“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, August 04, 2017

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster does not believe his predecessor did anything wrong by asking for the names of Americans caught up in surveillance programs to be revealed

Donald Trump, H.R. McMaster meet amid purge of national security staffers

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster met with President Trump Thursday amid his purge of Trump loyalists from the White House national security council, a heated debate about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and a report that he allowed former Obama administration aide Susan E. Rice to keep her security clearance.

Gen. McMaster sent a letter to Ms. Rice in April giving her unfettered and continuing access to classified information and waiving the “need-to-know” requirement on anything she viewed or received during her tenure as President Obama’s national security adviser. A copy of the letter was obtained by Circa; Mr. Trump reportedly was not aware of Gen. McMaster’s action.

The topic of Ms. Rice has been a particularly sore spot for Mr. Trump, who was angered to learn that she unmasked the identities of Trump transition aides in conversations with Russian officials. The president has called it “a massive story.”
Gen. McMaster also has come under increasing fire from conservatives this week after Bloomberg reported that he concluded Ms. Rice did nothing wrong with the unmasking.

The head of a conservative group called for Gen. McMaster to be fired, citing the leaks Thursday of transcripts of Mr. Trump’s phone conversations with foreign leaders.

“The only option President Trump has is to clean house at the National Security Council, starting at the top with General McMaster,” said Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning. “The threat posed to the country by the National Security Council leaking requires immediate and swift action.”

But a group of national security analysts at the conservative Heritage Foundation on Thursday called Gen. McMaster “the right leader for a tough, determined president who only wants the best for the American people.”

“For months, there have been reports of strong disagreements in the White House. There’s nothing wrong with that. In our view, that’s often the best way tough decisions get made,” wrote analysts Jim Carafano, Walter Lohman, Tom Spoehr, Luke Coffey, David Shedd and Nile Gardiner.

Conservatives also are expressing concern about the ouster of several NSC staffers who were allies of either presidential strategist Steve Bannon or fired NSC adviser Michael Flynn. Some are accusing Gen. McMaster of being a “globalist” and failing to support Israel strongly enough.

Breitbart, the news organization formerly run by Mr. Bannon, has published several stories this week calling into question Gen. McMaster’s actions.

Gen. McMaster this week ousted Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the NSC’s senior director for intelligence who was considered a Trump loyalist. He had been brought into the White House by the previous national security adviser, Mr. Flynn, who was fired by Mr. Trump in February.

“General McMaster appreciates the good work accomplished in the NSC’s Intelligence directorate under Ezra Cohen’s leadership,” the White House said in a statement. “He has determined that, at this time, a different set of experiences is best-suited to carrying that work forward. General McMaster is confident that Ezra will make many further significant contributions to national security in another position in the administration.”

Mr. Cohen-Watnick was involved in a controversy over a visit by House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican, to the White House in March to look at intelligence reports about surveillance of Trump aides during the presidential campaign.

Two weeks ago, NSC director of strategic planning Rich Higgins was fired. He was ally of senior presidential adviser Steve Bannon.

Gen. McMaster reportedly has been ousting NSC staffers connected to a memo outlining how Mr. Trump was under attack from “globalists” and “Islamists” trying to undermine his agenda.

Last week, Derek Harvey, a key Middle East adviser at the NSC, was removed from his job.

“General McMaster greatly appreciates Derek Harvey’s service to his country as a career Army officer, where he served his country bravely in the field and played a crucial role in the successful surge in Iraq, and also for his service on Capitol Hill and in the Trump administration,” NSC spokesman Michael Anton said in a statement. “The administration is working with Colonel Harvey to identify positions in which his background and expertise can be best utilized.”

Gen. McMaster and other members of the president’s national security team have been pushing him to send about 3,500 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, a move that the president has been resisting.


  1. Quirk should be less cruel to The Donald.

    The Donald seems to align with Quirk's thinking concerning foreign affairs, which, if I understand it correctly, is to basically stay home.

    The Donald is not getting into Syria.

    He doesn't want to send lots of troops to Afghanistan.

    August 3, 2017
    Trump looking to avoid being trapped by Afghan tar baby
    By Rick Moran

    It's unlikely Trump is looking to go to war with Iran. With the defeat of ISIS it's unlikely Trump wants anything more to do with Iraq.

    It's unlikely he would want to intervene in Venezuela.

    That leaves North Korea as a possible place where he might try to use force.

    And who can say what to do there ?

  2. I have a hard time understanding how Trump doesn't crack from the pressure.

  3. Here is where the investigations should be:

    EVELYN FARKAS: …that the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff’s dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. So I became very worried, because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia. So then I had talked to some of my former colleagues, and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill.

    She is on CNBC. Unhinged, unstable are two words that come to mind.

  4. After 7 months, the LNM, Democrats, and a few excellent individuals here, still cannot wrap their brains around the fact that Donald Trump is President. They can not grasp the idea. Orange hair, small hands and all.

    I imagine in the very first meeting he had with certain folks, he asked,"how do I win?"

    They said, "electoral votes, sir, electoral votes. Pay no attention to the popular vote." Apparently Mrs. Clinton had no such meeting.

    And here we are. God Bless Donald Trump and God Bless the gold ole US of A.

    Trust me when I tell you this country dodged a major bullet the day Mrs. Clinton was defeated.

  5. Richard Rohrer, husband of Jill Stein, in 1987, sued the city of Ottawa, IL to take down Christian displays in Washington Park, because they were violating his sensitivities as a Freethinker. He would truly have been an excellent first gentleman in the WH.

  6. Jane Sanders singlely handedly took down Burlington College on a land deal gone bad, but not before taking a 200,000 dollar severance.

    Too bad she cant take the baton from Mrs Obama on those scrumptious school lunches.

  7. On another note, Amazon stock continues to tumble. If it would fall another 20 or 30 points, MOME just might buy a few shares.

  8. Venezuela's currency crumbles at dizzying speed

    © AFP/File / by Alexander MARTINEZ | In one year, Venezuela's currency, the bolivar, has lost 94 percent of its value

    Venezuela's money, the bolivar, is sinking faster and faster under an intensifying political and economic crisis that has left citizens destitute and increasingly desperate.

    Its depreciation accelerated this week, after a disputed vote electing an all-powerful "Constituent Assembly" filled with allies of President Nicolas Maduro, which the opposition and dozens of countries have called illegitimate.

