Donald Trump at a Lonely Crossroads

Battered for months by Russia-gate innuendo, Donald Trump finds his unlikely presidency at a dangerous crossroads with no clear-cut path ahead, writes ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

By Alastair Crooke

It is time to pause, take a deep breath, and reflect. It is very clear that Trump’s Presidency is at a crossroads. This is not because there is any evidence of any wrongdoing. To date, there is a torrent of innuendo, but zero “evidence.” Rather, events have converged at a point of inflection, not because the President might be impeached – that is improbable because the bar in terms of evidence, and of Congressional votes required, is very high – but because recent days have unmasked the sheer breadth and visceral animosity of the forces determined to “take down” the President, by whatever means present themselves.

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

President Trump faces a mainstream media (MSM) that has become hysterical in perceiving collusion with Russia everywhere – even to the extent of querying how Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Ambassador, and a Russian photographer could have been allowed access to the Oval Office, thereby compromising American “security.” Trump faces a coalition of Clintonites, “corporate” Republicans, neocons, and more significantly, a fifth column within the intelligence services which regards any attempt at détente with Russia to constitute prima facie treason.

In response to a question from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, who asked FBI Director James Comey in the Senate Judiciary Committee “what kind of threat” Russia presents “to the democratic process” (that is to say Graham’s question was not about Russia’s military capabilities, but on the threat to Western democracies), Comey answered: “Certainly, in my view, the greatest threat of any nation on Earth, given their [Russia’s] intention and their capability.”

One might reasonably conclude then, that Trump inevitably will be overwhelmed by this onslaught. Certainly the noise from the East Coast media bubble is overwhelming. And that, precisely, is the threat to the President: the drip, drip, of innuendo that Professor Stephen Cohen has dubbed “the accusation of treason.”

“And”, Cohen added, “we have a whole array of allegations that Putin helped him [Trump] get in the White House – to his [Trump’s] associates doing wrong things with Russians … This, [the allegations lacking any solid evidence] is beyond belief now … This has become a national security threat to us, in and of, itself.”

A Paralyzed Administration

And now a Special Prosecutor has been appointed. One commentator summed it up thus: “That’s how special prosecutors work … they hobble the president, drain away his political credibility, separate him from his supporters, and paralyze his administration. No legislator is willing to lend his support for fear of what the prosecutor might find. Each one will run for cover rather than work with Trump to get something done. In appointing a prosecutor, [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein has killed this Administration’s ability to function. No health care overhaul. No tax cuts. No government reform. All while we await the results of a nothing investigation into a nothing scandal.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

The noise is overwhelming, but it is nearly all emanating from the coastal élites who inevitably speak the loudest. Polls may say that Trump’s favorability rating is slipping. That is so; but the polls also speak to the growing polarity between the Republican base, and the coastal Establishment: 81 percent of Clinton voters support impeaching the President, but 83 percent of Trump voters adamantly oppose it. Equally 91 percent of Clinton supporters “disapprove” of Trump, whereas 86 percent of the Trump base “support” him. There is evidence that the “deplorables” have been deeply angered by the impeachment talk.

And here lies the “inflection point”: President Trump’s base is pretty clear in identifying the “game plan” (it is widely dissected on the New Right, and Alt Right sites): The onslaught is not about finding the “evidence” (which probably doesn’t exist): The “Russian interference” meme emerged primarily from the Democratic National Committee email leaks that were originally attributed to a Russian “hack” (rather than a “leak” by Seth Rich, since murdered), via a private company, Crowd Strike, (evidence that experts now contest); from the discredited “dirty dossier” of ex-British spy Christopher Steele; and from unmasked intercepts of Trump aides (which have as yet shown no evidence of electoral collusion).

It is rather the drip, drip of innuendo which is intended – the Trump base avers – to collapse the President’s ratings (among his base) to the point at which even the Republican members of Congress will abandon the President, and join the “movement” to remove him, via one or other of the provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

Obstruction of Justice is unlikely to serve: As George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley has said, former FBI Director James Comey’s memo offers “no proof for impeachment” of Trump. Turley noted: “Indeed, it raises as many questions for Comey as it does Trump in terms of the alleged underlying conduct.

