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Reconciling Trump’s Incompetency With Economic Success
May 7th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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During the 1980 presidential race, GOP candidate Ronald Reagan attacked President Carter for allowing the National Debt to “skyrocket” from just $700 Billion to $900 Billion, a nearly 25% increase in the National Debt in just four years, implying “stunning fiscal irresponsibility” on Carter’s behalf. of course, what Reagan innocently forgot to mention was that all those loans to pay for the Vietnam War started to come due in 1976 (the year before Carter took office) and drove up the Debt, not because of any “fiscal irresponsibility” on Carter’s behalf. Then Reagan went on to become president, slashed taxes on the wealthy, and TRIPLED the National Debt in just eight years. But Republicans adored Reagan… and still do to this day… for producing a “fantastic” economy (actually, the Reagan economy was less successful Bill Clinton’s. And Carter did FAR better in his four years than Reagan did in his first four.) Reagan traded the short-term gain of tax cuts to rescue a struggling economy in the 80’s for a 300% increase in the National Debt that we’ll be paying off for generations. Short-term gain in exchange for delayed long-term pain. Republicans have a well-documented history (something I document here weekly) of ignoring the future consequences of decisions they make today in exchange for short-term gain.

I remember a few years back listening to a debate over whether or not “nuclear energy” should be included in any discussion of “Green Energy”. The short-term gainers argued that “anything that helps us get off fossil fuels that doesn’t produce CO2” should be considered “Green Energy”. One man pointed out that “If the ancient Egyptians had nuclear reactors and used them to power their cities 5-10 thousand years ago, we would STILL be stuck having to store their nuclear waste today.” That’s an amazing thought. Short-term gain in exchange for long-term pain.

We see this repeatedly among Republicans. “Damn the consequences! Full speed ahead… into Iraq… or exploding the Deficit with tax cuts that aren’t paid for… or rolling back regulations of coal mining (and not just “pollution” regulations either. West Virginia’s GOP Senate primary is being led by none other than Bill Blankenship, owner of the “Massey Energy Coal Mine” who went to prison after ordering supervisors to ignore coal mine safety regulations, resulting in the deaths of 29 coal miners in 2010. (But hey, they all had jobs!). Cutting taxes without regard for the Debt (until a Democrat becomes president)? That’s GOP-101.

Republicans hate “government regulations” the way children hate being told to eat their peas. Those “regulations”… like those mine safety regulations Blankenship ignored… were put in place for a reason. Rolling back regulations might help a few companies save a few bucks today and perhaps create a few more jobs… until one of the reasons those regulations were enacted in the first place comes back to bite them in the ass and ends up costing people a lot of money (or worse.) The consequences of many decisions might not be felt for years, but they always come. How many people predicted we’d still be at war in the Middle-East FIFTEEN YEARS after the invasion of Iraq (which was sold on the promise of an “Arab Spring” where the successful Democratization of Iraq would spread throughout the Middle-East as “dictatorships fall like dominoes?”)

So last week, unemployment fell to an amazing 3.9%… technically “full employment” (ie: if you don’t have a job, you probably don’t need one)… a low not seen since Bill Clinton’s second term. Add to that, the “meteoric” rise in the Stock Market after Trump was elected (the DOW closed at a record high of 26,616.71 on January 26th of this year… an increase of 25.5% since Obama left office. All very good news for the economy, and both are indexes I used to judge the strength/weakness of the economy under both Obama & Bush. And this far into Trump’s second year, he does deserve the majority of the credit for these good numbers (as much as it pains me to say it) because a year of unpopular economic decisions would just as easily have driven those numbers back up.
 

Unemployment rate since Bush's final year

 

Trump nearly derailed his own economy when he threatened to impose blanket indiscriminate tariffs on imported steel & aluminum without regard for country of origin, which threatened to spark a global trade war, first resulting in the DOW losing over a thousand points in one week, then losing a thousand points in one day the following Monday. So current numbers ARE a reflection of current policies.

Under Obama during the 2016 campaign, when unemployment fell from 4.9% to 4.6% on November 1st… three points in just one month… Trump called the numbers “fake” and an attempt by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to help Hillary Clinton. Now the numbers are totally accurate and proof his economic policies are working.

At the risk of sounding like a partisan pessimist unwilling to admit “success” under a Republican president, I’m seeing the same trends we saw under George W. Bush when he slashed interest rates NINE TIMES in 2001 (and don’t blame 9/11. Only TWO of those cuts came after 9/11) to get the economy moving again in his first term (if you have been paying attention this week, the last time unemployment fell to 3.9% was December of 2000JUST as the Republican candidates started talking down the economy as they started their run for president (again, trading short-term gain without regard for the consequences.) Interest rates near zero have left the Federal Reserve with no place to go but up… which we have been putting off ever since. When exploding gasoline prices (thanks to deregulated Commodity Traders) sucked TRILLIONS out of the economy by 2008, “cutting interest rates to kickstart the economy” was no longer an option. Global economic disaster ensued, forcing newly elected President Obama to borrow hundreds of Billions for his “Stimulus”.

Trump’s MASSIVE corporate tax cuts… permanent for the rich but temporary for everyone else… spurred enormous investment in the stock market (almost without regard for profits) because it meant corporations were going to be able to keep more of their profits. Many stocks are likely over-inflated, not justified by their sales figures, which makes them ripe for a crash. Trump is creating a bubble that will make The Crash of 2008 look like “The Good Old Days”. We can’t cut taxes to zero and still fund the government, so the days of goosing investment in the Stock Market with the promise of additional tax cuts are over. Once again, there’s no place for them to go but up. The flood of investors pouring money into stocks to take advantage of larger profit margins seemed to push the DOW to new record highs week-after-week for months. Those record highs stopped with that January 26th record close mentioned above. The DOW has not hit another record high since. By last Wednesday, the DOW was down more than 10% off that record high just three months earlier (though gaining a nice 300+ point bounce Friday thanks to the good jobs numbers for April.) And much of this has to do with an increase in Consumer spending thanks to those (temporary) tax cuts (that will blow a hole in the Deficit for the next guy to worry about.) Yes, those tax cuts for the Poor & Middle Class will come to an end over the next few years, but the Republican philosophy is that in a few years, with the economy growing, consumers won’t need those tax cuts anymore (but then watch how hard Republicans fight a few years from now to keep those tax cuts on the grounds ending them will hurt the economy. This is EXACTLY what Republicans did regarding “The Bush Tax Cuts” that were set to end under Obama.)

