ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points [493] -- Colluding In Plain Sight

[ Posted Friday, July 20th, 2018 – 17:03 PDT ]

President Donald Trump is now openly colluding with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, in everyone's plain sight. That's an astonishing thing to type, but there is simply no other way to put it. Trump is now Putin's ultimate "useful idiot," to resurrect an old Cold War term. The subject of whether the president of the United States has just committed treason is now being seriously discussed. That's where we, as a nation, find ourselves at the present moment.

Before we get to the week's events, though, we have to insist on a change in terms (that we sincerely hope the rest of the media picks up on). Properly put: Our nation is under attack by a foreign power. We were attacked by this very same power in the 2016 presidential election cycle. If this wasn't an actual act of war (depending on your definition), it was surely intended to weaken our nation. It was not "meddling." Meddling is what Scooby Doo and the gang are routinely accused of. It is a cartoon word. Russia, led by Vladimir Putin, did not merely meddle in our election, they directly attacked the cornerstone of American democracy. Period. They did it before, and they continue to do it now, in the buildup to the 2018 midterm elections. We are under attack, people. The first thing we need to do to combat this attack is to acknowledge it for what it is -- and it is definitely not chasing pirate ghosts with the help of a talking dog. It is a direct attack on American democracy, plain and simple.

The American intelligence community knows this. In fact, they are currently telling anyone who will listen that "the red lights are flashing" once again -- our democratic system is once again being attacked by a foreign adversary. And the president of the United States doesn't even seem to understand this, even in a superficial way. All he sees is an effort to personally embarrass him. Which is why he's siding with Putin over his own intelligence agencies.

Donald Trump is not the only one acting like a Russian asset, however. House Republicans just voted this week to kill funding to the states to protect election systems against cyberattack, even in the face of mounting evidence that this is exactly what is happening, right now. The definition of treason is to "give aid and comfort to the enemy," and that's a pretty good description of killing off any funding to protect our states' election systems against Russian attacks when you know those attacks are ongoing. This is cowardice in the face of an enemy, plain and simple.

Not every Republican has been bamboozled by Russia, for which we can thank our lucky stars. Part of Donald Trump's open collusion with Putin this week was his outright enthusiasm ("it's an incredible offer!") for a plan to allow Russian intelligence agents to question a former U.S. ambassador -- a job which brings with it diplomatic immunity, please remember. When asked about this, days after Trump's disastrous summit, Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointedly did not shoot the idea down in any way: "The president is going to meet with his team, and we'll let you know when we have an announcement on that." Trump entertained the idea right up until the Senate was about to vote (which they did, unanimously, 98-0) to condemn such an insane plan. Then the White House finally (and reluctantly) backed down, although they couldn't resist still using sugary language to describe Putin's proposal: "It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it. Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt." Really? "In sincerity"?? "Hopefully"??? That's the best you can do? Wow.

One of Trump's favorite lines is: "No collusion!" Or, as he wrote on a statement prepared for him by others in an effort to walk back his colluding with Putin on the world stage: "THERE WAS NO COLUSION (sic)." But whatever happened during the 2016 election, Trump is -- right now -- colluding with Russia right out in the open, for all to see. Putin gives Trump his marching orders, and it falls to the rest of the American government to fight back against all of Putin's wonderful ideas to benefit Russia. Donald Trump has -- quite openly -- gone from "America first!" to "Russia first!" right before our very eyes.

Journalists are struggling with how to write about what is going on, because the implications are so staggering. Two articles appeared in the Washington Post this week which reflect this unease, one titled: "The Entire Republican Party Is Becoming A Russian Asset," which contains a rather extensive bullet-point list which lays out this case.

The second was titled: "If This Is Not Treason, Then What Is?" but the subtitle was even more interesting: "We should have a debate over whether treason is being committed by the White House. Yes, I Just Typed Those Words." Here's just a taste of this article (both articles are worth reading in full):

Based on the actions of the Trump administration this week, reasonable people can disagree over whether treason is being committed. Let me repeat that: Reasonable people can disagree over whether treason is being committed by this White House.

I do not want to be writing those words. Much as I may have disagreed with previous administrations in my lifetime, I never doubted that the people in those administrations were trying to advance the national interest the best way they thought possible. After this past week, can that case be made with Trump and his national security team?

What is the most notable about the way this has played out all week long is that even now it appears nobody in the administration has any idea of what Trump and Putin actually said to each other. Trump has apparently not briefed anyone from the State Department, the Pentagon, or the White House on what (if anything) was either discussed or agreed to. When asked by journalists, both the State Department and the Pentagon admitted that they were being kept in the dark and had no idea if any new U.S. policies had emerged from the meeting -- on Syria, on Ukraine, or on Russia. Trump's meeting with Putin was so secret, only he knows what went on in it.

Of course, Putin knows too, and because Trump has utterly failed to bring any of his advisors into the loop, the field remains clear for the Russian government to claim any number of things were agreed to or discussed -- which they've been doing, all week long. The public, the media, Congress, and the Trump administration itself is finding out what went on in the meeting not from President Trump but from President Putin. That should be a frightening state of affairs, but so far it hasn't received the attention it deserves.

This was made all the more obvious by one amusing incident during the week, when Trump's Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats found out that Trump had invited Putin to visit the White House this fall when everyone else in American found out -- from a White House tweet. Coats was being interviewed at a conference on national security, and had just been asked whether he thought Trump's meeting with Putin had been a good idea (Coats said it was not a good idea, for the record). The interviewer then reported breaking news, and asked Coats if he had heard that Trump had invited Putin to the White House. His reaction was, in a word, jaw-dropping: "Say that again... Did I hear you?" When the news was repeated, Coats let out a long: "Okaaaaay," before snidely responding: "That's going to be special." The man supposedly responsible for all the intelligence services in the country was reduced to the Church Lady, in other words.

For once in the era of Trump, we had a single-story week, because the specter of an American president colluding with a Russian leader on the same stage was so momentous. No other story even had a chance, at least until today (right before we began writing this, the news broke that Michael Cohen did indeed tape phone calls, and that the F.B.I. has at least one of these where payments to a Playboy Playmate were discussed with Donald Trump -- which is a juicy enough story that it might manage to edge the "Trump Commits Treason" headlines out).

Donald Trump did his best Neville Chamberlain impression this week, appeasing Russia and doing all but grovelling before Vladimir Putin. Democrats immediately pointed out that the most likely explanation of his fawning behavior was that Putin had the goods on Trump. Nancy Pelosi didn't mince words: "President Trump's weakness in front of Putin was embarrassing, and proves that the Russians have something on the president, personally, financially or politically." Chuck Schumer echoed this point: "A single, ominous question now hangs over the White House: What could possibly cause President Trump to put the interests of Russia over those of the United States? Millions of Americans will continue to wonder if the only possible explanation for this dangerous behavior is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump." The reaction in the media was even more swift. Anderson Cooper, immediately following the press conference, summed up the surreal experience: "You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader certainly than I've ever seen."

But, of course, you'd expect those sorts of comments from Democratic leaders and the media, right? Well, we've devoted our talking points this week to all the white-hot heat raging towards Trump from members of his own party. Because watching an American president collude with a Russian leader on live television was too much for even members of his own party. In fact, it was even too much for Fox News. But before we get to our review of all the Republican condemnations, we have to first get the weekly awards out of the way.

 

Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer certainly deserves at least an Honorable Mention this week, for writing the bill that caused Trump to back down. When the White House said it was openly considering Putin's plan that America allow his intelligence agents to interview a former U.S. ambassador, Schumer went into action and wrote a bill condemning such a move in the strongest language. Because it was a non-binding resolution, Republicans were able to vote for it as well, and it passed the Senate with an unheard-of (these days) unanimous 98-0 vote. Without using the word, the Republican Senate just censured the Republican president, which is a pretty astonishing turn of events. Even more astonishing is that they did so before the fact, to pre-emptively smack the idea down before Trump could embarrass himself further (after he had already called it "an incredible offer" during his press conference).

But our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week was former president Barack Obama, who gave a rousing speech in South Africa to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth. Without mentioning Trump by name (he didn't have to, it was obvious who he was talking about), Obama exposed the dangerous road we all face:

But the credibility of the international system, the faith in experts in places like Washington or Brussels, all that had taken a blow. And a politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment began to appear, and that kind of politics is now on the move. It's on the move at a pace that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. I am not being alarmist, I am simply stating the facts.

Look around. Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained -- the form of it -- but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning. In the West, you've got far-right parties that oftentimes are based not just on platforms of protectionism and closed borders, but also on barely hidden racial nationalism. Many developing countries now are looking at China's model of authoritarian control combined with mercantilist capitalism as preferable to the messiness of democracy. Who needs free speech as long as the economy is going good?

The free press is under attack. Censorship and state control of media is on the rise. Social media -- once seen as a mechanism to promote knowledge and understanding and solidarity -- has proved to be just as effective promoting hatred and paranoia and propaganda and conspiracy theories.

Towards the end of the speech, Obama got more specific.

And I should add for this to work, we have to actually believe in an objective reality. This is another one of these things that I didn't have to lecture about. You have to believe in facts. Without facts, there is no basis for cooperation. If I say this is a podium and you say this is an elephant, it's going to be hard for us to cooperate. I can find common ground for those who oppose the Paris Accords because, for example, they might say, well, it's not going to work, you can't get everybody to cooperate, or they might say it's more important for us to provide cheap energy for the poor, even if it means in the short term that there's more pollution. At least I can have a debate with them about that and I can show them why I think clean energy is the better path, especially for poor countries, that you can leapfrog old technologies. I can't find common ground if somebody says climate change is just not happening, when almost all of the world's scientists tell us it is. I don't know where to start talking to you about this. If you start saying it's an elaborate hoax, I don't know what to — where do we start?

Unfortunately, too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth. People just make stuff up. They just make stuff up. We see it in state-sponsored propaganda; we see it in internet-driven fabrications, we see it in the blurring of lines between news and entertainment, we see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they're caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more. Politicians have always lied, but it used to be if you caught them lying they'd be like, "Ah, man." Now they just keep on lying.

Even without naming names, it's pretty obvious who Obama is referring to, here. But while these are two of the most powerful excerpts from the speech (which is well worth reading in full or watching on video), they are also two of the most negative. The rest of the speech was a solid rejection of these dark overtones with an uplifting call to how positive the future is capable of being. It is a speech of hope, and a speech of a brighter future for all.

For making such a powerful statement in defense of objective truth and international norms in the same week where Trump was doing his best to trash both of these concepts, Barack Obama is easily our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week.

[Barack Obama is now a private citizen, and it is our policy not to provide contact information for such persons, so if you'd like to let him know you appreciate his efforts, you'll have to search his contact information out for yourself.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

In a week where the biggest political subject was whether the Republican president was openly committing treason with the leader of Russia (or was just duped by him into believing Russian propaganda), we find it impossible to single out any Democrats for admonishment. To put this another way: no matter how badly any Democrat acted this week, he or she didn't commit treason with Vladimir Putin, did they? So we're going to retire the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award until next week, due to the sheer insanity coming from the other side of the aisle.