    On Thursday alone, the bolivar slumped nearly 15 percent on the black market, to be worth 17,000 to one US dollar.

    In a year, the currency has lost 94 percent.

    The decline has been dizzying -- yet largely ignored by the government, which uses an official rate fixed weekly that is currently 2,870 to the dollar.

    Ordinary Venezuelans, however, refer only to the black market rate they have access to, which they call the "dolar negro," or "black dollar."

    "Every time the black dollar goes up, you're poorer," resignedly said Juan Zabala, an executive in a reinsurance business in Caracas.

    - Salaries decimated -

    His salary is 800,000 bolivares per month. On Thursday, that was worth $47 at the parallel rate. A year ago, it was $200.

    The inexorable dive of the money was one of the most-discussed signs of the "uncertainty" created by the appointment of the Constituent Assembly, which starts work Friday.

    As a result, those Venezuelans who are able to are hoarding dollars.

    "People are protecting the little they have left," an economics expert, Asdrubal Oliveros of the Ecoanalitica firm, told AFP.

    But Zabala -- who is considered comparatively well-off -- and other Venezuelans struggling with their evaporating money said they now spent all they earned on food. A kilo (two pounds) of rice, for instance, cost 17,000 bolivares.

    The crisis biting into Venezuela since 2014 came from a slide in the global prices for oil -- exports of which account for 96 percent of its revenues.

    The government has sought to monopolize dollars in the country through strict currency controls that have been in place for the past 14 years. Access to them have become restricted for the private sector, with the consequence that food, medicines and basic items -- all imported -- have become scarce.

    According to the International Monetary Fund, inflation in Venezuela is expected to soar above 700 percent this year.

    In June, Maduro tried to clamp down on the black market trade in dollars through auctions of greenbacks at the weekly fixed rate, known as Dicom. There is also another official rate, of 10 bolivars per dollar, reserved for food and medicine imports.

    "Things are going up in price faster than salaries," noted Zabala, who spends 10 percent of his income on diabetes treatment, when he can.

    1. - 'No limit' -

      Maduro has vowed that a new constitution the Constituent Assembly is tasked with writing will wean Venezuela off its oil dependency and restart industry, which is operating at only 30 percent of capacity.

      But the president, who links the "black dollar" with an "economic war" allegedly waged by the opposition in collaboration with the US, has not given details on what would be implemented.

      On Thursday, Maduro promised "speculators" setting their prices in line with "the terrorist criminal dollar in Miami" would go to jail.

      For the past four months, Maduro has been the target of protests which have been forcefully confronted by security units, resulting in a toll of more than 125 deaths.

      The opposition says the new Constituent Assembly is an effort to create a "dictatorship" along the lines of Communist Cuba.

      Against that backdrop of tensions, "there is no limit on how far the black dollar can go," according to Ecoanalitica.

      But a director of the firm, Henkel Garcia said he believed the current black market rate "didn't make sense" and he noted that in the past currency declines weren't linear.

      Oliveros said increased printing of bolivares by the government was partly the reason for the black dollar's rise.

      "When you inject bolivares into the market, that means that companies, individuals go looking for dollars, which are scarce," he said, estimating that the shortfall of dollars this year was some $11 billion.

      The horizon is darkened further with big debt repayments Venezuela has to make, for instance $3.4 billion the state oil company PDVSA has to reimburse in October. That debt is denominated in dollars.

      by Alexander MARTINEZ

    Hunt for Trump dossier author inflames Russia probe

    An overseas trip to contact a former British spy exposes friction among House, Senate investigators and special counsel Robert Mueller.
    By ALI WATKINS 08/04/2017 05:07 AM EDT
    Christopher Steele is pictured. | Victoria Jones/AP

    The previously unreported trip underscores the importance of the 35-page dossier Christopher Steele wrote last year. | Victoria Jones/AP

    Two Republican House Intelligence Committee staffers traveled to London earlier this summer to track down the former British intelligence operative who compiled a controversial dossier on President Donald Trump and Russia, according to three people familiar with the matter.

    The previously unreported trip underscores the importance of the 35-page dossier Christopher Steele wrote last year to congressional probes into possible collusion between Moscow and the 2016 Trump campaign.

    It also has inflamed simmering tensions between House and Senate investigators as they pursue simultaneous probes into the Trump-Russia connection. House Intelligence Committee Republicans did not tell Democrats on the panel, the Senate Intelligence Committee nor special counsel Robert Mueller’s office that the investigators were pursuing Steele......

  10. .

    Quirk should be less cruel to The Donald.

    The Donald seems to align with Quirk's thinking concerning foreign affairs, which, if I understand it correctly, is to basically stay home.

    I offer Trump kudos for restraint but offer him brickbats for inconsistency, idle threats, and mixed messages driven by politics. And since the alternate to diplomacy is war, I condemn his priorities of increasing the military by 10% while cutting the State Department by 30%.

    Trump's priorities are obvious and world leaders are taking notice, Macron gives him interminable handshakes while Putin calls him 'weak'. That last one must have stung.


    1. .

      I give Trump credit when he does something positive it just doesn't happen often.

      I agree with the crackdown on leaks for instance.

      In general, I like leaks, love them. Especially, when they illustrate how the state is sticking it to the American people. However, they have started to cross my own personal red line. The release of those transcripts of the Trump conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia not only damage Trump they damage our national security.

      How can any world leader feel comfortable having a sensitive conversation with the President of the US when they see instances where even if it is not Trump himself compromising intelligence (Israel) or distorting their words (Mexico/Boy Scouts), every word they speak no matter how sensitive or embarrassing is likely to be released to the press for no public interest reason but to simply embarrass Trump. IMO that kind of leak should be punished to the full extent f the law.


    2. No difference between WaPo and Wikileaks.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I love leaks too.

      And even agree with you about the red line.

      I often have a problem though distinguishing an authentic leak from a fakaroo.

      I always find this irritating.

  11. "If the White House were a hockey goaltender, it would would be the worst hockey goaltender in the world. The place is a total sieve. It is as unable to keep information in as an empty net is able to keep slapshots out.

    Few important White House discussions and decisions stay private for long. The D.C. info-colander has been a boon to journalists, and to the many opponents of President Donald Trump, who have been able to stay one step ahead of the President on some important files.

