—–ON THE AGENDA—–
NEW SANCTIONS (POSSIBLY MORE FAKE) TO BE IMPOSED TODAY
NBC News reports, “The U.S. is expected to impose its most aggressive sanctions yet on Russian oligarchs Friday, likely targeting people with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin”. NBC News peculiarly cautions, “officials did not provide names of any of the targeted individuals or the number. One former senior U.S. intelligence official said, ‘Some of the names will be very familiar, but they may not be the right names.’” As noted by an American official speaking to NBC News, “the delay in initiating sanctions against the oligarchs responsible for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election has muted their effect,” and, “the oligarchs have had a year to restructure their U.S. holdings.”
From NBC News.
ACTIVE MEASURES: TRUMP’S NEEDLESS TRADE WAR
POLITICO reports, “President Donald Trump once again ratcheted up the tension in his ongoing trade dispute with China on Thursday, threatening to slap tariffs on an additional $100 billion in imports from one of the United States’ largest trading partners.” Recall the goal of active measures is to capture the state: foreign policy, defense and the economy. As POLITICO notes, “These tariffs would come on top of separate duties on $50 billion in U.S. imports of Chinese products like motor vehicles and home appliances that the administration announced earlier this week. China had responded to that announcement by releasing its own list of products worth roughly the same amount that it will target with duties if the Trump administration moves forward with the president’s course of action. That list of more than 100 items was heavy on agricultural commodities, especially soybeans,” meaning farmers in my state, many of whom voted for Trump, will hurt badly. Like an uncomprehending child, POLITICO notes, “Trump said in a statement Thursday evening that he found China’s retaliation ‘unfair,’” adding, “he instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer ‘to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate’”. Because this is the federal government being aimlessly cruel and deciding unilaterally to hurt a bunch of people, “U.S. markets reacted negatively on the news with the Dow Jones Industrial Average showing an implied open down more than 400 points.” And of course, “It is unclear how the U.S. Department of Agriculture will alleviate the pressure on American farmers.”
TRUMP ON RECORD FOR FIRST TIME ABOUT STORMY DANIELS
Bloomberg reports, “President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t know about a payment his attorney made to the adult-film actress known as Stormy Daniels in exchange for remaining silent about an alleged sexual encounter.” Aboard Air Force One, Trump told reporters, “You have to ask Michael Cohen”. Bloomberg notes, “Cohen has said he paid Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket weeks before the 2016 election”. The Washington Post notes, “David Super, a professor of contract law at Georgetown University, said the president’s comments ‘largely destroy’ his own argument that the nondisclosure agreement with Daniels is valid. The agreement required Trump to make certain commitments which he could not make if he was unaware of the payment.” The fake president, the porn star and the payment: the scandal that America actually cares about continues.
MUELLER HAS EVIDENCE TO CONTRADICT ERIK PRINCE TESTIMONY
ABC News reports, “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has obtained evidence that calls into question Congressional testimony given by Trump supporter and Blackwater founder Erik Prince last year, when he described a meeting in Seychelles with a Russian financier close to Vladimir Putin as a casual chance encounter ‘over a beer’”. ABC News adds, “Well-connected Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, a key witness given limited immunity by Mueller, has been interviewed seven times by prosecutors on a wide range of subjects. He told investigators that he set up a meeting in the Seychelles between Prince and Russian sovereign wealth fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev, mere days before Trump was inaugurated”.
From ABC News.
CONGRESS INVESTIGATING WHETHER RUSSIA GOT FARABOOK DATA
Reuters reports, “Investigators on two congressional panels are looking into whether Russia acquired the data of millions of Facebook users and if companies with ties to then-2016 Republican election candidate Donald Trump’s campaign played any role in providing it”. Reuters adds, “Among the issues investigators on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are digging into are whether IRA and other Russian organizations used any Facebook data,” and, “whether the use of such data had any impact on the U.S. election, and how much Facebook data may have been acquired by Russian entities.”
DARKNESS AT NUNES INTERFERENCE RUNNING MISSION NOT OVER YET!
