NUMBER OF STORIES ABOUT NEWS THAT DOESN’T SUCK: 6
(denoted with a *)
—–ON THE AGENDA—–
TRUMP LEAVES FOR FOUR NATION EURO TOUR + QUISLING HELSINKI SUMMIT
The AP reports, “Trump departs Tuesday on a four-nation tour amid simmering disputes over trade and military spending with fellow Western democracies and speculation about whether he will rebuke or embrace Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Ok who is speculating he will do anything but embrace his master Vova? The AP notes Trump “meets the Russian leader in Helsinki as the finale of a trip with earlier stops in Belgium, England and Scotland.” The AP adds, “Trump is expected to continue to press NATO nations to fulfill their commitments to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024. Trump has argued that countries not paying their fair share are freeloading off the U.S. and has threatened to stop protecting those he feels pay too little.”
From the AP.
* FLYNN IS IN COURT OVER SENTENCING MATTERS
CNN reports, “Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the only former Trump administration official so far charged in the Russia investigation, will be in court Tuesday for a procedural hearing about his sentencing — his first court appearance since he admitted that he lied to investigators seven months ago.” CNN adds, “Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan last week ordered Flynn and the prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller back to court to hash out some details regarding Flynn’s sentencing. He pleaded guilty in December to lying to the FBI, but his sentencing has been delayed while he aided the Mueller probe.”
TRUMP’S SCOTUS PICK BRETT KAVANAUGH MOST LIKELY TO PROTECT HIM
The Committee to Investigate Russia reports, “Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, explained very simply via Twitter Monday night why the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is his best bet for possible exoneration in the Russia investigation should critical matters reach the highest court in the land.” Schiff tweeted, “Ever mindful of his self-interest, Trump has picked Brett Kavanaugh, who once wrote that he didn’t believe a sitting President should be subject to criminal investigation or prosecution. Kavanaugh could be deciding vote on legal challenges to the Mueller investigation.” The Committee to Investigate Russia notes, “CNN confirmed earlier Monday the president’s Supreme Court nomination team was aware of where Kavanaugh stood on a possible Trump indictment.” POLITICO notes, “He also worked for independent counsel Kenneth Starr, whose investigation led to the eventual impeachment of President Bill Clinton,” which is helpful when your entire governance strategy is “owning the libs”.
TRUMP CALLED HIS OWN STAFF “STUPID PEOPLE” IN CALL TO PUTIN
The New York Times reports, “During a phone call with Mr. Putin in March, when the president was urged by aides not to congratulate the Russian president on his electoral victory, Mr. Trump did just that. He told Mr. Putin that Russia and the United States should get along better. And he commiserated with Mr. Putin over Trump administration officials whom the Russian president said had tried to prevent the call from happening”. The New York Times adds, “‘Those are stupid people; you shouldn’t listen to them,’ Mr. Trump told Mr. Putin, the person said.” Stupid is the new “best people”.
From The New York Times.
* BORIS JOHNSON RESIGNS, THROWS UK GOVERNMENT + BREXIT INTO CHAOS
The Washington Post reports, “Prime Minister Theresa May struggled Monday to keep her government from imploding after the resignations of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a tousle-haired frontman for Britain’s campaign to leave the European Union, and David Davis, her once-loyal ‘Brexit minister’ in charge of negotiating the country’s split from the bloc.” The Washington Post adds, “As May prepares to meet this week with President Trump in his first official visit to Britain, hard-line Brexiteers are openly debating a no-confidence vote that could sweep her from power.” To think this country was a great power two generations ago. Well look at it now, we are on the same trajectory and will become such a sad place much sooner than it took the Brits. The Washington Post notes, “May replaced Johnson on Monday with Jeremy Hunt, formerly the health secretary, who successfully secured a big bump in spending for the underfunded National Health Service. Hunt campaigned to remain in the E.U. but later said he had changed his mind. May named as Davis’s successor 44-year-old Dominic Raab, a leading pro-Brexit campaigner who served as her housing minister.”
From The Washington Post.
NOVICHOK INQUIRY SPREADS TO TOWN 40KM AWAY
The Guardian reports, “The investigation into the nerve agent poisoning that has left one woman dead and her partner critically ill has spread to another site, 40 miles from Salisbury.” The Guardian adds, “A car was seized from a residential street in Swindon on Monday evening after the death of Dawn Sturgess, who fell ill with her partner, Charlie Rowley. Detectives believe the pair handled a container contaminated by novichok, believed to be from the same batch used in March’s attempted killing of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March.” The Guardian notes, “Military personnel wearing gloves and gas masks were seen wrapping a white Audi in plastic, loading it on to a lorry and taking it away.”
