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Predictions for 2018: Fasten Your Seatbelts
Jan 1st, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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In the cinematic classic “All About Eve”, Betty Davis tells a room full of partiers to “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” Meaning they should prepare for trouble as she comes to realize she’s been played the fool. I stopped wondering early on when Trump supporters would come around and realize they’d been “played” by this irrational, egomaniacal blowhard braggart who’ll say absolutely anything just to win, when they continued to make excuses for him over & over again no matter how easily disproven his assertions were (starting day-one with actual photographs of the crowd size attending his inauguration), continuing to believe this side-show carnival barker as long as he continues to put a “respectable” face on “bigotry”, “hate” and (as with George W. Bush) being “dumb” as something to be proud of. While Mugsy’s Rap Sheet began in 2003 shortly after Bush’s invasion of Iraq and people were just starting to realize they had been duped and there were no “Weapons of Mass Destruction”… just as I predicted, I didn’t start my annual “Predictions” tradition until December 2007 on the old “BI30 Archive” blog (which no longer exists) making predictions for 2008. Ten years later, I have wracked up quite the track record. My success rate over 10 years averages out to 59.5%. Personally, I think anyone who’s predictions are right nearly 60% of the time should be taken seriously (big smile.)

2017 was a challenge having nothing but Trump’s performance on the campaign trail to judge how he might perform once in the Oval Office. But one character-trait was already obvious and has only cemented over time: Trump is a giant toddler, impulsive, easily offended, asserts things as “true” simply because he believes them to be true (whether they are or not), and can’t resist touching the hot stove no matter how many times you tell him “No”. And like any spoiled rich kid (or child of a powerful monarch) whom no one dares say “No” to, he stumbles his way through any endeavor, takes credit for the achievements of others (2017 economy under Obama’s final budget/tax-rates, and Iraqi soldiers achievement in pushing back ISIS), blames his failures on whomever he deems is “out to get him” that particular day (repeated failure to pass ANY major policy initiative promised on the campaign trail… from the “repeal & replace of ObamaCare” that he said would be incredibly easy, only to eventually concede reforming health care was “Harder than ‘anybody’ thought”, to his promise to get Mexico to pay for a massive Border Wall), and then declares himself to be the greatest to do whatever it is he thinks he’s done (even when he’s dead last). I worry my head will fall off my shoulders in 2018 from all the shaking in disbelief.

As usual, we begin by looking back at the predictions of others for comparison sake. You can’t be impressed by my success rate if you don’t know how bad everyone else seems to be at it. And as usual, I remind you that I’m no psychic. I make no claim of amazing mental powers other than my ability to spot political trends and understanding of human behavior.

I’m not going to bother reviewing any famous “psychics” this year. Their act is to simply make dozens (sometimes hundreds) of vague predictions, and when one appears to have come true, they crow like roosters at sunrise until people “praise” them for their “amazing psychic ability.” It has become quite old and a waste of time. Looking back at past years reviews, their track record is somewhere between zero & 1 percent.

No, I enjoy reviewing & critiquing my fellow political pundits… especially self-righteous Conservatives whose predictions always seem to align with their own agenda. “Democrats bad! Conservatives good! Argh!” (wave outstretched arms for effect.) It can really get quite absurd. Why anyone listens to these people is beyond me. Like the saying goes, “Always certain. Rarely right.” Remind you of anyone?
 

The Competition

Fortune Magazine does predictions every year, mostly economic, but will also predict political actions that might affect the economy. If it’s any indication, their Predictions for 2017 included “AOL Will Get Cool Again” (spoiler alert: It didn’t.) So now that you have some idea just how unrealistic their predicting can be…

Fortune’s first political prediction right off the bat: “The U.S. Gets a Giant New Infrastructure Bill”. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Republicans LOVE to promise “infrastructure”… as long as they don’t have to pay for it. Despite controlling BOTH houses of Congress and the White House, Republicans didn’t even mention “infrastructure” in the massive budget they passed last week with enormous tax cuts for corporations and the Top 1%… which will make paying for that “infrastructure” Trump promised next to impossible.

Fortune made only four “political” predictions, and the remaining three were (arguably) all correct… though predicting a GOP-controlled congress with Republican president will cut taxes is a bit like predicting Trump will poop-tweet something stupid at 6am. Ditto for predicting a roll-back of many Climate-Change regulations, continued anti-immigrant rhetoric, and “tax-reform” where they give corporations a huge tax cut (that “will pay for itself with all the corporate revenue it encourages to return from overseas”… dream on.) Barrel of fish? Meet “shotgun”.

Our next contestant is CNN, pitting thirteen in-house advisors against each other to answer the same eight questions… only three of which are political in nature: “location of Trump’s first overseas visit”, “status of the DOW”, and “Trump’s approval rating.” Trump waited until May to make his first overseas trip, visiting nine cities (in five countries) in nine days:
 

Trump's 1st overseas trip.

 

Four (of the 13) analysts get partial credit for saying “Israel” (though technically the first stop was… oddly enough… Saudi Arabia) which was stop #2 on day two of his first ever overseas trip. Honorable Mention to the last pundit (Jeff Yang) for the most honest prediction: “Depends on where he wants to build his next hotel.” Maybe he was the only one to get that question right?

While only two pundits predicted the DOW to lose ground, no one predicted the DOW to close up over 24,000 as corporations poured Billions into buying back their own stock (something that used to be illegal before Reagan) to artificially pump up the price ahead of the massive GOP tax cut for those same corporations and their wealthy owners/investors (allowing them to pocket more of those dividends.) The reason this was once illegal is because stock price used to reflect the health of a company. If a company was successful, it was a safe investment. But now that stock value no longer has anything to do with their success as a company, buying stock is quite-literally legalized gambling. Watch the 2015 movie “The Big Short” for a primer on how over-inflated stock & real-estate values created the 2008 Wall Street bubble that resulted in global economic devastation. (Again, props to Yang for wondering if the DOW will be measured in rubles.)

Trump’s approval rating by the end of the year? Six of the 13 were reasonably close to predict the mid-30’s to 40%. Five said it would be over 50% (one thinking 60%), and radio host Dean Obeidallah being the only one to correctly guess Trump would end his first year with “the lowest approval rating in history.” Such polls only started with Eisenhower in 1953, but Trump did end the year with the all-time lowest approval rating at just 39.3% (the second lowest was Ronald Reagan ten points higher at 49%.) Trump himself believes (of course) that he ends his first year with nearly the exact same approval rating President Obama had at the end of his first year (Trump: 46%, Obama: 47%). Problem is, Trump is citing a single very pro-Republican Rasmussen poll for his figures. Obama’s 12-poll average by December 2009 was 49.9%… more than 10-1/2 points higher than Trump’s… which I’m certain Trump consoles himself by believing that’s “Fake News!”

And again, props to Yang for wondering if Trump’s poll numbers could be negative.

ABC’s “ThisWeek” asked its Roundtable to make some predictions for 2017:
 


Some Predictions for 2017 (1:20)

 

Question: Biggest promise Trump delivers on and biggest promise broken? They did fairly well. While “ObamaCare” wasn’t repealed, it was kneecapped. No Wall. No “Muslim Ban”. Trump tried repeatedly at the latter, and while the Supreme Court eventually ruled a “watered down” version was legal, the appeals courts are still challenging it. So the year ends with no absurd “Muslim Ban”.

And last but not least, my favorite each year, the folks over at Fox “news” Sunday.

This is my favorite part of the prediction game, looking back at how absurdly wrong Conservative pundits get it year after year. The more Conservative they are, the more smug they are when making their predictions. Fortunately for them, #FnS spends no time whatsoever to look back at how they did the previous year, for if they did, several might think twice before daring to make any on-camera predictions year-after-year.
 


Fox “news” Sunday pundits predictions for 2017 (8:49)

 

Laura Ingraham predicts Trump nominates “a judicial Conservative well-liked by the rank & file GOP and is approved by Congress”, but doesn’t cite Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch is eventually approved… but ONLY after the GOP changes the rules, passes “The Nuclear Option”, and approves him with a simple majority (final vote 54-45 thanks to two Democratic defectors.)

Julie Pace only predicts “2017 will be unpredictable.” There, she was right.

NRO’s Mike Needham, a man working had to inherit the mantle of “Worst predictor since Bill Kristol”, said matter of factly, “Obamacare WILL be repealed; HHS Sec Tom Price will do a great job” (he was forced to resign); and the result will be “better, more affordable healthcare.” GOP never came up with a replacement. Their only change was to abolish the “tax mandate” which will result in higher premiums and 18 Million low-income Americans losing coverage.

Juan Williams predicted President Obama to stay heavily in the public eye and become a DC “powerbroker”. Instead, Obama totally eschewed public life altogether, coming out only to partake in a BBC interview last week where he was asked questions by Prince Harry. Obama urging “people in leadership positions not to use social media in a way that fosters division” is probably his strongest rebuke of Trump his entire first year… and even here, never mentions Trump by name.

I’ll let you watch the rest of the video and judge for yourselves the accuracy of their predictions (note: Needham then goes on to describe Obama’s final year… with monthly job gains pushing 200K, unemployment down to 4.6% and GDP of 3.5%… as “anemic” and expected continued job growth under Trump and a GDP of “3%” as “roaring back.”
 

Now, a look back. How did I do predicting 2017? Pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Though if I had stopped after 10, I would have scored a personal best. Oh, well. My first four predictions were so spot-on, you’d be forgiven for thinking I cheated and wrote them last week (I assure you, I didn’t.)

  1. Right: “President Obama’s final budget will still be in effect until October (Republicans actually didn’t pass a new budget until December), so it is unlikely the economy will turn South in Trump’s first year.” – Trump of course is not only taking full credit for his first year economy, but it ALL happened under Obama’s final budget, Obama’s tax rates, and with “job-killingObamaCare in full effect. Trump not only took credit for the economy, he simultaneously criticized Obama’s policies as “hurting job growth” (despite unemployment now down to 4.1%), justifying his massive tax cut for corporations and the Top 1% at the expense of anyone earning less than $75K/year.
  2.  

  3. Right: Trump’s Russian ties will continue to haunt him in 2017, but with a GOP controlled Congress, nothing will ever come of it. – The Mueller investigation continues. Startling revelations emerged of Don Jr, Jared Kushner (Trump’s wunderkind go-to guy for every boring job) and Trump’s own campaign manager Paul Manafort, actually meeting with a Russian lawyer promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, IN Trump Tower… two floors below Trump’s office, and still he insists (16 times in his last interview of the year) that no collusion ever took place between his campaign and the Russians. Four people working for the Trump campaign have been indicted. Two have plead guilty (Papadopoulos and Mike Flynn), and just the other day we learned Papadopoulos bragged to an Australian diplomat that the Russians “had thousands of emails on Hillary Clinton”… before news broke that the DNC has been hacked.
  4.  

  5. Right: At least one of Trump’s incompetent appointees will have their appointment questioned and perhaps even be forced to resign due some inexplicable cock-up that embarrasses the incoming Trump Administration. – Enter Mike Flynn, who was fired after serving a mere 24 days as National Security Advisor. The excuse given was that he “lied to the FBI” (about his overseas business interests)… EIGHTEEN DAYS AFTER acting Attorney General Sally Yates TOLD the Trump Administration Flynn had lied to the FBI and was therefore a blackmail/security risk.
     
    Here is the final list of Trump Administration staffers who either were fired, forced to resign, or were “reassigned” (grab your magnifying glass.)
     
    Trump Admin 2017 Departures

     
    Trump promised to “Drain the swamp”, but so far, the only people leaving are people HE hired.
  6.  

  7. Right: Trump will hold a record low number of Press Conferences, preferring instead to use Twitter. No huge surprise here. Trump held exactly ONE Press Conference his entire first year in office.
  8.  

  9. Wrong: Trump will deploy between 100,000 and 300,000 troops back into Iraq & Afghanistan. – Happily, this didn’t turn out to be the case (at least, as far as we know.) Instead, he deployed an additional 3,900 “advisors” into Iraq, Afghanistan & Syria to push back against ISIS. Growing anger against ISIS in those countries for targeting their fellow Muslims (something I had predicted for 2016) has made them quite unpopular, and huge defeats at the hands of the Iraqi army has hurt ISIS recruiting, decimating their numbers (unlike 2015 & 2016, I did not attempt to predict the size of ISIS by the end of 2017, but I did not see the Muslim backlash against ISIS growing so intense in just one year, so I probably would have gotten it wrong if I had.)
  10.  
    Right: – I predict at least five such deadly mass casualty [ISIS inspired] attacks across the world. 2017 was a busy year for ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks around the world:
     

    • New Years day: Istanbul nightclub – 39 killed.
    • March: Car runs over pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London. – 4 killed.
    • May: Ariana Grande concert in Manchester – 22 killed
    • June: Eight people are killed when a van strikes pedestrians on London Bridge.
    • April: St. Petersburg underground is the target of a suicide bomber – 15 killed
    • April: Uzbek asylum seeker kills seven people when he rams a lorry into a crowded shopping street in Stockholm
    • April: At least 27 people die in an explosion inside a church in the city of Tanta, Egypt. Another blast kills at least 16 in front of a church in the coastal city of Alexandria, Egypt.
    • August: a van rams into crowds on the Ramblas in Barcelona killing 15.
    • October: eight people are killed when a terrorist in a rental truck speeds down a popular cycle lane in lower Manhattan on October 31.
    • November 24: more than 300 are killed by gunmen in a mosque during prayer in the city of Bir al-Abed, the main city in northern Sinai.

     
    In all, there were 1,128 terrorist attacks (mostly in Muslim countries) in 2017. Is it any wonder Muslim refugees were desperate to come here seeking to escape the rampaging warzone their countries have become?
     

  11. Right: The election of an openly bigoted xenophobe like Trump will worsen [acts of open racism] three-fold. – “Three-fold” is a rather arbitrary figure, but the open protesting of neo-Nazis protesting the removal of Confederate monuments earlier in the year (even resulting in one death as one neo-Nazi plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters) was seen in numbers not seen since the 1930’s. And Trump, afraid to offend his white supremacist followers, declared (just minutes after that young girl was run down & killed) that there were “very good people on both sides” of the protest, and that “both sides” shared in the blame for what happened.
  12.  

  13. Right: There will be NO significant border wall construction in 2017. – Shocker, I know. Anyone who actually believed construction would begin on Trump’s ridiculous pointless border wall (and that Mexico would pay for it) are what Turnip-Trucks were invented for. In fact, two weeks before his inauguration, Trump was already walking back the “Mexico will pay for it” claim, and proposed asking Congress to pay for it now with the promise he’ll find a way to get Mexico for it later. Seriously.
  14.  

  15. Right: At least one nation will say Trump is not welcome in their country. – The mayor of London said Trump is not welcome there after retweeting a video by a Far Right British anti-Muslim hate-group falsely claiming to be that of Muslims attacking a disabled Dutch boy, and the British Parliament demanded PM Theresa May dis-invite Trump from a scheduled state visit. Trump is as welcome in Europe as a skunk at a garden party. Trump was also met with protests in Germany during his visit to Hamburg, And during the G7 Economic Summit, the “most fit president in history” who ridiculed Hillary Clinton’s stamina, ended up following the other world leaders in a golf cart as they strolled the streets of Taormina, Sicily, and protests in France against Trump erupted when he snubbed the Paris Climate Accords… a treaty that was signed by EVERY other nation in the world… even Syria & Iran who both failed to initially sign but later came back to sign the treaty. Even China… the country Trump claimed made up the “Global Warming ‘Hoax'” to gain economic advantage as everyone but them agreed to the restrictions… agreed to the restrictions. Russia too signed the accord. Only Trump/U.S. did not.
  16.  

  17. Wrong: We will gradually see less & less of Trump over time [as he comes to hate the job he won but never actually wanted.] – In at least one way, I could have rated this True, with Trump holding a record low ONE Press Conference and spending a full THIRD of his entire presidency on vacation… which I’m certain is likely a record… even after ridiculing Obama on the campaign trail for all the time he spent golfing. But Trump, a total narcissist, lives to be in front of the cameras. Instead of press conferences and giving interviews, Trump hit the “campaign trail” and gave speeches to his throngs of adoring fans.
  18.  

  19. Wrong: Calls for investigations into all of Trump’s conflicts of interest will grow. – I believe the only reason this didn’t gain more traction is because the subject was overwhelmed by the non-stop controversies that seem to emanate from this White House day after day.
  20.  

  21. Wrong: Every building with Trump’s name on it will become an instant terrorist target the moment he’s sworn in, and the cost of protecting those buildings will become a serious matter. Again, also wrong, and again, for the same reason. Just too much other breaking news sucking all the oxygen out of the room. Many have expressed concern over the cost of defending Trump’s multitude of properties, but surprisingly, there have been no reports of attempts to attack Trump hotels/offices around the world. (Note: There HAS been concern relating to the cost of securing all of Trump’s properties while he visits them on “vacation”.)
  22.  

  23. Wrong: Expect at least one American company to file an “unfair trade practices” lawsuit against Trump. I expected businesses and foreign governments seeking to curry favor with Trump by choosing to do business with Trump (booking stays in his hotels vs a competitor, etc) would result in many of his competitors crying foul. But Trump’s global unpopularity has made that less of an issue than expected.
  24.  

  25. Wrong: The promise to “greatly expand the use of coal” and “completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline” will be met with a resounding thud as both projects prove to no longer be cost effective. – I’m going to rate this one wrong, even though the demand for coal did not rise significantly (7.8% in 2017) and is expected to rise only an additional 1% in 2018. Keystone XL output has likewise been slightly depressed as oil prices remained too low to make it economically viable. But oil prices closed at just under $67/barrel… up from $52.42/barrel when Obama left office. (National avg price/gal of gas also up 44cents since Obama left office.)
  26.  

  27. Wrong: I expect Trump’s relationship with Russia to become strained as he grows increasingly erratic. Generally, Trump’s relationship with Putin/Russia is about the same as it was when he took office. In fact, Russia & Israel are the only two places where Trump’s approval rating is higher than Obama’s (see: “skunk” above.)
  28.  

  29. Right: Trump will not be able to amass enough Republican votes (and zero Democratic votes) to repeal “ObamaCare”. Regardless of what they say now, Trump absolutely did NOT “repeal ‘ObamaCare’.” The GOP tax bill did severely harm it and threatens to undermine the program (which will cost taxpayers Billions as 18 Million lose their healthcare), but the program itself, with its requirement insurance companies accept people with preexisting conditions and limit rate increases… are all still there.
  30.  

  31. Wrong: Russia will test their new found relationship with the new administration to see just how much they can get away with. – I really thought Putin would thumb his nose at Trump and ramp up their support of Assad given the opportunity, and possibly become more aggressive annexing neighboring (former Soviet block) countries now that Trump was in office, but they already seem to have everything they want.
  32.  

  33. Right: Don’t be surprised if focus on many of Trump’s campaign promises are overshadowed by catastrophes that develop in his first year. – And by “catastrophes”, I mean problems of his own making. The daily scandals flowing out of this White House (Trump promised to “Drain the swamp”, but so far, just about everyone “drained” from Washington are Trump appointees. Fully ONE-THIRD of Trump’s original staff resigned, fired, or was reassigned) became almost daily news. No one is asking “Where’s the wall” because just about everyone knew it was total bullshit the day he promised it.
  34.  

  35. Right: Trump’s proposed “ten-fold” expansion of our nuclear arsenal? I see just enough Republicans to side with Democrats to stop any such proposed increase in our nuclear stockpiles. No expansion. – Just dumb to begin with. Completely unnecessary and a total waste of money. Plus no one saw it as “a pressing need” that demanded we follow through on it.
  36.  

  37. Wrong: 2017 will be declared “the hottest year on record”. – Damn! This was supposed to be a “gimme”! But 2017 “only” scored in the Top 5.

 
Ten right, nine wrong for an average of 53%. I can live with that, considering how little I had to go on for what to expect what life would be like under Donald Trump.
 

So how about my predictions for 2018? Predicting Trump is like predicting a toddler’s next move. If I could do that, I’d be making a fortune writing books on child rearing. But if you want to know what Trump will do in any situation, you’ll probably do best guessing what an undisciplined child that no one says “No” to, would do in that same situation.
 

  1. We’ve already seen the price of oil (as noted above) rise 20% in just Trump’s first year in office. Completion on the “Keystone XL” and increased coal production were supposed to reduce energy costs as we made ourselves more self sufficient, but the market had other ideas. Investors in the KXL need oil prices close to $75/barrel again to make the project cost efficient, and angering OPEC with his “anti-Muslim” rhetoric certainly doesn’t help matters any. So expect the price of oil to continue to rise in 2018 and the resulting increase in gas prices to start depressing the economy (as well as a number of other factors I will go into below.)
  2.  

  3. The Mueller investigation will continue to cause trouble for the Trump Administration as more & more revelations emerge. And as the controversy deepens and Trump becomes more worried, expect to see him spending more time trying to befriend Democrats as he grows concerned of a GOP rout come the November mid-terms that could lead to impeachment hearings by mid-2019.
  4.  

