Watch The Sexy Spy, But Follow The Rubles To NRA’s GOP Campaigns

“Follow the rubles,” said the modern-day Deep Throat.  But following money is boring!  Who cares if you find the connections between Russia, the NRA and the 2016 elections of Republican politicians and campaign finance law violations?

Luckily we have Maria Butina*. Everyone wants to know about her and her leader’s plan to influence the US elections.

In the same way the Stormy Daniels’ case gave the media an eye-catching hook to look into the corrupt dealings of Michael Cohen and Donald Trump, so too will the Maria Butina case give the media a way to look deeper into the Russian connection to the NRA and the influence they have had on the Trump campaign as well as MULTIPLE REPUBLICANS.

Because the mainstream media needs to look serious, they won’t just cover this “unregistered foreign agent” they will also report on the multiple campaign finance violations committed by the NRA over the years. The sexy spy will lead the coverage, which is fine with me, as long as the NRA involvement is fully exposed. Currently the NRA is dodging the media or saying this connection is no big deal.. The investigations from the FBI and FEC should prove otherwise.

Following the FBI and Mueller investigations, there should be big fines for the NRA, lots of them. Because the NRA knew what they were doing. For years the NRA has used shell games and parsed the language of campaign finance law to avoid reporting and detection. As Howie Klein pointed out back in January of this year. 

“There are two other clear grounds for federal campaign finance law liability: soliciting a “thing of value” from a foreign national, and “substantially assisting” the foreign national in spending to influence an election.”

The money from Russian to the NRA then to Trump will be the white whale story (orange wail?), but there are many more down ticket races where Republicans were helped by NRA/rubles. I made a video to point some of them out.

When the NRA campaign finance violations become known by the politicians who were helped, what should happen?

Even in the era of Citizens United, when money from rich Americans and corporations flows freely, foreign funding for American elections is still restricted. The NRA has been hiding its awareness of this, lying about where and how the money was spent. They will use various excuses when they have to account for their knowledge and actions including “We were spending money on pro-gun candidates already, it’s not as if they told us who to back!.” But just because the Russians wanted the same candidates doesn’t mean the money is any less Russian.

Also, it is likely that the current NRA President, Ollie North, was put in so quickly in order to provide distance from previous NRA leadership.The most recent president, Pete Brownell, seen here with Butina and Donald Trump Jr., was involved in 2016 campaign funding plans.

The NRA’s Pete Brownell, left, with Ms. Butina and Donald Trump Jr. at a 2016 Dinner hosted by the NRA.

However, Wayne La Pierre is still in power and he needs to be questioned about this. But it is Chris Cox, the head of the NRA’s Institute of Legislative Action, that really HAD to be aware of this funding. It is the funding of state races that can have a much bigger impact on outcomes. How many races were funded with tainted foreign funding? Who knew and when did they know?

Fun fact: It’s illegal for foreign funds to be spent in American elections.

The NRA has a pattern of other types of finance violations too. Mike Spies of the Trace did a great piece looking into other violations, The Mystery Firm That Became the NRA’s Top Election Consultant but sadly he noted:

“The FEC is widely considered a toothless agency, paralyzed by partisan infighting, and campaign-finance laws are often honored in the breach.”

This is why I’m happy about Butina. Her involvement will highlight a lot of great reporting about the financial and personal connections between Russia, the NRA and Republican politicians. Here’s a few for those interested.

For an excellent overall timeline see Ladd Everitt‘s very through work that is still being updated.

 

Denise Clifton and Mark Follman in Mother Jones have many stories on the case like, The Very Strange Case of Two Russian Gun Lovers, the NRA, and Donald Trump wherein we learn about Alexander Torshin (who really should be played by Patton Oswalt in the movie. )

Once again McClatchy was head of the pack with this piece by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon from January 18, 2017, FBI, 5 other agencies probe possible covert Kremlin aid to Trump. In their recent work they have been “following the rubles” with this story about  Cleta Mitchell,  Lawyer who worked for NRA said to have had concerns about group’s Russia ties  

David Corn of Mother Jones asked the question, Did Alleged Russian Spy Maria Butina Cause a Leadership Shake-up at the NRA? The quick installment of Oliver North as NRA president becomes  much more interesting if it involves a sexy Russian operative.

(BTW, as someone who has watched thousands of spy movies I always roll my eyes when I see female spies working on straight guys. Men soooo easily get sucked into these schemes. Then add in a bunch of old white guys who like to carry around guns as proof of their manhood? As the slaughter lobby members might say, “It’s a target rich environment.” )

As more about the Butina case becomes revealed in court, keep looking at the money and people connections but also “things of value” and the people who were “substantially assisting” the foreign national in spending to influence an election.

