To Russia, With (Trump’s) Love

MarketWatch is a subsidiary of Dow Jones, and a property of News Corp. It operates a financial information website that provides business news, analysis, and stock market data. It is neither a fake news site nor a particularly ideological one (certainly not left-wing–News Corp also owns Fox News), so I was surprised to read a column headlined “Top 10 Signs that American President is a Russian Agent.”

The “signs” the column identified were: (1) U.S. Intelligence has concluded that the Kremlin helped put him in power; (2) the new President sides with the Kremlin against the CIA; (3) He receives vast sums of money from mysterious Russians (Including an astonishing $95 million that Trump personally received from a Russian billionaire during the 2008 collapse); (4) His election made a lot of people in Moscow rich–their stock market is up 20% since the U.S. election; (5) He wants to end Russia’s global isolation and terminate U.S. and international sanctions against Russia; (6) He has surrounded himself with known Russian allies and sympathizers; (7) He repeatedly refuses to criticize the Kremlin; (8) One of his first steps as President-elect was to drive a wedge between the U.S. and China, Russia’s chief Asian rival; (9) He has announced policies that would undermine NATO; and (10) He once had his own brand of vodka.

Okay, that last one is a stretch.

The column gives “chapter and verse” for each of these signs, so those interested in more detail can click through.

My reaction to this seemingly outlandish theory is not altogether dismissive. Two points are worth consideration: first, whether Trump is simply being his clueless self or knowingly acting on behalf of the Kremlin–being blackmailed by the Russian oligarchs who financed several of his projects after American banks stopped doing business with him, perhaps, or otherwise being bribed to do so–is irrelevant. If he were a knowing Russian agent, how would his behavior differ?

Second, MarketWatch’s list of ten signs is missing a huge one. Russia’s economy is heavily dependent upon oil, and Putin’s stranglehold on the Russian people is heavily dependent upon the economy.  The Kremlin is thus threatened by U.S. efforts to address climate change–efforts that diminish reliance upon and use of fossil fuels.  Trump’s cabinet nominees are virtually all anti-science climate change denialists. His energy transition team has already signaled a witch hunt against government scientists working to protect the environment.  

A military friend recently told me that Russia’s conventional armed forces are substandard. Evidently, according to the CIA and the New York Times, they are much better at cyberwarfare. (Slate also has a good overview of the history and tactics of the Russian hackers.)

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Russia subdued us without having to deploy a soldier or fire a shot?

 

39 thoughts on “To Russia, With (Trump’s) Love

  1. Let’s deal with one problem at a time. The connections that led to the Pizza shooting in Washington are not far from your question. At some point all the theory meets reality in action.

    The Market Watch article is a good example of non news that passes the wires today. Let’s start with comprehending that Assange is a government agent and that the way Russia hacks is with non Russian hackers.

    As usual it comes down to the fact that Pogo was right. We have met the enemy and he is us.

  2. Who toppled the president elected in the Ukrainian government forcing Russia to take Crimea?

    Then, we use our position in NATO to block Russian exports. Exports of what?

    Oh yea, oil.

    If the USA is somewhat “energy dependent”, or self reliant, who else in the world benefits from having Russian oil out of the marketplace?

    So, why are we still waging war in the Middle East? Oh yea, the “Evil doers”. 😉

  3. All of the events occurring, like the fact that most all of his appointments are diametrically opposed to the agency they are to lead, scare the hell out of me. I do have to smile to myself when I find myself embracing a conspiracy theory.

  4. Anthony; it would be nice if we could afford to, or have the time to, deal with one problem at a time. Trump & Co. has dumped a shitload of problems on us with the outcome of this election…and before. We watched throughout the spring and summer as his campaign denigrated President Obama and the United States and our civil and human rights and praised Putin and Russia for their governmental format. I watched as he asked Russia to hack Hillary’s E-mails – did you miss that? YOU continue dealing with Pizzagate; the rest of us will try to deal with and survive Trump’s obvious Russian connections, his refusal to participate in this country’s vital Intelligent Reports (he is too smart to need them – he says), and his ever-increasing frightening cabinet appointees who agree with his anti-American ideologies and our deny our Constitution and Bill of Rights protection. He daily provides us with new problems to deal with. Good luck and enjoy the pizza.

