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Sunday, December 09, 2018

Catching up

I let my William Barr post stay up for a while because I hoped that the news would spread. Alas, most still don't understand that Barr is a CIA man through-and-through, and that he has, in past times, been incredibly effective in covering up covert misdeeds. The fact that Barr has allied himself with Trump tells us much about the intelligence community's relationship with the far right.

(As some of you know, it all started with Gehlen. It didn't end there.)

Trump has chosen Barr because Barr has promised to take the fight to Trump's foes -- Hillary and Comey. As Digby said:
They really, really, really want to lock her up. I've never seen anything like this. It's just sick.
This tactic works because the Clintons rarely defend themselves, and because so many on the left see it as a point of honor to be every bit as psychotically anti-Clinton as the rightwingers are.

(Example: Not too long ago, Virginia Heffernan told her listeners not to buy Bill Clinton's latest book because he's such a notorious abuser of women. Bullshit. He never abused anyone. Does Heffernan actually believe the nonsense spewed by Juanita Brodderick? The woman whose story was so full of holes that even the National Enquirer wouldn't touch it? The woman who later supported Brett freakin' Kavanaugh?)

As a result of this left/right "Open season on the Clintons" attitude, Hillary's approval ratings are actually worse than Trump's. It makes sense for Trump to continue to go after her. Where's the downside?

For years, right-wing propagandists have accused Hillary of being the real-life equivalent of a James Bond supervillain, yet the incessant, interminable Republican-led investigations of her have never led to any charges. Trump has been president for two years, during which time the GOP has controlled all three branches of government. Still no charges.

If Trump doesn't gin up some kind of a trial, the rubes -- at least, some of the rubes -- will figure out that they've been fed a lot of BS over the past quarter century. Sure, many Trumpers will tell themselves that Jeff Sessions was a secret agent for Evil Soros. But that excuse will go only so far.

Mark Meadows may become the new Chief of Staff, according to Axios.
Trump has asked confidants what they think about the idea of installing Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, as John Kelly's permanent replacement, according to these three sources. Trump has also mentioned three other candidates besides Meadows, according to a source with direct knowledge. I don't yet have their names.
Meadows is bad news. A key opponent of John Boehner from the right, Meadows is a Tea Partier who voted against Hurricane Sandy relief. He did more than others to deep-six Obamacare, and he has been utterly reckless in his advocacy of government shutdowns. There was also a strange business involving mysterious payments to a former staffer accused of sexual misconduct.

(Maybe Heffernan should look into that.)

Hilariously, Meadows favors a balanced budget amendment. This, despite the fact that Trump is the deficit-spender par excellence.

Rumor holds that one of the other candidates for the position is -- get this -- Matt Whitaker. If he gets the gig, I will be speechless. Even by Trump-era standards, his venality is outrageous. Unfortunately, the Chief of Staff does not require Senate confirmation.

Comey. Trump's tweets are madder than ever. Worse, many people have bought into the biggest of his many big lies: They really do believe that Comey was on Hillary's side during the 2016 election.

To counter this absurdity, sane people must incessantly repeat these three words: Comey helped Trump. Comey helped Trump. Comey helped Trump. Whether he did so intentionally or otherwise is immaterial. Comey insured Trump's election by talking in public about the Weiner laptop debacle while keeping secret the all-important fact that Trump was under an FBI investigation.

We recently learned that Peter Strzok also knew about the Trump investigation. (This fact came out during Comey's testimony.) If Strzok truly was the deep-dish Hillary agent that the right imagines him to be, why didn't he leak the truth about Trump to the media?

Many on the right believe that the FBI's investigation of Trump was nothing more than a dirty trick played by the so-called "Deep State." Really? Then why didn't we hear about it before the election? Secrecy made the "trick" ineffective and pointless.

If those FISA warrants were issued pursuant to a smear campaign (as the right would have us believe), why keep the whole thing hidden? There's no such thing as a classified smear. Invisible mud can't tarnish a candidate.

In his latest tirades, Trump accused Comey of lying. Evidence? Donald J. Trump don't need no stinkin' evidence.

Although most on the left think that Trump is raging incoherently, I suspect that he has a plan. (A plan perhaps concocted with Barr's aid? Perhaps.) Step 1 of this plan is to get Comey on the record. Step 2 is to find some reasonably plausible way to challenge one of Comey's statements. Step 3, of course, would be a trial of Jim Comey -- the kind of trial that Uncle Joe Stalin would have loved.

More madness. Trump also tweeted a tirade directed against Richard Blumenthal. Shade your eyeballs, because a gale-force blast of chutzpah is a-headin' for your retinas:
Watched Da Nang Dick Blumenthal on television spewing facts almost as accurate as his bravery in Vietnam (which he never saw). As the bullets whizzed by Da Nang Dicks head, as he was saving soldiers....
....left and right, he then woke up from his dream screaming that HE LIED. Next time I go to Vietnam I will ask “the Dick” to travel with me!
Trump's syntax is so garbled that one hardly knows what to make of this statement. Is Trump is the first president to make a dick joke in public? I believe so.

One thing is clear: The guy who dodged Vietnam by pretending to have bone spurs (which never kept him away from the golf course or other activities) has no right to complain about anyone else's service. I've never encountered another public figure so lacking in self-awareness, humility, or decency. Even Hitler had better public manners.

Michael Cohen.
I'm a little sorry that the prosecutors in New York have threatened him with the proverbial tossed book. Unlike all of the other "flipped" Trump aides, Cohen seems sincere in his new loyalties. I am convinced that he now hates his former boss.

A long-ish sentence may encourage him to keep helping Robert Mueller. Good deeds = less time.

Yes, Cohen did wrong. Yes, his crimes were serious. But if Michael Cohen brings down Donald Trump, I would support letting him walk. Hell, I would favor changing the name of the Washington Mall to the Michael D. Cohen National Concourse and Softball Fields.

A final note. I began this post with the intent of writing at length about the Yellow Jacket movement in Paris, which has disturbing parallels to the Occupy movement in this country. Funny, innit? These uprisings happen only when a Democrat -- or, in Macron's case, a small-d democrat -- holds power. Note that the NY Post and Trump himself seem to favor the Yellow Jackets.

But that's a very large subject, and thus must wait for another time.
It is becoming clearer and clearer that Russia is a substantial force behind the Yellow Jackets.
joseph, I have been thinking along those same lines. If you have any links to send, please do!
RE: les gilets jaunes you read my mind in that they seem almost exactly like Occupy Wall Street. Did you see their list of demands? It's an incoherent wish list of contradictory demands like lowering taxes and increasing social services. It's complete nonsense just like Occupy. And of course they want France to leave the EU and NATO. So it shouldn't surprise anyone to learn that Russia has been supporting them. SURPRISE! I also like how people are saying that the protests are about a gas tax and dissatisfaction with Macron only looking out for the wealthy as opposed to being a far right movement perfectly aligned with Russia's goals. Saying les gilets jaunes is about a gas tax and economic inequality is like saying Trump voters are motivated by economic anxiety.

Lastly, it should surprise no one that estimates state 42% of the protestors support Marine Le Pen and 20% Melanchon (anti-EU, anti-NATO, far left guy). So Le Pen supporters make up by far the largest faction and a clear majority are extremists whose foreign policy agenda perfectly lines up with Russia. I'm sure this is all a big coincidence.
Also link to the political preferences of the protestors.
You give Trumptards too much credit, the Great White Dope can contradict himself on any topic with impunity. The truth is whatever Trump spews today. It took awhile but Jersey drywall contractors wised up to Trump's flimflammery after enough had been stiffed on the final payment. Trump supporters aren't that smart. Trump isn't Machiavellian bc the doesn't have to be.
Mark Meadows doesn't even think like a "Freedom Caucus" guy because somehow he thinks that Trump supports freedom.

But I cannot understand how he voted against Hurricane Sandy relief when Sandy was only a Tropical Storm from the time "she" made landfall. In my opinion, Cuomo, Bloomberg and Obama's sudden new friend, Krispy Christie, ripped off the American taxpayer.
off topic but important:

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Friday, December 07, 2018

Barr NO! Here's the dirt others won't talk about: Terror, money laundering, drug flights and the CIA

Today is going to be a pig of a news day. Whatever happens, do not ignore the following. Spread the information as far as you can. We can't allow the truth to go down the memory hole.

It's official: Trump has chosen William Barr as his AG. Why did Trump ally himself with someone closely associated with the Bush clan, even though that clan is hated by most Alt Righties? Because Barr has signaled that he wants to pursue the imaginary conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton and Rosatom.

This earlier Cannonfire post completely demolishes that theory. I note that Trump still has not forced those two Rosatom-owned uranium mines in the US to divest. He has the legal authority to do so, but he hasn't. And he won't do it until someone makes a big stink about the flagrant hypocrisy. That fact alone tells you that Trump doesn't give a damn about this pseudo-scandal except insofar as he can use it against Hillary. Ginning up a new Clinton pseudoscandal will, Trump hopes, deflect the public's attention from his own very real treason.

