Losing the American constitutional republic

We’re “on the cusp” of “losing the American constitutional republic forever”

Malcolm Nance on Former intelligence officer turned author says Putin is Trump’s “handler” and we’re in a “Benedict Arnold moment”

 

The crisis that has befallen America under Donald Trump’s presidency is not ripped from the pages of a John le Carré or Jason Matthews spy novel. It is all too real.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has unanimously endorsed the intelligence community’s conclusion that the Russian government interfered with the 2016 presidential election, with the goal of electing Donald Trump and undermining American democracy.

Former CIA director John Brennan agrees that Vladimir Putin commanded his spies and other agents to assist Donald Trump so that he would defeat Hillary Clinton. Brennan also believes that Putin may be blackmailing Trump as a means of forcing the president to do his bidding.

Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted numerous people in connection with Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and related criminal behavior.

Trump openly encouraged Putin and his agents to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Trump continues to publicly praise Putin and make excuses for his apparent efforts to subvert American democracy. Trump now plans to meet privately with Putin later this month. It has been reported that no American advisers or other observers will attend these meetings.

If what now seems apparent is indeed true, Putin has successfully conducted one of the greatest covert operations in modern history. He and his agents have undermined the United States’ standing in the world and apparently now control a president, the Republican Party, and tens of millions of Americans who have embraced authoritarianism and betrayed their own country’s democratic values and institutions.

How was Russia able to accomplish this? Is Donald Trump actively working for Vladimir Putin and Russia, or is he just a “useful idiot”? What social cleavages did Russia exploit in order to do so much damage to the United States? How does Russia’s support of Trump and American fascism fit into a much larger global plan?

In an effort to answer these questions, I recently spoke with Malcolm Nance, a career intelligence and counterterrorism officer for the United States government. In his more than three decades working in that capacity, Nance served with U.S. Special Operations forces, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. He has worked in the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. A frequent guest contributor on MSNBC, Nance has authored several books, including the bestselling “The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election.”

Nance’s new book is “The Plot to Destroy Democracy: How Putin and His Spies Are Undermining America and Dismantling the West.” This conversation has been edited for clarity and length. A longer version can be heard on my podcast.

It has been about a year since we last spoke about President Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election. At this point, are matters better, worse or about what you expected in terms of how Trump is behaving and his impact on the country?

Things are happening as expected. But who would have thought that Donald Trump would be feeling so much pressure about being caught working with the Russians that he would feel the need to start paying them off so greatly? Trump is now warning that he may eliminate or downgrade NATO.

It’s just insane. We created NATO. It was a United States invention for the collective security of Europe. It has been a Russian desire since 1947 to break up NATO. Trump also wants to remove the United States from the World Trade Organization. He is doing this all before his summit meeting with Putin.

But in some ways Donald Trump is way worse than I thought he would be at this point. He is acting like a guy who has to rob a bank to pay off the Colombian drug lord. Every day that he wakes up alive is like a blessing. This is the level of debt and peril that I think Donald Trump is in — that he would literally take a sledgehammer to everything the United States has built in an effort to save himself.

Donald Trump is acting like Putin’s vassal. The public evidence that Trump and his inner circle colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election is overwhelming. Yet Trump’s voters, the Republican Party and the right-wing news media keep denying the facts.

Putin is his handler. There are too many people who keep saying that they are “sick of hearing about Russia.” These people refuse to acknowledge the evidence. There is a national counterintelligence investigation targeting the White House. The president and all of his staff are implicated.

We have Michael Flynn, the [former] national security adviser to the president, pleading guilty to lying to the FBI because he covered up secret contacts with a foreign government and lied about it when confronted with the facts. The evidence is now in the realm of the Justice Department, and they’re not going to just come out and give it to you. This is what all these Republican congressmen are trying to do. For example, Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy. They’re trying to get the evidence so that they can use it to try to exonerate Donald Trump.