  5. The contrast w Trump makes Obama look even more competent and intelligent, even though he always has been. However, I doubt that Trump’s supporters realize that – yet.

    The Republicans are solidly on the Trump train to nowhere, so no outcry about his cabinet appointments or his bromance with Putin from most of them. This is beginning to feel like Nazi Germany.

  6. The Dems / Hillbillary supporters have become the Joe McCarthy’s of the New Age. THIS time around you have the backing of the N.W.O.

  7. No it’s not ironic if Russia overtakes us without firing a shot, it’s downright terrifying.

    No tax returns from trump means that he doesn’t want us to see who or what bank he owes. The man is a con! Don the Con. And since his children attend all of this ‘meetings’ (yesterdays included with Silicon Valley billionaires), are they going to run the country if something happens to Don the Con? WTF? We are living in bizarro world. I really should change my name from Aging Little Girl to Cussing old lady because I can’t seem to get a grip lately.

  8. daleb,

    “The Republicans are solidly on the Trump train to nowhere, so no outcry about his cabinet appointments or his bromance with Putin from most of them. This is beginning to feel like Nazi Germany.”

    On January 20th without an effective countervailing force it will be like living in Nazi Germany. It’s important to remember, the concentration camps didn’t come first.

    If for some reason, anyone is under the impression that the likes of a Hitler, Goering et al can’t be found among us in the U.S., then you’re very much mistaken. The American psychiatrist who was the author of “22 Cells in Nuremberg” predicted that we would incur some day a similar fascist movement after examining the major Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg.

    It was a “no-brainer,” he had observed the same psychological characteristics of the Nazi war criminals from examining and treating his patients in both hospitals as well as his private psychiatric practice.

  9. There are two giant problems facing our nation that need addressing as soon as possible. One is securing our electoral process from cyber attacks and other electronic tampering. The second problem is dealing with a president elect who cannot be trusted. I dare say that the first one will be easier to handle than the second.

    As a part of a resolution to problem number one let me suggest that the public has yet to understand and appreciate the “openness” of the internet. Discretion has been thrown to the wind, anything and everything have been exposed for all to see, and any semblance of privacy has disappeared into the dark vacuum of wires and machines. Would it kill people to write memos, letters, talk on the phone? And yes, those too can be tampered with, but not so easily from across the world in the dead of night.

  10. Here’s a question for the lawyers in this group. Who has standing to sue a President for violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution?

    Our new Secretary of State, if he gets approved by the Senate, can enrich his company rather quickly with the elimination of sanctions against Russia. If they are gone, Exxon can resurrect it’s $500 billion dollar deal with Russia. It’s all about the money.

  11. Don’t forget the looting that went on among the Nazi leaders, especially Hermann Goering. So in this instance, you need to know much more, especially the strategy and tactics of a major ring of bank robbers.

  12. The most amazing part of this whole saga is the fact that while we’re getting more news every day emanating from our national intelligence services that the Russian FSB and other units of the Russian intelligence services have hacked into our political system and potentially changed the outcome of the recent election, the vast majority of Americans simply do not care. Trump supporters that I know personally are oblivious to this. If all of this is true this amounts to the most aggressive Russian action against us ever.

    Fifty two years ago we were I’ve all the eyeball with the Soviets over Cuba and nearly went to full tilt nuclear war over it and people were scared out of their wits. Obviously a determined and successful cyber attack on this country is a little bit more subtle than a nuclear weapon but the attack is still real. Americans should be screaming bloody murder over this yet they aren’t. This says as much about us as it does them. It almost like the Stockholm syndrome where large numbers of our citizens are still trapped by the lies they been fed all over the last two years at least in still cannot draw their own conclusions. The information that we are receiving about this is not coming from some fly by night social media fake news web site, rather it’s coming directly from the CIA, the FBI, and quite probably the NSA as well.

    Admiral Yamamoto Isoruku has been quoted as having said that all “we have done is awakened a sleeping giant from his slumber and filled him a with a terrible resolve” as a result of the Pearl Harbor attack 75 years ago. In this case, it’s as if that sleeping giant can’t be aroused from his slumber and even if he was he wouldn’t understand the grave significance of what has occurred to him. I don’t know about all of you but I find this aspect of what is happened to be absolutely shocking. I just wish more Americans did and that this wasn’t being treated as just another news story and also be largely dismissed as being just sour grapes on the part of those didn’t support Mr. Trump when it has nothing to do with that.

