The impervious president

We’re in very strange waters, and this makes it so difficult to predict the future. The President has survived things that would have decimated politicians in the past. He insulted John McCain, and specifically attacked his experience as a war hero, yet supporters, even those in the military, stood by him. He bragged about sexual assault in a more vulgar way that we’ve heard from most politicians. He threatened to use the justice department to jail his political opponent if elected. He blamed President Bush for 9/11. And all of that was before he got elected. Any one of those would have destroyed the candidacy of any normal candidate, but Trump wasn’t a normal candidate. Likewise, there have been so many things that would have crushed a sitting president, and it doesn’t seem to be doing too much harm to him.

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Timelines and subthreads (part 4: Who is Felix Sater?)

This is the fourth of a series dissecting the timeline of Trump-Russia connections that’s kept at Bill Moyers’s website. For a bit of intro, and the first subthread click here. This one is all cut and pasted, with the links included. None of the text is my own, not even paraphrased.

This is all about a man named Felix Sater, who I think we should get to know a bit. Follow past the jump for this one.

Continue reading “Timelines and subthreads (part 4: Who is Felix Sater?)”

Timelines and subthreads (part 3: All about Manafort)

This is the third of a series dissecting the timeline of Trump-Russia connections that’s kept at Bill Moyers’s website. For a bit of intro, and the first subthread , click here. This one is all cut and pasted, with the links included. None of the text is my own, not even paraphrased.

Paul Manafort seems to be a pretty central figure here, so I thought it was worth a search for his name in the timeline. Follow past the jump for this one.

Continue reading “Timelines and subthreads (part 3: All about Manafort)”

Timelines and subthreads (part 2: GOP platform on Russia and Ukraine)

This is the second of a series dissecting the timeline of Trump-Russia connections that’s kept at Bill Moyers’s website. For a bit of intro, and the first subthread, click here. Some text is copied and pasted directly from the timeline, other text is paraphrased.

I found this one interesting, even though I can’t say that I was paying too much attention to it at the time. One thing to keep in mind is that these exchanges were all happening after the June 9 meeting between Trump Jr and Veselnitskaya, and after the April 2016 DNC hack. There’s a fair amount of mingling with this thread and Paul Manafort, but I’ll take on the Manafort stuff in another thread. Follow past the jump for the timeline.

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Timelines and subthreads (part 1: Trump Jr emails and meetings)

Steven Harper has assembled a very useful and impressive timeline of all the connections between Trump and Russia. It’s posted here, and updated regularly. As impressive as I find it, the problem with it is that it’s a series of overlapping timelines, rather than one single timeline. A way to sort it by a specific topic would be helpful, and certainly possible electronically. I hope they will do this in the future. For now, there are a couple of subthreads that I found particularly interesting to follow, and worth putting together here. I’m sure more will be added to these in the future. If I’m moved to update, I’ll do it in a separate post to preserve the sense of what we know now. I’m also going to keep the subthreads in separate posts so they don’t get buried under each other. Some text is copied and pasted directly from the timeline, other text is paraphrased.

The Trump Jr email/meeting timeline is below, and others will follow:

Subthread 2: Trump campaign and the GOP platform position on Russia and Ukraine.

Subthread 3: all about Manafort

Subthread 4: who is Felix Sater?

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“It’s all about trust”

My wife has some strong opinions about things, and some of them she raises over and over again. One (of the many) with which I agree is that trust plays a fundamental role in how we feel about our leaders. We trust some leaders, and we don’t trust others. If we trust a leader, we assume that some action is legitimately justified. If we don’t trust a leader, that same action can be nefarious or a sign of incompetence. I’ll come back to something more contemporary in a minute, but let’s start with Obama and Bush.

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Putting on a show

I don’t know why, but I’m still trying to view the Trump administration through rational eyes. Perhaps there are several versions of rational. There really shouldn’t be, but maybe what I think is rational isn’t actually rational. I am saddened by what I see as missed opportunities (see here and here), but I’m starting to accept the fact that it’s never going to happen. I’m starting to accept the fact that we all have things that motivate us, and I think what motivates Trump has more to do with celebrity than anything else. That’s not inconsistent with doing good things for the country, but I’m not convinced that it’s what drives him. I can imagine that he can convince himself that it’s driving him, but I think deep down the things that he embraces are things that feed his celebrity status. I should be clear that I’m not saying that there’s no concern for others in that. I think he enjoys entertaining people. I think he likes it when they’re excited to see him. I think he thrives on that. There’s a level of admirable selflessness in that. Like the comic who stands on stage making fun of himself to make you laugh. On the other hand, it leads to some pretty strange moments when the President of the United States acts that way.

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