“A good place to start would be with the federal law, specifically 18 U.S.C. 1503. The criminal code demands more than what Comey reportedly describes in his memo. There are dozens of different variations of obstruction charges ranging from threatening witnesses to influencing jurors. None would fit this case. That leaves the omnibus provision on attempts to interfere with the ‘due administration of justice.’

“However, that still leaves the need to show that the effort was to influence ‘corruptly’ when Trump could say that he did little but express concern for a longtime associate. The term ‘corruptly’ is actually defined differently under the various obstruction provisions, but it often involves a showing that someone acted ‘with the intent to secure an unlawful benefit for oneself or another.’ Encouraging leniency or advocating for an associate is improper but not necessarily seeking an unlawful benefit for him.”

What the point of inflection calls for (Trump’s supporters’ say), is to insist that the FBI investigation be concluded expeditiously, and that a counter-attack on the leaders of those forces (whomsoever they are), and on their “moles” — “embedded insurgents committed to forcing Trump from office” — who are leaking innuendo to the MSM, be prosecuted.

It is a crossroads. Trump has to halt the drumbeat, or see his Presidency crumble into dust. And the blade of “defamation politics” can be two-edged: Hillary Clinton was no paragon of virtue.

An Elusive Achievement

In this context, Trump now needs a policy achievement more than ever. A legislative success in the domestic arena is – evidently – not in prospect, but rather the political convulsions in D.C. may finally spook a somnolent and supine Wall Street to think about risk again (VIX, a litmus of market volatility, has been at historic lows) – especially as market insiders are warning their clients “not to expect to [be] bailed out by the Fed this time.” Indeed the entire Trump reflation program looks as if will be a long time coming (if it comes at all, this year).

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivering a statement condemning the Syrian government on April 11, 2017. (Screen shot from state.gov)

At such times, foreign policy may come to the fore. We have already noted that the Astana Process has witnessed a White House, more ready than Obama’s, to work with Russia, Turkey and Iran, to reach some sort of settlement in Syria. The triumph of the “defeat” of ISIS in Raqa’a and Mosul might constitute just such an achievement to rally Trump’s base.

Trump was politically courageous in inviting Lavrov into the Oval Office (at a time when “the drumbeat” of Russia collusion was reaching a crescendo). It seems that Russia and its allies are ready to concede to Trump the taking of Raqa’a, (the Syrian Foreign Minister has effectively acknowledged this); and in return, Russia and Iran have been put on test by the White House.

The hostile rhetoric from Washington on Iran, has been notably absent since Astana, and the secondary sanctions waiver in connection with the JCPOA (the nuclear agreement) has been renewed. It seems Trump has realized that Generals James Mattis (Defense Secretary) and H.R. McMaster (National Security Adviser) were intent on leading the President back into a series of (unwinnable) wars – at least that seems to be the message of Astana which has put two negotiators, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson firmly in the driver’s seat.

But here too, the onslaught on the President, and on the Astana political process is likely to continue. Recall that President Obama, who was ever more hesitant than Trump – (never fully endorsing) Secretary of State John Kerry’s and FM Lavrov’s negotiating marathons – witnessed those political efforts sabotaged by his own Pentagon (the “accident” at Dier Azor, killing 68 Syrian Army soldiers defending their besieged base against ISIS militants), and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s public equivocation about sharing intelligence on ISIS and al-Qae’da with the Russians).

Already the signs of similar sabotage are present: i.e. the Acting Assistant Secretary of State Stuart Jones’s dubious announcement — on the eve of a Geneva round of Syria talks — that the U.S. had found evidence of a crematorium at a Syrian prison, in which the remains of mass executions of prisoners were burned. Two days later Jones resigned from the State Department, with a colleague noting that while Jones was retiring early for personal reasons, his departure was a case of “another senior government official with real competence leaving.” (Or, in other words another anti-Trump dissident leaving the ship.)

Saudi defense minister, Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud

Even Anne Barnard of the New York Times noted that the timing of the crematorium allegations seemed “political.” Yes, indeed political, but directed at the Russians or at Trump? There are also reports that a contingent of U.S. and British Special Forces are operating in southern Syria to stymie any Syrian army or Hezbullah advance in order to regain control of the Syrian-Iraqi border. On Thursday, a U.S.-led airstrike hit Syrian military forces that were deemed too close to the U.S.-British base.