Okay, we’ve spurred the economy with tax cuts and deregulation. Now what? How do we keep the momentum going? Trust me. They got nothin’.

Tax cuts alone don’t drive economic growth. And thanks to Trump’s massive tax cut blowing a hole in the Deficit, they are going to HAVE TO raise interest rates (already a growing concern) to fund the government. That will suck Billions out of the economy, slow growth, and cause another Recession. Then Trump’s low-end tax cuts will expire, making the problem even worse (which as I note above, will be the excuse for extending those tax cuts even longer) and make an already bad problem even worse.

Gas prices are also on the rise. Republicans LOVE “Big Oil” and want unrestricted drilling EVERYWHERE. “Wanna drill for oil in the middle of a National Park? Go for it! So with all this additional drilling, why are oil/gas prices going up? The national average price of gasoline is now $0.55/gal higher today than when Obama left office. Oil… $52.42/barrel when Obama left office… is racing towards $70/barrel today. Why? Because the GOP’s love of “Big Oil” isn’t out of a desire to see cheap gas, it’s out of a desire to make oil company executives rich. Enjoy the “good times” while you can, folks!

There are plenty of movie & TV examples of “good intentions gone wrong”. But one of my favorites was a 2002 episode of “The Outer Limits” called “The New Breed” (44 minutes) about a brilliant scientist with a massive ego who invented microscopic “nanobots” that could repair damaged cells on a molecular level to cure everything. At first, the nanobots are a huge success. But then they start misinterpreting normal flaws as “mistakes” that need to be “fixed” (one example: giving the doctor “gills” because he kept testing to see how long he could hold his breath under water.) By the end, the brilliant scientist was begging for death.

And that’s how I feel every time I hear Republicans promising the moon today if we just jeopardize our future. “Too many regulations!” “Fighting Climate Change is costing us jobs!” “Corporations will regulate themselves if they wish to stay in business!” “Ice Cream & candy for dinner! We’ll worry about the tummy ache and cavities tomorrow!” They’ve done it time & time again.

A month ago, I wrote about my concern regarding a possible increasing willingness to overlook Trump’s crimes & disastrous policies should his economic policies turn out to be successful. How much is your soul worth? In exchange for short term economic growth, Reagan’s policies exploded the Debt, made “deregulation” a GOP mantra, and unleashed the Military Industrial Complex. Trump whined bitterly of the Mueller/Russia investigation last week, saying, “The country is running so smoothly”, suggesting the investigation into his campaign’s frequent and unresolved contacts with a hostile foreign power… (“meddling” that even Trump himself now concedes happened)… is just sour grapes by “losers” trying to derail his presidency before his “success” costs them the next election.

The cause for alarm here is that Trump is implementing every economic “trick” in the book… (tax cuts, “deregulation”, low interest rates) usually reserved for emergencies… all at once to goose the economy. The danger is that if things go bad, you’re left with no way to counter the damage and rescue the economy.

It drives me crazy that people can’t see that he’s a conman. PT Barnum in a cheap suit. Trump is (or was before the election) broke, pretending to be a billionaire. His entire shtick has been coning people into believing he must know what he’s talking about because he’s a billionaire. “Trump University”, “Trump Airways”, “Trump Vodka” (not wine but Russian vodka), “Trump Mail-Order Steaks” (I always wondered just how much money someone who made million dollar real estate deals thought he’d make selling steaks by mail?), presidential candidate, and now he’s selling the snake oil of “Trickle-Down” voodoo economics all over again.

And (for now), people are buying it. Lord help us all.
 


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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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Evidence Emerges Russia Meddled in #Brexit As Well (just as I speculated last April)
Nov 27th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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I think I started hating Conspiracy Theorists during the OJ Trial. I was home sick that Summer for months with nothing to do except watch the trial live on TV. I watched more of the trial than Judge Ito (literally, one week he had to be excused due to a conflict of interests.) It drove me nuts as the evidence mounted, OJ’s lawyers defense kept changing (sans the consistent yet nonsensical “He was framed by the LAPD!” defense), and despite the overwhelming evidence against him, a huge portion of the population simply dismissed all the evidence on the grounds his accusers could not be trusted. And no matter how absurd the manner in which the “frameup” would of had to have taken place (planting evidence with an eyedropper, “flying DNA”, all without even knowing if OJ had an airtight alibi at the time), there was just no convincing them that just because you don’t trust the accuser, sometimes the accusations are true.

Then came the 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists. No matter how much rational evidence there is, they concoct absurd explanations for why it isn’t true. I think my “favorite” absurd claim is the “holographic planes” argument to argue “NO planes actually hit the Towers.” Don’t ask me to explain the “logic” behind that one because I can’t. But the basis for their disbelief remains the same: “You can’t trust the government!” If you believe our own government was behind 9/11, then you MUST also believe Osama bin Laden and alQaeda were framed and the incompetent Bush Administration pulled off the conspiracy of the century after only eight months in office (never to achieve such masterful misdirection again.) And if there’s one time they could have used such a brilliant air-tight frame-up, it would have been against Iraq. They would have “found” those WMD’s they insisted were there instead of being exposed as bumbling incompetents who lied us into an unnecessary war, nearly costing them the 2004 election.

Some conspiracy theories make me angry beyond words. The claim “Sandy Hook was a ‘false flag’ operation” and “no children were actually killed” theory (because it’s impossible for them to believe ANY gun owner could be so mentally deranged as to murder twenty first graders and six teachers) makes my blood boil. These people have even called the parents of these dead children at home to threaten them if they don’t stop “lying” about what happened. Something so horrific was “clearly” a ruse to push anti-gun legislation… a massive and incredibly complex conspiracy… all for nothing because all it took was 40 Republican lawmakers beholden to the NRA to refuse to pass any new anti-gun legislation. You’d think conspirators THAT clever would have also planned for such a contingency.

