The Mayor: Prayer Breakfasts in the morning….thievery as a public official during the day????

It appears as if in 2016, the (honorable?) Eureka Mayor Frank Jager was not only earning over $100,000 a year in PERS retirement and $15,000 a year from the County working as a deputy coroner/public “administrator of estates”, he couldn’t help himself from allegedly stealing from dead people thru the unethical practice of having his wife and himself purchasing property from deceased peoples estates at below market value.  We have a question for our very religious Mayor; what would Jesus do?  Certainly not what this ex-EPD “good ole boy” has done.  It is time for Mayor Jager to repent.  It is also time for some justice and for him to reap the consequences of this kind of low-life behavior and probably breaking the law.

This growing scandal is catching many of our local good ole boys by surprise. They thought sheriff Billy was going to handle it in the usual way, appoint the usual suspects to investigate one of their own then say basically “nothing to see here move along” sweeping all under the rug. Well as we posted about before…https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2017/07/07/former-epd-good-ol-boys-are-finally-getting-caught-with-their-hands-in-the-cookie-jar/  (OOPS!) The DA invited the State Department of Justice in. For the most part, they don’t give a shit about the local good ole boys perceived right to line their pockets at the rest of our expense. Stay tuned to this story is going to get interesting especially if it starts coming out the tragic death of family members was followed by the looting of their estate

The rumors mill is reporting that Mayor Jager is for some reason feeling a sense of relief because the FBI has declined to investigate at this time.  However, from what we have heard the California Department of Justice is very interested in investigating the whole matter.

Take a deep breath Mayor Jager, it’s going to be quite a ride

New low after new low. If this is what “making America great” looks like, God help us.

So This Is What American Greatness Really Looks Like?

Russian nesting dolls Trump and Putin

This week, Garry Kasparov, former Russian chess champion and perennial critic of Vladimir Putin, tweeted about what autocrats do when caught:

1: Deny, lie, slander accusers.

2: Say it was a misunderstanding.

3. Say ‘What are you going to do about it?

The day after that tweet, Donald Trump stood on a dais in Paris beside the French president and said of his son’s now-confirmed willingness to receive campaign help for his father from Russia: “I think it’s a meeting that most people in politics probably would have taken.”

That would be jaw dropping and bizarre coming from a mob boss at his pretrial hearing, let alone from the president of the United States. But that line is now standard issue among much of Trump’s political party, which has come around to the notion that collusion with a foreign power—even an adversarial one like Russia—is no big deal.

Trump, his family, and his defenders in the once Grand Old Party have mounted various defenses for his campaign’s collusion with Russians and their cutouts to win the 2016 presidential election. They have tried to ignore Russiagate. They have said collusion with Russia never happened. They have blamed Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Loretta Lynch (Trump now says the Russian government lawyer who met with Donald Jr. was only in the country because Lynch let her in. It will surprise no one to discover that’s not true.) And they have landed on the notion that even if collusion did happen, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Check off all three of the Kasparov boxes.

With Trump’s ascension, the Russification of the Republican Party, which once supported apartheid-era South Africa and continues to back a Cuba embargo, both on the basis of keeping countries out of Russia’s sphere of influence, is complete. Trump, who in the 1980s complained that Ronald Reagan was too tough on the Soviets, and who has used Russians, including reputed mobsters, as everything from bailouts to buyers to brokers for the expansion of his hotel and pageant franchises, has officially brought kakistocracy to Washington. None but the most unmoored to any recognizable morality need apply. He has made fools of his own spokespeople. He has exposed the religious right’s leaders as very much men of this world, with all its hatred and avarice. He has unleashed the forces of white nationalism and even neo-Nazism in our country. And he has revealed an America that is far less than we thought we were eight years ago when the United States became the first former slave republic to make a member of its once entrapped minority population its national leader.