    For Mr. Trump, the leaks are agonizing and embarrassing. His constant accusatory refrain of “fake news” is undermined by leaked revelations that demonstrate that what the media publishes is, in fact, not fake at all.

    The leaks turned into a flood this week when The Washington Post got its hands on White House transcripts of telephone calls Mr. Trump made with two world leaders after his inauguration in January.

    The transcript of a call to Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia, belied Mr. Trump’s contention that their exchange had been cordial. It was anything but: Mr. Turnbull refused to back out of a deal on refugees made by the Obama administration, and Mr. Trump ended the call curtly.

    The other call, to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, saw Mr. Trump confessing that his signature promise to build an immigrant-blocking wall along the U.S.-Mexico border was empty politics. Mr. Trump effectively admitted that the wall wasn’t a priority, and that he didn’t really expect Mexico to pay for it. All he wanted was for Mr. Pena Nieto to stop talking about it, so that the issue of the unbuilt wall would die down in the media.

    Given their usefulness as a check on Mr. Trump’s false assertions, leaks like that are in the public interest. In the long run, they will corrode the effectiveness of the President’s “fake news” strategy.

    And let’s be frank – there is entertainment to be had in watching this surreal White House soap opera unfold. It’s never boring.

    But there is a disturbing side to the leaks, as well. They are symptoms of the gross dysfunction that reigns in the White House under Mr. Trump. Leaks of the frequency and magnitude of the ones pouring out of Washington simply don’t occur in healthy administrations.

    In a normal government, advisers, spokespeople and cabinet ministers share the leader’s vision. They have a common goal to which they remain loyal, and to which they dedicate their energies and abilities. The last thing they want to do is throw the government off course by leaking damaging information, or by expressing anonymous dissatisfaction with their boss.

    Yes, this happens in every government to some degree, especially ones that have been in power for more than a term or two. But it rarely occurs in the honeymoon period of a new administration, when the excitement of taking office normally bonds a leader and his or her staff, and gives them an urgent sense of mission.

    The Trump White House, six months in, is nothing like that, and it never has been. To call it a snake pit is an insult to snakes and pits.

    1. Mr. Trump has let his administration fall into a state of amoral chaos. His style of leadership, if you can call it that, amounts to forcing his underlings to struggle in mortal combat to gain access to his brief attention span, and then ignoring those who do.

      He undercuts his people with his ill-conceived tweets, such as the one on July 26 in which he announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military without informing his secretary of defence.

      His biggest preoccupation seems to be other people’s opinions of him, to the point that he will fabricate implausibly positive ones whenever he screws up. The President of the United States of America was busted this week for falsely claiming that he had received “a call from the head of the Boy Scouts” saying his inappropriate campaign-style speech at a jamboree last month “was the greatest speech that was ever made to them.” This ridiculous and doomed lie was instantly refuted by the Boy Scouts of America.

      The people who work for Mr. Trump seem cut from the same cloth as him. They come off as more interested in their own agendas, or their careers, than in the well-being of their country. The idea that White House staff would work in harmony for the good of the nation – a notion that has its hubris, but which is nonetheless critical in a democracy – doesn’t exist.

      No, in Mr. Trump’s world, it’s every man and woman for themself, their backsides a target for the next knife if they don’t stick one in first. It’s more Game of Thrones than Camelot.

      The message in this week’s episode of the White House’s soap opera was twofold and chilling: that nothing is off-limits – not even documents as sensitive as the transcripts of private phone conversations between the President and foreign leaders; and that the arrival of John Kelly, a former Marine general named chief of staff this week, isn’t going to change anything.

      Mr. Kelly began his job on Monday. He was brought in to impose discipline. According to a report in The New York Times, he has tried to do that by limiting access to the President, including that of Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner.

      He also apparently supported the firing of a White House ally of Mr. Kushner and Stephen Bannon, the rarely seen strategist who masterminded Mr. Trump’s election victory.

      That was on Wednesday. The leaked transcripts were published on Thursday. Classic. Less than a week on the job, and the new chief of staff has already been cut off at the knees in a White House that runs on malice and manipulation."

  12. If Trump doesn't get rid of McMaster, I'll declare him the dumbest President in history.

    Quirk will tell me to quit whining.

    1. hee hee, ha ha, HEEHEEHAHAHABBBWAHAHAHAHA!!

      Trump appointed him but that's fine - he's still yours and Deuce's man but if he doesn't fire him then you'll, finally, accept he isn't so great!? funny!

    2. Compliments on the laugh, Ash.

      Not bad.

      I like a potato with a good laugh.

    3. .

      Quirk will tell me to quit whining.

      Naw. I've called Trump the dumbest president in history myself.

      Just heard a story on CNN re McMaster. The announcer (some woman -didn't recognize the voice) was talking about conservative groups and lawmakers asking that McMaster be dumped. She said they are discussing how McMaster should be 'put down'.

      Sounds a little drastic to me.


    4. You would think that an incoming NSA head would want to consult with the outgoing folk over the active files. That can't happen without continued security clearance but, hey, since when did the alt-righters actually care about actually governing?

  13. From the eclipse map it appears I'm in or right near to the Total Eclipse Path !!

    I'll have to ask my son how best to take a picture of this shortly coming event.

    He's great with cameras.

    1. Did you know 600 million years from now we will not have any more eclipses ?

      You didn't ?

      Here is the reason - the moon is slowly moving away from us.

      In my lifetime the moon has moved about 6 ft. further from us, IIRC.

      Soon, in cosmic terms, it will be too far away to make a good eclipse.

      What happens to our ocean tides then ?

      What will we do without our tides ?

      Well, it's not our problem so why worry.....

    2. .

      Perhaps, the rising sea levels combined with the diminishing tides will result in stasis for sea side property.


    3. I'n not buying any more sea side property then.

      Thanks for the tip.

    4. O jeez, I just thought about the surfing.

      What will the surfers do ?

      Is life worth living without surfing ??

    5. With stasis would we still have waves ?

      I just don't know, just don't know....

      Maybe....the winds ought to still be blowing....

      It is worrisome.

      Always something more to worry about.

    6. Fear the stasis, folks in shoreline activity and real estate sales.

  14. :) heh


    He accuses the Republicans of running a scam, accuses them of fraud and racketeering.

    He wants the money he donated to the Republican Party back.


