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March Madness: CONSERVATIVE Media lied to you about Iraq (and now Trump)
Mar 19th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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The term “Mad as a March Hare” goes back nearly 500 years. It of course refers to the breeding frenzy rabbits go into in the Spring, where they behave so mindlessly as to be described as “harebrained” (not “hairbrained”.) And indeed, March seems to be the month of “harebrained” schemes.

It was 15 years ago today that George W. Bush invaded Iraq under false pretenses. And it bugs the hell out of me when Trump supporters (or anti-“everything government” children… many of whom are old enough to know better but only started paying attention to politics in 2016) use the excuse “the ‘Media’ [that is accusing Trump of collusion] is the SAME ‘Media’ that claimed there were ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’,” as an excuse to justify their own refusal to believe the legitimacy of the Mueller Investigation.

Sorry folks, that crap won’t fly here. “Recording History for those Who Seek to rewrite it”, remember?

“The Media” as a whole did NOT insist Iraq had WMD’s and push us into war. Oh sure, FOX believed it and pushed the narrative, but that’s Fox. They’ve always sided with Conservatives on every issue. But they did NOT represent the vast majority of the ‘Media’. Most of the media was HIGHLY skeptical of the White House’s claims of “stockpiles of chemical weapons”, “mobile weapons labs” and “an active nuclear weapons program.” Millions marched in the streets the world over unconvinced of the “imminent threat of Iraq”. The Bush Administration started making its claims about Iraq in mid-2002 (just months after 9/11), but public skepticism (both here & abroad) was SO high that Secretary of State Colin Powell had to be dispatched to the UN to deliver his infamous Iraq Slideshow (ibid next link). It wasn’t until that point that the media/public finally began to believe they had been shown what appeared to be the “incontrovertible evidence” Saddam Hussein really was doing everything Bush/Cheney had been claiming all along. But it took a LOT of convincing to get them to that point.

Of course, we now know the entire slideshow was total bullpucky (which I detailed here on the 10th Anniversary), using old pre-1991 Gulf War footage, “drawings” when they had no actual evidence, an intercepted audio conversation between two supposed Iraqi generals that Arabic speakers at the UN openly laughed at because the two men on the tape didn’t even have Iraqi accents, and Powell waving around a vile of Baby Powder as a prop to represent the amount of Sarin it would take to kill 10,000 people using highly modified (2001-era) drones with ridiculously long range.

Before that presentation, not a lot of people were buying it… myself among them. “The Media”… which had been asking for “proof” for nearly a year… were suddenly less sure about their position. But even then, FEW (outside the Conservative media) actually encouraged the invasion of Iraq. Many argued “we need to finish the war in Afghanistan and get Osama bin Laden before expanding the (Afghanistan) war into Iraq” to prevent something that seemed avoidable by peaceful means (UN weapons inspectors were IN Iraq, dismantling missiles, performing inspections, and finding NO evidence of WMD’s.)

After the invasion, with everyone now asking, “Where are the WMD’s? You said ‘stockpiles’. ‘20,000 tons of yellowcake’. Where is it?”, I started hearing from people who HADN’T been paying attention, thinking we DID find the WMD’s as well as proof “Saddam was involved in 9/11”, and I found myself spending an awful lot of time “setting the record straight” among friends & family about what was said before the invasion of Iraq (even LONG before 9/11) and what was (or wasn’t) found after the invasion. And so began this blog on the Fourth of July, 2004. (In 2007, during the 2008 Republican Presidential debates, SO many Republican candidates were rewriting the story of how we ended up in Iraq that I felt it necessary to produce the following video of news clips documenting what we knew in the lead-up to war, and how the Bush Administration already had their mind made up to invade:
 


 
Don’t blame “the Media” for pushing to invade Iraq, just to justify your own unwillingness to trust them now regarding Trump/Russia (one of Trump’s own talking points.) The irony is that the only “Media” that actively supported the invasion of Iraq is the SAME Conservative media that dismisses the accusations against Trump today. So if there is ONE Media outlet that got it wrong back then and undeserving of your trust today, it’s the same Conservative Media trying to convince you Trump is the innocent victim of a “witch hunt.”