From The Guardian.
* GIULIANI REVERSES COURSE ON TRUMP TELLING COMEY TO LAY OFF FLYNN
CNN reports, “Rudy Giuliani seemed to confirm on ABC’s ‘This Week’ Sunday that President Donald Trump actually did ask former FBI Director James Comey to drop the probe into ex-White House national security adviser Michael Flynn despite Trump’s previous denials that he said anything of the sort.”
OWNED: BILL SHINE WILL BE IN HELSINKI
POLITICO reports, “White House communications director Bill Shine will be part of the West Wing delegation traveling to Helsinki next week to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin”. POLITICO adds, “Among others aboard Air Force One for the trip, along with Shine and Kelly: deputy chief of staff Zach Fuentes; national security adviser John Bolton and his chief of staff, Fred Fleitz; policy adviser Stephen Miller; social media director Dan Scavino; press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders; and first lady Melania Trump and her staffers Lindsay Reynolds and Stephanie Grisham. Son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump, who have played prominent roles on the president’s foreign trips in the past, are not traveling with Trump to Helsinki.”
DEATH CULT GOP CODEL MET WITH 2 SANCTIONED RUSSIANS IN MOSCOW
BuzzFeed News reports, “In their Moscow meetings with members of Russia’s parliament last week, an all-Republican delegation of US members of Congress met with at least two individuals currently sanctioned by the United States.” BuzzFeed adds, “In a meeting with the Duma, parliament’s lower house, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama reportedly told Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, ‘I’m not here today to accuse Russia of this or that or so forth. I’m saying that we should all strive for a better relationship.’ Volodin has been sanctioned since 2014 for Russia’s ‘illegitimate and unlawful’ activities in Ukraine. In their meeting with the Federation Council, parliament’s upper house, the group listened as Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Konstantin Kosachev complained about the latest round of sanctions against Russian individuals. Kosachev was sanctioned in April over alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and ‘malign activity.’” BuzzFeed notes, “US law does not prohibit US officials from meeting with individuals who’ve been sanctioned, although it does prohibit providing services to them, and it is perhaps unsurprising that a congressional delegation meeting with high-level Russians would include meetings with sanctioned individuals — the point of the sanctions put in place last April was to target those perceived to be close to the Kremlin.”
From BuzzFeed News.
SENATOR RON JOHNSON REVERSES ON RUSSIAN SANCTIONS
The Washington Examiner reports, “President Trump and U.S. lawmakers should consider revising sanctions targeting Russia so they focus more on Russian oligarchs, a senior Republican lawmaker suggested after participating in a congressional delegation visit to Moscow.” So the Kremlin probably cobbled a list of those they are willing to cut off and whose assets might help keep their pathetic regime afloat. The Washington Examiner notes, “Johnson was a member of a congressional delegation that met last week with Russian diplomats and lawmakers, although the Russian government initially resisted allowing him to enter the country.” The Washington Examiner adds, “Johnson said after his trip that he’s looking for ways to build trust between the two sides. But he also acknowledged the need to avoid any move that might inadvertently signal weakness to Russia,” you know, like traveling there for the Fourth of July and meeting with sanctioned individuals. Roll Call adds Johnson “is suggesting that Congress went too far in punishing Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” Roll Call notes, “According to Johnson, when the Russian delegation was pushed on issues like the public release of private emails of 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, they would respond with charges about U.S.-backed media entities like Voice of America. Johnson’s remarks to the Examiner were highlighted by Russian state media. The Russian news agency TASS reported on Johnson’s comments, as did Sputnik International.”
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY PROVIDES ALTERNATIVE FOR CACOPHONY
CNN reports, “Sen. John Kennedy told Russian government officials to ‘stop screwing with our election’ on a congressional visit to Russia last week, the Louisiana Republican told CNN on Monday.” This divergent messaging is done deliberately to produce a level of cacophony so that everyone hears what they want to hear; do not be deceived, this Congressional delegation last week, like the Helsinki summit this coming Monday are wholly inappropriate at this time.
EX-FBI LAWYER LISA PAGE SUBPOENAED BY HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
ABC News reports, “The House Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena for Lisa Page, the former FBI lawyer who exchanged text messages with FBI agent Peter Strzok critical of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, to appear on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview Wednesday morning”. Keep in mind the state is burning and these are the marshmellows the death cult GOP is melting over the smoldering ash to feed their constituency vis-à-vis faux news Fox.
