It’s hard to identify anything that’s more uncoupled from reality than the Donald’s Trade War and reckless Fiscal Debauch. Together they will soon monkey-hammer today’s delirious Wall Street revilers and send main street’s aging and anemic recovery back into the drink.
Except, except. When it comes to unreality, Trump’s crackpot economics is actually more than rivaled by the full retard Russophobia of the MSM, the Dems and the nomenclatura of Imperial Washington.
In fact, their groupthink mania about the alleged Russian attack on American democracy is so devoid of fact, logic, context, proportion and self-awareness as to give the Donald’s tweet storms an aura of sanity by comparison.
Their endless obsession with the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian nobody by the name of Natalia Veselnitskaya proves the point. She was actually in New York doing god’s work, as it were, defending a Russian company against hokey money-laundering charges related to the abominable Magnitsky Act and its contemptible promoter, Bill Browder.
The latter had pulled off an epic multi-billion swindle during the wild west days of post-Soviet Russia and was essentially chased from the country in 2005 by Putin for hundreds of millions in tax evasion. Thereafter he turned the murky prison death of his accountant, Sergei Magnitsky, who was also charged with massive tax evasion, into a revenge crusade against Putin.
That resulted in a huge lobbying campaign subsidized by Browder’s illicit billions and spearheaded by the Senate’s most bloodthirsty trio of warmongers – Senators McCain, Graham and Cardin – to enact the 2012 Magnitsky Act.
The latter, of course, is the very excrescence of Imperial Washington’s arrogant meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. It imposes sweeping sanctions on Russians (and other foreigners) deemed complicit in Magnitsky’s death in a Russian jail and for other alleged human rights violations in Russia and elsewhere.
Needless to say, imperial pretense doesn’t get any more sanctimonious than this. Deep State apparatchiks in the US Treasury Department get to try Russian citizens in absentia and without due process for vaguely worded crimes under American law that were allegedly committed in Russia, and then to seize their property and persons when involved in any act of global commerce where Washington can browbeat local satrapies and "allies" into cooperation!
Only in an imperial capital steeped in self-conferred entitlement to function as global hegemon would such a preposterous extraterritorial arrangement be even thinkable. After all, what happens to Russians in Russian prisons is absolutely none of Washington’s business – nor by any stretch of the imagination does it pose any threat whatsoever to America’s homeland security.
So the irony of the Trump Tower nothingburger is that the alleged Russian agent was here fighting Washington’s meddling in Russia, not hooking up with Trump’s campaign to further a Kremlin plot to attack American democracy.
You could properly call this a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but Imperial Washington and its shills among the ranks of Dem politicians and megaphones in the MSM wouldn’t get the joke in the slightest. That’s because Washington is in the business of meddling in the domestic affairs of virtually every country in the world – friend, foe and also-ran – on a massive scale never before imagined in human history.
That’s what the hideously excessive $75 billion budget of the so-called 17-agency "intelligence community" (IC) gets you. To wit, a backdoor into every access point and traffic exchange node on the entire global internet, and from there the ability to hack, surveil, exfiltrate or corrupt the communications of any government, political party, business or private citizen virtually anywhere on the planet.
And, no, this isn’t being done for the noble purpose of rooting-out the terrorist needles in the global haystack of communications and Internet traffic. It’s done because the IC has the resources to do it and because it has invested itself with endless missions of global hegemony.
These self-serving missions, in turn, justify its existence, keep the politicians of Washington well stocked in scary bedtime stories and, most important of all, ensure that the fiscal gravy train remains loaded to the gills and that the gilded prosperity of the beltway never falters.
Indeed, if Washington were looking for corporate pen name it would be Meddling "R" Us. And we speak here not merely of its vast and secretive spy apparatus, but also of its completely visible everyday intrusions in the affairs of other countries via the billions that are channeled through the National Endowment for Democracy and the vast NGO network funded by the State Department, DOD and other organs of the national security complex.
