—–ON THE AGENDA—–
STATE OF THE UNIOM IS…
Gavaria po russky? In post-democratic Trumpistan, our fake Russian bullshit president is set to address a joint session of Congress in a tradition that dates back to the democratic period of America. As it becomes ever clearer Trump could beat this by smashing our institutions and ultimately placing himself above justice, it is only possible to conclude that 50 sovereign United States live under Russian occupation. You might not feel it yet, you might prefer to keep your head down, but eventually you will not be able to do this forever and you too will end up degraded by the machinations of authoritarian rule and foreign occupation. The Washington Post reports, “The tickets printed by the House Sergeant at Arms for President Trump’s first State of the Union address Tuesday contained a glaring typo,” that read, “Address to Congress on the State of the Uniom”. They still have not learned how to spell over in the white trash Whites Only Haus. As CNN has it in one headline, “Trump to project success as Washington rots from within”. We had a country but it is no longer what it was and it will never be that again. The state of the uniom is…
From The Washington Post.
TRUMP REFUSES TO IMPLEMENT SANCTIONS AGAINST HIS RUSSIAN FRIENDS
The Daily Beast reports, “Lawmakers were blindsided and outraged on Monday after the Trump administration said it would neither announce nor implement new sanctions against Russia. After briefing senators in a classified setting, the State Department announced that the sanctions regime currently in place was acting as a ‘deterrent’ against Russian aggression and that, therefore, new measures will ‘not need to be imposed’ as required under the law.” This is some incredible bullshit. Russia only respects strength, remember this always. The Daily Beast adds, “The announcement caught lawmakers off guard, including those who co-authored the bipartisan Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) last year. That bill passed in large part to punish Russia for its efforts to influence the U.S. presidential election in 2016. That it was put on the backburner left some on Capitol Hill with the impression, once more, that the Trump administration felt indifferent toward the Kremlin’s influence campaign.” If the Russians are writing our sanction policy, as one of those tasked with helping to formulate the list, Anders Aslund, wrote on Twitter, then begin to accept how terrible this is. It is no longer the case that the republic is merely slipping; it is going and will soon be gone. The Washington Post notes, “The decision was made public after nightfall on deadline day for implementing sanctions against those who do business with Russian defense and intelligence firms, as required under a 2017 law.” So at least they still think they have to do such bullshit under cover of darkness, but not really. The whole world is watching now with the light of day.
SO WHO IS ON THE SANCTIONS ROSTER?
For starters, as Anders Aslund, who helped draft what sounds like a different list entirely, notes on Twitter, “The CAATSA section 241 list of Russian officials and oligarchs reads simply like the Russian elite. This makes little sense. It offers no incentives to senior Russians to behave well. #kremlinreport” Now Reuters reports, “The U.S. Treasury Department named major Russian businessmen including the heads of the two biggest banks, metals magnates and the boss of the state gas monopoly on a list of oligarchs close to the Kremlin.” Supposedly, “The list, drawn up as part of a sanctions package signed into law in August last year, does not mean those included will be subject to sanctions, but it casts a potential shadow of sanctions risk over a wide circle of wealthy Russians.” And who will do that if not backed by American power and might, those tools of yesteryear, when we were a sovereign nation? Reuters notes, “But the so-called ‘oligarchs’ list’ that was released on Tuesday, prompted in part by Washington’s belief the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, covers many people beyond Putin’s circle and reaches deep into Russia’s business elite.” Reuters adds, “The list appeared to have been drafted based on oligarchs’ net worth, rather than attempting to establish who is closest to the Kremlin, an exercise that could have made it more toxic for those included. The White House said it would not immediately impose new sanctions on Russia.” On the list, “are German Gref, CEO of state-controlled Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, and Andrey Kostin, chief executive of the second-biggest lender, VTB, which is also controlled by the Russian state,” as well as, “Alexei Miller, CEO of state-controlled gas export monopoly Gazprom,” “Severstal’s [Alexei] Mordashov and Leonid Mikhelson, co-owner of private gas producer Novatek,” and Alisher “Usmanov, who is part owner of London’s Arsenal soccer club, and Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of the Moscow-based cyber security company that carries his name”. Russian state-run TASS adds the names Roman Abramovich, Suleiman Kerimov, Pyotr Aven, Vladimir Potanin, Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, Gennady Timchenko, Oleg Tinkov, Viktor Vekselberg, Vadim Yakunin, Igor Sechin, Sergey Chemezov,” as well as “the CEOs of Rosatom, Aeroflot, Bashneft, RusHydro, ALROSA, Sakhalin Energy, the United Aircraft Corporation, Yandex and other companies.” This should develop a certain espirit de corps among those listed, something that could ultimately benefit the Kremlin. What a huge joke this is. It might be funny if it were not so frightening what is happening as we watch American sovereignty collapse into ashes. As Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports the Kremlin was quick to weaponize it to that end as, “Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that Moscow believes a hotly anticipated U.S. list of rich Russians seen as close to President Vladimir Putin is an attempt to meddle in the country’s March 18 election.” Russia requires a Western enemy to justify regime continuity.
FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR ANDREW MCCABE PUSHED FROM THE TRUMP TRAIN
ABC News reports, “Two government officials familiar with the matter confirm to ABC News that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is stepping down immediately.” Goodbye American justice, an independent FBI, a sovereign investigative entity. Farewell, that was America, now we approach the zero day of full Trumpistan. ABC News adds, “He had long been expected to retire from government in March, when he was eligible to receive his benefits for his years of service. Now, he is vacating his post atop the FBI and taking time away from the agency — but he will technically remain an employee of the bureau until his official retirement in March.” The reasons for why he is stepping down now, e.g. who did what to push him from the flaming wrecking of the Trump train full of Lubyanka shit remains unclear. ABC News notes, “McCabe’s role in the FBI has been the topic of conversation recently, as last week two sources familiar with the matter told ABC News that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been pushing FBI Director Chris Wray to replace McCabe, his deputy, and install new leadership within the FBI. ABC News adds, “that the deputy director in recent days had come to learn he was going to get ‘slammed’ in an upcoming inspector general report on the actions of senior F.B.I. officials during the 2016 presidential campaign.” ABC News recalls, “Last month, Trump singled out McCabe in a tweet, writing, ‘How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?’” NBC News adds, “The day after he fired James Comey as director of the FBI, a furious President Donald Trump called the bureau’s acting director, Andrew McCabe, demanding to know why Comey had been allowed to fly on an FBI plane from Los Angeles back to Washington after he was dismissed, according to multiple people familiar with the phone call. McCabe told the president he hadn’t been asked to authorize Comey’s flight, but if anyone had asked, he would have approved it”. NBC News adds, “The president was silent for a moment and then turned on McCabe, suggesting he ask his wife how it feels to be a loser — an apparent reference to a failed campaign for state office in Virginia that McCabe’s wife made in 2015. McCabe replied, ‘OK, sir.’ Trump then hung up the phone.” Vile.
DARKNESS AT NUNES DESCENDS OVER THESE ONCE GREAT LANDS
The Daily Beast reports, “Escalating its feud with the FBI and the Justice Department, the Republican majority of the House intelligence committee voted on party lines Monday evening to release a highly disputed classified memo attacking current and former FBI and Justice Department officials over surveillance in the Trump-Russia saga. The Daily Beast learned that the vote followed negotiations by both the FBI and the committee to give greater access for the bureau, to a memo that the FBI has not seen and which the Justice Department warned might harm counterintelligence investigations should it be released without vetting.” It is no longer as if the Republicans in Congress wish to place Trump above the law so much as they are actively helping to do so. The Daily Beast adds, “After the vote, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, said he had no confidence the majority would perform such vetting on a memo that he and all other committee Democrats have called a misrepresentation intended to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into collusion between Trump allies and Russia.” Schiff said, “That is apparently the standard now for the release of classified information: If it’s good for the president, then fine”. Remember, Trump campaigned on “law and order”. Do not forget what it was like to have a sovereign nation, do not forget this is not “law and order” nor what sovereignty feels like.
From The Daily Beast.
CIA CHIEF SAYS RUSSIA MEDDLING AGAIN IN 2018 MID-TERM ELECTIONS
BBC News reports, “The director of the CIA expects that Russia will target the US mid-term elections later this year.” And his boss is doing nothing to stop it as he benefits tremendously from it – for now. “Mike Pompeo told the BBC there had been no significant diminishing of Russian attempts at subversion in Europe and the US,” and as an extra, he threw in, “He also said North Korea may have the ability to strike the US with nuclear missiles ‘in a handful of months’.” The state of the uniom is…
From BBC News.