From ABC News.
US AMBASSADOR TO NATO SAYS RUSSIA TRYING TO FLIP TURKEY
Hurriyet Daily News reports, “United States Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said July 8 that Russia appeared to be trying to ‘flip’ Turkey, a key member of the alliance, in a bid to undermine and destabilize NATO.” Hurriyet Daily News notes, “‘They want to destabilize the strongest defense alliance in the history of the world, and that is NATO,’ she added, while also voicing her doubts about Moscow’s possible success on their efforts on Turkey.” Turkey will play all sides to maximum advantage but with a deep and long history of conflict with Russia especially around the Black Sea region and in the Caucasus as well as a love of sheer military might (which favors the U.S.) and lingering suspicions of Russian intents vis-à-vis Syria. Hurriyet Daily News does note, “Turkey’s decision to purchase the sophisticated Russian S-400 anti-ballistic missile systems had strained its ties with NATO.”
From Hurriyet Daily News.
DERIPASKA WINS “EMOTIONAL DAMAGES” FROM HOOKER WITH SECRETS
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Kremlin-connected Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska has won a million-ruble moral-damage claim against a Belarusian escort and model known as Nastya Rybka and her partner, self-styled ‘sex guru’ Aleksandr Kirillov. In a July 9 ruling, the Ust-Labinsk district court in the Krasnodar Krai ordered Kirillov and Anastasia Vashukevich, who calls herself Nastya Rybka, to pay Deripaska 500,000 rubles ($8,000) each.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds, “The court said that Vashukevich and Kirillov, who also uses the pseudonym Alex Lesley, had posted material related to Deripaska’s private life on the Internet without his consent. The ruling was the latest twist in a saga that started in February, when Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny published an expose appearing to show a then-deputy prime minister on Deripaska’s yacht off the coast of Norway.” Deripaska worked closely with Manafort in Ukraine; Vashukevich said she has audio of Deripaska and a Kremlin aide, Sergey Prikhodko, discussing interference in the 2016 American presidential election.
RUSSIA BEEFING UP KALININGRAD FACILITIES + STOCKPILES
Defense One reports, “Moscow has been improving its westernmost military facilities. Between March and June, Russia made several improvements to a munitions storage site in its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, satellite photos show. An 86-square-mile piece of territory between Poland and Latvia, the exclave was an important outpost for the Soviet Union. Now it is springing back to life as part of a Russian military buildup that has been accelerating since 2015.” Defense One adds, “The photos, by satellite imaging company Planet Labs, show changes around a kind of bunker facility in Baltiysk, near the Polish border. (Note: Planet Labs provides limited amounts of imagery to Defense One.) Such facilities are often used to house artillery, according to Matt Hall, a senior geospatial analyst at 3GIMBALS, a firm that provides human-machine integrated location-based analytics.”
From Defense One.
* TRUDEAU VISITS LATVIA, WILL EXTEND CANADIAN MISSION
The Globe and Mail reports, “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to commit Canada to spend several more years leading a NATO battle group in Latvia – news that will come Tuesday on the eve of the alliance’s summit in Brussels, where leaders will be braced for a showdown with U.S. President Donald Trump over military spending. Trudeau arrived in Latvia late Monday, one day before he’ll visit the approximately 450 Canadian troops leading the multinational force that was first announced in 2016 as a check against Russian aggression in eastern Europe.” The Globe and Mail notes, “The Canadian-led battle group is one of four in the region, and includes troops from Albania, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. Germany leads a similar force in Lithuania, Britain leads one in Estonia and the U.S. leads in Poland.”
From The Globe and Mail.
* DENMARK WANTS TO ESTABLISH NATO HQ IN LATVIA
Russian state-run Sputnik, citing Danish Radio, reports, “Prior to the upcoming NATO Summit in Brussels, Copenhagen is lobbying to establish a NATO division headquarters in Latvia with 300 soldiers, 140 of them Danish”. Russian state-run Sputnik adds, “According to the defense minister, NATO is currently missing a division headquarters in Estonia and Latvia, while already running one in Poland. According to the Danish vision, the headquarters must be built within the next few years.” Russian state-run Sputnik notes, “According to Danish defense chief General Bjørn Bisserup, while several other NATO states will support the initiative, Denmark has to bear the overall responsibility for the project. Bisserup went on to call the Baltic States ‘today’s frontline’ and stressed that this step is aimed at sending a ‘clear signal’ to Russia that the Baltic States enjoy NATO’s full protection.” Very good!
