Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Bridge of Lies Leads Back to the White House

Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo:

"People who don't even appear to be that close to the action keep getting pulled under for what seem like needless deceptions. When we see this kind of pattern, the answer is usually that the stuff at the center of the scandal is so big that it requires concealment, even about things distant from the main action, things that it would seem much better and less damaging simply to admit."


"a two-month WhoWhatWhy investigation has revealed an important reason the Bureau may be facing undisclosed obstacles to revealing what it knows to the public or to lawmakers.

"Our investigation also may explain why the FBI, which was very public about its probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails, never disclosed its investigation of the Trump campaign prior to the election, even though we now know that it commenced last July.

"Such publicity could have exposed a high-value, long-running FBI operation against an organized crime network headquartered in the former Soviet Union. That operation depended on a convicted criminal who for years was closely connected with Trump, working with him in Trump Tower — while constantly informing for the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and being legally protected by them."

From The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza:

“The evidence is now clear that the White House and Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, have worked together to halt what was previously billed as a sweeping investigation of Russian interference in last year’s election.”

They believe what we don’t know can’t hurt them. Their aggressive cover-up indicates there must be a lot to cover up.

Pulitzer Prize winning financial reporter David Cay Johnston asks you this question: Why do you think Trump appointed Putin’s and Russian mobsters’ favorite money launderer as our new Secretary of Commerce?

The Guardian reports here on Wilbur Ross’s partnership with the Russian mobster in the Cypriot bank where Russian mobsters launder their money.

Bloomberg reports here on the network of Russian oligarchs who Trump has ties with.

USAToday, the very middle American newspaper that caters to the great silent majority, is beginning to describe Trump’s behaviors and connections as criminal. They’ve also noticed that he is a pathological liar. You can read their story here.

"Trump told reporters in February: "I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia. I have no loans with Russia at all.”

Yet in 2013, after Trump addressed potential investors in Moscow, he bragged to Real Estate Weekly about his access to Russia's rich and powerful. “I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room,” Trump said, referring to Russians who made fortunes when former Soviet state enterprises were sold to private investors.

Five years earlier, Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. told Russian media while in Moscow that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets" in places like Dubai and Trump SoHo and elsewhere in New York.

Not only is Trump lying about his collusions and entanglements with Russia and Putin and Putin's criminal underworld, he is very aggressively preventing others from telling the truth about these things. Read more complete reporting on this at New York Magazine.

When Devin Nunes (who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and is responsible for driving it into the ditch) discovered that former acting AG Sally Yates was going to speak about things that might tend to implicate President Trump he acted like a perfect henchman and immediately put the kibosh on her testifying. Congress's newspaper, The Hill, goes into that duplicity and mischief here.

Politico is also reporting that Sally Yates planned to discuss what she had learned in her investigation of the Russia-Putin-Trump-White House conspiracy, (read Politico's article here) but the Republicans have muzzled her and derailed the committee. It’s bizarre for an oversight committee chair to think it’s his job to help the people being investigated get off the hook. Judging by the way Republicans hounded Secretary Clinton over recent years, it seemed like they felt it was their job to get innocent people on the hook by simple persistence. In both instances their method involves ignoring facts, facts that tend to incriminate Trump and his co-conspirators are ignored or buried, and facts that exculpate any Democrat they want to jail are ignored and dismissed.

It appears that White House officials are feverishly wiping incriminating material off their phones and computers (reported by The Independent of London) which means they would prefer to go to prison for obstruction of justice than be hung for treason. Covering up and lying and obstruction is what sent various Watergate conspirators to jail while their boss retired to his expensive home with its view of the ocean. This might happen again.

This isn’t just a foreign conspiracy, it has its domestic skulduggery too. American conspirators also worked to divert Americans’ attention away from the fealty Trump owed to the Russians and strong-arm the FBI into derailing the Hillary Clinton campaign, which was Putin's ultimate goal. Trump’s little helpers in this were the ubiquitous Rudy Giuliani and private global security tycoon and private army contractor Erik Prince, who used their deep leverage within the FBI to corrupt the investigatory process. (Reported at Huffington Post)

Rachel Maddow has been all over this story, synthesizing and explaining the many complex threads of the conspiracy as they come to light. Last night she turned her attention to Trump son-in-law and male model Jared Kushner:

A good daily routine to follow if you want to track this story is to watch Rachel Maddow's nightly reporting on it.

