Friday, February 24, 2017

The Donald is Putin's Puppet

UPDATE XVII:  Now obstruction of justice and coverup.

Read the Washington Post, White House adviser asked FBI to dispute Russia reports.

It's déjà vu Nixon all over again!

And like Nixon, Trump doesn't like it.

Read the Washington Post, The big news is not the FBI leaks. It’s what’s in the leaks.

UPDATE XVI:  "The Trump-Russia file, which concerns fundamental questions of national security, is far more deserving of close scrutiny by Congress, the media, law enforcement, and the public than any of the White House’s many other alleged misdeeds. And the Flynn phone calls are only the beginning, not the end, of the scandal in question."

Read Foreign Policy, Donald Trump’s Russia Scandal Is Just Getting Started.

UPDATE XV: Read the Washington Post, Why Flynn was undone by a phone call, which notes:

"The call may not necessarily be the smoking gun, the ultimate 'proof' that there was a quid pro quo: 'You help us with the election, we help you by lifting sanctions.' But it sure looks like it could be.

That explains why Flynn lied about the call to the vice president, and to the press. That explains why — although he has known about this issue for many weeks — the president did not fire Flynn earlier. That also explains why the president has expressed regret about the leak of the transcript of the call but not about the fact that Flynn made the call in the first place. That also explains why Flynn resigned."

UPDATE XIV:  "President Trump's national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn . . . had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Moscow's ambassador in Washington prior to Trump's inauguration. Flynn, according to intelligence sources, likely signaled that the question of sanctions would be revisited by a more friendly Trump administration.

The discussions suggest a worrying level of collusion between a key figure in the new administration and the Kremlin. . .

Flynn's dealings with Russia aside, there are even deeper ties that connect the current administration to the Kremlin.

First, there surely is more to come on the extent of Russian involvement in last year's election, with law enforcement agencies in the United States increasingly certain that Moscow actively worked to help Trump win. The Russian establishment, including close Putin allies, publicly basked in Trump's victory. Now, some Pentagon officials say they have 'assumed that the Kremlin has ears' inside the White House ever since Trump's inauguration, according to controversial former counterintelligence official John Schindler.

Beyond the intrigues of spies, though, there's also a clear ideological affinity."

Read the Washington Post, Beyond Flynn, other ties bind the White House to the Kremlin

UPDATE XIII: Read CNN, Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.

Read also The New York Times, Trump Briefed on Claim That Russia Had Secrets on Him.

BTW, this story has more corroboration than Republi-CON pizzagate or the birther scam.

UPDATE XII:  The Donald is ever the consummate con man.

Read the Washington Post, Trump alleges delay in his briefing on ‘so-called’ Russian hacking; U.S. official says there wasn’t one.

UPDATE XI:  The Donald's ode to Putin:

Listen to the lyrics, or read them here. This song foretells The Donald's relationship with Putin.

UPDATE X: In Europe in the 1930s "there was throughout [the land] a generalized crisis of legitimacy. Large numbers of people felt dispossessed, disenfranchised, disconnected from dominant social institutions. The political party system, and . . . government more generally, were regarded as corrupt and oligarchic. Such an environment was fertile ground for a ‘mob mentality,’ in which outsiders . . . could be scapegoated and a savior could be craved: 'The mob always will shout for 'the strong man,' the 'great leader.' For the mob hates the society from which it is excluded, as well as [government] where it is not represented.'

And a society suffused with resentment, according to Arendt, is ripe for manipulation by the propaganda of sensationalist demagogues: 'What convinces masses are not facts, and not even invented facts, but only the consistency of the system of which they are presumably part . . . Totalitarian propaganda thrives on this escape from reality into fiction . . . [and] can outrageously insult common sense only where common sense has lost its validity.' Cynicism. Contempt for truth. Appeal to the craving of the masses for simple stories of malevolent conspiracy."

Read the Washington Post, How Hannah Arendt’s classic work on totalitarianism illuminates today’s America.

Sounds a lot like America today.

UPDATE IX:  "Put his campaign rhetoric, tweets and appointments all together, and we’re getting a sense of U.S. foreign policy under Donald Trump. The president-elect has consistently signaled that he wants to be accommodating toward Russia and get tough on China. But that sees the world almost backward. China is, for the most part, comfortable with the U.S.-led international system. Russia is trying to upend it. . .

Keep in mind that China’s view of the world over the past two decades has been fundamentally benign, having grown to wealth and power in that period. Putin, by contrast, believes that the end of Soviet communism in 1989 was the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century” and that Russia has been humiliated ever since. His goal appears to be to overturn the U.S.-created international order, even if this means chaos.

The question is, why would an American president-elect help Moscow achieve that goal?"

Read the Washington Post, Vladimir Putin wants a new world order. Why would Donald Trump help him?

The answer: simply to get elected. Winning elections is the only thing  Republi-CONs care about, principle no longer matters.

Read also The New York Times, Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?, which argues convincingly that The Donald show classic dictatorial tendencies. 

The more that this is analyzed, the scarier it get.

UPDATE VIII:  "Russia’s secret hacking against Democratic Party officials threatened the integrity of the U.S. political system. And President-elect Donald Trump shouldn’t have criticized the CIA after its analysts told Congress about the Kremlin’s efforts. Trump, unbelievably, seemed to be taking a potential adversary’s side against his own nation’s intelligence professionals. . .

