CAR BOMB KILLS UKRAINIAN MILITARY INTEL COLONEL IN CENTRAL KIEV
Reuters reports, “A colonel in Ukraine’s military intelligence was killed by a car bomb in central Kiev on Tuesday, the defense ministry said, describing the incident as a ‘terrorist act.’” Reuters notes, “The police and the ministry did not give further details or say who could be behind the attack.” Reuters reports, “Police said an explosive device in the vehicle blew up at 0516 GMT while the car was moving, killing the driver and wounding a passer-by.” The explosion successfully targeted Colonel Maksim Shapoval. The Guardian reports he was the head of a special forces unit. While attacks outside the conflict zone of Ukraine’s occupied eastern regions have increased, car bombs are relatively rare but “Shapoval’s death comes almost a year after prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed by a similar explosion in Kiev as he drove to work.”
MAKE AMERICA LOSE ITS MORAL COURAGE
POLITICO reports, “President Donald Trump said on Monday the Supreme Court’s decision to allow his travel ban executive order to take partial effect was a ‘clear victory for our national security.’” The Washington Post adds, “The Supreme Court agreed Monday to allow a limited version of President Trump’s ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries to take effect and will consider in the fall the president’s broad powers in immigration matters in a case that raises fundamental issues of national security and religious discrimination.” Ok, everyone needs to circle back now to Osama bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa about how to destroy America because Trump and all of the Trumpenproletariat have fallen into that trap after former Presidents George W. Bush laid the foundation with the dehumanizing militarism of the “global war on terror,” which Obama normalized. Now POLITICO reports, the Supreme Court will “let it take effect for foreign nationals without clear ties to the United States,” which will happen in October. America is no longer in the business of providing refuge to the world’s poorest and most desperate, a big blow to our reputation and role as a beacon in the world. Now recall when the Muslim ban was in effect in January, ordinary people who work for border security had no trouble doing very inhumane things to people they presumably considered to be “others”. Further reminder: the ban concerns only Muslim-majority countries Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, where Trump does not have business deals or partnerships, unlike Saudi Arabia and Turkey; also conspicuously absent, Pakistan. Without the courts to block the presidents most egregiously racist policies and a president who positively delights in violence, no one should pretend any more that we are not on the path to true horror; the unmentionable and unspeakable can now be enshrined in law. How many more hate crimes will go unpunished? How many more steps to go until rape and death camps? The court’s decision upheld a partial Muslim ban in a 9-0 decision, so be afraid or close your eyes and lull yourself back to sleep with the words, “They would never harm a fly.”
TRUMP SENDS FBI DIRECTOR NOMINATION TO THE SENATE
The Hill reports, “The White House on Monday formally sent the nomination of Christopher Wray to be FBI director to the Senate.” Wray would replace the previous FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired.
From The Hill.
RUSSIA SANCTIONS BILL STALLS IN HOUSE
Reuters reports, “U.S. lawmakers said on Monday they did not know when legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia might come up for a vote in the House of Representatives, and the White House said it had concerns about the measure.” Horror. Reuters notes, “The legislation passed the Senate by a nearly unanimous margin two weeks ago”. “Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a co-author of the legislation, said he hoped for progress within the next day or two on a procedural issue that has kept the House from taking up the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act, which also includes the new sanctions against Russia,” Reuters reports. Note, “The measure must pass the House, where Trump’s fellow Republicans control a larger majority than in the Senate, before it can be sent for Trump to sign into law or veto.” Horror.
