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We Need A Bigger Conference Room…

We started out with Junior, Jared, and Paul Manafort meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya to discussed the Russian government providing opposition research about Hillary Clinton, after saying for months there were no such meetings.

Then Russian lobbyist and former member of Soviet GRU counter-intel Rinat Akhmetshin is added to the list, and the latest attendance sheet show publicist Rob Goldstone, a translator, and a representative of the Agalarov family were also there.

Charlie Pierce posits the Bolshoi Ballet may have stopped by and I wonder about a challenge between the Russian Army Chorus and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

People don’t get to just drop into the conference rooms at Trump Tower, you have to be pre-approved. There was attendence taken, and you don’t get to leave out former GRU agents or representatives of a Russian/Azerbaijani oligarch, known as Putin’s builder.


1 Shirt { 07.15.17 at 10:33 am }

The entire world must be laughing or standing aghast at our own helplessness Collusion? Yes there is collusion. There is a clear and present danger of the GOP being complicit in the Trump sellout. Joe Stalin said “When we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope we use.” The “us” comrade Joe refers to applies equally well to the Russian Kleptocracy: The “they”? Well, THEY are the ones with more Russian contacts than a matryoshka set has dolls.

None dare call it treason? In spite of my known propensity for jumping to conclusions, I will cut through the Bullsh*t:

It is treason.

2 Bryan { 07.15.17 at 5:42 pm }

When Junior, Jared, and Manafort showed up at a meeting that they were told was with a Russian government official who had information that the government had acquired that detrimental to Hillary, the prosecutor has collusion. They entered into a conspiracy with the Russian government that involved violations of multiple US laws. It isn’t at the Constitutional level of treason, but there are all kinds of other things that they can be charged with, including election violations and espionage laws that will do just as well.

3 Badtux { 07.16.17 at 4:54 pm }

Treason has a specific definition laid out in the Constitution which requires a state of war to exist before the collusion rises to the level of treason. That said, there are numerous other laws regarding espionage that certainly could apply here. Remember, they fried Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in the electric chair….

Not that it would happen to Donnie Jr. or to his Ivanka’s little Kush-ball. Teh Donald would pardon them first. Probably get impeached for it too, but (shrug). I’m sure he’s made a deal with Veep Mikey to pardon him first thing.

4 Bryan { 07.16.17 at 10:16 pm }

The pardons become a problem because they can’t plead the 5th and refuse to testify if they have been pardoned. Trump won’t listen to his attorneys, and will probably screw that up.

5 Kryten42 { 07.17.17 at 5:18 pm }

John Stoehr (US News & World Report contributing editor, Washington Monthly contributing writer | Connecticut Post, New Haven Register, Connecticut Mirror.) posted the following as a series of tweets (51 in all). It get’s to the heart of the matter I believe.

President Donald Trump’s so-called “birther movement” was racist to the core, but there was a political theory behind it that might not be obvious to those who heard only the whistle of white supremacy. That political theory is worth exploring in light of New York Times reports showing the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., accepted an invitation to receive information proffered by the Russian government regarding how to wound Hillary Clinton’s campaign. That theory is worth exploring, moreover, because it is the theory about what makes America a democratic republic and not something else. Yes, Trump applied it wrongly and disgracefully, but that doesn’t make it wrong. When applied properly, the theory can used to question the legitimacy of the current president as well as the legitimacy of his agenda. If you peel back the bigotry of “birtherism,” what you see is a theory of political legitimacy. If it were true that Barack Obama were not a “natural-born citizen,” his election as the 44th president would not be legitimate. Therefore, anything he did could not be legitimate, including the federal expansion of the American franchise to include the many millions of Americans who could not pay or would not pay for affordable health insurance. Of course, birtherism rested on a lie. Obama is a citizen. Two times over, to be precise. His mother gave birth on American soil (Hawaii) and his mother was an American citizen. That Obama was suspected of being an alien usurper is the product of deep-seated fear, paranoia and blinding bigotry. That some Americans worried about foreign threats to our democratic republic, however, is not. The founders were deeply concerned about foreign meddling in the young country’s domestic affairs and hoped to guard against that by requiring that presidents be “natural-born citizens.” In a democracy, the people rule, and they must choose *their* president. Anything less was not a democracy. Anything less was something else. The founders would have had grave concerns on hearing news that Trump sought & received help from a foreign power to win the presidency. The Times reported that Trump Jr. knew in advance the Russians had info deleterious to Clinton before meeting with Russian attorney. At this point in the story, it doesn’t matter what the substance was. The president’s son represents him. The Trump campaign appears to have been party to a conspiracy to undermine the free and fair elections of the United States. The substance is still important. We don’t know what was offered, but we do know the timing of events.

