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Sunday, May 27, 2018

The time has come to talk of many things...


Trump's lies have become particularly outrageous in recent days.

1. He accused the NYT of concocting a source who turned out to be a White House official. Many reporters from different organizations heard him speak.

(Why is Trump the first president in history bedeviled by conspiracies to concoct "fake" sources? For as long as I've been alive, everyone has complained about the media, often for good reason -- but nobody in politics ever made the absurd claims that Trump has made.)

2. Trump claimed in a tweet that former DNI James Clapper revealed that the FBI spied on his campaign. Clapper said the precise opposite, and he told Rachel Maddow that the election of 2016 was, in essence, illegitimate.

(Clapper also seemed to lurch toward the view that Russia changed the vote tallies. Not too long ago, people used to scoff when I made that suggestion.)

3. In a tweet, Trump asked: If Russian infiltration was real, why didn't the FBI warn him? In fact, they did. Trump knows this full well.

4. Trump told Annapolis graduates that his administration gave the military its first pay raise in ten years. In fact, pay goes up every year -- and Congress controls the power of the purse. In 2017, Congress gave troops a 2.1 percent raise, compared to 3.9 percent in 2009, when Democrats had total control of Congress. Trump's original budget asked for a number lower than 2.1%. 

5. This headline says it all: "Trump Blames Dems For His Own Policy Of Separating Families At The Border." A Trump tweet:
Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there parents once they cross the Border into the U.S.
Less than a month ago, Sessions proudly announced that illegals would lose their children.

Don't be surprised if Trump blames Democrats for poisoning wells and for using the blood of Republican babies to make unleavened bread. Don't be surprised if Trump tweets that Dems sent Melania to the hospital.

(By the way, I'm baffled by the recent Melania mysteries. If anyone out there has a theory, please share.)

Why didn't they spy on on Trump? I think that leading Dems have done us a disservice by turning Trump's "Spygate" claims into an argument over semantics -- i.e., "spy" vs. "informant." I even heard Joy Reid say words to this effect: "This wasn't spying; it was a counterintelligence operation." As if Jim Angleton didn't work for the CIA.

Yes, there are distinctions to be made. And yes, nobody planted a mole in Trump's campaign (that we yet know of). But abstruse arguments over terminology confuse the public and hide Trump's true sin.

Everyone with any sense knows what Trump is really doing here: He's following Roger Stone's dictum -- always attack; never defend. He's trying to turn his campaign's foulest crime into a weapon against his foes.

Dems would do better, I think, to argue that Trump's campaign was the first in history that needed to be spied upon. Our FBI and intelligence community failed us not by targeting Trump but by permitting the impermissible. The so-called "deep state" did not protect the country from a foreign attack.

I could write a book outlining the many reasons why the FBI should have known that something terrifying was afoot in 2016. Here are just five of those reasons:

1. By 2016, the Russians had established a pattern of interfering in foreign elections.

2. The American intelligence community, as well as allied foreign services, believed that the Russians were attempting to help Trump win.

3. Trump's main national security adviser, former DIA chief Michael Flynn, had become involved with a Russian woman named Svetlana Lokhova. Although she insists that she is not a Russian spy, her history suggests otherwise. From the point of view of a counterintelligence officer, she might as well have the initials FSB stamped on her forehead. The Flynn/Lokhova relationship (which was close, though probably not sexual) had all the earmarks of a classic honeytrap, and explains why Flynn was "axed" to leave the DIA.

4. Another Trump adviser, Carter Page, had been targeted for FSB recruitment years before. We know this because American intelligence overheard the communications of an FSB spy ring in this country. I have seen no proof that Page conclusively rebuffed their recruitment efforts. In the middle of the campaign, Page made a bizarre trip to to Moscow and met with Russian officials.

5. Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chair, had basically functioned as a Putin hireling in Ukraine.

I could go on -- and on -- but those five points will do. Reason 4 is particularly compelling, since Page was the guy Stefan Halper met. Halper was also very concerned by the interaction between Flynn and Lokhova.

Please note that none of this had anything to do with the Steele Dossier, despite what you may have read on the right-wing sites. (One of the big lies Trump has successfully sold is "It all comes down to Steele.") Halper and Carter Page first met in June 2016, before the Steele Dossier was compiled.

The big question is not "Why did the FBI spy on the Trump campaign?" but "Why didn't the FBI spy on Trump?" In 2016, Halper was already in his 70s; he's not exactly James Bond. He did not infiltrate the organization; he met Page for drinks.

In my opinion, there should have been infiltration and eavesdropping galore.

Would I be of the same opinion if reasons 1-5 applied to a Democratic campaign? Damn right I would!