So President Trump should beware. Peace settlements require huge efforts to assemble, but can be undone in a moment. And Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman should note: Trump just might be more interested in defeating ISIS at this moment, than suffering a further Saudi lecture on the misdeeds of Iran. Though President Trump will be happy to receive whatever boodle with which the Saudis may care to shower him. Rumors say up to $300 billion – $400 billion in arms deals! “Quite nice,” as the Donald might say.

Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum.

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41 comments for “Donald Trump at a Lonely Crossroads

  1. Tom Welsh
    May 19, 2017 at 11:36 am

    “No legislator is willing to lend his support for fear of what the prosecutor might find”.

    Because the great majority of them are in fact hardened criminals. Mark Twain said it over a century ago:

    “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctively native American criminal class except Congress”.

    • Cal
      May 19, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      ” Because the great majority of them are in fact hardened criminals. Mark Twain said it over a century ago:”

      I doubt even the regulars here know how true that is or really understand how widespread the criminal connections in politicians personal and political lives are. This past election for instance we had a choice between two candidates who daughters both married the sons of convicted criminals.
      So now we have Jared Kushner in the WH whose father was convicted on 18 counts of bribery, fraud and blackmail. Jared at the time vowed revenge on Chris Christie, his prosecutor—who he did manage to get kicked out of Trump’ s group after Trump won.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/08/us/politics/kushner-china-visa-eb-5.html?action=click&contentCollection=Middle%20East&module=RelatedCoverage&region=EndOfArticle&pgtype=article

      Kushner Family Stands to Gain From Visa Rules in Trump’s First Major Law

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/us/politics/jared-kushner-beny-steinmetz.html

      Bribe Cases, a Jared Kushner
      Partner and Potential Conflicts

      President Trump’s son-in-law, a top adviser, had help building a real
      estate empire from a member of one of Israel’s wealthiest families…..who is and has been under investigation for years in a dozen countries, including the US for bribery fraud etc..

      The Kushners give millions to political, charitable and pro-Israel causes
      “I speak with my father about everything in my life,” Jared said

      How low we have fallen in this country with the rise of this kind of trash into ‘public service’…..whatever happened to good character and ethics and honor as values ? Now our so called elite society and government is nothing but two legged cockroaches scurrying and sneaking around for money and power to get more money.

      • Bill Bodden
        May 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm

        I doubt even the regulars here know how true that is or really understand how widespread the criminal connections in politicians personal and political lives are.

        Cal: I believe you are underestimating the regulars on this website. I have learned a lot from several of them, and if I can recognize the whole system and the vast majority of people in it as being corrupt I’m sure they can.

        • May 20, 2017 at 11:28 pm

          Yes and I, who have not commented before nor am necessarily a regular, recognize the corruption in the entire system not to mention the acceptance of corrupt behaviour as the norm within the domain of governance.

  2. Tom Welsh
    May 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    “It is rather the drip, drip of innuendo which is intended – the Trump base avers – to collapse the President’s ratings (among his base) to the point at which even the Republican members of Congress will abandon the President…”

    This highlights one of the two main factors that undermine and eventually destroy democracies – or, rather, “democracies”. It is the sheer stupidity and ignorance of the citizen body, together with its unwillingness to make the slightest effort to understand political issues. The other factor, as pointed out by Oswald Spengler a century ago, is that modern representative democracies have no defence against the corroding power of money. As we have seen, especially in the USA but in most other countries as well, the rich always get what they want while the poor get the absolute minimum that will keep them alive, working, and not actually rebelling violently. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/princeton-experts-say-us-no-longer-democracy

    The power of money would be far less were it not for the other factor – the stupidity, ignorance and somnolence of the citizens. Why? Because money buys propaganda in the form of media coverage, commentary, and even advertising. These are backed up by Hollywood, TV and radio drama which all work together to put across the desired narratives and values.

    If the citizens were intelligent, educated, committed, concerned and alert, the propaganda would have very little effect. Indeed, those who invest in it would soon throw up their hands in disgust and abandon their efforts.

    “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be”.
    – Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey (1816)

    • mike k
      May 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Excellent points Tom.