ThePalmerReport tends to stick its neck out on big stories, sometimes goes out on a limb. Right now Palmer is speculating that Michael Flynn has already cut a deal to testify. (Read the PalmerReport on Flynn's alleged deal here)

ThePalmerReport is also saying that the FISA warrants list Trump as a Russian agent. Since FISA warrants are so highly classified, we have to be skeptical.

Regarding another Palmer story, that Devin Nunes is heavily invested in a winery with Russian connections, SNOPES lists it as unproven. But it is curious when a winery which a congressman has invested much of his wealth in has its only overseas markets in Russia and Switzerland. Russia being a major source of money to be laundered and Switzerland being a major money launderer. It makes people wonder. Maybe, probably, Devin Nunes wasn’t and isn’t on the hook because of this investment, but this kind of company looks a lot like a hook for the kind of criminal transactions Russia engages in. And we are left wondering how many baited hooks have snagged prominent Republicans and White House officials and appointees.

MotherJones explains how Devin Nunes’ is compromising his constitutional role to serve as a check and balance on the president’s power, and how this endangers a crucial constitutional balance. (Especially if the White House itself is in the grip of Russian agents.) Instead of checking and balancing Nunes is carrying water for the president, running interference, blowing smoke, setting up diversions and distractions, discrediting his committee, deceiving the public and behaving like the president is his boss.

The Daily Beast has this: “The White House has found its stooge in Nunes.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R/NC) calls Nunes a bungling Inspector Clouseau, a clown.

The brazenness of the White House’s cover up is hard to believe, but it is consistent with Trump’s sense of impunity. Remember during the campaign when he said he could shoot someone in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. This is who he is.

The Week, on Trump's brazen impunity, his belief that presidents are above the law.

Meanwhile, POLITICO is reporting that the House Republicans are all in with Devin Nunes and his bizarre mishandling of his chairmanship duties. Which, in the words of Kurt Cobain, "smells like team spirit." It smells, certainly.

Something is rotten when a major political party chooses partisanship over national security and national sovereignty concerns. It sounds as if the GOP decided if the only way to regain the power that appeared to be slipping away was to collude with a foreign enemy and its spy network, well, they'd collude with a foreign enemy. Which is what Quisling did in Norway by collaborating with the Nazis. It's what Petain did in France. It's surprising that the ultrapatriotic Republican Party would embrace treason this way. Some of them appear to have done just that and others are busily covering it up.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Follow The Rubles

Looking at Trump’s Russian history it begins to appear that Putin and his cronies saw Trump as a wonderful way to channel laundered money into real estate around the world.

Mother Jones offers a useful and complete chronology

The always reliable Associated Press breaks the story about Paul Manafort, the guy who helped Trump win the nomination last year, and how he was secretly on the payroll of a Putin lieutenant for the past ten years, earning $10 million a year to advance Putin’s interests in the US and the West.

In the Columbia Journalism Review Garry Kasparov describes how Trump’s hatred of the news media is Putinesque and tyrannical.

Trump’s favored news sources, InfoWars and Breitbart are under FBI investigation for conspiring with Russian intelligence. McClatchy is reporting this aggressively and well.

Trump hasn’t begun throwing disloyal people from high windows, not yet, but he does have government employees afraid. This rule by fear and loyalty model is a throwback to crony politics and the writings of Machiavelli. It’s been largely extinct in America for decades. Politico describes the rule of fear in Washington.

Andrea Mitchell said yesterday that she has one source who told her White House staffers are frantically purging their devices of anything incriminating. Which is itself a crime, if this is true. If true it may mean the White House staff prefers being imprisoned for obstruction of justice vs. hanging for treason.

There has been a spate of recent murders and attempted murders and mysterious deaths, by poisoning, bullets and by throwing them bodily from a great height. The targets were either critics of Putin or witnesses in court cases against him.

New York Magazine describes the latest street corner assassination.

Buzzfeed reports on the key witness thrown from a high window.

This kind of brutal brazen skullduggery is the stuff of spy thrillers. Notably Z by Costa Gavras. I recommend watching it. The plot is strangely similar to what is happening here and now, except that it’s set in a minor corrupt democracy with fascist leaders running the police and murdering opponents

Z is available from Criterion Collection.

One of Trump’s Russia deals went down at the Mayflower Hotel. The smell lingers.

Daily Kos has the scoop in a series of Tweets from national news columnist Seth Abramson.