And the March Madness continues. So far, this past month alone (which is barely half over), Trump has fired (or pushed to resign) SIX people: FBI Director McCabe, Deputy CoS Rick Dearborn, Communications Director Hope Hicks, Economics Advisor Gary Cohn, SoS Rex Tillerson, and Trump’s “Body Man” John McEntee…. in less than three weeks. Trump set a record for White House turnover long ago:
 

Trump Admin Departures
(March 13th. Already out of date.)

 
On October 1st last year, Trump declared that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man [North Korea]”, to which Tillerson responded by calling Trump “a f*****g moron” four days later. Trump let it slide (and recently agreed himself to a no-concessions meeting with Kim Jong Un). But it wasn’t until Tillerson openly sided with the UK on whether of not Russia was behind the poisoning/attempted-murder of a former Russian spy, did Trump decide (in a tweet natch) that it was time for Tillerson to go (because he no longer represented Trump’s views.) Trump has yet to give an “official” reason for why he abruptly fired his Secretary of State. The “Trump fired him because he called him a moron [SIX MONTHS AGO]” excuse isn’t playing. The “he allowed the State Department go unstaffed for too long” excuse doesn’t pass the laugh test either since that is EXACTLY what Trump WANTED his SoS to do… to decimate the very department Hillary once ran and Putin despises.

If you want to blame something for Republican insanity this time of year, blame “March Madness”. That’s a better excuse than believing Trump is rational and ‘The Media’ is not.
 


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Trump & Race on MLK Day. Conservatives rush to defend Trump’s bigoted remarks
Jan 15th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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The first time most Americans had ever heard the name “Donald Trump” was 1989 when a young (white) female jogger running through Central Park was brutally raped, sodomized, beaten and left for dead. Five young men (four black, one Hispanic) were arrested for the crime (and a rash of similar attacks also in Central Park) and dubbed “The Central Park 5” by the media. Donald Trump was the most vocal voice, paying out of pocket to purchase full page ads in all four of New York’s major newspapers calling for the return of the Death Penalty and demanding the execution of “The Central Park 5” PRIOR to their trial, potentially tainting the jury pool. The five men confessed to committing the crime (having much to do with their concern of being able to receive a fair trial thanks to all the publicity bought & paid for by Trump) and the wealthy young real estate mogul was dubbed a champion of decent “law & order” New Yorkers. People rallied behind him also calling for the execution of the five young men even after questions started to emerge about whether their “confessions” were coerced and the men started pleading their innocence.

In 2002, a convicted serial rapist already in prison confessed to the crime and a DNA test proved it to be true. “The Central Park 5” were indeed innocent and immediately released from prison after 22 years. When Donald Trump was asked if he felt he owed the men an apology for his role in helping convict them and continuing to call for their execution even after questions of their innocence started to emerge, Trump offered no apology, dug in his heels and continued to defend his support for Capital Punishment even if it would have led to the death of five innocent young men who had been coerced into confessing to a crime they did not commit.

Trump’s history of bigotry didn’t begin in 1989 though. In the 1970’s, Donald and his father Fred Trump were accused of “Housing Discrimination” against minorities. An investigation by The Washington Post alleged that Trump employees marked minority applicants with codes, such as “No. 9” (ie: “Section 9” housing) or “C” for “colored.” And the doorman of the apartment building Trump owned told reporters that: “if a black person came to 2650 Ocean Parkway and inquired about an apartment for rent, […] I should tell him that the rent was twice as much as it really was.”

Trump’s history of being a proud bigot was well known LONG before he called Mexicans “rapists & drug dealers” in the speech where he declared his candidacy for president in 2015, or started demanding the birth certificate of the very first black presidential candidate to win his party’s nomination in 2008 (despite the fact Obama’s GOP opponent, John McCain, actually WAS born outside of the U.S. on a Panamanian military base two years before Congress passed the law making such children “American citizens.”)

