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The Wrongologist

Geopolitics, Power and Political Economy

Monday Wake Up Call – Russian Hacking Edition, January 9, 2017

“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.” Saul Bellow

Trump had his briefing last Friday by the Intelligence Community (IC), about the Russian hacking. He then released this statement:

I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the Intelligence Community this afternoon. I have tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation.

While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democratic National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines…

Whether it is our government, organizations, associations or businesses we need to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks. I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm. Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America’s safety and security will be my number one priority.

He denied nothing that the IC presented, and agreed with several points. His bottom line, that the hacking did not affect the outcome of the election, is important: Trump is all about meme creation and meme destruction. His goal is to prevent the “Russians elected Trump” meme from becoming the next birther movement. If his tweets stay on message, he’ll get by this moment.

For what it is worth, hacking isn’t noteworthy; it’s been going on for years, by the Russians, the Chinese, the US and just about everyone else. There is way more hacking now, since most management systems are online, and few corporations are willing to invest enough to insure real protection from it.

OTOH, disinformation is a big deal. Social media makes Russia potentially a potent force in opinion control in the US and Europe. Hacked information can now be fed into the disinformation machine to great effect. We ignore Russia’s ability to influence US public opinion at our own risk.

Trump’s reaction to the IC briefing is comforting, since there was no histrionics or name calling. He said in this tweet that he will continue to push for a good relationship with Russia:

Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only “stupid” people, or fools, would think that it is bad!

This makes him seem reasonable, so he can get on with the work of NOT going to war with Russia over the hack of the DNC.

When you look at the IC Report, it looks like Russian hackers were responsible for the phishing attack against John Podesta. The same accounts were used to hack into the DNC.

The next thing to know is whether it was the Russian hackers who shared this information with WikiLeaks. That appears to be the case, although we are taking it on faith, since the IC hasn’t shown us their work:

US intelligence has identified the go-betweens the Russians used to provide stolen emails to WikiLeaks, according to US officials familiar with the classified intelligence report that was presented to President Barack Obama on Thursday.

We may never see more on how they identified them, since it may be a little too sensitive to divulge.

It pains Wrongo to say this, as a lifelong Democrat, but if Trump manages to beat back the neocon/pro-New Cold War crowd and work cooperatively with the Russians, the world will be a safer place.

Hillary would never had gone there as president.

This is perhaps the silver lining to a Trump presidency, possibly avoiding what looked to be a showdown with Russia and potentially, WWIII.

From a domestic policy perspective, however, the odds have increased that we tear this country apart by 2020.

So, today everybody needs a Wake-Up. The hacking didn’t change the election result, instead, we got this outcome as the result of a successful campaign strategy by Trump, and a failed campaign strategy by Clinton.

No music today, instead, we will watch a short clip from the 1983 movie, “War Games”. Matthew Broderick hacks into a Pentagon computer, assisted by his sidekick, Ally Sheedy. He then plays “Global Thermonuclear War” with the computer, except it isn’t a game. Broderick plays the Russians and the computer plays the USA. Ultimately, the world is saved:

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Sunday Cartoon Blogging – Presidential Election Edition

Here we are, the Sunday before Tuesday’s presidential election, and the time change just added another hour to our long national nightmare.

The contest between Clinton and Trump has become uncomfortably close since the FBI’s intervened in our political process.

Can we build a wall around the FBI? It will be the best wall, and we’ll get James Comey to pay for it.

The WaPo reports that it has moved Ohio from “toss-up” to “leans Republican” and moved New Hampshire and Arizona from “leans Democratic” to “toss-up”. This leaves Clinton with 290 electoral votes. CNN, as of Friday morning had Clinton below 270 electoral votes for the first time in a long time.

This election reminds Wrongo of 1988. That was George H. W. Bush vs. Michael Dukakis. In July, Dukakis led Bush by 17 points in a Gallup poll. In fact, Dukakis led Bush by comfortable margins into August, but things went badly for the Democrat. A number of false rumors were reported, including the claim Dukakis had been treated for mental illness. Then came the ridiculous picture of Dukakis in a tank, and the Willie Horton ad, and Dukakis’ goose was cooked. Bush took the popular vote by nearly 8 points, winning 40 states and 426 electoral votes.

