Daily Check-In 10/16/2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

 

KHASHOGGI

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

 SCOTUS  & #METOO

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

I’m not going to link to a picture of the painting, because it’s stupid, tacky, and belongs in a psychotherapists dossier on him, but I’ll describe it.

Remember that stupid mall-quality portrait of all of the old Republican President’s playing poker?  This is almost the same thing, but puts Trump at the table, and everyone is drinking their drink of choice.

From a friend of mine, Kat, about Trump’s painting.

I’m pretty sure all of them would hate him.

Ronald Reagan might tolerate him at best, because Nancy told him to.

Gerald Ford would probably hate him at minimum for being a draft dodger.

Richard Nixon would hate him for being an idiot, and for wrecking the EPA.

Dwight D. Eisenhower would probably be suppressing the urge to light him on fire.

Theodore Roosevelt would ACTUALLY be lighting him on fire, because let’s face it. Teddy had no impulse control. Bully!

Lincoln would be generally trying to figure out what the hell happened to the party he helped create and how the fuck this moron ended up president. 

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

WARREN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT LOANS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

DATING APP?

A Trump Supporter Dating App? Is it called “Swipe Alt-Right”?.

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

Good morning, MSM. Do your damn jobs and put reporters on the following: child trafficking through churches, missions, charities. Tie it to the Mob, and money laundering. Get moving.

Got any actual reporters left after that? Do the state economic development corruption on legalizing gambling. Tie it to televised poker. Plenty of TV stars to make the stories clickbait-y. Now get hustling.

Still covering Elizabeth Warren’s DNA? Put it the fuck down on go look at how the Mob – particularly the Russian mafiya, led by Semion Mogilevich – has been stealing from our healthcare system for years. Leads are ALL OVER Justice Dot Gov.

Did you DARE to type the word “Kanye” into anything? Fuck that – get into and start looking at who’s lobbying for which foreign entities without registering FARA – and the donations to AMERICAN POLITICIANS. 100 Pulitzers are sitting there. Get moving.

Sorry to be brusque – but bone saws and Mobsters and child rape, you know. Patience is thinning and we could use some help. </>

Funny how that works.  It’s almost like he’s rage tweeting right after being asked by the press for a comment on a story they’re working on.

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  I’m tired, and could use a few hours off to recharge.  Instead, I’ll get caught up over the weekend.

There are some even more disturbing details about Khashoggi’s murder coming out that I’ll talk about on the next post.  Apparently, there’s about 7 minutes of audio of him being tortured and cut to pieces while still alive.

Also, expect some reports about Mueller’s team looking to report something after the midterms.  There’s something sketchy about this story, so let’s see how this plays out.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 10/15/2018

Monday, October 15, 2018, and the weekend

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Other than a few tweets and statements, Cohen has remained relatively quiet since pleading guilty, in August, to violating campaign laws by paying off women who claimed to have had affairs with Donald Trump at what he said, in open court, was the “direction” of the then-candidate. Behind the scenes, however, Robert Mueller’s special investigation into collusion and obstruction of justice continues apace. So does the Southern District’s probe into campaign-finance violations. Despite having no formal cooperation agreement with the government, Cohen has willingly assisted and provided information critical to several ongoing investigations, according to two sources familiar with the situation, in a string of meetings that have exceeded more than 50 hours in sum. (A spokesman for the S.D.N.Y. declined to comment. A spokesperson for the special counsel’s office declined to comment. Cohen declined to comment.) These conversations are the latest manifestation of Cohen’s brand of patriotism. In June, Cohen told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would no longer be protecting Trump or the Trump family. “To be crystal clear,” he said, “my wife, my daughter, and my son, and this country have my first loyalty.”

Michael Cohen has talked to various investigators, including Mueller’s team, for more than 50 hours.  That’s a lot of time to talk to tax attorneys, cops, FBI agents, and the Special Counselor.

There’s more chatter coming around on how one of the next big dominoes to fall is Cohen’s trip to Prague.  We’ve talked about it before (Daily Check-In 04/13/2018), but it still hasn’t broken into the press yet.  Once it does, things could progress quickly.

 

 

PROUD BOYS ATTACK

Something to know about the Proud Boys: Although some are white supremacists, their ideology is far-right ultranationalism. Branding them as a typical white supremacist gang is too narrow/simple. They have & will align with South/Central American ultranationalist gangs, too. 1/

Unlike typical white supremacist gangs, the Proud Boys have a “flexible” ideology when it comes to things like racial purity. One of their most well known members (“Tiny”) is Samoan American. They have black, Asian, & Latino members. Welcome to the global rise of fascism. 2/

While some members espouse more traditional white supremacist ideals, the Proud Boys as a group is less pro-white than it is anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-feminism, anti-liberalism/liberal democracy. And they love authoritarian-style strong men, death squads, & militarism. 3/

Now, that’s not to say that the Proud Boys endorse racial equality. They don’t. But they’ll work with non-white people and groups to advance their ideology, which is fascism. And they’re happy to use their non-white members as “proof” that they’re not racist, though most are. 4/

The Proud Boys want to restore a social hierarchy in which white men are at the top, & they’re happy to accept help from non-whites who are willing to accept their “place” in that hierarchy. But most of all, they reject the ideals of liberal democracy and want to destroy it. 5/

The Proud Boys are very much the face of the modern fascist movement, which is multicultural & transnational. The whole idea is to establish a brand that can exist in today’s world, and that requires adopting a more flexible ideology in certain domains to achieve the end goal. 6/

The Proud Boys have very effectively exploited male resentment and backlash following cultural flashpoints like gamergate. Their recruitment grounds span the internet (men’s rights forums, 4chan, 8chan, etc), video game culture, the metal scene, libertarianism, & more. 7/

The Proud Boys are very effective at recruiting young men and boys, including high-school age boys. (It’s easier to indoctrinate young people than to change minds). They also feed off the outrage surrounding the so-called “free speech movement.” 8/

The Proud Boys do have women who support them (more on that later), though women aren’t allowed to be members. They also have ties to law enforcement in some areas (http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/jul/20/clark-county-deputy-fired-over-proud-boys-sweatshi/ …) and their tentacles reach the upper ranks of Republican politics & right-wing media. 9/

The point of all this is to say that the Proud Boys very much represent the modern global resurgence of far-right ultranationalism, aka fascism. They’re media savvy and very conscious of their image, which has allowed them to grow their membership with very little scrutiny. 10/

The Proud Boys were founded by Gavin McInnes in 2016 and have already established a presence in the US, Canada, Australia, Norway, & UK, among other places. They are extremely violent & have been engaging in public acts of violence regularly for at least a year and a half. 11/

12/ In the meantime, here’s some more info on the Proud Boys, detailing their activities starting in the spring of 2017: https://twitter.com/RVAwonk/status/868522403772715008 …https://twitter.com/RVAwonk/status/857056816458588160 …

 

KHASHOGGI

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

Kushner’s Taxes

 

Cohen

 

Trump Foundation

 

Stormy

This is only her defamation case against Trump, not the NDA case.

 

 SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO

 

 TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WARREN

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

 

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

More

Trump’s biggest weapon is his RHETORIC. The fevered rallies, capitulation of @SenateGOP, press manipulation, Twitter – ALL rhetoric. There is a machine coordinating the rhetoric across @GOPleadership & media to galvanize his power. I’m going to tell you how to defeat it. /1

2/ Punch back directly at the semantics & re-orient their meaning. Do this WITHOUT outrage. If you do it from outrage, you will lose. You will. What do I mean by this? I’ll give you an example with a single word: MOB. Guess what? That’s the word I’ve been using for nearly 2 yrs.

3/ It has worked unbelievably well to punch a narrative through the noise of Twitter. I am an anonymous account, & I have gone from 0 followers to over 50k because of that one, 3-letter word. Because of it’s potency. MOB I can & have tied it right to Donald with his own history.

4/ With FACTS. With the horrible truth about who his daddy really was, and who Donald is still beholden to. There is a mountain of evidence. Trump Org is, and always has been, a money-laundering front for the mob. And 3 years after he declared his run for POTUS…

5/ This truth was finally breaking into MSM coverage. Donald Trump is owned by the mob. Full stop. That is what Trump-Russia is all about. Books were finally surfacing. Cable news finally reporting. This past summer, everyone was saying “MOB.” Remember?

Lincoln’s Bible added,

Lincoln’s Bible @LincolnsBible

When I call dotard a “mobster,” I’m not being cute. Or provocative. Or jumping on MSM’s sudden embrace of what they’ve always known & obfuscated.…

6/ And it was only getting worse with Cohen and Manafort flipping (both mobsters themselves). Mueller reached Fred Trump’s mob CFO, Allen Weisselberg, & REAL panic in Trump World set in. Oh, it’s all coming out. Count on it. So, what does the rhetoric machine do..?

7/ It finds a way to weaponize that word. Attaching it to your outrage around Kavanaugh – and the whole sh*tshow in general. This is what they do. And it works, as long as you punch back from outrage. I’m going to show you another way. I’m going to show you how to win this.

8/ 1st: understand what I mean by fighting semantic warfare from a place of outrage. You are rightly disgusted by being gaslit. By the glaring hypocrisy & projection. So, I’m watching many of you get into that argument – THEIR argument – about whether or not you’re an angry mob.

9/ Stop arguing with them about how they see you. Because the people behind generating that definition – the people running that rhetoric machine, don’t even believe what they’re saying. THEY ARE TROLLING YOU. When you argue with them about their bullshit, you lose. Instead…

10/ Bring the semantic back into your territory. They are only using “mob” now because it’s such a dangerous word for Donald. And for all of them. For anyone who took a bunch of money from some Russian mobsters, aka oligarchs. Right @LindseyGrahamSC? So, here’s how to do it…

11/ Choose either a position of mockery (very effective) or emotionless, factual statements. Be persistent. Attach “MOB” to Donald’s dirty money. Flood every venue w/ridicule & facts of his mob history. Not as counter-argument, but as dismissive fact. SCARE THEM with that word.

