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Peace At the Barrel of a Gun. Is Threatening to Nuke Our Enemies the Way to Encourage Peace Talks?
Apr 30th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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In the movie “All the Presidents Men”, WaPo Editor Ben Bradley tells Woodward & Bernstein about Chuck Colson (special counsel to President Nixon): “There’s a cartoon on his wall. The caption reads, ‘When you’ve got ’em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.'” That scene has always stuck in my mind as perfectly describing to me the Republican philosophy towards working with others. “I don’t care if you like me just so long as you bend to my will.” The complete lack of respect for anyone who doesn’t think like they think; want what they want. And they will achieve those ends by any means possible. Damn the consequences (see: “deposing Saddam.”) Bully your opponents until they bend to your will. It’s the story of the fastest gun in the West who must live with his back against the wall in constant fear that one day, someone is going to test just how good a shot they really are. It’s the proverbial “gilded cage”… which is just fine I suppose if you’re a xenoaphobic isolationist like most Republicans who live in constant terror of the outside world “invading” theirs.

This philosophy suits Trump to a T. Like any Toddler, Trump doesn’t behave like a rational adult. He throws a tantrum until he gets what he wants. And in the case of North Korea, he threatened “fire & fury, the likes of which have never been seen”… should they threaten the United States with a missile test. And “suddenly”, Kim Jong Un is talking to South Korea about “denuclearization”… even signing a “pledge” to do it… someday (details yet to be hammered out following the Summit with Trump.) Trump bragged in Michigan, “They [the Media] are asking ‘What… if anything… did Trump have to do with it? Uh… EVERYTHING! (insert obnoxious bouncing smirk here.)” And for this, some Republicans are already talking about “a Nobel Peace Prize for Trump” if he successfully denuclearizes North Korea. Shortly after Bush-43 took office, Dubya’s inclusion of NK in his “Axis of Evil” speech (before invading Iraq) pushed them into starting a nuclear weapons program, even testing their first ever nuclear weapon in 2006 (during the Bush Administration.) The result was to bring BUSH to the negotiating table (though to Bush’s credit, they DID convince NK to dismantle their lone nuclear facility. And they didn’t have to resort to threatening a nuclear strike.) NK’s missile testing slowed (but never stopped) during Obama’s eight years, and when Trump started saber-rattling his first months in office, NK’s nuclear weapons development switched into hyperdrive, producing an ICBM in record time capable of reaching the U.S.… all thanks to Trump ramping up the rhetoric against North Korea. And now, suddenly, North Korea is meeting with South Korea, “pledging” denuclearization, and agreeing to face-to-face talks with Trump. Why? Trump’s threats? No.

Do we REALLY want to normalize presidents threatening the Nuclear Annihilation of our enemies as an effective means of inducing negotiations? And is someone who threatens nations with Nuclear Annihilation deserving of a “Nobel Peace Prize”? Trump’s governing style always reminds me of this old “MadTV” sketch: “Drunk President“, where a drunk guy wakes up to discover he was just re-elected president after getting things done by being a reckless drunk no one dare offend:
 


“Cuba’s now part of the U.S.. Anyone got a problem with that???”

 

You think North Korea & Iran don’t remember Bush invading Iraq AFTER they agreed to dismantle their al Samoud missiles and allow in inspectors to confirm they’ve been disarmed? Belligerence may get you what you want… THIS time. But eventually, the empty threats will get old. The neighborhood kids will stop playing with you, and one day, some kid who is tired of being bullied is going to call your bluff and/or shoot you dead on the playground with a homemade weapon he’s been constructing in Daddy’s basement for the past 18 months plotting revenge.

Trump is also threatening to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. As much as Trump man-crushed on French President Macron during his visit here, Macron (along with every other European leader) is begging Trump NOT to blow up the Iran deal (pardon the metaphor.) If Trump reneges on the Iran Nuclear Deal brokered by Obama (another “If the black guy did it, it must be bad” spurious reversal), what nation would EVER agree to ANY deal with the United States ever again if there was a possibility that in 4-to-8 years, the next president will simply rip it up, declare it “null & void”, and demand more from them? That makes us LESS safe, not more.

And Republicans want Trump to win the Nobel Peace Prize… WHILE he’s threatening to further destabilize the entire Middle-East.

I believe I mentioned previously, it wasn’t Trump’s belligerence (in his August 2017 “Fire & Fury” speech) that suddenly finally brought North Korea to the bargaining table in 2018. It was the Summer Olympics in South Korea. Kim Jong Un had never set foot in South Korea before last week. When the Olympics came to Seoul, South Korea called the North and proposed their athletes compete as one team. Kim sent his sister to the Olympics instead of going himself, then watched the ceremonies on TV. The technical glitz & glamour, and the comfortable modern lives of those living in South Korea in stark contrast to the impoverished, near Dark Ages lives of people starving in North Korea. And suddenly discovering the rest of the world he has refused to visit doesn’t all live in the same daily misery North Korea does. Kim’s sister returned home, likely regaling her brother with stories of brightly lit neon skyscrapers, restaurants serving every kind of cuisine you could imagine, and shopping to her hearts content bringing home modern conveniences one could only dream of in the North.

And THAT dear reader is what got North & South Korea talking. NOT Trump’s saber-rattling. That is quite literally the Mission of the Olympics… to bring enemies together, to share cultures and make friends. And it worked.

Meanwhile, Trump is already prepping us for failure. AFTER he announced his desire to sit down and talk to North Korea about denuclearization (after HE himself instigated a rocket-propelled arms race), Trump fired his chief ambassador… Secretary of State Tillerson… and replaced him with the head of the freaking CIA… and not just ANY CIA chief, but a hard right Conservative like Pompeo who is CURRENTLY advocating we tear up the Iran deal (you think our agreement with Iran doesn’t loom large in Kim’s mind as he plans to negotiate with Trump?) THEN, to make matters worse, Trump appoints one of the most dangerous men on the planet, insane “mustache of truth” John Bolton, to be his “National Security Advisor”… an Iraq War hawk who once joked on Fox that the way you can tell a North Korean official is lying is “their lips are moving”, has nothing but contempt for diplomacy and famously said the ONLY thing that should matter to the UN was what is in America’s best interest.

