Трамп; проследить за деньгами!

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 pm, July 24th, 2018 - 93 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, class war, International, overseas investment, Politics, Spying, us politics - Tags: , ,

Трамп: проследить за деньгами!   Trump: Follow the Money!

I’ve been pondering what hold Vladimir Putin has over Donald Trump. It’s not the pee tape; that would be a one day wonder if it was released. After all, he’s already done far worse and still got elected.

No, it won’t be the smell of piss that brings the Donald down, it’ll be the smell of money.

Putin owns Trump.

Literally.

Is that the real explanation for the craven display in Helsinki?

Well, Avaaz CEO Ricken Patel certainly thinks so. Patel’s theory that Trump is heavily indebted to Russian banks and businesses, many directly or indirectly linked to the only world leader richer than him, Vladimir Putin.

Patel makes the following claims:

In the 90’s the oft bankrupted Trump couldn’t raise finance at home. He turned instead to the newly wealthy oligarchs of Russia. They wanted a way into the American economy and a way of moving cash out of Russia. Trump was a useful conduit. Patel reckons Trump was to the Russian mafia what pokie machines are to our local crims, a simple, effective way of laundering dirty dosh.

The Trump organisation has apparently stayed loyal to Moscow down the years. Donald Trump Jr said in 2014:

“We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”

Trump Tower Toronto was financed by a Russian bank. That bank’s chair?  Vladimir Putin.

Trump sold his Palm Beach, Florida for $95 million to a Russian oligarch. He only paid $41 million to buy it a few years earlier. Patel says that $50 million profit could be simple money laundering (which Trump would presumably return, minus a cash handling fee).

Trump’s financial broker and senior advisor in Moscow was a Russian crook named Felix Sater,  Sater organised shell companies and funding for Trump’s projects, including the plans for the now stalled Trump Tower Moscow. Sater’s well connected in the Kremlin, and has a Machiavellian streak, according to an email he sent Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen:

“Michael I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected. We both know no one else knows how to pull this off without stupidity or greed getting in the way. I know how to play it and we will get this done. Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will.”

Ricken Patel is convinced that Trump has been working for Putin for almost 20 years and if that’s still the case, the President is corrupted beyond redemption. Remember, Trump has refused to fully release his tax details and he has also refused to put his assets in a genuine blind trust. The Don doesn’t like prying eyes.

Patel is not alone in thinking it’s finance that ties Trump to Putin. There are other media outlets suggesting similar financial collusion.

Politico have a handy set of charts that show the Russian links to the Donald.

And NYMag have a ‘what if’ piece on the likelihood that Helsinki was more than just Trump’s yearly job evaluation, it was actually a spy handler calling an agent in.

Mind you, the New Yorker aren’t so sure that Putin is pulling the strings. They reckon Trump’s not even at the asset level where he would be a direct report to the Russian leader.

So what does it all mean?

Well, for one thing, if Donald Trump is financially in thrall to a billionaire former spy who currently leads a country usually regarded as an existential threat to the USA, then he is the greatest American traitor since Benedict Arnold.

I’m seriously starting to believe that Robert Mueller is quietly building the greatest prosecution case in American legal history. If Trump has truly sold out to Moscow, the Watergate burglary will be relegated to mere footnote status.

And how will it end if he is guilty of treason? No American President has ever been successfully impeached and even the obviously guilty Nixon was given a relatively graceful exit. But this, if proven, is criminal behaviour on a scale never previously considered possible, so the outcome could be jail or worse.

Imagine if Trump ends up in a Florida State Penitentiary, and the last words he hears as the warder throws the switch on Ol’ Sparky are  …

“YOU’RE FRIED!”

93 comments on “Трамп; проследить за деньгами!”

  1. Andre 1

    Even if all of that gets proven beyond a shadow of doubt, it won’t be enough to get Agent Orange impeached. Because there’s enough Trumpkins that have become so swept up by the turd tornado that they’re far far beyond Kansas, let alone anywhere where rationality still has any foothold.

    There’s enough of those Trumpkins to put the fear of getting primaried into every single Republican musing about voting to impeach and convict the rotting halloween pumpkin.

    While that might not matter in the House, which may have a Dem majority next year, there’s still going to be close to 20 Repug senators that will need to vote for conviction to get to the 2/3 majority in the Senate to make it stick. The only ones brave enough to do that will ones that are retiring, or a very very few that still have vestigial principles and an overwhelming majority in a state that’s solidly Republican yet not fond of the Satsuma Stubbyfingers. Ie Mitt Romney, and that’s it.

    It’s just barely possible the Microdigits Mandarin still retains enough rationality that if an overwhelming case is put to him privately, then he may take the opportunity to pardon his family then negotiate his pardon from Pence, then resign. Maybe.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    It would certainly explain why he won’t release his tax returns.

  3. lprent 3

    At this point I am mostly concerned that Trump is such an erratic fool (for whatever reason) that I don’t really want to get into anything deeper that we have on the alliance and trade fronts. Fortunately we don’t have much formally with them.

    I’d treat treat them like the kleptocracy that is the Russia Federation. Dangerous on the international stage because their internal political screwup keep spilling over on to their neighbors.

    Mind you I have absolutely no wish to get into bed with the British for the same reason. They too have proven themselves to be unreliable.

    BTW; Ed – I have put you in automoderation because you keep attacking authors. I will release your comments when and if you start talking about the content of the posts

  4. Pat 4

    Its entirely possible but if there was even the slightest evidence surely the move would have been made to remove him already?

    • Anne 4.1

      Not if they want a water-tight case.

    • mikesh 4.2

      The fact that Trump is, or may be, in Putin’s pocket doesn’t prove treason. It only suggests that Americans may have been unwise in electing him. And it is still to be shown that Russia significantly influenced the election, and with Trump’s connivance.

      • Pat 4.2.1

        Are you seriously suggesting that if the US President is able to be manipulated due to a financial axe hanging over his head held by the Russians that there is no need for the US (or the rest of the world for that matter) to be concerned ?

      • If I understand the treason thing correctly, Trump would be guilty of treason if he hid the financial ties. Obviously, he’s denying they exist, but if that’s not true then two things are relevant. If he’s found out, he’s going to jail. If he’s not found out, Putin can threaten to expose him and therefore ensure Trump’s compliance. Either way, if he owes Putin money, he’s in trouble.