If the Russian plan wasn’t so effective, it might be funny, like something out of a tv cartoon.

But we need to see that this was a long-term, multimillion dollar plan by the Russians to interfere with our elections and the NRA was an eager and willful participant.  

There needs to be serious consequences to the NRA and their leadership for their actions.

(*I wrote this post on August 6, 2018 and posted at Crooks and Liars.  Butina has now plead guilty and is cooperating with the Mueller team. In the video I show photos of Butina with multiple NRA executives and GOP politicians and a chart of which ones got money from the NRA for their election. Campaign finance law violations from the NRA are what I want to see prosecuted.)

Nation’s Right-Wing Uncle: “I won the Thanksgiving conversations!”

“My sister begged me not to talk about politics at Thanksgiving,” said Uncle Dick Vespa, speaking from a recliner in his sister’s house in a Lincoln Nebraska suburb.

“She pleaded with me, ‘Talk about happy memories when we were kids.’ So I did. The happiest days of MY childhood were teasing her until she cried!”

While Uncle Dick sat in the living room waiting for his younger sister and niece to clean up, he explained why he had no choice but to attack, correct and educate his relatives during the annual holiday event.

“Look, it’s not my fault. From the second I arrived everyone attacked me! I came into the kitchen and my sister was ranting about how important government regulations were, blah blah blah. I didn’t catch it all because she started going off about the food I bought: a very expensive 17 pound honey-baked ham. I know I said I was going to bring a salad, since they’ve been vegan for years, but the stores removed all the romaine lettuce because of the caravan invasion. I couldn’t make my famous Caesar salad so I got a ham instead–which, by the way, was much more expensive. I figured . . . → Read More: Nation’s Right-Wing Uncle: “I won the Thanksgiving conversations!”

Win or Lose: We Must Demand Investigations

Democrats are expected to be good winners. After a Democratic win, the media will ask the Democrats just how bipartisan they will be going forward. Most Democrats fall for this. They will reach out to their opponent and talk about a “hard-fought race.” Even if their opponent lied about their past votes on health care and supported hateful and violent rhetoric from Trump. The Democrats will talk about being a representative for all the people in the district, not just the people who voted for them.

They will want to be a uniter, not a divider. I understand. They don’t want to be like Red Hats at a Trump rally mindlessly screaming ‘Lock him up!’ about their opponents. But what if their opponents actually committed crimes?   

Red and Blue Good Sports, AP photo CBS News

Democrats are expected to be good losers. They aren’t supposed to demand investigations of voter suppression, hacking and campaign election fraud. There will be pressured to conceded rather than fight the results.  The media, and the Republicans, will want concessions even when there isn’t an  overwhelmingly clear winner.  Brooks Brothers Riots will abound.

Howie Klein said the other day that many Democrats have to . . . → Read More: Win or Lose: We Must Demand Investigations

Thanksgiving 2018 Prediction: Conservative Relatives Will Ask For Forgiveness From Liberals

November 11, 2018 –  Following the huge loses in this year’s midterms by conservative Republicans, Thanksgiving dinners in homes across the country will be different. Based on new quantum predictive research, conservative relatives will be asking for forgiveness from liberal relatives.  In addition to apologizing for their misguided anger at democratic politicians, they will be asking questions to better understand their progressive relatives.

Conservative Uncle Jeff will be apologizing to his niece Joan for his previous attacks on liberals and Democratic politicians at Thanksgiving 2018

This radical change in behavior is based on new quantum predictive research from the Center for Family Political Response at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople,

“The change will be stunning. The time of “doubling down” on hate, racism, sexism and bigotry by conservatives is over.” said Dr. Art Foneman, associate professor in clinical political science.

The surprising thing is that the change in attitude and language will be coming from conservative media!  Scientific research has shown that conservative media is the most powerful driver of attitudes and behaviors on the right. In the past when conservatives lost elections conservative media revved up the division and ran stories attacking the Democratic politician winners. When . . . → Read More: Thanksgiving 2018 Prediction: Conservative Relatives Will Ask For Forgiveness From Liberals

If today’s American media covered the news from Berlin on November 10, 1938

Fuchs Nachrichten Berlin, November 10, 1938,  Parteifunktionäre sagen,  “Beide Seiten müssen die Rhetorik abschwächen.”

View of a destroyed Jewish shop in Berlin on Nov. 11, 1938, after the anti-Semitic violence of Kristallnacht. The pogrom unleashed Nazi-coordinated attacks on thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses.