12/ FIGHT THE RHETORIC WITH THE RHETORIC ITSELF. Turn it on itself. You can do this. It WILL work. They are scared of that word, or they wouldn’t have taken it out of the discourse & weaponized it. They are telling you what they’re afraid of w/ their projection.

13/ Their rhetoric is a roadmap of their weakness. Of their fears. You have to get out of your outrage in order to see it that way, and fight back. This is semantic warfare. Get it together & fight. Take “MOB” from them. Make them run from it. They’ve spent a lot of money…

14/ They’ve built a whole plan for defeating Dems in Senate races by weaponizing that one word. Make them afraid to use it, by CEMENTING IT back where it belongs. Right on top of Donald Trump’s head. Because he’s a f*cking mobster. And they all know it.

When I call dotard a “mobster,” I’m not being cute. Or provocative. Or jumping on MSM’s sudden embrace of what they’ve always known & obfuscated.…

15/ That embedded thread in tweet #14 above has everything you need to fight. Make it hurt.

16/ One last note on the @GOP‘s weaponization of “mob” to deflect it away from Donald’s blood money & put it on you/us… Moms w/strollers, grandmas in knitted hats, smiling dads/brothers/sons – ALL marching peacefully is real power. Just be seen. And the rhetoric collapses.

17/ “@realDonaldTrumpcouldn’t build a building if I didn’t want him to.” – Sammy The Bull Gravano.

I’ll show you something now. Links to mafia/organized crime articles & my account used to top Google search for “MOB.” See now how they’ve gamed the algorithms on that word? Note outlets & headlines. This is the warfare. Fight back by amping “MOB” as attached to Trump history…

Push back on outlets like @washingtonpostusing “mob” 4 anything other than organized crime or actual crowd violence. Notice in this pic that there’s a story emerging about real FAR RIGHT @GOP-Trump crowd violence (like Charlottesville murder). They fear this exposure 2. AMP it.

Lincoln’s Bible Retweeted NY AG Underwood

You can use “MOB” on this from @NewYorkStateAG(click on it, add the word “MOB”, & re-tweet). In fact, I’d make that go viral if you want to dismantle an entire @GOP“left is an angry mob” campaign that they just spent a sh*tton of money on.

Lincoln’s Bible added,

NY AG UnderwoodVerified account @NewYorkStateAG

I’m disturbed and disgusted by last night’s attacks involving the so-called “Proud Boys.” Hate has no place in New York. This warrants immediate and thorough investigation by the NYPD to bring the perpetrators to justice. Anyone with information should call 1-800-577-TIPS.

A little more on the @GOP“Proud Boy” #AngryMobviolence in NYC. These are full-throated @GOPTrump supporters. A male “nationalist” movement/club started by Gavin McInnes and “proudly” supported by women like Ann Coulter.

 

 

This is a bone saw. And a thread about how badly mainstream media has committed sedition in mocking the NatSec community.

Point of fact: Dozens of outlets have made Trump out to be a clown (albeit A DESPOT!) while making fun of the people that have nightmares about stories of spies, journalists, drywall knives and bonesaws. Since 2015. The MSM made Trump into a joke, not a monster.

Point of fact: The MSM made stories about hostile foreign intelligence services (Russia, other) and organized crime being “conspiracy theories” in favor of domestic politics, Wisconsin, emails, and racial provocation. And a foreign-owned Mobster became POTUS.

Points of fact: Mobsters, Russian spies, and their unholy combination do the following: poison you with polonium, cut your body up, blow up schools, addict your kids to drugs, have people fuck your kids, film it, profit. Law enforcement and NatSec pros know these stories.

So I want every editor and journalist and blogger to take a good look at that fucking bone saw. That’s what your coverage let into the Oval Office. Not fucking Kanye. Excuses about bone saws and separating kids at the border. And do you know what they then do with the kids?

This isn’t the average zany thread, is it? Guess what, these things are done by the enemies of democracy, and it isn’t cute. There’s no clickbait. And telling the truth about it PROTECTS THE REPUBLIC AND YOU AND YOUR KIDS. THE MEDIA BETRAYED THIS JOB EN MASSE.

There are stories that are even worse, horridly, than Jamal Kashoggi, because they are equally brutal, more widespread, and centrally-ordered. And some people you know and trust either allowed it, consented to it, or profit from it. And we’ve been WARNING THE MEDIA.

To no avail. And we’ve tried. Editors/journalists: you were warned. And now the real stories will come out to horrify the public. You will have lost all trust. Journalism, or “democratic story telling” or “accountability” (whatever we call it) will go on without you.

You want to serve the Republic and report some actual stories, however real and ugly. We’ve got some tips for you. It won’t be clickbait. But it won’t be seditious failure at your chosen profession, either. Choose. </THREAD>

ADDENDUM: This problem vastly outstrips the attacks on me personally, but it does show the pattern, which I analyzed with full professional rigor.

 

 

That’s it for the last couple days.  As we can see, it was a little nuts over the last few days.

LB’s thread about semantics and language is something that I want to talk about a little further.  We’re in a war of language, and we’re losing.

This past week, the RWM started calling the people protesting against Trump, Sexual Assault, and the GOP an “Angry Mob”.    Grandmas and mothers pushing their kids in strollers are not an angry mob.  A bunch of fascists and racists leaving a rally and beating up people on the street, that’s an angry mob.  Then, when arguing with one of them, they’ll point to this phrase and pull that “on both sides” bullshit, making a false equivalency.

Instead of getting dragged into a “on both sides” fight of whataboutism, flip the script on the fuckers.

“Sure, you want to talk about a mob?  Let’s talk about a mob.  Let’s talk about mob ties.  Specifically, Trump’s mob ties.  Like his ties to the Gambino Crime Family, the Columbo Crime Family, and the Luciano Crime Family.  Or, do you want to talk about his ties to the Russian Mob, like with Semion Mogilevich.”

Words have power.  This is why people get bent out of shape about the PC Culture Wars/SJW Movement, or whatever the Cro-MAGA’s are fighting against today.  By changing the way we speak, we change the way we think.  When some words are no longer used, they’re no longer acceptable.  Even small changes make a world of difference.  Changing the words we use changes the way we think.  Using powerful language gives power to that thing.  Using respectful language gives respect to that thing.  At the same time, taking a term or word and using it for the opposite purpose wears down its power and use.  Using the term Angry Mob to describe retirees protesting against corrupt politicians waters down the term, so when actual Angry Mobs show up and commit violence, what’s left to call them?

Call them out.  Call out those who try to spin language to hide the truth or abuse their power.  Name them.  Shame them.  Make them own their statements.  Make them own their words.

And do not let them off the hook.

Words have power.  Use them.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

 

 

Daily Check-In 10/12/2018

Friday, October 12, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

 

KHASHOGGI

On the 12 steps toward authoritarianism, where is “Letting another country murder its political opponents, who are your legal residents, with impunity and tacit approval?” Justice for

2/ Additional authoritarianism points: “Well, they buy our military products with which they slaughter Yemenites, and they book rooms in my Emolument Hotel, so they can murder whomever they like.”

3/ I follow a good number of conservatives. Other than the solid and admirable , the silence from the right about Khashoggi’s murder has been nauseating. The Full Trumpification of the Republican Party marches on.

Jared Kushner and #Kashoggithread: How can Kushner be investigated for alleged corrupt ties to Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar? The Foreign Emoluments clause arguably applies to Kushner as Senior Advisor ot the President as an “office of trust.” (But it’s complicated)… 1/

2/ Foreign Emoluments Clause: “No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the US] shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

3/ Is an unpaid Senior Advisor an “office of trust”? There is historical debate about the scope of this phrase, and courts have not resolved this question. But in 1982, the OLC (the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel) suggested broad coverage: https://www.justice.gov/file/22956/download …

4/ Kushner resigned as CEO from the Kushner Companies, but reports are that he only partially divested. He still benefits from the profits of these companies, and thus received emoluments from foreign governments…

5/ Last March, I wrote about Kushner Co. receiving a $184 million loan from Apollo under very shady circumstances. “One of the largest investors in Apollo’s real estate trust is the Qatari government’s investment fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.”

6/ And Kushner is getting bailed out of his disastrous $1.8 Billion purchase of 666 5th Ave by Brookfield, a Canadian firm whose largest outside investor is Qatar and whose board has ties to UAE.

7/ It was widely reported that Kushner could not find any takers on such an obsolete overpriced building. But Brookfield gave Kushner implausibly generous terms. A source, an expert on real estate deals, explains: “The $300M junior debt was written off…”

8/ Source:”The $1.1B was paid off as was Vornado by Brookfield. It looks like Kushner has recovered cost, so if the option is exercised they should make some money on the deal. For the Kushners, this seems like the best possible outcome one could hope for.” And no other bidders.

9/ Now recall a series of stories about Kushner’s corrupt links to Saudi. Kushner. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who allegedly is behind #Khashoggi‘s murder, bragged that he had Kushner “in his pocket.”

10/ It is my understanding from @ddd_reporterthat Canada has an anti-corruption law that bars transaction that violate that laws where the transaction takes place. Canada’s Brookfield is arguably violating the Foreign Emoluments clause in its purchase from Kushners… @CBCNews

11/ Canada regulators could inquire into Brookfield, Kushner, Qatar, Saudi, and UAE connections before approving this sale. And state attorneys general in the U.S. in NY, NJ, and Delaware could investigate. They all have quo warranto powers.