        • Andre 4.2.2.1

          For treason to happen in a US legal sense, the US must be in a declared war against the country the traitor is helping. The US and Russia are not at war, so treason cannot be an applicable charge.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treason#United_States

          If he’s in Pootee’s pocket, then he can be found to be violating his oath to the Constitution. The remedy for that is impeachment and conviction (which ain’t gonna happen for reasons explained in comment 1).

          If he leaves office by handing over to an incoming Dem president, then in the absence of a pardon he becomes vulnerable to anything the Feds can throw at him. Even with a pardon, states can still go after him for offences against state laws.

          So if he’s actually committed federal crimes, then he really really needs a pardon from Pence. Which he can only get if Pence is prez, so he’ll have to resign first. Or be impeached and convicted. Or maybe he’ll try out pardoning himself, who the fuck is up for trying to nut out what’s going on underneath that unkempt orange roadkill stuck to the top of his skull?

          • te reo putake 4.2.2.1.1

            I think the jeopardy for Trump is that the Russian cyber attacks could be seen as an act of war. As I understand it, conspiring to wage war is a treasonous act, even if the plotting happens before war is declared. And perhaps even when it is not declared at all, which is the modern way. Put it this way, given Trump’s luck with lawyers, I woouldn’t want to be him if he has to defend such a charge.

            Anyhoo, I’ll do a bit of homework, because you raise a really good point.

            • Andre 4.2.2.1.1.1

              As far as I can tell, since WW2 times there’s only been one American charged with treason. Adam_Yahiye_Gadahn, who was helping al-Qaeda. He was killed before ever getting captured and hauled into court.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Yahiye_Gadahn

              Charges against people helping hostile foreign nations usually end up being espionage related, or in this case there is very likely to be an awfully long list of money-laundering and RICO-type charges.

          • Pat 4.2.2.1.2

            would appear to be somewhat wider than that…
            “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

            your link

            Whether he would be legally be able to be charged with treason per se is largely irrelevant in any case….it is the potential impact of having a compromised CinC that is the issue.

            • Andre 4.2.2.1.2.1

              Well, yeah. It’s been clear for a long time he’s only looking out for himself and has no interest in his oath he swore to uphold the Constitution. Even the actions against Russia that passed the Senate nearly unanimously he’s very successfully rendered ineffective by dragging his feet in actioning them.

              Even if he’s not Pootee’s puppet, it’s hard to see how his actions in office could have been more favourable to Pootee, given that his office operates under some constraints. Unlike the authoritarian autocratic dictators he’s so fond of.

              As for the treason thing, anyone interested can find plenty of discussion online from people much more in the know than I am. Out of all of that, I’ve yet to see anything from anyone that seems to have actual expertise claiming that treason could be an actual charge. But there’s plenty of other very serious things he could be charged with with penalties just about as serious.

        • KJT 4.2.2.2

          American “Democracy” has been totally destroyed by US oligarchs influence on both parties.
          But. “Look over here, it was the Russians”.

        • mikesh 4.2.2.3

          If he is “denying such ties exist” that may suggest electoral fraud, but not treason.

          OK. So “he’s in trouble”. But that’s not treason either.

  5. Anne 5

    Too plausible to be dismissed out of hand.

    From the link ‘A spy calling an agent in’:

    …we should give more credence to the possibility that Brennan is making these extraordinary charges of treason and blackmail at the highest levels of government because he knows something we don’t.

    I would wager a thousand bucks he knows plenty we don’t. His response re- Helsinki seemed over the top at the time. But what if he was sending a coded message to Western nations and their leadership teams warning them this matter goes way beyond the USA and Donald Trump.

    Hope Mueller has impregnable 24 hr protection.

  6. Ad 6

    The sad thing for me is that much of this will get played out in a year in the Supreme Court. And it’s pretty hard to trust that Court once President Trump has stacked it, no matter how well the media amplifies it all.

  7. R.P Mcmurphy 7

    shows us your girth certificate!

  8. Ken 8

    I have always thought that Trump and Putin are laundering eachother’s money.

  9. RedLogix 9

    Without wanting to minimise either the plausibility or seriousness of this scenario, I have to ask myself how is this worse than a return to a lethal nuclear calculus?

    Crazy as it may seem, is this the way the Cold War ends?

    • SPC 9.1

      Depends how you describe the Cold War. In the sense of Soviet communism vs capitalism, it’s over.

      In the sense of capitalism vs communism, socialism, and yes even social democracy – not so much. But not involving Russia especially (maybe indirectly – Syria).

      In the global context, there are the western institutions and resistance to them (or at least the way they operate) – the US dollar as a currency reserve/SWIFT (people trading in oil outside of US currency and those setting up an alternative system for money movements). And NATO operating as some sort of global policeman, nominally for the UN (revival of Russian activity, in Syria, challenges this).

      Then there is the matter of Eastern Europe (this connects to the global context because of trade and other sanctions on Russia over Ukraine). Russia is resisting EU/NATO encroachment into former Russian empire territory. Georgia and more recently Ukraine are the two states given territorial haircuts for going down this route.

      We can note that Russian actions in weakening EU/NATO include encouraging the fears of white race/Christian nationalists and promoting itself as a nation of this type to offer a (Putin) leadership example to them. Erdogan of Turkey provides a Turkish albeit it Moslem nationalist alternative. And now of course Trump offers them another. It’s a bit like the 1930’s, others emulating Mussolini (who enabled the Vatican City state) and engaging in trade wars and calling for a redrawing of borders on ethnic lines.

      To answer your question, could Trump end the Ukraine conflict impasse between NATO and Russia – all while threatening the EU, if they do not join the US and withdraw from the Iran agreement? Yeah well sort of, he could again act unilaterally (for example recognise the secession of Crimea from Ukraine and end sanctions on Russia). The existential problem this involves for NATO is what does this means for their role as a guarantor of collective security of nation states within their borders – and what would it mean for the credibility of the NATO security guarantee for member states.

