Thursday, July 15, 2021

Last Call For Russian To Judgment, Con't

It was only a matter of time before the Russian leaks about Trump's assistance from Vlad and the boys in 2016 started coming out in the wake of Trump's loss, and The Guardian apparently has a big ol' pile of documents to prove it.

Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents.

The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present.

They agreed a Trump White House would help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them “social turmoil” in the US and a weakening of the American president’s negotiating position.

Russia’s three spy agencies were ordered to find practical ways to support Trump, in a decree appearing to bear Putin’s signature.

By this point Trump was the frontrunner in the Republican party’s nomination race. A report prepared by Putin’s expert department recommended Moscow use “all possible force” to ensure a Trump victory.

Western intelligence agencies are understood to have been aware of the documents for some months and to have carefully examined them. The papers, seen by the Guardian, seem to represent a serious and highly unusual leak from within the Kremlin.

The Guardian has shown the documents to independent experts who say they appear to be genuine. Incidental details come across as accurate. The overall tone and thrust is said to be consistent with Kremlin security thinking.
The Kremlin responded dismissively. Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov said the idea that Russian leaders had met and agreed to support Trump in at the meeting in early 2016 was “a great pulp fiction” when contacted by the Guardian on Thursday morning.

The report – “No 32-04 \ vd” – is classified as secret. It says Trump is the “most promising candidate” from the Kremlin’s point of view. The word in Russian is perspektivny.

There is a brief psychological assessment of Trump, who is described as an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex”.

There is also apparent confirmation that the Kremlin possesses kompromat, or potentially compromising material, on the future president, collected – the document says – from Trump’s earlier “non-official visits to Russian Federation territory”.

The paper refers to “certain events” that happened during Trump’s trips to Moscow. Security council members are invited to find details in appendix five, at paragraph five, the document states. It is unclear what the appendix contains.

“It is acutely necessary to use all possible force to facilitate his [Trump’s] election to the post of US president,” the paper says.
Yes, we've heard this all before.  Yes, the Trump regime, the GOP, and press on both the left and the right treated it as everything from planted Chinese intel to help Hillary to CIA "Deep State" disinformation (also to help Hillary) and everything in between. 

Here's the thing though, if we keep getting multiple credible stories about it from multiple credible sources over several years, and not believe the deranged missives of delusional Trump cultists and their fellow travelers instead, the stories just might be true in this case. 
Just saying. With all this naugahyde, there's got to be a live nauga here.

Of course, the most likely possibility is that Kremlin leaked these docs on purpose, because it's the destabilizing chaos that keeps on giving. Keep that in mind too.

These Disunited States, Con't

 No, I don't think the United States as we know it is going to survive my lifetime. Call me a pessimist, but number like these and the trend upwards into succession.

A new YouGov survey conducted on behalf of a democracy watchdog group finds that 66 percent of Republicans living in the South say they’d support seceding from the United States to join a union with other Southern states.

Secession is actually gaining support among Southern Republicans: back in January and February, 50 percent said they’d support such a proposal.

It sure is a good thing there aren’t any troubling historic precedents for what happens when large numbers of Southern conservatives, motivated in large part by a sense of grievance and victimhood, want to break away from the Union.

Oh, wait.

Those findings come from Bright Line Watch, a group that conducts regular polls of political scientists and the American public to monitor attitudes toward democracy. They’ve started polling this question because “it taps into respondents’ commitments to the American political system at the highest level and with reference to a concrete alternative (regional unions).”

While Southern Republicans are the group most in favor of succession, they’re not the only ones. Across the country, Bright Line Watch finds, people have more favorable views toward secession when their political party is dominant in their region.




I don't think we can stay together much longer without a fight. 

Yeah, maybe I'm screaming into the abyss, but then again, we goddamn elected Trump.


In the waning weeks of Donald Trump’s term, the country’s top military leader repeatedly worried about what the president might do to maintain power after losing reelection, comparing his rhetoric to Adolf Hitler’s during the rise of Nazi Germany and asking confidants whether a coup was forthcoming, according to a new book by two Washington Post reporters.

As Trump ceaselessly pushed false claims about the 2020 presidential election, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, grew more and more nervous, telling aides he feared that the president and his acolytes may attempt to use the military to stay in office, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker report in “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year.”

Milley described “a stomach-churning” feeling as he listened to Trump’s untrue complaints of election fraud, drawing a comparison to the 1933 attack on Germany’s parliament building that Hitler used as a pretext to establish a Nazi dictatorship.

“This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley told aides, according to the book. “The gospel of the F├╝hrer.”

A spokesman for Milley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Portions of the book related to Milley — first reported Wednesday night by CNN ahead of the book’s July 20 release — offer a remarkable window into the thinking of America’s highest-ranking military officer, who saw himself as one of the last empowered defenders of democracy during some of the darkest days in the country’s recent history.

The episodes in the book are based on interviews with more than 140 people, including senior Trump administration officials, friends and advisers, Leonnig and Rucker write in an author’s note. Most agreed to speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity and the scenes reported were reconstructed based on firsthand accounts and multiple other sources whenever possible.

