—–ON THE AGENDA—–
SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE TO VOTE ON POMPEO AS SECSTATE
NBC News reports, “CIA Director Mike Pompeo starts off a crucial week in his journey to Senate confirmation as secretary of state facing a Monday committee vote that’s likely to be an unfavorable one, and a razor-thin margin of support in the full chamber. All Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as committee member Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., have announced their opposition to Pompeo’s nomination. If all stick to that position at Monday’s 5 p.m. ET vote, the nomination will not have enough support to be reported favorably to the full Senate.” Reuters adds, “Despite that lack of support at the committee level, Republican and Democratic leadership aides say that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., can still bring up his nomination for a floor vote and is expected to do so later in the week — regardless of the committee vote — after jumping over some procedural hurdles.”
From NBC News.
TRUMP + PUTIN DISCUSS POSSIBILITY OF BROFEST VISITS
The AP reports Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin discussed the possibility of visiting each other’s country when the U.S. president rang up Russian counterpart last month to congratulate him on his re-election.” Horror of horrors, “Lavrov that Trump indicated he could make a reciprocal trip to Russia if Putin were able to accept his invitation to the White House.” Was it not enough to let Lavrov and former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak into the Oval Office for Trump to show he is insufficiently loyal to the former USA? The AP notes, “Lavrov says the Trump administration hasn’t followed up on the offer and Russia has urged the U.S. to discuss specifics about such a meeting.”
From the AP.
PRIVATE RUSSIAN SESSIONS TELLS WH: HERE I STAND WITH ROSENSTEIN
The Washington Post reports, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently told the White House he might have to leave his job if President Trump fired his deputy, Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election”. The Washington Post adds, “Sessions made his position known in a phone call to White House counsel Donald McGahn last weekend, as Trump’s fury at Rosenstein peaked” because of the April 9 raid on Michael Cohen’s life that Sessions approved.
From The Washington Post.
TRUMP WANTED PRIVATE RUSSIAN SESSIONS TO PURGE FBI SECRET SOCIETY
Vox reports, “President Donald Trump sharply questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray during a White House meeting on January 22 about why two senior FBI officials — Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — were still in their jobs despite allegations made by allies of the president that they had been disloyal to him and had unfairly targeted him and his administration”. Vox adds, “The president also pressed his attorney general and FBI director to work more aggressively to uncover derogatory information within the FBI’s files to turn over to congressional Republicans working to discredit the two FBI officials”. Vox notes, “The very next day, Trump met Sessions again, this time without Wray present, and even more aggressively advocated that Strzok and Page be fired,” adding, “The effort to discredit Strzok and Page has been part of a broader effort by Trump and his allies to discredit and even fire FBI officials who they believe will be damaging witnesses against the president in Mueller’s obstruction of justice probe.” Of course, “The narrative of a ‘deep state’ conspiracy against the White House by government workers has at times centered on some missing text messages between Strzok and Page,” because they have little else to run with.
DNC SUES RUSSIA, TRUMP + WIKILEAKS OVER 2016 ELECTION FRAUD
The Guardian reports, “The Democratic National Committee has filed a lawsuit against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, alleging a widespread conspiracy to help swing the 2016 US presidential election. The multimillion-dollar lawsuit was filed on Friday in federal court in the southern district of New York. The complaint asserts that senior officials within Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government in an attempt to damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and seeks damages for the hacking of DNC’s servers.” Why not make this a class action involving the American people and everyone who has been made to fear for their families or safety because of the monster orange Russian bullshit’s racist politics and policies? The Guardian notes, “Named as defendants are the president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr; son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner; former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates; and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. It also names WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Roger Stone, a longtime Trump confidant who communicated with WikiLeaks”. Additionally, “Among the Russians named as defendants are Aras and Emin Agalarov, a billionaire family referenced as potential conduits between the Trump campaign and Moscow in the explosive email chain involving Trump Jr that preceded the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower.” The Washington Post adds, “‘During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,’ DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement. ‘This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: the campaign of a nominee for President of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency,’ he said.” Treachery sounds like treason, so that word was purposefully well chosen. The Washington Post adds, “The lawsuit echoes a similar legal tactic that the Democratic Party used during the Watergate scandal. In 1972, the DNC sued President Richard Nixon’s reelection committee seeking $1 million in damages for the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.” Say why is it the same party having the same issue again but on steroids, only now the party acts like a mafia death cult? Wait it’s also nothing really like Watergate. Of course “If allowed to proceed, the lawsuit would give the Democrats a chance to seek internal documents and testimony from the Trump campaign to help them learn more about interactions with Russia during the race,” so bring on the discovery already!
