The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Russia

Well, as Hillary Clinton tweeted, now we know. Some of us have known for a while that Trump was an actual traitor. Not hyperbole traitor, but an actual one in the sense that hetrump-putin-summit-crisis-time-magazine-cover1.jpg literally committed (and continues to commit) treason against his own country. But many others are just waking up right now, in a post-Helsinki press conference world and saying: “Wait, whaaaaaaat?” Samantha Bee did a great skit on how shocked everyone is and while Republicans aren’t really shocked – GOP is complicit and they don’t actually care – the most galling part is where members of the media say they’re shocked. Motherfuckers have been reporting the wrong news for about 4 years now. It’s really too bad Hillary didn’t lay out her case for Trump’s treason in an email because maybe then they’d have read it.

I don’t think Trump intends to commit treason. I think he just wants to be rich and powerful. That’s why he accepted Putin’s help. To make money. But he’s so stupid it never occurred to him his actions were treasonous. Never crossed his mind. And when it was brought up, he doubled down – because Trump would never not do that. He would never admit he fucked up, never accept responsibility and try to fix it. No, his cover-up is now of gargantuan proportions. NYTimes reported late yesterday that Trump was shown raw intelligence before the inauguration showing that Putin himself gave the green light for the campaign to infiltrate US elections. This means Trump has been covering up his crime with full knowledge of what he was doing since before he was inaugurated. Trump hasn’t been stumbling about in ignorance. No, he knew exactly what Putin did and he continues to this day to deny it. Trump attacks the intelligence community and the FBI, never Putin. He still, to this day, has not said one bad thing about Putin. At the presser, when he was asked if there was anything he would fault Russia for he responded with a direct criticism of the US instead. “We have been foolish.” What does Putin have on Trump? I don’t think it’s just a pee tape, at least not in the way Steele described in his dossier. If it’s a sex tape of some kind, it’s more than just hookers peeing on a bed. It may be Trump being peed on in the bed. Or it’s money. There’s a reason for why Trump has not released his tax returns. What the bloody hell is in those tax returns that he prostrates himself before Putin in front of TV cameras?

One other important point on the news that Trump was briefed with raw intelligence on what Putin did. The intelligence included information from a source very close to Putin. This is significant because normally a newspaper would have been asked to leave out details like that because it would put people in harm’s way. The fact that the Times published that info suggests that they know the source is already burned (and likely dead.) And to that point, Trump was shown this information two weeks before he was inaugurated. On January 27 reports started coming in raising red flags on surprise purges in Putin’s inner circle. All those Russians dropping like flies we were tracking in 2017? That started after Trump was shown the raw intelligence. And it wouldn’t be the last time the Trumps betrayed intel like that. Remember all those Saudi purges, which likely came from intelligence given to them by Jared Kushner.

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Also, let me mention the list of evidence Bob Mueller says he will present in court in the government’s case against Paul Manafort. The list includes about 30 emails and text messages and memos Tad Devine sent Paul Manafort through 2014, just a few months before he became chief strategist for Bernie Sanders. These communications are presented as evidence of crimes being committed. Think about that!

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Paul Manafort in the middle; Tad Devine to Manafort’s immediate right; and Konstantin Kilimnik – also under indictment by Mueller – is in the blue shirt on the left.

I wonder what new devilry Friday news dump will bring.

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Happy Thursday Widdershins,

The week is almost over. What madness will be included on the Friday night news dump? Who will Trump fire? Will he launch nuclear missiles at Stormy Daniels’ house? Will he accept Vladimir Putin’s marriage proposal?

Speaking of Trump and Putin: in retaliation against Russia for poisoning people in England with deadly nerve agents Trump responded by expelling 60 diplomats and closing the Russian consulate in Seattle. Am I the only one who wonders who cares about all these diplomat expulsions? Does Putin really give a crap? He will replace those 60 with another 60. [Edit: As pointed out by Fredster, the expelled diplomats won’t be replaced.] Maybe once upon a time expelling of diplomats was a serious slap in the face, but after Putin interfered in our elections, invaded allies (Ukraine), gassed thousands of civilians in Syria, and poisoned dissidents in England – is the expulsion of diplomats really going to hurt his feelings? It’s 2018 folks. That’s not a punishment.

Speaking of Putin murdering people in foreign countries. Christopher Steele didn’t just compile a dossier on Trump’s sexual fetishes and collusion to steal elections. He also compiled a dossier on the death of Russia’s former media Czar and founder of RT, Mikhail Lesin. Lesin was found dead in his Washington DC hotel room on November 5, 2015.

