Michael Wolraich's picture

    Trump-Putin Quid Pro Quo?

    Did Donald Trump agree to a quid pro quo with the Russian government? This is what we know.

    On March 19, 2016, John Podesta received an email, purportedly from Google, warning him of a potential security breach. He clicked the link and inadvertently delivered his email account to state-backed Russian hackers.

    Two days later, on March 21, Donald Trump announced his five-person foreign policy team, which included Carter Page, a previously unknown investment banker with extensive dealings in Russia.

    On March 28, nine days after the hack, Trump confirmed to the New York Times that he had hired Paul Manafort. Manafort had recently returned from Ukraine, where he helped organize the Russian-backed Ukrainian opposition. 

    On March 31, Trump met with his foreign policy advisors at the new Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., where they discussed the Republican Party's position on arming Ukraine against pro-Russian rebels.  According to advisor J.D. Gordon, Trump opposed this language in the RNC platform because "he didn't want to go to 'World War Three' over Ukraine."

    Bruce Levine's picture

    Anticipating the Revised Executive Order Restricting Entry Into the United States--Updated

    President Trump is expected to issue a revised immigration order today that will supersede the initial order that was enjoined last month by a temporary restraining order issued by a district court in Washington. We will know more about the actual contents of the order and that of course will generate additional discussion.  At this point, it appears that the revised order will eliminate Iraq as one of the seven countries that was specifically referred in the original order, and in fact may be replaced by a a worldwide temporary ban on incoming refugees to the United States--without reference to any nation expressly. It also appears that the revised order will clarify that it is not meant to apply to non-citizen but lawful permanent residents of the United States. [See Update below.] 

    Natasha Gural's picture

    Fellow Americans: Please Freeze the Cold War Rhetoric

    It's offensive and regrettable to hear Democratic politicians blame "the Russians" for Putin's crimes against humanity. The Russian people are not to blame, and, are in fact, among his most direct victims.

    This inappropriate Cold War rhetoric reeks of what I had hoped was a bitter, retrograde and bygone era in American discourse. While I understand the desire to criticize, even despise, Trump and Putin, there is nothing progressive about blaming "the Russians." This thoughtless language will only widen the rift that is damaging our country.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    DC Spy Novel Roundup: March 4 Edition

    Do you ever feel like John Le Carre's writing a novel called "American Politics?" Because U.S. politics are looking seriously Le-Carre-ified right now. Let's try to catch up on the story so far, leading up to the President's Saturday-morning tweetstorm accusing Obama of illegally wiretapping Trump Tower. (Boy, does Jared Kushner have a surprise coming when he gets back on line tonight.) Okay, let's walk through the last few weeks of front-page counterespionage.

    1) Michael Flynn ousted as Nation Security Adviser after lying about meetings with Russian ambassador.

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    Trump Administration, Cyprus & Putin Billionaires

    Trump's fantastic real estate deal in 2006 with Russian billionaire  Dmitry Rybolovlev:

    “Maison de l’Amitie,” or the House of Friendship. It was the trophy of a Boston-area magnate, until he lost his fortune in 2004. That’s when Donald Trump scooped it up. After paying $41 million for the place in November 2004, Trump called it “the finest piece of land in Florida, and probably the U.S.” ......Trump had no intention of living there. He intended to flip it for a quick—and huge—profit. His initial asking price, less than two years after buying it, was $125 million. By the time Trump listed the property, in early 2006, the real estate market was already cooling off.... In the summer of 2008, Trump found a solution to his problem in the form of one of the world’s hundred richest men: a 41-year-old Russian billionaire named Dmitry Rybolovlev....

    Bruce Levine's picture

    The President's State of the Union Address and What to Expect

    Below is a checklist of what I am looking for in tonight’s State of the Union address.  In addition to what is written below, I confess to feeling a certain relief—however temporary—in having the opportunity to focus on substantive policy choices and our "normal" divisions on the left and the right . So with this mind, here is what I’m looking for tonight:

    Intermezzo - Springtime for Hitler

    Today is my dip into happy land, my safe haven, my respite from the madness. Yesterday was the first sign of spring, still chilly but warm enough to go out with only a suit jacket - time for that springtime optimism.

