To what extent is Donald Trump a surrogate of Vladimir Putin?


Just before the Republican National Convention, the Republican party released their new platform for 2016. The New York Times called it “the most extreme Republican platform in memory.” Among other things, according to the Times, this new platform outlined positions “making no exceptions for rape or women’s health in cases of abortion; requiring the Bible to be taught in public high schools; selling coal as a ‘clean’ energy source; demanding a return of federal lands to the states; insisting that legislators use religion as a guide in lawmaking; appointing ‘family values’ judges; barring female soldiers from combat; and rejecting the need for stronger gun controls — despite the mass shootings afflicting the nation every week.” This apparently came to pass largely because Donald Trump, who would go on just a few days later to accept the party’s nomination for President, didn’t push back. With one notable exception, Trump and his team, accepted everything that was suggested without debate.

According to Talking Points Memo, “The Trump Camp was totally indifferent to the platform. So party activists were able to write one of the most conservative platforms in history. Not with Trump’s backing but because he simply didn’t care. With one big exception: Trump’s team mobilized the nominee’s traditional mix of cajoling and strong-arming on one point: changing the party platform on assistance to Ukraine against Russian military operations in eastern Ukraine.”

That’s right. They didn’t push back against any of the retrograde domestic policies, but, curiously, they insisted that proposed wording about our need to arm the Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces be stricken, “contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington,” according to the Washington Post.

And this is the first thing that came to mind this morning when I read Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager’s comments concerning the recent Wikileaks release of some 20,000 DNC emails which appear to show that those overseeing the Democratic primary process were biased in favor Clinton. Telling CNN’s Jake Tapper “I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention,” Robby Mook went on to say that security experts have indicated that the hack was initiated in Russia. “What’s disturbing to us is that experts are telling us Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually of helping Donald Trump,” Mook said.

And, with that, I went down a rabbit hole leading me to the terrifying conclusion that Trump very well may be running as a proxy for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

I mean, I knew the two men had made statements in the past concerning their admiration for one another, but I had no idea just how deep the connections went. Take, for instance, the fact that Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, had worked for many years for Viktor Yanukovych, the Putin-backed former president of Ukraine. Or, how about the fact that a good deal of Trump’s current wealth can be tracked backed to Russia?

Following are three points from Talking Points Memo about the financial connection between Trump and Russian oligarchs with ties to Putin.

1. All the other discussions of Trump’s finances aside, his debt load has grown dramatically over the last year, from $350 million to $630 million. This is in just one year while his liquid assets have also decreased. Trump has been blackballed by all major US banks.

2. Post-bankruptcy Trump has been highly reliant on money from Russia, most of which has over the years become increasingly concentrated among oligarchs and sub-garchs close to Vladimir Putin.

3. One example of this is the Trump Soho development in Manhattan, one of Trump’s largest recent endeavors. The project was the hit with a series of lawsuits in response to some typically Trumpian efforts to defraud investors by making fraudulent claims about the financial health of the project. Emerging out of that litigation however was news about secret financing for the project from Russia and Kazakhstan. Most attention about the project has focused on the presence of a twice imprisoned Russian immigrant with extensive ties to the Russian criminal underworld.

Relevant to the second point, here’s an interesting quote from Trump’s son, Donald Jr., as reported by the Washington Post earlier this year. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets… We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” [This, according to the article, was said at a 2008 real estate conference.] And Trump himself said in a 2007 deposition, “Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment.”

So, having been turned away by every bank in the United States, where he’s known to be a crook and swindler, Trump apparently cozied up to Russians like Aras Agalarov, who was among those in 2013 to pony up a reported $14 million to bring Trump’s Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. [It’s been reported that Agalarov and Trump have also talked about building a Trump Tower in Moscow.]

In an article posted just recently on The Atlantic’s site titled It’s Official: Hillary Clinton Is Running Against Vladimir Putin, Jeffrey Goldberg put’s it this way. “I am not suggesting that Donald Trump is employed by Putin… I am arguing that Trump’s understanding of America’s role in the world aligns with Russia’s geostrategic interests; that his critique of American democracy is in accord with the Kremlin’s critique of American democracy; and that he shares numerous ideological and dispositional proclivities with Putin—for one thing, an obsession with the sort of ‘strength’ often associated with dictators. Trump is making it clear that, as president, he would allow Russia to advance its hegemonic interests across Europe and the Middle East. His election would immediately trigger a wave of global instability—much worse than anything we are seeing today—because America’s allies understand that Trump would likely dismantle the post-World War II U.S.-created international order. Many of these countries, feeling abandoned, would likely pursue nuclear weapons programs on their own, leading to a nightmare of proliferation.”

And it seems to be getting worse. Just recently, in an interview with Maggie Haberman and David Sanger of The New York Times, Trump suggested that we may have to reduce our military presence in the world. He even went so far as to say that, if he were president, he may not automatically honor the security guarantees we have with other NATO nations. “He even called into question whether, as president, he would automatically extend the security guarantees that give the 28 members of NATO the assurance that the full force of the United States military has their back,” wrote Habermas and Sanger. “For example, asked about Russia’s threatening activities that have unnerved the small Baltic States that are the most recent entrants into NATO, Mr. Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing whether those nations ‘have fulfilled their obligations to us’.”

