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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Plans and plots and schemes. Plus: Jesus

What times! Once again, yesterday's post feels like last year's post. So much happens so rapidly.

Escape. Jared Kushner is now telling friends that he and Ivanka had always considered moving back to New York after six months in DC.

But...but...why on earth would he leave the administration so soon? He hasn't even achieved peace in the Middle East yet!

Back channel. We've all seen the lame attempts to liken Jared's Russian backchannel to RFK's secret dialogues with a GRU operative during the Kennedy years. One could also draw a comparison to JFK's under-the-radar communiques with Castro, using French journalist Jean Daniel.

It's all so bloody absurd. Kushner's actions were nothing like Kennedy's.

Kushner sought to avoid being overheard by American intelligence at a time when Trump was badmouthing our CIA. Kushner sought to use the Russian consulates' own communication systems, which were considered completely secure. (They weren't.) Kushner has known links to Putin cronies and Russian bankers.

RFK's dialogues with a GRU officer may have been hush-hush in a general sense, but they were known to others within the U.S. government -- including J. Edgar Hoover, who was hardly friendly to the Kennedys. No-one has ever suggested that RFK lied (or "forgot") about the matter on his security forms. No-one has ever suggested that the Kennedys had personal links to Russia. The tentative outreach to Castro came about when JFK felt that it might be possible to seduce the Cuban leader away from the Soviets. Nothing you read about here can be likened to what Jared Kushner did.

Most of all, there is the question of motive. JFK operated at the height of the Cold War; the Missile Crisis proved the need for a relatively private method of communicating with the Russians during times of high tension. Without such a method, you would not be here to read this sentence.

In Kushner's case, much evidence suggests that his motives are far more venal. It all comes down to money. Jared, like Donnie, is a pompously narcissistic "businessman" who doesn't know what he doesn't know -- and as a result, he is ridiculously over-extended on properties he could never have acquired, and probably cannot keep, using purely legitimate funding.

This excellent post on the Kos site offers much useful background...
So here’s the basics in commercial real estate lending, and it should make sense. If you want to use someone else’s money to buy a property, that someone else is going to study the cash flow of that property pretty carefully. You know, to see if it can generate enough in rents to cover its expenses AND pay back your loan, or provide an acceptable return for an equity investment.

For some unfathomable reason, the sources for transactions related to clan Trump never seem to be very good at cash flow analysis. Time after time, team Trump pulls cash out of thin air like a magician pulling a rabbit from a hat. And then afterward, we hear that the property isn’t performing well and is in financial trouble. Who could have predicted it?! Well, who except for every expert in the local market and every American based bank operating under regulations that include anti money laundering laws and wouldn't touch the deal with a ten foot pole even if it didn't have Donald Trump's greasy fingerprints on it, of course.

What’s maybe the most perplexing is this; none of these horribly bad purchases - ones that no other buyer will touch at the price because they don’t pencil - none of them are a secret. Just how awful a deal they are is out there for all to see. Yet just like a street magician pulling rabbit after rabbit from a hat, the money never dries up. Always cash available for the next deal.
Putin and his cronies have looted Russia to the tune of untold billions. Dirty money needs laundering. Simple as that.

Did Putin choose Trump because Trump's an idiot? That's one possible takeaway from this startling piece in Der Spiegel, hardly the most radical publication in Germany. This article -- an overview of Donnie's big European vacay -- begins with words likely to make any anti-Trumper smile with dark satisfaction.
Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it. He doesn't read. He doesn't bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities. His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees.

He is a man free of morals. As has been demonstrated hundreds of times, he is a liar, a racist and a cheat. I feel ashamed to use these words, as sharp and loud as they are. But if they apply to anyone, they apply to Trump. And one of the media's tasks is to continue telling things as they are: Trump has to be removed from the White House. Quickly. He is a danger to the world.
So far so good. Most readers of this blog would agree with everything said by editorialist Klaus Brinkbäumer.