    He is likely to lose, even if it is only on appeal.

    1. Got to admire the imaginative legal thinking though.

  15. Mueller’s Grand Jury: The End Game

    Posted at 3:30 pm on August 4, 2017 by Joe Cunningham

    There has been a lot of talk and a lot of speculation over where Special Investigator Robert Mueller’s investigation can and will go now that he has empaneled a grand jury.

    As I mentioned this morning, it appears that the investigation is really looking hard into Paul Manafort, which is totally understandable, because Manafort is shady as all hell. A CNN post yesterday also indicated that Mike Flynn and other Trump associates were also looked at very closely. What has been noticeably absent from the Mueller team’s leaks, and from the media reports, is any hint of evidence that the investigation is looking closely at Trump and his kids.

    There are reports that Mueller was looking into Trump’s finances (as we pointed out, that is Trump’s “red line”), but there is nothing saying that Trump and the kids are in trouble… yet.

    All of that suggests that this appears to be a case of Both Sides Are Wrong: Trump loyalists are wrong in saying there’s nothing there, while Trump haters are wrong that Trump himself colluded.

    Now, this is all speculation on my part, based on what is publicly known, but here’s my take: In order to nail Trump, you have to prove it was under his direction that anything close to what his political opponents accuse him of actually happened. I have a theory about this, and it’s one I’ve been thinking over since the news broke yesterday.

    My theory is that Trump was actually so uninvolved in the campaign itself that he could not have possibly overseen anything. He hired managers (like Manafort) to manage. Trump himself went out and said things based on what he thought, what he heard, and, most importantly, what played well with the crowds.

    Meanwhile, Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and others went on to run things, set things up, etc., and Trump wasn’t really all that tuned in to what they were doing or saying.

    Given the regular reports of chaos over messaging and Trump’s inability to stay on any said message, I find it increasingly unlikely that Manafort or anyone else came up to Trump and asked for permission to do something. Remember the strategy he touted: Hire people and pit them against each other. That’s exactly what happened, and (in Trump’s mind) the strongest person/ideas win out.

    Now, let’s say someone did come in and ask for Trump’s permission. I imagine the conversation was like this:

    PERSON 1: Mr. Trump/Dad, I think we should do Plan A.

    PERSON 2: Mr. Trump/Dad, I think we should do Plan B.

    PERSON 1 & 2: What do you think, sir?

    TRUMP: Okay.
    And that’s the extent of his input. At that point, Person 1 and Person 2 fight it out and someone wins. Trump will sorta kinda go along with that idea, but he was not (and is not) a man who can be controlled, so he mostly continues to do this own thing.

    All of this brings us back to the heavily demonized Mueller. Do I think he’s actively trying to stick something on Trump? Not really. Do I think he’s putting on a tough show of it? Absolutely. Mueller would be wise to shake every branch possible to see what falls out, including Trump’s finances. Remember, too, that Trump fires predominantly people who appear weak. Mueller is aggressive in pursuing a goal, which is something deep down Trump respects.

    If Trump does fire Mueller, it’s not because there’s nothing there. It’s because there is something he wants to hide. If there is nothing there, then Trump will allow Mueller to keep going, albeit under “protest.”

    Manafort should definitely be worried. I don’t actually think Trump and the kids have too much to worry about. But, Mueller does not seem like he’s going to give up, which is pretty much the best quality an investigator should have.

    1. They all have something to worry about:

      Look what happened to Scooter Libby.

    2. ...when the real leaker was known to all.

    3. Leaks were regarded just a smidgin more seriously than at present.'s just that "Justice" in that case was as corrupt as it is now, since Comey was in charge then, also.

      How Obama’s FBI Nominee James Comey Triggered the Plamegate Investigation

      - David Corn!

    4. omey discussed the case with Ashcroft, and on December 30, 2003, he called a surprise press conference to announce that in “an abundance of caution,” Ashcroft and he had decided that the attorney general and his entire personal staff should recuse themselves. And there was more news: Comey was turning over the case to his close friend Patrick Fitzgerald, the US attorney in Chicago.

      Fitzgerald would assume control as a special counsel. This meant that Fitzgerald would not have report to Comey or anyone else at Justice about this inquiry.
      Comey was granting Fitzgerald tremendous powers held by no other federal prosecutor in the nation. Even independent counsels of the past, such as Kenneth Starr, had at least been accountable to a three-judge panel that oversaw their work. Fitzgerald would be answerable to no one.

      Comey and Fitzgerald had years earlier worked on cases together at the US attorney’s office in New York, and Comey noted that Fitzgerald had a “sterling reputation” and was “absolutely apolitical.” Fitzgerald was, Comey remarked, “Eliot Ness with a Harvard law degree and a sense of humor.”


      Then, as now, Comey surrounded himself with honest men of sterling character and reputation. him.

      Apolitical, too, I might add. Mueller's lawyers.

    5. Mueller also has no constraints, thanks to the apolitical Mr. Rosenberg, or stein, or whoever.

      Honest, sterling, apolitical all.


  16. .

    Hear ye, Here, yeah:

    The outcome would be no different if the Democrat/Republican Establishment, Deep State, the courts, the Media, et-al were not unified in their mission to overturn the results of the election of Donald Trump.


    1. I left out the "educational" establishment, Left and "Right" Establishment Alt Media, and no doubt more that don't immediately come to mind.

      .'s Obvious:

      None of that amounts to a hill of beans.

      Anything else is WHINING.


    2. .



      Why would anyone think you were whining, Doug?

      I mean you've just named a massive conspiracy to nullify the last election by just about everyone but you, possibly Trump's barber, and Trump himself.

      Naw, you've gone beyond whining. The words batshit crazy comes to mind.

      Get some help.


    3. Yeah, reality isn't real.

      In Quirkland.

    4. Breaking: Twitter Censors Eric Trump's Drudge Tweet Showing Great American Job Numbers

      Eric Trump on Friday exposed Twitter had censored a news story he shared showing great American job numbers.
      In a Friday message to his followers, Trump showed how a tweet he shared from the Drudge Report Twitter account was blocked and labeled “potentially sensitive content.”



      No bias at all.

      Trust Me


  17. Tell us how honest and honorable Comey is, Quirk.

    1. .


      Sorry, Doug. I must have missed the reference to Comey in that rambling harangue you put up. Though admittedly I should have assumed Comey was included since you petty much accused the entire civilized world of attempting to nullify Trump's election.