Let’s hope we are not witnessing the second coming of a Dukakis loss in Hillary’s inability to close out Donald Trump.

This means we need an extra helping of cartoons. Something has to give us a smile before the crying starts on Tuesday. Face it, one team or the other will be crying.

Cubs win, Cubs WIN:

cow-cubs-win-2

Some voters will definitely have some ‘splaining to do:

cow-answer-to-st-pete

When you think that all the choices are bad, what are ya gonna do?

cow-vote-anyway

Views differ on Comey:

cow-comey-is-wonderful

FBI Director takes on a new meaning:

cow-the-director

If Trump wins, some are going to Canada, others are just going:

cow-advance-directive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it’s all over, we’ll call it a “Wave Election”:

cow-wave-election

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Clinton Is (Not) The Issue

As we go down the stretch to Tuesday’s election, the political dynamic has switched from being a referendum on Donald Trump to a referendum on Hillary Clinton.

It seems fitting that in the final stretch of a presidential campaign that has been completely indifferent to policy issues, from Russia, China, and the Middle East, to jobs and income inequality at home. Our news outlets are now focused on an apparently impregnable story about the Pant Suit’s private e-mail server, and the Clintons generally.

Since FBI Director James Comey’s announcement, we’ve seen the drip, drip of musings by the cableistas about whether Clinton can hang on to her lead, or if Trump can win on Tuesday.

There have also been a series of leaks by the FBI that appear to be designed to damage Hillary Clinton and benefit Donald Trump. An anonymous source leaked to the Wall Street Journal that there was an FBI investigation  — including “secret recordings” —  into the Clinton Foundation.

Fox News reported on Wednesday that the FBI is intensifying an investigation into the Clinton Foundation over allegations that it traded donations for access to Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State.

And there’s more. Judd Legum reports that the FBI’s Inspection Division is launching an investigation into why its FBI Records Vault Twitter bot re-released the files on Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich.

The FBI Twitter account was inactive from September 2015 until October 8th. Then there were a flurry of tweets, concluding with the Marc Rich tidbit. It has not been active since that tweet, so:

Candice Will, Assistant Director for the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said she was referring the matter to the FBI’s Inspection Division for an “investigation.” Upon completion of the investigation, the Office of Professional Responsibility will be referred back to the Office of Professional Responsibility for “adjudication.”

According to Marcy Wheeler, the Inspection Division and the Office of Professional Responsibility doesn’t have statutory independence from the rest of the FBI, which means their investigation can be influenced (or quashed) by FBI executives. So, nothing will be done, despite the fact that Federal law and FBI policy prohibit employees from using the power of the department to attempt to influence elections.

Now, we read this in the Guardian:

Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.

Current and former FBI officials, none of whom were willing or cleared to speak on the record, have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over director James Comey’s July decision not to recommend an indictment over Clinton’s maintenance of a private email server on which classified information transited.

“The FBI is Trumpland,” said one current agent.

This was also confirmed to Wrongo recently by an in-law who used to work for the FBI. It’s as if the ghost of ole J. Edgar showed up early in October, and has decided to hang around for a while, even though Halloween is over.

The FBI has now entered parlous political territory. This is law enforcement trying to force its will on civil authority. We need to put a choke collar on this dog, before it tries to bite us all.

We all should care about how FBI’s apparent misconduct is affecting the election.And if the FBI is this politicized, it is an enemy of We the People, and will remain an enemy, even if Comey is ousted as Director.

Wrongo is now beginning to think of Comey as another John Boehner, a guy with decent instincts who is completely ineffective at controlling his team, with disastrous results for the country.

Imagine how The Donald as president, would use a vast public police force that is comprised of Trump true believers.

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Monday Wake Up Call – Anthony Weiner Edition

“God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh”Voltaire

Many funny memes have emerged after the FBI’s announcement that, in their investigation of Anthony Weiner’s possible sexting relationship with a 15 year-old girl, they turned up emails that may or may not be related to the Hillary Clinton private server investigation.