The T-Word, Treason, is in the air, says Nicolas Kristof in the New York Times

Rachel Maddow continues to do great segments and interviews following the Rubles.

Trump’s truthfulness has never been debated because he is untruthful. That is his brand: untruthfulness, deceit, lies, falsehoods.

Here is the recent TIME interview where Trump did his best to explain how lies can be true if you just tap your heels together three times and say “There’s no place like home.”

Great quote “I must be doing all right because I’m president and you’re not.”

Which sounds eerily like when Nixon explained to David Frost that “When the president does something that means it’s not illegal.” Republicans have a problem with truth and legality. They dislike both.

Politifact factcheck the Trump interview.

Jezebel reprints the interview with the lies redacted.

In this interview former CIA director Woolsey describes Michael Flynn meeting where Flynn plotted or at least suggested kidnapping an inconvenient Muslim cleric that the Turkish dictator wanted eliminated.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Putin to Manafort to Trump––How We Became A Russian Satellite

We learn today that Paul Manafort, the man who guided Trump to the Republican nomination, has for over a decade been earning $10 million a year working on behalf of the Kremlin.

But the Republicans who do “extreme vetting” of homeless refugees who used to work for our military in Iraq and Afghanistan were not interested in Manafort’s work for Putin. No vetting of rich white Christian Republican businessmen.

Paul Manafort's Putin connection is revealed by the AP.

When Trump tweets bogus stories during his five AM bowel movement he is tweeting stories he learned on InfoWars and Breitbart. Both news sites [sic] are under investigation for links to the Russian mobsters and Russian spy agencies who interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

The InfoWars and Breitbart collusion with Russia is being reported in a continuing series by McClatchy

Follow the money, Deep Throat said.

The money flowed in millions from Russia through banks that loaned money to the bankrupt Donald J. Trump, who couldn’t get credit anywhere but was desperate to continue living large. Why does Trump love Putin. Look at the gold furniture he sits in. It becomes increasingly clear every day that Putin bought that.

The Guardian has new detail on Trump's flow of Russian money through DeutscheBank.

While the FBI and DOJ (at least the career lawyers if not the Trump people) are busy going after the Kremlingate treason octopus, witnesses keep being poisoned and thrown out of fourth floor windows.

Buzzfeed reports on the assassination of another Russian who know too much about how Trump was elected.

"Remember remember the eighth of November,
The Kremlingate Treason and Plot,
I see no reason why Kremlingate Treason
Should ever be forgot."

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Diagramming Trump's ties to the Kremlin

Remember, remember the Eighth of November
The Kremlingate Treason and Plot
I see no reason the Kremlingate Treason
Should Ever Be Forgot

We’ve never had to worry if an American president was actually a Russian puppet. This has never happened before. It has happened now with the full eager cooperation of the Republican Party.

Here are the Trump/Russia connections broken into understandable parts. From POLITICO

Keep an eye on Rep. Eric Swalwell (D/CA). He is demanding full independent investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia and how these ties corrupted our election. From the LATimes

Swalwell’s got his own diagrams of the Trump/Russia connections

Rachel Maddow has spent several of her evening programs detailing these links. The bank in Cyprus co-owned by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and a money-laundering Russian mobster who has also funneled tens of millions of dollars directly to Trump. The disturbing links with Trump’s deeply indebted businesses also lead to Azerbaijan and to the terrorist-funding, money-laundering Republican Guard in Iran. (Far more interesting than the 2 pages of Trump’s taxes, but those taxes shown in full may disclose how corrupt this man is.)

I recommend watching Rachel's programs on Kremlingate

Benedict Arnold’s name is trending.

Malcom Nance calls Trump a B.A. at Salon

I urge Congress to hurry because the witnesses who might shed light on the Russian scheme keep dying mysteriously. This is from the Independent.

Now there's this story from Reuters news service about how Russians oligarchs close to Putin have invested $100 million in Trump real estate.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

We Could Try Laughing Him Out Of Office

Gif of DailyShow’s version of the BBC toddler photobomb starring Spicey, Kellyanne, Uncle Ben and Trumpy.

Tracey Ullman’s dead-on parody of the kind of interview assault victims have to endure with insensitive male law officers.

I include this because this is the kind of nasty mindset Trump has legitimized and elevated, making all of us feel embarrassed and insulted.

Trolling Trump. (The left can play this game too.) The Indian a cappella group doing their Trump version of a Village People classic.