He then goes on to describe four options for removal, even though those four are reducible to a mere two: Impeachment and the 25th amendment. Both, he says, are unlikely. Thus (he says) Europeans are left with the final option:
Fifth: the international community wakes up and finds a way to circumvent the White House and free itself of its dependence on the U.S. Unlike the preceding four options, the fifth doesn't directly solve the Trump problem, but it is nevertheless necessary - and possible.
Angela Merkel has now taken up this theme.
Europe "must take its fate into its own hands" faced with a western alliance divided by Brexit and Donald Trump's presidency, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday.

"The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I've experienced that in the last few days," Merkel told a crowd at an election rally in Munich, southern Germany.

"We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands," she added.
This, I think, is the very reason why Putin picked an incompetent as his puppet. Trump's doltishness makes him the ideal Russian tool. From a Russian point of view, why not let the man do to the USA what he did to his casinos in Atlantic City? Trump is literally an unsuccessful hot dog salesman. If he continues to run the country the way he ran his businesses, we will no longer be a superpower. (Can we even use that word any longer?)

From Putin's perspective, giving Trump the presidency was a no-lose gambit. If Trump proved an adept politician, Putin would have sanctions lifted. If Trump behaved foolishly, the United States would lose status on the world stage.

But "no-lose" may be overstating the case; Putin may one day regret his choice. Look again at Merkel's statement: The last time Germany decided to "take our fate into our own hands," things turned out rather awkwardly for Russia.

Let's return to the topic of backchannels. Brinkbäumer's piece offers some facts which most Americans don't know.
Crises, including those in Syria and Libya, are escalating, but no longer being discussed. And who should they be discussed with? Phone calls and emails to the U.S. State Department go unanswered. Nothing is regulated, nothing is stable and the trans-Atlantic relationship hardly exists anymore. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Norbert Röttgen fly back and forth, but Germany and the U.S. no longer understand each other. Hardly any real communication takes place, there are no joint foreign policy goals and there is no strategy.
If (as the Trumpian die-hards claim) Kushner had legitimate reasons to establish a backchannel with the Russians, then why won't this administration speak with anyone else -- using any channels?

And then there's Louise...  Remember when she was claiming that 85 year-old Orrin Hatch would be our next president? Not going to happen, of course. That's a fantasy she may have picked up from her friend Evan McMullin, whom I suspect to be one of her "sources."

Now she's claiming that the Supreme Court will invalidate the last election and make Orrin Hatch the 45th president. Not the 46th: the 45th; Trump would be erased. He would become a mere Antipresident, just like the Antipopes of Catholic lore.
The chatter says that in such a scenario, the Supreme Court may invalidate the election of the two men on the ballot: Trump and Pence. Their election would have been invalid. They cheated.

As I previously reported, and reported first, Paul Ryan is on tape admitting that he knows Russian money was laundered into the GOP. My piece predated the Washington Post’s piece on the matter by a week. Sources report there is much more to it than was printed in the short section of tape that reached the mainstream press.

Therefore, since the line of succession would remain – it was after all Donald Trump and Mike Pence who cheated, not the American voters – the next President, and the 45th President of the United States – the successor to Barack Obama – would be Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Sorry, Louise. They're not going to do that. Na ga da-ah, in the words of Dana-Carvey-as-George-H-W-Bush.

(By the way, I'm getting INCREDIBLY HIGH CPU usage whenever I load up the Patribotics blog. This has happened on two separate computers, using more than one browser, with Flash disabled. No, I'm not going to answer any intrusive questions about my system. Whenever websites make my CPU meter go apewire, my attitude is: The problem's not with my computer but with your code. Something is seriously wrong with the code on that site.)

A short while ago, I tried to confirm her "scoop" that the Marshal of the Supreme Court had informed Donald Trump that the Judiciary Committee had formally begun to consider a request for impeachment. Alas, despite a couple of tries, neither she nor any of her people have responded to my requests for confirmation or denial. The Marhsal has a staff of 250 people, and you'd think that one of them would respond to such an inquiry. I guess that when your blog slips from C-list to D-level, people no longer return your phone calls.

For a while, I thought that Mensch referred to the Congressman Al Green's call for impeachment on the House floor. But Green wimped out: He did not translate that call into an actual resolution. Had he done so, the resolution would have gone to the Judiciary Committee. By way of comparison: During Nixon's first term -- before Watergate -- there were three calls for his impeachment, and all of them were expressed as actual resolutions. Without a resolution, Green offered mere words.