Barr also favors incarcerating people found guilty of minor drug offenses -- a ploy designed to keep blacks out of the voting pool. (That was the real purpose of his "weed and seed" program. Anyone else remember that?)

Barr thinks that Trump "made the right call" in firing Comey, and he has criticized the Mueller probe as partisan.

Barr and pardons. There's also the matter of pardons. Barr believes in 'em, big time, especially when it comes to hobbling a special counsel looking into the crimes of a Republican president.

Read this WP piece from 1992 and you'll be reminded of why we all hated Poppy -- and why some of us felt like tossing our cookies while watching MSNBC's days-long outburst of Bush-worship. Remember this...?
But in a single stroke, Mr. Bush swept away one conviction, three guilty pleas and two pending cases, virtually decapitating what was left of Mr. Walsh's effort, which began in 1986. Mr. Bush's decision was announced by the White House in a printed statement after the President left for Camp David, where he will spend the Christmas holiday.

Mr. Walsh bitterly condemned the President's action, charging that "the Iran-contra cover-up, which has continued for more than six years, has now been completed."

Mr. Walsh directed his heaviest fire at Mr. Bush over the pardon of Mr. Weinberger, whose trial would have given the prosecutor a last chance to explore the role in the affair of senior Reagan officials, including Mr. Bush's actions as Vice President.
Charles Pierce recalls the bad old days:
You see, under President Poppy, there was this thing called Iraqgate—which is not to be confused with the Iran-Contra scandal, in which President Poppy also was hip-deep. In this episode, a tangled mess if there ever was one, it was suggested that the Poppy Bush administration was helping to arm Saddam Hussein's Iraq through a complicated scheme involving allegedly misused U.S. agricultural credits and a corrupt bank in Atlanta. This was somewhat embarrassing to Bush, as his administration was being accused of helping build the war machine that he'd sent American troops to destroy in Kuwait. The House Judiciary Committee asked that a special counsel be appointed. William Barr, then the Attorney General, refused to do so.

(Earlier, Barr also had refused to appoint a special counsel to look into the monumental money-laundering operation of the Bank of Commerce and Credit International, a massive scandal that only then-Senator John Kerry had the stones to take on.)

Soon, however, the charges morphed into accusations that the CIA and the Justice Department had meddled in the investigation into the aforementioned Atlanta bank. Now enmeshed in the controversy himself, Barr stepped aside and agreed to appoint a special prosecutor to look into that specific aspect of the situation. Nobody was satisfied and nothing ever came of the investigation. Once Bill Clinton became president, his DOJ closed the book on Iraqgate. It is not unfair to say that Barr's record is that of a Republican retainer, and not a disinterested law-enforcement official.
The BCCI scandal. Younger folk won't recall it, but it was huge in the 1990s. BCCI was a CIA-linked bank which handled tons of dope money and terror money. Later, we learned that BCCI played a role in the creation of Al Qaeda. Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz owned one-fifth of BCCI and later funded Al Qaeda; the sister of a BCCI executive married Osama Bin Laden. See here:
Investigators have learned that Osama bin Laden was among those with accounts in a bank shut down in 1991 in one of the world's biggest banking scandals, Sen. John Kerry said Wednesday.

The Bank of Credit and Commerce International was closed after bank regulators around the globe linked it to fraud, theft, secret weapons deals, terrorist financing and drug-money laundering.
Congress wanted a special counsel, but Barr barred the way.

Basically, Barr did for BCCI precisely what Alexander Acosts did for Jeffrey Epstein: He reached a "sweetheart" plea deal. The miscreants pled to minor charges and received wrist slaps, while the Justice Department agreed that none of the evidence (much of which was collected by Customs) would be used in any future trial.

The whole thing stank. What Barr did was corrupt as hell -- all the moreso because he should have recused himself from the matter. From Rodney Stich's Defrauding America:
Before William Barr came to the Jutice Department, he was a lawyer with the Washington law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Pots & Trowbridge. This law firm represented BCCI for several years. A partner in the law firm, Kenly Webster, was representing a former BCCI chief executive, Swalch Naqvi, who had been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on fraud, false accounting, money laundering and other charges.
Actually, Stich only scratches the surface. To learn the true depths of Barr's corruption, you have to start at the beginning.

Barr was a CIA lawyer. In fact, he was the CIA's counsel during Poppy Bush's tenure as Director of Central Intelligence and appeared with Bush during congressional hearings. It was a remarkable position for such a young man; Barr was then in his 20s. One wonders how he got the gig.

As noted above, BCCI -- owned by an Arab conglomerate -- did a lot of covert financial work for the CIA, a fact which neatly explains why they received a "get out of jail free" card from a CIA lawyer elevated into the AG position.

Too many people talk about Poppy Bush's presidency while ignoring his tenure at the CIA. He became DCI during a period of congressional investigations into the Agency's misdeeds; many of you will recall the heroic efforts of Otis Pike and Frank Church. Those investigations stopped under Bush -- and the man who kept Congress at bay was William Barr. Stonewalling was his job.

After Bush left CIA, Barr clerked for Judge Malcolm Wilkey, another jurist long connected the the Bush family. (The Bushes collect lawyers the way some rich people collect art.) Wilkey himself functioned as a special prosecutor in a now-forgotten scandal concerning the House Post Office, which was concocted to chasten a Democratic House.

In 1978, Wilkey was the one who arranged for Barr to join Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman), a firm with undeniable CIA links. This remarkable 1981 article ties the firm to CIA luminaries like Ted Shackley and Ed Wilson, not to mention EATSCO. (If you're an old-school spookwatcher like me, you must be nodding your head in recognition right now.)

Southern Air Transport. After Reagan won the 1980 election, Barr spent some time on his staff, then drifted back into allegedly private practice. Supposedly, he drew a salary from Shaw Pittman, but he actually worked for Southern Air Transport, perhaps the most notorious of the CIA's airlines. This Agency front company was at the heart of the Iran-Contra scandal; Southern Air flew the arms to Iran.

From Wikipedia:
The shooting down of an SAT flight in Nicaragua in October 1986 helped expose the Iran-Contra affair.[3] Additionally, SAT aircraft were spotted being loaded with cocaine in Colombia in the same time period.
One could write a long article about SAT links to the drug trade. For now, just keep this fact in mind: William Barr was SAT's attorney while all of this was going on.

How BCCI came to America. During his time with Shaw Pitman, one of Barr's clients was a wealthy Marylander named B.F. Saul II. He was the chairman of a bank: Financial General Bankshares. Barr directly represented that man and thus, that bank -- which soon changed its name to First American. It had 43 branches in New York City and 183 branches in DC. It was a big deal bank -- and a bunch of crooks (mostly from Saudi Arabia) took it over.

This takeover -- which most now say was quite illegal -- is arguably the key factor that put BCCI in the public eye. I realize that financial scandals tend to make eyes glaze over, but this section from Wikipedia may give you a flavor of what BCCI got up to.
In addition to violations of lending laws, BCCI was also accused of opening accounts or laundering money for figures such as Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, Hussain Mohammad Ershad, and Samuel Doe,[11] and for criminal organizations such as the Medellin Cartel and Abu Nidal.[13] Police and intelligence experts nicknamed BCCI the "Bank of Crooks and Criminals International" for its penchant for catering to customers who dealt in arms, drugs, and hot money.[14]

William von Raab, a former U.S. Commissioner of Customs, also told the Kerry Committee that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency held "several" accounts at BCCI. According to a 1991 article in Time magazine, the National Security Council also had accounts at BCCI, which were used for a variety of covert operations, including transfers of money and weapons for Iran-Contra.
Let it all sink in. Savor it. William Barr -- a CIA lawyer -- had helped this outrageously crooked enterprise take over a major American bank. BCCI got a free pass because it handled dirty money for the Agency.

Later, under Bush, Barr protected those involved with the BCCI scandal. Again: He should have recused himself, but he didn't.

Now, you'd think that a man with this kind of history would outrage the conspiratorial right. After all, right-wing conspiracy buffs say they hate the Bush family. Many of them also have a bug up their collective ass about Islam, so you'd think they'd be concerned about the fact that William Barr helped a conglomerate of crooked Saudis take over a major American bank. You'd think that people who caterwaul about the Deep State would be concerned about Barr's history as a CIA lawyer.


The Trumpers will rationalize the choice of William Barr. After all, they rationalized Trump's hiring of Goldman Sachs alums to run the economy. (Into the ground, it would seem.)

As Barr faces Congress, keep the focus on his history as a spook lawyer. He handled all of the dirtiest assignments that the covert world has to offer.

The Barr choice proves what I've said all along: Trump would not be where he is without help from the American intelligence community, or at least from a faction therof. Most people now forget that Cambridge Analytica (a home-away-from-home for British spooks) did a lot of work for America's spooks.