      Past examples. Munich 1938 and redrawing the borders of Czechoslovakia to realise peace. And of course as for another deal whereby western elites determine the fate of the victim nations, Hitler and Stalin carving up Poland.

      That said, determining borders by voting when federal unions come to an end, rather than the gun (break up of Yugoslavia a recent circumstance) is not the worst thing that has happened since 1945.

    • McFlock 9.2

      Nice thought.

      Trouble is, as long as there are nation-states geopolitics will exist.

      Best case, this is a long term pivot between power centres – a bit like Nixon building relations with China as the Sino/Soviet relationship decayed.

      Worst case, global relationships are massively damaged but there’s no lasting pivot – things destabilise internationally, and the next US administrations need to waggle their dicks re:Russia to prove their independence. Then a bunch of double-digit nuke-holding nations get fidgety and there’s no clear delineation of spheres of influence. Or we even get a potus who thinks nukes are just big bombs and has the executive authority to drop them on some random patch of the planet.

  10. corodale 10

    Russian money now in full control of WWE? Look at this Trump take down of Vince McManon. Was the retirement of the Bushwackers the turning point?

    The BBC documentary, “HyperNormalisation by Adam Curtis”, also has some solid insights into Trump, going back to the 90’s, in comparision with Assad and Gaddafi, as an interesting trio. Ya can give it a search.

  11. Richard@Downsouth 11

    Trump owes $1.8 Billion USD to more than 150 institutions (and thats not counting anything to do with Russia)

    Deutsche Bank gave all of Trumps banking records to the FBI, as well as the FBI having Trumps tax returns (both Federal and state) …

    Also worth noting, is that Democrats wanted Trump’s interpreter to testify before Congress, but were blocked by Republicans… however Mueller has authority to subpoena the interpreter, and it is with the FBI things get dicey for witnesses… simply telling an untruth, to the FBI, is a felony

  12. Stuart Munro 12

    The US has very aggressive laws to contain money laundering, they’ve been a major source of income for various semiautonomous government agencies involved in drug wars. It’s those laws they used to stitch up Dotcom, though any neutral court would likely dismiss those charges for lack of jurisdiction, since he isn’t a citizen and was operating out of Hong Kong during the period in question.

    Trump is in a different position to Dotcom, as a US citizen he is subject to those laws, and absent corruption within the prosecuting agencies he could find large amounts of his cash confiscated without any comeback whatsoever. I think we can count on the presence of corruption however.

  13. D'Esterre 14

    Te Reo Putake: “Трамп: проследить за деньгами!”

    Hmmm…. easy to see you aren’t a Russian speaker. What did you do? Go to the library and get a dictionary out?

    Having got off to such an inauspicious start, now you expect the rest of us to believe any of this? Remember when you people laughed at the Obama birth certificate story? Yet here you are doing a White Queen number on this taradiddle.

    Here’s a furphy; “Trump Tower Toronto was financed by a Russian bank. That bank’s chair? Vladimir Putin.”

    And here’s what Wiki says about that tower: “It was built by Markham-based Talon International Development Inc., which is owned by Canadian businessmen Val Levitan and Alex Shnaider……….. On March 23, 2007, Talon International Development Incorporated of Markham announced that it had reached an agreement with international bank Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB) to arrange C$310 million in construction financing for its Trump International Hotel & Tower development. ”

    Just in case your Deutsch isn’t up to it, I’ll translate: Österreich means Austria. A beautiful country, by the way, with which I have some acquaintance. First world; but I digress…..

    Putin has never been chair of any bank. Ever. Are you familiar with his bio? I suggest that you read it.

    “Trump sold his Palm Beach, Florida for $95 million to a Russian oligarch. He only paid $41 million to buy it a few years earlier. Patel says that $50 million profit could be simple money laundering (which Trump would presumably return, minus a cash handling fee).”

    Hahaha, hilarious! Has Patel never heard of the real estate market and price inflation? He obviously hasn’t dabbled in the Auckland market, And Trump returning money: right, that will be the day.

    “… if Donald Trump is financially in thrall to a billionaire former spy who currently leads a country usually regarded as an existential threat to the USA, then he is the greatest American traitor since Benedict Arnold.”

    And this is the most astonishing piece of fiction I’ve read since – oh, since the last bit you wrote. It seems that you believe Putin secretly owns everything in Russia, but it can’t be proven because he’s so good. You may not be aware that the source for this allegation is a book that publishers in England wouldn’t touch because it was a dozen expensive libel suits waiting to happen.

    Russia isn’t an existential threat to the US; never was. We in the West were fed propaganda in that regard, from the end of WW2. It suited Uncle Sam to have an enemy: it meant that its economy could be kept permanently on a war footing.

    However: the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991. Since then, the Russian Federation has been a democracy – attempts by the CIA to white-ant it notwithstanding – and doing business with it is unexceptionable. For Trump or anybody else. Heck, western countries all traded with the Soviet Union. As we do now with Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and used to with North Korea.

    Trump has business connections with Russia? Well, hold the bus! It would be surprising if he hadn’t ever done business there. Doing business in Russia doesn’t necessarily entail corruption, any more than it would in the US. Or Australia; though come to think of it, there’s probably a slightly higher risk of it there.

    This post is full of the usual innuendo – might-be and could-be – about Russia and Trump. You are all so hysterical about Trump that you’ve lost any sense of proportion. I’m a longtime politics-watcher: Trump is no worse than any of his predecessors in all of my considerable lifetime. He’s a businessman, not a pollie or a diplomat, and it shows in what he says. And he uses Twitter; so we hear what he says in the here and now. We don’t have to wait until he’s long dead and his papers have been declassified. See this:

    https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/us-politics-russia-china-and-europe-madness-and-strategies/

    “Actually Trump (leaving also aside his pimp like character and hypertrophic ego) started his campaign with three important points, which even attracted left leaning people (who were aware of Clinton´s snake like character). Point one was his declared desire for détente with Russia, point two was his announced desire to get away from Regime-Change wars. Point three was the aim of reconstructing the industrial basis of the US.