One wonders whether this democracy, as fragile as it has been revealed to be, and whether the presidency as an institution is entirely salvageable, now that Trump has exploded the norms we thought constrained the office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Since becoming president, Trump has flouted the emoluments clause and openly profited from his office, taking payments from all comers, from the State Department to foreign governments at his golf courses, hotels and his private Florida club. He has encouraged his children to treat the White House as a marketing tool for the Trump businesses, and allowed them to commingle their business activities and ongoing involvement in his government. He has turned American foreign policy into a Santa’s workshop for Saudi and Russian interests and goals, from the needless fight with Qatar to pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accords to attempting to return the Kremlin’s spy facilities, which the Obama administration seized in retaliation for Russian interference in our election, to giving Russian oligarchs direct financial interest in the Keystone pipeline boondoggle to having his administration lean on House members to soften a Russia sanctions package. (He even briefly floated the outrageous and absurd notion of cybersecurity cooperation with the Kremlin.) He has invited the Russian foreign ministry into the Oval Office out of the eye and earshot of the American media, who now are reduced to audio-only press briefings where they take a back seat to Trump sycophant right-wing blogs, and he has now canoodled with Putin himself, taking the murderous Russian autocrat’s word for it that no election meddling occurred.

Trump has made political thuggery the new American political standard; throwing allies overboard and cuddling up to dictators and autocrats around the world. He has diminished American influence and credibility every day he has been in office.

Meanwhile, he has stripped the presidency of its basic dignity, tweeting his every thought at all hours of the day. He presents America in his world travels as a troglodyte nation, led by an ill-mannered, ill-tempered, praise-needy buffoon—a real life Joffrey Baratheon—who still thinks he’s a television performer, and whose attention to duty lasts only as long as his favorite Fox shows aren’t on.

Domestically, he has thrown the country into chaos, from his Muslim travel bans to his utter incoherence on health care, which he and his party are threatening to strip from up to 23 million people so they can fork over a trillion dollars to America’s own oligarchs. Putin must be positively gleeful at the damage his little ruse—tricking the arrogant ignoramuses of the Trump campaign into believing Russian hackers had the goods on Hillary, and then reeling them in—has wrought.

And so, a political party that long prided itself on a particular kind of patriotism now welcomes foreign interference, so long as it helps them win. A nation that dragged itself, painfully, from slavery to the Voting Rights Act now faces a federal government that is the single biggest threat to the right of all people to vote. A country that stuck out its chest in promoting a particular kind of greatness now wallows in defunding public education, gutting scientific research, and promoting basic ignorance about the planet in the service of bygone industries belching pollution into the air and water, as if American innovation that could create new industries and new jobs for those displaced workers is no longer possible.

Meanwhile, our children are learning that bullies do indeed prosper; that cruelty and narcissism can be a pathway to power, that one of our two major parties believes the poor and struggling do not deserve health care, and that according to the president of the United States, women essentially have no value beyond their looks and dress sizes.

One wonders whether the presidency can recover, or whether we’re doomed to live in an endless cycle of lowbrow celebrity autocracy—America remade in the image of Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi.

Already, other entertainers are bellying up to the bar, eager to follow Trump’s grubby example and take their turn at political powerball. We could soon have a national leadership that includes The Rock, Kid Rock, and who knows, maybe Ted Nugent, now that white nationalism and public vulgarity have gone mainstream.

What hope is there for a country that has reduced itself to this? What future? For now, it’s hard to see a particularly bright one. If this is what making America great looks like, God help us when greatness ensues.

JOY-ANN REID in the Daily Beast

 

Trump Jr keeps lying and the right wants to get their way no matter what the price

A Russian American lobbyist and veteran of the Soviet military said Friday that he attended a June 2016 meeting between President Trump’s oldest son and a Kremlin-connected attorney.

The presence of Rinat Akhmetshin adds to the number of people in attendance at the Trump Tower gathering that emerged this week as the clearest evidence so far of interactions between Trump campaign officials and Russia.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Akhmetshin said he participated in the session with several others. His role in the meeting was first reported by NBC News and the Associated Press.

Akhmetshin, a U.S. citizen, was lobbying at the time against U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia for human rights violations.

Trump Jr. has waved away concerns about the 30-minute session, which he agreed to because he was promised negative information about his father’s political opponent, Hillary Clinton. He was joined at the meeting by Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, then chairman of the Trump campaign.

Trump Jr. has said that he did not receive the negative information on Clinton that he was promised by an acquaintance, Goldstone, and that he did not know the people with whom he was meeting.