12/ If you want #JusticeForKhashoggi, contact your state AG. The Maryland and DC AGs @BrianFrosh@AGKarlRacinehave standing to sue Trump Org. for #Emoluments. State AGs have “special solicitude” in our federal system. Kushner emoluments endanger state/federal/foreign balance.

13/ And in particular, @NewYorkStateAG@TishJames@NewJerseyOAGGubir Grewal and @DE_DOJMatthew Denn all have established quo warranto powers to investigate the Kushner Companies for corruption, fraud, and emoluments violations. #JusticeForKhashoggi

14/ Finally, this is why winning the House is so important: subpoena power. If you want to know whether Russia, Saudi, UAE, Qatar, etc. have leverage over Trump and Kushner, you want Congress’s subpoena power.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

SCOTUS & #METOO

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

The good times President Trump brought to the stock market may be ending.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is down nearly 7 percent from its peak in late September, and the Nasdaq index, which includes many hot technology stocks, has fallen nearly 10 percent from its high.

Doubts appear to be overwhelming investors’ bullishness. They are concerned that Mr. Trump’s bellicose trade policy will disrupt corporate America’s supply chains and push up costs. Mr. Trump’s tax cuts have contributed to a ballooning fiscal deficit. Borrowing costs have also risen this year, which could dampen investment.

“Donald Trump has made uncertainty great again,” said David Rosenberg, chief economist of Gluskin Sheff. “His policies are doing more harm than good.”

The market reaction is a stark reversal. Investors had piled into stocks with abandon for much of Mr. Trump’s presidency. Taxes and regulations were being slashed, earnings were surging and the United States economy was performing better than many of its rivals. The S.&P. 500 is up 28 percent since Election Day 2016.

Crucially, to investors, it is not clear when the threats to the stock market will lift. But until they do, stocks could remain weak.

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

Gather ’round, it’s story time! 2 months before starting my current position I came across a data breach involving a PR firm named 720 Strategies. It contained proof of astroturfing efforts they had engaged in on behalf of bigname clients (masquerading as “grassroots campaigns”),

After identifying the likely origin of the data, I did the right thing and notified 720 Strategies of the exposure. At that point though, all I knew for sure was that the exposed backups had a great deal of apparent login credentials. Even the keys to their named “castle” server.

After receiving a suspiciously hostile, yet follow-up phone call from 720’s counsel (an attorney from the firm of Akin Gump), it occurred to me that 720 probably had something to hide and, considering the business they are in, it would probably be best to more-thoroughly review.

I’ll leave you with the two attached images. The first is a letter from 720’s attorney that I received (in which I have mercifully redacted her name). The second image is the response I emailed back to her. You’ll probably wonder what is blacked out near the end of my response.

All you need to know about that particular line is two things: 1. I never heard back from the Akin Gump attorney. 2. That redacted line has borne fruit.

 

That’s it for Friday.  This was a busy last couple days, and I should be back to normal posting by Tuesday.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

 

 

 

Daily Check-In 10/11/2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

According to reports, Mueller’s team is letting Trump’s lawyers answer questions about collusion and conspiracy in writing, but still want an in-person interview with him about Obstruction.

I don’t know what to make of this, except it makes me think of a section from Bob Woodward’s “Fear”.  In it, there’s a description of Jon Dowd talking with Bob Mueller, and Mueller said that he wants to talk to Trump to determine whether or not he had corrupt intent when he did, well… everything.  Even though it looks to the rest of the world that everything was done with a corrupt intent, he wants to hear it from The Dotard’s mouth.

Some weirdness could be in store next week regarding Manafort’s sentencing hearing.  Judge Ellis wants to wrap everything up with him, but Manafort is currently cooperating with Mueller.  This could throw a wrench in the works.

 

KHASHOGGI

Khashoggi was supposedly working on a story that tied Jared Kushner, MBS, and the Qataris together in a deal to refinance 666 Fifth Avenue.  Kushner gave US Intel to MBS help him overthrow his family and rise to power, then he would use that power to pressure Qatar into getting financing for that albatross of a mortgage hanging around his neck.

There’s more to it, but that’s the basic story.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

Fed watchers now worry that Trump is trying to strong-arm the Fed into reversing its policy of gradually raising interest rates, after a decade of radically easy monetary policy. But Trump is probably thinking of something else completely: lining up a convenient villain he can point to if and when markets turn negative and the economy slumps. It fits perfectly with Trump’s modus operandi.

Trump, for instance, has been relentlessly bashing the Robert Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller, so far, has had precisely nothing to say about Trump himself. So there’s been no need at all for Trump to defend himself against Mueller, up till now. But by repeatedly calling the probe a “witch hunt,” Trump is preparing for the eventuality that Mueller will some day impugn him. Trump is trying to preemptively invalidate the probe, in the mind of the public, by the time it actually touches him.

Trump, in fact, is something of an expert on scapegoating. He blames immigrants and China for the falling living standards of working-class Americans. He blames companies such as Harley-Davidson and Amazon for rational responses to his own harmful economic policies. And of course he blames Democrats for illegal immigration and many other national problems.

There’s another piece of this puzzle at play.  Trump’s terrible credit score.  The Trump Organization has a Business Credit Score of 19.  Out of 100.  In other words, it’s shit.  As anyone who’s had credit problems know, when the score is low, getting financing for anything is a pain in the ass.  Assuming one doesn’t get turned down outright for everything, all loans would require cosigners, massive collateral, crazy down payments, or interest rates that make loan sharks blush.  In business, it’s no exception.

Loan interest rates are usually shown one of two ways.  They’re either a straight percentage, or a Prime+ rate.  A straight percentage rate, also called a fixed rate, stays the same and is shown with a number like 5.45% or 3.64% or 23.89%.  A Prime+ rate is a variable rate, where the interest rate changes based on the prime rate set by the Federal Reserve.  If the rate is Prime+2%, then it might be at 4% one day, but go up to 5% if the rate increases.

How do those things tie together?  Trump has shit credit, no one will sign for him, he has little to no collateral, and won’t put down any of his own money for a project.  That only leaves lenders with one option: crazy ass rates.  Mortgage rates like 23% or Prime +15%.  The kind of rates that most people would laugh at and say “HAHAHAHAHA No.”  Trump doesn’t have that option.  He’s broke AF, and welches on his debts.  The only way the bank will see a penny from him is if they make it all on the interest payments.

Trump has multiple loans in the Prime + 10 to Prime + 20 range.  Each time the prime rate goes up, his payments go up.  That’s a big part of why he wants them low.

 

 

Donnie Jr.’s birthday is New Year’s Eve.  He’ll spend it under a known indictment.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

Kanye

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

SCOTUS & COURTS

 

#METOO

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

Jared Kushner was in the oval office for that Kanye spectacle. Smiling big, with the press pool all around him. Did any reporter question Jared about MBS & Khashoggi? ANY ONE? Any questions about the reports that MBS claimed Jared is “in my pocket,”?!

I’m not f*cking done with this. Hey WH PRESS POOL! Did any one of you think to ask Jared if he gave US intel to his murdering buddy, MBS, in exchange for pressuring the Qataris (via joint UAE blockade) to bail our his 666 5th Ave real estate debacle? No? Too complex? Okay…

How about just asking him & Trump whether or not they sat on intel about MBS’ threat on Khashoggi’s life? You remember him, right? The journalist who was reportedly murdered inside the embassy in Turkey. No? Still too hard for you? Kanye was that important – that distracting?

How many of you gave Kanye a hug after the spectacle? Because I saw one for certain. Is this what it’s all about? Celebrity access? Soaking up the limelight? Getting in to that inner circle? Well, maybe there’s a book deal in there for you. Or better yet, a mobligarch’s yacht.

Your colleagues are being murdered. Do your damn job.

 

Peter Smith’s method of “suicide” was a bag over his head and a canister of helium blasting into the bag.  His note said he was in poor health, and that he was killing himself to cash in on an expiring life insurance policy.

That doesn’t make any sense.

First, I’m not familiar with any life insurance policies in the U.S. that pay out on suicide.  Sure, this could be some rich guy thing, but as a former insurance agent, I’m pretty sure that nearly every policy has a clause that cancels payment in the case of suicide.

Next, the method.  Here’s a rich guy with a clean record and access to a lot of things, including doctors and medications.  Suffocation isn’t the most common method that a guy would use to kill themselves.

Finally, there are reports that Peter was making plans for after his suicide.  Even as early as that morning, he was making plans with people for later on.  That kind of behavior doesn’t sound like someone who was planning on killing themselves.  Either suffocating himself was a plan he pulled together at the last minute (which doesn’t add up since the receipt for the helium tank was from the day before), or this was a murder designed to look like a suicide.

 

That’s it for Thursday.  Hopefully I’ll get Friday’s update out late Friday or early Saturday.

I think I’m going to start another series, the None of this is Normal Book Club.  I’ll talk about the books I’ve been reading and listening to that deal with the Russian Investigation.  Hopefully, I’ll start that this weekend while “Fear” is still fresh in my mind.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 10/10/2018

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Pinedo

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a California man to six months in prison and six months of home confinement after he pleaded guilty to a felony identity fraud charge tied to Russian troll activity that rocked the 2016 presidential campaign.

The sentence for Richard Pinedo, 28, is the most severe penalty handed down yet in special counsel Robert Mueller’s high-profile investigation into Moscow’s meddling to help elect President Donald Trump.

Pinedo’s case stemmed from his admission in February to unwittingly selling stolen bank accounts to Russian internet trolls who used the credentials to buy internet ads that sowed discord among Americans in the lead-up to Trump’s upset victory almost two years ago.

In brief statement before U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich handed down his sentence, Pinedo said he took “full responsibility” for his actions and pleaded for leniency because of both his full cooperation with Mueller’s investigators and the threats that he’s experienced since being publicly identified in the wider Russian efforts to influence the White House race.

