—–ON THE AGENDA—–
Far-right (never “alt-right,” always and forever far-right) French leader Marine Le Pen of the Front National is visiting her benefactors in the Kremlin today. During her visit, Moscow Marine naturally called for a lifeline to her godfather in the form of an end to sanctions against her beloved mother Russia. BBC reports, “It is not clear whether she will meet President Vladimir Putin.” She did meet Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and left that meeting vowing “to push for the so-called ‘blacklists’ of targeted individuals to be abolished.” According to Reuters, Moscow Marine “cut short a schedule of events in the Russian parliament to go to the Kremlin to view an exhibition of French gothic art, the speaker of parliament told reporters.” Moscow Marine was also quoted by Russian state-run Interfax noting, “Russia and France should work together to save the world from globalism and Islamic fundamentalism”. Russia, save the world? Moscow Marine, how much do they pay you and who is coming up with this stuff? BBC cites AP reporting, “FN Treasurer Wallerand de Saint-Just has said Ms Le Pen’s visit is not a cash-raising exercise, though party members have said they are seeking millions to fund the presidential and later the parliamentary election campaigns”. Money makes the world go round.
ANOTHER DEAD RUSSIAN
Yesterday, as TRUMPISTAN WATCH was going to press news broke that a member of the Russian parliament, the Duma, Denis Voronenkov had been murdered in Kyiv shortly after defecting there last year from Russia with his wife, Maria Maksakova, also a politician and Bolshoi opera singer. The New York Times reports it is “the latest in a string of politically hued murders of critics of the Russian government abroad, going back more than a decade” and notes “The killing coincided with a fire and explosion at a gigantic Ukrainian Army ammunition depot in the country’s east that the authorities blamed on Russia.” The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko “said a drone may have touched off the blast, near the city of Kharkiv, sending tank shells firing in all directions and forcing the evacuation of 20,000 people.” Poroshenko did not hesitate to apply the term “state terrorism” to the killing of Voronenkov. The New York Times notes, “In Kiev, the couple had kept a high profile, speaking out frequently against Russian policy in Ukraine. But the Russian authorities accused them of corruption and said they had left to avoid prosecution.” In his statement, Poroshenko also said of Voronenkov that he was “one of the main witnesses of Russian aggression against Ukraine.” A Ukrainian MP Anton Gerashchenko said Voronenkov “knew everything about everybody” and the broad daylight killing’s aim was “to show that anybody who wants to run away from Russia will be liquidated at any cost.” Naturally Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called any accusations of Kremlin involvement “absurd”.
From The New York Times.
DARKNESS AT NUNES: THE TWILIGHT ZONE
On Wednesday, Trump transition team lackey and ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee responsible for investigating Trump’s ties to Russia, took a little time from his day to go brief the president about the investigation. During this “private Russia session,” Nunes noted members of Trump’s campaign had been picked up on routine intercepts of foreign intelligence targets and this information had been shared around the intelligence community. Well obviously this was bad from a credibility standpoint to those in government who have not been indoctrinated by the Russian mafia state, so on Thursday he apologized — sort of. “A committee aide,” – so not Nunes himself – said Nunes apologized to the committee “for not sharing information about the documents he saw with the minority before going public”. The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff told NPR’s Steve Inskeep Thursday that the committee still has not been privy to whatever Nunes shared with the president. This is remarkable because who is whose co-counsel? Who is being investigated? Nuts. Meanwhile House intelligence committee member Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat, said she believes Nunes is coordinating with the White House citing passed statements Trump has made. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi went so far as to call Nunes “a stooge for the president of the United States.” “Trump told reporters Wednesday he felt ‘somewhat’ vindicated by Nunes’ statement,” and by Thursday his campaign was sending out emails with “Vindicated” for a subject line addressed to “Friend”.
WHO LET THE ADULTS IN THE ROOM?