ITALIAN INTERIOR MINISTER SALVINI TO PLAY WTH PUTIN AGAIN
Russian state-run Sputnik reports, “Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on Monday that he was planning to visit Moscow soon to attend the FIFA World Cup final and expected to hold a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev.”
—–CAMP IVANKA: FROM THE KIDDIE INTERNMENT CAMPS—–
THIS IS HOW NEIGHBORS TURN ON NEIGHBORS + GENOCIDE BEGINS
The Washington Post reports, “The Los Angeles Fourth of July fireworks display was just beginning when Erik Mendoza realized his 91-year-old grandfather was missing. Thinking he might have gone for his daily walk, Mendoza wandered around the neighborhood searching for him. What he found was a bloodstained sidewalk.” The Washington Post adds, “Mendoza, 22, told The Washington Post that Rodolfo Rodriguez, a permanent resident of the United States, had been attacked with a brick and taken to the hospital with a broken cheek bone and two broken ribs. Misbel Borjas, 35, a South Los Angeles resident, saw the assault as it happened.” The Washington Post notes, “Traffic had slowed Borjas’s car at a corner in Willowbrook, Calif., around 7 p.m. on July 4. Rodriguez accidentally bumped into a young girl while walking on the sidewalk, Borjas told The Washington Post. Borjas watched the child’s mother push the elderly man to the ground and repeatedly bash him in the face with a concrete brick while yelling, ‘Go back to your country.’” In front of a young child, too. So if you ever wondered how neighbors turn against neighbors and the slaughter in places like Rwanda or Germany begins, well now you know, you have witnessed the decline of civilized society into marauding racist filth. The Washington Post continues, painfully, “Minutes later, however, the attack continued, Borjas said. A group of young men bounded down the street, accusing Rodriguez of trying to snatch the young girl. They kicked Rodriguez, who was already crumpled on the ground, and stomped on his head.” The Washington Post notes Borjas heard Rodriguez cry in Spanish, “Why? Why are you hitting me,” and “Please get away.”
From The Washington Post.
* CAMP IVANKA SHOULDN’T BE MORE THAN 20 DAYS FOR THE TIKES
POLITICO reports, “A federal judge has turned down President Donald Trump’s request to alter a decades-old legal settlement to allow long-term detention of children who entered the U.S. illegally with their parents. Los Angeles-based U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee dismissed as ‘tortured’ the Trump administration’s legal argument to get out from under the so-called Flores consent decree agreed to in 1997, dictating that children in immigration detention not be held more than 20 days.” POLITICO adds, “An executive order Trump signed last month following a public outcry over the administration’s policy of separating immigrant families instructed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ‘promptly’ ask the court to change the decree to permit a new approach of detaining children along with their parents. The Justice Department filed that request the following day.”
MISCARRIAGES OF INJUSTICE
BuzzFeed News reports, “Two weeks after arriving in the US seeking asylum, E, 23, found herself in a detention cell in San Luis, Arizona, bleeding profusely and begging for help from staff at the facility. She was four months pregnant and felt like she was losing her baby. She had come to the US from El Salvador after finding out she was pregnant, in the hopes of raising her son in a safer home. ‘An official arrived and they said it was not a hospital and they weren’t doctors. They wouldn’t look after me’”. BuzzFeed adds, “Stuck in detention and having lost her baby, E says she wouldn’t have come to the US seeking a safer life if she’d known what would happen.” BuzzFeed notes, “E gave up her fight for asylum, accepted voluntary departure, and was deported back to El Salvador.” BuzzFeed notes, “In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions publicly introduced the ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy that has led to children being separated from their parents at the border, sparked national outrage, and triggered an executive order from President Trump. While the national focus has been on family separations, another Department of Homeland Security policy quietly introduced by the Trump administration five months earlier has devastated women fleeing violence in their home countries: the detention of pregnant women not yet in their third trimester. Before that directive, which the Trump administration implemented in December before announcing it in March, ICE was under an Obama administration–era directive not to detain pregnant women except in extreme circumstances or in relatively rare cases of expedited deportation.” So this is the true face of “pro-life” America. BuzzFeed adds, “The new ICE directive states states that women are not to be held into their third trimester and that ICE is responsible for ‘ensuring pregnant detainees receive appropriate medical care including effectuating transfers to facilities that are able to provide appropriate medical treatment.’” Naturally because we are on the well-trodden road to genocide in Trumpistan, “BuzzFeed News has found evidence that that directive is not being carried out. Instead, women in immigration detention are often denied adequate medical care, even when in dire need of it, are shackled around the stomach while being transported between facilities, and have been physically and psychologically mistreated.” And because the brutality is systemic when you label people “animals” and “MS-13,” BuzzFeed reports, “The incidents were not limited to a single detention center.”
