Nov 17

The Breakfast Club (The Patriot’s Dream)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Wright brothers conduct the first successful manned, powered flight of the airplane. U.S. test-fires the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile; Simon Bolivar dies in Colombia; television’s Tiny Tim marries his fiancee, Miss Vicky.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

All that remains is the faces and the names of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Gordon Lightfoot/blockquote>

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Nov 16

Suckers

Being rich doesn’t necessarily make you very bright. It’s well known in the Art community that Donald Trump’s Renoir is a forgery, and not a particularly good one.

Some one, or some institution, has just paid $450 Million for a Leonardo da Vinci that is likely just as fake.

A ‘Leonardo’ sells for $450 million. But what did the buyer actually get?
By Philip Kennicott, Washington Post
November 16, 2017

Before the sale of a painting that some scholars and a very assertive auction house believe is by Leonardo da Vinci, the debate was all about authenticity. Was this painted panel, known as “Salvator Mundi,” or “Savior of the World,” an actual Leonardo?

It had been so aggressively cleaned and over-painted that it had long been assumed to be a copy of a Leonardo by another, far lesser-known artist. But after extensive restoration it looked sufficiently like a Leonardo that the auction house Christie’s secured a $100 million bid to begin Wednesday’s auction. In the end, it went for $450.3 million, the highest price ever paid at auction for a work of art.

So now the question is, will that astonishing amount of money banish doubts about its authenticity? Logically, one should say: Of course not. Although some serious scholars believe that the painting, which depicts Jesus holding a transparent crystal orb in his left hand, can be attributed to the Renaissance master, the restoration was so thoroughgoing that it might be safer to say: There is possibly some Leonardo in there.

I don’t think it’s the real deal at all and the reason is because the image in the orb does not reflect the laws of optics and Leonardo is as well known for his genius as a scientist and engineer as he is for his art. He knew it would appear upside down and reversed as well as anyone and paid a great deal of attention to such details in works of his with unquestioned provenance and authenticity. He was also a prideful guy and it’s doubtful he would allow such a glaring error to stand uncorrected. No amount of carbon dating and pigment analysis will convince me otherwise.

But that’s not my main point. I came across this interesting piece from Ian Welsh today that also notes the sale.

The “Missing” Inflation Shows Up As Hyper-Inflation
by Ian Welsh
2017 November 16

In things that rich people buy.

$450 million is damn near half a billion, the ability to blow that amount of money on a single painting is absolutely crazy, no matter who the painting is by. It could not have happened even 20 years ago, and did not happen even ten years ago.

The rich are floating on an ocean of money, and they have nothing to spend it on that really matters, so it’s going to 3rd homes, real-estate speculation and conspicuous luxury consumption (which is what this is.)

As an aside, one of the ways to deal with off-shore tax haven money is for the major economies to not allow it back into their countries without high taxation. It’s great that you have a few billion in an offshore haven, but you can’t spend it there. If you want to bring it back or use it as collateral then just make them pay taxes on it. 90% is a good rate.

What, they won’t bring it home at that level? Then fuck’em. You can’t buy anything that matters in most tax havens, and no one wants to live there. Let it rot, uselessly, there.

Throwing $1.5 Trillion at Plutocrats and Multinational Mega-Corporations is not going to do anything except produce hyperinflation in the luxury goods market.

CEOs raise doubts about Gary Cohn’s top argument for cutting the corporate tax rate right in front of him
by Tucker Higgins, CNBC
15 Nov 2017

(A)t a gathering of chief executives hosted yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, business leaders called into question one of Cohn’s top arguments for slashing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent.

When one of the Journal’s editors asked the crowd if they planned to up their capital expenditure if the GOP’s tax plan went through, only a smattering raised their hands.

“Why aren’t the other hands up?” Cohn asked.

There’s little evidence to support the claim that tax breaks boost employment numbers.

A National Bureau of Economic Research study published in 2014 found “little evidence that corporate tax cuts boost economic activity” unless implemented in a recession.