“Never did it cross my mind that the services I was providing would be used in crimes at the highest level,” he said.

Mueller prosecutor Rush Atkinson said Pinedo’s cooperation did implicate others in alleged crimes, but he explained that the special counsel referred those matters to other U.S. attorneys around the country because the charges fell outside the special counsel’s original mandate to investigate the 2016 presidential campaign.

Atkinson added that Pinedo’s testimony to the Mueller team did assist in providing advice to U.S. private industry “to tighten up its security functions.”

But the Mueller attorney said that Pinedo’s cooperation was “not significant enough” to assist in the special counsel’s February indictment against three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens who allegedly also used social media activity to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller’s team, he said, already knew about the information Pinedo provided.

Richard Pinedo, the Identity Thief who sold bank accounts to the Russians at the Troll Farm was sentenced to 6 months in jail.  His actions let the trolls spoof PayPal and funnel Russian money into local campaign activities, as well as giving people a “verified American” to work with.

Richard was very cooperative, but Mueller already had all of the information he provided.  Richard was helpful, but not “No prison sentence” helpful.

It’s like that scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when they bring that one prisoner from Azkiban to testify and name the other Death Eaters, but they know all of them.  That was his position.

 

Khashoggi

Jared Kushner’s cozy relationship with MSB is likely responsible for this.  Hell, I wouldn’t put it past him that when news from the NSA came up to the White House, Kushner either killed any motions to protect Khashoggi, or tipped off the Saudis that they were about to get busted.

 

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

 SCOTUS & #METOO

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

USA Today Op-Ed

 

Rally

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Haley

 

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

I’m out, too. After more than 40 years, I’m leaving the Republican Party. <thread — I’m afraid it’s a long one. Sorry.>

2…I started my professional life as a conservative Republican, moving from a entry-level job at @NROjust after college to Washington to work on the Hill. I’ve worked on campaigns for Republican politicians in four states, and in government for…

3…Republican elected officials from four different states, in both houses of Congress and the Capitol here in Madison. For both political and personal reasons I did mostly business and nonprofit work in more recent years, retaining my political identity as a Republican…

4…along with a lifelong belief that I knew better than the Party’s leaders what was good for the country. My formative experience was as Senate staff in the Reagan years; the modern Republicans I most admired were legislators like Bob Dole and Richard Lugar, who understood…

5…the importance of American institutions — the Senate above all — and American leadership in the world. And of course the men (in their time it was mostly men) who had made the best of the Republican tradition in American politics — Lincoln first, Theodore Roosevelt…

6…Lacey, Pinchot, Stimson, Lovett, Eisenhower and Reagan — had great meaning for me, and still do. But their day is over, and their party is dead.

7…I commend recent thoughtful essays by @MaxBootand @RadioFreeTomon their own respective decisions to leave the GOP. My reasoning is a little different though not entirely inconsistent with theirs. The language of electoral politics is one I understand and appreciate…

8…but as a means to an end, nothing more. The end is government, and government is responsibility: for the whole country, its interests around the world, and its future. There is nothing more important. Failure in government is a serious matter; abandonment of responsibility

9…is unforgivable. I’ve seen a mostly successful Presidency, and an effective Congress; I know what they look like. More recently I’ve seen what failure looks like: wars carelessly undertaken and not won in spite of enormous expenditure of lives and resources,…

10…a Congress unable to timely pass routine legislation and spending bills, massive tax cuts passed to provide campaign donors a return on their investment, the financial services industry left deliberately to regulate itself until it nearly blew up the global economy,…

11…and triggered a devastating recession, the worst in 80 years. Then followed abandonment of responsibility. In the face of this cruel recession, that cost millions of Americans their jobs and hundreds of thousands their homes,…

12…the Republican leadership in Congress resolved to do…nothing. There was a Democrat in the White House, and a Negro one at that — the seething resentment of Barack Obama’s race was something he never wanted to acknowledge; I didn’t either, but there it was.

13…Eight years followed of Republicans in Congress appropriating the name & heritage of their party to beg for money before the richest people in the country, keep Congress & all of government from functioning, hoping that the minority of Americans who vote would reward them…

14…for abandoning their responsibility. Which they mostly did, to their discredit, right through the 2016 election, when through a fluke of the Electoral College Donald Trump became President.

15…C2K: Corruption, Criminality and the Kremlin. There are Republicans who revel in these principles of the Trump administration, and Republicans who are merely terrified of the President, but what is quite clear is that each of these principles has a devoted constituency…

16…in Trump’s party. In a Republican Party grown dependent for support of its enormous campaign infrastructure on concentrated private wealth, Corruption was already well established before Trump even got to Washington and started using the Presidency to enrich himself.

17…The single most corrupt act during the whole sordid Trump era to date was last year’s tax bill, written as its predecessors in 2001 and 2003 had been to reward donors of large sums to Republican candidates. This bill was mostly written in Congress.

18…Criminality by Trump personally was helpfully detailed by the New York Times just a few days ago: the man is a massive tax cheat. A steady stream of Trump associates and supporters have gone before Robert Mueller’s team of investigators, and thence to prison.

19…It’s as if the President of the United States were the center of a criminal conspiracy. As If. As to the Kremlin, let’s be perfectly clear: Republicans in Congress are determined that Russia’s intervention on Trump’s behalf should not count against his Presidency.

20…Trump’s sponsorship by the heirs of Stalin’s secret police has inspired no rebellion among any Republican elected official. All Republicans in both houses of Congress are fine with it. I think we ought to take American patriotism a little more seriously than they do.

21…I would do Trump himself an injustice were I to leave C2K as the whole of his contribution to American government. His rank, stinking, putrid ignorance could be bottled and exhibited at the Smithsonian for the next thousand years as an unequalled specimen of its kind.

22…Trump is more indolent than some corpses. He despises black people, loathes Hispanics, thinks Muslims not contributing to his skeezy hotel business are terrorists, and incorporates all his backward prejudices into government policy. Trump hurts people, and enjoys it.

23…To the extent Trump can be said to govern at all, he governs only for his supporters — the chumps who go to his campaign rallies, the white-right, the flatterers who appeal to him on TV day and night, and of course — always — the donors.

24…What is there left of Lincoln in today’s Republican Party? Of Theodore Roosevelt? Nothing. The party of Trump is the party of the Charlottesville white-right mob, the party of concentrated wealth, and perhaps most of all the party that rejects responsibility.

25…So I’m out, and for good. I will be an Independent. I will oppose Republican candidates for public office, and support Democrats whenever possible. We’re in a dark period in America, and the road to something better does not go through, or near, the Republican Party.[end}

 

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

While this isn’t a surprise it is certainly shocking. Also is it time to talk about Trump’s yacht yet? Hint Trump Princess Crown prince sought to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, U.S. intercepts show – The Washington Post

So here’s the 2015 duty to warn directive WHY DIDN’T YOU WARN HIM? Oh wait… 282-foot, $70 million Nabila I’m going to drag you with serious facts.

If any of you are questioning the authenticity of that 2015 Directive 191, below is the link to the 4 page Directive I don’t traffic in fake documents, ever

Some Far Right extreme reversals that Sept-Oct 2018 brought to the world:

1. Liberals went from “snowflakes” to a dangerous “mob” – requiring Rand Paul’s wife to keep a gun by her bed.

2. Alt-Right went from “Gorilla Mindset” alphas to men who need their mommies to defend them.

3. Nazis went from despising “Chad” (their term for whiny, silver spoon, prep school boys who succeed from privilege) to embracing King Chad of Chadlandia, Kavanaugh.

4. screeched & clutched his pearls, & thinks he found his balls. Wait… he’s always done that.

5. Lastly, the total abandonment of Taylor Swift by the White Supremacists who’ve had her back since Kanye stormed the stage & stole her moment 9 years ago. Oh, & unrelated to Swift’s pro-Dem vote stance, the Nazis now embrace… Kanye West. Perfection.

6. Maybe it’s all been cos-play after all. (Except for the part where Bannon’s Incel Nazi’s kill people. That’s real.)

 

Listen VERY closely at the 4:04 marker…you do understand that there ARE separate investigations into Kavanaugh, right? Wait for it…

Kyle Griffin: This whole 4-minute clip is worth watching. Kamala Harris grills FBI Director Chris Wray on the Kavanaugh supplemental background investigation, Wray confirms that the investigation was “limited in scope” by the White House. (via CSPAN)

Watch at 1:25, Ludington met with the FBI in NC, listen to what he states, there is in fact a separate investigation into Kavanaugh, as in lying to Congress. 💥BOOM goes the dynamite💥 HT to my anon follower Charles Ludington Interview via

Ludington met with the FBI Raleigh Satellite office. He was (most likely) given instructions NOT to speak any further if there is still an ACTIVE investigation into Kavanaugh. Mux that with Dir Wray’s comment, seems to be a verification of an ACTIVE investigation.

SKH: “did the FBI look into allegations that Judge Kavanaugh lied to the Congress” DCW: “that is not something I can discuss here” FBI SOP: they do NOT publicly speak about ongoing/active investigations. 🚩distinction-Wray could have said no Investigation. Now do you Get it?

The exact transcribed Exchange occurs at the 4:04 minute marker thru 4:11 If you listen closely you will find i transcribed the Exchange verbatim. The reason Ludington’s interview buttresses the conclusion is his interview strictly proffered Kavanaugh lied under oath

 

That’s it for Wednesday.  I’m going to update The Indicted in a few minutes.

My input is pretty light today.  Okay, it’s damn near nonexistent.  I ran low on time for this post.  Hopefully Thursday’s won’t be as light.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 10/09/2018

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

The office of Russia’s infamous troll factory believed to be at the vanguard of Russia’s information war has been set on fire in St. Petersburg overnight.