From BuzzFeed News.
DENATURALIZATION OF MIAMI GRANDMOTHER OVER BULLSHIT UNDERWAY
The Miami Herald reports, “The United States government has long reserved its power to revoke citizenship for the rarest of cases, going after the likes of war criminals, child rapists and terrorist funders,” which unfortunately are all categories of human garbage adored by this ruling occupation regime. So The Miami Herald notes, “Norma Borgono is none of those. The 63-year-old secretary who immigrated from Peru in 1989 volunteers weekly at church, raised two children on a $500-a-week salary and suffers from a rare kidney disorder. But a week after her baby granddaughter came home from the hospital, Borgono received a letter from the U.S. government: The Department of Justice was suing to ‘denaturalize’ her as part of an unprecedented push by the Trump administration to revoke citizenship from people who committed criminal offenses before they became citizens.” The Miami Herald adds, “Borgono, a Miami resident for 28 years, is being targeted based on her minor role in a $24 million fraud scheme in the previous decade. As the secretary of an export company called Texon Inc., she prepared paperwork for her boss, who pocketed money from doctored loan applications filed with the U.S. Export-Import Bank. When the feds caught wind of the scheme, Borgono cooperated. The secretary never made any money beyond her regular salary and helped the FBI make a case that put her former boss behind bars for four years. On May 17, 2012, Borgono took a plea deal and was sentenced to one year of house arrest, four years of probation and $5,000 of restitution.” The Miami Herald notes, “The stated reason was that Borgono became a U.S. citizen after the fraud scheme started. Although she had not yet been charged when she applied for citizenship, the Department of Justice is now arguing that she lied by not divulging her criminal activity on her application.” The Miami Herald adds, “Borgono is one of thousands of citizens and legal residents of the United States who may now find themselves subject to denaturalization and deportation for past offenses, some of them committed decades ago.” In a nation of immigrants, this is designed to provoke fear and ultimately silence.
From The Miami Herald.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
PUTTING TOGETHER THE DISPARATE PIECES AS TRUMPISTAN WATCH HAS
New York Magazine begins to slap some sense into the American people who still are sleepwalking through the smoldering ruins of the republic not knowing what hit them and saying the truth is too crazy to be real – a form of denialism that often sets in after the slaughter. So the piece begins humbly, “On June 14, 2016, the Washington Post reported that Russian hackers had broken into the Democratic National Committee’s files and gained access to its research on Donald Trump. A political world already numbed by Trump’s astonishing rise barely took notice. News reports quoted experts who suggested the Russians merely wanted more information about Trump to inform their foreign-policy dealings. By that point, Russia was already broadcasting its strong preference for Trump through the media. Yet when news of the hacking broke, nobody raised the faintest suspicions that Russia wished to alter the outcome of the election, let alone that Trump or anybody connected with him might have been in cahoots with a foreign power. It was a third-rate cyberburglary. Nothing to see here.” Yes, the journalistic malpractice was both heady and strong in those days and continues to be, but thankfully to a slightly lesser degree. New York Magazine adds, “The unfolding of the Russia scandal has been like walking into a dark cavern. Every step reveals that the cave runs deeper than we thought, and after each one, as we wonder how far it goes, our imaginations are circumscribed by the steps we have already taken.” So let’s walk through it together, again! Shall we?
– “The media has treated the notion that Russia has personally compromised the president of the United States as something close to a kook theory. A minority of analysts, mostly but not exclusively on the right, have promoted aggressively exculpatory interpretations of the known facts”. All these people are ignorant and cruel fools. When not diminishing reality for ever greater returns themselves, they lecture us on “civility” in their spare time.
– “What is missing from our imagination is the unlikely but possible outcome on the other end: that this is all much worse than we suspect.” Well no, some of us do not lack the imagination but rather the popular one cannot stomach the full truth yet, even now, as others cavort in the ashes of the republic and use it to fashion war paint.
– New York Magazine notes, “The first intimations that Trump might harbor a dark secret originated among America’s European allies, which, being situated closer to Russia, have had more experience fending off its nefarious encroachments. In 2015, Western European intelligence agencies began picking up evidence of communications between the Russian government and people in Donald Trump’s orbit. In April 2016, one of the Baltic states shared with then–CIA director John Brennan an audio recording of Russians discussing funneling money to the Trump campaign. In the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, head of the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ, flew to Washington to brief Brennan on intercepted communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.”
