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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 29,890

Journal Archives

Trump's breathtaking surrender to Russia - By Michael Gerson

In the normal course of events, the revelation of attempted collusion with Russia to determine the outcome of a presidential election might cause an administration to overcorrect in the other direction. A president might find ways to confront the range of Russian aggression, including cyber-aggression, if only to avoid the impression of being bought and sold by a strategic rival.

But once again, President Trump — after extended personal contact with Vladimir Putin and the complete surrender to Russian interests in Syria — acts precisely as though he has been bought and sold by a strategic rival. The ignoble cutoff of aid to American proxies means that “Putin won in Syria,” as an administration official was quoted by The Post. Concessions without reciprocation, made against the better judgment of foreign policy advisers, smack more of payoff than outreach. If this is what Trump’s version of “winning” looks like, what might further victory entail? The re- creation of the Warsaw Pact? The reversion of Alaska to Russian control?

There is nothing normal about an American president’s subservience to Russia’s interests and worldview. It is not the result of some bold, secret, Nixonian foreign policy stratagem — the most laughable possible explanation. Does it come from Trump’s bad case of authoritarianism envy? A fundamental sympathy with European right-wing, anti-democratic populism? An exposure to pressure from his checkered financial history? There are no benign explanations, and the worst ones seem the most plausible.

There is no way to venture where this approach ends up, except that it involves greater Russian influence and intimidation in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East (where Iran, the Syrian regime and Hezbollah are winners as well). But we can already count some of the costs.

Trump is alienating Republicans from their own heroic foreign policy tradition. The conduct of the Cold War was steadied and steeled by Ronald Reagan, who engaged with Soviet leaders but was an enemy of communism and a foe of Soviet aggression. In fact, he successfully engaged Soviet leaders because he was an enemy of communism and a foe of Soviet aggression. There is no single or simple explanation for the end of the Cold War, but Republicans have generally held that the United States’ strategic determination played a central role.


Obama stood up to Russian interference. Now Trump must follow through.

By Denis McDonough July 20 at 7:26 PM

Denis McDonough was White House chief of staff from 2013 to 2017.

I have watched with concern the tone, substance and trajectory of the national debate about Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. I write today to set the record straight about the events of last fall and, more important, to ensure that we as a nation do not lose sight of what happened — and what we must do to preserve our democracy.

On Oct. 7, as part of a painstaking intelligence, homeland security and diplomatic effort to safeguard the integrity of our election infrastructure and the sanctity of each American’s vote, the homeland security secretary and director of national intelligence released an unprecedented joint statement about an unprecedented development. In that statement, these two senior officials stated unequivocally that the Russian government, had directed the theft of emails from U.S. “persons and institutions. . . . These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process. . . . (and) only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

The events that led to that public statement began last summer, as national security professionals in the government grew increasingly concerned about Russian intentions to interfere in our election. President Barack Obama directed his staff to brief appropriate members of Congress, prepare possible responses, assess the vulnerabilities of the electoral infrastructure, and help state and local election authorities secure their networks.

Congressional briefings began in early August and finished once Congress returned to Washington after the summer recess. At that point, the president invited the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate to the White House, ostensibly to discuss the budget and his trip to Asia. The real purpose of this meeting was to discuss the alarming news about Russian ambitions to interfere with the election and ask the four leaders to draft a statement of concern. This joint, bipartisan statement was thought by the White House to be particularly important since state and local authorities had been reluctant to accept the assistance being offered by the Department of Homeland Security, and we believed a bipartisan statement would help persuade them to put aside their concerns and work with the federal government to protect our election infrastructure.


Don't get distracted: The GOP's cruel health-care plan isn't dead yet - By Eugene Robinson

Focus, America, focus. The most urgent task right now is to make sure a stake is driven through the heart of the Republican effort to gut Medicaid and balloon the ranks of the uninsured.

I know that the Russia investigations are charging ahead, with Capitol Hill appearances by members of President Trump’s inner circle scheduled for next week. I know that Trump gave an unhinged interview to the New York Times on Wednesday, bizarrely undermining his own attorney general. I know that one of the few remaining giants in Washington, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), has received a tough medical diagnosis.