So Trump appoints Pompeo & Bolton to his staff in key roles that will influence negotiations, announces his list of demands of North Korea before negotiations even begin (including NK agreeing to “complete & total denuclearization”), and then start preparing the public for his possible (read: inevitable) walk-out on negotiations should he decide they aren’t proceeding as he likes.

And then what? Threaten to bomb them again? Peace at the point of a gun. Would that be before or after they award Trump his Nobel Peace Prize?
 

Iran Deal vs NK Deal

 


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Trump Bombs Syria. Now what?
Apr 16th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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(Okay, we’re back. We were offline last week, and on Easter Break the week before that, so this is our first Op/Ed in two weeks. – Mugsy)
 

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley appeared on Fox news Sunday to comment on the U.S. strike on Syria Friday, and I was quite surprised by the way host Chris Wallace challenged her on some of her assertions. Halley revealed that Assad has used chemical weapons fifty times” since the rebellion began in 2011. So why was this attack so special? “Was it because it was caught on video?” asked Wallace. He also asked her if the message we were sending Assad was, “You can attack your own people using conventional weapons, just not chemical weapons?” Both excellent points. While I agree that a response was necessary and bombing Assad’s chemical weapons facilities was proper, I don’t feel like the Trump Administration has a strategy for what comes next. Do we just “hope” he doesn’t do it again? How will Russia react to further sanctions (after Trump spent the last year undermining them?) No answer to the question: “Okay, now what?” We hindered Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons against the Syrian rebels, but we don’t appear to be doing anything to resolve the conflict there or defend the lives of the Syrian rebels. What now?

Trump is suddenly criticizing Russia as it starts to dawn on him that Putin isn’t one of the good guys. Shocker, I know. The whole time Trump was talking nice about Russia and praising Putin during the campaign, Putin was ordering hackers to meddle in our election, breaking into DNC (and attempting to hack RNC) computers, was constructing a “super cruise missile” unveiled a few weeks ago, was behind the attempted poisoning of a former Russian double-agent now living in the UK, has been defending Assad… someone Trump now concedes is “a monster”, and now Trump is obsessed with rumors of a “blackmail tape” (to put it politely) supposedly filmed when he was in Russia for his 2013 Miss Universe pageant (I don’t know about you, but I’d be worried too if the story were true, and not the least bit concerned if I knew it weren’t.) And just like that, Trump appears to be realizing that maybe… just maybe… Putin isn’t the noble leader he though him to be.

Now, there seems to be a plethora of Nervous Nellie’s whom think the ultimate end result of ANY conflict… verbal, trade, whatever… will ultimately/inevitably lead to Global Thermonuclear War with Russia. No. Chill folks. Not every International disagreement leads to World War III. Dr. Strangelove isn’t in charge of the Pentagon (even with mustachioed lunatic National Security Advisor John Bolton advising Trump.) Hmmm. I don’t feel I made a very convincing argument there. Just trust me. Relax. Even Bush didn’t bungle his way into WWIII.

Okay, so we’ve sent a message to Assad… loud & clear… that we draw the line at “chemical weapons” but when it comes to ending the seven year long civil war in Syria, we have no intention of interfering (even if Russia is.) And under Trump, even awarding asylum to the victims of “monster” Assad is not being discussed. Again, I was struck by the fact Fox News Sunday (yes, I conferred upon them a well-deserved Capital-N) pointed out the seeming heartlessness of the Trump Administration’s parsimonious “no Middle-Eastern Refugees” policy:
 

Dwindelling admitted Syrian refugees

 
As you will note from the above graphic, while the GOP controlled Congress worked overtime to tie Obama’s hands, we WERE still able to allow in over 15,000 refugees in 2016. So far, we have allowed all of 11 refugees into the U.S. in the first 3-1/2 months of the year. At that rate, the U.S. will have allowed all of 35 or 36 Syrian Refugees into our country by years end. That’s unforgivable. To call Assad “a monster”, but to then tell those same victims, “Stay away! We don’t want you here! You must remain in that place where a ‘monster’ is committing war crimes against you” is profane.

But also consider, the GOP’s (claimed) justification for not allowing in refugees is that “terrorists might sneak in among them.” If “terrorists” had snuck into the U.S. among those 15,000 refugees admitted in 2016, we would know it by now. The (made-up) justification Republicans are giving for not admitting refugees just isn’t born out by the facts.

As for: “Where do we go from here”, I’ve already previously presented my own plan on how to resolve the current crisis in the Middle-East non-militarily for FAR less money than we are spending now, and finally bring the war(s) in the region to a close. We can still do it. The White House may not have a plan, but I do.
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

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“Now Is Not the Time to Talk About Guns.” Yes. Yes it is.
Feb 19th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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“Now is not the time to talk about guns.” We’ve heard that exact line so many times it’s practically a Republican catch-phrase. And we all know its intent: to suppress the issue until public interest/urgency wanes and people are distracted by other more “immediate” issues, ensuring nothing ever gets done so that the people who profit off the deaths of children can continue to make money. Remember all the talk about “Bump Stocks” following the Vegas shooting? Those spring-loaded rifle butts that use a gun’s recoil to fire like a fully automatic machine gun? Everyone… gun opponents and gun supporters alike, seemed to agree that something like “bump stocks” should be illegal. It seemed like a compromise everyone could support. Gun opponents get rid of a device that clearly serves no purpose other than to circumvent the ban on fully-automatic machine guns, and gun supporters get to pretend like they are actually doing something about gun control without actually removing a single weapon from the streets. Remember that?