Today, Monday January 15th, the country recognizes/celebrates the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. (on January 20th), made all the more poignant by Trump’s Oval Office comment last week calling Haiti, El Salvador & “some African countries” “shitholes” (Conservative pundit Rich Lowrey says some claim he said “shit houses, not shit holes.“) “Why can’t we have more immigrants from countries like Norway?” (likely thinking of his meeting with Norway’s PM the day before.) Trump naturally denied he ever said such a thing (though I expect him to reverse himself any minute now and claim there would be nothing wrong if he *had* said it because the countries he named are indeed “economic basket cases”… as if the economic state of the country people come from has any bearing on their worthiness to come here. People living in great conditions don’t have a lot of incentive to immigrate to the U.S…. especially now with someone like Trump in charge.)

The reason I half-expect Trump to reverse himself from “denial” to “admitting & defending” his remarks is mostly because of the outrageous number of Republican members of Congress and Conservative pundits who rushed to Trump’s defense yesterday on the Sunday news talk shows. Even the few who dared criticize their Party leader still used muted language. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called Trump’s comment “very unfortunate” and “unhelpful”… something one ABC News reporter said was “something you say about a parking ticket, not a racist insult towards millions of people.” Ryan’s remarks were still more than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to muster, who has yet to make ANY public comment regarding Trump’s latest racist remark.

Many Republicans in Congress who criticized candidate Trump are now quick to defend him. Former Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul… a staunch Libertarian who got in trouble himself prior to the campaign for stating he likely would NOT have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act because “the federal government has no business telling private industry what to do” (ie: discriminate against an entire race of people)… vehemently defended Trump on “Meet the Press” yesterday, stating Trump simply stated a preference for people from “economically stable” countries (where the vast majority just happen to be white.)

On ABC’s ThisWeek, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) was one of the six people present in the Oval Office and all but called Democratic Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)… also present and stating categorically Trump did indeed call the mostly black nations “shitholes”… a liar, declaring “I haven’t heard any of those six sources other than Senator Durbin talk about what was said.” Stephanopoulos responded by telling Purdue that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (also in the meeting) appeared to corroborate Durbin’s account of events, telling his co-Senator Tim Scott Trump’s comments were “unfortunate“, to which Purdue only called Durbin’s account, “a gross a gross misrepresentation” (no follow-up as to ask what the ‘correct’ language should have been.)

In addition to Purdue, another Deep South Republican senator, “Traitor Tom” Cotton, vehemently denied on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Trump made the racist remark, stating, “Sen. Durbin has a history of misrepresenting what happens in White House meetings, though. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by that.” There’s that word again, “misrepresenting“. Neither Cotton nor Puedue flat out call Durbin a liar nor state categorically that Trump never made any derogatory remark about those countries, yet seem to have no qualms slandering a fellow senator to defend Trump.

And how shocked do you think I was (answer: zero) to hear a representative of “The Christian Broadcast Network” go on “ThisWeek” to defend Trump for the same reason: He’s not a racist, he just prefers rich white guys like himself.

The REAL scandal last week wasn’t that a notorious bigot once again said something racist (as he seems to do at least once a month since the day of his announcement in 2015). It’s the number of Republicans… a Party already regarded as the refuge of bigots and unwelcoming of minorities… rushed to Trump’s defense, more than eager to try to convince us that his moronic bigotry was actually justified and/or not bigotry at all, simply “misunderstood”… just as they are.

Doctor King is surely rolling in his grave tonight.
 

Postscript: Also worthy of discussion this week but not mentioned once during the Sunday shows was the release of the “FusionGPS” testimony transcript. I am currently still reading the transcript (some 312 pages) and noticing some interesting details that I hope to report on in the future. From the 100+ pages I’ve read so far, the only reason I can see why Republicans fought so long/hard to suppress the release of the Transcript is that it shows former British MI6 agent Michael Steele’s role… whose “dossier” on Trump documented a plethora of troublesome contacts between Trump and Russia’s shady underground and numerous Russian officials… is hardly a substantial portion of the evidence against Trump. Most of the testimony is really just assessing the legitimacy of “FusionGPS” as a trustworthy research firm… of which by this testimony they clearly are.
 