There will be time to digest all of that. At present, however, health care is still the main event.

Keep in mind that this isn’t the first time the GOP’s gratuitously cruel effort to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act has looked dead. Back in March, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) called off a showdown vote and glumly declared, “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.” But he managed to get a revised bill passed in May, prompting Trump to hold a sophomoric victory rally at the White House.

That bill would have caused 23 million people to lose health insurance over a decade and slashed Medicaid spending by more than $800 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The action then shifted to the Senate, which came up with legislation that would grow the numbers of uninsured by 22 million and cut Medicaid by $772 billion. Experts who tried to parse the details gave differing opinions on which version was more heartless.


The Fall of the Deal-Maker

The Fall of the Deal-Maker

President Donald Trump didn't create the bitter atmosphere in Washington, but he's making it worse.

By Kenneth T. Walsh | Contributor
July 21, 2017, at 6:00 a.m.

America's polarization and political dysfunction have become structural, built into the system as never before. President Donald Trump didn't create the situation in which the country finds itself, increasingly divided into irreconcilable camps, but Trump is intensifying the hard feelings all around. And things are getting worse.

The collapse of the Senate Republican health care bill this week is a case in point. Trump and GOP leaders were unable to muster the necessary 50 votes to advance the measure, which would have overhauled the health-care law passed under Democratic President Barack Obama. Even though the Republicans have been campaigning against Obamacare since it was enacted seven years ago, they couldn't agree on how to do it. And neither major party was willing to compromise with the other side. The result: an embarrassing failure. And since the GOP controls the House, the Senate and the White House, Republicans bear most of the burden for the setback.

Trump acknowledged that the GOP now has a massive credibility problem. "For seven years, I've been hearing 'repeal and replace' from Congress, and I've been hearing it loud and strong," Trump told reporters at the White House, referring to Obamacare. "And then when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace, they don't take advantage of it. So, that's disappointing." Notice that he didn't take personal responsibility for what happened. Instead, he blamed Congress. But Trump has suffered a huge blow to his reputation as a deal-maker.

The billionaire real-estate developer pledged during the campaign to use his deal-making skills to outsmart and overpower the power structure in Washington and force the elites bend to his will. It isn't happening. And he has little of consequence to show legislatively for his first six months in office, aside from winning Senate confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. That was an important victory but a far cry from the era of presidential dominance that Trump imagined during the campaign.


STAND BY YOUR MAN. Immigration Hardliners to Donald Trump: Don't Mess With Jeff Sessions


Immigration Hardliners to Donald Trump: Don’t Mess With Jeff Sessions

Donald Trump isn’t the only one in his administration with a loyal following.

07.21.17 1:00 AM ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ standing could not be more precarious. On Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump laid bare the frustrations he’s had over Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from an investigation into Trump’s potential ties to Russia, sparking chatter that the AG’s tenure could soon end. But amidst that talk, some Sessions allies want him to make a bold play in the opposite direction.

“I think he should reevaluate his recusals,” Tom Fitton, who heads Judicial Watch—the conservative watchdog group that played a key role in forcing the release of Hillary Clinton’s emails—told The Daily Beast. “If Mueller is doing everything he’s being reported as doing, that’s beyond what anyone signed up for in terms of the scope of Sessions’ recusal.”

The president told The New York Times on Wednesday that he wouldn’t have made Sessions attorney general if he had known he would recuse himself. Fitton said Sessions could resolve all of this by reversing his recusal. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on whether Sessions is currently considering this.

Fitton said recent reports on Mueller’s probe—including one this morning from Bloomberg saying he’s investigating the president’s business dealings—indicate the investigation has gone beyond the scope of Sessions’ initial recusal.

“It’s an ethics question, it’s not a legal question,” Fitton said. “Circumstances have changed given the nature of the investigation.”



When Will Republicans Learn That Donald Trump Hates Them? - Rick Wilson

Across the Trump-fanatic clickservative media, the week’s theme was ‘Why won’t Republicans follow Donald Trump over the cliff?’