JOHN BOLTON NAMES A DEPUTY: MIRA RICARDEL
The Washington Post reports, “John Bolton, the new national security adviser to President Trump, is moving quickly to shape his team, naming a top Commerce Department official, Mira R. Ricardel, as his deputy on Friday, the White House announced. Ricardel previously worked at Boeing and also worked at the Pentagon in the George W. Bush administration, and she ran Trump’s transition team at the Defense Department.” The Washington Post adds, “some news reports suggested that Ricardel clashed with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis over high-level personnel decisions that left key jobs vacant for months. The delay in filling senior positions, as Mattis sought to bring in trusted staff, slowed the department’s ability to make decisions and hindered the ability of the Pentagon’s civilian staff to shape policy”.
From The Washington Post.
TREASURY SHILL MNUCHIN MEETS RUSSIAN COUNTERPARTS
CNN reports, “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with his Russian counterpart this week to help clarify questions on recently imposed US sanctions. The US finance chief told reporters on Saturday that he agreed to ‘accommodate’ a meeting request with Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov on Friday, which he described as a ‘small bilat.’” Russian state-run Tass reports the meeting was “on the sidelines of the spring session of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington”.
DEM SENATOR TO FTC: CHECK OUT THINK PUNK ASS LUBYANKA SHIT
The Hill reports, “Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) in a letter Friday urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look at ways to limit Facebook’s sharing of consumer data. Blumenthal provided the FTC with the user agreement from the app ‘This is Your Digital Life,’ through which consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was able to improperly harvest the data of 87 million Facebook users.” That’s Cambridge University’s very own Alexander Kogan, a frequent flyer to Mother Russia with your stolen data! The Hill adds, “Blumenthal urged regulators to consider the information from the agreement in the FTC’s probe into whether Facebook violated a 2011 consent decree on privacy.” The Hill notes, “The app allowed Global Science Research to collect data, which was later provided to Cambridge Analytica, the British research firm hired by the Trump campaign.” The Hill adds, “He also provided a letter from a former Facebook employee raising questions about the company’s handling of user data. The letter from former employee Sandy Parakilas was sent to his office. Parakilas, who led third-party advertising, privacy and policy compliance at Facebook, explained that he had raised concerns about how Facebook handled user data to other employees. He alleges those concerns were ignored.” The Hill notes, “Blumenthal encouraged the FTC to clamp down on Facebook’s broad abilities to access and internally transfer user data.” Now for the juicy bit: “If the FTC finds that Facebook broke the rules that it agreed to in 2011, the social media company could see record fines totaling over $1 billion.” Bring. It. On.
From The Hill.
ALEKSANDR KOGAN DEFENDS HIS PUNK ASS LUBYANKA SHIT
CBS News flagship “60 Minutes” program spoke with Aleksandr Kogan, who is “implicated in the biggest privacy scandal on Earth,” and notes, “Kogan seems incongruously guileless.” Kogan “asked Facebook users to take a survey he designed from which he built psychological profiles meant to predict their behavior. He failed to disclose that what he was really after was access to their friends, tens of millions of people he could not otherwise reach easily. And that he was doing the survey for Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, that used the material to influence people on how to vote.” And he was also travelling to Russia a lot, which is not mentioned by “60 Minutes”. Kogan claims the ability to mine the data of friends who took his quiz “was a feature, not a bug” of FARAbook for years, something a former FARAbook employee, Sandy Parakilas confirms to the TV news magazine. Over the weekend, BuzzFeed reports Kogan told the publication, “I am not a Russian spy,” and he also noted how in bed he was with FARAbook for years. BuzzFeed notes, “Besides coauthoring a research paper on data that was provided to him by Facebook, Kogan made several visits since 2013 to its Menlo Park, California, campus where he gave talks to employees about behavioral psychology and served as a paid consultant for a week in November 2015. He worked on ‘at least 10’ papers with Facebook’s Pete Fleming, who is now the head of research at Instagram, the company’s photo-sharing platform, while Joseph Chancellor, his cofounder and equal partner at Global Science Research (GSR), the company that harvested the ill-gotten Cambridge Analytica data, has worked at Facebook since late 2015. Kogan also said Chancellor informed Facebook about his work at GSR while interviewing for a position at the company in 2015.” Kogan does not hesitate to call Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie “Russophobic” to BuzzFeed, suggesting that no matter how he distances himself he sounds and acts like Lubyanka shit.
