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

Daily Check-In 10/05/2018

Friday, October 5, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, EMOLUMENTS, AND OTHER LAWSUITS

 

SCOTUS & #METOO

 

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

RACE TALK

Americans are at an impasse in their understanding of racism today. The activist slogan “Black Lives Matter” is met by the rejoinder “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter.” Colin Kaepernick’s NFL protest about racial injustice is perceived only as an anti-American blast. President Trump tells reporters he is “the least racist person” they will ever interview. In each of these cases, conservatives feel deeply that they are not the bigots they are made out to be, declaring wide-eyed innocence in the face of any charge of racial animus.

This claim to racial innocence is not a new feature of the conservative movement, but rather one woven into the development of modern conservatism, part of an effort on the right to cleanse itself of its support for segregation and other racist policies, while heaping the blame for any racist outcomes in American society on their opponents on the left.

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Friday.  It’s a light entry because Saturday sucked.  I’ll cover it on the Monday and Weekend post, but Kavanaugh was confirmed in a very narrow vote.  It’s been rough.  I’m writing this on Sunday night, and just opened Twitter for the first time since Saturday Morning.  It’s a hard battle to lose, but it’s just that: a battle.

We are at war to save the Republic from corruption and criminals that would abuse, pervert, and destroy the very system that they claim to love, all to further their own personal gains.  In war, there are casualties.  Battles are won and lost.  Some battles are harder than others.  However, victory can sometimes secured for the war by losing a battle.

I honestly feel that long term the Kavanaugh confirmation will become a Pyrrhic victory for the Republicans.  We’re not stopping the effort to expose his corruption with him taking the bench.  Oh, fuck no.  We’ll continue the fight to make sure that his finances and statements are investigated.  We’ll continue the fight until he, like the rest of the corrupt and traitorous, are removed from power and receive the punishment their crimes demand.

The first part of this plan is vote, and vote Democrat in November.  None of this split ticket bullshit.  Vote every Republican out of office for the foreseeable future.  The Republican Party no longer stands for law and order, but abuse and corruption.  It no longer stands for the protection of this country, but for selling it out to the highest bidder.  It no longer protects the weakest in our society, but tries to exploit them them make a buck.

I’ll be back likely Monday night or Tuesday with the update for this past weekend.  See you then.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 10/04/2018

Thursday, October 4, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

A Russian official accused of directing the foreign operations of Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who met senior Trump campaign officials in 2016, has plummeted to his death in a helicopter crash.

Russian Deputy Attorney General Saak Albertovich Karapetyan was exposed in a Swiss court this year for a plot to enlist another nation’s law-enforcement official as a double-agent for the Kremlin

Media reports in Russia say he died Wednesday night when his helicopter crashed into a forest during an unauthorized flight in the Kostroma region, northeast of Moscow.

Karapetyan, 58, was intimately familiar with some of the most notorious operations carried out under the orders of Vladimir Putin. He worked closely with Veselnitskaya as well as running some of Moscow’s most high-profile efforts to thwart international investigations into Russia’s alleged crimes.

It was Karapetyan who signed a letter from the Russian government refusing to help the U.S. in a civil case it was pursuing linked to the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was trying to expose a $230 million fraud in Russia. Leaked emails have since shown that Veselnitskaya helped to draft the document sent with that letter. 

Hey look, someone with vital knowledge of the Russian’s effort to attack the United States who wasn’t a widely known named suffered a Russian Heart Attack.  What a coinkidink.

An unauthorized helicopter crash in the woods?  Was this before or after being shot and thrown from the plane?

There are two ways to survive having knowledge of Putin’s ploys.  Either be so anonymous that no one knows who you are, or become so famous that he can’t make a move against you.

Well this is interesting.  I’m including this in the Russian Investigation and not in Cold War or Crime and Punishment because it involves at least 3 GRU members that were already indicted by Mueller, and it shows how far Russia is willing to go.

These 7 GRU officers were caught by Dutch Intelligence and were escorted out of the country.  Why weren’t they arrested on the spot?  Because Russia issued them diplomatic passports, granting them diplomatic immunity.

This brings us to today, where the U.S. charged these 7 officers with hacking into The Hague, the World Anti-Doping Agency, Westinghouse Nuclear, and a few other organizations as well.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

This whole clusterfuck has given me a new appreciation for states rights and New York.

The NYAG’s office has said that the Trump Foundation has engaged in “persistent illegality.” The foundation is the charity, not the business.  This doesn’t include the crimes that the business or family members did.

 

SCOTUS & #METOO

Here’s a list of the people who we know have not been interviewed:

