Sunday, February 4, 2018

Follow the Money, Mr. Mueller

"“Ivanka got her father to bomb Syria by adroitly pushing his buttons. ‘Ivanka had long ago figured out how to make successful pitches to her father,’ Wolff writes. ‘He liked big names. He liked the big picture — he liked literal big pictures. He liked to see it. He liked ‘impact.’” —Variety"

 It is difficult to remember very many times when the national reporting lagged so far behind the awareness of the people as to the greater significance of events. Vietnam after My Lai and Tet, Civil Rights after the Edmund Pettus Bridge — the writing on the wall was being read by everyone in the country except the editors of newspapers and those who loaded teleprompters for talking heads.

Fire and Fury is a curious title for Michael Wolff’s inside look at the Trump politischemaschine. Of course, there is some of that fury going on, from the temper tantrums of The Donald and his übermensch, Steve Bannon, also no shortage of firings, but the real commotion is outside, where the country reels in shock after waking up to what it has just done.

Let’s be clear where our own sentiments lie. While no fan of the GOP’s clown show, we cover our nose at daughter Chelsea’s money laundering pyramid at the Clinton Foundation.

We were not keen to go to back to cold war with Russia, nor to continue the drone wars of terror from Palestine to the Northern Territories, nor for that matter, the seven-theater wars of aggression waged against peon states that were the meat and potatoes of Clinton/Obama imperial foreign policy.

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House Paperback
With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial…

We know DT was legitimately elected by people who, too easily deceived, believed he would stop those wars, pull us back from an insane foreign policy of strategic regional disruptions, expedite the path to citizenship for DACA children, restore fiscal sanity, provide a middle-class tax cut, repair the broken Veterans Administration, or any of the myriad other 7-day wonders he promised on the campaign. Even though glyphosate intoxicated masses are more easily fooled in the Age of Disintermediation, taking a chance on a beltway outsider made better sense than going with the known known of a sabre-rattling puppet of Wall Street elites and four more years of ruinous neoliberalism.

No, we are not being male chauvinist. We voted for Jill. Next time we hope to vote for Tulsi.
We knew instinctively that the Russiagate hoax was b.s. but it was good to see that reaffirmed by careful investigations of Cozy Bear hackers, the supposed smoking gun with Putin’s fingerprints on its ivory handle that, as Real News Max Blumenthal observed, is not a network of hackers but “a Russian-sounding name the for-profit firm Crowdstrike assigned to an APT to market its findings to gullible reporters desperate for Russiagate scoops.” [Thanks Caitlin Johnstone and Suzie Dawson for those trails!]

Johnstone writes:
Why does this keep happening? Why does the public keep getting sold a mountain of suspicion with zero substance? Over and over and over again these “bombshell” stories come out about Trump and Russia, Russia and Trump, only to be debunked, retracted, or erased from the spotlight after people start actually reading the allegations and thinking critically about them and see they’re not the shocking bombshells they purport to be? These allegations are all premised upon claims made by the US intelligence community, which has an extensive and well-documented history of lying to advance its agendas, as well as porous claims made by an extremely shady and insanely profitable private cyber security company, and yet all we’re ever shown is smoke and mirrors with no actual fire.
The entire NSA narrative of Russian hackers hangs on a thin thread of pre-election reports from Dutch Intelligence. Dutch Intelligence? Seriously? Let’s not forget this is a nation that after stealing Manhattan Island for the ridiculous price of 60 guilders (the Lenape must have walked away laughing, saying “This stupid colonist thinks you can own the earth, wait ’til he sees the bridge we can sell him) traded it away 21 years later for nutmeg. Nutmeg! What were the Dutch smoking? 

That’s the fire and fury part — more like smoke and mirrors. The DNC, Rachel Maddow, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Wolf Blitzer are all consumed by this nutty, discredited narrative of “the Russians ate my election” to avoid having to grapple with the harder truth, laid out by Donna Brazile among others, that they lost the election because Debbie Wasserman Schultz sabotaged Bernie Sanders’ grassroots tsunami that could have easily swept the dems to victory.

That Put Donald Trump in the White House
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "Explosive... A blistering tell-all."---Washington Post "People should sit up, take notes and…

Wolff’s comedic high was election night, when no one in Trump Tower other than perhaps Bannon could believe what was happening. Suddenly Bannon was Merlin. The RNC, which had been angling to take back its party from the crazies after a Trump debacle, was thrown back on its heels, dizzy from the punch, grabbing the ring rope to steady itself.
What is already clear is that, as Mr. Trump’s aides and family members tried over 48 hours to manage one of the most consequential crises of the young administration, the situation quickly degenerated into something of a circular firing squad. They protected their own interests, shifted blame and potentially left themselves — and the president — legally vulnerable. — The New York Times, January 31, 2018
Flash forward to where we are more than a year later and we see the narrative in the mainstream media little changed from the day after the election. Whether ABC, Newsweek or Fox, the only way to explain where we are now is the Wizard of Oz theory, a.k.a. Vladimir Putin. Therefore the Special Counsel investigation into election hacking can only reaffirm what our intelligence agencies have already told us. Both Republicans and Democrats patiently await that judgment.
The memo is their latest salvo. Led by Mr. Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee is pivoting from examining Russia’s election meddling to instead investigating F.B.I. and Justice Department officials connected to the inquiry, putting them — with Mr. Ryan’s clear blessing — at the forefront of the broader pushback.— The New York Times, January 30, 2018
The people now know better.

Wolff subtly weaves a thread through his nefarious clown troupe that leads, nearly inexorably, to Trump’s indictment for money laundering and tax fraud. We say “nearly,” because who can say whether the fix is in? In a world in which Robert Mueller is Eliot Ness what happens next is just as Wolff has laid out for his readers: take 30 or 40 years of tax returns and the long reach of assistant special prosecutor Andrew Weissmann and you unravel the Trump-Manafort-Kushner web of off-shore banks and secret deals with foreign governments, organized crime, and Russian oligarchs.
“You’ve got the LeBron James of money laundering investigations on you, Jarvanka. My asshole just got so tight!
“‘You realize where this is going,’ Bannon continued, ‘This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose Weissmann first and he is a money laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face … It goes through all the Kushner shit. They’re going to roll those two guys up and play me or trade me.
“‘It was clear where Mueller and his team were going,’ said Bannon: they would trace a money trail through Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, and Jared Kushner and roll one or all of them on the president. ‘Its Shakespearean,’ he said…”
So now, while Rachel Maddow, The New York Times and The Washington Post rush to report the focus of Mueller’s investigation is narrowing laser-like to the Trump Tower meeting between Don Jr., Kushner and a Russian lawyer offering to broker dirt on Hillary Clinton in exchange for a softening of the US stance on adoption of Russian orphans (it turned out there was no dirt, they just used that as an excuse to get the meeting), the 10-to-the-nth million readers of Fire and Fury know better.

They are following the money.

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brothermartin said...

There was an episode of "Law and Disorder" a few months back that laid out Trump's money laundering, but the guy being interviewed about it said that many of DT's financial crimes lay back past the statute of limitations. (Thanks, Obama!) Is Mueller going to find fresh financial meat? And even if DT gets taken out for this, that lands us with a guy straight out of The Handmaid's Tale as Pres. Is that going to be an improvement?

Other than those questions

brothermartin said...

....left my comment incomplete. Other than those questions, a scintillating bit of writing. I'm having to deal with a lot of flak from some of our mutual friends about Caitlin Johnstone, so I'm glad I'm not the only one in our generation that thinks she's cool.




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