This is obstruction of justice on a grand scale. I suspect that when it’s all said and done and the sum total of the evidence comes out, it’ll be overwhelming and undeniable. As I told you last year, we’re entering a Benedict Arnold moment in American history. Robert Mueller is not playing games here. He cannot accelerate things because Donald Trump is taking a sledgehammer to government, although I’m certain he will accelerate things in order to make sure that justice is served. There will be more indictments, some of them very high profile. For example, Jared Kushner lied when he was asked about using Russian secret communications in an effort to hide his communications with Russia from the NSA and CIA.

Where is the mass protest and outrage among the American people? There should be massive protests and marches that disrupt day-to-day life. Is this passivity and perhaps exhaustion also part of Russia and Putin’s psy-op against the American people?

I think they chose their asset well. Donald Trump knows how to play this game. He understands that his only salvation is to manipulate the public. He doesn’t care if he destroys the fundamental infrastructure of the FBI. He has Rudy Giuliani telling him the good guys are the average field officers and the leadership needs to be completely redone because Trump wants to control the Justice Department. This is Trump’s way of obstructing justice and expanding his power.

Republicans are so taken by and loyal to Trump that they will believe and do anything he says. A good example of that is the Harley-Davidson factory and the nail factory that were shut down or may go away due to his tariffs. There have been interviews with people who said, “Well, we know it’s going to affect us firstly, but if Donald Trump says it’s for the best, then OK.” That’s cultism. Lo and behold, they actually say, “Well, Donald Trump didn’t do that. That’s the Europeans or that’s the liberals or that’s the Democrats that made me lose my job.”

We’re entering a very dangerous period in American history. It is terrifying. I was rereading my book last weekend, and I really had no idea that putting all of this together in one solid package would lead to the conclusion that there is, in fact, a plot. The Russians have a plan and a strategy. They have been executing the strategy for 15 years, by finding Donald Trump and building him up as a character and fostering his betrayal of the United States of America. They clearly set out to destroy American democracy and Donald Trump is the man to do it. We are, as of this November, on the cusp of possibly losing the American constitutional republic forever.

The Russians have been doing this in Europe with ultra-right-wing groups, fascist groups and others that have their origins with the Nazis. The Russians aren’t Communist anymore. They are ultra-conservative Christian nationalists.

Their goal is to use democracy to destroy democracy. You want to get rid of democracy, have an election. But this is an election where they vote away your rights. This is an election where you lose to voter suppression and aid from a foreign power. But at the end of that loss, these enemies of real democracy then say, “Oh, no. It was all fair and square.” The Republicans want an autocracy where the rights of minorities and others are not protected. Vladimir Putin, with Donald Trump and with the European conservative movements, are building an axis of autocracies, and the United States is on the relatively quick road to becoming an autocracy and no longer a constitutional republic.

Were American conservatives particularly vulnerable to being manipulated because they are anti-intellectual and already predisposed towards authoritarianism? Or was the Russian plan just that masterful and devious?

The Russians watch very carefully. We have to recognize their president is a former career KGB officer. The goals of Russia since 1917 have been to destroy capitalism, discredit democracy and show that Communist collectivism was the greatest social and political system in the world.

The Russians realized that the American right wing, with its hatred of Barack Obama, was a natural ally. So the Russians went about co-opting these right-wingers. I call them the “American beachhead.” Since 2005, the Russians have been hammering almost every conservative political movement in Europe — they are now funded by Moscow, particularly the neo-Nazi and the fascist ones.

The Russians really invest in these organizations because their goal is to create autocracies. To re-engineer the world away from a Washington-centric European alliance to a Moscow-centric, autocratic one.

Steve Bannon was just in Europe speaking to right-wing and fascist groups, telling them to be proud of being called racists. Trump’s former adviser Sebastian Gorka actually wore a literal medal that was awarded by a Hungarian group allied with the Nazis.

In my book I call Steve Bannon “the American Goebbels.” He is the evangelist of the American “alt-right.” In Europe there are groups such as Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West), which is the rabid anti-foreigner movement in Germany who got power through the AFD (Alternative für Deutschland), and went from something like 3 percent of the polls last year to now being the second-largest party in Germany with 30 percent of the vote.