The internets are having fun associating Weiner and Clinton:

Dickileaks – NY Post

Weiner Probe – WaPo

The only thing that would make this more insane is if Trump’s tax returns were found in Anthony Weiner’s email – twitter

The Cocktober Surprise – twitter

Apparently, HRC’s 33,000 deleted emails were all just dick pics from Anthony Weiner – twitter

Seriously, the NYT reports that officials at the DOJ urged FBI head James Comey not to violate policies and procedural norms by intervening in the presidential election. The linked article contains this rather remarkable set of facts: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

The FBI offered no comment, and Justice Department officials said they had no idea what Mr. Comey saw as his next move. Justice Department officials were particularly puzzled about why Mr. Comey had alerted Congress — and by extension, the public — before agents even began reading the newly discovered emails to determine whether they contained classified information or added new facts to the case.

Law enforcement officials have begun the process to get court authority to read the emails, officials said. How soon they will get that is unclear, but there is no chance that the review will be completed before Election Day, several law enforcement officials said.

So not only to they have no idea what’s in the emails, they don’t have a warrant to read them yet.

This from the Jane Mayer article at the New Yorker: (brackets and emphasis by the Wrongologist)

According to the Administration official, [Attorney General] Lynch asked Comey to follow Justice Department policies, but he said that he was obliged to break with them because he had promised to inform members of Congress if there were further developments in the case. He also felt that the impending election created a compelling need to inform the public, despite the tradition of acting with added discretion around elections…

In essence, Comey is saying: “Well, I know the rule is designed to make sure that our investigations don’t influence elections, but I think in this case, we should break that rule, because there’s an election, and we should influence it.

There are as yet no further developments in the case. After the FBI obtains a warrant and reads the emails, there might be, but right now, nada.

What we have so far isn’t a “further development” at all. If a police detective walked into a DA’s office and told the DA the equivalent of what Comey said to Congress, say: “we found a box of Clinton files”. He would get a puzzled look and a question: “Yes? Go on? What did you find?” and if the cop responded with: “We haven’t looked in the box yet” the DA would say: “Why are you HERE, then?”

But that’s not how Congress works.

No one knows what the impact will be on the presidential election; we will see next Tuesday. Comey’s act of partisan bad faith is staggering, and there is no denying that his letter to Congress was a bombshell. This undermines democracy at least as much as anything the Pant Load says on the trail about “rigged elections.” Undermining democracy apparently comes with zero consequences these days.

So, it’s time to wake up America! You could lose your democracy without even knowing it is gone.

To help you wake up, here is Serj Tankian, the lead vocalist of the rock band System of a Down, with “Uneducated Democracy”, released in 2012. Serj lives in California and supported Bernie Sanders this year:

The video for “Uneducated Democracy” is made by Tumo, a technology school in Armenia. All of the crew were teenagers.

Sample Lyrics:

In dire need of reason
In a truly deaf nation
In dire need of reason
In a truly deaf nation
Without an education there is no real democracy
Without an education there is only autocracy

Open your eyes
Open your mouths
Close your hands
And make a fist
Down with the system
As we lay helpless against the machine

As sex scandals dictate
The winding road of realpolitik
The bully runs from his corner
Images rule through the media
Hungry hunger further
The hungry hunger further

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Sunday Cartoon Blogging – October 30, 2016

Enough already about your damned emails Hillary!

Apparently not. This, from Booman: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

FBI Director James Comey just angered everyone in the country by sending a letter to key Republican committee members in Congress:

1) eleven days before Election Day
2) that implies that Hillary Clinton may have committed a criminal act
3) that doesn’t provide any details
4) that makes no commitment to shed any further light on the issue before the voting is over

For Democrats, they wonder why Comey would impugn Clinton’s character while voting is already going on when he can’t even say with certainty that the information is pertinent to the investigation of Clinton’s emails or whether it involves any classified information.

For Republicans, they wonder why the FBI cannot commit to giving the American people more clarity before the election is over. If the information is indeed damning then isn’t it a little late to find that out after Clinton has already become president-elect?

We all need to take a cold shower and help break our fever. Why do the scandals keep proliferating? Because the media loves them. They attract lots of eyeballs for very little work.  Partisans love them because they can take their opponent completely out of the political game.

The Senate becomes even more important now, regardless of the outcome of this investigation of the Abudin/Weiner emails.