The coroner determined that he had died from blunt force injuries to the head and had also sustained blunt force injuries to his neck, torso, upper extremities, and lower extremities. After an 11-month investigation, a federal prosecutor announced in late 2016 that Lesin died alone in his room due to a series of drunken falls “after days of excessive consumption of alcohol.” His death was ruled an “accident,” with the coroner adding acute alcohol intoxication as a contributing cause of death, and prosecutors closed the case.

This is something that has been discussed before: Lesin’s accidental death by flailing about his room so much that he sustained “blunt force injuries to his neck, torso, upper

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Putin and Mikhail Lesin

extremities, and lower extremities” sounded ridiculous. But the government said there was nothing further to investigate. We now learn that Steele asserts in his dossier (which the FBI neither confirms nor denies it possesses) that obviously that’s preposterous. The man was murdered by enforcers working for an oligarch close to Putin and that they were instructed to only beat Lesin, but they really got into it and beat him to death instead. According to the BuzzFeed article linked to above, FBI had information from three other sources, independent of Steele, corroborating that Lesin was murdered by the same oligarch Steele named. So why did Obama’s Justice Department rule that the man died accidentally by falling a lot and falling really hard in his hotel room? These are questions that would be interesting to get answers to some day.

Remember last year BuzzFeed wrote an article called “From Russia With Blood” that detailed the suspicious deaths of 14 Russians and Brits in the UK, all of which UK ruled accidental or suicides, including the scientist who identified the substance that killed Alexander Litvinenko (polonium flavored tea): Dr. Matthew Puncher was stabbed and slashed repeatedly with two different knives. His death was ruled a suicide by Scotland Yard. UK authorities refused to reopen any of the cases until earlier this month when Russians tried to kill former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a deadly nerve agent. After an outcry and Parliament demanding that the previous deaths be looked into once more, authorities have agreed to take another look. Don’t we all feel safer already?

This is an open thread.

gado.jpgSaturday Night Massacre is really a 2016-2020 Massacre in Trump years. It’s better for the ratings. The latest victim of our slow motion descent into chaos is National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster. He was one of Trump’s beloved Generals. His predecessor in the post was Michael Flynn. Flynn is trying not to get locked up and McMaster is probably looking to get his 4 stars and retire ASAP. Stories are that Trump thought McMaster was too serious and talked too much. That must have been especially galling, to talk more than Trump. What is Trump supposed to do when a National Security Advisor talks too much? Listen? LOL. McMaster’s replacement – who needs no confirmation from the Senate – is John Bolton. Dubya first put Bolton in power as a U.N. ambassador, even though Bolton detests the U.N. So never forget that no matter how bad Trump is, Dubya was awful, awful, awful. And it’s only fitting that Bolton get a fancy new job the week we celebrate the anniversary of the Iraq War! It’s a nice present to one of the architects of that catastrophe.

Speaking of great ratings being delivered by Trump: Jeff Zucker, head of CNN, had some harsh things to say about Fox News.

“What has happened to that network in the last 18 months, especially the last year, is that it has just turned itself into state-run TV,” Zucker said. “TASS has nothing on them,” he said in reference to the Russian news agency.

[…]

Zucker said that Fox has “a handful of good journalists but they get lost in the propaganda machine.”

“The idea that they are a news channel is really not accurate at all,” he said.

This is all hilarious because Jeff Zucker made a choice during the election: he chose to elevate and normalize Trump and everything Trump stands for. Hours of uninterrupted and unchallenged speeches by Trump aired live on CNN for months. And everybody missed the Russian story and, now we learn, Cambridge Analytica story; because of “her mails.” It’s not an exaggeration to say that Zucker is one big reason we have Trump. But that kind of self-awareness does not exist in the media. To date not a single reporter* has stepped forward and said: “Maybe her emails were less important than Trump/Russia.” Not only has no reporter done that much self-reflection, many have dug in and insist that they did nothing wrong. Some pick fights on twitter with anyone who even suggests that they might have spent too much time on unworthy subjects. Ken Vogel of the NY Times, who wrote extensively about the Clinton Foundation, and has tweeted extensively practically foaming at the mouth with rage that the Foundation is a sinister money laundering scheme, tweeted that Cambridge Analytica story is overblown. That the company is harmless. That’s the state of modern journalism.

*The only reporters who have made the point that the media covered the wrong story were already saying it in 2016. People like Soledad O’Brien, Josh Marshal, Charles Pierce and David Corn. I would give 1/2 point to Matthew Yglesias, but only 1/2 point because his Clinton Derangement Syndrome is otherwise rabid.

