—–ON THE AGENDA—–
TRUMP TO MINGLE WITH MANY RUSSIANS AT NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST
CNN reports, “President Donald Trump will attend the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, a prime networking opportunity for Beltway insiders. But this year’s event is also an opportunity for dozens of Russians. As many as 60 representatives from Russia’s religious and political elite are expected to attend, more than three times last year’s number, according to Russian officials.” Horrible. Come meet the puppet we bought and will use to destroy America, they likely told on another.
PLANNING UNDERWAY FOR TRUMP TO TREAT MILITARY AS HIS PROP
CNN reports, “Initial planning for the military parade requested by President Donald Trump is now underway, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford has confirmed. It is expected that the Army Military District of Washington, which oversees some military activities in the city, will be designated to coordinate parade planning, according to a senior defense official.” Ridiculously, “One option being considered is to hold the parade in November in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I on November 11, 1918,” which was supposed to be the war to end all wars as Trump eagerly seeks to plunge us into a world war, as he particularly looks forward to the mass slaughter and looting aspects. Wouldn’t sanctions against Russia be a more effective show of strength? As a former senior civilian serving a the Pentagon Derek Chollet put it in Defense One, “The danger is that this parade becomes yet another way for Trump and his supporters to use the military to divide the country. So let’s see this for what it is: a classic Trump move to celebrate himself and create a moment to exploit, with the express purpose of sowing division. His goal isn’t to celebrate the troops; it is to use them as a cudgel for his advantage.”
DHS: RUSSIANS “PENETRATED” U.S. VOTER SYSTEMS IN 2016
NBC News reports, “The U.S. official in charge of protecting American elections from hacking says the Russians successfully penetrated the voter registration rolls of several U.S. states prior to the 2016 presidential election.” TRUMPISTAN WATCH was dropped twice from the rosters in a city that is more famous for adding deceased pets than dropping lifelong registered voters. NBC News adds, “Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, said she couldn’t talk about classified information publicly, but in 2016, ‘We saw a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated.’” Do you believe ruthless KGB bastards did everything we have read about for months only to leave the sacred count up to chance? Have you seen any evidence that Russia is not highly paranoid and prone ever to not having reinforcements for their reinforcements? This is not a conspiracy theory, rather an evidence-based question and it remains open. Jeh Johnson, the former head of Homeland Security under Obama who previously said that the Russian intrusions did not alter the count, tell NBC News now, “2016 was a wake-up call and now it’s incumbent upon states and the Feds to do something about it before our democracy is attacked again.” To which the fake Russian puppet Feds in charge are like meh, no, we will do nothing and throw a military parade. But so it is for now, NBC News and Johnson for that matter maintain the official line, “There is no evidence that any of the registration rolls were altered in any fashion, according to U.S. officials.”
From NBC News.
FEC HAS BARE MINIMUM QUORUM, COULD BE PARALYZED SOON
The Washington Post reports, “Lee Goodman, a Republican appointee to the Federal Election Commission, announced his resignation Wednesday, leaving the deeply divided panel with a bare quorum to conduct business.” The Washington Post adds, “His last day at the FEC will be Feb. 16.” This means, “With Goodman’s departure, the FEC has a bare-minimum quorum of four members — two Republicans, one Democrat and one independent — whose unanimous votes are now required to take official action. And the panel could soon lose another commissioner: Steven T. Walther, an independent appointed in 2006 who often votes with the Democrats, also is considering stepping down, the Center for Public Integrity reported in December.” The Washington Post reports, “If Walther departs and a new appointee is not immediately confirmed, the commission would be unable to take official action, such as enforcing regulations, issuing advisory opinions or approving audit reports.” Ergo, you can bet no one will be appointed and we will not even have the most basic mechanism of oversight of our seriously compromised electoral process in place ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The Washington Post notes, “Among the initiatives that could be derailed: an effort to place tighter regulations on Internet ads published on major online platforms to thwart foreign meddling in U.S. elections.” The Washigton Post adds, “The last time the FEC lost quorum and was effectively paralyzed was 2008, when only two of the six commission seats were filled, leaving it hobbled at the start of a presidential election year. Goodman said he had planned to resign at the end of 2017 and return to private practice. But he said he delayed his move when fellow GOP Commissioner Matthew Petersen was nominated by President Trump last year to serve as a U.S. District Court judge. In December, Petersen withdrew from consideration after struggling to answer basic questions about legal procedures during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Petersen still serves on the FEC.”