Which raises (not "begs") an important question: When will someone in Congress take that important first step? It's not enough to utter the I-word; you have to do something.

At any rate, Claude Taylor made clear that his sources are telling him that a Grand Jury (not a sitting congressman) started the impeachment process, and that this development has been kept very, very secret. Because....reasons.

Sorry. Not buying it.

Unlike others, I think that Taylor and Mensch have good intentions but iffy judgment: They trust sources who should be kept at arm's length. Why would someone "in the know" offer journalistic bombshells to a mere photographer and to an ex-pat writer of British chick-lit who had a brief, wild career as a Tory MP?

That said, Louise remains consistently fascinating to me. Can't help myself. You gotta love her classic response to @realdonaldtrump. He tweeted:
Whenever you see the words 'sources say' in the fake news media, and they don't mention is very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!
Mensch replied:
But "many people are saying" it @realdonaldtrump, isn't that good enough?
Stone note: Roger Stone and Donald Trump disagree on whether Stone and Trump are talking to each other. Stone says yes, Trump says no. If these two men were Democrats, this weird tiff would be huge news on Fox.

I was looking forward to seeing the documentary Get Me Roger Stone until Roger Stone endorsed it.

Jesus! The headline says it all...
Asked About Offshore Tax Havens, MN State Rep. Tells Everyone to Accept Jesus
Democratic State Rep. Paul Thissen, who supported the amendment, had a fairly straightforward question for Republican State Rep. Abigail Whelan, who opposed it: “… Do you think benefiting people who are hiding money in Liberia is worth raising taxes on your own constituents?”

She didn’t even try to answer that one.

Instead, Whelan used her time to tell everyone about Jesus.
Blessed are the money launderers, for they shall invest in Manhattan real estate. Whelan "forgave" Thissen for committing the sin of asking a question which might inconvenience rich crooks. The condescension of these "Christians" makes me want to puke pea soup right into their smarmy mugs.

Elsewhere, Christian broadcaster Dave Daubenmire defended Greg Gianforte's physical attack on a journalist and Donald Trump's rude behavior to lesser men:
“The only thing that is going to save Western civilization is a more aggressive, a more violent Christianity,” he said.
“The only thing that is going to save Western civilization is a more aggressive, a more violent Christianity,” he said.

Amen, brother! As Our Savior said, "If thine enemy strike thee on the cheek, yea verily, thou shalt rippest his lungs from his breast and eatest of them, with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."

Oh, wait...
Bring forth the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch!
so if the supreme court is going to invalidate the election why consider someone from the cheating party? why not go with the victim of the cheating
I'm a little more hopeful than thee and I believe I see at least a move or two ahead.

That back channel--the implication was-is that it was never set up. I believe that, despite Kyslyak's hesitancy, it was put into place. So when someone decided to make a bombing run into Syria, this juicy piece of info was passed along using this link. Remember how it was noted that the "Russian's knew before Congress"? Well, they were informed using this back channel. But the bombing run was never a serious mission. It was just put into motion to watch where the intelligence flowed. And I suspect this back channel used to notify the Russians was monitored and recorded. (Maybe video!)

And now, there is no question, this is treason. We may not be officially at war with the Russians but they were a hostile player in this action and providing aid to them would clearly be treasonous. You can hear news stories keep hinting that the "back channel" (giving "back channels" a bad name) was set up for "Syria." Not so, but that was the juiciest piece of gossip that could be passed along. So the next leak will be: the other half of the story.

I'm not quite as cynical as you though when I see the photos of Ms. Obama hugging George W. it only brings out this sense of dreary disgust. Karl Rove taught the Russians how to diddle elections and they took it from there. But I do have a sense that this kleptocracy we have acquired has overreached itself and there will be blood in the water before it is done. And I don't think it will be yours. And I don't think it will be mine.

Anyone who has seen the video of Trump's confused state at the Israeli news conference, in which he segued into the strange denial that he ever said the word, "Israel," has to see that they have gotten to him, lizard brain and all.
Another twitter storm. I believe he is trying to bribe the American voter...

I don't know anything more than what I read but I think something is getting to this guy. This is really a melt down.
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