If Congress is under divided control, there will not be a purely partisan impeachment action, and at least the Senate will not be running nonstop bullshit investigations in its various Committees. OTOH, If Clinton wins and the GOP retains control of the Senate, we will have an immediate, full-blown constitutional crisis on our hands, and bullshit investigations may be the least of our worries. This cartoon says it all about James Comey and her damned emails:

cow-comey-kiss

In cases like this, it would require the wisdom of Solomon to determine the precise ratio of malevolence-to-incompetence involved in Comey’s action.

Amon Bundy and friends were acquitted of conspiracy for their white guy, “guns and god” takeover of the Malheur wildlife refuge. The question that must now be addressed is: What does “peaceful protest” mean in America?

cow-bundy-2

Our eyes are blind to what must be seen:

cow-bundy-3The Pant Load hates what’s on TV:

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In October, the witch isn’t always Hillary, and the pumpkin head isn’t always Trump:

cow-halloween-hillary

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Ok, that’s the title of a novel by Hunter S. Thompson, but it describes World War III the third presidential debate.

The headline coming out of the debate has to be that Donald Trump refused to say that he would accept the election result if he lost. Basically, he said when Chris Wallace asked him a second time, that people should just “stay tuned”.

This has never happened before. Consider our history: George Washington was the center of gravity in American political life from 1775 all the way to 1796. He was our first president. People asked: What would happen to the republic when Washington went home? They worried that we were being held together by a single person, not by a system of laws, because the laws hadn’t yet had a chance to put their roots down into the political system. At that point, America was a government of men, and then John Adams became the second president. There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, that when Adams took the oath of office, he stood aside to let Washington lead them out of the chamber. Washington turned to Adams, and said: “after you Mr. President.”

That simple act of respect established the preeminence of the presidency and the peaceful transfer of presidential power.

In 2016, who is qualified to lead the country? Could it be a guy that disrespects one of our bedrock traditions?

Wallace asked if Trump will go along with the election result, Trump answers by saying the election is rigged. Clinton says Trump always claims things are rigged if they don’t go his way. Her observing that Trump said he lost the Emmy because the contest was rigged was a thing of beauty.

Hillary Clinton won tonight and won the first debate. The second debate was a draw. At this stage in the campaign, people expect the candidates to be knowledgeable and prepared for the debate, but it devolved into the same kind of hair pulling show as debate II. Trump saying near the end of the debate that Clinton shouldn’t have even been allowed to run (who should have disallowed her?) was a crazy moment.

Overall, Clinton was solid steel, coated in platinum. Trump, of course, was Bakelite.

Chris Wallace was by far the best of the moderators, at least for the first hour, although he had a slight right wing bias. It went south after that, and he had a hard time keeping the candidates on track.

It was very difficult to fact-check either candidate, but again, Trump stood out, denying things we all knew to be true. Long-time blog reader FVK had a thought:

The Trump excuses reminded me of the old John Lovitz routine on SNL. When a new excuse for his screw-ups came to him, he’d say, “yeah, that’s the ticket!” “I’m behind because election is rigged”.

John Lovitz had a character on Saturday Night Live in the 1980s called Tommy Flanagan, the pathological liar. Flanagan would tell outrageous whoppers, like claiming he was married to Morgan Fairchild, and thus had seen her naked “more than once.”

Doesn’t that sound like the GOP candidate we saw last night?

Whatever the debating points, Trump couldn’t get out of the way of the avalanche of wrong created by the Access Hollywood video, and his response to it.

That defined Trump 2016, and he did nothing in debate III to recover from it. Here is Trump’s avalanche of wrong:

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Debate Prep III – October 19, 2016

“I’m addicted to placebos. I’d give them up, but it wouldn’t make any difference.”Steven Wright

The nation is addicted to Presidential debates, which cannot even remotely be characterized as a placebo. And tonight’s debate in Las Vegas is unlikely to make a big difference to voters around America, unless one of the Pant Load or the Pant Suit are extremely clever. You can expect that The Pant Load will try to make this week’s WikiLeaks disclosures a torpedo below the waterline for the Pant Suit’s campaign. There are some nuggets in the emails, but do they really add up to all that much?

This from USA Today:

Companies used Clinton fundraisers to lobby [the] State Department. At least a dozen of those same companies lobbied the State Department, using lobbyists who doubled as major Clinton campaign fundraisers. Those companies gave as much as $16 million to the Clinton charities.