  13. While I’m no fan of Trump, I have a hard time believing he’s a knowing agent of the Russians. His actions regarding Russia are open and obvious. I think it’s more likely he sees a chance to be buddy-buddy with a leader he openly admires and to let people in the States make a bunch of money on top of it. And, of course, reducing tensions with another superpower isn’t in itself a bad thing. The problem is that Trump seems to be willing to give up too much in order to reduce those tensions. As for Trump’s cluelessness, that makes a lot of sense. He’s never dealt with international relations so he doesn’t have any idea how his actions affect things.

  14. I blogged earlier this week that it could be that Putin has Trump in a blackmailed position because of Trump’s secretive and heavy involvement with Russian banks and oligarchs, suggesting also that this (in addition to his not paying taxes) was the reason he refused to show his income tax returns to voters. It now appears that my conspiracy theory is grounded in fact what with Putin’s personal involvement in our recent election and is not a theory any more.

    Such interference in our “election” should be beyond outrage for every American irrespective of party not only because it is virtually an act of war calling for a stern response but because of its lasting effects on the efficacy of our electoral process. Thus given such interference we cannot say that the results of such recent election are accurate, thus undermining our confidence in not only this but future outcomes of “elections.”

    It appears that Trump may well have been chosen (not elected – the election is next week due to a quirky Constitution) by artifice, and if further investigation by our intelligence agencies shows that there was a Trump-Putin connection in this connection that led to or even materially affected the recent “election’s” outcome, then Trump will never serve as president and will be lucky to stay out of prison for his perfidy (sedition/treason, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act etc.) while Putin will see sanctions like never before which could plunge an already weak Russian economy into depression and provide grounds for his ouster.

    I will be participating in a march downtown today here in Florida reminding electors that America comes before party, that they are not political robots and should vote their conscience at the election next week. Parenthetically, I note that Trump’s appointments to his cabinet range from a fascist adviser to a oil-soaked Secretary of State who is a friend of Putin with their common interest in profiting from the extraction and distribution of fossil fuels, a mainstay of the Russian economy without which Russia would sink into deep recession or worse due to failure to diverisfy its economy, so I have a new conspiracy theory – that Putin and Trump have a mutual blackmail scheme going – that Trump keeps the oil industry humming via putting down our attempts to come up with alternative energy sources (witness his appointment of the Secretary of Energy) and Putin keeps his mouth shut about the recent “election.” A fair change of power positions, I would say, assuming that neither the Russian nor American people mind being duped and played like a drum. I mind.

  15. Marv; long before Hitler, Nazis, “good Germans” and concentration camps, during the Civil War this country had Commissary Troops on both sides looting and pillaging cities, towns and entire families. To feed their troops they left virtual wastelands in their wake; leaving women alone with small children to starve on isolated farms with no provisions left untouched. They paid for nothing and often deliberately destroyed what they couldn’t confiscate. Let us not forget General Hooker who allowed prostitutes to follow his troops to take care of all their needs. Fits in with Trump’s “locker room comments”, don’t you think.

    The Civil War was our version of the Holocaust and the Nuremberg Trials were based on the format of our own Andersonville Prison trials held within the prison. History repeats itself; what goes around, comes around, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Here we go again!

  16. “His energy transition team has already signaled a witch hunt against government scientists working to protect the environment. ”

    Would the above copied and pasted comment (and site) be connected to a Facebook post from my ex-daughter-in-law, member of a local Republican multi-multi-millionaire family, regarding the dangers of wind turbines? I did find one Googled site which referenced 2-3 incidents of turbine malfunctions and breakage in Germany. It contained a comment that this form of energy is not as safe as originally thought. The family referred to aided in denial of erection of a turbine near their lake home; no idea WHICH home as they own two in Indiana, one in Florida, one in Washington state and one in Puerto Rico…that I know of. Are these wind turbines being used much in Indiana and if so, with Trump’s anti-environmental protection, will they be targeted for removal?

    This brings me to another question; who on the east side of Indy benefits from the several rows of solar panels on Shortridge Road next to the former Eastgate Mall? Also; will they be targeted for removal? I had solar panels on my home in Florida to heat my in-ground pool; worked very well and little expense to swim comfortably even in December.