    • Bill Bodden
      May 19, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      Very well said, Tom. Feeding people lies from the time they first learn to understand the spoken word will divert them from the path leading to true citizenship. In countless cases it will encourage innocents to volunteer to become cannon fodder or loyal barbarians.

    • May 20, 2017 at 11:33 pm

      I think that if ” if the citizens were intelligent, educated, committed, concerned and alert, the propaganda would have very little effect.” and that is why we are seeing the ongoing undermining of public education.

    • Peter Loeb
      May 21, 2017 at 7:18 am

      TOM WELSH: NOT “STUPIDITY AND IGNORANCE OF THE CITIZEN BODY”

      With that kind of language peering down at the vox populi, you and many
      like you, have set yourselves up as supreme beings. Sometimes called
      “the elite”.

      Rather, the views and interests of the “stupid and ignorant’ majority should
      instead be seen as direct products of the myopia of elites. There are,of
      course, other factors: income/wealth, race, and more.

      Instead of continuing to highlight our own (inherent?) superiority,
      it would be better to focus on the innate validity of others’
      basic concerns.

      —–Peter Loeb, (Harvard Grad), Boston, MA, USA

  3. Sally Snyder
    May 19, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Here is a fascinating press conference held by Vladimir Putin where he explains his attitude toward America’s anti-Russian sentiment:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2017/05/russias-assessment-of-americas.html

    It is interesting to see that Putin has a very clear understanding of America’s increasingly self-destructive political reality.

    • mike k
      May 19, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      Thanks Sally. A most revealing vignette of Mr. Putin. The more I learn about him, the better I like him.

  4. mike k
    May 19, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    We are witnessing a more overt military takeover of the United States. This has been in progress for a long time as George Washington and then Dwight Eisenhower tried to tell us. But now in these end of empire, and possible end of civilization and extinction of humankind times, this militarization of American culture will become much more open and aggressive.

    One of the players in he Deep State not as often noted is the military leadership itself. It is not only the economic players in the MIC who count in determining US policies. The CIA and other intel agencies have become a branch of the military, however much they pretend to be under political control. The CIA effectively fields it’s own elite military cadre, and engages in active war operations all over the planet.

    The military tool the politicians like to use has long worked to subvert that role, and become the real masters of our societal destiny. They are succeeding quite well at this, and soon civilians will all be relegated to second class citizenship, if that. This is the consummation of the Fascist ideal that we are now rapidly succumbing to.

  5. May 19, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    When Trump said NATO was “obsolete”. The warmongering elites sh-t themselves. The war industry is big business, and a whole lot of parasites feed off it. The upcoming meeting of NATO in Brussels May 25th, 2017. would be a good time to arrest all: “The War Gangs and War Criminals”… assembled there, that are funding and training terrorists.
    [Much more info at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/05/the-war-gangs-and-war-criminals-of-nato.html

    • mike k
      May 19, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Good idea Stephen. Let’s get a posse together and go to Brussels!

  6. John wilson
    May 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    It looks as though the good will Trump got from that bit of Syria bashing with his missile attack is beginning to wear off. Perhaps it time for him to try something else like North Korea for example. If he keeps the military industries happy I think he’s safe for the time being. He will certainly have to watch his back on this nine day trip he’s going on. Accidents can happen or be made to happen!!

    • May 20, 2017 at 11:45 pm

      Is it important enough to save Trump that there be a willingness to sacrifice human beings through senseless bombing. Good grief, what has this become? Where does this huge sense of exceptionalism and entitlement come from that human life and the societies which hold it, are valueless in this great and crazy game of domination. Or was that sarcasm? Is no sacrifice to great as long as it is not one’s own?????

  7. Rohit
    May 19, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    What Trump needs at this stage is some smart friends. Maybe Mr. Crooke will be one?

    • backwardsevolution
      May 19, 2017 at 11:22 pm

      Rohit – that would be a great idea.