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 493 (7/20/18)

First, a program note. Next week's Friday Talking Points column will (hopefully... no guarantees) be posted as usual, although I will be travelling to the Netroots Nation conference soon after. This will mean that the following Friday's column (on August 3) will not be an original one. We will then resume regular columns the week after. We may be posting random columns from Netroots Nation, but again, no promises.

With that out of the way, we have a special Friday Talking Points, because we are turning the whole thing over to the opposition once again. We used to do this regularly, since the rise of Trump, but haven't done so in a while. This week, however, the rage against Trump's obvious collusion with Putin coming from the right was so forceful that we cannot even limit it to the usual seven talking points.

We're going to start with the shortest responses, and gradually move on to the longer ones. We finish with the most scathing response of all, from Senator John McCain. While one or two sentences from this blast have been picked up by the media, McCain says much more than just a few soundbites, so we've reprinted his entire statement.

But first, a few snap reactions, mostly from Twitter. Probably the most astonishing thing about the reaction from the right in condemnation of Trump's collusion came from his favorite network, Fox News. Yep, you heard that right -- even the folks at Fox News couldn't excuse such blatant kowtowing to a tyrant, and for once they felt the need to push back against Trump. This wasn't just a single Fox talking head excoriating the president, it was a group effort. We'll give just one example, the headline of an article posted on the Fox website: "Putin Eats Trump's Lunch In Helsinki." That's gotta hurt.

But again, that's just the media. The pushback was even more fierce from Republican officeholders and national security experts. Former C.I.A. director John Brennan was one of the first of these to push back, and he pushed back as hard as he could, tweeting:

Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of "high crimes & misdemeanors." It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???

Brennan later said in an interview:

Donald Trump knows what he has done and he knows what might the Russians are aware of. So I think his actions towards Mr. Putin may reflect that concern in term of what is in Donald Trump's past that the Russians have and might use against him.

Brennan was then asked if the C.I.A. might actually withhold sensitive information from the president because they saw him as a security threat (because Trump might just share the intelligence with Putin). Notably, Brennan did not deny this possibility. This would be extraordinary in the extreme, and would essentially mean the C.I.A. started treating the president as a foreign asset or spy.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse pushed back on Trump blaming the United States rather than Russia for Russia's aggression "bizarre and flat-out wrong." He issued a statement which said, in part:

The United States is not to blame. America wants a good relationship with the Russian people but Vladimir Putin and his thugs are responsible for Soviet-style aggression. When the president plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake echoed this line of thinking:

I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.

On the Senate floor, Flake went further, saying that Trump "let down the free world by giving aid and comfort to an enemy of democracy."

Please remember, these are Republican responses to their own president.

Former Republican congressman Joe Walsh tweeted a warning for fellow Republicans:

Every Republican running for office needs to be asked: When it comes to Russian interference in our elections, do you stand with America's intelligence community or do you stand with Putin & Trump?

One Republican county chairman had had enough, and quit in disgust. Chris Gagin, who used to be the chair of the Belmont County (Ohio) Republican Party, tweeted his resignation to the world:

I remain a proud conservative and Republican, but I resigned today as Belmont Co Ohio GOP Chairman. I did so as a matter of conscience, and my sense of duty.

He further explained his reasoning:

The President is entitled to GOP party leaders, at all levels, fully committed to his views and agenda. Following today's press conference with Pres. Putin, as well as certain policy differences, most especially on trade, I could no longer fulfill that duty. Thus, I resigned.

One person uniquely situated to comment on Trump's collusion is Republican Representative Will Hurd, who was a C.I.A. intelligence agent for years before entering politics. He wrote a rather astonishing statement in the New York Times which begins with accusing the president of being a Russian asset:

Over the course of my career as an undercover officer in the C.I.A., I saw Russian intelligence manipulate many people. I never thought I would see the day when an American president would be one of them.

The president's failure to defend the United States intelligence community's unanimous conclusions of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and condemn Russian covert counterinfluence campaigns and his standing idle on the world stage while a Russian dictator spouted lies confused many but should concern all Americans. By playing into Vladimir Putin's hands, the leader of the free world actively participated in a Russian disinformation campaign that legitimized Russian denial and weakened the credibility of the United States to both our friends and foes abroad.

George Will was also not holding back this week, in a column titled: "This Sad, Embarrassing Wreck Of A Man." This is worth an extended excerpt, to fully appreciate Will's snarky use of language:

America's child president had a play date with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing day care. It was a useful, because illuminating, event: Now we shall see how many Republicans retain a capacity for embarrassment.

Jeane Kirkpatrick, a Democrat closely associated with such Democratic national security stalwarts as former senator Henry Jackson and former senator and former vice president Hubert Humphrey, was President Ronald Reagan's ambassador to the United Nations. In her speech at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, she explained her disaffection from her party: "They always blame America first." In Helsinki, the president who bandies the phrase "America First" put himself first, as always, and America last, behind President Vladimir Putin's regime.

Because the Democrats had just held their convention in San Francisco, Kirkpatrick branded the "blame America first" cohort as "San Francisco Democrats." Thirty-four years on, how numerous are the "Helsinki Republicans"?

. . .

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and others might believe that they must stay in their positions lest there be no adult supervision of the Oval playpen. This is a serious worry, but so is this: Can those people do their jobs for someone who has neither respect nor loyalty for them?

Like the purloined letter in Edgar Allan Poe's short story with that title, collusion with Russia is hiding in plain sight. We shall learn from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation whether in 2016 there was collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign. The world, however, saw in Helsinki something more grave -- ongoing collusion between Trump, now in power, and Russia. The collusion is in what Trump says (refusing to back the United States' intelligence agencies) and in what evidently went unsaid (such as: You ought to stop disrupting Ukraine, downing civilian airliners, attempting to assassinate people abroad using poisons, and so on, and on).

Americans elected a president who -- this is a safe surmise -- knew that he had more to fear from making his tax returns public than from keeping them secret. The most innocent inference is that for decades he has depended on an American weakness, susceptibility to the tacky charisma of wealth, which would evaporate when his tax returns revealed that he has always lied about his wealth, too. A more ominous explanation might be that his redundantly demonstrated incompetence as a businessman tumbled him into unsavory financial dependencies on Russians. A still more sinister explanation might be that the Russians have something else, something worse, to keep him compliant.

The explanation is in doubt; what needs to be explained -- his compliance -- is not. Granted, Trump has a weak man's banal fascination with strong men whose disdain for him is evidently unimaginable to him. And, yes, he only perfunctorily pretends to have priorities beyond personal aggrandizement. But just as astronomers inferred, from anomalies in the orbits of the planet Uranus, the existence of Neptune before actually seeing it, Mueller might infer, and then find, still-hidden sources of the behavior of this sad, embarrassing wreck of a man.

Astonishingly, this wasn't even the worst condemnation of Trump this week by a fellow Republican. That prize goes to John McCain, who fired off his reaction almost immediately after Trump's disastrous press conference with Putin. So to end this week's column, here is McCain's scathing statement in its entirety:

Today's press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump's naivete, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.

President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.

It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout -- as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin's regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.

Coming close on the heels of President Trump's bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today's press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American presidency. That the president was attended in Helsinki by a team of competent and patriotic advisers makes his blunders and capitulations all the more painful and inexplicable.

No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are -- a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain.

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

122 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [493] -- Colluding In Plain Sight”

  1. [1] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    We all know what the alleged "collusion" during the 2016 pres. campaign was - some Russians offered to share "dirt" on Hillary with the Trump campaign team. Turned Out the "dirt" wasn't real, but the Dems/Libs decreed that accepting the offer by itself constituted collusion, and perhaps even treason, in spite of the fact that there is NO LAW against getting dirt on your political opponent from any source whatsoever.

    Now, Chris says it appears that Trump is "colluding" again, but this time we haven't heard a single word about the nature of the "collusion".

    I'm betting that it will turn out to be a promise to provide the company of one of his many bimbos during the U.S. visit Trump invited him to make.

    If that ain't treason, it sure oughta be!

  2. [2] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW- a clear headed and unflinching assessment on your part. It may take a while for the rest of the media to catch up. We are about to find out whether separation of powers still exists in the USA.

  3. [3] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: Part of Donald Trump's open collusion with Putin this week was his outright enthusiasm ("it's an incredible offer!") for a plan to allow Russian intelligence agents to question a former U.S. ambassador -- a job which brings with it diplomatic immunity, please remember.

    Please remember also that Benedict Donald failed to recognize Putin's request to interrogate Bill "Magnitsky Act" Browder, Michael "former Russian ambassador" McFall, and the others on Putin's list as outrageous on its face, which anyone with any sense would have naturally been able to easily deduce. So Putin throws out a completely disingenuous proposal for reciprocal interrogations knowing full well the United States could not meet his conditions, and Trump in his clueless ignorance swallow the bait... hook, line, and sinker... and insists it's an "incredible offer" by Putin. How incredibly stupid is that? Naturally, had Trump allowed a diplomat to attend the meeting instead of insisting he had been "preparing for this my whole life," that person would have recognized the bogus proposal and at least tried to prevent Trump from embarrassing himself and the United States on the world stage.

    It also seems not to have occurred to Trump or the morons of his White House staff that the President of the United States has zero power whatsoever to order a private citizen to submit to interrogation by a foreign power. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of Americans are trained extensively in techniques regarding how "not to speak" if they find themselves being questioned in such a manner. So there's that.

    It is Trump's job... one for which he swore an oath... to protect and defend the Constitution and "We the People of the United States," and not the other way around.

  4. [4] 
    Kick wrote:

    So naturally my voice recognition transcribes "McFall" for the Honorable Michael "McFaul." Apologies Mikey... love ya. ;)

  5. [5] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    Granted...the 'chamberlain-esk' capitulation of Trump/America at the feet of Putin this week was as presaged as it was jaw-dropping in it's breadth. Trump may well be as thick Whale omelette, but even he knows, you can't get your own way with a Tiger when your head is firmly gripped in it's mouth.

    However, I think the real jewel of the week was the apprehension and jailing of Maria Butina...the sultry ruskie fem-fetale. It's not until we delve into meat and potatoes of what she was up to, with whom she doing it, with whom they were quietly dealing with and why that things start to coalesce.

    Butina was actively insinuating herself into Republican political corners. Apparently, according to court documents, she was 'being seen' and 'seeing others' at official and unofficial GOP related soirees, seemingly to subtly weave Kremlin talking points into the fabric of conversation for the right-wing flirts.

    How does one even inaugurate such a sly plan without sticking out like a fiery redhead with a deep Muscovite drawl? Answer: The usual suspect to whom republicans regard as closer to god than the pope...The wankers over at the NRA.

    You have to give the Ruskies credit, of all the slippery swamp dwellers, the NRA was the perfect launching pad for Maria Butina...They, as a group, would never consider some flyty 'bimbo' with a fondness for assault rifles and men twice her age as anything more than gun groupie...

    No doubt this story goes much deeper, it'll probably explain old Ollie North being asked to do another encore of his best roll of patsy as the newly appointed head of the NRA, it has certainly explained why the NRA no longer has to give detailed records of its contributors under a new, very quietly passed law of the GOP's making.

