Who is Tougher on Russia?

From the time of the RNC convention in 2016, during which the Trump campaign altered the RNC’s proposed stance towards Russia to ease our approach to sanctioning Russia and seek a more friendly relationship with them, it was clear the future Trump administration was going to be unusually pro-Russian.

Since that time, there have been a stream of secret meetings between the Trump administration and Russians.  A slew of times we learn about Trump administration-Russian meeting, from Russians.  And recently the bold faced assertion from Sarah Sanders, the Minister of Propaganda, that it is, in fact, the Trump Administration that’s tough on Russians as opposed to the previous Obama administration.

SANDERS: He has been tougher on Russia in the first year than Obama was in eight years combined. He’s imposed sanctions. He’s taken away properties. He’s rebuilt our military. He has done a number of things to put pressure on Russia and to be tough on Russia.

He’s imposed one sanction, outlined below for the joke it is.  He took away properties in response to a similar Russia action, not as retribution for their interference.  His repeated attempts to undermine and disrupt NATO, dissolve international treaties, and perpetually attacking our fucking ALLIES is not how the US shows strength to Russia in the least fucking bit.


Trump did, begrudgingly and with conditions, acknowledge the Russians might have interfered in our election in a January 11, 2017 in much the same fashion he finally admitted he was full of shit about Obama not being a citizen of the US.  He also compared our intelligence officials to Nazis in that slapped together, rambling-psycho speech.

“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” Mr. Trump said, his first comments accepting the conclusions of United States intelligence officials that Moscow had interfered in the election to help him win. But the president-elect expressed little outrage about that breach and seemed to cast doubt on Russia’s role moments after acknowledging it, asserting that “it could have been others also.”

Trump didn’t give a full acknowledgement until June freaking 24, of freaking 2017, that the Russians had interfered in the US elections.  JUNE 24!  After months of calling any investigation into it, “A hoax,” which he maintains to this day, because all that Trump is concerned about is how it affects himself.



Before the election, the Obama administration made a public announcement concerning possible attempted Russian interference in the US elections.  To which, Republican leader Mitch McConnell responded by saying we shouldn’t call out the Russians because doing so might have an effect on the elections.

Now we can argue what Obama should have done to the Russians before the election.  Could he have done more?  Sure.  His calculation at the time was…what could he do that wouldn’t interfere with the election.  Tough call either way.  He had done many things to combat the Russians before 2016 as outlined below.  He also undertook very large actions directly after the election was complete.

  1. Ejected 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives in the Russian diplomatic corp.
  2. Penalized the four top Russian intelligence officers.
  3. Seized and closed two Russian facilities in the US.

This preceded the final intelligence assessment which was drafted and released on January 6, 2016, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” which was the foundation by which Congress crafted and delivered to Trump the “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act.”

“Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the United States presidential election.” The assessment warns that “Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the U.S. Presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against U.S. allies and their election processes”.

This act is set-up to punish parties of the Russian government and associated targeted parties for their interference in the 2016 election and to dissuade these same parties and any other future parties from undertaking such acts again.  There are a wide array of tools specified in the act which the President may use against any and all of the targeted parties.  The bill was signed into law by Trump on August 2, 2017.

A ready made list of Russian Oligarchs benefitting from these actions was compiled by US intelligence agencies.  The list was ignored, then replaced with a ridiculous list drawn straight from Forbes magazine by the Trump administration, and then that list was also discarded.  To this date, the act has not been enforced and no parties have been targeted for any such actions.

“It is a serious attempt by someone high up in government to make the US government and Congress look ridiculous,” he said.

Åslund added that he did not know which senior official ordered the change, but argued that by endorsing the list, the treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, “took responsibility for it”.

In this still-not-enforced legislation, the preamble to the Russian section of “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act,” is listed 5 laws passed either by executive order or passage of congressional bills signed by President Obama since March 6, 2014 strictly dealing with Russia’s meddling and interference in Ukraine and abroad.  Included are later presidential annexed statements; naming of particular Russian state actors and Russian institutions.

  1. Executive Order #13660
  2. Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014
  3. Executive Order #13694
  4. Presidential Policy Directive “United State Cyber Incident Coordination.”
  5. Annex to order #13694.  Additional sanctions against particular Russian organizations and individuals.


What Trump has done belatedly, is announce sanctions against Russian persons and organizations already under indictment from the Mueller probe or already sanctioned previously by the Obama administration.  Including leaders of the Russian intelligence agencies that Trump’s administration had secret meetings with despite the fact they were already sanctioned.

Sarah Sanders can fart hot air out of her blowhole all she wants.  Trump has done exactly jackshit about Russian interference compared to Obama.



Sessions fires Andrew McCabe

Jeffrey Beauregard “Southern Belle” Sessions III fires Andrew McCabe after the FBI and DOJ Inspector General suggest such action.  10pm on a Friday night and 2 days before his upcoming retirement is apparently the time to do this kind of thing.

The administration is working hard to make this appear to not be politically motivated.

“The report by the Department of Justice Inspector General, while not yet finished, found evidence that McCabe had questionable contact with a reporter and was not fully forthcoming when asked about it about an investigation concerning the Clinton Foundation. Those familiar with McCabe’s side of the story say he was authorized to talk to reporters.”