    They used to say no news is good news, but now we have it 24x7, so let's just talk up the good news for a change. Today I'll be largely untouched by political chaos, except to note the bright sides.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    The Outrage Will Not Be Televised

    When six Muslims were killed in Canada Donald Trump gave us silence. Last week, when a legal immigrant from India was killed in Kansas we got the same thing. Our president and his administration seems to be more comfortable talking about the fictional terrorist attacks that occurred in Atlanta, Bowling Green, and Sweden than addressing the renaissance of white nationalism. I hope people of color and religious minorities are taking these slights seriously.

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    Pop Quiz - Fight Harder or Smarter?

    I was at a pub quiz last night, answering questions with an impromptu team sitting around a table.

    At one point, there was a question about which of 3 early 60's events happened first. I quickly gave an answer that I was pretty sure was correct, and gave me reasons for it. But over the course of the next couple of minutes, my teammates talked me out of it and chose another.

    When we scored the paper a couple minutes later, my answer would have been right. One of the guys who was largely leading the group looked at me and said, "But you didn't fight for your answer hard enough".

    Michael Maiello's picture

    David Brooks Does Not Understand How Wages Work

    Today, David Brooks made the absurd claim that the construction industry is experiencing a labor shortage because Americans won't take construction jobs:

    "Construction is hard, many families demean physical labor and construction is highly cyclical. Hundreds of thousands of people lost construction jobs during the financial crisis and don’t want to come back. They want steadier work even at a lower salary."

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    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Stop Dancing: Milo Isn't Dead!

    “...it doesn't matter if people love you or hate you, as long as they feel strongly one way or the other. The worst place you can be is in the middle.”

     

    ― Eric Bischoff, Controversy Creates Cash

     

    Topics: 
    librewolf's picture

    Blacks for Trump?

    Hey Joe, get me some black extras to sit on the dais. I need to show some "diversity" in all those TV shots. Trump may not know much about government and being president, but he does know about entertainment. He regularly uses "extras" - like folks to applaud at press conferences. It is all one big show and Trump is the (prima donna) star.

    Ramona's picture

    Wherein I'm forced To Admit Only The GOP Can Save Us

    So here we are, a month into Donald Trump's wacky version of an American presidency and every day it's something new and nutty. If the actor in this saga weren't actually the president of the United States, this whole thing would be highly entertaining.  A daily heart-pounding serial, picking up where the cliff-hanger from the day before left off--confusing, terrifying, laugh-out-loud--what's going to happen next?

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    Доброе утро, Америка - Notes from Underground

    As the "Spy who Came in from the Cold" starts to unfold or unravel, these are some of my notes - there will be more, many more, flying at a furious pace I expect. What else is happening? Feel free to pile on, like a Moscow snowdrift.

    Was Trump the "Casino" behind Russian Spies Arrested 2014?

    Little Moscow: More Trump-Russia real estate corruption.

    Plus: how Russian money powered Trump's comeback:

    librewolf's picture

    How Deep Is the Racism of the Republicans?

    As I watch Trump's efforts to block the entrance of Muslims into the United States, and the brutal tearing of families apart in the I.C.E. sweeps of immigrants, and the repeated crowing over destroying what Obama had built, and the white, white, white, Administration, I feel that I am being lashed by hatred and racism. Anxiety, Sadness, Anger, Depression? Oh yes, I feel these and I cry with the children who fear that they will never see their parents again, for I have been pulled from a parent and know that pain in my bones. All I know to do is to speak out and stand up and push back. It is either that or get mowed down, and that I cannot let happen.

    Richard Day's picture

    A NAKED ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

    I just viewed the most embarrassing Presidential speech of my life today.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    One-State, Two-State, Blue-State, Jew-State

    Donald Trump is an easy-going guy. Just yesterday, he shrugged off the United States' longstanding position on the Israel-Palestine dispute and announced that he's totally open to a "one-state" solution. 

    "So I'm looking at two-state, and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one," he burbled to the press with his friend "Bibi" Netanyahu beaming by his side. "I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two," he continued, "but honestly if Bibi and if the Palestinians--if Israel and the Palestinians--are happy, I'm happy with the one they like the best."

    One state, two state, whatever the kids are into these days.

    But what is this one-state solution to which Trump so cheerfully consented? He didn't say. Neither did Bibi. But Yishai Fleisher, a radical settler who presents himself as a spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, is not so circumspect. In a New York Times op-ed, he matter-of-factly rattled off five "credible" plans for appropriating Palestinian land and eviscerating the dream of Palestinian statehood.

    Bibi: Putin's inspiration?

    Reading Michael Crowley's piece on Bibi's long-term strategy towards Obama, I'm struck by this absurdity in American politics. As Netanyahu comes waltzing into Washington to place demands on the White House, receiving policy concessions served up like John the Baptist's head on a plate, he must be thinking the transformation is complete. But be careful, Bibi - sea changes can be wild, with the occasional tsunami.

    See, as we focus on foreign intervention into domestic politics, it won't be long until someone notices (me?) that we have a codified litmus test in Washington, if not largely accepted across the US, of allegiance to Israel and its needs/wants. For guilt reasons? Fear of the rapture and all things biblical? Sincere belief that these are Israel's and thus our needs? Who knows. For a nation that still largely practices the weird & painful circumcision procedure on all male babies for no actual religious or medical reason, we'll just have to accept we're a bit challenged on certain matters. But back to the story....

    Congress regularly is evaluated for support  on all matters Israel - AIPAC's "who's been naughty or nice" especially resulting in near lock-step adherence to Israeli predilections. Hillary took to this obligation with a flourish in her time as Senator, clinging almost as close to the Jewish state as she did to Obama during the last campaign. Bernie being Jewish got a little bit of breathing room, but even he mailed in his criticisms from an undisclosed remote location, knowing better than to deliver in person lest he be found in the East River with the fishes (a joke, son, it's a joke...)

    BrightBarf Spews -Who will Listen?

    Picking up a reference to a (Not-so-)BrightBarf header on Flynn's resignation at RCP, I was intrigued - while Pat Buchanan was telling those damn Negroes and Hippies to Behave, the Prez's virtual news rag of record was declaring Flynn's resignation was a bad sign - for everyone else. 

    How do they start this - oh, the sanctions on Russia were: " to substantiate the Democratic Party’s sore-loser conspiracy theory" - nothing to do with annexing Crimea, apparently.

    Then, "there is no evidence (yet) that Flynn did anything but discuss sanctions in the most general terms" - oops, guess they didn't read last night's papers. (Maybe Steve Bannon can provide a phone transcript if you guys need - he is in the NSC chain of command, right?).

    But Flynn was caught "because the Department of Justice had been eavesdropping on the conversation" - uh, he was a suspicious character making international calls to Russian leaders - those calls are monitored by NSA, not the DoJ. Info *might* be shared with others, however. [Perhaps they know not to intercept North Korean mobile calls on the Prez's unsecured phone, but I'd guess it's got more taps than a Hollywood jacuzzi.]

    Topics: 
    librewolf's picture

    Extreme Vetting? A Terrifying Thought

    We have repeatedly heard Donald Trump, first as a candidate and now as President, say that he is going to apply extreme vetting for immigrants and refugees. This is either for effect, or he has seriously not informed himself about the processes that folks go through (or even spoken to one of his wives), or he is playing on the ignorance of the bulk of the American public on what refugee, in particular, go through to get here. So to clarify, I off er this post that does detail those processes.

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