So this goes a little bit deeper than Trump just saying that he admires Putin and the way he “handles” journalists, and Putin making complimentary comments in response… Just how financially beholden is Trump to Putin and his fellow oligarchs? I don’t know. But, given everything outlined above, I’d say that it’s at least possible that there are Russian forces other forces pushing Trump toward the White House. I know it’s unlikely, but, the more I read, and the more I think back about all of the insane things that Trump has said over the past year, the more I wonder if, just maybe, he’s been trying this whole time to throw the election and get out of some agreement he’s had with Putin, only to find his polling numbers jumping every time he calls a woman a “pig” or makes fun of a handicapped reporter. What if, beneath it all, Trump’s a decent man who just can’t get free of the Russian mob?


[I made the image at the top, but this one is from an old article in New York Magazine.]

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  1. Posted July 24, 2016 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Whoever released the DNC emails, I suspect it will have the effect of further alienating the Bernie supporters, who had, over the past few weeks, been making their way reluctantly to Team Clinton. Hopefully it won’t be enough to throw the election in Trump’s favor, but if they can keep 15% of the more fervent lefties from the polls, it could have a significant impact. If I could just observe this, I’d find it fascinating. It’s hard to appreciate the drama, whoever, when the future of the world is at stake.

  2. Meta
    Posted July 24, 2016 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Now that Wasserman Schultz has been driven from the DNC, it’s been suggested that Granholm may get the job.

    Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is said to be among those under consideration to replace Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

    If Granholm were to get the nod, it would make sense: She has long been an ally of Hillary Clinton and backed her in the 2008 campaign she lost to Barack Obama. At present, Granholm is serving as senior adviser to a group working to get Clinton elected this year.

    Read more:

  3. Demetrius
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Of course it is no coincidence that this leak happened on the day before the convention, and only time will tell who was actually behind it.

    But neither of those things erases the fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the DNC conspired to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ campaign to ensure a smooth path to victory for Clinton, as many Sanders supporters had alleged, and as Wasserman Schultz’s surprise resignation basically confirms.

    As far as this latest news “alienating the Bernie supporters,” I don’t think that will be much of an issue, since it seems pretty clear that – with Clinton’s pick of Tim Kaine as her running mate – she basically plans to win by gaining the votes of moderate Democrats, Independents, and anti-Trump Republicans. At this point, I’m guessing she feels she has basically already won, and doesn’t really need the left-wing.

  4. Posted July 25, 2016 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    There is no difference between Trump and Clinton. Bernard Sanders was our last great hope.

    But people were mean to him.

    Sanders’ camp is denying that Russia was behind the DNC leak to favor Trump.

  5. Krysia Hepatica
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I know it’s the Huff Post, but still…

    “Pussy Riot On Trump: We Laughed When Vladimir Putin Rose To Power, Too”

  6. SB
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Trump is so driven by greed and his ego that Putin would be able to play him like a violin.

  7. Robert Reich by proxy
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Democratic National Committee Chair (that is, until the end of the convention) Debbie Wasserman Schultz was repeatedly interrupted and booed this morning as she sought to speak to Florida’s delegation. She was defiant, insisting delegates would see more of her. “You will see me every day between now and Nov. 8 on the campaign trail and we will lock arms and we will not stand down,” she said.

    As long as she’s an official presence in Philadelphia – gaveling the convention to order and officially presiding over it — Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a continuing reminder of the Democratic National Committee’s bias against Bernie and all the voters who supported him. Hillary and the rules committee ought to take the gavel out of her hands and send her home.

  8. EOS
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    And what did Clinton do after finding out what Debbie Wasserman Schultz did to sabotage the primaries? She hired her to run her campaign. Hell No, DNC, We won’t vote for Hillary.

  9. Lynne
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    The problem with #NeverHillary is that the alternative is so much worse, it isn’t even funny. It scares me to no end.

    I don’t know how to make people like Clinton since I like her. I find it interesting that these emails, which mostly indicate a bias against Sanders but actually don’t indicate any actual wrong doing, might actually hurt her. I find the whole “thought police” aspect of it to be chilling since mostly these emails indicate that the DNC had personal biases against Sanders which they probably didnt act on and expressed in a context they felt was private.

  10. anonymous
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone remember the story about the Democratic National Committee revoking the Sanders campaign’s access to its voter data files? In the context of these recent leaks, it’s not difficult to imagine that this was politically motivated. Regardless, Putin is brilliant, and we will all be his subjects soon enough.

  11. Meta
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    She wasn’t hired to run the Clinton campaign, EOS. She was made an honorary chair. There’s a difference.

    From Daily Kos.

    At the risk of saying something bone-headedly obvious:

    Being an honorary chair of a campaign—a position that involves no responsibilities, no employees, no budget, and no duties—is not a promotion from being chair of the DNC.

    Being an honorary chair does not mean that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is “in charge of” Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It doesn’t mean anything. That is, unless you think President Obama’s 2012 campaign was run by actress Eva Longoria; or former Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee; or high school guidance counselor Loretta Harper—all of whom were among 24 people who served as honorary co-chairs of Obama’s 2012 campaign.

    Being an honorary chair is not a job. It’s a courtesy. It’s the associate producer of politics. It’s an empty title handed out to help ease Debbie Wasserman Schultz out of her chair and make it slightly more palatable for her to leave a job she’d done (badly) for five years without putting up a fuss.

    It’s a face-saving sop.

    But it’s not nothing. It’s a gesture extended to a old friend in a bad moment. It’s a moment of being empathetic and trying to both ease the pain for everyone caught up in bad situation while acting to preserve the peace.

    If you don’t like that, you’re probably not going to like Hillary.

    Read more:

  12. Meta
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Nate Silver has Trump in the lead with a 56.7% chance of winning.

  13. Meta
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    “Putin’s Buddy Trump Is About To Get National Security Briefings. Intel Officers Are Worried.”

