July 17, 2018

Helsinki, Finland




This is not the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning. When I began TRUMPISTAN WATCH, it was on the heels of the ouster of General Michael Flynn as national security advisor and the 2017 Munich Security Conference. It was before James Comey was fired as director of the FBI and the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It was before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein showed us what a baller he is.


The world could not see and barely accept what had happened: namely the 2016 election was not free and fair and what transpired in the wee hours of November 9, 2016 was not a democratic victory but in fact a coup carried out by a foreign adversary. I did not need much help to see it. I grew up in the long shadow of Stalin and the Soviet Union, I heard the same statements we all heard during the campaign calling on Russia to hack into Trump’s opponent Hillary and praising Putin. There were attempts to spear phish my cell within days of the coup and I was able to confirm that what we were facing was “an all systems attack”. I was banging on the doors screaming of everyone I knew to from former CIA analysts to European defense officials to my own family and friends. I knew who the Agalarovs are and what they stood for from my time in Azerbaijan. I was living among a public that was either in deep denial or collapsing in despair. There were street demonstrations and racist attacks as an almost daily occurrence in Chicago.


What I have dealt with since then is a country that was painfully slow to wake up to the fact that we were attacked, we are not a democracy any more than we are sovereign and free and that the president is a puppet of a foreign power. It is not just our people though who were slow to wake up, foreign leaders and publics also needed to see for themselves what was once the world’s most evolved democracy devolve into nothing less than a shit show. For 242 years, our nation had a pretty good run.


The climax of this shit show, the end of the beginning transpired here in Helsinki late yesterday afternoon. The treason, the collusion, the insults to our sovereignty and our state with the willing consent and indeed backing of a foreign adversary are in the open now. If you cannot see it yet, I cannot help you now and perhaps never will be able to. Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, James Mattis and others, they will do their jobs – or not – but the fact is my voice is not the canary in the mineshaft it once was. TRUMPISTAN WATCH began before the former heads of U.S. intelligence such as James Clapper and John Brennan and FBI Director James Comey and a plethora of civil society voices were loudly beating this drum.


I have lived in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, and a post-fascist society still in transition like Spain. I have seen this movie before over and over ad nauseum. I have a Latvian father. I am not able to help those who cannot see that the little outburst at the start of the press conference yesterday was so clearly a plant and classic KGB-style provocation. I cannot help those who cannot see the collusion on the grand stage. You must read history, because, as my father says and the historian in the town in Latvia where my grandmother comes from echoed, it changes all the time. Before I had to preach to the unconverted, now most of you who have read this TRUMPISTAN WATCH daily or just from time to time have learned what I have to offer.


So with that, prepare for the next stage. We must all act and think like Ukrainians now and know what is coming now: bombardment and eventual collapse of some kind that will either provoke a slaughter or a new form of cohesion — that is up to us.


I began this effort I called TRUMPISTAN WATCH when I was 32. I am 34 now. If anything I have earned my right to not have these two be a focal part of my daily life. I was right, my detractors were wrong. The world is a different place than it was then. Just as no lie lasts forever, I cannot do this media monitoring forever. The one thing that is reassuring now about reaching this point is that they have no new tricks, just fresh idiots ignorant of history to try this out on.


So, if you are interested, I would suggest Iron Curtain by Anne Applebaum, Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and Experimentation in the Russian Revolution by Richard Stites and as a practical matter Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. As for cinema, I would strongly urge you to check out Andrzej Wajda’s “Man of Marble” and “Man of Steel,” and hear the words of Krystyna Janda’s character in the second film in your head everyday, namely that “no lie can last forever”.


Ultimately though what my life in Eastern Europe and Trumpistan as the child of a family that has survived worse and was divided by the Iron Curtain has taught me is not to look for the exits but to look for new beginnings and that no matter what, life goes on. So this is the best time for me to park TRUMPISTAN WATCH, as a chronicle of an earlier era, the beginning of Trumpistan before full Trumpistan was achieved and blatantly so in Helsinki yesterday, at a place where I feel minimum bitterness and anger and the most need to take some time and enjoy being as banal as my peers for a bit before the next phase begins in earnest.


Thank you all very much for reading and for supporting this effort where and when you have and by learning what it is I have to impart during this first phase. The site will remain live so the archive is available. Now the fight is for the conditions of our people, where it always is, especially in such systems; it is where I am most needed. TRUMPISTAN WATCH may return in some iteration, it may not, but for now I am parking it and taking some much needed time to work on other things and read real books. “We must study history because it changes all the time.”


Good day and good luck. Remember, no lie can last forever.



My heart,