POLITICO reports, “The House Intelligence Committee may have concluded its Russia investigation, but the panel’s Republican chairman, Devin Nunes, is not finished grilling the FBI over its probe into Kremlin election meddling.” Of course not! He is an active measure, a cancer as aggressive as the Russian mafia state, so why should he stop now? POLITICO adds, “In a letter to the Justice Department, Nunes is demanding an unredacted copy of the document that initiated the FBI’s investigation of links between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign. In the letter, provided Wednesday to the Washington Examiner, Nunes threatens to exhaust ‘all appropriate legal remedies,’ including civil action in federal court, if the agency does not provide the document by April 11. The document in question describes information provided to the FBI by an Australian diplomat after a conversation with Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos in April 2016.” POLITICO notes, “In his letter, Nunes complains that the FBI has provided Congress with only a heavily redacted version of the document, based on ‘its supposed sensitivity.’”
WIKILEAKS’ J-ASS MOVED ON HILLARY’S EMAILS LIKE A BITCH
BuzzFeed reports, “Twitter DMs obtained by BuzzFeed News show that in the summer of 2016, WikiLeaks was working to obtain files from Guccifer 2.0, an online hacktivist persona linked to by Russian military intelligence, the clearest evidence to date of WikiLeaks admitting its pursuit of Guccifer 2.0.” Talk about pussy grabs back! BuzzFeed notes, “WikiLeaks had mentioned Guccifer 2.0 a single time before, tweeting in June 2016 — five weeks before it released its first dump of Democratic National Committee emails — that the persona had claimed it gave WikiLeaks DNC emails.” He just let them do it! BuzzFeed notes, “But by the time of the DM conversation with Best, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had shifted the story of how WikiLeaks acquired those emails, giving repeated TV interviews that floated Seth Rich, a Democratic staffer who had been murdered in what police concluded was a botched robbery, as his real source,” probably because he is famous, they just let him. BuzzFeed notes, “The messages between Assange and [Emma] Best, a freelance national security journalist and online archivist, are the starkest proof yet that Assange knew a likely Russian government hacker had the Democrat leaks he wanted. And they reveal the deliberate bad faith with which Assange fed the groundless claims that Rich was his source, even as he knew the documents’ origin.”
YULIA SKRIPAL GIVES FIRST STATEMENT AFTER BEING POISONED
CNN reports, “Yulia Skripal, daughter of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, has spoken publicly for the first time since the pair were poisoned with a nerve agent, saying she regained consciousness over a week ago. The 33-year-old thanked hospital staff in Salisbury, the English city where the attack took place on March 4, and said she was recovering well.” Skripal said in a statement released on her behalf by the police, “I woke up over a week ago now and am glad to say my strength is growing daily. I am grateful for the interest in me and for the many messages of goodwill that I have received”. CNN wryly notes, “Yulia Skripal has so far declined the Russian Embassy’s offer of consular assistance following the attack, the UK Foreign Office said Thursday”. Yulia, you do not want to meet with your would-be assassins?
SHIT DMITRY PESKOV SAYS: THERE ARE NO OLIGARCHS IN RUSSIA
The Moscow Times reports, “The Kremlin has said that Russia has no oligarchs, following reports that the U.S. is preparing to enact a new wave of sanctions against Russian tycoons.” Peskov is quoted, “We deem the phrase ‘Russian oligarchs’ inappropriate. It’s been a long time since Russia had oligarchs. There are no oligarchs in Russia,” which is effectively true, there is only Kremlin scum elites, thugs or Neanderthals in fancy Brioni suits wearing watches that cost more than an American college education, and their idiot princeling kids. What remains of the true oligarchs, those who haven’t been killed off or otherwise seen their fortunes dwindle through bureaucratic maneuvers, are being sidelined now, such as Oleg Deripaska. Translation: the siloviki rule and they want everyone else to drool – or worse.
From The Moscow Times.
OLEG DERIPASKA’S ESCORT CHARGED WITH PROSTITUTION IN THAILAND
CNN reports, “A self-styled sex coach who claims to have insider knowledge of Moscow’s attempts to meddle in the US election has been charged with prostitution in Thailand.” CNN recalls, “Anastasia Vashukevich made headlines last month when she publicly asked the United States to help free her from a Thai detention center in exchange for information on alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.” CNN notes, “If found guilty, she could face two to six years in prison and a fine of up to 40,000 baht ($1,280). Vashukevich has not yet appeared in court in relation to the charge so has not entered a plea.” CNN adds, “Vashukevich claims to be the former mistress of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, an ex-business associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.”