Milley — who was widely criticized last year for appearing alongside Trump in Lafayette Square after protesters were forcibly cleared from the area — had pledged to use his office to ensure a free and fair election with no military involvement. But he became increasingly concerned in the days following the November contest, making multiple references to the onset of 20th century fascism.

After attending a Nov. 10 security briefing about the “Million MAGA March,” a pro-Trump rally protesting the election, Milley said he feared an American equivalent of “brownshirts in the streets,” alluding to the paramilitary forces that protected Nazi rallies and enabled Hitler’s ascent.

Late that same evening, according to the book, an old friend called Milley to express concerns that those close to Trump were attempting to “overturn the government.”

“You are one of the few guys who are standing between us and some really bad stuff,” the friend told Milley, according to an account relayed to his aides. Milley was shaken, Leonnig and Rucker write, and he called former national security adviser H.R. McMaster to ask whether a coup was actually imminent.

“What the f--- am I dealing with?” Milley asked him.

The conversations put Milley on edge, and he began informally planning with other military leaders, strategizing how they would block Trump’s order to use the military in a way they deemed dangerous or illegal.
This is stuff we needed to know 12 months ago, but Milley was covering his ass.  So yeah, don't tell me it can't happen here, because we were one election away from it happening right now.

The Good Package, Con't

 Democrats are getting together the Good Package.

Senate Democratic leaders announced an agreement Tuesday evening to advance a $3.5 trillion spending plan to finance a major expansion of the economic safety net.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the $3.5 trillion would be in addition to the $579 billion in new spending in the bipartisan infrastructure agreement.

He said the deal would include a "robust expansion of Medicare" that would include new benefits like dental, vision and hearing coverage, along with major funding for clean energy. "If we pass this, this is the most profound change to help American families in generations," he said.

"Joe Biden is coming to our lunch tomorrow to lead us on to getting this wonderful plan that affects American families in a so profound way, more than anything that's happened to generations," Schumer told reporters. "We are very proud of this plan. We know we have a long road to go. We're going to get this done for the sake of making average Americans' lives a whole lot better."

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., a member of the Budget and Finance committees, said the plan would be "fully paid for."

The agreement would prohibit tax increases on small businesses and people making under $400,000, a Democratic aide familiar with the deal said.

The announcement points to a challenge for Democrats, who will have to agree on a massive bill that is financed with new tax revenue to pass it through razor-thin congressional majorities, with no realistic hope of winning Republican support.

Democrats have no margin for error in the 50-50 Senate, and they can lose just four votes in the House before the legislation would be in danger of failing.

"This is, in our view, a pivotal moment in American history," Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the Budget Committee chairman, told reporters.

"What this legislation says among many, many other things is that those days are gone. The wealthy and large corporations are going to start paying their fair share of taxes, so that we can protect the working families in this country," he said.

The agreement, a significant decrease from Sanders' $6 trillion proposal, is an attempt to achieve consensus in an ideologically diverse Democratic Party with a host of competing interests. The legislation has yet to be written.

Senate Democratic leaders hope to advance both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the party-line budget reconciliation bill this month, before Congress leaves for the August recess.
A lot of things can still go wrong here, and even if the bill passes and signed into law, I expect Republicans to tie up in court for years, and for the legislation to be all but dismantled by the Roberts Court. But that's a battle for 2025 or so.

We still have to get through 2021. And Mitch McConnell could still derail everything by pushing for a bipartisan deal that stalls the $3.5 Good Package, and one that he ultimately kills in the end.

Something strange is happening in Washington: Mitch McConnell might go along with a central piece of Joe Biden’s agenda.

The self-appointed “Grim Reaper” of the Senate, a minority leader who said just two months ago that “100% of my focus is on standing up to this administration,” has been remarkably circumspect about the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure deal. He’s privately telling his members to separate that effort from Democrats’ party-line $3.5 trillion spending plan and publicly observed there’s a “decent” chance for its success.

Other than questioning its financing, McConnell has aired little criticism of the bipartisan agreement to fund roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure, even as he panned Democrats’ separate spending plans on Wednesday as “wildly out of proportion” given the nation's inflation rate.

His cautious approach to a top Biden priority reflects the divide among Senate Republicans over whether to collaborate with Democrats on part of the president’s spending plans while fighting tooth and nail on the rest. Many Democrats predict McConnell will kill the agreement after stringing talks out for weeks, but the current infrastructure talks are particularly sensitive for the GOP leader because one of his close allies, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, is the senior Republican negotiator.

McConnell is aware of the conventional wisdom that he will ultimately knife the deal and is taking pains not to become the face of its opposition.

“He usually is the brunt of the demonization of the other side,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), another McConnell confidant. “I don’t think he is Dr. No when it comes to all legislation.”

For the moment at least, McConnell’s approach marks a shift from his past strategy of blocking Democratic priorities to portray the governing party as chaotic and inefficient. Advisers say he understands the bipartisan appeal of infrastructure and views it as less ideological than other Democratic priorities.

No guarantees on anything. But McConnell really wants the bipartisan deal now because he realizes that "President Biden and the Democrats passed legislation to fix roads, bridges, and water pipes and Senator/Representative X voted against it, and now they want credit for it" is wildly effective.

Democrats should move on without him, or the GOP.

Give us the Good Package.
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