Monday Reads: They are different from you and me …

“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.”

from “All the Sad Young Men” published in 1926 by F Scott Fitzgerald


Good Morning!

Half of the global wealth is held by the richest 1% in the world according to a recent Oxfam report.  A good deal of it is salted away in the world’s “treasure isles” or banking havens.  This is especially true for those wealthy despots that raid the treasuries of their countries.  The global elite tend to run in international circles and have a lot more in common with each other than the rest of the countrymen they grift.  I’m reminded of all of this as we continue to unravel the reality of the Trump Campaign which just seems to be yet another grab at more wealth and power using propaganda and lies.

The latest Trump scandal is a good lesson in this and it explains why Russian despots appear to be squarely in the middle of the US campaign for President.   We’re living through another shocking Gilded Age but where are the Trotskyites that bring down the Czars?  Where are the FDRs that moderate American excess with a New Deal?

It is certainly not within the camps of Trump and Paul Manafort. Yesterday, we learned exactly how twisted the tentacles get with this headline from The New York Times: “Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief”.  Is Manafort an unregistered Foreign Agent?  Is Donald Trump complicit or a dupe?

And Mr. Manafort’s presence remains elsewhere here in the capital, where government investigators examining secret records have found his name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort’s main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies that helped members of Mr. Yanukovych’s inner circle finance their lavish lifestyles, including a palatial presidential residence with a private zoo, golf course and tennis court. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.

9964ecd42dc22234e0cf0beafdc281ebAlso,this arrived to the Twitter feed yesterday along with a picture of Ivanka on vacation with Putin’s latest squeeze, the ex wife of Rupert Murdoch Wendy Deng.  Exactly how are Trump’s racists and working white groupies to take all this information?  You think a few banking execs on Wall Street want money and power?  That’s kindergarten rent-seeking compared to the company that Trump and Manafort keep.

The funny thing about all this is Deng is rumored to be dating frequently shirtless despot Vladimir Putin, who may or may not have authorized the hacking of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, and whom Donald Trump swears he has no financial tethers to, despite a new trove of evidence to the contrary. Here would be a good place for the thinking-face emoji, but I’d argue the Trumps know exactly what they’re doing. Tight stuff.

So, both are disturbing pictures of the kind of things that lead to conspiracy theories about shadowy global networks of bankers.  Only, this is a black ledger and unlikely to wind up in anything but an account in a Treasure Isle.  All $12.7 million of it.  We’ll be fortunate to find it among the Swiss Banks accounts.

The ledgers, discovered in the Party of Regions headquarters following the 2014 revolution that forced Yanukovych to flee to Russia, were given to investigators by Viktor Trepak, a former Ukrainian domestic intelligence official, Manzhura said. He received the documents from an undisclosed source.

The “black ledger” includes more than 20,000 line items, and investigators are sifting through the names, primarily seeking proof that government officials were receiving bribes. The agency cannot make indictments but must pass on any evidence to prosecutors, who can decide whether to file charges. Manzhura said that processing the list will take a long time, as will matching signatures to individuals and proving that money actually changed hands.

For investigators, she said, Manafort is not the priority.

“He’s not a Ukrainian government official, so taking into account the role and tasks of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, Paul Manafort is not the number-one priority to investigate on this list,” Manzhura said.

It did not appear that Manafort had signed the ledger himself, she added.

“The signatures against his surname probably don’t belong to him; they belong to other people,” she said, adding they may have been intermediaries. “So this information needs to be checked separately.”

The Times reported that Ukrainian officials are also investigating numerous offshore companies that allegedly funded the high-rolling lifestyles of Yanukovych and those close to him. The deals made by these companies include a multimillion-dollar plan to sell Ukrainian cable television assets that involved Manafort and a Russian oligarch who is close to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, though the Times reported that Manafort is not a target in the Ukrainian investigation of offshore companies.

Manafort is no stranger to controversy, controversial figures or global dealmaking. His friends have labeled him “the Count of Monte Cristo,” the hero of a 19th century novel.

So, will the Donald dump him or maintain that infamous Trump loyalty to the folks that are known to do the black deeds for him?  Manafort is vanderbilt_ag6denying the payments.

“Once again, the New York Times has chosen to purposefully ignore facts and professional journalism to fit their political agenda, choosing to attack my character and reputation rather than present an honest report,” Manafort said in a statement obtained by NBC News. “The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical.”

The story comes a little more than a day after the Times published a story examining the internal struggles facing Trump’s campaign, a story that also elicited strong responses from the Republican nominee and his campaign.

It’s unclear if Manafort actually received payments, but prosecutors told the Times that Manafort “must have realized the implications of his financial dealings.”

But Manafort strongly denied that he ever received off-the-books payments or has done work with the governments of Ukraine or Russia.

“My work in Ukraine ceased following the country’s parliamentary elections in October 2014,” Manafort says. “In addition, as the article points out hesitantly, every government official interviewed states I have done nothing wrong.”

