By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (4/5/17)
Dear Fellow Readers,
The pushback has started in earnest. After a few miss-steps the Trump cabal is honing it’s message that Trump was surveilled. The target is Susan Rice, a familiar GOP target. Susan Rice, Ex-Obama Adviser, Is Back in Political Cross Hairs Over Surveillance.
Push Back Playbook
One thing about Dems – they are incapable of a unified message and in instances like these I am happy for that. Take a look at the names and the damning comments from the GOP leadership – Graham, Cotton, Rand Paul – shameful; shameful to them only if they had that moral reflex, which clearly they don’t. At least for Sean Spicer he now has something to hold onto instead of flailing away – the dog has a bone and will not let it go. Even Nunes will strive to be seen as the hero and not the goat. See any signs of bi-partisanship?
If you have the stomach for it take a look at the non-sanitized version at the right wing Daily Caller: Former US Attorney: Susan Rice Ordered Spy Agencies To Produce ‘Detailed Spreadsheets’ Involving Trump
So the White House orchestrates a leak to discredit the attack on Trump’s Russia connections that were never leaked. But the nuanced language quickly evaporate – it started with “spread names (Trump associates) within the intelligence community” – now gives way to Lyin’ Leakin’ Rice.
Seen this before?
Too bad Michael Flynn isn’t available to be the lead cheerleader with his crack-addled sycophant shtick leading the ridiculous charges. But there’s always a huge group of wanna-be’s waiting-in-the-wings. Let the Republican games begin!
Here’s Michael Doran, former National Security Council senior director charging out of the gates, taking the pole position with, “somebody blew a hole in the wall between national security secrets and partisan politics.” He goes on to swing for the fences by saying a felony was committed. (In the link above).
Here’s the accurate version of how this works but since none of this has the appearance of rabid dogs chasing moving shadows it doesn’t sell advertising: Appropriate Surveillance: I hope Susan Rice was keeping tabs on Trump’s Russia ties.
No need to work this to death, we’ll be seeing much more of it to come. And speaking of advertising, FOX News now has something to keep them busy and distracted from the spreadsheet (pun intentional) for loss of advertisers from the latest Bill on fireO’Reilly sexual abuse accusations. Why do so many people buy into authoritarianism and ignore or shrug off the human cost. I know, I know….
But This Isn’t An Election
The election is over. It’s great that Trump (I’ll simply use that inclusively though maybe I should say ‘Bannon-Kushner’) wants to argue the case in public but I don’t see the FBI going away. I am not entirely naïve; it may go away – after all Giuliani and friends got Comey to go public with his “Clinton is not under investigation” (the equivalent of “the theater is not on fire … DID YOU HEAR ME SAY FIRE?”) but there are a lot of resources running down the leads and loose ends.
Do notice, the argument against Rice accepts the fact there were connections, communication, meetings and attempts by the Russians to affect the outcome of the election. You can’t argue that Rice did something wrong without supporting the idea that she found something worthy of consideration.
If you want a boost in confidence, go the Bill Maher video at the end of following article. The second half with the commentary from journalist Louise Mensch (“panic at the White House”) is the best part: ‘I sense panic at the White House’: Journalist Louise Mensch explains how the Russia-Trump probe is coming to a head
So we’ll keep digging away while the food fight evolves. As an example, here’s more detail on Manafort’s relationships: how much money he was moving around, how, and where. If you read or scroll almost to the end of the article there is an excellent 8-minute video laying out all the connections and it’s a great example of how collusion, corruption and money laundering all come together: Manafort-Linked Accounts on Cyprus Raised Red Flag
Here’s something I really don’t understand. NBC News connects Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to money laundering AND the Bank of Cypress and fails to remind us – Bank of Cypress is the very bank bought into and run by Wilbur Ross – the Trump’s hand-picked United States COMMERCE SECRETARY. Thank goodness we don’t have to rely on the media to do simple math – we only have to worry about whether the Justice Department will do their job or fold. Of course, if they fold they take democracy as we know it with them. Check out the details at Trump’s commerce secretary oversaw Russia deal while at Bank of Cyprus.
Names like Felix Sater, Oleg Deripaska and Semion Mogilevich are going to keep popping up. Unless you find Mogilevich easy to remember you may not see all the connections and don’t count on the media to do this for you. Is Trump ‘mobbed up’? Does the Russian mob have hooks in his backside? Does any of this matter? Maybe. From the last edition (a good one to read once a week): Why FBI Can’t Tell All On Trump, Russia
Is Any of This Important?
I think this is all critically important. I’ve tried to make that clear along the way, but worthy of repetition: Our democracy is at risk. I’m not arguing about perfection but moving towards authoritarianism and a government for the oligarchs is a horrible outcome. We already face challenges with concentration of wealth and how it can be used but at least, by global standards, we had a sound legal system and balance of power.
Putin is revered for his rebuilding of Russian nationalism but this comes at a cost for Russian citizens, especially the poor and middle class; and it’s not so good for the occasional oligarch that steps out of line. Putin represents a style of governance that is based on absolute authority of all workings of the nation – pick your own example but decide whether Putin, Ramzan Kadryov (Chechen Republic), Duterte (Philippines) , Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Egypt), Teodoro Obiang (Equatorial Guinea) are your model of governance. You could pick some that are masters of corruption but not equally horrible with human rights, like Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, or you could go for the entire package – off the scale for corruption and human rights and Putin’s Chechnya crony Kadryov is a pretty good choice. Here’s the latest example: Chechen Police Round Up 100 Gay Men killing Three Following A Clamp Down By Putin’s Hard-man Ally Razman Kadyrov
Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort, Semion Mogilevich, Roger Stone, Carter Page and all the rest didn’t convene twenty years ago and decide on how we’d get to this moment in time. Bannon didn’t even have Trump in mind as recently as a year ago; his first choice was Jefferon Beauregard Sessions for president. But here we are – a confluence of shared aspirations with the likes of Spicer, Conway, Pence, Sessions, Ryan, McConnell, Cotton, Nunes, Giuliani, Flynn, Kushner as enablers and eager pitch-men. It is quite a club, even Betsy DeVos Secretary of Education gets in the game when her mercenary brother, Erick Prince, former head of Blackwater, who tried to set up his own Putin-Trump back-channel. Still think she got there because of her qualifications? Betsy DeVos’ Brother Reportedly Held A Secret Meeting To Connect Trump With Russia Before Inauguration
What Would The United States Federation Look Like?
Evelyn Farkas is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia under the Obama administration. Her recent comments in the media underscore the conflation of all facets of the Russian state – Putin, KGB/FSB, Russian organized crime, courts, military, police and business. There is no rule of law, no business law, only the approval or disapproval of one man: Vladimir Putin. It is not a pretty picture. It should not be our desirable outcome, nor should we think it can’t happen by dismissing our current experience as “it’s just politics”. Trump And Putin: Two Liars Separated at Birth? No wonder they seem to like each other; they are akin in their abuse of the truth.
By the way, Evelyn Farkas, who wrote the above article is second to Susan Rice as the right wing media choice for targets and you’ll increasingly hear her name associated with confirmation of Obama surveillance of Trump. Try to Google her and wade through the reams of distortions – full circle to where I started: It’s ‘game on’.
The Push Back finds it’s legs and has achieved lift-off. Spicer is a happy boy, he is no longer the lone defender at the gate hiding his Easter Bunny suit in the podium just in case he is “called upon” to serve his nation again.
Any bets on when we’ll hear demands for hearings to investigate Rice? Rep. Trey Gowdy as chair? He’s an expert on investigating nothing; spinning indictments out of thin air.