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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The Damocles Sword Hanging Over Democracy

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 03/21/18 12:07

by Dave Mindeman

Let's review some things about the 2016 election....

1) Cambridge Analytica stole the data of 50 million American Facebook users. Facebook knew about it but did not follow up to stop it.

2) Russia used a troll farm to weaponize false news stories and spread them thoughout social media.

3) Cambridge Analytica admits that they were targeting areas of the US that would be vulnerable to social media attacks. And they bragged that they were able to use the electoral college to get Trump elected.

4) Roger Stone had a back channel to Wikileaks that gave him a heads up on Wikileaks releases. Which indicates that the Trump campaign probably knew about the releases before hand.

5) Numerous Trump campaign associates made undisclosed contacts (until discovered via the press) with Russian government officials.

6) The FBI is investigating Russian money being funneled through the NRA to help the Trump campaign. (NRA spent 30 million dollars for Trump)

7) Paul Manafort has far too many back channel ties to Russia via the Ukraine and other Russian oligarchs.

8) The June 9th Trump Tower meeting between Russian representatives and the 3 key members of the Trump campaign (Don Jr, Manafort, and Kushner) continues to be a focus of investigation. And Trump personally tried to push a false story about its intention.

9) Throughout the campaign and to this day, Trump, himself, will not publicly state anything negative about Vladimir Putin. Even the Russian sanctions that passed Congress and been begrudgingly implemented via the Treasury Department without any encouragement from Trump himself.

10) Devin Nunes, a Trump ally and chair of the House committee, shut down the House investigation into Russia and repeatedly tried to push competing narratives that had no basis in actual fact.

11) There was a curious back channel attempt to contact Russian officials initiated by Jared Kushner for a still unknown purpose.

12) When US banks refused to loan money to the Trump and Kushner organizations, Russian money funneled through Deutsche Bank in Germany came to the rescue. Deutsche Bank is being investigated for money laundering and has been heavily fined for financial misdeeds.

13) The Alfa bank (a Russian bank) server connection to the Trump organization has still never been explained and remains a mystery.

The list is larger than that and most of this will only be explained by Robert Mueller at some point.

But the idea that Trump did nothing nefarious grows dimmer by the day. When we talk about Trump the business man becoming President, we seem to have overlooked the fact that Trump is a corrupt business man and that he is now a corrupt President.

And the even broader nefarious problem is that our Congress has abdicated its oversight role and refuses to acknowledge growing evidence of an administration wrapped up in an international conspiracy.

Democracy has a Damocles sword hanging over it. And only a democratic people, working together, can solve this problem.
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We Hear From Jared

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 07/24/17 16:25

by Dave Mindeman

Jared Kushner finally spoke. He made a statement on the White House lawn but didn't take any questions. But there was one small part of that statement that seemed very curious....

I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector.

That sounded very much like the precise kind of language a lawyer would be consulted about.

The word "relied" stands out like a big red flag. It seems to allow for the idea that Kushner got Russian funding - but he seems to be arguing that it wasn't a basic block of his finances.

But it leaves this open for a lot of speculation. Kushner met with a Russian money launderer - that much we know. But how involved or not involved he was financially with them remains a mystery.

The questions surrounding Trump's and his family's finances are becoming a much bigger question - and the President is getting much more sensitive around talk of his tax returns.

The are becoming a key to the mystery of Russia and I can't imagine that Robert Muller is not already looking at all of it.

Kushner does not look or talk like the political power broker that Trump seems to think he is. I cannot even imagine him as some kind of negotiator between Abbas and Netanyahu - but he is deeply involved in this administration and its sordid affairs. And we can only hope that what has been buried will be brought out into the open.

Jared Kushner is more careful about what he says than his father-in-law (who isn't), but I would guess that Jared's lawyers are worried and his word parsing is intentional.
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America Got A "Bad" Deal In Electing Trump

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 07/20/17 10:54

by Dave Mindeman

There is something that Trump supporters should be begin to realize. Donald Trump is a business fraud.

The hyperbole was "I, alone can fix it."...or "I'm the best dealmaker"...or this or that treaty is the "worst deal ever made".

What is becoming pretty clear is that Donald J. Trump is no dealmaker, he is no brilliant businessman, he is the classic huckster.

His business acumen has really been on display for years. He has filed numerous bankruptcies, and has defaulted on so many US bank loans that no one would lend to him anymore.

Which led him into the shady part of the story. His only resource for funds for his grandiose business schemes became Deutsche Bank. And for as long as Trump has been associated with that bank, they have been flaunting international law on money laundering. There isn't any definitive proof that Trump is part of the money laundering conspiracy, but the pieces of the puzzle are not very encouraging in regards to innocence.

The corrupt Russian oligarch government has been funneling money our of Russia ever since Putin centralized his control. The main conduit has been Deutsche Bank. The German bank has already paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and are still being investigated - and we can only assume that Robert Muller is working on any connections this might have to the Russian meddling in the US election.

But let's get back to Trump's businesses. So there are multiple millions of dollars in loans that Trump has defaulted on. And he ends up getting money from a growing money laundering cartel - which automatically puts him in the middle of illegal activities. Since Russia is a major source of this money, it stands to reason that Russian connections would start appearing in the "Trump business model".

Odd real estate deals. Complicated transactions. Suspicious loan agreements. Connections to people who are targets of financial fraud investigations. It is all coming to a head.

Donald Trump is, in essence, a very, very bad negotiator. The leverage on these deals is always on the other side. Trump has isolated himself with terms that are shady at best - completely illegal at worst.

And, since the US electoral college gave Trump his chance to "prove" those hyperbolic business skills as a President, he has been failing in each and every area.

He has NOT hired the best people. He has NOT kept his campaign promises. He has NOT negotiated "deals" legislatively. He has NOT gotten Mexico to pay for a wall. He has NOT made better trade policy.

And that Iran nuclear treaty which he said was the "worst" in history? Well, it turns out US officials have confirmed that Iran is holding to their side of the treaty - and ironically, have complained that the US has not kept to the terms of their side.

Trump supporters, you got duped. And you know who is suffering the most damage from the Trump Presidency? The people who voted for him. The people who assumed he would bring back manufacturing jobs. The people who assumed that Trump would get us "the best health care". The people who were assured that the US standing in the world would be returned to "Make America Great Again".

It was all a bait and switch. A fraud. A snake oil sale. A Madison Avenue falsehood.

The question isn't whether Trump can make America great....the real question is "will America survive a Trump Presidency?"
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