—–ON THE AGENDA—–
PENCE ARRIVES IN MONTENEGRO AT END OF EASTERN EUROPE TRIP
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in Montenegro on the final leg of a tour of Eastern Europe.” He is in Podgorica, the most boring of the Balkan capitals “as a show of U.S. support after Montenegro’s entrance into NATO earlier this year sparked bitter opposition from Moscow.” Unlike in America, Russia did not succeed in overthrowing the government and installing the strong man they preferred on Election Day last year, something that should cause every American to cower in a fair degree of shame that a small Balkan nation succeeded in protecting its sovereignty where we failed. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Pence was greeted upon his arrival in Podgorica by Prime Minister Dusko Markovic.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “On August 2, Pence will join heads of states and governments at a summit of the Adriatic Charter — a gathering that also brings together leaders from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia.” “At a dinner with Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, and other Montenegrin political leaders on August 1, Pence said his trip to the nation of 620,000 is a ‘testament to the fact that America has no small allies — only strong allies,’” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds.
WHITE HOUSE SAYS TRUMP WEIGHED IN ON UDAY’S STATEMENT
The Washington Post reports, “The White House defended President Trump’s involvement in issuing a statement about his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign, saying that the statement was true and that the president was simply acting as a father.” Now some fathers fled the Russians for their lives and remain silent and afraid now of the Russians or do not want their words or statements reported ever anywhere because their families survived Stalinism. Other fathers are silenced by the terror they experienced first hand in aiding in Russia’s horrible corruption and murderous state’s activities. But never mind the Russian reality of state terror and corruption, we have our own occupation to contend with as White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “The president weighed in just as any father would based on the limited information that he had.” More audaciously, Huckabee Sanders said, “This is all discussion, frankly, of no consequence,” The Washington Post reports. Excuse me?! Girl, get your head checked! The Washington Post reports, “The comments seem to confirm that Trump participated in the drafting of the statement on Air Force One and contradict past statements from Trump’s attorneys denying that he had any involvement.” As George W. Bush’s former chief ethics lawyer Richard Painter wrote on Twitter, “‘Weighing in’ on a witness’s lie about a matter under criminal investigation is obstruction of justice”. No kidding.
From The Washington Post.
TRUMP DISCUSSED ADOPTIONS WITH PUTIN DAY BEFORE UDAY STATEMENT
Business Insider notes (as TRUMPISTAN WATCH did yesterday), “Trump and Putin spoke about the adoption issue — which is intimately connected to the US sanctions’ policy — the night before Trump reportedly crafted his son’s statement about the Trump Tower meeting raises questions about whether Putin played a role, directly or indirectly, in influencing the version of events Trump’s team relayed to the press.” Indeed and special thanks to Business Insider for acknowledging this! Recall, “Trump told Reuters on July 12 that he had only just learned of the June 2016 meeting, which included his son, son-in-law, former campaign chairman, and two Russians who had been lobbying to repeal the Magnitsky Act. The 2012 law targeting Russians suspected of human-rights led Putin to retaliate by banning US adoption of Russian children,” as Business Insider notes. However, “Trump’s legal team reportedly knew about the meeting as early as June.” Surprise! Business Insider notes Yahoo previously reported, “Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s chief lawyer in the Russia investigation at the time, and Alan Garten, executive vice president and chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, were apprised in the third week of June of the email chain between Trump Jr. and music publicist Rob Goldstone.” Business Insider also notes, “It is unclear if Kasowitz or Garten told the president about the emails or the Trump Tower meeting before he dined with Putin on July 7.” And certainly Business Insider does not overlook that “Putin had already given Trump one talking point during their first, formal meeting,” when he said “that if the Russians had hacked into the Democratic National Committee, they wouldn’t have gotten caught.” You know what this is called? Obstruction of justice and collusion with a foreign adversary. Both are crimes.
From Business Insider.