And if you listen to conspiracy theorists, the REAL conspiracy is all the people working to convince you the simplest/sanest explanation is the true “conspiracy”, and all evidence can be ignored no matter how solid it is. Trump can admit ON TAPE of committing sexual assault and all it takes is for him to say “I was lying!” for them to trust him again. Roy Moore and his supporters ask “Why now?” are all these accusers suddenly appearing after all these years? (Why? Because first one person speaks up, then others discover they weren’t the only one and start coming forward too.) Clearly, it’s “a conspiracy to stop him from getting elected to the Senate!” (Ironically, the worst witness against Moore is Moore himself, who admitted to Sean Hannity that he never asked out a girl “without getting the mother’s approval first”, then admitting the first time he met his future wife was when she was just 15 during a “school recital”. And STILL they call his accusers liars.) But these same conspiracy theorists are quick to believe Sen. Al Franken’s accusers. They impeached Bill Clinton because they trusted his accusers more than him to the point of getting him to testify under oath about his sexual misconduct (at which point he lied.) How many Republicans ran to his defense asking “why now?” (And yes, I know some Democrats did the same thing. Lesson learned.)

And the one that irks me most of all is the “this is the same government that told us Iraq had WMD’s!” argument for why you can’t trust anything that anyone “official” says. Can’t trust the government. Can’t trust “the lying Media” (one phrase I pray I never hear again after Trump leaves office is “Fake News”. A simplistic catch-all excuse to dismiss anything they don’t like.) Well, *I* remember Ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife Valery Plame being destroyed by the Bush Administration for daring to report there was no way in Hell Saddam bought/transported “20,000 tons of Yellowcake uranium from Niger.” *I* remember VP Dick Cheney repeatedly flying down to CIA headquarters in Langley to put pressure on them to say “Saddam had WMD’s” when the evidence just wasn’t there. Apparently, today’s conspiracy theorists DID trust the government back then, and have resolved never to make that mistake again. Yet, that is EXACTLY what they are doing, making the SAME mistake again, ignoring solid evidence in favor of absurd conspiracy theories (frequently spread by Trump himself.)

Ridiculous.

So, “conspiracies”. The claim Russia meddled in our election isn’t a conspiracy theory. Believing they DIDN’T despite all the evidence on the grounds it either comes from untrustworthy sources, or an elaborate fabrication being spread by someone they hate even more… Hillary Clinton and the DNC. THAT is a conspiracy theory.

Well, last April I noted (in my extensive… and still being updated… list of Trump Administration officials and family members who were in contact with Russian officials during the presidential campaign) my suspicion that Russian meddling in the politics of their enemies was likely not limited to just the United States but that they were probably involved in #Brexit too (“Update 12a”.) We know they meddled in the French election (Update 11) and I suspect they also played a part in the recent split of the province of Caledonia from the rest of Spain.

So it should come as no surprise that that Yes, we now have evidence the Russians DID play a part in promoting #Brexit last June (if you don’t know, #Brexit was a vote in the UK on whether or not to split from the European Union.) The “pro-Brexit” side were virulently anti-Muslim, anti-European, anti-immigrant nativists with a desire to “close the borders” to Middle-Eastern immigrants (sound familiar?)

BuzzFeed reported Friday they found evidence of 45 fake Twitter accounts belonging to Russian bots that did nothing but spread Russian propaganda. During the French elections, the site would push pro-LePen/anti-Macron propaganda in French, then anti-Angela Merkel propaganda in German during her reelection campaign, then instantly switch to English to push pro-Brexit propaganda during the Brexit vote. “20 of the accounts also tweeted about Trump” during the U.S. election.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Russia would want to break up the EU, throw every Western nation into chaos (getting Trump elected certainly achieved that here), and promote anti-Muslim/pro-Russia/anti-NATO leaders like Trump, LePen (the French Nazi) and the Far-Right anti-immigrant “AfD” Party in Germany who won seats in the German parliament for the first time EVER. Russia is the big winner in the decision for the UK to split from the EU. Putin has been staunchly anti-Muslim for decades. His bloody & brutal war against Chechen Muslims predates 9/11 (1994); and the Russian government has been working hard to elect people who oppose NATO, as well as the sanctions placed on Russia by the EU/US ever since they invaded Ukraine in 2014.
 

Impact of EU sanctions on Russia

 

…so is it any surprise they are going to such lengths to actively promote candidates who oppose NATO and oppose sanctions on Russia… or in the case of #Brexit… splitting off England from the EU? And it’s so easy! All it takes is a few hackers in a troll farm targeting voters on social networks with “fake news” reported on “RT (“Russia Today”) and “Sputnik”, or spending a few bucks to buy ads on Facebook & Twitter to promote one candidate over another, influence public opinion just enough to sway 1%-2% of the vote in an extremely close election The rewards VASTLY outweigh the expense/effort. And even if you get caught, you can use THE SAME PROPAGANDA MACHINE to convince just enough people that the “rumors” of Russian meddling are just “sour grapes”… propaganda spread by the losers to explain away their loss (sound familiar Part Deux?)

Of course, as I write this, I know there are also 100 Million “conspiracy theorists” out there ready to accuse me of promoting my own “conspiracy theory” because I “refuse to accept” that the hateful racist oligarchs are more in touch with popular sentiment than their opponents. Only difference is, I have facts & evidence on my side, and they have Nazi’s and Holographic Jumbo Jets on theirs.
 


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Discussion we’re having on sexual assault is the discussion we should of had about guns
Nov 20th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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As you may or may not know, I live-blog the Sunday political talk shows on Facebook & Twitter every week, and yesterday I was growing increasingly agitated listening to perplexed pundits on both sides of the aisle bemoaning the recent spate of men accused of sexually assaulting women, asking, “Why does this keep happening?” and “What… if anything… can we do about it?” I asked myself, “Why does this sound so familiar?” Oh yeah, it’s the same questions everyone was asking about JUST TWO WEEKS AGO following the mass shooting in a Texas church. And one month before that, it was another mass shooting in Las Vegas (ad infinitum). Except when people tried to ask those same questions back then, they were immediately shut down, told it was “too soon” to discuss the failures that facilitated those horrific acts; ensuring that nothing would be done about them.

“Was the Texas church shooting really just two weeks ago“, I hear you asking yourself? Yes. Yes it was. How quickly we forget… and that’s the point. Is it still “too soon” to discuss the most recent gun tragedy? Maybe not. But now that the public has a new distraction to keep them occupied, no one is thinking about the last mass shooting anymore. All attention is on the sudden rash of accusations of sexual misconduct by men in positions of power. Distraction accomplished. The urgency is gone. And that’s the entire point of the “too soon” talking point. Wait it out and soon everyone will just forget about it. Well, I haven’t forgotten about it, and you shouldn’t either.