    Members of the intelligence community are worried that Donald Trump ― who has deep ties to Russia and is apparently the preferred presidential candidate of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin ― could have access to highly classified national security briefings as early as Friday.

    Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will begin receiving the briefings after the Democratic National Convention ends on Thursday, ABC News reported Monday. As the Republican nominee for president, Trump is now among a handful of people who do not hold a security clearance but have the potential to get these briefings. But he also has closer ties to a foreign government than perhaps any presidential candidate in recent history.

    Trump has called for following Moscow’s lead on various global issues and questioned whether it’s necessary for the U.S. to always defend other members of NATO, the alliance created during the Cold War to protect American partners from an expansionist Soviet Union. His rhetoric about foreign policy neatly matches the message coming out of Moscow: that America has little need for its long-time partners in Europe ― particularly in NATO ― or elsewhere, and that the U.S. should have less influence internationally. Trump has extensive business and financial ties to Russia. The Washington Post has described his relationship with Putin as a “bromance.” Troll accounts tied to the Russian government have promoted Trump on Twitter, the New Yorker’s Adrian Chen noted last year. And this week, mysterious hackers released internal Democratic National Committee emails ― a move that security experts and reporters are increasingly convinced was an attempt by the Russian government to swing the presidential election to Trump.

    Trump’s deep relationship with Russia has the intelligence community worried.

    “Never have we had a candidate so tied to a foreign power, especially one that is so hostile to the U.S. in many ways, and one that is actively messing with our election,” said one former senior intelligence official. “Many [in the intelligence community] don’t care about U.S. politics and pride themselves on being nonpartisan, but the ties to Russia are deeply disturbing.”

    Former intelligence officials say that Trump would not be briefed on covert actions or learn about sensitive sources or methods of collecting intelligence, but he could have access to information that would be highly valuable to Putin.

    That could include briefings on U.S. strategy in Syria or Ukraine; the CIA’s assessment of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad or the Russian leadership; or U.S. spy agencies’ knowledge of Russian military movements.

    “The notion that the Trump team could request intel briefings on Russia when they clearly have close ties is horrifying, especially after the DNC leak,” said the former intelligence official.

    Read more:

  14. iRobert
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    For some reason, the last several times I’ve posted comments to Mark’s blog, they have not gotten past the review process. I haven’t said anything particularly offensive, or even particularly meaningful. So I don’t understand why I’ve apparently been banned.

  15. EOS
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Yes, no one is certain what Trump would do if elected. But there is no doubt about the despicable things that Clinton would do. She has a very consistent track record of failures, lies and cover-ups. And a long list of dead persons who got in her way.

  16. iRobert
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    EOS, would you care to list those failures, lies, cover-ups and murders?

    Or should we all not bother with details?

  17. Posted July 25, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink


  18. Comp 101
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Motherboard has a detailed analysis of why its thought that the DNC hack is Russian….

    In the wee hours of June 14, the Washington Post revealed that “Russian government hackers” had penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee. Foreign spies, the Post claimed, had gained access to the DNC’s entire database of opposition research on the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, just weeks before the Republican Convention. Hillary Clinton said the attack was “troubling.”

    It began ominously. Nearly two months earlier, in April, the Democrats had noticed that something was wrong in their networks. Then, in early May, the DNC called in CrowdStrike, a security firm that specializes in countering advanced network threats. After deploying their tools on the DNC’s machines, and after about two hours of work, CrowdStrike found “two sophisticated adversaries” on the Committee’s network. The two groups were well-known in the security industry as “APT 28” and “APT 29.” APT stands for Advanced Persistent Threat—usually jargon for spies.

    CrowdStrike linked both groups to “the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services.” APT 29, suspected to be the FSB, had been on the DNC’s network since at least summer 2015. APT 28, identified as Russia’s military intelligence agency GRU, had breached the Democrats only in April 2016, and probably tipped off the investigation. CrowdStrike found no evidence of collaboration between the two intelligence agencies inside the DNC’s networks, “or even an awareness of one by the other,” the firm wrote.

    This was big. Democratic political operatives suspected that not one but two teams of Putin’s spies were trying to help Trump and harm Clinton. The Trump campaign, after all, was getting friendly with Russia. The Democrats decided to go public.


  19. Jason Youngs
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    A tie to Russia could/should be a nail in almost any campaigns run. I am still at a loss of words for how Trump is ahead and gaining.

  20. Jason Youngs
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I still am at a loss to hear that Trump’s supporters know he is loose with facts, but still think he is the key to change and betterment of the United States.

  21. EOS
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink


    The movie “Hillary’s America” is playing at the RAVE theater on Carpenter. 2 hours barely scratches the surface.

    These are some of the scandals and dead bodies associated with the Clintons. Failures? Everything she touches.

    Lies? Ask the FBI.

  22. Anonymous
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    We are in a post-fact America.

  23. Eel
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m happy to hear that Dinesh D’Souza was able to keep his cock out of his assistant long enough to make another movie. That’s exciting.

  24. josh
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m stuck arguing EOS’s point? HillDawg’s failures are pretty blatant and not limited to:
    Ukraine (hat tip to Nuland)
    while she was at State, and a significant role in legitimizing the invasion of Iraq while in the Senate.

    Our choice is between incompetent and corrupt on the one hand, and a megalomaniac on the other. The Tap Room will be seeing a lot of me the next four years.