  • A suitemate of Kavanaugh’s has now told the New Yorker he remembers hearing at the time about the incident Deborah Ramirez has recounted. Ramirez, who has been interviewed, had claimed that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a dorm party at Yale. The suitemate, Kenneth G. Appold, now says he is “one-hundred-per-cent certain” that he was told the culprit was Kavanaugh. He does say he never discussed this with Ramirez, but he claims an eyewitness described the episode to him at the time. Appold has tried to share this story with the FBI, but there’s no indication the FBI is willing to hear from him.
  • A classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Georgetown Prep now strongly challenges one of Kavanaugh’s assertions under oath. The person told the New Yorker that he heard Kavanaugh talk repeatedly about Renate Dolphin as someone “that everyone passed around for sex” (the witness’ words), and even heard Kavanaugh singing a rhyme that included the words “you wanna get laid, you can make it with REE-NATE.” Kavanaugh (and many others) described themselves in their yearbook as a “Renate Alumnius,” but Kavanaugh has denied under oath that this was a sexual reference, claiming, ludicrously, that it was intended to show “affection.”
  • This classmate is not named by the New Yorker. But he put his name on a statement to the FBI and Judiciary Committee that makes this claim, and he is prepared to talk to the FBI. There is no indication this happened.
  • James Roche, one of Kavanaugh’s roommates at Yale, has written a piece for Slate that claims Kavanaugh lied under oath about his use of slang and his drinking. Roche claims that Kavanaugh “regularly” blacked out. Roche has offered to talk to the FBI, but there’s no indication this happened.
  • Roche also pointedly added of Kavanaugh: “He said that ‘boofing’ was farting and the ‘Devil’s Triangle’ was a drinking game. ‘Boofing’ and ‘Devil’s Triangle’ are sexual references. I know this because I heard Brett and his friends using these terms on multiple occasions.” Roche concluded that Kavanaugh “has demonstrated a willingness to be untruthful under oath about easily verified information.”
  • NBC News reports that the FBI has not contacted dozens of people who could potentially corroborate the allegations against Kavanaugh or testify to his behavior at the time. This includes many people who knew either Ford or Ramirez at the time, and people who actually approached the FBI offering information.
  • The Post reports that Ramirez’s lawyers provided the FBI with a list of more than 20 people who might have relevant information, but “as of Wednesday, Ramirez’s team had no indication that the bureau had interviewed any of them.”
  • Blasey Ford’s legal team today put out a list of additional people who have not been contacted by the FBI, some of whom were prepared to corroborate that she had in the past discussed being the victim of a sexual assault by a federal judge.
  • Neither Ford nor Kavanaugh have been interviewed by the FBI. As the Brookings Institution’s Susan Hennessey points out: “It is inconceivable they could close a real investigation without re-interviewing Kavanaugh.”

This investigation is the kind of shit one would expect to see in a Banana Republic.  This is not an honest, full investigation.  This was a bullshit confirmation of a handful of sources.  There is one copy of the final 1000 page report being held in a SCIF, and most Senators are only being given a briefing of it, assuming they don’t just send their staffers.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

Kavanaugh cover up is the dumbest every. Next yr. Jud Chair Jerry Nadler calls all the witnesses, calls FBI officials who were restricted in investig. In no time they have impeachment articles. In the meantime any Dem group that will have a case heard by Kavanaugh should now make a motion to recuse. It’s malpractice not to. If nothing else his 5-4 votes will come as the product of bias and fraud.

Here’s the part that rational me doesn’t understand, but conspiratorial me gets.

Why in the Crystal Pepsi Flavored Fuck would they push Kavanaugh forward when most signs point to the Democrats taking the House next year?  And even if they don’t get it next year, the minute they do regain control, he’s getting investigated and impeached for perjury, lying under oath, accepting bribes, and probably a few other crimes as well.

The rational part of me sees that this will end badly soon, within. the next 6-9 months, so why go this route?  They could cut him loose, make another non-controversial pick, and be done with it.  Instead, they’re going this route.

The conspiratorial part of me thinks that this is part of some master plan to further polarize and separate Americans from each other.  What’s more divisive then a confirmation hearing? An Impeachment Trial.

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Thursday.  I’m not sure how Friday’s going to turn out.  Honestly, I’m not very optimistic at this point.

I’m tired.  I know this is a marathon, not a sprint, but I’m tired of the constant fighting.  I need to take a break and relax for a night.  Maybe watch a movie, have a few glasses of a sweet red wine, and decompress.  Over the weekend, I think I’m going to do that.  I’ll take a few hours off from everything, disappear, then come back to take another big bite of the shitburger.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 10/03/2018

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

I would just like to remind everyone that Donald Trump is a cheat, a fraud, and a con man.  Along with being a traitor, rapist, racist, alleged pedophile, and a bad dresser.

Also, I’d like to remind everyone that both his longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen is a convicted felon who is cooperating with EVERY law enforcement agency, as well as his bookkeeper Allen Weisselberg.

 

SCOTUS & #METOO

Five days after the FBI began its investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the sexual assault allegations made against him by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the probe is over. Though the White House is already exonerating him, it remains to be seen what kind of information senators can glean from the investigation. One thing that is clear though is that many Senate Democrats won’t be satisfied with the narrow scope of the probe.

According to the Washington Post, FBI agents only spoke to six people as a part of the investigation. Five of them were connected to Dr. Ford and her story of a 1982 sexual assault at the hands of Kavanaugh. Somehow, neither Kavanaugh, nor Ford, were among those interviewed:

Instead, the bureau interviewed three people who Ford said attended the party: Mark Judge, Patrick Smyth and Leland Keyser. The FBI also talked to two other friends of Kavanaugh’s who were listed as attending a gathering during the same summer that Ford alleged she was assaulted: Chris Garrett, who went out with Ford for a time, and Tim Gaudette.

The FBI has only briefly looked into the other allegations against Kavanaugh. While an interview was conducted with Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at Yale, investigators did not, as far as Ramirez’s legal team knew, speak to any of the 20 people she said may be able to corroborate her story. Julie Swetnick, who implicated Kavanaugh in a pattern of sexual assaults, was also not interviewed.

I’m trying to stay positive, but it is hard AF right now.  This investigation is a complete and total shitshow if they only interviewed a few witnesses, and only those that were pre-approved by a group with an obvious bias to get a favorable result.

This is how corruption works.

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska gave an impassioned speech on sexual assault and the #MeToo movement on the Senate floor Wednesday night.

Sasse also dropped a bombshell about where he stands on Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s second nominee to the Supreme Court.

