March 10, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 4:33 PM


Putin: Maybe it Was the Jews Who Meddled in U.S. Presidential Election (DANIEL POLITI, MARCH 10, 2018, Slate)

 In an interview with NBC, Putin said the 13 Russian nationals who were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller may not even be ethnically Russians, which would apparently mean they're not real Russians at all. "Maybe they're not even Russians," Putin told NBC's Megyn Kelly. "Maybe they're Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked. Maybe they have dual citizenship. 

Posted by orrinj at 4:25 PM


Trump Spoke to a Russian Activist About Ending Sanctions--Just Weeks After Launching His Campaign (MARK FOLLMAN, MAR. 9, 2018, Mother Jones)

Just a month after Trump announced his campaign for the White House, he spoke directly to Maria Butina, the protégé of the powerful Russian banking official and Putin ally Alexander Torshin. During a public question and answer session at FreedomFest, a libertarian convention in Las Vegas in July 2015, Butina asked Trump what he would do as president about "damaging" US sanctions. Trump suggested he would get rid of them. [....]

[T]rump responded: "I know Putin, and I'll tell you what, we get along with Putin... I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin, OK? And I mean, where we have the strength. I don't think you'd need the sanctions. I think we would get along very, very well."

Posted by orrinj at 1:21 PM


What Trump Can Learn from Madeleine Albright About North Korea Talks: Take it from someone who accompanied that secretary of state on a humiliating visit to Pyongyang in 2000. (Eli Lake, March 9, 2018, Bloomberg)

I was on that trip with Albright in the last week of October 2000. It was a low moment for American diplomacy, where a secretary of state, whose family fled the Iron Curtain, flattered an imitator of Josef Stalin. She ended the visit by handing over a basketball signed by Michael Jordan. Her delegation enjoyed elaborate multi-course banquets with North Korean officials who only a few years earlier had presided over a famine. 

As secretary of state for President Bill Clinton, Albright traveled to Pyongyang in a last-ditch effort for an administration that had watched its main foreign policy priority -- a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians -- unravel. This was a chance in the final months of the Clinton presidency for a legacy.

Needless to say, it didn't work. Albright had hoped to finish the work the Clinton administration had begun in 1994 with an interim agreement on North Korea's nuclear program, by getting a follow-on pact on missiles. The U.S. offered security guarantees, fuel and food shipments, help on building peaceful reactors. The North Koreans kept developing and testing their missiles and, U.S. intelligence agencies would later learn, built a uranium enrichment facility in secret.

You wouldn't have known this from the pageantry in Pyongyang back in 2000. We were all crowded into buses for a special performance at May Day stadium. In a near-perfect metaphor for life in a totalitarian state, hundreds of North Koreans gathered on the field, and in military precision flipped picture cards to create a series of tableaus depicting North Korea's founding hagiography. At one moment, a tableau depicted the 1998 launch of the Tae-Po-dong missile. Albright wrote in her memoir the "dear leader," Kim Jong Il (the father of Un) turned to her in this moment and said this "was our first missile launch and our last." He lied.

Donald was actually making sense when he wanted to regime change them with nukes.

Posted by orrinj at 1:15 PM


Trump pardons Kristian Saucier, former sailor jailed for submarine pictures (Steven Nelson, Mar 9, 2018, Washington Examiner)

President Trump issued the second pardon of his presidency Friday to former Navy sailor Kristian Saucier, who learned the news while driving a garbage truck, the only job he could find with a felony conviction.

He's an idiot, not a security threat.

Posted by orrinj at 1:11 PM


How Stormy Daniels could impact the Russia investigation (Marshall Cohen, 3/10/18, CNN)
Here's a step-by-step guide of how the Daniels affair could potentially creep into the Mueller probe:


First things first, an investigation of Cohen could open the door to examining the payments.

The New York Times reported that Cohen is under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation. The Washington Post reported that Mueller has requested documents and interviewed witnesses about Cohen, specifically regarding pursuit of a Russian business deal during the campaign and his involvement in an effort to craft a "peace plan" for Ukraine.

