THE GENERALS REALLY ARE IN CHARGE
The puppet president gave an interview to Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo, his “first major interview since ordering a military strike on a Syrian airfield late last week”. What do we learn? Well, in addition to thinking he bombed Iraq (he required correcting)? “What I did should have been done by the Obama administration a long time before I did it,” Trump said. Who else feels that way? He also “called Assad ‘an animal’ and ‘truly an evil person’”. Takes one to know one? In the single greatest nod to the Mattis-McMaster worldview over the Bannon-Jared reality TV feud, Trump said, “it is now up to Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his support of the Syrian regime.” Trump also recounted the chocolate cake he ate while telling the Chinese leader Xi Jinping about missiles over dessert at Mar-a-Lago last week. Trump casually suggested he might fire James Comey, the FBI Director, who he once blew a kiss too and praised vociferously but now is tasked with investigating his shady, shady ties to Russia. TRUMPISTAN WATCH supposes the sigh of relief is that Bannon and princeling Jared are not calling the shots. Let’s face facts, who in the military or government who is not looking to simply make money or inflict mass casualties listens to them? I mean look at this fucking asshole.
NATO IS YOUR FRIEND
Later in the day Wednesday, Trump appeared at a press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and completely reversed himself on NATO, disavowing his earlier comments. “I said it was obsolete,” before adding, “It’s no longer obsolete.” The Baltic Times reports on a letter Trump sent to the Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis expressing that “The United States will remain a steadfast Latvian friend and ally,… noting Latvia’s defense investment and contribution of Latvian NBA player Kristaps Porzingis”. And not to be diminished by a bloviating American president, Lithuania announced it won’t stop its defense spending when it reaches NATO’s 2 percent of GDP target but will keep spending, according to Reuters.
RUSSIAN ORDER IS NOT YOUR FRIEND
Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Moscow Wednesday where he held talks at the Kremlin for most of the day with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Putin quit his infantile will I or won’t I to meet Tillerson because of course he was going to. Bloomberg reports, “The meeting is taking place after Putin complained that relations with the U.S. are now worse than under President Barack Obama” and “Lavrov criticized the Trump administration’s ‘ambiguous and contradictory’ foreign policy.” These mofos want consistency? Do they know who they helped install? They bought the Trump brand and they don’t know better? Let’s quote hysterical Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova whenever Russia is fingered as culpable for something it actually did, “Oh my god! Oh my god!” Putin surrounds himself with only yes men so no one told him the American operation would be terrible for Russia long term. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov complained it was “quite absurd” for the U.S. to demand the Kremlin abandon Bashar Al-Assad in Syria, Bloomberg also reports. Tillerson’s talks with Lavrov lasted three hours and forty five minutes – “not exactly a new Cold War,” in the words of Guardian journalist Alec Luhn on Twitter. Putin began his meeting with Tillerson “without apparent delay” whereas Tillerson’s predecessor John Kerry was kept waiting for three hours. Evidently that’s the Order of Friendship difference, hardly seems worth it, so it must be the money. Putin whined in disbelief that his master plan is not working out exactly as he imagined, “that trust between Russia and the U.S. under Trump ‘at the working level, especially at the military level, hasn’t improved; rather it’s deteriorated,’” Bloomberg reported citing “a Kremlin transcript published Wednesday of an interview with the Mir TV channel.” Tillerson sounded like he was adulting hard core in this administration, acknowledging during the press conference, “The world’s foremost nuclear powers cannot have this relationship”. Memo to Rex: tell Twitler stop with North Korea already then please thank you. Also tell Sergey he doesn’t need to lecture our reporters, least of all the women on manners.
From Bloomberg and TV Newser.
ASSAD DAY AT THE UN
Reuters reports “Russia blocked a Western-led effort at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to condemn last week’s deadly gas attack in Syria,” as if to say look at us! We think we can do whatever the hell we want! Without Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, this is sort of the voice they have now in Turtle Bay. Note “It was the eighth time during Syria’s six-year-old civil war that Moscow has used its veto power on the Security Council to shield Assad‘s government.” 2020 presidential candidate “U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, called on Moscow to stop protecting Assad and said the United States wants to work with Russia toward a political solution for Syria.” Haley wisely noted, “If the regime is innocent, as Russia claims, the information requested in this resolution would have vindicated them.” Exactly why Russia contested it and then set it alight. The Kremlin cannot handle the truth!
