Three Things: Shocker, Badger, Vapor

Summer doldrums are hitting hard here; it’s too steamy today to do much but watch the garden grow and the ‘hot takes’ bloom. Let’s breeze through these.

~ 1 ~

Shocker: The White House had its ass handed to it last night, alongside a serving of vanilla ice cream and peach cobbler. While it was kissing up to some über conservative Senators, Utah’s Mike Lee and Kansas’ Jerry Moran announced they would not support the Motion to Proceed on the latest POS edition of AHCA.

Excellent work on the dual tweets dispatched simultaneously at 8:30 p.m., by the way (see this one and this one). Live by the tweets, die by the tweets, Littlehands.

What I find particularly interesting is the secrecy this announcement revealed. Not just the discreet collaboration between two senators from very red states, taking advantage of the additional time afforded them by John McCain’s personal health care challenge. Apparently Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Yertle” McConnell has had such a tight grip on the legislative process that even his wingman, John Cornyn, doesn’t know what’s going on until McConnell’s office emails his deputies.

Not exactly a way to win friends and influence enemies, that.

(For some reason McConnell’s super-secret hyper control makes me think of the compartments Washington Post wrote about with regard to the Russian election hacks and the subsequent investigation. Why is that?)

~ 2 ~

Badger: Russia is pissed off about its dachas-away-from-home, threatening retaliation if they’re not returned. Uh, right. Like the U.S. suddenly decided to boot Russian occupants out of the Long Island and Maryland digs for no good reason last year. Russian Foreign Ministry “reserves the right to retaliate based on the principle of reciprocity,” forgetting that Obama took a too-measured response to repeated incursions by Russia into U.S. information systems — including hacks of the White House and Defense Department in 2015 — not to mention the ‘Illegals Program‘ spy who worked at Microsoft circa 2010. (Let’s also not forget an ‘Illegals Program’ spy worked their way close to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign co-chair.) The U.S. could and should have been far more aggressive in its response; Russia isn’t entitled to reciprocity.

This is a test for Congressional Republicans. Either cement sanctions against Russia including the ‘foreclosure’ on these two compounds, or admit complicity in the undermining of democratic process last year. The GOP needs to revisit a CRS report on U.S.-Russia relations and Executive Orders 13660, 13661, and 13662 before they give any ground. [EDIT: See also EO 13964, issued April 1, 2016 in response to “malicious cyberactivity” — this EO the GOP will probably ignore just as it has all signs of Team Trump collusion as well as Russian interference in the 2016 general election.]

If there are truly compelling reasons in the nation’s interest for conceding these compounds, give them back — but only after the buildings have been razed and permits for reconstruction are denied under sanctions. The Russian government can work out of trailers on the property, or on boats from the dock. They do not need to be any more comfortable than they have been.

~ 3 ~

Vapor: No longer a ghost — we  now know who the eighth attendee was at Donnie Junior’s June 9th meeting at Trump Tower last year. Lucky number seven is believed to be a translator — and wow, so is number eight!

Which seems kind of odd — in the information Junior dumped online, there was no mention that Veselnitskaya didn’t speak English and needed a translator, or who would be the translator. Doesn’t it seem strange that there would be no concerns about security clearance into Trump Tower or a meeting with a presidential candidate’s son and/or campaign team given the meeting requester was a foreign national?

Perhaps because there was little concern, Body Number Eight, Ike Kaveladze, purportedly showed up as Veselnitskaya’s translator only to learn she had brought her own, Body Number Seven, Anatoli Samochornov. It’s not clear from USA Today’s reporting who asked Kaveladze to attend; did Junior just let any Russian in the neighborhood attend the meeting? Aras Agalarov sent Kaveladze “just to make sure it happened and to serve as an interpreter if necessary,” Kaveladze’s lawyer told NYT. Why so many witnesses?

The room must have been a little crowded with Junior, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rob Goldstone, Veselnitskaya and two translators as well as Rinat Akhmetshin.

Given the two translators, Akhmetshin’s presence seems even more curious. Why was he there if there were two translators?

~ ~ ~

That’s that. I could go on but it’s too damned hot here. Refresh your iced tea and settle yourself in front of the fan. This is an open thread — behave.

37 replies
  1. arbusto says:

    Maybe Donny wanted to be sure he understood the full depth and breadth of the orphan problem by having so many Russians who spoke english  (in lieu of any Americans who spoke russian).