  25. Joe M.
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Seconding the Motherboard piece. It seems like it’s not a question at all that Russia was behind the hack and leaks. Well worth the read –

  26. Steven Pickard
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty firmly of the belief that Trump is Putin’s Manchurian Candidate. First night of the DNC confirmed good unity from most of the Democrats I trust (Michelle, Bernie,
    Elizabeth, Al Franken…others…). I’m more than ok with the lesser of two evils represented by HRC…It’s not long until the election (+100 days now…). I can go all in and not feel bad at all about supporting her.

    I’ll be more than critical once the Dems have this thing in the bag and vanquish Trump, but we’re not there yet and the future is very much in doubt.

  27. Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    I like it when Americans pretend they know anything at all about foreign policy.

  28. M
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    It’s getting weirder. And scarier. I just received the following from the NY Times.

    “Donald J. Trump called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially sanctioning a foreign power’s cyberspying”

    Donald J. Trump said during a news conference on Wednesday that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially sanctioning a foreign power’s cyberspying of a secretary of state’s correspondence.

    “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, staring directly into the cameras. “I think you will probably be mightily rewarded by our press.”

  29. M
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Encouraging another world power to hack into the emails of a US Secretary of State — pretty much the definition of treason, right?

  30. Lynne
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Peter, I know lots of Americans who are experts on foreign policy, fwiw. My brother for instance.

    But yes, I get your meaning. We Americans like to pretend we we experts on a lot of things and we also like to accuse people of not knowing about things we think we are experts on. LOL. So you can feel good knowing that you too are a typical American in that way :)

  31. Posted July 27, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    From The Hill:

    Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s campaign has released a new website and video satirically touting a Trump-Putin 2016 bid for the White House.

    Its slogan: “Make tyranny great again.”

  32. EOS
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink


    It’s the Democrats who are claiming that is was Russia who hacked Hillary’s emails. Trump jokingly asked them to release the 30,000 emails that she deleted. Are you serious? The treason charges should be directed at the person who used a private server to send and receive highly classified government documents, not the dozens of persons who were able to hack the server and least of all any person trying to reveal the truth.

  33. stupid hick
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Only liberals don’t get the humor of Trump’s facetious call for Russia to turn over email HRC claims were lost and unrecoverable. I thought you liberal hipsters understood irony. By the way, it only makes him more popular with his base when you people get torqued by his antics. Trump punks liberals even better than he does his base. I’m sorry to say I’m becoming convinced he’s going to win.

  34. alan2102
    Posted July 28, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Meta: “Putin’s Buddy Trump Is About To Get National Security Briefings. Intel Officers Are Worried …. Members of the intelligence community are worried that Donald Trump – who has deep ties to Russia and is apparently the preferred presidential candidate of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin – could have access to highly classified national security briefings as early as Friday.”

    Translation: “Neocon warmongers, old CIA/Nazi cold warriors, and military/industrial/intel/security complex flacks — enraged at Trump’s questioning of the anti-Russia/anti-Putin narrative that they have so carefully cultivated, and terrified at the prospect of a scaled-back NATO and a new era of peaceful U.S./Russia cooperation (which would threaten $TRILLIONS$ in military and “intelligence”/”security” spending and contracts) — are seeking now to portray Donald Trump as dangerously friendly to “our enemies” and a threat to national security. And it seems that, among the credulous, and among those who swallow the endless barrage of lies of right-wing mainstream media (e.g. New York Times, and almost every other major Western platform), they are succeeding.”

    Other translations are possible, but that one is pretty good.

  35. alan2102
    Posted July 28, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    The real problem with Trump is that he is not far-right enough to suit the establishment: the fascist deep state, the vast war machine, and its plutocratic supporters and dependents. He is not enough of a warmonger. He is not enough of a shill for neoliberalism and global corporatism. He is against the TPP, he wants a long-overdue reining-in of NATO, he wants peaceful and productive relations with Russia (instead of preparations for war), and so on. He does not buy-in to the toxic anti-Russia, Putin-is-the-devil narrative. He is not a true, dedicated neoliberal/corporate fascist and warmonger, as is Hillary; in fact the opposite: he actually has the temerity to question aspects of neoliberalism and the war machine! THAT is what makes him unacceptable, not his silly retail bigotry and misogyny.

    That’s why the establishment hates Trump and loves Hillary, and why they will do damn near anything (poll-rigging, voter fraud, etc., etc., including perhaps being part of a ginning-up of this Putin/Trump scare story) to get Hillary into the WH.

    An amazing variety of neocon bastards and hard-right assholes have flocked to Hillary, including goodly portions of the old Republican establishment. Even the fucking KOCH BROTHERS are behind Hillary, and NOT Trump! And for good reason. Hillary is fully on-board with them, and Trump is not.

    Hillary is the real far-right candidate and substantive fascist, in terms of actual policies. Trump is just a some-time rhetorical fascist.

    Trump is a terrible candidate, no doubt about it — the absolute worst imaginable candidate, with the likely exception of Hillary. He is to the left of Hillary in several critical areas, and is quite possibly less dangerous to life than her.

    It seems that no one is listening to William Perry, former sec’y of defense and an intelligent and astute geopolitical analyst: “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”

    There is abundant evidence that the risk of nuclear war with Hillary in the WH is greater than with Trump. With her proven jingoistic nature, and coterie of bloodthirsty warhawk advisors, anxious for confrontation with Russia, Hillary represents an existential threat to life on planet earth. Meanwhile, Trump the deal-maker wants to make friends and business deals with everyone: Putin, Xi Jinping, the lot of them. So, what do you want? War-maker, or deal-maker? Keep in mind, before answering, that the war-making may involve more than the death of a couple million brown people 10,000 miles away. It may involve the end of life as we know it, everywhere.

