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Thursday, January 19, 2017

In Plain Sight




Moore is right. I thought things were going to be quite bad, but the transition period has been even worse than I'd expected.

I fooled myself into thinking that Trump would retreat for a bit during the transition, but he hasn't. Not even a bit. You've all seen the Tweets, so I'm not going to rehash them. Aside from his Tweets, Twitter has been almost paralyzing. Something insane every 15 minutes.

His cabinet picks really couldn't have been worse. I had something else in mind to post here, but I peeked at Twitter for a second about five minutes ago, and we get this:



This is while DeVos and her absolute ignorance of anything to do with education is being exposed, but already probably pushed into the background. While Tom Price may be about to be referred to the SEC. Tilllerson, Sessions, the list just goes on.

Trump's disaster of a press conference. The desire he expressed today to HOLD MILITARY PARADES! That always turns out well.

But this post isn't really about that. It's about me not understanding why we're here. The Trump/Russia and Trump/Comey stories are barely even being hidden by Trump or anyone else. Denied on the surface level, but not hidden. Trump talking about removing the sanctions on Russia, for instance. Mike Flynn calling Russia FIVE TIMES the day after Obama announcing new sanctions. The changing of the RNC platform to ease up anti-Russian language. Appointing Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. I really could run off dozens of these.

The above is all circumstantial evidence, but they're all things Trump would do if he were, in fact, in bed with Russia. Circumstantial evidence doesn't really get you anywhere in court, though. However, there is so much more solid stuff out there, too, particularly two stories that came out today.

One is this from McClatchy:

The FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump, two people familiar with the matter said.
The agencies involved in the inquiry are the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the director of national intelligence, the sources said.
Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.

Six agencies? Would they really be investigating a story like this if they didn't think they had something?

The working group is scrutinizing the activities of a few Americans who were affiliated with Trump’s campaign or his business empire and of multiple individuals from Russia and other former Soviet nations who had similar connections, the sources said.
U.S. intelligence agencies not only have been unanimous in blaming Russia for the hacking of Democrats’ computers but also have concluded that the leaking and dissemination of thousands of emails of top Democrats, some of which caused headaches for the Clinton campaign, were done to help Trump win.

So there's that, and then there's Comey. From HuffPo today:

Information presently public and available confirms that Erik Prince, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump conspired to intimidate FBI Director James Comey into interfering in, and thus directly affecting, the 2016 presidential election. This conspiracy was made possible with the assistance of officers in the New York Police Department and agents within the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. All of the major actors in the conspiracy have already confessed to its particulars either in word or in deed; moreover, all of the major actors have publicly exhibited consciousness of guilt after the fact.

There's a lot more at the link. It's worth noting that Erik Prince is Betsy DeVos's brother.

The Comey and Russia stories tie together, as well:

[...] FBI Director Comey was intimidated into revealing the status of the Clinton case on October 27th but would not, even in the face of numerous allegations of federal crimes against the president-elect, reveal anything about the Bureau’s investigation into that matter; or that the Clinton and Weiner investigators at NYPD and the FBI appear to have leaked repeatedly to the Trump campaign, yet there have been no leaks whatsoever regarding the FBI and CIA’s ongoing investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia. It is thus clear that better understanding the scope, purpose, and players of the domestic conspiracy to elect Donald Trump will also shed light on how the FBI and CIA managed to conduct little or no investigation of criminal allegations exponentially more serious than any of those leveled against Hillary Clinton. 
So Comey held back information on Trump colluding with Russia, but released info on Hillary's e-mails??? Shouldn't be surprising, given the news that just dropped on him:

FBI Director James Comey—blamed by many Democrats for costing Hillary Clinton the presidential election last year—was excited about pursuing a criminal investigation into President Bill Clinton's most controversial pardons more than a decade ago, newly released FBI files show.
A FBI memo about the grand jury investigation into Bill Clinton's last-minute pardons of fugitive financiers Marc Rich and Pincus Green says that when Comey was about to take over as the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan in 2001 he expressed strong interest in the case.

And Comey has a history of this stuff:

Comey’s first brush with them came when Bill Clinton was president. Looking to get back into government after a stint in private practice, Comey signed on as deputy special counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee. In 1996, after months of work, Comey came to some damning conclusions: Hillary Clinton was personally involved in mishandling documents and had ordered others to block investigators as they pursued their case. Worse, her behavior fit into a pattern of concealment: she and her husband had tried to hide their roles in two other matters under investigation by law enforcement. Taken together, the interference by White House officials, which included destruction of documents, amounted to “far more than just aggressive lawyering or political naiveté,” Comey and his fellow investigators concluded. It constituted “a highly improper pattern of deliberate misconduct.”

I wrote this on Facebook yesterday:

I'm not going full Godwin here and saying Trump is Hitler. Hitler wasn't "Hitler" when he came to power. However, I don't think anyone here would question the idea that Hitler should've been declared "illegtimate" and all options should've been on the table to Germans who opposed him and the Nazis after a certain point. What would that point be? Kristallnacht? Nuremberg Laws? Sometime before that?
I'll repeat... Trump isn't Hitler. But there are an awful lot of lines being crossed right now that I never thought I would ever see an American President would cross. So I find myself struggling with the same stuff. And I think that if I'd asked myself a couple of years ago whether working with a hostile foreign power to turn an election and enrich oneself would be one the serious "red lines," there's almost no way I would've said no.
Somehow, we're here. 

We crossed that line. And it's OBVIOUS. So while it's nice that over 60 Democratic Representatives won't be attending the inauguration in 36 hours, I don't know why they're not calling to postpone the inauguration. Shouldn't Trump collaborating with Russia and the FBI be disqualifiying?

I've asked this question a number of times, but given that the inauguration is now tomorrow and there's likely nothing we can do for at least two years once it's over. We'll have to just take the corruption, the Trump family enriching itself, the abuse of the press, the kakistocratic tendencies, the dismantling of government and the safety net, the defunding of public education, the crushing of labor.

How the FUCK did this happen? Oh yeah. E-mails.