The Golden Shower

Number 23

It’s a story that will not go away, possibly because I love it so much, and I want to keep coming back to it. It’s long past wondering whether Donald Trump paid prostitutes to pee on a bed in a Moscow hotel. It’s to the point we have Justice Department lawyers in a full-court press trying to unravel just how much involvement the Trump campaign had with Russian operatives bent on impacting the 2016 election. Almost every day there is a new headline. Here are two, starting with The New York Times yesterday:

Trevor Noah Thinks Paul Manafort Got Mixed Up With the Wrong Crowd

Guilty Associations?

As the special investigator Robert Mueller presses on with his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, reports have surfaced that Paul Manafort, then the Trump campaign chairman, offered to privately brief a Russian billionaire on the status of his primary campaign. Trevor Noah doesn’t think there’s any way to put a positive spin on that one.

“Manafort offered to brief a Russian oligarch on the campaign that he was running for Trump. Now, does that prove he did anything wrong? No, but ask yourself this: When has the phrase ‘Russian oligarch’ ever been a good thing? It’s like the phrase ‘a cappella concert,’ or ‘unmarked van,’ or ‘homemade condom.’” — TREVOR NOAH

Trevor Noah, of course, is not a news reporter. He’s a comedian pulling to his radio and TV audience. But this is an indicator as to how far this story has seeped into the daily conversation. Of more immediate interest is the infamous Steel dossier, the tale of which continues to surface. From The New York Times last Tuesday

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Senate panel probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election abruptly canceled an interview with President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen on Tuesday after he issued a statement about his testimony in violation of committee policy.

The relevance crops up a few paragraphs in:

Cohen’s name surfaced in a dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele that reported Cohen played an important role in liaison with the Russian government and secretly met with Kremlin officials in Prague in August 2016.

The Steele dossier, Cohen said in his statement, was “riddled with falsehoods and intentionally salacious allegations.”

“I have never in my life been to Prague or to anywhere in the Czech Republic,” he said.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials have said that while they cannot verify all the details in the Steele dossier, neither have they debunked it entirely.

To be sure, it is not what Michael Cohen did or did not do that is of much interest. What is of interest is whether this part of the Steele dossier has merit:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

Americans should rightly cast doubt on allegations that a candidate for our highest office would engage in such activities. Then too, it could have been a ploy by Donald Trump to make President James Buchanan look good.

The truth is out there, somewhere, but it may turn out to be not very interesting. It’s the search for truth that is the thing. And it’s a gas.

There will be more. Keep reading.

Advertisements

The Government You Paid For

Number 7

Screen shoot from CNN on YouTube

August is drawing down, and I’m doing some cleanup. Here’s an item I ignored a few weeks ago, and it’s worth a look before it slips into the shadows of history. The screen shot is from a video streaming on YouTube, and it may or may not relate to the rally in question.

On 3 August President Trump held a rally of his fans in Huntington, West Virginia. The occasion also celebrated the conversion of Democratic Governor Jim Justice to the Republican Party. It turned out to be an epic event. As The New York Times reports:

With Gov. Jim Justice by his side, Mr. Trump hailed stock market records and the growth of coal income in West Virginia. And he delivered a lengthy critique of the federal investigations of his campaign’s ties to Russia, calling the matter “a fake story that is demeaning to all of us.” His comments came just hours after reports that a grand jury had been impaneled in the Russia investigation and that subpoenas had been issued.

The President was dead on regarding the blazing hot stock market. The Dow-Jones Industrial Average, which bumped around 18,000 the day before the November elections, is now crowding 22,000, an 18.2% gain over the past 12 months. Unfortunately, the remainder of the President’s bravado was so much of that. It’s worth looking at some of that:

The reason why Democrats only talk about the totally made-up Russia story is because they have no message, no agenda, and no vision. They don’t talk about the … manufacturing jobs we’re bringing back to America by the hundreds of thousands.

First of all, there’s the business of the “made-up Russia story.” To distinguish:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

That’s a made up story. On the other hand:

That’s not made up. The first image shows citizen Donald Trump’s associate Rob Goldstone in an email to Donald Trump Jr., son of the current President. He’s telling Trump Jr. the Russian Government wants to help. The second shows Trump Jr. forwarding a follow-up email from Goldstone to his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and also to Paul Manafort, at the time Donald Trump’s campaign manager. There is no doubt the meeting is about Russia. The subject line reads, “FW: Russia – Clinton- private and confidential.” The fact that they all have Hillary Clinton in mind is obvious. Made up stories need to be made of sterner stuff.

President Trump goaded his loyal supporters with more. Continuing from the New York Times story:

“Most people know there were no Russians in our campaign; there never were,” Mr. Trump told the crowd in a midsize rural town that drew thousands of supporters from across Appalachia, a region that gave Mr. Trump some of the largest margins of his election. “We didn’t win because of Russia; we won because of you,” he said. “Are there any Russians here tonight? Any Russians?”

