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Duck and cover

Written By: - Date published: 9:24 am, January 4th, 2018 - 184 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, International, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

I was going to try and avoid Trump posts for the next week but events over the past 24 hours demand a post.

First there was the nuclear button tweet where the leader of the free world compared dick sizes with the leader of a small impoverished Asian nation and goaded him to press the nuclear button.

Twitter went ballistic, with occasions of brilliance.

But one tweet made me think of the reason for the latest incidence of insanity. There is always a reason.

And this morning news of a new book on the workings of the Trump Whitehouse emerged.

From the Guardian:

Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has described the Trump Tower meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”, according to an explosive new book seen by the Guardian.

Bannon, speaking to author Michael Wolff, warned that the investigation into alleged collusion with the Kremlin will focus on money laundering and predicted: “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, reportedly based on more than 200 interviews with the president, his inner circle and players in and around the administration, is one of the most eagerly awaited political books of the year. In it, Wolff lifts the lid on a White House lurching from crisis to crisis amid internecine warfare, with even some of Trump’s closest allies expressing contempt for him.

Bannon, who was chief executive of the Trump campaign in its final three months, then White House chief strategist for seven months before returning to the rightwing Breitbart News, is a central figure in the nasty, cutthroat drama, quoted extensively, often in salty language.

He is particularly scathing about a June 2016 meeting involving Trump’s son Donald Jr, son-in-law Jared Kushner, then campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in New York. A trusted intermediary had promised documents that would “incriminate” rival Hillary Clinton but instead of alerting the FBI to a potential assault on American democracy by a foreign power, Trump Jr replied in an email: “I love it.”

Makes you wonder if the nuclear button tweet was an attempt at diversion.

And Trump has lost his cool with Bannon.

Meanwhile I suspect Robert Mueller is taking notes, lots and lots of notes …

184 comments on “Duck and cover ”

  1. dv 1

    Does Twitter not have a code of use policy that would exclude threatening behaviour?

    • roy cartland 1.1

      F*ck yes – literally threatening the entire world has got to be against their ToS, right?

  2. stunned mullet 2

    And we still give the narcissist what he craves above all else – attention.

  3. Among all the willy waving, the book apparently makes two other interesting claims.

    Firstly, that Rupert Murdoch called Trump a “fucking idiot” after the President was played by a bunch of Silicon Valley execs. The significance of that is that Murdoch has form in swiftly dropping support for those on the right he sees as losers. What would Trump be without Fox cheerleading for him? Well, a one term President for starters.

    The second reported claim is deeply sad. It’s said that Melania Trump cried when her hubby won the election. Presumably they weren’t tears of joy. This poor person is going to be held hostage in the White House for another three years. It’s weird that an immigrant to America would have a better understanding of duty than the current President.

  4. Anne 5

    It’s getting more mind boggling by the day. By comparison, the Nixon/Watergate affair is starting to look like a Sunday School picnic.

    Lies galore, slander, burglaries, cheating, madness, narcissism, illegal surveillance, sex (lots of it), treason, money laundering on massive scale and threatening nuclear war. What next?

  5. Visubversa 6

    Wolff may not be the most reliable commentator – or the hit jobs have started early. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/01/is-bannon-trump-michael-wolff-reporting-reliable.html

    • Andre 6.1

      He might not be reliable, but he’s about to sell a shit-load of books.

      edit: also, lately facts have developed a habit of, er, trumping the wildest fiction (sorry). Hell, even the writer that came up with “precious bodily fluids” would have balked at “my button is bigger than your button”. So even if it’s total fabrication, it wouldn’t be surprising for the actual truth to be wilder still.

    • Bill 6.2

      More from Wolff’s book.

      Tony Blair has denied he warned Donald Trump‘s aides British spies may have had them under surveillance during the 2016 election.

      The former Prime Minister’s team called the claim “a complete fabrication” after it was published in a tell-all book by US author Michael Wolff.

      I wonder (I don’t really) if that claim and rebuttal will be treated in the same way as the claim Bannon alleged treason has been treated by a number of liberals hereabouts.

  6. red-blooded 7

    I’m not sure if it’s deliberate tactics or more instinctive (the effects of a huge ego and Spoilt Toddler Syndrome), but Trump definitely dominates the news and commentariat and while they may think they’re reporting, rebutting or mocking, they’re also helping to puff him up and weld his supporters to him even more tightly. It’s partly an effect of the “don’t trust the media, they’re part of the problem” syndrome that people like Winston Peters feeds and benefits from here in NZ. (He doesn’t seem to have discovered Twitter, and his supporters are unlikely to use it, so that’s something we’ve been spared.

    Peters isn’t anywhere near as bad as Trump, of course, but he does use the media in the same way – always antagonistical and presenting himself as their victim.

    The media mocked Trump and treated him as entertaining for most of the presidential campaign – and look where it got them. I don’t see them changing anytime soon, though.

  7. Morrissey 8

    Trump’s cronies are dismantling American education and America’s health system, they’re abolishing environmental protections, they’ve abolished net neutrality, they’re carrying out the most radical and destructive agenda in American history—and the Democratic leaders and their media megaphones are pursuing the chimera of this Russian fantasy.

    Seven more years of Trump to go, thanks to the Democrats’ failure.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      Yawn. You don’t get to say who can comment on FBI investigations, stenographer.

    • One Two 8.2


      Valid observations there…..under all the bluster which is serving to cover the BAU being carried out in the background…

    • Macro 8.3

      Perhaps you can elucidate Morrissey just how exactly the catastrophic list you refer to above is the fault of the Democrats? You know that they are constantly speaking against all that. Not one vote from them for these Trump “reforms”. Many of these reforms are under executive decree or by administrators appointed directly by Trump. It is on him and him alone that these things occur.
      With a lead in the polls of around 12% to the Democrats leading up to the mid term elections the control of the Senate could well swing against Repugs and you will see more resistance.
      Furthermore the rise of the resistance movement is growing by the day.
      More women are intending to stand for Governorships in the US than ever before.

      • Andre 8.3.1

        It’s because Democrats have hidden secret magical powers to enact their agenda even when Repugs actually hold the elected offices that make and pass legislation. But they refuse to use those powers, because they’re in thrall to the lizard-people. So Democrats must be punished by refusing to vote for them, so that Repugs may inflict the suffering on American people that will lead to the revelation of the true path.

        Something like that, anyway.

        • Morrissey

          In spite of your attempt to trivialize and deflect, the fact is: the Democrats do have substantial power to oppose and defeat what the Trump gang is doing. They have, instead, decided to push this nonsense about Russian meddling. So far they have produced not one item of evidence to back up their allegations. I note, too, that Pelosi and her cronies gave the sorry task of fronting these absurd allegations to members of their usually neglected black caucus ….

          Open Mike 16/01/2017

          • Ed

            Some words of sanity on this thread.
            Thank you.
            The whole Russian thing reminds me of McCarthyism.

          • Andre

            Want to explain exactly what powers the Democrats have “to oppose and defeat what the Trump gang is doing” that they aren’t using? Because everything that’s the slightest bit controversial, the Repugs have tried to do it in a way that avoids the filibuster so they only need fifty votes, or they’ve outright changed the rules to eliminate the filibuster (to put Gorsuch in).

            • Morrissey

              Their main failing is: TALKING ABOUT RUSSIA ALL THE TIME.

              • Ed

                Instead of talking about taxing the rich in the US, getting out of all foreign wars, providing decent health for its citizens, committing to leading the way in mitigating climate change, destroying inequality, abolishing gun use, reforming drug laws…..
                Instead they grovel to the military industrial complex.

              • Macro

                You do realise that the US Constitution (and democracy as it it understood in the US) is under serious threat from Trump and Russian interference. So it is not a small issue here. Notwithstanding all of that, the Democrats have not been holding back on their constant criticism of the Trump administration in all respects and doing all they can to try and protect what little human values they can. eg the Dreamers, the woeful but immeasurably superior Obama Care to Trump Doesn’t Care. etc

                • Ed

                  I think you should read Bill’s comment at 12.
                  I couldn’t express it better.

                  • Macro

                    Frankly I don’t have a lot of time for Bills comments on Russia. They are far too influenced by Russia “good” US “bad”

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                    • One Two

                      If that is the interpretation you apply to Bills commentary on ‘Russia’…

                      And don’t “have a lot of time”, for them…

                      My interpretation would be, the challenge to ‘your position’ (Bills commentary) is threatening…

                      Casual observations are a small number on this site will not tolerate ‘challenges’ to their positions…

                      And react in various ways..your reaction, Macro, is passive…

                      Others apply bullying, abusive and agressive methods…

                    • Ed

                      I would agree One Two.

                      Question the Trump Russia narrative.
                      Question meat eating
                      Question NZ’s rape culture
                      Question US foreign policy

                      And you get the usual suspects ( and Imnot talking about rwnjs) proving that there are many on the left who are clearly not open minded or progressive in any way.

