Archive for the ‘russia’ Tag

Sanctions? For What?   2 comments

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but the main reason I would have voted for Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton (for example, had I had a gun to my head and was required to vote for one or the other) was because of his relaxed stance toward Russia.

I have an 18-year-old son and a 24-year-old daughter, both now eligible for the draft — though the daughter has not yet been required to register. Thank you, President Obama, for balancing the ying-yang of male-female relations and requiring both genders to be killed in wars you start. That retroactively confirmed why I was right not to vote for you. I thought it was because you admire Marxist African dictators and have zero understanding of economics, but in reality, I voted against you because you’re a warmonger who never saw an 18-year-old you didn’t want to die in a war … unless, of course, they are your daughters.

But back to the moment ….

President Trump came into office talking strong defense without going to war. Okay, if I hadn’t had a third option who actually would have been a good president, that was a bit of weight in his direction since Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State had encouraged the Obama administration to advance two wars and get involved in four others and then bragged about it in her book Hard Choices. That was a recipe for my children being killed in one of her dirty little wars and so, if I hadn’t of loathed her before, I would not have voted for her in 2016. Disliking Trump’s misogyny simply didn’t outweigh Clinton’s warmonging and utter lack of diplomatic skills, which would likely endanger my children’s lives.

So, now, having won in part because of his stated desire to get along with the Russians (if not China), President Trump is now eager to sign sanctions against the country and says he will do so as soon as Congress forwards them to him.

I was encouraged when, after the election, Donald Trump decided to get along with China. I figure getting along with other countries is a better choice than not getting along with them and it’s really not our business what they do within their own borders … just as it is not their business what we do within ours.

So, whatever happened to getting along with Russia? Well, the Democrats (and there is increasing evidence that the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton were involved) cooked up an excuse for their anointed queen to have lost the 2016 election. It couldn’t be her hawkish war stance, her lack of any economic understanding, her attacking the women her husband assaulted, or her calling 40% of the electorate irredeemable deplorables. No, it had to be something far more insidious … like Russian operatives “interfering” in the election.

Let’s be clear about this. The backed emails came from Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who has never claimed anyone gave him that information. His organization has proven itself quite capable of doing its own hacking.

Moreover, there is no evidence that our actual election system was hacked. It would be virtually impossible to do so anyway. There are only three states with electronic voting machines. Those have had issues in the past, but an investigation showed they worked fine in 2016. One of the glories of our now-crippled federalist system is that elections are statewide affairs … even for the President of the United States. Ballot box stuffing is possible at the precinct level, but modern election practices would catch most of those.

So Wikileaks released information ahead of the US Presidential election that showed Hillary Clinton in a bad light. It’s recently come to light that Russia was the source for an anti-Trump report that came out around the same time. Both blocks of information served to improve the knowledge of the American public of the inner workings of the two major candidates for president. That’s a good thing! That’s what journalists are supposed to do and don’t. Assange and those mysterious Russian hackers did us a favor by informing us of information we the people had a right to know.

That’s not interference. That’s education.

So, now Trump wants to impose sanctions about Russian for “interfering in the election.” What does that tell us? That he didn’t have a deal with Russia to swing the US election in his favor? Perhaps. But more, it shows that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Instead of being friendly with Russia, President Trump has decided to risk a war with them instead.

Good going, Mr. President. You’ve fallen for the same stupidity that every other president since 1945 has fallen for. Let’s start another war that we don’t have the economic capacity to win. Let’s consume more young lives and end maybe set off World War 3. And, why?

Because, according to the elites in Congress, the American people apparently have no right to know the truth about their candidates, so it’s worth going to war to prevent such “interference” in our elections.

And, of course, journalists stroke the “Russia did it” line because they don’t want the American people to notice that Julian Assange did their jobs for them. But in case you’re wondering – Assange addressed this issue of Russian hacking the day of the election, before we even knew who the winner would be … when most of the opinion polls were showing that Hillary Clinton would be the winner.

https://wikileaks.org/Assange-Statement-on-the-US-Election.html

An Intelligence Cabal?   4 comments

I am ambivalent about President Donald Trump. If I could advise him on doing his job, I would tell him to close his mouth and still his Twitter thumbs for a half-hour before doing, saying or posting anything. He’s his own worst enemy because he lacks self-restraint and any sort of nuance.

Image result for image of nsa-cia-fbi cabalJames Comey needed to be fired, but it could have been handled more delicately, thus potentially avoiding the firestorm of criticism that followed. I don’t know what happened between the two men, and I don’t entirely care. Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation smacked of elitist favoritism and needed to be addressed with his removal. To the extent that Trump really plans to drain the DC swamp, this looked a little like it and I applaud that, even as I wince at the way that he went about it.

In the aftermath of the firing, Trump added fuel to the fire by complaining about the seemingly endless investigation into his administrations possible ties to Russia. That got the Democrats’ knickers in a knot, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense as an explanation of Comey’s firing. Trump has advisors (Mike Pence, for example) who would have told him that firing Comey wouldn’t end that investigation and that it was likely to inspire greater FBI intensity toward the investigation … which is exactly what happened. If you subscribe to the “Trump is an idiot” view of things, you might believe he’s dumb enough to dig himself a deeper hole, but nobody who has been as successful in business as President Trump has been is that stupid. I just find the theory that he became stupid upon entering the White House to be flimsy.

Some of my skepticism flows from my firm conviction that Wikileaks was the source of the DNC emails, not the Russians. Julian Assange has a reputation and if you know that reputation, you know that he doesn’t peddle in information of questionable provenance. As I’ve said before, he’s all about shattering the comfort that elite organizations have with communicating with each other. It wouldn’t serve his ends to help Russia spread information they wanted spread … unless of course he could see them being discredited by linking them to it. Feeding the government conspiracy theory beast isn’t an Assange goal.

The constant innuendo that Russia “hacked” our election with Trump’s full knowledge also doesn’t resonate with me. The glory of a republic with a decentralized electoral system means it is impossible for Russia to have affected the actual vote and I applaud whoever released the emails because the American voters had a right to know what our rulers think about us and to act upon that knowledge. I might wish they’d voted for Gary Johnson instead, but Donald Trump is no worse than Hillary Clinton would have been.

 

The fact is that Hillary was deeply embedded with the Deep State, which should cause all of us to wonder … what if there really is a conspiracy against Donald Trump being orchestrated within the various national security agencies that are part of the United States government?

President Trump has been complaining for months about damaging leaks emanating from the intelligence community and the failure of Congress to pay any attention to the illegal dissemination of classified information. Whenever the government and the media poo-poo something like that, I get suspicious. Donald Trump was a highly successful businessman. He’s not stupid. Why do we assume that he couldn’t have become aware of a conspiracy to delegitimize his election and somehow remove him from office?

President Trump has also been insisting that the allegation of Russian influence in the election is a made-up story, which I don’t disagree. What if senior officials of the Obama White House orchestrated a stealth coup that continues today under the guise of the Deep State? I’m not the only one who thinks Comey might have been party to such a conspiracy, in which case his dismissal would have been perfectly justified based on his demonstrated interference in both the electoral process and in his broadening of the acceptable role of his own bureau.

Two well-informed observers of the situation have recently joined in the discussion, Robert Parry of Consortiumnews and former CIA senior analyst Ray McGovern of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. McGovern has noted that there is one individual who has been curiously absent from the list of former officials who have been called in to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. That is ex-CIA Director John Brennan, long considered an extreme Obama/Hillary Clinton loyalist and rumored to be at the center of the information damaging to the Trump administration gathered by friendly intelligence services, including the British.

McGovern suggests that Brennan and Comey may been at the center of a Deep State CIA-NSA-FBI cabal working to discredit the Trump candidacy and delegitimize his presidency. Brennan was uniquely well placed to fabricate the Russian hacker narrative that has been fully embraced by Congress and the media even though no actual evidence supporting that claim has been produced. As WikiLeaks has now revealed that the CIA had the technical ability to hack into sites surreptitiously while leaving behind footprints that would attribute the hack to someone else, including the Russians, you don’t have to be a fiction writer to consider that the alleged trail to Moscow might have been fabricated. This false intelligence has proven to be of immense value to those seeking to present “proof” that the Russian government handed the presidency to Donald Trump.

Robert Parry asked in a May 10th article whether we are seeing is “Watergate redux or ‘Deep State’ coup?”. He followed up on May 13th with “The ‘Soft Coup’ of Russia-gate”  

So, the question is:

is this all a cover-up of White House wrongdoing similar to President Nixon firing of Watergate independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox and the resignations of both the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, or

is it an undermining of an elected president who has not actually committed any “high crimes and misdemeanors” to force his removal from office.

I am a reluctant conspiracy theorist because I think conspiracies are hard to keep secret. The federal government leaks like a sieve and bureaucrats are notorious gossips. Any large group of CIA operatives meeting in secret would become public knowledge within a week. Alternatively, this could be a loose arrangement between individuals driven by a common objective, which would reduce the need for meetings in the CIA parking garage. 

Parry suggests the three key players in the scheme are:

  • John Brennan of CIA, Director of National Intelligence
  • James Clapper
  • James Comey of the FBI.

Comey’s role in the “coup” was key because it consisted of using his office to undercut both Hillary Clinton and Trump, neither of whom was seen as a truly suitable candidate by the Deep State … Trump because he’s not a life-long government operative and Hillary because she is … well, “unstable” comes to mind.

Parry speculates that a broken election might well have resulted in a vote in the House of Representatives to elect the new president, a process that might have produced a Colin Powell presidency as Powell actually received three votes in the Electoral College and therefore was an acceptable candidate under the rules governing the electoral process.

Parry carefully documents how Russiagate has developed and how the national security and intelligence organs have been key players as it moved along, often working by leaking classified information. President Barack Obama de facto authorized the wide distribution of raw intelligence on Trump and the Russians through executive order, which would suggest plausible deniability if anyone got caught. Parry notes that to-date no actual evidence has been presented to support allegations that Russia sought to influence the U.S. election and/or that Trump associates were somehow co-opted by Moscow’s intelligence services as part of the process. Nevertheless, anyone even vaguely connected with Trump who also had contact with Russia or Russians has been regarded as a potential traitor. 

Parry’s point is that there is a growing Washington consensus that consists of traditional liberals and progressives, Democratic globalist interventionists and neoconservatives who believe that Donald Trump must be removed by any means necessary. The interventionists and neocons in particular already control most of the foreign policy mechanisms but they continue to see Trump as a possible impediment to their plans for aggressive action against a host of enemies, particularly Russia. As they are desirous of bringing down Trump “legally” through either impeachment or Article 25 of the Constitution which permits removal for incapacity, it might be termed a constitutional coup.

The rationale Trump haters have fabricated is simple: the president and his team colluded with the Russians to rig the 2016 election in his favor, which, if true, would provide grounds for impeachment. The steady drumbeat is that Trump must be removed “for the good of the country” and to “correct a mistake made by the American voters.” The mainstream media is completely on board with the process.

Could we all calm down for just a moment. President Trump is the duly elected president. George W. Bush and Barack Obama did plenty of things that in retrospect should have upset a wide swath of the American public. The provocative views of Ray McGovern and Robert Parry bear consideration. These are not friends of the White House or apologists for the Trump administration. McGovern has been strongly critical of current foreign policy, most particularly of the expansion of various wars, claims of Damascus’s use of chemical weapons, and the cruise missile attack on Syria. Parry describes Trump as narcissistic and politically incompetent.

What if the Deep State is moving us in a direction that is far more dangerous than anything Donald Trump might do? A soft coup engineered by the national security and intelligence agencies would be far more dangerous to our democracy than anything coming out of the Oval Office. 

Posted May 25, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Government, Uncategorized

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Adopt A Highway   Leave a comment

Image result for image of a gravel roadMy friend Mila sent this to me via email and it was intriguing enough that I researched it. Mila lives here in Alaska, but she was born in the Ukraine. Her husband Alex is from Russia. They escaped the USSR about two years before perastroika, so they know a thing or two about risking all for the chance at freedom. Maybe someday they will let me interview them.

Anyway … back to the subject at hand

 

The Moscow Times:

“Smugglers have transformed the gravel track in the Smolensk region in order to help their heavy goods vehicles traveling on the route, said Alexander Laznenko from the Smolensk region border agency. The criminal groups have widened and raised the road and added additional turning points, he said.

The road, which connects Moscow to the Belarussian capital of Minsk, is known to be used by smugglers wishing to avoid official customs posts and is now under official surveillance.

A convoy of trucks was recently stopped on the road carrying 175 tons of sanctioned Polish fruit worth 13 million rubles ($200,000). The produce was subsequently destroyed, TASS reported.

Local border guards, customs and police officers have checked over 73,000 vehicles entering Russia from Belarus this year, Laznenko said, claiming that the number of heavy goods vehicles crossing the border from Belarus has increased dramatically in the last year, he said.”

 

So, as I work on the 3rd book in Transformation Project (yeah, that’s right, I’m working on it even though the 2nd book is more than a month from launch), I’ve been asking myself these questions, trying to see beyond my marginally statist myopia.

Who will build the roads if the government doesn’t?

Apparently criminals will, if they need to and it benefits their own interests. And, catch what they’re bringing in — fruit.

Image result for image of truckload of fruitOh, the horrors of black marketing! Someone might get addicted to bananas.

The smugglers adopted a gravel road from Moscow to Minsk, raised it, widened it and added turning points. The secret project increased traffic and prompted a government takeover, complete with customs abuses.

So, let’s just take a pause and think about this. A company builds roads. By the way, the government does not build roads. The government gives money to companies to build roads. So the government goes away (or at least stops being able to fund roads) and the company does what?

Well, the statist answer is that they would go bankrupt because no roads would be built. The capitalist solution would be that they either build the road themselves and recoup the cost through tolls or they contract with the people who need to road to get their goods to market and build the road on their behalf.

See! No government needed! Just enlightened self-interest and a dump truck and grader.

Russia Accuses US Mercenaries Of Inciting Civil War In Ukraine   Leave a comment

Russia Accuses US Mercenaries Of Inciting Civil War In Ukraine.

I suspect this is the pot calling the kettle black, but the kettle is plenty black.

May I suggest that Russia has been fomenting civil war and so have we? Why would we be shocked that this would be the case? Where else have we done this?

How about the entire Arab Spring?

Alaskans Want to Rejoin Russia?   3 comments

<a href=’http://www.newser.com/story/184283/hot-new-petition-give-alaska-back-to-russia.html?utm_source=newser&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=story&#8217; target=’_blank’><img style=’width:240px;border-width:0px;’ alt=” src=’http://img2-cdn.newser.com/square-image/184283-20140325091754/hot-new-petition-give-alaska-back-to-russia.jpeg’></a&gt;

No, actually we don’t. I’m not sure who is signing the petition, but I seriously doubt any actual Alaskans think this is a good idea. Alaskans are republican-libertarian-anarchist in our leanings. The Russian autocracy would not set well with us and Putin would not enjoy the relationship.

But the petition does make a point. Alaskans are fed up with the colonial relationship that the federal government maintains with us. We’re not a state. We’re treated like a frozen banana republic, not allowed to access our resources without complicated processes that often kill economic benefits because they take years to accomplish and forced to submit to a special level of regulation that most other states do not face.

Most Alaskans are Americans by birth or by heritage, but we are frustrated and, while most of us wouldn’t want to be part of Russia, we wouldn’t necessarily object to being an independent nation with a friendly relationship with the United States.

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