    Or avoid that awful choice and vote for Jill Stein — obviously far superior to both Trump and Hillary.

  36. alan2102
    Posted July 28, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    “Hillary Clinton is determined to push Russia to the nuclear brink if not beyond, whereas Donald Trump opposes doing that. That basic difference between the two nominees cannot be honestly reported in the U.S.”

    How America’s Press Are Covering the Trump Campaign
    Posted on July 28, 2016 by Eric Zuesse.
    America’s press cover the Trump campaign with barely concealed hostility toward it, and with an obsessive emphasis upon the candidate’s positions regarding Russia; they’re attacking Trump as being (wittingly or unwittingly) an agent of Russia — and portraying Russia as being America’s enemy.
    Paul Krugman, in The New York Times, at the same time as [the] HuffPo propaganda, bannered “Donald Trump: The Siberian Candidate”, and he linked there to (as his article’s sources) the rabidly anti-Putin articles that will here be discussed below. All of these articles were written by neoconservatives whose careers have been assisted by some of American’s biggest weapons-makers (the profits of which are now booming with ‘the new cold war’ that those writers had helped to create by their hate-Russia propaganda).
    Another of Krugman’s sources was the July 21st article by Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic, a neoconservative magazine that’s directed both at Republicans and at Democrats, and which pretends to be ideologically ‘nonpartisan’ because it publishes (only) articles ranging between, say, the neoconservative Republican John McCain on the ‘right’, to the neoconservative Democrat Hillary Clinton on the ‘left’. Goldberg’s diatribe against Trump was titled, “It’s Official: Hillary Clinton Is Running Against Vladimir Putin”. Yet again: the central message was that a vote for Trump is a vote for America’s enemy.
    Trump is being criticized in Democratic Party ‘news’ media because Trump hints that he rejects both the Democratic Party’s and the Republican Party’s neoconservatism. This anti-neoconservatism is the major reason why Trump receives very little support from other members of America’s aristocracy (i.e., from other billionaires and centi-millionaires).
    the war against Russia can end only in America’s defeat, or else in a globe-destroying nuclear war, because Russia, like the U.S., is nuclear-armed to the teeth. So: if there is any insanity here, it’s from Hillary Clinton, not from Donald Trump — though the nation’s ‘news’ media portray Trump as being (by far) the more dangerous of the two (because he hasn’t, at least not yet, sold out to the rest of America’s aristocracy).
    An actual invasion of Russia would be enormously worse than was America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. This reality — and American ‘news’media’s participation in causing it — is the reality that’s unpublishable in the United States. (One can’t even report, in the West, that America is building toward an invasion of Russia.) But it helps explain those ‘news’media’s ‘news’-reporting about Trump’s proposed foreign policies, and also the American press’ coverup of the reality: Hillary Clinton is determined to push Russia to the nuclear brink if not beyond, whereas Donald Trump opposes doing that. That basic difference between the two nominees cannot be honestly reported in the U.S.
    That’s the central issue in America’s 2016 Presidential campaign. And the way it’s being dealt with by the press is the way one would expect it to be dealt with, in a dictatorship.

  37. alan2102
    Posted July 29, 2016 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    Neoconservatives Endorse Hillary Clinton for President Because They Know She’s One of Them
    Posted on Jun 29, 2016
    Neoconservatives like Iraq warmonger Robert Kagan aren’t endorsing Hillary Clinton for president merely because they want rid of Donald Trump, but because she’s one of them, writes Trevor Timm at The Guardian.
    On the economic front, Hank Paulson – former Goldman Sachs chief and the man who oversaw the financial collapse and economic bailout as George W Bush’s treasury secretary – put himself firmly in the #NeverTrump camp while also endorsing Clinton in a Washington Post op-ed. After talking about Trump’s business acumen (or lack thereof) and Trump’s appeal to ignorance, Paulson says this: “I find it particularly appalling that Trump, a businessman, tells us he won’t touch social security, Medicare and Medicaid.” END QUOTE


    Yes, appalling, and galling, that he won’t gut social security, Medicare and Medicaid. Time for a president with the balls to eviscerate the social safety nets! Surely Hillary will have the fortitude for this essential, progressive work. Amen.

  38. wobblie
    Posted July 29, 2016 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    I think Jesse Ventura has it about right. Trumps pick of Pence as his running mate pretty much guaranties that Trump will die during his first 100 days in office and we will have a President Pence. Trump hopes to assuage the deep state by promising Pence complete control of domestic and foreign policy. It is really Pence that people like EOS are for, not Trump–he is just a tool.

  39. EOS
    Posted July 29, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I don’t like Pence or Trump. Pence caved when he should have stood strong. He’s no friend of conservatives. And I don’t consider myself to be a Republican. But I do think Clinton is evil and would destroy our country if she gets elected. Hoping to vote 3rd party again, but I won’t if it’s close.

  40. alan2102
    Posted July 29, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Wobblie: “Trumps pick of Pence as his running mate pretty much guaranties that Trump will die during his first 100 days in office”


    In any case, if Trump were successful at anything even remotely progressive, he would probably be assassinated. In the new fascist Amerika, nothing remotely progressive can be allowed. That is the product of 30 years of lesser-evilism. And that is why Hillary will almost certainly win. She is the perfect far-right candidate, with an ultra-thin veneer of plausible “progressivism” — phony as a three-dollar bill, but sufficient to fool the idiots (~95% of DP stalwarts).

    The perfect far-right candidate, with the perfect far-right running mate.