              • Andre

                I just googled a bunch of prominent Dems together with russia as keywords, and there’s not a lot there. The only one I found with a lot of news coverage in conjunction with Russia is Adam Schiff, which isn’t surprising since he’s the lead Dem on the House committee investigation into Russian funny games. The rest of the prominent Dems spend their time talking about other things.

                To be sure, the various news organisations devote a lot of coverage to the various Russia investigations. But CNN, USAToday, Reuters, AP, WaPo, NYT Fox, The Federalist etc are not “the Democrats”.

                In any case, you have said “the Democrats do have substantial power to oppose and defeat what the Trump gang is doing”. Talking about other things won’t stop the Repugs voting for things that are incredibly unpopular. For instance, the recent tax giveaway to the wealthiest is the most unpopular tax measure since before Reagan at least, even more unpopular than bills that raised taxes. Dems spent a lot of time talking about what the provisions really were, contributing to that unpopularity. But the Repugs enacted it anyway.

                So I’ll ask again, what are those powers “to oppose and defeat what the Trump gang is doing” that they have not been using?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Nancy Pelosi agrees. Since that was two months ago, it looks like the stenographer has some catching up to do.

                Oh, no, wait, she’s one of “them” 😆

          • Ad

            What is this “substantial power to oppose and defeat what the Trump gang is doing”?

          • red-blooded

            So, Morrissey, just how do you think the Dems can “defeat what the Trump gang is doing” when the Repugs still have a majority in both Houses, hold the presidency and are stocking up the Supreme Court with those of their ilk?

            The Dems are speaking up and are starting to win recent elections. With the Congress and 1/3 of the Senate up for election this year, they’ll hopefully regain some power in Congress (some of the seats look like they may swing back). Not likely in the Senate. But, in a (sort of) democratic system, that’s the only way they can get a chance to defeat the Trump gang when his own party is enabling him. Of course, in some instances, he can’t even get the majority of the Republicans to support him.

    • Sanctuary 8.4


      This whole Russia affair has become HRC and the Dem’s get out of jail free card, a ready made Dolchstoßlegende myth to divert from how desperately craven, corrupt and out of touch the Democratic party hierarchy and mainstream political establishment is.

      Instead of focusing on how it came to be they selected the very worst possible candidate (as Stephen Colbert put it, Clinton and Trump were the only two candidates capable of losing against the other) loaded down with baggage and the very embodiment of the liberal DC establishment and Democrat identity politics when the US electorate was crying out for economic reform, thye can focus on the stab in the back.

      Instead of focusing on why they lost Ohio, the Democrats can blame Putin and dismiss the MAGA white vote with barely concealed contempt.

      Instead of learning lessons and focusing on better policies from an attractive candidate, the Democrats can sooth themselves with the Dolchstoßlegende myth and do nothing to reform their party.

      I think the Democrats will win, and win big this year in 2020. Perhaps big enough to seize the senate, the White House and a big chunk of the house. That is because Trump is energizing the anti-Trump vote like nothing else. The GOP and Trump will be smashed by massive turnouts of minority voters.

      the problem is the Democrats will win, and then do nothing. Everyone in the beltway elite will sigh a huge sigh of relief and assume it is back to BAU. The unreformed Bourbons of the Democratic party won’t reverse the tax cuts. they won’t introduce universal healthcare. They won’t question NAFTA and the TPPA. They’ll sit there, paralyzed trying to reach “consensus” with the GOP insurgency, and govern for the Washington establishment and their donors.

      And they guy from the right that comes next? He will be just a s bad as Trump, only not half as crazy and twice as sly and America with become a racist paradise for corporations.

      • Ed 8.4.1

        Is the solution a revolution?

      • Ad 8.4.2

        You don’t have to worry about future Democrat compromises for some time yet.

        Of the 33 Senate seats up in November 2018, only eight are currently held by Republicans. So Democrats are defending 25 seats, 10 of which Trump won. No chance of regaining the Senate.

        In the House of Representatives, the Republicans have 239 seats to the Democrats 194. All are up for contest in November. The main state to watch is California since there are a fair few members in there. Slim chance of regaining House of Representatives.

        Underneath that the Republicans still have a lock on the great majority of Governors. Then the state legislatures that look after redistricting have a massive Republican leaning as well.

        Then there’s the Supreme Court, fully locked for the Republicans for many years since there are relatively young appointees and Ginzburg and probably Kennedy will have to retire within this term so Trump gets two more slots.

        Trump is certainly the best renewal programme the Democrats have, but it only has a shot at tilting just one – Congress – which is the least powerful of the top layers.

        It’s the US Republicans guiding global conservative political dominance that we need to focus on for quite some time.

    • Ed 8.5

      There are many defenders of the neoliberal Democrat Party here.

    • Sabine 8.6

      actually no, the current dismantling of the Institutions of the US has got nothing to do with the Democrats.

      The republicans have literally preached nothing else but lower taxes and cut services for the last 40 years, ever since Saint Ronnie came and saved the US from the jumper wearing, Solar Cell installing President Carter. Remember that?
      The current government of the US is in republican hands, Senate and Congress, and should the she devil have won, she would have been as ineffective as had been Obama in the last years of this presidency.
      After all the President needs the House and the Senate to pass laws and shit.

      So to be fair, you should look at what the current crop of ‘republicans’ does and lay the blame where it belongs too, the Republicans. No one forces Mrs. De Vos to make it harder to get debt relieve for students that were defrauded (Cough, Trump University cough) but she does. No one forces Mr. Zinke to abolish any and all natural sites to allow drill baby drill, but he does. No one forces Mr. Carson to claim that poverty is only in ones head and once one has convinced oneself that they are no longer poor they are also no longer in need of affordable housing, but he did.

      The Democrats have a lot to answer for, but anyone who cared could have listened to the last twenty years of Paul Ryan declaring his desire to dismantle the social welfare net, anyone who cared would have known that what is happening now is simply the coming true of the Republican Mantra of privatise everything – so long as it brings a profit – and socialise only the losses to be paid of by the tax payer. You like it or not, at some stage you have to stop blaming someone who lost for the wrong doings of those who won.

      The Trumpster run, the people voted, and now they are getting served.
      The only ones deserving pity are the young ones who could not vote, the PoC ones who desperately voted for the she devil because they saw the racism for what it was and the women who voted for contraception and right to bodily autonomy.

      The fearful white male worker with economic (tax reduction desiring) anxiety and his wife, the ‘anti abortion’ only issue crowd, the ‘don’t vote for no wimminz’, the only vote for the R after the name, they get precisely what they wanted. Vouchers for schools, vouchers for healthcare, tolls for the roads they need and one child after the other until the broodmare either dies or the Uterus falls out.

      • Morrissey 8.6.1

        actually no, the current dismantling of the Institutions of the US has got nothing to do with the Democrats.

        What the hell are you talking about? Clinton dismantled the Glass-Steagall Act, mounted a grave, sustained assault on America’s public schools, and made life almost unbearable for the poor with his attacks on the very poorest, with their showcase regime in Wisconsin being crueler than anything Reagan or Bush had done.

        Trump and the Republicans are more brutal than the Democrats, but they’re extending what Clinton and Obama were already doing.

        • Sabine

          And before Clinton you had Reagan and G.W Bush.

          There are exactly two democratic Presidents since Carter. Clinton and Obama.
          There were thre republican Presidents since Carter, Reagan, Bush1, Bush2 and now Trump. Mind also before Carter there was Nixon. So really you could say that since the Mid 70/s the majority of presidents in the US have been republican and what ever these guys did was / is never as bad as to what the democrats do.

          But yeah, it all Bill Clintons fault and Obamas fault, cause the Republicans can’t be at fault yeah, that would mean you actually would have to affront your own bias.

          good grief. Seriously good grief.

          • Morrissey

            A great deal of it was indeed the fault of Clinton and Obama.

            And what do you mean by “affront your own bias”?

            • Sabine

              that simply ‘a great deal’ being the fault of Clinton and Obama means at the very least an equally ‘great deal’ was the fault of the Republicans. Unless of course you only care about the great deal that is the fault of Clinton and Obama and you don’t care about the great deal that is the fault of the others.

              anyway, i am bored now speaking of the past. The current now with the great Orange Saviour is so much more exiting. All those that were afraid of the Clinton should rejoice, they got the Trump. Awesome!!!!!!!

              • Morrissey

                Again, you’re equating rejection of Clinton with endorsement of Trump. Are you really that simple-minded and obtuse?

                • Ed

                  It would appear so.
                  These 3rd way, New Labour, Pagani-Quinnites can’t let go of neoliberalism.
                  It made them rich.

                • Sabine

                  Again, you’re equate voting for the lesser evil in order to prevent someone like Trump and his enablers and Pence who will be Trumps successor with an endorsement of Hilary Clinton? Are you really that simple-minded and obtuse?