  8. Realist
    May 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    The Saudis are going to implore Trump to make war on Iran ASAP as their main agenda of this meeting. The US military can lay waste to that country just as it has through most of the Middle East, but ask yourself, Donald, what will be the price to our economy, our domestic politics and the rest of our international relations. The Israelis will laud you for committing such suicide at their behest, but it’s not going to make Russia and China disappear. It will only make them more paranoid and inclined to take defensive, which Washington will call “aggressive,” actions that will make nuclear war the most probable outcome, most likely by accident. A strong president would use this tour of the region to lay down the law to these dubious “allies” and tell them to can their plans for another quick glorious war against Shia Muslims in the region. Rather than appeasing these countries with more arms, more troops and more aid, he ought to tell them that Santa Claus has retired, that America has to address its own needs at long last. Won’t happen. The Deep State won’t let it. They’d bring down Airforce One with a “Russian” missile if that’s what it took.

    • May 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      omg…dont give them any ideas,,,,,

    • backwardsevolution
      May 19, 2017 at 11:31 pm

      Realist – I was reading what you had to say, got to the part where you said that a strong president would lay down the law, and all of a sudden Air Force One popped into my mind. Then when I saw that you had written the same thing, I thought: look out, Trump!

      But, you’re right, Trump needs to do this. It’s now or never. He needs to realize, no matter what he does, he’ll never appease these monsters. He needs to step up, tell him that HE is the President of the United States, that he didn’t get elected to start more wars, and pull all the troops out of that area.

      Then come home and start laying down the law.

      • May 20, 2017 at 11:49 pm

        Makes good sense to me under the circumstances.

  9. F. G. Sanford
    May 19, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    It’s a case of the “cat” they don’t want out of the “bag”. Just about any reasonably intelligent American with a decent education and some real-life experience could do a passable, perhaps even outstanding job as President. Look at Gerry Ford and Bush Junior. When I was in school, they called those “social promotions”, but today, that’s “politically incorrect”. You’re not supposed to come right out and say somebody is a moron. What makes the job difficult is the crookery aligned against anyone the “deep state” opposes. The lawfare, back-room shenanigans, bribery, autonomous unaccountable intelligence agencies, bureaucratic empire-builders (“ribbon clerks”), congress critters elected by machine politics, corruption enhanced by wealth and disposable cash and nebulous but nevertheless organized insider groups with convergent interests – are what certify the “credentials” of any successful President. The system is definitely “rigged”. The last thing they want is an “outsider” to succeed. That could open the floodgates. The best thing about President Trump’s travails is that they are showcasing the corruption behind the whole scam. If they had any sense, they’d probably leave him in office to take the fall for looming economic collapse. As soon as the stock market corrects, cries for impeachment will become insufferable. They can’t dare let him succeed. I could pick at least a half dozen perfectly capable Presidents right from the list of regular commenters on this site. Don’t laugh – you know who are. The thing these loonies don’t seem to understand is that they are creating opportunities to enhance their own self-destruction. If I were Vladimir Putin and I wanted to “de-Nazify” Ukraine, the appointment of a “special prosecutor” would be my “green light”. We live in interesting times!

    • mike k
      May 19, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      I agree with your idea F.G. Sanford that some of the contributors on this blog would make better presidents than those we have had in recent years. We have suffered under some really dim bulbs all that time. There are those here with deep convictions and understanding of truth and ethical values that far surpass our elected mediocrities. I would be proud to be part of a country led by some of you folks. Just because someone wears a suit and tie, and struts around the Whitehouse in no way means they are truly qualified to lead our nation.

  10. Bill Bodden
    May 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    In appointing a prosecutor, [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein has killed this Administration’s ability to function. No health care overhaul. No tax cuts. No government reform. All while we await the results of a nothing investigation into a nothing scandal.”

    Considering the squalid and potentially disastrous health care plan replacement and tax reform for the benefit of the wealthiest among us that were proposed by the Republican barbarians getting nothing done might be a good idea.

    • irina
      May 20, 2017 at 1:57 am

      Many of us are already living with an already disastrous ‘health care plan’ known as the (Un)Affordable Care Act. And would welcome a replacement. Case in point : my husband and me, small business owners who provide a needed service to our community. We are by no means ‘wealthy’ but we do, after building up the business for 30 years, make just enough to fall on the wrong side of the subsidy cliff. We work hard and have one full-time and one part-time employee. Living in Alaska, where we do small-scale farming on the side, our one choice for insurance coverage this year was Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Premiums for two healthy people in their early sixties started at $3200/month with a $13,500 deductible for the cheapest Bronze plan and went up from there. The really scary part is that is how much the actual coverage costs, except that for most people the cost is ‘hidden’ by subsidies. We did fine with catastrophic coverage back when it was legal and more or less affordable. But we cannot and will not pay extortionist rates for less coverage than we had with catastrophic.