The $750 million per year Board For International Broadcasting, for example, is purely in the propaganda business; and despite the Cold War’s end 27 years ago, still carries out relentless "agit prop" in Russia and among the reincarnated states of the old Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact via Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America.
For example, here is a Voice of America tweet from this morning falsely charging Russia with the occupation of the former Soviet state of Georgia.
In fact, Russia came to the aid of the Russian-speaking population of the breakaway province of South Ossetia in 2008; the latter felt imperiled by the grandiose pretensions of the corrupt Saakashvili government in Tbilisi, which had unilaterally launched an indiscriminate military assault on the major cities of the province.
Moreover, even an EU commission investigation came to that conclusion way back in 2009 shortly after the events that the inhabitants of South Ossetia feared would lead to a genocidal invasion by Georgia’s military.
An investigation into last year’s Russia-Georgia war delivered a damning indictment of President Mikheil Saakashvili today, accusing Tbilisi of launching an indiscriminate artillery barrage on the city of Tskhinvali that started the war.
In more than 1,000 pages of analysis, documentation and witness statements, the most exhaustive inquiry into the five-day conflict dismissed Georgian claims that the artillery attack was in response to a Russian invasion……
The EU-commissioned report, by a fact-finding mission of more than 20 political, military, human rights and international law experts led by the Swiss diplomat, Heidi Tagliavini, was unveiled in Brussels today after nine months of work.
Flatly dismissing Saakashvili’s version, the report said: "There was no ongoing armed attack by Russia before the start of the Georgian operation … Georgian claims of a large-scale presence of Russian armed forces in South Ossetia prior to the Georgian offensive could not be substantiated …
The point is, whatever the rights and wrongs of the statelets and provinces attempting to sort themselves out after the fall of the Soviet Union, this was all happening on Russia’s doorsteps and was none of Washington business even at the time. But wasting taxpayer money 10 years later by siding with the revanchist claims of the Georgian government is just plain ludicrous.
It’s also emblematic of why the Imperial City is so clueless about the rank hypocrisy implicit in the Russian meddling hoax. Believing that America is the Indispensable Nation and that Washington operates by its own hegemonic rules, they are now Shocked, Shocked! to find that the victims of their blatant intrusions might actually endeavor to fight back.
Even then, the Russophobes have been frantically making a mountain out of a molehill. We investigated the Russian troll farm in St. Petersburg, for example, and found that it was actually the hobby horse of a mid-sized Oligarch. The latter had been minding his own business trolling the Russian Internet, as the oligarchs of that country are wont to do – until the US sponsored coup in Kiev in 2014 became the occasion for Washington’s relentless vilification of Russia and Putin.
Accordingly, this particular Russian patriot hired a few dozen students at $3-4 per hour who mostly spoke English as a third-language. Operating on 12-hour shifts, they randomly trolled Facebook and other US based social media, posting crude and sometimes incoherent political messages from virtually all points on the compass – messages that were instantly lost in the great sea of social media trivia and mendacity.
Still, there is no evidence that this two-bit hobby farm was an instrument of Kremlin policy or that its tiny $2 million budget could hold a candle to the $200 million per year round-the-clock propaganda of Voice of America, and multiples thereof by the other Washington propaganda venues.
In any event, turning the Trump Tower meeting into evidence of Russian meddling and collusion actually gives the old saw about turning a molehill into a mountain an altogether new meaning. That is to say, on any given evening Anderson Cooper will be interviewing a lathered-up ex-general or ex-spook admonishing that Natalia Veselnitskaya was actually a nefarious Russian "cut out" sent by Putin to infiltrate the Trump campaign.
We have no brief for Vlad Putin, but one thing we are quite sure of is that he is anything but stupid. So would he really send a secret agent to Trump Tower – who neither speaks nor writes a word of English and has been to America only once – in order to plot a surreptitious attempt to manipulate the American election?