07.20.17 1:00 AM ET


As Trump dragged Senators to the White House for a North Korean-style rant, threatened Dean Heller to his face and proceeded to take four different positions on where to go next, Republicans took all the political damage a repeal vote would have incurred with the dubious benefit of having Trump lecture them in the Oval Office on how badly they sold their plan. The few who clung to the idea that the president was about to show some actual leadership on the bill didn’t anticipate Trump giving an interview that would—once again—knock the news cycle into orbit.

Jeff Flake, Dean Heller, and Jeff Sessions all had to learn painful lessons on the cost of being on the Trump Train this week. For Flake, Heller and a few other Republicans, setting themselves on fire for a vote on Obamacare repeal was political poison. Their legitimate fear of their constituents was greater—finally—than their fear of Trump. “Winning over Trump voters” is no longer a sane response to the insanity of your political situation. Many Republican elected still aren’t getting this because they think they can make it work. They stare at Trump’s base-approval numbers, torn between fear and temptation.

To remind my Republican friends for the hundredth time, the Trump base isn’t your base. His supporters hate you as much as Trump hates you. Trump devotees don’t care about shrinking the size and scope of government. They don’t care about the Constitution. They’re not Republicans, except as a flag of convenience. If you haven’t noticed the theme from Fox to Rush and across the rest of the Trump-fanatic clickservative media isn’t “My God, this bill was political death for anyone who voted for it.” Instead, it was “Why won’t Republicans follow Donald Trump over the cliff? What good is a majority if it won’t destroy itself in a vote that 70 percent of the population hates?”

So, to my Republican elected friends, there are a lot of reasons that GOP Trumpism won’t work, but the biggest one is this: Donald Trump hates you. You are, at best, props and extras in “The Apprentice: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” No matter how many times you abase yourself before him, no matter how much you grovel, it will never be enough. The moment you do anything to preserve your own political fortunes, he will turn on you. The moment you deviate from constant service to his colossal ego, you’re going to end up on blast. He has no allies. Only fluffers and foes.

full article:

In case you're wondering: a fluffer is defined as:

(noun) a person in the adult entertainment industry whose job it is to give male porno stars blowjobs in order to get them ready to perform.

Where's my fucking fluffer, goddammit!


Exclusive: Jared Kushner's White House connection still being used to lure Chinese investors

Source: CNN

By Drew Griffin and Curt Devine, CNN Investigates
Updated 1:30 AM ET, Fri July 21, 2017

Jared Kushner's status as a top aide to President Donald Trump was used to lure Chinese investors to his family's New Jersey development, even after his family's company apologized for mentioning his name during a sales pitch in May, CNN has found.

References to Kushner are part of online promotions by two businesses that are working with Kushner Companies to find Chinese investors willing to invest in the 1 Journal Square development in exchange for a US visa.

The promotions are posted in Chinese and refer to Kushner Companies as "real estate heavyweights," going on to mention "the celebrity of the family is 30-something 'Mr. Perfect' Jared Kushner, who once served as CEO of Kushner Companies." One posted online in May by the company US Immigration Fund, a private business based in Florida, also contains a reference to Kushner's appearance on the cover of December's Forbes Magazine, under the headline "This guy got Trump elected." The post was removed shortly after CNN contacted the company for comment.

The promotions are aimed at bringing in investors who pay at least $500,000 apiece and in exchange get US visas, and potentially green cards, for themselves and their families if the development meets certain criteria. The deals are part of a legal US government program called EB-5, which grants up to 10,000 immigrant visas per year.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/20/politics/draft-kushner-visas/index.html

Jewish GOP Senate hopeful defends notorious 'white genocide' conspiracy loon and Pizzagate pushers

20 JUL 2017 AT 15:11 ET

Josh Mandel, a Jewish Republican who is set to run against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in 2018, is facing criticism for his decision to publicly condemn the Anti-Defamation League and to stand up for notorious conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich.

In a tweet posted on Thursday, Mandel linked to an article written by Cernovich attacking the ADL, and added his own supportive message.


