How the Far Right is Threatening our Existence

Nearly one in three Americans say it may soon be necessary to take up arms against the government. A majority of Americans say the U.S. government is corrupt and almost a third say it may soon be necessary to take up arms against it, according to a new poll from the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.

Far-right organizations have identified school boards as essential to winning ideological battles over Critical Race Theory (CRT). Conservatives opposing “woke” culture won seats on the Kansa Board of Education, ousting two Republican members more like Elizabeth Cheney in the same election Kansans overwhelmingly preserved women’s rights to an abortion.

Dangerous groups led by some white supremacists want to control how race is understood and discussed in this country, mostly at the expense of Black and brown communities. And more earnestly, former Trump advisor, Steve Bannon, proudly admitted that “the path to save the nation is very simple–it’s going to go through the school boards,” in an episode of his podcast that aired just this past May.

An uptick in threats to the FBI after it executed a search warrant at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is unsettling the political right, with some calling on allies of the former president to tone down their rhetoric.

Barriers have been erected outside the perimeter of the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., while the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reportedly issued a joint bulletin Friday warning about spikes in threats that included a bomb threat at FBI headquarters and calls for a “civil war” and “armed rebellion.

Viktor Orban. the Hungarian dictator provides a formula for the permanent power of a minority party. He uses culture wars to fire up the base. Discredit opponents through party-controlled media. Engineer the election rules by controlling their design. Orban has demonstrated that this playbook works — and the Republicans are employing it.  They even had him speak at a recent CPAC conference.

What makes embracing Orban particularly troubling is that  China’s biggest supporter in Europe is Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. He is also an ally of Putin.  If the far-right regains the Presidency, I fear for the future of democracy.

The Confederacy was an ethno-nationalist police state, run by a small number of plantation-owning oligarch families like Robert E. Lee’s, and even being white was no protection from the Confederacy’s brutality.

Although they weren’t enslaved, poor whites had it rough in the Confederate states. They had no real access to due process, and in most cases were prevented from voting if they didn’t own land. Even when they did vote, ballot boxes were stuffed or ballots were burned when elections didn’t turn out the way the oligarchs wanted.

Through the period from the 1830s to the 1860s, as I document in The Hidden History of American Oligarchy, southern plantation owners’ wealth and consolidation of political power radically increased because of the invention of the Cotton Gin that started spreading across the south in the 1820s. 

This new machine could clean as much cotton as 50 hardscrabble white farmers or enslaved people; thus, those few massive plantations that could afford a Gin soon economically and politically dominated the South in the era leading up to the Civil War. 

By manipulating cotton prices, giant plantations ran small white-owned farms out of business. The plantation oligarchs would then buy up the distressed farms and use the poor white farmers’ own indebtedness to force them to work what had previously been their own land as sharecroppers. 

When poor whites protested or tried to fight back, they were often imprisoned on trumped-up charges or just killed and buried in unmarked graves. As Keri Leigh Merritt documents in Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South:

“[P]oor whites made particularly inviting targets for a southern legal system dominated by slaveholders… On the eve of secession, slaveholders were still jailing poor whites for small amounts of debt, publicly whipping thieves, and auctioning off debtors and criminals (for their labor) to the highest bidder.

Weisselberg pleaded guilty to 15 separate charges including grand larceny and criminal tax fraud in an indictment filed in New York State Supreme Court, admitting to what authorities described as a 15-year tax evasion scheme for skipping out on taxes due on $1.76 million in income that wasn’t reported to the IRS.

Weisselberg was promised a sentence of five months in New York City’s Rikers Island prison — although that could be shortened to a little over three months — as well as five years’ probation. He will also have to fully repay taxes, penalties, and interest due to the New York City and New York state tax authorities totaling $1,994,321.

Here are five things to know about Weisselberg’s plea deal.

The plea may be a consolation prize

The plea deal from a Trump Organization representative close to the former president may feel like something of a consolation prize for prosecutors who have been trying for a year to get Weisselberg to turn on Trump himself and not just Trump’s company.

Their aim has been to find evidence that the former president engaged in criminal activity, and securing the cooperation of a key Trump lieutenant like Weisselberg for their investigation could have been a step in that direction.

