Lazy Saturday Reads

This apt visual analogy has been going around Twitter for a couple of days.

This apt visual analogy has been going around Twitter for a couple of days.

Good Morning!!

It’s just under two weeks until President Obama steps down and the Kremlin controls our government. Congressional Republicans are salivating–dreaming of taking away health care from millions of people and finally destroying Medicare and Social Security. They just can’t wait to destroy everything President Obama has accomplished, crash the economy again, and destroy as many jobs as they possibly can–all while claiming they are doing good work.

The New York Times: Erasing Obama, by Timothy Egan.

And Obama? He bequeaths the incoming president “the longest economic expansion and monthly job creation in history,” as my colleague Andrew Ross Sorkin noted. Trump, the pumpkin-haired rooster taking credit for the dawn, has already tried to seize a bit of that achievement as his own. Thanks, Obama. But he’s also likely to screw it up, perhaps by a trade war, or a budget-busting tax cut.

Already, Trump has flirted with treason, flouted conflict-of-interest rules, bullied dissidents and blown off the advice of seasoned public servants. He has yet to hold a news conference since winning the election. And did another day just pass without a word of the promise to “reveal things that other people don’t know” about Russian interference with our election? Maybe he’s waiting for more whispers in his ear from the Kremlin

n advance of his farewell adIdress next week, the president has tried to Trump-proof a climate pact that commits the world’s second leading producer of earth-warming pollutants — the United States — to making this little orb of ours a less perilous place for Sasha’s and Malia’s and Ivanka’s kids. Trump has promised to go rogue on the planet, as quickly as he can.

Until Day 1, Trump is just a 70-year-old man with a twitchy Twitter account. But on Jan. 20, he becomes what Grover Norquist wished for in a pliantly conservative president: “A Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen.”

With that pen, the new president can take health care from 20 million Americans, free Wall Street to once again wildly speculate and smash things up for the rest of us, and require schools to let people carry guns into classrooms — all campaign promises.

Please read the whole thing at the NYT.

Fortunately, the intelligence community has stated conclusively that Vladimir Putin ordered his cyberspies to interfere with the election. At this point, tRump can only be seen as an illegitimate POTUS. Unfortunately, tRump is threatening to neuter the intelligence community. He doesn’t need their help, because he gets his orders from Russia. If you think I’m just joking, look what intelligence expert Malcolm Nance had to say about it.

If that doesn’t scare every sane American, nothing will.

Nance published a book months ago about the Russian attack on our democracy, and it’s very similar to the report the intelligence community just issued. It’s fascinating reading, with lots of historical background on Russia’s spying activities.

This is from an ad at Yahoo News, but it’s a good summary of the book: Malcolm Nance, US intelligence expert, delivered Russian hacking details months before the CIA’s report.

In The Plot to Hack America, published one month before the election, New York Times bestselling author and MSNBC contributor Malcolm Nance not only identifies the hackers as Russian but digs deep into the biggest political scandal since Watergate.

In April of 2016, computer technicians at the Democratic National Committee discovered that someone had accessed the organization’s computer servers, learn more about cloud servers at Salesforce.com. In the days and weeks that followed, they learned that the cyberthieves had helped themselves to everything: sensitive documents, emails, donor information, even voicemails. Nance’s investigations led him to none other than Russia’s spy service. Their method: A new hybrid cyber warfare called Kompromat.

In The Plot to Hack America, we learn how technicians discovered that Russia’s spy agency was responsible for the hack, how the Russians have devastated individuals, political groups, and entire nations with their cybercrimes, and how they may have cultivated Donald Trump as an unwitting “asset” to facilitate their ultimate foreign policy goals: disband NATO, dominate Eastern Europe, and replace America as the world’s superpower.

But why would Vladimir Putin want to tip the scales of an American election? Nance follows the fascinating real-life spy story through a labyrinth of cyber espionage, the history of Russia’s spy services, and Vladimir Putin’s rise through the KGB from junior officer to spy-in-chief. And he details Donald Trump’s many disturbing personal associations with Putin and Russia’s oligarchy, as well as Trump’s loose affiliation of advisors nicknamed “the Kremlin Crew.”

The Plot to Hack America reads like a spy thriller, but it’s all too real.

I highly recommend it.

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Fortunately, the intelligence community has stated conclusively that Vladimir Putin ordered his cyberspies to interfere with the election. Unfortunately tRump is threatening to neuter the intelligence community. He doesn’t need their help, because he gets his orders from Russia. If you think I’m just joking, look what intelligence expert Malcolm Nance had to say about it.

Now check this out from WaPo conservative columnist Kathleen Parker: If Obama is a Muslim, is Trump a Russian spy?

