Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sturm und Drang

     (By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
"This memo totally vindicates 'Trump' in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!" - Donald Trump on Twitter, 2/3/18
Sturm und Drang. Colloquially translated from the German, it means "storm and stress." It was used to describe a late 18th century proto-Romantic literary movement in Germany. It was an emotional reaction to the constraints seemingly placed upon it by the Age of Reason and Enlightenment. It was, in essence, scenery chewing, with much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments with the objective intellect and cognitive functions taking a back seat.
     ...which is a perfect description of the current kabuki shit show at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue from the start.
     The memo that Donald Trump referenced was, of course, the Nunes Memo, the political version of Capone's vault. When it was at last released by, of course, Donald Trump, James Comey asked on Twitter, "That's it?" Bill Maher called it a Facebook conspiracy theory post you'd briefly skim before hitting the unfriend button. It was essentially, a big let down that Trump's addled mind had somehow yeasted up into a huge conspiracy regarding the FBI's alleged partisan witch hunt that still, even were it true, doesn't equate with an official vindication of wrongdoing.
     The Mueller investigation is thought of as some shadowy animal, a blur of glacial movement in the distance, and this is largely because of the hermetic security of the probe. But perhaps we should think of it more like an octopus, a legal leviathan with at least five tentacles slowly but surely wrapping around this comically listing ship of state and relentlessly exerting its pressure. Because, as far as those of us on the outside looking in can see, the Mueller probe has at least five fronts.
    
Dirty Deeds Done Not so Dirt Cheap
 
Money laundering and pre-campaign business deals is one of the longest and thickest of the tentacles. This may have originated with suspicions of money laundering on the parts of Paul Manafort and his old running buddy Rick Gates, the first two Trump staffers to be indicted. Last October, Manafort was handed a list of charges longer than War and Peace. Among them: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, false statements to the FBI, acting as an unregistered agent as a foreign principal, making misleading statements in violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act and seven counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. That's an even dozen, in case you lost count. Among those bland-sounding charges are the millions Manafort had made partly lobbying for the Ukraine's then pro-Putin puppet government. And with Rick Gates having presumably agreed to a plea deal, that could lead to what's known as a "superceding indictment" that could actually add charges on to Manafort's already cracking plate. Then there are the financial documents magnanimously coughed up by Deutsche Bank (after they were subpeonaed by Mueller) could show Trump got a significant loan from the very German bank that had been stiffed by Trump to the tune of $300,000,000 at the same exact time Deutsche was caught money laundering Russian money funneled in from London then to New York.

Cozy and Fancy, the Careless Bears
Given Russia's national symbol of the bear, it was inevitable that two different Russian intelligence outposts would be named Cozy and Fancy Bear. To show how careless these idiots were, the Dutch intelligence service AIVD pinpointed Cozy Bear's den to a place near Red Square and even hacked into their cameras and got screengrabs of some of the operatives. The WSJ and the WaPo reported that at least six of the Cozy Bears were Russian intelligence operatives, nothing like Trump's 400 pound guy in a bed. They hacked not only into John Podesta's and the DNC's emails at about the time Trump invited them to but also into Republican servers. They were surely a conduit to the now-revealed evil entity Wikileaks to act to both discredit the Democrats and the DNC but doing so in the interests of helping Trump get elected.

Troll Farms
These Russian douchebags, probably the real 400 pound guys who piss and shit through holes cut into their computer chairs, couldn't have been predicted even by Orwell on his best day. If during the election you found yourself arguing on Twitter and Facebook with someone you thought was a deplorable redneck Trumper, you were in all likelihood actually going back and forth with a mindless bot or troll from Russia. I had gotten an email from Twitter a couple of months ago informing me I had interacted with one or more of them. It was entities such as these that put the phrase "troll farm" into the popular American lexicon. And they were well-financed, to judge by Facebook's own admission that one of them had paid Mark Zuckerberg $100,000 in rubles to put their propaganda on Facebook. Now, you might be wondering right about now why Mueller is investigating this and what it could possibly have to do with Trump and/or his administration. The answer's simple. Two words: Cambridge Analytica, the company of which Steve Bannon was an officer. Cambridge had coordinated with not only these Russian troll farms but had definitely contacted Julian Assaange's Wikileaks in order to have him disseminate Clinton's hacked emails that Trump had asked the Russians to hack.
     Oh, and Cambridge Analytica was also the Trump campaign's data arm as well as that for a pro-Trump Super PAC.

From Russia With Love of Trump
Of all the five tentacles, this one is the sexiest and gets my vote for the hottest anime tentacle rape. Or for those of you not into Japanese animated porn, think of this as a lightning-fast Sicilian Trap in a legal game of chess that seductively jiggles out the possibility of quickly establishing illegal collusive ties between Kremlin-linked Russian officials and Trump. One of the most damning pieces of evidence, obviously, is Donald Trump Jr's meeting with Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-linked attorney/spy. That now-infamous June 2016 30 minute meeting at Trump Tower, also attended by Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, as well as a former Russian intelligence agent, lured the stupid and gullible Trump Jr with vague promises of dirt on Hillary Clinton. When Junior finally realized in the dim recesses of his greasy, reptilian brain that there was no dirt and that all Veselnitskaya wanted to talk about were easing or eradicating Russian sanctions was the meeting terminated. Later, on Air Force One, after the scandal had broken 13 months later, Trump Sr. tried to provide cover for his namesake Fredo by dictating the now-official narrative that the meeting was really all about adopting Russian children.
     Last October, George Papadopoulos admitted to lying to the FBI about those same Russian contacts. As did Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his Senate confirmation hearings (those contacts, still denied by him to this day, are the reason why he had to recuse himself from any DOJ probes involving Russia which, in a sane world, would've mandated his immediate resignation). As did Michael Flynn, who lied about talking to the Russians about lifting sanctions to Mike Pence (the reason for his ouster). As did Kushner when applying for his security clearance and its two subsequent revisions. As did Donald Trump, Jr. As did... Oh, you get the hint. The entire Trump team is lying about their contacts with Russia. You do the math.

And Finally...
Drum roll, please...
     The Ed Armbrister Award winner hasn't been announced, yet, but Trump seems to be a shoe-in for his palpable attempts at obstruction of justice. This started about a year ago when Trump fired Acting AG Sally Yates while Jeff Sessions was busy before the Senate slapping his little forehead and vainly trying to remember meeting with the Russians during the campaign. Yates was terminated from her post immediately after her third trip to the White House to warn the Trump administration through White House Chief Counsel Don McGahn that Michael Flynn could be compromised by the Russians. Suspicion of obstruction was then ramped up to stratospheric levels when Trump rashly fired FBI Director James Comey on May 9th when he was just starting his own investigation into Trump. During a now well-known private dinner, Trump asked Comey to swear a loyalty oath and requested he lay off Flynn because he was "a good guy."
     As far as we know, this is the only tentacle that stretches directly into the Oval Office but it may be enough if it's proven obstruction was committed. To judge by the nothing burger that was the Nunes Memo, one cobbled and cherry-picked to discredit the FBI and making unsubstantiated charges of partisan influence, the same Nunes Memo that, again, Trump personally had released, then there is indeed a lot to hide and many reasons for this attempted distraction and deflection.
     These are just the known knowns, and they're damning enough as it is. Obviously, there's a lot that the 4th and 5th estates are not aware of and perhaps never will be. But if what we do know looks damning to Trump and his fascist junta, imagine how damaging the classified facts will prove to be.

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