– New York Magazine adds, “racism and mendacity have been evident since his youth, but those who have traced the evolution of his hypernationalism all settle on one year in particular: 1987.” That year Trump took out “a full-page ad in the New York Times attacking the Japanese for relying on the United States to defend it militarily,” he “published The Art of the Deal,” oh and “Trump visited Moscow.” Little things!
– New York Magazine recalls, “During the Soviet era, Russian intelligence cast a wide net to gain leverage over influential figures abroad. (The practice continues to this day.) The Russians would lure or entrap not only prominent politicians and cultural leaders, but also people whom they saw as having the potential for gaining prominence in the future. In 1986, Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin met Trump in New York, flattered him with praise for his building exploits”.
– And so it goes, “Trump returned from Moscow fired up with political ambition. He began the first of a long series of presidential flirtations, which included a flashy trip to New Hampshire. Two months after his Moscow visit, Trump spent almost $100,000 on a series of full-page newspaper ads that published a political manifesto. ‘An open letter from Donald J. Trump on why America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves,’ as Trump labeled it, launched angry populist charges against the allies that benefited from the umbrella of American military protection.”
– Of course, “Russian intelligence gains influence in foreign countries by operating subtly and patiently. It exerts different gradations of leverage over different kinds of people, and uses a basic tool kit of blackmail that involves the exploitation of greed, stupidity, ego, and sexual appetite. All of which are traits Trump has in abundance.”
– And, “Throughout his career, Trump has always felt comfortable operating at or beyond the ethical boundaries that constrain typical businesses. In the 1980s, he worked with La Cosa Nostra, which controlled the New York cement trade, and later employed Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, both of whom have links to the Russian Mafia. Trump habitually refused to pay his counterparties, and if the people he burned (or any journalists) got in his way, he bullied them with threats. Trump also reportedly circulated at parties for wealthy men featuring cocaine and underage girls.”
– New York Magazine notes, “It is not difficult to imagine that Russia quickly had something on Trump, from either exploits during his 1987 visit or any subsequent embarrassing behavior KGB assets might have uncovered… After a series of financial reversals and his brazen abuse of bankruptcy laws, Trump found it impossible to borrow from American banks and grew heavily reliant on unconventional sources of capital. Russian cash proved his salvation. From 2003 to 2017, people from the former USSR made 86 all-cash purchases — a red flag of potential money laundering — of Trump properties, totaling $109 million. In 2010, the private-wealth division of Deutsche Bank also loaned him hundreds of millions of dollars during the same period it was laundering billions in Russian money. ‘Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,’ said Donald Jr. in 2008. ‘We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia,’ boasted Eric Trump in 2014.”
– Then “In July 2013, Trump visited Moscow again… Former FBI director James Comey recounts in his book that Trump was obsessed with reports that he had been recorded in a hotel room watching prostitutes urinate on a bed that Barack Obama had once slept in. Trump, Comey wrote, ‘argued that it could not be true because he had not stayed overnight in Moscow but had only used the hotel room to change his clothes.’” This is plainly not true as press accounts of his time at the pageant can attest to as well as journalists who have “reconstructed” his trip there on this occasion. And of course in Russia, “The use of prostitutes and the bugging of hotel rooms are standard.”
– New York Magazine notes, “Mueller has reportedly obtained evidence that [Trump personal attorney Michael] Cohen actually did visit Prague during the 2016 campaign, contrary to his denials. The FBI has learned that Cohen ‘was in frequent contact with foreign individuals’ who ‘had knowledge of or played a role in 2016 election meddling,’ according to BuzzFeed News.”
– New York Magazine recalls, “many of the people who accompanied him on the 2013 trip to Moscow had, earlier that year, visited a club in Las Vegas that regularly performed ‘simulated sex acts of bestiality and grotesque sadomasochism,’ including shows in which strippers simulated urinating.”
– New York Magazine notes, “Manafort’s role is the most straightforward. He is an utterly amoral consultant and spent at least a decade directly advancing Russian foreign-policy interests while engaging in systemic corruption,” adding, “Working for [Oleg] Deripaska meant working for Putin.” And, “Manafort brought on as his business partner in these endeavors Konstantin Kilimnik, a former member of Russia’s foreign military-intelligence agency who — according to an indictment by Mueller — still has ties to Russian intelligence.”