From The Washington Post.
BANNON COULD BE HELD IN CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS
Reuters reports, “The top Democrat on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee said on Tuesday the panel should begin contempt proceedings if Steve Bannon, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, continues to refuse to testify in an investigation of Russia and the 2016 presidential election. U.S. Representative Adam Schiff said the House of Representatives committee’s subpoena remained in effect and Bannon’s interview has been rescheduled for next week.”
T REX WARNS US RUSSIAN ATTACKS ON OUR ELECTIONS CONTINUE
NBC News reports, “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that Russia is already trying to influence the U.S. midterm election, warning that it will be difficult for the United States to ‘pre-empt’ it,” especially when no one is trying to. Nobody in the death cult GOP or the death cult leader in the White House cares. NBC News adds, “In an interview with Fox News from Bogotá, Colombia, where he met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Tillerson said Russia was gearing up to meddle in the 2018 U.S. elections following the playbook it used in 2016. Saying Russia has ‘a lot of different tools’ at its disposal, he said: ‘”I don’t know that I would say we are better prepared, because the Russians will adapt, as well. The point is, if it’s their intention to interfere, they are going to find ways to do that.” Is that a warning or an advertisement? Since Obama’s approach was worthless (“knock it off” he told Putin), T Rex follows the script in that, “Tillerson said it was ‘important that we continue to say to Russia: ‘Look, if you think we don’t see what you’re doing, we do see it, and you need to stop. If you don’t, you’re just going to continue to invite consequences for yourself.‘” NBC News notes, “He didn’t detail what those consequences could be in the brief clips Fox News aired Tuesday night,” especially since they have faced none to date. Was it not just last week T Rex’s State Department said that we did not need sanctions against Russia as the threat is serving as a deterrent? We all knew that was a profound lie and now T Rex himself has confirmed what horseshit that was.
From NBC News.
GOP ATTACKS TAKE AIM AT STATE DEPARTMENT, CLINTON ASSOCIATE
CNN reports, “Republicans have two new targets in their effort to discredit the dossier on Donald Trump and Russia written by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele: the State Department under President Barack Obama and Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime associate of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Republicans are effectively accusing the Obama State Department of providing Steele information from Clinton associates which he then used to reinforce his own dossier that he eventually gave to the FBI.” CNN adds, “Republicans are alleging that Steele received material on Trump and Russia written by Cody Shearer, a freelance journalist who they claim is a Clinton partisan. According to a source with knowledge of the matter, Shearer’s raw collection of notes — which Republicans are calling a second dossier — made its way to Steele on this path: from Shearer to Blumenthal, who gave it to an official at the State Department, who then passed it along to Steele. Steele then gave it to the FBI, explaining it was passed along by the State Department and someone connected to a ‘friend of Clinton’s,’ according to a report from the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.” Got that? From Shearer, “Blumenthal then passed the notes to Jonathan Winer, who was a State Department special envoy for Libya under former Secretary of State John Kerry.” CNN continues, “Winer worked with Steele from 2014 through 2016,” and, “Steele provided Winer with reports related to the conflict in Ukraine and Russia as a courtesy”. CNN reports, “Steele also gave the dossier to Winer, who flagged to his superiors at the State Department,” adding, “Kerry was eventually briefed on its existence, and that it wasn’t known how much was true. Senior State Department officials showed the dossier to Kerry once it was clear the document was in wide circulation around Washington”.
RUSSIAN CYBER THIEVES STEAL U.S. DEFENSE SECRETS
The AP reports, “Russian cyberspies pursuing the secrets of military drones and other sensitive U.S. defense technology tricked key contract workers into exposing their email to theft”. The AP adds, “What ultimately may have been stolen is uncertain, but the hackers clearly exploited a national vulnerability in cybersecurity: poorly protected email and barely any direct notification to victims. The hackers known as Fancy Bear, who also intruded in the U.S. election, went after at least 87 people working on militarized drones, missiles, rockets, stealth fighter jets, cloud-computing platforms or other sensitive activities”. Assume the real number of targets is higher as it has proven to be later in every such revealed instance to date. The AP notes, “Employees at both small companies and defense giants like Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co., Boeing Co., Airbus Group and General Atomics were targeted by the hackers. A handful of people in Fancy Bear’s sights also worked for trade groups, contractors in U.S.-allied countries or on corporate boards.” Charles Sowell, a former senior adviser to the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence told the AP, “The programs that they appear to target and the people who work on those programs are some of the most forward-leaning, advanced technologies,” adding, ““And if those programs are compromised in any way, then our competitive advantage and our defense is compromised.” According to the AP, Sowell was one of the targets of Russia’s hacking campaign. Alarmingly, “as many as 40 percent of them clicked on the hackers’ phishing links,” which is, “the first step in potentially opening their personal email accounts or computer files to data theft”.