SEAN HANNITY’S WORTH MILLIONS IN REAL ESTATE
The Guardian reports, “When Sean Hannity was named in court this week as a client of Donald Trump’s embattled legal fixer Michael Cohen, the Fox News host insisted their discussions had been limited to the subject of buying property.” The Guardian adds, “Hannity’s chosen investment strategy is confirmed by thousands of pages of public records”. The Guardian reports, “The records link Hannity to a group of shell companies that spent at least $90m on more than 870 homes in seven states over the past decade. The properties range from luxurious mansions to rentals for low-income families. Hannity is the hidden owner behind some of the shell companies and his attorney did not dispute that he owns all of them. Dozens of the properties were bought at a discount in 2013, after banks foreclosed on their previous owners for defaulting on mortgages.” The Guardian notes, “Hannity, 56, also amassed part of his property collection with support from the US Department for Housing and Urban Development (Hud), a fact he did not disclose when praising Ben Carson, the Hud secretary, on his television show last year.” The Guardian adds, “The real estate holdings linked to Hannity are spread across more than 20 shell companies formed in Georgia. Each of the companies uses a variant of the same name, which combines the initials of Hannity’s children. Public records show the companies have bought up dozens of properties in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont.” The Guardian notes, “The shell companies used to buy the properties are registered to the offices of Henssler Financial, a wealth management firm outside Atlanta. Bill Lako, a principal at the firm, has appeared on Hannity’s radio show as an expert on money issues.” Now wait until we find out about the financing. Will that road also lead to Russia given how happy Hannity is to tow their line?
From The Guardian.
SUSPECTS IN SKRIPAL POISONING BELIEVED TO BE IN RUSSIA
The New York Times reports, “The British police have identified suspects in the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter, and the suspects are believed to be in Russia, the newspaper The Daily Telegraph has reported”. The New York Times adds, “Investigators have settled on ‘persons of interest’ by scanning passengers on flights in and out of Britain, the newspaper reported. They have also gathered information from surveillance footage in the town of Salisbury, England, where the crime occurred, by zeroing in on car license plates.”
From The New York Times.
THREE KREMLIN PIGS IN A LEGAL BLANKET
CNN reports, “Three Russian oligarchs who’ve previously sued over the publication of the Trump-Russia dossier have opened a new lawsuit in DC’s local court against British agent-turned-researcher Christopher Steele and his company Orbis Business Intelligence Limited.” CNN adds, “The claim, filed more than a year after the publication of the dossier that Steele wrote, alleges that its contents defamed Russian billionaires Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan. None of the parties in the lawsuit are based in DC, meaning it may not be able to move forward in that court. Together, the three Russian men own stakes in Alfa Bank, the Russian bank that the dossier said assisted Russian operatives and Russian President Vladimir Putin in attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election and other allegedly criminal acts.” Funny how they cry to our courts and fall back on rule of law to redress their grievances in the West, isn’t it?
TWITTER BANS ADS FROM KASPERSKY LAB
Reuters reports, “Twitter Inc said on Friday that it has banned ads from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, saying the cyber-security company’s business model conflicts with advertising rules and citing U.S. government claims that Kaspersky has ties to Russian intelligence agencies.” Reuters notes, “The ban follows charges by Washington that Kaspersky Lab has close ties to intelligence agencies in Moscow and its software could be used to enable Russian spying, which prompted the Trump administration to ban its products from U.S. government networks.” Reuters adds, “Kaspersky said in an email that Twitter was the only social media company to ban its ads. But other social media companies have taken action regarding Kaspersky Lab. Facebook Inc in January said it had removed Kaspersky Lab from a list of anti-virus offerings to users.”
GOOGLE BLOCKED IN RUSSIA
The Moscow Times reports, “Russian users are experiencing difficulty accessing Google services such as Gmail and YouTube after authorities blacklisted some of the tech giant’s IP addresses,” in an effort to block Telegram, the free messaging app developed in Russia.