“[N]o Russians in our campaign?” Nobody ever said there were. “We didn’t win because of Russia.” He did not. And that is not the charge. The charge is Donald Trump was collaborating, or at least attempting to collaborate, with the Russian government, within the American political process. For any purpose.

“Are there any Russians here tonight? Any Russians?” We will never know, because nobody took a census of those attending the rally. And  it does not matter. Regarding whether the Trump campaign sought assistance of any kind last year from the Russian government has nothing to do with having Russians present at the rally in West Virginia. For President Trump’s fans the lack of connection is neither clear nor of any great interest. They are receiving the government they paid for.

Additionally from FactCheck.org there is this summary:

First, the Russia story, of course, is not totally made-up. The U.S. intelligence community has determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin “ordered an influence campaign in 2016,” including cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee, to help Trump win the election. The Department of Justice and Republican-controlled congressional committees are investigating whether there was any coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. (See “Timeline of Russia Investigation” for more information.)

FactCheck goes on to address President Trump’s jobs talking points:

And what about those manufacturing jobs? Trump is wrong. The U.S. has not added “hundreds of thousands” of manufacturing jobs since Trump became president. The actual figure is 70,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. had 12,355,000 manufacturing jobs in January, when Trump took office, and 12,425,000 as of July.

There is also reference to another Trump claim regarding jobs. Continuing:

Trump also said, “Since our election — not mine — since our election, we’ve added more than one million new jobs.” This has been a talking point for Trump, but it lacks context.

First, Trump has been taking credit for jobs that were added to the economy while Barack Obama was president, as he did at a rally last month in Ohio. We measure jobs growth under Trump from the time he took office in January. By that measure, the economy has added nearly 1.1 million jobs from January through July, according to the BLS.

But let’s put that 1.1 million figure into context. During that same period a year ago, the U.S. economy added more than 1.2 million jobs — so the nation continues to add jobs under Trump, although at a tad slower pace.

As we’ve written, the U.S. economy has been adding jobs every month since October 2010 — a record-setting 82 straight months, as of July.

And finally. West Virginia is a coal mining state, and Hillary Clinton booted the electorate there by promising to eliminate coal jobs. President Trump did not hesitate to laud himself as the champion of the coal industry:

Mr. Trump repeatedly reminded the crowd of his 42-point margin of victory over Mrs. Clinton in the state. “I love your grit, your spirit,” he said. “And I love our coal miners, and they are coming back strong. The change you voted for is happening every single day.”

The governor, standing on the platform with Mr. Trump is a “billionaire coal and real estate magnate,” and there is no doubt that President Trump has given a shot in the arm to the industry by bucking government regulations. From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Interior Department has ordered a halt to a scientific study begun under President Obama of the public health risks of mountaintop-removal coal mining.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which was conducting the study, said in a statement Monday that they were ordered to stop work because the Interior Department is conducting an agencywide budgetary review.

The contested mining practice is linked to serious health concerns, as reported by the Times:

Mountaintop removal, which has occurred on at least 500 Appalachian mountains, has clogged streams and waterways with heavy metals such as selenium and manganese, which can be toxic in high concentrations. The dust kicked up by these explosions is also considered a hazard.

One 2010 review published in Science found elevated mortality rates, as well as increased incidence of lung cancer and kidney disease, in counties near mountaintop mining. A 2011 study of central Appalachia found a higher rate of birth defects in the area.

Shortly after taking office, President Trump rescinded a directive issued by the Obama administration that curtailed the dumping practice:

President Trump on Thursday signed legislation ending a key Obama administration coal mining rule.

The bill quashes the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December.

From the reported audience response, I am guessing these fine people of West Virginia are getting the government they paid for.

The Golden Shower

Something interesting—this is number 21.

I’ve been trying to shake off this story for months, but it won’t go away, no matter how hard I try. Every two or three months I think about it, real hard. But I still can’t shake it. Maybe I should think about it harder. I will think about it.

In the meantime, here is some of the back  story:

… And the Golden Shower is only one sliver of the pie. It is possible the President’s prior appointment in a Moscow hotel has shriveled to a footnote in the drama now playing out. It may no longer be important whether the infamous Pee Pee Tape exist, much less whether Donald Trump really did order up prostitutes to piss on a bed. So far, all we have is an unofficial dossier prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele. Critical parts of the dossier rely on second-hand sources, sources that have not been verified. It’s up to those who read Steele’s report to decide on its merits. A copy is posted on-line, including the pertinent paragraph labeled 2:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

To be sure, it is difficult for me to believe that an earnest candidate for President of the United States would pay prostitutes in Moscow to piss on the bed where the former President and his wife previously slept. That is, it was difficult prior to 20 January of this year, when Mr. Trump assumed office. Since then there have been developments:

That was since becoming President. Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star has commented on 337 false statement by Donald Trump since inauguration.