THREE CNN JOURNALISTS RESIGN OVER RETRACTED RUSSIA STORY
The Los Angeles Times reports, “Three journalists from CNN’s investigative unit are leaving the network after the retraction of their June 22 story connecting an ally of President Trump to a Russian investment fund.” According to the now retracted story “citing an anonymous source,” CNN alleged “Senate investigators were examining a meeting between Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci and an executive for the Russian Direct Investment Fund. The $10-billion fund makes direct investments in Russian companies.” The Los Angeles Times notes, “Scaramucci, who founded hedge fund specialist SkyBridge Capital, served on Trump’s transition team.” On Friday, “CNN removed the story and all connecting links to it,” because “the story did not meet its editorial standards. CNN also issued an apology to Scaramucci, who accepted it with a tweet on Saturday. ‘Everyone makes mistakes,’ he wrote. ‘Moving on.’” According to The Los Angeles Times, “Thomas Frank, who wrote the piece, Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the investigative unit, and Lex Haris, an editor at CNN since 2001 who oversaw the unit, are all departing following a management review of the story.” What is interesting here is that this anonymous sourced story led to a readily accepted retraction and resignations, not so of all of the other anonymously sourced stories that have appeared nonstop since Trump took office. It is also entirely possible the Trump administration planted the story to discredit CNN as The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman has conceded they have tried in the past without success, she said.
From The Los Angeles Times.
RUSSIA TEST FIRES BALLISTIC MISSILE IN THE ARCTIC
Newsweek reports citing Russian state-run TASS, “Russia’s nuclear-powered Yuri Dolgoruky submarine has successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in the Barents Sea in the Arctic”. For background, Newsweek notes, “The nuclear submarine Yuri Dolgoruky launched a Bulava missile in northwest Russia, finding a target on the other side of the country, in a training course in Kamchatka Monday. The hit marked a rare success and a sign of further progress, as the Bulava missile project has had a troubled first decade since its start in 2004. The last launch took place in September, when the second of two rounds of missiles did not complete the full launch cycle, self-detonating before hitting the target.” Newsweek adds, “Russia is one of five countries with a territorial claim over the Arctic,” the others being the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway.
NATO’S CHIEF MILITARY OFFICER: RUSSIA THREAT GROWING
POLITICO reports, “NATO’s senior military officer,” General Petr Pavel, “said the alliance was confronting efforts by Russia to increase its military capabilities on virtually every level and allies were on guard to prevent any repeat of the Kremlin’s military intervention in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.” That is pretty ominous and hard to ignore unless you do not listen because you do not want to hear it (ahem, Europe). POLITICO reports, “Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, said that while Russia’s intentions were not necessarily clear, its growing military prowess was undeniable.” Unless you are willing to deny the horror because either Russian propaganda has gotten to you or you are really comfy in the cocoon of Western privilege that generally clueless civilians enjoy. “The Kremlin’s intentions were less clear, he said. ‘When it comes to intent, it’s not so clear because we cannot clearly say that Russia has aggressive intents against NATO,’” Pavel told the crowd at the POLITICO event. Pavel “noted Russia’s increasing military presence, and made reference to reports of the stationing of nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad and Crimea.” But the Russians would never hurt a fly. You can also watch video of the event. TRUMPISTAN WATCH did and found the most interesting thing Pavel had to say was, “All of these elements [of hybrid war] for Russia create a continuum of warfare from peacetime to war, so there is no distinction between peace and conflict. Russia sees it as a continuum.”