From The Moscow Times.
NOBODY LOVES VOVA NOT EVEN THE STATE-RUN POLLSTERS
The Moscow Times reports, “The trust that Russians have for President Vladimir Putin has dropped to below 50 percent since his election victory last month, according to a weekly state-run poll.” On the eve of his May 5 permanent coronation ceremony, The Moscow Times pleasantly delights us all with the knowledge that, “The state-run VTsIOM pollster registered Putin’s trust levels dropping from a high of 58.9 percent on January 21 to 48.4 percent on April 15.” In Russia, that’s in the gutter because even that number is fake! Oh, how delicious! The Moscow Times adds, “The poll asked respondents to name politicians who they would ‘trust with important governmental questions.’ Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ranked second and third in the list of most trusted politicians with 19 percent and 18 percent respectively.” Both have quasi-ceremonial roles and ostensibly do not represent the KGB successor organizations.
From The Moscow Times.
RUSSIAN COMPANIES HIT BY SANCTIONS WANT $1.6 BILLION FROM STATE
Bloomberg reports, “Russian companies hit by the latest round of U.S. sanctions asked the government for about 100 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) in support, according to the country’s top finance official.” Sad! Bloomberg adds, “The government is creating a department within a ministry that will liaise with the sanctioned businesses, study their challenges and draft government proposals, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters Friday.” And then they will be “helped” as opposed to pushed off a bridge? Maybe if you think Russia is somehow not still Russia! Bloomberg notes, “Promsvyazbank, a leading private lender that is being nationalized, could play a role in providing liquidity to sanctioned companies, Siluanov said from Washington, where he’s attending meetings of the International Monetary Fund. The government could also help with state purchases of the companies’ products, such as buses, he added.” Reuters reports, “Assets totalling between $1.5 billion and $2 billion have been frozen as a result of sanctions imposed on Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg and his Renova Group conglomerate”. Sukces!
SHIT LAVROV SAYS: HERE ARE THE RULES OF RECOLONIAL ARMS TRADE
Russian state-run Tass reports, “Russia regards US statements on possible sanctions against Turkey for the purchase of S-400 air defense missile systems as blackmail in favor of American companies, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with his Austrian counterpart Karin Kneissl on Friday.” Of course Lavrov stood beside Austria to blather like this, after all, it is their latest, newest puppet administration. Lavrov whined, “The statement by Mr. Mitchell [US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell] that Ankara risks falling under sanctions if it purchases S-400 systems from Russia, is exactly an example of a blackmailing attempt in the hope that it will be possible to ensure unfair competition for American companies”. As usual Russia tries to pull at whatever flimsy cleavages they can, so Lavrov continued his whining, “NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently stated replying to a similar question that the decision on the S-400 purchase is a national decision by the Turkish Republic,” because that is what he has to say in public. So Lavrov thinks they can lay down the rules of the arms trade at the start of what will someday be called recolonization: “What is important is that certain principles should be observed in this trade, first of all, the non-delivery of destabilizing armaments, the refusal to deliver weapons to non-state entities and that competition should be fair and unblemished and not based on illegally obtained advantages of unilateral sanctions”. Should we go back and reflect on who were early suppliers of ISIS now and ask how they managed to avoid the Syrian army on the battlefield for so long now – or is it best to start with Russian support for the Taliban?
From Russian state-run Tass.
PATRUSHEV: RUSSIA MUST INCREASE OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS
Russian state-run Tass reports, “Moscow needs to enhance the offensive feature of its foreign policy in light of Washington’s actions, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said at a meeting of the Council’s Inter-Agency Commission on Strategic Planning.” In classic Soviet-style fashion, Russian state-run Tass adds, “According to him, there is also the need to improve the efficiency of military and civilian import substitution projects, create conditions for the development of fundamental science, ensure the country’s energy security and advance efforts to strengthen the independence of Russia’s financial system. Patrushev also called for paying particular attention to countering destructive foreign influence aimed at undermining Russia’s spiritual and cultural values, as well as to information security issues.” You can just feel in his mind this is his chance at redoing the events of 1989.
From Russian state-run Tass.