An investigation revealed last year that the secretive troll factory had rebranded itself as a media conglomerate with 16 news websites generating more than 30 million pageviews every month. Its operational hub, a website called FAN (Federal News Agency), is based a stone’s throw from the troll farm’s original location in northern St. Petersburg.

The Fontanka.ru news website cited police as saying that an unknown suspect broke the agency’s ground-floor window and threw a Molotov cocktail inside at around 3 a.m. on Tuesday.

Surveillance footage published by FAN showed flames erupting at one of the empty workstations and a female staffer stationed on the opposite end quickly exiting the office.

“I believe this is tied to FAN’s activities,” its chief editor Yevgeny Zubarev said. “We’re most often attacked online, but these types of attacks have already taken place offline.”

FAN said its office came under another arson attack on the eve of the 2018 presidential elections in March.

The troll farm is believed to be run by billionaire restaurateur Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as President Vladimir Putin’s “cook.” A U.S. special counsel indicted Prigozhin and 12 other Russians this year on charges of defrauding the U.S. government by interfering with its political process.

St. Petersburg police told the RBC news website that they were looking for the culprit and planned to launch criminal proceedings.

Not suspicious at all.  In the same few days as a couple reporters disappear (Daily Check-In 10/08/2018), and a Senior Lawyer for the Russian Government dies in a helicopter crash (Daily Check-In 10/04/2018), this is a perfectly normal series of events, right?

Right?

The troll farm was the target of arson by method of a Molotov Cocktail.  At this point, I’m not sure if this is staged from Putin’s goons trying to clean up their mess, or angry protesters fed up with his shit.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

Forget all the noise. Trump’s true story is simple and clear and not disputed by Trump, himself. – His father created a company built on decades of tax fraud: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-tax-schemes-fred-trump.html …1/

– After dad died, Trump kept the same people, running the same kinds of schemes: https://www.newyorker.com/news/swamp-chronicles/allen-weisselberg-the-man-who-knows-donald-trumps-financial-secrets-has-agreed-to-become-a-cooperating-witness …– Trump’s major addition to the family business was to expand the business to suspect figures around the world: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/13/donald-trumps-worst-deal …2/

– Trump used the same techniques of his father–secret shell companies, accounting irregularities–to protect himself politically as candidate and president: https://www.newyorker.com/news/swamp-chronicles/the-president-has-been-implicated-in-a-criminal-conspiracy …3/

– Colluding with the Russians would have been entirely in keeping with Trump’s practices. But even if we never prove that he did, he is the head of what appears to be a multi-generational criminal enterprise. 4/

– If Democrats take the House and/or several key state AG races, they will use subpoena power to reveal much more about the workings of this company. – At every step, the truth has shocked even those (like me) who thought they were prepared for the worst. 5/

– Six months from now, I predict, the whole operation will be laid bare and will truly shock. – Yes. Maybe, the GOP will do nothing. That’s what everyone tells me. But I still believe that there will be some moment when something is revealed that forces all to see the truth. 6/

– There is profound legal risk for the Trump family. They could lose much of their money and some could go to jail. – The incentive for non-Trumps to flip will only increase, while the value of flipping will decrease, forcing something of a rush. 7/

– Trump’s response will likely be ever-more aggressive and crazy. – In short, 2019 promises to be many times more insane, terrifying, high-stakes, than anything we’ve seen so far. – My gut tells me there will be a breaking point, even for GOP sycophants. 8/

– But I know that the GOP turning on Trump, even at the very worse, is far from certain. – If they back him, all the way down, I fear for what will be left of our nation. – We ain’t seen nothing yet. 9/end

I’ve been saying for a while that the news is going to get a lot worse.  Trump Towers have been a laundromat for Russian Mafia.  Don’t think about the romantic version of gangsters from Martin Scorsese movies.  These monsters are just that: monsters.  Drug running, murders, rapes, kidnappings, sex trafficking, tearing the tags off of mattresses, they’re in all of it.  And Trump helped them clean up their blood money.

 

SCOTUS & #METOO

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 Haley

This is interesting.  Nikki Haley announced her resignation as Ambassador to the United Nations, effective at the end of the year.  I’ve seen a few different hypothesis as to why.

  1. She’s getting out while the getting’s good and she can still have a career.
  2. She quit over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
  3.  She plans to run for POTUS in 2020.
  4. There is some convoluted plan for Trump to fire Jeff Sessions, replace him with Lindsey Graham, and have Nikki Haley take over Graham’s Senate seat.
  5. She’s about to be under a massive ethics investigation.

Considering she’s been around since the beginning of the Trump Administration, she’s infected with a case of #ETTD (Everything Trump Touches Dies), so if she has a career left after this, it won’t be much of one.  She didn’t speak out over Brett Kavanaugh, but might have been biding her time.  I don’t buy it, though.  She’s so staunchly Right Wing that she’d have no problem towing the party line, and this excuse gives her too much credit for having empathy, decency, and/or a soul.  A run in 2020 has riled up the RWM, but I wouldn’t expect anything to be announced from that until early next year.  If Trump is out of the picture, or about to be out of the picture, she might try.  The convoluted plan requires Lindsey Graham to give up an almost guaranteed Senate leadership position for the next 20 years to take a job that might only last 2 years, and would almost require him to open himself up to several crimes.

The reason I’m leaning toward is the last one, that she’s about to go under an ethics investigation that could ruin her career and possibly put her in prison.  She’s proven to be reckless with taxpayer money (Daily Check-In 09/14/2018) when she dropped over $50,000 on new curtains for her apartment in New York.  If she’s willing to spend that much on taxpayer money, accepting flights on luxury jets and accepting tickets to sporting events isn’t far off.

 

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

The Party of Trump has proved itself keen to propagate any conspiracy theory, no matter how ridiculous or racist.

Well, almost any conspiracy theory.

There were the microwave ovens that surveil your every move. There were those fake jobs numbers, crafted to make President Barack Obama look good (though today, oddly, those same jobs numbers somehow make Obama look bad, according to Republicans). There were autism-causing vaccines, 3 million illegal votesalleged murders, a pizza-parlor child-sex-slavery ring, the convoluted nonsense of QAnon.

Then Friday, Trumpkins revived a conspiracy theory that long predates our current president and has remained popular with far-right political regimes around the world: that of the International Jew.

Thousands of protesters had shown up to voice their anger over Brett M. Kavanaugh’s imminent ascension to the country’s highest court. They were, understandably, mad about Kavanaugh’s record — on reproductive rights, campaign finance, executive power and other key policy concerns.

They were also mad about Kavanaugh’s personal conduct — not only high-profile allegations of sexual misconduct but also his nasty, partisan attacks on Democratic senators, his claims of a vast Clintonian left-wing conspiracy and his statements under oath whose veracity has been disputed even by his friends.

But perhaps most of all, they were mad at the Republican Party.

After all, the GOP had stolen a Supreme Court seat from Obama, taken away the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees so they could push through a pick without 60 votes, and arranged for a sham FBI investigation when their pick was credibly accused of sexual assault. Some of them even mocked a woman who said she had been sexually assaulted.

Despite all this, Republican leadership somehow couldn’t fathom why legions of Americans might be genuinely, grievously upset. Instead, several Republicans suggested, all those Kavanaugh protesters — just like those phony Women’s Marchers last year — must be mercenaries. That is, they were only pretending to be mad, because they were being paid to be mad.

Not merely paid: paid by an evil, rich, foreign-born Jew.

Trump’s tweet echoed a comment from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who told a Fox Business Network host that he thought the protesters were probably paid by Soros.

Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani amplified the conspiracy theory, retweeting a comment calling Soros “the anti-Christ” and urging that his assets be frozen. Other Republican pundits also called for the survivor of Nazi-occupied Hungary to be jailed and his wealth seized.

This was not merely an attempt to scapegoat someone, anyone, for Republicans’ deeply unpopular actions. It was a call for tinfoil-hatters to revive the blood libel. Soros has inherited the archetype of the International Jew who haunted the fevered dreams of Henry Ford, one of the original America Firsters. Soros has apparently shapeshifted out of “Jud Süss”  and Mayer Rothschild and Shylock before him — a rootless, ruthless villain supposedly conspiring to undermine the rightful gentile order.

In any other presidency, such a dog whistle might have pierced news coverage for weeks. Instead, Republicans’ anti-Semitic conspiracy-theorizing dominated headlines for barely a day.

And in fairness, why should such bigotry shock anyone at this point? Despite the Jewish faith of his daughter and son-in-law, Trump has suggested that a horde of torch-toting neo-Nazis included some “very fine people.” He tweeted an anti-Semitic meme during the 2016 campaign and closed it with a TV ad pairing images of famous Jews (including Soros) with a pledge to destroy the “global power structure.”

Moreover, Trump launched his political career with a bigoted conspiracy theory: that our first black president was secretly born in Kenya and was therefore illegitimate.

His paranoid crackpottery has been almost parody-defying. But these days it’s not just the Alex Jones aficionados or QAnon breadcrumb-gatherers who buy into Trump’s conspiracy theories. Mainstream Republicans such as Grassley do, too. Carefully reported debunking, including by The Post’s own fact-checking team, seems unable to shake some sense into them.

One puzzle remains, however.

Despite Republicans’ willful credulity over Soros and microwaves, the one conspiracy theory they dismiss outright is the one we actually do have mounting evidence for: the conspiracy against the United States led by the Russia government, possibly with the Trump campaign’s consent.

And no number of previously undisclosed contacts between Trump officials and Russian operatives, emails from Donald Trump Jr. or special-counsel indictments could convince the party faithful otherwise.

For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin says Republicans are right to be skeptical. Whom has he blamed instead for U.S. election meddling?

Why, the Jews, of course.

