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.
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.
This list is neither comprehensive nor fully representative of related content on this blog, but each post also conveys three computer-generated suggestions for related reading, not that anyone suffers for lack of reportage obsessed with Donald John Trump. Still, as I’ve repeatedly relayed some of these via Facebook and Twitter (welcome back, Don, you should see yourself in the mirror that is the World Wide Web), I thought to put a dozen blogs from January 6 to this November on one page as a potential and helpful (I hope) contribution to what lies ahead.
Either Donald Trump’s associates and followers aren’t readers, or at least not discerning ones, or they’re as greedy and lusting for power as he has been, or, rather like him, they’re equally damaged narcissists with Narcissistic Personality Disorder’s (NPD’s) standard “messianic delusions of grandeur”. Also, I suppose one might suggest that some have been compromised (and blackmailed) or leveraged for want of some aspiration or dream that the Don might make come true through his legion of intimidating and obfuscating lawyers.
Approach the followers (carefully) in any manner that suits, but “missing data” upstairs–alternatively brazen disinformation, innuendo, and rumor–would seem a part of that now benighted bought or weakening, small, and violent constellation of Americans too easily led astray.
America’s moderate Democrats and Republicans have turned against Donald Trump as a candidate for the 2024 elections and beyond as they have perceived his character issues as deep and lifelong, which they are, but what remains with avaricious associates, lesser politicians perhaps hooked on his indulgence with “endorsements” (kiss of death from the inside out for those with integrity) and funding, would seem a profound denial as regards not only the common wisdom but also wisdom questioned and repeatedly corroborated. What follows in addition to telling quotations is a short list of reference associated with the former American president’s autocratic, vicious, and unscrupulous character.
More than 18 months into his presidency, Donald Trump’s modus operandi – and the danger it represents – is clear. His working method is that of the mafia boss and gangland chieftain, daily wielding his power to settle scores, teach lessons and crush dissent. Anyone who’s seen The Sopranos will know the routine: the casual intimidation, the obsession with loyalty, the brutal ostracism meted out to those who dare defy the man at the top.
“My name is Carmine. I don’t know why you’re fucking with Mr. Trump but if you keep fucking with Mr. Trump, we know where you live and we’re going to your house for your wife and kids,” the caller said, according to the account that the attorney, Kristopher Hansen, gave to the Holmdel police department in New Jersey. Hansen speculated that the caller was Trump’s bodyguard.
Many of those who bought the condos, it turns out, did so not to live there but allegedly to launder illicit money – Russian gangster money, drug cartel money, people-smuggling money.
A joint Reuters-NBC News investigation published on Friday alongside a report by the non-profit Global Witness said the skyscraper with Trump’s name had ties to international organised crime.
The reports detailed how the future president gave the project to his daughter Ivanka as a “baby” effort to gain real estate experience, and said it ended up drawing a cast of characters accused of fraud, corruption and kidnapping.
The meeting came just days after Kilimnik met in Moscow with Oleg Deripaska, a powerful oligarch and close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Deripaska had been a major client of Manafort but had sued him over a failed business deal in Ukraine and was seeking to recoup almost $25m.
The Trump administration announced late last year it intended to lift sanctions on Deripaska’s companies, despite strong opposition from Democrats and some Republicans in Congress. The treasury department had imposed the sanctions on Deripaska and several of his companies in tandem with seven Russian oligarchs, 12 companies they owned or controlled, and 17 Russian government officials, for “malign activity” which included “attempting to subvert western democracies, and malicious cyber-activities”.
I’ve added to the above reference section articles published before the publication date of this post, Oct. 10, 2022, but thought here to add #DJT pieces bearing down on about the same themes involving the former American President, foremost treason abetted by questionable character and an altogether malign narcissistic psychology.
I know this blog seldom presents first-hand (primary) reporting and that the reference lists I create (drudgery!) hardly represent “writing”, but having gone to the very minor bother of looking up and thinking up names as well as coming up with related articles, what’s an old blogger to do?