It’s easy to forget this started with Donald Trump himself thirteen months ago with the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape… at least many might have forgotten if #ToddlerTrump hadn’t decided to attack Al Franken on Twitter for groping a Playmate during a USO event. People asked members of Trump’s staff, “Why on Earth would he attack Senator Franken for doing something he himself has been accused of, only to revive scrutiny of his OWN misbehavior? “He just couldn’t resist!” was the unanimous reply. Funny, he has resisted commenting on the FAR more serious charges being made against Judge Roy Moore these past few weeks. Yet he couldn’t resist attacking Franken (even calling him the childish name of “Frankenstein“.) Undisciplined, immature and lacking impulse control. What does that remind you of? A toddler, perhaps? White House Press Secretary Huckabee-Sanders defended Trump’s decision to selectively attack Franken but not Moore with the justification, “Franken has admitted wrong-doing while Moore has not.” I find it hilarious that anyone might think that was a rational defense. That’s one of those answers that earns a confused head-tilt from my dog. So the guy who has stepped forward and accepted responsibility is the one worthy of criticism, not the serial pedophile who is claiming a giant joint Media/GOP/Democratic conspiracy against him where his nine accusers are all lying and he’s the most persecuted man-of-God since Jesus himself?
 

“We live in a country where the president of the United States has yet to come out and forcefully condemn the sexual predation of children.” – Megan Murphy, Editor Bloomberg Business during ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday.

 

Before Trump we had Rep. Anthony Weiner. After Trump we had Bill O’Reilly and Rodger Ailes of Fox “news”. And since then, a laundry list of celebrities & politicians from Bill Cosby to Judge Roy Moore, and now Senator Franken (BREAKING: And now actor Jeffery Tambor… whom I’ll always remember as the stuffy neighbor with the hot wife on the short-lived “Three’s Company” spin-off: “The Ropers”.) Clearly, “sexual assault” has no party affiliation. The only thing these men have in common was being in a position of authority over the women (and men in the case of Spacey) they assaulted.

But it’s the helpless cries that have gotten under my skin. Not because of anything having to do with any lack of sympathy for the victims, but just knowing more is likely to come out of asking THE EXACT SAME QUESTIONS to prevent more incidents of sexual assault than following every mass shooting. It’s maddening. People were being mowed down by automatic gunfire barely six weeks ago… and then again two weeks ago, and yet more immediate action is likely to take place prosecuting these men for things they did decades ago than will be done to stop the next mass murder using an assault weapon that is likely to occur again any day now.

When each shooting rampage takes place, Gun Rights Advocates cry that it is “too soon” to talk about how to stop the next one. And when someone is accused of sexual misconduct that took place years ago, the abusers’ defense is “Why did they wait so long?” And in the time in between, we get distracted by the latest Hollywood/political scandal. There’s just no way to win.

“Why does this keep happening and what are we going to do about it?” Well, we KNOW why “sexual abuse” keeps happening, and “what we’re going to do about it” is force some resignations while some of the more powerful people will voluntarily check themselves into therapy. No real changes will take place, and in the meantime, another delusional crazyman in a position of power will assault another dozen people.

Huh. Same questions. Same consequences. I guess the two situations aren’t that different after all.

Never mind.
 

Famous predators

 


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Self-Proclaimed Protectors of America Hold Everything it Stands for in Contempt.
Oct 16th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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I think I’m running out of ways to say “The Far Right hates America.” Which is ironic because it’s the Far Right who continually accuses “The Left” of “hating America” for complaining about the direction it’s heading (headlong into Fascism.) I’ve been writing this blog since the end of Dubya Bush’s first term in office, and one thing I’ve noticed is that people have disturbingly short memories. I actually heard a progressive radio host last week say that he “didn’t remember the Bush Administration having as much contempt for the Freedom of Speech as the Trump Administration.” “SERIOUSLY?” I barked out loud. You don’t remember “Free Speech Zones”, “Loyalty oaths”, and “fake newscasts with actors pretending to be reporters using fake names” being produced in-house by the Bush Administration and distributed to small market low-budget TV stations across the nation who then played those fake newscasts without ever revealing their source and clearly unaware the reporters were actors? You telling me you don’t remember ANY of that? None of this is new. Trump’s contempt for “Freedom of the Press”, “Freedom of Speech“, “Freedom of Assembly” and a “Freedom of Religion” that only applies if you are Christian, are only the latest depths of Conservative anti-Americanism. Trump’s supporters openly spoke of “secession” when Obama was president, and hate immigrants (ironically, in a nation of immigrants… of which their forebearers almost certainly were) to a xenophobic level. Not only did Trump launch his campaign calling Mexican immigrants “drug dealers and rapists” (which his supporters cheered), and not only has he called for a ban on all immigration from the Middle East (to which he later tried to amend with exceptions based on religion), but they even tried to rewrite the story of the “Statue of Liberty” to claim the Lady with the Lamp guiding “the wretched refuse to our shores” was NOT intended to “welcome” immigrants, but instead was merely a monument to our greatness, adding that the famed poem describing the purpose of the statue “was added later.” If your hatred of the outside world is SO extreme you feel you must even rewrite Lady Liberty’s legacy, that’s beyond living in denial. They wave Confederate flags (the flag of rebels who broke apart from America and declared war upon it), hate half of the people who live here (blacks, minorities, non-Christians, Democrats) and think the purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect them from their own government. And the biggest problem is that the people who support all this anti-American activity ALSO claim to be America’s most fervent defenders/supporters.

As I’ve noted many times before, our Constitution mentions the word “TREASON” seven times and says the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is for its citizens to PROTECT AMERICA from those who seek to attack it. If you live here, it’s the FIRST Amendment that grants you the power to speak out against the government, petition it to redress your grievances, a free press to air those grievances and speak out against it, and a right to freely assemble/protest to bring about change. NO WHERE does it say “If you don’t like it, you can shoot your Congressman.” It’s there to guard against fascism (the merger of corporations, church & state). Guard against people who might seek to deny you your right of free speech. Guard against people who might do this country harm… by militarizing the police, polluting our air & streams, or keeping the nation in a perpetual state of war. The most fervent Second Amendment supporters are typically the same people who most live in fear of their own government, are the greatest supporters of those very same policies I just listed, and the quickest to threaten the use of force against it if the government strays from those very policies or endangers their right to own as much firepower as they can possibly amass over several lifetimes. The great irony in this country is that today’s Second Amendment supporters are the very people the Second Amendment was intended to protect us from.