This is where we’re at.  We’re at the point of the story where it is easier and more acceptable for Republican politicians and spokespeople to blame Jews for organizing a protest against them than to recognize or admit that large swaths of the population hate their actions.  Better yet, they distract from the actual problems they cause, and their propaganda machine is more than willing to run with crazy conspiracy theories, instead of addressing the problems at hand.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PUFF PUFF PASS

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

When you have eyes directly on the RU-backed propaganda machine, you can predict that which seems unpredictable at the time. I watched them weaponize this organic movement. The emotional terrorism inflicted on our nation by @GOParound Dr. Ford/ Kavanaugh was inevitable. /1

2/ For new followers, and many older ones, there may still be some confusion over the seemingly disparate subjects covered by this twitter account. They are not separate topics. They are all related, because I’m metaphorically standing in the money pot underneath it all.

3/ If you stand there with me and look up, here is what you’ll see: – The Alt-Right media machine. Coordinating with both conservative PR firms (many of which are registered foreign agents in the FARA database), and Hill Staffers.

4/ – Corruption in our corporate lifeblood, incl. media companies & silicon valley.

5/ – A global corruption scandal unfolding across nation states.

6/ And when you look down, you see the whole framework. How it was built. Who built it. And every tentacle that was born out of it, including the one named @realDonaldTrump.

7/ So stay close. You’ll see it all. We’re going to keep showing it to you. This is about the dark money pot. It’s always been about that. And you know what? The more of you who put your eyes on it – the more exposure it gets…

8/ … the less power it wields. Someday, it’ll all be ours.

9/ The fight is against corruption. Against that money and all that it controls. And the tool we need to fight it is not only awareness & exposure, but our justice system. This is the institution that has always been in Trump’s sights.

10/ No matter what that dark money pot kicks up to outrage you, stay focused on it instead. Focus on the money. Focus on the corruption. VOTE.

11/ And let those of us who dig down in that pot send up the flares. We’ll alert what’s coming – to the best of our ability. We’ll do what we can, slinging away against Nazis & dirty players in the trenches. It’s an honor, truthfully. Happy to do it. LB

 

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  Wednesday’s looking like it could be interesting.  Christopher Steele makes a return to the news, and the server story is finally getting some traction.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 10/08/2018

Monday, October 8th, and the weekend.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

I don’t normally start these posts with a post from Countercheckist, but…

 

Ok, take a deep breath, cause we’re going down a rabbit hole.

One remarkable aspect of Foer’s story involved the way that the Trump domain had stopped working. On September 21st, he wrote, the Times had delivered potential evidence of communications to B.G.R., a Washington lobbying firm that worked for Alfa Bank. Two days later, the Trump domain vanished from the Internet. (Technically, its “A record,” which translates the domain name to an I.P. address, was deleted. If the D.N.S. is a phone book, the domain name was effectively decoupled from its number.) For four days, the servers at Alfa Bank kept trying to look up the Trump domain. Then, ten minutes after the last attempt, one of them looked up another domain, which had been configured to lead to the same Trump Organization server.

Max’s group was surprised. The Trump domain had been shut down after the Timescontacted Alfa Bank’s representatives—but before the newspaper contacted Trump. “That shows a human interaction,” Max concluded. “Certain actions leave fingerprints.” He reasoned that someone representing Alfa Bank had alerted the Trump Organization, which shut down the domain, set up another one, and then informed Alfa Bank of the new address.

Aven and Fridman have visited Washington less often since Trump took office. But Trump’s victory appeared to elevate Alfa Bank’s connections there—at least by association. Don McGahn, the White House counsel, came from Jones Day, one of the law firms that represent Alfa Bank in the United States. McGahn brought five Jones Day lawyers with him into the White House; six more were appointed to senior posts in the Administration. Jones Day has done work for businesses belonging to a long list of Russian oligarchs, including Oleg Deripaska, Viktor Vekselberg, and Alexander Mashkevich. The firm has also represented the Trump campaign in its dealings with Robert Mueller. For this reason, McGahn secured an ethics waiver that allows him to talk to his old firm when its clients have business before the U.S. government.

While Republicans in Congress have rejected the possibility of collusion, with some joining Trump in calling the Mueller inquiry a politically motivated “witch hunt,” a few Democrats have continued to pursue the matter. After Trump’s Inauguration, two Democratic senators who had reviewed the data assembled by Max’s group—Mark Warner and a colleague who requested anonymity—asked the F.B.I. for an assessment of any potential contacts between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization. The material was also brought to the attention of the C.I.A., which found it substantial enough to suggest that the F.B.I. investigate. In March, 2017, a Pennsylvania news outlet called Lancaster Online reported that F.B.I. agents had visited the offices of Listrak, the company that housed the Trump server. Ross Kramer, Listrak’s C.E.O., told me, “I gave them everything they asked for.”

Whatever the reason that the Trump domain vanished, Alfa Bank’s servers continued trying to look it up: Max’s group observed fifteen failed attempts that Friday, twenty-eight on Saturday, none on Sunday, ninety on Monday, twenty on Tuesday. Spectrum Health’s machine kept trying, too, in a weeklong spasm of activity that entailed thousands of seemingly automated lookups. Spectrum never succeeded in relocating the Trump server—but Alfa did. On the night of Tuesday, September 27th, ten minutes after the bank made its last failed attempt, it looked up the domain name trump1.contact-client.com—which was, it turned out, another route to the same Trump server.

Paul and Leto periodically went back to Max in the course of their research, interrogating his assumptions and asking for more information. In one tranche of data that he gave them, they noticed that a third entity, in addition to Alfa Bank and Spectrum Health, had been looking up the Trump domain: Heartland Payment Systems, a payments processor based in Princeton. Of the thirty-five hundred D.N.S. queries seen for the Trump domain, Heartland made only seventy-six—but no other visible entity made more than two. Heartland had a link to Alfa Bank, but a tenuous one. It had recently been acquired by Global Payments, which, in 2009, had paid seventy-five million dollars for United Card Services, Russia’s leading credit-card-processing company; two years later, United Card Services bought Alfa Bank’s credit-card-processing unit. (A spokesperson for Global Payments said that her company had never had any relationship with the Trump Organization or with Alfa Bank, and that its U.S. and Russia operations functioned entirely independently.)

Spectrum Health has a similarly indirect business tie to Alfa Bank. Richard DeVos’ father co-founded Amway, and his brother, Doug, has served as the company’s president since 2002. In 2014, Amway joined with Alfa Bank to create an “Alfa-Amway” loyalty-card program in Russia. But such connections are circumstantial at best; the DeVos family seems far more clearly linked to Trump than to Russia.

If Trump and Alfa Bank—as well as Spectrum Health and Heartland Payment Systems—were communicating, what might they have been talking about? Max and some of the other scientists I spoke to theorized that they may have been using the system to signal one another about events or tasks that had to be performed: money to be transferred, for instance, or data to be copied. “My guess is that, whenever someone wanted to talk, they would do a D.N.S. lookup and then route the traffic somewhere else,” Richard Clayton, of the Universityof Cambridge, said. Camp also speculated that the system may have been used to coördinate the movement of data. She noted that Cambridge Analytica, which was working for the Trump campaign, took millions of personal records from Facebook. In Camp’s scenario, these could have been transferred to the Russian government, to help guide its targeting of American voters before the election.

We’ve talked about the Alfa Bank/Trump Server connection as far back as Daily Check-In 8/30/2017 and again on Daily Check-In 02/20/2018 and Daily Check-In 05/15/2018.

The Trump server was a meeting point for Alfa Bank/RU Intel and Spectrum Health, and this article goes a long way to dismissing the casual explanations, but doesn’t get to what it could be, or likely was.

This was database communications, with the Trump server as the middleman. The communications were for the express purposes of influencing the election through microtargeting of ads and/or removing voters from voter registration rolls.

Spectrum Health, like almost every health company in the country, has access to databases of personal information of almost every American. Those DB’s include addresses, full names, SSN’s, work information, and the like. By itself, this doesn’t have much to do with elections, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Their information is used for verification.

Remember a while back there was a report about how an RNC staffer left the entire voter database open on an unsecured website for something like a year, and it wasn’t discovered until after the election? I think that was done on purpose. This information, along with the voter database and data stolen from the DNC, made it’s way over to Russia.

Russia searches through the data, and finds a list of names from the voter rolls, and sends that to Spectrum Health to have them confirm more details. The voter rolls have valuable data, but not enough to narrow attacks down to individual people.

Spectrum takes what the Russians send them through the Trump Mail Server, and runs that against their health information database. They’ll see which voter records connect to which person in their health database. They’ll combine these two records into a large pile of data.

A large pile of data is nice, but without knowing how to use it, it’s worthless. This is where Cambridge Analytica and Brad Parscale’s work comes into the picture. They get their hands this data, likely from Spectrum Health, and use those lists of names to determine who is likely to vote, how they’ll vote, and if they can be swayed. If they can be swayed, they look at their social media information to determine how. If they can’t, they’ll send a message back to Spectrum to have the Russians remove them from the voter rolls.

Spectrum sends an update command back to the Trump Mail Server, where it waits until the next connection from Alfa Bank. If the update contains a command to remove a voter from the rolls, then Alfa would communicate with the GRU groups like Fancy Bear or Cozy Bear, and those groups would update the voter rolls they hacked into previously.

Why the voter rolls? They’re an easy target. Unlike the vote totals or voting machines themselves, the registrations aren’t as secured. In many states, there is little to no security around them. Once in, the Russians could change whatever they wanted. Update a zip code here, change a middle initial here, flip a party affiliation here, transpose house numbers on an address there. A lot of tiny changes, almost all targeting urban areas in states with voter ID laws?