JULIAN ASSWIPE MESSAGES FAKE SEAN HANNITY OFFERING POLITICAL DIRT
The Daily Beast reports, “At about 4 a.m. on Saturday morning, a couple hours after she started pretending to be Sean Hannity, Dell Gilliam says she got a direct message back from the head of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, That’s when she said she ‘kind of panicked.’ ‘I felt bad. He really thought he was talking to Sean Hannity,’ said Gilliam.” The Daily Beast continues, “Gilliam, a technical writer from Texas, was bored with the flu when she created @SeanHannity__ early Saturday morning. The Fox News host’s real account was temporarily deleted after cryptically tweeting the phrase ‘Form Submission 1649 | #Hannity’ on Friday night. Twitter said the account had been ‘briefly compromised,’ according to a statement provided to The Daily Beast, and was back up on Sunday morning. When Gilliam made the account, she did not expect to be setting up a meeting over ‘other channels’ for Assange to send ‘some news about Warner,’ an apparent reference to Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.” The Daily Beast reports, “Just minutes after @SeanHannity disappeared, several accounts quickly sprung up posing as the real Hannity, shouting from Twitter exile. None were as successful as Gilliam’s @SeanHannity__ account, which has since amassed over 24,000 followers. Gilliam then used her newfound prominence to direct message Assange as Hannity within hours.” Now for the dialogue: “‘I can’t believe this is happening. I mean… I can. It’s crazy. Nothing can be put past people,’ Gilliam, posing as Hannity, wrote to Assange. ‘I’m exhausted from the whole night. What about you, though? You doing ok?’” To which Asswipe replied, “I’m happy as long as there is a fight!” Then he threw in: “Have some news about Warner.” His office naturally points out the true fact that the WikiLoser Asswipe is a tool of Russian intelligence.
From The Daily Beast.
FUSION GPS ACCUSES SENATOR GRASSLEY OF ENDANGERING EMPLOYEES
Reuters reports, “The research firm behind the so-called Trump ‘dossier’ accused U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Monday of endangering its employees by ignoring ‘multiple’ requests not to publicly disclose their names. In a letter to Grassley, which also criticized Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, lawyers for Washington-based Fusion GPS said the firm had twice reported unspecified ‘threats’ to the police and had tried to keep its employees’ names confidential ‘because of well-founded concerns about their public safety.’”
U.S. STYMYING UKRAINE INVESTIGATIONS INTO MANAFORT
Welcome to what it means to be a Russian mafia state colony in reality! BuzzFeed reports, “Ukrainian prosecutors say three separate corruption investigations have been stymied because American law enforcement officials won’t turn over evidence from a key witness, Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign chair. Special investigators within the Prosecutor General’s Office are investigating nearly a decade of work by Manafort on behalf of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, and his political group, the Party of Regions.” A normal American government would recognize an adversary here plain and simply, the Russian mafia state colony Trumpistan will do everything it can to protect all of the aforementioned individuals but Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office, who it would attack and derail relentlessly and with incredible degree of paranoia. BuzzFeed adds, “Manafort, 68, also faces criminal charges in the United States, and the FBI and US Department of Justice have been reluctant to share testimony, documents, and other evidence they have collected.” BuzzFeed notes, “In Ukraine, authorities are eager to talk to Manafort. Serhiy Gorbatyuk, head of the special investigations department, called Manafort a ‘key witness’ in three ongoing criminal probes: suspected money laundering by his former lobbying firm, Davis Manafort; a lucrative contract he steered toward the powerful American law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and an investigation of the so-called black ledger, a document that reportedly shows illicit payments by the past regime.”
RUSSIA SETS ITSELF UP TO GAME AMERICANS OVER UKRAINE
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Russia has shown more ‘openness’ to U.S. suggestions on a possible UN peacekeeping mission in war-torn eastern Ukraine, but Washington and Moscow remain far from striking a deal, the U.S. special envoy for Ukraine says. Kurt Volker’s comments to reporters on January 29 came three days after his meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladislav Surkov, in the Persian Gulf city of Dubai.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds, “Volker said he conveyed to Surkov in a phone call earlier this year ‘a very strong sense of disappointment and frustration in Washington that Russia has done absolutely nothing to end the conflict [in eastern Ukraine], or to withdraw its forces.’ After that, Volker said, he and Surkov ‘had a very detailed discussion’ about how the two sides could break the impasse, including U.S. hopes for peacekeepers with a broad mandate to patrol the entire conflict zone — including the Ukrainian-Russian border.” Indeed Russian state-run TASS reports, “Analysis of statements by the Russian President’s aide, Vladislav Surkov, and the special envoy of the U.S. Department of State for Ukraine, Kurt Volker shows the U.S. has dropped off its stringent demand for an immediate transition of Donbass under the control of the UN mission,” citing Dr. Alexei Chesnakov, “the director of the Center for Current Political Situation Assessment.” He added, “Now they don’t demand a blocking of the Ukrainian-Russian border by the international contingent as a top priority measure and they are prepared to begin with the Line of Contact [separating the pro-Kiev armed units and the Donbass self-defense forces – TASS], and this is what Russia proposed in its draft resolution of the UN Security Council”. Do you see how this works? They wear down the American negotiators and then play to heartstrings. It worked so well with Obama’s team almost always, why not try Trump’s the same way? Remember, Russia only respects strength.