    What effects of Trump & Co. takeover will we see in Indiana? With the direct Daniels/Pence/Holcomb connection at the top of local government and only Rep. Andre Carson at federal level to trust to do battle in Congress; where will the incoming administration strike first at state levels?

  17. I wondered during the campaign, when every day the media published a new load of incontestable Trump lies, if it was possible that he was a liar covering up the fact that he was a not very bright con man magnificently uninformed about government.

    Now that I see him in action though all of that was clearly deception.

    He’s much more dangerous than that.

  18. JoAnn,

    I still like your COMRADE idea. As we have discussed before, there’s been a FUNDAMENTAL change which requires a new political organizational paradigm and mindset. Old methods of ORGANIZATIONAL protests such as marching, demonstrations etc. will have little or no effect now and will be much more adversarial after January 20th.

  19. Marv – I’m marching today anyway. There may still be some sense of shame among electors if not with Trump, and if enough of them refuse to vote for him next week, they will have sent a message we of all political stripes need to hear.

  20. After the fall of the Soviet Union and it’s break-up, instead of neutrality in the former Warsaw Pact countries or former Soviet Republics and a new beginning the West pushed NATO to the East. HA, HA, as I listen to one self righteous pundit, blogger, “expert” and elected official here in the USA all lathered up and frothing about Russian alleged interference, as if the USA has never staged a coup or invaded another country to elicit regime change. Think of Latin America during the 19th Century, and early 20th century. We took the regime change world wide after WW 2. It’s like Hillary cackled concerning Qaddafi’s death – We came, We saw, He died.

    All of this now 24/7 speculation on Russian hacking interference reminds me of the movie Reefer Madness. A few years ago it was Chinese Hacking. Grab a fact some where, speculate, cover your tracks with “high placed sources”, say blah, blah, blah. Repeat and rehash over and over again. We never spy on anyone, or hack, but if we do it’s OK because we are the exceptional nation.

    The ideology in this case is not Russia or Communism vs the West, it is world wide Crony-Capitalism vs we proles. Trump’s selection for cabinet posts tear the masks off. We have had this before. Robert Rubin was Secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton. Rubin had worked for Goldman Sachs for 26 years prior to his appointment, he then had a soft landing after his government “service” as a director and senior counselor of Citigroup. Just by coincidence Rubin and his deputy Lawrence Summers also steered through the 1999 repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act.

    As I see it the Russia connection is just another red herring to divert the attention away from the Crony-Capitalism that infects the USA.

  21. Louie – it’s both crony capitalism and Russian interference that deserve our attention, and yes, of course we have spied and are spying and have brought down several governments with CIA sponsorhip, but this is different. It is not a red herring; Russia has interfered with our electoral process and that is a no-no of major proportion and this is not a fake news deal. We have
    documented such interference of Russia and now Putin and if unanswered will invite further interference in all our institutions to a point that we may fail from within with nary a shot being fired and all with the aid and support of a clueless fellow traveler, one Donald J. Trump.

  22. Before we order our secret decoder message rings ($17.99 at Amazon), consider that the U.S. intelligence community is comprised of 17 different agencies, the CIA being only one agency among 17. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) serves in the executive function to integrate the collection of intelligence data and the subsequent intelligence analysis from all the agencies.

    Copied and pasted below is the most recent ODNI press release.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    December 14, 2016

    Intelligence Community Statement on Review of Foreign Influence on U.S. Elections

    Senior Administration Officials have regularly provided extensive, detailed classified and unclassified briefings to members and staff from both parties on Capitol Hill since this past summer and have continued to do so after Election Day.

    Last week, the President ordered a full Intelligence Community review of foreign efforts to influence recent Presidential elections – from 2008 to present. Once the review is complete in the coming weeks, the Intelligence Community stands ready to brief Congress—and will make those findings available to the public consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods. We will not offer any comment until the review is complete.
    ____________________________________________________________________

    From Reuters on 12/13/16: The ODNI is not arguing that the CIA is wrong, only that they can’t prove intent which rests on agents involved with the decision-making in Moscow.

    The FBI, whose evidentiary standards require it to make cases that can stand up in court, also declined to accept the CIA’s analysis – a deductive assessment of the available intelligence – for the same reason as the ODNI.