Sounds terrible, until you get down to paragraph #26 in the article:

In all, 181 foundation donors lobbied State during Clinton’s leadership tenure, Vox reported last year.

These relationships and giving on their own aren’t illegal, or even unethical. But critics, including Trump, have argued they at least pose potential conflicts of interest.

So, no quid, and apparently, no smoking gun of quo. Trump asks repeatedly how these disclosures are not dominating the news cycle and blames the media for being in the bag for Hillary. The emails often don’t prove what Trump says they do: that the Clinton campaign hates Catholics, that Clinton “openly colluded” with the Justice Department during its investigation of her private email server.

Even if there is some there, there with the emails, the real issue is that The Donald remains the story of this presidential election.

It has come down to a referendum on Donald Trump.

Unless Trump can get more than 43% of the vote, he can’t be president. And focusing on Trump’s personal attributes has been Clinton’s strategy all along. Still, if we fix on personal foibles and temperament, although relevant, we will miss any discussion of the issues.

Take tax plans. Hillary shouldn’t focus on Trump’s taxes. His taxes are relevant, although no worse than Mitt Romney’s low average tax rate: This just illustrates a problem with the tax code that Trump is well within his rights to exploit. The real problem with Trump, when it comes to taxes, is not what he pays or doesn’t pay, but how his proposed tax plan would affect everyone’s tax burden.

The numbers are not pretty.

Trump’s plan is the most Oprah-esque tax proposal since Ronald Reagan in 1980: You get a tax cut! You get a tax cut! You get a tax cut! But it’s mostly a massive tax cut for the top 1%, similar to those proposed by nearly every Republican presidential candidate in recent memory. Without that revenue, the government has to collect more in taxes from middle-class and low-income households, which will not reduce income inequality, or the federal deficit, or grow the economy.

Trump’s plan is spun as a “growth plan. The idea is that if the US runs huge deficits by slashing taxes, most of that money will be spent, creating wealth and jobs. Sorry, but the failure in Trump’s plan is foreshadowed in the failed economy in Kansas, where the Republicans handed big tax breaks to a few of the highest-income taxpayers and businesses, hoping that would magically trigger an “adrenaline shot” to the Kansas economy. That didn’t happen. Since cutting taxes drastically, the state’s debt load has ballooned to an all-time high of $4.5 billion, a jump of 50% in two years.

So no growth, and mucho debt.

Trump’s plan doubles down on this failed “trickle-down” GOP fantasy as the answer to GDP growth and income inequality. Economic growth will never come from giving tax cuts to the rich. Why? Because they just sock their gains from tax cuts away in offshore tax havens.

Hillary needs to attack the Pant Load’s BS tax plan, not his failure to pay taxes. People should think hard about each candidate’s tax plan and how it could contribute to economic growth before deciding to cast their vote for president. An attack by Clinton on Trump’s tax plan will go directly against one of the core beliefs of Trump supporters, that tax cuts will give them better jobs and pay. Sow some doubt there, and it could pay dividends at the ballot box.

Hillary’s plan is to build infrastructure with tax increases on the rich and corporations. That creates jobs.

This is a message she needs to drive home in tonight’s third presidential debate.

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Monday Cartoon Blogging – September 12, 2016

Another action-packed week. There was no limit to the craziness, from Gary Johnson on Aleppo to Matt Lauer’s interviewing performance, to North Korea’s Kim dropping another bomb.

When presidential candidates answer questions with another question:

cow-stump-the-candidates

Matt Lauer tried to rebound from his poor interview performance:

cow-matt-lauer

Lil’ Kim is pissed off again:

cow-kims-bomb

Trump reveals his secret plan to defeat ISIS:

cow-trumps-plan

Both Parties tried to keep their campaigns afloat:

cow-parties-bail

He’s a bull shitter, and a bull in china shop:

cow-bull-in-china-shop

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Sunday Cartoon Blogging – September 4, 2016

Welcome to Labor Day weekend. This means that summer is over, and mercifully, there are only nine weeks until Election Day:

COW Labor Day IV.png

Donald Trump did a drive-through in Mexico. His souvenir sombrero says “Culero”.  For those who do not speak colloquial Spanish, Culero means asshole:

COW Culero

Some thought he looked presidential while with President Nieto, but then he looked more like an ultra-nationalist in Phoenix. A Trump advisor said that without enforced deportation, we would soon have a taco truck on every corner. America responded:

COW Taco Trucks

Even better, there were some estimates that a taco truck on every corner might deliver enough jobs to eliminate today’s US unemployment. Great idea Donald!