  5. And as I just hinted at above, rising trouble for Trump at home (more on that below) will make a Democratic rout in November seem inevitable. Expect Democrats to retake the Senate and possibly even the House come November. We already saw major election upsets in Virginia & Alabama. Expect that trend to continue into the 2018 mid-terms.
  6.  

  7. As the price of oil continues to rise (and the price of gas with it), sucking more and more money out of the economy, expect an economic slowdown by years end. Not only will rising gas prices suck billions out of the economy just as it did leading up to the 2008 crash, but expect interest rates to continue to rise (already raised three times in 2017) as the Fed finds it must lure investors to pay for the $1.5 Trillion dollar deficit Trump’s budget will create thanks to his irresponsible tax cuts (“deficits” only matter to Republicans when a Democrat is in office), the cost of doing business will also rise. Rising prices and less money in the system (because of more people putting their money in the bank to take advantage of rising rates), means a slowing economy. Trump took credit for the economy under Obama’s final budget & tax rates, but 2018 belongs to Trump. The economy, the unemployment rate, the deficit, wherever it goes from here, there’ll be no one to blame but himself.
  8.  
    (Note: Kind of a prediction for 2019, but I can already see Republicans are setting Democrats up for a fall. As the economy slows and controversy sweeps Democrats into power, the slowdown will continue into 2019, and many of the causes… like Trump’s massive tax cut for corporations… they just can’t be undone with a massive 19.5% corporate tax hike during a slumping economy headed for Recession. Republicans will be sure to point to Democrats and blame them for the economic timebomb they left them. But that’s a prediction for 2019.)
     

  9. And when the deficit starts to explode, Republicans will use it as an excuse to cut entitlements and programs for the poor.
  10.  

  11. And as such, unemployment will be up by years end. It is currently 4.1%. I would not be surprised to see unemployment close to 6% by years end if the economic slowdown I predict comes to pass.
  12.  

  13. The Wall? Yeah, that’s still going nowhere. Congress isn’t going to pay for it… especially in light of the rapidly increasing deficit thanks to the massive irresponsible tax cut Republican’s passed. There will be no significant progress on any “border wall” in 2018. There will be too much other stuff for Republicans to worry about in the coming year.
  14.  

  15. Trump’s approval rating? Already in the toilet (as noted earlier), with a slowing economy, major promises that continue to go unkept, increased “scandal” stemming from the Mueller investigation, I would not be surprised if Trump’s approval rating is below 30% by years end. Presidential approval ratings tracks with the Economy, and Trump is already in the low 30’s in a good economy.
  16.  

  17. And on that note, I question whether Mueller acts in time for the mid-terms. Much in the way former FBI Director James Comey was paranoid about possibly being accused of “shielding” Hillary Clinton if he hadn’t disclosed they were reopening the investigation into her missing emails after it was discovered disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner had been sharing emails with his wife, Huma Abadeen. I have some concern Mueller might consider waiting until after the 2018 mid-terms to announce anything significant regarding the case against Trump. I’m going to predict that does NOT happen, Mueller releases some controversial findings before the mid-term election, but will wait so long he will be criticized for “waiting too long” to have a greater impact on the election.
  18.  

  19. Republican Party also used info obtained from Russian hackers to target down-ballot races. As controversy over GOP misconduct grows, Dem chances in the mid-terms improve.
  20.  

  21. And Trump, Master of Distraction that he is, will find ways to distract the public from the growing controversy swirling around his Russia ties during the campaign. “Russia-Gate” will continue to dog Trump throughout 2018, but I have my concerns over just how desperate he’ll become to distract from the controversy. A year ago (before he took office), I might have worried he might start a war with North Korea just to escape scrutiny over his Russia ties or business dealings, but he didn’t send hundreds of thousands of troops into Afghanistan like I expected, so maybe he’s more adverse to military conflict than I first suspected. There’s always a chance his incompetent bungling could provoke an attack, but I don’t see him initiating one just to distract from his problems at home.
  22.  

  23. And speaking of Trump’s “business dealings”, I would be surprised if one of the revelations to come out of the Mueller investigation is Trump’s business ties to the Russian Mob. We already have significant (if not incontrovertible) proof Trump did business with the Russian Mob in his real estate dealings, and Russian money launders permeate his campaign like stench on a cowpie, but Mueller will make it official in 2018 as it is revealed they uncovered evidence of Russian Mob money finding its way into the “Trump 2016” campaign.
  24.  

  25. And as Mueller’s reports grow more & more damning of the Trump Campaign’s links to Russia, Republicans will grow increasingly desperate to discredit him. Possibly with Republicans launching an investigation of their own… into Mueller to accuse him of being on a “partisan witch hunt”. Republican will continue to try to discredit Mueller and the FBI in much the same way they try to discredit legitimate investigative news as “fake news” so that no matter the findings, they can simply dismiss them as coming from an unreliable source no matter how airtight the evidence (ala “The OJ Trial”.)
  26.  

  27. Will Bernie declare he’s running for prez again after mid-terms? I suspect he will. He is already (in 2017) traveling the country, giving speeches, and energizing crowds in key election states like Iowa.
  28.  

  29. North Korea. Despite a flurry of activity in mid/late 2017, I think Toddler Trump grew weary of his new toy and stopped paying as much attention to Kim Jong Un… who in turn is talking less about Trump. While I do worry that growing provocative rhetoric between these two powerful spoiled children that no one says “No” to could lead to one one of them doing something stupid, I’m going to predict cooler heads prevail and we see no significant conflict between the U.S. and North Korea in 2018.
  30.  

  31. I predict Michael Flynn will testify in open court about what Trump knew about Russian involvement/support of his campaign.
  32.  

  33. Trump’s history of incessant Tweeting will come back to haunt him as past tweeted statements will be used to contradict assertions he makes to defend himself in Russia investigation (and trying to discredit witnesses.)
  34.  

  35. Democratic leaders (but maybe not Congressional candidates themselves) will (stupidly) do their best to downplay the possibility of “impeachment” in the lead up to the 2018 mid-term election. This is exactly what they did in 2004, and despite American’s realizing they were lied to about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” as a pretext for launching an unnecessary war of aggression against Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein, and that war still raging more than a year later, Democrats were afraid that if voters thought they’d spend all their time impeaching the president, they wouldn’t be focused on their jobs. The result? Republicans retained control of both the House and Senate, leading up to the economic downturn that led to the crash of 2008.
  36.  

  37. Puerto Rico will still be far from recovered from the devastation of the 2017 hurricane season before suffering additional damage in the 2018 season.
  38.  

  39. The war in Afghanistan will still be going on by years end. The first recruits who weren’t even born yet on 9/11 will be signing up to join the military and preparing to be sent overseas to fight a war older than they are.

 

And that’s my list of predictions for 2018. Sorry for all the doom & gloom. But at least I don’t foresee a war with North Korea. That’s something, right?
 


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If You Don’t Believe Roy Moore’s Accusers, then believe Roy Moore
Dec 11th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Just a quick observation this week as we await the results of the Alabama Senate race.

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” – Mark 8:36

Good question. Right now, Evangelicals Republicans have chosen to abandon every principle they claim to believe in, in the name of political gain. How else do Evangelicals explain:

1) Supporting a thrice-married serial adulterer billionaire who BRAGGED about committing sexual assault only to defend his disturbing language by claiming he was lying… “It was just ‘Locker Room’ talk’.” (And more recently, even suggesting it might not have even been him on that tape… despite already admitting it was, and the fact there’s a witness… the man who was interviewing him at the time [Billy Bush.])

2) Supporting someone like Roy Moore, suspected of serial sexual abuse of young girls… one as young as fourteen… when he was a 30 year old District Attorney, only to further assault his accusers by calling them all “liars” EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE EVIDENCE they are telling the truth.

3) Supporting Televangelist Joel Osteen even after he refused to open the doors of his massive mega church in Houston to Hurricane flood victims… a “church” BTW that does not have a cross ANYWHERE on it.

Moore is running to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. Alabama is a deep Red state with a lot of Evangelical voters. So red, it very well could elect someone accused of sexually assaulting children over a man who prosecuted two men for the murder of four little girls in the 1960. “Yellow-dog Democrats” of the 1950’s have become the “Yellow-dog Republicans” of today (people who would vote for a yellow dog before voting for the other Party.)

Moore’s supporters deeply mistrust “The Media”… thanks to being told day-after-day by the likes of Donald Trump that The Media can’t be trusted. “They lied”, says Trump, about the chances of him winning the election. “They lied”, says Trump, about his losing the Popular Vote. “They lied”, says Trump, about the number of people who attended his inauguration. And now they are “lying” (says Trump) about Russian meddling in the election. It’s all one giant conspiracy.

So when Roy Moore claims there’s “a conspiracy” out to get him too, it rings true to them. “All these women are lying. I never did what they’re claiming.”

Problem is, we don’t have to take THEIR word for it. Just listen to Moore himself.

In his first interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity, he was asked if he ever dated girls that young when he was in his 30s. “Not generally, no” was Moore’s reply. Not a flat-out ‘No’, but “not generally“? Moore added that when he did, he was sure to ask the mothers permission first.” That to me doesn’t sound like a man that didn’t pursue underaged girls when he was in his 30’s.

Then in another interview, Moore recalls the time he met his future wife at a Christmas party… when he was 38 and she was just 23… already a 15 year age difference, but legal. Moore laughingly recalled recognizing her name from a “college dance recital” he attended “eight years earlier”… which would have made him 30 and her just 15. He doesn’t say they met or spoke, but the thought of that 15 year old girl stood out in his memory.

Two things stick out to me in that anecdote of his: 1) Colleges don’t hold “dance recitals”, public schools do. If his future wife was only 15, she was NOT attending a Junior College where Moore claimed to have seen her. Changing the place he saw her from a “High School” to “a Junior College” to me suggests “consciousness of guilt”. He KNOWS how it would sound if he admitted first seeing her while she was still just a high school freshman.

And 2) What was an unmarried 30 year old man with no children doing attending a high school recital? That seems very odd to me. Moore did NOT claim he went with “a friend” or family members to see their own children perform. As far as I’m aware, he has never explained what he was doing there.

I heard an Alabama Moore-supporter on TV Sunday dismiss the idea of a 30 year old man pursuing 14 year old girls by saying “Things were very different 40 years ago. Most parents would have been THRILLED if a 30 year old District Attorney wanted to date their 14 year old daughter.” Seriously. He said that.

Two problems there: 1) Moore categorically denies he did this. So this voter believes Moore is lying and yet intends to vote for him anyway. And 2) “40 years ago” was only the late 1970’s. I’m old enough to remember living in the South in the late 70’s. Older men dating teenage girls was NOT generally approved of. MAYBE in the early 1950’s, but NOT the late 1970’s. That defense is nonsense. (ADDENDUM: Someone mentioned how scandalous it was when Southern Rock legend Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13-year old cousin in 1957.)

So, like I said, YOU DON’T HAVE TO believe Moore’s accusers. Believe Moore himself. It will be interesting to see how this vote turns out. Personally, the way I see it, if Moore loses, Alabama gets its first Democratic senator in decades, splitting the Senate 49/51 (Dem/Rep) and a huge loss for Donald Trump. If Moore wins, either the GOP will be forced to defend Moore for the next 11 months (till the 2018 mid-terms) making them look like the Party where sexual predators go for career advancement and will end up investigating/prosecuting Moore (while their Party leader Trump is also under investigation), or Alabama elects its first Democratic senator since 1992, reducing the GOP margin to just one vote and handing Trump (and Bannon) another huge loss.

I see that as a Win/Win.
 


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Self-Funded Campaign? Follow the money (launderers)
Jul 24th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Today/Monday, Trump’s wunderkind son-in-law and dumping ground for every boring job Trump doesn’t want to do, Jared Kushner, will be testifying before both the House & Senate Intelligence Committees behind closed doors, where they will grill him about his repeated interactions with representatives of the Russian government that he just kept forgetting to report on his “Security Clearance” application (until it was revealed by the so-called “fake” news… ie: “real” news.) Unfortunately, because of the National Security issues discussed, there will be no cameras and no reporters. But seriously, “because of the National Security issues”, Jared HIMSELF shouldn’t be allowed in the meeting because he would NEVER qualify for a “Top Secret” security clearance today knowing what we now know. First (as documented in my continually updated List of Trump/Russia Ties) he failed to reveal he joined Mike Flynn to meet with Russian Ambassador Kislyak… not once but TWICE. Then it was a meeting (along with another White House adviser) with “VEB“… a Russian “Bank” (actually, a money laundering operation) while it was under U.S. sanctions, and now most recently exposed, joining Don Jr to host a secret meeting IN Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to (supposedly) discuss “Russian/American adoption”… a meeting both Kushner and Don Jr (and campaign manager Manafort) all just “forgot” to mention meeting when asked about having ever met with “any Russians.” THEN it was revealed they didn’t meet with just one person but in fact FIVE… two of whom are naturalized former Russian citizens: a former “Soviet” military intelligence officer who served in the late 80’s, and convicted Russian money launderer Irakly Kaveladze, whom was charged with laundering $1.4 Billion dollars between US & Russian banks (and what better way to “clean” your stolen money than to funnel it through the presidential campaign of a dimwit candidate who’s about as clever as a two-story outhouse?) The lawyer, Veselnitskaya, made her bones representing Denis Katsyv another Russian money launderer in 2013, who was convicted of laundering $230 million dollars and ended up paying “millions” in fines (a slap on the wrist.) And if you recall, early in the Trump (cough, gag) presidency, he fired Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara (despite telling him to stay on) after he called to audit the records of “DeutscheBank” in NY… of whom Trump is their largest debtor owing HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS… for their involvement in (you guessed it) a $10 BILLION dollar Russian money laundering scheme. (More on DeutscheBank’s laundering of millions from Russian-owned national oil company Gazprom here.)

And there’s those words again: “money launderer“. In any discussion of Trump’s connections to Russia, the phrase “money launderer” keeps popping up like weeds on a Trump golf course. That and the words “sweetheart deal” are rarely far behind. From nearly the beginning of his campaign, Trump claimed to be “self-funding” his campaign in order to suggest he was “beholden to no Special Interest” and answered to nobody. Well, it is now well documented that Trump’s “self-funded campaign” was a HUUUGE lie (forgive the Trumpism). He wasn’t even the biggest donor to his campaign (and yes, he only “loaned” money to his campaign expecting to be paid back.) He charged his own campaign for the use of his hotels and private offices. He had a number of SuperPAC’s, and… I posit… received MILLIONS in financial assistance from the Russian government and Russian government connected oligarchs. So if running a “self funded campaign” means one is “not beholden to anyone”, then what does it mean when your entire presidential campaign was practically bankrolled by a hostile foreign government? And not just ANY government, but one that considers North Korea, Syria and Iran among their allies, has invaded several of their neighbors (Crimea, Georgia & Ukraine), and whom Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Joseph Dunford called “the greatest threat to U.S. security” on the planet? (Remember when Obama was president and Republicans tried to claim “Romney was right [about Russia being our greatest threat]” after they invaded Crimea? Where are those Republicans now? Fawning over Putin, that’s where.)

(ADDENDUM: In May, the Sessions Justice Department abruptly settled a lawsuit against Prevezon Holdings for a mere $6 Million. Prevezon stood accused of laundering millions in Russian crime money through real-estate investment in Manhattan. “Veselnitskaya represents the family of Pyotr Katsyv, the former vice governor of the Moscow region, whose son, Denis [mentioned above] owns the real-estate company Prevezon.”)

The possibility that the currently serving president actively & willingly accepted the support of an enemy of the United States (and threat to global security) in order to campaign for president, and that same hostile power may have even attempted to subvert our democracy to do it, is horrifying. AND not only does the acting president continue to deny/dismiss the evidence of those activities (and disparage those who collected it… our OWN intelligence agencies) but even actively seeks to REWARD Russia by promising to lift sanctions and return seized property for NOTHING in return… should be the biggest political scandal in American history (FAR bigger than even Watergate.) Of course, I know there are those of you out there repeating the Trump talking point: “These are the SAME intelligence agencies who told us Iraq had WMD’s!” No. That bullshit won’t fly here. This blog is subtitled “Recording history for those who seek to rewrite it” for a reason. You may remember someone named Valery Plame? An undercover CIA agent who was outed by Cheney because her husband (Amb Joe Wilson) dared inform them their claim Iraq had purchased 20,000 tons of yellowcake uranium never happened? The CIA repeatedly told the Bush Administration that “the ‘intelligence’ provided by untrustworthy Iraqi exiles was garbage” (remember “curveball”?) And the IAEA repeatedly told Bush “NO, Iraq does NOT have WMD’s!” Bush’s response was to ignore them and swap generals until he found people willing to tell him what he wanted to hear. So don’t go claiming “the intelligence agencies are unreliable” as your defense of why evidence of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia can’t be trusted.

We have NEVER before seen a foreign adversary involve themselves in our election. Not only did they hack the DNC and steal the emails of Hillary’s campaign manager (which in the end was just revelations about some of the offensive crap pulled on Sanders, released to stir up discord among Democrats… which worked), but as we later discovered, they even attempted to hack the central voting servers (tabulators?) in 39 of 50 states. If that’s not a big deal to you, your patriotism and support for democracy is highly in question. But to think they MAY have done so with the support of the current occupant of the White House? There just are no words to describe just how… how… well, like I said, “no words”. “Appalling” just doesn’t cut it.

So when I hear others dismissing this story, making excuses, or people claiming to dislike Trump YET use Trump’s own talking points to dismiss the investigation, I just want to say, “What is WRONG with you???” Even most Republicans now agree Russia meddled in our election (both the House AND Senate voted to impose sanctions on Russia and Iran – ADDENDUM: Trump let the deadline on implementing those sanctions pass on October 1st.) Trump supporters laugh about Democrats’ “obsession” with Russia. “Russia! Russia! Russia!” they joke (ala “Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!”), with one Right-Wing cartoon depicting the GOP elephant talking about “Healthcare, economy and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” while the Democratic donkey (in a straight-jacket with crossed-eyes) ranting “Russia! Russia! Russia!” Funny, it wasn’t terribly long ago Democrats were the ones working on healthcare, jobs and the economy, yet blocked by UNPRECEDENTED GOP obstruction while Republicans ranted about “Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!” and “Kenya! Kenya! Kenya!” So give me a freakin’ break as you try to claim the moral high-ground. “Recording History for Those Who Seek to Rewrite It”, remember? That crap won’t fly here.

So, as Mark “Deep throat” Felt told Bob Woodward during Watergate, let’s “follow the money”…

The 2016 Presidential race made history as “the first Billion-dollar Campaign” in history where each of the top two nominees spent an estimated one Billion dollars to run for president (Trump about 1/3 less than Hillary’s $1.4B thanks to all the free air time & publicity he received from The Media he now so loves to hate.) I remember in 1992 when having Billionaire Ross Perot in the race resulted in the near-scandalous first “$100 Million dollar presidential race.”) Accusations of Perot trying “to buy the presidency” abound. Did you ever hear that ONCE in 2016?

But Trump isn’t as successful a businessman as he claimed… a fact we could confirm if he dared release his private & corporate tax returns… which he will NEVER do (despite once promising he would after his audit, then after winning.) In fact, after having filed for bankruptcy FOUR TIMES, the man who claimed to be worth “over Ten Billion dollars”, according to Forbes Magazine was estimated to only have assets in total worth of about $3.5 Billion… not too shabby, but that’s not LIQUID assets, and his campaign would have cost him nearly a third of his total NET worth… meaning a firesale of Trump assets just to pay for any “self-funded” campaign.

But in terms of LIQUID assets (cash, stocks, bonds, etc), Trump only had about $270 Million in the bank before he’d have to start selling off hotels just to pay the fuel bills on his aging 707. And as I already pointed out, he wasn’t even the biggest investor in his own campaign. So where did all that cash come from?

Well, I’m no accountant and I am NOT about to attempt an itemized audit of all the money spent on the Trump campaign, but we know (see my aforementioned “List”) he received hundreds of millions in bank loans from known Russian money launderers (DeutscheBank AND VEB), sold a $40million dollar property in Florida to a Russian fertilizer magnate (Dmitry Rybolovlev) sight-unseen for $95million (who never once visited the property before having it bulldozed after the election and resold at a $60million dollar loss), and now all these interactions with individual Russian money launderers behind closed doors. “Self-funded campaign” my ass.

I’m sure Trump’s loyal devotees… and likely Trump himself… think he is “carrying on the Reagan Legacy”. Considering that Reagan was a staunch anti-Communist who branded Russia “the Evil Empire” and stirred up the Cold War to levels not seen since The Cuban Missile Crisis, one can hardly imagine St. Ronnie’s reaction to the possibility that the man currently occupying his chair got there with the help of Russian intelligence subverting our democracy and millions in laundered cash from Russia, who then denies Russia’s involvement while advocating for a lifting of sanctions and a return of seized property to Russia in exchange for NOTHING… no consolations, agreements, treaties or prosecutions. If he weren’t already dead, that would surely have killed him.

