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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The source, the ally, the money and the warrants

The source. Conservative writer Erick Erickson says he knows personally one of the WP's sources for its bombshell story. The source was staunchly pro-Trump but has since become...well, let us say a tad concerned.
But the President will not take any internal criticism, no matter how politely it is given. He does not want advice, cannot be corrected, and is too insecure to see any constructive feedback as anything other than an attack.
Again I ask: What the hell did Fred Trump do to his kid?
I am told that what the President did is actually far worse than what is being reported. The President does not seem to realize or appreciate that his bragging can undermine relationships with our allies and with human intelligence sources. He also does not seem to appreciate that his loose lips can get valuable assets in the field killed.
The implication here is that the Russians may be able to back-engineer the source of the intelligence and thus endanger the life of an asset in the field.

The ally. A few people, including myself, have speculated that Israel is the unnamed allied country referenced in this instantly-famous WP article. Newsweek doesn't come right out and say "It was Israel," but if you enjoy reading between the lines...

The money. Trump's defenders keep saying that he has nothing to do with Russian money. Trump's lawyers have been making that same claim.

However, it is well-known that one of the few banks willing to lend big money to Trump after his bankruptcies was Deutsche Bank, which was fined for a $10 billion money laundering scheme benefiting Russians. The scheme involved something called "mirror trading," described in this fine New Yorker piece.
It worked like this: between 2011 and 2015, related corporate entities in Moscow and London bought and sold identical quantities of the same stock, through Deutsche Bank’s Moscow equities desk. By this alchemy, rubles in Russia were transformed into dollars in London. The process bypassed tax officials, currency regulators, and anti-money-laundering controls.
The head of Deutsche Bank, Josef Ackermann, was forced out by the scandal. Guess where he ended up? That's right: The Bank of Cypus -- the favorite bank of Vladimir Putin and his Russian oligarch pals. He was chosen for that position by Wilbur Ross, the Trump chum who just became our Commerce secretary, and by a billionaire crony of Vladimir Putin's named Viktor Vekselburg. It seems that Putin turned against Vekselburg late last year; they've since kissed and made up.

As it happens, Vekselburg has a partner named Len Blavatnik, worth $20 billion. Although Blavatnik made his money in Russian oil, he has strong American ties -- in fact, he owns Warner Music. He also made a seven figure donation to a Super PAC controlled by Mitch McConnell -- which explains why you should not expect Mitch to show any enthusiasm for any kind of probe (either independent or congressional) which might inconvenience Trump's Russian buddies.

Trump's lawyers did concede that a Russian purchased a Donald Trump property in Florida for $95 million, even though most observers agree that its actual market value was less than half that. Such a purchase is a good way to hide a "donation" or a bribe. (Paul Manafort seems to have benefited from a similar deal, albeit on a smaller scale.)

The man who bought the house was -- as most of you already know -- Dmitry Rybolovlev, who also owns the largest stake in the Bank of Cyprus. Therefore, we may say that he is part of the Putin/Vekselburg/Wilbur Ross "club." Rybolovlev also owns the private jet registered as M-Kate which has mysteriously followed Donald Trump's peregrinations the way my dog would follow me if I were carrying a BLT sandwich.

Another point. People forget that Deutsche Bank and Donald Trump were not always on good terms -- in fact, their conflict gave rise to one of the more bizarre lawsuits of Trump's career. He later got loans not from Deutsche Bank per se but from a subsidiary, which always seems to go unnamed in news accounts. See this Mother Jones investigation from last year:
Trump has four large mortgages with Deutsche Bank, borrowing against three of his most prized possessions: the Doral golf resort in Florida, his Chicago tower, and his brand new Washington luxury hotel. For the Washington hotel, Trump has a $170 million line of credit from Deutsche Bank that was granted in 2015, just as his presidential campaign was kicking off. According to a bank spokeswoman, all four of the loans were obtained from Deutsche's "private bank"—a division that caters exclusively to high-net-worth individuals and that can lend separately from the corporate side of the bank.

The corporate side of Deutsche Bank previously loaned to Trump, but the relationship fell apart around the time of the financial crisis. In 2005, Trump borrowed $640 million from Deutsche Bank and several other lenders for the construction of his Chicago hotel tower. When he failed to pay back the money on time in 2008, the banks, including Deutsche Bank, demanded he pay the $40 million he had personally guaranteed. In response, Trump sued Deutsche Bank for $3 billion, saying the project's financial troubles were the fault of the economic recession, which he claimed the bank had helped cause. He accused Deutsche Bank of undermining the project and his reputation. The lawsuit was eventually settled.
It's not clear if Trump has personally guaranteed any of the loans his businesses have with Deutsche Bank.
If Trump didn't guarantee those loans, then who did?

The warrants. Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor report separately (based on "sources") that the US Marshalls have come up with a plan to serve warrants in relation to the Trump/Russia investigation. Here's Mensch's piece.
Sources say that the extensive plan, multiple pages in length, covered not only the serving of warrants, but logistical arrangements such as the closure of streets, if necessary.

They further report that while timing is uncertain, such plans are normally only presented and approved when arrests are imminent.
Do I believe this? Ummm...not really. Does my crush on Ms. Mensch remain intact? Oh yes.
The US president has the authority to declassify information as he sees fit. But so what? Even if the conveyed information has no security classification, communicating it to a foreign power can still constitute the crime of espionage.

Philip Bump at the Washington Post writes that "Trump can share any non-classified information he wants to and, as president, can generally also share classified information, if he wishes."

