Janus Notes Trump’s Arrival and, Perhaps, Departure, Manafort to Kise

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Author Greg Olear this morning republished his 2020 take on Russian collusion (no delusion) involving the Trump campaign with focus on Paul Manafort. It’s worth the three most critical “R’s” in political analysis–Reading, Remembrance, and Reflection.

For juxtaposition, the BackChannels post “Trump Lawyer Christopher M. Kise, Registered Foreign Agent” (September 19, 2022) might serve to bookend Donald John Trump’s increasingly traitorous-looking term in politics.

Related on BackChannels: “Trump’s America in Retrospect: Russian Real Estate Entanglements” (October 9, 2021); “Trump, Corruption, Narcotics, Russia-A Glance” (October 10, 2022).

Janus, the god of the gate looking in and looking out, might suit the passage made by former President Donald John Trump in relation to his appointing as his first campaign manager the world’s most notorious flack for dictators–and then or now–as his legal troubles mount beyond his managing–a lead lawyer for his team (for a short term) with a clientele in Venezuela.

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Over Coffee–Opinion, Reading, and Viewing Recommended: Russian Payoffs to European Politicians; Chinese Balloon; Ilhan Omar

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Russia Paid Off European Politicians In Relation to Ukraine and Violence Elsewhere

Since Russia launched its brutal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s overseas aggression has reached a fever pitch. Yet Russia can still rely on the occasional friendly voice in Europe: Last November, for example, far-right Italian local legislator Stefano Valdegamberi penned an op-ed decrying the EU’s decision to designate Russia a terrorist state as “a serious mistake” that “foments conflict by denying historical truth.”

But what Valdegamberi didn’t mention was that he had long been collaborating with a secretive Russian lobbying group with a direct link to the Kremlin. Since at least 2014, that group had designed plans to channel cash to European politicians to help it legitimize Russia’s occupation of Crimea and promote pro-Moscow policies inside EU countries.

Laine, Martin, Cecilia Anesi, Lorenzo Bagnoli, and Tatiana Tkachenko. “Kremlin-Linked Group Arranged Payments to European Politicians to Support Russia’s Annexation of Crimea.” Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, February 3, 2023.

Reading Highly Recommended–>

Greg Olear’s 2018 investigation of how the world works between Donald J. Trump, Russia’s political interests, and related mafia and ill-gotten wealth.

America Has Lost Its Objectivity Over “Spy Balloon”, Says Chinese Pundit–And He’s Right

Influential commentator Hu Xijin blamed American “politicization” and “hype” for preventing the incident from escalating, saying that competition to look tough on China meant that the United States “has already lost its objectivity.”

Shepherd, Christian. “China blames U.S. politics for ‘overreaction’to suspected spy balloon.” The Washington Post, February 5, 2023.

In the normal course attending diplomatic incidents, investigations ensue, and with “spy data” presumed already transmitted, there would seem not much point in destroying the technology involved in the overflight. Of course, there was Gary Powers too, so Biden did what ranting Republicans appeared to expect in the way of “tough” leadership. It was not a good decision nor display of national air and space defense–the object should have been addressed and turned or interdicted on or just past arrival in American air space.

China has already apologized for the incident–“On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that the balloon was theirs, but called it a “civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes,” that had gone off course. And the ministry expressed rare “regret” for the incident.” Beijing should now follow up with details regarding the research mission and its technology, in general, while the U.S. Navy attempts retrieval of the drowned payload.


The Silencing by Removal of Ilhan Omar From the Foreign Affairs Committee

The angry header displayed this morning in The Jerusalem Post: “Decision to remove Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee was overdue -editorial: What makes Omar particularly dangerous is that while she spews blatant antisemitism, she pretends not to be an antisemite.”

Omar herself had asked (same article), “‘Why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the (National Rifle Association), or fossil fuel industries or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying group that is influencing policy?'”

Conservative and liberal Americans have now to ask this question: what else is off the table?

Who hasn’t an ox?

Our American system relies on compassion, education, intelligence, open discourse, earnest problem-solving abilities, and respect, not religious or tribal hate.

Apparently, some Jews–not this one although I have become with experience very much an American of Jewish descent–believe Ilhan Omar’s election and voice should be nullified where it most counts, and suspicion, for that is what is expressed by, “. . . pretends not to be an antisemite”, put in place of of argument, education, and reason. The only lesson imparted: don’t mess with the Jews, even if and when they are wrong.