– Then, “Trump surrounded himself with several staffers, in addition to Manafort, with unusually close ties to Russia. His national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, had traveled to Moscow in 2015 to fête Putin at a banquet; George Papadopoulos met with Russian officials during the campaign; Russia had marked Carter Page as a possible asset. Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, the two business associates of Trump’s with decades-long ties to Russian organized crime, engaged in a mix of diplomatic and commercial negotiations with Russia during the campaign.”
– Then we have the fact that “Papadopoulos let it slip that Russia had dirt on Clinton; Roger Stone, a former longtime business partner of Manafort’s who communicated regularly with Trump throughout the campaign, knew what material WikiLeaks had obtained, according to two associates. Stone also repeatedly boasted of his back-channel contacts to Julian Assange and flaunted advance knowledge of what dirt Assange had. Between a pair of phone conversations Donald Jr. had to set up his Trump Tower meeting, he spoke with someone with a blocked phone number. (His father has a blocked phone number.) John K. Mashburn, a former campaign and current White House staffer, testified in March that he recalled receiving an email in early 2016 that Russia had negative information on Clinton.”
– New York Magazine also recalls how, “In July 2016, a loose-knit community of computer scientists and cybersecurity experts discovered a strange pattern of online traffic between two computer servers. One of those servers belonged to Alfa Bank in Moscow and the other to the Trump Organization. Alfa Bank’s owners had ‘assumed an unforeseen level of prominence and influence in the economic and political affairs of their nation,’ as a federal court once put it. The analysts noted that the traffic between the two servers occurred during office hours in New York and Moscow and spiked in correspondence with major campaign events”.
– New York Magazine notes, “In January 2017, Cohen solicited consulting payments from a firm controlled by a Russian oligarch and, when Flynn became national-security adviser, delivered to him a ‘peace plan’ that would have consolidated the gains from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In December 2016, Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador discussed setting up a back-channel communications line through the Russian embassy. Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and brother of Trump’s Education secretary, traveled to the Seychelles and met with a Putin ally in what European and Middle Eastern officials believe was another attempt to establish a back channel. Prince also appears to have lied to Congress about the meeting.”
– And this year, “In February, a video appeared on YouTube showing Manafort’s patron Deripaska on his yacht with a Belarusian escort named Anastasia Vashukevich. In the video, from August 2016, Deripaska could be seen speaking with a high-ranking Kremlin official. The video was such a source of embarrassment to Moscow that it fought to have it removed from YouTube. Vashukevich, who was then in a Thai jail after having been arrested there for prostitution, announced that she had heard Deripaska describe a plot to interfere in the election and that she has 16 hours’ worth of audio recordings from the yacht to support her charges. In a letter to America authorities, her associate wrote, ‘We risk our lives very much.’”
– Then we have, “In the summer of 2016, veteran Republican activist Peter W. Smith set out to obtain hacked emails from Clinton and contacted Matt Tait, a cybersecurity expert, for help in the project. Smith represented himself as working for the Trump campaign, though he had formed a Delaware-based company, as Smith wrote to Tait, ‘to avoid campaign reporting.’ Tait later said that he warned Smith that such a search would bring him into likely collusion with Russian hackers but that Smith ‘didn’t seem to care.’ … In the spring of 2017, Wall Street Journal reporter Shane Harris found Smith and asked about this episode. Smith told Harris he had been acting independently of the Trump campaign. Within ten days of speaking with Harris, the 81-year-old Smith was found dead in a hotel room… His suicide note claimed ‘no foul play whatsoever’”.
– Ultimately, Trump “acts like a man with a great deal to hide: declining to testify, dangling pardons to keep witnesses from incriminating him, publicly chastising his attorney general for not quashing the whole investigation, and endorsing Russia’s preposterous claims that it had nothing to do with the election at all.”
From New York Magazine.
TRUMP’S PERSONAL DRIVER OF 25 YEARS SUES OVER UNPAID OVERTIME
Bloomberg reports, “Donald Trump’s personal driver for more than 25 years says the billionaire real estate developer didn’t pay him overtime and raised his salary only twice in 15 years, clawing back the second raise by cutting off his health benefits.” Bloomberg adds, “Noel Cintron, who is listed in public records as a registered Republican, sued the Trump Organization for about 3,300 hours of overtime that he says he worked in the past six years. He’s not allowed to sue for overtime prior to that due to the statute of limitations.” Of course, “The driver’s allegations echo those of other Trump employees or contractors who have sued the president or his businesses over the years claiming he has underpaid them or failed to honor promises to compensate them for their work.” Bloomberg adds, “Cintron says he was required to be on duty for Trump starting at 7 a.m. each day until whenever Trump, his family or business associates no longer required his services. He worked as long as 55 hours per week, but was paid a fixed salary of $62,700 in 2003, $68,000 in 2006, and $75,000 in 2010, according to the complaint. The wage bump in 2010 came with a catch, Cintron said. He was induced to surrender his health insurance, saving Trump approximately $17,866 per year in premiums, according to the lawsuit.”