Also of note: Friday is the latest “deadline” for Congress to pass a budget for 2018 (after agreeing to put it off for a month last month). If no agreement is made, we may once again be facing a “Government Shutdown by Friday. Democrats want a DACA agreement for the “Dreamers” to be part of any budget deal. Thanks to Trump’s latest racist remarks regarding black people from Haiti, El Salvador & Africa it seems unlikely Republicans will shutdown the government over a refusal to come to an agreement on the future of non-criminal minority immigrants. Particularly in an election year (where Republican Senator Jeff Flake admitted yesterday, “Republicans are no longer wondering IF they’ll lose the House in November, but by how much.”)

 


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Is Trump White House Trying to Create an Excuse to Fire Mueller? Hypocritical claims of private email being private
Dec 18th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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It was 1992. The presidential race was already in full-swing and accusations Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton having had multiple extramarital affairs were already common in Republican circles. They even found a former lounge singer named Gennifer Flowers to claim she had had an affair with Clinton while he was governor. But despite those claims, Bill Clinton was still elected the 42nd President of the United States. Clinton had Democratic majorities in both the House & Senate to shield him from a congressional investigation, but years of accusing the president of criminal wrongdoing (“Whitewater”) and “extramarital affairs” while he was governor of Arkansas helped flip control of BOTH houses of Congress to the Republicans in 1994, leading to the appointment of a Special prosecutor named “Ken Starr” who… on the taxpayers dime, investigated Bill Clinton for everything from “Whitewater” (a failed land deal where the Clinton’s actually lost money) to the “White House Christmas Card List”. And there was (essentially) nothing President Clinton could do about it. The most he could have done is ordered his Attorney General Janet Reno to fire Starr, but it was understood that that would only make him look even more guilty. So he never did. And it was only when they managed to get President Clinton to agree to testify under oath, that they were finally able to prosecute/impeach him… not for any actual crime committed while governor, nor of committing any crime relating to an extramarital affair while in the White House, but for the crime of “lying under oath” about even having an affair. And for that, they impeached him (note, an “impeachment” is an indictment, NOT a conviction.)

Flash forward to 2016. Another Clinton is running for president and her Republican opponent was already accusing her of criminal wrongdoing. “She used a private email server while she was Secretary of State to hide evidence of currying political favors in exchange for contributions to her charitable foundation”… or something along those lines. It actually was never entirely clear what “crime” they were accusing Hillary of attempting to conceal (reports of the nonsensical “Uranium One” deal came much later) by setting up a private email server in her home, suggesting only that it looked mighty suspicious. And when news broke she deleted some “30,000 private messages” (using professional deletion software called “Bleach” that overwrites old data so it can’t be recovered) that she herself deemed unrelated to her tenure as Secretary of State and not pertinent to any investigation, chants of “Lock her up (for obstruction of justice)” started to be repeated at every campaign event through the rest of the election (and in many cases, continue to this day as Trump attends partisan events.) Trump himself… alluding to the Russian hacking of the DNC in an attempt to meddle in our election… half-jokingly encouraged the Russians to “find the 30,000 missing emails”… ostensibly by committing further acts of cyber-crime against the United States… encouraged by the GOP front-runner for President of the United States.

Outgoing President Obama learned that December that we had solid evidence Russia meddled in the 2016 Presidential Election and may have even received assistance from members of the Trump campaign. A Special Prosecutor admired by Republicans and Democrats alike… a hold-over from the Bush Administration… Robert Mueller, was tasked with finding out whether or not members of the Trump Campaign may have “colluded” with the Russian Government to help them win the election. Like Janet Reno in 1993, only the Attorney General… the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the nation… has the power to fire a special prosecutor. Trump bestowed that position to Jeff Sessions, an early supporter and member of his campaign, who ended up having to recuse himself from anything related to that investigation (including the ability to fire Mueller, which made Trump furious.)