Chris Zillizza’s piece for The Point (July 21, 2021) provided some helpful reminders, but I didn’t simply copy and list for not recognizing the names Tom Barrack or Elliott Broidy. I’ve added reference for each. I was also sorry about having to list Michael Cohen in the gallery of rogues although as Trump’s fixer I’m sure he was no picnic either. Nonetheless, as an instantly transformed witness and apparently recovered Trump goon, mention feels like throwing a perfectly good carrot back into a festering stew of rotten vegetables.
If the “festering stew” of Don’s rogues were to take hold and one were to ask about the gelatinous substance holding all of them in the same pot, there might be just the two ingredients: greed and a most American vainglory that would bring all back to the here familiar “Malignant Narcissism“.
I’ve remained loose with BackChannels as regards discipline and style . . . perhaps it’s been an old hippy’s blog…. Nonetheless, the entries are alpha but from time tot time I present one or two (or more) as a quotation with reference. Among the enduring themes to be associated with Donald John Trump in history will be those pertaining to character, criminality, errant political psychology, integrity, loyalty, and trust both in relation to himself and in relation to his country and America’s national character.
Defendants PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., (MANAFORT) and RICHARD W. GATES Ill (GA TES) served for years as political consultants and lobbyist’i. Between at least 2006 and 2015,MANAFORT and GATES acted as unregistered agents of the Government of Ukraine, the Party of Regions (a Ukrainian political party whose leader Victor Yanukovych was President from 2010 to 2014), Yanukovych, and the Opposition Bloc (a successor to the Party of Regions that formed in 2014 when Yanukovych fled to Russia). MANAFORT and GATES generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work. 111 order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, MANAFORT and GATES laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts.
Nader has had several run-ins with the law over the years related to sexual abuse of children. He was convicted in the 1990s of transporting child pornography publications, and imprisoned in 2003 for sexually abusing ten boys in the Czech Republic. He pleaded guilty in early 2020 to flying a 14-year-old boy from Europe to the US for sex, and transporting pornography depicting child sexual abuse and bestiality.
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.
News of Kise’s registration as a foreign agent broke two days ago, and as interesting as that may be, the development of public and official interest in both the Conflict of Interest implied and the breathtaking scope of potential national security compromises–all those boxes of TS/SCI data!–appears slow. However, this by Ben Meiselas showed up on YouTube this morning:
For Trump’s base, the idea of achieving patriotic honor in association with his support appears belied and eroded by not only the former president’s authoritarian, belligerent, and obstreperous character but his connections–and one step removed is not far enough–to the tools, literally, so it would seem in the case of Mr. Kise, of at least one dictatorship. While it would seem fair for President (for Life) Maduro to have representation in the United States, the same would seem more than heinous for Trump to share with him the same lawyer.
Should the Kise-Trump story take down almost-candidate-(again) Trump, it would make a nice bookend for Trump’s first big yellow caution flag: Paul Manafort.
To make sense of the president’s pardon of Paul Manafort, it helps to understand the man Trump selected to run his 2016 campaign. On one hand, it seems inconceivable that an American presidential candidate would choose as his campaign manager someone whose last job was political strategist to a dictator in Ukraine who had recently been overthrown in a popular revolution. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense. Paul Manafort made a fortune helping tyrants and would-be tyrants appear legitimate. He was the ultimate symbol of the corruption of democratic political systems. His evolution from establishment wonderkid to handmaiden to dictators is a story of how corruption perverts democracies.
With his latest hire in lawyers, Trump has only confirmed what all Americans, much including his base, must now see, i.e., the darkest of fallen real princes by contemporary business and class standards, a man who cannot keep himself separate from America’s enemies, Russian criminals, and assorted (other) dictators.