      • Bill Bodden
        May 20, 2017 at 12:17 pm

        irina: Any healthcare plan from this Republican-controlled Congress will be worse than Obamacare which should be replaced by single-payer or Medicare for all.

      • Typingperson
        May 21, 2017 at 4:09 am

        Irina, my parents, both self-employed, also had bare-bones, catastrophic coverage pre-ACA. Luckily for them, they both turned 65 in 2007, and were able to avoid ACA and get Medicare. My mom says it’s the best health insurance she’s ever had.

        You and your husband will qualify for Medicare soon, at least!

  11. May 19, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    IMore On The Donald. See article link below
    ————————————————————————————-
    Donald Trump Said Saudi Arabia Was Behind 9/11. Now He’s Going There on His First Foreign Trip.
    Mehdi Hasan
    May 18 2017, 4:17 a.m
    https://theintercept.com/2017/05/18/donald-trump-said-saudi-arabia-was-behind-911-now-hes-going-there-on-his-first-foreign-trip/

  12. susan sunflower
    May 19, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Every day, a new revelation, a new self-inflicted wound (and evidence that this man has very serious enemies very close at hand) …

    WASHINGTON — President Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, had relieved “great pressure” on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting.

    “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

    Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”

    boggling … a NYT exclusive as reported by the Atlantic

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/greatest-negotiator/527490/

    • backwardsevolution
      May 20, 2017 at 12:49 am

      susan sunflower – I want to know when they’re going to go after is-there-a-law-I-didn’t-break Clinton. She’s sitting there, known offences coming out the yin yang, and…..nothing.

      Meanwhile, there-must-be-a-law-you-broke-somewhere Trump is hounded and investigated for months, no evidence of wrongdoing is produced, and…..a special counsel is appointed.

      One’s dirt is swept under the rug while the other’s is put under an electron microscope. What am I missing?

      • susan sunflower
        May 20, 2017 at 1:13 am

        I find the parallels arising repeatedly between Trump and Clinton amusing and marvel that others are not connecting the dots and realizing just how feeble and dishonest Clinton’s endless whining about her “victimization” and the “vast right-wing conspiracy” always was/is/has been.

        People actually believe that the various “loyal opposition forces” (folks who despise the Clintons) represent some “conspiracy” such that when this “conspiracy” is invoked, everyone can just change the channel and ignore the issues … The Foundation/SOS stuff was simply appalling … but — the cry went — “no quid pro quo” …

        And it’s fascinating NOW how Team Trump are unable, unwilling or otherwise focused and cannot (or won’t make the parallels) …
        Whitewater and this impending endless investigation of Trump are/were both fishing expeditions … I suspect they will find some unreported or misreported income and little else … as my most paranoid (at this point, it’s difficult not to be) I think this is all smoke and mirrors to direct attention, prevent “transparency” in service of the “deep state status quo” …

        The article on “foreign lobbying” reminds me what American businesses (transnational corporations) cannot get by lobbying, they buy or bribe … as we have been on an almost 10 year jag of complaining about “corruption” in other countries — Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Russia … “corruption” is the “human rights abuses” … can’t wait until there’s some multinational task force develop and some “R2P” wrt weeding out corruption around the globe (even as we regularly create it, with our pallets of brand new, shrink-wrapped $20, $50, $100 bills) …

        It’s not sexy or dramatic or definable as “one world government” … more like that apparently nonexistent “global terror network” we were told to fear after 09/11.

        I’ve tried on a number of occasions to find an article I read maybe 10 years ago that said that technology and dependence on infrastructure most pronounced in urban settings had made the traditional historical “revolt of the masses” damn near impossible … the government can impose rolling blackouts of electricity, water, telephone, etc. etc. just like they do during prison revolts.

        • susan sunflower
          May 20, 2017 at 1:25 am

          My other paranoid fantasy is that somehow this pursuit of Trump is actual payback for Whitewater … except I don’t think any of the parties involved are that organized or competent or able to work even in cat-herding coordination

  13. tina
    May 20, 2017 at 1:17 am

    I do not know all about anyone, but I am okay that djt and his entourage are going on world trip. For once, since The biggest inauguration day, I want to have a weekend without the trump and his family. My weekend is about me and my family, and I hope anyone reading this, it is about you and your family, not about trump and his family.

