Sunday, January 29, 2017

Democrats: Withhold Consent and Do It Now

A former top aide to Harry Reid urges Democrats to use a rule of Congress to oppose Trump. (His op-ed in the Washington Post should be shared with your own representatives in case they haven't seen it, or think you haven't seen it.)

"Senate Democrats have a powerful tool at their disposal, if they choose to use it, for resisting a president who has no mandate and cannot claim to embody the popular will. That tool lies in the simple but fitting act of withholding consent. An organized effort to do so on the Senate floor can bring the body to its knees and block or severely slow down the agenda of a president who does not represent the majority of Americans."*

Dear Democrats in Congress,

Maybe you’ve been waiting for the new administration to show itself so the public would be outraged enough to support you rather than call your opposition outrageous (or hypocritical.)

But what happens once they’ve achieved critical mass? Once they have all the pieces in place and the machine begins to move? America would understand the danger then but it would be too late to avoid catastrophic damage to our system. Just as waiting till Germany controlled all of Europe made it impossible to prevent the Holocaust, not to mention the destruction of much of Europe.

(I realize Godwin’s Law rejects any Nazi analogies in the present day, but it is vital to see these parallels.)

Leaders of the western democracies thought they could “do business” with Hitler. Some stopped when they realized how evil he was. Some industrialists persisted because they profited.

Tech and other business leaders are arriving at the Trump White House and doing deals despite Trump’s bigotry and vulgarity and recklessness and delusional behavior and rejection of science and facts and his fascist tendencies and his apparent collusion with a foreign enemy.

I worry that the habit that controls the GOP and the profit-seeking habit of business leaders, the habit of not opposing evil as long as they can gain advantage by it, is now infecting Democrats too.

Let’s not make a deal.

Withhold Consent.

Do it now.

The elevation of Steve Bannon to the top national security group and the demotion of the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs ought to tell us something. Bannon wasn’t elected. He wasn’t appointed. He put himself there. This is a naked power grab. Should we start calling it a coup? Is this president leading an administration or a regime or a junta? Is he even in charge?

White supremacist Steve Bannon is now President of the United States. He has stated openly that his goal is to destroy our government, which means he wants to destroy democracy and our democratic institutions and all the systems and traditions that support it. They are a nuisance to him.

*Washington Post Op-Ed by Adam Jentleson

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Voter Fraud Is Another Trump Lie

"A study of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases in 50 states between 2000 and 2012 found the level of fraud was infinitesimal compared with the 146 million voters registered over the 12-year period. The analysis found only 10 cases of voter impersonation, the only kind of fraud that could be prevented by voter ID at the polls."

From NBCNews

But if you are going to look, [President] Trump, why not start at home:

Tiffany Trump is one of these voters registered in two states

President Trump's top advisor white supremacist Steve Bannon is another

Cases like Ms Trump's and Steve Bannon's are the rationalization for the massive Interstate Crosscheck the scheme for purging legal voters from the rolls deployed nationwide by Trump supporter Chris Kobach.

Were Bannon and Trump reported to the states by Interstate Crosscheck?

So, an infinitesimal problem. The source of Trump’s anecdotal evidence was a friend of his, a German national, who tried to vote in Florida and was rejected. Trump’s friend complained to him that lots of people were voting who obviously should not have been…according to a foreigner who attempted to commit voter fraud, presumably on behalf of Trump.

Trump does not explain how Bernhard Langer could have seen 3-5 million allegedly illegal voters in this one precinct in Florida.

The Langer anecdote story from CNBC

Here is a fact check from the very middle of the road USAToday

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How Trump Uses Lies To Win

"By requiring subordinates to speak untruths, a leader can undercut their independent standing, including their standing with the public, with the media and with other members of the administration. That makes those individuals grow more dependent on the leader and less likely to mount independent rebellions against the structure of command. Promoting such chains of lies is a classic tactic when a leader distrusts his subordinates and expects to continue to distrust them in the future.”

(In Hitler’s Germany this was called “working toward the fuhrer.”)

Read the whole story at Bloomberg

"Our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies when they come not singly but in a constant stream, and Trump, we know, lies constantly, about matters as serious as the election results and as trivial as the tiles at Mar-a-Lago. (According to his butler, Anthony Senecal, Trump once said the tiles in a nursery at the West Palm Beach club had been made by Walt Disney himself; when Senecal protested, Trump had a single response: “Who cares?”) When we are overwhelmed with false, or potentially false, statements, our brains pretty quickly become so overworked that we stop trying to sift through everything. It’s called cognitive load—our limited cognitive resources are overburdened. It doesn’t matter how implausible the statements are; throw out enough of them, and people will inevitably absorb some. Eventually, without quite realizing it, our brains just give up trying to figure out what is true."