These self-proclaimed “Protectors of America” hold everything this nation stands for in contempt: Immigrants, free speech, tolerance and a separation of Church & State.

With Trump’s new call for “Compulsory Patriotism” (demanding NFL team owners “suspend” any player who refuses to stand for the National Anthem in protest), we join the ranks of reviled dictatorships like Iran, North Korea, Nazi Germany and (of course) Soviet Russia. It should come as a surprise to no one that Trump admires dictators… fascists who don’t have to answer to anyone… and bemoans the fact he can’t just run the country the way a corporate tycoon runs his company… the lone decision maker where his word is law and everything is done by decree. (We all remember how bitterly Republicans accused President Obama of “acting like a dictator” by issuing “Executive Orders” to circumvent an obstructionist Congress. They declared that “Executive Orders” in and of themselves were “unconstitutional” for that very reason. So imagine my shock (sarcasm) when Trump did EXACTLY THAT, issuing an unconstitutional “Executive Order” of his own last week (for fun, type “Trump executive order” in a Google News search and see how many options come up) “decertifying” a key provision in “ObamaCare” to provide subsidies to help the working poor afford their insurance. And imagine my further surprise (read: none) when Conservative pundit Michael Needham on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday dared claim “Nobody ever said Conservatives oppose ALL “Executive Orders”, just the “unconstitutional” ones.” It’s not THEIR fault every single one of Obama’s “Executive Orders” just happened to be “unconstitutional” (because they were used to circumvent an obstructionist Congress, while Trump’s EO was done because… ah… oh… uh…)

Now, if you are a Conservative, you’re probably calling me a hypocrite for not yet mentioning recent college protests seeking to shutdown guest speakers who wish to perform/talk at their school. Typically, the object of their fury are Conservative hate-speech bomb-throwers like Ann Coulter or Steve Bannon, but they’ve also protested Left-Wing stand-up comics like Bill Maher whom they criticize for his criticism of Muslims as followers of “a hateful ideology”, though to be fair, he says the same thing about the religious Right (as do I.) So, “the Left” has its intolerant anti-free speech zealots as well. But while “the Left” has a few intolerant young college kids who should know better but don’t, the Right has ENTIRE ORGANIZATIONS (like The Family Research Council who just hosted Bannon’s latest little fascist-fest, the “AEI: American Enterprise Institute“, and most famously “The Heritage Foundation“) with multi-billionaire backers funding them dedicated to undermining the very principles of Democracy. A few intolerant kids at a select few colleges just doesn’t compare.

If you claim to “love America”, then you must also love everything it stands for. If only those who claim to be ready to fight to the death to protect the Second Amendment were as fanatical about protecting the First.
 


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Who Is Helping North Korea’s Lightning-Fast Evolving Nuclear Missile Program?
Sep 4th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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On New Years Eve, just before Trump took office, Kim Jong Un promised they were preparing to conduct their first test of an ICBM. Sounding an awful lot like that “Red Line” Trump blasted Obama for, Trump tweeted the next day, “It won’t happen!” It did. Just three weeks after Trump’s inauguration, North Korea test-fired a “Ballistic missile”… a modified version of their existing “Musudan” intermediate range missile, that landed unspectacularly 310 miles away into the Sea of Japan between the two countries.

Three weeks later, North Korea launched four more missiles all at once, again into the Sea of Japan. A fifth test two few weeks after that the rocket exploded seconds after launch. They were trying, but not making a lot of progress. Three more launches in April, the first flying a mere 37 miles before falling back to Earth, and the next two exploding shortly after launch.

Then suddenly, something changed.

Three more tests in May, the first, a rocket that reached an altitude of 1,312 miles… a distance great enough to potentially reach Eastern Alaska… was fired almost straight up, coming almost straight down… again into the Sea of Japan. Bear in mind that the month before, their only “successful” launch traveled a mere 37 miles, and all tests landed or crashed in the Sea of Japan between the two countries. Now suddenly they have an ICBM (promised on December 31st but were never able to deliver on.)

One test in June, two more successful tests in July, and two more in August. Of the August tests, the second flying over Japan… the first time since 2009. The big difference this time was that they did not warn Japan in advance before firing a rocket over their heads. Fortunately, this rocket broke up just over halfway into it’s 4,000KM flight, raining debris in the Pacific just off the East coast of Japan.

But in all of this, it was understood that an “Atomic” warhead… the pinnacle of their nuclear weapons development after over 20 years… would be just too big & too heavy to mount atop one of their notoriously unreliable missiles (who would put an atomic bomb atop a missile that might only travel 37 miles?) Even once they developed their first ICBM (the one Trump said would “never happen”… until it did five months later), it was understood they could not be armed with nuclear warheads due to size & weight… at least “not for another year” they were claiming barely a month ago.

And now, early Sunday morning, just four days since their test launch of an ICBM and their first test East of Japan since 2009, Japan detects the test of a Hydrogen bomb in Northern North Korea… which is significantly smaller/lighter… yet 10 times more powerful… than the old technology Atomic bombs they were previously capable of building. So now, in less than seven months time, North Korea has gone from short-range missiles that frequently exploded after launch, to ICBM’s capable of reaching the U.S., and from bulky/undeliverable “atomic” bombs to compact, massively more powerful hydrogen bombs that can be used as a nuclear warhead. No offense, but North Korea isn’t exactly known for their technical prowess. Someone HAS to be helping them. And who might that be?

There are only three “possible” candidates, all allies of North Korea and antagonistic towards the United States, and two of those can easily be scratched off the list. The three candidates are China, Iran and Russia.

Why would China wish to encourage nuclear war right on their doorstep between the United States and their ally North Korea? The United States’ firepower is so vastly superior to NK, they wouldn’t stand a chance even in a Conventional war let alone a nuclear one. America is also perhaps China’s biggest trading partner. An attack on the United States would almost certainly disrupt trade with China. Not to mention the fact that as an ally of North Korea, China would be drawn into a disastrous war with the United States. The very idea that China would want to provoke all that in their own backyard is nonsensical.