          • red-blooded

            Plus, let’s remember that for all but the first 2 years of the Clinton presidency, Repugs controlled both the Senate and Congress (for the first 2, the Dems controlled Congress but not the senate). That makes it bloody hard to go forward with a left wing agenda, no matter what. He could only progress what both those houses passed. (And of course, this was during the 80’s when pretty much all governments of the left were trying for a “third way”.)

            Obama faced the same issue. He had a Dem majority in the Congress for 2 years, but for most of his time he didn’t have Dems controlling the Senate. (He had a window of 4 months with Dem majorities in both houses, if you count the 2 Independents who mostly voted with the Dems Bernie Saunders + another guy). Again, he could pretty much only get anything passed if enough Repugs crossed the floor to vote with him (and remember that sometimes fiscally conservative Dems would vote against – there’s a lot more floor-crossing there than here).

            Seriously, let’s get past the demonising of the Dems. The US is more politically conservative than NZ in lots of ways, but that’s at least in part because their system has so much inertia built into it. At times like this, with a maniacal monster in charge, that’s a good thing. But it also constrains the left, and we shouldn’t forget that.

            • Macro

              I can’t remember how many times I’ve said the same thing here as well Red. It falls on deaf ears. Andre has also outlined how the repugs are working the system to avoid debate. The Democrats have done well to keep Obama care but even that is under threat from funding following this repugnant Tax “reform”.

    • North 8.7

      Morrissey I’m starting to think that the prospect of 7 more years of Trump actually delights you. If only as vindication of your (“ahem”) troublesome Dems/Hillary ‘thing’. It is a thing.

      Blame the Dems/Hillary ad infinitum if you want to but there does seem to be more rationality in attribution to Comey’s letter to Congress 11 days out from the election. At a crucial juncture It could not but heighten the resonance of the mob chant “Crooked Hillary – Lock Her Up!”

      This was an election in which 80,000 votes (1.2%) of the 6,500,000 Dem/Repug votes cast in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin delivered Trump the Presidency. You’re quite certain that there weren’t 12 people per 1000 whom until then were undecideds/waverers……you’re certain that there weren’t 12 people per 1000 quite untouched by the heightened mob chant “Crooked Hillary – Lock Her Up!” ?

      Get off the grass Morrissey. As for Trump, enough of your strutting your ‘thing’. At worst you’re sounding like Sebastian Gorka, at best Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

      • Morrissey 8.7.1

        The legendary Standardista North has decided to stage an intervention…..

        BREEN: North! What the F&^K?!??!?!? Fancy seeing YOU here! Long time no see, old pal! So….. what brings you to Northcote Point?

        …..Awkward silence….

        NORTH: Morrissey I’m starting to think that the prospect of 7 more years of Trump actually delights you. If only as vindication of your (“ahem”) troublesome Dems/Hillary ‘thing’. It is a thing.

        BREEN: No, my friend, my criticism of Clinton, Pelosi, Schumer, and the rest of that shower does not mean I endorse Trump in any way. I have always regarded him and his cronies as malevolent and extremely dangerous. And, no, I derive no “told you so” pleasure out of seeing the Trump gang dismantling environmental protections, hounding Mexicans, destroying public education, cutting welfare, and all the rest of their vicious actions.

        NORTH: Get off the grass Morrissey. As for Trump, enough of your strutting your ‘thing’.

        BREEN: Okay! [flicks joint to kerbside] I’ll start behaving myself!

        NORTH: At worst you’re sounding like Sebastian Gorka, at best Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

        BREEN: Christ almighty, North, you know how to hurt a guy!


        • North

          Morrissey my man…….congrats on the chuckle-making script. Maybe a little work around Breen’s penultimate line though……the ‘flick’ thing. Such wastefulness never happens in North’s ‘hood. Surely you know that? Damn! Where’s that emojo thing?

  8. JustPassingThrough 9

    You know the Left has lost it when they’re wishing for Kim Jong Un to have a bigger nuclear button then Trump.

  9. joe90 10


    From Fire and Fury, here's Trump on his friends' wives –> pic.twitter.com/9imNBaSqm1— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) January 3, 2018

  10. Ad 11

    George Lakoff does make a great point about Trump as a communicator:

    “Trump uses social media as a weapon to control the news cycle. It works like a charm. His tweets are tactical rather than substantive. They mostly fall into one of these four categories.”

    Back in the Obama/West Wing days when set piece speeches guided policy formation and discourse, we had actual ideas processed into legislation carefully.

    Trump has done the more powerful thing of circulating around the mainstream media itself, and in doing so holding them to account in a way I haven’t seen since HUAC.

    Yes he’s a nutjob, but he’s a far more powerful and consistently powerful communicator than Preseident Obama ever was.

    Best communicator in US politics since the first term of President Reagan.

  11. Bill 12

    Again. Trump is an arse.


    Had Sanders been US President, then he too would have sought better relations with Russia. And he too – his administration – would have been subjected to similar immense pressure from vested interests, though not necessarily by way of a war of attrition.

    Trump, it seems, is surrounded by the type of scum that floats to the surface in the pond of politics and power. That just makes his admin much of a muchness in comparison to previous admins.

    The difference between Trump’s Admin and previous ones – why his is being eviscerated – is that previous admins played the game and stuck to the time worn script of Russia being malevolent and representing a clear and present threat to American interests (read: interests of American elites).

    Without the Russian bogeyman, the US would be much less able to project its military reach in quite the way it does (NATO). And without that military reach, its economic agenda – that of opening and then securing markets for US corporate gain, would be that much less effective.

    Now I don’t care if you believe that Russia is the sum total of all evil and ought to be removed from existence or not. And I don’t care if you believe the US or Trump as US President represents the sum total of all evil and ought to be removed from existence or not.

    What I care about is the reduction of political discussion to a simple binary where everything anti-Trump is uncritically accepted with flag waving enthusiastic approval and everything anti-Russian is also uncritically accepted with flag waving enthusiastic approval, as though we’re dealing with self-evident truths, spontaneously created and sitting in grand isolation.

    That’s not what we’re dealing in.

    Those “truths” are pushed, not just uniformly by all western mainstream media, but by senators and congresspeople from both the Democrat and Republican parties who, willfully or otherwise, give political expression to one aspect of a very particular and rather powerful agenda set by “corporate america”.

    Libya, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Venezuela and others, as well as Russia in the recent past, had closed markets or protected markets that denied free and unfettered access to US and other western Corporations. (Ever wondered why those countries are or were part of a short list of countries that didn’t contain US military bases?)

    Sanctions and a US military presence have roles to play in opening countries up to liberal capitalism and its so-called free market ideology. Russia and Russian influence (real or imagined) is a major diversionary tactic that allows for the pursuit of US corporate hegemony.

    And that’s Trump’s main crime.

    Left to his own devices, he was set to pull the Russian rug out from under their feet and make the project of US corporate dominance that bit more difficult. And as soon as (or if) he “plays the game”, the heat will come off of him and his administration.

    Then, much of the head of steam that some may believe has built up against this administration will evaporate, leaving those with genuine people centred grievances and agendas realising they have much less traction than they might currently imagine.

    • Ed 12.1

      Two voices of sanity on this thread.
      You and Morrissey.

    • joe90 12.2

      And that’s Trump’s main crime.

      Bannon knows what Trump’s main crime is, money laundering.

      “You realise where this is going,” he is quoted as saying. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] 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.”

      Last month it was reported that federal prosecutors had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, the German financial institution that has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kushner property empire. Bannon continues: “It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit. The Kushner shit is greasy. They’re going to go right through that. They’re going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me.”


      • Bill 12.2.1

        Trump laundered money? Or people in his administration laundered money? And if people in his administration laundered money, then how many people from previous administration do you reckon could be shown (via the Panama papers and the others) to have also laundered money or otherwise created dodgy off-shore bank accounts etc?

        Like I keep saying. Politics and power attracts and elevates scum. It’s not new.

        And US foreign policy isn’t determined by money laundering….oh – Oliver North? Not a determinant of foreign policy, but you get the picture.

        Money laundering being an indictable criminal offence as opposed to a shift in foreign relations, then yes, technically (if he has) then money laundering would perhaps be Trump’s main crime. But hey. You know exactly how the word was being employed in my comment, so…

        • joe90

          US foreign policy isn’t determined by money laundering

          Trump and his offsiders owe over half a billion dollars to an outfit that’s being investigated by the US DoJ for among other things, allegedly laundering money for the Russian mob.

          The DoJ reports directly to Trump…..


          • Bill

            ffs Joe. That’s about an investigation into Deutsche Bank. But I get it. Trump holds accounts with Deutsche Bank, therefor Trump must be a money launderer. 🙄

            And yes, he apparently has, or had loans from Deutsche Bank that totaled somewhere in the region of $US 300 million back in 2012.

