Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “U.S. Vice President Mike Pence conveyed a message of support from U.S. President Donald Trump to Georgian leaders at an official dinner in Tbilisi late on July 31. The United States stands with Georgia, Pence said, as he toasted the Caucasus nation for fighting for freedom over the centuries, just as America has.” According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Pence was greeted by thousands of people when he arrived in Tbilisi, where he will meet on August 1 with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Patriarch Ilia II, and representatives of the Georgian opposition.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds, “Pence is also planning to attend joint NATO military exercises being conducted in Georgia. About 800 Georgian and 1,600 U.S. troops are taking part in the Noble Partner 2017 drills there.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Pence arrived in the Georgian capital from Estonia, where earlier in the day he reaffirmed Washington’s solidarity with the Baltic nations and accused neighboring Russia of seeking to ‘redraw international borders’ and ‘undermine democracies.’” Reuters notes, “Pence is also due to visit Montenegro”.

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Reuters.





The Washington Post reports, “On the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Germany last month, President Trump’s advisers discussed how to respond to a new revelation that Trump’s oldest son,” Donald “Uday” Trump Jr., “had met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign”. The advisers knew the disclosure “carried political and potentially legal peril,” The Washington Post notes. According to The Washington Post, “The strategy, the advisers agreed, should be for Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged.” However, “within hours, at the president’s direction, the plan changed,” The Washington Post reports. After meeting at least twice with Putin, “Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had ‘primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children’ when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations,” The Washington Post reports. Maybe that was why he said he and Putin discussed adoptions? Of course, “The claims were later shown to be misleading,” The Washington Post notes, adding, “Trump, they say, is increasingly acting as his own lawyer, strategist and publicist, often disregarding the recommendations of the professionals he has hired.” What can go wrong? This is great, Trump is sure to fall on his own hammer sooner rather than later if that is the case.

From The Washington Post.



Foreign Policy reports, “Donald Trump’s election team could not have colluded with Russia because they were barely talking to each other, according to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and top White House advisor.” Princeling Jared told interns, “They thought we colluded, but we couldn’t even collude with our local offices,” Foreign Policy reports, adding, “Kushner also downplayed his failure to report more than a hundred instances of foreign travel and contacts with foreign officials on his security clearance forms, which he updated twice to include meetings with Russian officials.” Princeling Jared also whined, “I’m a lot more comfortable talking to you guys today ’cause there isn’t any press”. Yeah except when it gets leaked. Shameful bullshit, all of it. A man who is afraid of the media and prefers talking to kids is a small man exhibiting proto-fascist tendencies. Remember: America did not choose him, Aryan princess Ivanka did.

From Foreign Policy.



POLITICO reports, “President Donald Trump has removed Anthony Scaramucci as communications director, a little more than a week after the former financier was named to the post, the White House said on Monday.” That was fast! Sashay away Scaramucci! POLITICO reports, “The change came at the request of new chief of staff John Kelly, who started Monday”. POLITICO sums up his ten days on the job noting, “His time as communications director seemed to start smoothly… But Scaramucci quickly ramped up the drama by threatening to fire ‘everybody’ in the White House press office if leaks to reporters did not stop.” Then Tuesday of last week Scaramucci “told POLITICO he planned to fire a press aide – but after he made the move public, it was delayed until the aide, Michael Short, resigned later that day.” Then, “Scaramucci also was widely criticized for a profanity-laced tirade last week in a conversation with a New Yorker reporter,” POLITICO reports. Meanwhile, his personal life was blowing up as his wife left him and filed for a divorce while she was nine months pregnant, and had the child, which he did not see for several days, in the middle of last week, all of which was chronicled on Page Six of The New York Post. But nobody feel sorry for Scaramucci, he literally sold himself out; instead feel sorry for the immigrants and refugees who have been ripped from their families through no choice of their own but rather to make a very weak president look like a big, strong thug. When the news broke Monday afternoon, Twitter exploded. TRUMPISTAN WATCH awards the gold medal winning tweet to Colonel Morris Davis, who has been blocked by Trump, a feat TRUMPISTAN WATCH is hoping to achieve some day soon. Davis tweeted a link to an Independent story, “Man treated for seven week erection,” and wrote, “An Irishman had an erection that lasted 3.5x longer than @Scaramucci’s tenure as @realDonaldTrump’s Comms Dir.” That’s what kind of a man you find among the Trumpistani elite: not much of one. Erections last longer.