    All this wasn´t really based on any altruistic trait, but he was with all his ignorance clever enough to see that it is not desirable to survive a nuclear war (risked by the Neocons´ war games) in a bunker to find a destroyed world afterwards. He saw also how expensive the permanent wars are getting for the US society and those ones who might vote for him. Well, as for point three, it included putting the “Free Trade Religion” into question. The last aspect would have been more important for the Southern Hemisphere, since the ruling class of the US profits a lot from Free Trade (and wanted to force TTIP on the EU).

    But he realized soon that he´d face a deadly danger from the side of the Neocons and the Deep State. So he became fully determined to slip under Israel´s and MOSSAD´s protection by making Israel´s regional agenda his own. That might also have strengthened his plan for détente with Russia since Israel´s power elite harbors some dreams of getting Russia on its side concerning the limitation of Iran´s influence in Syria (which_might_be_really_unrealistic).”

    Read this article in its entirety. You’ll get more sense and intelligence out of it than you will from the above post.

    • francesca 14.1

      D’Esterre
      Have you seen the doco made by Putin opponent Nekrasov?
      About the Magnitsky Act etc
      Browder has used the likes of Jonathan Winer(who also introduced the famous dossier to the State Dept) to suppress a book exposing him on Amazon, and to suppress the doco from public viewings and Youtube
      I don’t know how or why, but its all over the web now.
      I’ve given the link over on Daily Blog Open Mike for Monday
      Cheers E’sterre for a brilliant post, but Jeez,pretty iron clad thinking you’re up against

      • D'Esterre 14.1.1

        Francesca: I hadn’t seen the Nekrasov piece. I’ve run those links to earth on the Daily Blog and passed them on. I hear that the Nekrasov one is a hoot: I’ll watch them later on. Thanks so much for them. God bless you and hold you in His hand – as my Irish ancestors used to say, more or less.

        At the time the Skripal incident first hit the news, I laid a formal complaint with RNZ about lack of balance on Morning Report, following Espiner’s completely uncritical interview with Bill Browder. Predictably – and pusillanimously – their response rejected my complaint.

    • left_forward 14.2

      Taradiddle – pretentious nonsense.

      • D'Esterre 14.2.1

        left_forward: “pretentious nonsense.”

        About sums up TRP’s post.

        • left_forward 14.2.1.1

          I was thinking that it summed up your comment.
          black – kettle – pot stuff.

    • Thanks for the analysis , D’Esterre.

      No library for my stab at Russian, I relied on my own thin knowledge of the language (I’ve been to Moscow and can order beer and taxis reasonably competently) and tried to tidy it up with Google translate.

      The Toronto deal is proving interesting. As I’m sure you realise, Patel is claiming that there was a literal money go round before the finance was settled. His claim, as I understand it, is that amounts of money larger than the actual cost of construction washed around and that there was a least one $100 million kickback to a Russian fixer.

      More here: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/trump-toronto-tower-financing-linked-to-russia-2018-7?r=US&IR=T

      Putin was on the advisory board of one the Russian banks linked to the funding:

      http://theweek.com/speedreads/699538/russian-bank-directly-linked-putin-helped-finance-trump-hotel

      • D'Esterre 14.3.1

        Te Reo Putake: “No library for my stab at Russian”

        Best to stick to English when you don’t know enough of another language to get it right. Or ask a native speaker to write it for you. What you wrote isn’t exactly wrong, but no native speaker would write that. Mistakes of this sort call into question the integrity of the remainder of any post.

        We’ve seen similar examples overseas of hilarious use of English: when we visited Nôtre Dame in Paris, there was maintenance going on. Somebody had put a notice in English at the entrance, apologising for the inconvenience, and saying “thank you for your comprehension”. Also in an airport toilet facility somewhere in Asia: “Beware of your luggage”! We wondered if the writer had read Pratchett literally. Not exactly wrong, but no native English speaker would say it.

        Non-native speakers of French must be careful with the semantic difference between words such as connaître and savoir, or papier and journal. On the face of it, and looked at from the perspective of an English speaker, they are the same. But they’re not.

        “Patel is claiming that there was a literal money go round before the finance was settled. His claim, as I understand it, is that amounts of money larger than the actual cost of construction washed around…”

        Patel can claim any damn thing he likes: it’s all supposition. When one digs into it, there’s no actual evidence, one way or the other. For the life of me, I fail to understand why you’d take his word for anything at all. He looks to me like just another chancer and publicity junkie, in love with the sound of his own voice.

        “Putin was on the advisory board of one the Russian banks linked to the funding:”

        No. Neither chair nor advisor. Remember how long he’s been President? (About which many of you complain). And his job before that? And before that? And so on. I’ve already pointed out that this isn’t so. The source your quote isn’t a commenter of record. It makes claims and allegations only. Moreover, it’s a UK and US site, and we’re all too wearily familiar with their white-anting efforts concerning anything to do with Russia and Putin. Of course, none of these commenters reads or speaks Russian.

        How about you take a more sceptical approach to the anti-Russia stuff coming out of the likes of those sources you adduce above?

        And how about a similarly sceptical approach to the hysterical msm reporting about Trump? He’s no worse than any of his predecessors. That isn’t saying much, of course: they’ve all been variably awful. Up to and including his immediate predecessor.

        I remind you that Trump is President of the US, not of NZ. His domestic policies are no concern of ours; it is US foreign policy which is likely to have an impact on us. That is the area on which commenters here need to focus.

        • Adrian Thornton 14.3.1.1

          @D’Esterre, I think this needs saying twice if you don’t mind….

          “I remind you that Trump is President of the US, not of NZ. His domestic policies are no concern of ours; it is US foreign policy which is likely to have an impact on us. That is the area on which commenters here need to focus.”

          Someone need to remind RNZ of this as well…well actually I have tried..in vain.

    • Gabby 14.4

      Is a furphy one of those sex things the kids on the interwebs are into estirrer?

    • Pete 14.5

      “Since then, the Russian Federation has been a democracy.” With all the normal trappings and ways of operating you’d expect in a democracy. Smile

      • D'Esterre 14.5.1

        Gabby: do you actually have a point to make, or a countervailing argument to present? If so, do it already, for chrissakes! Speaking of taradiddle….

      • D'Esterre 14.5.2

        Pete: “Smile”

        So: you have evidence to the contrary? Evidence which is counter to Russian citizens’ personal experience of the democratic process in their own country? If so, post it, if you would be so good.