A final word about Facebook: the story of Cambridge Analytica harvesting profiles and data of 50,000,000 Facebook users is only beginning to hit the front pages. For most of us it’s not a new story. The name of that company has been discussed for a a couple of years and Hillary Clinton talked about it publicly as far back as Spring of last year. At the time she was trashed by every pundit and reporter for refusing to take enough (all) blame for her loss and instead blaming everyone else. Once again, however, we see that Clinton was ahead of everyone else. What she was saying wasn’t so much blame-shifting as warning. Warning that there are layers to the treachery that are still to be uncovered and explored. But the very smart people in the media let their CDS get in the way. That will never change, of course. If Hillary had won the electoral college in addition to theRelated image popular vote she would have been buried under countless Republican investigations (no doubt she would already have been impeached.) Jason Chaffetz would still be in Congress and Trey Gowdy wouldn’t be resigning either. HRC’s administration would have been testifying on something every day of the week and the media would still be blasting her emails on the front page, in addition to some new scandal Alex Jones made up. She would also have been crushed by Democrats, who are incapable of standing by their own. (Trump really did manage to build a wall: a wall of Republicans protecting his every sin.) The Left would have been screaming that Hillary hasn’t given them a unicorn yet and the Right would have been screaming that she is taking away their rocket launchers. Trump would be starting his own media empire accusing HRC of stealing his election and whipping up right-wing paranoia of astronomical proportions. (Ok, the last part happened anyway.) HRC’s life is far more peaceful not being in the White House. Except I know that Hillary Clinton wishes she was saving us from the Apocalypse, even if it burned her first.

This is an open thread.

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On Tuesday the 13th Democrats managed to flip another deep red seat. PA-18 was one of the most gerrymandered districts in the state. It’s one of the reasons PA Supreme Court ruled the state’s maps unconstitutional. For all intents and purposes, PA-18 as we know it – and as it was voted on Tuesday – no longer exists. But the special election ran on the old map. It’s a place Trump won by 20 points. Trump came to campaign for the Republican running there, holding one of his signature racist, sexist, xenophobic Nurnberg-style rallies. Democrats won the election, however. It came close, proving once again that every vote counts. But Conor Lamb pulled it off with just a few hundred votes. As someone pointed out, even if Lamb lost by a few hundred votes, Republicans would have lost 20 points ago. But, in a desperate attempt to spin their loss, Republicans have said all kinds of Republicany things. They declared that the Republican was a terrible candidate anyway. (They’re all terrible when they lose, yes?) They declared that PA is a race Democrats couldn’t replicate anywhere else (hello Alabama and dozens of deep red seats Democrats have flipped.) Finally they declared that Conor Lamb was really just a Republican, so that’s why he won. Conor Lamb, a former Marine and former federal prosecutor, is pro-choice, pro-union, pro-ACA, pro-trade, pro-immigrant, pro-gay rights. He’s wobbly on gun control (isn’t opposed to it, but essentially seems to have a “states’ rights” stance on it.) And he did say he wouldn’t support Nancy Pelosi for House Leader. It’s this latter point that Republicans (and Bernie’s alt-left) jumped on especially, but they also spent millions of dollars in the state trying to tie Lamb to Pelosi. The alt-left is demanding Pelosi resign because Lamb won. They also demanded she resign because Osoff lost. We’ll just have to get used to the fact that they really want Pelosi to reign, for all reasons. It’s all noise, however. Lamb’s win proves that a 20 point Trump win can turn into a loss. Someone pointed out Devin Nunes is in an 8 point Trump win area. The possibilities are endless. We can all collectively cross out fingers, toes and whatever we can – and start praying if we are the praying kind – that this blue wave continues to build. It’s still a long time between now and November midterms. We must not fuck it up. But the momentum is on our side. (We just have to survive Trump’s insanity and Putin’s increasing boldness.)

Meanwhile let’s keep an eye on Putin. After Putin poisoned a former spy and his daughter with a very deadly chemical in England, Prime Minister Teresa May is kicking out a bunch of Russian diplomats and suspending high level talks between the two countries. That doesn’t sound very serious to me. Does anyone think Putin is concerned about some diplomats getting kicked out or that UK canceled Sergei Lavrov’s visit? The problem is the Brits are very attached to Russian money being invested in the UK. The weakness of May’s response so far, and the taunting by the Russians, does not bode well for anyone. And with UK rejecting the European Union via Brexit, it’s unlikely that the UK can get much of the EU on board with major sanctions or anything. US stands apart from all of them now too. Putin is winning the war agains the US, UK and Europe.