Veselnitskaya said she and Akhmetshin were working at the time defending a Russian businessman from federal charges of money laundering in a suit that was settled early this year.

Akhmetshin was born in Russia, served in the military and told people he had worked in intelligence, according to one person who said he worked with Akhmetshin in the past but asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak about it.

Akhmetshin emphatically denied to The Washington Post that he ever worked as an intelligence agent though he did confirm that he served as an 18-year-old draftee for two years in a unit of the Soviet military that had responsibility for law enforcement issues as well as some counterintelligence matters.

He said that he became a U.S. citizen in 2009 and is also still a Russian citizen.

According to AP, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the Kremlin knows nothing about Akhmetshin.

Akhmetshin’s participation raises the level of the concern about the meeting. The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said he was disturbed by the news.

“Today’s report that a former Russian counterintelligence officer was also present during the meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, if accurate, adds another deeply disturbing fact about this secret meeting,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

 

 

Rinat Akhmetshin is a Hacker and a spy

Rinat Akhmetshin, the former Russian intelligence officer who took part in Donald Trump Jr.’s infamous meeting at Trump Tower last June 9, has been accused of masterminding an international hacking conspiracy.

The Daily Beast reports that a case filed with New York Supreme Court in 2015 alleges that Akhmetshin successfully orchestrated the hacking of two computer systems and stole documents from International Mineral Resources (IMR), a Russian mining company.

“The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. was told in July 2015 that Akhmetshin had arranged the hacking of a mining company’s private records — stealing internal documents and then disseminating them,” the Daily Beast reports. “The corporate espionage case was brought by IMR, who alleged that Akhmetshin was hired by Russian oligarch Andrey Melinchenko, an industrialist worth around $12 billion.”

Akhmetshin denied that he orchestrated any hacking of the company, but acknowledged that he “found” a hard drive that just happened to contain sensitive IMR documents.

Akhmetshin, a registered congressional lobbyist, has in the past also done work on behalf of Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was also present at the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower.

The Right wants to get their way no matter what the price

To many, the revelation that Donald Trump Jr. was anxious to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russians will not come as a surprise. It is but the latest example of the take-no-prisoners, anything-goes politics of our day. Sure, soliciting help from a hostile foreign power is exceptional, and it is certainly true that the Trumps have taken “unconventional” politics to new heights. But how we do politics in the United States, the boundaries of acceptable behavior, has been shifting for two decades.

The real surprise – the part of the story that we should be gravely concerned about – is that this disclosure will not matter to a great many American voters. After thinking and writing about politics for two decades, I have come to the conclusion that the real issue we face is not the conduct of public officials or their surrogates, but how nefarious acts are now sanctioned, and even applauded, by so many on both sides of the partisan fence.

So what’s changed in our politics?

Fear and loathing

For one, the nature of partisanship is different. Until about a decade ago, one’s attachment to a party was centered around policy disputes or cues from groups and associations. But today’s version is grounded in the fear and loathing of the other side. Trunkloads of data, much of it from the Pew Research Center, suggest each side sees the other party as crazy and certainly dangerous. So it does not matter what your side does so long as it keeps the nut jobs on the other side at bay.

A new volume by political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels further helps to fine-tune our understanding how people vote and which party they identify with. Their book, “Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government,” suggests “issue congruence [between voters and parties], in so far as it exists, is mostly a byproduct of other connections, most of them lacking policy content.” In other words, we don’t think through issues, policies and candidate characteristics, but instead see elections as “us versus them.” These scholars argue voters tie themselves with racial, ethnic, occupational, religious, recreational and other groups, with partisanship as the byproduct. Our group identity, not policy concerns or ideology, determines vote choice. That is to say, we gather comfortably with our tribe and tune out other points of view.

A central force propelling hostility toward the “other” party is the partisan media. Many such outlets have figured out a sustainable business model. Smaller audiences can be profitable, so long as they remain loyal. Loyalty springs from “crisis” and, of course, “menace.” This leads to treating every issue as a true threat to our existence or a usurpation of fundamental “rights.” The other party is always the villain, and your side can do no wrong – so long as it is for the grand struggle.