WHITE HOUSE FAKE NEWS ISN’T PRETTY, IT’S RICH, SETH THAT IS
NPR reports, “The Fox News Channel and a wealthy supporter of President Trump worked in concert under the watchful eye of the White House to concoct a story about the murder of a young Democratic National Committee aide, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.” According to NPR, “The explosive claim is part of the lawsuit filed against Fox News by Rod Wheeler, a longtime paid commentator for the news network.” According to the lawsuit, “Wheeler alleges Fox News and the Trump supporter intended to deflect public attention from growing concern about the administration’s ties to the Russian government. His suit charges that a Fox News reporter created quotations out of thin air and attributed them to him to propel her story.” NPR notes, “The story, which first aired in May, was retracted by Fox News a week later. Fox News has, to date, taken no action in response to what it said was a failure to adhere to the network’s standards.” According to NPR, “The lawsuit focuses particular attention on the role of the Trump supporter, Ed Butowsky [more on him in DISINFO WARS], in weaving the story. He is a wealthy Dallas investor and unpaid Fox commentator on financial matters, who has emerged as a reliable Republican surrogate in recent years. Butowsky offered to pay for Wheeler to investigate the death of the DNC aide, Seth Rich, on behalf of his grieving parents in Omaha.” Now for the explosive part: “On April 20, a month before the story ran, Butowsky and Wheeler — the investor and the investigator — met at the White House with then Press Secretary Sean Spicer to brief him on what they were uncovering,” NPR reports, adding, “The first page of the lawsuit quotes a voicemail and text from Butowsky boasting that President Trump himself had reviewed drafts of the Fox News story just before it went to air and was published.” Boy between this and Steve Bannon’s political misuse of the death of Kate Steinle to formulate his racist “Kate’s Law,” it’s impossible to believe this White House cares a damn about the American children. Also if you know Russian propaganda at all, this wreaks to high heaven of it. Recall, “Unfounded conspiracy theories involving Rich abounded in the months after his murder,” who was shot dead with nothing stolen (most details on robbery TRUMPISTAN WATCH has seen reported come from Vox), “in part because WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange cryptically suggested that his death may have been related to the leaks of tens of thousands of emails from Democratic Party officials and their allies at the peak of the presidential campaign,” as NPR notes.
WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS PRANKED
The Guardian reports, “A suspected British prankster appears to have conned White House officials,” by “pretending in email correspondence to be several different members of the Trump team.” Last week, Russian pranksters tricked Energy Secretary Rick Perry, next week we may launch nukes as a result of a prank that again exposes the amateur hour infestation in the White House. According to The Guardian, the British prankster “previously convinced Scaramucci that he was the ambassador to Russia-designate Jon Huntsman and tricked Huntsman himself into believing he was the president’s son Eric Trump. He also fleetingly convinced Eric Trump he was his brother, Donald Jr.” For sweeps week, they will install a stripper pole in the White House. No paternity confusion yet, come on White House white trash, try harder we want to know who the baby’s daddy is! And let some chairs fly as the strippers go at it too, please.
From The Guardian.
TRUMP + T REX DON’T LIKE SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA
POLITICO reports Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient and “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that he’s warned Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the relationship between the U.S. and Moscow is bad — but it can get worse.” T Rex told reporters at a press conference, “I told President Putin when I saw him in the Kremlin in March and I’ve told Foreign Minister Lavrov repeatedly, ‘The situation’s bad, but believe me, it can get worse’ — and it just did”. POLITICO called the press conference “a rare appearance at Tuesday’s State Department briefing, where he talked about his first six months as secretary of state and answered a few questions.” Most predictably remarkably awful, “He said he and President Donald Trump are not ‘very happy’ with Congress’ vote to sanction Russia, but ‘all indications are he will sign that bill, and then we’ll just work with it.’” Trump has not signed the sanctions bill yet but the lyin’ White House says he will (but he has yet to). If this statement is any indication, the Russian-backed Trump regime plans to work around it, likely by removing names from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) as Senator Sheldon Whitehouse warned Trump could. To justify this nonsense, T Rex cites Russia’s nuclear weapons, a clear effort to intimidate and scare us out of demanding our democratic system and government back instead of this tiresome Russian-backed regime. Get him out of here! And where is the statement and dismay over Moscow’s forced staff reductions at our embassy there?
