Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A TrumpWorld Grab-Bag With a Nice Drawstring

Now, this is just a brief excursion down Memory Lane--once upon a time, there was a political fixer named Paul Manafort, and he used to work for some Russian people.  Some of the work he did sort of looked like this:

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.
This is why it is really suspect that this same Paul Manafort used his Trump campaign email to shake down a Russian-linked Ukrainian for payment for some services rendered, and also brief a Russian billionaire regarding, I guess, the campaign itself, while Manafort was running it.

It's almost like he was still doing business for Russia while running Trump's presidential campaign, as a guy who once said he could influence US politics in Russia's favor. That is really quite something, right?  This is the very reason Paul Manafort was under surveillance.  He might be trying out a "rotten dirty politics trying to jam up an honest partisan" complaint, but it's a little weaksauce. The dude got raided. There's other stuff going on with that mess. But it does seem like this was a guy with the connections.

But this is TrumpWorld, you know. Connections are everywhere--take the weird story of a Trump campaign bodyguard who was ex-FBI and knew about Felix Sater.  Would you say this was an example of it being a small world after all, or just plain freaky?

You never know who is going to enter the TrumpWorld orbit, but that there's plenty of FBI folks is a good bet, what with Mueller's investigation centering on the former-Director Comey firing. A couple FBI folks are going to be subpoena'd by the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding what they know over that mess--even though Mueller seems to have already occupied their near-future testifying. (I'd sure like to hear from whatever FBI folks, probably out of the NY office, had it in for Clinton enough to pressure Comey into his 10/28/16 announcement re; HiIlary Clinton's emails--again.)

We're still learning about the extent of the Russian influence operation. The Trump campaign had an in with Facebook. Facebook is now sharing the ads purchased to influence the 2016 campaign with US Congress.  Fake News was also peddled by longtime conservative news-aggregator Matt Drudge. The depth and breadth of the campaign's Russian interference, and the usefulness of the RW blogosphere to Russia's ends, is a wonder to behold.

I feel like I'm seeing a TrumpWorld Grab-Bag that will close on foolish people who did not understand what was happening here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Little More About Trump's UN Speech

At President Trump's UN speech yesterday, the cameras caught Chief of Staff John Kelly in a studious face-palm, looking not unlike a college basketball coach whose team was down by 40 points at the half, trying to convince himself that this was a young team in a building year, and surely, the recruiters hadn't been having him on.  The White House can try and tell us he's just tired because of Trump's vigorous schedule or what have you, but I think the real story is--he can't not know that this speech boxed Trump in and fubar'd his options massively.

This was a speech Trump gave as if for one of his rallies for the maybe 30% die-hards who need to hear his MAGA line of business. But he gave it in front of an audience of world leaders, and this was not the speech he needed to give to them. In addition to threatening to totally destroy a country of 25 million people in a war that would probably also kill millions in South Korea and Japan and elsewhere, he shit-talked the multi-lateral Iran deal that the leadership of Iran is, while they are not simon-pure little angels of joy and light towards the West, basically adhering to. Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif described it as belonging to "medieval times". 

The problem I see with this speech is, that it took a long, steaming crap on diplomacy, and wasted a large part of the goodwill needed for non-military interventions to succeed. Trashing diplomacy is a stupid and backwards tactic with regards to North Korea that shows a person with no concept of recent history. It obliterates any hope that Trump's State Department (such as it is) is competent or capable of finding or maintaining non-military solutions for what should be diplomatic problems. 

This speech, however, does seem to have been copacetic to Russia.  (They do not have our best interests at heart. This is why they backed Trump.)

I am well aware of Trump's base and what they like to hear regarding "America first" and "sovereignty" (which means nothing at all if Russia decides our elections, right?) But knowing there is a world outside of Fox News and Breitbart, this speech nearly gave me the screaming horrors, because nuclear war...mind me, here, because this is BAD. Even one successful missile strike here is a disaster. And the tough talk that Trump likes to think makes Kim Jong Un (not "Rocket Man"--because we are not in 4th grade) respect him, is more liable to make him try just a little bit more. As a leader of a small country that feels beleaguered and wants respect. 

Trump has no idea. And he showed his ass. 

UPDATE: This is what no-maneuverability looks like.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

He said "Rocket Man" at the UN!?

