Tag Archives: Putin

A Brief Period Of Relief As Trump Leaves The Country

Sleep, blessed sleep.  It’s easy to forget how necessary it is to our well being until we are forced to go without it – an experience many of us have been suffering through since the election of this current Russian-aligned occupant of the White House.

Thanks to Robert Mueller and the FBI,  responsible and patriotic adults are once again asserting control over the federal government through the rule of law, and many of us can once again get a little sleep.   The kind of deep sleep your body needs.   The kind that helps you heal the wounds, both psychic and physical, that life regularly inflicts.  Particularly so, when there is no doubt that our government is under attack by a foreign power, determined to tear down our democratic institutions brick by brick.

This morning, as Donald Trump boarded Air Force One for a trip to Asia, I was reminded of Richard Nixon’s departure for Egypt in 1974, as the weight of accountability for the Watergate break-in and cover-up was approaching its inevitable conclusion.    Two months later, Nixon would resign.

Real or imagined, it just feels better when people like Nixon or Trump get on a plane and get out of the country.   And Trump will be gone for eleven days.   Like Nixon, he must have really needed to get away.

True, they can do a whole lot of damage overseas, but somehow it just feels better, not being on the same continent with those who stand in opposition to all that is pure and best about America.

Even now, while writing this, it occurs to me that it may be unfair, comparing Nixon to Trump, as Trump is so much worse than Richard Nixon ever was, simply by reason of Trump’s inability to be anything resembling “presidential,” or his obvious inclination to dance with the devil, in a constant waltz with Vladimir Putin and his fascist state.   I’m fairly certain Nixon, would never have gone there.  He simply couldn’t have.  The Republican base, at that time, simply was not gullible enough to fall for a Russian-loving commander in chief.

As with Richard Nixon, the truth will eventually prove to be Donald Trump’s nemesis, as the FBI investigation continues into this current Administration’s ties to Russia and their possible collusion with the Russian Government.   We will get to the truth, because we are a free people with a system that is stronger than any one person or party.    That is to say, we should be allowed to get to the truth.

Should any one person or party attempt to shut down the investigation, then that one person or party will be more than suspect.  That one person or party will be signaling that they are, in all likelihood, guilty of committing treason against the United States by their effort to cover up the Trump Administration’s ties to the Russians.  Ties that are becoming all the more apparent with the passage of time.

Certain parties are already suspect by their obvious and disgusting determination to stop congressional investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election from moving forward.

Let’s hope the Mueller investigation is allowed to run its course.  That it is permitted to reveal the truth to the American people, and that Donald J. Trump doesn’t drag the nation into another war as the ultimate diversion, before Mr. Mueller and the FBI are able to complete the task before them.

Until then, we do at least have hope, and along with it, the ability to once again get a decent night’s sleep as Robert Mueller and the FBI, follow the money.    Adults dealing with what’s true and real as opposed to the alternative reality of Mr. Trump and his childlike supporters, who live in a world of disinformation, misinformation, delusion and denial.    A world increasingly influenced by Vladimir Putin and his oligarch friends, none of whom desire Democracy.

Somewhere, Putin Is Smiling

The uprising in Catalan may have a nexus with Russia.  Or, it may not.  Shouldn’t somebody be trying to figure it out?   The Spanish Government maybe?  Or the CIA?

Looking back on the way the Russian Government usurped the government of Ukraine,  followed by its criminal taking of Crimea through the use of military force,  one must conclude that Putin’s Russia has a well-laid plan for interfering in other countries businesses, territories and general well-being.   Well, of course they do.    They’ve been in the expansion through espionage business big-time since Nikita Khrushchev threatened to bury us while banging his size ten Soviet-made wingtip on the Russian ambassador’s desk at the UN.

The introduction of our current information age and the  technological highway of the Internet make it all the easier for Putin and his “bot farms” to interfere, be it turning Brits to favor the “Brexit” through disinformation or American voters to favor Donald Trump because of a whole lot of fabricated nonsense many of them were led to believe was true.

It’s important to remember the role played by Paul Manafort in Ukraine and then in the U.S. election.   In 2005, Manafort acted as an adviser to Ukranian billionaire, Rinat Akhmetov, an ally of Vladimir Putin.   Manafort, who is said to be a protege of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripraska,  eventually became a principle adviser to Ukraine’s former President,  Russian-backed Viktor Yanukovych (another ally of Vladimir Putin), who escaped to (guess where?) Russia, following the Orange Revolution.    With Manafort, there appears to be another Russian billionaire with ties to the Kremlin around every corner.