FLYNN RUSSIAN INTO TROUBLE EVERYWHERE
ProPublica reports, ousted National Security Advisor Michael “Flynn’s client, a Turkish businessman named Ekim Alptekin,” hired an “associate, Dmitri ‘David’ Zaikin,” who “is not registered as a foreign lobbyist and has no apparent connection to Turkey.” However, “What he does have, a ProPublica-Politico examination found, is a long track record of partnering with powerful Russian businesspeople and government officials, mostly involving energy and mining deals. More recently, Zaikin has done political work in Eastern Europe, advising parties in Albania and Macedonia that have drifted toward the Kremlin.” Does it ever end, the nefarious Russian connections between Trump’s team of treasonous collaborators and the Russian mafia state? Of course “Zaikin also has business connections to Trump. Working at a real estate agency in Toronto in the 2000s, Zaikin brokered sales in one of the city’s new high-rises: the Trump International Hotel & Tower,” ProPublica reports. And of course, “Perhaps coincidentally, Zaikin was also close with a Russian woman,” Elena Baronoff, “who was the exclusive agent for one of Trump’s Florida developments and who was branded ‘Trump’s Russian hand’ by a glossy Russian magazine.” While “Zaikin has not been accused of any wrongdoing,” yet “Alptekin and Zaikin have denied knowing each other and say Zaikin had nothing to do with Flynn’s lobbying deal,” because nobody knows you when you are down and out. In 2002, Zaikin “became chairman of Siberian Energy Group, which was incorporated in Nevada and was listed over-the-counter on NASDAQ.” While “The region’s prospects didn’t pan out: Zaikin’s company never pumped a single barrel of oil or cubic foot of gas, according to disclosures filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission,” that did not stop from the fact that “The SEC repeatedly queried the company about its financial dealings.” Why? Well “payments to Russian executives and consultants in shares and options whose values were opaque or shifting,” ProPublica reports. Then “In 2006, Siberian Energy Group used shares worth $2.7 million to buy a Russian company, Kondaneftegaz. Less than two years later, Zaikin’s company sold significant stakes in Kondaneftegaz to two Russian investors for just $10 each.” These are deals he denies despite his signature being all over it quite literally. The year before “In 2005, Zaikin told the Globe and Mail newspaper about a new development he was promoting: the Trump International Hotel and Tower.” Curious. ProPublica reports, “Not long after, Zaikin and several colleagues from Siberian Energy Group became directors or shareholders of a mining company called RAM Resources, later First Iron Group, according to corporate filings. First Iron’s board included the deputy chairman of Russian state bank VEB, who had also been Putin’s deputy chief of staff.” And who was ultimately behind this? Uzbekh-born Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who is now making videos attacking Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny on the Kremlin’s behalf. Now to Baronoff who has quite the pedigree to possibly be a Russian intelligence agent herself as she “served as an official ‘cultural attaché in public diplomacy’ for the Russian government at an unspecified time, she said in interviews and bios. In 1989, she moved to Iowa, then Florida,” where “Baronoff became a travel agent and later a real estate agent”. Remarkably “on LinkedIn that her diplomatic training was key to her success in ‘marketing and building the brand of high-end luxury condominiums under the Trump brand.’” And of course there are pictures of her with the Trump kids, including her and Ivanka in matching furs, one maxi and one mini, in Moscow. She died in 2015 from cancer. Now the cancer has metastasized to infect our whole state.
WHERE IS MY PAGE? 10 HOURS OF FBI INTERROGATIONS IN MARCH
The Washington Post reports, “Over a series of five meetings in March, totaling about 10 hours of questioning, Page repeatedly denied wrongdoing when asked about allegations that he may have acted as a kind of go-between for Russia and the Trump campaign,” as per allegations he served in such a role in the now notorious “Steele dossier”. According to The Washington Post, “The interviews with the FBI are the most extensive known questioning of a potential suspect in the probe of possible Russian connections to associates of President Trump.” The Washington Post notes, “Page confirmed Monday that the interviews occurred, calling them ‘extensive discussions.’ He declined to say if he has spoken to investigators since the March interviews.” Note “it is against the law for an individual to lie to FBI agents about a material issue under investigation, many lawyers recommend that their clients not sit for interviews with the bureau without an attorney present.” The Washington Post reports, “Page said he spoke without an attorney and wasn’t concerned about the risks because he told the truth.”
From The Washington Post.