ANOTHER REPORT OF DHS BEING USED TO GO AFTER JOURNALISTS
The Daily Beast reports, “What started out as a ‘just another day’ in Memphis-based journalist Manuel Duran’s life ended in his arrest by local police and transfer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The arrest, Duran claims, was retaliation for his reporting about local police actions.” The Daily Beast adds, “Duran, 42, who is sometimes listed as Duran Ortega, was covering a Memphis protest in April when he was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing a highway or passageway. In a video taken of the incident, Duran appears to be wearing a press badge and was not the only journalist in the street. After the charges were dropped, Duran was released from the Shelby County jail and ICE agents were there waiting to arrest him, the county sheriff’s spokesperson Earle Farrell said. A Memphis Police arrest report claimed that Duran’s refusal to get out of the road ‘caused a hazard.’ It also mentioned that he did not have a U.S. identification.” The Daily Beast notes, “A year before Duran’s arrest, Memphis Noticias published a video interview with a woman whose friend was arrested by Memphis Police and transferred to ICE custody despite promises from Mayor Jim Strickland that the city’s government was not cooperating with ICE.” The Daily Beast continues, “Duran received text messages from the Memphis Police Department demanding he take the video down, he said. The journalist refused, but offered to interview department officials and publish their side of the story, his fiancée Melisa Valdez explained”. The Daily Beast adds, “Duran left El Salvador in 2006 after receiving death threats for reporting on corruption in law enforcement and the judicial system, the petition said. He received a removal order in 2007 after he missed an immigration hearing, but he contends he never received notice of that hearing. A motion to reopen his immigration case is pending review from the Board of Immigration Appeals. ICE tried to deport Duran while his case was still pending, but he was allowed to stay after his lawyers filed an emergency motion to halt the deportation.” The Daily Beast notes, “Duran is currently being held in the LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, Louisiana”. The Daily Beast adds, “Duran is not the first ICE critic to be arrested on immigration charges. NPR reported in March that at least 20 activists were arrested on immigration charges”.
From The Daily Beast.
#WALKAWAY FROM KREMLIN BULLSHIT
Salon reports, “One of the present-day agitprop campaigns linked to Putin’s hacker squads is the ‘WalkAway’ hashtag.” Salon notes, “this troll attack is a counter-measure against the potential ‘blue wave’ coming this fall, with the WalkAway hashtag intended to simulate real-world Democrats who have apparently chosen to leave the party due to its (try not to laugh) alleged intolerance and lack of civility. It’s a ludicrous concept, given the galactically more egregious incivility of Trump and his Red Hats, extending back at least three years and including a deadly terrorist attack in Charlottesville, among myriad other examples.” The Kremlin disinfo on Twitter dashboard “Hamilton 68 has ranked #WalkAway as the most tweeted hashtag in the last 48 hours.” Salon adds, “To be clear: This isn’t being circulated by earnest yet misguided voters who formerly identified as Democrats. This is clearly being circulated by trolls connected to the Russian influence operations,” which adds, “and yes, the conservative entertainment complex is on board.” Salon notes, “The #WalkAway attack appears to be targeting disaffected registered Democrats who might be inclined to fall in line with an exodus from the party, a few months before a hugely important election. Sure, that’s a highly specific and pretty small demographic. But, as we’ve seen, modern elections tend to feature too-close-for-comfort margins, swung by relatively small groups of voters.” Salon adds, “The Washington Post traced this non-movement to a guy named Brandon Straka, a random human being from New York who’s either being exploited as a ‘useful idiot,’ or who made a confounding decision to leave the party and so became the spark for this operation.” Also possible that he has been outright recruited by the adversary aggressor.
—–TOWARDS A PEACEFUL NUCLEAR EXCHANGE—–
KIM JONG UN’S PLANE SPOTTED IN VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA
Yonhap News Agency reports, “An airplane presumed to be the private jet of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was spotted in Vladivostok on Monday, raising speculation that preparations might be underway for him to travel to Russia in the near future. According to Flightradar24, a flight tracking website, Kim’s private jet, also known as Chammae-1, landed at an airport in Vladivostok earlier in the day and took off for Pyongyang about three hours later.”
From Yonhap News Agency.
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