    We're in for roller-coaster of truth from trial in the next few months. I know international espionage, paid off porn stars, laundering ruskie mob-money through heart of the second amendment to 'Go-Fund' the self-funded egotist and treason aren't as exciting as Hillary Clinton's cyber-babbling to her retinue about where to have lunch, but wtf...it's the only show in town.

    LL&P

  6. [6] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    There was a moment in the Westworld series, when the audience learns that a character that we thought was human was revealed not to be by accident. The robots on that series had been programmed to be unable to see things that they were not supposed to see. So when another character says to this one, "Wonder what's behind this door?" and the response was, "What door?", we all had a huge moment: Whoa, did he just say that?

    After more than a year of suspecting that something wasn't right about Trump's attitude toward Russia, Americans were left with mouths agape when toward the end of Trump's Helsinki Press Conference, he was asked about the Russian attack, and after comparing his Intelligence Community's assessment that Russia had indeed done the deed to Putin's denial, Trump said, "I don't see why they would."

    And some of us had that moment: Whoa, did he just say that? Deja vu, mothertrucker.

    Turns out, a humanoid robot is easy to spot due to this gaping blind spot, and so is its cousin, the puppet.

  7. [7] 
    Aloysius McG wrote:

    Excellent summary, C.W.

    I was literally nauseous at the conclusion of the post-Helsinki presser.There is enough information in public to confirm that Trump's conduct in office easily clears the hurdle of impeachable. Amazing and disappointing is the continued use of "meddling" instead of "attack on American democracy" by the media. Also of concern is the high percentage of Americans who find Trump's performance acceptable or even strong. The Republican Congress will not act beyond their initial statements of various degrees of disapproval.

    The success of Russian psychological operations is evident in the targeted attacks to exacerbate divisions in our populace along fracture lines of race, religion, regionality and any other area they can exploit. Social media make these attacks more effective in democracies. Cyberattacks are another example of asymmetrical warfare which even the playing field between strong and weak nations.

    International agreements on the rules of cyber conflicts are lacking. A framework for them on the level of the Geneva Conventions should be a goal of all nations. It us unlikely that such a framework would totally prevent preparations for retaliatory or even offensive attacks (see Stutznet, see current Iranian entry into our cyber infrastructure, ditto Russian, and Russian shut down of the Ukrainian grid) so our cyber defenses and development must stay ahead of our adversaries.

    Having an ignorant/narcissistic/compromised/ I-alone-can-fix-it Trump in control of our government is exceedingly dangerous. He will prevent implementation of foreign policy which reduces the risk of a cyber attack escalating to thermonuclear war. He should not have been elected. It is past time for him to go.

  8. [8] 
    neilm wrote:

    Republican Patriots: Where are you?

    This could be the question being asked in one years time.

    Republican Patriots: Where were you?

    Time to stand up and be counted. The Republican leadership can pretend that Mueller is some sort of Democratic corrupt cop, but they know he isn't.

    They can play games with the word "collusion", but the word used doesn't matter. They know this isn't right.

    Republicans have been handed power with a faustian bargain. Power with treason or ignominy with oblivion.

    Hosea 8:7 “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

  9. [9] 
    John M wrote:

    [1] C. R. Stucki

    "Now, Chris says it appears that Trump is "colluding" again, but this time we haven't heard a single word about the nature of the "collusion"."

    You're absolutely kidding right???? You're like the robot referenced above who when asked what's behind that door, comes back with, "What door?"

    You've actually been given PLENTY of information about what kind of collusion is being alluded to. You are the only one apparently deliberately failing to see it!!!

  10. [10] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    I could go on aboot how our democracy has been under attack from a domestic power not only in 2016, but since I started voting in the seventies, and how the media has been providing treasonous aid and comfort to that enemy of democracy but instead I will, for now, just point out a small error in your description of FTP.

    You said you were turning over FTP to the other side. The correct term is not the other side, it is the other half.

    The Republicans and the Democrats are both controlled by the enemy referred to above. They are not two sides- they are two halves of the same side.

    I guess we are supposed to be so upset aboot this attack on democracy by a foreign power that we are supposed to forget aboot the attack on democracy from right here at home that directly made the foreign attack possible.

    What happened to reality?

    When are you going to return to reality and actually offer a little perspective that is really from the other side- the side opposing the enemy among us?

    Will you once again attend the Netroots conference and let another opportunity to offer perspective from the real other side pass by not running a guest article offering another option to citizens than the false choice between the servants of the enemy among us when you are at the conference and don't post a new article?

  11. [11] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John M [9]

    That could possibly be the case, and you are just too busy to take 30 sec. and help me out, right?

  12. [12] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    Months and months of collusion and meddling investigation, millions of spoken and written media lines, bi-partisanship in the halls of power at it's lowest ebb, dozens of grand jury indictments and a certifiable nutter with his painful prose and Twitter...And with all of this chaos going on in the background, what's the only thing, today, the Russians are apoplectic about and demanding the US do immediately? That's right, folks...Maria Butina. Putin and all his little Putana's have shrugged just about everything else off as fake news or beneath their contempt...until Today when they droned on about their emasculation of Trump, the way Syria will be handled by all and demanded, without delay, discussion and conditions, the return of the poor little thing, Maria Butina.

    I'm staggered by the fact that little or no outrage has erupted, considering the implication is that, she constitutes the conduit between the Kremlin->NRA->Trump and his bogus presidential campaign. 30 million those 'keepers of American Values and Guns' gave to Mr MAGA's "self funded campaign" Granted, the NRA forked over some of Joe Blow's contribution, but we'll never know, now the GOP have quietly done away with the oversight laws governing the swamp that was never in fear of a good old Trumpian drain.

    Keep your eye on this 'gun groupie' Maria Butina...I suspect this whole caper with Trump, Putin, kompromat and NRA cash-from-commies sits in her lap. On the plus side, her breathing privileges have no doubt been revoked by Putin, so she has every incentive to sing an aria in exchange for a cute, three bedroom bungalow on the outskirts of BF Omaha...

    LL&P

  13. [13] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Jim [12] I think you mean Idaho, and you're right, she's cute, so would I! :D

  14. [14] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    Balty...Indeed.

    Quoting the best Bond, to the best Bond Girl...'So long as the collars and cuffs match'

    I'd stack her up against all the 'Bond Girls' except for Jill St John, Tiffany Case stands alone.

    LL&P

  15. [15] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Link to an historic document: the first-ever publicly released FISA Application. On Carter Page.

    The ground continues to being softened for some reason via unprecedented public disclosures. The Nunes - White House defense narrative relies upon IC / DoJ refusals to declassify. That is increasingly appearing to be a poor strategy.

    https://www.scribd.com/document/384380074/DOJ-Page-Release#from_embed

  16. [16] 
    John M wrote:

    [11] C. R. Stucki

    "That could possibly be the case, and you are just too busy to take 30 sec. and help me out, right?"

    Some of us did have to run to work early this morning.

    But, since apparently you have to be led by the hand:

    1) Trump asked Russia to hack Clinton's e-mails, and hours later Russian hackers complied. = COLLUSION

    2) American Intelligence Agencies ALL agree that the U.S. election system is under cyber attack by the Russians. They uncover a Russian espionage ring that leads to indictments of a dozen Russians including a Russian military Colonel. Putin denies that Russians were involved in any hacking. Trump takes Putin's side in public, against the position held by his own government and throwing his own intelligence agencies under the bus. = COLLUSION

    3) Putin suggests allowing Russian intelligence services to interrogate Americans, including the former American ambassador to Russia. This would amount to Russian intelligence not only learning of American intelligence methods and informants, telling the Russians exactly how the Americans uncovered the Russian espionage ring, but would also effectively destroy diplomatic immunity for the entire American diplomatic corps worldwide, making it effectively impossible for ANY American ambassador to carry out the duties that are part of his job. Not only does Trump think this is a good idea, but it takes THREE whole days for the Trump White House to reject out of hand something that would have taken any OTHER administration mere minutes to do. = COLLUSION

    Trump is either the most incompetent imbecile in history or the American President is a Russian asset.

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    He may be both.

  18. [18] 
    Aloysius McG wrote:

    [16]John M.

    "Trump is either the most incompetent imbecile in history or the American President is a Russian asset."

    These are not mutually exclusive.

    Trump is a useful idiot for both Russia and the Republican Party.

  19. [19] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John M [16]

    OK, thanks for the help.

    Re your 1) and 2), clearly, to me at least, in his Fri post "Colluding in Plain Sight", Chris was talking about NEW stuff that occured during the Helsinki mtg. Everybody knows about the 2016 hacking of Dem emails, that's history.

    Re your 3), that would appear to have fallen through, so I guess you could say it was at most 'potential' collusion.

    So, when it's all said and done, Chris is mostly firing up a tempest in a teapot, and perhaps I WASN'T "like the robot that said 'what door'" after all!

  20. [20] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Above I posted a link to the scribd copy of that FISA App. If one wants a more primary, and easier to access, view, this link can CURRENTLY be used. It may not be permanent, but the scribd link should be permanent.

    https://vault.fbi.gov/d1-release/d1-release/view

  21. [21] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    LeaningBlue [15-20]

    It is curious why the DOJ would release a document, although heavily redacted, that essentially blows the infamous GOP "Memo" out of the water. Let's be frank, no one digested the 'memo' as remotely credible at the time, much less a few months, and a few more drum-head proceedings, later.

    The only reasonable conclusion is, Rosenstein decided that payback's a bitch. After all the hectoring in committee and abuse in the media, Rod decided to brush the GOP back off the plate where making potentially embarrassing documents public is concerned...In short, "be careful what you wish for..." I suspect he did what he did in such a fashion that no one with a shred of common sense could ignore the chronology of events, so that essentially leaves out Trump, his chorus of sycophants and his core support.

    That's my 1.52 cents...2 cents CAD

    LL&P

  22. [22] 
    John M wrote:

    [19] C. R.

    "Re your 1) and 2), clearly, to me at least, in his Fri post "Colluding in Plain Sight", Chris was talking about NEW stuff that occured during the Helsinki mtg. Everybody knows about the 2016 hacking of Dem emails, that's history."

    2) was part of the Helsinki meeting, and therefore recent.

    "Re your 3), that would appear to have fallen through, so I guess you could say it was at most 'potential' collusion."

    Still points to a pattern of behavior of Trump consistently putting Russian interests ahead of and before American interests, something an American President should never be doing.

    "So, when it's all said and done, Chris is mostly firing up a tempest in a teapot, and perhaps I WASN'T "like the robot that said 'what door'" after all!"

    When all is said and done, even the mere wide speculation in public that an American President could be either compromised by the Russians or actively engaged in treason is considerably more than just "a tempest in a teapot."

  23. [23] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    I used the phrase "softening the ground" in [15]. It's not personal or even political with the officers of the IC or of DoJ.

    I recall a couple of lines of W.B. Yates, in the voice of an Irish pilot in WWI:

    I know that I shall meet my fate somewhere in the skies above. Those I kill I do not hate, those I save I do not love.

    That was state against state conflict; arguably, so too is this.

