THERE IS NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS
By now everyone and their hippie aunt living in some remote corner of South America or indistinguishable housing complex in some post-industrial Middle American shithole has heard that the Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a noted white nationalist who proclaims “law and order,” recused himself of investigations involving Trump’s ties to Russia because the Department of Justice – the agency he presides over – revealed he met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last year. While not suspicious on its own, Sessions failed to disclose as much during his confirmation hearing before the Senate when questioned directly by Senator Al Franken. Ironically, Al Franken is an alum of Saturday Night Live turned Democratic Senator from Minnesota so he offered a gentle, humorous reminder on CNN that “of course, the Ambassador from Russia is a Russian.” Here is a bunch of Franken’s “Daily Affirmations” as Stuart Smalley from back in the day, which we could all use about now. In any case, the act of perjuring yourself as you are on the mantel about to take the job of the most powerful attorney in the nation is, to put it mildly, problematic. Vox puts it in simple, almost folksy terms, but you know it’s not that hard. Take an oath, lie, as the nation’s guardian of justice and you will pay a political and reputational cost for it. Clinton was disbarred for it, less anyone forget, for a blowjob, not treason or behaving as a pawn for a foreign adversary in the best-case scenario. The Washington Post, which broke the story, adds that the paper, “so far has found no senators on that panel met with Kislyak last year” other than Sessions. They also offer a timeline of what Sessions said concerning Russia and who he met with when over the last year. Helpful!
BRING IT ON HOME
Democrats in Congress were ready to pounce with the Department of Justice’s announcement that Sessions spoke twice last year with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi called on Sessions to resign. Meanwhile, much ado will be made about the exchange between Senator Al Franken questioning Sessions under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing. Senators Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse also met with FBI Director James Comey “as part of launching their own investigation into Russian election intereference.” They are forming a sub-committee! Is anyone keeping a count of just the investigations? I’m bogged down with Trumpistan Watch duty and celebrifascists list (celebrities who endorsed or normalize Trump), but someone please, do this!
From POLITICO and Roll Call.
ISN’T HE TOO BUSY ERASING ALL THOSE SWASTIKAS?
Jared Kushner, who carries the formal title of senior advisor, a role informally known as co-daddy whisperer with wife, Aryan princess Ivanka, is also under the microscope now for contacts with the most forgettable ambassador in the world, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. So, Sessions is at bat and striking out and Kushner is up next. That’s going to be harder than Flynn or Sessions but way more fun and demented to watch. As the level one story goes, Flynn, Kushner and Kislyak had a confab at the Trump Tower last December that was previously undisclosed, The New York Times reports. Now recall a sea of cameras camped in the lobby – what door did he come in? Did the media not know who he was or was he ushered in some back way while Kanye and his ilk was paraded in the front? Evidently this gets more calamitous since, “The meeting came in December at a crucial time, just as the White House was preparing to sanction Russia and publicly make its case that Moscow had interfered with the 2016 election.”
BAND OF BROTHERS
Ambassador Sergey Kislyak is like the best of Washington hosts and hostesses, always rubbing elbows with fancy and important people who then promptly forget him in favor of those they want to remember! In addition to FIVE conversations by phone with Flynn, meetings with Sessions and perma-smirk Kushner, he also met with Trump advisors Carter Page and former Pentagon spokesman J.D. Gordon at a conference, Global Partners in Democracy, on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio last summer. For his part, Carter Page said he would “not deny” the meeting.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry is denying reports that Ambassador Sergey Kislyak is a spy. CNN reports “US intelligence” current and former senior officials consider Kislyak to be “one of Russia’s top spies and spy-recruiters in Washington”. Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied the allegation in classic Russian wink-wink fashion, “”He was deputy minister of foreign affairs in Russia, who has communicated with American colleagues for decades in different fields, and CNN accused him of being a Russian spy … of recruiting? Oh my God!” NBC News introduces us to the Ambassador who is a spitting image of First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev or the Russian Ambassador allowed into the war room in “Dr. Strangelove”. Despite all the stories suggesting he is a spy to make this so easy and obvious for mainstream America to understand, any one in our establishment with enough savvy to understand what is going on beyond level one figure he is just a normal diplomat as involved as any in intelligence gathering and advocating for his nation. While some colleagues ignorantly charge witch hunt or McCarthyist nonsense, let’s recall a simple lesson of politics and chess: you knock out the pawns first. Lastly, let’s recall an important axiom of these times: he (they are usually he in this administration) who dangles the noose in front of minorities will find it tighten around his own neck!
Due to the obvious influence of Russia on Trump’s campaign and the course of the 2016 election, Trump has had to go hardline as Trump enthusiasm recedes from Russian state-run news organs. So the heavyweights are coming in from H.R. McMaster to now, the appointment of Fiona Hill of the Brookings Institution as his Russia advisor on the National Security Council. She is the author of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin and widely respected as she runs the Europe program at Brookings. No indication that Trump will listen, but there is also limited indication that he is truly running the government as opposed to consuming copious amounts of cable TV “news”.
The Wall Street Journal reports Donald Trump Jr. went to Paris in October and was rewarded a handsome $50,000 fee for appearing at an event at the Ritz hosted by “a French think tank whose founder and wife are allies of the Russian government in efforts to end the war in Syria.” Like the Ukrainian traitors and Russian mob fronts who only want peace in exchange for annexing the Donbass in Ukraine, we must be willing to suspend our understanding that these are greedy operators and believe suddenly that Donald Jr. too is a man of peace! Fabien Baussart and his Syrian wife, Randa Kassis, run the Council of Political and Foreign Affairs and they “have cooperated with Russia in its drive to end the Syrian civil war, according to U.S., European and Arab officials. “ Last December, Baussart nominated Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize because these people do not value truth. The October meeting is just the latest revelation of Trump’s inner circle’s contacts with Russian officials and those sympathetic to them. Interestingly, The Wall Street Journal also reports the center hosted James Rubin in October and paid him $40,000. He was former Secrtary of State Madeleine Albright’s spokesman during the Bosnian conflict and is married to CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour, and he served in Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Bad judgment!