From the AP.
RUSSIAN EMBASSY COMPLAINS ABOUT HACKER’S PRISON CONDITIONS
Russian state-run Tass reports, “U.S. authorities are keeping the Russian citizen Pyotr Levashov, extradited from Spain, in a jail in Connecticut in poor conditions, the Russian Embassy said in a statement on Wednesday after the diplomats’ meeting with the arrested man.” The Russians want him back so bad.
From Russian state-run Tass.
LATVIA DETAINS CITIZEN ACCUSED OF SPYING FOR RUSSIA
Reuters reports, “Latvia has detained a Latvian citizen on suspicion of spying on military installations for Russian intelligence, state security police said on Wednesday. The detention of the unnamed person, who was taken into custody in December, comes after warnings by Latvian officials of increased Russian espionage activity in the Baltics, focused on NATO troops deployed in Latvia, which shares a 276 km (172 miles) border with Russia.” In a statement, state security said, “Information obtained during the investigation shows the Latvian citizen collected information on military installations of the National Armed Forces and the situation on the border area of Latvia–Russia,” which noted, “the person detained was working for a Russian intelligence agency.”
LATVIA PLANS DEFENSE SPENDING INCREASE
IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reports, “Latvia plans to invest EUR50 million (USD61.7 million) a year from 2018 to 2021 in developing military infrastructure, including two training areas, the Ministry of Defence said on its website on 25 January. The priority is to expand facilities at military bases dedicated to NATO forces. In 2018, 60% of allocated funds will be invested in the Ādaži base, which is being expanded to 13,050 ha. New facilities will also be built at Lielvarde air base.”
—–INDICTMENT ROCK CITY—–
END OF THE ROAD
CNN reports, “The lawyers for former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates showed a hint as to why they’d like to quit his case Wednesday: They don’t agree with Gates.” So perhaps then there is no much rumored plea deal? In a filing unsealed yesterday that was submitted to the court last Thursday, Gates’ attorneys Shan Wu, Walter Mack and Annemarie McAvoy wrote, “Irreconcilable differences have developed with the client which make our effective representation of the client impossible”. CNN adds, “The lawyers told the court they couldn’t provide more details about their specific reasons because that could breach the privileged attorney-client relationship. They also said revealing more details could prejudice possible future jurors against Gates and are potentially ‘embarrassing.’” CNN notes, “The development Wednesday does little to clear up the mystery about Gates’ fractured legal representation. Gates and the attorneys appeared in court Wednesday for about an hour.” CNN adds, “The trial team’s proposed departure from the case comes after lawyers who’ve worked for Gates behind the scenes visited special counsel Robert Mueller’s office several times, suggesting an ongoing negotiation between the prosecutors and the criminal defendant. Those lawyers, from the law firm Sidley Austin, have yet to tell the court they’re representing Gates, nor make any other public statements about him.” Stay tuned!