I will have more thoughts about this anon, but he actually called Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man" and seems to be advocating for nuclear war. This is a maniac toddler.

He's also trashed the Iran nuclear deal. He is throwing away years and years of diplomacy work. It is tragic and dangerous.

Monday, September 18, 2017

This TrumpWorld Grab-Bag Might Be Wired

It was awfully late last night that I took the time to read about the astonishingly poor op-sec choice of some of the Trump-orbiting lawyer-satellites to discuss White House business in the out-of-doors where journos could hear--but wow! There are clearly other things going on besides open-air discussions about who's got info in a vault and who is trying to oust Jared Kushner. Here's the particular gold nugget of interest to the prospector:

Tension between the two comes as life in the White House is shadowed by the investigation. Not only do Mr. Trump, Mr. Kushner and Mr. McGahn all have lawyers, but so do other senior officials. The uncertainty has grown to the point that White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller.
That fear of a "wire"--where did I hear that before? Oh, yeah, from Trump Himself, on the day he decided that he was the victim of an Obama "wiretap".  My own guess about that was that he could not have been wiretapped except if there was a warrant because of suspected wrongdoing, but he could have been picked up because of the type of crowd his campaign preferred to run with.  Not that he was directly targeted--just that he fell into a particular net.

It turns out, that net might have been intended for Paul Manafort, who had a lot to do with Ukraine and maybe Russia and so much more. I'm not sure what Trump knew when he made that March 4 Tweet, but he apparently thought something pertaining to the campaign had been looked into. And since Manafort was suspected of reaching out to the Russians over the Trump campaign...

But that's all so very speculative! Maybe Manafort was a target of the FBI because of things happening even prior to the Trump campaign--but while we're at it, why was Trump still communicating regularly with Manafort (who he alleges he barely knew, despite him having a residence at Trump Tower?) after Manafort left the campaign? Maybe this kind of question should cause Trump to pause before directing his smears (directly or through surrogates) against people who understand the story of his campaign--possibly even better than he does.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Climate Sunday: Revisiting the Paris Accord

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said today that Trump might be open to staying in the Paris Accord under the right conditions, after a WSJ story suggested Trump was staying in. Is it possible that someone finally explained to Trump that each country sets their own carbon emissions targets and there is nothing unfavorable in staying?

Who even knows? I just think this might, maybe, be a statement with a definite possibility of a glimmer of almost getting it with respects to climate. It's stupid. But it's...something.

This is Awkward, Really

In criticizing Sarah Huckabee Sanders, I made the awkward comparison to Sean Spicer, in that Spicer seemed to have an awareness that he was lying and that it might be kind of bad, at times. Maybe that was why he sometimes had to go hide in the bushes. I don't know.

I do know that I'm not really comfortable with him being made a kind of celebrity. Yeah, he can be personable. But there's something just really messed-up about a person lying for a corrupt, media-hating, bigoted Trump Administration for several months, and then whimsically making a farce of it, as if being dishonest for a living was a punchline.

It's probably true that he won't ever get a job in any elected official's press shop again, and it's probably also true that we can't expect a juicy tell-all about the White House from him. I just don't know that he should be feted for separating from a job that it should have become apparent was morally appalling to do and I am not thrilled with the Emmy program sort of "sheep-dipping" him this way.

If he were to talk straight about the Trump Administration, that might be the start of something.

With TrumpWorld Grab-Bags Like These...

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.--Kremlin) had a little side-trip to the Ecuadoran Embassy in London last month which was partially arranged (!?) by RW blogger-provocateur Chuck C. Johnson (which sounds nicer than "creepy little muck-dwelling alt-right alleged floor-shitter, Chuck C. Johnson") to meet with Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange. It sort of feels inexcusable that this escaped my attention--the guy who fellow GOP congressman Kevin McCarthy described as possibly on Putin's payroll, meets with the WikiLeaks guy, through this guy.  Sure, it all sounds flaky as hell, but I'm trying to be a Trump/Russia compleatist over here. 

Anyways, Rohrabacher wants to talk with Trump about getting Assange exonerated for disseminating various bits of classified US info, if Assange provides information that exonerates Russia from the DNC hack. A sort of mutual back-washing scheme. 

That's. But. How does he? Can you even? The sad thing is, Trump does denial over the Russian hack thing so convincingly, I wonder if he wouldn't go for it. It would be really dumb. But I wonder.