Boooooo

Posted on: November 1, 2017

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Good morning Widdershins,

It’s the day after Halloween and we’d be greedy if we asked for a bigger treat than the indictment of Dump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, his protege and some coffee-fetching intern named George Papadopoulos. No, not this poor guy who has the exactScreen Shot 2017-10-31 at 8.29.52 PM.png same name. Fortunately this guy was in Greece visiting his mother when the other Papadopoulos was announced as having plea-bargained his way into Bob Mueller’s good graces and, who knows, maybe even has been wearing a wire since July, the date he agreed to start cooperating. 6 days ago the bad Papadopoulos was in London (he posted a picture himself). What was he doing in London? Obviously Mueller allowed him to leave. We’ll have to wait to find out if he was on a secret mission. I can’t imagine he’d be on a sight-seeing tour at a time like this.

We also found out that Paul Manafort used “Bond007” as his computer password. Because that’s funny.

Now can we talk about Bernie for a minute? I know this isn’t anything new to us, but he did go on Seth Meyers on Monday night and said something dumb and very much in keeping wit his entire platform, which is further proof of why he’s a loathsome creature.

I mean, I think we’ve got to work in two ways,” Sanders answered. “Number one, we have got to take on Trump’s attacks against the environment, against women, against Latinos and blacks and people in the gay community, we’ve got to fight back every day on those issues. But equally important, or more important: We have got to focus on bread-and-butter issues that mean so much to ordinary Americans.”

Sanders said those “ordinary Americans” are “not staying up every day worrying about Russia’s interference in our election.” Instead, he said, “They’re wondering how they’re going to send their kids to college” or “how they’re going to be able to pay the rent” or “whether they can afford health care.”

This on the heels on his appearance with NYC Mayoral candidate Bill DeBlasio in a subway station where his MetroCard worked on the 1st try and Bernie took a swipe at Hillary’s incident where the MetroCard didn’t work. As a regular NYC subway rider I can tell you the card often doesn’t work on the first try. Bernie got lucky and his first thought was taking a swipe at HRC. Because that’s where she lives, rent free. In Bernie’s and Trump’s heads.

BTW when asked what she would dress as on Halloween, Clinton replied “Maybe as a President.”

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I have been a sick Widdershin, my fellow Widdershins. Summer colds are the worst, and you can’t turn the AC off because it’s too hot and humid. So the cycle of cold, dry air at home and office vs. smack-you-in-the-face heat and humidity outside. There’s only so much a body can take.

Plus, a couple of days ago MadamaB asked how long it has been. I can inform you that we just passed the 84th anniversary of Donald Dump becoming president. Ok, it’s only been 6 months, but I think we’ve all aged 84 years, give or take. So my post will be a bit more rambly than usual. Blame it on the fever and, of course, Dump.

One story that caught my eye this week is the shooting of an Australian woman named Justine Diamond by a police officer in Minneapolis. Diamond called 911 to report a possible assault and was somehow shot and killed herself. She was shot through the door of the police car as she was leaning over to speak to the officers. Both cops were wearing body cameras, but they did not turn them on. Another fatal cop shooting in a long string of fatal cop shootings. One would expect the usual reaction: Right-wing forming a protective wall around the cop. Cops can do no wrong. Except this case was different. The victim was a blonde caucasian. The cop: a black Muslim. Imagine the reactions from the alt-right…

In an interview with Ari Melber on MSNBC, Bernie Sanders was asked a question he was clearly not expecting to be asked.

“Did you know then that this might have been part of [the Kremlin’s] design?” MSNBC reporter Ari Melber asked Sanders Wednesday. “To leak these emails precisely so that there would be more riffs in the Democratic Party?”

“Well of course we knew that,” Sanders replied. “Of course we knew that they were trying to cause divisiveness within the Democratic Party,” the senator continued. “That’s no great secret.”

This should, of course, be a bigger story. Sanders admitting that he knew he was acting as a Kremlin-puppet is a big deal. But in our current endless news cycle of endless breaking stories it got somewhat lost. By now if you ask a Bernie Bros about it, they’ll tell you they never even heard of such a thing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is going forward with its investigation of Russian interference into our election. How it’s going is hard to tell. Chuck Grassley is the chairman and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw a Russian. But they have scheduled an open hearing (with Bob Mueller’s permission) to question Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort. (Also to be questioned is Bill Browder, the man who hired tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky to look into missing money…the rest is the Magnitsky Act seemingly at the center of Putin’s anger at the West.) The most interesting part of the letter the Judiciary Committee sent to Junior and Manafort, asking them to preserve all communications with people like Carter Page and Sergei Lavrov and that ambassador nobody remembers and Alfa Bank… is the inclusion of Dr. Jill Stein.