            • Macro

              Trump has form wrt money laundering
              His Casinos were fined almost from the moment they opened up for money laundering.
              The sale of a mansion in Florida to a Russian Oligarch at an over the top price for the then market is smelly whichever way you cut it.
              Steele was so alarmed at what he unearthed in his investigation that he went straight to the FBI without reporting to the people that had commissioned his work in the first place.
              As reported by GR Simpson and P Fritsch the co-founders of Fusion GPS and former journalist in the NY Times:

              We told Congress that from Manhattan to Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., and from Toronto to Panama, we found widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering. Likewise, those deals don’t seem to interest Congress.

              We explained how, from our past journalistic work in Europe, we were deeply familiar with the political operative Paul Manafort’s coziness with Moscow and his financial ties to Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin.

              Finally, we debunked the biggest canard being pushed by the president’s men — the notion that we somehow knew of the June 9, 2016, meeting in Trump Tower between some Russians and the Trump brain trust. We first learned of that meeting from news reports last year — and the committees know it. They also know that these Russians were unaware of the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s work for us and were not sources for his reports.

              Yes, we hired Mr. Steele, a highly respected Russia expert. But we did so without informing him whom we were working for and gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic question: Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?

              What came back shocked us. Mr. Steele’s sources in Russia (who were not paid) reported on an extensive — and now confirmed — effort by the Kremlin to help elect Mr. Trump president. Mr. Steele saw this as a crime in progress and decided he needed to report it to the F.B.I.

              We did not discuss that decision with our clients, or anyone else. Instead, we deferred to Mr. Steele, a trusted friend and intelligence professional with a long history of working with law enforcement. We did not speak to the F.B.I. and haven’t since.

              After the election, Mr. Steele decided to share his intelligence with Senator John McCain via an emissary. We helped him do that. The goal was to alert the United States national security community to an attack on our country by a hostile foreign power. We did not, however, share the dossier with BuzzFeed, which to our dismay published it last January.

              And then there was Nigel Farage and Posh George, who attended the Convention where Trump was selected as the Repug candidate and subsequently George was busted for money laundering, but in a plea deal with the FBI gave up information.

    • Ad 12.3

      I don’t understand your point about sanctions.

      National governments and international bodies like the United Nations and European Union have imposed economic sanctions to coerce, deter, punish, or shame entities that endanger their interests or violate international norms of behavior. They have been used to advance a range of foreign policy goals, including counterterrorism, counternarcotics, nonproliferation, democracy and human rights promotion, conflict resolution, and cybersecurity.

      Sanctions are generally viewed as a lower-cost, lower-risk, middle course of action between diplomacy and war. They are not a barrel of laughs, but the nations being targeted aren’t either.

      Countries with big US military presences in them, like South Korea and Germany and Japan, developed their versions of capitalist social democracies due in no small part to intensive US rebuilding assistance after catastrophic wars. The military bases were critical to the rebuild effort. Some – in particular Germany – grew large from the late 1940s to the 1970s due to direct Russian aggression.

      • Bill 12.3.1

        Iraq was subjected to sanctions that resulted in more deaths than all of the weapons of mass destruction used through-out human history. Hardly a “lower cost. lower risk, middle course of action…”

        Syria is currently subject to US sanctions that the UN considers to be on a par with those that Iraq was subjected to.

        If you don’t understand that sanctions are the first (and incredibly destructive) weapon in the arsenal of powerful nations seeking to create or maintain spheres of influence; that they are not deployed for humanitarian reasons or for anything to do with the promotion of democracy (in spite of the rhetoric that usually accompanies them), then you might gain something of an understanding by simply looking down a list of those countries currently subject to US sanctions and reflect on those countries that, by any consideration around reasons to do with humanitarianism or democracy, are conspicuous by their absence.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          sanctions that resulted in more deaths than all of the weapons of mass destruction used through-out human history.

          [multiple citations needed]

          • Bill

            Well, you could just do the rough arithmetic (nuclear deaths and chemical weapon deaths).

            Or read this entire article by John Mueller and Karl Mueller in “Foreign Affairs”


            And quoting from the UN Report “Humanitarian Impact of Syria-Related Unilateral Restrictive Measures”

            in totality, the US and EU sanctions in Syria are some of the most complicated and far-reaching sanctions regimes ever imposed.

            Full report available here…


            • Ed

              OAB abuses. He doesn’t read.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Piss off Ed, you sycophantic cretin. I can’t read the first link because it’s behind a paywall. The part of it I can read says

                this device — economic sanctions — is deployed frequently, by large states rather than small ones, and may have contributed to more deaths during the post-Cold War era than all weapons of mass destruction throughout history.

                So that doesn’t support Bill’s claim. In fact it refutes it.

                This is not to say that sanctions on Iran and Syria – and we can probably add North Korea to that as well, have not had a significant detrimental effect on the citizens of those countries.

                Does this mean you are pro-international trade after all, or will you have to first watch some videos to find out what you’re supposed to think?

                • Ed

                  You are proving my point.
                  Not a debate.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    So we can add hypocrite to cretin: you insulted me and now you’re whining when I give it back.

                    No answer for the trade question? Is Youtube down?

                    >[Take two days off for indulging in pointless abuse again] – Bill

                    • Ed

                      Is it sycophantic to register one’s support for well expressed ideas like those of Bill and Morrissey?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Perhaps RT can tell you what you think. Answer the question.

                • Bill

                  The numbers from the article (it’s open source for me for some reason) are –

                  Nagasaki 40 000
                  Hiroshima 70 000


                  gas accounted for less than one percent of total battle deaths in the war

                  Less than 1% of 18 million = under 200 000.

                  Child deaths in Iraq as a result of sanctions ~ 500 000.

                  From the article. (my emphasis)

                  No one knows with any precision how many Iraqi civilians have died as a result, but various agencies of the United Nations, which oversees the sanctions, have estimated that they have contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths. By 1998 Iraqi infant mortality had reportedly risen from the pre-Gulf War rate of 3.7 percent to 12 percent. Inadequate food and medical supplies, as well as breakdowns in sewage and sanitation systems and in the electrical power systems needed to run them, reportedly cause an increase of 40,000 deaths annually of children under the age of 5 and of 50,000 deaths annually of older Iraqis.

                  • Ad

                    How does this support your claim that US sanctions and military bases enable “liberal capitalism”?

                    • Bill

                      Did Iraq rebuild its infrastructure and return to state managed development? No.
                      Will Libya? No.
                      Did Russia? No.

                      Seriously Ad! Just look at the list of countries that have been subjected to US sanctions and where they have resulted in social collapse, compare the resultant economy with what went before (in terms of corporate access).

                      Come back and tell me it’s coincidence, or that liberal capitalism is obviously just a naturally superior way to order and manage an economy 🙄

                    • Ad

                      Sorry I appear to have run out of reply buttons.

                      Iraq did not revert to “liberal capitalism” after UN+US invasion. Nor did it generate “state managed development”. It didn’t revert to anything except ISIS, poverty, and chaos for years and will take a fair while to recover. It is a barely operating state as it is, and even that state is factionalized under the Kurds, Iran-backed clans, and chaos. So, no evidence of the US generating liberal capitalism in Iraq.

                      The US in Iraq instead generated anomie and terrorist vacuums, not a “liberal capitalism” whatever that means.

                      Russia after 1990 reverted to a kind of capitalism that only the hollow shape of the collapsed Soviet Union could bring about – cartels – the US companies were exited quickly and often by force. Again, no “liberal capitalism” for the U.S.

                      Libya was a reactionary petro-state in which terrorist attack and US-led military attacks have brought chaos and further terrorism upon reactionary petro-state – not “liberal capitalism” for the U.S.

                      Definitely agree that war and sanctions mixed together generate terrible ends. Not sure what coincidences you are seeing – certainly nothing approaching a useful source.

                      You haven’t even tried to get to defending your next claim:

                      “Russia and Russian influence (real or imagined) is a major diversionary tactic that allows for the pursuit of US corporate hegemony.”
                      It would be better to be patient and just wait for the next round of results of the Muller investigation to come out before making these kinds of claims. Who knows, maybe there is substance to them.

                      Break out the popcorn and relax Bill. It’s going to be a great year to see Republicans roast slowly.

                    • reason

                      The term ‘Sanctions’, is a modern mealy mouthed euphemism ….

                      A propeganda term …..Used to disguise the weapon of war known as a ‘siege’ ………..

                      Modern sieges starve and kill civilians …. especially children.

                      They do this much more slowly and with less noise than bombs ..

                      Would you rather siege a child to death ( starve ) …. or bomb them ?.

                      Both are favored tools of the u.s.a ….. democrats and republicans.

                      “The United States is “The Greatest Purveyor of Violence in the World Today” ….. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/opinion/when-martin-luther-king-came-out-against-vietnam.html

                    • Bill

                      Okay Ad. The penetration of corporate america into post Saddam Iraq is a nothing, a nada, didn’t happen. Same case with post USSR Russia. Fcuksake.

