Monday, December 16, 2019

Theories of Lindsey

Does Trump have something on Lindsey Graham? Many believe so, if only because nothing else explains why Senator I-Hate-Donald morphed so rapidly into Senator Trump-Is-My-God. This proposition has become one of the few ideas found on both sides of the boundary separating conspiracy theory from common wisdom.

Let's look at what a few others have said about the situation.

On October 1, bestselling author (and former P.I.) Don Winslow offered the following tweet, which (as many of you already know) aroused no small amount of controversy:
Have you wondered why @LindseyGrahamSC has been defending @realDonaldTrump like his life depended on it? A friend in federal law enforcement told me about a certain threat @realDonaldTrump has made to Graham. It's personal. It's awful. And it's working very well.
Most of Winslow's readers presumed that the reference went to sexual blackmail, even though the wording suggests a threat to life and limb. If his life were threatened, would Graham have turned on Trump -- briefly -- after Trump betrayed the Kurds?

From an Inquistr piece on Winslow's claim:
Other political opponents have hinted in more vague terms that Graham is being leveraged in some way. As Vox reported, Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar suggested that Graham was “compromised” into supporting Trump. The report noted that Graham had previously revealed that his email account was hacked by the Russian government, a revelation that has been used as the basis for claims that he is compromised into supporting Trump.
The most substantive response to Winslow is this tweet, which links to the following stories...

Lindsey Graham Received Campaign Donations From Firm Tied To Russian Oligarch

REPORT: Evidence Outlining Senator Lindsey Graham’s Links to Russian Oil Money and a Campaign Finance Scandal via Democratic Coalition 

Lindsey Graham, Russian Oil Money & A Campaign Finance Scandal

I would say that a financial "skeleton in the closet" is more plausible than the commonly-heard suggestion of a sexual scandal. (Unless the scandal involves a minor.)

In the above-linked stories, one key figure is Russian oil oligarch Len Blavatnik, who donated $300,000 to Graham's political action committee in October 2015, "long after it was publicly apparent Graham’s campaign had no traction in the polls." The Blavatnik thing is suspicious as hell, but not obviously criminal. However:
Lastly, the report notes that Sen. Graham received illegal campaign donations from a Chinese-American virologist.

The person who arranged the illegal campaign donations scheme was a biotech company CEO named Dr. Jian-Yun Dong aka Dr. John Dong and his wife Dahner Wang. Eventually, Dong was convicted for arranging illegal foreign campaign contributions to Graham and was sentenced to 18 months in jail for that charge. He received an additional 70-month federal jail sentence in his second trial on federal corruption charges, for converting research funds into a lobbying slush fund and a source of funds for real estate improvements.

Sen. Graham helped Dr. Dong obtain earmarks totaling $19.6 million in federal grants from NIH and the military. His wife Wang turned on him, cooperating with prosecutors and leading to the scientist’s conviction and imprisonment.

Lindsey Graham was not charged in the criminal case against Dr. Dong, because prosecutors “found no evidence” he knew of multiple illegal schemes by his political donor.
The Dong scandal broke back in 2011, but has been largely forgotten in recent times. Maybe we should all start talking about it again, if only because Colbert and Maher could do such marvelous things with the good doctor's name. If Barr does have evidence that Graham knew about Dong, then we need no further explanation for Lindsey's obsequious behavior.

The Dong scenario is, in many ways, our most satisfying Theory of Lindsey. Barr could bring charges at any time. The resultant scandal would not touch Trump, and it would not involve Trump's beloved Russians.
Whatever the skeleton I prefer the scenario where Putin has a video of Lindsey tailgating heifers.
You know the news media would be all over this if there was a D behind Graham's name.
Trump: "I want to congratulate Boris Johnson on a TERRIFIC victory. I think that might be a harbinger for what’s to come in our country. It was last time. I’m sure people will be THRILLED to hear that, but a LOT of people will be, actually — a VERY BIG percentage of people. Because this was a TREMENDOUS victory last night, and it’s VERY interesting. The final votes are being tallied right now, but the numbers are TREMENDOUS. So I want to congratulate. He’s a friend of mine. It’s going to be a GREAT thing for the United States also, because it means a LOT of trade - a TREMENDOUS amount of trade. They want to do business with us SO BADLY." (emphasis added)

This guy is gaga! In 10 sentences, he has uttered 11 references to magnitude, said "I want" twice, tried to relate himself to Johnson's victory multiple times (exactly how many depends on what you choose to count), and expressed the belief that Johnson's victory is some kind of auspicious omen, presumably for his own re-election. And what does he mean by "last time"? Does he mean the Brexit referendum followed by the US presidential election?

Has a belief in omens been apparent in other utterances by this madman?

Trump is the God-Emperor of including superlatives in every sentence. Nobody else refers to magnitude as often as he does. He's absolutely tremendous at it.
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