LITHUANIA TO NATO: GIVE US MORE ANTI-AIRCRAFT WEAPONS
Reuters reports, “Lithuania wants the United States to bring more defence systems such as long-range Patriot and short-range Avenger missiles to the Baltics where some fear Russia is more powerful in the air. The country has asked Washington to install the systems more regularly for exercises, arguing NATO needs to know the region well in case of conflict, Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis told Reuters.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
COMEY MEMO REVEAL: PUTIN CALL CAUSED TRUMP TO RAGE AT FLYNN
Business Insider reports, “President Donald Trump questioned the judgment of his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, according to memos written by former FBI Director James Comey that were published Thursday evening. And some of Trump’s ire at Flynn apparently came from a delay in responding to a congratulatory phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Which world leader was redacted when the memos were released but now we know but we should have known because who else is Trump really beholden to? The news was revealed in a paywalled Wall Street Journal Thursday but took a day to trickle out through various media outlets.
From Business Insider.
TRUMP LIED HIS WAY ONTO FORBES 400 RICHEST PEOPLE LIST IN THE 80S
The Washington Post runs a first person account by Jonathon Greenberg who worked on Forbes richest people in the world list in the 1980s. Greenberg writes, “In May 1984, an official from the Trump Organization called to tell me how rich Donald J. Trump was. I was reporting for the Forbes 400, the magazine’s annual ranking of America’s richest people, for the third year. In the previous edition, we’d valued Trump’s holdings at $200 million, only one-fifth of what he claimed to own in our interviews. This time, his aide urged me on the phone, I needed to understand just how loaded Trump really was. The official was John Barron — a name we now know as an alter ego of Trump himself. When I recently rediscovered and listened, for first time since that year, to the tapes I made of this and other phone calls, I was amazed that I didn’t see through the ruse”. Greenberg adds, “it took decades to unwind the elaborate farce Trump had enacted to project an image as one of the richest people in America. Nearly every assertion supporting that claim was untrue. Trump wasn’t just poorer than he said he was. Over time, I have learned that he should not have been on the first three Forbes 400 lists at all. In our first-ever list, in 1982, we included him at $100 million, but Trump was actually worth roughly $5 million,” noting, “my Forbes colleagues and I saw them simply as vain embellishments on the truth. We were so wrong.” Greenberg’s account also involves some colorful in person bullying from Roy Cohn and as usual with Trump, of course over time, “Eventually, nearly every one of Trump’s pronouncements about his wealth unraveled.”
From The Washington Post.
VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE: HALF EX-WIVES CLUB SAYS NO TO TRUMP 2020
The New York Post’s Page Six reports, “‘Donald is going to be 74, 73 for the next [election] and maybe he should just go and play golf and enjoy his fortune,’ the president’s ex-wife [Ivana] said.” The implication is of course that he should not run in 2020. May he resign before then!
LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE
Mother Jones’ David Corn reports, “I was one of the first reporters to see the Steele memos—and the first to report their existence in a piece I published on October 31, eight days before the 2016 election.” Meanwhile in the fall and into the winter of 2016, Cohen “insisted that there had been no trip to Prague and that he had met with no Russians during the campaign,” such as the now infamous Steele dossier had stated. Corn looked back at his notes and since the publication of the Steele dossier by BuzzFeed, Cohen has been steadfast in his denials that no such meeting took place, that he had never been to Prague. Well Cohen told Corn, “I haven’t been to Prague in 14 years. I was in Prague for one afternoon 14 years ago,” which is a rather different story. Similarly, Corn notes, “This discrepancy mirrors one that recently emerged related to Trump’s 2013 visit to Moscow, when he presided over the Miss Universe pageant he then co-owned.” According to an interview with former FBI Director James Comey and his extemporaneous memo from January 28, 2017, Trump denied ever staying overnight in Moscow. Corn reports, “In fact, Trump’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller has told congressional investigators that he escorted Trump to his hotel room that particular night. There is no doubt Trump was in the hotel that evening. Yet he told Comey he wasn’t? That seems odd.”
From Mother Jones.
JUDGE TO DELAY DECISION IN DELAYING STORMY DANIELS CASE
CBS News’ Los Angeles affiliate station reports, “A federal judge told lawyers for President Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen that he needs to file a declaration in court in order to delay a lawsuit filed by porn actress Stormy Daniels aimed at dissolving a confidentiality agreement that prevents her from talking about an alleged affair with Trump. Judge S. James Otero said Cohen needs to file a statement declaring that his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination might be jeopardized if the case filed in Los Angeles goes forward,” noting, “he gave Cohen until next Wednesday to do so.”