    Kaine is among the most hawkish figures among Senate Democrats. As governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010, Kaine oversaw billions of dollars in cuts to the state budget. The state of Virginia is a major center for the military and defense industry, and is home to the Pentagon and the headquarters of the CIA.
    Between 2009 and 2011, Kaine served as the head of the Democratic National Committee, the leadership body of the Democratic Party. He is close to Wall Street, having recently backed measures to deregulate banks.
    As a Senator since 2013, Kaine has regularly called for increased US involvement in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. He has consistently supported the Obama administration’s reckless brinkmanship against Russia and China, two nuclear-armed powers. He has repeatedly pushed for a Congressional resolution officially declaring war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in order to clear the way for stepped-up US intervention.
    Like Clinton, Kaine has also supported the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria, an action that would quickly provoke a confrontation with Russia. END QUOTE.

  41. Lynne
    Posted July 29, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I was so impressed with Clinton’s speech last night. She is plenty progressive! She is the second most progressive person out of four still in the race. Stein, who is more progressive, has some koo koo whacked out ideas which would be really dangerous for our country such as using quantitative easing instead of tax dollars to pay for things. Yikes!

    Clinton is going to be an amazing president. If she gets elected of course. I think the Clinton supporters are really going to have to be extra motivated this political season in order to avoid Stein being a spoiler like Nader was in 2000. And also, it is helpful to remember how much damage the Tea Party has done by working within their party. There are certain people who are best in a fringe party with no chance of accomplishing anything. I think that all of the appeals to people’s sense of common decency have probably converted all that are going to be converted to the Clinton camp and it is time to just let the far left wall themselves off in their ineffective party where they can’t do much harm.

    I can’t tell you how happy I am though that I get to cast my vote for a woman in November. I wouldnt ever vote for anyone just because of their gender which is why I am so happy that the person who is clearly the most qualified to become president is on the ticket and is a woman.

  42. kjc
    Posted July 29, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    “I think that all of the appeals to people’s sense of common decency have probably converted all that are going to be converted to the Clinton camp and it is time to just let the far left wall themselves off in their ineffective party where they can’t do much harm.”

    charming. i wonder why some aren’t persuaded.

    plus that old Nader myth. Gore fucked himself.

  43. Jcp2
    Posted July 30, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that you probably won’t change your opinion under any likely circumstances.

  44. Rat
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Scarborough: Trump asked adviser why US can’t use nuclear weapons

  45. Meta
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Michael J. Morell, the acting director and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2010 to 2013, had this to say in a New York Times op-ed this past Friday:

    “Mr. Putin is a great leader, Mr. Trump says, ignoring that he has killed and jailed journalists and political opponents, has invaded two of his neighbors and is driving his economy to ruin. Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests—endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States. In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

    Read more:

  46. JIC
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Trump’s Daughter And Putin’s Girlfriend Just Went On Vacation Together

    “Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and the ex-wife of Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch and current girlfriend of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, Wendi Deng Murdoch, are best buddies who just went on a lavish vacation together. Might that explain Fox News’s unbelievably slanted favorability towards Trump’s despicable brand of politics? Could you imagine the outrage by Republicans if one of President Obama’s daughters were hanging around with Putin’s girlfriend? Fox News would found an entirely new channel for the sole purpose of harping on the subject around the clock. However, as is true to form, because the subject is Trump’s daughter they remain quiet as church mice. Similarly, Trump’s vow that he does not know or speak to Putin is now obviously proved untrue. Unless his supporters believe Putin and Trump have never spoken, and it is a mere coincidence that Trump’s daughter and Putin’s girlfriend just happen to know each other. Right — like the two met coincidentally at the supermarket while buying supplies to cook for the homeless. One really can’t make this stuff up.”

  47. Meta
    Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Washington Post: “Russian meddling in U.S. election backfiring on Putin, hurting Trump”

    THE BIG IDEA: Eight years ago this month, Barack Obama’s high command became very worried after Russia invaded Georgia.

    The first-term senator, then 47, had no meaningful national security experience, a liability Hillary Clinton had highlighted throughout the Democratic primaries. And he happened to be vacationing in Hawaii.

    Campaigning in Pennsylvania, John McCain recounted a phone call he had just had with Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. “Today, we are all Georgians,” the hawkish war hero said, drawing cheers from the crowd of several thousand.

    The Obama team was worried about losing voters of Eastern European ethnic descent as a result of McCain’s hardline rhetoric on Russia. There are lots of Polish Americans, Ukrainian Americans and Lithuanian Americans who live in swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Many came here to escape the Iron Curtain.

    As McCain’s regional campaign manager, responsible for Pennsylvania and Ohio, Jon Seaton vividly remembers pushing the pro-Georgia and anti-Vladimir Putin message. “We also were hopeful that the ethnic communities, particularly the Polish-Americans in the Cleveland suburbs would be a hidden block for us, and did a lot of coalition work there,” he recalls. “It wasn’t ultimately enough to overcome the massive Obama GOTV effort in Cuyahoga County, but it was definitely part of our strategy to drive up our numbers.”

    Now the script is completely reversed. Those voters who McCain fought so hard for in 2008 are still out there. They normally would be very inclined to vote for someone like Trump – on paper, they look just like his core supporters – but Putin’s clear preference for him over Clinton (combined with Trump’s naiveté on all things Russia) gives them great pause.

    John Weaver, who was John Kasich’s chief strategist this year and advised both of McCain’s presidential bids, thinks the blowback is starting to show up in polls, specifically Trump’s weakness among Catholics who regularly attend mass.

    “In and around Cleveland, Akron, Toledo, Detroit and all throughout Wisconsin, you’re talking about voters with family in Poland, the Baltics, Ukraine and the Czech Republic,” said Weaver. “These voters are key to any narrow path that Trump has left.”