  24. [24] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    [23] is in response to [21].

  25. [25] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    if so, our state is losing.

  26. [26] 
    Kick wrote:

    John M
    22

    Still points to a pattern of behavior of Trump consistently putting Russian interests ahead of and before American interests, something an American President should never be doing.

    Yes, but please also factor in that it's primarily an exercise and/or pattern of behavior wherein Trump consistently puts Trump's interests ahead of everything else, including Russia's interest, and can/will turn on a dime and keep turning depending on what crowd he is speaking with and what day it is. Trump treats each day as if it's one unit wherein he will say what it takes to "win" that day. Tomorrow begins entirely anew wherein it is another day he must "win." He says whatever he believes he needs to say to "win" regardless of its validity... lather, rinse, repeat... daily.

    The overriding issue above all else is: Trump's "consciousness of guilt." He knows what he's done and that the kompromat -- compromising material -- exists in the sistema... the system. The way the sistema operates isn't necessarily one video held by one man in Russia FKA the USSR. The sistema operates whereby everyone you've ever done business with over decades knows what you've done and can rat you out at any time and make your life a living Hell.

    So Trump lives with the consciousness of guilt of every unsavory sexual and/or criminal act he has performed while in Russia and while in the United States working with Russians. Whether it was done 30 years ago or 30 days ago matters not; the people he's done business with are all part of the "blackmail state" that is how business is done in Russia... the sistema.

    Remember when Obama put sanctions on the Russians and Flynn had a few phone calls with Ambassador Kislyak and let him know not to retaliate that it would be smoothed over by the Trump administration? Remember when Sally Yates informed Don McGhan that Flynn was "compromised" because he spoke with the Russian Ambassador and then lied about doing so, which fact they could use to control Flynn? So Flynn was known to be "compromised" for those phone calls which could be used to Russia's advantage.

    Now multiply Flynn's type compromise by decades of acts by Trump where he is therefore "compromised" because he lives daily with the knowledge of decades of behavior and acts and his consciousness of guilt. Trump is going to always look out for Trump first and foremost, which means he is a compromised President of the United States who has no choice but to dance at the end of Putin's strings in order to look out for Trump... decades of kompromat. Trump is literally Putin's bitch... but not just Putin; there are any number of persons Trump has done business with in sistema who could harm Trump in multiple ways.

    Kompromat 101

  27. [27] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Rewatched Chris Wallace’s interview of Putin today. It struck me as kind of funny when Wallace offered Putin a copy of Mueller’s indictment of the twelve Russian agents, Putin kind of froze and refused to take the documents. Then he had Wallace set it on a table next to him instead.

    All I could think was, “That’s a man who knows firsthand that poison can be placed on ANYTHING that you touch!”

  28. [28] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    today is tisha b'av, when jews mourn the destruction of the ancient temple, which legend tells occurred because of prejudice within the community.

    with that in mind, i'm going to quote leviticus 19, verses 33-34:

    And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not do him wrong. The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

    to honor the solemn occasion, my wife and I are donating to help bring together families that our government has unjustly separated. we invite anyone else who feels like it to do the same.

    https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/families-together-fund

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    How does one even inaugurate such a sly plan without sticking out like a fiery redhead with a deep Muscovite drawl? Answer: The usual suspect to whom republicans regard as closer to god than the pope...The wankers over at the NRA.

    You have to give the Ruskies credit, of all the slippery swamp dwellers, the NRA was the perfect launching pad for Maria Butina...They, as a group, would never consider some flyty 'bimbo' with a fondness for assault rifles and men twice her age as anything more than gun groupie...

    No doubt this story goes much deeper, it'll probably explain old Ollie North being asked to do another encore of his best roll of patsy as the newly appointed head of the NRA, it has certainly explained why the NRA no longer has to give detailed records of its contributors under a new, very quietly passed law of the GOP's making.

    Funny how you hysterical Lefties are so.. well.. hysterical when a Russian tries to build relationships with the NRA...

    Exclusive: Accused Russian agent Butina met with U.S. Treasury, Fed officials

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Accused Russian agent Maria Butina had wider high-level contacts in Washington than previously known, taking part in 2015 meetings between a visiting Russian official and two senior officials at the U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury Department.

    The meetings, revealed by several people familiar with the sessions and a report from a Washington think tank that arranged them, involved Stanley Fischer, Fed vice chairman at the time, and Nathan Sheets, then Treasury undersecretary for international affairs.

    Butina travelled to the United States in April 2015 with Alexander Torshin, then the Russian Central Bank deputy governor, and they took part in separate meetings with Fischer and Sheets to discuss U.S.-Russian economic relations during Democratic former President Barack Obama’s administration.

    The two meetings, which have not been previously reported, reveal a wider circle of high-powered connections that Butina sought to cultivate with American political leaders and special interest groups.

    The meetings with Fischer and Sheets were arranged by the Center for the National Interest, a Washington foreign policy think tank that often advocates pro-Russia views.

    The meetings were documented in a Center for the National Interest report seen by Reuters that outlined its Russia-related activities from 2013 to 2015. The report described the meetings as helping bring together “leading figures from the financial institutions of the United States and Russia.”
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-russia-butina-exclusive/exclusive-accused-russian-agent-butina-met-with-u-s-treasury-fed-officials-idUKKBN1KC0DE

    Of course, ya'all don't care one whit when that SAME EXACT Russian tries to build relationships with Odumbo officials..

    Blatant rampant hypocrisy.. It's a wonder the Left can remain coherent.. Oh, that's right. They can't... :^/

    Cue indignant whinings and mewlings of "Well!! That's different!!!".... in 3... 2.... 1...

  30. [30] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Michale, listen to yourself. Your news item says that the then-Deputy Governor of the Russian Central Bank met with the then-Vice Chairman of the US central bank. That's hardly news, and, given the Fed's independence and the perfect match of official positions, hardly something to view through a partisan lens.

    That among his entourage was a now-identified Russian spy being introduced to a senior US banking official, long-time Washington insider, and highly-placed globalist (read his bio) over three years ago does speak to how deep were the Russians' plans for this particular spy.

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    That among his entourage was a now-identified Russian spy being introduced to a senior US banking official, long-time Washington insider, and highly-placed globalist (read his bio) over three years ago does speak to how deep were the Russians' plans for this particular spy.

    And yet, Obama is blameless...

    Why is that???

    The NRA is NOT a government organization..

    Obama's administration (ostensibly) was... Why didn't they catch her??

    Incompetence?? Or maybe, like Odumbo not doing anything about Russian hacking or like Odumbo, begging Putin for "space" and then Odumbo could be "flexible", it's Democrats who were colluding with Russians..

    She is a spy.. But when she was talking to Odumbo and his minions, no one says boo... I guess a Russian spy talking to Democrats is perfectly acceptable, eh??

  32. [32] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    I saw in passing that Lavrov was whining about this particular spy getting nabbed. She sure has friends in high places.

    This doesn't work in her best interests, though; her swap might have to be delayed until someone is caught that the west values as much as Russia seems to value her.

  33. [33] 
    neilm wrote:

    Obama's administration (ostensibly) was... Why didn't they catch her??

    They only picked her up when she looked like she was trying to leave the country. I assume keeping an eye on her and seeing who the traitors in the NRA and Treasonous Trump's administration are made her our "useful idiot".

    Hey, if Putin can use Treasonous Trump, we can use Maria Butina. Fairs fair.

  34. [34] 
    neilm wrote:

    I saw in passing that Lavrov was whining about this particular spy getting nabbed. She sure has friends in high places.

    Yeah, interesting isn't it - the last week wasn't a good one for Russian Intelligence - they are getting some sharp lessons in the quality of U.S. counter intelligence.

    Only a traitor would side with Russia over our intelligence agencies. Michale, whose side are you on - Russia or the U.S.A.?

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    They only picked her up when she looked like she was trying to leave the country.

    Ahhhh..

    So, Odumbo was SOOO awesome, he knew all about her, but did not...

    So, once again, Odumbo knew ALL about the Russians working to subvert the US, but did nothing because...??? He had a golf game??

    Is THAT your story??? :D

    Only a traitor would side with Russia over our intelligence agencies. Michale, whose side are you on - Russia or the U.S.A.?

    Apparently, Odumbo was on Russia's side.. Now we learn he KNEW about ANOTHER Russian Op and did nothing..

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, Odumbo was SOOO awesome, he knew all about her, but did not...

    ...hing.

    :D

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    He knows what he's done and that the kompromat -- compromising material -- exists in the sistema... the system.

    Do you think that we don't know what those words mean, Kick? Heh.

  38. [38] 
    Kick wrote:

    Russ
    27

    Rewatched Chris Wallace’s interview of Putin today. It struck me as kind of funny when Wallace offered Putin a copy of Mueller’s indictment of the twelve Russian agents, Putin kind of froze and refused to take the documents. Then he had Wallace set it on a table next to him instead.

    I know, right!? The look on Putin's face... prime examples of "consciousness of guilt" and "expectation of reciprocity" on full display.

    All I could think was, “That’s a man who knows firsthand that poison can be placed on ANYTHING that you touch!”

    Yes, sir... as well as Novichok -- "newcomer" -- the newest class of nerve agents. Ask Britain.

  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yes, sir... as well as Novichok -- "newcomer" -- the newest class of nerve agents. Ask Britain

    Yes, that is precisely what Russ was talking about, Kick. We don't have to ask anyone. Heh.

  40. [40] 
    Kick wrote:

    Russ

    Thank you for the links from our previous discussion. That kid is wise beyond his years, and I cannot unhear that "loophole" song and now henceforth have an entirely different outlook on something that previously did not exist. *grin*

  41. [41] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    37

    Do you think that we don't know what those words mean, Kick? Heh.

    Not everything is about you, Elizabeth; let that sink in, please and allow yourself to get over your obvious obsession with the policing of terms used by others and your apparent delusional belief that commenters are posting for your approval and/or should be posting to suit your knowledge of facts. In short: Get over yourself. :)

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    In future, it would be advisable not to presume we aren't following current events. :)

  43. [43] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Apparently, Odumbo was on Russia's side..

    There's a whole lot of defensive desperation going into that remark. Or complete ignorance. Maybe a bit of both.

    I won't even bother trying to counter this absurd substandard counter-argument, save that "Your side was colluding too!" is a pretty weak position from which to begin this particular argument. Perhaps you're hoping to incapacitate us by making statements that would cause us to fall to our knees laughing, holding our sides, gasping for breath. Comedic waterboarding, of a sort.

    I hope not. I nearly cracked a rib the last time that my brother got me laughing that hard.

  44. [44] 
    neilm wrote:

    Comedic waterboarding, of a sort.

    Good one - I'm definitely stealing that! Thanks in advance.

  45. [45] 
    neilm wrote:

    So Michale response to the question:

    "whose side are you on - Russia or the U.S.A.?"

    is to point out some imagined crime President Obama committed.

    It is a simple question Michale.