No, I don’t really think he’s a spy because, unlike the man himself, I’m not given to crazy ideas. But what’s with this double standard? Under similar circumstances, how long do you think it would have taken for Obama to be called a traitor for defending a country that tried to thwart our democratic electoral process?

Seconds.

How surreal to realize that the man who soon will become president was long committed to a rumor soaked in paranoia and propagated by conspiracy theorists whose pursuit of truth stops at the point where facts and willful ignorance collide.

How perfectly terrifying.

And now? What is so obviously a conspiracy of Russian leadership, hackers and spies, Trump has repeatedly dismissed as lousy intelligence. Why would he do such a thing? Is it that he’s so thin-skinned he can’t tolerate anyone thinking that he might have benefited from the cyberattack? Or is it that he knew about it in advance and doesn’t want to be found out? This is how conspiracy theories get started. Then again, sometimes a conspiracy is just a conspiracy — and a fool is just a fool.

Actually, there’s little doubt that tRump is at least an unwitting tool of Putin; and if you look at his top advisers and cabinet choices, it seems quite likely that there was collusion between Russian spies and the tRump campaign.

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David Remnick: Trump, Putin and the Big Hack.

Vyacheslav Molotov, Stalin’s foreign minister, once remarked while on a trip to Berlin in the early days of the Cold War, “The trouble with free elections is that you never know how they will turn out.”

On the morning of November 9th, Molotov’s grandson, Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the Russian Duma’s foreign-affairs committee, announced to the parliament, “Three minutes ago, Hillary Clinton conceded defeat in the American Presidential elections. And just this second Donald Trump began his speech as President-elect.” The Duma members cheered and applauded.

In the days to come, there were more declarations of acid satisfaction among the Russian élite. Dmitri Kiselyov, the host of “News of the Week,” a popular current-affairs show on state-controlled television, gloated over Trump’s victory and Barack Obama’s inability to prevent it. Obama, he said, was a “eunuch.” Trump was an “alpha male”—and one who showed mercy to his vanquished rival. “Trump could have put the blonde in prison, as he’d threatened in the televised debates,” Kiselyov said on his show. “On the other hand, it’s nothing new. Trump has left blond women satisfied all his life.” Kiselyov further praised Trump because the concepts of democracy and human rights “are not in his lexicon.” In India, Turkey, Europe, and now the United States, he declared, “the liberal idea is in ruins.”

Vladimir Putin did not showboat, but he, too, made his satisfaction plain. His spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, told reporters that the similarity between Trump and Putin’s “conceptual approach to foreign policy” was “phenomenal.” Trump’s victory was the basis for Russia’s “moderate optimism”; now both sides could discuss how “to clear out the Augean stables in our bilateral relations.”

All of this is all the more alarming to recall now, in the light of the latest news: according to U.S. intelligence reports, Putin “ordered an influence campaign” to undermine Clinton and work with “a clear preference” to enhance Trump’s prospects.

Read the rest at The New Yorker.

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Finally, Former CIA Director Michael Morell at The New York Times: Trump’s Dangerous Anti-C.I.A. Crusade.

WHEN I wrote in August 2016, in this newspaper, that Donald J. Trump’s character traits posed a national security threat, I didn’t imagine that the first manifestation of that dynamic could play out with the very organization where I spent the first 33 years of my career, the Central Intelligence Agency.

President-elect Trump’s public rejection of the C.I.A., and by extension the rest of the country’s intelligence community, over the assessment that Russia interfered in our presidential election is not only an unprecedented political challenge for our national security establishment — it is a danger to the nation.

While Mr. Trump’s statement on Friday that he had a constructive meeting with senior intelligence officials on the Russian hacking issue was a step in the right direction, his disparagement of American intelligence officers over the last few months is likely to cause significant damage to the C.I.A.

Mr. Trump has questioned the agency’s competence — repeatedly asking, often via Twitter, how we can trust the organization that incorrectly judged that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (criticism that, in my mind, is unfair for an agency that has changed dramatically in the last 15 years). But he has also accused the agency of being biased and political, implying, in comments to The Times, that the C.I.A. manufactured its Russia analysis to undercut him. Mr. Trump, in essence, said that the agency’s officers were dishonorable. To the men and women of the C.I.A., sworn to protect the nation, this was a gut punch.

Mr. Trump’s behavior will weaken the agency, an organization that has never been more relevant to our nation’s security. The key national security issues of the day — terrorism; proliferation; cyberespionage, crime and war; and the challenges to the global order posed by Russia, Iran and China — all require first-rate intelligence for a commander in chief to understand them, settle on a policy and carry it out.

Please read the whole thing if you haven’t already.