The Times story was retweeted by Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager and Manafort rival who was fired in June.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, Robby Mook, called the alleged connections between Manafort and members of pro-Russian factions troubling.

“Donald Trump has a responsibility to disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort’s and all other campaign employees’ and advisers’ ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities, including whether any of Trump’s employees or advisers are currently representing and or being paid by them,” Mook said in a statement.

Troubling indeed.  Meanwhile, the most likely Trump supporters who raise the likes of Trump up as some kind of hero, demonize the very poorest.  We really haven’t come very far from the Reagan Years when women with hard scrabble lives were made the center of all evil in the world.  Check out the comparisons of these surveys.818cf26c6d30ccf7df28a8cb060306b2

Sharp differences along lines of race and politics shape American attitudes toward the poor and poverty, according to a new survey of public opinion, which finds empathy toward the poor and deep skepticism about government antipoverty efforts.

The differences illuminate some of the passions that have driven this year’s contentious presidential campaign.

But the poll, which updates a survey The Times conducted three decades ago, also illustrates how attitudes about poverty have remained largely consistent over time despite dramatic economic and social change.

Criticism of the poor – a belief that there are “plenty of jobs available for poor people,” that government programs breed dependency and that most poor people would “prefer to stay on welfare” – is especially common among the blue-collar, white Americans who have given the strongest support to Donald Trump.

The opposite view — that jobs for the poor are hard to find, that government programs help people get back on their feet and that most of the poor would rather earn their own way — is most widely held among blacks and other minorities, who have provided the strongest backing to Hillary Clinton.

Roughly a third of self-described conservatives say that the poor do not work very hard, a view at odds with big majorities of moderates and liberals.

But while Americans disagree in how they view the poor, they’re more united in their skepticism of government programs.

0836eea97c4a66175d91643315240455This is perhaps why the Southern Strategy has worked almost too well.  It’s blasting through loud and clear in the work of Trump and his cronies.  Trump surrounds himself with Republican Ratfuckers.

It’s this mercenary value system that explains why Manafort has made a career out of advising monstrous dictators and conscienceless oligarchs. Manipulating people’s anger and insecurities into fear and rage has been his trademark for his entire career, which is why he could not care less about Trump’s negative influence on the body politic or his incitements to violence.

He doesn’t care about anything but winning, and if his ties to Putin can help Trump, he doesn’t care about the implications of that either.

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies that helped members of Mr. Yanukovych’s inner circle finance their lavish lifestyles, including a palatial presidential residence with a private zoo, golf course and tennis court. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.

I don’t know how anyone can not be suspicious that Manafort might have something to do with the way pilferedDemocratic Party emails and text messages are being selectively released to do damage to Hillary Clinton for the benefit of Manafort’s newest client. The consensus among analysts and the intelligence agencies that Putin’s Russia is behind the hacking is very high, and obviously Trump believes it himself since he asked Russia to do more of it.

In any case, Manafort has been partnered up with folks like Charlie Black, Lee Atwater, and Roger Stone (the most notorious political ratf*ker of all time) for more than thirty years.

So, I give you one of the tangled webs woven by some of the most despicable people on the planet.  This explains why David Duke and Stormfront love the dude, but how do explain every one’s crazy uncle and cousin? And, how shiny are your bootstraps today?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


36 Comments on “Monday Reads: They are different from you and me …”

  1. dakinikat says:

    NBC News: Clinton has the electoral votes to beat Trump

  2. Thanks for the Monday read!

  3. jackyt says:

    If Trump is in hock to Putin and the Russian oligarchs, then it is not a stretch that he’s paying his debt by destabilizing the US both politically and socially. If that is his goal, then he’s running a masterful campaign.
    Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have run parallel campaigns. Each tried to hollow out an existing party infrastructure to their own ends. Sanders failed, Trump prevailed.
    Truly terrifying!

    • dakinikat says:

      Yea. I hope the FBI gets off of Hillary’s silly emails and checks this out good. Very scary stuff to me!

      • Fannie says:

        It sure is, finally, we need this investigated. Hillary Clinton, and Vice President Biden were speaking in Scranton, Pa. They were great.

    • Fannie says:

      I met to reply to this with Manafort stonewalling the whole thing, and republicans backing his ass up.

  4. William says:

    Very good, if unsettling, material. And the Fitzgerald quote is something I had never seen in its entirety; it must be from a short story that I didn’t read. Everyone knows the first sentence, but the elaboration rings very true, and belies Hemingway’s supposed flip retort, ‘Yes, they have more money.” It is much more than that, as Fitzgerald, with his usual depth, grasps.

    What seems to be going on is almost beyond comprehension; the attempted takeover of the American government by the Russians, aided by odious people like Murdoch and Manafort. This is like a combination of “The Manchurian Candidate” “Seven Days in May, and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” And all the misdirection, all the efforts to make Hillary look like the villain, all the hacking of the DNC and State Department emails, are the creation of red herrings intended to dupe the media and the voters into actually supporting the traitors.