(Yet people like Malcolm Nance and Louise Mensch still peddle a "spooks against Trump" scenario. It's bullshit.)

Young conspiracy buffs are infuriating. They chase after utter nonsense like Pizzagate and Qanon while ignoring the real shit. William Barr -- CIA lawyer, Trump's soon-to-be AG -- is Mr. Conspiracy; his resume is spookier than the Haunted Mansion. And the right will not care. The right doesn't mind using incredibly strained argumentation to link Hillary Clinton to BCCI (as evidenced by this laughable exercise) but they won't say a word about Barr's actual, provable, undeniable links to BCCI, Southern Air Transport, and Iran-Contra.

The supercilious silly-billies who worship Alex Jones will give Barr a pass because he can't be linked to Soros or the Clintons -- and because he now will devote all of his spooky skills to saving Donald Trump's guilty ass. 
I have little use for the Bush family, but I think we ought to let him rest in the ground for a week or so before dumping on him. Not to dump on him, but to ask a question however. How did a two term congressman whose resume consisted of two years ambassador to the UN, one year as chairman of the Republican National Committee, one year as ambassador to China and one year as Director of Central Intelligence, then was out of the public eye for three years, get to be nominated for the Vice Presidency? Most Vice Presidential candidates have far more elected public service, in fact far more public service, so why was he picked?
joseph, good question, as Reagan hated HW Bush, but was somehow "convinced" to name his as his VP. I think not enough bad things can really be said about HW Bush, and should be especially now with the press pretending he was a good guy somehow. He was undoubtedly an intelligence asset even before the Kennedy assassination and was working for the CIA covertly for years before being named director (another oddity for someone with very little experience in government at the time, and allegedly no ties to the agency, even though he spent his year there burying evidence shutting down inquiries into their activities).

For the post at hand, I say it is almost funny how the right wingers are so conspiracy oriented yet will take a pass on ACTUAL conspiracies carried out by Republicans over the years. HW Bush was a major player in several of them, and was able to shut down investigations that would have led to him by becoming VP and President. But I guess Trump with his 19th dimensional chess is really just using these completely corrupt former associates of the Bush clan to get the "real" criminals.........the Clinton's. Clinton derangement syndrome has become a plague.
Democrats screwed up twice in the past 25 years with catastrophic effects.
The first was Bill Clinton refusing to reopen Iran-Contra. He decided to enlist republican help to build that bridge to the 21st century. Newt thanked him two years later with Whitewater.
Exposing all the bad actors would have killed any chance Bush the Lesser had and the WTC towers might be standing.
The second was Nancy Pelosi refusing to hold any hearings on Bush and dick Cheney lying us into Iraq with "Impeachment is off the table"
That lost the House in 2010 jamming up President Obama's agenda.
Hopefully Pelosi will have learned something.
Got a feeling that “Mena” might be making another appearance in the infosphere.

So which is worse, Private Criminals, or Political Criminals? Those who support Trump believe that being a Private Criminal is less worse than being a Political Criminal. Political Criminals can do great damage, legally, whereas Private Criminals can be jailed by Political Criminals.
That is why Trump loyalists will remain loyal to him.
Now let's compare affairs. Trump affairs were with publicly known women, and he paid them off well to keep quiet, all done as a Private Citizen. Mr. Clinton's alleged affairs were with everyday people, probably no real pay out, and possibly fear for their well being, and done as a politician if they happened.
Trump uses his position as a private businessman for most of his life as a shield that allows him to denigrate anyone in politics for almost any reason. Too many Americans who don't believe in their politicians are all in on Trump no matter what. The best way to defeat Trump is to deal with Middle America on the street level, which apparently is how Trump used Facebook Micro Ads in 2016 to help convert Clinton Supporters into Trump Supporters.
At this point in time, I would not want a Clinton presidency if she is just going to stick to what she knows. All I see now is an older, wealthy, politician reaching out to the Progressive movement, you know, the movement that blames Elder America for all that is wrong in the world.
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Wednesday, December 05, 2018


QAnon fans have been predicting that D5 -- December 5 -- is the big day when Trump arrests all of his Deep State foes. They spent much of yesterday and this morning assuring each other that the arrests will happen at the National Cathedral.

I caught a glimpse of the ceremony a short while ago. Hillary refused to look at Trump as he and Melania filed past. Obama was smiling and courteous as he chatted with Melania, who sat next to him. Bill Clinton smiled at her as well. Nobody talked to or interacted with Trump, who looked like he would rather be anywhere else.

I've never seen a president more obviously despised by all of his predecessors, regardless of party.

(After a brief pause.) I just checked again. No sign of an arrest.

If D5 is not the Day of the Storm, what will the QAnon crazies say? They will surely have some kind of rationalization...

(Scroll down to the next post for my thoughts on the Flynn business. I have a few nuggets of information which you probably won't find elsewhere.)
Hillary acknowledged Melania with a nod. It appears Trump refused to make eye contact.

That aside, I wait with bated breath for the Qanon-predicted arrests. :P
The Qs got it wrong, D5 isn't Dec. 5
D5 is hexadecimal for 213 base 10 or Aug 1, 2018. The bad actors have been arrested and replaced with body doubles. In Devin Nunes case they put a suit on a Hoover upright since they both suck.
Interesting theory, Mike.

Alternative: D5 should actually read as DV, the inversion of VD. Obviously, Trump intends to get rid of his foes by infecting their catamites with venereal disease.

Wait. What about Roman numerals? D = 500. 500 times 5 is 2500. 2500 Pennsylvania Avenue is the address of a hotel in the DC area. Obviously, THAT is where the pedo ring is located!

Any further ideas?
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I STILL say: "Lock him up!"

Okay, I admit it: I offered a characteristically pessimistic prophecy, and I was wrong. Yesterday morning, I believed that Flynn has been pissing up Mueller's leg this whole time. Yesterday morning, I believed that Mueller would say "Throw the book at him." Yesterday morning, I believed that Flynn would then receive a pardon which would signal the Trumpocalypse.

But I was wrong. Michael Flynn has cooperated with Mueller, who has rewarded him with a recommendation of zero prison time.

(Why did Mueller choose this moment to reveal that document, I wonder? A poser for another time, perhaps.)

Nevertheless, cynicism remains the wisest course. Forecast the worst and all your surprises will be happy ones. In this case, I'm both happy and troubled. Despite the promising news, something doesn't feel right. Something is wrong.

For months, we have had plenty of reasons to suspect that Flynn had not really flipped. Here are seven of those reasons:

1. Neither "President" Trump nor Trump-friendly media attacked the man (aside from that one early anti-Flynn outburst at the National Enquirer).

2. Sean Hannity -- Trump's tongue -- called for Flynn to be pardoned.

3. There were news stories indicating that Flynn was playing the role of Johnny Tightlips.

4. The Russians had control of Flynn. When he was head of the DIA, they caught him in a classic honeytrap. I don't know if his relationship with that woman was sexual, and I don't really care. The important point is that Flynn was entangled -- intellectually, emotionally, personally -- with someone who, in the opinion of many, has deep links to Russian intelligence.

5. Flynn was a consultant on a project to build nuclear reactors in Russia. In other words, Flynn went into his arrangement with Mueller knowing that the Russian money spigot would one day flow again, if he protected Trump.

(That's right: Nuclear reactors. Yet the right still peddles their big lie about Hillary and those two American uranium mines owned by Rosatom -- mines which sold no uranium to Russia, and which do not produce weapons-grade uranium. By the way, Trump still has done nothing about Russian ownership of those mines, even though he has the power to force divestment.)

6. Flynn faced a single count of lying to the FBI. Maximum sentence: A measly six months. Afterward, Flynn could go back to working for Putin.

7. Here's the most important tell: Michael Flynn Jr.'s Twitter feed has continued to be a toxic waste dump for all things MAGA -- far-right conspiracy theories and Alt Right talking points. It's fair to presume that the son and the father are in constant communication.

I've kept an eye on that feed for months. My reasoning: If Flynn ever did turn -- if he revealed anything to endanger the Trump presidency -- then the feed would reflect that fact. If Papa told Junior that Trump was going down, Junior would stop doing the MAGA dance and admit that the jig is up.

Was that an illogical presumption? No, it was not.

Thus, when news of Mueller's paperwork reached my ears, my first thought was: Check the feed. As it turns out, what Junior had to say was verrrrrry EENteresting. (I doubt that many of you are old enough to recall Arte Johnson, but someone has to keep these ancient pop cultural memes alive.)

Here is what Junior tweeted at 6:06 PM on December 4. The sentencing memo was not yet released to the public at that time, but it seems clear that Junior knew of the contents.
God is good.

To those who have supported us throughout this process.... Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget you.
He opens with the traditional Islamic salutation? How droll!