The Onion gets a cease and desist letter from White House for making fun of the Orange Orangutan in Chief. The New Yorker reports.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

We Need A New Measure Of Economic Health––A Misery Industrial Average

The DowJones is at record levels, likely because of mouthwatering promises to remove regulations on pollution and regulations against gouging consumers and other antisocial corporate behaviors, as well as further tax cuts and forgiveness on the 1% and large corporations that Trump has outlined or suggested or promised.

But a lot of Americans are not enjoying robust economic health or feeling economically secure. As pollution regulations are relaxed we can expect cancer rates and deaths to rise and deaths and illness from various mysterious causes downwind and downstream from industries to rise also. These ills will not be reflected in the Dow. As consumer safeguards go away lots of large companies will breathe easier and have a healthier bottom line because they will be able to get away with things they used to be prevented from doing. This will not elevate average Americans' feelings of well-being.

We need a different metric, another gauge of our economic health at the level working people feel it, not just at the level where the stock portfolios of workers lucky enough to have stock portfolios feel it. Regardless of what SCOTUS says, corporations are not people.

I am recommending what I call

The Misery Industrial Average

(compare DowJones and Standard&Poors averages)

Private prisons

Collections companies

Pawn companies

Private security firms

Predatory lenders


Payday lenders

Day labor companies

Weapons manufacturers

Gambling and casino companies

Porn companies (like Manwin)

(Plus other categories of publicly traded corporations who create or profit from the misery and vulnerability of working people.)

When these firms flourish it likely means that American workers are not flourishing. Their robust health comes at the expense of working people. Corporate lobbyists like to refer to working people in need as parasites, as unproductive, but these kinds of companies are the parasites because their profits subtract from working people’s standard of living.

This idea has been broached in various ways before, but not as a daily metric that people could follow the way they follow the Dow. They watch the Dow and figure its happiness and security is their happiness and security. Even when it isn’t. Even when the Dow might very well reflect the opposite of their own economic position.

This, from Upworthy, calls the private prison industry the Misery Industry

The right wing UK tabloid The Daily Mail equates the “misery industry” with the professionals who try to treat human misery and depression, because it is a “conservative” belief that nothing is wrong if we ignore what is wrong. Shut up and stress and fear and anxiety and depression will go away without costing the fortunate happy people anything.

But the pharmaceutical companies that provide the medication to treat depression and anxiety should also go on the Misery Industrial Average.

Something called the “misery index” was invented during the Johnson administration. It reflects the unemployment rate plus the inflation rate. President Carter called it "malaise" which described it pretty well. This malaise peaked during the Carter administration because the Arab oil monopolies tightened supplies which dramatically raised prices and depressed the global economy, which made people uneasy and threw people out of work.

Because the unemployment rate and the inflation rates are low right now, we’re fine, right?

But what if inflation is low and has become low and remains low because wages have been suppressed. We all know higher education and the cost of medical care and food and housing have risen more every year than the inflation rate shows, so how can inflation be low and how are depressed incomes among working people causing them to be less miserable instead of more miserable?

An actual index measuring the value and the profits and the scale of misery-related industries would be a better measure. When a town loses its local merchants because a Walmart goes in just outside the city’s tax boundary and begins paying low wages requiring its employees to obtain public assistance to live––that is misery. When the small town main street loses its local druggist and its local hardware store and those local taxpaying businesses are replaced by a Pawn America and Dollar Store and Payday Lenders, that is misery. When more of those businesses show up on main street those companies are flourishing, and that industrial average in share prices would be a useful, even a vital, measure of how hard American life is getting. When private prisons are supplying a captive and obedient labor force competing with workers not in prison that is a reflection of negative economic growth. But it seems likely that many of the business categories buoying the Dow Jones right now may be helped by the robust health of the misery industrial complex.

One more key driver of American misery is the right wing media, which provides a steady 24/7 diet of fear mongering and hate mongering and dark descriptions of where America is at that don't have anything to do with reality but serve to drive reality in that direction. People who watch FoxNews have a weaker hold on fact and reality and tend to be whipsawed by the indoctrination they receive from their preferred news media. They tend to be driven by fear rather than hope, by hate rather than love, by suspicion rather than trust.

Scientific American summarized the differences between the right wing mindset and the liberal mindset

There is a tendency toward fear and anxiety among conservatives. There is also a tendency for Red States, Republican run states, to be less successful and less happy by a whole range of measures, and yet those citizens held captive by those beliefs and by their Republican leaders continue to elect them and perpetuate their misery. In a recent study, discussed in USAToday, the ten most miserable states to live in all fall into the Republican column.