So when Donald Trump needed someone to run his presidential campaign, who appeared like magic from out of nowhere?  Paul Manafort, who slipped effortlessly into the role of Trump’s campaign manager, even while many were scratching their heads wondering who the hell he was.

Even now, Donald Trump steadfastly refuses to say anything negative about Putin or the Russians and is currently stalling on levying sanctions against the Russians for interfering with American elections.  Really?  And there are those among us who still haven’t been able to connect the dots?

When fake news is real, and real news is fake, who ya gonna believe?  Very clever, these Russians.

There’s an interesting piece in today’s Guardian, entitled, “Our pain for their gain’:  The American activists manipulated by Russian trolls.”   The piece points out that what Russia has been up to goes far beyond simply placing phony ads on Facebook or creating fake news.    According to the newspaper, “This week, a Moscow-based news outlet called RBC uncovered the work of a troll factory that infiltrated US social networks, with Russians posing as Americans and making payments to legitimate activists in the US, directly funding protest movements. The revelations suggest that the Russian operation went beyond spamming online comment sections and spreading false news – and that a sophisticated interference campaign manipulated, controlled and created real-world events.”

So we’re up to that.   Putin and his people are now using disinformation, misinformation and cash funding to create “real-world events.”  And the victims don’t even know they are being victimized.   Possibly like what happened to the Brits with their Brexit and maybe even the uprising in Catalonia?   Oh sure, the Catalans have had a beef with Spain for decades, but why such a big blowout right now, with Brexit, Korea, Venezuela, Iraq and Iran all in the international mix?  Might not Russia be a least partially responsible?

The United States would normally be taking the lead in trying to ferret out precisely what the Russians are up to.  To what degree they influenced our last election and are now attempting to throw the world’s democracies into chaos, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.  Not to the degree to which it should.

Alarm bells should be going off all over Capitol Hill, and in the White House.  And they would be, were it not for our Putin-loving president who looks more and more Manchurian as the days and months roll agonizingly by and much of America remains in denial about it all, either because they have been mesmerized by Donald Trump and an endless stream of Russian propaganda or they simply can’t begin to grasp what’s happening because it is just too complicated.

Somewhere within the bowels of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin is undoubtedly smiling that snarky little smile of his, as he contemplates the international chaos he has created.

Shouldn’t somebody be trying to figure it out?   How much of the current chaos is Russian based?   To what degree are we all being played for suckers by Vladimir Putin?    How far will Trump go to cover this charade?   Will he take the nation to war?   Who will stop him?

Robert Muller and his investigation could be the only thing standing between the United States and a Russian threat some don’t want to believe is real.   We can only hope there are those who can still feel the fire of patriotism.  Those with the strength of what America truly is, to force the Muller investigation forward to a legitimate conclusion.   If not, our great American experiment could be finished.  A thought too terrible for many to even consider, making it all the more important for all of us to get our heads up out of the sand and demand the truth.

While The Media Focuses On Bill O’Reilly…

One of the smartest comics out there, Lewis Black, was on the Colbert show last night talking about something which, I suspect, has been hitting a great many of us since November – getting up in the morning, turning on the tv and being so shell-shocked by the Trump Administration’s newest buffoonery that it takes until noon to recover.

It looks like most of the Trumpsters don’t have a clue as to what they’re doing. Most of the time.   Makes you want to bang your head against the wall while yelling, “dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.”

Most recently, our alleged Secretary of State and long-time business associate of Vladimir Putin and friend to Russia, Rex Tillerson, attacked the agreement on nuclear development with Iran, making it sound like the Trumpsers might want to tear it up and start over.   It was a “get tough” on Iran speech.  This morning, a day later, he’s walking it back, saying Iran is in compliance with the agreement.  Whoops.

A little more than a week ago, the Trumpsters lost an entire aircraft carrier strike group as Donald was down in Mara Lago eating chocolate cake when he should have been in the situation room back in DC.

That’s what the President of the United States is supposed to do after issuing threats to a nuclear-armed nation like North Korea with an erratic, unstable and murderous leader.   He is supposed to get his ass down into the situation room and makes plans.   Think ahead about things like….duh….”so where is the strike group right now?”   If Trump didn’t want the job then he shouldn’t have asked for it.