(UPDATE: My thanks to “The Rachel Maddow Show” for pointing out on their 7/24/17 episode that back in October… before the election… the “CrowdStrike” Internet Security organization detected an unusual link between a computer server belonging to the Trump campaign and computer servers belonging to yet another Russian bank… “Alfa Bank”. According to CrowdStrike: “When the researchers pinged the server, they received error messages” meaning this was a near “dedicated connection” between the two computer servers. “Eighty-seven percent of the DNS lookups (by the Trump server) involved the two Alfa Bank servers.” As a PC tech in civilian life, I understand the lingo of computer networking and find this revelation damning… likely not a bigger story due to it’s complexity, but to me, it’s like finding a key to a Putin Love Nest in Trump’s desk drawer wrapped in a bow.)

This is a Constitutional crisis. Trump himself tweeted about his “complete power” to pardon anyone… even himself, and consulted his own lawyer about his power to pardon members of his staff, his family (think Kushner & Don Jr) and (yes) even himself (“Why?” Trump’s new Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was asked repeatedly yesterday. “If [Trump] has done nothing wrong, why is he asking about his power to pardon himself?” “He’s done nothing wrong” was the repeated non-answer answer.) There’s a gray area here because the Constitution grants the president the power to pardon “anyone”, but does not specify whether he has the power to pardon himself. During Watergate, the question was raised whether Nixon might try to pardon himself and if that was even legal. After all, if a president can pardon himself (or anyone acting under his direction), he can commit any crime (or order others to do so) and just pardon himself/them after the fact. Legal scholars surmised at the time that this would probably not be legal because a “pardon” is an admission of guilt, which would instantly disqualify him from office. But such a case has NEVER (AFAIK) come before the Supreme Court (I contacted Senator Bernie Sanders about the need to pass a Constitutional Amendment forbidding it before Trump has a chance to put it to the test in front of his now-stacked Supreme Court. So far, no response.)

If you’re a partisan Trump supporter, there’s a “legitimate” question in your mind: Is Trump doing a good enough job that we should just ignore his possible crimes and subversion of democracy? “He’s doing a good job” (in THEIR opinion) “So, let him do the work of the people and just forget about how he got there!” They’d point to a record high stock market, falling unemployment, and an anti-immigration agenda they are foursquare in support of. Trump supporters only see the parts they like. A few weeks ago, my own father cited: “[Trump] stopped Ford [Motors] from leaving the country” in praise of him, but when I pointed out they only closed a plant in Mexico (they had already planed to do in 2015, but I digress) but announced they will be moving production of the Ford Focus to China, he wasn’t quite so pleased with him (the “good” news on the Ford move: no jobs lost because the same US plant will start making a different vehicle. Bad news: no jobs GAINED either by them doing it.)

Honestly, we just don’t know the effects of the Trump economy yet. Each President’s budget doesn’t go into effect until October (and I have little doubt Trump’s will be delayed – UPDATE: It was), so we are still coasting on the last Obama budget.

But even so, do we ignore crimes of this magnitude just because we like the job the criminal is doing? Ask yourself, is there ANY question in your mind that if the tables were turned and Hillary Clinton were in office now with a GOP Congress, that they’d ALREADY be drafting articles of impeachment with a FRACTION of the evidence we have against Donald Trump? Benghazi, private email server, the (widely debunked) sale of Uranium to Ukraine, something-something “Clinton Foundation”? You think these same Republicans would be arguing “Let it go! She’s doing a good job!” That doesn’t pass the Laugh Test.

Trump’s campaign was financed using millions in laundered Russian crime money. And the number of times the phrase “Russian money launder” and the name “Trump” appear in the same sentence is too frequent to just be a coincidence.

Update #1: “New Republic” magazine’s Craig Unger recently published his own investigation into the Russian Mob laundering crime money through Trump real estate… not just buying & selling, but in some cases operating out of offices in Trump Tower itself. (Brief video interview with Unger here.)

Update #2 12/05/17: Special prosecutor Bob Mueller subpoenaed German “Deutsche Bank” financial records connected to Russian money laundering as well as info related to the hundreds of millions they loaned Donald Trump and Jared Kushner over the past decade (even after Trump defaulted on a $600 Million dollar loan, was SUED by Deutsche Bank, and Trump counter-sued THEM for three billion dollars.) Nothing hinky there. Once again, The Rachel Maddow Show is on top of the issue with a detailed breakdown of an extremely complex issue.
 


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Critics Say Trump Jr Investigation is Evidence of a “Witch Hunt”. Nope, Same Hunt.
Jul 17th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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I upset a number of readers back in 2014 when I argued that “Snowden is no hero“. Unlike GENUINE whistle-blowers who have my utmost respect, Edward Snowden didn’t see a wrong and attempt to right it, he sought out a job that would give him access to classified info, then stole that info en mas without having any idea if what he was stealing contained anything of social import, fled the country into the open arms of a nation hostile to the U.S., THEN read through everything he stole and decided ON HIS OWN what we deserved to know and what we didn’t. He even blackmailed the U.S. government by threatening to release even more classified documents if they came after him (so we don’t deserve to know what’s in a document unless he’s threatened?) Nothing Snowden did qualifies him as a “whistle-blower” or “hero” worthy of praise in my book.

Someone who agreed with me at the time was American reporter (working for The UK Guardian) Glenn Greenwald who was also a Bernie Sanders supporter like myself. Greenwald criticized Snowden’s actions when the story broke, but quickly changed his tune when Snowden picked HIM to be his inside man to tell his story. I’ve been critical of Greenwald’s “ethics for sale” ever since.

So it came as little surprise to me over the weekend when I heard Greenwald taking the side of critics of the Democrat’s investigation into Donald Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer back in June 2016, questioning if investigating Junior has anything to do with the original mission of “Whether or not the Russians [attempted to] hack our election?” To Greenwald, the investigation of Trump Jr has nothing to do with the original stated purpose of the investigation into alleged Russian hacking, and therefore does indeed make it appear to be a Democratic “witch hunt” just as Trump Jr. claims.

Wrong.

The point of the investigation has ALWAYS been whether or not the Russians meddled in the 2016 presidential campaign (and tangentially, whether or not anyone in the Trump campaign knowingly/willingly accepted that help.) And by that definition, the investigation into Don Jr’s meeting with a Russian lawyer promising him dirt on Clinton is absolutely still well within the focus of the investigation and NOT evidence of any “witch hunt.”

Which is really quite insane coming from Conservatives. I guess one must be over the age of 40 (Junior is 39) to remember the Clinton Presidency and the ceaseless parade of ever-changing investigations of Bill Clinton. The GOP demanded (and got) a Special Prosecutor named Ken Starr… originally hired to investigate whether or not then-Governor Bill Clinton was shown favoritism in a failed Arkansas real estate deal known as “Whitewater”. That SAME investigation morphed REPEATEDLY over time to include investigations of the White House Christmas card list (“were taxpayers footing the bill for all those stamps?”), the “Socks the Cat Fan Club” mailing list (ditto), Trooper-gate (did then-Governor Clinton use local cops to shuttle girlfriends in & out of the Governors’ Mansion?) and eventually the Lewinski Scandal (with plenty of other investigations in between.) Was any of that related to “Whitewater” (their original stated purpose?) Of course not. Was any of that as great a threat to the very foundation of our democracy as the Russian Meddling investigation being conducted today?

And now Conservatives think Democrats are on a “witch hunt”… or so says the man who questioned his predecessor’s place of birth for eight straight years to make the case he was not a legitimate president.

A number of news sources have published timelines of the Don Jr meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskya to question who knew what & when (please note that… unlike in the United States… NOTHING happens concerning Russian citizens conducting business in another country without the Russian government’s knowledge & approval) to demonstrate that members of Trump’s inner-circle… including the man himself… LIED about having no contact with Russian officials during the campaign. To that, I’d like to add a couple of details:

  • June 3, 2016: A friend of the Trump’s, a man named Rob Goldstone, a British publicist who managed the 2013 Miss Universe pageant for Trump (held in Moscow that year), sent an email to Don Jr telling him that the Russian government wanted to assist his father’s campaign by providing him with “high-level information” about Hillary Clinton:
     

    Goldstone Email to Don Jr.

     

    Rather than be alarmed that a (hostile) foreign government was attempting to aid his father’s campaign, and then notify the FBI, Don Jr. held on to the message and waited several days before responding:

  •  

  • On June 6th, 2016, angered by allegations that anyone in his father’s campaign might be “colluding with the Russians” (later their defense would morph into “Russian officials“), Don Jr. went on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to angrily denounce any allegations that anyone in his fathers campaign had been in contact with “the Russians” (again, still not yet using the “officials” qualifier.)
  •  

  • June 7, 2016, THE VERY NEXT DAY, Trump Jr responds to Goldstone’s email, asking him to set up the meeting with Russian lawyer Veselnitskya and that they could meet at Trump Tower in NYC. Don then emails his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and his fathers campaign manager Paul Manafort (who would later be forced to resign when it was revealed he had worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Russian government) and invites them to join him in the meeting with the Russian lawyer promising dirt on Clinton provided by the Russian government. The inclusion of Manafort is a HUGE problem for the Trump campaign because Don Jr could rationalize that nether he nor Kushner (at the time) actually worked FOR the campaign and therefor what he told GMA (and everyone else) was not a “lie”, but Manafort’s presence destroys that defense.
  •  

  • According to Don Jr, the stated purpose of the meeting was “to discuss Russian/American adoption”… which Putin had suspended in retaliation for the “Magnitsky Act”. Even if that were true, the only way the adoption embargo would end is if that Act (which made Putin quite angry) were repealed, so really, Veselnitskya’s goal was to seek the repeal of “The Magnitsky Act”, not concern over International adoption.
     
    But for Don Jr… who now claims the meeting was just about “adoption”… that was NOT why HE excitedly agreed to the meeting. HIS focus was the promise of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton provided by the Russian government.
  •  

  • Same day, just hours later, Trump Sr. declares he’s going to give “a major speech” in the coming days regarding “all of the things that have taken place with the Clinton’s” that he felt sure his supporters would find “very informative.”
  •  

  • June 9th, 2016, the meeting takes place in Trump Tower (one floor below his father’s office). It quickly becomes apparent to Kushner & Manafort that Veselnitskya had “nothing” and left after “10 minutes”. Don Jr also left the meeting after coming to the same conclusion after 20 minutes. Remember at the the time, accusations were flying that Russia was behind the hacking of the DNC and the stolen Podesta emails that had appeared on a Russian website.) Don Jr. was clearly expecting salacious information revealed in those emails. The fact they produced “nothing” highlights the fact there was nothing highly controversial in those stolen emails to begin with the way many continue to insist.
  •  

  • As a result of this “nothing burger”, Trump Sr’s “major speech” regarding the Clinton campaign never takes place (if he didn’t know about the meeting, then what “very interesting” information did he think he was about to reveal and what happened to it?)

The investigation into the details of Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer… and now we know (no thanks to him) that the meeting also included Goldstone, a Russian/American lobbyist named “Rinat Akhmetshin”, a translator, and a yet-to-be-identified Russian security officer… continues.

Trump Sr. says his son just did “what anyone would have done in his situation” when offered “opposition research”. During the 2000 presidential campaign, just prior to the September debate, the Al Gore Campaign received a package in the mail containing stolen material from the Bush campaign. The Gore Campaign’s response was to call the FBI.

Maybe “excitedly agreeing to meet with a hostile foreign power in hopes of obtaining stolen property you believe will benefit your campaign” is what “anyone with the last name of Trump” might do, but it is definitely not what “anyone” would have done in his position.

And continuing to investigate Russian efforts to meddle in our (past and FUTURE) election(s), and the apparent willingness of people associated with the Trump campaign to support those efforts, is ENTIRELY the point of the Democratic investigation into Russian meddling. A single hack is barely a footnote in this investigation, and if all we did was restrict our focus into “who hacked the DNC”, we’d be ignoring the greatest threat to our democracy since the War of 1812.
 

Conservatives turn on Trump, pt2

 


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Conway Admits Trump Told of Russian Hacking in JANUARY yet continued to deny. Pushed to ease sanctions.
Jun 26th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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It was a bit like hearing someone mention in passing that “little green men” are advising Trump on foreign policy and thinking nothing of it. Yesterday/Sunday, the Trump administration allowed adviser KellyAnn Conway out of whatever box they’ve been hiding her in ever since she coined the term “Alternative facts” during “Meet the Press” last January, to repeat/defend Trump’s recent acknowledgement of reality the fact Russia DID indeed attempt to hack the 2016 election. Trump tweeted last week an accusation that Russian hacking took place “on Obama’s watch and yet he did nothing about it.” Ignoring for a moment the false charge that Obama “did nothing about it” (an extensive detailing of Obama’s response by the WaPo), the bigger news was that Trump seems to have finally acknowledged what he has denied ever since the election: that Russia DID indeed attempt to hack the U.S. presidential election. Trump has consistently denied this to be the case (yet never once ordering the FBI/CIA/NSA to look into it), rejecting the conclusion of SEVENTEEN (pdf) intelligence agencies and security firms ALL in agreement that without question, Vladimir Putin himself directed his intelligence/spy agencies to actively hack at least 21 state election servers during the 2016 election. So my ears perked up in astonishment when Conway let slip yesterday that Trump… while still president-elect… had been informed way back in JANUARY that Russia had attempted to hack our election AND that he called those actions “disgraceful”. So why… as recently as LAST WEEK… was Trump STILL dismissing claims of Russian hacking and pushing Congress to lift/ease sanctions on Russia imposed by the Obama Administration in retaliation for that meddling?

Here is the passing remark made by Conway during ABC’s ThisWeek that caused my eyes to bulge out of my head:
 

(:50 seconds)

 

WHAT??? Trump was not only informed of the hacking five months ago, but acknowledged it as both true and serious, yet not only continued to deny it, but even worked to REWARD them for it???

How is that not a scandal?

Ask yourself WHY would a president actively try to convince Americans that something “didn’t happen” that he himself already acknowledged months before to be true? Not only that, but then go on to actively try to reduce… or possibly lift entirely… sanctions that were imposed upon Russia as punishment for doing so?

Tell me again how the investigation into possible Trump/Russia collusion is “a witch hunt”?

I have continued to update my List of Trump’s Russia Ties since it was published last March. Since then, I have added more than TWENTY additional links (in addition to the more than dozen original links) between the Trump campaign and Russian officials/representatives. STILL, people ask “where’s the evidence of collusion?” (The next big line of defense to listen for: Right-Wingers are already arguing “collusion [a presidential candidate collaborating with a hostile foreign government to undermine our election] is not a crime.” Seriously. Think they’d be just as blase’ about it if it were Hillary? (I seem to remember Republicans making a big stink over All Gore accepting campaign contributions from Buddhist monks back in 2000.)

Defenders of Trump and/or Russia have little to no credibility. Present them with evidence, and their reaction is to simply dismiss it out-of-hand. But provide a link to a partisan hack with zero credibility defending Trump by citing something out of context, and THAT’S gospel. I group Russian-hacking deniers in the same crowd as Climate Change deniers. No amount of evidence is proof enough for them. Cranks with their own agenda talk about the ONE glacier that’s “growing” to distract from the 99 that are shrinking as some sort of “proof” that everything we’ve been told about Global Warming is some bizarre conspiracy to advance some insane agenda known only to them. “9/11 Truthers” continue to deny any evidence that contradicts what they’ve convinced themselves is true (the most sophisticated and massive conspiracy in history pulled off by the most inept administration in history just months into office) because it doesn’t comport with their reality. The only “truth” they trust is that which “confirms” what they already desperately want to believe (Fox built an entire network on that philosophy. And InfoWar’s Alex Jones is their light-bringer.)

James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence testified on May 8th that he “can’t comment” on whether or not he has seen evidence linking Trump to Russia because it “impacts an [active] investigation.” Before FBI Director James Comey was fired, he asked for more resources to investigate Trump’s Russian business ties and had started receiving briefings on those ties daily instead of just weekly. Trump had already previously fired two people with the power to investigate him: Preet Bharara, NY State Attorney in charge of investigating NYC/Wall Street financial crimes, and acting Attorney General Sally Yates… who informed Trump his National Security Director (Mike Flynn) lied about his ties to Turkey & Russia yet kept him on for more than three weeks afterwards anyway, before firing him when the Press started asking questions.

If Hillary Clinton had won the election and was accused of these same acts, is there ANY doubt Republicans would already be drafting Articles of Impeachment against her? At the Comey hearing last month, several Republicans used the event to question Comey about Hillary Clinton, her emails, and her husband having a private “chat” with then Attorney General Loretta Lynch. For Republicans, Trump publicly admitting to “obstruction of justice” on national TV, and now one of his own top advisors admitting that he actively sought to convince the American public that a charge HE HIMSELF knew to be true (Russian hacking) was instead “fake news” and has been actively trying to reduce/remove the sanctions imposed on Russia for doing so in spite of knowing the truth, isn’t a matter worthy of our concern. That’s beyond outrageous…

…It’s grounds for impeachment.
 


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Wanna Understand Trump? Think Omerta
Jun 12th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Let’s imagine for a moment that Donald Trump is totally innocent and his campaign did not knowingly welcome or accept Russian assistance during the 2016 election, any other mature & conscientious president of the United States would want to know if reports that a hostile foreign government… one Trump has praised and repeatedly spoken of in favorable terms (even suggesting he’d revoke sanctions against them in exchange for NOTHING)… may or may not be true. One might want to know if that hostile foreign power attempted to subvert our election (even if it were in their favor.) But immature man-child Toddler Trump thinks ANY discussion of Russia is merely “sour grapes” by his opponents seeking to undermine his legitimacy. James Comey testified last week that Russia attempted “hundreds… perhaps even a thousand… but at least hundreds” of times to hack into election computers. This is not the simple stealing of private emails, folks, this is actively attempting to undermine our very democracy itself! And Donald Trump (and Republicans at large) don’t seem to care. As Comey also pointed out, “They will try this again! They will try in 2018 and 2020.” So WHY isn’t Trump concerned? I posit because he already knows the answer and KNOWS any closer investigation might lead back to him, so instead of calling for an investigation to reveal the truth (knowing he has nothing to fear), he repeatedly tries to shutdown that investigation.

Trump acts as though he’s “untouchable”… with all the confidence of a crooked mayor knowing he has the cops on his payroll. A Mob Boss that’s in control of the police dept. No need to worry about any investigation. He’ll just order them to drop it, and if they don’t, fire them and replace them until he finds someone who will (a few weeks ago we discussed Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” where he kept replacing his Attorney General until he found one who would fire the Special Prosecutor investigating him (Archie Cox.) Trump fired NY Attorney General Prett Bharara (who gave his first interview since Trump fired him on ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday where he clearly sided with Comey and questioned Trump’s veracity), the man in charge of investigating Trump’s New York business dealings. According to Bharara, then “president-elect” Trump called him “twice” to “shoot the breeze” (aka: letting him know he’s on Trump’s radar. A subtle form of intimidation)… something he felt was odd having never spoken to President Bush and only once to President Obama as he left office. Trump personally summoned Bharara to Trump Tower to ask if he was staying on, twice encouraging him to do so. Since Trump was only “president-elect” at the time, he chalked it up to his unfamiliarity with procedure, but when Trump called him a third time… this time as acting president… Bharara refused to return the call. Shortly after, he was fired.

Before Congress had approved Trump’s pick of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, the job was temporarily filled by the former Assistant AG Sally Yates… again at Trump’s insistence. Yates was fired the week before Sessions was confirmed when she started bringing up the fact she had warned the Trump campaign months before that Michael Flynn lied about his lobbying activity and was a potential blackmail risk, yet Trump hired him anyway. Session was approved a week later in a contentious vote that was anything but a sure thing (we could have been left without an Attorney General for weeks… possibly even months when he fired Yates.

Then came James Comey. Like Bharara & Yates before him, Trump had personally asked Comey to stay on and never hinted as to having any problem with his past work. Yet, suddenly, he was fired, and the excuse given (his mistreatment of Hillary), still doesn’t pass the Smell Test.

It is a rare day when Senator Lindsey Graham and I agree on anything, but yesterday on “Face the Nation”, he pointed out that Russian meddling does NOT necessarily mean Trump’s win wasn’t legitimate. He was absolutely correct in pointing out the two things are not mutually exclusive. It IS possible for Trump to have won fair & square AND for Russia to have attempted to meddle in our election. I often wonder what it would be like if the roles were reversed, if Hillary had won and there was a question that a country like Saudi Arabia may have attempted to hack the election in her favor? But instead of investigating the Saudi’s, Hillary praised them and proposed favorable legislation that benefited them. “Nothing suspicious there! No’siree, Bob!” And any suggestion otherwise is “a witch hunt” designed to sabotage her presidency. (Hell, even during Comey’s testimony, several Republican Senators grilled him regarding the investigation into Hillary’s emails, including one very confused John McCain calling it “a double standard” to have closed the investigation into Hillary’s emails with the question of Russian hacking still open (yeah, don’t bother trying to figure that one out.)

Comey testified last Thursday that he was so concerned about Trump’s “history of saying untruthful things”… later even going so far as to use the “L” Word several times… that he started taking contemporaneous notes after every encounter, and that he never felt the need to do so when working for Bush or Obama. That’s disturbing. The Head of the FBI expressing his concern that The President of the United States’ “history of “lying” was so concerning to him that he immediately felt… from their very first meeting… the need to not just to document their conversations, but immediately share what he was told with his colleagues in the Justice Department after each encounter.