That law never passed. It never even came up for a vote in the House (despite passing in the Senate.) House Republicans killed it in Committee (Senate Republicans often vote to support things they otherwise wouldn’t because they know House Republicans will bail them out.) Several state legislatures then tried to pass it on their own. Washington and Colorado succeeded. Virginia where the deadliest school shooting in history took place (“Virginia Tech”) a decade earlier, the bill was killed in a “Public Safety” subcommittee by a Party-Line vote (4-to-2… that’s right, just FOUR Republicans is all it took to keep bump stocks legal for the entire state of Virginia.) In Nevada where the massacre took place, state law actually forbids the banning of gun accessories like bump stocks. Insane.

Here are some of the most notable gun events in recent memory (and after each, nothing was done):

  1. “Virginia Tech” – 2007 (32 killed, 23 wounded)
  2. Northern Illinois University Shooting, 2008 (5 killed, 21 wounded)
  3. Fort Hood #1, Tx – 2009 (13K, 30W)
  4. Hartford Beer Distributor, Manchester, CT – 2010 (8K, 2W)
  5. Tuscon, AZ “Safeway Rally” shooting killing 6 and wounding 13 including Rep Gabby Giffords, 2011 (6K, 13W)
  6. Aurora Movie Theater shooting, CO – July 2012 (12K, 58W)
  7. Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown CT – December 2012 (27K, 2W)
  8. D.C. Navy Yard shooting – December 2013 (12K, 8W)
  9. Fort Hood #2 (yes, a second shooting at the same place), TX – April 2014 (3K, 12W)
  10. Isla Vista mass murder, Santa Barbara, CA – May 2014 (6K, 13W)
  11. Charleston church shooting, VA – June 2015 (9K, 1W)… only the THIRD deadliest of seven mass shootings that year.
  12. Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, OR – October 2015 (9K, 9W)
  13. Planned Parenthood, Colorado Springs, CO – November 2015(3K, 9W)
  14. Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, CA – December 2015 (14K, 21W)
  15. Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, FL – June, 2016 (49K, 53W)
  16. The attempted murder of Congressman Steve Scalise on a DC baseball field last June 2017 (0K, 2W)
  17. The Vegas massacre last October 2017 (58 dead, 851 injured)
  18. Sutherland Springs church shooting, TX – November 2017 (27K, 20W)

…And now the horrific murder of 14 students and 3 teachers at a Florida high school last Ash Wednesday (which was also Valentine’s Day.) Lord only knows how many shootings I missed. (“Mother Jones” documented NINETY-SEVEN mass shootings in the past 35 years.)

According to the Gun Violence Archive, as of today, there have been 7,050 incidents of gun violence (where one civilian kills or injures another civilian using a gun)… not “in the past decade”, not “since Trump was elected”, not even “last year”, but in just 2018 ALONE. And we are only halfway through February. That’s nearly 147 SHOOTINGS PER DAY! That’s nuts.

Lately, I’ve begun to feel like everything there is to be said about certain subjects… be it guns, Trump/Russia or Republican hypocrisy in general… I’ve already talked about till I’m blue-in-the-face. This was one of those weeks.

But even more fascinating is that somehow, Republicans actually found a way for all three to overlap this time! According to Trump, the reason the FBI… a massive agency with thousands of agents investigating tens of thousands of crimes… “missed the warning signs” regarding the Florida shooting is because “they were too busy investigating him for collusion with Russia.” The man’s narcissism knows no bounds (Please note, despite all the tweeting acknowledging the FBI’s findings, not one word about responding to the ongoing Russian attack on our democracy. Not even a harsh word for Putin.) That photo of 12 Trump tweets in the upper left? All of them posted since the shooting on February 14th, and not a single mention of guns. Five of those tweets were posted just this weekend.

Guns, Russia… and then there’s the hypocrisy.

Republicans have been flooding the airwaves to attack Democrats for “politicizing the issue” by calling for action on guns while emotions are still running high. I don’t know about you, but the ONLY people I see “politicizing” this issue are REPUBLICANS accusing others of “politicizing” the issue in order to once again shut down any debate on the subject of gun control (ie: “Bullet Control.“) As I’ve repeatedly said, “When a Republican accuses you of something, it’s because THEY themselves are either doing it or would do it if they were in the same position, and naturally assume everyone else is/would too.”

No Corporate Lobby is making huge campaign contributions to Democrats in exchange for tighter gun laws. There’s no profit in that. But the NRA spends tens of millions each year on campaign contributions to politicians willing to kill off (pardon the phrase) sensible gun restrictions that might cost the gun industry millions. (I’m reminded of Republicans who try to claim “greedy scientists and colleges” who receive all that “Climate Change research funding” are actually the ones behind the “Global Warming Myth”… yes, there are Republicans who seriously believe that. Not the Trillion-dollar oil industry spending billions to sough seeds of doubt and quash any such legislation.)

Here in Houston, the 2018 primaries are rapidly approaching (March), and we already have one Republican woman candidate (whose name I won’t mention) who is running ubiquitous ads comparing herself to Trump, bragging of his “accomplishments” and her promise to help him fulfil his campaign promises (including that wall.) The same ad ran for weeks.

THE DAY AFTER the Florida school shooting, she released a new ad, posing with a (simple lever-action .22) rifle, touting how she “learned to shoot as a child” taught by her father, and how she would “fight to protect the Second Amendment.”

Seriously. The very next day.

If your FIRST reaction to the mass murder of 14 children and 3 teachers is to worry more about protecting GUNS than KIDS… YOU ARE THE PROBLEM! (Shall we talk some more about “Democrats politicizing” the gun issue?)

I can’t imagine what kind of hole a person must have in their soul if their first reaction to such a tragedy is to rush to pander to gun nuts to reassure them that you’ll protect their right to buy yet more guns… because you KNOW that audience already has them. That’s beyond disgusting. I pray I’m not the only person who noticed and was wildly offended by that.