“It’s been widely publicly reported that the DA’s office was aggressively trying to flip Weisselberg against individuals and against Trump in particular, and he obviously held out on that and refused to deliver,” Danya Perry, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, told The Hill in an interview.

But Weisselberg didn’t roll over. In fact, The New York Times reported that just after the deal was made, The Trump Organization held a birthday party for Weisselberg at Trump Tower.

Legal experts draw a sharp distinction between the sort of plea deal that Weisselberg agreed to and an actual cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors that could have led to much more substantive disclosures about the former president and his business practices.

“He got a plea deal. He did not get a cooperation agreement,” Perry said.

“The case against Donald Trump doesn’t seem to have any life left in it,” Daniel Alonso, who served as chief assistant district attorney under former Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr., told The Hill. “This deal certainly doesn’t mean Trump is going to be prosecuted. It probably means the opposite. It really doesn’t incriminate him.”

There has been a turn of events.  Alan Weisselberg’s plea deal requires him to testify when the Trump Organization faces its own trial in October, and this could turn into a big win for prosecutors this fall as they go after Trump’s core business.

The Trump Organization is going on trial for nine out of the 15 counts brought against Weisselberg himself, including charges of criminal tax fraud, conspiracy, and falsifying business records.

The testimony of Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, could make things difficult for the company.

Former assistant United States Attorney Andrew Weissman told The Hill in an interview that Weisselberg’s plea deal is going to make it much harder for the Trump Organization to make its defense.

“Because an organization acts through its people, this is the CFO saying that he did this, and these are not crimes that are unrelated to the organization, and the organization benefited directly from this,” he said.

Legal experts say there’s one big unanswered question about Weisselberg’s deal.

What happens if prosecutors decide that he didn’t “testify truthfully” in the upcoming Trump Organization trial, as his plea deal requires him to do?

But if they ask him questions about how much Trump knew during the trial, and Weisselberg says he didn’t know anything, prosecutors might then say he’s not being fully truthful, and then all bets about the sentencing could be off.

“This is the one open question,” Alonso said. “What happens if he testifies that Trump had no knowledge of these schemes? Would the DA still vouch for Weisselberg’s truthfulness?”

“I’ve never heard of a deal like this,” Alonso said.

Weisselberg was not granted immunity from other crimes 

Both Andrew Weissmann and Danya Perry said they were interested by the fact that Weisselberg was not granted full immunity for any other potential crimes.

“Typically, lawyers negotiate for coverage or immunity for any other crimes he might have committed so they can’t keep coming back,” Perry said. “Here, they didn’t do that.”

“Why should the DA grant him that if he’s not cooperating fully? This is not a traditional cooperation agreement. If he’s doing less, then he’s getting less.”

There’s a legal full-court press now against Trump. Most presidents leave office and fade into the background of American political life. But Weisselberg’s plea deal is just one of several legal events involving the former president that has kept his name in the news.

The most dramatic of these was the Aug. 8 FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago, which saw federal agents walk away from Trump’s Florida property with boxes of classified documents.


Occan’ Razor and Ukraine

Would Russia have attacked Ukraine if Ukraine still had the nuclear weapons that it gave up in return for a signed memorandum that Ukraine would not be attacked? Ukraine, even its former nuclear stockpile, is waging a heroic battle. It’s heartening to see the West largely united in supporting the Ukrainians. Still can more be done to aid them.

Poland is willing to allow Ukrainian pilots to fly their planes. Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly MIG-29s. It seems a simple matter for the Ukrainians to go to Poland and fly the jets out. Britain is sending tanks so that the Ukrainians can have the Pole’s Soviet-made tanks.

This solution follows the principle of Occam’s Razor – the least complicated solution is the best.

Meanwhile, people all over the world are feeling the effects of this war. Inflation is eating into most people’s well being.   In some places, food is scarce; almost everywhere food prices are up; fuel and gasoline prices are reaching new highs  in some places in the world; the war crimes being committed are unthinkable and just as Americans became weary and resistant to Covid protection, so the war crimes number our consciousness.

Here’s another way to punish Russia – kick them off the International Space Station. Why can we do this? Space X has launched the first all-private mission to the ISS. NASA is not only way to get to the space station.