Read the entire story at Politico

“Yes, Donald Trump’s politics are incoherent. But those who surround him know just what they want, and his lack of clarity enhances their power. To understand what is coming, we need to understand who they are. I know all too well, because I have spent the past 15 years fighting them.

"Over this time, I have watched as tobacco, coal, oil, chemicals and biotech companies have poured billions of dollars into an international misinformation machine composed of thinktanks, bloggers and fake citizens’ groups. Its purpose is to portray the interests of billionaires as the interests of the common people, to wage war against trade unions and beat down attempts to regulate business and tax the very rich. Now the people who helped run this machine are shaping the government."

Read George Monbiot's essay in The Guardian

"Trump’s rise to power has followed a similar trajectory to that of quacks who peddle panaceas to the desperate—a bizarre and heartbreaking world I’ve long studied. Just like them, Trump will fail to deliver. But his supporters will find a way to exonerate him."

Read about Trump's psychological game at SLATE

“...the worst thing he could do -- and I see this as a real danger -- would be to politicize the agencies that produce government economic data, to put people in place that will skew the numbers in his favor. If that happens, the data will be useless, and we’ll essentially be flying blind when it comes to the true state of the economy."

Read at CBS about how Trump plans to corrupt our information stream

"Newt Gingrich wants to fire federal employees who voted for Clinton "There won’t be any real cooperation until we change federal law so we can fire them”"

At Salon

“Trump says he will pick which journalists will cover him."

From ReutersTV

"Anyone - citizen or journalist - who is surprised by false claims from the new inhabitant of the Oval Office hasn't been paying attention. That was reinforced when Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told "Meet the Press" Sunday that Spicer had been providing "alternative facts" to what the media had reported, making it clear we've gone full Orwell."

From the Chicago Tribune

"This is how he’s going to chip away at our understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s real and what’s not. This is even stronger, more powerful gas lighting — making us question our own instincts and even start doing things because we want to fit in with “everyone else” who from what we know, seem to think this is all fine. Trump wants a cheering section at all his press conferences and if you don’t realize that those are not the reporters clapping, it will seriously fuck with you."

Read the entire piece at MEDIUM

"How did Dylann Roof go from being someone who was not raised in a racist home to someone so steeped in white supremacist propaganda that he murdered nine African Americans during a Bible study? The answer lies, at least in part, in the way that fragile minds can be shaped by the algorithm that powers Google Search."

How Dylann Roof was brainwashed by right wing media into a person who'd kill nine churchgoers he had prayed with

"I’m not bragging, it’s a fact, you the audience deserve to know this. Infowars is the main operating system of the rebirth of the American republic, and is a key blueprint worldwide in nation-states launching a new renaissance. I’ve been told that by the president, I’ve been told that by Nigel Farage, on and off air, I have been told that by the top generals, you name it.” ~Alex Jones, the voice of the paranoid Right, host of InfoWars

MediaMatters has the video

"Years of fear mongering, paranoia, and conspiracy theories on Fox News and talk radio paved the way for a Trump presidency. It’s up to journalists to stop that fear from continuing to hijack American politics.” ~MediaMatters

“When you’re a right wing media outlet and you want people to pay attention, what do you do? You scare the shit out of them.” ~MediaMatters

A useful video explains how the right wing has gaslit half of America from MediaMatters

"While no one knows what the new leaders will actually do, there are signs that are disturbing. We have seen the bald assertion of "alternative facts." We have heard the blatant attacks on science. Familiar signposts of our democracy –truth, civility, working together – have been obscured or swept aside.” ~Gov. Jerry Brown of California

MotherJones on Jerry Brown's promise to fight lies with the truth

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

We Have An Angry Child For A President

"One person who frequently talks to Trump said aides have to push back privately against his worst impulses in the White House, like the news conference idea, and have to control information that may infuriate him. He gets bored and likes to watch TV, this person said, so it is important to minimize that.

"This person said that a number of people close to him don’t like saying no – but that it has to be done.

“You can’t do it in front of everyone,” this person said. “He’s never going to admit he’s wrong in front of everyone. You have to pull him aside and tell him why he’s wrong, and then you can get him to go along with you. These people don’t know how to get him to do what they need him to do.”