“I urged the president to nominate a different individual. I urged the president to nominate a woman,” Sasse said.

He recounted the experiences of two personal friends he said were raped, adding that the #MeToo movement has been “complicated,” but also a “very good thing.”

And then Sasse turned back to Trump: “We all know that the president cannot lead us through this time.”

Kavanaugh, once seen as having a clear path to the nation’s high court, has become the subject of multiple sexual misconduct allegations, leveled against him by former high school and college classmates.

I’m more amazed that we aren’t getting more GOP Senators speaking out.  Not out of shock or patriotism, but just basic self-preservation.  Out of 51 of them, the only one that did anything was Jeff Flake, and he’s eyeing a 2020 presidential run.  I’ve always gambled on self-preservation being a politician’s best friend, but supporting Kavanaugh is a dangerous move.  The optics are terrible for anyone who even remotely backs him.  Every ad will be a version of “XXXXX voted to put a liar and a rapist on the Supreme Court.”

 

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

PRESIDENTIAL ALERT

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

David Corn: In the book, you write, “Only if the GOP as currently constituted is burned to the ground will there be any chance to build a reasonable center-right political party out of the ashes.” So your position now, Max, is burn, baby, burn. It sounds like the old Marxists.

Max Boot: I respect some of my friends trying to work on reforming the Republican Party, but at least for the time being, I think it’s a lost cause. So my hope is that the Republican Party will suffer massive and repeated drubbings at the ballot box. That’s why I urge everybody to vote straight-ticket Democratic even though I have a lot of disagreements with Democrats. I’m not a Democrat; I’m an independent. But for the health of our republic, I think we need to destroy the Republican Party. We need congressional oversight of Donald Trump, which you’re never going to get out of Republicans. I think you need to punish the Republicans for taking these appalling positions, abusing minorities, championing white nationalism, isolationism, protectionism. The only way to wean them from that is to punish them electorally.

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Wednesday.  It’s kind of a fucked up day, and I’m not sure what else is around the corner.

Part of me keeps thinking about writing more singular topic posts, like one about BK, the Party Scene, and how #MeToo works into all of this.  Or what are the implications of a Blue Wave in the long run.  Or wargame out an actual war.

That being said, I’ll probably have time for that in about… 10 years.  Give or take 9.99 of them.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 10/02/2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

When Sen. Mitch McConnell was told by then–CIA Director John Brennan before the 2016 election that Vladimir Putin and Russia were attempting to interfere with the goal of assisting Donald Trump, McConnell’s response took him aback, according to Greg Miller, a Washington Post reporter who has just released a book about Putin, Trump, and the election. The majority leader said he wouldn’t sign on to any condemnation of Russia’s actions and that if the administration went public with the intelligence, McConnell would in turn call out Brennan as a partisan intervening on behalf of Hillary Clinton, Miller colorfully revealed in a CNN interview Tuesday.

Mitch calling the Russian Interference a partisan attack isn’t much of a surprise, but that he pulled this shit against the CIA  Director is a new level of WTFness.  Turtle got into a screaming match with the head of the CIA, saying that if Obama or them went forward with any claims that the Russians were interfering, he’d attack those claims as a partisan witch hunt.

Sound familiar?

Mitch McConnell is one of the most evil mother fuckers in history.  There’s a part of me that wants to say that this was just him seeing the world through his hyperpartisan viewpoint, but this meeting with Obama and Brennan took place after the RNC Convention, after the DNC Convention, after the email leaks from Wikileaks, and after the GOP leadership met with Sergei Kislyak in Cleveland.  By this point, Mitch either had to know something was up, was being blackmailed or was complicit.  Possibly both of the last two.

Remember, the Republicans had their emails hacked, too.  Those just weren’t released for the world to see.

Staff Changes

Kyle Freeny and Brandon Van Grack are leaving the team.  I’ll speculate on that in the Rumor Mill section.  I’ll also update The Justice League after posting this.

 

Gamble v United States

I had a couple conversations on Tuesday about the upcoming Gamble v United States case headed to the SCOTUS. I talked about the case HERE and HERE, but there’s a lot that got left off of the Reddit and Twitter arguments last week.  I’m going to put all of these thoughts in one post eventually, but I want to try to dispel some of the myths around that case.

The basic question before the court is whether or not the Feds can charge a person with the exact same crime that they were already tried for in a different sovereign jurisdiction. It’s not questioning whether the state can do the same, or if a person pardoned for a crime in one jurisdiction can or can’t be charged with similar crimes in other jurisdictions.

The hypothesis running around last week was that a partisan SCOTUS would overturn 150 years of precedent and rule that a crime can only be charged in one jurisdiction. Then, Trump would pardon everyone involved with every crime he’s taken part in, and those blanket pardons would prevent the states from ever charging any of his co-conspirators with crimes.

There are several holes with that hypothesis.

First, the hypothesis doesn’t match the question before the court.  The question facing the court is whether the United States can charge a person with the exact same crime that the person was charged with in state court.

Second, the ruling would have to be so vague and wide ranging that it would fall apart on even the slightest review. The only way that the ruling could work that way would be if it were written to include any and all state statutes that could be similar.  I call this the Worst Case Scenario Ruling, or WCSR.

Third, this assumes the states would interpret “similar” the same way.  One state may decide that state tax evasion is similar to federal tax evasion, but another would not because they use distinct forms.  Others might argue that since the wording between drug possession statues have a comma in the wrong place, the meaning changes altogether and are therefore different statutes.

Fourth, pardons only work on criminal penalties, not civil. Sure, they might not go to prison, but that doesn’t mean the states and the feds can’t use that pardon as proof of guilt and take everything they’ve ever owned.  I recommend checking out Civil RICO.