And here we are now at the end of Trump’s first year in office, characterized by lurching from one self-inflicted controversy to the next and a criminal investigation of a sitting president that just won’t go away. Like Bill Clinton before him, Trump entered office with his own party in charge of both houses of Congress, essentially shielding him from impeachment hearings of a Congressional investigation. But if past is prologue, and the recent upset with Alabama electing its first Democratic senator in 25 years are signs of what’s yet to come, Trump very well could be looking at a Democratic takeover of congress 13 months from now and impeachment hearings by mid 2019.

The GOP’s best hope of avoiding this fate is to start laying the groundwork for painting the Mueller investigation as a “partisan witch hunt” to justify the dismissal of Robert Mueller and quashing the case against Donald Trump before it’s too late. And that effort appears to have already begun, first (updated 12/19/17), the scandal (“evidence of bias”) was Mueller NOT investigating the “unmasking of names by the Obama Administration of just “who leaked the fact Flynn was meeting with Russians?”, then it was the “controversy” that Mueller was NOT investigating Hillary Clinton over the “Uranium One” deal. Then it was his not investigating “the DNC paying British Agent Christopher Steele to continue his dossier on Trump by contacting Russian (among other) agents, and now the news Mueller himself fired two members of his investigative team last Summer (“Peter Strzok” & “Lisa Page”) when it was discovered they had exchanged text messages criticizing candidate Trump (as well as Hillary Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley, Richard Clarke, Eric Holder and even Chelsea) in July of 2016… right around the time Trump was criticizing FBI Director James Comey for refusing to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her handling of her emails from when she was Secretary of State. So it should hardly come as a surprise to no one (no one sane) that members of the Justice Department might have been a wee bit unhappy with Donald Trump. It’s not like Washington (aka: “The Swamp” according to him) was “Trump Country” to begin with (Hillary won DC with 92.8% of the vote.) I’d be astonished if MORE people working for the Justice Department hadn’t sent “unkind” emails ridiculing Trump and favoring Clinton.

Revelations of partisan bias expressed in emails during the campaign already had Republicans accusing the Mueller investigation of being “filled” with “thousands” of biased Justice Department officials (keep in mind, only TWO people were found to have exchanged biased emails more than a year & a half ago) and therefore the investigation is nothing more than a partisan witch hunt (which, I assumed wasn’t until AFTER they investigate Trump’s Christmas Card List.) But last Saturday, Trump’s lawyers accused Mueller of “illegally” obtaining the transition team’s “private emails” from a source other than them. Mueller asked the Trump Transition Team to turn over all of their private emails, to which Team Trump said, “Sure, just as soon as we… uh… move (read: delete) thousands of private messages we don’t believe have anything to do with your investigation.” Sound familiar? Mueller, rightfully concerned Team Trump could be… wittingly or unwittingly… destroying evidence, circumvented them and obtained the emails from a different source (presumably their ISP’s servers.) This has Trump’s lawyers feigning outrage, calling the confiscation of their private emails “illegal” (Mueller assures them he either had the author’s permission or legal authority granted by a judge to obtain the emails the way he did.)

If there is one thing Trump is good at, it’s the art of “scandal fatigue”. And I believe his objective here… and for the next 10 months… is to repeatedly accuse the Mueller investigation of criminal misconduct… throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him until they find something that sticks… much the way Ken Starr did in the 90’s investigating President Clinton for nearly a dozen different “scandals” (including, as I’ve mentioned before, “Socks the Cat’s Fan Club Mailing list” to find out if taxpayers were footing the bill for all those stamps.) They are hoping that eventually, after hearing (accusations of) “scandal after scandal” day-after-day for months, voters will just come to accept that the Mueller investigation itself is corrupt and should be disbanded, without cries of protest by the American Public.

The problem with THAT theory is that voters already are not on Trump’s side (with an approval rating already below 40% and falling fast) and may welcome an investigation that could lead to his impeachment if it means getting him out of office sooner-rather-than-later. “Help us Obi Mueller, you’re our only hope!” Now deliver that message, R2!
 


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

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

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

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

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

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

Ridiculous.

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

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

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

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

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

Impact of EU sanctions on Russia

 

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Never mind.
 