After the Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016, I pointed out that after every mass shooting, there’s always a parade of Conservative Gun Rights defenders claiming that if THEY had been “there” when the latest shooting was taking place, THEY could have taken down the shooter with their trusty handgun. I’ve NEVER heard one say they would have needed an assault weapon to achieve this amazing feat. Never has one ever said it’s impossible to stop such a crime unless THEY TOO had an assault weapon on them. I NEVER heard anyone claim it couldn’t be done without an extended clip holding 30 or more rounds, either.

Not once.

All they needed was a simple handgun. So why again do they need an assault rifle with 30 round clip “for protection”?

I actually heard Republican Senator Jim Lankford claim on “Meet the Press” yesterday that “some people actually DO hunt with an AR-15 rifle.” No, I didn’t make that up. In case you are wondering, Yes, you DID just hear a Republican senator argue that the weapon of choice of most mass murderers needs to remain legal because there are people who are such miserable shots they need an assault weapon to take down a moose. If you need a gun capable of spitting out 45 bullets/minute in order to hunt, you probably have no business firing such a powerful weapon… unless of course you just love liquefied deer meat.

Every time there is a mass shooting, we are told “Now is not the time to discuss gun reform.” Why? Because “emotions are running high” and gun-opponents might not be open to a “rational” discussion on restricting guns. But then, people soon forget about it and another important issue steals the spotlight. And should you bring the issue back up a month or two later (assuming there hasn’t been another mass slaughter since then), the issue is no longer seen as “urgent” and quickly falls by the wayside… until the next mass shooting and we are told once again, “Now is not the time”. In an age where people are developing the attention span of goldfish, “waiting” is to “issues” what “assault weapons” are to “human lives”: death.
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

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Stunning Trump & GOP Hypocrisy Amidst Wild Week
Feb 12th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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I‘ve always been keenly aware of Republican hypocrisy. It’s one of the things that drives Democrats like me nuts (which incidentally, gives Republicans orgasmic pleasure because… as I’ve repeatedly said… they’re provocateurs.) They also have an uncanny ability to turn it around and accuse their accusers of being the TRUE hypocrites. It wouldn’t be so bad if people didn’t keep falling for it. And we MAY just be nearing one of those tipping points.

The past few weeks of the Trump White House have been some of the worst weeks seen in ANY White House since the start of Nixon’s second term. But we are barely three weeks into Trump’s second year and they are already giving Nixon a run for his money when it comes to scandal. But when you layer ON TOP OF THAT the incompetency, the in-fighting, the chaos, disrespect for our own government institutions, the fiscal irresponsibility and just the stunning magnitude of their hypocrisy, not even Richard Nixon disgraced his office to the degree Donald Trump has (and continues to do.)

This isn’t an Op/Ed on a particular issue in a week FULL of controversy: A plunging DOW, another White House staffer accused of domestic violence is forced to resign, Trump approves the release of a GOP “Memo” attacking the Mueller investigation despite FBI security concerns, but a Democratic rebuttal memo is blocked by Trump citing “FBI concerns”, and #KimJongDon accusing Democrats of “treason” for not applauding his every word at the State of the Union… you know, the way Republicans did at every one of Obama’s State of the Union speeches (including the unprecedented disrespect of shouting “You lie!” at his first joint address of Congress). No, this is more a look at how Republicans… whom have ALWAYS been raging hypocrites… are becoming even more bereft of principle now than ever.

Don Jr… every bit as smug and disingenuous as his father… suggested black critics who once posed for photos with his father and accepted money from him were hypocrites… turning on him only once he became president. One of the people he singled out as a hypocrite was Reverend Al Sharpton… now host of his own show on MSNBC. Yesterday on his show, Sharpton pointed out (in so many words) that Trump’s critics are not the ones who changed upon entering office, it was Trump. Sharpton pointed out that he was one of Trump’s chief critics during the “Central Park 5” controversy, and if Trump actually DID donate any money to black causes, he never saw it.

Which illustrates a point: Republicans see the world through a very special prism. One where they are the benevolent ones contributing to society, and everyone else are the leeches who are a drain on society only to bite the hand (theirs) that feeds it. And because of that self-righteousness, any hypocrisy is excused on behalf of “the greater good.”

Budget/Deficit hypocrisy.

In 2000, Congress had balanced their second budget in a row. The Deficit was ZERO and we were actually paying off the Debt with the surplus. George W Bush campaigned across the country telling Republican voters at every stop that the surplus PROVED they were being over-taxed. “It’s not their money, it’s OUR money, and we want it back!” And the crowd cheered. And that’s why a Republican president will NEVER balance the budget, because the moment we collect enough in taxes to do so, they will point to it as an excuse to cut taxes. How will the government EVER bring down the Debt if every time we bring in enough tax revenue to start paying it off, they reverse it (arguing the resulting economic growth will result in even more tax revenue)? By the time Bush left office, the economy had collapsed and the deficit had exploded to $1.2Trillion dollars.

And when Obama became president, Republicans immediately blamed Obama for the $1.2T deficit… and I’m even hearing Trump and his supporters continuing to do so today (even though it was cut by nearly 2/3rds by the time he left.) In 2011, Congress was faced with raising the Debt Ceiling to pay for all the spending THEY approved. As I noted back in December (“If GOP Tax Bill Passes, here is how it will tank the economy“), self-proclaimed Head of The TEA Party, then Senator Mike Pence, said that if shutting down the government was what it took to get the National Debt/Deficit under control, “I say, shut it down!” Now VP, he defends Trump for saying we should shut down the government if Democrats DON’T pass his massive unfunded budget.

For decades, Republicans ran as “the Party of fiscal responsibility.” Ronald Reagan… after he exploded the deficit… audited the government to (famously) discover it was being wildly overcharged for simple items. Famously, things like “$37 screws, a $7,622 coffee maker, and a $640 toilet seat made headlines across the country. Over 30 years later, Republicans still cite those same overcharges as evidence there is always “fat” we can cut from the budget so we can cut taxes without increasing the deficit. Except they never do. Most of that “fat” was trimmed away decades ago, and the total saving from those cuts is NEVER greater than the resulting tax cut it is used to justify.