BuzzFeed reports, “Republican National Committee employees have been asked to preserve all documents related to last year’s presidential campaign — a step that RNC lawyers describe as precautionary, but necessary, as investigations continue into Russia’s meddling in the election.” Looks like they are not counting on the president to protect them, which is wise, seeing as how he is too impotent to protect himself and his family and he cares even less about the RNC. BuzzFeed News reports it “obtained a copy of the memo, which orders employees not to ‘delete, destroy, modify, or remove from your paper files, laptop computer, desktop computer, tablet, mobile device, e-mail, or any storage system or device, any documents, records, or other materials that relate to the 2016 presidential election or that may relate to any investigation concerning the election.’” BuzzFeed notes, “The memo is the latest sign of the legal concerns gripping Washington as special counsel Robert Mueller and Congress probe Russian government efforts to influence the election. The RNC worked closely with the Trump campaign on data analytics and ground game. Its chairman last cycle was Reince Priebus, who went to the White House as Trump’s first chief of staff before being ousted last week.”

From BuzzFeed.



The AP reports, “A group of Democratic senators is introducing legislation to crack down on lobbyists who fail to disclose their work on behalf of foreign governments. The legislation being introduced Monday would ensure the Justice Department has the authority to impose civil financial penalties on lobbyists who fail to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act [FARA].” White collar crime: it will cost you but never as much as it will to be caught driving while black by the wrong trigger-happy police officer. The AP reports, “The bill is being introduced by Illinois senators Tammy Duckworth and Richard Durbin and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.” The AP notes, “The Justice Department rarely prosecutes people for failing to register, with officials saying they prefer to seek voluntary compliance.” That has worked so well!

From the AP.



The Wall Street Journal reports, “The U.S. Pentagon and State Department have devised plans to supply Ukraine with antitank missiles and other weaponry and are seeking White House approval”. According to The Wall Street Journal, “American military officials and diplomats say the arms, which they characterize as defensive, are meant to deter aggressive actions by Moscow”. Previously, “Washington, wary of escalating the conflict, has largely limited its support for Kiev’s military to so-called non-lethal aid and training,” The Wall Street Journal notes, cautioning, “Some U.S. and Ukrainian officials said they expect it could be months before the White House makes a final determination.”

From The Wall Street Journal.



Defense News reports, “The United States and its allies in Europe don’t have enough missile defense capability and still have a long way to go to tie all of the varying systems together into one networked web, according to the outgoing U.S. Army Europe commander.” However, “that doesn’t mean the Army and NATO partners haven’t made major progress,” Defense News reports. According to Defense News, “Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said at a Saber Guardian affiliated exercise at Bezmer Air Base, Bulgaria,” that “I’ve got about a million miles to go, but we have gone a million miles compared to where we were about three years ago,” adding, “Just the capacity, we don’t have enough, that is all there is to it. When you think about all the different critical airfields, ports, cities, facilities that need to be protected we have a lot of work to do in that regard”. According to Defense News, “Hodges suggested the next step to really make progress in achieving interoperability of air and missile defense capability in Europe would be to hold a big capstone missile defense exercise that is joint, and includes the alliance, that tests the interoperability and resiliency of systems.”

From Defense News.



The New York Times reports, “Russia is preparing to send as many as 100,000 troops to the eastern edge of NATO territory at the end of the summer, one of the biggest steps yet in the military buildup undertaken by President Vladimir V. Putin and an exercise in intimidation that recalls the most ominous days of the Cold War.” Recall, “The troops are conducting military maneuvers known as Zapad, Russian for ‘west,’ in Belarus, the Baltic Sea, western Russia and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad,” The New York Times notes. According to The New York Times, “The drills will feature a reconstituted armored force named for a storied Soviet military unit, the First Guards Tank Army. Its establishment represents the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union that so much offensive power has been concentrated in a single command.” The New York Times notes, “The military exercise, planned for many months, is not a reaction to sweeping new economic sanctions on Russia that Congress passed last week,” however, “the move is part of a larger effort by Mr. Putin to shore up Russia’s military prowess, and comes against the backdrop of an increasingly assertive Russia.” According to The New York Times, “American military officers say,” they are worried “the maneuvers could be used as a pretext to increase Russia’s military presence in Belarus”. The New York Times reports, “The Russians already have about 1,000 air defense troops and communications personnel stationed in Belarus, and logistical teams are surveying training sites there. By mid- August, advance elements of the thousands of Russian Army, airborne and air defense troops that are to participate in the exercise are expected to arrive. The rest of the force is expected to reach Belarus by early September ahead of the Zapad exercises, scheduled for Sept. 14 to 20.” In response, “The United States is taking precautions, including sending 600 American paratroopers to NATO’s three Baltic members for the duration of the Zapad exercise and delaying the rotation of a United States-led battle group in Poland,” The New York Times reports. As The New York Times notes, “ The total number of Russian troops, security personnel and civilian officials in the broader exercise is expected to range from 60,000 to as many as 100,000. The question NATO officials are asking is whether all of the troops and equipment in Belarus will leave.”