T REX TO MEET HIS BUDDY SERGEY IN MANILA THIS WEEKEND
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient and “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he plans to meet with Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov in Manila during the weekend of August 5-6.” According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Tillerson made the announcement on August 1, saying that Washington’s relationship with Russia ‘continues to be under considerable stress.’” If we had a normal government instead of a Russian-backed regime, there might be considerably less stress. The ostensible guise for this powwow is Syria and despite all the White House has done to the contrary such as Trump cancelling the CIA’s covert operations in Syria and then tweeting about said covert operations, T Rex is still feigning that “Washington still has the view that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has no future in governing Syria, and that Iranian fighters who are helping Assad’s forces fight rebels in Syria should return home.” His lips move and say words but it is hard to believe any of them when actions speak so much louder. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Despite Russia’s moves to dramatically reduce the number of staff at U.S. diplomatic compounds in Russia in response to a possible fresh wave of U.S. sanctions against Moscow, Tillerson said Russia and the United States still share an interest in fighting terrorism.” This Trump regime is doing an awful lot of talking to a fellow hellacious regime that has only worked to destroy our republic and our national interest worldwide and, the American people would like to know, for what? Surely we would rather have a free republic with a democratic government elected by the people than a fake ally in a clash of civilizations.
CHRISTOPHER WRAY CONFIRMED AS FBI DIRECTOR
POLITICO reports, “Christopher Wray on Tuesday was overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate to head the FBI, winning bipartisan support for his commitment to remain fiercely independent from any political pressure.” POLITICO notes, “The 92-5 vote installs Wray as FBI director,” adding, “Just five Democrats opposed Wray: Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.” He replaces former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired in May.
PENCE ADDRESSES U.S. + GEORGIAN TROOPS + IT’S NOT SHAMEFUL
Reuters reports, “U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday that relations with Russia would not improve until Moscow changed its stance on Ukraine and withdrew support for ‘regimes like Iran and Syria and North Korea’.” So we will be stuck in a holding pattern for some time as the puppet president and his appointees from Lubyanka casting keep indicating a bent towards Russia’s will. While Reuters notes, “The U.S. Congress voted last week for new sanctions on Russia and, at a news conference in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, Pence said the ‘lifting of sanctions will require Russia to reverse the actions that caused sanctions to be imposed in the first place,’” Trump has yet to sign the sanctions. Reuters reports, “Pence said U.S. President Donald Trump would sign the new sanctions on Russia into law this week,” but it has not happened yet. Reuters also notes, “Pence also said the U.S. was still behind Georgia’s application to become a member of NATO,” which is curious given a fifth of the country is occupied by Russia, specifically the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Reuters reports, “During his visit, Pence attended Georgian-American military exercises”. Good, as Russia only respects strength. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has video of Pence strongly condemning Russian occupation and committing to NATO membership in a joint press conference with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
AIR FORCE ONE TO BUY UP ABANDONED RUSSIAN AIRLINE BOEING ORDER
Defense One reports the U.S. Air Force is “buying a pair of Boeing 747 jetliners abandoned by a bankrupt Russian airline,” after Trump complained about the cost. Defense One reports, “Air Force officials are now finalizing a contract with Boeing for the two planes,” citing three defense officials, adding, “The Pentagon could publicly announce the deal as soon as this week.” Defense One notes, “The 747s that will be transformed for Presidential transport were originally ordered in 2013 by Transaero, which was Russia’s second-largest airline until it went bankrupt in 2015.” Defense One adds, “Boeing built two of the four jets in the order, but the airline never took ownership of them.”
From Defense One.
NATO INTERCEPTS RUSSIAN JETS NEAR ESTONIAN AIR SPACE
Reuters reports, “Spanish and Finnish fighter jets were sent to intercept three Russian planes flying near Estonian air space on Tuesday,” citing a NATO statement. NATO identified the two Russian aircraft “as two MiG-31 jets and one Antonov AN-26 transport aircraft,” Reuters notes. Newsweek’s in-house Russian propagandist (see more in DISINFO WARS) Damien Sharkov writes, “Russia’s air force sent seven military jets zooming past Latvia Tuesday, before forces in Estonia and Finland scrambled to intercept three Russian warplanes further north in the Baltic Sea.” After noting, “Latvia’s armed forces reported observing two Russian Su-34 fighter jets, two Su-27 fighters, two MiG-31 fighters and one An-26 cargo jet,” Sharkov’s and the editor’s geography are stellar as Newsweek’s in-house Russian propagandist notes, “though it is unclear if they were the same group spotted by Latvia’s southern neighbor, Estonia,” despite the fact that Estonia is Latvia’s northern neighbor. Ooops.