This NPR interview addresses the odd paradox of how Red States where "family values" are a core issue are failing in those areas

Red states hate the federal government yet they need it more than blue states do because their systems are failing in so many key categories, in the education rate, the domestic violence rate, in family stability and income stability

This NPR story discusses how the Red States who distrust and despise the federal government the most also need it the most

So in the Red States where Republicans rule and right wing media promotes its mixture of fear and anger, we find a vicious cycle: negative policies create negative results.

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Saturday, March 04, 2017

The Language of the Right

From Buzzfeed, a glossary of memes and codes popular among right wing trolls

Who knew that placing three parens before and after a person's name was a derisory way of labelling them as Jewish.

"(((Echo))) Parentheses: When used around someone's name, a means of indicating that they are Jewish. The "echoes" are a reference to some old gobbledygook about Jews "echoing through history," but the parentheses are a handy tool on Twitter for anti-Semites to signal to one another when someone they dislike is Jewish. Once the tactic was exposed, some Jews and non-Jews started adding them to their own Twitter usernames as a way to subvert the practice and make it less powerful."

From ATTN, a glossary of commonly used phrases that have racist origins or overtones

It includes an interesting entry from Encyclopedia Britannica about the "Grandfather Clause". The concept of "grandfathering" someone into legal status after a period of time has its roots in the Jim Crow South:

"It provided that those who had enjoyed the right to vote prior to 1866 or 1867, or their lineal descendants, would be exempt from educational, property, or tax requirements for voting. Because the former slaves had not been granted the franchise until the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, those clauses worked effectively to exclude black people from the vote but assured the franchise to many impoverished and illiterate whites."

Not that using the term today makes a person racist, but it's interesting to know. Just as it would be good to know that the term "Thug" that is now verboten has its roots not in white Americans' fears of gangs but in white British imperialists' fears of gangs in India, specifically the gangs that engaged in Thuggee, a violent killing ritual that targeted travelers, native Indians mostly, along the Great Trunk Road in northern India.

The weaponization of words is a major issue today, poisoning conversations and relationships. Groups have always used coded language to exclude people but this behavior entered the mainstream of party politics in the nineties with the rise of Newt Gingrich and his political guru Frank Luntz. Luntz helped Gingrich gain a Republican majority in the House and one of his weapons was a lexicon included in a GOPAC memo titled “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.” FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) reported on the memo in 1995.

Luntz taught Gingrich and Gingrich trained the Republicans to use language like a tar brush to smear the Democrats and make people feel suspicious and angry about them. Their caucus members followed the playbook.

"Often we search hard for words to help us define our opponents. Sometimes we are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and their party.

"decay… failure (fail)… collapse(ing)… deeper… crisis… urgent(cy)… destructive… destroy… sick… pathetic… lie… liberal… they/them… unionized bureaucracy… “compassion” is not enough… betray… consequences… limit(s)… shallow… traitors… sensationalists…endanger… coercion… hypocrisy… radical… threaten… devour… waste… corruption… incompetent… permissive attitudes… destructive… impose… self-serving… greed… ideological… insecure… anti-(issue): flag, family, child, jobs… pessimistic… excuses… intolerant…stagnation… welfare… corrupt… selfish… insensitive… status quo… mandate(s)… taxes… spend(ing)… shame… disgrace… punish (poor…)… bizarre… cynicism… cheat… steal… abuse of power… machine… bosses… obsolete… criminal rights… red tape… patronage"

This list of words has remained in use ever since, and it's helped destroy the polity or traditional courtesy that used to make our political system function. Language helped make our democracy dysfunctional. When Obama was elected president most Americans polled said they were sick and tired of the nasty partisanship in Washington, yet they kept re-electing the same right wing cohort who'd poisoned the well. Americans wanted civility but in 2010, after two years of fierce Republican opposition and outright racism, they restored the Congress to the Republicans.

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Friday, March 03, 2017

Trump's Role As A Russian Eunuch

Watching Donald Trump's panoply and excess raises questions. Didn't this guy go disastrously bankrupt over a decade ago? Isn't it true that no banks would loan him money? If Trump has a colossal reputation it ought to be as a colossal financial failure. When U.S. banks refused to loan to him, European banks stepped in, but there are questions about why. Did they extend credit to Trump after he was guaranteed by Russian friends? The point is, he owes billions. He is not in the driver's seat.