Read the whole story at Politico

"President Trump had just returned to the White House on Saturday from his final inauguration event, a tranquil interfaith prayer service, when the flashes of anger began to build.
"Trump turned on the television to see a jarring juxtaposition — massive demonstrations around the globe protesting his day-old presidency and footage of the sparser crowd at his inauguration, with large patches of white empty space on the Mall.

"As his press secretary, Sean Spicer, was still unpacking boxes in his spacious new West Wing office, Trump grew increasingly and visibly enraged.

“...Over the objections of his aides and advisers — who urged him to focus on policy and the broader goals of his presidency — the new president issued a decree: He wanted a fiery public response, and he wanted it to come from his press secretary."

Read the whole story at the Washington Post

"The president is a 70-year-old child whose TV time must be closely monitored — because any news story that upsets his ego will trigger a temper tantrum followed by irrational demands that his indulgent, overwhelmed guardians will be helpless to refuse. Or so Donald Trump’s aides keep confiding to the nearest available reporter…."

Read the whole story at New York Magazine

The childishness isn’t a strategic plan. The lies are. They are deliberate. They are spoken and tweeted and broadcast at maximum volume.

Michael Tomasky on Trump's first 100 lies

Childish tyrannical leaders are not very common these days. One, though, comes to mind: North Korea, the scariest, most oppressed nation on the planet. Whose leader praised Trump last year.

Read about Trump's affinity with Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at Reuters

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Galloping Fascism

"Donald Trump Is Becoming an Authoritarian Leader Before Our Very Eyes"

In the New Republic

"Donald Trump [henceforth to be called Dear Leader] on Friday issued a proclamation declaring January 20, 2017, the day of his inauguration, a “National Day of Patriotic Devotion.” The decree was uploaded to the Federal Register on Monday…”

In the Daily Beast

"The White House has shut down its public comment line, instead telling callers, with an automated message, that they should contact the new administration via Facebook Messenger instead. There’s only one problem: Neither the White House nor President Donald Trump seem to currently maintain an active Facebook Messenger account."

In Variety

"A provision tucked into the defense bill guts the Voice of America board, stoking fears that Trump could wield a powerful propaganda arm."

In Politico

In his rambling angry speech at the CIA on Saturday [President] Trump said America should reinvade Iraq and take their oil. The words were different, but the rationale is the same as the one that Germany used when they invaded Eastern Europe in 1939-1941.

Reported by Juan Cole

Newt Gingrich, a familiar proxy for [President] Trump, said something the other day that sounded disturbingly fascist and authoritarian. Speaking of employees of the federal government, Gingrich said “All those bureaucrats overwhelmingly voted for Clinton. There won’t be any real cooperation until we change federal law so we can fire them.”

In Salon

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Did Trump Bring His Own Cheering Section To CIA Speech?

The plan was to make America believe the CIA agreed with him that reporters are liars. He said it at the CIA and was greeted by cheers and applause. This is troubling. Our intelligence agencies should not be cheering sections for the president. When they are we have a problem.

Only later was it reported that the cheers and applause were brought with him or organized by Trump staff from Trump fans at the CIA. CBS News reports that Trump's visit left the intelligence community in a state of unease.

After eight years of responsible leadership we appear to be reverting to the Bush/Cheney standard, where intelligence is bent and cooked to suit the White House’s political goals.

As the investigations continue into Trump’s money ties to and possible blackmail by the Russian government and Russian mobsters who function as agents of Putin’s government, there’s been angry pushback from TrumpWorld. Trump has accused the CIA of Nazi-like tactics. They have also tried to discredit the agency, saying they got the facts wrong on Iraq’s WMD, a sore point for all CIA and intelligence professionals. The CIA didn’t get WMD wrong. The Bush/Cheney White House demanded they shape their analysis to fit Cheney’s war aims. When the facts began coming out the White House outed a CIA agent in order to discredit the reports. Valerie Plame’s husband, heroic career diplomat Joseph Wilson, had written an op-ed for the NYTimes to correct the record and the White House decided to get back at him by ending his wife’s career and ending the lives of who knows how many agents she had working covertly on anti-nuclear proliferation cases around the world. Politics came first for the White House, national security a distant second if it was considered at all.