Senator John McCain said Thursday that it is time for a special committee to investigate Trump’s Russia ties. Oh my god, who let the adults in the room? McCain said that after Rep. Devin Nunes’ trip to the White House Wednesday to brief the president when he had no authority or authorization to do so, the House intelligence committee had lost “the credibility to handle this alone.” McCain was extremely critical to MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren, who must have gone mainstream again at some point in post-coup America or Natalee Hollaway turned up alive drinking a daiquiri on the beach of Aruba and she had nothing more to do at Fox. McCain found “the public feuding between House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican, and ranking Democratic member Rep. Adam Schiff, who traded explosive statements Wednesday” distasteful and felt that as a result, “both men had erred in their statements, while stressing that he did not feel Russia achieved their goal of ‘affecting the outcome’ of the 2016 election.” It is as if he a) understands the enemy, b) knows they can hear us. Those must be lessons acquired in a POW camp because the general public has not a clue of these things. He called Nunes’ statement in particular “highly unusual,” going so far as to say “I have not seen anything like it”.
TRUMP LAWYER TO REP SBERBANK IN U.S. LAWSUIT
BuzzFeed reports that long-time Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz who has represented him for “more than 15 years, was recently named a lead attorney in a federal civil lawsuit against Sberbank, which is majority-owned by the Russian government.” The lawsuit against Sberbank involves “claims that it helped a granite-mining company raid and kill off its main competitor in the Russian market.” In U.S. court, Sberbank is accusted “of conspiring with granite company executives — including Russia’s former minister of economy and trade — in what the plaintiffs say amounts to a ‘textbook case of Russian corporate raiding.’” BuzzFeed reports, “twice last year, Kasowitz threatened the New York Times after it published three pages of tax returns and a story about women who claim the president sexually assaulted them.” Another partner at Kasowitz’s firm, David Friedman, was just confirmed as the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel, an appointment that is wholly controversial given his far-right views. The Sberbank lawsuit was unsealed in January but filed last November. According to the lawsuit, Yuriy Zhukov, “and other granite company executives. Zhukov met with Herman Gref, the head of OJSC Sberbank and a former federal minister for President Vladimir Putin, to manipulate the process” and that “Gref used his influence with the government to shield the takeover from scrutiny by Russian federal investigators.” BuzzFeed notes in its kicker, “In the complaint, lawyers for P-Granit claim that Russian courts are ‘compromised, corrupt’ and that the company cannot get a fair trial there, which led to its decision to file the lawsuit in America.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
MAKING MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLEHILLS
John Schindler, the former NSA Analyst turned columnist for The Observer, the paper currently in a Kushner family trust, makes a very good and very obvious point a few different ways about how the Russians wanted us to know what they did in our elections by leaving finger prints everywhere. One paragraph in particular stands out and bears repeating here in full: “At every stage of their secret operation to influence our 2016 election, Russian spymasters could have used more subtle methods—for instance employing clean hackers who were unknown to Western counterspies or putting stolen emails online on a fresh new website—yet chose not to. This smacks of bravado and more than a little confidence that Washington would do little if anything to push back against Moscow—an assessment that proved sadly accurate.” Schindler also calls attention to arguably the most important part of Comey’s testimony Monday before the House intelligence committee after his admission that Trump is under investigation for his campaign’s ties to Moscow. In his testimony, Comey states, “They’ll be back in 2020, they may be back in 2018, and one of the lessons they may draw from this is that they were successful because they introduced chaos and division and discord and sowed doubt about the nature of this amazing country of ours and our democratic process.” So wake up! Our system is better than theirs in every way except one: they read books about things other than management philosophy and therefore, are better prepared psychologically to understand their adversary. The real danger given that America is not going to suddenly change the channel and acquire its lost brain cells: next time the puppet is capable and smart and even more dangerous yet.
From The Observer.
CALL ME, MAYBE
Russia Beyond the Headlines citing Russian state-run TASS notes that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in Washington for talks, noted from there that “Contacts of NATO and Russia are even more important at the time when tensions are high”. Very true as engagement is critical to stymie misunderstandings to the degree possible against a determined adversary, but only applies to nation-states in the modern context as non-state actors have a disadvantage here. Citing Reuters, Stoltenberg himself is quoted, “And when tensions are high it’s even more important that we talk together and that we have open lines of military and political communications”.