Some of the responses came from lefties doing a premature victory dance. Example:
First: if there was no crime to give #Mueller info on, why did your daddy meet 19 times with Special Prosecutors? Second: you should be damn thankful your dad saved your sorry ass
There were also responses from QAnon types who believe that Donnie DummKopf is capable of 11-dimensional chess...
WHY did Mueller have a 30 minute meeting WITH Trump the day before the investigation started? He wasn’t eligible for FBI Dierector. Hmmmm. Trump said, “you’re facing charges for U1, and you better look at both sides.” Trump has trolled once again, magically! Pain is incoming!
And so on.

What troubles me is a Junior tweet from the day before, December 3. At that time, everyone knew that this sentencing memo was about to drop, although we did not know what it would say. Junior offered these ominous words:
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The implication is that Flynn Senior has been pulling a fast one all this time. The implication is that Flynn has been playing a deceptive game with Mueller, pretending to cooperate while withholding the real shit. The implication is that Flynn has been coordinating with Team Trump -- which would explain why MAGA media has been so pro-Flynn.

Naturally, the right responded to this tweet with its own tribal war dance. You know the drill: Triumphalist shouts of "WWG1WGA" and all that rot.

However, I did admire this response:
Rule of thumb for most of us w/ real jobs; if you see the art of war on the shelf, walk out.
Dunno about you, but I got sick of this Sun Tzu shit back in the '80s.

On the same date, Junior retweeted Jack Posobiec, Princeling of Conspiracyland:
Daily reminder that General Flynn was illegally unmasked and no one went to jail for it
In other words, the real crime was the exposure of Flynn's crime. Here we see a classic example of the IOIYAF philosophy. (It's Okay If You're A Fascist.)

All in all, I remain unnerved, unsatisfied and very un-optimistic. Yes, I know that Michael Flynn supposedly helped the Mueller probe. We are also told that Flynn aided a separate criminal case, about which we know almost nothing. (Marcy tries her best to parse what little info we have, but even she can't do much when facing a sea of black rectangles.) There also seems to be a third case, although the experts seem unsure as to whether this third case even exists, thanks to the heavy censorship of the document.

Side note: Why bother with the redactions? Whitaker can see this document, and he will blab all to Team Trump. Why hide the info from the American people when the target of the probe can see everything?

(How I long for the old days of monospace fonts, which allowed one to count the spaces and guess at the blacked-out names. Old-school anti-spook activists had a lot of fun playing that game.)

My bottom line: Flynn should not walk. In fact, he should be investigated ruthlessly, and perhaps charged with truly serious crimes. Like espionage. Treason.

I'll say it again: Flynn was the head of the DIA and he was compromised in a classic Russian honeytrap.

That is the real reason why Obama fired him. Obama should have brought charges against him. No, I can't prove cause and effect, but the chronology is damned troubling: After Flynn was compromised, Putin went on a bloody rampage to eradicate moles in his own system -- and Putin has also gone hunting for defectors outside of Russia.

Where did Putin get that information? Does America have any defense secrets left?

No outsider knows what Flynn has said to Mueller, but I strongly doubt that Flynn told him everything. Dunno about you, but that Sun-Tzu quote bugs the shit out of me. It tells me that Michael Flynn has been playing a very deceptive game all along.
Robert Mueller is a seasoned professional it's doubtful Michael Flynn is dicking with him just as it's unlikely Paul Manafort was gulling him by running back to tell all to the Great White Dope.
Judging from recent VOLUNTARY retirements or layoffs from Mueller's staff and FBI most of the investigation is over and it's a matter of jot and tittle polishing.
Mueller has the goods on all the major players or has passed evidence against them to other venues for prosecution. The two sentencing memos due Friday will convince remaining bad actors to call Bobby Three Sticks or hop an Aeroflot flight out of Reagan National to Moscow.
The next really big move come January when Meuller sends his report to the House for review. Stone and Corsi indictments are a given.
It's when they start quoting Clausewitz that you have to start worrying.
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Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Scott Free

Ever since "President" Trump mentioned the name in one of his recent tweets -- a particularly INSANE tweet, by the way -- people have been asking: "Who is Scott Free?" Obviously, this is a reference to the comic book character Scott Free, a.k.a. Mister Miracle, a superhero created by Jack Kirby in 1971. The main thing you have to know about Mister Miracle (aside from the fact that his costume is gaudy even by comic book standards) is that he's an escape artist.

Let us delve deeper. Jack Kirby told many people that this character was inspired by his fellow artist Jim Steranko. Before his stint at Marvel comics, Steranko had been a professional magician and escape artist. Although he never attained Houdini-like fame, he was well-respected by other magicians.

But Steranko has another secret which was revealed for the first time in this Cannonfire post. (See also this earlier post.) Evidence strongly suggests that Steranko functioned as a adviser to the CIA.

If you think about it, it makes sense for the Agency to seek help from a professional escape artist.

It all comes together. Scott Free = Jim Steranko = CIA. Obviously, "President" Trump knew all about this intersection of superhero history and espionage. He's telling us that there's a CIA link to the Michael Cohen investigation. Perhaps Cohen himself -- or members of his family -- are spooked up.


Speaking of Qanon...
My personal theory (and this is meant seriously, or at least semi-seriously) is that the Qanon offerings are the work of a well-known hoaxer who operates under a variety of names and has peddled bullshit in the Holocaust revisionism and JFK assassination genres. Took me a while to learn the guy's real name, but I finally got it. Turns out that Russia has been pushing his fake history books big time.
So, who owns Mr Miracle, Disney or Zombie Stan?
Here's Scott:
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Some particularly insane tweets from "President" Trump

Man, how about those tweets yesterday?
Trump's tweet about Stone touched off a debate in legal circles, with several experts, including attorney George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and often a strident critic of the president, taking issue with the president's comment.

Conway tweeted: "File under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1512" — sections of U.S. code dealing with witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

Neal Katyal, acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama, tweeted Conway was "right."
In response, Eric Trump made a hilarious attempt to play the feminist card:
Of all the ugliness in politics, the utter disrespect George Conway shows toward his wife, her career, place of work, and everything she has fought SO hard to achieve, might top them all. @KellyannePolls is great person and frankly his actions are horrible.
As opposed to the deep respect that Donald Trump has shown toward his wives. If you asked Eric about the payoffs to Karen MacDougal and Stormy Daniels, he would probably respond: "Dad was trying to keep those affairs secret. Out of respect."

If you scroll down the tweeted responses to Eric, you'll find some gems:
I will take sobriety advice from Rush Limbaugh before I take marital advice from a member of the Trump family
Did he call her horseface?
Did George Conway step out on his mother-of-5 wife for a Celebrity Apprentice actress who described their bathroom liaison in "Spanx for the Memories" & then did he leave his wife & 5 children to ostentatiously take up with a former Fox News host? Oh that was @DonaldJTrumpJr
A related question: Are there any sexual harassment lawsuits against Conway? I don't think so.

George Conway is a right-wing creep who, unlike many other right-wing creeps, retains some residual respect for the law. He is obviously trying to send his wife an important message: There's a lot of really illegal shit going on. Get the hell out of there while you can.

When will Trump fans get the message? Conway was a True Believer, yet Trump managed to alienate him. Obviously, the orange oaf really is guilty -- of obstruction, of corruption, of treason, of an entire life lived as a criminal enterprise.

Trump's messages have been those of an old-school mob boss: "You run-a you mouth, you lose-a you teeth. You keep-a you trap shut, you get-a da money."

Of course this is obstruction, clear and undisguised, as brazen as an erection, as unashamed as Aphrodite running naked across the meadows of Arcadia. Why is there debate about the matter on cable teevee? It's like debating whether iron is metallic. It's like debating the wetness of water. It's like asking "Was The Last Jedi a disappointment?"

Trump gets away with this, and will continue to get away with it, because he is protected. He controls the Justice Department. He controls the Supreme Court. He controls America's spooks and has the aid of Russia's spooks -- and Israel's spooks, and some of the UK's spooks. He controls much of the media. He controls much of the debate online. He controls much of Congress, thanks to money, kompromat and election-rigging. He is backed by obscene wealth. (The wealth of others, not his own.) He is backed by an international fascist movement which has no morals and no scruples. He is backed by an unthinking horde of poorly-educated, conspiracy-crazed rubes.

There will be major developments in the Mueller case shortly, probably before the day is out. I do not predict good things. (Hey, it's me.) The world will soon learn what I've known for a while: That Flynn never turned, and that he's been feeding garbage to Mueller.

But we can take some hope in the Cohen revelations: See the video embedded above.

Another tweet from Der Donald. I'm a big fan of misplaced quotation marks. I love 'em almost as much as I love signs written by people who don't know when to use the possessive apostrophe. ("ET's go home!")

As part of his ongoing witness tampering campaign, Trump has gifted us with a classic example:
“I will never testify against Trump.” This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about “President Trump.” Nice to know that some people still have “guts!”
When he put "President Trump" in quotation marks, he admitted that he's not an actual president.

I'll let you in on a secret. I've never used the phrase President Trump.