MANAFORT ON THE SHORE: DEBTOR + FOREIGN AGENT
The New York Times reports that Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort set up a shell company the day, August 19, that he quit Trump’s campaign to collect from Trump-connected lenders. This is all going to move very fast now. While Manafort “retreated from public view… behind the scenes, he was busy with other matters.” On August 19, Manafort set up a shell company “that soon received $13 million in loans from two businesses with ties to Mr. Trump, including one that partners with a Ukrainian-born billionaire and another led by a Trump economic adviser.” This money was equivalent to “$20 million in loans secured by properties belonging to Mr. Manafort and his wife.” One of the loans “for $3.5 million in September,” came “from the private lending unit of Spruce Capital, a small New York investment firm that has a Ukrainian connection through the billionaire Alexander Rovt… is a financial backer of Spruce, whose co-founder, Joshua Crane, has been a developer of Trump hotel projects.” Last year Rovt “took part in a small panel discussion on Ukrainian relations at Manor College in Pennsylvania, where he shared the stage with Andrii V. Artemenko,” a former Member of the Ukrainian parliament who reportedly presented one-time Trump business associate and federal informant in the past Felix Sater and Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen with a peace plan for Ukraine that would give Russia everything it wants. After Trump won in November, another loan to Manafort for $9.5 million came from the Federal Savings Bank in Chicago, which is headed by Stephen Calk, “a senior economic advisor to Mr. Trump at the time.” In January, Manafort received another loan worth $6.6 million from the bank. Interestingly, “The purpose of the loans is unstated in public records, although at least some of them appear to be part of an effort by Mr. Manafort to stave off a personal financial crisis stemming from failed investments with his son-in-law.” Naturally, “The transactions raise a number of questions, including whether Mr. Manafort’s decision to turn to Trump-connected lenders was related to his role in the campaign, where he had agreed to serve for free.” Manafort’s spokesman said Wednesday he would be registering as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) retroactively in part because “Manafort never filed lobbying registrations for his work in Ukraine”. The AP notes, “Manafort will now have to publicly and specifically detail his foreign agent work”. Yee-haw! Who is riding the Trump train now? We all are and it is headed for a high-speed collision. Yee-haw!
VENEZUELA STATE OIL COMPANY MAKES BOND PAYMENT
Reuters reports that the state oil company in collapsing Venezuela, Petroleros de Venezuela SA or PDVSA, the acronym it is known by, made its $2.2 billion in bond payments, citing two bondholders. This is relevant as Barron’s reports because “The U.S. Congress is waking up to another way Russia has found a back door to the United States: by lending to Venezuela.” Last December, Rosneft lent enough to the cash strapped PDVSA, effectively a bailout for the flailing socialist government, which when combined with existing shares in Citgo gave Rosneft enough to seize control of the Texas-based oil company that operates refineries and critical energy infrastructure across the United States. In the bigger picture sense of the great geopolitical game for the biggest resource of all, oil, “Venezuela bonds have been heavily traded because they offer high yields and the government has attracted financial lifelines from China and Russia, who are attracted to one of the biggest stores of petroleum in the world. They will get first dibs should the socialist regime fall and much-needed oil infrastructure investment returns.”
McCAIN IN MONTENEGRO
Senator John McCain’s Balkan tour continued, this time in Montenegro which recently was nearly set back by a Russian-backed coup attempt and has been pushed forward by U.S. approval for ascension to the NATO alliance. “I believe the Russian behavior requires our solidarity and our strength, in order to preserve principles and fundamentals of democracy,” said McCain in Podgorica, the Montenegrin capital.
DARKNESS AT NUNES: PRETTY BIG LIES
CNN reports “After a review of the same intelligence reports brought to light by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides have so far found no evidence that Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal,” citing multiple sources. Naturally this “contradicts President Donald Trump’s allegations that former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice broke the law” and makes Rep. Devin Nunes look like an obstructing, interference running piece of… work! Accordiing to CNN, “One congressional intelligence source described the requests made by Rice as ‘normal and appropriate for officials who serve in that role to the president.” The documented Hungarian Nazi “Sebastian Gorka, a Trump foreign policy aide, cast Rice’s actions as worse than the Watergate scandal that felled President Richard Nixon in an interview with pro-Trump Fox News host Sean Hannity,” who is also a seemingly obvious Kremlin lackey.