    • weston 14.6

      Thanks DEsterre nice to get some facts !

      • D'Esterre 14.6.1

        Weston: “nice to get some facts !”

        Many thanks. It feels like a Sisyphean task, but the facts matter, to both me and my extended family. And to many others such as your good self.

  14. adam 15

    I’m not one to worship great men, and I don’t see any on display in this post.

    I really don’t think Putin is all that, as a matter of fact he’s not even that good. He’s a bloke who knows how to use the power of the state to line his and his mates back pocket. This other mythology people are creating around him, it’s like he’s Rasputin reborn or somthing.

    As for trump, he really is showing signs of decreased memory and mental faculties. Anyone who been around people with dementia, especially in the early stages, can see in trump many of the signs. It’s frightening.

    There is no power play here of grand Machiavellian proportions, it’s just a thug exploiting an old man who is losing his mind

    • simbit 15.1

      When the thug is president of Russia, and the old man is president of the US, Machiavelli is in play. And am I the only one thinks Putes over played his hand? There must’ve been a moment when Putin thought ‘Shut up, shut up, shut up!’

      • adam 15.1.1

        And people accuse the right of falling for conspiracy theories…

      • D'Esterre 15.1.2

        Simbit: “When the thug is president of Russia”

        Claims of that sort require evidence in support. Post it.

        “Machiavelli is in play.”

        Clearly, you know nothing about Machiavelli.

    • D'Esterre 15.2

      Adam:”He’s a bloke who knows how to use the power of the state to line his and his mates back pocket.”

      Assertions of this sort require verifiable evidence, not hysterical claims from the msm. If you have it, post it.

      “As for trump, he really is showing signs of decreased memory and mental faculties. Anyone who been around people with dementia, especially in the early stages, can see in trump many of the signs. It’s frightening.”

      No he isn’t. I’m familiar with the symptoms of dementia onset. Trump doesn’t fit the profile. I’m old enough to remember the Reagan presidency. If you want to see what the early signs of dementia look like in a sitting President, that’s where you see it.

      • adam 15.2.1

        Is your head in the clouds D’Estreer? You get putin, and his mates have got very wealthy in this role he is currently in.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putin%27s_Palace

        How many planes does he own, and how many did he own before his climb to President?

        What about cars?

        I know outward signs of money and all that…

        Reagan was not in the early stages of Alzheimer’s when he was president, he had Alzheimer’s when he was president. I know most people sight his 1994 diagnosis, but his last two years in office were a disaster.

        • D'Esterre 15.2.1.1

          Adam: “Is your head in the clouds D’Estreer?”

          I do you the courtesy of spelling correctly your nom de guerre ; return the courtesy, if you would be so good.

          ” You get putin, and his mates have got very wealthy in this role he is currently in.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putin%27s_Palace

          How many planes does he own, and how many did he own before his climb to President?

          What about cars? ”

          Good god almighty! Is that the best you can do? People sneer at Wiki when I and others adduce it, then you use it yourself to justify your anti-Putin bias. Look at who’s quoted in that article: scepticism ought to rule.

          “Reagan was not in the early stages of Alzheimer’s when he was president, he had Alzheimer’s when he was president.”

          I beg to differ. I am a longtime politics-watcher; I well recall the political discussions regarding the leaks from the WH. Late in his first term, he occasionally exhibited what some people thought of as early signs of Alzheimer’s. But it wasn’t sufficiently consistent to prevent him running for a second term. Those symptoms became more pronounced in his second term, which is when we started hearing rumours out of the WH. I recall that during the Iran-Contra hearings, observers began openly to wonder about Reagan’s mental state. However, he wasn’t actually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s until 1994, five years after he’d stepped down as President. See this. Note that it’s not Wiki:

          https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/ronald-reagan-alzheimers-disease/

          “A 1987 article in the New Republic posed the troubling question outright: “Is Reagan Senile?”

          That was precisely what CBS News reporter Lesley Stahl was asking herself during a 1986 visit with a president she would later describe in her 2000 memoir, Reporting Live, as “shriveled” and verging on catatonic.

          “Reagan didn’t seem to know who I was,” she wrote. “He gave me a distant look with those milky eyes and shook my hand weakly. Oh, my, he’s gonzo, I thought.” But a few minutes later, he snapped out of it and from that point on seemed perfectly fine. When asked, White House aides admitted to Stahl that they had witnessed similar episodes.”

          Forgetfulness, as in: what did I come into this room for? where the hell did I put my glasses/house keys/wallet? isn’t a priori a sign of dementia. It’s forgetting how to do things that we were always able to do, and forgetting people whom we know well, or are family members: that’s a worrying sign. So is the sort of confusion that – according to WH rumours, and what Lesley Stahl describes above – Reagan sometimes exhibited late in his second term. Also rumoured was that WH staff had devised a plan to manage the governance of the country, should he show signs of confusion two days in a row. But he didn’t.

          • McFlock 15.2.1.1.1

            So bleating about wikipedia aside, google brings up lots of suggestions that putin’s an exceptionally wealthy individual. Wide ranges from a variety of sources, but seriously, regardless of precision do you think Putin is richer than Trump, or even richer than Trump claims to be?

          • adam 15.2.1.1.2

            You think Putin is pure as driven snow. So funny. If you can’t see the problem with Oligarchs in Russia, you got more than the clouds to worry about mate.

            Edit: either way, Reagan’s last two years were a disaster. If not Alzheimer’s, somthing was going on.

            As for getting your name wrong – pfft I’m dyslexic, get over it.

  15. xanthe 16

    There are those who denounce corruption in politicians because they really care about making the wourld better for all, and there are those who do so to raise their personal profile or collect “clicks”. The good thing about Trump is that its becoming easier to tell these two motivations apart
    … Try it !

  16. SaveNZ 17

    Trump is a sign of the times. Combining neoliberalism, individualism and high capitalism with the rise in MSM… he is just a mirror into American policy that lost a moral code, quite a while ago. Democrats could have chosen to combine Sanders with Clinton, but those in the Democrats preferred to go the US individualist winner takes all (and loser gets nothing) approach. Not sure they even learned anything either, because taking an honest look at one’s self and learning from it, is counter to the American political way.

