Security Theater Open Thread: Wolverines! — Not the UM Kind

As ever, the brilliance of the Trump Administration: Getting a roomful of people with every reason to hate Islamic terrorists united in anger against… the Trump administration. Per the Detroit Free Press:

In a meeting today with Arab-Americans and Muslims in Dearborn, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly stood up at one point and threatened to leave after a community advocate accused the department of targeting their communities, according to meeting participants.

The tense exchange took place during a hour-long meeting at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, where Kelly met with several Arab-American and Muslim advocates as part of a visit to metro Detroit. At a separate earlier meeting with immigrant, Latino, and Chaldean advocates, some also criticized the department for allegedly targeting minority groups…

At the meeting, Nabih Ayad, an active civil rights leader and attorney who is founder of the Dearborn-based Arab American Civil Rights League, said he pressed Kelly about executive orders from his department that target six Muslim-majority nations.

He also mentioned alleged profiling of Arabs and Muslims at ports of entry. Ayad said he asked Kelly to create a record of who gets stopped for questioning at ports of entry so there can be data to see if there is disproportionate targeting of Arabs and Muslims.

“He stood up and walked away almost,” Ayad said. “He said, I’m leaving unless you decide to stop your questions and have someone else ask a question. … He actually got out his seat.”

Ayad said he then stopped his comments and another Arab-American advocate started to speak. Ayad’s account was confirmed by two other Arab-Americans who attended the meeting. U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, who had invited Kelly to Michigan, were also at the meeting…



Swamps, All the Way Down

Good lord, this Trump-Russia thing is not necessarily developing to the shitgibbon’s advantage, is it? Here are three current WaPo headlines:

Trump administration sought to block Sally Yates from testifying to Congress on Russia

Nunes admits meeting with source of Trump surveillance documents on White House grounds

23 people ask the Justice Department to launch a criminal inquiry into its chief, Jeff Sessions

I’ve been out slogging through literal swamps for the past few days, so I’m catching up on the news, which tells of yet more swamps of the figurative variety. The craving for popcorn is damn near irresistible!

via GIPHY

Has there ever been anything like this cascading clusterfuck in the history of the republic? Sometimes it’s necessary to avert one’s eyes, hence the swamp trek. We’re gonna need a bigger boat…

Open thread!



Saturday Morning Clowns Open Thread: Not Gonna Get Easier, Repubs


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Aaaand now… Onwards, to the Zombie-Eyed Granny-Starver’s Ayn Rand wet dream…



Late Night Open Thread: SAD!

(Courtesy of Schroedinger’s Cat)
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Not us Dems, of course — but this guy:

What’s that again, Donald?…



The Maskirovka Slips XI*: Updates to Four Ongoing Components

Three quick updates to our ongoing coverage of Putin’s campaign of active measures, dezinformatziya, kompromat, and cyberwarfare against the US, the EU and its member states, and NATO and its member states.

First up, if you’re going to try for clever keep your mouth shut!

Additionally Congressman Nunes had not actually seen anything that he talked about at his two press conferences or with the President on Wednesday. He does not actually know what, if anything, was incidentally collected or if anything even was.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, R-Calif., does not know “for sure” whether President Donald Trump or members of his transition team were even on the phone calls or other communications now being cited as partial vindication for the president’s wiretapping claims against the Obama administration, according to a spokesperson.

“He said he’ll have to get all the documents he requested from the [intelligence community] about this before he knows for sure,” a spokesperson for Nunes said Thursday. Nunes was a member of the Trump transition team executive committee.

And that was before he destroyed what was left of his committee this morning.

It is important to note that Congressman Schiff is a former Federal prosecutor who has successfully prosecuted an FBI agent who was working for the Russians. He understands counterintelligence and he has successfully prosecuted a criminal case that arose out of a counterintelligence investigation. Congressman Nunes has a masters degree in agricultural science.

Secondly, and still involving the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Paul Manafort wants to come in out of the cold.

And now Roger Stone and Carter Page are looking to get a foot in the door to play let’s make a deal!

But, you ask, what about LTG Flynn? Surely you couldn’t forget LTG Flynn? No, I have not. Our third entry this Friday afternoon is that LTG Flynn, while working for both the Turkish government as an unregistered foreign agent and the President as his campaign’s national security advisor, proposed kidnapping Fethullah Gulen from his home in Pennsylvania and rendering him back to Turkey – outside of the actual, formal, and required by law extradition process. This is usually referred to as kidnapping. It is also, usually, a crime!

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, while serving as an adviser to the Trump campaign, met with top Turkish government ministers and discussed removing a Muslim cleric from the U.S. and taking him to Turkey, according to former Central Intelligence Agency Director James Woolsey, who attended, and others who were briefed on the meeting.

The discussion late last summer involved ideas about how to get Fethullah Gulen, a cleric whom Turkey has accused of orchestrating last summer’s failed military coup, to Turkey without going through the U.S. extradition legal process, according to Mr. Woolsey and those who were briefed.

Mr. Woolsey told The Wall Street Journal he arrived at the meeting in New York on Sept. 19 in the middle of the discussion and found the topic startling and the actions being discussed possibly illegal.

 Mr. Woolsey said the idea was “a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away.” The discussion, he said, didn’t include actual tactics for removing Mr. Gulen from his U.S. home. If specific plans had been discussed, Mr. Woolsey said, he would have spoken up and questioned their legality.It isn’t known who raised the idea or what Mr. Flynn concluded about it.

You know you have lost what little grip on reality you may have had when you’re proposing things that make DCI Woolsey uncomfortable.