Putin’s Pet

As President, Trump told more than 20,000 lies.   Take, for example, when he first ran in 2016, he said, he would clear the swamp, meaning curtailing the influence of lobbyists and special interests in Washington.

Another claim he makes is that the key to containing wildfires in Colorado and California is forest management. His hypocrisy was evident because he cut the budget of the U.S. Forest Service charged with forest management. What gall to cut the arms and legs off the Forest Service and say they are responsible for forest management.

Trump repeatedly denied the severity of the COVID 387 times, causing people to disregard the ways they could protect themselves. In May, he disbanded the White house pandemic taskforce. This worsened the pandemic’s spread.

Until this day on October 19, he said “People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it.”

Now Trump is saying he has been tougher on Russia than any President. While he has imposed 52 sanctions, what he doesn’t say is that in 2017, he signed a sanctions law, but never enforced it. In 2018, he issued several sanctions, but later offered to negotiate and soften them.

His ignoring Russian activities has resulted in American lives being lost.

In March of this year, U.S. intelligence officials at an interagency meeting concluded that Russia has been paying bounties for killing Americans.   Earlier this year, SEAL Team 6 raided a Taliban outpost and recovered $500,000 in cash — an event that confirmed the intelligence community’s suspicions about Russia.

On April 8th, three U.S. Marines were killed and three service members are injured in an attack by the Taliban on an American convoy returning to Bagram airbase in Afghanistan in April 2019. Intelligence officials said this event and other actions are potentially being linked to the Russian bounties being placed on American lives, according to the Associated Press.

The New York Times reported that Trump had been briefed on the matter at this time, which Trump and the White House have denied getting this report.

But on April 18, Trump said, “I have a very good relationship with Putin.”

Trump may owe his election in 2016 to Russian military intelligence operations which supplied his campaign with among other items Hillary’s email.

Trump on May 8 Trump says of Russia, “We had no calls from Russia for years. And all of a sudden, we have this great friendship. And, by the way, getting along with Russia is a great thing, getting along with Putin and Russia is a great thing.”

On the same day, Trump speaks with Putin and offers to send ventilators to help Russia fight the coronavirus outbreak there. The United States will send 200 ventilators as part of a $5.6 million humanitarian package. –at a time when ventilators were in short supply in the U.S.

On May 21, Trump says, “Russia and us have developed a very good relationship. As you know, we worked on the oil problem together. I think we have a very good relationship with Russia.”

Nine days later on May 30, Trump postpones the G-7 summit and renews his calls for Russia to be reinstated into it and then on June 2 again said that Russia should be allowed back into the G7, from which it had been expelled after invading Ukraine and seizing Crimea.

Then on June 5, Trump says of the ventilators, “We’re sending some to Russia. It’s good for a relationship. It’s good for everything.”

The most charitable explanation for his seemingly suspicious behavior is found in what his niece, Mary Trump, wrote about him in her book Too Much and Never Enough that Trump has “unique personality flaws make him extremely vulnerable to manipulation by smarter, more powerful men. His pathologies have rendered him so simple-minded that it takes nothing more than repeating to him the things he says to and about himself dozens of times a day – he’s the smartest, he’s the greatest, the best – to get him to do whatever they want.

Putin has been able to play him! But there may be more to his catering to Russia. He may be vulnerable to financial blackmail Searching Google, there are numerous reports of Trump wanting to meet face-to-face with Putin before the election.

To be sure, Trump has profited from letting himself be played. During his time in office he has profited to the tune of $1.9 billion in revenue from commercial leases.

Trump has a record of contacts with Russia Putin going back over 30 years.

In 1986, Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin met Trump in New York, flattered him with praise for his building exploits, and invited him to discuss a building in Moscow. Trump visited Moscow in July 1987.

From 2003 to 2017, people from the former USSR made 86 all-cash purchases — a red flag of potential money laundering — of Trump properties, totaling $109 million.

In 2010, the private-wealth division of Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas loaned him 2.5 billion dollars including at a time when Trump was practically bankrupt. He received loans from Deutsche Bank that were underwritten by the Russian state-owned bank (VTB Bank) that enabled him to purchase Trump Doral Resort in Florida, the Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C, and for his Chicago property among other things. The VTB Bank was also the proposed lender on the never-completed Trump Tower Moscow project.