Flash forward to 2018. The MASSIVE corporate tax cut Trump just passed is going to create… at a minimum… a $1T hole in the Deficit (and I’m dead certain it will climb to over $2T by the 2020 election… not that I give a rat’s ass what it does to the GOP’s prospects that year. In the 1980 election, Reagan criticized Carter for allowing the National Debt… the total Debt NOT the deficit… to reach $800 Billion dollars. By the time Reagan left office, the Debt had tripled to $2.4 Trillion dollars. And now, I believe Trump’s corporate tax cut will eventually cost us that much money EVERY YEAR.

And how do Republicans dismiss warnings Trump’s tax cuts will explode the deficit? “Voodoo Economics” of course (the idea cutting taxes will result in MORE tax revenue via growth.) They KNOW it’s a lie (well, I’m sure they are plenty of true believers who still believe that crap despite history), yet they support it anyway because they get to tell their voters back home that they can continue to have candy for dinner and never get a cavity! No Republicans is willing to be the adult in the room and say, “No! You can’t have another tax cut! All those nice things you say you want the government to provide for you? Well, those things cost money. And if you don’t think the company you work for should pay for it, then the burden falls upon you.”

When Bush-43 became president, Dick Cheney famously said, “Ronald Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” That huge deficits have no significant impact on the economy.

Except when a Democrat occupies the White House… then deficits are a tragedy beyond words.

The Handling of Top Secret info (aka: “Lock her up!”)

It seems like ages ago now when Trump and his supporters were accusing Hillary Clinton of “mishandling classified info.” The idea Hillary Clinton “recklessly” used an insecure private email server in her home that America’s enemies could (and they suggested “did”) hack into and uncover classified documents. They even pointed to Clinton forwarding emails with a “(C)” designation (for “Classified”) in the subject line as “proof” she was “extremely careless” with classified material (material which had been declassified by the time it was sent.)

Fast forward 6 months later. Donald Trump invites two Russian ambassadors and an entire Russian camera crew (but NO American reporters) into the Oval Office to show off, revealing Top Secret intel on what we knew about the location of (Russian made) North Korean submarines… Top Secret intel we obtained from British Intelligence. Trump revealed to the Russians… North Korea’s ally… that the Brits had infiltrated the NK government, who then likely notified them that they have a British spy in their midst (burning an invaluable asset.)

Once in the White House, Trump proceeded to surround himself with people who were incapable of obtaining a Top Secret security clearance. Rob Porter (Staff Secretary who regularly handled the MOST secret documents and whose job was to BURN those reports when done) could not obtain Top Secret security clearance because BOTH of his ex-wives accused him of domestic abuse. Despite that, he continued at his job handling the most sensitive information in government until he was forced to resign just last week.

White House speechwriter David Sorenson “resigned” as well last week after nearly seven months on the job amid domestic abuse charges of his own. While Sorenson didn’t have direct access to classified information, do you think Conspiracy-minded Trump supporters wouldn’t have been screaming about how “reckless” Hillary was for allowing a clear security threat to have free-reign within the White House?

And many forget Trump’s right-hand man, Steve Bannon, who likewise was unable to obtain Top Secret security clearance because of past charges of Domestic Violence. But that didn’t stop Trump from signing an Executive Order that permitted Bannon to sit in on NSC meetings.

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner… the man whom he tasks with every boring job he doesn’t want to do… does NOT have Top Secret security clearance. Yet he sits in on top secret meetings in the Oval Office and handles some of the most sensitive security information imaginable.

And lets not forget Trump reportedly (and the White House denies) tried to obtain security clearances for his kids, Ivanka, Bevis AND Butthead, right after the election. Consider that this is mere DAYS after winning an election due in part to accusations Hillary Clinton was “reckless” with Top Secret information.

Sexual Misconduct

In addition to the White House staffers who were kept on for many months (even a year) despite allegations of Domestic Abuse, there is of course the man himself… Trump… whom they elected in spite of his history of philandering (cheated on wife #1 with future wife #2, and wife #2 with future wife #3), and despite his “Access Hollywood” confession caught on tape admitting to repeatedly committing sexual assault, grabbing & kissing women without their permission, they still voted for him. The same Republicans who decided Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct made him unfit to occupy the Oval Office, were (surprisingly?) quick to defend Trump when news broke that his personal lawyer paid off two women… a pornstar named “Stormy Daniels” and a former Playmate named Karen McDougal… to stop them from revealing just before the election that they had had affairs with Trump (reportedly soon after Melania became pregnant with their son Barron.) At least seventeen women have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct, all of whom he has branded “liars” as part of a giant conspiracy to bring down his presidency.

And his supporters continue to believe & defend him. They believe in conspiracy theories, and Trump is the king of conspiracy theories (even giving the most offensive conspiracy theory lunatic on cable TV… InfoWars’ Alex Jonesa White House Press Pass.)

Dueling Memos

As you almost certainly know, Republicans in the House and Senate announced last month that they had “a memo” that proved… PROVED… Trump was the target of a partisan witch-hunt being waged by a “biased” FBI in an investigation that was initiated by Democrats during the campaign seeking dirt on Donald Trump.

That Earth-shattering memo “proving” malfeasance by the FBI? The GOP wrote it. Their claims were not true at all (the initial investigation was launched by one of Trump’s REPUBLICAN rivals… almost certainly Jeb Bush… then later passed along to Clinton, who continued it.) They publicly claimed the reason for the investigation were the findings of a biased British former MI6 agent (Chris Steele) yet on the last page of their own report, they concede the FBI investigation was initiated two months earlier based on a warning they received about another Trump advisor (George Papodopoulis). They flailed their arms wildly in outrage over text messages attacking Trump exchanged between two (of among a hundred) FBI agents working on the Russia investigation… agents who had already been removed from the case months ago because of those texts, and cited what was clearly a joke about a “secret society” within the FBI as evidence of some bizarre “Deep State” shadow government working behind the scenes to undermine our hero: poor, misunderstood Donald Trump. And despite security concerns from both the FBI & CIA about possibly revealing classified information should the GOP Memo be released, Trump ignored those warnings and approved the release of the misleading/erroneous memo anyway.