    Bye the bye, has anyone seen or heard from any Democrats lately, other than some sniveling invertebrates?  The Senate under Harry R was bad enough, but Shumer and Pelosi seem to excel at diminishing the brand

    • Rayne says:

      When your opponent insists on stepping on their dick repeatedly, you get the fuck out of the way and let them have at it. Stay out of the debris field — don’t get that stuff on you.

      That’s what Democrats are doing. Ask again come January 2018.

      In the meantime, Schumer and Pelosi are keeping their caucuses together. Nobody’s crossed over to help GOP fuck us, with possible exception of that jerk-off DINO Manchin. There’s not much else that can be done when your party doesn’t have control of Congress, or don’t you recall the not-too-distant past when majority GOP screwed minority Dems when Dems tried to hold hearings on their own?

      See also the Congressional investigations into Russia’s interference — the effective questions aren’t being asked by Republicans (ex: Trey “Benghazi!” Gowdy).

      • Splashoil says:

        Read you some Thomas Frank.  Denocrats who are keeping the dry powder are doomed.  This should the time to roll out stuff people could believe in like Single Payer and student debt relief.  This is not the time for smug vapors.  The Clintonistas are still in charge.


        • bmaz says:

          Oh, you mean the very things that people like Warren and Sanders, and a quickly growing list of others, already are taking about? Okay. That has nothing to do with what Rayne said.

        • BadBisco says:

          One Democrat and one independent that had the policies, vision, and values to seize upon the remarkable movement of lower-income people finally waking up to economic injustice across developed nations.

          However, the Democrats torpedoed that candidate for the money, power, and influence that helping Clinton was supposed to provide. Despite becoming the most well liked politician in America, they then torpedoed his recommendation for DNC leadership.

          Party leadership continues to fail to learn from their mistake in helping elect Trump. They continue to $upport neoliberal “safe” candidates over those that would be elected by addressing the concerns that Sanders addressed.

          Parties are entities that need to be held accountable rather than a team you root for. The endless Russia blather is a convenient way to avoid making the hard effort to evaluate why your party lost to the worst candidate ever (I guess second worst since Hillary lost to him) and made our nation a joke. If Bernie’s message and ideas resonated so much why are the Dem’s afraid to embrace it?

  2. jo6pac says:

    On the Russian property just give back why are we or Amerikan govt. playing this game other than it’s shiny object.


    The demodog are busy figuring out their new game plan and yes it the same plan that worked so well the first time. One trick phony.

    They could kill the repugs at this time and the next elections with going on every talking heads show to promote this.

    1. Improved Medi-Care for all from birth to death.

    2. Stopping the endless wars and money spent on the merchants of death to be used to truly rebuild Amerika.

    3. Forgive all student loans and add free education for all. That would for blue collar and white collar.

    4. ? I’m sure others can add to the list.

    It won’t happen because losing is winning to the elite of the demodogs$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    The Russian aren’t not my enemy, my own govt. is the enemy of Amerika citizens

    • Rayne says:

      Securing universal health care and reducing prescription drug costs? Check; it’s been on the list.

      Making debt-free college a reality and providing relief from crushing student debt? Also check.

      Defense is a sticky one; this needs better articulation, but then the State Dept’s first-ever quadrennial report probably spelled out a baseline from which Defense should be framed. Call it “Work in Progress.”

      But you knew this if you read this already from last summer.

  3. bmaz says:

    Re the room: I’ve seen pictures of it, and it is fucking huge. Eight people would barely take up one end of the conference table. Also very nice and with glass walls so anybody on the 25th floor that day could have seen the confab in progress.

    • Rayne says:

      I was being snarky. It wouldn’t matter if they had the meeting on the MetLife Stadium’s 50-yard line — there are too many attendees for a simple lobbying pitch for Russian orphans.

      Of course we know the meeting was about much more given the email subject line; but still, EIGHT people to make a dangle, uh, pitch and hand over a sample dossier, um, brochure?

      The reluctance to name all the parties says so much, especially when the lawyer for the last one named says his client was there to make sure the meeting happened…as if there was an implicit threat already hanging over the proceedings. Heh.

    • Cold N. Holefield says:

      I second & third this motion. And once that’s completed as a Symbolic Act, we round up ALL The Russians in America and send them back to their one and only Love, Mother Russia, where they can rob and murder and blackmail each other to their Dark Heart’s Delight.