The previous link to Daniel Dale’s page has gone stale, but the Toronto Star has created a new one:

The complete list of all 363 false claims Donald Trump has made as president

The Star’s running tally of every false thing the president of the United States of America has said, so far.

So, let’s forget about the Golden Shower and the President’s strange concept of truth, and let’s come up to date with this week’s story. Yesterday’s edition of ABC World News Tonight with David Muir has a good run-down. Here are some screen  shots, courtesy of Hulu.

 

Let me run through the narrative behind this sequence of images. The first shows the text of an email sent from Trump associate Rob Goldstone to Donald Trump Jr., son of the President. Mr. Goldstone is alerting Trump Jr. that the Russian government is prepared to assist Trump Sr. in defeating rival  candidate Hillary Clinton. Yes, we get the hint. The Russian Government (Vladimir Putin) does not want Hillary Clinton to become President of the United States, but would instead prefer that Donald Trump Sr. become President of the United States. I hope I have made that clear enough.

Now the next picture. Trump Jr. receives Mr. Goldstone’s message, and is enthusiastic about the idea. Young Trump responds, “[I]f it’s what you say I love it…” Hey! There’s going to be a meeting with the Russian agent.

And now the next image. Young Trump forwards the correspondence to his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and also to Paul Manafort, at the time Donald Trump Sr.’s campaign manager. They want to have the meeting.

So all this came to light a few days ago, and the New York Times was preparing to release copies of the email exchange. Donald Jr. beat them to the punch by releasing his copies of same. The sum total seems to show that a year’s worth of denials by Trump associates and the Trump campaign have been a year’s worth of misinformation. Some would say prevarication. First we have Reince Priebus, former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and current White House Chief of Staff under President Trump in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News 24 July 2016:

Stephanopoulos: Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you, or your campaign and Putin and his regime?

Priebus: No, sir, I have not. It’s absurd… There’s no basis for it.

Which seems to give a new definition to the word absurd.

Next it’s 18 December 2016, over a month after Mr. Trump’s election. The interview is between John Dickerson and then Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. The clip is from Face the Nation on CBS, which provides a transcript:

Dickerson:  All right. We are not going to get any insight into the president-elect’s thinking here, but let me try this. Did anyone involved –

Conway: I gave you plenty.

Dickerson: — in the Trump campaign have any contact with Russians trying to meddle with the election?

Conway:  Absolutely not. And I discussed that with the president-elect just last night. Those conversations never happened. I hear people saying it like it’s a fact on television. That is just not only inaccurate and false, but it’s dangerous.

“Those conversations never happened?” “Inaccurate?” This from the Queen of Accuracy?

It remains to be seen who or what is dangerous. Next let’s go to the President of the United States. Here he is on 16 February, three weeks on the job. The video is from a White House press conference. When asked, the President responds:

I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge no person that I deal with does.

(the next image) In July 2016, a month after arranging and participating in a meeting with the Russian lawyer, Donald Trump Jr. was seen crawling all over the opposition for suggesting such a thing. Here is a partial transcript from an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper:

In the clip above, CNN anchor Jake Tapper asks Trump Jr. about Mook’s allegations that Russian state actors were behind the leaked DNC emails. Trump Jr.’s response is staggering, considering what we know now:

Tapper: [Mook] seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Your response?

Trump Jr: Well, just goes to show you their exact moral compass. They’ll say anything to be able to win this. This is time and time again, lie after lie. You notice he won’t say, “Well, I say this,” he’ll say, “Here are experts, here’s house cat at home who once said this is what’s happening with the Russians.” It’s disgusting; it’s so phony.

Trump Jr. also went on to say that Mook ought to be “ashamed of himself” for spreading the idea that Russia was working in support of the Trump campaign. But just weeks earlier, in early June, British publicist Rob Goldstone had informed Trump Jr. about “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

This certainly does put the spotlight on the Trump opposition’s moral compass. Imaging them putting out something in 2016 that Donald Trump Jr. was preparing to put out a year later. People, when your goal is to work with the Donald Trump contingent, it doesn’t help to always be stepping on their lines. Just ease back. They’re are going to get to the matter when they are good and ready.

The image after that shows White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders earlier this week setting the matter straight, this in a press briefing where cameras were not allowed. She repeated a message from the President:

My son is a high quality person, and I applaud his transparency.

I don’t know about you, readers, but I am glad we finally have transparency in our government at the highest levels. Doing the thing, then denying doing the thing, then hammering the opposition for talking about doing the thing, then saying that you really did do the thing—that’s transparency where I came from.