(There have been many theories why Dick Cheney would corrupt our intelligence networks to advance a disastrous war. One of the most plausible being that Cheney saw the war as vital for the survival of Halliburton, which he had led into near bankruptcy as its CEO. The Iraq War turned Halliburton from a failing company into a massively profitable one. Halliburton has since then moved its headquarters from the U.S. to Dubai, and Cheney has retired to wealthy retirement on investments that very likely include large holdings in his former company’s stock.)

This distortion and corruption of our vital intelligence processes was boasted of by Karl Rove at the time and reported in the New York Times Magazine by Ron Suskind:

"The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ‘That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. ‘We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality— judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’"

As MotherJones later explained this corruption of fact and intelligence put us into Iraq and caused the massive failure in Iraq, which led to the rise of ISIS.

It is worrying to think our intelligence gathering agencies, our eyes and ears around the world, are being made hostage to the ego of President Trump. Trump now has the power to fund or defund the agencies. If he doesn’t get answers that match his beliefs or interests he will treat the agencies the way he treats contractors who work on his buildings.

So… what about that [applause] at the CIA? Was it a fearful applause by fearful offered up to a new hacksaw CEO who can fire employees who don’t applaud? Was it a carefully selected audience applauding? Did Trump bring his claque with him? (The applause at his press conference two days earlier was supplied by staffers brought to the press room.) Trump has a history of paying for applause. The Republican Party itself has a history of deploying its staffers as flash mobs to intimidate or applaud. Recall the flash mob of GOP congressional staffers who attacked the Florida recount en masse in 2000. The reporting at the time painted it as a spontaneous outburst of vox populi.

Rachel Maddow reported on this pivotal 2000 story in 2009 as the same mob tactics were being used to shout down Obama’s agenda in Congress and in town hall meetings across the country.

Republican up-and-comers wanting to get ahead in the GOP put this flash mob on their resumes and were on the quick road to higher positions. From the Washington Post

This appears to be happening again, this time in the White House and at the CIA. The backstory of Trump's applauding claque appeared in the Independent

"Pool reports later clarified that the attendants who were cheering and clapping when Mr Trump spoke were not CIA staffers but people who accompanied Mr Trump to the briefing."

SLATE reports that the Trump campaign launch was, according to FEC filings, applauded by a paid crowd.

This story from MEDIUM describes the dismay felt by CIA professionals at the misuse and abuse of the CIA Saturday

Arbiter News tracks the debunking of the Trump applause at the CIA source by source

Newsweek was among the first to correct the impression that the CIA were in Trump's cheering section

But Trump’s seemingly warm reception might have been somewhat manufactured. The Washington Post’s longtime CIA watcher, Greg Miller, tweeted Saturday that the audience was “a self-selected bunch: CIA employees who signed up to come in on a Saturday to see the new POTUS. Mostly Trump voters.” A pool reporter selected to witness the closed event indicated "the cheering and clapping was not from the CIA staffers but people who accompanied Trump,” according to The Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler. He later clarified on Twitter that it was "unclear who the people on the side were. But the folks in the front apparently did not react until the end.”

Another thorough analysis of what transpired appears at the Atlantic

"CNN reported that the crowd of intelligence officials were broken into two sections, with the main area full of agency staff, and a separate section in front of the lectern full of senior agency leadership, including agents. There was some applause at times from the all-agency section, CNN reported, but the leadership stood, looking stoic, and did not applaud.”

What is the story here? Was the CIA being pulled into the Trump noise machine? What explains Republicans' habit of turning vital intelligence agencies into lackeys? Nothing excuses it. It represents a danger to our security.

A longer read at the New Yorker by Robin Wright included the disappointment and disgust felt by senior CIA employees that Trump would use the memorial to the CIA agents who have died to defend our country to mount a rambling attack on the news media and brag about the size of his audience the day before.

Wright concluded with Trump’s disgraceful, defensive, self-contratulatory tweet at 7:35 Sunday morning: “Had a great meeting at CIA Headquarters yesterday, packed house, paid great respect to Wall, long standing ovations, amazing people. WIN!”

The complex American security apparatus is now a tool for massaging the ego of our Dear Leader. Once again facts and evidence are being retooled to create an alternate reality.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Things Republicans Say And Do

A longtime Republican elected official in Greenwich, CT grabbed a 57 year-old constituent by her genitals, saying “I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct.”

