Daily Check-In 09/03/2018

Monday, September 3rd and the weekend.


Friday, August 31, 2018



WASHINGTON — For the young Russian gun rights activist studying in the United States, it would have been an unimaginably rich payday: $1 million to help broker the sale of Russian jet fuel to an American middleman. All she had to do was secure the fuel.

So the activist, Maria Butina, whom American prosecutors now accuse of being a covert Russian agent, reached out to contacts in her homeland — and turned on the charm. In a July 2017 email, she told one man that his passport photo was “a handsome one.”

The following month, she told another Russian contact that she had labeled him in her phone as “the lovely Shakhov.” Every time he called, she was notified that “‘the lovely Shakov is calling you,’” Ms. Butina wrote. “Good feelings.”

A year later, Ms. Butina, 29, is in a jail cell outside Washington, awaiting trial. Federal prosecutors have depicted her as a character out of “Red Sparrow,” the spy thriller about a Russian femme fatale. Ms. Butina, supported by Russian intelligence, managed to infiltrate conservative groups and advance Moscow’s interests in the United States, prosecutors say.

In their telling, she used gun rights — Ms. Butina had started a pro-gun group in Russia — to gain a toehold in American conservative circles, and then struck up a romance with a far older Republican operative to open doors further. She has denied the allegations.

Ms. Butina’s efforts to deal in Russian jet fuel, detailed in hundreds of pages of previously unreported emails, were notable not just for their whiff of foreign intrigue but for whom they involved: David Keene, a former president of the National Rifle Association and a prominent leader of the conservative movement, who has advised Republican candidates from Ronald Reagan to Mitt Romney. They also involved Mr. Keene’s wife, Donna, a well-connected Washington lobbyist, and Ms. Butina’s boyfriend, Paul Erickson, who ran Patrick J. Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign and who moved in rarefied conservative circles despite allegations of fraud in three states.

Jet fuel?  Really?  This is getting weirder by the minute.

Private planes require fuel, which can get pretty expensive.  Sometimes, the biggest expense for owning a private plane is the fuel needed to fly.  Donna Keene, the wife of former NRA Presisdent David Keene, approached our Russian spy to arrange a deal get her a deal on jet fuel, and offered her a sweet pay day in return.

This tells us that the Keene family knew that Butina was well connected in Russia.  VERY well connected.  There’s no way they can play stupid and go “we thought she was just a college student or activist.”  You don’t offer someone a million bucks to set up a deal like this unless you know that said someone is well connected.  And in Russia, well connected means ties to Oligarchs/Mafia/Government.  Usually all three.

This claim of jet fuel reminds me of a storyfrom Louise Mensch last year involving human trafficking and stakes in jet fuel stakes.  I don’t know if there is a connection, but it might be worth remembering.


Between 2014 and 2016, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department unsuccessfully tried to turn Mr. Deripaska into an informant. They signaled that they might provide help with his trouble in getting visas for the United States or even explore other steps to address his legal problems. In exchange, they were hoping for information on Russian organized crime and, later, on possible Russian aid to President Trump’s 2016 campaign, according to current and former officials and associates of Mr. Deripaska.

In one dramatic encounter, F.B.I. agents appeared unannounced and uninvited at a home Mr. Deripaska maintains in New York and pressed him on whether Paul Manafort, a former business partner of his who went on to become chairman of Mr. Trump’s campaign, had served as a link between the campaign and the Kremlin.

The attempt to flip Mr. Deripaska was part of a broader, clandestine American effort to gauge the possibility of gaining cooperation from roughly a half-dozen of Russia’s richest men, nearly all of whom, like Mr. Deripaska, depend on President Vladimir V. Putin to maintain their wealth, the officials said.

Interesting.  Trump, the first Pro-Crime President in recent history, attacks the people behind an operation aimed at getting Oligarchs to flip on Russian Mafia.  It’s almost like he’s doing this to shield himself and his companies from the eyes of law enforcement.

This would normally go in the Cold War section, but Bibi’s ties to Kushner and Trump bring this to the Russian section.


New York


Rudy’s Disinformation

Fuck off Rudy.  So, if his newest rantings are to be held to any veracity, he’s saying that he’s working on a voluminous counter report to Mueller’s report, but they (The White House) will block the Mueller report anyway, even though there is not a single tool for them to do so since it is a report from a independent investigator, and the report would be handed to multiple groups at the same time, most of which the White House has no control over.

















































The Kasparov Conversations

This thread captures my sentiments of post-Trumpism politics as well, although perhaps a bit more temperately. Yes, those us comprising can, and should, move back into our more natural political configurations.

Where we differ, perhaps, is on how to respond to those who aided and abetted Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors, embraced his autocratic tendencies, and furthered his anti-democratic aims. For them there can be no redemption.

Those who undermined investigations crucial to the national security, engaged in espionage, ignored court orders, caged children, plotted mass ethnic cleansing, planned the false imprisonment & military oppression of their domestic political foes deserve more than “contempt.”

To those little Quislings, those happy collaborators, those torch-bearing, swastika-waving, child-torturers, I have one message for when this is over: Run. Run as far and as fast as you can, because for the rest of your lives the instruments of American justice will pursue you.

For you have broken more than the Laws of the USA. You have violated the International Law, the Law of War and Crimes against Humanity, and the very Laws of Nature herself. For that, there will be no forgiveness. You will be found. You will be tried. And you will be punished.

As you are guilty of grave crimes, you will either suffer the full punishments of the very Law you sought to place yourselves above… or you will run, like the Nazis before you. But forgiveness? If you want forgiveness pray that your God is merciful. You shall not find it here.

Lady Justice holds a set of scales in one hand, and in the other… a sword. We tried a gentle Reconstruction once. It didn’t work out. We won’t make the same mistake twice. The sword is there for a reason.



That’s it for the Labor Day weekend.  I’d like to say it wasn’t as crazy as expected, but it most of that was due to Senator McCain’s funeral and it being a holiday weekend.

I might not be available the whole week this week.  I have a small road trip scheduled and might not have access to everything I use to keep up with this site.  My posting patterns might change for a couple days.


Thank you, and have a good one.


“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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