      No Russians

      • Rayne says:

        I am very uncomfortable with calls for rounding up any group of people based on ethnic or national identification. It’s no different than nationalists’ calls for rounding up Muslims or Jews, or past U.S. exclusionary acts like the internment of Japanese Americans or the Chinese Exclusion Act.

        An appropriate response based on intelligence committee concerns and findings to date by Congress: legislate tighter limits on temporary visas granted to Russian nationals with specific links to concerns in executive orders 13660, 13661, 13662 until specific conditions have been met. It’s a reasoned response to this administration’s lack of restraint granting temporary visas.

  4. Rugger9 says:

    We shouldn’t give back the beachfront properties that allowed unfettered access to any sub lurking in the area (and they do) for SIGINT if not transfer of people.  We only owe them space for the embassy in DC and in NYC for the UN.  The Russians don’t need these dachas, especially if our spooks can show it was indeed used for espionage.  However, Napoleorange apparently has his bills coming due, so to speak.

    I’ve said it before, #8 is not it for attendees, certainly when one considers the week-long effort to stonewall the name including blaming the Secret Service.  I think it is Sessions, Bannon and/or Ivanka that rated the WH push back.

    • Rayne says:

      I caught crap about my interest in the Russian naval vessel taking a leisurely trawl along the east coast. The Maryland compound has a dock and the Long Island compound is comfortably close to the water, making them perfect for dropping things in the water for pick up. If memory serves, there’s still a second compound in Long Island the Obama administration didn’t shutter — the Russians can move there.

  5. seedeevee says:

    Rayne, how nice of you to join the xenophobic anti-Russia hysteria! You are fitting in well with the new always-looking-backwards but never-moving-forward Democratic Party Establishment!

    Keep up the good work.

    • Rayne says:

      First, apparently you know dick-all about me.
      Second, apparently you know dick-all about the Democratic Party. It’s not a monolith; you’ve bought into propaganda if you think it is.
      Third, apparently you know dick-all about the nature of advanced persistent threats, let alone the years of low-level conflict in which the U.S. has been engaged with Russia under multiple administrations.

      Find the exit. You’ll make us both happier elsewhere.

  6. Cold N. Holefield says:

    I truly believe Putin could send Russian Troops to America today to protect Russians in the American Diaspora and many within The GOP and many of the braindead, recalcitrant Trump Supporters, the Unflagging 39%, would be just fine with it. As well, many Commentators at various blogs would find a way to support the action both legally and otherwise. People like jo6pac who I have observed, as well as many others, for the past eight years on The Net. These Commentators have treasonously (if they’re Americans and I believe a number of them are not) helped remove any backbone America had remaining. America, in part because of these Commentators’ highly deceptive “work,” is now spineless and wide open for Russian manipulation & intervention while The Democrats play Politics As Usual.

    Simply put — we’re fucked.

    If I were POTUS, one of my first orders of business would be to deport ALL Russians. They are Enemy Combatants. I believe Dugin when he says Russians don’t think for themselves but instead think in terms of The Russian State. Since Tsar Putin is the embodiment of The Russian State, according to Dugin, every Russian at home & abroad is an extension of Putin and his Will. According to Dugin, the goal is the destruction of America as we know it via unconventional means, so that necessarily means Russia has unofficially (because Putin & The Russians are too cowardly to announce it formally) declared War on America and every Russian is necessarily an Enemy Combatant in this New Form of War.

    It’s time for ALL Russians to go back to Mother Russia now. We can do this humanely now before it’s too late. The more Russians who come to America, the more considerable the pretext for Putin to enact The Putin Doctrine to come to their aid. Let’s not allow it to reach that point.

    The Russians are not our friends. They are Criminal Scumbags who owe their allegiance to a Criminal Kleptocracy. Their motives are ALWAYS criminal. They breath criminality just as readily as they imbibe vodka. Cast them out now before it’s too late. Otherwise, things will continue to get worse, not better, and before long we will experience a REAL crisis for which we have no response but capitulation.

    • John Casper says:


      Did you just accuse joe6pac of treason?

      You want to deport Nadia Comaneci? Is she an “enemy combatant?”

      In your ethnic cleansing, are slavs different than Russians? IIRC Germany murdered about 2 million Poles for being Polish.

      What about the former Soviet Republics, such as Checynia. Are they “Russian” too?

      How do you determine if someone is “Russian?” Is there a DNA test?

      Do you have any Russian ancestors? If not, can you prove it?

      Were you aware that Russia has ICBM’s?

      • COld N. Holefield says:

        Any “former” Russian who identifies as Russian and waxes nostalgic for Russia and praises Putin rather than condemning him gets deported. Those Russians who emigrated and have sentimentally & psychically left Russia behind, they’re welcome to stay and will not be persecuted or ostracized. Those who emigrated after The Fall of The Soviet Union should be scrutinized more closely as potential witting & unwitting Operatives. Those who are still Russian Citizens with residences in America are deported automatically since they are ALL Oligarchs. No Oligarchs whatsoever. Those with Dual American-Russian Citizenship should be investigated and scrutinized closely and most will be deported because their allegiance is necessarily with Russia.

        So what if Russia has ICBMs? By reuniting Patriotic Russians with their vaunted Mother Russia, we are doing Putin & Russia a favor. We’ll even do it on America’ s Dime to show how sincere we are about our Conviction. If Russia starts a Nuclear War over that, well, that’s on Russia. Are you suggesting that we Shelter In Place in fear of doing anything ever so as not to piss off Putin and Russia and risk a Nuclear Conflagration? You think Putin would Nuke The World for America returning Russians to their Rightful Birthright? A “Man” such as that has no right to Life. He should be taken out immediately if he’s that insane because he is an imminent danger to ALL Humanity and ALL Life on the Planet.

        • John Casper says:


          You wrote,  “Any ‘former’ Russian who identifies as Russian and waxes nostalgic for Russia and praises Putin rather than condemning him gets deported.”

          1. You don’t like the First Amendment?

          2. If an American, who does not identify as Russian, praises Putin, that’s OK?

          2.1 How does someone identify as Russian? Please be specific.

          3. Is dual citizenship with other countries OK?

          You wrote, “Those Russians who emigrated and have sentimentally & psychically left Russia behind,  they’re welcome to stay and will not be persecuted.”

          4. So, whether they’re a U.S. citizen or not is irrelevant?

          5. Who determines if they have “sentimentally & psychically” left Russia behind?”

          6. What if they backslide on leaving their birthplace “behind,” as this song suggests?

          6.1 What court or tribunal determines that?

          6.2 Is there any appeal to their decision.

          6.3 What if someone claimed you praised Putin and the court or tribunal agreed?

          You ignored my question about DNA tests for Russian ancestry.

          6.4 Assuming that means no such test exists, would you be ok with being deported, if the charges against you included that you had Russian ancestors?

          You ignored my question about your Russian ancestors.

          7. Are all your ancestors Native Americans?

          8. What country hasn’t been vilified in our history?

          9. Why couldn’t your “loyalty oaths” be used against Americans from those countries?

          10. What’s the difference between Russian oligarchs and Western oligarchs?

          11. Do you hate us for our freedoms?

          12. Do you want other countries to evict Americans?


        • Cold N. Holefield says:

          All your concerns will be taken into consideration and implemented to ensure an equitable process. What a Momentous Event it will be — something akin to The Jewish People returning to Israel. It’s not something you should frown upon. It’s A Good Thing, as Martha is fond of saying.

        • John Casper says:


          Since those “concerns will be taken into consideration and implemented to ensure an equitable process,” what impediment is there to you responding to questions 1 – 12?

          13. Do you have any “concerns” with me faxing a copy of your comments to the Russian embassy and asking them to respond in this thread?

          14. What about the Japanese embassy?

          14.1 Do you think U.S. citizens who were interred after Pearl Harbor will share your faith in an “equitable process?”

          15. What about Saudi Arabia’s embassy? What will their reaction to your comment about the “Jewish” people be?

          15.1 Since you brought that up, what’s the difference between the tunnels in the Warsaw ghetto and Hamas’?

          “Why Israel Still Has No Good Answer to Hamas Tunnels”

          “The recent discovery of a tunnel leading from Gaza into Israel, however, doesn’t necessarily spell disaster.”

        • Cold N. Holefield says:

          John, is 13. a Veiled Threat? No, I don’t want you to contact the Russian Embassy, I want you to contact Putin himself and tell him I challenge him to a Duel.

          Here’s the Catch, though. It’s no Ordinary Duel. He can’t bring his Henchmen or Entourage and neither can I even though I have no Henchmen and no Entourage.

          We can’t bring Weapons. It’s a Duel of Endurance, both physical & psychical. No violence. Just The Sheer Will To Live and just Me & Vlad.

          If Vlad doesn’t die but cries Uncle first, he agrees to be Hillary’s Man-Servant for the remainder of his days. If I don’t die but cry Uncle first, I return to Russia.

          Now be a Good Chap and make it happen. We can put it on Pay Per View. I know who you’ll be rooting for. I don’t blame you — it’s the easy choice.

  7. Splashoil says:

    Comments should be disabled like Hullabaloo. That would help keep the dry powder. (Snark warning)

    • Rayne says:

      I don’t see any Dem ‘keeping their powder dry’ like they did during post-9/11 and run-up to Iraq War, or even in the first ACA debates of 2009. We can’t operate under the assumption this environment can be managed using past practices, by simply stepping forward with a progressive agenda; they already have. The challenge to progressive promotion has changed dramatically. Look closely at how within the last week Clinton has been blamed for colluding with foreign powers — and people believed it, bought this crap hook, line, sinker, never following the thread to point of origin. That’s just one example of the way in which weaponized social media is being used against Democrats.

      What Dems are faced with is a PR/marketing problem unlike anything they’ve seen before. It will take a content production system on par with the active measures deployed against them relying on SCL/Cambridge Analytica data. Without it they will have a very hard time breaking through. Think very carefully about what happened in the swing states; even the intelligence community did not see it happening, could not see how micro-targeted messaging undermined the vote. Another alternative will require dramatic action many candidates and incumbents are simply not comfortable with using; the risks are too high in some districts/states. Quite simply, success may come down to activists’ efforts, not incumbents/candidates. What are YOU willing to do to ensure a win in your backyard? How badly do YOU want or need it?

  8. Cold N. Holefield says:

    So, did the Obama Administration, and The National Security State, really “choke” on The Russian Meddling in The 2016 American Presidential Election? I don’t think they did. They let it happen. But why?

    Choked, My Ass

    They’re Playing with Fire and none of us have a say in the matter. But I’m going to say it anyway because Posterity still matters — to me at least.

  9. Fiddlin' Bill says:

    A new deport them all policy is idiotic, whatever the nationality in question. I was merely objecting to the Russian high horse frets about those two confiscated spy mansions.

  10. harpie says:

    Three other things:
    1] Trump Bets on Casino Hired Gun for State Department; Daily Beast; 7/19/17

    When Jonathan Galaviz left his job at a casino consulting firm to go work for the Trump State Department, he didn’t have any concerns about job security. The firm—which consults for at least two Russian state entities, according to its website—proudly announced that Galaviz would be back after his stint at State. Galaviz himself consulted for a Russian government corporation on casino gambling. […]

    2] Thread: Dan Murphy‏Verified account @bungdan  

    GOP Rep. Rohrabacher, a Kremlin ally, sought a Congress show trial of a US campaigner for human rights in Russia. [links to GOP Lawmaker Got Direction From Moscow, Took It Back to D.C.; Daily Beast; 7/19/17] [harpieCatharine O’Neill, the Rohrabacher intern who aided Russian anti-Magnitsky Act lobbyists to promote Russian film “went on to secure a job on the Trump transition team and then in the State Department’s Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights.”] Murphy: O’Neill has been assigned to the same overall department at state as this casino guy Galaviz.

    3] Brian Schatz‏, United States Senator from Hawaii tweets:

    The State Department is being intentionally dismantled. It’s scandalous and perilous. Time to freak out – the “nationalists” are winning.


    • Rayne says:

      I would LOVE to know what kind of compromising material they have on Rohrabacher. There must be tons of it. He strikes me as the kind of guy who doesn’t care but his constituents certainly would. It seems like he’s a locus, could be a leverage opportunity.

  11. Desidero says:

    1) does Russian lawyer sound like her English is oh so bad, or are “interpreters” there for other reason? Her talk in clip is too short to say.

    2) Reince Priebus was spotted entering building that day, and there’s a less used walkway to the next building – still a chance more people at the meeting (table could handle 20 or more, but if DT jr sez thats all there were, guess 8 is the winning ticket.

  12. bmaz says:

    Dear “SeeDeeVee”: Your last comment was removed for being in violation of the common standards of decency and conduct that apply here at this blog. If you have no more respect for the forum that that, then your voice is certainly superfluous and unnecessary. And that bleating crap will not be published here.

    You can contribute meaningfully, or engage in scurrilous attacks on your hosts here, who have all been around more than a decade before you. So far, it is clear which you relish. But don’t be shocked if we do not promote that. Clean up your act, or be gone.

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