To which, Democrats demanded Trump likewise approve the release their own rebuttal memo correcting those false & misleading claims, to which Trump said he would… but when it reached his desk, NOW he was suddenly sensitive to FBI concerns over what classified intel it might reveal, and refused to approve it.
 

Memo Hypocrisy (:40)

 

Trump minion Marc Short actually defended Trump’s obvious hypocrisy on “Meet the Press” yesterday by claiming he believed Democratic Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff deliberately inserted clearly classified material in the Democratic Memo in order to force Trump to reject it just to make him look bad. No. Seriously.

Trump fired FBI Director Jim Comey because he wouldn’t shut down the Russia investigation, and has publicly ridiculed his own Attorney General. Remember when Republicans were “the law & order Party” that had nothing but good things to say about our law enforcement agencies? Now they’re the “Trash the FBI. Trash the Justice Dept” Party.

Russia

Ronald Reagan… patron saint of the GOP… was the harshest critic and least trusting of Russia as any president in history. Republicans under Reagan justified spending over a Trillion dollars fighting the “Cold War” to defeat the Soviet Union. They were not to be trusted… least of all, someone connected to the KGB.

Today, we have a president who openly defends Russia and thinks former KGB agent Vladamir Putin… a ruthless dictator who has essentially appointed himself “President for Life”, has his critics imprisoned, murdered, or both… is telling him the truth when he insists over & over that he didn’t meddle in our election… something even Trump’s OWN STAFF now concedes is true:
 

Trump vs his own Administration on Russian meddling (:43)

 

And no wonder Trump prefers to believe Putin over his own staff. Because to concede Russia meddled is to concede that maybe… just maybe… Trump didn’t actually win the election on his own and would have lost to Hillary Clinton. And THAT though is just unfathomable to Trump. Remember this is the same guy who denied PHOTOS of the smallish crowd at his inauguration were accurate, and claimed he “actually won the popular vote too… if you don’t count the more than THREE MILLION illegal aliens who voted for Hillary”… an absurd claim with no foothold in reality. But SO fragile is this man’s ego, he’d rather do NOTHING to protect the NEXT election from meddling by a hostile foreign power (let alone investigate the LAST election) than do his job and protect American democracy. (He inaction COULD easily backfire on him. If Putin’s goal is “to sough chaos” in America, if he suddenly decides he doesn’t like Trump, Putin could help the Democrat win the next election and put Democrats on the defensive of trying to justify their own win against accusations of a fixed election. Talk about “chaos.” Do nothing at your own peril, Mr. Trump.

Trump critics make excuses for him when it suits them

Some of Trump’s harshest critics on the campaign trail suddenly discovered a new-found respect for the Billionaire CEO-turned-president as soon as it looked like it might benefit them personally.

We all remember the awkward “Somebody-help-me” smiles on Mitt Romney’s face as he auditioned for the job of Trump’s “Secretary of State”… strung along for weeks and posing for photo-ops groveling at Trump’s feet, stroking his ego, only to be rejected (with rumors everywhere that Romney was never truly under consideration, Trump just liked humiliating one of his critics, like the child sociopath who tears the wings off butterflies, taking pleasure in another’s pain.)

During the campaign, one of Trump’s harshest critics was GOP rival Lindsey Graham. Trump famously gave out Graham’s private cellphone number while on the campaign trail in retribution for some criticism Lindsey leveled upon him. Now suddenly Graham is Trump’s golfing buddy and a frequent defender of the Toddler-in-Chief in the Media. Why? Because Trump is advancing his pet issues. As long as Lindsey is getting what he wants, Trump isn’t an irrational man/child, he’s a patient chief executive who examines all sides of an issue.

We remember Chris Christie attacking Trump on the campaign trail, only to later see him standing behind Trump at campaign events, almost agog at what was spewing from the man’s mouth, all in hopes of being honored with the job of “Attorney General”… which he was was never going to get, only to be excluded from more & more administrative functions during the transition and not included in Trump’s cabinet.

Matt Dowd on ABC’s ThisWeek made the keen observation yesterday: “Trump’s greatest ability is that he reveals people for who they really are.”

Which brings me to the two biggest hypocrisies of all:

“Draining the Swamp” & “A CEO knows how to hire the best people”

These were the two biggest selling points to justify electing Donald Trump to be president. He would “drain the swamp” of Washington insiders, lackies & sycophants from the Federal Government and hire only the most qualified people to run our government as efficiently as he ran his corporations to become a multi-Billionaire.

Instead, to date, the only “swamp creatures” Trump has cut loose are people HE HIRED:
 

Trump Admin departures-Feb 9, 2018

 

He filled his administration full of Washington insiders, lackies & sycophants like Steve Bannon… the White Nationalist wife-beater who ran a Right-Wing online tabloid… to be his chief strategist. He appointed Jeff Sessions… the first (and for a long time only) Republican senator to endorse him, to be his Attorney General. He appointed a wealthy donor (and sister of the head of Blackwater)… whom had NEVER held a job in public education, to run his Department of Education. He appointed a Climate Change denier who sued the EPA more than a dozen times to run the EPA, appointed his own Son-in-Law his “chief advisor”, and a former model (Hope Hicks) who worked for his daughter Ivanka modeling her clothing line, to be Deputy Communications Director. Rick “Oops” Perry was appointed to run the very agency he wanted to shutdown… The Dept of Energy… an agency Perry was totally unaware was in charge of our nuclear arsenal. Before Perry, the job was last held by an MIT professor of physics, and before him, a Nobel laureate. And Trump appointed former brain surgeon Ben “Sleepy” Carson to be… not his Surgeon General… but the head of HUD (because Carson once lived in Public housing.) These were “The Best People” he could find to fill these jobs?