From The New York Times.



Newsweek reports, “Lithuania hopes the U.S. will deploy as many as seven air force jets on its territory when European neighbors Russia and Belarus flex their military muscles nearby in the Zapad drill in September”. Newsweek notes, “Speaking after a meeting in Estonia with other Baltic leaders as well as visiting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said she believed Washington would deploy ‘almost twice’ as many jets as the current NATO commitment to her country.” However, Newsweek notes, “Pence pledged U.S. support for NATO allies in the Baltic region, though it was not immediately clear if he had told Grybauskaite about the prospective U.S. deployment.” Newsweek adds, “Lithuania’s Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis has called the drill a ‘simulated attack’ on NATO in the Baltics”.

From Newsweek.





Vox reports, “The early months of the Trump presidency don’t look like what you normally see in a democracy,” noting, “academics who study such countries increasingly worry that President Donald Trump is governing like the leader of the kind of nation Washington has long condemned”. According to “Seva Gunitsky, a University of Toronto scholar who studies post-Soviet states,” Trump’s “refusal to fully divest himself from his business, the linkages between finances and the levers of power — those are the classic symptoms of kleptocracy,” adding, “It’s probably the greatest long-term threat — maybe even short-term threat — to American institutions.” Vox notes, “The academics say that Trump’s instincts — like those of strongmen such as Mobutu Sese Seko and Putin — is to see the state as a personal fiefdom and a vehicle for dispensing favors to family and political allies, rather than as something that needs to follow neutral rules.” Of course “Americans don’t understand the risks posed by Trump’s elevation of family and crony capitalism because they do not have a model for it in modern US history,” and they know almost nothing about world history because they live in a history-less vacuum filled by vacuous mass culture trash such as Hollywood movies and endless hours of television, ergo a reality TV presidency becomes acceptable. Scholars suggest the Trump regime is characteristic of “’neopatrimonial’ regimes — a type of government that flowered in Africa after the fall of colonialism. Neopatrimonialism, they argue, is defined by the centrality of corruption to ordinary politics.” Curiously Vox notes, “Perhaps the most nakedly neopatrimonial regimes in the world today are clustered together in Eurasia,” the post-Soviet world in other words. Crony capitalism, another characteristic of the authoritarian “mindset” Trump embodies, Vox notes, happens as “many of these leaders use their control over the state to manufacture loyaltydisbursing funds in such a way to make it in the interests of as many powerful factions as possible to support the regime.” Vox notes, “One of the many, many problems with neopatrimonialism is that it breeds mismanagement.” Excellent piece, well worth reading in its entirety.

From Vox.



Recall, the goal of active measures is to capture the state, specifically the three pillars of the state: foreign policy, the economy and defense. With this in mind, Foreign Policy reports, “Employees at the State Department couldn’t help but notice the stacks of cubicles lined up in the corridor of the seventh floor. For diplomats at the department, it was the latest sign of the ‘empire’ being built by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s top aides. The cubicles are needed to accommodate dozens of outsiders being hired to work in a dramatically expanded front office that is supposed to advise Tillerson on policy. Foreign service officers see this expansion as a ‘parallel department’ that could effectively shut off the secretary and his advisors from the career employees in the rest of the building. The new hires,” Foreign Policy notes, “will be working for the policy planning staff, a small office set up in 1947 to provide strategic advice to the secretary that typically has about 20-25 people on its payroll.” Foreign Policy reports, “Tillerson has plans to double or perhaps triple its size, even as he proposes a sweeping reorganization”. Is this where the team from Lubyanka will be stashed? One foreign service officer told Foreign Policy, “There’s no one protecting the institution of the State Department,” likely because the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient and beholden to a Kremlin puppet squatting in the White House. Foreign Policy reports when “the Trump administration readied to gut the State Department of funding, Tillerson recruited a small private consulting company, Insigniam, which markets itself as a ‘breakthrough management consulting firm,’ to conduct a department-wide employee survey.” Someone please investigate Insigniam for links to Russia. Alarmingly, “Some ambassadors found their phone calls to Tillerson’s front office never returned,” Foreign Policy reports. Must read and while you do, think of the future. If the world does not end, we will all go work for the State Department when Trumpistan is over because there will be jobs!