Finally, this argument assumes blanket pardons like Nixon received from Gerald Ford, not pardons for specific crimes. A blanket pardon covers a wide range of potential crimes, but if done preemptively before any crimes are charged, then we get to the next great legal questions;

Is it Double Jeopardy if a person was never charged with a crime but accepted a pardon in a different jurisdiction before they were charged? How could it be Double Jeopardy if they were never in Single Jeopardy to begin with? If the person was never charged with a crime at the federal level before accepting a pardon, how could the state ever know if they would have been charged with the exact same crime to invoke DJ protections?

The states could make a good argument that since they didn’t know what the defendant could have been charged with, they have to assume that only some charges would have been brought forward, not all of them.

Also, even in the WCSR, the states would almost certainly challenge this ruling on 9th and 10th Amendment grounds.  Per the U.S. Constitution:

Article [IX] (Amendment 9 – Unenumerated Rights)

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article [X] (Amendment 10 – Reserved Powers)

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

These two amendments are trotted out every time some right-winger wants to cry foul about “government overreach” on liberal policies, like the ACA or the Interstate system.  These two are usually used in combination with each other to make an argument that unless it was specifically laid out in the Constitution, then the Federal government can’t do it.  The WCSR would be a violation of both of these in that it would take the power of the states to prosecute their own crimes away from them.  The WCSR would be challenged faster than a kid running to his PS4 to play Fortnite.

I don’t think there’s too much to worry about with Gamble at this time. Several states including New York already have Double Jeopardy protections on their books preventing them from charging a person for the same crime the feds charged them for, but they have their own crimes on the books that they can go after.

Still, keep an eye on that case when it comes up.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

Stormy Daniels

President Trump personally directed an effort in February to stop Stormy Daniels from publicly describing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, people familiar with the events say.

In a phone call, Mr. Trump instructed his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to seek a restraining order against the former adult-film actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, through a confidential arbitration proceeding, one of the people said. Messrs. Trump and Cohen had learned shortly before that Ms. Clifford was considering giving a media interview about her alleged relationship with Mr. Trump, despite having signed an October 2016 nondisclosure agreement.

Mr. Trump told Mr. Cohen to coordinate the legal response with Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, and another outside lawyer who had represented Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization in other matters, the people said. Eric Trump, who is running the company with his brother in Mr. Trump’s absence, then tasked a Trump Organization staff attorney in California with signing off on the arbitration paperwork, these people said.

Direct involvement of the president and his son in the effort to silence Ms. Clifford hasn’t previously been reported. The accounts of that effort recently provided to The Wall Street Journal suggest that the president’s ties to his company continued into this year and contradict public statements made at the time by the Trump Organization, the White House and Mr. Cohen.

The White House referred a request for comment to the president’s outside counsel. Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, declined to comment. A person close to the situation said Eric Trump had acted as the president’s son and not in his role as a company executive. The Trump Organization declined to comment. Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Mr. Cohen, declined to comment.

Holy shit, this is big.  We know that Cohen tried to get a restraining order against Stormy Daniels earlier this year to keep her from speaking to the media, but now we know that he was ordered to do so by then-President Trump.  While he was in the White House.  And that Eric Trump, who’s supposed to be running an independent Trump Organization, helped.

Cohen pleaded guilty on Daily Check-In 08/21/2018, and has been cooperating with EVERYONE since then.  Mueller, SDNY, State of New York, New York City.  Hell, I’m expecting to hear that Cohen is working with the March of Dimes to seize one of the Trump properties in lieu of payment owed.

Donald Trump is already an unindicted co-conspirator on election fraud charges.  Cohen said in court that he was ordered to pay off Stormy Daniels using campaign funds.  Now, here is the President of the United States ordering his personal attorney to work with the head of a private company to silence a critic and opponent in a lawsuit.  Sounds like several crimes there.

Being implicated in trying to silence a porn star that he paid off with campaign funds.  There’s no way his day can get any worse, right?

Right?

<Cue Something Big>

From /u/The-Autarkh, summing up the points.

  1. The Trumps’ tax maneuvers show a pattern of deception, tax experts say
  2. Donald Trump began reaping wealth from his father’s real estate empire as a toddler
  3. That ‘small loan’ of $1 million was actually at least $60.7 million — much of it never repaid
  4. Fred Trump wove a safety net that rescued his son from one bad bet after another
  5. The Trumps turned an $11 million loan debt into a legally questionable tax write-off
  6. Father and son set out to create the myth of a self-made billionaire
  7. Donald Trump tried to change his ailing father’s will, setting off a family reckoning
  8. The Trumps created a company that siphoned cash from the empire
  9. The Trump parents dodged hundreds of millions in gift taxes by grossly undervaluing the assets they would pass on
  10. After Fred Trump’s death, his empire’s most valuable asset was an I.O.U. from Donald Trump
  11. Donald Trump got a windfall when the empire was sold. But he may have left money on the table.

Yep.  This is big.  A couple years too late, but it is certainly big.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Holy shit.  The Self-Made Billionaire myth is just that: a myth.

Fred Trump made a lot of money, and had deep ties to organized crime.  He set up trusts for all of his kids and made sure they were well off from the beginning.  He came up with tax tricks and cheats to move and hide his wealth from the government, and eventually give it to his kids through illegal means.  And Fred realized that Donald sucked at business.

Donald Trump is a con-man fraud hack, but we know that already.  Now, the New York Times has the receipts.  Literally.  They have the fucking receipts from the fake purchasing company.