  46. [46] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    42

    In future, it would be advisable not to presume we aren't following current events. :)

    Said the commenter who took it upon herself to explain to another poster what yet another poster meant when he used the word "poison." Are you quite sure Russ was referring to Novichok when he used the word "poison" because if you are, you show an incredible lack of knowledge regarding what types of "poison" would best be transmitted on paper, and I guess you believe Chris Wallace has a container of that lying around the Fox News studio, am I right? Wallace was touching the paper too, Elizabeth, and although I agree he's shown signs of ignorance... as have we all... I do not believe he'd be foolish enough to use Novichok as his agent of choice under such circumstances since he was touching it the same papers; however, there are poisons that could be easily utilized in such a manner that a person touching said paper could transmit it to another and themselves avoid self-contamination.

    Like I've said many times, Elizabeth, I don't comment to please you or anyone else; however it is notable that it is generally Elizabeth Miller who is whining about posters using acronyms and terms she doesn't understand and admonishing them not to do so because it's above her knowledge. Did you forget you whine regularly about people posting terms you don't understand and your admonishments regarding same?

    You're showing signs of having memory issues, Liz. Might want to have that checked. :)

  47. [47] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Or none of you might be right and Putin is avoiding coming into contact with a microtransmitter, which could be hidden in a 'period' on the page, get under a fingernail, and broadcast his every word and movement until his next manicure.

    He might also have worried about being served with a subpoena to the world court. This could cause one of those aforementioned laughing fits, something he doesn't seem inclined to do often, except at rare times, like after being told, "He fell for it!"

  48. [48] 
    Kick wrote:

    The IC will spend years, even decades, monitoring spies from multiple countries in order to determine what they're transmitting home to their mother countries in an attempt to glean information regarding sources and methods of our allies as well as our adversaries.

    A very public example of this common practice is German-American sleeper agent Jack Barsky also known in his mother country as Albrecht Dittrich.

  49. [49] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Michale, the actions of any past administration should provide ample fodder for your whataboutisms without having to delve into legitimate co-intel methods and who-knew-what-when.

    You know full well that counter-intellegence is advanced by not not picking up spies as soon as they're made. Peter Strzok was in charge when the FBI rolled up the cells which inspired The Americans in 2010, iirc. But it was years before, when the couple applied for the visas to attend the JFK school at Harvard that they were first noticed. That was probably because in running the names against Canadian records, they noticed both of them had died as children.

    We only let him go so long // Out of kindness, I suppose. "Pancho and Lefty", Townes Van Zandt

  50. [50] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    [49] - Whoops, only one "not" there, not two. Kind of a mistaken double negative thing; that even happens to a President once in a while.

  51. [51] 
    Kick wrote:

    Balthy
    47

    Or none of you might be right and Putin is avoiding coming into contact with a microtransmitter, which could be hidden in a 'period' on the page, get under a fingernail, and broadcast his every word and movement until his next manicure.

    Aren't you clever? *grins and laughs*

    A microscopic transmitter hidden in a period? Which period would that be, Balthy? A period located toward the end of a page? Or maybe one at the end of each page because how could you be certain it would otherwise attach itself to Putin's fingernail? Manicure? Perhaps he'd scratch his nether regions and flush it down with his refuse. :)

    He might also have worried about being served with a subpoena to the world court.

    By Chris Wallace? Nah.

    This could cause one of those aforementioned laughing fits, something he doesn't seem inclined to do often, except at rare times, like after being told, "He fell for it!"

    I like the way you think, Balthy, and I too am "borrowing" your most excellent term "comedic waterboarding." Keep them coming, please. :)

  52. [52] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Speaking of counter measures in intelligence, if you aren't aware of it, Germany had no important spies in England from the late 30's onward who were not double agents. Since it was known when and where a new one would arrive, the new guy would either consent to becoming a UK-worked double agent, or be executed; his or her choice.

    That was incredibly important throughout the War. The V-2 rockets didn't impact the official centers of London because their targeting relied on spies to adjust target coordinates. Rommel relied on spy reports in part to conclude the Allied invasion would come at Calais. It may, or may not, have allowed British intel to have learned of, from German messages to its agents, and alert the US to, the impending surprise attack by Japan.

    Even if that were documented, Washington didn't receive any reports to that effect. The US official position was, is, and forever will be that the Navy crypto office finally broke the Japanese code between early December 1941 and June 1942, when decoded intercepts allowed the US Navy during the Battle of Midway to locate and sink the aircraft carriers from which the Pearl Harbor attack had been launched. The US had no advance warning from any source, and thank God it happened when all the US carriers and heavy cruisers were out of port.

    To wile away a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon, if interested, just search the words "Masterman double cross"; among the book reviews one can find better narratives, and articles on applications of their methods.

    The implication of both XX and compromise of Japanese communications is that when an intelligence service is way better at espionage than the enemy gives them credit for, that enemy usually ends getting badly f**ked.

  53. [53] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    By the way, isn't Carter Page a piece of work?

    I doubt it will ever be made public which side dropped him into the Trump campaign. The candidate gave him high praise when announcing his Foreign policy team, but whichever side pulled it off, it clearly worked out better for the FBI.

  54. [54] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    [52]...Churchill was very thorough in his sealing of top secret-wartime material, in some cases, for a hundred years. What the British knew about Pearl Harbour is just speculation until 2045-ish. However, it's tough to explain away the chronology of events...JN25, the Japanese naval code in use from Dec 1, 1941 was 10% broken by Dec 7 and it's not beyond belief that within that block of readable data that any mention of Pearl Harbour went un-noticed. It also doesn't strain credulity that if the code-breakers of the time were as good as their reputation suggests, they would have sensed an impending naval action by the Japanese and given the decipherable intelligence top priority. I know Churchill took great stock in the material gleaned from intercepts and highly valued the assessments of the code-breakers...had they suspected an imminent attack by the Imperial Navy, you can bank on Churchill knowing about it and believing it, whether Churchill would have shared this with FDR is another matter. The SOE wasn't in the habit of sharing their intel through cipher traffic with any foreign entity, they enjoyed supremacy in breaking codes well into the war and wanted to maintain their advantage...they were reading American codes at the time too, and therefore knew what the US knew and didn't know.

    History is another one of my hobbies.

    LL&P

  55. [55] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Are you quite sure Russ was referring to Novichok when he used the word "poison" because if you are, you show an incredible lack of knowledge regarding what types of "poison" would best be transmitted on paper, and I guess you believe Chris Wallace has a container of that lying around the Fox News studio, am I right?

    Actually, that's wrong. And, I would suggest that taking on CRS's use of the concluding "am I right?" phrase does not add to one's credibility around here. Seriously.

    I was merely implying that Russ wouldn't have to 'ask Britain about Novichok' because, like many of us here, he follows current events. Your comment implied the opposite.

    Not surprisingly.

  56. [56] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    [54]

    Reading history, as a hobby or as a part of one's job, is a good thing. These days, absent it, we might end up thinking that both domestic politics and conflict among states are parts of one big scriptable reality tv show.

  57. [57] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Liz M [55]

    Sorry lady, I never ask "am I right?" I conclude with just plain "right", implying "agreed?". Not the same thing!

  58. [58] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Kick [40]

    So glad you enjoyed Bo Burnham’s video! The guy did his first Comedy Central special a few months after he graduated high school!

    Garfunkel and Oates also have a great song inspired by Pat Robertson’s proclamation that marriage equality would lead to people having sex with ducks.

  59. [59] 
    neilm wrote:

    JTC [54]

    Thank you. Fabulous reading.

    Are there any books on the history of cryptology you recommend?

    My son is looking to do his masters in the mathematics of cryptology. I've got an advanced degree that required advanced math into the last year - it was 1/3 of your total score. I couldn't follow anything my son was trying to explain to me about the math of cryptology - and he was trying to explain the basics. I thought I was smart because I read the 1979 RSA paper and understood the basic math behind it, but that isn't even part of Cryptology 101 these days it seems.

  60. [60] 
    neilm wrote:

    I'd sooner sign up to fight an invader of Macedonia than a Treasonous Trump's war of aggression against Iran.

    America does not manufacture wars (any longer).

    Treasonous Trump is trying to create a war with Iran - we all know why - he thinks that the American public will rally behind a war President.

    This is wrong. Don't let Treasonous Trump do this.

  61. [61] 
    Michale wrote:

    LB

    You know full well that counter-intellegence is advanced by not not picking up spies as soon as they're made.

    I also know full well that it is the epitome of hypocrisy to blame the current POTUS for an incident that the PREVIOUS POTUS was allegedly (Neil has provided NO FACTS to support his claim that Odumbo DID know about the spy but chose to do nothing) aware of and allowed to operate..

    Much like the Russian alleged "collusion"... Odumbo knew all about the Russian "attacks" on our election but apparently such "attacks" were not a big deal because Odumbo put POLITICS and winning the election above such grave "attacks"...

    Further, if I was trying to defend President Trump's alleged "collusion", then you would have a case of "whataboutism"..

    But I am not.. I am simply pointing out the appalling lack of credibility of those who are attacking President Trump for alleged "collusion" but gave Odumbo a pass for his "collusion" in the same alleged incident..

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    Mass shooting in Toronto; 1 killed and about 14 shot; gunman dead
    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/07/23/mass-shooting-in-toronto-1-killed-and-about-14-shot-gunman-dead.html

    But!! But!! But!!!

    Canada has "SENSIBLE" gun laws!!! There CAN'T be any mass shootings in Canada!!!!

    WTF!!!?????

    :^/

  63. [63] 
    Michale wrote:

    I also know full well that it is the epitome of hypocrisy to blame the current POTUS for an incident that the PREVIOUS POTUS was allegedly (Neil has provided NO FACTS to support his claim that Odumbo DID know about the spy but chose to do nothing) aware of and allowed to operate..

    Much like the Russian alleged "collusion"... Odumbo knew all about the Russian "attacks" on our election but apparently such "attacks" were not a big deal because Odumbo put POLITICS and winning the election above such grave "attacks"...

    For the record, there are FACTS that well document that Odumbo knew about Russian "attacks on the election, but chose to do nothing because of politics. There are also FACTS that prove Odumbo colluded with Putin by asking for "space" to win the election, after which Odumbo could be... er.. "flexible" for Putin..

    "Eeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwww"
    -Ernst P Worrell

    I have NO IDEA how Neil came up with with the claim that Odumbo knew about about the Russian spy but chose to do nothing..

    And, as an aside to our resident linguist and grammar guru...

    Chose vs Choose... Which on is the 'ew' sound (as in 'chew') and which one has the 'oh' sound (as in 'toe')

    It drives me crazy!! OK, OK, technically that would be more of a short walk... :^D

  64. [64] 
    Michale wrote:

    Democratic Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) is calling on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to recuse himself from any cases that might involve special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

    “To avoid the prospect that President Trump could effectively choose a judge in his own case, I request that you pledge to recuse yourself from any cases related to the Special Counsel’s investigation and any that otherwise may immediately impact the President and his associates as it relates to the ongoing criminal investigation should you be confirmed,” Booker said in a letter to Kavanaugh on Friday.

    “The American public must have full confidence that the integrity of any decisions handed down by the Supreme Court on these matters will not be tainted by any impropriety or the appearance of impropriety from the President’s selection of you.”

    Could a Democrat POSSIBLY be any more moronic and ignorant??