From Foreign Policy.



The Washington Post reports, “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ordered his department to redefine its mission and issue a new statement of purpose to the world. The draft statements under review right now are similar to the old mission statement, except for one thing — any mention of promoting democracy is being eliminated.” Anything about being Russia’s docile outpost inserted? The Washington Post notes, “According to an internal email that went out Friday,” that “the State Department’s Executive Steering Committee convened a meeting of leaders to draft new statements on the department’s purpose, mission and ambition, as part of the overall reorganization of the State Department and USAID.” Now “The State Department’s draft statement on its purpose is: ‘We promote the security, prosperity and interests of the American people globally.’” Additionally, “The State Department’s draft statement on its mission is: ‘Lead America’s foreign policy through global advocacy, action and assistance to shape a safer, more prosperous world.’” Then The Washington Post “Compare[s] that to the State Department Mission Statement that is currently on the books,” which opens, “The Department’s mission is to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere.” According to The Washington Post, “Former senior State Department officials from both parties told me that eliminating ‘just’ and ‘democratic’ from the State Department’s list of desired outcomes is neither accidental nor inconsequential.” Who needs justice and democracy when you have Trumpistan, which respects neither? And Russia — which really neither justice nor democracy. Remember the goal of active measures is to capture the three pillars of state: foreign policy, the economy and defense.

From The Washington Post.



The Atlantic reports, “George Selim, the federal counterterrorism official who works most closely with the organized American Muslim community,” who was responsible for the office of Countering Violent Extremism at the Department of Homeland Security, “tendered his resignation on Friday. His ouster is a victory for Trump officials like Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, who see mainstream Muslim organizations as Islamist fronts, and for those American Muslims who oppose any counterterrorism cooperation with Washington.” Unlikely allies but so it goes when Russian ideas of no moderates allowed excel in Washington. Now that the violent extremists, backed by Russia, are in the White House, Selim describes feelings that can be captures as nihilistic ennui and who can blame him as this administration seeks to empower extremists, not quell them. Selim told The Atlantic, “There were clearly political appointees in this administration who didn’t see the value of community partnerships with American Muslims”. The Atlantic notes that far from the “Obama administration holdover,” Mark Levin’s The Conservative Review accused him of being, “Selim’s biography evokes a bygone era. He’s an Arab American—his family is of Egyptian and Lebanese descent—and a conservative Republican. Early in his career, he worked at the Arab American Institute, which advocates for Arab American civil rights, and in 2004 served as an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention. Soon after that, he joined the Bush administration.” Goodbye Countering Violent Extremism, hello violent extremists in the White House.

From The Atlantic.





Vanity Fair has a long piece chronicling the war for scoops between The Washington Post and The New York Times. Trump attacks The New York Times relentlessly, while The Washington Post’s scoops appear to have inflicted the most damage against him. The New York Times appears to be more likely to run administration leaks, whereas The Washington Post seems to be better sourced in the intelligence and military worlds. So in the midst of a deep dive into the personalities driving both papers, Vanity Fair injects some realism into the notion that The New York Times and specifically reporter Maggie Haberman is anything other than a faux foe. Vanity Fair reports, “Trump offered her an exclusive on his decision to run. Recalling his similar posturing in 2011, she passed on the offer, telling him she’d report it if he did. That’s now an irrelevant footnote given her reporting in the two years since then. Trump has an attitude toward the Times that he wears on his sleeve. He bashes the ‘failing New York Times’ every chance he gets, and yet he craves its imprimatur. On July 19, Trump gave the Times its fourth major interview (it trails only Fox News)”. In part because, “Haberman is in Trump’s head so deep she could be his psychiatrist,” Trump has also helped make her a star, as “She is a regular commentator on TV about life ‘inside the castle.’” If you recall, the guiding premise of reality TV is conflict and as such a conflict-driven medium, reality TV and the presidency built on it recognizes the symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship to feuding, attention seeking parties. Also monologues to the camera, so-called “confessionals,” are a reality TV narrative technique.

From Vanity Fair.