Far from being short on cash, corporations are sitting on record amounts.

Dean Baker suggests that if one wishes to tinker with Corporate Taxes then allow the Government to accept non-voting equity stakes and participate in all the dividends, buy backs, and sell outs.

I propose instead that Tax rates be set so high on financial transactions that in order to experience meaningful returns on capital, money must be invested in production. You should have to actually make something.

Nov 16

The Russian Connection: A Clear Case of a Serious CRS

On Tuesday, once again Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions faced a congressional committee hearing to reconcile his previous statements about comments he has made regarding the investigation into the Russian interference into the 2016 election. And once again, he suffered from a sever case of “I can’t recall recall” which is also known as the “Can’t Remember Syndrome” (CRS) but in not PC circles means “Can’t Remember Shit”, and then accusing his inquisitors of lying about his lies.

I lost count of the number of times that Sessions said he couldn’t recall in some form or another. But Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) did the math. Over three committee hearings that AG Sessions testified before, including today, he couldn’t recall or remember in some form over 85 times. That didn’t include the number of times that Sessions had an attack of CRS in later questioning.

This 5 minutes made my day.

Limited to five minutes, Rep. Jeffries didn’t have time to give the rest of AG Sessions October 2016 interview with Lou Dobb’s that took place just before the vice presidential debates but Think Progress has it:

SESSIONS: Lou, that’s the way you lie. That’s the way people do it in court. I’ve seen it many, many times. Well, I don’t remember, but if. And she said 35 times before the FBI interview that she couldn’t remember? If you can remember and you don’t — if you say — and you say, I can’t remember, then that’s as false a perjurious statement as if you flat-out gave a false statement

Then Rep. Jeffries asked this: “Mr. Attorney General, do you still believe that the intentional failure to remember can and constitute a criminal act?”

“If it’s an act to deceive, yes,” Sessions acknowledged.

Also this quote from 1999 that Rep. Jeffries didn’t have time to quote:

About seven years ago when I was still the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, a case came before me. My own city of Mobile had as its chief of police a strong African-American who aggressively worked to reform the office, establish community-based policing, and work to create a new level of discipline. Opposition grew and lawsuits were filed against him. A young police officer, who had been the Chief’s driver, testified in a deposition in a federal lawsuit against the Chief. He stated that the chief of police had ordered him to ‘‘bug’’ the patrol cars of other police officers and that he had a secret tape recording giving him this illegal order to commit a crime. The deposition was released quickly to the newspapers. The city council, police department, and the people were in an uproar. Under careful questioning by an experienced FBI agent, the young officer admitted that he had lied in the deposition regarding the tape recording.

As United States Attorney, it was my decision whether the officer would be prosecuted for his perjury. His counsel argued that he was young, that he did lie but had corrected his false testimony at a later time. He argued that we should decline to prosecute. After reflection and review, I concluded that a sworn police officer who had told a plain lie under oath, even a young officer, should be prosecuted in order to preserve the rule of law and the integrity of the system. Our office prosecuted that case. The officer was convicted, and that conviction was later affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. For me personally, I have concluded that I cannot hold a young police officer to a different and higher standard than the President of the United States.

Rep. Jeffries concluded his time saying this, “The attorney general of the United States of America should not be held to a different standard than the young police officer whose life you ruined by prosecuting him for perjury.”

Nailed him. I am in love with Hakeem Jeffries and proud to call him a fellow New Yorker.

Senator Al Frankin (D-MN) had it right, AG sessions either has a terrible memory or he is just not telling the truth.

Nov 16

The Breakfast Club (Don Quixote)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Dr. Sam Sheppard acquitted of murder in new trial; U.S. and U.S.S.R. form diplomatic ties; Second anthrax letter found sent to Capitol Hill; Actor William Holden dies; ‘Sound of Music’ hits Broadway.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.