Posted by PBS to YouTube, February 2, 2023.

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Ukraine Defense: Courageous, Righteous, and Tough People

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War. Winter. Weariness.

Here, Anna From Ukraine in her daily broadcast lets the world know how war with Russia has been experienced and weathered in her nation.



My view: for those who believe in human dignity and freedom–especially freedom from autocrats, dictators, tyrants, perhaps as well deeply impersonal bureaucracies and systems, and one might also add for Moscow corrupt and criminal systems–courage, endurance, faith, and resilience matter. In the realpolitik between states, alliance, commitment, determination, and ferocity seen as well as off-stage matter too.

Related Online

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoicism


Posted to YouTube with February 1, 2023.

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Nicolas Tenzer On A Russia That Must Be Condemned, Defeated, Taken Apart, and Taken Down

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This one analysis by French international affairs and security analyst Nicolas Tenzer sets a certain, different, high, and independent standard for diplomatic community and lay readers alike.


The reality is that Moscow is not in a position to seek a balance with the democratic world. It does not set itself limits that could prefigure any compromise, even one that is not very acceptable to us, and the search for a give-and-take on the basis of which a more or less lasting peace could be envisaged. An allegedly “prudent” approach to Russia would be the worst form of imprudence—the history of the last twenty-three years bears witness to this—and any prospect of negotiations a fool’s game. To continue to hold such a discourse about the end of the war in Ukraine is a serious mistake, because it is part of the Russian hope of reaching a compromise, even if it is less than its initial ambitions. To make such remarks would be to do exactly what Moscow is looking for: to present itself as a supposed partner with whom it is possible to reach an agreement, to believe in its signature—which is constantly flouted—and to suggest that the Russian regime is not an absolute enemy. This would again trivialize its crimes. To pretend to give any credence to Russia’s supposed interests as expressed by the regime would be to question the fundamental principles enshrined in the international treaties drawn up in the aftermath of the Second World War. There is certainly no possibility of stability with a power that seeks instability through destruction.


Tenzer, Nicolas. “Understanding the War: On the Exceptionality of Russia’s All-Out War Against Ukraine.” Tenzer Strategics, January 21, 2023.

Russia and its culture and language are in no danger as regards their contributions and sustained presence in the world. All that is at stake for Russia is a political criminal–one Vladimir Vladimirovich “Vovo” Putin, in fact, a murderer of ordinary Russians–his associates and cronies and as yet unknown criminals in the transnational crime trades.

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FTAC: Why Putin Won’t Stop Until Stopped

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What follows is a comment left beneath a CNN interview with Bill Browder.


Putin’s “Malignant Narcissism” with its “messianic delusions of grandeur” has his coconut set to defend his projection of heroic courage, a cover for early deep humiliation. He neither defends nor represents the interests of a modern Russia but rather the medieval psychosis he shares with similar criminal former KGB and sordid mafia. That’s it. Challenge the thesis, but I believe he won’t stop until stopped. Cancer, internal rivalry, uncooperative FSB and other security might suffice, but for now–for the west and for the world–“containment” will have to do. Putin has got a world in his head that no longer exists in either any shared nor viable fashion. He has only plundered Russia and led her into the void.


Malignant Narcissism: Links & Terms of Art for Exploration

This blog features earlier related musings on a page with a title a little bit ahead of its times–Anthropolitical Psychology, so named at the time for its alphabetical first place on the preceding drop-down menu list. 🙂 My fave for a while (if I do say so myself): Paranoid Delusional Narcissistic Reflection of Motivation. Perhaps more to the point as regards Vladimir Putin, who has thrown Russia into a medieval war with modern weapons with the support of a host of lies, may be the process through which he became a monster: “Malignant Narcissistic Process Distilled”.

On the Psychology of Dictatorship and related matters (like destructiveness, fascism, sadism, more ordinary Narcissistic Personality Disorder) there is no end to either invention, observation, and reflection. I had embarked on this personal course in political science and psychology with comparatively light reading by the late Jerrold M. PostLeaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World: The Psychology of Political Behavior (Psychoanalysis and Social Theory), Jerrold M. Post and Alexander George, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York: 2004. My purchase had been made in 2012. Back then, “reading” for me still meant opening a book.