I'm not sure that whatever Assange means to provide is going to quite prove anything of the "exonerating Russia" quality, and I suspect the decision to "exonerate" Assange really isn't up to Trump, anyway. But it's the thought that counts, since Rohrabacher hasn't been able to do anything about Magnitsky. And Trump probably won't, either. (Sorry, Vlad, I know a lot of money is probably at stake here.)

Meanwhile, back at the Mueller investigation, he obtained a warrant for and received information from Facebook relating to the troll farm of fake accounts that pumped all kinds of ads and fake news and whatnot to the eyeballs of US voting people. It would be a darn shame if this could be verified as having been coordinated with Jared Kushner's data operation. For Jared Kushner. And the campaign. 

In other weird news, it looks like Mike Flynn had been working on a nuclear power project involving  putting plants all over the Middle East (which would count on Russian companies for maintaining site security)--and while it should have been tidily wrapped up in December 2016, um, it wasn't. And maybe he and Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner met with King Abdullah II of Jordan before the inauguration to discuss...the nuclear "Marshall Plan", as it might be called. 

There's so many moving pieces of wrong in this scenario it's kind of hard to know where to start. But in any event, the DNC hack and Wikileaks' participation in throwing the information out to the public, and the way that information release seemed to be timed to the needs of the Trump Campaign in a way that seemed, maybe, a little coordinated, is definitely just one, and not even necessarily the top, messed-up thing with the TrumpWorld milieu. It's really a target-rich environment, and Robert Mueller just keeps adding sharp-shooters to his team. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Impact of Hurricane Irma Needs to Be Respected

The astonishing devastation to the Virgin Islands, particularly, of Hurricane Irma, has to be visually represented to be fully appreciated. In the above graphic, you can see the difference made by a storm where the wind snapped off much of the leaf-bearing vegetation, and a storm wall inundation of salt-water did the rest at killing off the plant-life of what had been island oases of beauty and teeming with life.

It should be noted that the island of Barbuda is, for once in 300 years, without a single human, because it is unlivable. The toll to property has been epic in proportion. The number of persons displaced and bereft of anything at all to their name is astonishing.

And our fuckwit president, Donald Trump, has opinions:

TRUMP: It was such a small number that nobody would have — people thought thousands and thousands of people may have had their lives ended. And the number is a very small number, which is a great tribute to you.

Eight bodies were taken from a Florida nursing home. This is the guy who was in favor of limiting the rights of nursing home residents to sue in the cases of abuse and neglect. I don't know how I feel about that--but I do, but I don't. I have images in my mind I will remember all my life of a situation where people were powerless, and I will always be for those people.

I don't even know if this grinning fool who wants to display his swag ball-cap understands that there is still devastation from Harvey, that there are wildfires leaving residents only too happy for a storm system in the NW,  and still and all, there is ever-developing climate fuckery on the horizon.  He only has his denial.

Trump has no respect for what is happening all around him. I do not think he has the sense to learn, either. He is not fit for this environment.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher Believes Weird Shit

I think it's really weird that one of California's few Republican Congresscritters, Dana Rohrabacher, possibly on the Russian payroll and definitely not properly housetrained,  thinks Charlottesville was a set-up of pore ole innocent Civil War re-enactors by dirty liberal scum.

No, really:

Under Rohrabacher’s scenario, a former “Hillary and Bernie supporter” got Civil War re-enactors to gather under the guise of protecting a Robert E. Lee statue there.

“It was a setup for these dumb Civil War re-enactors,” Rohrabacher said. “It was left-wingers who were manipulating them in order to have this confrontation” and to “put our president on the spot.”
This wasn't even the first rally under the "Unite the Right" banner, which was totally about known alt-right and white supremacist personalities. The above poster was part of the on-line advertising of the rally in question. Ignoring the work that folks like Matt Heimbach, Richard Spencer, and Jason Kessler have done to actually carve out a space for white supremacy to pretend that they were mislead somehow is simply astonishing. Yes, Virginia, there are actual white supremacists. Apparently West Coast elitist Dana Rohrabacher has never met any! But they were proud and loud that day. Shouting things like "Jews will not replace us" which is not, as I recall, a Civil War war-cry. What world is he living in?

Which is pretty much what you'd expect of a Taliban-loving Russia-pwned Bill Maher-show appearing nutburger..