From The Wall Street Journal.
BUT HIS EMAILS
Guess who wrote work e-mails related to homeland security and other matters of state on a private AOL account?! MIKE PENCE. Lock him up! Lock him up! No just kidding, he is being treated unfairly in a red scare! The persecution of good ol’ white boys was supposed to end once Trump took office, but now quite the opposite and in time, the humiliation when this ends catastrophically may be total, USA Today reports, “Cybersecurity experts say the emails raise concerns about whether such sensitive information was adequately protected from hackers, given that personal accounts like Pence’s are typically less secure…” Oh man, it’s all so familiar but I struggle to think of where I have heard this before. Rest assured, “Pence’s personal account was hacked last summer.” Yes, that happened. These people really have no dignity or shame but in time, perhaps they will be made to feign as if they do. That may be the total victory that those wishing to expel Russian influence from our state may sadly have to settle for. Well remember the months of reassurance nothing related to Trump or his lackeys could or would ever be hacked because their data resides in a magical land of alternative facts?
From USA Today.
LOOK WHO ISN’T TALKING
A letter writer with prolific timing, FBI Director James Comey continues to have the pall of his shortly before Election Day letter to Congress over Hillary’s emails cast over him. Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff said he believes Comey is withholding information about intelligence gathering on Trump’s team from the committee. He literally said, “we’re gonna need the FBI to fully cooperate… At this point, the director was not willing to do that.” This suggests a few things: the investigation is still very much wide open and informants could be compromised through leaks. Given how many leaks there have been already of uncertain provenance, there may be real issues of trust between the FBI, which might have agents or informants in peril, and the Hill. The other possibility of course is that Comey is not being forthcoming for other reasons, the reasons Democrats in Congress may suspect.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY: ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH
TRUMPISTAS PURGED FROM NSC FOR THE SECURITY OF THE NATION
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster sought to undo damages caused by ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and likely closeted, certainly malcontent White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon in the days of white male rage that followed Trump’s Inauguration. Unlike his predecessor, McMaster does not seek the destruction of the system so he started by “eliminating positions created by his short lived predecessor”. He “did away with two deputy assistants, one overseeing the NSC’s regional desks and another overseeing transnational issues,” a sign McMaster has some power or at the very least is viewed as a lifeline likely to keep the charade going while pillaging and looting occurs elsewhere by Trump and his awful kids. Trump’s favorite Trumpista on the National Security Council, K.T. MacFarland’s future is also a question mark. The more Trump loyalists that can be removed from proximity to our national security, the more secure our nation.
DEEP STATE TAKES BACK THE STATE
Task and Purpose reports, “Just over a month into the Trump administration, the national-security apparatus is beginning to look a lot like Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.” Josh Rogin reported in January in The Washington Post that a few things pissed Mattis off from the get go, such as Trump — with no military experience — picked Vincent Viola as Secretary of the Army without consulting Mattis. Trump also would not allow the appointment to senior posts of any one who had offered less than praise for the president’s narcissistic self. However, that was then and now, in month two of Dr. Strangelove in real life, “the national security team looks quite different than we thought it would during the transition. More and more, it’s beginning to look a lot like Mattis.” Of Trump’s picks, Task and Purpose reports, “something interesting is happening” namely, “They’re dropping like flies.” First Viola removed himself from consideration after not wishing to “disentangle himself from his finances”. Then General Michael Flynn was ousted as National Security Advisor over his ties to Russia and lying about those ties. Former NAVY SEAL, retired Vice-Admiral Robert Harward, rejected the post. Interestingly Harward was Mattis deputy at U.S. Central Command. Harward very publicly called the offer “ a shit sandwich”. Now, we have H.R. McMaster who Task and Purpose describes as “straight out of the Mattis mold: Combat-tested, contemplative, academic.” Looks like Mattis “has all the momentum.” In warfare and politics, that’s important and that’s where we are as a nation at this precise moment. It feels better than things have for months, to be honest. Momentum is often most important.
From Task and Purpose.
RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM OUR PRESS AND THEIRS
SUBVERT THE RED CAP
Who needs brown shirts when you have red caps, right? Well now you can make your own red cap! The Washington Post has a red cap message generator. Trump cannot take away our freedom to put whatever bullshit we want on a red cap and wear it. We will not be cowered or shamed because the red caps so resemble the brown shirts! We are Americans and we want freedom! It’s a bit like Mickey Mouse-ifying the swastika armband but for our time, so tech-driven, customized and not really real but it feels good and it fights fascism, so do it for yourself and for America. It’s a lot of fun to see “PRIVATE RUSSIA SESSIONS” or “LUBYANKA SHIT STAIN” in lieu of the old fascist standard MAGA (which is plagiarized from Reagan’s “Let’s Make America Great Again,” let history record!). Make your own! And remember, every indignity against Trump is a patriotic act on behalf of the American people.
From The Washington Post.
Rumors in the Russian city of Krasnoyarsk published by News.ru suggest that officials in the city “eager to impress” Putin brought in “clean snow” before he visited the town earlier this week. Environmental campaigner Lena Bausova wrote on the web page of Krasnoyarsk Against, “Our dear president, can you settle here in Krasnoyarsk? We’ll breath fresh air together every day”. In essence, Russians are so cynical and poorly governed that the long-standing tendency exists “in former Soviet countries that authorities undertake fevered efforts to spruce up their cities only when government bosses visit.”
From ABC News.
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