I usually call him "Trump" or "Donnie" or the Orange Oaf -- and occasionally something ruder. At times, I refer to him as the President, although in his case, I prefer to spell that word with a small p. But I have avoided the phrase President Trump as my way of protesting his illegitimate election.

However, Trump's brilliant tweet has caused me to rethink this approach. He has shown me the way. From time to time, I will henceforward refer to the man as "President" Trump.

So why did "President" Trump put guts in quotation marks? Obviously, what Stone possesses is something else entirely -- something which Trump calls guts as a kind of private joke. Perhaps by guts, Trump means "fear of consequences"?
I use "TrumPutin" as it seems to git better.
I have fat fingers and no sense of spell check. Should read "fit" and not "git" in prior comment.
I wonder if Stone will ever fess up the truth about Franken.
You're right. It is pointless to argue about The Last Jedi because it was great.
The Great White Dope?
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Monday, December 03, 2018

Has Russia turned on Trump? Plus: The truth about the French crisis

Has Russia turned on Trump? That's the impression you'd get from this piece in the Daily Beast, which offers a precis of the hard-hitting attacks on Trump now peppering official media in Russia.
“Trump was never our friend – never!” exclaims Popov. Hosts and participants of “60 Minutes” previously made a habit of repeatedly boasting: “Trump is ours!” In light of their current commentary, it appears that “ours” was used in context of control or possession, not friendship.
As I've noted in several previous posts (including one written well before the Trump era), "ours" -- or nash -- is an old KGB term used to describe the ultimate loyalty of a double- or triple-agent. During the Cold War, the Americans also made jocular use of nash.
In an opinion piece for the Russian publication “Arguments and Facts,” Veronika Krasheninnikova, “Director General of the Institute for Foreign Policy Studies & Initiatives, Advisor to the Director General of 'Russia Today' and a member of the Kremlin-appointed Russian Public Chamber,” says that in light of the canceled meeting, Russia can now give up on the U.S. and “should have never trusted Trump to begin with.”

Krasheninnikova opines that “as long as Trump is in power, nothing positive can happen in the relations between the United States and Russia,” concluding that “Trump is a rock hanging around Russia's neck."
This is, in a word, crap. Propaganda.

Trust me on this: Russia stills views Trump as nash.

Long before the current contretemps -- hell, before the election -- I wrote that Russia's best course of action would be to denounce Trump in public, in order to discredit the growing belief that Trump was in Putin's pocket.

The Russians are finally getting around to using this tactic. I'm surprised that they didn't start down this road a long time ago.

If the Russians actually turn against Trump, we will all know. It'll be obvious. We will learn about such a shift not from Russian TV but from English-language Twitter offerings.

Suddenly, the Alt Right trolls will all issue blistering denunciations of Trump's perfidy. Many of those trolls operate out of St. Petersburg, while others are part of the international neo-Fascist movement, which reveres Putin.

To determine whether the wind has actually shifted, just look at Infowars. Use that site as your weathervane.

Alex Jones is a Russian ally, as I documented in this earlier piece. That earlier post quotes this piece published in the Observer:
InfoWars re-published over 1,000 RT articles within the past three years without the Kremlin-backed outlet’s permission. InfoWars’ plagiarism is evidenced by data from Buzzsumo, a social tracking website that monitors content as it is shared online.
Allow me to quote my earlier offering:
Accuracy in Media -- nobody's idea of a left-wing organization -- argued back in 2014 that Jones was pushing Putin-friendly conspiracy scenarios. AIM called AJ "a reliable outlet for pro-Russian propaganda."
Jones has bragged about receiving praise from "Top Putin advisers." How would he know what Putin's top advisers are saying?
Radio host and prominent Donald Trump ally Alex Jones was told by an RT host that Russian President Vladimir Putin asked him to "say hi to Alex.” Jones has claimed that he was told years ago that "Putin’s a big listener" and was previously informed that the “Russian government listens to" his show and the Kremlin partially “modeled” RT off of his Infowars network.
All right-wing conspiracy theorists segue into fascism, although they rarely use that word and usually pretend to be anti-fascist. (Rationalization springs eternal.) Putin is the king of international fascism. He is not the new Stalin; he is the new Hitler. As simple as that.

If Russia really turns against Trump, so will InfoWars. AJ, Breitbart, QAnon and all of the other right-wing conspiracists will pivot faster than a ballet dancer.

France: All you really need to know is that the protestors are wearing that damned Guy Fawkes mask, which has become the symbol of the neo-fascists -- or rather, of fascists-who-pretend-to-be-anti-fascist.

(I wish Alan Moore would wake the fuck up and denounce the way the far right has appropriated his work, just as Matt Furie has denounced the appropriation of Pepe the Frog. And when will the Wachowski brothers address the fact that "red-pilled" has become a synonym for "converted to fascism"?)

I agree with Malcolm Nance: The election of Macron gave the world a fighting chance. If Le Pen had won in France, the situation might now be beyond repair. (Some would say that the situation is already hopeless.) It has been established beyond debate that Putin funded Le Pen.

Obviously, Putin will continue to push for the fascist takeover of that key nation. Obviously, what's going on now is part of that plan.

So far, we have no hard evidence that Putin has funded les gilets jaunes (the Yellow Jackets), the people now undermining Macron. That movement has been careful not to identify itself with racism or with explicitly right-wing ideology.

But never forget that fascism has a long history of seeking every available fissure in a targeted society. Fascists always use legitimate grievances as a means of undermining democracy.

This tactic goes way back. Before and during World War II, propaganda produced by America's pro-German fascists exploited this country's history of oppression against Native Americans and black people. When fascists gave speeches in America, they often had a Native American standing on stage. Chapter 9 of this important book discusses fascist subversion of the black community.

From the Guardian:
Macron, who had said he would “never accept violence”, instructed the prime minister, Édouard Philippe, to meet what he has called legitimate protest groups and opposition politicians this week in an effort to calm tensions and stop “professional” rioters from infiltrating street demonstrations.

The Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said 378 people were in custody, including 33 under the age of 18. He said many of those arrested in battles with police were men aged between 30 and 40, often from regions far from Paris, who had “come to fight police while claiming to be part of the gilets jaunes movement”.
Someone is paying for this. Suivez l'argent.

The insurrectionists decorated the Arc de Triomphe with graffiti reading "Topple the Bourgeoisie." Cute.

Never forget: When fascism seeks to convert the young, it always presents itself -- initially -- as an épater le bourgeois ("shock the middle class") movement. This is the true lesson of the film and book Fight Club: A prole rebellion against conformity and conventionality always devolves into a new telling of the Mussolini story.

Note, too, that the Yellow Jacket movement is, at heart, rural. Fascism usually manifests as a revolt of the "country mice" against the "city mice." (Peter Viereck's Metapolitics offers some insight here.)

From the BBC:
A survey by the polling agency Elabe found that almost three-quarters of French voters approved of the protests, and that more than half of those who voted for Mr Macron support them.

Several of the main opposition parties have publicly backed them, including the centre right Republicains, the far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon and his far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
Also see here:
We should study populist social movements under centrist governments in order to identify the ways that far-right groups can hijack them—and figure out how we can prevent that. This is one of the reasons to pay close attention to the “yellow vest” movement unfolding right now in France under the arch-centrist President Macron.
I don't agree with much of the analysis on that page, since the writer appears to be an anarchist, and probably can never be cured of that delusion. Over the years, I have come to understand that anarchism is a road that invariably leads to fascism. Nevertheless, the concepts of infiltration and manipulation deserve close attention.

Remember the Occupy movement? The conventional right (hard to recall a time when such a thing still existed, isn't it?) hated that movement, but Alex Jones and his kin saw it as a means of conversion. Again: The key concepts are infiltration and manipulation. Jones understood that the movement hurt Obama, and thus helped to pave the way for what we now call Trumpism. Even though I also disliked Obama (for other reasons), I soon understood that Occupy was a trap and thus never fell under its sway.

Bottom line: We must support Macron. The choice is Macron or Le Pen -- democracy or fascism. The fall of Macron will be the triumph of Putin.
Is glower a word?
It describes the look on Trump's face as the Murder Bros were gleefully high fiving at the G-20 conference.
"Get me outta here" muttered the Great White Dope as he bailed on a photo op with the Argentine prexy. He finally realized Vlad and Mohammed have no more use for the Trump family and the money spigot is off?
It's a given Russia and Saudi intelligence know some of Robert Mueller's secrets if only from their interactions with the Great White Dope. They know Trump is toast as far as policy favourable to them. Or worse.
Remember, the French protests are about a "gas tax" and Macron being too cozy with the rich. Kind of like how Trumpism is about "economic anxiety".

"Several of the main opposition parties have publicly backed them, including the centre right Republicains, the far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon and his far-right rival Marine Le Pen."

I think Cannonfire is the least surprised place on Earth with this development.