Famous predators

 


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And Your Halloween Horror Show This Year Is: The Entire Trump Presidency
Oct 30th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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It has become a bit of a tradition for me to post something humorous for the last post before Halloween. One of my favorites were photos of all the “Tea Party” nitwits seen in costume throughout most of the Obama presidency. Tri-corner hats, clothing made of American flags (tell me again how football players kneeling during the Anthem “disrespects the flag”, but wrapping your junk in the Stars & Stripes does not?), and just ordinary “Redneck Chic” in general that made every protest march look like a stroll through a Biloxi Wal*Mart. But now that this insane “poorly educated” electorate has seen fit to elect a Reality TV carnival huckster president of the United States, every day is Halloween! Will we live to see tomorrow or will he start a nuclear war with North Korea? Might you burn to death in a California wildfire made worse by Global Warning, or drown in a hurricane for the same reason? How about we take away your healthcare? Mass shootings are an argument for making guns more readily available. And perhaps we should expand the war in the Middle-East to Iran (it has already spread to central Africa.) “President Chaos is on the job!”

If you’ve managed to make it through the first nine months of the Trump presidency without your very life being put in mortal jeopardy, congratulations! You belong to a very exclusive club.

For the rest of us however, not a day has gone by that fills our lives with more dread than the words “President” and “Trump” back-to-back in the same sentence. A 70-year old manchild with the disposition of a toddler and less understanding of the issues than your Cocker Spaniel making policy decisions that threaten the entire planet is bad enough. But his legions of moron followers defending him and making excuses for him is enough to make a Billy Goat puke (yeah, I stole that line from “First Blood”.) The same people whose patron saint, Ronald Reagan… that staunch anti-Communist whom they praise endlessly for “defeating The Reds”… now spend their days defending Russia in order to defend Trump’s indefensible love of Russia and their “former-KGB” dictator-for-life leader Putin (whom Trump so admires he wishes to emulate them.)

Republicans find it easier to overlook Trump’s ridiculous behavior… 4am Twitter wars with anyone who dare criticize the thin-skinned egomaniac in the White House, suggesting a Gold Star widow is “a liar” because she dared claim Trump’s call to her was rude & insensitive (not the first time he’s taken to Twitter to insult a Gold Star family member who dared criticize him) and more… as long as the economy appears to be doing well. They boast of the Stock Market reaching record highs (performance of the DOW under Trump is actually slightly lower than it was when Barack Obama took over in 2009 following the worst economic disaster since The Great Depression), but the GOP Congress has yet to pass a new budget (only budget “recommendations”), so we are still operating under the last Obama budget for the past ten months. We’ll see how the economy does if Trump gets his way and the GOP once again embraces “Voodoo Economics” (the mistaken belief massive tax cuts for the wealthy will result in an economic boom that results in MORE tax revenue) once again. Despite the fact we all saw with our own eyes what “Reaganomics” did to the Debt/Deficit (and disastrously reproduced under Bush-43) with an effect on the economy that was easily outmatched by Democratic policies that actually raised taxes on the wealthy, they believe in the legend, not in reality.

Trump… Snake oil salesman that he is… is once again selling the myth that Reagan’s tax cuts created an economic boom. As I pointed out last week [ibid “Voodoo”], that’s not even close to the truth. And the harm Trump could inflict on the economy could be every bit as dire as the danger he has already posed to Global Stability, health care, and “The Truth” in general (still comatose since suggesting his inauguration crowd photos were faked.)

And let us all pray he is every bit as unsuccessful passing his budget as he has been failing to pass everything else. Happy Halloween!
 

Scary rich white men

 


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With Arpaio Pardon, Trump drops pretense he’s not a racist
Aug 28th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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I write this under the persistent rain of Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Harvey. I’m one of the lucky ones who saw no flooding and never lost power, but many around me were not so lucky. NBC Nightly News showed a highway intersection near me and noticed some “splashing” in the middle of the highway underpass not realizing it was a guy in a bathing cap swimming in 5 feet of water in the middle of the highway. People are weird.

