PA, it's Trump country. Of course, when I drive to my parents house in a housing development in the town that is home to Penn State University, I see primarily Clinton signs in yards (or, in most cases, nothing at all as these people are quite anal about their lawns and likely don't want to clutter them up even if they do support Clinton.....they put the bumper sticker on their car and that's that).
I still suspect Clinton to be the chosen candidate, as has been pointed out here in the comments previously. The security establishment has her back, so I would find it unlikely that Trump would get in with that kind of backing against him. However, I doubt they would be upset about riots and gun play by upset Trump supporters certain that the election had been rigged (probably even correct about that assumption). That can only further the goals of the authoritarians behind the scenes that are supporting Hillary. Wouldn't that be an interesting twist? They actually DO rig the election for Clinton, so that civil unrest is guaranteed and they can then implement even more crackdowns on basic freedoms. Maybe a bit TOO conspiracy theory, but I wouldn't put it past the establishment.
posted by Gus : 3:33 PM
There's an awful lot for me to study here.
This is just to mention that the Wall Street Journal calls in today's editorial for Donald Trump to change his behaviour by Labour Day or get replaced as the candidate by Mike Pence.
posted by b : 3:41 PM
I had, mercifully, largely forgotten the existence of David Atkins.
Now I find myself on the same side of a political fence with Atkins, and also with He Who Pummels Fermented Cabbage (Krauthammer) and many other neocons.
Funny, I don't recall having fallen down any rabbit holes...
Honestly, Joseph, I'm getting a bit confused about who, exactly, is supposed to be the bȇte noire de jour. I mean, you're telling me that Manafort (and by extension Trump) is Evil Incarnate because of his association with the pro-Putin faction in the Ukraine, which you describe as "morality-free" and "corrupt as hell".
Yet back in 2014 and 2015 you derided those who opposed Putin in the Ukraine and Crimea as "Nazis" and "thieves":
The coup we engineered in Ukraine is really an American business takeover. Putin is innocent; the west is simply up to its usual thieving ways. (Cannonfire 12/27/2014)
Cohen's piece pretends that Putin invaded Crimea. Election? According to Cohen, there was no election. According to Cohen, the poor Crimeans now suffering under Putin's yoke would much rather be ruled by the swastika-bedecked assholes pictured above.
Cohen pretends that the people in eastern Ukraine (who sensibly want nothing to do with the maniacal regime we intalled[sic]) are being brutalized by Russia, not by Kiev. Cohen writes as though Communism never fell. He wants us to believe that Putin (a genuinely popular elected leader) is the new Stalin. And the new Hitler. Simultaneously. (Cannonfire 02/10/2015)
So I'm a little confused. How is helping the opposition to "Nazis" and "thieves" a "morality-free" act? Which is worse, a "maniacal regime" populated by "Nazis" or a "morality-free" and "corrupt as hell" one (albeit one allied to a "genuinely popular elected leader")? Is Oceania still at war with Eurasia?
posted by Propertius : 6:07 PM
You are a pretty astute observer most of the time, Cannon. But this ridiculous election seems to resemble more and more the Salem Witch Trials. In this case, the actual Witch is accusing everyone else of being a witch. Putin Is Coming! Putin Is Coming! Eeeeek! Are you kidding???
posted by Anonymous : 6:29 PM
If you still think it's impossible for Trump to be elected president...Carl Paladino, who has his own history of repulsive behaviour towards others, has twice been elected by the people of South Buffalo to the Buffalo Public SCHOOL Board.
posted by totallyseriously : 6:44 PM
Regardless of what you think of Putin, this infatuation of trump is dangerous to say the least. What's annoys me to no end is instinctive of some of the leftists to defend anything coming from that part of the world. As if they are loyal to a locality rather than ideology. Hello!!! the KGP(Putin) is the biggest part of what happened there few decades back.
posted by Anonymous : 5:19 AM
I don't believe Cannon ever claimed Putin was a saint, only that he was innocent of any wrongdoing in Ukraine. Which is still true. However, when a foreign leader has undue influence in a US Presidential election, that can't be good for anyone. I guess we shouldn't be worried that Putin might have ulterior motives for wanting Trump elected? Just because he was more or less innocent in one situation (Ukraine) doesn't mean he is out to support the welfare of the American people. He's a leader of a large nation, and has his own specific interests. I have no doubt he would love to see Trump turn this nation into a 3rd world country to give himself a freer hand in world affairs. No, Cannon made clear in those posts you site that Putin was not some sort of innocent child on the world stage. His opposition to "Nazis" and "thieves" was entirely sensible and consistent with his own interests. That doesn't make him a moral or trustworthy leader by default.
posted by Gus : 9:33 AM
Ah, Roy Cohn! I didn't know he was mobbed up. Cohn played a crucial role in Donald Trump's early career, according to Libby Handros's 1991 documentary "Trump: What's the Deal?" that Trump tried to suppress. I watched it a few days ago. If I recall correctly, it was Cohn who enabled Fred Trump's son Donald to "cross the bridge" from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
And...a crucial role in a businessman's early career. We all know what that means.