We’re not going to be stuck with “authoritarian” knuckleheads in office in the United States of American or anywhere else in the Atlantic Alliance or, for that matter, in the world, but the transition from the world of medieval belief, fear, and greed requires of both constituencies and governments a modern update related to comprehending retrograde politicians and political missions. In modern parlance, the holy (and secular) grail of characteristics desired may be “high-integrity, responsible, and responsive” governance with improving “Qualities of Living“–village x city x region–the worthy cause of power.

At the moment, the EU/NATO fold has within it disappointing reversions–examples: Recep Tayyip Erdogan; Viktor Orban; Donald John Trump–to feudal-medieval society in which the power of the leader becomes conflated with the existence of the state while related associates, family, and personally favored figures own and rule the businesses and industries hosted across the land–and the general population be damned. For such “leaders”, continuance in power and “unlimited narcissistic supply” are all that matter.

Related for Exploration: Narcissistic Mortification; Covering/Splitting; Gaslighting; Psychological Manipulation; Narcissistic Supply.

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KGB FSB ROC M-O-N-E-Y

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After the fall of the Soviet Union, the church received official privileges including the right to import duty-free alcohol and tobacco. In 1995, the Nikolo-Ugreshky Monastery, which is directly subordinated to the patriarchate, earned $350 million from the sale of alcohol. The patriarchate’s department of foreign church relations, which Kirill ran, earned $75 million from the sale of tobacco. But the patriarchate reported an annual budget in 1995-1996 of only $2 million. Kirill’s personal wealth was estimated by the Moscow News in 2006 to be $4 billion.

During this period, the church has been silent about genuine moral issues, such as Russia’s pervasive corruption and the indiscriminate killing of noncombatants in Chechnya. As Kirill begins his reign as patriarch, there is little reason to expect this to change.

Satter, David. “Putin Runs The Russian State–And the Russian Church Too.” Forbes, February 20, 2009.

In the Feudal-Medieval Mode, there is no potion as toxic as that which couples belief and piety in the common spirit with financial, martial, and political power in an aristocracy of thugs: only in still medieval Russia has Kleptocracy an Emperor and a most loyal (and enriched) Patriarch, both formerly KGB and therefore today criminal FSB.

As has become too much my habit, reference follows, and while I read all that I cite–and have read or perused all that I have cited, and this for age or martinis–little stays with me but principles. For Putin-Kirill as an Infernal Dyad, the two appear to share the deepest relationship in corruption, crime, fascism, malign narcissistic covering, persecution of minorities, especially the LGBTQ set, profit from “sin taxes” on alcohol and tobacco, and God (whose existence each seems to be disproving), only knows what else fills their pockets out of the shadows in which the two actors more authentically reside.

Related Online

AFP. “‘God Put You in Power’: Russian Orthodox Leader Tells Putin on 70th Birthday.” The Moscow Times, October 7, 2022.

Chawrylo, Katarzyna. “The scandal over the Patriarch Kirill.” Center for Eastern Studies, April 4, 2012.

Cohen, Nick. “An evil collusion between a tyrant and a man of God.” The Guardian, August 18, 2012.

Coyer, Paul. “(Un)Holy Alliance: Vladimir Putin, The Russian Orthodox Church And Russian Exceptionalism.” Forbes, May 21, 2015.

Donovan, Jeffrey. “Metropolitan Kirill Elected New Patriarch of Russian Orthodox Church.” RFE/RL, January 27, 2009.

Giovanni, Janine di. “The Real Reason the Russian Orthodox Church’s Leader Supports Putin’s War: Homophobia is at the heart of Patriarch Kirill’s endorsement.” Foreign Policy, April 26, 2022.

Gedeon, Joseph and Nahal Toosi. “The pro-Putin preacher the U.S. won’t touch.” Politico, June 22, 2022.

Gordon, Michael R. “Russian Priests Accuse a Bishop, Plunging the Church Into Turmoil.” The New York Times, July 18, 1999.


Horowitz, Jason. “The Russian Orthodox Leader at the Core of Putin’s Ambitions.” The New York Times, May 22, 2022.

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unfolded, Patriarch Kirill I, the leader of the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church, had an awkward Zoom meeting with Pope Francis.