The Presidency of the United States does not afford enough spare time for weekend golf holidays and personal business promotions. Apart from that and making matters even more unacceptable, apparently nobody thought about calling the Pentagon for an update on the strike group’s location and heading, so the idiot Trump announced to the world that the carrier, along with several other war ships (“very powerful!”) were headed north to Korea when they were actually going south.   Dumb, dumb, dumb,dumb,dumb…

Lewis Black is right.  Almost every day it’s some new idiotic revelation.  Except for yesterday’s announcement that ExxonMobil is asking for a waiver on sanctions the U.S. put in place against Russia so that Exxon can move forward with a joint oil development venture they have with the Russian Government estimated to be worth as much as a half-trillion dollars.   Nothing idiotic about that.  Why do you think Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon was given his current job at the State Department?   The man came from out of nowhere with no previous political experience.

How and why was this business big-wig with ties to Putin and the Russians chosen to be Secretary of State by a presidential transition team just dripping with ties to Putin and the Russians? *

Not sure how we’re supposed to be able to put up with this for four years.  A bogus missile strike in Syria and the “mother of all bombs” dropped on a possibly meaningless ISIS position in Afghanistan – all of it apparently designed to divert our attention away from Trump’s connections to the Russians?  God, help us.

All you guys who voted for Trump because you thought nothing could be worse than another Clinton Administration – you own this mess.   You were wrong.   Big time.   Remember that when you go to the polls in 2018.  You screwed up to the point of putting the country in jeopardy with a possibly delusional president who thinks he’s a king and who may, just may, start a shooting war to cover his Administration’s past collaboration with the Russians and his current mistakes.   And the Republican Party, with its silence, is backing his every move.

The Trump Administration represents a real threat to the Republic and the world.  Meantime our media is leading the news with stories about Bill O’Reilly losing his job at FOX.

 

*H/T to Rachel Maddow

 

Putin, Trump, And The Death Of American Credibility

There was no English word for “disinformation” until sometime in the 1980’s, when it was derived from a Russian term meaning misinformation “intentionally disseminated in order to deceive.”  It can include, “forgery, subversion and media manipulation,”  and would be needed only if efforts to kill the truth at its source through the co-option of government officials and (or) persons in the media, had failed.  Arnaud De Borchgrave and Robert Moss  wrote a wonderful novel about the media manipulation thing back in 1980.   The book’s title is “The Spike,” and it’s worth a read.

In plain English, disinformation can take many forms but basically it involves hiding facts behind a giant smokescreen, so high, wide and thick that no one can possibly see through it.  The common term for it here in  America is BS, although this would be BS taken to a level rarely seen in everyday life.

By one account, the Russians have been using disinformation as a weapon since the 1920’s.  Under the former Soviet Union and its secret police/intelligence arm, the KGB, disinformation was developed into an art form possibly not seen since the days of master manipulator Angelo Machiavelli, which may or may not be something to be proud of, depending upon your predilection for the “art” of deception.

Any way you cut it, the KGB was said to be very good at it.  Based upon current affairs, they still are, keeping in mind that those who ran the KGB, like Vlaidmir Putin, and certain other billionaire crime bosses, are now running all of Russia.  That’s not to say their techniques have changed.   Take for example, Donald Trump’s recent “attack” on an airbase in Syria.  Talk surrounding the attack could be true, or some of it could be disinformation.

We were first told, repeatedly, by Mr. Trump himself,  that  he would never telegraph his intentions to an enemy,   Then, in what was only his second big military decision, what did he do?   He called Syria’s ally Russia, and told them of his intentions to bomb an airfield in Syria, ensuring the Syrians would be told about the attack, giving both the Russians and the Syrians ample time to get their people and equipment out of harm’s way.

According to the release from the Pentagon, “Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line. U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield.”

Trump, totally telegraphed his intentions to the enemy.   He phoned it in.  Still, this has nothing to do with what may have been disinformation.   That came later, and not from Trump, but from one of his sons, with backup from Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Pundits (and a couple of “surrogates” who will support Trump regardless of his words or actions and who should not be given access to credible news programs) had already been sending out rumblings that the airfield attack was ample evidence against any collusion between Trump and the Russians.   Later, Trump’s son Eric, would parrot this same line, possibly being unintentionally dragged into a broadening ripple effect of disinformation.  What the Russians would call “a useful idiot.”

Then, even as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Moscow for talks with the Russian hierarchy,  Russian President Vladimir Putin belched forth what may have been another enormous cloud of truth-hiding smoke, making the pronouncement that what the Americans were saying about the missile attack on Syria, was comparable to earlier American lies about WMD’s in Iraq.