    • D'Esterre 17.1

      SaveNZ: “Democrats could have chosen to combine Sanders with Clinton…”

      I have no doubt whatever that, had he been elected, Sanders would’ve had his ambitions and policies countermanded by the Washington Establishment, just as has been the case with Trump.

      And – from the perspective of how US foreign policy affects us – we should all give heartfelt thanks that Clinton lost. That was a narrow squeak for all of us.

  17. SaveNZ 18

    As for this idea Trump is working with Putin – don’t buy it apart from every government overseas is trying to influence the elections, Pick a country, China, Saudi, Russia, but probably both Republican and Democrats. The US wrote the book on influencing foreign elections, so it’s a bit hypocritical now to be pointing the finger.

    The US could ban foreign donations for a start if they want to lesson the foreign influences approach!

    The US have created a political system that is geared towards individual political power and money being more important than policy.

    Even in NZ we have 5 eyes, and been caught spying on neighbours and trying to influence using intelligence, it’s what government’s seem to do these days and openly too.

    With globalism and more and more neoliberalism, is going to become more of this, so either step back, or prepare for the ride of individual and state foreign influence and money into individual countries in new and unexpected ways with new and unexpected results and the rise of clowns and puppets leaders into the West.

    Trump could have been predicted by The Simpson’s a decade ago.

    If the West cared they might have upgraded democracy a while ago instead of reducing it.

  18. SaveNZ 19

    Just today in the news, apparently some secret group that set up a company a few months ago in London, is clumsily trying to recruit actors to ‘protest’ against Qater leaders visit in London. It was accidentally was posted publicly that they were recruiting ‘fake protesters’. Seriously the world politics is becoming a joke with all these secret companies behind the scenes creating fake events.

    Good news, though the rise is MSM is now so pathetic and news so untrustworthy that it looks like private companies like media works in NZ are getting out of news on TV. Well they deserve to lose people watching, because they stopped reporting real news a while ago and just give influenced, trivial and paid for content. So no losses there!

  19. Tricledrown 20

    Novochok anyone

  20. Liberal Realist 21

    Putin owns Trump.

    Really? I’m seriously bewildered by your position – do you not recognise the propaganda thumped out by NYT & WaPost is bullshit to the highest degree?

    As far as Trump goes, the guy is vulgar. He’s single handedly enhanced and expanded the definition of ‘back flip’ and regularly spouts utter rubbish on Twitter. Still, nothing I have seen, read, or heard alludes to the fact that;
    1. Russia interfered in the US election in 2016;
    2. That Trump is a Russian tool, or under any sort of influence;
    3. Mueller has any tangible evidence;
    4. The indictment against 12 GRU operatives is based on facts
    5. Russiagate is genuine.

    Just because the US President meets with the Russian President, and Trump spouts some bullshit doesn’t mean he’s in Putin’s pocket. Strikes me that your clear disdain for anything Russian has clouded your judgement.

    The facts are; Clinton lost the 2016 election because she was an awful candidate. The DNC screwed up and allowed team HRC to meddle with the primary, ensuring her win by default over Sanders. Had that not happened, Sanders would be in the White House now.

    IMO if you were or are against the meeting in Helsinki then you’re unabashed pro war.

    • KJT 21.1

      “EastAsia or Westasia” this year?

    • Adrian Thornton 21.2

      @Liberal Realist +1

    • joe90 21.3

      till, nothing I have seen, read, or heard alludes to the fact that;

      1. Russia interfered in the US election in 2016;

      In his boss’s own words –

      REPORTER (Jeff Mason from Reuters): President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

      PUTIN: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the US/Russia relationship back to normal.

      https://www.vox.com/2018/7/16/17576956/transcript-putin-trump-russia-helsinki-press-conference

      • D\'Esterre 21.3.1

        joe90: “REPORTER (Jeff Mason from Reuters): President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

        PUTIN: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the US/Russia relationship back to normal.”

        No. He didn’t say that. Mistranslation, I suspect.

        https://www.rt.com/usa/433447-putin-interview-fox-wallace/

        ” US media have blasted President Donald Trump for not properly confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit. In an exclusive interview, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace tried to do just that.

        Wallace’s one-on-one interview with Putin was recorded immediately following the Helsinki summit and aired during the Bret Baier Special Report on Monday evening. Doing what many lawmakers and media figures in the US said Trump should have done at the summit, Wallace asked Putin if Russia had interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.

        The Russian state did not do anything of the sort, Putin said, wondering if Americans really believed that someone from Russia could influence their opinions and the presidential election.”

        • joe90 21.3.1.1

          I guess, if Russian translators don’t know Russian.
          /

          • D'Esterre 21.3.1.1.1

            Joe90: “I guess, if Russian translators don’t know Russian.”

            Russian translators know Russian, but English is their second language, with all that that entails in terms of translation. Also, in such situations, they must translate on the fly, so to speak.

            I’m guessing that you’re not a Russian speaker. Here’s comment from someone who actually is:

            “In Russian language YOU CAN’T SAY “YES I DID”. We don’t have such form of sentence. Putin COULDN’T SAY THIS because he spoke RUSSIAN.
            So Putin said: “Yes, Yes I wanted him to win elections”.

            In Russia we used to answering first at FIRST question.

            So sorry you was owned.”

            And: “I listened again, Putin said “Yes I wanted him to win elections”. Word-by-word translation specially for you. He said “Yes” (“Duh”) only once.”
            This from https://mobile.twitter.com/popoff_alex

            Note that in that response, he ignored the second question, answering the first question only.

            I must say, it puzzles me that, with all the countervailing information and analysis now available on the internet (so radically different from the news environment for much of my adult life), you appear to uncritically accept the anti-Russia propaganda coming out of the western news media.

            From my childhood, we were comprehensively propagandised by our news outlets, with occasional glimpses only of what was actually going on.

            I thank Noam Chomsky, who first alerted me to the stories we weren’t being told. Then the rise of the internet gave a voice to people such as Robert Parry, whose fearless journalism exposed the ugly goings-on beneath the propaganda.

            Unless you’re as old as I am – or older – you have no excuse for continuing to believe western propaganda.