Iran is possibility #2. But to guide someone else on how to develop ICBM’s and hydrogen bombs, you first need to have already developed YOUR OWN “ICBM’s and hydrogen bombs”. Iran has neither. Scratch them off the list.

That leaves Russia. Now why would Russia want to see America… the lone remaining Super Power… in chaos? America is all over the Middle-East controlling much of the world’s oil. We lead NATO, a collection of European nations whose sole purpose for existence is to keep Russia in check. Installing a loose-canon, friendly to Russia and antagonistic towards NATO, as president of the United States has created chaos in this country. Expansion of the war(s) in the Middle-East into Syria provided “Distraction #2” (Trump being the first), and the rapid progression of North Korea’s missile & nuclear programs is providing “Distraction #3.”

Russia does almost NO trade with the United States, so chaos in America would not disrupt their economy (to the contrary, fewer U.S. oil exports would expand Russia’s market), and military action against North Korea only further weakens our military by stretching it too thin, making it less able to respond to further acts of aggression by Russia (like Crimea, Ukraine and Georgia.)

North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons program is accelerating at an astonishing rate… so fast it’s almost impossible to believe they are doing it all on their own. And if you want to know just who that is, one need only think of a country with the know-how, is friends with North Korea, and has the most to gain (and least to lose) from an America in chaos. And suddenly the answer is quite clear.

Having an unstable man-child, susceptible to blackmail and deep in debt to them, yet constantly speaks fondly of them, only makes such gamesmanship less risky for them and easier to pursue.
 


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All the circumstantial evidence points to one thing: Trump is broke
Aug 7th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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(UPDATED: 9/20/17)

The key selling point of a “Donald Trump presidency” was that a “successful businessman” such as himself would know how to run the U.S. government efficiently. “I know all the best people”, he told adoring fans. “I’m worth $10 Billion dollars” he told the masses. And because of his success as a businessman, he supposedly would be able to run this massive “corporation” we now call The Federal Government (never mind the fact a government isn’t a corporation.) Trump claimed at the very start of his campaign that… because of his fantastic wealth… he “couldn’t be bought” and would only work in YOUR best interests, not those of the “Special Interests”. He would “take no money” from those same “Special Interests” and run a “self funded campaign using his own money to run for president. But in fact Trump did NOT self-finance his campaign. When he DID spend his own money on his campaign, it was only a loan where he charged his own campaign to pay him back. Even then, Trump wasn’t even the biggest donor to his own campaign. No “Special Interests”? He had multiple “SuperPACs” pouring money into his campaign as well, and as I posited two weeks ago, there is a trail of laundered Russian money leading to Trump’s back pocket like a trail of breadcrumbs. And despite all of Trump’s innuendo regarding money pouring into “The Clinton Foundation” and whether or not some of it was making its way to the Clinton campaign, Trump repeatedly refused/refuses to release his tax returns (no, this is not about Trump’s taxes) on the grounds he was “under audit” (which was NOT preventing him from from doing so) yet promising “as soon as the audit is over, I’ll release them.” But even after the election was over, Trump continued to refuse to release his taxes. And once he was sworn in and no longer under audit, he argued his taxes “no longer mattered”… “nobody cares except the sore losers”. Trump’s tax return for 2016… the year AFTER the one that was audited… the year he was running for president… was NEVER under audit, yet he never released that year either (nor were his tax returns for ANY other prior year.) To this day, we have never seen Donald Trump’s tax returns. Why? What doesn’t he want us to see? Then there is the question of “Emoluments” and whether Trump is using the presidency to make himself rich. Any time the subject of “money” comes up regarding Trump, it suggests he’s desperately trying to prevent his “true wealth” from becoming public knowledge. And the braggart & raging egomaniac that Trump is, does anyone think if he was even more fantastically rich than he has publicly claimed, that he wouldn’t be tweeting it from the rooftops? Of course he would! Trump’s entire shtick is that he is qualified purely due to being a business & financial success. So, what if it turns out he isn’t? After filing four bankruptcies, two divorces, being sued multiple times (settling his “Trump University” fraud case for $20 Million dollars rather than continue fighting), closing failed casinos, and a list of failed businesses longer than my arm, how does one suffer SO much failure and expense, and still be worth over $10 Billion dollars? Simple… he isn’t. He’s deep in debt and owes some very powerful people a lot of money.

…But he can’t admit it without being exposed as the lying Snake Oil salesman he is and disappointing his legions of “poorly educated” fans.

As I stated above, there is a troubling record of Russian money finding it’s way into Trump’s campaign coffers to the point I no longer have ANY doubt the Russian government… by way of well-connected Russian oligarchs… bankrolled the bulk of Donald Trump’s political campaign. From the Russian fertilizer magnate who paid 2-1/2 times the value for a Florida mansion belonging to Trump… sight unseen… just as Trump was being forced to pay a multi-million dollar judgement against him… only to have the property demolished without the new owner having ever visited it even once, and sold for a $60 million dollar loss… to the private computer server in the Trump Tower campaign headquarters with a dedicated hotline connection to a Russian bank, to millions in laundered Russian Mafia crime money poured into Manhattan real estate purchased from Trump (no questions asked)… Trump owes much of his wealth to (criminal) Russian investment.

But that’s just half the story.

Immediately after his inauguration, Trump doubled the membership fee to his “Mar-a-lago” Resort from $100,000/yr to $200,000/yr. The rich & powerful… those “Special Interests” Trump bemoaned… were buying up memberships hoping to hob-knob with The President himself. But Trump wasn’t about to divest himself of his prized resort in which the wealthy could rub elbows with the Commander-in-Chief himself if the price is right, nor did Trump set any rules against “unsolicited fraternization”. If you’ve got the bucks, you might just luck into a private meeting with The President of the United States. What percentage of Trump’s “regular Americans” do you think he’ll run into down there at that price?

Trump’s hotels around the world, in New York and in DC, the profits from those hotels still feed into Trump’s pocket. When wealthy Saudi’s came to DC, rather than stay in the same posh hotel they normally booked, this year they chose to stay in a Trump-owned hotel (I’ll give you three guesses why, and the second two don’t count.) Overseas, the paperwork and court cases holding up development of Trump hotels and golf courses are suddenly fast-tracked and shown preferential treatment over Trump’s competitors. The Founding Fathers called such gifts & favoritism “emoluments”, and they are illegal. Yet Trump has refused to sell off his holdings and divest himself from these conflicts of interest (and No, turning the “running” of the business over to his sons does NOT resolve those conflicts of interest or shield him from violating the Emoluments clause.)