CNN has previously reported that Mueller's team asked witnesses about the failed efforts to build a Trump-branded tower in Moscow. Cohen played a leading role in those negotiations.

Cohen is also mentioned in the controversial dossier, written by former British spy Christopher Steele, that alleges widespread collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Cohen vehemently denies all the allegations in the dossier. CNN has reported that members of Mueller's team met last summer with Steele, presumably to learn about the dossier claims.


If investigators are already looking into Cohen's activities during the campaign, it is possible they could broaden their inquiry to include his financial arrangement with Daniels.

Mueller was authorized by the Justice Department to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, any potential ties between Trump associates and the Russians, potential obstruction of justice and "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation."
That last phrase is how Mueller could investigate the payment to Daniels.

Posted by orrinj at 7:22 AM


The Wonder of Medieval Europe: a review of The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors by Dan Jones.  (TIMOTHY D. LUSCH, University Bookman)

"Two types of humanity were the wonder of medieval Europe: the great saint and the great knight." So declared Russell Kirk in his magnificent The Roots of American Order. In an illuminating chapter appropriately called "The Light of the Middle Ages," Kirk argued that the saint and the knight gave rise to the scholar and the gentleman in later generations. This "neglected inheritance"--true in a broader sense--was not lost on the American Founders. They drew on its riches to give our constitutional order its distinctiveness.

The great saint and the great knight come together most prominently in the founding of an earlier order. Christopher Dawson, in his brilliant Medieval Essays, observed that medieval chivalry was "a sacred institution consecrated by religious rites and dedicated to the service of God and the defence of Holy Church. This religious conception of chivalry is already implicit in the crusading movement; it finds explicit expression in the new military orders, whose ideals were set forth by St. Bernard himself in his work In Praise of the New Knighthood." The most perfect expression of this, as Dan Jones demonstrates, was the Knights Templar.

Posted by orrinj at 4:27 AM


HEY, LORETTA! (Marianne Worthington,  November 21, 2017, Oxford American)

When I was growing up in the 1960s, our little tract house in northern Knoxville, Tennessee, was nearly always filled with the twin aromas of cigarette smoke and home cooking--a bouquet of bacon, fried eggs, coffee, and fried toast, which my stay-at-home mother cooked daily for my manual-laborer father--and the reverberations of country music. Some mornings I could hear my parents talking in the kitchen when they thought I was still asleep. (I learned a lot of family secrets by eavesdropping from bed.) But mostly I listened for the kitchen radio, tuned to WIVK, from which the splendid twang of country music poured forth. My father loved Merle Haggard. My mother loved George Jones. I loved Dolly Parton, Skeeter Davis, Jean Shepard, Tammy Wynette, and Connie Smith. I adored Loretta Lynn, though it was not easy for a Tennessee girl like me to choose a Kentucky singer as her favorite. After all, Dolly had come down from the mountains in neighboring Sevier County and sung shows around our town; she had appeared on local television for years. One was expected to be loyal, to take sides, to support the home-grown hero that Dolly was becoming. But I watched Loretta on TV, too. With her big hair, big guitar, and big voice, she materialized before me in flickering living color every Saturday afternoon when I tuned in to watch The Wilburn Brothers Show, a country music variety program hosted by Doyle and Teddy Wilburn, a singing brother act from Arkansas. 

My father told me that Loretta was from Eastern Kentucky--a "child bride" was what he called her with some pity--and that she wrote most of her own songs. He admired the way she kept up with herself by thrumming out a steady rhythm on her guitar, backed by the Wilburn Brothers' house band, an old-school country knock and grind grounded in that familiar crying-shame country music accompaniment: pedal steel, bass, and electric guitar. She sang her heart out in a voice that awakened my budding musical sensibilities. I could sing along. I could pick out her songs on my grandmother's farmhouse piano. But Loretta's voice kindled the fire for that honky-tonk sound that still burns in me today. And I liked the way she looked. 

I didn't have a name for Loretta Lynn's coiffure in 1963, but now I'd call it a sort of beehive-mullet.