Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Trump should be wary of Putin's 'truth'-telling

If Putin can claim with a straight face that Russia did not orchestrate the Crimean annexation and has not used regular Russian troops in Ukraine, he can solemnly assert to President Trump that Russia did not intervene in the U.S. election and “believe” what he says.
After all, what is the difference between a Russian hacker hacking the DNC from Nigeria, a “lost” Russian paratrooper in east Ukraine and a “little green man” minding his own business in Crimea? None, according to Putin, are the responsibility of Russia.
Let’s hope that President Trump understands what Putin is actually saying.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Manafort, Podesta Group highlight DC swamp culture

President Trump has railed against the “swamp” of Washington, D.C. There could be no better illustration of how that swamp operates than the Manafort-Podesta affair. We do not know whether Mueller will pursue other aspects of the D.C. swamp, such as the Clinton Foundation and its pay-to-play antics.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Steele dossier farce shows why Trump relies on Twitter

The Washington Post’s “fact check” of the dossier concludes that it consists of “rumors that couldn’t be independently verified” and claims “that would have been publicly known.” Its grand conclusion: “Although it’s impossible to say that the dossier is entirely inaccurate (there are some glimmers of accurate predictions), it is also impossible to say that it has been broadly validated.”
Trump haters surely had hoped for more than “some glimmers of accurate prediction” from the Post. The Post, however, consoles its readers with the fact that there is still hope: The “unsatisfying answer has a side effect: It gives either side of the political fight all the ammo that it might want.” In other words, keep up the good fight.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Why Was Obama's Justice Department Silent On Criminal Activity By Russia's Nuclear Agency?

The failure of this “gang of four” to blow the whistle on Rosatom means they must recuse themselves from any Russian investigations, Robert Mueller included. The attempts in Washington to link Trump with Russia may turn out to shine light on much bigger scandals. It is time to investigate the investigators.

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Sadly, we must rely on Russian oligarchs to reveal truth on Trump dossier

What a mess! U.S, citizens must rely on Russian oligarchs — not their elected representatives or the Justice Department and FBI — to learn the truth of the Trump dossier, which continues to serve as the tottering foundation of the Trump-Russia collusion story.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Black Swan of the Russian Revolution

go to Independent Review (note: behind a firewall)

Like the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Revolution caught almost everyone off guard. Contrary to Marxist-Leninist dogma, the Bolsheviks’ victory resulted not from communism’s alleged inevitability but rather from a series of coincidences and accidents that could have been otherwise.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Obama's DOJ slow-walked probe despite national security concerns

Given their tarnished record, the American public should ask whether Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe should be allowed to preside over any investigation of Donald Trump’s Russian connection, for which no evidence appears to exist other than a dodgy dossier.
We can understand Trump’s outrage at his newly-appointed attorney general’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor. The FBI and Justice Department should investigate the Clinton-Russia connection, but given their record, can they be trusted? 

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Monday, October 16, 2017

How Russia Is Playing Catalonia To Get A Reprieve On Crimea

Putin hopes that Catalonia will end with a messy separation that throws the European experiment into chaos as he basks behind a stance of neutrality while hoping for forgiveness for the Crimean annexation.

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Speaking Bolshevik and Speaking PC

The true purpose of PC speak is not to spare the feelings of sensitive people, as the left claims, but to block alternate views. PC speakers do not want the masses to hear all sides of an issue because they fear that those ordinary individuals will come to their own conclusions.  Ironically, the fear of public debate places the left on the same side as the fascists they supposedly abhor. 

to to Defining Ideas

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers

Until Steele and Fusion GPS answer who funded the Trump dossier and address the veracity of its sources, we are left with four options:
First, the Trump dossier is a legitimate account of a Trump-Russia collusion, despite key parts of it being discredited. Second, the dossier is an initiative of influential Democrats to destroy Trump with fake intelligence fabricated without help of the Kremlin.
Third, the dossier is a joint product of Democratic and Kremlin interests with which the Democrats destroy Trump and the Russians discredit American electoral politics. Fourth, the dossier is a standard disinformation attack by the Kremlin to discredit not only Trump but American democracy in general.
Let’s hope the dossier’s authors will come clean so the American people know the truth.