A clearly confused Donald Trump accused Comey of lying under oath when he stated that Trump had suggested to him that he “drop the Flynn investigation”. Trump was asked whether he himself would ALSO testify “under oath”. “ONE HUNDRED PERCENT” Trump replied… “Not under oath” he immediately added. So, would he or wouldn’t he be willing to testify “under oath”? (You might remember that Bush & Cheney refused to testify “under oath” and only together not separately… assummedly to ensure they kept their stories straight.)

I’m still not entirely clear as to what Trump was trying to say in that clip. [ibid] The first time I heard it (and what prompted me to go back and record it) was him saying “Not under oath” after just saying he’d be willing to testify under oath “100%”. But after repeated viewings, Trump seems to be going back to Comey claiming he asked him for his “loyalty”… calling THAT “under oath… a pledge of allegiance? Who does that?” Trump… in a Palinesque moment… seemed to think the reporter was trying to “trick him” in some way. “How” is anyone’s guess. But chronically dumb Republicans (Palin, Bachmann, Perry, Carson, and now Trump) that are routinely embarrassed by their moronic statements become SO paranoid that they second-guess every question they are asked as some sort of “gotcha” question designed to make them look dumb. So they overthink their answer and inevitably end up sounding every bit the moron we know them to be. And (I suspect), such was the case here. I also think “Two Corinthians” Trump has no qualms against perjuring himself when it’s just “my word against yours” with no other witnesses but “God”.

So, back to Trump’s suspicious behavior.

I strive not to reveal details about myself as much as possible on this blog, but in this instance, I think it’s important to make an exception: I’m Italian. 3rd generation. The Mafia is very real, alive & well in the U.S. as well as Italy and not just the stuff of movies. Trump’s Mob ties are well documented. One can’t be in the Real Estate business in a major metropolitan area without dealing with Construction firms & Contractors linked to The Mob, and no one gets very far in the Real Estate Development business in New York (or Vegas, or Atlantic City, or Miami Beach, etc) unless they please The Mob. People often ask why the 58-story Trump Tower is constructed out of brick & concrete instead of steel & glass (roughly the maximum height for a concrete structure.) That’s because The Mob ain’t IN the “steel & glass” business. They’re in the “brick & mortar” business (“cement shoes” are easy to come by when you make your own cement). A close relationship formed, and the bigger & more powerful you are, the closer that relationship becomes. One might even begin to think that dealing with dictators like Putin or Kim Jong Un might be easy compared to working with the criminal underworld.

One thing you learn working with The Mafia are their techniques for staying out of trouble. There’s a reason they called John Gotti “The Teflon Don”. It’s because he knew how to make sure there was never any clear evidence linking him to any of The Mafia’s crimes. The word “Omerta” (oh-MARE-tah) is the Italian Mob word for “Code of Silence”. Keep your mouth shut and don’t cross The Don. We all know their famous use of innuendo from the movies: “You’se wants me to take cares of him, Boss?” They take pains not use words like “kill” or “shoot him” when giving orders, just in case someone’s listening in. “Ah ha! There! He gave the order himself to have someone murdered! Bust him!” Instead, it’s “take care of” someone as if they were their sweet old mother. How the person receiving that request reacts is totally up to them, or so we should believe. So Trump saying, “I hope you’ll drop this” and now hiding behind “I never ordered him to do anything” doesn’t pass the smell test. Trump is a hotel mogul. If he told the manager of one of his hotels, “I hope the Penthouse is ready when my friends come to visit tomorrow”, you can be DAMN-well sure that Penthouse will be immaculate by tomorrow. And if the manager simply took it as a “suggestion, not an order” (the way Trump is now implying) and does nothing, is there ANY question that manager would be out of a job the following day?

Another thing The Mob is known for: “Family is everything.” That’s why they’re known as Crime Families, because when you get right down to it, the only people they trust are “family”. There is NO outsider they completely trust, so their circle of most trusted advisers are members of their own family. Sound like anyone you know? Trump’s top advisors are his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared. And the more they feel the world around them is closing in on them as their paranoia grows, the more they turn to those close family members for support & advice as the only people in the world they trust. And if you want to keep your job, you’ll kiss the Don’s ring. “Loyalty is very important to me.” (The “Capisce?” at the end is implied.)

Once you realize that Trump views EVERYTHING through the prism of being a Mob-connected shady real estate developer, working with known criminals, making questionable business deals under the table, hiding your taxes and avoiding saying anything “directly” that might get him in trouble due to the paranoia that you’re under constant surveillance, his entire behavior to date starts to make sense.

So Trump ushered everyone else out of the room to talk to FBI Director Comey privately about Mike Flynn. Not even Attorney General Jeff Sessions and wunderkind Son-in-Law Jared Kushner were allowed to remain. Why? Comey describes them “lingering, reluctant to leave” after they were asked to do so by Trump. And this is understandable if you’ve spent as much time around Trump as they have and know that when he asks everyone to leave so he can speak to someone “in private”, it means he’s about to do something he probably shouldn’t and wants to make sure there are “no witnesses” who might contradict him later or otherwise testify against him… just the way a Mob Boss might do.

The mere fact Trump told everyone… even his AG… to leave the room before speaking to Comey suggests “consciousness of guilt”. He KNEW he was about to say or do something that might get him in trouble. As Bharara pointed out yesterday: Trump campaigned for days criticizing the fact former President Clinton met in private with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch onboard a private jet on the Phoenix airport tarmac (possibly to discuss the investigation into Hillary’s emails), so “he KNEW that a president discussing an open investigation with the person in charge was improper” (possibly even “criminal”), “so Trump can’t claim ignorance” (“hypocrisy” definitely, but not “ignorance”.)

After Comey went public with their conversation (which everyone from Trump on down is now calling Comey “a leaker” for doing), Trump later said Comey “better hope there are no recordings” of their private conversation, yet refuses to say if he himself made a recording of their conversation. I’ve always thought it very odd for Trump to question whether or not he himself might have made a recording of something that took place in the Oval Office. Wouldn’t he know? Why not just say, “I have proof! I recorded our conversation!” Instead, he’s suggesting (not “promising”) he may release something in the next few days that would be “very disappointing” to his accusers (the only thing that would “disappoint” us is if this just turned out to be yet another lie.) BTW: Comey releasing his own private notes of a conversation that was NOT classified is not “leaking”. If that were the case, simply speaking to any reporter would be a crime. Fortunately, we have a First Amendment (for now.)

If Trump has a recording that exonerates him, why would he hem & haw about releasing it, acting coy regarding its very existence? Reporters simply asked if he was insinuating he recorded their conversation and yet he won’t say. Remember what I said above about “Palinesque paranoia”? I believe Trump thinks he’s under surveillance and that someone else surreptitiously recorded their conversation. Remember when he falsely accused President Obama of secretly wiretapping him? I have NO doubt Trump believes the Oval Office is bugged and that “someone” must have recorded his private conversation with Comey. All he needs are “a few days” for his Justice Department, the Secret Service, private bodyguards or P.I.’s to dig up this fanciful recording that (in his paranoia) he is certain must exist yet can’t produce, believing it will fully exonerate him.

Or maybe he has good reason to believe “someone else” is bugging his office. Could it be that Trump has reason to believe the Russians have bugged the Oval Office? Might he have received subtle messages that suggest they overheard private conversations they could not possibly have known of otherwise? Maybe he thinks he just needs a few days to convince the Russians to turn over the tape of his conversation with Comey? And Trump doesn’t have to reveal where the recording came from once he releases it, he can just say he recorded it himself.

Another point is that The Italian Mob isn’t the only “Mafia” out there. What about The Russian Mob? Could it be we are looking at the wrong Russians? Just a thought.

(UPDATE 7/27/17: A member of the Russian Mob, Oleg Deripaska, paid Paul Manafort $7.5 Million to manage the attempted 2008 redevelopment of The Drake Hotel in NYC by Manafort and Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash.)
 


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Tillerson and Clapper Rebuke Claims Russia Didn’t Interfere in Our Election.
May 17th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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I still haven’t figured out why so many people who claim to hate Trump absolutely refuse to believe Russia meddled in the 2016 election. They demand “Proof!” that it really happened, and when you show them that proof, they dismiss it out of hand and use Trump’s own “fake news!” pejorative to justify their doubt. Still butthurt over what The Media allowed the Bush Administration to get away with, they cite things like “the same Media told us Saddam had WMD’s!” Well, actually, no, that was NOT the media consensus at the time… unless the only “news” you watched was Fox. And the fact the Media gave Trump so much free airtime while “failing” to be more critical of the DNC (Democratic National Committee) during the election is all evidence that we can’t trust “The Media”. So when “The Media” says “Russia meddled in our election”, it’s once bitten, twice shy.

Yet they happily quote absurd ranting raving conspiracy theorists like “Alex Jones”, who sees conspiracies everywhere and practically invented the term “false flag”, and makes his living making claims without evidence (or otherwise flies in the face of existing evidence), to “prove” their own machinations are correct.

It’s also incredibly stupid. When you have the Tweeter-in-Chief HIMSELF publicly admitting he did things his own staff tried to claim he didn’t do, does it make sense to continue to deny he did it? It’s not just the American media claiming Russia meddled in our election. This investigation has gone global. And unlike claims of “WMD’s”, they can actually DOCUMENT their claims with a papertrail. And of course, having Trump himself constantly contradicting his own staff because he just can’t resist tweeting at 3am doesn’t help.

The same people quick to believe “PizzaGate” is real and will actually ARGUE with you that the Clinton’s are connected to a child sex slave ring in the basement of a DC pizza parlor WITH NO BASEMENT, will demand to see Classified “Top Secret” level evidence before they’ll believe Russia actually meddled in our election (there is only so much “safe-for-public-consumption” information our intelligence agencies can safely release without revealing sources & methods. So if what they tell the public isn’t enough to convince you, you’re an idiot if you think that’s all the proof they’ve got.) Why is it so hard to believe Russia meddled in our election? Are they really so benign and worthy of trust? (ask Ukraine, Georgia & Crimea.) After all, why WOULD Putin want someone friendly to Russia in control of their greatest enemies’ government? And even AFTER trying yet again in France, attempting to install yet another White Nationalist critic of Sanctions & NATO elected president in that country, these people STILL deny Russia meddles in elections. I’m no supporter of Hillary, but when she coined the phrase “Clinton Derangement Syndrome”, she couldn’t have been more right. Somehow, for these people, admitting Trump’s win was illegitimate is the equivalent of (gack) defending Hillary Clinton or admitting she would have won, and that’s something they’ll NEVER do. They act like someone is telling them their life-saving kidney transplant was stolen, terrified that if they admit the truth, they’ll take the kidney back. They are the beneficiary of someone else’s crime, and they’d rather defend the criminal and ease their conscience over choosing to keep the kidney than admit the truth. Relax. You can admit Russia interfered in our election and Trump’s win was illegitimate without rewriting the history of Hillary’s loss. You can keep your stolen election.

Last Sunday on “Meet the Press”, Trump’s own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, confirmed that Yes, Russia interfered in our election:
 

Tillerson confirms Russian meddling (:56)

 
Defenders of Donald Trump… including Trump himself… frequently (falsely) cite the testimony of the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper as testifying that there is “No evidence” that Russia meddled in our election and/or that anyone in the Trump campaign “colluded” with the Russians during the campaign. Both claims are dead wrong. Not only did Clapper never say there is “no evidence” of Russian meddling, he only claimed at the time he (personally) had not seen evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, only that he hadn’t seen it (at the time).

Clapper was invited on to ABC’s “ThisWeek” last Sunday to clear the air as to what EXACTLY he meant by “hasn’t seen”? Was he indeed clearing Trump of any allegations of collusion with Russia during the election? Clapper, choosing his words carefully, rebukes any claim that there is “no” evidence linking the Trump Campaign to Russia, and that what he testified to in no way clears Trump of such accusations:
 

Clapper: My testimony doesn’t clear Trump (2:48)

 

Clapper went on to confirm the fact Russia did indeed meddle in the 2016 election:
 

Clapper: Recent rash of Russian cyberterrorism includes their hacking of our election (2:02)

 

So stop claiming Obama’s DNI James Clapper “cleared Trump” because Clapper himself says that’s not true. Even Donald Trump’s own Secretary of State admits Russia meddled in our election. It happened. Deal with it.
 


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The (In)Complete (and growing) List of Trump’s Russia Ties
Mar 13th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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(LAST UPDATE: 3/15/18)
 
I‘ve stated more times than I dare count that I abhor Conspiracy Theories. Claims that “9/11 was an inside job” belong in the same rubbish bin as Sasquatch and Elvis sightings. But the evidence of links between the Trump campaign/White House and Russia (for whatever reason) are documented fact (often by photograph and peoples’ own admission) and continue to grow so fast, it is getting harder & harder to keep track of them all. So I’ve decided to start a list of people & events linking people connected to Trump (including the man himself) to Russia (and US/Russia policy.) I’m not positing “why” any of these people chose to come in contact with whatever Russian official/billionaire/oligarch for whatever reason, nor do i wish to draw any nefarious conclusions (not this post anyway) as to their goal. This is simply a list. Make of it what you will. It’s mere existence and length should raise eyebrows if not concern.
 

“I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away.” – Donald Trump press conference, January 11, 2017.

 

I keep hearing from so many Trumptonians who get a huge asinine belly laugh from any suggestion that Russia may be meddling in our Democracy (“My PopTart is stale! Blame Russia! Har! Har!”) Unless someone truly adores Russia and/or Putin, I can’t fathom for the life of me why anyone would rush to defend him/them, belittling any suggestion that Russia is anything but an innocent victim being targeted for character assassination by our “evil” Media. The closest I can fathom is some revulsion that… if true… it somehow benefits Hillary and/or could somehow miraculously make her president. I understand why you despise Hillary (okay, maybe not to your insane degree, but I did after-all write-in Bernie rather than vote for her), but this head-in-the-sand ridiculousness of dismissing evidence sight unseen that a dangerous & corrupt foreign power led by a brutal power-mad former KGB agent that has his critics locked up and/or murdered, may be… not just meddling but actually SHAPING U.S. policy to our detriment for their own personal gain… astounds me. After being accused of being a “traitor” during the eight years of the Bush Administration for not supporting his dangerous policies and corrupt government, I have no stomach for ridiculous borderline-traitorous fools who can’t set aside their hatred of Hillary… now extending to disdain for our own Free Press and First Amendment… long enough to examine mounting evidence that another country is manipulating the U.S. government from INSIDE the Oval Office!

I’m just curious what part of “the Russian thing” don’t they believe? Trump’s inexplicable fanboy love of Putin (even criticizing the U.S. to defend him)? The fact Trump appointed a man whom he had never met (Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson), someone who has had a friendly working relationship with Putin since 1999 and received Russia’s highest civilian honor, the “Medal of Friendship”, from Pootie himself… to be our Secretary of State… running a department whose primary job it is to aide/develop U.S. allies around the world and make life miserable for dictatorships like Russia/China/North Korea (and whose budget Trump now wants to cut by 37%), after not even being on Trump’s initial short list of nominees?

Or what about appointing a lobbyist for the Russian government… Paul Manafort… someone who had NEVER run a political campaign before, and is suspected of laundering tens of millions in Russian crime money… to run his presidential campaign?

And the list goes on (continued below.)

The List

Beside Russian “Medal of Friendship” winner Rex Tillerson mentioned above, we have:

Starting from the very beginning, as noted above, Trump’s second campaign manager Paul Manafort (hired after Corey Lewandowski was fired upon revelations of spousal abuse) was forced to resign when it was discovered that he lied about having worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Russian government in Ukraine and was paid millions of dollars at a time the United States was vociferously condemning Russia’s attempts to annex Ukraine. After his resignation, it was discovered that Manafort has also met with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Kiev-based operative with suspected ties to Russian intelligence, in April of that year (as well as at the Convention in July). Kilimnik had worked for Manafort as a Russian liaison a full DECADE in Kiev before Manafort offered his services to run the Trump campaign for free.

(UPDATE 3/22/17: As early as 2005, Manafort was already offering his services on how he could “greatly benefit the Putin Government”. AP reports the Russian government paid Manafort “$10 Million dollars a year” through at least mid-2009.)

(UPDATE 6/28/17: Why choose someone like Manafort… with NO experience running political campaigns… to run your campaign for president? Perhaps because of his connections to vast sums of Russian money? Like his business ties to Russian oligarchs such as Dmytro Firtash, a major Party of Regions backer who in 2008 partnered with Manafort in an $850 million plan to redevelop the famous Drake hotel in New York City? “Firtash, who acknowledged to the U.S. ambassador that he got his start in business with the permission of a Russian crime lord […] is under federal indictment in the Northern District of Illinois for bribery. He is [presently] under arrest in Austria pending his extradition to the U.S..” – NBC News)

A Washington Post investigation revealed that the Trump campaign demanded the removal of any pro-Ukrainian plank from the GOP’s Convention platform. Former Trump campaign official J.D. Gorden said it was Trump himself (at the urging of Manafort) who personally demanded support for Ukraine be expunged from the GOP platform. Before the Convention, Republicans were VERY pro-Ukraine, with some even demanding we arm the Ukrainian rebels against Russian forces (particularly after Russia provided SAMs (Surface-to-Air-Missiles) to pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels who then shot down a Dutch passenger jet killing all 298 people on board. No explanation for Trump’s request was ever given. Instead, the Russians MAY have been assured that sanctions imposed upon them for these activities might be lifted under a Trump Administration.

In 2008, John McCain declared, “We’re all Georgians now” after Russia invaded the former Soviet nation of Georgia. In 2014, the GOP took the side of Ukraine after Russia annexed Crimea, even calling for the U.S. to arm the anti-Russian rebels. Now suddenly, we are chummy with Putin and Russia’s is behaving as if we might lift those sanctions on Russia.

And just who might have made such a suggestion to Russia? Trump’s first (and ever so brief) National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn, who twice denied any communication with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, actually met with the ambassador IN TRUMP TOWER (and we are to believe Trump himself wasn’t present? He denied knowing of the meeting and fired Flynn for “lying to him”.) Flynn met with the Russian ambassador the very same day President Obama announced new sanctions on Russia (after SEVENTEEN intelligence agencies found evidence they were behind the hacking of DNC & RNC servers). In addition, Flynn not only spoke to the Russian Ambassador, he actually flew to Moscow (ibid) the year before for “Russia Today’s” 10th anniversary celebration where he was literally seated at Putin’s right-hand-side (at the same table with 2012/2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein… make of that what you will):
 

RT 10th Anniversary Dinner
Flynn & Stein at Putin’s table at RT Anniversary Dinner 2015

(Update 3/17: State owned RT paid Flynn $33,750 to fly to Russia to attend this dinner. This does not include airfare for him and his son and accommodations at a 5-star hotel. There is no evidence Flynn sought an exemption from the U.S. military to accept what would be an illegal payment from a foreign entity.)

(Update 7/11/17: GOP operative Peter W. Smith contacted Trump campaign advisor [and future National Security Advisor] Michael Flynn on Sept. 7, 2016 regarding his efforts to obtain “Hillary’s stolen emails” from Russian officials. Flynn agreed but there is no evidence he followed through on it. This story broke on July 3, 2017, but I did not mention it earlier because Smith was not part of the Trump campaign and it’s not clear if anything came of it. But with the revelation yesterday that Donald Trump Jr. was also contacted by Russia attempting to shop the stolen emails, it adds more credibility to the claim and highlights the extent of Russian efforts.)

And Flynn didn’t meet the Russian ambassador alone. Traveling WITH Flynn to Trump Tower was Trump’s son-in-law and now “political adviser” Jared Kushner (ibid: next link) to join him in the meeting Flynn lied about (and when Flynn denied meeting Kislyak, Kushner never spoke up to set the record straight.)

More recently, we have the case of former Senator turned Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who volunteered during his confirmation hearing that he had not spoken to anyone in the Russian Government while he was associated with the Trump campaign. In fact, Sessions HAD indeed met with the Russian ambassador twice during that time. He first stated that his meeting Ambassador Kislyak was so brief and inconsequential, it simply slipped his mind (not a quote). And maybe it was a brief encounter or simply part of his duties as a member of the Armed Services Committee, but he could simply have said he never met with anyone “on behalf of the Trump campaign” or “only as part of my duties as Senator”. But he didn’t. He simply denied having ever spoken to “anyone” working for Russia. And it IS interesting how many contacts Kislyak was making inside the Trump campaign. He was one busy bee.

Another Russian connection: Why did Trump try to appoint American oil industry consultant, real estate mogul and former reality TV star Carter Page from Merrill Lynch’s Moscow office to be a National Security Consultant to his campaign? Page not only criticized U.S. and NATO policy towards Russia, he did so from Moscow. The “Dixie Chicks” gotta be feeling the sting of that one.

