—–ON THE AGENDA—–
ON THIS DAY: PUTIN WON THE 2016 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Or thought he did, in any event. Lawfare writes, “It’s the one-year anniversary of the day the American public elected Donald Trump president of the United States of America. It’s also the anniversary of the culmination of an unprecedented foreign adversary operation to interfere with and delegitimize the U.S. elections. The public has spent much of the last year debating whether such an operation really occurred, the extent of possible involvement of people in the United States, and what impact it might have had on the outcome. Far less attention has focused on how we’re going to stop it from happening again.” Very true! So in Washington form, a to-do list is presented in the form of a list. First, “disentangle pure election security issues from broader information operations or covert influence campaigns,” Lawfare writes, noting that, “Depending on how broadly one construes election security, it also may involve protecting systems used by campaigns, parties, and candidates.” Lawfare adds, “The biggest roadblock at the moment is states,” as “states tend to push back hard at any perceived federal intervention in their electoral processes.” Meanwhile, “At the same time, states are woefully under-resourced in funding, training, expertise, equipment, and auditing capabilities,” Lawfare notes. So much for Moscow to play with here! Or China! Or North Korea! Or, maybe even some 400-pound guy in his basement as Trump once suggested!
ON THIS DAY: BERLIN WALL CAME TUMBLING DOWN
The American press has scant to no coverage of this most remarkable day in world history, one that Americans seem to have forgotten in terms of both the importance and the meaning of, largely because Americans have also forgotten the Cold War until they were suddenly, jarringly reminded of it. The New York Times makes it about us and one of its own who observed, “Twenty-eight years ago today, in the aftermath of a bungled Communist Party news conference that changed the course of history,” when “crowds of people from East and West Berlin traversed the wall that had kept them separated for decades — first by overwhelming the guards at border crossings and checkpoints, then by climbing atop the wall itself”. It is very odd that a nation that has dedicated itself to its own imperial and selfish resentments of the last year, namely Trumpistan, cannot triumph and exalt over the anniversary of what is an American triumph in geopolitics. Maybe it is because the person ostensibly, nominally in charge is a puppet of the loser of the Cold War? What followed from that day in 1989 has indeed changed the course of history: the EU and NATO expanded into Eastern Europe and Putin, then a KGB officer in Dresden, has forever been haunted by the non-response he received from Moscow as regular Germans stormed the intelligence services’ offices that had kept them incarcerated within their own nation for half a century.
From The New York Times.
THE IDIOT JUNIORS: LIKE TREASONOUS FELON, LIKE SON
CNN reports, “Former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn has expressed concern about the potential legal exposure of his son, Michael Flynn Jr., who, like his father, is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller”. How that translates into the language of dual indictments is unclear! CNN adds, “Flynn’s wife, Lori, shares his concerns about their son’s possible legal exposure,” because wouldn’t you worry more about your son than your idiot husband in such circumstances? Hint: discourage spouses from making concessions to an enemy and taking the enemy’s money and find other ways to content with grievances, resentments and a bruise ego in order to avoid such circumstances in the first instance. In any event, Jr. is still tweeting his crazy, so they should probably get that to stop too.
COREY “LIES + LOWS” LEWANDOWSKI
Talking Points Memo reports, “Corey Lewandowski, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, said on Tuesday night that he now remembers receiving an email from Carter Page about a trip to Moscow despite claiming in March that he did not grant Page permission to take the trip.” His amnesia over the episode was washed away by Carter Page’s testimony to the House last week where Page’s disinformation and likely Russia-concocted lies broke apart amid their frailty and persistent questioning.
From Talking Points Memo.
FAKEBOOK’S PROBLEMS SPREAD TO RUSSIA
Why roll back and containment is always best: Reuters reports, “Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor said on Wednesday it planned to check whether Facebook was in compliance with Russian law.” This is likely retaliation for releasing several of Russia’s disinfo ad buys and social media groups the Kremlin’s trolls created to the U.S. Congress and therefore the American people. (TRUMPISTAN WATCH has been compiling them as they are revealed in an ever expanding collection with the coy title RU SOCIAL DISINFO page on the TRUMPISTAN WATCH website.) Reuters reports, “The watchdog said in September it would block Facebook starting next year unless the social network complied with a law requiring websites that store the personal data of Russian citizens to do so on Russian servers.”