I beg to differ. Trump may think he can give whatever information he wants to whoever he wants, but the law says otherwise.

§ 794 of the Espionage Act 1917 refers to the communication of information "relating to the national defense". That information doesn't have to be classified: the disclosure of classified information is covered in another section (§ 798). The criterion in § 794 is that the person must have "intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation."
"Again I ask: What the hell did Fred Trump do to his kid?"

Old man Trump was a narcissist himself(obviously). He likely raised Donny with a combination of spoiling him and shaming him. Thus Donald feels entitled, but carries the shame of knowing he is a failure. Here's Masterson, who was a God in the field of psychotherapy:

According to Dr. James Masterson, it takes root during what’s called the rapprochement subphase of one’s infancy, roughly 15-22 months old. Once a child learns to walk, he comes to know a level of experience henceforth unfathomed. The child’s world is much bigger and more appealing now, but not without the drawback of separation from his mother. Learning that his mother is not at his beck and call—is indeed an entirely separate person—makes the child deal with his new world in a new way. Masterson writes, “the world is not his oyster and … he must cope with it on his own.”

Enter humility. Again Masterson: “In this manner the infantile fantasies of grandiosity and omnipotence are brought into accord with reality.” He learns to live in the real world, where the mother is not there to validate him in every instance.

So, what would happen if something went wrong during this subphase of development? Say, the child never quite establishes his separateness from her mother and continues to expect motherly attention and protection from the world much later in life; indeed, is entitled to it. That, so the theory goes, is a description of someone with NPD.

No one knows why most infants have a successful rapprochement phase and others don’t. Theories range from issues relating to having a manipulative mother to those from having a narcissistic father. The end result is a person who never learns to adjust to a reality where the mother is not in a sort of dual unity with him, and when the world treats him un-glowingly, he’s forced to deny or ignore that aspect of the world. Masterson: “[One with NPD] is compelled to suffer the cost to adaptation that is always involved when large segments of reality must be denied.”

"Large segments of reality." He is not fit for office.
"... carrying a BLT sandwich": "Follow the mayo" -- Mark Felt.
M-Kate!!! Who else is following this? Make it into a connect-the-dots cartoon, Joseph. Plllleeeassssse!

Hate Mitch, grrr.


ANON 4:35 Not fit for office, I think most agree. What happens to NPD toddlers? In my wasband's case, going from being the darling baby of the family to being surplanted by very demanding twins. He never recovered. Extremely charming and talented public-wise, but toxic privately. No one has ever included the gender factor. Men regularly kill women who leave them. So, no, who would hang the blame on mothers...except for, say, male...scientists...? The better question would be are men this toxic (3 women partners a day killed) because of gender genetics? Or simply due to entitlement and privilege that is socially bestowed on every male?

The brilliant Margaret Atwood says, "Men worry women will laugh at them. Women worry that men will kill them."

So again I say: laugh at Trump. Every day. Nonstop.

Bottom line: the Israelis are keeping Trump on the edge of staying in office and falling, as they did with Bill Clinton. Look at the chronology of the last fortnight:

3 May: Trump meets Abbas
4 May: Trump issues tweet saying it was an honour to meet Abbas; then deletes it
9 May: Abbas says ready to meet Netanyahu as part of Trump effort
10 May: Trump sacks head of domestic counterintelligence
10 May: Trump meets Lavrov, passes him intelligence about Daesh
13 May: Times of Israel accuses Trump of "reinvigorating" Abbas, betraying hopes of "Israeli right"; Trump accused of being "on his way to Bethlehem to see his new Palestinian friend again"
(long long experience has shown that nothing is ever enough for the Israelis)
15 May: Trump is accused of being a major security risk, having passed information without "third country" permission, causing danger because Russia might give it to Iran
15 May: Times of Israel reports Israeli fury at Trump plan to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem (on territory occupied in 1967) without being accompanied by Netanyahu

Question: what happens if Donald Trump goes bankrupt? Is a bankrupt allowed to be US president?
@Prowlerzee - Some single mothers strive to bring their boy children up as macho and favouritise them to a vile extent relative to their sisters. I have seen that in my own family. Not only do those sisters often suffer a lot, but it can be that their male children also suffer because of it.
Gee, b, it's almost as if they were poisoned by living in a toxic patriarchal world, isn't it? Thanks for agreeing. The toxic gallery of solo-male gods are the first that need to go.
Oh, and b, let's dump on *single* mothers, because the *absent* fathers are in no way responsible for not only failing to represent "good" manhood to their sons, but actively teaching them the opposite by virtue of their absence. The collective ideal of manhood is not to be shouldered by single mothers, period. But thanks for playing. We have a lot of enlightening to do, and yes, it's going to take all of us.
@Prowlerzee - I'm not dumping on anyone, and I agree with you about the vast majority of absent fathers. (Some may be absent because they're dead.) I come from a long line of working class single mothers. They're certainly not a part of the population whom I would ever dump on. Quite the opposite. For a single mother to bring up children on welfare or doing a shitty job is pretty much one of the most admirable achievements in what passes for "society". All my life I have thought that. I restricted the reference to single mothers because some (a minority) do encourage their boy children to be macho towards other boys and sometimes to be arsey to their sisters too, and they aren't in circumstances where they're too scared of the children's fathers to do otherwise.

Favouritism of boys within families fucks everyone up. Few on the western left (or the west in general) have got their heads around it yet.

"The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world"?
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