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST AFTER ABUSE ALLEGATIONS FROM EX-WIVES
Axios reports, “White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned,” Wednesday, “after his two ex-wives came forward with abuse allegations.” Axios adds, “Nobody pressured him to resign, per multiple officials. A White House official said senior officials were trying to convince Porter ‘to stay and fight.’ Those officials included Chief of Staff John Kelly.” Axios notes, “Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness, alleged in an interview published Wednesday by the Daily Mail that he kicked her on their honeymoon, progressing to choking and punching her in the face. She provided pictures that were published with the story.” If only he had grabbed her by the pussy instead! Then “Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughy, told the Daily Mail earlier this week that he pulled her naked from the shower shortly after their first anniversary, and that he was verbally abusive. The Daily Mail also obtained a police complaint from 2010 of Porter allegedly punching the glass on a door at their home, which led to her filing a temporary protective order.” Most curiously, “Willoughy told the Daily Mail that the FBI had interviewed her, along with Holderness. The Daily Mail claimed sources told them that Porter’s ‘dark past’ was the reason for his failure to secure security clearances.” Of note, Axios adds, “Porter served as Sen. Orrin Hatch’s chief of staff before entering the White House.” Now let’s hear from the unprofessionals in the Whites Only Haus! The menace that is Whites Only Haus Chief of Staff John Kelly said, “a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional.” And the pressroom liar Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Porter is “someone of the highest integrity and exemplary character.” Do they even know what these words mean? TRUMPISTAN WATCH had not heard of him before compiling yesterday’s TRUMPISTAN WATCH when a rumor surfaced that the woman with perhaps the worst taste in the world, Hope Hicks, was rumored to be dating him. And then by lunchtime he was gone. Drain the swamp, the Trumpistani elites say, primarily so the bottom can be scraped for employees.
ALL THE FAKE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT’S MEN WHO ABUSE WOMEN
In light of the downfall of White House staff secretary Rob Porter over a lack of a security clearance tied to his domestic abuse problems, POLITICO recalls the many Trumpistani elites who “have been beset by allegations of sexual and physical impropriety since before the 2016 election.” POLITICO recalls, “During the campaign, then-manager Corey Lewandowski was charged with assaulting a reporter after he grabbed Breitbart correspondent Michelle Fields at a campaign rally. The charges were later dropped.” Then, “in December that Lewandowski slapped singer Joy Villa, a Trump supporter, on the behind at a Trump International Hotel party in Washington.” Yes, Hope Hicks was romantically linked to him, too. POLITICO notes, “Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon was charged in 1996 with misdemeanor domestic violence and battery while living in Santa Monica, California. Those charges were subsequently dropped.” Then of course there is the pussy grabber “Trump, who was infamously caught before the election on an ‘Access Hollywood’ tape bragging about groping women, faced multiple claims of unwanted advances during the campaign. The president and his aides have strongly denied the allegations. In January, adult film star Stephanie Clifford, better known by her stage name Stormy Daniels, spoke openly about a 2006 consensual tryst with Trump weeks after his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son, Barron. The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump paid Clifford $130,000 shortly before the election.” POLITICO adds, “The White House has also continued to consider finding a role for former Carl’s Jr. head Andy Puzder, who withdrew from consideration to be labor secretary in 2017 after POLITICO reported that his ex-wife had accused him of domestic abuse during a 1990 appearance on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’ Puzder denies the allegations, and his ex-wife subsequently defended him and said she regretted appearing on the show.” Don’t you want your daughters to grow up in this country called Trumpistan?
THE COMMISSARS VANISH AFTER BEING TOPPLED BY A FREE PRESS
Business Insider reports, “After White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned Wednesday following allegations from his ex-wives that he subjected them to years of physical and mental abuse, everyone in this now infamous photo has met an ignominious end to their jobs working for President Donald Trump.” At least they were all ousted by a free press and not summarily shot like in Stalin’s time. The photo features the cast of the first season: Corey Lewandowski, Omarosa Manigault, Anthony Scaramucci, Sebastian Gorka and Rob Porter.
From Business Insider.
REVISITING ONE OF TRUMP’S RUSSIA MAFIA PALS AHEAD OF THE OLYMPICS
Call it an Olympic-sized news peg! The Daily Beast reports, “As we come to the 2018 Winter Olympics, an alleged Russian organized crime boss retains a long-standing world record as the sole person ever indicted for fixing a gold medal.” This is of course none other than the Uzbekh Alimzhan “Taiwanchik” Tokhtakhounov, who once ran a gambling syndicate out of Trump Tower in the and sat a few chairs from our fake Russian puppet president in the VIP box of the Miss Universe Moscow in 2013. TRUMPISTAN WATCH first heard the name in 2011 in connection with the alleged fixing of Azerbaijan’s Eurovision victory that year. The Daily Beast notes, “Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov remains a fugitive as the ‘Vor’ or crime boss behind Skategate, the fixing of pairs figure skating and perhaps also the pairs ice dancing at the 2002 Winter Olympics. He was indicted by none other than James Comey, who was then the Manhattan U.S. attorney.” The Daily Beast adds, “Tokhtakhounov went on also to be indicted in 2013 for running a criminal organization involved in money laundering and arms trafficking, as well as a multimillion-dollar gambling operation based in Trump Tower, three floors directly below the penthouse of the man who is now our president.” TRUMPISTAN WATCH hears you can see him at the Ritz in Moscow where he is a regular along with the Russian crooner Emin, whose manager arranged the now infamous June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting, and his oligarch father, Aras Agalarov.
