Daily Check-In 03/02/2018

Friday, March 2nd.

ALEXANDER TORSHIN TWEETED HIS TIES TO AND CULTIVATION OF NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION

When the National Rifle Association issues a non-denial denial about accepting Russian money for campaign purposes, journalists are going to look at the names involved.  In 2018, that means checking out social media, going through a Twitter timeline for any clues, like where they traveled, what they did, who they talked to.

National Public Radio looked at Alexander Torshin’s Twitter timeline going back a few years, and found a treasure trove of information about his ties to the NRA and Donald Trump.

Here’s some of the highlights…

  • The NRA leadership invited Torshin to visit Tennessee to observe the 2012 Presidential Election.
  • Torshin bragged about meeting Donald Trump in a meeting in 2015 set up by the NRA.
  • Torshin ran into Donnie Jr. at the May 2016 NRA Convention.  This is after the Mayflower event, but before the June 9 meeting.
  • He offered to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin.
  • Torshin met with every NRA President since 2012.
  • Torshin is wanted for Money Laundering in Spain.

So, we have a known criminal associate of Putin getting all chummy with the leadership of the NRA, who arranges meetings with Presidential candidates.  All the while, Torshin promises to set up meetings with Putin.

And the FBI, Senate, and FinCEN are all up in this.

 

JARED AND THE NO-GOOD, HORRIBLE, VERY BAD MONTH

Watching Jared Kushner get dragged through the mud is such a beautiful sight.

We’ve learned the following about Jared in February:

  • He’s lost his security clearance
  • Been caught up in pay for play scams
  • Accepted bribes and loans for his personal business
  • Been called ‘easy to manipulate’ by foreign diplomats
  • Saw multiple staffers testify to Mueller and Congress
  • Lost his spokesman from the White House
  • Lost their mouthpiece Hope Hicks
  • Has been implicitly accused of selling state secrets
  • Has seen his wife implicated in a money laundering scheme
  • He’s under investigation in multiple states, where daddy’s pardon power is useless.

Here’s the good news…

It’s only going to get worse from here for him.  He’s looking at many, many crimes, and there’s an above zero percent chance he committed capital crimes, so he might face the death penalty.

I didn’t say it was good news for him.  I wonder what’s going to happen in March.

 

JARED KUSHNER’S COMPANY SOUGHT MONEY FROM QATAR GOVERNMENT WEEKS BEFORE BLOCKADE

Back in April 2017, Kushner’s company pitched Qatar’s Minister of Finance Ali Sharif Al Emadi about a deal regarding 666 Fifth Avenue, the albatross hanging around their families’ neck.

In May, following a Russian hack of Qatari news that was likely ordered by the United Arab Emirates, a blockade of Qatar was enforced by Saudi Arabia, UAE, and other nations.  This blockade led to several deaths and rampant destruction in Qatar.

It’s funny how about a month after Kushner’s company met with Qatar, and during Trump’s first visit to the Middle East, all hell breaks loose between these nations, and Trump’s Administration ended up siding with Saudi Arabia, even though Qatar hosts the largest American military base in the Middle East.

Almost like it was retaliation for something, like not giving his family money.

New York Magazine confirmed the story, since I don’t completely trust The Intercept.

 

RUSSIANS USED REDDIT AND TUMBLR TO TROLL 2016 ELECTIONS

From the “No Shit, Sherlock” Department.

I spend many, many hours a week on Reddit.  I probably spend more time there than I do interacting with my family.  So, hearing news that Russians were on Reddit trolling hard is like hearing about bad weather in Winter.

Of course the Russian Trolls were on Reddit.  They’re still there, and will still be there until their is either no Reddit, or no Russian Trolls.  I’ve had more than a few scrape-ups with them.  I’ll often ask the black lesbian planned parenthood worker who agrees with Trump’s policies “How’s the weather in St. Petersburg?”

One part of the article that’s pissing people off is the lack of response from Reddit.  While it is shady AF that they aren’t even commenting, I have another hypothesis.