In one of the more bizarre (and IMHO, significant) Trump/Russia connections was Trump’s sale of a $41 Million dollar Palm Beach mansion to Russian fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev sight unseen for $95 Million dollars (nearly 2.5x its worth, and never once used) only to then have it bulldozed four days after the election to build a $60 Million dollar home to sell at a $40 Million dollar loss. The Trump campaign vehemently denies ever “meeting” Rybolovlev, yet this same billionaire appeared at multiple Trump campaign events AND the RNC Convention in Cleveland… yet they’ve “never met”? (I find this connection most intriguing because I believe Bankrupt Trump needed money to finance his “self-funded” campaign, and this highly dubious $100 Million dollar windfall came at just the right time.)
 


 

(Addendum: Not only can Rybolovlev’s plane be seen at the same airport as Trump’s at multiple events, his yacht was also spotted docked near Trump’s biggest financial supporter and Breitbart News moneyman, Robert Mercer.)

Ever hear of Wilbur Ross before he was appointed to run of the Department of Commerce? Ross is a billionaire investor with close ties to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg. Ross was the Vice-Chairman of “The Bank of (the nation of) Cyprus”, a now Russian-owned bank thanks to Ross and Rybolovlev, to which Trump owed $600 Million dollars. Ross’ Russian connection is a bit complicated (as is everything in the financial industry), so once again, I’ll let Rachel (who is quickly becoming the go-to source on the Trump/Russia nexus) pound out the details:
 


 

While no reported human or financial tie to Russia (yet), Trump’s Svengali, Steve Bannon, former head of Alt-Right racist conspiracy rag “Breitbart.com” who became Trump’s campaign manager and is now his Chief Political Strategist, is a self-described Leninist. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Bannon proudly claimed, “I’m a Leninist.” “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Trump’s got his Putin man-crush. Bannon has Lenin.

Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman with Mafia connections and served time in jail for stabbing a man in the face with the stem of a margarita glass, approached Trump with a plan to license his name to build skyscrapers (including “a Trump tower on the site of an old pencil factory along the Moscow River”) across former Soviet-bloc nations, a few inside Russia, and in several U.S. cities with Trump’s name on them. The deal fell through but Trump and Sater remained friends. The Trump campaign denied knowing anything about Sater’s criminal past.

(Update 9/12/17: More on the man Trump claimed to barely know here.)

Also part of the Trump/Sater scam, Tevfik Arif, another Russian real-estate mogul who served a 17-year career in the Soviet Ministry of Commerce and Trade. In 2005, Trump entered into an agreement with Russian financial group “Bayrock” to build “Trump Tower Moscow”. The deal failed, but his partner, Arif, moved into Trump Tower NY and took office two floors below The Trump Organization.

Yet another Russian born real-estate mogul and business partner of Donald Trump is Alex Shnaider who partnered with Trump to build “Trump International Hotel and Tower” in Toronto. It may or may not be significant that Shnaider’s father-in-law, Boris J. Birshtein, is close friends with one of the heads of the Russian Mob [ibid “Soviet Ministry”.].

You may remember that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus… though not tied to Russia himself, did violate ethics rules by personally requesting the FBI “knock down” any reports linking anyone in the Trump Administration to Russia. The FBI refused and the ethical breach was deemed nothing more than a “momentary” embarrassment for the Trump White House (on par with Kelly-Ann Conway endorsing Ivanka Trump’s wares during a TV interview while representing the President of the United States.)

Former British MI6 intelligence officer Christopher Steele was forced into hiding recently after publishing a dossier detailing a number of Trump/Russia ties as compiled by the British Secret Service. Steele finally surfaced two weeks ago after many of the accusations made in the dossier have since panned out:
 


 

Among things Steele points out: It was barely 3 weeks after Paul Manafort took over running the Trump campaign in March of 2016 that Trump started trashing NATO (an alliance of Western nations to defend against Soviet/Russian expansion/militarism.) Russia has despised NATO and sought to destroy it since it was formed over a half century ago.

(UPDATE #1: Not even 12 hours and we have our first update. Remember Trump’s pledge that the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines would be made exclusively using “American-made steel”? Well, scratch that. We have our first exemption and I’ll give you one guess who it benefits: 40% of the steel will now come from a Russian owned steel subsidiary operating in Canada.

(UPDATE #2 – After refusing to resign, Trump fires Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara, a 40 year career Federal prosecutor for Manhattan/Wall St whom Trump himself personally assured he’d be staying on (along with 45 other Federal prosecutors) who just happened to be investigating a multi-BILLION dollar money laundering scheme of Russian money through “DeutscheBank”. Trump owes DeutscheBank hundreds of millions of dollars… their single biggest debtor.)

(UPDATE #2b – Deutsche Bank is under investigation as the largest known Russian money launderer obscuring the source of TEN BILLION DOLLARS in Russian funds. Deutsche Bank also loaned Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner hundreds of millions of dollars. Kushner was loaned $285 Million dollars by Deutsche Bank one month before the election.)

(UPDATE #3 – 3/20/17: Secretary of State Tillerson announces he will be skipping an announced NATO summit to visit Moscow instead.)

(UPDATE #4 – 3/21/17: There is no question Russia was actively supporting Trump via a sophisticated online “bot” based propaganda campaign.)

…whether or not the Trump campaign actively participated is still being investigated.

(UPDATE #5 – 3/27/17: It was revealed today that not only did Trump’s son-in-law and close WH adviser Jared Kushner meet with Russian Ambassador Kislyak twice with Michael Flynn, he… along with another unnamed “top WH adviser”… also met with executives of Russian state-owned development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB), a Russian bank under Western economic sanctions over Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. More details on VEB as the bank Putin uses to funnel billions into his personal projects and their connections to trump can be seen here.)

(UPDATE 5b – 6/27/17: The Rachel Maddow Show reports that “VEB”, the bank Kushner met with, ISN’T A BANK. They have “No banking license”, “No cash”, and their entire board is made up of Russian government officials. The head of VEB, Sergey Gorkov, is not a banker but was trained at a “school” that trained KGB agents.)

(UPDATE #6 – 3/28/17: A USA Today investigation into the origins of Trump’s wealth find ties to at least TEN wealthy Russian businessmen with ties to the Russian mob & organized crime. This is made more significant by the fact Trump denied having “any dealings with Russia” during the campaign.)

(UPDATE #7 – 4/4/17: Buzzfeed reports that the man Trump appointed as his “Foreign Policy adviser & Counter-terrorism expert”, Carter Page, was recruited as a Russian spy in 2013 (NYT report.) Their confirming source? Carter Page. More detail here.)

(UPDATE #7b – 4/4/17: In the above revelation about Carter Page, we also learn that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner… whom Trump seems to have tasked with EVERYTHING from building his border wall to achieving peace in the Middle East… met with one of the spies who recruited Page… Evgeny Buryakov, an employee of Russian-owned Vnesheconombank in Manhattan… in April 2016 (one month before he was sentenced.). Vnesheconombank paid $45,000 for Burykov’s legal defense while his compatriots fled back to Russia. One wonders what vetting… IF ANY… the Trump transition team performed after appointing people like Page & Flynn to such high-level classified Intelligence positions within their administration. PS: Page is still there.)

(UPDATE #8 – 4/4/17: The Washington Post has revealed that the UAE (United Arab Emirates) arranged a meeting in Seychelles between Erik Prince… founder/owner of “Blackwater“, the largest private mercenary army in the word that rose to infamy during the Bush Administration for corruption, violence and violations of International law… and an unidentified Russian “close to President Vladi­mir Putin”, to discuss the lifting of sanctions last January. Prince is an avid supporter of Trump, raised a quarter-million dollars for his campaign, and has many connections inside of the government including (now) his sister Betsy DeVos (whom Trump appointed his Secretary of Education.)

(UPDATE #9 – 4/11/17: More on Carter Page. It was leaked to the Washington Post today that he was the subject of a FISA Warrant requested by the FBI for suspected communication with the Russians during the presidential campaign. This is significant for several reasons: 1) This is the first report that a member of the Trump campaign themselves were the subject of an investigation and not merely “overheard” as we listened in on the Russians, 2) because FISA warrants are not easy to get and, 3) as the WaPo points out, is “the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents.”

(UPDATE #10a – 4/13/17: “UK Intelligence” (GCHQ) reports that they first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents. This is the earliest recorded report of interactions between the Trump Campaign and people working on behalf of the Russian government… before the Primaries even began.)

(UPDATE #10b – 4/14/17: So concerned was the director of GCHQ, that he *personally* contacted the head of the CIA… John Brennan… in the Summer of 2016. And so concerned was Brennan, that he contacts “eight top members of Congress” to report those findings.)

(UPDATE #11 – 4/25/17: Evidence emerging that Russia may be using the same hackers/strategy to hack the computers of French presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron. Macron’s opponent is White Nationalist Marine Le Pen, who has previously received millions from Russia, and has publicly met with Putin in Moscow to criticize French sanctions on Russia (just as Trump did.) Le Pen is virulently anti-immigrant and has been called “France’s Donald Trump.”)

(UPDATE #12a – 4/26/17: As noted in #11, Russian meddling extends well beyond the election of Trump and promoting Le Pen in France. There is also suspicion Russia aided “Brexit“, Great Britain’s vote to leave the European Union [also a goal of Le Pen], and MAY have helped Turkish dictator Erdogan… who ALSO wants Turkey out of NATO… to win a recent crucial vote to give him even more power, but also the ridiculous… yet well funded… “#CalExit” movement to have California succeed from the United States to becomes it’s own country… which opened it’s very first [fake] embassy in Moscow [no, I’m not kidding.])

(UPDATE #12b – 4/26/17: [ibid 12a link] Politico now reports that the more than half-million dollars paid to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to lobby on behalf of the Turkish government apparently did not come from the Turkish government but in fact Russia. Like the wealthy Russian Fertilizer Magnate mentioned in this report that bought a Trump mansion sight unseen for 2-1/2 times its cost, Russia uses wealthy Russian industrialists… made wealthy via being handed control of entire formerly Soviet industries… to funnel money to various political projects. And one of those wealthy industrialists… the head of the “Siberian Energy Group”… is the man who paid Flynn nearly $600,000 to lobby the U.S. on behalf of the Turkish government. Additional information here.)

(UPDATE #13 – 5/7/17: While not directly connected to the 2016 race, Trump’s son Eric told a WBUR reporter in 2014 that Russia was behind a $100 Million loan so his father could build a new golf course when U.S. banks were reluctant to fund such a project following The Great Recession of ’08. This contradicts Trump’s denials on the campaign trail he had no business dealings with Russia. It also establishes an existing lucrative relationship between him and Russia.)

(UPDATE #14 – 5/5/17: The Washington Post and The AP report that the Trump Transition Team themselves warned Mike Flynn that the U.S. government may be monitoring his contacts with Russia. THEY KNEW yet they hired him anyway. The Obama Administration was so concerned about the Trump Campaign’s coziness with Russia that they waited until just four hours before informing them of their intention to expel all Russian diplomats from the Russian embassy in retaliation for meddling in the election, because they feared “someone” inside the Trump transition team might warn Moscow of what was coming, giving them time to destroy any evidence [either of election meddling or connections to the Trump campaign.])

(UPDATE #15 – 5/10/17: Donald Trump fires FBI Director James Comey one day after former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee that she had been investigating connections between the Trump Campaign, Trump’s business interests, and Russia, and one week after Comey testified he had inadvertently “overstated” the number of emails Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisor Huma Abadeen has forwarded to her husband Anthony Weiner in his infamous October 28th announcement he was reopening the investigation into her emails. Comey was not told in advance he was to be fired, only learning of his dismissal *while he was delivering a speech before FBI employees*. The New York Times reports that just days before his own firing, Comey requested additional resources to investigate possible Russian interference in our election. Last March, Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI was indeed investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian government.)

(UPDATE #16 – 5/16/17: In the midst of his controversial firing of FBI Director Comey, Trump invites Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Kislyak to the Oval Office where he (inadvertently?) revealed Top Secret “code-word level intelligence.” American media was banned from the meeting in the Oval Office, while Russian media… with their cameras and electronic equipment… were not.)
 

Trump revealed classified info to Russians

 
(UPDATE #17 – 5/18/17: Reuters reports finding evidence of 18 additional instances of contacts between Russia and the Trump Campaign, including Putin’s “fixer”, a former Soviet “lawyer” named Medvedchuk.)

(UPDATE #18 – 5/24/17: The lawyer Trump hired, Marc E. Kasowitz, to defend him against allegations of collusion with Russia is also the lead attorney in a federal civil lawsuit against “OJSC Sberbank”, which is majority-owned by the Russian government. Kasowitz is Trump’s longtime lawyer, who defended him in a failed libel case against the NYTimes, and against women claiming Trump sexually assaulted him (which was eventually settled), as well as assisting in the “Trump University” fraud case [ibid] which was also settled without admitting guilt.)

(UPDATE #19 – 5/25/17: The NYTimes is reporting that in the Summer of 2016, American spies investigating possible Russian interference in our election caught Russian officials “discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers [Flynn & Manafort]“. The information “was considered credible enough for intelligence agencies to pass [along] to the F.B.I. […] and open a counterintelligence investigation.”

(UPDATE #20 – 6/08/17: Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony under oath corroborates most all reporting to date regarding Russian interference in the November 2016 election. Comey agrees to only testify regarding possible Trump Campaign connections in closed/private session.)

(UPDATE #21 – 6/15/17: Following their joint testimony before the Senate two weeks earlier, Trump asked the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, and to Adm. Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, to publicly refute the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey and deny the existence of any evidence of collusion between the Trump Campaign & Russia during the 2016 election. Both declined.)

(UPDATE #22 – 6/20/17: Bloomberg is reporting that Felix Sater, a Russian Mobster who swindled millions from investors, became a business partner with Trump as a New York real estate developer specifically for his access to funds from Putin. More details here & here.)
 

Easy access to Putin cash

 

(Update #22b – 1/10/18: The released FusionGPS Testimony confirms (pg. 68) that Sater was “connected to the same Russian crime family that was at issue in the Prevezon case” (ibid: #29 below.)

UPDATE #23 – 7/8/17: Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort all met with Natallia Veselnitskaya, a Russian “adoption” lawyer with ties to the Kremlin, during campaign at Trump Tower in June of 2016. It seems unlikely the meeting with Veselnitskaya was arranged simply because she’s an “adoption” lawyer or why THREE high-profile members of the Trump campaign would concern themselves with “Russian/American adoptions” in the middle of a presidential campaign, but regardless, it’s just one more example of the Trump campaign denying contact with the Russians during the campaign that proves they were lying. This wasn’t an “accidental” encounter at a random event. This was in Trump Tower, and if it had anything to do with “adoption”, do you think they’d forget about it and not want to share that information?

UPDATE #23b – 7/10/17: “Uday Bevis Donald Trump Jr, after claiming last March he never participated in any campaign-related meetings with Russian nationals, now admits he met with Veselnitskaya but claims it was to discuss “Adoption”. The New York Times is reporting Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting because he was promised “damaging information on Clinton” from Moscow. Agreeing to meet with a hostile foreign adversary to obtain information on your opponent is perhaps the VERY DEFINITION OF COLLUSION, and it is inconceivable Trump Sr was not aware of what his son, son-in-law and campaign manager were doing in Trump Tower one or two floors beneath his office.

UPDATE #23c – 7/10/17: The likely REAL purpose of the meeting with Veselnitskaya? She is “best known for mounting a multipronged attack against the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers.” The law… passed under Bush and continued under Obama… infuriates Putin and wants it repealed. Russia’s response to the law was to halt Russian/American adoptions. But to lift that, we would have to repeal the Magnitsky Act.
 


 

UPDATE #23d – 7/14/17: The number of people on the Russia-side of the table in the meeting between Donald Trump Jr and Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya has grown to FOUR FIVE, including (Russian-born?) Russian/American (dual-citizenship) lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, British music publicist Rob Goldstone, former Russian counterintelligence officer “Anatoli Samachomov“, and now known Russian money-launderer “Ike Kaveladze“. Akhmetshin says Veselnitskaya invited him along because a client of hers was concerned that an American hedge fund which “seemed to be linked to the [Democratic National Committee] was violating Russian tax and securities law.” Clearly, “Russian/American adoption” was not the sole purpose Natallia arranged the meeting.

UPDATE #23e – 7/18/17: Newly revealed eighth person present as the secret meeting between Trump Jr and former Russian Prosecutor Veselnitskaya was notorious Russian money launderer “Ike Kaveladze” (like Samachomov, a Russian born naturalized American citizen.) in the late 90’s, Kaveladze created a company called “International Business Creations” that established 2,000 U.S. corporations and bank accounts that moved $1.4 Billion through American banks. Why was a known Russian money launderer present at a meeting that *supposedly* was all about Russian/American adoption? As the saying goes: “Follow the [laundered] money.”

Addendum: In 2008, Veselnitskya defended a man named Denis Katsyv, owner of “Prevezon Holdings” (see: #29) who was accused of laundering $230 Million dollars in Russia and ended up paying “Millions” in fines. So the presence of Kaveladze… with his own history on money laundering… at this meeting raises even more questions.
 

The Fredo 8
The Fredo 8

 
UPDATE #24 – 7/13/17: May 2015, the NSA notices a spike in Russian chatter regarding Trump just before he announces his candidacy. May 2016, U.S. surveillance suggests Russian funds flowing to Trump campaign.

UPDATE #25 – 7/19/17: Trump’s scheduled private meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 in Hamburg was scheduled for only 20 minutes but ended up lasting over an hour. Today we learn that later during dinner (with a hundred other people present), Trump sat next to Putin and had a SECOND private chant with him that last *another* hour. Trump did not invite his own translator, relying on Putin’s own translator. When news of the second private meeting was revealed, ONLY THE RUSSIANS spoke to the Press to describe the meeting and what was discussed.

UPDATE #26 – 7/25/17: My thanks to “The Rachel Maddow Show” for pointing out on their 7/24/17 episode that back in October… before the election… “CrowdStrike” (the same Internet Security organization that first detected the source of the hacking of the DNC) detected an unusual link between a computer server belonging to the Trump campaign and computer servers belonging to yet another Russian bank… “Alfa Bank”:
 

(After suspecting a bot attack on the Trump servers due to the amount of traffic) The researchers quickly dismissed their initial fear that the logs represented a malware attack. The communication wasn’t the work of bots. The irregular pattern of server lookups actually resembled the pattern of human conversation… conversations that began during office hours in New York and continued during office hours in Moscow. It dawned on the researchers that this wasn’t an attack, but a sustained relationship between a server registered to the Trump Organization and two servers registered to an entity called Alfa Bank.

…When the researchers pinged the server, they received error messages. They concluded that the server was set to accept only incoming communication from a very small handful of IP addresses.

Eighty-seven percent of the DNS lookups (from the Trump server) involved the two Alfa Bank servers. “It’s pretty clear that it’s not an open mail server,” Camp told me. “These organizations are communicating in a way designed to block other people out.”

 

According to “CrowdStrike”, this was a near “dedicated connection”… a “hotline”… between the two computer servers. As a PC tech in civilian life, I understand the lingo of computer networking and find this revelation damning… likely not a bigger story due to it’s complexity, but to me, it’s like finding a key to a Putin Love Nest in Trump’s desk drawer wrapped in a bow. While others are focused on “communications” between the Trump campaign and Russia, I’ve been stressing focus on Russian Money Laundering and “just who financed the Trump Campaign?”)

UPDATE #27 – 7/27/17: In an update on 6/28/17 (above), I noted a link between Manfort’s Lobbying firm and “a Ukrainian oligarch named Dmytro Firtash in a plan to redevelop the famous Drake Hotel in New York.” Firtash “got his start in business with the permission of a notorious Russian crime lord.” That crime lord appears to be Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who was paid $7.35 million toward management fees for Manafort and his partners in connection with an investment fund, according to a court filing in the Cayman Islands. Deripaska once was denied entry to the United States because of alleged mafia ties.” Firtash himself was indicted by the Justice Department in 2014 over bribery allegations in India and is now living in exile in Austria.

Manafort’s company (of which Manafort has limited liability) is in debt to “pro-Russia interests” for as much as “$17 Million dollars.”

UPDATE #28 – 7/27/17: Trump nominates “Brian Benczkowski” to be the new head of the Justice Department’s criminal division. Benczkowski’s lawfirm, “Kirkland & Ellis” where he is a partner, was hired to represent Russia’s “Alfa Bank” (see Update #26 above)… one of the largest banks in Russia… to “investigate” allegations Alfa’s servers were connected to the Trump campaign. Coincidence?

Benczkowski was a top aide to Jeff Sessions, both when Sessions was a senator and led Trump’s Justice Department transition team before returning to “Kirkland & Ellis” in January where he was assigned to represent Alfa Bank up until June 6th (just last month.)

UPDATE #29 – 7/27/17: In May, the Sessions Justice Department abruptly settled a lawsuit against Prevezon Holdings for a mere $6 Million with no admission of guilt. Prevezon stood accused of laundering $230 Million in Russian crime money through (Trump-owned?) real-estate investment in Manhattan (ibid: update #22b above). “Veselnitskaya represents the family of Pyotr Katsyv (ibid: Update #23), the former vice governor of the Moscow region, whose son, Denis, owns the real-estate company Prevezon.” Another coincidence?