                      And if you can’t recognise the very basic and obvious role Russia (and the USSR before it) plays in the theatre of western propaganda, then you can’t recognise it. I’ve nothing to, as you put it, “defend” on that front.

                      Republican’s going to roast? Good. But unless the Democrats roast too – ie, unless the entire centre is roasted, then nothing of much significance will change. And that’s what gave rise to Trump in the first place – a desperate need on the part of voters to be rid of the status quo that the Democratic Party represented and a state of affairs it continues to represent.

                  • McFlock

                    Shades of a Sean Spicer moment there – the numbers are comparable even if we restrict “all of human history” to “20 Century”, exclude the Holocaust, and exclude Japan in China (e.g. unit 731), etc.

                    Cold war sanctions in general being worse than WMD throughout history is a reasonable statement. Limiting it to sanctions against Iraq only is extremely doubtful.

                    • Bill


                      Weapons of implies a battle field situation. And if you’d bothered to read the article you’d have read that the holocaust was explicitly excluded.

                      You want to argue with their inclusions/exclusions or estimates and conclusion, then have a go at them…the authors – not me, with your Sean Spicer bullshit..

            • Ad

              I only get Foreign Affairs at work so I will have a read when I get there on Monday.

            • Ad

              That UN report doesn’t argue against sanctions as a policy.

              The report is definitely saying that this is the worst and harshest sanctions regime yet devised, and together with total civil war, civil structure breakdown, and massive terrorism, have “created immense hurdles for those engaged in delivering immediate humanitarian aid and wider stabilization programmes.” All member states of the UN Security Council were “obstructive”.

              It does show that no matter how they are targeted at the regime as a substitute for full scale military invasion, together with all the wars and comprehensive breakdown of society and public order, they damage the delivery of humanitarian aid.

              What they can’t get in to is the policy debate about whether sanctions are a better or worse idea than the alternatives.

              • Bill

                That UN report doesn’t argue against sanctions as a policy.

                I didn’t say it did. What it does is lay out the effects of the sanctions on Syria and insofar as the report surmises that the sanctions regime imposed on Syria is some of the most complicated and far-reaching sanctions regimes ever imposed, I don’t think I’m mis-representing to then say that the UN views the Syrian sanctions regime as being in the same ball park as those that were imposed on Iraq…that over the time they were in place, killed more people than all of the weapons of mass destruction used in human history.

                • Ad

                  I can’t see the evidence for your “killed more people than all of the weapons of mass destruction in history” claim since it’s a limited access link. I’ll have a look once I get to work.

                  Your point that needed defending was this:

                  “Sanctions and a US military presence have roles to play in opening countries up to liberal capitalism and its so-called free market ideology.”
                  I can’t see any links to defend the assertion.

                  I can see that on a small scale from what I know of Guam. But for larger countries like Japan, South Korea, or even the entire Marshall Plan-affected countries, they were massive aid projects that defended against militant communism.

                  I think you would have better luck looking at Central and South America in the 1980s and 1990s, but even there again, it’s pretty hard to separate out from actual Contra wars, coups, and actual military invasions that the US carried out – rather than the effects of military bases and sanctions. Cuba for example would be a weird one to argue: tonnes of sanctions, huge US military base, but Cuba got in real trouble only when the Soviet Union went and with it the sugar market.

                  It would be great to see where those actual military incursions generated successful or even half-successful free market societies.

                  IMHO they largely made economies and societies worse and took decades to recover from, if ever.

                  • Bill

                    The Foreign Affairs article I linked to is open access. (Because of its age?)

                    Sanctions destroy economies. When an economy is destroyed, people have no work, no food, and get well fcuked off. The idea is that civil unrest follows that may or may not result in the downfall of a government or an entire culture of governance.

                    At various stages along the way, the country that imposed the sanctions may “step in” to “save the day”….with free market reforms and a lifting of their sanction regime. That can, but needn’t always, be backed up with military action (eg – Libya, Iraq, Syria) to secure a “proper” outcome.

                    It doesn’t always work (Syria thus far). But it’s always used as a means to open up market access. (Improving the lot of ordinary people is not the aim) If you think you can find an exception, then I’d be very interested to read any links you can provide.

                    • Ad

                      I think you are confusing the US anti-communist efforts from a while ago, the UN sanctions programmes, and the IMF structural adjustment programme that Naomi Klein detailed a few years back in The Shock Doctrine: Disaster Capitalism in Action. There are few who defend the IMF on those programmes.


                      I would not argue that sanctions are often damaging across whole populations, just like war. I prefer sanctions against named individuals and their families, right through the banking system.

                      It’s up to you to support your claim about how either sanctions or military bases “have roles to play in opening countries up to liberal capitalism and its so called free market ideology”.

                    • Bill

                      No Ad. I’m not confusing anti-communist propaganda with UN sanctions (eg the US/EU sanctions on Syria) or the SAPs from the 80s that prised open markets of the global south.

                      It’s beyond me why you can’t or wont recognise that sanctions, when they destroy protected economies, lay them open to foreign investment, foreign companies and the all round privatisation of their productive and service sectors.

                      A military presence locks the change in by offering what proponents of “free markets” or liberal capitalism might call “security” (for investments of course, not people).

                      Again, as pointed out elsewhere, it’s not coincidence that the following middle east and N African countries did not have a US military presence, had protected economies, and were or are subjected to sanctions and/or invasion…Libya, Iraq, Syria, Iran.

        • Ad

          In history the first weapon for a country trying to expand its sphere if influence is to invade militarily.

          Since the formation of the UN, they have tried economic sanctions as an alternate to invading militarily.

          Iraqi sanctions definitely bad. No doubt. But very hard I think to separate from direct war:


          Good quotes from Iraqi locals in there, as well as foreign ministers at the UN.

          – Mid 1990. Iraq invades Kuwait.

          – Even before this, Iraq imported roughly 70% of its food, medicine, and agricultural chemicals.

          – August 1990, UN passes Resolution 661 – comprehensive sanctions on Iraq and freezes all its assets.

          – February 1991. Iraq defeated. But sanctions remained in place.

          – August 1992. UN declared no fly zones on southern Iraq.

          – Early 1993. Dissent in UN especially among Arab countries against sanctions growing.

          – Didn’t properly finish until the late 1990s after even more war. Which was also sanctioned by the UN.

          There are no excuses for US policy in Iraq or its conduct in the UN to get mandate for either sanctions or for war. But it’s pretty hard to separate out their effects.

          The author to the New York Times article on whether the sanctions were good or bad in the cue of Iraq concludes:

          “There may indeed be no way around them. But in that case, we should be clear about what we are really saying, which is that there is no way around the ruined lives and the dead bodies strewn across the ruins of broken societies either.”

          At the UN, that debate between rational actors trying rational policy to avoid war, and irrational tyrants refuting all control, is that very hard projection of a decision.

    • spikeyboy 12.4

      That just about says everything that needs saying on the topic. Thanks for putting it so well

      • Ed 12.4.1

        Brilliant by Bill.
        One of the best comments I’ve ever read.
        It should be a post in its own right.
        You would never read such succinct and thoughtful analysis in the corporate media.

    • francesca 12.5

      Jesus Bill, thats the best riposte to all this Russia red herring that I’ve come across on these threads.
      A major distraction from the corruption of US politics.
      Who knew? Bannon is now credible, the Intelligence agencies are honest and transparent, the media never lies, Russia is always bad, why waste decades of Cold War conditioning.?
      And the old canard, if you’re not with us you’re against us.

      • Ed 12.5.1

        Brilliant by Bill.
        One of the best comments I’ve ever read.
        It should be a post in its own right.
        You would never read such succinct and thoughtful analysis in the corporate media.

    • red-blooded 12.6

      Bill, there’s plenty in your comment that I agree with re US influence and sense of entitlement. Plus,
      – In terms of covert means to influence elections, Russia haven’t done anything that the US haven’t done, in other contexts;
      – The US are being hypocritical about this.

      But what the hell makes you think, “Left to his own devices, he was set to pull the Russian rug out from under their feet and make the project of US corporate dominance that bit more difficult”,; or ” And as soon as (or if) he “plays the game”, the heat will come off of him and his administration? Trump benefits from US corporate dominance, and he’s not made any attempt to distance himself from his corporate interests, in his role as president.

      Plus, even if there’s an element of hypocrisy there in terms of the political elite (and there is), it’s perfectly understandable that the average American doesn’t want their election manipulated by an outside player, and there does seem to be plenty of evidence that this was the case. Trump’s camp actively colluded with the Russians to strengthen their own camp by undermining the Dems in the election. Yes, the US has a long history of attack politics, but in this case there have been people confessing to active collusion with a foreign state, as well as perverting the course of justice by lying to cover this up. Sorry, but I don’t care who the other state is, that’s not on.