They received a National Security Letter, and can’t talk about it since it pertains to Russian activities.

NSL’s are very strict.  They can’t be disclosed at all, and the target of the letter cannot be told that they’re under investigation.

Reddit made use of a Warrant Canary in their User Agreement until March 2016.  The way this works is that a company, website, library, or other entity will post something like a sign that says “The FBI Has Not Been Here.”  If they receive an NSL, they remove the sign. On March 31, 2016, the Warrant Canary disappeared.  It hasn’t reappeared since.

What happened back in March 2016?  The Presidential Primary was in full swing, and the Redcaps and Bernie Bros were out in full force.  /r/The_Donald was picking up speed, and /r/Politics was flooded with Pro-Bernie stories.  John Podesta’s email was hacked on the 19th.  Something was fishy, and the FBI wanted to know what.

The BBC reached out to Reddit for comment.

 

TRUMP’S TARIFFS ON STEEL, ALUMINIUM ‘STRAIGHT UP STUPID’

During yesterday’s shitstorm, Trump announced that he wanted to add a 25% tariff to steel and aluminum imports.

This is a ridiculously bad idea, from someone who has no understanding of how business or economics work.  This will cause a Trade War with Europe where they’re already targeting specific industries that hurt Congressional Leadership.

In other words, this tariff is a standard issue Trump idea.

So, why is this a bad idea?  Let’s look at the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act and how it led to the Great Depression.

Following World War 1, or “The Great War” as it was called then, countries were recovering from the fighting and trying to build industries.  All of them had severe infrastructural problems, except the United States.  Industry was booming in the U.S., and we were exporting materials like steel everywhere.  This was great for the U.S., but terrible the nascent steel industries in places like France, Belgium, and Germany.  Those countries to protect their steel industries, would add a tariff, or import tax, on American steel.  In response, the United States imposed tariffs on other products from countries that put tariffs on their steel.  Those countries would respond with more tariffs, then the U.S. responds with more tariffs, creating a feedback loop.

This was all well and good, right up until the 1929 Market Crash.  When the bottom fell out, every country was hurting, but could have made it through without the tariffs by helping each other through trade.  Instead, high tariffs choked off international trade, further impacting local economies.

What should have been a minor recession turned into the Great Depression.  Unemployment was at an all time high, economies collapsed, and chaos reigned supreme.  Things got so bad that Germany elected Hitler and the Nazis come to power, Mussolini took over in Italy, and Soviet Communism rose in power, since their economy wasn’t as badly hurt.  These events led to World War 2, and we all know how that went.

So, tariffs, bad idea.

Combine this tariff with his hard-on for cutting the Affordable Care Act, increasing the deficit through increased military and border spending, and cutting taxes by over $1 trillion dollars, we’re fast on our way to the next great economic collapse.

 

CARL ICAHN DUMPS STEEL STOCKS DAYS BEFORE TARIFF ANNOUNCEMENT

I feel like we’re repeating history at this point.

Carl Icahn, billionaire asshole, opportunist, and former member of the Trump Administration, sold $31.4 million in stock of a company that is heavily dependent on foreign steel just a couple days before Trump announced his ridiculous tariff idea.  Icahn stood to lose millions if he kept the stock.

When Trump took office, Icahn was an unpaid Senior Advisor on economic affairs, relating to how the EPA worked.  He pushed for policies that made certain kinds of pollution offsets less valuable, then shorted stocks on those offsets.

If anyone wants to know how serious insider trading is, Ask Martha Stewart.

 

BOYCOTT UPDATE: REI CUTS TIES WITH VISTA OUTDOORS OVER NRA

Vista Outdoor sells Bell bicycle helmets, Giro ski goggles, CamelBak, and about 50 other brands.

They have cut ties with Vista specifically over Vista’s ownership of firearms and ammunition manufacturers, and their support of the NRA.

Looks like we can add L.L. Bean to the list.

 

GEORGIA CUTS TAX BREAKS FOR DELTA OVER DELTA’S DECISION TO NO LONGER SUPPORT NRA

In about two days, the state of Georgia enacted new legislation to punish a company that decided it no longer wanted to provide a discount to a special interest group.