UPDATE #30 – 7/31/17: As mentioned in my recent update to Trump’s Russian Money Laundering Ties, New Republic investigative journalist Craig Unger documented Trump’s history of doing business with Russian criminals (both in government and the Russian Mob… which is redundant) going back decades (see: “Tevfik Arif” above), buying real estate in Manhattan & Florida using crime money… accounting for much of Trump’s wealth. It appears Trump had a history of doing “no questions asked” real-estate deals, happy to do business with mobsters to make himself rich, and they happy to do business with someone who didn’t ask questions (as required by law.)

UPDATE #31 – 8/1/17: The Washington Post is reporting that Donald Trump himself personally drafted his son’s statement regarding his meeting with Veselnitskaya, personally deciding to claim the meeting was regarding “adoption” instead of obtaining “dirt” on Clinton. This raises “Obstruction of justice” concerns (first raised by his firing of Comey), choosing to deliberately mislead the public (once again) suggests “Consciousness of guilt.”

UPDATE #31b – 8/2/17: The New York Times is reporting Trump talked to Putin at the G20 “for nearly an hour” (Trump claimed “like 15 minutes”) regarding his son the day before Don Jr’s statement. During an interview, Trump *volunteered* that he (too) talked to Putin about “adoption” (to bolster his son’s claim?) and even referenced his son’s meeting despite not even being asked.

UPDATE #32 – 8/29/17: The number of Russian-linked banks connected to Trump grows to 4. Sberbank (see update #18 Trump’s lawyer), AlfaBank (#26 “linked servers”), VEB (#5 Kushner & #7b Carter Page), Deutsche Bank (#2/2b German bank charged with laundering millions in Russian crime money and to whom Trump is deep in debt to the tune of hundreds of millions), and now “VTB Bank” (of which Russia owns 60.9%). Felix Sater (update #22) contacted Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen in 2015 (during the campaign) on his efforts to finance “Trump Tower Moscow”, announcing “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.”. Sater’s belief was that America seeing Trump negotiate a major real estate deal with one of America’s biggest enemies would show want an incredible negotiator & diplomat he was. The deal fell through and the Tower was never built. But this marks the fourth Russian-linked bank that was in contact with the Trump campaign and stood ready to loan Trump hundreds of millions of dollars.

Cohen emailed Sater back, announcing he arranged for Trump’s daughter Ivanka to travel to Moscow to discuss the project and perhaps meet with Putin himself, even arranging for him to allow her to sit in Putin’s personal chair. Ivanka dismissed the idea that she was anything but a tourist while in Moscow, but conceded she “may” have sat in Putin’s chair. And how many “tourists” are invited to sit in the Russian presidents chair inside the Kremlin? Seriously. This also quashes any idea Cohen wasn’t an enthusiastic supporter of Sater’s plan and didn’t discuss it with members of the Trump family.
 

Cohen arranges for Ivanka to sit in Putin's chair.

UPDATE #32b – 8/29/17: The Washington Post reports that Cohen emailed one of Putin’s top aides, Dmitry Peskov, hoping (or so it appears) he could get Putin’s assistance in helping move the project along, telling him, “Over the past few months I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower” in Moscow, requesting a meeting with Peskov to “discuss specifics” and “arrange meetings with the individuals involved.” If you think Cohen did all this without the knowledge of Trump himself, trying to arrange a multi-million dollar hotel deal in Moscow and then stick his boss with the bill, in the middle of the presidential campaign when his boss is busily denying having any business dealings with Russia, you’re daft.

UPDATE #32c – 8/29/17: WaPo also reports that on the day of the third GOP Primary debate, Trump himself signed a letter of intent to pursue the “Trump Tower Moscow” deal. ABC News reports the proposed tower would have been “the tallest building in the world” had it of been built. At the time of the signing, Trump assured ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that his business had “no relationship to Russia whatsoever.” [ibid]

UPDATE #33 – 9/08/17: Donald Trump Jr testified for the second time before the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and this time revealed three additional previously undisclosed contacts (in addition to his meeting at Trump Tower) between him and yet another Russian citizen, Russian pop-star Emin Agalarov (Emin’s publicist, Ron Goldstone, is the one who arranged the Trump Tower meeting with Veselnitskaya), the son of Russian real estate mogul Aras Agalarov whom Trump co-owned the Miss Universe pageant that was held in Moscow in 2013. Don Jr contacted Emin because he supposedly provided his father, Aras, “with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia [that] would be very useful to your father [Trump Sr].” Trump Jr… in a response written by his father aboard Air Force One… previously claimed the purpose of the meeting with Veselnitskaya was to discuss the lifting of Putin’s freeze on “Russian adoptions” (despite the fact his email invitation from Goldstone never mentions adoption.) Don Jr now following up with three more contacts with Emin Agalarov seeking dirt on Hillary after the NY meeting he deemed “a bust”, seems to blow a hole in the suggestion the purpose of the meeting was simply to discuss Russian adoption, NOT “seeking dirt on Hillary from the Russian government” (just as the invitation promised.)

UPDATE #33b – 9/13/17: Video of Trump at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant praising the Agalarov’s as “one of the great families in Russia”.

UPDATE #34 – 9/21/17: The scrutiny of former campaign manager Paul Manafort has massively intensified in recent weeks, including reports of a no-knock 3AM raid on his home last August where investigators were given permission to “pick the lock” to enter his home to secure documents they feared Manafort might attempt to destroy if he knew investigators were about to enter. And no one has yet to explain why Trump appointed Manafort… a lobbyist for the Russian government’s interests in Ukraine, someone he did not know before the campaign (update: Manafort worked out of Trump Tower and was the business partner of long-time Trump friend Rodger Stone) and whom had NEVER run a political campaign before… was suddenly put in charge of the presidential campaign of a major party’s candidate for president of the United States.

Previously, Manafort’s connection to a Kremlin-connected billionaire Russian mobster named Oleg Deripaska (Update #27 above) was noted. Now we know Manafort contacted Deripaska less than two weeks before the RNC Convention (where Trump would accept his Party’s nomination for president) and offered (in an email) to provide him with private briefings on the race. Manafort’s spokesman says this was simply him attempting to contact Deripaska “to collect a debt” (by using the offer of giving away secret campaign information, or the promise of “access” to the potential next president of the United States… as a lure?)

UPDATE #35 – 9/23/17: Manafort may have actually “encouraged” Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential race. This might be connected to the recent revelation by Facebook that a Russian “Troll Farm” backed by the Kremlin purchased 3,000 ads between June 2015 and May 2017 that either promoted Donald Trump or attacked Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE #35b – “BTA Bank“, the largest bank in Kazakhstan, was awash in scandal in 2009 when it was discovered that the banks’ chairman, Mukhtar Ablyazov, secretly directed between $8 & $12 Billion in loans to companies he personally had a stake in. Ablyazov fled the country and started using BTA to finance land development deals in Russian Georgia. In 2012, Trump flew to Georgia to secure hundreds of millions in loans from Ablyazov (who was evading arrest in several countries) to build another Trump Tower hotel there. The Tower was never built. It was all a massive money-laundering scheme where the bank sold $12 million in property through a series of shell corporations it personally owned, until eventually selling the property back to itself, under the guise of respectability by doing business with the likes of Donald Trump.

UPDATE #36 – 8/16/17: Trump WH started pushing the claim “Hillary colluded with Ukraine” TWO DAYS BEFORE Russian hackers released a “hacked” email suggesting Hillary colluded with Ukraine. How did the Trump White House know what was coming?

UPDATE #37 – 8/24/17: Rinat Akhmetshin (see #23d above), deputy head of Russian intelligence, who was invited by Veselnitskaya to meet with Don Jr in Trump Tower NYC with the promise of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, controlled a team of Russian hackers. That meeting with Don Jr, Kushner & Manafort took place (“coincidentally”) just two/three days before the DNC was hacked.

UPDATE #38 – 10/13/17: CBS News reports that the lawyer representing Russian real estate mogul Aras Agalarov (see Update #33) released a statement from his client noting that a newly released email from Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya (dated the day of her Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr which he agreed to three days before) makes no mention of “offering dirt on Hillary Clinton” and therefore proves he had “no involvement in Russian attempts to hack the election.” Aras’s lawyer? Scott Balber, Donald Trump’s former lawyer who sued comedian Bill Maher in 2013 for suggesting Trump’s father was an orangutan.

UPDATE #39 – 10/30/17: The Mueller Investigation hands down its first indictments in the Russia Investigation against former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Deputy Campaign Manager and Manafort business advisor Rick Gates, and Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. Gates was charged in connection to Manafort’s “money laundering” activity, and Papadopoulos was charged with (and plead Guilty to) “making false statements to the FBI” about his contacts with foreigners claiming to have “high-level” connections to the Russian government… including a woman he (falsely) believed to be “Putin’s niece.” Papadopoulos was also the first person in the Trump campaign to learn (April 27, 2016) of Russia’s interest in arranging a meeting between Russian officials and Donald Trump, and soon after (May 1st) of their possession of the emails stolen from Clinton Campaign servers in March. According to his emails [ibid], Papadopoulos emailed an undisclosed “campaign supervisor” that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was interested in arranging a meeting with Donald Trump in Moscow. That undisclosed adviser emailed back that “[t]here are legal issues we need to mitigate, meeting with foreign officials as a private citizen” and should “communicate” back (to Russia?) that Trump himself “will not be doing these trips” (likely leading to the Manafort/Kushner/Don Jr meeting in Trump Tower in July.) Papadopoulos was praised by another member of the Trump campaign (now identified as former campaign supervisor and now Agriculture Secretary nominee Sam Clovis) for the Russian offer to provide the stolen emails and relaying their interest in meeting with Candidate Trump. Reports are that Papadopoulos may be a “proactive cooperator”, meaning he is actively assisting the Mueller investigation… perhaps even having “worn a wire.”

UPDATE #39b – 11/1/17: The indictment against Manafort singles out a number of suspicious purchases by Manafort between 2008 & 2013 (long before joining the Trump Campaign) that look an awful lot like evidence of “money laundering”:
 

Notable transactions in Manafort Indictment. Direct money transfers (between 2008-2013) from his account in the Russian-owned Bank of Cyprus to the accounts of:
 
“Yiakora Ventures Limited” for “Home Improvement”: $1,195,814
“Yiakora Ventures Limited” & “Global Highway Ltd” for “Antique Rugs”: $934,350
“Yiakora Ventures Limited”, “Global Highway Ltd”, “Leviathon Advisors Ltd”, “Lucicle Consultants Limited” & “Global Endeavor Inc” for:
  “Men’s Clothing”: $849,215
  “Landscaping”: $655,500

Total listed in indictment (all paid for by direct wire transfer from the “Bank of Cypress” to the same holding companies):

“Home Improvement”: $5,434,793
“Home Automation, Lighting & Home Entertainment”: $1,319,281
“Antique Rugs”: $934,350
  “(Purchases related to Antique Rug vendor”): $100,000
“Men’s Clothing”: $849,215
“Landscaping”: $655,500
“Antique’s Dealer”: $623,910
“Clothing (Beverly Hills)”: $520,440
“Investment Co”: $500,000
“Florida Contractor”: $432,487
“Landscaper (Hamptons)”: $164,740
“Payments related to 3 Range Rovers”: $163,705
“Contractor in Virginia”: $125,650
“Home Audio/Video Installation”: $112,825
“Purchase of Mercedes Benz”: $62,750
“Purchase of Range Rover”: $47,000
“Property Management Co in South Carolina”: $46,000
“Florida Art Gallery”: $31,900
“Housekeeping in NY”: $20,000

Total: $12,144,546

 
On their own, these purchases appear benign… exactly how money laundering works. But nearly all of these purchases were “direct wire transfers” from his account at the “Bank of Cyprus” (Cyprus is an island nation off the coast of Turkey in the Mediterranean Sea) to a select group of Holding Companies in the United States over & over, paying the same holding company for “Home Improvement” as for “Men’s Clothing” and “Landscaping” totaling millions of dollars.

And if that isn’t suspicious enough, as mentioned earlier, Wilbur Ross… Trump’s Secretary of Commerce… was the Vice-Chairman of the Russian-owned “Bank of Cyprus”.

The fact all of these transactions took place years before Manafort joined the Trump campaign (as Trump pointed out) is irrelevant (other than wondering why a Russian lobbyist and apparent money launderer for the Russian government with NO experience running a political campaign would be put in charge of running the national campaign of the GOP presidential nominee of whom he had never met.) It’s enough dirt to threaten him with prison & bankruptcy if he doesn’t cooperate with the Mueller investigation. If he reveals he was laundering Russian money into “Bankrupt Trump’s” “self-financed” presidential campaign and can prove Trump was aware of it, he is likely to sing like a bird for a reduced sentence (or even “probation”.)

UPDATE #40 – 11/3/17: New York Times reports that Carter Page, Trump’s Foreign Policy Adviser, according to emails released by the House Intelligence Committee, notified the Trump campaign of his trip to Moscow in July of 2016 to meet with Russian officials. This is following the revelation that another Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, ALSO informed the campaign of his meeting with Russian officials [ibid] for which he was praised, so all those times members of the Trump campaign said they knew of “no one” in the campaign who had been in contact with Russian officials, someone was lying.

UPDATE #41 – 11/7/17: 13.4 Million (financial) records leaked from 19 off-shore tax havens, dubbed “The Paradise Papers” revealed that multi-billionaire Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (noted above as the Vice-Chairman of the Russian owned “Bank of Cyprus” before appointment by Trump) failed to disclose in his confirmation hearing that he has “a stake” (of undisclosed amount) in “Navigator Holdings”, that has received more than $68 Million in revenue since 2014 from Russian energy company Silbur“, one of the largest gas companies in Russia, co-owned by the son-in-law of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Kirill Shamalov”. Other Silbur stakeholders include “Gennady Timchenko” and “Leonid Mikhelson”. “Timchenko… was targeted by the U.S. and other Western nations for sanctions after Russia’s invasion of the Ukrainian region of Crimea in 2014” and “Mikhelson has also been sanctioned by the Treasury Department for propping up Putin’s rule.” (link.) Sibur’s main shareholder, Mikhelson, is Russia’s richest man. Ross’ stake in Navigator is estimated to be between $2-$10 Million, the result of a more than doubling in the stock value of Navigator Holdings buoyed by the shipping deal struck with “Silbur”.

UPDATE #42 – 11/13/17: The Washington Post published a list of 30 Trump campaign staffers known to have been in contact with Russian officials. I’m proud to say nearly all of them are present in our own list which is FAR more extensive than the WaPo listing. Among those they included that I missed:

 o J.D. Gordon, Trump’s national-security policy representative for the Republican National Convention, is the one who urged Trump to walk back the “pro-Ukraine” plank of the GOP platform which originally called for supporting the Ukrainian Army with “lethal defense weapons” to fend off the Russian military as it invaded that country to annex it. Gordon apparently did so after meeting with Russian Ambassador Kislyak AT the RNC Convention.

 o Sam Clovis, who most recently withdrew his name as Trump’s nominee for “Chief Scientist” at the Dept of Agriculture despite being neither a scientist nor possessing agricultural experience, was the Trump campaign’s national co-chairman and George Papadopoulos’ immediate superior. Clovis admitted [ibid link #42] to discussing Papadopoulos’ efforts to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin once Papadopoulos turned over an email exchange he had with Clovis, who responded, “Great work” and that he would “work it through the campaign.”

UPDATE #43 – 11/28/17: In “Update #8” above, the Washington Post reported that Erik Prince of “Blackwater” fame (and brother of SoE Betsy DeVos) visited the Seychelles in January to meet with “an unidentified Russian close to President Vladi­mir Putin” to discuss the lifting of sanctions against Russia. Today, we have evidence the “unidentified Russian” was Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a $10 billion sovereign wealth fund created by the Russian government in 2011 (more evidence Russia bankrolled the “self-funded” Trump campaign.)

UPDATE #44 – 12/1/17: Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact(s) with Russian officials while part of the Trump transition team. According to ABC News, the same day President Obama imposed sanctions on Russia (Dec 30, 2016) for meddling in our election, Flynn called Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak from his home (ostensibly to persuade Russia not to retaliate over the sanctions, possibly reassuring him those sanctions would be repealed once Trump was in office.) Flynn was (reportedly) greenlighted by the Trump team to undercut the Obama Administration so that Russia would not retaliate against the U.S., and Putin did not retaliate. Trump says he did not direct Flynn to contact Russia (“but would have”), but Flynn is ready to testify that he was indeed operating under Trump’s direction. Flynn was then told (by Kushner) the next day to contact Kislyak again regarding Israel. Flynn lied to the FBI two days later on January 24th regarding these contacts, leading acting AG Sally Yates to inform Trump that Flynn lied to the FBI. The next day, Trump invited FBI Director Comey to the White House to try to pressure him to drop the investigation into Flynn. Flynn is reportedly agreeing to a plea deal with the FBI because he is furious Trump did not offer to cover the crippling legal bills of him and his son (who was part of his father’s unregistered business lobbying on behalf of Turkey.)

UPDATE #45 – 12/05/17: The New York Times revealed evidence that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was secretly co-writing (anonymously) an Op/Ed defending his work as a lobbyist for the Russian government in Ukraine. This would be an explicit violation of the gag-order placed upon him by the court as he attempts to influence public opinion ahead of his trial. Making matters worse, his co-author was Konstantin Kilimnik… who has ties to Russian intelligence and ran Manafort’s office in Kiev during the 10 years he did consulting work there.

UPDATE #46 – 12/18/17: NBC News reports that in mid-2016, after the Primaries had concluded and each Party’s nominee has been decided, Clinton & Trump were separately briefed by the FBI where they were warned that Foreign adversaries (including Russia) might try to infiltrate their campaigns and to be on the lookout for any express overtures by foreign officials seeking to contact their respective campaigns. Trump’s briefing was August 17, 2016. As noted in Updates #39 & #40 above, this was four months after Papadopoulos informed the Trump campaign the Russian Foreign Minister had contacted him seeking a meeting with Donald Trump; two months after Manafort, Kushner and Don Jr. met with five Russian officials (the Veselnitskaya meeting) in Trump Tower in June; and one month after Carter Page notified the Trump Campaign he had traveled to Moscow to meet with Russian officials. More Russian contacts followed, yet Trump never questioned all these contacts between members of his campaign and Russian officials, or felt it suspicious enough to contact the FBI? (Side note: During this briefing, Trump was informed by DNI Director James Clapper that they had intercepted Putin’s actual order to hack the DNC and interfere in the 2016 election. Yet in the October debate, Trump was still defending Russia, arguing “we don’t know” who hacked the DNC… “it could have been China. It could have been some 500lb person from their bed.”)

UPDATE #47 – 1/10/18: Last January, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen told Yahoo News that he had “no Russian/Kremlin connections”, but Miami reporter Grant Stern found the 2013 Russian announcement that Trump was bringing the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow, showing photos of Trump & Cohen having dinner in Moscow with Aras Agalarov (see Updates #33 & #38), the Russian billionaire whose Kremlin contacts were used to contact Don Jr regarding those hacked DNC emails.

UPDATE #48 – 1/17/18: Glenn Simpson, the owner of “Fusion GPS” (the company that was hired by one of Trump’s GOP Primary rivals… unnamed, but which candidate had the deepest pockets and hated Trump enough to fund an investigation into Trump’s connections to the Russian criminal underworld, and would then hand off that investigation to the Clinton Campaign they later openly supported? Think: Jeb Bush), testified (pg.151) that back when he was still a reporter for the NY Times, he wrote about “Russian oligarch [Oleg Deripaska. See: Updates #27 & #34] having a meeting with Senator John McCain [and a separate meeting with] Paul Manafort shortly before the 2008 presidential election.” The plot thickens!

UPDATE #49 – 1/18/18: The “House Intelligence Committee” released the transcript of their own interview of Glenn Simpson last November, where he testified on suspicious Russian real-estate purchases of Trump properties that were almost certainly by the Russian government/mafia as a way to help Donald Trump at a time when his credit was zero. At the height of the banking crisis when the real-estate market crashed, banks were denying credit for additional real-estate purchases (which can be a huge problem if you’re a real-estate mogul who has declared bankruptcy four times). But there was a loop hole that banks would still give you credit if you could prove your properties were “at least 80% full” of paying tenants. And Trump’s worldwide properties were just loaded with vacant apartments purchased by Russian mobsters (in no-questions-asked cash sales), ostensibly to help Trump meet that threshold so he could remain in business.

UPDATE #50 – 1/19/18: We finally have some info on “Alexander Torshin“, listed above as one of the Russian businessmen linked to Trump. Did a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funnel money to the Trump campaign by way of the National Rifle Association? According to an investigation by “McClatchy DC”: Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, donated perhaps tens of millions of dollars to the NRA (the exact amount is unknown, but an amount believed to be between $20Million and $55Million), which then turned around and spent that money in support of Donald Trump. Total NRA spending on Trump’s behalf may be as high as $70 Million.

UPDATE #51 – 2/27/18: After 15 months and STILL unable to qualify for “Top Secret” security clearance, Kushner finally has his temporary security clearance bestowed upon him by Trump yanked by Chief-of-Staff John Kelly. Among the reasons Jared he was denied clearance: his history of using his position to pursue personal business matters with foreign leaders seeking to curry favor with the Trump administration without obtaining clearance from the White House, then not informing them after the fact as well. Also, his post-election meeting with Russian Ambassador Kislyak to establish a “secret back channel” between the Kremlin and the Trump Transition Team (again, without informing the FBI or NSA.)