      • Bill 12.6.1

        I don’t think it’s controversial to say Trump wanted a better relationship with Russia. That doesn’t mean he was aware of what the consequences would be for the economic component of US foreign policy (ie – the loss of a particularly useful propaganda tool when it comes to extending US corporate dominance).

        Was that why he sought to swing off against China instead? By way of compromise? I don’t know. And I don’t really care. China’s in no position to play the same useful role for corporate america as a demonised Russia is.

        I don’t want to get into the rest of your comment here. Suffice to say, I’ve already commented often enough (and no doubt will again) that the “evidence” for collusion with Russia and Russian interference in the US election is flimsy as hell. I’ve neither seen nor heard of anything that I would consider as constituting concrete evidence. Nothing even close.

    • Sabine 12.7

      Can you explain to me – please – why Trump if all he wants is to bring about peace and profitable peace at that with Russia why he has surrounded himself with people that do nothing to enhance is status in the US?

      I mean, no one has an issue with a dictator who is a benevolent dictator.
      No one has an issue with a rapprochement with Russia – i guess most people on this planet do not want anymore wars.

      so why his constant whining? Why promote people like De Vos, Prince, Carson, Bannon, Sander Huckaberry, Stephen Miller, etc.
      Why make this stink about DACA?
      Why push through a Tax Reform that will only benefit a few?
      Why lie, why constantly lie? Especially when these lies can easily proven as such?
      Why separate children from their families to deport?
      Why fucking moan about having a bigger button then the next guy?

      Why does the man have to be such an utter arse, surrounding himself with utter arse, his family comprised of arse, one acting more compromised then the other?

      My bet is actually money laundering. I would not be surprised that underlining the whole presidency for Trump is nothing more then a ‘get out of jail’ card should his money laundering for various fraction of the global ‘tax haven’ seeking players.

      but seriously, why among all of his advisers is there not one that actually tells him that if you want to be loved you have to be kind and occasionally throw crumbs to the unwashed masses lest they demand your head with their cake.

      • joe90 12.7.1

        My bet is actually money laundering

        Yeah, but despite years of financial/legal jiggery-pokery, bankruptcies, broken promises outright theft, litigation, stand-over tactics, alleged mob connections both domestic and foreign, and latterly smoke for Africa, Trump would never use his position to nobble any investigations into his own and his crony class’s alleged crimes, would he.

        • joe90

          Of course he would.

          Regretfully and outrageously, Pres. Trump seems again to be subverting legitimate investigations into his own potential criminal wrongdoing, including collusion with Russian election interference and obstruction of justice.— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) January 4, 2018

          President Trump will name a law partner of ally and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) to replace Preet Bharara as the top prosecutor in southern New York, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

          Trump will tap Geoffrey Berman as the next U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, the newspaper reported. Berman’s appointment is contingent on Senate confirmation.


    • mickysavage 12.8

      What I care about is the reduction of political discussion to a simple binary where everything anti-Trump is uncritically accepted with flag waving enthusiastic approval and everything anti-Russian is also uncritically accepted with flag waving enthusiastic approval, as though we’re dealing with self-evident truths, spontaneously created and sitting in grand isolation.

      That’s not what we’re dealing in.

      How about this for a take? It appears that one nation may have used operatives to hack and steal emails from a major party in another nation and then using the emails to turn the results in favour of the opposition who has at its head a guy with some shady business dealings is news worthy and should be investigated. I do not care if it is China or Russia.

      I know that Trump won an election even his team did not think he would win so the third party’s actions must have carried some weight.

      I do not care if it is Russia or any other state, if this has happened it is wrong. It is paradoxical if Russia is involved in this way as it has been a bogeyman for Republicans for so long.

      Bannon has not to date disputed what it is claimed he has said.

      The quality of Trump’s leadership is such that he deserves to be roasted. He is more threatening to world peace than any number of tinpot dictators I can think of.

      This is why I think this is relevant. Trump is dangerous, won an election against all odds and with every new information break it appears he may have used nefarious means to do so.

      And much as I dislike the Democrats they do not deserve this false equivalence that they are somehow as complicit as the Republicans who in my mind are all evil.

      • Bill 12.8.1

        Uh-huh. Fine. Think of Trump and the Republican party as evil and the Democratic party by contrast, as good. And take every piece of information coming from msm sources about Trump and his cronies as being for real and requiring no substantiation by way of concrete evidence. That’s your prerogative micky.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Democrats: the worst possible party apart from the other one.

        • mickysavage

          But I am waiting for the counter information to appear Bill.

          The post starts with an outrageous tweet from Trump. There can be no doubting this happened.

          It then offers up some counter tweets to provide a dash of humour.

          It then offers a possible explanation – diversion.

          It then uses the Guardian as source for comments from a book. The main ones being:

          1. There was a Trump Tower meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign.
          2. Bannon thought the meeting was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”.
          3. He was particularly scathing about the FBI not being told.

          Bannon has not said any of this is wrong. Trump’s statement does not say that any of it is wrong.

          The Russia connection is important because the allegation is that a nation illegally involved itself in the American election. I don’t care if it was Russia, China, Saudi Arabia or Tuvalu if this happened it is a significant political event.

          And I do think of the Republicans as evil. Their attacks on Obamacare show how low they will go.

          If there is any counter source of information to what I have set out above let me know.

          • Bill

            There had so far been no concrete evidence put forward of a “Russian connection” with regards any monkey-wrenching of the US election.

            And you’re aware that the org responsible for making emails public has stated it did not receive emails from a Russian source; that the suggestion of a hack has been countered on the grounds that the information flow (there’s a log apparently) was too fast to have been executed over the net…and that every time concrete evidence is asked for (the NSA would be in possession of concrete evidence) that the “necessary secrecy” card is played.

            And like you say, the allegation is very serious. So where’s the evidence beyond “say so”? (All we’ve had is rumour stacked on top of gossip stacked on top of prior rumour and baseless conclusions)

            Meanwhile, Trump and his entourage are despicable cunts. (I hope that language is pointed enough that you cut out any potential repeat of nonsense about me defending Trump.)

          • francesca

            Do you care if it was Israel?

            • Macro

              There are 195 Nation states in the world – do you want him to list 194?

              • francesca

                Israel would be the one most obvious country that does actually wield an undue amount of influence in US politics

                • red-blooded

                  He’s already said, “I do not care if it is Russia or any other state. How much more explicit do you want him to get?

            • mickysavage

              No same point applies. A foreign nation interfered in the US election.

              • Bill

                Can’t see I’ve seen anything like the column inches that have been devoted to supposed Russian interference given over to the Israeli lobby.

                Maybe you mean designated enemy states rather than any foreign nation?

                Which then leads on to why they are designated as enemy states and who or what decides that designation and, of course, if they really are our enemies – any more than our own state apparatus is.

                • mickysavage

                  The Russian influence claim is because pretty well everyone is saying it happened.

                  It appears most US Government agencies have formed the opinion it was the Russians (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_interference_in_the_2016_United_States_elections)

                  The Trump camp clearly thought it happened.

                  There was a hack of a Democrat mail server by someone.

                  Lets say it did happen but was not the Russians but a bunch of shysters.

                  Still paints the Trump campaign in an appalling light. Not only were they willing to deal with a foreign government engaged in the illegal collection of information belonging to US citizens but they also got taken in by a bunch of shysters who were pretending to be Russian.

                  • Bill

                    “Everyone says so” , in my experience, isn’t much of a basis for also “saying so”. Although, i acknowledge the pressure it exerts can be “persuasive”.

                    US Government agencies forming an opinion isn’t good enough. They, because of what they are and because of the gravity of the claims, need to provide concrete evidence.

                    When you say “The Trump camp clearly thought it happened.” is that just a reference back to the Australian guys gossip, or is it referring to something else?

                    Someone obviously got emails. Were they obtained by way of a hack or by transfer onto a drive? The latter has been argued by ex NSA director I think.

                    What info that belonged to US citizens are you talking about? The emails of political representatives? I could agree that info ought to be in the public domain (open government, accountability and all)…but I guess you might look on that line as a bit “smart arse”.

                    So instead, I’ll just point out that governments talk to all other governments no matter what they do. They talk to terrorist groups too (officially designated ones). Sometimes it’s done by “back channels”. But it’s done.

                    To my mind, “everyone” seems to have lost themselves in the “soapy bubbles” when there are deeper waters to be plumbed.

                    On the “soapy bubble” front. 1. Trump gets ousted and Pence steps up. 2. There is nothing concrete to go on, but the above eventuates anyway. 3. There is nothing to go on, and Trump gets to the end of this term. 4. The Republicans “do a NZ Labour” and replace Trump with a “user friendly” front person for the next election, and the Democrats lose. 5. The Democrats win, and we’re back to the same politics people railed against in 2016. 6. Trump wins a second term.

                    Or 7. Worthwhile push back against the American political system that’s coming from the streets, sloughs these blinding soapy bubbles, and stamps deep and meaningful changes on the American political landscape.