            Russia isn’t an existential threat to anyone. Unless you’re a jihadist. The same was true of the USSR, despite the shrieking propaganda of so much of my life.

            Russia is an independent country. Its governing arrangements and its political leadership is the business of its citizens. Nobody else; especially not the US, UK and EU. Or us here.

            Remember that the trajectory of threat has traditionally come from Europe to Russia, not the other way about. Russians know this well, even if westerners are oblivious to it.

            Are you aware of the terrible destruction wrought by the Nazis and their allies on the USSR? I can assure you that Russians haven’t forgotten, given that the loss of life and splintering of communities affected almost every family. Including ours.

            At the end of WW2, Stalin said “Never again on Russian soil” – or words to that effect. It is that which in part drove the extension of the post-war Soviet sphere of influence (characterised by Churchill as an iron curtain) over eastern Europe and the Baltic states. All of those countries had been either allied with, or collaborators of, Nazi Germany. The iron curtain countries provided a buffer zone against any further aggression from western Europe. No doubt the iron curtain would have extended to all of Germany, and Austria as well, but for agreements with the other allies. In any event, Austria was neutral for many years. It is still not a member of NATO, and didn’t join the EU till 1995.

            AtJoe90: “I guess, if Russian translators don’t know Russian.”

            Russian translators know Russian, but English is their second language, with all that that entails in terms of translation. Also, in such situations, they must translate on the fly, so to speak.

            I’m guessing that you’re not a Russian speaker. Here’s comment from someone who actually is:

            “In Russian language YOU CAN’T SAY “YES I DID”. We don’t have such form of sentence. Putin COULDN’T SAY THIS because he spoke RUSSIAN.
            So Putin said: “Yes, Yes I wanted him to win elections”.

            In Russia we used to answering first at FIRST question.

            So sorry you was owned.”

            And: “I listened again, Putin said “Yes I wanted him to win elections”. Word-by-word translation specially for you. He said “Yes” (“Duh”) only once.”
            This from https://mobile.twitter.com/popoff_alex

            Note that he ignored the second question, answering the first question only.

            I must say, it puzzles me that, with all the countervailing information and analysis now available on the internet (so radically different from the news environment for much of my adult life), you appear to uncritically accept the anti-Russia propaganda coming out of the western news media.

            From my childhood, we were comprehensively propagandised by our news outlets, with occasional glimpses only of what was actually going on.

            I thank Noam Chomsky, who first alerted me to the stories we weren’t being told. Then the rise of the internet gave a voice to people such as Robert Parry, whose fearless journalism exposed the ugly goings-on beneath the propaganda.

            Unless you’re as old as I am – or older – you have no excuse for continuing to believe western propaganda.

            Russia isn’t an existential threat to anyone. Unless you’re a jihadist. The same was true of the USSR, despite the shrieking propaganda of so much of my life.

            Russia is an independent country. Its governing arrangements and its political leadership is the business of its citizens. Nobody else; especially not the US, UK and EU. Or us here.

            Remember that the trajectory of threat has traditionally come from Europe to Russia, not the other way about. Russians know this well, even if westerners are oblivious to it.

            At the end of WW2, Stalin said “Never again on Russian soil”. It is that which drove the extension of the post-war Soviet sphere of influence (characterised by Churchill as an iron curtain) over eastern Europe and the Baltic states. All of those countries had been either allied with, or collaborators of, Nazi Germany. The iron curtain countries provided a buffer zone against any further aggression from western Europe. No doubt the iron curtain would have extended to all of Germany, and Austria as well, but for agreements with the other allies. In any event, Austria was neutral for many years. It is still not a member of NATO, and didn’t join the EU till 1995.

            At the Yalta and Potsdam conferences,the western allies weren’t in a strong position to be able to reject Stalin’s demands regarding territory, given that firstly the Red army had won the war in Europe, and secondly the US wanted to enlist USSR help in defeating Japan.

            With regard to the rise of the cold war, for which USSR is often blamed, remember that the founding of NATO preceded by some years the establishment of the Warsaw pact. The cold war was a useful tool to enable the US to keep its economy on a war footing. And the result of that, qu’on dit, is history.

            • D'Esterre 21.3.1.1.1.1

              Note, too,that USSR asked to join NATO and was turned down.

              Instead, Washington pardoned most of the Nazis and put them to work in its client states and spy forces.

    • D'Esterre 21.4

      Liberal Realist: “Really? I’m seriously bewildered by your position – do you not recognise the propaganda thumped out by NYT & WaPost is bullshit to the highest degree?”

      Hear hear! I agree with everything you say.

  21. xanjo 22

    Don’t underestimate the reaction from Trump’s followers. Admittedly, he’s done a good job of keeping them in his thrall, but these people are first and foremost patriotic Americans. They may forgive a peccadillo or two, they may forgive repetitively being lied to, they may even forgive him selling them down the river with bogus promises but they will NEVER forgive Trump if they can be clearly shown the extent of his duplicity when it comes to Russia. I think a well-managed impeachment hearing would be a must-watch, prime time tutorial which would no doubt build a case, step-by-step, against Trump that even the most moronic could not fail to understand. Sure, there will always be the usual fringe cohort of conspiracy theorists who will never believe anything the American Government tells them and that won’t change. But if Mueller does his job properly and there’s every reason to believe he will, then he should lead the overwhelming majority of poor deluded MAGAs back to reality.

    • Anne 22.1

      Best ‘comment’ to this post thus far. Thanks xanjo.

      • Tricledrown 22.1.1

        White Russians are no threat to Trump supporters poorly educated hillbillies.
        Behave in a similar manner.

    • Ad 22.2

      Trump will not even be impeached – unless there is a strong Democratic takeover of the Senate. Which there won’t be. No show of impeachment.

      By some miracle if it all went to trial while he was President, I think he has that covered as well.

      Trump shows all signs of preparing for the upcoming legal fight by stacking the Supreme Court with a sufficient majority. Even in the Appeals courts he has been far more active in successful nominations than Obama was.

      If he can then win against the DoJ case in the Supreme Court, he can be shown to being loyal to the US Constitution.

      That would deliver him the Republican base in time to win the 2020 Presidential nomination.