Why those states? After the new swath of voter ID laws, if the registry doesn’t match the ID, the person can’t vote. If Michael J. Smith from 123 Park St 55315 shows up to vote but the voter roll says he lives at 132 Park St, too bad. Or if Michael J. Smith is suddenly Mikayla J. Smith, or Michael K. Smith, too bad.

The new info from this piece is the timing of the server going down.  The Trump mail server was shut down after the New York Times contacted B.G.R., but before they reached out to either the Trump Organization or their hosting company.  B.G.R., the lobbying firm representing Alfa, claims that they didn’t contact the Trump team.  So, if they didn’t contact Trump, and the New York Times didn’t contact Trump, that only leaves Alfa Bank.

The New Yorker goes pretty damn far with this story, but not as far as Tea Pain went in his earlier descriptions.  His level of information would require insider access and details not available to anyone without access to the DNS entries.

This has to be the biggest story of the week, or the night, right?

Right?

Oh, what the fuck…

The Trump campaign’s interest in the work began as Russians were escalating their effort to aid Donald J. Trump. Though the Israeli company’s pitches were narrower than Moscow’s interference campaign and appear unconnected, the documents show that a senior Trump aide saw the promise of a disruption effort to swing voters in Mr. Trump’s favor.

The campaign official, Rick Gates, sought one proposal to use bogus personas to target and sway 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by attacking Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump’s main opponent at the time. Another proposal describes opposition research and “complementary intelligence activities” about Mrs. Clinton and people close to her, according to copies of the proposals obtained by The New York Times and interviews with four people involved in creating the documents.

A third proposal by the company, Psy-Group, which is staffed by former Israeli intelligence operatives, sketched out a monthslong plan to help Mr. Trump by using social media to help expose or amplify division among rival campaigns and factions. The proposals, part of what Psy-Group called “Project Rome,” used code names to identify the players — Mr. Trump was “Lion” and Mrs. Clinton was “Forest.” Mr. Cruz, who Trump campaign officials feared might lead a revolt over the Republican presidential nomination, was “Bear.”

Mr. Gates first heard about Psy-Group’s work during a March 2016 meeting at the Mandarin Oriental hotel along the Washington waterfront with George Birnbaum, a Republican consultant with close ties to current and former Israeli government officials. Mr. Gates had joined the Trump campaign days earlier with Paul Manafort, his longtime business partner, to try to prevent a revolt of Republican delegates from Mr. Trump toward Mr. Cruz, who was the favored candidate among the party’s establishment.

Though it appears that Trump campaign officials declined to accept any of the proposals, Mr. Zamel pitched the company’s services in at least general terms during a meeting on Aug. 3, 2016, at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. That meeting, revealed in May by The Times, was also attended by George Nader, an emissary from the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, and by Erik Prince, a Republican donor and the founder of the private security company formerly known as Blackwater.

Former Psy-Group employees said that, in anticipation of the Trump Tower meeting, Mr. Zamel asked them to prepare an updated version of the third proposal. A lawyer for Mr. Zamel said that Mr. Zamel had not personally discussed specific proposals with Donald Trump Jr. or anyone else from the Trump campaign.

“Mr. Zamel never pitched, or otherwise discussed, any of Psy-Group’s proposals relating to the U.S. elections with anyone related to the Trump campaign, including not with Donald Trump Jr., except for outlining the capabilities of some of his companies in general terms,” said the lawyer, Marc Mukasey.

Mr. Nader and Mr. Zamel have given differing accounts over whether Mr. Zamel ultimately carried out the social media effort to help the Trump campaign and why Mr. Nader paid him $2 million after the election, according to people who have discussed the matter with the two men.

The reason for the payment has been of keen interest to Mr. Mueller, according to people familiar with the matter.

It is unclear how and when the special counsel’s office began its investigation into Psy-Group’s work, but F.B.I. agents have spent hours interviewing the firm’s employees. This year, federal investigators presented a court order to the Israel Police and the Israeli Ministry of Justice to confiscate computers in Psy-Group’s former offices in Petah Tikva, east of Tel Aviv.

Mother fucker.

What’s the short, short version of this?

First, the Trump Campaign had solicited offers from a foreign company to interfere in the Republican Primary and the General Election.  The solicitation itself is illegal.  If you think that it’s not illegal to only try to commit a crime, then Chris Hansen would like you to take a seat right over there.

Second, this Israeli company called Psy-Group offered to do create fake online personas, manipulate social media, and do what they could to help their client while hurting their opponents.  You know, the same shit the Russians did in 2016.

Third, this shows a willingness and motive to collude… no, to conspire with a foreign power or powers to win the election.

Next, we know that Rick Gates and George Nader took part in this operation, and if they know, Mueller’s known for a long time.  Remember, the two of them were early Cooperating Witnesses.

Further, there’s a money trail between George Nader and Mr. Zamel, and a meeting that puts George Nader in the room with Zamel, Erik Prince, and Donnie Jr. discussing this plan.  This also connects Donnie Jr. to a SECOND attempt at working with a foreign power.

Finally, this explains why  Mueller’s team went to Israel.  Daily Check-In 05/25/2018 mentioned some of Psy-Group’s work previously, and connected them to running a propaganda website called worldpoliticus.com, which was a large source of Reddit links for subs like The_Donald, Hilaryforprison, Conspiracy, Conservate, and the like.  There were earlier reports of investigators from Mueller’s team visiting Israel, but it was still up in the air why they were there.  At the time, speculation was that it was just to question some people, but according to this report, there was a joint raid of Psy-Group’s offices.

By the way, if we’re hearing all of this now, it’s been known about for months.

 

Doss, who recently served as senior minority counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe, said Concord could be fighting back for “reputational” reasons — in order to clear its name — but she and other national security and legal experts told ABC News that Concord, and ultimately the Kremlin, could be up to a more concerning double game: using the U.S. legal system to gather intelligence or undercut the broader Russia probe.

The lawyers representing the indicted Russians have already tried some weird moves during the discovery process, requesting all information from the CIA regarding Russia, ever.  Keep an eye on their unusual level of fuckery.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, EMOLUMENTS, AND OTHER LAWSUITS

“Fred was a piggy bank that Trump could routinely go to when he needed a cash infusion. [But then] the piggy bank disappeared,” said Tim O’Brien, a journalist who researched Trump’s business extensively for his 2005 book “TrumpNation.”

Trump received $177.3 million from the sale of his father’s remaining holdings, of which he quickly used $149 million for pressing needs at his own ventures, according to the Times. After that, he bought 14 properties with cash alone, without taking on loans, in a $400 million spending spreethat defied industry norms, as The Washington Post previously reported. To buy other properties, he got more than $300 million in loans from an unusual source — the private-wealth management office of Deutsche Bank, according to public documents. And Trump ended up with a loan of more than $50 million that he still owes himself, according to financial disclosures.

In 2012, at the tail end of the Chicago project, Trump received more than $300 million in loans from the private banking arm at Deutsche, a German bank, according to public records.

A private banking office is typically dedicated to managing the finances of wealthy individuals, not to issuing large commercial construction loans.

“It’s highly unusual to go through the private bank,” said Jeffrey M. Zell, a D.C. real estate consultant. Among a borrower’s reason for doing so, he said, would be to avoid the underwriting criteria or collateral requirements normally employed by commercial bankers who underwrite construction.

“The bank’s construction guys will go out and check the contractors’ bids, check the borrowers’ reserves,” he said. “The private bank will say, ‘We don’t care, as long as the borrower has cash.’ ”

The loans that Trump’s company received from this office of Deutsche Bank helped pay off the last of a Chicago loan that once totaled $640 million and provided Trump with $125 million to renovate the Doral golf resort in Miami and $170 million to develop the Trump hotel in Washington.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump cited an executive in the private banking division, Rosemary Vrablic, as an expert on his finances.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment on its relationship with Trump.

This is all highly unusual, and all stinks to high heaven.

Trump spends most of his inheritance to keep his struggling businesses afloat, then proceeds to go on a spending spree, buying up everything he can with cash.  Then, he takes out a loan from a bank under heavy scrutiny for money laundering, and they don’t ask what he’s doing with the money?

This reminds me of the crazy shit I’d do to try to pay bills back when I was single and making no money.  The juggling required to go from one week to another was ridiculous, and all of this looks just like that.  Trump was a broke con man trying to play rich.

As far as that loan to himself for $50 million, it sounds to me like he was trying to hide income as a loan to avoid paying taxes.  Ask Paul Manafort how well that worked out for him.

 

SCOTUS & #METOO

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

Politics is about the exercise of power. But the new Trumpist GOP is not exercising power in the pursuit of anything resembling principle, and certainly not for conservative or Republican principles.

Free trade? Republicans are suddenly in love with tariffs, and now sound like bad imitations of early 1980s protectionist Democrats. A robust foreign policy? Not only have Republicans abandoned their claim to being the national-security party, they have managed to convince the party faithful that Russia—an avowed enemy that directly attacked our political institutions—is less of a threat than their neighbors who might be voting for Democrats. Respect for law enforcement? The GOP is backing Trump in attacks on the FBI and the entire intelligence community as Special Counsel Robert Mueller closes in on the web of lies, financial arrangements, and Russian entanglements known collectively as the Trump campaign.

And most important, on the rule of law, congressional Republicans have utterly collapsed. They have sold their souls, purely at Trump’s behest, living in fear of the dreaded primary challenges that would take them away from the Forbidden City and send them back home to the provinces. Yes, an anti-constitutional senator like Hirono is unnerving, but she’s a piker next to her Republican colleagues, who have completely reversed themselves on everything from the limits of executive power to the independence of the judiciary, all to serve their leader in a way that would make the most devoted cult follower of Kim Jong Un blush.

