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Tuesday, July 17, 2018


One of the great attractions of speculation is that it is untethered by the rules of evidence.  What could Putin have on Trump?  I agree that it is not a salacious videotape.  My guess is that Trump is deeply in debt to Putin's oligarchs and is threatened with financial ruin if he gets out of line.  I have long wondered whether Trump has much less money than he claims and much less even than he appears to have, judging from his life style.  It is genuinely odd.

Look, these are hard times, politically.  You have to take pleasure where you can find it, and if Trump is now crashing and burning, well, enjoy it, even though it leaves the underlying rot in American life and economy unaltered.

Nobody has commented on my evolutionary biological reverie.  I had hoped someone who actually knows something about the subject would respond, and either correct me or expand on what I had said.


Unknown said...

If Syria wasn't such a mess I think things would be very different. With the proxy wars everyone stepping on everyone toes there Trump ran on getting out of pointless wars

Matt said...

Trump ran on getting out of pointless wars

This is something that's repeated a lot, but it's worth pointing out that it's just not true. Trump in fact said that he'd crush ISIS and "take their oil". I suppose that brutally crushing people and taking the valuable assets from their country is one way to "get out" of a pointless war, but I think that's not what's meant. This feeds in to the obviously insane "Hillary the Hawk, Donald the Dove" meme that lots of people bought leading up to the election. To know that was nuts, all you had to do was, 1) listen to what Trump said he wanted to do and 2) listen to what the other Republicans said they wanted to do. There was a lot of crazy projection on to Trump, but the projection by people on the "left" that he was in some way anti-intervention was among the most foolish and clearly wrong.

Unknown said...

I don't think it matters whatsoever this is something obama started it's not going away ultimately isreal is our biggest ally Obama tried to do a ragime change Russia and Islam stepped in and put a stop to it and will continue to stop it. Not to get far off the point Iran was doing a huge military buildup on the Syrian border isreal bombed them netenyahu went to Russia and talked to Putin all this is in the wake of Iran and isreal as far as recourses I don't know nor does it make a difference. It's pointless I think US should pull out but if we do I think something will happen in isreal if we do

Jerry Fresia said...

I think the Trump-Russia connection turns on long standing financial relationships.

For contrarian views of the summit, check this out:

interview with Joe Lauria, editor in chief of ConstoritumNews begins at 1:25

then an interview with William Binney, intel tech analyst with the NSA for 36 yrs, begins
at 22:55

if you were to choose one, go for the Binney interview; he just brief Pompeo on the subject for an hour

MS said...

At Jerry Fresia's suggestion, I listened to the interviews on with Joe Lauria and William Binney, and I have to acknowledge that they were sobering and raise interesting questions about the Trump/Putin summit and about the Mueller indictment. I would urge the readers of this blog to listen to them as well.

First, regarding Putin (I had never heard of Joe Lauria, but he was very articulate and apparently is a well regarded journalist), he notes that from Putin's standpoint, Russia has legitimate grievances about the US treatment of Russia after the fall of the Berlin wall. Lauria asserts that, from Putin's perspective, Wall Street bankers conspired with Russian oligarchs to illegally divest Russia of its financial assets, resulting in the mass impoverishment of the Russian people. I am not familiar with this accusation, and if other readers of Prof. Wolff's blog have additional information regarding this I would appreciate reading it.

More disturbing, however, was the interview with William Binney. Mr. Binney, as Jerry Fresia points out,is a retired 36 yr. veteran of the NSA. He knows a lot about counter-intelligence and computer hacking. He has studied the Mueller indictment, and finds many of the allegations suspect. His primary point is based on the time tags relating to the data downloads of the emails from the DNC server indicate that the downloads occurred at a speed of something like 43 megabytes per second (I am reporting the speed from memory). Binney contacted computer hackers that he knows to see if they could duplicate that download speed over the internet, the only manner in which a Russian hacker to do so. They were unable to duplicate that speed - the fastest they could do it over the internet was 12 megabytes per second. Binney's conclusion - that the download had to have occurred onsite where the DNC server was located, using, e.g., a thumb drive. Binney does not draw any inferences from this, other than it could not have been done by Russian agents hacking the server over the internet. Inferences one can draw from this - that it was a Russian agent who had infiltrated the Clinton campaign. An alternative inference that has been floated, and which is truly disturbing, is that the release of the emails was actually orchestrated by the Clinton campaign in order, somehow, to implicate the Sanders campaign and improve the odds of Hillary's nomination.

The origin of this blog segment was Prof. Wolff's query, "What is Truth?" I am starting to have a resurgence of my nightmares from Nov. 22, 1963 - was Lee Harvey Oswald the assassin, and if so, did he act alone.

s. wallerstein said...


I don't know about the Wall St. bankers conspiring with the Russian oligarchs, although it's not improbable, but Chomsky points out that there was a verbal agreement between Bush 1 and Gorbachev that if Gorbachev okayed German reunification, the U.S. would not expand NATO into the ex-Warsaw bloc nations. The U.S. did not honor that verbal agreement, and as you can see, NATO now includes Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all of which border on Russia. That seems to be a legitimate grievance of the Russians against the U.S.

MS said...

S. Wallerstein,

I had read this as well regarding NATO's expansion. So I just checked on Wikipedia as to when these nations joined NATO. Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary joined NATO in 1999, during Clinton's administration. The Baltic States joined NATO in 2004, during George W. Bush's administration. If George H. W. Bush, as President of the US, had signed a treaty with Gorbachev agreeing not to expand NATO in exchange for the reunification of Germany, then I could fully understand Putin's umbrage at its violation. But a verbal agreement by George H.W. Bush not to expand NATO, not reduced to writing, could, legitimately, only give offense if reneged on by George H.W. Bush. It was not. In the US system of government, absent a written treaty, verbal assurances by George H. W. Bush could not bind his successors.

Putin may not understand this, because Putin has effectively ruled Russia for so long, and what he says goes.

s. wallerstein said...


I don't really know anything about the legal niceties of verbal agreements between presidents.
I have heard that at the end of the Cuban missile crisis JFK verbally promised Khrushchev not to invade Cuba and as is evident, the U.S. has never invaded Cuba. Maybe they never planned to invade Cuba anyway of course.

Guy Tennenbaum said...


Binney’s talking point about data transfer rates has been debunked by numerous experts.

ConsortiumNews has also lately been pushing T***p’s latest line about the FBI’s failure to seize hold of the DNC server. That, of course, has also been discredited. Be very wary.