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Germany: Welcome to the world of Trump

Entry into the Bundestag gives the AfD allotted time during question periods and automatic access for its views on the nightly ARD and ZDF news broadcasts. In one fell swoop, the AfD will gain the respectability of an established party, which is infuriating Berlin’s political elite.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

What the ‘Great Terror’ Taught Autocrats

The instruments of lesser terror are still routinely employed today. Vladimir Putin uses them to stay in power despite a weak economy, rising poverty and rampant corruption. The Kremlin allots state assets, government credits and university deanships to those in favor. Streaks of independence or defiance are punished by charges of corruption, confiscatory taxes and denial of business licenses. Political opponents are disqualified from the ballot, and ordinary protesters are sent to prison or put under house arrest. Anti-riot forces are given free rein to fire on demonstrators. Dissidents who become a real danger can be shot or poisoned. The murderer will never be found, despite an elaborate investigation and court proceeding.

go to Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Grand Bargain on Korea

North Korea has become an intractable problem for the United States. But there may be a way forward in the form of a grand bargain that requires fewer U.S. concessions than expected. In fact, the resolution of the Korean conundrum may be less challenging than containing Iran. A rejection by North Korea’s Kim Jong-un of such a deal would provide evidence of his irrationality and confirm the regrettable need for non-diplomatic measures.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

What Was The 'Top Secret' Information Passed On At Trump Tower?

The media frenzy has turned a ham-handed (on both sides) lobbying effort by unregistered Russian lobbyists into a dark cloak-and-dagger conspiracy involving the exchange of top secret information. Who cares whether Browder contributed a small amount to attend a Clinton Foundation event? In the meantime, the media ignores the fact that the same Russian agents were heavily involved in the one activity that almost made a difference in the 2016 election: the creation of the infamous Steele anti-Trump dossier.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Russia Didn't Interfere In U.S. Election To Help Trump, But To Destabilize America

The ironical outcome is that the real collusion may be between the enemies of Trump making an alliance with Putin to weaken their own country, all in order to overturn an election outcome they despise.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Real Colluder With Russia Isn't Trump -- It's Germany

Germany postures itself as the conscience of Europe. Besieged by floods of refugees, Germany takes them in and scolds those who do not. Germany claims to guard European unity against the insidious forces of the nation-state. Germany ridicules the United States for electing a right-wing novice, a real estate developer, no less. It is Germany that stands in the way of Trump’s purported plans to weaken NATO and break apart the European Union. But Germany, the self-declared paragon of European values, finds itself fighting an isolated battle to give Putin’s rogue state its political objectives for the benefit of Germany, Inc.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

How Much Is Saudi Aramco Worth? It Depends On The Country's Institutions

Capital markets are harsh judges. They lay bare the immense social costs of the poorly-run and corrupt energy companies of the world, such as Gazprom, Petrobas, and Rosneft. We now await its judgement on Saudi Aramco.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Is Russia Gate Really Hillary Gate? Mueller Should Investigate

The most under covered story of Russia Gate is the interconnection between the Clinton campaign, an unregistered foreign agent of Russia headquartered in DC (Fusion GPS), and the Christopher Steele Orbis dossier. This connection has raised the question of whether Kremlin prepared the dossier as part of a disinformation campaign to sow chaos in the US political system. If ordered and paid for by Hillary Clinton associates, Russia Gate is turned on its head as collusion between Clinton operatives (not Trump’s) and Russian intelligence. Russia Gate becomes Hillary Gate.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

The “Golden Shower” Dossier Appears to be the Work of an Unregistered Russian Agent. Where Does this Lead Us?

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to the Justice Department on March 31, 2017 demanding for his Committee on the Judiciary all relevant documents on the company Fusion GBS. Fusion GPS is the company that funded the Christopher Steele opposition-research “Golden Shower” dossier against then-candidate Donald Trump. Grassley writes in reference to a complaint that:

 “lobbyists (Fusion GPS) working for Russian interests in a campaign to oppose the pending Global Magnitsky Act failed to register under FARA and the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995. The Committee needs to understand what actions the Justice Department has taken in response to the information in Mr. Browder’s complaint. The issue is of particular concern to the Committee given that when Fusion GPS reportedly was acting as an unregistered agent of Russian interests, it appears to have been simultaneously overseeing the creation of the unsubstantiated dossier of allegations of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”
In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, James Comey dodged Lindsey Graham’s questions about Fusion GPS.

The role of Fusion GPS and its key associates of Russian background must raise the question as to whether the Steele Orbis dossier, which was commissioned by an unregistered agent of Russia, was a plant by Russian intelligence to harm Donald Trump.

PS The Senate's efforts to pry the Fusion documents from the Justice Department has been known but scarcely reported by the media.