At 8:06 a.m. Thursday, CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted out a bonkers letter he received from someone it’s a pity Gene Wilder did not live to play in film some day, namely Roger Stone. He accuses the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee Rep. Adam Schiff of “red-baiting” during the hearing and says, “Fortunately Mr. Comey has no credibility left.” The only person they are unwilling to throw under the bus is Ivanka because she is daddy’s favorite. Stone writes of his Congressional accusers, “I demand the right to face my accusers. I will deconstruct their lies and spank them like children.” Of the ranking Democrat, Stone writes, “Schiff looks like a pussy to me,” which is sure to rev up the base, make for great ratings. Women as people with strength worth respecting and not worth degrading?! Is their name Ivanka? If just an average, normal, non-Ivanka woman, then it’s fair game. Their anatomy? Double down and go lewd. He also slights the CIA, calling them “the boys at Langley”. Did you even see “Zero Dark Thirty,” you so-called patriot? He accuses “deep state” of something so convoluted I can only label it “general incoherence”.
The gals at Jezebel, which grew up under the now defunct Gawker Media Network, redacted everything that is not verifiably true from an interview TIME conducted with Trump. It reminds TRUMPISTAN WATCH of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo memoir and that’s the point. Trump is a hostage to the truth and he does not know it yet, but unlike Slahi, don’t feel bad for him and don’t think he is so smart. If our country had not tried to break Slahi, we might be more entertained by him than Trump. Perhaps this is my somber, staring into the abyss of gulags way of saying as their article does that “Predictably, this conversation really tested the limits of irony.” I am not taking the time to read the full bullshit interview at the moment because TRUMPISTAN WATCH has a deadline, no lease on life and took time Thursday to see a great Franco-German film at the EU Film Festival in town, “Frantz” – highly recommended! But their synopsis paints a very full picture of the catastrophe: “Trump lies a lot, says a number of half-true things, does not admit he was incorrect to link Ted Cruz’s father with Lee Harvey Oswald, foists responsibility for his inaccuracies onto media reports that he misrepresents, says the word ‘Brexit’ 11 times, and forms sentences like ‘Brussels, I said, Brussels is not Brussels.’” And yet, you read that and ask yourself first, Ted Cruz, what the hell is wrong with you? That’s called media conditioning in the art of deflection and you have all been subjected to it over nearly two years. “I’m going to go pass out.” The Washington Post gives it four pinocchios.
MASTERS OF MEDIA
Global intelligence consultancy Stratfor reports, “one of the last Western-linked media sources in Russia has been sealed. Yesterday, leading news outlet Vedomosti voted in a new, decidedly pro-Kremlin, editor-and-chief, Ilya Bulavinov.” Vedomosti, Stratfor notes, “Along with sister news outlet Moscow Times, Vedomosti has long been a beacon of independent and fairly balanced news coverage in Russia. Both had been joint owned by Finland’s Sonoma and the United States’ Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.” Bulavinov has quite the pedigree for turning Vedomosti into full on Kremlin propaganda as he “spent a career in state news giants [Russian state-run] Kommersant, RIANovosti and Channel One”.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
RUSSIA: WHERE FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY IS “AN ILLEGAL PROVOCATION”
Reuters reports that the Kremlin has called Alexey Navalny’s plans for a rally this Sunday “an illegal provocation”. Very manly! According to Reuters, “Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters that official permission had not been granted for the rally, which organizers say is to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.” This is all while the Kremlin is in talks with great patriot Moscow Marine Le Pen, just keep that in mind, as the only rallies that will be condoned in the future if the globalist cabal of ethno-nationalists without borders wins will be their rallies.
RESISTANCE ADVICE: FRANS TIMMERMANS
Perhaps this is more in the realm of reminders of reality, but in an era of so-called “alternative facts” and “fake news” (e.g. propaganda), even the truth is an act of defiance. The Vice-President of the European Commission tweeted Thursday, “Nationalism is like alcohol: it gives you a buzz, but you have a terrible hangover when you wake up”. The kind of nationalism to which he refers must be the very low shelf, inexpensive, low quality sort of alcohol that makes beasts of men and women.
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