From The Daily Beast.
BECAUSE TRUMP IS A RUSSIAN PUPPET, IC EAGER TO HELP UKRAINE NOW
Bloomberg reports, “Vasyl Hrystak is the last person you would expect to praise President Donald Trump for his administration’s approach to Russia. As the director of the Security Service of Ukraine, the country’s spy service, he is intimately familiar with Russian predations in his own country. And yet, Trump often sounds oblivious”. But oh how useful then that Trump made real enemies in the intelligence community and in Congress! Hrystak told Bloomberg while in Washington, “We analyze the actions of the United States government. That includes not only the sanctions, but providing us with lethal weapons and other actions.” He added, “Our contacts with American intelligence are at a height right now.” Bloomberg notes, “Last month, the heads of Russia’s three main intelligence services visited Washington for meetings with their counterparts.” At the same time, “After nearly a year in office, Trump reversed Obama’s policy, approving not only a shipment of sniper rifles but also the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles. That’s part of the reason Hrystak gives Trump high marks. The other reason is on the intelligence side. U.S. and Ukrainian officials tell me that on a few high-level investigations, the Central Intelligence Agency and Hrystak’s service have been cooperating more closely than in the Obama years,” and, “the CIA has been beefing up its own capabilities against Russia since 2014, and has made the relationship with Ukraine a higher priority.” Hrystak advises, “U.S. news organizations should pay more attention to how Russia’s state media discusses the U.S.-Ukrainian relationship. ‘Russia is constantly saying’ that the CIA and the Ukrainian spy service ‘are in league together and appear everywhere together,’ he said approvingly. ‘Every time they see men in camouflage, they say the CIA is in Ukraine. When our snipers were being very effective, the Russian propaganda was vitriolic.’ The Russian propaganda pleases Hrystak because, he says, “It shows that they fear you.” Russia only understands and respects strength, remember.
ICE WANTS TO BE PART OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY
The Daily Beast reports, “Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement are actively exploring joining the U.S. Intelligence Community”. The Daily Beast adds, “The effort is helmed by a small cohort of career Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, and has been underway since the Obama administration”. The Daily Beast notes, “Internal advocates for joining the America’s spy agencies—known as the Intelligence Community or the IC—focus on the potential benefits to the agency’s work on counterproliferation, money laundering, counterterror, and cybercrime. The official added that joining the IC could also be useful for the agency’s immigration enforcement work––in particular, their efforts to find and arrest undocumented immigrants with criminal arrest warrants (known in ICE as fugitive aliens).” However, “civil liberties advocates and government watchdog groups—as well as some current and former U.S. officials—are concerned at the prospect of the nation’s immigration enforcers joining the ranks of America’s spies.”
From The Daily Beast.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF BULLSHIT: PUTIN’S WEALTH 2 VOLGAS, 1 LADA
The Washington Post reports, “Vladimir Putin earned 38.5 million rubles (roughly $673,000) between 2011 and 2016, according to information publicly released by the Russian Election Commission on Tuesday, giving the Russian president an average yearly salary of about $112,000.” Wow he is so modest and so full of shit! The Washington Post continues, “The president also listed a number of assets on his forms, including 13 bank accounts with a combined balance of 13.8 million rubles ($241,000), a roughly 800-square-foot apartment in St. Petersburg, 230 shares in Bank Saint Petersburg and two Soviet-made sports cars — Volgas made in 1960 and 1965 — and a 2009 Lada 4×4.” This bit of bullshit needed to be put into the propaganda ether now as “Putin was required to give details of his income and assets as part of his registration for the upcoming presidential election, due to be held March 18. Putin completed his registration Tuesday, according to reports in Russian state media.” Remember: no real opposition is allowed anywhere near Russia’s fake election. Of course, “most outside observers believe that Putin’s actual wealth is far greater than what he lets on. Many estimates are generally in the billions.” After all, you do not cultivate and run an oligarchic mafia state for the lolz alone. Of course, “Putin himself has also been spotted wearing expensive watches with a total value thought to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, as have a number of other high-ranking Russian officials.”
From The Washington Post.
ALL ENCOMPASSING MAGALAND TEXTING CONSPIRACY DEBUNKED IN HOURS
CNN reports, “Members of the pro-Trump media acted like they hit the goldmine on Wednesday morning. Led by Fox News, these outlets went into a frenzy over what they presented as an explosive story that not only cast former President Obama and Hillary Clinton in a negative light, but simultaneously helped vindicate claims then-candidate Donald Trump made about the investigation into Clinton’s private email server being ‘rigged.’” That is like the Holy Grail of MAGAland conspiracy theory fodder! It promises to do everything! At once! However, “the story’s premise indicates that key text messages the story relied on were taken out of context, and portrayed as meaning something entirely different than what they actually meant.” Those fuckers at fake news CNN ruin everything!!! CNN continues, “In the early hours of the morning, Fox News published an article on its website based on newly-released communications between senior FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The text messages were released Tuesday in a report produced by the office of Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. In one September 2, 2016, text message, Page wrote that there was a meeting at the bureau setup because Obama wanted ‘to know everything we are doing.’” CNN notes, “Johnson, in his report, said the text message raised questions about Obama’s involvement in the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. In fact, the message more likely indicated that Obama wanted to be kept informed of an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.” Fox News repeated the claim unchallenged without contributing the most basic journalistic due diligence to their report and before long, “Before other media outlets could provide the proper context for the text message, the narrative ricocheted through the pro-Trump media universe,” which adds, “Articles about the text lead websites from the Drudge Report and Breitbart to InfoWars and the Gateway Pundit.” Then, “The story eventually made his way to the president himself, who amplified it further when he tweeted, ‘NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!’” As BuzzFeed’s Deputy News Director Joe Passantino wrote on Twitter, “From ‘bombshell’ to debunked before the West Coast even wakes up”.
RUSSIAN TROLLS TUMBLRED TOO
BuzzFeed reports, “Russian trolls posed as black activists on Tumblr and generated hundreds of thousands of interactions for content that ranged from calling Hillary Clinton a ‘monster’ to supporting Bernie Sanders and decrying racial injustice and police violence in the US, according to new findings from researcher Jonathan Albright”. BuzzFeed adds, “While Facebook and Twitter continue to face intense public and congressional pressure over the activity from trolls working for the Russian Internet Research Agency, Tumblr has somehow managed to escape scrutiny. But the blogging platform was in fact home to a powerful, largely unrevealed network of Russian trolls focused on black issues and activism.” And the company is not answering questions.
RUSSIAN INTERNET CENSOR TO AUDIT FAKEBOOK
Reuters reports, “Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said on Thursday it would carry out an audit into Facebook’s compliance with Russian legislation in the second half of the year. Alexander Zharov, head of Roskomnadzor, met Facebook executives in Moscow on Thursday to discuss the company’s compliance with Russian law, the watchdog said in a statement.”
—–TOWARDS A PEACEFUL NUCLEAR EXCHANGE—–
ON THE RISKS OF MISCALCULATION + ACCIDENTS
Defense One reports, “The Trump administration’s nuclear posture statement comes at a particularly rough time, reminiscent of the transition from President Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan. Back then, an outgoing president had watched his ambitious arms control agenda fall to tatters. Negotiations on nuclear testing and space warfare had gone nowhere, while the prospect of a second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty had been shredded by Soviet tanks rumbling into Afghanistan. Then as now, Washington and Moscow’s strategic modernization programs were out of phase. One competitor or the other felt obliged to play nuclear ‘catch-up,’ even when, as was true of the United States, it was actually ahead in the competition.” This is a very apt historical parallel but Trump is no Ronald Reagan. Defense One, however, notes, “Then, as now, there was much talk of Russian violations of treaty commitments. Some of it was true back then; this problem is far worse now.” The new U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, “Like others drafted in Republican administrations,” has lent, “more credence in shoring up deterrence while ascribing greater risks to disregarding deterrence orthodoxy.” Of course, “Without the very real prospect of mushroom clouds, deterrence would be de-fanged.” However, “The flip side of deterrence,” would be “mushroom clouds.” Defense One adds, “This is where the logic and cohesion of nuclear posture reviews break down. What are the humanitarian consequences of targeting plans for nuclear weapons? And how is escalation to be controlled after these Gates of Hell are opened and the nuclear threshold is crossed? If the defenders of nuclear deterrence and the drafters of nuclear posture statements cannot answer these questions satisfactorily, their handiwork is built on quicksand. Adding new warhead designs and targeting options only make these questions more pointed.” Defense One notes, “Because nuclear orthodoxy cannot withstand public scrutiny on the fundamental questions of humanitarian consequences and escalation control, we wear blinders, seeking refuge underneath the warm, fuzzy blanket of deterrence.” As “this thick barrier is in actuality a thin membrane that can be punctuated by human error, miscalculation, and accident.” So what is to be done? Defense One reports, “improved communication channels and the avoidance of dangerous military practices. Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and former Senator Nunn have suggested the pursuit of this agenda. They argue that the foremost nuclear danger of this era is not massive nuclear attacks like those postulated during the Cold War, but ‘fateful errors.’”
