We were beginning to think the Donald’s days as the Great Disrupter were over before he even got started. So bringing the hammer down on one of the most self-righteous prigs and self-aggrandizing swamp creatures to ever inhabit the Imperial City came just in the nick of time.
After all, just in the last week Trump got rolled by the Capitol Hill porkers on the continuing resolution (CR) and conned by the GOP leadership on Obamacare repeal, which is already DBA (dead before arrival) in the Senate. At the same time, his one-page Goldman Sachs tax plan has already been laughed off the beltway stage.
He’s even being misdirected by Javanka, who are carrying water for the establishment on the Paris climate accord abomination. Rather than cancel the latter as promised repeatedly during the campaign, Jared and Ivanka are shipping Trump off to the G-7 meeting to be, presumably, enlightened on the matter by the likes of Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, and Jean-Claude Junker.
Even more ignominiously, he was given the Ron Zeigler treatment by the Deep State mole in the White House, H.R. McMaster, who passes for his national security advisor. It was bad enough that McMaster declared the Donald’s completely valid statement that the South Koreans should pay for their own defense to be "inoperative".
Apparently, he is also bamboozling Trump with the discredited Hillary-Petraeus "surge" agenda in Afghanistan. Yet re-escalating a pointless war in the strategically barren expanses of the Hindu Kush would amount to reneging on his entire campaign platform that rejected the nation-building and empire expansion policies of the Washington establishment.
Indeed, the $25 billion per year "McMaster Plan" to revive the Afghan war by sending more US troops to the "graveyard of empires" amounts to nothing less than insanity. The fact is, after $1.5 trillion of wasted treasure and 23,000 American GI’s killed or wounded – to say nothing of hundreds of thousands of Afghan civilian casualties – more than half of the country and one-third of the population is still under Taliban control.
So the Donald was on his backfoot everywhere. At least the long overdue Comey firing – it should have happened on January 20 within minutes of the swearing-in – gives him a chance to fight the most insidious threat of all.
To wit, the Democrats and the GOP’s Deep State shills like Senators McCain and Graham have never accepted the outcome of the 2016 election. Through the ill-disguised ruse of the Russian meddling investigation they are, in fact, essentially attempting to re-litigate the election and achieve an unconstitutional recount.
Folks, the Russian interference narrative is a colossal beltway scam. The case against the hapless General Flynn is completely and utterly threadbare, while the charge that certain Trump campaign operatives – such as Carter Page and Paul Manafort – "colluded" with the Russians to influence the US presidential campaign doesn’t even deserve the dignity of a belly-laugh.
For crying out loud, Carter Page was a low-level foreign policy "volunteer" during the campaign who knew something about Russia because he had worked there as a glorified Merrill Lynch stock broker 10-years earlier. The sum and substance of his role consisted of ascending the elevator at Trump Tower on a handful of occasions to participate in completely irrelevant "policy" panel gabfests of the type which occur during all campaigns. But he never even met Trump in person!
Likewise, Paul Manafort served as Trump’s campaign manager for just three months before he was sabotaged by leaks about his lobbying stint on the payroll of Ukraine’s former (pro-Russian) President, Viktor Yanukovych. But the case there is just too rich for words.
In the first place, Manafort had been originally hired by Yanukovych way back in 2004 after massive street demonstrations known as the Orange Revolution overturned Yanukovych’s victory in the 2004 presidential race. Needless to say, that particular episode of "meddling" in the Ukrainian election was funded by Washington via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), CIA and numerous NGO’s on Uncle Sam’s payroll.
Then, when Yanukovych was elected with Manafort’s campaign advice fair and square in the 2010 election, it was only a matter of time before the "meddling" began again. This time it was Washington’s massively funded and supported putsch on the streets of Kiev in February 2014.
This episode of "interference" was made especially notorious by State Department Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland’s leaked phone conversation. "Yats is our man" she told the US ambassador in reference to the politician Washington had designated to replace Ukraine’s illegally disposed president, who was forced to flee the country.
This time Manafort’s sin was apparently accepting a retainer in September 2014 from the remnants of Yanukovych’s Regions Party to help it prepare for the parliamentary elections the next month.
The irony in all of this is that Manafort was a longtime Washington political operator who we actually knew during our days in the Reagan White House. He was then part of the ace lobbying firm of Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (BMSK).
If the truth be known, it was the lobbying prowess in the corridors of K-Street of BMSK that was as responsible as anyone else for Reagan’s huge tax and spending victories on Capitol Hill in 1981.
Moreover, Manafort went on to the kind of bigger and better things that is par for the course in the Imperial City. That is, like the Clintons, the Podesta brothers and hundreds more, he put up a shingle selling advice, influence and access to foreign governments and corporations.