ROMANIA COMMITS TO 2% OF GDP DEFENSE SPENDING UNTIL 2026
Deutsche Welle reports, “Romania plans to spend a total of 9.8 billion euros ($11.3 billion) on upgrading its military until 2026, the eastern European NATO member’s top defense body agreed on Tuesday. The figure locks Romania’s military spending at 2 percent of GDP over the next decade, meeting a key commitment of NATO members.” Maybe now Trump can quit whining. Deutsche Welle notes, “Romania met the target for the first time this year, making it only the sixth NATO member alongside the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, Estonia and Poland to hit the benchmark.” Recall Romania along with Albania had one of the most brutal Soviet-backed socialist regimes sustained over time and part of their capital, Bucharest, was literally knocked down and redone to look like Pyongyang, so worth acknowledging their commitment and sacrifice.
From Deutsche Welle.
DIRECT FROM INDIA TO CHICAGO: MORE ON THE DMYTRO FIRTASH CASE
The Wire reports, “The US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) decision to expressly link the indictment of a Ukrainian oligarch,” Dmytro Firtash, who is tied to Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort through both men’s relationship with the Russia-aligned Party of Regions in Ukraine and is “accused of orchestrating a bribing conspiracy worth $18.5 million aimed at securing mining permits in India – to organised Russian crime may throw a larger spotlight on the role that senior Congress politician K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao (aka KVP) allegedly played in the affair.” While Indian politics and corruption is its own mess, the multinational saga of the corruption at hand that led to Trump in the White House, indeed drags in multiple players across multiple countries on multiple continents. Recall, “Three years ago, the DoJ made public the indictment of six people including Ukrainian oil and gas magnate Dmytro Firtash,” and an Indian Congress Party Member of Parliament. Without digging too far into Indian politics here, suffice to say, “the Narendra Modi government,” has “yet to properly investigate the Indian end of the case”. This is relevant to TRUMPISTAN WATCH’s mission of media monitoring Trump and Russia stories, as “One of Firtash’s main arguments advanced in favour of dismissing the indictment was to cite inaction by India”. The Wire notes, “American federal prosecutors, however, have rejected this line of thinking.” The Wire notes, “The Washington Post recently reported that more trouble is in the offing for President Trump as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III had included Lisa Page, a DoJ trial attorney, into his team.” Now this is relevant as The Wire reports, “Firtash had seven companies registered in Hungary, according to the indictment. Most of the financial activities took place in Hungary after the share transfer. Including Page in Muller’s team is therefore a key decision, as media reports indicate she is familiar with the activities of the Russian mafia in Hungary.” Now for the kicker: “the US is confident the evidence at trial will show that Firtash and [co-defendant Andras] Knopp could foresee the venue of the crime would be the Chicago district. The DoJ will introduce a wiretap phone call demonstrating that Firtash was personally advised by Knopp that the latter planned to travel to Chicago to meet with Company A,” identified in media reports as Boeing, “concerning the project, and will also prove that Firtash gave advice to Knopp about what to do during that meeting.” Pay attention, this will really be big.
From The Wire.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
39% – AND THIS ACCORDING TO TRUMP’S FAVORITE POLL
The Hill reports, “President Trump’s approval rating has dropped to a new low, according to a conservative-leaning pollster that has consistently given Trump better marks than other polls.” That would be Rasmussen, Trump’s favorite poll. Good, he is a miserable, impotent, sad failure! Rasmussen Reports noted “Trump’s approval fell to 39 percent Monday”. The Hill reports, “The poll showed him with a disapproval rating of 61 percent.” Sad!
From The Hill.