Trump is pretty much riding a high wave with 40 or so percent support. Hitler won with 37 percent. Bannon was just in Europe meeting with the Hungarian government and the Jobbik Party. Bannon also went to meet with the Five Star Movement in Italy whose foreign minister, Matteo Salvini, just threatened to deport and put on trains all of the Roma people — the “gypsies” — in Italy. The last guy who put the Roma out of a country and rounded them up on trains was Adolf Hitler, and he sent them straight to Auschwitz.

So this is really dangerous talk that’s going on in Europe. We may be one or two elections in Europe from seeing the complete collapse of the European order that we established at the end of World War II.

In effect, Trump’s immigration policy amounted to putting the families of black and brown refugees in concentration camps. The United States has withdrawn from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. How do these images of crying babies and broken families help Vladimir Putin’s plot against America?

This all works out for the Russians. First, note how the Russians have now shifted. Remember, last year they were starting to criticize Trump by saying that he had been consumed by the swamp. Now it is all completely reversed. Trump is a strong leader. Trump is closing his borders. Middle East and African immigration into Europe is the No. 1 platform for European conservatives. Trump is the Johnny-come-lately to the story. So Trump saying the same is a double thumbs-up for the Russians and their strategy of inciting nativism and racism and chaos.

Trump has been on Fox News and elsewhere joking about Putin and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Is he a “useful idiot” for Putin’s spies? Or is Trump actually afraid of being caught by Robert Mueller and his behavior reflects that? Either way, he is acting like a guilty person.

[I’ve] certainly been pretty vocal on this point. “Useful idiot” is a technical term. It’s a person who is an unwilling dupe, who through their own actions helps your cause. I think Trump started out as a useful idiot when it came to selling apartments and getting money from Russians who were liquidating their assets from the Soviet Union. I think he then became a willing asset when they started using him when he wanted to run for president. Trump knows everything is being done in his benefit. He is one step from being an agent. We may find out with Donald Trump that is the case. Who knows?

There are multiple examples of Trump and his confidants meeting with Russian representatives in private without American translators or media present. Trump will meet with Putin again in a few weeks. Again, this conversation will be private. How unusual is this?

It’s extremely unusual, and people that should know better, like Gen. [John] Kelly, are not alarmed. They think this is just Trump’s way of doing things. But Trump meeting Putin in private is like him going in for his quarterly evaluation. I would not doubt if it actually comes out to effectively be that. As I said, I think this nation is in a Benedict Arnold moment.

Moreover, I think that there will be multiple Benedict Arnolds in the story. No other president would ever do this. No other president would be allowed to do this. Trump is getting away with this behavior because he has cowed the Republican Party with fear that they’ll be put out of office by his cult members. There is nothing Trump cannot do at this point.

Matters are very dire. I think this “blue wave” in the midterms is much exaggerated. Trump will win in 2020 — if he runs again — for a variety of reasons. What will America look like if Trump continues to get his way in terms of serving Putin’s and Russia’s interests, rather than those of the United States and the American people?

You will not recognize the United States. The country will vote itself into an autocracy. Trump and the Republican Party will suspend parts of America’s representative democracy. They will amend the Constitution. And America will see 65 percent of its people living under subjugation. Now, I don’t say that lightly. That’s an intelligence analysis based on the empirical data. I say that with experience honed with humility. Donald Trump makes no secret of his desires in that regard. His biggest problem has been democracy. I disagree with you, however, on one point. I do believe there will be a “blue wave.”

The problem with the progressives and liberals right now is that they are still treating this situation like we are in a state of normalcy.

Vladimir Putin actually warned that if Trump wins, he has to be careful of an American backlash like the one that swept the pro-Moscow government out of power in the Ukraine. He’s terrified of democracy. He’s terrified of people power. That’s my message. We have got to mobilize.

 

It has to be made clear that American democracy may go away this November, because if the Democrats don’t win the House of Representatives, it’s done. Trump will get whatever he wants. I don’t think he will win in 2020, because at that point I hope a hero will emerge.

Michael Moore recently said that the American people must be prepared to die to stop Trump’s authoritarian and fascist movement. Do you think Moore is just being hyperbolic? Or is he correct?

I think he’s a little hyperbolic. Look, when the “alt-right” killed Heather Heyer, the response from law enforcement has essentially run the “alt-right” underground. They had no idea that punching Nazis is a pretty deep-seated American value.

What would you tell people who are terrified or afraid of Trump and what he is doing to America? What advice would you give them?

I get those types of questions every day. The first thing I tell people is: “Stand fast. We will win this.” You have to understand that we are not up against one man. We are up against 40 percent of the American public who don’t understand what’s going on because they only believe Donald Trump. What we must do now is commit ourselves to the American democratic experiment and the best spirit of the founding.

If we turn out this year like it was a presidential election year, then we will win in a phenomenal landslide. You must vote like your life depends on it, because it could, if you’re a woman that might need an abortion. It could, if you’re a Latino. It could, if you’re a young black man where shootings can now essentially be written off with a rubber stamp.

When this nation was built out of my city, Philadelphia, the odds were simple. They win or they hang. And now it’s simple again. We win or we lose American democracy. We lose it forever, and I don’t think we’ll come back from autocracy.

https://www.salon.com/2018/07/09/malcolm-nance-on-trump-were-on-the-cusp-of-losing-the-american-constitutional-republic-forever/

blob:https://www.msnbc.com/850e6536-2871-46ee-8c68-52d92ace0d18

 

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Rampant in your face street crime in California begins to take its toll

Are more and more tourists going to start avoiding Eureka and Humboldt County if we don’t get serious about our own crime wave?

It’s happening in the Bay Area

San Francisco’s appalling street life repels residents — now it’s driven away a convention

In a move that is alarming San Francisco’s biggest industry, a major medical association is pulling its annual convention out of the city — saying its members no longer feel safe.

“It’s the first time that we have had an out-and-out cancellation over the issue, and this is a group that has been coming here every three or four years since the 1980s,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president, and CEO of S.F. Travel, the city’s convention bureau.

D’Alessandro declined to name the medical association, saying the bureau still hopes to bring the group back in the future.

As a rule, major conventions book their visits at least five years in advance. So when D’Alessandro and members of the hospitality industry hadn’t heard from the doctors about re-upping, they flew to the organization’s Chicago headquarters for a face-to-face meeting with its executive board.

And with good reason: The group’s annual five-day trade show draws 15,000 attendees and pumps about $40 million into the local economy.

“They said that they are committed to this year and to 2023, but nothing in between or nothing thereafter,” D’Alessandro said. “After that, they told us they are planning to go elsewhere — I believe it’s Los Angeles.”

Joe D’Alessandro, president & CEO of San Francisco Travel, says the city’s troubled street life has driven at least one convention away from the city.

The doctors group told the San Francisco delegation that while they loved the city, postconvention surveys showed their members were afraid to walk amid the open drug use, threatening behavior and mental illness that are common on the streets.

source: San Francisco Chronicle

In Trumpistan, behind every great crime is another crime

World money laundering headquarters and russuan mob favorite

Financial corruption isn’t the whole story, the tangled web linking the Trump and Justice Kennedy’s families.

Donald Trump, Anthony Kennedy and the “boy” at Deutsche Bank

Balzac knew that behind every great fortune there is a crime. But if he was contemplating the reason retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the great French novelist might have put it another way: Behind every great crime is another crime.

As a way of looking at a presidency that is enamored of every possible felony — self-dealing, conflicts of interest, emoluments, collusion with foreign governments and domestic corporations — crime-breeds-crime is a reasonable way to look at any Trump-related event.

But the resignation of a Supreme Court justice?

Because Trump cares so much about money, that’s been suggested. And there’s smoke: the links between Trump, Kennedy and Kennedy’s son Justin. In years past we’d call that the League of White Men, taking care of their own, behind the scenes, The Way It Is. Today we tend to call it something else: collusion.

Here’s why. On the surface, Kennedy’s resignation looked textbook: He’ll leave effective July 31, at the end of the Supreme Court term, as is traditional. But he announced it on June 27. Hand-delivering his letter to the Oval Office was no surprise to the White House, which had a list of candidates ready to roll out. Trump says he’ll announce his nominee on July 9.

Why the rush?

If Kennedy had waited a few weeks, some analysts believe Trump couldn’t have gotten his successor approved before the midterm elections. If the Democrats did well in November, it’s at least conceivable they could have blocked any conservative nominee. Approving a nominee before November means our likely future has the court killing Roe v. Wade, giving more power to corporations, turning the poor and minorities into serfs, exiling or detaining Others the president might choose to torture. That’s huge. But let’s consider the bottom line: For Donald Trump, the only real issue of interest is . . . himself. If a 4-4 Court had to rule on a difficult question — Does the president have the power to pardon himself? — it might not go well for Trump.

What started the speculation about dirty money connecting Trump, Kennedy and his son is the revelation that Kennedy and Trump have had a longstanding relationship through their children and their children’s success. We knew about Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank, the only bank willing to do business with him. (It’s also, perhaps not coincidentally, the bank that seems to have the longest illegal relationship with laundered Russian money. In January 2017, it was fined $425 million by New York regulators to settle allegations that it helped Russian investors launder as much as $10 billion through its branches in Moscow, New York and London.) But we’re just finding out about the Trump relationship with Justin Kennedy, the justice’s son, who worked at Deutsche Bank for a decade.

Media speculation about Trump’s surprising relationship with Justice Kennedy started with The New York Times:

Kennedy is bookish and abstract, while Mr. Trump is earthy and direct. But they had a connection, one Mr. Trump was quick to note in the moments after his first address to Congress in February 2017. As he made his way out of the chamber, Mr. Trump paused to chat with the justice.

“Say hello to your boy,” Mr. Trump said. “Special guy.”

Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin. The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role.

During Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history.

There’s more. New York is a set of villages. The Trumps and Kennedys live in the same one. As C’Zar Bernstein and Gabe Rusk wrote in a little-noticed March 2017 article:

— At the invitation of Justice Kennedy, Donald Trump’s daughter and former businesswoman Ivanka Trump visited the High Court with her daughter to attend a Supreme Court argument.

— According to reports, Kennedy and Ivanka had met at the congressional lunch after the inauguration.

But as Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC has reported, Justin Kennedy left Deutsche Bank long before the money laundering and had no direct connection to the bank’s loans to Trump. The more interesting fact is where Justin Kennedy went next — he became the co-CEO of LNR Property. And that brings us straight to the most immediately vulnerable member of the Trump family, Jared Kushner.

From The New York Times, in 2012:

The Kushners’ purchase in 2007 of 666 Fifth Avenue for a record price of $1.8 billion is considered a classic example of reckless underwriting. The transaction was so highly leveraged that the cash flow from rents amounted to only 65 percent of the debt service.

As many real estate specialists predicted, the deal ran into trouble. Instead of rising, rents declined as the recession took hold, and new leases were scarce. In 2010, the loan was transferred to a special servicer on the assumption that a default would occur once reserve funds being used to subsidize the shortfall were bled dry.

Instead of foreclosing on the 39-story building, which stretches from 52nd Street to 53rd Street, the lenders agreed last month to reduce the principal and defer some of the interest payments on the interest-only loan and extend its maturity for two years, until February 2019.

Vornado has taken an ownership stake in several troubled Manhattan properties. But the 666 Fifth deal raised some eyebrows because Vornado is also a part-owner of the special servicer on the loan, LNR Partners, of Miami Beach.

The plot thickens. As Bernstein and Rusk note:

— There was a direct business relationship between LNR and Kushner Companies at the time Justin Kennedy and Jared Kushner were both CEOs. Even the future President was aware of the deal and commented on its respective merits.

— In 2011, the year in which some of these negotiations took place, Justin Kennedy for the first time was ranked on the New York Observer’s 100 Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate at #36. Donald Trump clocked in at #12. At that time, The New York Observer was owned by Jared Kushner.

The 666 Fifth Avenue deal is generally regarded as the all-time stinker in New York commercial real estate. What did LNR see as the upside? Better question: Was there any upside? As we know, 666 Fifth Avenue went badly for the Kushners, so badly that they were scrambling for a partner. Where might one be?

The Intercept reported earlier this year that Charles Kushner, Jared’s father, had discussed a financing deal for 666 Fifth Avenue with Qatari finance minister Ali Sharif Al Emadi in April 2017. A month after that deal cratered, a group of Middle Eastern countries, with Jared Kushner’s backing, led a diplomatic assault that culminated in a blockade of Qatar. NBC News reported that Qatari government officials visiting the U.S. “considered turning over to Mueller what they believe is evidence of efforts by their country’s Persian Gulf neighbors in coordination with Kushner to hurt their country.”

Back in March 2017, when Bernstein and Rusk published their Medium article, they ended on a hopeful note:

We know what the Justice’s son may have done for Mr. Kushner, but what did the President’s children do for Justin Kennedy? How have they been nice to him? Evidently Justice Kennedy knows, and this may have had an impact on his opinion of the Trumps in general and the President in particular. This is perhaps a significant cause of concern for those who hope that Justice Kennedy will try and hold out until after Trump is replaced by a Democrat. Time will tell.

Well, time has told. Kennedy didn’t hold out. Although there’s clearly more to this story than an 81-year-old justice who was ready to retire, I’m thinking Anthony Kennedy’s farewell gift to Trump isn’t just right-wing control of the Supreme Court for the rest of most of our lives. For once, it may not be about the money. The real prize here may be a gold-plated Get Out of Jail Free card.

https://www.salon.com/2018/07/02/its-not-about-the-money-donald-trump-anthony-kennedy-and-the-kid-at-deutsche-bank/

More corruption and dirty deals from from traitor in Chief Trump

Tony tell your boy thanks for that Billion dollar loan

  • Deutsche Bank loaned President Donald Trump over $1 billion for his real-estate projects while Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s son led a real-estate division there, The New York Times reported Thursday.
  • Justin Kennedy was the global head of the real-estate capital markets division of Deutsche Bank, which loaned to Trump when other banks wouldn’t.
  • Anthony Kennedy’s retirement next month will give Trump an opportunity to shift the balance of the Supreme Court to the right.

The son of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was leading a real-estate division of Deutsche Bank as it gave President Donald Trump over $1 billion in loans to finance his real-estate projects when other banks wouldn’t, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Justin Kennedy, the former global head of Deutsche Bank’s real-estate capital markets division, was one of Trump’s close business associates, The Times reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

Because of Trump’s inconsistent track record in business, which included multiple bankruptcy filings and frequent lawsuits, most other major banks would not lend to him. Deutsche Bank loaned Trump the funds to construct and renovate skyscrapers and other developments in New York City and Chicago, The Times reported.

After Trump’s first address to Congress, in February 2017, he reportedly stopped to chat with Anthony Kennedy, saying: “Say hello to your boy. Special guy.”

more of this story at:

http://www.businessinsider.com/anthony-kennedy-son-loaned-president-trump-over-a-billion-dollars-2018-6

DONALD TRUMP MADE JUSTICE KENNEDY AN OFFER HE COULDN’T REFUSE

Most Americans were stunned the announcement that Justice Anthony Kennedy, one of the decisive swing votes on the Supreme Court, will retire next month, opening yet another lifetime appointment for Donald Trump to fill. “The timing,” as constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley said shortly after, “could not be worse for the Democrats”: with the Supreme Court filibuster a thing of the past, and at least two and a half years until Trump leaves office, Democrats have virtually no options to prevent the president from naming whichever candidate he likes. “Things look pretty bleak,” another legal expert told me.

Inside the White House, however, news of Kennedy’s retirement didn’t come as a shock. In fact, as The New York Times reports, the 81-year-old’s announcement was the culmination of a carefully orchestrated 17-month campaign by the Trump administration to remake the Supreme Court before the 2018 midterms, when there is an outside chance that Republicans could lose their majority. For conservatives, Kennedy’s seat was seen as one of the keys to rolling back abortion rights—on the campaign trail, Trump pledged to appoint a justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade. But first, Trump had to demonstrate to Kennedy that he could be trusted to nominate quality jurists to the Supreme Court. The campaign was multifaceted: over the course of several months, Trump systematically nominated three of Kennedy’s former clerks for plum judicial posts. While he criticized other, more conservative members of the court, he lavished praise on Kennedy—despite the fact that the justice has been pilloried by the right for his votes on social issues. And he cultivated a relationship with Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin, who worked closely with the Trump Organization in his role at Deutsche Bank as the global head of real-estate capital markets, according to the Times.

The overtures continued outside the White House. Ivanka Trump reportedly took Kennedy to lunch shortly after the inauguration and brought her daughter Arabella Kushner to the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments as special guest of Kennedy shortly after. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, went on conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt’s radio show last month to implore the court’s aging judges, “If you’re thinking about quitting this year, do it yesterday.”

Perhaps most important, Trump used the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to demonstrate to Kennedy how his own legacy could be preserved. He ensured that Kennedy was involved in swearing in Gorsuch, who used to clerk for him—something that gave Kennedy “virtually parental pride,” Turley told me, describing Kennedy’s obvious delight at the ceremony’s after-party. After Gorsuch was sworn in, the White House made sure to float two more potential Supreme Court candidates—Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Judge Raymond Kethledge—both of whom also clerked for Kennedy.

“I think the Gorsuch nomination was reassuring,” Turley explained. “I think it gained him a level of trust with Trump that he could discern a quality nominee, that he could find a quality nominee that could also fulfill his pledge to appoint a conservative nominee. I think the Gorsuch nomination had a huge impact on Kennedy and if I was to point at anything explaining the timing [of Kennedy’s retirement], I would probably have to say it was the Gorsuch nomination.”

For Trump and the Republican Party, winning Kennedy’s trust paid off. “The promise that [Trump] made the most often was to put a reliably conservative jurist on the court. Everyone understood that to be about Kennedy,” Turley said. “So we have every reason to expect that he will select someone more conservative than Kennedy.”

Of course, there is no guarantee that a Trump nominee will sail through the Senate. With a slim majority of 51 to 49 in the upper chamber, and the absence of Senator John McCain, who is home in Arizona battling cancer, a single Republican defection could tank a Trump SCOTUS nomination. As I reported on Thursday, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are viewed as potential turncoats if Trump names a justice too far to the right, given their past support for women’s reproductive health. While a Republican Senate aide told me that “Nothing unites Republicans of all stripes like judges,” Collins and Murkowski could break ranks if “Trump nominates someone truly objectionable.” Already, both senators have signaled that the president should look beyond the short list of more than two-dozen names the White House released.

The possibility of Collins and Murkowski defecting is not lost on their fellow Republicans. Senator John Thune of South Dakota urged the administration to find someone palatable for the two senators. “As much as you can, find somebody Collins and Murkowski can support,” he said. “I think we ought to plan to get this done with Republican votes.” The White House is taking their concerns seriously. According to Politico, White House counsel Don McGahn called Collins on Thursday for what the Maine Republican characterized as a “preliminary discussion” about the vacancy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met privately with Murkowski on Thursday afternoon, though she didn’t comment on what they discussed.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/06/donald-trump-justice-anthony-kennedy-retirement

What if your leader was a cowardly delusional narcissistic moron, oh ya, he is

Justin’s ready to kick your orange ass

When Trump returned to Washington on Wednesday, the Braggart continued his delusional claims of a very successful summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Democrats — and even some (believe it or not) Republicans — have grown increasingly skeptical about what has been accomplished in Singapore. No shit!

The batshit crazy propaganda tweets began as Air Force One landed. Trump declared that there is “no longer” a nuclear threat from the rogue regime and lashed out at those who questioned what he had achieved, branding the media as “Our Country’s biggest enemy.”

Trump’s propaganda Twitter feed Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!

Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!

This narcissistic moron is completely full of SHIT and so are all of the elected cult members defending him.

Trump’s “don’t believe reporters, they’re your enemy” talk is part of something much bigger. It’s related to his bogus claim that “there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea” and his willingness to excuse Kim Jong Un’s murderous ways by saying lots of people have done “really bad things.” It’s the Trump alternate universe in action. “ Brian Stelter  CNN

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker said Wednesday that “it’s becoming a cultish thing.” Countless Trump critics have thrown around the word “cult,” but it was striking to hear Corker say it.

WashPost columnist/CNN analyst Max Boot used a stronger word on Wednesday. He predicted that “before long” the GOP base “will be brainwashed by Trump & Fox into thinking that N Korea has ALREADY denuclearized…”

Chastising reporters for reporting is a pivotal part of the Trumpies alternate reality.
Some corners of the pro-Trump media are still blasting CNN’s Jim Acosta for shouting Questions at Trump and Kim the other day. “I was simply just trying to do what a reporter should do in those situations,” Acosta told Erin Burnett on CNN Wednesday night. Asking, even shouting, questions “is the American way.” He added: “I’ll do it again if I have the chance.”

A lot of this is the buildup of Trump alternative narrative as everyone around his starts get arrested and charged with various kinds of corruption, cover-up, conspiracy, and treason. He’ll be calling it “fake news” and his cult will fall right in line

 

 

The Hikshari trial surrender is the sign of a much deeper problem


While we think it’s very practical to have location numbers on the Hikshari trial, but what does that say about how far we’ve sunk into this out of control the crime wave in Eureka? This has come on the heels of the failed attempt by the City of Eureka to locate “Betty’s trailer park by the bay” along the Hikshari trial.

Official statement from EPD – Citizens who are on the trail from the gated entrance at the Herrick Park and Ride to the Foot of Del Norte Street, will see painted yellow numbers on the trail every 100 feet. If a citizen finds themselves in a situation requiring Police, Fire, or Medical services, they are urged to provide the dispatcher with the nearest reference marker number. This will allow for First Responders to know the caller’s exact location, which will assist in expediting the arrival of help.

The Examiner thinks that prevention in the form of regular patrols of Hikshari trial and the rest of Eureka would go a long way towards making a difference. Unfortunately, according to many businesses on South Broadway EPD no longer even responds to calls for service, leaving the businesses to fend for themselves. Eureka has sunk pretty far down in the seven years since the unjustified firing of Chief Garr Nelson.

We assert this is why it’s so difficult to get professionals like doctors, dentists, veterinarians etc. to locate in this county and why many tourists will never return.

Come on Eureka you can and should do better than this complete surrender.

Former DNI James Clapper has “no doubt” that Russia “swung the election to a Trump win.”

 

The Kremlin talked about Trump like he was their boy, and their comments weren’t always flattering.

The truth is, NSA understood quite a bit about Trump’s connections to Moscow, and by mid-2016 it had increased its efforts to get to the bottom of the mystery regarding the candidate’s Russian ties. In response to urgent FBI requests for more information, NSA rose to the occasion, and by the time that Donald Trump officially accepted the Republican nomination in mid-July 2016, “We knew we had a Russian agent on our hands,” as a senior NSA official put it recently.

The official went on: “We had several reports in late 2015 and early 2016, mostly from Second and Third Parties”—that being spy-speak for NSA’s foreign friends—“but by the spring of 2016 we had plenty of our own collection.” These reports, based on multiple intercepts, were tightly compartmented, that is, restricted to a small group of counterintelligence officials, given their obvious sensitivity, but they painted an indelible picture of a compromised GOP nominee. “The Kremlin talked about Trump like he was their boy, and their comments weren’t always flattering.” The NSA official stated that those above-top-secret reports left no doubt that the Russians were subverting our democracy in 2016—and that Team Trump was a witting participant in the Kremlin’s criminal conspiracy: “Trump and his kids knew what they were doing, and who they were doing it with,” the official explained.

This information helps explain why James Clapper, our country’s most experienced spy-boss, recently amplified his previous statement that our president was Vladimir Putin’s “asset” by explaining that he has “no doubt” that Russian spies “swung the election to a Trump win.” This weekend, Clapper stated that he was “absolutely” unaware of the FBI’s use of informants to gain information about the Trump campaign in 2016. Tellingly, Clapper said nothing about top-secret-plus intelligence which might have spurred the Bureau to rustle up some informants in this case—and, like any veteran spook with a half-century in the spy business, Clapper isn’t likely to blab about high-grade SIGINT anytime soon, particularly when it implicates the president in espionage and worse.

Edited from – https://observer.com/2018/05/what-did-the-fbi-do-in-2016-about-russian-connections-to-donald-trump/

Forget about impeachment.

It’s time to put Trump on trial for money laundering, bank fraud, espionage and treason.