Finally, we have our fourth update: Marine Le Pen has traveled to Russia to meet with her handler, boss, and krysha, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Putin has received Marine Le Pen in the Kremlin in a surprise move likely to reignite fears in Europe about Russian support for the European far right.

Putin told Le Pen Russia had no intention of meddling in the French presidential elections, though the meeting is likely to send the opposite message.

 

Speaking after their meeting, Le Pen said Putin represented “a sovereign nation” and “new vision”.

“A new world has emerged in the past years. This is Vladimir Putin’s world, Donald Trump’s world in the United States, Mr [Narendra] Modi’s world in India,” she added.

“I think I am probably the one who shares with all these great nations a vision of cooperation and not one of subservience – a hawkish vision that has too often been expressed by the European Union.”

Putin, of course, stated that Russia has no intention of interfering in the upcoming French elections.

“We do not want to influence events in any way, but we retain the right to meet with all the different political forces, just like our European and American partners do,” said Putin.

Bloomberg Politics reports that Le Pen’s visit is all about the money. Le Pen and the Front National are a bought and paid for arm of the Russian government. Which makes sense because otherwise a nationalist party that believes that the nation it seeks to lead should be dominated by Russia would be hard to understand.

“Russia is a decisive element of the balance of power that could help bring peace to the world,” she said during her Feb. 23 speech in Paris on foreign policy. “Russia has been mistreated by the EU and its vassal France,” she said.

Russia’s First Czech-Russian Bank OOO helped her finance an earlier campaign with a 9-million-euro loan in 2014. In the same year, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen’s political fund Cotelec received another 2-million-euro loan from a Russian-backed fund based in Cyprus, news website Mediapart reported.

Le Pen is still seeking a loan to help her finance her presidential run. She says French banks are refusing to lend her the millions of euros she needs. So far, she has a 6-million-euro loan from Cotelec, according to wealth filings with authorities made public this week.

A couple of final odds and ends. Putin has taken advantage of all the tumult in DC this week, as well as the successful attack in London, to escalate his war against Ukraine and to make some mischief in Belarus.

One last note: I’ve mentioned in comments a couple of times that all of the open source reporting and documentation is showing more and more penetration and penetration at all levels. This includes conservative organizations such as the NRA. If anyone was wondering how Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and Trump campaign surrogate wound up in Moscow getting a briefing from Russia’s Foreign Ministry, well we now know:

In March 2014, the U.S. government sanctioned Dmitry Rogozin—a hardline deputy to Vladimir Putin, the head of Russia’s defense industry and longtime opponent of American power—in retaliation for the invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Eighteen months later, the National Rifle Association, Donald Trump’s most powerful outside ally during the 2016 election, sent a delegation to Moscow that met with him.

The NRA delegation’s 2015 trip to Russia took place the same week, lasting from Dec. 8-13, according to Clarke’s public financial disclosure forms, (PDF), and included not only the people who met with Rogozin but a number of other NRA dignitaries, including donors Dr. Arnold Goldshlager and Hilary Goldschlager, as well as Jim Liberatore, the CEO of the Outdoor Channel.

Here’s the link to Clarke’s disclosure form.

I’ll have more about this next week.

Stay frosty!

* This is the actual eleventh maskirovka post, I misnumbered number ten as eleven. I apologize for any inconvenience.



Friday Morning Open Thread: Some Well-Earned Schadenfreude

Anything is possible in this fallen world, so there’s still a chance that Ryan and Trump between them can bribe, charm, or bully enough Repub holdouts into voting for their “health care” “plan” (Trump air quotes). But the betting odds are against it, at least for today… and it’s always sweet to see such a bunch of grifters and cravens suffer.

Apart from cheering for more GOP defectors, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up another long week?
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Trumpcare Going Down? Maybe! Plus: Parallel Universes

It was always a small and petty move — the drive to kill Obamacare on the seventh anniversary of its passage. But then again, the edict came down from a small and petty man, who in a Time interview released earlier today, revealed anew just how trifling and narcissistic he is. Money quote:

I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.

George W. Bush and his “Decider” blankie are now dismissed from consideration in the “dumbest verbal assertion of authority by a sitting president” sweepstakes.

Anyway, back to healthcare: I don’t know if Ryan and Trump can exert enough pressure on the tiny balls of their caucus to ram the Trumpcare bill through the House, but they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Everyone hates that fucking bill.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe…

In the morning thread, Anne Laurie alluded to how LBJ phrased his realization that he was toast politically: “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” There is no Cronkite in today’s fragmented media. Here’s the pablum Murdoch’s minions were spooning into Fox News viewers’ toothless gobs as more evidence of collusion between Trump campaign operatives and Russian spies came to light:

Devin Nunes doesn’t seem very bright, but whoever wound him up and sent him out to undermine his own committee’s investigation yesterday likely had two goal in mind: 1) deploy shiny object to give cover to Trump’s tweeted lies about wiretapping, and 2) create an alternative narrative about the Russia scandal that is engulfing the Trump administration.

Now, I’m firmly in the “shitlords, not masterminds” camp; I don’t believe Trump’s people (including the ones operating out of Russia) are slick enough to pull this off and escape the consequences if proof emerges that Trump operatives colluded with Russia to rig the election. And in addition to the strong circumstantial evidence of collusion, credible people have alleged the proof goes beyond that.

The only question is, will a sufficient number of Republicans continue to put party over country to prevent action, even if a smoking gun emerges? I can’t imagine a scenario in which they’ll suddenly become patriots, unless it’s clear their jobs are on the line. So, it all comes down to that.

But we have a powerful ally in our fight — Trump himself. At age 70, he’s not going to suddenly discover self-discipline and learn how to play well with others. So, I like our chances. See above.