NATO DEFENSE MINISTERS APPROVE TWO NEW COMMANDS
The AP reports, “Wary of a belligerent and unpredictable Russia, NATO is expanding its operations for the first time since the end of the Cold War and drawing up plans to improve the way the military alliance commands and deploys its forces.” According to the AP, “NATO defense ministers on Wednesday endorsed a proposal to create two new commands: one to protect sea lanes ferrying troops and equipment across the Atlantic from the United States, the other a logistics command to supervise troop movements in Europe.” The AP adds, “Stoltenberg has been coy about where the new regional command centers would be based — he says the plan will be fleshed out in February — but he has noted Germany’s central geographical location in Europe, suggesting that it could be in the running for one. Poland is another possibility.” Just remember: Trump and Russia want none of this and every defeat for them is a victory for humanity in the long term. Also any smart person will tell you in war, logistics are king, the key to victory.
From the AP.
JUST US: RUSSIAN COURT DENIES NAVALNY LAWSUIT AGAINST PUTIN
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “A court in Moscow has rejected opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s lawsuit against President Vladimir Putin and his administration.” The Moscow Times even saw fit to put a, “Surprising No One,” before its headline on the matter. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “A lawyer for Navalny’s Anticorruption Foundation, Ivan Zhdanov, wrote on Facebook that the Tver District Court’s November 8 decision would be appealed.”
RUSSIA WILL EASE UP ON VENEZUELA OVER DEBT
The New York Times reports, “With Venezuela on the edge of default, Russia has thrown it a life preserver,” adding, “The Russian finance minister, Anton Siluanov, announced on Wednesday that the two countries had agreed to the restructuring of roughly $3 billion in Kremlin loans.” The New York Times notes, “This is the third time since last year that Russia has come to Venezuela’s aid when Caracas was in deep financial trouble.”
From The New York Times.
—–INDICTMENT ROCK CITY—–
POLITICO reports, “The federal judge overseeing the criminal case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates has issued a gag order limiting comments to the media and the public by lawyers, defendants and witnesses in the case.” POLITICO notes, “U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s directive released Wednesday doesn’t ban such statements outright, but prohibits any remarks that ‘pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.’”
The BBC reports George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign’s foreign policy aide now facing federal charges of lying to the FBI who entered a plea bargain, “met a British Foreign Office official, two months before the US presidential election, for a ‘working level’ meeting.” Of course, “While such meetings may be routine diplomacy, the fact that Papadopoulos was presenting himself to the government of one of the US’s closest allies as a representative of the Trump campaign undercuts the White House’s recent assertion that Papadopoulos was a campaign volunteer of little importance,” BBC notes. Most curiously, BBC reports, “Word of the Papadopoulos sit-down in London was first reported by Scott Stedman, a California university student, in a post on the website Medium. He writes that the Trump adviser met ‘an unidentified, high-ranking member of the UK’s department that handles foreign affairs’.” A Foreign and Commonwealth spokesman did confirm the meeting however.
From the BBC.
ARRIVING ON A JET PLANE
POLITICO obtained audio of George Papadopoulos’ July arraignment. The only thing unusual about it is POLITICO reports, “Papadopoulos’ arrest seems to have been the product of some haste. Indeed, when he was arrested at Dulles Airport on July 27 after coming off a flight from Munich, prosecutors had no warrant for him and no indictment or criminal complaint. The complaint would be filed the following morning”. Then, “when prosecutors filed the complaint the next day they got a spoken order from Howell to seal it, but followed up with a written request that they could take to the magistrate in Alexandria, where they showed up almost an hour later than she expected,” POLITICO adds, noting, “All of it suggests something of a scramble, rather than a carefully prepared plan to take Papadopolous into custody.”
The Wall Street Journal reports, “The Justice Department is seeking to reach a plea deal in its criminal investigation of the former son-in-law of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s one-time campaign chairman,” Jeffrey Yohai. The case is separate from the Special Counsel Robert Mueller case against Manafort.
From The Wall Street Journal.
SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES
CNN reports, “Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese academic suspected of being a link between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, was once a regular on the foreign policy circuit, attending conferences the world over.” That’s right, “Last Thursday he disappeared from the private university in Rome where he teaches. Repeated attempts to reach him since have been unsuccessful, though he appears to have read some messages from CNN.” Does Lubyanka have enough porcelain for all these shit stains they helped create?
HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE WITHDRAWS GLENN SIMPSON SUBPOENA
Reuters reports, “Fusion GPS lawyer Joshua Levy said in a statement that Republican Representative Mike Conaway and Democrat Adam Schiff, leaders of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Trump campaign contacts with Russia, had ‘agreed to withdraw a subpoena’ served on Glenn Simpson, a founder of the firm.” Reuters adds Levy said, “Mr. Simpson will instead sit for a voluntary interview next week, and nothing will be said at that interview – per the agreement of Mr. Conaway and Mr. Schiff – shall interfere with Mr. Simpson’s ability to assert privileges in this investigation”. Reuters notes, “Simpson and Levy met with the committee for about three hours on Wednesday, reaching the agreement for Simpson to testify to the panel behind closed doors on Nov. 14, Schiff and Conaway told reporters.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
KAKISTOCRACY WATCH: LARA TRUMP DOUBLE DIPS IN CAMPAIGN + WH
Newsweek reports, “Lara Trump, the face of her father-in-law’s re-election campaign, has been hosting high-level meetings within the White House to push a variety of domestic policy initiatives, a clear crossing of the well-established line between campaign work and public service, ethics and government”. Newsweek notes, “The senior adviser to the president’s already-active 2020 campaign has quietly conducted over half a dozen meetings with government officials including Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Veteran Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe and Representative Ron DeSantis,” allegedly for veterans but it involves $10 million so who knows with the Worst Family who will actually get that money and if the recipient does not have the surname Trump. Newsweek adds, “She then brought together several Cabinet appointees, lawmakers and presidential advisers for a round table discussion on the issue in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on October 18.” That is a pretty remarkable overreach by a member of the aspirationally royal family, especially a minor princess, not even Aryan princess Ivanka. If this is the new not normal, it is horrible.
KAKISTOCRACY WATCH: LARA TRUMP’S BROTHER PROMOTED AT DOE
The Hill reports, “Eric Trump’s brother-in-law has been promoted to lead a policy shop at the Department of Energy.” That’s right, “Kyle Yunasaka, the brother of Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, has been named chief of staff at the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis,” The Hill writes citing a report in an industry trade publication, E+E News. The Hill notes, “The office was once tasked with helping carry out former President Obama’s climate change agenda.” Do not get your hopes up that he was rising through the ranks and achieved this all on his own as The Hill reports, “Yunasaka was hired in February as part of the so-called ‘beachhead’ team of Energy Department political appointees working to run the agency following President Trump’s inauguration.” Naturally, “Yunasaka has drawn criticism for his lack of background in energy work,” but if you worry he lacks credentials, do not worry either about that as “He participated in 2013 in an Inside Edition competition to find the ‘hottest bachelors’ in Washington, D.C.”
From The Hill.
ACTIVE MEASURE WATCH: STATE DEPARTMENT LOST 60% OF AMBASSADORS
The Guardian reports, “The US has lost more than half its career ambassadors and a significant proportion of other senior diplomats since Donald Trump took office, the head of the foreign service association has said.” This is very alarming and all the more reason to reiterate TRUMPISTAN WATCH was created to support our civil servants and remind them that you have the support of civilians and we need you to stay put to prevent true catastrophes down the road. So please, if you work for State stay on the job, do not leave for the private sector! We need you to prevent both from crashing down! The Guardian adds, “Barbara Stephenson, a former ambassador to Panama and charge d’affaires in London, said that the top ranks of US diplomacy were being ‘depleted at dizzying speed’, and the state department was under ‘mounting threats’.” Also recall the goal of active measures is to capture the state, which to the Russian mind is comprised of three things: foreign policy, the economy and defense. This should send alarm bells ringing in every corridor in Washington and across the country, if our people were only awake to things happening in the world beyond America in greater numbers. Alarming, Stephenson “said the number of career ambassadors (professional diplomats rather than political appointees) was down 60% since January, while the number of career ministers, one rank below, has declined from 33 to 19.” Terrifying. Aryan princess Ivanka meanwhile pretends to be princess of America in Asia in the most hideous garments imaginable.
From The Guardian.