(An aside here as I note that EVERY business Trump has pursued outside of real estate empire has been a spectacular failure. Trump Airways, Trump Casinos, Trump Vodka, Trump Steaks, Trump University, Trump Magazine… just to name a few… all ended up declaring bankruptcy. His condos are “80% sold” and “80% vacant” because nobody lives in them. His ONLY “successful” business has been selling property to Russian mobsters looking to launder dirty money by purchasing real estate from a greedy moron who doesn’t ask questions when you pay him in cash. Trump isn’t “a brilliant businessman”. He’s the Russian mob’s “useful idiot”… and now they’ve put him in the White House.)

What we’ve learned about Republicans from the election of Donald Trump is that there is no principle they won’t sellout in the name of advancing their ideology. If their word is meaningless and they repeatedly prove their incompetence and inability to govern, why on Earth would anyone ever trust them again? Yet millions happily reject everything they’ve ever claimed to believe in… defenders of law & order, national security and fiscal responsibility… and have done a total 180′ standing all those principles on their head so long as it suits their agenda… which as far as I can tell is simply annoying their critics (because as I’ve said all along, “Republicans are provocateurs who get off on upsetting their critics.”)
 


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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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How to Avoid Another War with North Korea: Declare an end to the LAST one
Nov 13th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Trump couldn’t help but poke the bear (not Putin, though he may have done that too) during his Asia trip, getting into yet another Twitter fight with North Korea’s own irrational, undisciplined BabyMan leader, Kim Jong Un. Much of the reason for North Korea’s belligerence towards the U.S. is because they fear invasion by the U.S. ever since George W. Bush included them in his “Axis of Evil” (“Iraq, Iran & North Korea“) shortly before invading the first of those three nations in 2003. As isolated and paranoid as North Korea is, it doesn’t help that The Korean War never officially ended. Only an “armistice” was declared, the war was ruled “a draw”, the Korean peninsula was split in two, and everyone just assumed it was “over.”

Everyone except for the North Korean’s, that is.

As far as they are concerned, the war is still going on, and a militaristic United States is just champing at the bit to invade and retake the North. And rhetoric from Donald Trump suggesting wiping them off the face of the Earth doesn’t help.

On Veterans Day last Saturday, ABC News asked Korean War Vets what they thought about the possibility Trump might restart the Korean War? To-a-man, each and every one of them said that would be a terrible mistake. They all agree that if we were to restart the war with the massive military might we wield today, there is no question we would win (not a sure bet. China would likely intercede on behalf of North Korea today just as they did in 1952.) The question then is who will be the adult in the room and AVOID war with North Korea? The very idea we might go back into NK all these years later and pick up where those Veterans left off… trying to win an unwinnable war… is insanity.

Speaking of “insanity”, I remind you North Korea endorsed Donald Trump in May 2016, after Trump criticized South Korea for not paying enough for its own defense… even threatening to pull support for South Korea till they do:
 

“It turns out that Trump is not the rough-talking, screwy, ignorant candidate they say he is, but is actually a wise politician and a prescient presidential candidate.” – Unnamed North Korean scholar in a NK newspaper column.

 

If you want to prevent the next Korean War, you can start by officially ending the last one.
 

Most (if not all) nations on the planet now recognize “North Korea” as a separate sovereign nation. It has been nearly 65 years since the “unofficial” end of the Korean War. It is time we finally accepted the fact there are now TWO Korea’s and whether or not the two nations ever become one again is entirely up to the people of those two nations.

Trump could take the wind out of Kim Jong Un’s sails by formally declaring an end to the Korean War, having representatives from both sides sitting down for a dramatic “Signing Ceremony” in Geneva, declaring that the United States now recognizes North Korea as a separate and independent nation and formally declare The Korean War over.

North Korean TV would happily show “Dear Leader” on the world stage, sitting across from Donald Trump as an equal, “forcing” the United States to “accept defeat” as they sign an agreement officially declaring an end to the Korean War. And after showing such an event nationwide on state-run TV, it would be difficult for them to then make the case the U.S. still wants to invade their country, justifying the need for further provocative action.

And for Trump (and his ego), he can proudly declare that HE finally brought the Korean War to an end after more than 60 years and how he is actually “a man of peace”, not the belligerent war-happy third-world Dictator his critics make him out to be.

The problem is we have two irrational, childish, trigger-happy lunatics in charge of each country. We desperately need someone to step up and be the adult in the room. Show of hands how many of you think Trump is up to the task?
 

Yeah, me either.
 


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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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Is the firing of Priebus a backdoor attempt to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller?
Jul 31st, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Last week was described as… not just the most chaotic of the young Trump Administration… but as capping off “the worst first six months of ANY administration” in the 241 year history of the United States (which, according to Trump, has been “the most successful first six months of any administration in history”… despite not having one single legislative accomplishment and Trump having gone back on nearly every major campaign promise.) “Worst six months” may be a bit of an exaggeration considering Abraham Lincoln’s first days were met with the entire Southern delegation seceding from the Union, but it’s gotta be right up there (Lincoln was a Republican by the way. Did you know that? Trump apparently didn’t until just last March.) For weeks, Trump has been publicly lambasting his “good friend” Attorney General Jeff Sessions for agreeing to accept the job of AG back in February only to recuse himself from having anything to do with the Russia investigation by March. Sessions was the first (and for a very long time only) Senator to endorse Donald Trump. He traveled around the country with him and repeated Trump’s slogan that Trump would “Make America Great Again.” His reward was to be appointed Attorney General (the first appointment of the Trump administration), an appointment Trump praised. But when a Special Prosecutor was appointed to investigate possible links between the Trump campaign & Russia, Sessions was forced to recuse himself 1) because he was part of the campaign, and 2) Had failed to reveal his OWN contacts with Russian officials during the campaign.