[N]o doubt the Russians wanted to hurt Clinton and help Trump. In Russia’s eyes, he said, Clinton had sought to undermine President Vladimir Putin after the 2011 parliamentary elections and to foment 'color revolutions' in areas of Russian influence. Trump, by contrast, had lauded Putin, suggested lifting sanctions and belittled NATO."

Read the Washington Post, Trump is playing a risky spy game.

UPDATE VII: "Trump has repeatedly expressed a soft spot for an oppressive dictator, Vladimir Putin, who is challenging American interests at every turn. As a candidate, Trump publicly invited Russia to hack his opponent’s emails. Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, resigned amid reports that he had represented pro-Russian interests as a lobbyist. Trump’s choice for national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, seems to be a Russophile and has appeared on Russia’s propaganda network.

In 2008, Donald Trump Jr. admitted that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” President-elect Trump has consistently refused to be fully transparent about his finances.

Before the presidential vote, the American intelligence community determined that the Russian government directed the illegal hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other political figures. Now the CIA, according to reporting in The Post, has shared with Congress its finding that Russia intervened with the intent of swinging the election toward Trump. And Trump — instead of expressing concern about an act of cyberwar — has essentially come to Russia’s defense and launched an ad hominem attack on the U.S. intelligence community. . .

[I]f the CIA interpretation is correct, this is not just one provocation among many. If Putin actually helped elect an American president more favorable to Russian interests, it is surely the largest intelligence coup since the cracking of the Enigma code during World War II. And it is arguably a bigger deal — more on par with, say, German intelligence helping elect Charles Lindbergh president."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s dangerous diss of the CIA.

UPDATE VI: "Good Lord. We are about to inaugurate as president a man whose election, according to the CIA, was aided by a Russian intelligence operation. Try as we might, we cannot pretend this didn’t happen.

We can’t ignore outrageous interference by an adversarial foreign power because President-elect Donald Trump’s actions question his own legitimacy, or at least his fitness to hold the nation’s highest office, virtually every day. . .

Our president is supposed to be chosen in polling places across the United States — not behind the imposing walls of the Kremlin."

Read the Washington Post, Trump is assembling an anti-government. Did Russia help get him here?

UPDATE V:  "You would think the stunning news that the CIA had concluded Russia hacked the Democrats to help President-elect Donald Trump win the election, followed by Trump’s insulting dismissal of 17 intelligence agencies finding that Russia was responsible — which in turn was followed by news he intended to nominate as secretary of state an unqualified chief executive with exceptionally close ties to Vladimir Putin (and who opposed sanctions) — would have stirred outrage and deep concern among Republicans, who used to pride themselves on their national security chops. You would be wrong. . .

[W]hy are these Republicans so silent? I mean, this is a really big deal.

Read the Washington Post, Republicans need to get out from under their desks.

I can only image the outcry if Russia had hacked the Republi-CONs to get HRC elected. Is there any doubt there would be impeachment proceedings.

UPDATE IV:  "The flood of 'fake news' this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia. . .

Some players in this online echo chamber were knowingly part of the propaganda campaign, the researchers concluded, while others were 'useful idiots' — a term born of the Cold War to describe people or institutions that unknowingly assisted Soviet Union propaganda efforts.

The Russian campaign during this election season, researchers from both groups say, worked by harnessing the online world’s fascination with 'buzzy' content that is surprising and emotionally potent, and tracks with popular conspiracy theories about how secret forces dictate world events.

Some of these stories originated with RT and Sputnik, state-funded Russian information services that mimic the style and tone of independent news organizations yet sometimes include false and misleading stories in their reports, the researchers say. On other occasions, RT, Sputnik and other Russian sites used social-media accounts to amplify misleading stories already circulating online, causing news algorithms to identify them as 'trending' topics that sometimes prompted coverage from mainstream American news organizations."

Read the Washington Post, Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, experts say.

Read also the Washington Post, Americans keep looking away from the election’s most alarming story.

UPDATE III:  "Former CIA director Michael Morell endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and blasted GOP rival Donald Trump, accusing him of becoming an unwitting agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin in an op-ed on Friday. . .

He noted that Putin is a trained intelligence officer, and he suggested that the Russian leader has been using Trump's personality for his own gain. In the primaries, Morell said, Putin 'played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities' by complimenting him.

Among the traits Morell said would make Trump a 'danger' to national security: 'his obvious need for self-aggrandizement, his overreaction to perceived slights, his tendency to make decisions based on intuition, his refusal to change his views based on new information, his routine carelessness with the facts, his unwillingness to listen to others and his lack of respect for the rule of law.'"

Read the Washington Post, In endorsing Clinton, ex-CIA chief says Putin made Trump his 'unwitting agent'.

UPDATE II:  At the same time, his VP pick said "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences."

Read the Washington Post, Pence: Consequences if Russia is interfering in U.S. election.

So while Pence understands the seriousness of the possibility that a foreign power is directly interfering in the U.S. presidential election, Trump is encouraging the interference.

Pence should withdrawal as Trump's VP.

UPDATE:  "Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday said he hoped that Russia would hack into Hillary Clinton’s email server to find “missing” messages and release them to the public."

Read the Washington Post, Trump urges Russia to hack Clinton's emails and release them publicly.

Donald Trump is dangerously insane!

"Donald Trump never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like — until now.

He has dabbled in, among other things, the notion that President Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya, that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered and that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination.

But on one topic, Trump is conspicuously incurious: the suggestion that he is complicit in a plan by Vladimir Putin to influence the U.S. election."

Read the Washington Post, A Trump-style speculation on the GOP and Putin, which lists the many troubling connections between Putin and The Donald.