JAMES MATTIS, LAST PATRIOT STANDING
The New Yorker reports on how James Mattis emerged as the last patriot standing in the cabinet. Mistakenly referring to him as the “peacenik” in the context of this administration, The New Yorker rehashes some familiar ground on how “Mattis, Tillerson and McMaster were portrayed in the press as an ‘axis of adults,’ who, together with Kelly, the chief of staff, would serve as steady hands constraining a volatile, inexperienced President.” Interestingly, The New Yorker reports, “McMaster had a falling out with Mattis and Tillerson that was more than just the standard political jockeying over power and access: theirs was a dispute at least in part about Trump himself, and over just how much to accommodate the demands of the capricious, often angry President they had signed up to serve.” Now that he is most recently departed, McMaster gets pushed in front of the bus as The New Yorker reports, “On one side were Mattis, Tillerson, and Kelly, each of whom in varying degrees sought to push back against the President; on the other was McMaster, who made his natural allies furious for what they saw as his habit of trying to accommodate the President’s demands, even if they were far-fetched.” The New Yorker adds, “some of it seems astonishingly petty, much of it remarkably self-defeating. Tillerson, for example, personally distrusted Heather Nauert, the former Fox News anchor the White House sent to be his spokeswoman, so much that he wouldn’t allow her to travel with him despite repeated entreaties; his close advisers believed she was informing on him back to the Trump loyalists out to get the secretary.” The New Yorker notes, “Tillerson told confidants he blamed McMaster and Haley for prodding Trump to finally fire him in an Oval Office meeting the Friday before his unceremonious Monday dumping by tweet. ‘They thought McMaster was behind it, he and Kelly,’ a former State Department official told me. But by this point Kelly had already secretly authorized a search for McMaster replacements. The McMaster side believed Kelly was responsible for Trump’s final turn against him in the days after the Tillerson firing, claiming Kelly unfairly blamed the national-security adviser for the damaging leak of talking points for Trump that warned him ‘do not congratulate’ Russian President Vladimir Putin in a post-election phone call. Days after the firing, I ran into a Trump adviser who had just seen the President and I asked whether the leak to the Washington Post had in fact triggered McMaster’s untimely exit. ‘Well, that was Wednesday,’ the adviser said. ‘He was gone on Thursday.’” The Regina George presidency.
From The New Yorker.
WITH MATTIS AS PATRIOT SHADOW POTUS, HERE IS THE DOUBLE SPEAK…
The Washington Post carries an opinion piece on why citizens in democracies around the globe are turning to their militaries to safeguard democracy and provide political constraints (call it the populist backlash to populism) by Joshua Kurlantzick. The Washington Post notes, “Even in the United States, where there is little threat of a military takeover, Americans have become shockingly tolerant of generals at the highest levels of civilian control,” because one must wonder who everyone imagines is running the country given what state of chaotic disarray the White House is in. Of course if one has any common sense at all, as Kurlantzick clearly does, you know “bringing the men in green to power — or even giving them partial power — further ensures a country’s democratic decline,” because militaries are conditioned around authority, hierarchy and mission objectives whereas democracy is an anarchic tinderbox of competitive policies and politics vying for mass support. One cannot and should not be ordered like the other, but the military – comprised as it is of civilians when not in uniform and not automated death robots – probably mirrors the civilian side of things much more than the civilians would like to imagine. But here is where it gets funny in the Kurlantzick piece as, “countries that have a coup attempt are more likely to have another in the next five years,” but there is no admission that the US had one in the wee hours of November 9, 2016. So, we are due – possibly – for another! So pick out which threshold we have crossed and which we have yet to cross here: “Militaries, emboldened by their elevation in politics, can burrow into political systems while they breed a kind of ‘coup culture’ in their ranks, according to scholar Nicholas Farrelly. In those cases, senior officers teach younger ones that army interventions are okay.” It is ok to disagree amongst yourselves just beware of known unknowns and unknown unknowns! Kurlantzick adds, “There is also no evidence that placing more political power in military hands can promote the rule of law and constitutional liberalism.” The U.S. may differ here from elsewhere only in that the military has actually been years ahead of civilians at times, most notably in terms of racial integration and desegregation (Executive Order 9981 signed by Truman in 1948 versus Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education ruling in May 1954). And the Army also came into existence a year before the republic, so let’s think about what social and political values the army conquered for there to even be a former USA. Most importantly though, “putting hope in the military as a counterforce to illiberal but elected governments creates a dangerous distraction from the real ways citizens can work against illiberal democracy and further undermines civilian rule.”