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Stein is right there between Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen. Let the fireworks begin. The hearing is scheduled to take place on Wed, July 26th.

What a week! Everyone is struggling to explain what is happening. I’ve heard the pundits say it is where “greed meets incompetence” or “malevolence meets the sewer” or any number of unsatisfying descriptors.

It might be an intersection or a confluence, but I prefer the Swindon “magic roundabout”. It is seven traffic circles in one. Here’s an explanation:

So in the Dolt 45 turd-o-matic roundabout, we have greed meeting incompetence meeting malevolence meeting dirty tricks meeting incoherence meeting indifference meeting amorality. It is the non-compunction junction since there are no qualms about any loathsome behavior.

Then last night it became apparent these idiots have sat on these emails for three weeks – emails saying “Clinton-Russia” in the subject line – and yet, they had no plan for dealing with them I was reminded of Burn After Reading, the Coen brothers movie. Burn After Reading celebrated a bunch of incompetents who thought they were genius; when in reality, none of them should have been in public without a Mommy’s Helper leash.

Like a hummingbird during mating season, the excuses have been everywhere all at once. Of course the paragon of square-headedness, Sean Hannity, the dumbest man ever paid to talk on teevee, quickly got to the essence of it all with a demand to investigate Hillary’s emails.

There are bright spots though. People like Russ Douthat ate a big heaping helping of crow:

The benefit of the doubt I extended to Trump was limited, but on a rather important subject: I thought that direct collusion between his inner circle and Russian officialdom during the 2016 campaign was relatively unlikely and the odds of ever finding proof of such a conspiracy vanishingly low.

You can read my argument in full here; it’s a mere six weeks old. It’s also no longer operative, because we know now that Donald Trump’s son, his son-in-law and his campaign manager all took a meeting in which it was explicitly promised that damaging information on Hillary Clinton would be supplied as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

If this was a tease in the review of a sitcom, the next part would be prefaced with, “hilarity ensued.” Having known about these emails for a month, the crack P.R. Team decided to fabricate a story for release last Saturday that morphed into another story on Sunday that again morphed into another story on Monday, and yet again changed for Tuesday. Honest folks don’t have to lie – repeatedly.

The ambulatory carrot stain has dumbed down normal. Of the top ten recounted in the article, here are a few of my favorites:

  1. It’s not normal for the presumptive nominee’s son to take a meeting with a Russian lawyer who claims she has dirt compiled by Russian governmental forces who want to see your guy win.
  2. It’s not normal for the President to sign off on a public cover-up of that meeting when confronted with the facts.
  3. It’s not normal for the President to hold a Cabinet meeting that consists of his staff gushing over him.
  4. It’s not normal for the President to obsess about cable-news coverage of himself, yell at White House televisions, and instantly react to stories before checking the specifics.

But this is normal for this White House and the person illegitimately occupying the Oval Office. What is not normal is the speed at which Special Counsel Mueller is forging ahead. Mueller learned valuable lessons prosecuting Enron, its executives, and related organizations. He will not be daunted by these halfwits and morons.

In thinking about the week, here are my takeaways:

  1. No matter what happened with the hacked emails, the Russian activities, or the various conspiracies, but for the Comey letter on October 28th, Hillary would now be President.
  2. The Mercer family is battling a $6.0 Billion tax bill. They have also bankrolled Milo, pollster Kellyanne Conjob, Breitbart, Steve Bannon, and Cambridge Analytica, their data mining firm. Someone had to identify and target promising precincts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania and transmit that information to the Russian bot controllers. There is an electronic trail and the NSA probably already has it.
  3. If only Obama had demonstrated the courage to ignore McTurtle’s obstruction last summer and forge ahead with the warning of Russian interference, Obama would have been proved correct and vindicated by the email saving his legacy and the country from the orange plague.
  4. The tightly choreographed kabuki of the G20, starring Pootie, Lavrov, and Dolt was nothing more than a performance for good old Rexxon. If you are Rexxon, how would you feel being played for the fool on a world stage? Watch for a resignation.

Here’s the last scene from Burn After Reading. They ask a good question. If we learn not to let this happen again by making the name Trump synonymous with Benedict Arnold or genital herpes, we will have learned something of value.

 

What’s on your mind today?

 


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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.5 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

Trump spam

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