Ever since the 80’s when Donald Trump tried to create his own empire, with money laundering a main source of income, self-promotion was a big part of it. He’s the poor man’s idea of the rich man, and plays it up by slapping his name on everything he can while his properties are a laundromat for criminals of all sizes.

Part of the way he gets away with it is that he’s up front with it. Most people ignore the obnoxious jerk, as long he stays to himself or plays in his own yard. Cops are looking for guy sneaking in the shadows, not the one screaming “I’m doing illegal shit.” There’s a scene from High Anxiety where they’re trying to get past airport security without being noticed. Instead of skulking around, they’re loud, obnoxious, screaming at each other. Eventually, the cops let them go because they don’t want to deal with them. That’s been Trump since the 80’s. He’s so loud and obnoxious, most people didn’t look into how much of a crook he is, because how stupid would someone have to be to draw unnecessary attention to themselves?

Donald Trump stupid, that’s how stupid.

Here’s a guy who ran for President because he’s been bullshitted into believing he could do it and/or was blackmailed into it.  He won with the help of every corrupt organization around (including the Russians), and put himself, his family, his businesses, his relationships, and everyone who’s ever known him under a microscope.

That microscope is here.

The most egregious violations came after Donny tried getting his daddy to change the will, giving him access to more money up front.  Fred and his daughter Maryanne Trump-Barry, a sitting Federal Judge at the time, said it “didn’t pass the smell test.”  But, they realized that Fred was getting old and sick, and if he died right away, his billion dollar empire would mostly go to taxes.  They created All County Building Supply & Maintenance to funnel money to the children.  Fred Trump’s company would buy equipment for his properties through All County, like a boiler or stoves or construction supplies, but at a significant markup.  $10,000 in washing machines become $20,000.  A $2,000 furnace repair becomes $5,000.  All County would make the purchase, then bill Fred Trump’s company the inflated amount.  Fred would pay the inflated amount, then the owners of the company would split the profits.

The owners of All County Building Supply & Maintenance were Donald Trump, his siblings, and cousins.

These purchase would show up on taxes as legitimate purchases.  Fred Trump would claim them as business expenses, All County would write off even more expenses, and the adult children made millions off of this scheme.

What makes this even worse is that the Trump’s would then petition the city to increase the rents on their rent controlled properties because their expenses increased.  So, they fraudulently increased their expenses to increase the rent their tenants paid, which created more money to launder, which created more expenses, which increased the rents, and so on.

Donald Trump received $413 million from his father, and paid taxes on a sliver of that.  Him and his siblings, including Maryanne Trump-Barry, benefited to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars from fraudulent purchases, wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering.

Unfortunately, it’s highly likely that these crimes are all far beyond the criminal statute of limitations.  But, not civil statutes, and the State of New York has already said they’re investigating these claims.

Also, just a reminder, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg  is a Cooperating Witnesses.  He’s been around since Fred’s days, and likely played a part in all of this.

 

SCOTUS & #METOO

In an unprecedented move, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday released an explicit statement that purports to describe the sexual preferences of a woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of misconduct.

The statement, which was circulated to the hundreds of journalists on the Judiciary Committee’s press list, was from Dennis Ketterer, a former Democratic congressional candidate and television meteorologist who said he was involved in a brief relationship with Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick in 1993.

Swetnick said last week in an affidavit that Kavanaugh was present at a house party in 1982 where she alleges she was the victim of a gang rape, a claim he vehemently denies.

In his statement, Ketterer said Swetnick once told him that she sometimes enjoyed group sex with multiple men and had first engaged in it during high school. Ketterer said the remark “derailed” their relationship, which he described as involving “physical contact” but no intercourse.

Ketterer said Swetnick “never said anything about being sexually assaulted, raped, gang-raped or having sex against her will” and “never mentioned Brett Kavanaugh in any capacity.” He described their relationship as lasting for a “couple of weeks.”

It was highly unusual for a congressional committee to release a statement that included such explicit and unconfirmed details about a member of the public. The Republican side of the panel, which said the statement was provided by Ketterer “under penalty of felony,” emailed excerpts to journalists and posted the full statement on its website.

Ketterer said that his “lasting impression” of Swetnick was that she was “smart, fun and funny.” He also described her as “an opportunist” who sought him out at the bar where he said they first met.

“I felt she only had interest . . . because I was on television and well-known,” he said.

Reached by phone Tuesday night, Ketterer said he provided the statement to the committee Monday night after hearing Swetnick’s allegations last week and discussing his memories of her with local leaders in his church. Ketterer described himself as a longtime member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and lives in the Salt Lake City area.

“We talked about doing the right thing, and the right thing was not to hold it back,” Ketterer said in an hour-long interview.

Eventually, he said, one church leader reached out to a former LDS bishop who had a connection to the office of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and is also a member of the church.

Ketterer said he spoke with Hatch’s staff last Friday and was then handed off to staff for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who he said pressed him in a long phone interview about his knowledge of Swetnick’s background and her family relationships.

Ketterer lost his bid to represent Maryland’s 8th Congressional District as a Democrat in 1996. Now a registered Republican, he says he identifies more strongly as a political independent and does not support President Trump.

Ketterer said he has never met Kavanaugh and did not know who he was until Trump nominated him to the Supreme Court. Ketterer said he provided his statement because he wanted to “do the right thing” and because he sympathized with Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley.

When the sexual assault defense gets to the slut shaming phase, the defense is desperate.