“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” said Donald Jr. in 2008. “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia,” boasted Eric Trump in 2014.

In 2015, Western European intelligence agencies began picking up evidence of communications between the Russian government and people in Donald Trump’s circle.

In April 2016, one of the Baltic states shared with then–CIA director John Brennan an audio recording of Russians discussing funneling money to the Trump campaign. In an interview this year, Brennan said: “I think [Trump] is afraid of the president of Russia. The Russians may have something on him personally that they could always roll out and make his life more difficult.”

On June 14  2016, the Washington Post reported that Russian hackers had broken into the Democratic National Committee’s files and gained access to its research on Donald Trump. By that point, Russia was already broadcasting its strong preference for Trump through the media.

Trump has continually cast doubt on Russia’s election meddling and repeated Putin’s denials of his government’s involvement.

investigative journalist Craig Unger, goes deep in his new book, American Kompromat, to lay out a comprehensive theory to connect all the dots.

He asserts that former US intelligence officials John Brennan, James Clapper, and Dan Coats were convinced that Trump was a Russian asset (although their own credibility has been questioned by other experts).

Based on his interviews with former KGB officials, Unger argues that the Trump-Russia link began as far back as the 1980s. Among the early clues: the purchase of TV sets from a small Russian merchant for Trump’s first hotel project in New York and the KGB connections of Trump’s first wife, Ivana, and her family in her native Czechoslovakia.

One of his KGB sources reveals damning details about Trump’s first trip to the then-Soviet Union in 1987, why Trump was a perfect target for recruitment in spite of his incompetence, and his tendency to say the quiet parts out loud.

To place this accusation in context, Unger links it to what he calls a Russian “kompromat factory,” whose workings involve, among others, Jeffrey Epstein, Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell, Israeli intelligence, and many of Rudy Giuliani’s “friends” inside the FBI.  

Although proof of all of these secret connections remains buried in the Kremlin, Unger claims to have FBI files to back up some of his assertions.

He argues that based on the available evidence Trump’s indebtedness to Moscow can no longer be doubted. With implications for large-scale global money laundering and national security, Unger concludes that even out of office Trump is a security risk. 

Trump has tried to pin Ukrainian ties on Joe Biden. But it’s Trump who has the ties. Michael Cohen, his former attorney engaged in negotiations for a Trump Tower in 2016 while Trump was saying “ I have no financial relationships with Russia.”   Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, managed the campaign of the candidate for President of the Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, who called for closer ties with Russia while disguising his Russian connections. Trump surrounded himself with staffers, in addition to Manafort, with close ties to Russia. His national-security adviser, Michael Flynn went to Moscow in 2015 to fête Putin at a banquet; Charges against Flynn were subsequently dropped by Attorney General Bar.  Roger Stone, a former longtime business partner of Manafort’s, was also convicted and pardoned.  Manafort was convicted of tax and bank fraud. -money laundering.

Despite traditionally non-partisan officers are going on record to warn about the threat Donald Trump poses to our security, the pandemic.

Couple all this with Trump’s refusal to disclose his tax returns, there are enough breadcrumbs to wonder whether an American President has compromised American interests.

Found in archives that shows Russian accounts had helped spread QAnon in volume beginning in December 2017, 

Russian government-backed social media accounts nurtured the QAnon conspiracy theory in its infancy, accounting for approximately 17,000 Tweets.

Parler, the right-wing social media haven, was booted off Amazon and Apple. Where it does it land? Parler is back up, and being hosted by “DDOS GUARD” out of Russia. Connections like this leave little to the imagination.

Putin could not be more pleased with having had Trump in the White House. Trump was as much a Russian weapon as any bomb.  More people have died from this pandemic than were killed in World War II.  The nation is more divided and Americans are disheartened.  A survey taken after January 6 found 79 percent agreeing with the statement “America is falling apart.” 

Now Trump has filed a lawsuit against  Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and more than a dozen others alleging a vast conspiracy to undermine his 2016 presidential campaign and making accusations of Russian collusions. Trump has used lawsuits as a weapon throughout his career. A lawsuit, if those being sued have the resources to defend themselves opens Trump up to having his relationship with the Russians and their bankers laid out in open court.