The fact is, the meeting happened because Veselnitskaya wanted to reach the Trump campaign in behalf of her anti-Magnitsky Act agenda, and to do so used the good offices of what appears to be the Russian Justin Bieber!
Specifically, the offer came to Don Trump Jr. via a London-based PR flack named Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who knew the Trumps through the Miss Universe pageant that was held in Moscow in 2013. Goldstone didn’t know his head from a hole in the ground when it comes to international affairs or Russian politics, but he did represent the Russian pop singer Emin Agalarov, whose father was also a Trump- style real estate developer and had been involved in the 2013 pageant.
Said the London PR flack in an email to Don Jr:
"Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting….The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father….( this is) "part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump."
And a very big so what!
For one thing, the last "Crown prosecutor of Russia" was assassinated by the Bolsheviks in 1917, suggesting Goldstone’s grasp of the contemporary Russian government was well less than rudimentary.
Secondly, there was neither a crime nor national security issue involved when a campaign seeks to dig-up dirt from foreign nationals. The crime is when they pay for it, and do not report the expenditure to the Federal Elections Commission.
Of course, that’s exactly what Hillary Clinton’s campaign did with its multi-million funding of the Trump Dossier, generated by foreign national Christopher Steele and intermediated to the FBI and other IC agencies by Fusion GPS.
And that gets us to the mind-boggling silliness of the whole Trump Tower affair. Self-evidently, the dirt on Hillary suggestion was a come-on so that Veselnitskaya (through her Russian translator) could make a pitch against the Magnitsky Act; and to point out that after 33,000 Russian babies had been adopted by Americans before its enactment, that avenue of adoption had been stopped cold when the Kremlin found it necessary to retaliate.
Don’s Jr. emails to his secretary from the meeting long ago proved that he immediately recognized Natalia’s bait and switch operation, and that he wanted to be summoned to the phone so he could end what he saw was a complete waste of the campaign’s time.
But here’s the joker in the woodpile. Its seem that Glenn Simpson, proprietor of Fusion GPs, had also been hired by Veselnitskaya Russian clients to make a case in Washington against the Magnitsky Act, and to also dig up dirt on the scoundrel behind it: Bill Browder.
More fantastically yet, Natalia had meet with Simpson both before and after the Trump Tower meeting apparently to be coached by him on her anti-Magnitsky pitch to the Trump campaign.
So if Veselnitskaya was part of a Russian collusion conspiracy, then so was the Glenn Simpson, the midwife of the Trump Dossier!
It doesn’t get any crazier than that – meaning that the Donald could not be more correct about this entire farce:
This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!
In truth, the only basis for Natalia Veselnitskaya’s alleged Putin ties was through Russia’s prosecutor general, Yuri Chaika.
And exactly why was Chaika interested in making American contacts?
Why, because he was pursuing one Bill Browder, fugitive from Russian justice and the driving force behind the abominable Magnitsky Act – an instrument of meddling in the domestic affairs of foreign countries like no other. As one report described it:
Chaika’s foray into American politics began in earnest in April 2016. That is when his office gave Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher and three other US representatives a confidential letter detailing American investor Bill Browder’s "illegal scheme of buying up Gazprom shares without permission of the Government of Russia" between 1999 and 2006, one month after Rohrabacher returned from Moscow.
As it happened, Veselnitskaya had apparently brought a memo to the Trump Tower meeting that contained many of the same talking points as one written by Chaika’s office two months earlier.
There you have it.
At the heart of the Russian collusion hoax and the wellspring of the current Russophobia is nothing more than a half-baked effort by Russians to tell their side of the Magnitsky story, and to expose the real villain in the piece – a monumentally greedy hedge fund operator who had stolen the Russian people blind and then conveniently gave up his American citizenship so that he would neither do time in a Russian jail or pay taxes in America.
Spoiler Alert for next part: When both economic policy and politics have gone full retard in the Imperial City is there anything which could possibly go wrong – that might pollute the punch bowl on Wall Street?
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.