Note: since publishing this post, Trump has been reported as removing Christopher M. Kise from the leading role in Trump’s defense before related Federal investigation:
Kise is expected to remain on Trump’s legal team but is not leading the work related to the federal government’s investigation into how the former President handled 11,000 documents seized from his Florida home in August following a lengthy effort by the government to retrieve them. The reason for the shift in Kise’s role remains unclear and he may instead focus his efforts on the other investigations Trump is facing, which range from his business practices to the January 6 insurrection.
In the United States, it would seem the Federal state has some retrograde constituencies, politicians, and now Supreme Court judges who would rather not have a credible and mighty democratic republic but rather a collection of backward and parochial cesspools operating along callous and ignorant–or ignorant and sadistic–lines of power, and at that the kind of power accustomed to imposing suffering on others in the name of religious righteousness and related malign and narcissistic will, for religion serves often as a cover for hypocrites, their abuses, and the crimes.
In Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, there was no real reason–forget the hair-splitting with the Constitution: the earlier Roe v Wade had been affirmed and reaffirmed across more than 50 years of equally contentious debate–but that involving the political lust for power and magically-thinking Christian zealotry. What I refer to in general as the “American Medieval Christian Front”–there are a lot of organizations that may be included in the nation’s “Far White Right” and “Christian Nationalist Movements”–has proven that America’s extraordinary secular-humanist democracy (start with Thomas Paine‘s writing) may be degraded and perverted in purpose by a medieval mob fully willing to impose its will on less passionate others, i.e., ordinary Americans of many faiths, quite absent of any consistency in reason.
Putin’s Trump naturally played the medieval card and in packing the Supreme Court left an odious present that fairly gutted common faith in the protections of the Constitution. In effect, the former president returned power to the kind of people–and the kind of scoundrels–who didn’t really like it in the first place.
Soviet/Post-Soviet Russia and Attempted “Positive Channeling”
The Cold War Is Over
The cold war of poisonous Soviet-American feelings, of domestic political-hysteria, of events enlarged and distorted by East-West confrontation, of almost perpetual diplomatic deadlock is over.
The we-they world that emerged after 1945 is giving way to the more traditional struggles of great powers. That contest is more manageable. It permits serious negotiations. It creates new possibilities–for cooperation in combating terrorism, the spread of chemical weapons and common threats to the environment, and for shaping a less violent world.
The Cold War may not have ended quite as well as the hope and optimism displayed and promoted in the west had promised and, to a large extent, operationalized. In fact, Western-launched investment and cooperation were set in place with earnest good feeling all the way to the ferocious eruption of civil war in Syria in 2011, after which it appears detente served to defend western stability. Ten years later — and do note the significant years 1991, 2001, 2011, 2021/2 — the invasion of Ukraine transformed any sense of enforced balanced in power that the west had believed in into plain containment and push-back through a western-leaning alley.
Within the Soviet/Post-Soviet sphere, I have used the following references to suggest the Big Picture “narrative arch of history”–i.e., the 30 years of taking revenge for the Soviet Army’s retreat from Afghanistan and the dissolving of the Soviet Union that followed three years later:
No intellectual somersault should be needed to connect 9/11 with the heightening of awareness and focus on Islamic Terrorism worldwide as well as with the concurrent development of western patriotism, nationalism, and xenophobia that would in turn become the “New Nationalism” in EU/NATO, the foundation for the strengthening of politicians on the Right and movements further to the Right in support of authoritarianism, isolationism, cultural chauvanism, racism, revolution, and terrorism.
On Facebook and Twitter, I have now and then posed the rhetorical question, “In which world do you wish to live: Medieval or Modern?
The feudal-medieval realm of absolute and exclusive power often commanded by brutality on one hand and excessive unaccountable reward (but without power) on the other?
Or democracy or constitutional monarchy in which power has been attenuated by balancing the interests of the powerful and wealthy of the state with the views and powers of elected legislatures and courts, including high courts, nominated and confirmed through elected representatives?
If you’re of the 21st Century and cognizant in relation to its other issues, the most clear, reasoned, and responsible answer to “medieval or modern?” would seem that of rejecting the “charms” of the medieval mode.