And then there is the online world. Voters rarely explore new ideas and perspectives, but share, like and retweet concordant ones. We fence in and we fence out. As recently noted by journalist and author Megan McArdle, “Social media, of course, makes this problem worse. Even if we are not deliberately blocking people who disagree with us, Facebook curates our feeds so that we get more of the stuff we ‘like.’ What do we ‘like’? People and posts that agree with us.”

Sorting and filtering

Is the filtering of information really a new development? It is not at all clear that voters have ever absorbed a broad range of information or shifted though competing evidence. It is likely party bosses, elected officials, candidates and even media elites have always been able to manipulate mass opinion to a degree. Cognitive time-saving cues, especially party identification, have always been used to sort and filter.

But something very different is happening today. In the recent past, news was more widely viewed as objective, leading to a high degree of accepted facts and authority. When the news media unraveled the story of Watergate, for example, citizens of all partisan stripes accepted it as fact. What scholars dubbed “short-term influences” could override partisan leanings.

Which leads us to “alternative facts,” the aggressive spinning of policies and arguments regardless of contrary verifiable information. This may be a game-changer in our politics. The barrier for evidence has, it seems, evaporated, and emotion-rich information is used to draw more viewers, readers and listeners. If we add the continual drive for fresh “news” and the high costs of creating traditional journalism, we are left with little consensus or authority. New York Times blogger Farhad Manjoo put it this way: “We are roiled by preconceptions and biases, and we usually do what feels easiest – we gorge on information that confirms our ideas, and we shun what does not.”

Finally, popular culture has also probably contributed to our growing indifference to nefarious acts. We pick our reality show contestant and applaud every backhanded, despicable move that gets him across the finish line. There can’t be two winners or a collective good, only a sole survivor. Or shall we say that only one apprentice can get the job? And the best part of the show – the segment that really gets the producers juiced – is when things get truly ugly.

Democratic accountability

The latest Trump team revelation is a shocker, but even more stunning is the meager impact it will likely have on his supporters. As noted in a recent USA Today story, in Trump country the Russia disclosure is no big deal.

As voters, citizens are called to judge those in power. But there must be an objective standard for the assessment, which is why the framers of the Constitution put so much stock in a free press. The governed in a democracy must be willing and able to fairly judge the acts of the governors. But today “your side” has always done a good job and the “other” party has always failed. Any contrary revelation can be explained away as fake news.

The key ingredient in the democratic accountability process – objectivity – is disappearing, and the foundation of our limited government has been shaken. In Federalist #51 and elsewhere, James Madison wrote, “A dependence upon the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government…” Many are starting to wonder if Americans are up to the job – and whether the fate of the grand experiment is at risk.

excepts From the Washington Post,  Raw Story and The Conversation

Former EPD good ol’ boys are finally getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar!!!

Integrity

Thanks to a complaint from a concerned citizen and the questioning of Ryan Burns from the Lost Coast Outpost, it looks like the FBI and the State Attorney General’s office will be looking into the Coroner’s handling of estate properties.  And by handling, we mean the most extreme “low-balling” of the purchase price and outright theft of deceased people’s property:

https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2017/jul/7/da-maggie-fleming-calls-fbi-state-attorney-general/

Great “ethical standards” law enforcement!!!  Stealing from the dead or potential family members of the deceased is just plain low.  But that’s business as usual at the Eureka Police Dept(EPD) and in Humboldt’s Good Ol’ Boy network. Wait, EPD you say?  Why would we put EPD into a story about the Sheriff-Coroner sales of property that appears on the face of it illegal?  The reason is that former EPD officers (not Sergeants or Lieutenants) Frank Jager and Dave Parris have run the coroner’s office since the nineties!

Mills and Downey

When we first heard about the selling off of deceased people’s property to county employees, Eureka Mayors, and their family members: we weren’t at all surprised.  We’ve been getting tips for years that people who’ve had their property seized in marijuana raids have later seen their ATV’s and trailers being used/owned by the same officers who raided their property.  But what the hell could we do about that? Who would believe us? If people in the drug trade don’t complain, the problem would just persist.