From Defense One.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
EVERY INDIGNITY AGAINST TRUMP IS AN ACT OF PATRIOTISM
The New York Daily News reports, “President Trump’s embrace of white supremacists, his explosive comments against NFL players, and allegations of sexual misconduct are among the reasons some Eagles players plan to boycott the team’s trip to the White House, if they’re invited at all.” The New York Daily News notes, “The Golden State Warriors were outspoken about Trump’s politics after they won the NBA title last year and their invitation was revoked. Last year, more than two dozen Patriots players, including Tom Brady and current Eagles Chris Long and LeGarrette Blount, did not attend the traditional photo op with the president.” The New York Daily News adds, “Eagles receiver Torrey Smith said ‘plenty of guys’ are planning to skip the trip.”
From The New York Daily News.
“INVISIBLE TEAM”: “OLYMPIC ATHLETES FROM RUSSIA”
Agence France Presse reports, “There is a grey door at the Pyeongchang Winter Games media centre with a sign reading ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia’, but it is rarely open and inside there are no Russian flags or colours. It is a fitting metaphor for the country’s participation in South Korea, where the Russian team is suspended over a doping scandal but 167 of its competitors deemed to be drug-free will take part as ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia’.” Less you are unawares, Olympics is a centerpiece of Russian state propaganda dating back to Soviet times. Sport is very useful for the making of propaganda. Agence France Presse recalls, “Russia was suspended from the Games in December over its systemic doping programme, fined $15 million and its former sports minister, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, was banned for life. Nevertheless, Russians will still make up one of the largest contingents in Pyeongchang, albeit under a neutral flag — which means standing to the Olympic anthem if they win gold, and a strict absence of Russian colours. Under stringent conditions imposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), no white-blue-red Russian tricolours can flutter anywhere in public — not even from apartments in the athletes’ village.” The rules governing Russian participation are wild and the Russian mafia state will no doubt feel an insult to their imagined dignity. Agence France Presse reports, “Even if a spectator hands them a Russian flag, they must refuse it. Competitors can hang Russian flags on their bedroom walls, as long as they are out of general sight. Other rules govern what the Russian competitors can wear, even when training or in casual gear. For instance, they are not allowed to wear any combination of clothing that would create the Russian tricolour — for example white T-shirt, blue trousers and red footwear.” However, Agence France Presse notes, “The Russians do, however, have a strong incentive to comply with the rules: the IOC is considering lifting Russia’s suspension in time for the closing ceremony on February 25.”
From Agence France Presse.
YET MORE REASON TO AVOID UBER
Reuters reports, “Uber and Russia’s Yandex have completed a deal to combine their ride-sharing businesses in Russia and neighboring countries, Yandex said on Wednesday. Uber and Yandex, often referred to as the ‘Google of Russia’, announced plans last year to combine operations in 127 cities in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan.” You know if you read TRUMPISTAN WATCH what Russia likes to do with data and how closely all sectors of the economy are to the Russian mafia state. Now you have more reason to avoid riding with a company former CEO Travis Kalanick once called “Boober” in an infamous joke because he thought he was a high flying baller and not, you know, just an awful douche, especially if you plan on requiring a ride in a city in any of the aforementioned countries.
*NEW* MERCH: TRUMPISTAN WATCH shop.
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