For the most part, our species leans — and needs must lean — forward into the future.
Alas, some portion develops elaborate fantasies about a yesteryear in which their ancestors were great in battle and at leisure in wealth, perfectly comfortable with the degradation and enslavement of others to keep themselves as if gods deeply admired and always obeyed. These days, those who try to impose that archaic, delusional, and ugly-for-others reality on the space around themselves encounter in the west resistance loaded with derision. Those who may accept it where they have been made to feel they must have only to feel their own souls diminished, enslaved, and rendered meaningless.
In the family . . . it might work, but most people may remove themselves from an oppressive family and have the protections of the state to forestall recapture.
Within and surrounding an entire state: disaster!
Cited Above (Inconsistently) or Also Related Online
“First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century,” Putin said. “As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory.
“The epidemic of collapse has spilled over to Russia itself,” he said, referring to separatist movements such as those in Chechnya.
Kraft’s ring now appears on display in the Kremlin’s library, quite a trophy brought home to Moscow by Russia’s Boss of Bosses.
The 4.94-carat ring is in the Kremlin’s library, where all official state gifts are kept, he said. It is worth more than $25,000, according to multiple reports from 2005.
A Kraft spokesman said Sunday the story is a humorous anecdote that Kraft “retells for laughs.”
“He loves that the ring is at the Kremlin and, as he stated back in 2005, he continues to have great respect for Russia and the leadership of President Putin,” said Stacey James, a spokesman for The Kraft Group.
Putin the Pirate has done a few things under the table upside-down and sideways over decades to weaken western political coherence, cohesion, and resolve. Start with the KGB’s handling of Zawahiri over the winter of 1996/7. In connect-the-dots fashion, I believe that stay led to the attack by jet hijacking Islamists on 9/11 that in turn goosed the pride of western states in their Christian and independent political cultures and led to what has been referred to as the “New Nationalism”.
When bees sting and flesh swells, the response has not been called “proud flesh” for nothing.
The popular western response in enmity and fear regarding Islam has not been misplaced in relation to Islamic Extremism and related Islamist Terror, but the same has given rise to blood-and-soil nationalism, authoritarianism, and actual autocracy in some EU/NATO states. Hungary, Italy, Poland, Turkey, and the United States (one nation under Trump for a while) have each seen their open democracies challenged by demagoguery or political perversion.
We may also take note of the “01s” in dates: 1991-dissolve of the Soviet Union in bankruptcy following American intercession opposite the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (from which Russia was forced to retreat in 1989); 2001-the September 11 attacks took place on Felix Dzerzhinsky’s birthday, quite a gift for a Moscow bent on revenge for its losses in Afghanistan-and, no, Putin didn’t do it–it was obviously radical Muslims assembled and deployed by Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden; 2011-The Horror taking off in Syria that would send millions of refugees into NATO (Turkey, which today hosts about 3.68 million Syrian refugees), the European Union (0.7 million-Germany), and Scandinavia (0.3 million), another goad for the defense of the rightly ethnolinguistic state cultures settled and enjoying the benefits of, well, being themselves, the only problem being a concomitant drift toward the same feudal-medieval worldviews and fascination with authority held by Bashar al-Assad, Ali Khamenei, and Vladimir Putin; 2021-Russia’s repeated threats by military feint against Ukraine, a young democratic state seeking NATO accession, and, by extension, NATO itself, but not quite as Ukraine remains without accession.
So hey, Bob (Kraft), George and George, Jr. (Bush), where are you today with Putin (the thief)?
Where and when are dictatorships to be stopped?
Is it when one or another has engaged in political repression and breathtaking plunder at home?
Should it be when the security service agents and agent provocateur show up within the borders of one’s democratic state?
Should it be when the tanks roll into a neighboring state struggling for its own sovereignty against barbaric force and the possibility of a return to corrupt, kleptocratic, and tyrannical governance?