    2. .

      In my defense, sometimes it's hard to follow you when you get on a roll.

      (But we do appreciate your enthusiasm.)


    3. He used to be the head of the FBI.

      I thought you knew.


  18. .

    Doug reads Alt Right Wackos like David Corn.


  19. Children Of The Corny Turning On Trump? Will Iowa Be Trump’s Waterloo?

    Donald Trump spooked and crashing back to Earth like Wild E. Coyote meets Icarus meets a certain David Bowie movie. Polls show Ben Carson topping Trump as much as 14% in the state that holds the first key challenge. The Donald is hoping to change his fortunes there, but as he tours through the heartland many of the locals are demanding he, “Go back to Las Altantic, you moran!” and, “We’re voting for the neurosturgeon, dummy!” These are typically accompanied by other encouraging shouts for Ben Carson, in the form of racial slurs. Most of these tend to take the form of Blazing Saddles quote variations, such as: “The new sheriff is a neurosturgeon” and “Lookee here, boys, where all the white voters at?” It typically gets worse after happy hour.

    Many locals refer to Trump as a Riino: Republican In Iowa Only. Many in Iowa are also turning on Marco Rubio, who they refer to as a Rubio: Man Acting Republican But Really From Canada. The Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, apologized for this faulty meme, “I think they meant Cuba. They must have confused Rubio with Cruz but, in all fairness, there’s a lot of friggin’ candidates this year. We Iowininans struggle both with how to refer to ourselves as well as the dreaded acronym. But we’re working on a great one for Huckabee. I hope he makes it here, because it’s going to be a doozy!”

    Meanwhile, those few Trump supporters wandering around Iowa are finding themselves in mortal danger. “Remember Children of the Corn?” said Governor Brandmuffin. “It sucked, but there’s this old Twilight Zone episode that, uh, okay it’s really just about a bunch a hicks draggin’ Trump supporters into the fields.”



    2. Vote for the Nigger, he's a Neurosurgeon!

  20. David Corn

    Spouse: Welmoed Laanstra

    Education: Brown University

    Children: Maaike Laanstra-Corn, Amarins Laanstra-Corn

  21. "Even independent counsels of the past, such as Kenneth Starr, had at least been accountable to a three-judge panel that oversaw their work."

    Didn't know that but that would build some confidence into the procedure.

    Which is sorely lacking during this witch hunt.

  22. Lord, have mercy on us poor sinners -

    Hillary Rehiring Campaign Aides....DRUDGE

  23. Sign of the times -

    USA Running Out of Bomb-Sniffing Dogs....DRUDGE

    This might be a new business opportunity for the Quirkster.

  24. Krauthammer: If Mueller Turns This Probe Into A Fishing Expedition, We Could Be Looking At A Constitutional Crisis
    ALLAHPUNDITPosted at 6:01 pm on August 4, 2017

    Yeah, increasingly it seems like whether or not we end up in a national clusterfark over the president’s power to fire the special counsel depends on whether Mueller stays in his lane by focusing on Russia and possible collusion. If he does, the optics of Trump firing him would be terrible, and not just to Democrats.

    Americans in 99 congressional battleground districts – primarily represented by Republicans – would disapprove by a two-to-one margin if President Trump fires Russia special counsel Robert Mueller…

    According to the survey, 44% said they would “strongly” disapprove of Trump firing Mueller…

    According to the survey, if Trump were to fire Mueller, an even greater percentage of Americans, 67%, would support having Congress establish a special prosecutor whom Trump could not fire.

    That’s from a poll sponsored by liberal groups, but sift through the discouraging rhetoric from congressional Republicans over the past month about Trump firing Mueller and it’s plain that this would open a rift on the right. Even if a majority of Republicans rallied around the president (which I’m sure they would), the combination of unanimous Democratic opposition, likely majority independent opposition, and minority Republican opposition would put Trump in a deep hole politically for canning the special counsel — as I say, if he sticks to investigating Russia.

    If, on the other hand, Mueller starts to veer off into unconnected matters — Trump family finances, for instance, as yesterday’s reports suggested — then the issue will be more closely run. Democratic support for Mueller will still be unanimous but I think rank-and-file Republicans will unite more strongly behind Trump. The “witch hunt” charge will get more traction; independents will be more conflicted too. Congressional Republicans will be jammed up, on the one hand not wanting to go to bat for the president in case Mueller really has found evidence of crimes unrelated to Russia but on the other hand not wanting to support a runaway grand jury led by a prosecutor who appears to have exceeded the bounds of his charge. Case in point: What if Mueller starts investigating this?

    1. According to a recent story by ProPublica and the Real Deal, in April 2016 a limited liability company managed by Trump sold two condominium apartments to a limited liability company managed by Eric Trump. They were on the 13th and 14th floors of a 14-story, full-service, doorman building at 100 Central Park South in Manhattan. This is a prime Midtown neighborhood, yet the sale price for each condo was just $350,000. Although the condition and square footage of apartments 13G and 14G are not readily known, a popular real estate website shows that G-line apartments on both the fifth and eighth floors are one-bedroom, one-bath units of just over 500 square feet. Two years before the Trump transaction, apartment 5G sold for $690,000. Maybe the two units in question were in terrible shape, but two months before the sale to Eric Trump’s LLC, they were advertised for $790,000 (on the 13th floor) and $800,000 (on the 14th floor), according to ProPublica.

      If a sale between a parent and child is for fair market value, it does not trigger a gift tax. But if a parent sells two expensive condominiums to his son at a highly discounted price, for example, then the parent makes a taxable gift in part. In that case, the seller must pay a gift tax of up to 40 percent. (In this case, that might have run the president somewhere in the neighborhood of $350,000.)

      Is there probable cause to believe the president is guilty of tax evasion? The hard question for Mueller as not just a prosecutor but a former FBI chief is what to do if he has smoking-gun proof of non-Russia crimes in his hands, knowing that pursuing those leads will thrust the country into a political maelstrom. Does he let the president or his associates slide on the theory that it’s important not to give the White House any defensible reason to fire the special counsel (“he’s outside his lane!”)? Or does he seek an indictment for any crime that he thinks will produce a conviction on the theory that that’s what prosecutors (usually) do?