    Trump alarms Americans of Eastern European ancestry for many reasons. Among them:

    -He has suggested that America will only conditionally live up to its obligations under the NATO charter and questioned the value of the alliance.

    -He’s said he’ll look into whether Putin should be allowed to keep Crimea, which he annexed with complete disregard for international law. “Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,” he said this month.

    -Just three weeks ago, Trump pleaded directly with the Russian government to find and release tens of thousands of Clinton’s private emails. Asked whether Russian espionage into the former secretary of state’s correspondence would concern him, he replied: “No, it gives me no pause.”

    -Trump’s campaign chairman until last Friday, Paul Manafort, orchestrated the political comeback of Putin ally Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine and is closely linked with other Putin cronies.

    -At the Republican National Convention last month, the Trump campaign stripped the party platform of language calling for the U.S. to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine to resist Russian belligerence.

    Read more:

  48. Meta
    Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Fron Newsweek:


    Trump’s behavior, however, has at times concerned the Russians, leading them to revise their hacking and disinformation strategy. For example, when Trump launched into an inexplicable attack on the parents of a Muslim-American soldier who died in combat, the Kremlin assumed the Republican nominee was showing himself psychologically unfit to be president and would be forced by his party to withdraw from the race. As a result, Moscow put its hacking campaign temporarily on hold, ending the distribution of documents until Trump stabilized, both personally and in the polls, according to reports provided to Western intelligence.

    America’s European partners are also troubled by the actions of several people close to Trump’s campaign and company. Trump has been surrounded by advisers and associates with economic and familial links to Russia. The publicized connections and contacts between former campaign manager Paul Manafort with Ukraine have raised concerns. Former Trump adviser Carter Page is being probed by American and European intelligence on allegations that he engaged in back-channel discussions with Russian government officials over the summer. Page did travel to Moscow, but he denies any inappropriate contact with Russian officials. The allies are also uneasy about retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, a Trump adviser who was reportedly considered a possible running mate for the GOP nominee. Last December, Flynn attended a dinner at the Metropol Hotel in honor of the 10th anniversary of RT, a Russian news agency that has been publicly identified by American intelligence as a primary outlet for Moscow’s disinformation campaigns. Flynn, who was two seats away from Russian President Vladimir Putin at the dinner, has frequently appeared on RT, despite public warnings by American intelligence that the news agency is used for Russian propaganda.

    Western intelligence has also obtained reports that a Trump associate met with a pro-Putin member of Russian parliament at a building in Eastern Europe maintained by Rossotrudnichestvo, an agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that is charged with administering language, education and support programs for civilians. While the purpose of that meeting is unclear, and there is no evidence that Trump was aware it took place, it has become another fact that has alarmed officials from at least one NATO ally. Finally, Trump’s repeated glowing statements about Putin throughout the campaign—and his shocking comment that the Russians were not in Crimea—have perplexed some foreign officials, who fear that under a Trump presidency, the United States would no longer stand with Western Europe in regard to Moscow.

    Trump and his campaign have also spread propaganda created as part of the Kremlin’s effort, relying on bogus information generated through traditional Russian disinformation techniques. In one instance, a manipulated document was put out onto the internet anonymously by propagandists working with Russia; within hours, Trump was reciting that false information at a campaign rally. The Trump campaign has also spread claims from Sputnik, another news outlet identified by American intelligence as part of the Russian disinformation campaign. For example, almost immediately after the posting of an article by Sputnik attacking this Newsweek reporter, the Trump campaign emailed a link to the piece to American reporters, urging them to pursue the same story.

    Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, did not respond to emails from Newsweek on Monday and Thursday asking how it became aware of the Sputnik story so quickly, why it almost immediately promoted information from the Russian propaganda site to U.S. reporters, and what led the Republican nominee to disregard the intelligence he has been provided in briefings about Moscow’s propaganda and hacking campaign.

    American intelligence officials know Russia used cyberattacks and misinformation to interfere with recent elections in Western Europe, including the German elections last month that resulted in victories for right-wing populists, and the United Kingdom’s vote in June on Brexit, a referendum that called for Britain to leave the European Union.

    Western intelligence and law enforcement say tens of thousands of people have been working with Russia on its hacking and disinformation campaign for many years. They include propagandists and cyberoperatives stationed in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk, located in the southwestern part of Siberia. Operations have also been conducted in the United States, primarily out of New York City, Washington, D.C., and Miami. Those involved include a large number of Russian émigrés, as well as Americans and other foreign nationals. Intelligence operations in Europe and the U.S. have determined that the money these émigrés receive for their work is disguised as payments from a Russian pension system. One U.S. official says there is evidence many of these Americans and foreign nationals do not know they are part of Russia’s propaganda operation….

    The Kremlin’s campaign is motivated not so much to support Trump as it is to hurt the Democratic nominee. During Clinton’s time as secretary of state, Putin publicly accused her of interfering in Moscow’s affairs. For example, her statement that Russian parliamentary elections in December 2011—which involved blatant cheating—were “neither free nor fair” infuriated Putin. He was also encouraged by the relentlessly positive comments about him by Trump, even after the Republican nominee began receiving criticism within his own party for sounding too supportive of the Kremlin, according to information obtained from within Russia by a Western intelligence source.

    Read more:

  49. Meta
    Posted November 10, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Now the truth come out.

    The Washington Post: “Moscow had contacts with Trump team during campaign, Russian diplomat says”

    Russian government officials had contacts with members of Donald Trump’s campaign team, a senior Russian diplomat said Thursday, in a disclosure that could reopen scrutiny over the Kremlin’s role in the president-elect’s bitter race against Hillary Clinton.