Speaking of which, a mere 72 hours after “Glorious Leader” feigned offense at being criticized for defending Nazi’s & White Supremacists, Trump used the hurricane as a distraction to pardon racist former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order (because The Law does not apply to people like Arpaio & Trump) to stop detaining people he suspected were undocumented immigrants based merely on their race (or what race they appeared to be.) And I have NO doubt Trump believed Arpaio’s only crime was benign “profiling”, making it easy to excuse a fellow disgusting bigot for his “misbehavior”. It’s easy to forget that the controversy surrounding Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe goes all the way back to the Bush Administration, when he was charged in 2008 with using/abusing his office (and its financial resources) to target his political enemies (including arresting a reporter in his home in the dead of night after criticizing him, in 2007). Arpaio’s antics reached a fever pitch during the 2012 election when he became a problem for Mitt Romney, who didn’t want to be seen as defending Arpaio and Arizona’s horrendous “papers please” bill (that codified Arpaio’s “detain and ask questions later” way of doing business) while simultaneously not wanting to offend a key GOP demographic: racists & bigots.

160 people DIED in Arpaio’s custody… 73 of “unexplained” causes (ibid). In 2009, a pregnant Latina woman… and American citizen… was racially profiled and arrested by one of Arpaio’s goon squads. They shackled her hands and feet, and did not unshackle her even after going into labor (where was she going to go?), giving birth in the jail and separating her from her newborn child for 72 hours. This is the man Trump deemed worthy of a Presidential Pardon. Please note that the pardon was over Arpaio’s refusal to comply with a court order, which carried with it a whopping six months (some say only “60 days”) in jail. Trump deliberately angered millions and upset an entire minority population just to spare an old racist bastard 60 days in jail? #ToddlerTrump once again being intentionally provocative just to tick off his political enemies.

Of course, Arpaio was also a huge “Birther” (which pretty much goes without saying) and fan of Trump’s racist Birther crusade against Obama, creating his own “Birther Squad” where the Maricopa County sheriff concluded (with the help of World Nut Daily and “Swift Boater” jackass Jerome Corsi) in 2012 that president Obama’s birth certificate was “a forgery and a fraud”. Why was an Arizona sheriff investigating Obama’s birth certificate? Didn’t he have better things to do? Apparently not.

But Arpaio is just one example.

As I’ve previously mentioned, there are/were three conspicuous racists serving in Trump’s inner circle: his “Chief Strategist”… known “White Nationalist” Steve Bannon, military analyst and deputy assistant to the president Sebastian “Nazi Medal” Gorka, and “political advisor” “White Power hand gesture guy” Stephen Miller. Following Trump’s botched response to the Charlottesville protest, he fired Bannon (one of the founders of the “Alt-Right” movement)… a fellow loose-canon that reportedly did not get along with others (reportedly, “The Mooch”… during his brief 10 days on the job, wanted both Bannon & Priebus fired. Priebus got the ax first and many believe incoming Chief-of-Staff Kelly finished the job with Bannon.) Gorka says he quit. Everyone else says Trump fired him. Why? Because Gorka and Bannon were good friends, and Gorka was not happy about Bannon’s firing. And now only Miller remains.

After firing two prominent racists, Trump’s base needed some red meat. Following the conviction of Arpaio, Trump announced he was flying to Arizona for “a rally”, but it was widely suspected he was going there to pardon Arpaio. Like all racist cowards, Trump flinched under the white hot spotlight of criticism of possibly issuing his first-ever pardon to a ridiculous racist asshat like Sheriff Joe a mere three days after Trump was criticized for defending Nazi’s. Trump instead waited until 9pm EDT… just as a hurricane was making landfall in Texas and people were being killed… to announce he was pardoning him. If you wait until late Friday evening while the nation is distracted by a natural disaster to do something, you CLEARLY know you’re doing something wrong. Something you know you’d be roundly criticized for if the nation were not distracted by millions of people in mortal danger in Texas.

I was going to write about Trump’s childish attacks upon Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for his lack of loyalty (there’s that word again), but the storm outside suddenly just got that much worse that I need to end this here.

It all seems like this all took place over the course of a month. It’s difficult to believe it was only one week ago. What a week.
 


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

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(UPDATED: 9/20/17)

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

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

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

But that’s just half the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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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