The standard operating procedure of fighting a sexual assault case is to first deny any involvement.  If that’s not possible, attack the character of the victim or witnesses, claiming that they can’t be trusted because of their background.  When that fails, dig up any dirt whatsoever on the victim and play the “it can’t be rape because she likes sex” routine.  Of course, this hurts the defense even more, because they can no longer claim that there was no encounter between them.

Slut shaming a rape victim is the last ditch effort of the rape defense.

 

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

Shooting the coach?  Really?  They should have done what every other parent of a low-talent player does and join the booster club.

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Tuesday.   Like I said earlier, two of the lawyers are leaving Mueller’s team, and there’s speculation on both sides as to what that means.

The Right Wing claims that this is an obvious sign that there is nothing more to investigate, and that Mueller is wrapping things up.  Obviously, because there wasn’t anything there.

The Right Wing claims that this is an obvious sign that there is nothing more to investigate, and that Mueller is wrapping things up.  Obviously, because they found everything and are finished with their job.

There’s another hypothesis that I want to float around, and that’s that this is perfectly normal.  The people that have left have returned to their previous assignments because the part of the case they were working on being taken over by other departments or people.

The Mueller Team is a black box.  We don’t know what’s going on inside of it, and only learn about events well after the fact.  For all we know, they’ve likely coordinated with every law enforcement agency in the country, handed off what they’ve discovered, and tasked those groups to unleash hell on the command word “Alfalfa.”

I’ve got a story in the pipeline about Mueller’s Gameplan, and I think this fits with it.  There’s so many avenues to pursue, one team couldn’t do it on their own.  Outsourcing the work to every field office is just one part of it.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 10/01/2018

Monday, October 1st and the weekend.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

 

SCOTUS & #METOO

Once again, I’m not breaking this down into several sections, but here’s what happneed over the weekend and into Monday.

Reports came out that White House Counsel Don McGahn, after working with Senate Republicans, gave the FBI instructions on who they could interview, about what they could interview, and how long they had to work.  This leaked to the press in a heartbeat.  There’s confusion as to whether the FBI would follow this or not, but it sounds like the plausible reaction from the FBI was to tell the White House to pound sand.

Shit got even more confusing on Sunday as multiple reports came out that several people who wanted to talk to the FBI either weren’t getting called, or were getting stuck in a runaround.  The Dotard sent out a tweet claiming that there were no such instructions given to the FBI, but no written orders came.

On Monday, Trump repeated the same thing, and we’re getting reports that more and more people are getting interviewed.  One of the newest pieces to come out is that a mutual friend of Brett Kavanaugh and Deborah Ramirez named Kerry Berchem received text messages from Brett where Brett asked a mutual friend, Karen Yarasavage, to go on the record in his defense before the New Yorker story came out.  Karen and Kerry also talked about how uncomfortable Deborah was around Brett at a wedding for a mutual friend back in 1997.

These texts messages could be innocuous pleas for help, or they could represent witness tampering.

Meanwhile, that turtle-looking-mother-fucker Mitch McConnell is trying to force a vote through this week.  It could be bluster, but it is the kind of evil shit he’s famous for.

Also, don’t be surprised if something big happens by Wednesday.  Why Wednesday?  Not sure, but Wednesday sounds like the best day for a withdraw or replacement.

 

 

Translation: he’s obviously guilty and the White House is terrified of The WH is refusing to allow Julie Swetnick’s allegations to be investigated as part of this probe.

More in the story: Don McGahn and the White House have given the FBI a specific list of witnesses they are permitted to interview

I would expect significant pushback from the Senate on this. Flake, Collins, and Murkowski are already uncomfortable with this process, and this isn’t what they agreed to.

As I mentioned Daily Check-In 09/28/2018, Trump is scared shitless of Avenatti, but will inevitably play into his hands.

 

Another allegation

“Dear, Senator Grassley, et al.

The current situation regarding the accusations made by Dr.

Ford against Brett Kavanaugh have prompted me to write you

today. I have moved on with my life since he forced

himself on me as well. The times were so different, and I

didn’t expect to be taken seriously, embarrass my family,

be believed at all.

I was at a party with a friend. I had been drinking.

She left with another boy, leaving me to find my own way

home. Kavanaugh and a friend offered me a ride home. I

don’t know the other boy’s name. I was in his car to go

home. His friend was behind me in the backseat. Kavanaugh

kissed me forcefully. I told him I only wanted a ride

home. Kavanaugh continued to grope me over my clothes,

forcing his kisses on me and putting his hand under my

sweater. ‘No,’ I yelled at him.

The boy in the backseat reached around, putting his

hand over my mouth and holding my arm to keep me in the

car. I screamed into his hand. Kavanaugh continued his

forcing himself on me. He pulled up my sweater and bra

exposing my breasts, and reached into my panties, inserting

his fingers into my vagina. My screams were silenced by

the boy in the backseat covering my mouth and groping me as

well.

Kavanaugh slapped me and told me to be quiet and

forced me to perform oral sex on him. He climaxed in my

mouth. They forced me to go into the backseat and took

turns raping me several times each. They dropped me off

two blocks from my home. ‘No one will believe if you tell.

Be a good girl,’ he told me.

Watching what has happened to Anita Hill and Dr. Ford

has me petrified to come forward in person or even provide

my name. A group of white men, powerful senators who won’t

believe me, will come after me. Like Dr. Ford, I’m a

teacher, I have an education, a family, a child, a home. I

have credibility.  Just because something happens a long

time ago, because a rape victim doesn’t want to personally

come forward, does not mean something can’t be true.

Jane Doe, Oceanside, California.”