TRUMP’S FAV CONSPIRACY THEORIST STEALS RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA
BuzzFeed reports, “Over the past three years, conspiracy site InfoWars has copied more than 1,000 articles produced by Russian state-sponsored broadcaster RT to its website — all without the permission of RT.” Ooops! Not only is he stealing, Trump’s favorite conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is stealing Russian propaganda! BuzzFeed notes, “According to data from social sharing tracking website BuzzSumo, there were at least 1,014 RT articles republished on InfoWars since May of 2014. The articles appeared on InfoWars with a byline credit to RT, but a spokesperson for the Russian broadcaster told BuzzFeed News that InfoWars did not have permission to re-publish its content.” BuzzFeed adds, “The subjects of the copied stories range from global politics to terror attacks to news hits about e-cigarettes and fake Canadian gold bars. Many deal with US politics.” BuzzFeed notes, “Alex Jones is also no stranger to Russian media. He’s appeared on RT and even been aired in Russia by a state broadcaster. RT is also often cited as a source by pro-Trump commentators and websites,” and Trump called him just after the coup last year this time to thank him personally for all he did to herd the stupid and crazy to his corner. Also of note, “However, Jones flew into a profanity-filled, homophobic rage earlier this year in response to a suggestion by Rep. Adam Schiff that he and InfoWars are sources of Russian propaganda,” BuzzFeed reports. Sure they are not and if they are, obviously the gays are to blame.
FAUX NEWS FOX NEWS TO EMPLOY NEO-NAZI LINKED FOOL
The Trump campaign thinks it’s very unfair that the Clinton and Jeb Bush campaigns spent money on a real former MI5 official’s dossier into Trump and his team’s Russia-related shenanigans. Meanwhile, recall Sebastian Gorka once claimed to have been an MI5 but was lying and never got a security clearance in the White House before he was fired for simply being a wanker his whole life. In other words, we do not yet know the specifics yet of why and how Gorka was fired. While briefly employed as the Whites Only Haus in-house talking head on far right television news media, Gorka was linked by The Forward, a Jewish American newspaper, to far right neo-Nazi group Vitezi Rend in his parents’ native Hungary. Now, The Forward reports, “Sebastian Gorka, the former Trump administration counterterrorism adviser who has been repeatedly criticized for his ties to far-right Hungarian groups, has been hired by Fox News, host Sean Hannity said on his radio show Wednesday.” Yes, it’s official the channel that broadcasts an American version of Kremlin lies and bullshit, faux news Fox News, known colloquially as Trumpistani State TV, has hired an actual neo-Nazi and certifiable lying sack of shit. As an immigrant, he is also taking the job of some awful homegrown, domestic racist. Also, his very presence in our country violates our own laws against giving visas to neo-Nazis, a recurring issue with this generation of far right assholes and their often Russian wives.
From The Forward.
WHAT’S REALITY: RUSSIAN DISINFO OPS BASED ON MADE FOR TV GENRE
The New York Times has an excellent piece that highlights the two things driving both Russian disinformation operations and reality TV, two things Americans have been hooked on in recent years. Drama drives the plot and the unreality of knowing what is real even in reality television programming or political discourse promotes cultural, intellectual and other forms of lethargy and prevents activism as confusion sets in. TRUMPISTAN WATCH would also add reality television is driven by personalities, not ideas. Much Russian propaganda, certainly as far as memetics are concerned, makes use of personification of celebrities, high achieving minorities, and other public personalities which embody hopes, aspirations and resentments through the identification of an image with a phrase or set of phrases.
From The New York Times.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
THE BUSINESS CLIMATE IN RUSSIA DEPENDS ON YOUR MAFIA
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “The Russian Supreme Court has upheld the life sentence handed down a decade ago to Aleksei Pichugin, a former security chief of the now-defunct oil company Yukos.” This reaffirmation of the status quo comes as “The Supreme Court reviewed Pichugin’s case after the European Court of Human Rights ruled in June that Russian authorities violated his rights during the investigation and ignored the presumption of innocence, and ordered the government to pay 15,000 euros ($17,400).” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “Pichugin was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after being convicted of organizing the murders of three people, including a city mayor who was pressuring Yukos to pay more taxes. He maintains his innocence,” adding, “The Russian human rights group Memorial has recognized Pichugin as a prisoner of conscience.”
RUSSIA IS BACK NEXT EUROVISION SO, A BUILT-IN BATHROOM BREAK
The AP reports, “The organizers of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest say performers from 42 countries will take part, including Russia which missed this year’s event amid a diplomatic spat with host Ukraine.” Nobody asked them to sit out this year or any year, they just staged an incident where they put one of their nationalist singers who had performed in Crimea up as their candidate, an obviously untenable position for this year’s host country, Ukraine. Then Russia used the opportunity to cry victim because their nationalist singer also happened to be a young woman in a wheelchair who the highest levels of the Russian government insisted was being abused by the West in an act of extreme Russophobia. On the bright side, it means there is a built in bathroom and/or beer break as Russia’s performance is an ideal time to get up, empty the tank, refuel and walk out of the arena – or away from the TV – for a stretch. Next year’s grand final will be held May 12 in Lisbon.
From the AP.
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