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When everything is crazy -- and everything is crazy all the time in the Trump administration -- the guiding principle is probably greed. Yesterday, when Donald Trump was throwing his own intelligence agencies under the bus, he pronounced himself stumped as to why Russians would ratfuck our elections on his behalf.

I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be.

The answer is money. It has always been money. And just like Maria Butina told her handler Alexander Torshin, "POLITICAL PARTY 1," aka the GOP, was the best vehicle for the Russian government to get their hands on a whole lot more of it.


Because the Democrats have been piling sanctions on Russia for the past seven years. After Russia invaded Ukraine and stole part of its territory in 2014, Western sanctions crippled the Russian economy, costing it hundreds of billions of dollars in lost trade and internal inflation. But what pisses the oligarchs off the most is the 2012 Magnitsky Act sanctions, which prevent them from spiriting their stolen assets out of Russia into the safety of Western financial markets. And that's why Russians are constantly calling Bill Browder a criminal and pressuring Western governments to hand him over.

Sergei Magnitsky was the accountant for Browder, a British financier whose Hermitage Capital Management was one of the largest firms in Russia until Browder was barred from the country in 2005. When Magnitsky fought the fraudulent government seizure of Hermitage, he was arrested and tortured for a year, dying in police custody in 2009. Browder has successfully lobbied the American, Canadian, UK, Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian governments to exclude Russian oligarchs from the global financial market and foreign travel. So Putin and his friends can't take advantage of orderly Western economies -- where you don't have to kick up for bribes and constantly fear that a gangster will expropriate the booty you expropriated from Russian taxpayers.

Which is why Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya tried to frame Bill Browder for illegal contributions to Hillary Clinton's campaign in the infamous Trump Tower meeting. Here's Paul Manafort's notes on their coffee klatch -- we're betting Don Jr. was too stupid to realize what she was offering, but Manafort, with his long history in the former Soviet Union, probably grokked it.

She was dummying up "dirt" on Clinton in an attempt to get America's Magnitsky sanctions lifted. Russia had barred Americans from adopting Russian babies in response to the sanctions. And Veselnitskaya was offering all the BOUNCY WHITE RUSSIAN BABIES Americans could ever want, if the US would just hand over Browder and let those oligarchs start shoveling stolen loot into the financial system again.

Veselnitskaya was still slagging Browder in April when confronted by NBC's Richard Engel with leaked emails connecting her to the Russian government.



And yesterday, that dumb America First sumbitch was actually considering Vladimir Putin's "interesting offer" to jointly investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller and the thirteen angry Democrats can travel to Russia and watch the FSB "interview" the Russians who hacked the DNC, and all we have to do is hand over Bill Browder.

PUTIN: For instance, we can bring up the Mr. Browder in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia. They never paid any taxes, neither in Russia nor in the United States, and yet the money escaped the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent huge amount of money, $400 million, as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well, that's the personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself, but the way the money was earned was illegal.

There is ZERO EVIDENCE that Browder or anyone associated with him ever gave money to Clinton, much less $400 million! But Putin knows Trump would be thrilled to get dirt on the woman who won the popular vote. Hell, it might have worked in June of 2016 if Don Jr. weren't such a fucking moron that he didn't realize what they were offering him. Lucky thing Browder is a British citizen, or Trump would probably black helicopter him into Moscow. As Browder told Time,

The biggest mistake that Putin made in his offer today to effectively swap me for the 12 Russian agents is that he went to the wrong head of state. Although I was born in America, I emigrated to the United Kingdom 29 years ago and am a British citizen. If he really wants me, he better go talk to Theresa May, who might have a few choice words for him after Russian agents spread the military-grade nerve agent Novichok across the cathedral town of Salisbury, England.

Two weeks ago, Republican Senators were celebrating Independence Day in Moscow. Rand Paul is headed there soon to snuggle up with the very people who hacked our elections and are still hacking our elections. These treasonous GOP bastards are dying to get those sanctions canceled, not least because they don't want to acknowledge that their 2016 "win" came with a huge, illegal assist from a crumbling gangster state.

FOLLOW THE MONEY. AND VOTE THEM OUT.

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[NYT / Time / Atlantic]

Five Dollar Feminist

Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!

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Hello! Here a beautiful open thread for you to not comment all over, so that you don't not comment all over Dok's book club post.

I was gonna drop my Nonnie's recipe for Easter bread in here, but apparently it has to proof overnight and is also for approximately 87,000 people, so not much of a point to that! (Though here it is if you really want it. She doesn't do the egg thing, but if you want, you can put some dyed raw eggs in the braided dough before you bake. And you can add sprinkles, and anise if you're gross and like gross things) I was gonna try and make it myself last night, but have instead opted to just make waffles. Waffles are FINE.

So instead, I shall just leave you with this absolutely terrifying version of The Velveteen Rabbit starring Marie Osmond as said velveteen rabbit. Coincidentally, Marie Osmond is also Nonnie's 2nd arch-nemesis, after Rachel Ray (Rachel Ray because she doesn't pull her hair back when she cooks, and Marie for reasons I'm not entirely clear on but which I believe are related to a Weight Watchers commercial).

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT starring Marie Osmond - full length feature youtu.be


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'Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone' -- National Archives

Happy Day Before Half-Priced Easter Chocolate Day, Wonkers! Time to wrap up our Wonkette Book Club discussion of Winter War: Hoover, Roosevelt, and the First Clash Over the New Deal, by Erich Rauchway, a historian at UC-Davis. We're increasingly convinced the book might have just as well been titled Herbert Hoover: Christ, What An Asshole! As ever, even if you haven't finished the reading, jump in anyway -- there won't be a test!

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