AKBARJON JALILOV, ALLEGED ST. PETERSBURG BOMBER PROFILE
Russia Beyond the Headlines reports on the backstory of Akbarjon Jalilov, who Russian authorities arrested in connection with last week’s bombing of the St. Petersburg metro. Russia Beyond the Headlines cites Russian media that his brother, Akhror Jalilov said Akbarjon “intended to return to Kyrgyzstan two months before the terrorist attack. There, he wanted to build a house and get married”. Akbarjon Jalilov’s basic backstory is that “In 2011, Akbar moved to St. Petersburg and found a job as a driver in a car service. He soon obtained Russian citizenship, and each year Akbar took a holiday and went to visit his family in Osh, but he didn’t in 2015 and 2016.” He also said “he was serving in the Russian military, but his relatives don’t have photographs of him in the army and don’t know in which unit he could have served.” The family “doesn’t believe that Akbar decided to become a suicide bomber. They think he was set up, tricked into taking the bag and backpack with the bomb, which was then set off remotely.” Russian media also reported, “the Kyrgyzstan Interior Ministry confirmed that the Kyrgyz chapter of Akbar’s biography, and the biographies of his entire family, are clean” adding “no family member has a criminal record or links to radical religious movements.” The Russian authorities had “Eight suspected accomplices” that they “detained on April 6-7 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and three had been working as chefs at the Sushi Wok chain.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
STRATEGY IS HARD: SYRIA THE SINKHOLE
The Hill reports on a new Pew Research Center poll that shows a majority of Americans, 58 percent, supporting Trump’s airstrike against Syria, with 36 percent disapproving. However when it comes to where the hell this is all going, the American people want to know what is going on! In numbers, “61 percent of respondents said Trump doesn’t have a ‘clear plan for dealing with the situation in Syria.’ Just 32 percent said the president does have a clear plan.” Who the hell are this 32 percent and did they just pledge allegiance blindly to a febrile old bag, who does not have a clue what he is doing and so the country is clearly being run – at least when it is being run – by the generals? However, at least we are hitting the ceiling of the stupid of the American people because 61 percent says you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
From The Hill.
Russia Beyond the Headlines has an interview with Russian presidential advisor Sergei Glaziev that is worth your time. Glaziev calls Trump a rather cynical businessman citing his bankruptcies and predicts the U.S. will default on its debt because Trump is not afraid to. The Syria strike was of course aimed at an audience in Moscow and neither Russia nor China wants war, only to check American aggression Glaziev says, sounding almost wistfully nostalgic for the briefly lived Sino-Soviet pact of yesteryear (which of course degenerated into bitter infighting among the worldwide communist movement). Glaziev briefly pays deference to American might, “Since on the military-political and currency-financial level our possibilities are very limited, while those of the U.S. are unlimited,” he suggests denouncing the dollar as the international currency but what else is there that is rock solid and internationally circulated like it? Certainly not the ruble! Also, Glaziev “would like to remind our Chinese friends what one of our famous 19th century geopolitical experts said: The only thing worse than war with the Anglo-Saxons is friendship with them.” Have the Russians talked to anyone in Latin America since the end of the Cold War? Hilariously Glaziev whines, “They base their relations exclusively on the position of domination,” because obviously as part of the Russian state he is delusional about its ability to steamroll individuals, nations, families, generations – or just pretending to be.
RUSLAN STOYANOV SPEAKS
A letter by Ruslan Stoyanov, “a top investigator at Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab who was detained and accused of treason by the country’s security services last December,” was published by independent TV station Dozhd, according to the International Business Times. Stoyanov dictated the letter to his attorneys and in it he slams the Russian mafia state’s collaboration with cyber criminals. Stoyanov wrote, “The worst scenario is to give cybercriminals immunity from retaliation for stealing money in other countries in exchange for intelligence. If this happens, a whole layer of ‘patriotic thieves’ will appear, violating the principles of the rule of law and [avoiding] punishment”. Stoyanov believes “the partnership is not built to last” and said the “inevitable breakdown in relationships will lead to a ‘wave of crimes’ in Russia.” Hey, he’s right! Stoyanov describes his conditions now as “the most severe prison” and complained, “If only my affairs did not undermine the stability of the posts and merits of the generals, and also did not harm the business of ‘patriot-thieves’”. Ouch. At Kaspersky, “Stoyanov was an incident response manager specialising in distributed denial of service (DDoS) cases,” and from 2000-2006 he held a cybersecurity position in the Russian Ministry of the Interior.