Look, I've spent much of life drawing attention to abuses by the intelligence services. I'm the original "Don't trust the spooks" guy. I've drunk saki with the publisher of Covert Action Information Bulletin, I've made no secret of my belief that JFK was killed by CIA counterintelligence chief Jim Angleton -- and since 2004, I've maintained a blog which discusses the darker secrets of Spooksville.

But...come on. Come on. Look at the Flynn/Lokhova interaction.

Look at Manafort's whole shady history.

Look at Carter Page and the Russians.

These are precisely the sorts of things that should ring alarm bells within our intelligence agencies. Investigating such matters is what spooks are for.

We know that the FBI was genuinely concerned by what they found, because they gave Team Trump a head's up. We know that Trump was a witting participant in the conspiracy because he ignored that head's up. And now he pretends he never received the warning -- a pretense which is, in and of itself, quite telling.

The question we should be asking is not "Why did they spy on Trump?" but "Why didn't they do much more?" Perhaps even: "Why did our intelligence community protect and enable Trump?" At another time, I will argue that the "deep state" was itself infiltrated by factions hostile to the very concept of democracy, and that this infiltration traces back to World War II. Perhaps earlier.

Side note: It's fascinating to see how the FBI is being used as the "fall guy" in these current scenarios. The "Halper as FBI agent" narrative doesn't make much sense and doesn't square with the man's history.

Why do the Trumpists continually squawk about the FBI? Because they want to undermine the Mueller probe and because they want to transform the DOJ into the sort of totalitarian persecution machine that Beria might have recommended. Similarly, the Trumpers have settled on the "deep state" euphemism because they fear to utter the dreaded initials "CIA."

Until Jim Hougan published Secret Agenda in 1984, we didn't grasp the CIA's true role in Watergate (although very close students of the case had an idea). We may have to wait a longer time to learn the truth about Trump, Russia and the Agency.

Was Trump an FBI asset? Josh Marshall has pursued the theory that Donald Trump (like his pal Felix Sater) functioned as an FBI informant, thereby earning a pass for his many crimes. Marshall makes his argument in two tweets.
When you lie a lot, weird things can happen. Prez Trump has been railing about an FBI informant who he calls a “spy”. So what’s DJT’s relationship to the FBI? Not this year or last year but over decades? What if he was also an informant? If he had been, what did he get a pass on?

Would he have been a “spy”. Do we need complete transparency? It’s already public knowledge that one of his closest business associates was an FBI informant for more than a decade. But I’m talking about Trump. If he was an informant, who was his handler?
Welcome to the party, Josh -- but you're a little late. Allow me to quote from a Cannonfire post published in May, 2017:
Was Donald Trump an FBI asset? Such was the claim made by someone in the comments section of this very blog, just a few days ago. Unfortunately, the commenter couldn't back up his words with evidence. (Some parapolitical theorists have reached such a heightened level of cosmic awareness that they have transcended the need for "evidence" and "proof" and "citation of sources" and similar mundane trifles.)

Yet the allegation has a certain attraction. As all readers of Wayne Barret and David Cay Johnston know, Donald Trump has gotten away with all sorts of legally dubious crap over the years. It makes sense that Donnie would protect his interests by making various deals with the feds.

You may have noticed that Trump Tower has a history of renting to high-level crooks, and that the feds always found it easy to "tapp" those particular suites. (Apparently, there has been a lot of bugging in that building.) One example would be Felix Sater, a former Trump Tower tenant who himself functioned as an FBI informant.
If the "Trump as FBI asset" theory pans out, Josh Marshall will probably get credit, even though I published more than a year earlier -- and frankly, I made a stronger case. Similarly, most people credit Paul Campos for publicizing the theory that Shera Bechard aborted Trump's child, not Broidy's -- even though I was the first person to make that argument.

Should I insist on getting credit for these things? Maybe not. Giu la testa, as Sergio Leone might have put it.
Comments:
A couple more observations on Korea...

In his "calling off" speech - in which he again threatened North Korea, as he had done even as he was trying to wriggle out of the Bolton "Libya" reference - Trump claimed to have spoken not only to Japan (which would be bad enough) but also to South Korea, saying they had promised to help pay for a US-led war.

Basically he's saying "whomsoever I can't pussy, I will smash".

What South Korean leader Moon Jae-in then did - he rushed to a meeting with Kim Jong-un on the north side of the border - shows how Trump was lying. South Korea clearly had not promised to pay Trump to attack North Korea. AND THEY WERE LETTING EVERYONE KNOW. By "everyone", I mean everyone in the Far East, and competent analysts in every country where they exist. I don't mean passive consumers of the western media.