Mrs. Sanders then refused to take any more questions on the matter.

The final image shows Donald Trump Jr. on Fox News:

In retrospect, I probably would have done things differently.

Differently? Like, not have the meeting with the Russians with the aim of getting the benefit of spying by Russian intelligence agencies? Like not lying about it a few days later? Like not raking the opposition over the coals for suggesting such a thing? Like, maybe, joining the Marine Corps instead of hooking up with a crooked political enterprise? We may never know.

In retrospect, I probably would have done things differently. I would not have wasted so much time pursuing the absurd notion that a future President of the United States would pay Russian prostitutes to piss on a presidential bed, while he watched. I would have long ago put this story of the Pee Pee Tape to bed.

All right. That may not have been the best choice of words.

There’s going to be more. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Snowflake-in-Chief

New game in town

Yesterday former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence General James Clapper testified before the Senate Judicial Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, and both came down on the side of saying that the Russian government made a bold attempt to interfere with the 2016 election. General Clapper further testified to  his belief that the Russians (presumably under President Vladimir Putin) sought to discredit Hillary Clinton in favor of Donald Trump. That was something expected to produce a response from the current President, and his response came quickly.

Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.

That was 7: 43 in  the morning, before Yates testified. Then, part way through the hearings at 3:41 p.m.:

It would appear that somebody is not having a good time. In answer to the President’s question, I am tempted to state, “When there is no skin left.”

There is one final shot:

You know what, Mr. President? I would first like to know the truth about what is going on in the White House. Then I would like to know by what mechanism we found out. In that order.

Meanwhile, the Snowflake-in-Chief has fired FBI Director James Comey. And liberals, this writer included, are having a fine belly laugh.

Twentieth Century War Comes To Europe

Hiram Maxim machine gun patent

Hiram Maxim machine gun patent

It was 100 years ago. The monarchical Austria-Hungary Empire, with the backing of Germany, initiated a war of reprisal and annexation against Serbia. Russia was Serbia’s protector and began to mobilize its armed forces. Germany saw this as a prelude to war. On 1 August Germany stepped to the brink of the abyss and declared war on Russia.

Matters escalated from there. Germany insisted that France remain neutral. France was slow to respond. Germany announced its intention of crossing Belgium to face the French border. The Belgium government responded to this by declaring that Belgium was a sovereign nation and not a public through way. Germany responded by invading Belgium and declaring war on France. Great Britain  saw the implications of this conflict on its empire. The defeat of Germany would mean German colonies would be forfeited and open to the victors. Britain needed to be a participant in order to sit at the victor’s table. On 4 August the British declared war on Germany. Soon England had large masses of troops in France facing the Germans.

It was a new kind of combat. Since the last great European war twentieth century technology had come of age. Now there were submersible vessels of great sophistication and lethality. Modern warships were equipped with fast-firing rifled guns of large caliber, and in response they also had thick armor plating. Belligerents on both sides had airplanes, and Germany had a well-developed lighter than air (dirigible) force. None of this came into play immediately. The initial indication that this first major war of the twentieth century would be vastly different was the introduction of the machine gun.

British engineer Hiram Stevens Maxim was an American who had moved to England and become a naturalized citizen. His invention of the Maxim machine gun would change to nature of infantry combat forever. Ironically, the Germans licensed the production of the Maxim gun and produced them prolifically during the war, paying the Vickers Company license fees.

This series of posts follows Hew Strachan’s book The First World War. The book is also the basis for the video of the same name. A series of battles in the Ardennes Forest 21-22 August brought the first indication of the horror that was to follow:

The ‘battles of the frontiers’ were the first occasion on which most French, German and British soldiers came face to face with modern firepower, and they were devastated and disorientated by the effects. Lieutenant Ernst von Röhm, on coming under heavy French fire in Lorraine, thought that at last he would see the enemy and got out his field glasses, ‘but there is nothing to recognise and nothing to see’. As the fire of his own unit slackened, he stood up and called on his comrades to do likewise. ‘I want to see how many are still fit to fight. The bugler, who has remained by my side like a shadow, says to me sadly: “Herr Leutnant, there is nobody there any more!” And in truth nobody is standing on the whole front line. Only three men are still unscathed, everybody else is dead or wounded.’ On the other end of the line, at Mons on 23 August, the British army found itself holding ground against the main weight of Kluck’s 1st Army. Aubrey Herbert recalled that ‘It was as if a scythe of bullets passed directly over our heads about a foot above the earthworks. It came in gusts, whistling and sighing … It seemed inevitable that any man who went over the bank must be cut neatly in two.’

Strachan, Hew (2005-04-05). The First World War (Kindle Locations 962-972). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

A copy of the patent document shown above is available on-line from worldwide.espacenet.com.