Paul Valery

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Nov 15

More Stupid Tax Tricks

You know, I bang my head on the desk trying to come up with an incredibly lucid explanation of some obscure point and then someone like Paul Waldman does it better in fewer words-

(T)he CBO also says that repealing the mandate will result in 13 million fewer Americans with health insurance — hence those savings, which won’t be spent on expanded coverage — and increases in premiums of an additional 10 percent a year. Some people won’t realize that they’re eligible for free or heavily subsidized insurance and, without the mandate to prod them, won’t get it, and as young and healthy people pull out of the market, the remaining pool will be older and sicker, leading to premium spikes, the exit of insurers from the market, and a potential “death spiral.”

Sigh, that’s ok, there are other important things in this piece.

The GOP tax plan will be a massive political nightmare for Republicans
By Paul Waldman, Washington Post
November 15, 2017

The Republicans’ theory about their tax-cut bill goes like this. We absolutely have to pass it, or else our base will be disgusted and our donors will abandon us. The substance doesn’t matter — we’ll get it past complex Senate rules, and even if some provisions look troubling, after it passes we can have a triumphal Rose Garden ceremony and proclaim we’ve delivered prosperity for all. In coming months and years, people won’t remember the details, as long as we keep saying “We cut taxes” over and over again.

That theory is going to be put to the test, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be proven wrong. That’s because this bill won’t just fail to deliver on its promise of riches trickling down to everyone; it’s actually going to be a disaster for millions of Americans. And there’s not going to be any doubt about who inflicted it on them.

But that’s just one element of this tax cut that is going to be incredibly unpopular. Remember that point about not being able to increase the deficit at all after 10 years? Because they want to make the corporate tax cut permanent — since it’s the real centerpiece of this whole effort.

In other words, if you happen to be one of the lucky people who come out ahead at first with all the complex changes to the tax code this bill makes, in 2026 your taxes will go up. It’s just getting better and better, isn’t it?

At this point there’s a handy review of all the ways the Cut Cut Cut Bill is going to screw taxpayers so you might want to bookmark it for future use. He continues-

If you had to sum it up simply — for instance, if you were writing a Democratic attack ad in the 2018 election — you could say that Republicans are raising taxes on millions of Americans and taking away health insurance from millions more, all to pay for a huge giveaway to corporations.

Of course, Republicans argue that giving corporations a tax cut will make us all enormously richer. This claim is laughable, since corporations are already earning near-record profits and unemployment is low; it’s not as though they’re starving for cash and once they get this tax cut they’ll rush to invest, create jobs and raise wages.

If we’re considering the politics of this bill, it’s also important to understand that very few people buy the Republican argument. In fact, most Americans think corporate taxes should be raised, not lowered. So not only are the details politically damaging, but also the core of the bill is something the public doesn’t want.

None of this means the bill won’t pass. Republicans have convinced themselves that no matter how bad the bill is, not passing anything is worse, so the chances that they’ll allow it to fail are small. But when that day comes, Democrats will know that Republicans just gave them yet another powerful issue to run on in 2018. Expect to hear them say, “Republicans have had complete control of Washington for the past two years — and all they did was raise your taxes and yank millions from health coverage so they could lard another giveaway on corporations.” Something tells me that might be a pretty effective message.

Republicans, not just racists, bigots, xenophobes, and misogynists.

Also thieves.

Nov 15

About that $300 Billion “Savings” from repealing the Individual Mandate

If you’re like me you’ve heard on the Cable TV and in the newspapers that repealing the Obamacare Individual Mandate will save $300 Billion and asked yourself, how does that work exactly?

Should you find a semi-reputable source, like say The New York Times for instance, you’ll find a paragraph similar to this-

If it becomes law, the repeal would save more than $300 billion over a decade but result in 13 million fewer Americans being covered by health insurance by the end of that period, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Republicans said on Tuesday that they would use the savings — which stem from reduced government spending to subsidize health coverage — to pay for an expansion of the middle-class tax cuts that lawmakers had proposed.

Well, that is kind of ok I guess. You have the fact that it will “result in 13 million fewer Americans being covered by health insurance”, you have “which stem from reduced government spending to subsidize health coverage”, alright.

Then you also have the flat out lie (presented as neutral fact) that these are “middle-class tax cuts” (you know, Krugman publishes in your own damn paper moron and he has a Nobel Prize in Economics, try reading it sometime) which counts against but that’s not my main point.

My main point is this- what connects the two? How do you get $300 Billion in savings from simply removing the penalties for not having health insurance?

The answer is that without the mandate young, healthy, idiots invulnerables will leave the market.

That will make the pool (everybody else) sicker and older which will raise premiums (hey, insurance companies don’t do it for charity you know) and drive even more people to not have insurance because they can’t afford it. It is because less people will be insured therefore reducing the Government subsidy that money will be saved.

The solution to all of this is to raise taxes on everybody, eliminate Health Insurance Companies (filthy leeches the lot of them) and their premiums, and institute a Single Payer System that can reduce Health Care costs by negotiating directly with providers and reduce their profits to close to what the rest of the civilized world pays.

Not surprisingly-

In a letter on Tuesday, groups representing doctors, hospitals and insurers urged congressional leaders to keep the individual mandate in place. The groups, which included the American Medical Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans, wrote that “eliminating the individual mandate by itself likely will result in a significant increase in premiums, which would in turn substantially increase the number of uninsured Americans.”

We have to keep our phony baloney jobs!

To be protected from a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, the tax bill can add no more than $1.5 trillion to federal budget deficits over a decade, and it cannot add to the deficit after a decade. Eliminating the mandate starting in 2019 would reduce federal budget deficits by a total of $338 billion by 2027, the Congressional Budget Office said last week.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the Republican leadership who also serves on the Finance Committee, said the savings from repealing the mandate would be “distributed in the form of middle-income tax relief.”

Mr. Thune said he was confident that the tax plan, with the mandate repeal as part of it, could pass the Senate.

But not all senators were as sanguine about its passage and Republicans will need to carefully calibrate votes, given that they hold a narrow 52-seat majority in the Senate.

“I personally think that it complicates tax reform,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine.

There’s that lie about “middle-income tax relief” again but fortunately Sue Collins does not appear to be deceived. Even if it did deliver the expected $500, how long do you think that would take to be eaten up by your 10% premium increase? Months?

This is simply a vehicle to give $1.5 Trillion to Multi-National Mega Corporations and the wealthiest 1% Plutocrats (who control a full 50% of the world’s wealth by the way) while picking your pockets to service their illusionary deficit and debt fetish.

Nov 15

The Breakfast Club (Endless Wire)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Sherman begins ‘March to the Sea’ in American Civil War; Zebulon Pike spots namesake mountaintop; Anti-Vietnam War protesters gather in DC; Joey Buttafuoco gets jail time; Actor Sam Waterston born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The bad guys don’t always get punished and the good guys are not necessarily pure.

Sam Waterston

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Nov 14

Hitting On Eighth Graders

You know, maybe it’s ok if you’re in the 9th Grade and you have a Junior High School (7th, 8th, and 9th Grade) / High School (10th, 11th, 12th) Educational System.

My second girlfriend (I wasn’t fast enough for my first one, a classmate) was a Junior (High School, get your filthy minds out of the gutter) and I was a Senior. I couldn’t beg a date (and believe me I tried) with my contemporary object of desire (also a classmate), and the girl I ended up dating was charming and intelligent. She’d been raised in Europe (Dad was an executive in a multi-national) and knew 4 languages including English. She was new to school, a little odd for most of the students (though she fit right in with my crowd) and looking for a friend. When she asked me to Junior Prom I could hardly say no, nor would it have been fair to ditch reciprocation for Senior Prom.

We liked each other a lot, I think, and we had other dates together, but even then age was an awkward thing.

I went away to College and she was stuck in High School which she basically hated. We saw each other as often as we could. I did her Senior Prom too but when she picked a school it was a continent away and though we promised to stay in touch of course we didn’t. I hope she’s had a fine life, she was a wonderful person.

Since then I’ve usually ended up with women a little older than I (starting to get hard to find them) and I think that’s just great because they get most of my jokes, or at least pretend to.

If you’re 30+ though, dating teenage girls is not normal. It’s super creepy. He was banned from a Mall!

Doesn’t remember? He had to ask their parents for permission!

“Love. Roy Moore, D.A.”

Too Alabama? I guess… maybe.

Actually some kind of procedural sleight-of-hand is about the worst of all possible outcomes. Moore could lose. He could get all deficit hawk if he wins. If Sessions vacates it opens the possibility to pick a new AG who won’t have to recuse and will fire Mueller which will draw roars of outrage and exactly no action.

Nov 14

The Russian Connection: Don Jr. and Julian Affair

Yesterday in The Atlantic, Julia Ioffe discussed the private messages that were exchange between Donald Trump Jr. and the head of Wikileaks, Julian Assange that started during the campaign last Summer and continued until this past July. The messages, which The Atlantic obtained, were turned over to Congress as part its investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election.

It’s not clear what investigators will make of the correspondence, which represents a small portion of the thousands of documents Donald Trump Jr.’s lawyer says he turned over to them. The stakes for the Trump family, however, are high. Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with connections to Russia’s powerful prosecutor general, is already reportedly a subject of interest in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, as is the White House statement defending him. (Trump Jr. was emailed an offer of “information that would incriminate Hillary,” and responded in part, “If it’s what you say I love it.”) The messages exchanged with WikiLeaks add a second instance in which Trump Jr. appears eager to obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton, despite its provenance.

Though Trump Jr. mostly ignored the frequent messages from WikiLeaks, he at times appears to have acted on its requests. When WikiLeaks first reached out to Trump Jr. about putintrump.org, for instance, Trump Jr. followed up on his promise to “ask around.” According to a source familiar with the congressional investigations into Russian interference with the 2016 campaign, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, on the same day that Trump Jr. received the first message from WikiLeaks, he emailed other senior officials with the Trump campaign, including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, telling them WikiLeaks had made contact. Kushner then forwarded the email to campaign communications staffer Hope Hicks. At no point during the 10-month correspondence does Trump Jr. rebuff WikiLeaks, which had published stolen documents and was already observed to be releasing information that benefited Russian interests.

WikiLeaks played a pivotal role in the presidential campaign. In July 2016, on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee’s servers that spring. The emails showed DNC officials denigrating Bernie Sanders, renewing tensions on the eve of Clinton’s acceptance of the nomination. On October 7, less than an hour after the Washington Post released the Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women, Wikileaks released emails that hackers had pilfered from the personal email account of Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta.

On October 3, 2016, WikiLeaks wrote again. “Hiya, it’d be great if you guys could comment on/push this story,” WikiLeaks suggested, attaching a quote from then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton about wanting to “just drone” WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.

“Already did that earlier today,” Trump Jr. responded an hour-and-a-half later. “It’s amazing what she can get away with.”

Two minutes later, Trump Jr. wrote again, asking, “What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?” The day before, Roger Stone, an informal advisor to Donald Trump, had tweeted, “Wednesday@HillaryClinton is done. #WikiLeaks.”

WikiLeaks didn’t respond to that message, but on October 12, 2016, the account again messaged Trump Jr. “Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications,” WikiLeaks wrote. (At a rally on October 10, Donald Trump had proclaimed, “I love WikiLeaks!”)

While there are questions as to how these exchanges would be pertinent to the investigation, TMP Editor Josh Marshall points out an article written by former Obama White House Counsel Bob Bauer at Just Security on the potential criminal case

A charge of illegal coordination is consistent with a conspiracy, aiding or abetting, or “substantial assistance” source of liability. It is the campaign finance law equivalent to what has been referred to in the public debate as “collusion.” In other words coordination is a legally prohibited form of collusion: spending by Russia, if coordinated with the campaign, is a contribution to the campaign. The contribution, of course, would be illegal. It is important to underscore here that this area of law applies to any and all coordinated spending beneficial to the campaign, not only to coordination with Russians, the Russian government, or other foreign nationals (think: Wikileaks). [..]

A question clearly raised by the new information is whether the Trump campaign’s communications about the hacked emails–through both public statements and private contacts–constituted in effect, for legal purposes, a request or suggestion that funds be spent to acquire the stolen emails. The candidate certainly requested this assistance in his public remarks. Now, in a meeting scheduled with a Russian national with ties to the Putin regime, the campaign made clear that it was actively interested in having this kind of information.

Investigators will presumably explore whether the campaign was interested specifically in the stolen emails. Press reporting suggests that a) the campaign was interested in the emails, because the candidate had said so, and supporters like Mr. (Peter W.) Smith was engaged in a concerted effort to find them; and b) both the campaign and Mr. Smith were dealing with Russian nationals in the search for negative information on Mrs. Clinton. At any rate, any support coordinated with the Russians constitutes an illegal contribution from a foreign source.

Nov 14

The Breakfast Club (Human Rights Duty)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Nazi Germany bombs English town of Coventry during World War II; ‘Moby-Dick’ published; Nellie Bly begins globe-trotting trek; Leonard Bernstein makes conducting debut; Composer Aaron Copland born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.

P. J. O’Rourke

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Nov 13

John Oliver : The Lasting Consequences of the Troll President

Last night John Oliver, host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” gave an insightful dissertation on the
techniques that Trump and his followers have used to undermine norms of governing and how Americans talk about ideas. Allowing Trump’s techniques to spread to other politicians and media outlets so that it becomes the pervasive doctrine of the land poses a serious threat to the U.S. as a democracy and a culture. Seeing how it spreads, he said, is evidence of how we’re already “seriously and lastingly f*cked.”

“The natural endpoint is the erosion of our ability to decide what’s important, have an honest debate and hold one another accountable,” he warned.

John Adams once said “Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

We should be truly worried about our democracy.

Nov 13

Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?

If there ever was doubt that the Trump administration is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s play toy, this has to be it. From the International Business Times:

Putin’s Former KGB Boss Heads Security For US Embassies In Russia

A company headed by the former chief of KGB counterintelligence will provide security for U.S. embassies in Russia.

The firm, Elite Security Holdings, received a $2.83 million contract from the state department to provide “local guard services for US mission Russia,” according to the Telegraph Friday. The main U.S. embassy is in Moscow, and there are consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.

Viktor Budanov and his son started the security company in 1997. Viktor Budanov was a longtime KGB agent; he headed KGB counterintelligence the KGB branch in East Germany in the late 1980s. While in East Germany Budanov supervised Vladimir Putin, who was then a KGB agent. Budanov joined the KGB in 1966 and retired one year after the Soviet Union fell. After his retirement, Budanov began working with Americans and other foreigners as a security and business intelligence consultant.

Budanov worked with British double agent Kim Philby, who fed British secrets to the Soviet Union before he defected there in 1963. Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB agent who became a double agent for the British in the 1970s and 80s said that Budanov had drugged and interrogated him under suspicion he was a double agent in a British court hearing in 1993. Gordievsky also testified that Budanov taught Bulgarian agents how to kill targets with poisonous umbrellas. Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident, was killed by a poisonous umbrella in London in 1978. The mission was the work of the Bulgarian secret police working with the KGB.

In the past, Budanov has praised Putin’s leadership and warned that Russia can not bow down to the wished of the U.S.

I can’t imagine anyone in the State Department or any of our national intelligence agencies thinking this was a good idea, if they even knew about it before it was a done deal. If they did, Tillerson would have had to override their objections.

I strongly suspect that Trump and all his traitorous cronies will expect to find asylum in Russia.

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