DARKNESS AT NUNES: RECUSE-NIKS FOR LEASE
CNN reports, “House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes said Monday that he is still being ‘fully read-in’ on the House Russia investigation and can retake control of the probe at any time, if he wanted to. But for now, he’s staying away, he told CNN.” The recuse-nik DARKNESS AT NUNES said, “When I temporarily stepped aside from leading the investigation, that’s exactly what it means: It doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to be involved, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to be fully read in.” Now wait for it: CNN reports, “Nunes blasted news outlets for reporting that he had recused himself from the probe, when he said he had only stepped aside.” Just take a hammer to that part of your brain that looks for logic or coherence, you will not need it for the next four years at least, but given the overwhelming stupidity of the majority of the Trumpenproletariat, it may be eight years or forever if they can successfully dislodge term limits (do not think they will not try and possibly succeed). DARKNESS AT NUNES told CNN, “I can do whatever I want, I’m the chairman of the committee.” Yes, you can stand on a roof and drink a vile of something called “tiger blood,” but does that mean you should or will have claims to dignity after you do. Now in case you think he has no master, the insecure recuse-nik finished up, “Every decision I make is my own,” adding, “I can go back right after this conversation and take the investigation over”.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: T REX’S STATE DEPARTMENT
The New York Times reports on the havoc Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient and U.S. Secretary of State T Rex has wrought on American foreign policy and hint: he is a hazard. The New York Times reports, “In a remarkable series of hearings this month, Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, declared Mr. Tillerson’s proposal for a 30 percent cut in the department’s budget a ‘waste of time’ that he would not even review, and he expressed disbelief that the reorganization plan for the department would not be ready until the end of the year, at the earliest.” That is all understandable in the context of the fact that T Rex works for himself and for Russia not for the American people. According to The New York Times, “Three foreign ambassadors — one from Asia and two from Europe — said they had taken to contacting the National Security Council because the State Department does not return their calls or does not offer substantive answers when it does.” T Rex “recently shut down the office of the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan,” an interesting choice “and has yet to appoint an assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, at a time when the Taliban’s return and Pakistan’s instability are major concerns.” As long as the Taliban and Pakistan do not nuke his back accounts on and off shore, T Rex figures he is safe so the rest of us be damned. Recall the goal of active measures is to attack three pillars of any state: foreign policy, defense and the economy.
From The New York Times.
VEB = VERY ELUSIVE “BANK”
Business Insider reports on how the Kremlin’s favorite “bank” is not really a bank at all (it has no banking license) and keeps popping up in the orbit of Trumpworld’s treasonous transactions. Business Insider notes there are three prominent connections: “Last year, the Justice Department said a man who pleaded guilty to spying for the Russian government entered the country posing as an employee of VEB,” which paid his legal fees; “In December, President Trump’s son-in-law and presidential adviser Jared Kushner met VEB’s Chairman in New York”; and “last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that VEB helped fund construction of the president’s 65-story Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto”. Business Insider reports that while VEB, short for Vnesheconombank, is “often referred to as a ‘bank’ even though it’s more often compared to a slush fund for Russian President Vladimir Putin,” but let’s “be clear, VEB is not actually a bank at all.” VEB “does not compete with commercial credit institutions and participates only in those projects that cannot receive funding from private investors,” and “says its mission is ‘to enhance the competitiveness of the Russian economy, diversify it and stimulate investment activity.’” Basically it’s an arm of the Russian mafia state that has Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev installed on its board and Putin personally hand picked Sergey Gorkov, who Kushner met with and who like Putin is also a veteran of Russia’s intelligence service, as its chairman/godfather.
From Business Insider.
GLOBAL CONFIDENCE HIGHER IN PUTIN THAN IN TRUMP
Which is precisely why Putin wanted Trump – to discredit the U.S. in the eyes of the world! America first for the Trumpenproletariat who live in a cloud of stupid free of interactions with the rest of the world; America first in being last for everyone else! According to Quartz citing a Pew survey of 40,000 people in 37 countries, “global confidence in Putin is now a full five points higher than in Trump”. Only “39.5% of Americans approve of Trump but around the world that number goes down to 22%, with 74% having no confidence in the US president. Putin has a 27% approval rating (he can boast a lofty 81% domestically).” So the citizens of the world oppose these two deranged lunatics, for whom the world is not enough. This is not what democracy looks like. Quartz notes, “As global confidence in the US president has plummeted, so has the world’s views of the US as a whole. At the end of Obama’s presidency, an average of 64% of people across the 37 countries had a favorable view of the US; now that number is down at 49%.” America first in being last!