Accuse the accuser.  One of the oldest tricks in the book.  But this was carrying the weight of coming from the President of Russia. Whoa.  Now that’s sure to confuse the issue.  If you can even remember what it was.

It’s similar to having an American president who doesn’t understand he is no longer campaigning and that his words now have a far more serious meaning to the world, except that Putin understands what he’s doing and Trump hasn’t a clue, even while he’s being heralded by his supporters for building greater credibility in the eyes of the world by launching what was essentially a phony attack against Syria.  Credibility?  Incredible.

Even if the bogus attack on an all but abandoned airfield wasn’t enough to prove that Trump hasn’t been colluding with the Russians, the angry  Response from Mr. Putin would have to convince those few remaining doubters that no collaboration between Putin and the Trump political machine could be possible.

How’s that for disinformational smoke?   Or maybe not?  Can’t prove it’s there, so maybe it isn’t.  Or maybe it is?  Confused yet?

It’s entirely possible that Trump telegraphed his intentions on the attack to avoid hitting Russian targets and starting World War III.  It’s also entirely possible that Eric Trump is right,  that his father’s decision to hit the abandoned airfield was to send a message to the Syrians that they must stop using chemical weapons, and further, that Mr. Putin’s pronouncement against Trump and the United States comparing the attack to lies about WMD’s in Iraq, was made solely to bump up Putin’s standing in the Russian press.

Why are apparently official announcements about our government coming from the mouths of the President’s children?   Then again, maybe everybody’s telling the truth.  Or perhaps not.  Perhaps it’s really about money, power and disinformation.  Or perhaps Donald J. Trump is simply and hopelessly incompetent.

The thing about dealing with the Russians and their disinformation and Donald Trump, who is currently without credibility is that we really don’t know what to believe.   Especially with former Exxon CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Moscow, where there are sure to be discussions about dropping U.S. sanctions against Russia, opening up all those Exxon owned oil fields for development.

Even if Trump’s actions were heartfelt as his children claim, and the attack on the airfield was a genuine effort to deter the Syrians from using chemical weapons, and Eric Trump’s words were authentic and Putin is genuinely angry at Donald Trump, even if all this is what’s really happening,  how can we tell from behind this giant cloud of smoke?   Do you believe anything Putin says?   How about Trump?

The FBI needs to kick its investigation into high gear while the public can still remember what they are investigating and why.   One good war could make it all go away.

 

 

 

 

Getting Ready For War In Europe (They Have Got To Be Kidding)

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Here we go again, the United States vs. Russia, with visions of Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on a desk at the UN,  while the world awaited nuclear annihilation.

Because a nuclear exchange is unthinkable, we are now gearing up for a conventional confrontation with the Russians?  Oh, humanity!  They say it is being done to “deter Russian expansionism?”    Why?  Because that’s the way we did it in the 1950’s and 60’s?   When did “peace” become a dirty word?

Why not try talking?  Remember when some genius decided it would be a good idea to put in a “hot line” between the Kremlin and the White House?   Is diplomacy dead or is there simply too much profit (both political and financial) in warfare, to make peace a viable option?   Is peace a priority for anyone, anymore?   Or have we become so conditioned to our own military expansionism, that we simply accept it as being the best alternative available without considering the profits involved and the Pentagon’s interest in promoting what it does best, making war, while condemning anyone who opposes their point of view as being dangerously naive.

Is the idea of peace still an option or is America becoming some new form of Spartan/Roman ideal, with military outposts in every land and a general acceptance of perpetual warfare?   In the 60’s we revered the philosophy of Kwai Chang Caine and John Lennon.  It felt like we had a chance.  Now we salivate over “Game of Thrones, cage fighting and the real-life humiliation of dumbed down reality tv.  It feels like our chance has slipped away.

The situation in Ukraine, is complicated.   Political, ethnic and economic forces are all pulling at one-another,  irritated further by the the machismo of leaders like Vladimir Putin, who has been known to run around shirtless flexing his muscles.   He’s perfect bait for American political hawks, who tend to see complex geopolitical problems in simple black and white text of the 1950’s.

Mr. Obama, may not be naked and flexing in public but one wonders how the United States would react to a potentially hostile nation placing heavy military equipment on our border with Canada.   Not very well, probably.   Not very well at all.

If the hotline is no longer working maybe Obama can get his hands on Putin’s cellphone number – or we can continue repeating the mistakes of the past.

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Add:   The day after this was posted Russia announced that it was beefing up its nuclear arsenal in response to the U.S. sending heavy military equipment to NATO states along the Russian border.