  14. Ma Laoshi
    May 20, 2017 at 8:34 am

    It is strange that The Donald, whose inner circle (and indeed family) contains so many jews, does not seem to understand the Old Testament mindset. He made all the right noises about loving Israel, gave them a pro-settlement fanatic ambassador, and made it clear that the money would continue to flow. With that, he gave them all they could reasonably ask, or so he thought. But many jews don’t do “reasonable”, no matter how educated they are: they see the world in absolute terms of strength, of win and loss. By failing to make it clear from the outset that *he* was the boss now, that jews better play ball to get anything from his administration, he became just another “thing that can easily be moved”, to use Bibi’s words. Anyway, now that Trump attacked Syria twice I have no further use for him; for all I care, Americans can continue to destroy their democracy in any way they see fit.

    • mike k
      May 20, 2017 at 8:53 am

      There wasn’t that much democracy there to destroy. The US destroyed real democracy from the very beginning of it’s existence.

  15. mike k
    May 20, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Real democracy requires a level of intelligence, knowledge, and ethical development that has been lacking among most US citizens from the time of the formation of our government. Without this proper development of it’s citizens, what we have is what you get – an immoral war of each against each.

  16. akech
    May 20, 2017 at 11:30 am

    While nation’s attention is focused on Donald J. Trump being peppered with Russian collusion accusations, impeachment threats and a 10 day foreign trip, the following events are occurring inside Syrian at a town of al-Tanf:

    https://www.voanews.com/a/us-led-coalition-strikes-pro-syrian-government-forces-/3860332.html

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-idUSKCN18F2NA

    https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201705181053750870-coalition-strikes-syria-army/

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-syria-airstrikes-why-bashar-al-assad-militia-convoy-iraq-border-training-camp-rebels-a7744091.html

    This could be the main reason behind Trump being accused of collusion and sharing classified information with the Russian, warranting the move for his removal from the office. While the American public attention is focused on propaganda by MSM, US is actively striking the Assad army and its allies positions inside Syria! The US is actively involved in Syria, uninvited. The commander in-chief is meanwhile under investigation!

  17. R Davis
    May 21, 2017 at 1:12 am

    I think that Donald Trump has surrounded himself with the wrong people – as support – for advice – guidance & instruction.
    He comes from the world of business – he has not yet developed a sense of the political demean – & there is no reference point to be had from those who are positioned to light his way.
    It makes all the difference to have MO beside you.

  18. Max
    May 21, 2017 at 8:12 am

    EXTREMELY SERIOUS WARNING
    Unless you are as smart as Johann Karl Friedrich Gauss, savvy as a half-blind Calcutta bootblack, tough as General William Tecumseh Sherman, rich as the Queen of England, emotionally resilient as a Red Sox fan, and as generally able to take care of yourself as the average nuclear missile submarine commander, you should never have been allowed near this document. Please dispose of it as you would any piece of high-level radioactive waste and then arrange with a qualified surgeon to amputate your arms at the elbows and gouge your eyes from their sockets. This warning is necessary because once, a hundred years ago, a little old lady in Kentucky put a hundred dollars into a dry goods company which went belly-up and only returned her ninety-nine dollars. Ever since then the government has been on our asses. If you ignore this warning, read on at your peril — you are dead certain to lose everything you’ve got and live out your final decades beating back waves of termites in a Mississippi Delta leper colony.
    Still reading? Great. Now that we’ve scared off the lightweights, let’s get down to business.

    Intro of mock summary of Avi’s business plan template; Chapter 26, “Why”

    The more G-Men who become X-Men the better chance we have against the Russian menace. Keep your wheels clean and your hands dirty. DES has you covered. Don’t worry about HES, thanks to Vinny at the OCB.

  19. Max
    May 22, 2017 at 7:43 am

    PaineCare
    Thomas Paine quotes – Evils, like poisons, have their uses, and there are diseases which no other remedy can reach.

    New plan of good, like debt amounts to may your chains weight lightly upon you. Car wash operations are expanding.

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