Comey Gives the New York Times a Black Eye While Selective Leakers Leave the People in the Dark

The (abridged) exchange with Senator Risch (R-Idaho) proceeded as follows:
RISCH: You talked with us shortly after February 14th, when the New York Times wrote an article that suggested that the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians. Do you remember reading that article when it first came out?
COMEY: I do.
RISCH:  After that, you sought out both Republican and Democrat senators to tell them that, hey, I don't know where this is coming from, but this is not the case. This is not factual (my italics). Do you recall that?
RISCH: So, the American people can understand this, that report by the New York Times was not true. Is that a fair statement?
COMEY: In the main, it was not true. And again, all of you know this (my italics). Maybe the American people don't.
Most damning in this exchange is Comey’s cynical “you know but the American people don’t.” Where is the outrage that the media collusion narrative was based on a falsehood of which U.S. senators were aware? The Times has issued no retraction and lamely states that “the immediate sources could not be reached” but “they have indicated that they believed the account was solid.” The anonymous sources can believe what they want, but the FBI head thinks otherwise.

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Comey Elevates The Fake Orbis Dossier By Asserting He Can Only Discuss It In Closed Session

In his ongoing public testimony, former FBI Director, James Comey dodged many of the questions to which the American public most wants answers with the excuse: “I can’t talk about that in open session.” Among the things the American people wanted to hear from Comey himself was his take on the sensational Orbis “Golden Shower” Dossier’s charges against Donald Trump. They learned nothing.

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What Comes After Kim Jong Un?

Kim’s inner circle would also characterize themselves as holders of Khrushchev’s lucky cards. Like their Soviet and Chinese counterparts, they would retreat to the relative safety of collective rule in his absence. Less fearful of violent overthrow, they would be inclined to make life better for their people and rely less on military adventurism.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

It's Not Trump, But Public Intellectuals & Lobbyists Who Are Advancing Putin's U.S. Agenda

The media and the Democratic Party are feverishly peddling the idea that Trump and his foreign policy team are somehow in cahoots with the Russians. Ukraine and the Baltic states are paralyzed by fears of a Trump grand bargain, despite Trump’s appointment of the most anti-Kremlin national security team in recent history. America’s mightiest lobbying firms, with deep ties to the Democratic Party, represent and promote Russian vital interests as registered foreign agents. Meanwhile our foreign policy cognoscenti do not understand that Putin’s fear is not an invasion by some nonexistent European military powerhouse but that a liberal democratic and prosperous Ukraine and Georgia would reveal to the Russian people what Putin is denying them.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Swamp’s Leak and Propaganda Barrage Bring Forth No Evidence of Trump-Russia Collusion

The Wall Street Journal – no particular fan of Trump – characterizes the DOJ charge to Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, as fatally open-ended, vague, and flawed. His instruction lists no federal statutes and invites a fishing expedition into trivial matters. Even the know-it-all media does not agree what Mueller is supposed to do: Is he to “oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials” or “investigate possible coordination between President Trump’s associates and Russian officials?” 
The political feeding frenzy has, to date, brought forth the following “facts” of Russia Gate: Persons associated with the Trump campaign had contacts with Russians, some unsavory.  Trump businesses, like other luxury property developers, had dealings with wealthy Russian buyers. Trump did not condemn Putin during the campaign and expressed a hope (shared by many across the political spectrum) of improved relations. 
These facts shed little light, if any, on collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian state to throw the election to Trump, as is evidenced by the deafening silence of anti-Trumpists. 

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Authoritative Putin Think Tank Could Not Choose Between Clinton and Trump

A Reuter’s exclusive cites seven anonymous “informed sources” with access to the “confidential” reports of the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS). Reuters claims that these reports “provided the framework and rationale” for the Kremlin’s “intensive effort …. to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system.” My own reading of RISS published reports (in Russian) finds that RISS’s experts were ambiguous on which candidate to favor, despite the US intelligence community’s conclusion that “Putin, his advisers, and the Russian Government developed a clear preference [my italics] for President-elect Trump over Secretary Clinton,”

Putin’s spokesman denied the Reuters claims during a regular press briefing and cautioned that “seven anonymous sources are not worth one real one.”

RISS is indeed an authoritative Russian think tank, headed by top security veterans and staffed by qualified senior researchers. RISS maintains an active working paper and publication series and has its own TV interview network. RISS’s evaluation of candidates Clinton and Trump could therefore provide a glimpse into Putin’s own thinking.    