Maybe it’s me. I’m not a Republican anymore, but am I still a conservative? Limited government: check. Strong national defense: check. Respect for tradition and deep distrust of sudden, dramatic change: check. Belief that people spend their money more wisely than government? That America is an exceptional nation with a global mission? That we are, in fact, a shining city on a hill and an example to others? Check, check, check.

But I can’t deny that I’ve strayed from the party. I believe abortion should remain legal. I am against the death penalty in all its forms outside of killing in war. I don’t think what’s good for massive corporations is always good for America. In foreign affairs, I am an institutionalist, a supporter of working through international bodies and agreements. I think our defense budget is too big, too centered on expensive toys, and that we are still too entranced by nuclear weapons.

This is from Tom Nichols, aka RadioFreeTom.  I’ve linked to his tweets a few times before.  An example is below.

Tom is one of the Never Trumpers, the group of Republicans and Conservatives that stood against Trump in his rise to power.  I don’t agree with their politics, but I don’t doubt for a second that they stand with us against the corruption.  In the future, I look forward to arguing about policy details, but today, we have a country to save.

 

Yes, I can’t believe I’m linking to a story from The Federalist either.

Some of us are tired, and we can’t keep up with the outrage machine. We aren’t built that way, nor do we want to be. The headlines are hard enough Monday to Saturday. Come Sunday, some of us want a day off.

Over the years, I lamented to my pastor, whose messages I believe to be heartfelt, about discussing headlines at church, even preaching from them. I didn’t understand why it was necessary when there are plenty of other topics to spotlight, particularly when tension is already high.

She told me that she was taught to preach with the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other, a concept born out of theologian Karl Barth’s quote, “to take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.” Of course, in the era of “fake news” and “democracy dies in darkness,” this begs the question, “Which newspaper?”

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS

 

ELECTION 2018

 

ENVIRONMENT AND SCIENCE

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

“He sometimes asked associates to communicate with him by writing a note and saving it the draft folder of the account”. This is a technique used by terrorists (literally).

“This $100k total with the $50k received from you will allow us to fund the Washington Scholarship Fund for the Russian students for the promised $150K.” Hmmmm. “Students,” huh?

Worth noting—Smith was found dead: 10 days after talking w/WSJ; 5 days after Trump fires Comey; 4 days after closed-door meeting in the Oval with Russians; 1 month after Cook County + NY judges died mysteriously; 2 months before Hastert released.

And, 10 days after Smith was found dead, a prosecutor was found dead on the beach in Florida.

The Washington Scholarship Fund.  Remember, Maria Butina was going to grad school at American University in D.C.  She very well could have been the go-between for Peter Smith and the hackers.

Hey put reporters on this and either confirm it or show he’s a propagandist who needs to resign.

Because if a Senator like , with access to official information, is lying about political warfare operations, he needs to be forced to resign. You’re the Fourth Estate, supposedly: . Go do your jobs and don’t let this continue.

NEWSFLASH: Two things are done, as of now. 1. We need a news media. Fairness Doctrine reinstalled. That does it’s fucking job. And no, we’re not falling in Russia’s “all the news is fake” trap. We’re onto it. 2. We’re done with bought-off whores for politicians.

SO, JUST SO WE’RE CLEAR: you, the Media are going to do your fucking jobs. Not suck at the PR company teat. Not allow these bastards ruining democracy to get away with it. And some of us who are actual information professionals will give you a hand. Deal? 🙂

Edit:  I changed the last emoji to an emoticon.

 

The family’s total stated assets at the time of the loan came to $121,000, with the bulk of that “vehicles and other personal property,” as opposed to liquid assets. Meanwhile, the Kavanaughs held $25,000 in credit card debt on their First USA/Bank One Visa card. Their net worth was $91,000 — less than half of what they somehow managed to produce for the closing.

So where did the $245,000 down payment come from?

The answer is not readily apparent. At the time of the home purchase, Brett Kavanaugh was a federal employee, drawing an annual salary of $62,026. (He’d been nominated for the federal judgeship but was still waiting to be confirmed.) Ashley Kavanaugh worked at the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation and the Community Foundation for National Capital Region, neither high-salaried positions. Her retirement plan was worth $1,000. There was no other income, and no gifts reported. As for investments, as Kavanaugh testified last month: “Since our marriage in 2004, we have not owned stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other similar financial investments outside of our retirement accounts.”

It is true that mortgage brokers in the go-go early 2000s were notoriously laissez-faire when it came to loan approval. I recall being “pre-approved” for a loan amount of up to $425,000 back in 2003, when I was making about $40,000 a year, and I recognized, if the bank did not, that there was no earthly way I could have afforded that much house. High on the fumes of the real estate bubble, lending institutions were plainly cool with the risk of foreclosing on properties.

Even so, the Kavanaugh loan is a head-scratcher. At four percent interest, the mortgage payments would have been $4,600 a month, or $55,200 a year. In other words, the mortgage payments alone were more than what Brett Kavanaugh took home in 2006 after taxes. And that doesn’t include property taxes, homeowners insurance, or maintenance costs — the last of which, as he painstakingly explained in his Senate written testimony, and as I previously reported, cost a pretty penny.

Within a year of buying the house, the family was deep in credit card debt. By the end of 2006, the Kavanaughs had three credit cards, in addition to the TSP loan. Each loan was “Code K,” which specifies a range between $15,001 and $50,000. We can assume the TSP loan was for almost $50,000, and that the $25,000 listed in credit card debt in 2005 remained, the balance perhaps transferred to the other cards. Given the $15,000 bottom end of the “Code K” range and generous credit card limits offered at the time, it is likely that all three cards were maxed out. Kavanaugh’s combined debt was between $60,000 and $200,000 — but given what we know of his already-onerous obligations from 2005, the total amount owed must have been no less than $100,000.

Put another way: by the end of 2006, Brett and Ashley Kavanaugh owed five financial institutions, combined, a cool million dollars.

In the Kavanaugh scenario, however, something is off. First of all, gift money cannot be used as a down payment — even in 2006, when mortgage brokers operated with the self-restraint of smoked-out meth-heads. The quarter million required for the down payment had to have been in Brett Kavanaugh’s bank account six months before the closing date. If the funds were there, he did not disclose this on his financial statements in 2005 or 2006.

Tim Hogan, a Hawaii-based attorney who specializes in bankruptcy cases, is blunt: “Kavanaugh has a $245,000 unexplained payment in his home closing documents. There you go. I’m a bankruptcy lawyer who hunts frauds for a living. This guy’s documents look fraudulent to me.”

But let’s assume, for sake of argument, that Everett Edward Kavanaugh, Jr. had an “in” at the bank, and managed to secure the loan. Let’s also assume that he not only generated the down payment, and also paid for all of the mortgage payments, leaving Brett and Ashley to cover everything else. Even then, Brett Kavanaugh’s take-home pay in 2006 — he wasn’t sworn in as a federal judge until June of that year — was not enough to cover his young family’s cost of living in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Diapers, babysitters, clothes, dry cleaning, gas, health insurance, life insurance, homeowners insurance, auto insurance, utilities, telephone and cable, donations to the Catholic church, athletic equipment…the expenses add up quick. And the Kavanaughs, with their country clubs and private schools, are not the paragons of frugality.

Moreover, $245,000 is not a Christmas stocking stuffer. If Kavanaugh did receive such significant assistance from his parents, why was he not forthright about their largesse? Surely there is no shame in accepting family help. Did Kavanaugh, like Trump, seek to present a false narrative about the nature of his own wealth? Was he concerned about the tax implications?

Or is there a more sinister explanation?

Let me reiterate: I have no way of knowing if Kavanaugh is a high-stakes gambler, and I’m not accusing him of being one. However, if he was telling the truth about not ever gambling, he needs to explain how he managed to come up with $245,000 to pay for his house in 2006, and also, how his massive credit card debt suddenly vanished ten years later. His Senate testimony does not come remotely close to explaining the provenance of that money. Gambling rumors will forever hound him if he doesn’t put them to rest with more details about his finances.

The purpose of financial disclosure, as Kavanaugh himself has pointed out, is to look for conflicts of interest. These conflicts tarnish a judge’s impartiality, which is the most essential qualification for the job. If a sitting Supreme Court Justice is beholden to unknown creditors, we need to know who they are — even if the unknown creditors turn out to be Ma and Pa Kavanaugh. How else can we be sure he isn’t compromised?

One last thing: If the Kavanaughs had hopes of renovating and then flipping the Chevy Chase house, they could not have picked a worse time to buy. In 2008, the real estate market completely collapsed, leading to a global recession that lasted for half a decade. Twelve years and all those home improvements later, the Kavanaugh home now shows an estimated value of $1,342,000 on Zillow.

That was a gamble that didn’t pay off. Depending on what we learn about his shady finances, his decision not to withdraw his nomination might be another.

This doesn’t add up.  There’s something fishy AF about Kavanaugh’s finances.  Affording a million dollar home on $200,000 after taxes is pretty tough, but on $60,000 is downright impossible.  None of his expenses make the smallest sense.

Some form of income is missing from these financial disclosures.  It would behoove the House Judiciary Committee to investigate that as part of a possible impeachment trial next year.

 

That’s it for the last few days.  Yes, I know I ignored the Kavanaugh confirmation.  As ugly and unprecedented as it is, there’s more coming.  His finances and perjury will be his undoing.

As far as everything else goes, I’m not sure where we’re headed.  October will be a crazy month.  Keep an eye out for provokatsiya (provocation) and dezinformatsiya (disinformation), especially as we get closer to the election.  I’m not hearing any rumors so far about attacks on the voting infrastructure like there was in 2016, but if I were the Russians, I’d focus on the social media war.  Sort of like they’re doing now.

Stay frosty, and keep your head on a swivel.  I have no clue what’s coming down the pipeline.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur