Friday, March 31, 2017

The Daily Donald 03/31/2017

Things got really bad for President Trump yesterday.

For starters President Putin gave a disastrous interview where he made ambiguous statements about RIS interference in the US election. This was the wrong time to act cute in front of the camera. Perhaps whoever advised President Putin on this should be retrenched because they clearly underestimated how much impact this would have on things.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had its first open hearing. A lot of information was presented about how the RIS (and its predecessors KGB and NKVD) had historically indulged in information operations to try and influence the election in the US and Europe. Much was made of the fact that this latest digital version of disinformatsya is just a variation on older themes. And Clinton Watts basically came out in front of the committee and openly said that the reason the Russian IOs succeeded was because Donald J Trump used these RIS active measures to undermine his opponents. This process was at work both in the primaries and the general election. Whenever some RIS info-warrior would shoot a virtual bullet Donald Trump neatly pushes his opponents in front of it. 

This is a very common form of collaboration with a hostile foreign power. It is also a form of treason. There is so much public domain evidence of Donald Trump doing this - there is no way for him to pretend he doesn't do this. A treason charge made in this context will stick. When you use information provided by a hostile foreign power to undermine your political opponents - you commit treason and you belong in jail. 

Not a single Trump supporter will deny that he said those things. They all repeated the things he said - and it is very clear all those things came from RIS sources. 

It comes as no surprise that the suspected felon Gen. Micheal Flynn's lawyers suddenly came up with an offer to testify before the SSCI and the HPSCI in exchange for immunity. This is unlikely to happen as an officer who has clearly betrayed his oath to the nation is not a very credible witness. Also there is more to be gained in making the same offer to Paul Manafort who clearly could offer evidence that implicates Putin himself too.

Against that backdrop Chairman Devin Nunes found himself in even more hot water as several leaks revealed that three different officials (Micheal Elias, Ezra Cohen-Whatnik, and ?) leaked information from the NSC's classified documents to Chairman Nunes. Chairman Nunes then went through an elaborate charade of presenting the information to President Trump at the WH, which completely obstructed the efforts to hold President Trump accountable. This entire exercise appears to have been orchestrated by Steve Bannon's Strategic Interests Group faction of the NSC. This is a part of the NSC that Gen. McMaster does not have any control over. This group has been suspected of feeding RIS disinformatysa to the President as part of policy discussions. As things stand, it may be that the Bannon led SIG is the actual footfall of the RIS inside the WH.

Now we are seeing rumors of a President having a come-to-Jesus meeting where all options including resignation are on the table. FWIW - I do not think he will resign. To resign would be to hand over all leverage to his opponents. My guess is that Putin will urge him to stay and fight. That may explain why Wikileaks has dug out Vault No Whatever. In this latest piece of "leaked information" WL attempts to blame the CIA for all viruses on the internet. I guess the staff of the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg need to do something to keep their jobs. I wonder at what point they will switch gears to Anti-Putin propaganda. Probably a few months into the protests.

In any case, whether decides to stay or leave, President Trump will need to come up with a bunch of crazy proposals in Congress to use as leverage against the imminent impeachment. This may explain why he is simultaneously reaching for the Democrats in one tweet and pushing them away as enemies in the next tweet. The same applies to the GOP Freedom Caucus. Both the Freedom Caucus and the House Dems are in a weakened position. This might make President Trump believe that he is likely to find support by leveraging either or both of this group. It remains to be seen whether this succeeds.

Mainstream GOPers are slowly peeling away from Donald Trump. One prominent one has indicated to his friends that it is time for people to build bridges with Vice President Pence. Interviews with focus groups are showing that some Trumpers still want to give President Trump more time to sort out his "teething troubles" but there does not appear to be any real basis for trusting him even among his staunchest supporters. Direct questions about trust elicited blank stares even from his traditional base.

In this climate, I would say there is more on its way. The crisis is fast approaching a level that completely outstrips the Admin's resources. At time will be upon us when they simply cannot respond to the number of questions raised about their integrity. While the questions posed by the public at large can be ignored, questioned posed by powerful groups in the Senate and House, by powerful groups inside Wall Street, and the high priests of Law Enforcement cannot be brushed aside.

President Trump also reshuffled his White House staff, and depending on who you ask Katie Walsh was either rewarded for her superb performance as Dy Chief of WH Staff with a plum posting at America First Policies PAC or she was dumped in a graveyard for leaking sensitive information to reporters and "frogmarched out of the WH". I don't know what to believe and I really don't care which of those accounts is true. It is entirely possible that both are true.

If that all sounds disturbing there is a small bit of good news. It seems the Trump Administration has backed off for now on its plans to introduce a 20% tariff on goods made in Mexico. The Mexicans for their part passed legislation in the Senate which reciprocated the 20% tariff with a complete ban on import of US corn. Mexico began highly public negotiations with Brazil and other South American producers to buy corn without any taxation at all. This caused the Trump Admin officials to push the brakes on the bullshit machine that is CiC's mouth.

Alas this will not last. A train wreck has been set in motion. As Mexico begins taking competitive offers on Corn from South America, it will undoubtedly begin to receive better offers than what US corn producers can make. This will lead to open competition between US Corn and South American Corn. That competition will lead to a price war which in turn will push us closer to a Great Depression. It is important not blame the Mexicans for this state of affairs - as in complete honesty - it is completely our own damn fault.

We failed the world when we allowed Donald J. Trump to become President of the United States. 


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