This is really really a pretty fucking thin reason to exact retribution on McCabe who has been a target of Trump and the Republican Congressional sychophants for quite some time.  Was what he did wrong?  Yeah, a little bit as far as we know.  There’s an Inspector General’s report somewhere that indicates he wasn’t entirely truthful…don’t think anyone has seen this report though…so who the fuck knows?

Andrew McCabe, has just made a small statement that this is an attempt to discredit McCabe in the ongoing Mueller investigation.

The good news?  Well now we have one person that’s finally… finally going to talk about what’s really going on.  He may be somewhat hampered in reacting publicly because he probably has some actions to take to legally battle for full retirement benefits.  I’m looking forward to hearing what McCabe has to say.

Just hearing on MSNBC, that simultaneously during this firing, Trump is attempting to move the Stormy Daniels case to a federal court where he has appointed the judge.

All of this fucking mess is definitely going to be a much larger story tomorrow and the coming week.  This administration is a dumpster fire.  They’re nearly all-in on this game now.  This meting out of justice is little different than Putin putting hits out on anyone who has crossed him.

ADDED: Andrew McCabe’s written response to firing:

I have been an FBI Special Agent for over 21 years. I spent half of that time investigating Russian Organized Crime as a street agent and Supervisor in New York City. I have spent the second half of my career focusing on national security issues and protecting this country from terrorism. I served in some of the most challenging, demanding investigative and leadership roles in the FBI. And I was privileged to serve as Deputy Director during a particularly tough time.

For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country. Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The President’s tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us.

No more.

The investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (01G) has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility. The investigation flows from my attempt to explain the FBI’s involvement and my supervision of investigations involving Hillary Clinton. I was being portrayed in the media over and over as a political partisan, accused of closing down investigations under political pressure. The FBI was portrayed as caving under that pressure, and making decisions for political rather than law enforcement purposes. Nothing was further from the truth. In fact, this entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau, and to make clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed.

The 01G investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter. It was the type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week. In fact, it was the same type of work that I continued to do under Director Wray, at his request. The investigation subsequently focused on who I talked to, when I talked to them, and so forth. During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.

But looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.

Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens. Thursday’s comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.

This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.

I have always prided myself on serving my country with distinction and integrity, and I always encouraged those around me to do the same. Just ask them. To have my career end in this way, and to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair. But it will not erase the important work I was privileged to be a part of, the results of which will in the end be revealed for the country to see.

I have unfailing faith in the men and women of the FBI and I am confident that their efforts to seek justice will not be deterred.

March 14, 2018

The US House of Representatives, in response to recent mass shootings, passes the “STOP school violence act of 2018.”  It was passed overwhelmingly in the House 407-10 and was applauded by the NRA as a great step…a great step to not reducing the ready availability of guns and it potentially sets-up the groundwork for new acts to arming school staff, thereby increasing gun sales.

“The measure would not allow any of the funding to be used for arming teachers or other school personnel. The White House said the bill would be improved by lifting that restriction.”

It is not clear if and when the Senate will look at the House’s legislation as they are currently working on their own version.

If you were expecting the House of Reps to roll up their sleeves and get down to some serious legislating, you’re going to be terribly disappointed.  They didn’t actually even write any legislation.  the “STOP school violence act of 2018” isn’t new legislation at all.  It’s four thin pages of incredibly tiny amendments of the 1968 “Crime Control and Safe Streets Act,” a real piece of legislation that is 193 pages long.

All this legislation does is change the name of 1968 act and amend verbiage in like 10 places to include really crucial shit like this:


The one single substantive change was amending the portion where the government would set aside matching funds for all states up to $50 million per year total, instead of the original $30 million written into the 1968 bill.  That portion appeared to have expired in 2009 after many other amendments had been made to this bill through the years.

In other words, the House of Representatives did nothing.  Nothing.  Nothing except encourage the NRA that there is space for further legislation that will really sweeten the pot for them.


My submission for a Newsweek headline:

March Comes in Like a Lying Trump, and Goes Out Like a Lamb!

Conor Lamb Wins in Congressional District PA 18!

Pretty good, huh?

What did I learn?

  1. Don’t send Trump to do his cult pep-rally shtick.  He’s not going to help Republican hopefuls.  The only relevant thing he said in over an hour of babbling, was a couple lines purposefully inserted to cover his own ass later on:
    “I won this district by 20 points.””Look at all of those red hats Rick.””This guy should win easily.”
  2. Republicans would do well to tout the make-believe, positive economic effects of Republican tax reform and hammer home that improved wages are right around the corner.  In the same fashion, stay on economics and the whole “fighting for the blue collar worker” narrative.  Stay away from toxic Trump issues and highlight working with Congress and any reasonable policies that might come out of the White House.
  3. There ain’t nothing wrong with running a first-timer with no political record to argue against.  Lamb was often noncommittal and wishy-washy and that worked great.
  4. There’s no reason to be on the anti-Pelosi train unless you actually mean it.  Personally, I’d like all of the old times out of Congress.  ALL OF ‘EM.  That being said, if no one is going to actually deal with the real problem, which they won’t, it really doesn’t do Democrats any good to shit on their best inside operative.  Until big money and lobbyists are removed from the process, the interests of congresspeople are always going to be at odds with the populace they are supposedly representing.
  5. Let’s call the anti-Pelosi narrative what it actually is, “The new bitch to replace the old bitch- Hillary Clinton,” narrative.  It’s ridiculous to me how easily the Democrats have ceded the right to Republicans to place that moniker on Pelosi.