    If this story is followed by reputable and courageous journalists, it might even be too much for the populace to handle. Who knows how deep the corruption has gone, and to what levels? The media is deliberately or stupidly incapable of telling the difference between this story of the century, and a bogus narrative regarding some emails. It makes one think that the email story itself was part of the plot. This is not, “Well, Trump may be a pawn of Russia, but then again we have those two emails of Cheryl Mills about having lunch, so both candidates have their issues.” No, media; that is like saying that one person robbed ten banks, while the other may have left his checkbook in on the car seat, though the door was locked and no one took it; so these are roughly equivalent. Can the media ever get away from its own smug ratings-driven self-congratulation, and figure this out? Or are some of them part of the conspiracy, too? Don’t rule that out.

    • Enheduanna says:

      The press is also ignoring his debts to German banks which apparently runs $350M+. His tax returns would show the money ties to Russia I’m sure.

      I don’t think we have to worry about Trump being elected, but how he manipulates the campaign and his base to his benefit will be interesting (and not in a good way).

    • Beata says:

      Where is George Smiley when we need him? Or my favorite spy Toby Esterhase?

    • dakinikat says:

      Andrea Mitchell is still talking about her trustworthiness and honesty this morning. I’m face palming.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Mitchell is literally on that “trustworthy” kick every single damn day. What is it with her? Hillary hatred? Trump lover? or has she just run out of things to say?

  5. ANonOMouse says:

    My Momma used to say, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck”. And so it is with Trump/Manafort/Putin. I have no doubt that Russia is interfering in our Presidential Election via Julian Assange/Wikileaks, which to my mind has never been anything more than an organization determined to undermine the United States. I have no doubt that Manafort was sent in an effort to steer Trump’s positions concerning NATO and the Ukraine and to attempt to keep Trump on message. Little did the handlers know that Trump is incapable of behaving in a competent manner or staying on message. And Ivanka Trump vacationing with Wendy Deng, Putin’s girlfriend, is just incredible information that offers another piece to the puzzle of Trump’s relationship with Putin. This becomes more fascinating every day.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Ivanka wearing a doily no less – hahahahahaha

      This goes to my complete and utter lack of concern for Bob Woodward’s ridiculous defense of the “Trump children” as out of bounds. What a moron.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        LOL!!! Quite an elegant doily don’t ya think? I imagine that doily cost more than most people make in a year, because only the best for Ivanka. The Trump children are likely as ruthless and despicable as their father. They certainly have no problems living off of what’s been given to them by the man who literally screwed thousands of people out of what they earned or what they paid for. In that regard we have every right to consider them “in bounds” because their bounty was paid for through the sweat and tears of others. When this is over I hope that entire brood is exiled to Russia. That way she’ll be closer to her friend Wendy and they can vaca in Dubrovnik anytime their heart desires.

        • Beata says:

          Remember the Trump children ( except for Tiffany ) are half Slavic. The older children’s mother, Ivana, is Czech. They reportedly spent summers in her native town when they were growing up. And Baron’s mother, Melania, is from Slovenia ( once part of Yugoslavia ).

        • Enheduanna says:

          Yes Ivanka was involved in that scheme selling units in a Trump property in Baja that never got built. She was telling prospective owners she was going to get a unit herself.

          In fairness – I also think Chelsea is “in bounds” because she works for Hillary’s campaign. The thing with Chelsea is she’s not a crook, though.

          Rich kids seldom seem to turn out well, do they. Chelsea did. Joe and Rose Kennedy’s kids turned out well. Some families have class I guess.

          Trump and his kids have no clue what class is. You can tell by the company they keep. Russian oligarchs are notorious for their vulgar taste.

    • Beata says:

      It is truly bizarre. Putin may have seen Trump as a “useful fool” but underestimated how uncontrollable Trump really is. It reminds me of Gogol’s absurdist story “The Nose” wherein the protagonist wakes up one morning to find his nose has left his face and is leading a life of its own. However, in the story, the nose proves to be far more coherent than Trump.

  6. palhart says:

    Oh, jezus, this story is immensely disturbing. Yet it explains so much. It turned even blacker when I read Atwater joined Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly as a senior partner after RR defeated Mondale in 1984. Yes, these people are crooked, devious, evil lying scum.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    I watched part of Donald Trump’s speech. He says he will suspend all immigration temporarily. And a lot of other crazy stuff.

  8. Vger says:

    Bob Woodward going on and on this
    morning about Hills missing emails and what it could mean, etc. Nothing on Trump and Manafort. Nothing on Trump Universitys. Nothing on his lies. I mean what is going on here.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Woodward is an embarrassment to himself. He’s got a vendetta of some kind against the Clintons.

      I think he and Maureen Dowd and others can’t get over the fact some yeehaws from Arkansas have become rich and powerful. It’s classist and it’s ugly.