The meeting took place on June 9, 2016. That was *after* spies under Putin’s supervision hacked the DNC’s computers, but *before* that information was made public. Later the same day, Donald Trump tweeted: “Where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?” The day before the Democratic National Convention, Wikileaks released 20,000 DNC emails. On July 20, the president said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” We also know the larger context for the meeting was Trump’s ties to Russia. Long-time associate Rob Goldstone contacted Trump Jr. on behalf of Emin Agalarov, a Russian entertainer. Agalarov’s father is a billionaire and former Trump business partner. According to emails between Trump Jr. and Goldstone, a Russian prosecutor asked Aras Agalarov to relay a message via Goldstone that the government had information that would “incriminate Hillary.” Goldstone: “This is obviously very high level & sensitive information but is part of Russia & its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” A closer look at the language here suggests this meeting was part of a larger effort to favor Trump by sabotaging Clinton: it was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Mother Jones’ David Corn wrote in late October of a report compiled by a former American spy who found that Russia had been “cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump for at least five years. “Aim, endorsed by Putin, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance.” Report: Trump “& his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from Kremlin, including on his Democratic & other” rivals. This report was later called the “Steele Dossier”.

The question returns to political legitimacy. When it appeared Trump won the election on his own, he was a legitimate president, however flawed, weak,and dangerous he may be and by however much he lost the popular vote. The Electoral College system is problematic, but no one believed he did not win legitimately. But now, months later, it’s evident that Trump did not win on his own. He was an active participant in a historic campaign by the Russians to move American public opinion against his opponent. And he may have been an active participant for years. I only slightly exaggerate when I suggest that he wasn’t elected so much as installed. Trump needed help. Russia helped. Now Trump is poised to return the favor by eliminating sanctions against Russia. Believing, wrongly, that Obama was a foreign menace, many Republicans labored mightily to resist everything touched by the former president, including a health care law from which those same voters benefit. Now Republicans are poised to replace that law. A new bill arrives Thursday and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has delayed the Senate’s August recess to get a vote. It would be bad enough for Trump to sign a law repealing Obamacare. Many would lose their insurance and many would die. As heinous and despicable as that would be, however, it would still be within the boundaries that make America a democratic republic. Outside those boundaries is a prez not elected so much as installed taking away insurance from millions & leading many to certain death. A president who sought and received material aid from a hostile foreign power whose leader takes immense pleasure in seeing his great global adversary being sickened and weakened from the inside out. Republicans questioned Obama’s legitimacy. They were wrong. Americans will start questioning Trump’s legitimacy. And they will be right. Russia scandal & Obamacare repeal are not separate issues. Each is about Trump’s legitimacy.

Mother Jones: A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump

U.S. News: Trump’s Legitimacy Is in Question

6 Bryan { 07.17.17 at 9:03 pm }

This sounds right. The only element missing is the ‘quid por quo’. If he reduces the sanctions or makes similar moves – game, set, match. He can’t ‘improve’ relations with Russia at this point without it looking like pay back for the election assistance.

7 Kryten42 { 07.18.17 at 12:44 pm }

Well, we’ve both dealt with the Russians (or Soviets back in the day), so we know what they’re capable of and that Putin will be absolutely 😆 😆 right now!

8 Bryan { 07.18.17 at 5:29 pm }

Well, more of the cast are taking ‘curtain calls’ and things are not looking better for Trump Inc.

9 Kryten42 { 07.18.17 at 8:36 pm }

I’m highly amused on Twitter! The pro-Russian troll army is in full swing! 😆 Deflection, disingenuous disinformation, & the expected “Where’s the proof?” “There is no proof!” etc. 😆 And my personal favorite: “Any hostile act committed against the U.S. by any foreigner deems their entire country an official “adversarial government,” then?”

Love it! 😀

But I was getting bored, so decided to see what was up with the F-35. Found this! 😆

F-35 Unreliability Risks Strain on Pentagon Budget, Tester Says

The availability of spare parts for the 203 F-35s already assigned to bases “is getting worse, affecting fly rates” and pilot training, according to the presentation dated May 8 and obtained by Bloomberg News. Reliability metrics linked to “critical failures have worsened over the last year,” as improvement “has stagnated.”

These trends mean long-term “lifecycle costs” of the aircraft are “likely to increase significantly” over the current $1.2 trillion estimate and affect budgets of the services, according to the presentation, which updated the testing office’s annual report released in January.

“Even if an F-35 squadron can get to where it is needed, what good is it if it can’t fly them on missions?” analyst Dan Grazier of the Washington-based Project on Government Oversight said in a March 30 review of the test office’s January assessment. “This is one of the most enduring problems of the F-35 program. The fleet has had a notoriously poor reliability track record.”