      • One Two 12.8.2

        And much as I dislike the Democrats they do not deserve this false equivalence that they are somehow as complicit as the Republicans who in my mind are all evil.

        This is what I suspected your position was, MS

        Remove the blinkers, it will afford you more credibility

        Surely the political and legal circles you operate in could benefit from improved credibility, not less!

        • Anne

          On this matter it is your credibility that is at stake, I question your motivation on this site. It looks to me you are here to divert, distort and generally undermine rational discourse for some nefarious political purpose.

          • One Two

            No, Anne. That is incorrect, as I have no political affiliation

            I do not subscribe to the ‘left/rght’ paradigm, as it is a mirage designed to take human energy, while simultaneously working against those who vote to ensure their energy continues to be used against them, and others who inhabit the planet..

            I am neither a lawyer, nor a political player who seeks election…

            MS operates as both of the above, and should IMO, consider how he contributes to those spheres while having such ‘absolute’ positions like ‘all republicans are evil‘…

            Which is hardly a credible position from a known participant in so called ‘respected circles’…

            Have a good evening

            • McFlock

              If you want your comments about MS’ credibility to be credible, then you need to be a credible source of those comments. You’re not, so… thanks, I guess?

            • Anne

              You don’t have to have a political affiliation to want to undermine another person’s efforts. You can have a political affiliation and still be capable of insightful and objective comment.

              Therein lies your problem. Objectivity is not based on where you happen to be on the political scale or which party you may support. It comes from an innate ability and intelligent analysis.

              I take it you vote at election time so you are not politically neutral. Nobody is.

              • One Two

                Anne, I agree with what you say, but it doesn’t apply to my observation/commentary of the statement made by MS..

                I’ve stated elsewhere that I appreciate MS articles, but that does not preclude me from making the comment (or any comments) you originally responded to..

                The overt and relentless articles about the ‘evil republicans’ do not build credibility (if he cares)…and they could actually be undermining his efforts…

                Such views might sit/read well with those who share similar points of view, but they’re not nuanced, and it’s not objective by any thoughtful measure…

                And no, I do not vote but your assumption does highlight, why you don’t/can’t believe in ‘political neutrality’…

                I can recommend it, highly!

                • red-blooded

                  Well, if you don’t vote, my query is, “Why not?”

                  If you’re ineligible to vote (not a permanent resident, in prison for a lengthy sentence, too young…whatever) that raises one set of issues, depending on the reason. If you choose note to vote (7th Day Adventist, a political journalist, too lazy, too cynical…) that raises another set, depending on the reason.

                  Presumably you’re entirely not politically disengaged if you read and comment on this site. Frankly, if you want to have an influence on NZ politics, then vote. It’s not just a right, it’s a responsibility.

                  Anyway, not voting doesn’t make you politically neutral. No-one with political opinions can plausibly claim neutrality. You might not have a strong parliamentary party allegiance, but that’s not the same as political neutrality.

                  • One Two

                    Hi RB,

                    I’m into various subjects in different spaces, and it’s not the political nature of this site that appeals to me, or brings me here

                    Reading from links posted, other’s perspectives, experiences and knowledge is why l come to this site..

                    For example, I enjoy sports and loosely follow along to some of the leagues, engage in banter and have opinions which I sometimes express…

                    But I am not attached to any team, and do not hang on the results or outcomes because I don’t give it my energy. .

                    Same applies to politics…

                    It is possible to be interested, engaged and opinionated, while remaining a neutral…

                    As for voting…nope, that’s personal choice not to give my energy and remaing a neutral

                    Being neutral requires awareness and mindfullness…

                    • red-blooded

                      Being neutral requires awareness and mindfullness…

                      I don’t think I agree with you about that, One Two. For starters, I don’t believe any thinking person can be truly neutral about issues of conscience, if they are also mindful. I also question why you see being “neutral” as a good thing when it comes to opting out of taking any responsibility for the way our country is governed, by not voting.

                  • One Two

                    I don’t think I agree with you about that, One Two.

                    That’s ok RB. I am not looking for agreement….It’s a personal choice for how to ‘row our own boat’….

                    For starters, I don’t believe any thinking person can be truly neutral about issues of conscience, if they are also mindful.

                    That’s what you believe for yourself, only…..perfectly ok…..It does not apply to me….

                    I also question why you see being “neutral” as a good thing when it comes to opting out of taking any responsibility for the way our country is governed, by not voting.

                    That’s a question for you to figure out for yourself, RB.

                    I’ve worked through it my way, and continue to self assess as part of daily life….

                    Our life experiences and journey’s will share some commonality, but are, at the same time highly individualized….

                    All the best with the mindfull awareness….

  12. Crikey! New York Magazine has an article written in conjunction with Michael Wolff, with extracts from the book.

    Wolff puts the chaos of the new administration in context; Trump never expected, or wanted, to win. Losing was winning. He simply wanted to expand Brand Trump and leverage business opportunities from the exposure the campaign would provide. It was going to be business as usual post election, except Trump fucked up by winning.


    • Morrissey 13.1

      Trump was in front from the start. He’s such a stratospheric egomaniac that I’m sure he never even contemplated losing.

      Trump is different from any other politician because he is unassailable. Common sense, restraint, human feelings mean nothing to him. He operates from an impenetrable height of arrogance and self-regard. It’s a horrifying thought, I know, but now ANYONE can become anything at all. There are clearly no standards in Washington any more.

      Look for a certain radio/television “personality” to make a similar run for the New Zealand prime ministership in the near future. Nothing is impossible any more.

      • Ed 13.1.1

        You aren’t meaning Hosking are you?

        • Morrissey

          Crikey, Ed, you read me like Colin Kaepernick reads a nickel defense–or would do, if the owners did not conspire against him and stop him playing.

          I would have said Paul Henry once, but he’s had his try at politics—he was so hated by everyone that the most conservative electorate in the country elected a transvestite prostitute (Georgina Beyer) instead of him.

          • Ed

            Can’t believe people would vote for Hosking.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              They wouldn’t. And he’s such a sore loser he’d be unlikely to ever take the risk.

              Just a little reality check.

              • Sabine

                oh there are quite a few in NZ that would vote for Hoskins.
                there are quite a few that would stay at home not voting because the alternative offered is not good enough, pure enough, radical enough etc etc.
                then there are those that would vote for a loosing third party rather then support the ‘lesser’ evil cause not good enough, pure enough , radical enough.
                then there are those that would vote for the lesser evil in absence of anything better,

                and Hoskins wins. His name was John Key.

                • Morrissey

                  So you’re blaming the American people for the fact that the toxic Hillary Clinton was installed by the Democratic National Committee to run against Trump?

                  Don’t you think you should blame the DNC?

                  • Sabine

                    i blame the American people for not voting in larger numbers for the lesser evil.

                    You have an issue with that?

                    In the same sense as I blame the NZ’lers a few years ago in giving us a re-run of John Key rather then David Cunliffe.

                    You have an issue with that?

                    so yeah, the people of the US had a decision to make, and over 3 million more people voted for Hillary Clinton, sadly not in the states where the Electoral College ‘mattered’.

                    You have an issue with that?

                    I blame white people for voting for someone who at least tactically approve of racists and bigots.. If they are not themselves racists and bigots (ha) they at the very least approve of racism and bigotry.

                    You have an issue with that?

                    No matter what happens, you have one vote every few years. You can fuck around voting Jill Sanders or Libertarian MacMuffin, you can fuck around writing in Jedi, Bugs Bunny, Bernie Sanders it will still mean fuck all in the US as it is still a two party country and winner takes it all.
                    At that stage the ‘voter’ has to take ownership of the process and vote.

                    and again, 3 million more people voted for Hillary Clinton then the Orange Turd.

                    Cause at the end of the fucking day, she was the lesser evil for many despite her being the she devil for you.

                    • Morrissey

                      Yes, Sabine, everything you say about the Republicans, and about Hillary being the “lesser evil” is correct. I must admit that I would have voted for her too, probably.

                      But the rot in the United States goes far beyond a question of tactical voting. The problem is that there is little to distinguish between the Republicans and Democrats. There are differences, certainly, but the policies and the personalities of people like Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, the Clintons, Dianne Feinstein, Rahm Emmanuel, and any number of other Democratic heavyweights are so repugnant that it’s hard to insist with a straight face that the Republicans—as terrible as they unquestionably are—could be any worse.

                    • Macro

                      “There is little to distinguish between the democrats and the republicans”
                      You obviously haven’t been listening.
                      Who voted to abolish Obama Care? Only the Repugnants.
                      Who voted for the the most beautiful Tax cut ever at the cost of welfare and education? Only the Republicans.
                      Who voted for an environmental vandal and Climate Change denier? Only the Republicans.

                    • UncookedSelachimorpha

                      “Every Nation gets the Government it Deserves”
                      Joseph de Maistre

                      I have often thought there is a lot of truth in this. Not every individual gets the government they deserve – but the net effect of all the citizens means the nation tends to get what it deserves, I think.