The two religious leaders had previously worked together to bridge a 1,000-year-old schism between the Christian churches of the East and West. But the meeting, in March, found them on opposing sides of a chasm. Kirill spent 20 minutes reading prepared remarks, echoing the arguments of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that the war in Ukraine was necessary to purge Nazis and oppose NATO expansion.


Lord Dreadnought. “Russian Orthodox Church’s KGB patriarch got rich dabbling in tobacco, oil, and alcohol following ‘perestroika’.” Fitzpatrick Informer, December 30, 2020.

Luchenko, Ksenia. “Can the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Survive the War With Russia?” Carnegie Politika, January 17, 2023.

Satter, David. “Putin Runs The Russian State–And the Russian Church Too.” Forbes, February 20, 2009.

Satter, David. “Russia’s State Church.” Foreign Policy Research Institute, June 27, 2012.

Wikipedia. “Patriarch Kirill of Moscow”.

Wikipedia. “Russian Orthodox Church”.


Posted to YouTube April 16, 2022.

“…the Faculty of Special Propaganda . . . .”

In which Putin has “turned priests into Kremlin agents”–>

Posted to YouTube April 12, 2022.

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FNS: Morning Lies

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FNS=Fast News Share and Quick Comments.

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Russia said the capture of Soledar was “important for the continuation of successful offensive operations in the Donetsk region.” It added that “establishing control over Soledar makes it possible to cut off the supply routes for Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut.”

The significance of Soledar in military terms is minimal. However, its capture would allow Russian forces, and especially the Wagner mercenary group, to turn their focus on nearby Bakhmut, which has been a target since the summer.

https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/russia-ukraine-war-news-1-13-23/index.html

Soledar represents at best a Pyrrhic victory for Wagner as any concentration of force and development of feeding lines is certain to be met with an aggressive Ukrainian military response.

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Dudley, 35, was reported missing last year by authorities in Lansing, Michigan. A spokesman for his family said Dudley had traveled to Europe to backpack, had gone to Poland for a music festival and at some point crossed into Kaliningrad and was detained in April, 2022.

https://www.militarytimes.com/veterans/2023/01/12/russia-releases-us-navy-veteran-who-crossed-border/?utm_campaign=dfn-ebb&utm_medium=email&utm_source=sailthru&SToverlay=2002c2d9-c344-4bbb-8610-e5794efcfa7d

Backpacker Taylor Dudley’s compass and map skills may have been rusty at the time, imho. In any case, no ballyhoo, no need for a swap, just nine months of diplomacy by a veteran in such negotiations, Bill Richardson, former governor (D) of New Mexico. Richardson had a counterpart in Ara Abramyan, a counterpart in negotiating prisoners associated with Russia out of foreign prisons.

Portent?

Possibly, Russia will try begging American patience over the war in Ukraine, and so friendly and quiet a return–never mind the nine months Dudley spent detained–may lend its little bit of color to the larger and more nefarious picture of #PutinFullTonto and a Moscow fully berserk in Ukraine and elsewhere and beyond the pale of humanity.

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President Biden, facing a special counsel investigation amid new revelations of classified documents in his possession after the vice presidency, suddenly confronts a ballooning political problem that threatens to hamstring his agenda and blunt the momentum he hoped to seize at the halfway mark of his term.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/01/12/biden-trump-classified-documents-politics/

Really?

On January 24, 2020, the Foreign Agents Registration Act unit of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice received from Christopher M. Kise, now the lawyer representing Donald John Trump in his defense in relation to the FBI’s investigation of Trump’s holding documents stamped as Top Secret/Secure Compartmented Information (TS/SCI), FARA registration #6787. In the form, Kise had listed as his principle Reinaldo Munoz Pedroza, the Attorney General of Venezuela appointed by the dictator Nicolas Maduro. At that time, Pedrozo had been sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for undermining democracy in Venezuela and related election interference.

https://conflict-backchannels.com/2022/09/19/trump-lawyer-christopher-m-kise-registered-foreign-agent/

Has–or had–President Biden a Registered Foreign Agent potentially (and directly) selling out American Democracy via the Maduro-Putin relationship?

One doubts it.

Only Trump has demanded personal fealty over loyalty to the Constitution from powerful Federal subordinates, e.g., and from the git-go, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/i-expect-loyalty-trump-told-comey-according-to-written-testimony/2017/06/07/46413298-4bab-11e7-a186-60c031eab644_story.html .