In unfolding Trump news stories we read the resilience of Donald Trump seems to have more to do with powerful friends helping him out, cosigning his loans. Many of those friends appear to be Russians. They've kept him afloat because he's been useful to them and might be more useful in the future. Well that time has come. He's now president of the United States, the most powerful country in the world. But he's on the hook.

All along, his finances have been dicey. We don't know how dicey because he's hidden that, but very dicey by all accounts. Billions owed, much of that debt overseas debt, much of it Russian obligations. Being obligated to foreign powers is not appropriate for a leader of a country.

Which is why Donald Trump's life of obscene excess reminds me of the Indian maharajahs during the Raj.

During that period when the British ruled India, they kept the old Indian princes on their thrones and allowed them to live in splendor and powerlessness. They were political eunuchs, no powers at all, just show. Photographs from the period reveal a bizarre excess, a pathetic gaudiness. A gaudiness that reminds me of Donald Trump. Pomp and puppetry. The vulgar excess of Trump's personal style says something about what he lacks. He's compensating for feelings of powerlessness with excessive show. What power he exercises appears to be exercised by his puppet master through him the way the British used their princely puppets during the Raj, keeping them in splendor but reserving all powers to the master.

This cannot be a good state of affairs. The vast luxury of the Indian princes who dined on peacock tongues while millions starved became a greater insult to the people of India when they woke from their imperial nightmare and threw the British out. These princes were useful idiots, like Donald Trump, providing expensive showy cover for the foreign ruler, letting the natives believe they still ran their own affairs.

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Thursday, March 02, 2017

The Trump White House In Cover Up Mode Over Russia Collusion

Today’s Republicans remember Watergate differently.

They don't remember it as a major corruption scandal. They remember Watergate as a failure to cover up a major corruption scandal. (Hunter Thompson knew better.)

Republicans in Congress share this mindset: if something bad is going on and nobody is told, that means nothing bad is going on.

The scandal is that people are finding out.

The criminals are the ones alerting the public to the crime. Sounding the alarm is a crime, according to Republican leaders. Republican leaders are obeyed by all Republican followers. Republicans are very obedient.

The senator who's supposed to be leading the probe into the White House's Russia ties is Richard Burr, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The guy who agreed to deter the press from reporting White House ties to Russia. (This kind of story by Politico might be why Politico is banned from the White House.)

There are labels for this kind of behavior, this kind of ritual.


Keep your mouth shut or you're dead.

Shoot the messenger.

Don’t tell anybody what is going on because if you do blow the whistle you pay consequences. The consequences are brutal. The people doing the crime pay no consequences.

Put it another way: the Republicans would have hung Paul Revere.

Today’s Republicans would have erected statues to commemorate the heroism of Benedict Arnold. To the leaders of the GOP, the people selling our country to the Russians are patriots.

One of the memorable phrases from Watergate was “Follow The Money.” Mark Felt (Deep Throat) said it to Bob Woodward when Woodward felt like the trail had gone cold. Follow the money and you will find the answers. You will learn who the criminals are.

Rachel Maddow detailed how deeply it appears our new Commerce Secretary is involved with Russia. Wilbur Mills doesn't just consort with Russian spies he owns the bank in Cyprus where they launder their money. And who are his partners in this bank? Putin's favorite Russian mobsters.

The Daily Beast has the same story.

The Hill, Congress's newspaper, has the story about how hard Republicans are working to keep the public from knowing about Trump's finances. Because the Republican book of rules says there is no crime as long as the public is unaware of it.

The Guardian reports on Reince Priebus's efforts to shut up reporters. Which is why the Guardian is barred from the White House.

That doesn't matter so much when White House staffers will meet you in a bar somewhere and tell you all about what's going on.

Two stories broke last night.

The Attorney General, Jefferson Davis Beauregard Secessions (sic), the man in charge of enforcing the law and overseeing all investigations of possible treasonous collusion with Russians in the recent campaign, appears to have lied under oath about his own collusions with Russians. The Washington Post broke the story. Which is why the Washington Post is barred from the White House.

And in the final days of Obama’s presidency, as new evidence was emerging about Trump campaign complicity with Russia, the departing president ordered all departments in the White House and the executive branch to preserve that evidence, concerned that the new administration would lose or destroy it.

That story from SLATE

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