Lastly, didn't know you weren't an Obama fan. Obviously you aren't irrational about it but is there an article which sums up or best explains your views? I'm curious both because I don't hear that opinion much from those who aren't on the right, and my own view on him is that he's basically fine. I just don't have a strong opinion on him.
nemdam: I was a Hillary fan in 2008. There was a concerted effort to spam all (ALL) political blogs with pro-Obama, anti-Hillary messages, and there was a lot of psychotic Hillary-hate -- including death threats -- on Kos and other sites in those days. I captured much of it in a series of posts.

The endless hate-trolling that rolled into my own site came every hour of every day. It was downright weird, because my blog just wasn't that sizable and did not seem to warrant the attention. Then I heard that the same thing was happening to sites that were much less popular than my own!

Obviously, some kind of astroturf operation was ongoing. Nowadays, that sort of thing is well-known, but back then it was...unusual and unsettling.

But it was also pretty easy to track. The trolls were not using VPNs or doing anything to cover their tracks. The hate messages were coming in every hour of every day, even in the dead of night -- and they ALL came from the same address in Chicago, Illinois. I privately referred to the hate-troller as "Mr. Chigill" because the IP address (which showed up in my stats) included the letters "chigill."

The Obama campaign was being run out of Chicago, of course. I later found out that Axelrod was running an operation which was pretty much the same thing as Putin's Internet Research Agency.

I did not appreciate those endless hate messages, which included death threats. I mean, do you really think I'm going FORGIVE a thing like that? No. Not me.

So I hated Obama. I hated what he did to Hillary. I hated him for the unfair and disgusting tactics he used to win the primary of 2008. And I will never forgive him for allow his trolls to "racist-bait" anyone who committed the alleged sin of supporting Hillary Clinton in 2008.

And yet in 2012, I made a series of videos exposing the many lies told by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in the debates. At the time, I explained myself with these words: "I still hate Obama. But I fell IN hate with Mitt Romney."

Of course, both Obama and even Romney look like angels compared to the current nightmare.

But Hillary should have won in 2008.
Comes around goes around department. The same type personality that gravitated to the cult of Obama went for Burno eight years later. For what it's worth Obama turned out to be a decent leader and probably had the best chance of winning in 2008 because he is Black. The New York Times and Washington Post didn't dare rat fuck Obama like they did Al Gore lest they be called racist.
Fascinating. My feelings toward Obama are the opposite of most of his supporters in that I didn't really like him at first because he and his campaign gave off a cultish vibe. It was only after he started shedding that image because he actually had to govern when I started to like him. I liked 2012 Obama more than the 2008 version. It's interesting that we both have somewhat similar feelings toward him even though we came at it from different places. I should note that I didn't really follow politics on the internet in 2008 yet still got the same ugly vibes from him.
Joseph, I agreed with you about the prospects of Flynn’s cooperation.

So it has been of some enjoyment to find that he has been singing like a opera star.

nemdam, love the observation that “Cannonfire is the least surprised place...”

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Sunday, December 02, 2018

How Trump will stymie Congress

A lot of people missed the importance of this interview with Irvin Nathan, who spearheaded a successful effort to subpoena information from the Bush White House.

The hard truth seeps out at the very end. Any subpoena battle will be fought in court, and a 2019 version of that battle won't resemble what occurred in 2008. Trump will fight back, and he'll take it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Basically, Trump has already won. He effectively owns the Supreme Court. If he defies a subpoena, what of it? The Justice Department won't enforce a lower court's ruling, and the Senate will protect Trump to the bitter end. Besides, pursuing a subpoena through the courts is a process which could take two years (as Nathan admits).

In other words, Trump is set. For the rest of his term, he can't be touched.

Many liberal talking heads have offered overly-optimistic rah-rah about the ability of Congress to hold Trump accountable. As you know, I hate optimism. An optimist is someone who assures a one-legged hobo that if he hops high enough, he can touch the moon. An optimist is someone who tells Anne Frank "Chin up!" as she is being dragged off to the camp. Optimism is cruelty. Optimism is sadism.

So let's put optimism aside and look at the situation realistically. Since the Trump administration operates outside the rule of law, Congress will have to find some way to be effective without subpoena power. Is that possible?

Despite the November victory, things still look bleaker than most within the Resistance would care to admit. Yet all is not lost. Pessimist that I am, even I have limits.

The news on the Michael Cohen front is heartening, no doubt about it. The recent interview with Cohen's friend Donny Deutsch (embedded) below brought a smile to my face. It'll probably cheer you up as well, if you've not seen it already.

Many have opined as to why Cohen switched loyalties, yet nobody has mentioned what I take to be the real reason: Cohen's wife is also in some legal jeopardy (or so I've read) and may face state charges -- placing her beyond Trump's ability to pardon. Remember, the big change started when Cohen announced that he would "do the right thing for my family."

Speaking of state charges: Have you noticed those "PragerU" propaganda ads on YouTube? A recent one is all about removing any state's ability to prosecute someone for a crime that might also fall within federal jurisdiction. All of a sudden, the right is now very exercised about this new definition of double jeopardy. Gee, I wonder what prompted the Prager People to become concerned about that topic at this moment? Y'think it might have something with a guy named Manafort? 

Back to Cohen: Here's his Sentencing Submission. Allow me to toot my own horn for a moment: On August 22, I wrote that "Michael Cohen has been working with Mueller in secret for a while now." Frankly, this was conjecture, presented at a time when everyone was asking "Will he cooperate?"

The Sentencing Submission contains a passage which proves that my speculation was far from far-fetched:
In the context of this raw, full-bore attack by the most powerful person in the United States, Michael, formerly a confidante and adviser to Mr. Trump, resolved to cooperate, and voluntarily took the first steps toward doing so even before he was charged in this District. See Nov. 28, 2018 Plea Agr. at 8 (proffer agreement with SCO first executed on August 7, 2018).
So. The proffer came on August 7. I was right. There was communication between Cohen and Mueller at that time.

I think of Cohen and I smile. But on all other fronts, it seems likely that Trump can pardon his way out of this mess. I'm still predicting that he will deep-six Mueller when the time is right.

The Twitter feed of Michael Flynn Jr. provides an excellent "canary in the coal mine." (I don't visit daily, but I try to pop by weekly.) If that feed offers any hint of "Ruh Roh! The jig's up!" -- then and only then will I presume that Trump is in real trouble.

Until such time, we should never forget that the Orange Oaf holds a formidable hand. Trump controls the power to pardon. He controls the Supreme Court. He controls the Justice Department. He controls this country's most powerful propaganda engine. He is aided by the intelligence apparat of Russia as well as a huge faction of American intelligence, not to mention British intelligence. (It's hard to determine where MI6 ends and Cambridge Analytica -- or whatever they're calling themselves now -- begins.)

Congress? Congress is a problem, but perhaps not an insurmountable one. The spooks have tried to gather kompromat on everyone, and Putin has unlimited funds for bribes.

If any male Dem in Congress proves too ornery, he can always be MeTooed. After the Avenatti smear, all rational people now understand that MeToo is not a genuine movement; it's just another Republican tactic. I've already seen scattered hints on Twitter that there are plans in the works to bring down Schiff using the MeToo gimmick.

All in all, I'm betting on a Trump victory. Don't buy into the triumphalist guff on MSNBC.

It's a given Trump won't be impeached, Senate republicans have more to fear from the Teatrumps than voters sick of the Great White Dope's antics.
Thanks to gun toting NRA loons impeachment would tear the United States apart.
The best America can hope for is Trump pulls a Nixon and the Inbred Ferret pardons the family. I could see a deal being worked that lets Trump keep some of his property and serves no prison sentence in exchange for going away.
If none of the above House Democrats can't let voters forget between now and 2020 when Trump loses the White House.
Actually the biggest impediment to ridding ourselves of Trump and his sycophants in the House and Senate isn't the courts or Intel agencies but news media outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post.
Facebook/Cambridge Analytica/Russia might have sowed the seeds of Hillary's destruction but the print and broadcast news media fertilized the ground.
The House could and should hold impeachment hearings on Justice Kavanaugh and impeach the liar. Maybe he would be convicted, not for being a preppy jagoff, but for lying to the Senate every time he testified there.
I wish, Aymral. Impeachment may, in fact, be possible, though it is not terribly likely. But conviction requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate, and that just won't happen.

However, Kavanaugh CAN be charged with perjury. The problem is that Trump controls the Justice Department.

If a genuine blue wave puts Dems in charge in 2020, then certain possibilities open up. The statute of limitations is five years. If Kavanaugh were actually convicted of perjury -- rather than just accused -- then that two-thirds majority in the Senate might become possible.

Personally, I think Congress should have found some mechanism to interrogate Kavanaugh in Maryland. There is NO statute of limitations in this state on...well, pretty much everything. Which has me wondering: Didn't the FBI interview the guy? And where, exactly, was the interview conducted?
No no no no no waiting! Begin(pre)impeachment hearings on Kavanahug before Valentine's Day. The porny media will also be (re)covering the Epstein thing by then. At Kavanaugh's trial in the Senate, the criminal facts from House testimony will be too clear for acquittal.