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Soledar?

Wagner mercenaries have at most captured a salt mine and may now position themselves for greater wholesale slaughter.

Dudley?

It’s good to have him back in the U.S.A.

Biden’s TSI/SC?

Biden’s President, current, sworn to uphold the Constitution and refreshingly authentic about it. The “oops” in a locked garage? Investigation will have to resolve how that classified data got left there and–always the most important question–why.

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FTAC–A Note: Iron River, Narcotics, and the Ecology of Latin American Mass Migration

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This post continues my practice of trying to make accessible and somewhat permanent useful observation composed in passing elsewhere online or in correspondence. In short Twitterese, I’ve diagrammed the argument as, approximately, “NA cash->LA narcotics->NA; NA arms->LA carte & gang violence->migrants->NA.” Close enough. “NA”=”North America”, of course, and “LA”=”Latin America”.

Here follows an online comment already made plus short associated and supporting reference.


Our narcotics habits, ______, fuel the cartels and gangs of Latin America, and those are not known for healthy governing practices. The abused, impoverished, terrified, and threatened migrate to El Norte where they believe there will be at least better security, order, and rule-of-law.

We Americans (and Canadians) are not only a powerful market for everything that may be obtained only through smuggling, we’ve had a business going in running arms into Latin America (along with all the outlaws of the world). Term for exploration on the web: “America, arms, iron river”. I have collected articles on the subject dating back to 2007.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mexico-guns/iron-river-of-guns-flows-from-u-s-to-mexico-idUSN1223853620070713 (2007)

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/20/opinion/international-world/guns-mexico.html (2021)

The sad truth about my Fellow Americans is that we’re greedy as sin, –or desperate and both–and we pay a high price for it x addictions x homelessness x social failures x social pathologies. Neither our Far Out Left nor Rabid Reactionary Right seems to have a clue as regards the full ecology of corruption, crime, narcotics, trafficked labor (2nd largest abuse of all), and above all our most prized possession: money–would that our ethics, principles, values, and general American spirit modify the national appetite for good times and loot.


Related Online

Abbany, Zulfikar. “Report: EU spends 31 billion on illicit drugs.” DW, April 5, 2016.

Cheatham, Amelia and Diana Roy. “Central America’s Turbulent Northern Triangle.” Council on Foreign Relations, last updated June 22, 2022.

Gaynor, Tim. “‘Iron river of guns’ flows from U.S. to Mexico.” Reuters, July 13, 2007.

Grillo, Loan. “Slow the Iron River of Guns to Mexico.” The New York Times, February 26, 2021.

Kilmer, Beau. “Americans’ Spending on Illicit Drugs Nears $150 Billion Annually; Appears to Rival What is Spent on Alcohol.” RAND, August 20, 2019.

Krauze, Leon. “Biden must stop the ‘iron river’ of U.S. weapons devastating Mexico.” The Washington Post, March 10, 2021.

Llana, Sara Miller. “US guns fuel Mexico drug war? The politics behind the issue.” The Christian Science Monitor, June 15, 2011.

Mallene, Laura. “Europeans Spend $30 Billion A Year On Drugs.” Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, November 28, 2019.

Martinez, Gabriela. “The flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico is getting lost in the border debate.” PBS New Hour, June 12, 2019, updated July 2, 2019.

Mathema, Silva. “They Are (Still) Refugees: People Continue to Flee Violence in Latin American Countries.” Center for American Progress, June 1, 2018.

Morris, Nathaniel and Gema Kloppe-Santamaria. “The Many, Varied Violences Behind the Central American Exodus.” IPI Global Observatory, November 15, 2022.

Pendergast, Curt. “Arizona guns quietly smuggled across border as bullets fly in Mexico.” Tuscon Arizona Daily Star, November 25, 2019, updated June 26, 2020.

Rubio, Yury. “Twenty-first Century Slavery: How to Stop Human Trafficking at the U.S.-Mexico Border.” The International Affairs Review, December 15, 2022.

Seelke, Clare Ribando. “Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean.” PDF. Congressional Research Service, October 13, 2016.

VICE News. “How the US Fuels Mexican Cartel Violence.” Video. YouTube, August 22, 2021.

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