“One key metric is the average number of flight hours between critical failures, those that could render an aircraft unsafe to fly or unable to complete its mission. The goal for the Air Force’s F-35 is 20 hours between failures after 75,000 hours of flight. As of August, Air Force models were averaging only 7.3 hours between failures after 34,197 hours of flight, according to the testing office presentation.”

Mind you, that last paragraph is somewhat disingenuous & misleading. Several problems flagged as Code Three in peace time & testing would be waived during combat operations. Happened often when I was with GD with our F-111’s (& the FA-18’s). Happens with all combat aircraft. Also, problems can be reported either by ground crew or the pilot. And they typically have a different view of what is *critical*. An example of the FA-18 was the TIT (Turbine Inlet temperature) indicator, specifically the red marker for the range limit indicator. They are usually a sticker (because the TIT is designed to be used for a variety of engines which keeps cost down & they are easy to get, but the range limit varies). Sometimes the sticker comes off & the pilot flags it as Code Three (which generally makes the maintenance crew sigh heavily because the time to do the paperwork takes far longer than replacing the sticker! Usually, they’ll paint the mark on). 🙂

I’m not giving the F-35 a pass, just saying that the reality is often not quite the same as the media’s view! 😉 😀

10 Bryan { 07.18.17 at 10:26 pm }

The F-35 needs numbers that it is not going to achieve to maintain prices. It has taken too long and too many have been cancelled by people, like Canada who have fleets they need to replace. It is absurd that you have parts shortages on a new aircraft. I saw it on the C-5 when I was at Rhein-Main. There was always at least one C-5 squatting on the apron waiting for parts. There were flights from the US every day so the parts obviously weren’t available. That is a failure of procurement, a common problem during that period. Apparently the problem continues.

Yes, combat conditions are different than training standards, but, damn, you can’t keep grounding wings, because of maintenance problems. Their computer models obviously suck.

11 Kryten42 { 07.19.17 at 5:22 am }

Yes. And/or the interpretation of the models suck. Maybe it’s getting hard to find decent engineers in the USA. Or maybe they are being forced to work with limitations such as unreasonable budget (manufacturer, not the Military) or time constraints, or lack of staff. Most large companies love to cut costs by cutting staff. People are just an expense item on the books, right? 😉 Also, GIGO!

Luckily for Aus., the FB-111 was delayed 5 years because we demanded an aircraft that would work. And not have the wings falling off. If we’d gotten them by ’68 or ’69, History would have been very much different!

12 Kryten42 { 07.19.17 at 6:38 am }

Speaking of bigger conference rooms… This:

Trump, Putin had second, undisclosed, hour-long encounter at G20

It’s worth sitting through Maddow’s rambling intro to listen to Ian Bremmer who broke this story. The comparison to Nixon is noteworthy, though unsurprising now. Video is about 11 min’s. 🙂

The number of *irregularities* are astonishing. the high-point for me was Trump tweeting (as usual) that the 2nd meeting was fake news, in spite of most of the attendees witnessing it! 😆

Truly a laugh a day!

13 Badtux { 07.19.17 at 11:47 am }

Kryten, the F-35 was crippled by being designed around a fanjet (the F-35B model). Despite the fact that the F-35A and F-35B share only 20% of their parts now, they’re parts that set out the aerodynamic profile of the beast. Thing is, a fanjet has to be sort of, well, fat around the middle. Because there has to be a lift fan there. Thus the F-35A is portly like a classic BBC butler. Like the classic BBC butler it can be deadly, but always at a staid and steady pace, never quick and vicious like a Hong Kong chop suey movie star.

Regarding lying about meeting Russians, I think it’s just a reflex now. Even when there’s photos of the meeting, like with Jeff “I didn’t meet them!” Sessions, Trump and his cronies lie about it just to lie about it. Sad.

14 Bryan { 07.19.17 at 3:39 pm }

They should have built three separate aircraft for the separate roles that are needed. This ‘Swiss Army’ approach is a disaster.

Fox won’t run the photoes showing Trump & Co. are liars, and the Trump supporters don’t watch anything else.

15 Kryten42 { 07.20.17 at 6:50 am }

Any decent engineer knows that *one size* does NOT fit all! It can work in certain specific applications. Aircraft are not one of them!

True, though it seems some @ FOX have had enough of the circus. So, you never know! 😉 😀

Wait, is Trump losing Fox News?

16 Kryten42 { 07.20.17 at 7:08 am }

Just for another laugh (something we all know is true):

The latest Trump interview once again reveals total disregard for the rule of law

17 Bryan { 07.20.17 at 3:04 pm }

I think the rest of the Republican elites are starting to complain to Faux about Trump, and having Trump attack fellow Republicans doesn’t help Rupert to remain on his side. People have figured out that Trump doesn’t return any of the loyalty he demands…