Two very important things Congress will comprehend: Kavanaugh is an accidental justice because Trump is an accidental president, and Kavanaugh will lose his pension and free AA coverage. Had he not been confirmed, owing to his being a lying jagoff, he would still have had his lifetime appointment. Therefore, it's good that he was confirmed so he can be destroyed.

I want the House to reveal the ratfucking done by the Senate Judiciary Committee chair and his ratlickers. Say what you will, those Republican senators deserve to be unmasked.

Listen again to Schumer's speech when the full Senate was about to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination: he says if you want to impeach Kavanaugh, vote that way on November 6.

Last, the House can instill 'optimism' for the voting franchise by ruining Kavanaugh in front of the electorate. I'll bet that when Kavanaugh learns that the HJC will begin to investigate, he retires to save his pension, making a deal that prevents being charged with pergury.
"The hard truth seeps out at the very end. Any subpoena battle will be fought in court, and a 2019 version of that battle won't resemble what occurred in 2008. Trump will fight back, and he'll take it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Basically, Trump has already won. He effectively owns the Supreme Court. If he defies a subpoena, what of it? The Justice Department won't enforce a lower court's ruling, and the Senate will protect Trump to the bitter end. Besides, pursuing a subpoena through the courts is a process could take two years (as Nathan admits)."

Commentary like this is why I come back here. I have no idea why more people aren't pointing out that Trump can just delay or outright defy subpoenas so that little real oversight is done as it all gets tied up in the courts. And where will this ultimately end up? At his buddy Kavanaugh's court.

Was just thinking earlier today that if any male wins the Democratic nomination, he will get the #MeToo treatment. Heck, it still may happen to Beto even if he doesn't win the nomination as he is considered a rising star that must be stopped.
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Saturday, December 01, 2018

Poppy's secrets

Yes, I've been away -- again. It's hard to write a political blog, or even to keep up with current events, when the very sight of the president makes one want to vomit. That's no hyperbole: I have come to dread watching the news because even the briefest shot of Trump's hideous mug has an emetic effect.

I never had that reaction toward George Herbert Walker Bush, who died last night at the age of 94. But now that he has passed (finally, a news story has knocked the Orange Oaf out of the headlines!), we should offer a corrective to the annoying plaudits now flooding MSNBC and CNN.

Yes, the elder Bush was smarter and more cautious than his son. And when compared to despicable Donnie -- well, there is no comparison; DT is a visitor from a loathsome new universe. The best thing I can say for Poppy Bush is that he was hated by the Alex Jonesians, the neo-Birchers, and others within what we now call the Alt Right. A bad man looks better when he has enemies who are even worse.

But in the final analysis, GHWB was a rotter. Liberals should not allow the spirit of nil nisi bonum to blind us to the spirit of veritas vincit.

One could write a book about Bush's many sins. In this essay, I'll focus on just one of those sins: The car-bomb assassination in Washington DC of exiled Chilean leader Orlando Letelier, enemy to the fascist usurper Augusto Pinochet. The bomb also killed Ronni Moffit (25) of the Institute for Policy Studies. This double murder took place on September 21, 1976, while George Bush was Director of the CIA.

(You probably won't hear any mention of this event from Bush's far-right enemies. In their sick worldview, Pinochet was one of the good guys. Back in the day, the right also concocted many absurd conspiracy theories about the Institute for Policy Studies.)

It should never be forgotten that the CIA had destroyed Chilean democracy, handing power over to the murderous Pinochet. If you want to learn more, check out Death in Washington by Donald Freed and Fred Landis. The book is hard to find these days, but worth the effort.

We now know that the Letelier hit was orchestrated by DINA, the Chilean secret police. The actual perpetrator was an American operative named Michael Vernon Townley, an experienced CIA hit man who (allegedly) did the Letelier hit as a freelance job. The FBI eventually made a case against Townley, who served all of 62 months. He received immunity from further prosecution and is now living under witness protection. A disgusting outcome for a disgusting man. (Many Townley-watchers believe that he also killed Pablo Neruda, a famed anti-Pinochet writer and poet.)

Townley almost got away with the Letelier murder, because CIA Director George H.W. Bush did everything he could to cover up the crime. Writer John Dinges, in his book The Condor Years, established that the CIA knew from the start that Pinochet had ordered the assassination of Letelier. From Wikipedia:
According to Dinges, documents released in 1999 and 2000 establish that "the CIA had inside intelligence about the assassination alliance at least two months before Letelier was killed, but failed to act to stop the plans." The intelligence was about Condor's plans to kill prominent exiles outside of Latin America, but did not specify Letelier was the target. It also knew about an Uruguayan attempt to kill U.S. Congressman Edward Koch, which then-CIA director George H.W. Bush warned him about only after Orlando Letelier's murder [3] .

Kenneth Maxwell points out that U.S. policymakers were aware not only of Operation Condor in general, but in particular "that a Chilean assassination team had been planning to enter the United States."
During the investigation into the car bombing, someone found -- or, as I suspect, concocted -- documents linking Letelier to Eastern Bloc intelligence agencies. These documents were selectively leaked to Jack Anderson (who functioned as a CIA asset in the 1970s) and to the team of Evans and Novak. (You will recall Robert Novak's shameful behavior during the Plame affair.)

How many times have we seen that kind of propaganda barrage? After an assassination, the right's first reaction is always "We didn't do it" -- followed by "And even if we did, the bastard deserved it." Before the car bombing, a private CIA assessment had described Letelier as a "reasonable, mature democrat." If he were a communist, he would have been easily dismissed, and thus probably would have been left alone.

Pinochet and his fellow South American dictators had formulated Operation Condor, a plan to murder all opponents to fascism in the regime. Condor formally came into existence on January 30, 1976, the same day Bush became DCI. There is ample evidence that Condor received copious aid from the CIA during this period.

From Assassination on Embassy Row, by Saul Landau and John Dinges:
One thing is clear: DINA chief Manuel Contreras would have called off the assassination mission if the CIA or State Department had expressed their displeasure to the Chilean government. An intelligence officer familiar with the case said that any warning would have been sufficient to cause the assassination to be scuttled. Whatever Walters and Bush did – if anything – the DINA mission proceeded. But the question remains: Could their murders have been prevented?

One the investigation of the murders was under way, why did it take so long? DId Bush, Walters, [Ambassador George W.] Landau and others who by then had become informed of the Chilean undercover activity come forward immediately and disclose what they knew? The assassination occurred on September 21, 1976. The indictments were returned on August 1, 1978. Yet the evidence that led to the identification of Michael Townley and his expulsion from Chile in April 1978 was already in the hands of high United States officials weeks before the assassination.
After the bombing, the Chilean government denied responsibility, as one might expect. Manuel Contrares, the head of DINA, suggested that the the Chilean left had murdered Letelier in order to create a martyr.

And George H.W. Bush did everything in his power to spread this lie.
But Bush's CIA chose to accept Contreras's denials and even began leaking information that pointed away from the real killers. Newsweek's Periscope reported in the magazine's Oct. 11, 1976, issue that "the Chilean secret police were not involved." The [Central Intelligence] agency reached its decision because the bomb was too crude to be the work of experts and because the murder, coming while Chile's rulers were wooing U.S. support, could only damage the Santiago regime." Similar stories ran in other newspapers, including the New York Times.
Two weeks after the Letelier murder, Bush's CIA spread disinformation about the bombing of Cubana Airlies DC-8, a mass murder perpetrated by two CIA-trained anti-Castro killers named Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada.
On Nov. 1, 1976, the Washington Post cited CIA officials in reporting that "operatives of the present Chilean military Junta did not take part in Letelier's killing." The Post added that "CIA Director Bush expressed this view in a conversation late last week with Secretary of State Kissinger."
I believe that Bush should be considered a co-conspirator in the Letelier/Moffit murder. At the very least, he lied about the true authorship of that crime, just as he lied about the airliner bombing.

As noted above, Poppy Bush had much red on his ledger. I have directed your attention to but one of his sins. As CIA agent Miles Copeland once said of Bush: "He's one covert motherfucker."

Then again: Not that covert. Much remains hidden, but much is known -- too much to ignore, even on the occasion of the man's passing. We should not tolerate the plaudits and praises now filling the airwaves on MSNBC and CNN. And we shouldn't let the conspiracy-crazed ravings of the anti-Bush right blind us to the man's actual misdeeds.

Nil nisi bonum?
In the words of Dana Cavey (as Bush): Nah gah dah-ah. Bush lied about Orlando Letelier after Letelier's death. Why should I not now tell the truth about Bush?

