The religious zealots in my area, at least, are in a tizzy. It is easy to see what animates them with comparisons like this.

They just can't see what tools they are of the elites. Additionally, the Fitzgeralds have enlightened us on the 'Norman' roots of the Bush family (referenced in one of the cartoons above). To come later.
Below David Frum questions the scope of the new Special Counsel's investigatory bounds, perhaps allowing Trump to skate along even easier, his staff now merely refusing to answer uncomfortable questions. In any case, as Frum notes, the real important issues are not as much possible criminal aspects, but those business dealings that are otherwise legal, such as how Trump hides its Russian debt, its Russian investments in Trump real estate (aka money laundering), etc.. If we know of one property deal where a Russian oligarch allowed Trump to profit by ~$45 million, then what is hidden below the surface, and we're all to believe Trump is then not beholding?

Before Trump became the Republican nominee, the top House Republicans were laughing about Trump being paid by Putin, only now claiming that this was a bad attempt at humor (House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy). See further below.

We must remember that Mueller was the FBI cleanup man for 9/11, and irony abounds with Trump being the 'bad' conspiracy theory king, I believe occasionally broaching 9/11.

We must also note that, General Flynn has now been caught out in doing Turkey (one of his clients) a big favor by changing our ISIS strategy vis-a-vis the Kurds. And that the Trump administration was aware long before the inauguration and Sally Yates warning visit that Flynn was a foreign agent. Yet Trump made him National Security Advisor anyways, and in light of his narrower military counter-intelligence skills did not qualify him for in the first place, according to the 'experts'.

If the special counsel chooses, he may write a report providing larger context for the troubling events. The Trump Justice Department will then decide whether to release that report to the public.

The counsel’s mandate, however, only empowers him to investigate connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. It’s by no means clear that he has authority to broaden the inquiry into the mighty question of why Russia chose to intervene, or to explore entanglements between the Russian government and Trump’s businesses.

People in Trump’s orbit now face legal fees and legal jeopardy. For a long time however, the president himself will enjoy the shield of Robert Mueller’s professional discretion.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Congress could still investigate itself or empower an independent investigation. This Congress won’t. The next Congress should.

Perhaps it should start on exactly the terrain put off limits to Mueller: The pre-2015 history of connections between Trump and Russia. Congress has power to subpoena the business records of the Trump Organization. It can trace the complex system of holding companies within which (according to Trump biographer Timothy O’Brien) Trump hides his enormous debts. It can order a forensic audit to clarify exactly what the Trump family has received from Russian sources over the years, and what it may still owe.

Very likely none of this is illegal. It is, however, burningly relevant.

This generation’s variant of “What did the president know, and when he know it?” Is “What does the president owe, and to whom does he owe it?”

Not: “Is the president a crook?” (We had available all the information needed to determine that on election day.)

But: “Is the president a risk to national security?”

The following excerpted Salon article centers around Kevin McCarthy's joke about Trump being in Putin's pay. Here it must also be noted the it is thought that McCarthy is (or now was) Trump's favorite Congressman, because McCarthy has brown-nosed Trump so much since Trump became the presumptive favorite (and while Trump was bashing Ryan).
But what about Trump? This meeting happened in June 2016. At that point in the election cycle, he was certainly known to have made flattering comments about the Russian president and had been flattered in return. There was lots of joking about his affection for dictators and strongmen. But there hadn’t any public talk until that point, about the Trump campaign’s being affiliated with Russia. His comments asking the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails certainly raised eyebrows, but suspicion didn’t start bubbling up in earnest until campaign manager Paul Manafort’s ties to the previous pro-Putin government in Ukraine came under scrutiny and he was forced to resign in August.

Keep in mind, McCarthy said this just one day after The Washington Post had reported for the first time that Russians were suspected of the DNC email hacking. We don’t know what information any GOP-ers had at the time, but it’s clear that these top-level Republicans were talking among themselves about possible interference in the election a full year ago. Maybe they genuinely thought it was hilarious but the fact that they never bothered to step up at any point as this issue emerged and have stonewalled the investigations all along suggests other possible interpretations.

But then, as I’ve written before, the GOP-dominated House majority was a major beneficiary of the Russian hacking, a fact that rarely seems to get mentioned in all this. So I’ll ask once again, in light of the fact that Ryan and McCarthy seem to have been aware of these possible Russian shenanigans much earlier than the rest of us: What did the majority leader and the speaker of the House know about Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump? And when did they know it?

Is it matters like this that has caused the ambitious and powerful Jason Chaffitz to resign his House seat at the end of June?
The Donald is currently in (radical Wahhabi) Saudi Arabia, where he just signed a $110 billion arms deal, and his berserker Jew and Bannon accolyte, Steve Miller, has written The Donald's speech. The author of the excerpted article below suspects that WWIII will start in the Middle East, if we don't find a better way, and having Donald, Bannon, and Steve Miller centrally involved can't be good. Especially when the latter two have apocalyptic views.

As such, maybe they wont need a false flag to save The Donald after all. But let's also remember that the Saudi bin Laden family, good friends of the Bush family, are powerfully connected to the Saudi royal family. The bin Ladin family runs the primary construction company in SA and has sole right to work in Mecca, and they even built USAF base in SA where the Khobar Towers incident happened. During the Bosnia and Kosovo conflict the Saudi Wahhabis worked hard to destabilize other Islamic sects there and build Wahhabism, our CIA and al Qaeda working well together, as it did in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. Of course, history reveals that the Brits got ol Mr. Wahhab up to his sectarian tricks back around the time of the American Revolution.

Albert Pike said there would be days like this.

The following article is also a good primer on Islam.

This weekend, US president Donald Trump is traveling to the Middle East to deliver a speech about Islam. My bet is that within the first half of that speech—written by the Muslim-baiting Stephen Miller—he’ll brag about his yuge election victory, possibly leak some intelligence, and offend the entire Middle East. Yet pundits will desperately try to parse his words for signs that he’s matured, as if, at his age, people ordinarily make dramatic life changes.

Of course, millions of Americans (and others) may believe Trump when he preaches that more of the same—war, arms sales, and the short-sighted sponsorship of dubious allies—will bring about a different conclusion this time around. But the fact of the matter is that the Muslim world is deeply divided against itself, and Trump has neither the vision nor the historical understanding to try and fix it.

America was supposed to be the indispensable nation. Now it’s a nation that even our allies are keen to exclude. Nobody trusts us to make intelligent decisions anymore. In this moment, what is called for is not more of the same, but a deep dose of humility. ...
It should also be noted that a portion of this likely illegal deal includes that some items, like helicopters, will be manufactured in Saudi Arabia, and thus ... not by American workers. And, Jared Kushner negotiated a better price for all this for the Saudis. I'll bet he did this for free. NOT!!
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In our Alice in Wonderland existence, supposedly at the top of the list for new FBI Director is Joe Lieberman, the slippery Lubavitcher politician that his former Dem friends despise, while Republicans mostly adore - as they do Trump. This despite that Lieberman has no law enforcement background and that he works for a law firm employed by Trump. Hmmm.

Lieberman may not be an odd choice for Trump. He finished up his Senate career as an independent. Perhaps more important, since leaving the Senate in 2013, Lieberman has been a senior counsel at the Kasowitz Benson Torres law firm, which has defended Trump in numerous disputes over the years. But as a member of that law firm, Lieberman also had the unusual job of promoting and representing a Libyan businessman and politician who tried to court an alleged terrorist accused of leading the 2012 attack on the Benghazi compound that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

In Lieberman's final days as a senator, a reporter asked him if he would become a lobbyist. "No, I'm not going to do that," he replied. But in November 2013, as Politico reported at the time, his law firm signed up as a foreign agent for Basit Igtet, a Libyan businessman and activist who was considering running forprime minister in Libya. Igtet made his money through assorted ventures in Switzerland, where his family had sought exile. He married Sara Bronfman, the daughter of Edgar Bronfman, who had been the billionaire chairman of Seagram and the president of the World Jewish Congress. The foreign agent registration form filed at the Justice Department noted that Lieberman would be part of the team handling this $100,000 project that would provide "government relations services" to Igtet.

Contacted by Mother Jones, Lieberman's office said he was not available for comment.

When Khattala was nabbed, he was one of the FBI's most-wanted terrorists, and bureau agents participated in the mission that grabbed him. Yet months earlier, Lieberman was working for a Libyan who had reached out to Khattala. Now, Lieberman may be Trump's choice for FBI chief. If Lieberman does end up in the job, it will certainly be a first: an FBI director who once was a foreign agent for an overseas politician who cozied up to an alleged terrorist accused of killing Americans.

Will Republicans and conservatives care about this Benghazi connection?
Mother Jones is launching a public fund to investigate and expose the Trump operation. The article discussing it linked to the following excerpted article on Chinese government money in the pocket of President Swamp Fox:

When a Chinese American businesswoman who sells access to powerful people recently purchased a $15.8 million penthouse in a building owned by President Donald Trump, the deal raised a key question. Was this a straightforward real estate transaction, or was this an effort to win favor with the new administration? The woman, Angela Chen, refused to discuss the purchase with the media. The White House and the Trump Organization would not comment on it. Further investigation by Mother Jones has unearthed a new element to the story: Chen has ties to important members of the Chinese ruling elite and to an organization considered a front group for Chinese military intelligence.

Chen, who also goes by the names Xiao Yan Chen and Chen Yu, purchased the four-bedroom condo in the Trump Park Avenue building in New York City on February 21. As Mother Jones first reported, Chen runs a business consulting firm, Global Alliance Associates, which specializes in linking US businesses seeking deals in China with the country's top power brokers. "As counselors in consummating the right relationships—quite simply—we provide access," Chen's firm boasts on its website. But Chen has another job: She chairs the US arm of a nonprofit called the China Arts Foundation, which was founded in 2006 and has links with Chinese elites and the country's military intelligence service.

The China Arts Foundation was created by Deng Rong, the youngest daughter of Deng Xiaoping, the iconic revolutionary figure and Chinese leader. Deng Rong is what's known in China as a princeling—a term used for the sons and daughters of former high-ranking officials or officers in the Chinese Communist Party who now hold significant sway in business and political circles. Since 1990, Deng has also served as a vice president of the China Association for International Friendly Contacts, which is an affiliate of the intelligence and foreign propaganda division of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). China experts say CAIFC exists to cultivate relationships with former leaders and retired military officials and diplomats of various countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, in order to influence foreign defense policies toward China and the Far East.

To sum up: An influence-peddler who works with a princeling tied to Chinese military intelligence placed $15.8 million in the pockets of the president of the United States.

Chen's purchase of the penthouse unit from Trump was the first deal consummated by Trump's company since he became president. Prior to taking office, Trump claimed he would remove himself from the daily operations of his business empire, but he remains the owner of the limited liability company that sold Chen the unit. How the deal went down remains a mystery. Chen apparently paid cash, and the apartment she purchased, unlike other penthouse units in the Trump Park Avenue building, was not publicly listed for sale. Chen currently lives in an apartment on a lower floor of the building and uses the unit as a mailing address for the China Arts Foundation and her consulting company. Before moving to Washington, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump lived in the same building. (They are currently trying to sell their apartment.)

Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, who, along with Trump's two adult sons, was handed the task of running Trump's business empire while he is in the Oval Office, signed the sale documents with Chen. He did not respond to a request for comment. Chen also did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the apartment deal or her relationship with Deng Rong and CAIFC. CAIFC did not respond to an email seeking comment.

When Trump became president, the Trump Organization enlisted an ethics adviser, attorney Bobby Burchfield, to vet potential business deals involving Trump. Burchfield declined to comment about the Chen transaction or explain the vetting process for her purchase of the Trump Park Avenue penthouse. ...
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After all the divisive rhetoric against all of Islam, Trump signs an illegal $110 billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia, the birth place of Al Qaeda and other Sunni Islamic extremism. Apparently, Sunni extremism is not really extremism after all. Funny that the Bush family considered the Shiite Ismailis (formerly the Crusade era Nazari Assassins) to be the good guys.

Remember that part in “A Thousand And One Arabian Nights,” the legendary collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian folk tales, when the old man Cohen Al-Abtan instructs his grandsons to discover the treasure of Al-Shamardal and bring him the celestial orb?

Case Western Reserve University professor Peter A. Shulman did.

“If he is angry with a city and wants to burn it, he need only point the orb toward the sun and say, ‘Let such and such a city be burned,’ and that city will be consumed with fire.”

$110 billion in arms can go a long way to lighting up the shady Shiites.

BTW, the name 'Cohen' above is Semitic for 'priest', and Arabs are Semitic peoples. Of course, there is some scuttlebutt that the House of Saud is indeed Crypto.

The Illumination of the Sunni, while Trump Shades the Shiites

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, first lady Melania Trump and President Trump in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Press Agency/European Pressphoto Agency)
Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia was written by Stephen Miller, the rabid neocon associate of Steve Bannon's. While the speech makes nice with the Saudis and the rest of Sunni Islam (about 90% of Islam), giving Trump nice PC points, and failed to use the specific term "Radical Islamic Extremism" that the right pilloried Obama and Hillary with, we have, once again, swept all the hypocritical BS under the Saudi's red carpet.

Trump is NOT Populist, but a typical globalist faux populist pol.

Anyone expecting such a speech has forgotten that Trump’s first impulse is to please. He is constitutionally incapable of displeasing a live audience, let alone a foreign potentate who has recently lassoed him with a golden chain. And sure enough, the speech in Riyadh complied perfectly with the Saudi geopolitical and religious line. He offered strong opinions about the essential nature of Islam—that terror will condemn your soul, not save it; that ISIS “falsely invokes” the name of God; that tolerance and equality are the hallmarks of all three Abrahamic faiths—that line up well with the platitudes Saudi royals sometimes repeat at international gatherings, for the comfort of non-Muslims. He didn’t bring up any of the hard questions about the high level of support for ISIS in Saudi Arabia.

Related Story

Trump Turns Politically Correct in Saudi Arabia

The speech was nonetheless divisive. But the intolerance it preached was the intolerance sanctioned by Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states: anti-Shiism, with frankly sectarian overtones. The official line in the Gulf is that Iran is a Shiite caliphate—a Shiite version of ISIS, only with 35 years’ practice, an active nuclear program, and a seat at the United Nations. When Trump invoked Iran, he recovered his old thunder for a few moments and echoed these claims. He accused Iran of giving terrorists

safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. ... From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.

Every word of this is true. It is also the lopsided view of regional politics favored by the Saudis themselves, with no mention at all of the Saudi oppression of its Shiite minority; the surrender-or-starve war waged by the Saudis against Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, with mass death for civilians there; or the genocidal rhetoric against the Shia taught in Wahhabi texts, both in Saudi Arabia itself and in the Islamic State. Naturally there was no Shiite contingent in attendance at the speech to complain. ...
In a country of panicked, old uneducated white people, bemoaning the degradation of their culture, they elected a values-free President, with a values-free foreign policy, and a values-free domestic agenda. The only value that matters to the new hero is further enriching the already well-to-do, despite his snake oil rhetoric delivered to his delusional base.

On his first venture that made him seem Presidential to some, he has most explicitly revealed the craven hypocrisy in his various positions on Muslims and Islam.

There is no secular or religious loyalty with these players, as money in their pockets is the only goal. Albeit they will conform as need be to the times and the New Order ... in the works. Thank Allah, Trump is going to let the Saudis invest in our infrastructure. I wonder how we will pay them back?

I wish I could find more to praise in the surreal exercise that was Donald in Arabia. How fitting that the president chose as his first overseas port of call an autocratic sword-brandishing monarchy that demeans women. He brandished. He addressed men. He slotted in.

As Trump lambasted terrorism, without pondering its sources, he was standing in the country that provided 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 and has been the fountainhead — through its religious establishment and consistent funding — of the fanatical, anti-Western, anti-women and puritanical strain of Sunni Islam central to the credo of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The Saudi embrace of Wahhabi beliefs and its implacable opposition to the pluralistic push that inspired the Arab Spring help explain the recent history of the Middle East. The post-9/11 world has been less a story of Shia Iran against the West than Wahhabi Salafists; it’s not even close. All of this the president chose to forget as he jettisoned President Barack Obama’s attempt to wean American interests from the House of Saud.

Blocked Arab societies, resistant to modernity, strangled by ruling families, denying agency to their citizens, forcing women into marginalization and invisibility, are the creators of the testosterone-charged, cult-like violence of movements like the Islamic State. It is all very well for Trump to stand in Saudi Arabia (of all places) and, alluding to terrorists, tell Middle Eastern nations to “drive them out of this earth.” This exhortation ignores the fact that these states cannot be at once incubator and inquisitor.

A values-free foreign policy, which is what Trump proposes in the misguided pursuit of “America First,” is problematic for the United States. It is self-denying. If you stand with the dictators, you cannot deplore what dictatorships — especially women-confining dictatorships — often produce: violent, hate-filled, alienated males in desperate search of an all-answering ideology (and the consolation of an Islamic State-designated mate).

The Islamic State is, of course, Sunni. Iran is not. But in case anyone thought Trump was serious in uniting Muslim forces against Islamic State terror, he acceded to the wishes of his Saudi hosts (shared by Israel) and attacked Iran as the source of “destruction and chaos across the region.” ...
We're going to do the podcast this week on Trump's Three Abrahamic Religions Tour, and the illuminated orb. Easy show prep, all I have to do is read this thread.
Don't forget to mention that Trump bowed to the Saudi king Salman (Solomon), and his wife and girlfriend-daughter didn't cover their heads (albeit legal), both of which Trump complained about the Obamas for doing the same. Because Trump is obviously a Crypto-Muslim, pharoah wannabe.

The Manchester bombing took the media coverage off the exploding Russia investigation, for a day at least; and the Brits are predicting more. They sure identified the perp and his associates conveniently .... errr quick. At least they had a Sunni disposition. :(
The now famous photo of Michael Flynn at an RT dinner turns out to include Jill Stein as well. Thus demonstrating that the Russians were playing both sides of the fence, with Stein serving to draw votes away from Hillary, all in support of getting Trump elected. Trump has just given the Russians another major coup with Trump's dumping on NATO today, after the latter having just seemed to have patched things up with the once obsolete (according to Trump) NATO.

What would Putin have in political common with the American radical left, other than to use them to get his money laundry stooge in power? Speaking of the latter, the Trump Org has announced that it will not ask customers of its properties to announce whether or not they are with foreign governments or not, of which Trump had said he would give all proceeds to the USA treasury (so as to avoid conflict with the Constitution's Emolument's Clause).

Now linked into the financial and other ties between Russian and Flynn is the Russia based anti-malware company, Kaspersky Labs (see video at bottom). The latter company does massive bundling of its app from such computer vendors as Best Buy.
Cummings' letter focused on Flynn's trip to Russia in December 2015 for a conference and dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of RT, the Kremlin-backed news channel. Little noticed at the time, Vladimir Putin's guests that night included Flynn and future Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein—an odd couple who reflected the Russian president's efforts to court fringe figures on both the right and the left and otherwise meddle in US politics. (Also at the table were Putin's spokesman, chief of staff, and deputy chief of staff.)

Stein said the soiree was "a great opportunity to lay out some of my foreign policy proposals and get Russian reactions to them." Flynn, who commanded a $45,000 fee to speak at the event, said he didn't ask to be seated next to Putin. "I found it a great learning opportunity," he told the Washington Post. ...

Kaspersky Labs and Flynn

Some of us Jill Stein voters would have boycotted the election sooner than vote for either Hillary or Trump. And there's no sin in just talking to the Russians.

Richard, are you inclined to believe that the Russians leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks? Or do you think it was more likely Seth Rich? Left wing media such as Vox are working overtime the last few days to dismiss the Seth Rich evidence as a "Bonkers Conspiracy Theory".
I boycott the elections rather than grant legitimacy to any of the false choices given to us as preferred and predetermined winners.

I see no good coming from associating with such as Putin. His 'politics' have nothing in common with Jill Stein's, and so likely her inclusion was to serve to muddy the purpose of Flynn's involvement there. There simply are too many Trump surrogates (including in the White House - and including Trump) with money ties to Russia, which inevitably mean ties to Putin. The Putin system is a close model to Old School Feudalism where his oligarchs are his vassals earls. Instead of controlling land, they control corporations ... that fell to them out of the destruction of the USSR (and of which Putin was KGB).

As for Seth Rich, and the whole email situation, I think it is all distractionary noise for the Kabuki Theater, where Trump's unlikely path to the Presidency was cynically greased from the beginning. Trump's policy proposals are guaranteed to benefit the highest echelon with dubious benefits to middle and lower America. The KAOS that he has been sowing (such as at NATO yesterday) can only make Putin gleeful. As the even the corporate media has been noting, the Clinton campaign was insanely incompetent, in high contrast to her husband's campaigns. And even Bubba's support of Hillary was hamhanded, against Obama and then against Trump (such as the airport meeting with Lynch).

I'm guessing that Rich was not killed in a random crime, but was killed for political purpose, but by who and to what end? Is this another Clinton killing, or was this done by Clinton enemies (or frenemies?) to make it appear like a Ron Brown or Vince Foster situation. Maybe it was Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, or the Spetsnaz?

We are back to the old Great Game, on a larger stage, only we're stuck in Afghanistan this time, not the Brits or the Russians.
A true revenge killing would have had the killer take at least Rich's wallet, so as to make it appear to be a typical robbery killing. That nothing of Rich's was taken suggests then that the motive was to make it appear to be an revenge / assassination - for purposes other than robbery. Why would the Clintons, as slimey as they are, throw suspicion on themselves, including the bad political timing? The motivation and timing suggest rather that Sean Hannity et al. did it.

Are we to also believe that Rich was so motivated as to also separately hack Podesta's private emails and the DCCC's emails?

This is a classic:

On Fox News’s Sunday morning talk show, Newt Gingrich repeated his belief that Rich, not Russia, was responsible for the DNC hack. “It turns out, it wasn’t the Russians,” he said. “It was this young guy who, I suspect, was disgusted by the corruption of the Democratic National Committee.”
How do you go from "It turns out, it wasn't the Russians", to "I suspect ...". Gingrich is the slimiest human to have ever walked the planet. And now, he's getting his wife to be US ambassador to Vatican. Most anything that Gingrich is for I am predisposed against.

I am not feeling good that Robert Mueller is Special Council investigating TrumPutinGate, given his investigation into 9/11.
The following excerpted account appears to be a pretty important development about General McMaster.

To step back a bit first, immediately after Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia I had stated that Trump had not used the term "radical Islamic terrorism" that Obama had been pilloried for refusing to use. What I didn't realize at the time was that Trump used the shortened version of this as "Islamic terrorism", which is contextually even worse because it implies that all of Islam supports terrorism. When the administration was questioned about this, they said that Trump was too tired from the traveling (this was his first stop) and misread the script which called for the phrase "Islamicist terrorism", which is meant to narrow the scope to those Muslims who want to impose Islam.

The administration answer is funny, because during the campaign Trump pilloried Hillory because he claimed she was not up to the physical and mental demands of being President. Stories before the trip had also come out saying that Trump was whining that he only wanted to be gone for 5 days and not 9 days, because 9 was too demanding. I doubt that Trump was getting too tired, and we got this answer because the administration feels they can pull any excuse out of their ass. This is the guy who claimed he would be able to shoot someone on the streets of NYC and his Brown Shirts would still support him. And BTW, on this subject, Trump is supportive of the Philippines Duterte who supposedly has done just that.

And so we are again left with this semantic debate while Trump sells $110 billion of advanced weaponry to the people who have spawned both Sunni Al Qaeda and ISIS. But don't worry, they're our friends -- since the 18th century, when our once colonial masters created them around the time of our Masonic revolution against them. Allah in Wonderland.

Now for McMaster:

Is H.R. McMaster, the White House national security adviser, on the way out? By some signs, he is: President Donald Trump not only excluded him from a key meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his national security adviser Monday night in Jerusalem, he was kept “outside the King David [Hotel] room during the course of the entire meeting,” according to an eye-catching Israeli account.

Taken alone, the perceived shaming wouldn’t amount to much: Trump has a habit of slighting his aides in public. But the incident came only days after a report in The New York Times that McMaster had fallen out of favor with the president. Trump had “complained that General McMaster talks too much in meetings,” and “the president has referred to him as ‘a pain,’” The Times said in a report that was not challenged by the White House. By the time Trump left Israel for his meeting in Rome with the Pope, right-wing news sites closely allied with the so-called “nationalist” wing of the White House were serving up full throated criticism of McMaster, a distinguished Army general.

“Gen. McMaster Squanders Tremendous Capital Trump Earns in Saudi Arabia,” screamed a headline at Frontpage, a web site that has championed the president’s travel ban and other anti-Muslim themes. McMaster “acknowledged that the President had used the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ in his speech” in Riyadh,” the news site complained, “then immediately tried to back away from it.” The general had “returned to the Obama-era white-washing of Islam [and] bending over backwards out of fear of offending Muslim leaders whose support we need to fight ISIS,” it claimed. ...
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From the same article quoted above, it goes on mentioning several other right wing rants against McMaster and Petraeus and then discusses the irony of McMaster being in this position after he made a central point in his book of this being the problem with the Vietnam War. Namely that the generals did not stand up to President Johnson. I think it was a little deeper than that, but that's another story.

Then it provides the counter argument for McMaster to stay, in light of the expanding Russia revelations now focusing on Kushner's role:

Ironically, the multiple new bombshells on the Trump-Russia front breaking Friday night may strengthen McMaster’s hand, should he decide to stick around. With new revelations that Trump’s son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner sought to establish a back channel with the Kremlin through its embassy in Washington, allegedly bypassing U.S. intelligence communications systems to discuss a quid-pro-quo to benefit Trump’s friends when the president lifted American sanctions on Russia, McMaster suddenly looks like a towering figure of virtue in a widening pool of sleaze.

If so, it would be quite a reversal of fortune for the much maligned retired general. Many of McMaster’s friends and admirers were dismayed when Trump sent him out to explain away reports of his boss sharing above-top secret intelligence about an allied source of information—said to be Israel—on the Islamic State militant group with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador to Washington. Some saw it as a deliberate act of humiliation. John Nagl, who had worked with McMaster on U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, told NPR he was in “an absolutely impossible situation. And many of us, his friends, were concerned that something like this was going to happen when he took this job working for this administration. ...

Regarding this quid pro quo, it must be remembered that one of Flynn's problems is the timing (and captured content) of one of his phone calls to the Russians immediately after Obama placed the latest sanctions on the Russians, allegedly for the alleged election and email hacking. What is at stake? Among other things is the $500 billion Arctic oil drilling deal between Russia and Exxon, that company that Rex Tillerson was just running before Trump made him Secretary of State. That's one half of a trillion dollars folks.
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I guess that besides Trump's Bullshitter in a Russian China Shop behavior in Brussels, where he refused to commit to NATO Article 5 (coming to the mutual aid of an attacked NATO country), that things also didn't go so well at the G7. Article 5 was only invoked once, after 9/11/2001.

REAX AFTER THE G7 -- Via AFP/Frankfurt am Main: “Europe ‘must take its fate into its own hands’ faced with a western alliance divided by Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidency, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday.

"‘The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days,’ Merkel told a crowd at an election rally in Munich, southern Germany. ‘We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands,’ she added. While Germany and Europe would strive to remain on good terms with America and Britain, ‘we have to fight for our own destiny’, Merkel went on.”
This looks pretty damn good from the Kremlin's POV. Was Kevin McCarthy really joking, before Trump's ascent to the top of the Republican pack of candidates, about Trump being in Putin's pocket? Funny that once Trump rose to the top, McCarthy became Trump's favorite congressman.
This looks pretty damn good from the Kremlin's POV.

The following excerpt is from the conclusion of David Frum's piece today:

Polls show that German confidence in the United States, already lowered under Obama, has collapsed under Trump to a level barely better than Putin’s Russia. Facing elections in the fall—and reassured that she has gained a congenial partner in France’s President Macron—Merkel has served formal notice that she will lead the German wandering away from the American alliance. In a speech before 2,000 people on Sunday, she declared that Europe cannot at this time rely on the U.S. and the U.K. “The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I've experienced that in the last few days,” she said. “We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.” Notice that she said “Europeans,” not Germans. Notice too that she did not rule out that Europe might rely on the U.S. and U.K. in the future: The door is not closed. But the old order has passed.

Join those words to Trump’s ostentatious refusal to endorse NATO’s famous Article 5, the guarantee of mutual defense, at the NATO summit, and it’s hard to imagine that the messaging of Trump’s first trip could have been more perfect for Vladimir Putin if he’d written the script himself.

There’s an effort now to spin words to present this trip as something less than an utter catastrophe for U.S. interests in Europe. National-Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has insisted that President Trump did indeed affirm Article 5. Compare Trump’s words to those of his predecessors, and you can see for yourself how untrue that is. The Republican chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, went on record to declare that he could not have been more pleased with the trip. If true, that would reflect poorly on Senator Corker’s judgment. I prefer to think that the statement reflects poorly on his candor.

Here’s what’s really true: Donald Trump is doing damage to the deepest and most broadly agreed foreign-policy interests of the United States. He is doing so while people associated with his campaign are under suspicion of colluding with Vladimir Putin’s spy agencies to bring him to office. The situation is both ugly and dangerous. If it’s to be corrected, all Americans—eminent Republicans like Bob Corker above all—must at least correctly name it for what it is.
Well the uberMasonic Civil War Confederate General Albert Pike used to sing: "Momma told me there'd be days like this, there'd be days like this Momma said ..." He also said there'd be three world wars and we've gotten two of them.

Obviously, the various nationalist camps and Russophiles are eating this up, but their interests are not those of the Hidden Hand, who are setting things into play.

If the USA could so easily elect such a venal actor as Donald Trump, and not immediately dump him, then how can trust ever be restored. The toothpaste can not be put back in the tube, the Rubicon will soon be crossed, if not already too late.

The Leaker in Chief has doubled down on the fake news gambit, and now seems prepared to use the Manchester bombing leak as a pretext to take unprecedented civil measures, in the name of National Security no doubt. Who is the once seemingly honorable H.R. McMaster's real master?
The Wonkette articles below present arguments that the 'Liberal' New York Times is shading their coverage of Trump scandals in favor of ..... Agent Orange. How can this be? Well, this is what happens in the Hall of Mirrors that we live in. I mean, Agent Orange is not really a man of the people is he?

The second piece is from last year, just after Comey announced the email bombshell against Hillary just before the election. It could probably need a few updates. One being that Trump likely has few investments in Russia, but rather the Russians have loads of money invested in Trump Org. Both of the Trump 'boys' have explicitly stated so, and this is how Trump managed to obtain capital during the height of the financial meltdown that started at the end of the Bush 43 administration. This is when Trump started its global real estate branding expansion, the scheme perfect for laundering foreign oligarchs dirty money.
The following is the end of an interesting real estate analysis of the Kushner real estate operation (which centered on 666 Fifth Avenue), where wonder boy, Jared, grossly overpaid for the building just before the big financial crash, and also got a loan that included escalating interest payments. Like father-in-law, like son-in-law, where both have a bad track record of overpaying for properties. It's usually best if you buy low and sell high, but these two are now running the USA. Go figure.

In sum, THESE PEOPLE NEED MONEY RIGHT FUCKING NOW. (Also, too they seem to have bought a bunch of brownfield sites in New York that will require billions to clean up and develop, but that’s for another day.)

Last month the Kushners’ sweetheart financing deal with the Chinese state bank Ahnbang fell through amid public outcry about nepotism. This might explain why Jared’s sister Nicole Meyer was desperate enough to use her brother’s White House position to shill for Chinese investor visas last month in Shanghai, a move that backfired spectacularly in a wave of bad publicity that forced the company to pull back from the promotion.

Now, we all know that Jared sold his stake in the family business to his relatives. On paper, he is more or less divested from the company. And if you think Jared Kushner is separated from the company he spent his entire life playing in, they the Kushners have a condo in Manhattan to sell you for $9,000 a square foot. Jared IS Kushner Company, and Kushner Company IS Jared. He steered them into this mess, and he’s going to get them out.

SO … when the New York Times causes your beloved Editrix to lose her shit by suggesting that Jared and his buddies Sergei Kislyak and Michael Flynn were having secret meetings to discuss strategies for Syria, WE ARE DISINCLINED TO BELIEVE IT. Because that smarmy little fucker needs money for his family’s company, and he can’t get it from anyone but Oleg the Oligarch.

Jared had a secret meeting at Trump Towers with Sergei Kislyak and Michael Flynn in December, while he was still head of his family business. Remember, Michael Flynn was the one caught promising his bestie Sergei that those pesky sanctions on Russia were going to disappear once Trump became the Tsar. Jared tried to establish a secret, off-the-record channel of communications with his Russian pals. That same month, Kushner also met with Putin’s favorite kleptocrat financing institution, Vnesheconombank. BY SHEER COINCIDENCE, he forgot to list all these contacts on his SF-86 disclosure form to get his security clearance.

Can we all stop screwing around and admit that Jared Kushner is NOT on a quest to find the world’s best blini recipe? Kushner was desperate for money, and he had the power to give the Russians access to the American market. How they squared that circle is for Robert Mueller to work out. But we see you, Boychik! Don’t piss on our leg and tell us it’s raining!