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Truckers' Strike Pits The People Against The Kremlin

The platon strike is a significant battle of wills between the Kremlin and Russia’s working class. The long-haul trucker strike offers a model of how to fight the “monster” of the Putin political system, which teaches ordinary Russians that it is useless to struggle. If the Kremlin backs down and withdraws the tax, the Russian people may see that resistance can work.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Putin Applies MH17 False-Flag Template To Syria's Gas Attack To Convince Russian Public

If Putin can convince his people that Russian missiles did not shoot down MH17, he can even more easily convince his domestic audience that client Bashar Assad  is being framed by a sinister false-flag operation mounted by the CIA, NATO, ISIS and hostile Sunnis -- all in cahoots against the innocent Syrian dictator. Putin may even be joined the the vast community of Trump haters, who are ready to believe that Trump (and Putin) are somehow behind the gassing of Syrian innocents.

Get ready for another round of crazy conspiracy theories, which serve Putin's goal of blaming powers other than Russian and Syria for the barbarism at Idlibe.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

The Kremlin Claims Trump Has Joined The Terrorists With An Invented WMD Excuse To Strike Syria

President Trump's decision to launch missiles against a Syrian air base suspected of launching a chemical weapons attack on civilians has placed the Putin regime in a tenuous position. Few would object to punishing a sarin attack on innocent children, just as reasonable people would want those who shot down MH17 brought to justice. With Assad as a key client, Putin does not have a good comeback. He can only create smokescreens that he knows the world will reject but he hopes his own people will swallow.

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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Our Politics Has Given Putin The Weapon To Create A Constitutional Crisis

Knowing Putin, he will wait for the right moment to say without offering any proof: “Of course, it was decided that I'd help Mr. Trump win. He is a good man, and I knew that he would do a far better job than Hillary. I did this to help both our countries." Russian journalists are already speculating what words he will use. 
Putin has the leverage, thanks to our politics, to throw the US into a constitutional crisis. Thank you, political class. Remember my words when Putin pulls this rabbit out of his hat.

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Friday, March 31, 2017

100% Renewables by 2050 -- Germany Pays the Price for its Ambition

Germany has set the most ambitious agenda for renewable energy. According to Germany’s Enegiewende program, the share of renewables in electricity generation should reach 45 percent by 2030 and 100% by half century. Complicating matters is Germany’s Atomstop decision to close down its nuclear power plants under pressure from the powerful Green movement. The Atomstop agreement calls for substantial payments by electrical utilities into a special fund for storing nuclear waste.
Germany’s mechanism for achieving its ambitious renewable-energy goals is not direct subsidies but the requirement that its utilities must take wind and solar energy first into the power grid.
With wind and solar energy costing multiples more than conventional energy, their increasing share will continue to raise Germany’s wholesale electricity prices above those in other countries with less ambitious renewable energy policies. (See Figure for 2016 price comparisons).

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Hackers In Epaulets: A Challenge To The Consensus on Russian Interference in the 2016 Election?

To connect the dots on Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election (RussiaGate), we must begin with the understanding that Russia is a criminal enterprise disguised as a state. Duty-bound KGB officers have been replaced by shadowy figures who deal in compromising material, often for personal financial gain, and shuttle between private and state activities. Russia’s vaunted cyber warfare is carried out by independent-contractor operator/criminals who often wear the uniform of the Federal Security Service (FSB), foreign intelligence (SVR), or defense ministry (GRU). A new term has entered the vocabulary: hackers in epaulets.

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Nationwide Protests Against Corruption Catch Russia's Authorities Off Guard

Chances are that Putin will regain the initiative, but he must pile repressive measures on top of already repressive measures. There are limits. Many pundits believe that the Putin regime is unstable. It cannot go on, but we have difficulty picturing the scenario under which the Putin regime falls. If nationwide demonstrations accelerate and people are indeed “no longer afraid,” could this be it?

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Putin Plans For Reelection Without Crimea Euphoria And The Trump Bubble

Putin has exhausted the popularity gains from Crimea and has gotten no boost from Syria. He has the admiration of vast segments of the Russian population, who can see no one other than he as their president. Donald Trump must be on Putin’s mind. Trump supposedly had no chance to win. Putin should be a shoo-in. Life and politics occasionally play tricks.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Is Putin Preparing To Admit Guilt For MH17?