The two had been having a disagreement. When the woman tried to walk away, Connecticut Republican Christopher von Keyserling, 71, reached his hand between her legs and grabbed her. He reportedly said “it will be your word against mine and nobody will believe you,”

From the Westport, CT Daily Voice

A Georgia Republican county official (white) calls civil rights hero John Lewis a “racist pig” on social media, then goes on to say this: “If you’re easily offended and looking for a ‘safe place’ my page ain’t it.. Move along snowflake.”

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution

What is it about Republicans? Tin ears or loose mouths or deranged minds?

Gov. LePage scolds Rep. John Lewis for not being grateful that white folks freed his ancestors from the slavery white folks kept them in for centuries. This sort of tirade is common for the Maine Governor. LePage is looking forward to Friday when he will no longer be the most offensive elected Republican in America.

From Politico

Then there’s the boilerplate Republican stupidity on policy...

In North Dakota Republicans propose legislation to legalize running protesters down with a car or truck.

From blogger JoeMyGod

In Wyoming Republicans propose a punitive tax on clean energy.

From the Caspar Wyoming Tribune

And then there’s this, in Betsy DeVos’s confirmation hearing for Education Secretary.

Asked why she thought guns should not be banned from schools, she said “Grizzlies.”

From VOX

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Trump The Russian Puppet and other highlights from the week

The story of how Russian mobsters and spies helped Trump get elected continues to unfold and yet, with Republicans covering his flanks and the rumored cabal inside the FBI covering his rear, Trump is still marching toward his inevitable inauguration in one week’s time.

Why did Jim Comey's FBI hide the Russia allegations? He met with Democrats and it was a shit show.

From DailyBeast

Much of the in depth coverage is coming from the UK. This analysis from the Independent.

It was MotherJones' David Corn who first broke this Russian memo story last summer. His latest here

And from Rolling Stone

This is scarifying stuff and the Republicans seem unusually blasé about it. As if they were in on it. It smells like the Watergate coverup minus those responsible Republicans (an extinct species) who helped uncover it.

We have a president-elect who attacks the professional journalists while being feted and worshipped in the lurid tabloids. Politico explains how the readers of supermarket crap newspapers are now running America. We have a truth problem. America has decided truth and facts are the enemy and Russian spies are our friends.

This Quartz story argues that Putin is schooling Trump on how to discredit the American press

The Week asks what hath Trump wrought. Phraseology usually reserved for catastrophes, which this feels like.

The good news is Trump is historically unpopular for a president-elect. Politico reports on this

Lawrence O'Donnell runs us through the numbers on that. We are not alone feeling conned, cheated, scared, pretty much like our democracy has been stolen.

And this on the poll numbers and the Trump fiasco parade from The New Republic

But the Times’ David Brooks in his weekly NewsHour analysis says it was a good week for DonaldTrump has had a good week for the country. Does anyone else think David Brooks lives in a bubble? Or maybe he’s been institutionalized. “I hate to praise Trump so much…” said Brooks as he went on to praise Trump. Then he said John Lewis had dealt Trump a low blow by questioning his legitimacy.

Brooks said we need to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. Wait and see. Trust but don’t verify, to turn inside out what Reagan said about the Russians.

I guess Brooks wants to withhold judgment until the Russians are given our nuclear codes and various other things. As if these serious charges of Russian collusion with Trump and a coverup at the FBI to protect Trump and Russia––as if that is all nothing to worry about.

The Hill is reporting that there's one Republican senator who condemned Trump’s attack on John Lewis.

The Boston Globe has this column on how dangerous Trump is turning out to be.

Newt Gingrich via DailyBeast continues to give Trump political cover, suggesting Trumpism is a philosophy...

The Republican leaders in Congress are working very hard to reconfigure America’s idea of ethics to enable Trump to limbo into office and seat a corrupt cabinet without objections. This story from VOX

Bloomberg takes the quaint view that ethics actually matter, even if Trump is making corruption and treason seem more normal.

Instead of demanding completed ethics questionnaires from Trump’s cabinet nominees, Jason Chaffetz has decided to mount an investigation of the ethics office which is demanding Trump’s nominees fill out their ethics questionnaires… It’s very confusing. And some mainstream news sources are trying very very hard to persuade us that nothing weird is happening...

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Friday, January 13, 2017

The Russian/Republican Coup––With Jokes

Colbert explains how fun it will be to have a president who is a Russian asset.

A less humorous take on the Russian playing of the American electorate from the BBC. The implications are dire.