We know that as a real estate mogul in NY, Trump had a history of not paying his workers/suppliers/vendors, and he suggested during the campaign that only dumb people pay taxes, so much of Trump’s wealth came from being a deadbeat… something he can no longer get away with as president of the United States.

I mentioned above that Trump only LOANED his own campaign money to finance it, but we also learned just last week that Trump blatantly overcharged the Secret Service to rent space in Trump Tower to provide security for his wife & son Barron while they lived in New York. To charge them anything at all to stay in a hotel HE OWNS when they are there purely to protect him & his family when in New York is bad enough, but to scam the American taxpayers to pay double the normal rent to do it? Does he REALLY need the money THAT bad?

Also breaking news last week, not only did Independent Council Bob Mueller impanel a Grand Jury to hear evidence connecting Trump to Russia, we also learned Mueller is “investigating Trump’s personal & business finances”… not just campaign finances as they may relate to the Russia investigation. Trump is reportedly very angry about this. Why would Mueller be investigating Trump’s “private” finances as part of his Russia investigation? Because, like me, Mueller also believes Trump’s businesses were used to launder Russian crime money into his presidential campaign.

Republicans have pined for a “CEO president” for 20 years. It was part of their sales pitch for Bush & Cheney in 2000 (touting their “CEO” credentials.) Bush had a string of disastrous business failures behind him (requiring bailouts from Daddy’s friends) while Cheney bilked the government for Billions as a government contractor. THAT was their record as “businessmen”. And one might think that the disastrous Bush/Cheney presidency would have soured Republicans on the idea of electing another “CEO President” promising to run the country “like a business”, but they did it again with Donald Trump. And once again we find another failed businessman who’s really good at scamming people, declaring bankruptcy and asking Uncle Sam for a bailout.

So look at the list of financial matters connected to the Trump campaign: He refused/refuses to release his taxes… the first to do so since Nixon. He charged his own campaign to reimburse him for all the money he loaned it, he over-charged the Secret Service rent to protect his own family in his own hotel, he also doubled the Mar-a-Lago Membership Fee, there is all the Emoluments/profiteering off his business interests that he refuses to divest himself from, there’s his four bankruptcies, two divorces and failed casinos, has bragged about paying no taxes (not just the wealthy, but people deep in debt also pay no taxes), legal judgements totaling MILLIONS against him, a string of failed business ventures including “Trump University”, which turned out to be one giant scam, and a Russian-cash expressway between the Kremlin and Trump’s real-estate holdings around the world. That blue “TRUMP” 707 he flew around in during the campaign is all that’s left of “Trump Airlines” that was born & died in the late 1990’s.

For a man supposedly worth $10 Billion dollars, he sure seems to be nickle & diming the Federal government while spending very little of his own money (as I write this, I’m noticing how Trump nor his Wife & son, have ever vacationed any place Trump didn’t already own (either Trump Tower in NYC or Mar-a-Lago in Florida).

Every time a Republican calls for “Running government like a business”, point out to them that businesses are NOT Democracies. They are “Dictatorships” or “Monarchies” run to turn a profit. Governments are services that SPEND money to provide those services. THAT is what we pay taxes for! Trump himself once said: “In government, every decision requires you to have a heart. In business, it’s the opposite. In fact, it may be better if you have no heart at all.” And this is whom they elected to run the largest public service on the planet.

Businesses are run to make a profit for the CEO and pay off shareholders. Who know who Donald thinks the CEO is. One wonders whom he thinks his “shareholders” are? Whom does he owe? Who OWNS HIM?

ADDENDUM: The day after I wrote this, “The Rachel Maddow Show” actually explored the question of all the money Trump is making off the presidency and its legality. RECOMMENDED VIEWING.

UPDATE 9/20/17: Reuters is reporting that the RNC is paying Don Jr’s personal legal bills, and Trump is using his Election & Re-election Campaign funds to pay for his own (and his family’s) legal bills in the Russia investigation. This helps explain why he launched his “reelection campaign” THE DAY HE TOOK OFFICE [ibid].

Trump raised $107 MILLION for his “pre-inaugural concert” (more than TWICE the $53M Obama raised for his 2009 star-studded even) and promised to donate the unused portion to charity. The Trump campaign wildly overpaid $25M on a handful of low budget events including one cover band, highschool marching bands and baton twirlers, then and kept the rest.

Trump DID keep his promise to *personally* donate $1 Million to victims of hurricane Harvey (which was split 12 ways), though it bears pointing out that for a man who claimed during the campaign to be worth over $10 Billion dollars, a donation of a mere $1 Milion amounts to 1/10,000th of his claimed total net worth… roughly equivalent to a person worth $550K (including home) and $50K salary) donating just $55.
 


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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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Why Did Trump Send Jared Instead of Flynn? (and a disturbing thought)
May 29th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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The biggest news to break last week appears to be the fact that last December, then president-elect Trump directed his son-in-law Jared Kushner to meet with Russian Ambassadors Kislyak at Trump Tower in NYC, after which he arranged to meet with him in Moscow to establish “back channel communications with the Russian [I keep wanting to say “Soviet”] government.” And truth be told, in any other presidency, this wouldn’t be that big a deal. Incoming administrations try to open lines of communications with foreign governments all the time. But there are a number of things that are unusual about this particular contact to attract the Media’s attention: 1) Kushner did not disclose at least three contacts with Russia when applying for his National Security Clearance; 2) Kushner arranged for Trump’s communication go through the Russian security agency instead of our own; 3) The Russian Vnesheconombank Bank was also in attendance, and 4) This was just two months after Team Trump was informed that Russia was suspected of meddling in our election.

Conservative columnist for the NY Times, Kim Strassel compared president-elect Trump’s opening a back-channel with Russia to then candidate Obama sending an envoy (William Miller) to Iran to establish a back-channel of his own in 2008. (Hilariously, if you Google this exchange, the top two results are “Strassel schools stacked anti-Trump panel” and “Joy Reid schools NYT columnist.” Who won definitely depends on your political leanings.)