However, in this case, we have some hope.  At first, we were pretty worried.  Newly minted Sheriff William “Billy” Honsal gave an interview to Ryan Burns, in which he talked about the new “investigation” he was calling for.  The “independent” investigator would be hired by the HCSO, to look into the corruption that was happening under Billy Honsal’s nose when he was in command or second-in-command at the Sheriff’s office:

https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2017/jun/30/sheriff-honsal-interview/

In that same article, Honsal was quoted as saying, “I don’t want to get too specific into the investigation because I want the independent investigator at the DA’s Office to evaluate the entire investigation and then make a referral to the DA based upon that, but the idea is there is a government code section that basically says no property shall be sold to any current employees of the Coroner’s Office or Public Administrator.”

Now that quote was when we started to get worried and started asking questions to our sources at the County and City of Eureka.  Our worst fears of corruption and potential cover-up had been confirmed, …..that is until today’s announcement from DA Fleming.  Congratulations and respect to DA Magie Fleming for requesting the State and Federal Government to investigate this case.  Maybe some truth will come out of this investigation and criminals (whether elected or not) will be held to account.

But even before this investigation gets underway, it would be nice for the community to understand who the players involved in this good ol’ boy theft of property were, and why those connections had us so worried about what may happen.

NCJ photo of Jager

First, we have former EPD officer Frank Jager, currently the Mayor of Eureka, who was the Humboldt County Coroner from 1999 until 2009. Then in 2009, the Department was taken over by Dave Parris.  Parris ran the department until it was consolidated with the HCSO in 2015.

Paris and Downey

Interesting to note that both Jager and Parris were police officers at the Eureka Police Department.  Neither of them promoted above the rank of officer (?), but both of them ended up running the Detectives Bureau at EPD at different times. Their rise to the top position of County Coroner was filled with lots of glad-handing, favors and out and out corruption.  It’s also important to notice that these men went to prayer breakfasts in the morning and then stole from dead people during the day. (Not a big surprise to the Examiner)

To top that off, Billy Honsal, a regular prayer breakfast attendee is the son of William Honsal Sr.  William Honsal Sr. was a former EPD Captain who was known for several officer-involved shootings.  Honsal Sr. is BFF’s with recently retired evangelical Sheriff Downey, who hired Honsal Jr. from an outside agency as the under-sheriff, groomed him as his heir and then promoted him to Sheriff when he left suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly earlier this year.

But it goes further from there!  Until DA Fleming made her bold move the investigation of Jager and Parris would have been under the direction of Chief DA Investigator Wayne Cox.  Cox was an officer at EPD before becoming a DA Investigator.  Cox was given the Investigator and Chief position by his former boss, Mike Hislop.  Hislop was a former EPD Sergeant who got the position of Chief DA Investigator from his father in law, Jim Dawson.  Now the EPD connections are obvious here, and there’s clearly a built-in bias if Cox was to head an investigation into fellow former fellow EPD officers Jager and Parris.

But it goes even further from there….   You see, many sources have reported to us that Mike Hislop was a thief of the first order back in his days in power.  In fact, we’ve been told that he had a hanger at the Eureka airport filled with lots military surplus gear he obtained when he was a Peace Officer.  That gear was supposed to be utilized by the agency he worked for, but there’s been accusations and speculation that the gear never made it to his employers. And military gear was just the tip of the iceberg for tips about Hislops corruption and thefts.  So you see why we were a little worried that Hislop’s minion Wayne Cox might not look seriously into corruption and theft.

Hopefully, the FBI looks into this as a very “broad” investigation.  Maybe they can flesh out whether the theft/sale of deceased people’s property was an isolated corrupt practice, or was part of a broader theft of community member’s property (such as drug seizures, Military Surplus given to departments, unclaimed property, ect.).

As a side note, this investigation and corruption couldn’t have been a surprise to former Sheriff Mike Downey or soon to be former Chief Andy Mills.

The Examiner has to ask. Did they leave their post’s early knowing shit was about to hit the fan?  That’s as good an explanation as any of the questionable statements we heard from them when they announced their departures!!!

Good luck Federal and State authorities, bring your hip boot waders you’re stepping into some deep shit!!!

Nice try Trumpies; MSNBC-Maddow dodges a potential credibility assassination  

Maddow: “I feel like I need to send this up like a flare for other news organizations in particular.”