    I doubt it..

  65. [65] 
    Michale wrote:

    Russia Mania Is the Birtherism of the Left
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/07/22/russia_mania_is_the_birtherism_of_the_left_137587.html

    Yep, yep, yep......

    Simply another FACT that proves what I have been saying for over a decade here in Weigantia..

    There is really no difference between the Left and the Right...

    A fact ya'all prove every single day..

    "Hay!!! The Right is all about name-calling!! Let's start name-calling too!!!"

    Hay!! The Right is all about violence and harassment!! We should be violent and harassing too!!!"

    Hay!! The Right had their hysterical witch hunt that had nebulous 'facts' and a whole bunch of hysteria!! We should have one too!!!"

    If I could go back in time to 2006 and tell you people how you are acting in 2018, ya'all's 2006 counterparts would have called me daft..

    And yet.. Here we are...

  66. [66] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    [60] neilm...A recent book, 'The Emperors New Codes' by Michael Smith sounds like a good read, it's on my list because it centers on some of the lesser known British cryptographers of the 30's.
    The fun romp that was 'The Imitation Game', saw Alan Turing at the outset of the war dreaming up a 'computer' in order to break Enigma. I would suggest any reading about Turing, he was quite simply ahead of his time. https://www.amazon.com/Ultra-Sea-Breaking-Affected-Strategy/dp/0688094228 I read this years ago, a dry read, but highly informative.

    To get a complete overview of cryptography, Ada Lovelace is a great starting point. Daughter of Lord Byron, she became fascinated by the template stamp cards used in looms, she figured out that the same process could be used to compute numbers (binary.) Most of her acclaim was posthumous, women simply didn't engage in the sciences at the dawn of the Victorian age. ADA computer programming language, (the system of using the compiler to find errors in favor of runtime errors)was named after her.

    LL&P

  67. [67] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    [65] Brett Kavanaugh is a cretin, much like the clown who thinks his appointment to SCOTUS would somehow benefit him down the road. Kavanaugh believes that a sitting president shouldn't be subject to a special council, he wrote that any indictment of a president should done after term. Since this is precisely what will happen, his recusal from all things Mueller is academic. Trump and his clutch can't avoid the comeuppance of their idiotic decision to partner with Bayrock at Trump Soho. Tere's no disputing the fact that they hid Felix Sater's involvement in Bayrock from investors. Sater's two felony convictions should have been mentioned to any investors under US law, instead of walking away from the project, Trump being Trump chose to double down and ask for more money to remain the brand name. The statute of Limitations expires one year AFTER Trump's first and last term in office. Trump's inevitable conviction under RICO will never see a day in SCOTUS...were I him, I'd continue stocking the lower courts with right-wing dunces. But then I'm not him and know better, he'll never stand before a judge of his own choosing. So either way, Trump's last days will be illuminated by striped sunlight, perhaps he'll take up reading while behind bars?

    LL&P

  68. [68] 
    Michale wrote:

    [65] Brett Kavanaugh is a cretin, much like the clown who thinks his appointment to SCOTUS would somehow benefit him down the road. Kavanaugh believes that a sitting president shouldn't be subject to a special council, he wrote that any indictment of a president should done after term. Since this is precisely what will happen, his recusal from all things Mueller is academic. Trump and his clutch can't avoid the comeuppance of their idiotic decision to partner with Bayrock at Trump Soho. Tere's no disputing the fact that they hid Felix Sater's involvement in Bayrock from investors. Sater's two felony convictions should have been mentioned to any investors under US law, instead of walking away from the project, Trump being Trump chose to double down and ask for more money to remain the brand name. The statute of Limitations expires one year AFTER Trump's first and last term in office. Trump's inevitable conviction under RICO will never see a day in SCOTUS...were I him, I'd continue stocking the lower courts with right-wing dunces. But then I'm not him and know better, he'll never stand before a judge of his own choosing. So either way, Trump's last days will be illuminated by striped sunlight, perhaps he'll take up reading while behind bars?

    And what exactly does all that hysterical wishful thinking have to do with comment #65???

    [65] Michale wrote:
    Russia Mania Is the Birtherism of the Left
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/07/22/russia_mania_is_the_birtherism_of_the_left_137587.html

    Yep, yep, yep......

    Simply another FACT that proves what I have been saying for over a decade here in Weigantia..

    There is really no difference between the Left and the Right...

    A fact ya'all prove every single day..

    "Hay!!! The Right is all about name-calling!! Let's start name-calling too!!!"

    Hay!! The Right is all about violence and harassment!! We should be violent and harassing too!!!"

    Hay!! The Right had their hysterical witch hunt that had nebulous 'facts' and a whole bunch of hysteria!! We should have one too!!!"

    If I could go back in time to 2006 and tell you people how you are acting in 2018, ya'all's 2006 counterparts would have called me daft..

    And yet.. Here we are...

    Yunno, if ya weren't such a moron, you would actually QUOTE the comments yer responding to.. That way, we would only THINK you are a moron, rather than having confirmation you are a moron.. :D

    Duh........

  69. [69] 
    Michale wrote:

    Now ya know how it feels to be dumped on for inane and ridiculous bullshit.. :D

    Hope you enjoyed it as much as I have.. :D

  70. [70] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Senate Candidate Lauds Trump For ‘Standing Up To Russians,’ Crowd Laughs

    That about sums up the day for me. Thank you Neil and Kick for your nice words about my 'comedic waterboarding' quip.

  71. [71] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Michale [69]:Now ya know how it feels to be dumped on for inane and ridiculous bullshit.. :D
    Hope you enjoyed it as much as I have.. :D

    I'm not sure that post came out the way it probably sounded in your head. Have a nice evening anyway.:D

  72. [72] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    Michale, the difference between my typo and your never-ending barrage of right wing delusional sewage is, my mistake was unintentional and easily made, your struggle with reality is by choice and allows for no intellectual growth.

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt." A Lincoln utterance perhaps. Or the Switzer, "It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it" Or the biblical, "Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue." Funny, I couldn't find your ham-fisted version of this timeless saying.

    Also, Hay is for horses.

    LL&P

  73. [73] 
    neilm wrote:

    Alexander Torshin (Putin side kick and now deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia) tweeted in February 2016:

    https://twitter.com/torshin_ru/status/698742761160368128?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

    Translation (you can get it using Twitter's translate option as well):

    "Maria Butina is now in the United States. Writes to me that D. Trump (member of NRA) is ready for cooperation with Russia."

    Wouldn't it be funny if Trump and the leadership of the NRA were all put away for treason?

  74. [74] 
    Michale wrote:
  75. [75] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michale, the difference between my typo and your never-ending barrage of right wing delusional sewage is, my mistake was unintentional and easily made, your struggle with reality is by choice and allows for no intellectual growth.

    What ever you have to tell yerself to make it thru your sad and pathetic life... :D

    Don't worry, JTC.. You'll have your fellow bumbling morons come to your assistance soon.. :D

  76. [76] 
    Michale wrote:

    https://media.townhall.com/Townhall/Car/b/lb180719c20180719075401.jpg

    Heh

    "It's funny because it's true"
    -Homer Simpson

  77. [77] 
    Michale wrote:
  78. [78] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Nixon can -and should- be remembered for his attempt to corrupt the rule of law. But it is also legitimate to acknowledge that he initiated the detente with China. That evolved into the relationship forming the bedrock of the American consumer economy for the last two decades. He pulled the plug on Vietnam. He understood that those two things weren't independent of each other. That ain't nothin'.

    Is the same thing going to be true of President Trump? Regardless of who he is or what's he done or is still trying to do, will we someday cite his visionary acts of American foreign policy?

    Up to now, at least in my view, it's way net negative, with real if fixable damage to the Atlantic relationships and fraught trade brinkmanship. But the word isn't in yet on Korea, to say nothing of Middle East writ large.

  79. [79] 
    Michale wrote:

    We didn’t ask for this cultural war. We don’t want it. But we are done taking a ration of garbage from these creeps.

    Yep...

  80. [80] 
    neilm wrote:

    Can anybody help me with my decision in November.

    I can either vote for the Democratic incumbent who has been doing a great job for my constituency, or I can vote for his Republican opponent.

    This is not a joke. The following link takes you to the home page of the Republican running for congress in my district:

    http://johnfitzgeraldforcongress.com/

  81. [81] 
    Michale wrote:

    Is the same thing going to be true of President Trump? Regardless of who he is or what's he done or is still trying to do, will we someday cite his visionary acts of American foreign policy?

    Most likely..

    Of course, those who suffer from HHPTDS will scoff, just like those who bitterly hated Nixon would have scoffed..

    The problem is emotionalism.. No one here can get past their rabid hatred and look at things objectively..

    Up to now, at least in my view, it's way net negative, with real if fixable damage to the Atlantic relationships and fraught trade brinkmanship.

    A perfect case in point..

    There isn't much damage to our Atlantic relationships, other than the fact that those on the other side of the Atlantic have come to understand that their free ride is over.. They are going to have to pull their own weight or face Russia alone without US support or backing..

    How is that NOT a good thing??

    Past is prologue.. What is happening now has all happened before and, despite the claims of the doomsayers, hysterical or not, this too shall pass and the world will continue to spin...

    https://media.townhall.com/Townhall/Car/b/mle180721c20180720093926.jpg

    Simple....

  82. [82] 
    Michale wrote:

    This is not a joke.

    Ya never get tired of lying, eh Neil.. :D

  83. [83] 
    Michale wrote:

    But I WILL give your Dumbocrats on how to actually gain ground in November..

    https://media.townhall.com/Townhall/Car/b/lb180720cd20180720074805.jpg

    Quit doing stoopid shit..

  84. [84] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Whether it was hope or propaganda, the defense-team fans put out last week that Tony Podesta was one of the use-immunity witnesses against Manafort in VA. ("See? Clinton guys are scumbags, too.") I don't remember where I first heard this simile, but this is like when the Democrats set themselves up again for the bitter disappointment when neither Collins nor Murkowski votes with them to block whatever needs a cross of the party line. ("They're women! What the hell is wrong with them?")

    Not to be. All of them are financial people. After all, this is a financial crimes indictment. Duh.

    The trial is delayed now to a week from today. That gives the prosecutor-team fans the same Collins-Murkowski hope about a deal being done. Maybe, but I doubt it. Manafort is a hard guy, and besides, if he turned and went too deep, he'd be giving himself a life which, for a long time, would boil down to protective solitary or getting shived.

    He's going to go away, spy or not. He conspired to defraud the United States of 7 or more figures. Nobody can do that and not see the inside of a prison.

  85. [85] 
    neilm wrote:

    This is not a joke.

    Ya never get tired of lying, eh Neil.. :D

    Did you follow the link? Do a google search on him yourself and you will see:

    1. He is on the ballot
    2. He is the Republican
    3. The link I put up is his official website

  86. [86] 
    Michale wrote:

    Trump looking into revoking security clearances for Brennan, other top Obama officials
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/23/trump-looking-into-revoking-security-clearances-for-brennan-other-top-obama-officials.html

    It's about damn time!!

    Pull Clinton's while yer at it..