UPDATE #52 – 3/5/18: Going back to THE VERY FIRST member of the Trump Campaign mentioned in this index, Rex Tillerson, the “New Yorker” magazine reporter Jane Mayer has learned that Russia nixed Trump’s consideration of Mitt Romney to be Secretary of State and instead suggested Tillerson… someone whom Trump had never met but was considered a friend of Putin/Russia. If you recall, I questioned at the time how someone like Tillerson… someone with NO political experience, didn’t know Trump and wasn’t on his “short-list” of SoS candidates, suddenly got the job without so much as a public dinner, mere hours after rejecting Romney. Now we know. (Tillerson seems to be serving exactly as desired, having been granted millions by Congress to “respond” to Russian misbehavior, but has yet to spend a single penny of those funds.

UPDATE #53 – 3/6/18: George Nader, adviser to the United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan whom met with Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev in that mysterious January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles (see #8 & #43) to establish a “back-channel” line of communication between Trump and Putin, is now reportedly cooperating with the Mueller investigation and has testified before a Grand Jury regarding Russian meddling. Nader says Prince lied when he testified that the Seychelles/Russia meeting was all about his own personal business and had nothing to do with establishing a “back-channel” line of communication between the Trump Administration and Russia.

UPDATE #54 – 3/15/18: Not new information, just an update. Trump’s connection to (later-sanctioned) Russian-owned Sberbank (see: Updates #18 & #32) weren’t simply tangential via his personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz having once worked for them. According to Fortune, when Trump went to Moscow in 2013 to organize the Miss Universe Pageant, he also met with Herman Gref, the CEO of Sberbank, seeking financing for his “Trump Tower Moscow” project. Sberbank (the largest bank in Russia and owned by the Russian government) was not under sanctions at the time of the meeting, but was sanctioned a few months later in 2014 for their role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While Congress is not revealing the name of the sanctioned bank Trump continued to do business with, it is almost certainly Sberbank, which Trump continued to contact regarding TT-Moscow well into 2015 (and beyond) AFTER those sanctions were put in place (which would be a crime.)

What IS new is that SP Mueller has just subpoenaed The Trump Organization for any documents related to the “Trump Tower Moscow” project.
 
So our list of members of the Trump campaign who were in contact with Russia is now:

  • Trump
  • SoS Rex Tillerson
  • Campaign Manager Paul Manafort
  • NatSec Advisor General Mike Flynn
  • Son-in-Law Jared Kushner
  • Attorney General Senator Jeff Sessions
  • National Security Consultant Carter Page
  • Peter W. Smith – GOP operative actively contacting Russia looking for Clinton emails.
  • Trump’s $100 Million dollar sweetheart deal selling a $40 Million dollar mansion to a Russian fertilizer billionaire who never even visited it only to later have it bulldozed for a $40 million dollar loss.
  • Sec of Commerce Wilbur Ross
  • Breitbart CEO turned Campaign Director turned Chief Strategist Steve Bannon
  • (Now former) Chief of Staff Reince Priebus trying to bully the FBI into silencing reports linking Trump to Russia
  • Blackwater’s Erik Prince
  • Trump’s personal lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz
  • Donald Trump Jr.
  • Trump Campaign computer servers linked to “Alfa Bank”.
  • Trump’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s criminal division, Brian Benczkowski
  • Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen
  • Scott Balber, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, hired to represent Russian real estate mogul Aras Agalarov, accused of soliciting “dirt on Hillary Clinton” to Don Jr.
  • Rick Gates, Deputy Campaign Manager and Paul Manafort’s “business adviser”
  • George Papadopoulos, Trump campaign “foreign policy adviser.”
  • J.D. Gordon – Trump’s national-security policy rep for the RNC Convention

…more?

The Rachel Maddow Show produced this list (11/29/17) of Russians who were in contact with people connected to the Trump campaign/administration (including Trump himself):
 

Russians linked to Trump

 

1. Sergey Kislyak (1, 2, 3)

2. Sergey Gorkov (4)

3. Felix Sater (5)

4. Sergei Gordeev (6)

5. Konstantin Kilimnik (7, 8)

6. Oleg Deripaska (9)

7. Alexander Torshin (10, 11)

8. Natalia Veselnitskaya (12, 13)

9. Rinat Akhmetshin (14)

10. Ike Kaveladze (15)

11. Emin Agalarov (16)

12. Shlomo Weber (17, 18)

13. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich (19, 18)

14. Andrey Baranov (20, 18)

15. Igor Sechin (21) (disputed by Carter Page)

16. Joseph Mifsud (22)

17. Ivan Timofeev (23)

18. Olga Polonskaya (23, 24)

19. Kirill Dmitriev (25)

 
I intend/expect to update this list frequently so bookmark it and return often. And if you know of any Trump/Russia contacts/associations I may have missed, I encourage you to please list them in the Comments.
 

Where there's smoke...

 


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We All Know Why Trump is Demonizing the Press
Feb 27th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (who’s strategy of “let Trump be Trump” got him fired for failing to adequately respond to the “Access Hollywood” scandal) claimed during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday that Trump was right to whitewash the Press as “fake news” after getting it so wrong when “they” (Time Magazine) incorrectly claimed the bust of Martin Luther King had been removed from the Oval Office on Trump’s first day in office (it was there, just obstructed from view by a Secret Service agent and a door.) The story was quickly retracted within hours of being printed online when they discovered their mistake, but that didn’t stop the screaming Mimi’s supporting Trump from whining about “The biased Media” for days afterwards. But Donald Trump’s little temper tantrum towards “The Media” has nothing to do with a mistaken report back on January 21st that was quickly retracted. No. More than a month after his inauguration, and nearly four months since the election itself, Trumplethinskin is STILL stewing about the size (or lack thereof) of his election victory… which is being made all the more uncertain now that SEVENTEEN Intelligence Agencies (both civilian & military) have all confirmed that Russia directly meddled in our elections with the specific intent of helping Donald Trump win… a massive insult to Trump’s massive ego. So inside The Trump Bubble, the “fake news” has “falsely” reported that he lost the Popular vote, his inauguration crowds were smaller than Obama’s, he removed the bust of MLK, his White House is in disarray (following the Flynn resignation, his choice for Labor Secretary withdrawing and the courts knocking down his “Muslim Ban” not once, but twice) and now claims that Russia may have played a part in his victory (placing an asterisk forever next to his name.) He doesn’t have a satisfactory explanation, so all he can do is try to make you question the source and dismiss them as “fake news”.

During ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday, deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders cited the FBI as having declared the Russian hacking claim to be “B.S.” and therefore not worthy of an investigation.

I scoured the news feeds and found no evidence the FBI declared the Russian hacking claims to be “B.S.”. What she is likely referring to is a joint FBI & DHS report detailing what the Russians did and how, where the FBI criticized recent reports as “a restatement of already known public information.” That’s a FAR cry from dismissing the entire hacking claim as “B.S.” as she so eloquently put it and therefore unworthy of an investigation by a Special Prosecutor. My response was, “If the claims are all completely wrong, why not allow an investigation to clear your name and remove the cloud of illegitimacy hovering over Trump’s entire presidency?”

But let’s take a step back. As one of my readers pointed out: if the ENTIRE intelligence apparatus got something of this magnitude SO wrong, doesn’t that BEG for an investigation in the name of National Security? I mean, the last time the entire intelligence community got something this wrong, we went to war in Iraq over nonexistent “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” It would seem a matter of National Security to determine just how SO many private and public security agencies… most of whom provide intelligence reports directly to the president himself upon which he makes life & death decisions, could ALL be so wrong. (I’d like to point out at this point that our intelligence agencies did NOT get it wrong on Iraq… because they kept telling Bush that Saddam did NOT have WMD’s. So he kept firing/replacing the heads of the CIA/DIA and various Generals until he found people who’d tell him what he wanted to hear.)

Of course, the Trump Administration KNOWS it can’t allow an investigation they claim would vindicate him because deep in their hearts they know the reports are right. Trump and his minions are SO paranoid that everyone is out to get him that they believe a Special Prosecutor would likely manufacture false evidence to discredit his “massive” election victory (and who knows how deep he’s in this. It could even lead to his impeachment & conviction if it were discovered Trump was actually in contact with Russia during his campaign and knowingly colluded with them.) So all they can do is repeatedly attack the critics, accuse them of bias, and create an aire of mistrust regarding their intentions. If you can’t discredit the message, discredit the messenger.

Hey, it’s working for Climate Change deniers!
 


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Why the Electoral College Should Wait Before Voting
Dec 19th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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Lately, I’ve noticed I can’t shake the feeling Russia is actually *shaping* the Trump Administration. I don’t mean they are simply reaping the rewards of having an admirer of Putin defending them as Trump prepares to take the White House. I mean that the subject of “Russia” keeps popping up in places I never expected.

Case in point: When Donald Trump announced his short-list of nominees to be his Secretary of State, the current appointee… Rex Tillerson… was not on it. No one even floated his name as someone who should have been on that list. But you know who WAS on that list? Mitt Romney… much to the dismay of most of Team Trump because of his extraordinary criticism of their guy. But I was fairly certain Romney would get the job, not just because he added “dignity” to an incoming administration sorely lacking in it, but because Toddler Trump… petty, vindictive child that he is, would have just relished the idea of making Romney his “bish” for the next four years.

But this is the same Mitt Romney who… in 2012… declared that “Russia” was “our #1 geo-political foe“. Then… about ten days after the release of the list of candidates for SoS, and following several meetings between Trump & Romney… suddenly a new name was added to the list… Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon/Mobil, someone who also spoke fondly of Russia, had met with Putin himself frequently (telling him that “as CEO”, he only “represented the interests of Exxon, not the United States”), and was even awarded Russia’s highest foreign award… “The Medal of Friendship”… was not only suddenly added to the list from out of nowhere, but quickly catapulted into first place, and announced as the winner of the plum position less than a week later.

Did Trump give Tillerson the job because he liked his take on Russia, or (far more disturbing) did Russia themselves nix the Romney appointment and suggest their friend Tillerson to the Trump transition team? I mean… who ever thought to consider the CEO of freakin’ Exxon for Secretary of State? A man who spent his entire adult life working for Exxon with no discernible connection to politics (even Trump himself has been talking politics for decades and flirting with running for 20 years.) And as I pointed out last week, let us not forget, Trump’s first campaign manager, Paul Manifort, was forced to resign over his ties to Russia.

One of the reasons I despise conspiracy theories is because I despise conspiracy theorists. Few things are more annoying to me than people with all the training of a 6th Grade Algebra student citing as “absolute fact” things they have absolutely no training on, no familiarity with, and cite as “evidence” incredibly sketchy sources, while dismissing actual scientists, researchers, facts & evidence because it dare contradict their cockamamie theories. (I’ve noticed a parallel between Conspiracy theorists and Climate Change deniers. They ignore any and all facts, dismiss and belittle the authorities that produce those facts, and then cite ridiculous shady sources that “confirm” what they already believe is true.) Many of you in the Reality based world may be unaware that The Bush’s and Liberal billionaire “George Soros” are personally behind every political catastrophe of the last 60 years (though “Hillary Clinton” is rapidly gaining on Soros as the Republican-boogyman of choice.) I actually saw a number of people accusing Soros of being “a Nazi informant” during WWII (Apparently, he smuggled Top Secret documents in his diapers.) Name a disastrous event with political ramifications, and you’ll find someone out there (really “out there”) connecting Bush or Soros to it. “#PizzaGate” has the distinction of being linked to all three (Clinton, Soros and Bush. Google it. I won’t provide a link.) I consider myself a pretty tolerant person, but with nearly 5,000 Facebook “Friends”, I found myself “unfriending” someone for the very first time yesterday after they reposted the latest nonsense about “new evidence Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery.” I just couldn’t take it any more. The man has barely a month left in office and these racist Birther asshats are STILL trying to delegitimize his presidency (speaking of which, Trump’s future “Chief of Staff” Priebus, along with Karl Rove and The Heritage Foundation’s Mike Needham, all complained yesterday that claims of Russian involvement in Trump’s victory are all attempts to “delegitimize Trump’s presidency.” I kid you not.)

But I digress. So, I despise conspiracy theories. And the thought I may be entertaining one now gives me pause. But I’m not declaring anything as “fact”, I’m only pointing out observations that disturb me.

During the very first GOP debate in August of 2015, co-host Brett Baier gave Donald Trump the first question on foreign policy, asking him about recent reports that “a top Iranian general”, General Qassem Soleimani, blamed for hundreds of U.S. troops death in Iraq and Afghanistan, “travel[ed] to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Trump criticized Obama for his recent hostage exchange to recover POW Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (which had nothing to do with Iran or the meeting in Russia, but goes on to imply the Bergdahl exchange was with Iran when it was in fact with the Taliban). Trump said absolutely nothing regarding the meeting in Russia, instead criticizing the president on “foreign policy”, and declared he would be “the polar opposite” of Obama.

Instead of pressing Trump to answer the question, Baier moves on to the next question: “Another new development today, Senior Defense officials tell Fox they strongly suspect Russia was behind the cyber attack on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs office… (shutting down the email system of some 4,000 Pentagon employees for ELEVEN DAYS.) Did you forget about this first report of Russian hacking? I sure did, and it appears most of the Media has too.

The subject of “Russia” does not come up again until the second GOP debate when host Jake Tapper asks Trump:
 

TAPPER: Russia is sending troops and tanks into Syria right now to prop up a U.S. enemy, Bashar al-Assad. President Obama’s incoming top general says, quote, “Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security.”

Mr. Trump, you say you can do business with President Vladimir Putin, you say you will get along, quote, “very well.” What would you do right now if you were president, to get the Russians out of Syria?

TRUMP: So, number one, they have to respect you. He [Putin] has absolutely no respect for President Obama. Zero.

Syria’s a mess. You look at what’s going on with ISIS in there, now think of this: we’re fighting ISIS. ISIS wants to fight Syria. Why are we fighting ISIS in Syria? Let them fight each other and pick up the remnants.

I would talk to him [Putin]. I would get along with him. I believe – and I may be wrong, in which case I’d probably have to take a different path, but I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with.

 

(I highlighted the “Why are we in Syria?” comment because Trump’s defenders were all over the TV yesterday criticizing Obama for not going into Syria to fight ISIS sooner.)

No criticism of Putin aiding America’s enemy Assad. Instead, he repeats his recent claim he would likely “get along with Putin”, and his response to Russia arming Syria would be to have a chat with Putin.

Somewhere between the first & second GOP debates is when Trump started speaking positively of Putin as someone he would likely “get along with.”

During ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday, host Martha Radditz said what I’ve been thinking as of late: “I remember when Republicans opposed the Russians on *everything*. And any Democrat that dared speak positively of them were roundly ridiculed by them.” And now we have Republicans defending Russia and the president-elect himself criticizing & doubting our own intelligence. His future Chief of Staff Priebus followed suit on “Meet the Press”, saying “If the CIA/FBI has any solid proof, let them hold a press conference and reveal it to the world.” And why not? After all, these are the same people who defended Dick Cheney for outing an undercover CIA agent for partisan reasons. Publicly exposing U.S. intelligence sources & methodologies comes second to defending the Republican Party.

I posed an observation on Facebook last week. I’m literally astonished by the number of people defending Russia over our own intelligence agencies on this issue, asking: “When did Russia become a paragon of virtue?” I can understand not trusting the word of the CIA (though most point to the CIA under George W Bush to justify that mistrust. Trump included.) But whatever you think of the CIA, Russia is 20x worse. Remember, Putin is former KGB and has basically appointed himself president for life, having been appointed to the job by his predecessor Boris Yeltsen back in 2000. And other than a brief interruption when he was term-limited into stepping down and turning the presidency over to Medvedev from 2008 to 2012 where Putin appointed himself “Prime-minister” until he and Dimitri could swap jobs four years later, Putin has been the defacto leader of Russia for nearly two decades. He arrests & imprisons his political opponents, and even has his critics assassinated (and now I’ll hear from all the Conspiracy Theorists on just how many people Hillary Clinton has had killed. Spare me.)

Here’s a question: Toddler Trump speaks approvingly of Putin now, but how will he deal with Russia (friend of Syria & Iran) once he becomes president? Trump doesn’t like Iran. But how does he go after Iran on any issue without angering Putin? Just how long does anyone expect that bromance to last? Remember that Trump and Ted Cruz had a little bromance going on when Cruz refused to join the chorus criticizing Donald Trump the way all his other opponents were before the Primary. Cruz even tweeted last December: “@realDonaldTrump is terrific. #DealWithIt”. And because of this, Cruz quickly rose to second place behind Trump in the polls. Threatened, once the primaries began, Trump and Cruz turned on one another quickly, soon becoming the worst of enemies. I have grave concerns regarding how quickly Trump turns on those who displease him. One of the reasons I didn’t support Hillary Clinton was her recklessness regarding the use of military force and her inability to foresee the possible consequences of that recklessness. She advocated for a No Fly Zone over Syria to protect the rebels. But Russia was bombing those same rebels from the air. Clinton’s policy could potentially had us firing upon Russian MiG’s and starting WWIII. And even if she avoided that, there was no predicting what mess her next hawkish actions would get us into.

In contrast, I think Trump’s unpredictability and childish fickleness makes him an even greater threat to the stability of national security. If his bromance with Putin goes the same as it did with Cruz, things could turn very nasty very quickly. And then what?

Today, the Electoral College will be voting for President of the United States based upon the result of the 2016 election. But in all due honesty, I’m not completely confident Donald Trump was the legitimate winner of the election. In such a close election, all anyone needed to do was flip just three key states that were within 1-percent, and that’s exactly what happened. Maybe he did so legitimately, but as long as we vote into Black Boxes that leave no paper trail, we’ll always be at risk of Election Fraud. Please sign & share my petition:
 

Petition for paper voting receipts

 

Our government would NEVER publicly admit our election was hacked and our next president was selected by an enemy nation even if an investigation proved it to be true. Without a safeguard like my petition above calls for, such an announcement would destroy what little faith millions of Americans have left in our Democracy and simply no longer bother to vote.

If electors are worried about not having enough time for such an investigation, I remind them that the inauguration doesn’t HAVE to be on January 20th. That date is not in the Constitution. In fact, before Franklin Roosevelt, most presidents were not inaugurated until March. It was FDR who moved up the date to January 20th so he could get back to work as quickly as possible in the midst of the Depression.

There have been only 8 “faithless” electors (Delegates that didn’t vote the same as their constituents) since 1900. Today, there could be as many as 80. That’s astounding. It is unlikely however that even these “unpledged” delegates will vote against the currently perceived state results without solid proof the outcome of the election was actually manipulated. And there’s no way to know that before today’s vote.

WaPo columnist Dan Balz had the same thought as me last week: It is possible, even likely, Trump is unwilling to admit even the possibility of Russian meddling in our election for fear it might influence the Electors and cost him the presidency. But perhaps after the vote today and his presidency is assured, THEN he might be willing to concede the possibility of Russian intervention in our election and even admit a willingness to do something about it if an investigations reveals it to be true. I doubt this however because it would be a blow to Trump’s massive ego. He will NEVER be willing to admit he didn’t win “fair & square”. Even now, he denies he lost the (meaningless) “Popular Vote”, stating he actually won “if you don’t include the millions who voted illegally”… a ridiculous & baseless claim with no foothold in reality. Behind the scenes though, if it turns out Russia *did* deprive Trump of “an honest victory”, he could become quite furious with Putin and the “bromance” would be over.

For anyone still questioning “How do we know Russia is behind the hacking of the DNC?”, I posted this ABC News video listing just a few of the ways we know. And former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates (who was also once head of the CIA under Poppy Bush) said yesterday that when the CIA says they are “certain” about something, there’s no question it’s true. For naysayers like Trump who point to claims of WMD’s, I point out that only Bush’s hand-picked stooge George Tenet called their existence a “slam dunk” despite concerns about the intel Dick Cheney was force-feeding them. But I can assure you that the examples cited in that video aren’t ALL the ways we know of Russian involvement. We almost certainly have spies working within the Russian government that have obtained classified documents and/or been privy to high-level meetings where the topic was discussed, but we can’t reveal that evidence without compromising those sources… and people like Priebus know it. Which is why it is so disingenuous of them to demand “a press conference where they lay out all their proof on the table.” Either they KNOW we can’t do that, or they really DON’T give a rats ass about jeopardizing our agents & sources the way Cheney did to Valery Plame and all of her secret sources (some of whom unquestionably died as a result.)

Trump’s frequent praise of Putin and defense of Russia even over our own intelligence, the people he has appointed to serve him having close ties to Russia (Manifort, Tillerson), people critical of Russia quickly thrown overboard (Romney), incidents of Russian hacking of government computers going back at least 18 months, and Trump is refusing classified briefings at a time when we KNOW much of it must be about the mounting evidence of Russian hacking. He doesn’t want to hear it, so he’s refusing those briefings. Those disturbing factoids are more than enough cause for me to say I can’t be 100% sure Russia didn’t meddle in our election. It could have been as innocent as finding out what the Clinton camp knew and leaking that information to people within the Trump campaign, or it could have been as severe as outright Election Theft, flipping a few key states to ensure the candidate friendly to them won, and the candidate Putin had a personal grudge against lost.