While we find all of that to be part and parcel of the corrupt racketeering that is at the heart of the beltway’s fabulous prosperity, it is also what you get when you have a global empire; it’s what they do in the Imperial City.
Indeed, Manafort’s winnings from the pro-Russian side of Ukraine’s Washington-instigated civil war is no different in kind than the $2 million per year being paid to the Podesta brother’s lobbying firm by Saudi Arabia. As a matter of fact, it’s somewhat innocent by comparison.
To wit, Tony Podesta is getting the big bucks from Saudi Arabia to help powder the pig in Yemen. Washington/Saudi meddling – via bombs and drones – in local politics there between the Sunni and Shiite (Houthi) regions of the country has resulted in upwards of 10,000 civilian casualties and the death of 4,000 innocent men, women and children.
Apparently, the thought in Riyadh back in 2015 when Tony Podesta was hired for this role is that he could readily put in a good word to President Hillary via brother John, who was the chairman of her campaign. That part didn’t pan out, but, still, here’s the truth of the matter.
When it comes to the safety and security of the American homeland, the real threat in the world today is Saudi Arabia, not Russia. It is the tyrannical regime of the former – which rules without elections or laws and beheads hundreds annually for sins such as blasphemy, adultery and drug possession – that has spent billions funding radical jihadists in Syria and elsewhere in the greater middle east.
But the Deep State is in league with Saudi Arabia because it is a massive market for US weapons – some $200 billion of purchases over the last two decades. By contrast, the only way Putin could invade the shores of New Jersey is in a rowboat because the one aging, smoke-belching aircraft carrier that he does possess is bottled up in the eastern Mediterranean on Syria duty.
Stated differently, the War Party desperately needs enemies to keep its global empire funded – even as the American economy buckles under the weight of soaring debt and the relentless falsification of financial prices by the Fed to keep the whole house of cards afloat.
So when the Donald suggested during the campaign that rapprochement with Putin made more sense than Washington’s senseless confrontation with him in Ukraine and Syria – places that are utterly irrelevant to America’s security – the "Russian meddling" narrative was launched to discredit him.
When it culminated in the Obama administration’s content-free report on this matter in December and the subsequent gratuitous imposition of even more sanctions on Putin cronies, General Flynn apparently did the only thing that was logically possible.
In his now infamous phone conversations with the Russian Ambassador in late December, he undoubtedly urged that Russia keep its powder dry (i.e. not retaliate) because the White House would soon be occupied by at least a few rational adults.
So what if he didn’t convey the exact tone and content of those conversations to the Vice-President elect? Those kind of constructive and fully appropriate pre-inaugural assurances can’t hold a candle to what has been frequently done by incoming administrations in the past.
For instance, Ronald Reagan’s emissaries in October 1980 promised the Iranians in no uncertain terms that they would get a far better deal on January 20 from Ronald Reagan than they could ever hope for from Jimmy Carter.
So doing, of course, the Reagan campaign checkmated Carter’s planned October Surprise (i.e. pre-election release of the hostages) and the rest is history.
In a word, the case against Flynn is a complete crock. It is no wonder the Donald finally became so frustrated that he at last remembered his patented phrase, Your Fired!
According to Politico, it was Trump’s decision and his alone that set in motion that great disruption now underway:
President Donald Trump weighed firing his FBI director for more than a week. When he finally pulled the trigger Tuesday afternoon, he didn’t call James Comey. He sent his longtime private security guard to deliver the termination letter in a manila folder to FBI headquarters.
He had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said.
Trump had grown angry with the Russia investigation – particularly Comey admitting in front of the Senate that the FBI was investigating his campaign – and that the FBI director wouldn’t support his claims that President Barack Obama had tapped his phones in Trump Tower.
All true enough. But you really have to wonder about what they are smoking down in the canyons of Wall Street. Firing Comey is a Nixon-scale event, and it means Washington will be embroiled in vicious acrimony and endless investigations are far as the eye can see.
Still, the VIX remain euthanized at a 24-year low – apparently in anticipation of the vaunted hand-off of the stimulus baton to Trump’s pro-growth policies.
How utterly naïve and stupid.
Something will eventually be "handed-off", of course. But whatever the terms of the Donald’s eventual exit from the Imperial City, it won’t include enactment of the giant Trump tax cut and Fiscal Stimulus that is apparently still "priced-in" to a market that has now become just plain stupid in its insouciance.
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David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He’s the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back. He also is founder of David Stockman’s Contra Corner and David Stockman’s Bubble Finance Trader.