From the BBC

This explains why the Republicans are hurrying to confirm everyone Trump has nominated to run government departments. They don’t mind being tools of Putin as long as Putin lets them sit in the driver’s seat once in a while. Strange, isn't it? American sovereignty used to be important to Republicans. Right now the Republicans are quickly breaking our government into inoperable pieces before the public stops them. Is that vandalism what Putin asked them to do or is it their own idea? How can we tell the difference?

From The New Republic

The quick ObamaCare repeal doesn’t fix anything, it just undoes all the careful mechanisms of our healthcare system, especially the guarantees to people who need healthcare. Now we are all just fish in a barrel which Big Pharma and the healthcare giants can suck dry.

Oh… and it delivers a massive tax cut to rich people. I hope un-rich Trump voters will think about what they can do to fix this.

Reported in SLATE

The Republicans also passed a law that cancels all Federal authority to regulate important things like food safety and air quality and banks’ habit of defrauding people and stuff like that. This reminds me of how Enron (whose CEO was a key member of the Bush administration in that first disastrous year) gamed the California energy market, shutting off power to whole areas and hiking electricity charges sky high and laughing about the grandmas in Fresno who had to deal with it. That sort of thing will now be OK again, thanks to the Republicans. Consider it a late Christmas gift.

Reporting by Talking Points Memo

If Russia were controlling our new regime isn't breaking down the government the first thing they might do?

Oh, by the way, those true blue lefties who shunned Hillary because she wasn't pure enough? You were played by the Russians too. The Daily Beast details how Putin trolled the far left and helped split the liberals to elect Trump.

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The Apocalypse––brought to you by Russia and the Republican Party

30 million Americans lost their healthcare in the middle of the night. Cause of death: Republicans. Charlie Pierce explains what happened.

Why put millions of Americans in danger of financial collapse and death? Because Republicans worship at the altar of the Killer Business Model. People who are sick and in pain and afraid of dying will pay any price. This is a Killer Business Model.

From VOX: Analysis by several political experts leads to the conclusion that Comey screwed this election as much as Putin did.

"If it weren't for Comey, Hillary Clinton would have won the popular vote by about 6 points and the Electoral College by 70 or more. And that might have turned into control of the Senate as well, though that's a little more speculative."

Summary from MotherJones

Then there’s the report by a veteran from MI6 who believes Russia has been blackmailing the president elect...

The memo reported by CNN

The Russia expert cited by CNN is being backed up by other reliable sources. One cited in The Week

VOX does a good job of summarizing the story and what it could mean.

The response of Donald Trump is blunt and ugly: I won. You lost. Shut up. Fuck you all. (I’m paraphrasing.) Reported by New York Magazine.

When so many things go so wrong so quickly for all Americans the takeover by a foreign enemy story seems a lot more believable. And the Republican Congress seems in a hurry to make it all happen before we get wise.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How Trump Was Purchased By Putin

Reporting from the Financial Times explains how financial ruin put Donald Trump in the pocket of Russian crime bosses. (The only Russian criminals not in prison or dead are those who are close to Putin.) They put Trump back on his feet with laundered money looted from the Russian economy.

Following the money makes it very clear that Trump is not a business operator at all, not since his bankruptcy in the 1990s. He is instead a front man for shadowy Russian mobsters who are proxies for the Russian dictator.

Trump is their spokesmodel, selling and advertising their properties around the world, which they have stuck Trump’s name on. Trump is their prize poodle. Putin’s prize poodle.

The money comes from the Russian kleptocracy, which stole it from ordinary Russian citizens. It’s been looted from the Russian economy. While Russians live in squalid cold cramped apartments and drink themselves to early death, their national wealth has been laundered and invested in luxury towers in other parts of the world. That is Trump’s business model. Trump’s nominees to head various departments of our government share this kind of mindset: the selfish belief that the economy––which ought to work for all the citizens who work in it ––is there to be looted and pocketed by the people in positions of power. A kleptocracy. Trump and his mob seek to refashion America on the sad Russian model.

Daily Kos has this useful summary of the Financial Times series.

Scott Horton’s close analysis of the Financial Times story says this:

Among the powerful facts that DNI missed were a series of very deep studies published in the [Financial Times] that examined the structure and history of several major Trump real estate projects from the last decade—the period after his seventh bankruptcy and the cancellation of all his bank lines of credit. ...

The money to build these projects flowed almost entirely from Russian sources. In other words, after his business crashed, Trump was floated and made to appear to operate a successful business enterprise through the infusion of hundreds in millions of cash from dark Russian sources.

He was their man.

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