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said she had a “strange scoop” to share with audiences Thursday night after receiving what she believes is a meticulously forged document sent over her tip line with the intention to discredit her.
“I feel like I need to send this up like a flare for other news organizations in particular,” Maddow said. “That’s part of what I’m intending to do here with this story tonight.”
Over the next 20 minutes, the MSNBC host discussed how her show received a document, purportedly from the National Security Agency, labeled as classified and filled with such bombshells about Russia that Maddow said if it were authentic, it would be a “gun still firing proverbial bullets.” But after careful examination, which she describes in great detail, her show deemed the document a forgery.
“We believe now that the real story we have stumbled upon here is that somebody out there is shopping carefully forged documents to try to discredit news agencies reporting on the Russian attack on our election, and specifically on the possibility that the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians in mounting that attack,” she said.
The MSNBC host pointed to a recent report that led CNN to retract a story on Russia and led three top staffers who worked on the story to resign, as well as Vice News’ retraction of two Trump-related stories just last week.
“This is news because why is someone shopping a forged document of this kind to news organizations covering the Trump-Russia affair?” Maddow asked.
The MSNBC host and her staff compared the document they received with the leaked NSA document The Intercept published in early June, which led to the arrest of federal contractor Reality Leigh Winner.
Maddow and her staff believe the document they received was created by copying and pasting aspects of the document The Intercept published. There were additional elements that also raised red flags, Maddow said.

Huffington post

 

Dead Smiths tell no tales, except Peter did before he died

Peter W Smith, the potential missing link in the Trump-Russia probe

Connecting the dots.

The Wall Street Journal published two explosive reports detailing the actions of Republican operative Peter W. Smith during last year’s presidential election. According to the WSJ, Smith was seeking to acquire stolen Hillary Clinton emails from Russian hackers. Smith told associates that he discussed his activities with a key member of the Trump campaign, Michael Flynn.

The Trump campaign did not deny the connection, telling the WSJ that “if Mr. Flynn coordinated with him in any way, it would have been in his capacity as a private individual.”

Smith could be the missing link in the Trump-Russia probe that is now being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The FBI, CIA, NSA and Director of National Intelligence have publicly stated that Russia hacked emails to help Trump win the election. The extent to which the Trump campaign collaborated with Russia in that effort is unknown. (Trump and his advisers have denied involvement.)

But beyond his alleged connections to Flynn, Smith has deep ties to the Trump orbit and the Republican establishment.

Smith was a longtime supporter and confidant to Newt Gingrich, a key member of the Trump campaign

“[W]hen Peter W. Smith talks, Newt Gingrich listens.” That was the introduction to a 1995 article in Crain’s Chicago Business about Gingrich’s “Illinois patrons.”

Smith was one of the earliest and most enthusiastic backers of Gingrich. The article details how Smith contributed “more than $109,000…since 1989 to Mr. Gingrich and his affiliated interests.” He raised even more money. It made Smith the “No. 1 financial backer of Mr. Gingrich, and one of the top 20 contributors nationwide.”

Smith, who worked in finance, also hosted “lunches in his Wrigley Building offices every month or so for visiting GOP luminaries, such as Mr. Gingrich.”

A couple of decades later, Gingrich was a top adviser to Trump and his campaign. Smith was seeking to connect with Russian hackers to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton.

Smith had ties to Breitbart, the online news outlet run by Trump’s chief strategist

While Smith’s ties to Gingrich goes back decades, he more recently became acquainted with Matt Boyle, the Washington Political Editor of Breitbart. That publication was run by Steve Bannon until he left, first to join the Trump campaign and then the White House as chief strategist.

Smith’s connection to Boyle was revealed, ironically, when his emails were hacked and released on a website called DC Leaks. The emails have been taken offline but are accessible through archive.org.

Smith was collaborating with Boyle on efforts to try to force out Paul Ryan as speaker, a cause shared by Bannon.

Boyle was closely connected to the Trump campaign. After Trump was elected, Boyle was granted a rare Oval Office interview.

Smith has a history of funding dirty tricks against the Clintons

Smith’s attempt to connect with Russian hackers wasn’t the first time he sought to cross ethical lines to damage someone with the last name Clinton. In the 1990s, Smith “was behind the so-called ‘Troopergate’ affair, in which four state troopers who served on Mr. Clinton’s security detail when he was Governor of Arkansas charged that he had used them to procure women for sex.”