Fox News Sued for Fake News, large excerpts from Rich family lawsuit

A second lawsuit is filed against Fox News, Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman, and Republican Donor and frequent Fox guest Ed Butowsky.  The first lawsuit filed against the same parties was from the private detective, Rod Wheeler, in this truly disgusting and purposefully orchestrated effort to make appear that the murder of former DNC staffer Seth Rich was related to the fabricated narrative that Rich had been the true source of Wikileaks hacked DNC emails.  All of this fabricated to give the Trump administration and the fucking Russians cover from having had any benefit or involvement in what was the true goal and instigating parties to the DNC hacks in the first place.

There was exactly zero reasons to make the connection between Seth Rich and Wikileaks release of the stolen emails except for one convenient coincidence in that Wikileaks published the stolen emails on July 22, 2016.  Seth Rich was killed in a botched robbery on July 10, 2016.  That is all that Fox news’ Zimmerman and Butowsky required to create this entire story.  It was around the same time.

Butowsky won the trust of Seth Rich’s parents and hired the private detective Wheeler, on their behalf, supposedly with the intent of finding their son’s killer, when the true intent was to use Wheeler as a tool to further the narrative Butowsky and Zimmerman had already cooked up: Seth Rich leaked the emails to wikileaks and the Clinton campaign somehow attempted to block the investigation into Rich’s death.

A key component to this Butowsky and Zimmerman creation was passing along to Wheeler the “fact” that Seth Rich had been in touch with Wikileaks, and then quoting Wheeler as the source of that information as he was the hired investigator.

From the Rich family’s lawsuit:


That news article was shared by Butowsky with Sean Spicer, who was being kept informed of the story and also allegedly shared with Trump himself who approved of the entire process.  Also, not surprisingly, Julian Assange in this video lends his support to the entire fabrication, by his very clever suggestion just weeks after rich’s murder, that people get killed when they give him information.


Thereafter, Wheeler (who didn’t know he was about to be the fall guy), Butowsky and Zimmerman go about hyping the story to various outlets and particularly Fox talent in order to create a seemingly well sourced and generally accepted “truth”.  Of course our boy Sean Hannity can’t get enough of the shit once he gets his hands on it.  Butowsky want’s to keep his name out of it, because he already has his patsy in Wheeler and a “true believer” in Zimmerman.


Here’s towards the end of the life cycle of this honest to goodness, actual, fake news, where you can sense this shit is about to fall apart:


Wheeler is suing the above mentioned for the damage done to his career and lose of future earnings, which in this case, is for real and true, a real consideration and not one of those throw-away, add-on items in a lawsuit just for the hell of it.  This dude got cooked for his unwitting part in this scheme.






This is how Fox News does it:  Create or locate a source, have third parties be responsible for reporting the source, and then quote the the third party’s statements as a news story, thereby making it “true”.



This is just unbelievably awful stuff.  You can understand the Rich family’s suit is not a frivolous thing.   Just fucking awful:



The Rich’s are seeking at the least $75k for what they have endured at the hands of Fox News.  Look, no amount of money is going to bring their son back, but in this case…the way these poor people were abused by Fox and it’s agents, for Fox’s own gain and Fox’s running political interference to further their own agenda and attempt to absolve the Russians, Trump’s benefit thereby, and simultaneously dirty the name of Seth Rich…I’m fucking pissed and we all should be.  This is a fucking outrage.


Trump dumps Tillerson

Finally Trump gets rid if Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and installs fellow conspiracy theorist, Mike Pompeo.  This was a move long expected and perhaps is the start of cleaning out any remaining characters not willing to walk lock-step with any of Trump’s spur of the moment, low fact, reactionary, policy strategies.

Second in Command, Gina Haspel will take over as CIA director.  She is actually qualified for this job, believe it or not.  She is a solid person to run the department.

Mike Pompeo, although a complete schmuck, can’t be any worse at running the State Department than Rex Tillerson was.   Let’s see if Pompeo is inclined to rebuild the State Department and more importantly, if Trump will allow him to.

It is interesting to note that this firing came directly after Tillerson spoke out about what was clearly the Russian attempt to kill by poisoning, a former double spy in England recently, while the Trump administration has been otherwise silent about it and all things related to Russia.

“Tillerson’s remarks echoed those made Monday by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who said that it is “highly likely” Russia is responsible for the poisoning, either directly or because it lost control of the nerve agent.”

It is also worth noting, Tillerson did receive advance warning, and as you would expect, Trump did not speak to Tillerson but instead had someone else fire him.  TIllerson had planned to stay on at the State Department and was particularly interested in seeing through negotiations with North Korea.