JFC.  Not only is this another allegation, but it’s also the most disturbing to date.  This one goes into graphic detail about the attack itself, and shows an escalation in aggressiveness.  It’s not a drunken smack in the face with a dick, or taking part in a train on a passed out girl, or even an attempted rape, but a full attack in a car with a friend of his.

Updating the count from Daily Check-In 09/26/2018, we’re now up to as many as 7 allegations.

  1. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.  She was attacked at a house party in high school, got away when Mark Judge tried to join in and knocked Brett off of her.  Around 1981-1982.
  2. Deborah Ramirez.  Had too much to drink at a dorm party and while she was trying to get in her room, Brett dropped trou and hit her in the face with his dick.  At Yale, around 1982-85.
  3. Julie Swetnick.  Claims that Brett and Mark were rapists that got girls drunk or drugged enough so they couldn’t fight back against a gang rape.  She says she was raped in 1982 in the same manner she described.
  4. Unknown woman who went to the Montgomery County Police on Daily Check-In 09/24/2018, further detailed in Daily Check-In 09/25/2018.
  5. Rhode Island, 1985 boat assault.  Victim unknown.
  6. 1998 attack.
  7. Car Rape and attack.

Three of these women have placed their names out there for the public to hear them.  Nothing is still known about the fourth allegation, and no names are known for the last 3.  While the veracity is still in doubt, this sounds like more than enough to establish a pattern.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Kanye

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

Las Vegas Anniversary

  • Brett Schwanbeck, 61, Bullhead City, Ariz.
  • Austin Meyer, 24, Reno
  • Pati Mestas, 67, Menifee, CA
  • Nicol Kimura, 38, Placentia, CA
  • Christopher Hazencomb, 44, Camarillo, CA
  • Keri Galvan, 51, Thousand Oaks, CA
  • Tara Roe Smith, 34, Okotoks, Alberta, CAN
  • Andrea Castilla, 28, Huntington Beach, California
  • Carly Kreibaum, 33, Sutherland, Iowa
  • Steve Berger, 44, Milwaukee, WI
  • Brian Fraser, 39, Walnut, CA
  • Derrick “Bo” Taylor, 56, Oxnard, California
  • Denise Cohen, 58, Carpinteria, CA
  • Laura Shipp, 50, Thousand Oaks, CA
  • Christiana Duarte, 22, Torrance, California
  • Candice Bowers, 40, Garden Grove, California
  • Lisa Patterson, 46, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
  • Rocio Guillen Rocha, 40, Eastvale, California
  • Jordyn Rivera, 21, San Bernardino, California
  • Austin Davis, 29, Riverside, CA
  • Calla Medig, 28, Jasper, Alberta, Canada
  • Carrie Parsons, 31, Seattle, Washington
  • Cameron Robinson, 28, St. George, Utah
  • Michelle Vo, 32, Los Angeles, California
  • Brennan Stewart, 30, Las Vegas
  • Erick Silva, 21, Las Vegas
  • Dorene Anderson, 49, Anchorage, Alaska
  • Heather Alvarado, 35, Enoch, Utah
  • Hannah Ahlers, 34, Beaumont, CA
  • Stacee Etcheber, 50, Novato, CA
  • Christopher Roybal, 28, Denver, CO
  • Victor Link, 55, San Clemente, CA
  • Melissa Ramirez, 26, Bakersfield, CA
  • Kelsey Meadows, 28, Taft, CA
  • Dana Gardner, 52, Grand Terrace CA
  • Bill Wolfe, Jr., 42, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania
  • Carrie Barnette, 34, Garden Grove, CA
  • Thomas Day Jr., 54, Corona, CA
  • Jennifer Parks, 36, Lancaster, CA
  • Kurt Von Tillow, 55, Cameron Park, CA
  • Jack Beaton, 54, Bakersfield, CA
  • Denise Burditus, 50, Martinsburg, WV
  • Sandy Casey, 35, Redondo Beach, California
  • Angie Gomez, 20, Riverside, California
  • Jennifer Irvine, 42, San Diego
  • Jessica Klymchuk, 34, Valleyview, Alberta, Canada
  • Rhonda LeRocque, 42, Tewksbury, Massachusetts
  • Jordan McIldoon, 23, Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada
  • Sonny Melton, 29, Paris, Tennessee
  • Adrian Murfitt, 35, Anchorage, Alaska
  • Rachel Parker, 33, Manhattan Beach, CA
  • John Phippen, 57, Valencia, CA
  • Quintin Robbins, 20, Henderson
  • Lisa Romero-Muniz, 48, Gallup, New Mexico
  • Bailey Schweitzer, 20, Bakersfield, CA
  • Susan Smith, 53, Simi Valley, California
  • Neysa Tonks, 46, Las Vegas

 

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

new study found that some of the negative reaction tweets about the Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie were created by Russian trolls, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Researcher Morten Bay of the University of Southern California found that 21.9 percent of all the tweets analyzed about the film had a negative view, with 50.9 percent of the negative tweets showing indications they were “likely politically motivated or not even human.” Bay added that a “number” of those users appeared “to be Russian trolls.” Bay concluded that the tweets were part of “deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments” that aimed to propagate “widespread discord and dysfunction in American society.” “Persuading voters of this narrative remains a strategic goal for the U.S. alt-right movement, as well as the Russian Federation,” Bay wrote. He also wrote that the movie’s political undertones were “consistent” with older Star Wars films, leading him to believe that the political divisiveness of the Trump era “primed these fans with a particular type of political messaging that is in direct conflict with the values presented in The Last Jedi.

Oh, that’s it!  Fucking with the election is one thing, but screw with Star Wars, and THIS. MEANS. WAR.