FINNS APPROVE NORDSTREAM2, PIPELINE THAT WILL FUCK EURO SECURITY
Reuters reports, “Finland has approved the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline through Finland’s economic zone, the Finnish government and Russian gas exporter Gazprom said on Thursday. The pipeline between Russia and Germany, which would run for around 375 kilometers across Finland’s economic zone through the Baltic Sea, still requires a construction permit from local Finnish authorities.” Reuters notes, “Germany has approved the pipeline and the project is currently collecting permits from Russia, Sweden and Denmark. Late last year, Denmark passed a law that could allow it to ban the pipeline from going through its waters.” Therein pretty much lies the only hope for a secure twenty-first century in Europe.
CNN reports, “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors revealed Thursday night that they’re using information related to the searches of Paul Manafort’s belongings for their ongoing investigation, according to documents they filed with the court in his case. The office even used a warrant from March 9 to get information related to five AT&T phone numbers — and that search involves information related to ‘ongoing investigations that are not the subject of either of the current prosecutions involving Manafort,’ according to the new special counsel filings.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
ALL THE FAKE RUSSIAN BULLSHIT PRESIDENT’S POST-SOVIET OLIGARCHS
The New York Daily News reports, “President Trump says he surrounds himself with the best people, though the cast of characters around him and his campaign has also included a very particular subset, post-Soviet oligarchs.” So The New York Daily News presents some of the fake Russian bullshit president’s oligarchs:
– The Agalarovs: “Some of Trump’s deepest reported ties,” the Agalarovs are father-and-son Azerbaijani-Russian. The “pop star son Emin met Trump in 2013 while filming a music video with Miss Universe Olivia Culpo,” which, “later blossomed into Trump hosting the contest in Moscow at the end of that year.” Furthermore, “The Agalarovs, who control a real estate empire in Russia, were in talks with their American counterpart to help build a Trump Tower in Moscow, though the deal never went through. Talks between the Agalarovs and the Trumps continued, however, with a reported meeting at Trump Tower in New York five months before the future President launched his campaign as well as Emin Agalarov telling a Russian outlet that he ‘constantly corresponds’ with the Trump children.” Then of course, “Emin’s publicist, Robert Goldstone, also led lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and others to Trump Tower in June 2016 after he promised Donald Trump Jr. dirt on Hillary Clinton”. Emin was married to the daughter of the president of Azerbaijan and was the subject of a fake ironic crush TRUMPISTAN WATCH maintained for years starting at least five years before anyone in America had ever heard of him. That’s right, TRUMPISTAN WATCH fake-liked Emin before he was cool. “Miss America” was even a ringtone for a time. So you can imagine the real emotions.
– Kazakh fugitives: “Kazakh billionaire fugitives Mukhtar Ablyazov and Viktor Khrapunov” are “former banking and government officials in their home country” who “ have been accused of stealing billions of dollars and then stashing it around the world in an elaborate money-laundering scheme involving their children, who are a couple. Ablyazov, who says he is being politically persecuted, was convicted in absentia in Kazakhstan and is currently living in France after a failed extradition attempt. Khrapunov is also exiled in Switzerland”. As Trump investors, “Companies believed to be under their control also bought more than $3 million in apartments at Trump SoHo, the now defunct project that was also the source of a lawsuit over alleged lies told by Ivanka Trump about the number of units sold.” Trump SoHo involved Felix Sater who “played a role in another Ablyazov-Khrapunov deal, helping broker an investment into a Cincinnati mall.”
– Oleg Deripaska: Deripaska “has connections both to Putin and the Trump campaign. The billionaire formerly has worked closely with Paul Manafort,” and “Emails in the Russia investigation show that Manafort offered briefings to an unnamed person believed to be Deripaska when he entered the campaign”. Of course, “the Russian’s name has also surfaced in the swirling scandal around Nastya Rybka, an Instagram model whose social media posts showed her, Deripaska and a deputy prime minister on a yacht off the coast of Norway before the 2016 election.”
– Dmitry Rybolovlev: “Trump in 2008 also sold a $95 million mansion to Dmitry Rybolovlev,” which, “raised eyebrows with the purchase by paying $13 million more than the highest amount paid for any nearby homes”.