    There is absolutely NO REASON for those scumbags to have clearences...

  87. [87] 
    Michale wrote:

    Did you follow the link? Do a google search on him yourself and you will see:

    And you are considering voting for a Republican??

    What a bullshitter you are.. :D

  88. [88] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, no, I didn't follow the link.. Why should I? Yer just bullshitting, as usual..

  89. [89] 
    neilm wrote:

    And, no, I didn't follow the link.. Why should I? Yer just bullshitting, as usual..

    Scared to?

    You should be. It shows exactly what the Republican Party has become.

    Follow the link. You will be convinced I put up the web site myself, but then you will check him out and realize that he is, in fact, an open Nazi.

    http://johnfitzgeraldforcongress.com/

  90. [90] 
    neilm wrote:

    We need to give Carter Page the benefit of the doubt. When asked if he was a Russian agent he issued a categorical "Nyet!"

  91. [91] 
    Michale wrote:

    You should be. It shows exactly what the Republican Party has become.

    Yea??

    Then James Hodgkison shows exactly what the Democrat Party has become..

    Funny how that works, eh?? :D

  92. [92] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    [81] -

    Europe has gotten a free ride largely because the United States has insisted upon it, just as it has regarding Japan. The US has to deal with China, and with Russia. We don't need to triangulate from a strong or independent Europe. A dependent Europe has been a choice by the US, not the result of dysfunction by lefties because they love Paris.

    Under Trump's transactional isolationism, he announces that the United States may at any time pull its strategic perimeter not just away from Russia's borders, but back into the waters of the Atlantic. However, the US will commit to protecting American LNG all the way to the North Sea.

    This may be augmented with random on-the-fly disruptions to a mutually critical spaghetti bowl of of economic and strategic strands, many of which cannot or should not be disrupted.

    Further, where do we base our aircraft to protect our interests everywhere from the Middle East trade routes to the Fram Strait? Where do we port our Landing Helicopter Docs so
    the Marines can get downtown into their own culture when nothing needs their presence? What happens to our intelligence cooperation?

    The real issues, strategic, tactical, and economic, go a hell of a lot deeper than They are going to have to pull their own weight ... or face Russia alone. To the extent that really is Trump's current belief, I believe that's seriously net negative.

    To hope that What is happening now has all happened before and ... this too shall pass and the world will continue to spin... is not net positive either. The last time the US went isolationist, lots of millions of people died, Europe and Russia were wrecked, and Russia grabbed a bunch of countries and wouldn't give them back for thirty years after they'd drained them dry.

    I'm not saying that's going to happen again; all I'm saying is that if the US pulls back from Europe, unintended bad things can follow from unmanageable chains of consequences.

  93. [93] 
    Michale wrote:

    Europe has gotten a free ride largely because the United States has insisted upon it, just as it has regarding Japan. The US has to deal with China, and with Russia. We don't need to triangulate from a strong or independent Europe. A dependent Europe has been a choice by the US, not the result of dysfunction by lefties because they love Paris.

    That might have been applicable when Russia was the USSR...

    No longer..

    urther, where do we base our aircraft to protect our interests everywhere from the Middle East trade routes to the Fram Strait? Where do we port our Landing Helicopter Docs so
    the Marines can get downtown into their own culture when nothing needs their presence? What happens to our intelligence cooperation?

    There will be growing pains, to be sure..

    But the EU needs the US a **LOT** more than the US needs the EU..

    The real issues, strategic, tactical, and economic, go a hell of a lot deeper than They are going to have to pull their own weight ... or face Russia alone. To the extent that really is Trump's current belief, I believe that's seriously net negative.

    See above..

    Trump's idea is an EQUAL partnership..

    I see nothing wrong with that..

    To hope that What is happening now has all happened before and ... this too shall pass and the world will continue to spin... is not net positive either. The last time the US went isolationist, lots of millions of people died, Europe and Russia were wrecked, and Russia grabbed a bunch of countries and wouldn't give them back for thirty years after they'd drained them dry.

    And yet, it gave us the world we live in today..

    I don't see the negative??

    I'm not saying that's going to happen again; all I'm saying is that if the US pulls back from Europe, unintended bad things can follow from unmanageable chains of consequences.

    OR..

    Or the EU might begin to stand up for itself and thereby reduce the commitment the US has to put into the EU..

    A net positive..

    "We can't discard a possibility just because we don't happen to like it.."
    -Martin Sheen, THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

    :D

  94. [94] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    "Trump looking into revoking security clearances for Brennan, other top Obama officials"

    "It's about damn time!!

    Pull Clinton's while yer at it...

    There is absolutely NO REASON for those scumbags to have clearences(sic)..."

    No...none whatsoever. We all know the world, its governments and its tactics reset every time a new CIA or FBI director is appointed. Why on earth would an incoming head of a vital US intelligence department want some insight into how to go about his business without learning by mistake?

    Lol...seems reality is a cagey two-tailed cat, for some.

    The truth of the matter is simple enough, even Michale might stumble across it, Trump is flying a kite to see how the establishment reacts to his preposterous utterances. Huckleberry-Sanders provided the FOX sound-bite in her not-so-daily briefing...They are being considered for this punishment because they profit from it...Now that's comedic waterboarding at its gitmo-ist, this administration has the brass-neck to accuse others of using their rank/position for self-aggrandizement. Ivanka Trump has half a dozen patents recognized in china in the midst of a tariff war? her Chabad husband secures a half billion dollar loan to bail him out of yet another failed business? Trump charges the US taxpayer millions to house his bloated retinue in his hotels whenever he gets the chance? Jim Clapper makes a few thousand bucks to be heard as an expert on CNN and all of a sudden he's profiting?

    Bullshit.

    These former heads of critical govt. departments have only one thing in common, they have criticized Trump for his incompetence. I don't recall Obama stripping Flynn of his security clearance, even though he knew Flynn was a shill for the Ruskies...Obama gave Trump full warning in private to dispose of the general asap.

    LL&P

  95. [95] 
    Michale wrote:

    These former heads of critical govt. departments have only one thing in common, they have criticized Trump for his incompetence.

    And conspired to prevent him from being elected by using their positions to lie and cheat..

    Personally, the deserve to be shot..

    But I'll be happy with having them disgraced by having their clearances revoked..

    Clearly they can't be trusted with them..

  96. [96] 
    Michale wrote:

    Jim Clapper makes a few thousand bucks to be heard as an expert on CNN and all of a sudden he's profiting?

    You DO realize how utterly stoopid you sound..

    Of COURSE he's "profiting"...

    Duh...

    Moron..

  97. [97] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    So the likes of Bannon, Bolton, Giuliani et-al get passes for paid opinions because...why? they all have security clearances, of one sort or another, before and after they appeared on Pro-Trump broadcasts.

    Sorry, once again reality and truth gives you a swerve so you can maintain some unsupportable narrative.

    This persecution complex Trump trots out to manage his flock is becoming tiresome..."And conspired to prevent him from being elected by using their positions to lie and cheat.." The down-trodden self-proclaimed billionaire wades upstream against a current of widespread disdain and loathing?

    That's a pathetic retort.

    I can see the West-Wing brainstorming session that conjured up that lame-duck stance..."ok people, settle down...the Happy Meals will be here any time now, and yes Sarah...we got you the girls toy this time. Now...what's our withering comeback for all these niggle-some queries into Dear Leader's latest diktat? hmm, anyone? No? ok, let's check the list...we haven't used conspiracy in this news cycle...my plastic Wreck-it Ralph toy and ketchup sachet says we can blow it past them again. Thank god for FOX, for without them this would actually feel like a paid job...Kellyanne, we need the microwave back in the lunchroom by tomorrow, otherwise it'll come out of your pay...ooh, ooh, Rotten Ronnie's is here, dibs on the coke with the least ice."

    Falling back on some unreal conspiracy is what children do when they are caught in an unsupportable position.

    LL&P

  98. [98] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    "Personally, the(sic) should be shot"

    How refreshingly democratic of you. Nothing beats a quick-march to the firing squad for expressing an opinion contrary to that of the administration. Maybe you should launch an online campaign to enact an American distillation of Nacht und Neblung? It's the next logical step for a tyrant.

    LL&P

  99. [99] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    ...and lastly, Michale, I defy you to produce one credible scrap of evidence that any of Comey, Hayden, Clapper, Rice and McCabe who actively tried to "prevent him from being elected by using their positions to lie and cheat.." We'd all love to see your evidence, your iron-clad reasoning for such a statement...one designed for people not willing to take any old shit as gospel?

    Don't worry, Sunshine...there's no time limit, my hope is, the more you dig about the internet for a lifeline in this matter, the more likely you might encounter actual fact. Spoiler alert! make sure you're wearing your tinfoil MAGA hat, you don't want to catch a nasty case of truth.

    LL&P

  100. [100] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    Pure gold...not just for it's obvious send up of an ingrained bigot, but for it's ballsy play on a stereotypical American angst...self induced paranoia.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4k4pMTsa1Kw

    Sasha Cohen.

  101. [101] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    James Hodgkison shows exactly what the Democrat Party has become..

    Ran out of equivalent boogey men, eh? Interesting.

  102. [102] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    I defy you to produce one credible scrap of evidence that any of Comey, Hayden, Clapper, Rice and McCabe who actively tried to "prevent him from being elected by using their positions to lie and cheat.." We'd all love to see your evidence

    In fact they all did the opposite: stayed quiet about a counter-intelligence investigation involving Trump so as not to affect the election, even as Comey was doing serious damage to the Clinton campaign by holding dramatic press conferences about the nothing scandal that Republicans were pushing.

    It's actually the statements that these men have made since Trump's election that has His rangeness in a snit. Turns out, most of them have no security clearances to revoke. Score one for the God of irony.

  103. [103] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    That should read: His Orangeness. Those 'O's are slippery critters.

  104. [104] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ran out of equivalent boogey men, eh? Interesting.

    Oh no, there are plenty of Democrats who epitomize the Democrat Party...

    But Hodgkison is the best example of today's Democrat Party..

  105. [105] 
    Michale wrote:

    ...and lastly, Michale, I defy you to produce one credible scrap of evidence that any of Comey, Hayden, Clapper, Rice and McCabe who actively tried to "prevent him from being elected by using their positions to lie and cheat.." We'd all love to see your evidence, your iron-clad reasoning for such a statement...one designed for people not willing to take any old shit as gospel?

    What would be the point?

    Ya'all have proven beyond ANY doubt that you will not accept ANY facts that disrupt your snowflake safe space existence...

    If ya'all had an even SMIDGEN of credibility in accepting facts it might be different.

    But ya'all have proven beyond ANY doubt that you simply ignore all facts you disagree with..

    So, my providing those facts would be pointless..

  106. [106] 
    Michale wrote:

    But I DO accept your concession that you are, indeed, a moron for your claim about Clapper's profiting.. :^D

    Have a happy... :D

  107. [107] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth
    55

    Actually, that's wrong. And, I would suggest that taking on CRS's use of the concluding "am I right?" phrase does not add to one's credibility around here. Seriously.