That confirmation was in February (with Sessions formally recusing himself on March 2nd.)

Now suddenly… 4-1/2 months later… Trump is grousing about Sessions accepting the job only to recuse himself just days later? Why now? As singer Glenn Fry once sang, “The heat is on.”

A flurry of very public criticisms (both on TV and on Twitter) of his “good friend” Sessions (Trump frequently whines about “loyalty”. He denies he asked Comey for it and demands it of his staff, but for Trump, “loyalty” is clearly a one-way street), it seemed pretty obvious Trump wanted Sessions to resign so he could replace him with someone who would fire Bob Mueller and quash the Russia investigation, but he couldn’t just fire Sessions without a better reason than “refusing to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.” Nothing improper about following the law. ANYONE Trump may have picked to be Attorney General… if they were connected to his campaign, they too would of had to recuse themselves (if you recall, both Chris Christie & Rudy Giuliani were also supposedly up for consideration for the job, and they too were part of the campaign and would of had to recuse themselves.)

Unable to fire Sessions, Trump tried to make Sessions quit, but Sessions (publicly) laughed it off (privately, Gingrich says Sessions is “very mad” at Trump.) So Trump is stuck with Sessions (and by extension, Mueller.)

In just the first six months, five SIX of Trump’s top level staffers have been fired (or forced to “quit”)…
 

Trump staff departures

 

(UPDATE 7/31/17: After just ten days, Spicer’s replacement, Anthony Scaramucci is out following a profanity laced tirade criticizing Priebus & Bannon.)
 

…with the latest being his Chief-of-Staff Reince Priebus last week just-appointed Communications Director Scaramucci. Priebus has always been in over his head in every job he’s had since he was still head of the RNC. He appeared on the Sunday talk shows regularly, embarrassing himself as he repeatedly tried (and failed) to sound clever and/or witty, with snarky responses about Democrats that always fell embarrassingly flat. But because of the Tea Party movement and a united Conservative front against Obama, the GOP Congress kept winning races in spite of him (though losing the presidency in 2012, and likely would have lost in 2016 as well had it not been for the last minute election chaos.) So it was probably only a matter of time before he was out as CoS, but the new Director of Communications, Tony Scaramucci, replacing Spicer, torpedoed Priebus, creating a vacancy.
 

And the wheels started to turn.
 

Trump picked acting NSA Director General John Kelly last week to be his new Chief of Staff (arguably a demotion), and suddenly, there’s a new “law enforcement” job opening in the Trump Administration. “Who do we get to fill it? Hmmmm. Ah! I know! How about the acting Attorney General who is preventing us from firing Mueller and shutting down the Russia investigation?”

Trump hasn’t done it yet, but you KNOW that’s what his puppet masters have in mind.

Members of Congress on BOTH sides of the aisle say that if Trump tries to replace Sessions with someone who might try to shutdown the Russia investigation, they say they’ll make him (pinky) swear that he won’t fire Mueller. Of course, you can always find an excuse after the fact. Accuse Mueller of being on a “Partisan Witch hunt”, accuse him of exceeding his authority, even claim “ethics violations”. Or just change the scope of his investigation, rendering him toothless. If they want Mueller gone, he’s gone.

So the red flag isn’t who gets picked to fill Sessions’ shoes, it’s whether or not Trump tries to appoint Sessions head of the NSA. After weeks of criticizing Sessions for “not being forthright” for failing to reveal in advance he’d recuse himself from anything relating to the Russia investigation, suddenly he may be just perfect to head up the most secretive security agency on the planet? (Before Bush-43, the joke was “NSA” stood for “No Such Agency” before Dubya confirmed their existence to rescue his butt from accusations of wiretapping Americans without a FISA warrant.)

If Trump even hints he may move Sessions to the NSA, know that there’s only ONE reason for doing so, and that’s so he can replace Sessions with someone not recused from intervening in the Russia investigation. Personally, I doubt Trump is THAT dumb, but his handlers (whomever they may be) might insist upon it. I’m certain Trump (and several members of his family) are huge blackmail risks and could be exposed as needed if Trump doesn’t do what they want. But with Trump’s massive ego and arrogant nature, he’s just as likely to do what he wants and dare his blackmailers to play their hand (and they will.)

The GOP Congress might let Trump get away with moving Sessions, and even approve a replacement who “swears to God, hope to die, Stick a needle in my eye” not to fire Mueller. But if he does, even a Republican-controlled Congress would not be able to ignore this gross obstruction of justice, and 6 to 8 months later (despite the midterms), Trump would be impeached, and depending on the mood of the electorate, out of office by the end of 2018.

But I doubt that will happen… not that quickly/obviously. I expect Trump will continue to grouse about Sessions, appoint someone else to the NSA, and wait for Sessions to quit (because despite his catch-phrase, reports are Trump really doesn’t like to fire people. Due to his desperate need to be adored… see: “I won the popular vote”… he prefers to bully people into quitting so he doesn’t look like the bad guy (yeah, I know that makes no sense.) By then, who knows where the Russia investigation will be? (In my not-so-humble opinion, Trump and those in his orbit are morons, too stupid to realize the Russians have been using & manipulating him for decades. There is ZERO doubt in my mind now that the Russian government and the Russian Mob (which are one & the same) literally bankrolled Trump’s presidential campaign (and much of his real estate empire via the buying & selling properties in Manhattan & Florida to Russian criminals/oligarchs/officials looking to launder millions in dirty money (see last week’s Op/Ed on the following the laundered money.) Or… just as likely… they knew and didn’t care as long as they got what they wanted out of it without concern for the consequence.)

And THAT is why Mueller is suddenly looking into Trump’s business dealings going back DECADES, and why only now Trump is complaining about Sessions’ inability to shutdown Mueller and the Russia investigations. The heat is on. Watch this space/vacancy.
 


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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.)
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

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