RUSSIAN FIGHTER JET INTERCEPTS U.S. RECON PLANE OVER BLACK SEA
NBC News reports, “A Russian fighter jet intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance plane near the Black Sea on Monday, both countries said, but that was all they agreed on. The U.S. Navy said its EP-3 Aries plane was flying over the Black Sea in international airspace when it was intercepted by a Russian Sukhov SU-27 fighter jet.” NBC News adds, “Millitary officials said the Russian pilot flew in an ‘unsafe’ manner, tracking the U.S. plane for more than 2½ hours — and at one point coming within 5 feet of the U.S. plane.” However, “the Russian Defense Ministry gave a sharply different account: The U.S. plane was getting close to Russian airspace, it said, and its pilot approached at a safe distance.” This war starts as soon as one side desires a misunderstanding.
From NBC News.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
EXXON MOBIL MARKETING COMPLICITY
Reuters reports, “ExxonMobil plans to invest billions of dollars in the United States in part because of recently approved corporate tax-rate cuts, the company’s chief executive said Monday. Darren Woods, head of the world’s largest publicly traded oil producer, said in a blog post on the company’s website that Exxon expects to spend $50 billion on U.S. projects in the next five years. The company also is ‘actively evaluating’ projects in planning stages as a result of new tax and regulatory changes, he wrote. More than $35 billion of that is for projects not previously announced, company spokesman Scott Silvestri said.” This is very much what complicity in the terrors of the regime looks and sounds like.
KREMLIN LAWYER AT TRUMP TOWER MEETING EXPOSED IN SWISS CASE
The Daily Beast reports, “The Moscow operation behind the now-infamous Russian-Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 included a direct attempt to enlist a foreign country’s law-enforcement official as a virtual double-agent, according to a court case in Switzerland. One of Switzerland’s top investigators has been fired after allegations of bribery, violating secrecy laws, and ‘unauthorized clandestine behavior’ in meeting with the very same Russian actors linked to the Trump Tower encounter.” Only difference is instead of a top law enforcement official, it is a man who seeks to place himself above the law in our case. The horror. The Daily Beast notes, “Details of the explosive case have been published by investigative reporters for the Tribune de Genève and Tages-Anzeiger newspapers in Switzerland. The officer, identified only as Victor K., traveled to Moscow—against the expressed wishes of his superiors—where he spoke to Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner at Trump Tower.” The Daily Beast adds, “The meeting was reportedly set up by Russian Deputy Attorney General Saak Albertovich Karapetyan—from the same rogue department that was apparently responsible for offering intel on Hillary Clinton to be shared at the Trump Tower meeting and the Kremlin’s further plots to influence U.S. politics.” The Daily Beast continues, “The reports, which are based on Swiss court papers, describe how K. was lured to Moscow during a call from Karapetyan before Christmas 2016. He was told not to go by his boss, ostensibly because he was working too much overtime, but he made the trip anyway, using his diplomatic passport to fly to the Russian capital. There, he was put up in a luxury hotel and asked to attend an unexpected meeting with Veselnitskaya.”
From The Daily Beast.
WHAT MILOS ZEMAN’S REELECTION AS CZECH PRESIDENT TELLS US
Anne Applebaum in her column in The Washington Post opens, “In the Czech Republic, as in many European countries, the prime minister is far more powerful than the president. Nevertheless, the Czech president represents his country abroad, speaks on its behalf and generally helps set the tone and tenor of public debate, much like the American president does in the United States. And without question, the reelection of Milos Zeman – who is vulgar and sexist (not to mention aggressively pro-Russian, pro-Chinese, anti-European and anti-NATO) and has been accused of public drunkenness — will set the tone and tenor of public life in the Czech Republic.” Applebaum notes, “In this role, he will certainly reinforce the stereotype of central Europe as ‘different’ from the rest of Europe. Poland and Hungary, both now run by anti-European politicians bent on controlling the judiciary and the media, are already discounted by many in Europe and considered to be on their way out of the democratic camp; now the Czechs will join them.” It is different there only because Eastern Europe’s lost generation – those who lost their youths to the old socialist system who were too old to enjoy the changes that came swiftly after 1989 – are now elderly, so you know they vote. Applebaum cautions though, “comforting though it may be for those in other Western capitals to dismiss Zeman as some kind of post-communist problem, his truly vile election campaign both echoes the politics of many older democracies and may be a harbinger of the future for others.” As Applebaum wisely notes, “Czech political and media culture are heavily influenced by popular (and anonymous) websites that pump out a constant stream of pro-Russian, anti-NATO propaganda, promoting fear and hatred of Muslim immigrants and resentment of an alleged ‘elite’ that is far weaker than the corrupt business class and Russian entities who supported the president’s campaign. But if that sounds like a problem of an immature democracy, think about this: Precisely that same sentence, with those same words, could have been written about the Trump campaign.”
From The Washington Post.
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