    Actually, that's not wrong, and anyone with two brain cells to rub together and any sort of memory whatsoever knows without question that CRS doesn't actually use the term "am I right." However, he is very fond of using the term "right?" to end his queries, which you would obviously know if you paid more attention during your forays and sad attempts at trolling certain posters in your self-appointed duties as "board police and nagging nanny." Seriously.

    I was merely implying that Russ wouldn't have to 'ask Britain about Novichok' because, like many of us here, he follows current events. Your comment implied the opposite.

    No, ma'am... in point of fact, my meaning was exactly the opposite since I was speaking with Russ the way I would a colleague with his obvious extensive knowledge. Russ and I have had a conversation or two about his obvious expertise in his field, and I was speaking with him in complete agreement about the transmission of poisons on paper. I would wager quite a number of Benjamins that Russ is well aware that there is no one foolish enough to self-contaminate with Novichok (even if they perchance had a container of it lying around the Fox News studio *laughs*) in order to "neutralize" Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin... even a tool such as Chris Wallace.

    "Ask Britain" is a comedy television game show (now cancelled, darn it) and a play on words and an attempt at humour.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_Ask_Me_Ask_Britain

    Seriously.

    See what I did there in my blockquote, Liz? I spelled "humor" wrong just for you. Nobody tell Stucki; he is hypersensitive about stuff like that. :D

    Perhaps if you weren't too busy trolling the posts of certain posters to people like Russ and/or anyone else NOT named Elizabeth Miller and flailing in your attempts to inform said poster what they meant in their very own posts to another poster to whom they were commenting, while also simultaneously explaining what that other poster meant in his post, you'd be making a much better use of that "limited time" you're incessantly claiming you have.

    In short: It's rather obvious that only somebody with serious trolling issues of certain posters would presume to explain to a poster what that commenter meant by their very own comment, but you can't seem to allow yourself to stop doing it.

    Not surprisingly.

  108. [108] 
    Kick wrote:

    LeaningBlue
    53

    By the way, isn't Carter Page a piece of work?

    Multiple pieces. *laughs*

  109. [109] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    57

    Liz M [55]

    Sorry lady, I never ask "am I right?" I conclude with just plain "right", implying "agreed?". Not the same thing!

    I just want you to know, Stucki, that I posted my [107] above before I read your [57] (also above). You are exactly right about this, obviously, as anyone who paid attention to your posts as well as the posts of others would naturally know, am I right? ;)

    Additionally, I would like to congratulate you on your perfect sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation in this post. I liked it so much, I had to quote it in its entirety. It is heretofore my favorite post of yours. Please endeavor to outdo it in your future posts.

    I'm just "funning" you, Stucki, and I don't take the time to tease just anybody, right? :)

  110. [110] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    Not a bad day's work, it was touch and go for a moment...I finally got Michale to admit he was unique in this environment.

    All that praying to Taweret finally paid off.

    HYP&O

  111. [111] 
    Kick wrote:

    Russ
    58

    So glad you enjoyed Bo Burnham’s video! The guy did his first Comedy Central special a few months after he graduated high school!

    I'm taking your advice and watching it in its entirety and will certainly report back. Perhaps it would improve my lame attempts at comedy that fly right over Elizabeth Miller's head while she trolls my comments to other posters and explains to me what I meant, even though she obviously has no idea what she's talking about and should seriously allow herself to stop doing it.

    Garfunkel and Oates also have a great song inspired by Pat Robertson’s proclamation that marriage equality would lead to people having sex with ducks.

    Oh, no... another comment of yours wherein I cannot unsee that. ;) *laughs* I will definitely now have to watch the Pat Robertson inspired song. I suspect Mr. Robertson holds this belief because he witnessed the "coupling" of Donald and Scrooge McDuck… Donald Trump that is, and yes, I'm taking steps to improve my attempts at comedy. ;)

  112. [112] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    [106] "What would be the point?"

    Lol...Indeed, what would be the point? Smug vindication? Nah.

    See, this is what I don't get about US politics...when did it become normal to be called on a bogus statement and then offer up your inability to defend your stance by muttering something about other people's inability to digest the response? How is this debate format healthy, one can't fling nonsense around like confetti in the hope that people will just shrug and concede to the bullshit. No no no...

    "Ya'all have proven beyond ANY doubt that you will not accept ANY facts that disrupt your snowflake safe space existence...

    If ya'all had an even SMIDGEN of credibility in accepting facts it might be different.

    But ya'all have proven beyond ANY doubt that you simply ignore all facts you disagree with..

    So, my providing those facts would be pointless.."

    You could always try, it wouldn't hurt...I'm not insensitive, I can offer an extension, eternity plus five minutes? No pressure.

    It's all fun and games, until someone loses a truth.

    LL&P

  113. [113] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Kick [108] -

    Not just multiple pieces, as you say. It also looks like he was a gift that kept on giving.

    Around 5 pages of "probably cause" were presented to the judge (most of the redacted info) in the first application.

    By the 3rd renewal, that had grown to over 50 pages. He was publicly out of the Trump orbit by the times of those renewals, though.

  114. [114] 
    Kick wrote:

    neilm
    73

    "Maria Butina is now in the United States. Writes to me that D. Trump (member of NRA) is ready for cooperation with Russia."

    Wouldn't it be funny if Trump and the leadership of the NRA were all put away for treason?

    I suspect that in the future, Congress will amend the legal definition of "treason" and United States Code to include cyberwarfare so that "bad actors" can thusly be charged under the relevant statutes. Until then, I suspect "conspiracy to defraud the United States," "espionage," "aiding and abetting" fill in the blanks, et cetera will do nicely.

    Torshin's twitter account is a treasure trove of information, and the meeting in Moscow by NRA reps with Putin's deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin (18 months after he was sanctioned by the United States in 2014 for the invasion of Crimea/Ukraine along with Paul Manafort's client Viktor Yanukovych and others) isn't exactly a good look for the NRA and gives new meaning to that term "colluding in plain sight" we are now hearing bandied about these days.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/top-trump-ally-met-with-putins-deputy-in-moscow

    Questions:

    (1) What does it say about the judgment and/or competency of Benedict Donald that he would hire Paul Manafort to lead his campaign considering his history of money laundering et cetera and association with multiple US sanctioned persons as well as other various assorted adversaries of the United States?

    (2) Got your popcorn ready? With or without butter? ;)

  115. [115] 
    Kick wrote:

    neilm
    80

    Can anybody help me with my decision in November.

    I can either vote for the Democratic incumbent who has been doing a great job for my constituency, or I can vote for his Republican opponent.

    Our "thoughts and prayers" go out to citizens of CA-11. God help you poor souls; however, I suspect the voters therein will beat Him to it. ;)

  116. [116] 
    Kick wrote:

    LeaningBlue
    84

    Manafort is a hard guy, and besides, if he turned and went too deep, he'd be giving himself a life which, for a long time, would boil down to protective solitary or getting shived.

    Manafort won't flip until the day he becomes more afraid of what the United States is going to do to him than he is regarding what he believes his "friends" the Russians have planned... hence the incessant attempts at stalling and postponing the inevitable.

    Still, it is breathtaking the amount of criminal cases that are settled literally on the steps of courthouses all across America. ;)

    He's going to go away, spy or not. He conspired to defraud the United States of 7 or more figures.

    Yes, sir. Mueller has much more in store for Mr. Manafort too.

    Nobody can do that and not see the inside of a prison.

    Exactly right. Rick Gates has chosen wisely and is an incredible addition to Mueller's "Snitch Hunt" choir. I'm anxious to hear him singing a cappella for quite a long time under oath if Manafort inevitably chooses poorly and subsequently goes down in flames of his own making.

  117. [117] 
    Kick wrote:

    James T Canuck
    94

    Oh, snap!

    Michale's near-sole argument is his incessant and ignorant false equivalency that "all things are equal" and/or "exactly the same," and you're just going to confuse him with facts. However, please continue schooling him, though I would wager you know he's helpless regardless. :)

  118. [118] 
    Kick wrote:

    Michale
    95

    And conspired to prevent him from being elected by using their positions to lie and cheat..

    Your ignorance is showing, and you've obviously overdosed on the right-wing nut job conspiracy Kool-Aid. So Trump today admits to Russian meddling, and the whiplash continues. How do the minions keep up with the bullshit that spews forth from the Orange Blowhole?

    Personally, the deserve to be shot.. ~ Michale

    It's quite instructive that Comrade Michale opines that the national security adviser and multiple former directors/deputies of our United States intelligence agencies deserve to be shot. Michale is emblematic of the gullibility and putrid stench that has bubbled up in the GOP since the onset of their worship at the alter of the cult of personality of Trump. What is left of the former GOP contains:

    (1) Those who are leaving in droves and/or not running for reelection,

    (2) Those who are obviously educated and privy to classified information yet have no spine, and

    (3) those suffering from Kool-Aid overdose.

    The GOP along with their minions have become the party of "useful idiots" and debase themselves in service to Trump in service to Putin and Russia. #Sad #Pathetic

    Thank you ever so much for that insight into your thought processes (or lack thereof), Comrade Michale, and with that nugget of yours wherein you state you believe that American citizens should be shot, I believe we can forever lay to rest your fake outrage and whining about "common decency."

  119. [119] 
    Kick wrote:

    James T Canuck
    97

    The "brainstorming" meeting complete with toys and Happy Meals sounds about right, though that particular term may be giving those swamp rats a little too much credit for having some brains at all. Strategy is clearly not their strong suit, and lord forbid they crack a book and learn from history.

    I see you know our US political issues as well as I would wager you know your own. Kudos to you because this entire comment is a masterpiece, JTC. Please keep them coming. :)

    Falling back on some unreal conspiracy is what children do when they are caught in an unsupportable position.

    If only the minions weren't so gullible and easily conned. :)

  120. [120] 
    Kick wrote:

    Balthasar
    103

    That should read: His Orangeness. Those 'O's are slippery critters.

    Your [102] is spot on, and I read that as "His Rageness" and laughed out loud... because it fits all too well considering the recent "spewage" emanating forth from the twitter of the Orange Blowhole.

    At what point do the minions clue in? :)

  121. [121] 
    Kick wrote:

    LeaningBlue
    113

    Not just multiple pieces, as you say. It also looks like he was a gift that kept on giving.

    I know, right!? I laugh out loud each time I see his newest television interview where he just keeps on "giving." He now insists that the FBI is incorrect to refer to him as a "Kremlin adviser," even though it was Page himself who repeatedly described himself using that term in both verbal as well as written correspondence. Funny that. :)

    Around 5 pages of "probably cause" were presented to the judge (most of the redacted info) in the first application.

    By the 3rd renewal, that had grown to over 50 pages. He was publicly out of the Trump orbit by the times of those renewals, though.

    Operative words there being "publicly out of the Trump orbit." Papadopoulos and Page sure became "coffee boys" in swift order, and Benedict Donald thinks we're all gullible enough to believe that Manafort too was hired for a "few days" because of his expertise in brewing a mean cup of joe.

    Thanks for the links too. Truly appreciated. Keep them coming. :)

  122. [122] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    Trump V Cohen...This bout should be a good one, my cash...no no no no, cheque, is on Cohen in the fourth round.

    LL&P

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