The BBC tell us that the Kim-Moon meeting was mainly about saving the US summit. They seriously do not understand. When Kim and Moon meet each other, their main topic will not be how best to assuage the maniacal Sun god from far off New York whose reign (even if he wins a second term) will be so pathetically short. They have greater horizons. I'm thinking here of the Bechdel test, where when two women talk with each other in a US film, they're usually talking about a man.

Later when backtracking, "glass jaw" Trump said "everybody plays games".

What media organ in the world is making the point that narcissists make absolutely crap negotiators and "deal" doers.

Trump is crap. Trump went bankrupt several times and he is headed for a similar event again, but bigger. (Or has he changed? Really?) It's easy to throw your weight around if your dad was a big scumbag landlord and you were always mates with a mobbed-up lawyer. That doesn't make you a "great" deal-doer. It makes you a thug. So the one who crossed the bridge into Manhattan and scooped the Empire State Building happened to be Jack Trump's deranged son. Let's not fall for survivorship bias.

It's easy to become US president if you've been picked by Adelman and the Kushners. Which is not to say they would pick at random. Trump's only brilliance is in presenting himself live in front of cameras or an audience, even a small audience, using skills he has developed in several years of appearances on "The Apprentice" and in televised wrestling, the two theatres in which this mentally ill man has been allowed to build the "Donald Trump" character.

Trump's style of "negotiation" is to threaten the other side and squeeze their balls until they do what you want. Idi Amin's was the same.

Then when the other guy does what you want, call his wife "beautiful" (because you're too boorish to know any other compliment to pay a woman), call yourself "great" (as always), and say your "gonna" do "great" business with the guy you've just forced to sign an agreement. Trump must have enemies all over the place, people who are going to celebrate like never before in their lives when they watch the motherfucker fall.

But that's enough about Trump. Hardly any commentator is saying ANYTHING about HOW MOON JAE-IN CAME TO POWER. (How many even know his religious denomination?) While Trump was winning the US presidency, things were happening in Seoul. Moon's predecessor as president, Park Geun-hye, was falling from grace in a "shamanic"-financial scandal. That was happening in October, November, December 2016.

I would like to suggest that certain power interests not based in South Korea (or the US) were exerting their influence over these matters.
 
Wikileaks were involved in the fall of Moon Jae-in's predecessor Park Geun-hye, publishing a number of damaging US diplomatic cables. That may well be a fruitful line of inquiry for those researching a Russian angle.

And I've just learnt that Moon Jae-in plays heavily to the "386 generation". In the north the preference is for odd numbers.

That "3" is derived from the even number "30", meaning some of those who were in their 30s in the 1990s.

I am only touching the surface here. This is what people have to look at if they want to understand Korean politics: north Korean, south Korean, and just Korean.

I doubt a Kim-Trump summit will happen, either next month or at any other time. But if it does happen, Trump will get "AMOGged" like he's never been AMOGged before.
 
The Kim-Trump summit was (or is) arranged for 12 June 2018: 12,6,18.

That's three multiples of 6. It's 6,6,6 times 2,1,3, and 2+1+3=6. In China, 6 means good fortune.

But we're talking Korea. The Kim dynasty is more fond of 9. The date 12 June 18 can be read as 1+2+6=9, followed by 1+8=9. That's a double 9.

There's precedent for that kind of reading. Kim Jong-il was born on 16 February (1+6+2) and appointed to the highest military post on 24 December (2+4+1+2=9). Kim Jong-un got his first public post, as an army general, on 27 September (double 9), and he was appointed first secretary of the KWP on 11 April 2012 (1+1+4+1+2=9).

What number does Moon Jae-in use? I mean other than 386. Taking three numbers like that is greedy. (It's obeisant to Intel too.) What's his main number? I'll take a wild guess. Is it 6?
 
Melania emotionally battered by Hookergate hospitalized for a painful kidney ailment. The Camel's straw?
Not a complete breakdown but enough distress she can't function as FLOTUS.

As to Trump da snitch, the mob had it's fingers in every thing New York and Jersey. Doing business in both venues meant doing business with mob owned entities so why not a bit of payback dropping a dime to the FBI. Specially if you win a "Get out of jail" card. Monopoly, not just a game but a primer on doing business in America.
 
Semi-crazed actor Tom Arnold claims to have a #MelaniaElevatorTape that shows trump roughing up his wife:

https://movieweb.com/trump-elevator-assault-tape-video-tom-arnold/
 
Joseph, are you going to have anything on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of RFK? I would suspect that at one time you had an opinion on the subject.
 
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