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) began its hearings on Ukraine's suit against Russia on March 6 in the Hague. Ukraine’s 45-page indictment alleges that Russia violated two UN conventions: First, the Terrorist Financing Treaty through its support of "illegally armed groups" in the self-proclaimed People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, and, second, the mistreatment of Tartars under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The shooting down of MH17 is included as a violation of the Terrorist Financing Treaty. Under ICJ procedures, intent to harm civilians must be proved. Putin's lawyers appear to be making the case that the shooting down of MH17 was a terrible mistake -- implicitly on Russia's part.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Saudi Oil Minister Sounds Trouble For Russia At Houston Conference

Energy producers and OPEC ministers, meeting at CERAWeek in Houston, grappled with a global glut of oil that was not supposed to be. Back in November, OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers agreed to their first production cut in eight years. Thus ended a Saudi-led experiment with free markets that had driven down crude prices to historic lows. The Saudi gamble was that low prices would dry up U.S. shale investment, rig counts, and hence crude production, that competes with OPEC and Russian output.
The experiment apparently failed.

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Putin Changes Course As He Gives Up On Trump

With Trump and Putin, we are returning to the Reagan-Gorbachev era, but under less favorable conditions for the Russian side. The USSR had a larger population than the US and its GDP was around one half. Can Putin really hope to compete with a country two and a half times Russia’s population and a GDP a 14 times Russia's? Can he sacrifice his peoples’ living standards, health, and education even more? I doubt it.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Interview with Only Russian Linked to Hacks of US Political Institutions

I recently was contacted by Vladimir Fomenko, of Biysk, Siberia. He complained that he and his server-hosting company, King-Servers, had been falsely accused of being deeply involved in Russian hacking of U.S. political institutions. We entered into a correspondence for the purpose of allowing Fomenko to tell his side of the story. Here it is.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

No One Mentions That The Russian Trail Leads To Democratic Lobbyists

In his February 16 press conference, President Trump declared in response to the intensifying media drumbeat on his Russian connections: “I haven’t done anything for Russia.” K-Street lobbyists, on the other hand, have done a lot to help Russia. They greased the skids for a strategic deal (that required the Secretary of State’s approval) that multiplied the Kremlin’s command of world uranium supplies. They likely prevented the shipment of strategic weapons needed by Ukraine to repulse well-armed pro-Russian forces. A fugitive billionaire who robbed the Ukrainian people of billions is represented by one of the establishment’s most connected lawyers.
Gazprombank GPB hired Breux and Lott to gain repeal of sanctions. That’s perfectly fine in Washington; they are playing according established “swamp rules” in their tailored suits and fine D.C. restaurants. General Flynn lost his job when the subject of sanctions was mentioned by the Russian ambassador in their telephone conversation, but that’s the way the media and Washington play.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

It's Time For Trump To Call Ukraine's 'Pro-Russian Rebels' What They Are: Russian Invaders

The West has, to my regret, subscribed to an “uncontrollable but influenceable” interpretation of Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict. Angela Merkel (along with President Obama)  has called repeatedly on Putin “to use his influence” on Ukrainian rebels to end the conflict, to which Putin replies in fake innocence that he wants a peaceful Ukraine on his borders.  The West embraces the notion of “uncontrollable but influenceable” as a convenient excuse for not taking action against Russian aggression, other than economic sanctions and words.

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Putin Counterattacks: Russian Turncoats Working For The CIA Hacked The Kremlin

In the course of its investigation, the FSB discovered that a group of Russian hackers calling themselves “Shaltai-Boltai” had hacked the personal accounts of the highest officials of the Russian government, the presidential administration, and the ministry of defense. The FSB has concluded that the Shaltai-Boltai” attacks were coordinated by Mikhailov and carried out by super-hacker, Dokuchaev.
Note that Putin’s charges are more dramatic than those of the U.S. Democratic and media establishment:  American spies hacked the entire Russian state, not just the DNC or John Podesta as the Democrats charge Russia. Putin is more of a victim than Hillary Clinton, according to this line of reasoning.
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Monday, January 9, 2017

Why Russia Cannot Become Our Friend: Memo to President Trump

Regrettably, the prospects for a successful negotiation with Putin over the “unsatisfactory condition of Russian-American relations” are near zero for the following reasons: The Putin regime requires confrontation with the US for its very survival, while Trump must deliver “beautiful deals” that “make American great again.” If Trump were to sign a deal which does not yield real enforceable concessions by Putin on Crimea, east Ukraine, or the Middle East, Trump’s deal-making image would be shattered along with his presidency.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Trump's Election Spoils Putin's Narrative To The Russian People

The 2016 election shows Russians that, in America, a candidate can come out of nowhere – a David to slay the Goliath of crooked American politics. This is contrary to Putin’s narrative of a decadent, greedy, and aggressive US establishment that uses its political monopoly to cut down a Trump-like candidacy. This is the last message Putin wants delivered to the Russian people with his own carefully-orchestrated election scheduled for 2018.

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