The Pant Suit did not have a good week. The FBI released some of the information they had collected while investigating the email issue. The outrage by those who believe Clinton is the worst candidate ever was palpable. Should we be buying it?

COW Bad Bag

OTOH, for many it’s just too much appearance of guilt:

COW Guilty Looking

49rs QB Colin Kaepernick has touched a nerve. It is surprising to see who is for and against his position:

COW Divided we Sit

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About Trump and Russia

From Emptywheel:

There has been a lot written about Russia intelligence agencies allegedly hacking the DNC server and — by leaking it — attempting to influence the election. Some observers have, based on that assumption, called the hack an act of war.

The good news was that the leak of emails defenestrated the detestable Debbie Downer Shultz, head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). It also exposed the DNC’s tipping of the playing field in favor of Clinton during the Democratic primaries, after much speculation that they were doing exactly that.

There are many claims being made, all serving a narrative that Putin is playing a role in our presidential election, and that he (Putin) prefers to see Trump in the White House. More from Emptywheel: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

I’m not saying the Russians didn’t do this hack, nor am I dismissing the idea that they’d prefer Trump to Hillary. By far the most interesting piece of this is the way those with the documents — both the hackers and Wikileaks — held documents until a really awkward time for some awkward disclosures

It is doubtful that the Russians care in the slightest about Debbie Wasserman Schultz, or the DNC. Perhaps there is another shoe to drop on the Clinton campaign. It is interesting that the Main Stream Media is focused on the hacking, and not the content of the hacked emails and the DNCs lax IT security. Is it possible that we will see a series of ever more damaging releases as the campaign goes on?

A piece of underreported news was that Trump and the Russians have had a cozy business relationship since the 1980s. Josh Marshall at TPM took an in-depth look at the business connections between Donald Trump and Russia. Marshall reports that Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money, some of it from persons close to Putin. Here are a few facts:

  1. Trump’s debt load has grown dramatically over the last year, from $350 million to $630 million, according to estimates by Bloomberg. This happened in a year when his liquid assets have also decreased.
  2. There is evidence that some big US banks don’t want to work with him, but Deutsche Bank has lent him $300 million since 2012.
  3. Post-bankruptcy, Trump has been highly reliant on money from Russia. WaPo has a good overview which includes this:

Since the 1980s, Trump and his family members have made numerous trips to Moscow in search of business opportunities, and they have relied on Russian investors to buy their properties around the world.

  1. One example of this is the Trump SoHo development in Manhattan. The project was hit with a series of lawsuits, and emerging out of that litigation was news about secret financing for the project from Russia and Kazakhstan. As the NYT said: (brackets by the Wronologist)

Mr. Lauria [an FBI informant who worked for Bayrock Group, developer of the Trump SoHo project] brokered a $50 million investment in Trump SoHo and three other Bayrock projects by an Icelandic firm preferred by wealthy Russians “in favor with” President Vladimir V. Putin, according to a lawsuit against Bayrock by one of its former executives. The Icelandic company, FL Group, was identified in a Bayrock investor presentation as a strategic partner…

While not all in the Josh Marshall article checks out, there is something to the reasoning that Trump has a “special relationship” with Russia, which bears examination, even if Russia didn’t hack the DNC. The relationship is based on circumstantial, but non-trivial evidence for a financial relationship between Trump and Russia.

Even if you see no adverse news, Trump’s financial empire is highly leveraged and has a questionable reliance on capital infusions from foreign banks and oligarchs.

Even if you yell, “but, the Clinton Foundation has the same issue”, Trump’s dependence is simply not something that should be ignored. As Mustang Bobby said:

I’m old enough to remember when even a whisper of a connection between a political candidate and a foreign power — to say nothing of the country that makes up what’s left of the former Soviet Union — would be instant political death.

The question, is: Will this gain any traction in the American media, or will Mr. Trump be hailed as a deal-maker who can work with our adversaries?

Will Trump’s neo-conservative supporters who hate Russia think, “Commie sympathizer”?

Don’t hold your breath.

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