Both of them have solid points to make. Strassel is right that opening back-channel communications with a “hostile” nation isn’t new or prohibited. But Reid is right to ask why Trump sent his son-in-lawa 35 year old real estate mogul with no political experience… to Russia to establish a dialog with a nuclear superpower a mere two months after it was revealed they meddled in our election, agreeing to set up communications through The Kremlin instead of our own embassy? At the very least, he was naive and taken advantage of. At worst, it was a deliberate attempt to evade U.S. intelligence monitoring their communications.

Last Friday, the Washington Post reported that it was Kushner who requested the meeting with Russian Ambassador Kislyak in Moscow during their December 1st meeting at Trump Tower in NYC. But no one thinks Jared took it upon himself to meet with the Russians. He was doing someone’s bidding. Remember this meeting was kept secret (unlike Obama’s communication with Iran), only discovered via leak from someone inside the White House. Flynn was too high profile if you’re looking to do this in secret. “Who can we send?” Hmm.

The Post also reports Kislyak was “Taken aback” by Jared’s request… not to meet in Russia, but to meet in Russian government facilities instead of the U.S. Embassy where WE control the security & surveillance. This is unheard of.

Also in attendance at this meeting: the CEO of Russian state-owned Vnesheconombank. As mentioned last March (Update #5), VEB was under sanctions over their money laundering of Russian funds to bankroll the opposition in Ukraine (the plot thickens.)

But the REAL questions *I* have that no one seems to be asking is…

WHY JARED? And why now/then?

Trump had already named Michael Flynn as his National Security Advisor even AFTER acting AG Sally Yates revealed Flynn had LIED to Trump and his transition team about his connection & contacts with Russia & Turkey. If Trump didn’t trust Flynn enough to send him to Russia, he certainly never should have appointed him National Security Advisor. And if he DID trust Flynn, then why send his inexperienced son-in-law to establish a secret line of communication with a country that just violated our democracy? Seriously?

As previously mentioned, a month later, “Blackwater” founder “Eric Prince” attempted to establish a secret back-channel with Russia via the Saudi’s. Why would he need to do this if Kushner had already done so the month before… unless of course that wasn’t the purpose of Kushner’s visit?

Kushner himself, thinking he was fit for the task, already shows a ridiculous (and possibly dangerous) level of hubris (the same hubris we are seeing as Trump offloads a disturbing number of his duties onto Kushner and him not saying “No”, including holding meetings with other heads of state as Trump’s personal representative, speaking on behalf of the entire US government.) Former NSA/CIA Director General Michael Haden blasted Trump’s stupidity and Kuchner’s hubris in an interview on CNN yesterday, saying:
 

“What manner of ignorance, chaos, hubris, suspicion, contempt, would you have to have to think that doing this with the Russian ambassador was a good or appropriate idea?”

 

Jared… like Trump… is also the son of a wealthy real estate mogul who inherited his father’s business, so I’m sure Trump sees a lot of himself in Kushner (one disturbing thought is whether Ivanka does too?) But as Trump’s own sons… Eric & Lyle… er, Donald Jr demonstrate, it takes more than being born on third to get people to respect you, so I’m sure Jared is the son Donald never had. And because of this, I’m also sure Jared has the same wildly inflated ego of his father-in-law whom believes he’s capable of doing absolutely anything with perfect skill despite not having an iota of experience.

And perhaps that’s why Trump sent Jared instead of Flynn. If so, is that’s Trump’s basis for deciding who’s qualified to perform such extremely delicate missions of national security… whether or not he sees himself in them? (after all, he did ignore all the warnings about Flynn and picked him anyway because they shared their despise of Hillary Clinton.)

A mission such as establishing communications with a foreign government is tailor-made for the STATE Department, and at the time (December 1st/2nd) Trump was still in the throws of picking his “Secretary of State”. He had narrowed it down to three candidates: Moe, Larry & Curly… er, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. I actually thought Romney had a chance if Trump decided to pick Mitt as an olive branch to all the Conservatives who opposed his candidacy, but of course Trump’s inner toddler won out (as it always does) and we learn Trump was just playing with Romney, getting his rocks off watching him grovel.

Establishing communications with a foreign government is almost the definition of the State Department’s duties. So why not wait until he appointed a Secretary of State before attempting to establish diplomatic relations with Russia?

Not to start any conspiracy theories, but maybe it was because it wasn’t necessary? Maybe they ALREADY HAD an established relationship with Russia? And what if Putin saw the chaos as Trump floundered trying to pick someone to run the State Department… probably the most despised U.S. government agency in Russia after Hillary Clinton ran it and openly supported Putin’s opponent in their last election… and SUMMONED Trump to send someone to Russia for a little chat. Trump can’t go himself (would raise too many questions), so he sends his mini-me, wunder-kind Jared Kushner (a “private citizen” not yet employed as part of Trump’s staff) as his representative.

And next thing you know, barely a week later on December 10th, just days after Jared’s return from Russia, Trump was announcing he was picking former Exxon CEO (and Russian “Medal of Friendship” winner) Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State. “Who?” everyone asked. Trump made absolutely NO mention of Tillerson before his big announcement. He wasn’t even on Trump’s “short list”, and as far as anyone was aware, they had never even met. And now suddenly, Trump was appointing him “Secretary of State”? Tillerson already had a relationship with Putin and had done business in the country for decades. And since being appointed to head the most important agency in the Federal government (yes, more important than Defense), Tillerson has had no qualms with his boss’ proposed gutting of his entire Department.

It’s a terribly disturbing thought, and I know it flies in the face of my well-documented hatred of “Conspiracy Theories”, but it’s a nagging thought I just can’t shake, and a perfectly plausible suspicion that makes an awful lot of sense and answers a lot of questions that no one seems to be asking. So, I will: Did Russia “summon” Trump to send an envoy to Moscow? Did Trump send someone as unfit for such an important task as Jared because he was “a private citizen” not subject to many disclosure laws or security rules? And during that visit, did Russia hand-pick Tillerson to be Trump’s Secretary of State?

If… like I suspect… Russia practically bankrolled bankrupt-Trump’s “self funded” political campaign and now has enough dirt on him to send him to prison for a VERY long time, every foolish move this administration seemed to make during the transition starts to make sense. But now that Trump has the power of the presidency at his disposal, he thinks he can push back, even fire the man investigating him (Comey) to break the grip his buddy Vlad has over him. (Yeah, I despise conspiracies, but you must admit, this one has you thinking, doesn’t it?)
 
 

Cuts to Trump's 2017 budget

 

Trump 2017 budget increases

 


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