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Powerful People With Advanced Technology: A Star Trek Story

When I’m not trying to defund the people making money on hate speech, violent rhetoric, gun sales, misogyny and bigotry, I read and watch science fiction. I don’t write it but I recently saw a Writing Prompt at Reddit that inspired me. Here’s the premise:

Researchers have developed a prototype for teleportation but it hasn’t been announced to the public. Being the 53rd tester, you hop in. But as the scientists pull the switch, you feel your body being ripped apart. Before you fade away, you see yourself come out, reassuring everyone it worked.

My science fiction story takes place in the near future:

Yes I am a Star Trek fan. A HUGE one. I’ve written as “Spocko” for over 20 years. When an announcement of the human teleportation trials came out my brother and I volunteered. Of course I had read why teleportation was created in Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry knew they couldn’t afford to make shuttlecraft sets and flying down to the planets slowed down the plot. Thus, the transporter was born. Here’s how they did it.

Since Gene had gotten so much right about the future from multiple races and genders working together to the creation of . . . → Read More: Powerful People With Advanced Technology: A Star Trek Story

Why we should name the unashamed at Trump rallies

When Trump mocked Dr. Ford at a rally I watched the video of the people behind him smiling, laughing and clapping. My first thought was, “Name ’em and shame ’em!” But as many pointed out to me, “These people HAVE no shame!”  So is naming the unashamed at Trump rallies a useless activity? No, and I’ll Vulcansplain why.

Who is 1) Gold Tie Guy? 2) Tan Hat Guy? 3) Grinning Glasses Guy?

These people chose to attend the rally.  They volunteered to stand behind Trump. They are the opposite of ashamed, they are proud to be on national TV showing their support for Trump as he mocked Dr. Ford. It was an honor.  

Who is 4) Mutton Chop Guy? 5) Beaded Laughing Guy 6) Red Hat Logo Guy 7) Happy Mocking Woman

People suggest name and shame, because they know it would work on them if they said something considered shameful by themselves, their friends and family.

If you showed a video of me laughing, clapping and cheering for Trump as he mocked Dr. Ford, my family, friends and clients would be shocked. Someone would ask me, “What the what!? Is that Spocko’s brain tumor talking?”

My activist friends would ask, “A new . . . → Read More: Why we should name the unashamed at Trump rallies

Banksy Does To His Painting What GOP Does To Our Constitution

 

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. “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge” – Picasso

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on Oct 6, 2018 at 10:09am PDT

Recommend on Facebook Tweet about it Email this! . . . → Read More: Banksy Does To His Painting What GOP Does To Our Constitution

9 Ways You Can Help Stop Kavanaugh’s Appointment

One of the things I know about fighting people and organizations with real power is the need to have multiple strategies and tactics working at the same time.

The reason is that you can’t count on just a single angle to work. The other size isn’t stupid. They know how to fight back. What looked like a sure thing can be destroyed in ways you don’t expect.

We must keep using multiple tactics. I tell people to look at their own skill sets and think, “How can I help in a way that is unique to me?”  

Here are some groups of people with areas they can help:

1) Lawyers: What kind of lawsuits can be filed? Were there laws broken people should know about? 2) Journalists: What investigation angle can you do? 3) Politicians: What does it take to start impeachment hearings? 4) Accountants: Is there a financial angle to expose that people should know about? 5) Activists: Is there something new for the media to see? 6) Researchers: What hard evidence can  you bring to investigators? 7) Law enforcement: Do you have records of arrests you have that others don’t know about?

Good strategies allow your tactical moves to build . . . → Read More: 9 Ways You Can Help Stop Kavanaugh’s Appointment

Sen. Hirono: FBI Should Investigate Death Threats to Dr. Ford As Witness Tampering

On Rachel Maddow on Wednesday Senator Hirono of Hawaii called out the death threats and intimidation of Dr. Ford as witness tampering and said the FBI should “do its job” and investigate.

Since July Senator Feinstein’s office honored Dr. Ford’s wishes to remain anonymous. But then the press found out who Dr. Ford was so she identified herself publicly. At that point Senator Feinstein’s obligation to keep her identity secret was dropped. However, as a constituent of Feinstein, an American citizen, and a key witness in an important government decision, Feinstein still has an obligation to Dr. Ford to protect her and defend her rights. 

Feinstein’s office should have been prepared for the attacks on Dr. Ford and had a plan. There should have been a physical protection plan, a law enforcement plan, a secure communication plan, a media plan and a social media plan. But it looks like Feinstein’s office left it all up to Dr. Ford and her people. The good news is that they aren’t clueless, Lawrence O’Donnell has been praising their work all week.  Also, my new favorite Senator, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, has publicly called for the FBI to investigate the witness tampering.   

At this . . . → Read More: Sen. Hirono: FBI Should Investigate Death Threats to Dr. Ford As Witness Tampering