The list is clearly drawing a distinction, needless as it is, between oligarchs and mobsters, but suppose the line could be drawn by who gets sanctions and who gets a rap sheet.
From The New York Daily News.
TRUMP’S LAWYER ASKS FOR STAY IN SUMMER ZERVOS CASE
CNN reports, “President Donald Trump’s attorney in a defamation case with a former ‘Apprentice’ contestant is asking a judge for an interim stay pending appeal, which would temporarily suspend the case until the appeal has been decided.” CNN recalls, “The lawsuit was filed by Summer Zervos in January 2017 and alleges Trump defamed her after she accused him in an October 2016 news conference of sexually assaulting her in 2007.” CNN notes, “The move was expected, and Zervos’ legal team plans to fight it.”
ROBERT MERCER SPENT $2 MILLION ON ELECTION TIME ANTI-MUSLIM HATE
The New York Daily News reports, “Robert Mercer, President Trump’s billionaire buddy, spent $2 million to help fund anti-Muslim ads targeting voters in swing states in the months before the 2016 election, according to a report released Thursday. The promos, which ran for select voters on Google and Facebook, were made to look like travel ads.” The New York Daily News notes, “The video, titled ‘Welcome to the Islamic States of America,’ featured the ‘Hollywood’ sign replaced with the phrase ‘Allahu Akbar’ and the Statue of Liberty wearing a burka.” The New York Daily News notes, “The ads do not mention any candidates by name, but Trump campaigned on banning Muslims from the U.S. Once in the White house he surrounded himself with aides who have track records of Islamophobia.” The Washington Post breaks down all the various Super PACs and Trump-bolstering causes Mercer gave to in 2016 and ballparks his total spending based on the same report as over $20 million. This is where all the money is, folks, in the lies and bullshit and public relations; journalism and the truth have ceased to have value according to our much vaunted free and open markets. The problem is this stuff kills.
MOSCOW MAYOR’S OFFICE SWEPT UP IN FARABOOK’S TROLL PURGE
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “It appears the Moscow mayor’s office may have been swept up in Facebook’s purge this week of accounts linked to a notorious Russian ‘troll factory’ accused of meddling in U.S. politics. The Facebook page of Moscow City Hall’s economic-policy department was removed without explanation on April 4”. Curiously, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds, “Facebook did not comment specifically on the Moscow City Hall page in question. But a spokesman for the company, Jan Sciegienny, told RFE/RL in an e-mail that some of the removed accounts ‘were administrators of several pages, and therefore when the accounts were removed, this affected the pages they were admins of.’” So maybe there is some administrative connection?
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
RUSSIAN GULAG HISTORIAN ACQUITED ON CHILD PORN CHARGES
The New York Times reports, “A Russian historian of the Soviet forced labor camps known as the Gulag, whose work ran counter to official contemporary narratives that play down the crimes of the Stalin era, was acquitted on Thursday of child pornography charges, which human rights groups said had been trumped up for political reasons. The historian, Yuri A. Dmitriev, gained renown in 1997 for discovering the remains of more than 9,000 victims of Stalinist purges buried in communal pits in Sandarmokh, a forest in northwestern Russia.” The New York Times notes, “Mr. Dmitriev has devoted the past 30 years to searching for such mass graves together with colleagues from Memorial, one of Russia’s oldest and most respected human rights organizations. Mr. Dmitriev serves as the regional director of Memorial in Karelia, a region in northwestern Russia bordering Finland.” The New York Times adds, “Pro-government news outlets have run articles suggesting that Mr. Dmitriev’s grim discovery of masses of decaying bones could have been the site of executions of Soviet Army soldiers by Finns during the so-called Winter War with Finland that began in 1939, though most historians say that is unlikely. Mr. Dmitriev’s research was not on trial but formed a backdrop for his case.” Read more about him and his case for a world of insight into how deranged the so-called “modern” Russian state is. Then, if you are American or otherwise optimistic, retune your cynical impulses to match the new tenor of the times, where Trumpistan is a nearly completely captive nation of a neo-Stalinist Putinist Russia. Never say, “It cannot happen here,” because it can and it is.
From The New York Times.
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