Slowly at First, and Then Suddenly: How the Trump Election Conspiracy Unraveled

This weekend, the New York Times published a stunning report about a plan floated by a longtime emissary for the Saudis and the UAE in early August 2016, when Trump had just grabbed the GOP nomination but faced an uphill campaign against Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr., aide Stephen Miller and Erik Prince, founder of the notorious mercenary outfit once know as Blackwater, listened intently as the emissary offered Team Trump millions of dollars in assistance, including a covert social-media campaign, to help Trump win that would be run by a former Israeli spy who specializes in psychological warfare, or psywar.

“The emissary, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. that the princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president,” the Times reported. Some key elements — exactly who was behind the plan, and what parts, if any, were carried out — remain murky.

But like a lot of Trump scandals, the smoke from any alleged fire was clearly visible. Nader became a Trump ally who met frequently with key players like then-national security adviser (and future felon) Michael Flynn. He also, according to the Times, later made a large payment to the ex-spy Joel Zamel, as much as $2 million. After Trump was elected, Erik Prince attended a then-secret meeting in the Seychelles believed to have been brokered by UAE to cement ties with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. After Trump became president, American foreign policy has been almost unwaveringly consistent in fighting for the foreign policy goals of nations believed to have supported his 2016 election: Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE — most notably with Trump’s rejection of the Iran nuclear deal that is seriously destabilizing the Middle East. These dealings increasingly appear to have benefited the Trumps and Kushners not just politically but financially — even as they are not helpful, and even counterproductive at times, to the American people whom Trump was allegedly elected to represent.
Read more








C.R.E.A.M. Open Thread: Beating Our Plowshares Into Swords

We already know the answer to that one: MONEY!

Sure, it’ll further destabilize the Middle East, not to mention violating American law, but those Arabs have money!!! How is anyone with the kind of ethical code that allows them to work for Donald Trump gonna turn down money?

The Washington Post Editorial Board:

If the new gift to the crown prince is allowed to stand, Mr. Trump will have established a new precedent: Presidents may sell arms anywhere in the world without congressional review simply by claiming an unspecified emergency. Even supporters of Mr. Trump and of arms sales to Saudi Arabia ought to be troubled by this. Sen. James E. Risch (R-Idaho), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is at least thinking about it: In a statement, he said he was “reviewing and analyzing the legal justification for this action and the associated implications.”

Mr. Risch has a ready remedy: He can allow a vote in his committee on legislation to block the sales until the Saudi regime stops bombings in Yemen and meets other basic conditions, including the release of women’s rights activists it has detained and tortured. Congress has an obligation to rein in Mr. Trump’s wanton embrace of the Saudi strongman; it also must defend its basic foreign policy prerogatives. It’s time for Mr. Risch to show whether he is up to that challenge.

Mr. Risch is a Republican. The only ‘challenge’ he can see is whether he’ll fold fast enough & enthusiastically enough to please his Dear Leader…








Late Night Open Thread: It’s Hard Out There for A Grifting ‘Populist’


 
Just as he was looking for a headwind from Michael Wolff’s new book…

Italy’s cultural heritage ministry announced on Friday (May 31) that it would revoke a lease granted to Bannon after reports of fraud in the competitive tender process. The former Breitbart chief and aide to US president Donald Trump was reportedly paying €100,000 ($110,000) per year to rent the 13th Century Carthusian monastery, but now will have to search for another spot.

The Italian state allowed the conservative Catholic organization Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI) to use the building early last year. Bannon happens to be a trustee of the institute, and planned to convert the space into a “gladiator school for cultural warriors,” where students would learn philosophy, theology, history, and economics, and receive political training from the former Trump aide himself.

But earlier this month, Italian newspaper Repubblica reported that a letter used to guarantee the lease was forged. The letter had the signature of an employee of Danish bank Jyske, but the bank said that employee hadn’t worked there for years, and called the letter fraudulent…








Illuminati Open Thread: Pretty Dim Bulb Edition

Love the pic that was chosen to illustrate this: If brains were dynamite, this dude couldn’t blow his own nose. Okay, he’s not very smart, but Young Prince Jared has the original ‘Illuminati Master’ credential, as a member of the Lucky Sperm Club.

I remember reporter Tom Boggini as TBogg, the blogger who introduced me to Sadly, No… which introduced me to this joint. The wonders of networking, as reported by Raw Story:

According to a report from CNBC, White House advisor and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has accepted an invitation to attend the secretive Bilderberg meetings this week at a time when the president is embroiled in battles with Europe’s leaders.

The report states Kushner will be in Montreux, Switzerland, for the meetings on Thursday, describing the conference — long the subject of conspiracy theories — as, “Founded in 1954, the Bilderberg Meeting was designed to foster warmer relations between the United States and Europe. The annual talk-fest is considered secretive as guests are not allowed to reveal who said what at the meeting.”

As CNBC, reports, “The clandestine nature of the Bilderberg Meeting regularly sparks conspiracy theories and accusations of a ‘secret world order’ but organizers say the restricted gathering with rules on reporting simply allows more freedom within discussions.”…

CNBC also notes that Kushner will be joined at the meetings with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will also be attending, the reports states, although, unlike the president’s son-in-law, he is not listed on the official Bilderberg guest list…

Topics to be discussed in private include “Brexit, The Ethics of Artificial intelligence, The Importance of Space, and Climate Change and Sustainability.”

Tinfoil-hat interpretation: “Using ‘populist’ elections and robot entertainment to distract the masses while preparing Ruling Class evacuation to space or New Zealand”. Your turn!

(Seriously, though: The Washington Post points out that Pompeo is visiting Bilderberg as a “side trip” to the important stuff:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heads to Europe on Thursday to meet with officials from two governments that maintain close ties with Iran, just days after President Trump suggested he would welcome negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program.

Pompeo’s itinerary includes three days in Switzerland, an unusually long time for him to spend in any one country. Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran, which has imprisoned at least five Americans the United States considers hostages and is believed to know the whereabouts of a sixth who disappeared there 12 years ago…

State Department officials said Iran is one of many issues that will be discussed when Pompeo visits Berlin, the Swiss capital of Bern and The Hague in the Netherlands before joining Trump on a state visit to London…








Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: The NYTimes Is Very Concerned About Seth Moulton’s Presidential Chances

… or perhaps they are just worried that, without a sufficient number of nearly identical white men on the debate stage, mere Democrats might be enticed to make a wrong choice of candidates? As they did (according to the NYTimes) in 2016?

If Seth Moulton has more brains than ambition — and I’m told he’s a very bright man! — he’ll dedicate the months after September 2019 to winning back the support of his current constituents. As will Bill deBlasio, Tim Ryan…