Russia Monitor: It’s Moscow Mitch & Sharpiegate And So Much More

“McConnell is more comfortable having Russia engage in our elections than he is in having the federal government work with the states to protect them.”

— Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) commenting on lack of GOP Senate election protection action.

By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (9/16/19)

Dear Fellow Readers,

One more note about Senate Leader “Moscow Mitch” McConnell before moving on, Moscow Mitch prioritizes Russian aluminum over coal miner pensions.

Similarly I’ll tie up one more loose end with a report on Trump’s now former national security adviser John Bolton – though I’ll also comment on the more important part here: the chaos of Trump’s Iran policy. Many expect Bolton to take his differences with Trump public; maybe this is part of that.

Bolton not only disagreed with Trump over a Camp David Taliban peace summit — which Trump likely saw as another step forward to his Nobel Peace Prize — Bolton also went apoplectic over a Trump idea to lift his own Iran sanctions to “jumpstart negotiations” towards Iran recommitting to the Iran nuclear accord they abandoned based on Trump hardline pressures and threats. Bolton bolting is not the important part of this story. The important part is Trump’s foreign policy schizophrenia.

There are more examples of Trump’s Iran schizophrenia. Trump supports, or at least supported (who knows now), a French President Emmanuel Macron plan to offer a $15 billion incentive to come “back in compliance with the Obama-era nuclear deal.

“I do believe they’d like to make a deal. If they do, that’s great. And if they don’t, that’s great too,” Trump told reporters Wednesday. “But they have tremendous financial difficulty, and the sanctions are getting tougher and tougher.” When asked if he would ease sanctions against Iran in order to get a meeting with Iran Trump simply said: “We’ll see what happens. I think Iran has a tremendous, tremendous potential.”

The author credits Trump’s motivations as “largely driven by his desire for historic photo ops and to be seen as the dealmaker-in-chief. It’s a desire so strong that it can motivate him to upturn years of his own administration’s policymaking and messaging.

I guess Trump will break a (Trump) deal to make a (Trump) deal – part of his ‘create a problem so only-he-can solve a problem’. Much like the Taliban is now apparently on his shit list again with his “never been hit harder than it is being hit right now” tweet. Credit author/pundit never-Trumper Max Boot with pointing out that Trump’s offense against the Taliban now includes “a mean tweet”.

Former Obama strategist David Axelrod makes a point in line with my Trump Fight Club analogy offered recently. His advice is “Let Trump Destroy Trump”. Axelrod points to Trump’s outrage and resentment, “he seethes with it” before advising “jiu-jitsu” over feeding Trump provocations. Here’s the foundation for his advice:

“Mr. Trump was elected to shake things up and challenge the political establishment….

“But polling and focus groups reflect a growing unease among a small but potentially decisive group of voters who sided with Mr. Trump in 2016 but are increasingly turned off by the unremitting nastiness, the gratuitous squabbles and the endless chaos he sows.

“Plenty of attention has been paid to the historic shift in suburban areas Mr. Trump narrowly carried in 2016 but that broke decisively with his party last fall. That revolt was led by college-educated white women, who overwhelmingly turned against Republican candidates.

“But what should be of even greater concern to Mr. Trump is the potential erosion among the non-college-educated white women he is counting on as a core constituency. Those women gave Mr. Trump a 27-point margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Yet in a recent Fox News poll, Mr. Trump was beating former Vice President Joe Biden by just four points in that group.”

Similarly New York Times opinion columnist Paul Krugman points out that Trump’s confrontations over concerns with the economy provides a similar opportunity.

“Trump’s diatribe was revealing in two ways. First, it’s now clear that he’s in full-blown panic over the failure of his economic policies to deliver the promised results. Second, he’s clueless about why his policies aren’t working, or about anything else involving economic policy.

“…Remember, Trump’s two signature economic policies were his 2017 tax cut and his rapidly escalating trade war with China. The first was supposed to lead to a decade or more of rapid economic growth, while the second was supposed to revive U.S. manufacturing.

“In reality, however, the tax cut delivered at most a couple of quarters of higher growth. More specifically, huge tax breaks for corporations haven’t delivered the promised surge in wages and business investment; instead, corporations used the windfall to buy back stocks and pay higher dividends.

“At the same time, the trade war has turned out to be a major drag on the economy — bigger than many people, myself included, expected.”

And the result for Trump –Trump’s approval rating on the economy, while still higher than his overall approval, has started to decline. And back to Fight Club, Krugman ends with “Trump has trapped himself in a bad place”.

But there are things we won’t hear from Trump – anything that sheds less than favorable light on one of his authoritarian Bromances. Take Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an example, you’ll never hear this from Trump:

Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House

Read the details if you want, but here’s my point:

“The U.S. government concluded within the past two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cellphone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

“But unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said.”

No consequences for their behavior, sound familiar? And speaking of Russian election interference and Russian assassinations, here’s one that happened recently in broad daylight in Berlin. 

Russia Growing More Bold With Deadly Retribution; Spy Hides In US | Rachel Maddow.

Maddow relates the story of a Russian assassination of a Chechen exile. If you prefer print to video there are many choices, but here’s a good one from the BBC.

I include a link to Maddow’s report because she also offered this on the same evening:

‘This is spy movie stuff’: Rachel Maddow worries Putin may assassinate — inside America

I started watching with a naïve ‘couldn’t happen here’ attitude, but she won me over. And Berlin in broad daylight in a park… why not here? But let’s also not forget Trump’s role should this happen:

Ex-CIA official destroys Trump and his GOP enablers for putting target on back of spy close to Putin.


Sharpiegate and so much more…

I’ll repeat myself. It’s not just Trump’s Fight Club foreign policy driven by self-aggrandizement. It’s not just Trump’s incoherent economic policy or dangerous farm policy. It’s not just Trump’s seething anger and cruelty that is his immigration policy. It’s not just Trump’s every day corruption of lining his and his sycophant’s pockets at every opportunity. It’s not just his bizarre self-created Sharpiegate that is finally put into full perspective here. It’s all of these things and more.


Yes, we’ll vote – what more can we do? Well, “AOC Makes an Excellent Point About Impeachment”. AOC reminds us, it’s not just Trump and the best way to make sure they are all accountable is this:

“I want to see every Republican go on the record and knowingly vote against impeachment of this president, knowing his corruption, having it on the record, so that they can have that stain on their careers for the rest of their lives.”

(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivaative use with link to )