CHARTING TRUMP’S FINANCIAL FUTURE IN GEORGIA
Forbes reports on George Ramishvili who “was planning to build a 47-story Trump Tower,” along “a stretch of land alongside the Black Sea” in Batumi, Georgia. Forbes reports, “That deal fell apart as Donald Trump ascended to the White House, leaving Ramishvili with 15 acres of undeveloped land and an unprecedented business challenge: What is a foreign tycoon to do when his partner becomes president of the United States, leaving their project in limbo?” Well, it seems, help the president, who one day may be forced to flee to Russia, chart his financial future! As a result, Forbes reports, “Ramishvili is planning to build a fake Trump Tower. The fake Trump Tower will sit on the same 15-acre site and use the same Trump-approved design. Timothy Barton, a Texas developer who worked on Trump projects for years, sits with Ramishvili, seemingly ready to dive in. The interior will reflect the same decor Ivanka Trump had envisioned. The Georgian government might name the road near the place after Donald J. Trump–the partners have already discussed the building project with the country’s prime minister.” But what to call it? “T Tower!” Forbes notes, “Someday, the partners say, they hope to drop the pretense altogether, revive the old licensing agreement and officially call the place Trump Tower, remitting an estimated 12% of all sales to the president’s business for the privilege.” All this for a guy, ok the piece of human garbage squatting in the White House, who allegedly once said, “The only Georgia I’m going to is Atlanta”. There is surely a deeper story here, but not sure if Forbes has it, but nonetheless a wildly entertaining read, and is not that what this is all about? At least, as Neil Postman wrote, we are amusing ourselves to death. And who knows, it is very close to Sochi by plane. Maybe exile there is a possibility someday? Trump would be close to the man whose attentions he seeks and so desires.
PUTIN DOES NOT UNDERSTAND LIMITS OF AMERICAN EXECUTIVE POWER
TIME has a superb piece on the limitations of Russian officials and the Russian public who refuse to understand that the rest of the world is not as cynical, corrupt or controlled as Russia, especially the Western world. TIME correctly notes Putin “seems incapable of getting his head around: that members of the U.S. Congress, including the Republicans, are not Trump’s ‘own lawmakers.’ They represent a co-equal branch of government, much like the judiciary that has repeatedly blocked Trump’s agenda on immigration.” TIME is spot on in reporting, “In Russian officialdom (and among the public generally) people often assume that the West functions a lot like Russia, with a tame judiciary, a subservient media and a ruling clique that pulls all the strings. This view of the world makes it easier to brush away foreign criticism: if everyone is corrupt, no one has the right to judge. But a lot of very senior officials in Moscow also happen to believe this.” TIME notes, “On a deeper level, they believe that power in the U.S., like in Russia, is concentrated in the hands of the executive, while the rest is mostly democratic window dressing.” Recall Putin’s closest experience with the free world was East German Dresden, so not even close.
PREPARING FOR STAFF REDUCTIONS AT U.S. EMBASSY MOSCOW
The New York Times has a great article charting the future course of the U.S. Embassy Moscow as it prepares for dramatic staff reductions. Recall, “Russia demanded that the United States reduce its diplomatic staff to equal the 455 Russian diplomats working in the United States, including at the mission to the United Nations. That means cutting about 60 percent of a work force estimated at 1,200 to 1,300 people, the vast majority of whom are Russians.” Does anyone really believe Russia has only 455 individuals working their American operation on our shores? The New York Times reports, “Given the continuing deterioration in relations between the two countries, core functions like political and military analysis will be preserved, along with espionage, experts said, while programs that involve cooperation on everything from trade to culture to science are likely to be reduced or eliminated.” Yes embassies are more than CIA spy dens and “a dizzying array of American government agencies have employees at the embassy, including the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce as well as NASA and the Library of Congress.” Sadly for all the Kremlin elites and their wives who want to winter in Miami or just check up on their condos there, “The other area expected to take a heavy hit will be public services, like issuing visas to Russian travelers to the United States, which is likely to slow to a glacial pace.” Also ironically, “Russian staff members working in various departments like the political or economic section often provide the embassy’s institutional memory, because they stay on the job for years while American diplomats rotate every two or three years,” which is true not just in Russia. The New York Times reports, “In recent years, local employees have come under increasing pressure from the Russian security service, the F.S.B., according to current and former employees. Russians escorting delegations of American musicians around the country were harassed, for example, or some in Moscow returned home from work to find agents sitting in their living rooms, demanding that they inform on their employers”.