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

Trump and McConnell are nothing if not opportunists. They have no personal loyalty to Kavanaugh. Trump is famous for firing people when they outlive their usefulness. McConnell takes situational ethics to a new low.

 

So Trump and McConnell will surely consider the risks and benefits of standing by Kavanaugh, and the odds of his prevailing. Those odds are worsening.

 

There is a fair chance that early this week, Kavanaugh will be asked to fall on his sword. You know the routine. “I have decided to spare my family and our country further ordeal and embarrassment, and blah, blah, blah.”

 

That way the FBI investigation is short-circuited and the subject is changed. The spectacle of Republican men defending a likely sexual assaulter against a highly credible woman goes away.

Trump and McConnell get to fast-track another nomination, preferably female, such as the ultraconservative Amy Coney Barrett, who was appointed last year to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The court seat is saved, the optics on women shift, while the ferocious white male base is furious at Kavanaugh’s treatment and turns out to vote in November.

 

As McConnell and Trump take a close look at the risks and alternatives, dumping Kavanaugh has to be very tempting. As for Kavanaugh himself, even withdrawing may not spare him further trouble in the investigation of what actually occurred at that fateful party. He could be the subject of further inquiry by the House or Senate, or by Maryland prosecutors.

A smart person would not have nominated Kavanaugh in the first place.  A dumb person surrounded by smart people whom they listen to would have a long list of names, ready to pick from.  Fuck, the first minute that allegations against Kavanaugh surfaced, Trump’s staff should have had a list of backups ready to go at a moment’s notice, complete with judicial filings, paperwork, and everything required to get a non-controversial nominee through in a matter of weeks.

Instead, we get Trump, who will destroy the GOP for years to come because he wants his guy.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kavanaugh step aside, or Trump and McConnell force him out, but never underestimate the ego of a megalomaniac.

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

ELECTION 2018

Most recently, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC closely aligned to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), cut off funds for two GOP incumbent campaigns, for Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Mich.) and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.). The Super PAC, which has already raised about $100 million for the 2018 election cycle, is pulling out of $1 million in TV ad spots it had reserved for Coffman and $2.1 million it had reserved for Bishop. The fund will redirect the funds elsewhere, according to an article in Politico.

Political action committees give a disproportionate amount of their campaign dollars to incumbents because congressional re-election rates are typically in the 90% range. So, to see PACs walk away from incumbent races, especially funds so flush with cash, is quite unusual. But then again, this mid-term election is anything but typical.

According to Republican officials, in both races, Democratic challengers are leading and are expected to outspend Coffman and Bishop significantly in the final weeks leading up to the election. But another PAC, the National Republican Congressional Committee, isn’t convinced Coffman is a lost cause and has agreed to fill the gap with a $600,000 TV ad buy, according to the Politico article.

Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled funds from other races it sees as unsalvageable at this point, such as the Congressional District 17 in Pennsylvania. It recently canceled its ad reservations in the district where Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.) is up against Conor Lamb (D). The PAC had spent about $2.2 million in ads opposing Lamb. But the Democrat has significantly outraised his Republican challenger at $7.3 million to Rothfus’ $2 million, according to a report at the end of June by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Other Republican candidates have been unhappy about the lack of support from the NRCC, such as Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) and Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.). And others are in danger of getting cut off, including Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Pa.) and Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa). But as former Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.), who was involved with the NRCC during his tenure, said, “These are very Darwinian decisions. It means selection of the fittest.”

Follow the money.  That’s what we’ve heard for years about corruption and politics, and nothing is more prescient about how things are going than campaign spending in October.

There are two reasons why a group suspends spending on a candidate.  Either they’re so far ahead that any extra money spent is a waste, or they’re down by so much that the candidate might as well start looking for a new job.  There’s only so much money available for these PAC’s that they have to be wise about where they spend.   Think of it like garbage time in a football game.  The home team is up 42-0 early in the third quarter, and they’ve pulled all of the starters, letting the backups get some playing time.  The losing team is still trying, but they’re getting ready to sit their starters, too.  It all depends on if they score quick on the next series.

That’s what’s happening with most of these races.  The NRCC has pulled funding from Keith Rothfus.  He’s getting slaughtered by Conor Lamb in the local polls, local ads, spending, and canvassing.  I’ve driven through PA-17 recently, and the Lamb:Rothfus yard sign ratio is about 10:1 in the areas I’ve seen.  In 2016, the yard sign split was pretty even between Dems and the GOP for the same area.  As far as television ad buys, I’ve seen two Rothfus commercials, and several Lamb spots.  Last night I saw the first attack ad against Lamb.  And there was only one.  Lamb had several spots in the same show.

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

Who paid off 6-figures worth of Kavanaugh’s debt just before his nomination? What was their motive for doing so? Was said debt paid off so it wouldn’t be a confirmation/background issue? Was it someone linked to tRUmp’s lawyer(s) or admin? These questions need answers.

^^ The lack of interest here from (who didn’t press him at all about it) and the likes of , , etc is not only baffling, but concerning. Whether or not his debts will compromise the integrity of the court is *the* most important issue.

 

 

That’s it for the last few days.  It’s been a crazy ride, and it’s only going to get worse.  Remember to keep your wits about you, and your head on a swivel.

A spoiler for Tuesday, Stormy Daniels is back in the news.  No, she didn’t get arrested again, but it is bad news for Trump.

I don’t have any other article ideas floating around right now, but I keep playing with the idea of seeing if there’s some kind of rideshare I could volunteer for on Election Day to help people get to the polls.  I have no clue where to start, or if it’s feasible, but I feel like I should do something.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur