poseidon america

Back in 1972…no, wait. Earlier. 1969, a sportswriter-turned-novelist named Paul Gallico published a story about an aging ocean liner on its final voyage before being turned into scrap. Three years later, it’s turned into a movie. The Poseidon Adventure.

The SS Poseidon, traveling from New York City to Athens over the New Year holiday. The greed-head corporate owners, to save money on fuel, send the ship off with minimal ballast. Right there, you know everything, somehow, is going to go Oh Shit. And it does, right on schedule, New Year’s Eve, as the passengers are celebrating. An undersea earthquake creates a massive tsunami. Seriously massive. It hits the ship and, because of the lack of ballast, the ship is completely capsized. It literally turns upside down.

Hell, upside down. Who will survive? You guys, that was the 2016 election. We are the unlucky semi-innocent passengers on the ship when it’s hit by the calamitous, unpredictable wave. The people who should have been in charge are gone, replaced by inexperienced amateurs who tell us to keep calm and do what they say. If we obey and don’t ask a lot of pesky questions, they assure us that pretty soon the world will be all bluebirds and peach pie. A LOT of the passengers believe them.

The rest of us have spent the last 46 months trying to find some way to clamber up from the promenade deck, which is suddenly at the bottom, to the hull, now at the top, in the hope that we can manage to find a way out of the shambles. Sure, we’re being led by an annoying somewhat out of touch preacher, a semi-corrupt cop, and some smart-ass know-it-all kid, but at least they know which way is up.

They’ve managed to get us through the upside down kitchen, up an inverted ventilator shaft, along the flooded passageway to the engine room, all the way to the propeller shaft tunnel. Now we’re just banging a pipe against the hull, waiting for somebody to use a torch to cut a hole so Nevada can win the election for Uncle Joe Biden.

It looks like we’re going to survive. Yeah, we’ll have to listen to somebody sing a cloying version of There’s got to be a morning after, but that’s a small price to pay.

It’s been an ugly trip. We’ve lost a LOT of people, most of whom died unnecessarily. We’ve witnessed a shameful amount of selfishness and arrogance and corrupt double-dealing along the way. But we’ve also seen some courage, some self-sacrifice, and a willingness to help others.

That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news.

The ship is still upside down. And on fire. And full of dead people. There’s a HELL of a lot of work to be done. We’ve got good people willing to do that work. But remember those greed-head corporate owners who sent the ship off without ballast? Those evil fuckers still own the shipping company.

trump and getting to heaven

I hear this a lot. I mean, really a lot. “I really don’t understand this thing Christians have for Donald Trump. How can they support this guy? It doesn’t make sense.”

The thing is, it sorta kinda does make sense. At least it makes a sort of sense for a couple of different kinds of Christians. The thing is, when most of us think of Christians we think of folks who are trying to live by the principles laid down by Jesus. You know, love one another, judge not, forgive others who have wronged you, the truth shall set you free, the meek shall inherit, all that. Those Christians would have a really hard time supporting a sociopathic serial liar like Donald Trump.

But there are a lot of other sorts of Christians who have different priorities, and those priorities make it possible — even necessary — for them to support a guy like Trump. For example, abortion absolutists. If the main (or only) issue you’re concerned about is overturning Roe v. Wade, then Comrade Trump is your guy. He’s said many times he’ll only nominate appellate court judges who are opposed to Roe, so there’s that.

Worst petting zoo ever.

Personally, I don’t think Donald Trump cares about abortion one way or another. I’d be willing to bet my paycheck (if I had a paycheck) that he’s coughed up some coin to put an end to more than a few unwelcome pregnancies. But if ending abortion gets him applause and support (and money), then he’ll be willing to say he’s against abortion. It’s not religious or philosophical for him; it’s transactional. Still, these Christians will pray for him.

There’s another reason some Christians support Trump. They believe the End Times are just around the corner and it’s time to start making plans for The Rapture. Just a week ago, Pat Robertson, the televangelist, revealed to his audience that god told him “Donald Trump will be reelected…and his reelection will bring about start of the End Times.” These Christians see that as good news. They believe a whole bunch of stuff has to happen before Jesus returns and kicks Evil to the curb. First up, dead true believers will be resurrected, then the living true believers and the resurrected dead will rise up bodily to the clouds to meet god and Jesus. While all this cloud-based business is happening, everything on Earth is going Oh Shit. We’re talking war and calamities and all manner of horrible stuff. Then after a period of time, everybody who was raptured away will get to return to Earth like Jesus’ sidekicks and destroy Evil. I may have gotten some that wrong, and the chronology might be a tad off. But there are a LOT of different interpretations about what’s supposed to happen…but my point, if you can call it that, is that IF you believe somebody like Trump is necessary in order to get to that returning-with-Jesus-to-kick-Evil’s-ass moment, then you’d be all ‘Yay, Trump!’

Farmers and shepherds getting raptured away, and sinners getting stuck with the resulting mess.

So there you go. That’s why some Christians continue to support Comrade Trump. They’re either all about the fetus or they’re working on an appointment with Jesus in the clouds. Or else they’re just racist, women-hating assholes who call themselves Christians.

The thing is, these Christians may not give a rat’s ass about you or your values or your beliefs, but they vote. And they’ll vote for Trump. So unless you want to see forced pregnancies and/or everything on Earth going Oh Shit while some Christians have tea with Jesus in the clouds, you need to vote too.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a Christian, though I was raised as a sort of half-assed Southern Baptist with a little Lutheran side-eye. Just so you know.

insult politics

At some point today or tomorrow Amy Coney Barrett will be given a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Has she earned that seat? I don’t know, probably not–or at least not yet–but it doesn’t matter; it’ll be given to her anyway. Is she qualified? I don’t know, maybe, but it doesn’t matter; it’ll be given to her anyway. Do the American people support her? Some do, some don’t, and it doesn’t matter; it’ll be given to her anyway. At some point today or tomorrow Amy Coney Barrett will be given a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States.

It will be given to her in the same way SCOTUS seats were given to Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. It will be given to her as a display of raw political power. It will be given to her as an expression of the modern Republican Party’s sneering disregard to representative democracy. It will be given to her as a demonstration that Republicans in the Senate can do whatever they want and Democrats are helpless to stop them. It’s the legislative equivalent of the Trumpist slogan Fuck your feelings.

It’s hateful aggressive bullying, plain and simple. It’s the same thing Trump supporters are doing all across the nation. It’s deliberately coughing in the face of a person wearing a mask. It’s driving trucks decked with Trump flags and signs through a BLM demonstration, honking horns and shooting people with paint guns. It’s purposely mispronouncing Kamala’s name. It’s openly carrying semi-auto rifles into the coffee shop, into the supermarket, into the state capitol building. It’s a flag saying ‘Make Liberals Cry’. It’s blocking access to ballot boxes and harassing voters. It’s calling the police to report a black person for being a black person doing what a white person can do. It’s a t-shirt that says ‘Free Michigan, Fuck Whitmer’.

Modern Republicans didn’t invent insult politics. They’ve been around for centuries. It’s been written that the Roman emperor Caligula planned to appoint his favorite horse, Incitatus, a consul of Rome–the highest elected or appointed office in the Roman Republic. It didn’t happen, but it’s a classic example of insult politics.

I’m not comparing Amy Coney Barrett to a horse. Unlike Incitatus, Barrett may, in fact, be qualified to sit on a high court bench. Even the Supreme Court. It doesn’t matter, because she’s not being given the seat because she’s the best candidate to fill it. Republicans could have chosen any of dozens of interchangeable, reliably conservative judges who’d vote the way they expect her to vote. They chose her because she’s a Catholic woman, and would give them a chance to accuse Democrats of being against religion and women. They chose her because it’s easier to bully somebody when you think they can’t or won’t fight back.

Giving a SCOTUS seat to Amy Coney Barrett is a deliberate insult. It’s a general insult to democracy, and a very specific, intentional slap in the face to Democrats. Giving her a seat is an insult to the Supreme Court. It could be said it’s an insult to Amy Coney Barrett herself, because it’s entirely possible she could have earned a spot on the Supreme Court. (The same is true of Gorsuch, who might have earned a seat; it’s not true of Kavanaugh, who lacked the temperament and probity to occupy a SCOTUS seat.)

The fact that Barrett is willing to accept a seat on the Supreme Court as a gift is, sadly, telling. It meant she didn’t have to answer any tough, important questions during her confirmation hearing. Does a president have the power to delay an election? The US Constitution offers a clear answer: no. Elections are held “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November.” But Barrett declined to give an answer, because it didn’t matter; she was to be given a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States. Should a president commit to the peaceful transfer of power? The answer is obvious: yes. But Barrett declined to give an answer, because it didn’t matter; she was to be given a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States.

My objection to Amy Coney Barrett isn’t grounded in her politics. Well, not entirely. My objection is the rank hypocrisy of Senate Republicans and their disregard for the process of democracy. They could have waited to give her the seat until after the election. They could have waited for the American people to speak their minds through their votes. They could have chosen NOT to just giver her a seat on the Supreme Court. But no. They could have acted decently and honorably. But no. They did what they wanted because they knew nobody could stop them, because they had the power to impose their will on American society.

That’s all there is to it. At some point today or tomorrow Amy Coney Barrett will be given a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States as a testament to the conservative commitment of pissing off Democrats.

empathy triage

I read the news every morning. It’s part of my routine. I do it almost without thinking. Get up, get dressed, check the perimeter, feed and pet the cat, start the coffee, read the news.

One of the first articles listed in my morning news feed was from The Atlantic magazine. It was titled Why People Who Hate Trump Stick With Him. I started to click on it, partly out of habit and partly because The Atlantic usually has solid reportage — but I didn’t. I read the title again and thought, ‘I really don’t care why people who hate Trump stick with him’. I moved on to the next stories — one about a white man in Wichita who threatened to assassinate the mayor for issuing a mask mandate, and one about a black man in Louisiana who was granted parole after serving 24 years of a life sentence for attempting to steal a pair of hedge clippers.

A million years ago I was a medic in the military. Basic military medical training tends to be focused on casualty and trauma care. In addition to the field fundamentals — stop the bleeding, tend the wound, prep the patient for evac, that sort of thing — we were also taught the essentials of triage. Triage is a system developed by Dominique Jean Larrey during the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century. It’s a way of sorting mass casualties to determine who should be treated first. It’s a method of directing limited resources toward the best outcome for the majority of the wounded.

Dr. Dominique Jean Larrey, creator of the triage system, during the Napoleonic Wars.

Basically, what it means is that during a mass casualty event, some poor bastard greets the incoming wounded and sorts them into three groups: 1) victims who’ll probably live even without treatment, 2) victims who’ll likely die even with treatment, and 3) victims who have a chance of living if they’re given immediate treatment. Your arm is broken in three places? Yeah, it hurts…but it’s not going to kill you. Wait in the hall. Your arm has been blown off? Yeah, we can fix that, go right on in to surgery. You have two traumatic amputations and a head wound? Here are some M&Ms to tide you over until you bleed out. Sorry.

It’s an ugly job. Necessary, but ugly. But here’s the thing about triage: it focuses only on the wound and the treatment, not on any other characteristic of the victim. Dr. Larrey insisted treatment be based on the seriousness of the injury and the urgency of need for medical care, regardless of the wounded person’s rank or nationality. That meant French doctors would treat a seriously wounded British private before a lightly wounded French officer.

The Trump years have been a struggle for folks who care about other folks, who care about strangers as well as for friends and family. My capacity for empathy has been stretched. I’m now performing a warped sort of empathy triage. I’m most focused on folks who are suffering emotionally and spiritually and not coping very well. They get most of my empathy and support. Folks who are suffering but manage to retain their sense of humor and some degree of optimism, they’re the walking wounded; they’re in pain but they’ll recover. Folks who support Trump — those are self-inflicted wounds from which they probably won’t recover. Here are some M&Ms to tide you over until you bleed out.

Folks who hate Trump but stick with him? Dr. Larrey would be disappointed with me, but I’m out of M&Ms.

dezinformatsiya

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m inclined to think that when US intelligence agencies warn the president that one of his closest associates is being used as a conduit for a disinformation operation directed by a hostile foreign nation and aimed at a national election, the president probably ought to be concerned. Maybe even consider doing something about it. And by ‘doing something about it’ I mean stopping it.

But we’re talking about President Comrade Trump and Russia. We’re talking about Rudy Giuliani and the 2020 presidential election. So ‘doing something about it’ isn’t going to involve stopping the Russian disinformation operation. ‘Doing something about it’ involves spreading it. ‘Doing something about it’ involves embracing it.

I wrote about this a couple of days ago, calling it ‘the most embarrassingly bad disinformation op imaginable.’ Don’t get me wrong — the underlying concept of the op is a classic Russian dezinformatsiya scheme. It’s a variation of the old negligent-spy-accidentally-leaves- briefcase-with-compromising-information-on-the-subway routine. Somebody finds the briefcase, looks inside, discovers the manufactured compromising information, reports it, and the disinformation gets spread organically. As a scheme, it’s very sound.

But Jeebus Microdot, Rudy Giuliani really fucked this up. And Trump was warned about it. According to news reports, Trump’s fourth National Security Adviser, Robert O’Brien (and right there you already have a serious problem — four national security advisers in three years is a disgrace) met in person with Trump to caution him that “any information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia.”

Rudy Giuliani and Andrii Derkach

For well over a year, Rudy had been dealing with Andrii Leonidovych Derkach, a former Ukrainian security officer who is considered to be a Russian intelligence asset. I’m being polite and conservative when I say he’s ‘considered’ to be an asset. This guy actually graduated from the FSB Academy back when it was still called the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB. It’s basically Spy School. Derkach’s thesis topic…and I am NOT making this up…was “Organization and Conduct of Meetings with Secret Agents”. Derkach should be walking around with a lapel badge saying, “Hi, my name is Andrii, I’m a fucking spy!” Back in 2020, a lot of folks thought Derkach would be the Ukrainian Putin. although that hasn’t quite worked out for him. Last month the US Treasury Department sanctioned Derkach for running an “influence campaign” against Joe Biden (and by ‘sanctioned’ I mean they froze all of his property interests in the US and prohibited Americans from engaging in transactions with him or entities owned by him). THIS is the guy Rudy was meeting with to gather ‘information’ about Joe Biden’s son Hunter. This is precisely why the National Security Adviser told Comrade Trump to distance himself from any Biden-related crap Rudy might drop on his desk.

Did Trump follow that advice?

Yeah. Exactly.

Now, just to be clear, I’m not claiming Derkach and Rudy were behind the three wet laptops allegedly containing compromising material on the Bidens that were accidentally left on the subway forgotten at the computer store. I’m just saying that it resembles a classic Russian dezinformatsiya scheme. And I’m just saying Andrii Derkach has been working in Russia’s interest for some time. And I’m just saying Rudy Giuliani is no longer the clever New York lawyer he once was. And I’m just saying Trump has no ethics at all and will use any tactic he thinks might give him a momentary advantage over an opponent.

Really, is anybody even remotely surprised that Comrade Trump would ignore the warning of his fourth National Security Adviser? Is anybody even remotely surprised that Trump might promote an illegal Russian disinformation operation if he thought it could help him win an election?

We have seventeen (17) days to the election. It’s time to return Comrade Trump to the shelf. Go vote.

trump and socrates

Somebody at the White House needs to remind Comrade Trump that he’s still the President of These United States — and that a big chunk of his job is to pay attention to what’s going on in the nation. Anybody who has spent any time at all on social media or watching any actual news show on television has heard of the QAnon conspiracy theory. I mean, back in 2019 the FBI designated QAnon as a “domestic terror threat” because of the group’s potential to incite extremist violence. That’s the sort of thing that ought to grab a president’s attention.

But somehow QAnon and the national security threat it poses seems to have largely slipped right by Donald Trump’s keen eye. During his town hall last night, he said this:

“I know nothing about QAnon…I know nothing about it. I do know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard, but I know nothing about it.”

Trump, who is a narcissist of the first water (okay, quick but pointless digression…’of the first water’ refers to the way they used to grade the clarity and translucence of diamonds…c’mon, you know you wondered about that), wants us to believe he knows nothing about a group that has him at the heroic center of their belief system. He may not be aware of exactly how loopy the QAnon community is, and he may not think they’re a terrorist threat, but it surpasses belief that he’s unaware of their love for him.

But then again, Trump has displayed an uncanny ability to NOT know things. Here are a few of the things he’s admitted not knowing anything at all about.

— QAnon
— Russia paying bounties on Coalition troops in Afghanistan
— Steve Bannon’s involvement in a fundraising campaign to support the building Trump’s wall
— WikiLeaks
— the Proud Boys
— a recent bungled incursion into Venezuela
— Dr. Stella Immanuel, the woman who says masks don’t work and insists there’s a cure for Covid-19
— the Air Force refueling at Prestwick airport in Scotland and staying overnight at Trump’s expensive Turnberry golf resort a 40 minute drive from the airport instead the many hotels within a few minutes of the airport
— Rudy Giuliani’s associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who are currently awaiting trial for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, campaign finance fraud, and lying to the Federal Election Commission
— David Duke and the KKK

That’s a LOT of important stuff NOT to know about, especially given the fact that knowing about important stuff like this is a critically important part of the POTUS job description. I’m not even mentioning the stuff Trump obviously knows about, but hasn’t really bothered to deal with. Stuff like Saudi Arabia murdering and dismembering a Washington Post reporter. But we can safely say the scope of his ignorance is matched only by his amazing expertise in an astonishingly wide array of fields of knowledge.

Here are a few things Trump has said he knows more about than…well, anybody.

— drones
— ISIS
— tax law
— the horror of nuclear
— campaign finance
— social media
— forestry
— courts
— immigration system
— trade
— negotiating
— infrastructure
— tariffs
— renewables
— Cory Booker
— the Federal Reserve
— the military
— windmills and wind energy
— banking

Socrates, the Greek philosopher and minor character in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, said this: “As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” It sounds a lot more impressive in Greek. But basically, he was saying an individual can only know a limited amount of stuff, and what that person knows isn’t much at all compared to what the individual doesn’t know.

But Trump is no Greek philosopher. When he says he doesn’t know something, there’s a decent chance he knows enough to lie about knowing it. And when he says he knows more about something than anybody else, he’s absolutely lying.

I suspect Trump isn’t as knowledgeable as he claims. I suspect he’s not as ignorant as he claims. In fact, I suspect D.J. Trump is what those of us in the justice biz call ‘a lying sack of shit’ (DISCLAIMER: I am no longer in the justice biz, and haven’t been for quite a while, but I can still recognize a lying sack of shit when I see one).

I’m not say I know more about lying sacks of shit that anybody else, but spotting lying sacks of shit is like riding a bike — you never really forget how to do it.

it is what it is

First let me say this, because this is important: expressing happiness that Comrade Trump has tested positive for Covid-19 is unseemly and callous — just as unseemly and callous as those people who expresses happiness that Justice the Notorious RBG died.

That said, I understand and can appreciate the poetic justice of it. He had access to the best medical advice in the world, he had access to the world’s most reliable information about the pandemic, he had the ability to take the world’s best precautions against the coronavirus, he had the power to significantly make the US safer against Covid-19 transmission — and he just flat out decided NOT to take advantage of any of that.

Comrade Trump is sick.

Why? Ignorant narcissism. He ignored the experts, he assumed he knew more than they did, he assumed nothing could hurt him because he was well protected, and he quietly encouraged his staff NOT to wear masks. Several White House staffers and members of the Secret Service guarding Trump have tested positive for Covid over the last couple of months, but Trump took no notice.

After Hope Hicks, with whom he’d been in close contact, tested positive, Trump still went to a fundraiser at his Bedminster Golf Club, where he didn’t wear a mask. All those people have now been exposed. Amy Coney Barrett, his SCOTUS pick, has been exposed. Kayleigh McEnany, the WH press secretary has been exposed, but she didn’t wear a mask during yesterday’s press briefing, so all those reporters have been exposed. Trump’s Chief of Staff has been exposed, as have all the people he’s been in close contact with. Hope Hicks was maskless at the presidential debate on Tuesday; the WH didn’t bother to alert the Biden campaign when she tested positive. They had to learn about it on the news.

None of this had to happen. Most of this could have been prevented IF Trump hadn’t been an ignorant narcissist. IF he’d listened to the experts. IF he’d worn a mask and encouraged — no, if he’d mandated — others to wear a mask whenever they were in groups.

But no. Comrade Trump didn’t do that. He was reckless and stupid and now he’s got the bug. I’m not happy about that. But I’m not sad about it either.

It is what it is.

follow the money

Never mind the US$750 Comrade Trump is said to have paid in taxes. Sure, that’s infuriating — but it’s not (or shouldn’t be) the the main story. The main story is the hundreds of millions of dollars of debt. The debt that’s coming due in the next few years. The main story is this: to whom does he owe that money? From where did the cash come, the cash that allowed Trump to buy golf courses and build more hotels and condominium towers?

We know that in the mid-1980s Russian organized crime figures (and remember, there’s little to distinguish between Russian organized crime, Russian banking systems, and Russian intelligence services) began to launder money through Trump real estate. We know that because several federal prosecutions came out of it and a number of condos in Trump Tower were seized by the government.

Trump Tower, Manhattan

We know that by the early-to-mid-1990s, the Trump Organization was deeply in debt. We know the Trump Plaza Hotel, Trump Regency Hotel, and Trump Castle Casino were all losing money. We also know the hotel and entertainment industries are attractive ways to launder money. We know that by 1995, US banks began to refuse loans to Trump because he was a bad risk. We also know that Trump turned to foreign banks and entities for help. First to Deutsche Bank and a few year later to the Bayrock Group. Deutsche Bank has a long history of working with Russian organized crime; they were caught in a $10 billion Russian money-laundering scheme and had to pay fines of about $630 million. Bayrock was formed by a former Soviet official from Kazakhstan. Trump’s main contact in Bayrock was Felix Sater; in 1998 Sater pleaded guilty to a $40 million stock fraud scheme run by Russian organized crime.

We know that throughout the 90s and into the 2000s Russian oligarchs (again, remember, you don’t become an oligarch without being indebted to Putin) and organized crime figures working for Semion Mogilevich (the head of an international Russian organized crime cartel) continued to buy more than 65 Trump properties in New York, Florida, and Arizona. We know the Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank helped Trump finance a struggling Trump-branded hotel in Toronto. We know that in 2008 Trump sold a Florida mansion to Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million, twice what Trump paid for it four years earlier. Ryboloblev has been indicted in Monaco on criminal charges of corruption, influence trafficking, and something called ”violation of secrets of a criminal investigation.” He was also implicated in the murder of a business rival, Evgeny Panteleymonov. However, the charge was eventually dismissed after a witness suddenly recanted his testimony.

Palm Beach, Florida mansion sold to Dmitry Rybolovlev

We know another associate of Semion Mogilevich, Vyacheslav Ivankov (a vory v zakone with ties to Russian intelligence services) was a frequent guest at Trump’s Taj Mahal casino. According to the FBI, Ivankov was often comped “for up to $100,000 a visit for free food, rooms, champagne, entertainment, and transportation in stretch limos and helicopters” by the casino. Casinos, of course, are attractive sites for money laundering. The Taj Mahal casino was fined for violating anti-money laundering rules 106 times in its first year and a half of operation. Ivankov had been hiding out in Trump Tower for months before being arrested by the FBI and charged with extorting $2.7 million. When arrested, he had seven different passports under different names and countries. After serving a prison sentence in the US, Ivankov returned to Russia and was eventually murdered by a rival organized crime cartel.

Trump Taj Mahal casino

We know the daughter of Viktor Khrapunov, the former governor of the East Kazakhstan Province, bought three Trump SoHo condos. We know Khrapunov has also been accused of a number of construction and real estate frauds, as well as money laundering. The $3.1 million purchase of the Trump condos was allegedly made with money stolen from the government of Kazakhstan. Khrapunov has financial ties with Bayrock. In 2008 Khrapunov chartered a Russian Tupolev Tu-154 and flew to Geneva, Switzerland with 18 tons of cargo, which reputedly included antiques, jewelry, works of art and other highly valuable items. Interpol has issued a red notice for the arrest of Khrapunov.

Trump International golf club in Aberdeen, Scotland

We know Eric Trump told James Dodson, a golf reporter, that the Trump Organization was able to expand their property holdings because “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” Golf courses, by the way, are also popular with money launderers. Trump own 17 golf courses, both in the US and abroad.

We know…well, you get the picture. Over the last three decades Trump has had a LOT of financial support from Russian oligarchs, Russian banks (and banks from former Soviet Republics), and Russian organized crime. And once again, it’s impossible to distinguish between Russian organized crime, Russian banking, and Russian state intelligence services.

That Trump only paid $750 in taxes for a couple of years may be an outrage, but the more serious problem is his financial debt. That amount of debt is a clear security concern. It’s impossible to get a security clearance with significant debt (which may be the reason neither Ivanka nor Jared Kushner weren’t given security clearances until Trump insisted on it). We don’t know who floated Trump the money to make the purchases of his golf courses and hotels and condos. It’s reasonable to suspect much (or most or all) of it came from sources connected with Russia.

As I’ve said here, and here, and here, and here, and probably elsewhere, I think Putin has something on Trump. I think Trump is in Putin’s pocket. I think Trump is compromised and that explains why he so often seems to be furthering Russian interests and ignoring the interests of the United States.