POLAND’S DEFENSE MINISTER IS NOT DEFENDING POLAND
Agence France Presse reports on the declining state of the Polish military under the country’s Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, reporting, “90 percent of Poland’s top military brass have either been replaced or left of their own accord amid an overhaul launched by Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz”. What does this mean by the numbers? It means “34 generals and 484 colonels in a force of 106,000 soldiers, up from 96,000 in 2015.” What the hell?! Among the departures, which should raise eyebrows all around, “former chief of staff General Mieczyslaw Gocul and top strategic commander General Miroslaw Rozanski.” The result is clear in that, “Objectively there aren’t enough generals in the Polish army,” according to one Warsaw-based senior political analyst. Publicly Macierewicz maintains the purges are because he “wants to stamp out all traces of the communist era by blocking promotions of servicemen who joined before the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989,” but that is clearly not the case as many young colonels have been pushed out. Like Trump, he loves conspiracies and doesn’t get along well with allies.
From Agence France Presse.
RUSSIA DAY WILL REALLY BE FOR RUSSIA THIS YEAR
Reuters reports that Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is calling for nationwide protests on June 12, a national public holiday known as Russia Day which marks the start of the 1992 reforms of the Russian Soviet state. Those reforms lead to the end of the Soviet Union and the birth of the Russian Federation, which has since evolved from a one-party state bolstered by the totalitarian KGB into a one-party state comprised of the totalitarian KGB-successor organization, the FSB. Happy Russia Day to our sad and scared little new friends in the Kremlin and all the yes men who surround them and their povars because Americans also care (to a – much greater – degree) about the help.
DZERZHINSKY : RUSSIA :: UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SPORTS TEAM : AMERICA
Defense One has an interesting piece on the CIA malware that Symantec, an antivirus software maker, reported in a blog post that it found on “at least 40 targets in 16 countries since 2011”. Defense One reports, “Long before WikiLeaks claimed the malware was created by the CIA, Symantec had already assumed the group responsible—which it dubbed ‘Longhorn’—was government-sponsored.” Longhorn is the name of the sports team at the University of Texas. Recall when Russian malware was detected in the past, located in metadata was Feliks Dzerzhinsky’s name. Dzerzhinsky was the first director of the Cheka, the notorious Soviet secret police responsible for much misery, death and state terror. This says much about the culture of both nations. According to Defense One, Symantec reported “The group appeared to work a standard Monday to Friday working week, based on timestamps and domain name registration dates, behavior which is consistent with state-sponsored groups,” as has also been observed in the past with Russian-backed trolls on social networks and Chinese state hackers. Symantec describes the CIA tool as “malware that carefully covers its tracks” by going “through private servers using a custom encryption protocol,” limiting “the amount of data it sends in each burst to avoid detection. If it ends up on a non-targeted computer, it uninstalls itself within hours. But what it doesn’t do is hide the fact that it was created by developers who don’t work on weekends.”
From Defense One.
MEMETIC WARFARE: WHO IS THE LAME DUCK NOW?
The Washington Post profiles the memetic warfare on the Russian Embassy UK’s Twitter account. TRUMPISTAN WATCH confesses the #1 Tweet (based on what metric?) is one we have appropriated to advertise to potential subscribers on Twitter because there is no greater lame duck than the current squatter in the White House who lives under a dark cloud of investigations into his collaboration with the Russian mafia state over all these years but especially last year.
From The Washington Post.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
SO YOU WANT TO BE A COSMONAUT
Yesterday was Cosmonauts Day in Russia and hilariously according to Russian state-run Sputnik “the world celebrated”. Russia Beyond the Headlines reports, “Over the next eight months, Roscosmos will be accepting applications to train as cosmonauts who will fly to the moon. To be eligible, you must have an advanced degree in engineering, science or aviation, as well as know English and have computer skills.” So it asks you to “Take this quiz to see if you have the right stuff to become a Russian cosmonaut.” First question: “A new American crew arrives aboard the ISS. What do you do?” TRUMPISTAN WATCH’s favorite response: “Get in touch with headquarters in Moscow and ask for a spy file on each American crewmember.” Pro-tip: “The common opinion is that Armenian cognac is the best alcoholic beverage in space.”
AMERICA SEEMS POISED TO VENTILATE SOME BULLSHIT
What makes TRUMPISTAN WATCH say so? Glamour reports on a new trend: bare butt jeans. It is definitely not hot to look at. In fact it looks like some bullshit is being ventilated. If this is where we are culturally at the moment in America, it is just a matter of time before politics catches up.
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