      A possible compromise position: Pursue only those leads that are related to Russia — and leak the ones that aren’t to the media. It may be that the formal end of the Mueller probe won’t be the end of trouble for Trump.

    2. The condo situation described comes over as at least being conceivable.

      On the other hand The Donald relies on a ton of tax lawyers and he couldn't possibly oversee all their work.

      They are there to oversee his, and keep him out of trouble.

      So, who knows ?

    3. It would be unsurprising if something like this is found.

      I don't want to have fighting in the streets over it.

      I pray Mueller has some sense.

    4. Our good free nation going to war with itself over a condo sale......I should hope not.

      Lord, protect us from ourselves, we pray Thee.

    5. The Donald getting the boot over a condo sale, while Hillary skates on The Clinton Foundation ?

      That would be really hard to stomach.

      The Donald is under continual IRS audit though so perhaps such issue have already been resolved.

  25. Delightful change of subject --

    Unseen Pics of Marilyn Monroe

  26. India has the better claim and a superior culture too. Support the Hindus -

    China ups ante in high-altitude standoff with India
    By AFP
    PUBLISHED: 03:33 BST, 5 August 2017 | UPDATED: 03:33 BST, 5 August 2017

    For more than a month, Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a standoff on a remote but strategically important Himalayan plateau near where Tibet, India and Bhutan meet

    China has stepped up its rhetoric in an increasingly tense border row with India, hinting at the possibility of military action in a propaganda push that analysts are calling "genuinely troubling."

    For more than a month, Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a standoff on a remote but strategically important Himalayan plateau near where Tibet, India and Bhutan meet.

    On Thursday, Chinese defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang warned that Beijing had shown restraint but had a "bottom line."

    "No country should underestimate the Chinese forces'... resolve and willpower to defend national sovereignty," he said in a post on the ministry website.

    It is a line that has been echoed almost word for word this week by the foreign ministry, the official Xinhua news agency, the ruling Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily, the official military news website of the Chinese armed forces, and other outlets.

    On Wednesday, the foreign ministry released a 15-page document of "facts" about the border dispute, which included a map of alleged intrusions and photographs of what it stated were Indian troops and military vehicles on China's side of the frontier.

    Calling for the "immediate and unconditional" withdrawal of Indian troops, it warned Beijing would "take all necessary measures" to safeguard its interests.

    Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Thursday that India was building roads, hoarding supplies and deploying a large number of troops in the area.

    "This is by no means for peace," Geng said.

    1. - 'Genuinely troubling' -

      Mistrust between the giant neighbours goes back centuries and the pair fought a brief war in 1962 in India's border state of Arunachal Pradesh.

      The recent escalation of China's rhetoric was "genuinely troubling," Rory Medcalf, head of Australian National University's National Security College, told AFP.

      "It suggests that diplomatic conversations, including among high-level national security advisers, are failing to find a face-saving way for the two powers to withdraw their forces," he said.

      The plateau is strategically significant as it gives China access to the so-called "chicken neck" -- a thin strip of land connecting India's northeastern states with the rest of the country.

      Despite the heated war of words, other analysts played down the possibility of an armed clash.

      "The point of these statements isn't that war is imminent; rather, they're an attempt to figure out how to not go to war without losing face," Shen Dingli, vice dean of Fudan University's Institute of International Studies, told AFP.

      "Neither side wants to go to war, but China and India are acting like two unhappy little children."

      China has rolled out a massive new global infrastructure programme known as the "One Belt, One Road" initiative, which it presents as a peaceful development policy to connect Chinese companies to new markets around the world.

      Critics see it as a geopolitical powerplay.

      President Xi Jinping is set to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a summit of BRICS nations in the Chinese city of Xiamen in early September and has said he hopes for greater cooperation within the bloc.

      But he is also gearing up for a key party congress later this year, at which he is expected to further consolidate his grip on power -- making him unwilling to appear weak by backing down in the current dispute, said politics professor Yvonne Chiu, who researches China's military at Hong Kong University.

      Chiu said China was testing "how much they can get away with, in a region that is unlikely to draw the involvement of other major powers such as the US."

  27. All comments by Ash and Quirk deserve a good fisking -

    NY Times Reporter Claims NRA Wants To Sexually Assault The NY Times (Not Kidding)
    JOHN SEXTONPosted at 7:21 pm on August 4, 2017

    There’s really no family-friendly way to talk about this so consider yourself warned. A reporter for the NY Times thinks the NRA, in the form of spokesperson Dana Loesch, wants to sexually assault the NY Times. Adam Goldman who according to his Twitter bio covers the FBI and national security for the NY Times tweeted this today (it has since been deleted so I’m using a screenshot):.........

  28. Mueller has ‘stacked the deck’ against Trump

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller has “stacked the deck” against the president by empaneling a second grand jury to probe supposed links between Russia and the Trump campaign, prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz said Friday.

    That’s because of something the real estate tycoon can readily understand: location, location, location.

    The new panel will sit in Washington; the other one is in Alexandria, Va., Dershowitz told ABC Radio’s Rita Cosby.

    DC is “always solidly Democratic and has an ethnic and racial composition that might be very unfavorable to the Trump Administration,’’ Dershowitz said.

    Therefore if it votes to indict anyone, prosecutors will have a better chance of getting sympathetic jorors in Washington than in Alexandria, which is a “swing area, sometimes Democrat, sometimes Republican,’’ he said.

    Asked by Cosby if he thinks it “kind of stacks the deck against the president,’’ Dershowitz, a former Harvard law professor, said, “Yes. Yes I do.’’

    He described it as “a tactical move’’ by the prosecutor.

  29. Dershowitz needs a good talking to by Quirk.


    The National Security Council is becoming a national security threat.

    August 4, 2017 Daniel Greenfield

    Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

    Derek Harvey was a man who saw things coming. He had warned of Al Qaeda when most chose to ignore it. He had seen the Sunni insurgency rising when most chose to deny it.

    The former Army colonel had made his reputation by learning the lay of the land. In Iraq that meant sleeping on mud floors and digging into documents to figure out where the threat was coming from.

    It was hard to imagine anyone better qualified to serve as President Trump’s top Middle East adviser at the National Security Council than a man who had been on the ground in Iraq and who had seen it all.

    Just like in Iraq, Harvey began digging at the NSC. He came up with a list of Obama holdovers who were leaking to the press. McMaster, the new head of the NSC, refused to fire any of them.