    As entertaining as it is to engage in conspiracy theory thinking, I do have to put on the brakes and wait for the ‘full’ intelligence report as integrated from all the US intelligence agencies.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-intelligence-idUSKBN14204E

  23. Intent is always subjective and must be inferred from objective manifestation. I therefore infer that Russian hackers and Putin intended to do what they did, which amounts to an unacceptable act of cyber war and that we treat it as intentional rather than be caught up in nuance and word games. This was not an act of negligence; it was structured and intentional.

  24. Sheila: do you ever step back and wonder if this is really all just a bad dream? I do. How can this be happening? How is this possible? We have some of the answers to these questions, such as racism, misogyny, Trump’s massive ego and greed, coupled with Russian hacking, along with the deplorables and the Electoral College, assuming they don’t do the job the Federalist Papers described.

    At this point, if we have any true heroes left in Congress they will be the Republicans who will set aside partisan politics and have the guts to require an unbiased investigation. If the truth turns out to be as it now appears, then do they have the testicles and ovaries to impeach Trump and Pence? I’m sort of doubting it, and if the election stands, America will be circling the drain. Republicans in Congress have been handed the unprecedented chance to set aside politics and become true patriots–will they accept the challenge? I still need Auntie Em to hold my hand and tell me to wake up, it’s all been a bad dream.

  25. Laughing as I write. I’d say Trump is up $hit creek without a paddle if a ‘reasonable person’ standard is in any way involved with the determination of objective manifestation of intent. Seems that he acts outside the parameters of what would be considered reasonable by any standard.

    I occasionally pull out my old hardback copy of Tom Peters’ bestseller from the 1990’s, “Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution”, and see some similarities with Trump’s style. Peters saw us navigating through challenging times, globally and locally, and he attacked the status quo as a timely reminder of the need for constant change which indeed is chaotic for the establishment. “If it ain’t broke, keep looking and fix it” was one takeaway from his book.

  26. “The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the US”, a New York Times, December 13, lengthy expose (link below) does an excellent job expanding the Russian hacking story, charting the hacking events as far back as 1996.

    Seven key events outlined in the NYT article are listed as a graphic organizer for ease in following the long story.

    1) Campaign aide makes typo
    2) Help Desk is not so helpful
    3) President was briefed and knew
    4) Deputy national security adviser warns against overreaction
    5) FBI warns DNC tech-support that network is infiltrated
    6) Watergate redux conducted from afar
    7) Flashback to 1996 at the Colorado School of Mines and a taste of what was to come

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/politics/russia-hack-election-dnc.html?_r=1

  27. I’m no historian but it seems I remember that Germany was made destitute by WWI. Hitler started out as a good guy except people blamed JEWS for their problems. You know what happened. Trump has reminded me of Hitler for a long time. Mostly we don’t want to know, just as “good” Germans didn’t.
    Gerald, how was the March?

  28. Weeks ago, it was reported that Trump in debt for over $600 Million to oligarch friends of Putin. Additionally, Trump has wanted to build a ‘Trump Tower’ in Russia for many years without success. The Russian powers-that-be have kept Trump twisting in the wind for that accomplishment for years.

    Thus, even without the current and suspicious Trump resistance to acknowledging U.S. intelligence on Russian interference in our elections, Trump is in a bind in dealing with Russians. If they call his loans due, THEY have the leverage over him. OR if they really want a U.S. concession of some kind, they could dangle the green light on a Trump Tower project that Trump has salivated over for so long. In either case, is there anything in Trump’s background to indicate he would exercise self-restraint and deny his own financial interests to preference the best interests of our nation?

  29. Gerald,

    “I will be participating in a march downtown today here in Florida reminding electors that America comes before party, that they are not political robots and should vote their conscience at the election next week.”

    I believe the next march, before the end of the year, should be for the IMPEACHMENT of President-elect Donald Trump. Back in 2004, I attended a conference in New York for the IMPEACHMENT of President George Bush. The two principal speakers were former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman and the former Counsel to President Nixon, John Dean. The auditorium was packed. The problem was that there wasn’t enough evidence at the time to spur on a powerful movement. My warnings to that effect went unheeded at the time.

    It’s a different story with Donald Trump. He’s leading us toward a DISASTROUS Civil War. Unlike with George Bush, the evidence is now INDISPUTABLE. Metaphorically speaking, he has dug his own grave.

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