                  • red-blooded

                    1) The people of the DNC are American people.
                    2) Anyone can join the Democratic Party and vote in primaries.
                    3) Clinton won the primaries.
                    4) Whinging abut this because you liked Sanders better is no different than the Nats whinging about the outcome of our election.
                    5) If the “insiders” in the Dem Party preferred Clinton, that’s hardly surprising, given that Sanders wasn’t even a member until he decided he’d run for president.
                    6) If, as you say, Clinton was “toxic”, why did 3 million more people vote for her than for Trump?
                    7) And has it occurred to you that you’re buying the “Crooked Hillary –
                    lock her up” mantra promulgated by Trump and his crew?

                    If Clinton had been elected Obamacare would be safe, women’s reproductive rights would be strengthened rather than under attack, the terrible tax cuts wouldn’t have been an issue, the Muslim travel ban wouldn’t have been brought in, the Israel-Palestine issue wouldn’t have been inflamed as it has been, North Korea would (probably) not be ramping things up like they are… Yes, I know she wasn’t elected, but honestly – get real, she would have been a hell of a lot better than this chump.

                    Edit: Good to see that you would have voted for her, and yes, there are some pretty awful Dems on the right of the party, but that’s hardly Clinton’s fault, is it? The two party system they’re locked into makes it inevitable that there will be significant factions and people on the edges who are pretty extreme.

                    I still think that a fair amount of “toxicity” was at its heart misogyny. I wish I didn’t think that, but I do.

                    I’m not a Clinton groupie, but I reckon if she’d had a dick she’d be president.

                    • Morrissey

                      Good to see that you would have voted for her, and yes, there are some pretty awful Dems on the right of the party, but that’s hardly Clinton’s fault, is it?

                      Clinton is one of those horrible Democrats on the right of the party. Look at this speech and tell me how it is in any way morally or intellectually superior to one of Trump’s….

                    • red-blooded

                      Morrissey, that speech was given more than 20 years ago. Is it possible, just <b<possible for a person to grow or their views to change over two decades?

                      Are you exactly the person, politically or in other ways, as you were 20 years ago? I know I’m not.

                      We’ve now had decades of the War on Drugs, and have seen its many failings. It’s not really fair to project that back and judge a tiny portion of an old speech (I note she was going on to talk about the environment) based on that experience though.

                      TBH, this speech didn’t seem all that extreme to me. A little conservative, not a great progressive vision, but certainly not the aggression, bombast, lying, racism, sexism and loony extremes that you’d find in pretty much any Trump speech.

                    • Ad

                      Hey Joe Biden it’s not too late. C’mon man!

            • Morrissey

              I feel like you do, Ed, but would you have believed ANYONE with an IQ above room temperature would have voted for Trump?

  13. Andre 14

    Heh. The greatest betrayal of all. Ivanka spills about the unkempt roadkill perched atop his head.


  14. Sabine 15

    so the guy who was seated on the National Security Council


    surely delivered nothing else but covefe and hot chocolates – a coffee boy no one hardly knew?

    Someone please tell me when the orange turd is gonna be liberating the poor from poverty, provide jobs jobs jobs, well paid jobs, replace the ACA (Obamacare) with the most beautiful healthcare anyone has ever laid eyes upon and above all when he is gonna bring everlasting peace to the world.

    When he drained the swamp? or when he drained the US treasury and taxpayer of the last dollar and drop of blood?

    oh man, the US and the world sure did dodge a bullet or several hundreds by getting Trump rather then the she devil and her emails.

  15. Ad 17

    I see that President Trump has now thrown in the towel on his consistent allegation about voter fraud in the election, because without that “fraud” he would have won the popular vote that Hillary Clinton won:


    President Trump is a coward living a political lie, and is not worthy to be President.

    • timeforacupoftea 17.1

      Yes he is a coward but still I hope soon we will see him press his little red button and the world will realise that once again a nuclear bomb does bugger all damage and can’t win wars.
      Us greens realise we can only depopulate the planet by turning off irrigation and taxing food so the poor will starve to death quicker.

  16. OnceWasTim 18

    “I was going to try and avoid Trump posts for the next week but events over the past 24 hours demand a post.”
    That’d be like trying to avoid National Party trolls working on shifts and contributing to ‘adult debate’ on blogsites dedicated to an alternative view.
    Can’t be done – although the individuals-on-shift at any time can be ignored.
    It’d be like Soimun Brudjiss pretending an alternative to ‘Cindy’
    or Little pretending an alternative to Jerry balancing a Metroliner en route from Gizzy to where-ever
    or a really Bent Puller hyped up on an overdose pulling the wool over a Garner,
    or a Crusher riding on the populism of half a car crushed

  17. Michael 19

    Does Trump really represent the people of the United States? Sadly, I think he does.

    • Anne 19.1

      Sadly, I think so too. To be more correct he represents a small majority and it is an indictment on their education standards that so many Americans are so stupid and gullible.

  18. McFlock 20

    The thing is, if it were just reports and books that described Trump, it would still be too extreme to believe as being even slightly true. News reports are often bunk, biographies and “embedded” books are frequently highly editorialised in their most sensationalist passages. Even with multiple things agreeing from different tangents, it could just be reinforcement and dirty politics.

    But then there are his tweets.
    Then there are the emails they themselves released.
    Then there’s the fact that the repugs joining Trump on the “victory” stage looked sad and terrified.
    Then there are his abysmal appointments – both his “opposite day” cabinet, and his communicators like Spicer and the Mooch.

    And one starts to imagine that what would not be remotely credible for almost any other presidency actually looks like consistent behaviour for this guy…

    • Andre 20.1

      And it’s entirely consistent with his public behaviour going back apparently to the 70s at least. When I first saw him on an episode of Howard Stern’s show in the 90s I was totally gobsmacked. I asked the New Jersey natives around me if that was for real or some kind of sick parody, and was assured that yep, he’s totally for real.

    • Macro 20.2

      Then there are his abysmal appointments – both his “opposite day” cabinet, and his communicators like Spicer and the Mooch.

      Then there is Sarah Huckabee Sanders……

  19. Andre 21

    Mitch McConnell’s response is priceless.

  20. Macro 22

    From the book quoted in the Guardian:

    “Everybody was painfully aware of the increasing pace of his repetitions,” Wolff wrote. “It used to be inside of 30 minutes he’d repeat, word-for-word and expression-for-expression, the same three stories – now it was within 10 minutes. Indeed, many of his tweets were the product of his repetitions – he just couldn’t stop saying something.”

    He added: “Hoping for the best, with their personal futures as well as the country’s future depending on it, my indelible impression of talking to them and observing them through much of the first year of his presidency, is that they all – 100% – came to believe he was incapable of functioning in his job.”

    In a final anecdote, Wolff wrote: “At Mar-a-Lago, just before the new year, a heavily made-up Trump failed to recognize a succession of old friends.”

    I think what we are facing here is dementia.

    Time for the 25th Amendment?

    Lawmakers concerned about President Donald Trump’s mental state summoned Yale University psychiatry professor Dr. Bandy X. Lee to Capitol Hill last month for two days of briefings about his recent behavior.

    In private meetings with more than a dozen members of Congress held on Dec. 5 and 6, Lee briefed lawmakers — all Democrats except for one Republican senator, whom Lee declined to identify. Her professional warning to Capitol Hill: “He’s going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs.”

    • Andre 22.1

      As long as he still commands the undying loyalty of the Trumpkins. there’s very few Repugs that will dare move against him. Not enough for impeachment, and definitely not enough for the 25th since the 25th requires half of cabinet plus 2/3 of the House and 2/3 of the Senate.

      Let’s face it, he’s been totally incoherent at his public appearances for a long time now, and it hasn’t diminished the faith of the Trumpkins. So it’ll be easiest for his staff and safest for the rest of the Repugs to just continue “Weekend at Bernie’s” with him.

  21. joe90 23

    “They thought this was going to be a positive book for the President.”

    "The communications team in the White House urged all of the senior advisors to cooperate." https://t.co/WOeX8TWXlq pic.twitter.com/Qpw9R6dwmj— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) January 4, 2018

  22. Whispering Kate 24

    It’s obvious to see that Mr Trump is a sick man – not physically, he looks pretty robust for his age, but mentally he is in decline and its only going to get worse. The USA for all its foibles and frailties are not so stupid as to allow the President of the country anywhere near the nuclear button. You can be rest assured that the head honchos of Deep State will be observing very carefully his demeanour and will be keeping a very careful eye on the nuclear button.

    Never for one moment think the President is more important and powerful than Deep State – The CIA, the Banking Industry, the FBI – you name it, there are far more powerful forces in control who will not allow a loose cannon to destabilize the economy and their place in the world, fragile as it is these days. I feel a bit sorry for the poor bastard, cornered and dangerous – but not that dangerous, he will be kept under control.

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