    McMaster had a different list of people he wanted to fire. It was easy to make the list. Harvey was on it.

    All you had to do was name Islamic terrorism as the problem and oppose the Iran Deal. If you came in with Flynn, you would be out. If you were loyal to Trump, your days were numbered.

    And if you warned about Obama holdovers undermining the new administration, you were a target.

    One of McMaster’s first acts at the NSC was to ban any mention of “Obama holdovers.” Not only did the McMaster coup purge Harvey, who had assembled the holdover list, but his biggest target was Ezra Watnick-Cohen, who had exposed the eavesdropping on Trump officials by Obama personnel.

    Ezra Watnick-Cohen had provided proof of the Obama surveillance to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. McMaster, however, was desperately working to fire him and replace him with Linda Weissgold. McMaster’s choice to replace Watnick-Cohen was the woman who helped draft the Benghazi talking points which blamed the Islamic terrorist attack on a video protest.

    1. After protests by Bannon and Kushner, President Trump overruled McMaster. Watnick-Cohen stayed. For a while. Now Ezra Watnick-Cohen has been fired anyway.

      According to the media, Watnick-Cohen was guilty of “anti-Muslim fervor” and “hardline views.” And there’s no room for anyone telling the truth about Islamic terrorism at McMaster’s NSC.

      McMaster had even demanded that President Trump refrain from telling the truth about Islamic terrorism.

      Another of his targets was Rich Higgins, who had written a memo warning of the role of the left in undermining counterterrorism. Higgins had served as a director for strategic planning at the NSC. He had warned in plain language about the threat of Islamic terrorism, of Sharia law, of the Hijrah colonization by Islamic migrants, of the Muslim Brotherhood, and of its alliance with the left as strategic threats.

      Higgins had stood by Trump during the Khizr Khan attacks. And he had written a memo warning that "the left is aligned with Islamist organizations at local, national, and international levels" and that “they operate in social media, television, the 24-hour news cycle in all media and are entrenched at the upper levels of the bureaucracies.”

      Like Harvey and Ezra Watnick-Cohen, Higgins had warned of an enemy within. And paid the price.

      McMaster’s cronies had allegedly used the NSC’s email system to track down the source of the memo. The left and its useful idiots were indeed entrenched at the upper level of the bureaucracy.

      Higgins was fired.

      Like Harvey and Watnick-Cohen, Higgins had also become too dangerous to the Obama holdovers. Harvey had assembled a list of names and a plan to dismantle the Iranian nuclear deal. Watnick-Cohen had dug into the Obama surveillance of Trump officials. And Higgins had sought to declassify Presidential Study Directive 11. PSD-11 was the secret blueprint of Obama’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

      Pete Hoekstra, the former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, linked PSD-11 to the rise of ISIS and called for its declassification.

      Replacing Harvey is Michael Bell. When the Washington Post needed someone to badmouth Dr. Gorka, they turned to Bell: the former chancellor of the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University. Bell suggested that Dr. Gorka was an uneven scholar. And Dr. Gorka was accused of failing to incorporate other perspectives on Islam.

      The pattern has never been hard to spot.

    2. McMaster forced out K.T. McFarland from her role as Deputy National Security Advisor. Slotted in was Dina Habib-Powell.

      McFarland was an Oxford and Cambridge grad who had worked at the Pentagon for the Reagan administration. Dina Habib-Powell had no national security background. She was an Egyptian-American immigrant and former Bush gatekeeper whose pals included Huma Abedin and Valerie Jarrett.

      Powell, who has been described as the Republican Huma, said that Abedin “feels a deep responsibility to encourage more mutual understanding between her beliefs and culture and American culture.”

      When visiting Egypt, Habib-Powell had assured the locals of how Bush, after September 11, “visited a mosque, took off his shoes and paid his respects.” "I see the president talk of Islam as a religion of peace, I see him host an iftar every year,” she gushed.

      K.T. McFarland had written that “Global Islamist jihad is at war with all of Western civilization.”

      It’s not hard to see why McMaster pushed out McFarland and elevated Habib-Powell.

      Habib-Powell had attended the Iftar dinner with members of Muslim Brotherhood front groups. You can see her photographed at the American Task Force of Palestine gala. The ATFP was originally Rashid Khalidi’s American Committee on Jerusalem. She was there as a presenter at the Middle East Institute after a speech by Hanan Ashrawi. Her achievements under Bush included cultural exchanges with Iran, as well as cash for the Palestinian Authority and for Lebanon after the Hezbollah war with Israel.

      While President Trump fights to restrict Muslim immigration, at his side is the woman who had once bragged on CNN, “Over 90% of student visas are now issued in under a week, and that is in the Middle East.”

      But that is typical of the McMaster revamp of the NSC. It’s populated by swamp creatures who oppose the positions that President Trump ran on. And who are doing everything possible to undermine them.

      President Trump promised a reset from Obama’s anti-Israel policies. McMaster picked Kris Bauman as the NSC’s point man on Israel. Bauman had defended Islamic terrorists and blamed Israel for the violence. He had urged pressure on Israel as the solution. Ideas like that fit in at McMaster’s NSC.

      Meanwhile Derek Harvey, who had tried to halt Obama’s $221 million terror funding prize to the Palestinian Authority, was forced out.

      This too is part of the pattern. As Caroline Glick has pointed out, the personnel being purged in the McMaster coup “are pro-Israel and oppose the Iran nuclear deal.”

    3. When Adam Lovinger urged that “more attention be given to the threat of Iran and Islamic extremism,” his security clearance was revoked. Robin Townley was forced out in the same way.

      Meanwhile, McMaster sent a letter to Susan Rice, Obama’s former National Security Adviser, assuring her that the NSC would work with her to “allow you access to classified information.” He claimed that Rice's continued access to classified information is "consistent with the national security interests of the United States."

      Why does Susan Rice, who is alleged to have participated in the Obama eavesdropping on Trump people, need access to classified information? What national security purpose is served by it?

      The same national security purpose that is served by McMaster’s purge of anyone at the NSC who dares to name Islamic terrorism, who wants a tougher stance on Iran, and who asks tough questions.

      And the purge of reformers and original thinkers is only beginning.

      The latest reports say that McMaster has a list of enemies who will be ousted from the NSC. And when that is done, the NSC will be a purely Obama-Bush operation. The consensus will be that the Iran Deal must stay, that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, that we need to find ways to work with the aspirations of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that Israel must make concessions to terrorists.

      If you loved the foreign policy that brought us 9/11, ISIS, and billions in funding to terrorists from Syria to Libya to the West Bank, you won’t be able to get enough of McMaster’s brand new NSC.

      And neither will America’s enemies.

      The swamp is overflowing. The National Security Council is becoming a national security threat.

      President Bush was a good man. And he meant well. But he was surrounded by officials who lied to him. They filled his administration with appeasers and paraded Islamists through the Oval Office. And by the time they were done, thousands more Americans had died and Islamists had developed an even bigger foothold on American soil than they had before September 11. This cannot be allowed to happen again.

      If you love America, if you believe that Islamic terrorism needs to be fought, not appeased, then it’s time to take a stand against the McMaster coup and his Obama holdover allies, for our security and future.

      It’s not just about a bunch of names. It’s about the survival of America.

  31. Exit Question: Should women get some days off for their period ?

    I’m A Feminist. Giving Women A Day Off For Their Period Is A Stupid Idea.

    Now comes a bizarrely paternalistic and silly proposal to further ghettoize us. A campaign in India has urged providing women a day off for the first day of their periods. I didn’t take this idea seriously when I first heard it. It seemed like the self-indulgent mumbo-jumbo of so-called post-feminists. To my shock, the issue has become a major point of discussion. One media outlet has even adopted this harebrained policy for its female employees.

    “First-day period leave” may be dressed up as progressive, but it actually trivializes the feminist agenda for equal opportunity, especially in male-dominated professions. Worse, it reaffirms that there is a biological determinism to the lives of women, a construct that women of my generation have spent years challenging. Remember all those dumb jokes by male colleagues about “that time of the month” or PMS? Well, this idea only serves to emphasize that there is something spectacularly otherworldly about a bodily function.

  32. Russian & Venezuela

    August 4, 2017
    Cold reality: Venezuela now a Russian puppet state
    By Monica Showalter

    Investment banker Russ Dallen at Caracas Capital Markets points out a painfully obvious truth about Venezuela: it's no longer a sovereign state. It's actually a Russian puppet state.

    In a market note via email, he writes:

    While the usual Venezuela cast of rogue acolytes – Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua – came out in support of the Maduro Regime after the fraudulent Constituent Assembly vote, from a geopolitical and economic point-of-view, there were only going to be two nations whose support really mattered: Russia and China. And even after the revelation by Venezuela's voting machine software and hardware provider Smartmatic that Venezuela had misstated turnout by at least one million, both Russia and China came out in support of the Maduro regime.

    While China has already invested and loaned $60 billion to Venezuela but has not been sending any new funds, early this morning, we got Russia's state controlled oil company financials for the second quarter (2Q2017), and they help us solve one of the puzzles we had been pondering in where Venezuela and PDVSA sourced funds to pay $3.7 billion in April and May.

    As you know, Goldman Sachs and Nomura provided Venezuela with around $900 million by buying $2.9 billion of PDVSA 6% of 2022 bonds from Venezuela in May. After advancing $2 billion to Venezuela in 2016, Rosneft's second quarter 2017 financials reveal that Rosneft advanced another $1.015 under the "PDVSA crude oil purchase contract" in April.

    So in other words, Russia has been paying Venezuela's bills all along.

    This might explain why the State Department has paid so little attention to Venezuela – and so much to Russia – even as the Monroe Doctrine is so blatantly violated.

    Russia has sold arms and provided diplomatic cover to the Chavista hellhole since at least 2005. We all know its reasons: to provide a check on the U.S. in exchange for its perceived meddling in areas it considers its own backyard, which is to say former Soviet and Warsaw Pact countries and probably a few other real estate holdings. This is the blowback from the old power relationships of the Cold War.

    1. That said, there's a conscionabilty factor here now. The Maduro regime is the world's foulest – intentionally starving its people into submission and turning the brains of the regime over to the monster Castroite Cuban communist government. The nation has no future other than becoming another failed Cuba and stands to make itself a pariah state among its South American neighbors, causing nothing but crime, refugees, and international begging. But so long as Russia keeps writing the checks, apparently this can go on for a long time. Venezuela serves a useful purpose to Russia solely in terms of checking America, and Russia apparently doesn't care what the consequences are for the Venezuelan people.

      The hideous thing about this is that the Venezuelan opposition, were it to gain the power it deserves, would hardly be disposed to hate Russia or refuse to deal with it. That Russia has thrown its lot with the Chavistas, however, ensures that the opposition will do those very things. The whole thing suggests that Russia is getting something mighty valuable it might not be able to get with the opposition and is willing to risk Venezuelans' permanent enmity should the opposition eventually take power.

      The only thing holding up the regime from utter economic collapse (its inflation is now above 1,000%, by the way) is Russia. And it might be propping up the regime to preserve this status quo by arming Venezuela's government street thugs, known as "colectivos," described in this article here.

      It's an immensely penny-wise, pound-foolish stance for Russia to take. Will it get sanctions lifted? Not in the least when this gets out. Will it earn Venezuelans' friendship? Exactly the opposite. Will it give Russia moral authority? Absolutely not. Will it help the Russian bank book in times of low oil prices? Not on your life. In fact, it will bleed Russian finances dry.

      What it will do is give the U.S. ideas about how to dislodge the Russians from the hemisphere. The U.S. has a long history of defeating the Soviets by bankrupting them. This was described well by Peter Schweizer in his book Victory. It raises the incentive for the U.S. to carry on as it did in the Reagan era to destroy the regime without firing a shot.

      Incredibly, Vladimir Putin knows this well, yet we are still seeing the same opportunity for this dynamic to play out. Either he thinks the U.S. is not paying attention to this new Russian role in holding up its Venezuelan puppet state, or else it thinks the cost of the payoffs is insignificant.

      Time will tell what the U.S. does and whether it seizes on this opportunity. But the U.S. knows who's running things now and knows how to make things hurt from the backdoor, too. Time will tell if this is what is seen in coming months.

  33. NKorea's No. 2 official on 10-day visit to Iran....DRUDGE

    Unable to find much good news anywhere....

  34. Seattle’s University Bridge getting regular baths to protect it from the heat