Reporter Yair Rosenberg of Tablet Magazine quickly pounced on Mandel’s praise of Cernovich and confronted him with some of Cernovich’s past controversial statements.

“Do you stand with Cernovich’s claim that the Pizzagate conspiracy was real?” he asked the Republican candidate. “Cernovich has also claimed ‘date rape does not exist.’ Do you stand with him on that? Cernovich promoted conspiracy theory that Jewish DNC staffer Seth Rich was murdered in a Democratic conspiracy. Do you stand with that?”


Why Trump's handling of a Deutsche Bank loan is so foreboding - By Richard Cohen

July 20 at 1:36 PM

Until Donald Trump came along, the Yiddish word “chutzpah” was often defined as the kid who kills his parents and throws himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan. From now on, though, it has to be Trump’s handling of a loan he got in the mid-2000s from Deutsche Bank. He was personally into the bank for $40 million when, it seems, the orphaned killer must have come to him in a dream. He blamed the bank for tough economic conditions and sued it. He asked $3 billion in damages.

Oh, the gall. Oh, the effrontery. Oh, the total lack of shame. But also, oh, the genius of the move. The Trump Organization was going through hard times. And who was responsible for the hard times? The major banks, the greedy, avaricious SOBs of Wall Street. Trump put it this way: “Deutsche Bank is one of the banks primarily responsible for the economic dysfunction we are currently facing.” Elizabeth Warren, among countless others, would agree with him.

According to the New York Times, which has dug up this gem of a story for me (the check’s in the mail), Deutsche then countersued, demanding its money and labeling Trump’s maneuver “classic Trump.” But the bank was wrong — or at least premature, because then Trump threatened to de-Trump his own building. He would remove his name, thus reducing the value of the building but, in my view, giving it some class. In the end, one division of Deutsche Bank loaned Trump the money to pay off the division of the bank from which he had gotten the original loan. Trump won.

I am in awe. As a fellow Queens, N.Y., real estate person myself — my parents once owned a house there — I deeply admire chutzpah. It is a Queens trait, maybe something in the water. It is entrenched in the culture of that borough which is to doubling down what Russia is to vodka: You sue me, I sue you for twice as much, and then we settle and go on to sue still others. But my admiration comes tempered with foreboding. You will notice in the above back-and-forth over the loan a total lack of honesty. You will notice that people say things they do not mean and they make agreements they honor only if they choose to. Words often mean little and usually mean nothing. Trump’s lawsuit was merely a tactic to buy time. (He learned such tactics from his friend, the entirely unethical lawyer Roy M. Cohn: disbarred, disgraced but a hero to Trump.) Trump was counting on the bank to cave. It did. It took money out of one drawer and gave it to Trump, and he put it into another drawer. Anyone who could do that could build a wall at the border and make Mexico pay for it. Maybe he’ll extend them the money. Who knows? Lawyers can do anything.



'Pizzagate' Promoter Responds To ADL's Alt-Right List With Video From Auschwitz

By ESME CRIBB Published JULY 20, 2017 3:21 PM

Jack Posobiec, a prominent alt-right activist and promoter of right-wing conspiracy theories, on Thursday posted a video at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial in response to a list the Anti-Defamation League compiled associating him with the so-called “alt-right” movement.



“To make those accusations on the hallowed ground of Auschwitz is offensive and twisted and, unfortunately, proves the point about our research,” an ADL spokesperson told TPM by email.

Posobiec, who describes himself on Twitter as a “filmmaker, and recovering political operative” and promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, took exception to the ADL’s list associating him with the far-right movement.

The ADL described the so-called “alt-right” movement as “a segment of the white supremacist movement consisting of a loose network of racists and anti-Semites who reject mainstream conservatism in favor of politics that embrace implicit or explicit racist, anti-Semitic and white supremacist ideology.”

It listed Posobiec as a member of the “alt lite,” a “loosely-connected movement whose adherents generally shun white supremacist thinking, but who are in step with the alt right in their hatred of feminists and immigrants, among others.”

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