From The New York Times.
POLAND’S DEFENSE MINISTER: PUTIN’S PAWN?
The Daily Beast reports, “Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, 68, has made a political career sniffing out supposed collaborators with the defunct Soviet Union and agents of the Russian Federation. But when this man obsessed with Moscow’s machinations took the stand in a parliamentary debate last week to demand that an opposition politician be punished,” it was Macierewicz who “was promptly met by derisive chants: ‘Do Putina! Do Putina!’ (Go to Putin!).” Why and how could that be? The Daily Beast notes, “In a world shaped by the conspiracies of the KGB and its East European franchises, people learned that super patriots could be agents provocateurs, that those who attack traitors might be ones themselves.” Welcome to Eastern Europe, in other words! The Daily Beast notes, “Macierewicz and his allies constantly play the nationalist card to cover up their obvious failures.” Radoslaw Markowski, a political scientist, said, “Whatever Macierewicz does, you can be sure that the Kremlin will open Champagne”. The Daily Beast cites, “an article that was published in April in the Polish magazine Polityka, an MI6 communications officer was cited saying that, in light of the purges in public institutions (notably the military) that leave the door open for political appointees, she expects ‘mass infiltration attempts by the Russian services,’ which ‘want to put as many of their people in the Polish administration as possible.’” Another investigative journalist Tomasz Piatek wrote a book, Macierewicz and His Secrets, which “describes a web of connections that he claims ties Macierewicz not only to the Russian secret service, but also to international bad guys like the Solntsevo mafia. ‘The network of people around Macierewicz is Putin’s best weapon,’ Piatek writes.” The Daily Beast notes, “copies of Piatek’s book sell rapidly and chances of finding a free seat at his readings are pretty unlikely, there has been no official statement from the defense minister” and he has not tried to sue for defamation or libel. Instead, Macierewicz “has done something unprecedented since 1989, and is having the 43-year-old journalist investigated by the military office of the national prosecutor’s office—for ‘public insults or humiliation’ and for ‘using force or threats against a public official.’ The latter charge can be interpreted as an act of terrorism—the modern demagogue’s go-to excuse for any abuse of power.”
From The Daily Beast.
ED BUTOWSKY AT THE CENTER OF FAUX NEWS FOX SETH RICH LAWSUIT
CNN Money reports, “A stunning new lawsuit filed against Fox News has placed the spotlight on a wealthy Republican donor,” named Ed Butowsky. According to CNN Money, “Butowsky bills himself as an ‘internationally recognized expert in the wealth management industry’ and a ‘leading voice on financial matters.’ He’s also been a semi-regular guest on Fox News and its sister channel, Fox Business Network, as well as a number of other media outlets.” As noted in the BREAKING section of today’s TRUMPISTAN WATCH, “A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses Butowsky of working with the White House on a false (and eventually retracted) Fox News story about the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich,” that “was intended to undermine the public’s belief in the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia hacked the DNC and obtained the emails ultimately released by Wikileaks.” CNN Money reports, “Butowsky told CNN that the allegations are ‘bulls**t,’” using the classy vernacular we have come to expect from the Trumpistani elite. CNN Money reports, “Butowsky’s role in the saga has been known for some time. After Fox’s story lit up pro-Trump media in May, the Rich family revealed that Butowsky was subsidizing Wheeler’s investigation into the murder, which Washington, D.C. police have blamed on a botched robbery.” However, “the Rich family was, according to a spokesman representing them, taken aback when they learned that Butowsky has ties to Steve Bannon, the White House strategist and former chairman of Breitbart News,” CNN Money notes. “Butowsky has appeared on Breitbart News Radio multiple times,” adding Butowsky, “has described Bannon as ‘a friend and a very nice man.’” CNN Money reports, “Butowsky later told BuzzFeed that he and Bannon are more like acquaintances.” As for his personal bio and media ties, “Butowsky’s website details a long career in business, including the 2005 launch of a private wealth management advisory firm in the Dallas area.” Additionally, “Butowsky has also plied his trade as a go-to analyst for reporters and broadcasters, frequently popping up on television or in news articles,” in outlets such as “Fox and Breitbart,” as well as “CNN, CNBC and CBS.” Curiously, “He’s also a close friend of ‘60 Minutes’ correspondent Lara Logan, even serving as a spokesperson of sorts after Logan was hospitalized in 2015,” CNN Money notes.