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More News, Links Only

NBC News: U.S. Ethics Office Struggled to Gain Access to Trump Team, Emails Show.

Joe Conason: Investigate The Hackers — And Ignore Trump’s Chaff.

Newsweek: JORDAN TELLS TRUMP: MOVING U.S. EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM A ‘RED LINE.’

Washington Post: Hill Republicans embrace building of border wall, despite cost.

NewJersey.com: N.J. aunt of Ft. Lauderdale airport shooting suspect: ‘He lost his mind’ in Iraq.

New York Times: Jared Kushner, a Trump In-Law and Adviser, Chases a Chinese Deal.

Now I have to get back to packing for my move. Have a great weekend, Sky Dancers!

 

 

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14 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    The Parker OP Ed was amazing. Nice to see he’s getting it from all sides on this. Unfortunately, it’s not from Republicans actually with clout or power.

  2. Sweet Sue says:

    Great work, BB, I don’t know where you found the time, so thank you.
    Wishing you a move as stress free as possible.

  3. joanelle says:

    Thanks for all this information BB, I must have missed the bit about your moving – congrats and hope it is smoooooth going.

    • joanelle says:

      BTW – it is snowing like mad here in NJ – we’ve gotten about 3 inches in the last couple of hours – batten down your hatches.

  4. Enheduanna says:

    BB! I’m also in awe of how you find time to do so much research. It is greatly appreciated.

    Our “ice storm” here in ATL didn’t amount to much – I’m sure you guys up north would laugh and laugh. The grocery stores were literally emptied out last night – and here it is 2PM the next day and there’s nothing left of the ice hardly.

  5. Enheduanna says:

    P.S. That Austin Powers picture match-up is hysterical!!

  6. NW Luna says:

    BB, good post. There is so much ominous information. I’ve spent the last couple of days mostly reading; following Twitter links and re-tweets by Khan, Chalupa, Kendzior and people they follow, feeling more appalled than I ever thought possible. I’m sure there will be even more.

    Our country’s being handed over to a Putin front-man and all of our vaunted checks and balances have failed. The GOP colludes willingly so they can tear away safeguards and make the rich even richer.

    Thanks for putting this post together. All the best for your move.

    • Fannie says:

      I too have recently been dreaming about our Country being bombed. I wake up in sweat, and I say things, like oh shit no. I know it is because of a uncertain future with Trump. I even went so far as buying a 1,000 piece puzzle on posters of WWII………..

      Here are some of the saying on those posters: Do with less so they’ll have enough! One has a hand reaching out of the water “Someone Talked”……How about this one, “Loose Lips might sink the ship” ……..We’ll have lots to eat this winter, want we Mother? …….It’s our Fight too………More nurses are needed. Here is another one: When you ride alone, you ride with Hilter, and Remember Dec 7…………….He’s watching you, and I want you for US Army…………We Can Do It……..Rosie.

      Terrorism has found it’s way into our election, and we cannot allow it, but here we are. Violence is on the horizon.

      Thanks Dak, it really opened up my eyes, especially the biggest health issue is nuclear weapons, cyber interference.

  7. contrask says:

    Are we sunk unless some of the GOP wake up and want him gone? I truly believe when everyone went into Trump Tower he blackmailed them. Gore, Romney, all of them. Not a peep of disagreement from them after their private meetings. Of course, he neutered the media 1st. I’m so scared.

  8. NW Luna says:

    Interesting point about Russia no longer being “godless,” thus seeming more appealing to GOP and their ilk.

    You should never lose your capacity for shock. Even connoisseurs of the grotesque have had to take a deep breath and count to 10 after watching the Republican president-elect of the United States preferring the word of Julian Assange to the word of his own intelligence agencies. ….

    Shocking though the fellow travelling of the useful idiots of the right is (and what a pleasure it will be for western leftists of a certain age to throw back the insults conservatives once threw at them), it is not wholly incomprehensible. A large cohort of Cold War conservatives did not oppose the godless communist dictatorships of the Soviet Union and its satellites because they were dictatorships but because they were godless. Russia may be a dictatorship again, but the atheist state has gone and it is a godly dictatorship now that Putin has embraced the Orthodox Christianity of the tsars. To further endear himself to conservatives, he persecutes homosexuals and denounces the liberal values that threatened his rule in the street protests of 2012 so vehemently his ideologue Alexander Durgin could say the world needs “a Nuremburg Trial for liberalism”. …

    Above all else, the west’s Christian right or as they now call themselves the “civilisational right” welcome Putin as an unapologetic foe of Islam.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/07/russian-treachery-extreme-and-everywhere

  9. ANonOMouse says:

    Great post. Thank you. Hope you’re packing and move go smoothly.