TRACKING THE REPUBLIC’S DESCENT INTO AUTHORITARIANISM
The Washington Post reports on Amy Siskind’s viral weekly lists of changes in the republic that have placed us on the road to autocracy and authoritarianism. According to The Washington Post, “The project started small, read by friends and with only a few items a week,” however, “By Week 9, though, the list had gone viral.” The Washington Post reports, “Now, in Week 32, every item has a source link, and rather than just a few items, there are dozens,” and “Her weekly audience usually hits hundreds of thousands”. This is fabulous. The Washington Post notes, “The idea, she said, came from her post-election reading about how authoritarian governments take hold — often with incremental changes that seem shocking at first but quickly become normalized,” so “Each post begins with: ‘Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.’” Her lists are for all of us as they serve collective national historical memory, something authoritarians always like to play with until it is erased and replaced with adulation for the leader. Siskind notes, “It’s scary to look back on the early weeks and see what we’ve already gotten used to”. Indeed.
From The Washington Post.
TREASON TALKING POINTS
USA Today reports, “Some conservative media figures are claiming it’s not a crime for a U.S. presidential candidate to collude with the Russian government.” Say what? According to USA Today, “On Fox News Sunday, host Brit Hume said colluding with a foreign government to influence an election would ‘obviously be alarming and highlight inappropriate.’ But, he said, ‘it’s not a crime.’” Um, what are they waiting for to drop because last TRUMPISTAN WATCH checked working with a foreign power to subvert the course of democracy and derail free and fair elections is the very definition of treason? USA Today notes, “A few days earlier, Fox News host Sean Hannity, an avid Trump supporter, made a similar case to his audience.” USA Today reports, “The Democratic-aligned media research group Media Matters is keeping a log of conservative pundits who’ve begun to make the case that collusion does not constitute a crime.” This is in sharp contrast with “When Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked in testimony earlier this month before the Senate Intelligence Committee if collusion would be ‘improper and illegal,’ Sessions said: ‘absolutely,’” USA Today notes. However despite all the Trumpkins anticipatory drum beats USA Today reports, “according to a PolitiFact, colluding with the Russians could break at least four different laws, including the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.” Something big is coming.
From USA Today.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
STALINIST RUSSIA IS ALIVE AND NOT WELL
The Washington Post reports, “More Russians consider Joseph Stalin the ‘most outstanding person’ in world history than any other leader, according to a poll released Monday. Tied for second in the same survey is the man who has done more than anyone to restore the notorious Soviet dictator’s reputation, Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Recall Stalin killed millions and when he was in power, Russians wondered whether they would live to see another day of life. Evidently this is what life and glory is to Russians: cowering in fear of the state, denial of state crimes, genocide. Considering that it is the Russian regime that has backed our own Trump regime, this should be cause for alarm but most people would rather go shopping and focus on their own lives because such things are not relatable, non-immediate concerns. Lemmings do not feel pain until they hit rock bottom and when they are dead, they feel nothing. The poll was conducted by the Levada Center. According to The Washington Post, “Without prompting, 38 percent named Stalin, followed by Putin at 34 percent, in a tie with Alexander Pushkin, the renowned 19th-century poet often referred to as ‘the Shakespeare of Russia.’” They have to say that because most Americans do not read and have never heard of Pushkin; he was not on a reality show. The Washington Post grimly notes, “Putin’s 34 percent is his highest ranking on this list since he came to power 17 years ago. Stalin has actually slipped a few notches: He polled 42 percent in 2012, the first time he topped the survey of the world’s most influential people, which has been conducted by Levada and its predecessors since 1989.” For all the shit Russia talks about Nazis and Germany, at least Germany can face its Nazi past and own up to it, not so of sad and demented Russia. Of course Stalin was responsible for “the Gulag, forced collectivization, mass starvation and political purges that claimed millions of his citizens’ lives,” but Russians see a heroic Stalin, “the steely architect of the Soviet victory in World War II — called the Great Patriotic War here,” nevermind it was his blunders and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact that naively led Russia into a position of trusting Hitler with merely dividing a bunch of unworthy subjugated nations of lesser Slavs and inferior Balts in East Europe. Compounding the modern cult of Stalin is the fact that “Several Russian cities have unveiled monuments to Stalin in recent months.” What a horrific place that Russia finds itself in.
From The Washington Post.
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