      So there’s a reasonable chance that there is not either a legal, or Senate impeachment, or electoral solution, to Trump’s crimes.

      • Anne 22.2.1

        If Meuller and his team prove conclusively that Putin’s Russia meddled with the US Presidential Election in favour of Trump and that Trump was directly connected to the meddling… that he gained financially from past dealings with Russians directly connected to Putin – including in the laundering of ‘dirty’ money both ways – then he is a goner no matter how much he tries to stack the Supreme Court.

        If he tries to set himself up as some kind of dictator (which is not beyond his advanced narcissistic personality), I hope the US military might wish to interfere in proceedings.

        • Ad 22.2.1.1

          This isn’t like Nixon.
          There won’t be any “I am not a crook”interview with this guy.
          No waving as he heads to the Presidential helicopter.

          Fox and Friends, his major donors, and the core Republican leadership – will never, ever turn on their own.

          The only way to get rid of Trump is through the ballot box.
          And that would require a stronger candidate than currently exists in the Democratic party.

          So I think there’s pretty good odds the political crises caused by Donald trump will be with us for two full terms.

          • Anne 22.2.1.1.1

            I agree the Trumpites have so few brain cells they would fit inside the shell of a pea and are likely to stay true to dear leader. And there are a great many ratbags and arseholes with money and influence to burn who stand to gain under a Trump regime. [Goodness me I could be describing Russia.] So, Trump might see this term out but I’ll wager a bet he is a one termer at the most.

            Something will happen that will see him gone – either by coercion or choice depending on what the something proves to be. He’s way too much of a coward to stick around once the truth starts to emerge. He’ll be gone in a puff of smoke and we’ll not see him again for a long, long time.

            • D'Esterre 22.2.1.1.1.1

              Anne: “I agree the Trumpites have so few brain cells they would fit inside the shell of a pea…”

              Ad made no such observation, that you could agree to it. What position of special knowledge do you come from, to diss Trump supporters in this fashion? How would you know? A misguided tactic in any event, as Clinton found out.

              “[Goodness me I could be describing Russia.]”

              In which claim, you succeed in being both inaccurate and offensive. Who are you to make such statements: do you seriously imagine that Russian citizens have no agency, that they cannot see for themselves who’s worthy of election, and elect them?You are clearly ignorant about Russia. And if you imagine that Putin is the big bad guy, you certainly know absolutely nothing about what’s going on in Russian politics.

              • Anne

                I’ll be kind to you.

                Don’t be so pathetic, pedantic and pompous – and grow a sense of humour. Now clear off and bore others with your dull and tedious pronouncements.

        • Brutus Iscariot 22.2.1.2

          You’re sounding almost as unhinged as the OP. There’s no mechanism or pathway for Trump to set himself up as dictator…i mean zero. Literally no chance it can happen.

          I’m not saying that a gradual shift to a more authoritarian govt could never happen in the US, but the current institutions, build up over hundreds of years, are widely revered in a way that New Zealanders can’t understand. They’re certainly not prone to open abrogation in 2018.

          I’m not sure people realise how absurd these anti-Trump doom porn fantasies are starting to sound. I mean think for a second about what he’s has actually done. Not said, done. There’s been a lot of hot air, but has he really changed anything in the US apart from perhaps the public mood? Not really, he just flies around, tweets, fires off the odd executive order, and pisses people off.

          The fact is, the US balance of power between branches of government actually works pretty well.

        • D'Esterre 22.2.1.3

          Anne: “If Meuller and his team prove conclusively that Putin’s Russia meddled with the US Presidential Election in favour of Trump and that Trump was directly connected to the meddling… that he gained financially from past dealings with Russians directly connected to Putin…”

          This won’t happen because it cannot. There was no Russian meddling in the election. Do you not get it? Were there any evidence at all, we’d have known about it long ago. I predicted that the Mueller inquiry would last at least as long as Trump’s first term
          in office, and it would produce nothing substantive. Its intention is to smear by insinuation. In which enterprise it will ultimately fail. See this: https://consortiumnews.com/2018/07/23/moon-strzok-no-more-lisa-page-spills-the-beans/

          “If he tries to set himself up as some kind of dictator…”

          You do know how seriously bonkers this is, don’t you? In the first place, as has been pointed out below, US constitutional arrangements cannot permit it.

          In the second place, you’re talking about Trump as if he were the head of state in NZ. Unless you’re American, it’s nothing to do with you. The most that can concern us here is US foreign policy. In that regard, things could be much worse: it could’ve been Clinton won the election.

          And in respect of foreign policy, forget about what Trump says: focus on what he does. That’s the critical thing.

      • Tricledrown 22.2.2

        Ad Midterms are getting closer and Trump circus of sackings exposures seen to be gathering momentum.
        You would think he would have stabilised by now.
        Most independent polls show Trump averaging 33% support.
        With those against averaging 55%.
        That’s big loss of support to make up in less than 4 months?
        I don’t see Trump turning it around like Obama who lost Midterms in his first term.
        Trump will be decimated in Congress which could lead to his impeachment with many republicans revolting and Democrats having a majority.

  22. Adrian Thornton 23

    Isn’t it strange the the thread is “Trump: Follow the Money!”

    Maybe you should actually do that, I think you could easily come to the US military industrial complex…as a prime suspect as to who gaining ( and probably fanning the flames of) this absolutely insane Russia hysteria.

    BTW. Here is a little quote from the person who lied right out in the open over Iraq, and who now is being taken seriously as beaming light of truth on this question…

    Robert S. Mueller, III
    Mar. 19, 2003

    “As we previously briefed this Committee, Iraq’s WMD program poses a clear threat to our national security, a threat that will certainly increase in the event of future military action against Iraq. Baghdad has the capability and, we presume, the will to use biological, chemical, or radiological weapons against US domestic targets in the event of a US invasion”

    https://usiraq.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000681#mueller

    I don’t know if Trump has ties to Putin, but either do you, and I certainly am not going to take the word of a known liar…I mean fuck Trump, of course, but keep your critical thinking hats on please.

  23. Tricledrown 24

    Adrian Trumps including son have $100’s of millions of Russian oligarch money tied up in Trump realestate
    Those are Russian Mafia directly involved with Putin.

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