From The Washington Post.
JOHN BOLTON IS RACIST HUMAN GARBAGE
NBC News reports, “John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, chaired a nonprofit that has promoted misleading and false anti-Muslim news, some of which was amplified by a Russian troll factory”. Oh surprise! Scummy Trumpistani elite backs racist entity backed by Russia is not news anymore in Trumpistan but it must be documented as a pattern of practice. NBC News notes, “The group’s authors also appeared on Russian media, including Sputnik and RT News, criticizing mainstream European leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron.” So one thing about the position of National Security Advisor is your job technically is to protect all Americans, including Muslim Americans, not just the scummy racist garbage that looks like you and the foreign adversary assholes who sound like you. NBC News adds, “From 2013 until last month, Bolton was chairman of the Gatestone Institute, a New York-based advocacy group that warns of a looming ‘jihadist takeover’ of Europe leading to a ‘Great White Death.’” So this is not some useful indiscretion this is an active extra curricular of Muslim bashing our fake National Security Advisor is engaged in. Get him out of here! Lock him up!
From NBC News.
WHO IS JOANNA HENDON, THE NEWEST TRUMP LAWYER IN THE SET?
Business Insider reports, “It came as a surprise to some who know or have worked with Joanna Hendon that she would represent President Donald Trump in the case against his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen. But Hendon, whom they described as ‘fantastic’ and ‘highly competent,’ is up to the task, they said.” Sad! But for true insight into why he hired her: “a former colleague of Hendon’s from the US attorney’s office, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the case, told Business Insider, adding: ‘She’s very smart. She’s good. She knows the office. And she knows Kimba Wood – she’s familiar with the judge.’” Business Insider notes, “A former assistant US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Hendon is a partner at Spears & Imes, a boutique firm focusing on white-collar criminal defence and civil litigation that has a staff of just 14 attorneys, according to its website. The firm is highly regarded, being recognised by JD Journal as one of the top boutique firms in New York City.” It has to be boutique because there is some sort of understanding big firms do not want the dirty after former Skadden, Arps attorney Alex van der Zwaan was sentenced to 30 days in the slammer, years less than he deserved for the blood that was eventually spilled in Ukraine for his role in glossing up the persecution of Viktor Yanukovych’s political adversary Yulia Tymoshenko. Unlike van der Zwaan, Hendon is not known to be connected to any Russian oligarchs through marriage, but give it time maybe a Russian connection will emerge yet as one often seems to.
From Business Insider.
MICHAEL FLYNN SOON TO BECOME HIS OWN ANTIQUE ROAD SHOW
CNN reports, “Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, will campaign in Montana for a Republican Senate candidate ‘very soon,’ the candidate has announced. Troy Downing, an Air Force veteran and one of the four Republicans vying to take on Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in November, announced the news Friday.”
NORWAY PRODUCER TO DECLARE FORCE MAJEURE ON RUSAL CONTRACTS
The Financial Times reports, “Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro said it has notified Russia’s Rusal that it may have to declare force majeure on its contracts with the company due to US sanctions. The action is the latest sign of the fallout on Europe’s aluminium industry from the sanctions against Rusal and its founder Oleg Deripaska, which were announced by the US Treasury on April 6.”
From The Financial Times.
THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE V. DISINFO
NBC News reports, “the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] is now taking on fake news. The agency was originally formed in 1958 in response to the successful — and unexpected — Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite into space.” Talk about mission creep! At DARPA, a “team of researchers is working to create an automated tool to detect manipulations and then provide detailed information about how a photo, video or audio file was altered.” After developing tools to fight digital manipulation, DARPA “hopes to work directly with Silicon Valley tech companies to implement the analytics on their platforms, identifying questionable online content in a matter of seconds.”
From NBC News.
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