Smith brought the story to David Brock, then a right-wing reporter with the American Spectator. Eventually, Smith admitted in 1998 “to the Chicago Sun-Times that he had spent about $ 80,000 to get negative information about Clinton into the mainstream press.” The payments went to the troopers and Brock.

The story “led to the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton and to special prosecutor Kenneth Starr’s investigation into whether Clinton had sex in the White House with an intern,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Just as he told the WSJ about his efforts to collaborate with the Russians to obtain Clinton emails, Smith claimed he was acting independently.

Smith claimed a connection to the Trump campaign

Smith’s history suggests he may have been in contact with the Trump campaign. This is also consistent with what Smith told potential collaborators as he sought hacked emails.

In a document Smith used for recruiting others to the effort, Smith listed four members of the Trump campaign: Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sam Clovis and Michael Flynn. He said that he was working “in coordination to the extent permitted as an independent expenditure” with the officials.

Bannon denied ever hearing of Smith, but we know that Smith was in contact with one of his most prominent reporters. Conway admitted she knew Smith but said she hadn’t spoken to him recently. Clovis and Flynn did not comment.

Smith had information that suggests he was in contact with the Trump campaign

Smith’s activities were exposed after he contacted a UK security expert named Matt Tait. In a blog post detailing his interactions with Smith, Tait says Smith seemed well-informed about the inner workings of the Trump campaign.

Although it wasn’t initially clear to me how independent Smith’s operation was from Flynn or the Trump campaign, it was immediately apparent that Smith was both well connected within the top echelons of the campaign and he seemed to know both Lt. Gen. Flynn and his son well. Smith routinely talked about the goings on at the top of the Trump team, offering deep insights into the bizarre world at the top of the Trump campaign. Smith told of Flynn’s deep dislike of DNI Clapper, whom Flynn blamed for his dismissal by President Obama. Smith told of Flynn’s moves to position himself to become CIA Director under Trump, but also that Flynn had been persuaded that the Senate confirmation process would be prohibitively difficult. He would instead therefore become National Security Advisor should Trump win the election, Smith said.

This is, of course, exactly what happened. (After being named National Security Adviser, Flynn was forced to resign after lying about his conversations with Russian officials.)

Smith set up a shell company ‘to avoid campaign reporting

According to Tait, Smith said he set up a shell corporation in Delaware, KLS Research, “to avoid campaign reporting.” This comment suggests Smith may have been paid by an entity operating under the Federal Election Commission that is required to disclose their expenditures. This could mean either a campaign or a Super PAC.

The cause of Smith’s death is unknown

Smith died about 10 days after talking to the Wall Street Journal reporter Shane Harris. While there is no evidence of foul play, and Smith was 81 years old, the cause of his death is unknown and not discussed in his obituary.

On MSNBC, Harris said he tried to find out how Smith died. “I should say we do not know how he died. We made multiple attempts, both with family members and with associates of his, as well as government officials in the town where he lived, to try and determine his cause of death, and we were unsuccessful,”????????????????????

https://thinkprogress.org/know-about-peter-w-smith-fd05b9284cbd

Trump plays follow the leader

As Trump wages war on the media, the echoes of Erdogan grow louder

There is a surreal goofiness to President Trump’s relentless war on America’s mainstream media. The disgruntled president responds to negative covfefe with cheesy hashtags and nicknames for his perceived adversaries: There’s “psycho” Joe Scarborough and “low I.Q. crazy” Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC, the “failing” New York Times and The Washington Post (for the record, we’re both doing pretty well in the age of Trump), and Trump’s favorite target, “fake” or “fraud” CNN.

On Sunday, Trump, who was sitting at a golf course he owns in New Jersey, tweeted a childish clip of him wrestling down a person representing CNN.

At a time when a GOP politician has actually body-slammed a journalist, it wasn’t funny. Brian Stelter, CNN’s media reporter, tweeted a CNN statement saying it was “a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters.”