That’s extortion.

I hate saying this, but good job Delta.

Remember, Delta can play hardball, too.  I’m sure Pennsylvania would make a great place to move to if Georgia doesn’t want their business.

 

DURING NRA CONVENTIONS, GUN INJURIES DROP 20% NATIONWIDE—63% IN HOSTING STATE

The argument that the gun enthusiasts try use is that because of all the well-armed “good guys” in town, the criminals stay home.  This ignores the fact that the crime rates are consistent, but that only the number of injuries fall.

Here’s what really happens…

All of the gun enthusiasts that would otherwise be screwing around with their guns and treating them like toys are now in a building where they can’t keep them loaded and are supervised by people who know what the fuck they’re doing.

Amazing how a little bit of training and supervision can prevent injuries.

 

REPRESENTATIVES TED LIEU AND KATHLEEN RICE ASK FBI TO INVESTIGATE STORMY DANIELS, KAREN McDOUGAL PAYOFFS

As I mentioned in Daily Check-In 02/14/2018 for Stormy Daniels and Daily Check-in 02/16/2018 for Karen McDougal, having a lawyer and newspaper pay almost $300,000 in hush money to women to keep quiet about affairs during the last few weeks of a Presidential campaign would likely be an in-kind contribution, and not claiming it with the Federal Election Committee.

Looks like Ted Lieu and Kathleen Rice agree, and they’ve asked FBI Director Chris Wray to open an investigation.

The full text of the letter is Here.

 

DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION, STORMY DANIELS THREATENED TO CANCEL DEAL TO KEEP ALLEGED AFFAIR WITH TRUMP SECRET

We know by this point that Michael Cohen could fuck up a wet dream, but this is a level of incompetence that borders on bad writing.

Trump’s team had a deal with Stormy Daniels to pay her by October 17th.  They didn’t pay her, and her team told Trump’s team that the deal was off.  Cohen scrambled that day to set up the LLC by the end of the day, and Stormy was paid 10 days later on October 27th.  Because of that mad dash, he screwed up and put his name on the company.  That allowed journalists to track this down, and trace the payments.

Plus, by waiting as long as they did, there’s no way that this payment wasn’t a violation of election campaign laws.

 

RICK WILSON: WE KISSED CONSERVATISM GOODBYE WHEN WE LET TRUMP LEAD THE GOP

Here’s a good article from Rick Wilson, one of the original #NeverTrump crew that has been trying to save the Conservative movement from Trump, identity politics, and itself.

 

RUMOR MILL:  THE BEGINNING OF THE END, CYBER WARFARE, OLEG’S CYPRIOT PASSPORT, TARIFFS AND GUNS

One overarching thread coming from Twitter was an optimistic one.  Even though it might not look like it from the outside, all of gears are in motion.  Everyone is going down.  Justice may be slow, but thorough.

There was a lot of drama on Reddit today following the story about Russians using /r/The_Donald to create propaganda, spread disinformation, and use it as a tool to coordinate with co-conspirators.  The moderators of /r/Politics, the largest battlefield against the trolls, pulled a couple submissions about it for weird reasons.  I realized something.

We are on the front lines of the First Cyber War.

Why is the tariff on Steel and Aluminum?  Why not bauxite, or iron ore, or oil?  Because Oleg Deripaska and his friends stand to benefit from this.  Oleg owns Russia’s largest aluminum company, and these tariffs don’t include them.

Speaking of Oleg, guess who bought a passport from Cyprus?  If you guessed Oleg Deripaska, you get a cookie.  If you guessed Moe from the Three Stooges, what the fuck are you drinking, and can I have some?

 

That’s it for today.  It’s been a busy week.  I need to relax.  Funny thing is, I relax by writing.  I think I might have fun with something this weekend. Maybe something fictional and/or funny, like casting the most insulting movie possible.

I’m wrapping it up, I’m so tired I can’t keep my eyes open.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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