From CNN Money.
GOLD MEDAL TO NEWSWEEK FOR SPREADING RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA
Newsweek reports, “Russia’s third annual army Olympic games are well under way, and the home nation’s military is leading China in the event’s marquee competition—the tank biathlon.” Really, that’s the lede. In the American press. Gold medal for spreading Russian propaganda goes to… Newsweek! According to Newsweek, “Russia’s tanks and their crews are favorites to beat the other 18 countries, with only four days down of the two-week competition,” which is, “the brainchild of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu”. The tank biathalon, “tests tank crews on their speed through an obstacle course and the accuracy of their shooting.” Now wait for the attacks on NATO, a sub-category of the gold medal for spreading Russian propaganda. While “No NATO countries are competing,” Army Chief Oleg “Salyukov said was not out of lack of an invitation, joking that, ‘maybe they are not ready’ to face Russia.” At least Newsweek bothered to get comment from NATO, which nearly cost them the gold medal in Russian disinformation. Newsweek notes, “a NATO official said that the alliance received some invitations to the games but chose not to attend, arguing that ‘such invitations are no substitute for proper transparency and confidence-building measures—such as OSCE observation of military exercises—which Russia routinely avoids.’” Ok that is a burn but there is video of the tank biathalon at the top, which effectively neutered this seventh paragraph diss. Newsweek gets to keep the gold, or maybe just staff writer Damien Sharkov. Check out his list of stories if you have any doubt. Why does he have a job in American journalism? Fire him because this is some bullshit.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
RESISTANCE ADVICE: THINK LIKE A FREE HUMAN BEING
The Guardian has an aptly titled piece, “Democracy is dying – and it’s startling how few people are worried,” a fact TRUMPISTAN WATCH has observed for months, most notably visible in the clueless comfortable of all ages. This is not West Nile virus or a remote, statistically small probability that it will directly impact you threat of terrorism, folks, this concerns all of us. The Guardian does an “inventory of July’s contribution to the global collapse of democracy,” which traipses through assaults on press freedom in Turkey, a free internet in Russia and China, anti-Semitism in Hungary, attacks on the judiciary in Poland and the legislature in Venezuela, and last but certainly not least, Trump’s face off with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and desires to remove special counsel Robert Mueller. The Guardian reports, “Let’s be brutal: democracy is dying. And the most startling thing is how few ordinary people are worried about it. Instead we compartmentalise the problem. Americans worried about the present situation typically worry about Trump – not the pliability of the most fetishised constitution in the world to kleptocratic rule.” The Guardian adds, “The problem is it sets new norms of behaviour. It is no accident that the ‘enemies of the people’ meme is doing the rounds”. Of course “This repertoire of autocratic rule is of course not new; what makes it novel is its concerted and combined use by elected rulers – Putin, Erdoğan, Orbán, Trump, Maduro, Duterte in the Philippines and Modi in India – who are quite clearly engaged in a rapid, purposive and common project to hollow out democracy. Equally striking is that, right now, there is no major country prepared to set positive global standards for democracy,” The Guardian reports. “In her 2015 book, Undoing the Demos, UC Berkeley political science professor Wendy Brown made a convincing case that the world’s backsliding on democratic values has been driven by its adoption of neoliberal economics,” The Guardian notes. This is not because neoliberalism encourages authoritarianism, rather because it favors a climate and a series of policies under the rubric of “business friendly,” which happen to be antidemocratic. The solution? “We must keep restating to ourselves and those around us that our human rights are, as the 1948 declaration states, ‘equal and inalienable,’” The Guardian writes, adding, “Every democratic advance in history, from the English revolution of 1642 to the fall of Soviet communism in 1989, began when people understood the concept of rights they were born with, not to be granted or withdrawn. Today that means learning to think like a free human being, not an economic subject.”
From The Guardian.
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