    Facing questions about his ties to Moscow because of statements interpreted as lauding Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, Trump repeatedly denied having any contact with the Russian government.

    After the latest statement by the Russian diplomat, the spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, Hope Hicks, denied there were interactions between Russia and the Trump team before Tuesday’s election.

    “The campaign had no contact with Russian officials,” she said in an email.

    But Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, in an interview with the state-run Interfax news agency, said that “there were contacts” with the Trump team.

    Read more:

  50. Meta
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    More Truth.

    “The NSA Chief Says Russia Hacked the 2016 Election. Congress Must Investigate”

    Despite all the news being generated by the change of power underway in Washington, there is one story this week that deserves top priority: Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. On Tuesday, the director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Michael Rogers, was asked about the WikiLeaks release of hacked information during the campaign, and he said, “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.” He added, “This was not something that was done casually. This was not something that was done by chance. This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily.”

    This was a stunning statement that has echoed other remarks from senior US officials. He was saying that Russia directly intervened in the US election to obtain a desired end: presumably to undermine confidence in US elections or to elect Donald Trump—or both. Rogers was clearly accusing Vladimir Putin of meddling with American democracy. This is news worthy of bold and large front-page headlines—and investigation. Presumably intelligence and law enforcement agencies are robustly probing the hacking of political targets attributed to Russia. But there is another inquiry that is necessary: a full-fledged congressional investigation that holds public hearings and releases its findings to the citizenry…..

    There already is much smoke in the public realm: the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Also, Russian hackers reportedly targeted state election systems in Arizona and Illinois. Coincidentally or not, the Russian deputy foreign minister said after the election that Russian government officials had conferred with members of Trump’s campaign squad. (A former senior counterintelligence officer for a Western service sent memos to the FBI claiming that he had found evidence of a Russian intelligence operation to coopt and cultivate Trump.) And the DNC found evidence suggesting its Washington headquarters had been bugged—but there was no indication of who was the culprit. In his recent book, The Plot to Hack America, national security expert Malcolm Nance wrote, “Russia has perfected political warfare by using cyber assets to personally attack and neutralize political opponents…At some point Russia apparently decided to apply these tactics against the United States and so American democracy itself was hacked.”

    Several House Democrats, led by Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, have urged the FBI to investigate links between Trump’s team and Russia, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has done the same. According to various news reports, Russia-related probes have been started by the FBI targeting Americans associated with the Trump campaign. One reportedly was focused on Carter Page, a businessman whom the Trump campaign identified as a Trump adviser, and another was focused on Paul Manafort, who served for a time as Trump’s campaign manager. (Page and Manafort have denied any wrongdoing; Manafort said no investigation was happening.)

    Read more:

  51. Posted November 18, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    I just checked Snopes, and this billboard is apparently real. It just went up in the town of Danilovgrad, in Montenegro.


  52. Meta
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    The evidence is in. Putin rigged the election for Trump.

    From today’s Chicago Times:

    “The CIA concluded Russia worked to elect Trump. Republicans now face an impossible choice.”

    Read the article:

  53. M
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    We now know that Kislyak was at the Republican National Convention, where pro-Russia language was added by the Trump administration into the party’s platform.

12 Trackbacks

  1. […] attention, despite the overwhelming forces aligned against him, and it got me thinking about Donald Trump’s multiple ties to the Putin regime, the fact that Putin is thought to have poisoned several of his rivals, and the news that […]

  2. […] Painter wasn’t the one one to frame the issue by comparing Trump’s association with Russian Dictator Vladimir Putin. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released a letter today asking Director Comey why he’d […]

  3. […] Painter wasn’t the one one to frame the issue by drawing a comparison to Trump’s association with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released a letter today asking Director Comey why he’d […]

  4. […] past July, when we first started discussing the possibility that Vladimir Putin might be using Russia’s v…, I think a good number of you probably just saw it as yet another conspiracy theory. And, this past […]

  5. […] And, here, to give you some context, is something I’d written just after the Republican National Convention this summer in a post titled “To what extent is Donald Trump a surrogate of Vladimir Putin?“ […]

  6. […] And, here, to give you some context, is something I’d written just after the Republican National Convention this summer in a post titled “To what extent is Donald Trump a surrogate of Vladimir Putin?“ […]

  7. […] And, here, to give you some context, is something I’d written shortly after the Republican National Convention this past summer in a post titled “To what extent is Donald Trump a surrogate of Vladimir Putin?“ […]

  8. […] And, here, to give you some context, is something I’d written shortly after the Republican National Convention this past summer in a post titled “To what extent is Donald Trump a surrogate of Vladimir Putin?“ […]

  9. […] And, here, to give you some context, is something I’d written shortly after the Republican National Convention this past summer in a post titled “To what extent is Donald Trump a surrogate of Vladimir Putin?“ […]

  10. […] — once during the Republican National Convention last July, when, as you might remember, the Trump campaign introduced Russia-friendly language into the Republican platform, and again in Sessions’ Senate office this past September, at the height of the […]

  11. […] ready to flip and start taking about how it was that, during the Republican National Convention, the Republican Party platform came to be rewritten to reflect the desires of Vladimir Putin, or, worse yet, the covert attempts to set up a secret backchannel communications link between […]

  12. […] Cohen and Felix Sater. We knew something was odd during the Republican National Convention, when members of the Trump campaign changed the GOP platform relative to the Ukraine, and our suspicions were confirmed later in the so-called dossier of former MI6 agent Christopher […]

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