Added note: This is hilarious.
In QAnon land, they believe that Bush 41 died some time ago, but they only announced it yesterday so coverage of his passing and funeral will drown out Q-related news they hope will come out next week. As always, the big QAnon revelations will allegedly be known [Next Week].
The QAnon qrazies believe that James Comey signaled his knowledge of this plot when he tweeted about the death of his dog Benji. Of course! It's all so obvious! You have read between the lines, people!
The kindest thing one could say is everybody in Washington was of the opinion that the ends justified the means in the fight against Communism. Things haven't really changed in the intervening years as evidenced by Washington's support of Saudi Arabia's Murder bin Salman.
Until Americans get as proactive as the gas tax rioters in Paris our foreign policy won't change.
Glad you are okay Joseph.
I heard someone describe him as having a beautiful soul, and I thought, the director of CIA can't have a beautiful soul.
I have a co-worker like GHWB. He is very good at coming across as nice, considerate, helpful and easy going. On the inside he is petty, selfish, opinioted and he will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat.
Years ago, after the JFK movie, I read Prouty's book about the assassination of JFK. Prouty is supposedly "X", the informant who met with Jim Garrison. If I recall correctly, Prouty had dug up a little conspiracy involving then CIA agent "Bush" whom Prouty mused about having a part in the assassination. That agent had signed a CIA memo related to the assassination. Of course, GHWB wasn't on the record as involved with the CIA until 1976. I think there was a luxury boat named "Lady Bird" sailing around Cuba in those days too, per Prouty. Hadn't thought about any of this for years.
Amazing how the media likes to make revisionist history. GHWB was anything but honorable. He had his fingerprints all over the Iranian hostage thing--the "October Surprise"--and he hired the despicable Lee Atwater to smear Michael Dukakis. No wonder Jeb and GWB turned out the way did. The rotten apples never fall far from the rotten tree.
Bush's activities around the JFK assassination have also been called into question. Mark Lane's book, Plausible Deniability, enumerated those misdeeds.
It really doesn't matter that much, but I heard from a relatively reliable source that Mr. Bush did have a young mistress.
Alessandro, according to Joe Conason, in an article he wrote for the defunct Spy magazine, Bush had several rumored extramarital affairs including one with an aide of his, Jennifer Fitzgerald. Rumors of adultery have surrounded him for years.

Oh yes, the money quote about Ms. Ftzgerald's work, was that she had, "served George HW Bush in a number of positions".


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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Why the optimism?

Why is everyone in the liberal media signalling optimism on the Mueller front?

Trump sure is acting as though he has gotten a Mueller status report -- one that he (Trump) liked. Yesterday, Trump said that Mueller will be wrapping up soon. How would Trump know?

The President received his take-home quiz in October but held off on answering until after the elections, when he replaced Sessions with his toady Whitaker. I don't know what Whitaker has found out, or how he found it out, but it is fair to presume that Mueller has fewer secrets now than he did before.

And now Trump has answered the questions. I'm betting that Manafort has kept certain beans from spillage.

I'm worried about Trump's lack of worry. To me, his recent tweets and statements about Mueller have not seemed unhinged. They've seemed cocky. 

Here's what Marcy Wheeler had to say about that two days ago:
There’s good reason not to reveal publicly whether Manafort is cooperating fully until you’ve gotten whatever answers you’re going to get or given up waiting. If you reveal in a status report that Mueller’s team thinks Manafort hasn’t been cooperating, then Trump would feel more free to lie. If you reveal Manafort has been cooperating fully, including about Trump’s actions (in contradiction to some reports that he hasn’t been), then Trump will be more likely to avoid answering.
Yesterday, Trump announced that he has answered his questions, although he had not yet transmitted those answers to Mueller.

I'll believe that Mueller has the upper hand when I see a change in the public attitude displayed by Michael Flynn, Jr. So far, he has been defiantly MAGA. The son spent yesterday tweeting about what a communist Eric Swalwell supposedly is. (I'm all for changing the libel laws to allow public figures like Swalwell greater leeway to sue the people who tell such lies.)

Yesterday, we learned a new aspect of the Flynn saga:
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the GOP activist, Peter W. Smith, who died in 2017, secretly raised $100,000 to secure emails deleted from Mrs. Clinton’s private computer server, and that he struck up a professional relationship with Mike Flynn, then a Trump aide, who later pleaded guilty in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Mr. Smith was in contact with powerful Republicans in Mr. Trump’s orbit into the final months of his life, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Mr. Flynn and others, according to interviews and the emails reviewed by the Journal.

The emails show Mr. Smith brainstormed about business ventures involving Mr. Flynn and later went so far as to copy Mr. Flynn’s government-provided email account on a message to Mr. Trump’s incoming defense secretary, Mr. Mattis. In February 2016, Mr. Smith wrote to a friend to discuss “a possible way into cybersecurity to involve Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn.”

An attorney for Mr. Flynn declined to comment. The Pentagon also declined to comment.

Other emails that Mr. Flynn is copied on show Mr. Smith either communicating directly with high-level Trump administration officials and allies or discussing such connections.
"A possible way into cybersecurity"? What does that mean?

At any rate, Smith was in contact with "several groups" of hackers -- Russian hackers -- while remaining in communication with these high-level Trumpers. "No collusion" my ass.

I find Smith's "suicide" suspicious, since it came just a short while after he started talking to reporters at the WSJ. The "bag over head" method can be applied to an unconscious or woozy person, and there are ways to induce unconsciousness that won't show up in an autopsy. (Based on this, I think ruhypnol and GHB might do the trick.) Yes, there was a suicide note, but such things can be faked. From Wikipedia:
Police discovered a suicide note by Smith that stated no foul play was involved in his committing suicide, and that he was in poor health and his life insurance policy was expiring. However, it has been reported that that insurance policy was good for 8 more years.
If the note was genuine, why didn't Smith know the details of his own policy?

Alas, the only people questioning the suicide verdict are right-wing whackadoodles who automatically presume that Evil Hillary murdered Smith, no doubt with the help of Evil Soros. Seems awfully self-defeating for Evil Hillary to whack the guy shortly after he started blabbing about his ties to Flynn and Team Trump.
A hypothetical, say your predictions come true and Robert Mueller is fired and the results of his investigation classified secret. How will that change the 2020 electoral map?
Will Independent voters shift back to republicans?
We know the 38% who support Trump will believe Robert Mueller framed him if the investigation into Russian rat fucking the election is allowed to come to fruition.
Trump is between a rock and a hard place his only way out is Mueller reporting there isn't enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction or collusion.
You know what makes me unsuspicious of a suicide? When the suicide note goes out of its way to say this is definitely a suicide and there was absolutely no foul play involved.
Have to disagree with your pessimism. Trump et al bluff about everything so I put no stock into the fact that he answered his questions or feels "optimistic". He basically went into a shell for a week after the midterms in part, I believe, because of the strong rumors that Stone and Jr. will be indicted. Sure, Manafort, Flynn, and Papadopoulous may not be ideal cooperating witnesses, but I bet each has provided significant evidence.

Also don't forget that every other scheme he has tried to block Mueller has failed whether it's Devin Nunes, smearing Comey and the FBI, failing to fire Mueller, etc. He's not a long term thinker and is just lashing out day to day with whatever he thinks will work that day.
Mr. Cannon, you may be confusing Mueller's silence with the Investigation have lost its momentum or purpose. Mr. Mueller agreed to keep quiet so as not to unduly influence the 2018 midterm elections. Unfortunately, the Media used that silence to take polls which shoed 48% of Americans think the investigation should end. So Mueller plays the by rules, but then the Media uses that silence to take a poll that will show less support because Muller has been silent.
Anybody start an Indictment Pool yet?
Nothing from Marcy Wheeler for a week. Somethings brewing

Nothing from Marcy for 7 days. Very odd.

Jeffrey Epstein under the microscope

"How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime"

Hope you are doing well and your absence is due to work load.
Looks like the Chinese proverb about living in interesting times has come to fruition.
Blo-dri talking heads clucking about Manafort and now Cohen nefarious activities.
Wonder what Vegas oddsmakers are giving a Trump resignation before the end of the year?
Be well, hope to see ya posting soon.
Trump's in big trouble. Everybody remembers Donald denying having anything to do with Russia. Felix Sater has already spoken at length about this Moscow Trump Tower project. The emperor has no clothes.

Hope you’re well, Joseph and working on interesting things.

Thank you very much for the link to the Epstein story. They reported the hell out of that.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Surefire and Avenatti

Yeah, I know: The Young Turks. I've been pissed off about these guys for a while. But this is a good segment, particularly in regards to the Surefire connection.

How many Surefires are out there? And -- the most important question -- where is the money coming from?

The importance of that last question goes way, way beyond Michael Avenatti.
So Avenatti was recently quoted as saying it is going to take a tough man to stand up to Trump. Apparently someone on Trump's team agrees and are trying to ruin him. Meanwhile a blue wave of Minorities and Women were just elected into the House of Representatives.
This type of patriarchal obtuseness could boomerang into two relatively young women representing each political party for the presidency in 2020.
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