The Washington Post reports, “If you prefer to keep bad news about President Trump invisible or believe it was invented by the ‘fake’ media, you know what to do. Get your headlines from the Drudge Report. Listen to Rush Limbaugh. Read Breitbart News. One problem: The bubble that allows you to do that is a bit porous these days.” The Washington Post cites a raft of bad headlines extending a lifeline to reality that include such hits as, “DOWD: Really Weak Week for Donald…,” “Can a president without a party govern?” “VERACITY A CASUALTY IN DAYS OF INFIGHTING”. What the hell is going on with the pro-Trump fake news-sphere? Is the truth puncturing their surreal bubble of fake hyper-masculine bullshit? According to The Washington Post, “Trump complained last week that Sessions has not pursued a criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton, ‘but Trump himself was the one who flip-flopped on whether to prosecute Clinton,’ Breitbart noted.” Additionally, “Limbaugh also criticized Trump’s attack on Sessions last week, calling it ‘unseemly,’” The Washington Post notes. While The Washington Post notes, “It is too strong to say that Trump has ‘lost’ Limbaugh, Drudge or Breitbart — or others like Ann Coulter,” however, “it is notable that those voices are increasingly willing to criticize the president they cheered to victory.” Well disillusionment could not happen to a more monstrously awful pack of belligerent shills hostile to reality and humanity.

From The Washington Post.



The Guardian reports, Using ‘psychographic’ profiles of individual voters generated from publicly stated interests really does work, according to new research presented at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.” According to The Guardian, “The controversial practice allows groups to hone their messages to match the personality types of their targets during political campaigning, and is being used by firms including Cambridge Analytica,” which worked with the Trump campaign and is owned by Robert Mercer, Trump’s largest financial backer. According to The Guardian, “Psychographic profiling classifies people into personality types using data from social networks such as Facebook.” In this latest research, “Would-be voters were sorted into two groups of people, those with high and low authoritarian tendencies, using a mixture of age, gender, location and interest targeting: younger women score low on authoritarian rankings, while older men score highly.” The research was carried out across the U.K. and “the most important factor was the use of publicly stated interests to derive a psychographic profile of the recipients.” The Guardian reports, “Knowing the psychographic profiles of the two groups is more useful than simply being able to accurately guess what positions they already hold; it can also be used to craft messages to specifically target those groups, to more effectively shift their opinions.” The Guardian notes, “Psychographic targeting is allowed on Facebook, and the company advertises the platform to politicians as the perfect way to ‘persuade voters’ and ‘influence online and offline outcomes’.”

From The Guardian.





The Onion, a news satire site, has a fantastic headline, “Nation Not Sure How Many Ex-Trump Staffers It Can Safely Reabsorb,” which is as great of a preview as it gets for calls in the future of total and complete de-Trumpification. The Onion writes, “Noting that the resignation of Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director marked the ouster of the third top administration official in less than two weeks, a worried populace told reporters Monday that it was unsure how many former Trump staffers it could safely reabsorb.” The Onion quotes a “53-year-old Gregory Birch of Naperville, IL, echoing the concerns of 323 million Americans,” who says, “Jesus, we can’t just take back these assholes all at oncewe need time to process one before we get the next”. Remember, only one man gets to be Adolf Heusinger.

From The Onion.





The Washington Post reports, “Once you start looking, you find the boomerang at work in many surprising places. Trump’s flirting with a ban on Muslim immigration encouraged federal judges to encroach on executive power over visa policy. Firing FBI Director James B. Comey entrenched the Russia investigation far more deeply. Withdrawing from the Paris climate treaty spurred states from California to Virginia to toughen their policies on global warming. Threatening the research budget may have strengthened the National Institutes of Health’s hand in Washington. And so on.” While, “The boomerang effect is no panacea,” it’s worth noting, “Trump’s policies are turning against him,” The Washington Post notes. And that’s because, “The key factor is that so many of his policies run so counter to the grain of cherished values and ideals.” As The Washington Post adds, “It turns out that Americans really don’t like the idea of poor people not being able to see a doctor. We don’t feel right cozying up to a dictator whose domestic opponents are rubbed out and whose neighboring countries are invaded and occupied.” The Washington Post notes, “Americans aren’t unique. Millions of people in Europe and around the world are just as appalled by the scapegoating of minorities and the celebration of police brutality.” So “Maybe Newton’s third law of motion doesn’t translate perfectly into the political sphere, but a version of it applies: For every malignant or bigoted action, there will be an opposite reaction. And you can never be sure where it will begin,” The Washington Post reports. It begins with you and your behavior in ways big and small. You can accept the ingrained bigotry, racism and misogyny in American mass culture or you can turn it on it’s head and push back against it, either way, people who are always desperately hungry for leadership will follow; the choice is up to you.

From The Washington Post.