So yes, I have my doubts. And you’re a dishonest ideologue if you are certain one way or the other that you KNOW what happened… because you don’t.
 


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How Many Trump Appointments Also Have Conflicts of Interest?
Dec 12th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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President-elect Trump seems to be going out of his way to pick the worst possible people to staff his cabinet & White House. But beyond appointing a neurosurgeon to run HUD, beyond putting “generals” in charge of making “peace”, beyond appointing an opponent of public schools to run our public schools, and beyond appointing a critic of Civil Rights to be in charge of the protecting Civil Rights, he’s putting a Climate Change denier in charge of the EPA, and billionaires in charge of agencies that could DIRECTLY affect their own personal wealth. Questions of “conflicts of interest” no longer begin & end with Trump himself. Trump announced on “60 Minutes” a few weeks ago that he would accept a salary of only “$1/year” as president. A magnanimous gesture even for a billionaire to give up a $420,000 salary. But evidently, he has asked his wealthy cabinet picks to follow suit, stating during his Fox “news” Sunday interview yesterday that his cabinet members will be paid only $1/year as well. And why wouldn’t they? Do you think 20th Century bank robber Willie Sutton would have turned down the job of bank guard if it only paid $1/year? No. They are more than happy to do these thankless jobs because they’ll finally be in control of the agencies that stood in their way all these years. They’re not agreeing to do these jobs out of the goodness of their hearts. They are out to destroy these agencies for personal gain (at the expense of the rest of us.) This is putting the foxes in charge of the hen house.

We already know about asinine picks like putting Ben Carson… a retired neurosurgeon… in charge of “Housing & Urban Development” on the grounds Carson “once lived in public housing”… which is like me saying I can land a 747 because I once flew in one. But I don’t think Carson has any “conflict of interest” where he or members of his family might stand to personally benefit from decisions he makes at HUD.

However, many of Trump’s other appointments do. Beyond the hypocrisy of appointing three former Goldman Sachs executives to his administration after blasting Hillary Clinton & Ted Cruz for their ties to the Wall Street bank, some of the Billionaires Trump has appointed to his cabinet will be running agencies they themselves have a personal grudge against… not because of any belief those agencies are not operating in the best interests of the PUBLIC, no. But because these agencies have been standing in the way of making these Billionaires even more obscenely wealthy than they already are (echos of Ted Kennedy asking, “When does the greed stop?”)

Among Trump’s appointees:

  • Steven Mnuchin – Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary is not only one of those former Goldman Sachs bankers, Mnuchin left the firm to start his own bank, “OneWest“, that earned him the nickname “foreclosure machine” during the banking crisis for foreclosing on over 36 thousand home loans plus another 40 percent (16,200) of all reverse mortgages. As Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin will be able to set interest rates deciding how much banks like his will earn on the loans he makes.
  •  

  • Steven Pruitt – Trump’s pick to head the EPA… the former Oklahoma Attorney General… has sued the EPA at least 13 times. Why? Because Pruitt doesn’t believe in Global Warming (and not too sure about gravity either) and is currently suing the agency’s Clean Power Plan, which he called a “war on coal” for setting “pollution standards for power plants and statewide goals for cutting carbon pollution.” Is there any question why the AG from Oklahoma would be hostile towards any regulation of the Energy industry… which stands to make… not just millions or billions, but literally Trillions of dollars pending rollbacks of a host of environmental regulations… which he will now be able to do as head of the EPA. Those costly lawsuits he filed all go bye-bye. And I can assure you Pruitt’s wealthy friends won’t forget him when he’s looking for a job four years from now.
  •  

  • Andrew Puzder – Trump’s pick as Labor Secretary, the owner & founder of the Hardee’s and “Carl’s Jr” fast food chains, opposes raising the minimum wage (not just to $15, but thinks even $10.10 is “too high”), is a bit of a misogynist (like his boss), opposes expanding eligibility rules to qualify for overtime pay, and waxes poetic over the notion of replacing workers with robots:
     
    Puzder on automation
    “They’re always polite, they always upsell,
    they never take a vacation, they never show up late,
    there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age,
    sex or race discrimination case.”

     
    If that sounds like employment nirvana that’ll make YOUR life happier & more prosperous… not Puzder’s… then the Puzder pick should make your short miserable life a little bit brighter.
  •  

  • And probably by the time you read this, Trump will have named Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State. As Rachel Maddow pointed out last week, Tillerson has close ties to Russia, and as America’s chief diplomat, could easily choose to show favoritism towards nations either doing business with Exxon or are seeking to do business with Exxon. The State Department also brokers treaties and trade deals… all of which could prove to be highly lucrative for his company Exxon/Mobile.
  •  

  • And of course, we’ll always have the man himself, Trump, the mother of all “conflicts of interests”, whom last week announced he will still be an Executive Producer of his TV Show “Celebrity Apprentice” (which was canceled last year after his remarks about Mexicans, but was miraculously renewed with his election victory.) Trump does not think this is a “conflict of interests” because he thinks the term refers to “divided attention” (and no one dare correct the president-elect no matter how often he denies his business interests “aren’t a conflict of interests” because he can “do both at the same time.” Lord help us. The man is an idiot and our journalists won’t do their jobs.) Trump will still profit from his hotels as well. Every time a foreign dignitary chooses to stay in one of his hotels, they are greasing his sweaty orange palm in direct violation of The Emoluments Clause. The Embassy of Bahrain has made plans to host their “National Day” celebration at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. and the RNC themselves chose to host their Xmas party there as well. All that money goes right into his pocket. Trump says he intends to keep “a stake” in his empire. Good. That’ll make it that much easier to impeach his ass for accepting bribes two years from now.

Other Billionaires appointed to the Trump Administration: industrialist Wilbur Ross to head the Commerce Department, who has amassed a fortune of $2.5 Billion through decades at the helm of Rothschild’s bankruptcy practice and his own investment firm, and Todd Ricketts, son of a billionaire co-owner of the Chicago Cubs as his deputy. Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary, is the daughter-in-law of Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway, and transportation secretary Elaine Chao, wife of Mitch McConnell who previously worked as Bush’s Labor Secretary, is the daughter of a shipping magnate.

Do ANY of these people strike you as the altruistic type seeking only to serve their fellow man? How many of these Billionaires have established charities or actively served their communities? Editor of the National Review, Rich Lowry, said yesterday during ABC’s “ThisWeek” that all these Billionaire CEO’s “only want to see workers become more prosperous.” Really? Because all of these guys already employ tens of thousands. If all they want is “to see workers become more prosperous”, what’s stopping them? There’s no regulation prohibiting them from giving their employees a raise or increasing overtime pay. In fact, we know at least one of them (Puzder) is openly opposed to doing anything that profits his workers. He’d rather replace them with robots.

No, these people aren’t taking these jobs for “humanitarian” reasons or out of any sense of “public duty”. They are volunteering for these jobs because they seek to financially benefit Special Interests… which sometimes is the person staring back at them in the mirror.
 

Postscript: More news broke last week as the CIA confirmed that not only did Russia break into DNC servers during the Primaries, but they broke into RNC servers as well (but never released anything they found.) Reince Priebus on ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday conceded that Russia may have broken into DNC servers, but absolutely refused to admit they may have broken into RNC servers as well. I want you to think about that for a second. Is it so improbable that the RNC servers could have been hacked? Does he believe RNC servers are somehow less hackable than the DNC’s? If so, how would he know? Or perhaps they have been in communication with the Kremlin and have received assurances they wouldn’t be hacked? (Remember, Trump practically encouraged Russia to hack into either the DNC or Clinton’s private email server to dig up those “30,000 missing emails” during the campaign.) Or perhaps he knows the RNC servers WERE hacked because Russia admitted it to them, which would mean the RNC was aware Russia was hacking our election but said nothing about it. There is no “good” explanation for why Priebus would adamantly defend Russia and deny even the possibility of being hacked. Chuck Todd had to talk to Priebus like a child during “Meet the Press” yesterday as he futily tried to get the future Chief-of-Staff to understand how denying RNC servers were hacked didn’t negate the possibility of Russian meddling in our election. Exasperated, Todd was eventually forced to give up as they came upon a commercial break.

Trump himself attacked the CIA for suggesting Russia may have interfered with our election to help him win, saying “These are the same people who said Saddam had WMD’s.” (Well, no. Cheney stovepiped intel to Langley and changed Directors until they told him what he wanted to hear, but the one time they told the Bush Administration what they DIDN’T want to hear… “Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U.S.” on August 6th, 2001… they were dead on.)

Trump criticizes our own intelligence agencies while defending Russia… again. His likely Secretary of State pick was awarded the Russian “Medal of Friendship” by Putin himself, whom Trump bragged, “Has a very good working relationship with Russia” when defending Tillerson’s qualification to be Secretary of State, and most forget this his first campaign manager Paul Manifort was forced to resign because of his close financial ties to Russia.

Trump supporters don’t see how having the President-elect of the United States defending Russia… even over his own intelligence agencies… is a public relations coup for Russia.

Ronald Reagan is spinning in his grave like a top.
 


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The CEO President. THIS is Trump’s idea of “The Best People”?
Nov 21st, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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In 2005, when President Bush proposed appointing his personal lawyer and longtime friend Harriet Meyers to the Supreme Court, both Democrats AND Republicans rolled their eyes. Out of every qualified lawyer/judge/academic in the nation, Bush searched “far & wide” the hallway just outside his office door to find what he thought was “the best person to serve on the nations highest court”. Seriously? Bush was roundly criticized for such a lazy pick, and rightly so. So why is it now that Donald Trump… whose pitch for electing his president was his experience as a successful CEO who would find “the best people” to fill his cabinet… “SO great” we “wouldn’t believe it”… seems to only be picking sycophants, campaign lackies, and even family members to fill key roles in his administration, and no one seems to be calling him out on it?

Even Chris Wallace during his interview with VP-elect Mike Pence on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday pointed out that so far, all of Prez-elect Trump’s nominees appear to be “All loyalists and all white men.”

You know it’s bad when even Fox “news” is calling a Republican out for cronyism. Just take a look at what this “CEO president’s” idea of “the best people” looks like:

o Trump appointed his Campaign Manager Steve Bannon… the editor in chief of a right-wing tabloid… to be his “Chief Strategist”. In her divorce decree, Bannon’s ex-wife said he “didn’t want his kids going to school with all those Jews.” Brietbart promoted Trump’s birtherism for nearly Obama’s entire presidency, heralded pride for the Confederate flag, and brags of wanting Brietbart to become “the platform of the “alt-Right” White Nationalists movement within the GOP. But you’d expect nothing less from a man who praises “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader and Satan” (in that order) as his political role-models.

You KNOW you’re bad when even freakin’ Glenn Beck calls you a “horrible, despicable human being”.

o Next questionable appointee on the prez-elect’s list: Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions for Attorney General. Sessions was the first and only senator to endorse Trump prior to him becoming the nominee way back in August of 2015 and remained one of his go-to defenders every time Trump was caught saying something inexcusable. Sessions once called the NAACP & ACLU “Communist inspired” for “Trying to force Civil Rights down the throats of people”, and reportedly said the KKK was “okay until I learned they smoked pot” [ibid]. Sessions called the 1965 Voting Rights Act “intrusive legislation” and denied his state (Alabama) had “a history of denying voters” when the Supreme Court undid much of the Act in 2013. Sessions also condemned the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage as a strike against our “shared faith and traditions from every place of respect” and “part of a continuing effort to secularize, by force and intimidation” a society based upon that faith.

Now, it is true that Sessions prosecuted the KKK for murder while he was Attorney General of Alabama back in the 80’s. But it was his job. It’s not like he had a lot of say in the matter. And we ARE talking about “murder”… which tends to trump (no pun intended) any personal beliefs “people of faith” like Sessions tend to have about racial equality.

One bright spot in Sessions’ otherwise questionable views of minorities was his support in 1999 to honor Rosa Parks with the “Congressional Gold Medal”, calling Parks the “living embodiment of [the] principle” of “True equality [and] the total elimination of discrimination”. I guess “celebrity” really does have its’ privileges.

Other cronies floated for the AG position: other Team Trump loyalists Rudy “Noun/Verb/911” Giuliani & Chris “BridgeGate” Christie. Once again, Trump’s “far & wide” search for the “best people”… (head slap) whatdayaknow! They’re right here is the same room! How serendipitous!

o Trump’s pick to be his “National Security Advisor” is someone who said “Islam is a cancer”, “a political ideology masquerading as a religion” (because clearly no other religion does that), and tweeted a “Fear of Islam is rational”: General Mike Flynn. I’m sure that’ll go over just great in a part of the world that believes the United States is “at war with Islam”. Just how likely are our enemies to surrender rather than fight to the death… possibly dragging the war on for another decade… against an enemy that calls their religion a disease and defends the use of torture on those we capture? Flynn was also a huge Trump supporter and led the chant of “Lock her up!” at the RNC Convention.

o Perhaps less controversial but no less disturbing, Trump has tapped Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)… best known for his attacks on Hillary Clinton regarding Benghazi!TM… for CIA Director. Pompeo also supports waterboarding [ibid] and called Gitmo an “Important Asset” that must stay open. Pompeo also was an endorser of Donald Trump. Arguably, Trump did have to look further than “outside his office door” to come up with Pompeo as his pick. But is picking yet another Right-Wing Republican Congressman Trump’s idea of “draining the swamp” in Washington?

o Speaking of “draining the swamp”, Trump picked the current head of the freakin’ RNC, Reince Priebus to be his Chief of Staff… arguably the second most powerful job in the White House… a normal White House anyway. When it comes to having the president’s ear, Bannon already has that job. A lot of Trump supporters were actually quite upset that he picked such a Washington insider to run his White House. If Trump had lost the election, there is no question Priebus would have been fired, relegating him to the TV talk show circuit. So Priebus jumping ship to run Trump’s White House spares them the messy job of publicly criticizing him for allowing someone like Trump… who won… to become the GOP nominee in the first place, forcing them into the abyss of supporting “President Trump” for the next four years and into political irrelevance for the next decade. Priebus always struck me as a guy way in over his head, attempting (and failing) to come up with clever remarks whenever appearing on the Sunday talk shows.

o Like Pompeo, Trump had to actually swivel his head more than a few degrees to come up with James “Mad Dog” Mattis for as his nominee for Secretary of Defense. A four-star Marine Corps General, Mattis famously said: “Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (American democracy) and kill every one of them until they’re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact.” Wonderful. Just the kind of even temperament you want advising the president on matters of National Defense. If anyone had concern that Trump’s “secret plan to win the war” was a massive invasion of the Middle-East… see! You were worried over nothing!

Mattis is also a harsh critic of the Iran nuclear deal and called Iran the “biggest threat to peace in the Middle East”. Not ISIS. Not alQaeda. Iran.

Early on, there were some who actually wanted Mattis to run for president as a third party candidate against Trump, but he refused.

o Another “far & wide” search for “the best people” has led “the CEO Prez” to consider far-Right hate-talk radio host Laura Ingraham for Press Secretary. This is a pick that probably involved turning on a TV or radio at some point and tuning into Fox.

During the 2014 Ebola scare, Ingraham (citing perennial nutjob Dinesh D’Souza’s idiotic “Obama 2016” movie), suggested Obama was willing to expose U.S. troops to the lethal disease because of his disdain for “American Colonialism” (a D’Souza term.) Ingraham agreed with Trump on her radio show, saying Mexicans “have come here to murder and rape our people” and called for returning-deportees to be “shot”. Laura also suggested only immigrants who can prove they are “Christians” be allowed into the country (no Muslims, but no Jews or Atheists either), said everyone should protest trans-gender bathrooms by wearing “adult-diapers”, and called Planned Parenthood employees “Heinous, Hitlerian Freaks.” Just the kind of person you want as the voice of your Administration talking to the Press Corps everyday.

During Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, Ingraham took offense when fellow panelist Juan Williams called Trump’s proposed staff nominees a “Team of radicals” (a reference to Lincoln’s “Team of Rivals”), calling his language “divisive”. Seriously.

o Another absurd proposed nominee: Sarah Palin for Secretary of the Interior? You’re telling me this “CEO President”… who ran on appointing “the best people” to staff the most amazing White House team ever… searched far and wide and the best person he could find to be in charge of our land, parks, forest, nuclear waste & toxic clean-up, and basically everything outdoors, is a Community College graduate with degree in journalism, former beauty queen turned sportscaster, turned half-term Mayor of Wasilla, turned half-term Governor of Alaska? Although she too was a reality TV star, so they have that in common. Like Priebus, Palin has always been in over her head, always trying to sound clever in her stump speeches only to vomit the most ridiculous word-salad time & time again.

o And most recently, we learned of the possible nomination of Mitt Romney… the exception that proves the rule… to be “Secretary of State”. I liken the Romney pick to Bush’s pick of Colin Powell to be his “Secretary of State” in 2001. Powell had nothing in common with all the other ideologues and hawks in President Bush’s cabinet, and was clearly picked simply to give it an aire of maturity & responsibility. But Powell famously did not get along with the rest of Bush’s Administration… most famously Dick Cheney who actively worked to shut Powell out of Staff Meetings. If Romney is picked, we will see history repeat itself in this way as well.

I’m trying to imagine the meeting between Trump & Romney, with Mitt telling him, “I got more votes than you too!” The only reason Trump won his election when Romney did not is because Trump had the good fortune to be running against an even more disliked opponent. He’s probably kicking himself for not running a third time this election.

And that’s just Trump’s picks so far. Try to imagine Gov. Rick “oops” Perry as Secretary of Education, Ben Carson for Surgeon General or Newt Gingrich for Director of Homeland security?

Traditional Wisdom has been tossed out the window. Remember the awful RNC Convention? Trump’s top celebrities were Chachi and a male underwear model. I described the entire event as “Orwell’s 2-minutes of hate stretched into a 4-day event.” Trump himself insulted EVERY minority demographic there is… Mexicans, Muslims, blacks, veterans, the disabled… joked of sexually assaulting women, used foul language, was caught on tape God knows how many times saying things he denied ever saying (and then continued to deny saying them), flip-flopped on every issue from Abortion to how great Hillary was… and his supporters defended it all, swooning how “politically incorrect” he was and how refreshing it was for them to hear.

During “Meet the Press” yesterday, a former Obama-voter-turned-Trump-supporter rationalized his vote by saying “I think Hillary is a criminal.” By the end of the program, they were talking about the president-elect settling his “Trump University” lawsuit for $25 Million dollars.

What Hath God Wrought? A short aside. This is what you elected America by not showing up (be it the Primaries or in November):

Trump:

  • Wants limits on the First Amendment (wants to be able to sue people for saying things he doesn’t like) but not the Second.
  • Admitted to committing sexual assault.
  • Has called for the “total repeal of Obamacare”… which he now appears to want to replace with… Obamacare?
  • A president that believes he can fire generals… the ones he says he knows more than, and yet is now loading his cabinet with.
  • Promised to “Build a wall…” or is it a fence… or is it now a “virtual fence” patrolled from the air by drones?
  • His vow to expel “11 Million illegal immigrants” is now “2-3 Million dangerous illegal immigrants.” Any illegal immigrant arrested committing a violent crime is already deported, so the only way to round-up 2 to 3 Million unaccounted for “gang-bangers“, “drug-dealers”, and petty-thieves would be if you create a National “Deportation Force” committing unconstitutional house-to-house searches looking for evidence that the residents are both undocumented AND committing crimes, letting the “non-criminals” go (for now) and deporting the “guilty” ones without trial.
  • Trump… who just settled one criminal case against himself… will be appointing the Attorney General while he himself is still under investigation.
  • Called Climate Change “a Chinese hoax” and is threatening to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords.
  • Said during the campaign that “We desperately need the Keystone XL pipeline”.
  • Thinks “ObamaCare” is an insurance program, calling it “the worst insurance there is”.
  • Will unquestionably escalate the war in the Middle East, bring back torture, keep Gitmo open, and threaten to use nuclear weapons.
  • Doesn’t understand what “Blind Trust” means (“I’ll put all my assets in a blind trust. I’ll put Ivanka and my kids in charge of all my properties. Is that a “blind trust”? I don’t know.”)

Meanwhile, VP-Elect Pense is:

  • The most Anti-choice governor in the nation, calling to outlaw the IUD & The Pill while calling to abolish Roe.
  • The most Anti-gay rights gov. Signing Indiana’s controversial “right to be a bigot” Religious Freedom Act into law before being forced to rescind (most of?) it following a nationwide uproar and numerous corporate boycotts.
  • Called to shut down the government in 2010 (rather than raise the “Debt Ceiling” to pay our obligations.)

You know why Trump wants his kids to be his advisors and given Security Clearances? Because he doesn’t trust anyone else. Not even his closest advisors. Think about that. For the next four years, we’ll have a paranoid xenophobic bigot with trust issies in charge of our government. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.

“May you live in interesting times.” – Ancient Chinese curse.
 


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