But for Trump, the relentless drumbeat of anger against the press is a clear political tactic, designed to stoke his base and build up a narrative of victimization. The president has complained virtually nonstop since taking office about the supposedly unfair coverage surrounding the White House, casting journalists as the opposition. He has also repeatedly broken assumed conventions of decency in American politics, fanned the flames of right-wing extremism among his support, and shamelessly spouted numerous falsehoods on both trivial and consequential matters. His behavior has compelled the press coverage he now decries.

Of course, there’s a legitimate conversation to be had about whether the media is “biased” against Trump, a president who radically reshaped the political climate in Washington. This week, for instance, CNN was forced to retract a botched investigative story on the Trump camp’s Russian connections. The network even let go three senior journalists associated with the piece.

Trump and his supporters crowed about the mistake, but pointedly ignored CNN’s willingness to hold itself accountable for its mistakes — a willingness Trump never has displayed over his own misstatements and incendiary remarks. The president instead keeps using his social media megaphone and his proxies in the right-wing media bubble to denounce the entire media establishment as enemies of the American people.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) warned Trump against “trying to weaponize distrust” of the media. But no matter the (softly spoken) censure from fellow Republican politicians, Trump can’t seem to do any wrong in the eyes of his core supporters.

“They like him, they believe in him, they have not to any large degree been shaken from him, and the more the media attacks him, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy on the side of the Trump supporters who fervently believe the media treat him unfairly,” said Tony Fabrizio, the chief pollster for Trump’s campaign, to my colleagues. “It’s like, ‘Beat me with that sword some more!’”

Trump is hardly the first politician to “weaponize distrust” of the media. In the wake of Trump’s Sunday tweet, Richard Haass, the president of the indisputably bipartisan Council on Foreign Relations, likened Trump’s rhetoric to that of a more practiced strongman president.

The stakes in Turkey are, of course, profoundly greater. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan withstood a violent coup attempt a year ago, which prompted his government to embark on a vast purge of state institutions and civil society. More than 100 journalists have been thrown into prison or forced into exile. Dozens of media outlets have been closed or taken over by state authorities. Newspapers that were once titans of the establishment have seen their editors criminalized and offices raided.

But there are some important similarities to bear in mind. Both Erdogan and Trump channel a kind of majoritarian nationalism anchored in grievance at cosmopolitan elites. And both paint their critics as threats to the nation. Over the weekend, Erdogan labeled a peaceful opposition protest march from Ankara to Istanbul as the work of “terrorist” sympathizers.

The echoes of Erdogan in Trump’s political style offer an uncomfortable new reality for Americans, suggested Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman.

“It is that, given enough time, any democratic system is vulnerable to assaults from a determined, dictatorial leader,” wrote Rachman earlier this year. “Mr. Erdogan became prime minister in 2003 and, over time, utterly changed his country. As one Turkish intellectual put it to me … ‘Things that I would once have thought impossible are now happening on a daily basis.’”

“Trump is not yet going nearly as far as Erdogan, who jails journalists, but the preliminary logic is the same — an attempt to undermine the credibility of those who hold power to account,” wrote Brian Klaas, a fellow at the London School of Economics and author of a recent book on the erosion of democracies, in January.

The German newsweekly Der Spiegel put it most starkly in a February editorial: “Erdogan and Trump are positioning themselves as the only ones capable of truly understanding the people and speaking for them. It’s their view that freedom of the press does not protect democracy and that the press isn’t reverent enough to them and is therefore useless. They believe that the words that come from their mouths as powerful leaders are the truth and that the media, when it strays from them, is telling lies. That’s autocratic thinking — and it is how you sustain a dictatorship.”

Tellingly, the two leaders have defended the other from their critics. In the wake of Erdogan’s purge, Trump said the United States didn’t have much right to criticize the Turkish president’s crackdown; in the wake of Trump’s inauguration, Erdogan described protests against the new president as “disrespectful” and applauded Trump’s singling out CNN as “fake news” during a testy exchange at a news conference.

That day, Erdogan congratulated Trump for putting the CNN reporter “in his place.” It’s the same sentiment many Trump supporters probably feel with every new hashtag and barbed insult hurled at journalists.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/07/03/as-trump-wages-war-on-the-media-the-echoes-of-erdogan-grow-louder/?utm_term=.52eaaf0ce92c